There are multiple genealogies recorded in the Bible. The first two we find are located in the fourth and fifth chapters of Genesis. In Genesis 4:17-24, the lineage of Adam, through his firstborn son Cain, is given. This genealogy only records eight generations: Adam, Cain, Enoch (the one who wasn’t raptured), Irad, Mehujael, Methusael, Lamech, and Lamech’s children (Jabal, Jubal, Tubal-cain, Naamah).
Most Bible students know the story of Cain and his brother Abel, and how Cain killed Abel in a rage. The cause of this rage and subsequent murder was jealousy. Cain was jealous that the Lord had accepted Abel’s animal/blood sacrifice and rejected Cain’s vegetable/fruit sacrifice. Cain’s punishment from the Lord was two-fold. His crops would not yield in a bountiful way anymore, and he would become a fugitive and a vagabond upon the earth. Cain appealed to the Lord that his punishment was too great because everyone would be trying to kill him. It’s typical that Cain was so concerned about his own life but not his brother’s.
In response, the Lord said unto him, “Therefore whosoever slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him” (Genesis 4:15). The Bible doesn’t mention it, but I believe the mark was the number 7. Cain’s great, great, great grandson Lamech killed a young man (possibly in self-defense) and told his two wives about it (Genesis 4:23). “If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and seven fold (77)” (Genesis 4:24). I suppose Lamech wanted his two wives and children to get out the message/rumor to the people regarding this matter. Lamech was the 7th generation from Adam, so here we see the 1st three in a row repeating number 7 or 777.
The next Antediluvian genealogy recorded in the Bible is found in Genesis 4 and 5. This is the lineage of Adam through his 3rd son, Seth. It is a much more complete genealogy with added details, such as the ages of the fathers upon their son’s birth and when they died. There are 11 generations that are listed before the great flood occurred: 1) Adam, 2) Seth, 3) Enos, 4) Cainan, 5) Mahalaleel, 6) Jared, 7) Enoch, 8) Methuselah, 9) Lamech, 10) Noah, 11) Noah’s three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japeth.
The next mention of the number 777 is found in verse 31 of Genesis 5. It is the age of Lamech at his death. Most of Seth’s line lived to be 900-plus years old, including Noah, but Lamech was only 777 years old when he died. No reason is given for this relatively early death. However, if it is any clue, his name means “despairing.” Perhaps God took him early, for the earth was full of evil at this point. Lamech’s father, Methuselah, outlived his son by 5 years. Methuselah, whose name means “his death shall bring,” died the same year the great flood came, 1656 years after creation and Adam.
When we look at the genealogy of Adam through his son Seth and the rest of their Antediluvian lineage, we get a snapshot of the perfect numbers (3, 7, 10, 12) and their Biblical significance. For example, the number 3 represents divine perfection, and Seth is the 3rd son of Adam from which all mankind (post-flood) descended. Also, Enos was the 3rd Antediluvian patriarch, and he is mentioned significantly in this regard: “And to Seth was born a son, and he called his name Enos: then men began to call upon the name of the Lord” (Genesis 4:26).
The next perfect number is 7, which represents spiritual perfection. Enoch was the 7th Antediluvian patriarch and was the first human being to be raptured live into heaven. This occurred approximately 987 years from the creation of the earth and Adam. Enoch’s spiritual qualities are mentioned in the Book of Hebrews. “By Faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5).
The next perfect number is 10, and it signifies ordinal perfection. Noah, the 10th generation from Adam (inclusive reckoning), also spiritually walked with God. “Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). Because of Noah’s obedience and righteousness, God allowed him and his family to survive the great flood, which was the great tribulation of that epoch. All of mankind has descended from Noah’s 3 sons.
