Bible Study


The Gospel of Matthew - Program 31

Roderick C. Meredith (1930-2017)

This Bible Study is part of the "The Gospel of Matthew" series. See other Bible Studies which are part of this series

This was after God's Sabbath. Most of you know that the Jewish Sabbath—God's Sabbath, the Sabbath that Jesus Christ in fact observed—is from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. This verse took place on Sunday morning, after the Sabbath, when at dawn these ladies came to see if Christ was there.

Greetings, friends around the world!

This is Roderick C. Meredith, bringing you this overview of the book of Matthew, giving you the real understanding of this book. I hope you have been following this series because we have covered almost every verse and have given you, I am sure, understandings and insights you did not have before. Now we are coming to the very last chapter, so pick up your Bible, follow along and check up on me, and let's see what Jesus Christ actually taught—what the true message of the Son of God was.

Matt. 28:1

"Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb."

This was after God's Sabbath. Most of you know that the Jewish Sabbath—God's Sabbath, the Sabbath that Jesus Christ in fact observed—is from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. This verse took place on Sunday morning, after the Sabbath, when at dawn these ladies came to see if Christ was there.

Matt. 28:2-4

"And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. [Here was a great earthquake. God supernaturally intervened so these women could see inside that the tomb was empty.] His countenance was like lightning [this angel], and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men."

Every time angels appear in the Bible, they appear in the masculine gender—not that angels are men but they appear as men with a supernatural brightness. Something is different about them, though the Bible does tell us to be careful not to forget to entertain strangers, "for some thereby have entertained angels unawares." Angels can appear as a man.

In all the examples of sin in the Bible, angels would appear. Not smoking or getting drunk or doing dope or doing some bad thing; they would always be doing a good thing. They would be very "clean cut." If they appear in glory, as they usually do, men are startled with this unusual brightness and this sense of power coming out from them. Often, where it was an archangel or cherub such as Michael or Gabriel, men fell on their faces before them. But here was an angel and these guards—and these Roman soldiers were literally shaking. Here was something they had never experienced before.

Matt. 28:5-6

"But the angel answered and said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified [but have found the tomb they could see was empty]. He is not here…'"

He was already risen. As I explained back in Matthew 12:40, the sign Jesus gave of His Messiahship was that he would be three days and three nights in the tomb, in the heart of the earth—as Jonah was three days and three nights in the heart of the great fish. Christ had risen Saturday night.

When you understand it, you see that He was put in the grave Wednesday night. Thursday night was one night. Friday night was two nights. Saturday night was the end of three days and three nights. The Good Friday—Easter Sunday morning tradition is a pagan invention. It is not in the Bible at all. They came early Sunday morning. There was not any Easter sunrise service. He was gone.

Matt. 28:6-8

"'…for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. [They were invited into the tomb.] And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee [several miles north]; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.' So they went out quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word."

They were just ecstatic with joy—probably almost a hysterical excitement—that here was the Son of God, the One they loved and yet they thought He was dead. They had heard He was going to rise, but they did not fully believe it. It was hard to understand. It had never happened before like this—but now it had happened, and they ran with joy.

Matt. 28:9

"And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, 'Rejoice!' So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him."

That account is given in John 20:14, where they thought at first He was the gardener; apparently another account of the same thing.

Matt. 28:10-15

"Then Jesus said to them, 'Do not be afraid. Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.' [They had to go up to Galilee, up in the hill country, where Jesus had spent most of His ministry.] Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests [Here the religious leaders get into the act once again. They were jealous of Christ. They hated Him. They did not want His name honored in any way.] all the things that had happened. When they had assembled with the elders and consulted together, they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, [Money was paid to these Roman soldiers to lie.] saying, 'Tell them, "His disciples came at night and stole Him away while we slept." And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will appease him and make you secure.' So they took the money and did as they were instructed; and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day."

These jealous people were trying to "stamp out" one of the most wonderful occurrences in all of human history—the resurrection and the empty tomb. The Romans would have loved to have shown that it was a fraud. The Jews would have loved to have shown that was a fraud. But, they could not and they did not, because too many people saw Him after He was risen from the dead. It tells in 1 Corinthians 15 that more than 500 brethren saw Him at one time, and we see that He appeared to quite a number of the disciples on various occasions—and eventually to all of them.

Matt. 28:16-18

"Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them [the mountain to which He told them to go]. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. [Even then, some doubted that Christ was risen. It was just too much. The Holy Spirit was not yet given, until the Day of Pentecost, after His resurrection.] And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.'"

