It's time to derive your worldview from the Bible

Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”

by Charles Clough
If you don’t understand the doctrines of God, man, and nature, you cannot understand Jesus Christ. The virgin birth is implicit in the Old Testament. The problem of a corrupt lineage is completely avoided through the virgin birth of Jesus Christ (Joseph’s line was under the Coniah curse). The virgin birth was prophetically necessary. Jesus Christ could not be who He claimed to be unless He was born of a virgin. Questions and answers.
Series:Chapter 2 – The Birth of the King
Duration:1 hr 24 mins 28 secs

© Charles A. Clough 1998

Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003

Part 5: Confrontation with the King
Chapter 2: The Birth of the King

Lesson 108 – The Virgin Birth: Genealogies from Matthew (Joseph) and Luke (Mary)

17 Dec 1998
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD

We have gotten to the point where one of the great refrains in the gospel is Jesus’ question, “Who do you say I am.” We spent four or five weeks saying basically how men answer that question says more about the men than it does about Jesus. A skeptic will frequently say the revelation isn’t clear, I see this problem, I see that problem, I can’t believe the Scripture. I think all the liberal scholars in the world are basically saying two things out of both sides of their mouth. On the one hand they’re saying that they don’t know everything, but on the other hand they’re saying they definitely know that, for example, John couldn’t have written the Gospel of John, anybody else in the world, a million other John’s could have written it, but the one that the Bible says wrote it isn’t the one that wrote it. You see this kind of response to the authority of the New Testament.

It really boils down to nothing more than what we studied in the first part of the framework series, which was the Creation and the fall. Men are fallen. We just don’t like God’s authority and we’re going to invent all kinds of excuses to end run His authority. God has been gracious and as we’ve gone through this series we’ve said that God has prepared history for the advent of His Son. That’s why in Galatians Paul says “in the fullness of time God brought forth His Son.”

Just to review, these events and the doctrines that are taught in those events, tonight we’re going to emphasize those doctrines that are revealed through the Creation and the fall, basically Creation, the doctrine of God, the doctrine of man, the doctrine of nature, because if we don’t understand those, we cannot understand Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God; Jesus Christ is man, and He was not revealed until century upon century of revelation. It took centuries for God to speak, for God to clarify the issues so that when His Son walked on this earth, we would understand who He is. You cannot study the Bible backwards. Everybody does this; we all start with the New Testament and think we’re going to understand something. We’re not going to understand anything starting with the New Testament, because the New Testament is the last section of a continuing volume. If you want to study the Bible, you have to start at the beginning, Genesis. Then you can understand the New Testament. “In the fullness of time God brought forth His Son,” and we’ve emphasized several things. We said that the pagan world and the Jewish world were both prepared.

The pagan world was prepared through the period of history from the covenant, when Noah started, or re-started civilization, down through the call of Abraham. There’s a gap between the flood, the covenant and the call of Abraham. During those centuries man had the opportunity to visit all of the continents, map them, go out into a new world, rebuild it however they wanted to rebuild it, great architecture, great technical achievements. They built boats and ships in Noah’s day, obviously bigger than anything that we have ever been able to build until the middle of the 19th century. Our technology in the last 200 years is just barely getting back to where it was when Noah and his sons walked off that ark. We studied their technology. They had completely mapped the world, and Antarctica before the ice cap was on two of the river beds, they left maps. We can look at those maps compared to radar surveillance now under the ice cap and see that somebody mapped Antarctica long before the ice took over. Noah and his sons were brilliant, they were very talented, they were the architects of the ancient world. They moved blocks around in perfect geometry, and we’re still sitting here scratching our heads wondering how they built the pyramids. This is the quality of person, these aren’t some apes that fell out of a tree some place and gave up bananas. These were intelligent people who had great physical power and intellectual abilities.

But the Bible’s argument was that by the time Abraham lived, which is 2000 BC, that civilization that had been started by Noah and his sons, had once again become corrupted. Romans 1 is a [can’t understand word] of that corruption. The fall of man, the depravity of man worked its way out in all races, in all people groups, so that the very survival of the Word of God was threatened. That’s why God called out Abraham and He called Abraham to create in history a counterculture. The rest of the Old Testament is a narration of the development and God working with that counterculture. Why? Because He wanted to preserve the life.

We have studied the various events in the counterculture over the last few years, and we got down to the end of the Old Testament there the counterculture didn’t look too healthy, where basically once again there had been demonstrated to the Jew as well as out of the pagans that people are depraved. The book of Judges, the conquest period, in all that period prior to the monarchy, Israel lacked a strong central government. They had the makings of what we would call a democracy, a democratic society. But our idea of democracy comes from Greece, not from the Jews. Our idea of democracy holds that basically man is unfallen, and if we just let 51% of the people vote, that’s fine, whatever they decide is right. That’s not the argument of the book of Joshua and Judges. It’s that people “did what was right in their own eyes.” Those two books, though they’re maligned and often not read, not studied by Christians, those books are fundamental arguments against the whole axiom of democracy.

That’s why when the Puritans came to this country they devised not a democracy, but a republic. This is not a democracy. It’s the funniest thing today you can listen to the television and you have all these people wandering… I’m not debating the rightness or the wrongness of the impeachment of the President right now, all I’m saying is that when you hear people say that they are against the impeachment because it’s going to take their right to vote away, that’s wrong. Somebody in the sixth or seventh grade dropped out, because usually by the sixth or seventh grade you read some serious literature and one of the serious literatures to read as an American citizen is called the Constitution. The Constitution specifically holds that whether I like it or not, whether I voted for him or I didn’t vote for him, there’s a thing called impeachment proceedings. The reason those proceedings were written into the Constitution was because the authors of the Constitution, by and large, if they weren’t personally trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ as individual Christians, they were influenced intellectually by these doctrines: the doctrine of the depravity of man, and they balanced powers in all of these things That’s why you have the legislative, the judicial, and the executive, because not any one of those branches should dominate the other, they’re all in balance. That was directly due to Christian premise. It had nothing to do with the Greeks and democracy. It had everything to do with the Word of God and the depravity of man’s hearts. The Puritans had a great influence on this country’s political thinking.

