FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 45
Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.
God declares one righteous by faith alone, apart from works.
The glory of God is the centerpiece and goal of all existence.
God’s glory is maximally realized in the promised, coming Kingdom.
Qualifications play a big part in everyday life. Anyone who applies for a job needs to qualify for that job, just as someone that may be a potential spouse needs to qualify to be a worthy spouse. Even the possibility of friendship with another person is contingent upon a mental assessment that we employ, searching for red flags along the way. Does this applicant have the proper education and training to meet the demands of the job for which they are applying? Does this potential spouse have a trustworthy track record, financial integrity, and a solid fellowship relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ? Does my new friend have selfish interests in mind or are they a person who has a standard of ethics and morals that are admirable? Qualifications determine quality. Qualifications matter.
The office of Messiah is no different. Jesus is the eternal Son of God, existing perfectly with the Father and the Spirit before the foundations of the world were laid. But does He qualify to be the Messiah, the promised King of Israel? When reviewing the criteria set forth in the Old Testament, we find that the qualifications for the promised Messiah are specific. To understanding the significance of the genealogy accounts of Jesus, we must briefly review two covenants set forth by YHWH.
Genesis 12:1-3.The Abrahamic Promise-While covered previously in greater detail, YHWH’s calling and commissioning of Abram from Ur of the Chaldeans is a pivotal event in understanding the arrival of Jesus Christ at His incarnation. This three-fold pronouncement of YHWH’s gracious acts toward an undeserving idolater (Josh 24:2) find the promise of a land in which to dwell (Land), a progeny coming forth in old age (Seed), and a blessing that would spread to all of the earth, being a
blessing to the earth (Blessing). Each of these facets serve to establish the beginning points of YHWH bringing His promise of a kingdom (Gen 1:26-28) to Earth, with all finding their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus.
Concerning the Land, every kingdom needs real estate in order to establish its headquarters. This has been freely provided and promised by YHWH Himself to Israel and does not just involve the land of Palestine, but the span of land that today stretches from Egypt to Iraq (Gen 15:18-21). Every acre specified will be the direct boundaries of the physical, literal, theocratic headquarters of the Lord Jesus Christ as He reigns from the throne of David (2 Sam 7:16).
The promise of Seed lays the groundwork for those that would be subjects in the kingdom, who would await their glorious King. This is seen directly in the nation Israel (Deut 1:10) but should also be seen in the fact that Abraham’s seed was perpetuated in his union with Keturah in six different directions (Gen 25:1-2), all of which would be considered Gentile in ethnicity. The Seed promise is also fulfilled in the incarnation of Christ, being of the seed of Abraham who is understood in the New Testament as the “Seed” in Galatians 3:16 (Also see Gen 22:17-18).
Not only are nations blessed as they bless Israel (Gen 12:3) but this “King” is the Blessing to all of the world (Gen 22:18), demonstrating that His rulership is not contained by the real estate allotted, but that His reign would stretch over the whole Earth (Psalm 2:1-9). Each promise made to Abram sets forth the beginnings of YHWH’s plan to bring about dominion over the Earth.
2 Samuel 7:16. The Davidic Covenant-The Davidic Covenant would be considered a “sub-covenant” falling within the parameters of the Abrahamic Covenant. Whereas the “Land Covenant” of Deuteronomy 29-30 fulfills the promise of the Land made to Abraham (Gen 12:2; 15:18-21), and the “New Covenant” in Jeremiah 31:31-34 would pertain to the promise of Blessing made to Abraham (Gen 12:2-3; 18:18), the “Davidic Covenant” would deal directly with the nature of the Seed that would come forth from Abraham proceeding through David (Gen 12:2).
YHWH makes an everlasting promise to King David. While the specifics are found in 2 Samuel 7:8-16, our focus is set upon v.16, which shows the “forever” nature of the promises made to King David regarding his house (line), kingdom (the right to rule), and throne (as Ruler and Judge from Jerusalem). The everlasting nature of this covenant is also seen in 2 Samuel 23:5b which says, “For He has made an everlasting covenant with me, ordered in all things, and secured.”
Psalm 89:19-29.In this Psalm, the extended reach of the Davidic Covenant is emphasized, reaching beyond the life of David. Starting in v.19, a public address is made by YHWH to the divine council (See Psalm 82) regarding His choice of David and the protection and blessings that will be dispensed to him. In v.24, the hesed(“loyal love”) of YHWH is emphasized, placing Himself in a position to be called “Father” by David. The designation of “firstborn” in v.27 speaks to the privileged position given to him. David’s throne will last as long as heaven (89:29).
