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Thursday, January 7, 2021

Matthew Chapter 22-28 Notes

[Chapter 22]

Christ talks in parable to them more while the Pharisees and Sadducees are already pissed off at Him.

22:1-14 - The King has a feast for son/prince and the people reject it and kill his servants and mock them. They fill this place with the good and bad who are invited. One comes in and is without a wedding garment and is taken away. Why does he pick this guy out? Because they gave people clothes. He had on street clothes. The man had no excuse not to wear it. It is supplied by the king. He tried to get in without accepting the garment. 

Jesus wants all to repent and break themselves of their pride. Even when they know and get it, they want to reject Him and destroy Him. They don't want to be changed or change. God chose all of us but some do not want to change and you end up not completing your purpose.

22:15-22 - Then the Pharisees plot how to trap Him and bring the Herodians in on this plot (the Arab supporters and Jewish supporters of Herod). Matthew is showing how much they hate Jesus equally. Equivalent would be the Nazis and Communists teaming up to defeat someone. They ask if taxes should be paid to Caesar or not. If he says yes, he is pro-Rome and they can arrest him and if he says the opposite, they will hopefully see Him lose support. He is also in the Temple. They bring a graven image of Caesar to Him in the Temple. Jesus responds: Give to Caesar what is Caesar's. Give to God what is His. 

[There is no fighting back against the government by the Early Church. You obey the state unless it makes you sin. Then, come what may. This converts Rome eventually]

22:23-33 - Sadduccees, resurrection-deniers, come and ask him a question about a bride who is for seven brothers who have died in succession. 

The point Jesus makes here is that after the Resurrection of the dead, we will not be looking for a wife or having a children. It will be different so he is basically saying their question is retarded. They need to see the bigger issue. He then corrects them and proves the Resurrection by using only the Pentatauch, which the Sadduccees only accept to be the Old Testament. They are astonished. He got them too. 

22:34-40 - The Pharisees regroup after seeing this and try another gotcha moment and try to get him into a dumb debate. This is on the greatest commandment. Jesus answers and owns them by saying "love God and love people". This passage also proves Jesus spoke Greek because he uses the word "mind" here. 

22:41-46 - While they gathered, Jesus asks them a question. The reason he asks this is to show them and have them answer that He is God Incarnate. The Messiah therefore is not a mere man. He quotes Ps 109/110 (LXX/MT).

[Chapter 23]

Remember that this is Passover season and tensions are high because there have been "messiahs" before who started violent revolts versus Rome. Rome and Judea are both on edge. This is a highly charged atmosphere waiting for a storm to brew. 

23:1-12 - "The Pharisees sitting in Moses' seat". This is a place where Moses' successors sit (part of the Jewish tradition and Jesus doesn't go against it. Moses was the Law-Giver and he had successors to teach the Law). This is apostolic succession, but you won't find this in the O.T. You find it in tradition that Jesus does not dispute and you find the apostles continue this practice. 

Matthew writes this all after 70 AD. When he is writing it, we would have a "seat" for the bishop in the church. We developed on this from the Jews because we are the offspring of 2nd Temple Judaism. 

Jesus refers to the Pharisees adding extra burdens and laws (v.4). 

Shows them the Pharisees burden people and do not help relieve or lift them or help the outcasts and suffering. 

They do all their works to be seen by men publically. They are in it for fame and notoriety. Virtue signalling. They are worshipping themselves. Setting up idols for themselves. 

23:5 - They should keep the Law and in mind but this is false piety from them. Sadducees weren't really priests of Zadok. The Pharisees rejected the Sadducees and had lots of rabbinical trained people. 

23:6-12 - Teacher is used in John 3:10; Acts 13:1; 1 Cor. 12:28; Eph. 4:11 and 2 Tim. 1:11. Father is also used in Luke 16:24; 1 Cor. 4:15 and Col. 3:21. It is not a prohibition. 

All religious Jews are descended from the Pharisees. Rome in 70 AD wiped out the Sadducees and Zealots and Essenes were already a minority sect that died out in the deserts. The only survivors of Judaism were 1) Christians and 2) Pharisees post-70 AD. 

After the Bar Kochba Revolt after 132-136 AD, the Wailing Wall (after 132 AD) it was the only piece of Jerusalem left. It wasn't until Constantine that they would be able to go to Jerusalem (the Jews) one time a day on the day of 70 AD as a commemoration day. A Temple to Zeus after the Bar Kochba Revolt would be built and erected and only torn down by St. Helena, mother of Constantine. At the time Mohammed lived, Jerusalem's Temple became a literal garbage dump. 

23:13-36 - Jesus calls them out and curses the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocrisy and refusal to help people find salvation. They screw over everyone and are also turds for this. Any convert that they do make, he says is a son of hell with them because they are blind guides. 

"Swear by the gold of the Temple" is an oath rule the Pharisees made up to get past using Roman currency. Jesus says it is meaningless. Christ swears here too when he says "woe". 

He still gives them a shot to repent but shows them where they are headed (hell). If you make an oath, keep it. 

23:25-26 - Clean the inside, not just the outside. 

23:27-28 - They are like beautiful tomns but dead inside. The sons of the devil, the Pharisees are guilty of killing from Abel to Zechariah. The cup of inequity is close to being filled. The ancestors have helped fill this cup. When they kill Jesus, they are finishing themselves off and will be judged by God through Rome. 

23:36 - From Abel to Zechariah: Abel was the first murder. This was recent, this murder of St. John the Baptizer's father, Zechariah, who was High Priest. All that wickedness is culminating and will (judgment) fall on this generation (70 AD). 

Herod's men had killed High Priest Zechariah (the legitimate priest, not a Sadducee) when they tried to kill the babies. John's mother Elizabeth had fled to the desert and John was eventually according to Church Tradition, and I have no reason to disagree with this, raised by angels. There is no reason to doubt the history of Christians because we trust pagans to do history correct too for the most part. We should also trust more because archaeology keeps backing up the bible more and more. St. Thomas and India for example were once rejected as fake history but now we have found it to be true. It is not legends. It is historical fact and data. 

23:37-39 - Jesus laments over Jerusalem after His judgments. He wishes He could get them to stop rejecting Him.

[Chapter 24]

The Eschatological Discourse: Matthew writes his Gospel post-70.

He keeps showing us all the places where Christ fulfilled things that were prophesied. 

"The time is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live" (John 5:25). Those "last days" are here. We are in them. It is not in the future like a dispensationalist would say. The perspective of the New Testament, is that when Jesus' first advent begins that this is the beginning of the end. The dominoes are falling. After a great judgment (the Cross), what is to come later is the 2nd Coming and the Resurrection of the Dead and changing of the cosmos.

When the Old Testament prophets prophesy, they condense and smush prophecies together. Jesus here will go a bit back and forth with them when He talks to THEM about AD 70 and then also about His return. 

24:1-2 - They leave the Temple and the disciples marvel about all Herod has built and so Jesus tells them that at some point there will be nothing left, which will happen in 70 AD when the Temple will fall, as will all of Jerusalem and the province of Judaea mostly after the Bar Kochba Revolt takes place in 132-135 AD where they will defeat the Jews (Rome) and then completely raze and bulldoze the land and keep the Jews out until centuries later. 

24:3-14 - When is your "coming"? When is the destroying of the Romans happening? Jesus says not to be deceived by things that happen because they are only "the beginning of sorrows" and "the end is not yet". 

There will be a time of the end that will take place; it is not yet. 

Christ shows them that this event of 70 AD will take place but tells them not to fret because it is all part of His plan and that will come to pass. 

He tells the Apostles to expect to be martyred and persecuted and that this will continue to happen and go on and that even kingdoms like Rome will one day pass away and fall in the process before He returns. 

24:14 - The Gospel will be preached in all the world? The foundations of this were done in the book of Acts but continues to be done today through Christ's apostles' successors aka the Church, that is you and I. 

24:15-28 - 

v.15 - Matthew says "let the reader understand" (some code is used here - will explain soon). Perhaps this is put here in case a persecutor Jew will read this and then come after their community? We can only speculate somewhat here. 

The "abomination of desolation" was Antiochus Epiphanes in Daniel. Antiochus sacrifices a pig on the altar to Zeus/Jupiter. Maccabeans Revolt ensued and then they made a treaty with Rome. This is what was referred to here. Jesus tells them that it is going to happen again. Matthew wrote this after the fact that it had happened and uses code here because he doesn't want Romans to think that he was one of the revolters there at the War probably should they confiscate and read this work. If you think this is strange, recall that Peter does code too when he calls Rome "Babylon". Jesus tells them to flee versus participating in this war because it will be pointless. They would die if they did, following after a pointless war they would lose. In 132-135 AD they would be following a false messiah too and lose that war too should they join it so Jesus is saying do not join them for they are false and wicked ways. 

The Christians before AD 70 would, by angel, be told to flee and go to Petra. Jesus told them to flee and they historically did this. Matthew writes of it after the event takes place. 

Many people will try to decieve but do not believe it for when He comes for real it will be unmistakeable. The sun will appear less bright because of Christ's glory and the fullness of His splendor. You will KNOW when Jesus comes back. It will be unmistakeable. Until then we must stay faithful and endure to be faithful servants. 

The elect here in v. 24 is eklektos which is used like race - ethnos. It is the chosen group. Specifically the Jewish remnant but it refers to Christians (this includes Gentiles). The Romans thought AD 70 was a glorious event. The Jews obviously did not. 

Eschatology often does this concept of already, but not yet. The time now is and is now coming. Christ's Resurrection for example already happened. Ours has not. Matthew 24 is primarily about and for them in the past but at the same time, it is not all about the past because in it He has TWO DAYS. One is this Day of the Lord (AD 70) and the other is this FINAL DAY (the 2nd Coming) also called the Last Judgment. 

Matthew having wrote this after 70 AD finds it important to share with the post-70 Christians. It is for them at the time and us. This is not a double-prophecy, but it is like Isaiah 7 in a few ways in that it was fulfilled in Isaiah's time period but then is fulfilled by Christ on a deeper level. So this chapter Matthew 24-25 is about us too. 

24:29-31 - This did not happen in 70 AD. Rome did not completely destroy Jerusalem. We also did not see the 2nd Coming happen in 70 AD. 

