As I have stated in previous posts, I am attempting to study the first book of the New Testament of the Bible entitled, “Matthew”. I am hoping to glean many life lessons and pass them on to others. I am employing the use of the Inductive Study method. Also, I am attempting to put these out every Thursday, and the other postings of life on various other days. So if you come by this blog on Thursday afternoons, there is usually a new “Matthew post” to read. Thank you again for your support and let me know if there is anything you would like to add, clear up, or know more about that I might be able to help with. And off we go…
In this portion of Matthew chapter 4, Jesus goes about all Galilee doing three things: teaching, preaching, and healing. As noted before, Galilee is the area on the north of the sea of Galilee. This is where He called some of His disciples to “Follow Me.” So, Andrew, Simon Peter, James, and John followed Jesus witnessing first-hand the miraculous. They got to see up close the things that Jesus did as well as learn first-hand from Jesus Himself as opposed to reading it in a book. I am so very grateful for the Bible, this great big book that I can learn from and become a better follower of Christ. However, to have been in the presence of Jesus and be able to ask Him questions receiving teaching and understanding and wisdom right there would have been amazing to say the very, very least.
In this first of these three verses, it says that He went all about Galilee. He went to their synagogues and taught, His disciples in tow. I imagine Him clearing up misunderstandings about the Scriptures and, as the people at the synagogues asked questions to their neighbor or the priest, I imagine Him answering so as to impart understanding that will go out to others as well. These people learn and understand, then they tell those on the way home, and then they tell those in their homes. And then when they are out and about, they tell those around them. Soon many others understand what was written in the Scriptures. He expounded upon what was previously spoken of before His coming to fulfill what was written. Before it was His time, He had to continue John’s most previous work of preparing the way, and making the rough areas smooth. So that when Jesus fulfilled the prophecies and made a way for us to be in the Father’s presence once again, we would understand what was going on. He taught in the synagogues first because that is who He came for first. He came to teach and clarify what was said, what was written, what was happening, and what will come. Then He worked His way out from those points.
We went all about Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom. The gospel being the good news. Jesus has come to save that which was lost and bring back to the fold what had run away or been taken away. He came to bring us into right standing with the Father in a way that we ourselves could not do for ourselves. The teaching was in the synagogues, whereas the preaching was in the rest of Galilee, whether it be in a house or in a field didn’t matter. Looking in Strong’s Concordance to find out the specific Greek word that was used here for “preaching”, it brought me to kerusso, which means “to herald (a publish as a crier), especially divine truth (the gospel). Kerusso signifies “to preach the gospel as a herald”. So Jesus was crying out, more specifically loudly speaking so as others around can hear.
So what is the “gospel of the kingdom”? Again reaching out to the Strong’s Concordance, I looked up the Greek word that was written and translated for this word “kingdom”. The word is basileia, which is used especially of the “kingdom” of God and of Christ. The Kingdom of God is the sphere of God’s rule: “For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and He is the governor among the nations” (Ps 22:28; cf. 145:13; Dan 4:25; Lk 1:52; Rom 13:1,2) Since, however, this earth is the scene of universal rebellion against God, the “kingdom: of God is the sphere in which, at any given time, His rule is acknowledged. God has not relinquished His sovereignty in the face of His purpose to establish it: “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever” (Dan 2:44; cf. 7:14; 1 Cor 15:24, 25). Meantime, seeking willing obedience, He gave His law to a nation and appointed kings to administer His “kingdom” over it, 1 Chr 28:5. Israel, however, though declaring still a nominal allegiance shared in the common rebellion, Is 1:2-4, and, after they had rejected the Son of God, Jn 1:11 (cf. Mt 21:33-43), were “cast away.” Rom 11:15, 20, 25. Henceforth God calls upon men everywhere, without distinction of race or nationality, to submit voluntarily to His rule. Thus the “kingdom” is said to be “in mystery” now, Mk 4:11, that is, it does not come within the range of the natural powers of observation, Lk 17:20, but is spiritually discerned. When, hereafter, God asserts His rule universally, Christ will return to establish His earthly rule; then the “kingdom” will be in glory of the rebuilt Davidic, Messianic Kingdom, that is, it will be manifest to all.
