| The Genealogies Of Jesus:
A Study Of Bad Christian Apologia
Used by permission, from the Agnostic Review of Christianity website
This essay will examine two of the most commonly employed apologetics (excuses) regarding the inadequate genealogical qualifications of Jesus to be a king Messiah. Those excuses are:
1) The genealogy of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is presented in the Luke gospel.
2) Adoption is a valid vehicle into a bloodline.
The only places in the New Testament where a genealogy of Jesus is outlined appears in Matthew 1 and Luke 3 and these two genealogies contradict each other. They both attempt to trace Jesus through Joseph and do not agree with each other. This isn't all that surprising since the Matthew and Luke gospels don't agree on other issues concerning Jesus either.
One of the bedrock claims of the New Testament (NT) is that Jesus was the long awaited king Messiah or Christ that Jewish scriptures indicate would rule on the throne of Israel. According to Christian claims, to deny that Jesus was the Christ or Messiah means you are an anti-Christ who denies not only Jesus but God as well.
1 John 2:22
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
This bombastic claim sets the stage for all the threats that Christianity uses to bring someone to God.
In other words, if you deny Jesus or question that he was indeed a valid Messiah, you are a hopelessly lost liar who mocks God himself. The next step is threats of hell, eternal damnation, and eternal punishment if you don't immediately repent of your unbelief and confess Jesus is Lord.
Threats are wonderful tools to keep people unquestioning and willing to submit to any doctrine or teaching that an authoritative hierarchy wants to impose. Fortunately, not all people are intimidated by threats of this nature and actually look beneath the surface to investigate for themselves if dogmatic claims like this are accurate.
Often, the claims can't hold up under scrutiny. Such is the case concerning the NT claims that Jesus was a valid king Messiah. According to the Old Testament (OT), the Christ or Messiah would be the physical offspring of King David (and Solomon his son), the Root of Jesse, and he would be sitting on the throne when Israel was elevated and glorified at some future date.
The New Testament provides two conflicting genealogies of Jesus as "proof" Jesus was the offspring of David.
The problem is that in the Gospel of Matthew, the author claims Jesus was born of a virgin and had no earthly father. The Gospel of Luke doesn't indicate this as strongly, however since fundamentalist Bible believers claim the Bible has no errors, it is generally accepted that Jesus was the product of a virgin birth with no earthly father. It should be noted that the claim of a virgin birth cannot be found or confirmed anywhere else in the NT.
The problems with this claim are immense for Christianity because the virgin birth destroys the physical connection between Jesus and David which is required to be a valid king Messiah.
First, let's establish the basic requirements:
The king Messiah must be the physical offspring of David. David is considered the starting point from which a king Messiah must originate. God promised to David:
2 Sam 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.
Solomon would be punished when he did wrong, but as 2 Sam 7:12-16 indicates, Solomon would never have God's favor taken from him. Solomon was the son who would carry on the physical line of his father David which would be established forever as shown in the following:
1 Chron 28:5-7
And of all my sons, (for the LORD hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of the LORD over Israel.
And he said unto me, Solomon thy son, he shall build my house and my courts: for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.
Moreover I will establish his kingdom for ever, if he be constant to do my commandments and my judgments, as at this day.
Solomon's kingdom was carried on through his descendant Asa who followed the Lord's heart as King David had done. Technically, the king Messiah must also descend from the righteous King Asa also.
1 Kings 15:11
And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father.
Of paramount importance is that the connection of the Messiah to David had to be physical.
This wasn't an optional requirement:
The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.
If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.
My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David.
His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.
It shall be established for ever as the moon, and as a faithful witness in heaven.
Even the New Testament claims that the Messiah had to be the physical offspring of David.
Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
The genealogy of Jesus via Joseph (the husband of Mary who gave birth to Jesus) in the Matthew gospel does pass through David, Solomon, and Asa as required by scripture.
However, since Joseph wasn't the biological father of Jesus, the genealogy is irrelevant. The basic requirement that the Messiah was to be the physical offspring of David is not met because Jesus had no biological father.
