A. Video Title. Wise Men From The East (Matthew 2:1-15)
B. Video Data. Sandy Tales
II. Introduction. The Presentation And Rejection Of The Theocratic Kingdom Recorded By Matthew. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come, p 456, 462. (Th. B., Th. M. Th. D., 1915-2014). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Dwight_Pentecost
A. The purpose of the writing of the Gospel of Matthew was to record the presentation of Jesus Christ as Messiah, to trace the opposition to Him and His offered kingdom by the nation, and to record the official and final rejection of that King and kingdom by Israel.
B. There are three major movements in the Gospel of Matthew:
1. The presentation and authentication of the King (1:1-11:1).
2. The opposition to the King (11:2-16:12).
3. The final rejection of the King (16:13-28:20).
C. The Gospel of Matthew was written to present the Messiah to Israel and to record the attitude of the nation to Him.
1. The first movement of the book has to do with His presentation and authentication, as He is shown to have the legal, moral, judicial, and prophetic rights to the throne, which rights are fully authenticated by the King in His miracles.
2. The second movement observed is the opposition and rejection of the Messiah by the nation of Israel. The opposition grows into the open rejection by the nation. As a result of this rejection a mystery program for a new age is revealed.
3. The third movement has to do with the culmination of the rejection in the death of the Messiah. It was the King of the Jews that was crucified. The resurrection of the Crucified One is a divine approval of all His claims and His authentication as Messiah. Because Israel rejected the Messiah, they bear their sin until He comes to redeem the nation and to reign in glory, acclaimed as Messiah by all.
III. Dispersion Of The Jews. Israel My Glory. https://israelmyglory.org/article/the-regathering-of-israel/
A. The Bible clearly teaches two distinct dispersions and two subsequent regatherings of the nation of Israel. The first dispersion was prophesied in Deuteronomy 28:36–37 and occurred in two phases. The first phase took place about 721 B.C., when the northern kingdom (Israel) was carried away into Assyria (cp. 2 Ki. 17:6). The second phase began around 608 B.C. when Judah, the southern kingdom, was carried captive into Babylon (cp. 2 Ki. 24:11–16; 25:8–11). Jeremiah-prophesied that the latter dispersion would last 70 years (Jer. 25:11). There was a partial return during the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, around 538 B.C.
B. The Deportation of the Southern Kingdom of Judah https://bible-history.com/map-babylonian-captivity/the-deportation-of-judah
2 Kings 24:14-16 “Also he carried into captivity all Jerusalem: all the captains and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths. None remained except the poorest people of the land. And he carried Jehoiachin captive to Babylon. The king’s mother, the king’s wives, his officers, and the mighty of the land he carried into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. All the valiant men, seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths, one thousand, all who were strong and fit for war, these the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.”
This was not the first time that the Jews in the Southern Kingdom of Judah were taken into captivity. Sennacherib, about 701 BC, is stated to have carried into Assyria 200,000 captives from the Jewish cities that he took (2 Kings 18:13).
The carrying away of the people of Judah to Babylon was not accomplished at one time. Three distinct deportations are mentioned in 2 Kings 24:14 (including 10,000 persons) and 2 Kings 25:11, one in 2 Chron 36:20, three in Jer 52:28-30 (including 4,600 persons), and one in Dan 1:3.
The two principal deportations were:
(1) when Jehoiachin with all his nobles, soldiers, and artificers were carried away; and
(2) that which followed the destruction of Jerusalem and the capture of Zedekiah, 586 B.C. The three mentioned by Jeremiah may have been contributions from the more distinguished portions of the captives, and the captivity of certain selected “children” (Dan 1:3), 607 BC, may have occurred when Nebuchadnezzar was a colleague of his father, Nabopolassar.
C. The Captivity to the return.
-from-“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and [put it] also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which [is] in Judah. Who [is there] among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which [is] in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he [is] the God,) which [is] in Jerusalem.”
– Ezra 1:1-3
The Return from Babylon
The people of Judah were horribly distressed. They lost their home, their city, their pride, their Temple, the ark of the covenant, and they were taken as prisoners to Babylon, the homeland of idolatry. But God raised up great men to remind them of Jeremiah’s prophesies, that they would only be there for 70 years. Babylon would not be their home:
Jer 29:10-14 For thus says the LORD: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
They would return and the temple would be rebuilt, and the Messiah would still come. Daniel and Ezekiel sought to keep the true faith alive.