Shem is believed to be the 3rd son of Noah (do we see a pattern developing here?). “Shem, the 11th generation from Adam, was 100 years old when he begat Arphaxad two years after the flood” (Genesis 11:10). Arphaxad was the 12th generation from Adam and was the lineage from which Abram (later named Abraham by God) was born. Abraham was the 20th (2 X 10) generation from Adam and was the father of Isaac (Ishmael and others). Isaac was the father of Jacob (later renamed Israel by God) and Esau. From Jacob came the 12 sons (and tribes) of Israel…God’s chosen people. Of course, 12 is the last of the perfect numbers and represents governmental perfection and Israel in the Bible. For more details, see The Three Raptures: Part I :: By Randy Nettles & Pete Garcia (raptureready.com).
The writer of 1 Chronicles (believed to be Ezra, according to Jewish tradition) gives an extensive genealogy of the family roots of Israel (chapters 1-9), from Adam to Abraham to David and to a few generations past the Babylonian exile. This Old Testament genealogy records 53 generations from Adam to Zerubbabel, with special emphasis on David’s royal line. 1 Chronicles 1:1-4 lists the 10 Antediluvian patriarchs from Adam to Noah: 1) Adam, 2) Seth, 3) Enos, 4) Cainan, 5) Mahalaleel, 6) Jared, 7) Enoch, 8) Methuselah, 9) Lamech, 10) Noah and sons.
1 Chronicles 1:24-27 lists the next 10 post-flood patriarchs from Shem to Abraham: 1) Shem, 2) Arphaxad, 3) Shelah, 4) Eber, 5) Peleg, 6) Reu, 7) Sereg, 8) Nahor, 9) Terah, 10) Abram (Abraham). Abraham was the 20th generation from Adam. He was called a friend and servant of God and was the father of several nations, including Israel.
The next 13 descendants from Abram’s son Isaac to David are listed in 1 Chronicles 1 and 2: 1) Isaac, 2) Jacob, 3) Judah, 4) Perez, 5) Hezron, 6) Ram, 7) Amminadab, 8) Nashon, 9) Salma, 10) Boaz, 11) Obed, 12) Jesse, 13) David. David was the 33rd generation from Adam and was described by Samuel the prophet as “a man after the Lord’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). King David was a typology of King Jesus in several ways, as mentioned in: The 30330 Man | Rapture Forums.
The next 20 descendants from David’s son Solomon to Zerubbabel are listed in 1 Chronicles 3:10-17. The first 18 are all kings of Judah, and the last two are the first descendants from Solomon that are not kings of Judah, as they lived during the time of the Babylonian exile: 1) Solomon, 2) Rehoboam, 3) Abijam, 4) Asa, 5) Jehoshaphat, 6) Jehoram, 7) Ahaziah, 8) Joash, 9) Amaziah, 10) Uzziah or Azariah, 11) Jotham, 12) Ahaz, 13) Hezekiah, 14) Manasseh, 15) Amon, 16) Josiah, 17) Jehoiachim or Jehoiakim or Eliakim, 18) Jeconiah or Jehoiachin or Coniah, 19) Salathiel or Shealtiel, 20) Zerubbabel or Zorobabel. Salathiel’s children are not listed in 1 Chronicles, so he might not have had any biological children. Zerubbabel was the son of Pedaiah, who was Salathiel’s brother. Salathiel probably adopted him upon Pedaiah’s death.
King Jehoiachin was the last king of Judah of this royal lineage of David/Solomon. He was a young and evil king that God placed a curse upon, as given by the prophet Jeremiah: “Is this man Coniah a despised, broken idol – A vessel in which is no pleasure? Why are they cast out, he and his descendants, And cast into a land which they do not know? O earth, earth, earth, Hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord: Write this man down as childless, a man who shall not prosper in his days; for none of his descendants shall prosper, sitting on the throne of David, and ruling anymore in Judah” (Jeremiah 22:28-30). Coniah wasn’t childless, but none of his children or lineage inherited the throne of David.
