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Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)

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Chapter 3

3:2  And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

(1) The phrase, kingdom of heaven (lit. of the heavens), is peculiar to Matthew and signifies the Messianic earth rule of Jesus Christ, the Son of David. It is called the kingdom of the heavens because it is the rule of the heavens over the earth Matthew 6:10 The phrase is derived from Daniel, where it is defined ; Daniel 2:34-36,44; Daniel 7:23-27 as the kingdom which the God of heaven will set up after the destruction by "the stone cut out without hands," of the Gentile world-system. It is the kingdom covenanted to David's seed 2 Samuel 7:7-10 described in the prophets; (See Scofield "Zechariah 12:8") and confirmed to Jesus the Christ, the Son of Mary, through the angel Gabriel Luke 1:32,33.

(2) The kingdom of heaven has three aspects in Matthew:

(a) "at hand" from the beginning of the ministry of John the Baptist Matthew 3:2 to the virtual rejection of the King, and the announcement of the new brotherhood Matthew 12:46-50

(b) in seven "mysteries of the kingdom of heaven," to be fulfilled during the present age Matthew 13:1-52 to which are to be added the parables of the kingdom of heaven which were spoken after those of Mt. 13., and which have to do with the sphere of Christian profession during this age;

(c) the prophetic aspect--the kingdom to be set up after the return of the King in glory. Matthew 24:29-25:46; Luke 19:12-19; Acts 15:14-17 See "Kingdom (N.T.)" ; Luke 1:33; 1 Corinthians 15:28 Cf. "Kingdom of God," (See Scofield "Matthew 6:33") .

saying (See Scofield "Acts 17:30") .

3:6  And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.


Sin. (See Scofield "Romans 3:23") .

3:7  But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?


So called from a Heb. word meaning "separate." After the ministry of the post-exilic prophets ceased, godly men called "Chasidim" (saints) arose who sought to keep alive reverence for the law amongst the descendants of the Jews who returned from the Babylonian captivity. This movement degenerated into the Pharisaism of our Lord's day-- a letter-strictness which overlaid the law with traditional interpretations held to have been communicated by Jehovah to Moses as oral explanations of equal authority with the law itself. (cf. Matthew 15:2,3; Mark 7:8-13; Galatians 1:14).

The Pharisees were strictly a sect. A member was "chaber" (i.e. "knit together,") Judges 20:11 and took an obligation to remain true to the principles of Pharisaism. They were correct, moral, zealous, and self-denying, but self-righteous Luke 18:9 and destitute of the sense of sin and need Luke 7:39. They were the foremost prosecutors of Jesus Christ and the objects of His unsparing denunciation (e.g.) ; Matthew 23:13-29; Luke 11:42,43


Not strictly a sect, but rather those amongst the Jews who denied the existence of angels or other spirits, and all miracles, especially the resurrection. They were the religious rationalists of the time Mark 12:18-23; Acts 5:15-17; 23:8 and strongly entrenched in the Sanhedrin and priesthood ; Acts 4:1; 5:17. They are identified with no affirmative doctrine, but were mere deniers of the supernatural.

3:15  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

Suffer it to be so

Why one who needed no repentance should insist upon receiving a rite which signified confession (Matthew 3:6) and repentance (Matthew 3:11) is nowhere directly explained. It may be suggested:

(1) That Jesus was now to receive His anointing with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16) unto His threefold office of Prophet, Priest, and King. In the Levitical order Exodus 29:4-7 the high priest was first washed, then anointed. While Christ's priestly work did not begin till He "offered Himself without spot to God" Hebrews 9:14 and His full manifestation as the King- Priest after the order of Melchizedek awaits the kingdom (See Scofield "Genesis 14:18") yet He was then anointed, once for all.

(2) But John's baptism was the voice of God to Israel, and the believing remnant responded (Matthew 3:5). It was an act of righteousness on the part of Him who had become, as to the flesh, an Israelite, to take His place with this believing remnant.

righteousness (See Scofield "1 John 3:7") .

3:16  And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:


For the first time the Trinity, foreshadowed in many ways in the O.T., is fully manifested. The Spirit descends upon the Son, and at the same moment the Father's voice is heard from heaven.

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These files are considered public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available in the Online Bible Software Library.

Bibliography Information
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Matthew 3". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". <>. 1917.  


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