View Full Version : Marching through Matthew - part 1

Old man
Oct 27th 2013, 08:29 PM
Marching Through Matthew – Introduction

My purpose in starting this thread is simply to record for others what I come across while I have been slowly working my way through the book of Matthew. Some of the things I will include are simple observations, comments and of course many, many questions. Many of which are still questions and have at this point still remain unanswered. Most of the questions will seem to be random thoughts or questions that just pop into my mind will reading which may or may not be significant (but I will include them anyway). If anyone would like to take one of the unanswered questions (even the random ones; perhaps even the ones I think have been answered) to the main forum please feel free to do so. I plan on limiting myself and only covering Matt. Chapters 1 through 7. Perhaps later I will cover another section when this one is done.

Every book or letter written; which is contained in the Bible, has been inspired by the Holy Spirit to be written for a specific purpose with Him also inspiring the content included. I believe that the issue which the Holy Spirit wanted to address in inspiring Matthew to write and be written is found in the last chapter of this book. Matthew is writing to Jewish believers in Israel to help create a stable foundation for their faith in Jesus Messiah.

Mat 28:13-15 “and said, "Tell people, 'His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.' (14) And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." (15) So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.”

This issue that Matthew is writing to address was that the Jewish Christian had to contend with what was a prominent rumor that majority of the Jews believed even to that day as he was writing. This book was inspired to be written to give Jewish believers the truth upon which they can stand that Jesus was indeed their Messiah and has risen from the dead. Matthew includes in this book evidence from the beginning of Jesus’ life all the way to the end that proves Jesus was and is the true Messiah, the Son of God. This is very similar to the issue the church in Philadelphia face and the reason Christ dictated a letter specifically to them as well.

As I go through this section of Matt. I will see if my basic theory of the context or purpose of Matthew being written will hold up.

Nov 2nd 2013, 02:49 PM
A good study brother. Please post more :)

Old man
Nov 4th 2013, 08:08 PM
Marching Through Matthew – 1:1

Matt 1:1 “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham:”

There are three declarations that are specific regarding this scripture;

• Jesus is the Messiah (the Christ)
• Jesus is the son of David
• Jesus is the son of Abraham

Questions and observations:
• Why is Matthew specifically mentioning Jesus being the son of David and the son of Abraham by themselves instead of simply explaining His relationship to them in their proper place in the genealogy which He also does? It seems redundant.

o Unless the first verse (1:1) is the theory he is putting forth and the following genealogy (1:2-17) is support or evidence for the validity of the first statement. He makes the declaration in verse 1 and gives evidence for his conclusion in verses 2-17. This conclusion could be proven wrong by any of that time by simply showing everyone the official genealogical records.
• Both men are mentioned specifically in relation to Jesus being the Messiah (Christ).
• Were any of the other men in the up-coming genealogy referenced prophetically anywhere in the scriptures as being progenitors of the Messiah as David and Abraham were?

o Perhaps Judah (Gen. 49:8-10)? Yet Matthew doesn’t make a point of this fact.
• There could have been many who also could have fulfilled the appropriate prophesies as far as lineage goes (His brothers for example). So how does Jesus specifically fulfill that requirement where as they do not?

If Matthew is being inspired to write the gospel to give evidence that Jesus was and is the Messiah in order to strengthen and encourage the Jewish believers in Jerusalem and the rest of Israel and perhaps those living in foreign lands then it seems logical to me that he would start at the very basics of what was “Biblically” expected of the Messiah. The very basic expectation is that He would be a descendant of Abraham and of the Davidic lineage; so a genealogy would be a good place to start and easily verifiable by those who would try to contend with, and those who would honestly look into, His claim.

Accurate genealogies were important for the Jews for example when Nehemiah and Ezra were examining the record of those who returned to Israel, they found several men who were part of the priest contingent who could not verify their legal lineage to the priesthood (son’s of Aaron) so were denied the role of priesthood until it could be verified. And this holds true also for the lineage of the rightful king who is to sit on David’s throne; it must be one of David’s descendants. Those contending to fill the “office” of Messiah “Biblically” should meet this lineage requirement. Jesus brought the point up that the expectation was that the Messiah was to be David’s son (descendant) while talking to the Pharisees.

Matt. 22:41-42 “Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: (42) "What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?" They said to Him, "The son of David."

This is just what Matthew does (shows that Jesus is in the “running” for fulfilling the expectations) when he starts his gospel by making the declaration that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

It was prophesied that the Messiah would be both the son of David and Abraham. There are other issues about this which actually invalidate His brothers as being possible fulfillments; but from a solely, (just from the) genealogical perspective they fit as well as He did. But the fact Matthew is trying to establish for his readers is that He did fit the prophecies, which is the point I think Matthew is making with this statement (1:1). If Jesus did not fit the criteria of being the son of Abraham and the son of David then the Pharisees and the rest of His enemies could have and would have proven it at their earliest convenience. (I just saw that shepherdsword made a similar comment in one of his posts)

This genealogy does not “PROVE” Jesus is the Messiah but does validate Him as a legitimate possible contender for the position.

• Passages that I believe state that the Messiah is to be the Son of David:

o Isa. 11:1-5 "Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist.
o Isa. 9:6-7, Jer. 23:5-6; Eze. 34:23-24; Amo. 9:11
• Passages that I believe state that the Messiah is to be the Son of Abraham:

o Gen. 12:3 "And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."
o Gen. 22:18, Gen. 26:3-5, Gen. 28:13-14; (Gal. 3:16 here Paul discusses an OT reference).

Nov 11th 2013, 07:34 AM
Jewish readers wouldn't care so much if Jesus was the son of Adam or Noah -- but starting with the 1st Jew, Abraham, gets their attention -- adding David to the mix makes them do a double take -- this puts Him "in the running", as you said

Old man
Nov 12th 2013, 04:13 PM
1:2-17 part 1 (There are three parts)

The next section (verses 2-17) includes the evidence or proof Matthew uses to support his claim that Jesus is the Son of Abraham and David. This is the main foundational purpose of this genealogy ……. However there are also some very interesting side issues or coincidences that are also included. I believe a disclaimer is required here: the main purpose that Matthew has for this genealogy is to give evidence of Jesus’ lineage any other side issue is just that a side issue. Now even though there are interesting things that I have stumbled across and am about to share … in two months if I look back at this I may say to myself; “wow ….. that was pretty dumb what was I thinking? :crazy:” So take everything with a grain of salt. Now back to the regularly scheduled heresies. ;) :D

The most well known side issue is the fact that there are women mentioned. 3 out of 5 of them were from gentile origin (Tamar, Rahab and Ruth).

But would they have been considered gentiles if they had accepted the Lord God as their God? I have seen a couple of threads here mentioning that being Jewish is less about blood line than about religion or having faith in the God of Israel.
If they had given up their old gods to worship the Lord according to the idea that being Jewish is more religion or belief (faith) than genetics they would not have been considered gentiles would they?
I believe that when they left Egypt there were many Egyptians who went with them but they were all still considered Israel.

You can read all about them in practically any commentary you pick up so I will concentrate on a few other interesting side issues or observations. There are a few other patterns I’ve seen just recently in this genealogy that I would like to share.

First as to understanding why Matthew divides the genealogy into sections of 14 generations (vs. 17) I still have no clue and I am not satisfied with the 7 X 2 numerology explanation since this is the only place in all the scripture that indicates 14 as being significant and without other examples to add support, the 7 X 2 idea, is (to me anyway) simply playing games with numbers and is only assumptions. But since my salvation does not rely on my understanding of the 14 issue I won’t lose any sleep over it.

What I find curious is why Matt separates the genealogy where he does I can understand Abraham and David but dividing at the deportation makes me think there is more to it than simply following a genealogy otherwise why the need to even mention it? Matthew seems to divide the genealogy into timeframes covering specific eras in Israel’s history. Remember this is not to focus on minute details but the overall big picture. Each era seems to have certain characteristics that are predominant for that specific era.

The first era covers the time period between Abraham and David. This first era covers the early covenant history and form of government while the tabernacle is still operational. This era is predominately ruled by God through Moses and the judges (when needed). David’s inclusion into this era marks a transition point and much of his early life and reign is marked by consolidating power and the establishment of his throne. While Saul is not mentioned in the genealogy (for obvious reasons: he is not David’s ancestor) he was still technically the first king. Saul’s removal from being king should have been expected given Gen. 49:10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” Saul was given as a temporary king due to the people’s insistence and I believe according to the image of what they thought a king should be. David was chosen by God to get God’s promises and plan and on track and also chosen according to how God judges not based on the outward appearances. Although the first era is now winding down with David and the next era of kings is just beginning and it starts with God sovereignly deciding then implementing through His prophet who it is that will reign. This marks a transition in how Israel will be ruled and by whom.
The second era is started with David (chosen by God) and goes through to the deportation to Babylon. This era is predominately ruled by the kings but the temple replaces the tabernacle and David’s involvement with the temple is to gather all the materials and set up the different division of the priests, singers and musicians. Solomon the next king will be the one to actually build the temple. The end of this era as mentioned by Matt is not a specific king but an event depicting a change how and by whom Israel was ruled just as the end of the first era marked the change in how God was ruling Israel.
The last era is from the deportation to Jesus and is an era where Israel is ruled by foreign kings and during which the first temple is destroyed and a second one is built. Even though this era marks a new form of government (i.e. ruled by foreigners) God is still very much in control as seen through Esther, Ezra and Nehemiah. God very sovereignly controls Israel’s destiny even under foreign rule. It is amazing that even when living as a subjugated people God moves His people into positions of rulership even to a certain extent over their subjugators. The end of this era as mentioned by Matt is another transition into another form of government where “… Shiloh comes, and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” and Jesus whose kingdom is not of this world reigns.

Old man
Nov 16th 2013, 04:46 AM
1:2-17 part 2

Narrowing down into a little detail about the different eras mentioned in the last post I want draw attention to something I found interesting about the beginning person each era is represented by. Each person seems (at least to me at the moment) to reflect the era they were entering. For example:

The first era begins with Abraham with whom the covenant is originally made. God’s law is given and the Jews learn to live according to that law being ruled by God as mentioned before. Abraham doesn’t have a king who rules over him except God and is not subject to any king. Any earthly king that messes with Abraham gets their wrists slapped by God just to let them know that they are not to mess with him. Not having a man king ruling and instead God Himself ruling them seems to be a predominant feature of the first era. This era also reveals that righteousness before God is based upon faith in God.
The second era starts with David who makes preparation for the building of the temple and is the first king God sets up who is according to the pattern that He looks at (looks at the heart. Again something about faith here). David is also the king fulfilling the promise of Gen 49:10 of the ruling of the tribe of Judah. This era is a time of God ruling through kings as they submitted in faith to God (many however did not do this).
The third era starts with the evil king Jeconiah and his brothers who along with his brothers was essentially a vassal king under foreign rule. As an evil king who did not follow after the Lord as his father David did it is under his watch that sees the destruction of the temple and establishment of foreign rule which will continue until the early/mid 20th century. Jeconiah is the king who God pronounced judgment against denying his line the right or the authority to sit and rule upon the throne of David. He is the last of the kings.

Just as the beginning person had caught my attention so did the ending person. The ending persons have an interesting similarity between them. And that is the each era regardless of the historical contexts ends with a righteous king.

The first era which covers the period of time in Israel’s history where no human king is ruling; David is chosen and mentioned as the last person of this era. He is the one who all the other kings are compared to as to whether they love and follow the Lord.
In the second era although the ending point of the era is an event and not a person the last “king” is Josiah of whom the scriptures say 2 Kings 23:25 “Before him there was no king like him who turned to the LORD with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; nor did any like him arise after him.” (Does this include David?) In fact because of Josiah’s love and devotion to the Lord, God promises him that the upcoming judgment on Israel will not happen until after his reign ends and he is gathered to his fathers.
The last person of the third era is King Jesus.

I know this may be redundant but I must again emphasis that the main purpose for this genealogy is to prove that Jesus is the son of David and the Son of Abraham as the expectations for the messiah indicate. There is something else that I find interesting which I will cover in the next post. The next post I submit will cover stuff that raises my questions as to why Matthew did this genealogy the way he did rather than a simple straight forward one such as the one recorded by Luke.

Old man
Nov 22nd 2013, 03:53 AM
1:2-17 part 3

Lastly (Woo Hoo!) I want to mention the case of the missing people. All three eras seem to have at least one missing person DUUM..DUum..duum (suspenseful music). But to find out who is missing I will have to bring in the genealogy according to Luke and do a little comparing.

In the first era from Abraham to David:
Depending on the translation Luke 3:33 includes name No 2 and some don’t and Matthew doesn’t mention Admin in any translation that I have access to. This is significant because he could have been counted instead of David who is also counted in the second era.

(NKJV)1. Amminadab, 2. Missing person 3.Ram, 4. Hezron, 5.Perez, 6. Judah,
(ESV) 1. Amminadab, 2. Admin , 3. Arni, 4. Hezron, 5. Perez, 6. Judah,
(NASB) 1. Amminadab, 2. Admin , 3. Ram, 4. Hezron, 5. Perez, 6. Judah,
(KJV) 1. Aminadab, 2. Missing person 3. Aram, 4. Esrom, 5. Phares, 6. Juda,
(HNV) 1. Amminadav, 2. Aram , 3. Yoram, 4. Hetzron, 5. Peretz, 6. Yehudah,

In the second era from David to the deportation
Matthew skips three kings:

1. Ahaziah – Bad king – did not do what was right. 2 Kings 8:26-27
2. Joash (Jehoash) – Good king – did what was right. 2 Kings 12:1-2
3. Amaziah – Good king – did what was right. 2 Kings 14:1-3

Including the three skipped kings the total number of generations would be 17. Again since David was already mentioned in the first era list Matthew could have used one of these missing persons to fulfill the mystery number 14 without counting David.

In the third era from Jeconiah to Jesus Matthew records 14 generations and although there is no obviously missing persons if we compare the number of generations from David to Jesus in both Matthew’s and Luke’s list there is a big discrepancy. When we combine the total number of generations for the second and third eras Matthew records 28 generations to Luke’s 43 generations.

