Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, 2 “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”
3 He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, ‘Honour your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ 5 But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— 6 then he need not honour his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. 7 Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:
8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
And honour Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
9 And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”
10 When He had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”Matthew 15.1-11
Okay, so let’s move on. Jesus calls the Pharisees on this occasion. ‘Hypocrites’ and he quotes Isaiah chapter 29 which is an interesting passage.
In his book, Nehemiah Gordon says that this passage in Isaiah 29 is one of the key passages which the Karaite Jews use to say that you should not keep the Talmud, you don’t have to keep the oral law, you should keep the written Law of God. He also says that Jesus was a proto-Karaite (in his words).
But let us read what it says,
9 Pause and wonder!
Blind yourselves and be blind!
They are drunk, but not with wine;
They stagger, but not with intoxicating drink.
10 For the Lord has poured out on you
The spirit of deep sleep,
And has closed your eyes, namely, the prophets;
And He has covered your heads, namely, the seers.
11 The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate, saying, “Read this, please.”
And he says, “I cannot, for it is sealed.”
12 Then the book is delivered to one who is illiterate, saying, “Read this, please.”
And he says, “I am not literate.”
13 Therefore the Lord said:
“Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouthsIsaiah 29.9-14
And honour Me with their lips,
But have removed their hearts far from Me,
And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,
14 Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvellous work
Among this people,
A marvellous work and a wonder;
For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.”
This is the passage Jesus is quoting in Matthew chapter 15.
It is a very interesting passage. It says that there is a time coming, according to the prophet, when the prophetic word is going to be sealed. That is, it is not going to be understood. In other words, there are things in this Bible which will be hidden from people.
That is what happened. It has happened in Judaism, and it is also happening in Christianity. You can see that, over the centuries, the Word of God was sealed, particularly by the Roman Catholic Church in which they banned people to even read It. And so, the people who were literate, in other words, the trained clergy, they could read It, but did not understand It. And the people who were illiterate couldn’t even read It.
You have something pretty similar in modern Judaism. Basically, the rabbi learns the scriptures and he supposed to teach them to the people, but he does not teach so much from the Word of God; and the prophetic part is often very much hidden, especially, the prophecies about the Messiah fulfilled in Yeshua. But also the prophecies concerning the return of the Messiah.
I would say that, in the church also, the prophecies concerning the return of the Messiah are also being sealed and not taught in the majority of the church that is.
So you have the situation where the Word of God becomes sealed and people cannot read It, people don’t read It.
The way to unseal It is to read It, and to let the Holy Spirit guide you into what It says.
Therefore, we, as believers in the Messiah, are very blessed because we have the whole Bible which we can read, and because we have the Holy Spirit who can interpret It to us.
So, make sure you do read It. And, if you read It, then you know what God says and you will not be led by what men say.
The whole problem with religion is that men come along and they add their own traditions, their ideas and they impose them upon the people. And so, the Word of God becomes hidden and people do not obey the Word of God, they obey instead the traditions of men. That is the whole problem of the religion. It applies to Christianity, it applies to Islam, it applies to Judaism, it applies to all religions.
The answer to it is to come away from religion into the truth in Jesus the Messiah. And God promises that, at the end of days, He is going to send an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and open people’s eyes to the truth of the Bible and the truth of the scriptures in the last days.
Therefore, pray that God will open the eyes of people in these last days, to see what the Bible says not what men say. And that applies very much to Christianity.
A lot of what you hear, especially from the Bishops of the Church of England, is not what the scripture is telling you. In fact, it is often the opposite. This ends up with the Book becoming a sealed book which you cannot understand and which the people are not familiar with.
Your eyes can only be opened by coming to Yeshua in a personal way.
On to the second question: ‘What’s the real problem of humanity, and what’s the answer to it?’
In one of the passages we just read it says,
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”Matthew 15.18-20
The problem which we are facing is within us. It is the ‘sin nature’. It is the result of the fall of Genesis chapter 3. It is the result of the influence of the devil who is a real being, who goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
And to put into people’s minds all kinds of evil thoughts which would cause them to do evil things. That is the problem of the human race.
And this problem cannot be solved by putting people in a better environment, or by giving them a better education which is what they’re trying to tell you.
We live in a secular society today and, in our secular society, they are trying to tell you that if you can educate people, if you put them in a better society, a better environment, then, they’re going to be better off and they’re going to be able to overcome this problem which is within us.
Bad behaviour is a result of a bad environment, bad influences. Put people in the right environment, give them the right influences, and they are going to behave rightly because, basically, ‘your heart is good‘.
So, you should ‘follow your heart’. Is that true? Well, I guess I got one of the best educations you could have. I went to public school, I went to Cambridge, got a good degree. Came out of Cambridge very confused, having met most of the best minds of my generation, but also some of the most foolish people I’d ever met. And I was one of them, and I knew a whole lot of stuff but I didn’t know what right and wrong was.
I didn’t know what God had to say to me until a year later when I prayed in my room in West Hampstead and asked God to forgive my sins and come into my life through Yeshua. And He put the light on and I became a born-again Christian, and my whole way of thinking changed.
Now, I’m not saying you don’t educate people. You do educate them with good stuff, not with some of the rubbish that you get in schools and universities today. But and I am not saying don’t put people in a good environment. We should strive to do that. But those things are not going to solve the problem within us, because the problem within us is the problem which is described by Jesus here, the problem which is within the heart, which defiles a man.