The next two genealogies are found in the New Testament books of Matthew and Luke. They were both written about the same time, approximately AD 60. Matthew, a disciple of Jesus, opens his Gospel with a genealogy to prove that Jesus is the descendant of both King David and Abraham, just as the Old Testament prophets spoke about. Matthew wrote this book to Jews to prove Jesus was their true King and Messiah, who would reign forever.
Matthew only traced his genealogy back to Abraham, while Luke traced his all the way back to Adam. Matthew’s account gives the royal ancestry of Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus and husband of Mary, back to King Solomon and David. Most Bible scholars believe the Luke record gives the ancestry of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and not her husband Joseph (even though his name is listed – women’s genealogies were not recorded in historical accounts in ancient Israel). Both Joseph and Mary were descended from King David… Joseph from David’s son Solomon (king of Judah), and Mary from another son of David, Nathan (non-king of Judah).
While Joseph was not Jesus’ biological father, his genealogy mattered because the legal right to the throne passed from father to son. When Joseph took Jesus as his adoptive son, Jesus inherited a claim to the throne.
Matthew’s genealogy, from Abraham to Jesus, is not a complete record of all the generations involved but rather is a condensed version with some kings of Judah (and some non-kings) not listed. With this genealogy, Matthew is simply telling the historical story of how Jesus is descended from Abraham, the Father of the Jews, and David, the King of the Jews. “So all the generations from Abraham to David are 14 generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are 14 generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon until Christ are 14 generations” (Matthew 1:1-17).
Matthew compresses his genealogy into 3 sets of 14 generations. The number 3 represents divine perfection, and 14 (7 X 2) represents spiritual perfection doubled., i.e., Jesus through David through Abraham. Coincidentally (or not), 14 is the gematria of David’s name in Hebrew.
The number 14 is a well-known number throughout Israel’s religion and history. The Feast of the Lord, known as Passover, occurred on the 14th day of the first month of Nisan. Most Bible students are aware of the significance of this Feast and how Jesus fulfilled it (as the Lamb of God) with his death on this day. On the 7 days of the Feast of the Lord, known as Tabernacles, the Jews were to offer 14 lambs without blemish (Numbers 29:15,32) as a sacrifice to the Lord. During the Feast of Tabernacles, in the year 959 BC, King Solomon dedicated the newly built Temple in Jerusalem. Solomon and all Israel celebrated for 14 days instead of the normal 7 days. The Feast of Tabernacles is the only Feast of the Lord still to be observed in the Millennium Kingdom of Jesus Christ, per Zechariah 14:16-18).
It appears Matthew is emphasizing the number 14 to such a degree that he intentionally leaves out multiple generations of the line of David. Matthew lists only 42 (7 X 6) generations from Abraham to Jesus, whereas Luke lists 56 (7 X 8) generations. Matthew wanted to showcase Jesus’ genealogy in such a way as to leave no doubt that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah) and eternal King of the Jews as the prophets of the Old Testament wrote about.
Here is Matthew’s genealogy (Matthew 1:1-16) of Jesus with his 3 sets of 14 generations. However, Matthew only lists 41 names, as Jechoniah is listed twice. Note: some of the names are spelled a little differently due to Matthew using the Old Greek Septuagint translation.
1) Abraham, 2) Isaac, 3) Jacob, 4) Judah, 5) Phares, 6) Hesrom, 7) Aram, 8) Aminadab, 9) Naasson, 10) Salmon, 11) Boaz, 12) Obed, 13) Jesse, 14) David
1) Solomon, 2) Rehoboam, 3) Abijah, 4) Asaph, 5) Jehoshaphat, 6) Joram, 7) Uzziah, 8) Jothan, 9) Ahaz, 10) Hezekiah, 11) Manasseh, 12) Amos, 13) Josiah, 14) Jechoniah
1) Jechoniah, 2) Shealtiel, 3) Zerubbabel, 4) Abiud, 5) Eliakim, 6) Azor, 7) Zadok, 8) Achim, 9) Eliud, 10) Eleazar, 11) Matthan, 12) Jacob, 13) Joseph – the legal father of Jesus, 14) Jesus
Matthew’s first set of 14 generations are complete. His second set is missing 3 Kings of Judah (Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah) that should be listed between Joram and Uzziah. Matthew’s third set is missing King Jehoiachim (Jehoiakim or Eliakim). As mentioned before, there are probably many more names/ generations that aren’t listed from the time of the Babylonian exile until the time of Jesus, but Matthew definitely made his point (with his genealogy and Gospel book) that Jesus is the true King and Messiah of the Jews. Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament expectation that a son of David would reign on the throne of David forever (Psalm 132:11-18 and others) as Gabriel had announced to Mary (Luke 1:32-33).