All of this to say that the human race does not have a very good record, so when the Lord Jesus Christ came, and He was rejected, that response itself is an indictment of the human race, a major indictment. This is why in the Gospel of John, right after that verse that everybody knows, that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. [17] For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. [18] Whosoever believes on him is not condemned” then it adds, “but whoever does not believe is condemned already.” Why? “Because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” It’s very clear.

Very clear! There are no ifs, ands, or buts; a child can read that text and understand it quite clearly. The picture is that the “light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil,” and they scatter, they rebel, they reject, they go away. In west Texas we used to walk into the kitchen at night and turn the light on, you’d have these big roaches, about an inch long and they’d slither around, you’d open a door and out comes a roach, these things are awful looking creatures. I don’t know if God loves them or not. They really are very disconcerting at night, when you think you have a nice clean house and these things start running around. They always flee the light, anytime there is light on the cockroaches take off. That’s a picture of humans, in God’s eyes we’re the cockroaches. The Lord Jesus Christ came as the great light, and we, the cockroaches, run when the light turns on. That’s what John is saying in John 3.

Tonight we’re going to start with chapter 2, because chapter 2 of the notes deals with the first of four events in the coming of the life of the Son of God. We’re going to divide the life of Christ into four parts, and each of these four parts will be a study of how the cockroaches flee the light and come up with all kinds of excuses why they can’t believe in Jesus Christ. The first is going to be the birth of Christ, then we’ll go to the life of Christ, then the death of Christ and then the resurrection of Christ. We’re going to start with the coming of Christ and His birth. Next week we’ll continue that and then study the reaction of ancient and modern paganism and Judaism to the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. The third thing we’re going to do, and I outline these three things because we’re going to repeat the cycle of three. We’re going to take a cycle of three on the birth of Christ, a cycle of three on the life of Christ, same cycle of three on the death of Christ and the same cycle of three on the resurrection of Chris. In each case we’ll study the event, as it is pictured in Scripture. Then we’re going to study the response of men to that event, because Christ said, “Who do you say I am?” He was pressing men for a decision as to who He is.

Then we’re going to study the proper response to the Lord Jesus Christ, and how the church down through the centuries has distilled the truths associated with each of these four events, and built a doctrinal framework within which we are supposed to walk and think God’s thoughts after Him. These doctrines that flow out of the life of Christ are very, very critical, because they shape the gospel, they shape sanctification, they are the capstone of everything we’ve learned in the Old Testament. As we approach the life of Christ I hope it will become increasingly obvious, starting tonight, that there’s not much new in the New Testament. The New Testament puts together all the pieces of the Old Testament, but the pieces aren’t really new. There are only a few things that are really new-new in the New Testament. I’ll demonstrate that.

On page 20 of the notes I want to direct your attention to two verses. We want to show a principle here about the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. All the great creeds hold to the virgin birth of Christ, until you get down to the 20th century and then everybody is excusing themselves and tripping all over themselves, apologizing for the virgin birth of Christ, probably because they’re apologizing over any kind of virginity.

Isaiah 41:22 is the principle. Here’s the point we’re trying to make here. The virgin birth is criticized today by modern theologians and liberal clergymen, to be incidental… incidental to the Christian gospel. If you don’t believe me, just go listen to some of them. The idea is that the virgin birth is a peripheral thing, just like the “days” in Genesis, you don’t have to really believe that to be orthodox, it’s just for the free thinking brilliant people that inhabit the 20th century. What we want to show here is that the virgin birth is implicit in the Old Testament. That’s where we’re headed. We want to show that the virgin birth is not a peripheral, it’s not an extra, it’s not a thing that Matthew and Luke cooked up the last minute to make Jesus’ biography interesting. The virgin birth comes out of and connects with all the truths that we’ve learned in the Old Testament.

My point in showing this verse in Isaiah is the principle that if God says something is going to happen and it doesn’t happen, it’s reflecting on Him. So if He said there’s got to be a virgin birth and there isn’t a virgin birth, it’s no longer a peripheral thing. It’s an indictment of the very truthfulness of God. In Isaiah 41 God challenges the pagan gods and goddesses. This is a very offensive passage to a modern relativist. The classrooms are full of these people; faculties are full of them. Verses 22-23, shows and claims the exclusivity of biblical truth. It’s that offensive thing, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by Me.” It’s that offensive thing—Abraham called out of Ur of the Chaldeans, a rejection of all the other people groups.

[22] “Let them bring forth and declare to us what is going to take place; as for the former events, declare what they were, that we may consider them, and know their outcome; or announce to us what is coming. [23] Declare the things that are going to come afterward, that we may know that you are gods;” look at that phrase, “declare the things that are going to come afterward,” that’s prophecy. Why, “that we may know you are gods,” it’s a challenge to all the other deities, all the other religions, if you are true, you prophesy, let’s see if you can prophesy the future, “that we may know that you are gods; indeed, do good or evil, that we may anxiously look about us and fear together.” Then the indictment comes, [24] “Behold, you are of no account, and your work amounts to nothing; he who chooses you is an abomination.” In other words, no one can prophesy like the God of the Scripture.

Jesus Christ enunciates the same principle, John 14. This principle is throughout Scripture, I’m just picking two verses to start with, just to show that in both the Old Testament and the New Testament this principle of prophetic validation is present. John 14:29, “And now I have told you before it comes to pass,” notice the purpose clause in verse 29, Jesus is speaking, and He leads up to a purpose clause, and He says, “that when it comes to pass, you may believe.” When it does come to pass, what is going to be the result? That you can believe. What is Jesus saying here? He’s saying that if it doesn’t come to pass you’re not going to believe. Belief is contingent upon the evidence that we have that our God is a trustworthy and truthfully speaking God. That’s why it’s so important to adhere to an inerrant Bible. If the Bible is errant, then God is either mumbling or He’s lying to us, or the Bible simply isn’t what it claims to be, the Word of God. In all three cases, what does that do to my faith in the God of the Scriptures? It tubes it.

These are not peripheral things. The virgin birth is not an extra item; it’s not an option, theologic­ally. On page 21 I’m going to go through the two Old Testament prophecies of the virgin birth. One of them is a plus, and the other one says that you can’t do without it; so one is a positive and one is a negative. The positive one, turn to Isaiah 7, here’s the location of the quote that Matthew and Luke used in a Christmas story. This is where Matthew and Luke got this from. Here’s the context. Let’s pick up the context of this prophecy.

