Some five thousand years had passed since God had pronounced His judgments upon Satan and Eve for their part in the Fall. God said that the seed of the woman would one day kill Satan (Genesis 3:15). This motivated a cosmic chess match. Satan immediately began to make his moves to keep this special seed from coming.
Cain killed Abel, the line through which the promised seed was to come (Genesis 4:8). God countered by moving Seth into that position. Satan’s next effort was to infiltrate the world and physically corrupt the human race, making it impossible for the seed to come as a human being (Gen. 6). God countered by selecting Noah and his family to preserve the human race so that His seed could come.
Satan moved by maneuvering events that caused Sarah to end up in Pharaoh’s harem (Genesis 12:15). Thinking she was Abraham’s sister, Pharaoh gifted Abraham with male and female servants. God countered by striking Pharaoh’s family with plagues (Gen. 12:17). Satan moved in stealth. The couple left Egypt with Pharaoh’s gifts in tow, one a servant girl named Hagar. Abraham and Sarah left Egypt, but a small bit of Egypt left with them (Gen. 12:20). God countered. Hagar was in God’s plan all along. Ishmael and Isaac struggled early in life, and they have struggled throughout history (Gen. 21:9). Ishmael, the oldest, was always hazing Isaac. The Arabs are constantly tormenting the Jews.
Satan moved. Pharaoh attempted to destroy all the male children in Egypt (Ex. 1:15–22). God countered by having Moses hidden from Pharaoh by his mother and then saved in a miraculous way (Ex. 1:22). Satan moved by pushing the Jews against the Red Sea, standing the chance to be annihilated by Pharaoh (Ex. 14:19–26). God countered and Pharaoh’s army was buried alive.
Satan moved. Jehoshaphat’s son arranged a marriage between Jehoram and Athaliah, Jezebel’s daughter. Jezebel attempted to kill all of the sons in the line of Christ. God countered! Little Joash was miraculously hidden and saved. He was the only male survivor in the line of David (2 Chron. 22:10–12).
Satan moved! Haman attempted to exterminate Esther and all the Jews (Esther 7:7). God countered by sending Esther to talk to the king. Haman lost! Back and forth the chess match would continue. Shortly after the birth of King Jesus in Bethlehem, Satan made another attempt to intercept and kill the seed of the woman. God moved!
After Jesus was born wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:1–2). Satan countered! Herod the great was an Ishmaelite Arab born in Edom. He led Herod into Judea, near Bethlehem – to intercept the King. Herod was ruthless, suspicious, and very cruel. He murdered his wife, his own mother, his oldest son, and his two sons. Caesar Augustus of Rome was recorded as saying that it was much safer to be Herod’s pig (uous) than to be his son (huios).
Herod was ruling when wise men (Gentiles from Medo-Persia) came to find where the Christ child was to be born. They asked where the king of the Jews was being born. Herod heard the words “king of the Jews,” and he immediately set in motion a plan. He asked these Easterners to go and find the king and come back and tell him so he could go “worship him.” God counter moved by warning these wise men of Herod’s intent, and they went home another way.
Satan moved once more! Realizing that he had been duped, Herod was furious. He passed an edict to kill all the male children in the Bethlehem area that were about the age of Jesus. God counter moved. He warned Joseph to take his young family down into Egypt for a short vacation. There they stayed until Herod’s death. Just as Jochebed hid little Moses, and little Joash was hidden, Mary and Joseph hid the Christ child. God is still using Arabs as His divine instigators, antagonists used to pressure the Jews to recognize that Jesus is their Messiah.
Jesus began His special ministry of presenting the kingdom to Israel at the age of thirty (Luke 3:23). His ministry is clearly marked out in Matthew with His words to the Jews: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17). This was the kingdom that had been promised throughout the Old Testament. The angel Gabriel’s words to Mary are worth pondering. He told her that she would conceive in her womb and bring forth a Son and would call His name Jesus. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:31–33). Stay safe and stay tuned.
David’s throne, but not his seed, would pass through Solomon. Something happened that disqualified Solomon’s bloodline from reigning in Israel. None of his family could reign, but his royal right as firstborn son would continue. Two places in scripture, and only two, give us the genealogical record of the king who is to reign over Israel. One is found in Matthew (the royal line), the other in Luke (the legal line). Only one man in God’s universe meets the requirements established in these two places: the Lord Jesus Christ.
God quietly slipped into this world through the womb of a young virgin named Mary. The instant that deity touched humanity, a miracle was produced that was equaled only by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Mary gave birth to her firstborn son, the God-man. He was perfectly human and yet perfectly God. Since the sin nature is passed through the father, the new babe did not inherit the Adamic sin because his mother was a virgin.
