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Untitled Document
Mathew 1:17
Mathew 1: 18-25 Mathew 2: 1-23 Mathew 3: 1-17 Mathew 4: 1-11 Mathew 4: 12-25
Matthew 5:1-12 Part 1 Matthew 5:1-12 Part 2 Mathew 5:13-16 Mathew 5:17-26 Mathew 5:27-37 Mathew 5:38-48
Mathew 6:1-8, 16-18 Mathew 6: 7-15 Mathew 6:19-34 Mathew 6:25-34 Mathew 7:1-12 Mathew 7:15-23
Mathew 7: 24-29 Mathew 8: 1-17 Mathew 8: 18-34 Mathew 9: 1-13 Mathew 9:14-26 Mathew 9:27 - 10:31
Mathew 10:32-42 Mathew 11:1-31 Mathew 12:1-21 Mathew 12:22-50 Mathew 13:1-23 Mathew 13: 24-43
Mathew 13: 44-52 Mathew 13:54 -14:12 Mathew 14:13-21 Mathew 14:22-36 Mathew 15:1-20 Mathew 15:21-31
Mathew 15: 32-39 Mathew 16:13-23 Matthew 16:24-28 Matthew 17:1-13 Matthew 17:14-27 Matthew 18:1-14
Matthew 18:15-20 Matthew 18:21-35 Matthew 19:1-12 Matthew 19:13-30 Matthew 20:1-16 Matthew 20:17-34
Matthew 21: 1-11 Matthew 21:12-17 Matthew 21:18-22 Matthew 21:23-46 Matthew 22:1-14 Matthew 22:15-46
Matthew 23:1-39 Matthew 24:1-31 Matthew 24:32-44 Matthew 25:1-46 Matthew 26:1-13 Matthew 26:14-54
Matthew 26: 54-75 Matthew 27:1-26 Matthew 27:27-66 Matthew 28:1-20    


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Transition Period


Leading up to the time of Jesus and the book of Matthew was a 500 year period where in both world history and the history of God’s people in Judea empires were both falling and rising to power.  It was the interval period between the Old and New Testaments, and it was a period of upheaval for world empires.  This interval period started with the return of the Jews from Babylonian captivity, released and sent home by Cyrus to rebuild the Temple and Jerusalem.  This was the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, and a little later Esther, the time just after Daniel when the minor prophets arose, whose writings spurred the Jews onward to finish the Temple and walls of Jerusalem with inspiring prophecies of the coming Messiah.  On the world scene, Cyrus dies and his son Darius takes over.  His intention is to expand the Persian Empire northward and westward into both the Caucasus and eastern Europe in his campaigns of 513-511BC.  The Ionian Greeks who occupied what is now western Turkey had just revolted against their Persian overseers, assisted by the Greeks on the mainland in 500BC.  Darius after recapturing Ionian Greek territory on Asia Minor sought to punish the mainland Greeks and sent his general (Datis) and an army to attack the Greeks at Marathon.  The Persians that landed there were slaughtered wholesale, running up against superior Greek hoplite armoured infantry in mid August 490BC.  Persia is still strong, but their northward and westward designs have been temporarily blunted by the Greeks.  What follows is a brief outline of history for this period, leading up to the time of Jesus, Yeshua:


480BC:  Darius dies and his son Xerxes plans a massive invasion of Greece, and then onward into southeastern Europe.  Through the combined military strategy of Leonidas and Themistocles, the massive Persian army losses 20,000 troops at Thermopylae in a mere three days, and one month later, the naval engagement of Themistocles’ Greek navy as well as storms at sea defeat the Persian navy, the Persians only supply-line back to the east.  Persia has been stopped cold in their attempted westward expansion.  Xerxes, king-husband of Esther, goes back smarting from this defeat to Persia just in time to stop evil Haman’s plot to exterminate all the Jews in the Persian Empire (cf. Book of Esther).


332BC:  Alexander the Great, whose rise to power would have been impossible without the Greek victory due to Leonidas and Themistocles in 480BC, starts a conquest of Persian territory, and on the way to Persia visits Jerusalem.  He was shown the prophecy of Daniel which spoke of him.  Therefore he spared Jerusalem, which was one of the few cities he ever spared. 


323BC:  Alexander dies way over in Persia.  Some think he intended to move the seat of his empire there.  Then, in an amazing fulfillment the prophecies in Daniel 8:1-22, his empire is divided between his four generals.


320BC:  Judea was annexed to Egypt by Ptolemy Soter, one of Alexander’s four generals.


312BC:  Seleucus, another one of Alexander’s four generals founded the kingdom of Seleucidae, which is Syria.  He attempted to take Judea, and so Judea became a battleground between Egypt and Syria.  Judea became little more than a buffer state, constantly contended for by these two military powers.


203BC:  Antiochus the Great (Seleucid empire) took Jerusalem, and Judea passed under the influence of his Syrian empire. 


170BC:  Antiochus Epiphanes took Jerusalem and defiled the temple.  He had been mentioned in Daniel as the “little horn” (Dan. 8:9).  He has been called the “Nero of Jewish history.”  He defiles the temple and altar with swine’s blood. 


166BC:  Mattathias, one of the more pure priests in Judea, raised a revolt against Syria.  This is the beginning of the Maccabean period.  Miraculously, tremendously outnumbered, Judas Maccabee (whose name means “the hammer” in Hebrew) defeats the Syrians repeatedly, restores and purifies the Temple and altar.  It was he who lead the revolt, being its chief general.  All the while, Roman power is building in the west.  (see


63BC:  Pompey, the Roman, took Jerusalem, and the people of Judah passed under Roman rule, the new world power and Empire. 


40BC:  The Roman senate appointed Herod to be king of Judea, a brilliant architect but both he and his family and offspring were ruthless. 


31BC:  Caesar Augustus became emperor of the Roman Empire. 


19BC:  The construction of the Herodian Temple was begun.  The building had been going on quite awhile when our Lord was born and was still continuing during the time of the New Testament.


