The Story Behind
By Eric Ludy
The Story Behind The Lineage of Majesty
By Eric Ludy
In April 2013, I delivered the sermon, The Lineage of Majesty. The message packed a divine punch and left us all in awe of the brilliance, power, and condescending love of our great God. Simply put, it was a very special day at the Church at Ellerslie.
The portion we lifted out of the original presentation that makes up this short film was simply a finishing thought to the message; a last minute “add-on” to the full sermon. (Listen to the original sermon here)
This add-on portion came as I was putting the finishing touches to my sermon notes. I had a thought that led to an aggressive last-minute study of the genealogical record of Jesus Christ, purloining my late late night hours on Friday and Saturday, and my early early morning hours on both Saturday and Sunday. I was so intrigued and amazed as I progressed through the study. There was a Heavenly rhythm to the meanings of the names that made up the geological record of Christ. I discovered that these name meanings didn’t just allude to the Messiah; they explained His particular purpose, His unique work, and even how He would accomplish it all.
It’s All About Jesus
I am a firm adherent to the idea that the entire Bible speaks of One. And that One is Jesus. Everything in Scripture aims toward our understanding of Him, His nature, His purpose, His work, His salvation, and His eternal power and position. As John the Apostle says it, “Jesus is the Word of God made flesh.” He is the Bible packaged into a human body, fulfilling all that was previously written, showcasing the divine nature of God in and through His life, actions, and words spoken.
As I study the history of Israel, I see the Messiah revealed in and through those histories. As I study the law, the tabernacle, the temple, the priesthood, and the sacrifices—I see Jesus. I see Him in the book of Ruth, the Proverbs, the Song of Songs, and even the book of Esther. I see Him in a ram with its horns caught in a thicket, manna coming down from heaven, a rock in the wilderness, and a lamb of sacrifice. I see Him in the Jewish calendar, the holy days, the feasts, and even in the geography of the land of Promise. Everywhere I look, I see Jesus. Now it is true that I see Him because I’m looking for Him. But I believe that is precisely what the Holy Spirit leads a believer to do—seek Jesus—find Jesus—know Jesus—worship Jesus—follow Jesus—and bring glory to Jesus.
So, this thought that I had as I was finishing up my sermon notes on April 26th, 2013, wasn’t foreign to my mind. It was merely a new application of the same age-old idea I had marinating in my soul for the past couple decades of my life: It’s all about Jesus!
In light of that, here was my very particular thought that Friday afternoon in April 2013:
If Jesus is the fulfillment of this lineage; if He is the reason it existed in the first place; If Christ was the end of it all and the whole thing was governed the entire while, on-purpose, by a heavenly Providence, then sealed, preserved, and delivered to us with startling accuracy through seventy-seven generations . . . could it be . . . could it possibly be that the names of these forefathers, these carriers of the Christ-seed, were also divinely governed and providentially given in order to reveal Him?
I would say the simple goal in this project is to demonstrate that, yes, God did, indeed, providentially lay out a story, an awe-striking revelation of His plans and purposes in and through the names of the forefathers of this Sacred Seed. And I think this film declares this wondrous fact in a beautiful and powerful way. It shows us that God is over all things, even the smallest details. And, shockingly, He even takes men that rebelled against him and leverages their lives for His glory, nonetheless. “Wow!” is the only proper response.
A Personal Disclaimer
Now that you know the story behind how this short film came to be, I would like to issue a disclaimer. When a message like this is presented with such epic power, some listeners might take my study of these names and my weaving of the names together as “inspired translation.” But I want to make it clear that this particular presentation of names and meanings is simply an “Eric Ludy interpretation” of something presented in Scripture. As my own personal interpretation, it is certainly not perfect. It’s powerful and accurate, yes. But please note that there are many subjective interpretations and creative synonyms utilized along the way in order to make my point.
