Bible Genealogy

Hey all,

For those who enjoy this sort of thing, I created a spreadsheet of all the people mentioned in 1 Chronicles (and elsewhere). Use the search feature or just browse around.

One thing I found illuminating from this is how many of David’s cabinet were relatives. This tradition is somewhat similar in Jesus’ ministry.

Enjoy:

Bible Genealogy

Reconciling Matthew’s and Luke’s Temptations of Jesus in the Wilderness

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus is tempted by Satan in the wilderness in the following order:

  1. To turn stones into bread (Matt. 4:3-4),
  2. To jump off the temple (Matt. 4:5-7),
  3. To acquire the kingdoms of the world (Matt. 4:8-10). 

However, in Luke’s gospel, the order is:

  1. To turn stones into bread (Luke 4:3-4),
  2. To acquire the kingdoms of the world (Luke 4:5-8),
  3. To jump off the temple (Luke 4:9-12).

Thus, they reverse the order of the 2nd and 3rd temptations.

A clue to harmonizing the two accounts may be found through examining the Greek wording. Namely, Matthew uses the more specific time-sequence Greek words tote (“then,” Matt. 4:5) and palin (“again,” Matt. 4:8) to introduce his temptations, whereas Luke uses the less specific kai (Luke 4:5), and, perhaps[1], de (“then,” Luke 4:9), to introduce them[2] [3]

Additionally, several Old Latin witnesses, at least one Vulgate manuscript, and Ambrose’s Commentary on Luke rearrange Luke’s gospel to follow the order of Matthew’s (Metzger 2006, 114). This means that ancient witnesses also favored Matthew’s ordering as the correct ordering, and thus tried to modify Luke’s account[4].

Furthermore, Luke is known to record events out of chronological order for, presumably, theological reasons (e.g. Luke 3:18-21, where Luke records John’s imprisonment before Jesus was baptized by John).

Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the content of each temptation, and the themes of each writer, also both point to Matthew retaining the correct ordering.

Consider that 2 temptations begin with, “If You are the Son of God,” (Matt. 4:3 = Luke 4:3; Matt. 4:6 = Luke 4:9) while the other temptation says, “…if You will (fall down and) worship me,” (Matt. 4:9 = Luke 4:7). It seems (at least marginally) that the questions of Jesus being the Son of God would both come first, with the climactic temptation to worship Satan coming last. And this is precisely the order Matthew gives.

Further still, there is a clear theme running throughout Luke’s gospel that may influence the ordering he assigned, namely, Luke draws out Jesus traveling to Jerusalem as His final destination (cf. Luke 9:51, see also Reconciling Matthew’s and Luke’s Birth Narratives and Resurrection Harmonization).

Thus, it fits Luke well to thematically place Satan’s Jerusalem temple temptation as the final temptation that the others were moving toward (especially since Jerusalem’s temple is the very place Luke ends his entire gospel, cf. 24:53), even while he is careful to not record this as if it was the chronological sequence of events.


[1] I say “perhaps,” because some copies of Luke’s gospel have the word, “de” in Luke 4:9 (such as those used by the New American Standard Bible), while other copies instead have the word, “kai,” in Luke 4:9 (such as those used by the King James Version and New King James Version).

[2] It is unfortunate that the NKJV translation does not indicate this important difference when they translate Luke’s kai as, “then,” thus making it appear to English readers that Matthew and Luke contradict each other in introducing the temptations.

[3] “The temporal markers in Matthew’s account are…slightly more specific [than Luke’s],” (Luke 4 | Net Bible, note 14).

[4] I’m not endorsing their rearrangement of Scripture, nor am I arguing that Luke originally wrote the temptations in the same order as Matthew.  Rather, I’m citing these ancient witnesses as added testimony that Matthew’s ordering, not Luke’s, was seen as the standard sequence.

Reconciling Matthew’s and Luke’s Birth Narratives

Different Events Covered

Luke and Matthew clearly have different emphases and themes in their birth narratives (and gospels), and thus cover different events.  For instance, Luke mentions:

  • the Roman census,
  • the events of John the Baptist’s birth,
  • Joseph and Mary residing in Nazareth before Jesus was born,
  • and other things that Matthew ignores. 

On the other hand, Matthew gives describes:

  • the visit of the wise men,
  • the slaughter of the infants,
  • the journey to Egypt,
  • and other events bypassed by Luke. 