4BC: Jesus Christ, Yeshua haMeshiach, was born in Bethlehem. 


          Radical changes took place in the internal life of the nation of Judea because of their experiences during the intertestamental period.  After the Babylonian captivity, they turned from idolatry to a frantic striving for legal holiness.  Over time, the Law became an idol to them.  The classic Hebrew gave way to the Aramaic in their everyday speech, although Hebrew was retained for their synagogues.  The synagogue system of worship, it is historically seen, is thought to have come about at the Babylonian captivity, to enable a worship of Yahweh without the Temple, which Nebuchadnezzar had just destroyed.  Some Jewish historians trace it to a little earlier than this.  It became the center of life and worship for Jews living just about anywhere in the Diaspora (the world), as well as within Judea.  It allowed for a Temple-less worship of Yahweh, and has ever since provided a way Judaism could survive without the institution of the Temple and Levitical Priesthood in Jerusalem.  Also, there arose among the Jews in Judea a group of religious parties which are mentioned in the New Testament, but they’re never heard of in the Old Testament:


1.     PHARISEES:  The Pharisees were the dominant party.  They arose to defend the Jewish way of life against all foreign influences.  Antiochus Epiphanes had attempted to Hellenize Judea by force, it didn’t work.  But the Jews never forgot this painful period in their history.  Judea did become Hellenized more gradually, and on Jewish terms, in many ways culturally,  and don’t forget, the commerce and monetary system all along the Mediterranean was Greek.  So in some instances, it was the choice between Hellenize or go broke.  The 2nd language of Judea was thus Greek.  But Hellenization was allowed to go just so far into Jewish culture, and no farther.  The Pharisees would see to that.


2.     SADDUCEES:  The Sadducees were made up of the wealthy and socially-minded who wanted to get rid of tradition (Hellenizers by a different name).  The Sadducees were liberal in their theology, and they rejected the supernatural.  (Isn’t that like many rich liberal Christian denominations, who were once alive spiritually, but now are dead---Christian in name only?)  They were opposed, naturally, by the Pharisees.  The Sadducees were closely akin to the Greek Epicureans whose philosophy was “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”  We may have a mistaken idea of the Sadducees.  Actually they were attempting to attain the “good life.”  They thought they could curb bodily appetites by satisfying them, that by giving them unbridled reign, they would no longer need attention.  Nothing changes, does it?


3.     THE SCRIBES:  The scribes were a group of professional expounders of the Law, stemming back from the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.  They became the hair-splitters.  They were more concerned with the letter of the Law than the spirit of the Law.  When Herod called in the scribes and asked where Jesus was to be born, they knew it was to be in Bethlehem.  You would think that they would have hitchhiked a ride on the back of the camels to go down to Bethlehem to see Him, but they weren’t interested.  They were absorbed in the letter of the Law.  There is a danger of just wanting the information and the knowledge from the Bible but failing to translate it into shoe leather, not letting it become part of our lives.  Through study we can learn the basic facts of Scripture, and all the theological truth contained in it, without allowing the Word of God to take possession of our hearts.  The scribes fall into that category.  In our own day, I must confess that some of the most hardhearted people I meet are fundamentalists.  They are willing to rip a person apart in order to maintain some little point.  It is important to know the Word of God---that is a laudable attainment---but also we are to translate it into life and pass it on to others.


4.     HERODIANS:  The Herodians were a party in the days of Jesus, and they were strictly political opportunists.  They sought to maintain the Herods on the throne, because they wanted their party in power.  The intertestamental period was a time of great literary activity in spite of the fact there was no revelation from God…Although this was a period marked by the silence of God, it is evident that God was preparing the world for the coming of Christ.  The Jewish people, the Greek civilization, the Roman Empire, and the seething multitudes of the Orient were all being prepared for the coming of a Savior, insomuch that they produced the scene which Paul labeled in Galatians 4:4, “the fullness of time.”  The four Gospels are directed to the four major groups of that day. 


          The Gospel of Matthew was written to the nation of Judea.  It was first written in Hebrew, and it was directed primarily to the religious man of that time.

          The Gospel of Mark was directed to the Roman.  The Roman was a man of action who believed that government, law and order could control the world.  A great many people feel that is the way it should be done today.  It is true that there must be law and order, but the Romans soon learned that they couldn’t rule the world with that alone.  The world needed to hear about One who believed in law and order but who also offered the forgiveness of sins and the grace and the mercy of God.  This is the Lord whom the Gospel of Mark presents to the Romans.

          The Gospel of Luke was written to the Greek, to the thinking man.

          The Gospel of John was written directly for believers (which at the time when John wrote it lived in Judea and Asia Minor) but indirectly for the Orient where there were the mysterious millions, all crying out in that day for deliverance.

          There is still that crying out today from a world that needs a Deliverer.  The religious man needs Christ and not religion.  The man of power needs a Savior who has the power to save him.  The thinking man needs One who can meet all his mental and spiritual needs.  And certainly the wretched man needs to know about a Savior who not only can save him but build him up so that he can live for God.


The Gospel of Matthew


“The Gospel of Matthew presents the program of God.  The “Kingdom of Heaven” is an expression which is peculiar to this Gospel.  It occurs thirty-two times.  The word kingdom occurs fifty times.  A proper understanding of the phrase “Kingdom of Heaven” is essential to any interpretation of this Gospel and of the Bible.  May I make the statement right now, and I do make it categorically and dogmatically: The Kingdom and the church are not the same.  They are not synonymous terms.  Although the church is in the Kingdom, there is all the difference in the world.  For instance, Los Angeles is in California, but Los Angeles is not California.  If you disagree, ask the people from San Francisco.  California is not the United States, but it is in the United States…Likewise, the church is in the Kingdom, but the Kingdom of Heaven, simply stated, is the reign of the heavens over the earth.  The church is in this Kingdom.  Now I know that theologians have really clouded the atmosphere, and they certainly have made this a very complicated thing.  Poor preachers like I am must come up with a simple explanation, and this is it:  the Kingdom of Heaven is the reign of the heavens over the earth.  The Jews to whom the Gospel was directed understood the term to be the sum total of all the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the coming of a King from heaven to set up a Kingdom on this earth with heaven’s standard.  This term was not new to them (see Dan. 2:44; 7:14, 27).  [Log onto  .]