How do Christians get around this problem of Jesus not being linked to David by blood? The acrobatics Christians are forced to use to explain away this problem are a sight to behold. These acrobatics are also disingenuous.
One ploy used to get around this problem is to claim that while Jesus had no earthly father, his mother Mary was a descendant of King David so the blood connection requirement is met.
In doing this, they claim that the genealogy of Jesus presented the Luke gospel traces Jesus through his mother Mary. However, there is absolutely nothing in the Luke genealogy that mentions even the name MARY. There is not one word about her in any way.
Christians assume that the Bible has no errors so the Matthew genealogy cannot possibly contradict the Luke genealogy. The Luke genealogy must be about Jesus through Mary because Matthew gave the genealogy of Jesus through Joseph.
There is no reason other than expediency and the desire to escape a fatal dilemma that drives Christians to resort to this rationalization. Mary's name never appears anywhere in the list. The list begins as follows:
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
Jesus was the "supposed" son of Joseph because of the virgin birth. It was generally thought by the public that Jesus was the biological son of Joseph and according to Luke, Joseph was the son of Heli.
The only way to insert Mary into any of this is to claim that Heli was really the father of Mary and that Heli was the father-in-law of Joseph. Does the text say that Heli was the father of Mary? No, it does not.
The text clearly states that Joseph was the son of Heli, not his son-in-law. Christians will then claim that it's implied in the genealogy that Joseph was the son-in-law of Heli. This is where Christian dishonesty becomes glaring.
If the Bible is supposed to have any integrity and be the word of God then the text means what it says. The text cannot be twisted about to make it conform to whatever doctrine a reader wants to invent.
If Joseph was the son-in-law of Heli it would be stated as such in the text. Christians are claiming that Luke 3:23 really means this:
Luke 3:23 (as revised by Christians)
And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son-in-law of Heli
The dishonest merits of this type of excuse making are exposed by simply looking at text examples from God's word where an in-law relationship is mentioned. When the Bible wishes to express an in-law relationship, it is clearly expressed.
1 Sam 18:18,22
And David said unto Saul, Who am I? and what is my life, or my father's family in Israel, that I should be son in law to the king?
And Saul commanded his servants, saying, Commune with David secretly, and say, Behold, the king hath delight in thee, and all his servants love thee: now therefore be the king's son in law.
Another example of the son-in-law relationship being clearly expressed:
For there were many in Judah sworn unto him, because he was the son in law of Shechaniah the son of Arah; and his son Johanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah.
Even the author of Luke was capable of expressing an in-law relationship where it was justified.
The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
The idea that although the author of Luke didn't write that Joseph was the son-in-law of Heli but really meant that to be the interpretation is ridiculous. That God would inspire a deceptive, misleading verse about something as vital as the genealogy of the Messiah is to assume that God is a trickster who hides the truth by inspiring a writer to deliberately obfuscate the truth. That calls into question the whole nature of the "truth" which the word of God is supposed to represent.
If you can't trust what you read in the Bible to be accurate, you may as well put the book away and seek spiritual comfort and truth somewhere else.
If this particular Christian excuse (that Joseph is actually the son-in-law of Heli and not his son as stated) is valid, then their God is a cosmic prankster not worthy of praise or worship.
It should also be noted that the issue of whether Mary is the subject of the Luke 3 genealogy is moot because women cannot pass kingships or bloodlines in the Bible. Genealogies are exclusively male as shown in Num 1:2,18 . Women simply didn't count when it came to establishing a bloodline for a kingship.
There is not one genealogy in the Bible that is about a woman nor any instance where a king inherits rights to a throne via his mother. A woman could not pass on what she could never possess herself.
Furthermore, there is not one single verse in the entire Bible which establishes that Mary was even from the House of David. Mary was the cousin of Elizabeth who was a Levite (Luke 1:5,36). That is the only scriptural reference to what tribal identity Mary was connected to.
When asked to produce a verse which shows that Mary was Davidic, Christians can produce nothing because there is nothing to produce.
