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Synopsis 003b The Genealogy of Jesus part 2

Churches should be air-conditioned.  I was reading a report that says that it’s unhealthy to sleep in a stuffy room.

Last week we began studying our savior’s family album.  We read His genealogical account in Matthew and learned a few things:  We know that Matthew wrote for the Jews, so he was out to give the authority for Jesus’ right to the throne by giving His regal genealogy. 

Because Matthew’s account was written for the Jews and Jesus came for the lost sheep of the house of Israel, there are very few Gentiles mentioned.  Remember, at the point that this was written, the Kingdom of the Heavens (or ruling and reigning in them) was open only to the Jews as a nation. 

Now, Matthew firmly established Jesus’ right to sit on the throne of David, but there’s one major problem.  We’ll take a look at that problem later.  Right now, I want us to look at Luke 3:23-38.  [Luke 3:23-38]  Remember, 1 Timothy 3:16,17 tells us that all Scripture is profitable.  It’s important to remember that the one genealogy isn’t sufficient.  We’ll look at why this is true later.  There are not contradictions, just different emphases on different places of the history.

Luke 3:23 more appropriately says that when Jesus was beginning, he was about thirty years old.  Beginning refers to His public ministry after His baptism.  Numbers 4:23 says, “From thirty years old and upward until fifty years old shalt thou number them; all that enter in to perform the service, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.”  Being the first-born of Mary, Jesus was simply entering into His ministry on schedule.

Luke’s account focuses on the humanity of Jesus.  While Matthew’s account gives us the regal ancestry through Joseph, Luke gives the fleshly ancestry through His mother Mary.  But, he doesn’t stop with Abraham.  Luke goes on back through to Adam and then on to God.  Matthew’s emphasis is on the King – the Son of David – and Luke focuses on the Son of Man.  Matthew shows the Jews that Jesus is qualified, Luke, who is writing to the world goes all the way back to the beginning; he takes the lineage of Jesus all the way back to God.

Jesus is still presented by Luke as a King, as He is in Matthew, but Jesus also serves as He does in Mark, and He is divine as in John, and these aspects are brought together to bring into strong relief the sympathetic, gracious, human side of His character.  His birth and childhood are given much importance in the account.  His maturity is announced before He enters His public ministry.  Later on in Luke, His kinship with the whole race is emphasized in the commission He gives His disciples.

We looked at this last week, but I want us to look at it again.  The word τέκνον/teknon (child) is often used interchangeably with υιου (son) informally, but is never applied to Jesus.  While in teknon is implied dependence upon the relationship with the parents, huios focuses on the person himself.  I am the teknon of Jerry Shannon, but more importantly, I am the huios of Jerry Shannon.  Huios suggests individuality instead of descent, but if used for descent, brings out the fact that the descendent is worthy of the parent.  Therefore, the word marks the son-like relation as carrying with it privileges, dignity and freedom.  Therefore, it is the only term that is appropriate to describe Christ’s son-ship.  A verse we’re all familiar with says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son (huios) that whosever is believing in Him may not perish, but have age-lasting life.”  [Romans 8:14]  Through Christ, the dignity of sons is bestowed upon mature believers, those who are obedient, so that the same word is appropriate:  Sons of God.  If we’re obedient and faithful, we are sons of God!

This is talking about maturity and son-ship, as opposed to nativity or simply being a child.  Maturity and son-ship were not attained at birth.  Instead, it waited until the thirtieth year [paint picture:  driver’s license or contract signing].  The genealogy given here in Luke does not deal with birth or begettal as it does in Matthew, but with son-ship.  [Matthew says, so-and-so begot so-and-so, but Luke says, so-and-so the son of so-and-so; the emphasis in Luke is on son-ship.]  Therefore this genealogy is not introduced until Jesus arrives at His full manhood, and God Himself claims Jesus as His Son [look back in verse 22]. The following pedigree or lineage is hardly intended to prove Jesus to be a descendant of Adam, since we all are descendants of Adam, but rather to show that this line, through which He came as to flesh, was absolutely incapable of producing the Sinless One, apart from His divine paternity.