Jesus Christ had risen from the dead. He had qualified to be our high priest in heaven at God's right hand. He was back, given the same glory that He had had from the beginning of the world, as he prayed in John 17. He appeared to them without that glory, but He had that glory and that power. He was the High Priest, the Living Head of the Church, the Son of God sitting at the right hand of the Father from now on. God had given Him all authority to make decisions, to guide the Church and to deal with the whole world. God has always dealt with this world and with human beings through Jesus Christ, from the Garden of Eden right on. As it tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:4, the Rock that was with ancient Israel, "That Rock was Christ." Christ was the God of the Old Testament. It tells us that also in John 1:1-10. He was the Word. He was in the beginning. "The Word was with God and the Word was God." He then came to be among men—Immanuel, God with us—and He told His disciples that He had all authority.

Matt. 28:19

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…"

That is what He told His followers, and that is what we must do. That is why we are doing this program now. We, and all of you who believe, must go out and make followers to get behind the Work of God, to do the Work of God all over this earth.

Matt. 28:19-20

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [We are to baptize them and teach them God's ways.] teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…"

Here is one of the most important verses in the entire Bible. Jesus, after everything was nailed to the cross that was going to be nailed to the cross, did not say, "Well, now, the Apostle Paul is going to come along, and he is going to teach a different Gospel. The Law of God I have taught you throughout all My ministry will now be done away. It has been nailed to the cross, and people don't have to keep the commandments of God anymore. They don't need to keep God's Sabbath and God's Holy Days anymore. They don't need to obey God anymore. They just need to have faith in Me, love Me, and accept Me in their hearts—that is all there is!" Is that what Jesus Christ said? Of course not! He said no such thing! And any ministers who tell you otherwise are liars—and they ought to know that they are lying and that it is a damnable lie to say otherwise. In fact, Jesus Christ said this, "You go out to….

Matt. 28:19-20

"…all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you…"

"Teach them the same things I have commanded you!"

Matt. 28:20

"…and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

What did Jesus teach them? Throughout His entire ministry, He taught them to obey God's Laws. Throughout His entire ministry, He taught them by His example to keep God's Sabbaths and the Holy Days. We find even in John 7 that Jesus was going to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. We read back in Zechariah 14 that when Christ comes again, all nations are going to go up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles—one of God's annual Holy Days. Jesus Christ taught them a way of life—an entire way of life. We ought to be following that way of life today. That is what true Christianity is all about.

He said, "Don't hate your neighbor. Love your enemies, pray for them, do good to them." But in our so-called Christian society, what do we do? Well, one so-called "Christian" nation in Europe has been attacking another so-called "Christian" nation for hundreds and hundreds of years. Young men, often in the same church denomination, will rush up from opposite sides of the ridge with their bayonets fixed, and will stab each other and kill each other! They are supposed to be Christians, but they are defying and denying by their actions everything the Son of God, our Savior, taught. They are not honoring Him.

Jesus said in Luke 6:46, "WHY call you Me Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?" But people don't want to do what He said. They want to change it all around and invent some different gospel. That is wrong, and that is damnable. He said, "You go out—you ministers, you disciples of mine—and teach all nations to observe all things I have commanded you. Not some things! Don't add and subtract when it is convenient, and say that we must fit the Bible in with the times!

Christ was with the Apostles during the book of Acts. He was there leading them, guiding them and inspiring them to teach the same message—not some different message. "I am with you always." How long? Just until the Day of Pentecost? Just until the Apostle Paul came along and changed everything? No! "I am with you," He said, helping them to teach all things that He had commanded, "even to the end of the age." The end of this 6,000 years of human experience is when He will come back. The scriptures show us very clearly that then, even during the Millennium, people will be keeping His Laws and they will be following His Sabbaths and His Holy Days—no question about it! This is powerful! The true Christianity is based on doing what Christ did, believing what Christ taught—not accepting some false gospel men have invented about Him, but doing what He said.

One of the most powerful verses in the Bible, which I often mention and I want to mention again here in closing this program, is Galatians 2:20—a verse written by the Apostle Paul. He said, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." That was Paul's life. That must be your life and my life if we are real Christians. "Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." We have to live by that faith. We have to have Christ living in us through the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 13:8 tells us, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." He does NOT change. He will live within us that same life—He really will. We need to understand the real teaching of Christ.

One of the most powerful booklets that we offer is titled Restoring Apostolic Christianity. It will give you scripture after scripture, and historical references most have never seen, showing how men changed the whole Truth of God—they know that they changed it, and church historians admit it. In one sense, they reinvented Christianity and made it in their own image. They did not stick with this verse. They did not stick with what Christ taught. They did not stick with what the Apostles did. This booklet will help you to understand the teachings of Christ and the New Testament Church. What was real Christianity like? You need this information, more than you may even realize, to understand what the Christian religion is all about, so click the "Order FREE" button on our Web site and ask for this booklet: Restoring Apostolic Christianity.

That's it for today. In the next program, I am going to continue and give you something very special about the book of Matthew that you won't want to miss. Keep following this series, going into the Bible in depth, gaining understanding that perhaps you have never grasped before.

This is Roderick C. Meredith, for the Living Church of God.