The Early Seed Line of the Messiah

The Seed Line Shifts after Abel’s Murder

Because of the murder of his brother Cain was given a banishment from God and from his home region, which was near Eden. Eden was in Southeast Iraq near ancient Babylon or about forty miles southeast of Baghdad on the Euphrates River northwest of the Persian Gulf. Cain’s leaving God was only a departure of the physical presence of God in time and space, the Shekinah Glory. One cannot get away from God since He is a Spirit omnipresent. The Shekinah Glory is seen in as moving flame at the east end of the Garden of Eden.

Cain is seen as only wandering so far and then beginning to have a family and attempt to defy God’s decree for him to be a vagabond. However he settles in a geographic region known then as Nod (Hebrew for the land of wandering). After Cain settled in Nod he had a son Enoch with his wife and this son became the founder of a city by his same name. This was a prohibition of God that Cain violated. Cain was supposed to be a nomad. In violating God’s Word Cain set the stage for a satanically influenced world system where humanity would be organized around the principles of greed, selfishness, ambition, force and pleasure. We are commanded to not love this system in the New Testament (I John 2: 15-17). This city was destroyed with the Flood but the principles returned with the Babylonians after the Flood.

Cain and his wife had Enoch. Four generations down from him is Lamech who introduces polygamy and bigamy into the human family. He takes two wives. From the two wives Zillah and Adah there are three sons and a daughter mentioned in the Genesis account. The three sons are the progenitors of two crafts, music, and metallurgy as well as the nomadic lifestyle. The daughter’s contribution must have been significant due to here inclusion but it is not delineated. Those alive at the time and for the next several centuries probably knew of her exploits.

Adam then records a song in poetic form by Lamech. This type of Hebrew poetry is parallelism or one line repeating another with slightly different text. Lamech slew a youthful warrior who wounded him and demanded greater leniency in any vengeance that might come his way than that afforded to Cain (Genesis 4:24). Lamech boasted about the murder. Here is a picture of a selfish society defying God and His laws, seeking pleasure and self-indulgence. Lamech was proud that he killed another person. He bragged about his prowess in the vengeful murder. Lamech then boasts of his self-centered security. Cain interestingly asked God for protection. He must have known the result of the violation of God’s Word. Society would be very violent.

Lamech now very far from God believes in himself and his own capabilities.

It must be pointed out that there were seven generations highlighted in this passage moving down from Adam. Adam died in the seventh generation. It is important to see the developments in this time period of human history (930 years from Creation). Humanism and sin became entrenched with murder, lying, and self-pity becoming commonplace as well as seeking worldly security instead of God’s offer. All false religions follow the way of Cain.

The text now changes to focus on the line of Seth, which will be further developed in chapter five. Adam’s wife Chavah (Eve) comments that God has appointed her another son to replace the God centered Abel. His name is Seth and in keeping with the Hebrews having meaning for their names. Seth means, “appointed.” Seth was appointed to take the role of Abel and bring the Messiah. This is the seed line of the woman as promised in Genesis 3: 15. Christ would come through this line as the text in Luke 3: 23-38 clearly chart. Eve provided the naming of Seth exerting her authority over her child. Seth had a son shown here. It was Enosh and his name means “frail man.” Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.

This is a Hebrew expression stating public worship. So this is the beginning of open public worship of God in opposition to the way of Cain, which is worldly and self-centered. In strong contrast with Cain’s godless society was the righteous, those who called on God in acknowledgement. In the line from Seth there was belief. Seth himself was a provision from God, according to Eve’s statement of faith. In the days of Enosh, Seth’s son, men began to call on (“proclaim”) the name of the Lord (Yahweh).

The Patriarch’s Longevity

Genesis chapter five is the Toldot (generation) of Adam. It expresses the chronology of Adam to Noah. Both of these men represent significant points in the chronology of humanity on the earth. Adam was the first man made by God and Noah the only man (with his family) who survived the worldwide flood. It was the seed line of Adam through Seth that made it through the Flood. The line of Cain did not. Adam wrote portions of Genesis. This is clearly one of them as the text uses the word book to describe this section of Genesis. The Hebrew word for book is סֵ֔פֶר saafair. Because Adam died about 120 years before Noah was born we believe that Noah finished this section of the book of Genesis as well as the events of the Flood and on through the year 2000 from creation.

