The Gospel of Matthew
J. Deering, AncientPath.net
The Book of MATTHEW
The journey begins here. Throughout this study we will be looking specifically at 7 features of the four Gospels as seen through Matthew .
1. The Messiah-King
2. The Messiah-King and His offer to establish His Kingdom
3. The Messiah-King who was rejected by His people
4. The Messiah-King who rejected His people and their Judgment of Him
5. The Messiah-King and the Mysteries of His Kingdom of the Heavens
6. The Messiah-King and the Mystery of the Church
7. The Messiah-King and His teachings concerning the End of the Age
Chapter one is comprised of two major themes. The first is the Genealogy of Jesus, and the second concerns His birth.
The Book of MATTHEW
CHAPTER 1, PART 2
Here begins our adventure
One way to understand the life of Jesus through the Gospel of Matthew is to insert some chronological notes from the other gospels. Much of the story of Jesus is not told in any one book, it is a jig-saw puzzle that fits together nicely when you see it from a broader view.
Beginning here we will start inserting "headlines" and verse notes as we travel along Matthew's path.
(A Preview of Who Jesus Is)
Luke describes the purpose for writing a gospel, Luke 1:1-4
John covers from "in the beginning" on through the crucifixion., John 1:1-18
Matthew - Jesus is the son of David and Abraham, Matthew 1:1-17
Mark places his emphasis on overcoming the gnostic philosophy of his day and reports: "Jesus, The Son of God."
Luke - Jesus is pure God and pure man - all the way back to Adam, Luke 3:23b-38
Here we diverge for a time into the book of Luke.
(Birth of John the Baptist Foretold, Luke 1:5-24)
5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah ; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth . 6 They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.
Herod, also known as Herod the Great (73/74 BC – 1 BC in Jericho, was a Roman client king of Judea by appointment of Caesar Augustus. His epithet of "the Great" is widely disputed as he is described as "a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis". He suffered lifelong with paranoia and other forms of mental illness.
Thirty-some years before the Birth of Jesus Herod murder's his 17 year-old brother-in-law, Aristobulus III, by drowning in a pool at a party. Herod had made him "High Priest" and then feared that Aristobulus III would be named "King of the Jews" in his place.
A few years later he intends to murder his wife, Mariamne I, she hears of it and refuses to continue to sleep with him in his chambers. He charges her with adultery. Her mother-in-law testifies against her and Mariamne is put to death and Herod makes Alexandra (the mother in law) queen. She tries to have Herod removed from office - only to have Herod execute her without trial.
Herod then has his brother-in-law, Kostobar (husband of daughter Salome), executed. Then about 7 B.C. he charges his third wife and her sons with treason and his Roman court has them executed.
He is also known for his colossal building projects in Jerusalem and elsewhere, including his expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem (referred to as Herod's Temple) and the construction of the port at Caesarea Maritima.
Herod dies sometime around 1 B.C. (late date) of complications resulting from a disease like scabies (the putrefaction of his living body and visible worms).
After Herod the Great there were no more King's over the Jews - because Herod did not finalize his will and appoint any one of his three surviving sons to be king. Instead one son (Archelaus) served as ethnarch (ruler over an ethnic group) over Judea, and the other two sons (Antipas and Philip) over Galilee, Transjordan, and Golan as Tetrarchs (co-rulers appointed by Caesar).
Most modern secular scholars leave out any New Testament documentation out of their published materials and like to give early dates for the death of Herod the Great. Some secular scholars do place Herod's death as late as 1 B.C. The Biblical account places Herod alive at the time of the Magi's visit, as he was responsible for the Bethlehem killings of the children. This later date fits perfectly with the Biblical account.
Zacharias and Elizabeth
Zacharias and Elizabeth were "righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord." How very fitting it is that John the Baptist was born of such righteous people. In a world where nearly all were distant from God due to the captivities and the assimilations of the nations - here were two of God's righteous servants. Their righteousness is even more outstanding considering that their lives had never been blessed with children. Even today, many curse God because they are childless.
