Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was (so it was thought) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli,
the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,
the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai,
the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda,
the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri,
the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,
the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi,
the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,
the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Matattha, the son of Nathan, the son of David,
the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,
the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,
the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah,
the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan,
the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. (Luke 3:23-28)
Some of you are thinking why do I keep placing Luke's genealogy at the top of each Gem when I have been discussing Revelation? That is because the focus is actually Luke's Genealogy. I have just digressed to Revelation 7 because I wonder if the approach of Rev 7 can also be applied to Luke. I don't know and haven't tested it yet. But I figure YOU CAN DO IT. That has two meanings. It is permissible to approach Scripture in this way although I know some of you stalwarts for the faith will have a problem with it. This is the typical approach of the rabbis and teachers of Law in Beth Midrash, the House of Allusion where allusions are used and picked up on. Jesus operated in this way in numbers of parts of the New Testament. This is the reason those "three rabbis" were discussing this approach in the case of the list of tribes in Revelation 7. It is appropriate to do in some circles, but it is fraught with the potential for excessive use and / or seeing types and allegorical interpretations in everything. Constantine was a "master" at it. But bottom line there are parts of Scripture where this Midrashic way of interpreting the text is appropriate. You can do it. I had my eyes opened to this approach by two Jewish Scholars.
I am also using YOU CAN DO IT in another sense. YOU can do it. Many of us think there is no way I can plumb the depths of Scripture like that. That is a way deeper level than ever I could imagine I could do. You can do it. That is why I mentioned Libby the other day. Over the time of writing these Gems I have quoted scholars, commentators, Bible College professors and Principals, Bible translators and some of you who have responded and told me things from your perspective. I referred to Libby the other day because she is taking the principles I have shared at various times and has been applying and sharpening her ability to handle the Biblical text. In fact Libby responded to what I wrote the other day and said "I could say I'm embarrassed by your inclusion of a minor housewife from provincial NZ in your Gems, but instead I'll tell you that I'm just rather humbled. My excitement is my reward...big time!"
No one is a "minor housewife" or "just a plumber" or any such thing. When you work hand in hand with the God of the universe and the One who inspired His Word, it is likely that you will be given some inspiration from Him when you ask for it. Remember the prayer of Psalmist in Psalm 119:18.
(CEV) Open my mind and let me discover the wonders of your Law.
(ESV) Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.
Can you imagine the excitement that comes when you pray that and then He answers? But I warn you He normally tests how much you are willing to spend to find it; more in time than money. Did you notice Libby's comment back to me above. "My excitement is my reward . . . Big time" I am merely including this at this point to demonstrate to you, YOU CAN DO IT. That is what Libby is doing. She is merely applying the principles she has been taught and willing to explore ALL options. That is what I am doing in Deeper Bible, sharing some fundamental ways in which we ought to look at the Bible in order to understand it. Things I have learned over the years that work. They are so helpful. Libby is applying them and getting excited by what she is finding. Despite the fact that she in her own words, is a minor housewife from provincial NZ, but she is getting excited about the Bible.
I am going to clip something else she told me just last night. "I really have to get to bed, but there is still so much to check out! Thank you for the mention in Gems, but next time wait til I deserve it - and then it will only be because God has let me see something that I'd normally miss!!" Firstly do you sense the excitement in this humble woman of what she finding in the Word of God and what it is doing to her expectation of God? That is priceless. I disagree with Libby in terms of her comment "next time wait till I deserve it." I think that day has come now. This is the perfect moment. She has seen something that she'd normally miss now, that I would normally miss and that most of you would normally miss. Here it comes and this has been my whole point in sharing Revelation 7 in the context of Luke's genealogy.
Here are the words straight from Libby herself (with heavy editing).
What is amazing is that I can remember as clear as day, the time I heard you at the [Awesome] Book seminar - those 2 stories as fresh in my mind as all those years ago! . . .
. . . in short Ian, I am writing to say, thank you for letting me dig - thanks for not handfeeding me all the way, thanks for letting me experience a thrilling revelation about my purpose here on Earth and God's incredible plan (which leaves no room for doubt). And all because I finally read about the type of jars!! [an early gem from 2 Corinthians 4]
I have to confess that my first impulse was to look at the meaning of the names. The first thing that struck me (apologies - it was none of the things you told us to look at first) was the repetition of a couple of the names - Joseph (God shall add another son!!! Wow!) and Mattathias / Matthat...same root, like my brother Matthew, meaning "Gift of God". I instantly remembered you saying that the Jews used repetition for emphasis. Can God be doing the same thing so early on in the genealogy of Jesus too? . . . This is my precious gift for you - THE SAVIOUR - I am adding to you MY SON - get it? I am adding to you my son - He is my precious gift".
And He is also telling us that He is ASSOCIATED (Levi) to MY KING (Melchi). Bearing in mind that the Levi was the priestly tribe too. Hmmmm, Priest and king. Sounds like someone I know… I can't wait to dig deeper with these other names, and then look at your other clues!
So far I have got through the meanings of the names and in the correct order up to Josech (which seems to be ANOTHER variation on Joseph) and Judah, they seem to be saying...
A son has been added by your God who is higher than all others.
He is a gift, and associated with Kings (God/David).
In His graciousness, God has given His son, His gift,
The one Borne of God, to be your comforter, the reserved of Jehovah.
His illuminating brightness is my Gift and with it He will wipe away [sin] and break [it's chains].
This gift is given because I have heard [your prayers].
My Gift out of Judah will be praised.[is worthy of praise?]
Of course I could be completely and utterly wrong! But I enjoyed the mental exercise!
All this is from a woman who has not been privy to what I have done since sharing in her church the last time. She does not know anything of the Revelation approach. She is just following the principles and the God who made her and guides her. She hasn't spoken with three rabbis about this. She is just being led by the Spirit as she digs and applies the principles.
She is even bold enough to say: Ian you have missed it here.
And then I went and looked up what you'd written on it. "Ian!! How could you miss this out," I wondered . . .
So I went back and did more research, by which time I am fit to burst with excitement! John is doing exactly what you are saying he did - spelling it out for us - giving us the clues . . . What a treasure trove we miss!
Are you picking up on my point in sharing all this. YOU CAN DO IT. And when you do, your sense of awe and wonder at God and His Word grows accordingly. Like Libby, I don't know if the Luke genealogy can be approached in the same way Revelation 7 can or not, but allow me the space to test it and see. If it is completely and utterly wrong I am still the better for the effort. Like Libby says, Ian how could you miss this . . . Simple I don't have enough hours in a day to apply it all. That's why I want to train all of you to do it. Then I can sit back in my retirement and received from you what you have found out. I will get Gemz from you. But Tania doesn’t think I will ever sit back and take it easy. As long as there are choice Gemz to find, how can one rest?
If you study the Bible and it doesn’t lead you to wonder and awe then you haven’t studied the Bible - Rob Bell
If I had a million brains I could not fully process all the ways God is working around me right now for my good and His glory. Louie Giglio