Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why It's Important (Standing Up for Jesus' Virgin Birth)

Psalm 89:35 “Once I have sworn by My holiness. I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure forever and his throne as the sun before us.”

Psalm 132:11 “The Lord has sworn in truth unto David that He will not turn from it. ‘Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.”

David was a man after God’s heart. He understood the grace and the love of God more than anyone else in the Old Testament. He was the one who wrote, “Blessed is the man whose sins are forgiven.” (Psalm 32). He was the one who inspired Proverbs 4. He was the one who first desired to build a permanent place to worship God – a “house” if you will. God responded to this desire of David’s by promising an everlasting “house” for David; a descendant from his own body Who will rule forever – the Messiah. That promise is what we see in Psalm 89:35 and 132:11; the Messiah would come from David’s line.

Although David had many sons (so many that it takes three verses to list them  all! – 2 Samuel 5:14-16), his royal lineage passed through his son Solomon. Solomon was famous for being the richest king ever. He was also the wisest, writing the majority of the book of Proverbs, as well as Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. But he wasn’t completely sold out to God like his father was – eventually “marrying” a thousand women! His mistakes split the kingdom during the reign of his son, Rehoboam. But still God preserved the lineage of David; and his descendant ruled the tribe of Judah for centuries.

Enter Jeconiah, king of Judah, and son of the famous King Josiah. Jeconiah was a desperately wicked king during what could only be considered the dark ages of the kingdom. He continued in his wickedness despite repeated warnings from the prophet Jeremiah. His stubbornness and unrepentant heart led to this judgment from God through Jeremiah.

Is this man Jeconiah a despised broken idol? Is he a vessel wherein is no pleasure? Why then are they cast out, he and his seed, and are cast into a land which they know not? O earth, earth, earth! Hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD, Write this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah. (emphasis added) Jeremiah 22:28-30

Rabbis today still call this the greatest theological problem in Jewish history. None of Jeconiah’s descendants could sit on David’s throne! How can God promise that the Messiah would come from David’s body and sit on his throne, and then pronounce a curse like this on one of his descendants? Many orthodox Jews who understand this have simply given up; stating that the Messiah simply can’t come now. What a tragic way of reading the Old Testament!

However, God had an amazing plan to circumnavigate Jeconiah’s curse! His answer? The virgin birth of Jesus Christ! You see, Jesus’ virgin birth protects His divinity (He had no natural father) and fulfills scripture (Isaiah 7:14). But this miraculous event also confirmed that the Messiah would come from David’s family line!

In Matthew chapter 1 we see that Jesus’ adoptive father, Joseph, is descended from Solomon. When he adopted Jesus, he gave Him the legal rights to David’s throne. David’s kingdom was rightfully Jesus’. So there you have it, Someone who wasn’t in Solomon’s line of kings now had the right to David’s throne. Problem solved, right?

Let’s read those verses again.

Psalm 89:35 “Once I have sworn by My holiness. I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure forever and his throne as the sun before us.”

Psalm 132:11 “The Lord has sworn in truth unto David that He will not turn from it. ‘Of the fruit of thy body (natural descendants) will I set upon thy throne.”

Do you see it? The promised Messiah had to be David’s physical descendant, not simply his legal heir. If Jesus was only adopted into David’s legal line, He would be the fulfillment of David’s promise? So what’s the answer?

Matthew and Luke both record Jesus’ genealogy. They both write Joseph as the Jesus’ adopted father. But Matthew wrote that Joseph’s father was Joseph - Luke said it was Heli. In fact, the entire list of names is different from David to Joseph! Surely one of them must be mistaken, right?

Not at all! You see, Heli wasn’t Joseph’s father…he was Mary’s. Heli had two daughters (Matthew 27:56; John 19:25). Mary, Jesus’ mother was the older. Zebedee’s wife, the mother of James and John was the younger.  According to Numbers 27, when a man had only daughters, his inheritance and his family line pass on to the man who marries his oldest daughter. This is why Luke lists Joseph as the son of Heli (Mary’s father) even though Matthew says he is the son of Jacob.

Why does this matter? Follow Luke’s list of Mary’s family back to David - She came from his son Nathan! So, although Jesus’ only physical relative (His mother) did come from David, but not from the cursed royal lineage! Jesus is the physical descendant of David by birth, and the royal heir to David’s throne by adoption! God, in His mercy, worked around the curse that Jeconiah brought on his family!

For unto us a child is born (natural birth), unto us a son is given (adoption): and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

The Messiah had to be born and adopted!

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