Moriel South Africa Missions Report April 2016
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ
A long overdue newsletter because of my long visit to the UK, nether the less so much has happened since Christmas.
First of all I am pleased to announce the publication of Anthony’s book to which myself, Anthony, Jacob Prasch, Pastor Bill Randles, David Nathan and many more have contributed. The price in South Africa is R75. It can be purchase on Amazon as well as available in Kindle format. It is having good reviews so far.
Quest for self sustainability has also been bearing fruit with the birth of piglets and many chicks. Rabbits have also been doing what Rabbits do.
We have also hired a handsome young Bull to service our ladies and we pray that this will bear its own fruit in 9 months.
Secondly a big thank you to those who hosted me on my recent visit to the UK, thank you to the churches that entrusted me with their pulpits and my family for feeding me and loving me. It was fantastic to see all the children and how my little pudding Faye has grown so much.
Some bad news to report though, we are down to one vehicle, a small Ford Fiesta which in itself needs some major work. Our Kombi that takes all the kids on school trip, Drs visits and used for collecting provisions needs R104,000 of work doing on it and is totally out of commission. It not worth spending that kind of money on so we are desperate for transport.
I sent out a Facebook appeal for help and immediately got a resonance. We need R130,000 which is around 7000 pounds sterling or $10k for s decent second hand bus. The first day we received 750 pounds around 10pc 0f the total. We would ask if many could share the burden to help us get mobile again. If you would like to help please email me and I can give you a local bank or contact to help you.
The children are doing fairly well. Johannes had a spell in hospital for an operation and had to take it very easy for six weeks. The good news is that he is going from strength to strength and is now back working on the farm.
Blood results were all very good with high CD4 counts and low even undetectable viral loads. Just the usual coughs and sniffles so we are praising God for this.
Education wise the kids have been going through south African early history with the journeys of Bartholomew Diaz and Van Reibeck. This looks also at the indigenous people of the time and the challenges the early explorers and settlers had. Maths and English has been incorporated into this as well.
The childrens penny project this year went to a group of children in the Congo. A friend of ours works there at a mine and day by day encounters much poverty. So all the copper they saved was taken, a few hundred Rand was raised and taken to the children in the form of gifts.
The farm has recovered well after the fire and we were blessed with a new fire fighting rig. It was disturbing though because 4 fires were started at one time on the farm and action had to be taken. Please continue to pray for us during this time especially since the elections are coming and much trouble is expected.
- please pray for our transport needs
- please pray for our mission with the gospel
- Please pray for our health as we continue this work with the children
- Thank you Lord for your provision of a firefighting appliance
- Thank you Lord for our daily bread as we acknowledge your faithfulness and that you are the source we depend on.
The Genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel According to Matthew
by Anthony Royle
I don’t know about you but in my own personal devotion time or Bible study I used to find ready the various genealogies boring. My eyes would glaze over the text and sometimes I would begin my reading at the end of the genealogy and get straight to the story. When you read Matthew does your reading begin in Matthew 1:18?
Well this evening I want to look at Matthews’ account of the genealogy of Jesus. When we look more deeply at the genealogy we will see there are many interesting things beyond the words of ‘so-and-so begat so-and-so’. The shape and structure of the genealogy give us insight into what Matthew was trying. The people Matthew includes and excludes, especially in comparison to Luke’s version of the genealogy, also indicates the author’s intentions. When we look at these things we start to unravel Matthew 1:1-17 as we investigate through looking at the context of Matthew’s gospel and also the context of the cannon of scripture. For me, whenever we start to read the Bible intertextually and we look at one passage of scripture and then another passage somewhere else that relates to the former passage, the Word of God comes alive and I see the divine author, the Holy Spirit, at work.
Let’s now read Matthew 1:1-17 and then I will make some observations and 4 or 5 points that we can conclude from this genealogy of scripture.
1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
2 Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;
3 And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;
4 And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon;
5 And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;
6 And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;
7 And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;
8 And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias;
9 And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias;
10 And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias;
11 And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:
12 And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;
13 And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor;
14 And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud;
15 And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob;
16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.