          The Kingdom of Heaven is the theme of this Gospel.  The One who is going to establish that kingdom on the earth is the Lord Jesus.  The Kingdom is all important.  The Gospel of Matthew contains three major discourses concerning the Kingdom.

1.           The Sermon on the Mount.  That is the law of the Kingdom.  I think it is only a partial list of what will be enforced in that day.

2.           The Mystery Parables.  These parables in Matthew 13 are about the Kingdom.  Our Lord tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a sower, like a mustard seed, and so on.

3.           The Olivet Discourse.  This looks forward to the establishment of the Kingdom upon this earth. 


It will be seen that the term “Kingdom of Heaven” is a progressive term in the Gospel of Matthew.  This is very important for us to see.  There is a movement in the Gospel of Matthew, and if we miss it, we’ve missed the Gospel.  It is like missing a turn-off on the freeway.  You miss it, brother, and you’re in trouble.  So if we miss the movement in this marvelous Gospel, we miss something very important…

          Now I want to give you one way of dividing the Gospel of Matthew…


1.     Person of the King, chapters 1-2

2.     Preparation of the King, chapters 2-4:16

3.     Propaganda of the King, chapters 4:17-9:35

4.     Program of the King, chapters 9:36-16:20

5.     Passion of the King, chapters 16:21-27:66

6.     Power of the King, chapter 28”


[The following was taken, almost word for word, except for the beginning historic portion, from J. Vernon McGee’s “Thru The Bible Commentary Series, MATTHEW Chapters 1-13”, pp.viii-xv, with slight updating of historic information based on Oskar Skarsaune’s In the Shadow of the Temple, and a careful study of Greek history about the period of the battles of Thermopylae and Salamis.]


Related links:


Matthew 1:1-18


“The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham.  Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers.  Judah begot Pharez and Zerah by Tamar, Pharez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Rom, Rom begot Amidab, Amidab begat Naashon, and Naashon begot Salmon, Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king.  David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.  Solomon begot Rehoboam, Rehoboam begot Abijah, Abijah begot Asa, Asa begot Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begot Joram, Joram begot Uzziah, Uzziah begot Jotham, Jotham begot Ahaz, Ahaz begot Hezekiah, Hezekiah begot Manasseh, Manasseh begot Ammon, Ammon begot Josiah, Josiah begot Jeconiah, Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.  And after they were brought to Babylon Jeconiah begot Shaltiel and Shaltiel begot Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel begot Abed, Abed begot Eliakim, and Eliakim begot Azor, Azor begot Zadoc, Zadoc begot Achim, and Achim begot Iliad, Iliad begot Eliezer, Eliezer begot Mathan, Mathan begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ.  And so all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations.  From David until the captivity of Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until Christ are fourteen generations.” (Matthew 1:1-17)


The Genealogy Of The Lord Jesus Christ


“This is the genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ on Joseph’s side.  We’ll have another when we get over to Luke, and that will be from Mary’s side. 

“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1)


“The book of the generation” is a phrase which is peculiar in Matthew.  It’s a unique expression, and you won’t find it anywhere else in the New Testament.  If you start going back through the Old Testament, you’ll almost come to the conclusion that it’s nowhere else in the Bible except here in Matthew.  Then all of a sudden, you come to the fifth chapter of Genesis and see “This is the book of the generations of Adam…” (Genesis 5:1)  There is that expression again.  So there are two books:  the book of the generations of Adam and the book of the generations of Jesus Christ.  How did you get into the family of Adam?  You got in by a birth.  You didn’t perform it; in fact, you had nothing to do with it.   But that’s the way you and I got into the family of Adam.  We got there by birth.  But in Adam all die (Romans 5:12).  Adam’s book is a book of death.  Then there is the other book, the book of the generations of Jesus Christ.  How did you get into that family, into that genealogy?  You got into it by a birth.  The Lord Jesus Christ says we must be born again to see the Kingdom of God (see John 3:3).  That puts us in the Lamb’s Book of Life, and we get there by trusting Christ, by faith.