The first aspect of this Toldot that stands out is the length of the patriarch’s lives. We must realize that prior to the decay (Entropy) that came into the earth at the Fall mankind was made to live forever. Decay began and man’s life span began a steady decline to be less than a hundred years. This chronology is repeated in I Chronicles 1:1-14 and Luke 3: 3-38. There are no gaps in these accounts. One person is the father to the next. Further the years are normal years not some exaggerated unreal time frame. The Hebrew text does not accommodate a grandfather-grandson depiction in this account. These long life spans are validated in secular data as well as the biblical account. Two examples are, The Sumerian King List written between 2000 – 3,000 B.C. and Babylonian history by Berossus (Cir. 300 B.C.). The Sumerian King List records in succession the names of most of the kings of Sumer and the lengths of their reigns.

Sumer – Artist unknown

The Sumerians were the post Flood Empire that succeeded Nimrod in Babel. The Akkadians conquered Sumer. Creation was Cir. 4004 B.C. (Hebrew 3760 B.C.) and the Flood was about 2500 B.C. (1656 years from Creation from the Masoretic text). The Sumerian King List purports to identify both pre and post Flood kings of the Mesopotamian (Between Rivers) region. Sumer was succeeded by Assyria and they were conquered by Babylon.

The document begins at the beginning of history, the time when ‘kingship (first) descended from heaven,’ and goes up to the reign of Sin-magir (1827– 1817 BC) towards the end of the Isin dynasty. The list is characterized by extremely long life spans of the different kings, especially the earlier ones. One quarter of a million years is assigned to the first eight kings before the Flood and more than 25,000 years for the first two dynasties after the Flood. The length of the lives of the Sumerian kings mentioned is grossly exaggerated from the Genesis account. This is in keeping with other non-biblical accounts of early ancient history such as the Gilgamesh Epic. Some characteristics of these ancient accounts are fanciful but they attest to the validity of the Genesis account of creation, ancient patriarchs, and the Flood. Since Christ validated Genesis and the Old Testament we know that God Himself affirms the structure and data in Genesis.

Enoch’s Translation

One obvious aspect of the Seed Line is the truncated life of Enoch. In comparison to the others his life was relatively short at 365 years. The Bible says that God took him. God gave immortality to him. The Hebrew word for took is lackach. It means that the Lord captured him. We can translate this as rapture. The New Testament affirms this in Hebrews 11: 5 and says Enoch pleased God. This is a model or type of the Rapture of the Church which is yet future to us and the program of which is explained in I Thessalonians 4: 16-17. The Lord Jesus told us that we would not know the day or the hour (Matthew 24: 36). Many have tried to predict the date of the Rapture even though the Lord Jesus said we would not know. That should be reason enough to not engage in mental and biblical gymnastics to try and set a date. Those that make these predictions harm the credibility of the fact of the Rapture and Bible prophecy. Those who might become believers are deferred from believing the full biblical text and attribute such prophecies to the fools that make these predictions. Although there many views on the general timing of the Rapture of the Church in the long world chronology this author believes it occurs before the Great Tribulation.

The earliest indication of a Pretribulational Rapture is found in Luke 21:34-37.

 Luke 21:34-37 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called [the mount] of Olives.

After describing the terrible events of the Tribulation, Jesus states that it will come upon all them that dwell on the face of the earth (v35). In other words, no earth dwellers can escape the calamities of the Tribulation. Yet there is one way of escaping all these things that shall come to pass (v36), but not by remaining on the earth. In order to be able to escape all these things one must be a genuine believer. This means escaping is to stand before the Son of Man, a standing that must happen at a place off the earth, for there is no escape on the earth. That is exactly what happens to believers that are raptured off the earth to stand before the Son of Man. One of the reasons for the Tribulation is to make and end of sin (punishment). Jesus The Christ has already taken the punishment for sin, which is coming on the world, for the believer. If we believe, we don’t suffer any punishment (Romans 8:1) and He takes us to be with Him prior to the Tribulation. Just like Enoch we please God by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. As already indicated by Luke 21:34-36, the result of the Rapture is to stand before the Son of Man.