Not a single word can support their wishful thinking that Mary was the offspring of David. All the concocted excuses of Christians regarding to the validity of Jesus as a king Messiah lead nowhere when probed beneath the surface.
To further disqualify Jesus as a valid king Messiah, the Luke 3 genealogy doesn't include Solomon anywhere in the list so it cannot produce a king Messiah regardless of any other consideration. As shown earlier, the king Messiah had to descend from Solomon as well as David.
In order to get around all these problems, Christians attempt to invent a hybrid genealogy. They claim Jesus was adopted by Joseph and inherits the legal rights to the throne via Joseph in Matthew and had a blood connection to David via Mary in Luke.
Christians try to toss all the names from the Luke and Matthew genealogies into a pot and then manufacture a valid Messiah from it.
But the adoption ploy fails almost as badly as the Mary ploy. Although it is assumed that Joseph adopted Jesus, there is no actual scripture that says anything about a formal adoption and if Joseph had announced that Jesus wasn't his actual son, it seems reasonable that people would have asked him whose son Jesus really was. Since Jesus was the product of an out of wedlock impregnation, God's laws were violated.
According to scripture, Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph and was impregnated by a source other than her husband or betrothed.
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
If Joseph did not want to expose Mary to public disgrace, would he have ever announced that he adopted Jesus? There is nothing to support the claim that Joseph ever "adopted" Jesus in any legal sense. There also isn't any wiggle room in God's law on this issue of a woman being impregnated by a source other than her husband or husband-to-be:
If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel.
If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;
Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.
Now, Christians will claim that since Mary was impregnated by God and not an ordinary man this impregnation is not a violation of the law but is excused under the divine right of God to do as he pleases.
Unfortunately this claim is hollow. Are we to believe that a holy, righteous God would give out laws that he will ignore and transgress himself? Would a holy and righteous God involve a human woman in the transgression of the very law he commanded his people to follow at all times?
Does this holy, righteous God practice situational ethics where rules are bent and violated at his whim?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then this deity does not occupy the moral high ground his followers constantly claim that he occupies.
In a very real sense, Jesus was a bastard. Jesus was the product of an illegitimate relationship. According to God, bastards and their offspring are not allowed into the congregation of the Lord.
A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the LORD.
Of course, Christians will claim that Jesus wasn't a bastard because Joseph and Mary were eventually married but what real difference does that make? Jesus was the product of an impregnation that was not in keeping with God's laws to humanity. Perhaps God can exempt himself from his own standards and laws but Mary was human and was supposed to be subject to the same statutes as any other human.
God repeatedly claimed he would severely punish anyone who violated his rules.
But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments;
And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but that ye break my covenant:
I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.
And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you.
And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.
Are we to believe that God would violate his own laws and involve a human named Mary into this transgression? The NT writer of the Gospel of Matthew would have us believe that God had no problem looking the other way at violations of the law after he made it clear how important following the law was.
It should be noted again that the virgin birth is only found in Matthew and Luke. Paul makes no such claims nor does he seem to be aware of this at all. In fact, Paul claims Jesus was the product of a perfectly legal conception and birth.
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
There is no evidence that Paul was aware of a God/human mating or a virgin birth that the later author of Matthew claimed was the origin of Jesus. As previously shown, Paul thought that Jesus was descended from David "according to the flesh." Gods who impregnate women are found throughout pagan belief systems and Christians would do well to consider this when they assert that Jesus was the product of such a relationship.
This aspect of the idea that Joseph adopted Jesus is seriously flawed as it assumes that Joseph actually announced that he was not the real father of Jesus and that God would violate his own commands to humanity.
The final nail in the coffin of the adoption ploy is that the genealogy in Matthew has a cursed king in it which disqualifies any of the descendants(adopted or otherwise) of this king from sitting on the throne of Israel. Joseph could never have sat on the throne, nor could Jesus, even if he was the biological son of Joseph. The cursed king(Jeconiah) in the lineage prevents this unconditionally.
