The Berean Expositor
Volume 52 - Page 66 of 207
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"But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto
him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take thee Mary thy wife:
for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son,
and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins. Now
all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet,
saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call
His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (1: 20-23).
What a relief it must have been to Joseph to learn the true facts regarding Mary! She
had not been unfaithful after all! A Son was about to be born, the promised Seed of the
woman and it was not necessary for him to name this Child, for He had already been
divinely named--JESUS. Jesus is the Hebrew Joshua or Jehoshua and Jesus is the Greek
equivalent, "Jehovah (is our) Saviour". The Joshua of the O.T. had been a great deliverer
and leader into the promised land. But here was the real Joshua, Who alone could
remove every obstacle afflicting His people and lead them into the Kingdom of heaven,
God's kingdom on earth. "He shall save His people from their sins". Primarily this
refers to His earthly people Israel, for it was to them He had been sent (Matt. 15: 24).
Salvation from sin means deliverance from the power and penalty of sin and this Israel
needed as much as the rest of mankind.
In the purpose of God salvation must finally include His heavenly people, for they too
come under the domination of sin and death. Later on, in the ministry of Paul, we are to
learn that the same Saviour is now Lord and Head of the Body, the church and has
rescued each member from the power of darkness and translated each one into His
Kingdom in the glory of heaven's holiest of all (Col. 1: 2-14). Thus this salvation of God
is basic to all His purposes and accomplishes what men can never do for themselves, that
is, abolish sin and death which holds the human race in a vice-like grip and are their
greatest enemies.
As we go on to read verses 22 and 23 of Matthew's first chapter, we have to decide
whether these verses continue to record the words of the angel to Joseph, or if they are
the comments of the Evangelist.
Chrysostom and others take these words as being those of the angel and they may be
right, for then they would be an added explanation to Joseph, who certainly needed this
divine revelation to relieve his perplexity. It is a pity that the A.V. is not accurate with
the prepositions. The word from Isaiah was spoken by (hupo) the Lord, through (dia) the
prophet. The Lord was the real speaker, the prophet was His mouthpiece. What was
happening was the Lord's work which He had made known centuries before and at last
the right time had come for this great Saviour and His salvation to be made known.
The virgin in Isaiah's day was definite and pointed to a particular virgin:
"The case is singular; it is unparalleled. Whatever scope for doubt there may be
regarding the flexibility of the meaning of the word for virgin in Isaiah's Hebrew, there is
none doubting regarding the meaning of the Evangelist's term. It most definitely and
distinctively means virgin" (Dr. J. Morison, Commentary on Matthew, p.11).