"Immediately" is used here. In the Greek it is used more like "swiftly". 

We have two events discussed here. First, Israel gets judged but there is a remnant. Then the Gentiles join and all nations get judged one day. In the Old Testament, often, and here in the New Testament, things get smushed as a tendency. 

The Jews are judged at the Cross and the remnant of Jews come to bring all nations to God. Then the Final Judgment and 2nd Coming are one day to take place in the future. The Old Covenant ends at the Cross and the New Covenant is ushered in and the remnant and New People that were prophesied about fulfill the Old Testament prophets' visions of the New Jerusalem. 

Now that the Gentiles are coming in, the 2nd Coming awaits when they no longer come in (Romans 11:25-27). 

Already, not yet. The whole world will see the sign of the Son of Man. 

24:32-44 - The nations of the world will mourn because it's judgment. So things will happen to them that also point to future events. 

Verse 36 says "of that day and hour, none know, when it happens". This is a different Day spoken of here. It is not the AD 70 "day" that has been previously warned about. 

Verse 32-36 is a transition here. There is "this day" and "that day". Already but not yet going on here. Distinct days are here. V. 34-35 he says "heaven and earth". What is shown here is that they are less reliable witnesses than His Word so He will not even swear on the heaven and earth because He is reliable and it will assuredly happen as He says. 

24:37-44 - It will be like the Days of Noah. Unexpected judgment time; if they had listened to Noah, they would be saved but instead they all are judged in the Flood. It will be like this at His return. They did not know when and we won't either. 

Two parables will be given about this time and Jesus will tell all readers to be prepared and work to repent. 

24:45-51 - Loyalty. The Master returns and sees everything in disarray because of the servant. The servant decides he is now permanently Master and abuses everyone under him, thinking Master would not return. The Master throws the servant out and cuts him out. The place of the hypocrites is where they will receive the inheritance of Hades. The bad place. The one left is the one in the Master's house. The one taken away is the one that is judged. Jesus is coming HERE, not there. The vultures are eating on the wicked who have chosen death. 

[Chapter 25]

25:1-13 - A parable is given about a wedding. The bridegroom is coming to the village for his wedding. They bring oil lamps. The foolish ones fail to do so. The groom is delayed but makes it. The door was shut. Those who planned ahead were prepared with their candles. The people who prepared are people of Light. The foolish don't prepare themselves. 

25:14-30 - This parable is about taking the gift given, using it, investing it, and then these are the results. One of the servants were just lazy. Unproductive. He, the lazy one is taken away. 

25:31-46 - Christ will come with His angels and sit on His throne and will judge the entire world. Hell was made for the demons and Satan. The people who will end up in the lake of fire at the end will be those who choose to go there. 

The talent parables are totally what happens not just to people of 70 AD but also to everyone who rejects Christ. They (the Jews) reject the gift and abuse it. All are chosen but few become elect. The lazy servant is the goat mentioned. Not the sheep of the shephard. 

These people judged know Jesus. They are His servants and failed. That is being said specifically too to his disciples. He expects a return when He returns. This applies to us too. 

25:41 - The fire of hell is for the devil and his fallen angels/demons but some go with him in the Final Day (people who reject Christ). 

[Chapter 26]

26:1-5 - Jesus and Apostles have been occupying the Temple. The Jewish factions have all failed to stop Jesus so they plot how to defeat and kill Him. They at first plot to do this after Passover and it goes to the top with the High Priest Caiaphas present. They could not execute him as Jews but could form a mob to do it but they wanted to wait though, as it might be worse for them to kill this man on the Passover... these people that claim to be holy and godly are plotting to murder.

After Christ's Eschatological Discourse, He tells the apostles that He will be crucified, though He is Messiah. 

26:6-13 - They leave and it is night and they go to Bethany to the house of Simon the Leper, one who Jesus must have healed. Jesus is in the home of the poor. A woman shows up with oil and she is poor and pours wealthy perfume all on Jesus. The apostles are baffled at this at first because this place is poor all around them and she just seems to have wasted something that could have been sold for a seemingly better purpose than what she's just used it for. 

Jesus tells the apostles she has done a good thing from her heart. Her offering is from the heart. That is not always going to look practical to us on the outside. 

26:14-16 - Judas goes to the chief priests and betrays Jesus. 

Iscariot is not Judas' last name because they did not have last names at this time. To distinguish, they would say something like Jesus bar Joseph or Jesus of Nazareth. 

Iscariot usually comes close to the word for "red" and it could be representative of blood. In Latin, Sacariots are some zealots and they were assassins of Roman officials. It is possible Judas was one of these people and it seems likely since he is seeking to get paid to betray Jesus. Judas did not sign up to be killed by Romans but then Jesus says he will be killed by them for following Him. This is likely why he betrays but we cannot fully prove any of this and it is only speculation at the end of the day. 

Judas for 30 pieces of silver betrays him. 30 pieces of silver isn't much but is the price of a young male slave. This would be the equivalent in 2020 to like $300 today. It is not much to kill someone. Acts is the only book that mentions a specific person going to Hell and it is Judas who is this man who is condemned. 

26:17-25 - 32 AD Passover was on a proper Sabbath. The day starts off on Friday at sundown. They have to prepare the meal on Thursday to do it right and properly. He eats at night with them on Friday. 

Jesus says to speak to a guy that he will go to their house for it. 

The disciples prepare Pascha feast meals. 

Jesus tells them that one will betray Him and they all ask if it is them who will betray them. This says subtly to the reader that the other disciples were unsure and antsy and even thinking somewhat about abandoning or betraying Him and in the end, they all do betray Christ and abandon Him to some extent. They have doubts and this shows how alone Jesus truly is and was. Jesus looks at Judas and it is pretty obvious. They may not have thought this betrayal was to be murderous. 

26:26-30 - Jesus creates Christian worship here. New Covenant. Eucharist. In the Old Covenant, they used animal blood. In the New Covenant, this Covenant is the Blood. His Body and His Blood is the New Covenant. This is the Eucharist. After this v.30 they worship after taking this. After Pentacost, the Early Church does this and celebrates the Eucharist and will also begin doing hymns and the first proto-liturgies will be created in this time. The way our current Liturgy is structured is based on this and it is structured much like the Jews did them because this was originally Jewish worship, now Christian worship. 

Judas has not left them yet. He took the Eucharist too and Jesus let Him. Back in Genesis, the covenant with Abraham was "cutting the covenant" (Gen 18). When we take the Bread and Blood we are cutting covenant with God. In Abraham's case, God walks through the middle of the covenant. God is to die for the covenant if Israel breaks it and Jesus does this. This new covenant is the same. We are cutting covenant with God and if we are unworthy, we condemn ourselves. So Judas signs on for the New Covenant and then is condemned for his cutting covenant here since he rejects Christ. 

26:31-35 - They go to the Mount of Olives. Jesus tells them all they will fail Him tonight. Peter says he will not betray Jesus. Jesus then tells him that he is wrong and that actually Peter will do so. They all end up failing. Jesu goes to Gethsemene and begins to pray. 

26:36-46 - Jesus shares our human nature. Jesus also shares our Divine Nature and Divine Will. 

One will, one purpose, one goal. Human nature was originally the same way. Jesus doesn't have sin. He has the original human nature and will. His natural will and nature is to do good and the will of God. Because of sin, sometimes we cannot always do what we think is the best/good decision. The natural human will is to live forever with God and live. Jesus doesn't want to die because death is foreign to Him. The will of God is to die for all. This is to remind us that Jesus is really human and will feel this. It will be painful. 

He finds them sleeping. Verse 41 - Their spirit is willing but they are weak minded and weak. He feels abandoned and is. He prays 3x and they fall asleep all three times that they are supposed to keep watch. They act like the virgins here in his eschatological discourse, having fallen asleep. 

Judas comes to betray Him. Judas had stayed awake to betray him. They have brought the Temple Gaurds. 

26:47-56 - Jesus tells the disciples to put down their swords because he doesn't need conflict here. He will also go willingly to the Cross. If He wanted to He could send "12 legions of angels" (v. 53). He is ready to fulfill the Scriptures. The disciples flee when Jesus is arrested.

26:57-68 - Peter follows at a distance Jesus, being sent to the Sanhedrin and Caiphas. They need two witnesses to match to convict Jesus and can't do it. They try to run with Jesus' saying eventually that he will destroy the Temple. 

26:63 - Caiaphas puts Jesus under oath "Are you Messiah"? Jesus answers yes. 

26:64 - Jesus says in the future He will bring judgment. Caiaphas claims it blasphemy but it is not. This is not a fair trial at all obviously. Now that they have something (his claim as King) they can go to Rome about it. 

26:69-75 - By the fire, Peter is approached by a servant girl. Denies Jesus 3x. Another girl asks and then more do. They know he has a Galilean accent too. It is obvious he follows Jesus. Then the rooster crows 3x. He has failed. 

[Chapter 27]

27:1-2 - Having admitted He is Messiah, He admits He is King and so they take Him to Rome. Judas and all the apostles have betrayed Jesus to some extent. They deliver Jesus to the Governor of Judea's province, Pontius Pilate in the morning. 

Pilate was a ruthless man as governor. Crucifixion was a natural punishment for him and even Romans found him to be vicious. They ruled by terror. After 70 AD, because he had failed to keep order, he was beheaded. He considered Jews to be non-persons, sub-humans. In modern equivalent, the Jews of that time saw Pilate to be like Stalin or Hitler essentially. All these Jews of differing sects are working together vs. Jesus. They hate each other but work together. They are also now in the house of the "impure Gentiles" (Rome). The same people who were so mad at Jesus for eating with unclean Jews and Gentiles are now willing to do this. Hypocrites. 

27:3-10 - Judas has remorse and tries to give his money back and these hypocrites say it is blood money and cannot be in the Temple. So Judas goes and hangs himself after realizing he has sinned against Jesus. The apostles repented while Judas did not. They use the money and buy a field to bury strangers and this fulfills Jeremiah 39:6-9 (LXX). 

27:11-14 - Pilate asks Jesus "Are you King of the Jews?" The Romans hated kings. They considered them tyrants and this is why they made it a republic with senates. Ceasar Augustus has only recently made himself "Conqueror" and ruler. They hated the title "King" so though He is Emperor he doesn't use the title personally. To them, this peasant Jesus is contesting the Empire. 