8 Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. 11 And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12 Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17 It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
18 Zacharias said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 The angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”
21 The people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute. 23 When the days of his priestly service were ended, he went back home.
Zacharias as "priest for that day" (see footnote below) has come to make the offerings. There were hundreds of priests - the members of the tribe of Levi, and specifically in the line from Moses and Aaron. Each of the priests would participate in the temple service much like we now participate in the court jury system. They would each be selected to perform their duty on a specific day, in rotation, throughout their lives. Exactly when would be determined either by numerical rotation or possibly by Urim and Thummim. Zacharias is chosen for that particular day.
The priesthood ministers in the same order that the Tabernacle was designed. Zechariah would have first gone to the "Table of The People" (better known as the Table of Showbread) delivered the new bread, sprinkled the blood. Then to the Golden Lampstand delivering new oil and trimmed the wicks and the sprinkling of the blood. Finally he turns to the Altar of Incense and adds new incense, sprinkles the blood for the third time and brings forth the prayers for the people. In his prayer he speaks of the application of the blood, the eternal reminder of the great sacrifice that was to come. And in that moment of prayer he also mentions his desire that he and Elizabeth, faithful servants of Almighty God, might be blessed with a child.
Outside are the faithful multitudes who are praying for the deliverance of Israel through that same great sacrifice - all at that very hour!
Then when he has completed his priestly task he raises his eyes from prayer ... and beholds the angel of the Lord standing there, in all his glory - at the right side of the Altar. The angel tells him that his prayers have been answered - He and Elizabeth will have a son, and he also says that Israel's prayer's are also about to be answered - their Messiah is about to come - and Zachariah's son will be the "Forerunner" for His coming. Gabriel tells him, "It is he (John) who will go as a forerunner before Him (the Christ) in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient (fathers of the nation) to the attitude of the righteous (those who are like children), so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
24 After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying, 25 “This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.”
(Jesus’ Birth Foretold, Luke 1:26-38)
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold:
1. you will
conceive in your womb and bear a son, and
2. you shall name Him Jesus. 32
3. He will be great and
4. (He) will be called the Son of the Most High; and
5. the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; 33 and
6. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and
7. His kingdom will have no end.”
34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
This was a lot for Mary to take in. While Zachariah's question was the result of doubt, Mary's question is only seeking more information. Both questions seem to be pretty much the same when we just look upon the words however; Gabriel's reaction is the key to understanding the difference. Zachariah is disciplined and Mary gets more revelation.
35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. 36 And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
(Mary Visits Elizabeth, Luke 1:39-45)
39 Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, 40 and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”
(The Magnificat, Luke 1:46-56)
46 And Mary said:
“My soul exalts the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
49 “For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
50 “And His mercy is upon generation after generation
Toward those who fear Him.
51 “He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
52 “He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
And (He) has exalted those who were humble.
53 “He has filled the hungry with good things;
And (He) sent away the rich empty-handed.
54 “He has given help to Israel His servant,
In remembrance of His mercy,
55 As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and his descendants forever.”
I have underlined the words concerning The Lord God. In this world where many revere Mary it is good to see that Mary revered none but Almighty God. Even her statement about her being counted as blessed for generations, is a statement about what God has done, not about what she has done.
In the 1600's the Roman Catholic Church (the organization) declared that Mary was to be raised to the position of being venerated and made her a mediator between people and God for the forgiveness of sin - as they had done with many saints who had done miraculous things. Their authority for doing this was to be found in themselves and their political and financial motivations, and not found within the revelation of the scriptures. Many still pray to "Mary and the Saints" and some (wrongly) hold them in higher regard than The Lord Jesus himself.
56 And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home.
(John Is Born Luke, 1:57-66)
57 Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her.