Why Mary? Amazingly, as God would have it, flowing in her veins was the genetic imprint of her great-grandfather, King David. Every king must have the proper bloodline, and King Jesus was no exception. It was not mere chance that this young virgin and a carpenter named Joseph came together as husband and wife. To reign as King, Jesus Christ had to come from the Jewish tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10). Joseph and Mary both were from Judah.
Jesus had to have both the legal right, the proper bloodline and the royal right, as the firstborn son of said bloodline, to David’s throne. The bloodline for the right to the throne began with Abraham, proceeded through Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and eventually to David. The royal right involved being the firstborn son of the proper bloodline coming through David and Solomon, David’s firstborn.
One of the most amazing glimpses into God’s grace happened within the genealogical line of King Jesus. God pronounced a curse on a certain king and all his descendants. God had sent his prophet Jeremiah to King Jehoiakim with a written indictment against the nation of Israel. This document spelled out the nation’s sin against God, asking for a repentance and a return to God. King Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah did neither. He tore up the document and threw it into the fire. Because of this act, God said that no seed of Jehoiakim would ever rule in Israel again (Jeremiah 36:23–31).
One just does not tamper with the Word of the living God. God declared that neither Jehoiakim’s son, Coniah (also called Jeconiah and Jehoachin), nor any of his descendants would ever rule on the throne of Israel (Jer. 22:28–30). Just before Jeconiah’s descendants were to come to the throne, the Babylonians took Judah into a captivity that lasted seventy years.None of Coniah’s descendants ever ruled.
The curse appears seemingly benign until we read Christ’s kingly genealogy in the Gospel of Matthew. Jeconiah’s name is there! Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon (Matthew 1:2, 11). The cursed king was in the line of King Jesus. During Israel’s stay in Babylon, sons were born to Jeconiah, but none ever ruled in Israel. The royal line ended with a firstborn son named Joseph, a carpenter from Nazareth (Matthew 1:16). Joseph had the royal right to the throne of Israel as the firstborn son in the line of Judah, but he had become ineligible from ruling because of the curse of Coniah. None of Joseph’s biological sons could rule. Was God caught by His own judgmental decision? No, He had an incredible plan.
David had other sons; one was Nathan. Reading Nathan’s family tree backward from Luke 3:23, we notice that his family line is basically the same as Matthew’s, until we get to David in verse 31 (Luke 3:29–31). After David, the line takes a strange twist. David’s firstborn, Solomon, is clearly bypassed, and so is Jeconiah. Instead, this bloodline went through another of David’s sons, Nathan. Where did Nathan’s line end? It ended abruptly with a man named Heli. “Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli”(Luke 3:23).
The text indicates that Joseph was the son of Heli. He was, in fact, Heli’s son-in-law. It was customary for Jews to call their sons-in-law “sons.” Jewish historians tell us that Heli had no sons, but that he had three daughters. One of his daughters was named Mary. In God’s sovereign plan, Mary had the legal, uncorrupted right to the throne of Israel, but not the royal firstborn son right. Mary fell in love with a carpenter from Nazareth named Joseph who had that firstborn son royal right.
Jesus Christ became both the legal and royal heir to the throne of Israel. The only official record we have to document the genealogical right to the throne of Israel is the Bible. The Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ alone has both the legal and royal right to the throne of Israel – to this very day. Remarkable!
God’s eternal Word never fails to accomplish its divine purpose ever, not one time (Isaiah 55:8-11). Jesus said that heaven and earth will pass away, but His Word will never pass away (Matthew 24:35). Paul said that the Word of God can never be chained (2 Timothy 2:9). It is guided by the Holy Spirit like a laser beam to the ears of those who are destined by God to hear it. God’s word never fails to accomplish His purpose – never.
Philip was in Samaria engaged in the joy of seeing the power of the gospel work (Acts 8:25; Romans 1:16). Evidently, many were coming to faith in Christ. But an angel of the Lord (I personally think that this was Jesus Christ in one of His many post resurrection appearances) spoke to Philip and told him to go to a specific place to a specific person – an Ethiopian. Again, like a laser beam Philip carried the word of God, caught up with him, and gave him the rest of the story. The Ethiopian just happened to be reading Isaiah. Amazing! The African was saved. God’s word never fails to accomplish His purpose – never.
At one point, the disciples were prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching the Word in Asia. Prevented! After Paul and Silas had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them (Acts 16:5-7). God stopped them! Amazing! God’s word never fails to accomplish its purpose – never.
God spoke to Paul in a vision and told him that a man in Macedonia was saying, “Come, help us! Immediately Paul and Silas left for Macedonia. On the Sabbath day, they went down to the riverside to the place where the people customarily went to pray. A woman named Lydia heard Paul speaking and the Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. The word of God had once again found its mark. God’s word never fails to accomplish its purpose – never.
