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Wednesday, January 18 2012

The Gospel According To Matthew

The English form of the name Matthew originated from a Greek name, pronounced mat-tath-ee-as, or its shorter version, pronounced mat-thah-yos, that itself actually originated from a more-ancient Hebrew name, pronounced maw-tith-yaw-hoo - from the compounded words, pronounced maw-tawth, meaning a gift, and yaw, an abbreviated form of the Sacred Name (i.e. often translated as LORD in English).

In Bible History (and Prophecy, considering that Matthew chapter 24 is one of the most-detailed prophecies in the Holy Scriptures i.e. see What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones? and The Last Days Before The Everlasting Days), Matthew was a publican, or tax collector, at Capernaum who was personally called by Jesus Christ to become one of the twelve apostles.

Matthew was not among the very-first called, but the four fishermen who were the first set the stage for the calling of their local tax collector, Matthew, to become one of them. The calling of the apostles began after the "temptation of Christ," that itself marked the beginning of the Messiah's ministry to demolish the world of deception that Satan has created (see The Rock Of The Church).

The Holy Scriptures

"4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil [see The Dragons Of The Bible]. 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

4:5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him." (Matthew 4:1-11 KJV)

Then, with the successful completion of the ministry of John the Baptist (see John's Congregation) and His moving from the inland hill-country town of Nazareth to the fishing town on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee (see Why Bethlehem, Egypt, Nazareth And Capernaum?), Jesus began to preach, thereby fulfilling the prophecies about the prophet of Galilee (see The Prophet Of Galilee).

Map Of Galilee

"4:12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison [see Lethal Lust], he departed into Galilee;

4:13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 4:14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,

4:15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:12-17 KJV)

The first four apostles were fishermen of Capernaum: Peter and his brother Andrew, and John and his brother James. John the Baptist had done his job very well; many were ready for the coming of the Messiah.

"4:18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

4:19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

4:20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

4:21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.

4:22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. 4:25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan." (Matthew 4:18-25 KJV)

"And as Jesus passed forth from thence, He saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He saith unto him, Follow Me. And he arose, and followed Him"

The day of Matthew's calling began with Jesus and the fishermen crossing the Sea of Galilee (which is actually a freshwater lake; the Jordan River enters in the north of the Sea of Galilee and exits from the south) back to their homes in Capernaum - where more miracles were done.

Fishermen On The Sea Of Galilee

"9:1 And he entered into a ship [see The Ships Of Galilee], and passed over, and came into his own city. 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

9:3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.

9:4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? 9:5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 9:6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. 9:7 And he arose, and departed to his house. 9:8 But when the multitude saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men." (Matthew 9:1-8 KJV)

It was then, in Capernaum, that they encountered the town's local tax collector, "a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom" (the photo below shows a Roman coin from the era that Matthew was a tax collector). While "publicans" were generally hated, Matthew's profession gave him a skill (rare at the time) that millions of people have since benefited from his ability to do - to write and to keep detailed, accurate records.

"9:9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

9:10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. 9:11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

9:12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. 9:13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Matthew 9:9-13 KJV)

Although Matthew is most well-known by that name (as he called himself in his writings quoted above), he was earlier also known as Levi, as Mark recorded for the same incident. Dual names, or the earlier and/or favoring of one over another is not unusual e.g. Peter was also known as Simon Peter (e.g. "16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" Matthew 16:16 KJV), or sometimes as Peter ("4:18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter" Matthew 4:18 KJV), or sometimes as Simon ("17:25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?" Matthew 17:25 KJV).

Emperor Tiberius

"2:13 And he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them. 2:14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.

2:15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. 2:16 And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners?

2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Mark 2:13-17 KJV)

Luke also recorded the incident, while Matthew still preferred to be called Levi. Notice also that the tax-collecting business (publicans at that time were mostly private-contractor tax collectors for the Roman government) must have been very profitable because Matthew/Levi made "a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them."

"5:27 And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. 5:28 And he left all, rose up, and followed him.

