Vol.XV No.I Pg.7
March 1978

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro.. Turner:

I would like to read your thoughts on the genealogies of Jesus as given in Matthew and Luke.... This question has remained in my mind for more than twenty years.... How can this genealogy through Joseph apply at all to Jesus who was virgin born E. C.


Your letter indicates an honest question, and deserves an honest reply. I do not know how to reconcile each point or name in the two genealogies. I suspect the answer lies in Hebraic customs pertaining to their "endless genealogies," and to their common practice of giving multi-names to an individual.

Many solutions (?) have been offered: one traces through Joseph, the other through Mary; the words "uncle" and "brother" are interchanged at times; women's names forecast Jesus' grace toward the sinful and miserable; or to relate Jesus to previous providential births; the difficulty stems from efforts to correct problems in Ruth 4: and 1 Chron. 2: from whence names are taken; and so, on and on. No one of these answers all questions but a combination of them may clear up many problems. I am "on the road" and separated from my library; also, have neither time nor space to give proper study and examples of above.

Expositor's Greek Testament says, "It may be that Jesus was really descended from David — many things point that way; but even if He were not He might still be the Christ.... He was a priest after the order of Melchisedec (without genealogy); why not [the] Messiah under the same conditions? .... He might be a son of David in the sense in which John the Baptist was Elijah in spirit and power..." I can not accept this idea, for many reasons. Our Lord "sprang out of Juda" (Heb. 7:14). But it is in order to note that His genealogy had peculiar meaning to the Jews, and they may have understood intricacies of genealogies that are not clear to us today.

Alford says the two genealogies are both of Joseph, and that "the accounts might be reconciled ... if we were in possession of data on which to proceed; but ... we are not." He cites many possible explanations, and concludes, "With all these elements of confusion it is quite as presumptuous to pronounce the genealogies discrepant, as it is over-curious and uncritical to attempt to reconcile them. It may suffice us that they are inserted in the Gospels as authentic documents, and both of them merely to clear the Davidical descent of the putative father of the Lord. His own real Davidical descent does not depend on either of them, but must solely derived through his mother."


Bro.. Turner:

To whom does the number "666" of Rev. 13:18 refer? B.W.


Hundreds of names have been worked, Cabala style, out of this number. The safest course is simply to take what the book says, "It is the number of a man" or "of man" — as opposed to and short of "7"— the perfect number. It denotes human as opposed to Divine.