CHOSEN GENERATION (The Seed of Promise)
Stacy R. Wood, Jr.
The Family Tree
“You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; so that you may set forth the wondrous deeds, displaying the virtues and perfections, of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1Pe. 2:9).
There is a generation, chosen from the foundation of the world, to reveal God’s glory. A people designated, within the present disorder and futility, to manifest the very character of his substance. All creation eagerly waits, with earnest expectation, for the unveiling of this elect seed. The Prophets declared it, the Law foreshadowed it, and Jesus revealed it.
In Matthew chapter one there is a mystery hidden within the lineage of Joseph the husband of Mary, mother of Jesus. This account is introduced as “the book of the generation of Jesus Christ,” the Son of David, the Son of Abraham. (Mat. 1:1).Verse seventeen shows us the listing can be divided into three groupings. The first segment starts with Abraham and ends with David. The second division begins with David and concludes with the deportation into Babylonian. The third and final section commences with the removal to Babylon and consummates with Christ. We are told each of these three segments, contain fourteen names, bringing the total to forty-two generations (Mat. 1:17).
It is important, for every student of the Scripture, to acknowledge the Bible is mathematically perfect, and God’s truth exact and systematic. Knowing this will allow one to recognize what appears to be a disharmony, in the Scripture, is in reality a hidden treasure. Remember, “it is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” (Pro. 25:2; 1 Cor. 2:9ff; Eph. 1:17f; Col. 1:9).
Now, what is so mysterious about the genealogy of Matthew chapter one? Let us tally the names listed, according to the pattern found, in verse seventeen. The first grouping, verses 2-6, concurs with the clear statement of verse seventeen, by containing fourteen generations. The second segment, verses 6-11, is also in agreement by showing fourteen generations. However, the third and final section, beginning in verse twelve and ending with Jesus, who is called the Christ, contains only thirteen generations.
The conflict is apparent. While verse seventeen shows the total number of generations should come to forty-two, the count has revealed there are only forty-one names in the complete listing.
The discovery of this seeming discrepancy leaves us to question: Did Matthew make a mistake by miscounting the generations he listed? Or have the translators erred by leaving out a name found in the original text? After diligently looking into this matter one must conclude, the answer is an unequivocal, No!—On both counts!Still others may question the absence of the five kings in this genealogy. However, God removed them from the record for very specific reasons. This leaves us with the question: Where is the missing generation?
Despising the Shame
Since Jesus, Whom God designated both Lord and Christ, is the forty-first generation, He must be the Procreator, or Father of the forty-second generation, who also is termed: “Christ.” With respect to Jesus having children Isaiah prophesied, “Constraint and judgment took him: AND WHO WILL DECLARE HIS GENERATION? For He is CUT OFF out of the land of the living; because of the rebellion of my people.” (Isa. 53:8ff). This is a Hebraism and it clearly states the physical bloodline of Jesus was terminated at Calvary. He died without leaving an heir to carry on His name or family genealogy.
The ultimate disgrace was to be “cut off” without leaving a descendant to carry on the family lineage. It was such a dishonorable thing God made provision within the law to insure against it. (De. 25:5ff). Now concerning children Solomon wrote, “Sons are an heritage of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like the arrows in the hand of a mighty man are the sons of one’s youth. How happy is the one who has filled his quiver with them!” (Ps. 127:3ff).
However, “instead of the joy,” which could have been his by leaving an heir, Jesus “endured the cross, despising the shame and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:2f Wms., Gspd., Lam., CLNT). Leaving us to question with Isaiah: “Who will declare His generation?”
He Will See His Seed
The Prophet Isaiah further announced, “They assigned Him a grave with the criminals and with a wealthy man when He was dead. It was Jehovah who purposed to crush and afflict Him; although He had done no wrong, neither was deceit in His mouth. Yet, when Jehovah makes His soul an offering for sin, he will see his seed, he will prolong his days, and the purpose of Jehovah will prosper in His hand” (Isa. 53:9f; 1Pe. 2:22).
This is not declaring Jesus was married and had children before He died, as some claim. However, it does express His obedience to death at Calvary, fulfilled the Father’s purpose and assured Him of seeing His seed, or descendant. This prophetic promise is a vivid and explicit reference to “the missing generation” of Matthew chapter one.
A Seed – A Generation
With respect to the missing generation David prophesied, “A seed will serve Him; it will be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They will come, and declare His righteousness to a people, yet to be born. They will proclaim it is finished!” (Psa. 22:30ff).There is a seed, which serves God, and it is categorized as a generation of the Lord. Unquestionably this speaks of the seed promised to Jesus in Isaiah’s prophecy. It is the forty-second generation of Matthew chapter one.
