Month: March 2014

‘The Love Chapter’

Here is a very good analysis of God’s word to the Corinthians of old, and to us today. Mike Snow captures well the conflict between what is portrayed wrongfully as love by the world and what God says is love.

TextsInContext

Sad to say, most Christians read a great passage like “The Love Chapter” as if it stands alone, oblivious to the fact that Paul wrote a letter not chapters. First Corinthians, like the rest of the New Testament, stood without chapter divisions for over a millennium….

 

To divorce the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians from the rest of

the letter is to do violence to God’s word. This clouds our

understanding because it betrays the context. Regarding rules for

study, Haddon Robinson on Radio Bible Class is fond of quoting one of

his seminary colleagues: “Context is king.”

 

So, let us look at the context of love in First Corinthians.

Paul describes some of the qualities of love in verse four of

chapter thirteen: long-suffering, kind, absence of envy and

of parading itself, not puffed up. Being puffed up described

the Corinthians themselves (5:4). This attitude allowed them

to…

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A Work in Progress

ImageJust a reminder, this blog is a work in progress.  I am new to this format and am still learning how to do things.  In time, I hope to learn to enable links within each post to end notes and to other posts that are connected.  For now, bear with me and just scroll down to the appropriate end note in whatever document you’re in.

Thank you.

Michael.

Meditations on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, Chapter 6

Adapted from manuscript notes written from 2003 to 2010

By

Michael Fernandez

Posted Sunday, March 23, 2014

A detailed commentary on Matthew’s Gospel adapted from manuscript notes originally written between 2003-2010 and updated with newer information and improved references as the transcription process continues.  All Scriptures cited are from the New King James Version (NKJV/NKJ) unless otherwise noted.

MATTHEW CHAPTER 6 COMMENTARY

6:1-6    Motives

Jesus addresses our motives for what we do.  He tells us here (and also in verses 16-18) to not do things “to be seen” by men, but rather, do them unto God.

Compare Ephesians 6:5-7; Colossians 3:17, 22-23[i][END NOTES].

6:6       Prayer

See notes to 6:1-6 above for the general context of this verse.

I have heard some people attempt to use this verse, which is within the general context of verses 1-6, to say that we are sinning whenever we engage in public prayer (e.g., saying grace in a restaurant, group prayer, etc.)

This cannot be the case.  Jesus Himself – our example to follow – engaged in public prayer!

So, what does this apply to?  The key lies in the motivation not the method of prayer.  Notice, Jesus previously addressed motive as the key factor for why we should not pray before men to be seen; that motive is pride, cf. 6:1, 5.  The point being, to examine our own motives for anything we do (cf. 1st Corinthians 11:31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged; 2nd Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified).

6:7       Prayer II

“Do not use vain repetitions,” is a reference to the types of prayers practiced in the Oriental world and common to a number of pagan religions, e.g., the use of prayer beads (as in a rosary), prayer wheels, etc., with a number of prayers repeated for each bead or turn of the wheel.  These practices are still common in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Roman Catholicism.

6:9-13   The Lord’s (so-NAMED) Prayer

This prayer is misnamed; it is not the “Lord’s” prayer.  The Lord had no need to ask for forgiveness!  This is, however, a model prayer given to us by the Lord.  He gave us this example of prayer (cf. Luke 11:2-4[ii]) in response to the disciples’ request that He teach them (how) to pray (cf. Luke 11:1).

For the ultimate Lord’s Prayer, as recorded in Scripture, read John Chapter 17[iii].

6:10      Thy Will Be Done

A.W. Pink (1886-1952), in his book The Sovereignty of God, makes a very interesting and, I believe, valid observation regarding this verse and the petition involved.  Pink writes in the 11th Chapter:

“For example, it has been asked, If what we see in the world today is but the outworking of God’s eternal purpose, if God’s counsel is NOW being accomplished, then why did our Lord teach His disciples to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”?  Is it not a clear implication from these words that God’s will is not now being done on earth?  The answer is very simple.  The emphatic word in the above clause is “as.”  God’s will is being done on earth today, if it is not, then our earth is not subject to God’s rule, and if it is not subject to His rule then He is not, as Scripture proclaims Him to be, “The Lord of all the earth” (Josh. 3:13).  But God’s will is not being done on earth as it is in Heaven.  How is God’s will “done in Heaven”?—consciously and joyfully.  How is it “done on earth”?  For the most part, unconsciously and sullenly.  In Heaven the angels perform the bidding of their Creator intelligently and gladly, but on earth the unsaved among men accomplish His will blindly and in ignorance.  As we have said in earlier pages, when Judas betrayed the Lord Jesus and when Pilate sentenced Him to be crucified they had no conscious intentions of fulfilling God’s decrees yet, nevertheless, unknown to themselves they did do so!” (Pink, 1930, pp. 143-144)

The above was a response to the objection to the doctrine of the “Sovereignty of God in Operation” in the world of Pink’s day, shortly after the horrors of WWI, and the subsequent worldwide Depression of that began in 1929.

6:22-23Dark Light?

Compare with Luke 11:34-36[iv].

As Jesus is teaching a spiritual lesson here and not biology or physics lesson, the main point is a spiritual one.  It is summed up here in the question, “If the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness?”

Jesus’ lesson here is set within a series of lessons regarding the focus of our affections, e.g., whether earthly minded or spiritually minded, the former being condemned, the latter praised.  Jesus compares the function of the eyes in conveying information of the surrounding world to the mind, so that reasonable, rational decisions can be made in regard to what actions or direction to take, and the problems physical blindness cause in those functions, with something considerably worse, spiritual blindness mistaken for spiritual sight.  Of the two, the latter is the more dangerous as often the one suffering this type of blindness is not even aware that he is blind.  A good example of this blindness confused for sight, is that of the Pharisees, of whom Jesus called, “Blind leaders of the blind.”  See Matthew 15:14and note: “Blind Leading the Blind[v].”

            Practical Application

As with the rest of Scripture, which is “Profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” cf. 2nd Timothy 3:16, there are practical applications of this teaching such as follows:

That the entire section in which it is found, verses 19-34, is a warning against worldliness and worldly-mindedness in the areas of money and what it supposedly represents – security.

A more general warning against the religiosity or false religion, spirituality.  Consider the fact that the Lord’s most scathing denunciations were reserved not for the run of the mill, average, screwed-up sinner who knew he was screwed-up, but for the Scribes, Pharisees, priests, and other such who made a big production of how “holy” they acted, but inside they were spiritually dead.  That is what Isaiah warned against when he wrote, “Woe to those who…put darkness for light and light for darkness.”  cf. Isaiah 5:20.

A warning against false assurances of salvation.  This is found in noting of the fact that, as here, the Scriptures are full of warnings against loving the world or the things of the world, against being carnally minded.  Compare 1st John 2:15-16; Romans 8:5-6[vi].

As Paul wrote in 2nd Corinthians, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.  Test yourselves…”  (2nd Corinthians 13:5, ellipsis added.)

Here is one area of importance to check; what is the focus of your affection?  The world and those things of the world, or the Lord and His kingdom?  See also, 6:24; 6:25-34 and related notes following.

6:24      Only One

You can’t serve two masters!  Period, end of discussion.

6:25-34Don’t Worry

Worry is sin.  How?  Because it is rooted in unbelief and is an act of disobedience to Jesus’ own command to not worry.

Unbelief itself is rooted in the “pride of life.”  See 1 John 2:15-17[vii] for more on this.

In light of these and other passages, cf. Luke 12:22-29; Philippians 4:6[viii], it is clear that to “worry” is to sin; it is an act of unbelief, of a lack of trust/faith in God, not to mention the fact that it is a waste of time and can cause physical illness(es) related to stress.

 END NOTES:


[i] Ephesians 6:5-7; Colossians 3:17, 22-23

Ephesians 6:5-7

(5)  Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ;

(6)  not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,

(7)  with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men,

Colossians 3:17, 22, 23

(17)  And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

(22)  Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God.

(23)  And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,

 

[ii]Luke 11:1-4

(1)  Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

(2)  So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

(3)  Give us day by day our daily bread.

(4)  And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.”

 

[iii]John 17:1-26  Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,  (2)  as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.  (3)  And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  (4)  I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.  (5)  And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.  (6)  “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.  (7)  Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You.  (8)  For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.  (9)  “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.  (10)  And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.  (11)  Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.  (12)  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.  (13)  But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.  (14)  I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  (15)  I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.  (16)  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  (17)  Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.  (18)  As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  (19)  And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.  (20)  “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;  (21)  that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  (22)  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:  (23)  I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.  (24)  “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.  (25)  O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me.  (26)  And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

 

[iv] Luke 11:34-36.

(34)  The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness.

(35)  Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness.

(36)  If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.”

As Jesus is teaching a spiritual lesson here and not biology or physics lesson, the main point is a spiritual one.  It is summed up here in the question, “If the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness?”

 

[v]Matthew 15:14

(14)  Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”

15:14     Blind Leading Blind

●             Why did Jesus refer to the Pharisees as, “the blind leading the blind”?  (Bold added).

It was certainly not because they did not have the Word of God available to them, to give light to their eyes.  No, it was because they did not heed that Word, putting their own traditions and customs before God’s Word, cf. 15:1-9.  Thus, they were the (spiritually) blind leading those poor lost (spiritually blind) souls into the pits of hell instead of into the light of God’s love as they expected.

Matthew 15:1-9

(1)  Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying,

(2)  “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.”

(3)  He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?

(4)  For God commanded, saying, ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER’; and, ‘HE WHO CURSES FATHER OR MOTHER, LET HIM BE PUT TO DEATH.’

(5)  But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”–

(6)  then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.

(7)  Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying:

(8)  ‘THESE PEOPLE DRAW NEAR TO ME WITH THEIR MOUTH, AND HONOR ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR FROM ME.

(9)  AND IN VAIN THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN.’ “

 

[vi] 1st John 2:15-16; Romans 8:5-6

1 John 2:15-16

(15)  Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

(16)  For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world.

Romans 8:5-6

(5)  For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

(6)  For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

 

[vii]1 John 2:15-17

(15)  Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

(16)  For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world.

(17)  And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

2:15-17Don’t Love the World

•             The three temptations – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life are the same three the devil used in the Garden of Eden.  Compare:

1.            Lust of the flesh – “saw that it was good for food” (cf. Genesis 3:6.)

2.            Lust of the eyes – “saw… that it was pleasant to the eyes”

3.            Pride of life – “and…desirable to make one wise.”

•             The devil has been using the same trifecta ever since.  Truly there is “nothing new under the sun” cf. Ecclesiastes 1:9, just new variations on old themes.  With all our modern science and technology, the “wisdom of the world” cf. 1st Corinthians 1:20-21; 3:19, we have not achieved peace, happiness, joy, but have only continued to distance ourselves from our Creator, advancing only in ways to sin against Him.

