This Awesome Book of God

Just in case you might have some doubts about the awesome, life-changing power of this mighty Word of God, let's pick a passage and sound the depths of it, shall we? And just for fun, let's pick the most obtuse, most (do I dare use the word?) uninteresting? (by carnal standards, yes!), most highly ignored and frequently glossed over passage in the New Testament and see what it has to offer.

Let's try that genealogy of our Savior, there in the Gospel of Luke. Yes, I mean that long list of names in Luke 3. Don't include anything else; just the list of names! 

Well...what on earth is there to get excited about in that thing? It's just a list of people's names, one after another, with nothing else spoken in the text. 

Oh, get ready. It 'speaks' all right! 

First of all, that genealogy of Christ is the ultimate evidence that God became a man, "born of human flesh", "born of a woman" just as Galatians 4:4 explains so clearly. He wasn't a 'spirit' or a 'phantom'. He was Immanuel: God-with-us!

Just in case you were wondering, by the way, Luke's genealogy differs from Matthew's by branching off to include Mary's ancestry while Matthew continues with Joseph's (Mt 1:1-16). 

There are some fascinating names on the list, with no small number of 'outcasts' and 'sinners' among them. Jacob the 'cheat' of course (Lk 3:34), but Ruth is here too, represented by her husband Boaz (Lk 3:31). Ruth was a Moabite woman—can you believe it?—some of the most idolatrous people in Palestine, right there in the genealogy! And don't forget Rahab the harlot, of Jericho days. Luke lists her husband, Salmon (Lk 3:31), but she is his wife and the mother in the genealogy. Matthew actually includes her in his list. (Mt 1:5) Isn't it amazing? Licentious Tamar is another one (Lk 3: 33; Mt 1:3); the wife of Judah; mother of Perez.  

Jesus Christ was clearly born into a fallen human race! He became one of us, in order to rescue us out of it! 

Those are interesting aspects of this genealogy but—hold on!—there's more...

There are seventy-seven generations listed in the genealogy of Luke: eleven perfect groups of seven. Knowing God's partiality for the number "7", I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised at that.  But Jesus Christ is the 77th name on the list! Hmmm.

Now...read on!...because there seems to be some kind of "message" in this long and tedious list of names. 

If we take the seventy-seven names and break them down into their only possible divisions (11 groups of 7) something interesting shows up, something is being stated with every 7th name. Here's the list of those names: the 77th name is Jesus. The 70th name is Joseph. The 63rd Mattathias. 56th is Shealtiel. 49th is Joshua. 42nd  another Joseph. 35th is David. 28th is Ram. 21st is Terah. The 14th is Cainan. The 7th is Jared.  

Now, there's never been a Hebrew name that didn't have a meaning. Some of the meanings are lost or obscure. But not these eleven! Here's how most scholars interpret them. I'm going to list them chronologically here; that is: reversing Luke's order, so the oldest names, as they appeared in history, come first. Here they are: 

 

Jared dArDy (he/it comes down)

Cainan NDnyDq (inheritance, possession)

Terah hArEÚt (delayed, long-awaited) 

Ram MDr (on high)

David dIwDd (the beloved one)

Joseph PEswøy (a future tense verb: He will       

               make it abound)

Joshua Ao¥wvøwøhVy  (salvation of God)

Shealtiel lEayIÚtVlAaVv (I asked for it from God)

Mattathias hDyVVtAÚtAm (the gift of Jehovah)

Joseph PEswøy (he will make it abound) 

Jesus o¥wvøwøhVy (the salvation of God)

 

Here's one possible reading of this amazing list of names. We're reading chronologically now, reversing Luke's list, but as the message unfolded, name-by-name down through the ages. Here's how it could read: 

"It comes down, the long-awaited inheritance from on high. The Beloved One shall abundantly give the Salvation of God. I have asked for it from God and this Gift of Jehovah shall make it abound: the Salvation of God." 

I don't know about you, but that gives me goosebumps! Think of it! Down through the centuries, with every seventh name in our Savior's genealogy, God was spelling out His own Good News in answer to Israel's cry—to the world's cry—for salvation! 

No! Don't skip a word of this awesome Book of God dear ones! We will never sound the depths of it all! 

But, we'll keep trying! In fact, we'll be soundin' away again this Sunday! 

See you there!                                 RAS

Note: By the way, the list can be read the other way too: in the order that Luke actually wrote it. The message is palindromic! "Jesus! He will make it abound: this gift from Jehovah. I asked for it from God—this salvation of God—and He will make it abound, the Beloved One from on high, our long awaited inheritance shall come down!"

 

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The 'Radical' Christian