Hello, Recently I discussed with a Jewish friend the Messiahship of Jesus. Most of his objections didn’t seem so to me, except for one where I stumbled: he said that according to prophecy, the Messiah had to be a descendant of David, and the the Gospel says that the descendant of David is Joseph, who was not related to Jesus. How should I answer that?
You’re good Jewish friend is ignoring his own Jewish teaching that when one is adopted into a family, one receives full sonship and all of it’s benefits.
This is why the infant narratives point out that Joseph is to name Jesus and that he stay with Mary instead of putting her away like he was inclined to do. This would have nullified the Davidic Messiahship of Jesus
Notice it is Matthew that points this out. Matthew’s Gospel was directed to the Jews, who would have had to be convinced that Jesus fulfilled all these prophecies.
BTW: Welcome to the Forums!!! I hope you enjoy your stay!
Mary too was a descendant of David.
Thanks, NotWorthy, for the fast reply!
Is Mary also a descendant of David’s? The “fleshliness” of Jesus makes me want to believe that he was a “fleshly” descendant of David, and not just an “adopted” son of a descendant of David…
This goes faster than I imagined. Thanks, Michael, you were answering my 2nd question even as I was posting it. Where does it say that Mary was also a descendant of David?
God bless you all
Ha ha! I got it for you.
Jewish lineage is transferred via the mother.
If your Dad is Jewish and your Mom a Christian, technically you are not Jewish.
If it was the reverse… you can technically claim to be a descendant of Israel!
So, it is by Mary that Jesus is a descendant of David.
I love that factoid!
Great! But where does it say that Mary was a descendant of David?
This is for ABiii,
BTW, was it at the time of Jesus also a fact that lineage was transmitted by the mother, like it is in today’s Judaism? And where would that be written? In the OT? In the Talmud (which is about 300 years later than Jesus)?
Luke 1:27-32… somewhere there.
If your Jewish friend says that the gospels were doctored to make that true, just say that the Jewish Authorities should have refuted that fact (and many other facts) during the time of early Christianity.
The early gospels were available, and there were Christian witnesses that they could have cross examined… and this is the most fascinating thing about the gospels, they were written within a reasonable time period post Jesus death.
If authorities back then wanted to disprove things, it was reasonably possible to dispute their validity. The gospel was not hidden for hundreds of years… it was within 1 or 2 generations. Even St. Paul’s letters were just a few years post Jesus’ death.
Mind you, it’s pretty hard to reasonably explain the book of ACTS… but it is possible to explain it… ha ha ha.
I know some facts on Judaism, but not all… but I can share an important factoid with you.
The relevance of the mother is important… see this link
it’s about the relevance of the queen mother.
As king Solomon’s mom had an important place in his kingdom, Jesus’ mom has an important place too!
I don’t think that maternal rule on lineage ever changed. I got my lineage info from a book called “What I wish my Christian friends knew about Judaism”.
There are also tons of other fun factoids about how Jesus is the revelation of the Old Testament.
I would suggest the book “The case for Christ” by Lee Strobel. Not Catholic, but it is for general Christians.
Another thing to check out is to google Jesus and Messianic prophecies. Jesus fulfills many specific and non-specific prophecies needed to be the definite messiah. The probability of all of it is practically impossible.
Jesus is also very comparable to many key Biblical people.
Moses -> Herod killed newborns -> gave 10 commandments on a mountain -> freed people from Pharaoh and slavery
Jesus -> Herod killed newborns -> gave beatitudes on a mountain -> freed people from Satan and slavery to sin and death
That is why Bible study can be very fun! I am not an actual student, but I read all these books for my spiritual growth…
I’ve checked Luke 1-27-32 and what it says is that Mary was married to Joseph, who was descended from the house of David… nothing about Mary herself. And no references to an alternative passage in the notes… so I’m back to square one…
I had read about those parallels you mention between Moses and Jesus, in a book that examines the Gospels from the critical-literary perspective. The author didn’t say so, but meant to show that such parallels were intended by the writer of the Gospel, independently of whether they were true or not (and probably more than hinting at their falsehood)…
Ok… I will really look for it… I googled that one up.
There are tons of PRO and CON for this lineage argument online.