Luke’s genealogy count of generations is much more historically reliable than Matthew’s because it is not omitting any names or generations to emphasize Jesus’ Kingship or Divinity. Luke affirms Jesus’ divinity, but the real emphasis of his book is on his humanity. Jesus the son of God is also the Son of Man and the kinsman redeemer of all mankind.
Luke’s genealogy traces back to Adam (actually God), showing Jesus is related to all human beings, Jews as well as Gentiles. This is consistent with Luke’s picture of Jesus as the Savior of the whole world. Luke’s account is actually the genealogy of Mary’s ancestors, which he probably received from Mary herself. The Jews were meticulously good record keepers of generations, especially when it came to the Davidic lineage. There are 77 generations in Luke’s genealogy, which begins with Jesus and ends with God. I believe Luke did this intentionally to prove that, just as Adam was a son (albeit created) of God, so was Jesus. He was the only begotten son of the Father God.
Luke begins his genealogy in Luke 3:23 with these words, “Jesus himself began to be about 30 years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph.” Luke wants to be clear in the fact that Joseph is not the biological father of Jesus. Joseph is merely the adoptive father of Jesus and his legal guardian/father; therefore, Jesus will inherit Joseph’s ancestry as well.
Unlike Matthew, Luke begins with Jesus and works his way backwards to Adam and God. There is one (human) name in Luke’s genealogy that is not in the 1 Chronicles Old Testament genealogy. It is number 64 on the list, and his name is Cainan. Ironically, it is number 14 on the list if you start in the reverse order from God to Jesus. He is listed between Sala and Arphaxad. Luke was following the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) text and not the Masoretic text. This Cainan (not the Antediluvian one) is not included in the Masoretic text. The M.T. is used as the basis for most Protestant translations of the Old Testament, such as the King James Version, New American Standard Version, and New International Version. Many believe this name should not be included here and is the result of a scribal error committed during the translation.
As a result of Luke listing Cainan (#64 on the list) and God (#1 on the list), there are 77 names on the list and not 75. The 77 names are apparently arranged in 11 groups of 7, although he never calls attention to this. Once again, we see the significance of the number 7 and its multiples in the history and lineage of the Jewish people.
Augustine notes that the count of generations in the Book of Luke is 77, a number symbolizing the forgiveness of sins. “Then came Peter to him [Jesus] and said, Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times? Jesus said unto him, I say not seven times: but seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:21-22). Many have mistaken this number to be 490, but it actually is 77. The 77 generations to the appearing of the Messiah also agree with the 70 generations from Enoch, which is recorded in the non-canonical book of Enoch, which Luke probably knew.
