Matt 4:11 says, "Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him." According to Lamsa, the clause "angels were ministering to him" is an idiom for Jesus being comforted by God’s thoughts. Unfortunately, Lamsa offers no evidence that this is the case. The word for angel is the standard Semitic term mal’ak, which is the same in Hebrew and Aramaic/Syriac. Its use in both Old and New Testaments is consistently literal; that is a particular person is always in mind, whether a human person or a literal heavenly messenger. Furthermore, the term "ministering" is also consistently used of literal serving. It appears, for example, in Luke 10:40 to speak of Martha’s serving, while Mary is sitting at Jesus’ feet listening. Hence, the proper understanding of Matt 4:11 is not the idea of Jesus receiving comfort from thinking about God after the accuser had left him. Instead, it tells us that heavenly persons came and provided for Jesus’ physical needs.
Matt 5:8 refers to the "pure in heart." This Lamsa rightly identifies as meaning "pure in mind." In modern Western psychology, the heart is the seat of the emotions or affections. Thus, when most of us read that David was a man after God’s own heart, we tend to think that that meant that David had a profound love for God. They then wonder how it was that David was able to commit adultery and murder. Now, I have no doubt that David had a profound love for God. And it is possible for a man truly converted to commit heinous sins. But David’s being a man after God’s own heart had nothing to do with his love for God. Rather, it had to do with his, as it were, thinking like God, or thinking God’s thoughts after him, or seeing things from God’s perspective. Thus, when Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God," he was saying that those who have the mind of God to the greatest degree have the clearest vision of him. Now the question might be raised as to how one gains this understanding or "mind" of God. According to the Old Testament, it is accomplished by study of and meditation on the written word of God. Hence, in the regulations given for the king in Deut 17, the king is instructed to write out a copy of the law of God for himself and to study in it every day of his life. Psalm 1 identifies the godly man as the one who meditates in the law of God day and night.
As for the Semitic view of the seat of the emotions, that is always the "innards." The most common term used is the "kidneys" or "reins." "Bones" is another term used in this sense. These terms appear frequently in the Psalms when the psalmist speaks of his torment of soul. For example, Psalm 6:2 says, "Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing; O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled." A helpful book on these matters is Hans Walter Wolff’s Anthropology of the Old Testament.
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