Here in Luke 3:23, Jesus was the son (huios) of Joseph according to the law.  He was the legally recognized son of Joseph.  Joseph was of Heli.

Wait a minute:  Matthew 1:16 says that Jacob begat Joseph.  Luke 3:23 says Joseph was a son of Heli.  Which is it?  Both.  He could not be by natural generation the son of both.  Jacob physically begat Joseph, as we are told in Matthew; Joseph was the physical offspring of Jacob.  Luke 3:23 does not say that Heli begat Joseph; it says Joseph was a son of Heli, his father-in-law, who was also a descendent of David.  That he should be called in that case the son of Heli is in accord with Jewish usage and law.

Christ is first proclaimed as the Son of God. Then He is shown to be the legal (but not physical) son of Joseph. Joseph, also, is not the offspring of Heli, whose son he is said to be, but he was the son-in-law of Heli, by his marriage with Mary, who was Heli's daughter. As Heli had no son of his own his allotment passed to his daughter's husband [Numbers 27:8] and so Joseph is the legal son of Heli and the physical son of Jacob.

As we see from these examples, the word “son” is not always used only for physical offspring; it is used as a term of relationship; that’s how we can all be be “sons of God”.  1 Samuel 24:16 says, “And it came to pass, when David had made an end of speaking these words unto Saul, that Saul said, Is this thy voice, my son David? And Saul lifted up his voice, and wept.”

Since Joseph could not have had two fathers, Luke is giving the genealogy of Jesus through Mary.  Although he takes pains to show that Jesus is not the physical son of Joseph, Matthew gives the regal genealogy of Jesus and Luke gives the legal genealogy.  The two genealogies differ from Joseph to David except in the cases of Zerubbabel and Salathiel.  It goes further than that, though.

The Messiah was not just to be a descendant of Abraham, but would also be a descendant of Isaac (Genesis 21:12), Jacob (Genesis 28:13,14), Judah (Genesis 49:10), Jesse (Isaiah 11:1,10), David (2 Samuel 7:12-16), and Zerubbabel.  Both genealogies give us these; but what else does this genealogy in Luke give us?

[Genesis 3:15]  This genealogy in Luke gives us the seed of the woman that shall crush the serpent’s head.  This genealogy here in Luke goes beyond the Messiah of Israel and gives us all, each and every one of us in the entire world, the genealogy of the Savior of the human race.  Matthew gives the savior for the Jews; Luke gives the savior of the world; this savior will ultimately defeat Satan or crush the serpent’s head.

Now, we have looked at the genealogy in Matthew that gives us the regal lineage of Jesus and the genealogy in Luke that gives us the legal or blood lineage of Jesus.  I want us to compare and contrast these genealogies.  They’re both true, as God cannot lie.  But they are different.

There are the common ancestors that are named only by Luke.  Both accounts name Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Perez, but Luke goes all the way back to Adam.  Let’s look at Adam.

Look with me here in Genesis 3:15:  Gen 3:15 is a puzzling passage when taken by itself, but it’s usually taken to infer that there would come a man, “her seed”, who would take it upon Himself to crush the authority and rule of Satan symbolized by the serpent (‘he shall bruise your head’) but, in the process, the seed would also be physically injured (‘you shall bruise his heel’). Certainly, in retrospect, it reads this way and it’s possible to see in the verse the first declaration that the Christ was promised to sort out the sin just committed by both Adam and Eve.

It must be remembered that this prophetic word was spoken to the serpent and not to either Adam or Eve - though, if anyone of the two would have reason to listen to it and take it as a promise concerning their offspring then it should have been Eve for mention is made of ‘her offspring’ not ‘his offspring’.  But, to the serpent it would mean that Satan would not achieve unchallenged rule and supremacy over mankind throughout subsequent generations; to the contrary; he would find that he would be at continual war with them; they would not surrender completely.   The word ‘enmity’ implies repeated attacks by both sides to injure the other. It declares lifelong mutual hostility between mankind and the serpent race or Satan, both camps inflicting injuries upon one another.  It’s a war between mankind and Satan!  Ultimately, though, the ‘head’ of the serpent, the symbol of rule and authority, supremacy and dominion, would be broken, and man would stand triumphant.

