And Christ's Genealogies
The House Of David
The Davidic covenant established the house of David as Israel's royal family.
● 2Sam 7:16 Your house and your kingship shall ever be secure before you; your throne shall be established forever. (1985 JPS Tanakh)
● 2Sam 23:5 Is not my House established before God? For He has granted me an eternal pact, drawn up in full and secured. (1985 JPS Tanakh)
● Ps 89:4 I have made a covenant with My chosen one; I have sworn to My servant David: I will establish your offspring forever, I will confirm your throne to all generations. (1985 JPS Tanakh)
● Ps 89:35-38 ...I will not violate My covenant, or change what I have uttered. I have sworn by My holiness, once and for all; I will not be false to David. His line shall continue forever, his throne, as the sun before Me, as the moon, established forever, an enduring witness in the sky. (1985 JPS Tanakh)
Of David's biological sons, Solomon was chosen to inherit David's throne.
● 2Sam 7:12-13 ...When your days are done and you lie with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own issue, and I will establish his kingship. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish his royal throne forever.
● 1Chron 17:11-14 ...When your days are done and you follow your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingship. He shall build a house for Me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to Me, but I will never withdraw My favor from him as I withdrew it from your predecessor. I will install him in My house and in My kingship forever, and his throne shall be established forever.
● 1Chron 22:9-10 ...But you will have a son who will be a man at rest, for I will give him rest from all his enemies on all sides; Solomon will be his name and I shall confer peace and quiet on Israel in his time. He will build a House for My name; he shall be a son to Me and I to him a father, and I will establish his throne of kingship over Israel forever. (see also 1Kgs 1:28-35)
Christ, Son Of Joseph
Far too many Gentiles are indifferent to Jesus' genetic connection with David, and aren't really concerned all that much about that aspect of him at all. But the house of David (like the house of Windsor is to the Brits) is very important to Jews because it plays such an important role in eretz Israel's future. The average Gentile looks ahead to a Heaven; but the instructed Jew looks ahead to a monarchy.
● Matt 1:1 …A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Matthew's genealogy traces the source of Jesus' royalty through Joseph (Matt 1:16-17). If conditions had permitted, Mr. Joseph would have been the king in Israel instead of being a blue collar peasant. But according to Matthew— the very same Matthew who recorded Jesus' genealogy in the book of Matthew —Joseph was not Jesus' biological father (Matt 1:18-25).
Biblically, Jewish patriarchy always passes from father to son; the right to sit upon David's throne is no different; mothers have very little part in that at all. In fact, the mother doesn't even have to be a Jew, nor does she even have to be married to the father because it's only the father's side that counts.
Perez, one of Jesus' Jewish ancestors, was conceived, and born, out of wedlock via in-law incest. Judah slept with his own Gentile daughter-in-law thinking she was a prostitute (Gen 38:6-29, Matt 1:3). Rahab, a promiscuous Canaanite woman, married a Jewish man after the conquest of Jericho, and she and her husband Salmon had little Boaz; who became Ruth's Jewish husband (Josh 6:23-25, Matt 1:5). Ruth wasn't Jewish either, au contraire, she was a Moabitess (Ruth 1:22) of whom the Bible says no Moabite shall be allowed into the congregation of YHVH even till the tenth generation (Deut 23:3). Ruth's and Boaz's little boy Onan became David's progenitor (Ruth 4:17, Matt 1:5).
Since Jesus obviously isn't Joseph's biological son, nor is he even a pure-bred Jew, aren't you curious as to how Jesus got in Joseph's family tree? Well, he got there by adoption; and adoption is just as legally binding as if a child were actually born in the home.
Too often, unwitting guys marry a woman with children by another man, and end up paying child support after divorce because they adopted the other man's kids and gave them their own name. In the eyes of the law, the adopted children are no longer the other man's kids; legally they're the adoptive father's kids; and so he's responsible for them just as if they were his own blood kin.
