“Lift up your eyes to heaven and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.” (Is. 51:6; cp. also Ps. 102:25-27 as used in Heb. 1:10-12).It is a radical failure to appreciate this prophetic idiom which has led zealots like the Seventh Day Adventists into an insistence on a highly inconsistent observance of certain parts of the Law of Moses, whilst carefully excluding much else which it contains.
“... lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up. And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people” (ls.51:16; cp. Jer.31:35, 36). Hence also, the fine words of the apostle Peter:
“Nevertheless we, according ‘to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Pet.3:13).
The greatest in the kingdom is, of course, Jesus himself.The Lord rounded off this segment of his teaching with an open repudiation of the strict Judaism of his day: “Except your righteousness (the righteousness you teach or the righteousness you practise?) shall exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Clearly he spoke here of a future kingdom. No other meaning makes sense.
The greater is the one who, as a little child, humbly learns and obeys.
The great is he who both does and teaches true principles.
The least is he who unlooses the force of commandments, and teaches this.
And he is nothing who is a stark literalist missing the spirit of the commandment.
Think not. The aorist imperative implies: Don’t
for a moment think that... And “think” (nomizo) sounds like a
play on nomos. law. I am come. “The Coming One” (11:3)
was a well-recognized name for Messiah.
These least commandments. So some commandments are less
weighty than others; cp. 12:1-8; Jn. 7:22, 23. Least in thekingdom, and
yet in it! Cp. 1 Cor. 3:17. Do and teach. Note 23:3.
In no wise enter. Moses the lawgiver could in no wise
enter! Dt. 3:23-27.