Class Notes: 11/6/2013

Mark 7:9-23; Jesus illustrates how the Pharisees' oral traditions violate God's word

In our study of Mark last time we left off in Mark 7:9; where Jesus turns the Pharisee's criticism about His disciples failure to observe the oral tradition regarding washing their hands back on them by using another oral tradition to completely refute the validity of the entire oral tradition that was contained in the Mishna and the Talmud.

He completely ignores their question and turns the attention to another one of their oral traditions that violates the actual command of God that is found in the Torah.

Mark 7:10; The fifth commandment that is part of the Law is found in Exod 20:12; has to do with the family. We know it as the third law of divine establishment.

On the positive side it states a major principle that children will have a long life on the earth if they obey it. The word "honor" refers to the mandate for children to obey the mother and father as God's delegated authority in the home.

The Greek word "timao" that is translated "honor" does not only mean to obey, but it also means to honor on the basis of respect for authority rather than on the basis of personal love. For those under authority obedience is the issue not personal love.


The Greek word "lego" that is translated "said " is in the aorist tense. The aorist tense means that this is a once and for all principle for every generation.

This means that the commandment includes divine discipline for anyone, believer or unbeliever, who chronically rejects parental authority in the home and states that those who do reject parental authority are on a path that leads to death and if they persist they are going to die young.

The phrase "must be put to death" Net note 15 is very difficult but there is no way to get around it, it is tough and it is meant to be that way because the only thing that holds a nation together is divine institution number three, the family.

Stability in the family leads to stability in the nation, and as go the families of the nation so goes the nation itself. Instability in family inevitably results in an unstable nation. This is a large part of the problem we have in our nation today. This is clearly seen in the gang violence in Chicago.

This commandment is primarily focused on childhood but it also addresses one's responsibilities in adulthood and this is in the Word of God not the Mishna or the Talmud so this is a command from God not a mere tradition of old men.

Mark 7:11; Net note 16 "You say" is tradition, and we now have another part of the Mishna. Corbon was a tradition that was connected with giving. It was a gimmick that the scribes and Pharisees had invented to increase their future receipts.

Apparently the synagogues were having trouble raising enough money so they came up with "corbon". Jesus is going to show them how their tradition of corbon disobeys God's mandate in the fifth commandment.

Corbon is the Greek word that is transliterated from a Hebrew word "charav", it is a word for sacrifice, or to make something a sacrifice. The word refers to a sacrifice or a gift that was brought to the altar.

The word is used for the Levitical sacrifices in Leviticus 1,2, and 3 and it was taken out of context by the scribes and Pharisees and given a broader meaning.

They decided that when they wanted to raise money a way to do it was to get a person to bequeath his money to the synagogue or to the temple and in order to do that you had to pronounce all of your estate "corbon".

Once you said your estate was legally "corbon" it meant that it would go to the temple when you die, but in the meantime you can use it, you can spend it, and you do not have to pay taxes on it. So it was a way to avoiding taxation and the need for giving. That was the way it was used so Jesus uses it as an illustration of the evil of the oral tradition.

Mark 7:12; The problem arouse when an adult child's parents become destitute and they ask for help in the form of money. The child who is now an adult says: "I am sorry, I can't give you any of my money because my estate is corbon."

Therefore the donor can go on spending the money in any way he wants to but he doesn't have to give his parents anything because everything he has legally belongs to the temple, it is "corbon".

This was a gimmick that they used to avoid taxes that also resulted in their refusal to help their parents and of course the temple, the synagogue and the scribes and Pharisees as the rulers of the temple and the synagogue benefited.

Mark 7:13; Net note 17 So their tradition of " corbon" nullified and therefore violated the fifth commandment. Jesus points out that their traditions nullified and violated God's word because they used them to absolve themselves of the requirements mandated in the fifth commandment.

This means that rather than criticizing His disciples for not washing their hands before meals they should be reexamining all of their oral traditions. They claimed tradition was salvation and spirituality when in reality tradition was in violation of salvation and spirituality.

Legalism and religion always attack doctrine and legalism always makes the grace of God null and void. Even the smallest amount of legalism destroys the grace of God.

Mark 7:14-15; Net note 18 He then parlays his refutation of the Pharisees oral traditions into a general teaching about what the true issue is.

Jesus says to the crowd, listen and understand." Notice that first the scribes and the Pharisees approach and then Jesus uses the opportunity to call in all the people so they can hear His repudiation of the oral tradition.

He wants everyone to get in on this; He wants them to understand what religion really is and He wants to warn them about it.

"It is not that what goes into the mouth defiles a person" This takes us right back to the tradition of washing of hands. The disciples didn't wash their hands, and this means that their food was possibly defiled, especially if they handled their food with their fingers as they usually did.

So they eat something that at most may cause them some physical discomfort; "but what comes out of the mouth is what defies the person." In other words, it isn't what you eat that is going to ruin your relationship with God, it is what you say, and what you say is what you think.

Words are formed in the mind, so speaking is a product of the thinking. So if you are thinking envy and jealousy then you are going to malign and gossip; and if you are thinking hostility and implacability then you are going to be accusing others.

When something is said it represents the thinking. The principle is that it is the old sin nature, not sanitation that is the issue in defilement. If the old sin nature controls the thinking then the person is defiled because of his thoughts of covetousness, hatred, envy, hostility, pride, jealousy, legalism, etc

Religion and legalism always put the emphasis on what people do not what they think so religion does not help it just whitewashes over the problem and obfuscates it.