Isaiah 7:10, “Then the LORD spoke again to Ahaz, saying,” Ahaz is a king of the southern kingdom. Isaiah is the prophet. What did we say the prophets did in the Old Testament? They were like the prosecuting attorneys, they were the guys that walked into the Kings and they said you either are, or are not adhering to the Mosaic Covenant. They were the administrators of the treaty to the nation. Or, in more contemporary American political language, the prophets would be the prosecutors acting on the basis of the Constitution. They would be administrating Constitutional law to the nation. Isaiah administered Constitutional law, of course, in a different way than could be done today in that Israel is a special nation, Israel was an elect nation, Israel had a line of prophets who personally spoke to God and God spoke to them. So it was not just enforcing the words of the Mosaic Covenant, it was the spirit of the Mosaic Covenant operating in providential history for the nation Israel.

In Isaiah 7:10, “Then the LORD spoke again to Ahaz, and said,” Ahaz has gotten himself in a mess, the Arimeans, today the Syrians, had come down and were going to invade, and they were a military threat, just like today the Syrians have 29 scud missile launches all aimed at Israel. You know where they got them from; they got them from American foreign aid where we paid them to stay out of the war, so they turned around and bought 29 scud missile launches so now they can shoot at Israel with them. That’s how our dollars wind up.

Verse 11, “‘Ask a sign for yourself from the LORD your God; make it deep as Sheol or high as heaven.’” Can you image if someone came to you and said that? Here you are, depressed, in the middle of a mess, and God wants to encourage you, and a prophet walks up to you and tells you, hey, you name it and God will do it. Gee, I wonder what I could think up. Instead of doing that, listen to this pious answer. [12] “But Ahaz said, I will not ask, nor will I test the LORD!” Isn’t that cute, like he’s got everything under control and he really doesn’t need this.

So the prophet at this point gets irritated, and there’s emotion in this next verse, because he spots the hypocrisy of that phony religious answer. [13] “Then he said, ‘Listen now, O house of David! Is it too slight a thing for you to try the patience of men, that you will try the patience of my God as well?’ [14] Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign,” now this interesting. The sign that is now being given wasn’t asked for. It is a sign of God’s grace to the nation. God didn’t have to give them this sign. He says but God is going to give you this sign, “Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. [15] He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. [16] For before the boy will know enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be forsaken.”

The idea is that two things are in this prophecy. This is not an easy prophecy to work with, and remember that it fits a context as well as the far future—the near future and the far future. Let me work through this quickly so we get the point to apply to the New Testament.

In verse 14 it’s the force of the expression, “Behold, a virgin,” we would really understand to look off and see the virgin. The word “behold,” when it’s used with a participle in the Old Testament prophetic literature is a reference to a future event, not a present one. “Behold,” it’s an idea of look at this. The interesting thing is the “virgin.” Who is the virgin? The virgin is introduced here as though everybody knows who the virgin is. There’s no explanation for this virgin. So the very fact that the word “virgin” occurs in this passage with implied familiarity on the part of the hearers tells us that this is not something new. The only other place that we can come up with as an understanding what the “virgin” means is earlier in the Old Testament, all the way back to Genesis. Think about Genesis, and think about the creation and the fall, and think about what Eve’s name was. Eve’s name was Evah, life, that’s what that word means—life. Adam called his wife Isha. Her real name is Isha, that’s woman. Ish, i-s-h, man; Isha, i-s-h-a, woman, feminine ending. So her name was Isha, but she was now given the word Chavvah, or life. Now why did Adam change her name to Chavvah, or Eve. He must have had something on his mind that made him name his wife that way.

Let’s go back to Genesis 3:15 when Isha became Evah. Theologians have referred to Genesis 3:15 as the protevangelium, that means the first gospel—proto evangelium. Verse 15 is prophecy, “I will put enmity between you” Satan, “and the woman,” it’s interesting that verse 15 is not addressed to Adam or to Eve. Verse 15 is addressed to Satan. It’s an announcement of his doom, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed, He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.” The Old Testament is sort of sneaky, in the sense that it plops out these expressions and then it sort of leaves and goes right on. Then it’s not until centuries later, when somebody says gee, if we went back there and looked a little more carefully at what God said, maybe we missed some things. Maybe we should have paid a little more attention back there. This is one of those passages that on the surface, all it looks like is the children of Eve are going to have a battle with the children of Satan. But there’s a strange expression that occurs here. If you look at it in the concordance, it’s a rare expression. Whenever you see a rare expression in Scripture, take notice, something is a little out of the usual context.

It says “between your seed and her seed.” In the Greek text of the Old Testament, “seed,” just to give you the flavor of this, is translated sperma. Does this sort of set off some thinking? Isn’t there something unusual here? Since when does a woman have sperm? Since when does a woman have this word “seed?” Look it up, see how many times in the Bible the word “seed” is used of a woman? There may be one or two places, one of them is in the genealogy I think, but even that one is suspect. There may be some places but you’re not going to find it as a routine use of the word, so the very idea that this word is used and attached to a woman signals something. The other fact in the local context is in Genesis 4:1; Eve has the first baby in history. When she gives birth to her first son, Cain, “she said, ‘I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD.’” In the Hebrew it’s “with LORD,” “with Yahweh.” It’s not altogether clear whether she’s saying “I’ve gotten a man, even Yahweh,” or if she’s saying “I’ve got a man with the help of Yahweh.” Translators like to fudge here because nobody really wants to say that Eve’s perception of this truth was so clear that in 4:1 she’s talking about the incarnation. But in any case, she had a sense something’s going on with my role as a woman associated with the birth process. She was wrong, because this wasn’t a virgin birth. But something is on her mind and it had something to do with her name, and it had something to do with that prophecy.

We know that all through the ancient world there was a tale of the virgin. This was a common pagan theme; in fact it was so common that critics have criticized the Scripture as saying that this virgin idea of Jesus Christ came from the pagan idea. You know how we handle that: no the pagan idea came from a distortion of the truths that were dispensed throughout all the people groups of the earth by Noah and the Noahic Bible, Genesis 1-10. In that Noahic Bible and the accompanied oral tradition there was an emphasis on a virgin.