59 And it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zacharias, after his father. 60 But his mother answered and said, “No indeed; but he shall be called John.” 61 And they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called. 63 And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, “His name is John.” And they were all astonished. 64 And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God. 65 Fear came on all those living around them; and all these matters were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, “What then will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.
(Zacharias’s Prophecy, Luke 1:67-80)
67 And his (John's) father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
68 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,
69 And (He) has raised up a horn of salvation for us
In the house of David His servant —
70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old —
71 Salvation from our enemies,
And from the hand of all who hate us;
72 To show mercy toward our fathers,
And to remember His holy covenant,
73 The oath which He swore to Abraham our father,
74 To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
76 “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways;
77 To give to His people the knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins,
78 Because of the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,
79 To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
80 And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel.
The Early Years of Jesus Christ
Part-2 of Matthew Chapter 1:18-25
The Circumstances of Jesus' birth explained to Joseph
1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way.
Jesus was "Born King." That phrase implies two different principles. The first is Matthew's emphasis upon the human aspect of Jesus is to focus the reader's attention to the fact that Jesus is fully man, born through a human mother.
The second is the historical fact that one of the purposes of Jesus' coming to earth (and His humanity) is to place Him squarely on His rightful throne, the throne of David. Like the king's before Him, they were born into this world to take the throne of their fathers. In the case of those who directly followed King David - they were born of a king to be king. Jesus was born King, as the Creator and Supreme Authority of all that there is, His heavenly Father is King. Jesus was born of The King to be KING. He did not become king by any other means. The genealogies place Jesus as the one who would be born King.
Matthew states, "the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way." Matthew had done the research. He demonstrated Jesus' right to the throne. He demonstrated Jesus' line back to King David whose throne He was to sit upon. And Matthew demonstrated that Jesus was an Hebrew of Hebrews, a direct descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah. Luke traces his family all the way back to God Himself. Early Jewish authorities never questioned the genealogies of Matthew or Luke. Just clear historical fact - He was who they said He was. He had a right to be the Messiah and King.
With His right to be King and His right to be Messiah well established Matthew now turns to the life and acts of Jesus in order to demonstrate that Jesus IS the King of the Jews and The One that they should have been looking for as Messiah. This will take up the majority of the rest of his book.
This second part of Chapter One puts the emphasis upon His birth into the Human family.
The Gospel of Matthew demonstrates that Jesus is the MESSIAH KING.
The Gospel of Mark demonstrates that Jesus is the SERVANT of God. The Gospel of Luke demonstrates that Jesus is the GOD-MAN. And The Gospel of John demonstrates that Jesus is in fact GOD.
"To accomplish the work of salvation, to suffer the penalty of sin and to put away sin He had to be Divine and human"  the sum and total of the four gospels.
While his mother Mary was engaged to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.
Matthew makes it clear for us:
A. Mary was pregnant before consummating her marriage to Joseph, and
B. the source of her pregnancy was not a human source but the very Holy Spirit of God.
There are volumes and volumes of books trying to negate Matthew's simple statement. A simple belief in the God of the scriptures and the authority of His word would have saved so much "hot air." However, the acceptance and belief that this simple statement is true has been the hardest task of all of humanity for more than two millennia. The clarity of the recorded Greek words of Matthew is beautifully set forth here in this NASB translation.
In order to understand more about Mary and Joseph at this moment in their lives we need to take an excursion back over to Luke Chapter 1:26-38.
"Now in the sixth month..." Luke has just finished telling the story of Zacharias and Elizabeth and their expected baby, already filled with the Holy Spirit, who would be John the Baptist when he grew up. We are told that the angel Gabriel was sent, apparently in human form, to Mary. He tells here all about what God is doing and that she will conceive a boy and, "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end." He then explains how her pregnancy will take place, (I would have passed out with this news), but her response is, "May it be done to me according to your word."
Mary's experience is confirmed when she goes to her sister's home to help her with her baby (John the Baptist), and Elizabeth tells all about Gabriel's visit to Zacharias and her. How long Mary stayed at Elizabeth's home about three months.
