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