One interesting point is that both genealogies in Matthew and Luke mention Shealtiel and Zerubbabel. Although there could have been multiple people by those names it does seem a bit odd. In Matthew’s list Shealtiel is the son of Jeconiah who God disavowed as the progenitor of the kings line and that none of his descendants would sit on David’s throne. In Luke’s list Shealtiel is the son of Neri. But given the difference of number of generations between Matt and Luke the Shealtiel and Zerubbabel in Luke may have been several years before those mentioned by Matthew.

It is curious that Matthew includes David in 2 of the eras when he didn’t need to; given that he could have mentioned anyone of the missing names instead to keep the “14” thing going. But he specifically mentions David as being part of both the first and second. I am of the opinion that Matthew is working his genealogy based more on era characteristics (as mentioned in previous posts) rather than a straight forward genealogy such as what Luke includes. It may be that Matthew is listing only certain significant ones of the particular era which may be why David is included in both the first and second era. Since he is a significant ending to the first era and sets the standard for the second. It is also interesting that the number of good kings equals the number of bad kings and although Solomon started out good he eventually turned away from God in the end and Manasseh started out bad but turned to God in the end.

Lastly although I haven’t researched it much but if I find time I may try to narrow down which generations mentioned by Matthew correspond to the time of the Judges and the time that Israel spent in Egypt. I would start with Salmon as being one reference point because he married Rahab and so probably entered the land with Joshua and Jesse and David were at the time of Samuel after the period of the judges which doesn’t leave many generations during the time of the actual Judges (not counting Samuel). Perhaps I will revisit it some time

So why did Matthew think it important to divide it the way he did and mention who he did while obviously not mentioning some who legitimately were part of the family tree? And why was 14 so significant to him? These questions make me think there is more to Matthew’s genealogy than we usually think of. But I don’t know the answers to those questions but what is important and the main central purpose of this genealogy is that Matthew is proving that Jesus fits the Messianic genealogical expectation. Anyway there are a lot of fun and interesting coincidences in Matthew’s genealogy. But perhaps it’s time to move on to the next section of his gospel.

Old man
Nov 29th 2013, 12:38 AM

Matthew establishes fairly well that Jesus meets the genealogical requirements to be the Messiah just as his brothers did. Within the next section Matthew (unintentionally I think) will separate Jesus' brothers from the running. The next aspect Matthew covers is in regards to the birth of Messiah and the events surrounding it.

One minor thing I want to mention here is that although we today use this passage as an integral part of our Xmas story or “the reason for the season” season or should we call it simply the Holiday season. ….OK, OK it’s the “Christmas” season I was going to say the “Christmas” season; I am not sure Matthew had any of this in mind when he was writing this down. His purpose was not to tell the story of baby Jesus in order to celebrate Him actually being born but to recognize it as evidence to prove that this particular child and no other was Messiah who they had been waiting for and the purpose for which He came (vs. 21).

Matt. 1:18-19 “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. (19) And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly."

• Matthew intentionally mentions Jesus as the Christ or Messiah.
• Matthew specifies that this was a circumstance that God Himself brought about (i.e. “by the Holy Spirit”). God had orchestrated these events. Joseph's decision is whether to get on board with what God is doing or not.

Matt. 1:20-21 “But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. (21) She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins."

• Interesting how the angel shows up when Joseph plans to do something that might hinder the plan of God surrounding the birth of His Son.
• The angel addressed Joseph as "Joseph, son of David" another allusion to the lineage of the Messiah (though perhaps not very significant at this point).
• Joseph's fears may have been in regards to marrying someone who in his mind at the moment (he was unaware of God's hand in all this) has been proven (being pregnant) to be unfaithful and could possibly continue to be after the marriage was official.
• The angel fills Joseph in on God's plan and His involvement in creatively designing the Messiah's chromosome just as He did with the first Adam.
• Who are His people? The Jewish Messianic expectation was that He would be a political leader who would deliver them from foreign rule that has existed since the Babylonian captivity. In that light His people would be the Jews. Yet forgiveness of sins was offered to all who would humble themselves both Jew and Gentile. The point is the angel said that He would save His "people" (not specifically Jews) from their sins. To me this speaks (in a whisper) of the promise that in Him the Gentiles will have hope. Because ultimately God's plan is not and never has been for the Jews only but all those of any nation, tribe, tongue, etc. who will humble themselves and repent of their harlotries will find a gracious and merciful God who knows we are but dust and receive forgiveness for their sins. Those who do not repent (both Jews and Gentiles) will find judgment and condemnation on the last day as they stand before Him and explain their rejection of Him even though they have had ample testimony of His reality. Rom. 1:20 "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”
• The purpose of the coming Messiah was not according to what they (the Jews) had expected which Matthew brings out as well. If Jesus had come as a political hero they probably would have accepted Him. Matthew indicates that political ambition was not His purpose for coming and should not be considered as proof of Jesus not being the Messiah.

Matt. 1:22-23 “Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: (23) "BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL," which translated means, "GOD WITH US."

• Matthew emphasizes the fulfilment of a prophecy associated with the expectation of the Messiah. (Is. 7:14)

Matt. 1:24-25 “And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, (25) but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.”

• This is where Matthew completes his elimination of Jesus' brothers as possibly being Messiah contenders. Matthew makes a point of Jesus being the one who fulfills the prophecy of a virgin giving birth to the Messiah (Is. 7:14) But it is after the birth of Jesus that Joseph and Mary consummate their marriage "kept her a virgin until she gave birth ..." The word until puts a limit on the time frame in which Mary remained a virgin. This eliminated any possibility of any of his brothers being born of a virgin as the prophecy indicated.
• Interesting comparison between the faith of Joseph who had a dream with an angel and Zechariah who had one actually appear before him in the temple while he was offering incense (an image or symbol of prayer). While Zechariah being told by the angel of a blessing coming into his (and his wife’s) life he doubted; but Joseph on the other hand being told to marry Mary and take upon himself any stigma that Mary’s apparent unfaithfulness (he was going to put her away secretly) to him might bring upon himself and the child, instead obeyed the dream angel (I know it was real) without question.

Neither Mark not John mention the birth of Messiah and Luke does so for historical reasons as his gospel is to record accurately the historical truth of Christ. Matthew records it to help prove that Jesus was Messiah and recorded all the evidences surrounding the birth to show this to be true. There are three foundational evidences that Matthew includes to support the truth that Jesus is Messiah in this passage (Matt 1:18-25).

• The very genetics of Messiah is directly created by God. Just as God specifically created Adam's genetic makeup He also specifically created Jesus' genetic makeup which is attested to by the angel.
• Matthew includes not only the testimony of an angel to support the direct involvement of God but the fact that an angel is involved at all to keep God's plan on track when Joseph has other plans indicates that there is more to the birth of this specific child than usual.
• Direct fulfillment of a prophecy (promise) regarding the birth of Messiah which only Jesus could have fulfilled.

Old man
Nov 29th 2013, 02:39 AM

One thing I forgot to mention (memory is always the second thing to go. Don’t ask what the first is … I can’t remember); there seems to be a discrepancy between what His name would be called in verses 21 and 23. The discrepancy is because in vs 23 which is a prophecy it says his name would be called Emmanuel but Joseph is directed by the angel to name Him Jesus. My take on this is to ask who the “ they ” is referring to in verse 23. Is “ they ” referring to His parents who were specifically told to name Him Jesus? Or is the “ they ” referring to His people (vs 21) who He saved from their sins? Would His parents call Him Emmanuel (God with us) or would it make more sense that His people who He saved from their sins call Him Emmanuel? Remember during those times a name was more than just an ID tag it was supposed to represent everything about the person and in this case I think it reasonable to say that it is His people who would name Him according to who He was … the savior of their souls … the forgiver of their sins … Emmanuel.

Since I forgot to put that in the last post its a freebee. ;)

Old man
Dec 8th 2013, 07:51 PM

The wise guys Part 1

There is a great deal of speculation about who these guys were, where they came from and how many of them there were. Some believe they were wise guys who were part of a secrete sect of wise guys from Babylon which Daniel built or put together during his tenure there. Others believe they came from Persia, India, China and Yemen. There are also some theories that mention them coming from the west based on Psa. 72:10 which some believe to be a prophecy about the magi visiting Jesus. There have been names ascribed to them as well however even the names that many ascribe to these men are also speculation. Their being three in number is also speculation perhaps the number of them has been based on the number of gifts they gave.

But what do we know about them.
They came from somewhere the east of the Roman Empire Matt. 2:1. And since they are mentioned in the plural we do know there was at least two. As far as their names are concerned we really do not know what their names were; however, and this is just a wild guess here but … there is a good chance that their names were probably not Larry, Moe and Curly.

The wise guys Part 2 They followed a star to get there.

There are a lot of different opinions about what the star was. There has been much discussion about comets and supernovas etc. I do not favor the idea that it was in any way a natural stellar event because even these types of events are short term events which do not last the possible years of even months or weeks needed to guide the wise guys to Jesus. The other difficulty I have is because of the fact that any stellar event would continuously move from east to west because of the rotation of the earth. It would never stop and stay over Bethlehem in the manner spoken of in Matt 2:9 long enough for the magi to determine which house Jesus was in. Being a natural stellar event and continuing to move across the sky as the earth rotated the magi should have followed as the earth did it all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

I lean toward the thought of the star being an angel who guided them from the east. As God guided Israel in the wilderness by a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night so it is not too far off to think that these guys could have been guided in a similarly supernatural fashion. Angels have been described as stars elsewhere in a few places in the scriptures.

It is possible that the magi received a similar announcement of the birth of Jesus to that which the shepherds received. And an angel in the guise of a start led them to Bethlehem Depending on where they originated from the trip to Israel could have taken quite a while to arrive in Israel; possibly up to a two years based upon the time when they first saw the star and which they told Herod. Throughout the scriptures there are numerous accounts of God revealing Himself to people other than Jews for example Melchizedek, Abraham, Job, Balaam, and Nebuchadnezzar. Even today we get reports of those living in Arab (Muslim) countries coming to Christ because of visions of Him.

Did anyone else see the star? It doesn’t say but it doesn’t appear that those in Jerusalem knew of the star. If it was as prominent as the magi indicated then shouldn’t the leaders of in Jerusalem at least have known when such an appearing had taken place instead of the magi needing to tell them? If the star was that prominent surely others would have thought it was significant. But angels have been known to appear only to those they are sent to Dan 10:7.

Old man
Dec 8th 2013, 07:52 PM
The wise guys Part 3

They caused quite a stir in Jerusalem when they showed up which Matt links to their announcement and not them showing up in Jerusalem. Herod and all of Jerusalem were freaked out by the arrival and announcement of the Magi. Now I can understand Herod being disturbed by the announcement but “all of Jerusalem? When it says all of Jerusalem is it literally all of the population or just the religious leaders i.e. Pharisees and priests? Were they not looking for the coming Messiah? Did they not want Him to come and (according to their expectations) deliver them from the Romans?

They are informed by possibly gentile wise guys that the One they had been waiting for had slipped in without them noticing (very embarrassing). The wise guys came announcing that they wanted to see the child who was born king of the Jews and they wanted to worship Him. Apparently these wise guys with royal gifts were not there to see and worship “king” Herod or any of his heirs to the throne (sons: at least the ones he had not executed).

My question here is why did they stop in Jerusalem anyway? If they were following the star they could have went directly to Bethlehem. Unless perhaps they came to Jerusalem as a courtesy call on Herod because they were dignitaries from another land. I don’t think they would have been received well when they wanted to see the child who was born “king of the Jews” and not “king” Herod. I can see them now walking into Herod’s throne room, looking at him then saying, “You’re not the one we want to see. Where’s the real king. You know …. the one who was born king appointed by the Creator God. Not the one appointed king by the fake god Caesar.” It would not have gone over very well. Actually now that I think about it; that scenario might be plausible because it did not go well after that.

Another option is that for some reason the star or angel was not visible to them during this period of their trip. I say this because of their reaction to seeing the star after their interview with Herod. Why would they have reacted this way if the “star” was constant unless it was not a “star” but an angel who disappeared from a moment to force them into Jerusalem for some purpose?

Herod consults the chief priests (“of the people” curious comment) to find out where this threat to his throne would be born. Given Herod’s well known reputation the priest should have (they probably did) known what Herod would try to do to their messiah who was to deliver them from the Romans? But they helped him anyway by giving him the info he wanted. This brings me back to why they stopped in Jerusalem in the first place given that the star being an angel who seemed to disappear at this time only to reappear when they leave after their announcement to Jerusalem and Herod of the birth of the true king.

Given their surprise: being surprised by the wise guys announcement; the events of the birth of Christ, possibly two years earlier (described as a huge and not in secrete as recorded by Luke) must not have made much of an impression on the leaders in Jerusalem. I wonder if the magi’s (to me anyway) divinely directed stop in Jerusalem and announcement was God giving the leading Jews a chance to come and acknowledge the birth of His Son. John says that He came unto His own and His own received Him not. John 1:11.

After receiving directions from the priests Herod let the magi know then sent them on their way. However it is not Herod’s directions they follow it is the star that shows up again that leads them to Bethlehem and the specific house. So it shows that they really did not need Herod’s nor the priest’s directions in the first place.

Old man
Dec 8th 2013, 07:54 PM
The wise guys Part 4

They gave homage to Jesus. They brought three types of gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. There may have been other gifts but these are important to Matthews purpose of writing this gospel. They were kingly gifts depicting much of Christ and those specific gifts indicate that they (wise guys from the gentiles) recognized Him as king. The gifts also probably became God’s provision for their upcoming extended Egyptian vacation, touring the pyramids and ancient sites. “Just think Mary …. This is where Moses parted the red sea. This is where our ancestors made bricks. Quick honey; take a picture of me holding up the pyramids.”

They received direction from God about not going back to Herod. Would it normally be proper to make a courtesy call in Jerusalem when leaving the region? But God specifically tells them not to go to Jerusalem possibly through the angel who led them there in the first place. Obvious reason … God didn’t want Herod to know exactly where the child was. But Herod did find out what city thanks to the priests and the arrival of the magi in Jerusalem in the first place. Herod was very paranoid I’m surprised he didn’t have them followed or have someone go with the magi and report back. Possible reason: God’s message to the leaders of Israel was delivered now their response to the invitation is on them. Possible reason: would Herod allow those who proclaimed a different king other than himself or any of his sons (who he has not murdered yet) to live and later to challenge their right to the throne? They returned to their homes in the east and are never heard from again but perhaps lived happily, ever after.

