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Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom. Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan; Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite; And Bashemath Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebajoth. And Adah bare to Esau Eliphaz; and Bashemath bare Reuel; And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these are the sons of Esau, which were born unto him in the land of Canaan. (Genesis 35:16~18)
The Genealogies of the Bible
When we first start reading the Bible, in the beginning it seems difficult and frustrating. But as we continue reading, we begin to witness a current flowing throughout. For example, Moses met his wife Zipporah at a well. Jacob also first his met his wife Rachel at a well. Abraham’s old servant also met Abraham’s daughter-in-law, Rebekah, at a well. When we read the Bible throughout and see that all the brides were found at a well, we come to realize, “Ah, the well represents the bride.” We can see such currents when we read the Bible and we are able to realize and understand it.
Just as there are clear meanings in the Bible, there are certain parts that are connected with others. I read the genealogies thinking that they were simply records of genealogies. When I read the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew chapter 1, I used to think, “Is the Bible trying to teach us patience?” because all it talked about was who begat who and so forth. But as I read it many times, there were things the Holy Spirit made me realize.
The book of the generations of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; and Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar, and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram . . . .”
In the genealogy of Jesus Christ are the works of life, saying, ” . . . begat, begat . . . ” and the word death is not once used. It wasn’t just written this way, but it was written so for a reason. There is no death if one enters into the genealogy of Jesus. It is telling us that if you are in the genealogy of Jesus Christ, you will not taste death but gain everlasting life.
On the contrary, how is the genealogy of Adam recorded in the Old Testament? It says this in Genesis chapter 5.
And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth: And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters. And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.
The genealogy of Adam mentions death. There are life and death in this genealogy.
There is something very interesting in the genealogy of Esau in Genesis chapter 36 as well, of which we will be talking today. The whole of Genesis chapter 36 is the genealogy of Esau. When the genealogy of Esau begins in the first part of verse 4, it starts with the works of life, saying, And Adah bare to Esau, Eliphaz; and Bashemath bare Reuel; And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jalaam, and Korah . . . . However, as there were more and more tribes, it says from verse 15, These were the dukes of the sons of Esau: the sons of Eliphaz, the first-born of Esau; duke Teman, duke Omar, duke Zepho, duke Kenaz . . . . Dukes were continually formed, a hierarchy was formed, and systems were formed. From then on, the word “begat” no longer appears. If we go a little further, it says, And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel, in verse 31. They began simply but went on to have dukes. Then they went one step further and began to have kings. The systems are well placed, but something interesting begins in verse 32: And Bela the son of Beor reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel. And Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Borzah reigned in his stead.
The genealogy of Esau is divided into three levels. In the first level they begin in simplicity and there were the works of life. In the middle level they begin to have dukes, and it no longer speaks of life or death. Then finally, when they had kings, it no longer speaks of birth but only words of death continue. God didn’t write the Bible randomly this way. When people make tombstones, they write when a person was born and when he died. God made each genealogy different when He wrote the Scriptures. In some genealogies only life reigns while in some genealogies death reigns. In some genealogies, death and life are fighting one another.
Tommy the Drug Addict’s Change
If one enters the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew chapter 1, there is no death there. This was so amazing to me. After Jesus Christ entered my life, the sting of death was sin, but Jesus pushed all my sins out. Before, I was one who begat death, begat sin, and begat darkness. But as Jesus entered me, I was only myself on the outside. I had died and I lived with the heart of Jesus which I never had before. Then things like the works of Jesus began to happen in my life.
I once preached the gospel to a man who had been addicted to drugs for more than 40 years. He told me all about how he had done drugs and said how filthy and dirty he had lived and said to me, “Pastor, your sermon tonight struck my heart.” I spoke to him about the growth of a butterfly.
“Do you know how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly? It is not a beautiful caterpillar that becomes a butterfly. A disgusting, filthy caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly. Likewise, God is trying to make us, who are filthy and evil, into the precious sons of God.”
He laughed, saying, “Me? Become a butterfly?” I spoke once again.
