The Gospel of Matthew Debunks the Messiahship of Jesus

Whether through carelessness or ignorance, the author of the Gospel of Matthew inadvertantly disqualified Jesus from being the Messiah, the Davidic king.

The New Testament opens with the words of the Gospel of Matthew, "The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." Mt. 1:1

Words have meaning. The plain meaning of Matthew's words is that the following list of patrimonial lineage establishes the bona fides of Jesus as the legitimate descendent of King David with a rightful claim to be the promised king who would rule forever and ever. To claim any other reason for these words being penned is to ignore the clear intent of the author. This opening is the very reason that the Gospel of Matthew opens the Christian New Testament even though it was one of the last books actually written.

The list of names as genetic links from Abraham to David through Solomon on down is either accurate or it is not. If it is not accurate, then whatever else Jesus did, no matter how great, he cannot be the legitimate Davidic king. But for the sake of argument, let us assume the list to be accurate.

Matthew follows with a list of generations from Abraham through Isaac and Jacob to king David, the king whose descendents were to be the only legitimate royal line. Next, Matthew rightly runs the genealogy through David's son Solomon which was the only line approved by the predictions of the Hebrew scriptures. 1Chrn 17, 22, and 28.

These texts make clear that the line of Davidic kingship and thus eventual Messiahship must go through his son Solomon to the exclusion of his many other sons. Parenthetically, it must be noted here that the Gospel of Luke's genealogy of Jesus runs through David's son Nathan rather than Solomon thus disqualifying the rest of his list of descendents from legitimacy.

Next, Matthew lists the descendents of Solomon to the Babylonian captivity:

Solomon
Rehoboam
Abijah
Asa
Jehoshaphat
Joram
Ussiah
Jotham
Ahaz
Hezekiah
Manasseh
Amos
Josiah
Jeconiah

As he lists these kings, each of whom fathered the next in line, he points out that Jechoniah was the king at the time of the deportation to Babylon. Let us not miss this point. JECHONIAH WAS THE KING AT THE TIME OF THE DEPORTATION. Then Matthew states "After the deportation to Babylon, Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel and Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel, and on down to the end of the line.

Who was this Jechoniah through whom Matthew traces Jesus' lineage? He is characterized in the Old Testament as "evil" King Jechoiachin. The book of 2 Kings 24:8 and following states, "Jechoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done." The text goes on to describe how Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon took him, the riches of the temple, and all the great people of Judah, leaving behind only the dregs. Jechoiachin was no hero among the kings of Judah.

Jeremiah was the premier prophet of the time of the early captivity and deporation and spared no words in his condemnation of the evil kings of Judah whose sins led to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. He saved his harshest curse for Jechoiachin. In Jer. 22:18 and following, Jeremiah begins his curse upon this evil king claiming to quote Yahweh saying, "Thus says Yahweh concerning Jechoiachin the son of Josiah, king of Judah..." He goes on with poetic prophecy relating the disobedience of the young king. But then in verse 30, Jeremiah makes a clear prophecy, "Thus says Yahweh, 'Write this man down as childless, a man who shall not succeed in his days; for none of his offspring shall succeed in sitting on the throne of David, and ruling again in Judah."

Again, "NONE OF HIS OFFSPRING SHALL SUCCEED IN SITTING ON THE THRONE OF DAVID AND RULING AGAIN IN JUDAH!"

In constructing his genealogy of Jesus, Matthew shot off his on foot, for no descendent of Jechoiachin is eligible to be in the royal line. While the Messianic expectation rightly goes from David through Solomon, the entire line of Jechoiachin is disqualified.

Therefore, Jesus is disqualified. Davidic rights do not belong to him.

Some may object that none of Matthew's genealogy of Jesus has standing anyway since it goes through Joseph, who according to the birth narrative was not the father of Jesus in any event. But then of what purpose is the genealogy which clearly maintains that it is the genealogy, the pedigree, the genetic, blood related, DNA source of Jesus?

Some have suggested that Joseph was the adoptive father of Jesus. But then of what use is the list of actual fathers and sons? No adoptive son could be called "The seed of David." Actual patrimony was necessary for being a part of the Jewish royal line, just as actual patrimony was necessary for the perpetuation of a priestly family. The plain meaning of the text is that this genealogy is actual, historical, physical, and establishes Jesus as the "son of David." The tension between the genealogy and the miraculous birth narrative is better understood as arising from a later scribal interpolation of the birth narrative to establish a divine link to Jesus' nature. But even if one could construe a "legal, adoptive" rather than a physical genealogy of Jesus, even though none is even hinted at by the text, Joseph could not have been an heir of David either in that he is listed as a descendent of Jechoiachin.

Matthew has debunked Jesus' messiahship. The New Testament opens with a clear violation of any legitimate claim for Jesus to be the "son of David." Jesus was an imposter to the throne.

39 comments:

John W. Loftus said...

Welcome back Bart!

For those interested Bart's story is here:

From Faith to Reason, My Journey

You can find two other interesting posts of his here as well:

Where is the 800 Pound Gorilla?

The Father of the New Testament.

Enjoy.

Rob R said...

In constructing his genealogy of Jesus, Matthew shot off his on foot, for no descendent of Jechoiachin is eligible to be in the royal line.


No descendent? or none of his immeadiate descendents? It can go either way but I don't know that the text dictates it.


