PART 2: CONFIGURATION – Chapter 3: The Declaration of Sovereignty

Kenneth L Gentry

Narrated By: Joseph Spurgeon
Book: The Greatness of the Great Commission
Topics: , ,


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Chapter Text

The eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him (Matthew 28:16-17a).

The first point of the covenant model is the establishment of the sovereignty of the covenant maker. As we approach the Great Commission from a covenantal perspective, we discover that its contextual setting clearly points to its sovereign disposition in a number of ways.

As we begin our study of the matter, we must recognize that the books of Scripture were written by real, flesh-and-blood, historical men under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Thus the books were given in particular, concrete historical contexts (2 Pet. 1:21).[1] The Scriptures did not fall from heaven as a book of mysteries. Consequently, at least a general understanding of the historical and geographical contexts of any given passage is helpful to its fuller and more accurate apprehension.

In addition to being aware of the historical and geographical contexts of any given passage, it is often helpful to understand something of the literary structure of the particular book of Scripture in which it is found. This is especially true of the Gospels, which represent a new literary genre that is neither biography nor theology. This literary genre is “gospel.” As New Testament theologian Donald B. Guthrie has noted of the Gospels: “Whereas they are historical in form, their purpose was something more than historical. It is not, in fact, an accident that they were called ‘Gospels’ at an early period in Christian history…. [T]here were no parallels to the Gospel form which served as a pattern for the earliest writers.”[2] The Gospels were written by common men, who organized the material according to a thought-out structure, plan, and purpose (cf. Luke 1:1-4).[3] So something of the literary structure of Matthew will also be helpful in opening to us the sovereignty of the covenantal Great Commission. Let us consider, then, the place, time, and literary setting of the Commission.

The Geographical Context

As we turn to the geographical matter, we will note the covenantal significance of both the region and the topography of the place where the Commission was given. The region was in “Galilee”; the topographical setting was on a “mountain.”


The Gospels teach us that Christ’s disciples were instructed by Him to go a certain, specified place in Galilee to meet Him after the resurrection.[4] And, of course, the Matthew 28:16 reference is from the very context of the Great Commission.

It is interesting that Christ instructs His disciples to meet him in Galilee.[5] Of course, Christ lived there in His youth,[6] called His disciples in Galilee,[7] and performed much of His ministry there. Yet the fact that He would prearrange a post-resurrection appearance with His disciples in Galilee in order to commission them as He does, is instructive. This change of locale is noteworthy in that they were already in Jerusalem, the heart of Israel in Judea, and were very soon to return there to await the Pentecostal empowerment for their mission.[8] Why were they now instructed to take the trip to Galilee?

Galilee was an area in Israel that contained a mixed Jew and gentile population from the earliest times, having been only inadequately conquered and settled by the Jews during the original conquest of the Promised Land (Jdgs. 1:33). In addition, during the later Assyrian conflict, the Jews of the area were carried off into captivity, leaving many gentiles as the inhabitants of the land (2 Kgs. 15:29). For these reasons, Upper Galilee was known as “Galilee of the gentiles.”[9] Also for these reasons, Galileans were noted for their peculiar mixed accent,[10] and were looked down upon by the Jews in the southern, more “pure” regions.[11]

Interestingly, Matthew is the only Gospel that mentions Christ’s early command for the disciples to avoid the gentiles in their ministry,[12] refers to Jerusalem as “the holy city,”[13] and records Christ’s being called the “king of the Jews” prior to Pilate’s cross inscription.[14] Vet three times at the end of this Gospel Matthew mentions that Christ was to meet His disciples in Galilee, well away from Jerusalem and well into the area of mixed Jew and gentile inhabitants.[15]

In addition to this information, we should note that just prior to the Great Commission is mentioned the Jewish bribe and the lie regarding the whereabouts of Christ’s body: “They gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, and said, ‘You are to say, “his disciples came by night and stole Him away while we were asleep.’ … And they took the money and did as they had been instructed; and this story was widely spread among the Jews, and is to this day.”[16] Upon mention of this cover-up by the Jews in Jerusalem, Christ appears in Galilee to give His commission to “disciple the nations” (Matt. 28:16, 19). The gospel, as we will see, was designed to promote Christ’s sovereignty over the entire world of men, not just the Jews. Thus, even the place of its giving anticipates this, for “in light of [Matt. 4:15ff] it is likely that Galilee here represents all peoples in vs. 19.”[17]

