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January 1

Matthew 1

 

Matthew begins with a genealogy of Jesus Christ, which traces back the bloodline of Jesus to Abraham, the father of the Jewish people. This genealogy takes us from Abraham to Joseph, Joseph being Jesus’ adoptive father. 

 

Luke 3 gives another lineage that goes from Joseph’s father-in-law, Mary’s father, back to Adam, showing through covenant marriage, and Mary’s bloodline.  Genealogies were important to establish that the Messiah was indeed a Jew, but not only a Jew, a Jew that goes back through the line of David, fulfilling prophecy, and through Isaac, God’s promised son. 

 

Matthew points out that there were 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 generations (490 years) from David to the Babylonian captivity, and 14 generations from the captivity to Christ’s birth. That makes six sets of 7 generations. 490 years was also the number of years in Daniel’s 70 weeks prophecy in Daniel 9. When we see numbers like this coming together, it should only confirm that God is in control of the world. Be very careful not to argue genealogies or to attempt to predict the future with numbers (Titus 3:9). 

 

In verse 18 Matthew begins to write the story of Jesus’ birth. He brings out Joseph’s consideration of putting Mary away privately. Betrothal was just as binding as marriage, and breaking off an engagement was like getting a divorce. Perhaps he didn’t believe Mary’s story, but thought she had been with another man. God knows our inner thoughts. 

 

God sent an angel to speak to Joseph in a supernatural revelation that Joseph could not doubt. The angel says, “that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” He told Joseph not to be afraid to marry her. If there were any doubts, I’m sure this assured Joseph of Mary’s faithfulness. The angel also called Joseph the “son of David,” referring to the lineage of the Messiah. The angel told him to name the baby Jesus, meaning “God saves” because “He will save His people from their sins.” The angel went on to say that this boy would fulfill Messianic scripture from Isaiah 7:14 that states the Messiah would be born of a virgin, and his fiancé was that virgin. Joseph knew the Scripture. All Jewish men had an education of the Scripture. This revelation must have been overwhelming to this young carpenter.  Joseph then went to Mary. He must have told her of the vision. He married her immediately. Because of the Scripture and her being born of a virgin, Joseph did not have intercourse with her until after Jesus was born. They obedient the message from God, and they named the baby Jesus. 

 

Genesis 1-3

 

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The Hebrew word for “created” is bara, and it can either mean that something was created by being brought into existence. It can also mean that something was made out of existing matter. 

 

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. The Hebrew for without form is tohuw, meaning “formlessness, or nothingness, empty space.” It can also mean “a place of chaos, wasteland, wilderness.” The Hebrew word for “void” is bohuw, and it means “emptiness.” It also can mean “an undistinguishable ruin.” Some people think God formed the world out of nothing, and some people think that God recreated the earth out of a wasteland. It makes one wonder if there was life on the planet before us. Some say skeletons prove there were animals that died out before mankind existed. 

 

The Holy Spirit was hovering. The Hebrew word for “hover” is rachaph, and it means to “sweep or to move.” He was actually moving over something before there was light. The deep is tehowm, and it could mean deep waters or subterranean waters. There was darkness. 

 

TRINITY

God was there. The Holy Spirit was there. We also know that Jesus was there in some form. In John 1, He is called the Word of God. He was with God and was God (verse 1), and the Word became flesh and “dwelt among us” (verse 14), when Jesus was born into the earth as human, leaving glory (Philippians 2) to become a sacrifice.  Here are Scriptures on Christ being involved in Creation:

 

John 1:3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

 

John 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

 

Colossians 1:16 “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.”

 

1 Corinthians 8:6 “yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.”

 

Hebrews 1:2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

 

We also see God using the word “us” in Genesis 1:26, a plural word, and “our” another plural word. There are three that make up the Godhead. God, the Father, has the superior authority to both Jesus and the Spirit. I see the trinity as I see marriage. Jerry and I are two individuals; however, we make up one union, with Jerry as the head. The trinity is made up of three divine entities, but they make up one union, with God as the head. 

 

THE POWER OF WORDS

“God said.” When God used the words of His mouth, the Holy Spirit moved to create what God said (Psalm 33:9; Romans 4:17). God also lets us know there is power in our words (Mark 11:22-24). 

 

DELEGATED AUTHORITY 

In Genesis 1:26-28, we read that God created mankind, male and female. He was their authority. He gave them delegated authority to rule over the world. In verses 29 and 30, God uses the term, “I have given.” God is still the owner of the world, making mankind stewards over it. 

