New Testament History, Literature and Theology

                             Session 8:  Introduction to Matthew, Part 3

                                            By Dr. Ted Hildebrandt

 

A.  Introduction and the Eschatological Kingdom [00:00-2:47]

            We had been talking about working our way through the book of Matthew, and we have talked about Matthew being methodical, we have talked about discipleship in Matthew and the cost of it, true and false discipleship.  We have talked about righteousness and understanding from the great teacher and we move from discipleship or apostling over to the theology of Christ and we talked about Christ in his deity, and his healing as the therapeutic healer and various aspects of Christ that we talked about as the new Moses or the new Israel in the book of Matthew.  Now we are working with this kingdom of heaven concept in the book of Matthew.  So I want to talk about the Kingdom of heaven.  Do you remember John the Baptist when he said, “the Kingdom of heaven is near”?  And so we are going to work with Matthew using this concept of the Kingdom of heaven.  He says it thirty-two times in the book of Matthew.  It’s in contrast to the book of Mark which uses the Kingdom of God and we said basically there was a shift from the word “God” probably to a more Jewish audience that “heaven” was a more appropriate way as a circumlocution as a metonymy for the kingdom of heaven instead of the kingdom of God. 

Now what I want to do is just talk about the concept of the kingdom of heaven and this is going to be a big thing for the people that Matthew is writing to.  The kingdom of heaven, it seems to me, has to do with the issue of hope.  What types of things do you hope for, and how do you envision that hope, and how do you flesh out that hope with the things that you were hoping for?  So we want to work on this kingdom of heaven and how they would have thought about it and hoped about it as they considered the eschatological kingdom.  Eschatology is the study of the end times.  Eschaton means the end, and eschatology is the study of things like the book of Revelation and Daniel, those types of apocalyptic books.  Eschatological kingdom means the coming kingdom and the future that provides the hope.  I just want to look at those kinds of expectations.  Matthew is writing to Jewish people.  What types of expectations would they have had?  What kind of hope would they have had? 

B.  Expectations of the Kingdom  [2:47- 5:11]

The first one is the Davidic Rule, and we talked about that, that Jesus Christ is the son of David and that the Jews were looking for the son of David to come to rule over Israel as 2 Samuel chapter 7 says, “the son of David will sit on the throne to rule over them with righteousness and justice forever.”  So when the Jews thought about this eschatological kingdom, they had this great king, the son of David, who would then, for them, throw off the Roman yoke and--they were being oppressed by the Romans having to pay taxes and all sorts of things.  The Romans dominated their culture--and when the son of David would come, he would establish the righteousness and throw off the Roman rule.  So with the son of David, they were looking for this Messianic ruler who would come and throw off the Roman yoke.  The Zealots would take that to an extreme and actually take swords and go out and try to accomplish a kind of Zealot kind of very physical way.  But the Davidic rule was one of their hopes built in the Davidic covenant in 2 Samuel 7. 

Israel back in the land was another of their great hopes.  This one works off the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 12).  You remember in the Old Testament when we said that the Abrahamic covenant was the land, that they would get the Promised Land.  So the Jewish people are very connected to that land because that land was promised to them by God to Abraham.  The land, the seed that Abraham’s seed--would be multiplied as the stars of heaven, as the sand on the sea shore--and that Abraham would be a benefit to all nations.  So the land, the seed and the blessing, that he would be a blessing to all nations of the earth.  That was the Abrahamic covenant.  So they saw the Abrahamic and Davidic covenant and they looked for this messianic kingdom where these covenants would be fulfilled where they would have a Davidic ruler and they would have the seed of Abraham in the land, the promised land, being a benefit of blessing to all nations. 

Now lastly is this notion of peace.  They expected peace would come and there would peace in the land.  So this is how a lot of the expectation for this coming kingdom, this eschatological kingdom, would be. 

 

C. Already, But Not Yet and Entrance into the Kingdom  [5:11-8:58]

There is, however, another aspect of this kingdom.   This is what we’ll call the already.  I want to introduce this concept--actually I stole this from a guy named Dr. David Matthewson, who I used to teach with, this “already, but not yet” concept.  And Dave was really into understanding eschatological and apocalyptic literature.  He worked with concepts out of George Eldon Ladd who developed this “already, but not yet” concept.  So the kingdom, there is an imminence to it.  The kingdom of heaven is near.  It’s imminent.  It’s about ready to go through the door.  This imminence, the presence of the kingdom is here and now.  So in Matthew 3:2:  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” says John.  It seems that repentance is the access key into the kingdom of heaven.  “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near,” John says in Matthew chapter 3.  If you go over to Luke, chapter 17, verse 1, this is an interesting verse I think.  It says, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘here it is or there it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”   So here you have this notion that the kingdom of God is inside of them.  The kingdom is not coming from out there.  The kingdom of God is within them, and the presence of the kingdom. The kingdom is already here.  The work of the king has already begun; you see the miracles, you see Jesus healing and walking on water.  The kingdom is already here.  It is the transfiguration.  The kingdom is within you.  It is the rule of the king over your life.  The kingdom of God is within you.  So there seems to be this imminence and this presence, this alreadiness of the kingdom.  Aspects of the kingdom are already here. 

Another aspect of that is that the entrance seems to be, in chapter 21, Matthew 21:31 – check this out--the entrance to the kingdom seems to be repentance and belief.  In Matthew 21:31, it says, “Jesus says to them, ‘I tell you the truth, that tax collectors and prostitutes are entering (present, already – the alreadiness of the kingdom) the kingdom of God ahead of you.’”  They’re already in the process of doing this, “for John came to show you the way of righteousness and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and prostitutes did, and even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.”  So access was available to the tax collectors and the prostitutes. Why?  Because they repented and believed in John’s message.  But these people, the Pharisees, Sadducees or whomever he is talking to, did not believe and repent and they rejected the message.  So the kingdom of heaven, being discussed in terms of its entrance here, and its presence is that the tax collectors and prostitutes enter.  

 

D. Already but Not Yet and the Parables of the Kingdom [8:58-12:48]

Now, many of the parables of the kingdom are mentioned.  They are called, the kingdom parables.  Some seed falls on the track where people walk and it gets trampled.  Some falls on shallow soil or rocky soil, and it pops up for a little bit, but there is no place for the roots and so it dries out and withers.  Some seed falls on the ground with the weeds and the weeds grow up and it grows up very nicely and then the weeds choke it out.  Then the other seeds fall on good soil.  So the parable, the sower or the soils are people like this guy.  So you get these four different soils described, the parables of the kingdom this parable is how the gospel is being received now.  So here you have another case where the kingdom is already.  As the gospel is spreading, this is already how the kingdom is now.  Some of it takes root in people, others do not. 