Now coming back to Isaiah, when God speaks to Isaiah and He says in verse 14, “Behold, the virgin” he is referencing that background. It’s not something that he just dreamed up with some pregnant lady walking down the street, and he says oh, yea, the lady there that’s pregnant. That’s not what it’s talking about. “Behold” is a serious word of prophetic intent, “Behold the virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.” Look at the word; we’ll parse that word, because that word is a transliteration. It’s sort of interesting and I can understand it when you’re a translator and you don’t want to translate something because you’re going to get in trouble so what are you going to do? You transliterate it. That’s why you have these words like “baptism.” “Baptism” is in the translation, what they did, the Greek word says baptizo, so they had a big fight between the Presbyterians and the Baptists type thinking down through church history and no translator wanted to get on one side or the other, so they chickened out and they just transliterated it, “baptize.” So now it’s up to you, they left it up to the reader.

This is one where we have another case, “virgin will be with child and bear a son, and” the mother will call the son that she bears, “Immanuel.” Let’s look at a few details. First, when you see that “el” on a word, understand that that’s short for a Hebrew word, Elohim, for God; like the word Nathaniel, “Nathan” is given, Nathaniel means God, Elohim has given. Here Immanuel, the “el” is God’s name, the “m” in “man” means with, this is the preposition, the preposition in Hebrew has an ending, “nu,” the “nu” ending, if you conjugate, decline the noun and it has all these kinds of endings on it, it has a feminine ending, it has a neuter ending, it has a masculine ending, it has a nominative case, it has a genitive case, it has an instrumental case. This is the plural, first person plural ending on the preposition, “nu.” So that’s translated “with us Elohim.” When you have a name given like this is a prophetic discourse, don’t read it like you’re reading somebody’s popular name, like: this is Dick and Jane. That’s not the way this has to be understood.

When a prophet gives a name… another example in Isaiah 9, we all know this one because we hear it every Christmas with Handel’s Messiah, remember the phrase where it says “He shall be called ‘Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, everlasting Father,” that’s called a titulary, a title list, and all those words depict the essence of Jesus Christ. So when you see the word “Immanuel” here, that’s not going to be His personal name, you know, Jack and John. That’s not what he means. This means the essence of that child.

So Isaiah 7:14, “Behold, the virgin,” that you’ve heard about, “will conceive, she will bear a son and she will call His name Immanuel.” She will recognize, unlike Eve, this virgin will recognize that her child is “God with us,” He is the incarnation. Then in verses 15 and 16 he’s saying that obviously this child is going to be raised, he’s going to have a childhood, and during that childhood, in the time that it takes this child to grow, six to ten years, get out of his childhood, by that time your problem, Ahaz, will be solved. Two things are said here. Let’s do a circle and come back and see if we can excerpt what the relevancy of this prophecy is to Ahaz, because we’ve got to answer that.

There’s two parts to the prophecy, there’s the age in which he’s saying in a short time you will have military relief, and that duration will be the time it takes this child to grow. This is kind of an indirect way, why didn’t he just say a short time, why does have to drag the virgin birth into it and Immanuel into it and all the rest of it into it when, for heaven’s sake, this is centuries before Christ. How’s this going to help Ahaz? Let’s ask ourselves, of what lineage is Ahaz? He is of the house of David, verse 13, “O house of David!” The Messiah is going to come out of the house of David, but the point is that if the virgin is going to conceive and bring forth a son, and the son will be of the house of David, what does that guarantee that the house of David can enjoy down through history? It will never be destroyed. So the first element of that prophecy assures the house of David that the Davidic dynasty is secure forever. What’s the covenant that guarantees eternal security to the David dynasty? The Davidic Covenant. So all this is is a repetition of the Davidic Covenant, that’s all it is, there’s nothing new here.

We have to contend with the word that is used for “virgin” because in recent centuries that’s become an issue. They can’t leave it alone; they have to keep making an issue. In the Hebrew the word is almah; in the Greek parthenos. In the Hebrew text almah is the word used for the virgin. Page 21 in the notes I try to summarize a lot of material so I’m trying to pack it in two paragraphs.

“You often will hear skeptics, even evangelical skeptics, say that the meaning of the Hebrew word almah in Isaiah 7:14 isn’t ‘virgin’ but simply ‘young woman.’ It was the Christian church, they say, that added the specialized meaning of virgin to the Hebrew word almah.” In other words, we Christians wanted to see the prophecy fulfilled in the Savior, so the Christian church changed the meaning of the original Hebrew word from young woman to virgin. In other words, back in Isaiah’s day Isaiah wasn’t talking about a virgin birth, he was just talking about a pregnant woman giving birth to a child, therefore Ahaz would receive relief, in other words, their exegesis of the passage was that there wasn’t two things in that Word of God to Ahaz, there was only one thing, namely the age issue. The virgin issue and the security of the Davidic dynasty weren’t in the context; that’s what they say. What do we say?

“The traditional Jewish view, they claim, is that almah means ‘young woman.’ However,” and here’s our answer, “the fact that the translators of the Septuagint,” notice the dates, “(ca. 250-150 BC) deliberately translated the Hebrew word almah by the Greek word for virgin, parthenos. It indicates that the miraculous virgin birth interpretation of Isaiah 7:14 is the traditional Jewish one.” Why would they have translated it parthenos? They’re not Christians; there weren’t any Christians in 250 BC. These were Jews in Alexandria translating the Hebrew into the Greek so that they’d have a contemporary translation. The Septuagint, called Septuagint, seventy, because theory says there were seventy translators and they worked hard on this thing, and they cranked out this new translation. It was sort of like the Living Bible or something, they wanted a contemporary translation; a lot of the Jews had forgotten their Hebrew so they wanted something to read. So they translated from the Hebrew into the Greek. The Septuagint is used by us, by Christian scholars so that we understand how the Jews thought in 250 BC. How they’re trans­lating the Hebrew tells us how they interpreted it. That’s the important point. “Consequently, when Matthew cites Isaiah 7:14 in Matthew 1:23, he was not inventing the interpretation; he was merely applying the traditional Jewish interpretation to Jesus.”