On the surface, it may seem difficult to understand and reconcile these differences, but closer inspection will show the differences to complement each other and enlighten our understanding of the Lord and His word.

Luke’s Themes & Emphases

First, it is important to recognize the emphases of each writer. 

Luke seems to want to promote Christianity as a religion that produces obedient citizens faithful to true Judaism, and favorable to the Roman government[1].  An example of this is seen when he says that John’s parents, “were…walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless,” (Luke 1:6), even though he later writes that John’s father was disobedient to the angel’s words (Luke 1:20).  This shows that Luke wrote with generalizations and theological emphases (e.g. Zacharias was obedient) while still maintaining truthfulness (e.g. Zacharias sinned).

Furthermore, Luke emphasizes:

  • Joseph and Mary as dutiful to fulfill the king’s census (Luke 2:4),
  • dutiful to follow the law (Luke 2:39a), and
  • dutiful to return to their hometown (Luke 2:39b).

While he ignores:

  • men worshiping Jesus and disobeying the king (Matt. 2:12),
  • Herod’s cruel massacre of infants (which is decidedly unfavorable to the Roman government, and thus strays from Luke’s emphasis, see Matt. 2:16), and
  • Mary and Joseph secretly escaping to Egypt in defiance of King Herod (Matt. 2:13). 

Luke also highlights Jesus as being born in Galilee and returning to begin his ministry there. Later on, however, Luke writes, “He [Jesus] set his face to go to Jerusalem,” (9:51). From that point, so thoroughly does Luke focus on Jerusalem that he (alone) ignores the Galilee episodes of Jesus’ resurrection. It seems that Luke has in mind a focus on Jesus bringing His movement to the center of Judaism (Jerusalem herself), where, he later writes, the church began (Acts 1-2). All of this continues to emphasize Luke’s theme of the Jesus movement encouraging obedient and faithful Judaism (see Resurrection Harmonization for more on how this relates to Jesus’ resurrection).

This selective storytelling merely reflects emphasis—not deception or contradiction—in the same way that any person who recounts a story focuses on certain details with certain audiences, while bypassing other details.  

On top of this, Luke writes Jesus’ birth account with an interesting focus on other certain patterns (Fitzmyer 1970, 28A:313–14).  One of these patterns is the departure and return of characters after Luke introduces them.

For instance:

  • Zacharias returned (1:23),
  • the angel returned (1:38),
  • Mary returned (1:56),
  • the shepherds returned (2:20), and
  • Joseph, Mary, and Jesus “returned to Galilee,” (2:39),
  • etc. 

Thus, Luke writes: “So when they [Joseph and Mary] had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee,” (2:39), while ignoring the visit of the wise men, and Joseph and Mary’s exodus to Egypt (both of which seemingly happened before their return to Galilee in Matthew’s gospel). This matches Luke’s departure-return motif, and does not contradict these events recorded in Matthew. For instance, as I propose, it would be completely consistent for Joseph and Mary to be visited by the wise men and flee to Egypt after they fulfilled the law, but before they went to Galilee, without Luke mentioning it. 

In fact, a similar phenomenon takes place when Luke recounts Paul’s conversion in Acts 9, and explains that Paul went to Damascus after he saw the Lord (v. 19), and then went to Jerusalem (v. 26), while ignoring the fact that Paul went to Arabia in between his visit to Damascus and Jerusalem (cf. Gal. 1:17).  Luke would have known this detail as Paul’s traveling companion[2], and Paul would have known this detail when he endorsed Luke’s writing as the words of Scripture[3].  However, it simply did not fit the emphasis of his writing through the Holy Spirit to include Paul’s fleeing to Arabia, just as it did not fit the theme of his writing to include Joseph and Mary’s fleeing to Egypt in Luke 2:38.  

Matthew’s Themes & Emphases

In contrast, Matthew emphasizes Jesus as the Messiah spoken of in the O.T. Scriptures who saves the Jews (first), and the Gentiles (later)[4]. Thus:

  • The visit of the wise men showed that Jesus fulfilled Micah 5:2 (see Matt. 2:6), Numbers 24:17-19 (Morris n.d.), and Psalm 72:10-15 (McDowell 1999, 174).
  • The slaughter of the infants fulfilled Jeremiah 31:15 (see Matt. 2:18).
  • The journey to Egypt fulfilled Hosea 11:1 (see Matt. 2:15).
  • Their return to Nazareth fulfilled O.T. prophecy (see Matt. 2:23).
  • And Jesus beginning in Jerusalem (the “capital” of Judaism) and moving to Galilee (“of the Gentiles” – Matt. 4:15) by divine decree showed that God ordained Jesus’ ministry to be for the Jews (first) and Gentiles (later)[5]

In contrast, the Roman census, John the Baptist’s birth, and Joseph and Mary living in Nazareth before the birth of Jesus do not show O.T. fulfillment or help establish the Jew-then-Gentile salvation themes of Matthew, and thus are not included.

