Saturday, December 3, 2011

Seven men tell the story of Christmas

The Book of Genesis unfolds the reason for Christmas through seven men
Yesterday we considered how God's eternal purposes for Christmas and the sending of the Eternal Son were first spoken of in the book of Genesis.  We saw God's first couple, Adam and Eve, being granted the Covenant of Grace to redeem them from their tyranny against God in Genesis 3.  Since they had broken God's original covenant with them - the Covenant of works - we discovered that only God could rescue man from His fallen condition.  Adam and and wife were hiding and running away from God.  Adam was that original man who had through his rebellion brought forth sin and misery upon the whole human race. Thankfully God's plan for Christmas would go beyond Adam.  (please compare Romans 5:11-21)

The Bible's uses of symmetry - God's fingerprint for preparing for Christmas
From Adam we go forward to Genesis 5, where we see 10 generations listed - depicting for us the human bloodline that God would use to bring about the "seed" promise first spoken of to Eve in Genesis 3:15.  The tenth man in that listing is a every familiar one - Noah.  In Jesus' genaeology of Luke 3:36b-38, as Luke unfolds for us the events leading up to and following Jesus birth, we see 10 generations stretching from Noah back to Adam- truly a remarkable example of God's preparation for that first Christmas. 

From Noah we see God issuing forth earth's second catastrophe, the flood.  Following the flood the Bible introduces us to the third major man involved in the continuation of God's plan for Christmas - Shem.  Shem was one of Noah's three Sons, and his entire bloodline is detailed in Genesis 10-11.  During his days the third great catastrophe, the tower of Babel, would occur.  Shem's bloodline also mentions ten generations.  In the tenth man of his bloodline we are introduced to another familiar figure - Abram (whose name would be changed by God to Abraham). If we turn back to Luke's genaeology of Jesus bloodline once again, we see in Luke 3:34b-36a another 10 generations stretching from Abraham back to Shem. 

Thus in all from Adam to Abraham would represent a span of over 2000 years period of time.  Likewise from Abraham to Christ's birth on that first Christmas would be more than 2000 years of time.  Of these first 20 generations listed in both Genesis and Luke, we see our first four major patriarchs: Adam, Noah, Shem and Abraham.  Understand these numbers are no accident nor coincidence.  God's hand was working in history to bring about His purpose of accomplishing the entry of His son into humanity on that first Christmas.

How God specified his intentions for bringing about that first Christmas
So with these four men: Adam, Noah, Shem and Abram - we see God specifiying more clearly who and what He is going to us in bringing about the redeemer who would be born on Christmas.  From Abraham would come the promised son - Isaac.  From Isaac and his wife Rebekka would come forth Jacob - the father of the twelve tribes of Israel. 

Six men are reckoned so far in God's plotline for setting up His plan of salvation in history.  Symmetry and numbering are signs of Divine Majesty at work in the otherwise mess of humanity.  The seventh main figure we will note in Genesis is born in Genesis 30 and revealed most fully in Genesis 37-50 - Joseph.  Seven is God's number of fulness.  It means that all that God has planned is coming to fruition.  Joseph, more than the other six prior men - most fully pictures for us the focus of the Christmas story - the Lord Jesus Christ. 

In tomorrow's blog we will look closer at Joseph, as we continue thinking on the true meaning of Christmas.