How do I know Joseph adopted Jesus? Well, for one thing, Jesus' name is in Joseph's family tree. That's my first clue. The second is; Joseph took part in naming the baby (Matt 1:25). When biblical men took part in naming a child, they were claiming the child as their own; e.g. Gen 16:15, Gen 21:3, Luke 1:57-63).
Adoption is not without precedent in the Old Testament. Ishmael was Sarah's boy by adoption (Gen 16:1-2). Moses was a Pharaoh's grandson by adoption (Ex 2:10). There's even a posthumous adoption. When a Jewish man dies without a male heir, Moses' Law says his widow is supposed to marry someone from among the dead man's kin so that their firstborn son (if they have one) protects the dead man's property rights (Deut 25:5-6, Ruth 2:19-20, Ruth 4:1-5).
Someone once asked me why so many modern Jews don't accept Jesus as their king. Well, for one thing, besides his failure to re-establish the monarchy when he was here, many modern Jews refuse to accept the principle of adoption in regards to Davidic royalty. They want their Messiah to be David's blood kin on the father's side, not the mother's, and will accept no other kind of relationship. God really blind-sided them on that one.
Christ, Son Of David
Although Jesus didn't have to be Solomon's genetic posterity to qualify as a candidate for David's throne, he absolutely had to be David's. There are no loop-holes in that prerequisite because the Old Testament stipulates that legitimate successors to David's throne have to come out of his very own loins.
● 2Sam 7:12-16 …And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
● Ps 89:4 …I have made a covenant with My chosen one; I have sworn to My servant David: I will establish your offspring forever, I will confirm your throne to all generations.
The promise of perpetual Davidic royalty centers upon David's *offspring* via his own *bowels* so that the throne can only pass on to blood kin, not to adopted kin. This is where Jesus' mom Miriam comes into serious focus. Since Jesus' conception was a miracle, with no human males involved, his biological mother had to be a Jewish human being related to David by blood— no exceptions —because the bioligical mother becomes the default genetic connection to David in the absence of a biological father. Thus the genealogy in Luke is actually Miriam's not Joseph's. Joseph's connects to Solomon (Matt 1:6), Miriam's connects to Solomon's brother Nathan (1Chron 3:5, Luke 3:31).
A problem many Bible students encounter in Luke's genealogy, is Luke 3:23 where the punctuation makes it appear that Luke's is a second genealogy for Joseph. That's unfortunate, but it's easily corrected; and you don't have to be a Greek scholar to do it.
New Testament Greek doesn't have any punctuation. So the punctuation written into non Greek Bibles is arbitrary; it's all man-made, inserted at the discretion, and/or the religious biases and beliefs, of editors and translators; vis-à-vis: the original Hebrew of the Old Testament didn't have any vowels! So we have to watch out for subtle manipulations of our thinking by human renderings of the Greek into other languages. So let's play with Luke 3:23 for a bit and insert our own punctuation at our own discretion rather than somebody else's so that Luke's genealogy clearly indicates it's not Joseph's. Here, first, is how it looks in the Douay-Rheims.
● And Jesus himself was beginning about the age of thirty years: being (as it was supposed) the son of Joseph, who was of Heli, who was of Mathat,
At first glance, it appears Joseph descended from Heli. But no, he didn't. Heli was Miriam's dad. You see; the arbitrary grammar and punctuation fooled you. The part that says; "being (as it was supposed) the son of Joseph" is parenthetical leading up to "who was of Heli,". Here it is again— this time with the parenthesis in a better location.
● And Jesus himself was beginning about the age of thirty years (being as it was supposed the son of Joseph) who was of Heli, who was of Mathat,
That's much better. It skips over Joseph in a parenthesis, and jumps straight from Jesus to Heli; Jesus' genetic grandpa on Miriam's side.
Christ, Son Of Miriam
Moses' big sister's name was Miriam (Num 26:59). She's the namesake of Jesus' Jewish mother, whom Gentiles call Mary. Her name in New Testament Greek is Maria and/or Mariam (i.e. Mirjam), which are the Greek equivalents of Miriam's name in Old Testament Hebrew. So it would be far more polite to call Jesus' mom Miriam rather than Mary because that's her birth name; the one her biological Jewish parents gave her when she came into the world. I worked in a boat yard back in the 70's with a Portuguese man named Santiago. His name in English is James; but you can imagine how thoughtless it would have been of me to call him James rather than his birth name.