Methuselah

This was the longest living person who has ever been on the earth. He was 969 years old when he died. The name Methuselah in Hebrew means “His death shall bring.” Methuselah’s father Enoch functioning as a prophet according to Jude 14-15, named him to signify the timing of the flood. The longevity of his life is a testimony to the grace of God who withheld the Flood until he died. Men were given a long time to repent just as we are today (II Peter 3: 8-9).

Noah

The genealogy of Adam ends with Noah. His name means comfort or rest. This is in direct contrast to the toilsome sluggish work that Adam would experience after the fall. He has three sons who with their wives and children will repopulate the earth after the Flood.

None of the individuals cited in the Godly Seed Line died in the Flood. All were either dead or raptured before the Flood and Noah and his sons passed through it. The death account of the individuals personifies Romans five.

Romans 5: 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 5: 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come

The following chart depicting the early chronology of the Lord Jesus also declares the salvation He offers the world. By reading the Hebrew meaning of the individual’s names it produces the Gospel. Man appointed mortal sorrow. The blessed God descends teaching that His death brings the despairing comfort.

Daniel E. Woodhead

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Judah, Tamar and Perez

Judah’s Sons,Tamar, and The Messianic Line

 

Judah and Tamar by Arent de Gelder cir. 1681

Judah and Tamar by Arent de Gelder cir. 1681

Genesis 38: 1-11

1And it came to pass at that time, that Judah went down from his brethren, and turned in to a certain Adullamite, whose name was Hirah. 2And Judah saw there a daughter of a certain Canaanite whose name was Shua. And he took her, and went in unto her. 3And she conceived, and bare a son; and he called his name Er. 4And she conceived again, and bare a son; and she called his name Onan. 5And she yet again bare a son, and called his name Shelah: and he was at Chezib, when she bare him. 6And Judah took a wife for Er his first-born, and her name was Tamar. 7And Er, Judah’s first-born, was wicked in the sight of Jehovah. And Jehovah slew him. 8And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother unto her, and raise up seed to thy brother. 9And Onan knew that the seed would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest he should give seed to his brother. 10And the thing which he did was evil in the sight of Jehovah: and he slew him also. 11Then said Judah to Tamar his daughter-in-law, Remain a widow in thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown up; for he said, Lest he also die, like his brethren. And Tamar went and dwelt in her father’s house (ASV 1901).

Judah, who was aligned with Reuben in steering the other sons of Jacob away from killing Joseph left them and travelled to Adullam. This was a town in the Judean lowlands southwest of Bethlehem. It later in the invasion under general Joshua was made a part of the tribal inheritance of Judah and it was also associated with the life of David (I Samuel 22: 1-2 etc.). Judah must have had a disagreement with his siblings regarding the disposition of Joseph because he chose not to stay with them. This account will span a time frame of approximately twenty-three years.

In Adullam Judah meets and befriends a man named Hirah. Through Hirah he is introduced to Shua who has a marriageable daughter. So he marries this unnamed Canaanite woman and ends up having three children with her. Interestingly, both Abraham and Isaac went to great lengths to prevent their children from marrying Canaanite women. Esau of course violated that and intermarried with the Canaanites and the Ishmaelites. Judah who was of the chosen family line began the intermarriages into the Canaanites. The text simply says that he took her, and went in unto her. He then had three sons by her: Er (עֵר), Onan, and Shelah. Judah named Er and his wife named Onan and Shelah since he was away in the nearby town of Chezib. Hebrew naming shows the parents wish to commemorate some meaningful event through the child’s name. Er means forsaken or lonely. Onan means sorrow and Shelah means deception. This seems to indicate that Judah was quite remorseful over the events that brought Joseph into slavery into Egypt.

When Er was grown he was married to a woman named Tamar. The text further tells us that he was wicked in the sight of Jehovah. The Hebrew word for wicked is ra רַע. It is a designation of a degree of wickedness that merits divine retribution. And in this case his death was the result of Jehovah God taking his life in some undisclosed manner. Jehovah who knows all things was keeping Tamar from this evil man. As a result of his death Judah instructs the second born son Onan to do his duty and “Go in unto thy brother’s wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother unto her, and raise up seed to thy brother.” This concept is called the law of levirate marriage. It was codified into the Mosaic Law and became a standard practice (Deuteronomy 25: 5-6, Ruth 4: 5-6; Matthew 22: 24). The idea was to keep the name of the individual who died through his son. This would also preserve an in family transfer of land and material wealth. The first-born son would be the heir and would also have an obligation along with the new husband to care for the widow. Widows in ancient Israel would be forced to beg without this law. So in this way the widow was protected from becoming destitute. Finally, the son would keep the family name alive even though the father was not alive to propagate. One clear example of this is the marriage of Ruth to Boaz