We are not told about the romance between Mary and Joseph. Certainly we must entertain the thought that Mary told Joseph about Elizabeth and her visit with Gabriel, an Angel of the Lord. When we are told of Joseph, it seems clear that he did not believe Mary's story about Zacharias and Elizabeth.
Because Joseph, her husband to be, was a righteous man, and because he did not want to disgrace her, he intended to divorce her privately.
"Joseph was a righteous man." And a righteous man is hard to find. This man considered Mary and her predicament first - before any thoughts about his own person or reputation. Think of the human pressure upon Joseph. He has family, she has family. For most betrothed couples this would have been an ugly mess. It would have been a terrible mess if Joseph had done it. Now, just before the marriage - she's pregnant, and Joseph didn't do it.
Men, what would you have done? How would you have handled this mess? If we look around us we see clear evidence today, and across the centuries, that this kind of a situation has almost never been handled with grace and mercy. Joseph was a righteous man. He was going to do whatever it took to protect Mary from criticism, abandonment, and even physical harm.
When he had contemplated this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
This engagement would need to be broken by divorce, such as was permitted Jews in Deuteronomy 24:1. Apparently to Joseph Mary had played the harlot and so according to Mosaic Law, if publicly exposed, should be stoned according to Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:23-24.
However, Joseph did not act rashly, "But when he contemplated this... "The agony of love spurned. Mary was pregnant. I'm sure she must have pleaded with Joseph, in private, for him to believe her that she had not done this unrighteous thing. Who would you believe? Mary's "not coming together with Him," yet being pregnant could only mean one of two things to Joseph, "she's lying to protect the father," or "she's telling the truth and it's a miracle." Which would you believe? I wonder too... what choice did Joseph make? But, we're not told.
Instead we are told that an angel of the Lord, probably Gabriel, appeared to Joseph in a dream. The angel calls Joseph by name, addresses him in a manner that would remind him that he is, in fact, one through whom Messiah COULD come. "Joseph, son of David..." There would be, of course, others in his generation who could claim that same title - but an angel of The Lord, calling out your name and declaring you, "son of David!" The hope of every first-born male.
Can you imagine... always waiting for the Messiah, and an angel of The Lord appears to you and says, "You're the one!" "You're the one, Mary, who will be His mother." "You're the one, Joseph, who will be His father."
1:21 She will give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Jesus, the Name
"The word Jesus is taken from the Hebrew Jehoshua, which means, Jehovah is the Savior.
Yod-Hei-Vav-Hei, the names of the four consonants of the Name of God, HYVH [or later JYVH], referred to as the Tetragrammation, is considered by faithful Jews as "the Unutterable Name." This name has the meaning of "to be." Believing scholars often render its meaning as "I Am." Scholars believe "Jehovah" to be an fifth to eleventh century fabrication consisting of the JHVH consonants and the vowels of "Adoni" in Hebrew. The vocalization of His name was lost during the captivities or during the Second Temple period of Judaism when the pronunciation of the Tetragrammation came to be totally avoided (an intrusion of Rabbinical law - "God's name is too holy to say") and was substituted by just saying "Adoni."
It is this precious name (Jehoshuah) in which the whole story of salvation is contained. The people of Jehovah are His people, because He is Jehovah, and left His eternal glory, His riches, and became poor, to save them from their sins. When Moses stood in the presence of this descended Lord, who proclaimed before him the name of the Lord, Moses said, "If now I have found grace in Thy sight, O Lord," saying this looking to heaven, "Let my Lord," the One who had come down and stood before him, "I pray thee go among us (Emmanuel); for it is a stiff-necked people, and pardon our iniquities and our sin, and take us for Thine inheritance," Exodus 34:9" 
1:22 This all happened so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet would be fulfilled: (below).
“Look! The virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call him Emmanuel,”
which means “God with us.”
