Establishing the true Messiahship of Christ
Matthew 1 – 4
Matthew 1 – 4
This first portion of Matthew’s Gospel is dedicated to establishing the true Messiahship of Christ, proven by the fulfillment of many prophetic scriptures. There are at least ten major tennents of messianic prophecy fulfilled by Jesus in Matthew 1 – 4. they are;
- Royal Geneology (ch.1) – Son of Abraham and David
- Virgin Birth and Divine Nature (ch.1) – Jesus & Emmanuel
- Place of Birth (ch.2) – Bethlehem in the land of Judah
- Worshipped (ch.2) by Gentiles with gold & incense
- Called up out of Egypt as the True Israel (ch.2)
- Called a Nazarene (ch.2) – Dwelt in Nazareth, the Branch
- Heralded by John the Baptist (ch.3)
- Sinless Perfection (ch.4) – Tempted by the Devil
- Appeared in the North of the Land in Blessing (ch.4)
- Came in Millennial Power for Blessing (ch.4)
This section of Matthew’s gospel can be divided as follows:
O U T L I N E
The Genealogy and Birth of Christ: His true Glory as Messiah
- The Royal Lineage of the Messiah (1:1-17)
- The Two Great Ancestral Requirements for the Messiah (v.1)
- Fourteen Generations from Abraham to David (1800-1000 b.c.) (vv.2-6a)
- Fourteen Generations from David to Captivity (1000-600 b.c.) (vv.6b-11)
- Fourteen Generations from Captivity to Christ (600-4 b.c.) (vv.12-16)
- Three Divisions within the Generations (v.17)
- The Virgin Birth of the Messiah (1:18-25)
The Royal Lineage of the Messiah (1:1-17)
The Two Great Ancestral Requirements for the Messiah (v.1)
¶ Book of the generation of Jesus Christ, Son of David, Son of Abraham. v.1 there were two great ancestral requirements for the messiah… He had to be son of David (fulfill Davidic promises, II Sam. 7:12-13; for the “crown“) and he had to be son of Abraham (fulfill Abrahamic promises; Gen. 17:19, for the “land“). Two is adequate witness by the Jewish legal system (Heb. 10:28).
Why traced to David and not Adam? In Luke the Lord is presented as a man, and so His genealogy is traced back to Adam, the first man. In Matthew it is Christ presented as the true king of Israel, so His genealogy is traced back to David, the first true king of Israel!
Why traced through Joseph and not Mary? In Luke the Lord’s genealogy is traced back through his human mother. Mothers in scripture bring out the moral side. In Luke the angel appears to Mary. In Matthew his genealogy is traced through his natural father. Fathers in scripture speak of the official or administrative side.
Fourteen Generations from Abraham to David (1800-1000 b.c.) (vv.2-6a)
¶ 2 (1) Abraham begat (2) Isaac; and Isaac begat (3) Jacob, and Jacob begat (4) Juda and his brethren; v.2 “And his brethren” – while only Judah was integral to the royal line, god always had all twelve tribes in his mind.
3 and Juda begat (5) Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat (6) Esrom, and Esrom begat (7) Aram, 4 and Aram begat (8) Aminadab, and Aminadab begat (9) Naasson, and Naasson begat (10) Salmon, 5 and Salmon begat (11) Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat (12) Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat (13) Jesse, vv.2-6a Mr. Kelly called this portion of Israel’s history “the dawn of glory for the Jews.” it was Jehovah establishing Israel as a kingdom according to his own sovereign will. it was their highest moment in antiquity.
6a and Jesse begat (14) David the king. v.6a notice that David is called “the king”… this is the official capacity of the messiah.
Fourteen Generations from David to Captivity (1000-600 b.c.) (vv.6b-11)
6b And David begat (1) Solomon, of her that had been the wife of Urias; v.6b The genealogy of Joseph (not Mary) is given, because the purpose is to establish that Christ was the rightful heir according to Jewish law.
7 and Solomon begat (2) Roboam, and Roboam begat (3) Abia, and Abia begat (4) Asa, v.7 If you look at 2 Chron. 12:13 you will find that another gentile woman, an Ammonitess named Naamah, is in the royal lineage of Christ.
8 and Asa begat (5) Josaphat, and Josaphat begat (6) Joram, and Joram begat (7) Ozias, v.8 three missing kings! between Joram and Ozias there were three kings that are omitted here: Azariah, Joash, and Amaziah… all were the seed of athaliah. They are left out because they were the progenitors of idolatry. true to Prov. 10:7 “The name of the wicked shall rot.” the Spirit of God would rather take a disgraced gentile woman (Rahab) than an idolatrous king.