A footnote in the NET reinforces the strength of the limited view:


tn Heb “Write this man childless.” For the explanation see the study note. The word translated “childless” has spawned some debate because Jeconiah was in fact not childless. There is record from both the Bible and ancient Near Eastern texts that he had children (see, e.g., 1 Chr 3:17). G. R. Driver, “Linguistic and Textual Problems: Jeremiah,” JQR 28 (1937-38): 115, has suggested that the word both here and in Lev 20:20-21 should be translated “stripped of honor.” While that would relieve some of the difficulties here, the word definitely means “childless” in Gen 15:2 and also in Sir 16:3 where it is contrasted with having godless children. The issue is not one of childlessness but of having “one of his sons” succeed to the Davidic throne. The term for “one of his sons” is literally “from his seed a man” and the word “seed” is the same one that is used to refer to his “children” who were forced into exile with him (v. 28).

sn The figure here is of registering a person on an official roll of citizens, etc. (cf. Num 11:26; 1 Chr 4:41; Ps 87:6). Here it probably refers to the “king list” of dynastic succession. While Jeconiah did have children (2 Chr 3:17) none of them ever returned to Judah or ruled over it. What is being denied here is his own succession and that of his immediate sons contrary to the popular hopes expressed in Jer 28:4. His grandson Zerubbabel did return to Judah, became governor (Hag 1:1; 2:2), and along with the high priest Joshua was responsible for rebuilding the second temple (e.g., Ezra 5:2).

Jodie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jodie said...

Bart,

I'm all for debunking Evangelical Christianity, or at least its American Fundamentalist version, but it strikes me that you still adopt a Fundamentalist paradigm of biblical interpretation.

Of course it is deeply flawed. Big deal. I don't want to be rude. I read your Faith to Reason essay and I understand where you are coming from and it makes sense you went where you did, but what took you so long? And here you are, years later, still seeing Christianity from the Fundamentalist point of view.

" for none of his offspring shall succeed in sitting on the throne of David, and ruling again in Judah."

Matthew is sacred literature. It is architected much as a temple is architected. It has lots of features that go way beyond the "plain meaning of the text". It has to in order to be worthy of God's acceptance, just as many schools of temple architecture will tell you. See Gothic architecture. See the temple of the Sagrada Familia.

One could argue that (assuming Jesus is his offspring) that he did not succeed in sitting in the thrown of David either. In fact its a critical point in understanding the reason he was killed. He refused to ascend to the thrown of David or be the Messiah in any accepted way.

Maybe Matthew is saying that in the fullness of time, the human lineage failed to produce a Messiah, so God produced one and grafted Him in.

There could be other reasons Matthew used this literary formula at the beginning of his text. For example, he grouped the generations in 3 groups of Fourteen generations, or 6 Groups of 7. In Hebrew numerology, the history of mankind would be divided into 7 ages, and would be complete at the end of the 7th. Jesus ushers in the final age. Matthew closes the Gospel with Jesus promising to be with his disciples "to the end of the age". It's an apocalyptic message. Start with the first 6 ages, end with the end of the 7th. Bookends.

Of course there is a theological meaning that goes with each of the people listed. Each has a story. A guided tour of the Old Testament, which he uses extensively and always tangentially throughout the text. The context of the quotes are a powerful editorial in their own right.

There is so much more there than meets the Fundamentalist eye. You will never debunk Christianity if you limit yourself to their simplistic view of the Bible. You will only debunk the Fundamentalists. Most Christians couldn't care less what they think.

As far as reason vs faith, what is reason anyway? A bunch of self organizing electrons that decide to jump orbits in tightly choreographed waves to produce electrical paths in the brain that stimulate other electrons to create images in the visual cortex? What looks at those images? Seriously, ever stop to wonder what reason really is? Cut the process down to its basic core. What do we get? Where is the engine that drives it? What is the engine that drives it? How do we control it? Damage a piece of the circuit and see how it misbehaves. What, exactly, is the "we" that controls "it" and "does" it?

Whether we reason about faith or talk about reason, we have, at the end of the day, not the foggiest freakin idea what we are talking about.

Which leaves open a lot of options. Or at least that seems to be the consensus of the electrons in my brain.

bart willruth said...

Jodie,

I do not in any sense still work within a fundamentalist mentality. This website is primarily devoted to debunking the common fundamentalist version of Christianity, so I was writing from within that frame of reference.

I do not think that Matthew's gospel represents actual history in any meaningful sense, nor do I think its current form is free from significant redaction. Rather, I think Matthew's gospel is a derivative document which serves a theological purpose.

As I was composing this short essay, I thought of presenting a number of caveats but decided against doing so as it would have made for clumsy reading and would have introduced many issues beyond the single question at hand.

I only wanted to deal with the rather obvious intent of the intro of Matthew and of the NT canon itself that Jesus was the legitimate heir to David's throne. Then I wished to point out that even within the framework of the gospel itself, the argument constructed by the author of Matthew falls by the component "facts" offered in its support, based as it was intended to be, on the supposed "fulfillments" of the Jewish prophets.

Jeremiah was cursing the king who happened to be sitting on the throne at the time of the captivity (assuming that the book ascribed to him was actually written at that time).

Jeremiah, in his rage, cut the line of succession of the Davidic line through Jechoiakin.

The writer of Matthew missed that detail and proceeded to construct his (imaginary) genealogy in a manner which undercut his own argument.

Therefore, Matthew unwittingly debunked himself.

That is all I was attempting to show.

In my view, there is virtually nothing in the gospels which represents anything approaching a reliable narrative of a supposedly historical person named Jesus.

I could turn your argument back against you. You reject the fundamentalist mindset, yet you accept the notion that the gospels give some level of knowable history about Jesus, his acts, his thoughts, his death, and the reason for it. Perhaps this "sacred literature" as you term it was completely metaphorical. If so, in the fullness of time, some people came to an innovative concept of God and his intent...nothing more, nothing less. Just holy imagination.