Thus, speaking generally, references to the Kingdom fall into two classes. The first, in which it is viewed as present and involving suffering for those who enter it. The second, in which it is viewed as future and is associated with reward and glory. The fundamental principle of the Kingdom is declared in the words of the Lord spoken in the midst of a company of Pharisees, “the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you,” Lk 17:21, that is, where the King is, there is a Kingdom. Thus at the present time and so far as this earth is concerned, where the King is and where His rule is acknowledged, is, first in the heart of the individual believer, and then in the churches of God. Now the King and His rule being refused, those who enter the Kingdom of God are brought into conflict with all who disown its allegiance, as well as with the desire for ease, and the dislike of suffering and unpopularity, natural to all. On the other hand, subjects of the Kingdom are the objects of the care of God, Mt 6:33, and of the rejected King, Heb 13:5.
Entrance into the Kingdom of God is by the new birth, Mt 18:3, Jn 3:5, for nothing that a man may be by nature, or can attain to by any form of self-culture, avails in the spiritual realm. And as the new nature, received in the new birth, is made evident by obedience, it is further said that only such as do the will of God shall enter into His Kingdom, Mt 7:21. Where, however, the context shows that the reference is to the future, as in 2 Pet 1:10 and Eph 5:5 (and others). There is but one Kingdom variously described: of the Son of Man; of Jesus; of Christ Jesus; of Christ and God; of our Lord, and of His Christ; of our God, and the authority of His Christ; of the Son of His love. Concerning the future, the Lord taught His disciples to pray “Thy Kingdom come,” Mt 6:10, where the verb is in the point tense, precluding the notion of gradual progress and development, and implying a sudden establishment of the kingdom as declared in 2 Th 2:8. Concerning the present, that a man is of the Kingdom of God is not shown in the punctilious observance of ordinances, which are external and material, but in the deeper matters of the heart, which are spiritual and essential.
With regard to the expressions “the Kingdom of God” and the “Kingdom of the Heavens,” while they are often used interchangeably, it does not follow that in every case they mean exactly the same and are quite identical. The Apostle Paul often speaks of the Kingdom of God, not dispensationally but morally, e.g., Rom 14:17; 1 Cor 4:20, but never so of the Kingdom of Heaven. “God” is not the equivalent of “the heavens.” He is everywhere and above all dispensations, whereas ‘the heavens’ are distinguished from the earth, until the Kingdom comes in judgment and power and glory (Rev 11:15) when rule in heaven and on earth will be one. While, then, the sphere of the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven are at times identical, yet the one term cannot be used indiscriminately for the other. In the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ (32 times in Mt), heaven is in antithesis to earth, and the phrase is stressing the originating point for the kingdom. It will come from heaven (Jn 18:36), not raised up from the earth. In the ‘Kingdom of God’ , in its broader aspect, God is in antithesis to ‘man’ or ‘the world,’ and the term signifies the entire sphere of God’s rule and action in relation to the world. It has a moral and spiritual force and is a general term for the Kingdom at any time. The Kingdom of [from, genitive of source] Heaven is always the Kingdom of God, but the Kingdom of God is not limited to the Kingdom of Heaven until in their final form, they become identical, e.g. Jn 3:5; Rev 11:15; Rev 12:10.
The last four paragraphs are from Strong’s Concordance on page 51-52 of the Greek portion. It is very wordy, but it gives a clear and distinct picture of what the “Kingdom” signifies. This what Jesus is proclaiming and preaching to the Galileans to begin His ministry. And he rounds out His journey here with healing. He heals so many people in “all” manner of sickness and “all” manner of disease among the people. The emphasis on “all” is mine. This “all” sticks out to me. It’s as though He did not judge at this time who “deserved” healing and who didn’t. He simply and menially took to the task of healing all who were there. All who sought Him out were healed. That is something that “gets me in the feels” so to speak. It really resonates with me that seeking Him out heals me. Maybe not the way I expect, but it is healing nonetheless, in the way that I need it.
And so as the fame of Him spread throughout the region, more and more people came. More people with diverse disease, sicknesses, torments, possessions, lunatic, and those with the palsy came to be healed. There is an explanation by Dake that tells us about “Demons or Unclean Spirits” on page 1049 of O.T. in the Dake Study Bible (of which I use a lot solely for studying in depth). I am going to skip through all of the verse references and just relay the information so as to simplify the reading of it.
