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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 18: Matthew 22:41-23:39, by Kevin M. Williams

In 2 Samuel 7, the prophet Nathan comes to King David and through Nathan, God speaks to David about building the Temple. The Lord tells the king that because he is a man of war, he will not be allowed to build the temple, but that it will be built by one of David’s offspring. The text reads: “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me” (2 Samuel 7:14).

The message is clear—by divine adoption the descendant of David would be God’s son. By inference, this man Yeshua of the tribe of Judah and of the line of King David is helping the Pharisees draw a conclusion that they cannot retract.

Many times in the psalms, the Lord and his anointed king are described in equally exalted terms, and similar reverence is required for both. Consider these following clear parallels (which I have translated for greater clarity): In Psalm 83:18, God is “the Most High over all the earth,” wile in Psalm 89:28, it is the Davidic king, designated significantly as “firstborn” who has been appointed “the most high of the kings of the earth.” In Psalm 86:9, “all nations will bow down” to the Lord, yet in 72:11, the foreign kings will bow down to the Davidic king. First Chronicles 29:20 is even more to the point; “They [i.e., the people] bowed down and did obeisance to the Lord and to [David] the king.” So also in Psalm 2:11 and 100:2, the rulers and peoples are exhorted to worship/serve the Lord, while in 18:44 and 72:11, it is the Davidic king whom they must worship/serve.1

The parallels Yeshua draws for the Pharisees are clear. Had they thought their response through beforehand, taking a moment to realize what they were saying, they might have answered differently, or not at all. But as it was, they answered Yeshua—in the presence of anyone else standing there to hear—that the Messiah would be the son of David. By biblical precedent and acknowledged in their own scholarship, the Messiah is indeed the Son of God.


Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them (Matthew 23:1-3).

This is a thorny passage for some Christians, but it need not be. Some say it has no real relevance for today’s world as there is no “seat of Moses,” while others discredit it for its association with the Pharisees. Yet what Yeshua says to the Pharisees may be just as important for those in leadership today as it was then.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Summer 2005

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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