Jesus answers Pilate but not the Jews here. Pilate is marvelled that Jesus deosn't respond at all to them. This is all an unusual thing. Why is Pilate even talking to a peasant Jew? 

27:15-26 - Barrabbas - son of Abbas. Pilate has a choice to free someone. He picks Jesus or this criminal. He tries to engineer this so that he doesn't get himself screwed up by the Roman Emperor later for causing an unrest. His wife tells him also before that Jesus is just and this becomes an omen. She has had dreams about this. Romans were very suspicious and superstititious so he is trying to get out of this and spare him. He also, if Jesus is just, is open to the judgment of the pagan gods when they set things straight (which in pagan pantheon they do). If he is executed, it is on him. 

1) He asked if he was Messiah first and then 2) when this fails, he chooses gross Barrabbas and the Jews chose Barrabbas. 

The Jews say "to crucify him". He asks why they want to kill this man claiming to be their messiah. He saw the crowd was becoming a mob and he wants and has to keep peace so he seems to be stuck here but he isn't. He could have done a bunch of things here to quell this growing mob. He washes his hands of this and lets Jesus be crucified though. He is not off the hook though. He has and knows this Jesus is innocent for a fact and will still have him crucified. He had many options but instead shows himself to be a weak coward morally and that he takes a coward's way out. 

The Jews say "His blood be on us and on our children". In Deuteronomy, the Jews took an oath to follow God and they sprinkled blood on all the people to accept that they were all under the Old Covenant. Cutting the covenant is here too. Jesus' sacrifice is now going to bring about the New Covenant and if they reject Him, they will be in condemnation if they do not later repent. What was a trial has now become a time of the covenant being transitioned into the New Covenant. Just like in the Old Covenant. 

He is scourged before crucified. Pieces of flesh are chunked out of Jesus in this process. They would be hitting him with these naked and pulling out chunks of skin. Usually, people would sometimes not even survive this before crucifixion. 

27:27-31 - The Romans mock Jesus after scourging him. They spat on him and struck with a reed. The Old Testament has a goat that was sent out to die as a sin offering. 

The Epistle of Barnabas says that they would spit and mock the goat and they would put a red ribbon on its neck. Jesus wears a red robe that they put on him. This is the red ribbon. The sins of the world are representative here with the red robe/red ribbon. Jesus has put on all the sins of the world and like the goat who is mocked and led out of the city to die for their sins, so shall He now. 

27:32-44 - They make a Cyrene named Simon carry the cross because Jesus can't carry it anymore. They walk to Golgotha and make him try to drink some wine with gall. The Place of the Skull was in 2nd Temple Judaism, the place where they believed that Adam died (as they think that Jerusalem is where Eden used to be). Symbolism is obvious here. 

The sour wine is considered a sign of mercy and Jesus rejects it, taking and accepting the full measure of this suffering. They crucified Him and Psalms 21:19 is fulfilled (LXX). They then keep watch while Jesus has to experience an excruciating pain and suffer up there on the Cross until He dies of asphyziation or something just gives out. You are also hanging out there naked and exposed to the elements. The Romans would be unconcerned as they see this every day. Jews as well. 

Pilate has a sign set up "This is Jesus. King of the Jews". Robbers are on the left and right side of Him and are crucified with Him. He was blasphemed by people walking by and both robbers as well. 

There is some temptations here. No one is friendly here to Jesus. He is utterly rejected and alone. Deserted. Mocked. All of humanity. 

9 AM He is crucified. Noon (6th hour). 9th hour (3 in the afternoon). 

There is darkness from 9-3. That is 6 hours that he is up there and dies in the 6th hour. Representative of the 7 days of Genesis, He will die in 6 hours and his work will be finished. He quotes Psalm 21: "My God... Why hast Thou forsaken Me?"

27:45-56 - One guy tries to give him wine again. Matthew presents Jesus rejecting it again and as he is dying he is praying the psalms. Jesus dies and then there is an earthquake and the veil of the Temple is torn, and people rise from the dead. This is a Day of Judgment and a day of reckioning and a Day of Darkness. The Prophets prophesied this event would take place. Jesus' death is a day of Judgement on Israel. There will be a remnant to be the New People. The people of Israel will join the New Covenant or be cut off. It is a judgment day here. 

These people are sitting in their tombs for 2 days and don't come out until Jesus rises from the dead. They literally stay there because Jesus is the beginning of the resurrection of the dead. 

27:54-56 - The Romans exclaim "truly this was the son of a god". They are superstitous enough as pagans to see that He might be legit and that they should not have killed this man. Meanwhile, the Jews still do not see it. 

27:55-56 - The women watched Jesus die and all this take place. They are witnesses. This is unheard of to use women as witnesses in this time period. Christians have a place for women here. 

27:57-61 - Joseph of Arimathea comes to see Pilate and asks if he can bury Jesus. Pilate allows it. The disciples are off in hiding right now. Joseph risks his life here to have him buried. He is a courageous man. 

Pilate just experienced an earthquake and darkness on a weird and awful day. To appease the gods he probably allows this man to do it. So Joseph and these women are witnesses. We miss this but women are witnesses here which speaks to how the Early Church saw women. 

27:56 and 61, to establish a fact, names three women. Usually, you would have people hang and be eaten and exposed by the animals and elements. This does not happen and Joseph buries Jesus. Christianity says women are equal to men to God. Also slaves. They are people. This is why Rome hated Christianity. Christianity literally uprooted the social order and upheaved it. 

 27:62-66 - The chief priests remember Christ said he would resurrect. This is on the Day of Preparation. They just killed Jesus on the Sabbath and had profaned it. Now they want to still try to do whatever to stop a dead man and his movement. Pilate gives them gaurds to rule the tomb and watch it and is sick of it. They set a seal on it so that if someone breaks it they will know someone tried to come in. 

[Chapter 28]

28:1-8 - The women come to the tomb and there is an earthquake. An angel comes and rolls the stone. The penalty for falling asleep for a Roman soldier is death. They pass out at the sight of the angel. The women don't fear this angel. Christ has risen from the dead and they are told to tell the disciples. 

28:9-10 - Jesus shows up and tells them to do it and two women serve as His witness. The gaurds run to the priests.

28:11-15 - They ask the Jews to cover for them. 

28:16-20 - He appears to the disciples and they see Him but some doubted. Jesus says last in the Gospel that "all authority of heaven and earth has been given to Me". He is victorious. He has defeated Satan. All the nations of the world are now Christ's, not Satan. Anyone who follows and represents the devil has lost. 

Now with this authority, He tells the disciples to go out and make disciples of all nations and baptize and live holy lives. 

All heaven and earth. He is in charge of everything and  is the authority. He is the Emperor. Rome is no longer in charge. God is. 

Monday, January 4, 2021

Matthew Chapter 16-21 Notes

[Chapter 16]

The Pharisees and Sadducees both hate each other but join forces here to try and get Jesus and test Him again. They demand a sign again to show that He is Messiah. He responds with how they have seen him do all these things and miracles in public and that they still can't "see" it. He calls them hypocrites and says that they will see the "sign of Jonah". They have all the proof they need, they just refuse to accept it. 

The disciples forgot to take bread and Jesus makes a statement here about the Pharisees and Sadducees about leavened bread. The disciples think he is talking about them and then reminds them of their feeding the 5000 and the 4000. Despite all Jesus has done, literally everyone is still clueless (16:1-12).

16:13 - They are in Caesarea Phillipi. 

16:14-20 - Jesus asks who people think He is. Peter declares who He is. Peter is not a rock nor a female so this statement is not about Peter being the foundation of the Church. 

"On your profession of faith" is what I will build My Church on. They also are at this scene looking at Mount Hermon too, which while this takes place there was thought to be a gateway to Sheol. Baal and Pan were often worshipped there at that mountain. 

God's given power and authority to those in the Church is what is talked about here.

16:21-28 - Jesus knew what was to happen to Him and now He begins revealing it to the disciples. He rebukes Peter when Peter tries and rebukes Jesus saying that "He can't die". Jesus says, "Get behind Me, Satan". It is a word for enemy He is using here. Not that Peter is actually possessed here. Peter was however playing the devil's role some here and speaks for Satan unwittingly. 

What good is it to be Caesar and in Hell? Lost your soul for a pot of soup like Esau?

16:27-28 - "you shall not taste death until you see the coming of the son of God in His Kingdom". Day of the Lord will see God judge His people, the Israelites, and then the remnant will survive, purified with the Gentiles to worship Yahweh with Messiah. Then the Ginal Judgment and Resurrection of the just and unjust.

The Day of the Lord is what he is talking about here. Christ at His Crucifixion is the Day of the Lord. There is a cutoff day of Jewish people here and only a remnant will be left who accept the Messiah (Jew and Gentiles). 

This happens with the Ascension where God Incarnate is enthroned. 

Matthew 28 shows when He is now reigning over His New People (Ps. 110) and does this until the 2nd Coming. 

The left hand is judgment and does duty work. Right is gifts and help. Spirit of God is usually filled with imagery of fire and consuming fire.

[Chapter 17]

6 Days. 

Jesus is about to give a picture of "the rest" (the Sabbath) (7th Day). Took Peter, James, and John and transformed. He becomes bright and HIS CLOTHES also were turned white. 

The goal of the end is the Resurrection, not just of the soul, the body too. This whole world gets transformed too, not just the body. He is showing a picture of theosis and the Resurrection - heaven and earth united as one. 

Elijah and Moses. Jewish tradition. Ascension of Moses. It seems to definitely be implied here. 1 Peter refers also to the Ascension of Moses. 2 Peter does so with the Transfiguration it refers to as well. The Apostles don't believe in Sola Scriptura obviously here, pushing traditions obviously. 

Peter is astonished and tries to make three tabernacles. Peter says something goofy too because Jesus still needs to go to the Cross. He has shown these three this before the Passion so that they would understand the point of His Crucifixion and Resurrection. They did not yet get what had happened, but did later. 

17:10-11 - Jesus is Messiah and they then ask why Elijah must come first. Jesus explains St. John the Baptist was Elijah the Forerunner because John's spirit is like that of Elijah. He is the New and better Elijah, the one who took on his mantle. 

