Tough talk from the Creator!

 A PROPHECY CONNECTIONS STUDY by Kinda Rusty

FOCUS: From the beginning, when the Creator laid out the universe and placed humankind on planet Earth — a creation made “in His own image” (Genesis 1:27) — He demonstrated that He values fairness … He gave the gift of freewill. But misuse of that gift has resulted in consequences!

FOUNDATION SCRIPTURE: “Who has done this and carried it through, calling forth the generations from the beginning? I, the Lord — with the first of them and with the last — I AM HE.” (Isaiah 41:4).

(NOTE: All Scripture verses are taken from the New International Version 1984, unless otherwise stated.)

PROPHECY CONNECTION #1: Tough Talk from the Beginning!

 At some point “in the beginning,” the angels were given the gift of freewill. And some chose to misuse it!

A. Revelation 12:7-9: The last book of the Bible gives us insight into what happened in the very beginning …

“And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heavenThe great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”  (Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” — Luke 10:18)

B. Isaiah 14:12-15: Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord God allows a glimpse of the devil’s fall from grace …

How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star [Lucifer], son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth,  you who once laid low the nations!  You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.”

C.  Jude 1:5-7: Jude, who was thought to be the brother of Jesus, gave this very serious warning:

“I want to remind you that the Lord delivered his people out of Egypt [Exodus 6 – 13], but later destroyed those who did not believe [Numbers 16, 21:4-9]. And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day [Revelation 20:10-15]. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion [Exodus 19:1-29]. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”

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WHAT’S THE POINT?

It’s hard to grasp what happens in the invisible world of the supernatural. And God doesn’t spell it out for us in ways that we can easily understand and visualize. But in the Bible, there is just enough description to help us see clearly that the Lord God demands respect from those who desire to live in His presence for eternity.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

I believe it’s safe to say that a majority of the people who co-exist on planet Earth today are unaware that they are on a mandatory track to eternity. It is not a choice. Who and what we place our faith in matters to the God of the universe, and He alone has the final say concerning what will happen to our souls after death.

THINK ABOUT IT …

The apostle Paul gave these words of encouragement: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I AM CONVINCED that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, WILL BE ABLE TO SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).

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PROPHECY CONNECTION #2: Freewill in the Middle

Adam greedily misused his freewill; Jesus courageously made good use of His freewill; and Satan tried his best to deceive them both …

A. TRUTH & CONSEQUENCES:

  • God said to Adam: You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, [because] when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:15-17).
  • Satan said to Adam (through Eve): You will NOT surely die…. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God” (Genesis 3:4-5).
  • Adam blamed Eve and God, after he misused his free will:  “The woman you put here with me — she gave me some fruit of the tree, and I ate it” (Genesis 3:12).
  • God said to Jesus: You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22).
  • Satan said (directly) to Jesus: “If you are the Son of God [then prove it] …    [But] if you worship me [then I’ll reward you] …” (from Luke 4:1-12).
  • Jesus resisted Satan and immediately answered with Truth: “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only” (Luke 4:8).

B. Satan’s network of deceit:

  • Wickedness released: “The Lord saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time. The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain” (Genesis 6:5-6).

GOD’S RESPONSE: “‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth’ … But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord (Genesis 6:7-8).

  • Humanism takes root: “Then they said, ‘Come let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth'” (Genesis 11:4).

GOD’S RESPONSE: “The Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building … the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth (Genesis 11:5-9).

  • An outcry of evil: “Then the Lord said, ‘The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me‘” (Genesis 18:20-21).

GOD’S RESPONSE: “The Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah … thus he overthrew those cities” (Genesis 19:24-25)…. “Then the Lord said, ‘ … I have chosen [Abraham], SO THAT HE WILL DIRECT HIS CHILDREN AND HIS HOUSEHOLD AFTER HIM TO KEEP THE WAY OF THE LORD BY DOING WHAT IS RIGHT AND JUST'” (Genesis 18:17-19).

  • But even God’s chosen people persistently repeat sinful behaviors: “… their words and deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence. The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! They have brought disaster upon themselves…. They will be paid back for what their hands have done” (Isaiah 3:8-10).

GOD’S RESPONSE: “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, IF my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).

C. The Lord God knew that sinful humankind needed a Savior, because — as history has proven — people are not capable of becoming right with Him by their own efforts!

  • A Savior was foretold by the prophet Isaiah: 

“He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

“Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.

“But he was pierced for our transgressions, 
   he was crushed for our iniquities; 
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, 
   and by his wounds we are healed. 

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
 each of us has turned to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him 
   the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:3-6)

  • The Savior is revealed:

“[Jesus] went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read.  The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

‘”The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” [Isaiah 61:1-2].’

“Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.‘” (Luke 4:16-21)

  • Jesus fulfilled every Old Testament prophecy that alluded to the coming of a Savior:  Jesus said to Peter, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? BUT how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?” (Matthew 26:53-54)

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WHAT’S THE POINT?

Satan’s plan, from the moment he entered the Garden of Eden, was to cause Adam and Eve to misuse their gift of free will. He knew that if he could get them to disobey their Creator and Friend, then he would successfully gain their faithfulness and, ultimately, their souls…. God sent His Son — His “avatar” — to absorb sin on behalf of people who would choose to resist the devil’s seductions, recognize their sinful nature, and return to their Creator.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Relationship with Jesus, the Christ, is the ONLY WAY we can be made right with the Lord God, our Creator Father. It’s the only way we can take a stand against what happened in the Garden of Eden and make right the event that went terribly wrong.

THINK ABOUT IT …

“But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-26)

 

 

Who is Jesus? (Parts 11-12)

Bible Studies by Paula Yingst 

11. Time Out: Skeletons in the Family Closet!

The following is based on Genesis 38; Joshua 2:1-21, 6:15-25; Matthew 1:1-5; Hebrews 11:31  (Complete Jewish Bible and New International Version)

Keep remembering that the Bible was not meant to be a world history. It is a historical record of what happened in one family line. And though Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters after they were commanded to leave their perfect home in the Garden of Eden, the only “branch” on the family tree that is traced completely in the Bible is the lineage that runs from Seth to Jesus, son of Mary … Son of God.

So far we’ve seen this much of Adam and Eve’s family tree:

Adam and Eve  ==>  Seth  ==>  Noah ==> Shem ==> (Abram & Sarai) ==> Abraham and Sarah ==> Isaac ==> Jacob ==> Judah

For my readers who are not familiar with the saying, “skeletons in the closet,” that is a term for things (or people) that someone — or an entire family  — feels ashamed of or wants to keep secret for one reason or another … sometimes for generations!

One thing I love about the Bible is that God lays it all out there — the good, the bad, and the UGLY of situations that you would think He’d want to leave out of the family historical record. There are two women in Jesus’ family tree that should not be there — from a human perspective. Their names were Tamar and Rahab. They lived several generations apart, and both were prostitutes.

Tamar was not actually a prostitute, but she pretended to be one to lure her father-in-law (Judah) into having intercourse with her after her husband (Judah’s son) died. You can read the details of why and how she deceived him in Genesis 38. From that union came twin boys, Perez and Zerah. Perez was next in the genetic line that led to Jesus.

So the family branch continues with Judah and Tamar ==> Perez

Now we’re going to skip over a huge amount of history. LONG story short …

  • The descendants of Jacob (a.k.a. Israel) went to live with Joseph in Egypt.
  • After Joseph died, so did the Pharaoh who had been so fond of him, and a new king took over Egypt who turned the Israelites into his slaves.
  • Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy were written to record what happened as the Israelites grew in number.
  • Moses was a “savior” to the Hebrews (another name for the descendants of Jacob) similar to Joseph. And, like Joseph, Moses and his brother Aaron were NOT included in Jesus’ lineage. But God used the two of them to rescue the Israelites from bondage in Egypt under the EVIL Pharaoh.

God promised the Israelites that He would lead them to an area of land where they could live in peace and have a satisfying RELATIONSHIP with Him. The book of Joshua tells the story of what happened once they reached that destination. It also tells about a woman who was instrumental in helping the Israelites conquer the key city of Jericho — Rahab the prostitute. You can read about her in Joshua 2:1-21 and 6:15-25. She is also named as a woman of faith in Hebrews 11:

“By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the [Israeli] spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient [had no relationship with God]” (Hebrews 11:31, NIV).

And the family branch continues to grow …

Judah and Tamar ==> Perez ==> ==> Salmon and Rahab

Almighty God wants you and me to know that HE CAN USE ANYONE HE CHOOSES TO ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSE! And that divine purpose is to make a way for RELATIONSHIP to once again be possible between the Creator and his most treasured creation, humankind.

12.  Jesus, descendant of David

The following is based on 1 Samuel 16-19; 2 Samuel 2, 5, 7, and 11-12; Matthew 1:1-6 (Complete Jewish Bible and New International Version)

Perhaps the most crucial individual in the genealogical chain was an individual known as David, son of Jesse. Continuing where we left off …

Judah and Tamar ==> Perez ==> ==> Salmon and Rahab ==> Boaz and Ruth ==> Obed ==> Jesse ==> David

David was anointed the second king over Israel. The first, Saul, turned out to be a very disappointing king, since he couldn’t quite figure out what God meant by OBEDIENCE. You can discover all the reasons WHY by reading 1 Samuel, chapters 10 through 31.

