Genesis 1-3 & Matthew 1
“In the beginning God”. It all starts and ends with God. The potency of these words should never be minimized. The enemy does everything he can to discredit God and he begins with the first 4 words of the Bible. If God can be dismissed or discredited it opens the door for alternative means of functioning such as humanism and secularist thought. Is it any wonder the educational system seeks to indoctrinate Evolution or “Big Bang” theories into the minds of young impressionable students? If you can do anything to disprove the existence of God then man is free to inject his system of beliefs and worldview. It is interesting to consider how hotly contested those first 4 Words of the Bible turn out to be.
This establishes several truths one of which is how threatening the Word of God is to the enemy. If this is true should we not be embracing and pursuing it more? There are several other major takeaways that can be gleaned from the first chapter of Genesis and from Genesis’ as a whole. What is true of the first 4 Words of the Bible is also true for the first Book of the Bible. The balance of the Bible would be rendered irrelevant if Genesis as a Book was to be removed. Everything you see in the Word of God, everything that is seen in life today has its roots in Genesis. What is seen in seed form in Genesis begins to materialize throughout scripture right up to our day. If you want to know the root causes of what is seen in today’s world go back to Genesis. Jesus was able to clarify doctrine by going back to the beginning. If we understand Genesis we will have a broader perspective of the bigger picture. The enemy knows this and therefore does everything he can to dismiss and redefine the accounts found in Genesis. If we understand this it will greatly aid in our discernment of his tactics.
In verse 2 we see that the earth was without form and void and that darkness was upon the deep. This indicates that the earth was not created at this time; it seems that there had to be a prior existence. The fossilized remains of creatures and carbon dating of other objects makes clear the earth is older than 6000 years which is the number of years that has been given to man. There is considerable speculation concerning this however for our purposes we will only lightly touch on the subject. There will be greater revelation that will unfold in the days before us. What can be said with some certainty is that the earth had already existed at the time of the creation of man.
One of the primary ministries of the Holy Spirit is seen in verse 2. It was through the Spirit that life once again came upon the earth. It is the same Spirit that moved upon the dry bones in Ezekiel (Ezek 37) and it is the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead; the same Spirit available to you and I today (Rom 8:11). It was from this platform that the 6 days of creation was undertaken beginning in verse 3. The first act of recorded creation was that of light. This marked the first day and it should be noted that there is already a distinction between light and darkness. In order for there to be darkness at this juncture there had to be an act of sin or rebellion against God that allowed for darkness. In God there is light and no darkness.
Joh_8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
In the Book of Revelation we will see that there is a coming city that will be illuminated solely by the glory of God. There will be no darkness in this city. The point that we are establishing here at the beginning is that there was clearly an incident that had taken place that resulted in some form of darkness. Man has yet to be created so something beyond this record of creation had already taken place. The scriptures which help to give insight concerning this pre creation event are Isaiah 14:13-14 and Ezekiel 28:14-15. There are others as well.
The Lord then made a distinction between the waters resulting in the formation of heaven above. This consisted of the 2nd day of creation. The waters that were gathered under the heavens then gathered into one place resulting in the formation of dry land. The dry land was called earth and the gathering together of the waters became known as the seas. It was something God took note of and declared it to be good. (vs 9-10)
God then spoke into being the grass and herb yielding seed as well as the fruit tree yielding fruit after its kind. It is interesting to note fruit reproducing after its kind with its own seed to reproduce. Here is an early established precedent that would speak to the sin of homosexuality. It is totally against God’s laws of creation. This is the fruit of what sin produces. Sin takes issue with God’s order of creation which in the end brings instability and chaos. At the time of God’s creation we see everything in order and in control. The creation continues with God placing lights in the firmaments or heavens to divide night from the day and to provide for signs, seasons and years. We see that God honours cycles. His creation is fixed and it will later allow for man to fix his course and direction accordingly. It is a divine compass that can point the way to those who observe the God of creation. The signs and the seasons are also something that the firmaments can dictate and teach. There is a rhythm to God’s creation and it can be discovered by those who honor his Laws and His ways. (Pro 25:2) This is why the Law of the Sabbath is essential for the church of the last day to appreciate and appropriate.