David’s prophetic declaration further reveals it is a corporate seed. Not an individual, but a people chosen by God before the disruption of the world, holy and flawless in His sight (Eph. 1:4f). God through foreknowledge has predestined this seed to be placed as a corporate son into the family of God, and all creation waits with eager anticipation for their unveiling (Rom. 8:19; Eph. 1:3f). Before the foundation of the word God destined this chosen generation. They are conformed to the image of the Firstborn. So that Jesus Christ becomes the original seed in many brethren (Rom. 8:18, 29; Col. 1:27).
This promised seed are to declare the Lord’s righteousness to a people, yet to be born. Bearing witness to all creation that is obligated to the debt of sin, this seed will declare, “It is paid in full.” It is this “seed—generation,” who will restore, raise up, and repair the depletions of many generations. They will be named the Priests of the Lord even Ministers of God. All who see them will acknowledge THEY ARE THE SEED WHOM THE LORD HAS BLESSED. (Isa. 61:4ff).
The Covenant Seed
Three individuals – the Woman, Abraham, and David – received promises regarding “the seed.” God desiring to show, beyond any doubt, the unchangeableness of his purpose confirmed the promises with an oath. (Gen. 3:15; 22:15ff; 2 Sam. 7:12ff; Acts 2:29f; Heb. 6:13ff).
Speaking in terms of human relations, when a covenant or contract has been guaranteed it puts an end to all disputes and contradictions. Because it has the validation of a supreme authority, no one can set it aside, make it void, take away from it, or add to it. (Heb. 6:13; Gal. 3:15).
Who Is Christ?
When God spoke the promises to Abraham and His seed, He did not say, “to seeds,” as referring to many, but with reference to one, He said, “and to your seed, which is Christ!” (Gal. 3:16; Acts 2:30).
When Paul refers to “one seed,” he is speaking of God’s promises being made to one variety, as opposed to many varieties of seed. The category is clearly defined as Christ! Let us put it another way. If we had two packets of seed, one containing carrot, squash, radish, and watermelon seed; the other containing forty kernels of corn, which packet contains only one seed? Unquestionably the packet of corn, because every seed is identical. Both Jesus, who is pure and those who are being purified are all out of one seed: for this reason he is not ashamed to call them brothers. (Rom. 8:29; Heb. 2:11, Mof., NEB., Con., Bas., Knox, Wey.).
Moreover, as the forerunner and perfecter of the faith, Christ Jesus, obtained the promise becoming the source and origin of our life. Because of this He is also called “the everlasting Father.” (Isa. 9:6; Joh. 1:1ff, 14; Col. 1:15ff; Rev. 3:14). Prophetically, the Firstborn Seed said, “I and the children whom God gave me” will make evident his wondrous accomplishments. By this we will display his virtue and perfection. (Isa. 8:18; Heb. 2:13; 1 Pet. 2:9). In Christ Jesus we are all children of God through faith. For as many as have been initiated into union with Christ, have put on Christ. Now, since we belong to Christ, it follows we are Abraham’s seed . . . which is called Christ . . . and heirs of the promise, even joint-heirs with Christ (Gal. 3:16, 26ff, 29; Rom. 8:17).
The Christ Defined
The word Christ is a transliteration from the Greek language. If we were to translate this word into our common language we would better understand what is being said concerning the seed of promise. It should be rendered anointed, and is synonymous with the Hebrew word Messiah. This term is used in the Hebrew Scripture for those who are the Lord’s anointed ones. Specifically, it was used only in reference to the kings, priests, and prophets who were considered to be God’s anointed.
The Body of the Seed
As the human body is a unity and yet has many parts, and all the parts, though numerous, form only one body, so it is with Christ also! For one Holy Spirit has initiated us into one body. It makes no difference whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free, male or female, we have now become one new man in Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 12:12f; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:11ff).
Jesus revealed this concept when He spoke of reproducing the life of this unique Seed. He said, “if the seed-corn does not fall into the earth and die, it remains alone: But if it die, it will bring forth many seed.” (Joh. 12:24). The principal is clear, “what is sown is not brought to life, except it die first.” (1 Cor. 15:36). But if it dies it will become multiplied many times.
When someone plants a kernel of corn it grows up: first, the blade, then the ear, and finally the mature corn in the ear. We might say, “One kernel becomes a corporate expression of the original corn?” Likewise, God sent forth Jesus as a unique seed of life in the earth. He was planted in death so that in resurrection He might become “the first born among many brothers.” (Rom. 8:29).