As for reason, it is the only tool we have other than some form of blind faith and mysticism. Is it subject to error? Of course. That is why all conclusions must be left open to correction. That is why logic must operate in a self-corrective manner using rules of evidence and careful extrapolation, always mindful of the necessity to integrate each step of thought into the hierarchy of knowledge. If something doesn't fit into that hierarchy, either that thought is in error, or there is a flaw in the hierarchy itself. The very act of attempting to integrate a concept into the hierarchy of knowledge is part of the self-corrective process of reason. Before minimizing it, I would suggest looking at the alternatives. It looks pretty good in comparison.

Emily said...

According to this treatment, Jesus escapes on a technicality.

http://www.answering-islam.org/BibleCom/mt1-1.html

Jodie said...

Bart,

Thanks for the reply. I think I get what you meant. Fair enough. A couple of (long winded - sorry) thoughts:

"The writer of Matthew missed that detail and proceeded to construct his (imaginary) genealogy in a manner which undercut his own argument."

Matthew swims in the writings of Jeremiah. I doubt he actually "missed" that detail. I'd opt for saying he did it on purpose. Pull on the thread and see where it goes. It’s hard to do, because for so many centuries people have been telling us what Matthew meant that we can't even read him anymore without all that noise in the background.

The business of sacred literature is, I think, a lost art form. The Hebrews did word art much like the Greeks did marble art. (For them, aesthetics was sacred) It is sacred in the sense that it was always intended to tell us something of the “divine”.

I personally don't think Matthew's intent was history as much as it was futury (made up word to express the story of where do we go from here versus how did we get here).

The issue was the destruction of Jerusalem and what it meant vis a vis the expectation of the Second Coming and the presumed role that the Temple was to have had in the Second Coming. So he looked back on events in light of the first destruction of the Temple and explained them theologically, just as Jeremiah before him. By then the detailed facts of the life and times of Jesus the man were of passing interest. What mattered were his ethical/spiritual teachings, some symbolic rituals, his passion and his resurrection. The here that he assumed was that Jesus lives in the present tense.

Therefore what? "Go on, go away, live! Make disciples, teach, baptize, obey. It’s going to be OK. Because I am always with you"

Was it all imagination? I doubt we will ever be able to tell for sure. If it was, wow!

I don't knock reason. I use it every day in a discipline that requires clear thinking, and the absolute rejection of mysticism, magic or faith. Jesus may have said faith could move mountains, but in my line of work, it is science and engineering that move mountains. And we do even greater wonders.

But there is such a thing as 'faith' and there is such a thing as 'mysticism'. We don't know what they are but humans have always reported their existence. My point is that, come think of it, we don't know what reason is either. We, a part of nature, functioning by the rules of nature, seem to be assembled from the same pieces of nature in such a way that allows us to ponder about the rules of nature and manipulate nature according to our desire. We seem to be the part of nature that looks at itself in the mirror and sees itself. Isn't that amazing? Because of us, nature is self-aware. Through us, nature can comb its hair.

How the heck does that work? That a bunch of Carbon, Oxygen, Hydrogen, and Nitrogen atoms with a few other special guest appearances, all made up of the same subatomic particles and rules, organize themselves to compose the rules of thought, and then differentiate between sense and non-sense, real and imaginary?

What we can’t figure out (yet) is how we figure out in the first place! It's there, right under our noses, or maybe yet in them, but that aspect of science remains as illusive today as it ever has.

Pulling that logical thread, there really must not be a true boundary between life and non-life. Maybe it’s all sort of the same thing. There really could be a greater awareness out there, one which we cannot perceive but which can perceive us. As in the brain, where the whole is aware of the parts, but the parts are not so aware of the whole, even as they communicate with other parts to form the whole.

Perhaps that which we call faith or mysticism is how we as parts of the greater whole describe what it is like to sometimes be aware of the other parts that make up the greater whole.

Is that so unreasonable? And if not, then whose to say that Jesus did not walk this Earth, and did not raise from the dead? Maybe we needed the correction in order to move forward.

Jodie said...

PS

Regarding the 800 Lb gorilla thread ( a really cool thread I still need to finish reading)

Is it possible that the importance of the Shema in religious terms rose after Paul? As a consequence of Christianity? That Rabbinical Judaism brought it to the fore in order to clearly draw the line between Judaism and Christianity?

Whereupon Christianity responded with the doctrine of the Trinity?

Tim said...

Bart,
I agree with this argument from a fundamentalist perspective. If Jesus is to be the legit heir according to the flesh the curse on the king disqualifies Jesus.

There is another way to circumvent this problem. I believe the Talmud has a section where the curse was lifted however this presents a new problem for the fundamentalist - the Talmud must be accepted as authoritative but this is something the fundamentalist cannot do because it would present numerous other problems.

Just thought I would drop in my two cents.

Rob R said...

There is another way to circumvent this problem. I believe the Talmud has a section where the curse was lifted however this presents a new problem for the fundamentalist - the Talmud must be accepted as authoritative but this is something the fundamentalist cannot do because it would present numerous other problems.


It isn't necessarily the case that they would have to accept the authority of the talmud. They'd only have to accept the reasoning behind the explanation of the lifting of the curse. Whether they could do that or not would require an examination of the actual reasoning.

minus said...

I hope you will excuse a question which has probably been answered many times. The thing that always puzzled me about this genealogy discussion, and this goes back decades to when I used to go to Sunday school and get into trouble for asking questions, how can Jesus be descended from Joseph? I mean, I thought god was Jesus's father and Joseph was just around for appearance sake. Was not Mary a virgin? What do Joseph's ancestors have to do with it? I don't get it.

Jodie said...