 

MARRIAGE COVENANT

In chapter 2, we get a bit of a folding layer in the literature, where we go back over chapter 1 and give it more detail. Adam was created out of the dust of the ground. Then his spirit was place inside, a spirit that was made to be like God (John 4:24), in His image and in His likeness (2:26). commissioned by God to name the animals, and it seems this happened before Eve existed. God created animals to procreate with a male and a female. God wanted to give Adam a mate as well, not like an animal, but a female spirit being, like Adam. She was to be a match for him, someone suitable and capable, someone compatible. When Eve was formed, God took DNA out of Adam, from his side, to create her body. Then God formed her spirit inside of her. She was taken out of man, so the general characteristics of a woman are also from the image and likeness of God. Together, the male and the female, give us a hint of what God is like. Adam spoke of Eve as his, because she came from him. She is woman (Ish, Hebrew) because she was taken out of man (Ishshah, Hebrew) In 2:24 is a verse Jesus quotes when He spoke of marriage, and it says that the two shall become one flesh (Matthew 19:5). In the Hebrew, the word for one is plural, meaning one unit. They are joined together as one unit, and sexual intercourse was intended only for that one union (1 Corinthians 6:16). 

 

The Hebrew word for “be joined” in 2:24 is “dabaq” and it means to cling, to cleave, to stay by, stick to, to adhere firmly, as with glue, to be attached. We know from other Scripture that the marriage union is a covenant, a blood covenant, because women are given a hymen, a thin membrane, that when penetrated for the first time, it bleeds. A covenant, especially a blood covenant, is never meant to be broken. Not only the woman, but the man as well, are only meant for each other, to save themselves for their marriage partner. There is a depth of heartache involved when people fall in love multiple times and lose that love. There is a depth of heartache when people divorce. Not only is there heartache, but there is often soul damage, sometimes making it difficult to trust fully or surrender fully to another. With hurt, walls are often built around the heart, which can also keep a person from fully trusting or surrendering to God. It can cause warped ways of thinking and feeling and behaving. It can cause relationship problems with those who would judge. It can cause tormenting feelings of guilt, shame, and fear. However, both fornication and adultery are acts that God forgives and restores, even though it may time a process of time to get there. God’s ways are good, and His rules are not meant to control us, but to help us live free of heartache and pain. 

 

GOD’S REST AND GRACE

In chapter 2, we see God rested on the seventh day. Was God tired? No. Then why did God rest? Rest represents the grace of God – a message of His supernatural ability over us. The number seven in the Hebrew means to be full, complete. Without number 7, we are just a 6, the number of mankind. It is also interesting to note that the celestial sky from the earth has a 360 day rotation. 360 is a number divisible by every whole number except for one, and that is 7. God is above us in position and in power. He is the creator, and we are the creation. He is the source of life, and we live when we are subjected to His position and power. We are complete in Him. 

 

FREE WILL

In chapter 2, we read about the Garden. There were many trees, but two specific trees were mentioned. Both trees were fruit trees. One was the Tree of Life, and as long as humans ate from this tree, they would live forever. We know after their sinful fall, God banished Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, and the reason was because if they had access to the Tree of Life, they would be able to live forever (3:22). We also read about a tree of life in the last chapter of the Bible (Revelation 22:2). Our life comes from God, and God’s life is in this tree. 

 

The second tree was the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Why did God put this tree in the Garden of Eden? God gave His children the right to choose whether we would choose to stay dependent on Him and know His life, or choose to be independent of Him, even if it meant separation and death. The tree itself is named knowledge of good and evil. Up until they ate from this tree, all they knew was what was good. I’m not sure the chances of how long we would have lasted as the human race without someone eating from that tree, but God knew we would. We didn’t make it past the first one of us, so it seems it didn’t take too long. God knew in eating from this tree, we would have a knowledge of evil as God knew evil (3:22). When Lucifer, God’s angel, rebelled and had to be cast out of heaven, God experienced Satan’s evil. Why God didn’t throw Him into the Lake of Fire from the beginning, I don’t know. Why God allowed Satan (formerly Lucifer) to be on the earth, I don’t know. The timing of when Satan fell to the earth like lightening, I don’t know. How old Adam and Eve were when it happening, I don’t know. But we know Satan was in the Garden in the form of a talking serpent, something Adam and Eve didn’t find to be strange, apparently. 

 

Adam was with Eve when the serpent spoke to her (3:6). The first thing Satan did was to question God, “Did He really tell you?” According to chapter 2, God gave the instruction about the trees before Eve existed; however, Eve knew what God had said. Adam was most likely the one who told her. She told Satan was God had said. She told him that if they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, they would die, literally, “dying they would die,” speaking of a physical and spiritual death, or separation from God.  

 

Think of a sphere, and in this sphere is God and His life. We were created within this sphere, and in God, we knew life. If we were to leave that sphere, we lose our access to life, and we die. We die spiritually. We die naturally. The way to stay in the sphere is by our choice to live as dependent children, relying on God for life. Nothing can have life outside of God. He is the source. It isn’t a threat. It isn’t about control. It’s simple truth. We need God to know His life. 

 

Then Satan answers Eve’s response and contradicts God. He says directly, “You will not surely die.” Satan basically calls God a liar. Well, then why would God lie? Satan attacks God’s character. He suggests God’s motive for lying to Adam and Eve was because God wanted to keep them under His control. Satan said, “God knows that when you eat from this tree, you will have the same knowledge as He does, and you won’t need Him anymore.”  One of the biggest lies Satan has ever told any of us is that we don’t need our Father. Another one of those lies is that God is cruel, mean, and wants to control us. 

