A. Title: Matthew Chapter 3.
B. Data: LuisetReneeandBill.
II. Introduction. (Mathew Chapter 3). Dr. John F. Walvoord (A.B., M.A., Th. B., Th. M., Th. D., D.D., Litt. D., 1910-2002).
A. The message of John was like that of Elijah, as he heralded his exhortation to Pharisees as well as Sadducees and to all who came: “Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” His role was that of a herald coming before the king. Matthew finds John fulfilling the prediction of Isa 40:3-5), that there would be a voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way before the Lord. Like the servants of a king who would smooth out and straighten the road in preparation for their sovereign’s coming, so John was preparing the way spiritually for the coming of Christ.
B. John’s message was a stern rebuke of the hypocrisy and shallow religion of both the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Unquestionably, he was attacking the established religion of his day and demanding sincerity and repentance instead of hypocrisy and religious rites. His call to repentance is backed up by the succinct announcement, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” What did John mean by “kingdom of heaven”?
C. While the precise phrase is not found in the Old Testament, it is based on Old Testament terminology. Nebuchadnezzar, for instance, referred to God as the “King of heaven” (Dan 4:37). Daniel had predicted that the climax of world history would come with the advent of the Son of man, who would be given an everlasting kingdom. This was likewise to be fulfilled by the prediction of (Dan 2:44) that “the God of heaven” would “set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed.” Matthew, alone of New Testament writers, uses “the kingdom of heaven” and rarely uses “the kingdom of God,” which is often used in parallel passages in the other gospels and throughout the New Testament. Most expositors consider the two terms identical. Although the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God are similar, there seems to be some distinction. The kingdom of heaven refers to that which is obviously in its outer character a kingdom from above. The kingdom of God is more specific and does not seem to include any but true believers who are born again. In Matt 13, the kingdom of heaven seems to include both the good and bad fish caught in the net and the wheat and the tares in the same field, whereas Nicodemus is informed that the new birth is necessary to enter the kingdom of God (Jn 3:5). All agree that those in the kingdom of God are also in the kingdom of heaven, however. Eschatologically and dispensationally, a threefold distinction must be observed in the use of the term “kingdom of heaven.” First, in John the Baptist’s ministry, it is announced as at hand, meaning that in the person of the King, Jesus Christ, the kingdom was being presented to Israel. Second, in Matt 13, the kingdom in its present mystery form is revealed, that is, the rule of God over the earth during the present age when the King is absent. These are mysteries because they were not anticipated in the Old Testament doctrine of the kingdom. The third and climactic form of the kingdom will be when Christ returns to set up the kingdom of heaven on earth, in fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecies and countless other passages of the Old Testament that picture a golden age, when the Son of David will reign over the entire world in righteousness and peace. Only the premillennial interpretation of the concept of the kingdom allows a literal interpretation of both Old Testament and New Testament prophecies relating to the future kingdom. The ministry of John the Baptist signaled a spiritual crisis in Israel. Would they accept their King, or would they reject Him?
D. The ministry of John the Baptist was to prepare the way by calling Israel to repentance. It is rather a religious rite, signifying their confession of sins and commitment to a new holy life, such as was proper for Jews in the old dispensation. The ministry of John the Baptist was very pointed: he challenged the prevailing Jewish concept that they were saved simply because they were descendants of Abraham; he declared that God is able to raise up children unto Abraham from the stones of the earth, certainly a dramatic picture of supernatural, spiritual resurrection; he declared that the ax is already in hand to cut down every tree that does not bring forth fruit. By this he meant individual Jews as well as Judaism as a dead ritual.
III. Key Verse Examinations. Ryrie Study Bible, 1986, Dr. Charles C. Ryrie, Th. M., Th. D., Ph. D., Litt. D., 1925-2016).
A. 3:2. “Repent.” Repentance is a change of mind that bears fruit in a changed life (see vs 8). “kingdom of heaven.” This is a rule of heaven over the earth. The Jewish people of Christ’s day were looking for this messianic, or Davidic kingdom, to be established on this earth, and this is what John proclaimed as being “at hand.” The requirement that the people must repent in order for the kingdom to be established was new and became a stumbling block to them. The rejection of Christ by the people delayed its establishment until the second coming of Christ (25:31). The character of the kingdom today is described in the parables of Matthew 13.
B. 3:15. “to fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus fulfilled all the righteous requirements to be Israel’s Messiah. Also, by allowing John to baptize Him, He identified with sinners whom He came to save, though, of course, He Himself had no sin to repent of.
IV. Emphases of Matthew. Matthew. Dr. Charles L. Quarles (M. Div., Ph. D.
A. The Gospel of Matthew has many Jewish overtones. For example, the term “kingdom of heaven” appears 33 times and the term “kingdom of God” four times. No other Gospel lays such stress on the kingdom; the restoration of the glories of David’s kingdom was a burning hope for many Jews at the time. Matthew clearly identifies Jesus with that hope by using the Jewish royal title “Son of David” nine times in his Gospel. Furthermore he calls Jerusalem “the holy city” (4:5; 27:53) and the “city of the great King” (5:35), both uniquely Jewish ways of referring to it. First-century Jews emphasized righteousness, and Matthew uses the words “righteous” and “righteousness” more often than the Gospels of Mark, Luke, and John combined.
B. Matthew also discusses the law, ceremonial cleanness, the Sabbath, the temple, David, the Messiah, the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, and Moses—all from a Jewish point of view. He has 53 Old Testament citations and more than 70 allusions to the Hebrew Scriptures. Thirteen times, the book emphasizes that Jesus’ actions were a direct fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. The genealogy of chapter 1 is recognizably Jewish, tracing the lineage of Jesus back through David to Abraham, the father of the Jewish people. Furthermore the Gospel mentions Jewish rulers (see 2:1, 22; 14:1) and customs such as ceremonial washing (see 15:2) without explanation, indicating that Matthew expected his predominantly Jewish audience to be familiar with such practices.
V. The Kingdom described (Ryrie Study Bible).
A. The glory of the future kingdom (Isaiah 2:1-4).
B. The governing of Messiah over the kingdom (Isaiah 9:6a-7).
C. Harmony in the Kingdom (Isaiah 11:1-16).
D. Characteristics of the Kingdom (Isaiah 65:18-25).
VI. Parting Thought.
Matthew’s gospel was written only to Jews. The offer of the Kingdom by Jesus was made only to Jews (Matt 10:1-7). As Jesus was offering the Kingdom to the Jews of Israel, He made a point of telling them that because they were being offered the Kingdom, that they should repent of the way that they had been living, and to act like Kingdom people. Jesus’s ministry was not to Gentiles. Jesus instructed His disciples in the way that they should witness to Gentiles after His ascension to Heaven (Matt 28:18-19). It is obvious that, after having read the above paragraph on the conditions of the kingdom, that the Kingdom has not yet come (Matt 6:10). Scripture does not say that the Kingdom will enter us; however we are told that we will enter the kingdom. The new birth is not the kingdom.
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