David was a direct descendant of Adam, Abraham’s son Isaac, and Abraham’s grandson Jacob (a.k.a. ISRAEL).  It was genetically through David that the Messiah, who was promised by God, would appear on earth.

This was something that all of Israel’s descendants would have known about and looked forward to from generation to generation. It was the reason why Matthew began his gospel with these words: This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham:” (Matthew 1:1). It was the reason WHY the two blind men called out, “Have mercy on us, Son of David!” (Matthew 9:27), and WHY a Canaanite woman cried, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly” (Matthew 15:22). It was WHY on “Palm Sunday” the crowds shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” (Matthew 21:9)

When we look forward to the celebration of Messiah’s birth, we can know WHY the shepherds understood what the angel of the Lord meant when he said to them, Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord (Luke 2:11). They had studied prophecy from childhood, so they were aware of what had been foretold about the coming Messiah, Son of David.

And it becomes easier to comprehend the people’s confusion as they watched the Son of David being nailed to a crucifixion cross and seeming so helpless.

I invite you to read my studies titled, “Journey to the Cross,” and follow this man called Jesus (or Yeshua, in Hebrew) from his birth, to his death, to his resurrection, and his ascension into heaven. He is the WAY, the TRUTH, the LIFE … and no one can spend eternity with the Father without going THROUGH HIM! (John 14:6)

 

 

 

Who is Jesus (Parts 6-10)

Bible Studies by Paula Yingst …

6. Jesus, descendant of Abraham and Sarah

The following is based on Genesis 17 – 18 ; Matthew 1:1-2; Luke 3:33-37 (Complete Jewish Bible and New International Version)

Keep remembering that the Bible was not meant to be a world history. It is a historical record of what happened in one family line. And though Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters after they were commanded to leave their perfect home in the Garden of Eden, the only “branch” on the family tree that is traced completely in the Bible is the lineage that runs from Seth to Jesus, son of Mary … Son of God.

So far we’ve seen this much of Adam and Eve’s family tree:

Adam and Eve  ==>  Seth  ==>  Noah ==> Shem ==> (Abram & Sarai) ==> Abraham and Sarah

And this is where we left off:

Abram’s oldest son was named Ishmael (Yish ma’el). His mother was Abram’s wife Sarai’s maidservant. But God would provide another “firstborn” son.  (And He would not forget that Ishmael, as eldest son of Abram, deserved an inheritance. The Lord God promised Abram that he would give Ishmael this blessing: “I have blessed him. I will make him fruitful and give him many descendants. He will father twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.” (Genesis 17:20, CJB)

First however,  the Lord decided to change Abram’s and Sarai’s names to Abraham and Sarah. It was as though He wanted there to be no mistake about which of the two half-brothers would be the “son of promise” — the one who would continue the family line from Adam to “the offspring” whom He had prophesied about WAY BACK IN THE BEGINNING. Remember what God said to the serpent after he tricked Eve into taking a bite of the forbidden fruit? … “I will put animosity between you and the woman, and between your descendant and her descendant; he will bruise your head and you will bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15, CJB)

Ishmael became the patriarch of the Arab race, which explains a lot about why they are now at odds with Israel!

Since the last post was so long, I’m going to keep this one short and to the point! (If you want all the details, read Genesis 18 through 20.)

Once again, as the descendants of Adam through the lineage of Noah’s three sons were spinning out of control and embracing EVIL, the Lord God STILL wanted RELATIONSHIP with GOOD people. He had promised Noah that the world would never again be destroyed by water, and God sealed that eternal promise with the sign of the rainbow. This time, He would approach the prospect in a slightly different way. He would adopt the family line of ONE CHOSEN PERSON as His own — the son whom He had miraculously created through the union of a man and woman who were assumed to be beyond the age of child bearing. Whoever favored this chosen son and his descendants would be blessed. Whoever cursed them would be cursed.

His name was Isaac.

7. Jesus, descendant of Isaac

The following is based on Genesis 21 – 25; Matthew 1:1-2; Luke 3:33-37 (Complete Jewish Bible and New International Version)

Keep remembering that the Bible was not meant to be a world history. It is a historical record of what happened in one family line. And though Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters after they were commanded to leave their perfect home in the Garden of Eden, the only “branch” on the family tree that is traced completely in the Bible is the lineage that runs from Seth to Jesus, son of Mary … Son of God.