Now, take the wheat and the tares.  The guy goes out and plants good wheat in the field.  When he is sleeping, an enemy comes and plants the tares.  As the servants see the tares or weeds come up they said, “we should go through them and pull the weeds out.”  The master says, “no – if you tear the weeds out, you’ll damage the wheat as well, and we’ll tear it apart at the harvest.”  At the harvest the, he sends his servants and they harvest the wheat and the tares are burned up in eternal fire and the wheat is gathered into his kingdom.  So this mixing of the wheat and tares – that is the kingdom already here. 

The parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25, is the separating the sheep on the right and the goats on the left.  That’s telling about the end judgment, the entering of the kingdom, which is yet to come.  So there seems to be this kingdom that is already and there is the kingdom that is not yet.  So when you work with the kingdom – Matthewson always said in his class, he tells his students that “you get an 80 percent in his course if you just answer ‘already, but not yet’” because he talks about it so much.  I think he is on to something really big there.  This is a huge concept.  The kingdom is already, and the kingdom of God is within you.  And yet, the kingdom is yet to come in the sheep and the goats and we pray, “thy kingdom come.”  So the kingdom parables, another aspect of Matthew that develops. 

The not yet aspect of the kingdom is talking about the future kingdom – the end times.  “Thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  So we pray in the Lord’s Prayer – it is the thing that we pray for, that the kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven.  So you get this not yet aspect of the kingdom.  The kingdom is not yet here.  We pray for it to come.  The end we mentioned with the sheep and goats, and how that works itself out. 

Now the bridesmaids – do you remember the ten bridesmaids in chapter twenty-five there?  Five were wise and five were foolish.  And the five foolish ones didn’t have enough oil and so the master is coming and while the five foolish are running to try and get some oil, the master comes and goes in with the five wise who did have oil, and the other five show up later.  He says, “no, sorry you are too late,” and so this future kind of exploration or coming of the kingdom is in the future.  Now, what does this mean? 

 

E.  Some Standing Here will see it? [12:48-14:45]

This verse in Matthew 16:28, is an interesting verse, and I just want to read this to you.  Some people have said this verse is actually an error in the New Testament, that Jesus actually got this wrong.  It says, “I tell you the truth,” Jesus says.  This is right after the passage where Jesus says, “but whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.  And what good will it be for a man if he gains the world, but forfeits his soul?  For the son of man is going to come in his Father’s glory, with his angels and then he will reward each person according” – how will he award each person?  “According to what he has done.”  It is very interesting, the emphasis here.  “I tell you the truth,” now he says this:  “Some of you who are standing here will not taste death before you see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” And so he is saying to some of them now, some of the writers, then, have problems with this. And what does this mean, that some of you will not face death until you see the coming of his kingdom?  Some writers say that Jesus got it wrong.  He missed it, they died.  He didn’t come back.  So this was a major tragedy in the early church.  Jesus had told them he was coming back before they would die.  They died.  He never showed up.  So this is one of those things that Jesus missed, and the disciples then – this is one of the dissonant features of the early church.  They are saying, “What happened here?  Jesus didn’t come back.”  So then they have to make up this theology.  This is what some people would say.

 

F. Possible Answer to Mat. 16:28—Preaching, Pentecost and the Resurrection [14:45-18:29]

There are other solutions to this, and I think of basically three that, I think are plausible.  One is the spread of the gospel, that some of you will see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.  That is, through the preaching of the gospel they would see the establishment of the kingdom of God in its alreadiness on the earth, through the spread of the gospel.  The book of Acts narrates that from the Pentecost, the spreading of the gospel through the apostle Paul, to the various missionary journeys in the book of Acts.  So the spread of the gospel was one aspect of that.  And then, let me just jump down to the next one, the resurrection.  Some people think that this has to do with the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus.  Now, how is the resurrection separate from the ascension?  The resurrection happens, Jesus dies on the cross, and then three days later Jesus rises from the dead.  So on Sunday we celebrate the Lord’s Day, and they go to the tomb and Jesus is risen from the dead.  That is the resurrection; Jesus died; he comes back to life, that’s the resurrection.  The ascension doesn’t happen – now that was right around Passover time.  Passover-- but 50 days later they celebrate Pentecost.  Pente meaning five, fifty days later they celebrate Pentecost. This is the Feast of Pentecost that becomes the Pentecostal experience in Acts chapter two.  And in-just in Acts chapter one then, it describes Jesus going up and ascending back into heaven on the cloud, riding the cloud and shooting up into heaven.  That is the ascension.  So you have the resurrection, and then about fifty days later the ascension where Jesus goes up to heaven.  So the resurrection and the ascension, some people standing there saw Christ coming, saw the resurrected Lord.  And when they saw the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, that was the coming of the kingdom; they got to see those aspects of the kingdom of Jesus that he is possibly referring to here.  Now, in my class as you know, I’ve got one thing that I emphasize a lot, and that is context determines meaning, not etymology – the history of the word – but the context determines the meaning.  So, when I come up to a verse like this that has some difficulty, now what does it mean?  That “some of you won’t die until you see the coming of the kingdom” you have to look at the context, Matthew chapter 16 verse 28 is the last verse of chapter 16.  I think we have already mentioned this in the class.  By the way, were the chapter divisions original in the Bible?  The answer is no.  The chapter divisions were added in the 12th or 13th century, about 1200 A.D.  The chapter divisions, that was done by a Bishop.  And Dr. MacRae, who tells these stories that some people think that MacRae lived back then, but this guy, was born right around the 1900s.  Dr. MacRae tells about the bishop going to put the chapters in the Bible around 1200, and he was riding on a horse and sometimes the horse would surge forward, and sometimes the horse would surge backward.  The bishop who was making the chapter divisions then would miss.  So a lot of times you’ve got to be careful with the chapter divisions.  Whenever you study a chapter, always study a few verses before and a few verses afterwards to see whether the chapter division itself is in the right place that was made in the 12th or 13th century by a bishop and a lot of times he was wrong. 

 

G. Mat. 16:28—Transfiguration [18:29- 21:15]

But anyways, going back to this:  chapter 16:28.  “See the Son of Man coming in his kingdom,” that’s the last verse of chapter 16.  How does chapter 17 start?  Chapter 17 starts with the transfiguration.  It starts with the transfiguration.  So “some of you” notice he says some of you, not all of you, “are going to see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”  And then right after he says that you’ve got the transfiguration.  So from the context some people, including myself, would suggest that it may be the transfiguration that he is referring to here.  They would see the Son of man transfigured, Moses and Elijah, representing kind of the other kingdom, him in his transfiguration body representing the kingdom that is to come.  And so these are three disciples, Peter, James, and John, have insight then or they get to see some of the kingdom as envisioned in Jesus and Moses and Elijah that appeared transfigured on the Mount of Transfiguration.  So this verse has 3 ways to look at it and respond to it in terms of this kingdom thing, the already, but not yet aspects – so it is already within you, but still was to come.  All I am trying to say here is that the kingdom of heaven is not a simple concept.  It is actually a complex concept.  There are many nuances to it and therefore you’ve got to understand the alreadiness to it.  It’s already here in various forms, but then you also have to understand that it is yet to come.  It’s yet to come form also has various nuances as well.  So it’s a complex thing and it’s the kind of attention--if you emphasize too much the alreadiness, the kingdom is here, the kingdom is within you and you ignore the not yet, you’re missing a lot of the hope that is to come.    On the other, you’ve got other people--who emphasize the alreadiness of the kingdom and ignore the not yet part.  Those people then will have problems because they’re not biblical.  As well, then you got other people who emphasize the not yet aspect.  So they write books and they read all these things on the kingdom that’s coming and when he’s going to come and how he’s going to come and trying to figure out the days and the hours and then they’re always focused on the already, but not the “not yet” side.  Those people also, the “not yet,” are misguided.  I think there needs to be a tension between the already and the not yet, where both are embraced and held onto and balanced off of each other. 