Minus,

Exactly the right question, I think.
My two cents is that, exactly to Bart's observation, the line of David was unable to produce a Messiah. Just look at the genealogy, for Christ's sake. It couldn't. Ergo, according to Matthew, a divine intervention was required. From the start to the finish, the Messiah is going to go against all expectations.

(Luke solves the problem by giving Jesus a line to David via his mother)

Tim said...

As we know, Luke's genealogy is irrelevant if it traces through Mary. The father is all that counts.

bart willruth said...

Tim said...
As we know, Luke's genealogy is irrelevant if it traces through Mary. The father is all that counts.

Yes Tim, the line of succession only passes from father to son. Jewishness passes through the mother, but not the royal line.

Secondly, Lukes genealogy for Jesus which is completely different from Matthew's nowhere hints that it is the genealogy of Mary. That is only an apologetic argument which does not arise from the text.

Thirdly, Luke's genealogy traces from David through his son Nathan and his descendents. This disqualifies the line at the second generation, because the royal line was to go through David's son Solomon.

All attempts to support a genealogy for Jesus as being the legitimate royal heir, the seed of David, ultimately fail in that the line of David was eliminated by Judah's various conquerors and was not demonstrable by any of the Messianic claimants in the first and second centuries.

These genealogies are feeble attempts to legitimate the idea of a god-man Jesus using holy imagination, a pattern which continues throughout the gospels.

Jodie said...

Bart,

"These genealogies are feeble attempts to ..."

Now that is not fair. Even if it's just literature, you know it deserves a better shake than that.

You write very well, and I am thoroughly impressed, both by your style and your credentials, but I dare you to write something that will be as famous and influential 2000 years after YOU die.

Show some respect, that's all I'm sayin'.

Harry McCall said...

Jodie,

Neither Jesus nor Santa Clause wrote anything and yet both are famous! So what?

People keep myths alive. Religion is a parasite of history which feeds on established facts and peoples minds.

My next post will prove how the Early Church made Jesus say dogmas.

bart willruth said...

Bart,

"These genealogies are feeble attempts to ..."

Now that is not fair. Even if it's just literature, you know it deserves a better shake than that.

You write very well, and I am thoroughly impressed, both by your style and your credentials, but I dare you to write something that will be as famous and influential 2000 years after YOU die.

Show some respect, that's all I'm sayin'.


Jodie, I have no problem giving the anonymous author of the Gospel of Matthew a break. Yes, he made a mistake. So what?

Well, most importantly, the entire premise of Christianity that Jesus was the long expected Messianic King descended from David thereby giving believers a part in the promises of God to Israel and the new covenant is bogus. The attempt to show any familial and legitimate descendency of Jesus from David fails.

Thanks for the compliments, though I doubt that I will ever write anything that will last 2,000 years. I also don't think my words will ever be given the benefit of being bolstered by a worldwide empire, withoug which Matthews Gospel would likely be unknown to us today.

Jodie said...

"I have no problem giving the anonymous author of the Gospel of Matthew a break. Yes, he made a mistake. So what? "

Bart,

In order to claim that an author made a mistake you have to presume to know what the author MEANT to say.

Before you can go down that path one first needs to exhaust the possibility that the author said exactly what they meant to say.

You CAN say you would not have said such a thing, or say you do not like it, but I think the approach that presumes the author is mistaken simply blinds the reader from that point onward. You can no longer see what the author said. You can only see what you think the author meant to say.

From that point onward you make your own senses useless.

bart willruth said...

Minus wrote

I hope you will excuse a question which has probably been answered many times. The thing that always puzzled me about this genealogy discussion, and this goes back decades to when I used to go to Sunday school and get into trouble for asking questions, how can Jesus be descended from Joseph? I mean, I thought god was Jesus's father and Joseph was just around for appearance sake. Was not Mary a virgin? What do Joseph's ancestors have to do with it? I don't get it.

Minus,

It must be remembered that both Matthew and Luke used Mark as their gospel narrative template. Of course Mark's gospel contains no birth narrative, miraculous or otherwise. Matthew and Luke both created their own birth stories, neither of which resemble each other.

The obvious tension between the genealogy ending with Joseph (but called the genealogy of Jesus) and the virgin birth narratives might best be explained via one of the tenets of textual criticism.

That tenet understands that when scribes were dealing with important documents, they were loathe to remove material (though they certainly did so on many NT texts)but they were much less reluctant to add material of use to their purposes.

I haven't researched the text critical history of the passages in question, but it would seem likely to me that both Matthew's and Luke's gospels originally did not contain either genealogies or birth narratives. (Marcion's version of Luke in the 140's did not contain either). At some point, in order to bolster the fulfillment aspect of OT expectations, the genealogies were independently added. At some subsequent time, in order to make Jesus an equal competitor to the virgin born god-men of the mystery religions, the miraculous birth narratives were added. The tensions were allowed to stand rather than to remove material already extant. This would also explain how both Luke's and Matthew's genealogies and birth narratives are completely unrelated.

Jodie said...

I am guessing Matthew did have the genealogy because it bookends nicely with the conclusion.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Bartus Willruthus,

Thou has been departed for a span , all that can be repeated on thy behalf is..."glad ta see ya boy!"

One of my favorite pontificators has returned to provide more false information. OK.

Let's see what we can do with this. I suppose the basic premise here is that Matthew tried to make Jesus fit the messiah puzzle unsucessfully and embarrased himself by not knowing his geaneology...

That would be a good argument against Christianity if it were correct or if it somehow slipped through all Christendom and landed here at DC but both you and I know better than that.

Africanus dealt with the refutation to your argument years ago and it's only been refined since through Nettelhorst, Machen and such the like and Christians have all kinds of possibilities on how this is reconciled but the best and the most plausible is that of Donald Grey Barnhouse. He summarized the supposed biblical problem like this.

