It’s interesting to me to see not only the life and lives of the scriptures coming to life, but also the arguments and debates.
This first book of the New Testament is clearly written for Jewish people. This is seen from the very beginning of the very first chapter. Matthew 1 begins with a genealogy for Jesus the Messiah that sets up Joseph the husband of Mary as a direct descendant of David and Abraham. This genealogy serves at least a dual purpose. 1) It shows that Jesus has every right and privilege of being King David’s direct descendant. And, 2) It takes a step toward proving that Jesus is indeed the Messiah by showing the fulfillment of prophecy through this genealogy. It is the history of a Jew for Jews.
One of the debates that comes up is about the genealogy itself. According to Matthew’s depiction of the genealogy there are 14 generations defined from Abraham to David, 14 generations defined from David to the fall of, and 14 generations defined between the captivity and Jesus the Messiah. It’s a great pictorial representation, but it’s not without its issues. For instance, there appear to be discrepancies between this listing and the listing in the book of Luke, but my issues are more direct than that. How can there be 14 generations between Abraham and David?
When i go through this genealogy I see “Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king.” That’s 4 generations between the time of Moses and the time of David. 1) Salmon to Boaz 2) Boaz to Obed 3) Obed to Jesse 4) Jesse to David. So according to this listing, all that happened between Moses bringing the people to the Jordan River in the end of Deuteronomy to David being anointed King by Samuel occurred within that 4 generation time span. That includes all of the book of Joshua (very feasible as it would have been done within one generation), and all of Judges (not so feasible?).
That’s where i get a bit more skeptical. Just looking at Judges 10 we see numerous minor Judges who served for a number of decades, died then another judge arose and judged Israel, and died and the people sinned again and are afflicted for decades again before we hear of another judge arising. Then when Samuel is born, the word of the Lord appears to have been scarce for a long time and he serves as Judge and priest for a long time before ever anointing David. That’s just a sampling of the issue. There’s still Deborah & Barak, Sampson, Gideon, etc. How could all of that fit into 4 generations?
Considering that all my life and experience with God / YHWH has shown me beyond a doubt that the scriptures truly are written by the inspiration of God and are infallible, how do i reconcile this and other difficult questions? The answer to this and other quandaries is much more simple and elegant than we may think. I have my answers / solutions to the puzzle, but what are yours? 😉
I’m making a little bit of a shift right now. I just finished Leviticus and i decided that i needed a little bit of a break from the Torah. I was planning on doing the entire Torah and then breaking for a couple of books of the New Testament, but i think that now is a good time to make a quick switch.
The Gospel according to Matthew is an interesting book. Many seem to see a parallel between Mattew’s Gospel and the five books of the Torah, seeing five sets of narratives and discourse meant to build that parallel. When looking at Matthew, it becomes pretty obvious that the book of Matthew is all about Jesus fulfilling the role of the Messiah. We see time and again how the life of Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophecies of who the Messiah was to be and His role and purpose.
All in all, i’m looking forward to studying this deeper and getting a better feel for what sets Matthew apart from the other gospels. Come join me on this journey.
John J. Camiolo Jr.
In the New Testament there is a listing(s) of spiritual gifts. Gifts given to the people of the body of Christ in order to strengthen the body and to help the people do the work of ministry. There are people who debate about how many “gifts” are actually represented in the list(s) and what it all means. It can be an interesting conversation sometimes trying to process through the information, but the conversation of the gifts of Spirit will oftentimes come back to the Old Testament. To Exodus 31. Why? “See, I have called by name Bezalel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God in wisdom, in understanding, in knowledge, and in all kinds of craftsmanship, to make artistic designs for work in gold, in silver, and in bronze, and in the cutting of stones for settings, and in the carving of wood, that he may work in all kinds of craftsmanship.” Suddenly, there is a whole new discussion. Are there “gifts” of the Spirit that we don’t even know about? YHWH gave this man and others gifts to be able to do the work of building the tabernacle and all that was to be in it. They were given gifts of the Spirit for the building up of the people and the work of service, yet craftsmanship is not listed in the New Testament gifts. It certainly gives you pause to think.
I would so love to see the work that was done by these people. I can only imagine the beauty and craftsmanship of their work. To see the alter and the tabernacle. To smell the incense and the sacrifice. To hear the sounds of the work and the worship. What beauty. But, it is not a privilege that i will have on this side of eternity.
The other key aspect of this chapter is its focus on the Sabbath. Six days are for work, and one for rest. God takes that command very seriously, even when we don’t. We know that we should be taking a day of rest, but how often do we truly take a Sabbath? Aren’t we working around the house, or in the yard, or preparing for work, or some other “important” task. I know that many times i’m teaching a class on Sunday mornings. Monday through Friday i’m teaching college level psychology in the high-school. Wednesday through Saturday i’m working with boys and young men who have low IQ’s and behavioral problems. Add to that the time spent working around the house, and that i am working on this project almost every day, and it all adds up to working 7 days a week almost every day of the year. I know i’m not the only one who does this kind of thing. So if God’s word is so important, and He takes the Sabbath so seriously, why don’t we?