So far we’ve seen this much of Adam and Eve’s family tree:

Adam and Eve  ==>  Seth  ==>  Noah ==> Shem ==> (Abram & Sarai) ==> Abraham and Sarah ==> Isaac

And this is where we left off:

Once again, as the descendants of Adam through the lineage of Noah’s three sons were spinning out of control and embracing EVIL, the Lord God STILL wanted RELATIONSHIP with GOOD people. He had promised Noah that the world would never again be destroyed by water, and God sealed that eternal promise with the sign of the rainbow. This time, He would approach the prospect in a slightly different way. He would adopt the family line of ONE CHOSEN PERSON as His own — the son whom He had miraculously created through the union of a man and woman who were assumed to be beyond the age of child bearing. Whoever favored this chosen son and his descendants.

His name was Isaac.

I encourage you to read Genesis 21 and 22 to get a feel for the RELATIONSHIP between Abraham and the Lord God. And notice the promise to Abraham and to his only son, Isaac:  “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this [was willing to sacrifice his son in obedience to God]and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:15-18, NIV)

“Descendants as numerous as the stars”? Abraham must have wondered how this could possibly happen. But he trusted the God who made the promise. And that’s all that mattered.

Once again we’re going to avoid becoming sidetracked by details and stay focused on the lineage that brought us to the birth of Messiah, Jesus (Yeshua). Moving along through time, we find that Isaac eventually married an extended family member — Rebekah, granddaughter of Abraham’s brother, Nahor.

When Rebekah became pregnant with twins,the Lord said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb, and two people from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger’” (Genesis 25:23)If you read Genesis 25:27-34 and 27:1-41, you’ll be able to get a sense of the relationship between the two brothers. And just as Rebekah had been told, the older son Esau, ended up taking a back seat to his younger brother, Jacob — next in the direct line of ancestors to Jesus of Nazareth.

NOTE: Esau became the patriarch of a parcel of land called Edom. You can read more about him in Genesis 36. (Notice in verse 2 that Esau’s wives were descendants of Canaan. And remember that Noah placed a curse on Canaan, his grandson, because he was angry with his son, Ham — the father of Canaan. Find it in Genesis 9:18-27.)

8. Jesus, descendant of Jacob (a.k.a. ISRAEL)

The following is based on Genesis 25:19 – 36:43; Matthew 1:1-2; Luke 3:33-37 (Complete Jewish Bible and New International Version)

Keep remembering that the Bible was not meant to be a world history. It is a historical record of what happened in one family line. And though Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters after they were commanded to leave their perfect home in the Garden of Eden, the only “branch” on the family tree that is traced completely in the Bible is the lineage that runs from Seth to Jesus, son of Mary … Son of God.

So far we’ve seen this much of Adam and Eve’s family tree:

Adam and Eve  ==>  Seth  ==>  Noah ==> Shem ==> (Abram & Sarai) ==> Abraham and Sarah ==> Isaac ==> Jacob

And this is where we left off:

At age 100, Abraham and his wife Sarah were surprised with a baby boy. They named him Isaac (a.k.a. “the promised son”). When Isaac grew up, he and his wife Rebekah were surprised with TWO infant boys — Esau and Jacob. When they grew into men, the younger twin outwitted the older and was given the birthright and blessing that should have gone to the first born. And just as God foretold before their birth, Jacob became the stronger brother. His descendants (Israel) became a stronger nation than that of Esau (Edom, in modern-day southern Jordan), and Esau’s descendants have collectively held a deadly grudge!

The RELATIONSHIP between the Lord God and Jacob grew stronger. But the RELATIONSHIP between Esau and Jacob was seriously damaged and remains shaky between their descendants to this day.

I encourage you to read about Jacob’s life from Genesis 25:19 through 32:32, and get a sense of how very blurred the lines were becoming between right and wrong, GOOD and EVIL.

Also notice TWO VERY IMPORTANT EVENTS:

1. Jacob became the father of 12 sons. (Genesis 29:31 – 30:24 and 35:16-18)

2. Jacob’s name was changed to ISRAEL! (Genesis 32:28)

From that moment on, the descendants of Jacob’s 12 sons would be collectively called the nation of ISRAEL.

9. Jesus, descendant of Judah

The following is based on Genesis 25:19 – 36:43; Matthew 1:1-2; Luke 3:33-37 (Complete Jewish Bible and New International Version)

Keep remembering that the Bible was not meant to be a world history. It is a historical record of what happened in one family line. And though Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters after they were commanded to leave their perfect home in the Garden of Eden, the only “branch” on the family tree that is traced completely in the Bible is the lineage that runs from Seth to Jesus, son of Mary … Son of God.