“Later, when Christianity flourished,” here’s another thing that happened, the Jews today deny the virgin birth interpretation of Isaiah 7:14, so here’s how it got started, and I’m using a Jewish scholar here. He happens to be a Christian Jewish scholar. “Jewish authorities in their own interests attacked this interpretation of Isaiah 7:14. One of these Jewish authorities Rashi (ca. 1040-1105), denied the traditional interpretation and made the text refer to a young woman,” notice the date on his life; he’s in the Middle Ages. In other words, 900 years after the gospel, 900 years of gospel teaching had already gone on and nobody challenged the Isaiah interpretation. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that all of a sudden somebody says, “Wait a minute, I don’t believe this virgin business.”

“As Fruchtenbaum notes, however: ‘It is true that Rashi interpreted Isaiah 7:14 to mean a young woman,” he attached the word “young woman” as the meaning of almah, “perhaps for the same reason that he made Isaiah 53 refer to Israel and not to the Messiah. But this is not enough to prove Rashi always made almah to mean a young woman. This Hebrew word is also found in the Song of Solomon 1:3 and 6:8. In these passages Rashi admitted” because of the context, “that many Jewish scholars of his day made Isaiah 7:14 to refer to a virgin.” There’s a missing part of a sentence there. In these passages, that is Song of Solomon 1:3 and 6:8 the context clearly shows that almah means unmarried women, and the virginity of the unmarried woman is assumed. But they’re not married women in Song of Solomon 1:3 and 6:8, so why is almah being used of them? Then Rashi admitted in his discussion in 7:14 that many scholars of his day had… so Rashi was admitting that he was coming up with something unusual. “It can be easily seen that Rashi was trying to counteract Christian polemics with his interpretation of Isaiah 7:14 rather than being honest with the text itself.’”

Second passage in the Old Testament that implies the virgin birth. This is the passage we studied last year. This requires a little more understanding of the Old Testament than even Isaiah 7. But it answers a problem in the New Testament. Jeremiah 22:30. Here’s the deal. At the end of the kingdom, going back to the period just prior to the exile, when God was disciplining as King of the nation, He was disciplining the nation Israel, He was shortly to send them into exile. At the point He was sending them into exile, He brought discipline upon not only the nation but on the house of David itself, and the last of the line of David is mentioned here. So we have the line of David, here’s David in time, here’s Solomon, here are the kings in the southern kingdom, on down to these guys in this passage of Jeremiah 22. David dates about 1000 BC, Jeremiah 22, just prior to the invasions, we’ll say 650 BC. So we have 350 years of monarchy.

In Jeremiah 22:30, it’s talking about one of the last kings, Coniah. It says [29] “O land, land, land, hear the word of the LORD!” This is a prophet saying this, Jeremiah. [30] Thus says the LORD, Write this man down childless, [blank spot, the rest of the verse says, “a man who will not prosper in his days; for no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah.”] At this point, the prophecy says, according to Jeremiah, God’s discipline on the house of David terminates this line. So the line of David through Solomon is X-ed, and they will never reign again on the house of Israel. That line has had it, right there, that’s God’s discipline. Now it’s that sense that answers a problem.

Turn to the Christmas story in Matthew 1. Remember who Matthew is; Matthew is a tax collector. Matthew is sensitive to government records. Matthew has political understanding that the other apostles probably didn’t have. Matthew was a bureaucrat by profession. He worked in the government circles; he worked as a Jew in a Roman situation. So he knew the Roman government processes and he knew the Jewish processes. He was very intimate to those processes.

In Matthew 1 he starts his Gospel with a genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ. He starts it, Matthew 1:1, with “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

[2] To Abraham was born Isaac; and to Isaac, Jacob; and to Jacob, Judah, and his brothers.” He starts back with the first Jew, remember the call of Abraham. He comes forward now in time, verse 6, “and to Jesse was born David the king. [7] And to David was born Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah. [7] And to Solomon was born…” etc. By the way, this is not a classic Jewish genealogy. Do you know why? Women are mentioned in it. Notice which women are mentioned. Look carefully, verse 3, Tamar. Then you have Ruth; then you have “her who had been the wife of Uriah.” All of these women are Gentiles or they are hooked up with some sexual thing. It’s unusual. Why (in the lineage of the Holy Messiah) would Matthew, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, bring this in? First of all, breaking a basic Jewish tradition, and then of all cases, doing this. He’s got something in mind here. Obviously part of what he has in mind is that this genealogy is not some holier-than-thou group of people.

Then he comes down to the end, verse 16, “And to Jacob was born Joseph, the husband of Mary, by whom” that is by Mary, “was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” Then he starts in verse 18 immediately talking about how the birth came about, and how in the first verse of that next section what is he talking about? The virgin birth. He goes on, verse 19 and 20, and then in verse 23 he refers to the Isaiah prophecy of 7:14. So it’s quite clear that Matthew, early in his gospel, is introducing us to this prophecy. But just prior to doing that, he has talked endlessly about this genealogy that has sin in it. Furthermore we know that he is listing, in verse 11 of the genealogy, the very king that Jeremiah says cuts the line off. So what do we say about this?

What Matthew has evidently done, and the critics have missed this by a mile in history, what Matthew has done, being sensitive as he was, to the government, to bureaucracy, and therefore to what? What had he seen in his life of government bureaucracy? Corruption, corruption, corruption. What then when he sets up the genealogy of Jesus Christ is he saying? This Messianic Jewish line of which Israel is proud, this house of David, it’s got corruption, it’s got corruption, it’s got corruption, it’s got a king in it that’s been damned, a king who has been judged as unworthy to have any lineage. And then after he gets done with this genealogy, what is his first thought? The virgin birth of Jesus Christ.

Let’s connect those two. Verses 1-17 can’t be disconnected from verses 18ff. This man, Matthew argues in a logical straight forward fashion. It appears that his logic is that it’s precisely because of the corruption and discipline in the Davidic line, which is the line of Joseph, that Joseph’s line, far from establishing the legitimacy of Jesus disestablishes it on any other basis than the virgin birth. Here’s why. Because Joseph, who is the husband of Mary, is locked into the corrupt Davidic line. He can’t be the father of Jesus. He suffers under the damnation of the Coniah discipline of Jeremiah 22:30 and he’s in a line of corruption. How, out of a line of corruption and discipline is the Messiah ever going to come?