17:14-21 - The other nine disciples couldn't free the demon from the child. This kind of demon can only be exorcized by prayer and fasting. He also called them a faithless and perverse generation. 

Jesus didn't pray/fast here to drive the demon out but this is context about the disciples. 

17:22-23 - Jesus is in Galilee and tells them He will suffer, die, and be raised and they will all think they are going to be killed. Lack of faith in Jesus. They have all also witnessed many messiahs who have failed. He is going to go willingly. 

17:24-27 - Capernaum - there was a Temple Tax. They used, as currency, a crypto-currency. The Temple Tax is voluntary but they are trying to make Him be anti-Temple. Who do they get taxes from? Family or strangers? He is making a hit at the Pharisees and Sadducees because it is His House (Temple) and He is God. Also, Peter is accused in this as well. 

They are family to God so they should not have to pay the tax. They then get a fish with money for the tax and pay it. 

[Chapter 18]

18:1-5 - St. Ignatius of Antioch is possibly the child here. He points to a child because he is in a society where children are, in society, littel to rats and dogs. The first child, inherited stuff. 

Peasants did not really have an inheritance. The disciples are asking who is the greatest of them and Jesus uses a child here as a visual for them to tell them to humble yourself to the bottom where these lowly human beings are who have nothing. God judges all who do not stand up for those with no power. 

18:6-9 - It would be better if you were drowned with a millstone than lead the lowest person to sin. He is trying to teach them how to be truly great leaders. Must be held accountable. Do not be about power and authority. Be about accountability and responsibility for you will be judged more harshly if you are a teacher or have been a teacher. 

18:8-9 - Figurative language here. Throw anything that will make you hellbound away. Stumbling-blocks. What do you keep tripping on? Throw it away. He references gaurdian angels too (Deuteronomy 32 [demons/angels of nations]). 

Rome as a nation has Zeus/Jupiter as their fallen guardian angel (a demon).

Even children, the lowest beggar, the lowest person of lows have a gaurdian angel. 

18:10-14 - God will count His sheep and go after one who is lost. He doesn't want anyone to perish. Christ became man to go after the lost sheep for He is the good Shephard. Every human to Him is precious. 

18:15-20 - "Moreover" - Also, if your brother sins against you, go and speak alone with him. If he won't listen, take 2-3 witnesses so if he refuses then it is on him, not you. Then, hand them to Satan, exile. The purpose of this exile from grace will be repentance ultimately. 

18:21-35 - Peter: how many times? 7? Jesus answers: 70x7 (symbolic). Jesus then tells a parable about a guy in debt who will become a slave because of this. We should be so forgiving like God is for us.  

[Chapter 19]

He is now in Judea. The Pharisees question Him on divorce and marriage.

19:1-12 - He created gender so they would reunite (Adam and Eve). It is sinful to try and split them up. Jesus explains to the Pharisees when they ask why Moses allowed divorces that this was because of their hardness of hearts. Moses set an economia because he was dealing wtih hard hearts. This isn't how it was supposed to be at all. If he isn't divorcing for adultery, then it is a sham getting remarried. 

Jesus says some are just eunuchs. Uses it figuratively for people choosing celibacy for God. The goal too is reconciliation of God and people. Divorce is a sin and you should try to remain unmarried. 

Canons - rules are guidelines, not rules/laws like the Pharisees had. 

Refusing to baptize a divorced person's baby for example is a sin. 

19:13-15 - The disciples were being stupid and rebuked them, the children. They come from the marriages. Do not treat children bad. They are God's too and marriage is hard but a good thing. 

19:16-30 - Someone comes who accepts the afterlife. Asks Jesus, the "Good Teacher" what else he needs to do. Jesus responds to him as if he's disingenous (and he is). God gave you the commandments so why are you asking this? Then He asks "which ones" he should keep. 

19:20 - The man says he has kept them. What else? 

19:21-22 - Jesus says, if you want to be "perfect" (telos) (fulfilled your purpose for creation). Sell your riches and give to the poor and follow Me. He picks his stuff over eternal life. 

19:23-30 - It is hard to be rich and go to God. You have too much power and authority and it means you are more with possessions. Did you help people with what God gave you (riches)? 

The disciples for once get what Jesus is saying. If it was up to men, none would be saved but it is up to God. He can save us. 

19:28 - recreation, not regeneration here. 

Will the 12 be judges literally? No because Judas is with them. 

You 12 (minus Judas obviously) will co-rule with Christ, King. You empty yourself of all but God. This will give you God who is the blessing and riches and eternal life. 

[Chapter 20]

Begins a parable. A day's work was a denarius. Hires people and then hires more people. They did not all work the same but all got the denarius. They ask why because it seems unfair but they did agree to it, so the hirer asks why he is upset (20:1-16). God has offered the same reward for salvation for everyone, any time, Jew and Gentile, high or low class. 

"Many are called, but few are elected" (part of Israel). 

The invitation is for everyone but some are for a particular task/calling. 

20:17-19 - Jesus is going to Jerusalem. Takes the 12 aside and tells them He will be betrayed, die, and resurrect from the dead. They still don't really get it and some of it is because they had seen false messiahs be killed. 

20:20-34 - The mother of Zebedee's sons comes to Him and asks that her two sons be on his right and left hand. He has just said he will be tortured and die. Do you really want them to be on the crucifix with me? She doesn't know what she is asking. His image of the cup of suffering is from Isaiah he is alluding to. 

20:22 - the two sons say they can take it. They don't get it. 

20:23 - You and the disciples will all but John will be martyred. All will suffer for Christ. This is their purpose, called by Him to do. 

20:24 - When the other ten here this, they are unhappy. They all still think that God has to do things a certain way. They think Messiah will overthrow Rome. He will but not the way they think it will. In a few days, they will go to being cowards, out of fear they will be crucified. The Resurrection will open their eyes to the truth. 

20:25-28 - Jesus calls them to explain again that it is not going to happen like they think it will. If you want to be important in the Kingdom of God, you need to be a slave. Jesus proves this by going to the lowest of lows and crucifying Himself. 

20:29-33 - Great multitude begin following Him. They think they are about to see the Messiah trample Rome and retake Judea. Two blind men even call him King and the people say to be quiet so Rome won't take them out. Jesus heals them and they follow Him. These people are blind and they don't get it. 

[Chapter 21]

Donkey and a colt are here. So they do not get accused of stealing, he says to tell these people that it is the Lord who needs them. He rides two different animals. A colt and a donkey together. Matthew is trying to connect Jesus to Zechariah 9. In Zechariah 8, he talks about Restoration after the Exile ends. Zechariah 9 has enemies being ended. Zechariah 9:9 and on has the Messiah seemingly going to smash all enemies and bring peace for Jews. However, Zechariah 9 has the Messiah being gentle on a donkey/foal, not a war-horse. These are animals of service, not battle.

The king is going to get rid of all the weapons? Peace among the nations? The Jews and Gentiles will have peace under His rule of the whole world? By the blood of the covenant He will save them? They do not get it but they should have known better. 

St. Matthew explains that the king promised wasn't going to be like Caesar and do violence. He was to bring peace to all He rules over through His New Covenant through His Blood. The bow of warfare is ended in His Kingdom (21:1-8). 

21:9-11 - [Psalms 117:25-26 is quoted]. Theyre Messianic expectations verses. There's going to be a confrontation to come. 

21:12-17 - Jesus went to the Temple and drives out the money-changer people. You had to exchange Roman currency for Temple money and got a fee too to exchange them back. They were also making these prices insane too. This sacrifice was to be for your repentance and God, not just be there to make money so Jesus cleans house with this. 

The people all want the Messiah to mop up Rome and clean them out but He does this with the Temple. 

So Jesus and His disciples and followers occupy the Temple nad he heals the blind and lame while there. The scribes and chief priests are pissed off seeing him be called the Messiah. Jesus says yes I have heard them and quotes Isaiah 56:7 where God shows Himself to the simple but the proud and haughty and prideful do not know God (that being the scribes and the Pharisees). He leaves then to Bethany for the night. 

21:18-22 - Christ is hungry in the morning so he goes to a fig tree and finds no fruit on it so curses it. The point he makes here is that the fig tree is an image of Israel (the city) (a symbol). God brought them back from Exile. Israel has been planted back to the land and are not doing what they are supposed to do so they will be cursed for bearing no fruit even though they have been given this gift to be planted here. Remember they are still in Exile because of their sin. Their chosen status is coming to an end and Jesus is going to soon accomplish all that they have failed to do. 

21:23-27 - He comes back to the Temple and is confronted by the chief priests and elders. He is not a Levitical priest so they question Him. 

They are occupying Jerusalem's Temple and now Jews and Romans are all getting nervous because of past events when other people who claimed to be Messiah started uprisings. 

Jewish leaders question who gave Him His authority to teach in the Temple. He answers with a question and doesn't answer. 

It is not a bad question on the surface but they are being dishonest because they are trying to be shrewd. Everyone who is honest and wants to know, knows. They are not giving honest questions. 

21:28-32 - He then asks a question to them. Which did the will of the Father? He tells them essentially that the ones who came to Him follow while the chief priests and scribes do not. They even saw John the Baptist change lives and would not admit it. 

21:33-46 - Tells a parable. Someone buys land, makes a business, rents it out and when harvest comes, he sends his servant out and they beat and kill them. They do it again and then he sends his son as well. They kill the son to try and claim and keep the land. Rhetorically, he asks the priests and people what will happen. Jesus quotes Psalms 117:22-23 and then says the nation of God's people that they are rejecting will be given to others. The stone rejected is Jesus. The Jews are trying to build something and Jesus is rejected. They want their kingdom on earth. He is not the Messiah they want. Rejecting Him will result in Him being the foundation of a New People. That stone is also an allusion to Daniel. 

Would you rather be broken or crushed to powder? All they need to do is repent but will not and so they will be destroyed. 

God chose them to go to Canaan to bear fruit and they failed. 

They rejected the prophets God sent. Then he sends Christ and rejecting Him will be it. Now God will do something new. 

In the Old Covenant, God gave them the Law and they would be His people. He gave His commandments. Nothing was wrong with the Law. It was His people that were messed up and could not fulfill this good thing. He promises them through the prophets like Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Ezekiel, etc., that in the New Covenant God will fix the problem and make them His people. 

