Jesus Genealogy – Is It from Joseph’s or Mary’s Line?

Jesus Genealogy – Is It from Joseph or Mary’s Line?

Orthodox Jews (not Messianic Jews) and other skeptics of the Word and Orthodox Christianity attempt to discredit Jesus’ deity and deny that he was man and God without having inherited a sin nature.  The context of this question arose from a friend of mine who used to be a zealot for Christ and has now converted to Judaism.  He is now a zealot for Judaism.  He went from a point of Grace provided by Jesus Christ to now living under the Law (Torah). He contends that Christ could not have come from a seed conceived by the Holy Spirit and that Joseph was physically his father. He denies the deity of Christ. Our tag team (with my friend’s consent) consisted of myself and my pastor who is mature in the Word.

Here’s the “conversation”:

Friend’s original comments:

According to the Jewish Bible, one of the requirements for the messiah is that he must be a descendant of King David from his son Solomon (2 Sam 7:12-13). Both Jews and Christian recognize that the Messiah must be of the tribe of Judah and a descendant of David. Even Matt 1:1 says “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.”  All of the major Messianic prophecies indicate this (Gen 49:10; 2 Sam 7:12-13; Ezekiel 34:23, 37:21-28; Isaiah 11:1-9; Jeremiah 23:5, 30:7-10, 33:14-16; and Hosea 3:4-5). In Jeremiah chapter 33, verse 17, G-d says that the royal House of David will never lack a man to sit on the throne of Israel.Throughout the Jewish scriptures we find that tribal and royal lineage must follow the line of the father. (In chapters 1 through 4 of the book of Numbers where tribal lineage is described, the phrase “to the house of their fathers” appears over 20 times.)

In the book of Numbers, chapter 1, verse 18, we’re told that the Jewish people declare their pedigrees according to their fathers’ houses. When Queen Athaliah wanted to eliminate the Royal Line of David, she only killed the males knowing full well that a female descendant of David couldn’t pass on the right to the throne (II Kings 11; II Chronicles 22).

The claim that the Messiah must be born from a virgin – a central tenet of Christian dogma – is not consistent with the Bible’s description of the Messiah. The New Testament, recognizing this vital requirement of the patrilineal line, spends almost two chapters to establish the genealogical record of Jesus patrilineal line as going back to King David. However, they (the Church) maintain that he was born of a virgin and that Joseph was not him natural father!!  If the Church’s claim of the virgin birth is correct, then Jesus has no established genealogical record going back to King David. I submit the Church’s claim of the “proof text” from Is 7:14 is no proof at all.  Strong’s number 1330 or 1331 is not the word in Is 7:14 (See attached)  WHO IS MESSING WITH MY BIBLE??!!

Either He was born of a virgin, or he was the son of His Father David, it cannot be both!!  What is your answer to this dilemma?

My Comments:

Sidenote:  “Although my “Jewish” friend quotes from the New Testament, he doesn’t believe the New Testament is the Word of God, but concocted by Jewish Christians to back up a fictional story about Jesus’ deity, his Messiah status and the virgin birth of Jesus pointing to his lack of an inherited sin nature through a man’s seed. 

What do you mean “according to the Jewish Bible”?  If you’re referring to just the Torah (most Christians and myself refer to it as the Pentateuch), then we really can’t carry this discussion too much further since I hold the Bible in its entirety (2 Timothy 3:16-17) to be the Word of God.   Since you’ve allowed me to refer to the Christian Bible in its entirety, I assume then you are allowing me this liberty to state my defense using the whole Bible.

Also, where does it say that the Messiah has to come physically through the seed of Man and not through Mary’s seed?  And more specifically, that the Messiah (whom I hold to be Jesus) had to physically come through Joseph’s line (Matthew’s account) and not through Mary’s line, whom I believe is a descendent of David according to Luke’s account. “

Also, Romans 1:3-4 states, “concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

And also, from the Jew’s point of view at that time (based on what scripture tells us), Joseph did come from David’s line and was also known to be Jesus earthly father, hence Jesus would have been seen as coming from the line of King David, particularly through Mary’s line.  Even your Jewish traditions establish that a bloodline is established through the mother (Matrilineality).   Although a true believer knows and holds to Jesus being the Son of God (John 3:16) and not conceived through the sinful seed of man but through a virgin birth conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18).