Therefore, it should be apparent that the writers had different agendas and different styles in their narratives, which explains their seeming discordance.  However, comparing the two accounts reveals a fuller picture of the events of Jesus’ birth, and shows no contradiction.

Matthew, Luke, and Isaiah

Now, in harmonizing the two accounts by themselves, there are a few details we simply cannot know for sure.  However, there is one more witness to the birth narrative that can help us more precisely match Matthew with Luke.  That witness is Isaiah the prophet who amazingly prophesied of God coming in a virgin birth 700 years before Jesus was ever born, as seen in Isaiah 7-9.  Though some elements in the prophecy address immediate events of Isaiah’s time, it is clear that he ultimately spoke of events that could only be fulfilled in Christ’s birth.  For instance, he writes: “Unto us a child is born…His name will be called…Mighty God, Everlasting Father,” (Isaiah 9:6).  No one except God Incarnate can fit this description.  Further, even the people living in Isaiah’s time who fulfilled the events were, “for signs and wonders,” (Is. 8:18) that speak to Christ, so that the writer of Hebrews could quote events clearly written about Isaiah and his companions in Isaiah 8:18 as applying directly to Christ (see Heb. 2:13). 

When these facts are understood of Isaiah 7-9, it is even more stunning to realize that details of Isaiah’s prophecy accurately show successive events recorded in Christ’s birth, and, even more, the events described would not make sense without having both Matthew and Luke’s accounts to provide all the details.  In this way, Isaiah truly serves as a third witness in bridging the accounts together (albeit in a more veiled form that requires care and sensitivity to understand). 

Here is what Isaiah lays out in chronological order, as well as the fulfillment recorded in Matthew and/or Luke (let the reader notice that if you removed either Matthew or Luke’s birth narrative, you would have an incomplete witness to Isaiah’s prophecy):

Isaiah’s Prophecy Matthew and/or Luke’s Narrative
God will initiate a virgin birth (7:12-14). The Holy Spirit came on Mary; God brought Jesus into the world (Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:35).
The child’s name would be revealed by the Lord, and confirmed by two separate witnesses (8:1-2). Mary was the first witness to Jesus’ name (Luke 1:31). Joseph was the second witness (Matt. 1:21).
God is prophesied as a salvation to some, but a stumbling block to others within Israel, who will break many (8:14-15). Anna prophesied that Jesus will bring the rise and fall of many in Israel (Luke 2:34).
“Mediums and wizards,” will bring shame on Israel, while Israel curses God their king (8:19-21). By contrast, God sends wise men through a star (like sorcerers and mediums) to be the ones who recognize Jesus as King and worship Him—the very thing Israel should have been doing with God all along (Matt. 2:1-12)!
The earth will be troubled and dark for rejecting God as king (8:21). Herod brought great slaughter on infants (Matt. 2:16-18).
After the boy is born, but before he can say, “Mother,” and, “Father,” a pompous king will wreak havoc over Israel (8:4-8). Herod slaughtered the infants while Christ was under 2 years old (Matt. 2:16-18).
The child, who is a, “light,” and “God,” will enter Galilee (9:1-7). After fleeing to Egypt, Joseph and Mary introduce Jesus to Galilee for the first time, and thus, God the “light” entered Galilee (Matt. 2:22; Luke 2:38b).

As you can see, the prophecies lay out in great detail elements surrounding Jesus’ birth, so that Matthew and Luke’s testimonies are needed together to show how Isaiah prophetically spoke of these events 700 years before they happened.  