If another pastor or Bible scholar were to sit down with me and lay out the seventy-seven generations of Jesus, I guarantee you, the wording would have turned out slightly different, if not vastly different. And that is because, in translating from different languages, an English speaker is given a tremendous amount of synonymic latitude in regards to translation. There are some names, in particular, in this record, that prove very difficult even for the ardent scholar to apprehend, which of course, leads to a certain gray area in arriving at solid, beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt conclusions.
Because of this, I wanted to lay out for you my six key points of strong subjective input into this project, so that you can still absorb the full power of this message without being tripped by the subtlety of translational nuance and the unique injection of Eric Ludy’s interpretation into the project. Sound fair?
- In putting together this work I was starting with a premise that the meaning of the names would, indeed, show Jesus Christ. This premise definitely colored my conclusions, for, in wearing this lens, I’m going to see things differently than someone who started with an opposite premise and has no intention of seeing Christ in and through this genealogical record. For instance, when dealing with the name Nahshon in the lineage, the Strong’s concordance is going to set forth the simple idea that the name means, “enchanter.” However, a deeper look into the word, will show that it is “as a hissing” or “as a whispering of spells.” And then, add to that, the word “nachash” (which translates as serpent and is the same word used to describe the Serpent that spoke to Eve) is derived from this word Nahshon (the name in the lineage). And, therefore, when I see this, I see more than an “enchanter,” but I see a “hissing enchanter” who was prophesied to have his head crushed by this very Seed in question and revealed through this lineage. Someone not looking for the revelation of the work of Jesus in and through the name Nahshon could very well miss this fact and translate the story to read merely “enchanter.” They would be technically right, but the sighting of Jesus would be missed in the process.
- There are certain names in and amongst Christ’s lineage that have proven to have very debatable meanings amongst scholars. For these mysterious names, I have looked beyond the simple definition offered in and through concordances and lexicons, and also allowed for the meanings of these names to be made more clear through the specific unarguable calling these very people had upon their lives, as revealed in Scripture. As an example, the name Joseph is found multiple times throughout the Lineage. And the name Joseph is a difficult one with a lot of potential leeway in its translation. A simple understanding of the name could mean, “Let Him add” or “Jehovah has added,” however, there is a bit more complexity to this name. The etymology of the name also indicates that something is added after something else is taken away. In other words, the idea on a more complex plane would be “Jehovah takes away and He shall add.” When a student of Scripture is looking for Jesus in everything, the name Joseph and the life of Joseph (the son of Jacob) is a profound picture of Gospel redemption and, very particularly, the pattern of the Messiah. First, He must lose His life, then that life will be added again. First a corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die and then it will bring forth much fruit. This pattern, as revealed in the life of Joseph the son of Jacob, is profound. But this idea of an “exchange” is central to the Gospel, and so, when I approach the lineage of Christ, I see every Joseph in the lineage as a grandiose statement of this tremendous mystery of “exchanging out life for death.”
- I definitely took some creative liberties in weaving these names together into a flow. My desire was to show how they could beautifully reveal Jesus. And so, in doing, I created connective tissue. I didn’t change the order of the names, but I did add grammatical adhesives in-between the meaning of the names to make my point. In some of these cases, argument could definitely be made for an even better proposed flow of logic. I would not dispute this. In fact, I would say that there are many men and women in this world today that, if they took the time to study this out and do this same project as I’ve done herein, would come to a conclusion even more profound than what we are demonstrating through this project.
