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Volume 12 - Page 105 of 160 Index | Zoom | |
#4. The Sermon on the Mount.
What is its Place and Purpose?
pp. 162 - 164
What is the purpose of Matt. 5:-7:? A great variety of opinions exist as to the place
of the Sermon on the Mount in the revelation of truth. To speak broadly, the varying
views come under two heads:--
1. The Sermon on the Mount is the great outline of Christian practice
(Bloomfield), and applies to the church to-day.
2. The Sermon on the Mount does not apply to the church to-day, but
constitutes the laws of the kingdom which is yet to be set up on the earth.
Readers of The Berean Expositor will not require a detailed refutation of position #1,
while the majority will already have arrived at conclusion #2. It is our duty however to
reject both conclusions and to examine the theme independently. It will first be
necessary to go into the reasons for rejecting position #2, especially as this has been taken
up by many who have sought rightly to divide the Word of truth, and who are clear as to
the distinction between kingdom and church.
Let us look at the Sermon on the Mount and consider the claim upon our faith for the
conception that these verses constitute "the laws of the kingdom". The opening
beatitudes speak of "mourning" and being "persecuted for righteousness' sake". A
blessing is pronounced upon those who are "reviled", "persecuted", and "slandered"
falsely for the sake of Christ. We believe that the Scriptures testify that, when the
kingdom of prophecy is set up and Christ reigns as the Son of David:--
"In his days shall the righteous FLOURISH, and abundance of PEACE so long as the
moon endureth" (Psa. 72: 7).
The "needy" and the "poor" are to be his special care and:--
"They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat; for as
the days of a tree are the days of My people, and Mine elect shall long enjoy the work of
their hands . . . . . They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, saith the Lord"
(Isa. 65: 22-25).
One cannot but realize that a different atmosphere pervades the references of the O.T.
to the kingdom of the Messiah, than that of the Sermon on the Mount. The beatitudes of
verses 1-12 are not the only references to the persecuted and outside position of those
Under the conditions recognized by the Sermon on the Mount a man may be in danger
of gehenna or of prison and the payment of the uttermost farthing. Divorce is still
contemplated as a possibility, which we feel can find no warrant from O.T. prophecy of
the future kingdom. Again, the injunction to resist not evil, and being sued for one's
coat, or being compelled to go a mile, etc., bring before the mind a totally different