Active . Countless questions such as this can be answered better with more study on the precise nature of Christian persecution. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. He has served as a pastor in Kentucky and he a member of the Evangelical Theological and Philosophical Society and has served as a volunteer representative on the Voice of the Martyrs. Instead, they build on the statement, “for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you,” maintaining that the persecution is not related primarily to Christ, his kingdom, or his righteousness. PREVIOUS NEXT. How can Christ expect persecution to erupt against his followers on account of righteousness and, yet, also forbid them from displaying righteousness? Matthew 5:10, ESV: "“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Easton's Bible Dictionary Matthew 5:10. Matthew 5: Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. Instead, one might say there is a “re-emphasis” of the subject. for righteousness sake: All rights reserved. Peter offered no blessing for Christians who proved to be “troublesome meddlers.” But surely a great deal more attention is needed on this subject today, as laws are often passed which make either Christian belief or Christian “proselytizing” a criminal activity. Both terms, regnal and righteousness, are necessary and inseparable. In response, Jervis rightly notes that for the case to hold that persecution is paradigmatic of Israel and the prophets, then three conditions must obtain: (1) Jesus’ followers should be described as prophets; (2) Jesus’ followers should call Israel to repent; and (3) the rejection of the call to repent should be the reason for the persecution. Yet, as Jervis notes, “It is unclear … whether this logion means that Jesus’ hearers, when persecuted, are themselves prophets, or that in being rejected they share a fate similar to that of the faithful ones before them, namely, the prophets. With Deines, we affirm that Jesus-righteousness is the main issue. Second, the “on account of me” in verse 11 emphasizes that Christ is not to be considered separately from his authority. Posted on June 11, 2015 by dkoop. And probably every one of us asked, “Why is everyone always picking on me?” Good question. It is righteousness of a different kind altogether from Pharisaical righteousness. Analysis of Matthew 5:10 … As Jesus develops His message, He clearly teaches that such a life causes His people to be in direct contrast to the world in which they live. Matthew 18:1-5, 10 The Word of God . Christ’s followers are referred to as “disciples” (5:1); as “the salt of the earth” (5:13); and as “the light of the world” (5:14), but never are they called prophets. Along with more study of the biblical, theological theme of persecution, Christians need to work quickly and diligently to fulfill Lausanne’s original cry for help. All who desire to live godly will be persecuted (2 Timothy 2:8-10). 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,. The promise of persecution does not rest so much with the certainty of faithful disciples as it rests with the certainty of Christ abiding with his followers (18:20; 25:31-46; 28:20). Kingdom of God (Matt 6:33; Mark 1:14, 15 Luke 4:43) = "kingdom of Christ" (Matt 13:41; 20:21) = "kingdom of Chri... Persecution The first great persecution for religious opinion of which we have any record was that which brok... To Get the Full List of Definitions: Sign Up or Login. Stassen and Gushee chronicle the history of Christianity in this negative regard,17 tracing the phenomenon back to Justin Martyr’s bifurcated view of Matthew 22:17-21, from which Justin argued before Emperor Antoninus Pius that worship was due to God but service due to Caesar, who was the king and ruler of men.18 By now, the preceding engagement with Matthew 5:10-12 should have dispelled any notion of dualism in the matter of being persecuted on account of Christ. From Christ to Stephen to the Apostles, the early church fathers, the Reformers, or the Baptists in “the new world,” Christians have always been at the root of controversy and have repeatedly re-learned the lesson Paul and Barnabas taught Christ’s followers at Lystra: “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”6. Matthew 5:10-12 says, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness? Thus, a substantial analysis of that passage is necessary for any who would wish to understand more fully the dynamic of Christian persecution. Is this not right from the beginning of the Gospel at least an indirect hint as to how Matthew understood the Torah and the Messiah’s main task?”25 According to Deines, Matthew fleshes out the need for forgiveness and demonstrates that the forgiveness is not to come from the Torah but from Christ. In this way, those persecuted can be said to be persecuted either for righteousness’ sake or on account of Christ. Christ commands allegiance to God. More advocacy needs to take place on behalf of the