How to Understand the New Testament-Part 20

We are going to look briefly on the concept of the Seed of David and how it related to Yeshua. This will be essential to understanding the New Testament and the genealogies found there. In John 7.40-44 we read that the multitude that were there in Jerusalem at the festival at Sukkot began to wonder if Yeshua was the “The Prophet” of Deut 18.15-18. In their discussion, they wondered how that could be because they didn’t think the Messiah would come out of Galilee. They said that the Messiah would be of the seed of David, from Bethlehem, where David called home. So, there arose a division about Yeshua. So, let’s look at the concept of the seed of David. In John 1.46, we learn that Yeshua was from Nazareth, so is there a prophecy that says the Messiah will come from Nazareth? People from Nazareth were called “the despised ones” in the Talmud and we see this attitude in Nathanael when he says “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Isa 9.1 says this area was seen as a land of contempt. Nazareth means “branch” which is a term for the Messiah from Isa 11.1. In Zech 6.11-13 it says that a man whose name “is the Branch” will “branch” out and build the Temple, which Yeshua will do. That Temple is discussed in Ezek 40 through 48. In John 7.52 we see that Nicodemus is accused of being “from Galilee” (an insult) when he was discussing Yeshua with some of the rulers and was told to search the Scriptures to see that no prophet arises out of Galilee. This statement isn’t true anyway, because Jonah came from Zebulon (2 Kings 14.25) and Messiah was revealed from there (Isa 9.1; John 2.11). In Matt 2.23 it says, “and came (Joseph, Miriam and Yeshua) and resided in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.'” The problem is, there is no Scripture that says that, but with what we have gone over in mind, we now know a “despised one” was an idiom for someone from there. Now, when you read the genealogies in Matthew (Matt 1.1-6), you will read that Josiah had sons. We know from Scripture that Jehoiahaz was displaced by his half-brother Jehoikim, then Jehoichin and then Zedekiah. Zedekiah’s sons were slain in Babylon. Just by elimination, we know that the Messiah can only come from Yehoichin. He has a son named Shealtiel and he has a son named Zerubbabel. But, there is a problem. In Jer 22.11-30 we learn that no descendant of Jehoichin would reign as king. Was Jehoichin (Coniah) childless? No, he had Shealtiel, and Shealtiel had Zerubbabel. But, there is a curse on the line. Zerubbabel was a governor (Hag 1.1; 2.21) but not a king, so this is not a contradiction. Zerubbabel was blessed of the Lord (Zech 4.6-10) but not a king. Zerubbabel will be a type of the Messiah. Rabbinic Judaism and some Christian teachers say that God lifted the ban, but he didn’t. In Luke 3.23-38 we have another genealogy. In Matthew’s genealogy, Josiah is from David through Solomon, the kingly line, but there is a curse on it. In Luke, it goes through Nathan, another son of David (Luke 3.31). This line is not under the curse of Jer 22. If Yeshua descended from Solomon, can he be king? The answer is “No!” So what is the answer? Luke’s genealogy is his mother Miriam’s line, the “seed of the woman” in Gen 3.15. We know from the Torah that women had rights of inheritance (Num 27.1-7) and this is how Yeshua can be of the “seed of David” and yet still be rightfully King of Israel as the Messiah. Matthew’s genealogy is the kingly line through Joseph, but it had a curse on it. Joseph could never be the rightful king of Israel, and through Joseph, neither could Yeshua. But, Yeshua was also of the seed of David through another line by his mother and she had the right of inheritance from the Torah, thus fulfilling the prophecy in Gen 3.15 about the seed of the woman defeating the seed of the Nachash (serpent). This distinction between the genealogies is very important to understand when studying the New Testament, and it will clear up any controversies that you might come across when reading the Tanach, especially Jeremiah and the curse of Jecoichin. Starting in Part 21, we will begin to discuss the Gentiles and how they related to the faith in Israel. This is another “essential” if you want to understand the New Testament and you will see the tremendous impact that they had in the first century and how much the Scriptures discuss them. They will be known by several names. They are the “Yiray Ha Shamyim” or “fearers of heaven” (Godfearers). They are also known as the “Ger T’Shav “(“stranger in the land”) and the “Ger Ha Sha’ar” (“stranger at the gate”). They are referred to in Greek as the “phoubemenoi” and “sebemenoi” in the New Testament. We will go over all of this starting in Part 21because the Gentile believers of the first century are seldom understood.

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Understanding the New Testament

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