Friday, July 23, 2021

Who Was Zerubbabel's Grandfather?

 “And again the word of the Lord came unto Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying, Speak to Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, saying, I will shake the heavens and the earth; And I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen; and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother. In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, will I take thee, O Zerubbabel, my servant, the son of Shealtiel, saith the Lord, and will make thee as a signet: for I have chosen thee, saith the Lord of hosts.” Haggai 2:20-23.

[To be continued...]

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Human Ancestry of Jesus

The Bible uses two different approaches to the family line of Jesus. The list given in Matthew Chapter 1 is almost entirely different from the list in Luke Chapter 3. Here is a suggested explanation for that difference:

Matthew's list is obviously incomplete. For example, Matthew 1:11 says, "Josias (Josiah) begat Jechonias (Jehoiachin)." In reality Jehoiachin was Josiah's grandson. Matthew's purpose was not to list every single link in the genealogy, but rather simply to present enough of the line to demonstrate that Jesus was in fact descended from David and from Abraham (verse 1). In Matthew 1:17 he says, "So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations." This doesn't have to mean that that is all the generations that there were, but simply that that is all the generations he was listing to establish Christ's legitimacy as King of Israel.

Whereas Matthew shows Jesus to have descended through the line of Judah's kings via Solomon, Luke's list presents Jesus as having descended through Nathan, another son of David and Bathsheba. I favor the explanation that suggests Luke is presenting the literal blood line of Jesus through Mary, and that Matthew is showing Jesus' legally recognized patriarchal line through Joseph. Both lines go through David. It appears that Mary's husband Joseph was the son of Jacob (Matthew 1:16), and that Heli (Luke 3:23) could have been Mary's father. If Mary was Heli's only child, Joseph would have become Heli's legal heir by marrying her. According to this explanation, Luke's account shows how Jesus was an actual blood descendant of David through Mary, and Matthew's account shows that Jesus was the legal heir of Judah's royal line though his adoption by Joseph.

This is consistent with the fact that Matthew tells the story of Jesus' birth from Joseph's perspective, while Luke tells Mary's story. And in Matthew's account, when the angel appears to Joseph in a dream he addresses him as "Joseph, thou son of David" (Matthew 1:20). The genealogy in the first seventeen verses was given to show how that is so.

Luke tells us that Mary was a relative of Elizabeth (Luke 1:36) who was descended from Aaron (verse 5). It is possible that Mary's father was of the tribe of Judah and that her mother was of the tribe of Levi. In that way, Jesus could be the blood descendant of David through His maternal grandfather, and Mary could still be related to Elisabeth on her mother's side.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

God's Covenant With Israel

In Jeremiah 31, God makes promises to Israel in unconditional language. This is the new covenant passage that is quoted twice in the book of Hebrews. This covenant is made "with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah." Jeremiah 31:31.

God's unconditional commitment to Israel is brought out in verses 35-37. Speaking of the sun, the moon, and the stars, God says, "If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever." Then He says, "If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord."

Some of God's promises to Israel were conditional upon their response to Him. But this passage makes it clear that His selection of them as His people is permanent, in spite of "all that they have done." Their behavior cannot change His choice of them as His covenant people.

Popular "replacement theology" teaches that the Christian church replaces the Jewish nation as God's covenant people. But the Bible does not teach that. The Bible makes it clear that in order for Gentiles to experience the blessings of the new covenant they must be grafted into Israel. Not the modern nation of Israel, but the kingdom of David, for Jesus will sit on David's throne.

For a more complete study of this subject see "'Thy People' and the Remnant of Israel" posted on May 21, 2019.