Bemidbar (In the desert) – Week 34 of Torah Cycle

Numbers 1:1-2

Va’y’daber ADONAI el Moshe b’midbar Sinai b’ohel moeydb’echad la’chodesh ha’sheyni ba’shanah ha’sheynit le’tseytamme’eretz Mitzraim leymor: Soo et-rosh col-adat b’nei-Yisraell’mishpechotam l’veit avotam b’mispar sheymot col-zacharl’gool’ge’lotam.

“And ADONAI spoke to Moses in the desert of Sinai, in the tentof meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, “Take a census of all the congregation of the people of Israel, by clans, by father’s houses, according to the number of names, every male, head by head.” (Numbers 1:1-2)

In Genesis 2:4, we read: “Ey’leh toldot ha’shamaimv’ha’aretz….” (“These are the generations of the heavens and the earth….”

The Bible begins with a record of descendancy. The first two chapters show that our universe descended from God into realization as a material Cosmos.

In Genesis there are several genealogies of man that record the development of the race after the fall of Adam and Eve. One could even say that scripture records the descent of “Male and Female”: the composite Man (Adam) was formed from the dust of the earth by God and inbreathed with “the breath of life” such that he became a “living soul.” Following this, God put to sleep the Adam and fashioned from a rib of his side the woman who would become his counterpart—his helper. So then, human descent was: from dust inbreathed with God’s living ruach, to male and female, to children, to generations of humans from that original Two-from-One.

Here in BaMidbar (Numbers) we begin with the taking of a census of the nation at Sinai thirteen months after the Exodus. In God’s mind, descent is primary.

When we move to the New Testament we discover that the very beginning (Matthew 1) is the genealogy of our LORD Jesus the Messiah from the line of Joseph—his adoptive father who descended directly from Solomon and was thus heir to the throne of David. However in Jeremiah 22 God placed a curse on the line of Jeconiah, the last king to reign over Judah (technically with the right to reign over all the tribes). That curse had the effect of cutting off from the male line of kingly descent any offspring that would reign on the throne of David!

So then…how could God’s eternal covenant with David be fulfilled with a man from his line through Solomon reigning forever on the throne over Israel?

The answer is in the second genealogy of Jesus in the New Testament in Luke chapter 3. There we have the genealogy of Mary by way of her husband Joseph being the son-in-law of his wife’s line!

Beginning at verse 23, “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was of Heli, of Matthat….” This genealogy is given in reverse in a passive form rather than in the ordinary forward-and-active form of “so-and-so begat so-and-so.” This is to indicate that Joseph was not begotten by Heli but was rather his son-in-law. In other words, this is the genealogy of Mary. (Recordation of female genealogies was extraordinary in Israel.)

The importance of this is immense. The curse upon Jeconiah in Jeremiah 22 forbade that a king on the throne of David come from a male descendant of Solomon after the captivity. But any future king must come from David.  In Luke verse 31 we see that Mary descended from David through his son Nathan rather than from Solomon.

But how could there be a King-Messiah from David who was not descended from Solomon yet was descended from David when the Covenant with David required a descendant from Solomon?

There was only one possibility. There had to be a Virgin Birth through a female descendant of David from another of his sons;but that One would have to be the legal heir to the throne by being an adopted son of a descendant from Solomon. In this way the curse on Jeconiah would be circumvented.

That is exactly what we have in the two genealogies of Jesus of Nazareth. He was born of Mary who conceived Jesus as a virgin from the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit upon her according to promise (Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14). This act on God’s part was akin to the original creation of Adam from dust; but in this case God joined Himself to the creation in his unique, Divine-yet-Human Son. (cf. Proverbs 8:22 seq.; John 3:16) Since this Son was legally adopted by Joseph He was, and is, the rightful heir to the throne of David without being excluded by the curse on Solomon’s final kingly male heir, Jeconiah!

In effect, God made it so that only the Divine Messiah (the Second Adam uniquely God’s Son) would be able to fulfill the Covenant God made with David to give him an heir that would reign forever on his throne. God would have two things at once: on the human side of the question, he would have a King over Israel (and over the entire World) from David; but he would have at the same time Himself, in the person of his own Son, reigning as King over his entire realm, even over all creations for all eternities.

It is amazing how meticulous God is in recording his acts. It is most amazing to see the precision of his foreknowledge and his enacting of the plan he has had for the ages.

And WE are recorded in his Book!

(Revelation 3:4-5)

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