 

[viii] Luke 12:22-31; Philippians 4:6

Luke 12:22-31

(22)  Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on.

(23)  Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.

(24)  Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?

(25)  And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

(26)  If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest?

(27)  Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

(28)  If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?

(29)  “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.

(30)  For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things.

(31)  But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

Philippians 4:6

(6)  Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

 

END NEND NOTES

O

Meditations on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, Chapter 3

Adapted from manuscript notes written from 2003 to 2010

By

Michael Fernandez

Posted Friday, March 14, 2014

A detailed commentary on Matthew’s Gospel adapted from manuscript notes originally written between 2003-2010 and updated with newer information and improved references as the transcription process continues.  All Scriptures cited are from the New King James Version (NKJV/NKJ) unless otherwise noted.

MATTHEW CHAPTER 3 COMMENTARY

3:2       REPENT!

●          Throughout the Gospel, the message “Repent” has been preached.

●          In the New Testament, beginning with John the Baptist and concluding with Christ and the Apostles, we are called to repentance.

●          Here the word is μετανοειτε G3340 V-PAM-2P (metanoeite- from metanoeo, which in turn is from two words, meta “after” and noeo “to perceive” or “to understand”, and implies a change of mind and/or purpose).

 

            REPENT(ANCE) NOT, “DO PENANCE!”

●          Throughout the NT, four Greek words are used and translated in the Bible as repent, repented, and/or repentance.  They are:

1.         #278 ἀμεταμέλητος, ametamelētos – which means the opposite, to not repent/change.  This is found only twice in the NT Scriptures: Romans 11:29; 2nd Corinthians 7:10[i].

2.         #3338 μεταμέλλομαι, metamellomai – an emotional change, dealing with specifics.[ii]

3.         #3340 μετανοέω, metanoeō – a change of choice or overall attitude/lifestyle.[iii]

4.         #3341 μετάνοια, metanoia – after thought, change of mind, repentance; especially with regard to sin or evil.[iv]

 

            THE KINGDOM OF…

●          Matthew repeatedly uses the expression, “The kingdom of heaven,” where Mark refers to, “The kingdom of God.”  (As do Luke and John).

Many use the above distinction to justify the belief that Matthew was writing principally to/for Jews, while Mark and the others, were writing for a broader audience (see note to 1:1 part 1 above).  In either case, the expressions are synonymous, cf. Mark 1:15; Luke 10:9; John 3:3.[v]

 

3:3       PREPARE THE WAY

●          John the Baptist fulfills the prophetic role of Isaiah 40:3[vi].

 

3:6       BELIEVER’S BAPTISM

●          The people were baptized in the River Jordan, confessing their sins.

●          The term used here and in verse 11 following, in reference to baptism is the Greek word βαπτίζω, baptizō.  In the context of this passage and in general, the term signifies immersion in water.  Only twice is the term used in Scripture for ceremonial washings (ablutions) of the hands: Mark 7:4; Luke 11:38[vii].

●          In each case in Scripture, where the baptismal process is described, the individual being baptized is described as being in the water or coming out of, or from the water.  This would indicate that the latter practices of some faith communities of sprinkling or pouring water over the baptizee have their origins outside of the Scriptures as such, possibly  due to some more mundane, practical (at the time and place) consideration(s) e.g., no standing body of water of sufficient size  to allow for immersion.  In any case, these do not appear to have been the practice in the early church.

●          The other key word here – ἧν, en, is, depending on the context, translated as: in, with, or by.  Of the three, the context clearly calls for “in.”

●          Finally, that those being baptized were “confessing their sins,” indicates that they were of an age to understand and act upon their understanding of the fact that they were sinners who needed some kind of cleansing from their sins.  They were not infants or very young children without any personal understanding.

●          This supports the doctrine of “Believer’s Baptism” as contrasted with that of “Infant Baptism,” practiced by some.  It does not, however, prohibit, or in any other way deny the validity of infant baptism, in a covenantal sense as practiced by some faith groups, e.g., Lutherans, Presbyterians, et al.

 

            PRACTICAL APPLICATION

●          As the act of baptism has no saving effect/power in itself; the mode: immersion, sprinkling, pouring, etc., is irrelevant.

●          As for the “sacrament” of infant baptism and its relation with “believer’s baptism,” I believe that one, who was baptized as an infant/small child, need not be re-baptized.  They may be, should they so desire and doing so may serve as a good public testimony of one’s new faith.  I do not, however, believe it is necessary for salvation.

 

3:8       WALK THE WALK

●          “Bear fruit worthy of repentance.”

○          First of all, this is something no one can do on their own.  One bears fruit that conforms to one’s nature.  Just as with natural trees, each bearing its own type of fruit: apple trees bearing apples, orange trees bearing oranges, a good, i.e., healthy tree will bear good fruit and a bad tree, bad fruit.  This is a natural example of a spiritual reality.  The natural, unregenerate man bears the fruit of his fallen sinful nature.  The godly, born-again man bears the fruit of the Spirit.

○          Second.  The above having been said; this is a classic command to, “Walk the walk,” and not just, “talk the talk.”

●          Related to the first point above; it must be understood that this bearing of good or bad fruit is not necessarily saying, in fact does not say, that the unregenerate man does not ever do things that are inherently “good.”  Evil men have often been known to do “good things” or perform kind acts, etc.  The problem is that these inherently good deeds/acts, are themselves sin in the eyes of God (cf. Isaiah 64:6  “We have become like one who is unclean, and righteous deeds are like a polluted garment .  We fade like a leaf, and iniquities, like the wind, take us away.”  ESV).

 

3:9       GOD’S POWER DECLARED

●          Compare with Ezekiel’s “dry bones,” in Ezekiel 37:1ff[viii].

3:10-12 ETERNAL INSECURITY??

●          In these verses which speak of the coming Judge of Israel, John speaks of the axe being, “[L]aid to the roots of the trees,” and that, therefore, “every tree which does not bear good fruit (cf. v8) is cut down and thrown into the fire.”  NKJV

Q. – Does this indicate or teach that a believer can lose his/her salvation by a lack of diligence in producing “good fruit”?

A. – A casual or surface reading of this passage, compared with a similar seeming passage in the Gospel of John, cf. John 15:1-10[ix], (and related notes) could give that impression.

●          First.  Let’s look at the context of this passage.

John (the Baptist) is speaking to those coming to hear him and be baptized in preparation for the coming Messiah, who would also be the Judge of Israel –  the “Day of the Lord” and its graphic images of world-wide, as well as local judgment being a principle theme of prophecy, especially the books of the prophets: Isaiah – Malachi.

John speaks of the axe, a symbol of judgment, “[E]ven now being laid to the root of the trees [plural].”  (Bracketed material added), and that those trees which do not have “good fruit” would be “cut down and thrown into the fire.”  Fire is yet another symbol of judgment and/or purification.

In verse 12, John uses a parallel illustration of a farmer and a winnowing fan, who sorts out the wheat from the chaff, to store the wheat and burn (destroy) the chaff to reinforce his illustration in verse 10.  (See notes to 3:12 following, “Two and Only Two” which follows.)  Clearly, verse 12 speaks of those who are saved (wheat=believers) and those who are not saved (chaff=unbelievers).  Therefore, verse 10, which verse 12 is reinforcing, must also be talking about saved (believers who bear “good fruit”) and unsaved (unbelievers who do not bear “good fruit”).  The fire, in both cases being that unquenchable fire found in the lake of fire, into which the unsaved, unbelievers will eventually be cast, cf. Revelation 20:11-1[x]5, (and note).

●          Second.  What of the similarity here to John 15:1-10, which speaks of believers?

In the Johannine passage, there are references to those who are common branches of a single vine plant, the vine being Jesus.  In verse 2, there is reference to “Every branch in” Christ that does not bear fruit being taken away (cut out?), without any reference to their final disposition.

In verse 6, there is a reference to the one (branch) which “[D]oes not abide in” Christ, being cast out and burned (destroyed?  Cf. 1st Corinthians 3:9-15[xi]) in the fire.

○          It is the similarity of language and image between the Matthean and Johannine passages (lack of fruit, thrown into fire) that give the impression of a believer being, in the end, lost.  But that impression is not necessarily correct.

First.  John 15:2 does not address the ultimate disposition of the fruitless believer.  The “taken away” could simply refer to the physical loss of life (cf. 1st Corinthians 5, re: the incestuous church member[xii]); or, to the loss of communion and peace.

Second.  John 15:6, regarding the one who does not abide in Christ, does not address the reason why he does not.  In light of the many passages which speak directly of perseverance in salvation, this passage need not be interpreted as speaking of a believer falling away, i.e., not abiding, but may instead be seen as one who never was a branch of the same vine.  A vine branch amongst the Vine’s branches, but not of the same Vine.

○          The Johannine passage then, because it does not necessarily require that the non-abiding branch of verse 6 represent a believer, is inconclusive, and therefore, should not be used to advance any doctrine of “insecurity” for genuine believers.

●          Conclusion:

This passage does not teach anything at all regarding the subject of “Eternal Security” or the lack thereof.  The “trees” are to (national) Israel, as the wheat and tares are to the visible church.  Membership in either does not constitute salvation i.e., being a genuine, as contrasted with professing believer.  Compare Romans 9:5ff[xiii], re: How not all Israelites (according to the flesh) being the “Israel of God.”  There are both good and bad trees in the orchard that is “national Israel.”  Externally they seem to be the same, but inside, they are not.

 

            TWO AND ONLY TWO

●          Over and over and over again, the Scriptures tell us there are only two possible destinies for men: Heaven or hell; barn or burn.

●          As stated elsewhere, God does not repeat Himself just because He likes to hear the sound of His own voice.  No.  God repeats Himself to emphasize the importance of something; and the more often something is repeated, the more important it is for us to pay attention.

●          Some of the additional passages which teach that there are but two final ends, two types of people are the following:

Matthew 7:13-14————————-    Wide Gate/Narrow Gate

Matthew 7:24-27————————-    Wise/Foolish Builders

Matthew 12:30—————————-   With/Against Christ

Matthew 13:38—————————-   Sons of God/Sons of the Devil

Matthew 13:40-43———————–     Burn/Shine

Matthew 25:1-13————————-    In/Out

●          The above (see related notes) are those found only in Matthew[xiv].  There are a number of other similar passages in Scripture (some repeating Matthew) which also teach the principle that there are only two destinies possible, not one, not three or more, two.  There is no Purgatory, no reincarnation, and no mandatory heaven for all.

●          See also, 1st Corinthians 1:18[xv]; Exodus 8:23 (and note to same: “God’s Sovereignty in Election.”).[xvi]

 

3:13-14 Our Need

●          No matter how holy or dedicated a life we may lead, when compared to that of Jesus, “[A]ll our righteousnesses are like filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6)[xvii].

