The Gospel of Mathew was written prior to a.d. 70, perhaps as early as a.d. 50, while eyewitnesses to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ were still living. We can know this because the Lord Jesus prophesied the most apocalyptic event in Jewish history—the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple—yet its fulfillment is never mentioned. This despite the fact that St. Matthew is intent on demonstrating that Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy, and the words “this was to fulfill” punctuate his pages. In the oral culture of that day, the stories of Jesus’ life and ministry were remembered and passed on with great accuracy. This, together with the presence of living eyewitnesses, precludes the possibility of legendary contamination. In a biblically illiterate culture, a lot of people when they hear the words Jesus Christ think that Christ might be the last name of Jesus. But Christ (Greek) is a title, which, like Messiah (Hebrew), means “Anointed One.” He is called Jesus because He would save His people from their sins—for encompassed in the name Jesus is the concept of salvation. Jesus—Yeshua—means “Yahweh saves.” Just as Joshua in the Old Testament was used by God to, in a sense, bring salvation to the people of Israel, so Jesus is the quintessential Savior of the world in the New Testament. Hank Hanegraaff reads chapter one of Matthew’s Gospel. Hank Hanegraaff is president of the Christian Research Institute and host of the Bible Answer Man broadcast.
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