More speculation. I think that the gentile wise guys (magi) showed up, representing the nations came to Jerusalem to invite the Jews to come and acknowledge the birth of Messiah so that the entire world at that time represented by Jews (priests) and gentiles (magi) would testify of His arrival but the Jews (chief priests) didn’t go. They could have tagged along with the magi but they didn’t. These guys Matt 28:11-15 denied Jesus in His death (that it had purpose) and in His resurrection. Their fathers here in Matt 2 denied Him in His birth. The King of creation invited them and they were indifferent Matt 22:1-6.

Interesting that gentiles recognized and accepted His birth and gentiles were also the ones He went to after the Jews rejected Him. Also that every time Jesus has something to do with gentiles during His earthly ministry they are the one who have faith in Him while the Jews (for the most part) did not.

The wise guys Part 5

Alright … back to the original testing of my theory of Matthew writing this gospel in response to Matt 28:11-15. Much of the previous posts are simply my own speculations because none of it can be proven. But as far as I can see they are not contrary to the passage and fit the events surrounding the arrival of the magi. Even so I can’t be dogmatic about it.

But I think the real issue is that Matthew is offering the information he included here as evidence of Jesus being Messiah. Speculation aside here is what he does show. There is so much direct intervention here by God or his messenger (angel) that you cannot deny that this child Jesus stands out as being of great importance.

Foreigners recognize Jesus as being the King of the Jews (Messiah) and being born specifically as that.
The star is a miracle God produced to signal the birth of Jesus and kept that miracle going for possibly up to 2 years. And he (angel) specifically set up a stable position over the house Jesus was in and not over any other house in Bethlehem.
There is prophetic testimony that Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem as admitted by the chief priests. Of all the children in Bethlehem it is Jesus before whom the magi bow. The gifts given to Jesus indicate his royalty.
God gives warning to the magi about returning to Herod showing His hand in their arrival and their departure.

Old man
Dec 28th 2013, 07:11 AM

Wow! It's been awhile since my last post. I blame it on the business of the season (not my laziness ;) )

Mat 2:13 “Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord *appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him."

With the Magi gone God wastes no time in warning Joseph (via an angel in a dream) to leave Bethlehem. Joseph now becomes the point man and recipient of God's instructions for the protection of Jesus. Through the magi’s gifts God had provided them with the resources (finances) to live in Egypt during their God imposed exile. Now God just needs to get Joseph to go.

The angel's conversation:

They have to flee now! "Get up!" no time to waste. It may still be a couple of days before Herod realizes the magi are not coming back but he needs to be as far away as possible.
Go to Egypt. Why Egypt? Most of the times I can think of God warns Israel not to trust or rely on Egypt. Yet this time it is actually a place of safety for Joseph, Mary and Jesus.
Remain until I tell you. This is a promise of more communication.
The reason why he is being told to flee: Herod is going to try to destroy the child.

Why did the angel wait until Joseph was asleep before giving Joseph the message to flee? As soon as the magi were out the door the angel could have appeared and given Joseph instructions. Are there certain ways (consistent) that God restricts Himself to when communicating to certain people? Joseph seemed to always be spoken to in a dream while asleep. Even though the matter is urgent the angel waits until Joseph is asleep before appearing to him in the dream.

Mat 2:14 “So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt.”

Joseph get up and off they go that very night. Leaving under the cover of darkness no one would know they had left until the following day and certainly would not have known where they went.

Mat 2:15 “He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON."

Matthew quotes Hos 11:1 as a prophecy fulfilled at this time regarding Jesus coming out of Egypt. In the original context of the passage in Hosea it does not appear to be related to the Messiah coming out of Egypt but Matthew applies it to Him here.

Mat 2:16-18 “Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. (17) Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: (18) "A VOICE WAS HEARD IN RAMAH, WEEPING AND GREAT MOURNING, RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN; AND SHE REFUSED TO BE COMFORTED, BECAUSE THEY WERE NO MORE." (Jer. 31:15)

It was God who told the magi in a dream not to go back to Herod. This actually seems to enrage the paranoid ruler even more. But Herod waiting for them to return may have actually given Joseph the time he needed to escape.

Interesting thing about this prophecy is that it doesn't in its original context have anything to do with the arrival of Messiah. Yet Matthew associates it with the death of the children in Bethlehem brought on by Herod trying to kill Messiah (Jesus). He writes as if this event fulfilled that prophecy. This actually brings to mind questions about application of prophecies (which I won’t get into here).

Mat 2:19-21 “But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord *appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, and said, (20) "Get up, take the Child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child's life are dead." (21) So Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.”

Promise of future communication being fulfilled and Joseph is obedient to the instructions of the angel. Again the communication method is through visiting Joseph in a dream.

Mat 2:22-23 “But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Then after being warned by God in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee, (23) and came and lived in a city called Nazareth. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophets: "He shall be called a Nazarene."

In the last two verse in this section again there are a warning given to Joseph by an angel during a dream and a fulfilment of prophecy.

Total count of angelic warnings and directions is three (vs. 13, 19 and 22).
Total count of prophecies which Matthew says were fulfilled is three (vs. 15, 18 and 23).

If you include the narrative of Luke and all the angelic messages and appearances leading up to the Birth of Jesus including the message given to Zechariah in the temple regarding John, the visit to the shepherds and God’s warning to the magi the level of angelic activity recorded is incredible. I believe Matthew is recording all this to give those he is writing to a solid foundation for their faith that even from birth God’s activity brings validity to their claim that Jesus is Messiah. No other person in history has had this much spiritual activity and God’s direct intervention through angelic messages in order to protect him. Even Herod might be considered a hostile witness if he thought Jesus was that much of a threat to his throne that he would seek out to kill a small child (and actually kill many children just to make sure he got him). All of this activity and prophecies fulfilled give strong evidence for the testimony those early Christians (as well as ourselves today) carry that Jesus is Messiah.

Old man
Jan 4th 2014, 06:21 AM

Mat 3:1 “Now in those days John the Baptist *came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, (2) “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (3) For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, ‘THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, 'MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!’ [Isa 40:3] (4) Now John himself had a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. (5) Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; (6) and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.

Luke 3:3 "And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins;"
Interesting phrase … "In those days". It certainly did not mean in the days of Jesus' youth but many years later even though Matthew puts it here right after describing Jesus’ early childhood. Later in this chapter Jesus shows up as an adult to be baptized. Perhaps Matthew is referring to the days of Jesus going public. "Those days," during which He comes out in the open and reveals the kingdom of heaven. It will be during "those days" or time period that He will make a contrast between Himself reveling the true understanding of the relationship the Father desires and what the religious leaders (priests, Pharisees, etc.) are portraying and teaching.

John’s main purpose was to prepare the way of the Lord. He fulfilled that purpose (tried to anyway) by calling the people to repentance. Repentance implies that there is sorrow and regret for past sins along with a purpose or resolve to turn from sins and lead a holy life. There are two words in the New Testament translated “repentance,” the first one refers to a change of mind, or more accurately a change of life (motives, priorities, etc.). The second one refers to sorrow or regret that sin has been committed. The word used here in this passage is the first one in which John was calling the Jews to a change of life or conduct and not just feel sorry for what they have done. Actually the idea of national repentance was not new. Israel’s history is full of examples of the nation (leaders and people) repenting and God responding when they did so with sincerity.

John is an interesting person. Jesus said this about him:

Mat 11:10-11 "This is the one about whom it is written, 'BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.' (11) Mat 11:11 “Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” .

Was he greater than Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah (the original)?
Who are the least in the kingdom and why are they greater than John?
Are the least in the kingdom greater than Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah as well since they are greater than John?
I wonder how many friends Jesus made by making that comparison?

Regardless; here Matthew mentions that John fulfilled this prophecy which as indicated was a sign that the messiah was soon to arrive on the scene since he was to prepare the way for Him. I assume that since John was the one to fulfill this prophecy then it would have been John who would be the one who indicates who the Messiah is that he is preparing the way for and we know who he pointed to.

The people took him for a prophet, the first that had arisen in centuries. And like a few of the prophets before him he was what many would call a bit eccentric. John gave up the good life. But if by being eccentric means putting God’s purpose as your fist priority over the things you can have in this world then perhaps the church today could use a bit more eccentricity. He even caught the attention of those in Jerusalem the seat of power of the previously mentioned religious leaders.

John's Father was a priest and the priests were predominantly Sadducees. Was his father a Sadducee? This might be one of the reasons for Zacharias' reaction to the angel when he appeared in the temple.

Acts 23:8 "For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor an angel, nor a spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all."

Well ... if he was a Sadducee before the encounter I assume he reevaluated his position on the subject of angels afterwards.

The Jews supposed that when the Messiah would appear, the dead would be raised, judgment would take place and that their enemies (especially Rome) would be defeated and destroyed, while they themselves would be exalted to great national prominence.
In light of this if the people knew that John was the one fulfilling this prophecy (and he did say this about himself: )

John 1:22-23 "Then they said to him, "Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?" (23) He said, "I am A VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, 'MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD,' as Isaiah the prophet said."
It might seem odd that he was baptizing them for repentance instead of prepping them for battle to fight under the leadership of the Messiah. Yet at no time did John ever prepare them for anything even remotely militaristic in accordance with this national expectation. He called them to a change of life; to the doctrine of repentance.

Perhaps they saw his baptism for repentance similar to what Joshua did when he sanctified the people before they went into the Promised Land. Throughout Israel’s history national repentance came before God’s deliverance such as during the times of the Judges. But in the end most of those who were repentant and were baptized in preparation for the coming Messiah (and kingdom of heaven) deserted Jesus (the one they had prepared for). At one point only the twelve remained with Him (perhaps the 120 of the upper room). In the end the leaders (many who may have been baptized by John) and the populous cried out for Him to be crucified. John preached to prepare the way of the Messiah by turning the hearts of the people through repentance yet in the end the Messiah they were prepared for was crucified by them. This makes me wonder about the motive and sincerity of “most” of those being baptized (although some obviously were sincere). Israel’s rejection of John, as being the one to fulfill this prophecy, is linked also to their rejection of Jesus as well.

Matt. 17:11-13 “And He answered and said, "Elijah is coming and will restore all things; (12) but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." (13) Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist.”

But back to the subject at hand and that is; how is Matthew using this part of his gospel to help establish that Jesus is, was and will be their deliverer (Messiah)? It all is founded upon John and who he was. The person who fulfills this prophecy concerning the one who is the “voice crying in the wilderness” fulfills perhaps the most important prophecy concerning the coming Messiah and who that Messiah would be. He is that one man who will point out for all Israel (and the world) who the redeemer will be. All four writers of the gospels include this prophecy and its fulfillment in their gospels. John is that man and he points to Jesus as being the coming redeemer.

Old man
Jan 30th 2014, 01:59 AM

“(7) But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? (8) Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; (9) and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. (10) The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (11) As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (12) His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Whew! This took a while. This section of Matthew was very difficult for me to get through because there is so much here and I was having such a hard time organizing it in a somewhat reasonable manner. So I decided to skip a lot of stuff and focus on one or two important points. Even still this section is not complete without considering the next (verses 13-17) which I will go over next.

The first is that even though this conversation was directed toward the P and S it applies to all who would desire to come to God. The baptism for repentance John preached was more than just being dunked in the water as a show or simple ritual. If the P and S or anyone else really wanted to be delivered from the “wrath to come” they had to have a real repentance with the life style reflecting a true humility before God. It wasn’t enough to have impressive ancestry because the relationship of their ancestor is not applied to them. God is not interested in pedigrees He is interested in those who will live their lives as a reflection of Him. Children do not inherit salvation from their parents and at some time they must receive it by humbling themselves before God on their own.

The wrath to come is the judgment God would bring upon all those who refused to humble themselves before God. And every person (i.e. tree) is already being examined (continually) even though we for the most part ignore or forget that we are continually being monitored by the Holy One before whom we will all stand before and give account to. But before I go on I have to go back and reverse a previous comment I made. It is true that even though this conversation can, does and should apply to all … it is specifically directed toward the P and S with them in mind and by extension to everyone. This actually brings a question to my mind as to why. If this is a requirement for everyone why is the P and S singled out and specifically targeted? Perhaps I will look into this in the next post.

I want to focus on verse 11 first then 10 and 12. The phrase baptize “with the Holy Spirit and fire” is only found in relation to this event and the conversation with the P an S although baptism with the Holy Spirit is found elsewhere the “with fire” is not. Until now I have always associated that phase with some special spiritual encounter, experience or something of that nature until I realized that he was directing this toward the P and S and in context of them having to bring forth fruit in keeping with their repentance. I began wondering why the One coming (Jesus) would baptize them with the Holy Spirit and fire when they will prove to be hypocrites only wanting the notice of men and John even addresses them first as “you brood of vipers.”

A little ground work here. The second most numerous use of the word fire in the NT is in the context of trials and tribulations as the method of refining our faith or as a testing method. The primary use of the word “fire” in the NT (by far the most numerous use of it) is to indicate judgmental punishment (i.e. lake of fire, etc.). This is true in verse 10 where the trees that do not bare good fruit are cut down (roots and all) and tossed into the fire. It is also true as shown in verse 12 where the One coming will throw the chaff into the unquenchable fire. However between these two verses is the word “fire” that does not fit either of those uses at least in the way I’ve always heard it being interpreted. I have been wondering if perhaps we have been misinterpreting it.

There is a pattern which John establishes based upon verse 8 where John mentions (as I see it) that the way to avoid the “wrath to come” (judgmental punishment) is to produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Then he begins a series of clarification statement if you will.

If you bring forth good fruit in keeping with repentance you avoid the wrath to come if the tree does not bring forth good fruit it is cut down and tossed into the fire (verse 10)
If you bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance the one coming will baptize you. You will be immersed (baptized) in the Holy Spirit. If you do not bring forth good fruit you will be immersed (baptized) in fire (verse 11 judgmental use of fire.)
If you bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance He will gather you (the wheat) into His barns (kingdom). If you do not bring forth good fruit He will toss you (chaff) into the fire.