In the midst of the firmament the Lord made two significant lights that will help one to navigate through the day and one to guide by the night. The sun and moon are part of the 4th day of God’s creation. The sun is perfectly positioned 93 million miles from earth that enables it to give light and the appropriate manner of temperature. The moon, with no luminance of its own is perfectly positioned 240,000 miles from the earth which dutifully reflects the light and glory of the sun. What a beautiful and thoughtful creator we serve.
There was life that came into being on the fifth day consisting of fishes, whales that thrived in the waters coupled with winged beings that could fly in the heavens (firmaments) all of which were able to be fruitful and multiplying after their kind. It seems that the animal kingdom got it right then and still do today. It’s man that plays the role of the violator. This part of creation took place on the 5th day. We now come to the 6th day and we see God creating the living creatures that would roam upon the earth after its kind. God once again God looked at his work and declared that it was all good. We now come to the creation of man. The act of the creation involving man is totally different than the creation that has been seen to date. God spoke all things into existence but with man He did something unique and different. First, He desired to make man after the image of the godhead and after their likeness. Have you ever wondered what God looks like? We may not know His features but we can surely know His image and likeness. The creation of man is His masterpiece! How is this creation different from all others? God did not speak man into existence but rather formed man from the dust of the ground after His image and likeness. This will be elaborated upon in chapter 2. (2:7) He then gave the commandment to man (and later woman) to be fruitful and multiply. He also gave the authority to man to take dominion over every aspect of His creation. (vs 28) This is a very important truth when considering many of the socialized movements in the earth today. There is an animal rights lobby that seeks to equate animal life to be on par with man. There is also an environmental movement that seeks to place restrictions upon man from functioning in his God ordained authority of stewardship.
Indeed, we are to be respecter of God’s animal creation and of the earth and its resources but not to serve under mandates from groups such as PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) or the EPA (The Environmental Protection Agency). There charters may sound noble enough but their intent is to strip man of his God given authority to function in a moral and humane way. All one has to do is to look at the overreach from these agencies into the private lives of law abiding citizens. These agencies can legislate (make laws) that strips the average person of individual property rights and associated liberties which paves the way for a socialized agenda and gospel. We call this the New World Order which puts man in the position of god and we see it on full display today. These are vehicles that the coming antichrist will be able to ride upon to enforce his worldwide ambition under the influence of the author of darkness; Satan himself. I make this point to illustrate how everything can be seen from Genesis. If we can grasp the fundamentals and foundations of the events of Genesis we will have a greater ability to grasp and see the big picture. This is why the Apostle John spoke of Father’s being those who knew the God from the beginning. (1 John 2:12-14) These are the true fathers and are they ever needed today.
The Lord finished His work in 6 days and on the 7th took Rest. The Lord blessed this day and sanctified it designating it as a time to take stock from his efforts over the past 6 days. This designated day became known as the Sabbath and later became one of the commandments that God intended for man to keep. (Exo 20:8-11) The intent and blessings of the Sabbath Rest is covered in other portions of this commentary. It is especially important that we understand the truths of the Sabbath today. The last day feast that the church is about to enter into is the Feast of Tabernacles. One of the names given to this Feast is the Feast of Rest. In order to fully benefit from what God is about to do in these last days we must understand and adhere to the Sabbath principle.
There is a further description of God’s creation upon the earth prior to man being given his responsibility to till the ground (vs 5). There was still no rain that fell upon the earth only a mist that came up from the earth that watered the ground allowing for the planting of the Lord to bring forth fruit (vs 6). It is verse 7 where we get a more enhanced picture as to how man was created. He was formed from the dust of the ground as opposed to being spoken into existence like the rest of creation. After being formed after His image God breathed the breath of life through his nostrils. This resulted in man becoming a living soul. The breath of divine life means that this living soul can never die. The physical decaying body of man can die but the soul will always live (vs 7).
The Lord then gave man the responsibility of being a steward in the garden named Eden. It was a fruitful environment and a place where God was able to have sweet communion with man. There are a series of 4 different rivers that are named in verses 11-14. This helps to give an indication as to the location of this earthly paradise.
