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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 1, by Kevin M. Williams

His first proclamation? “Jesus Christ.” In the English, we have some understanding of this title. Yet in the Hebrew, it would be profound: Yeshua Ha Moshiach—literally—“The Anointed One who brings salvation.” To the uninitiated, it is a name followed by a title, not unlike the millions of business cards printed and distributed every year.

In Matthew however, it is the first stepping stone in a book that presents the path of Messiah, and everything which comes after this will build upon this first step. It is not merely a name and title, it was the answer to the Jewish prayer, “May Messiah come soon and in our day.” Matthew proclaims that the Anointed One, the promised One of the Most High has been born and brings salvation to His people, Israel.

“The Son of David.” Not just any “David,” but David Ha Melech—King David. This Yeshua was of noble birth, of the line of David son of Jesse, an heir to the throne of Israel. As such, he would be a picture of David the gentle shepherd, David who takes on giants, David who comes into his power despite great opposition, David of lowly birth but anointed of God, and David the priestly king through whom, “if we endure, we will also reign with Him” (2 Timothy 2:12).

“The Son of Abraham.” Abraham, the first person in the Bible to be called a Hebrew—literally “called out”—a friend of God, the firstfruit of what would become known as the nation of Israel. The one whose name means, “the father of nations,” who through his seed would indeed become the physical and spiritual father of many nations, and to whom all people of Messianic faith in Yeshua are “heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:29).

This first verse of the New Testament is more than relevant—it is foundational. It sets into motion a new era in man’s relationship with God. In the first verse of the Hebrew Bible we read that “God created the heavens and the earth.” In the first verse of the gospels, we can infer that God is renewing, redeeming, and re-affirming His promises and covenants to Israel and to the nations.

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After the list of names of verses 2-16, we reach verse 17, a unique verse that may hide a message all its own. The prior passages, of who begot whom is not completely inclusive. There are names missing.

In this day and age, it was not uncommon to skip the less important names of a genealogy in favor of the more notable ones, particularly if the writer was trying to make a point. We’ve already established that Matthew came to proclaim the Jewish Messiah to the people of Israel. He told us plainly, following the p’shat model. He may have even given us a remez, and hint of something deeper or greater, in verse one. Now, in verse 17, Matthew gives us something to consider for the sod interpretation.

Matthew makes a specific point that there are 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 generations from David to the Babylonian exile, and from the exile to the time of Messiah, another 14 generations. Was Matthew the victim of coincidence, or might he have had a clever purpose in mind?

In the Hebrew language, every letter correlates to a number. The study of the relationship between Hebrew words and numbers is a discipline known as Gematria. Any number of books—most bad, some good—have been published over the last decade diving into these “secret Bible codes.” One example of Gematria is the tetragammaton, the הוהי (yud-hay-vav-hay), or the holy name of God Almighty. Numerically, the tetragammaton is equivalent to the number 613, the same as the number of commandments in the Torah.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Pneuma Review, Spring 2001

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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