“Right now, in your heart, you believe this cannot be because you believe in your own heart. However, you must receive Jesus into your heart. With your heart, you cannot be free from drugs or free from sin. With your thoughts or calculations, you cannot reach Jesus’ heart. We have to leave the earth to reach the moon. We can never get there if we are still sitting on earth. Likewise, because our nature is filthy and dirty, we can only live dirty and filthy lives if we remain in ourselves. You have to be freed from your thoughts if you want to change. You have to distrust and deny yourself. You have to open the Bible, and regardless of how your thoughts are, you have to listen to what the word is saying.”
I opened to Jeremiah chapter 17, verse 9 and spoke to him.
The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked;
“God does not say that your actions or habits are bad. God does not speak of your hypocritical, lustful actions, but He said that your heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Don’t just listen to these words that say so but see the heart of God who has expressed that your heart is this way. God said that you are dirty and wicked. Can you produce goodness by simply trying with your dirty and wicked heart? Never! That is why you have to throw that heart away.”
I opened to another part of the Bible and continued.
“All the works shown in the Bible began when man changed his heart. Abraham thought he could not have a son, but after believing in God’s promise, he changed his heart, saying, ‘If God works, I can have a son even though I am old,’ and had a son. All the works in the Bible happened when the people did not trust in their hearts, but accepted the Word of God and changed their hearts. What does the Bible say? You are filthy and dirty, but the Bible says that you are already made righteous. Even before you knew it, He cleansed you through the blood Jesus shed on the cross. When you accept this into your heart, you are righteous. You have already been made righteous, and now it is simply letting this come upon your heart.
It takes hundreds of millions of light years for the light of the stars we see to reach us. When the light reaches our eyes, we can know of its existence. Even before the light entered into our eyesight, the star existed. Likewise, our sins were already forgiven when Jesus shed His blood on the cross. However, we remain in darkness until God’s heart of forgiveness reaches us. God is trying to deliver that heart to ours through the Bible. People who have that heart delivered to them; people who have seen the light of God accept that their sins have been washed away. But people who have not accepted the Word, and people to whom the light of God had not reached remain in darkness; remain in their own thoughts.” Tommy, who had been using drugs for 40 years, met Jesus that day. Tommy had strained to become freed from drugs, but had failed. However, Jesus entered him. Of course, even after this, there was the temptation of drugs. Once, his leg was hurt as he was hit by a car on his way to buy drugs. He came to know that God was stopping him. Then he got in a wheelchair to buy drugs but got into a fight with the drug dealers. They became angry and picked him up in his wheelchair and threw him into a garbage dump and he thought he was going to die. Right then he changed his heart. From that day on he changed into someone who quit drugs and preached the gospel.
He did not fight to quit drugs. When Jesus entered his heart, Jesus cast the drugs far away from him. When there were oxen, sheep, and doves in the temple of Jerusalem, no one could cast them out but Jesus. In the temple of your heart, you will fail miserably if you try to fight against the darkness, dirtiness, filthiness, and wickedness, but will win if Jesus fights them.
Moving into genealogies represents moving the heart. A woman may ponder, “Shall I live with this man, or that man?” But if she decides to marry a person named A, she will move into his genealogy. Likewise, if you live with your thoughts you remain in Adam’s genealogy and must live a life where death ever continues. If a married woman becomes divorced and then marries into another family, she becomes a woman of that genealogy. Bathsheba was such a woman. Harlot Rachab was such a woman. She who had relationships with all sorts of men entered Salmon’s genealogy and united her heart with him. It is not important that we go to church, but that we receive the heart of Jesus. If we throw away the heart to believe in ourselves and accept the heart of Jesus Christ, we receive truly amazing grace through Jesus.
Systems Who Replaced God in Our Heart
And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel. (Genesis 36:31)
Esau’s tribe had advanced. Before Israel had a king, already the Kingdom of Edom was standing. Israel went long without a king because they had God. Even when they were establishing their first king, Saul, God wanted Himself to be king; He was not pleased with Saul becoming king. When they did not have God, they had to organize and make systems. Because Israel had God, the people lived happily through the prophets.