I googled this one up too:
“Joseph was clearly the son of Jacob (Matthew 1:16, so this verse [Luke 3:23 - says “son of Heli”] should be understood to mean “son-in-law of Heli.” Thus, the genealogy of Christ in Luke is actually the genealogy of Mary, while Matthew gives that of Joseph. Actually, the word “son” is not in the original, so it would be legitimate to supply either “son” or “son-in-law” in this context. Since Matthew and Luke clearly record much common material, it is certain that neither one could unknowingly incorporate such a flagrant apparent mistake as the wrong genealogy in his record. As it is, however, the two genealogies show that both parents were descendants of David—Joseph through Solomon (Matthew 1:7-15), thus inheriting the legal right to the throne of David, and Mary through Nathan (Luke 3:23-31), her line thus carrying the seed of David, since Solomon’s line had been refused the throne because of Jechoniah’s sin” [Dr. Henry M. Morris, The Defender’s Study Bible, note for Luke 3:23 (Iowa Falls, Iowa: World Publishing, Inc., 1995).].
In the end, using arguments available online, your Jewish friend can take a defending stance against this.
I think the confusion comes in the lineage vs. the tribal ties. A person’s lineage was traced through the father. If you look at it through the mother, than King Solomon wouldn’t be a child of Abraham, because Bathsheba was a Hittite. King David was the great grandson of Ruth, who was a Gentile before marrying Boaz. The “seed” is traced through the male, whether by natural means or by adoption. Period.
Hence, Mary’s lineage is in no way relevant to Jesus being the son of David. Since this was so crucial to Matthew’s audience, he would have proved it in his genealogy. Instead, it’s Luke who shows this, and his audience were Gentiles.
But someone’s tribe is traced by the mother, if I remember correctly.
Thanks, NotWorthy, this is very interesting. Can you refer me to material that substantiates this difference between lineage and tribe? I had always heard about the transmission of Judaism through the mother, not about the father connection, but your timely reminder that these very important males descended from non-Jewish mothers adds a whole new dimension for me. If you could point to actual texts substantiating the validity of lineage transmission through the males I’d be most grateful (whether those texts are Scripture and/or historical, both would be of interest).
and several other references in the Old Testament.
In Matthew, there are only 4 women listed and 42 men. In Luke and Genesis, there are no women. What does that tell you about how ancient Jews traced their lineage.
Guys–I see from your interchange that Joseph’s line is the one to trace back to David. But now I am confused as to: is Joseph the son of Jacob or the son of Heli?
There’s at least two schools of thought on this.
** First school of thought**:
Jacob is a Jewish name. Matthew’s audience is Jewish.
Heli is a Greek name. Luke’s audience were predominantly Greek speaking.
Around the last 200-300 years of Israel’s history before Christ, the Jews were both Aramaic and Greek speaking. They often had more than one name.
- Matthew (Greek) also went by the name Levi (Hebrew or Aramaic).
- Saul (Hebrew) went by the name of Paul (Greek or Roman?).
- Joshua (Hebrew) translates to Jesus (Greek).
I may be a little off on the specific examples, but the point remains. I think Joseph’s father went by the name of Jacob in Aramaic speaking circles, and Heli in Greek speaking circles.
** 2nd School of thought**:
“The Father of” does not literally mean he is the father of Joseph. “The Father of” literally means an ancestor. Jacob could be Joseph’s grandfather and the inspired author could say, “Joseph, son of Jacob”. Heli could be the great great grandfather and the inspired author could say, “Joseph, son of Heli”.
So, where else do we see this in Scripture?
Jesus, son of David, son of Abraham…
Thanks, I’ll look those up. If you remember the OT references please let me know.
As for the reference to the 4 women in Matthew, one could counter that, since it is the writing of a follower of Christ, he is “bending the facts”; it would be more forceful to give an argument out of a Jewish source, for instance the Talmud or some similar…
Really interesting about the “2 schools of thought”; thanks.
Those four women are found in the OT Scriptures. What is more Jewish than that?
But the fact that they are all Gentiles, and women of questionable repute in some cases, tells the Jews that Jesus is a “Light to all the Nations”, not just to the Jews. Notice, all of these women precede Solomon. No Jew, in his right mind, would question the validity of Solomon as King of Israel, therefore they have to accept the role of these 4 women in Jesus’ lineage.