If you look at this verse, the curse fell upon the serpent for having tempted the woman.  [Don’t read; Exodus 21:28-29]  This curse is consistent not only with the law that a beast which injured a man was ordered to be put to death, but any beast which had been the instrument of an unnatural crime was to be slain along with the man [don’t read; Leviticus 20:15,16].   It’s not as though the beasts are accountable creatures, but because they had been made subject to man in the original creation of man, they were not to injure his body or his life, or to be the instrument of his sin, but to be subservient to the great purpose of his life.

Although this punishment of eating dust fell literally upon the serpent, it also affected the tempter in a figurative or symbolical sense. He became the object of the utmost contempt and abhorrence.  [Isaiah 65:25]  While this degradation of the serpent’s was to be perpetual, the rest of creation shall be delivered from the fate into which the fall has plunged it.  The instrument of man's temptation is to remain sentenced to perpetual degradation in fulfillment of the sentence in Genesis 3:14, 'all the days of thy life.'

Realistically, the seed that would crush the head of the serpent had to be achieved in Christ - but that’s to read far too much in to the verse if we’re to take it as standing alone with nothing else to give it meaning.  Prophetic words rarely give us the method that God is intending to use to bring about His will and purpose and certainly this is the case if we try and understand what all three recipients of the message, the serpent, man and woman, understood by its utterance.  For the time being, then, Satan (or, perhaps, we should say ‘serpent’ since we don’t yet know that this is Satan) realizes that, though he’d tried to achieve rule over the Creation, God’s crowning glory, mankind, would be at continual war with him - just as mankind would be in continual rebellion against the Creator.  We’re a contrary, ornery bunch!

God declared war on the serpent through mankind.  God declared that ultimately, mankind would triumph over the rule of the serpent.  God had no one else to choose except Adam and Eve to bring Messiah to earth. Only two humans then existed so the offspring or “the seed” had to come through them.

Alternatively, He could have begun again with a new creation and a new creature but the same possibility of degeneration and rebellion would have existed in that new world when free will was sown into the framework of a being.  God didn’t want a bunch of robots; He gave man free will.  Instead of a new creation, He chose rather to bring what was perfect (Christ) out of what had become tarnished by sin (mankind and by association through subjection, nature).  Jesus was sent to restore both the fallen Creation and the fallen creature.

Everyone knows the story of Cain and Abel.  When Cain was born, Eve said, “I have acquired a man, Jehovah!” and the word “Cain” means “Acquired”, but she realized her error when she was pregnant with Abel, which means, “Vanity”.  As we know, Cain and Abel both made sacrifices; Abel made his sacrifice of the first fruits and Cain made his of the excess.  God didn’t respect Cain’s offering.  He didn’t reject it, it just wasn’t respected.  Cain slew Abel, and Eve was quite distraught.  Then she had another child.  This child was Seth, who is next in the genealogical line presented by Luke.

[Genesis 4:25]  Between the passage already discussed above in Genesis 3:15 and the one mentioning the conception and birth of Seth in Genesis 4:25, there are a couple of similarities in words used.  Let’s compare them.

In Genesis 4:25, we find the word “appointed” meaning “to place”, “to put” or “to set”.  This word is used in a wide variety of situations and contexts all over the Bible; but, it is the same word used in Genesis 3:15 and translated by the word “put” as in “I will put enmity between your seed and her seed”.

It should be pointed out that Seth was called so because of the closeness of that name to the Hebrew “sheth”, which is the word for “put”.

In Genesis 4:25, the word ‘child’ - meaning more correctly ‘seed’ or ‘offspring’ - is the same word translated as ‘seed’ twice in Genesis 3:15.  I will put enmity between your seed and her seed.

Genesis 3:15 and 4:25 therefore become possible parallel passages, the former stating that “hostility will be put/set between the serpent’s seed and the woman’s” and the latter stating that Seth (put/set) had been put or set on the earth as the seed to replace Abel’s line.  Seth’s conception was therefore “appointed” or set or put by God in Eve’s eyes.  Seth was the third son, and three is the Biblical number of divine completeness.

