Jesus’ Generations in Matthew

The first two chapters of Matthew are part of the Christmas story.  Matthew wrote his Gospel for Hebrew Christians, and something important for them was their genealogy.  Two millennia later we may not understand all of this but being able to prove your roots would have connected to priesthood and land ownership.  One thing that Matthew included in this list of family members, were some of the women who played important roles in the family of Judah.  Tradition has Matthew’s list as belonging to Joseph and the one in Luke’s Gospel belongs to Mary.  Even though it was not unusual, this list has five women it.  Matthew used something that would appeal to his audience, and that was highlighting three sets of fourteen generations.  The first two sets can be found in 1 Chronicles Chapters 1 through 3.  These people may have meant more to the first audience than they do to us, but there are many lessons here for us too.  (See Fourteen in the Bible)

The first overall lesson is seen by the first and last person in these three lists – Abraham and Jesus Christ.  Abraham represents faith, in a God he did not know, while the ins and outs of the family tree leads to salvation.  I will set before you three lessons, and acknowledge that there are more truths in these first sixteen verse in Matthew.  We will look at these three generations by themselves and as a group.

  1. Generation 1 is verse 2 – 6a and shows Abraham to David, or faith to pleasing God.
  2. Generation 2 is verse 6b – 11 and shows David to Jehoiachin or the Exile; these represent pleasing God to judgement.
  3. Generation 3 is verse 12 – 16 and shows Jehoiachin to Jesus through Joseph; these people take us from judgement to mercy.

My hope is that you will build these other views of this genealogy keeping the previous views in mind.  Please be patience and read through my entire attempt before you make up your mind.

This possible view is using the Trinity.

  1. Generation 1 is the “Father Generation,” and like Him it is well documented in 1 Chronicles 2. This generation followed God by faith, received the Law, endured the Judges, and had to fight to have and settle the Land.
  2. Generation 2 is the “Son Generation,” and it is recorded in 1 Chronicles 3. 2 Chronicles and 1 & 2 Kings are the telling of their stories and of their times as rulers.  This generation is the royal family, and they were all over the place spiritually.  There was Hezekiah and Josiah but there was also Manasseh and Zedekiah.
  3. Generation 3 is the “Holy Spirit Generation,” this generation is a bit of a mystery, but they lead us to Jesus. 1 Chronicles 3: 17 records the royal line starting with Jehoiachin but it does not match up with the list in Matthew or Luke. Zerubbabel is the major common name; he was the governor of the Land when the Second Temple was built.  The men in Matthew were real, they lived and did their work without a lot of fanfare.  The Holy Spirit, we know was and is present, He was sent on the Day of Pentecost, and He is still doing His part in the story of the Gospel.

I will give these three generations a different name in this last viewing, and I will use the women present in each to help build my thoughts for the story.

  1. Generation 1 is the generation of “Roots.” Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth are the three women in this generation.  Each “added” a trait into the Root of Jesse for the Branch.  Tamar the rejected daughter-in-law who was determined to have a child.  Rahab was the woman who hid Joshua’s spies because she feared God.  Ruth was the loving faithful daughter-in-law who had determined not to leave Namoi.  These three women add to this Root generation rejection, determination, the fear of God, and faithfulness.
  2. Generation 2 is the generation of “Religion.” Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, is the woman connected with kings of Judah.  You cannot condone her unfaithfulness toward her husband, both her and David were punished for it.  Since she outlived David she probably saw some of the spiritual unfaithfulness of Solomon.  The royal line would vacillate between God and demons, until God ended that part of the genealogy at the Exile.  With all of that said, her addition into the story was dissatisfaction.

Bathsheba’s grandchildren changed their “religion” frequently because they were not satisfied with what David had.  Unrest can be for the good or bad.  Even in modern times, the different sects within Christianity rise and fall because people are not satisfied with something or someone.

Generation 3 is the generation of “Receive.” Mary’s position in her genealogy is different than the other women, she is at the end of her segment not the beginning.  Of course, her trait of being “willing” is what allowed her to the mother of Jesus.  The addition of that trait into David’s line is easily seen in Jesus’ life in the Garden, He was willing to receive the “Cup” that brought our salvation.

A Josiah Generation from His Numbers

In the post Josiah by His Numbers I listed Josiah’s life and the numbers that are given in Scripture.  The numbers are found in both 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles, God repeated Himself, so you know they are important.  There is much written on numbers, there occurrences, uses, and meanings on the internet, be careful as some sites don’t always glorify Jesus.