Summer (Boaz and Ruth) by Nicholas Poussin cir. 1660-64

Summer (Boaz and Ruth) by Nicholas Poussin cir. 1660-64

 Levirate Marriage

Deuteronomy 25: 5-6

5If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no son, the wife of the dead shall not be married without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of a husband’s brother unto her. 6And it shall be, that the first-born that she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother that is dead, that his name be not blotted out of Israel (ASV 1901).

Onan seemed to have no qualms against marrying Tamar Er’s widow. He seemed to accept the easy part of having sexual intercourse with her and accepting his inheritance. Er was first born so he would have gotten Judah’s estate when he passed. Er realized this and complied with Judah’s instructions. However, Onan realized that the children would not be his per se but that of Er’s so during intercourse with Tamar he continually withdrew from her before he deposited his semen into her. Thus, she was not allowed to become pregnant. Some mistakenly teach through this example here that God prohibits contraception. The sin here was, Onan did not want to obey his father and honor his brother by taking up the responsibility that was given to him. Because his sin was in the same category of wickedness of his brother Er the Lord executed His divine will and caused him to die too. Tamar was now a widow again and Judah instructed her to “Remain a widow in thy father’s house, till Shelah my son be grown up; for he said, Lest he also die, like his brethren.” Judah was certainly considering Tamar to have some major issue that both her husbands received divine executions. So he told her that when his third son Shelah was of age she could have him in levirate because he feared that Jehovah would take him too. Judah had no intention of letting Tamar marry Shelah because of the curse he thought she had. She trusted Judah and went to her father’s home to live and wait for Shelah to come of age and marry her.

The Strange Case of Tamar and Judah

Judah and Tamar by Arent de Gelder Cir 1667

Judah and Tamar by Arent de Gelder Cir 1667

Genesis 38: 12-26

12And in process of time Shua’s daughter, the wife of Judah, died; and Judah was comforted, and went up unto his sheep-shearers to Timnah, he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. 13And it was told Tamar, saying, Behold, thy father-in-law goeth up to Timnah to shear his sheep. 14And she put off from her the garments of her widowhood, and covered herself with her veil, and wrapped herself, and sat in the gate of Enaim, which is by the way to Timnah; for she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she was not given unto him to wife. 15When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a harlot; for she had covered her face. 16And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Come, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee: for he knew not that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me? 17And he said, I will send thee a kid of the goats from the flock. And she said, Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it? 18And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said, Thy signet and thy cord, and thy staff that is in thy hand. And he gave them to her, and came in unto her, and she conceived by him. 19And she arose, and went away, and put off her veil from her, and put on the garments of her widowhood. 20And Judah sent the kid of the goats by the hand of his friend the Adullamite, to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand: but he found her not. 21Then he asked the men of her place, saying, Where is the prostitute, that was at Enaim by the wayside? And they said, There hath been no prostitute here. 22And he returned to Judah, and said, I have not found her; and also the men of the place said, There hath been no prostitute here. 23And Judah said, Let her take it to her, lest we be put to shame: behold, I sent this kid, and thou hast not found her. 24And it came to pass about three months after, that it was told Judah, saying, Tamar thy daughter-in-law hath played the harlot; and moreover, behold, she is with child by whoredom. And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. 25When she was brought forth, she sent to her father-in-law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and the cords, and the staff. 26And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She is more righteous than I; forasmuch as I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more. (ASV 1901)

So time passed and Judah was making no effort to arrange another levirate marriage between Shelah and Tamar who desired children and not wanting to make a career of widowhood. She was still a young woman. Judah’s wife died and he went through a period of ritual mourning as the text says that and Judah was comforted. Later he and his friend Hirah went up to the sheep-shearers. This was a festive time for them and Judah now done with mourning was going to join in the party atmosphere.