The Mountain

That the disciples went “to the mountain which Jesus had designated”[18] seems also to be for some particular purpose. Christ’s employment of mountains for instructional effect is familiar enough. For instance, the Sermon on the Mount, the Olivet Discourse, and the ascension were from a mountain – the Mount of Olives.[19]

Mountains are significant in Scripture as symbols of sovereignty, majesty, exaltation, and power.[20] As such, they often stand for kingdoms, as several of the verses in the preceding note suggest. It was on a mountain that Christ commissioned His disciples to take the gospel to “the nations.” The majestic effect of this commissioning from a mountain will be dealt with in detail later in Chapter 4. There I will focus on the implications of the hierarchical authority of the commission. At this point, I merely point out the appropriateness of the majestic commissioning of the disciples from a mountain for symbolizing His sovereign transcendence in this covenantal transaction.

The idea is captured well by Lenski: “On mountain heights heaven and earth, as it were, meet, and here the glorified Savior spoke of his power in heaven and on earth. With the vast expanse of the sky above him and the great panorama of the earth spread beneath him, Jesus stands in his exaltation and his glory – a striking vision, indeed.”[21] This is why the disciples “worshiped” Him there (Matt. 28:17a).

The Temporal Context

The Commission was granted by the resurrected Savior Who had “finished” (John 19:30)[22] the work of redemption, which His Father gave Him to do (John 17:4). Having conquered sin (Rom. 3:28-26), Satan (Col. 2:15), and death (Acts 2:24, 81), Christ arose victoriously from the tomb as a conquering king[23] to commission His disciples with sovereign authority to take this message to “all nations.” In the complex of events connecting the resurrection and the Great Commission, we witness the investiture of Christ as sovereign.

It was particularly at the resurrection that Christ was “declared to be the Son of God with power,” according to Paul in Romans 1:4. That verse reads: He was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Actually the word translated “declared”[24] in most translations of Romans 1:4 is never translated thus elsewhere. The word is generally understood to mean: “determine, appoint, ordain.” As Murray notes: “There is neither need nor warrant to resort to any other rendering than that provided by the other New Testament instances, namely, that Christ was ‘appointed’ or ‘constituted’ Son of God with power and points therefore to an investiture which had an historical beginning parallel to the historical beginning mentioned in” Romans 1:3.[25]

Of course, Christ was not “appointed” the Son of God. But on this recommended reading, Romans 1:4 does not suggest that; it says He was “appointed the Son of God with power.” The very point of Romans 1 is that Christ came in history as the “seed of David” (Rom. 1:3), not that He dwelled in eternity as the Son of God. Thus, at the resurrection, Christ “was instated in a position of sovereignty and invested with power, an event which in respect of investiture with power surpassed everything that could previously be ascribed to him in his incarnate state.”[26]

Returning to Matthew 28:18, we should note that a literal rendering of the verse reads: “And having come near, Jesus spake to them, saying, ‘Given to me was all authority….”‘[27] Both the position and the tense of the word “given” should be noted. In Greek, words thrown to the front of a sentence are generally emphasized – as “given” is here in Christ’s statement. Not only is “given” emphasized as being particularly significant, but according to the Greek verb tense,[28] His being “given” authority was at some point in past time.

The point at which this grant of authority occurred was obviously at the resurrection, according not only to the clear implication of the text before us, but also to the confirmation in Romans 1:4: “Who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord.”[29] The resurrection, followed shortly by the ascension, established Christ as King and enthroned Him as such. We should note that Philippians 2:8,9 also uses the same tense[30] to point to the resurrection as that time when Christ was “bestowed” authority: “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.”

For this reason, J. P. Lange has designated the Great Commission a “second transfiguration.”[31] As Calvin wrote of the Lord’s statement in Matthew 28: 18: “We must note, His Authority was not openly displayed until He rose from the dead. Only then did He advance aloft, wearing the insignia of supreme King.”[32] From this time forth, we cease to hear His familiar “I can do nothing of Myself,”[33] for now “all authority” is rightfully His.

Furthermore, this grant of kingly authority was prophesied in Psalm 2:6-7:

I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord;
He said to Me, ‘Thou art My Son,
Today I have begotten Thee.
Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Thy possession.’

In Acts this passage from Psalm 2 is clearly applied to the resurrection of Christ. Acts 13:33-34 reads: “God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘Thou art My Son; Today I have begotten Thee.’ And as for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no more to return to decay….”