The Decree of Cyrus
By 538 BC. Babylon had passed into history and the Medo-Persian Empire took its place. Cyrus the Persian issued a decree to allow the Jews to go back to their land, and with the blessing of The Persian Empire. The Jews were hardly moved. Babylon was their home. Only a portion returned (Neh 7) and only 74 of the Levites, who were supposed to be known for their dedication to the things of God.
The first move back to Israel was led by Zerubbabel, of the house of David. He was the only one of royal blood to pay any attention to the decree of Cyrus (Ezra 2). When he returned, he found just rubble. No temple, torn down walls, and a mixed breed of corrupt Jews (Samaritans) living there. In 536 BC. he laid the foundations for a new temple, built an altar and worshipped the Lord. The prophets Haggai and Zechariah helped urge the Jews on. They finished the work on the Temple in 516 BC. (exactly 70 years).
Ezra and Nehemiah
58 years later (458 BC) more Jews returned (Ezra 7) under the leadership of Ezra. 12 years later, Nehemiah, received permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and to govern Judea. He arrived in 444 BC. Despite much opposition, Nehemiah completed this seemingly hopeless task in 52 days. Then a revival followed. Ezra and Nehemiah canonized the books of the Old Testament. They read aloud to the people and gave interpretation. About 40 years later, the prophet Malachi condemned the people for slipping back into their sinful ways.
By the rivers of Babylon: Life In Ancient Babylon’s Thriving Jewish Community.
In the 6th-century BC, the armies of Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Judah. They tore down the city walls, burned the temples, and ran down every person who tried to escape. The few survivors were dragged out of their homeland and forced to live in Babylon as vassals to the men who butchered their children.
And yet, when the Jews in exile won their freedom, most of them didn’t leave. They stayed in Babylon – and kept a thriving community that lasted for more than 2,000 years.
It’s one of the stranger moments in human history. These people were brutalized by an invading army. They were taught to hate so viciously that, for hundreds of years, the word “Babylon”, to the Jews, was synonymous with evil. But most chose to stay right there with their captors, living side-by-side with the men who had made their lives miserable.
Why didn’t they leave? It’s a question that’s plagued historians and theologians alike; but some recently uncovered documents shed a little light on how Babylon created a Jewish community that still lives on today.
That doesn’t mean that every Jew in Babylon was living in paradise. Most were poor; typically, they were farmers who struggled to feed their families through heavy taxes from the state. In Babylon, though, they had opportunity. They had a way of rising up to the top, even if most didn’t make it.
Perhaps that’s why they stayed. About sixty years after the Babylonian exile began, the Jews were freed. The Persian Empire defeated Babylon and allowed the Jews to return to the home country. About 40,000 people took the offer and went home – but another 80,000 stayed behind in Babylon.
IV. Ongoing return of Jews to Jerusalem. MacArthur Study Bible. Note on Lev Chapter 23. The three major feasts for which all males were required to traveled to the temple in Jerusalem (Ex 23:14-19)
A. Unleavened Bread (Ex 12;15-20)
B. Pentecost (Harvest or Weeks) (Deu 16:9-12; Ac 2:1)
C. Booths (Tabernacles or Ingathering (Neh 8:13-28; Jn 7:2)
V. Dispersed Areas From Where Jews Returned To Jerusalem For Jewish Feasts
A. The name of Babylon appears in the Bible 273 times, and in each instance, “Babylon means Babylon.
1.2 Kings 17:6, “Halah and Habor, on the river or Gozan in the cities of the Medes. (721. B.C.)
2.2 Kings 24:10-16; 25:11-21, To Babylon (607-586 B.C.)
3. Esther 2:5-8, “Susa” in Persia ( 519 B.C.)
4. Acts 2:9-11, Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Judea and Pamphylia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and Rome… (33 A.D.)