9 and Ozias begat (8) Joatham, and Joatham begat (9) Achaz, and Achaz begat (10) Ezekias, 10 and Ezekias begat (11) Manasses, and Manasses begat (12) Amon, and Amon begat (13) Josias, v.10 Manasseh was the worst of all the kings, even the kings of israel. but he repented of it.
11 and Josias begat (14) Jechonias and his brethren, at the time of the carrying away of Babylon. v.11 We need to understand that v.11 is a summary. Josiah had three sons: (1) Jehoahaz, (2) Jehoakim, and (3) Zedekiah. “Jechonias” refers to Jehoiakim in v.11, and is also used for his son Jehoiachin in v.12. Therefore, “his brethren” refers to Jehoahaz and Zedekiah. Judah was carried away in three phases (II Kings 24).
Fourteen Generations from Captivity to Christ (600-4 b.c.) (vv.12-16)
12 And after the carrying away of Babylon, (1) Jechonias begat (2) Salathiel, and Salathiel begat (3) Zorobabel, v.12 if you didn’t understand the double use of “Jechonias” (see note on v.11) you might count 13 generations in this section. this “Jechonias” is Jehoiachin, the grandson of Josiah. how does this v.12 work with Jer. 22:30… which says that Jechonias would be childless? well, we find in II Kings 25:27-30 that the Lord allowed him to be partially restored, and this is when he begat Salathiel. Zorobabel – when they came back to the land under cyrus.
13 and Zorobabel begat (4) Abiud, and Abiud begat (5) Eliakim, and Eliakim begat (6) Azor, 14 and Azor begat (7) Sadoc, and Sadoc begat (8) Achim, and Achim begat (9) Eliud, v.14 this covers the inter-testamental period… god was able to maintain the royal line throughout the 400 silent years. The Royal line after the captivity were not call Kings because they were in the times of the Gentiles… but the royal line during this dark period ends with the the King of kings, the Lord himself!
15 and Eliud begat (10) Eliazar, and Eliazar begat (11) Matthan, and Matthan begat (12) Jacob, 16 and Jacob begat (13) Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born (14) Jesus, who is called Christ. v.16 why is “begat” mentioned in every case but here? it is because the Lord was born (became a man) but he was never “begotten” in the sense of “came into being”. instead he is “the only begotten son of god”. Also, the words “of whom” are in the singular! This is to guard the fact that the only human involved in the birth of Jesus was Mary… no human father.
Three Divisions within the Generations (v.17)
17 All the generations, therefore, from Abraham to David were fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away of Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the carrying away of Babylon unto the Christ, fourteen generations. v.17 Here we have a historical outline of Israel’s history:
- Abraham – David: establishment of Israel in God’s sovereignty
- David – Captivity: the failure of Israel in man’s responsibility
- Captivity – Christ: a remnant is preserved according to His Grace.
This same pattern is repeated in every dispensation: (1) God gives it; (2) man destroys it; and (3) God recovers a remnant in grace. “The Christ” in the gospels simply means “the Messiah” (see John 1:41). In Paul’s epistles sometime it means the mystical union between Christ and the Church (e.g. 1 Cor. 12:12 where clearly “the Christ” is a reference to the one body).
The mention of four women in the genealogy. The Jewish scribes would never have included these women:
- Tamar – got pregnant through her father-in-law
- Rahab – an Amorite harlot
- Ruth – a Moabite, prevented from entering Israel
- Bathsheeba (wife of uriah) – an adulteress
by including these women (with questionable backgrounds) in the genealogy of the messiah – where traditionally only men mattered – the spirit was showing that god was now reaching beyond the narrow vision of the Jews. Another woman is Naamah – an Ammonitess (not mentioned, see v.7). The only one that was without reproach was Mary.
The Virgin Birth of the Messiah (1:18-25)
The virgin birth of the Messiah was another requirement that the rabbis were entitled to look for.
- Isa. 7:14 – he would be born of a virgin (see also, Gen. 3:15, Mary was the only woman to have seed not by man)
- Isa. 9:6 – the child would be divine (the names and titles could only be true of God… e.g. “the mighty God”).
Up until this time, the rabbis insisted on the virgin birth. They said: “the birth of the messiah alone shall be without any defects” [rabbi Yarchi]. “His birth shall not be like that of other men” [rabbi Moshe Haddarshan]. And “the birth of the messiah shall be like the dew of the lord, as drops upon the grass without the action of man” [Jerusalem Talmud]. Later they changed their views on the messiah in their writings to cover their tracks due to the nation’s rejection.
