The Sermon on the Mount
Love of one’s neighbor in the New Testament
(Texts in a black frame are quotations from visitors to this site or from other
In any case Christianity is hardly Sarrazin’s strong point.
Thus he states quite seriously, Jesus’s injunction to ‘Love your neighbor
as yourself’ does not of course extend to embrace the whole of humanity,
but refers just to a person’s immediate circle. Love of one’s neighbor
could never have been put into practice in any other way…" If Sarrazin had
taken the trouble to check this quotation against the Bible, he would have
noticed that it does not come from the New Testament but is actually found
in the book of Leviticus (19,18), and that Jesus, when referring to it in
the Sermon on the Mount (a not insignificant text for the evolution of
European culture) explicitly extends it to include love of one’s enemies –
which Sarrazin would presumably see as a completely illogical and
unrealistic expectation. But then he has a problem with religions in
general, at any rate with monotheistic ones. Many of the things for which
he reproaches Islam could equally well be leveled as a charge against
Judaism and Christianity. And so it is only consistent if he would like to
abolish the special prerogatives of the churches. But is it really
necessary, for that reason, to make a point of putting terms like
"religious freedom" or "equal treatment" in quotation marks, as if these
were laughable fluffy constructs rather than essential elements of those
very human rights that he wishes to defend against Islam?
A number of reviews have already appeared of this new book by
Thilo Sarrazin, but Johanna Pink’s commentary from Die Zeit Online, quoted
above, also takes issue with the biblical authenticity of Sarrazin’s assertions.
And here, as a person who knows the Bible, one can only be repeatedly astonished
– in reading either Sarrazin or Pink – to find how inaccurately biblical
statements are bandied about by worldly literati, and on what flimsy
Particularly when it comes to this parable on love of one’s neighbor, the faulty interpretation of which has been deliberately circulated by the Catholic church for centuries. When faced with the story of the good Samaritan, every Tom, Dick and Harry goes off into unctuous effusions, rather than taking the trouble to examine the actual meaning of this biblical text – both in the Old and in the New Testament.
Let’s take a look right away at Johanna Pink’s above arguments in relation to Sarrazin’s utterances on this theme. She criticizes Sarrazin for writing
"Jesus’ injunction to ‘Love your neighbor as
yourself’ does not of course extend to embrace the whole of humanity, but refers
just to a person’s immediate circle. Love of one’s neighbor could never have
been put into practice in any other way…"
and then claims, with a reference to the origin of this text in
Lev 19,18, to demonstrate that the meaning of biblical love of one’s neighbor
cannot just extend to "a person’s immediate circle", as Sarrazin thinks, but
rather should be applied – as she clearly believes herself – to the whole of
humanity. So from Johanna Pink’s point of view, every human being should love
every other human being as himself or herself.
Leaving aside the fact that the true interpretation of this statement by Jesus in the New Testament has been evidently stood on its head (we will go into this in more detail below), even her reference to the quotation from the Old Testament leaves the context completely out of account. When this passage from the book of Leviticus (the Third Book of Moses) 19,18 is cited:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Lev 19,18 ‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear
any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your
neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD. Lev 19,18;
no attempt is made to look into the start of this pronouncement
by God, with a view to finding out in detail to whom God the Almighty actually
addressed these words. If we do this, we can quickly identify the starting point
of these statements – Lev 19,1, that is to say – and at the same time we learn
who is on the receiving end of these commandments and injunctions:
Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and
say to them.
Lev 19,1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: 19,2
"Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them,
‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy. Lev 19,1-2;
So first of all it was Moses to whom God was speaking, and he
gave Moses the commission to "speak to all the congregation of the sons of
Israel". So it is the Israelites, the People of God who are Israel, who are
being addressed both here and in verse 19,18 quoted earlier – and not
the entire human race! So on that basis one Israelite should love another
Israelite as him- or herself, but this has no application whatsoever to anyone
who is not an Israelite.
And the reason for this was that at that point in world history non-Israelites had absolutely no access to the God of the Bible. They were heathen, and if they did not convert to Mosaic Judaism, they were condemned to eternal damnation. So all these commandments and promises in the Old Testament were exclusively meant for Israel.
