The Old Testament does not portray God as an uncaring dispenser of grim condemnation.
Yes, He is holy, just, and unwavering in His commitment to punish sin, as He is in the New Testament.
But the God of the Old Testament is also a God of love who offers a promise of hope, even toward His enemies.
He is the “compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love and truth” ().
Love is not a uniquely Christian thing; it is a biblical thing.
The Old Testament enjoins love in many places.
For instance, what Jesus will eventually call the greatest command is first given to Israel: — Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
The second command that follows from the first comes from the Old Testament as well:
“Love him [a foreigner living among you] as yourself” ().
And the pattern for how Israel should love is how God himself loves: — He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the resident alien, giving him food and clothing. You are also to love the resident alien, since you were resident aliens in the land of Egypt.
Since God loves his enemies, his people must do the same. commands, v — Don’t gloat when your enemy falls, and don’t let your heart rejoice when he stumbles,
And teaches, v — If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
The God of the Old Testament is a God of love.
When we consider the whole sweep of Old Testament history and observe God’s patience toward
those who have declared themselves His enemies through disobedience,
we see a God of unspeakable love and forbearance.
He did not have to let human history continue after the fall in the garden.
He did not have to persevere with the wayward nation of Israel.
He did not have to persevere with the wayward nation of Israel.
Yet we watch His grace, love, mercy, and patience on an epic scale—stretched out across the history of a people.
It almost looks as if God planned to use history to reveal his glory to his people. And in fact, he did.
Understanding the Old Testament requires understanding its promise of hope. What hope?
We have talked plenty [in the past] about God’s commitment to holiness and the failure of His people to live up to the requirements of holiness.
And we have considered God’s promise to punish the wicked (in ). So what hope could sinners have?
**Their hope was not in their history.
The history of the Old Testament proved them (and us) to be moral and spiritual failures.
**Nor was their hope finally in the sacrificial system.
As the psalmist said, “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,” at least not without something even more basic.
How then could the hope held out in true?
How could God “forgive wickedness” and still “not leave the guilty unpunished”?
If the answer was not in the Old Testament people themselves or in their own history,
it was in God and his promise, particularly in God’s promised person.
As we have seen, blood must be shed in order to assuage the righteous wrath of God against sin.
Justice demands that sin be paid for either by the guilty party himself or herself or by an innocent substitute who bears the suffering and death on behalf of the guilty party.
Furthermore, the punishment of a substitute requires some sort of relation between the guilty one and the one being offered as the sacrifice.
But where would a perfect substitute be found?
Sources from the first century suggest that messianic hope and expectation were prominent at the time of Jesus’ birth.
People did not wonder if the Messiah would come.
They took it for granted that their only hope lay with a specially anointed one of God—the Messiah. Why?
The Old Testament is filled with the promise of a coming person.
God’s people waited for the prophet God promised to Moses
— “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him. This is what you requested from the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, ‘Let us not continue to hear the voice of the Lord our God or see this great fire any longer, so that we will not die!’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him. I will hold accountable whoever does not listen to my words that he speaks in my name.
They waited for the king and, perhaps, the suffering servant (; ; ).
— For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on his shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
— He was despised and rejected by men, a man of suffering who knew what sickness was. He was like someone people turned away from; he was despised, and we didn’t value him. Yet he himself bore our sicknesses, and he carried our pains; but we in turn regarded him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced because of our rebellion, crushed because of our iniquities; punishment for our peace was on him, and we are healed by his wounds. We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the Lord has punished him for the iniquity of us all.
They waited for the son of man coming on the clouds seen by Daniel
— I continued watching in the night visions, and suddenly one like a son of man was coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was escorted before him.
These promises point toward the answer to the Old Testament riddle.
And these promises are the hope of the Old Testament.
More than anything else, in fact, the Old Testament teaches us that these promises offer us our only hope.
The fulfillment of these hopes, however, would not come in the Old Testament, but in the new, which we turn to now.
The collection of twenty-seven books that comprise the New Testament begins by directly addressing this promise with four accounts of the life of the Messiah.
The four documentaries of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all argue that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah.
He is the promised one for whom God’s people have been waiting.
Where Adam and Israel failed, Jesus was faithful.
As did his predecessors, he faced Satan’s temptations.
Yet he survived them without sin.
He is the prophet promised by Moses, the king prefigured by David, and the divine son of man promised by Daniel.
In fact, Jesus is the very Word of God made flesh (, ).
And the genealogy introduces a select list of Jesus’ ancestors from Abraham onward in the sytle of the OT genealogies.
Let’s look at it together.
Dever, M. (2010). What Does God Want of Us Anyway?: A Quick Overview of the Whole Bible (pp. 40–41). Wheaton, IL: Crossway.