Jesus, The Son Of Two Men, The Search For The Messiah


So as he starts, the book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.  So, the son of two men.  That’s a little different, son of two men.  I haven’t heard of that happening yet, of that happening scientifically.  But clearly, these guys lived far apart too.  How does that work?  Of course, he’s not referring to the next descendant, but directly in line, a descendant, that’s how he means it.  And the Jews would do that, he was a son of, meaning it could be many years later, the great-great grandson, but yet he was the son of, in that sense.  So, Jesus, the direct descendant, the son of David, the son of Abraham.  Matthew the composer, he has a very clear purpose.  He is Jewish, man [actually a Levite, named Matthew Levi.  The Jews had the tribe of Levi and part of the tribe of Benjamin intermingled with them after the Israelite civil war at the time of Jeroboam and Rehoboam].  And initially he’s writing primarily to a Jewish audience.  The book of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic, and then later written in the Greek.  And what he is writing is this, he’s seeking to demonstrate as he shares the life of Christ, that this is the King of kings, the long-awaited Messiah.  When we have Jesus Christ here, Jesus is his earthly name, Joshua, Yeshua in Hebrew.  But of course Christ, the word Christ, Hebrew for that is Messiah, Meschiach, is his title.  In Hebrew this would be Yeshua haMeschiach.  So he is writing, he’s seeking to prove and demonstrate to his audience, mainly a Jewish audience, that this is the Christ.  The word Christ in Greek is Cristos, based on the verb Creo, which means “to anoint, so the Anointed One.  And of course there are only three different categories of people that were anointed in the Old Testament culture.  That was a prophet, that was a priest, and that was a king.  And so Jesus Christ is every one of those, he is the Prophet, the Great Prophet, he is of course my High Priest (cf. Book of Hebrews), and he is the King of kings and Lord of lords.  So Jesus the Christ.  He is seeking to prove that  he is the Messiah, based on all the Old Testament prophecies (see  As we go through the Book of Matthew, we will see many, many times, in fact, it’s been counted as many as a hundred twenty-nine times either he quotes directly from the Old Testament, or he alludes to the Old Testament.  Matthew does this more than any other Gospel writer.  He has an intent, and he wants to show his Jewish audience that Jesus, Yeshua is the Messiah, the long-awaited Messiah they had all been looking and hoping for.  Of course, throughout the Old Testament there are these promises of the Messiah.  There was the promise to Abraham, ‘In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’  How do all the families of the earth get blessed?  Through one man, and through the life of one man.  Well it’s starting to be fulfilled now as Matthew writes about this man Jesus.  God said to David, ‘When your days are fulfilled, and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom, he shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  Your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you, your throne shall be established forever.’  That is something significant to say to some individual.  You know, forever?  a king, my kingdom, throne forever established, for all the generations?  That’s supernatural.  And so now the fulfillment of that is taking place through this man Jesus of Nazareth.  So that’s what Matthew is going to unfold to us as he writes…Well Matthew is writing here, letting everybody know, letting all the Jewish people know, indeed Jesus Christ, he is the Christ, he is the Messiah.  He’s writing as a Jew to Jews about a Jew, a Jew who perfectly fulfilled the many Old Testament prophecies.  A book to get is Mark Eastman’s The Search For Messiah (also log onto to see a good compilation of these Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah, and how they were fulfilled to the letter, as recorded in the Four Gospels).  So you might want to get his book The Search For Messiah, where the author makes it clear that during the time of Christ, the rabbis clearly, history proves it, were teaching that there was a Messiah that was soon to come, a physical man, and he had to come at a certain time period, based on certain criteria.  An area of the criteria that he’s discovered in these Dead Sea Scrolls, with some of the rabbis, in their discussions, first of all, they believed confidently a Messiah was coming, and he would come, and he would be able to trace his genealogy to the tribe of Judah (from Abraham of course), through David, based on Genesis 49 verse 10, that’s what they taught.  You know, there Jacob prophetically blesses his son Judah, and as he does he speaks into the future, and he points ultimately to the Messiah, the Shiloh.  Then in that same verse, based on that, they also taught, as he says, ‘That you, Judah, the scepter will not depart from you until the Shiloh comes.’  The scepter representing the authority for Judah, the Jews to judicially govern themselves.  Now, they believed therefore that the nation of Israel, i.e. the kingdom of Judah, will continue to have the ability to govern themselves, their scepter authority, and when they had it, this, the Shiloh, the Messiah would come.  Thirdly, they also believed, based on Daniel chapter 9, when it talks about the Anointed One, the Christ coming there, Daniel chapter 9, that he would come, clearly as it says there, to the second Temple, and he would be cut off (killed) after that.  But they believed that he would have to come at the beginning of the 5th millennium (since creation of Genesis 1:31), and for instance, one rabbi, rabbi Elias, who lived two hundred years before Jesus, he wrote this, “The world endures six thousand years, two thousand before the Law, two thousand with the Law, and two thousand with the Messiah.”  So you have the world for six thousand years, and then you have this last thousand years, which is the reign, the Millennial reign of Christ on earth (and of course with his saints ruling with him, cf. Revelation 5:9-10; 20:4-6).   Now if you study the Jewish calendar, about that time of Christ is when the calendar starts to swing from the fourth millennium into the fifth millennium.  So you have the two thousand years before the Law, and the two thousand years of Israel being under the Law, and two thousand years of Messiah coming, he’d better be coming soon, the Messiah, the way they were looking at things around the time of Jesus, Yeshua’s birth.  Now when Jesus was on the planet, at this time, as we go on, the second Temple was there in existence, furthermore the nation of Israel, it was fading, but they  Israel, Judah, clearly as you even study the Gospels, the Jews still had some ability to judicially judge themselves.  So it was fading, the sceptre was fading, but it was still there.  [About the time Jesus was 12 or 13, the Romans finally took the right for Judah to exact the death penalty away from them, thus the sceptre had been taken while Shiloh, Jesus Christ, was already living in Judah, perfectly fulfilling Genesis 49, verse 10.]  The Romans were procurators over Judah by this time now.  And then, what’s interesting, to be able to prove that you’re from the lineage of Judah through David, I mean, Jesus could do that, from Abraham through king David to his step-father Joseph, inheriting the royal title to be king from Joseph’s line.  (cf. Isaiah 7:14-16, esp. vs. 16)


Jesus of Nazareth Is The Only One Whose Genealogical Record Has Survived---Why Is That Important?