 

H. The Kingdom location, already and not yet, Here/There [21:15-26:14]

The kingdom concepts we continue to work through here is a complex concept, not a singular, block concept.  When you think about the Jewish people and how they envision the kingdom concept, in the past, Exodus chapter 19, verse 6, says, “You will be a kingdom of priests for me.”  And so Israel has this notion that the nation of Israel becomes almost a priesthood to the rest of humanity, that “you will be a kingdom of priests for me.”  In the present, Luke brings up this Kingdom of God is within you.  So this kind of presence of the already within you in Luke, and then, turning to the future, the future reign of Christ, in this the lion lays down with the lamb, and various aspects that are talking about the future kingdom and describing that in various ways.  So, there’s an already, but not yet.  You need to consider this because it is a huge thing in understanding the kingdom of God and how the kingdom of God is near, and yet it is coming, and how to understand the tensions and the Scripture with this.  And it’s complex and beautiful. 

Now, some say the already, but not yet, and that has to do with timing.  The already is here now, the not yet is coming in the future.  But, I want to shift a little bit on it, just tweak it a little bit with the here and there aspect of the kingdom.  The kingdom is here and the kingdom is there kind of aspect.  The kingdom is here and what I am wanting to do is – when I was younger, I thought of the kingdom, that it’s like we float around on clouds and Dr. Matthewson develops this too.  He says, “I tell people, I’m not going to heaven out there.  Heaven for me is down here.”  He makes a comment that the floating around and clouds, strumming on harps – how boring is that.  So he has a very earthly concept of the kingdom and I think that’s very established in Scripture, but it is something that, a lot of time, as Christians, we always consider the kingdom is up in clouds, up in heaven, somewhere out in the universe.  The Bible describes the kingdom in its fullness that it’s on the earth.  That it’s the kingdom, that the earth is renewed. 

So I want to look at some of these passages then, where the Scripture talks about this future kingdom, but shows the very hereness of it on the earth kind of thing.  And so, for example, in Isaiah chapter 2, he talks about the future kingdom.  Isaiah chapter 2, verses 2 through 4 he says, “in the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains.  It will be raised above the hills and all nations” – you get this Abrahamic thing going out to all nations – “all nations will stream into it.  Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob.  He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.’  The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  He will judge between the nations and settle disputes for many people.  They will beat their swords in the plowshares, and their spears in the pruning hooks.”  This is the future kingdom, where you beat your swords in the plowshares.  Plowshares have to do with what?  Do you plow the clouds?  Do you plow some heavenly farm up in heaven?  No, you take your sword and you put it into a plowshare because you are going to plow the ground.  That’s on earth.  You are going to raise a garden, and you are going to have crops, those types of things.  So do you see what we’re doing is reengaging this kingdom concept, as it is taking us back to the Garden of Eden.  So, in Genesis 2 human beings are put on earth and the garden to tend and care for the garden.  And when the kingdom is described in the book of Isaiah, it’s very earthy.  It’s very gardenish, if you will.  And so much of the Bible then is this return to Eden.  And so that’s Isaiah 2:2-4.

 

I.  The Coming Kingdom in Isaiah—Here [26:14- 29:00]

If you jump over and check out Isaiah chapter 9 verses 6 through 7 it says, “For unto us a child is born.”  As soon as I say that you think of all the Christmas songs that are built off of this.  “And he will reign on David’s throne” again, he is the son of David.  “and over his kingdom.”  So its over David’s throne and his kingdom.  You are here and this kingdom talk is here, the son of David kind of thing, “establishing, and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on forever.”  So, the kingdom is coming and this Davidic kingdom ruling over, establishing righteousness and justice forever. Isaiah chapter 9, verses 6 through 7.  Then chapter 11, Isaiah chapter 11-- and let me just read this one and a little bit more extended way, chapter 11 verses 6 and following.  You get this, “the wolf will live with the lamb.”  So you’ve got animals – now again, is this us again in the cloud strumming our harps and up in heaven?  No, this is talking about a wolf and a lamb.  They’ve reintroduced the wolves out west now, so they’re multiplying, so were going to have plenty of wolves.  “The wolf will live with the lamb.  The leopard will lie down with the goat.  The calf and the lion and the yearling together and a little child will lead them.”  Very interesting.  So you’ve got a wolf, a lion, and a child leading them.  Does that ring any bells for anybody?  A lion with a child leading him?  Does anybody remember the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis?  Is some of what he is building off of there in the Narnia series is this concept of the kingdom mediated through things like this.  “The cow will feed with the bear, and their young will lie down together.  The lion will eat straw like the ox.  The infant will play near the hole of the cobra and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest.  They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain.”  The viper, the lion, the wolf, the bear – these are animals of this earth.  “They will neither harm, nor destroy on my holy mountain for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”  Beautiful, beautiful imagery there talking about this earth and the renewing of it in these kind of incredible ways.  In Isaiah chapter 11, beautiful, beautiful passages there.

 

J. Hope for the Kingdom Here and There  [29:00- 32:29]

So the kingdom is here and yet the kingdom is to come.  So, kingdom – it is a beautiful concept.  Where is your hope?  How do you envision that hope?  1 John is a beautiful passage and he is saying, “those that the hope in Christ’s return. “ How do they respond?  “They purify themselves even as he is pure.”  So, in other words, this expectation of Christ coming is something that causes us to be more like Christ.  I grew up in a home with a father who – I remember much of my life going to window of our house, every day, and saying, “You know, Jesus could come back today.”  That transformed his life.  He lived in light of that all his life.  Seventy-four years that he lived, he lived in light of the fact that Jesus could come back today.  That changed who he was, that purified his life.  I remember when he was going down with cancer, and I knew it was really toward the end and we were taking care of him at home, and he told me, he said, “You know, all my life I have looked for Christ to come back, and really I realize now that I’m going to him, he’s not coming to me,” and that was just a few days before he passed.  He realized that he was going to be with Christ.  So that hope, that transforming hope, that purifies us.  “We know that when we see him, we shall be like him, and we shall see him as he is.” There will be this transformation that takes place, the coming kingdom. 