Remember, the living powerful Word of God (Hebrews 4:12) had taken on flesh (John 1:14) and was on the earth. Every step that the Living Word took was ordained by God. John said that Jesus left Judea and departed again to Galilee. Note carefully these next words. “But He needed to go through Samaria” (John 4:3-4). Why? He had a scheduled meeting with tremendous meaning with a certain woman at a certain well in the city of Sycar (John 4:5-10). Like a laser beam, He was on His way. God’s word never fails to accomplish its purpose – never!
Finally, God’s Living Word took a stroll through Jericho. He had an appointment with a tax collector named Zacchaeus. The tax collector had gotten the press report on this amazing man’s accomplishments and wanted desperately just to see Him as He passed through. Being a short man and standing behind a large crowd that had gathered by the roadside also to see this man from Galilee, he could not see. He had to think quickly. He noticed a nearby sycamore tree that would serve his purposes well. So up he went.
Now the amazing part which answers the question, “Why did Jesus go through Jericho?” At last the entourage accompanying Jesus was coming down the road. I imagine Zacchaeus was excited. When Jesus came under that special tree, that had no doubt been there for years, amazingly He stopped. Not only did He stop, but He looked up probably into the eyes of this now stunned tax collector, and He said, “Zacchaeus.” Had they ever been formally introduced? I don’t think so. He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” Zac made haste and came down and received Him joyfully (John 19:1-6). Please note the little word “must.” I do not think there have been many in this world any more shocked and thrilled than this tax collector. Every word and every step by God’s living word was foreordained by God. There was never a surprise. There is never one wasted word. God’s word never fails to accomplish its purpose. Stay safe and stay tuned.
In the beginning was the Word (John 1:1). Jesus Christ is eternal. And the Word was with God. The second person of the Trinity was with the first person of the Trinity from the beginning. And the Word was God. The Word was co-equal, co-existent, and co-eternal with God. He was God of very God.
It is obvious that the Word, the second person of the Trinity, had a plan from the beginning, and He began to execute His plan. He spoke all of creation into existence. His first recorded words were “Let there be light,” and there was light (Genesis 1:3). He continued to speak all of creation into existence: the firmament, the seas and dry land, the plants with their seeds, the sun, moon, and the stars, the small land and water creatures, the large living creatures, then man (Genesis 1:4-31). He spoke, and it was done. He commanded, and it stood fast (Psalm 33:9).
The Word continued to speak to people in the Old Testament. He called Abraham out of his country (Genesis 12:1), Moses to go to Egypt (Exodus 3:14), Joshua (Joshua 3:7), Samuel (1 Samuel 3:4), David (1 Samuel 23:2), Solomon (1 Kings 6:11-14), Elijah (1 Kings 17:2), Elisha (2 Kings 7:1), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:2), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:3), Isaiah (Isaiah 7:3), Hosea (Hosea 1:1), Joel (Joel 1:1), Jonah (Jonah 1:1; 3:1-3), Micah (Micah 1:1), Zephaniah (Zephaniah 1:1), Haggai (Haggai 1:1), Zechariah (Zechariah 1:1), and Malachi (Malachi 1:1).
Then amazingly the Word took upon Himself a body and came into the world that He had created (John 1:14). When it was time, the Word of God in bodily form had to be about His Father’s business (Luke 2:49). He launched out to continue His plan that He had started back “in the beginning.” The Word knew the path that He was to follow, every step that He took was planned, and every word that He spoke was programmed. Nothing was left to chance. There was not one missed step or one misspoken word.
He called John the Baptist (Luke 3:2), Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon, Judas (son of James) and Judas (Iscariot). All of these are marked by His words, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). It should be obvious to the most casual Bible student that none of these were looking for God. He was looking for them. God’s Word always finds its target.
Isaiah said that God’s thoughts are infinitely higher than ours. How high is infinitely high? As far as the heavens are higher than the earth. How far do the heavens reach into the stratosphere above the earth? A very long way! Our thoughts are filtered through a fallen mind – a mind stained with the ravages of sin. Even though in Christ we become new creations and we are given the mind of Christ, still our thoughts fall far short of God’s. Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, God’s ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Isaiah made this amazing statement: “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11). Notice the words “shall not,” “shall accomplish,” and “shall prosper.” The Word of God will not return to Him empty of its appointed purpose. Throughout all of history, God’s Word has and will continue to accomplish what He pleases. It will always accomplish His will. It never fails to do what He intends for it to do. The living Word is now seated at the right hand of God the Father in His glorified body. But He continues to do His will – right up to this very moment. Stay safe and stay tuned.