●          John the Baptist, who was dedicated from the womb to the Lord’s service, saw in Jesus, someone whose life far outshone his own.  Moreover, he saw this before Jesus even began His ministry – v14.

3:15      His Example

●          Jesus did not need to be baptized for repentance of sin; He had none.  Yet, He did submit to baptism as an example for us of submission to God.

3:16-17 The Trinity

●          The three Persons of the Godhead are present here, interacting together with one another: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  See also, Mark1:9-11 (and note)[xviii]; Luke 3:22 (and note)[xix].

 

END NOTES:


[i] Romans 11:29; 2nd Corinthians 7:10

Romans 11:29 NKJV

(29)  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Romans 11:29 KJV+

(29)  ForG1063 theG3588 giftsG5486 andG2532 callingG2821 of GodG2316 are without repentance.G278

Romans 11:29 GNT-TR+

(29)  αμεταμεληταG278 A-NPN  γαρG1063 CONJ  ταG3588 T-NPN  χαρισματαG5486 N-NPN  καιG2532 CONJ  ηG3588 T-NSF  κλησιςG2821 N-NSF  τουG3588 T-GSM  θεουG2316 N-GSM 

 

2 Corinthians 7:10 NKJV

(10)  For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

2 Corinthians 7:10 KJV+

(10)  ForG1063 godlyG2596 G2316 sorrowG3077 workethG2716 repentanceG3341 toG1519 salvationG4991 not to be repented of:G278 butG1161 theG3588 sorrowG3077 of theG3588 worldG2889 workethG2716 death.G2288

(10)  ηG3588 T-NSF  γαρG1063 CONJ  καταG2596 PREP  θεονG2316 N-ASM  λυπηG3077 N-NSF  μετανοιανG3341 N-ASF  ειςG1519 PREP  σωτηριανG4991 N-ASF  αμεταμελητονG278 A-ASF  κατεργαζεταιG2716 V-PNI-3S  ηG3588 T-NSF  δεG1161 CONJ  τουG3588 T-GSM  κοσμουG2889 N-GSM  λυπηG3077 N-NSF  θανατονG2288 N-ASM  κατεργαζεταιG2716 V-PNI-3S

[ii] G3338 (Meyer, 1769)

μεταμέλλομαι

metamellomai

Total KJV Occurrences: 6

repent, 3

2nd Corinthians 7:8 (2), Hebrews 7:21

repented, 3

Matthew 21:29, Matthew 21:32, Matthew 27:3

 

[iii] G3340 (Meyer, 1769)

μετανοέω

metanoeō

Total KJV Occurrences: 34

repent, 21

Matthew3:2 (2), Matthew4:17, Mark  1:15, Mark  6:12, Luke 13:3, Luke 13:5, Luke 16:30, Luke 17:3-4 (2), Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19, Acts 8:22, Acts 17:30, Acts 26:20, Revelations 2:5 (2), Revelations 2:16, Revelations 2:21-22 (2), Revelations 3:3, Revelations 3:19

repented, 11

Matthew11:19-21 (3), Matthew12:41, Luke 10:13, Luke 11:32, 2nd Corinthians 12:21, Revelations 2:21, Revelations 9:20-21 (2), Revelations 16:9, Revelations 16:11

repenteth, 2

Luke 15:7, Luke 15:10

 

[iv] G3341 (Meyer, 1769)

μετάνοια

metanoia

Total KJV Occurrences: 24

repentance, 24

Matthew3:8, Matthew3:11, Matthew9:13, Mark  1:4, Mark  2:17, Luke 3:3, Luke 3:8, Luke 5:32, Luke 15:7, Luke 24:47, Acts 5:31, Acts 11:18, Acts 13:24, Acts 19:4, Acts 20:21, Acts 26:20, Romans 2:4, 2nd Corinthians 7:9-10 (2), 2nd Timothy 2:25, Hebrews 6:1, Hebrews 6:6, Hebrews 12:17, 2nd Peter 3:9

 

[v] Mark 1:15; Luke 10:9; John 3:3

Mark 1:15

(15)  and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Luke 10:9

(9)  And heal the sick there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

John 3:3

(3)  Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

 

[vi] Isaiah 40:3

(3)  The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.

 

[vii] Mark 7:4; Luke 11:38

Mark 7:4

(4)  When they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other things which they have received and hold, like the washing of cups, pitchers, copper vessels, and couches.

Luke 11:38

(38)  When the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that He had not first washed before dinner.

 

[viii] Ezekiel 37:1-14

(1)  The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones.

(2)  Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry.

(3)  And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” So I answered, “O Lord GOD, You know.”

(4)  Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!

(5)  Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live.

(6)  I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the Lord.” ‘ “

(7)  So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone.

(8)  Indeed, as I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them.

(9)  Also He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” ‘ “

(10)  So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army.

(11)  Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’

(12)  Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

(13)  Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves.

(14)  I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,” says the Lord.’ “

 

[ix] John 15:1-10

(1)  “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.

(2)  Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

(3)  You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

(4)  Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

(5)  “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

(6)  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

(7)  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

(8)  By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.

(9)  “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.

(10)  If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

 

15:1-10 ABIDING IN CHRIST

•             “Abide in Me” says the Lord Jesus Christ (v4).

•             9 times in these verses, Jesus directly addresses our need to abide, remain in Him.  He does so in exhortation, and in admonition or warning.

•             v4 – The command to abide in Him is coupled with a warning of inability to produce fruit unless one does abide in Him (see Fruit, following).

•             v5 – Here we have a dual abiding – the Believer in Him and Him in the Believer.  The result of such a relationship being “much fruit.”

•             v6 – Here we have a very strong warning, “If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out… burned.”

•             v7 – Presents a conditional aspect of prayer.  See Prayer, following.

•             vv9-10 – The final 3 exhortations Jesus puts in relation to love.  This is parallel to what Jesus had said earlier (John 14:15-24 and related notes below).  Again Jesus equates obedience “keep my commandments” with “love.”

 

FRUIT

•             What is the fruit of which Jesus speaks in these verses?  Is it converts to Christ or Christianity as is popularly taught today?  Or is it something else?

•             It is something else and this can be seen by comparing Scripture with Scripture where one finds that “fruit” in a Believer’s life is the “fruit of the Spirit” which is described in Galatians 5:22-23 which corresponds to verses 2-6 here which speak of the fruit of abiding in Christ and Christ abiding in the Believer.  This is especially so as the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of Christ are one and the same; see John 14:18 and note below.

•             Nowhere is the fruit of the Believer described in terms of “converts to the faith.”  On the other hand, converts are described as the work of God – 1st Corinthians 3:5-8 describes evangelism in agricultural terms and it is God who gives the increase, where believers are portrayed as gardeners.  This image corresponds in turn to that given by Jesus in passages such as Matthew 9:37-38; Luke 10:2-3, etc., where clearly, souls are the harvest to be brought in and believers the workers who are to bring it in.  But again, notice that the “harvest,” i.e., ready to be brought in “fruit” is not produced by the workers but merely brought into the barn.

•             Comparing passages such as John 15:1-6 here with Galatians 5:22-23 and others such as Matthew 3:7-8; 7:17-19; 12:33; Ephesians 5:9; Hebrews 12:11, etc., one sees that the fruit that should be produced in the life of a believer is not “converts” but rather, righteousness, holiness, the very life of Christ.

 

PRAYER

•             Note in v7 the conditional nature of answered prayer:

1.            Abiding in Christ and,

2.            Christ’s Word abiding in you.

•             One of the main aspects of abiding in Christ is union; a spiritual unity of mind and purpose.  Scripture shows us this in Christ’s own repeated references to His own being in the Father (cf. 14:10-11; 17:21) combined with His statements of doing only those works which He saw His Father do (5:19; 8:38) what His Father sent Him to do, (5:36), what His Father willed for Him to do (Matthew 26:39-42), which works are themselves evidence of the unity He proclaimed to have with the Father (10:25, 32).

•             Without this union, the promise of receiving what one asks for are not in effect.  That does not mean one will not receive what one asks, but without that abiding, without that obedience, there is no promise, no guarantee.

•             Additionally, this dual abiding will have a particular impact on what one does ask for – namely, one will ask according to the Father’s will as unity with God produces change in what a person desires.  This is the second part – Christ’s Word abiding in you, changing your heart and therefore the desires of it, cf. Psalms 119:9, 11; Ezekiel 36:26-27.

 

John 15:15-24

(15)  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.

(16)  You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

(17)  These things I command you, that you love one another.

(18)  “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.

(19)  If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

(20)  Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

(21)  But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.

(22)  If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin.

(23)  He who hates Me hates My Father also.

(24)  If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father.

 

15:24     UNIQUE MIRACLES

•             Adapted from “Notes: Unclassified” MS pp. 21-22, written 9-15-05.

•             Jesus’ own statement about the uniqueness of the miracles He performed is clear, they were miracles “which no one else did.” (NASB, 1988)

This is in contrast to many other super [or not] natural signs and wonders performed either by the devil and his followers or simply by the power of suggestion.  Compare Exodus Chapters 7-8 where the Egyptian magicians performed the same first 3 miracles of Moses, rod to snake, water to blood, and frogs.

•             Jesus’ miracles over nature and sickness were also unique.  No “faith healer” past or present [with the exception of the Twelve Apostles] has ever performed the types of miracles Jesus performed, neither in quantity or quality.  Compare:

1.            Matthew 8:2 Healing – leprosy immediately.

2.            Matthew 9:20 healing – a hemorrhaging woman.

3.            Matthew 9:27 healing – a “withered” hand.

4.            Matthew 12:22 healing – a demon possessed deaf-mute.

5.            Matthew 20:30 healing – two blind men.

6.            Mark 7:31 healing – a deaf-mute.

7.            Mark 8:22 healing – a blind man.

8.            Luke 22:51 healing – by restoring a severed ear.

9.            John 5:1 healing – a long time cripple.

10.          John 9:1 healing –a man born blind.

11.          John 11:43 healing – death itself, raising a man who had been dead for 4 days!

The above are not all the miracles of Jesus; they are only those that in no way can be attributed to fakery or to the healing of psychosomatic illness or by power of suggestion (as is done today by using placebos, i.e., sugar pills.

•             In today’s age of televangelists who allegedly heal many people, not one documented case exists of a genuine, verifiable “miraculous” cure of a “genuine” physical illness, e.g., deformities [birth defects or resulting from accidents] blindness, etc.

 

John 14:18

(18)  I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.

 

14:18     THE SPIRIT OF GOD/CHRIST

•             Here we have another indication of the unity of the godhead.  Having just promised to send the “Helper,” the “Holy Spirit” cf. v26 and following, He then goes on to say, “I will … come to you.”