So there, “My kingdom,” Jesus says, “is not of this world.” But you say, “Wait a minute, Hildebrandt, you talked about this thing being very worldly.”  Now he is saying at that time, it was not worldliness, of the lust or the pride of life and those types of things, the lust of the flesh.  His thing, the not of this world – it comes from the Father, and it is going to be on the earth, but not of the earth – that kind of thing in John chapter 16.  So there’s this hereness to the kingdom and there’s a thereness.  The kingdom is going to come.  The book of Revelation describes the kingdom coming down, the new Jerusalem coming down and being the Garden of Eden with the Tree of Life reappearing.  So you’ve got the kingdom coming, but then the kingdom is also being here.  So it’s here and it’s there.  It’s already, but it’s not yet.  So you get these tensions and it is wonderfully complex, beautiful that Christ is with us – Immanuel.  We hope for his return and the establishment of his kingdom as the son of David to rule forever and ever in righteousness and justice.  Take all the wrongs of this world and make them right.  Fix this place so that it hums the way it should be.  The lion lays down with the lamb.  Justice and righteousness rule.  Things are right for once in our lives.  So we hope for that.  We hope for the kingdom to come, his will to be done, on earth as in heaven. 

 

K. Matthew’s Take on Time [32:29- 35:30]

Okay, now we want to move to another aspect of this and we want to say – just a review here.  Were kind of getting back to where we were.  We said Mathew’s story, Matthew is methodical.  We talk about his relationship to Mark, his relationship to Luke, scattering and Matthew gathers what’s in Luke.  Mark tells the miracles or works of Jesus, but Matthew telling the words of Jesus.  Then we showed the similarity to the book of James.  We talked about the apostling, the discipleship that Matthew develops in terms of cost of discipleship, in terms of true and false disciples, in terms of understanding and obedience to Jesus, following in his way, the imitation of Christ.  We talked about the theology of Christ, the fact of the actual deity of Christ, Immanuel in the book of Matthew, teaching us that Christ is God and that Christ is king and working with the son of David.  Now we are going to turn to time.  We are going to study past, present and future in the book of Matthew.  So we want to move to time next and then we will eventually move to the Hebrew orientation of the book.  We will probably do that next time.  The extensiveness of the non-Jewish aspect, do you see it is kind of Hebrew, but also is non-Jewish in terms of a lot of things, we’ll show that element.  The witness of the book, and then, lastly, the style of the writer.  So you can see this kind of spells out Matthew here, and we’re just working down. 

How is time treated in the book of Matthew?  What is Matthew’s take on time?  I want to look, first of all, his use of time in terms of the past.  Matthew quotes the Old Testament over forty times.  At least forty times, Matthew refers to the Old Testament.  That means, in almost every chapter, there are almost two citations of the Old Testament.  That is a lot.  Matthew gives a ton of the OT in the book of Matthew.  So I just want to go through and say Matthew is going to talk about the fulfillment of the prophesies of the Old Testament and their fulfillment in the New Testament.  We just want to look at the relationship between the prophecy and the fulfillment and what I want to do is I want to say, how is this prophecy fulfilled in the book of Matthew?  What we are going to see is the concept of fulfillment is also a very complex one and that they’re not all fulfilled in the same way.  There are nuances with that as well, which means it’s a wonderfully, rich, colorful, kind of environment.  So in what sense is the Old Testament “fulfilled” in the book of Matthew?  We just want to go through some of these predictions about Jesus in the Old Testament.  So the prophecy and fulfillment is that motif that the prophets prophesied something and are we now going to see it fulfilled in Jesus and that’s what’s going on in the New Testament.

 

L. Prophecy Fulfillment—Virgin Birth  [35:30- 39:02]

First of all, the virgin birth – Isaiah chapter 7, verse 14, “Behold, a virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and you shall call his name, Immanuel, which means ‘God with Us.’”  Now it is very interesting, you go back and there are all sorts of debates on the “virgin will conceive” in the book of Isaiah.  What that actually means is that Isaiah and his wife, or was there a double entendre there, and a kind of a greater virgin there.  Mary, Mary again, in Matthew 1:23, it’s very explicit: “Mary had not known Joseph.”  “Known” is meant in the sense of having had sexual relations.  So Mary was a virgin, and she gives birth to a son, and actually Joseph is kind of upset with that.  He’s engaged with this woman and all of a sudden he finds out that she is pregnant.  He realizes it’s not him who did it, so now he’s got – what is he going to do with Mary?  Divorce her quietly.  He didn’t want to make a big scene of things.  The angel comes and says, “Joseph, Joseph.  That which is born in her is of the Holy Spirit.”  So the virgin birth is predicted and so you get this kind of prediction and fulfillment.  By the way, as it was back in Isaiah, it is not just crystal clear as well.  There were things going on with Isaiah also, referring meaning to this passage back then, but that’s for an Old Testament course.  Better yet, take Dr. Wilson’s course on the prophets in which he’ll go into the prophet Isaiah as well as the many other prophets. 

Now, Bethlehem – this is kind of an interesting prophecy.  Micah prophesies that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem in Judea.  Jerusalem is about five miles north of Bethlehem.  Bethlehem is about five miles to the south of Jerusalem.  They’re closely related cities.  I mean they’re separated, but they’re close.  Bethlehem was a very small town – it could fit on Gordon College fairly easily – a very small town compared to Jerusalem.  So, therefore, I always ask people. “You know, Micah, seven hundred years before Jesus is born, predicts the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem – how many people do you know will be born in Bethlehem?”  Well, frankly, over all the centuries, there are not that many people born in Bethlehem and none of them are very famous.  Actually, there’s probably only two or three people that you know from Bethlehem.  You say, “Well, you think about it, Jesus was born in Bethlehem.”  Okay, Jesus was born there, the most famous person ever to be born was born there. But Bethlehem was the town of David, and actually then you start thinking, “Well, David was born in Bethlehem and that means Jesse, his father, was born in Bethlehem, his brother Eliab was too” and you say, “Okay, I know a few people – Oh what about Ruth and Naomi and Boaz?  That all takes place in Bethlehem too, right?”  Remember with Boaz and Ruth and Naomi – Elimelech and those guys that the hope of Ruth and that stuff takes place in the Bethlehem context.  Ruth and Boaz are the grandparents or so of David and then David being the great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparent of Jesus.  So, Bethlehem – 700 years.  So Micah predicts Bethlehem will be the place the Messiah is born.  Jesus is born in Bethlehem.  So you have prophecy and you have fulfillment.  Prophecy and fulfillment. 