It seems that having a king would help a country, but rather, it caused much loss. Political systems today establish representatives because they are necessary. But if we all are ruled by God, if God becomes the king in our heart, we do not need any other king. The tribe of Esau established a king who was not God. Afterward, the works of death continued with them. It seemed on the outside that they were advancing and becoming better, but in reality, the works of death were continuing with them. That is what political advancement brings.
When the Pilgrims first set foot on America, they arrived despite many difficulties. That year, they lost all of their crops to the wind. They were attacked by Indians. They caught fevers. They prayed to God in these times of difficulties. They first built churches, prayed, and farmed despite the difficulties, and observed a day of Thanksgiving. There was God at the core of their heart. Afterwards, through the blessing of God, America became wealthier and more powerful. Through this their systems improved as well. Now they have welfare systems, retirement systems, insurance systems . . . . Everything became better.
Recently someone said to me, “God has left the American heart and is replaced with insurance companies.” Before, when there was fire, diseases, or accidents, they would rely on God. But now when they call the insurance company, it takes care of everything for them. Fire insurance for fire, medical insurance for sickness, unemployment insurance for unemployment . . . . In this way, as systems improved, many lost the opportunity to seek God. It seemed in the beginning to be good because of convenience, but these things ultimately took away the path to discover God; the path to find God. Now they are so distant from God that they are unable to find God even though they have no other way. They have no choice but to flow in human methods. As this kind of life continued, America began to corrupt.
To Have Us Not Stand on Our Own
We have to go forward toward God. There were works of birth in the genealogy of Esau in Genesis chapter 36, but later it continued to the works of death. When I first married, we had no home; we had nothing. Our house did not have a coat hanger, and one day we bought one from the store, and it was so nice to have one. When we first bought the electric rice cooker, I remember how joyful my wife was. Back then we lived relying on God. Back then we had to pray to God to ask for travel fare if we had to go somewhere. Nowadays, our lives have gotten better and we can just take our car. Everything has become better. The thankful thing is, now there is nothing I need to pray for in terms of my life, but there are greater things instead that I have to pray about. I have to pray concerning the many great difficulties that arise while we preach the gospel in Korea and all over the world. Rather than setting up systems to take care of these problems smoothly, it is so great that I can look to and rely on God.
As we talked about last time, Rachel had nothing to seek God about because she was perfect and Leah could only seek God because she was lacking. God made us weak. God could have made us strong like the panther, or like the lion. He could have made us big like the elephant and He could have made our hearts strong also. However, why did He make us to be so weak and why did He make our hearts so weak that we fall into sin and become disappointed when tempted? It was to have us not stand on our own but stand through believing in Jesus Christ. But we continually try to establish ourselves. We try to form systems so that we can live well without Jesus and we are establishing that kind of a kingdom. It seems that our lives are becoming better, but we are becoming distant from God.
Moving into the Genealogy of Jesus Christ
This is the lesson from the genealogy of Adam, the genealogy of Esau, and the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Do not be happy that you live abundantly in a nice home. This becomes the gateway to become distant from God. Also, do not be sad or discouraged because you do not have fuel to burn today or are hungry due to lack of food. If you can seek God through these things, then they are things that are truly precious and beautiful.
God is teaching us many things through the Bible. If we were good, with that goodness we would not have been able to receive the goodness of God. But our goodness to a certain extent looks good, but is not perfect. We have to throw all our good away for us to accept God’s goodness; Jesus’ goodness. This is what the Bible is precisely telling us.
There is life in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. Jesus destroyed death. When Jesus went to Jairus’ house, his daughter was dead, but He cast death out. Death could no longer remain there. When the old widow’s son died, Jesus cast death out and he came to life. When Jesus went to Lazarus’ tomb and cast death out, death ended there.
Even though your life may be in darkness, filthiness, destitution, and even though you are walking in the valley of the shadow of death, Jesus will brighten the valley of death and have you be blessed if He is with you. The life of entering the genealogy of Jesus Christ; the life of moving your heart into Jesus; the life of trusting not yourself but trusting Jesus is the truly blessed and beautiful life.