So too at that time the commandment to "love your neighbor as yourself" would only have applied to the Jews. Hence Sarrazin is partially right here when he states that this commandment "does not extend to embrace the whole of humanity, but refers just to a person’s immediate circle." Not, however, just any kind of immediate circle but the circle of one’s own people – which meant, at that time, the people of Israel.
Here of course the argument will be advanced that those times
are long gone, and with the coming of Christianity all the people of this world
now have access to the God of the Bible. This is completely correct, but here
again a small detail is almost always overlooked.
The Israelites back then were the "People of God", and all God’ s promises and commandments referred to them. This included, in particular, the promise of the "Kingdom of God". But since God sent his Son to save Israel from the unbelief into which it had fallen, they rejected their Messiah and handed him over to the Romans to be crucified.
But in doing so they broke the covenant with their God, which God accordingly dissolved. And so too the "Kingdom of God", which had been promised to the Israelites, was likewise taken away from them at that time.
The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people,
producing the fruit of it.
Mt 21,42 Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the
Scriptures, ‘the stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; This
came about from the LORD, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 21,43 "Therefore I say to you, the
kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.
21,44 "And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it
will scatter him like dust." 21,45 When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His
parables, they understood that He was speaking about them. 21,46 When they sought to
seize Him, they feared the people, because they considered Him to be a prophet. Mt 21,42-46;
And if we want to know the identity of the "people" who will
inherit the Kingdom of God in place of Israel, we find the answer in Matthew:
Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the
kingdom prepared for you.
Mt 25,31 "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels
with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 25,32 "All the nations will be gathered before Him;
and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats;
25,33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. 25,34 "Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Mt 25,31-34;
It is the righteous, then, the correctly believing Christians of
all nations (including Israel, in cases where a Jew has converted to Jesus
Christ) who bring forth their fruit and who will inherit the Kingdom of God.
And that, now, is the little detail that people are so prone to overlook: all human beings of this world have access to the God of the Bible, true, but only a few avail themselves of the possibility. Anyone who does not believe in the Son of God has no contact with God either. These people continue to be heathen, just as they were in former times. And neither the promises nor the commandments of God apply to them, as they have no chance of salvation, unless they convert.
And just as in earlier times the promises and commandments of God were valid for the people of Israel exclusively, but this people, in rejecting the Son of God, broke their covenant so that the Kingdom of God was taken away from them, so too the promises and commandments now apply only to the new "People of God" – that is to say, the correctly believing Christians of all nations. And consequently the commandment to " love your neighbor as yourself" does not apply to the heathen either, but only to one’s own "people", in other words within the community of biblical Christians.
It is just this detail that is repeatedly overlooked by worldly commentators, when they write about the Bible, and about the Sermon on the Mount in particular. All these commandments have application only within the new People of God, among the biblical Christians of all nations of this world. They certainly do NOT apply to the entire human race!
If you must see the Sermon on the Mount – as Johanna Pink does – as being " a not insignificant text for the evolution of European culture", you should at least quote Jesus’s words on the basis of genuine biblical understanding, and not fall victim to the centuries old fraudulent misinterpretation of them by the Catholic church, with its advocacy of a love of one’s neighbor that includes the godless, murderers and criminals.
The Sermon on the Mount
If the commandment of Jesus "Whoever forces you to go
one mile, go with him two" (Mt 5:41) were to apply not just among
correctly believing Christians but to all people in the entire world, then
every Christian, when compelled by another person to rob a bank, would be
obliged to help him rob two banks.
Jn 3,19This is the judgment, that the Light has
come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for
their deeds were evil (Jn 8:43-44; Mt 3:7; Mt 12:34-35; Mt 23:32-33).
3,20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light
for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 3,21 But he who practices the truth
comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been
wrought in God. Jn 3:19-21;
So should we turn away from the light to enter the darkness?
It is the godless people of this world and the idol worshipers of the Catholic
Church who want to persuade us that. They would like us to come to them in the darkness.
