Matthew Bible Study Series
Jesus Christ: The End of All Genealogy
“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1).
As we study of the Gospel of Matthew, we are confronted with the genealogy of Jesus Christ. The begats and the names.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to go through each and every name, but I’d like to look at certain highlights and examine some of the surrounding controversies, such as the so-called contradictions in the genealogies.
In traditional, Biblical genealogies we see that men are always the ones “begetting”. The exception is in Matthew’s genealogy which makes mention of five women, including Mary.
There are FIVE WOMEN mentioned in Matthew’s Genealogy: Thamar, Rachab, Ruth, & the wife of Uriah (which, if you know your Bible, is Bathsheba), and finally Mary.
The first woman is Thamar.
If you remember, Tamar was Judah’s daughter-in-law who disguised herself as a harlot and enticed Judah to bear her child.
Now, although Tamar’s methods were sinful, she–through no fault of her own–had become twice a widow after God had struck Judah’s sons, Er and Onan because of their evil. If you remember, God had struck Er dead because he was wicked, and when his brother Onan took her on as his familial obligation, Onan withheld his seed from her and was also struck dead by God.
Judah had then withheld his next son, Shelah, from her … wrongfully fearing that he would suffer the same fate. And so Tamar deceived Judah to sire her child by masquerading as a harlot. And through their union was born Phares, the next in the Messianic line.
3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;
4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon;
5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth … (Matthew 1:3-5).
So we see the next woman that’s mentioned is Rachab.
Now if that name sounds somewhat familiar to you, she’s the same as Rahab in the OT. “Rahab the harlot”, an actual prostitute, a Canaanite woman, who helped Joshua and the children of Israel by lying to the King of Jericho so that Israel could siege Jericho and burn it to the ground (Joshua 6:20-24).
People judge Rahab harshly sometimes. They say, “Well, you know, she lied!” They say she was a lying prostitute! As though lying is always bad. Lying is not bad … if you’re protecting, say your loved one from someone breaking into your house … I mean think of all the scenarios in which lying to protect someone may actually be good. Now I’m not saying go out and lie … But, wait, she was hiding the two spies that Joshua sent, she was lying in order to help God’s people against the wicked. She was turning by faith to the God of Abraham.
While she was from perfect, let’s not judge Rahab – or Tamar for that matter – too harshly! … Now I’m not saying don’t judge like the fake Christians of today do, I’m saying judge with righteous judgment. Rahab acted by faith in the LORD.
The notable “Hall of Fame” chapter of the Book of Hebrews says of her: “By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace” (Hebrews 11:31).
The genealogy of Jesus Christ is replete with a great conflagration of the Godly on display in their human condition. We acknowledge the presence of human sin Jesus’ human ancestry in order to shine a great light on the Only One who is ever without sin.
Now wait! We’re talking about Joseph’s ancestors when it comes to Tamar and Rahab and Juda and all the others in this list, and Joseph had nothing biologically to do with Christ. OK, but what about Mary? Do we really think her ancestors were without sin? Mary was related to David also and to Rahab and Ruth and also to Tamar.
Ruth is the next woman mentioned in the Godly line. OK, so you say Ruth has better lineage, right? She’s a noble woman. But … she was a Moabite, ultimately conceived in her generations through incest, when the daughter’s of Lot got their father drunk and they begat children. From them came the Moabites of whom is Ruth. But God would not hold her accountable for the sins of Lot’s daughter.
Now it gets even more dysfunctional. We learn that Rahab the harlot is the mother of Boaz, “a mighty man of wealth”, a valiant man and a generous one who redeemed and married Ruth, the Gentile who clave unto Noami at all cost, and converted to the God of the Bible. From her we are blessed with the famous line: “Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God” (Ruth 1:16).
Boaz and Ruth … become the great grandparents of David the King, through whom the Messianic Promise and future Reign of Christ is most fully illustrated in the OT, Jesus then being called, “The Root and the Offspring of David” in Revelation 22:16 and “he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth” in Revelation 3:7. David, is, of course, is the greatest foreshadowing of Christ as Supreme King.
The last woman before Mary is “the wife of Urias” (Matthew 1:6).
Though Urias’ wife is unnamed in Matthew’s genealogy … for those of you who know your Bible, this is none other than Bathsheba.
It’s interesting how the Bible points out this part of the Messianic story.
Matthew 1:6 – “And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;”
This is like shining a huge spotlight on David’s sin. His adultery with Bathsheba led to the great treachery of murdering Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, who was a valiant man in battle.
We find his story in the 2 Book of Samuel.
David has just called back Uriah from the battlefront in hopes that he would sleep with Bathsheba, his wife, and think that it was he that impregnated her, instead of David, in order to cover their sin.
2 Samuel 11
11 And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.
And so David murders Uriah by putting him in the frontlines of battle and then withdraws his warriors.