persecuted bride of Christ. Along this line of inquisition, the reader may notice, too, that Przybylski does not explain the shift from third person to second person in Matthew 5:11. More study is needed to define precisely what constitutes Christian persecution. Matthew 5:10 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓] Matthew 5:10, NIV: "Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Formally, Matthew 5:10-12 may contain a ninth Beatitude.9 Notice that within this passage, there is a change of address. Scaer points out that if the disciples are expected to meet certain demands of righteousness quantitatively in 5:20, then “their new allegiance required stricter moral observance than the Pharisee-dominated synagogues. Maybe we needed to be brought down a notch or two. Matthew 5:10. THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT Matthew's is a teaching Gospel. In this view, righteousness in Matthew is framed not so much by the literature of the Old Testament—and certainly not by post-Reformation, Pauline interpretations of the term; rather, the framework for righteousness is found in the inter-testamental Dead Sea Scrolls and Tannaitic literature, which reflect significant development from the Old Testament. Therefore, any definition of Christian persecution derived from Christ’s instruction in the Sermon on the Mount will need to take account of the reigning righteousness of Christ. Epiphany marks the first manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles. ii. But, in Matthew 5:11, Jesus changes to the second person: Blessed are you when…. The Beatitudes - He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 3. Even common practice today affirms the reality of such a teaching context. Persecution is a continuous stream coursing through the history of Christianity and the reason is plain: Jesus Christ has established his kingdom, vindicating the righteousness of God. If Q 6:23 is read as comparing but not equating Jesus’ followers with the prophets its value as evidence for a Deuteronomistic interpretation of persecution is somewhat limited.”60. Matthew 5:10-12 NIV. Recall the structure of the Beatitudes. Deines, “Not the Law but the Messiah,” 80. Discipleship begins with teaching would-be followers to obey everything Jesus taught (Matt 28:20). Matthew 10:2 "Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James [the son] of Zebedee, and John his brother;" “Names of the twelve apostles”: The 12 are always listed in a similar order (Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:13; Acts 1:13). Matthew 5:10-12. Either way, the text could, in fact, be saying that in the instance of persecution the followers of Christ are acknowledged to be in some way akin to the prophets. Wesley's Notes for Matthew 5:10. So, Przybylski argues that there are distinct ways the gospel of Matthew demonstrates this development, a development which ends up leading to what he describes as the provisional function of righteousness in Matthew. Przybylski’s point in arguing from these contextual clues is that they are indicators of the anachronistic nature of dikaiosunē, the term being one which Matthew viewed no longer apropos for disciples. Understanding precisely what is meant by the varying uses of “on account of” is important. And discipleship includes the promise that the king will never pass away. The apostles were instructed to avoid these towns and to … On the occasion of his arrest, he simply held a sign which stated his belief that homosexuality is a sin and called the readers of the sign to turn to Jesus. Christ is surely referred to as a prophet throughout the gospel of Matthew (13:53-58; 14:5; 16:14; 21:11; 21:46).61 Nevertheless, as Repschinski has said, “The confession of Peter (16:16) makes it clear that the crowd’s appraisal of Jesus as prophet is inadequate.”62 Though one may rightly argue in a minimalist sense that Christ is pictured as a prophet throughout Matthew, he would have to agree that Christ is also pictured as something more than a prophet. Further study of Christian persecution is needed both from a biblical/theological perspective and from an ethical/applied theology vantage point. Both disciples and non-disciples may be addressed in the Sermon on the Mount, but the disciples are specifically instructed in how that righteousness relates to their persecution. Blessed are they which are persecuted. 