M. Prophecy Fulfillment—Flight to/from Egypt  [39:02-43:27]

Now, what’s interesting is this one here over in Matthew 2:15.  And this, then, takes on a different thing and let me just read this to you in its context in Matthew chapter 2.  It says this in Matthew 2:15: “So he got up and took the mother and his child during the night and left for Egypt where he stayed until the death of Herod.”  So he is going down to Egypt and stays there until the death of Herod.  “And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet, ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’”  That’s Hosea 11:1.  The irony of this is that if you go back to Hosea 11:1 – let me read that to you in its context there, and  you say, “How in the world was this fulfilled?”  Okay, this was Hosea chapter 11, verse 1.  It says this:  “When Israel was a child I loved him.”  So who’s being talked about there?  Israel was God’s child, and he is saying, “When Israel was a child I loved him.”  Do you remember the book of Hosea, Hosea was told by God to marry Gomer, and Gomer was a prostitute.  She would be unfaithful to Hosea, and Hosea was to buy her back and to love her again.  Then Hosea has these children, Loami, Loruhamah, and his children are named “no compassion” and “not my people.”   So all this marriage tragedy in Hosea and then in Hosea it says, “When Israel was a child I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”  In Hosea 11:1, who is the son that gets called out of Egypt?  It is Israel.  Israel is God’s son and God calls Israel out of Egypt and then notice the next verse, by the way not mentioned in Matthew, it says, “But the more I called Israel the further they went from me and they sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incenses to images.” 

Have you ever been at a grocery store and you watch the parents with their kids and the kids run away from their parents in the grocery store?  The more they call them, the more they run away.  God is saying, “that’s the way it was with Israel.  I called them out of Egypt, I called my son Israel and the more I called them the further they ran from me.”  The solution to that that I found when I take my kids to the grocery store is that you put the kids in the cart.  That way they cant escape and get away. 

“Out of Egypt I called my son.”  Now, in what sense is that fulfilled?  It was actually Hosea talking about Israel being called out of Egypt.  So how is that a fulfillment in the book of Matthew?  All of a sudden you realize that the fulfillment here isn’t predicting exactly that Jesus would do this.  What this is is that Jesus was a type of Israel.  Jesus is the greater Israel.  As God called his son, Israel, out of Egypt, so now God is calling his son, the Son of God, out of Egypt.  So Jesus is reenacting and echoing Israel.  Jesus is the new Israel.  When Israel came out of Egypt, God called them out of Egypt and they went into the wilderness and God gave them the covenant and they botched it up in the wilderness.  Now you’ve got Jesus, the new Israel, coming out of Egypt.  Now the new Israel is going to get it right.  He’s going to go into the wilderness and being tempted, but he’s going to be victorious.  So Jesus is the new Israel.  So what this is, is this isn’t a prophecy exactly fulfillment kind of thing.  This is an echo or typological.  As it was for Israel, so it is for Jesus, the new Israel.  So you’ve got this parallel between Israel and Jesus.  So the fulfillment is more of a type versus antitype kind of thing.  What I am saying is that the fulfillment means – sometimes a prophet makes exact fulfillment that this will be the Son of David and he will rule forever.  Other times, the fulfillment is more – as it was with Israel, so it will be with Jesus – it is more of a parallel kind of thing. 

 

N. Prophecy Fulfillment—Slaughter of the Infants [43:27-47:09]

The slaughter of the infants – now this one is very interesting.  The slaughter of the infants in Matthew 2:18 - and let me just jump over there.  Matthew 2:18 says this:  “Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled.”  What did Jeremiah say?  “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted because they are no more.”  How is that a fulfillment?  What’s going on there?  Who is Rachel anyway?  And what does she have to do with Bethlehem?  What you have happening here is actually going back to Genesis 35:19.  Basically what you’ve got is Rachel dying outside of Bethlehem.  So they set up a tomb for Rachel.   Rachel’s tomb is there still to this day.  I think the Arabs blew it up, but I think the Jews rebuilt it.  But outside of Jerusalem, outside of Bethlehem, as you come – Jerusalem is here, 5 miles south of Bethlehem, there’s a major road that goes down the ridge rout.  It goes down the side of Jerusalem and beside Bethlehem and outside of Bethlehem on this ridge route is this where Rachel is buried or allegedly buried.  So what happens is Rachel is weeping for her children and would not be comforted because they are not.  She is kind of taken as the patron Saint, or patron Saint of Bethlehem.  So she’s right outside Bethlehem – it’s her tomb.  So she’s the kind of guardian over Bethlehem. 

So what happens now is you say, “Well, wait a minute when you look at Jeremiah chapter 31, this is not referring to--of the killing of the infants in the time of Jesus and Herod.”  In Jeremiah 31:15, it’s referring to Rachel weeping for her children who are going into exile to Babylon with Nebuchadnezzar and how he and the Babylonians are going to come in in 586 B.C. and destroy the temple. They will destroy Jerusalem, level the Solomonic temple totally, the first temple.   So Jeremiah is referring to Rachel weeping for her children that are going into exile.  Then what you have is Matthew takes this verse and says, “can you hear the echo from Rachel dying outside of Bethlehem in Genesis 35?”  Then jumping over to Jeremiah, who uses Rachel weeping for her children, as her children going into exile and they are destroyed by the Babylonians, and now that same verse is echoed back with Jesus, that in Jesus’s day, Rachel is again weeping for her children as Herod kills the infants under two of Bethlehem.  So you get this echoing through Scripture from Rachel dying in Bethlehem to the exile with Jeremiah to Jesus and the slaying of the infants.  So it’s fulfilled in that sense, in the sense of a foreshadowing, an adumbration, that’s echoing through history, that history repeats itself.  So you get this same thing happening – Rachel dying there, the children dying there in the exile and Rachel weeping for her children going into exile and finally, Jesus when the children die in Bethlehem, and once again Rachel weeps.

 

O. Judaism’s view of Time [47:09- 48:58]

So there’s kind of an interesting thing in Scripture.  You’ve got this kind of repeated cycle, where a thing happens over and over again.  And it’s called, then, the fulfillment as it happens again and again.  So there’s kind of a circular nature to it, and even Ecclesiastes points this out where basically things happen and then there’s nothing new under the sign, because things happen over and over again.  Whereas my son-in-law often says, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”  In other words, what happens in one generation happens in the next generation – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  Judaism has a linear view that history is coming to an end.  Yes, it’s cyclical in its repetitive cycles, so it’s like a cycle.  It’s like a spiral that’s headed toward something and there is an end, a destiny.  A lot of cultures have a circular view of time, and that everything is circular, circular, circular and you’re not going anywhere.  That’s not true in Judaism or Christianity.  There is a destiny.  There is an end.  There is a kingdom coming that is the destiny of all.  So here you have this echoing, this echoing fulfillment.  I’m just trying to point out that this word “fulfillment” is used – sometimes in a direct fulfillment, prophecy then fulfillment.  Sometimes it’s a prophecy then fulfillment in terms of this as Israel was, so Jesus is.  A kind of a comparison and that’s the fulfillment (type/antitype).  Here you got a fulfillment in terms of as it happened in Jeremiah’s day, so it happened in Jesus’s day and it’s an echoing and echoes from Genesis to Jeremiah to Jesus.  So there’s this echo of Rachel weeping for her children. 