● Luke 1:26-27 …And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
No doubt, without thinking, your mind connected the phrase *of the house of David* to Joseph; but that verse could just as easily have been rendered like this: "to a virgin of the house of David, espoused to a man named Joseph, and the virgin's name was Mary."
Here's another passage showing that Miriam was genetically related to David.
● Luke 2:3-5 …And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
Why did Miriam (who was engaged, but not yet actually married) accompany Joseph to Bethlehem? Because "all went to be taxed, every one into his own city." Miriam's city was Bethlehem because it was the city of her ancestor David. You say Miriam wasn't taxed? The Bible says; " taxed with Mary his espoused wife," Yes, she went to Bethlehem, not because her fiancé was going there, but because she had to go there to be taxed same as him.
So then, in conclusion, Jesus got his legal right to succeed the throne from Joseph; and he got his genetic connection to David from his Jewish mother Miriam.
Back in the Old Testament, a curse was leveled upon a really bad king in Solomon's royal line to David's throne that reads like this:
● Jer 22:29-30 . . O land, land, land, hear the word of the Lord! Thus said the Lord: Record this man as without succession, one who shall never be found acceptable; for no man of his offspring shall be accepted to sit on the throne of David and to rule again in Judah.
The bad king's name was Jeconiah (a.k.a. Jehoiakim and/or Coniah). Joseph was one of his descendants. (Matt 1:11)
It's commonly believed that the curse extended to Joseph, so that had he been Jesus' biological father, it would have prevented Christ from ascending David's throne.
However, adopted children inherit from their fathers the same as biological children; so had the curse extended to Joseph, it would have extended to Jesus too whether he was virgin-conceived or not. In other words: seeing as how Jesus got into Solomon's royal line by adoption, then of course he would've got into the curse too because the throne and the curse would've been a package deal.
However; the wording "to rule again in Judah" indicates that the curse on Jeconiah's royal progeny was limited to the era of the divided kingdom. That condition came to an end when Nebuchadnezzar crushed the whole country and led first Samaria, and then later Judah, off to Babylonian slavery.
When Messiah reigns, the country of Israel will be unified. His jurisdiction won't be limited to Judah within a divided kingdom, but will dominate all the land of Israel. So the curse doesn't apply to him.
● Ezek 37:21-22 . .You shall declare to them: Thus said the Lord God: I am going to take the Israelite people from among the nations they have gone to, and gather them from every quarter, and bring them to their own land. I will make them a single nation in the land, on the hills of Israel, and one king shall be king of them all. Never again shall they be two nations, and never again shall they be divided into two kingdoms.
Some Bible students, unable to discern between Judah and Samaria in the divided kingdom, feel that there are many lines from Solomon that don't go through Jeconiah and one of those could produce a king just as well and avoid the curse. No, we're stuck with Jeconiah because the throne passes from father to son rather than brother to brother or son to uncle.
There's really no need for a detour because if we compare Coniah's tenure to his grandson's Zerubbabel, it is easy to see that the curse was already gone by the time the 70 years of captivity were over. Much of the terminology God used in deposing Jeconiah was repeated to bless and empower Zerubbabel.
Coniah's Curse: "As surely as I live," declares the Lord, "even if you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. (Jeremiah 22:24)
Zerubbabel's Blessing: "On that day,' declares the Lord Almighty, 'I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,' declares the Lord, 'and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,' declares the Lord Almighty." (Hag 2:23)
Zerubbabel was the last of Solomon's line listed in the Old Testament. And it was through him that the second Temple was constructed-- all with Divine blessing.
● Zech 4:6-10 . .Then he explained to me as follows: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit--said the Lord of Hosts. Whoever you are, O great mountain in the path of Zerubbabel, turn into level ground! For he shall produce that excellent stone; it shall be greeted with shouts of "Beautiful! Beautiful!"