The word Kia here which is usually translated “and” in the NT is a word used in many various ways and on some occasions translated “or”. I am beginning to think that the context of the rebuke of the P and S in this passage based on the consequences of bringing forth fruit in keeping with repentance or not verse 11 would be better read “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit or fire”. This is dependent on whether their repentance is sincere or not.

My next post will conclude the section regarding John and his baptism and explore how this section reveals Christ as Messiah to the beleaguered Jewish Christians in Israel (or Jerusalem) being told by the P and S that Jesus did not rise from the dead and was not Messiah.

Old man
Feb 10th 2014, 06:16 AM

Matt. 3:13-17 Then Jesus *arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. (14) But John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?" (15) But Jesus answering said to him, "Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he *permitted Him. (16) After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, (17) and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."

Although the gospels reveal Christ and what He did and taught; it must be remembered that the gospels were not written by Him. They were written by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit to reveal what He desired to be shown. You might call them purpose driven revelations. I believe that each gospel has a specific and unique overall message which is shown through what is included (and perhaps what is not included as well) in the narrative. All of them have been inspired and written to set Jesus Christ apart so that all who would read would know that there is more to Him while revealing Him to a unique group or in a unique perspective.

I have a different perspective concerning this last section covering the baptism of John. I can’t help but see the two events here as more than a simple record of Jesus being baptized. I say two events because it doesn’t record that Jesus was standing next to John while he rebuked them (the P and S). Both the event of the P and S coming for baptism and the event of Jesus coming for baptism are separate events. The recording of these events are more than a simple historical record. And I think Matthew by the leading of the Holy Spirit is deliberately drawing a huge comparison and contrasts between the P & S and Jesus.

Comparisons I see here:

1. Similarities:

a. The Pharisees and Sadducees arrive at the Jorden = Jesus arrives at the Jordon.
b. The P and S came to be baptized = Jesus came to be baptized.
c. John recognized the P and S = John recognized Jesus.

i. I have always wondered how John recognized them as being P and S. Matt 23:5 "But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.” Did they come to be baptized in their robes with lengthened tassels and broadened phylacteries?
ii. It could easily have been the Holy Spirit who revealed to John who Jesus was and who the P and S were showing that you can’t fool God. He does know those who are His.
d. God responds to both (I’ll explain below).

2. Contrasts:

a. John’s reaction to P and S = John’s reaction to Jesus

i. John’s reaction to the P and S was covered briefly in the last post and does not seem very favorable. It seems more authoritative and though not dismissive certainly does not regard them as in any way superior to himself. He was not impressed and decidedly revealed to them that God wasn’t impressed either.
ii. John’s reaction to Jesus was one of humility. John who every one considered to be a prophet humbled himself before Jesus and indicated his own need for Jesus. Which also reveals Jesus’ authority, prophets do not humble themselves before just anyone.
iii. While he did not need the P and S’s religious show he did need Jesus’ real relationship.
b. Purpose (motive) of P and S coming = Purpose (motive) of Jesus coming

i. Although pure supposition it may be that their motive for coming to be baptized had more to do with establishing their own righteousness in the eyes of men than truly coming to repent of their sins. Matt 23:5 "But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.”
ii. Jesus’ reason for coming was to fulfill all righteousness. However I am still unclear on what He meant by that. Righteousness was based on faith in God just as with Abraham (not by being Abraham’s descendants).
c. God’s response to the P and S = God’s response to Jesus

i. God’s response to both are very telling as well. The P and S being the religious leaders of the day and close to God (supposedly) get called a “brood of vipers”, a warning about hypocrisy and the requirement of true repentance second hand from God’s current mouthpiece (the prophet John). But God Himself says not a word to these men who supposedly followed Him.
ii. Jesus gets the dove alighting on Him after the heavens open up and also the verbal approval from God His Father.

1. The dove alighting on Jesus is a curious thing and since John recognizes Jesus before this happens it was not so John would recognize Him (which seems to contradict John 1:29-34). Barnes says “It does not follow, however, that he had no intimation before this that Jesus was the Christ, but it means that by this he should know it infallibly.”
2. Some have suggested that it represented when Jesus was filled with the Spirit. I have a hard time believing that Jesus was not already since Jesus was:

a. conceived by the Holy Spirit
b. His understanding of God at the age of twelve when He sat in the temple amazing the religious leaders with His wisdom and understanding
c. He was there to fulfill all righteousness He seemed to already know and was working toward God’s purpose for Him.
3. There may be other reasons as well but I believe one reason the dove came was to visibly set Him apart and distinguish Him from the P and S.

Right from the beginning of this gospel Matthew has been revealing Jesus to be more than just another guy and to give evidence for Him being Messiah. In doing so he also is revealing that this Messiah is not part of the known religious order from Jerusalem. From this point on Matthew will continue to compare and contrast Jesus with the P and S showing that there is a huge difference between them. Here the biggest contrast I see is God’s response toward both. Jesus gets the dove and the voice from God while these religious leaders who will later spread rumors denying Jesus by saying He had not risen from the dead get snubbed.

Old man
Feb 21st 2014, 05:54 PM

“Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (2) And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. (3) And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." (4) “But He answered and said, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'" (5) Then the devil *took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, (6) and *said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, 'HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU'; and 'ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP, SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.'" (7) Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.'" (8) Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;” (9) and he said to Him, "All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me." (10) Then Jesus *said to him, "Go, Satan! For it is written, 'YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.'" (11) Then the devil *left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.”

The first question that comes to my mind is why did Jesus have to go through this in the first place? It was obviously preordained or already planned since it was the Spirit who purposely led Him to this meeting with the devil. Jesus obviously knew who he was and where He came from and where He was going to go back to. He had memories of His time before with the Father (“Before Abraham was I am” etc.), His prayer was to be return to the glory that He had before with the Father John 17:5 "Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”, He forgave sins, walked on water, calmed the storms, was worshiped by His disciples. Because of things like this I am not fully convinced that it was simply to be tempted and to overcome the temptation. I think there is more to it than that.

The second question I often ponder (though I doubt will ever be answered) concerning this section is whether the devil actually already knew Jesus was the Son of God? If he has always known who Jesus was then why did he stop after the attempt on Jesus' life as a child through Herod? Why didn't he pursue Jesus into Egypt or try to kill Him there or at any time during any of the other approximate 28 years until this point? Up until now we have seen Jesus being supernaturally protected from the devil's attempt to kill him. Of course he may have but we don’t know because we have no records of any other attempts he may have made. Is it possible that he believed that Jesus perished with the rest of the male children in Bethlehem? Although not the main point I am curious as to whether the devil was trying to get Jesus to doubt His identity or that he himself was in doubt and this event was going to prove to him that Jesus (the thief) had sneaked into his house when he was not aware or watching (Matt 24:43) and this thief will be stealing men from the kingdom of darkness and will translate them to the kingdom of light.

OK so leaving all this speculation behind let me mention now what I see as the primary focus of this section of scripture.

Luke records that the temptations lasted for 40 days and that during that time Jesus ate no food instead of fasting first then being tempted as recorded by Matthew. In addition according to Luke’s record or gospel the second and third temptations are reversed in order; perhaps indicating that the at least the order of them was irrelevant. Since Luke records the period of temptations being the entire 40 days it may be that these three temptations mentioned are more representative of the entire ordeal. However every mention of the temptation in the gospels include these three specific temptations and no others therefore these particular temptations regardless of whether there were others are the primary ones.

Many have undertaken to explore and explain the significance of these three temptations, so I am not going to go into much detail about them; except to say that even though some may say that they represent the wide gambit or areas of temptation experienced by all mankind I think what is more important is how Jesus dealt with them. He was not however simply using scripture to defeat the temptations or the devil. What is important and primary to this event is the particular scriptures He used.

The first temptation is responded to by Jesus when He tells the devil “Man shall not live …” The word translated man here is “ανθρωπος” (anthropos) actually refers to mankind not simply to a single individual. But the implication is that mankind … every man is sustained by the word of God. Every man is dependent for his life upon God’s word or breath which proceeds from the mouth of God which gave life to man in the first place. Physical sustenance means little if anything if God is not giving the life to the body which the food nourishes.
The second temptation dealt with putting God to the test instead of having faith that God is able and does protect those who belong to Him in the normal course of their lives in service to Him. Jesus was protected from Herod, Paul was protected for the ship wreck and the snake bite, etc. But to deliberately put your life in danger just to see if God will come through? …. Perhaps He wont.

Some might say that the temptation of having authority over the nations would be tempting to Christ (God) but: by bowing down to the devil even if He received the nations as promised He would have forfeited them by giving the devil authority over Himself in the act of worship. Gaining authority over the nations was not the reason He came. He came to fulfill God's master plan: the salvation of mankind so at this time authority over the nations is irrelevant.
There’s my brief thoughts on the temptations themselves.

There are two main points I want to bring out about this event the first being what I find as being a common point in every scripture Jesus used. The common point was that He used ones in which God is elevated to preeminence. Those verses exalt the Father. His defeat of every temptation was His dependence on the Father not the scripture themselves the scriptures He uses only explains His dependence on the Father. It is the same with us it is our relationship with the Father and His Son and His Spirit that enable us to overcome not how many scriptures we can quote.

The second main point I want to bring up here is that we see the Spirit deliberately leading Jesus into this confrontation. It isn't a low sub level demon Jesus has been brought here by the Spirit to face. It is hell's head honcho himself that He has to face. And Jesus beats him at his own game. No one in the entire history of mankind has ever been able to go face to face with the “HHHH” and win. Jesus did and in a big way. He said "Go!" and the devil went. Perhaps this was an opportunity for Jesus to let the devil know that his days of having authority were numbered.

This event should go a long way in helping to encourage those beleaguered believers that Jesus is Messiah the Son of God. He has the authority to face the "HHHH" and send him packing. Which P or S could have done that?

Acts 19:13-16 “But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, "I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches." (14) Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. (15) And the evil spirit answered and said to them, "I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" (16) And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”

Here the demon knows or recognizes Jesus as supreme in power and authority and he is acquainted with Paul and obviously Paul’s relation to Jesus. The devil also had no choice but to recognize Jesus is supreme in power and authority there in the wilderness during the testing. IMO there was no contest and the beleaguered Christians could understand this and have hope.

Old man
Mar 2nd 2014, 08:27 PM

Matt 4:12 “Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; (13) and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. (14) This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: (15) "THE LAND OF ZEBULUN AND THE LAND OF NAPHTALI, BY THE WAY OF THE SEA, BEYOND THE JORDAN, GALILEE OF THE GENTILES—(16) "THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SITTING IN DARKNESS SAW A GREAT LIGHT, AND THOSE WHO WERE SITTING IN THE LAND AND SHADOW OF DEATH, UPON THEM A LIGHT DAWNED." (17) From that time Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

Mat 4:12-13 “Now when Jesus heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; (13) and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali.”

I was going to include this small section of verses (12-17) with the next section where Jesus begins to call His disciples because I have always thought that this section was part of the section and context of verse 18 and on. Yet now it seems after really looking at it; perhaps it fits better as a conclusion and transition from John preparing His way to His fully taking on His ministry.

What I find fascinating is how this section balances the previous sections. When John came in the wilderness he was preaching “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (3:1-2) Yet all the time he was telling his disciples that he himself must decrease (in visibility, notoriety, popularity, etc. John 3:28-30) while Christ must increase. In the end John needed to be removed from the scene altogether so there would be no one to distract from Christ and that all would follow Christ instead of John including John’s disciples who must begin following Christ (Ex. Apollo - Acts 18:24-26) (John did come to prepare the way for Christ and not for himself). John exits the scene through being arrested by the leaders of the country he was rebuking for sin. He was staying faithful to God’s purpose even when He would be killed for doing it. But the same message “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (4:17) is continued now through Christ who has now increased while John has “decreased”.


There is more to this prophecy than just Jesus fulfilling it. Jesus just came from giving notice to the devil, soundly putting the whoppin on him and now Jesus moves into an area that is considerably under the thumb of the devil (i.e. sitting in darkness, sitting in the land of shadow and the land of death). It is almost like Jesus meets the devil in neutral territory for the face to face then after beating the devil Jesus heads to the devil’ home town to do it again. Oh and BTW there is still a contrast going on here between Jesus and the P and S. The P and the S were in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali yet even with these (so called) men of God the people were still sitting in darkness until Jesus came and shined His light in the region.

Jesus’ message about how to get out of the land of shadow and death … “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
This is in contrast with the darkness of the land of shadow and the land of death. There is no darkness, shadow or death in the kingdom of heaven. The way out of the darkness, land of shadow, of death is through repentance.

James 4:4-10 “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (5) Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: "He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us"? (6) But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE." (7) Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (8) Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (9) Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. (10) Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.”

This section began with John preaching in the wilderness Matt. 3:2 "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." And Jesus now takes up the same message shining His light to those who need Him.

Old man
Mar 16th 2014, 04:11 AM

There needs to be an explanation of the history leading up to this point because this is not the first time Andrew and Peter had interaction with Jesus. The first time they met Jesus is described by John in his gospel.

John 1:35-42 "… (40) One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. (41) He *found first his own brother Simon and *said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which translated means Christ). (42) He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, "You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas" (which is translated Peter).”

Oddly enough Jesus didn’t call either Peter or Andrew to follow Him at this point. Jesus may have given Peter a new name but He did not tell Peter to follow Him yet. The next day however Jesus does call Philip to follow him (which he did). And even though Peter nor Andrew were “officially” called to follow they did seem to at least hang out with Jesus.

The next time we see any interaction between Jesus and Peter and Andrew is mentioned starting at Luke 4:33 after synagogue (where Jesus casts a demon out). Now Luke claims at the beginning of his gospel that he wrote all the events in consecutive order; Luke 1:3 “it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus;” This is important because Luke mentions that after synagogue Jesus enters Peter’s house and heals his mother-in-law but still Peter and Andrew have not been called to follow yet. Luke 4:38-39 “Then He got up and left the synagogue, and entered Simon's home. Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him to help her. (39) And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately got up and waited on them.”