So far we’ve seen this much of Adam and Eve’s family tree:

Adam and Eve  ==>  Seth  ==>  Noah ==> Shem ==> (Abram & Sarai) ==> Abraham and Sarah ==> Isaac ==> Jacob ==> Judah

And this is where we left off:

TWO VERY IMPORTANT EVENTS:

1. Jacob became the father of 12 sons. (Genesis 29:31 – 30:24 and 35:16-18)

2. Jacob’s name was changed to ISRAEL! (Genesis 32:28)

From that moment on, the descendants of Jacob’s 12 sons would be collectively called the nation of ISRAEL.

From this point, Jacob is primarily called “Israel” in scripture, and his descendants are called “Israelites.” From Jacob and his four wives came twelve sons — the twelve tribes of Israel. The rest of the Old Testament recounts their BROKEN RELATIONSHIP and unfaithfulness toward the Lord God, their Creator.

One of the most blatant “evil doers” of the 12 brothers was Judah. He was next in the family line between Adam and Jesus. His life shows that GOD CAN USE ANYONE HE CHOOSES TO ACCOMPLISH HIS PURPOSE!

But as with Cain (evil) and Abel (good), there is a flip side to Judah — in the person of his little brother JOSEPH. Joseph represented everything GOOD in RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. And we’re going to take a quick side trip in this study to look at Joseph’s life and legacy … NEXT.

10. Time Out: Joseph “the Savior”

The following is based on Genesis 37 – 50 (Complete Jewish Bible and New International Version)

Keep remembering that the Bible was not meant to be a world history. It is a historical record of what happened in one family line. And though Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters after they were commanded to leave their perfect home in the Garden of Eden, the only “branch” on the family tree that is traced completely in the Bible is the lineage that runs from Seth to Jesus, son of Mary … Son of God.

So far we’ve seen this much of Adam and Eve’s family tree:

Adam and Eve  ==>  Seth  ==>  Noah ==> Shem ==> (Abram & Sarai) ==> Abraham and Sarah ==> Isaac ==> Jacob ==> Judah

And this is where we left off:

When Abraham had just one son, Isaac, God promised to make him into a great nation. Isaac had two sons — twins, Esau and Jacob. Jacob had 12 sons, and it was through these men that God would build the great nation of ISRAEL. Just one of them would be chosen to continue the lineage that led to Jesus. That was Judah.

But the one son who had the greatest impact on the destiny of the Israelites was Joseph, Jacob’s favorite son. We have to take a moment to look at Joseph’s legacy simply because we can learn so much from his RELATIONSHIP with the Lord God. So here are some highlights of his amazing life …

  • Joseph had dreams that his family would one day bow down to him.
  • His home was the land of Canaan, but his  jealous brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt. (Remember the curse on Canaan? Gen. 9:24-27)

Scripture tells us that: “ADONAI [the Lord] was with Yosef [Joseph], and he became wealthy while he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. His master saw how ADONAI was with him, that ADONAI prospered every thing that he did. Yosef pleased him as he served him, and his master appointed him manager of his household; he entrusted all his possessions to Yosef…. ADONAI BLESSED the Egyptian for Yosef’s sake; ADONAI’S blessing was on all he owned … so he paid no attention to his affairs, except for the food he ate.”  (Genesis 39:2-6, Complete Jewish Bible)

Joseph was about 17 years old when he entered into service as Potiphar’s assistant. Everything went well for him until he was around 28. Scripture says that Joseph was well-built and handsome, and Potiphar’s wife took notice of him …

  • Potiphar’s wife enticed Joseph to come to bed with her, but he refused.
  • Day after day, she kept pressing him, until one day she grabbed him by his robe and said, “Sleep with me!”
  • Joseph fled, leaving his cloak in her hand. She used it as evidence against him and accused him of rape.
  • When Potiphar heard the story from his wife, he put Joseph in prison, where the king’s prisoners were confined.

Again Scripture explains that Joseph’s RELATIONSHIP with the Lord God (Adonai) was tested. Here’s what happened …

“But Adonai was with Yosef, showing him grace and giving him favor in the sight of the prison warden. The prison warden made Yosef supervisor of all the prisoners in the prison; so that whatever they did there, he was in charge of it. The prison warden paid no attention to anything Yosef did, because Adonai was with him; and whatever he did, Adonai prospered.”   (Genesis 39:21-23, CJB)

Joseph trusted God and maintained his integrity for two years while he was in prison, and God was with him! I encourage you to read Genesis 40 to get a grip on the details of his situation and on what happened to two men imprisoned with him.  Ultimately, Joseph ended up in the presence of Pharaoh, where God gave him the interpretation of worrisome dreams that the king of Egypt had had. Pharaoh was so impressed that this is what happened …

Pharaoh said to Yosef, ‘Here, I place you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.’ Pharaoh took his signet ring off his hand and put it on Yosef’s hand, had him clothed in fine linen with a gold chain around his neck and had him ride in his second best chariot; and they cried before him, ‘Bow down!’ Thus he placed him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. Pharaoh said to Yosef, ‘I, Pharaoh, decree that without your approval no one is to raise his hand or his foot in all the land of Egypt.‘” (Genesis 41:41-44, CJB)

Just as the Lord had foretold, there were 7 years of abundance in the land. Joseph obeyed the Lord’s instructions to store grain during those years, so when 7 years of famine came — as the Lord had also foretold — everyone from far and near came to Joseph for food Including his 10 older brothers! They didn’t recognize him and had no clue that the annoying little brother that they had sold into slavery as a young man was now in authority over the Pharaoh’s affairs in Egypt!

