The Eight Beatitudes Versus the Eight Woes

Matthew 23:13–33, The Eight Woes. There is a one-to-one correlation between the eight benediction of the beatitudes of Matthew 5:3–12 and the eight maledictions or woes Yeshua pronounces on the hypocritical religious leaders of his day in Matthew 23:13–33.

The kingdom of heaven is opened to the poor, humble or contrite in spirit (Matt 5:3), while the door to kingdom of heaven is shut by and to prideful and exclusive religious hypocrites (Matt 23:13).

Those who mourn will be comforted (Matt 5:4), while greedy and pretentious religious hypocrites bring grief and sorrow to those they rule over (Matt 23:14).

The meek will inherit the earth (Matt 5:5) versus religious zealots who compass the earth to expand their kingdoms to make new converts, all of whom are shut out of the kingdom of Elohim and will inherit hell (Matt 23:15).

Those who hunger and thirst for true righteousness will be filled (Matt 5:6) versus those who pursue a false, man-made religious system righteousness that involves twisting YHVH’s word for their own carnal purposes (Matt 23:16–22).

The merciful will obtain mercy (Matt 5:7), while the religious hypocrites major in spiritually minor things and overlook mercy and the weightier matters of the Torah (Matt 23:23–24).

The pure in heart will see (the heart of) Elohim (Matt 23:8), while hypocritical religionists put on an outward or superficial show of “purity,” but in reality, they overlook and neglect the inward purity of the heart. This equates to Torahlessness, which equates to spiritual blindness and misses the heart of Elohim (Matt 23:25–26).

Peacemakers will be called the sons of Elohim (Matt 5:9) versus Torahless religious hypocrites whose actions cause strife, confusion leading to spiritual uncleanness and death, which is the opposite of peace or shalom,which is physical and spiritual well-being in all areas of life (Matt 23:27–28).

Those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake will inherit the kingdom of Elohim (Matt 5:10–12) versus religious hypocrites, while claiming to be followers of Elohim, are themselves the persecutors of YHVH’s righteous saints (Matt 23:29–33).


A Popular Subject with Yeshua—Not So With the Church

Luke 8:10, The mysteries of the kingdom. The Greek word for mystery is musterion meaning “hidden thing, secret, mystery; religious secrets, confided only to the initiated and not to ordinary mortals; a hidden or secret thing, not obvious to the understanding.”

Of the some 136 subjects recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and John pertaining to the life and words of Yeshua, there are 144 verses dedicated to Yeshua speaking about the kingdom of Elohim (or heaven). In fact, it was the fourth subject he talked most about (after himself, his Father and the hypocritical religionists of his day). In the four Gospels, there are 109 direct references to the kingdom of Elohim (or heaven).

This being so, why do we not hear much about this subject in churches? What is the kingdom of God/Elohim (or heaven)? What are the mysteries of the kingdom? Matthew 4:23 characterizes the message Yeshua preached as “the gospel (good news) of the kingdom.” Just prior to this (verse 17), we read that Yeshua preached saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Again, is this message preached in the church? If not, why not?


“Not Far” from the Kingdom Vs. “Not in” the Kingdom

Mark 12:34, You are not far from the kingdom. Yeshua makes this complimentary statement to the scribe who had correctly and succinctly summarized the message of the Torah (both its letter and spirit intent) in verses 32–33.

However, note that Yeshua didn’t say, “You are in the kingdom of Elohim (i.e., you have eternal life).”

What was the one thing that kept the scribe from being in the kingdom? It was doubtless the same thing that kept the rich young ruler from obtaining the eternal life that he sought (Matt 19:16). After having obeyed the Torah the best he could, the young ruler still needed to surrender all to Yeshua the Messiah, and to follow him unreservedly (Matt 19:18–22).

Not only is it difficult for humans to surrender all to the Master, and then to follow him wherever he leads, but having followed the Torah the best we can, we must still humbly recognize that without the righteousness of Yeshua in the equation, our best efforts at Torah-obedience will still miss the mark of YHVH Elohim’s acceptable standard of righteousness, thus leaving us maybe not far from the kingdom, but definitely not in the kingdom of Elohim.