Life-Study of Matthewby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
We come now to the last part of the genealogy of Christ according to Matthew. In the previous message I said that this part of the Word is not milk or meat, but bones. All the points in this message will help us penetrate the bone and see what is inside it.
Matthew 1:6 says, “David begot Solomon.” Compare this statement with the record that says, “Nathan, the son of David” (Luke 3:31). Nathan also was the son of David. The genealogy in Matthew says that the son of David was Solomon, and the genealogy in Luke says that the son of David was Nathan. If we read 1 Chronicles 3:1 and 5, we see that these are two different persons. Luke’s record is the genealogy of David’s son Nathan, who was Mary’s forefather, whereas Matthew’s record is the genealogy of David’s son Solomon, who was Joseph’s forefather. One genealogy is the line of Mary, the wife’s line; the other genealogy is the line of Joseph, the husband’s line. Both Mary and Joseph were descendants of David, but they were from two families descended from the same grandfather. One family is the family of Solomon; the other is the family of Nathan. Under God’s sovereignty Mary and Joseph, descendants of these two families, were betrothed and brought forth Christ. Christ may be counted as the descendant of David through both Solomon and Nathan. This is the reason He has two genealogies.
Solomon’s relationship with Christ was not direct. Strictly speaking, Solomon was not a direct forefather of Christ. His relationship with Christ was indirect through his descendant Joseph’s marriage to Mary, of whom Christ was born (Matt. 1:16).
The Old Testament did not say that Christ would be Solomon’s descendant, but it prophesied repeatedly that Christ would be the descendant of David (2 Sam. 7:13-14, 16; Jer. 23:5). Although Christ was not a direct descendant of Solomon, the Old Testament prophecies concerning Christ were nevertheless fulfilled.
We proceed to Rehoboam, the son of Solomon (v. 7). With Rehoboam, the kingdom of David was divided (1 Kings 11:9-12; 12:1-17). Of the twelve tribes, one tribe was kept for David’s sake (1 Kings 11:13), that is, for Christ. Christ needed the kingdom that belonged to the house of David because Christ had to be born as the heir of David’s throne. If the whole kingdom had been dissolved, nothing would have remained to allow Christ to be born as David’s royal heir. Thus, God preserved one of the tribes for David. Apparently it was preserved for David; actually it was preserved for Christ.
After this division, the kingdom of David was in two parts: the northern part, called the kingdom of Israel, and the southern part, called the kingdom of Judah. The northern part was called the kingdom of Israel, a universal name, because it was made up of the ten tribes of Israel; the southern part was called the kingdom of Judah, a local name, because it was composed of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin. As far as you are concerned, which title has the better meaning—the kingdom of Israel or the kingdom of Judah? I would surely favor the kingdom of Israel, for that is something universal, something for the majority. I would never favor Judah, because Judah is too local, too narrow. However, although the kingdom of Israel was more universal than that of Judah, in the genealogy of Christ, not one name of the kings of Israel is included. They were universal, but they were excluded from the generation of Christ. They were excluded because they were not associated with Christ.
This picture, like all other items in the Old Testament, was written for our learning, and it is a type of the occurrences in the New Testament age. We see the same thing today. In principle, at the beginning the church was one. But after a certain time, the church was divided, not into two parts, but perhaps into more than two thousand parts. Some may say, “Were not those in the kingdom of Israel still the people of God?” Certainly they were. They were the people of God, but they were outside of the line of Christ. What does this mean? To be outside of the line of Christ means that, although you are God’s people, you are not for Christ. You are for something other than Christ. Consider the situation today. We are all real Christians, and we are all God’s people. But are we solely, purely, fully, and ultimately for Christ or are we for something else? If you are for something other than Christ, then you are outside of the line of Christ. For this reason, none of the kings of the northern kingdom, the larger and more universal kingdom, is included in the genealogy of Christ.
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