Eve’s statement in Gen 4:25 is therefore a confession of faith that she believed it was to be through Abel that God was to bring her seed to redeem mankind and to overthrow the serpent but because of what had happened between Abel and Cain, God had allowed her to conceive another child to replace the Messianic line. God doesn’t state that this was so, even though this was the genealogical line that He chose, through Noah, to Abraham and beyond.  This seems substitutionary, just as Jesus was a substitution for us.  God chooses whom He will, according to His perfect plan, not who we as men think He should choose.  It doesn’t always go to the firstborn.

After Seth, Genesis 5:6-32 and Luke 3:36-38 both give us the names Enos, Cainan, Mahalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech and Noah. 

Noah received no specific promise that through his descendants the Messiah would be brought to Earth, even though it would have been impossible to do it any other way.  Noah ended up being the man through whom all of mankind must now be able to trace back their ancestry.  Once again, all of mankind.

Recently, it has been proclaimed that scientifically it seems that all of mankind descended from no more than six women.  Scientifically, it seems that none of us are further removed than 16th cousins.  Although the number six doesn’t match the four who were the wives of the three sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, science is beginning to get closer to an agreement with the Bible.  If this is provable, attention should be paid to the memory of the ancients who noted that it came about through a cataclysmic event.

[Genesis 6:13]  God’s call to Noah makes mention only of the coming judgment and says nothing about God’s purposes for the redemption of both Creation and His creature man.

The promise and command given to Noah after the judgment of the Flood in Genesis 9:1-17 also makes no mention of the Messianic line, but is concerned solely with instructions concerning food and a declaration that never again will God judge the world by sending upon the earth a flood like this.

Therefore, Noah isn’t considered amongst those patriarchs who received a specific word from God that they’d been chosen by Him to be a “father” in the direct lineage of the Messiah.  However, he is a father in the direct lineage of all mankind and therefore in the direct lineage of the Messiah.

Next, we have Shem, Arphazad, Cainan, Shelah, Eber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah, and then the first ancestor that both genealogies have in common:  Abraham. 

Between Adam and Abraham there was no specific plan brought into being by God to bring the Messiah to earth - at least, we have none recorded for us in the pages of Genesis. But the “line” of choice (and the first specific promise of God to an individual that they would “father” the ultimate hope for mankind) began with the calling of Abram in Ur of the Chaldeans.  Abram was the first Jew and as we all know was subsequently named Abraham.  [Do the map thing here.]

[Genesis 11:31]  If you look in Genesis 11:31, it says, “When they came to Haran”.  This infers that they arrived at the city in the course of their journey and not as a diversion along the route. To give a local example, if someone were traveling from Homer to Girdwood, one might say “when he came to Cooper Landing, he stopped to have a rest”.  Cooper Landing is on the route to Girdwood.  But if one were to say, “when he came to Seward”, you would have to question why that person went to Seward on the way to Girdwood.  It’s just not in the course of “when they came”.

As we can see, we should see Abram as a dweller of present day Turkey or of the land beyond. Whether we ever find a city in this area that can be proven to be ‘Ur’ is unlikely, for the Bible doesn’t bear witness that it was a large prosperous town and any trace of the place may now have disappeared.  However, it should be noted that if you study the OT, you will see that Abraham was far from poor, so he may have come from a prosperous area.

[Gen 12:1-4]  God doesn’t choose people just so that they can get blessed.  In today’s world, it’s often the case that an individual’s relationship with God becomes egocentric and subjective based upon an experience that causes the follower to achieve some sort of happiness in this life that he can’t obtain elsewhere.

But such a walk with God will often come to an abrupt halt when persecution or trouble arises that everyone finds themselves subject to from time to time - whether religious persecution or just worldly grief.  Just as it was in the early years after Jesus ascended into Heaven, the Church’s destiny is to fulfill its calling and so bless the world - not to strive after blessing from God that makes it both comfortable and content with materialistic possessions and achievements.  If we’re obedient, we will be blessed, but perhaps in ways that are unexpected.

