Reliability of the original Bible texts
24,000 manuscripts of the New Testament are available. Only 643 manuscripts of Homer’s Iliad are available. If we accept Homer, Virgil, Eschylus, Euripides then overwhelmingly we must accept the Bible. The texts are 98.33 percent pure and without question as to variation from the original manuscript. “It is very evident that the vast majority of variants in text are so inconsequential that they leave the meaning of each clause unaffected.” Rudolf Kittel “Not one of the variations alters an article of faith or precept of duty.” Phillip Schaff
God fulfilled His promise to send a Savior
1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: 2 Abraham begat/sired/fathered Isaac, Isaac begat Jacob, and Jacob begat Judah and his brothers. 3 Judah begat Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begat Hezron, and Hezron begat Ram. 4 Ram begat Amminadab, Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon. 5 Salmon begat Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begat Obed by Ruth, Obed begat Jesse, 6 and Jesse begat David the king. David, the king, begat Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. 7 Solomon begat Rehoboam, Rehoboam begat Abijah, and Abijah begat Asa. 8 Asa begat Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat begat Joram, and Joram begat Uzziah. 9 Uzziah begat Jotham, Jotham begat Ahaz, and Ahaz begat Hezekiah. 10 Hezekiah begat Manasseh, Manasseh begat Amon, and Amon begat Josiah. 11 Josiah begat Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon. 12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jeconiah begat Shealtiel, and Shealtiel begat Zerubbabel. 13 Zerubbabel begat Abiud, Abiud begat Eliakim, and Eliakim begat Azor. 14 Azor begat Zadok, Zadok begat Achim, and Achim begat Eliud. 15 Eliud begat Eleazar, Eleazar begat Matthan, and Matthan begat Jacob.
- Genealogy means birth history, ancestry, where we came from, where He came from. This is the birth history of the One who fulfills the promise first given in Genesis 3:15 to deliver mankind from his fallen condition. Samuel 7:16 (son of David). Genesis 12:3 (Son of Abraham).
- These people were all unique masterpieces from the hand of God. This passage shows forth a wonderful work of God—calling forth the generations.
- These were all blessed to be part of Jesus’ royal family. These are people that God chose to be the physical royal family forever of the eternal King of Kings.
- Isaiah 41:4 Who has worked and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.
16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ. 17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations. 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
- The last chapters of Job show the Lord attending the births of His creatures.
- Here in Matthew 1, He, Himself, becomes one of the ones born, that He had made in His image.
- For 4,200 years seeking mankind had waited, being saved by faith in this One who was to come.
- Every birth of all the billions of people in history had human fathers except this One. This was a unique, one time only event.
- God loved us so much that He was born a man.
- The name Jesus means ‘deliverer.’
- The name Christ means ‘the anointed one,’ or the one commissioned to do the task of saving mankind from his sin.
- These two names put in this first chapter of the New Testament or New Covenant/Contract between God and man announce—THIS IS THE ONE! God Himself fathered One child.
- John 1:3 says of Jesus, All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
- Luke 1:26-35 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin engaged to marry a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in to her, and said, Rejoice, you that are highly favored, the Lord is with you: blessed are you among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of greeting this should be. 30. And the angel said to her, Do not fear, Mary: for you have found favor with God. And, behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and will call his name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David: And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end. Then Mary said to the angel, How can this be, since I know not a man? And the angel answered and said to her, The Holy Ghost will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you: therefore that holy thing which will be born of you will be called the Son of God.
19 Then Joseph, her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, planned to divorce her secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary, your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will birth a Son, and you will call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 Behold, the virgin will be with child, and bear a Son, and they will call His name Immanuel, which is translated, God with us. 24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her until she had birthed her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
- God announced through His angel the most awaited event in history.
- Stoning was the punishment under the law for unwed mothers. Mary was only a virgin until after the birth of Jesus. She and Joseph then had four sons and an unspecified number of daughters (Mark 6:3).
- Joseph did not consummate the marriage until after the birth of Jesus.
- Probably not a difficult thing considering every time he looked at her growing tummy he remembered who was going to be born through her.
- How many times they must have watched Jesus as they took care of Him, as He grew up, and they saw signs of deity in this little boy entrusted to their care and thought O MY GOD—and were right. They will call his name Immanuel…God with us
God became man; Jesus was born
1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men came from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? We have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him.
- God wrote all history (His story) in the stars with word pictures on the fourth day of creation.
- These Magi knew how to read the stars.
- They came to worship: The One promised in Genesis 3 had finally arrived after 4,000 years.
- God’s regal, stately, majestic, perfect time—the fullness of time—Galatians 4:4.
- It was probably many wise men, not just three. This historical record does not specify three. These wise men were the scholars of the ancient world.
- John 1:1-3 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
- Revelation 19:11-16 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a garment dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.14 And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he would strike the nations: and he will rule them with a rod of iron: and he treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And has on his garment and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ was to be born. 5 And they said to him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for it is written by the prophet, 6 And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of you will come a Governor, that will rule/feed my people Israel.
