Asher Norman, the author of Twenty-Six Reasons Why Jews Don’t Believe in Jesus, enjoys Reason #8 as can be seen in a previous post. It is my personal opinion that he believes this is his “ace in the hole” argument. However, as has been noted in part one to Reason #8 it might be closer to his Waterloo.
A large section to Reason #8 is devoted to the genealogical questions surrounding Jesus’ birth and parentage. His arguments can be summarized as the following:
- The Messiah must be from the House of David.
- The Messiah must be from the Seed of Solomon.
- The problem with the generation differences between Matthew and Luke.
- The name of Jesus’ grandfather … different in Matthew and Luke.
Let’s deal with each one of these arguments directly:
(1) The Messiah must be from the House of David. Norman argues that the Messiah must be from the House of David. There is no argument as Jesus is called the Son of David multiple times. The rebuttal for Norman’s arguments begin with the unsubstantiated inference that Joseph first never adopted Jesus as his son and that adoption does not grant one the right of tribal lineage. The inference argument is weak on several grounds. First, the brothers of Jesus in the Gospels refer to Jesus as their brother. Second, Joseph guards Jesus as a father (adoptive) when they are running from Herod. Third, during Jesus’ bar Mitzvah in Luke 3, Joseph and Mary are referred to as His parents and Mary refers to Joseph as Jesus’ father (albeit adoptive).
The abdication of adoption rights is interesting on one basic level. Jacob adopted Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48:5) and those two adopted sons are the fathers of two of the twelve tribes of Israel. In addition, the verses that Norman uses as an argument (Numbers 1:18-44; 34:14; Leviticus 24:10) have nothing to do with the issue of adoption. The author of this book is guilty of misinterpreting Scriptures and the judgment for doing this is severe. And we will negate his lineage arguments in response to argument #3.
(2) The Messiah must be from the Seed of Solomon. Norman writes that Scripture demands that the Messiah must come from the line of Solomon. However, let me ask you if that is what Scripture really says? Let’s look at the passages which the writer of 26 Reasons uses as evidence — 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Psalm 89:29-38; 1 Chron. 17:11-14; 22:9-10; and 28:6-7.
The passages of 1 Chron. 22:9-10 and 28:6-7 do deal specifically with Solomon; however, the passage in chapter 28 provides an “if … then” scenario which relates specifically to the issue of Coniah/Jeconiah (BTW — I have utilized the 1985 New JPS translation as well as the 1917 JPS translation). Coniah/Jeconiah was one of the final kings of Judah. Jeremiah abbreviated his name and mixed both Coniah and Jeconiah in his book of prophecy. What is important is two things. First, Coniah/Jeconiah is a direct descendant of Solomon and Jeremiah prophecies that no descendant of Coniah/Jeconiah will ever sit again on the throne of David (Jeremiah 22:24-30). Second, if the descendants of Solomon via Coniah are not allowed to sit on the throne of David again then one has to assume that the prophecies of God are either not true or perhaps there is a deeper meaning to the prophecies. I think that you know what I think. See below.
First, prophecies, especially in the Old Testament, must be considered through the lens of double fulfillment? Do the promises to Solomon reflect not only an immediate meaning but also an ultimate and final meaning (esp. 2 Sam. 7:12-16; Psalm 89:29-38; 1 Chron. 22:9-10)? I think that perhaps even Norman would agree with this argument. So let’s look at what one specific passage that the author cites. 1 Chronicles 17:11-14 states in the 1917 JPS “that I will set up thy seed after thee, who shall be of thy sons.” The 1985 New JPS states, “I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons.” This passage does not state categorically it will be Solomon but one of the sons of David. Therefore, why not through the lineage of Nathan … the other son of David and Bathsheba … through not only double fulfillment but possibly also single fulfillment? What do you think?
(3) The problem with the generation differences between Matthew and Luke. This is the easiest argument to rebuke and actually Norman should be embarrassed to not recognize the aspects of it. For while there is debate within Christian scholarship about whom the Lukan genealogy is describing (Mary or Joseph), there is no question that it traces the lineage through Nathan. In addition since Luke is writing to a global audience, details the lineage of Jesus not only through Abraham but all the way back to Adam staking claim to not only the son of David or the son of Abraham but ultimately the son of God as the 2nd Adam.
Regarding the Matthew lineage detail, Matthew was written to a primarily Jewish audience so the audience would not only have understood the poetic illustration of the 14 to 14 to 14 “acrostic” but they would have also seen that Matthew was utilizing the Gematria usage of spelling out David’s name throughout the generations (D=6 + V=4 + D=6 = 14). Yes, Matthew skipped generations (who would argue with that fact) but it was because Matthew was connecting the generations all the way back to David. As did Luke.
(4) The name of Jesus’ grandfather … different in Matthew and Luke. Jews for Jesus does a great job of explaining why Matthew is related to Joseph while Luke is the lineage of Mary. I will allow their argument to stand as is because it also explains the reasons why Jesus had different grandfathers in the two lineages. One was the father of Joseph and one was the father of Mary. Like I have Grandpa Henry on my dad’s side and Grandpa Clarence on my mom’s side.
I know that has been a long post. However, it was an important post that need to be written. What do you think? Shalom. God bless.