Emmanuel, the Name
Isaiah 7:14 "Behold a virgin shall be with child and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel."
"God is with us," the name promised for the one who would protect Israel from the enemy. The name is also translated as "Immanuel."
Isaiah 7:10-16; 8:8; and Matthew 1:23 as the fulfillment of those prophecies.
10 Then the Lord spoke again to Ahaz, saying, 11 “Ask a sign for yourself from the Lord your God; make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven.” 12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask, nor will I test the Lord!” 13 Then he said, “Listen now, O house of David! Is it too slight a thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well? 14 Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. 15 He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. 16 For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken.
We have to remember the wisdom of the prophesies is that the fulfillment is always multi-faceted. There is the event that is immediate - a fulfillment that occurs at or near the prophecy, then there is, sometimes, a fulfillment that was in the future as a pattern of things to come, and finally there is the ultimate fulfillment which is in Jesus Christ. We also need to remember that Jesus Himself has a past, present, and future in His relationship to all things.
We can see three such fulfillments in these verses. The first fulfillment would be in the time of Ahaz (further explanation below), then second would be in the future to Judah, and in the present [to the Gospel writers] at the time of Jesus, and in the future to all (as of this time) when Jesus Himself will complete all prophecy regarding the salvation of Israel and the Gentiles.
On the Hebrew word for Virgin
Gaebelein included the following, as a footnote in his book. I won't quote the entire statement.
"That the word almah, in Isaiah denotes an untouched virgin, sufficiently appears from the sense of the passage - Isa. 7:14. King Ahaz was afraid lest the enemies that were now upon him might destroy Jerusalem and utterly consume the house of David. The Lord meets this fear by a sign and a most remarkable promise, namely, 'that sooner should a pure virgin bring forth a child than the family of David perish.'
This is "as much as if the prophet had said, 'Be not so troubled O Ahaz, does it not seem an impossible thing to thee, that never will happen, that a pure virgin become a mother? But I tell thee such a virgin shall bring forth a son, before the house of David shall perish'"
1:24 When Joseph awoke from sleep he did what the angel of the Lord told him. He took his wife, 1:25 but did not have marital relations with her until she gave birth to a son, whom he named Jesus.
John R. Rice, in his book Matthew, The King of the Jews, has this to say about the family of Jesus.
"Since never a word of Scripture is wasted, it is fair to assume that if Joseph 'knew her not till (before) she had brought forth her firstborn son," he did know her after she had brought forth her firstborn son. The Scripture names Jesus as her 'firstborn son,' Jesus is not called simply Mary's son, and certainly not called her only son, but her 'firstborn son.' The language infers that there were other sons and daughters born to Mary and Joseph after the birth of Jesus. Matthew 13:55-56 says, 'Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And His sisters, are they not all with us?"
The younger brothers of Jesus are mentioned many times, for example in Matthew 12:46-47; John 7:3-5; and Galatians 1:19. There are four listed brothers; James "The Just," (Heb. Jacob); Joses (Heb. Joseph, like his biological father), which we no nothing about, Simon who is called "the brother of Jesus," (to differentiate him from Simon Peter) and Jude, Juda or Judas, the Apostle (cp., Matthew 13:55).
Perhaps the strongest evidence that Mary had other children is the Prophecies of Psalm 69:8, "I am become a stranger to my brethren and an alien unto my mother's children."
The Timing of The Messiah
So many things come together to this moment. Briefly:
1. The Jews have been in the land long enough to establish their own identity again.
2. The modern world was in turmoil because the people were, once again, under rule of a dominating government (Rome). That government had exerted so much secular rule over the Jews that the Jews, having in recent history been subdued by the Romans, that they were ready for either a revolt - or the emergence of a Jewish leader to free them from their captives.
3. The Greek language, which is so expressive (so many words of description and detail), was the main-stream language of the day. No other language, even Latin, could be efficient enough to describe the words of God.