Son of David, Son of Abraham
First I want to note the obvious. Matthew here is providing the genealogy of Jesus to show that he was a descendant of Abraham and a descendent of David. Now we may jump to the conclusion that Jesus’ claim as Messiah was dependant of being the son of Abraham and the son of David but it did not. I say this because the Jews were expecting a number of Messiah’s just the Second Temple Period. There were some Jewish writings (Dead Sea Scrolls) during the time of Jesus that mentioned that one Messiah would come from the line of Judah and another from the tribe of Ephraim. Yes, many Jews during the time of Jesus, and still do today, believe there will be two Messiah’s- one a King and one a Priest. The two offices of King and Priest, as well as prophet, were anointed roles (anointed is moshiach/messiah in Hebrew). So Matthew presenting Jesus as the Son of David wasn’t just to put forward the claim that Jesus was the Messiah. It tells us what kind of Messiah Matthew was claiming Jesus to be. The King Messiah. Some Jewish writings wrote of the Son of David who would usher in the Kingdom of God, crush the enemies of Israel and rule over the gentiles bringing peace and security (shalom) to Israel. This is the Messiah Matthew is claiming Jesus to be.
It is also important to note that Matthew does not just call Jesus the Son of David but also the Son of Abraham. Some commentators have compared Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus with Luke’s in Luke 3:23-38 and concluded that Matthew is only interested in a Jewish audience and thus he begins his genealogy with Abraham; whereas Luke is interested in a gentile audience and begins with Adam. This is not true. Firstly, Matthew does have an interest in a gentile audience and I will explain that in a little bit. But secondly, the reason Matthew begins with Abraham is because of covenantal promise. This is evidenced in Matthew’s association of Abraham with David. Matthew is interested in the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants and how they are fulfilled in Jesus.
The Abrahamic and Davidic covenants are similar. Let’s just take a quick look at the promises God made to Abraham and David.
Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
14 And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:
15 For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
16 And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.
17 Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.
7 And he said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.
8 And he said, Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?
9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon.
10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not.
11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away.
12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him.
13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
Now compare with God’s promise to David.
2 Samuel 7:8-16
8 Now therefore so shalt thou say unto my servant David, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over my people, over Israel:
9 And I was with thee whithersoever thou wentest, and have cut off all thine enemies out of thy sight, and have made thee a great name, like unto the name of the great men that are in the earth.
10 Moreover I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own, and move no more; neither shall the children of wickedness afflict them any more, as beforetime,
11 And as since the time that I commanded judges to be over my people Israel, and have caused thee to rest from all thine enemies. Also the Lord telleth thee that he will make thee an house.
12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:
15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
We have the following similarities:
- God would make the names of Abraham and David great
- Both Abraham and David have a promised seed (it is interesting to note that those promises were thought to be fulfilled in Isaac and Solomon but were promises fulfilled in Jesus)
- Land is given in both promises
- God will chastise His people for their unfaithfulness
- Relationship between Jew and Gentile are mentioned in both promises
- Both Abraham and David would ‘sleep with their father’s’ (The fact that they also inherit their promises indicates that both men will be raised from the dead)
- Both Abrahamic and Davidic covenants are forever (this is compared to the Mosaic covenant.
Now these seven points are key in understanding who Jesus is and Matthew’s portrayal of Jesus’ ministry in his gospel. There is a theme that runs throughout these seven points of a ‘now’ and ‘not yet’ fulfilment. Jesus is indeed the promised seed of Abraham and David who was born. He was accepted by a remnant of Jewish people and established peace between that Jewish remnant and a remnant of Gentiles but this is in anticipation of all of Israel coming to faith in Jesus and having peace with all nations. The current state of Abraham and David as they ‘sleep with their fathers’ anticipates the future resurrection and the consummation of the covenants. Jesus has begun a process in His first coming that he will complete in His second coming.