But what happened shortly after Jesus’ death, certain events took place that completely changed everything in the sense that nobody else after that time could possibly meet the criteria lineage-wise to claim to be the Messiah.  And what happened was, at AD 70, as many of you know, under General Titus the Romans came in, and they completely just brutally destroyed the nation of Israel, the kingdom of Judea, the House of Judah, and they destroyed the 2nd Temple, so that it no longer existed.  They just dispersed the people right after that for awhile.  They were just brutally killed, and the culture and society just destroyed in many ways.  But not only that when they came in and destroyed Jerusalem, they also destroyed the genealogical records, which I believe were kept, stored in the Temple (see, which will show you the Roman-Jewish wars, and how they devastated the House of Judah in Palestine).  And today, in 2016, there’s only one person who has a genealogical record that they can without a doubt ascertain that he can trace his lineage to Abraham, to Judah through king David, and the only person that can do that is Jesus Christ.  And this is the only genealogical record that has survived, penned down by Matthew Levi before the 2nd Temple was destroyed by the Romans under Titus…But this is what Mark Eastman quotes in his book, here’s one guy, rabbi Robh, in Sanhedrin 79, a little bit later, he states this, 79b, “All the predestined dates for redemption, the coming of Messiah, have passed, and the matter now depends only on repentance and good deeds.”  ‘The time for the Messiah’s coming has come, he hasn’t come, man, we’re going to ask for God’s grace.’  Also, another Sanhedrin, not long later, the Tanadeby Eliahu taught, this is a direct quote from one of the scrolls, “The world is to exist six thousand years, in the first two thousand there was desolation, then the two thousand years, the Torah flourished, and the next two thousand years is the Messianic era.  But through our many iniquities, all these years have been lost.”  The religious Jews had thought they’d lost it all, the Messiah hadn’t come as promised, because they had never recognized Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah.  And the interesting thing is, there’s never going to be another individual that can meet those criteria, that can prove they are the Christ via direct lineage from Abraham to Judah to David and on to his step-father Joseph, bestowing the title of king in the line of David, no one that can prove by that that they are the Christ.  But we have got his genealogy, and he was born at the right time, and certainly Matthew goes on to write, and prove listing many of the Old Testament prophecies, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah. 


Jesus the man


Verses 2-5, “Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; and Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; and Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naason; and Naason begat Salmon; and Salmon begat Booz of Rachab;. And Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse…”  Verse 2, So Abraham, it says, begot Isaac, and Isaac begot Jacob, and it goes on there and through the brothers.  And you see there in verses 3 to 5 there are some unusual names in there.  Now again, Jesus is the only one with the 100 percent certainty can trace his ancestry to Abraham.  Here we got Abraham, and Isaac, the fathers there to Judah, there it is, to David…but this list of names, maybe you’ve heard critics say this, there are plenty of critics of the Bible, but if you compare the genealogy of Christ here in Matthew 1 with Luke chapter 3 you’re going to note there are some differences…Why is Matthew’s list different than Luke’s list?  Well, Matthew is writing to a Jewish audience.  And in the Jewish ancestry they trace the male descendants, the fathers.  And that was the legal line.  So he’s seeking to prove that this line is tracing to the King of kings, this is the Christ.  So he’s tracing the ancestry, that line of Christ, through Joseph.  On the other hand, Luke, Luke isn’t writing in the same way, he’s writing to show that Jesus is the Son of man, he’s writing to a Gentile audience, and so therefore he’s showing his humanness, he traces his genealogy through Mary.  And it is through Mary that Jesus’ real genetic line is traced from Abraham to David to himself, it is through this line where he can trace his genes to Abraham through David.  So it is through Mary that Jesus’ real line from Abraham through David runs, because Joseph wasn’t the real father of Jesus, Joseph didn’t sire Jesus the Holy Spirit did.  So in Luke you see Mary’s ancestry, Jesus’ genealogy through Mary.  In fact, for a Jewish reader, you know, a Jewish religious leader, when he would read this, there would be certain things that would catch him off guard and he would say ‘How can that be?  Why is that in this?  That does not belong, this is strange, what are you doing, Matthew?’  And it’s very clear as he’s putting the names down, he’s making a point about something…In fact, even the names in the list, I mean it’s just there.  There’s men and women of weakness, there are people there who have made mistakes.  There are people that we even know from their accounts that we have that they made some big mistakes, and there’s even some who have done horrible wrong.  There are names in this list, you know, if David Letterman was to do his top ten as he does, and he was to say ‘OK, this is the top ten for the most evil people in all history,’ I mean, if you were to be honest and acted on that list, one of these guys would have been on that list, and that would be the guy Manasseh.  The Bible even says this man is evil and wicked…Not somebody necessarily you’d want to have as your great-great-granddad Manasseh.  It would be like saying ‘Hitler,’ it would be about the same as saying that.  But Matthew is already developing this point, this foundation, he’s saying Jesus is a man like you, he’s human like you and I…The point Matthew is making is that when I come, the writer of Hebrews says, chapter 4, verse 15, “For we do not have an high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.”  Jesus knew what it was to be human, he knew the battles.  He knew the temptation and the struggles, yet he never sinned.  And so, there’s this promise, as the writer of Hebrews says, he goes on and he says, verse 16, he says, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of God, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in a time of need.”  But the Bible says Jesus, when he became a man, when the Son of God became incarnate, it says he put aside his glory.  He put aside his glory so that he was fully man, fully God still, but fully man…I don’t completely comprehend.  God became a man, still God, yet he put aside his glory…So when you go to the throne, I pray that you know when you come to God in prayer, he’s like, ‘I know what you’re going through, and I have the answers you need.’ 


Who Is Matthew Levi?