5:29 And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. 5:30 But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners?

5:31 And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:27-32 KJV)

It was however, according to the records, after his calling that Levi preferred to be called Matthew - while both Mark and Luke recorded him as Levi at the time of his calling, they later recorded him as Matthew when he became an apostle.

"3:14 And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, 3:15 And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: 3:16 And Simon he surnamed Peter; 3:17 And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: 3:18 And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, 3:19 And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him [see The Long Shadow Of Judas]" (Mark 3:14-19 KJV)

"6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; 6:14 Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, 6:15 Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, 6:16 And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor." (Luke 6:13-16 KJV)

Other than what we have read above, little else is recorded about Matthew; he stuck completely to the task of recording the Gospel, not of himself, but of Christ (see the Fact Finder question below). The last that is recorded of Matthew is his presence at the ascension of the Messiah (see The Ascent From Bethany).


"1:2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 1:3 To whom also he showed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days [see also Pentecost: Unto The Morrow After The Seventh Sabbath], and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

1:7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

1:9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

1:10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 1:11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven [see When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin].

1:12 Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey. 1:13 And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. 1:14 These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren." (Acts 1:2-14 KJV)

Fact Finder: While Matthew's record has come to be called "the Gospel of Matthew," what he recorded was the actually the Gospel of Jesus Christ (see The True Gospel Of Christ). See the links below for detailed studies for each chapter of Matthew's work from our Word Of God Reading Plan.

Matthew 1-2
Matthew 3-7
Matthew 8-10
Matthew 11-13
Matthew 14-16
Matthew 17-19
Matthew 20-22
Matthew 23-25
Matthew 26-28

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This Day In History, January 18

350: Generallus Magnentius deposed Roman Emperor Constans and proclaimed himself Emperor (see The Politics Of Rome, Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire and Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).

1486: Henry VII of England married Elizabeth, daughter of Edward IV, uniting the houses of Lancaster and York.

1535: Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro founded Lima, the present-day capital of Peru.

1701: Frederick III, the elector of Brandenburg, became the king of Prussia.

1778: Captain James Cook discovered the Hawaiian Islands. They were initially called the Sandwich Islands, after the First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Sandwich (ironically, Captain Cook was killed and eaten by the natives of the Sandwich Islands, as was his girlfriend, Ann Butchers).

1871: The proclamation of the Second German Reich (empire). Otto von Bismarck named King Wilhelm I of Prussia as German emperor ("Deutscher Kaiser") in The Hall of Mirrors at Versailles, near Paris. North and south Germany were united. Bismarck consolidated Germany under the (Protestant) Prussian Hohenzollerns, assumed the office of Reich Chancellor and was made a prince. The Second Reich lasted for 47 years, until the end of the First World War in 1918 (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars). Adolf Hitler called his regime the Third Reich (see Ein Volk! Ein Reich! Ein Euro! and Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).

1919: 2 months after the First World War ended, the Versailles Peace Conference in Paris opened with David Lloyd-George of Britain, Woodrow Wilson of U.S. and George Clemencea of France. Kaiser Wilhelm had abdicated and departed for exile in Netherlands where the Dutch refused to extradite him for trial as a promoter of the war. The Weimar Republic was established.

1944: During the Second World War, Soviet forces liberated Leningrad, thereby ending a three-year Nazi "Siege of Leningrad."

1967: Albert DeSalvo, the "Boston Strangler," was convicted of numerous crimes and is sentenced to life imprisonment.

1974: Israel and Egypt signed peace agreements to officially end the Yom Kippur War which had began on the previous October 6.

1995: The European Parliament endorsed the new 20-strong European Commission, marking the Strasbourg-based assembly's political birth.

2000: The Tagish Lake meteorite impacted the Earth in northern Canada. It was estimated to have been 4 meters in diameter and weighed 56 tons when it entered the atmosphere and exploded. Over 500 fragments have been found.

2005: The Airbus A380, the world's largest commercial airliner, was unveiled at a ceremony in Toulouse, France.


Copyright © Wayne Blank