We now come to a significant series of verses (vs 16-17) which are foundational and yet profound in their implication. If we understand the dynamic of these two verses in Genesis it will greatly enhance our understanding of God; His ways, His law as well as the subject of sin. Let’s begin by asking the following question. At this stage of man’s existence was he holy? Let’s put it another way; when God created man did He create him holy? Man was created free from sin and in innocence but he was not created holy. We often think that man, prior to the fall was every bit like God. True, he was created after His image and created with many of God’s characteristics but he was not created holy. Man was created from the dust of the earth; he was not taken from God. Holiness is a divine attribute. One of the best definitions of holiness is actually a two-fold process. It is a separation from the world, flesh and the devil and a separation unto God. God is holy and He holds out the opportunity for each of us to become holy. How is this achieved?
There are two primary qualifiers regarding holiness that a man must appropriate. First, there needs to be a “choosing” to be holy. It is not forced upon man but is presented to man with the opportunity to seek in becoming holy (Lev 11:44, 1 Pet 1:15-16). Secondly, holiness must be tested. It is not enough to say “I want to be holy” it must be proven by our conduct and respect and love for God’s law and ways. This is where verses 16-17 come in. Up until now man has had sweet communion with God but something happens in these verses that will put man in the position of proving his loyalty to God. God will give a law or a commandment that will require a response from man. What is the commandment? It is a rather simple one in that he is given full permission to eat of any tree in the garden with the exception of one tree that is known as the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil (vs 17). God makes clear that if man partakes of this tree in disobedience he will die. Man is now placed into a position where he has to make a choice. He can either choose to obey God and stay far away from that tree or he can choose to disobey God.
Let’s pause here for a moment and consider the beautiful gift of choice that God gives to man. The Lord does not force His way upon anyone but gives to man a “free will” to choose. This is one of the characteristics that helps distinguish Christianity from other religions. This choice seems to be a relatively easy one to keep so there should be no problem. God spoke it, made clear the implications of disobedience so partaking of that particular tree is not even an option. We shall later see that is not as easy as it seems. The testing of holiness will be picked up in chapter 3.
In verses 18-19 God saw the need that man had for companionship outside of Himself. He caused a deep sleep to come upon Adam and took out of him one of his ribs and formed woman. The Lord then brought the Woman to Adam resulting in Adam recognizing a glorious union that previously did not exist. It was the first marriage and it helped to set the precedent for all marriages to come. Adam was able to declare through this union that in future generation’s man will leave father and mother to be joined to his wife to become one flesh. The glow of the bridegroom awaiting His bride must bear similarities to what it was like when God presented Eve to Adam. It is God who instituted marriage and He has done so for a number of reasons. It is a picture of the bridegroom (Christ) awaiting His perfected bride (the church) at the time of the 2nd coming. God also demonstrates the tremendous strength and unity that exists in a godly union bearing His name. The enemy is also aware of this dynamic and does all he can to destroy the concept of marriage. If we can meditate on these truths and understand God’s intent it will help us in many of our doctrinal positions surrounding marriage. It’s true; marriages are under assault in today’s culture but it is also under assault in many churches due to compromise and the redefinition of marriage. If we understand the foundational basis of what God intended from the beginning it will go a long way in clearing up many of the doctrinal disputes. Jesus understood this as seen in many of his conversations with the Pharisees.
As mentioned in our chapter 2 summary holiness requires two particular qualifiers. First there must be a “choosing” to be holy. Adam was placed into this position after God gave the commandment in verses 16-17 of chapter 2. No doubt, Adam chose to listen and obey God but the testing of that commandment was about to come. We are immediately introduced to the serpent in verse 1.
It is clear that this is something that God is allowing to take place. What is of interest is to note the first words out of the mouth of the serpent. It is revelatory and something we need to understand. “Yea hath God said ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden”? The very first recorded words of the serpent are an assault on the first Law that God gave to man. What does this tell us? It makes clear that the law of God serves as an absolute threat to the enemy. It also makes clear his intention in getting man to violate or to redefine God’s Law.
His initial approach to Eve was unsuccessful as she rightfully stated God’s position with regard to the tree. It is clear that Satan would now have to devise new and cleverer tactics if he were to succeed in getting man to disobey Gods commandment. Let’s go back to verse one and read carefully one of the descriptions of the serpent. “More subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made” How did this subtlety come into play? He began to speak to the soul and emotions of Eve (vs 4). He tried to reason with her soul as to how a loving God could condemn one to death for simply eating the fruit of a tree.