 

Eve ate from the tree first, not because she was hungry or curious, but because she believed the lies. The Bible says Eve was deceived, but Adam wasn’t (2 Corinthians 11:3; 2 Timothy 2:14). Adam knew the love of God. He didn’t doubt God’s character. Adam knew they needed God. When Adam chose to take that fruit, it wasn’t because he was hungry. It wasn’t because he believed the lie. It was because he knowingly and willingly turned his back on God, deciding to live self-sufficiently of God. Was it because of his love for his wife who had eaten first? Was it because he wanted to disobey God? Was it both? I don’t know. However, the Bible says sin and death entered the world through Adam (Romans 5:12). Now everyone born into the world is born into sin. Now everyone born into the world has to deal with the pride of self-sufficiency and control issues. Not only that, but Adam, in his delegated authority over the earth, sinned and gave Satan entrance and authority in the world. Satan is called the god of this world system (2 Corinthians 4:4). Satan had authority over death, holding both saints and sinners in Hades. We know this because Jesus went there, released captives from there, led them to Paradise, and holds the keys of authority over death. Jesus restored authority of the earth to the persons who choose to position themselves back in a surrender position, returning to the sphere of a relationship with God and His life. That surrender involves turning away from the world, sin, and Satan’s authority. 

 

When Adam sinned, both of their eyes were opened, but not until Adam sinned. They knew evil. Along with sin, came a new feeling, one of shame. They were ashamed of being naked, and covered themselves. Another feeling was fear, hiding from God in the garden. They knew guilt, trying to push blame off of themselves. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed Satan. 

 

God comes searching and Adam confesses that he and Eve ate from the tree. Sin would have an effect on the earth and on the human heart. There would be much suffering. The earth would now be severely and negatively affected by sin and Satan’s authority. In fact, when we look at the end of the world and the tremendous destruction that will take place, we have ourselves to credit with that. It’s not God’s plan for the earth to be destroyed. He created the earth to be enjoyed. It’s not God’s plan for nature to be destructive or for the atmosphere to fall apart; we have ourselves to credit for that. Wars, pestilence, violence – we have ourselves to credit for that. It was not God’s intended plan, and yet, He gets blamed, as if the world condition was His doing. 

 

To Satan, God tells him that eventually he and his demons would be crushed by the Seed of the woman. Early in the Bible, in chapter 3, we know God had a redemption plan to save His children through Jesus Christ. To the serpent, the animal that housed Satan, God cursed to go on its belly. Perhaps snakes once had legs, like other reptiles. 

 

To Eve, God said her pain would be multiplied in childbirth. He also placed the male gender over the female gender in the marriage relationship. Until this point, they didn’t need it because there wasn’t conflict. As a wife, I can say, that when I submit to my husband, whether he is right or not, whether he is kind or not, I am blessed when I submit to that authority, controlling my strength in meekness. If I’m submitted to God, then I will surrender to my husband. I know this principle is despised by women in the world, and even by some women in the church. However, faith is about surrender to God. If I can’t surrender myself to someone I can see, then how can I say I will surrender to God whom I can’t see? The same is true of meekness and humility toward a pastor, a church leader, an employer, a civil leader, etc. God is the highest authority, so unless a human authority is asking me to go against God, then submission to that leader is the right choice. There is tremendous power available when we surrender, inviting God into our situation. There is also tremendous danger, opening a door to Satan, when we refuse to bring ourselves under authority. 

 

To Adam, God said the ground was now cursed, and there would be much striving and struggle to work the earth. He said, “you were taken from dust and to dust you will return.” When we physically die, our bodies decompose back to broken up particles. 

 

COVENANT WITH ADAM

After God explained what they had done and the consequences they invited in, God kills an animal, shedding its blood, and makes leather tunics to cover Adam and Eve. Why? One reason was to cover their shame. Another reason is because sin caused separation between God and mankind. God is holy. Sin cannot exist in His presence. His holiness would drive it out like light drives away darkness. The two cannot coexist. Life was lost, and the only way to get life back was by a sinless person dying to remove it. No human qualified to pay that price, allowing God to come near us. However, blood contains life, and the sacrifice of the life of an animal would cover sin to a degree that God could have a distant relationship with His people. 

 

From that point on, Adam and Even continued to make animal sacrifices so they could be closer to God, and animal sacrifice continued throughout generations. 

 

We know Jesus became our sacrifice, blameless, entering Earth the way we do, as a baby, born into it. The main purpose for His coming was to die our death and to take our punishment, removing the debt to sin. The gift is given, but as people, we still have to choose to receive it. If we do not return to God with surrender to the lordship of Christ, we will miss out on the free gift of salvation. If we do not believe and receive the redemptive work on the cross, we will miss out on His grace. The way to God is through humble surrender, turning away from the world and turning back to God. When we do, we enter into a union with Christ, and then, in a sphere of Christ, He returns us back to God, as a sphere in a sphere. There is no other way to God than through Jesus Christ. 

 

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