God’s calling of Abram, therefore, wasn’t intended to be concluded with one man getting ‘all blessed up’ - though this is what happened to some extent.  But God chose and called an individual so that God’s eternal purpose would be fulfilled both through him and in him. There’s much more to our relationship with God than just a calling, but the elevation of the acquisition of personal blessing over and above that of God’s purpose is an attempt to pacify our human desires by putting them at the steering wheel while at the same time relegating God’s will to the back seat.  Don’t put your personal desires ahead of God; put your heart to search after God.

In Abram, then, God saw the fulfilment of his purpose as revealed to the serpent and mankind back in Genesis 3:15.  God called Abram to “go” in Genesis 12:1, he was obedient as we see in Genesis 12:4, and so God’s promise to bless him in Genesis 12:2,3 was to become a reality.  But God’s eternal purpose for mankind was realized in the last phrase of Gen 12:3 which reads, “...in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed”. 

God told Abram of a time when his line was going to bless the entire earth.  This was a reference to the time of the Messiah whom He chose to come through Abram, bringing salvation, and therefore blessing, to the world.

[Genesis 15:4]  God’s plan was more than blessing an old man with a son - it was to miraculously begin a nation that would bring His Anointed King to the earth. The phrase, “...your own son shall be your heir...” immediately referred to the son who would come from Abram through natural procreation (God is talking about Isaac, even though there was the matter of Ishmael to sort out before this came about), yet it meant far more than just his son through natural procreation. Humans die, passing on their inheritance to their sons because they can never continue to enjoy their inheritance because of death.

The ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise to Abram was going to be in God’s Anointed King, the Son of Abram, who would continue forever and, therefore, keep the inheritance forever. All things promised to any man must fall to his sons, but the Son who lives forever has an everlasting inheritance.

Gen 22:18 goes further than this and notes that, “...by your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed”.  The Hebrew word for seed can be accurately translated either in the singular or the plural.  [Galatians 3:16]  The same promise to Abraham is now to his seed also - not “seed” referring to many, but “seed” referring to One, the Christ; it’s singular.

Genesis 12:1-4 coupled with the promise of Gen 15:4 imply a Son who’ll continue forever and so inherit an everlasting promise, but it says little concerning His purpose concerning the work of the cross and the salvation of the world in a way that’s plain, unambiguous and needs no interpretation.  But the promise is made that the Messiah would be of his seed.

If we should try and tie it down to a specific incident in Abram’s life when he received revelation about Messiah, the best passage appears to be Genesis 22:1-19 where God commands him to take Isaac, the child of promise, and offer him as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains in the region of Moriah, the future site for Solomon’s Temple [Compare Genesis 22:2 with II Chronicles 3:1], situated just outside Jerusalem to the north.

Abram here makes two remarkable statements.   First, in Genesis 22:8, he says, “God will provide Himself the lamb for a burnt offering”, echoing the provision of God through Christ.  In these words, Abram may have perceived that a Lamb was needed to atone for mankind’s sin, realizing that his words had a greater fulfillment than he intended.

But, secondly, and even more compelling, is his labeling of God as Jehovah-jireh in Genesis 22:14 where he says, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided”. Jehovah-jireh means Jehovah will see; in other words, God will provide.  This expression has been regarded as the equivalent of the saying, “man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.”  On the mount of the Lord, it shall be provided.

The Hebrew word here translated as “shall be provided” carries with it the concepts of both prevision and provision.  Prevision that God sees the need before it arises through His foreknowledge and therefore makes the provision available at the right time.  In Abram’s experience through this incident, he witnessed God’s prevision in foreknowing the need to have a ram at hand to be used as a burnt offering and so provided for it [don’t read:  Gen 22:13].

Therefore it’s possible that Abram saw this as a prophetic event (that God sees mankind’s need and has already provided for the ultimate solution) and more so in that what Abram was asked to do (sacrifice his own son) God would have to ultimately do (sacrifice His own Son, Jesus) to reconcile the world to Himself and to bless mankind through those who share Abram’s faith.

As we go out today, I want to thank God for both the prevision and the provision He has made for us all.