Two Kings

November 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Matthew | 3 Comments
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Our Savior’s name is “Jesus.” His title is the “Christ,” because He was anointed and sent by the Father. His description is “Immanuel,” because He is “God with us.”

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Matthew 2:1-2

Gentiles came to worship Jesus as King of the Jews, but the traditional manger scenes are inaccurate. The Magi arrived much later.

The Jewish people themselves did not recognize Jesus as their king. Herod the Great was called “king” because of the influence of Marc Antony on the Senate in Rome. Herod was a descendant of Esau, whereas Jesus was a descendant of Jacob. Esau was carnal and Jacob was spiritual. Esau was worldly and Jacob was godly.

Herod died in 4 B.C. and Jesus was born in 6 or 5 B.C. Jesus had a reputation of being “from Nazareth,” even though He was born in Bethlehem, because He grew up in Nazareth. Nazareth was a humble place, and this prepared Him for a life of humility. As a parent, your prayers for your children may be answered in their persecution and humiliation. Contrary to the cliche’ whereby it sounds noble to want your children to have all the things you never had as a child, there is no command in the Bible to give them all the things that we never had. Sometimes we perceive over-bearing parents as legalistic when in reality they are just preparing their children for adversity for Christ’s sake later in life. Will a child who is embarrassed to dress modestly ever stand up in public and proclaim Christ? Will he ever knock on a stranger’s door and confront him about the condition of his soul? Jesus “of Nazareth” was probably used to being looked down upon, scorned, and ridiculed.

Matthew Chapter 3 records the first information on John the Baptist. John the Baptist appears in the New Testament of the Bible, but he was not the first New Testament prophet. He was actually the last Old Testament (Covenant) prophet. I doubt he would be any more popular today than he was in his own day. As people gathered to hear his message, he called the religious leaders a generation of vipers.

I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

Matthew 3:11

For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Acts 1:5

Lord, help us to turn away from our idols, and to turn toward You. Help us to turn our faces, and our feet, and our minds, and most of all our hearts, to You. Lord, turn Your face toward us. Draw near to us, Lord. We don’t say this lightly, for Your presence will destroy the unholy and the vain – the empty and foolish things which stand in places where only Your glory should stand. We make a dangerous request, Lord, for You are holy, but we do it with great trust in Your mercy, and in the name of Christ Jesus. Amen.

Prophecy Fulfilled in a Person

October 27, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Posted in Matthew | 14 Comments
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Lord, help us to endure – to be focused and energized, not weary. Help us to be excited about Your will, zealous for Your glory, and ready always to give an answer for the hope that is within us. Please help us even to look for opportunities to give an answer, and teach us how from Your Word. In the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.

The Book of Matthew starts off with a genealogy. All reasonable Jewish people would agree that the Messiah would be a descendant of David. No one in the last 2000 years can prove that He is a descendant of David except for One. The Romans sacked Jerusalem in A.D.70 and destroyed all the genealogical records. Only Jesus’s genealogical record survives today and we find it in Matthew. The Holy Spirit has published the proof that Jesus of Nazareth is a son of David.

And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 1:16-18

Matthew was a historian as well as an inspired writer of Scripture. The three major periods of Israel’s history are outlined with sections of 14 generations each because the numerical value of the Hebrew letters for “David” equals 14.

This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;

Genesis 5:1 (emphasis added)

The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

Matthew 1:1 (emphasis added)

There was a “first Adam” and there is a “last Adam.” The first one lost his kingdom through disobedience, and the last One obtained His Kingdom by obedience unto death.

One reason Matthew was written was to show the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies.

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Matthew 1:22-23

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

Matthew 2:14-15

When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

Hosea 11:1

But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

Matthew 2:22-23

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

Isaiah 11:1

The Hebrew word for Branch in that verse is netser, which is related to “Nazareth,” the hometown of Jesus.

Matthew was written primarily for a Jewish, rather than a gentile, audience. Matthew was a tax collector, also known as a publican, by trade. We might think of him as an ancient IRS agent, and, as such, he would have been highly organized. Matthew is a very organized book that focuses on the “Kingdom” of God. It is the only one of the four Gospels that uses the word “church” (Matthew 16:18; 18:17). A church is a “called-out assembly.”

Matthew’s original name was “Levi,” which was also the name of the third son of Jacob (by Leah) – a name which meant “joined unto me” or “attached.” The name “Matthew” itself means “the gift of God.” Tax collectors in those days were considered to be thieves and traitors, so we must remember that your old life will not keep Christ from using you in a great way in your new life.

Of course, it is Jesus, not Matthew, however, who is really the subject of his book. The name “Jesus” means Savior. In Hebrew it is “Joshua,” meaning “Jehovah is salvation.” There were many people with the name, but only one Jesus was the Christ: the Anointed One, the Messiah. He is “Immanuel:” “God with us.”

One Sin Lighter

February 17, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Posted in Micah | 5 Comments
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Micah Chapter 4 transitions from the destruction of Jerusalem in the near future, to the New Jerusalem in the distant future.

But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it.

Micah 4:4

The Lord promises a pleasant home, plenty to eat, and peace in the land. God will give us the desires of our hearts when our hearts desire what He desires.

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

Psalm 37:4

For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.

Micah 4:5

Knowing God and obeying God are blessings unto themselves. Jeremiah had told the people in Judah to surrender to Babylon to save the city and the temple, but they did not listen.

Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.

Micah 4:11-13

In the end times Israel will look weak and defenseless, but it will really be strong through God’s power in “the remnant.”

Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.

Micah 5:1

King Zedekiah would be captured while trying to escape and the Babylonians would humiliate him by striking him with a rod across the face.

Micah 5:2-5 is the prophecy found here in the New Testament:

And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

Matthew 2:5-6

Micah reveals that the Messiah would be: eternal; humble; rejected; and returning victoriously. The prophecy of the Messiah was to give comfort and to arouse responsibility, not to satisfy curiosity or cause complacency. We may say the same about the prophecies in the New Testament today concerning Jesus’s return.

And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men. And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.

Micah 5:7-8

The people of God should be like lions: strong and bold. And like dew: refreshing and fruit-producing.

And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots: And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds: And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand; and thou shalt have no more soothsayers: Thy graven images also will I cut off, and thy standing images out of the midst of thee; and thou shalt no more worship the work of thine hands. And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities. And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard.

Micah 5:10-15

God warns, and then He purges. He wants to get good fruit from our lives. If we are a field, and are producing bad fruit – the wrong kind of fruit – no amount of pruning, weeding, fertilizing, watering, is going to help. We’ve got to be plowed up and re-planted. Christ will deliver you from some particular sin, but by trusting Him to do so, you place yourself totally in His hands, and He doesn’t just want you to be one sin lighter. He wants you to be perfect. If you trust the crop expert to get rid of the boll weevils, do not be surprised if he burns the whole crop and completely re-plants before He is done.

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