Reading the Gospels: Matthew 1-3

Posted on January 1, 2015
Filed Under From Daily Readings, Reading the Gospels | 2 Comments

Sometimes when reading the genealogies of the Bible we think of them as being boring, or tedious. We may question why these long lists of names are present. While we could spend much time writing about the value of these genealogies, there is one particular name that appears in Matthew’s list that is of great importance. That name is Jeconiah (Matthew 1:11-12).

What is the importance of this man in the lineage of the Messiah? To begin to answer that question, one must consider some important prophecies concerning this man.

First, we need to be reminded of who this man, Jeconiah, was. After Josiah was king of Judah, there was a succession of kings from his lineage who ruled before the Babylonian captivity. First, Jehoahaz became king, appointed by the people in the place of Josiah (2 Chronicles 36:1-2). Jehoahaz was deposed by the king of Egypt, who then made his brother, Eliakim king in his place (2 Chronicles 36:3-4). Eliakim’s name was changed by Necho, king of Egypt, to Jehoiakim. After Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin became king. Jehoiachin is known by a couple other names in scripture:  Jeconiah (2 Kings 24:12) and Coniah (Jeremiah 22:24). Jeconiah only reigned for 3 months and 10 days before being deposed by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar appointed Zedekiah, the brother of Jehoiakim, and uncle to Jeconiah to be king over Judah.

Jeconiah was very wicked, which led to the prophets proclaiming some very harsh proclamations against him, despite his short reign. Jeremiah declared that there would never be a descendant of Jeconiah reign on the throne of David in Jerusalem ever again:

“As I live,” says the Lord, “though Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet on My right hand, yet I would pluck you off; and I will give you into the hand of those who seek your life, and into the hand of those whose face you fear—the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the hand of the Chaldeans. So I will cast you out, and your mother who bore you, into another country where you were not born; and there you shall die. But to the land to which they desire to return, there they shall not return. “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 22:24–30)

This is a crucial prophecy, when we look at the genealogy of Matthew chapter 1. There are many people in the religious world who declare that Jesus, a descendant of Jeconiah, will return to claim the throne of David and reign over a physical nation here on earth. There are many who are continuing to await a physical return of the Messiah, taking power over physical Israel. However, according to Jeremiah’s prophecy, no descendant of Jeconiah will prosper on the throne of David in Jerusalem! If Jesus was to return to take the physical throne of David, he would not prosper!

This prophecy makes it clear that Jesus will not return to a physical kingdom here on earth. His kingdom is spiritual, not physical in nature (John 18:36). He is king over His kingdom now, and there is no reason to continue to wait for him to take His rightful place!  His return is not to set up another kingdom, but rather to come in judgment.

Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation. I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (John 5:28–30)

This judgment comes after death.  There is no interim period of reigning on earth with Jesus in Israel!

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (Hebrews 9:27–28)

Those who are righteous will be raised from the dead, and will meet our Savior in the air:

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15–18)

Paul makes it clear in his letter to the Thessalonians that the return of Christ is not for the establishment of an earthly kingdom, but rather for judgment. He will proclaim salvation for the faithful!

While it may seem a small thing, this one name, Jeconiah, in the lineage of Jesus in Matthew chapter 1 has great implications. We can know, most assuredly, because of his presence in this lineage, that Jesus never intended to establish a physical nation in Israel, where he would reign from the physical throne of David. We know that He has accomplished just what he intended to accomplish. His kingdom is established, and will exist forever more!