Also, in our last phone conversation, you stated that King David didn’t sin with Bathsheba and that he didn’t have Uriah the Hittite killed as Nathan the prophet pointed out to David (2 Samuel 12).  Yet even David acknowledged that he had sinned when he wrote a Psalm of repentance in Psalms 51.  You really can’t back your assertion up with scripture, maybe perhaps with your historical understanding, but definitely not through a scriptural basis.

Is there a Jewish rule that states that Joseph’s status as an adoptive or “legal” parent of Jesus negates Jesus genealogy or his lineage as perceived by the Jews and Christians.  The Lord also speaks about a spiritual grafting that takes place (please read Romans 11 and John 15).  Aren’t you now grafted into Judaism (per your stated beliefs) although you have no proof that you have a Jewish genealogy?  They accepted you in, didn’t they, even though you may not have a physical Jewish genealogy?  You did this through your acknowledgement of Judaism beliefs and perhaps some formal acknowledgement or ceremony.

Yes, Joseph is the “adoptive” and “legal” father since his seed did not physically impregnate Mary’s egg which scripture states clearly that conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18), thereby keeping Jesus from receiving an inherited sin nature.  Yet Jesus fully developed as a human embryo through Mary’s egg to become a man (read Philippians 2).   Genesis 3 describes Adam and Eve’s rebellion against God and His command. Because of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, sin has been an “inheritance” for all of their descendants. Romans 5:12 tells us that, through Adam, sin entered the world and so death was passed on to all men because all have sinned. This passed-on sin through Adam’s seed is known as inherited sin. Just as we inherit physical characteristics from our parents, we inherited our sinful nature from Adam.  So how can Messiah be born of man’s seed if he must be sinless?  Is He man or God?

My Pastor’s comments since my friend allowed this.

“You friend said “either he was born of a virgin, or he was the son of His Father David…it cannot be both.”  That is, simply, incorrect.  It is correct if both Matthew and Luke are giving Joseph’s lineage back to David (and beyond).  It is incorrect if Matthew is giving Joseph’s lineage (Giving Jesus a legal line to David) and Luke’s gives Mary’s lineage (giving Jesus a physical line to David).

The obvious difference in these two genealogies happens from the sons of David forward.  Matthews trails through David’s son Solomon to Joseph.  Luke’s trails through David’s son Nathan to Heli (Mary’s dad).  That’s why in Matthew, Jacob is Joseph’s father… and in Luke, Heli is Joseph’s father (in-law). “He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph…” (Luke 3:23).

Your friend might be reminded in Numbers 27:1-11 — God allowed Moses the decree of passing inheritance from Father’s to daughters in the case that he had no son.  Historians have regularly agreed on the fact that Heli (Mary’s dad) had no sons…thus Mary’s husband, Joseph, stands in for her while Luke rolls out the genealogy.

So…If we (through careful research and reasoning) regard the two genealogies as unique to Joseph (Matthew) and Mary (Luke), then Jesus was both born of a virgin AND the son of His father David (physically through Mary and legally through Joseph).”

Additional Comments of Mine:

Also, the Old Testament has several references regarding Jesus birth, Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 9:6, Micah 5:2 and many others concerning his ministry and death, Zechariah 9:9, Psalm 22:16-18 and probably the clearest prophecy about Christ is the entire 53rd chapter of Isaiah, particularly Isaiah 53:3-7.

Concluding Comments:

Although we don’t mind honest discussion and questions about Scripture, the discussion with my friend will not continue at this point since we’re at an impasse regarding Jesus’ as Messiah and His Deity.

My pastor stated this to my friend, “My thought is simply, you and I are both well-versed on the arguments surrounding Jesus as Messiah.  The Orthodox Jewish community denies it and back up their positions with scripture, their scholars and literature.  The Christian community embraces it, and back it up with scripture, their scholars and literature.  So, it’s really not a matter of proving anything.  It’s got to do with making a choice based on the evidence presented.  I believe that Jesus is the Messiah.  You once did and now you do not. Simple as that.  We’re quite obviously not the first two people in history to fall on opposite sides of that coin.”

A stern reminder to my friend is found in Matthew 10:32-33, “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”  Jesus in John 14:6 states “Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”