The Eternal King Arrives – Matthew 1

The fulfillment of the genealogy of Jesus Christ would occur one quiet night in the manger of an animal stable in the town of Bethlehem, the birthplace of King David, just as God had planned since the creation of the world.  The King for eternity would arrive on earth not in a plush palace, but in the humblest of circumstances.  Israel’s promised Messiah, foretold through a host of prophets, was to be born at last.

17 So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.  Matthew 1:17 (ESV)

God had called out a people to Himself through the person of Abraham.  This special and privileged group was to be the foundation of His holy outreach to the entire world.  He would later miraculously bring this people out of slavery in Egypt under the leadership of Moses, and ultimately bring them into the Promised Land.  The throne established here for King David will later become the eternal throne of Jesus Christ upon His return to the New Jerusalem. 

But along the way, the people God had called willfully turned away from Him to serve other gods, and ultimately found themselves in exile once again in Babylon.  God promised through His prophets that He would send a Messiah to free His people from all oppression and establish an eternal government, led by God and filled with His faithful believers from all over the world.  As revealed in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and interpreted by the prophet Daniel, God would replace all of the great global human empires of history once and for all by His kingdom, not made with human hands.

As Messiah Jesus and His forerunner, the prophet John the Baptist, were about to be born, there were two visitations by the angel Gabriel. Gabriel had earlier visited the prophet Daniel to predict the timing for the coming Messiah, five centuries before.  All the key players were now in place and had been informed about what God was about to do.  Or rather, all the players but one were informed.

When she was visited by Gabriel, Mary agreed to give birth to the Messiah, Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, by a miracle of the Holy Spirit.  Her relative Elizabeth and husband Zacharias, also the beneficiary of a visit by Gabriel, would bring Jesus’ herald, John the Baptist, into the world, though Elizabeth was now well beyond child-bearing years.  John would prepare the way as an instrument by God, allowing the Holy Spirit to use him to draw and focus the hearts of vast multitudes of people onto spiritual revival to get them ready for the arrival of their Eternal King and His new Kingdom. 

But Mary’s betrothed husband, Joseph, had not received an angelic visit, and learning that Mary had become pregnant, he assumed that it was of human origin. So, he decided to quietly break off their engagement.

20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 

24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.  Matthew 1:20-25 (ESV)

This is not the only time that God would speak to Joseph through an angelic dream.  He would do so again after the young child was born to warn Joseph to flee from Bethlehem to Egypt with his family. This was because King Herod, like King Saul so many years earlier, would turn brutally homicidal in a futile effort to oppose God to retain his earthly throne. God would also later communicate with Joseph through other dreams that Herod died, directing Joseph to ultimately move his family from Egypt to Nazareth.

God used dreams in other places in the Bible to validate His prophets and to save His people, such as with an earlier Joseph, a son of Jacob, who interpreted Pharoah’s dreams to help avert the effects of a deadly seven-year famine and to preserve his family and the nation. The prophet Daniel also revealed and interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon’s dream, which outlined the four great world empires to come followed by the Kingdom of Heaven, which will replace them all. Both of these dream experiences placed God’s select people into high-ranking positions where they had the ear and favor of a great emperor, whom God then used to achieve His divine purposes and preserve His people.  But the true and most powerful Emperor of all time finally arrived in a humble manger in Bethlehem, right on God’s timetable, as had been revealed through the angel Gabriel to the prophet Daniel. His kingdom would start slow, but will ultimately grow to cover the entire world.


Have you ever had a divine dream while sleeping, a divine vision when awake, or heard the audible voice of God?  Some people I know have. These phenomena appear to be rare instances provided by God to achieve very specific purposes, such as establishing a new worship or ministry direction, comforting someone in extreme grief, or preparing someone for a very difficult trial ahead.  God is sovereign, so there is no way to put a limit on how He might choose to work, but it is safe to say that if these experiences are truly from God, they will never contradict His holy scripture in any way.  The Holy Spirit is the author of peace and truth, not confusion.

Father God, draw us closer to You and to each other through a deeper understanding of Your holy word, the Bible.  Grant us holy power to resist temptation and to pursue love, forgiveness, and peace.  Reveal Your majesty to us as we seek to experience new dimensions in You and Your unlimited goodness.  May You be praised forever.  We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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