CHAPTER 4: MORE ABOUT THE STUDY OF CHRIST (GENEALOGY)
1. THE MESSIANIC LINE
Another marvelous evidence of the divine authorship of the Bible is found in connection with the genealogy of the Lord Jesus. There were prophecies concerning the ancestry of the Messiah who was to come, and the conditions that must be fulfilled. For instance:
He must be of the seed of Abraham (Genesis 22:17, Galatians 3:16).
He must be of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10).
He must be of the house of David (2 Samuel 7:13).
He must have legal right to the throne of David (Isaiah 9:7).
He must be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14).
He must be God (Isaiah 9:6).
During Old Testament times, there were many determined efforts on the part of man, inspired by Satan, to interrupt the blood-line of the Messiah. We might mention, as examples, the decree of Pharaoh to kill all the newborn male children among the Israelities (Exodus 1:22); and the attempt of Athaliah to exterminate all the seed royal (2 Kings 11:1). It often seemed indeed that the promise of a divine Delieverer who would meet the required conditions had been rendered void. But what actually happened was this: God not only overruled man's wickedness, but actually made it serve His own purposes. How He did this forms one of the most thrilling dramas of the Bible!
2. THE DAVIDIC COVENANT
It might be entitled: How the Curse Upon Coniah was Averted.? We must go back to the time when David was king of Israel. God made two unconditional promises to him at that time (Psalm 89:4). These were:
The throne of David would endure forever (2 Samuel 7:12-13).
His seed (actual descendants) would sit upon the throne (2 Samuel 7:12-13).
In other words, David was unconditionally assured that lineal descendants of his would be preserved to sit upon the throne. These promise looked forward to the coming of the Messiah.
3. THE DESCENDANTS OF DAVID
Now David had several sons, but the right to sit upon the throne passed to only one of them, namely, Solomon (1 Kings 1:30). Only those who were of the kindly line inherited throne rights. In other words, one could be a descendant of David, and yet not have the legal right to sit upon the throne.
Read Matthew 1:2-16. The list of David's descendants to whom was given the right to sit upon the throne of Israel is given in Matthew 1, and this list brings us down to Joseph, the betrothed husband of Mary (verse 16).
4. THE CURSE
Now you will notice that Number 14 in the list was Jechonias, whose name also was Jeconiah or Coniah. If you turn to Jeremiah 22:30 you will learn that God pronounced the following curse on this king because of his sin: Thus saith the Lord, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne the David, and ruling any more in Judah.? This curse did not mean that Coniah would never have any children, but rather that none of his descendants would sit upon the throne of David. Those who had the legal rights to the throne were thus barred from occupying it.
Going back to the genealogy of Matthew 1, we see that Joseph, the espoused husband of Mary, was a direct descendant of Coniah. This means that, although Joseph inherited the legal right to the throne of David, because descended through the kingly line of Solomon, yet he could never sit upon that throne because he came under the curse upon Coniah. It means that if Jesus had been the real son of Joesph, He too would come under the curse pronounced on Coniah, and would not have been able to sit upon the throne of David.
Now this poses a real problem. Three main conditions must be met that seem impossible of fulfillment.
We have seen that Jesus must be a lineat descendant of David (in order to fulfill God's promise to David-that his seed would sit upon his throne).
Then, He must also be the legal son of one of Coniah's descendants in order to inherit the right to sit upon the throne of David.
Yet He cannot be the real son of a descendant of Coniah without coming under God's curse on Coniah.
5. THE SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM
Could such a problem ever be solved? Yes, God solved it by the miracle of the virgin birth. Notice carefully! The genealogy in Matthew 1 traces the kingly line from David down to Joseph. Jesus was not the real son of Joseph (Matthew 1:25). But Joseph adopted Jesus as his son, and thus the Lord inherited legal right to the throne of David. Jesus became the legal son of Joseph, even though He was not his real son. This leaves one condition unfulfilled, however. It was prophesied that the Messiah would be a lineal descendant of David. Was He? The answer is found in Luke 3:23-38 where we have Mary's family tree. There we find that Mary was a direct descendant of David, not through the kingly line of Solomon, upon which the curse of Coniah fell, but through another son of David named Nathan (verse 31). Thus, the curse of Coniah did not affect her or her child.
To summarize then: Jesus was the actual Son of Mary, and thus a direct descendant of David. In Him, God's promise to David (that he would always have a son to sit upon his throne) is fulfilled. Jesus was the legal Son of Joseph (by adoption), and thus inherited the legal right to sit on the throne of David. But He was not the real Son of Joseph and thus escaped the curse on Coniah.
Now the question must be asked, Who worked out this wonderful interweaving of circumstances? Does not such design, spread out over centuries of human history, demand a Designer who spans the centuries? This is clearly the work of God. No human mind could ever have planned and traced the blood-line of the Messiah in such a way as to fulfill all the promises, and yet escape the curse through the miracle of the virgin birth.
6. BIBLIOGRAPHY FOR FURTHER STUDY
William MacDonald - Thy Word is Truth (Emmaus Bible College).
Irving Jensen - The Life of Christ (Moody Bible Institute).
Erdman Charles R - The Gospel of Luke (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press).
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