- In the decision-making process, I will admit that I made a couple subjective decisions that would be reasonable challenge points. My prime example for this would be in the name Amminadab. I translated his name to mean “Royal Seed.” It’s a good translation, but not necessarily the conclusion that the average Bible student is going to come to. The reason for this has to do with the fact that a stricter definition would be \"one of the prince's people\" or \"my kinsman is noble.\" So how do I get “Royal Seed” out of that? Good question. The answer to that is found in the key interpretive device I’m using in approaching this project. And that is that, my starting premise is that the name Amminadad is there in this divine record of lineage in order to reveal the Christ. Therefore, I’m going to start with the premise that the “Prince” in question is “Jesus” and the kinsman “who is noble,” is also Jesus. The Biblical phraseology for this precise idea of the Kingly kinsman throughout Scripture is “the divine Seed” and, so, since the emphasis in the name Amminadab is of a “Royal” kinsman, I translated it “Royal Seed.” And, of course, this works well with the next name meaning “Hissing Enchanter” and unlocks the grand mystery of Genesis 3:15 and beautifully reveals the Christ.
- With every name I looked at both the Hebrew name’s meaning and the Greek translation of the name, and considered both to be Holy Spirit inspired (after all, I do believe that the writers of the New Testament were carried along by the Holy Spirit to write the text of Scripture in Koine Greek). And, therefore, when the Greek name brought an additional nuance to my understanding of the name, I allowed it to figure into my final interpretation of its meaning in the story of the lineage. A good example of this would be the name Lamech, which I translated as “He is brought low that He may prove powerful.” In the Hebrew language, his name simply exudes the idea of “made powerful.” But, if you look at his name in the New Testament genealogical record and look into the Koine Greek translation of his name, another dimension of the name Lamech issues forth, reading almost like a question that is begging an answer. “Why am I this way? Why am I brought low?” This strange paradox of meanings is found in certain names like Joseph, Asa, and in this one, Lamech. There seems to be a contradiction in the very essence of this name. But I don’t see it as a contradiction as much as a profound picture of the Gospel, and one solved in the Person of Jesus Christ. After all, we as Christians know the answer to the question, “Why was it that He was brought low?” It was so He could prove to have power over death, prove Himself the Son of God, and, as the name “Lamech” states, that He may prove powerful.
- When I was preparing this Lineage reading as an added bonus to my sermon I wasn’t considering the fact that it was going to, one day, over three years later, become what it is today—a short film being shared among believers all over the world. If I were preparing it for a broader audience I certainly would have done things a bit differently. As a pastor, I prepare my thoughts, for better for worse, for the audience that I know will be sitting in that church building come Sunday morning and not an audience that will be watching via YouTube over three years later. As a result, I can often take for granted that my audience already has a pre-existing understanding of certain things I say. A good example of this in this film is how I refer to the name “Adam” at the onset of the reading of the lineage. In the film, I don’t actually give the meaning for the name Adam. That is because many times over we, as a church, have talked about Adam and his name. He is the first man, and more specifically, “The red man.” But, as the Apostle Paul says in 1st Corinthians 15:47, his red is of this earth, it’s earthy. So when I start the lineage reading, I am speaking as if this is understood, and I merely refer to Jesus, the way Paul does in 1st Corinthians 15:45, as “the Last Adam” or, as “the Last Red Man”—the one who is not born of this earth, but born of Heaven, marked by the red of heaven (blood/the poured out life of God) upon the Cross.
I really do hope that you have enjoyed this short film. The work that Steve Rosen did on the musical and video production of this particular project was truly amazing, conjoined with the superb artistic skill of Jesiah Bell, with the editing spit-and-polish supplied by Josh Kinabrew—it’s a surprisingly powerful work.
When something like this is released, it can certainly move people towards a greater faith, but, I’m fully aware how the enemy can also attempt to confuse people in the gray interpretive areas. Long and short, our lives are not found in the meaning of names, but in the power of the Person of Jesus Christ. Our faith should not rest in Eric Ludy’s translation of the name Joseph, nor of the name Nahshon, or Amminadab. Our faith must rest solely in the Person and the Work of our beloved Savior, Jesus. In fact, if you get anything out of this film project, I hope it is that you learn the meaning of His Name and that it becomes personal and deeply intimate to you. He is the Salvation of Jehovah God. He is our great Rescuer. Let’s not miss that simple fact.
For the King and the King’s Glory!