Here is Luke’s list of 77 generations from Jesus to God:
1) Jesus, 2) Joseph (Mary) 3) Heli, 4) Matthat, 5) Levi, 6) Melchi, 7) Janna, 8) Joseph, 9)Mattathias, 10) Amos, 11) Naum, 12) Esli, 13) Nagge, 14) Maath, 15) Mattathias, 16) Semei, 17) Joseph, 18) Judah, 19) Joanna, 20) Rhesa, 21) Zorobabel, 22) Salathiel, 23) Neri, 24) Melchi, 25) Addi, 26) Cosam, 27) Elmodam, 28) Er, 29) Jose, 30) Eliezer, 31) Jorim, 32) Matthat, 33) Levi, 34) Simeon, 35) Judah, 36) Joseph, 37) Jonan, 38) Eliakim, 39) Melea, 40) Menan, 41) Mattatha, 42) Nathan, 43) David, 44) Jesse, 45) Obed, 46) Boaz, 47) Salmon, 48) Naason, 49) Aminadab, 50) Aram, 51) Esrom, 52) Phares, 53) Judah, 54) Jacob, 55) Isaac, 56) Abraham, 57) Thara, 58) Nachor, 59) Saruch, 60) Ragau, 61) Phalec, 62) Heber, 63) Sala, 64) Cainan, 65) Arphaxad, 66) Shem, 67) Noah, 68) Lamech, 69) Mathusala, 70) Enoch, 71) Jared, 72) Maleleel, 73) Cainan, 74) Enos, 75) Seth, 76) Adam, 77) God
Between Joseph and David, the genealogies of Matthew and Luke come together only at Sheatiel and Zerubbabel, who lived during the Babylonian captivity. None of the other names in this period and afterward are the same (except for Joseph). Matthew lists Sheatiel’s father as Jeconiah (in accordance with 1 Chronicles 3:17), but Luke lists him as Neri (3:27). Matthew lists the father of Joseph (Mary’s husband as Jacob, but Luke lists him as Eli or Heli. There are many theories that attempt to explain these seeming discrepancies, including Levirate marriages, adoptions, and descendants with no sons and only daughters (whereas the father-in-law is included on the list).
Personally, I believe where the two genealogies intersect after the Babylonian exile, with Shelatiel and Zerubbabel, that there are multiple legal adoptions at play between the two Davidic lines of Solomon and Nathan. Salatheil was the real son (or grandson) of Jechonias (1 Chronicles 3:17). He married Neri’s (of Nathan’s lineage) daughter. Neri had no sons, so Salathiel became a legal son of Neri as well as Jechonias. Salathiel remained childless (no children are mentioned in 1 Corinthians) but adopted his brother’s (Pedaiah) sons, including Zerubbabel. Thus, Zerubbabel became the legal heir of Salathiel, who was included in the two genealogies of Matthew and Luke.
There are many other probable explanations for these two names being in both genealogies. Here is a good site that discusses some of the possible scenarios: www.mindrenewers.com Zerubbabel and the Genealogies of Christ. Zerubbabel had many children, some of whom are mentioned in 1 Chronicles3:19-20. He also had at least two more that aren’t listed in the Chronicles, namely Adiud (Matthew’s gen.) and Rhesa (Luke’s gen.).
Joseph’s ancestor in Matthew’s genealogy, King Jeconiah, was issued a curse from God through the prophet Jeremiah because of his apostasy towards God. “No man of his [Jeconiah’s] seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah” (Jeremiah 22:30). By reason of that curse, had Jesus been the physical son of Joseph, he would have inherited the curse. However, he was not the biological ‘son’ of David through Joseph, but through Mary, a descendant of David’s son Nathan. Thus, he qualifies to receive the title of King without coming under the curse.
Luke’s genealogy lists 77 names, but if you omit God the Father/Holy Spirit (who is not human) and Cainan (a supposed translation error), you get 75 names or generations from Adam to the coming of Jesus. 75 is the age of Abraham when He left Ur of the Chaldees, traveled towards the Promised Land, and made a covenant with God. It is also halfway between the ages of 75 and 80 that Moses talks about in Psalm 90:10. “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for is soon cut off, and we fly away.”
In AD 1948, the nation of Israel was reborn. If you add 75 years to 1948, you get 2023. Could the year AD 2023 be prophetic in some sense regarding the children of Israel or the Gentile nations? I don’t know, but it is certainly possible, for we are living in the end of days (as we know them). The only thing certain is the fact that Jesus is coming again, and soon (perhaps in the twinkling of an eye), just as the prophets of old foretold millennia ago.
Amen! Even so, come, Lord Jesus.