Beating the (Thorny) Bushes

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In recording Jesus’ warnings about “false prophets” (probably fake disciples), Matthew contrasts akantha (thorn bushes) with staphyle (grapes), and tribolos (thistle) with sykon (figs) (Matt 7:16); whereas, Luke contrasts akantha (thorn bushes) with sykon (figs), and batos (bramble bush) with staphyle (grapes) (Matt 6:44)…. (Matt 7:16, NKJ)…. — wp:paragraph –>

For the same two reasons, “thistles” seems out of place in the translation of Matthew 7:16.

Jesus and the Enigmatic “Green Tree”

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The above image, courtesy of Gary Asperschlager, shows olive trees growing near the Church of All Nations on the Mount of Olives. Revised: 19-Apr-13How did a Jew in Jesus’ time announce that he was the Messiah? One accomplished this by applying to himself words or phrases from Scripture that were interpreted by members of his community to be references to the coming Messiah. Being interpretations rather than direct references, such messianic allusions are extremely subtle, and easily missed by modern readers of ancient Jewish literature. Claimants certainly did not reveal themselves by simply declaring, “I am the Messiah,”Even today a Jew who believes he is the Messiah never says, “I am the Messiah,” but rather, a messianic pretender refers to himself using words or phrases from scripture texts that have been interpreted messianically.

Jesus’ Reference to Folklore and Historical Events

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This cultural interplay is clearly depicted in Jesus’ references to commonly known fables of his day in Matthew 7:15, Luke 4:23, Luke 7:24 (cf. … As Jesus taught in the same vein as other Jewish rabbis in the first century, he used this technique and illustrated his knowledge of folklore in the four following passages: Matt. 7:15, Luke 4:23, Luke 7:24 (cf.

The Origin of the Gospels

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Front cover of the issue of The Church Quarterly Review in which Lockton’s groundbreaking article, “The Origin of the Gospels” appeared. The July issue of The Church Quarterly Review in 1922 contained an article by William Lockton in which the author challenged the scholarly consensus concerning the solution to the Synoptic Problem. This important study, which is now in the public domain, was later to be of great importance to Rev. Dr. Robert L.

The “How Much More” Rabbinic Principle of Interpretation in the Teaching of Jesus

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Matt. 7:11 (= Luke 11:13); Matt. 10:25; Luke 12:28 (= Matt. 6:30); and Luke 23:31…. (Matt. 7:9-11)

There is another passage in which Jesus employs simple-to-complex logic to prove God’s reliable care for his children.

The Kingdom of God: God’s Power Among Believers

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Jesus spoke of the Kingdom with the same understanding in Matthew 7:21: “Not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord’ to me will come into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” … When Matthew 7:21 is translated back into Hebrew, one recognizes its proverbial form in which there is no real future tense.

Fish, Storms and a Boat

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Jesus, however, had a personal acquaintance with the life of Galilean fishermen, as can be seen from Matthew 7:9-10: “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?

“It Is Said to the Elders”: On the Interpretation of the So-called Antitheses in the Sermon on the Mount

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This impression is confirmed when we read, at the conclusion of the sermon, that Jesus “taught them as one having authority and unlike their scribes” (Matt. 7:29).

Let the One Who Has Ears to Hear, “Hear!”

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While adaptation of existing parables is common in Rabbinic Judaism, Christian students are surprised to observe how closely Jesus’ parable of The House Built upon the Rock (Matt. 7:24-27; Luke 6:47-49) resembles an ancient similitude in Avot de-Rabbi Natan (Version A, chap. 24; Goldin, p. 103).