Now David repented wholeheartedly and we see his genuine remorse recorded in Psalm 51:
4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
In Verse 10:
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
As we begin to delve into the various stories in the genealogies leading up to Christ, it opens up for us a greater picture of Jesus. It gives us a Summary of the whole Bible and prepares our hearts to hear the fullness of the Gospel.
Now before we get to the last woman mentioned, Mary, let’s get into some of the issues and controversies surrounding genealogies.
You may have wondered why names are changed from the OT to the New. We see that Rahab in Old becomes Rachab in the New and Boaz becomes Booz. We see that Isaiah change to Esaias in the King James, and Elijah becomes Elias. Why the discrepancy?
The answer is simple. You really don’t have to dig deep to find out. One is the Hebrew form and one is the Greek form. So Elijah becomes Elias and Isaiah becomes Esais. Rachab becomes Rahab. Boaz becomes Booz. Easy enough. No controversy there.
Now the most overt issue facing Scriptural integrity regarding the genealogies are the differences in ancestry between Matthew & Luke. These are the so-called “contradictions” in Scripture that skeptics and atheists love to bring up. If you search online for supposed “Bible errors”, that’s one of the first things that come up.
As I mentioned earlier, Matthew traces the genealogy of Abraham to Jesus through Joseph’s ancestry, whereas Luke covers Jesus all the way back to Adam through Mary. Now Luke doesn’t even mention Mary in his genealogy – so how can that be?
LUKE 3:23 – “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli.
Again, Luke is tracing MARY’s genealogy.
Remember we talked about how OT Hebrew names are changed to their NT Greek equivalents? Well, Heli is the Greek name for Eli. Heli or Eli was the FATHER of MARY. So why doesn’t Luke just say Mary then? Non-believers read this and say, see, they can’t even get the genealogies straight. But the answer is so simple, I don’t know how people miss this.
Do you really think that Matthew & Luke didn’t co-ordinate their facts? Luke had access to Matthew’s Gospel.
• 1 Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us,
• 3 It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus,
LUKE is simply tracing the PATRIARCHAL LINE, so there is no mention of women. Remember, Matthew included 5 women in his genealogy, including Mary herself. Luke includes none by name. He followed a strict, traditional form of genealogy … he listed HELI as Joseph’s father … father BY MARRIAGE, which he was.
Now you have to understand, that in those days, when someone married into a family, it meant a lot more to the family than it does today. Heli really was considered Joseph’s father, and it is normal to the 1st century mind to list him as such. This would have been perfectly natural to Luke’s contemporary readership. Today, we’re a bit more legalistic in our thinking … we “in-laws” instead of fathers and mothers. And we’ve lost, as a modern people, the great sense of kinship that there was in Jesus’ time.
So is this really a controversy?
Luke is tracing Mary’s line, and so the names are going to be different! Both Mary and Joseph trace their ancestry back to David. They are, in fact, very distant cousins.
THERE ARE NO ERRORS IN THE BIBLE, at least not in the King James translation. You may find some errors … in fact you will find scores of errors, in the modern translations. And that’s another way that the modern corruptions of God’s Word are undermining the authority of Scripture.
But the genealogy of Jesus Christ really begins in Genesis. These books are closely linked.
Genesis follows the Seed of Christ.
In Genesis 3:15, God says to Eve: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
Christians understand that this is the first actual mention of Jesus in the Bible, not by name, but by title. The Seed is the promise of the Christ, who would defeat Satan.
This is the beginning of the genealogy, which is why Luke traces Jesus all the way back to Adam.
This shows us that the main purpose of Biblical genealogy is to follow the Seed of Genesis to its fruition. In this way, Christ is the end of all Biblical genealogy. This is why we don’t have genealogies any more in the New Testament. We don’t see Paul’s genealogy or Peter’s for that matter (which is funny, because Catholics continue, in their own way, the concept of genealogies through the succession of Popes. You see, all Popes are considered symbolic descendants of Peter and are thought to hold “Peter’s Chair”.
But I’m here to tell you that Jesus Christ IS THE END OF ALL GENEOLOGY.
The Christ line was fulfilled in Him. Think about it: Adam, the first man, Jesus the last Adam.
“For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:20,21).
“And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit … the first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:45 & 47).
LOOK AT Romans 5
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
… And so, in Jesus, all genealogies must end.
There is no legitimate or useful purpose for them anymore.
ENTER The Church of Latter Day Satans, you know the Mormons. They LOVE genealogies and what they call, the “Sacred Ordinances” and secret rituals. They call this “family history”. They even tie family preaching to salvation.
Here’s an actual quote from a Mormon: “in family history work, we find information about our ancestors so we can give them the opportunity to receive the blessings of the gospel … After we die, people go to the spirit world … when we do temple work for our ancestors we are giving them the chance to hear about the gospel and accept it.”
