Biblical scholars have long ago arranged Matthews Gospel into five main sections, which they point out correspond with the five books of Moses, also known as the TORAH. The Jewish people call the entire Old Testament THE TANACH. All five main sections refer to Jesus’ teachings:
Section One: SERMON ON THE MOUNT 5-7)
Section Two: JESUS PERFORMS MIRACLES AND SENDS HIS DISCIPLES (8-10)
Section Three: PARABLES ABOUT THE KINGDOM (13)
Section Four: HOW GREATNESS WORKS IN THE KINGDOM (18)
Section Five: JUDGMENT IN THE KINGDOM TO COME (24-25)
Matthew simply states WHO JESUS IS and NOW YOU HAVE TO WRESTLE THROUGH THE IMPLICATIONS YOURSELF. Matthew is fully convinced that presenting Jesus this way to us, we will get to know Jesus and also get to know who we are.
In the Hebrew text the words used to describe the earth are TOHU and BOHU.
IN THE PHYSICAL REALM MEANS: without form and void or chaotic.
IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM MEANS: that which is nonfunctional and unproductive
John Walton in his book: “The Lost World of Genesis One” writes:
“In the Old Testament God has no needs and focuses functionality around people. Consequently, functionality cannot exist without people in the picture.
In Genesis people are not put in place until day six, but functionality is established with their needs and situation in mind.
This conclusion is further supported by the meaning of the repeated formula “it was good,” which I propose refers to “functioning properly”.
Such a conclusion is not arbitrary but based on the context.
Throughout Genesis 1 any number of possible meanings have been proposed for “good”. In the history of interpretation, it has often been understood in MORAL/ETHICAL terms or as a reference to the QUALITY OF WORKMANSHIP.
While the Hebrew term could be used in any of those ways, the context indicates a different direction. We can find out what the author means when saying all of these things are “good” by inquiring what it would mean for something NOT TO BE GOOD.
Fortunately, the near context offers us just such an opportunity: “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18)
This has nothing to do with moral perfection or quality of workmanship – IT IS A COMMENT CONCERNING FUNCTION.
The human condition is not functionally complete without the women. Thus, throughout Genesis 1 the refrain “it was good”, expressed the functional readiness of the cosmos for human beings. Readers were assured that all functions were operating well and in accord with God’s purposes and directions.”
Matthew 1:1-17 Matthew 5:17 1. Matthew STARTS IN GENESIS 2. Matthew HIGHLIGHTS OLD TESTAMENT SCANDALS 3. Matthew INCLUDES THE PSALMS 4. Matthew INCLUDES THE PROPHETS Amos 3:7 Luke 24:19-27 5. Matthew INCLUDES THE TORAH Genesis 49:8-10 Genesis 49:26 Deuteronomy 33:13-16 Matthew 1:2
UNDERSTANDING THE UNSEEN REALM by recovering the supernatural worldview of the Bible THE FREEDOM found in the Gospel according to the Apostle Paul as he wrote in the Epistle to the Galatians POWER OF WORDS WHEN GOD INTERVENES – a look at the prophet Jonah 2020—THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW
Founder, Jack Dorsey, explains,
“We came across the word ‘twitter’, and it was just perfect. The definition was ‘a short burst of inconsequential information,’ and ‘chirps from birds’. And that’s exactly what the product was.”
Jonathan Zittrain, professor of Internet law at Harvard says,
“The qualities that make Twitter seem insane and half-baked are what makes it so powerful.”
But just because a message is short, does not mean it is insignificant.
Horatio Spafford saw his life collapse when he heard his four daughters had drowned in a shipwreck. This news came from his wife’s poignant telegram: “Saved Alone.”
What made Gordon Wilson a standout was that he as a Christian forgave those who planted and activated the bomb that killed his daughter. Many other Christians could not understand what Gordon Wilson was doing.
Mary McAleese writes:
“It was as if Gordon and spoken those words of forgiveness for the first time in human history, as if Christ had never uttered the words, “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing.” One outspoken critic, who was Christian, said to me about Gordon Wilson. “Surely, the poor man must have been in shock,” as if offering love and forgiveness is a sign of mental weakness instead of spiritual strength.”
“Those who cherish worthless idols abandon their faithful love, but as for me, I will sacrifice to you with a voice of thanksgiving. I will fulfill what I have vowed. Salvation belongs to the Lord.”
Jonah learned this sentence of good theology in a strange college.
Most of the grand truths of God have to be learned by trouble. They must be burned into us with the hot iron of affliction; otherwise we will not truly receive them.
No man is competent to judge in matters of the kingdom of God until he first has been tried – since there are many things to be learned in the depths that we can never know in the heights. We discover many secrets in the caverns of the ocean, which though we had soared to heaven, we could never have known.” Charles Spurgeon
Jonah’s sermon was 5 Hebrew words;
• Jonah gives a time (40 days)
• Nineveh will be overthrown
• He never says how Nineveh will be overthrown
• nor does he mention WHY Nineveh will be overthrown.
• He does not say HOW THEY COULD AVOID THIS DISASTER
• Jonah is there to represent Yahweh yet never mentions Yahweh
John H Walton in his book “The Lost World of Genesis” writes:
“As complicated as translating a foreign language can be, translating a foreign culture is infinitely more difficult. The problem lies in the act of translating. Translation involves lifting the ideas from their native context and relocating them in our own context.