1- Jechonias is pointed out in the geneology as PROOF that Joseph could not have been the natural father to the messiah.(you agree to this)

2- scripture is clear that Joseph did not "beget" Jesus. Mt. 1:16 ~ "16-And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ." No begetting here. (I suppose you agree to this too)

3- The uncursed line of the family produced Heli and ultimately the vrigin Mary making Jesus eligible as Messiah by the line of Nathan and thus exhausting the line. (you have no idea about this do you?)

4- The cursed line produced Joseph but Joseph never BEGAT Jesus he simply becamse his adopted father.

I'll conclude with Dr. Barnhouse's words:

"But when the Holy Spirit beget the Lord jesus in the womb of the virgin without any use of a human father, the child that was born of the seed of David according to the flesh. And when Joseph married Mary and took the unborn child under his protecting care, giving Him the title that had come down to Him through His ancestor Solomon, the Lord Jesus became the legal Messiah, the royal Messiah, the uncursed Messiah, the true Messiah, the only possible Messiah. The lines are exhausted. Any man that ever comes into this world professing to fulfill the condition will be a liar and a child of the devil."Donald Grey Barnhouse,Man's Ruin Vol. 1, Expositions Of Bible Doctrines1952 Eerdmans, pg. 45-47.

So in essence Bart, I don't see the problem and Matthew is right and absolutely correct in EVERY point. There was no room for error or a trial run and certainly he wasn't illiterate or unknowledgeable of history and the anonymous circulation garbage is only fantasy...besides that wouldn't have proven anything as the narrative wasn't created by the culture.

In short Bart, I'll read this again but your main premise is a defunct and well refuted argument for many years.

Later.

bart willruth said...

Greetings Harvey Burnett. I do hope you have recovered from jumping through all the hoops in your response. I do have to say though, I am a bit hurt that you didn't seem to think that I might be aware of the line of argumentation you use. But here goes:

You wrote:

"Africanus dealt with the refutation to your argument years ago and it's only been refined since through Nettelhorst, Machen and such the like and Christians have all kinds of possibilities on how this is reconciled but the best and the most plausible is that of Donald Grey Barnhouse. He summarized the supposed biblical problem like this.

1- Jechonias is pointed out in the geneology as PROOF that Joseph could not have been the natural father to the messiah.(you agree to this)"

I will re-state that the genealogy disqualifies Joseph from being in the line of David's royal succession, natural or otherwise.

You wrote:

"2- scripture is clear that Joseph did not "beget" Jesus. Mt. 1:16 ~ "16-And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ." No begetting here. (I suppose you agree to this too)"

Scripture, as you put it, is not so clear. To assume that it is proper to harmonize apparent contradictions requires presupposing that everything in the canon comes from one supernatural source and cannot be in contradiction.

Matthew's genealogy of Jesus certainly implies that Joseph was the father of Jesus, otherwise the term "genealogy" and the recitation of the generations showing Jesus to be the "son of David" is an exercise in futility and must be understood as something other than its clear intention.

Luke's variant genealogy states that "Jesus...being the son of Joseph" has a parenthetical insertion (as was supposed) which looks for all the world like a later scribal insertion.

You wrote:

"3- The uncursed line of the family produced Heli and ultimately the vrigin Mary making Jesus eligible as Messiah by the line of Nathan and thus exhausting the line. (you have no idea about this do you?)"

You are grasping at straws here. This is a venerable apologetic argument which is as stable as a 2 legged stool.

Yes, I am aware of this argument Harvey. But where does the genealogy of either Matthew or Luke indicate that it is the genealogy of Mary? It isn't there. It isn't hinted at. It cannot even be forced into the language or context. Both genealogies are the ancestors of Joseph, clearly. Putting Mary into the mix is an attempt to solve the problem of incompatibility. Sorry, but the better explanation is that Luke and Matthew invented their genealogies independently and the contradictions are the result thereof.

Luke's genealogy is broken from the start. Nathan is not part of the royal line of succession. The royal line was to go through Solomon.

Matthew and Luke don't even agree on Joseph's father. Don't strain your mind over this. When a story and the characters it contains is fictional, it should come as no surprise that it can't stand scrutiny.

You wrote:

"4- The cursed line produced Joseph but Joseph never BEGAT Jesus he simply becamse his adopted father."

Where is there an indication that Joseph adopted Jesus? Are you now adding to the canon? If I suggested additions like this, you'd call me out on it without a doubt.

SEE FOLLOWING FOR PART 2 OF THIS RESPONSE.

bart willruth said...

You wrote:

"I'll conclude with Dr. Barnhouse's words:

"But when the Holy Spirit beget the Lord jesus in the womb of the virgin without any use of a human father, the child that was born of the seed of David according to the flesh. And when Joseph married Mary and took the unborn child under his protecting care, giving Him the title that had come down to Him through His ancestor Solomon, the Lord Jesus became the legal Messiah, the royal Messiah, the uncursed Messiah, the true Messiah, the only possible Messiah. The lines are exhausted. Any man that ever comes into this world professing to fulfill the condition will be a liar and a child of the devil."Donald Grey Barnhouse,Man's Ruin Vol. 1, Expositions Of Bible Doctrines1952 Eerdmans, pg. 45-47."

This desperate commentator assumes that Mary was a descendent of David, without any justification whatsoever.

Then he assumes that Joseph would have some legitimacy as being in the line of David's succession, though the inclusion of Jeconiah among his ancestors clearly disqualifies him

Then he concocts the concept of a "legal Messiah" through adoption, as though adoption is equivalent to being of the seed of an ancestor. I would ask you where in all Jewish history and thought is there justification for running either priestly or royal succession through adoption? How is a genealogy even relevant in the context of adoption?