2011. When understood correctly, the warning in 6:1 supports all that has been said thus far. Only within certain contexts does it take on the sense of oppression, ill treatment, … Acts 14:22, NASB. 11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. This king (and kingdom) has come “in the salvation through judgment accomplished by the messiah for the glory of God.”10. This shows that Jesus expected that their righteous lives would be lived after His example, and in honor to Him. If so, then the persecution for the sake of righteousness is persecution on account of Jesus—on account of his kingdom and his righteousness. Read more Share Copy The persecuted will be those who because of Christ have an appetite and thirst for the righteousness of God. According to Przybylski, righteousness was a borrowed Jewish term which could be employed by Matthew until the fuller realization of discipleship might take root and be employed by Christ’s followers. First, as for whether the sayings indicate that the followers of Christ are to be considered prophets, Jervis notes that most often the word prophet does not refer to a follower of Christ; that, when it does, it does not indicate that the followers of Christ are themselves to be considered prophets in the Old Testament sense of the word; and, finally, that the prophets are distinguished from the followers of Christ in several Q sayings (Q 10:24; 11:47; and 16:16 for example). Further Defense of The Regnal Righteousness Dynamic. Verses 5-10: “The way of the Gentiles:” Several Greek cities in Galilee existed separately from the Jewish Life-style. There is no certain Old Testament reference to this prophecy, although some have suggested a reference to the Hebrew nezer, thus indicating a reference to Isa 11:1. This essay explores biblically the dynamic of Christian persecution. To answer your question, let's look at the full context of Jesus words in Matthew 5: Matt. This warning of 5:11 must be addressed to disciples—disciples to whom he speaks much about righteousness. Warren Carter, “Matthean Christology in Roman Imperial Key: Matthew 1:1,” in. Matthew 8:10, 13; 9:2, 22, 28-29; 15:28; 17:20; 21:21-22, 32. Paul tell us in 2 Timothy 3:12 that “indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Commentary on Matthew 5:10, blessed are the persecuted. Again, not all scholars agree that this regnal framework is what is being taught in Matthew. Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake - Because ye are attached to me, and saved from the corruption that is in the world; therefore the world will hate you. G3772 Such questioning of the prominence of righteousness is particularly apropos in this instance, given the general consensus that Matthew uses righteousness in a radically different way from Paul and other New Testament writers. There are two groups of four, and each group ends with a reference to righteousness. "The laws of Christ condemn a vicious world, and gall it to revenge." Such a brief consideration of the immense debate surrounding the Pauline doctrine of justification is obviously insufficient in terms of moving that particular debate forward. On the other hand, the persecution that arises against Christ’s followers proves to have its origins of offense in the presence of the authoritative Christ himself. Abel is not known as a prophet but as the first righteous man killed (the first martyr for righteousness’ sake). He that is truly a righteous man, he that mourns, and he that is pure in heart, yea, all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution, #2Tim 3:12|. More study and more action is needed on behalf of the global body of Christ which suffers daily. Christian Persecution as Explained by Jesus (Matthew 5:10-12), http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/tertullian01.html. The Pew Center, Pew Research Religion and Public Life Project, “Religious Hostilities Reach Six-Year High,” January 2014. Yet this is no new example. Matthew 5:10 "Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." The authority possessed by Christ is regnal authority. First, and most noticeably, the use of the personal pronoun emou links the persecution of the kingdom people (v 10) directly to a personal source. Christ was despised, rejected, condemned, and executed by sinful men when he took on flesh and made his claim to be king. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant,[ a] ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel[ b] have I found such faith. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Tertullian, Augustine, and Calvin each recognized in their own ways that there was inherent friction between God and lesser authorities who contend against him. They find our primary text (Matt 5:10) “particularly weighty” in maintaining a non-Pauline posture with regard to righteousness, saying, “Righteousness cannot, in this verse, have anything to do with divine vindication, nor can it mean justification or be God’s gift. Ton’s thesis is burdened by questions of how the faithfulness of the suffering disciples proves worth or value in the kingdom. While it is likely the case that Christ’s original audience may not have understood all the implications of his claims to kingship, it is also true that the original recipients of Matthew’s gospel had the notion of the kingship authority of Christ spelled out for them from the beginning of the gospel to its post-resurrection end. In Tertullian’s day, Christians were beaten, tortured, and killed by local rulers under the authority of the emperor, Septimius Severus. Gregory C. Cochran is the Director of the Bachelor of Applied Theology program at California Baptist University, where he also teaches courses in applied theology and pastoral ministry. 