|Dr. Couch, is the Sermon on the Mount for the church today?|
ANSWER: In interpreting the Bible we have some important steps. There is (1) OBSERVATION – What does it say? (2) INTERPRETATION – What does it mean?, and (3) APPLICATION – (a) What does it mean to those to whom it is written? And, (b) What does it mean to us?
There are tremendous spiritual principles in the Sermon that we can all appreciate and learn from but the Sermon is given first to the nation of Israel by her King, the Lord Jesus Christ. What does it mean to be brought before the Supreme Court and tried in 5:22? This is Jewish and it is the judgment of the Sanhedrin for those who defame others by calling them numb skull, brain damaged (RACA).
What does it mean to be cast into the fiery hell (Gehenna, the burning garbage dump outside of Jerusalem) in verse 5:22? This too is extremely Jewish. It is not "church"!
What does it mean in regard to bringing an offering to the altar in 5:24? What does it mean about not swearing by the city of Jerusalem which is "the city of the great King"? (5:35). What does it mean about "seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness"? (6:34). What does Jesus mean when He speaks about "the Law and the Prophets"? (7:12).
Now do you want to ask again if the first application of the Sermon on the Mount is for the church today? We can learn a lot from secondary application for us today but not from first application (which is for the Jews).
Thanks for asking,
Dr. Mal Couch (8/10)