The American Wisdom Series

Matthew #2503a

This flesh age is only temporary and all that is "under the sun" shall pass away!

Let us now return to Mat. 2 where we see Joseph, who was a "just man", chosen as the stepfather and guardian of Jesus Christ because he earned the right to fulfill his part in the great plan of God.

Matthew 2:14
When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
And so it would be that Christ dwelt for a time in the land of Egypt where Israel was once held in bondage!
[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 have I called my son.
It was spoken of by the prophet Hosea whose name means "salvation".
Hosea 11:1
When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.
Not only was what took place a fulfillment of prophecy concerning the Messiah, it is also reminder to us of the love our Father had for His son, Israel, in his youth during the days of bondage and captivity in Egypt. Remember He sent His servant Moses unto Pharaoh to say the following:
Exodus 4:22-23
And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:

[23] And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.

Of course Pharaoh refused to let His son (Israel) go because God hardened his heart and so it came to pass that God did slay the firstborn in the land of Egypt and then called Israel out of Egypt with a mighty hand. You see, it was by the slaying of the firstborn that freedom was purchased. (Freedom comes with an awesome price, doesn't it? Consider the blood shed by our own sons and daughters to keep our nation free!)

And so it would ultimately be by the slaying of the firstborn of God, Jesus Christ, that salvation and freedom from death would be brought to world. Even at the very moment of the slaying of that One on the cross, He went to the place of those who were bound (spiritually) because the price of redemption had not been paid, and He offered them salvation there.

1 Peter 3:19-20
By which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison; [20] Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
That is why Jesus Christ came at the first advent, i.e. to offer salvation, to proclaim liberty to those in spiritual Egypt (captivity), to recover sight to the blind (Luke 4:18), to open the prison to them that are bound! That is why Christ read only through the first half of Isa. 61:2 when He stood up in the temple (Luke 4:16) and read from the scroll. It was to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD... and then He closed the book and sat down. You "see", the second half of Isa. 61:2 declares His second advent when He comes as the King of kings to execute justice throughout the earth and to set aright that which has been wronged... thereby bringing comfort to all those who mourn! Be patient knowing that "It is written"... and it shall happen exactly that way! Yes, the tears of this flesh age shall one day end!!
Isaiah 61:1
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
Jesus Christ is the Deliverer and the Redeemer. He will lead you now to freedom and comfort and peace of mind IF you will follow His voice, His Word!
[2] To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
Christ is not returning in a lowly state but as the exalted King of kings who shall unseat the great red dragon from power and rule this earth with a rod of iron. Satan doesn't like that thought, as we see expressed in his right hand man (and type), Herod!
Matthew 2:16
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
The truth of the matter is that Herod was really mocked of God! And in keeping with Satan's characteristic out-of-control emotions, this hot-headed self serving ego-maniac, who was outwitted by wisdom (wise men who listen to God), flew into an irrational and insane rage and "slew all the children that were in Bethlehem" and the surrounding area that were two years old and under! Funny how God's servants have a way of "firing up" the old dragon when they outwit him or challenge his authority! Witness the rage of Nebuchadnezzar when Shadrach, Meshach and Abedneggo would not bow down to his image. To wit, the "bruisers" and two witnesses shall also cause the old dragon much consternation whereby he shall breath fire from his nostrils!

But what about all those innocent children who were slain in Bethlehem and the surrounding area? How could God allow such a thing to happen?

[17]Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
[18] In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
It is extremely important to understand the entire context of the prophecy of Jeremiah from which this one verse was quoted! However, since Rachel is referred to, before we go to Jeremiah let us refresh our memories concerning this mother and favorite wife of Jacob (Israel) who gave birth to both Joseph and Benjamin who would later be of the northern House of Israel and the southern House of Judah respectively. In Gen. 35:18 we find that Rachel died (giving birth to Benjamin) and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem, the place where Christ was born! (Coincidence? Of course not!) And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, she named her son "Ben-oni" which means "son of my sorrow". But you "see", the child's "father" saw things differently and renamed him "Ben-jamin", which means "son of my right hand" (Gen. 35:18)! This is truly significant and the reason becomes apparent in "that which was fulfilled which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet".

Let's begin in Jer. 31:7:

Jeremiah 31:7
For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.

[8] Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither.

