2 Timothy 3:16 notes that all Scripture has been given under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and is profitable…for instruction in righteousness. It may seem that some verses and passages of Scripture are more inspired and profitable than others (John 3:16 or the 23rd Psalm being two examples). But what about the genealogy listing in Matthew chapter 1? Is that section of Scripture inspired and profitable for reading?
Many find it challenging to glean much encouragement from the genealogy listing in Matthew 1. There are more than 50 names presented there, but few details. There is no mention of who these individuals were, where they lived, when they lived, or what they accomplished in life. It is not difficult to understand why the Bible notes that Jesus was a descendant of David—for that is the fulfillment of prophecy (Psalm 132:11; 2 Samuel 7:12-16). But why doesn’t the Bible just stop there? Is there a particular reason that 52 names are presented in Matthew 1? Is there meaning in the structure and number of these names? Did Matthew’s Hebrew audience know something about these individuals that we do not? Is it possible that the Matthew 1 genealogy presents important and inspirational information? The answer to these questions is a resounding, “Yes.”
In this teaching I share a few of the subtle but wondrous truths presented in Matthew 1. There is much there—a little research and study reveals a myriad of gems just below the surface of the text. The Apostle Paul wrote that, “All Scripture was given under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit” (2 Timothy 3:16). This study, which focuses on a section of Scripture many see as a rather dry and difficult read, is a great way to show the 2 Timothy 3:16 promise to be true.
ABOUT THE GOSPEL AND WRITER:
- Author: Matthew, the son of Alphaeus (Mark 2:14). Also called Levi. He was a tax collector.
- His name means: “Gift of the Lord.”
- Date of writing: Possibly between 58-68 A.D.
- His Death: After the great persecution Matthew fled Jerusalem and rewrote his Gospel in Greek. He professed the resurrected Christ in Ethiopia and then traveled east to PersiaHe was martyred by being either pierced with a sword or being beheaded at Nad-Davar, Ethiopia between 65-70AD.
- Placement: Though placed first in the New Testament, the book of Matthew was the second Gospel to be written.
- Unique aspects:
- His writing is unique in that it was written in Hebrew, to Hebrews, whereas the other Gospel writers present their writing in Greek and have a more Gentile audience in mind.
- Eusebius referenced the Hebrew text in a letter to Papias of Hierapolis (a prominent church leader) in 110AD.
- His writing is organized around the five great discourses of Jesus, with a prologue and epilogue (Ch. 5-7; Ch. 10; Ch. 13; 18; Ch. 24-25).
- The following stories are unique in Matthew: 1: Joseph’s dreams. Matt. 2: Christ worshipped by the wise men, Herod’s massacre of the children at Bethlehem, Herod’s death, and Christ’s return to Nazareth. Matt. 5-7: the Sermon on the Mount in full. Matt. 9: healing of two blind men. Matt. 11: call to the heavy laden. Matt. 13: parables of the hidden treasure, the pearl, and the drag-net. Matt. 16: Peter’s confession of Christ. Matt. 17: Christ’s paying the tribute tax with money found in the mouth of a fish. Matt. 20: cures two blind men while traveling from Jericho. Matt. 22: parable of the wedding garment. Matt. 25: parables of the ten virgins, talents, and sheep and goats at the judgment. Matt. 27: dream of Pilate’s wife and the appearance of many saints after the crucifixion and Matt. 28: soldiers bribed to say that t’s disciples had stolen His body.
- Matthew quotes from the Old Testament more than other Gospel writers. He draws heavily upon Old Testament material to argue to his Jewish audience that Jesus Christ is indeed the promised Messiah. More than 130 times Matthew uses quotations and allusions to the Old Testament.
- Matthew also uses the Messianic phrase, ‘Son of David’ more than the other Gospel writers. The phrase, ‘Son of David’ occurs 9 times in Matthew, but only 6 times in Mark, Luke, and John
CENTRAL TRUTHS FROM MATTHEW 1:1-11
- God is always in control (Jer. 29:11)
- The structure of Matthew is based on 7’s (Heptadic Structure). There are over 600 references to 7 in the Bible.
- The number of words in the genealogy are divisible by seven.
- The number of letters in the genealogy are divisible by seven.
- The number of number of vowels in the genealogy are divisible by seven.
- The number of consonants in the genealogy are divisible by seven.
- The number of words in the genealogy that begin with a vowel are divisible by seven.
- The number of words in the genealogy that begin with a consonant are divisible by seven.
- The number of words in the genealogy that occur more than once are divisible by seven.
- The number of words in the genealogy that occur in more than one form are divisible by seven.
- The number of words in the genealogy that occur only in one form are divisible by seven.
- The number of nouns in the genealogy are divisible by seven.
- The number names in the genealogy are divisible by seven.
- The number of male names in the genealogy are divisible by seven.
- The number of generations listed are divisible by seven.
- In Greek and Hebrew, letters are assigned numerical values. The numeric value of all letters in the genealogy (Matt. 1:1-11) is divisible by seven.
- The probability of this happening by chance is less than 1 in 30,000,000.
God is can make a way:
Verse 1-2 (Abraham)
- Genesis 11-23
- Anything is possible / God can provide / It’s never too late
Verse 5 (Ruth)
- A Moabite
- A widow in a foreign land
Verse 6 (David)
- 1 Samuel 16—1 Kings 2)
- The youngest of many brothers / the teen against the giant / the leader of 300 against Saul’s thousands.
Verse 7 (Abijah)1 Kings 15:8-24; II Chronicles 14-16
- Second king of Judah (reigned two years)
- Confronted the evil king of the north (Jeroboam) with a small army.
Verse 8 (Jehoshaphat)
- 1 Kings 15-22; II Chronicles 17-21
- 4th king of Judah
- Though a good man, he compromised on what he knew to be right. He went against the counsel of the prophet, and fostered an alliance with Ahab of Israel. He later found that his involvement in a battle was a trap, and that the king of the north, and an entire enemy army was preparing to kill him.
Verse 9 (Hezekiah)
- 2 Kings 16-20; II Chronicles 28:32; Isaiah 36:3
- When Jerusalem was completely surrounded by a powerful enemy army, he led his people to pray and received divine help and victory in 24 hours.
Verse 11 (Jeconiah)
- Jeremiah 22:24-28, 37:1
- He was cursed by the prophet Jeremiah for his wickedness.
God is mighty to save
- Matthew’s goal was to present Jesus as Jewish Messiah, the son of David and heir to the throne.
- John’s goal was to present Jesus as God (The hypostatic union * Cf. 1:1)
- Luke’s goal was to present Jesus as the fulfillment of the Isa. 7:14 and Gen. 3:15 prophecies, and Savior. He presents:
10 generations between Adam and the Flood
10 generations between the Flood and Abraham
Adam = Man
Seth = Appointed
Enosh = Mortal
Kenan = Sorrow
Mahalalel = The blessed God
Jared = Shall come down
Enoch = Teaching (an academic term)
Methuselah (A compound word meaning His Death and Shall Bring)
Lamech = Despairing
Noah = Comfort/rest
|Man [is] appointed mortal sorrow, [but] the blessed God shall come down teaching His death shall bring the despairing comfort and rest.|