Granted this promise by the Lord Jesus Christ is not conclusive proof by itself of any specific unity between Christ and the Spirit.  However, when compared with other passages that clearly connect the Holy Spirit with God [the Father] and/or with Christ, it

 

[x] Revelation 20:15

(15)  And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

20:14-14              THE SECOND DEATH

Death and Hades and all whose names are not in the Book of Life will be thrown into the lake of fire, the “second death.”

[xi] 1 Corinthians 3:9-15

(9)  For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building.

(10)  According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.

(11)  For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

(12)  Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,

(13)  each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.

(14)  If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.

(15)  If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

 

[xii] 1 Corinthians 5:1-5

(1)  It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles–that a man has his father’s wife!

(2)  And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.

(3)  For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed.

(4)  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

(5)  deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

 

[xiii] Romans 9:6-8

(6)  But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel,

(7)  nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “IN ISAAC YOUR SEED SHALL BE CALLED.”

(8)  That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.

 

9:6-9      BIOLOGICAL VS. SPIRITUAL

•             “For they are not all Israel who are of Israel…”

•             This statement by Paul negating mere physical descent as a factor in salvation parallels what God revealed through Moses in Genesis 24:36 in which Isaac, as the child of the promise (cf. Genesis 18:10) is the one who inherits all that Abraham had.  Likewise, it is the spiritual children of God, those whom God has chosen, who will inherit eternal life.

 

[xiv]

Matthew 7:13-14————————-             Wide Gate/Narrow Gate

Matthew 7:24-27————————-             Wise/Foolish Builders

Matthew 12:30—————————-            With/Against Christ

Matthew 13:38—————————-            Sons of God/Sons of the Devil

Matthew 13:40-43———————–             Burn/Shine

Matthew 25:1-13————————-             In/Out

Matthew 7:13-14

(13)  “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.

(14)  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

 

7:13-14 TWO WAYS

●             Two ways!  There are only 2.  Two ways; two gates; two kinds; two destinies.

●             Two ways/gates – broad, by which many go; narrow, by which few go.  The way to God; the way to condemnation, cf. John 14:6

●             Two kinds (of people), sheep, and goats, spiritually alive and spiritually dead.  See also note to Matthew 3:12 preceding.

●             Two destinies/futures – eternal life and blessing, or death and cursing, cf. Deuteronomy 30:19.

               NARROW/DIFFICULT

●             In verse 14, the Greek term translated “narrow” (KJV, NASB, NV, 1599 GSB) is the term τεθλιμμενη, from Strong’s #2346, θλίβω, which is translated “narrow” only once.  Elsewhere, in the A.V., it is translated as “afflict” 3xs, “trouble” 4xs, “throng,” “suffer,” “tribulation” 1x each.  In the NKJV and the HCSB, it is rendered “difficult,” and in the NRSV, “hard.”

●             Tom Schaff, in his commentary on this verse, notes that it is the “way” that is being acted upon, that is to say, “the way is being afflicted.”  He then compares this with Jesus’ declaration that He is the way, cf. John 14:6, which then changes the focus from teaching that the way itself is difficult or that believers will have difficulty in the way (it is and they will, as is taught elsewhere), but rather, this teaches that it is through the affliction of Christ (the Way) that salvation is found and so, many do not find salvation because of their unbelief in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.  The A.B. supports this idea, translating verse 14 as follows:

<< But the gate is narrow (contracted k by pressure) and the way is straightened and compressed that leads to life, and few there are who find it.  [Deuteronomy 30:19; Jeremiah 21:8]… k Alexander Souter, Pocket Lexicon.  >>

 

Matthew 7:24-27

(24)  “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:

(25)  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.

(26)  “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:

(27)  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

 

7:24-27 WISE OR FOOLISH

●             The wise man heeds the word of God; the foolish man does not.

 

Matthew 12:30

(30)  He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

 

12:30     TWO WAYS

●             You are with Him or against Him, whether by active or passive actions.  Cf. Matthew 3:12; 7:13 and related notes above.

 

               JESUS; GUILTY OF A “THINKING ERROR”?

●             According to today’s “psycho-babblers,” Jesus is guilty here of committing what they call a “Thinking Error;” the so-called error of “polarized” or “black or white” thinking.  They say that there is no such thing as only two and only two ways, i.e., for or against, when it comes to interpersonal relations/dynamics.  According to the psycho-babblers, such “all or nothing” thinking, as described here, is a thinking error, something that needs to be corrected, not believed.  With Paul, I say, let God be true and everyman a liar.

●             This type of thinking, e.g., “always”, “never,” “everybody,” etc., is also referred to as “over generalization.”

●             See also, Topical Notes, “Psycho-[Heresy]-logy.”

 

Matthew 13:38

(38)  The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one.

 

Matthew 13:40-43

(40)  Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.

(41)  The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,

(42)  and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

(43)  Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

 

13:38-43              TWO ONLY

●             Once again, Jesus teaches that there are only two kinds of people with only two possible destinies:

(1)          Sons of heaven (i.e., God), and sons of the wicked one (i.e., the Devil).

(2)          Shine with righteousness, or burn in fire.

 

Matthew 25:1-13

(1)  “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

(2)  Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

(3)  Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,

(4)  but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

(5)  But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

(6)  “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’

(7)  Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.

(8)  And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’

(9)  But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’

(10)  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

(11)  “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’

(12)  But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

(13)  “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.

 

25:1-13 PARABLE TO THE CHURCH

•             In this parable, told to His disciples, Jesus gives a warning not only to them, but to us in the Church today:  Be ready!

•             This parable is, in reality, to and about the Church.  The ten virgins represent organized Christianity, i.e., the visible church.  Five of the virgins represent the invisible Church, that is, those real Christians within the organized/visible church.  The other five represent those who are Christians in name only.

 

[xv] 1 Corinthians 1:18

(18)  For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

 

 

[xvi] Exodus 8:23

(23)  I will make a difference between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall be.” ‘ “

 

8:23       GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY IN ELECTION

•             By making a distinction between His people and the Egyptians, God is doing two things:

1.            He is exercising His sovereignty over mankind in election of one people over another

2.            He is teaching the spiritual truth that there are in fact only two kinds of people in the world – God’s people and the rest; saved/unsaved, elect/non-elect, sheep/goats, children of God/children of the devil.

•             See also Matthew 3:12 and note – “Two and Only Two.”

 

[xvii] Isaiah 64:6

(6)  But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

 

64:6       FILTHY RAGS

  • ALL our Righteousnesses, “all,” our “Righteousnesses,” plural, the best of the best that we can do on our own is nothing but filthy, disgusting, bloody, vile, putrid rags in His sight.  They are less than useless.  Oh, and for the record, Isaiah was speaking of the rags used before the days of modern tampons and/or feminine pads, of the rags used to bind the often gangrenous sores of lepers; today’s equivalent to the “filthy rags” of Isaiah would be “used” tampons.

 

[xviii] Mark 1:9-11

(9)  It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

(10)  And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove.

(11)  Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

 

1:9-11    JESUS’ BAPTISM – WHY?

•             Why was Jesus Baptized if He was without sin?

If we compare Matthew’s account (Matthew 3:13-17) we find that Jesus answered John the Baptist’s very same question by saying, “it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”  (Matthew 3:15).  Now John obviously knew what Jesus meant by that because he then proceeded to baptize Jesus.  But for us today, especially those of us of a “Gentile” (i.e., non-Jewish) background; it still begs the question, why?

The answer lies in the Old Testament; specifically in Leviticus, chapter 8, verse 6, the consecration of Aaron and his sons, as priests (cf. Exodus 20:1ff; 40:1-15) to serve the Lord as the representatives of the people.  – Note the role of priests was to act as “representatives of the people” not “representatives of God.”

•             Christ’s baptism is the fulfillment of this Old Testament type or shadow.  As Aaron and his sons’ consecrations as priests began with their ceremonial washing, so too with Christ; at the beginning of His ministry (at the age of 30, in conformance with the Law, see Numbers 4) Christ was baptized (ceremonially washed) and anointed by the Holy Spirit (cf.  Luke 4:18), this also in fulfillment of the Old Testament type (cf. Leviticus 8:10-12).  Thus, as our High Priest (cf. Hebrews 4:14) He fulfilled all righteousness.

Trinity

•             At Jesus’ baptism, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit were all present together.  Compare Matthew 3:16-17 and note; Luke 3:22.

Exodus 29:1-35

(1)  “And this is what you shall do to them to hallow them for ministering to Me as priests: Take one young bull and two rams without blemish,

….

(35)  “Thus you shall do to Aaron and his sons, according to all that I have commanded you. Seven days you shall consecrate them. (Ellipsis added for brevity.

 

Luke 4:18

(18)  “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

 

Leviticus 8:10-12

(10)  Also Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them.

(11)  He sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times, anointed the altar and all its utensils, and the laver and its base, to consecrate them.

(12)   And he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him, to consecrate him.

 

Hebrews 4:14

(14)  Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

 

[xix] Luke 3:22

(22)  And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”.

 

3:22       THE TRINITY PRESENT

●             All three Persons of the Godhead were present at Jesus’ baptism; the Father, speaking from heaven, the Son in the water, and the Holy Spirit descending from heaven in the form of a dove.

●             This negates the heresy of modalism, that God is a trinity in mode not persons; that is to say, that there is one God who manifests in three different “modes” or “forms” but there is no distinction between them, the “modes” appearing or operating one at a time.

 

A copy of Chapter 3 of Matthew’s Gospel can be read by opening this link. 