Though not referring to Psalm 2, Acts 2:30-31 agrees that the resurrection of Christ was to kingly authority: “And so, because [David] was a prophet, and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants upon his throne, he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ….” Then Peter, making reference to Psalm 110, adds: “For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: ‘The Lord said to My Lord, Sit at My right hand, Until I make Thine enemies a footstool for Thy feet'” (Acts 2:34b-35).

Turning back to Matthew 28:18, we should note that Christ’s statement indicates something new has occurred as the result of the completion of His redemptive work at His resurrection from the grave. He has now been given “all authority.” The wondrous significance of this will be demonstrated below.

Christ is our prophet, priest, and king,[34] and His Great Commission exhibits His manifold ministry to His people.[35] Thus, in this and the following chapter, we will see that He speaks as the Great King, who rules over His vast kingdom, in that He has “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18b).[36] He is “the King of kings and Lord of lords” (Rev. 19:16). In Chapter Five we will see how the Great Commission is also a prophetic Commission. As the Great Prophet, Christ declares the will of God for all the world, by teaching men “to observe all that I commanded” (Matt. 28:20a). In Chapter Six, the priestly aspect of the Commission will become evident. As the Great High Priest, He secures the worshipful oaths of those over whom it holds sway, in His command to “baptize” the nations (Matt. 28:19b).

The Literary Context

The beautiful structure of Matthew’s Gospel merits our attention as we consider the Great Commission. Blair comments regarding Matthew 28:18ff: “Here many of the emphases of the book are caught Up.”[37] Cook concurs: “With this sublime utterance St. Matthew winds up his Gospel, throughout which he has kept the principles, which are thus enunciated, distinctly before our minds.”[38]

I would go a step further and note that what we read in the closing words of Matthew’s Gospel in the closing days of Christ’s ministry has already been anticipated in the opening words of the Gospel and of Christ’s earthly life and the beginning of His ministry. Thus, the very opening chapters of Matthew seem to expect the conclusion we get in the Great Commission. Let me just briefly draw out the parallels; they do not seem to be merely coincidental. They speak of a King who comes (Matt. 1-4) and receives sovereignty (Matt. 28) over a kingdom.

  1. Jesus as “Immanuel.” A. In the birth announcement to Joseph, we have the angelic declaration of the fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14 in Jesus’s birth: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, ‘God with us'” (Matt. 1:23). “God with us” has comet B. In the conclusion of Matthew and in the Great Commission, we have the same theme: “And, lo, I am with you always” (Matt. 28:20b). “God with us” remains!
  1. The Royalty of Jesus. A. In Matthew 1:1 the royal genealogy of Christ is pushed forward: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”[39] Here not only do we have Christ’s human name (“Jesus”) coupled with His Messianic name (“Christ”), but with the royal title “Son of David,” a familiar Messianic ascription in Matthew.[40] Thus: “The genealogy presented in Matt. 1:1-17 is not an appendix but is closely connected with the substance of the entire chapter; in a broader sense, with the contents of the entire book.”[41]
  1. In Matthew 28:18 Christ comes to His disciples in the exercise of His recently secured royal authority: “All authority is given Me in heaven and on earth.” A fitting conclusion to a work opening with a royal genealogy.
  1. Gentiles and the King. A. In Matthew 2:1ffwe read of gentile magi coming from “the east” in search of Christ. They seek Him “who has been born King of the Jews” (Matt. 2:2a). B. In Matthew 28:19 we read of the sovereign King with “all authority in heaven and earth” sending His disciples in search of the gentiles: “Go, make disciples of all the nations.”[42]
  1. Christ Attacked. A In Matthew 2 we read of a king’s attempted destruction of the young Jesus toward the beginning of His earthly sojourn: “Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him” (Matt. 2:13b). B. The Great Commission was given after the final attempted destruction of Christ by means of the crucifixion (Matt. 27:33f1) toward the end of His earthly ministry.
  1. Israel Replaced by the Nations. A In Matthew 3:9-11 John Baptist warns the Jews in Judea, who were so proud of their Abrahamic descent,[43] that “the axe is already laid at the root of the trees” and that there was coming a fiery destruction of

Jerusalem. B. In the Great Commission, Christ, the true Son of Abraham, while in Galilee (v. 16) after the Jews lied about His resurrection (vv. 12-15), commands His followers to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations” (Matt. 28:19).