As Matthew is writing during this period between initial fulfilment and anticipation of consummation, he is appealing to salvation history to show that God has made promises in the past, we have seen them initial fulfilled in our time and this gives us hope that God will complete what he has started.
Matthew’s structure of the genealogy indicates this.
Matthew’s Structure of the Genealogy
Notice Matthew divides the genealogy into three sections of fourteen generations. Fourteen generations between Abraham and David. Fourteen generations between David and the Babylonian. And fourteen generations between the captivity and Jesus. Now Matthew is being creative with his presentation of the genealogy here. Matthew omits three generations in his second group of names that we can find in 1 Chronicles 1-3 and Matthew also only presents thirteen, not fourteen, names in his third section of names. So Matthew is trying to communicate something through the use of the number fourteen. Fourteen is not a number that is often repeated in the Bible. In Biblical Numerology we can see the typological significance of the number six, the day both man and beast was made. Also the number seven is used to effect in the New Testament as the number of completion, perfection, rest. Fourteen is a multiple of seven and therefore has been often linked with the theme of completion. The prophecy of Daniel’s Seventy weeks until the Messiah comes in Daniel 9 has relationship between the number seven and the theme of completion. Matthew’s use of fourteen is similar. Considering the use of the Babylonian Captivity within the structure of the genealogy we could argue that the time of completion has something to do with restoration.
You see the Babylonian Captivity is seen within this genealogy as a major plot point in salvation history. God has made these promises to Abraham and David and during the time of the captivity as Israel were out of the land and under gentile rule, those promises may have looked like they were void of any reality. But of course the return to the land presented a hope once again in the promises of God. And we must remember this is an important theological point concerning the return of Jews to the land of Israel last century after 2000 years of exile. Just as the return from the Babylonian captivity to the land paved the way for the first coming of the Messiah, so the return to the land in the twentieth century has paved the way for the fulfilment of Bible prophecy and the second coming of Jesus. The Bible clearly states that Israel must be back in the land before Jesus returns.
One other interesting concerning Matthew’s use of the number fourteen is that it relates to the name of David in Hebrew. This may indicate that Matthew was written first in Hebrew or at least the source of the genealogy was in Hebrew (notice in the introduction that Matthew writes ‘the book of the generation of Jesus Christ’) In Hebrew (and also Greek) the letters have numerical value. The first letter Aleph=1, Bet=2, Gimmel=3, Dalet=4, He=5 and Vav=6. Now the Hebrew Alphabet has no vowels. The pronunciation of vowels are marked by marks and dashes above and beneath the consonants. So the name David in Hebrew would be spelt Dalet Vav Dalet (DVD). Numerically 4+6+4=14. This kind of interpretation is called Gematria and the only of place that the Bible explicitly uses Gematria is in Revelation where John writes the name and number of the Beast is 666. Not much sensible academic study has been done in the field of Gematria because most of the Biblical numerology we see today is complete nonsense. People trying to prove the Bible predicted the rise of Adolf Hitler by finding the numerical value of words in the Bible. But Matthew is not using numerology for predictive purposes but is making a theological statement that Jesus is the Son of David, his advent was divinely timed and that his coming is part of the restoration of Israel and completion of the promises made to Abraham and David.
So what else can we find that is interesting in this genealogy of Jesus?
Women in the Genealogy of Jesus
One of the most notable differences between Matthew’s and Luke’s account of Jesus’ genealogy is Matthew’s inclusion of women. Matthew mentions Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bethsheba (who is named as the former wife of Uriah). What is so different about these four women that Matthew cares to mention them? Of course all four women are mentioned in the scriptures, whereas the wives and mothers of these other patriarchs are not so well known to the biblical story. There are two other possible reasons Matthew included these women in the genealogy. First, they were all gentiles. I mentioned earlier that Matthew was not just keen on a Jewish audience but also in the presence of gentiles in the genealogy. Abraham was also a person who was a gentile from Ur of the Chaldees who became the father of the Jewish people. We also noted that the promises made to Abraham and David included a blessing to gentiles. So the inclusion of these three women into the genealogy shows the inclusion of gentiles into the promises of God. Secondly, all three women were marred by controversial circumstances.