You wrote:

"So in essence Bart, I don't see the problem and Matthew is right and absolutely correct in EVERY point. There was no room for error or a trial run and certainly he wasn't illiterate or unknowledgeable of history"

I will agree that whoever wrote Matthew wasn't illiterate. That's sort of obvious. As to being knowledgeable of history, that is only a guess on your part. Perhaps it would be instructive to point out that in the ancient world, histories, libraries with public access, and records in general were in short supply and not easily accessed. It was much easier and much more common to just make up details when concocting a story.

How could you possibly know that Matthew was right on "EVERY" point? You only have his story with no means of verification. That is a faith statement based on the belief that he just couldn't have made an error. But recognize it for what it is, a belief, not a verifiable fact.

Harvey, you are capable of clearer thinking than this.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Bart,

Thanks my man. I won't get personal but I'll get to the point.

Bart said: I will re-state that the genealogy disqualifies Joseph from being in the line of David's royal succession, natural or otherwise.

You also said this in the article: In constructing his genealogy of Jesus, Matthew shot off his on foot, for no descendent of Jechoiachin is eligible to be in the royal line.

Bart, Joseph is not disqualified from being a descendent of Solomon and by virtue of that being in the royal line. He is ONLY disqualified from being the Messiah as you correctly state. On what basis is your alternate determination made? Obviously you hold a standard that NOBODY but NOBODY adheres to. For instance, there are undesireable characters in many families but they are still yet relatives, and it is clear that Joseph was a descendent. So your premise though true in one aspect is false in another and makes a rash assumption that noone makes. Notwithstanding it has NO BEARING on the Messiahship of Jesus as he was Mary’s offspring and not Joseph’s. That’s the whole point here Jesus was NOT Joseph’s son because Joseph’s lineage would not have qualified to have the Messiah, however that does not change the fact that his ADOPTION made Jesus a legal heir of the lineage and ultimately to the throne, but as is agreed his kingship (ie: Messiahship) would not be rooted in Joseph’s line anyway

Bart said:Matthew's genealogy of Jesus certainly implies that Joseph was the father of Jesus, otherwise the term "genealogy" and the recitation of the generations showing Jesus to be the "son of David" is an exercise in futility and must be understood as something other than its clear intention.

Bart, In Matthew 1-16 the word “begat” was used 15 times. 15 times. I said 15 TIMES. Now IF the scripture was indicating that Joseph fathered Jesus the scripture would have CLEARLY not broken the tradition of using just ONE MORE “begat”. It didn’t. There is no way, other than by fanciful conjecture that you emplore that Matthew implied anything other than Jesus was born, and Joseph WAS NOT his father. It’s that simple Bart. Further in neither Matthew or Luke there is NO EVIDENCE that there was a scribal insertion from the earliest manuscripts. So once again, you have to do more than just “say” there was an insertion because it doesn’t fit your opinion...how about trying to prove something with evidence instead of conjecture? Ooh, I forgot, there is NO EVIDENCE or DATA in support of your theory...That’s right.

See pt. 2

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Pt. 2:

Bart said: Putting Mary into the mix is an attempt to solve the problem of incompatibility. Sorry, but the better explanation is that Luke and Matthew invented their genealogies independently and the contradictions are the result thereof.

Bart, this may be a good argument for one who doesn’t understand the fact that a person can only have ONE father. No matter how many showed up to do the do, there can only be one. In this case the secret lies within the differences between Lk. 3:31 which states: "Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David" and Mt. 1:6-7a which says: "And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias; 7-And Solomon begat Roboam..."

The problem is that Nathan and Solomon were BROTHERS, 1 Chron. 3:5 ~ “And these were born unto him in Jerusalem; Shimea, and Shobab, and Nathan, and Solomon, four, of Bathshua the daughter of Ammiel:” They both could NOT have been Joseph’s direct line parental ancestor. Unfortunately, as a poster said you are a literalist or fundamentalist because you interpret Lk.3:23 “he son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,” Literally paying NO ATTENTION to the actual data that indicates Mary’s parenthood. Well let’s burst this little bubble of yours:

In this case Mary, as declared in the Targums, was the daughter of Heli, and Heli was the grandfather of Jesus. Mary’s name was omitted because “ancient sentiment did not comport with the mention of the mother as the genealogical link.” So we often find in the Old Testament the grandson called the son. This view has this greatly in its favor, that it shows that Jesus was not merely the legal but the actual descendant of David; and it would be very strange that in the gospel accounts, where so much is made of Jesus being the son and heir of David and of his kingdom, his real descent from David should not be given.—ED.)~ William Smith; revised and edited by F.N. and M.A. Peloubet,Smith’s Bible dictionary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System,(Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997

It is long known that the Targums repeated this thought Bart. That is a valid basis for the theory as it fits the evidence and the genealogies weren’t straight line as you already know. Mt. Used the number 14 in his genealogy and every name was not directly the name of a father and son. You know that Bart, but you fail to mention it. the Targum’s validity has been argued in another post of Harry’s so I won’t argue that here. F(the reader’s)I~ the Targums were interpretations of the ancient texts in the Chaldean language.

Then there’s the evidence of the structure of Luke. As it is called the “Woman’s Gospel” because it deals from Mary’s perspective. So when all things are considered Heli being Mary’s father or grandfather is not so preposterous especially when extra-biblical evidence supports the theory.

So the 3 sets of evidences and the data that we have more than significantly supports the conclusions that Lk’s genealogy is Mary’s while Mt’s genealogy is Joseph’s

Concerning Barhouse’s points you said: Then he concocts the concept of a "legal Messiah" through adoption, as though adoption is equivalent to being of the seed of an ancestor. I would ask you where in all Jewish history and thought is there justification for running either priestly or royal succession through adoption? How is a genealogy even relevant in the context of adoption?

