In a recent article, I wrote of the basic warfare between God and Satan that begins and ends with that primary background from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 20:14. His tactics have taken on various issues over the centuries, but one that has revealed some unique responses from God to maintain His purpose and plan with consistency.
The lineage of kings, from Abraham to Joseph, is reported at the beginning of the Gospel of Matthew, which presents Jesus as King of the Jews. That list of Jewish kings is the human representation of the kingship of Jesus, the Christ, Joseph being the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
God’s promise to Abraham, then called Abram, was repeated to Isaac and Jacob, his son and grandson, but actual kings did not show up until after Jacob. Until then, the connection with God was described as “the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,” but not then listing the twelve sons of Jacob.
While Abraham became known as “the friend of God,” having won God’s favor by believing God and therefore being accounted as righteous before God for his faith, he showed his human faults. The lineage of the kings, however, follows the path of the “firstborn son” of the predecessor. That promise from God to Abraham was that he would father a son in his and Sarah’s old age. No doubt but that their impatience led to their firstborn to be mothered by their servant, not Sarah. It was to be the result of faith, not works of the flesh, even then. That son, Ishmael, was not the firstborn that God intended for Abraham—the first attempt to derail the lineage of kings to Christ.
The next tactic of Satan appears when we come to the firstborn of Isaac. They were twins, Esau and Jacob. The strange and seemingly characterization of God has troubled many Bible students, as it does raise the question of God’s justice. In Romans 9:13, Paul quotes this: “As it is written, ‘Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.'” That does not seem to describe God’s attribute of justice for all, and the “whosoever” in the familiar John 3:16, does it?
However, when we consider God’s foreknowledge and the issue at the birthing of the twins when Esau was to be the firstborn and therefore in the lineage of the kings, the Satanic attack becomes clear. God does not contradict His character just because He is God and has the power, as the Calvinists would have us believe. Were He to do so, He would not be the God of “justice for all.”
Consider what the coming twelve tribes of Israel would look like if Esau were to have been their father. Hebrews 12:15-17 tells us of the nature of Esau and warns believers to not let that kind of attitude prevail in their lives:
“…looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.”
When God, in His eternal foreknowledge, saw Esau and knew that he was to be the firstborn with that kind of thoughtless character, there can hardly be any doubt as to God’s motivation to allow Jacob to claim the inheritance instead of Esau. It is also clear that Satanic involvement was present, even though it would seem impossible that he could have access into the development of a child in the womb. It is rather scary to think that one who can appear as an angel of light in his deception can also do such a thing as he did in Esau. It is the way of spiritual warfare—it is not something to be taken lightly. “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world,” 1 John 4:4b tells us, however.
Next, Jacob fathers twelve sons, and we should think that his firstborn would become the next one in the lineage of kings. However, Ruben fouled up, too, having forfeited his right to the lineage of kings by sinning against God and his father in laying with his father’s concubine (Genesis 35:22). It is confirmed, that loss of the firstborn, when Isaac blessed the sons of Jacob, recorded in Genesis 49:10a, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah,” who was the second son of Jacob.
But Judah’s first two sons fouled out also in their sinfulness, as Genesis 38:7-10 reports:
“But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord killed him. And Judah said to Onan [his second son], ‘Go in to your brother’s wife and marry her, and raise up an heir to your brother.’ But Onan knew that the heir would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in to his brother’s wife, that he emitted on the ground, lest he should give an heir to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the Lord, therefore He killed him also.”
This lineage of the kings was a serious matter to the Lord, obviously, as He looked ahead to its actual culmination in Jesus, the Christ, King of the Jews and King of Kings over all things. Satan’s warfare to derail and deny God His plan for the ages is clearly apparent in these attacks through the weakness of mortal men.
Now, it seems Judah, having later offered to the wife of those first two sons his next son (Genesis 38:11), had forgotten her, Tamar. But she was very concerned about the continuity of the lineage of the kings, and devised a plan.
When Tamar learned that Judah was going up to the sheep shearing location, she dressed as a harlot and hid herself along the way he would travel. When he came upon her, she enticed him to come into her and lay with her. Which he did, not recognizing her at all. Knowing what would come to pass, she took payment in personal possessions of his for protection.
When Judah learned of her pregnancy, he was angry with the intent to put her to death for being a harlot. However, Tamar showed the evidence that she had secured, and Judah was revealed as the coming child’s father, as Genesis 38:26 reports:
“So Judah acknowledged them and said, ‘She has been more righteous than I, because I did not give her to Shelah my son.’ And he never knew her again.”
Later, when the son was born of Tamar, called Perez, there was an apparent attempt of Satan to disrupt that right of the firstborn, as Genesis 38:28-29 tells us:
“And so it was, when she was giving birth, that the one put out his hand; and the midwife took a scarlet thread and bound it on his hand, saying, ‘This one came out first.’ Then it happened, as he drew back his hand, that his brother came out unexpectedly; and she said, ‘How did you break through? This breach be upon you!’ Therefore his name was called Perez.”
At this point in the lineage shown in Matthew’s account, you will, therefore, see two names—Perez and Zerah by Tamar—but Perez is the one following who begets the next in line.
Several generations passed without apparent interference from Satan upon the lineage of Abraham. Then, the consistently disobedient Israelites saw their neighboring countries being led by a king who would fight their battles and provide for their well-being. In short, they wanted a king, and having one who wanted to have that responsibility for those who would be obedient was not acceptable. They wanted a king like those other countries had.
Therefore, God gave them a king, but not of the tribe of Judah. Saul was of the tribe of Benjamin. Thus, he did not taint the established lineage of kings through the tribe of Judah. Israel wanted a king like the other countries had—and they got one like that. He was a head taller than any other in Israel, and handsome, but he did not have a heart for God and could not obey God. So God instructed the prophet Samuel to anoint a son of Jesse, in the lineage of Judah, to be the first authentic king of Israel. David was a man after God’s heart, the Scriptures tell us.
Those Scriptures in 1 Samuel also tell us how hard Saul fought against David to retain the kingship for his son, Jonathan. Behind that motivation, however, can be seen the spiritual warfare to disrupt the lineage of kings to the King of Kings, Jesus, the Christ. It was not to be from the tribe of Benjamin.
Without naming Satan directly, David identified the character of the true enemy behind Saul’s effort to destroy David. In Psalm 52, identified as relating to Saul’s efforts destroy him, his concern voiced in prayer to God gave quite a list of evil characteristics of the one attempting to destroy him:
“Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man? The goodness of God endures continually. Your tongue devises destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. You love evil more than good, lying rather than speaking righteousness. You love all devouring words, you deceitful tongue.
“God shall likewise destroy you forever; He shall take you away, and pluck you out of your dwelling place, and uproot you from the land of the living. The righteous also shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him, saying, ‘Here is the man who did not make God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.'”
Again, we see how deceptive the devil is in his tactics of warfare against God.
By God’s direction, then, David passed his throne on to his son, Solomon, and that kingship was a glorious one before all the world. It must have been an agonizing time for Satan, for he became so vicious that he brought about the dividing of the nation through the weakness of mortal men.
The accounts of those following generations, in the writings of the Kings and Chronicles, reveal that weakness of moral integrity as the various kings of both parts of the nation, then known as Israel, of ten tribes, and Judah, of two tribes. It is apparent that God protected the continuity of Abraham’s lineage in the tribe of Judah and its relationship with the location of Jerusalem and the temple. The conversation Jesus had with the woman at the well, in John 4, tells a truth worth noting when she said to Him, “…You Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
(Continued in Part2)
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