. . . And the word of the Lord came to me: “Zerubbabel’s hands have founded this House and Zerubbabel’s hands shall complete it. Then you shall know that it was the Lord of Hosts who sent me to you. Does anyone scorn a day of small beginnings? When they see the stone of distinction in the hand of Zerubbabel, they shall rejoice.
David, the progenitor of the Davidic dynasty, wasn't permitted to build a Temple.
● 1Chrn 22:7-8 . . David said to Solomon, “My son, I wanted to build a House for the name of the Lord my God. But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and fought great battles; you shall not build a House for My name for you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight.
So Zerubbabel was, in all practicality, a holier man than his grandfather David; and certainly without question far more holy than Coniah. Only two royals of the house of David have built Temples for God: Solomon and Zerubbabel. It will be most interesting to see who builds the next one.
Since Zerubbabel is the last of Solomon's line in the Old Testament, and also the last ruler in Israel to be blessed in such an unusual manner, he is without question the final Biblical milepost pointing the way to Messiah. Anyone claiming messiahship now, must be shown to be related to Zerubbabel-- any descendant of Solomon just won't do. Messianic candidates have to be descendants of Zerubbabel.
POSIT: Zerubbabel, who led the Babylonian Jewish exiles back to the Holy Land, did not ascend the throne. Rather, Jeconiah's uncle succeeded him (2Kgs 24:17), proving that the line is not forced to continue through Jeconiah.
RESPONSE: Mattaniah's appointment was political. He didn't actually succeed Jeconiah by birth-right, nor by inheritance, nor through Divine channels. Jeconiah's uncle was awarded the post by a foreign potentate: the king of Babylon.
● 2Kgs 24:17 . . The king of Babylon appointed Mattaniah, Jehoiachin’s uncle, king in his place, changing his name to Zedekiah.
POSIT: There is no need to prove the curse was short term because it wouldn't effect Jesus anyway since Joseph wasn't his biological father.
RESPONSE: Adopted children have all the rights and privileges of children born in the home, including a right to inherit just as if they were biological kin. Therefore, since Jesus was Joseph's legal son by law, then Jesus would have inherited any, and all, curses that may have filtered down from Mr. Jeconiah right along with David's throne; just as if the lad had been a child born in the home.
Jewish Comments & Opinions
Common Belief: According to the genealogy in Matt 1:12, Jesus is a descendant of Jeconiah. But Jeconiah was cursed in Jer 22:24 and 22:30: "As surely as I live," declares the Lord, "even if you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. This is what the Lord says: "Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, for none of his offspring will prosper, none will sit on the throne of David or rule any more in Judah." Since no descendant of Jeconiah could ever sit on the throne, and Jesus is a descendant of this cursed king, he is disqualified from being the Messiah.
Jewish Response: [From The Yalkut; Rabbi Shabatai] We have to wonder why Matthew would ever have included Jeconiah among the ancestors of Jesus if this so obviously disqualified him from being the Messiah. In fact, the Scripture shows that the curse was only short-term, if not altogether reversed by God. There are three parts to the curse on Jeconiah (who is also called Jehoiachin or Coniah): (1) that he would be childless (this is how the Hebrew text literally reads), (2) that he would not prosper in his lifetime, and (3) that none of his descendants would rule in Judah.
The Scripture shows that in fact none of those took place. Though the Hebrew literally reads, "Record this man childless," Jeconiah in fact had children. "The descendants of Jehoiachin the captive: Shealtiel his son, Malkiram, Pedaiah, Shenazzar, Jekamiah, Hoshama and Nedabiah," (1Chron 3:17-18)
He did prosper in his day. "In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Evil-Merodach became king of Babylon, he released Jehoiachin from prison on the twenty-seventh day of the twelfth month. He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon." (2Kings 25:27-28)
His grandson Zerubbabel prospered and ruled. In fact the same words God used in rejecting Jeconiah were deliberately used in establishing Zerubbabel. "As surely as I live," declares the LORD, "even if you, Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off." (Jer 22:24) "'On that day,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,' declares the LORD, 'and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,' declares the LORD Almighty." (Hag 2:2)
Objection: Jesus isn't one of Solomon's genetic grandsons anyway; so what's the point?
