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What the Bible says about Davidic Lineage of Jesus
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 3:14-15

Six thousand years later, the Israelitish people and modern-day Christians living by faith are still anticipating the Promised Seed's second coming in glory. When God gave this judgment, there was little information within the sign to use as an identifier except that Eve was the only female at that time, and she had as yet no children. However, her first child was a son, and the anticipation began. She probably assumed that he was the Promised Seed. She was wrong—he was a murderer.

She had a third son, Seth (Genesis 4:23-25), and he was not the Promised Seed either, but he did become an ancestor of the Promised Seed. The Promised Seed's lineage can be traced from Seth through Noah to Abraham, Jacob, Judah, King David, and finally, Joseph and Mary when He was born in Bethlehem, Judea. The sign took around 4,000 years to come to pass after God's judgment of the Serpent in Genesis 3.

As the centuries slid by, God occasionally added reminders and more precise descriptions of the Promised Seed so that, if the Israelites believed Him, they could more accurately identify the Messiah's appearance when God sent Him. God kept His word. He did send Him, and He performed His responsibility admirably.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Leadership and Covenants (Part Eleven): Signs

1 Chronicles 22:10

This verse is part of a prophecy to David that he would have a son named Solomon who would carry on his dynasty. God promises, "He shall build a house for My name, and he shall be My son, and I will be his Father; and I will establish the throne of his kingdom over Israel forever." Yet Luke 3:31 plainly lists another son of David, Nathan, as Jesus' ancestor. Because of this, some claim that Jesus could not have been the Messiah.

However, the Messiah is not mentioned here at all! Instead, God establishes "the throne"! He is not even talking about a person in this verse, but a thing, the right to rule over Israel. God gave this right to David and his "seed" in a covenant, part of which is contained in II Samuel 7:16: "And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever."

Psalm 89:34-37 describes this as a perpetual covenant:

"My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips. Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David: his seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before Me; it shall be established forever like the moon, even like the faithful witness in the sky." Selah.

This promise becomes even more specific in Jeremiah 33:17: "For thus says the Lord, 'David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel.'" None of these sections mentions that David's heirs, especially the Messiah, must trace their roots through Solomon!

So the genealogy in Luke 3, which is most likely Jesus' biological genealogy through Mary, is just as valid a claim to David's throne as the one in Matthew 1:1-17. In fact, it strengthens His claim because He can trace his lineage to David through two separate lines!

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Jesus Disqualified?

Jeremiah 23:5-6

These scriptures focus on the Branch as King, descending from David, making righteous judgments, ruling, and causing peace and security. Thus Revelation 19:16 calls Him, "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS."

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Branch

Jeremiah 23:5

Jesse had at least eight sons (II Samuel 16:10-11), the youngest of which was David. God chose the line of this young shepherd boy to reign over Israel and ultimately to produce the King of kings: "'Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, 'that I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; a King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth'" (Jeremiah 23:5; see Isaiah 9:6-7).

Both of Jesus' human parents were of the line of David (Matthew 1:1, 6; Luke 3:31), and it was well known during His ministry that Jesus was a "son of David" (Matthew 9:27; 15:22; 21:9; etc.). Before His conception, Gabriel tells Mary, "The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David" (Luke 1:32). Paul reminds Timothy of what this means to Christians: "Jesus, the seed of David, was raised from the dead. . . . This is a faithful saying: 'For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him'" (II Timothy 2:8, 11-12).

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Born of a Woman

Matthew 1:1-17

The book of Matthew opens with a stylized genealogy of Jesus of Nazareth (Matthew 1:1-17). Matthew presents the list in three parts—from Abraham to David, from David to the captivity in Babylon, and from the captivity to Christ—each with fourteen generations. The genealogy is perfectly correct in every way.

Except one.

What Matthew records is not Christ's biological ancestry but His legal one. Verse 16 gives the proof: "And Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus who is called Christ." It is Joseph's family tree! Remember, Christ was not begotten of Joseph but of the Holy Spirit. Legally, Christ could trace his ancestry back to David through his "father" Joseph, though He had not one drop of Joseph's—or Jehoiachin's—blood!

We must remember a major purpose of Matthew's gospel: to present Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah to the Jews. The Jews were, and still are, very particular about genealogies. Anyone claiming to be the Messiah would have to present a bona fide, airtight ancestry back to David if he were to be taken seriously (see Psalm 110:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; etc.). Matthew does just that in introducing Jesus in the first verses of his book.

Thus, Jesus, untainted by Jehoiachin's curse (Jeremiah 22:30), has a legal claim to the throne of David through His stepfather, Joseph. Such a thing was legally acceptable under Jewish law.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Jesus Disqualified?

Matthew 1:1-17

Matthew divides his genealogy into three groups of fourteen names. The first group begins with Abraham and ends with David. The second group begins with Solomon and ends with Jeconiah, the son of Josiah. The third group begins with Shealtiel and ends in Jesus Christ.