— An account of the genealogy of Jesus Christ...
The word “account” “An account of the genealogy”…account means book.
Here is the book of the ancestor’s of our Lord’s humanity.
The first book of the OT is filled with Genealogies as well, which is its glory that it does so.
But the glory of the NT herein excels, in that it begins with an account of the genealogy of Him that made the world.
So here is the One whose origin is from antiquity, from ancient times, being sent forth in the fulness of time, born of a woman.
— An account of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham:
Matthew uses that full name Jesus Christ (which he doesn’t use together very often at all).
Jesus is His personal name, which is used 150 times which is used only in the account of Jesus.
No one in this gospel addresses Jesus by His name.
Matthew only uses the word “Christ” 17 times. Which is a word that means “anointed” and is the Greek way of referring to “Messiah.”
So this book is the account of Jesus Christ
“the Son of David”. Jesus is from Royal descent.
Matthew uses the name of King David more that any other book in the NT.
‘Son of David’ is a messianic title.
David was the greatest of the kings of Israel who was a mighty warrior.
This title ‘Son of David’ points us to a conquering Messiah, One who destroys our enemies and establishes God’s Kingdom!
The Gospel of Matthew is to be about one who fulfilled all that is meant in being the descendant of Israel’s greatest King.
Jesus is also the son of Abraham. Abraham being the one to whom the divine promises were first given directly
and from whom we might say that sacred history had begun.
It was Abraham with whom God made the covenant that set Israel apart in a special sense as the people of God (; ; ).
All Israelites took pride in being descendants of the great patriarch, and
the Christians were especially fond of him as the classic example of one who believed (Paul brings this out particularly in Romans).
His Hebrew name means “father of a multitude” (), and it had been prophesied that all nations would be blessed through him ().
We find the idea of a universal blessing at the end of this Gospel as well as at the beginning (28:19).
It was promised to Abraham that Christ should descend from him
Genesis 12:3 — I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.
— And all the nations of the earth will be blessed by your offspring...
And to David, that He should descend from him
— When your time comes and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up after you your descendant, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom.
— The Lord swore an oath to David, a promise he will not abandon: “I will set one of your offspring on your throne.
In combining David and Abraham Matthew is drawing attention to two strands in Jesus’ Hebrew ancestry
and implying that he fulfilled all that would be expected in a Messiah with such connections.
In calling Christ the son of David, and the son of Abraham, Matthew shows that God is faithful to His promise,
and will make good every word that He has spoken; despite the fact that
1. The performance was deferred for a long time.
When God promised Abraham a son, who should be the great blessing of the world,
perhaps he expected it should be his immediate son;
but it actually proved to be forty-two generations, and about 2000 years:
Even though God can promise so long before, of what shall be done, and equally so, long after, sometimes, does God fulfil what has been promised.
This teaches us greatly and brings much comfort to you, the Lord’s people when facing
Note, Delays of promised mercies, though they exercise our patience, do not weaken God’s promise.
delays of promised mercies,
though they exercise our patience, those delays do not weaken God’s promise!
2. Though it begin to be despaired of. This son of David, and son of Abraham, who was to be the glory of His Father’s house,
was born when the seed of Abraham was a despised people,
recently become subject to the Roman yoke, and
when the house of David was buried in obscurity by being scattered;
because Christ was to be a root out of a dry ground.
this also teaches us greatly, God’s time for the performance of His promises
is when it labors and groans under the greatest improbabilities.
Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1611). Peabody: Hendrickson.
— Abraham fathered Isaac, Isaac fathered Jacob, Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers,
In Abraham’s begetting of Isaac there are two elements: a supernatural and a natural.
The first is emphasized by Paul in ; the second here by Matthew. As to the first, Isaac was born “through promise.”
As a reward for Abraham’s faith in the promise, God intervened miraculously, enabling Abraham,
though he had become “as good as dead,” to deposit seed; and
making it possible for Sarah, who was before, barren, to conceive (; , ).
It is true, therefore, that the family tree, as recorded by Matthew, begins with a supernatural birth, that of Isaac,
and ends with one, that of Christ.
However, the two are by no means identical, for in Isaac’s case there was no virgin birth, as there was in the case of Christ.
Isaac became the father of Jacob; and Jacob, in process of time, became the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah’s name is singled out from all the children of Jacob, becuase it is in him that the Messianic line is continued.
Why did this happen? Was not Reuben the firstborn?
Were there not three brothers older than Judah?
It is clear that inclusion in, or exclusion from, the line of descent
is not determined by age.
Neither is it determined by human merit (see verses 8–10).
By what then? It’s only determined by the sovereign, electing will and grace of God ().
