Jesus Christ – His Genealogy (Part IV – God Rules Among Men)

God Rules in the Affairs of Men

The Messianic Equation

A covenant of no Preconditions

The first thing one should note is, that the promise delivered to David via Nathan the prophet (not unlike the covenant made with Abraham, of whom God said confidently “I know him”), involved no conditions (although there was a condition placed upon his earthly throne: see I Kings 2:4; 9:4-6; 11:11-13, 26-36; I Chron. 22:13; 28:6, 7; II Chron. 6:16; 7:17-28). There were no stipulations to which he was required to adhere. There was no minimum level of performance to be met. Not even the fact of David’s two biggest screw-ups ever in his career, as king over the people of God, would interfere with God’s plan to continue the Abrahamic declaration, through the Davidic household. That determination, as laid out before David, was a done deal, from eternity past, settled in the heavens forever. No matter what he did, the die was cast, the type was set, before the earth was even built. Thus, even the foolishness of his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the attendant fool-hearty, sinful, shameful set-up to cover-up his first sin, resulting in the death of her husband, Uriah, could not undo the plan of God.

Nathan is in the Loop

Of the two sons of David mentioned in the NT genealogies, obscure Nathan is only mentioned in the OT versions, and in Luke chapter 3:31. He is therefore only featured in one of the NT variations, and only once in any kind of prophetic plan of God; namely that of the end-times, after the battle of Armageddon (see Zechariah 12:12; one should note that his name featured here, following that of his father David is not without significance-as opposed to that of his brother Solomon.). Must he therefore, then, be a part of the great Messianic equation, i. e., Abraham plus or to David plus or to???? (whomever) equals or leads to the Messiah (the Seed, the Prophet, the Branch or Root of Jesse), when so promising a son as Solomon is the one “more likely to…succeed”?

Eliminating King Solomon

A covenant of conditions

Of all David’s sons, Solomon was the one most favored, in the eyes of God and of his father, hand picked by David the king to succeed him upon his throne; bypassing any rules and other preconceived notions or protocol involving the rights of firstborns. David’s short-range vision was deliberately and intentionally left unimpeded and unaided by Divine revelation beyond the tip of his nose, thus he had no sense as to the scope of the scheme of which he was an indelible part. Solomon, though wiser and much more intelligent, and perhaps, in some sense, more blessed of God, was equally as clueless. Even with his immense, incomparable wisdom chugging and churning on all cylinders, in full force, the subtle overtones permeating God’s promise to him apparently went totally unnoticed. One might say, that God’s choice of language and wording was a bit “over-the-top”, even for this “wisest-of-the-wise”.

“If your walk and life before Me is, as was that of your father David’s…in keeping My statues and commandments, then My hand will uphold and establish your kingdom, and your throne over Israel will continue forever…you will always have a descendant in Israel’s throne room. However, on the other hand, should either you or any of your offspring at all turn your backs to Me, refusing to obey My commands and judgments…rendering service and worship to false gods and idols, then I will destroy both the nation of Israel and this house which I have consecrated and set apart for My Name…” (I Kings 9:4-9).

The steep cost for Messianic inclusion

In so many words, in order for the Abrahamic Seed, the Messiah, to proceed from the Solomonic branch of king David’s sons, both he and his own children had to produce flawless performances. Failure, to any degree (on any level), on the parts of either would render the promises null and void (as far as the promises’ involvement of them was concerned). Moreover, by inclusion of stipulations in the same basic promises made to David (without conditions), God appears to have been giving assurance to Solomon that he in fact was destined not to be part of His Messianic equation.

“But, Solomon was a lover of many strange and foreign women from countries on the ‘forbidden’ list, as far as intermarriage goes…so that, when he was old these women caused him to stumble, in which case he ceased to follow the Lord (as David his father had), instead, choosing to do evil in the sight of Almighty God, following the idols of his foreign wives, building high places in their honor….” (I Kings 11:1-8).

All Bets are off; All Hope is Gone

Nipped in the bud

Hereby, Solomon shattered any hope he ever had that his family line would ever host the Messiah. Although certain of his descendants were faithful, in a manner comparable to king David, Solomon’s failure was all that was necessary to void the promise, where he and his offspring were concerned. Effectively, with every opportunity in the world before him to succeed on the one hand (ostensibly, that is, given the family factor, which still could have wrecked any success on his part), he never had a chance, on the other. He did not merely do something wrong; that would have been bad enough. Rather, this, the wisest man of all time-by the Hand and generosity of the God of his father, no less-did completely severe his good relationship with the God of his fathers, choosing and committing himself to doing evil in His sight, in deference to his seven hundred and three hundred pagan wives and concubines, respectively (he never repented or returned; Ezekiel 3:20-21).

“Because you have done this, having refused to obey My commandments and My statues, I will now take the Kingdom from you and give it to your servant…you will be left with only one tribe, and that, only for sake of My servant David, and for Jerusalem, which I have chosen…so as to preserve on his behalf a Light in My presence, forever” (I King 11:11-13, 36; that Light “preserved forever is, in none other than the Light of the world-the Messiah Himself).

The last glimmer of hope

Immediately prior to the Babylonian invasion and captivity, as if to squeeze every glimmer of any remaining light out of a dark, lightless chapter long closed and dead to the Solomon clan with reference to the grand plan, God makes the following declaration regarding the last of David’s rebel descendants to rule upon the throne in Jerusalem: “even if Coniah (Jehoiachin, son of Jehoiakim) …were a signet upon My right hand, I would nonetheless pluck it off…this is what the Lord has to say, ‘write this man off as one who has never had a child, one who will not prosper, ever, in his life…given that none of his progeny will ever prosper, sitting (as king) upon the throne of David, or ruling any more from Judah'” (Jer. 22:24-30).

The point of Jeremiah’s prophecy is not that Coniah would never have sons. Rather, God was emphasizing finality of his determination that no son or descendant of Solomon would ever be included in the Messianic line-up. His proclamation was therefore, the final death nail in a series, on top of the ultimate of death nails, this man would never have a son who would ever serve as king in Jerusalem. The lineage listing in Matthew’s gospel shows quite clearly that Jehoiachin did in fact have sons, albeit, in captivity, after he was deported by the Babylonians. None was ever a king, otherwise, Joseph, husband of Mary and stepfather to the Christ, would have been king at the time of the birth of Jesus. “…if you forsake Him, He will forsake you, forever”, David, the incumbent king, warned Solomon in his waning moments (I Chron. 28:9). King Solomon never returned or repented of his evil. Therefore, his place and light in the Messianic game plan was extinguished forever, by his actions. It only required the failure of one person in his branch of the family, to void the promise. In addition, it is noteworthy that, since the Babylonian captivity and deportation of Israel’s last king, that nation (when it was one) has never had a sitting king, as such, from among its own ranks (notwithstanding the Messiah’s presentation of Himself to be, as He was, rejected and crucified by the people by whom He should have been welcomed and embraced!).