Tamar became aware of Judah’s travel to the party with the sheep shearers with Hirah and she devised a plan to force him into a role of a levir for her. In her contrivance she planned to entrap him. She changed out of her widow’s clothes and made herself appear as an adherent of Astarte, which was a sacred prostitute. She then put on a veil, which had several connotations of that day. Brides principally wore them on their wedding night and so did prostitutes wanting to appear as a wholesome bride. So a veiled woman in public gave off the message that she was a prostitute available for sexual intercourse. She had essentially dressed herself as a cult prostitute and waited for Judah to appear at the city gate of Enaim. Her actions while retaliatory for not getting Shelah put her into a doubly sinful situation. She was legally betrothed to Shelah regardless of what Judah was preventing and she was planning on an incestuous relationship with Judah.

When Judah saw her he was enticed by her. She played the role of seductress and lured him into a sexual union. It was Judah who suggested the sex when he said to her, ”Come, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee: for he knew not that she was his daughter-in-law.” He was coming off a period of mourning and was exceptionally vulnerable to temptation of this sort and didn’t realize that this was his daughter-in-law in disguise. Tamar who played the role of a prostitute asked for payment for gratifying his sexual desires. This was a normal request from a prostitute. She says, “What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?” He promised her a kid of the goats of the flock at a later time for sexual favors now, but she did not trust him and wanted something of more significance as a promissory to pay. She was actually looking for something to provide as evidence proving him to be the father of the child who would come from the union. So Judah asks, “What pledge shall I give thee? She being very savvy says to him in response, “Thy signet and thy cord, and thy staff that is in thy hand.” These three items had identifying significance for her to later prove who the father’s child was. The signet was used to seal documents, the cord was a necklace that the ring was kept on, and the staff in his hand established his profession. So she received them and she had sex with him, after which she became pregnant. She then left, removed the veil and put back on the widow’s clothes.

Judah then tried to make good on the promise to give her a goat kid. He sent Hirah to her with the payment. He of course wanted his personal items back, which she was holding as a deposit. When Hirah was unable to find her he begins asking the men of her place, saying,” Where is the prostitute, that was at Enaim by the wayside?” they just said, “There hath been no prostitute here.” Hirah tried to honor Judah’s commitment to pay her and when that failed he returned to Judah with the kid. Judah decided to forget the entire incident.

Now comes the revelation to Judah of what actually happened. After three months when Tamar is just entering her second trimester a report was given to Judah that Tamar had become a harlot and she is pregnant as a result of her prostitute activities. So Judah still not knowing that he impregnated her says in response to learning what she did, “Bring her forth, and let her be burnt.” He was the patriarch of the clan and had a right to do this since she was guilty of prostitution. During the trial she pleaded, “By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and the cords, and the staff.” Judah then had to confess when he was exposed and simply admitted his guilt by saying, “She is more righteous than I; forasmuch as I gave her not to Shelah my son. And he knew her again no more.”

 

Tamar Presents her proof Artist Unknown

Tamar Presents her proof Artist Unknown

Twins are Born to Judah and Tamar

Genesis 38: 27-30

28And it came to pass, when she travailed, that one put out a hand: and the midwife took and bound upon his hand a scarlet thread, saying, This came out first. 29And it came to pass, as he drew back his hand that, behold, his brother came out: and she said, Wherefore hast thou made a breach for thyself? Therefore his name was called Perez. 30And afterward came out his brother that had the scarlet thread upon his hand: and his name was called Zerah. (ASV 1901)

This section of Scripture regarding the story of Judah and Tamar ends with the birth of twin sons. When they were about to be born one put his hand out of the womb and the midwife tied a scarlet thread on his hand to indicate he was the first born. However he drew his hand back in and returned into the womb. So the second one was born first. This caused the midwife to say, “Wherefore hast thou made a breach for thyself?” This is a Hebrew play on words, which means you breached a breach or you forged through. This is the meaning of the name Perez who was the first-born. He became a seed son of the Messianic line (Ruth 4: 12, 18-22; Matthew 1:3; Luke 3:33). The second son then came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand and he was named Zerah meaning the shining one probably due to the scarlet thread. This account while seemingly out of place in the story of Joseph traces the Messianic line. It also shows that they were intermarrying into the Canaanites. This is one of the reasons God took Judah and the rest of the family into Egypt. Finally there is a strong contrast illustrated here between Judah and Joseph. One brother was resisting temptation and the other caving in to it.

Daniel E. Woodhead

 

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