Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 1:13)

The Two Genealogies of the Man, Messiah Jesus

Wednesday, September 14, 2005
by ArBee

(Note that this post was put together by a faithful and knowledgeable member of our fellowship. He has posted comments on this blog in the past under the nick ArBee. It's a long one, but well worth the read. This is ArBee's 0.02$ (actually, make that a 0.25$) on the various comments left by some Romanists in the comment box attached to my Romanist Mariology - Part 1 post)

The two genealogical records in Scripture of the Lord Jesus Christ (= Messiah) have been placed in the Scripture record by God the Holy Spirit, in order that mankind can witness the marvelous way in which our omniscient and omnipotent God keeps His promises, regardless of the apparent difficulties that fallen mankind perceives as being impossible obstacles! They are also a witness to the integrity of the Scripture record, as one must tie together (connect the dots) in a number of pertinent books of the Bible to resolve the apparent (from man's view) problem.

In the first place, one must understand that the four gospel records were written by God the Holy Spirit to specifically highlight four separate views of the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel record written (humanly speaking) by Matthew, the Levite, consistently points to the Lord Jesus as the promised Messiah of Israel; therefore, he continuously supports that position (60 times) from the Old Testament Scriptures. The very first chapter starts with a Jewish-format genealogy, that when read by a son of Abraham in the Hebrew language, points him specifically to Jesus of Nazareth as the fulfillment of God's promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, David, and Daniel for their Messiah! That gospel account stresses over and over the credentials of Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah, proving His right to claim that authority over all the sons of Abraham in the flesh by establishing from Scripture His legal and royal title. Thirty-eight times the Matthew record uses the word, "fulfilled" in pointing the Jewish reader to their Messiah, Jesus. The first miracle recorded in that account is of direct application in the eyes of the Jewish reader, for it presents their Messiah as the One who could completely cleanse a foul leper of every trace of that disease and make his flesh perfectly whole. Although this imarvelouslous deed in Gentile eyes, to the Jewish reader who knows that leprosy was ALWAYS used as a type of sin in the TaNaK (the whole of the Old Testament), this points to the One who is the fulfillment (Anti-type) of all the Messianic promises it contains! The Holy Spirit in Matthew's account, writes of the One who is the Lion of the tribe of Judah; hence the genealogy begins with father Abraham and ends with the last recorded person in that line who can lay legal claim to the Genesis 49 promises to Judah.

On the other hand, the Gentile author, Dr. Luke, who is widely acknowledged as being an accurate historian, presents this same Jesus as the Perfect Man - the last Adam. This Perfect Man is presented in the gospel record as being everything that the first Adam could have been, if he had perfectly obeyed God. Dr. Luke is writing primarily to a Greek audience to reveal to them that this same Jesus is the eikon or perfect representation of ideal humanity, and Luke uses the many times that the Lord Jesus referred to Himself as the Son of Man to point the Greek reader who believed that although God could look like a man, no god could actually BE a man, to the One who not only was, but IS both perfect God and perfect Man! The first miracle that Dr. Luke, the physician, records is the authority of Jesus of Nazareth over the acknowledged but unseen world of demons - a demonstration of the power and authority of this God/Man who was not only publicly seen to die - but who was also widely acknowledged to have conquered death and to arisen out from among (that's what the Greek text says) the dead, over those unseen and greatly feared demonic powers.

Dr. Luke, then, begins not with the genealogy of this perfect Man, but with an authoritative account of the events surrounding the arrival of this perfect God/Man into the world via the means of a human birth - something that would challenge the Greek reader to rethink his belief that although a number of their supposed gods were said to have descended from Olympus and walked among men; not a single one of them had EVER done so via human birth! Dr. Luke, once he presents the genealogy of this Jesus of Nazareth, begins with - not father Abraham - but with the very first created human being - Adam - and provides a genealogical trail from the first Adam who failed, to the last Adam who succeeded, in perfectly doing the will of His Father all the days of His human existence on this planet - thereby earning the right to redeem all His people from the bondage of sin and death!