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%203&version=NKJV

A Review of “Psyho-Heresy: The Psychological Seduction of Christianity”

<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1244469.PsychoHeresy&#8221; style=”float: left; padding-right: 20px”><img alt=”PsychoHeresy: The Psychological Seduction of Christianity” border=”0″ src=”https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1387713672m/1244469.jpg&#8221; /></a><a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1244469.PsychoHeresy”>PsychoHeresy: The Psychological Seduction of Christianity</a> by <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/304612.Martin_Bobgan”>Martin Bobgan</a><br/> My rating: <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/878841664″>5 of 5 stars</a><br /><br /> I first came across this book in 1995 or 96.  For some time I had been finding… conflicts, no not at first, more like little bothersome somethings that I couldn’t put my fingers on between what the Word of God said and what the “Christian” psychologists were saying. As time progressed and I became more versed in the Word, I began to come across genuine conflicts.  I knew early on, as a Christian, that Christians shouldn’t go to “worldly” psychologists/counselors (cf. Psa. 1:1 and elsewhere) but that “Christian” psychologists and counselors were different, they had been especially trained in the Word and psychology.  I had been told that “Christian” psychologists simply took the best of the truths about us that the “world” had discovered and used that as an “addition” to Scripture to counsel Christians who had mental illnesses.  Yeah, right.  Anyway, I had been finding more and more that the “counsel” offered by “Christian” psychologists/counselors based on theories devised by godless psychologists was more and more in conflict with that of God’s counsel through the Word by the Spirit.  It was after I came across this book that I had in one place all that I had been discovering piecemeal and more besides, things I had never yet considered.<br><br>I highly recommend any Believer to obtain this book (it’s available free from the PsyhoHeresy Awareness Ministries’ website, <a href=”http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org&#8221; rel=”nofollow”>psychoheresy-aware.org</a>.  There are also a number of other Free books and resources available there for the person who is interested in a godly alternative to psychology and psychotherapy. <br/><br/> <a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/20115092-michael-fernandez”>View all my reviews</a>

Meditations on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, Chapter 2

Adapted from manuscript notes written from 2003 to 2010

By

Michael Fernandez

Posted Sunday, March 9, 2014

A detailed commentary on Matthew’s Gospel adapted from manuscript notes originally written between 2003-2010 and updated with newer information and improved references as the transcription process continues.  All Scriptures cited are from the New King James Version (NKJV/NKJ) unless otherwise noted

MATTHEW CHAPTER 2 COMMENTARY

2:1-6    BETHLEHEM

●          The scribes and priests knew the prophecies about the coming King/Messiah, but they had hitched their wagon, so to speak, to Herod’s train, denying their true Lord.  In this they proved the truth of God’s Word in Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Romans 3:10-12.[i]

A MESSIANIC PROPHECY FULFILLED

Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem was prophesied in Micah 5:2[ii], sometime before the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 BC.

TIMELINE

●          Note the “in the days of Herod the king,” places Jesus’ birth not later than 4 BC, as that is the year that Herod died.

●          See notes to Matthew 1:25 [Previous post https://sovereigngracebroadcaster.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/meditations-on-the-gospel-according-to-saint-matthew-chapter-1/ and below][iii].

Additional Historical Note, cf. Luke 2:1-3[iv].  Cyrinius [a/k/a Quirinius] was made governor in 4BC according to some archeological findings.

2:11      Worship Him

●          As the Magi did, so we should do; fall on our knees and worship Christ the Lord.

●          That Scripture records this in a positive light is an argument for the deity of Christ, as only God is to be worshiped[v].

2:11 cont.         Fiction vs. Truth

●          Unlike the mythical image portrayed in most “Nativity scenes,” by the time of the Magi’s’ visit, Jesus was no longer in a manger “when they had come into the HOUSE [not “stable” or “manger”], they saw the YOUNG CHILD” [not “baby” or “infant”]; Jesus was a “young child,” possibly as old as 2 (cf. 2:16).  Joseph had found a place for his family to live by this time.

2:11 cont.         Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh & God’s Providential Care

●          Not only were the gifts of the wise-men, gifts appropriate for a king, but the timing of such valuable gifts is also worthy of note.  This is especially so in light of their coming just prior to Joseph and Mary having to flee to Egypt with their young son.

●          This is an excellent example of God’s providential care and direction of events in the lives of men.

Joseph, being a carpenter, would not normally have been a wealthy man (and he was in the norm here, cf. Luke 2:24 and note “Not Rich.”[vi]).  The sudden need to pack off his family and flee would have been a financial hardship, even staying within the same country where he might have received some help from friends and/or family.  Fleeing to another country, where they would have been complete strangers, would have been an economic disaster.  Yet God, in His wisdom, sent the Magi with the necessary provision for the coming journey.

●          God’s providence in directing the actions of the Magi, even to the choice of gifts to bring, is an example of God’s sovereignty in the affairs of man.

●          See also, Notes- Cross References, “The Sovereignty of God in…” [Future]

●          Note that though only 3 specific gifts are identified, this does not necessarily mean that they were the only gifts; more importantly however, it does not, in any way, state that there were only 3 wise men.  That is part of the mythology that has grown up around the Christmas tradition, much as the visit and gifts being presented to the Holy Family in the manger.  (See note above.)

2:15      A Messianic Prophecy Fulfilled

●          The return of Jesus and His family from Egypt fulfills Hosea 11:1[vii].

2:16      Murder Most Foul

●          Herod orders the murder of all male children born in Bethlehem and surrounding districts.  Compare this with Pharaoh’s order in Exodus 1:16, 22[viii].

●          Timing is everything.  At this time, Herod was the undisputed king of Israel.  Granted, Israel had been conquered by the Romans, under Pompey, some forty years earlier.  Nonetheless, under Roman policy, those conquered kingdoms which were inclined to be cooperative, retained a great deal of independence in managing their internal affairs.  Thus, Herod was able to give this despicable order to kill off any potential rivals to his throne; just so long as it had no effect on any Roman citizen or Roman policy/policies in general.

●          Had Christ been born as little as twenty years later, this event could not have happened, as the local rulers in Judea, then called Tetrarchs or governors, no longer had the right to exercise capital punishment without Roman approval, let alone order the mass murder of a bunch of children.  (See John 18:31 and note.[ix])

●          On a historical note:  A number of Bible commentators of the past, if they even mention the number, put the number around 15-30 slain.  This includes the surrounding region.  The lack of mention by Josephus is not surprising for a number of reasons; his being a zealous Jew, he would not normally make a big issue of something important to the “Christian” church, unless of course it was a really big deal.  This event, in light of many greater atrocities committed by Herod, is rather insignificant in the numbers involved.  Robinson’s Word Pictures entry is pretty much representative of what is written[x].

2:17-18 Prophecy Fulfilled

●          Herod’s actions bring the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jeremiah 31:15[xi].

2:19      Herod’s Death

●          Herod died in 4 BC.

●          Due to an error when creating the “Christian” calendar we now use, the beginning of the calendar was off.  Rather than beginning with the year of Christ’s birth as year 1, it begins after.  How much after is a matter of debate.  We know that Jesus was born while Herod was alive, not later than 4 BC.  With Herod’s order to kill all male children 2 years of age and under, we have a lower limit of 6 BC.  So, while we cannot, with certainty, say when Jesus was born, Herod’s death and prior actions allows us to place His birth between 6-4 BC.

2:23      A Nazarene

●          This reference is to an unspecified, unrecorded prophecy.

●          Tom Schaff, in his commentary (see note to 1:1[xii]) suggests that this may be a reference to the Hebrew word nazir, meaning “separated,” cf. Deuteronomy 33:16[xiii].  This would certainly describe Jesus in His earthly life and ministry.  Separated from His family who did not believe (cf. John 7:5[xiv]), to save them like Joseph, cf. Genesis 42:6[xv]; and from the rest of humanity when He was alone on the cross.

ENDNOTE(S):


[i] The Depravity of man or man’s utter sinfulness will be a separate topical study published in the future.

Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Romans 3:10-12

Psalms 14:1-3

(1)  To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David. The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, They have done abominable works, There is none who does good.

(2)  The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.

(3)  They have all turned aside, They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.

Psalms 53:1-3

(1)  To the Chief Musician. Set to “Mahalath.” A Contemplation of David. The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity; There is none who does good.

(2)  God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.

(3)  Every one of them has turned aside; They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.

Romans 3:10-12

(10)  As it is written: “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NO, NOT ONE;

(11)  THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS; THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS AFTER GOD.

(12)  THEY HAVE ALL TURNED ASIDE; THEY HAVE TOGETHER BECOME UNPROFITABLE; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, NO, NOT ONE.”

[ii] Micah 5:2

(2)  “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”

[iii] Matthew 1:25

(25)  and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.

1:25 JESUS’ BIRTH – TIMING OF
● See also, Luke 2:1-2; 2:8 and related notes, for a more detailed discussion of the “when” of Christ’s birth.
● Compare also, John 18:31-32 and note, “Prophecy Fulfilled,” (below) regarding the timing of His advent.
● See also, note “Timeline” at 2:1-6 following.

TILL
● Joseph “did not know [have sexual relations with] her till she brought forth her firstborn Son.”
Joseph and Mary did have relations after Jesus’ birth. True, the Scriptures do not say so in so many words, but it is there for those who look. Compare Matthew 27:55-56 and note that the James listed there is the same “James the Lord’s brother: of Galatians 1:19.
● Had Mary remained a virgin her entire life, as is taught by the Roman Catholic church, the above statement would have been either incorrect, at the worst or, misleading, at the best.
○ The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Joseph was an older man who brought his own children into his marriage with Mary, making James and the others “stepbrothers,” not “half-brothers” of Jesus. They deny that he and Mary ever had sexual relations. Though that does seem, on the surface, to be a reasonable interpretation of what happened; it is incorrect nonetheless.
○ This is seen in the choice of the words, “till” and “firstborn” in relation to Joseph and Mary’s sexual relationship. Till, implies that there were relations later. Firstborn indicates-
a) That there were other children born to Mary, as if she had no others, “only” would have been a better, clearer term. And,
b) Is the limiting term defining the “when” to which the “till” refers.
● Where the Bible is silent, we had best, if not be silent, then, not be dogmatic. The Bible does not directly say that Joseph and Mary had relations, nor does it directly state that she remained a virgin her entire life. Both conclusions are based on how one interprets the Scripture passages relating to them. While I believe that the Reformed churches (Protestant) have the correct understanding, this is not an area in which brethren should divide. One is not saved or lost based on whether Mary did or did not have sexual relations with her husband after the birth of Jesus. Both Protestant and Catholic agree that she was a virgin when Jesus was conceived in her by the Holy Spirit as is expressly stated in Scripture.

John 18:31-32 and note, “Prophecy Fulfilled,”

(31)  Then Pilate said to them, “You take Him and judge Him according to your law.” Therefore the Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,”

(32)  that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die.

[iv] Luke 2:1-3

(1)  And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.

(2)  This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.

(3)  So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

[v] ONLY GOD

Following are but a few of the many passages teaching that “worship” belongs only to God, that is to say Yahweh, Jehovah, God (as contrasted with “god” or “a god”), the Triune [Father, Son, Holy Spirit] God of the Bible and no one and nothing else.  Bear in mind, if God teaches something as being true one time, it is true and it is important that we take it serious and respond accordingly.  When God repeats His words on any given subject, that doesn’t make it “more” true, but it does mean that we need to be especially prudent in paying heed because it is doubtful that He repeats Himself just because He likes the sound of His own voice, but to get it through our thick skulls.That God would repeat this teaching about worshipping only Him is vitally important as it impacts a number of areas.

Exo_34:14  (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),

Mat_4:10  Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND HIM ONLY YOU SHALL SERVE.’ ”

Luk_4:8  And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND HIM ONLY YOU SHALL SERVE.’ ”

Rev_19:10  And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

That no one confuses the angel here [19:10]  and again in  22:8ff with Jesus who appeared first in n Rev_1:13  “and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.”  One must make note that the angel here [19:10] is “another angel” and not the Lord, cf. Rev_18:1  “After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory.”  And it is that angel who speaks with John throughout until the end of the vision with exception of 21:5-8 where the Lord is speaking, Beginning again at 21:5, John is in the company of the angel introduced in 18:1.

