The Pure in Heart, and how I found out that the Sermon on the Mount and the Old Testament are inseparable
Blessed are the Pure in Heart; for they shall see God. Matthew 5:8
Who can ascend the hill of the Lord? Who can stand in his holy place? He that has clean hands and a pure heart. Who does not lift his soul unto what is false, nor swears decietfully. Psalm 24:3-4
I have read these verses for close to two years with a goal of attaining this in my mind. It wasn’t until about 3-4 months ago that I recieved the revelation that these two verses are interconnected. It was through these two verses that the revelation dawned on me that the Beatitudes and the entire Sermon on the Mount all relate to the writings in the Old Testament. How do I know this? Simple, because that was what all Jesus had to go off of. There was no New Testament writings when John the Baptist or Jesus came around. Jesus said that the law and the prophets were until JOHN (Matthew 11:13). All John had to go off of was what the prophets of old were. Guys that lived 400 years before he was even born let alone began his ministry. That blank page between the Old and New Testaments represents 400 years of silence from God. No new revelation, no word from the Lord, no signs, wonders, or miracles. NOTHING! ZILCH, NADA! There was as much work of God on the earth as The Pirates that Don’t Do Anything(I love Veggietales)! Then comes this guy, namely a prophet who’s pulpit was a rock and his audience for most of his ministry was the locusts before he ate them. But the words that came out of his mouth were so powerful it was as if God himself was speaking them himself. It is written that John did no miracle. But, in my opinion he did something greater than Jesus did. He raised a spiritually dead nation! This is the guy that knew who Jesus was from the womb. He lept with joy in Elisabeth’s womb when Mary was with child. He knew who Jesus was by sight. Most people would say “Yeah of course he knew Jesus was, he was a prophet.” But there were prophets who didn’t know who he was, they knew he would come that way the Pharisees knew that he was coming. What was it about John that enabled him to identify the Son of the Living God by sight?
I listened to an Art Katz sermon the other day entitled “An Israelite in Whom There is No Guile” and it impacted me so much. It was a sermon on Nathaniel. The first encounter that He had with Jesus consisted of the words “Behold, an Israelite in whom there is no guile. It wasn’t a “Hi, I’m Jesus of Nazareth”, or a welcome handshake or a what’s up man how you doin, none of that. Jesus identified the fact that Nathaniel was guileless on the spot! It almost astounded him! Nathaniel was astounded himself, his response was classic. “How do you know me?” It wasn’t a prideful saying or saying “Well that’s obvious” that would have contradicted the observation that Jesus made of him. But he wondered how Jesus knew this about him. How did this guy whom I just met from Nazareth of all places know who I am? Jesus responded by saying that he saw Nathaniel in a place that was very special to him. It could have been the place where he was born or where he spent time with God (I believe it was the latter). But despite the significance of the fig tree, the result was the same. Rabbi, truly you are the Son of God. How was it that Nathaniel could discern something in a matter of seconds that the entire nation of Israel has yet to figure out in over two thousand years?
Art Katz goes on to say that the reason that Nathaniel and John were able to see God was because they were pure in heart. Because only the pure in heart will see God. I am convinced that the Beatitudes are not merely suggestions, they are the conditions of the Kingdom of God. Only the poor in spirit will inherit the kingdom of Heaven. Only those who mourn will be comforted. Only the merciful will recieve mercy. That’s the truth with every other commandment of God. He is the way the truth and the life. His way, his truth, and his life given to us by his death. When you’re pure in heart, there is no mixture, no contaminant, no dirt or muck to get in the way of your heart. You see God with your heart. That’s why we say to God, Open the eyes of my heart, I want to see you. We see God with the eyes of our hearts. When anything gets in the way of our hearts, it significantly diminishes the way we percieve and view God. It’s like watching TV and the difference between having a curtain over the TV as opposed to just a fly. The fly is small and insignificant, but it does not ruin the picture but it annoys the crap out of you until the fly is removed. The curtain only shows the light of the TV, you don’t see the picture at all. You see glimpses every now and then. That is similar to the veil that shadowed the Holy of Holies in the Temple. The veil was there for the sake of the people. They didn’t want to see God. But the priest can and Moses could.
A. W. Tozer says in the Pursuit of God. Day 10 in the 30 day readings discussed the Self Life Veil. We all have a veil of self that prevents us from seeing God for who he truly is. But, as we pursue God and we recieve more revelation, that veil is slowly being removed. The veil takes time to be removed. But as Psalm 24:3-4 says, Who can ascend….. Who can stand… you cannot begin the journey let alone finish without clean hands by the Blood of Jesus and a heart purified by the same. Makes me wonder why I accepted Jesus. Is he a means or is he an end. Are my hands clean? Is my heart pure? are questions I ask God everyday. I want to see God. That’s my heart’s desire. David had that revelation. He wrote Psalm 24. He was described as a man after God’s own heart. If any man was pure in heart he was. A pure heart is single, clean, clear and free of corruption. A pure heart seeks not his own nor does it promote itself.
Now that makes me wonder how much and how often I have promoted myself to people. The times I run my mouth thinking if I could say something cool, people would like me. The times I find out something awesome that People would think better of me. That’s guile, that’s impurity. I am seeing people and myself and God through a very dirty lens. How often have I tried to attract the opposite sex by my words, the way I dress, or my body language? That’s guile and deciet. That’s me trying to get what I want. I don’t want what I want anymore. I want God. Above all else, Give me Jesus.