Once again you miss the point. The genealogy of Mt. And Lk. confirm that Jesus WAS NOT born of Joseph and therefor not disqualified BUT Joseph married Mary and became Jesus’s father...is that NOT adoption? Does an adopted son have any less rights historically? I think not...if so present a case for our review.

Thanks Bartman!

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

I said in pt. 2:

As it is called the “Woman’s Gospel” because it deals from Mary’s perspective

I should have better stated that is speaks more of Mary's issues and more of women than other gospels. This does not receite a gospel by Mary or any sort. So bad explaination of the tradition.

Thanks

bart willruth said...

Harvey wrote:

"Jesus was NOT Joseph’s son because Joseph’s lineage would not have qualified to have the Messiah, however that does not change the fact that his ADOPTION made Jesus a legal heir of the lineage and ultimately to the throne, but as is agreed his kingship (ie: Messiahship) would not be rooted in Joseph’s line anyway"

It is a strange thing to watch someone contradict himself in the space of a single sentence, but you have managed to do so. Check again what you wrote Harvey. You acknowledge that Joseph's lineage did not qualify to have the Messiah! Within the same sentence you claim that through adoption, Jesus could be the legal heir to the Messiahship which you just said Joseph's line was disqualified from.

Going on to your wider dependence on the 1884 Bible Dictionary, the article you quote from is filled with "probably's" and "must have been's". Implicit in the obvious problems of divergent genealogies is that "They must be harmonizable because the scriptures do not disagree." Therefore one must find some method of harmonizing every contradictory point. You are working from this premise and obviously cannot deal with the possibility that the problem is best viewed as being the product of a very human construction by two individuals who made up their genealogies out of whole cloth independently of each other in an attempt to counter the Christians who either doubted that Jesus was a naturally generated man or to counter those (Marcionites) who believed that Jesus and Christianity have no genetic succession on the promises of the God of the Jews.

Sometimes it is just better to look for the simplest explanation rather than trying to support the idol of biblical innerrancy.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Thanks Bart for the ideas and I appreciate the debate as always.

to clarify, if Joseph was Jesus "flesh and blood" father then what I said would be contradictory, but he wasn't. And even though being his adopted son Jesus had all rights, the rights of Jesus WEREN'T contained within Joseph's lineage to begin with. That's all.

Later. I look forward to the next article.

bart willruth said...

Harvey Burnett wrote

"Jesus was NOT Joseph’s son because Joseph’s lineage would not have qualified to have the Messiah, however that does not change the fact that his ADOPTION made Jesus a legal heir of the lineage and ultimately to the throne, but as is agreed his kingship (ie: Messiahship) would not be rooted in Joseph’s line anyway"

Bart says,

Once again Harvey, I can't help but point out your contradictory thinking.

You said above that Joseph's lineage was not qualified to product the Messiah. On that we're agreed.

But then you go on to assert that by adopting Jesus into his line, Joseph made Jesus the legal heir through his line, so he could be the Messiah.

Is it just me or does anybody else see a problem with your thinking. Are you actually saying that while Joseph's ancestry was disqualifying, the disqualification would be nullified if he were to adopt someone who could then be of legal royal lineage?

If this is what you are proposing, you are as contradictory as the two genealogies themselves.

Bart

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Bart,

I appreciate you trying to figure out what I'm saying...I propose that you relax and simply follow what I'm saying if but for a minute and see if this doesn't make sense:

The prophecy against Jeconiah is (as you correctly stated and observed)Jer. 22:30b ~ "for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah."

We agree right?

Here's where we part...

Jesus was NOT of Jeconiah's seed. Joseph WAS NOT his father by parentage ONLY by adoption...Follow that???

The proof is in BOTH Lk and Mt. texts. Let me give you one little additonal caveat that I haven't said until now in this thread...

Jesus was the "seed" of Mary. This goes back to the Genesis promise that the "seed of a woman" shall bruise the serpents head (Gen. 3:15) the geneology confirms this in both geneologies but particularly in Mt. with this phrase, "of whom was born Jesus"(Mt. 1:16). read the verse if you'd like but I'll skip to the point.

This phrase is a feminine relative pronoun, which indicates that Jesus was the physical child of Mary and simultaneously that Joseph was not his physical father.

See: Ron Rhodes in ‘Answering The Objections Of Atheists, Agnostics, & Skeptics’ (Harvest House 2006 pg. 171)

One mistake I made previously was saying that Matthew used "begat" 15 times. That was incorrect. He used it 39 times within 15 verses. So without even knowing the participle prase jargon, one could easily deduce that Joseph was not the "physical" father of Jesus, but the adoptive father because within Matthew's account Joseph does not "beget" Jesus.

As we should be able to agree, the curse was not against the "adoptive seed" only the "physical seed". So this scripture proves that PHYSICALLY if Joseph has a child by Mary, that child under no circumstance could be the Messiah. What Lk. proves that the lineage runs through Mary who MUST NOT and COULD NOT be recognized in the genealogy because she is a woman, but is recognized by God in Gen. 3:15.

Bart you may not like it, but it's internally consistent, fits all the data that we know, without some great effort of harmonization and is supported by the extrabiblical testimony also.

Your inability for you to see this is because of your approach to scripture which is a fundamental approach where you see "son of" and you immediately think "birth child" or "bloodline" and that's the problem. The thoughts are much more broad than that.

That's it my friend.

bart willruth said...

