Missing the obvious: does Jesus qualify to be the Messiah according to either of his two genealogies?
The Hebrew Bible tells us that all of us human beings have been made in G-d’s image. What this means is that our Maker has gifted us with many special qualities that reflect His own nature, not the least of which is our ability to think, to discern and understand. Dear reader, this is exactly what I am proposing that you do – think for yourself, use your G-d-given gift to reason, to weigh facts and grasp them. I am going to lay out a list of easily verifiable facts that you can analyze for yourself. You will need to think and then ask yourself a very important question – does Jesus, according to the Hebrew Bible, qualify as a king of Israel in the Davidic lineage based on his two genealogies as presented in the New Testament?
- New Testament, which is composed of various books written in different times and by different authors, in an attempt to prove Jesus’ qualifications as a king of Israel, presents its readers with two very different genealogies of Jesus – one in the Gospel of Matthew and another in the Gospel of Luke. Both purport to trace Jesus’ lineage from David to Joseph, the husband of Jesus’ mother but not his biological father.
- Luke lists 77 names in Jesus’ genealogy, while Matthew has only 41. The two lists are very different. Indeed, they are so different, that many Christian theologians, starting with Eusebius , throughout the history of the Church, attempted to suggest that Luke’s genealogy is not really Joseph’s at all, but Mary’s! (This, despite the fact that Luke explicitly says that the genealogy is that of Joseph son of Heli. Luke 3:23). To add to the mess, Lukan genealogy is through Nathan, not Solomon, outright disqualifying any use of that genealogy.
- As already noted, both of the genealogies explicitly attempt to prove that Jesus qualifies as Messiah and a king of Israel by tracing the lineage through his adoptive father, Joseph. This suggests to us that the authors viewed a proper genealogy as paramount to Jesus’ qualifications for kingship and messiahship.
- However, there’s one not so small problem with all of this. The authors of the gospels needed Jesus to be a divine being, worthy to be worshiped as god. To achieve this feat they needed to bypass his human father, even though they still needed Joseph to make an earthly messianic and kingly claim! To this end we are explicitly told that Mary was a virgin at the time Jesus was conceived. According to the New Testament, G-d Himself came upon Mary (Luke 1:35), and she conceived a child who was, according to standard Christianity theology, both G-d and man at the same time.
- Where does this leave Joseph and his genealogy tracing descent to David? The fact that Jesus was conceived without a human father means that Joseph was NOT Jesus’ actual father, making the gospels’ use of Joseph’s genealogy totally irrelevant to Jesus’ own qualification for kingship. Yet, we are presented with not just one genealogy of Joseph, but two very different ones. Think about this for a moment and let it sink in!
- If one were to argue, as many Christians throughout history and to this day have tried, that Joseph somehow became Jesus’ father through some sort of legal adoption, this alone would in no way qualify Jesus for the Davidic throne. At least not according to the Law of G-d. This is because according to Torah, which Jesus supposedly came to uphold, a kingly, priestly or a Levitical status can only be inherited via a direct descent from a qualified birth father of the same status. Adoption can pass no inheritable tribal status from a father to an adopted son. For example, it would be a gross violation of the Law of G-d for a High Priest to adopt a child from a tribe of Benjamin and then grant that adopted child a priestly status. A child born of a father from the tribe of Dan, will remain a Danite, even if adopted by a man from the tribe of Judah.
- In addition, according to the Law of G-d, neither kingly, priestly or a Levitical status can be inherited through one’s mother. Only the father can pass on his status to his son, to the seed coming from one’s own “loins”. According to Torah, if a woman born to a Levite father marries a regular Israelite, a child born to her can in no way qualify as a Levite and serve in the Temple.
- However, let us supposed for a moment that a mother somehow could pass her kingly, priestly, or Levitical status to her birth son. Would this somehow help Jesus? Not at all. This is because Jesus’ mother is of no help when it comes to passing her status to him. Why? Because Mary’s own genealogy was never given to us in the New Testament. We are told (see Luke 1:5-7), however, that her cousin Elizabeth (the mother of John the Baptizer) was of priestly, not Davidic descent! Since we are never given Mary’s genealogy as descending from David and since Joseph was not the actual father of Jesus, even though only Joseph genealogy is presented to us as “proof”, New Testament authors crudely subverted the explicit promise which G-d has made to David (2 Samuel 7:12) that only from his own seed, specifically through his son Solomon’s descendants, would come a future messianic king. A new deity was born, to be adored by the nations, piggybacking on Israel’s promises while pushing Israel out of the picture, replacing her both theologically and physically.
Conclusion: If we are to use the genealogies as presented to us in the gospels (and without trying to shoehorn Jesus’ candidacy into them), if we are honest with the facts as presented to us, we have to disqualify Jesus outright from any claims to the Davidic throne, much less messiahship. His mother’s genealogy is unknown to us (and in either case, irrelevant) and his father, or so we are told, was not his actual biological father. Any Jewish court (beit din) when presented with these facts would have to disqualify Jesus as David’s descendant, king and messiah, both via halachah (Jewish law) and biblical precedent, not to mention plain common sense. Remember, the genealogies in the gospels are the only “proofs” of supposed Davidic descent that we have of Jesus. Even though, as I showed above, they are a meaningless hodgepodge put together by first and second century churchmen that leads to nowhere, millions of Christians still accept them without questioning. What about you, dear reader? Do you comfort yourself by a belief that someone, some pastor or a theologian smarter than you, has figured it all out and that Jesus’ genealogies somehow make perfect sense after all? Will you continue believing lies, placing your trust in a man-god, or will you follow the G-d of Israel?
To you (Hashem) shall the nations come from the ends of the earth and say: “Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, worthless things in which there is no profit. Do people make their own gods? Yes, but they are not gods!” (Jeremiah 16:19-20)