It’s sort of a tongue-in-cheek genealogy that sets us up for his initial thrust, now he says, here’s the birth of Jesus, and I want to show you that the birth of Jesus Christ completely end runs the problem of a corrupt lineage. How does it do it? It does it through a virgin birth. So while he quotes Isaiah 7:14 in a positive sense, he’s building on the idea of Jeremiah 22 in a negative sense. Therefore, the genealogy of Joseph that appears in Matthew’s Gospel is a setup for the virgin birth, and shows in effect that Joseph would disqualify Jesus for Messiahship if He really were the father of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We want to turn to the other genealogy in the New Testament, Luke 3. Usually what happens is some professor gets hold of this in some Bible class at college, and because he has a PhD he thinks he can bully all the students in the classroom, while he lives off the tuition of their hard working parents. In Luke 3 we have the genealogy that begins in verse 23. Notice how he starts his genealogy. Luke is a medical doctor. Luke shows his medical interest because in Luke’s Gospel is the only place you will find the inner thoughts of Mary when she’s pregnant. Church history says that Luke went back before Mary died and he asked her, and that’s where on the human level, led by the Holy Spirit of course, the medical doctor (Luke) was interested in the pregnancy. From a doctor’s point of view he was interested in the pregnancy, so he interviewed her. See for yourself; compare Luke’s Gospel, the Christmas story, with all the other Gospels and you tell me, which one tells you the inner hearts and thoughts of this pregnant woman and the delivery and what she thinks of her child. It’s obviously a doctor’s heart, he’s talked to her, and he shows his perspective that he’s coming at it with.

Luke 3:23 he starts his genealogy with an interesting grammatical construction. He says, “And when He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being supposedly the son of Joseph.” So he’s adhering to the virgin birth also, and he’s doing it in many ways, but he says “supposedly the son of Joseph, the son of Eli,” and the critic in the college classroom say aha, see students, look, we’ve got two genealogies in the New Testament and they conflict, so your Bible isn’t inerrant, it’s got errors in it, it’s written by people, people make mistakes. I’m sorry about your faith as a young Christian but you just have to get mature and give up what your parents have taught you because now you’re coming of age and you can think on your own feet. So he goes down through all this and he says see, verse 31 talks about David, etc. and he whips by it 35 miles an hour, not noticing something about verse 31.

If you look carefully at verse 31, which son of David occurs there? Do you see Solomon listed anywhere in verse 31? No. It’s a different line. See this line got X-ed out. The Bible is precise to the nth decimal place. Jeremiah 22 ends this line. So if Jesus Christ is Davidic He’s got to be Davidic by some other means than through Solomon. And sure enough, Luke provides the answer. David had another son; that son was called Nathan. Nathan had a son, and so on and so on, and it comes down to… now we’ve got the problem. Is this genealogy saying that this is the genealogy of Joseph, so that we have a Joseph genealogy in Matthew 1 and a Joseph genealogy in Luke 3 and they both conflict. Is that what this is saying? Over the years Christians have looked at this, some college professor isn’t the first person to think about this. There have been one or two other intelligent people down through church history who have looked at this problem. It’s not new, and the consensus is that this is a genealogy that is actually Mary’s, but if you’re going to say that, you have to explain verse 23. Why is Joseph’s name at the head of it and not Mary’s name?

Turn to page 22 in the notes. Fruchtenbaum has an excellent explanation for this. “Fruchtenbaum tells us the Jewish background of using a husband’s name in his wife’s genealogy: ‘If, by Jewish law, you could not mention the name of a woman but you wished to trace a woman’s line, how would you go about doing so?” Remember what we said about the Matthew genealogy, that wasn’t a real cool Jewish genealogy, it had four women in it, you don’t do that. “‘If, by Jewish law, you could not mention the name of a woman but you wished to trace a woman’s line, how would you go about doing so? The answer is that you would use the name of her husband. That raises a second question. If you were to use the husband’s name…how would [you] know whether the genealogy is that of the husband or that of the wife … In the Greek text of Luke’s genealogy, every single name mentioned has the Greek article,” ho or the, O the omicron and then the noun for masculine nouns. It has that article. “…ever single name mentioned has the Greek article the, with one exception, and that is the name of Joseph,” in verse 23. So when you start observing the text, and you observe this, you observe this, you observe this, you observe this, you observe this, you observe this, you observe this, bang, pattern broken. Verse 23, pattern broken!

That sets off questions, why is the text’s pattern that’s perfect for the rest of the genealogy, why is it different at Joseph. That’s what we’re talking about. “Joseph’s name does not have the definite article “the” in front of it, while all the other names do. What that would mean to someone reading the original is this: When he saw the definite article missing from Joseph’s name, while it was present in all the other names, it would then mean that this was not really Joseph’s genealogy, but rather it is Mary’s genealogy. But in keeping with Jewish law, it was the husband’s name that was used. We have two examples of this in the Old Testament: Ezra 2:61 and Nehemiah 7:63.”

So to conclude what we’re saying tonight: the virgin birth is built in by several necessities in the rationale of God. God has a perfect plan for history, He has a perfect plan for our life, He doesn’t do things in a scattered messy way. So our first reason why the virgin birth is necessary is that it is necessary because of God’s prophetic Word. God predicted it, God set up a situation in Old Testament history which could not result in anything other than a virgin born Messiah.

Next week we’re going to deal with the legal moral necessity on page 23 of the notes, and the spiritual necessity; there’s more to this virgin thing. But I want us to appreciate that the virgin birth is not a theological option, a peripheral item. The Apostle’s Creed talks about Jesus Christ who was born of a virgin, and the reason it does so is because the men who wrote that understood that Jesus Christ could not be who He claimed to be unless He was virgin born. We’ll continue that study and we’re going to work, obviously in the birth of Christ on to the heart of who He is. We will identify, as specifically as the church has been able to do down through the centuries that Jesus Christ is God, there’s a phrase that we are going to repeat over and over. Here it is, it’s from the Council of Chalcedon; 500 years of discussion went into this sentence. Jesus Christ is undiminished deity united with true humanity, without confusion forever.

