A Genealogical Treasure Map to Jesus, the Messiah
The following is an enhanced transcript of the TheoTalk episode with the same title.
“X” marks the spot. Have you ever dreamt of finding a treasure map that, if followed precisely would lead you to a gaggle of hidden riches?
In this lesson, we’ll follow a treasure map found throughout the Old Testament. While this map won’t lead us to gold and silver. it leads us to something, really, someone infinitely more valuable — to the one whom God promised in Genesis 3:15; to his Messiah (Christ) who would lift us from our fall, restore to us a right relationship with him, and reestablish his righteous reign upon the earth. As we follow this map, we’ll find it points to none other than Jesus of Nazareth.
We saw from Genesis 3:15 that God’s Messiah would come through the offspring or seed of the woman, that is, through a female descendant of Eve. Soon after this foundational promise, God begins filling in the details his people would need to recognize the Christ when he came. For example, after Adam and Eve’s evil son, Cain, killed his righteous brother, Abel, Adam and Eve had a third son whom Eve named, Seth (Genesis 4:25), which means, “appointed one,” believing Seth would take up the righteous cause of her murdered son, Abel, and that he would either be the Christ or the Christ would come through him.
Confirming Eve’s intuition, after Seth’s son, Enosh was born, people began to call upon the name of the Lord (Genesis 4:26). And from that point on, we see a clear distinction between Cain’s evil descendants and Seth’s godly descendants, ensuring the promised Messiah would come through the godly line of Seth.
Not surprisingly, Genesis 9:26 implies the Christ would come through Seth’s descendant, Noah, who had three sons: Ham, Shem and Japheth. But as Noah blesses the Lord, he refers to God as the “God of Shem,” who would, presumably, continue the godly line of Seth, and whose descendant, Abraham, would become the father of the Jews, through whom would come the Christ. In Genesis 12, God says to Abram (Abraham),
“…go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you, and I will make you into a great nation, [which implies God would give Abram a descendant or seed] and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. In you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (Genesis 12:1-3, ESV; comments added in brackets).
But how would Abraham bless all the nations? The Apostle Paul answers in Galatians 3:16, asserting Abraham’s specific offspring, Jesus Christ, would come through the seed of the woman, the godly line of Seth and the lineage of Shem, and be a descendant of Abraham.
Continuing in Genesis, God’s promise to Abraham is confirmed to his son Isaac, and Isaac’s son, Jacob, whose name was changed to “Israel,” so that Israel’s 12 sons became the 12 tribes of the nation of Israel which God promised Abraham would come through him. Later in Genesis, God makes it clear His Messiah would come through the kingly tribe of Judah. As Israel (Jacob) blessed his twelve sons, when he came to his son, Judah, he declared prophetically of him,
8 Judah, your brothers shall praise you, your hands shall be on the neck of your enemies, your father’s sons shall bow down before you… 10 The scepter [i.e., the king’s scepter] shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet until tribute comes to him, [or as the Hebrew can, and perhaps should be translated, “until tribute comes to him to whom it belongs: that is, to God’s Messiah.”] (Genesis 49:8, 10, ESV; comments added in brackets).
Hundreds of years later, confirming God’s messiah would be king over his restored kingdom, God tells King David as he ruled over Israel that one of his royal descendants would reign on his throne forever, saying to David,
12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name. I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. (2 Samuel 7:12-13, ESV)
God refers here to David’s son, Solomon. But, of course, Solomon died, implying one of David’s future descendants would reign over God’s people forever, which is why the title, “Son of David” became for the Jews, synonymous with the title, “Messiah:” The Christ who would come through the seed of the woman, the godly line of Seth and the lineage of Shem, be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and come through the kingly tribe of Judah, to sit on the throne of David forever.
Significantly, Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1, 18-21) affirms Jesus was born of a virgin (the seed of the woman), that he was the son of both Abraham and David, and that he had come to save his people from their sins. No wonder Jesus claimed the entire Old Testament points to Him (John 5:39); that the Old Covenant Scriptures are ultimately a treasure map pointing to him, the promised Messiah or Christ who had finally come.
In the next two lessons, we’ll consider what it means that Jesus Christ is both savior to a fallen world and king over God’s kingdom he came to restore. For now, even based on the few scriptures we’ve looked at today, I wonder how you’re beginning to answer the question Jesus calls his disciples to answer in Matthew Chapter 16:15, “Who do you say I am?”