O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

I have a sneaking suspicion that some here might be interested in this. "Christmas as Resurrection" was the Christmas sermon at Covenant Community Church. It's the second selection here:

Christmas Archive

Just a heads-up. You'll need to put on your thinking cap for this one...


Tim Martin

Views: 212

Comment by Tim Martin on December 26, 2011 at 9:43pm

I'll offer this thumbnail explanation for those that want the short version:

My sermon text was Matthew 1, but Jeremiah 22:24-30 records a curse on Jeconiah who is in Joseph's genealogy. As typical of the prophets, Jeremiah turned right around to promise that a branch from David would indeed sit on the throne in Jeremiah 23... Seems like a contradiction until...

You see that the two genealogies of Matthew 1 and Luke 4 both go back to David. They split there, Luke's following Nathan (son of David) and Matthew's following Solomon (son of David).

Both genealogies pose problems for the claim of Messiah. Luke's does not go through Solomon (through which the Davidic throne was established), and Matthew's includes Jeconiah who was cursed in that no offspring of his could sit on the throne of Israel. That is death, by the way. The line of the lawful kings of Israel was dead under that curse on Jeconiah. No one born as offspring in that line could be the Messiah, yet Jeremiah 23 (and 2 Samuel 7, Hosea, Isaiah, etc.) all promised David's own offspring would sit on the throne.


If we take Matthew as recording Joseph's line and Luke as recording Joseph's line through his father-in-law, Heli, with no son (following the law of Numbers 27:8), then don't we have something interesting?

Jesus is born of Mary, daughter of David. Yet, in Matthew 1, after giving the genealogy of Joseph through the royal line, Matthew continues with the story of the virgin birth, emphasizing that Jesus is not the offspring of Joseph. Have you ever wondered why Matthew gives the genealogy of Joseph and then turns right around to make sure everyone knows that Jesus did not descend from Joseph? It weirded out some people in the congregation this morning who had never even considered the oddity.

I submit Matthew does this because of Jeconiah.

None of his offspring could be King. That means Joseph could not be king, though he was a direct heir to David through Solomon.

So Mary is daughter of David, making Jesus the offspring of David. But Joseph is heir to the throne through Solomon, but forbidden to the throne through Jeconiah. How is this solved?

By covenant.

Joseph (in the royal line) marries Mary, following God's command. He then adopts Jesus as his son by naming Jesus in Matt. 1:24-25 (this is the legal right and duty of no one but the father). Now Joseph is heir to the throne, and he has a son (through Mary) who is a descendant of David, but not the offspring of Jeconiah (who is not listed in Luke's genealogy).

Bingo. Jesus is the legal Messiah according to the Law and Prophets.

Next, Joseph must die in order for the right of succession to pass from Joseph to Jesus. Jesus cannot claim to be king until Joseph is dead. This is why Joseph is dead by the time Jesus starts his ministry.

Thus, the virgin birth miracle is the beginning of the resurrection of Israel, raising up a dead line of kings by God's own hand, fulfilling Jeremiah 23:5.  Let me say that crucial point again: the virgin birth fulfills Jeremiah 23:5. God declared that he would do it. He did it...

Christmas as Resurrection.


Tim Martin

Comment by JL Vaughn on December 27, 2011 at 11:36am

Sorry Tim,

Luke had just told us that Mary and Elizabeth were "daughters of Aaron," that is daughters of priests and not daughters of David/Judah. 

The genealogy Luke presents is not Mary's.



Comment by Tim Martin on December 27, 2011 at 12:05pm

I'll have to think on that. Here is a paragraph on the subject:

Luke states that Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, was a "relative" (Greek syggenēs, συγγενής) of Mary, and that Elizabeth was descended from Aaron, of the tribe of Levi.[15] Some, such as Gregory Nazianzen, have inferred from this that Mary herself was also a Levite descended from Aaron, and thus kingly and priestly lineages were united in Jesus.[16] Others, such as Thomas Aquinas, have argued that the relationship was on the maternal side; that Mary's father was from Judah, Mary's mother from Levi.

The one question I have is that if Luke's genealogy is the lawful line, then how does Jesus inherit the throne of Solomon being the son of Nathan?

I'll keep thinking on it.


Comment by JL Vaughn on December 27, 2011 at 1:56pm


Numbers 27 says nothing about legal passing of family lines.  It only concerns the passing of property.  So it doesn't resolve the problem.

In first and second century usage, the term is stronger than just relative.  It refers to patriarchal lineage.  The Greek syggenēs has essentially the same meaning as was traditionally given to the English word "kin."  It refers to a "clan" relationship.

Consider this.  A man marries a pregnant woman.  The child becomes his by law.  It matters not whether he is responsible.  The child is "redeemed."  He has a father.

The Greek verb translated "supposed" has a specific tense which Julius Africanus claimed applied to every relation in the list.  "By law" or "by custom," is a better fit than supposed.  Jesus was "redeemed" by Joseph, just as Heli was "redeemed" by Jacob.

I think your primary point holds better when considered under the actual laws concerning redemption of people rather than laws concerning redemption of possessions.