  1. Geographical Juxtaposition. A In Matthew 3 Christ’s first public appearance opens with these words: “Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan” (Matt. 3:13). His movement was from Galilee to Judea (Matt. 3:1). B. In the closing of Matthew and His ministry as recorded there, Christ’s movement is the opposite: He moves from Jerusalem in Judea to Galilee (Matt. 28:1, 6-7, 10, 16).

7.Baptismal Ritual. A. As Christ’s public presentation opens in Matthew, we read: “Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him” (Matt. 3:13). B. In the closing of Christ’s ministry in Matthew, we read: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them” (Matt. 28:19).

  1. The Trinity. A. At Christ’s baptism we have one of the Scripture’s clearest evidences of the Trinity: “After being baptized, Jesus [the Son] went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God [the Holy Spirit] descending as a dove, and coming upon Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens [the Father], saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased'” (Matt. 3:16-17). B. In Christ’s baptismal formula in the Great Commission, we again have clearly reflected the Trinity: “baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19).
  1. The Mountain. A. Before Christ formally begins His ministry, He endures the temptation by Satan in Matthew 4. There we read of the role of a “mountain” in the temptation to kingship: “The devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory” (Matt. 4:8). B. In the Great Commission, Christ speaks from a mountain with newly won royal authority: “the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated” (Matt. 28:16).
  1. Kingdom Given. A. In the temptation at the opening of the ministry of the Prophet, Priest, and King,[44] Jesus Christ, Satan offers to give Him the kingdoms of the world: “The devil took Him to a very high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory; and he said to Him, ‘All these things will I give You, if…’.” (Matt. 4:8-9). B. In the concluding Great Commission, Christ sovereignly declares that He had been “given”[45] “all authority,” not only over the kingdoms Satan had authority over, but also in heaven: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18).
  1. Worship. A. In the temptation, Satan seeks Christ’s worship of him: “All these things will I give You, if You will fall down and worship me” (Matt. 4:8). B. In the Great Commission, we read that Christ receives worship[46]: “And when they saw Him, they worshiped Him” (Matt. 28:17).
  1. His Disciples. A. In Matthew 4:18 Christ calls His first disciples as His earthly ministry begins. B. In Matthew 28:18-20 He commissions His disciples as His earthly ministry ends.

The Gospel of Matthew is the larger literary context of the Great Commission. In this Gospel the sovereign kingship of Christ is initially anticipated (Matt. 1-4) and finally secured (Matt. 28:18-20). The literary (by inspiration) and the historical (by providence) paralleling of the beginning and end well support the notion that the Great Commission is a royal commission establishing the sovereignty of the “King of kings and Lord of lords.”


During Christ’s ministry, the long-prophesied kingdom came “near”[47] and was gradually established in the world,[48] as was intended.[49] Consequently, men were pressing into it at His preaching.[50] After He declares it judicially accomplished (“all authority” was given Him, Matt. 28:18) and after His formal coronation at His ascension into heaven,[51] we read of later Christians declaring Him king[52] and entering His kingdom.[53] Christ today rules from the right hand of the throne of God.[54]

The geographical, temporal, and literary contexts of the Great Commission all move us to recognize its royal dignity, its covenantal assertion of sovereignty. Upon the securing of His kingdom, the King of heaven and earth speaks of His kingdom task as He commissions His disciples. The kingdom that had been making advances in the ministry of Christ was judicially secured by right at the resurrection.

To understand the Great Commission as anything less than the recognition of the sovereign dignity of Christ and the outline of His kingdom expansion falls short of the greatness of the Great Commission. As the first point of a covenantal transaction is the establishment of the covenant maker’s sovereignty, so in the Great Commission we see Christ exhibited as the sovereign Lord, declaring His sovereignty from a mountain top.

[1] See the emphasis on the historical, for example, in Isa.7:3; Zech.1:1; Luke 2:1,2; 3:1-3.

[2] Donald B. Guthrie, New 1estament Introduction (3rd ed.: Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1970), pp. 13-14. See also F. F. Bruce, Bulletin of the John Rylands Library, xlv (1963), pp. 319-339; C. F. D. Moule, The Birth of the New 1estament (3rd. ed.: San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1982), ch. 5; and A E. J. Rawlinson, The Gospel according to St. Mark, Westminster Commentary (7th ed.: London: Macmillan, 1949), pp. xviiiff.