Luke doesn’t record Jesus calling Peter until later in chapter 5 and the whole event is a bit more involved than what Matthew is indicating. And Jesus was not just walking along the shore He was preaching to the crowds who were following Him.
Luke 5:1-11 “Now it happened that while the crowd was pressing around Him and listening to the word of God, He was standing by the lake of Gennesaret; (2) and He saw two boats lying at the edge of the lake; but the fishermen had gotten out of them and were washing their nets. (3) And He got into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little way from the land. And He sat down and began teaching the people from the boat. (4) When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, "Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch." (5) Simon answered and said, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets." (6) When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; (7) so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. (8) But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus' feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!" (9) For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; (10) and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men." (11) When they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.”

Since this study is not about Peter per se but about what Matthew includes in his gospel and possible reasons why, I will forego any ideas I have about the process of discovery Peter went through before coming to the point of declaring to Jesus; “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!" (Luke 5:8) and Jesus subsequently directing Peter to follow Him. But there is so much to learn from the sequence of events leading up to Jesus calling these four men to follow Him that I find it curious that Matthew limits the calling of P, A, J and J by only recording:

Matt. 4:18-22 “Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. (19) And He *said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." (20) Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. (21) Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. (22) Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.”

This is a far cry from what really happened and it begs the question as to why did Matthew leave out so much good stuff? Again I think it is because he is trying to make a point and not simply record historical events. So what point(s) can be taken from this short very abridged version of P, A, J & J being called to follow Jesus? Two that I can think of right off hand:

That they followed Jesus when He called. Not like the one who wanted to bury his father first or the one that would have had to give up his wealth.
That He is pointing out “who” or the type of people Jesus called. A point is made that they were fishermen yet Philips' occupation is never mentioned and as far as I can remember nor are any of the other twelve except Matthew (Levi) who is a tax collector. The only ones Matthew mentions a specific person being called (outside the list of the twelve) are P, A, J and J and Matthew and at the same time He "happens" to mention their occupation.

John 3:2 “this man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him."
Mat 22:16 “And they *sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any.
Mar 12:13-14 "Then they *sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Him in order to trap Him in a statement. (14) They *came and *said to Him, "Teacher, we know that You are truthful and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any, but teach the way of God in truth. … ?”

These are testimonies from some of the P and S. We know that the P and S knew that Jesus had come from God based on their own testimonies. But Jesus didn't pick them to associate with nor take on as His disciples at least not during this period of time. When the Messiah arrived; according to their own expectations did the P and S expect Him to join them and bring His approval to their teachings and actions? They were after all the religious leaders of Israel. But Jesus didn’t. Jesus picked people who the P and S turned their noses up at and Peter admitted that he was a sinner and the P and S did not associate with sinners.

Israel had been waiting for the Messiah to appear since ….. ? And being a religious / political leader I assume that they expected Him to enter the religious / political leader clique and hob-nod with that crowd. And here instead of being called to be His followers they are passed over in favor of some common fishermen (and later a tax collector). The type of people the Messiah (whom they had been waiting for) is choosing to have as His followers are the ones the P and S avoid. Those whom the Messiah Himself had passed over are the ones who propagate the rumors which are perhaps bringing doubt to the hearts of later disciples. There is a matter of credibility to establish; following the teaching of those who the Messiah passed over (also called a brood of vipers) or follow the teaching of those whom the Messiah called to be eye witnesses of all that He said and did?

Though there is an obviously different motive that Jesus had in choosing all of those he called to follow I think what Matthew here is trying to do is to make a comparison between Jesus choosing these guys over the the P and S would would eventually preach that Jesus did not in fact rise from the dead. In fact as I get into chapters 5-7 this attempt to contrast Jesus with the P and S becomes far more obvious.

Mar 21st 2014, 03:18 AM
I have always thought that Matt.1: was the genealogy of Joseph.
Thus we know that Joseph was not the "Father".
Luke 3:23-38 is Mary's genealogy
In Matt.1:6 it states that David the king begat Solomon
In Luke 3:31 it states The son of Nathan, which was the son of David.
Thus, Solomon, not in genealogy but Nathan instead.

In Luke 1:5 we see Mary's cousin, Elizabeth, was of the Priest line.
Thus we have: Mary's father was from the tribe of Judah, Kingline
Mary's mother from the tribe of Levite, Priestline
Their mothers were sisters.

Marching Through Matthew – 1:1

There are three declarations that are specific regarding this scripture;

• Jesus is the Messiah (the Christ)
• Jesus is the son of David
• Jesus is the son of Abraham

Questions and observations:
• Why is Matthew specifically mentioning Jesus being the son of David and the son of Abraham by themselves instead of simply explaining His relationship to them in their proper place in the genealogy which He also does? It seems redundant.

o Unless the first verse (1:1) is the theory he is putting forth and the following genealogy (1:2-17) is support or evidence for the validity of the first statement. He makes the declaration in verse 1 and gives evidence for his conclusion in verses 2-17. This conclusion could be proven wrong by any of that time by simply showing everyone the official genealogical records.
• Both men are mentioned specifically in relation to Jesus being the Messiah (Christ).
• Were any of the other men in the up-coming genealogy referenced prophetically anywhere in the scriptures as being progenitors of the Messiah as David and Abraham were?

o Perhaps Judah (Gen. 49:8-10)? Yet Matthew doesn’t make a point of this fact.
• There could have been many who also could have fulfilled the appropriate prophesies as far as lineage goes (His brothers for example). So how does Jesus specifically fulfill that requirement where as they do not?

If Matthew is being inspired to write the gospel to give evidence that Jesus was and is the Messiah in order to strengthen and encourage the Jewish believers in Jerusalem and the rest of Israel and perhaps those living in foreign lands then it seems logical to me that he would start at the very basics of what was “Biblically” expected of the Messiah. The very basic expectation is that He would be a descendant of Abraham and of the Davidic lineage; so a genealogy would be a good place to start and easily verifiable by those who would try to contend with, and those who would honestly look into, His claim.

Accurate genealogies were important for the Jews for example when Nehemiah and Ezra were examining the record of those who returned to Israel, they found several men who were part of the priest contingent who could not verify their legal lineage to the priesthood (son’s of Aaron) so were denied the role of priesthood until it could be verified. And this holds true also for the lineage of the rightful king who is to sit on David’s throne; it must be one of David’s descendants. Those contending to fill the “office” of Messiah “Biblically” should meet this lineage requirement. Jesus brought the point up that the expectation was that the Messiah was to be David’s son (descendant) while talking to the Pharisees.

This is just what Matthew does (shows that Jesus is in the “running” for fulfilling the expectations) when he starts his gospel by making the declaration that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

It was prophesied that the Messiah would be both the son of David and Abraham. There are other issues about this which actually invalidate His brothers as being possible fulfillments; but from a solely, (just from the) genealogical perspective they fit as well as He did. But the fact Matthew is trying to establish for his readers is that He did fit the prophecies, which is the point I think Matthew is making with this statement (1:1). If Jesus did not fit the criteria of being the son of Abraham and the son of David then the Pharisees and the rest of His enemies could have and would have proven it at their earliest convenience. (I just saw that shepherdsword made a similar comment in one of his posts)

This genealogy does not “PROVE” Jesus is the Messiah but does validate Him as a legitimate possible contender for the position.

• Passages that I believe state that the Messiah is to be the Son of David:

o Isa. 11:1-5 "Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist.
o Isa. 9:6-7, Jer. 23:5-6; Eze. 34:23-24; Amo. 9:11
• Passages that I believe state that the Messiah is to be the Son of Abraham:

o Gen. 12:3 "And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed."
o Gen. 22:18, Gen. 26:3-5, Gen. 28:13-14; (Gal. 3:16 here Paul discusses an OT reference).

Old man
Apr 1st 2014, 05:50 AM

Matt. 4:23 “Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.”

It may seem odd but I’ve always questioned or should say wondered what the gospel was that is proclaimed. What exactly did He say when He proclaimed the gospel. Matt 4:17 says “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” so I assume that the call to repentance apparently was part of it. This also I know, Jesus often demonstrated many of the things He preached or proclaimed such as when He said that it is good to heal on the Sabbath and demonstrated by healing a withered hand (much to the consternation of the Pharisees I might add). He also demonstrated his statement that He had authority on earth to forgive sins by healing a paralytic.

Here in verse 23 although nothing is recorded as being actually said by Jesus His demonstration of authority over every kind of disease and very kind of sickness reveals perhaps that this is part of the gospel. His kingdom is ruled by one who has authority over every “TYPE” of disease and sickness. Anything that would fall under the categories of disease or sickness Christ has authority over them. This verse doesn’t mention individuals were healed just that if it was a disease or sickness “among the people” common or even uncommon Jesus had authority over it. However ….

Matt 4:24 “The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them.”

Matt 4:24 says that Jesus used that authority to bring deliverance to individuals, another demonstration of what He preached as the gospel of the kingdom. The kingdom was demonstrated to the benefit (deliverance) of real individual people.

So …. Based on what He has demonstrated I think that the gospel that He preached contained messages about His authority over the devil, His authority over every type of disease and sickness and that the authority He has He exercises it on the behalf of the individuals and on the behalf of those sitting in the land of shadow and death. His preaching of the gospel was more than just good words it was demonstrated in power in the real life of individuals, not groups or sects of people but individual one by one people. We are not just part of a crowd or group He notices each and every one of us individually.

Old man
Apr 14th 2014, 03:35 AM

Matt 4:25-5:1 “Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan. (1) When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.”

Though something could be said about the crowds I think what really draws my attention is that it seems that Jesus going up the mountain is because of what He saw in or among the crowds. I say this because of other mentions of crowds and Jesus’ reaction upon seeing them.

Matt 14:14 “When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick.”
Matt 15:32. “And Jesus called His disciples to Him, and said, ‘I feel compassion for the people, because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.’”
Matt 9:36-38 “Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. (37) Then He *said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. (38) ‘Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.’”

These verses all speak of the compassion Jesus had toward the crowds when He saw them. Two observations about this last reference … first that Jesus described these crowds as “distressed and without a shepherd” which is the same condition Matthew mentions of the people earlier about them sitting in “the land and shadow of death.”


Second that these crowds are where the harvest is. It is these crowds or rather people in these crowds that are those who are harvestable. I don’t say the entire crowds because although the entire crowds followed they did not all come to faith in Christ. But there were many who eventually did (I believe). But what is interesting is how Jesus describes those in these crowds who are harvestable to His disciples when they come to Him on the mountain.

Matt 5:2-10 “He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, (3) Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (4) Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (5) Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. (6) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (7)Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. (8) Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (9) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (10) Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

From verse 2 to verse 10 the description seem to point to generic people (Blessed are the ... theirs is. Blessed are those ... they shall be, etc.). Verses 10 and 11 are particularly significant because they seem to be saying the same thing but the focus is on different people. While verse 10 is toward generic people verse 11 is directed toward His disciples. It seems that at this point Jesus begins instructing His disciples on reaching the lost.

Matt 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. (12) Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Although it is possible Jesus is referring to the disciples, because of the change of focus from general persons to specifically “you” that takes place between verses 10 and 11 it seems reasonable to consider that Jesus is referring to general people He knows exists among the crowds and verses 11 and 12 are directed toward His disciples. This transitions by Jesus repeating verse 10 (after applying it to those of the crowds) in verse 11 but referring to His disciples instead when He says "Blessed are you ... " Now He is referring to the disciples (and they will be persecuted for the name of Jesus by the P and S) as they testify to the crowds in His name. Just as the prophets came and testified of God and called the people to repent so too the disciples are now being prepared to do the same. But just as they prophets were persecuted and killed by those they were sent to so too the disciples can expect the same.

Why this may be significant is because those generic persons referenced in verses 3-10 are individuals among the crowds He saw before coming up the mountain. When Jesus saw the crowds he went up the mountain to teach his disciples how to reach them. They were those who were following him in the crowds among those who were those who had been sitting in the land of shadow and death. They saw the light of Jesus now they follow it to be set free (4:16).
Some (maybe not all) of those in the crowd were poor in spirit. Some were mourning, some hungered and thirst for righteousness, some were merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers and some were persecuted for righteousness.
Jesus is beginning to instruct His disciples on how to bring them in to experience the being filled, comforted, satisfied, etc. These are the people Jesus was referring to when He said the harvest was plentiful. The foundation of His instructions to His disciples as to how to bring them into the kingdom of God Jesus will cover next (i.e. "You are the salt of the earth" and "you are the light of the world" and "unless your righteousness surpasses ...").

But I will cover that more fully in the next few posts.

Old man
Apr 27th 2014, 05:41 AM

Matt 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.”

There are a lot of things that salt does to whatever it touches. It can cure, preserve, corrode, sanitize, sterilize etc. depending on how you want to apply it and upon what. But the common denominator is that Salt has an effect on whatever it touches. So when Jesus tells the disciples that they are the salt He is telling them that they are to have an effect on those they come in contact with (which will be everyone). There will be those upon whom the effect will be to draw them to the Light of Jesus. Then there will be those upon whom the effect will be to try to snuff out the light but Jesus just finished telling them that they are blessed and their reward is great when they persecute them for His sake.

But there is also a warning to being the salt. One in which they have living examples of those who were supposed to be salt yet had become tasteless. Eventually they would be thrown out and trampled under the foot of men. In Matt 21 -23 Jesus confronts those who were at one time the salt and then He pronounces judgment on them (Matt 21:33-44 & Matt 24:1-2).

Matt 5:14-15 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; (15) nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.

Being called or set as lights by Jesus (and His Father) they will stand out they cannot be hid what they do will be noticed. It is unavoidable, it is their destiny. Jesus did not make them light in order to hide them but to give light to all regardless of how those who see will react. All who the Lord calls to be lights are called to standout and give light to those around them. Not one of us were called to hide under a basket we all have a purpose.

Matt 5:16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Jesus will actually expound on this a bit more latter. But one point I want to make here is that there are many in this world who do good works. Many unbelievers and yes even atheist can and do good works. But there is a difference between a person giving groceries to a needy family and God not getting the glory for it and a person giving groceries to a needy family and God getting glory for it. The thing is that the light that Christ has called us to be is not for any purpose except to bring glory to our Father in heaven. Not to bring glory to ourselves such as the Pharisees did (again Jesus will touch on this as well).

Apr 28th 2014, 04:00 PM
May the Lord guide you in your study.

Old man
May 12th 2014, 01:22 AM

Matt. 5:17 "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.