Tamar was Judah’s daughter in law. Tamar’s husband Er was wicked so the Lord slew him. Tamar was a widow without any children and as was custom she was given to her brother in law Onan. The custom was that the brother of the deceased would carry on his brother’s name by having a child with his brother’s wife. Now Onan didn’t want to spoil his own inheritance so you can ask your parents what Onan did to avoid that situation. The Lord saw Onan was evil and slew him too. Judah’s youngest son was too young to fulfil the custom of carrying on his brother’s name so Judah asked Tamar to remain until he was of age. Tamar wore widow’s clothes that included a veil. Unfortunately Judah did not realise this and when he saw Tamar he mistook her for a prostitute. To cut a long story short Judah slept with Tamar unawares of her identity. She conceived and was with child. It is announced that Tamar was pregnant and Judah thought that Tamar had betrayed the family. However, Tamar reveals that Judah was the father and that it was Judah who had sinned. She was caught in controversial circumstances but Judah declares that Tamar was more righteous than he was.
The second woman of the genealogy is Rahab. As you well know Rahab was a harlot. She was justified by helping the two spies escape Jericho. There also seems to be a link between Tamar and Rahab through the image of the Scarlett thread. One of the twins that Tamar bore had a Scarlett thread attached. As you well know Rahab hung a Scarlett thread from her window as a sign to Israel. But this woman who was once a harlot became a worshipper of the God of Israel.
The third woman of this genealogy was Ruth. Similar to Tamar her husband had died and was looking for a kinsman redeemer. Like Rahab she turn to follow the God of Israel. Because Ruth was a Moabite many have noted Deuteronomy 23:3 that the Moabites were forbidden from the congregation of the Lord. But this may not be the only controversy Matthew has in mind. Ruth found herself in a very compromising position when she lay at Boaz’s feet. She made herself sexually vulnerable in that situation. Ruth could have been mistaken as a harlot. But as we see from the book of Ruth nothing happened and that Ruth’s intensions were innocent.
The fourth woman of this genealogy was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah. The story is familiar. David and Bathsheba had an affair while Uriah was serving in David’s army. Bathsheba conceived with David’s child. In order to make it look as though the child was Uriah’s, David told Uriah he was free to leave the battlefield and go home to his wife. But Uriah had integrity about him and said he would continue to fight for David. So David placed Uriah in a position that would have him exposed and killed in battle. Effectively David murdered Uriah. David was discovered by the prophet Nathan and was rebuked. The child Bathsheba was carrying died. But after repentance and following after the Lord, David and Bathsheba had another child, Solomon, who would go on to be King. Again Bathsheba was involved in a controversial situation and although we see that David was once again restored to being righteous, it might be implied that Bathsheba by association was restored to righteousness.
But we have this theme running through the four characters that they found themselves in sexually controversial positions but were righteous (or in the case of Rahab and Bathsheba made righteous). The fifth woman of the genealogy was not a gentile. She was a Jewess. Her name was Mary. She was pregnant outside of wedlock and her fiancé was not the father of the baby. It looked like Mary was sexually immoral but the reality was that she was righteous.
Controversy surrounds the birth of Jesus even today as some Jewish literature believe Jesus was an illegitimate child. Such controversy has always been part of the messianic line. But the truth is God used these people for His purpose and they were righteous in God’s sight.
Tonight we have noted that Jesus fulfilled and will consummate the promises of God. God keeps his promises. We have also noted that God has a divine timetable and that Jesus came at the appointed time. He will return again at the appointed time. And lastly we have learnt that although controversy surrounded and marred God’s people, God used them and vindicated, declaring them righteous and using them for His glory. But the greatest thing we may have learnt tonight is never skip over the genealogies written in the Bible. They are part of God’s Word and perhaps the authors, human and divine, are trying to tell us something that is deeper than face value.