Four things are stated about Christ and every one of those four statements has been fought, opposed, attacked, and argued about, is He really undiminished deity or was He diminished. When he walked around the earth, did He diminish and compromise His deity. Was He really God when He walked the earth? Is He undiminished deity? Was He really true humanity? How could God come upon a man and not wreck the humanity? How could Jesus have a human spirit? How could Jesus have a human soul? How could Jesus walk around with the mind of a man and yet also be undiminished deity? He was undiminished deity, He was true humanity, but if He is both of those, then how do you deal with the Creator/creature distinction, which must be existing forever and ever. That’s why the church added “He is undiminished deity, He is true humanity, united without mixture.” No confusion. No blurring of the Creator/creature distinction. How long? For ever and ever. Will there ever be a time when we will know Jesus Christ not as a human being? Never. For billions of years into eternity He will always be a man, and that makes Him our high priest. There are a lot of exciting things that happen to us because of His humanity.

Allah, and all the other gods that supposedly exist, never come to this earth and get dirt under their fingernails. Allah can’t judge us as our peer. There’s a principle in court, in jurisprudence, we flippantly refer to this, trial by jury, and trial by a jury of peers. What does a trial by a jury of peers do? Why do we have trial by jury of peers? That gets away from the old European condition where you would have the nobles in a courtroom attacking some poor peasant, they don’t have a clue what this poor peasant has gone through, they’re eating cake while the peasant is trying to scrounge scraps off the streets. They can’t identify with them, so how can you judge a person’s behavior if you haven’t walked in their path. That’s the power in the book of Hebrews when it says “we have not an high priest that cannot be touched with” the feelings, or our infirmities. What does that mean? It means Jesus is our peer. That’s why those church father’s labored so many centuries to protect us, and to argue for the true humanity of Jesus Christ.

If He isn’t true humanity, then when He judges us we don’t really have a fair trial. But you see Jesus can be fair trial. That’s why God the Father has turned over to God the Son all judgment; Jesus says so, all judgment has been turned over to Me. Why is that? The Father can’t be a peer judge. Only God the Son can be a peer judge. Only God the Son can blow away all the smoke, He can blow away all the excuses, and we can’t come to Him and say this, that and something else, He says I walked in your life, I walked on planet earth, I faced the temptations of Satan just like you faced it. We’re going to also deal with the excuse a lot of people give, well Jesus didn’t have a sin nature, He didn’t have flesh. We’ll get to that. That’s called the doctrine of the impeccability of Christ. That was a doctrine of the church. The church thought about these things; we guys in the 20th century aren’t the first guys to think about these things. The church already thought about these, already gave an answer to it, already studied the Scriptures, nothing new here. All we have to do is get smart and read, and listen to what the Holy Spirit has taught the saints that have gone before us.

Question asked: Clough replies: The question asked was: is it true that every Jewish woman hoped that she would be the mother of the Messiah. I’m not sure, I haven’t asked, I haven’t seen Arnold Fruchtenbaum in years, I would trust his judgment. It would take a Jewish Hebrew Christian for that insight.

Question asked: Clough replies: The question is what was Eve thinking, and the commentators generally hold that the expression that Eve uses when she names Cain, it’s an unusual expression, and she apparently believes that something special is happening there. That’s in line with the fact that all prophecy has built in time expansion to it, so that when it’s given it always seems like it’s imminent, and then God unfolds, it’s like an accordion, He unfolds it. Remember the 70 years, the exile is only supposed to be 70 years, when you get to the end of the exile what does Daniel do? He prays, thinking that 70 years, that’s what it says in Jeremiah, the 70 years are up, I confess the sins of the nation, the whole nation of Israel should come back to the land. He starts praying a prayer and what happens? An angel comes and says, Daniel actually it’s going to be seventy sevens. So all of a sudden extra time; it’s true in 70 years literally, part of the nation will come back to the land. So the prophecy is valid, but there’s an extra dimension built into it. That happens again and again in the Bible, so that’s not unusual that Eve would think that.

Question asked: Clough replies: The idea that you’ve brought up that you see these virgin themes, usually she’s sacrificed or she’s worshiped, it’s really amazing the polarity. The worship of the virgin goes back even to Babylon. A man in the 19th century, Hislop that wrote the story of The Two Babylon’s, and he’s got evidence after evidence after evidence complete with archeological sources where you can see it, where whole pagan cults surrounded the worship of the virgin and her child…“the virgin and her child.” Where did this come from? In fact, one of the constellations is Virgo; where did that come from? What is the pagan world, if we’re going to think biblically and not just anthropologically, if we think biblically when we deal with anthropology instead of just thinking Darwinianly, pagan society is a corrupted survival of Noah. Everybody got off the boat, so all these religions out there must be taking the truths that were passed to them originally from Noah and his sons, Ham, Shem and Japheth and their sons.

Keep in mind that Noah lived for centuries after the flood, a long time to train his sons and his daughters-in-law on all of the content of Genesis 1–10. Those people knew, it’s not a case of people didn’t hear, it’s a case where that is a satanic counterfeit distortion of the virgin theme in prophecy. And far from being a noble virgin, by “noble” I mean not of character but noble in the sense of the upper class virgin that was worshiped, here you have a lowly Jewish teenager. It’s the fact that God end runs, His version isn’t some queen; His version is just a simple ordinary Jewish girl in the village. That’s the miracle and that’s how our God works. But she is a virgin, and she’s a virgin like no pagan religion ever could have conceived, because all of their perversions in the end were fake. It’s good that you brought it up because the problem we have in our education is we’re brought up to think in the wrong frame of reference. Then we get in trouble because we try to fit the Bible into this wrong frame of reference.

The wrong frame of reference is that we forget about Noah, we forget about the lineage of the pagan peoples back to Noah. We keep thinking of them as just these people groups that are scattered hither and yon, and there’s something in the psyche of humanity because we have to explain why does the virgin birth occur in this people group, that people group, some other people group, so discarding Noah, keeping him out of the issue, keeping the Bible out of the issue, we’ve got to come up with an alternate explanation. The alternate explanation is there is some deep psychic thing in the gender war, and the female gender has this power over the men, and it is related to this virgin thing, some screwy arrangement like that, some big psychological thing. Once you accept that as the explanation for the rise of this in all the pagan societies, then what happens when it appears in the New Testament? It’s all explained away. You can’t let yourself become snookered into this frame of reference. That’s why it’s so important; I say over and over again, why we had to come from Genesis through the flood, through the Old Testament history up to Jesus, because now it’s going to pay off.