Let’s note the words from verse 4. “Ye shall not surely die”. I would like to suggest that it is here where we see the origins of many of the false doctrines permeating the churches up to our day. The enemy begins to redefine God’s laws by emotional means. This is the danger when the soul supersedes the spirit man. One begins to rationalize God in human and emotional terms. If God is truly a loving God do you think He would really allow you to die? Can you see how this is employed in today’s culture? God is defined by a worldview as opposed to His Word. The loving God of creation has been forgotten; the God of provision, blessing and protection is now a memory as the enemy lays hold of the soul in his assault upon God’s law. He then sweetens the assault by presenting the forbidden tree in a new light. In verse 5 the tree now becomes something to be desired, not forbidden. The attack continues as he injects his poison and heart in saying that the tree is meant to make one wise to the point of becoming like God. Can you see how the serpent is trying to justify himself in light of how he fell from grace? He wants and desires for man to do the same. Can you now see how holiness is being tested? Man is now in the position of having to choose once again but this choice is being aided by the wiles and subtlety of the devil. The same is true today. It all comes down to how man responds to the Law of God. The Bible says that the law is Holy. (Rom 7:12) Isn’t it amazing that many in the church today speak of the Law as being irrelevant? What is taking place in Genesis chapter 3 is taking place today. If we understand this then we understand the importance of what God and His law represents. It also would greatly aid in our ability to discern the intentions of the enemy. Finally, it will also help us in understanding and fleshing out many of the false doctrines that are so prevalent today. The doctrine of once saved always saved could well have its origins in Gen 3:4. This is what the Apostle Paul was so concerned about in the last days of his life. (2 Tim 4:3)
Sin enters the world
As we approach verse 6 we now see that sin has been redefined. That which was forbidden in Gen 2:16-17 has now been repackaged into something that is pleasing and desirable. Let us not underestimate the serpent’s ability in being able to take the absolutes of God’s Word and laws and present it in more palatable ways. Is it any wonder that God, His Word, His creation and ways are always under cultural attack? The spirit of antichrist is clearly at work as he seeks to remove any portrait of the living God. Now more than ever the church must arise. There is a need for true fathers and mothers in the church to come forth on the scene. These are the ones who know and understand the God that we see at work in Genesis. (1 John 2:12-14) These are the men and women who have the ability to have perspective and take authority over the works of the evil one.
We oftentimes look at these early chapters in Genesis as mere stories that happened long ago without seeing their link to today. Sin is fashionable in today’s world and sadly the church is the primary culprit in how this came to be. The political system seeks to work on a system of bi-partisanship whereby one party always lays down the ground rules while the other party tries to find that ever elusive common ground. This never works in the favour of the righteous. This malady is alive and well in the modern church. To avoid offending people the church takes on the process of chipping away at the absolutes of God’s Word and His Laws. People may be temporarily appeased but at what price? What about appeasing a Holy and just God? Where are the true Priests? This modern day problem has its roots and origins in Genesis. So far Eve has been tempted and not yet been a partaker of sin. What about Adam, where is he when all of this is taking place?
The absence of Adam is instructive in this exchange between the serpent and Eve. Decisions of great magnitude should always be made together. Somehow Eve was removed from the presence of Adam when this temptation took place. Though Eve was the one who initially partook of the forbidden fruit Adam is not excused. He could have held true to God’s Word and refused to disobey God’s Law. He sided with Eve in disobeying God resulting in the entrance of sin into God’s creation. Sin entered through God’s most prized creation which brought about a wall of separation between God and man. Sin is a wall of separation and there is only one other means that could effectively break down this wall. It would be the future sacrifice of the last Adam. (Christ) The 1st Adam sinned; he failed to take responsibility for the sin that Eve committed and became a partaker of it himself. The last Adam (Christ) took the blame, shame and responsibility of all sin upon Himself. The Lord Jesus Christ was to become the Lamb that was ordained to be slain before the very foundations of the world. (Rev 13:8)
What happened after sin entered the world? Adam and Eve’s very first act was to sew fig leaves together (vs 7). We can say that the world’s first cover up took place right here. Man continues to sew fig leaves today utilizing sophisticated means in doing so. At the time of the fall man came to know shame so he had to do something to cover up the transgression and ease his guilt. The “fig leaves” used today are so clever and effective in diminishing the effects of sin. This is also very true in the church. I have even see Christians cover up transgressions through “40 day fasts” thinking that by being spiritual they could cover up hidden sins. It is a modern day version of the fig leaf. This may seemingly work for a time up to when the veneer is peeled away. Let’s compare the following verses:
Mar 11:12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:
Mar 11:13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
Gen 3:8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
Gen 3:9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
These two sets of verses can be linked. In the former we see the Lord hungering for fruit. He approaches this Fig Tree with anticipation of partaking of its fruit. From a distance the tree had the appearance of fruitfulness as it was covered by fig leaves. It was not until the Lord was able to peel away the veneer that he was able to see its true condition. There is the appearance of fruit but no fruitfulness. Let’s go back to the garden!
Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves thinking that this would cover their shame and guilt. It is a natural response to a transgression. In verse 8 they heard the voice of the Lord as he was drawing closer to them. How did they respond? They hid because they could not stand in the presence of a Holy God. Today, the presence of the Lord is drawing closer to His church and to our individual lives but how are we responding?
Are we covering up and then seeking to steer away from His presence? Are we comforting ourselves with doctrines and teachings that excuse and supplement the message of the Cross? This is how the church seeks to get around this dilemma but let us not be fooled; it’s a season where God looks to deal with sin through the message of the atonement. Do we see other examples of fig leaves and cover-ups in this chapter? Let’s look at Adam’s response when the Lord confronted him regarding his actions.
Gen 3:12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
Adam failed to take responsibility but instead shifted the blame unto Eve. It was her fault, it was because of her. In fact he also placed blame upon God because He was the one who brought Eve to him. Can you see how quickly Adam has taken on the nature of the serpent? He is the accuser of the brethren and this is exactly what Adam is doing before God. (Rev 12:10) Once again, can you see how everything we see in life today is rooted right here in these early chapters of Genesis? So what is the solution and how will God deal with this situation? God loves man but he hates sin; how can this bridge be gapped? It certainly will not be through the application of fig leaves. It will require another covering that would destroy sin and allow for that wall of separation to be broken down. What would be the basis of this covering and how would this covering serve as an adequate price for what man had done? We see the answer in verse 21.
Gen 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
God made his own covering that would serve as an adequate means of atoning for Adam’s transgression. It was not meant to be a permanent covering but figurative of the ultimate sacrifice that would one day be paid for sin. It points to the covering of the Son of God and the means and way by which this price will be paid. The animal skins placed upon man speak of a death and the shedding of blood that the Son of God will one day assume on behalf of man.
The first Adam did not take responsibility for his transgression while the last Adam (Christ) does. It is the only means by which sin in man will be able to be atoned for. The last three verses of chapter 3 make clear of another problem. There was a tree in the garden known as the “Tree of Life”. There was the danger of man partaking of this tree which would ensure he would never die. If he partook of this tree in his sinful state then sin would never be able to be atoned for and man would be eternally in a sinful state. Death here has to be seen as a blessing since it will allow for sin to be separated from the eternal life of a soul. This is why the eternal Son of God is the only means by which sin could be eradicated from man. The Son of God would have to become man and die as a man, taking sin with him to the grave. It is for this reason why God placed a Cherub with a flaming sword to keep all men away from the tree of life. This tree will be opened up again to those who overcome as seen as one of the promises of Revelation. (Rev 2:7)
Perhaps one of the best ways to look at the 4 different gospels is to align them with the 4 living creatures that surround the throne of God as seen in Ezekiel chapter one. The Gospel of Mark can be likened to the face of an Ox, the Gospel of Luke to a man, the Gospel of John to an eagle and the Gospel of Matthew to that of a lion. These 4 different representations around the throne of God reveal aspects of the character of the Lord Jesus Christ. Each of the 4 Gospels reveal different characteristics of Christ through the unique personalities of the 4 different writers. Matthew shows Christ as the Lion of the tribe of the Judah as well as the king of all the Jews.