[3] Notice, for instance, the structure of John’s Gospel around seven miracles and Matthew’s around five major discourses, which alternate narrative and discourse. See: Robert H. Gundry, New Testament Introduction (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1970), pp. 29ff, 309ff.

[4] Mark 16:7; Matt. 26:32; 28:7, 10, 16.

[5]  There has been an intense scholarly debate on this appearance in Galilee in an effort to harmonize it with Luke’s record of Christ’s appearing in Jerusalem in Judea. The time and effort required to move back and forth between the two regions is part of the problem in attempting to construct a chronology of the events.

[6] Matt. 2:22-23.

[7] Matt. 4:18-22; John 1:43-44.

[8] Luke 24:47, 49, 52; Acts 1:4, 8, 12.

[9] Isa. 9:1; Matt. 4:13,15,16.

[10] Matt. 26:73; Mark 14:70; Acts 2:7.

[11] Luke 13:1; John 1:46; 4:45; 7:52; Acts 2:7.

[12] Matt. 10:5,6; 15:2-4.

[13] Matt. 4:5; 27:53.

[14] Matt. 2:2.

[15] Matt. 28:7, 10, 16.

[16] Matt. 28:12, 13, 15.

[17] W. F. Albright and C. S. Mann, Matthew: The Anchor Bible (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1971), p. 361. See also: J. Knox Chamblin, Matthew in W. A. Elwell, ed., Evangelical Bible Commentary on the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1989), pp. 779·780.

[18] Emphasis mine. The fact that “the mountain” is not mentioned in any other context where Galilee is specified as the destination of these disciples has been a source of discussion among commentators (Mark 16:7; Matt. 28:7,10,16). Nevertheless, the text here clearly does so. Several commentators suggest it is the same one in which the Sermon on the Mount was given: Chamblin, Matthew, p. 780. R.. E. Nixon, Matthew, in D. B. Guthrie and J. A. Motyer, eds., The Eerdmans Bible Commentary (3rd ed: Grand Rapids: 1970), p. 850. F. C. Cook, New Testament, 1:194. Robert H. Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary &n His Literary an Theological Art (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1982), p. 594.

[19] Matt. 5-7; 24:3; Acts 1:11,12.

[20] For example, Isa. 2:2-3; 11:9; 25:6; Eze. 17:22; 20:40; Dan. 2:35; Mic. 4:1; Zech. 4:7. See: David Chilton, Paradise &stored: A Biblical Theology of Dominion (Ft. Worth, Texas: Dominion Press, 1985), ch. 4.

[21] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. Matthew’s Gospel (Columbus, OH: Wartburg Press, 1943), p. 1168.

[22] Cp. John 4:34; Heb. 1:3; 9:26-27.

[23] See discussion of His kingship, below, pp. 39-40, 102-3.

[24] In the Greek: horisthentos (from horizo). It is found elsewhere in Luke 22:22; Acts

2:23; 10:42; 11:29; 17:26,31; Heb. 4:7. For an excellent exposition of Romans 1:4 see: John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans (New International Commentary on the New Testament), 2 vols. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1959, 1965), 1:9. The Revised Standard Version and The Amplified Bible translate the verb: “designated.”

[25] Ibid.

[26] Ibid., 1:10.

[27] Robert Young, Young’s Literal 1tanslation of the Holy Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker,

rep. n.d. [1898]), New Testament, p. 23.

[28] The Greek for “given” is edothe, which is the aorist passive indicative of didomi.

The word “aorist” is made up of two Greek words: a (“no”) and horizo (“horizon”), which means “unlimited.” Normally, therefore, an aorist tense has no temporal connotation. In the indicative tense, however, it carries the connotation of a past action conceived as in a point of time.

[29] Of course, it is true in terms of His essential deity that this “all authority given” was “not as a new gift, but a confirmation and practical realisation of the power over all things, which had been delivered unto Him by the Father” as regards His human existence. F. C. Cook, ed., New Testament, vol. 1: St. Matthew-St. Mark-St. Luke, in The Hoi] Bible According to the Authorized Version A.D. (1611), With an Explanatory and Critical Commentary and a Revision of the Translation (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1901), p. 196. Emphasis added.

[30] Philippians 2:9, however, employs a different word for “given”: echarisato from charizomai.