Sequence of Birth Events

Finally, now that we have considered all 3 sources (Isaiah, Matthew, and Luke), here is the general flow of the birth narrative as I understand it, shown in the subject headings of the harmony:

  1. John the Baptist’s Birth Foretold; John is Conceived – Luke 1:5-25
  2. Jesus’ Birth Foretold to Mary; Jesus is Conceived – Matt. 1:18; Luke 1:26-38
  3. Unborn Jesus and John Are “Introduced” – Luke 1:39-56
  4. John the Baptist is Born – Luke 1:57-80
  5. Jesus’ Birth Foretold to Joseph – Matt. 1:19-25
  6. Joseph and Mary Journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem – Luke 2:1-5
  7. Jesus’ Birth – Luke 2:6-20
  8. Jesus’ Circumcision and Naming – Matt. 1:25; Luke 2:21
  9. Jesus Presented to the Lord in Jerusalem – Luke 2:22-39
  10. Wise Men Seek Jesus – Matt. 2:1-12
  11. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus Flee to Egypt – Matt. 2:13-15
  12. Herod Slaughters the Infants – Matt. 2:16-18
  13. Joseph, Mary, and Jesus Return to Nazareth of Galilee – Matt. 2:19-23; Luke 2:39  

Further Reading

References

  • Fitzmyer, Joseph A. 1970. The Gospel According to Luke I-IX. Vol. 28A. Anchor Bible. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc.
  • McDowell, Josh. 1999. The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict: Evidence I & II Fully Updated in One Volume To Answer The Questions Challenging Christians in the 21st Century. Revised, Updated edition. Nashville, Tenn: Thomas Nelson Inc.
  • Morris, Henry M. n.d. “When They Saw the Star.” Institute for Creation Research. Accessed March 23, 2019. https://www.icr.org/home/resources/resources_tracts_whentheysawthestar/.

[1] This especially fits the backdrop of Luke writing Luke-Acts while Paul (his leader and companion) awaits sentence in Rome (Acts 28:16ff.). Paul’s alleged crimes were: (1) encouraging disobedience to the Jewish law (cf. Acts 21:28; 25:8), and (2) encouraging civil unrest and rebellion to Caesar (cf. Acts 24:5; 25:8). Thus, in part, Luke seems to be writing his gospel and Acts to help clear the name of Paul and the Christian movement taking place. See further confirmation of Luke’s emphasis in Resurrection Harmonization.

[2] See the, “we,” passages of Acts that begin with Acts 16:16. The author (Luke) shows that he was Paul’s traveling companion, at least for these particular journeys. Further, Paul quotes gospel sayings in his letters that match Luke’s gospel better than the others (1 Cor. 11:23-26 = Luke 22:19-22 // 1 Tim. 5:18 = Luke 10:7), which again shows special familiarity between Paul and Luke.

[3] In 1 Tim. 5:18, Paul says that the statement, “A laborer is worthy of his wages,” is part of Scripture.  This phrase can only be found in 1 place in the entire Bible: Luke 10:7.  Thus, Paul recognizes Luke’s writings of the Gospel of Luke and (by extension) Acts as Scripture.

[4] See more on Matthew’s theme of Gentile salvation inResurrection Harmonization.

[5] See more on this theme of Matthew’s inResurrection Harmonization .

Samuel’s Spirit Brought Back?

In 1 Samuel 28, an unusual event takes place:

  • Samuel was dead (v. 3)
  • Saul has a medium raise Samuel’s spirit from the dead (vv. 7-19)
    • Samuel’s spirit rebukes Saul and prophesies to him (vv. 16-19)

Observations

  • The medium seems very startled by Samuel’s appearance: “When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice…the woman said to Saul, ‘I see a god coming up out of the earth,'” (1 Sam. 28:12-13). This indicates that this is not a normal occurrence for her (despite claims of regularly communicating with the dead).
  • God condemns Saul’s actions: “Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance,” (1 Chron. 10:13, NIV).
    • Saul himself knew this action was wrong (1 Sam. 28:3)
    • Saul’s action came from fear of the Philistines and rejecting God’s ways (1 Sam. 28:5-7)
  • Deut. 18:9-12; Exod. 22:18; Lev. 19:25, 31; 20:6, 27; Is. 8:19; 19:3; Jer. 27:9-10 – praying for/to the dead is prohibited by God repeatedly.
  • Another occurrence of deceased saints communicating with those on earth happened with Moses and Elijah speaking to Jesus on the “Mount of Transfiguration,” (Matt. 17:1-9). This, like 1 Sam. 28, seems to have happened by God alone, and is notably unusual (cf. 2 Pet. 1:16-18).
  • At times, the disciples mistake Jesus for a spirit (Luke 24:37) or ghost (Matt. 14:26). And God also alludes to the popular thought of a ghost speaking from the deceased in Isaiah 29:4. But it is important to note that these popular ideas in no way represent God’s thoughts or ways (similarly, today there is popular notion of ghosts, even while many talking about it do not necessarily believe them true).