This speaks of the spiritual condition of our people for they are indeed spiritually blinded to truth and do stumble at His Word. You "see", they are spiritually impregnated with the lies of Satan which are perpetuated by the traditions of men and so they do not "understand" the Plan of God for this flesh age.
[9] They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.
God shall save His people (vs. 7)! Proclaim it! Praise Him! Teach His Word and the hope of His salvation!
Jeremiah 31:10
Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock.
You know the parables. He loves all of His children and when one of His sheep goes astray He leaves the flock and goes after that one!
[11] For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.
Yes, this is the Old Testament declaring that Jesus Christ has paid the price as the kinsmen redeemer and is able to take His own from the hand of the oppressor. You "see", through His death He has defeated Satan (i.e. death, see Heb. 2:14) and we have the victory in Him. So are you going to mourn the plan of God as we see it unfolding or rejoice in knowing the outcome? Are you going to mourn as those women did when Christ was walking up the hill to Golgotha to be crucified on the cross? What did He say to them? "Weep NOT for me..." (Luke 23:28)! We will soon see what He has to say about the weeping here in Jeremiah. Until then, here is more of the joyous future of His plan for His children, which are the pouring out of His blessings:
[12] Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.
Have you not read? God is going to wipe away all tears from their eyes. Rev. 21:4 "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." This flesh age is only temporary and all that is "under the sun" shall pass away!
[13] Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.
This is not a "maybe"! These are His promises! And you know what? God's elect, those who revere His Word, and those who turn to Him and to His Word, can claim them now! He sits on the throne at the right hand of the Father and He will lead you beside the still waters now (Ps. 23).
[14] And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD.
This places in context the beautiful Plan of God and brings us to the next verse in Jeremiah which is the one quoted by Matthew in Mat. 2:18:
Jeremiah 31:15-17
Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.
What does the LORD say about the bitter weeping and the tears and refusing to be comforted?
[16] Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.

[17] And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border.

Do you see why the "father" changed the name of Ben-oni, son of my sorrow, to Ben-jamin, son of my right hand, for thy work shall be rewarded and God will deliver His people (that thy children shall come again from the land of the enemy). God is in complete control as evidenced by the presence of His hand in all the events we are reading about in Mat. 2!

Here we see His hand once again:

Matthew 2:19
But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
Right on time... according to His will! Again, God's Divine hand is right on top of these events seeing to it that all things are fulfilled exactly as they are written. By the way, if that which is written by the Jewish historian, Josephus, is correct, then old king Herod who died at age 70 suffered from a horrible disease. Here is an excerpt from "The Works of Josephus" describing Herod's maladies. It is not a pretty sight.
JOSEPHUS [Antiquities, 17.6.5] But now Herod's distemper greatly increased upon him after a severe manner, and this by God's judgment upon him for his sins; for a fire glowed in him slowly, which did not so much appear to the touch outwardly, as it augmented his pains inwardly; for it brought upon him a vehement appetite to eating, which he could not avoid to supply with one sort of food or other. His entrails were also ex-ulcerated, and the chief violence of his pain lay on his colon; an aqueous and transparent liquor also had settled itself about his feet, and a like matter afflicted him at the bottom of his belly. Nay, further, his privy-member was putrefied, and produced worms; and when he sat upright, he had a difficulty of breathing, which was very loathsome, on account of the stench of his breath, and the quickness of its returns; he had also convulsions in all parts of his body, which increased his strength to an insufferable degree. It was said by those who pretended to divine, and who were endued with wisdom to foretell such things, that God inflicted this punishment on the king on account of his great impiety; yet was he still in hopes of recovering, though his afflictions seemed greater than any one could bear. He also sent for physicians, and did not refuse to follow what they prescribed for his assistance, and went beyond the river Jordan, and bathed himself in the warm baths that were at Callirrhoe, which, besides their other general virtues, were also fit to drink; which water runs into the lake called Asphaltiris.
Matthew 2:20
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.
God brought forth the Deliverer from out of the land of Egypt in like manner and with the same words as He sent the deliverer Moses into the land of Egypt. Moses was a type of savior who delivered his people from bondage and caused them to obey the commands of God by placing the blood of the lamb upon their doorposts and the lintels of their houses whereby the death angel was required to pass over them. Notice the parallel in Mat. 2:20 to that which God told Moses in Exodus 4:19 "And the LORD said unto Moses in Midian, Go, return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life."
[21] And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
Joseph was a wonderful guardian who faithfully obeyed each and every command given to him.
[22] But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:
Once again we see the "hand of God" orchestrating the path of His elect to bring about the fulfillment of His will, i.e. His plan and His purpose.
Note: The name Archelaos, who was Herod's son and successor, means "people-ruling". According to Josephus, Augustus did not allow Archelaos to bear the title of "king" and after about ten years of oppressive rule he was banished to Vienne in Gaul and Judea returned to a province of Rome.
[23] And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
The prophets foretold of the lowly birth and humble beginnings the One who would be exalted (Matthew 23:12) as the King of kings and Lord of lords over all the earth! You "see", Nazareth was kind of what we would call "the low rent district", an area of Galilee that was "looked down upon" as Dr. Smith notes in his dictionary:
"The origin of the disrepute in which Nazareth stood, (John 1:47) is not certainly known. All the inhabitants of Galilee were looked upon with contempt by the people of Judea because they spoke a ruder dialect, were less cultivated and were more exposed by their position to contact with the heathen. (Smith's Bible Dictionary)"
To that end we read in John 1:46 "And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see." So we do SEE that Jesus Christ, the soon coming King and Governor over all the earth, was born in the little town of Bethlehem (House of Bread) and lived both in Egypt and Nazareth that the Word of God might be fulfilled exactly as it was written. How perfect the plan of God! Yes, how truly marvelous and wondrous indeed!

So get ready for some more exciting wisdom from His Word, because in our next study... "Here comes............ Johnny! (the baptist that is)"!

To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits; to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.

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