When we move to the level of culture, the same type of problem occurs. The “very act of trying to translate the culture requires taking it out of its context and fitting it into ours.
(However), the minute anyone attempts to translate the culture, we run the risk of making the text communicate something it never intended.“
Eventually John Walton arrives at the conclusion that:
“We can begin to understand the culture BY BECOMING FAMILIAR WITH ITS LITERATURE.”
In other words, regarding Jonah, we read the story in English and outside it’s cultural context and that’s the reason we read and hear so many different approaches to what God is communicating with this story. Remember, the Bible was never written TO us; the Bible was written to the people that lived during those days when it was written, primarily to ISRAEL.
But the Bible was written FOR us. Jonah was written FOR US, and we can learn the incredible lessons about God and God’s people.
Circumstances are not reliable indicators of WHO GOD IS AND IF HE LOVES US OR NOT. THE ONLY RELIALBE INDICATOR OF WHO GOD IS AND HOW HE LOVE US is to look to Jesus, His life, His death, and His resurrection. That’s exactly what Jesus meant when he answered the religious people of his days WHAT SIGN HE WOULD GIVE THEM. Matthew 12:39-41
Jonah has free will and can run away from the presence of the Lord, just like you and I can if we chose to do so, BUT GOD WILL BRING A STORM INTO THE LIFE OF JONAH THAT WILL AFFECT NOT JUST JONAH, BUT EVERYONE WHO IS IN DIRECT CONTACT WITH JONAH.
Tony Evans in his book “DESTINY” writes:
“The Bible is not an anthology of random stories. The thread that ties the entire Bible together is the theme of the kingdom. God’s goal is to see His rule and authority cover the earth through the expansion of His kingdom. That is God’s purpose in history.
Scripture was penned in order to facilitate that one agenda. The unifying central theme of the Bible is the glory of God through the advancement of His kingdom. Every event, story, and personality from Genesis to Revelation is there to stitch that theme together.
Without that theme, the Bible becomes a collection of disconnected stories that seem to be unrelated to one another.”
To quote Tony Evans one more time
“When you live out your destiny, you don’t measure what you have done according to what someone else has done. Nor is your destiny to be CONFUSED WITH A BUSY LIFE.
When your life is filled with purpose, you measure what you have done according to what you were created to do.”
Chuck Swindoll in his Study Bible says:
“Jonah’s prophetic ministry to the Assyrians is an example of God’s care for all the nations of the earth to turn from their sin and idol worship and to recognize Him as the one true God.”
The book of Jonah stands as an important link in the prophetic chain,
giving readers a picture of Christ’s death and resurrection hundreds of years before these events occurred.”
Nineveh is the capital city of the Assyrian Empire.
Ashur-Dan III (772-754) sat on the throne of Assyria.
In 1912, Lewis Spence published the book titled:
MYTH & LEGENDS OF BABYLONIA & ASSYRIA. According to Lewis Spence,
“The entire faith in and dependence on their beloved deity on the part of these early Assyrian rulers is touching. The monarchs of Assyria retained the right to call themselves ‘priests of the god Asshur’.
Archeologists found a tablet where the prayer to Asshur was engraved:
“A prayer TO ASSHUR, the king of the gods,
ruler over heaven and earth,
the father who has created the gods,
the supreme first-born of heaven and earth,
the supreme muttallu who inclines to counsel,
the giver of the scepter and the throne.
TO NIL-LIL, the wife of Asshur,
The begetter, the creatress of heaven and earth,
TO SIN, the lord of command, the uplifter of horns,
The spectacle of heaven,
TO THE SUN-GOD, the great judge of the gods,
Who causes the lightning to issue forth,
TO ANU, the lord and prince, possessing the life of Asshur,
The father of the great gods.
TO RAMMON, the minister of heaven and earth,
The lord of the wind and the lightning of heaven.
TO ISHTAR, the queen of heaven and the stars, whose seat is exalted.
TO MERODACH, the prince of the gods,
The interpreter of the spirits of heaven and earth.
TO ADAR, the son of MUL-LIL the giant, the first born.
TO NEBO, the messenger of Asshur,
TO NERGAL, the lord of might and strength
TO THE GOD who marches in front, the first born
TO THE SEVEN GODS, the warrior deities,
TO THE GREAT GODS, the lords of heaven and earth.
Michael Heiser in his book “The Unseen Realm” in a summary statement says:
“The kingdom of God is already a present reality but isn’t yet realized. John the Baptist announced it. He introduced its king. Jesus preached its arrival and demonstrated what life in God’s Edenic world could and would be like; no disease, no infirmity, no demonic opposition.
The New Testament makes the rebirth of a struggle thousands of years in the making. The people of God have been isolated and under foreign rule. The divine presence of the days of Moses, David, Salomon, and the prophets is nothing but memory. When angels visit Mary and Zechariah to announce the impending births of Jesus and John, centuries of divine silence are broken. Thirty years later, Judea will explode. The unseen spiritual conflict is even more volatile.
Every chapter of the New Testament provides a glimpse into this conflict. The cosmic geography of the Old Testament is evident in the New. Where Jesus goes and what he says and does when he gets there is framed by confrontation with unseen powers. The conflict pursues him unto death – as God had planned, and as Jesus provoked. THE KINGDOM OF GOD ESTABLISHES A PERMANENT BEACHHEAD AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS AND THE DOOR OF THE EMPTY TOMB.