“So all Israel was recorded in genealogies”

One of the most boring parts of the Bible to read are the lists of names in genealogies. We completed reading yesterday the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles which are full of such lists, tracing lines of descent. Chapter 9 starts with the words “So all Israel was recorded in genealogies”. Why were all these records kept? The significance of keeping them became evident when the Jews returned from captivity for some could not prove their line of descent “whether they belonged to Israel” (Ezra 2:59).

Being an Israelite brought special privileges and today, belonging to a nation is important. After World War Two when so many millions died (twenty million it is said) there were many stateless people, especially parentless youngsters. When people are “stateless”, it is a real problem. We see the desire of some today to be accepted as members of another nation, Australia is very much favoured, and it is currently an issue, as to whether or not you are a naturalised citizen if you want to take any part in politics.

Now our key question is, is it of any value of knowing your genealogy – when you are “in Christ”? The answer is clearly, ‘No’. When Jesus Christ becomes our brother, spiritually, then his Father becomes our Father – and that is the only genealogy that counts. And how much does it count! Nothing in our lives can equal this citizenship!

We note however that the early church had those he still saw importance in knowing lines of descent. Paul mentioned this in writing to Timothy saying “to teach” that they should not “devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies” (1 Timothy 1:3,4). He wrote the same to Titus saying he should teach believers to “avoid controversies, genealogies … they are unprofitable and worthless” (3:9).

Today it has become something of a fad in some countries to know your line of descent and we are to some extent bombarded by organisations offering to find this out – at a price of course.

Let us concentrate our on our relationship of being “in Christ” – that matters above all else.