Saturday, December 20, 2014

INTERESTED IN FAMILY TREES? (A Look at the Most Famous Tree of All)

Genealogy is a BIG business  these days. At any one time, it is estimated that a third of the western world (mostly in North America) is trying to trace own roots and build a family tree, based on those findings. There are a host of solid and reputable ancestry companies out there like and my personal favorite –, which I have actually used. They use DNA lab tests to match the amazing structure of the Genome in order to trace roots back thousands of years! I have discovered long-distance relatives from Europe and South East Asia to the Americas and all over and back. There is nothing surprising about any of this, including some of my roots back to so-called Neanderthal man! There are other people who discovered pirates, Vikings and other such "upstanding" members of the outlaw community to their embarrassment. However this is the chance one takes when you look at "where did I come from".

Speaking of that, in the end, we, who are called by His Name, believe fully in the Origins of the Species also known as the Book of Genesis. We are ALL related through the first sinner - Adam - and ultimately his descendant Noah. Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives were the only survivors of the Great Flood which cleansed the earth after God wiped out the entire corrupt world population and rebooted. Noah's three sons were told to go forth and multiply across the fruited plain, which eventually happened. Most of us are either directly descended from Ham (the darker peoples of Africa etc.) or Shem (the Semetic people of the Middle East etc.) and Japheth (the father of the Europeans and Indians). That is all there is and any doubters should take their doubt up with the Creator, Whose earthly genealogy we will now examine.

The Jews (descendants of Shem) were an exclusive people by calling and finally by sinful/prideful nature. Matthew (the first listed Gospel, since the Gospel of Mark is the earliest written one) writes his Gospel to the Jewish people. He knew they were all sticklers for records and who belonged to which of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.  He knew the Pharisees kept the ancient genealogical records of the Jews who had come back from the Babylonian exile and often made up what they could not prove. So Matthew wanted to set the record straight about the genealogy of Jesus Christ to a people who based their entire existence, and unfortunately - their salvation - on only being descendants of Abraham.  

Some of the ancient records of the tribes which made it out of Jerusalem before Nebuchanezzar torched Solomon's Temple down to the ground, so God could finally cleanse Solomon pagan indulgences and its blowback, survived ONLY until 70 AD. This is the year when the Roman General Titus fulfilled Jesus' prophesy from Matthew 24 and so completely destroyed the Temple that the Roman soldiers were scraping melted gold off the huge rubble. All tribal records, from the Twelve Tribes were destroyed forever, except in the Books of God which will be opened one day for Judgment before the Great White Throne.

The only surviving record, therefore, is the one which the Lord Himself wanted preserved for this Age. It is found in Matthew 1 and here are the first six of 17 verses: 
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers. Judah begot Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez begot Hezron, and Hezron begot Ram. Ram begot Amminadab, Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmon. Salmon begot Boaz by Rahab, Boaz begot Obed by Ruth, Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David the king. David the king begot Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah....(Verses 1-6)

Each of those sentences and names in these six verses are lifetimes and episodes which are rich in Faith and a lot of sin. Matthew held back no punches. We just have to look at the inclusion of Tamar here, from whence the Tribe of Judah came. Judah was tricked into having immoral relations with her after some graphic text in Genesis involving Onan and his brothers who passed away. And what about Rahab, the pagan prostitute? Well, how did she end up int the bloodline of the Savior Jesus Christ?

She believed in the God Who had delivered Israel from Eygpt and led them through the Wilderness for forty years. In days where there was no mass media and telegrams, word had gotten out of the Power of that God Who parted the Red Sea and other wonders. Rahab ran a brothel in pagan territories yet believed that same God instead of the pagan gods of Canaan and Jericho. She rescued Joshua and Caleb and later on was the mother of Boaz,  the husband of another woman who was a pagan- Ruth, from pagan Moab! Who was Moab? Moab was the offspring of the daughter of Lot, who had immoral relations with her own father after getting him drunk in a cave, after Christ destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and saved only Lot and his family.

You see where this is heading. The average self-righteous pharisee/priest or intellectual lost-to-perdition pinhead in those days quickly brushed over these findings in their genealogy. We would too. In fact, we were all pagans and rebels and lost ourselves, until God in His Mercy saved us by His Grace and nothing we did, less we should boast. You and I have more in common with Rahab, the former harlot and Judah who besmirched God's name than the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son. He represented the pharisees. 

Then there in the final verse above, we see Verse 6: "David the King begot Solomon by her, who had been the wife of Uriah"! David's sin of adultery, stealing another man's wife (when he already had more than two himself) and THEN setting up Uriah the converted and saved Hittite to be killed, made it into the genealogy of Christ too! There was no sugar coating, no double entendre, no nothing - David had a son, who was King Solomon by another man's wife. So when my friends trace their lineage back to plundering Vikings and even unsavory sorts, remember this - it is NOT where you CAME from but WHERE YOU ARE GOING!

This brief look at the lineage of Christ from where Joseph and Mary came perfectly aligns with Scripture which reveals that Jesus is the Son of David and can thus claim the Throne. We know that Joseph is just the faithful step-father of the Lord, even though he would later go on to have children of his own with Mary. The most famous of Joseph's real children are James and Jude, whose books are at the end of the New Testament.  Mary is also in the lineage, which authenticates everything. The study of this entire passage of 17 verses will take more than a short blog post and there is a reason I stopped here at King David and his abominable sin with Bathsheba and against Uriah and God. The reason is - we are all full of sin and deserve eternal punishment from dragging the Name of God through the filth and mud.

However, if we all surrender our lives in the total realization of our complete helpless, total depravity and worthlessness before Holy God, repent and seek forgiveness from all of that and accept Master, Creator, Lord and King Jesus Christ as our Savior, we too will inherit the blessings which came from such flawed human beginnings. America is the place of new beginnings. In fact the entire western hemisphere offers this to anyone, like nowhere else ever in history. On this continent, men and women can start anew and build respectable and prosperous lives. But there is only one way to build a life and legacy that counts and that is if Jesus, the Son of David, the Son of God, is YOUR Advocate, YOUR Savior, YOUR Lord. Amen. 

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