4. All trade routes heading from North to South, and East to West had to go along established roads, many of which the Romans had built. This allowed the Gospel to flourish.
5. Great Satanic presence was obvious. There were many people in the streets who were not only possessed, but the people recognized it.
6. The method of the death penalty became crucifixion.
7. The Old Testament Scriptures had gone east and were known and understood by eastern astronomers, scholars and "magicians."
8. The Forerunner had preceded the Messiah.
Back to LUKE
(The Birth of Jesus, According to Luke, Luke 2:1-7)
2 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. 2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.
The Census of Quirinius refers to the enrollment of the Roman Provinces of Syria and Judea. Various dates are espoused for these enrollments and more recent research is confirming that Caesar Augustus took the census more often than the three times that are often quoted. The timing of this specific census will perhaps be verified through research. We do know that Augustus did invoke the census and even one the three currently researched occasions are within normal tolerances for dates in this time period.
Both Joseph and Mary were descendants of the House of David and needed to be present in Bethlehem for the census. Their homes were in Nazareth and that is where they intended to return to establish their new home as husband and wife.
6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The question often is asked, "When was Jesus born?" - As to year and time of year... Scholars drift all around on various dates. There seems to be no clear conclusion concerning the Census of Quirinius as to which years it took place. There is no clear reference as to it's timing as to months or seasons either. So there is no help there.
The facts have not all been revealed and yet what has been learned over the centuries still does not devaluate anything the Scriptures have to say. We do know that Herod the Great and Quirinius are both involved. That places the events of Jesus Birth somewhere between 7 B.C. and 2 B.C. And that's as close as anyone can reason.
We do know that the shepherds were out at night tending their sheep. That narrows down the timing somewhat, in that they would not be in the fields during those times when the grass was not sufficient to be used as easy food.
Events and dates of this time are very hard to narrow down as it was a time of constant revolt and/or acquisition of lands and territories by many differing countries and rapidly changing leaderships. From 400 B.C. to about 90 A.D. the world was in constant upheaval and change. That which was written down was either smashed or burned as each area was acquired by a new conqueror. On top of this mess was the constant changing of calendars. Often the current calendar was changed to agree with the political motivations of the local dictator. The rewriting of history is not a new concept.
(The Witness of the shepherds, in the fields near Bethlehem, Luke 2:8-20)
8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
This is possibly one of the most misquoted verses of the Bible - right up there with "The Lord helps those who help themselves!" The New American Standard gives us a really crisp translation. God's peace is only toward those who are at peace with Him. It is only possible to be at peace with God if you have the "kosher heart," the Heart for God, where all unrighteousness has been cut away from the heart of man. Only He can do this - and in the O.T. is it based on the finished work of Christ on the Cross - just as it is today.
15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
(Jesus presented at the Temple and The Circumcision of Jesus, Bethlehem, Luke 2:21-39)
21 And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was then called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.
22 And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what was said in the Law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”
The sacrifice to be offered was that of a "Sin Offering." However its use here was to "cleanse from defilement" as the birthing process brings forth the woman's blood which defiles her and all that touch it.
The specific part of the Mosaic Law that covers this is Leviticus Chapter 12. It is interesting to note that this important moment takes the entirety of Chapter 12 to tell about it (and the next three chapters concern it). The mother would be unclean for seven days following the birth of a male child and then on the eighth day she is required to present the baby to the Priest for circumcision although she is forbidden to enter the Temple or touch anything that is consecrated to the Lord (including the Priest). Following the circumcision she will again become unclean and must remain so for an additional thirty-three days. Upon the completion of that thirty-three days she is to bring two offerings, in Mary's case two turtle doves (or 2 pigeons), one for a burnt offering, which is an act of worship indicating complete submission to God, and one for a sin offering, which will effect her cleansing from the defilement of the blood, and then "the Priest shall make atonement for her, and she will be clean."
