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Reference: Genealogy Of Jesus Christ


Needed, to show that redemption was no afterthought, but designed from the first. Abraham and David in Matthew's Gospel are singled out to prove the fulfillment in Christ of the promises made to Abraham 2,000 years previously, and to David 1,000. The Old Testament begins with "Genesis" ("generation"); so also the New Testament begins with the genesis ("generation," Mt 1:1) of Jesus Christ. Matthew's Gospel contains, not Joseph's direct ancestors, but the succession of heirs to David's and Solomon's throne. The tracing of Christ's descent through Judah's royal line harmonizes with the kingly aspect of Jesus Christ in Matthew's Gospel. The steps of Joseph's direct parentage did not coincide with those of the succession to the throne. Solomon's line failed, and Nathan's and Neri's succeeded as legal heirs.

Hence the need of two genealogies, one (Matthew) of the succession, the other (Luke) of the parentage. Jeremiah (Jer 22:30) declares Jeconiah, Coniah, or Jehoiachin was to be childless. He cannot therefore have been lineal progenitor of Jesus Christ. It is at this point in the genealogy, i.e. after Jehoiachin, the same names occur in both lists, Salathiel and Zerubbabel taken (in Matthew) from the line of Nathan (Luke) to supply the failure of Jehoiachin's issue. The promise was, Messiah was to be "of the fruit of the loins of David" (Ac 2:30), but to Solomon only that "his throne should be established evermore" (1Ch 17:14). So a double genealogy of Jair is given, one of the inheritance, the other of birth (1Ch 2:4-5,21-22; Nu 32:41). Matthew appropriately, as writing for Jews, gives Christ's legal descent; Luke, for Gentiles, the natural descent.

Matthew downward, from Abraham the father of the Jews (naturally, but of the Gentiles also spiritually: Ge 17:5; Ro 4:16-17); Luke upward, to Adam, "who was the son of God" and the father of Gentiles and Jews alike. The words "as was supposed" (Lu 3:23) imply that Christ's sonship to Joseph was only a reputed not a real one. Yet He was God's extraordinary gift to Joseph through his proper wife Mary, and the fruit of his marriage to her, not as natural offspring of his body but as supernatural fruit. Hence attention is drawn to Joseph's being "son of David" (Mt 1:20), "of the house and lineage of David" (Lu 2:4, compare Lu 1:32). Matthew omits three links of the pedigree. "Joram begat Ozias," i.e. Uzziah. But Joram really begat Ahaziah, Ahaziah Jehoash, Jehoash Uzziah. If the two genealogies contained anything false or mutually contradictory, Christ's enemies would have convicted them from the public documents.

Clearly men in that day saw nothing irreconcilable in them. From Abraham to David both agree, thenceforward the names differ. Luke has 42 names from David, Matthew only 27 names. The less number in Matthew is intelligible, if he be only tracing the heir's to the throne; for "the heir of my heir is my heir." So intermediate heirs are omitted without risk of misconception, for spiritual reasons; e.g., Simeon is omitted in Moses' blessing (Deuteronomy 33) on account of his cruelty, Dan in Revelation 7 for his idolatry. The full number is given in Luke, as naming the natural line. Mary must have been of the same tribe and family as Joseph, according to the law (Nu 36:8). Isa 11:1 implies that Messiah was the seed of David by natural as well as legal descent. Probably Matthan of Matthew is the Matthat of Luke, and Jacob and Heli were brothers; and Heli's son Joseph, and Jacob's daughter Mary, first cousins. Joseph, as male heir of his uncle Jacob, who had only one child, Mary, would marry her according to the law (Nu 36:8).

Thus the genealogy of the inheritance (Matthew's) and that of natural descent (Luke's) would be primarily Joseph's, then Mary's also. The number 14 has some mystic signification (compare Nu 29:13; 1Ki 8:65). It is the double of seven the number for completeness; the periods of 14 in Matthew are the sacred three. The period from Abraham to David is that of patriarchs; from David to the Babylonian captivity that of kings; from the captivity to Christ private individuals. The first and second tessaradecade have an illustrious beginning; the third not so, that its ending in Messiah might stand forth pre-eminent above all that went before.

The first is that of promise, beginning with. Abraham and ending with David, the receivers of the promise; the second adumbrates Christ's eternal kingdom through the temporary kingdom of David's line; the third period is that of expectation. On Cainan in Luke's Gospel, (See CAINAN. The name Jehoiakim seemingly has dropped out, Josiah's son and Jeconiah's father; otherwise David would have to be counted twice to make up the second 14. Five females are in Matthew's Gospel: incestuous Tamar, Rahab the Moabitess and a harlot, Ruth, Uriah's wife Bathsheba the object of David's adulterous love, and above all Mary; all extraordinary monuments of God's grace, that chooses out of the vilest to make vessels unto honor, for the bringing forth of the promised Seed, who was to save sinners of every type and race.

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1. The two genealogies.

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Genealogy of Jesus Christ.

The New Testament gives us the genealogy of but one person, that of our Saviour. This is given because it was important to prove that Jesus fulfilled the prophecies spoken of him. Only as the son and heir of David should he be the Messiah. The following propositions will explain the true construction of these genealogies:--

1. They are both the genealogies of Joseph, i.e. of Jesus Christ as the reputed and legal son of Joseph and Mary.

2. The genealogy of St. Matthew is Joseph's genealogy as legal successor to the throne of David. St. Luke's is Joseph's private Genealogy, exhibiting his real birth as David's son, and thus showing why he was heir to Solomon's crown. The simple principle that one evangelist exhibits that genealogy which contained the successive heir to David's and Solomon's throne, while the other exhibits the paternal stem of him who was the heir, explains all the anomalies of the two pedigrees, their agreements as well as their discrepancies, and the circumstance of there being two at all.

3. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was in all probability the daughter of Jacob, and first cousin to Joseph her husband. Thus: Matthan or Matthat

father of Jacob, Heli Jacob father of Mary = Jacob'e heir was (Joseph) Heli father of Joseph JESUS, called Christ. (Godet, Lange and many others take the ground that Luke gives the genealogy of Mary, rendering

Lu 3:23

thus: Jesus "being (as was suppposed) the son of Joseph, (but in reality) the son of Heli." 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.)

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