And just as with love of one’s neighbor, so the love of
ne’s enemies, mentioned here by the Lord, naturally applies only in the context of
biblical Christianity. Yes, even here we do find enmity! Not mortal enmity, such
as we find among the godless, but sometimes there can actually be enmity between
Christians. And according to God’s commandment, I am obliged to love these, my
enemies, as well.
But we can recognize that this is a quite different conception of "enmity" – even if the difference is apparently quite slight. It is not a matter of who is right, but rather of what is right. Even a person who has made an erroneous assertion to begin with must and will, in the last resort, acknowledge what is right – in the biblical Christian congregation at least.
As we have said above, the commandment to love one’s neighbor in
the New Testament has been deliberately misinterpreted by the Catholic church
for centuries. The meaning of these statements has been twisted in such a way as
to suggest they are an injunction to support the poor and the needy of this
world with charitable donations (including financial handouts).
Naturally the Catholic church was happy to take on the job of collecting and distributing these donations. Only insiders are aware that these donations for the most part ended up in the wealth funds and bank accounts of the Vatican – which has thus, to the present day, accumulated sums amounting to more than 200 billion euros.
In order to realize the true meaning of this text, let us just take a closer look at this parable of the good Samaritan:
The good Samaritan.
Lk 10,25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying,
"Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" 10,26 He said to him, "What is written in
the law? How do you read?" 10,27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your
heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as
yourself." 10,28 And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live."
10,29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 10,30 Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
10,31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. 10,32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 10,33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, 10,34 and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 10,35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
10,36 Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" 10,37 He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." Lk 10,25-37;
The “law” that the Lord mentions here in Lk 10,26 is the Torah,
the Book of Moses (specifically, Deut 6,5 and Lev 19,18), and he refers to it
again in Mt 22,37-40:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Mt 22,35 One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 22,36
"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" 22,37 And He said to him, "You shall love
the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ (Deut 6.5) 22,38
"This is the great and foremost commandment. 22,39 "The second is like it, ‘You shall love your
neighbor as yourself.’(Lev 19,18) 22,40 "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the
Prophets." Mt 22,35-40;
As the Lord says here, on these two commandments – the love of
God and love of one’s neighbor – depend the whole Law (all the commandments of
God) and the Prophets. So it is a matter of the greatest importance to
understand and interpret these statements in their correct sense. And yet the
above parable of the good Samaritan, with its statement about the identity of
one’s “neighbor”, is probably the world’s most frequently misunderstood passage,
based on a superficial view that is either willful or else is the result of
and the misunderstanding goes on.
Just to get one thing straight from the start, the misunderstanding does not relate to the injunction to be merciful and helpful. That is right and proper, and it emerges quite clearly from the Lord’s statement at the end of the parable, in Lk 10,37. The misunderstanding is rather based on the fact that the answer to the lawyer’s question is interpreted incorrectly.
Some commentators get completely bogged down in the text of the parable, and go to great pains to answer the question why the priest and the Levite, by contrast with the Samaritan, did not come to the assistance of the man who fell among robbers, without paying the necessary attention to the real question of this parable, “Who is my neighbor?” – or in other words, “Whom must I love as myself?”
The generally accepted understanding of the passage – understandably taken up and disseminated by social institutions of every description – is that God here enjoins us to love all the poor and needy of this world as ourselves, and based on this love of ours, extend our assistance and support to them accordingly.
But if we take a closer look at this text, a somewhat different message emerges. Because here, in the Lord’s concluding question to the scribe, where he identifies this “neighbor”, we find the words:
“Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”
So he is being asked here who is the neighbor – the neighbor, that is to say, from the point of view the man who fell among robbers. This, then, should be the answer to the scribe’s question in Lk 10,29, “And who is my neighbor?”
But at the same time this is a concrete reference to the identity of the “neighbor” in the second commandment (the second, after the first commandment to love God), and for us Christians designates those people whom we should love as ourselves. And here we can see, in the above question of the Lord’s and the answer given by the lawyer, a difference from the common interpretation.
The Lord asks who proved a neighbor to the man who fell among robbers. And the lawyer answers, “The one who showed mercy on him.” Hence it is not the needy person who is the neighbor of the Samaritan, it’s the other way around: in helping the man, it was the Samaritan who proved a neighbor to the victim.
