You have heard it said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,’ in addition to this I say, don’t resist an unrighteous person...
Here Yeshua is repeating a well-known—and frequently used—Hebrew idiom; He is saying, “Be Holy because I the L-rd your G-d am Holy—sanctified, set apart, consecrated.” –Vayikra/Leviticus 19:2
This statement follows the numerous statements of Mattitiyahu/Matthew chapter five, which promote a fuller view of the Torah—it is important to note that this is not a new addition to the Torah, it is simply a revealing of it, Yeshua has said nothing new here, He is only asking that we have eyes to see what G-d has already put in place. Some of the statements read as follows:
“You have heard it said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,’ in addition to this I say, don’t resist an unrighteous person, if your brother slaps you on the cheek to insult you, you should allow him to continue to insult you, let him hit your other cheek as well.” (5:38-39)
“You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemies,’ but I say, love your enemies and pray for those who mistreat you—just as the Torah says, ‘Love thy neighbor’—so that you might become children of your Father in heaven” (5:43-45). In this last case Yeshua is correcting a miss teaching, after all the Torah does not say, “hate your enemies,” Yeshua is simply revealing the greater truth of the Torah; the fact that our enemies are our neighbors and that we are to Love our neighbor as ourselves.
Notice that He repeats the phrase “You have heard,” the emphasis is on the fact that they have listened to the teachings of the rabbonim, teachings which have concentrated only on the physical outworking of the Torah.
The sayings of Mattitiyahu/Matthew 5:38-47 are part of the “therefore” of verse 48. Understanding this in the light of a better modern English translation of the Greek word τέλειος teleios, which is usually translated, “perfect,” we are able to combine the ideas of completeness, labor and Holiness in the final verse of this chapter.
This helps us to understand the reality perpetuated by the whole of Scripture: that we are cleansed and are being (a process not a presumptuous inference) made Holy—set apart, perfect, complete.
“For by one sacrifice He has made complete—I believe the word perfect is a poor translation here, we are not perfect from our perspective in the present physical reality, but rather we are made perfect from the perspective of G-d, outside of time and space. G-d being without constraint—forever those who are being (a process, ongoing, and not finished) purified, consecrated made holy and sanctified.”
We must be clear in stating that G-d was, is and will be Holy/Perfect/Complete. We on the other hand were not, can be and—if we accept the reality of His Kingship over all things—will be complete in Messiah who was, is and will be Holy/Perfect/Laboring/Complete.
The conclusion is this, that having been made complete by G-d from His perspective through the blood of Messiah, we are now and continually being made Holy from our perspective, a refining process within time that will come to its fullness when time ceases and will bring us to the completion that G-d already sees in us (outside of chronology.)
Therefore, “Be Holy/Perfect/Laboring/Complete as your Father in Heaven is Holy/Perfect/Laboring/Complete.”
© Alastair Brown 2013