Home > Son of David, Theology > Son of David – from the tribe of Judah

Son of David – from the tribe of Judah

You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You have a choice to make – even if that choice is painful, you cannot escape it.

I know I raise difficult questions, and one may feel insecure to deal with them due to not having the depth of knowledge. It feels more secure not dealing with them. What gives anyone such security? The traditional doctrine? Something that the Greeks or the Reformers worked out? How do we know they were right? Who tested them, who tested the doctrines that are the taboos of Christianity? Would anyone put his/her life on their validity? What if one’s very destiny depends on finding the right answers to these questions?

Imagine for a moment that we are in the first century. None of the churches have all the NT writings, each of them only have a few, many of them are yet to be written, and the Greek-speaking Gentile churches use the LXX (Septuagint) for study, the Greek translation of the Tanakh (OT). Now, Matthew writes a gospel, and he goes to great length to prove that Jesus is not the Messiah! By the genealogy he compiles he shows why Jesus is not the son of David. The Jewish society was patriarchal, and tribal membership was passed on from father to son. Sadly, according to Matthew, Jesus is not from the tribe of Judah, so he is not the Messiah, at least this is what he proves through his genealogy. We don’t yet have Luke’s gospel that delivers us another, totally different genealogy on which we could possibly depend.

Even when we receive Luke’s gospel, we still face a problem, because the lineage doesn’t come through Solomon, but Nathan. Sure, but, are we not told that Luke’s genealogy is that of Mary? What proof do we have for that? I mean not assumption, but proof. All we know about Mary is that she and Elisabeth were cousins, and Elisabeth was the daughter of Aaron. She was a Levite. If she was a Levite, Mary might have also been a Levite. Luke’s genealogy dertainly doesn’t indicate that, but rather, it gives a davidic lineage. And the lineage is that of Joseph, not Mary.

So we have a problem. Neither genealogies prove that Jesus is the Messiah, the son of David according to the flesh.

But what if Joseph adopted him? Doesn’t adoption transfer tribal membership? No. Tribal membership and inheritance always came through the father's bloodline, while Jewishness (which means belonging to the religion of Judaism) came through the mother, for the mothers were responsible for their children’s religious upbringing.

Thus, the child of a Gentile man and a Jewish mother would be Jewish, but would not belong to any of the tribes of Israel, and the child of a Israeli man and a Gentile woman would not be considered Jewish, unless the child learned Judaism and converted to the religion later on in his/her life. Jewishness is belonging to the religion. Tribal membership is by physical descent through the father.

On the other hand we have the testimony of the apostles, that Jesus was indeed the son of David according to the flesh, that is, by natural lineage. Both Peter and Paul testify about what they believed was true:

Acts 2:29 “Brethren, I may say to you confidently of the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ…”

Rom 1:3 … who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and designated son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead…

So how do we solve this huge problem?

What is the solution? Is Jesus the Messiah or not? The writers of NT testify that he is. Now they are either wrong, or they are right and we have to find a solution. What do you think it could be? What is your solution?

You may find it outside the Greek textual tradition of Matthew – even the gospel of Mark gives you a hint.

Sorry, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. You either have to let go the virginal conception idea, or that Jesus qualified to be the Messiah.

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Categories: Son of David, Theology
  1. hp1181
    14/09/2008 at 3:52 AM | #1

    Maybe I’m just not following properly, since it is late, but how is Matthew showing that Jesus is not from the line of Judah?

    Mat 1: The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

    Seems to me he is going out of his way to show that Jesus is the Messiah through Abraham and DAvidl He must be related to David else God’s promise that there would always be a descendant of David on the throw null and void and we know that God fulfills his promises.

