The Book of Matthew-Chapter 3

(1) Now in those days (probably the month of Elul before the High Holy Days, the time of teshuvah, or repentance) John the Baptist (Yochanon ha Matvil) came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea (this is a specific area near the Jordan, Betharaba, Gilgal area and the Dead Sea. There were many cities there and well known-Josh 15.61; John 1.28-this area was very “messianic” in the first century. Many went there to hear from the Lord and to escape the corruptions found in Jerusalem), saying (2) “Repent (teshuvah-to turn to God and away from sin) for the Kingdom of heaven (is another name for the kingdom of YHVH found in 1 Chr 28.5; 2 Chr 13.8. From Isa 60.22, the Jewish scholars saw that the kingdom could be hastened by repentance (Deut 30.1-6). If not, it would come in due time. They saw that there was a 7000 year plan of God and believed that there would be an offer of the kingdom around the year 4000, when Yeshua came-Talmud, Sanhedrin 96a, 97b. The Kingdom of God/Heaven is the restored Kingdom of Israel-1 Chr 28.5; 2 Chr 13.8-the kingdom is offered by Yeshua-Matt 12.28; Mark 12.34-and it was rejected-Matt 11.12-19; Luke 17.21-25; Matt 21.43-the offer was extended beyond the crucifixion-Acts 3.12-26-but expired with the death of James around 63 AD and Paul’s statement in Acts 28.17-28. Now it will come at it’s appointed time in the Messianic Kingdom) is at hand (here now, being offered).” (3) For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet, saying, “The voice (or herald-Isa 40.3-5; Isa 62.10; Mic 2.12-13-the voice is the same as the “messenger” of Mal 3.1) of one crying: in the wilderness (Josh 15.61), make ready the way of the Lord, make his paths (correct injustices) straight (The Masoretic text has a semi-colon after “crying”, meaning the people had to go out to the wilderness to hear/see the Messiah, that’s why they were going out there and Yeshua confirmed this when he asked the people what they went out to the wilderness to see in Matt 11.8)!” (4) Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt (like Elijah-2 Kings 1.8-and he came in the spirit of Elijah-Luke 1.17) about his waist, and his food was locust (some these were kosher-Lev 11.22- or this was the Karob tree, the food of Nazarites, which he was) and wild honey. (5) Then Jerusalem was going out to him (out of their houses and towns because of the messianic expectation that the Messiah would come there), and all Judea, and all the district around the Jordan (which means ” to descend” or “out of Dan”) (6) and they were being baptized ( or “tevilah”- full immersion) by him in the Jordan River (this can be done in a river, lake, stream or an immersion bath called a “mikvah” but John was sent to the wilderness to do this), as they confessed their sins. (7) But when he saw many of the Pharisees (the “fathers” of Rabbinic Judaism today, believed in the “spirit” of the Torah, whose oral teachings make up the Talmud) and Sadducees (priestly class, held Temple power, very strict in Torah interpretation) coming for baptism he said to them, “You brood of vipers (deadly, sly and deceptive), who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (8) “Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance; (9) and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham (the stones being referred to were set up by Joshua when he led Israel across the Jordan on that spot-Josh 4.1-11. This was near Gilgal, where the kingdom was to be renewed-1 Sam 11.14-and it was being renewed again with Yeshua). (10) And the axe (God’s axe was the Romans) is already laid at the root of the tree (Israel); every tree (people and teachings-Matt 15.13) therefore that does not bear good fruit (spiritual insight and teachings) is cut down and thrown into the fire (of judgment-Ezek 15.1-8; Ezek 17.1-10; Matt 15.13. This would literally happen in 70 AD). (11) As for me, I baptize you in the days of repentance (immersion is a return to the Garden of Eden. Rivers flowed from there and because of the water cycle, you immerse in water that was once in Eden, so the water connects us to Eden and innocence-water equals life), but he who is coming after me (Messiah) is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove his sandals (and wash his feet like a slave); he himself will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire (fire of his judgment and vengeance-Isa 33.14-15) (12) And his winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will thoroughly glean is threshing floor (Israel), and he will gather his wheat (believers) into the barn (the Kingdom of God) but he will burn up the chaff (unbeliever) with unquenchable fire (Isa 66.24; Matt 24.40).” (13) Then Yeshua arrived from Galilee at the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him (the symbolism of Yeshua’s baptism is different than John’s -Acts 19.1-7, which was a symbolic washing away of sin. But Yeshua is submerged in the water (willing to die for us) and raised, as in resurrection, by the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Pet 3.18). The Father pronounces that he is pleased with his work and sacrifice). (14) But John tried to prevent him saying, “I have need to be baptized by you, and you come to me?” (15) But Yeshua answering said to him, “Permit it at this time (of repentance), for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness (as required by the Torah).” Then he permitted him. (16) And after being baptized, Yeshua went up immediately from the water and behold the heavens were opened (a Hebrew idiom that means a deeper revelation of the Lord is coming and will now be understood) and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove (Hebrew “yonah” and used as a symbol of the Jewish people. In Gen 1.2 we have the creation account and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. Yeshua is bringing the “new creation” and the Spirit hovers over the waters again) (17) and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved son (kings in Israel were seen as “adopted” sons of God- 1 Chr 28.5-7; Psa 2.6-7; John 1.49), in whom I am well pleased (Just like in Gensis 1 when the Lord saw his creation as “good”).”

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Understanding the New Testament, Verse-by-Verse Bible Studies

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