Now we can look at Jesus’ virgin birth and we can see here’s why. There were reasons why it happens. The liberal, and I was not a Christian growing up and I can remember going to church and hearing this priest tell that basically that was a story, that was a good religious story, it was enabling. Come on! Jack and the Beanstalk might be enabling, but we’re talking validity, truth here. Even as a non-Christian I can remember thinking to myself, well fella, what are you employed to do around here, I might as well go home and read a book review as to come to church. What do you have to offer me if you’re just telling me that this book is a big storybook. Hey, I’ve got other things to do on Sunday morning; I don’t have to come here.

So it’s very, very important to see the framework and how it meets up. You can now see why the Lord took so many centuries before Jesus came on the scene. This all had to be digested. Men had to appreciate why the Messiah had to come as a perfect King. They first had to see David and his families, they had to see Solomon and his families, they had to see the collapse of the monarchy to realize that we need leadership, but gosh, human flesh is flesh and we keep getting disappointed. That’s why, under the Holy Spirit in the New Testament you have that transfer; Psalm 2 is a good case of transfer, Psalm 110 the transfer. The transfer is from David and the house of David to the ideal Messiah that they never could be, but the experience of David was necessary to make people appreciate what would be required in the Messiah. If Messiah came in Joshua’s day, there was no experience of the monarchy to understand why He’d have to be King. Jesus is said to be King of King and Lord of Lords. That doesn’t make sense if you haven’t had an experience with Kings and Lords.

That’s why I think the Second Advent is close because our generation and the generation before us and our parent’s generation, if you think about it, we are getting globally conscious for the first time. Things have happened in one place on earth and immediately… you’re having people in Africa respond to something in Europe, etc. You go to your computer at 8:00 in the morning and there’s a big report on what was going on all night around the other side of the world. We’ve got this globalness that we’ve never had before. It makes sense that this itself is a preparation. So when Christ comes He sets up this millennial kingdom, it will be a global world government. It will be appreciated. A person in the Middle Ages couldn’t appreciate Jesus as a global ruler because they didn’t even know what the globe was. I think it’s all just step by step God taking His time, doing it in His usual careful way so every step is going to be in place.

Has anybody ever thought about, you can speculate this and there’s no text of Scripture, but can you imagine the years between the birth of Jesus and the time He started His ministry? I wonder what it was like in the family. Do you know what’s interesting about His family, because we have some of his half-brothers writing the New Testament, James and Jude? It’s interesting that there’s not a record of any of His brothers or sisters believing on Him. I think that’s rather remarkable. You can get yourself under a guilt trip reading some Christian devotional, I’m not saying Christian devotional literature is wrong, a lot of it is very good, but you can get under a guilt trip if you’re a parent and your kids go astray and you think oh man, what did I do wrong, and you live under that for years; if I had just said something different, if I had just been different, done this or that, and you blame yourself for everything your kids do. Or reverse it, you feel embarrassed or ashamed by your family or something. Think about it. The Lord Jesus Christ didn’t lead one of His brothers or sisters to Himself. Does that mean He didn’t live a Christ-like life? No. And He didn’t get a big guilt complex. The Gospels say that His brothers and sisters laughed at Him. How do you put that one on? Couldn’t they see living with this guy that there was a difference? Maybe they did and that repulsed them, maybe the story of His birth repulsed them.

Later on you’ll see, the next section in the notes I’m going to deal with what the Jews said about Mary. Wait till you see this, the stories that were passed around in Jewish society about Mary. She had to live under this; this was big time news, this virgin birth thing and Mary. Liberals can say that that claim was made in church history, but it’s a very funny thing—why is it that we have contemporary Jews that call Jesus “the bastard.” Why is that going around early? Clearly it’s a reaction to something. What was it? The Jews even have a story that Mary shacked up with a Roman soldier, that’s how she produced Jesus. All these are early stories that went on, and to me it’s great to know that because you can get a feel of the story. Somebody says oh, the virgin birth, yah, yah, yah. Well that’s interesting, then why was Jesus called “the bastard” by His contempor­aries. Oh, I never read that. Yeah, that’s your problem.

Someone says: … talking about Mary and do you think the angel ever appeared to anyone else before Mary and they said no, because think of Mary, she’s engaged, and she wants to be married to Joseph, and when she said yes to the Lord, there was a chance that she would lose Joseph. That was a scary acceptance.

Clough replies: Absolutely. Frances Schaeffer does that. She just mentioned Elizabeth Elliot mentioning think of what a decision, the New Testament brushes it over in a verse. If you read the text, the angel is talking to her, a big cosmic event, and the text says, Mary “the handmaid of the Lord” says well “be it unto me according to your Word,” [Luke 1:38] and it’s just so kind of casual that you get the idea, no big deal, I’ll be the virgin mother, no problem. Elisabeth Elliot is absolutely right; can you imagine being a teenage girl in a monotheistic, very religious, very strict society. Here you are, you’re in love with this guy, a great guy, and your life is with this, because if you have a problem and you get labeled as somebody that’s off beat, you’d better go to another country because you’re not going to be around that village long. So here’s she is, and she’s got to inherit a scandal, a major scandal that will probably blow her whole love relationship with this guy that she loves, and she does that for the Lord. That’s true, we haven’t got time to get into that text but that’s one of those neat texts that you really do want to read and try to empathize and get in her hear, and you realize what a spiritually mature woman this Mary was. She was only a young teenager, probably, at the time, and yet she chose such spiritual vitality, strength and poise.

Question asked: Clough replies: We have to come with an answer to those two genealogies and I think the Christian scholars over the centuries are right, and I think this is the way of handling Matthew’s juxtaposition of the genealogy ahead of the virgin birth. I think it’s not some fantastic speculation when you think about Matthew’s background. Matthew is a guy who, if you read him carefully in his Gospel, he’s always the one that’s talking about the parties Jesus had, and who He associated with. Think about it. Matthew is a tax collector; he was a guy who was out in the street. He could evaluate people, he had to. He had to be able to tell whether people were liars or not, because he had to find out whether he was putting them on; he was collecting taxes, and if he didn’t bring in the dough, then he was fired … or worse! So he had an astute sense of people on the street. This is the guy, with that in mind, thinking who Matthew is, read the Gospel again and read what he talks about when Jesus gets in these parties with the publicans and sinners, and everybody is making fun of Him. It’s like Matthew enjoys that, he likes that, he thinks that’s cool.