You know, even the very hand of Matthew, there’s no doubt that Matthew is doing this, he’s making a point to his audience.  Matthew, you know his birth name was Levi evidently, got his named changed to Matthew (some say his birth name was Matthew Levi, Levi actually being his last name, which was rare back then having two names, a first and last).  Initially he was in the business of being a tax collector, which wasn’t very popular in his day.  I would say his job was about as popular as being a meter-maid in Boston.  And they don’t seem like they’re a real popular crowd to me, you don’t see their little clubs and TV commercials, meter-maids.  Or like the collection agency people, they don’t seem real popular, you know, the person that calls on the phone, they must have a pretty big complex, or they have to be real thick-skinned.  Some of those people that they have to deal with, and here all the stuff and abuse that they go through.  But he was like a meter-maid, tax collection agency that’s calling up to say ‘I’m coming to repossess whatever you have.’  He was a tax collector.  He was despised, totally despised in his culture, in Jewish society.  Not only that, to make it worse, he was in this vocation that no one liked because it didn’t help you, it made life more difficult for you, but also he was filthy rich as a result.  He made a ton of money at it, some of them were very greedy guys, very selfish.  A Jewish tax collector collected the taxes for the Romans, and could levy ten percent extra for their pay.  But often the tax collectors would levy extra, and get real wealthy as a result.  Thus they were hated for two reasons, one, they worked for the Romans, that was bad enough, but then they also got rich on the backs of the Jews for doing it.  Just imagine too, how he worked for the Romans.  Now the zealous Jews, they were very much against the Romans, the Romans had come and taken over, and the Jews despised the Romans…Tax collectors were assigned a certain district by the Romans, in your district you had a certain minimum quota, you’d better bring it in taxes.  And if you had anything extra you could pocket that if you brought in any more, so there was this motivation.  Go out and get the minimum, and hey everything beyond that is yours.  And furthermore, if you met a tax collector on the street, and he would come up to you, he could tell you what he wanted.  And if you didn’t agree, he would just get a Roman soldier, the Romans, and they would enforce it right there.  Tax collectors usually had their own Roman soldier that stood behind them.  And he’d take off whatever the Roman Empire wanted, and he’d pocket the rest.   This guy was despised, didn’t have a lot of friends, for sure.  You see, you notice there, the tax collectors are listed with the other criminals, with prostitutes and such.  So not a very popular guy.  But one day, Matthew Levi, he has an encounter with Jesus.  And it takes him from being a selfish man, to now a man whose following the Lord, now he has a heart for other people.  That’s why he’s writing this, he has a heart for people, he cares for people.  He wants to be a blessing to society, he wants to be useful to people….Now according to tradition, ancient traditions, this isn’t in the Bible but it’s tradition, we’re told later he became a pastor, mostly up in the area of Damascus, Syria, the Jewish church that was there.  [Comment:  the early Christian Church was predominantly Jewish both racially and in “days of worship.”  See for a research study-article using the latest historic sources available covering this early period in Church history.]  So Matthew, Matthew Levi has his own story, has his own experience with the Lord.  Jesus takes this guy, you know, was way out there, considered an untouchable in the eyes of the religious leaders for sure, I mean, he was such an outcast.  And now he’s a shepherd and he’s loving the people of God, amazing.  Such is the work of Christ, and that’s the work Jesus wants to do in your life.  He wants to do the same thing in your life.  In fact, he then opened his home, and then he opened his hand, and here he is penning these words.  And the Lord does the same thing with us, he takes your personality, he takes your life, he wants to use you, it’s an adventure, he wants to do things through you that you’d never imagine, if you will open your heart to him and let him just work however he wants to work, using you in your vocation, your ability and personality. 


The four women in the genealogy of Christ


“Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;


and Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;


and Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naason; and Naason begat Salmon;


and Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;


and Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias” (Matthew 1:2-6)


A careful look at the genealogy that follows is not only interesting; it is actually thrilling.  Four names stand out as if they were in neon lights.  It is startling to find them included in the genealogy of Christ.  First, they are the names of women; second, they are the names of Gentiles.  Customarily, the names of women did not appear in Hebrew genealogies…In Jesus day it was indeed unusual to find in a genealogy a woman’s name---yet here we have four names.  They are not only four women; they are four Gentiles.  As you know, God in the Law said that His people were not to intermarry with tribes that were heathen and pagan…It was God’s arrangement that monotheism should be the prevailing belief of those who were in the line that was leading down to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Yet in his genealogy, one was a Moabite…You would naturally ask the question, “How did they get into the genealogy of Christ?”  Here  are the three Gentile women:


“Thamar” is the first one, and she is mentioned in verse 3.  Her story is in Genesis 38, and there she is called Tamar…Thamar got into the genealogy because she was a sinner.


“Rachab” is the next one mentioned in verse 5.  She’s not a very pretty character in her story back in Joshua chapter 2 where she is called Rahab.  But she did become a wonderful person after she came to the knowledge of the living and true God.  “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace” (Hebrews 11:31).  She got into the genealogy of Christ for the simple reason that she believed.  She had faith.


“Ruth” is the next one mentioned in verse 5.  She is a lovely person, and you won’t find anything wrong with her.  But at Ruth’s time there was the Law which shut her out because it said that a Moabite or an Ammonite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord (see Deut. 23:3).  Although the Law kept her out, there was a man by the name of Boaz who came into his field one day and saw her.  It was love at first sight (and Boaz was a much older man, and she was a young woman, that fact didn’t bother God at all). 


“Bathsheba” is not mentioned by name but called “her that had been the wife of Urias” (verse 6).  Her name isn’t mentioned because it wasn’t her sin.  It was David’s sin, and David was the one that really had to pay for it.  And he did pay for it.  She got into the genealogy of Christ because God does not throw overboard one of his children who sins.


Let’s Take A Closer Look At These Four Women


Now let’s take a closer look at these four women. Matthew didn’t have to throw these names in, he could have just listed the men these women were married to, as was normal in a Jewish genealogy, to list the men and not the women they were married to. Matthew throws in these names of four women, and to the Jewish male reading this, the religious leader that would read this, he would, maybe he would even get angry when he read some of the names.  What are you doing, man?!  This is awful that you’d put these names in here!’  For one, he lists the names of four women.  Now the Jewish ancestry would, the Jewish way, the legal way was through the males.  So there wouldn’t be names of women generally in the genealogy.  But here there’s four women.  Now, to the Jewish leader at the time, I mean, go back to the culture, the Jewish Pharisee or Sadducee each day would pray, ‘God, I thank you that I was not born a Gentile, a dog, or a woman.’  Now, that’s horrible that they would pray that.  So, Matthew is making a jab at these hard hearts, throws four women into Jesus Christ’s genealogy.  Not only that, most of them are Gentiles, just to make it a little stronger statement.  And not only that, their lives that they lived, the lives that they lived are even more like, wow!  Not just women and Gentiles, but their lives even make one say, ‘Wait a minute, what are they doing in this list?’  But Jesus of course is the great liberator.  And when he enters the scene, everything changes, with Jesus there’s no Jew or Greek, there’s no female or male, it’s just the body of Christ and the work of God, and the love of God.  And look at these names. 




