Timothy 1:4 WEB “…neither to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which cause disputes, rather than God's stewardship, which is in faith—”
Titus 3:9 WEB “…but shun foolish questionings, genealogies, strife, and disputes about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.”
The apostle Paul was very concerned over the churches during his final years alive. He wrote several letters which were read to the assemblies, and in them he repeatedly stated many things that the membership was to avoid in their faith walk. 1 Timothy 1:4 and Titus 3:9 both talk of something we have seen happening over the last few years in modern religions – focus on endless genealogies.
In early times in the church, it seemed the focus was on the "endless genealogies" of Judaism, similar to those recorded in Genesis 4, 5 and 11. These are the chapters where we can read the genealogy of the ancient prophets, kings, and some that may lead to the lineage of Yeshua. Today, this warning from Paul has taken on a whole new meaning.
Right now there are preachers and teachers claiming a long list of those who are “more righteous” than others based on their genealogy. What do I mean by this? Search online or sit down and talk to anyone you know who is involved in a church, and you will find that many Christians believe they are more right with God based on their belief that the New Testament was written for them, and the Jews are the lesser of God’s people. You will find that Jews believe that they are the chosen ones because they were chosen in ancient times.
There will be religions who preach they are chosen because they are of the remnant of Ephraim and Manasseh, or those who believe they are Levite or Nazarite. What about the churches who preach they are the only ones righteous enough to get to Heaven, and if you aren’t in their membership lineage you will not be saved? We see people arguing over two house doctrines, and others who claim all modern religion is based on false teachings and deception.
Could this have been something Paul saw not only in the churches Timothy and Titus led, but also in the latter days? He did speak of the churches and the sins people would become involved in – 2 Timothy 3:1 talks of perilous times that will come in the last days, and of all the wickedness men and women will give in to. This includes the warning in 2 Timothy 3:6 which warns of women letting teachers into their homes, which will lead them astray with false teachings.
Paul’s warnings to Timothy and Titus included consequences for those who follow fables and endless genealogies: these people will cause much strife amongst Yahweh's people, and create disputes about everything - including the law. He then reminds us that these are unprofitable and vain.
Wow! Paul was very accurate about the issue of genealogies - as in the past, many today continue to fight for their privilege, authority, or “special designation” based on their lineage. This fascination with lineage causes conflict and battles to the point it turns people against each other. People who were friends for some time, or family members, will turn on those they care about just to argue over who is from what house, tribe, or nationality.
We have even heard of people who are trying to prove their lineage through DNA tests to show they are of a particular lineage for religious purposes. This was something I recently studied for a paper I was writing about Paul’s warnings to the churches of the last days. Many believe their genealogy is valuable proof and evidence to prove to others where they have come from – Again for religious purposes.
One example of this is within the Mormon church who believe you must discover as many relatives as possible so that you can “do their temple work” for them to help get them into what Mormon’s believe to be God’s highest kingdom in Heaven. They have dedicated entire caves to store microfiche copies of old records such as birth, marriage, and death records going back hundreds of years. Entire businesses have been built on searching your genealogical records or family history, and although it can be truly fun discovering where your ancestors might have came from, we should not preach that salvation is based on whether your genealogy “lines up” appropriately with a desired group of people from the past.
In recent years, we have seen more and more debates crop up about genealogies and ensuring your lineage is attached to a particular group of ancient people. As Paul predicted, these debates and conversations end in controversial speculations about who is more worthy of salvation, or who has more “right” to a position in Heaven. These arguments stop any possibility of “advancing God’s work,” because the focus becomes solely on heredity and “special position,” or status with God. As people expend their energy searching genealogical records. Instead of wasting their time on this pursuit, their time and energy should be directed toward getting to know their Saviour more deeply. They should be spending their time on learning to let the Spirit make changes on the inside with their character, thinking, emotions, attitude, love, flesh, desires, and relationships.
This abrupt halt in spiritual progression happens not just with the people who are debating geneologies, but also with those who witness the arguments and become confused about God’s intentions for his people. Many times, it appears that both sides of the debate may be scholarly, and yet, if they truly are well-versed, how can they have such differing views as to who is the “rightful” follower of Christ? How can both be right about “who gets into Heaven or who goes to Hell?” How can they read the scriptures and proclaim one race of people is more loved by God, or more righteous than others?
You see, people are often found chasing after their personal “lineage” as if it makes them more righteous or more “entitled” to salvation or God’s blessings fall on one race of people more than race. These and other arguments are heated discussions often found in the the Two House Theory, and lost tribes discussions – as in which “tribe” you rightfully come from, whether a lineage is of the family of Ephraim or Manassah, or do you identify with being a Nazarite or a Levite, or are you just a descendant of pagans. To many people, this information will decide whether you are a part of the wild olive tree, or the natural olive tree, forgetting that both are grafted together, or that one branch may be cut off just as easily as another if the fruit is bad. Some will claim only Jews are saved while others will believe only Gentiles, so people will spend countless hours trying to prove they are or are not something out of fear for their salvation, or out of fear of losing their salvation.
