Zechariah 3:8 NIV
“‘Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch.
Zechariah, like Haggai, Ezra, and Nehemiah come after the fall of Jerusalem. They are associated with Zerubbabel, a grandson of Jehoiachin, and a grandfather of Jesus. Jehoiachin is a grandfather of Jesus, and is in the genealogies found in Matthew and Luke. This encouragement comes during the rebuilding of the Temple, and was given to Joshua the High Priest.
I have found it amusing that Jesus would be referred to as a branch and He was trained to work with wood.
Micah 5:2 NIV
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”
This is the verse that the priest told Herod when the Magi came to Jerusalem. If you read all of Micah 5 you will see this verse as a promise of peace in a time of trouble. But it also gives a picture of the ministry of Jesus (vs 4), and a look at Mary and the symbolism in Revelation 12 (vs 3).
Jeremiah, in 26:18 refers to Micah and his predications of judgement. But all of these doom verses have hope intertwined in them, like Micah 5: 5 where “He will be their peace.”
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.
- Generation 1 is verse 2 – 6a and shows Abraham to David, or faith to pleasing God.
- Generation 2 is verse 6b – 11 and shows David to Jehoiachin or the Exile; these represent pleasing God to judgement.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Hosea 11:1 NIV
“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
This “almost” Christmas verse is very important in the story of Jesus’ coming. This part of the story came after the Magi, after the escape to Egypt, and after several (possible six) years of living in Egypt. So, this would have been after the story of the Family in the Temple.
Hosea was a contemporary of Amos, Micah, and Isaiah; so, like their books the tone changes quickly to one of coming judgement in verse 2. The idea of Israel/child coming out of Egypt is also seen in 2:15 and 11:11
Daniel 9:24 – 25 NIV
“Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.
This verse finally made this series, but it had to be reinstated after I read a section in Scott Hahn’s book Joy to the World. Another factor that helped me include it, was the numerous references to judgement that are associated with the other Christmas references we looked at. Daniel announced the time of Jesus’ arrival. Herod was concerned about a real King of the Jews showing up, apparently there were numerous people who tried to claim Jesus’ job by starting minor uprisings and revolts (Acts 5: 33 – 42).