There’s Tamar.  If you remember the story of Tamar, verse 3, “Judah begot Pharez and Zerah by Tamar.”  Now, Judah is Tamar’s, as you start with the story, Judah is her father-in-law.  That already gets a little weird.  If you go back and study the Torah, this woman Tamar, she had two husbands die on her, two of Judah’s sons, and they die because it says God judged them because they were evil and wicked men.  Boom!  they just died.  God just dealt with them.  So now she’s a widow, twice over.  And it makes, I guess, her family nervous, kind of like ‘Whoa, the people aren’t doing well with Tamar.’  The third son of Judah is going, ‘I don’t know if I want to sign up for this one,’ you know.  And there was the custom (actually a law in the Torah later on) that if the man died, his brother was to come in and marry her and pass on the family lineage.  But the rest of the family is like, ‘Whoa, hold on here.’  So, she then is neglected by their family, they neglect her, they’re hands off.  Well, because of that, she decides, ‘I’m not getting the proper recognition, I deserve…’ So she decides to take matters into her own hands, and whenever you take things into your own hands it can get pretty messy.  So what does she do?  She poses as a prostitute, sets up her father-in-law, Judah, and she does what prostitutes do, and here we go, here’s the ancestry, Phares and Zerah.  Ugly story.  Matthew throws in ‘Abraham, Isaac, cool, Jacob, Judah…Tamar!?  What is she doing in here!?’  But he’s making a point, that this is about real people.  It’s for real people, this message…You know, her life, that’s her story, but then later, now that you’ve got God in the equation, you read her lineage.  And from that, from her comes even the Messiah.  So maybe you’re here today and you can relate a little bit.  Maybe you’ve experienced neglect from your own family, maybe you’ve been rejected, your family’s rejected you, family’s nervous, they’re hands are off for whatever reason.  You can relate to that.  Maybe with all that, you’ve even done foolish things, you know, you’ve wrestled for acceptance.  You know, you’ve had pain, people have brought pain into your life, you’re wrestling with pain in your life.  And as a result, as you’ve wrestled with that, maybe you’ve done things that you shouldn’t have done, and here you got more pain in your life as a result.  Well if that’s you, Matthew’s saying, ‘Be encouraged, because look right there at Tamar,’ because that’s the statement being made here, ‘be encouraged.’ 




Next lady is Rahab, and it doesn’t get any better.  Rahab was a Canaanite.  The Canaanites were so depraved, so debased, God gave them centuries to turn and they didn’t turn, and God said ‘Judgment time, the nation of Israel is going in and is going to completely destroy every one of them.  They will completely annihilate their world with their sin, they’re so debased.  They need to be judged.’  She was a Canaanite.  True to the culture I guess, not only was she a Canaanite, she was a harlot, she was a prostitute.  And apparently, she ran a whorehouse.  But as the story unfolds, the story of Rahab, she learns about Israel and the God of Israel, and her heart goes out, and she puts her faith in the God of Israel, Jehovah God.  And then as you read the story, she’s then delivered, and rather than experiencing judgment with the people of Canaan, she is actually in the Promised Land with the people of Israel, she becomes part of God’s people, in fact she even marries into them, marries a Hebrew, Salmon.  It’s listed there, he was one of the two spies she harboured and helped escape from Jericho, and from Salmon she has a son, Boaz.  And Boaz, his story, his life even depicts the life of Christ, if you study the story of Boaz.  She goes from being destined for destruction, completely immoral, completely debased, and she’s up in Hebrews chapter 11, in the Hall of Faith you find her name is listed.  So he throws in Rahab, the second name that would jump out to the religious leader.  Maybe you can relate to that.  Maybe your life has had that sense of hopelessness, immorality, just a wreck.  And God says, ‘Be encouraged.’




Next gal is Ruth.  Doesn’t get any better.  She’s a Moabitess, a Moabitess in the nation of Israel.  You know, the Moabites. Moab was a descendant of the incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughters.  So they weren’t off to a very good start.  And of course they were against Israel at certain times, and God even in the Old Testament says eventually, ‘No Moabite to whatever generation, third generation, will enter the Temple of God.’  So they were cut off from the Temple of God.  That’s a statement of fellowship, ‘will not come into my Temple.  Remove from me, cast off.’  But then there’s this story of this gal Ruth, has a real heart, seeking the truth, seeking God, and here she shows up in the lineage of Jesus Christ, and all three of these gals mentioned thus far show up in the lineage of Jesus Christ on both Mary’s and Joseph’s side.  And so she is married to Boaz, it’s a beautiful story in the Book of Ruth, she even has a book of the Bible named after her.  And they have Obed, and then from Obed comes Jesse, and then David, just a couple generations from David, king David.  And of course going all the way to Jesus.  And maybe that’s been your life, this is ‘God, you’re so far away, I’m cast off, I don’t deserve, this is my life, this is what we’ve done, this is where I do not deserve.’  And God says, ‘Hold on here, hold on, let’s talk about the story of Ruth.’




And there’s Bathsheba, she’s a pretty notorious gal even in our culture because of the movies.  She married a Gentile to begin with.  Her grandfather was Ahithophel, David’s chief counselor.  Now, if a Jewish person touched a Gentile, he would go immediately home, take off his garments, he would burn them, then take a bath and get dressed again.  Of course that was later on in their culture, after the period of Nehemiah and Ezra.  So she marries a Gentile, that wasn’t good in that culture, a Hittite.  Then she’s involved in an adulterous affair with king David, and that works its way out in the murder of her husband Uriah.  But don’t forget, David was the one who brought her to the palace and slept with her and had her husband Uriah murdered.  But yet, her son through David is Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, he had this incredibly glorious kingdom, just Israel at its pinnacle.  And so you’re saying ‘I’ve been off to a pretty poor start too.  Things don’t look very good, man I’ve hurt a lot of people, you don’t understand.’  And God’s saying, ‘Wait a minute here, wait a minute here, this is the book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, and hey, Bathsheba, Tamar, Rehab,’ David was more guilty than poor Bathsheba by the way.  Now if any of those stories don’t relate to you, maybe you need to ask other people here, ‘Tell me your story.’ 


