Original Research

Towards understanding migration within God’s redemptive plan for humankind: A case of Matthew’s genealogy in connection with the Old Testament

Christopher Magezi
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 41, No 1 | a2014 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v41i1.2014 | © 2020 Christopher Magezi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 May 2019 | Published: 21 July 2020

About the author(s)

Christopher Magezi, Unit of Reformational Theology and the Development of South African Society, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, South Africa


This article responds to the emerging need for theology to be more engaged in the issue of migration and to develop a thorough biblical-theological foundation for a migration theology that challenges the Church to effectively respond to the challenges faced by migrants. This is accomplished by utilising Matthew’s genealogy in a quest to explore God’s use of migration to accomplish his redemptive purposes and plans for humankind. Although Matthew’s genealogy cites many patriarchs of Israel, such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – all of whom are involved in various migrations that God uses to advance his redemptive plans and purposes for humankind – the focus of this article is to underscore that the salvation and inclusion of some women from Gentile ethnic groups, specifically Tamar, Rahab and Ruth, in Matthew’s genealogy emphasises the importance of migration in redemptive history. Through this insight, the article challenges humanity to respond positively to migrants’ challenges, as well as implores theology to engage more in migration issues/debates. On the one hand, God brings migrants to people’s doorsteps for purposes that are unknown to them, i.e. the Bible envisages a situation in which, when God wants non-believers to know him, he migrates them to where his people are. On the other hand, God also advances his kingdom by migrating his people (Christians) to faraway places so that they may be in contact with non-believers.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This is an interdisciplinary article that brings both the Old and New Testaments into conversation with each other regarding the subject of migration in redemptive history. The contribution of the article lies in recovering the importance of migration in redemptive history.


church; migration; Matthew; lineage; genealogy; Tamar; Rahab; Ruth; migration in redemptive history; church response to migrant challenges


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