5.1 Peter 1:1-2, Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia (60 A.D.)
VI. Were the wise men Jews or Gentiles? (Matthew 2:1-13).
A. The theocratic kingdom under the prophets.
1. God entered into an eternal, unconditional covenant with David (2 Sam 7:16, 1042 B.C.) in which God guaranteed that the Davidic kingdom should come to full realization as one from David’s line reigned forever. The prophets were the divinely appointed spokesmen for God, who relayed God’s message to the kings, who sometimes obeyed, but with greater frequency did not. (The Coming Kingdom, p 441).
2. The future theocratic kingdom now becomes the major theme of the prophets’ message (The Coming Kingdom, p 442).
3. The prophets, with one voice, describe this one kingdom, thus restored, in terms expressive of the most glorious additions. They predict, from the Psalmist, down to Malachi, a restoration of the identical overthrown Kingdom, linked with the astounding events which shall produce a blessedness and glory unexampled in the history of the world….Since the overthrow of the Theocratic-Davidic Kingdom, these predicted events have not taken place as delineated, and therefore, the predicted covenanted Kingdom has not yet appeared….It is the same Kingdom overthrown has not yet appeared….It is the same Kingdom overthrown that receives those additions, and not another Kingdom that obtains them; hence, no professed Kingdom, however loudly proclaimed and learnedly presented, should, lacking these, be accepted by us….Those additions are so great in their nature, so striking in their characteristics, so manifesting the interface of the Supernatural, that no one can possibly mistake when this Kingdom is restored….After the downfall of the Davidic Kingdom, the Prophets predict this Kingdom as Future. (The Coming Kingdom p 445).
4. The Jewish prophets provided very specific information on who it would be from the line of David’s line, and the details of who would be the King of the Davidic Kingdom, the Messiah:
a. Isaiah 7:14 (742 B.C.) would born of a virgin. Fulfilled in Matthew 1:18-23.
b. Micah 5:2 ((710 B.C.) would be born in Bethlehem. Fulfilled in Matthew 2:4-6.
c. Matthew 10:5-7 (31 A.D.) The offer of the Davidic Kingdom would be made only to Jews, and not to Gentiles, with the message, “the kingdom of Heaven is at hand (meaning, the kingdom of heaven is near, but not here.”
B. Who Were The Wise Men?
1. Jews and the Feast of Pentecost.
The Feast of Pentecost is the Greek phrase for a Jewish feast day, also known as the Feast of Weeks (Exodus 34:22) or Feast of Harvest (Exodus 23:16). Pentecost is a Greek term that means “fiftieth,” and the Feast of Pentecost took place 50 days after Passover.
The Lord instituted this celebration when He renewed His covenant with the people as He spoke to Moses in Exodus 34:22-23. In Numbers 28:26, the feast is called the Day of First Fruits. The day was to consist of:
- A holy convocation wherein people would not do ordinary work
- An offering of new grain
- A burnt offering of two bulls, one ram, seven one-year-old male lambs, their grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil (three-tenths of an ephah for each bull, two tenths for one ram, and a tenth for each lamb), and one male goat (all blemish-free), along with their drink offering.
The celebration usually took place in May or early June, 50 days after Passover.
2. Peter’s Message on the Day of Pentecost. (33 A.D.)
a. The audience was Jewish (Acts 2:9-13). (V.A.5 above).
b. The sermon that Peter preached related to the Jewish prophet, Joel , of whom Gentiles would have had no knowledge. (Acts 2:16-36; Joel 2:28-32; 39). (33 A.D.)
c. Gentiles were not allowed in the Temple (Acts 21:28-19). (60 A.D.)
3. Consider the Magi. The Magi traveled about 800-900 miles, from the area of Persia to see the Christ Child. There is nothing that would indicate that these men were other than Jews. God did not send prophetic messages to Gentiles, as he did concerning the Messiah, and the end times. There are many opinions on this matter, but it is important to remember that Jesus went to the Jews (John 1:11), and that He had no ministry to Gentiles, just as His disciples followed his teaching on the subject. The offer of the Davidic Kingdom was made only to Jews, which was the purpose of Christ coming to our world. Jesus instructed His disciples on ministry to Gentiles, but that did not happen until 41 A.D., in the case of Cornelius (Acts 10: 34-43), when the Apostle Peter preached the message of Jesus, of His death, burial and resurrection (Acts 10:39-40).
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