[31] John Peter Lange, Matthew in Philip Schaff, ed. And transl., Commentary on the Holy Scripture, Critical, Doctrinal and Homiletical (3rd ed.: Grand Rapids: Zondervan, n.d. [1861]), p.556.

[32] John Calvin, A Harmony of the Gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke, in Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries, ed. by David W and Thomas F. Torrance, trans. by A. W Morrison, 3 Vols., (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1972), 3:250.

[33] John 5:19, 30; 8:28; 12:49; 14:10.

[34] The one verse that most clearly brings together these three offices is Rev. 1:5: “And from Jesus Christ the faithful witness [prophet], the firstborn of the dead [priest], and the ruler of the kings of the earth [king].”

[35] “As Prophet He represents God with man; as Priest He represents man in the presence of God; and as King He exercises dominion and restores the original dominion of man.” Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (4th ed.: Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1941), p. 357.

[36] For an excellent treatment of Christ’s present kingship, see William Symington, Messiah the Prince, or, The Mediatorial Dominion of Jesus Christ (Edmonton, Alberta: Still Waters Revival, rep. 1990 [1884]). See also: Greg L. Bahnsen and Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., House Divided: The Break-up of Dispensational Theology (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), ch. 12.JohnJefferson Davis, Christ’s Victorious Kingdom: Postmillennialism Reconsidered (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1984), ch. 4.

[37] Edward P. Blair, Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew (New York: Abingdon, 1960), p. 45.

[38] F. C. Cook, St. Matthew, p. 45.

[39] As has been said, “This first sentence is equivalent to a formal declaration of our Lord’s Messiahship.” J. A Alexander, The Gospel According to Matthew (Grand Rapids: Baker, [1860] 1980), p. 2.

[40] See: Matthew 9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 20:30; 21:9, 15; 22:42. The very structure of this genealogy hinges on “David the king” (Matt. 1:6a). Its self-conscious division into fourteen generations (Matt. 1:17) uses David twice as a pivot: The genealogy is traced with an upbeat thrust from Abraham to David, who closes the first cycle (Matt. 1:6). Then from David (Matt. 1:6b) downward (in decline) to the Babylonian Captivity (Matt. 1:11). Then it moves again upward to Christ (Matt. 1:16-17).

[41] William Hendriksen, The Gospel According to Matthew (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1973), p.107.

[42] Interestingly, the opening verse of Matthew is: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” In Genesis 12:3 similar terminology to Matt. 28:19 is found in referring to “all the nations.” Reflecting back on the Genesis 12:3, Paul writes: “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations shall be blessed in you’ ” (Gal. 3:8; the language here is identical to Matt. 28:19). Consequently, in the closing verses of Matthew we see the means of that blessing for “all the nations”: the Great Commission.

[43] Matt. 3:9; John 8:33, 39.

[44] Following forty days of fasting, the first temptation to turn stones to bread (Matt. 4:2-3) reminds us of the prophet Moses (cf. Deut. 18:18), who fasted forty days and nights (Exo. 24:28). The second temptation (in Matthew’s order) was on the temple, wherein the priests ministered (Matt. 4:5). The third temptation on the mountain was for Him to become king over “the kingdoms of the world” (Matt. 4:8-9).

[45] The same word “give” (from the Greek: didomi) is used in two temptation accounts (Matt. 4:9; Luke 4:6) and in the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18). Luke’s Gospel records more detail of this temptation, where Satan says: “To thee I will give all this authority, and their glory, because to me it hath been delivered” (Young’s Literal Translation, New Testament, p. 42). Compare this to Christ’s “All authority has been given to Me.”

[46] The same Greek word for “worship” is employed in both places (Greek: proskunzo).

[47] Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 21:31; Matt. 3:2; 4:12-17; 10:7; 16:28.

[48] Matt. 12:28; Luke 17:20-21.

[49] Isa. 9:6,7; Luke 1:31-33; Matt. 2:2; John 12:12-15; 18:36-37.

[50] Matt. 11:12; Luke 16:16. Phillips translates Matt. 11:12: “From the days of John

the Baptist until now the kingdom of Heaven has been taken by storm and eager men are forcing their way into it.”

[51] Acts 2:30-31, 33-36; Heb. 2:9.

[52] Acts 3:15; 5:31; 17:7.

[53] Col. 1:12-13; 1 Thess. 2:12; Rev. 1:6,9.

[54] Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 12:2; 1 Pet. 3:22; Rev. 3:21.