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Bible Gem 776 - Some more Food for Thought (Luke 3:23-38)

May 22, 2019


Jesus was about thirty years old when He began His public ministry. Jesus was known as the son of Joseph. Joseph was the son of Heli. In 

Heli was the son of Matthat. Matthat was the son of Levi. Levi was the son of Melki. Melki was the son of Jannai. Jannai was the son of Joseph. 

Joseph was the son of Mattathias. Mattathias was the son of Amos. Amos was the son of Nahum. Nahum was the son of Esli. Esli was the son of Naggai. 

Naggai was the son of Maath. Maath was the son of Mattathias. Mattathias was the son of Semein. Semein was the son of Josech. Josech was the son of Joda. 

Joda was the son of Joanan. Joanan was the son of Rhesa. Rhesa was the son of Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was the son of Shealtiel. Shealtiel was the son of Neri. 

Neri was the son of Melki. Melki was the son of Addi. Addi was the son of Cosam. Cosam was the son of Elmadam. Elmadam was the son of Er. 

Er was the son of Joshua. Joshua was the son of Eliezer. Eliezer was the son of Jorim. Jorim was the son of Matthat. Matthat was the son of Levi. 

Levi was the son of Simeon. Simeon was the son of Judah. Judah was the son of Joseph. Joseph was the son of Jonam. Jonam was the son of Eliakim. 

Eliakim was the son of Melea. Melea was the son of Menna. Menna was the son of Mattatha. Mattatha was the son of Nathan. Nathan was the son of David. 

David was the son of Jesse. Jesse was the son of Obed. Obed was the son of Boaz. Boaz was the son of Salmon. Salmon was the son of Nahshon. 

Nahshon was the son of Amminadab. Amminadab was the son of Admin. Admin was the son of Arni. Arni was the son of Hezron. Hezron was the son of Perez. Perez was the son of Judah. 

Judah was the son of Jacob. Jacob was the son of Isaac. Isaac was the son of Abraham. Abraham was the son of Terah. Terah was the son of Nahor. 

Nahor was the son of Serug. Serug was the son of Reu. Reu was the son of Peleg. Peleg was the son of Eber. Eber was the son of Shelah. 

Shelah was the son of Cainan. Cainan was the son of Arphaxad. Arphaxad was the son of Shem. Shem was the son of Noah. Noah was the son of Lamech. 

Lamech was the son of Methuselah. Methuselah was the son of Enoch. Enoch was the son of Jared. Jared was the son of Mahalalel. Mahalalel was the son of Kenan. 

Kenan was the son of Enosh. Enosh was the son of Seth. Seth was the son of Adam. Adam was the son of God. (Luke 3:23-38)



In working with these two genealogies there are so many angles and difficulties that must be addressed.  Many feel that Matthew's genealogy of Christ follows the royal line while Luke's follows the natural descendants. It would be clear to most of us who are familiar with the biblical text after a number of readings that Matthew lists the kings of Judah. Yes we are clearly dealing with a royal line. It is the kingly line he is probing. There is no disputing Matthew's inclusion of the kings of Judah in his list of descendants. That section is all in order, as is Luke's from Adam to Abraham as I dealt with a few days ago. The question we must ask ourselves is why does Matthew take his genealogy back to Abraham and why does Luke go all the way to Adam? Ponder that for a while. Perhaps I will let you into the secret of Matthew tomorrow but give you time to find out for yourself regarding Luke's purpose.  I will let you into the secret of Matthew but will still leave things for you to do. Primarily because we are not focused on Matthew, but rather Luke. 