Rev_22:9  Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”  [See comment above to Rev 19:10]

[vi] Luke 2:24

(24)  and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A PAIR OF TURTLEDOVES OR TWO YOUNG PIGEONS.” (CAPS added for emphasis).

NOT RICH

●             Jesus did not come from a wealthy background as many “prosperity” preachers teach; His parents were so poor, they could only offer the minimum sacrifice mandated by law as the sacrifice for Mary’s cleansing.  Compare Exodus 13:2, 12, 15; Leviticus 12:8.

Exodus 13:2, 12, 15

(2)  “Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine.”

…..

(12)  that you shall set apart to the LORD all that open the womb, that is, every firstborn that comes from an animal which you have; the males shall be the LORD’s.

…..

(15)  And it came to pass, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all males that open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’

Leviticus 12:8

(8)  ‘And if she is not able to bring a lamb, then she may bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons–one as a burnt offering and the other as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for her, and she will be clean.’ ”

[vii] Hosea 11:1

(1)  “When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.

[viii] Exodus 1:16, 22 NKJV

(16)  and he said, “When you do the duties of a midwife for the Hebrew women, and see them on the birthstools, if it is a son, then you shall kill him; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live…..  (22)  So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive.”

[ix] John 18:31-32 NKJV

(31)  Then Pilate said to them, “You take Him and judge Him according to your law.” Therefore the Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,”

(32)  that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die.

18:31-32              PROPHECY FULFILLED

•             Two prophecies are fulfilled in Christ’s death at the hands of the Romans.

I.             The first involves the timing related to the coming of the Messiah [regarding which, I just saw an ad for a book by popular Pastor John Hagee in which he denies that Jesus came to be the Messiah, the book proves, “that Jesus did not come to earth to be the Messiah” (39 sec. mark http://mywordlikefire.com/2014/03/07/john-hagee-says-jesus-did-not-come-to-earth-to-be-the-messiah/).  Yeah, right.  And anyone who believes that, I have a bridge for sale in Boston].  Regarding the timing is this prophecy from Genesis.

•             Genesis 49:10

•             (10)  The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; ….

•             The “scepter” which is symbolic of ruling authority came to Judah in the time of King David and there it remained in one form or another throughout the kingdom years, the Babylonian exile – even those remaining behind were governed by their fellow Judahites – through the post-exile years until 6AD when Judah went from being an “independent associate kingdom” subject to Rome, to becoming a Roman province governed by a Roman Procurator or Governor according to Roman Law.  Judah thus lost the right to inflict capital punishment without prior approval from the Roman governor “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.”

•             Thus, the first prophecy of Genesis 49:10 limits the timing of the first Advent of the Messiah to a date prior to 6AD.  Jesus was born in 6-4BC.

•             The Second prophecy, related to the first was told by Jesus of how He would be killed by being crucified cf. John 8:18; 12:32-33.  This form of execution, while having its origins in the Persian practice of nailing or otherwise fastening the victim to a wagon wheel and torturing them to death, was taken and refined by the Romans into the form then practiced of lifting up the victim, fastened to an upright post (generally capped with a cross-piece in the form of a T or a t hence the term “cross”) where they were left to die.

•             Jesus’ “prophecy” spoken to the Disciples was not so much an original prophetic statement, but a reiteration of what He had revealed centuries earlier to King David. Compare Psalm 22, esp. vv14-18, and Isaiah 53, esp. vv.5-12 where death by [Roman style] crucifixion is described.

•             Just as prophesied a 1000 years earlier and again during His ministry, Jesus was “lifted up.”

[x] Robinson’s Word Pictures Entry

Matthew 2:16

Slew all the male children that were in Bethlehem (aneilen pantas tous paidas tous en Bēthleem). The flight of Joseph was justified, for Herod was violently enraged (ethumōthē lian) that he had been mocked by the Magi, deluded in fact (enepaichthē). Vulgate illusus esset. Herod did not know, of course, how old the child was, but he took no chances and included all the little boys (tous paidas, masculine article) in Bethlehem two years old and under, perhaps fifteen or twenty. It is no surprise that Josephus makes no note of this small item in Herod’s chamber of horrors. It was another fulfilment of the prophecy in Jer_31:15. The quotation (Mat_2:18) seems to be from the Septuagint. It was originally written of the Babylonian captivity but it has a striking illustration in this case also. Macrobius (Sat. II. iv. II) notes that Augustus said that it was better to be Herod’s sow (hus) than his son (huios), for the sow had a better chance of life.

[xi] Jeremiah 31:15

(15)  Thus says the LORD: “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more.”

[xii] Note to Matthew 1:1

1:1 PURPOSE

● Matthew’s apparent purpose in writing his gospel appears to be to reach the Jews. To show them Jesus as the prophesied Messiah, King of Scripture. This would account for his emphasis, from the start, on Jesus’ descent from the Patriarch Abraham and King David. There is also, his heavy emphasis on fulfilled prophecies. Matthew refers to and cites more Old Testament Scriptures than any of the other Gospel writers.

● Author Tom Schaff believes that the generally accepted view (above) is in error. He suggests the following alternative:

○ Matthew’s early reference to Jesus as being the Son of David and the son of Abraham are simply to establish His bona fides as the legitimate heir to the throne of God’s people and the one through whom the blessing promised to all the world through Abraham’s seed came.

○ Matthew’s heavy use of O.T. Scripture may have merely been an attempt to educate Gentile readers to the fact that this same Jesus is the One of whom the Scriptures spoke. As Schaff points out, Paul’s epistle to the Romans is full of O.T. Scripture quotations and references yet it was not addressed to Jewish believers but Gentile. All the Gospels record Jesus going almost exclusively to the Jews and only on a few occasions being involved with Gentiles. Additionally, the entire Gospel, as contained in both the Old and New Testament Scriptures, is for all people.

○ Matthew’s (need for) explaining the meaning of Hebrew words argues against a primary emphasis on the Jews (cf. Matthew 1:23; Matthew 27:33, 46).

○ The Bible itself says no such thing as that the Gospel of Matthew is or was intended primarily for Jewish readers. Therefore, as Schaff points out, any such conclusion is “a pointless exercise in conjecture.” Further, he writes, and I must agree, “we cannot say as fact things upon which the Bible is silent.”

[xiii] Deuteronomy 33:16 KJV+

(16)  And for the precious thingsH4480 H4022 of the earthH776 and fulnessH4393 thereof, and for the good willH7522 of him that dweltH7931 in the bush:H5572 let the blessing comeH935 upon the headH7218 of Joseph,H3130 and upon the top of the headH6936 of him that was separatedH5139 from his brethren.H251

“Separated” H5129 – נזר  /  נזיר

nâzı̂yr  /  nâzir

Total KJV Occurrences: 18

nazarite, 9

Num_6:2, Num_6:13, Num_6:18-21 (4), Jdg_13:5, Jdg_13:7, Jdg_16:17

nazarites, 3

Lam_4:7, Amo_2:11-12 (2)

undressed, 2

Lev_25:5, Lev_25:11

vine, 2

Lev_25:5, Lev_25:11

separate, 1

Gen_49:26

separated, 1

Deu_33:16

[xiv] John 7:5 NKJV

(5)  For even His brothers did not believe in Him.

[xv] Genesis 42:6 NKJV

(6)  Now Joseph was governor over the land; and it was he who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph’s brothers came and bowed down before him with their faces to the earth.

Chapter 2 of Matthew’s Gospel can be read by following this link: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%202&version=NKJV

Meditations on the Gospel According to Saint Matthew, Chapter 1

Adapted from manuscript notes written from 2003 to 2010

By

Michael Fernandez

Posted Sunday, March 9, 2014

A detailed commentary on Matthew’s Gospel written for the modern audience.  It contains material of historical, theological, and social/scientific nature reflecting the current state of theological and historical research by men and women much wiser than the author.  It also contains commentary on present day trends such as the psychologization of the Church and postmodernism, among other things, and how they relate to Scripture. Adapted from manuscript notes originally written between 2003-2010 and updated with newer information and improved references as the transcription process continues.  All Scriptures cited are from the New King James Version (NKJV/NKJ) unless otherwise noted.

Matthew Chapter 1

1:1 PURPOSE

● Matthew’s apparent purpose in writing his gospel appears to be to reach the Jews. To show them Jesus as the prophesied Messiah, King of Scripture. This would account for his emphasis, from the start, on Jesus’ descent from the Patriarch Abraham and King David. There is also, his heavy emphasis on fulfilled prophecies. Matthew refers to and cites more Old Testament Scriptures than any of the other Gospel writers.

● Author Tom Schaff believes that the generally accepted view (above) is in error. He suggests the following alternative:

○ Matthew’s early reference to Jesus as being the Son of David and the son of Abraham are simply to establish His bona fides as the legitimate heir to the throne of God’s people and the one through whom the blessing promised to all the world through Abraham’s seed came.

○ Matthew’s heavy use of O.T. Scripture may have merely been an attempt to educate Gentile readers to the fact that this same Jesus is the One of whom the Scriptures spoke. As Schaff points out, Paul’s epistle to the Romans is full of O.T. Scripture quotations and references yet it was not addressed to Jewish believers but Gentile. All the Gospels record Jesus going almost exclusively to the Jews and only on a few occasions being involved with Gentiles. Additionally, the entire Gospel, as contained in both the Old and New Testament Scriptures, is for all people.

○ Matthew’s (need for) explaining the meaning of Hebrew words argues against a primary emphasis on the Jews (cf. Matthew 1:23; Matthew 27:33, 46).

○ The Bible itself says no such thing as that the Gospel of Matthew is or was intended primarily for Jewish readers. Therefore, as Schaff points out, any such conclusion is “a pointless exercise in conjecture.” Further, he writes, and I must agree, “we cannot say as fact things upon which the Bible is silent.”

1:1-16 JESUS’ GENEALOGY

● The Matthean genealogy is a stylized one, set in groups of 14 (as a mnemonic aid?) and shows Jesus as the Son of David and of the Patriarch Abraham; two important Messianic titles.

● The Matthean genealogy, while primarily focused on showing Jesus’ descent from the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and His descent from King David and so establishing His claim as the Messiah/King of prophecy, also differs from most biblical and Jewish genealogies in that it:

1. Included women, and not just any women, but women who were known sinners.

2. Included Gentiles.

● The Matthean genealogy is more than just a list of names establishing Jesus’ claim to the throne of Israel. It is a lesson on the grace and mercy of God, as an examination of its unusual inclusions will show. Some of the more exceptional inclusions in this genealogy are:

○ v. 2 – Jacob. A real scoundrel at first; he was a man who conned his brother out of both his birthright and his blessing (the special blessing due to the firstborn child). See his story in Genesis 25:29-34; Genesis 27:1-46.

