In Matt 1.11, we have a genealogy of Yeshua and we learn that “to Josiah was born Jeconiah.” But we have a problem. Josiah did not “begot” Jeconiah. So, let’s talk the kings. Josiah had a son named Jehoahaz, and he is replaced by his brother Jehoikim, and he has a son Jehoichin (Jeconiah). Josiah is really the grandfather of Jeconiah, but that is how genealogies work. Jeconiah gets replaced by his uncle Zedekiah. The problem is, nobody descended from Jeconiah can sit on the throne of David anymore. But, you had a bigger problem. Kingship had to come through David. So, this won’t work now unless you had a virgin birth, so all hope was not lost. This brings us to Jer 22. Jeconiah will be a contemporary of the last four kings of Judah. Jeconiah had three biblical names. He is Coniah in Jer 22.24, Jeconiah and Jehoichin. Jer 22.24-30 is a very important passage of Scripture. The Lord is talking about Coniah when he says “I will pull you off (as a signet ring-king)” and he doesn’t care who Coniah is. He goes on to say that Coniah would die in Babylon as an “undesirable vessel” and that included his descendants. He says “write this man down as childless” which means “as if” he didn’t have children, because he did. He had a son named Shealtiel, and his grandson was Zerubbabel, the governor who leads the Jewish people back from captivity and who would rebuild the Temple. He will not sit as king, but he was the governor. None of his (Coniah/Jeconiah) descendants will “prosper” as king, “sitting on the throne of David or ruling again in Judah.”
Now, if you have the blood of Coniah, you can’t be king because there is a curse on that line. In Yeshua’s case, he is not descended from Coniah, having his blood in him. It is his step-father Joseph who has the blood-line, so he can’t sit on the throne because of Jer 22, but Yeshua descends from David through his son Nathan, not Solomon (Luke 3.31). Now, Yeshua’s line comes from Solomon in Matt 1.6-16 but in Luke 3.23-31 it comes through Nathan. Miriam, his mother, was descended through David in the flesh in Luke, but she did not have the curse of Coniah (Jeconiah) on her line. As a result, being the step-son of Joseph, he had a right to the throne. The genealogy in Matthew is Joseph’s, the genealogy in Luke is his mother Miriam’s.
So, the genealogies are given to show his right to the throne as the Messiah. He has a right to sit on the throne of his father David (through Miriam), but there was going to be some explaining to do. The people knew the Messiah had to descend from David, but they also knew there was a curse on the descendants of Jeconiah, and that was the problem. How was that going to be accomplished. The Virgin Birth was going to be the answer, but the people didn’t really have a concept of the Virgin Birth. Some Rabbi’s taught that the curse was “lifted” but it wasn’t. But, they believed God would work it out because he promised David that one of his descendants would rule as king when he said “I will build you a house” (1 Chr 17-4-15). This is the same thing with Abraham. God told him he would have many descendants, but then he is told to offer Isaac as a Korban Olah. Abraham trusted God that he would fulfill his word, even if he had to raise Isaac from the dead after he was offered. Even though he did not understand everything God has told him, he had a confidence (Hebrew “emunah”=faith) that the Lord would work all of it out.
So, this explains what Paul wrote in Rom 1.3 “concerning his son (Yeshua) who was born of a descendant of David (Nathan) according to the flesh.” So, he fulfilled the requirement as a descendant by the flesh (thru Nathan) from David, but who also had the “House of David” legal requirement as a step-son of Joseph through the “chain of descent.”
So, let’s move on to Rom 1.4 in Paul’s introduction. He says Yeshua was “declared the Son of God (king) with power by the resurrection from the dead according to the Spirit (Ruach Ha Kodesh) of holiness (kedusha).” Rom 1.5 goes on to say that we have received grace (Hebrew “chen”) and apostleship. Was Paul referring to himself as a “sent one” alone? No, because he uses the word “we” because we are all “sh’liachim” or sent ones. Why are we sent? Paul says “to bring about obedience to the faith among all the Gentiles.” So, what is “the faith?” It was the Torah, and he taught the Torah to the Gentiles “for his name’s sake” or in other words, to honor the Father. There is a concept in Christianity that there were only twelve apostles. But, in the New Testament there are over one hundred called “apostles” and there were many more before the first century. But, just like there are many teachers and prophets, there were many apostles, too.
We have made an apostle into some sort of a “superman” but they were “sh’liachim” or sent ones for a purpose, a mission, a job to do. In some circles, a person says “I am an apostle” and what he is saying to all the pastors is “I am above you.” You can see this with television teaching ministries. The “big guy” in some denominations are “apostles.” What Paul is saying in Rom 1.5 is that we all have a “commission” to bring the Torah and “the faith” as defined by the Torah to everyone.
Now, how is one “saved?” One is saved by “Chen” or grace. Hab 2.4 says “the righteous shall live by his faith” or his “emunah.” The “righteous” one is a “tzaddik” which means a “justified one” or “saint.” The righteous (saint/tzaddik) shall “live” or “have life” by his “emunah” (faith-Eph 2.8). As you can see, this is found in the Tanak and it is not a new doctrine found in the Gospels and Epistles. Here is a common teaching. In Christian “Dispensationalism” it says that there was a “Dispensation of Law” and a “Dispensation of Grace.” (See Larkin and Schofield for example). This teaches that man was saved by his works in the Dispensation of Law by following the “Law” or Torah. But, he is saved by grace in the Dispensation of Grace and the “Law” is not needed. They say that “Law and works are God’s Plan A” but that didn’t work, so God brought in “Plan B” which was “grace.” Man saw that he could not keep the law, got frustrated, and then God offered grace and the people accepted it because, after all, the Law was just impossible and you can’t keep it anyway. This is what is taught and it is very common. We have heard this many times in churches and Christians are taught it. But, this is Marcion theology and common in Christian dispensationalism.
If that was the case, how did anyone get “saved” in the Tanak? How did anyone before Yeshua and the “Age of Grace” gain “righteousness?” We know that not one person was ever righteous, so how did they “make it?” So, let’s examine this. When did grace begin? It began with the first sin. Whenever you had sin, you had grace. Paul said “Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds.” However, you can make the case that grace preexisted the world. Grace is a part of the nature of God, as long as there has been a God, there has been grace. The Rabbi’s say there are seven things that existed before the world was: The Torah; repentance; Gan Eden; Gehenna; God’s throne in Heaven; The Temple and the name of the Messiah (Talmud, Pesachim 54a). When was the Torah “expressed” for the first time? In Exo 18.13-16, but the Torah existed before they got to Mount Sinai, but he gave a written form and expanded the definition of Torah. Some of it was not revealed before then, like the instructions about Israel, the kings and specifics about the Temple and other things. Torah and grace go hand in hand. You cannot merit redemption from God, it has to be a gift from God. How do you obtain this gift? By “emunah” or faith. The righteous one (tzaddik/saint) shall live (have eternal life) by faith.” It is a free gift (Eph 2.8).
Once a person receives the righteousness from God by grace, through faith, what does he do? This is where the Torah commandments come in. They were never intended as a means to “earn” salvation or righteousness. It was never a “Plan A.” The Torah was intended to teach messages from the Lord through the ceremonies, the Temple, the korbanot (sacrifices) and through all the pictures (shadows, blueprints) that one would see. The purpose of the Torah was “How do we walk before God and how do we understand?” Grace is involved in how we are redeemed. To the non-redeemed, the Torah is of no value. But, for the redeemed, the Torah should be of extreme value.
In Part 7, we will pick up here.