And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;
Jeconias (also called Coniah, Jechoniah or Jehoiachin) was cursed by God (Jer 22:29-30, Jer 36:30).
O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD.
Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.
All Jeconiah's descendants(which include Joseph) were under the curse and none of them could ever sit on the throne of David.
This is where Christians will claim that since Joseph only adopted Jesus and didn't actually pass his bloodline to him, the curse on Jeconiah's offspring doesn't apply to Jesus so he can sit on the throne.
In other words, Christian apologists want adoption to count or be valid if it can serve to connect Jesus to the rights to sit on the throne but they don't want adoption to count or be valid when it comes to inheriting the effects of the curse on Jeconiah's offspring which would nullify any claim for Jesus to sit on the throne.
The dishonesty Christians exhibit in this desperate attempt to supply Jesus with legitimate credentials to sit on the throne of David is an excellent example of the type of tactics which Christians are forced to use to hold their New Testament assertions together.
Christians commonly combine two excuses together in an effort to concoct the following doctrine to validate Jesus as a king Messiah:. That doctrine asserts:
The genealogy in Matthew represents the royal or legal line of Jesus and the genealogy in Luke represents the physical line of Jesus.
As has been demonstrated, this hybrid rationalization falls apart once the individual components have been examined in detail.
1) Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus as required by scripture.
2) Genealogies and thrones are only passed through males.
3) The Matthew genealogy contains a cursed king, none of whose descendants can ever sit on the throne.
4) The Luke genealogy fails to include Solomon. The king Messiah must also be the physical offspring of Solomon.
5) There is no evidence the genealogy of Mary is presented anywhere in Luke 3.
6) There is no evidence that Mary was even descended from David, nor would it matter as she was a woman who cannot pass a kingship regardless of what tribe she was from.
7) There is no evidence Joseph or Mary ever announced or acknowledged to the public that Joseph adopted Jesus, nor would it matter as a biological connection was needed to fulfill the requirements of being a king Messiah.
8) The impregnation of Mary by the Holy Spirit occurred outside the confines of God's moral law.
According to Christians, the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus is supposed to represent the most important event in the history of the universe. Remember what the New Testament says:
1 John 2:22
Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.
The acceptance of Jesus as the Christ or Messiah is critical for anyone who wants to have a relationship with God. If you don't accept that Jesus was a valid Messiah then you deny God and are a liar.
What kind of holy, righteous God would condemn people to hell for their failure to accept Jesus as a valid Messiah when the evidence for his qualifications to be a legitimate Messiah is so utterly invalid???
Was the Bible God only kidding when he outlined how the king Messiah would be identified?
Further invalidating Jesus as a king Messiah is the fact that Jesus never sat on the throne of David nor is there anything in the Old Testament scripture that states a king Messiah would come once and then require a second coming to accomplish what he was supposed to do the first time.
According to the NT, the angel Gabriel promised Mary the following:
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
This promise was not even remotely fulfilled by Jesus.
The Old Testament makes it very clear that the expected king Messiah would reign on the throne of David and in his days Judah would be saved and Israel would live in safety.
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
In his days, Jesus never sat on the throne and Judah/Israel were under Roman occupation.
Jerusalem was also destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E.
There is nothing in the Old Testament which declares that a king Messiah would come once and require a second coming to accomplish what he failed to do the first time.
The only way to claim that Jesus was a valid king Messiah is to ignore the OT, ignore parts of the NT, and invent new rules which attempt to jam a square peg into a round hole. This is exactly what Christians have done and continue to do.
It's time to see things as they really are instead of trying to maintain a belief system at the expense of honesty. It's time to drop the threats of hellfire and other fear tactics used to keep people from questioning traditional teaching and doctrines.
The Christian rationalizations used to validate Jesus as a king Messiah make a mockery of the perfect, infallible God they claim set up the universe.
If the Christian God will assign people to hell for their failure to reach a particular conclusion which can't even be supported by the very book that is supposed to be this God's word, then it's high time to look elsewhere for divine righteousness and integrity.