- The Jews were looking for an awesome warrior King from the heavens to deliver them from the power of Rome.
- God’s ways are above our ways.
- God sent a baby, perfect, innocent, to identify totally with every aspect of man’s life on earth, to personally experience everything that man experiences, then to take the death penalty in man’s place, for man, that God might bring whoever will into His awesome presence to live forever.
- God’s majestic plan takes all of history to unfold.
- Jeremiah 23:5 Behold, the days come, said the LORD, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and a King will reign and prosper, and will execute judgment and justice in the earth.
- Luke 1:32-33 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God will give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.
- John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me will never hunger; and he that believes on me will never thirst.
God led the wise men by a star; God guided Joseph
7 Then Herod, when he had privately called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and the star that they saw in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the young child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And when they came into the house they saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and fell down and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented to him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
- Gold was for his kingship, frankincense symbolized
deity, and myrrh foretold God’s death for us because it was a spice used to prepare the body before wrapping it in grave-clothes. These men knew this child was the long awaited Savior of all
12 And being warned by God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. 13 And when they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt I have called my Son.
- God protected His Son and the wise men with warnings.
- Any one of these prophecies was enough to convince
someone because they were so unlikely.
- Jesus fulfilled every one of them in the smallest detail.
- There are three unmistakable landmarks foretold and fulfilled in Jesus Christ. 1) born in Bethlehem—Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:5. 2) called out of Egypt—Hosea 11:1. 3) of Nazareth—Judges 13:5, Isaiah 11:1, Matthew 2:23.
- For those who knew scripture these were neon signs over Jesus head—THIS IS THE ONE.
- God is not arbitrary or obscure. Anyone looking a will find the truth about Jesus.
- 2Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been mocked by the Magi he was filled with rage, and sent and killed all the children that were in Bethlehem and in all its surrounding area, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, 18 In Rama there was a voice heard, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
- Jeremiah 31:15 The Lord says this; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.
19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. 21.And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus reigned in Judaea in the place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there: after being warned by God in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee: 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He will be called a Nazarene.
- John 1:46 shows us Nazareth was the least esteemed of the cities of Israel. God boldly and purposefully identified Himself with the least of us.
God brought His kingdom to us
1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 And saying, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4 And this same John had his clothing of camel's hair, and a leather girdle about his loins; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem went out to him, and all Judea, and all of the region around Jordan, 6.And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
- “After 400 years of silence from God, Jesus’ cousin, who came to be known as John the Baptist, burst onto the scene and began a whirlwind campaign to call the people out of their spiritual hypocrisy and into repentance in preparation for the Messiah and the rule of God on earth through His Son.
- He asked them to accept His baptism in the River Jordan as their sign of repentance and inward receptivity to God’s message and messenger.” Hal Lindsay, The Promise.
- Repent means to turn around and go the other direction—toward God rather than away from Him.
- The kingdom of heaven is the realm of the eternal King of Kings.
- By His infinite genius and power He created and sustains all things—and He loves you. He wants you in His eternal kingdom—at His side—Revelation 3:21
- The term ‘kingdom of heaven’ speaks of the rule of God on earth; the term ‘kingdom of God’ speaks of God’s rule of the universe.
- Revelation 3:20 tells us, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hears my voice and open the door (to your heart) I will come in and feast with Him and he with Me.”
- I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said to them, O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth fruits fitting for repentance: 9 And do not think to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say to you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
- God is able to make the rocks on the ground into His children.
- These Pharisees were counting on their elite lineage to save them.
- The Pharisees were not there to turn back to God but to see what was drawing the big crowds.
- Honest humility before God is seeking to do His will. What came out of their mouths and lives brought sickness and death of heart to those around them because life is about what we think.
- Romans 3:13 Their throat is an open grave; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips.
- Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
10 And now also the axe is laid to the root of the trees: therefore every tree that does not bring forth good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry: he will baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12 Whose winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
- The unquenchable fire is hell, eternity in the lake of fire.
- The axe was laid at the foot of a tree with Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:23.
- The tree is the ruler of the nation. Nebuchadnezzar turned to God after seven years and was restored as king.
- Genesis 48:10 The scepter will not depart from Judah until Shiloh (to whom it belongs) come. (When the Romans took over Israel the priests marched around the city mourning in ashes, wailing, ‘The scepter has been taken away.’ At this exact time, Jesus Christ left the carpenter shop for His 3 year ministry.)
- Acts 2:2-4 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them split tongues like as of fire, and it sat on each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
- Matthew 13:41-42 The Son of man will send out his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and those do iniquity; 42 And will cast them into a furnace of fire: there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
God the heavenly Father delighted in Jesus
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized by him. 14 But John forbid him, saying, I need to be baptized by you, and you come to me? 15 And Jesus answering said to him, Permit it to be so now: for by this it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he allowed him. 16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and behold, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting on him: 17 And behold a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
- ‘Well pleased’ is ‘found delight.’
