In my opinion, the most accurate record of world history can be found in the seventy nations recorded in the Bible (Gen. 10-11). These nations are the product of Noah’s three sons, Ham, Shem, and Japheth (Gen. 9:18). Their family history – is history! Ham’s family – Cush, Mizraim, Phut, and Caanaan – became the progenitors of paganism, Satan’s worship of earth. The worship of earthiness has been rekindled here in the West and around the world under the modern mantra of “save the earth” (Gen. 10:6-10). Noah’s strange prophecy contains the seed truth for the coming of the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. “Blessed be the LORD the God of Shem” (Gen. 9:26).
Caution! Heavy words ahead! Shem marks the continuation of the flow of the water of life after Abel and this side of the flood. The water flowed through Shem (Noah’s second born) to Arphaxad (a Chaldean) to Eber (Hebrew) to Peleg (Gen. 11:16). It was under Peleg that God divided the nations by changing the languages (Gen. 10:25). The line continued through Reu, to Serug, to Terah. Terah became the father of Abram. Abram became a major reservoir for the water of life. Abram means “father of the high place.” He was at the beginning, an earthy worshipper (Gen. 11:10- 27). Then God called him from paganism to Himself (Gen. 12:1-3). The line continued to flow through Isaac, to Jacob, to Judah, to Jessie, to Hezekiah, to Josiah, to David, to Solomon (Matt. 1:1-18).
Following Solomon God produced an interruption in the line. God pronounced a curse on a certain king and all his descendants. God had sent his prophet Jeremiah with a written indictment against the nation of Israel to King Jehoiakim. This document spelled out the nation’s sin against God. King Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah, rather than reading it and repenting and turning to God, destroyed the document by shredding it and throwing it into the fire. Because of this act, God said that no seed of Jehoiakim would ever rule in Israel (Jer. 36:23–31). One just does not tamper with the Word of the living God. Said plainly, Coniah (Jehoiakim’s son) nor any of his descendants could ever rule on the throne of Israel (Jer. 22:28–30). Coniah is also called “Jeconiah” (1 Chron. 3:16) and “Jehoachin” (2 Kings 24:17): different names, but the same person.
Just before Jeconiah’s descendants were to come to the throne, the Babylonians took Judah into a captivity lasting seventy years. None of Jeconiah’s descendants ever ruled. The curse appears benign until we fast forward and read Christ’s kingly genealogy in the Gospel of Matthew and discover that Jeconiah’s name is there. How can it be? The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac, Isaac begot Jacob, and Jacob begot Judah and his brothers… Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers about the time they were carried away to Babylon.(Matt. 1:2, 11) Was the cursed king found in the line of King Jesus? During Israel’s stay in Babylon, sons were born to Jeconiah, but none ever ruled in Israel. After the return from Babylon, the royal line ended with a firstborn son named Joseph, a carpenter from Nazareth (Matt. 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 Jeconiah. Joseph and none of his biological sons could rule. Was God caught by His own judgmental decision? No, He had an incredible plan. God is the ultimate genius! He made doubly sure that we know that Joseph could not have been the biological son of Jesus. Amazing!
What happened? David had other sons, one named Nathan. Nathan carried the kingly bloodline from Judah (Gen. 49:10). Nathan’s genealogy is included in the Bible. Reading Nathan’s family tree backward from Luke 3:23, we notice that the family line is basically the same as the genealogy in Matthew, until we get to David in verse 31: The son of Jose, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonan, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattathah, the son of Nathan, the son of David. (Luke 3:29–31). Note that after David, the line takes a strange twist. David’s firstborn, Solomon, is clearly missing – he is bypassed. And so is Jeconiah. God bypassed the curse! Wow!
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 supposed 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. Mary had the proper uncorrupted bloodline to the throne. It just so happened that Mary fell in love with a carpenter from Nazareth named Joseph. Joseph just happened to have that royal right to the throne in Israel as the firstborn son. They became engaged. But before they came together God sent the angel Gabriel to Mary to announce that she was with child (Luke 1:26–27). God also told Joseph in a dream that Mary had not been unfaithful to him. Her child was God’s Son(Matt. 1:20–21). Now hold on! In God’s sovereign plan, Mary had the legal right to the throne of Israel through Nathan, but she obviously did not have the royal right as the firstborn son. Joseph exercised his right under Jewish law to adopt Mary’s son, giving Him the firstborn status, the royal right to the throne. Jesus Christ became both the legal and royal heir to the throne of Israel. Absolutely incredible! No earthly human genius could have put this together. The only person in the universe with the legal royal right to the throne of Israel to this day is the risen Lord Jesus Christ, the true Son of the Living God. The water of life that began with Abel, and continued through Shem, ended with a man named Jesus. Miraculous!