The Crucial Divergence Of The Two Genealogies Of Mary And Joseph After King David


Verse 6, “And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias…”  Right at his point, if you could compare this to Luke, we have Solomon (in Matthew’s genealogy, that of Joseph) coming from David, but if you go to Luke you’ll find from David that the genealogy goes from David to his other son Nathan.  And that’s where these two separate genealogies diverge.  You have the two different genealogies, and there’s reason for that.  Because if you go down to verse 12, it’s very interesting, you have this guy Jeconiah.  And if you were to study Jeremiah chapter 22, verse 30, this guy was so wicked that God, I mean, God says ‘David, you’re blessed, throne forever, going on and on and on’…we get to Jeconiah, God steps in and says, ‘This man is so wicked, he will have none of his children to sit upon the throne of David.’  Verse 30 of Jeremiah 22, “Thus says the Lord, write that man down as childless, a man who shall not prosper in his days, for none of his descendants shall prosper sitting on the throne of David and ruling any more in Judah.”  So, he’s out.  Now you’re saying ‘Wait a minute, where his name is here,’ but as you get down to verse 16, “and Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary…” it doesn’t say “begot” anymore, it says, “of whom is born Jesus who is called Christ.”  And that curse that was put on Jeconiah is not passed onto Jesus, because Jesus is not the physical descendant of Joseph, Joseph is Jesus’ foster-father in the sense of being a step-father, so the legal line is there to the throne of David through Joseph by inheritance, but the curse is not passed on.  But God did make a promise to David, and he said to David, he says ‘Your throne will be forever.’  So then, Luke picks up with Mary’s genealogy through Nathan, David’s other son, straight to Jesus Christ.  So the curse happens, but is not passed on to Jesus through Joseph, and then God was true to David, for the promise jumps past Jeconiah by going back through Nathan, as Luke lays it out, to get to Jesus through Mary’s genes, to ultimately fulfill the promise of lineage from Abraham to David to Christ.



“And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias;


and Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon” (Matthew 1:10-11).


In verse 11, we find that Matthew skips Jehoiakim but includes Jechonias.  Jechonias deserves our special attention because God had said that none of his seed should sit on the throne.  “As I live, saith the Lord, though Coniah [his name is Jeconiah, but God took off the Je from his name because it is the prefix for Jehovah, and this man was a wicked king] the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah were the signet upon my right hand, yet would I pluck thee thence…Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days:  for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah” (Jeremiah 22:24, 30).  Because of the sin of this man Jechonias, no one in his line could ever sit on the throne of David.  You see, Joseph is in this line, but Joseph is not the natural father of Jesus…Matthew is trying to make it clear to us.  Joseph gave to Jesus the title, the legal title, to the throne of David because Joseph was the husband of Mary who was the one who bore Jesus.  Jesus Christ is not the seed of Joseph, nor is he the seed of Jeconiah.  But both Joseph and Mary had to be from the line of David, and they were---through two different lines from the two different sons of David.  We’ll find when we get to Luke that Mary’s line comes from David through his son Nathan.  Joseph’s line comes through the royal line through Solomon.  So Joseph and Mary were both from the line of David.  You see how interesting, fascinating, and important these genealogies are and how much they are worth our study.  Now the genealogy concludes with this verse---


The Missing Names


Verse 17, “So all the generations from Abraham to David are  fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.”  but verse 17 you have fourteen generations form Abraham to David, from David to the captivity you have fourteen generations, and from the captivity to Christ are fourteen, so you have 42 generations.  If you add all the names up you only get 41, evidently you have to count David, he’s listed twice, or the captivity, that time twice to get 42, but here’s another point, as we end this study.  There are names that are missing, and the critic will come and say ‘Wait a minute…’  After Josiah there should be the name Joachim (or Jehoiakim), after Joram there should be Ahaziah and Joash and Amaziah, those names aren’t there.  And the deal is, when it says “begot, begot,”it really just means a descendant, it doesn’t really mean the very next descendant…But yet, he can do that because there’s freedom to skip.  But also, there’s one other person Athaliah, a very wicked person, you have Ahab and Jezebel, and they have a daughter name Athaliah (who married into the Jewish king line, she was from the Israelite king line to the north of Judah).  And she has three direct descendants that are kings, but she’s such a wicked gal, she’s a horribly wicked gal, she just tries to destroy the throne of David, doesn’t have success, but it’s interesting that when Matthew writes, he chooses to omit the names of those three descendants of hers.  To see a king list that makes some of this clear, see


The Supernatural Birth Of Jesus Christ


“And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” (verse 16)  You see that this breaks the pattern which began as far back as verse 2 where it says that Abraham begat Isaac.  From then on it was just a whole lot of “begetting,” and verse 16 begins by saying “And Jacob begat Joseph”  You would expect it to continue by saying that Joseph begat Jesus, but it does not say that.  Instead, it says, “Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.”  Obviously, Matthew is making it clear that Joseph is not the father of Jesus.  Although he is the husband of Mary, he is not the father of Jesus…


“So all the genealogies from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David unto the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.” (Matthew 1:17)


Now that Matthew has shown that Joseph is not the father of Jesus, he is going to give us an explanation.  Already in the Old Testament, a supernatural birth has been predicted by God.  Jeremiah is talking to the nation of Israel when he says “How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter?  for the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man” (Jer. 31:22).  That’s not the way it’s done, my friend.  That’s not natural birth; it’s supernatural.  The virgin birth of the Lord Jesus is the “new thing” which God has done.  And it is the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s and Isaiah’s prophecy, “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)


“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise:  When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 1:18)

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