  • Seven is a number showing completion, it also carries covenant context. Josiah took seven years in clean the idols and other pagan influences of Judah and Israel.  it probably took that long because the people and leaders seemed pretty comfortable with idolatry and keeping the Lord as a figurehead.
  • Eight – Eight is referred to the number of new beginnings, I have often felt this is because of Genesis and the days of creation. In Josiah’s life, eight signals a “new” of something that had or should have been going on. His “eights” are the beginning of his reign and him starting to seek God. The “seeking God” is impressive because he had no copy of the Law, it was given to him ten years later (also the number of Commandments).
  • Twelve (apostles) is associated with leadership. His twelfth years as ruler is when he started taking control and clearing out pagan worship.
  • Thirteen (see my post of 13) is the start of something new. Not recycling or restarting, but brand new.  Jeremiah started his ministry in the 13th year of Josiah’s reign, and they celebrated the Passover (implied) until Josiah died.
  • Sixteen – In my post on sixteen it seems that it was associated with the “eye of God” keeping watch. Josiah starting to seek God at sixteen fits that thought well, God was keeping his eye on him.
  • Eighteen is a number with a lot associated it with (See Eighteen in the Bible), but it representing fullness makes the most sense to me. In Josiah’s life it was the eighteenth year when his campaign to up Judah came to its “fullness” with the finding of the Law and Passover celebrated properly.
  • Twenty –Josiah’s waited until the age of twenty to start his battle against pagan influences.  This corresponds with two themes of twenty in the Bible.  Jacob waited/served twenty years to get his wives, children, and flocks.  Young men entered military service at twenty.

The Number Eighteen in The Bible

The study of the number eighteen has proven to be more than I expected!  There are many thoughts about this number, most are very surprising. I feel that eighteen compares with thirteen when it comes to alternate and veiled meanings. Some Jews view it as a very lucky number, while Nazis use it to commemorate Hitler; there are many other opinions held about this number.

When things are studied in the Bible the first use of the word is often important and lends a shadow to the use of the word from then on.  Many times, I feel that is very cut and dry when it comes to the meaning(s) of the word.  Eighteen is one of those words.  The first two times eighteen is used is in Judges and both of these verse deal with the length of time that a foreign king oppressed the Children of Israel.  Many sources will tell you that eighteen is the number of bondage in the Bible. That is a limited scope of the number; as I reflected on Judges 3:14, 10:8 and Luke 13:11 and 16, I could see this as the length of time that they were held in bondage, but it is also when they were set free from the bondage. So, to start this study I will start with an example of eighteen that shows another side of the word.

Solomon’s Pillars

When Solomon built the first Temple he commissioned two pillars to adorn the front entrance.  The first reference to these huge bronze structures is in 1 Chronicles 27:9; this does not talk about the pillars but the bronze that would have made its way into them, eighteen thousand talents given by the leaders of the people.  1 Kings 7:15 is the description of these two pillars when they were made.  The final reference to these pillars is found in Jeremiah 52:21 when they were taken apart and looted by the Babylonians.

Between these two references we get an impressive amount of information about these two eighteen cubit high guardians of the Temple.  Solomon even named them, the one to the south was Jakin (he establishes), the other one on the north side was Boaz (in him is strength).  Imagine the events and history that took place around them and the impression that they had on the worshippers that attended the Temple.

These “eighteen” references to the pillars do not deal with bondage but with the idea of the components of the words that make-up eighteen.  Eight is “more” than the perfect of seven and the “teen” part refers to ten which in part is related to “tithe.” (See Ten in the Bible.)  Strong’s/Vines paints the idea of “plumpness” or beyond enough that is God’s.

Meaning of Eighteen

Jews may hold eighteen as a lucky number; the reason is the numerical value of the two words that make up eighteen: chet and yod, these two together spell the word chai or life http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/judaism-numbers/

Josiah’s Eighteenth Year

2 Kings 22: 3 + 23: 23 and 2 Chronicles 34 + 35

Josiah was the last king to do right in the ways of God before Jerusalem was exiled.  His father and son did not follow God.  He came to the throne at eight years of age (children will rule over you), but set his heart on God.  Hilkiah, a forefather of Jeremiah, was the High Priest.  Josiah’s eighteenth year of reigning was busy because he had ordered the Temple cleaned and when it was purified he ordered Passover to be celebrated. This is another example of God’s fullness and the people being freed to worship and follow God. I don’t do this very often but “Josiah’s Generation” is the type and shadow for the last great revival before the end of this age comes.

Time Markers or God Sending a Message

Nebuchadnezzar’s Eighteenth Year

Jeremiah records two things that happened during Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year.  The first one is in Jeremiah 32:1 where God instructs Jeremiah to buy a field, as a sign that life would return to normal. Verse 26 starts the rest of the story; God tells Jeremiah that He has every intention to destroy Jerusalem and it will happen.  The second event is found in 52: 29, this is the number of people that were carried into exile that year; this follows the story of the destruction of the Temple and the pillars.  Nebuchadnezzar was God’s appointed instrument to free the land from the people so it could have its Sabbath rest.

The End of Bondage

Many study helps/websites declare that eighteen = bondage, I will say it again, it seems to me that it signals the end of bondage.  Judges 3:14 and 10: 8 both tell a story of the Israel messing up and being in bondage until eighteen years have passed when God appoints a Judge to free them.  Luke 13: 11 is the story of Jesus healing the woman on the Sabbath, to show the Pharisees that their thinking had the people bound.  Verse 4 also mentions eighteen people who died when a tower collapsed on them, just because they died that way did not make them sinners.  It seems by the text that people were passing judgement about these people because of the way that they died. (It is bad luck to be superstitious.)