True. According to Luke, Jesus is genetically related to David through Nathan, Solomon's brother (which is not the royal line). So how is it Matthew can say the genealogy in his own gospel, which links Joseph to Solomon, is Jesus' genealogy when Joseph is not Jesus' biological father?
Jesus is obviously Solomon's grandson by adoption. In the eyes of common law; an adopted child becomes the child of an adoptive parent in a way that is just as binding as kids born in the home. The adopted child is given the family name, and has the legal right to pass that name on to their own children; so that their own children become the legal grandchildren of the adoptive parents. The adopted child also has just as much legal right to a place in the family tree as kids born in the home. The adopted child also has just as much legal right to an inheritance as kids born in the home. For all practical intents and purposes then, in the eyes of the law, the adopted child's status is equal in every respect to the status of a genetic child.
Objection: How do you know Joseph adopted Jesus?
Joseph took part in naming the baby.
● Matt 1:20-21 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus," (NIV)
Joseph obeyed, and accepted the boy and his mother.
● Matt 1:24-25 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus. (NIV)
(Joseph didn't actually begin to cohabitate with Miriam at that time. The Greek word translated "took" simply means to accept.)
Objection: Tribal, priestly, and royal lineage cannot be passed through adoption. It can only be passed through the biological father. That is a fact. That is Torah.
I agree; it is Torah. However, Moses' Law isn't quite as rigid as some would have you believe. According to Deut 17:8-13, Halacha laws and customs (which are based upon Moses' Law) are rules and decisions regarding matters not specifically spelled out in Moses' Law, and are just as binding upon Jews as the Scriptural Law.
A virgin conception would be one of those special circumstances where strict compliance with Moses is an impossibility. Normally, a Hebrew child's immediate biological father determines tribal ancestry. But in the total absence of an immediate biological father, the biological mother's father becomes the default tribal determinant. You probably won't find this in Halacha for the simple fact that a virgin conception was unheard of until Jesus of Nazareth; and to my knowledge, none have occurred in Israel again. It only stands to reason that a biological mother's child would automatically become a member of her own genetic tribe simply because her father's tribe is the only option. So the father of Jesus' mom determined his genetic tribal affiliation, and also established his genetic relationship to David.
● Heb 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; (KJV)
Although adoption is uncommon in the Tanakh, it is not without precedent. I'm going to show you one that will positively knock your socks off.
● Ps 89:20-27 I have found David, my servant. I have anointed him with my holy oil, ...I will also appoint him my firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth. (Online Tanakh)
What do you think of that!? A human being adopted into God's own home as His firstborn son. That is quite remarkable. David, and his successors in turn (1Chron 17:11-14), through the principle of adoption, actually held the status of divine beings. Is God a Divine Being? Yes. Then His firstborn son would quite naturally hold the rank of a divine being too. Isn't that amazing?
Objection: That's all well and good, but doesn't the Tanakh say that David's throne passes down only through Solomon's genetic offspring?
Actually, no it doesn't. Here's the wording of the promise.
● 2Sam 7:12-13 ...When your days are done and you lie with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own issue, and I will establish his kingship. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish his royal throne forever. (1985 JPS Tanakh)
● 1Chron 17:11-14 ...When your days are done and you follow your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingship. He shall build a house for Me, and I will establish his throne forever. I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to Me, but I will never withdraw My favor from him as I withdrew it from your predecessor. I will install him in My house and in My kingship forever, and his throne shall be established forever. (1985 JPS Tanakh)
● 1Chron 22:9-10 ...But you will have a son who will be a man at rest, for I will give him rest from all his enemies on all sides; Solomon will be his name and I shall confer peace and quiet on Israel in his time. He will build a House for My name; he shall be a son to Me and I to him a father, and I will establish his throne of kingship over Israel forever. (1985 JPS Tanakh)
Although God promised David that Solomon himself would be the immediate genetic descendant to David's throne, and that Solomon's family would never lose its right to rule, there is no wording in the promise that only Solomon's genetic descendants could inherit his own throne. Without that specific wording, a candidate for David's throne has only to be David's genetic descendant; and be a legal member of Solomon's family to qualify. That is a very subtle loop-hole. It allows for a man like Jesus to actually supersede the laws of natural descent, and take the place of the first-born son over a natural-born son's position in the home.