Conclusion

  • Only 2 occurrences of deceased saints communing with those on earth are recorded in the 6,000-year history of the Bible.
    • Both of these are notably unusual occurrences
    • Both of these were by God’s doing, not man’s
  • We are forbidden to seek anything along these lines (including the notion of praying to deceased saints – sorry Catholics).
  • Samuel’s appearing from the dead served as a final (and stunningly supernatural) rebuke that showed how emphatic God was against Saul’s success at this point (like a donkey prophetically rebuking Balaam–it was the height of insult that God stooped to such a low level and showed how stubborn he had become, see Prov. 26:5).

This Is A “Statute Forever”

Using biblegateway.com I found 19 references in the ESV Bible to various observances that are said to be a “statute forever.” Since some of these references speak to the same element, the list of items to be “statutes forever” comes to 14:

  1. Passover (Ex. 12:14, 17)
  2. Tending the lampstand (Ex. 27:21; Lev. 24:3)
  3. Garments for Levitical priests to wear (Ex. 28:43)
  4. Levitical priesthood (Ex. 29:9)
  5. Bronze basin used for ceremonial cleansing (Ex. 30:21)
  6. Not eating fat or blood (Lev. 3:17)
  7. Levitical priests not using alcohol while ministering (Lev. 10:9)
  8. Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:29, 31, 34; 23:31)
  9. Designated place for sacrifice (Lev. 17:7)
  10. Firstfruits festival (Lev. 23:14)
  11. Feast of Weeks festival (Lev. 23:21)
  12. Feast of Booths (Lev. 23:41)
  13. Sacrificial regulations for native and foreigner (Num. 15:15)
  14. Ceremonial cleansing (Num. 19:21)

As Christians who believe the Old Testament is God’s eternal and infallible word (e.g. John 10:35), we must take these charges seriously. But how do we fulfill commands that are wrapped up in a Covenant that has been surpassed by Christ’s covenant (Heb. 8:13)?

The good news is, any true Christian already is observing and fulfilling such ordinances by our worship of Christ. In fact, these ordinances amazingly point to Christ and His commands!

Consider:

  1. Jesus = “our Passover” (1 Cor. 5:7)
  2. Jesus = our “great High Priest” (Heb. 4:14) who tends the “lampstand” (i.e. the church – Rev. 1:20)
  3. Jesus = our “clothing” (Gal. 3:27), and our righteous deeds follow this as “fine linen” (Rev. 19:8), even as we are priests of God (1 Pet. 2:9)
  4. Jesus = a priest superior to and replacing of the Levitical priesthood (Heb. 7)
  5. Jesus’ sacrifice provides ultimate and eternal cleansing to all who trust Him (Col. 1:22)
  6. Fat and Blood – this one I’m not sure about. Anyone else?
  7. We all, as priests, are called to not be drunk (Eph. 5:18) and be sober-minded (1 Pet. 5:8)
  8. Christ fulfills the Day of Atonement in his death and resurrection (Heb. 9)
  9. Since Christ accomplished the ultimate sacrifice, we can now worship God anywhere (John 4)
  10. Christ = “our firstfruits” (1 Cor. 15:23)
  11. The Holy Spirit coming down at Pentecost brought the church into an unending “feast of weeks” (Acts 2)
  12. Feast of Booths – seems to signify Christ’s return; could also have fulfillment in the fact that our bodies are called “flesh-tents” (2 Cor. 5)
  13. Christ put an end to sacrifice as the ultimate and forever sacrifice (Heb. 9:26)
  14. Ceremonial cleansing – see point #5

Faithful worship of Jesus fulfills this far and beyond what any Jew of the Old Testament could have dreamed. May we worship the Lord today for who He is and what He’s done!

3 Highly Recommended Documentaries

If you haven’t, please check out the following films:

  1. American Gospel – Basically, it is a critique on the unbiblical prosperity gospel so prevalent in America and abroad today. It gives a biblical antidote to these abuses so that people can know the true gospel.
  2. Patterns of Evidence: Exodus – well-researched documentary that examines the evidence for the Biblical story of the Exodus
  3. The Moses Controversy – same producer of Patterns of Evidence (above). Thus, I’m sure it’s well researched and gives a good defense of Moses as the author of the first 5 books of the Bible (about time, in my opinion!).