  2. 14/09/2008 at 12:14 PM | #2

    In ancient Judaism tribal membership was inherited through the father, while Jewishness (that is, religion) came through the mother. The child of a Gentile father and a Jewish mother had no tribal membership, and was not accepted into the commonwealth of Israel. However, once grown up and s/he was able to convert to the religion. The problem was similar when the mother was a Gentile.
    Since Matthew claims Jesus is the son of David and the son of Abraham, it could only be so if Joseph was his natural father (as the Old Latin and Old Syriac translations of Matthew render the text), otherwise he would not be from the tribe of Judah, which is one of the qualifications of the Messiah.
    We know next to nothing about Mary, it is generally assumed that she was also from the tribe of Judah, but the only thing we know is that she was related to Elizabeth who was the descendant of Aaron. Even if somehow Mary was from the tribe of Judah it would still disqualify Jesus as Messiah because tribal membership is not passed from mother to son.

  3. kclassic
    25/06/2009 at 5:11 AM | #3

    It seems that you have not heard about the curse on Jeconiah (also spelled Johoiachin and Coniah). In Jeremiah 22:24-30 we read about how God cursed Jeconiah so that no blood descendent of his could ever sit on the throne of David:

    “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….

    ….Record this man as 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 anymore in Judah.”

    If Joseph had been the natural father of Jesus, Jesus would have been disqualified from reigning on the throne of David in the coming millennium, because Joseph was a blood descendent of Jeconiah:

    As recorded in Matthew:

    Abraham>Isaac>Jacob>Judah>Perez>Hezron>Ram>Amminadab>Nahshon>Salmon>Boaz>Obed>Jesse>King David>Solomon>Rehoboam>Abijah>Asa>Jehoshaphat>Jehoram>Uzziah>Jotham>Ahaz>Hezekiah>Manasseh>Amon>Josiah>JECONIAH>Shealtiel>Zerubbabel>Abiud>Eliakim>Azor>Zadok?Akim>Eliud>Eleazar>Mathan>Jacob>Joseph (husband of Mary)

    In order to have the right to the throne, Jesus needed to be a blood descendent of King David, but not of the line of Jeconiah. This was fulfilled through his mother Mary, as can be seen in her geneology in Luke.

    He also needed to be a LEGAL DESCENDENT of the royal line of David. This could only be accomplished through his father. As the adopted son of the Jewish man Joseph, Jesus did becom a legal descendent of David.

    Joseph was a blood descendent of Jeconiah, so he was disqualified from ever sitting on the throne of David, as were his natural born sons, but since Jesus was not the natural son of Joseph, he was not disqualified in this way.

    So, as a result of his miraculous virgin birth, he was a blood descendant of the Davidic throne, he was a legal descendent of David, and he avoided the curse of Jeconiah.

    You mention the interesting situation of a Gentile father and a Jewish mother, but this was not the case with Jesus. He had a Jewish mother and a Jewish adoptive father.

    Also, you had mentioned the the geneology of Luke would not have been available to the early Christians before the gospel of Luke was written, but in fact, the genologies were available up until 70 AD when the Romans destroyed the temple and the city with all its records. At this point in time, it would be impossible for any candidate for the throne to prove his geneology.

  4. 26/07/2009 at 3:15 AM | #4

    Apologies for being late responding to your post, but I have been very busy lately.

    Whichever way you try to argue your point, a virgin-born Jesus does not qualify to be the Messiah. Tribal membership passes from father to son through natural birth alone. Adopted children do not inherit it. This alone is enough to defeat the traditional Christian argument.

    If you try to argue that the genealogy of Luke is that of Mary, the burden is on you to prove it. You simply have no proof.

    You argue that if Joseph was Jesus’ natural father, he would not qualify to be the Messiah either, because his forefather, Jeconiah was cursed that none of his descendants shall sit on his throne.

    I suppose you are in need to prove that curses are not removed when repentance take place. Read the story of the giving of the Law. What does God say? “If you do right, these are the blessings. If you do evil, these are the curses that come upon you.”

    Blessings only apply as long as your conduct is righteous, in the same way curses only apply as long as your conduct is unrighteous. When repentance takes place curses are removed.

    We know that Jeconiah repented in captivity and God richly blessed him. Jeconiah was like a signet ring on God’s hand. When He cursed him, He removed him as the signet ring. However, in Zerubabbel, Jeconiah’s descendant, the signet ring was restored, ergo, the curse was removed.

    Repentance always removes the curse because God doesn’t curse the righteous.

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