The Journal of Biblical Accuracy
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The genealogies of Jesus Christ

The genealogies of Jesus Christ are given in Matthew 1:1-17 and in Luke 3:23-38. We should not feel strange that we have two genealogies. Every one has two genealogies: one from his father and one from his mother. Now Jesus' father was God and thus he could not have a genealogy from his natural father. However his legal standing in the society was dependant on the man that people supposed to be his father i.e. Joseph. That's why the Word of God gives two genealogies. Regarding these genealogies two supposed problems have been expressed. The first problem is connected with the fact that while in Matthew's genealogy (Matthew 1:16) we are told that:

"Jacob begot Joseph the husband of Mary"

i.e. that Joseph was a son of Jacob, in the corresponding genealogy of Luke we read that:

Luke 3:23
"Now Jesus himself began his ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat....."

The problem is usually created here because people have taken this genealogy as a genealogy of Joseph. But the genealogy is not Joseph's but JESUS'. Jesus, who was supposed by the society to be the son of Josef, was the son of Heli, who was the son of Matthat etc. He was not the son of Heli from Joseph since according to Matthew Joseph was not begotten by Heli but by Jacob. Through whom therefore was Jesus the son of Heli? The answer is through Mary of course1.

Apart from this, another point that has been a source of controversy is the counting of the generations in verse 17 of Matthew 1, where we read:

Matthew 1:17
"So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations, and from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations."

Most people read the 3 fourteen of the above passage and instead of trying to find those three fourteen they try to find a single forty two (42). Really, where does the Word speak for forty two generations? Nowhere. The only that it speaks is for three groups of fourteen generations each. Which are these groups? The answer of the Scripture is very clear:

The first group is from Abraham to David. Really:

"from Abraham to David are fourteen generations"

Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judas, Phares, Esrom, Aram, Aminadab, Naasson, Salmon, Booz, Obed, Jesse, David.

The 2nd group is from David to the captivity in Babylon. The mistake of many is that though the Word says "FROM DAVID" they start to count from Solomon. Following the boundaries of the Word we have:

"from David until the captivity in Babylon are fourteen generations"

"David, Solomon, Roboam, Abia, Asa, Josaphat, Joram, Ozias, Joatham, Achaz, Ezekias, Mannasses, Amon, Josias"

This is the regal group of fourteen generations since all in this group were kings. The group starts with David and closes with Josias the last real king of the kingdom.

Regarding the third group we are told that it is from the captivity in Babylon until Christ. Really:

"from the captivity in Babylon until the Christ are fourteen generations"

Jechonias2, Salathiel, Zorobabel, Abiud, Eliakim, Azor, Sadoc, Achim, Eliud, Eleazar, Matthan, Jacob, Joseph, Jesus.

As it is evident therefore, when the Word says three groups of fourteen generations that is what it means. If we now try to find forty two generations, we search for something that the Word does not say and obviously we are going to have problems.

 

Anastasios Kioulachoglou

 



Footnotes

1. The fact that instead of Mary's name we have that of her husband must not be considered as strange. As it can be confirmed by having a look at the various genealogies given in the Bible it is really a very rare thing to meet a woman's name in them. This also happens with the genealogies given in Matthew and in Luke where there is not any woman in them. The reason for this has probably to be sought in the oriental costumes of the lands and times of the Bible.

2. Though Jechonias is referred two times, one in Matthew 1:11, where we are told that he and his brothers were begotten "ABOUT the time of the carrying away to Babylon", and one a verse later in Matthew 1:12 where it says that "AFTER they were brought to Babylon Jechonias begot Salathiel...", he has to be included in only one of the two groups that have as boundary the carrying away to Babylon. The reason is because (in contrast to David in the case of the first and second group) the boundary is not Jechonias but the captivity in Babylon and therefore Jechonias in the counting has to be placed in only one of the two sides of this boundary. The group in which Jechonias belongs is the third one since in any other case the second group would have fifteen generations while the third only thirteen which is not what the Word says.