Today: [Matthew 1] The Missing 42nd Generation: In Matthew 1 we not only have an introduction to Mary and Joseph, and an account of Jesus’ birth, we also have embedded a secret code, undisclosed, yet deeply revelational of just who the 42nd Generation of God is hidden in this seminal, first mention genealogy of Jesus’ blood line.
[Mat 1:1-25 KJV] 1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; 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; and Obed begat Jesse; 6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her [that had been the wife] of Urias; 7 And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa; 8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias; 9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias; 10 And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias; 11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon: 12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel; 13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor; 14 And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud; 15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob; 16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 17 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.
After the prophesying of Malachi, the voice of God grows still and for 400 years there is nothing said or written by men or women of God that rises to the caliber of holy writ. For the Jews, in their traditions the line of prophets was extinguished with what we call the Old Covenant period, numbering 55 in all according to the teachings of the rabbis (the Talmud alleges that the era of prophets ended in the 1st generation of the second temple era). This is what the Pharisees and Sadducees were reluctant to call John the Baptist a prophet, even though the popular view of the common people is that John was in fact “Elijah the Restorer” spoken of by Malachi.
The gospel of Matthew does not actually name Matthew as its author, although tradition holds that he is indeed the writer of it. The book was written approximately 35 years after the resurrection, at the time of the destruction of the Jerusalem by the Romans, although some estimates suggest that he wrote 10-20 years earlier. The character of the gospel of Matthew is very Jewish in nature, making references to the law, ceremonial cleanness, the temple and Old Testament prophecies with very little if any explanation, giving us the sense that Matthew assumed his readers were Jews and would understand all these references.
Each of the four gospels is unique in character, presenting the claims of Christ and the narrative of Jesus’ life in a particular light:
- In Matthew, we find Jesus as the Messianic savior, the hope of the Jews.
- In Mark, Jesus is the servant sent to fulfill the purposes of God.
- In Luke, He is the savior of all mankind, very human and approachable.
- Finally in John, Jesus is the Cosmic Christ, the living essence of the Creative Principle of the Universe, clad in flesh, paying for our sins.
Chapter one of Matthew begins with a seeming mundane genealogy, such as we have encountered in various places in the Old Testament, mundane however, until we look a little deeper. After the generations of Jesus’ are mentioned they are broken down for us in v. 17:
- 14 Generations from Abraham to David.
- 14 Generations from David to the Captivity.
- 14 Generations from the Captivity to Christ.
What is interesting is, if you count these generations, they are 42 altogether. According to the manner in which genealogies were reckoned and numbers counted in Hebrew, Jesus would actually only be the 41st generation? Is this a mistake in the scripture? Notice that verse 17, however does not say from Babylon to JESUS but rather Babylon to CHRIST. What can we draw from this?
[1Co 12:12, 27 KJV] 12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ. … 27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
In other words, the 42nd Generation is not Jesus alone, but Jesus in connection with His many membered body that carries the Christ anointing as surely as He did in that singular human vessel that was born of Mary and laid in a manger. You and I and every believer that has sprung from the crimson fountain opened up on Calvary are members of that many membered 42nd Generation we know of as the body of Christ throughout history and throughout the world. This testimony of the singular person of Christ bringing forth a corporate body of Christ according to the purposes of God is testified to in Hebrews 10:
[Heb 10:5, 7, 9 KJV] 5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: … 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. … 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
Jesus took away the FIRST body, His own body on the cross and out of the earth realm by resurrection, and has been establishing His second body, the body of Christ, the many membered family of God ever since!
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. 22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
In verse 18 reference is made to the fact that Mary was not only found with child but found with child by the Holy Ghost. Other gospels such as the gospel of Luke go into much greater detail regarding the fact that this was virgin birth, but it isn’t strongly emphasized here, and perhaps that gives us an explanation as to why Matthew’s genealogy of Christ is through the line of Joseph and not Mary’s genealogy, emphasized elsewhere. That is not to say that the early believers did not believe in a virgin birth, what it does tell us however is that at this point that the gospel of Matthew was written that doctrines such as the virgin birth were still evolving, and yet to be codified by conclaves of church authorities decades and even centuries from this point.
Notice that the language of verse 18-19 is that Mary was espoused to Joseph, and yet mentioned as her husband. Some traditions suggest that Joseph was a very old man, incapable of conceiving children, others point to references indicating that Jesus had several siblings born of Mary and Joseph by order of the natural means by which such things happen. In verse 19 Joseph considers putting Mary away, which was understood in that day as the same way we think of divorce today. This is a very important point to consider in the light of Evangelical teaching regarding divorce. The allowances or exceptions related to fornication and adultery had to do with such crimes that were proven BEFORE the couple actually came together, while they were yet ESPOUSED and by first century traditions married just as we conclude marriage through a ceremony and consummation that comes as a result. In which case that would throw much of the doctrinal argument pro and con about divorce into a whole other light.
While Joseph is considering the matter of putting Mary away, he dreams of being visited by an angel. Notice that the wording doesn’t suggest that the dream was insubstantial, or a figment of Joseph’s dream life. The wording maintains that the appearance of the angel in Joseph’s dream was as valid as if he had been visited in his waking time by the messenger from God. That should tell you that your dreams are much more important and consequential than you realize, and we should put more weight on them, just as Joseph did, putting aside convention and tradition to defend his wife, Mary and take her in union in matrimony.
The angel goes on to declare to Joseph that the child’s name will be called Jesus (or Joshua, Yeshua, in Hebrew). Many banter about this, making a stipulation that Yeshua is the only correct name to be used, is that strange considering the fact that the writers of the gospels and the epistles wrote exclusively in the Greek language and never felt compelled to transliterate the name of the savior as anything other than the Hellenized version of Yeshua / Joshua as “Jesus”. We need to be careful not to fall into this type of pseudo-legalism and high mindedness as though we have some secret understanding of God that disqualifies those who don’t agree with us.
The chapter concludes with the words of the angel to Joseph regarding the birth of Jesus, and Matthew adds His narrative or commentary in the remainder of the verse. The word “virgin” in verse 23 has been debated, and in fact does not explicitly refer to the sexual purity of a person of the female gender, but nonetheless the virgin birth is cleared up for us in the other gospel accounts. We nonetheless need to be aware of these issues, as skeptics and mockers will use them to attempt to discredit our faith in scripture unless we are prepared to give an answer for what we actually believe.
Joseph, Matthew concludes wakes from sleep and obeys the instruction of the angel to take Mary to wife, and not have intercourse with her until the first born – a son was brought forth, whom Joseph obedient to the angel’s instruction called Him Jesus. Thus concludes our chapter, and perhaps by how it has been presented we can look past the traditional perspective we take on this account and see 1.) just how deeply it conveys revelation to us of the purposes of God in Christ to bring forth a body prepared to do His will; and 2.) to see how supernatural intervention, visitation of angels, etc., was so intrinsic to the narrative of our very savior’s birth that we wonder why there could be found any skepticism among those who call themselves Christians as to the incidence and validity of the same types of experiences among us today?
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