Gehard Hasel notes that the "blood affects atonement or cleansing for the sinner because it appears to serve as the agent that transfers sin into the sanctuary." While Dr. Hasel is a seventh day Adventist his comments concerning the purpose of the blood are quite correct. In the ultimate anti-type, the blood of Christ is the method with which God has chosen to use in the effective and efficient transfer of the penalty for sin from "Christ made sin for us" to "Christ our Salvation."
While Mary's birth blood is not categorized in the Old Testament as intentional or unintentional sin, it is by nature a defilement as it was not shed during the process of atonement. The "Blood of Christ" is of such importance to God that all other blood is a defilement - unless it is being used for atonement or forgiveness (i.e., the sacrifices or types, such as "white robes washed in the blood of the Lamb").
25 And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to carry out for Him the custom of the Law, 28 then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God, and said,
29 “Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace,
According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 A Light of revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”
Isaiah spoke of the "consolation of Israel" many times. He, Ezekiel, and Zechariah all wrote of that time when "the comforter of Israel" would come and restore Israel to a believing, much blessed, nation. This man Simeon was doing just what He was supposed to be doing - Watching for the one who would come, the Messiah, the Christ, the consolation (or comfort) of the Hebrew nation. Because he was waiting and watching, he received the blessing of seeing his hopes and dreams come true upon his meeting with the baby Jesus.
Simeon, led by the Holy Spirit of God, revealed what God had intended every Hebrew heart to desire about this "coming one" ...
1. He is the Salvation of God
2. He has been Prepared by God
3. He has been Prepared in the presence of ALL peoples,
4. He is the 'Light' of Revelation from God to the Gentiles
5. He is the Glory of the Hebrew People
33 And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— 35 and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
Simeon's message continues ...
1. This Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel
2. This Child is appointed as the Sign ... to be opposed
3. This Child is appointed to pierce even Mary's soul
4. For the Purpose that the THOUGHTS from many hearts MAY BE REVEALED.
On the heart of the Holy Spirit is the forthcoming offer and rejection of God's Son. Every heart will be exposed, and in the time He has left on earth the hearts of the majority of His own people Israel will be exposed as desiring Him - to be put to death as they reject Him as their promised "consolation."
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. 38 At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
Here we find another witness who is prepared to give testimony to the nature and authenticity of this child. This time it is revealed that Jesus has come as "the redemption of Jerusalem." This is a "far-view" prophecy that is being fulfilled, for Christ will redeem Jerusalem - but not yet, not until He has finished with the Church Age, and then after the Tribulation where Israel is cleansed, at His second coming.
Return to Nazareth
39 When they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth.
Nazareth is the "home town" of Jesus and his family. Dr. Ray Pritchard of Crosswalk.com says...
"Nothing much came from Nazareth, an obscure village tucked away in the hills of Galilee. We have lots of names for places like that; Backwoods, Boondocks, Hicksville, Trailer Park territory, Home of the rednecks, Illiterate, Backwards, Behind the times, Dead end. And those are the nice names. Every country and state and province has a place like Nazareth. It’s a place so remote that nothing ever happens there, no one of distinction lives there, and no one of importance comes from there."
It would be a man named Nathanael who will ask the question, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth." Philip will answer him "Come and see!" (John 1:46).
The End of Matthew Chapter One
References to the stories of:
Perez cf. Ruth 4:18-22; 1 Chron 2:1-15
Rehab cf. Joshua 6:25
Ruth cf. Joshua 6:25
Jesse cf. 1 Samuel 16:1; 17:12
David cf. 2 Samuel 12:24
Solomon cf. 1 Chronicles 3:10-14
Uriah cf. 2 Samuel 12:10
Jechoniah cf. 1 Chronicles 3:178-19
Babylon cf. Esther 2:6; Jeremiah 24:1, 27:20
Shealtiel cf. Ezra 3:2
 We will be following the chronology provided by: Thomas, Robert and Gundry, Stanley, A Harmony of the Gospels, Moody Press, 1978, Chicago
 King Herod. This was Herod the Great, whose family, though nominally Jewish, was an Edomite. He was king, with Roman help, from 37 to 4 B.C. He built the Temple in Jerusalem that Christ knew.