 

P. Prophecy and Fulfillment in Psalm 22  [48:58- 53:41]

Here’s some other prophecy and I don’t want to go through these as much in detail.  In Zechariah 11:12 it mentions Judas, that the Messiah would be betrayed for thirty pieces of silver, and so Matthew picks up on that out of Zechariah 11.  That the guy Jeremiah points out would purchase a field for the price of the betrayal.  So you get Jeremiah predicting that.  The soldiers casting lots:  this is a beautiful, really not a beautiful, but a tragic passage in Psalms.  Now what do Psalms have to do with it you say, “wait a minute, Psalms are not really prophetic,” but in one sense there is a fulfillment that happens in the book of Psalms.  Let’s see if I can pull this here.  Let me just read Psalm 22, verse 18.  It talks about the soldiers casting lots.  Let me start back up a little bit before that.  “Many bulls have surrounded me, strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.  Roaring lions tear their flesh, tear their prey, open their mouths wide against me.  I am poured out like water, all my bones are out of joint.”  Think about that.  “I am poured out like water.  All of my bones are out of joint.  My heart has turned to wax.  It is melted away within me.  My strength is dried up like a potsherd.  My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.  You lay me in the dust of death.  Dogs have surrounded me, a band of evil men have encircled me.  They have pierced my hands and my feet.”  Think about that.  This is David, this is Psalm 22.  David is writing Psalm 22, and he says, “Dogs have surrounded me, a band of evil men encircled me.  They have pierced my hands and my feet.  I can count all my bones.  People stare and gloat over me.  They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”  That’s exactly what happened with Jesus.  Now how is this?  Is this David?  David is a prophet prophesying – prophesy, fulfillment.  Yes, is David a prophet?  No, you say David’s the sweet Psalmist of Israel.  David’s a man after God’s own heart and did God show this to David?  As he sings the song, he talks about the people gloating, surrounding him.  It mentions all his bones, his tongues sticking to the roof of his mouth.  Then he talks about his garments – “they cast lots for his garments.”  They have pierced his hands and his feet.  Is this a description of what’s happening to Jesus?  So you ask, “Did David understand that?”  I don’t know what David understood, but all I am saying is here, again, you’ve got this parallel that David seems to be seeing something that’s going to take place a thousand years later.  He’s around 1000 B.C.  He sees in history down about a thousand years and he sees the struggle of Christ in his own struggle, but then in the struggle of Christ.  But then he writes about it in the song of lament.  He says, “my hands and my feet have been pierced.  They cast lots for my garments.  My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth and the people are surrounding me.”   How does Psalm 22 start?  It starts like this.  As soon as I say it, you will recognize it.  “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”  That’s how Psalm 22 starts out.  Jesus, then, as he is on the cross, he says, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  The people can’t hear him because, probably, the tongue is stuck to the roof of his mouth and he can’t pronounce things right and they think he’s calling for Elijah.  They say, “let’s wait and see if Elijah comes.”  “Eloi eloi lama sabachthani.”  They think he’s calling for Elijah to come and save him.  Yet, what he is doing is he’s referencing Psalm 22.  He’s going through this Psalm 22 lament.  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  David, the man after God’s own heart, expresses that.  A thousand years, Jesus picks it up when he’s on the cross as a fulfillment.  How do you say it?  Jesus is actually fulfilling it and David felt it a thousand years earlier and writing this description that is so incredible. 

 

Q.  Old Testament Influence on Matthew  [53:41-56:26]

So Matthew picks up these things from the Old Testament.  There are 40 quotes from the Old Testament in the book of Matthew.  Matthew, again, do you see what we’re talking about?  The Jewishness of the book of Matthew, is seen in the many of the quotes and citations of the Old Testament.  More than anywhere else and he really pull a lot from the Old Testament highlighting the significance of the church and Israel connection.  This is really important.  Matthew is writing a gospel of Jesus Christ and what does he do?  He talks about what?  He talks about the Old Testament fulfillment in various ways – all sorts of different ways that fulfillment happens.  Matthew describes that.  Dr. Wilson, in his book, Our Father Abraham, a classic text, describes the church coming out of the book of Romans in chapters 9 and following, that the church is grafted into the olive tree.  The olive tree is Israel and the church is grafted to that olive tree.  It’s a wild branch.  So you can see here.  Here’s the early church getting started. 

Matthew is the big one who mentions the word “church” twice.  The other gospel writers do not quote the Old Testament so much.  Matthew mentions the church, but he also shows this connection.  Possibly the Jewish people that Matthew is writing to, they also are wondering “Are we Christians or are we Jews?”  In the early church they really struggled with that.  Are we just a new sect like the Pharisees, Sadducees and Nazarenes?  Are we now the Nazarenes, another sect of Judaism?  Or, is this something new and different?  So there’s this question of identity that the early church struggled with in terms of how their Jewishness made it over into the church.  Matthew then shows that the church is seeded in Judaism and the Old Testament is the foundation upon which Jesus built his life.  It’s really important to remember that Jesus was Jewish.  Jesus was Jewish.  The apostles were Jewish.  Paul was Jewish.  It’s really important to understand early Judaism in order to understand what is going on in the life of Jesus, Paul, and the apostles.  Again, Dr. Phillips, at Gordon here, has studied early Judaism and its actually a critical foundation for understanding Christianity in its early days when it was trying to figure it out.  What is the relationship now between Christianity and Judaism?  Matthew, then, I think lays some of that rich background beautiful variegated fulfillment motif of the Old Testament and so Matthew turns to the past. 

 

R. Matthew’s Story:  Present—Five Discourses [56:26-58:51]

Now, for the present, Matthew deals with the five discourses of Jesus.  We’ve talked about this before.  These five discourses are really important.  Matthew structures his whole book around these five discourses. First of all, the Sermon on the Mount:  three pages, if you’ve got a red-letter Bible. It’s three pages of red letters – Jesus is teaching.  Chapter 10:  the commissioning of the twelve, where Jesus sends out the twelve and he tells them to go out and spread the Gospel to the Jewish nation there and tells them they’re going to find all sorts of resistance in various ways.  So that’s the commissioning of the twelve in Matthew 10. 

The parables of the kingdom, and I thinks it’s about seven parables you have in chapter 13 where Jesus describes the parable of the seeds, and the parable of the weeds, and the parable of the eleven mustard seeds and various others.  Chapter 18 is on humility and forgiveness, on the church – church discipline.  If you’ve got discipline in the church and you’ve got conflict between two people, the person should go one on one and they should see if they can resolve the problem.  If he doesn’t hear the one on one situation, you take two or three people and now you’ve got two or three people coming back and confronting the person and see if you’re able to resolve it.  If he doesn’t hear the two or three, you take it to the whole church.  If he doesn’t hear the church, you excommunicate that person.  So this church discipline is described there as well as humility and forgiveness on those aspects there. 