When Jesus mentions to His disciples that He did not come to “abolish the Law or the Prophets;” it may have brought to their minds the question “Why would He possibly think that they would have thought that He being a Rabbi and possibly a prophet would abolish those?” No devout Jew would even consider doing such a thing. But Jesus is preparing them for the truth that what He is going to be teaching and exhibiting through His life will not be what they have been taught and seen exemplified up until now by others (i.e. P&S). In fact the P&S will later bring accusations against Him in regards to keeping the Sabbath and more.
But it wasn’t just the Law; His purpose of fulfilling was not limited to just the Law but it also included the prophets as well. This meant that every prophecy that the prophets had made concerning the Messiah (at a minimum) He is going to fulfill including those of His future coming.

Matt. 5:18 "For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

The phrase “For truly I say to you” made by Jesus seems to me to make His next statement a literal statement because He says it is the truth. Nothing of the Law will become obsolete or no longer applicable until the current heaven and earth no longer exists. When Heaven and earth are done away with and the new heaven and earth are made the Law and prophets will no longer be applicable. In other words the law and its authority will outlast the current heaven and the earth we live on.
The Law had two purposes as far as I can see.

It was to reveal Christ. The Law and prophets pointed to Christ and the sacrifice (payment for sin) He would make and the eventual kingdom He would set up and until all of this (including His setting up His kingdom the Law and prophets) would stay authoritative in order to point to Him.
It was to reveal sin. As long as there is sin in this world the Law is there to point it out as sin. When all is summed up in Christ there will be a point where sin will be no more and there will no longer need to be anything that points it out as sin. At that point when there is no more sin the Law will no longer be needed and will be made void.

The writer of Hebrews says that the old covenant was made void when Christ established the new. So if the old covenant was done away with or made void but Jesus says here that nothing of the Law and prophets will pass away or be made void then there are two possibilities here that I can see.

Either Jesus is contradicting Himself
The Law (and Prophets) is not the same thing as the covenant even though most people seem to consider them to be.

Let me do a little speculating here, I still need to think this through a bit more. The Law was made for man to accomplish the two purposes I mentioned previously. It was not applicable to God. He does not need to be pointed to Jesus. He is also sinless so the purpose of revealing sin is wasted on Him. Could it be that while the Law was given to man to reveal the accepted method of approaching and living for God the covenant was God’s promised reaction to their abiding by the Law? If they are separate in this fashion the covenant could be made void while the Law remains in tacked.

When the Holy Spirit came He took the Law (revealing acceptable lifestyle before God) and wrote it on our hearts but He didn’t do away with it. He just made it part of our heart to live pleasing to our God. For those who do not follow God (Christ) the Law is still there pointing to Christ and revealing sin.
The old covenant was God’s promise of how He would deal with sin before real permanent payment through Christ was made. The blood of bulls and goats were like paying only the interest on a debt that could not be paid back. But the covenant God made was that as they made these sacrifices which pointed to the coming permanent payment in full of the principal He would in turn pass over those sins waiting for the full payment to be made. When Christ came and full payment made through His blood the old covenant was done away with (how God responded to sin) in favor of the better sacrifice a more permanent sacrifice which satisfied the requirements of justice regarding sin. So although the covenant has changed the Law has not.

Matt. 5:19 "Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (20) "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

If the purpose of the Law and Prophets were to reveal sin and point to Christ; and someone annulled a part of the Law would that not misdirect peoples understanding of sin and of the Christ? So those who annul the law and prophets are considered to be the least because they are misdirecting others from the truth of Christ. They are in essence leading people away from Christ and a holy life. So those who do such things will not even have part in the kingdom and be excluded.
The level of required righteousness to get into the kingdom of heaven is above that (surpasses; not equals) that of the P&S so the P&S were not to going to enter the kingdom of heaven since they did not meet the minimum level of righteousness which surpasses theirs. This judgment follows on the heels of the statement Jesus made about those who annul the least of the commandments … would be called the least.
Getting back to Jesus’ first statement about Himself not abolishing the Law: His teaching and behavior will prompt the P&S to bring accusations against Him regarding breaking the Sabbath, etc. Speculating a bit more here: interesting that they seemed to give up easily enough when He confounds their accusations (i.e. He was never punished as should have happened if He truly broke parts of the Law.) this would suggest that the P&S knew He was right, they just hated to admit it. Admitting Jesus was right would reveal to themselves and the people (especially the people) how far off they were in keeping the Law and show their inadequate level of righteousness.

Old man
May 25th 2014, 11:02 PM

Matt. 5:21-22 "You have heard that the ancients were told, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER' and 'Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.' (22) But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing,' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.”

After Jesus says:

That He was not going to abolish the Law or prophets.
Those who annul the least of the commandments is the least in the kingdom
The righteousness of the P&S does not meet the grade.

He then says here “You have heard that the ancients were told … But I say to you …”

It was from the P&S that the people had heard that the ancients were told of the consequences for those who murder another person. The context here seems to be someone who has been convicted of or is actually guilty of murder. Although they relate it to being held accountable before a court the Law clearly states that those who are guilty of murder are to be executed for their crime.

The main point here is that Jesus is making a direct comparison between those who annul the Law (verses 19-20) and His own teaching (which does not abolish the law [5:17]). Matthew has been making a point in comparing Jesus to the P&S for some time now and this is no exception.

This is not talking about simply being angry; even Jesus was angry at times (Mark 3:5) and Paul teaches us to be angry but do not sin, but about being unjustifiably angry or angry without cause. Being angry here in this passage seems to imply that the person has in some way given vent to his anger resulting in someone (the one he was angry with) having something against him (verses 23-24).

Matt. 5:23-24 "Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, (24) leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”

Whereas the P&S put most of the weight on the major sins (or physical actions) as being those which would land you in hot water with God Jesus says that they all (sin) will whether they are big or small in our eyes small. Even being angry without a cause is enough to get you standing before the court (judgment seat of Christ) even though there is no punishment associated with it in the Law (not that I have found anyway).

If you are presenting an offering to God and realize or remember that someone has something against you (even the small things) go make it right because Jesus will hold you accountable for even these small things if you do not repent. It seems that here Jesus is saying that God would rather you skip your offerings to Him and be reconciled to your bother (humble and repentant) than have you offering something to Him from a hardened and prideful heart. Before the angry ones offering will be acceptable before God his slate must be cleared with the one he has vented his anger against (unjustly).

The law condemns those who are convicted of murder to execution yet there is no punishment for those who are angry even those angry without cause. The one who is angry (without cause) or the one that someone has something against and are unrepentant (will not be reconciled to those who have something against them) will be just as guilty before the court as those who commit murder are. Jesus is not saying that being angry with your brother is the same as murder but that there are a lot more ways to end up in the hot east before God.

Reconciliation is called for. Jesus tells the guilty one (angry one) to be reconciled (to repent, make things right with his opponent [verses 25-26]) before he is called to judgment. The sacrifices which are acceptable to God are a broken and contrite heart (humble and repentant) without such a heart no offerings made will be acceptable. If the angry one does not repent the wounded brother is in the right to bring him before the judge (Jesus, God) in order to receive justice which according to Jesus he will receive. The unrepentant one will be held accountable for what he has done.

Mat 5:25-26 "Make friends quickly with your opponent at law while you are with him on the way, so that your opponent may not hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. (26) "Truly I say to you, you will not come out of there until you have paid up the last cent.”

This section seems to indicated that even though sins have different levels of severity and different punishments here on earth among men and for many of them there are no consequences, it is not so when we stand before God. All sin will be judged. Jesus tells the people: Luke 13:1-5 “… the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. (2) And Jesus said to them, "Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? (3) I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (4) Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? (5) I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

Matt. 12:36-37 "But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. (37) For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

The main point is that he is giving evidence that the P&S have annulled, weakened or abolished the Law. Through the next couple of chapters Matthew will bring multiple examples to set up a pattern revealing to his readers that there is a great difference between Jesus’s teaching and that of the P&S and He is not the One who was annulling or abolishing the Law. The ones who arranged this rumor to circulate were.

Matt, 28:13-15 “and said, "You are to say, 'His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.' (14) And if this should come to the governor's ears, we will win him over and keep you out of trouble." (15) And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.”

Old man
Jun 9th 2014, 05:17 AM

I don’t plan on going into detail about each of the different teachings Jesus gives in this section (verses 21-48). But I do want to cover the larger context here. Each gospel was written or I should say inspired by the Holy Spirit to be written to a specific group (although applicable to everyone). The Holy Spirit also has a specific reason or point He wants to get across to that group. This is the overall context: the purpose and point of the entire book.

Each gospel contains recorded events surrounding the time Jesus spent walking among men training His disciples to take over for Him when He left and returned to the Father. But none of the gospels record everything He said and did. Each is unique in the grammar, tone and contents within the individual gospel.

The question is then why did the Holy Spirit the Holy Spirit inspire one writer to include a specific event but did not inspire the others to include it? The answer lies in who the Holy Spirit was trying to reach with the particular gospel and why He wanted the gospel directed toward them with this message.

Another context is the individual lesson, event, conversation, etc. recorded in the gospel which has their own specific context dictated by the circumstances, people and reaction; but the Holy Spirit inspired that event or teaching to be included not just for that particular teaching but also for the larger context as well (which may be different). All the separate events recorded add up to and draw the targeted audience to a certain conclusion that would not be reached reading only the individual events.

This section of the gospel Matthew was inspired to write is a very clear example of this. Although Christ has specific teachings about each of these topics; the Holy Spirit included them here to reveal something else in addition to the specific lessons. Notice the pattern here:

Matt 5:21 "You have heard that the ancients were told, …......... Matt 5:22 "But I say to you that …
Matt 5:27 "You have heard that it was said, …......................... Matt 5:28 "but I say to you that …
Matt 5:31 "It was said, …................................................. .... Matt 5:32 "but I say to you that …
Matt 5:33 "Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, … Matt 5:34 "But I say to you, …
Matt 5:38 "You have heard that it was said, …......................... Matt 5:39 "But I say to you, …
Matt 5:43 "You have heard that it was said, …......................... Matt 5:44 "But I say to you, …

Remember verses 17-20 where Jesus informs His disciples that He wasn’t going to abolish the Law and prophets and also the warning that if the disciples righteousness did not surpass that of the P&S? This pattern is in effect giving multiple example of how the P&S were annulling the Law. The Holy Spirit includes two more chapters of similar examples of the contrast between Jesus and those who will later (after Jesus has risen from the grave) spread the rumor that:

Mat 28:13-15 “and said, "Tell people, 'His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.' (14) And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble." (15) So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.”

Which in my opinion is the reason or main or overall context of this gospel as a whole: to give the believers confused by this rumor wisdom, understanding, hope and to build their faith that Christ is indeed the Messiah contrary to what the P&S say. The P&S still held a considerable amount of influence at this time and it was important to set them and their teachings apart from truth. This gospel is in effect showing the believers here that relying upon the wisdom and knowledge of the P&S in matters of a relationship with God was not the best idea. The P&S were not considered by Christ as a reliable source of truth.

Though Matthew includes many more example of this comparison in the next two chapters, I will not go over all of them in detail (some I will) but instead I will go over them just enough to continue establishing the pattern set here in these first six examples.

Old man
Jul 1st 2014, 07:48 PM

Sorry it’s been a while since I last posted.

The next section covers verses 1 through 18 which I will cover in two parts. Even though I am splitting this section the context is consistent throughout the whole. The similarity of the specific lessons of verses 1-4, 5-6 and 16-18 help set the context of this whole section including verses 7-15 (smack in the middle) which seems to deviate from the pattern set by these other lessons. Because verses 7-15 seems a bit different from the context set by the lessons surrounding it I will cover it in the next post.

Matt. 6:1-4 "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. (2) So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. (3) But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, (4) so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

Matt. 6:5-6 "When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. (6) But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

Mat 6:16-18 "Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. (17) "But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face (18) so that your fasting will not be noticed by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

Although Jesus doesn’t specifically say who the hypocrites are that He is referring to He will make statements later on that may shed some light on their identity.

Matt. 23:2-7 "The scribes and the Pharisees … (5) But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. (6) They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, (7) and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men." Refer also to Matt. 23:27-28, Luke 18:10-14 and Luke 20:46-47.

There are two basic foundational points that each of these passages have in common. The first is that of the hypocrites in each section. They are those who do everything in the open and in fact do things in such a way that brings attention to themselves. Their whole purpose, intent or goal is to be elevated and gain recognition in the eyes of men. The alms, prayers and fasting are simply a means to reach their intended goal; man’s recognition. The second is Jesus’ instructions to do things in such a way that does not draw attention to our selves. What I think is more important is the only phrase Jesus uses that is identical in every passage which is “your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”

Although the reward part is significant as to who is giving the reward in both cases; in the case of the Hypocrites it is man who is giving the reward and with those who do things in secret it is our Father who gives the reward, but I think the more fundamental part of this phrase and more directly associated with the point Jesus is making is “your Father who sees what is done in secret”. Remember it is about a comparison of motives here. On the one hand the hypocrites are doing it for the notice of men and their reward and those who do things in secrete for the notice of the Father and His reward.

But corporate prayer and fasting (where others notice) can also gain the Fathers notice and reward and Jesus says in Matt 5:16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” I think there is more to the “in secret” than simply to get the Father’s attention or notice and some reward that He will give. Why do things in secret if there are also times to do things in the open in which the Father will notice and reward as well?

Doing things in secrete without others noticing reveals who we really are; what is really in our heart; what our priority is. Jesus is not calling us to get secrete rewards from God but to give, pray and fast with a sincere heart. With nobody present to perform for; our giving, prayers and fasting are things done with sincerity. Even though we can still have bad motives in our prayer closet they are at least sincere and we are in a place where those motives can be corrected be our heavenly Father who desires to conform, change or mold us to the image of His Son.

The contrast is drastic in its comparison of extremes between doing things so blatantly open and self-exalting (no real sincerity except the sincere desire of being recognized as superior) to doing things in secret where the only two present are me and the infinitely holy Father who sees everything I do, say, think and desire. If what I do, say, think or desire is not sincere in His presence he will make it so before He is done with me.