At any rate, it's pointless to argue the validity of an adopted son's right to sit upon Solomon's throne because, as we pointed out earlier, for all practical intents and purposes, in the eyes of the law, an adopted son's status is equal to the status of a genetic son.
Objection: Jesus was the wrong gender. Female eggs conceived by themselves produce clones of the mother.
How could you possibly know that? Can you give me just one example in history where a human female egg conceived all by itself? Can you provide dates, names, published accounts, and witnesses? I don't think so; besides, if you kept abreast of science, you'd know that genuine clones are generated from embryos; which are fertilized eggs, not sterile eggs. And let me ask you this: Why didn't Eve come out a male since the only genetic material God used in her construction was male?
Objection: Elizabeth, Miriam's cousin, was of the tribe of Levi; which makes Jesus' mom a levitical woman, not a woman of the tribe of Judah. So Jesus couldn't be related to David through his mom.
Webster's defines two types of cousins. 1) a child of one's uncle or aunt. 2) a relative descended from one's grandparent or more remote ancestor by two or more steps and in a different line.
Because of the large difference in the ages of Miriam and Elizabeth; if they were actually cousins at all, they were very likely cousins at least twice removed.
The New Testament word translated *cousin is suggenes (soong-ghen-ace') and doesn't strictly mean cousin. It just means: a relative (by blood); by extension, a fellow countryman. You'll find suggenes translated *cousin in only two places in the KJV version of the New Testament. The other ten are translated kin, kinsfolk, kinsmen, and kinsman.
Cross breeding is common among the people of Israel. We can be pretty sure that Eli was Miriam's dad; but we don't know anything about Miriam's mom. However, since Elizabeth and Miriam were related, then Miriam's mom, or possibly a grandma, could have been from the tribe of Levi and related in some way to Elizabeth. But Miriam's dad Eli was from the tribe of Judah; and it's his blood that counts in the determination of Jesus' tribal affiliation; not Miriam's mom, nor her cousin Elizabeth.
Objection: Luke's genealogy is vague. How can you be so sure Jesus' mom Miriam was actually from the tribe of Judah and genetically related to David?
You mean besides the Bible's own testimony that Jesus was of the tribe of Judah?
● Heb 7:14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; (KJV)
Joseph and Miriam traveled together to be taxed in Bethlehem.
● Luke 2:1-5 ...In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. (NIV)
Since they were only engaged at this point, and not actually married yet, Miriam was traveling to Bethlehem to register for herself because she too was related to David. No sensible adult would make Miriam travel in her condition so close to delivery unless she absolutely had to go. So Joseph and Miriam were not only were in the tribe of Judah together; but both were also genetically related to David.
Objection: The New Testament is wrong about the time of the taxation.
That's a common allegation; but unfounded. Here's the explanation.
Luke 2:1-2 states: "And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria."
Since the bible states that Jesus was born before the death of Herod the Great, who died in the spring of 4 BC, critics claimed that the Bible was in error, since history records that Quirinius wasn't appointed governor of Syria until 6 AD. The Roman historian Tertullian also recorded that Sentius Saturninus was governor of Syria from 9 to 6 BC during the first census, not Quirinius.