12 i Rejoice and be glad , for your reward is great in heaven , for j so they persecuted the prophets who were before you . Matthew 5:20 is the twentieth verse of the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament and is part of the Sermon on the Mount. Hence, it is recognizable behavior of some sort.”38 Even Donald Hagner, who takes issue with Przybylski on at least three of the seven interpretations of the noun dikaiosunē in Matthew, argues for an ethical understanding of righteousness in 5:10, believing that the ethical righteousness of the persecuted is the issue, though he acknowledges that the “righteousness is associated with relationship to Jesus.”39 However, what is clear from the study of persecution thus far is that this relationship to Jesus is not a side note to the main issue of ethical righteousness. This triumvirate of Christian terminology explains what will be referred to as the regnal-righteousness dynamic of Christian persecution. Blessed are the Persecuted (Matthew 5:10-12) Translation & Sermon by Nate Wilson for Christ the Redeemer Church, Manhattan, KS, 03 Apr. for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Actions in obedience to the regnal Christ become a threat to other dominions and powers aligned against the righteous, reigning Christ. Roland Deines makes this assertion and says that this re-emphasis of righteousness hearkens back to the claim that Jesus is coming to save his people from their sins (1:21).24 Agreeing with Carter that the name Jesus is to be connected to Joshua, Deines insists that Matthew is re-emphasizing righteousness in light of the coming of the Messiah: “The name is programmatic, and the question is to be raised: Why do the people of Israel need a ‘new’ forgiveness for their sins? The rendering for the sake of in verse ten is the outward expression (the fruit) of pursuing—or putting on display—righteousness through obedience to Christ. How do you reconcile this seeming contradiction? Otherwise, “If ‘the blessed’ are persecuted for their righteousness (5:10), then quite logically the Pharisees, or at least those who strictly adhere to the rules of moral conduct, also would qualify for persecution.”57 Instead, the Pharisees act as persecutors instead of persecuted. Matthew 5:10 ← 5:9. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. In verse eleven, the because of refers to the origin or the root cause of persecution; namely, the authoritative Christ. Matthew 5:10-12, then, is the first place in the New Testament which offers an explanation of why followers of Christ will suffer persecution. After the arrival of Christ preaching the kingdom of heaven, those yielding to the authority claims of Christ would suffer persecution as their actions demonstrate both his authority over them and his loyalty to them. While Przbylyski notes that Matthew’s gospel employs dikaiosunē only seven times, he downplays the rather significant fact that Matthew’s gospel employs the adjectival form dikaios seventeen times,22 which is more often than any other New Testament book, a fact that leads Seebass to conclude to the contrary that the “doctrine of righteousness is central to [Matthew’s] message.”23 It does not seem appropriate to say there is a de-emphasis of righteousness in Matthew. Christ’s presence—regnal and righteous—will continue to offend individuals and authorities, thus ensuring the continued persecution of his followers. 6:33).”46 Biblically, this nexus would obviate the need to disconnect the Pauline doctrine of Justification from that found in Matthew. He is telling them that this persecution will be happening “to you.” Jesus turns the conversation from general realities to specific application for the you all who are being addressed. The significance of maintaining the ultimacy of an authoritative Christ can be demonstrated by the manner in which some Christians have sought (unlike Augustine or Calvin) to accommodate to hostile cultures around them by adopting a dualistic interpretation of authority, viewing Christ as the authority over the spiritual realm (salvation) and “Caesar” the authority over the temporal (service). Every one of us experienced the school bully sometime in our school days. Thus, the persecution against them is against him and, ultimately, against the righteousness of God. Sermon on the Mount Click chart to enlarge Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission Another Chart from Charles Swindoll. Jervis is presenting the position of Arland Jacobson, “The Literary Unity of Q,”. The world despised and rejected Jesus when he first walked the earth, and the world (as the Lausanne Conference notes) remains hostile to him still. 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