- Jesus did the impossible: Under Satan’s world system He lived a perfect life, well-pleasing to our Heavenly Father.
- God was delighted in Jesus with good reason. Jesus never sinned once in His whole life. He never allowed one wrong thought into His mind. He knew the whole word of God and did it all to perfection. He loved the Father and Holy Spirit with all his mind, heart, soul, and strength.
- He wasn’t a pompous, self-righteous man, or selfish man but humble, always putting others first and looking out for their best interest instead of His own. He always followed the Father’s will and not His own. He walked solely by faith.
- Hebrews 11:6 without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
- Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Jesus triumphed over temptation using God’s word
1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit up into the wilderness to be tested by the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward he was hungry. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If you are the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man will not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
- Jesus had the power to make the stones into bread.
- He spoke creation into existence by His infinite power (John 1:1-3).
- God never tempts us to sin. But He does test our faith. He tests how much scripture or truth we know and how well we use it in our daily thinking.
- Jesus was tested in every way that God tests man, regarding every truth of God versus every lies of the devil.
- This first test was about God’s provision. Will I have enough to eat?
- When we don’t know the whole word of God we are easy prey for the devil.
- Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have an high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tested as we are, yet without sin.
- Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled you, and allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna, … that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD does man live.
5 Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And said to him, If are the Son of God, throw yourself down: for it is written, He will give his angels charge concerning you: and they will lift you up in their hands, so you won’t trip your foot over a stone. 7 Jesus said to him, It is written again, You are not to tempt the Lord your God.
- This test was about protection.
- Don’t we often wonder about our safety in these days of rampant crime?
- Many places in scripture God promises to protect us
(Psalm 91). Do we trust Him or try to do it ourselves?
8 Again, the devil took him up into an exceedingly high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory. 9 And said to him, I will give you all these things if you will fall down and worship me. 10 Then Jesus said to him, Get away, Satan! For it is written, You are to worship the Lord your God, and serve him only. 11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
- This last test was about promotion.
- Jesus knew He was God’s Son, who was to rule forever. Would He trust God to bring it about or can He be tempted to take a shortcut?
- At the fall, Adam lost the title deed of earth to the devil. The nations were Satan’s to give.
- But Satan is a liar. He is sustained by Almighty God. He has to ask God for permission for anything regarding God’s own children (Job 1).
- Christ knew and the devil knew that the Satan’s days of control over earth are limited.
- ‘Get away’ was a command from the Son of God.
- Notice that Satan’s whole effort was to distort the revealed plan of God.
- If we don’t know God’s word, we are prey to evil.
12 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; 13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and lived in Capernaum, which is on the sea coast, in the borders of Zebulon and Naphtali: 14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, 15 The land of Zebulon, and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16 The people that sat in darkness saw great light; and to those that sat in the region and shadow of death light sprung up.
- John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke again to them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
- I John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
The Lord calls us to His incomparable kingdom
17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishermen.
- Repent means to change direction, turn back to your
Maker, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
- At hand’ is close: Our hands are close to us. The ‘pent ‘ of repent means the highest point.
- The kingdom of heaven is not boring. Is the universe boring? Are the mountains and sea boring? Are love and sex boring? God who made this universe and this life is the one who made the kingdom of heaven. It is beyond our imagination in all ways. Foundations of gemstones and streets of gold do not begin to cover it.
- People spend thousands of dollars for their
vacations each year. They choose carefully and plan at length. Yet no place on earth can compare to the kingdom of heaven: a kingdom of breathtaking beauty and wonder: a kingdom where there is no
crime, war, tyranny, oppression, disease, hunger, or sickness. And everyone will have the closest personal relationship with our Creator and the King of Kings.
19 And he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. 20 And immediately they left their nets, and followed him. 21 And going on from there, he saw two more brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. 22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him. 23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
- To follow someone, you have to keep your eyes on them.
- If we look to ourselves, or at others, we will get lost, we will not be following Him.
- He calls us to follow Him to infinite, eternal glory.
- He took these fishermen fishing in the sea of humanity.
24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought to him all sick people that were taken with various diseases and torments, and those who were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them. 25 And great multitudes of people followed him from Galilee, from Decapolis, from Jerusalem, from Judea, and from beyond Jordan.
- Evil entered earth at the Garden of Eden; now Jesus was casting it out.
- He came for all—the common, the poor, and the rich.
- He was closer to sinners than to the religious. He knew all about each one from eternity past.
- He opened blind eyes that He knew would lust.
- He released tongues that would hurt others.
- He reached past their sin with His love.
- Isaiah 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; my elect, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him: he will bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
- Isaiah 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD will rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 3 And will make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he will not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4 But with righteousness he will judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he will kill the wicked. 5 And righteousness will be the belt of his loins, and faithfulness the belt of his reins (emotions).
SUMMARY: Matthew 1-4
- God fulfilled His promise to send a Savior
- God led the wise men by a star; God guided Joseph
- God brought His kingdom to us
- God the heavenly Father delighted in Jesus
- The Lord calls us to His incomparable kingdom