But recently, confirmation that Quirinius was in Syria during the first Roman census taken between 8 BC and 5 BC has been found. First of all, lets look at a few early census accounts taken from history and see how they match up with the bible. The following is a record of a census taken in the year 104 AD which contains similar wording to that found in the gospel:
"From the Prefect of Egypt, Gaius Vibius Maximus. Being that the time has come for the house to house census, it is mandatory that all men who are living outside of their districts return to their own homelands, that the census may be carried out . . . "
Another census was uncovered from 48 AD which also records a return of the people to their native land for the census. It reads as follows:
"I Thermoutharion along with Apollonius, my guardian, pledge an oath to Tiberius Claudius Caesar that the preceding document gives an accurate account of those returning, who live in my household, and that there is no one else living with me, neither a foreigner, nor an Alexandrian, nor a freedman, nor a Roman citizen, nor an Egyptian. If I am telling the truth, may it be well with me, but if falsely, the reverse. In the ninth year of the reign of Tiberius Claudius Augustus Germanicus Emperor."
It's interesting to note that these two census accounts required a person to return to their homeland to be registered. The same is true of the gospel account.
Two widely-respected leaders from the early church, Justin and Tertullian, also believed that a record of the census, along with the registration of Joseph and Mary could be found in official documents from the reign of Augustus Caesar. In their writings they mention that if anyone were to question the Lords virgin birth they should go and check out the Roman state records for themselves.
And as for Quirinius being the governor of Syria during this census, it's worth noting that the Bible doesn't call him the governor, at least the New King James Version doesn't. It says he was "governing in Syria". And we know that Quirinius was indeed governing in some capacity in this region at this time.
Records also indicate that Quirinius was no minor figure in Roman politics. His name is mentioned in Res Gestae— The Deeds of Augustus, by Augustus —placing Quirinius as consul as early as 12 BC.
The Roman historian Tacitus also mentions that Quirinius was appointed by Augustus to be an advisor to his young son Caius Caesar in Armenia well before the census of 6 AD. Caius was sent to administer Syria in 1 AD and was wounded in nearby Armenia in 3 AD. Evidently, Augustus wanted someone who was experienced in previously administering the region to advise his son. Who better then Quirinius.
The first century historian Josephus also mentions that Quirinius became governor later on in 6 AD. He wrote: "Quirinius, a Roman senator who had gone through other magistracies, and had passed through them all until he had become consul, was appointed governor of Syria by Caesar and was given the task of assessing property there and in Judea."
So; who was in charge as the assessor of property in Judea during the first census? Just as the Bible has said all along: Quirinius.
Objection: According to Psalm 132:11-12, the right to rule upon David's throne is conditional. Solomon's family lost that right through gross disobedience.
● Ps 132:11-12 ...The Lord has sworn in truth to David; he will not turn from it: "I will set upon your throne the fruit of your body. If your sons will keep My covenant and My testimony which I shall teach them, their sons also shall sit upon your throne forevermore." (NKJ)
The Hebrew word for *forevermore in that passage is from `ad (ad) which means: a (peremptory) terminus, i.e. (by implication) duration, in the sense of advance or perpetuity. That word implies a tenure without interruption. It doesn't necessarily mean an eternal tenure. There is another word for eternal and it's `owlam (o-lawm') which means: concealed, i.e. the vanishing point; generally, time out of mind (past or future), i.e. (practically) eternity.
Exodus 15:18 has those two words in juxtaposition. "The Lord shall reign forever and ever." *Forever is from the Hebrew word `owlam and means eternally. *Ever is from the Hebrew word 'ad and means without interruption. So Exodus 15:18 is saying that The Lord will reign for eternity and without interruption.
We've inserted this epilogue to counter a popular view regarding the nature of Jesus' blood.
According to the Bible, Jesus Christ was a genuine human being who was generated from the same genus of Man from whence Abraham was generated.
● Heb 2:16 …For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham
Human blood is what defines a human being's humanness.
● Acts 17:26 …And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth,
If Jesus had "God's blood" in his veins, instead of Adam's blood, then he wouldn't be a valid member of the human race. In fact, he wouldn't even be human at all; but on numerous occasions in the Gospel, Jesus referred to himself as the son of man. You can't be a "son of man" if you don't have man's blood; especially if you don't have Adam's blood. But the New Testament specifically says that Adam is Jesus' genetic progenitor (Luke 3:38).