Matthew 1:1-17.The genealogy that begins the Gospel account of Matthew serves to establish the qualifications of Jesus as the Messiah. Remember, quality and credibility are everything. No one wants to serve a person that they cannot trust, or whose personal record or agenda creates more questions than confidence. This brings us to Matthew’s Gospel account which was written to show the Jews that Jesus is the long-awaited Messiah and rightful King of Israel.
The first observation that one may undertake is that Matthew lists “David” before he lists “Abraham” (1:1b). This emphasis gives us a glimpse into his intention in writing, seeing that David’s name is synonymous with everlasting Davidic Covenant as seen in 2 Samuel 7:8-16, 23:5, and Psalm 89:19-29, therefore it is synonymous with the coming everlasting kingdom. Matthew’s point is to promote Jesus as the rightful heir of David’s throne right up front.
Jesus is the next in line to rule over Israel. This was not an obscure observation for two reasons. First, it is seen in Matthew’s account that Jesus is often addressed as the “Son of David,” a name that carried end-times kingdom implications with it (9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 20:30–31; 21:9, 15; 22:42). Second, the word “kingdom” is used 56 times throughout Matthew’s Gospel, whereas the word “church” appears only 3 times.
Another observation would be that Abraham’s name is linked to Jesus, drawing the reader’s attention to the Abrahamic Promise (Gen 12:1-3) and Covenant (Gen 15). This emphasizes the promises of the Land, Seed, and worldwide Blessing as finding their fulfillment in Jesus. Jesus is the One who can conquer, bringing the Land into full submission (which does not occur until Revelation 19:11ff). He is the One that is the Seed (Gal 3:16) being fully Jewish, of the tribe of Judah, and yet being “God’s ideal man, and man’s ideal God.”Jesus also stands as the One who will bring worldwide Blessing, being the sinless Son of God who will die for the sins of the world (John 1:29; Hebrews 2:9; 1 John 2:2) and Whose rule as King will extend to all of the Earth.
The use of David and Abraham’s names would immediately draw the first century reader’s mind to these foundational covenants from the Old Testament, for every Jew waited with great anticipation for the time when YHWH would bring His Covenants to fruition!
Matthew’s genealogy demonstrates three major pointsin how God has prepared the circumstances of history to bring about the arrival of Jesus in bodily form.
First, we see a lack of discrimination. The Spirit does not shy away from the inclusion of women, which was something that would have been frowned upon in the first century. Matthew’s account of Jesus’ family tree mentions women of a racy nature, being women (with the exception of Mary) whose reputations would not be endorsed as moral models of living.
· Tamar (v.3), a Gentile who deceived her father-in-law by dressing as a prostitute and became pregnant by him for the sake of bringing forth offspring (Gen 38).
· Rahab (v.5), a Gentile Canaanite prostitute who lived in Jericho and who hid the spies of Israel (Josh 2:1-14).
· Ruth (v.5), a Gentile Moabite widow who showed greater faith than Israel during the time of the Judges (Ruth 1; 4:9-22).
· Bathsheba (v.6), here referred to as the wife of Uriah, no doubt emphasizing the marriage covenant with her first husband over the sin that brought her into David’s house (2 Samuel 11). In the original Greek, Bathsheba’s name is not written in the record. Only “her of Uriah” is written. With Uriah being a “Hittite,” we can conclude that his wife was considered a Hittite (Gentile, Canaanite) as well.
· Mary, a young Jewish girl who was identified as one who “had found favor with God” (Luke 1:30b).
Sexual sins aside, four of these women were Gentiles, which is something that may have shocked Matthew’s first century readers. Weber notes, “From the outset, Matthew used indisputable documentation to show the first-century Jewish mind that even Gentiles are included prominently in this kingdom of the new covenant.”
Second, we find a mark of uncompromised justice. In Matthew 1:11 the name “Jeconiah” occurs, who is also known by the names “Coniah,” “Jehoiachin,” and “Jeconias” (KJV). Jeconiah is of the line of David in the listing of Jewish kings, which leads to Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus. Reading in 2 Kings, we see that Jehoiachin (Jeconiah) became the king of the southern region of Judah at the age of eighteen and that he only reigned for three months (2 Kings 24:8). Jehoiachin is pronounced as “evil” in YHWH’s sight (2 Kings 24:9) and for this, a curse is pronounced upon him beyond being the king that was led off into the Babylonian captivity (2 Kings 24:15).