The biggest difficulty comes with the number of names from David to Jesus. From the Abraham to David everything is in order as well. But from David to Jesus, Matthew lists 26 descendants while Luke has 40.  That is not necessarily a problem in and of itself. It is perfectly possible for one line of descendants to increase more rapidly than another. We also need to take into the account the fact that "son" [Heb. ben] doesn’t just mean "son". It can also mean "grandson" or even more generally "descendants". So we may well be dealing with a selection of descendants in the lineage. Note also that Matthew has structured his genealogy into three groups of fourteen. So has he "massaged" the list to make his point. More recent studies of this difficult passage have emphasized the need to read and interpret the genealogies in the context in which they are written. Not to pluck them out and deal with them in isolation. Each writer had a reason(s) for including the genealogy. So we need to interpret the genealogy in the light of the themes of the purpose for which the gospel was written.   


Another question we must answer is does Luke's list follow Joseph's line or Mary's line? Remember Luke has used a lot of eyewitness accounts to put this gospel together. Many feel that Luke has been privy to a rundown of Mary's side of the family. Thus Mary has given him the details regarding her ancestry.  Why do the lists differ right from the start on Joseph's "father"? Right at the very first level from Jesus to Joseph and onward we strike a problem. Luke says Joseph was the son of Heli; Matthew says he was the son of Jacob. Come on if we can't even get the father of the first player right in a genealogy, how can we expect to probe the generations further back. I think all of us know the most recent generations are the easiest to find when doing a genealogy. It is the early ancestors as we head backwards in time that are the hardest. And of course Luke takes us all the way back to Adam. The number of names in the each list is a problem, even given the fact that Luke links Jesus' genealogy all the way back to Adam.


Clearly there is something else going on behind the scenes of this list of names. Luke or God is telling us something through this genealogy. But what?


I will take some time in the next few days to give you "the party line". In other words, tell you the classic explanations, reasons and interpretations that one comes across in attempting to explain the differences and anamolies in these two genealogies. Then I will give you input to a new way of looking at it. Something I found when faced with a problem in Revelation, after being asked a question at a God's Awesome Book seminar. I suspect it will be important for you to know. Then I am thinking I may well do what I did back then. I have had a number of comments from people telling me how good it is to be able to have time to seek for answer to this for themselves but will guidance from me as to where to look. So that is what I will do I think.


I think I need to state my position clearly when I wrote about my disappointment to the responses with respect to the Genesis 5 genealogy. I was very aware that there are a number of you (I don't know exactly how many – hundreds maybe out of 10,000+ who take this seriously and are using the Gems as fuel for your Quiet Times or your study). I have quoted Tim La Haye before when he said "Until you decide your spiritual growth is worth more than 15 minutes a day in the Word of God, you will remain a mediocre Christian." La Haye thinks the basic amount of time we should daily in the Word of God is 15 minutes for reading and 15 minutes for study. He is the same man who said, "No Bible, No Breakfast, No Exceptions." Some have protested my comments in Gem 774 saying they don't look at the Gem early in the morning on the day I send it because the time frame around the world is different. Granted, I am aware of that. Others told me they store the Gems up and are still working back on past Gems, working their way to the present day, because they want to put into practice what I am telling them to do. Wow you guys can certainly "have breakfast". I think you need bacon and eggs for your breakfast to give added brain power.  Yes you are doing what I intended for Gems and I commend you. 


My comments were in the context of observing what happens on Twitter and the things that people respond to. Following the trivial and neglecting the important. That's all.


More to come on this genealogy. Ha ha, I know that might put people off. They don't understand how I could "waste so much time" looking at a dead boring genealogy. That's right, they just don't understand. But I pray for them. I have had several emails over the last days that show me some of you are doing some great work. Keep it up. There's lots more to do but I won't handle it all in Gems in a consecutive sequential way. I will try to strike a balance between the amateur gemmer and the professional gemmer, if you know what I am saying in using those terms. After all this is a much debated passage over the centuries. The difference in these two genealogies presents a very knotty problem to us. Part of my reason for choosing Luke and Acts is because of the difficulties surrounding the genealogies and me figuring I should attempt that issue head on.  I'm sure you would be able to get a lot of input for your thoughts on this on the internet, but that is one source I haven't used. Enough said for the moment.     




Genealogies: If only people came with pull down menus and online help.


Genealogies: Tracing yourself back to better people.




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