The Church does not replace Israel. The promise is received by Jesus and those through Him and fulfilled in Christ. 

Shem (the Jew) will open his tent to Japeth (family descendents of Greeks/Gentiles). 

The seed of the woman (Genesis 3) is referenced. Women do not have seed, men do. Virgin birth was already prophesied there.

All this will literally happen (judgement) in AD 70 and then from 132 AD to the 5th Century, there will be no Jerusalem. 

Pilate was executed by Nero in the 60s. Pax Romana got broken so many times. Beheadings weren't great. They just pulled off your head basically and usually poisoned and burned their women/wives and children as well. The men were beheaded by a strap usually, not really a sword a lot of the time. 

If Jesus' mob of Pharisees got out of hand, the Roman emperor would get upset and have Pilate executed. Rome ran by terror on their entire people, that includes the Romans. Caligula was so evil that his own Roman gaurd murdered him and then his whole family because they thought he was THAT evil. 

Then Claudius became emperor (his uncle) and Nero was born (oops). 

This should make it claer why Jews wanted deliverance from Rome. The only real way to save Jews or Rome however and beat them is to convert the Emperor and that is exactly what Paul would go try to do in Acts. 

21:45-46 - The people saw Jesus was a prophet and the chief priests now wanted to kill Him. 

Matthew Chapter 11-15 Notes

[Chapter 11]

John the Baptist is in prison and sends two of his disciples to Jesus to ask a question to him: "Are you the Coming One, or do we look for another?" 

Why does he ask this? He is basically asking a timeline question here: Are you the Messiah or the Forerunner? This shows us John's utter humility because he is the Forerunner and the New Elijah (the one with a spirit like his) and doesn't even realize it. He doesn't even think he is important even. 

Herod is scared of John the Baptist because he can see he is holy and the following he has amassed might get him in a lot of trouble with Rome who he is deathly afraid of screwing with. 

Jesus quotes Isaiah to him to show He is the Messiah. Then (v.7-19) Christ says more of John. He says John is the Forerunner. "Did you think he was a king? No. A prophet? There has been several hundred years since one and John is in fact the greatest prophet of the Old Testament essentially. He quotes Malachi 3:1 to show that John is the Forerunner and that He is indeed the Messiah. John is "Elijah to come". John fulfills the mission of Elijah that is prophesied. In the New Covenant, everyone will have the Holy Spirit with them, not just certain Old Covenant prophets. God Incarnate is not coming to restore and bring the Old Covenant and Davidic kingdom back. He is bringing something better: the New Covenant. 

11:12 - "The kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it". Jesus is not a war-leader. He is not ordering an earthly army. What started with violence? It started when John and Jesus were babies and Herod had Zechariah (John's dad) murdered and had tried to do with Jesus as well. This same man will also go on to kill the early Christians. This is who he is referring to. There are forces at work (demons through people) trying to destroy the Messiah and God's Kingdom and His people. John is the end of the Old Covenant and those who come next will be better in the New Covenant. 

Jesus likens this generation - this crowd - to kids who are playing songs and none listen. These Judeans expect someone different and Judea got John and Jesus, who they act like are blind, idiots, drunks, etc. Truth is they are the only ones who can save these people. Those who are really God's people see and hear and know who John and Jesus are. Simeon and Anna were the first to recognize Jesus and who He was instantly. 

11:20-24 - The cities Christ preached to had not repented. He says they are so bad that if he had done what he did with Tyre and Sidon, that He did for them, they would have repented like Ninevah. Using some hyperbole and graphic imagery here, but he is holding them accountable for what they know. They are judged on what God gives them and they have been given a LOT. Likewise, we have been given a lot as well and we are like them responsible and often take it all for granted. 

11:25-30 - A quote from Wisdom of Sirach 40:1 is here (an image of servitude). Serving God or sin and the world. Are we a slave to God or the passions? Master over sin. 

[Chapter 12]

After AD 70, Bar Kochba will happen and Jerusalem and Judea will literally cease to exist. It will be renamed Palestine and then Rome will literally flatten it and build an entire city on top of it. Jews will not be able to go back there until many centuries later.

12:1-14 - They (the Pharisees) get onto Jesus about the disciples getting some grain to eat. Jesus brings up David when he ate it. On Sabbath, they worked. He shows that there is one greater than the Temple (the Messiah). Jesus then quotes Hosea 6:6 again. Mercy takes precedence over the rituals, regulations, etc. Love and grace triumph. The Pharisees actively try to set Jesus up again in the synagogue with a man with a withered hand so they can accuse Him of doing evil and breaking Sabbath. He then uses one of the Pharisees' own rules about shep here (he uses the Mishnah which has this rule) to throw their own rules back at them. Isn't this man worth more than a sheep? Therefore, the lawful thing to do is to do GOOD on the Sabbath instead of do evil. 

12:13-14 - Heals the man and then the Pharisees plot more against him because he has made them look like fools publicly. They are also, it should be noted, working to do evil on Sabbath. 

12:15-21 - Isaiah Isaiah 42 to show He is Messiah and is the one they should be looking for. He also shares He will declare justice to Gentiles too. 

12:22-37 - Demon-possessed man is brought to Jesus so the Pharisees try to plot against him. The disciples wonder could he really be the Messiah? They are not seeing what they expect and are confused. 

The Pharisees then accuse Jesus of being able to heal people because of demon-possession by Beelzebub. The Talmud even says later that Jesus is a sorcerer who was demon-possessed. Beelzebub is a title for "lord of dung/flies". The Pharisees are calling Jesus a piece of shit in other words who is working for Satan. Jesus makes the point that if that were true, then Satan would be fighting himself. It makes no sense. If He is from God though, and He is, then the Kingdom of God is here and you are opposing Jesus while He reclaims the land from the demons. He shows how the Pharisees are actually working for Satan. 

12:32 - Blaspheming this is when someone is fighting actively with God. They have made their choice. They are getting a warning here. He says it because he loves them and wants them to repent too. 

12:38-45 - They then ask for a sign/miracle when He calls them a brood of vipers. Prove it, in other words. The Ninevites actually repented when Jonah showed up and now the Pharisees are asking. The Queen of Sheba asked for wisdom. Jesus say they will see one sign and that will be the Resurrection. "This generation" is used here with a Deut. 32 reference. Christ compares them to the ancestors who died in Exile and worshipped other gods. They will be even worse then when they started is what he says, when one lets an unclean spirit return. Be serious with your faith. 

12:46-50 - Christ's family haven't all figured it out either yet who He is and are confused. 

[Chapter 13]

Parables. Jesus is sitting in a boat at Galilee and tells his parables to the people. 

One is a parable of the sower. The disciples ask him to explain this to them basically. Jesus says that he is telling them this so one who listens will get it. Someone listening will get it. He says Isaiah 6, 9, and 10 is fulfilled here. He then explains the parable here. It is all about the faith and message being heard and them getting it and following it.

Parable of wheat and tares. Evil farmer ruins harvest by putting taxes in it. The tares and the wheat will grow together. Then at the harvest (the final judgment). 

The wheat will be harvested and the taxes will be done away with. Lot of people are tares but can become wheat by repenting. Peter says in 2 Peter that God is not judging yet because He is giving a chance to repent. 

Next parable is mustard seed and leaven. If you cultivate your faith it will grow and then become great and large. Eventually it will overtake the world. Christianity was small, took root, and now is massive. 

"The reapers are the angels" in verse 39. 

In the house, he still talks in parable to the Disciples. 

13:44-46 - Pearl/hidden treasure.

13:47-50 - Dragnet. Fish.

13:51-53 - Compares his disciples to the scribes. He intends for them to give Scripture, the New Testament and learn the Old Testament. Jesus is saying "we are writing the New Testament here". 

13:54-58 - Jesus is rejected at Nazareth. They go "isn't this the son of Joseph, the carpenter? Mary's son? His step-brothers James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?

[Chapter 14]

Herod gets scared of Jesus. Thinks John the Baptist who he'd had executed has risen from the dead. Tradition states John preached to the souls in Hades and announce the Messiah is come. 

Herod is a weak king. So he doesn't get embarrassed, he murders John. John's disciples bury him and then told Jesus. (14:1-12).

14:13-21 - Jesus tries to go to a deserted place to be by Himself. People follow Him. He is travelling along the coast because boats back then weren't great. Jesus tells the apostles to feed the people. So they feed 5000 people with 5 loaves and 2 fish. They freak out becaues they cannot see how they will feed them, which is silly because Jesus is there. 

Jesus is here in a deserted place with some grass and water. God sends manna from heaven in the Old Testament. Here, God fed these 5000 people. Herod's questions are also answered here. God (Christ) is the New Moses, David, etc. and will lead his people away from the evil rulers as a New People and conquer them in some way. 

14:22-33 - Feeds them, then has them leave. Jesus sends them to Gentile land here. Jesus finally gets some alone time. As they sail, they get into a storm. It is 3 AM in the morning; Jesus shows up as they think they are going to sink, they see Him walking on water and even think he is a ghost. Jesus says, "Don't be afraid". Peter answers faithfully, "Command me to walk on water" so Jesus says "Come". Peter comes to Him, in a storm, and then falls and Jesus catches Peter and they go to the boat. Then, the wind ceases. They all worship Him as God the Son. As a king. 

For a minute, Peter questions and doubts whether Jesus is in control of this situation or the storm. Then he fails. 

14:34-36 - They cross-over to Gennesaret and recognize Him and start bringing everyone to Him. Gennesaret is Gentile land. God is the god of all people. 

[Chapter 15]

15:1-20 - Scribes and Pharisees come to Jesus and ask why the disciples are breaking the extra rules the Pharisees' elders came up with. 

This one was over washing their hands before they ate. Jesus responds with an actual commandment from God: "Honor your father and mother..." Says some of these traditions of theirs break the commands of God. The Pharisees have a tradition where they are cheating their own parents of debts they owe and have added a tradition that they can get rid of the debt by giving that owed money to the Temple. Jesus then quotes Isaiah 29:13 at them for hypocrisy. 

He responds to everyone next: Eating pork doesn't make you [15:12 offends the Pharisees] unclean. It is what is inside of you and comes out of you like hypocrisy. 

He then calls his followers not to mess with the Pharisees because they are blind and like a tree they will be uprooted. 