In Jeremiah 22:24-29 we read of YHWH’s anger against Coniah (Jeconiah) because of his wickedness. But it is the declaration made in Jeremiah 22:30 that seems to draw YHWH into a contradiction regarding His unconditional covenant agreement with David from 2 Samuel 7:16. We read, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Write this man down childless, a man who will not prosper in his days; For no man of his descendants will prosper sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah’” (emphasis added). This curse makes it impossible, being the very decree of YHWH, for a descendant of Joseph to sit upon Israel’s throne. Had YHWH broken His covenant with David that said, “your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever” (2 Sam 7:16)?
Thirdly, we see a display of God’s sovereignty. When compared with the genealogical account of Mary’s line found in Luke 3:23-38, the line leading to Jesus actually splits in Luke 3:31 at King David through Bathsheba. In 1 Chronicles 3:5 we see that Bathsheba (there named “Bath-Shua”) gave birth to four sons, one being named Solomon who we know as David’s royal successor in Israel, and one named Nathan who carried the bloodline of Abraham all the way through history, uninterrupted, until it landed in a young woman named Mary.
McClain shows this connection writing, “Both Mary, His virgin mother, and Joseph, His legal father, were descendants of the royal house of David. Joseph is addressed as ‘thou son of David,’ through the line of Solomon (Matt. 1:20 with 1:6). And to Mary, who was informed that the royal Child would have no naturalfather, the angel Gabriel announced that the Child would sit on the throne of ‘his father David’ (Luke 1:32), thus placing Mary in the family of David apparently through the line of Nathan (Luke 3:31).”To continue the promise while upholding the judgment pronounced upon Jeconiah, the bloodline of David travels through Nathan to Mary, who in carrying Jesus in her womb, transfers the blood to Jesus. This fulfills His regal right to be King.
Jesus was born of a virgin, conceived in her womb by means of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). Joseph was not involved in the conception in any way (Luke 1:34). This arrangement preserves Jesus from falling under the curse that was pronounced upon the descendants of Jeconiah (Jer 22:30). Tim LaHaye writes, “Had Jesus been the ‘natural’ son of Joseph, He could not have reigned on David’s throne. However, since His natural
lineage is through Mary, and His legal authority is granted through His adoptive relationship to Joseph’s line, this curse does not apply to Him.”
The necessity of the virgin birth also prevents the sin nature from being passed on from Joseph to the offspring of Mary. This biblical doctrine has been flippantly mocked over the past two centuries, but it is no less vital in substantiating the integrity of the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross for the sins of the world. Enns writes, “The virgin birth… is necessary if Christ was to be sinless. If He had been born of Joseph He would have possessed the sin nature. There is considerable evidence in the gospels affirming the virgin birth of Christ. In Matthew 1:2–15 the active form of the verbs is used (this is not reflected in the New American Standard Bible): ‘Abraham begot Isaac’ (v. 2, King James Version). In v. 16, however, there is a deliberate change to the passive form in describing the birth of Jesus. The verb in the phrase ‘by whom was bornJesus’ is passive and emphasizes that in contrast to all the preceding men who sired their sons, Joseph did not beget Jesus.”
So, what is Joseph’s significance in the lineage of Jesus? Most importantly, and despite the judgment that had been rendered against Jeconiah, Joseph is the carrier of the legal right to the throne. He is the rightful representative of the royal line of Israel directly from David. Second, every boy needs a father to teach him how to be a man, and we can see from the text of Scripture that Joseph was a man of great compassion and integrity who sought to obey, serve, and worship the God of Israel (Matt 1:24-25; 2:13-14, 21; Luke 2:4-5, 21-24, 41).
YHWH has so orchestrated the line of David so that the Messiah would have both the promise found in the Davidic Covenant and the uninterrupted blood line of Abraham flow together and meet once again in the person of Jesus, thus qualifying Him to reign.
Truly, He is the Son of God. Truly, He is the King!
It is important to note that each of these “sub-covenants” are made with Israel and not the Church. The Church does not come into existence until Acts 2.
Lewis Sperry Chafer & John F. Walvoord, Major Bible Themes(Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1974), p. 57.
Stuart K. Weber, Matthew, vol. 1, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), p. 17.
Alva J. McClain, The Greatness of the Kingdom: An Inductive Study of the Kingdom of God (Winona Lake, Indiana: BMH Books, 2018), p. 269.
Time LaHaye, Tim LaHaye Prophecy Study Bible (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000), p. 1004.
Paul P. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology(Chicago: Moody Press, 1989), p. 223.
Johnston M. Cheney & Stanley Ellisen, Jesus Christ, the Greatest Life (Eugene, Oregon: Paradise Publishing, Inc., 1999), p. 41.