Harvey Burnett wrote

"As we should be able to agree, the curse was not against the "adoptive seed" only the "physical seed". So this scripture proves that PHYSICALLY if Joseph has a child by Mary, that child under no circumstance could be the Messiah. What Lk. proves that the lineage runs through Mary who MUST NOT and COULD NOT be recognized in the genealogy because she is a woman, but is recognized by God in Gen. 3:15."

Adoptive seed???

Harvey, if Joseph was not in the royal line of David, he had nothing to pass on either through natural generation or by adoption. Joseph was simply not part of royal descendency according to the genealogy Matthew presents. Rather, he was a carrier of Jeconiah's curse. Maybe he passed the curse on via adoption!

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Bart,

You said, "Joseph was simply not part of royal descendency according to the genealogy Matthew presents"

I can't understand in the least bit where that comes from. I will give you this that some of the names are duplicates but even in that case they are way off since in time.

Here's what I mean. Jeconiah, had 8 sons in captivity to keep the bloodline going. 1 Chron. 3:17-18 "Assir(1), Salathiel(2) his son, 18-Malchiram (3) also, and Pedaiah(4), and Shenazar(5), Jecamiah(6), Hoshama(7), and Nedabiah(8)"

OK, In the lists we see a Salathiel/Zorobabel combination in both lists Mt. 1:12 and Lk. 3:27. So I admit that is confusing but we know these names many times were repetitive.

The point is that In Luke's list Salathiel had 19 (pre)-cestors after Nathan (Solomon's brother) NONE of them were named Jechoniah. In Matthew's list Jeconiah's SON was Salathiel. So we are talking about two different people in two differnt lines of the family...

This is what what I said earlier about the Targum testimony making sense. Joseph got back in line due to some deaths etc, and Heli was more than likely Mary's father as it was prohibited that a woman be named in the list. It just wasn't done and would not have been done in this case.

When the genealogies are read with the thought that the same names, especially after Nathan and Solomon are the same people you will get confused. The genealogies are the same or at least very similar until that point, but are differnt totally thereafter no matter if Matthew skips generations or not.

So it could be one of 2 things...1-Joseph rights passed to him through Heli, but Joseph wasn't Heli's paternal son, or that 2- Heli was Mary's mother, but Joseph was named as he became the husband of Mary, who would have been named in the genealogy instead of Joseph.

Whatever happened, Joseph WASN'T the parental father of Jesus as is indicated in both texts.

Whatever we don't know isn't a matter of "shaking our faith" It's a matter of getting and placing together additional information.

So far as passing the curse by adoption...that's a good one and one that I haven't seen research on. Makes me wonder though...if a blessing could be passed by adoption, could a curse do the same and if so would that apply in this case since the curse was on the physical seed?

That to me sounds like an argument that could be developed IF it had any teeth to it and if there were records where that was the case historically...

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

I'm sorry, I meant Heli was Mary's FATHER. I said Mother in the previous response.

Thanks.

bart willruth said...

Harvey Burnett said,

"Here's what I mean. Jeconiah, had 8 sons in captivity to keep the bloodline going. 1 Chron. 3:17-18 "Assir(1), Salathiel(2) his son, 18-Malchiram (3) also, and Pedaiah(4), and Shenazar(5), Jecamiah(6), Hoshama(7), and Nedabiah(8)"

Harvey, it doesn't matter how many sons Jeconiah had nor does it matter the identities of his great great grandchildren. His line was cut. PERIOD. None of his descendents were to be of the
royal bloodline any more. CUT.
C-U-T. Joseph was only in line for the curse according to Jeremiah and Matthew's genealogy. If this genealogy is accurate, Jesus can't be the messiah.

As hard as it is for you to deal with, there isn't an escape for this one. Matthew screwed up.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Bart,

Thanks for entertaining the topic but I've already relayed why the "CUT" didn't affect Jesus in the least bit.

I think we agree that Joseph was a descendent, we just don't agree as to what the application of his descendency was upon Jesus. That's ok, I think you've outlined your points well and hopefully I've done equally as well.

This is good though, you bring biblical arguments for one to "chew on" and make good study points.

Good job!

bart willruth said...

Harvey Burnett said

"I think we agree that Joseph was a descendent, we just don't agree as to what the application of his descendency was upon Jesus. That's ok, I think you've outlined your points well and hopefully I've done equally as well."

Harvey,

We do not agree that Joseph was a descendent of David. I think Joseph was a fictional figure.I think the genealogy is fictional as well. However, from within the framework of the text and for the sake of argument, I have shown that if the genealogy were accurate, Joseph had nothing to pass on as a descendent of David. Since the line of succession did not go through Jeconiah due to the curse put upon him and his descendents, the line of Solomon would have had to go through either Jeconiah's brothers or back up a generation to uncles and their descendents. No descendent of Jeconiah had royal succession rights, including Joseph if he actually existed.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Bart,

That's a totally different can of worms you open that you'd be very strained to provide any support for especially when dealing with what extrabiblical evidences that exist, but to each his own.

Like the great Spongebob once said, "Good luck with that."

Ryan said...

Not to butt in on a months-old debate, but it seems that both Harry and Bart agree that, for multiple reasons, Jesus could not be have the messiahship through the line of Joseph. The point of contention, then, seems to be that Jesus could still be the Davidic messiah through "Mary."

I think what Harry misses, though, is that, according to the scriptures mentioned in the article, the royal line descended only through Solomon. So even if Luke is referring to Mary, she, as well as any of her offspring, are disqualified from the royal line because they are descended from Nathan, not Solomon, according to Luke.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

The problem is that neither Mary nor Joseph could give Jesus his birthright only God as the Father could.

I've done an indepth retort regarding this article both HERE and HERE.

Let me know what you think.