 Not the Zacharias of Matt. 23:35 and Luke 11:51 who was slain between the Altar and the Temple - that would be Zechariah of 2 Chron. 24:20-21.
 Work in the temple was divided among "divisions" of priests, each division named for its leader (1 Chron. 24:10).
 Elizabeth, like Zachariah, was of a priestly family.
 Cousin of Mary, mother of Jesus.
 The privilege of burning incense would happen only once in the lifetime of any priest.
 Gabriel, name means "man of God." (see vs. 19), he and Michael are the only two angels named in the Bible.
 Elijah preached repentance.
 The people probably thought he had died.
 After serving Zechariah was free to return to his home in the hill country, probably not far from Jerusalem (c.f. v. 39).
 "Into the breastplate of the High Priest were placed the Urim and Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goes before the Lord" (Ex. 28:30). These formed the medium through which the high priest ascertained the will of Jehovah in regard to any important matter affecting the theocracy (Num. 27:21). The actual devices were never described. One source see them as possible three stones, similar to the 12 gemstones of the high priest's breastplate, inscribed with "yes," "no," and one blank. They would have been cast (tossed) to determine an answer. Unlike any other device, they were guided by the hand of God and would reflect His will. They were deposited in the now missing "Ark of the Covenant."
 Elijah preached repentance.
 Approx. 6 mo. before Mary becomes pregnant with Jesus.
Her disgrace and shame - being barren.
 Engaged - pledged, a binding contract for marriage.
 Jesus - "The Lord is Salvation."
 The Expression "Son of God," represents equality with God.
 The word catholic means "of interest to all." During the early years of the Roman Church this word was added, thus becoming "The Roman Catholic church," in an attempt to say that this church organization was the only earthly representation of the visible Body of Christ. In later usage it becomes simply "the Catholic church" or just "Catholic." There has actually never been any single organization which represents the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is a living organism and is never represented by an organization. It is instead, "Christ living in me." Individual members of the Body of Christ may organize into individual "churches," however no single church organization could ever speak for The Christ.
 They could not believe that a member of the Priesthood would not name their son after himself or "a famous Priest."
 "a Horn," or "Horns" represent great power.
 While often "those who are in darkness" are interpreted as the Gentiles, in this verse it is obvious that the Holy Spirit, speaking through Zacharias, speaks of the darkness of Israel. It is Israel who was set aside into captivity because she had become darkness itself by turning to idolatry and paganism. It is Israel that one day the sunrise will bring forth her King in all His glory as He administers salvation to her (Post-tribulational second coming of Jesus).
 Gaebelein, Arno C., Gospel of Matthew, Our Hope, New York. Henceforth Dr. Gaebelein's work will be referred to as just Gaebelein.
 It would be later, especially in the book of Hebrews, in which we learn of His specific rights to be the High Priest of a new order of Believer Priests.
 Gaebelein, p. 27
 It shouldn't have to be said, but John the Baptist is not a member of a Baptist church. He is called "The Baptizer" because he baptized Jews for their act of repentance as they turned back to God from Idolatry and paganism. "The Baptizer" is later made into an idiomatic expression, "John the Baptist."
 Gaebelein Vol. 1, p. 33
 Rice, John R., D.D., Litt.D., Matthew - The King of the Jews, Sword of the Lord Publishers, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, p. 29
 Hasel, Gherhard, Blood and O.T. Sacrifice, Andrews University paper.
 Isaiah 40:1; 49:13; 51:3; 52:9; 61:2; Ezekiel 14:22; Zechariah 1:17 (and these are only the references that use the words consolation or comfort). We should also add 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 as partial fulfillment of this promise "Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace. Comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work."
 Pritchard, Ray, President of Keep Believing Ministries, www.crosswalk.com