Vol.XIII No.XI Pg.6
January 1977

Lynd, On Genesis

Robert F. Turner

Both of the sacred testaments begin with the genealogy of Jesus. In Matthew 1 the genealogy of Christ is given three times and emphasis is put on Abraham, David and Jesus. The genealogy of the Messiah is the unifying theme in the book of Genesis. God selected a line through whom His Son would come. Genesis gives the account of this lineage from Adam to the sons of Jacob. Emphasis and discussion are centered around seven generations. Jesus is the son of Adam, the son of God (Gen. 1-3). He is the son of Seth (4-8), the son of Shem (9-11:26), the son of Abraham (11:27-25:11), the son of Isaac (15-27), the son of Jacob (25:19-33, 36), the son of Judah (34- 35, 37-50).

If the Messiah was to be man He would be a descendent of Adam. But Adam had two sons. Cain slays righteous Abel, and Cains line is characterized by wickedness. Seth is born to replace Abel, and his line is characterized as righteous. General intermarriage occurs between the lines, resulting in corruption. Noah is a direct descendant of Seth, and corruption is not found in his life. The flood is the final rejection of Cain and all those corrupted through the intermarriage of the lines. Only Seth (Noah) comes out of the flood.

Selection and rejection occur as this genealogy is passed from generation to generation. This is an important feature in understanding the book of Genesis. After the flood Ham (Canaan) and Japheth are refused, as Shem is chosen. Terah is a direct descendant of Shem. His son Abram is chosen, while Haran (Lot) and Nahor (Laban) are rejected. The genealogy next passes to Isaac, while Eliezer, Ishmael and the sons of Keturah are rejected. God chose Jacob and rejected Esau (Rom. 9:10-13). This selection and rejection extended to the nations that came from these individuals (Mal. 1:2-5). It is the genetics of the Jew-Gentile distinction, and helps one to understand Israels struggle with the nations.

Chapter 34 begins the section that deals with genealogy among the sons of Jacob. Simeon and Levi are rejected because of their wrath (34). Rueben is rejected because of fornication (35). This leaves the genealogy to pass to Judah, the next oldest son (Gen. 49:1-12; 1 Chron. 5:1-2). Joseph, the preserver of life, got the birthright. The genealogy was the more important of the two blessings, and it is the subject to watch in the book. A potential power struggle between Joseph and Judah became a real power struggle among their descendants as Israel (Ephraim) divided from Judah. God had chosen Judah (Ps. 78:67-72). Through Judah the prince was to come. Jehovahs sanctuary was in Judah. The Davidic kings were of the tribe of Judah. In Israel were the usurpers and the centers of false worship.

What Genesis discusses in relation to individuals the rest of the Old Testament discusses in relation to nations. Genesis contains the first principles of Old Testament history. Beyond this, Genesis points to the Messiah who would reconcile Jew and Gentile to God in one body, and have a legitimate right to the throne of David over a united spiritual kingdom.