Quite a few modern Christians insist that Jesus didn't have ordinary human blood; because in order to die for the sins of the world, they feel his blood had to be pure; therefore, he had God's blood. There's some really big difficulties with that theory. For one, according to John 4:24, God is spirit; and according to Luke 24:39, spirits don't even have any flesh— which obviously precludes a blood of God.
Secondly, it's extremely important that Jesus have David's blood in him or he would not be a legitimate candidate for David's throne. Whoever sits on David's throne absolutely has to be related to him by blood. That is forever chiseled in the rock of Old Testament scripture and is a prerequisite that cannot be waived.
● Ps 89:4 I have made a covenant with My chosen one; I have sworn to My servant David: I will establish your offspring forever, I will confirm your throne to all generations.
The word for *offspring is zera` (zeh'-rah) which means: seed; figuratively, fruit, plant, sowing-time, posterity. Therefore, any man who would inherit David's throne must be David's seed; ergo: he must have David's genes in his blood. It can't be God's genes, and it can't be another man's genes. It has to be David's— period! According to the Bible, the life of the flesh is in the blood. Therefore, any being with some kind of blood other than human would not be a human life; but would be an alien life, and therefore have no right at all to take David's throne and rule the country of Israel.
So where did Jesus get his human blood? From his mother's side of the family; where else? People keep forgetting that Jesus' mother didn't just pop out of nowhere. She had a human mother and father, and human grandparents, and human great grandparents; ad infinitum. Some believe that men are the gender that makes blood for the babies. Well, my answer is; what about all the men on Mary's side of the family that contributed to her own existence? Did you really think that none of their genes were in her body? Regardless of which parent makes the blood for babies, Jesus had David's and he got it from the men on his mom's side of the family; who were David's blood kin. Why did you think we call people *blood kin?
A third difficulty of the "God's blood" theory is blood cell replacement. A red blood cell lives only 100-120 days. White cells live a mere 18-36 hours. By the time Jesus was thirty, his body would have changed its red cells at least 91 times, and his white cells at least 2,190 times. So even if Jesus did somehow come into the world with God's blood; he wouldn't have kept it for very long. In no time at all, the body he got from his mom's gamete would have taken over and kept him healthy with a constant re-supply of new human blood cells.
Remarkably, experiments have suggested that as few as 10 stem cells can, in only four weeks time, multiply into 30 trillion red blood cells, 30 billion white blood cells, and 1.2 trillion platelets enough to replace every blood cell in the entire human body in just four weeks time.
Too many professing Christians are getting tripped up on the non biblical concept of "God's blood". There has never been a God's blood. Jesus' blood line is traced through Luke's genealogy, and the people who contributed to Jesus' genetic profile were not sinless people. But the value of Jesus' life's blood is not in his genetics. No, it's in the man himself. What really counts is one's own personal innocence. Jesus himself was sinless, and that alone is what makes his life's blood so valuable for atonement purposes.
Too many unthinking Christians are looking on the earth for a reason to explain Jesus' acceptance as a human sacrifice when they should be looking for a reason in Heaven. In truth, it wouldn't matter if Jesus' circulatory system contained every blood-born pathogen and sinful genetic mutation known to man. It isn't the quality of Jesus' life's blood, nor the quality of his physical body that makes his death so effective in absolving sin. It's the quality of the man himself. He was totally sinless. In that respect he is comparative to a lamb without blemish and without spot. Jesus was "as" of a lamb without blemish or spot; he wasn't actually physically without blemish or spot because he genetically descended from way too many regular Jewish people. He wasn't even good looking; nor was he particularly charismatic. Isaiah saw the public's reaction to Jesus many years before the man was even born; and what he saw was the picture of, not a divine man; but that of an unattractive man.
● Isa 53:2-3 ...he has no form nor comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected— a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we paid no attention to him.
Answering Jewish Objections To Jesus
by Michael L. Brown
Volume 1 ISBN 0-8010-6063-X
Volume 2 ISBN 0-8010-6334-5
Volume 3 ISBN 0-8010-6423-6