But it follow logically from this that it is not the “Samaritans” – the helpers – who are being enjoined to love the poor and needy “as themselves”. Perhaps they should indeed be merciful and lend help as required. That in the last resort, of course, gives proof of the fact that they do actually love these persons in need. But it is the needy, whom they have helped, who are being asked to love their helpers “as themselves”, based on this commandment of God.
And here again we can see how this differs from the secularized understanding of the parable. Whereas the latter tries – by turning the literal meaning back to front – to give the impression that in this parable the victim of the robbers is the neighbor of the Samaritan, and postulates that the poor of the whole world are the “neighbors” of those who are better off, the Lord is here first of all referring to quite personal assistance rendered in our direct personal circle, and secondly, he commands those who have been helped to love their helpers “as themselves”.
The commandment to love one’s neighbor, then, according to the Lord’s words in this parable, comes to this: Love those people who have helped you, and show them your love just as they have shown their love to you by helping you. It follows that love of one’s neighbor is not a category of compassion but rather one of gratitude.
And it is easy to see that this commandment does not just apply
to the poor and the needy. It applies equally to those of us who are not needy,
inasmuch as we too should be personally grateful to all those who have helped us
in life –
parents, brothers and sisters, relations, friends and even strangers
who have stood by us in an emergency situation – and should love them as we love
ourselves. According to the Bible, they are our neighbors – and not all the
human beings of this earth.
And based on this biblically correct view of the second commandment, that of loving our neighbor, we can also find an explanation (here below in Mt 22,37-39) of the first commandment, that of loving God.
You shall love the Lord your GOD with all your heart, and with all your soul,
and with all your mind.
Mt 22,37 And He said to him, "‘You shall love the Lord your
GOD with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 22,38 "This is
the great and foremost commandment. 22,39 "The second is like it, ‘You shall love your
neighbor as yourself.’ 22,40 "On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the
Prophets." Mt 22,37-40;
So we shouldn’t love God because he might be supposed to be
needy, or in need of our help in any kind of way, but rather because he has
given us our life and everything we require for it. He has created everything –
the universe and our planet, with everything that exists and lives on it. And he
has given it to us.
And consequently we should love God with all our heart, because he has cared for us in this way, just as we should love our neighbors who have helped us along the path of life and looked after us. It’s the same background to both the commandments, the true love of God and true love of one’s neighbor.
But the pedophile Catholic church turned the target group of “our neighbor” into “all the poor of this world”, and so laid a false trail. Superficial and credulous people follow this trail, trusting in spurious insinuations and believing that they are on the right path. But in fact they are being led astray and are being misdirected onto the wrong path.
Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared
for the devil and his angels.
Mt 25,40 "The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say
to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them,
you did it to Me.’ 25,41 "Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart
from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;
25,42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to
drink; 25,43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick,
and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 25,44 "Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord,
when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not
take care of You?’ 25,45 "Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the
extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
25,46 "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
Love of our neighbor.
Like the incorrect interpretation of the "least
of my brothers" in Mat 25,40, the complete reversal of the biblical concept of
"love of our neighbor" by churches, preachers and aid organizations is one of the
biggest deceptions, practiced with a view to stimulating compassion in credulous
contemporaries and accumulating funds from donations with minimum effort.
Love of our neighbor, then, is not a category of
compassion but rather one of gratitude.
So that is what this parable of the Lord Jesus tells us. And it also
says – if some one comes to you personally or you meet them personally
and they ask you personally for your help or you see that they are
personally in need of help, then, as a correctly believing Christian, you should
personally help them. And they should then love you (based on Mt 22,39)
personally out of gratitude, in the same way as they love themselves.
Anyone who doesn’t take this to heart is
supporting the godless, idol worshipers, criminals and terrorists!
Now this is something quite different from those charity campaigns
for refugees whom we never get to know, and who do not have any idea who has helped
them. And in this context most of the money is not spent on the refugees themselves,
but goes to the salaries, logistical operations and other expenses of these "aid