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The Genealogy of Jesus

Are you up-to-date on your genealogy? Lots of families have their own historian who wants to delve into their family history and genealogy.

The Jewish people through out the early years of their history kept up with their genealogy because every male child of King David was a potential Messiah. Down through Jewish history, the people looked forward to the coming of their Messiah. The genealogies would show them who might be a legitimate descendant of David to reign on the throne. Only when Jesus was born in Bethlehem did the long awaited king arrive.

“Joseph, son of David” (Matthew 1:20) is a quote from the genealogy of Jesus. “Where is he who is born King of the Jews?” (2:2) Jesus was no son of the illegitimate King Herod who ruled Judah (2:12-23). Herod was an Idumaean, and he did not have a drop of David’s blood in him.

The angel said to Mary, “And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end” (Luke 1:31-33).

Why do we have two genealogies of Jesus in the Gospels? I agree with a number of leading scholars who understand the two lines represent the lines of Joseph and Mary respectively.

They are both identified as descendents of King David. Matthew gives us the “royal” line of those who actually sat on the throne as descendents of the great king. The other line was the “legal” line of those who descended from the oldest son to the next, even though they never actually reigned as kings on the throne of David.

How do you know this is true? The two genealogies reinforce the testimony of the angel to both Joseph and Mary. The two lines run parallel from Abraham to David. The interesting thing is the historian Matthew gives the lineage of Jesus by way of Solomon the son of David, while Luke traces us to Jesus by way of Nathan another son of David. Therefore, these two genealogies are the lines of two brothers and their families. Luke gives us the genealogy of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Matthew gives us the line of Joseph, the stepfather or adopted father of Jesus. Matthew and Luke both trace the evidence to the Messiah. One gives it through Solomon’s line which was the royal line and the other through Nathan’s which was the legal line. 

You will recall, Nathan and Solomon were both the sons of David. Nathan was the older brother of Solomon, but when David died the younger brother took the throne. Nathan’s line ran on through the ages and ultimately produced the Virgin Mary. Solomon’s line ran down through the centuries and ultimately produced Joseph. Matthew is careful to inform us that Joseph was not the father of Jesus, but that he was the husband of Mary, to whom was born Jesus (1:16). And Luke uses a word for a son that includes what we should call a son-in-law.

Moreover, the Bible makes it very clear that Jesus could not have been the Messiah if Joseph was his human father. In the use of the name “Jechonias” in his genealogy, Matthew declares that Jesus is the son of Mary and not the son of Joseph. Jechonias received a curse of God that took the throne away from any of his descendants. Jeremiah 22:30 reads, “Thus says the Lord, write you this 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” (KJV).

None of the seven sons of Jechonias could have been king because of the curse of God. If Jesus had been the son of Joseph, He would have been cursed and therefore could never have been the Messiah.

What about the legal line of Nathan? The royal line of the son of Eli (also spelled Heli) would have quickly contested any claim of the line of Nathan. Nathan's line that had no curse upon it and it produced Heli [Luke 3:23] and his daughter the Virgin Mary and her Son Jesus Christ. Jesus is therefore eligible by the line of Nathan and exhausts that line. Solomon's line had a curse on it produced Joseph and exhausts the line of Solomon, for Joseph’s other children now have an elder brother who, legally, by adoption is the royal heir. How can the title be free in any case? We have two genealogies: one with a curse on it, and the lack of reigning royalty on the other line.

God the Holy Spirit begat the Lord Jesus Christ in the womb of Mary without any use of a human father. Therefore, the child born of Mary was the seed of David according to the flesh. Joseph, on the other hand, obeyed the command of the Lord and married Mary and took the unborn child under his protective care, giving Jesus the title that had come down to him through his ancestor Solomon. Moreover, the uncursed, legal, royal Messiah of David, the true and only Messiah can be none other than the Lord Jesus! Both lines of King David are exhausted in Jesus of Nazareth. There can never be anyone else who can ever claim the throne of David. Anyone else who claims to be the Messiah is an imposter.

Yes, Jesus is the true Messiah. There can be no other. He is the Son of God and believing on Him brings eternal life.


Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006

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(c) 2006  Message by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.

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