The story is a fascinating one, recorded in Genesis41:41 – 45:28. But here’s what you need to know:

When Joseph finally revealed his identity to his brothers, they were terrified. But instead of seeking vengeance, Joseph said to them, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.

So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God.” (Genesis 45:4-8, NIV)

BOTTOM LINE: Joseph became the “savior” of his entire family — the nation of Israel! His behavior and attitude through the ups and downs, extreme highs and dreadful disappointments of life as he grew into manhood, stand out in the Hebrew family history as a shining example to all of us.

However, Joseph is NOT a direct ancestor of Jesus. His older brother Judah was, and his story is far from that of righteous Joseph. We’ll look at that NEXT.

This study continues in the file “Who is Jesus?”  (Parts 11-12) …

 

 

Who is Jesus? (Parts 1-5)

Bible Studies by Paula Yingst

1.  Jesus, Descendant of Adam and Eve

(The following is based on Genesis 3-4; Isaiah 14:12-15; John 12:30-31; 1 John 5:18-20)

The Torah — the Bible’s Old Testament — records that in the beginning, the Lord God (Adonai) created a man and a woman (Adam and Eve) for the purpose of RELATIONSHIP with Him. He wanted them to love Him and be devoted to Him in their hearts, which pumps the blood that sustains the life of a human being.

In order for Adam and Eve to truly love their Creator, they had to be given free choice — either to love the Lord their God (absolute GOOD), or to choose a different, OPPOSITE  “god” to relate to (absolute EVIL). That other entity is known by many names, such as  Satan or Lucifer or the devil. He was once the most beautiful angel in heaven. But, according to the prophet Isaiah, “the evil one” chose to rebel against the Lord of hosts (Adonai) and he fell from heaven to planet Earth at some point in time before man was formed from the dust of the earth.

Long story short:  Adam and Eve chose to disrespect their Creator and believe the lie that the evil one (disguised as a snake) told them. You can read about all of that in Genesis 3. The choice that they made required a response from their Parent, God the Father.

His words are recorded in Genesis 3:4-19. But here’s the most important thing that the perfect, good, and  loving Father had to say:

 Adonai, God, said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all livestock and wild animals. You will crawl on your belly and eat dust as long as you live. I will put animosity between you and the woman, and between your descendant and her descendant; he will bruise your head, and you will bruise his heel.'”

That was the first prophecy recorded in Scripture that foretold the birth of Yeshua or JESUS.

(c) Paula Yingst 2017

 

2. Jesus, Descendant of Seth

(The following is based on Genesis 3:21-24; Genesis 4; 1 Chronicles 1:1; Luke 3:38)

According to the Torah — the Bible’s Old Testament — the first man (Adam) and the first woman (Eve) disrespected the Lord God and chose to obey “the serpent” — Satan —  rather than their Creator. That one act of disobedience granted the evil one authority over those two individuals, as well as EVERY HUMAN DESCENDANT that would result from their union.

But God still loved them. Still longed for RELATIONSHIP with them. And He demonstrated that love through two basic acts of protection and provision:

First, Adonai, God, made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21, The Complete Jewish Bible).  This was the first time animals were killed for the purpose of protecting physical, human  bodies from the harsh conditions that existed beyond the pristine boundaries which God had assigned for Adam and Eve to call home.

(When “sin” was allowed to contaminate Adam and Eve’s perfect environment, their loving Father had to take yet another drastic measure to ensure their spiritual protection.)

Second, Adonai, God, said, ‘See, the man has become like one of us [the introduction of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit combined], knowing good and evil. Now, to prevent his putting out his hand and taking also from the tree of life, eating, and living forever [trapped in a fallen world] — ‘ therefore Adonai, God, sent him out of the garden of ‘Eden to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So he drove the man out, and he placed at the east of the garden of ‘Eden the k’ruvim [cherubs beyond human comprehension] and a flaming sword which turned in every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:22-24, The Complete Jewish Bible)

On the outside of perfection, Adam had sexual relations with his wife (Havah), and they produced two sons — Cain (Kayin), the older son, farmed the soil. And Abel (Hevel), who kept the sheep. The passage suggests that Cain’s heart was filled with EVIL, whereas Abel’s heart was filled with GOOD. Cain rebelled against God and killed his brother Abel in a fit of jealousy and anger. Then he lied when the Lord God asked him what he had done. You can read the written account  in Genesis 4. This was the first time that murder was recorded in the Old Testament. God responded by banishing Cain from RELATIONSHIP with his parents and commanding that he would be “a fugitive” — a restless wanderer on the earth.