Peter does not get this so Jesus explains again (15:10-20). 

15:21-28 - A Gentile asks Jesus for help. She is from Tyre and Sidon. They are there now. Her daughter is demon-possessed. Being from and at Tyre and Sidon, and a "Caananite" woman. She is as non-Judean as you can get. She identifies him as Son of David, Messiah. Bad, destructive demon possession. The disciples tell Jesus to send her away (they discriminate). 

She bows to Jesus after He says, "I am here for Israel". In other words, I am Messiah. 

15:26 - "It is not good to take (Israel) children's bread and feed it to the (Gentiles) dogs". 

She gives a good response about crumbs. He then heals her girl because of her faith. This was him to show the disciples that God is the god of everyone. He is making a comparison to them too over their silliness, ignorance, and weak faith. He essentially tells this woman to pound sand "dog" and she still has faith and begs for His blessing and knows He is King and Messiah. 

15:29-31 - Jesus goes up to a mountain to pray and he heals these Gentiles. They worship the God of Israel. 

15:32-39 - Jesus basically gives a re-do test for the apostles. The disciples screw it up again on how to feed the 4000. They even have more fish and bread this time and still fail. Jesus then feeds the 4000 people plus. They then go to Magdala (where Mary Magdalen comes from). 

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Matthew Chapter 5-10 Notes

Continuing from where we left off:

[Chapter 5]

St. Matthew says Christ is preaching on a mountain. Jews and Gentiles are here at this mountain with Him. He is painting a picture of Christ as the New Moses giving out the New Torah (Law) and giving it to a New People. 

Jesus tells us who shall be blessed. 

The "poor in spirit" (humble).

"[T]hose who mourn" (those who have had trial/tribulation for in this culture, the people who suffered were seen as cursed even though they aren't).

"[T]he meek...inherit the land" (not earth). Zealots want to take the land by violence but Jesus says only the peaceful people will be the ones to inherit it. 

"[B]lessed are those who hunger/thirst for justice" - emulate those who have been downtrodden; experienced injustice because they will get justice from God.

"Pure in heart". Inward heart. 

"Peacemakers". Not Zealots. 

Blessed are the persecuted. These are those people who will inherit God's Kingdom. 

Blessed are you when people hate you for doing things for God. 

[Want a sign from God? Following Him will get people to hate you].

5:13 - Jesus shows here that he is not choosing this new people because he likes them better. He is saying he will use them to save and share the world to God. 

5:17 - This is not Plan B because Plan A failed. He is saying that this is the fulfillment of the Old Covenant (the New Covenant). 

Matthew 5:17’s “law or the prophets” is merely a way of referring to the whole Old Testament. Christ says He has “not come to abolish”. We should read Matthew 5:21-48 as well with their correctives in light of Christ’s opening remarks in 5:17-18. 

In fulfilling the Law, Jesus does not alter, replace, or nullify the former commands; rather, He establishes their true intent and purpose in His teaching and accomplishes them in His obedient life.

When He says “until all is accomplished” it means until the full manifestation of God’s Kingdom, for which we are called on to pray for (Matthew 6:10). 

St. Hilary of Poiters says of Matthew 5 that “from the expression, “pass”, we may suppose the constituting elements of heaven and earth will not be annihilated… He [Christ] does not intend to abolish it but to enhance it by fulfilling it. He declares to His apostles they will not enter heaven unless their righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees. Therefore, He bypasses what is laid down in the Law, not for the sake of abolishing it, but for the sake of fulfilling it”.

Prophecy gives people the big picture. It is less about telling the future and can be good or bad. It is all to give the people a way forward. 

"Fulfillment" - the word here is used like "to fill up a glass of water". Christ fulfills the Law. It is taking whaat is in the Law as kernel-form and blossoming it into a beautiful plant. 

Jesus tells them that they have to be better than the Pharisees and Sadducees and then gives examples about how to be. He shows the heart of the Law and Prophets here by telling us to "love God and love people". 

Even if you are angry you are in danger of the fire of Hades. What leads to murder? The thoughts of your murderous spirit. You and I are really no different than the Pharisees and Sadducees. We want to be innocent? We must strive to be pure in heart. 

If there is a broken relationship, not made right, stop and try to remedy it because then you have done all you can to make it right and then you can go make your offerings and prayers to God. 

Jesus forbids divorce here but the Orthodox Church does allow divorce? Why is this? Because life is not black and white like a fundamentalist might tell you. Remarriage for a 2nd time is allowed in the Orthodox Church (but not always and a 3rd re-marriage is often never allowed) as a concession to sin and our human weakness. If possible, you should only marry and keep one marriage throughout your whole life and strive for this goal. 

When Augustus became Caesar he took all the titles but king and would every law through the senate. He claimed pater familia (father of the Roman family). 

[Chapter 6]

Rome was beginning trade with China somewhat but not really, it was in very early infancy. They knew of the lands of the East and of the lands below in Africa but it was relatively unknown and unexplored to Rome as of yet. 

Be humble. Do not make a show of it because God sees it. Hypocrites. Do not be like these somebody's and be more like the nobody's. God knows who you all are.

The Lord's Prayer is intimate. Worship is communal even if you are all alone in the desert. Angels and etc also take part with you in this. 

Paul says when we worship is "when Christ appears" (note that this is not His Parousia or 2nd Coming). Heaven is brought down to earth and it is for most an unseen realm that we cannot see but some who have cultivated their holiness can and have seen the heavenly realm. When we pray we are praying to bring Christ and the godly down to earth. This is one of many reaasons we pray for His Return. 

Forgive others like you forgive yourself. Tells them they can be holy and know God. 

Mammon - person of substance - wealth, influence, etc. Also is the name of a god that was worshipped. Sometimes this was in the form of Pluto who was the ruler of hell and money. We cannot serve God and Mammon/Pluto.

We see the apostles want to convert people to Christ. Nowhere do they try to force people to live this way trough the Law either. 

The gods - forces of nature in Greek culture and religion do not and did not care about you. 

The god of Yahweh, the One True God, who is not a demon masquerading as a deity, does care about all people. This is why the Early Church was full of women, children, and slaves. Because to God, they are just as important as Caesar who is considered the highest and most powerful person of authority on earth at the time. The lowly slave is equal to Caesar for God's love. 

[Chapter 7]

We need to be critical and judge ourself before we go trying to put our house in order. 

7:6 - Dogs and swine are heathen peoples (Phil. 3:2; Rev 22:15) but also are about Jews who do not practice virtue. 

If we are following God, He will take care of us and give us what we need truly. If you seek righteousness, God will respond: "Ask and you will receive". 

Any position of authority that we get is from God and accept responsibility because we will be judged at a higher standard than others. 

Whoever hears My (God's) sayings and does them, God will protect His followers, not based off of being of Abraham's biological people. 

[Chapter 8]

Why does Jesus keep telling people not to tell about His miracles? This man with "leprosy" likely had what's known today as Hanson's Disease, a disease that causes your body's tissues to die. It becomes a necrotic tissue problem. The "leper" had faith and is bold to ask Christ for this because he could be stoned for coming up to someone and exposing them to disease like this. Christ heals him by touching this man however. In the same way that Christ purified the water at His baptism, His touch purifies the man. Jesus does this in front of a large group of people. Jesus just wants him not to say to people He is the Messiah and also doesn't do these healings for the glory because He is humble and that means God is humble. 

This leper could now go back to his community after seeing the high priest and getting the okay to come back. He would also be restored to be able to worship God again. This grace was given as a calling so the leper could live differently and do what he was called to do.

8:5-13 - The centurion is a Gentile of faith. The servant is healed. A Gentile (Roman soldier), a centurion who is in charge of 100 men, who is actively oppressing Judea by order of the governors and emperor, has a slave who is sick and asks this Jew for help. He does it. 

Jesus has now healed a leper, a slave of a Gentile who is also a Roman soldier, and up next will be an elderly woman (Peter's mother-in-law). Capernaum is a coastal town where Peter has been previously before Jesus worked since he had a boat and a house. 

This Roman Centurion was perhaps what was called a "god-fearer". In the 1st Century AD, there were some Greco-Roman people who were fascinated with Judaism as an ancient religion. Jews only have one Temple and some synagogues to read Scripture (the OT) and pray a bit. The idea that they only prayed "in mind" was fascinating to the pagans because they always had to be active and do something outwardly to try and get a "reaction" from the pagan gods or try to strike bargains. This happened a lot back then and Pompey actually went into the Holy of Holies and found nothing but an empty room and then annexed Judah (Judea) as a province for Rome. 

Jewish people hated Paul along with the Early Church after his conversion because there were people (donors) like this centurion who might join his cause of Christianity and then they would lose donations. 

The first two examples of healing are the unclean and the enemy instead of being a ruler. He says there will be many Gentiles and etc. who will sit and feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, while unfaithful Jews will fail and not be. The condition necessary is faith. 

Faith makes you a child of Abraham (a part of Israel). 

Matthew 8:16-17 quotes Isaiah 53:4. When Jesus heals, he doesn't get their sickness or infirmities. He purged them and cleansed and purified them. Isaiah 53 in context is about righteousness. 

JustifiedL cleansed and purified. 

It is fulfilled as He does these things in Matthew 8. He doesn't even say their sins are forgiven here. Isaiah 53 is also not about some courtroom scene. The entirety of Matthew 8 would not make sense otherwise. The leper, demons, centurion, etc. need to be cleansed and made clean, not to be driven out. He turns enemies into friends and sinners here to saints. 

8:18-22 - "Scribe" - rabbis. A law of Moses guy. They would come to Jesus and says that he would like to follow Jesus so Jesus essentially tells him "I'm homeless" to tell him that this shall be a hard road, something the scribe isn't going to be accustomed to. Christ refers to himself here as Son of Man (a term found in Ezekiel-Psalms-etc. also called Son of Adam, Son of the Dirt, not a term of glorification but the opposite). 

This phrase is found especially in Daniel. The one like a son of Adam (human being) on a cloud who comes before the Father (Ancient of Days). In context, he is telling this scribe that if he wants to follow Him it is not going to be like he thinks it will be. It will be much different than the road he thinks this is going to go. 