To use Paul’s words in — So then, it does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy.
— Judah fathered Perez and Zerah by Tamar, Perez fathered Hezron, Hezron fathered Aram, Aram fathered Amminadab, Amminadab fathered Nahshon, Nahshon fathered Salmon,
Observe the dash of unclean blood which enters the stream through Judah’s incest with Tamar.
The daughter-in-law of Judah. She was a Canaanite who disguised herself as a prostitute to trick Judah
Carson, D. A. (2015). The Gospels and Acts. In D. A. Carson (Ed.), NIV Zondervan Study Bible: Built on the Truth of Scripture and Centered on the Gospel Message (p. 1926). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
into impregnating her so that she could bear children for the family line after his sons had failed to do so ().
O Lord, You art the sinner’s Friend!
— Salmon fathered Boaz by Rahab, Boaz fathered Obed by Ruth, Obed fathered Jesse,
We note that two women are mentioned in this fifth verse: a Canaanite and a Moabite.
Thus Gentile blood mingled with the Hebrew strain.
Our King has come to break down the partition wall.
As Gentiles we rejoice in this.
Jesus is heir of a line in which flows the blood of the harlot Rahab, and
of the unpolished Ruth;
He is connected to the fallen and to the lowly, and
He will show His love even to the poorest and most obscure.
I, too, may have a part and portion in Him.
— and Jesse fathered King David. David fathered Solomon by Uriah’s wife, Solomon fathered Rehoboam, Rehoboam fathered Abijah, Abijah fathered Asa, Asa fathered Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat fathered Joram, Joram fathered Uzziah, Uzziah fathered Jotham, Jotham fathered Ahaz, Ahaz fathered Hezekiah,
Well may our hearts melt at the memory of David and Bathsheba!
The fruit of their unholy union died; but, after repentance, Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah
became the wife of David, and the mother of Solomon.
How glorious was the grace of God in this case,
that the line should be continued in this once guilty pair???!!!
Let us observe and see what kindred with fallen humanity does this show in our Lord!
Oh we must wonder at the condescending grace which appointed our Lord such a pedigree.
— Hezekiah fathered Manasseh, Manasseh fathered Amon, Amon fathered Josiah,
A line of kings of a mixed character; not one of them perfect, and some of them were as bad as bad could be.
Sinners who were only fit to be forgotten were in the line of this succession; and
this shows how little can be made of being born of the will of man, or of the will of the flesh.
Spurgeon, C. H. (1893). The gospel of the kingdom: a commentary on the book of Matthew (p. 2). London: Passmore and Alabaster.
Again, we see how near Jesus does come to our fallen race by this account.
— and Josiah fathered Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
To some who are bankrupt and captive to iniquity and those who are bound with the chains of sin, may you see yourself in this description.
You become a prisoner of hope, now that Christ is born of a race which was once exiled to Babylon.
— After the exile to Babylon Jeconiah fathered Shealtiel, Shealtiel fathered Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel fathered Abiud, Abiud fathered Eliakim, Eliakim fathered Azor, Azor fathered Zadok, Zadok fathered Achim, Achim fathered Eliud, Eliud fathered Eleazar, Eleazar fathered Matthan, Matthan fathered Jacob, and Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary, who gave birth to Jesus who is called the Christ.
Our Lord was a root out of dry ground (according to ) and many of the people in vv12-16 are altogether obscure and insignificant.
He needed be of the human race; but He comes to a family which was of low estate,
and there finds his reputed father, Joseph, a carpenter of Nazareth.
He is the poor man’s King.
He will not disdain any of us though our father’s house be little in Israel.
He will condescend to men of low estate.
— So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations; and from David until the exile to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the exile to Babylon until the Christ, fourteen generations.
These are the folks, through which, our Savior was born into this world.
Especially, let us see that he was literally of the house of David, and of the seed of Abraham;
because many prophecies in the Old Testament pointed to this fact.
He is truly the Messiah, the King, which was to come.
Matthew was moved by the Holy Spirit to write of our Lord Jesus Christ AS KING—“the son of David.”
Spurgeon, C. H. (1893). The gospel of the kingdom: a commentary on the book of Matthew (p. 1). London: Passmore and Alabaster.
He is to be spoken of as specially reigning over the true seed of Abraham;
and so he is called “the son of Abraham.” Lord Jesus, make us each one to call thee, “My God and King!”
As we read this wonderful GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM, may we be full of loyal obedience, and
pay Him humble devotion! You, Lord Jesus are both the King and a king’s Son.
Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Vol. 9, p. 114). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
Observe the dash of unclean blood which enters the stream through Judah’s incest with Thamar. O Lord, thou art the sinner’s Friend!