But God still loved Cain and provided a “mark” (New International Version) or “sign” (Complete Jewish Bible) on his body so that “no one who found him would kill him.”

(Herein lies a mystery: Where did the other people come from? How were they made? When did they appear on the earth? … I don’t feel qualified to comment on this, but you can find MANY other writers who have “set in stone” opinions about it!)

Once again, God showed compassion toward Adam and Eve and blessed them with a third son: “Adam again had sexual relations with his wife, and she gave birth to a son whom she named Shet — or Seth — [meaning granted], ‘For God has granted me another seed in place of Hevel, since Kayin killed him.’ To Shet too was born a son, whom he called Enosh. That is when people began to call on the name of Adonai.” (Genesis 4:25-26, CJB)

The birth of Seth signaled an era of hope for mankind in a fallen world. Generations later, another birth would also be welcomed as a hopeful and joyful SIGN … the arrival of Yeshua — Jesus.  A direct descendant of Seth…. God in the flesh.

(c) Paula Yingst 2017

 

3.  Jesus, descendant of Noah

(The following is based on Genesis 5:1-6:8; Luke 3:35)

Something that people need to understand — according to author and speaker Dr. Larry Osborne, one of four senior pastors at North Coast Church, based in Vista, California — is that the Bible was never intended to be a history of the world. It is primarily a family genealogy, emphasizing the continuing lineage that can be traced from Adam and Eve down through generations to one woman and one man — the virgin Mary and her son, Yeshua or, as the English translation calls him, Jesus Christ.

We have seen so far that Jesus was descended from Adam and Eve’s son Seth. Genesis 5:3 tells us that Adam was 130 years old when Seth was born. The balance of Chapter 5 records Seth’s family line — all the males born to his descendants over the course of hundreds of years — down to a man named Noah.

Perhaps the most important issue to point out here, before we continue beyond Noah, is spelled out by two key verses.

At the end of Chapter 4, verse 26 says this: “Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to call on the name of the Lord” (NIV). Chapter 5 is dedicated to detailing the seven generations that passed between Seth and his “great times six” grandson, Noah. (Don’t quote me on that, please. I wasn’t great at math. Look it up for yourself!) Then in Chapter 6 we come across an interesting change in the culture of humankind. Genesis 6:5 says this: “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (NIV).

The RELATIONSHIP that had begun forming around the time of Seth and Enosh had deteriorated to such a degree that the Lord God was having second thoughts:

The Lord God regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created — and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground — for I regret that I have made them.'” (Genesis 6:5-7, NIV)

But then something amazing and very important happened. We see in verse 8 that the Lord God STILL DESIRED RELATIONSHIP: But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.

One man’s GOODNESS rose above the unprecedented EVIL that had taken over the entire earth!
(c) Paula Yingst 2017
4. Jesus, descendant of Shem

(The following is based on Genesis 6:1 – 10:32; Ezekiel 14:12-14; Luke 3:36-37 —Complete Jewish Bible and New International Version)

So far we’ve seen this much of Adam and Eve’s family tree:

Adam and Eve  ==>  Seth  ==>  Noah

And this is where we left off:

“The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time…. ‘I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created — and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground — for I regret that I have made them.’  But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:6-8, NIV)

Remember that the Bible was not meant to be a world history. It is a historical record of what happened in one family line. And though Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters after they were commanded to leave their perfect home in the Garden of Eden, the only “branch” on the family tree that is traced completely in the Bible is the lineage that runs from Seth to Jesus, son of Mary … Son of God.

You can read the Bible’s account of what happened the first time God decided to “delete” evil from the earth in Genesis 6:9 – 8:22. You can also read about that worldwide flood in the writings of other ancient cultures. Bottom line: Everything was destroyed — including all of humankind — except for Noah, the man who “found favor in the eyes of the Lord,” and his seven family members.

Thousands of years later, people would still be remembering Noah as a righteous man with a GOOD  heart. He was a human who faithfully walked with God at a time when everyone else had rejected RELATIONSHIP with their Creator.