Now, having that background, let's specifically look at the apparent problem with the two genealogies that were discussed on your blog about Mary, near the first of the month.
There is no dispute about the fact that the genealogical record in Matthew points to the Lord Jesus as being the eldest son (legally speaking, but not of his flesh) of Joseph, the last person in the line of Abraham, Judah, David, and Solomon who could lay legal claim to the throne of David in Jerusalem. The curse that you mentioned was placed upon a king in Judah who had a variety of names - Coniah [Jer 22:24, 28], Jeconiah [1 Chron 3:16, 17], Jehoiachin [2 Kings 24:8], and a number of scholars have followed the biblical record to establish that his physical descendants all perished in Babylon - but that through the God-approved means of Levirite marriage, the legal inheritance of the line was continued from his widow, down to Joseph. It is quite an involved discussion that I won't pursue in the interest of space; but I assure you that it does exist (Shealtiel is the end of that broken line - Zerubbabel is of a separate blood line. Joseph, therefore, had the legal right to the throne of David, which his legal firstborn son could claim upon the death of his father, but the blood line from Solomon no longer existed; it had ended in Babylon.

This is important, as it clearly gives Jesus of Nazareth the legal right to claim the throne of David in Jerusalem - which I believe that He will soon do! However, as the blood line from Solomon was broken when the blood offspring of Jeconiah perished in Babylon, it was necessary to affirm the existence of that Davidic blood line - and that's where Mary comes into the picture.
The Holy Spirit, through the pen of Dr. Luke, wrote the verse that started the discussion on your blog, which I want to deal with.

v.23- "And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli."

Firstly, notice that the words "the son" are italicized. That indicates that they are not in the Greek text, but have been inserted by the translators as a "best fit", in an attempt to clarify the meaning for the English reader. The thirty years of age is significant, also, but not for this discussion.

Many times we read something in Scripture that seems to be quite irrelevant to the portion that we are reading; but our God makes no mistakes! He does, though, hide little treasures in seemingly strange places in His Word, that His dear children might experience the joy of discovering them for themselves as they read. One of those hidden treasures is the account in Numbers 26:33; 27:1 - 11; 36:2 - 12; Josh 17:3 - 6; concerning the daughters of Zelophedad. Their petition and God's resolution of their dilemma is the key to understanding the situation with Mary and Joseph.

In order for the inheritance of a man to not be lost when his lawful marriage produced no sons, his daughter(s) could pass on the inheritance from their father to their son(s), so long as they married within their own tribe. The record of Zelophedad's daughters illustrated the principle that God would then apply in the situation of Mary and Joseph, some 1,400 years after Zelophedad! In order to pass on the inheritance, the sonless father would officially adopt his daughter's husband as his own son; hence Joseph could be said to legally be both the son of Jacob (Matthew's account - royal inheritance) and the son of Heli (Luke's account - blood inheritance)!

When God cursed the royal line in Jeconiah, Satan and his minions must have really partied hearty; for they thought that God could no longer fulfill His promise to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah and David concerning the lineage of the Messiah! Yet, our great and wonderful God who knows the end from the beginning, knew EXACTLY what He was doing, and had perfectly arranged things long before Jeconiah's day, that His Word would NEVER fail!

You might also be interested to know why certain kings do not appear in Matthew's account of the royal line. Remember, Matthew's gospel was written specifically to the Jewish reader, therefore, it must accurately reflect the application of the Law.

Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah all died violent deaths; God thus dealing with idolatry literally "to the 3rd and 4th generations" (Ex 20:4-5); their names are therefore "blotted out" according to the Law (Deut 29:20). Jehoiakim and Jechoniah, likewise; since the kingdom ended as an independent kingdom with Josiah's death at Megiddo. Thus these were "blotted out" of the groups of "14 generations" in Matthew's account. [E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible, Appendix 99.]

Click here for a schematic of Christ's genealogies.