They say, “If we don’t know who our ancestors are, how can we link to them in the afterlife?”
Well, guess what? You won’t have to worry about that AT ALL, because you’re not even saved!
Titus 3:9 tells us: “But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain”.
There was once a legitimate use for Biblical genealogy …
Nehemiah is returning with his people after Babylonian captivity to rebuild Jerusalem. Nehemiah employs genealogies to determine who the leaders and the priests of His people are.
Nehemiah 7:5 – “And my God put into mine heart to gather together the nobles, and the rulers, and the people, that they might be reckoned by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of them which came up at the first, and found written therein …” and he begins this long list of people by the registers of their families. And he gets to a segment of the population who could not prove their geneaology.
61 And these were they which went up also from Telmelah, Telharesha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer: but they could not shew their father’s house, nor their seed, whether they were of Israel.
63 And of the priests: the children of Habaiah, the children of Koz … [and the list goes on ..]
64 These sought their register among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but it was not found: therefore were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood.
But in Jesus Christ, all such genealogies become absolutely meaningless. So Paul advises us as CHRISTIANS to avoid genealogies.
Galatians 3:28 – “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
You know who disagrees with that? The Jewish Roots or Hebrew Roots movement.
I don’t have time to go extensively into this. But the “Hebrew Roots Movement” seeks to implement Jewish law all over again into Christians’ lives.
These are people who want the church to return to the Hebrew concepts of the Bible, to the OT ordinances, to festivals, and dietary laws. They say that the Church has become corrupt by pagan and Greek culture. They even attack the verity of our underlying Greek New Testament and the name of Jesus Himself, by putting in question the authority of God’s Word.
Some are more extreme than others, but they want you
to return to the Torah!
Of course, they’re not going to tell you to return to Leviticus 20:13 and stone Sodomites. They’re not gonna to tell you to go back and sacrifice animals, But they’ll tell you not to eat pork!
I have another name for the Hebrew Roots movement. It’s a name that Paul used for those who wanted to do the same thing, Judaizers! That’s what Paul called them! These Judaizers wanted to keep a Seventh Day Sabbath, and return to the carnal ordinances that were merely a foreshadowing of Jesus Himself.
But in reality what they are saying is that Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, that His shed blood, was not enough!
Now if you want to dance like David and blow a shofar and wear a headscarf, that’s fine with me! But don’t tell me that my Savior’s name is not Jesus, that it’s Yeshua! Because in the English language, God revealed Himself as Jesus! That IS his name! In fact, modern Hebrew was invented in the 1800s from the ancient dead language of Hebrew. No one knows what Hebrew of Jesus’ time sounded like. It’s a dead language. The name “Yeshua” is not Biblical at all. It’s unlikely that that’s how the name was pronounced. So don’t tell me to worship Yeshua instead of Jesus, because the apostles called him Jesus or in Greek Yesus.
Look at Colossians 2:16-17
16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]:
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.
This goes for 7th Day Adventists too!
I’m pretty tired of hearing Christians say that the Sabbath is supposed to be on Saturday! LET NO MAN JUDGE YOU IN MEAT OR IN DRINK OR IN RESPECT OF AN HOLYDAY OR OF THE NEW MOON OR OF THE SABBATH!
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
“Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.” (1 Timothy 1:4).
So I don’t want to stray far from Matthew 1.
JESUS CHRIST fulfilled the LAW in HIMSELF and ENDED once and for all GENAEOLOGY in HIMSELF for the PURPOSE of IDENTIFYING HIMSELF as the CHRIST. He is the ALPHA and the OMEGA of all genealogy.
IN CLOSING: In the book of Genesis, we find what I call the “Forgotten” or “Dead” genealogy of Cain. Cain’s descendants are actually listed before the Godly line of Adam through Seth.
Genesis 4:16 begins: “And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.
And then suddenly without any fanfare or announcement, Cain’s descendants are listed.
17 And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.
18 And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
So Cain’s list just gets right into it. It’s an earthly genealogy, not a spiritual one so much.
But when we compare this to the Godly line of Seth, which begins immediately after in Genesis 5, we have the words: “This is the book of the generations of Adam”.
… In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;
2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:
4 And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:
5 And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died …
God placed great emphasis on Seth. Cain? His line disappears, literally, in the flood. All seed of Cain is destroyed in the flood.
Seth, however, and his seed take us to Noah and his sons: “ And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son:
29 And he called his name Noah …” (Genesis 5:28, 29).
And the Messianic line is traced through Noah’s son, Shem to Abraham to Isaac to David and finally we are taken full circle to the Gospel of Matthew to “Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.” (Matthew 1:16).
Notice … Joseph is NEVER referred to as the father of Jesus … but simply … “Joseph the husband of Mary” … “of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ”.
We’ll return to this in the next sermon, in which we’re going to look extensively at the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ and the surrounding controversies around the miraculous event.