In chapters 22 through 25, you have Jesus on the Pharisees.  He describes the Pharisees as hypocrites, and he goes off.  You know, you clean the outside of the cup but the inside of the cup is all deformed with all these coffee grounds that have been in there for weeks.  But then Jesus gets on the scribes and the Pharisees.  They tithe the tenth of everything then they tell people “honor your father and your mother” but then you say why can’t they give the inheritance to their mothers and fathers, I can’t care for them because I dedicated it to God. So then you don’t take care of your parents.  Jesus exposes that hypocrisy.  Then the Olivet of the discourse is about the end times. So, we’ll look at that when we do the future we’ll come back the Olivet of Discourse which is two great chapters when Jesus talks about the future.

 

S. Matthew’s Story:  Future—Parables and Ekklesia [Church]  [58:51-62:42]

Now speaking of the future, here we go. The parables of the kingdom--how will it grow? We see the parable of the kingdom growing and--let’s just look a little bit at this in terms of the future and how it’s described. Do you remember the parable of the wicked tenants in Matthew chapter 21?  Matthew says that, the farmer lends out his land to these tenants. These tenants are share croppers. They’re supposed to pay him some rent. So the farmer rents out his property to these tenants and they are supposed to pay him for using his land. He then sends out some of his servants to collect the rent and what happens? They beat up on the guys who go out to collect the rent. Actually they beat up some and kill other ones. So finally the master, the farmer, sends out: “Well, they will have respect for my son.” When I was younger I was taught the parables are very common because they happen all the time. They are very realistic. Is this realistic? I mean, if you said you were a farmer and you rented out property and you sent out your servants and they beat and killed some of your servants would you then send out your son, alone, to face these tenants? That’s crazy. But yet, this shows the tremendous mercy and compassion of God. He sends his son and what do they do to his son when they see the son, they say, “hey, let’s kill the son and get the property. We will get the inheritance. It’s as good as ours.” So what they do is kill the son, and then it asks, “What will that master do to those tenants?”  He’ll come in and destroy them. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The parable of the tenants describes the killing of the son and the stealing of the inheritance. The conflict is a parable which says: “Even the Pharisees seem to pick up on some of these parables and understood what they were and what was coming in the future.” Matthew is the only gospel to use the word ekkelesia.  Ekkclesia is the Greek term: ek means “out of,” like “exit.”  Then klesia means “called out” so ekklesia means “the ones called out.” So the church are those that are called out into community to form a new community, an ekklesia is a called out community separated for the purpose of community. Matthew mentions: “you are Peter, upon whom I will build… my what?  Ekklesia [church].  What happens is, Matthew in the future and looks out and describes this new community, which is the church. The ekklesia, “the called out ones” forms a new community.

When the church excommunicates the person it says in Matthew 18:17:  So, Matthew alone mentions the ekklesia [church]. So that’s, again, very future looking because it looks at what would happen when Christ raises from the dead in the book of Matthew. The sheep and goats we already talked about to describe the end of the age and justice at the end of the age. So Matthew describes many future things.

We talked about the ten bridesmaids: five were wise, five were foolish.  Five had oil five were hunting for oil. The master comes and they won’t be allowed to enter. The point is to be ready. The point is to be ready for the master to come.

 

T. Matthew’s Future -- Olivet Discourse  [62:42- 68:40]

So Matthew looks to the future and I want to look at Olivet Discourse and some of the particulars of the future here. I think this Olivet Discourse is really very interesting. It’s found in Matthew 24 and 25.   I want to just read through some things here. Jesus says in 24:2: Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came to him to call his attention to its buildings. Now Herod had expanded the second temple. Remember back in Joshua’s, Zerubabbel’s an Nehemiah’s time they built the second temple but it was really small and Herod came and turned the temple into a magnificent structure with the reconstruction lasting 30-40 years. Herod turned the temple into this humongous beautiful thing. Jesus said he would destroy this temple in three days he would raise it up. These were some of the accusations they used against him. They were really into the temple.

It was something they were really proud of. Jesus says that they were going to show him and call his attention to all these buildings. “Do you see all these things, he asked?” I tell you the truth not one stone here will be left on another. Every one will be thrown down. This would actually happen in 70 A.D. when the general Titus would come from Rome and Titus would destroy Jerusalem. He would take the temple, he would level the temple. Normally when you take a place, what do you do? In the ancient world when you took a city, you burned the city down, killed the inhabitants and burned the city down. You don’t totally take the city down. It’s too much work. You burn the city down, you kill the people and then you leave it. You leave it in ruins. Here, every stone was taken down. And actually to this day, if you go and Get Lost in Jerusalem and you go the south wall excavations just south of where the Wailing Wall or the Western Wall is here if you go about a hundred yards you will see the south wall excavations. There you can see the rocks that were thrown off and fell about 70 feet or so, the rocks were pushed off the temple mount and fell down.  When they fell down, they fell down onto the Roman roads. A Roman road goes along the bottom there, and when these rocks fell--these rocks are like 8 feet long, 8 feet wide, some 5 or 6 feet high these are huge boulders--and when these boulders fall 70 feet you’re talking tons hitting and puncturing the Roman roads. Roman roads are incredible the way the Roman roads were built. These rock punctured that road, and there’s a pile of rocks that were up on the temple that had been thrown down just like Jesus said. So Jesus made this prediction here in the Olivet Discourse.

Now critics of the Bible have to get rid of two things in the Bible.  Critics can’t stand in the Bible. They will attack these things: 1. Miracles. Jesus walks on the water. Peter walks on the water. Jesus heals a man who was born blind. They can’t take miracles. Moses opens up the Red Sea and the Israelites go across. They can’t take the miracles so they need to get rid of the miracles and explain them away as legendary, or myth, because who alone can do miracles? God alone can do miracles. They say, “no miracles because everything has to be accounted for scientifically and everything has to be normal.”

The other thing critics have to get rid of is--Who alone can tell the future?  God alone can make prophecies and say 700 years before he’s born that he’s going to be born in Bethlehem of Judea. Only God can do this. 700 years ahead of time just think about this. 700 years is a long time to make a prophecy. This is the prophecy that Jesus makes: that every stone be thrown down.  When does Jesus die? Jesus dies at about 32 or so A.D. When is the temple destroyed?  Not till 40 years, or 38 years later. So therefore Jesus makes this prediction so critics got to get rid of it. What do they do? They use the technique called vaticinium post eventu which means “prophesy post (or after) the event.” Prophesy after the event. What they say is that Jesus really didn’t make this prophecy. This prophecy was made by Matthew or one of his disciples and put back into the mouth of Jesus. So that Matthew writing after the temple was destroyed: they put this “prophecy” back in the mouth of Jesus. Therefore, it is not a prophecy because it was after the fact and put back in the mouth of Jesus. By the way is that what the Bible says? No, the Bible says Jesus said this 38 years before it happened.  He predicted all the stones would be thrown down and that’s exactly what happened. This is a really amazing. Matthew mentions this. That every stone will be thrown down as he comes into the Olivet Discourse telling them about the future so he starts their future with one of the most traumatic events in Judaism.  Then there is the destruction of the second temple by Titus in 70 A.D.  Titus comes in and levels the place.  The second temple was, by the way, destroyed in 70 A.D.  Until this day there is no Jewish temple there, and you’ve been in the Get Lost in Jerusalem program or if you’ve been in Israel, you realize the Dome of the Rock is a shrine on the temple mount.  Now there is a shrine on the top of the mount there.