Joseph is the son of Jacob/Jeconiah/Solomon by nature.  But of Heli/Nathan by law.  So said Africanus.  This Nathan/Heli were redeemed Solomon/Jeconiah/Joseph.  This allows the by nature line to trace through Jeconiah fulfilling one promise but the legal line to bypass Jeconiah fulfilling the curse.

I think this explanation works better, is far older, and matches ancient usage.



Comment by Doug on December 28, 2011 at 11:02am

I don't see how you are applying the curse on Jeconiah. Haven't you considered that there are often multiple members of a family. This curse seems only to apply to Jeconiah's immediate heirs, not on his brothers.

Cannot the sceptre pass on through other family members, jsut as they do now in the British monarchy? If one member abdicates, or is disqualified for some reason, there is a line of succession.

Comment by Tim Martin on December 28, 2011 at 2:50pm


I'm not ready to be dogmatic about any of this stuff. After raising the issue, I'm seeing a few more details and claims that I had not considered before giving that sermon. So yes, your option could very well be valid.

In fact, the two genealogies compared shows Shealtiel and Zerrubbabel as sons of Jeconiah (Matt. 1:12), but Luke shows Shealtiel and Zerrubbabel as sons of Neri (Luke 3:27). Assuming that Shealtiel and Zerrubbabel are the same in both accounts, it appears that there is something along the lines of what you suggest that took place. Levirite marriage perhaps? That's the only thing I can see as workable, unless the Shealtiel and Zerubbabel are different men altogether in Luke's record. I doubt that given the order and location. Too much fits.

So there appears to be a legal remedy for the curse on Jeconiah, as you suggest. However, we have to remember in all of this that the entire history of Israel is prophetic of Jesus. Consider the story of Immanuel in Isaiah 7. That sign was given (in the original context) related to covenant judgment on the Northern Kingdom. And Isaiah did have a son and named him "Immanuel."

Now, does that mean Isaiah 7 was fulfilled in the 8th century BC? Well, yeas and no. Matthew 1:22-24 says that it was actually fulfilled in Jesus' virgin birth. Here is the pattern. Something that happened in Israel's history came true in Jesus' life.

I think this "prophetic" aspect of Israel's history happens a lot. Consider the 70 years captivity. Did Israel come back from captivity after 70 years? Well, yes, in a sense they did, but that 70 years was the pattern for the 70 weeks captivity of Israel to the 4 Kingdoms of Daniel, so Israel actually remained in captivity even up to the coming of Jesus.

Or you can see the pattern again with "out of Egypt have I called my son" in Matthew 2:15, quoting Hosea 11:1. Hosea's original context takes us back to Exodus, but Matthew says Jesus fulfilled Hosea 11:1. How can this be? Because all of Israel's history if prophetic of Jesus. He is Israel; the entire nation is bound up in him.

So, even if I were to grant you that there is a legal remedy for Jeconiah's curse plainly detailed in the OT, it would not rule out my conclusion that the virgin birth is the ultimate redemption from Jeconiah's curse. This kind of stuff happens all over the place in the story.

What I don't understand is that if Luke's genealogy (going back to Nathan, not Solomon) is the legal line, how in the world Jesus could legally claim the throne of David. This doesn't work for me. 2 Sam. 7 records God's promise to build David's house through Solomon, which appears to me to mean that anyone descended from Nathan could have no claim to the Davidic throne. They would be offspring of David, but not heir to the throne.

The one thing I should add, however, is that this topic of the 2 genealogies in the gospels is one of the most complex, rich, and challenging issues in the entire NT.  So, I'm not about to be dogmatic about any of my conclusions. They just seem to work for me, all things considered. Perhaps people can still learn, even if I am mistaken at various points. That's really what I'm after...


Tim Martin

It's not really a double-fulfillment when we see Israel's own history being prophetic

Comment by Tim Martin on December 28, 2011 at 2:53pm

... that should be a P.S. down at the bottom.

Comment by Doug on December 28, 2011 at 3:39pm


RE: Shealtiel and Zerubbabel. If my bible college training was right, I learned that often in biblical genealogies, it was common for GRANDchildren to be called "son of". That COULD mean that Jeconiah was the grandfather of those two, and perhaps Neri was their true biological father.

Dunno, but it might resolve the conundrum.

Now, I am not opposed to double fulfillment, as you seem to be. I see double fulfillment as type-antetype models. That is, history repeats itself, and in many ways in order for the TRUE type (Jesus Christ) to be more magnified in numerous examples from history.

I think of it as a way of someone saying "Do you see what I mean?" I might say "No, I don't". So, the person might say, "Well then, let's look at it THIS way. Do you understand now?"

In showing things multiple ways, it brings the lesson home more sharply. But that's me...

Comment by Tim Martin on December 29, 2011 at 8:14pm


A bit off topic, but we did cover this issue in BCS on pp. 182-183.

Hugh Ross tries to push Adam back into that range. We explained why it doesn't work, given the description we find in the earliest chapters of Genesis.

You should start a new thread if you want to discuss it further.


Tim Martin

Comment by JL Vaughn on December 29, 2011 at 11:46pm


There's another problem.  What is the hardest detail of a story to remember?  The names.  You push Adam back before writing, and his name would be forgotten.

Besides, Gen. 5:1 mentions Adam's "book."




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