TODAY’S READING: 1 CHRONICLES 7-9
The first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles are dedicated to the genealogies of the tribes of Israel. Half of the 18 uses of the English word genealogies (which is translated from several different but related Hebrew words) are found in these first nine chapters.
These genealogies were kept to ensure proper transfers of land that had been inherited by each tribe and to ensure that only those of the tribe of Levi served as priest. This was important to Israel when the tribes returned from the exile in Babylon.
Nehemiah 7:5 says, “Then my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles and the officials and the people to be enrolled by genealogy. And I found the book of the genealogy of those who came up at the first, and I found written in it…” Nehemiah was going to use these genealogies to ensure the proper apportioning of the land to those returning from exile.
Nehemiah 7:64 says, “These sought their registration among those enrolled in the genealogies, but it was not found there, so they were excluded from the priesthood as unclean.” Here we see Nehemiah using the genealogies to ensure that only those who were Levites served as priests. If you could not prove your genealogy then you were excluded as unclean.
While this is how the genealogies were used in the Old Testament, the New Testament shows that the genealogies served one purpose and one purpose only…Jesus. The genealogies were kept to prove that Jesus was the Messiah, the true king of Israel.
The very words of the New Testament are, “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Matthew 1:1) Matthew is the gospel of Jesus as king. So, the genealogies were kept to prove just that.
But, the word genealogy is used just three other times in the entire New Testament.
1 Timothy 1:3-4 says, “As I urged you when I was going to Macedonia, remain at Ephesus so that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than stewardship from God that is by faith.”
Paul’s doctrine, his gospel, was that those who were children of Abraham, and therefore children of God, were children by faith, by belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God. Those that had the stewardship from God, that is those who were to serve as priests under Jesus, had it by faith. Of course, that is completely different than the time before Christ where priests were determined only by genealogy. Therefore, “endless genealogies” are now meaningless. Genealogies no longer served any purpose because Jesus, the Messiah, the true high priest, had already come.
In Titus 3:3, Paul said, “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.”
But, in verse 9, Paul said, “But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.”
When Paul said “we ourselves” here was referring to the Jews. Israel had been caught up in foolish controversies and genealogies that led to malice and envy, causing them to be hated by others and even hating one another. But, now that the goodness and loving kindness of God had appeared in Jesus Christ, the savior, there was no more need for genealogies. They are simply unprofitable and worthless.
Finally, Hebrews 7:3 says, “He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues forever.”
This verse is about Melchizedek as shadow or type of Christ. Notice that the comparison of Melchizedek to Christ is that he had no genealogy. While Jesus as man had a genealogy, Jesus as the son of God has no genealogy. Jesus is the I Am, the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega, the one who is, who was, and who is to come.
Genealogies are meaningless now because we are all one in Christ.
“For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – Jews or Greeks, slaves or free – and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” – 1 Corinthians 12:13
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.” – Galatians 3:28-29
“Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.” – Colossians 3:11
I believe the end of genealogies in Jesus Christ brings truth to the lie that there is something special about the physical, earthly nation of Israel and truth to the lie that there will be a third physical temple. Because the genealogies ended with Jesus and all the genealogical records were destroyed in A.D. 70 when the temple was burned down and destroyed, there is no record of who should inherit the land or who should be priests.
Therefore, it is just as the New Testament says.
“In him we have obtained an inheritance.” – Ephesians 1:11
“In him you also…were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it.” – Ephesians 1:13-14
“Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” – Colossians 1:12
“Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward.” – Colossians 3:24
“Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called amy receive the promised eternal inheritance.” – Hebrews 9:15
“According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” – 1 Peter 1:3-4
“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” – 1 Peter 2:4-5
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” – 1 Peter 2:9
“To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father.” – Revelation 1:5-6
“For you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they reign on the earth.” – Revelation 5:9-10
“Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.” – Revelation 20:6
Again, no of this has to do with genealogies. Genealogies ended with Jesus. The promises of inheritance and priesthood belong to all those that believe in Jesus.