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Matthew 18 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Matthew 18 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,

3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

"Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
But Paul (1 Cor.13:11) said that we should "put away childish things." I guess poor Paul didn't make it to heaven.
Is it good to be childish
What must you do to be saved?
BOM: Mosiah 3:18
It seems the author of the SAB agrees that when Christ says that we have to become little children, he does not mean we have to become them physically. So the author of the SAB already interprets this verse as having a particular meaning: we have to become children in some spiritual sense. In what manner we have to become like children is explained in the next verse (verse 4): we have to become humble, just as little children do not have ambitious views of one being greater than another, but simply simply trust their parents to care for them.
So does Christ say here we have to become childish? No, he doesn't say that at all, and the apostle Paul confirms we shouldn't (1 Cor. 13:11). As the apostle Paul explains in another verse in certain things we should be like children and in certain others we shouldn't, see 1 Cor. 14:20:

Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

See also Looking Unto Jesus' comments on this verse.

4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

"Woe unto the world!"
Jesus condemns the whole world, saying "Woe unto the world because of offenses."
With “world” is not meant “the people in this world” as the author of the SAB interprets it, but rather the creation in which we live. And by offenses is not meant sins, but rather temptations to sin. So it is woe because we live in a world in which we are exposed to temptation.

8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.

"If thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off."
Jesus advises his followers to mutilate themselves by cutting off their hands and plucking out their eyes. He says it's better to be "maimed" than to suffer the "everlasting fire." of hell.
Does Hell exist?
What the Bible says about amputation and torture
The Bible's guide to torture
Yes, hell exists as Jesus here so clearly demonstrate.
The amputation of ones own foot is meant to demonstrate the preciousness of the soul over the body and the utter danger we are all in of being cast into hell because of our sins. Compared to that it would be better to lose a hand or a foot or an eye, something many in hell will now admit.

9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.

"Angels do always behold the face of my Father."
Can God be seen?
This of course is in heaven, which is outside our physical universe. It does not imply at all that God the Father has a physical body.

11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

12 How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

14 Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

"Two or three witnesses"
Jehovah's Witnesses use this verse (along with Dt.19:15 and 1 Tim.5:19) to justify their refusal to report or investigate incidents of child molestation unless two or three JWs have witnessed the event. If witnesses do not come forward (and they are discouraged from doing so since it would embarrass the organization), then the victim is told to be quiet about it.
If this is true, the Jehovah Witnesses will have reaped great wroth upon their heads. But as I remarked before, the religion of the Jehovah Witnesses should not be considered christian because their doctrines are very different from the things the Bible tells us to believe. There are many websites exposing their false doctrines.

17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

21 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

(18:21-22) "Seventy times seven"
Forgive those who repeatedly offend you.

22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

"In the Bible it says they asked Jesus how many times you should forgive, and he said 70 times 7. Well, I want you all to know that I'm keeping a chart." Hillary Clinton

23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.

24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.

25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.

In the parable of the unforgiving servant, the king threatens to enslave a man and his entire family to pay for a debt. This practice, which was common at the time, seems not to have bothered Jesus very much.
I doubt Jesus saw a family as a random collection of individuals with no common interests. May I ask the author of the SAB if this man's wife and children would have profited from the money he loaned?

26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.

29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.

30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:

33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?

34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.

"And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors."
What the Bible says about torture
The Bible's guide to torture
Let me see: the servant who was tormented just threw his fellowservant in prsion, not following the example of his master. And to him was just done as he had done.

35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.