Definition and usage of the terms devil and demons. The word demon is not found in Scripture, but it means evil spirit or devil. The word devil is used of Satan, the prince of demons. He is the chief devil and the original source of evil in the universe. The Greek word for devil used in connection with Satan is diabolos, meaning adversary, false accuser, slanderer, devil. It is used of men and translated false accuser and slanderer. It is translated devil once as applying to Judas when he became an adversary of Christ. In 34 other places it is translated devil and used of Satan as the chief adversary of God. In the other 77 places where the words devil and devils are found, they refer to evil spirits or demons and are derived from the Greek words daimonion and daimon, meaning evil spirits or devils, and daimonizomai, to have or be possessed by a devil. There is only one prince of devils but many demons. He has an angelic body and cannot enter bodily into anyone, but demons are disembodied spirits and do not seem to be able to operate in the material world except through possession of the bodies of men or beasts.
The nature of demons. They are evil; intelligent and wise; powerful; disembodied spirits; not angels; not human, for they possess men and can be cast out; and are individuals. They have knowledge; faith; feelings; fellowship; doctrines; wills; miraculous powers; emotions; desires; and other soul and spirit faculties.
The work of demons. They possess people and cause: dumbness and deafness; blindness; grievous vexation; lunacy and mania; uncleannes (called unclean spirits 20 times); supernatural strength; suicide; convulsions; lusts; counterfeit worship; error; sicknesses and diseases; torments; deceptions; lying; enchantments and witchcraft; wickedness; fear; love of world; bondage; discord; violence; betrayals; oppression; sin; persecution; jealousy; false prophecy; and every other evil they possibly can, to work against man and God.
They can teach; steal; fight; become fierce and wrathful; tell fortunes; be friendly (called familiar spirits 16 times); go out and come back into men as they will, unless cast out and rejected; travel; speak; imitate departed dead; and do many other things when in possession of bodies they are permitted to operate through. They are called devils; familiar spirits; unclean spirits; evil spirits; and seducing spirits.
General facts about demons. They are subject to Christ and made subjects to believers by the atonement, the name of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Thousands of them can enter into and take possession of one man at the same time. They must be discerned, tested, resisted, and rejected by leievers. They have more than ordinary intelligence. Their rightful place is in the abyss. They have personality; are disembodied; are Satan’s emissaries; and are numerous. They can enter into and control both men and beasts, and seek embodiment. Demon possession and demon influence are different. Demons know their fate and recognize those who have power over them. They fear God; inflict physical maladies; wage war on saints; and influence men. All unbelievers are more or less in league with them. The only resources against them are prayer, bodily control, and the whole armor of God (Mt 17:21; Eph 6:10-18).
There are demon spirits for every sickness, unholy trait, and doctrinal error known among men. They must be cast out or resisted in order to experience relief from them. Disease germs, which are closely allied with unclean spirits, are really living forms of corruption which come into the bodies of men bringing them to death. Just as refuse breeds maggots, so man in his fallen state of corruption breeds germs through unclean living and contact with corruption in the fallen world. They are agents of Satan, corrupting the bodies of his victims. Traffic with demon spirits is forbidden in both testaments.
Jesus healed all of these that were brought before Him. And a great multitude followed Him from all over that region coming from Galilee, Decapolis, from Jerusalem, from Judaea, and from beyond the Jordan. So they were taking up to a hundred mile trip (or around 150 km) in some cases just to see Jesus, and as they get closer realize that He is healing everything, and they tell others along the way which enforces their reserve to see Him. So in essence thousands of people are seeking Him and surrounding Him. This must have been an amazing sight. So many searching for Him, their focus on Him and seeing Him face to face. That resonates with me, and I’m sure I am not alone in this.
In all of this seeking out of various informational sources, I did not seek a commentary, but I think that I might in future posts. This is a lot of information for three verses, but all of this is foundational to the rest of the book. And in these three verse, my take away is to seek Jesus. He is teaching. He is preaching the Kingdom (the way to the Father’s presence). And He is healing all who seek Him. As my mind, body, and soul are fixated on Him, focusing on Him, His life, death, resurrection, and return, I am healed. And in being healed, I am better able to tell others where to get healing and learning from. Jesus Christ.
Gotta go fill up my cup…