In the last three weeks, we have looked at Old Testament prophecies that the Messiah would come from the line of Abraham through Isaac through Jacob. Unlike his father Isaac and grandfather Abraham, Jacob had many more sons – 12 to be exact. You might know them as the twelve tribes of Israel (Jacob was renamed Israel by God). They were (in order of birth):
Indeed, roughly the last half of the book of Genesis deals primarily with the story of Joseph (think coat of many colors!). However, the Old Testament is clear that the promises of a blessing to the world and a coming Messiah would be fulfilled through the line of Judah. In blessing his sons at the end of his life, Israel offers the following blessing to Judah:
Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. [Genesis 49:9-10]
The line of Judah would be rulers forever. Only the Kingdom of the Lord is eternal. In another prophecy which we looked at earlier in this series, Micah tells us that the Messiah would come from the line of Judah:
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. [Micah 5:2]
Finally, in case any of these prophecies seem a little vague, Zechariah makes it clear that the Messiah (the cornerstone) would come from the line of Judah:
“My anger is hot against the shepherds, and I will punish the leaders; for the LORD of hosts cares for his flock, the house of Judah, and will make them like his majestic steed in battle. From him shall come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler–all of them together. [Zechariah 10:3-4]
Now, let’s have a look at the New Testament to see what it has to say about Judah. The writer of Hebrews leaves no doubt:
For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. [Hebrews 7:14]
That said, I would be remiss if we didn’t go back to the genealogies of Christ included in Matthew and Luke (which we introduced several weeks ago) just to be certain that they reflect Judah in the linage. As always, let’s start with the genealogy from Matthew (relevant section again highlighted in red):
1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, 3 and Judah the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar, and Perez the father of Hezron, and Hezron the father of Ram, 4 and Ram the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon the father of Salmon, 5 and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab, and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse, 6 and Jesse the father of David the king. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah, 7 and Solomon the father of Rehoboam, and Rehoboam the father of Abijah, and Abijah the father of Asaph, 8 and Asaph the father of Jehoshaphat, and Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, and Joram the father of Uzziah, 9 and Uzziah the father of Jotham, and Jotham the father of Ahaz, and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah, 10 and Hezekiah the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah, 11 and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon. 12 And after the deportation to Babylon: Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, 13 and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, 14 and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, 15 and Eliud the father of Eleazar, and Eleazar the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, 16 and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. [Matthew 1:1-16]
23 Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. [Luke 3:23-38]
Again, the Lord leaves no doubt about which of the sons of Israel (Jacob) would continue the line of promise down to the Messiah. God chose one man, Abraham, to start the line that would eventually lead to the Messiah. He then proceeds to narrow the line from which the Messiah would come in successive generations. Next week, we will skip a number of generations and look at another prophecy regarding the ancestry of Jesus.
Return to the Monday Morning Prophecy index page.
Image courtesy of Abby Reed
Thank you for this very interesting post!