We can still preach a good word and live our life while in the public’s eye in reflection of our words but what we do when we are not in the public’s eyes reveals what is truly in our heart and our priority. Doing things in secrete, prayer closet, etc. reveals who we really are with nothing to show or receive from man. It is in the secrete places that reveals our level of sincerity in all that we do. If we are sincere in those secrete places then our actions when in the view of those around us will be sincere as well. But sincerity starts and is revealed in the secrete places.

If we act one way in front of people and the church and another when in privet then there is no sincerity or devotion to Christ and our Father in heaven. Our life is nothing but a show just as the examples of the hypocrites Jesus describes as living in this fashion. This is what makes the difference when we display our righteousness before men in such a way that it glorifies our heavenly Father because what we do is motivated from a sincere true heart; sold over to the purpose of our heavenly Father and His Son Jesus.

“… and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” It is those who worship Him in spirit and truth that the Father seeks to be His.

John 4:23-24 "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. (24) God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

2 Cor. 1:12 “For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.”

Old man
Aug 3rd 2014, 07:09 PM

Matt 6:7-8 "And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. (8) So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

This is another example Jesus gives about doing things with a sincerely heart. Interestingly instead of using the P and S as the players in this example He mentions and contrasts the way Gentiles pray with the point He is trying to make. The Gentiles (at least those Jesus uses in this example) used meaningless repetition which according to The Complete Word Study Dictionary is:

“Much talk without content, repeating the same thing over and over again (Mat_6:7), useless speaking without distinct expression of purpose as contrasted to succinct, knowledgeable speech, thus foolish speaking or indiscrete vowing in prayer.”

And even though the gentiles didn't pray to God they prayed to idols it was their pattern of prayer that Jesus is focusing on which should not be followed by those who are seeking God. This is not an example of sincere prayer it is simply a non-relationship duty fulfilling type prayer. The number of words does not in any way reveal a sincere prayer from the heart but reveals a predetermined format type prayer; kind of like a form letter to God.

Matt. 6:9-13 "Pray, then, in this way: 'Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. (10) Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. (11) Give us this day our daily bread. (12) And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (13) And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]'

Jesus just finished telling them that the Father already knows what they need but then tells them how to pray. But this prayer Jesus instructs them is simply a pattern of how we should approach our heavenly Father. If the Father already knows what we need then this prayer is about about putting Him first it is a prayer of seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness first type of prayer which Jesus will go onto more detail about next. This is a prayer of sincerely seeking Him. In this prayer Jesus says to:

• Acknowledge the Father’s identity (who He is) (vs 9)
• Seeks the Father’s ruler ship (vs 10)
• Seeks the Father’s provision (vs 11)
• Seeks the Father’s forgiveness (vs 12)
• Seeks the Father’s guidance. (vs 13)

Everything in this section of scripture from verse 1 to verse 18 all are about seeking after God with a sincerity heart through the things we do including this next part dealing with forgiveness.

Matt. 6:14-15 "For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (15) But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”

The topic of forgiveness in this passage is about forgiving sincerely as well and does not include when or under what conditions it should be given. The context is about the quality of forgiveness; when we do forgive or on those occasions where forgiveness is to be given it must be sincere, from the heart every time.

Most believe this is talking about forgiving all the time regardless of whether the offender repents. This particular interpretation is a result of taking these two verse as stand-alone verses without considering the context of the entire passage. Instead the entire context is about the quality of what we do whether it is prayer, fasting, giving or forgiving; they are all done from the heart. It is not unconditional forgiveness but complete and sincere forgiveness. There should not be any strings attached to our forgiveness. When it is appropriate to forgive someone and when it is not should be looked into using other scriptures (Matt 18 for example) because this passage mentions nothing about that aspect of it.

Old man
Sep 1st 2014, 02:52 AM

This section (verses 19-24) may at first seem like a new topic but in reality it is a continuation from the context started in verse 1. Jesus began this chapter by addressing sincerity in spiritual matters such as prayer, giving, fasting and forgiving. In all the examples He gave if God was not the priority then there was no sincerity. Only when God is the priority are they done with sincerity. This section (verses 19-24) is more a shifting to apply the same sincerity or priority to those “things” of a physical nature such as wealth and that which is needed to maintain our life. But both the spiritual and the physical God must have priority or preeminence.

Matt 6:19-21 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. (20) But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; (21) for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

This is fairly self-explanatory so I won’t say much except that it is the heart where sincerity is from and what your treasure or priority is that is what you will be sincere about. It is obvious in the previous section (verses 1-18) that the hypocrites treasure was gaining man’s recognition.

Matt. 6:22-23 "The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. (23) But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”
For years I have had a hard time understanding these two verses until I saw the context of this whole chapter was one context. Verses 22 and 23 are talking about focus. What we focus on will depend on what our priority is. If we focus on the kingdom of God and His righteousness then the whole body will be full of light but if we focus or our priority is the things of the world (even man’s recognition) then it will be full of darkness. Whatever we focus on is determines what is important (our treasure) to us.

There will always be only one thing that will captivate our heart and attention (or focus) at any given moment. Our goal should be that those moments become decreasingly less on the things of the world and increasingly more on Christ, the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

Matt. 6:24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

Old man
Oct 13th 2014, 08:24 PM

The very foundation of the next section is predicated on the truth Jesus just taught: that you can serve only one master and that master will be what you place as a priority or what your focus is. So far in this chapter Jesus has been highlighting the focus of the Pharisees and their seeking after the approval of man or rather the exaltation of themselves by men. While Jesus, emphasizes seeking the attention of God through a sincere heart after Him; whether in prayer, fasting or giving alms (visiting those who are in distress).

Matt 6:25 "For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Although we see drink, food and clothes as essentials; interestingly enough Jesus says that focusing on these is one of the reasons that cause people to become unfruitful. They are too consumed with the worries of this life. Matt 13:22 “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worries of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.”

Matt 6:26-30 "Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? (27) And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? (28) And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, (29) yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. (30) But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!”

Jesus is not calling anyone specifically as being “of little faith”, he is referring to all those who do not trust the Father are to provide their basic needful things. It is their Father who takes great care in providing for those things He created which are less important to Him than we are. From the Father’s point of view we are much more important than grass and birds yet the care we actually see Him giving to them should be a witness to how He will take care of us. The Father did not give us life to simply deny us the very things we need to survive (stay alive with the life He created in us).

One side note … I find it interesting that even though the ground has been cursed God does not seem to see those things He created i.e. the birds and the lilies of the fields as not still being good. In fact He compares the flowers and the simplicity of its beauty as being of a higher quality than any man made fashion or design. Apparently His ways are better! Go figure.

Matt 6:31-34 "Do not worry then, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we drink?' or 'What will we wear for clothing?' (32) For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” (33) But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (34) So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

What is again curious is that Jesus continues to bring in a comparison to Gentiles and I assume His reference is not to those who have been converted to Judaism. If He is comparing to the generic gentile then He is referring to Gentiles who worshipped inconsistent vindictive gods (demons) who would as soon take away their necessities for the sheer pleasure of causing adversity among the people that worshipped them than give them what the need to survive. The Gentiles couldn’t count on their gods to provide so they had to fend for themselves. To gather and collect all they could whether they needed it or not was their best chance of surviving the next disaster their gods tossed their way. Besides there was the just being greedy for the power and prestige wealth brought to someone, which again put self as the focus and dismissed the Holy One the True One.

While in the wilderness God provided for the Israelites everyday and their clothes never wore out. They were also commanded to gather each day only what they needed for that day (except for on the sixth day). Even though we see food, drink and clothes as a necessity; Jesus’ comments here makes it clear that the necessity is not the physical because God will provide the necessity while we seek the One who provides it.

The whole emphasis in this chapter has been a comparison between what the Pharisees and the Gentiles view or placed as preeminent and what truly should be our focus. While the Pharisees valued man’s recognition or their superiority and the gentiles valued the material possessions Christ is revealing that the true focus should be seeking after the Father with a sincere and focused heart. He should be preeminent. The Pharisees did not put God first while the righteousness that surpasses theirs does.

Old man
Dec 7th 2014, 07:20 AM

Mat 7:1-2 "Do not judge so that you will not be judged. (2) For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.”

The comment Jesus made about knowing them by their fruit requires judgment as does Paul’s instructions to not associate with immoral people (1 Cor.5:1-13). Other references could include Matt 18:7-9, Matt 18:15-20, James 5:19-20 and many others. Even in this passage (verse 6) determining who would be considered a dog or swine (as Jesus describes them) so as to not give what is holy or toss our pearls too requires us to judge. Based on the need to be consistent throughout scripture this verse should not be seen as a blanket statement. The admonition to not judge if taken as a blanket statement is contradictory to the instructions and of the criteria by which we have been told to judge. The reason Jesus gives in verse 2 for not judging shows that He was not implying that we should never judge but to be careful how we approach doing so.

The content of verse 2 helps clarify the previous verse about judging. Here it is not only the actual judgment that is in mind but also the process of getting to that judgment. The Greek word for “in the way” is more about the final determination of guilt or innocence in the matter being judged. The word “judge” is the Greek word “krino” and refers to the process of getting to the final conclusion. The process of how we judge determines the outcome so if we approach the situation with preconceived notions of guilt, bias or even favoritism the outcome will reflect it. The conclusion based on a faulty approach to judgment will be wrong as the adage says, “Garbage in … Garbage out.” The faulty process and conclusion derived from it is what will result in the one who has judged in this manner being presented before God to be held accountable for it. This is the main point of the “do not judge” statement. Jesus’ warning is about what you determine the judgment to be and how you arrived at it.

This is really a warning about judging falsely. What Jesus is trying to warn against are the rash, predetermined judgments, fault-finding attitudes or a tendency to condemn without examining the truth of the situation. Even preconceived opinions we form about each other based on financial status, ethnic group, neighborhood, style of clothes, hair or even the simple unique likes and dislikes of a person are often judged and despised even though no sin or wrong doing is involved. We form opinions of each other often using what we like or dislike as the measure of our judgment. This is an everyday occurrence throughout our lives in how we treat each other and view each other on a daily basis. It is not just a matter of formal “judgment” as we so often apply this too.

Matt 7:3-5 "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? (4) Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? (5) You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.”

The log is the pre-mentioned wrong motives and values by which we wrongly view and judge each other. Taking the log out is not becoming sinless but instead refers to making sure we are avoiding the preconceived notions and self values we determine to be the measure by which we judge things and other people. It means to judge using the same criteria for all who are being judged and not switching the criteria based on who the person is (family, friends, acquaintances or enemies) or what they do, enjoy, personalities, economic status, etc. The log represents the inability to judge from a foundation of truth and instead relying on personal preferences or worse. If we can’t see past our own personal preferences, prejudices, opinions, likes/dislikes or favoritisms then we will not be able to see and judge by “truth” rightly and appropriately.

Remember the overall context of this entire passage from 5:1 through 7: is that Jesus is still comparing that righteousness that must surpass the righteousness of the P & S in Matt 5:20. The P & S were judging the sinners Jesus hung with as beyond the reach or deserving of God grace and mercy. This is evidenced by their disdain for Jesus when He associated with those “worthless people” the P & S rejected as “SINNERS”. Jesus is not saying here to not actually judge but not to judge unrighteously as the P & S do. You can see their preconceived contempt for those they call sinners and their contempt for Jesus because He ate with them (Matt 9:9-13; Matt. 11:19).

Matt. 7:6 "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces."

This is a very interesting phrase in that I have always considered it to be somewhat of a stand-alone verse. Yet as I have been going through this section of Matthew (Ch. 5-7) I have begun to see the different “topics” Jesus teaches about more as small parts of a larger context or concept the writer (or Holy Spirit) is trying to put together for us to see. This verse is no different and taken within the context of the previous verses (7:1-5) actually gives a more complete or balanced picture of judging. But in looking at this verse in the context of this passage there are a few questions I need to have answered.

First; how do we determine when a particular person should be considered a dog or a swine so as to not give what is holy or our pearls to them? The only way to do that is to (ironically) judge them. But then, the judging needs to be done righteously so; just as the previous verses admonishes us to do without prejudgment or criticism and not based on our own values but by truth. Our judgment should be done in a Godly way, with wisdom and truth, not showing preference or favoritism to any (including family and friends) but all judgment is to be justly and rightly given whether it is a favorable or unfavorable judgment.

Second what is it that makes someone a dog or swine? What they do with what is holy and the pearls, reveals the heart of those who are referred here by Jesus to be the dogs and swine. They show and exhibit contempt for the holy and our pearls, they regard them as worthless, they detest and abuse them. After they are done they essentially turn on the one giving the holy and the pearls.

Third; what can be considered as holy and what are those things that are pearls in the context of this passage about judging? I believe that that which is holy or the pearls refer to absolution, grace and forgiveness given to those who are unrepentant and prideful. How often have we heard from those who are stubborn in this way use this very passage (1-5) to reject any correction that is given to them? I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard someone say “judge not …” or “you need to take the log out of your eye …” Never have I heard these comments made as an indication of one being receptive of any correction being given.

If they are dogs and swine (i.e. prideful and unrepentant) they should not be given what is holy and pearls (i.e. grace and forgiveness). God Himself is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble and He also does not forgive those who are unrepentant. Yet to pardon or forgive someone who is undeserving because of remaining prideful and unrepentant is as unrighteous a judgment as condemning someone who is innocent through faulty measures.

We are not to give what is good and holy to those who are not worthy of it nor respect it after they have been given a chance to have it legitimately (through humility and repentance). The dogs and swine should not be given those things which are given by God to those who through humility, have come before Him confessing and repenting of their sins, being reconciled to God and forgiven by Him. If one is guilty they are guilty and giving a pass is a misuse of justice.

Judging and “erring” on the side of grace (as bad as this sounds) is just as wrong. We present a picture of God which is not true (that He forgives the prideful and unrepentant). By doing this, we also allow God’s grace to be trampled by those who care little about it. We wrongly forgive those who do not repent allowing sin to continue by the unrepentant one. We present an image that sin is and will be tolerated. We allow evil to continue all in the name of grace. In reality it is simple permissiveness. The end result of this within the church: Mat 24:12 “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.”