It makes things worse because it deceives people because they think they are ok with God when they are not. God's people are to be led by His Word not legalistic ritualistic rote religion.

Mark 7:16; is not in the oldest Greek manuscripts so it is left out in the modern translations. Net note 19

At this point the parallel passage in Matthew provides some additional information regarding this confrontation so we will pick up a couple of verses there to get a more complete understanding of what happened.

Matt 15:12; This verse is a parenthesis in the action that implies that even the disciples were upset with Jesus because he offended the Pharisees. People who will not accept doctrine are offended by doctrine. Religion rejects doctrine so religion fights doctrine. Legalism and religion try to obscure and obstruct Bible doctrine

Even Jesus' disciples have been compromised by religion That is why they have hardness of heart. The disciples are more concerned with the fact that the Pharisees are offended than they are with learning what Jesus is teaching.

The disciples were not impressed with doctrine. The disciples were impressed with the criticism of the Pharisees. People are in trouble when they care about what those who criticize Bible doctrine think because that means they care more about what satan thinks than what God thinks.

Matt 15:13; Religion is not a part of God's plan The plant that the heavenly Father plants is any person who believes in Jesus Christ. Regeneration is the planting. It is in the aorist tense, indicating that it is a once and for all planting.

If you are not planted by the heavenly Father through regeneration and salvation then you are going to be rooted up. Rooted up is a future passive indicative, the future tense is logical.

It makes perfect logical sense that if a person is not born again they are going to be rooted up at the last judgment. The passive voice indicates the last judgment; unbelievers are going to receive judgment even though they don't want it. The indicative mood is the reality of the last judgment for the unregenerate.

There is another side of this that is not stated here. Jesus only states one side of the doctrine. He says "every plant (a reference to members of the human race) that my heavenly Father has not planted (unbelievers]) shall be rooted up (at the last judgment)."

The other side of this is, anything the Father plants cannot be rooted up (eternal security). The scribes and the Pharisees have rejected Jesus Christ, Bible doctrine, the plan of God, and salvation so they will be rooted up.

Matt 15:14; Jesus tells His disciples to stay away from legalistic people, and that even includes born again believers who are critical because they oppose doctrine. Phase them out of your life, get away from them and stay away from them.

The Pharisees and scribes influence isn't helping the disciples. The disciples are taking the Pharisees' side against Jesus, and therefore against God and Bible doctrine. They are not listening to Jesus they are listening to the criticism of the Pharisees who are the blind leaders of the blind.

In this case Jesus disciples are the blind because they are listening to the scribes and the Pharisees not to Jesus.

"And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." The rooting up is the principle of eternal judgment but falling into the ditch means failing in life. A believer who gets tangled up with religion or legalism is going to spend the Christian life, in the ditch, because they are being led by the lies of religious leaders rather than by the truth of Bible doctrine.

Matt 15:15; Mark 7:17; The parallel passages merge here. Peter and the other disciples are a little uncomfortable right now because they realize that the Lord is talking about them. The blind Pharisees are leading Peter and the other disciples. They understand the narrative but they don't quite understand the doctrine.

Mark 7:18-19; The sins of the tongue are emphasized because the sins of the tongue express the sins within, the mental attitude sins.

The concluding sentence of verse 19 is an editorial comment by Mark, Net note 23 emphasizing the significance of Jesus' statement for his Christian readers in Rome some of whom were confused about Jewish dietary laws.

He clearly and unequivocally points out that Jesus declared all foods "clean" for Christians. The early church was slow to grasp this truth and there are even some believers today who still don't get it.

Mark 7:20-23; Jesus repeats and amplifies to His disciples the truth that what comes out of a person is what defiles him. The general term translated "evil ideas" or "evil thoughts" NASB precedes the verb in the Greek text and is viewed as the root of various evils that he uses to illustrate his point.

Evil thoughts generated in the thinking unite with the volition to produce evil words and actions. There are six plural nouns used to describe these evil deeds:

sexual immorality (porneiai, "illicit sexual activities of various kinds");
theft (klopai); murder (phonoi); adultery (moicheiai, illicit sexual relations by a married person);greed or coveting (pleonexiai, "covetings"), insatiable cravings for what belongs to another; malice (poneriai, "wickedness"), the many ways that evil thoughts are expressed.

Then there are six singular nouns depicting evil dispositions: deceit (dolos), cunning maneuvers designed to ensnare someone for one's personal advantage; lewdness (aselgeia; unrestrained and unconcealed immoral behavior; envy (opthalmos poneros, that literally means "an evil eye," a begrudging, jealous envious attitude toward the possessions of others;

Slander (blasphemia), injurious or defaming speech against God or man; arrogance (hyperephania, a word that is only used here in the NT), boastfully exalting oneself above others who are viewed with scornful contempt; and folly (aphrosyne), moral and spiritual insensitivity.

All these evils defile a person from the inside, from one's thinking. So Jesus takes the focus away from the performance of external rituals and places it on the reality of the need for God to purify the evil heart.

The principle He was teaching was that it is the old sin nature, not sanitation, that is the issue in life. Our relationship with God as believers is what we do about the old sin nature, rebound, rather than washing our hands. In other words, it is better to be inwardly clean than to have clean hands.

The Pharisees had very clean hands but dirty minds. Jesus is saying that it is better to have a clean mind and dirty hands than to have clean hands and a dirty mind.

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