Mary’s Pregnancy and Joseph’s Consternation (vv.18-19)
¶ 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was thus: His mother, Mary, that is, having been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit. v.18 The virginity of Mary is carefully guarded by the spirit of God. she was betrothed to Joseph, but they have never come together. there was no cloud of reproach to allow for questions. the child she carried in her womb was of divine origin, conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost.
19 But Joseph, her husband, being a righteous man, and unwilling to expose her publicly, purposed to have put her away secretly; 20 but while he pondered on these things, vv.19-20a This verse gives us something of Joseph’s character. The situation appeared as though his fiancée had been unfaithful to him. he was:
- Righteous – “a just man” – would not marry her because she was defiled
- Merciful – “not willing to make her a public example” (object of scorn).
His mind was made up to put her away (divorce her), but to do so in a discreet manner so as to save her EMBARRASSMENT. “betrothed” – at this time in Judaism betrothal was a very serious thing, and NEARLY FINAL. IT required divorce (“PUTTING AWAY”) to break the agreement.
- Temperate – he didn’t not quickly react, but weighed the matter in his mind. when we are quiet like Joseph, the lord will communicate to us.
The Angelic Appearance to Joseph (vv.20b-21)
20b behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, fear not to take to thee Mary, thy wife, for that which is begotten in her is of the Holy Spirit. v.20b Joseph’s first dream. It’s nice that the lord addresses him as “Joseph, thou son of David”… because he is bringing out the royal connection that the messiah would have to David. what a trial for Joseph to pass through! He went through it with the Lord, and what a reward! Not only was his betrothed pure, but she had been given “the desire of women” (Dan. 11:37), the greatest privilege a Jewish woman could have. we read in Luke 1:35 that at her conception the holy ghost came upon her and overshadowed her to protect mother and fetus.
Begotten in her of the Holy Spirit. Each one of us received a human nature through our mother, and a sinful nature from our father. If the Lord Jesus had been begotten in a merely natural conception, the corruption of the human nature would have been perpetuated to Jesus. But, by the power of the Holy Ghost He alone was born of woman without a human father! Consequently, while He had the human nature from His human mother, He had a divine nature by the Holy Ghost. In the incarnation, both the divine and the human were joined together and remain forever joined in that one Person.
Four dreams or visions given to Joseph. In Luke, visions are given to Mary. But in Matthew the visions are given to the father, Joseph, which speaks of administration.
- Matt. 1:20-21 – explaining the virgin birth of Christ
- Matt. 2:13 – instructions to flee to Egypt
- Matt. 2:19-20 – instructions to return to Israel
- Matt. 2:22-23 – instructions to settle in Nazareth
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for “he” shall save his people from their sins. v.21 Her son would be called “Jesus” which means “Jehovah saves”… it is the Greek form of the name “Joshua”. but far more than a military leader, this man would save his people from their sins. his was rejected by his people, and so this national salvation was postponed until his second coming (see Rom. 11:25-27) but the groundwork was laid and price was paid at the cross.
The Fulfillment of Messianic Prophecy (vv.22-23)
22 Now all this came to pass that that might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord, through the prophet, saying, v.22 this is the first of many Old Testament prophecies quoted in the New Testament (perhaps some 695 times). See helpful encyclopedia entry on Old Testament prophecies quoted in the New Testament. This scripture from Isa. 7:14 was fulfilled completely here.
23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel,” [Isa. 7:14] which is, being interpreted, ‘God with us.’ v.23 This is a quotation of Isa. 7:14. we have the lord Jesus presented in three ways in this chapter: (1) the Christ, v.16; (2) the savior, v.21; and now (3) god with us, v.23. Jesus is his manhood name. Without any other titles, it refers to him as a man. Christ is his official title as messiah of Israel. Emmanuel brings in his divine nature… though a man is this world, he was a divine person! god had not come down to meet man’s need until this moment. but the story would not be complete without the cross… we could not be brought to God until Christ had “saved us from our sins.”
The Marriage of Mary and Joseph and Birth of Jesus (vv.24-25)
24 But Joseph, having awoke up from his sleep, did as the angel of the Lord had enjoined him, and took to him his wife, v.24 Joseph was obedient to the Lord, not like Peter, who said four times “not so, Lord”.
25 and knew her not until she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus. v.25 contrast this with Adam and Eve, who named their firstborn son “Cain” or, “a possession”. Mary and Joseph realized that this child was a divine gift, and not a possession. Joseph and Mary’s marriage was about the will of god, not their own will. this should be the purpose of every christian marriage. we are not our own, our homes, our marriages, our children, belong to God.
Incarnation. One of the greatest events in time… the Son of God took manhood into His Person, forming a permanent union between His divine nature and His human nature. He became a man, spirit-soul-body, but did not give up anything He had as God. read more…