David

2 Samuel 8.13 and 1 Chronicles 18.12 tell the story of David/his army defeating 18,000 Edomites.  A strange note in Samuel said he became famous after this victory even though the preceding twelve verses tell of much larger and very powerful enemies that fell to David. It would be a hard push to make a lot of this just because it has an eighteen in the verse.  But Edom was an enemy and it seems that there was some level of freedom associated with the victory. A more notable thing happened after this, David renewed his interest in Jonathan and found Mephibosheth at Lo Debar.

Benjamin and Israel

This story at the end of Judges (20: 25 and 44) is a tale that lets you know the Bible is real.  It does not show-off victories but shortcomings.  It’s eighteen “connection” is the 18,000 warriors that fell on both sides; the totals for the war were lopsided and more than just 18,000.  It would seem God had had enough, and the message to the nation was that neither side was right.  This “purging” seems to have brought about a revival and soul-searching in Israel.  This story is important in the life of King Saul and his acceptance in Israel.

Time Markers????

There are three “eighteens” that appear to be time markers for beginning of kings starting their reigns: Abijah in 1 Kings15.1 and 2 Chronicles 13:1; Jehoiachin in 2 Kings 24.8 and 2 Chronicles 36: 9; 3.1; Joram in 2 Kings 3: 1. Honestly, it took me several “does this have any meaning” sessions before I got this.  With Abijah and Joram it was not about them but the “other” king they interacted with.  Abijah defeated Jeroboam, the man who broke up the twelve tribes into two kingdoms and started serious sins in “his” ten tribes.  Joram got Jehoshaphat to go with him to fight Moab; it was a lesson for Jehoshaphat and Elisha.  Jehoiachin started ruling at eighteen and he was born when his father was eighteen years old.  The best I can give you in each of these stories is that a “fullness” in God’s timetable had occurred and a lesson was taught or something ended.

The other “eighteens” are just a number position of a person in a list and that King Rehoboam had that many wives, which may lend to a “plumpness or fullness” or that the man was a glutton.

God put and uses numbers to help teach truths!  Sorry, I just cannot associate them as “lucky, blessed, or cursed.”  Worship Jesus, not numbers!  Again, I will say the number eighteen is complex in its uses and associations; freedom from bondage, bondage, or a “fullness” occurring.  There many other “eighteens” that people have found in the Bible.  I think most of the will fit into one of these associations.

Passover to Pentecost – Forty

Passover to Pentecost – Forty         Week 6 Day 1

Acts 1: 3 He appeared to them over a period of forty days. (NIV)

This is the week that Jesus ascended into heaven.  We will look at topics related to this week.  The first one will be forty.

Jesus opened and closed His ministry time here on earth with a special forty day period.  Jesus after His baptism by John went into the wilderness for forty days to fast and was tempted by the devil.  He also had a forty day period after His resurrection that He spent with His disciples. Normally I would say that forty is the number of testing, but His second forty day period was not a test.

So, I would like to add another layer to the number forty.  Many of stories that are told with a forty time period the person or group is being prepare/trained to go into something new.  Jesus fasted forty days to start His ministry.  His second forty was preparing the disciples for His going back to heaven.  The Exodus forty years prepared to Israelites to be an army and take the Land.  Jesus’ ministry time could have been forty months depending when he started in His 30th year.

One interesting thing that also could be a forty day period was with the Exodus.  We know Moses spent two forty day periods on Sinai with God.  But forty days into the trip could have been when Moses struck the rock and water came out (Exodus 17).  All of these are shadows of Jesus.

Another forty day story is when Elijah traveled forty days and nights while fleeing from Jezebel going to the Mount of God (1 Kings 19).  Once there he went into a cave and waited for the voice of God to call him out.  Another example of foreshadowing’s of Jesus.

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Passover to Pentecost – Three Days

Passover to Pentecost – Three Days        Week 2 Day 7

After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers.  Luke 2:46 (NIV)

I have done many number studies just because they are interesting.  This number related study came as a surprise; the term “three days” has been several places in connection with the Exodus and Counting the Omer.  The ones that caught my attention have been:

  1. “three days” to go to worship in the desert
  2. same time after each of the first two Passover’s, with no water or complaining about food
  3. the story in Luke of Joseph and Mary looking for Jesus
  4. the plague where the sun was darkened for three days
  5. Joshua moving the people into the Promise Land, they had a three day notice
  6. The three days Jesus spent in the tomb

Pre-Exodus stories include the sacking of Shechem by Jacob’s sons, and Joseph with Pharaoh’s servants and their dreams.  Shechem is where Joshua read the blessings and curses to the people, and the dream helped get Joseph into the position to help his family.  Post-Exodus stories include Jonah in the whale which is a shadow for Jesus being in the tomb three days (Passover).

To help you study use https://www.biblegateway.com and search “three days.”

The number three maybe associated with God (triune).  But this “three day” period seems to be a waiting period and frequently there is a test at the end of it.   In Exodus 15 (three days after the first Passover) God talks about testing the people, and in Numbers 10 (2nd Passover) God said they had tested Him ten times and it was over!  I view the story in Luke as a test for Mary and Joseph in their understanding of who Jesus really was.