A comparison of Luke's list with Matthew's finds that Luke runs in the opposite direction, backwards, beginning with Jesus Christ and ending with Adam. Unlike Luke, Matthew includes four ladies in Jesus' line: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba. His genealogy thus contains the names of 42 men and four women, all of whom were ancestors of Jesus, but they varied considerably in personality, spirituality, and experience. Some of these people were heroes of faith, like Abraham, David, and Ruth. Some of them were ordinary personalities, like Ram and Nahshon, while others had spotted reputations, like Tamar and Rahab. Some were downright evil like Manasseh and Abijah. Two of the ladies were definitely Gentiles, and perhaps another was a Gentile, Tamar, because her name is not Israelitish. The fourth lady, Bathsheba, married a Gentile, Uriah the Hittite, and was probably considered by the Israelites to be Gentile by association as a result.

God is showing us that He is not limited by human imperfections. To carry out His will, He can work through anybody He desires, even the shady characters in the ancestry of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Why Three Kings Are Missing From Matthew 1

Matthew 1:18-25

Joseph seems to have been a naturally kind and caring man, well-suited to Mary. Like her, he did not fly off the handle when he found things out. He was thoughtful, considering the best way to handle the situation. In his day, a woman could receive lifelong shame for becoming pregnant out of wedlock. He desired to "put her away" as quietly as possible without bringing any further shame upon Mary - or himself, for that matter. While he was still mulling it over, an angel, probably Gabriel again, appeared to him in a dream.

Throughout this episode, Joseph is shown to be a humble, pious, obedient man. He takes what the angel says without complaint or even reply. Once he is aroused from sleep, Joseph does just as the angel commands him. The angel's word was enough. The man was convinced. He would comply.

Gabriel tells Joseph almost the same things he said to Mary. It is somewhat odd, though, since it was through Joseph that Jesus would physically claim David's throne, that the angel does not mention that Jesus would be King. This is also interesting because, throughout his Gospel, Matthew constantly mentions Jesus' royal nature. Instead, Gabriel tells Joseph that Mary's Son, whom everyone would think is his Son, would be named Jesus, "for He will save His people from their sins." He also reiterates that He will be God with us and that He was conceived of the Holy Spirit.

These points hint that Joseph was more interested in spiritual matters than physical ones. Perhaps he had not allowed his Davidic lineage to go to his head. He did not need the spur of his adoptive Son becoming King to make him comply. All he needed to know was that God through the Holy Spirit had accomplished Mary's pregnancy, and that the divine Child, in fulfillment of prophecy, would one day save His people from sin.

In His sovereignty, God prepared the perfect couple to raise His Son. They are wonderful examples of submission to God. Even though His intervention in their lives threw a huge monkey wrench into their personal plans, they selflessly said, "So be it, Lord. What would You like us to do next?"

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The Birth of Jesus Christ (Part One): Annunciation

Luke 3:23-38

How do we know that the Luke 3 lineage is Mary's? We do not know it for certain, but that conclusion is the most reasonable. One factor is, again, the purpose of this particular gospel. Luke wrote primarily to Gentiles, and he stresses Jesus' humanity throughout his book. The evangelist thus gives our Savior's natural, biological family tree to show He shares humanness with the common man. He is not just the Jews' Messiah, but He is also the Gentiles' Messiah! So Luke's genealogy goes all the way back to Adam, rather than stopping at Abraham as Matthew's does.

Another factor is that Luke had to deal with a virgin birth. What a unique situation for a genealogist! Luke had to determine, therefore, what points would matter to a Gentile. Would he be concerned with Jesus' Davidic ancestry? Not initially. Would he care that Jesus is a Jew and an Israelite? Maybe. Would he desire to know if Jesus was a man like he was? Certainly! Thus, Luke would record a line of descent that showed His universality to every man, and this would go through Mary, Jesus' link to humanity.

Some raise objections to this on the basis of verse 23, particularly because it says, "Joseph, the son of Heli." Notice, though, that Luke does not use the word "begot" as Matthew does. In fact, he uses no word at all, just a marker to denote possession. So the phrase literally says, "Joseph, of Heli."

Some say, then, that this connotes a levirate marriage because Matthew says Joseph's father was Jacob. Levirate marriage, however, was fairly rare, so this is an unlikely stretch. Others argue that this is Jesus' "priestly" lineage, but this is even less probable, since it shows Judah, not Levi, as an ancestor (see Hebrews 7:14).

Bullinger, in his Companion Bible, gives a more likely explanation: "Joseph was begotten by Jacob, and was his natural son (Matt. 1:16). He could be the legal son of Heli, therefore, only by marriage with Heli's daughter (Mary), and be reckoned so according to law." At that time, Jewish law traced inheritance and descent through the male, not the female line. Thus, Luke 3:23 would be clearer if translated as, "Joseph, the son-in-law of Heli," or "Joseph, the legal son of Heli."

No matter which we choose, it traces Heli's line from that point on back to Nathan, the son of David. There is no stigma or disqualification in Solomon's name being absent from the list. In messianic terms, David's name is the vital one.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Jesus Disqualified?


 




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