Project Genesis

The Messiah and the Lineage of Jesus

Why don’t Jews consider Jesus the Messiah? I was speaking with someone from work and it seemed that it was a problem of lineage. Is this correct?

The issue of whether or not Jesus could have been the Jewish Messiah is one that has been hotly debated for millennia. Nowhere in the Jewish bible is there one scripture that gives us a description of who the Messiah will be. In fact the term “THE MESSIAH?? (HaMoshiach) doesn’t even appear in the Jewish bible. The word Moshiach does, and there are many of people that it refers to as a Messiah (Moshiach without the “ha??) this is because the word Moshiach simply means one who has been anointed to do a special job. All of the priests of Israel were anointed, and thus labeled “Moshiach??, as were all of the kings. In fact, in Isaiah 45:1, we are told that Cyrus, King of Persia (a non-Jew) was G-d’s anointed as well.

Because of this, we must look at all of the scriptures that talk about this future time of redemption and the King who will reign during this time. This King is the Jewish Messiah. When we look at all of these scriptures, we begin to see a picture emerge – kind of like putting together a puzzle. When putting together a puzzle we find that there are some pieces which have a straight edge and together form the framework for the puzzle and then there are the inside pieces. They complete the picture. So, too, are there two different categories of scriptures about the Messiah. Some are about what he will do – these are the inside pieces of the puzzle, and some are about who he must be – these are the framework. Without the framework, you cannot put together the puzzle, and if someone doesn’t qualify to be the Messiah, then he can’t do the job.

So, how does Jesus weigh in when it comes to the requirements for who the Messiah must be?

There are five qualifications for the Messiah:

1. He will be male
2. He must be Jewish
3. He must be from the tribe of Judah
4. He must be a descendant of King David and
5. He must be a descendant of David through his son Solomon.

So let’s see how he measures up.

1. Was Jesus male? According to the Christian New Testament he was male.

2. Was Jesus Jewish? According to the Christian New Testament he was indeed Jewish.

3. Was Jesus from the tribe of Judah? Well, here is where we run into our first problem. How does one inherit tribal lineage? From his father. Who was Jesus’ father? Well, according to the New Testament, it certainly wasn’t Joseph – he was going to divorce Mary because she was pregnant. So, you can’t use Joseph’s genealogy. Now, both of the genealogies given for Jesus in the New Testament are listed as belonging to Joseph. That right there presents problems, primarily because they are different. Christian scholars have asserted that the reason they are different is that one of them is actually Mary’s. They never satisfactorily explain why Mary’s genealogy is listed as Joseph’s, but let’s go with that for a minute.

Joseph’s genealogy attributes him to being from the tribe of Judah. But remember, Joseph isn’t Jesus’ father, so it doesn’t count. One cannot inherit tribal lineage through adoption. Here’s an example… Let’s say that Yonatan is a Cohen (of the priestly line) and he marries Rivkah and they have a son named Yosef. Yosef is a Cohen (he inherited it by birth from his father), and when he grows up he can serve in the Temple. Now, let’s say that Yosef’s father Yonatan dies. Can Yosef still serve in the Temple when he grows up? Absolutely – he’s still a Cohen – still of the priestly line. Now let’s say his mother Rivkah marries Shlomo, from the tribe of Yehuda. Shlomo can one day serve as a King. And let’s say that Shlomo loves Yosef and decides to adopt him. Is Yosef still a Cohen? Yes. Can Yosef still serve in the Temple? Yes. Can he serve as a king? No. Even though his adopted father is from the tribe of Yehuda, Yosef is still a Cohen. Adoption doesn’t change a fact of birth.

So, if Joseph is not Jesus’ father, then his genealogy is pointless. It’s a red herring. It doesn’t make a difference, and it doesn’t matter.

The other genealogy, which is attributed to Mary by Christians, doesn’t count for tribal inheritance as seen above, and actually presents an additional problem applying to the last qualification.

3 & 4. Was Jesus a descendant of David through his son Solomon? Since Joseph is not Jesus’ father, let’s look at Mary’s genealogy. According to Luke 3:31, Mary is a descendant of David through Nathan, not Solomon.

No matter how you slice it, Jesus’ genealogies disqualify him from being the Messiah, no matter how many or how few other things he may have done.

3 Follow-ups »

  1. Can you provide the specific Scriptural reference for your statement, “five things that the Hebrew Scriptures tell us that the messiah must be”?

    He must be Jewish – “ may appoint a king over you, whom the L-rd your G-d shall choose: one from among your brethren shall you set as king over you.” (Deuteronomy 17:15)

    He must be a member of the tribe of Judah – “The staff shall not depart from Judah, nor the scepter from between his feet…” (Genesis 49:10). To be a member of the tribe of Judah, the person must have a biological father who is a member of the tribe of Judah.

    He must be male, and a descendant of King David through his son Solomon – He must be a direct male descendant of King David and King Solomon, his son – “And when your days (David) are fulfilled, and you shall sleep with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who shall issue from your bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will make firm the throne of his kingdom forever…” (2 Samuel 7:12 – 13)

    Comment by ATR — December 23, 2006 @ 11:29 pm

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