○ v. 3 – Tamar and Judah. Israel’s first born son begot Perez by way of Tamar, his own daughter-in-law, who herself had “played the harlot,” with him in order to get sons as was her due because Judah had failed to keep his promise to give her his youngest son as husband, following the deaths of two other sons who had been married to her. See story in Genesis 38.

○ v. 5 – Rahab. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab who was a harlot, who sheltered the two Hebrew spies sent by Joshua to the city of Jericho. She, though a prostitute (and thus a gross sinner) and a Gentile (which in the eyes of the Jews of Jesus’ day, may have been viewed as being just as bad, if not worse), recognized that the hand of God was upon the Israelites and cast her life and that of her family upon the mercy of God. See story in Joshua 2:1-21; Joshua 6:17.

○ v. 5 – Ruth. Boaz begot Obed by Ruth (a Moabitess). Here is another Gentile woman in Jesus’ lineage. This shows that Jesus came to save not just the Jews, but ANYONE who would turn to God in faith. See story in Ruth.

○ v. 6 – David and Bathsheba. David begot Solomon by the widow of Uriah whom he (David) had killed in an attempt to cover up his (David’s) adultery with his (Uriah’s) wife. So here are both a murderer and adulterer, and an adulteress who are included in the lineage of our Lord. See story in 2 Samuel 11, 12.

● So, here were not just men of honor (thought there were some) but men and women, Jew and Gentile, honorable and dishonorable. The thread that ties them all together – Faith in God! “By grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8).

● The genealogy of Christ, as presented here is also a picture of the Church, made up of all kinds of different people, all connected by their God given faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

• Beginning at Matthew v6 and Luke v31 the genealogies split. In both cases, Jesus is shown as being descended from King David but through different sons. Some scholars say the genealogies trace the lines of Joseph, as Jesus’ (earthly) father, in Matthew and Mary, Jesus’ mother, in Luke. Matthew, tracing the line through the normally followed kingly line of descent through Jeconiah (reigned in Judah for 3 months in 597 B.C., cf. 2 Kings 24:8; a.k.a., Jehoiachin, Coniah), contrasted with Luke, tracing Mary’s line of descent through David’s son Nathan (cf. Luke 3:31) and not through Jeconiah, upon whom was the curse of God that none of his descendants would sit on the throne of David, and thus avoiding that prophetic snare. The Lucan genealogy also differs in that it seems to emphasize Jesus’ humanity as a descendant of Adam.

Verse #(s):Matthew Ancestor(s) Verse #(s):Luke Ancestor(s)
2 Abraham 38 – 34 Adam to Abraham
  Isaac 34 Isaac
  Jacob   Jacob
  Judah 33 Judah
3 Pere & Sarah by Tamar   Perez
  Hezron   Hezron
  Ram   Ram
4 Amminadab   Amminadab
  Nashon 32 Nashon
  Salmon   Salmon
  Boaz by Rahab   Boaz
  Obed by Ruth   Obed
  Jesse   Jesse
6 David 31 David

1:11 CURSED

● See Jeremiah 22:24-30[i], regarding the prophetic curse upon Jeconiah (Coniah) and his descendants.

● As Jesus was not physically descended from Jeconiah; He avoids this curse.

1:20 WHO IS HOLY?

Adapted from note: “Who is Holy?” in Notes – Difficult Passages (pp. 16-17, MS.) written originally on 2-9-2008.

While translated, “by the Holy Spirit” or “Holy Ghost” in the KJV, NKJV, AB, Rheims, NRSB, NAB, NIV, NASB (English) and the NVI, Reina-Valera and LBLA, reading “del Espiritu Santo” or equivalent; I do not understand how that is so.

The T.R. And UBS 4 Greek manuscripts both read the same (with the exception that the T.R. capitalizes the words for “spirit” and “holy.” The Greek reads as follows:

“ (that) το G3588 T-NSN (for) γαρ G1063 CONJ (in) εν G1722 PREP (her) αυτη G846 P-DSF (begotten or generated) γεννηθεν G1080 V-APP-NSN (from) εκ G1537 PREP ([the] Spirit/spirit) πνευματος G4151 N-GSN (is) εστιν G1510 V-PAI-3S (Holy/holy) αγιου G40 A-GSN” (GNT-TR with Strong’s, grammar, and author’s English equivalents (in parenthesis)) .

In both the TR and UBS 4, the Greek is anarthrous (without the definite article) yet, all the English translations and Spanish translations referred to above supply the definite article “the” (“el”) for “spirit”.

My question is; why is this translated “by the Holy Spirit”, instead of “by spirit is holy”? That is, why is this not translated as “that which is conceived in her by spirit is holy”?

Granted, elsewhere we are told that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and she would conceive a son (cf. Luke 1:35, cf. Luke 1:31[ii]), but that does not seem to be what it says here.

Elsewhere, Christ is referred to as “the Holy One of God” (σε τις ει ο αγιος του θεου; cf. Mark 1:24); “that holy thing [one] to be born of you” (cf. Luke 1:35 note 2 below); “the Holy One of God” (see above, cf. Luke 4:34[iii]); etc. These sayings are consistent with a rendering of this verse as I have indicated above. Why then, is it not translated thus? What rule(s) of Greek Grammar allow, or require it to be translated as it was?

PRESERVED

Regardless of the textual and translation variants, one thing is certain, each reflect a truth of Christ as clearly expressed in other passages (see above). This then is evidence of God’s preservation of His Word in that any “truth” that He would have us to know, any “revelation” has been and will be preserved.

1:21 THE NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES

● Jesus; Ἰησοῦς, Jesús, Jesu; all are forms of the Hebrew Yeshua meaning literally, “The Lord Saves.”

HIS PURPOSE

● Here, in the first chapter of Matthew, we have the first of many direct statements as to Christ’s purpose or mission on earth, “He will save His people from their sins” (HCSB).

● He will save – speaks of the certainty of His accomplishing that salvation He came to give. See “Security of the Believer,” below.

● His people – speaks of His coming for a particular people. This compared with Revelation 5:9-10 and Matthew 28:19-20[iv] (the Great Commission) among other passages, shows that this does not refer to the Jews only (who are His people in the flesh, i.e., biologically related), but to all those whom God has chosen from before the foundation of the world to be His, cf. Ephesians 1:4[v]

SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER

● That “He will save” is a solid, direct statement of what Christ came to and will do, without fail. “He will save His people from their sins.” His people will be, not “might be,” not “be given an opportunity to be,” but “will be saved!”

● See also: Joshua 7:11-13 and note 2 “Security of the Believer[vi];” Matthew 10:22 and note “Enduring to the End[vii];” 24:13 and note “Perseverance” [v]; John 6:39-40 and note “Security of the Believer;” 13:1 and note “Security of the Believer [vi];” 2nd Corinthians 5:5 and note “Security of the Believer [vii];” Galatians 3:13 and note “Redeemed = Security [viii];” Hebrews 3:6 and note “Endurance;” and 6:11-12 [Future]and note “Perseverance, Exhortations to.”[Future]

1:22-23 GOD WITH US
● “Immanuel,” lit. “God with us.” One of many direct biblical statements declaring that Christ was/is God.
● A fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah that a virgin would bear a son and call him “Immanuel,” cf. Isaiah 7:14[viii].

1:25 JESUS’ BIRTH – TIMING OF
● See also, Luke 2:1-2; 2:8 and related notes[ix], for a more detailed discussion of the “when” of Christ’s birth.
● Compare also, John 18:31-32 and note, “Prophecy Fulfilled[x],” regarding the timing of His advent.
● See also, note “Timeline” at Matthew 2:1-6[xi].

TILL
● Joseph “did not know [have sexual relations with] her till she brought forth her firstborn Son.”
Joseph and Mary did have relations after Jesus’ birth. True, the Scriptures do not say so in so many words, but it is there for those who look. Compare Matthew 27:55-56 and note that the James listed there is the same “James the Lord’s brother: of Galatians 1:19[xii].
● Had Mary remained a virgin her entire life, as is taught by the Roman Catholic church, the above statement would have been either incorrect, at the worst or, misleading, at the best.
○ The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Joseph was an older man who brought his own children into his marriage with Mary, making James and the others “stepbrothers,” not “half-brothers” of Jesus. They deny that he and Mary ever had sexual relations. Though that does seem, on the surface, to be a reasonable interpretation of what happened; it is incorrect nonetheless.
○ This is seen in the choice of the words, “till” and “firstborn” in relation to Joseph and Mary’s sexual relationship. Till, implies that there were relations later. Firstborn indicates-
a) That there were other children born to Mary, as if she had no others, “only” would have been a better, clearer term. And,
b) “Firstborn” is the limiting term defining the “when” to which the “till” refers.
● Where the Bible is silent, we had best, if not be silent, then, not be dogmatic. The Bible does not directly say that Joseph and Mary had relations, nor does it directly state that she remained a virgin her entire life. Both conclusions are based on how one interprets the Scripture passages relating to them. While I believe that the Reformed churches (Protestant) have the correct understanding, this is not an area in which brethren should divide. One is not saved or lost based on whether Mary did or did not have sexual relations with her husband after the birth of Jesus. Both Protestant and Catholic agree that she was a virgin when Jesus was conceived in her by the Holy Spirit as is expressly stated in Scripture.

(21) And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (22) So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: (23) “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD, AND BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which is translated, “God with us.” (24) Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, (25) and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.


ENDNOTES:

[i] Jer 22:24-30 “As I live,” says the LORD, “though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet on My right hand, yet I would pluck you off; (25) and I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of those whose face you fear–the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the hand of the Chaldeans. (26) So I will cast you out, and your mother who bore you, into another country where you were not born; and there you shall die. (27) But to the land to which they desire to return, there they shall not return. (28) “Is this man Coniah a despised, broken idol– A vessel in which is no pleasure? Why are they cast out, he and his descendants, And cast into a land which they do not know? (29) O earth, earth, earth, Hear the word of the LORD! (30) Thus says the LORD: ‘Write this man down as childless, A man who shall not prosper in his days; For none of his descendants shall prosper, Sitting on the throne of David, And ruling anymore in Judah.’ ”

[ii] Luke 1:35, cf. Luke 1:31

Luke 1:35

(35)  And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.

Luke 1:31

(31)  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.

[iii] Luke 4:34

(34)  saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are–the Holy One of God!”

[iv] Revelation 5:9-10 and Matthew 28:19-20

Revelation 5:9-10

(9)  And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

(10)  And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.”