It is important to remember that Matthew (Levi) was a tax collector which was a despised profession amongst the Jews. It is interesting to note how the Lord uses one’s profession in being able to express His message through them. Matthew was a tax collector so he uses illustrations from his background to give us a picture of Christ that is not seen in the other Gospels. A good example would be the subject of coins and money. Should we be surprised that there are more references to money and coins in Matthew than the other Gospels? This should help us to appreciate who we are in Christ. One’s gifting and ability helps to define how God can best express himself through such a vessel. One who is an accountant will have the tendency to be orderly. An accountant has to reconcile assets and liabilities which we know is also true in the life of a believer. Matthew’s Gospel has more of an emphasis on teaching than the others.
The Gospel of Matthew begins with the genealogy of Jesus in verses 1-17. Let’s remember that Matthew is writing to Jewish readers so he is seeking to reconcile that Christ is indeed the promised Messiah through His genealogy to David and ultimately to Abraham which is reflected in verse 1. We can notice in verse 2 that Matthew makes no mention of Ishmael as a son of Abraham. This is for the purpose of affirming the Word of the Lord to Abraham that it would be through his seed (through Sarah) that his seed would be called (Gen 17:19, 21:12). The Apostle Paul would also make this same distinction in his exclusion of Ishmael (Rom 9:7). Matthew makes no mention of Esau as a son of Isaac as he continues the tracing of lineage towards Christ. He also zeroes in on Judah who was the 4th son of Jacob who would later have the promise of the sceptre spoken over his life (Gen 49:10).
Matthew, as an accountant is reconciling the royal lineage to Christ in succinct fashion. This is his purpose in establishing the royal lineage to Christ. As we look at verses 5-6 we see the lineage being brought to David. It should also be noted that in the lead-up to David there were interesting characters that were brought into this royal lineage. There is Rahab, who was a harlot but who later proved helpful to the spies as Israel came into the land of their inheritance. Her role was instrumental and it earned her a name in the heroes of faith as seen in Hebrews 11 (Heb 11:31). Rahab later married a man by the name of Salmon. This couple had a son named Boaz who later came to be the husband of Ruth who was a Moabitess. One can see the beautiful redemptive nature of God at work through those who are part of the listed lineage. When we consider Rahab and Ruth we are seeing a future picture of Christ that is not only being brought for the benefit of the Jews but also for the Gentiles. We can also note that it is Bathsheba who is referenced as the one who brought forth Solomon. David had many sons but it was Solomon who ended up being the one chosen by God. The lineage then focuses on Rehoboam and his lineage of kings up to the time of their being brought to Babylon (vs 12). One of the primary leaders of the early restoration effort after Babylon was a man named Zerubbabel who we find is also part of this royal lineage which soon leads to Christ (vs 16). Matthew, like a true accountant divides the generations from Abraham to Christ into three sets of 14.
1) 14 generations from Abraham to David
2) 14 generations from David to the time of exile in Babylon
3) 14 generations from the exile to Christ.
It is noteworthy to consider that there were 20 generations from the time of Adam to Abraham. (10 generations from Adam to Noah and another 10 generations from Noah to Abraham) This means that there are 62 generations from Adam to Christ. The number 62 is mentioned in a few other places in Scripture. It is the mentioned age of Darius at the time Babylon was taken. (Dan 5:31) It is also cited in Dan 9:25 with regard to a timing of 62 weeks. (Please see commentary of Daniel 9 for a more in depth breakdown of the significance of the number 62)
The birth of Jesus is referenced in verses 18-25. We get a good picture of Joseph as an honourable man when considering how he handled the matter concerning Mary. He thought Mary committed fornication as her pregnancy became known. They were not married at this time only engaged to be married. In Jewish custom an engagement had the connotation of being likened to already being husband and wife. This is why the Bible says Joseph had a mind to divorce her in a private manner (vs 19). This was honourable on his part based on what he knew. The angel of the Lord visited Joseph informing him that the child that Mary was carrying was conceived in her by the Holy Ghost (vs 20). This was a test for Joseph to see how his heart would respond. He could have made a public spectacle of Mary but chose not to do so. This was honourable and it allowed Joseph to be given the revelation of what transpired via an angel of the Lord. He was also given the revelation of why Jesus would come and what he would do. He was told that His name was to be Jesus and that he would be the saviour of all mankind (vs 21). In Joseph we see instant obedience as he assumed his role as the earthly adopted father of the Son of God.