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Sunday, February 24 2013
Matthew: The Gospel By The Accountant
The Anglicized rendering 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; see The Kingdom Of The LORD God).
Matthew was a publican (i.e. a tax collector and accountant) at Capernaum who was personally called by the Messiah to become one of the twelve apostles. Tiberius, as seen on the coin below, was the Roman Emperor at the time (there were two Emperors during the Messiah's lifetime - Augustus and Tiberius; see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).
Matthew was not the first-enlisted of the Twelve, 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. It 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 Fact Finder question below).
"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 and Sending Away The Escapades Goat]. 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.
With the successful completion of the ministry of John the Baptist (see Ahead Of The Prophet) 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?), the Messiah 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, Peter and his brother Andrew, and John and his brother James, were fishermen of the Sea of Galilee. 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." While "publicans" were generally hated (not merely because they were tax collectors with legal powers, but because many of them, obviously not including Matthew, were corrupt), 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.
Studies For The Book Of Matthew
Fact Finder: How and when did the Messiah's Ministry begin?
This Day In History, February 24
786: Pepin the Short of Gaul died. His kingdom was divided between his sons Charles (Charlemagne) and Carloman.
1303: The Battle of Roslin during the First War of Scottish Independence.
1387: King Charles III of Naples and Hungary was assassinated at Buda.
1389: King Albert of Sweden was defeated and captured by the Danes at the Battle of Falkoeping. The outcome left Margaret of Denmark effective ruler of both Sweden and Denmark.
1473: Albert III Achilles proclaimed the Dispositio Achilles (Disposition of Achilles) which was to preserve a united Brandenburg.
1496: Henry VII of England ended a commercial dispute with Flanders.
1500: Holy Roman Emperor Charles V was born. It was the emperor Charles who officially pronounced Martin Luther a heretic, not the pope (the Emperors claimed to be the "vicar of Christ" because Christ is a King; the popes claimed to be the "vicar of Christ" because Christ is our High Priest - see Emperors and Popes).
1525: During the first Franco-Habsburg War, the Holy Roman Emperor (see The Holy Roman Empire) Charles V captured French King Francis I at the battle of Pavia, in Italy. The battle marked one of the earliest uses of the arquebus (musket).
1530: The first imperial coronation by a pope - Charles V crowned by Clement V (again, see The Holy Roman Empire).
1582: Pope Gregory XIII issued a Papal Bull proclaiming the Gregorian calendar (named after him; see Pope Gregory's Calendar), replacing the Julian calendar (named after Julius Caesar). The Gregorian calendar is used throughout the world today.
1821: Mexico became independent from Spain. Over the next century, much of Mexico's territory was lost to the U.S. by armed conquest (the present-day Mexican border with the U.S. was once hundreds of miles farther north into what is today California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas).
1825: Thomas Bowdler, British editor, died. He edited a censored version of the works of Shakespeare, giving the word "bowdlerise" to the English language.
1826: The Treaty of Yandabo; ended the First Anglo-Burmese War.
1848: After a revolution in Paris, Louis Philippe of France abdicated in favor of his grandson, the Comte de Paris. The move failed and the Second Republic was proclaimed 2 days later.
1868: Andrew Johnson became the first U.S. President to have impeachment proceedings brought against him.
1887: Paris, France, and Brussels, Belgium, became the first two national capital cities with telephone communications between them.
1920: A small political extremist group in Germany outlined its program to create a Third German Reich. Its spokesman, Adolf Hitler, said that it would change its name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party (abbreviated as the "Nazi" Party; see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1942: During the Second World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), 767 Jewish refugees (428 men, 269 women, 70 children) drowned in the sinking of the Struma, 5 miles off the coast of Istanbul, Turkey. After they were refused entry in "Palestine" and the Ottomans would not allow them into Turkey, Turkish authorities had the unseaworthy ship towed out to sea, where it soon floundered and sank (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate and A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism).
1945: Prime Minister Ahmed Maher Pasha of Egypt was shot dead in Parliament just after reading a declaration of war on Germany and Japan.
1986: Tommy Douglas died at age 81. The Canadian politician, former Saskatchewan premier and federal party leader, was known as the "father of medicare" for introducing North America's first government health plan.
1989: Iranian Muslim leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini offered a $3 million bounty for the murder of author Salman Rushdie.
1991: After 5 weeks of massive U.S. air bombardment of Iraq and Kuwait, U.S., British and allied ground forces began the ground war in the Kuwait "Gulf War."
2007: Japan launched its fourth spy satellite.
2008: Fidel Castro retired due to ill health after nearly fifty years as the President of Cuba, beginning with the revolution that overthrew the Mafia (the Cuba scenes in The Godfather movies are based on historical truth) and CIA backed dictator regime of Fulgencio Batista in 1959.