Matthew 28:19-20

(19)  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

(20)  teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

[v] Ephesians 1:4

(4)  just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,

[vi] Joshua 7:11-13

Jos 7:11-13 Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. For they have even taken some of the accursed things, and have both stolen and deceived; and they have also put it among their own stuff. (12) Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they have become doomed to destruction. Neither will I be with you anymore, unless you destroy the accursed from among you. (13) Get up, sanctify the people, and say, ‘Sanctify yourselves for tomorrow, because thus says the LORD God of Israel: “There is an accursed thing in your midst, O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.”

SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER

• Curiously enough, in spite of Aachan’s death for his sinful act, this event in its entirety is a good argument for the doctrine of The Security of the Believer. How so? As follows:

Israel as a whole was God’s chosen people cf. Romans 9 and while, in Aachan, Israel sinned and suffered the loss of God’s blessings of success, power of her enemies; at the same time, Israel remained God’s chosen people. Moreover, when Israel cleansed herself of her sin, her communion with God and His power in her corporate life was restored.

• This example is but one of many to come of Israel’s almost continual cycle of sin, repentance, restoration, fall back into sin, repentance…., etc., etc., etc., until God’s purpose for her was fulfilled: the coming of Christ, of Him who will save His people from their sins.

[vii] Matthew 10:22

(22)  And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

10:22     Enduring to the End

●             “[H]e who endures to the end will be saved.”

             Originally written in January 2004.

●             I recently heard a preacher teach that this verse does not apply to Christians and the Church, but rather, to Jewish converts in the [Great] Tribulation.  While I respect this brother and have learned much from him in the past, and no doubt will learn more in the future, I do not agree with his interpretation of this verse.

●             The theme of “endurance to the end” is a basic theme throughout Scripture, and especially so in the New Testament.  Compare, Matthew 24:13; Mark 13:13; 2 Timothy 2:12; Hebrews 6:15; Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, and 21.  These are but a few of the more obvious passages.  There are many others which speak of enduring, continuing in, persevering in, etc.

●             While this verse may have an application to Jewish converts in the end times, the “Tribulation,” they do apply to us today.

[viii] Isa 7:14 NKJV

(14) Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.

[ix] Luk 2:1-2 NKJV

(1) And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. (2) This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.

2:1-2 WHAT YEAR?

● Christ’s birth is connected to the year of an Empire wide census. We cannot fix the exact timing of this census at this late date due to the loss of necessary records from that period.

● What is known from the extant historical records is that one Publius Sulpicius Quirinius did rule twice over Syria, which included Judea, the first time possibly from 6-4BC and the second between 6-9AD. History also bears record that a census of the whole world [read: Roman Empire] was ordered in 8BC but due to circumstances no longer known, was not carried out in the region of Syria/Judea until the time of Quirinius. Note: Some sources put Qurinius’s firs governorship between 11-9BC and the original order by Augustus for the census around 12BC. In any event, it is currently impossible to determine the exact time of the census (at least as it was conducted in Judea, nor as a result, the exact year of Christ’s birth.

● The general consensus is that Joseph and Mary, as a result of the census taking place in Judea, travelled to Bethlehem sometime before 4BC, the year of Herod the Great’s death) and probably not before 9-6BC.

● As John MacArthur points out in his study Bible notes, at the time of the writing of Luke, the reader [Theophilus] was most likely familiar enough with the events in question that more information was not needed.

Luk 2:8 NKJV

(8) Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

2:8 What Month?

● Contrary to long held custom, Jesus’ birth most certainly was not on December 25th of any year. December 25th was the date selected by some well meaning (?) church leaders to take over, as it were, the pagan celebration of Dies Solis Invictus or the Day of the Invincible Sun. That Jesus could not have been born in December is indicated from the fact that the Scripture records that the shepherds were “living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night” v.8. In the hill country around Jerusalem, the nights in winter are cold and most shepherds take their sheep in at night.

● So when was He born? On this side of eternity, we will probably never know. We know that Mary became pregnant “in the sixth month” cf. 1:26. But the sixth month from when? From the beginning of Elizabeth’s pregnancy? Or perhaps the sixth month of the year, and if that, by which calendar, civil or religious? That gives us at least 3 different potential months for Jesus’ conception/birth.

1. If Jesus was conceived 6 months after John the Baptist was conceived, assuming his conception took place within one month of his father’s service in the Temple (8th month of the religious calendar), that would place John’s conception during the 9th month of the religious calendar (Nov/Dec) – From the Exodus onward, the Jews employed two calendars. The original/civil calendar began the New Year in the Mid-September where with the institution of Passover and the new beginning for the Hebrews, the new calendar began with that event, making the new year’s beginning in the spring – and Jesus’ conception following six months later or Jun/Jul and with John’s birth being around Sept/Oct and Jesus’ birth sometime around the Passover Mar/Apr.

2. If Jesus’ was conceived in the sixth month of the year, then depending on whether it was according to the civil or religious calendar, His conception would have taken place in:

■ Feb/Mar according to the civil calendar with birth following in May/Jun. Or,

■ Aug/Sep by the religious calendar with birth following in Apr/May.

As we do not know for sure what Luke meant by his dates, we cannot know for sure when Christ was born.

● It may well be that God caused the precise information regarding the date of Christ’s birth and as a consequence, His death, to be lost so that we do not fall into the temptation of trying to “divine” or guess the date of His return (though there are plenty that still try) by using one or both of those dates as a fixed point to calculate.

● One final word. There are some who suggest that Christ may have been born at the time of Passover. But again, this is pure conjecture. It is a better probability than December 25th, but it is not a certainty.

[x] John 18:31-32 NKJV

(31)  Then Pilate said to them, “You take Him and judge Him according to your law.” Therefore the Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death,”

(32)  that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die.

18:31-32              PROPHECY FULFILLED

•             Two prophecies are fulfilled in Christ’s death at the hands of the Romans.

I.             The first involves the timing related to the coming of the Messiah [regarding which, I just saw an ad for a book by popular Pastor John Hagee in which he denies that Jesus came to be the Messiah, the book proves, “that Jesus did not come to earth to be the Messiah” (39 sec. mark http://mywordlikefire.com/2014/03/07/john-hagee-says-jesus-did-not-come-to-earth-to-be-the-messiah/).  Yeah, right.  And anyone who believes that, I have a bridge for sale in Boston].  Regarding the timing is this prophecy from Genesis.

•             Genesis 49:10

•             (10)  The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes; ….

•             The “scepter” which is symbolic of ruling authority came to Judah in the time of King David and there it remained in one form or another throughout the kingdom years, the Babylonian exile – even those remaining behind were governed by their fellow Judahites – through the post-exile years until 6AD when Judah went from being an “independent associate kingdom” subject to Rome, to becoming a Roman province governed by a Roman Procurator or Governor according to Roman Law.  Judah thus lost the right to inflict capital punishment without prior approval from the Roman governor “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.”

•             Thus, the first prophecy of Genesis 49:10 limits the timing of the first Advent of the Messiah to a date prior to 6AD.  Jesus was born in 6-4BC.

•             The Second prophecy, related to the first was told by Jesus of how He would be killed by being crucified cf. John 8:18; 12:32-33.  This form of execution, while having its origins in the Persian practice of nailing or otherwise fastening the victim to a wagon wheel and torturing them to death, was taken and refined by the Romans into the form then practiced of lifting up the victim, fastened to an upright post (generally capped with a cross-piece in the form of a T or a t hence the term “cross”) where they were left to die.

•             Jesus’ “prophecy” spoken to the Disciples was not so much an original prophetic statement, but a reiteration of what He had revealed centuries earlier to King David. Compare Psalm 22, esp. vv14-18, and Isaiah 53, esp. vv.5-12 where death by [Roman style] crucifixion is described.

•             Just as prophesied a 1000 years earlier and again during His ministry, Jesus was “lifted up.”

[xi] Matthew 2:1-6

(1)  Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,

(2)  saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

(3)  When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

(4)  And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

(5)  So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:

(6)  ‘BUT YOU, BETHLEHEM, IN THE LAND OF JUDAH, ARE NOT THE LEAST AMONG THE RULERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.’ ”

TIMELINE

●             Note the “in the days of Herod the king,” places Jesus’ birth not later than 4 BC, as that is the year that Herod died.

●             See notes to Matthew 1:25 [Previous day and below] .

Additional Historical Note, cf. Luke 2:1-3 [v].  Cyrinius [a/k/a Quirinius] was made governor in 4BC according to some archeological findings.

[xii] Matthew 27:55-56; Galatians 1:19

Matthew 27:55-56

(55)  And many women who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him, were there looking on from afar,

(56)  among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

Galatians 1:19

(19)  But I saw none of the other apostles except James, the Lord’s brother.

A copy of Chapter 1 of Matthew’s Gospel can be read by opening this link.  http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+1&version=NKJV

On The Acceptance Of Evil…

This is exactly what happened to me when I was in “court ordered” group therapy. According to “modern psychobabble” er.. I mean psychoheresy.. no, psychotherapy, once a person is an alcoholic, a drug addict, an abuser of whatever, one is such forever and while “Christianity” is “nice,” is “good” to have, it is only with the help of years of ongoing therapy that one can learn to control, one never can be delivered, one’s baser desires. So, when God says “if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creations,” well,… not really say the therapists and if you’re in their group, you had better agree, or else. When God’s word says “everything necessary for life and godliness is provided through the knowledge of Him who called us,” well, .. not really say the therapists, you need our treatment du jour as well. And heaven help you if you say, “well, there are some things you teach that can be helpful, but nothing that is necessary.” You can bet your bottom dollar you won’t be in group for long after that. And if it’s court ordered, you will find yourself in jail for violating a court order by NOT being in group. The Court doesn’t care why you’re not in. And when friends (so-called) and family urge you, “Just tell them what they want to hear. That way they’ll be happy, will stay off your back and you’ll stay out of jail.” But the problem with that is just what is described in the article,
‘When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One’s standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control. ~Theodore Dalrymple”
I finally had to say, “Send me to jail if you feel you must, but I can no longer live this lie. I AM a new creation in Christ and am not what I once was and I refuse to continue saying that I am and that I “need” your therapy when I do not. God tells me everything I “need” to “know” is in His Word, in the Knowledge of His Son. Anything else is just that, possibly of use, but not of necessity. After all, I can find edible food in a dumpster, but why would I go there to find food, when I have a feast provided for me in the house of my God? Same difference. I got 10yrs, praise God.

Pastor Bill Randles Blog

…Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:  That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.(2 Thessalonians 2:6-10)

Evil thrives on lies. The fall of man came about by the acceptance of a lie. Satan himself is the father of lies. Lying and evil are indivisible.

We are currently living in a time of the mass acceptance of evil. Daily the case is being successfully made for things such as homosexual marriage, abortion, pedophilia, the justification of Islamic terror. People are unwittingly being conditioned to accept the previously unacceptable through the…

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