Friday, December 5, 2014


The Problem of the Two Genealogies

This is an intricate problem to which many solutions have been given (Barnes). But there seems to be no question about the genealogy in Matthew. It is Joseph's. Luke's gives the genealogy of Mary.

Barnes declares that most commentators take this view. This includes men Like Andrews, Ellicott, Godet, Lange, Plumptre, Robertson, Weiss, etc.

Here are Some of the Arguments for This View:
  1. It is not likely that there are two genealogies of Joseph, because they divide after David. Matt. 1:6 starts with Solomon, while Luke 3:31 begins with Nathan.
  2. If two persons are involved, then it is only logical to regard Mary as one.
  3. Mary was certainly of the lines of David (Luke 1:32; 2:4-5).
The Luke genealogy can be interpreted thusly (Luke 3:23).
The parenthesis should be "as was supposed of Joseph)"
Godet says omission of the article before "Joseph" sets him completely outside the genealogy.
"Heli" would be the father (or ancestor) of Mary.
Jesus would thus be the grandson of Heli (If parenthesis is omitted).
The Greek simply affirms that Jesus was ("of Heli").
The omission of Mary's name would not be unusual. Such omission was common practice. Cf. Matt. 1:8.

  1.  Barnes says that no early enemy of Christianity tried to prove the two genealogies were incorrect. Records (Not owned by Christians) were important and open to the public (cf. Neh. 7:64). The verse from Nehemiah shows the importance of records.
  2. This solution of the genealogical problem fits exactly into O.T. Messianic prophecy (Jer. 22:24-30).
Messiah must come out of the loins of David to qualify (Acts 2:30), yet not through the line of Joseph because of the curse against Coniah. "No man of his seed shall prosper sitting on the throne of David (Jer. 22:30).
If Joseph was the father of Jesus, He could not inherit the Royal throne of David.
Messiah must inherit the throne through the royal line of Solomon, yet He dare not be the seed of that line according to the flesh.
The only solution is for the Messiah to be born of a virgin who is a direct descendant of David according to the flesh, and who marries a man of the royal line of Solomon, making the husband His legal father.

This solution is an evidence of the providential guidance of God in preparing the way for the true Messiah to sit upon the throne of David.
The heathen myths are often impure and obscene, but the Biblical account is so chaste and pure that we can read it to children without offense.
Heathen myths required centuries to grow, but the virgin birth of Christ was an established doctrine within one generation.
Polytheistic pagans were ready to believe all kinds of marvelous and fabulous stories about their gods, but the lofty and severe Jewish doctrine of God (as set forth in the O. T.) was not conducive to the sudden growth of supernatural myths.

The Objection to the Biological Miracle:
This is raised by certain men, who feel that it will be an advantage to get rid of the miraculous element in Christianity as far as possible.

  • The true Christian sees no barrier to faith in the miracles of Christianity, He rejoices in them.
  • But in dealing with the objections, we might well ask how they can account for a sinless man in the midst of a sinful humanity. For a sinless man is a greater miracle in the moral realm than a Virgin Birth in the biological realm.
  • Nothing whatever is gained, therefore, in dropping the Virgin Birth: The man who accepts the sinlessness of Christ has no valid or rational reason for rejecting the Virgin Birth as far as the miraculous is concerned. To be consistent, he would have to reject the bodily resurrection of Christ also.
  • A. B. Bruce was right in observing that "with the denial of the Virgin Birth generally goes the denial of the Virgin Life."
Passages Speaking of Joseph as Christ's "father".
Matt. 13:55
Luke 4:22
John 6:42
Luke 2:27, 33 (ASV)
Luke 2:48
John 1:45

  • Joseph was His legal father -- even today we would call such a man the "father" of an adopted child.
The alleged heathen myth analogies. (Machen, VBC, pp. 317-379)
  • These myths do not speak of virgin births at all, but rather of the union of mortal women with gods who came to earth in the form of men. (This is the Mormon view of Christ's birth.) The word "virgin" does not even appear in these myths. Contrast with the Bible!
  • These myths are often wild and fanciful in contrast to the sober and reasonable account in Scripture. (For example, the birth of Buddha was made possible by the entrance of a marvelous white elephant into the side of his mother Mary.)

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