The prophet Ezekiel wrote:

“The word of ADONAI came to me: ‘Human being, when a land sins against me by dealing treacherously with me, so that I stretch out my hand over it and break off its food supply, sending it famine and eliminating both its human and its animals; even if these three men were in it — Noach [Noah], Dani’el [Daniel] and Iyov [Job] — they would by their righteousness save only themselves,’ says Adonai ELOHIM [the Sovereign Lord].” (Ezekiel 14:12-14, CJB)

In other words, by the time Ezekiel’s generation had rolled around, EVIL had so saturated humankind once again that even if the three most righteous men in the family genealogy — NOAH, Daniel, and Job — had been alive at that time, only those three could have been saved as a result of their good behavior. THEY COULD NOT HAVE SAVED ANY ONE ELSE! Because a human cannot save the soul of another human. And only in rare cases — precisely THREE at that point in time — could an individual earn God’s grace by being GOOD.

But if you read what happened AFTER the global devastation, you’ll find that Noah was not perfect. He placed a curse on one of his grandsons that would last for generations — possibly even to this very day. But that’s another story.

What you need to know for now (and for the purpose of this study) is this:  Jesus is a direct descendant of Noah’s son, Shem. Find it for yourself in Luke 3:35.

(c) Paula Yingst 2017

 

5. Jesus, Descendant of Abram and Sarai

(The following is based on Genesis 9:18 – 17:27;  Ezekiel 37-38; Luke 3:33-37 — Complete Jewish Bible and New International Version)

REMEMBER that the Bible was not meant to be a world history. It is a historical record of what happened in one family line. And though Adam and Eve had many other sons and daughters after they were commanded to leave their perfect home in the Garden of Eden, the only “branch” on the family tree that is traced completely in the Bible is the lineage that runs from Seth to Jesus, son of Mary … Son of God.

So far we’ve seen this much of Adam and Eve’s family tree:

Adam and Eve  ==>  Seth  ==>  Noah ==> Shem

Here’s what’s important about Shem and his two brothers:

“The sons of Noach [Noah] who went out from the ark were Shem, Ham and Yefet [Japheth]. Ham is the father of  Kena’an [Canaan]. These three were the sons of Noach [Noah], and the whole earth was populated by them.” (Genesis 9:18-19, CJB)

According to the Torah — the Bible’s Old Testament — after the worldwide flood, Noah’s three sons had an unfortunate encounter with their father. Noah got drunk on wine that he made from grapes produced by a vineyard that he planted, and the result was not pretty. I’ll let you read the details (few that they are) in Genesis 9:20-27.

Bottom line: When Noah awoke from his stupor, he got so angry with his youngest son, Ham, that he cursed him … specifically, he cursed Ham’s son, Canaan, and that whole branch of the family tree! Now Ham had three other sons besides Canaan — Cush, Egypt (Mitzrayim) and Put — but Noah (for whatever reason) chose Canaan to curse because of the “evil” done by Canaan’s father,  Ham.  (“Not fair!” we say…. But of course, we remember, things don’t always seem fair in this “fallen world” and we don’t know the cultural details of the situation. So it’s probably best not to judge, except to say that Noah and his sons were imperfect human beings, and perhaps they didn’t realize the literal meaning and power of spoken words to the Lord God.)

The curse on Canaan went like this:

 Then he said, ‘Blessed be Adonai, the God of Shem; Kena‘an will be their servant.  May God enlarge Yefet [Japheth]; he will live in the tents of Shem, but Kena‘an [Canaan] will be their servant.'” (Genesis 9:26-27, CJB)

For us in the 21st century, it’s important to note that Ham’s son, Canaan and his descendants were, from that moment, destined to become slaves to their uncles and cousins — the two other main, supporting branches of the family tree!

(According to Bible scholars, the descendants of Japheth spread north of the mountains of Ararat (located north of Mesopotamia and east of modern-day Turkey — Assyria and Babylonia / European and Russian countries); the descendants of Shem (Semites) spread to the west and south into the Middle East and Arabia; the descendants of Ham went south into Egypt and Africa.)

The prophet Ezekiel wrote that at some point in history — which has not yet occurred — the three key brothers’ direct descendants, namely Magog, Meshek, Tubal, Persia, Cush, Put, Gomer, and Beth Togarmah, “plus many nations with them” will come against ISRAEL (the chosen, direct descendants of Shem). Hopefully we’ll get to that eventually. But if you’d like to dig deeper right now, I suggest you do an internet search for those specific names.

What you need to know for now (and for the purpose of this study) is this:  From Shem we’re going to skip over multiple generations to his direct descendant Abram, who — like Noah — was tapped at just the right moment in history to maintain a “holy” (“set apart”) branch or lineage that would eventually lead to Jesus (Yeshua).

This study continues in the file “Who is Jesus?” (Parts 6-10) …
(c) Paula Yingst 2017