8:21-22 - Another follower says he will come but first wants to bury his father. Jesus says this life he calls them to is radical and that their former concerns are meaningless. Where we are going as a New People is much different. 

8:23-27 - Storm happens. Jesus is asleep. The disciples wake him up and so Jesus calms the storm and gives them a critique about their faith. Jesus here controls the elements. Jupiter, Zeus, etc. of the pagan pantheon are in control of the elements in Greco-Roman religion. Baal is a storm god who beats Yam, god of the sea. What does Jesus do here? He calms the seas and the thunderstorms. He is God-Incarnate, stronger than all the gods/goddesses (fallen angels) combined. This Messiah is more powerful than the apostles expected and he has control over the elements. This is the first indication to the Apostles that this is actually God Himself Incarnated. 

8:28-34 - Gergesene is where they head to and they come across a demon-possessed man. They come from the other side of the Galilee into Gentile territory (at best there may be Samaritans here). They find 2 demon possessed men who are blocking the road. 

In Greek, the daemon was an "ancestral spirit". The Greeks had different ranks of or levels of demons. Apollo was a daemon in Greek-Roman religion for example but there were lower beings as well who worked for Apollo. You spoke to the "gods" by 1) idols or 2) possession (which the Oracles of Delphi did often). The Gentiles did not see this as bad and did this all the time. They also understood the differences between possession by a "god" and a mental illness. Socrates wrote he had a daemon that whispered things to him in his mind. This was common. The Roman emperor's "divine spirit" was what was worshipped, not him (usually). The two people were "touched by the gods" (demons) and they likely (the townspeople) saw them as being oracles or gurus in some sense. Ones gifted by the gods with spiritual wisdom of some sort. 

The demons in the men recognize Jesus as Son of God. We got earlier the calming of the storms and now he is called Son of THE GOD, a title Augustus Caesar used is given by demons to Jesus as a title. Caeasr was seen as son of the god Jupiter. 

They ask if he has come to torment them before the time of judgment. These spirits are expecting one day to be judged by Yahweh. He is going to judge the nations and spirits, the nations worship demons rather than the Creator and the Lord of Lords. They ask Jesus why he is here and beg for mercy. The enemy is not mankind but the demons who have taken God's people captive. They ask to be put into the swine because they have no power on their own without a human to try and influence. 

They are begging to be put in pigs because they want to stay in the world for a while longer instead of go to Gehenna. The pigs then go and jump into the sea and drown. Evil is just like a parasite. The demons hate creation and end up going to Gehenna anyways since they can only destroy. The act of mercy given to them was short lived obviously. These people obviously see it and freak out about Jesus after having seen it. They probably realize he is God or a god and it is a lot like Isaiah's experience in Isaiah 6 where he is freaking out about experiencing God. Jesus leaves when asked to go away but he does not abandon these people because in Matthew 28 he will send the disciples back here. 

[Chapter 9]

The people think that is blasphemy when Jesus says "your sins are forgiven" and heals the paralytic. He is saying and showing them that the real problem is sin, not being sick or disabled. Even the prophets however did not forgive sins. Only God can do this. Big hint that Jesus is God Incarnate right there. Rather than condemn creation, Christ calls them to repentance. 

9:9-13 - Jesus eats with tax collectors and sinners. They are despised and Jesus is with them. He tells Matthew (Levi) to follow Him. He eats with them in the tax office house. The Pharisees get super pissed off at this because they think that He should be trying to get rid of these people because they are considered undesirables, traitors to Judea, traitors to Jews, and evil and good for nothings that do not cleanse or purify the land so God can return and get them out of Exile. Jesus is here however for these people. The healthy do not need doctors after all. It is sad too that the Pharisees cannot recognize God is right there standing in front of their own very eyes either. 

9:14 - John's disciples ask Jesus: "Why do your disciples not fast?"

9:15-17 - Jesus answers them that they will fast when He leaves. Jesus is referring with the wineskins some 1st Ce. books that they would have all been aware of. One of these is 4 Ezra. In 4 Ezra, there is one vision of a bridegroom. A festival is about to start in it and this bridegroom is the king also. In the vision, he is fixing to consummate the marriage with his bride and then drops dead. All go into mourning and despair. This is 4 Ezra where there is a prophecy about the Destruction of the Temple as well. Jesus references this a LOT (and this isn't about Herod's Temple but Him, Christ). Jesus references this a lot because this consummation promised NEVER happened in the Old Testament (Old Covenant) but will in the New Covenant. Jesus here is also declaring Himself to be the Temple too. 

They are not fasting because they are in a transition that is going on here with the Old and New Covenant. Something better and new is coming. The New Covenant. 

9:18-26 - the ruler was basically like the Head of the Council. The guy who helps keep the synagogue in shape. 

A woman with a blood issue (she has been unclean for 12 years and sick; anemic) touches Jesus' clothes and is healed and cleansed. She technically if Christ had sin, would have been counted unclean but he is not and instead purifies her. 

Jesus goes to this rulers' house and saw the rich ruler of the synagogues' funeral-people, crowds, and professional wailers. He tells them the girl is sleeping. They mock him of course because it sounds ridiculous. She, the daughter however is resurrected. (Note: We will find later in Mark that this girl is also 12 and there is a connection going on there). 

9:27-31 - He went to another house and these two blind men pursue Him on the way there. "Son of David:. King of Judah - Messiah. They are blind but can "see" that Jesus is Messiah. Pharisees meanwhile are following him around and can't see. Jesus asks "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" The blind men have faith and we see Isaiah 35:5 fulfilled here. 

9:30-31 - He tells them again to not say anything but they tell everyone. This is humility of Christ. 

9:32-35 - He casts a demon out of someone. Man was mute and now can speak. the Pharisees are blind and trying to make excuses as to why not to follow Christ. They don't like what he's doing. There is no repentance from them. The Pharisees know they will lose their whole corrupt way of life if they follow this Jesus of Nazareth. They'd have to lose hate too because the only way Rome is going to be defeated as an enemy is through love and making Rome a friend of God. 

9:36-38 - Jesus looks at all the people. The harvest is great but the number of laborers are few. Israel he is showing here is weary and scattered because of their worthless cowardly leaders who don't care. He also says this with compassion knowing that these wicked rulers will be the ones to crucify and kill him. 

[Chapter 10]

The Center is Christ. Peter, James, John are his 3 in his inner circle. Then it is His 12. Then it is 70 disciples. Then there are 120 disciples who stick with him all the way through. These are His main groups. A lot of the 120 are former John the Baptist followers. 3 James are mentioned: James who is Joseph's son, Jesus' adopted father (also Jesus' step-brother, Bishop of Jerusalem, and the one that would be martyred by being thrown off the Temple); James of Alphaeus, the Lesser; and James of Zebedee. James of Alphaeus would be the one to take off after the Resurrection to preach to Syria and other parts of the East, kind of like St. Thomas when he will go to India. These 12 follow Jesus at all times mostly. They are basically His apprentices. He turns them, grooms them into becoming His Apostles and representatives of the New People. He also it must be noted gives Judas power and authority to cast out demons. There is no justification for his betrayal and we should look at ourselves in Judas for we are like him in so many ways. 

10:4-15 - This is the first sending out. He tells them to to Israel and Jews first. Jesus was homeless and went from house to house and depended on people to help and feed him, all of this done out of kindness and charity (10:4-10). 

Those who do not accept the message will face judgement worse than Sodom and Gomorrah. Turning away from salvation is the result (v. 11-15).

10:16-23 - All of them except John get killed and martyred. The message will bring tribulation and martyrdom. God through the Spirit will give them all the words to say. If they endure they will be saved. This applies to us today as well. 

10:24-42 - v. 28 - hell equals Gehenna. This shows there is an immortal soul. God knows all about us and cares. His message however is not a peaceful one. To follow God is to wage war against oneself and the demonic and many will not and do not want to sign up for this. We must however for the sake of our salvation, take up the Cross (crucifixion). It is to be a torture. Around a year ago at Passover, it was possible for them all to have been crucified because, in order to preserve peace, Pontius Pilate would crucify Jews at random, to make the point of people not causing trouble in Jerusalem. It would be like telling someone of color to tie the noose around your neck in modern day is what Jesus is saying essentially. 

10:23 - You can refer to my notes in this blog but this is obviously not about the 2nd Coming as some silly preterists claim. 

Friday, January 1, 2021

Matthew: Introduction - Chapter 1-4 Notes


Everything in the New Testament is written within a century. 

Rome was a relatively young nation in Jesus' time. This New Testament is all about the New Covenant and the Messiah promised to us by the Old Covenant aka Old Testament. 

This is not mythology. It very tied to historical actions and events and people. Jesus exists. The New Testament recounts events that actually happened. 

Exile is expected because of Old Testament prophets to be ended. They expect a new temple to be built that will bring God's glory back and they were waiting for God to return as well and bring back His presence and did in fact think this would take place when this prophesied King/Messiah would come. 

The New Testament is all written in Koine Greek because of Alexander the Great's influence. He was taught by Aristotle, who was taught by Plato, who brought Greek culture and the language to much of the world. 

About 175 BC, Antiochus IV Epiphanes failed to take Egypt (164 BC) he really failed that time. He goes to Jerusalem and Temple and sacrifices a pig to Zeus there. This is called the Abomination of Desolation and this causes the Maccabean Revolt. They took independence over Jerusalem and defeated Seleuciads. 

Antiochus was about to invade so the Maccabeans allied with Sparta and Rome (a new country). Rome had just finished off Carthage and the Phoenician Empire. They were the new top dogs of the world. Antiochus did not re-invade. Rome then invades Greece and rebuilds Corinth. They are a republic and a senate until Julius becomes the eventual emperor. He is then stabbed to death 27x with his best friend Brutus striking him last. Then a civil war ensued with Marc Antony and Octavian, Antony allied with Cleopatra. [31 BC] Octavian wins and becomes Caesar Augustus, and takes the title of true emperor, sole ruler of Rome. He is also Pontifex Maximus, head priest-king of Rome. He is the secular and religious power. He takes titles of god of gods and takes title of son of God claiming Caesar Julius was a god. Jesus gets all these titles in the NT that the emperor has and this is according to Roman Law treasonous. 