 

V. Olivet Discourse—False prophets and Persecution [68:40- 72:59]

So here also is what it says; Jesus talks about false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect.  And so he says that in the end times there are going to be false Christs and false teachers coming – false prophets – who are going to be doing signs and miracles.  This guy is actually going to do some incredible stuff.  So much so that even the elect would be deceived.   In other words, people are going to be asking themselves, is this a God?  Is this Jesus? Is this the forerunner to Jesus coming back?  These guys are doing some pretty amazing things.  They’re doing signs and miracles.  Are these signs and miracles from God?  Jesus warns the people and said that.  They’re going to do signs that would actually deceive the elect if that were possible.  Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death.  How does this discourse describe for Christians in the end times?  Jesus says one of the things you should know is that the Christians are going to be persecuted and put to death. 

I ask you:  in what generation have more Christians died than any of the other generations there has been?  It’s the generation now.  Christians are being killed all over the world and I know in America we’re sitting in our fancy homes and everything’s freedom because we have freedom of religion. But you can see already that freedom of religion is being attacked and strangleholded by our own government actually in some cases, and by other cases by forces outside our country, like those who are trying to infiltrate and do things that would have some real negative effects on Christianity.  So this is what it says is coming in the future:  persecution, even death.  Tis gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world.  What is the indication of the end times?  This is it:  and this gospel of the kingdom will be preached all the world, then the end will come.  This is something, if you’re familiar with the Wycliffe Bible translators, its one of the greatest mission groups that exists in my opinion.  What these Wycliffe Bible translators do is they basically are translating the Bible into all of the languages of the world.  I have a friend, Joel Harlow, that went to Indonesia – and many of these tribal groups have their own language, but the language has not ever been written down. So they don’t know how to write their own language.  So the Wycliffe Bible translators – they are associated with the Summer Institute of Linguistics and here at Gordon College, come one of the great linguists of all time, a guy named Kenneth Pike.  We even have the Pike program here at Gordon, named after him. But he was involved with training the Wycliffe Bible translators and how to decode languages and these tribal groups to write it down for them and then to teach it to them and teach them how to read their own language, so they can read the Bible in their own language.  It says here that the gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world and the end will come.  The Wycliffe Bible translators are translating the Bible right now into all the languages of the world.  I forgot how many there are – they have lots to go, but they’re getting close to having it translated into every language in the world. 

“Then you will see the abomination of desolations, spoken of by Daniel the prophet” (chapter 24, verse 14).  What is this abomination of desolation?  You say, “OK Hildebrandt, you made us read the book of Maccabees in taking this class.”  Yes, indeed.  And in Antiochus Epiphanies – remember the Seleucids – remembering offering pigs on altars.  He set up a statue of himself, and had people on the temple mount worship it.  Many people think that this anti-Christ, or however we are going to conceptualize this, person that he’s going to set up an image of himself and have people bow down to it – that that’s the abomination of desolation.  It is a human being requires worship from other people and defiles that which is holy in that area.  So the abomination of desolation is talked about there as well. 

 

W. No One know the Day or the Hour [72:59-76:51]

            Then this one.  This is kind of interesting too:  “No one knows the day or the hour, not even the Son.” - Mathew 24:36.  This last year there was this guy Camping apparently and he predicted last year that May 20, 2011 that Jesus was coming back on May 20, 2011.  Well, obviously we are in 2015 now, so the guy missed it and so in some sense is he a false prophet?  Yes, and then that happens is, “Oh, I just miscalculated,” and he goes off and then has to recalculate.  Jesus says what?  No one knows the day or the hour – if anybody tells you they know the day or the hour, what does the Scripture explicitly say?  The Scripture says, “No one knows the day or the hour.”  If anybody tells you they know the day and hour, not even the Son knows it.

            Wait a minute? I thought Jesus was God Jesus knows everything. I ask you:  “When Jesus was born did Jesus know how to speak Hebrew?  When he was eight days out of the womb, did he speak Hebrew perfectly? No. Jesus had to learn Hebrew just like anybody else. Would he learn Aramaic, learn Greek, and any other languages he probably knew two or three at least Aramaic and Greek and then possibly others. Jesus had to learn this. He was a human being and as a human Jesus was restricted in terms of what he knew and he said, “Only the Father knows this.”  Only the father knows the day and the hour.

            So I think that this cautions us. If Jesus says, “Not even the Son knows this,” then we should be a little bit cautious about saying, “This is the day or the hour.” Be very cautious whenever anyone gets too specific about predicting when Christ is going to come back. I think that that’s folly.  I think every person wants Jesus to come back before they die. I think one needs to be careful with conjectures that lead to speculation. It’s not healthy for Christianity. Our focus should be on doing the will of the Father. And what is the will of the Father? Two things. Love God with all your heart, love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus said the two commands on which all the law that the prophets hang: love the lord your God with all your heart soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself.
            Here’s a prediction that we love, two would be in a field, one will be taken and the other left behind. Do you like that “Left Behind” here, that’s Matthew 24:40. Has anybody read the Left Behind series, that Tim Lahay wrote? They have made millions basically doing this kind of speculation about Christ’s return. You’ve got to be careful with this type of fantasy. The point is that one will be in the fields and one will be left behind. The point of this passage is to be ready for Christ to come.

            The problem this generation will not pass away until all these things are fulfilled. What is Matthew 24:30-34, what is “this generation that will not pass away?” Is it the generation that sees the gospel spreading unto all the world?  So there’s some questions on those things. Whatever the generation it is, is the last generation. And so Jesus is not necessarily saying, “THIS generation that he lives in” but the generation he’s talking about when all these event happen: the abomination of desolations spoken by Daniel; the spreading of the gospel to all the world; this generation will not pass away. This generation will see the end.

 

X.  Conclusion [76:51-78:03]

            So that’s the end of the kingdom of God that we wanted to talk about. We then talked about the timing that passed, integration with the Old Testament, the present, Jesus five discourses and the future, we talked about the kingdom of heaven and basically the Olivet discourse, and Jesus teaching them that no one knows the day or the hour and that we’re to be ready. Like the five wise bridesmaids we’re to be ready for Christ’s return.

            Next time we’ll look at the Hebrewness of the book of Matthew and some of the more literary features of the book. Then we’ll talk about the Hebrew extensiveness and witness and style which are the four last points in the book of Matthew. Thank you for your attention and have a great day.

 

Transcribed by Dave Clemmer
Edited by Ben Bowden
Rough edited by Ted Hildebrandt