The main point of this passage (1-6) is to judge righteously. We will always be making judgment about someone or something … it is inevitable. But how we judge and the methods by which we come to the conclusion or final determined sentence can be either righteous or unrighteous. On the one hand Jesus starts this passage off with instructions on avoiding judging wrongly and condemning based on a faulty approach. In which case those who are innocent can be condemned unjustly. On the other hand He ends this teaching with instruction to not allow those who are guilty to be given a pass. Do not give a favorable judgment to one who does not deserve it nor give an unfavorable judgment to one who does not deserve that.

Righteous judging requires one to adhere strictly to truth whether we want to or not and whether we like it or not. This is part of what it means to “… worship God in Spirit and in truth” and those who come to Him must worship Him in such a manner. God has His own standard of determining what is right and wrong. If we judge by any other standard than His and come to any conclusion other than what He would come to then we are judging unrighteously and we will be measured in judgment by the measure God has determined. How we judge and what we determine in judgment will determine whether we are judged for bad or unrighteous judgment.

Old man
Dec 25th 2014, 07:00 AM

Mat 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (8) For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

This is somewhat ambiguous because there is no indication in these two verses as to what is to be asked for, sought after or where one should be knocking. What is mentioned though is that everyone one; not just some who are doing the asking, seeking and knocking will get a response. This cannot be however a blanket “ask for anything and you’ll get it” type of prayer context especially in light of verses like:

1 John 5:14-15 “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. (15) And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.

James 4:2-3 “You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. (3) You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”

Verses 7 and 8 should be taken within the boundary and limits of the context of the whole passage. The context of the entire passage seems more in line with who we ask, who we seek and who we knock to gain access too.

Matt 7:9-11 “Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? (10) Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? (11) If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”

In these verses we find out who we are to ask, who we are to seek and who we are to knock in order to gain access to. We know this because it is the Father who is giving good things to those who ask. Jesus states that seek first the kingdom and seeking God as a priority. It is their “Father” in heaven who will respond. He is revealing the level of relationship that the Father wants with them. He is accessible and He does respond to their needs (asking Him), their searching for Him (seeking) and their request for access to Him (knocking). Yet again the important thing here is that according to verses 7 & 8 this is not limited to a select few who can ask, seek and knock but “everyone” who ask God, seeks God and knocks for access to God, will be responded to by God.

The problem was that the P&S seemed to have the attitude that only those who were righteous (according to their standard) would be responded to by God. Not only is Jesus contradicting the attitude of the P&S which He also addressed early in chapter 6 when He mentioned how the hypocrites prayed, gave and fasted; He is also addressing the idea of exclusionism. Jesus here answers the question raised in verses 7 and 8 about what is to be asked, sought after and knocked at. They are to ask, seek and knock for the Father and the only criteria that Jesus mentions as being a requirement to ask, seek and knock he explained in chapter 6 … sincerity, seeking God as a priority (seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added).

Many of those in the crowd were those who were previously sitting in darkness. And for those who were sitting in darkness finding out that God who sees Himself as their Father is accessible to them and attentive to them, must have been revelatory. The ease with which it is to approach their Father in heaven must also have been an eye opener. Our Father in heaven is approachable by those who will humble themselves. Being sin free is not the issue about approaching God; humility and sincerely repentant heart is.

Luke 18:10-14 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. (11) The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. (12) I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.' (13) But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' (14) I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

James 4:4-6 “You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (5) Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us"? (6) But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

Matt. 7:12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

This almost seems like the summation of the sermon. The rest of chapter seven seems to be a warning about following the wrong path (more on that later). With this summation though is a connecting of the sermon to the second greatest commandment … Love your neighbor as yourself; which sums up the Law and prophets. The whole law is fulfilled in the two greatest commandments.

Matt. 22:37-40 “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. (38) This is the great and first commandment. (39) And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (40) On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."

This is what Matt. chapters 5 through 7 are about. Everything Matthew includes in these chapters comes right back to these two commandments. The Sermon on the Mount covers and includes both sincerity in seeking God and works (deeds) of righteousness. You can have works but if they are not done in sincerity they mean nothing; for example, praying, fasting and giving in order to be seen by men. Likewise if you have sincerity but do not show it in practical ways it also means nothing Jesus spoke of this in chapter 5 (especially verses 13-20). See also 1 John 3:17-18 “But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? (18) Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”

But even so; all through these chapters and the Sermon on the Mount is the contrast with the P&S. Even this last verse summing up the Sermon on the Mount is a contrast, because from the beginning it is their righteousness that is being compared against what is correct to gain entrance into the kingdom of God. The righteousness of the P&S was not good enough if the level of righteousness needed to enter the kingdom needs to surpass theirs. This Sermon on the Mount was to explain the level of righteousness which was good enough. Ironically the acceptable level is that which fulfills the two greatest commandments. Since the P&S’s righteousness was not good enough their righteousness did not fulfill those two commandments.

Old man
Jan 11th 2015, 03:11 AM

Matt. 7:13-14 "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. (14) For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Now begins Jesus’ wrap up of the Sermon on the Mount and the entire context of Chapters 5 – 7 is needed to be considered here in order to understand what He is getting at. While it is true that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and that no one comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6) Jesus is not referring to Himself as the narrow way or gate here in this particular passage.

All through the Sermon on the Mount Jesus is speaking about real exemplified righteousness such as He mentioned in Mat 5:16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” In other words living in and by the two greatest commandments. The problem was that the only example of “righteousness” the people had were what the P&S displayed. Which Jesus also said was not good enough to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:20).

Their style of righteousness was what would be considered or as Jesus puts it; the broad way which leads to destruction and many will follow it. The narrow way or gate is real exemplified righteousness abiding in and through the two great commandments which Jesus explains in great detail throughout Chapters 5 through 7 in contrast to that of the P&S.

Matt. 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" (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.' (38) This is the great and foremost commandment. (39) The second is like it, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.' (40) On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

The way is not narrow so that only a select few can enter it is narrow due to the criteria by which one enters. The criteria does not encompass or allow a wide range of beliefs or tolerances of behavior or attitude. Nor is the criteria limited to be followed only by a few of those who would get on this path. The criteria is narrow for all who would get on the narrow path to the narrow gate. The reason so few would get on it is because so many people would rather get into the kingdom based on their own decided criteria instead of those dictated by God which is real righteousness that reflects a relationship with the Holy One Himself.

For instance this young ruler was doing well he had the loving neighbor thing down but he lacked one thing … His wealth was more important than the Father. Loving God with all his heart soul mind and strength was just a bit too narrow because he still wanted his wealth too.

Mat 19:17-23 “And He said to him, "Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments." (18) Then he *said to Him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER; YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; YOU SHALL NOT STEAL; YOU SHALL NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS; (19) HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER; and YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." (20) The young man *said to Him, "All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?" (21) Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." (22) But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. (23) And Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

While it is true that we find salvation in Jesus alone, He still calls us to actually live a walk (or life) that is a reflection of that salvation we have in Him. This is the point of the Sermon on the Mount and in it Jesus describes the level of righteousness that a life in Him should reflect. This life is reflected in and a response to God’s call for us to:

2 Cor. 6:15-18 “Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? (16) Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, "I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM; AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE. (17) "Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord. "AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. (18) And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the Lord Almighty.”

Rom. 6:1 “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? (2) May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?”

Rom. 6:19 “I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.”

1 Pet. 2:24 “… and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”

1 John 2:29 “If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness is born of Him.”

And what righteousness are we to “practice”? The righteousness Jesus explained in this sermon which are practical examples of loving the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves. This is the narrow path which leads to life that Jesus is speaking of and few are those who are willing to walk in it.

Old man
Feb 17th 2015, 12:53 AM

Matt 7:15-16a "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (16a) You will know them by their fruits. …”

Though Matthew sets the context here regarding the “ravenous wolves” as probably referring to the P&S; the concept of watching for those who are dressed as sheep yet are not is applicable today just as it was back then. This is a warning about those who will come that will appear to be righteous on the outside yet inwardly or in their hearts are not so much. Yet the phrase “ravenous wolves” can be misleading if we think it refers to people who come deliberately to destroy those who seek true righteousness.

The “ravenous wolves” comment; I think, refers more to those who are insatiable in their desire and their zealous attempts to have those who seek true righteousness conform to their type of righteousness which is not a righteousness based on seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness but upon their own outward appearance just as Jesus mentioned in 6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”

He tells us to beware of these but how are we to know who they are if on the outside they appear innocent just like all the real sheep? Jesus gives the instructions on how to recognize those who are only outwardly sheep. “You will know them by their fruits.”

Matt. 7:16b-19 "Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? (17) So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. (18) A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. (19) Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

The fruit one produces is that which is produced continually and reliably whether good or bad. Those things which we produce in a consistent manner is the fruit He is referring to here. Jesus said that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks and that it is what comes out of the mouth (i.e. heart) which defiles a man. This is the fruit we produce; whatever is in the heart is what will come out ….. consistently. If one appears to be holy when at church but yet is (but not limited to) being consistently uncorrectable and unrepentantly, critical, negative, complaining, controlling, “chip on shoulder” attitude, prideful or un-righteously judgmental when not around (or even sometimes when around) groups of believers this would indicate a tree that produces bad fruit.

But a big part of the problem is that as believers, we refuse to make this judgment yet Jesus is giving us this information for us to be able to make this judgment if we approach it righteously as He indicated in verses 1-6. This is a difficult thing to do and most in the church seem reluctant and even resistant to the call to judge righteously regarding things of this nature. Fear of being ungracious, unloving, judgmental, unmerciful, unforgiving, etc. or being perceived as such by others stops many from judging as Jesus has prescribed. Paul wrote to the Philippians about this issue when he says:

Phil. 3:17-19 “Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. (18) For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, (19) whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things.”

Why would Jesus warn us about these ravenous wolves if we are not to make this assessment concerning them when we do recognize one that is consistently producing bad fruit? We also know from verse 19 that Jesus Himself describes what the end is for those who produce bad fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Is it not our responsibility to recognize those who do produce bad fruit in order to engage in our ministry to bring reconciliation between them and God since we know their end if they are not?

James 5:17-20 “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. (18) Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit. (19) My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, (20) let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”

Heb. 12:11-13 “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (12) Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, (13) and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.”

Matt 7:20 “So then, you will know them by their fruits.”

Old man
Jun 3rd 2015, 05:19 AM

I think it's about time to get back to this ... it's been awhile. Let me pick up where I left off. :blush:

Matt. 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

When Jesus says “Who says to Me” He makes an astonishing statement and there are two possible way that I can see that this can be taken (there may be others that I have not thought of). The first is that Jesus actually declares Himself to be judge of mankind. If so then is this the first occasion of Him declaring himself to be God? Isn’t God the judge of all mankind? Yet oddly enough it isn’t until much later that the disciples understand and know that Jesus is the Son of God. Even after they realize that, they still don’t get the purpose He is playing as the Messiah. They still think He is going to kick the Romans out. And that belief never changes until Jesus dies on the cross.

Which brings up the second way of looking at this. Even though Jesus may have been referring to judging all mankind and eternal life etc. His disciples may have seen it through the eyes of those expecting Him to kick the Romans out and judge the nations as king of Israel in the current era. They are not thinking Kingdom of heaven in the spiritual sense but in the natural sense of Israel being exalted to lead all other nations with Jesus sitting on the throne of David in Jerusalem.

But Jesus knew that He was not going to sit on David’s throne at that time so in mentioning this now He is referring to the actual judging of mankind before at the GWT. But another aspect to this is that He is declaring that it is His opinion that matters as far as entrance into the kingdom of heaven is concerned and He say it is those who do “the will of My Father in heaven will enter”. But what is the will of the Father?

We know from Matt. 5:20 that the requirement to enter the kingdom of God is that our righteousness must exceed that of the P&S “For I tell you that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, there is no way you will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” Here Jesus says that it is those who do the will of the Father who will enter. I must conclude then that the will of the Father is that we each have a righteousness that exceeds that of the P&S. That righteousness needed to enter the kingdom of heaven is one that represents doing the will of the Father, exceeds that of the P&S and is seen by others as being from and glorifying our Father in heaven.

The will of the Father is more than a simple belief in Jesus. The righteousness is translated into actions that prove a relationship with God actually exists in the one who claims to love God. Jesus said that they will know we are His disciples by our love one for another. But how can they see that love if it is not expressed in the actual things we do? We can say we love our brother but if they can’t see that love practically displayed in real life experiences then they will not know we are His disciples. It’s all about walking the talk not just talking.

1 John 4:19-21 “We love him, because he first loved us. (20) If a man says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who doesn’t love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (21) This commandment we have from him, that he who loves God should also love his brother.”

1 John 3:16-18 “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (17) But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? (18) Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”

Jesus’s expression of love was a real life example displayed in real actual life: He laid down His life for us. Our love for each other should also be the same: a real life example displayed in real actual life. This is the will of our Father.

Matt. 7:22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' (23) And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'”

But isn’t prophecy, casting out demons, and performing miracles practical examples of love in action? I suppose it depends on the motive factor. Remember the examples of prayer and fasting in chapter 6. Although both fasting and prayer is a good thing they are meaningless when the motive is wrong. This passage is actually connected with the previous one speaking about knowing the tree by the fruit. In the previous section passage Jesus mentioned about the fruit as being important. The “gifts of the Spirit” are not fruit. Paul says in 1 Cor. 13 that these gifts without the fruit of the Spirit (i.e. love) are nothing. And in the previous passage (verses 15-20) it is the fruit that Jesus focuses on being the important criteria.

The gifts can operate without the fruit (love, joy, peace, etc.) but without the fruit they are useless. However you can produce fruit without the gifts being present. The gifts have no impact on whether the fruit is effective or not. These miracle are not an indication of being right with Christ if doing them still results in our being tossed into the fire. This comes back to practical expressions.

There is one point here that should be pointed out and that is all these who have prophicied (?), cast out demons or performed many miracles did so in His name. That they did these things in His name indicates people who thought they followed Christ who is judge and it is not referring to unbelievers. This then is speaking about those who believe they are part of the kingdom of God even exercising gifts and performing miracles yet because the good fruit is not present, are rejected by Christ. Just as the P&S believed they were part of God’s kingdom yet did not produce good fruit (the fruit in keeping with repentance Matt. 3:7-12) and they did not believe Jesus was the Christ nor that His name had any real significance.