This world has become so scattered since the Tower of Babel that it is often difficult to confirm with great certainty exactly what lineage a person comes from. As debates heat up, so does the market for DNA or genealogical “proof.” As of this writing there are at least 3 companies who claim to currently provide the most “accurate” DNA test available on the open market. Yet these tests are far from perfect. One example of this would be the test results of the Dahm Triplets that was publicized early in 2017.
With modern DNA tests, unless you are willing to pay a lot of money for a high-tech study, accuracy of the results may be questionable. Let’s take a closer look at the Dahm family example:
The Dahm Triplets are identical triplets. Initial results showed them to be 100% identical, just as expected. Yet when the genealogical breakdown came in, the test results were less identical:
Erica showed 16% Irish/English; 22.3% French/German; 7.4% Scandinavian
Nicole showed 18% Irish/English; 11% French/German; 11.4% Scandinavian
Jaclyn was did not show Irish/English lineage like the others, but instead showed she was 18% French/German; and 7.4% Scandinavian
As you can see, they “lost” much of their “identical” nature as soon as the test was broken down to actual genetic history. How could this be possible when their initial DNA results said they were almost 100% identical? It simply shows that we currently cannot put perfect faith on this scientific testing to show what genealogy we come from. How much trust should you put in your own test results showing you are or are not from a certain lineage of people?
What about studying out your family history through records research and then coupling this with your DNA tests for more “proof?” For those who have studied their lineage out by searching through piles of records in old archives or through one of the online ancestry services, even this is not a perfect method of demonstrating one’s genealogy or lineage. Personal examples of these are within our own families.
Years ago, I input my mother’s family history to one of these online services. After a time, someone else had gone into my Grandfather’s records and changed all the information on his parents and siblings, because this other person claimed he had come from a completely different family, with completely different siblings. Although the parent’s names were almost identical, the children were not at all the same. Upon closer examination, the difference was noticed also with the middle names of the parents. BOTH father and mother had different middle names from my grandfather’s parents.
The problem we ran into was, when this other person tied their family line to mine, it added and deleted names and places from my grandfather’s lineage. Yet this was information for which I had documentation and proof from my extensive research that validated my original entries. Although this other family had similar first and last names of their relatives, they mistakenly thought they had found a connection, but their changes to my family records online made the genealogical connections between our families connected. Their mistake impacted my mother’s family records and it now showed my mother’s family came from a completely different place than they originally came from.
Sadly this was not the only example. My husband’s genealogical records were altered as well, with a similar thing happening to my father’s grandparents line. These are just three examples within our family. To top it off, trying to prove our original entries were valid with documents was futile, nothing was able to be changed back to the accurate information on the genealogical records. Should any of our children search their family history out, they will discover information that may appear true, and yet the information is completely false.
Paul said, “…Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work…” and he was spot on with this statement. If we spend all our time testing out these family lines, we might find we are related to the tribe of Judah, perhaps, or maybe the lineage of Moses. Maybe we can go back as far as Noah – whom we are all related to! Or maybe we will be orphans somewhere along the line with no proof of anything going back anywhere. It’s all futile!
If we spend all our time worrying about what lineage we are, where we come from by using this faulty process of DNA testing, and genealogical research, where will it get you in the end? Why would you do all this? Do you really think all this effort and research is going to make yourself “more worthy” in the eyes of God? How much time have you wasted on documentation, research, and testing just to prove something that means nothing at all concerning salvation? Instead, you could have spent your time teaching truth, preaching the Gospel message, and sharing God’s love with family members, neighbors, and the world who are still wandering around spiritually lost. This effort would have accomplished something of worth for the Kingdom of God. Will it matter to people what tribe you, or they come from in the end, or will it matter more if you show them the truth of God’s word and his plan of salvation in the Gospel?
If we invest our time on God’s word rather than man’s vain theories about genealogical status, or the false teaching of lineage-based salvation, how much more could we accomplish for his kingdom doing the things we were called to do?
Blessings and Shalom. . .
Rosen, Jeff & Bomin Lindsey “How well do home DNA kits really work? See identical triplets try three of them” The Today Show, December 1, 2017 www.today.com/health/are-home-dna-kits-accurate-identical-triplets-try-3-them-t119472; Accessed: January 4, 2018
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Lead Author (Bio)
Jim, (Judi's husband), has Sephardi Jewish ancestry and is a minister and head of Shofar Productions. Jim was a denominational pastor, hospital chaplain, and former director of a non-profit community organization.
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