Studies in the Books of Chronicles
1st Chronicles 1
The Dawn of Civilisation
The opening chapter take us back to the opening chapters of Genesis and the origins of humanity.
Through Adam we observe the creation of mankind, through Noah we witness the resettlement after the great flood and through Abraham the covenant people are called out.
Key Lessons from Chapter One
1: Humanity Stems from One Common Ancestor
In the opening chapter the inspired historian is not oblivious to the world beyond Israel, because the settlement of the world by the sons of Noah is recorded as are the records of both Ishmael’s and Esau’s families. All are traced back to Adam.
The Bible affords no space for those who would claim that man evolved through primitive species into the creature that he is today.
Tracing the lineage of humanity back to one identifiable man also demonstrates that mankind is one race.
Racism, which divides and creates hatred among the peoples of the world has no place in a Christian worldview.
In fact, the term racism is a misnomer, because there is only one race:
God that made the world all things therein…hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth…Acts 17:24,26
2: Old Testament History the Traces Messianic Line
It has been observed that Chronicles is the Old Testament in miniature. This evidently was one of the purposes in writing this book, that the returning Jews would receive a written summary of the whole period of history leading up to the exile in Babylon.
From the outset, therefore, the lineage out of which Christ would spring is emphasised.
Neither Abel, Cain, nor the descendants of Cain are mentioned. Seth is the only child of Adam to be recorded because his was the chosen seed, the messianic line. Throughout ancient times this line was identified and preserved. In Chronicles the emphasis is upon the kings reigning in Jerusalem who were part of the holy ancestry out of which Jesus Christ would spring.
3: The Peoples of the Earth were Established after the Flood
Japheth – The Father of Indo-European nations. In terms of population and prosperity Japheth is the most successful of Noah’s sons occupying the greatest portion of the world. While the sons of Japheth were in spiritual darkness for millennia the promise given through Noah has been realised through the Gospel and the New Testament Church; God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem (Genesis 9:27).
Ham – Ham certainly includes the peoples known as the Canaanites and many of the African tribes. Some research indicates that the Chinese and Mongolian peoples also stem from Ham. The first dominant world power to arise from Noah’s lineage was under the leadership of Nimrod, a grandson of Ham.
Shem – He is the Father of the Hebrew and the Arab peoples, which are known as Semitic. This is the line that the Old Testament is most interested in as the history of this family is traced through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
4: The Record of Judgment and Grace
The reason why Seth is the only son of Adam’s to be mentioned was because of the first act of rebellion since The Fall, the murder of Abel and the resulting judgement of Cain. This is the history of the world in summary. Mankind rebels and God judges but still He remains merciful. When Cain’s family and their ways dominated the ante-diluvian world God preserved one family in the terrible deluge.
In the 10th verse the chronicler is most definite with respect to Nimrod, he began to be mighty upon the earth. He was a hunter of men who deprived them of their freedoms, a despot who waged war against man and God. Babel was his invention which God visited with confusion. Nimrod was the first revelation of the spirit of antichrist in the years since the flood occurred. He attempted to unite humanity under a common empire and religion. He would leave a legacy, however, in that the Philistines would spring from his loins with their fierce violence and hatred against the people of God (v12). Also, from the sons of Canaan would spring peoples like the Jebusites and Amorites who would be foes of God’s people in the land of promise.
Abraham would have two sons of note; Isaac and Ishmael (v28). While Isaac was the son of the covenant Ishmael would prosper but would be a thorn in the side of Israel, even to this day. Abraham’s second wife Keturah would bare him sons, one of whom was Midian, another great adversary of the chosen seed (v33). Isaac’s two sons, Jacob and Esau, likewise represented this spiritual conflict of the ages. Esau would quickly grow, and his nation known as Edom would spread rapidly while Jacob, who also was the son of the covenant, would remain small and inferior for a very long time. The Edomites too would become problematic for Israel in future days.
Despite these many challenges to God’s purpose the story of Chronicles, the Old Testament and indeed of world history is how God preserves His truth and His cause through the ages. Why? Because He remains true to His covenant. Therefore, Abraham is introduced in these terms, Abram; the same is Abraham. V27. He would no longer be a father, but a father of many nations and his seed would be a blessing to the entire world. For the same reason, however strong may be the foes that array themselves against the Church, God will build Christ’s Church and His cause will continue and flourish.