When Jesus is born, Augustus and then Tiberius is Emperor. Herod the Great was ethnarch of the Judean people. You had to earn citizenship in Rome. It wasn't given to you by birth. It was earned. So the majority of Judea were considered non-persona. Jesus of Nazareth had no rights and the Jewish people were essentially considered "livestock". 

Herod was not Jewish. He was an Arab and was unpopular but tried to make himself look good so what he did was rebuild and rennovate the Temple. This wasn't a popular thing. Rome split Judea into four when Herod died. It became a tetrarchy for Rome and Herod's sons became governors. 

The Jews are slave people awaiting a king. There are many groups and sects in this time period of the Jews. The Jewish sects are: 1) Pharisees: They were a group trying to follow the letter to the Law but not the spirit of the Law. Focused heavily on purity and about trying to get God to come back and bring His presence back to the land. 2) Sadducees: They only accepted the Pentatauch, Caesar was their Messiah and they pledged allegiance to him basically the entire time and that is how they got their high priest roles ultimately. 3) Essenes: These people were part of a desert people communes. They hated the Temple and Pharisees did too. The 4th group were Zealots: In 70 AD and Bar Kochba (132-135 AD) things will go down for them (Jews). Only Pharisees and Christians would survive after Bar Kochba and this would result in Early Christianity and see the Pharisees become what is known today as Reform Judaism. 

In the New Testament we have four gospels, then we have works of the Apostles (letters). Acts, letters of Paul, Peter, James, Jude, and John's letters and Revelation lastly. 

The Gospels are all written at least 3-6 decades after Jesus, and as the youngest gospel, probably only 30 years. This is not a long time at all. The first mention of Muhammad by comparison is 140 years after Muhammad died while Paul makes a letter within 15-40 years.

Matthew Notes:

[Chapter 1]

Why does Matthew share that Jesus' geneology is all a lot of prostitutes and men who are kings and also whackadoodle? Matthew keeps picking questionable people from the Old Testament. He does this to ensure that he is definitely the Messiah. He lists 14 generations. 14 is two 7's. Jesus is the 7th. 7 days. 70 weeks. Completeness. Jesus is the completeness promised. 

Jesus comes from lowly stock of people. God is using all of these messy people to bring about his ultimate goal: redemption and salvation for the world. God is fully aware of how screwed up we are. 

Angel tells Joseph that Jesus will be the one to save them all from sins. His name will be Yeshua which is in Greek Iesus which equates to Jesus. 

Matthew quotes Isaiah 7:14. The word parthenos is used which means virgin nuns. 2 Maccabees mentions parthenos who were in Temple until they reached puberty and then married off but would continue to live in purity. Mary had this happen too like them. She was betrothed to Joseph so that she could continue to stay dedicated. Matthew looks to the whole Old Testament text. If they quote Isaiah 7:14 they are not doing just quote and verse here. This is shorthand. If he quotes one text he expects you to read all of it. In Isaiah 7, the child who is born will be the one to show them that they are to be delivered and that God is with them. Jesus is that guy on a bigger scale than Isaiah. 

"Did not know her until"... In Greek aparthenos (nun). She remained virgin until the day she died. The word "until" in Greek does not mean that Joseph and her had sexual relations. Joseph was an older man and he passed quickly in the New Testament. 

[Chapter 2]

Herod is Ruler of the People. These guys were expecting a new king to be born. This does not excite Herod because the Messiah is legitimate as king and he is not. 

Bethelehem (Micah 5:2) is where they find Jesus is to be born. David's ancestral home as well. Herod tries to tell the Magi who saw the star two years ago to send for him when they find him (Herod wishes to kill him). They are led by the star and worship him. They give him gold, frankencense (incense) and myrhh (a spice used for burying dead bodies). These are obvious clues and a foreshadowing.

Joseph is not mentioned in the cave for a reason. God is Father of Jesus and Joseph is not his biological father. In Ancient Israel it had a Queen-Mother and she was important to the Old Testament. When crowned King and paid honor, by virtue of Jesus being King, she is the Queen-Mother (1-2 Kings). This is why we have many icons with Mary and Jesus being together. He is King. She is Queen-Mother. Like Bathsheba to Solomon. 

The star: we don't know what it was for sure. The Magi worship the stars. Even as a baby though, probably 2 years old, the stars are guiding these Gentile men to Christ, as a baby they will worship. The Gentiles will worship Christ like the Magi. He is more than just of David's lineage since he is worshipped. He is to be king/messiah of all people. Frankencense (incense) tells us that he will be priestly too. The Magi would have believed that the heavens were a mirror of the earth so they associated different kings and reigns with planets and constellations. This new star is a new king and brings a shift because this someone is important. 

Joseph gets abother angelic dream to depart to Egypt to protect from Herod. Hosea 11 gets quoted. There, it is used to show and direct you to that section of Hosea. In there, his son is Israel and the last straw for God to judge Egypt was the death of the firstborn of Israel. 

Judea is as bad as the world in Hosea 11. This Messiah is to save them just as Egypt was desperate, Herod was also desperate and so he had a mass slaughter take place of children 2 years of age. Matthew quotes Lamentations. Why does he do this? Because a destruction is taking place by the ruler of the people. 

Archaleus would have reigned in Judea if Jesus was born in 4 BC and then 2 years old. When he was 10 they would move back to Nazareth in Galilee. Joseph had four dreams in all. 

[In Coptic tradition and literature, Herod's people were still trying to slay/find them]. 

St James, Jesus' step-brothers leads the donkey in an icon. 

[Chapter 3]

In the desert, John the Baptizer appears and says "repent for the kingdom is at hand". Judgement and things will be set straight for these are the Last Days. In context, Matthew 3's quotation of Isaiah is two-fold. The Jews had gotten back to the Land but the Exile was not over yet. Daniel gives 490 years, crying, "in the wilderness, prepare you the way of the Lord, make his paths straight". Exile from the East. God is coming back and the Exile is ending. The Jews will be restored as a people. 

John is eating locusts and honey and using old camel hair. He is kind of gross and scary and definitely a stinky guy telling people to repent. Many people are congregating and getting baptized at the River Jordan. Before you met God, you needed a physical/spiritual cleaning. John is doing his ministry to prepare a new people/ for God because Judea is corrupted. God is going to judge the land so John is creating and preparing a new people for a New Israel. He may have originally been an Essene but we do not know for sure. The people claiming to be leaders (the Pharisees and Sadducees) come and he asks confrontationally, "What are you doing here? Repent and prove it and then I will baptize you". This New Israel is not biological and doesn't need biological Jews. 

3:11-12 - Messiah is to judge and the evil will burn. God is already chopping a tree down. 

3:13-17 - The Trinity is shown here. Jesus is an adult here now and John is also an adult. John is perplexed by Jesus showing up to be baptized because he knows that he is the one that needs Jesus/God to baptize and purify him. Jesus is baptized however because John is to pass the torch/ministry to Jesus. This is symboliism here of Moses passing the torch to Joshua in the Old Testament for Joshua was the one who led them through the Jordan. Jesus, is the New Moses and the New Joshua ultimately but here the imagery as a New Joshua is shown here as he will be the one to do the same and lead the people as Messiah. Jesus does not need to be purified for He is already pure. Jesus in fact purifies the water and blesses it. Creation is under the influence of sin and when we bless and sanctify anything, we make it be restored to God's original intention. What God intended, He is reclaiming it. Christ starts His reclamation of the world by starting with the River of Jordan. All who Christ touches are blessed and turned back to the right intent and path. 

3:16-17 - Trinity reference. The Father, Son, and Spirit are shown. The work of God begins. The Jordan River has been redeemed and reclaimed by God Incarnate. 

[Chapter 4]

Jesus goes 40 days and 40 nights to be tempted then in the desert. He does so like Israel, who wandered in the desert for 40 years. St. Matthew shows us Jesus succeeds and will succeed in the mission that Israel failed at. "Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil". Like Israel who were led by God out to the wild. Jesus also fasts at night to shoiw he truly fasted. Christ shows the willingness to die for God and obey Him because that is faith and trust in God even if that means bad things are to happen. The Devil we find can quote Scripture too. Satan uses it against Jesus like he did Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Satan gives all the same tests that Israel had given it. 

Something to note too: Satan CAN give Jesus all these nations here. He is the prince of the world and knows Jesus is here to conquer him and will take away his sufferings. Israel and all Christians are chosen to follow God and the world tries to make us join "Gog" and be the same while the choice should be God and His Kingdom. Satan tries and is determined here to undermine Jesus' faith. Jesus is successful and Satan fails to tempt Christ.

Jesus starts His ministry in the worst part (Nazareth) after John the Baptist was in prison. He goes to Capernaum to fulfill Isaiah 9. He preaches to "repent, for the kingdom is at hand". He is teaching that God's judgement is about to happen; it is beginning in other words. Peter, Andrew, James, and John, he says "Follow me..." (give up everything to become my disciples). If you had a boat as a fisherman, you were doing well, as did the sons of Zebedee. Galilee was a poor place and you were doing very well if you owned a boat. As they were mending the nets, Jesus tells them to give this boat up and follow Him. This means giving up financial security and their livelihood and is a serious commitment. 

They then go and baptize and demand repentance while Jesus is also healing these people and exorcizing demons. He is fulfilling the role Isaiah says he, the Messiah, will do. People all over are following him from around the world but the Jews are not. From the beginning of the Gospel, all of the Gentiles see he is the Messiah promised and follow after Him and are coming to Christ.

At this point, Christ really is delivering people and exorcizing real demons and evil spirits. There is no reason to believe otherwise. The Greco-Roman world of Jesus' day is pagan and the fallen angels are demons who people of paganism worship as gods/goddesses. They possess people too. To interact with the "gods/goddesses", these people (pagans) would usually 1) make a statue to have Athena for example be present and possess the statue or 2) take human possession. We find this in the Oracles of Delphi where the priestess through ritual would be possessed by Apollo, the sun-god. Festivals like the ones to Bacccheus, the Baccanalia, they would drink and have sex, orgies, and vandalize. They wanted spirits and this was part of the culture. Many people purposely would try to go and do these things to inherit and become possessed by a spirit.

Acts of the Apostles - Introduction - Chapters 1-7

Introduction:  The Acts of the Apostles is a narrative by St. Luke about the apostles. This is Part 2 of St. Luke's Gospel. Theophilus w...