The next time someone tells you that Christ was a Jew (of Judah) let them know that, yes... He was of that regal kingship line of the House of David through which He is the King of kings, but He was also of priesthood line through the tribe of Levi through which He is the Lord of lords.
The four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, each present the Lord Jesus Christ in a different "light". Matthew, whose name means "Gift of Yahveh", presents the Lord as Yahveh's KING whereas Mark presents Him as "Yahveh's SERVANT", Luke presents Him as "Yahveh's MAN", and John presents Him as "YAHVEH HIMSELF" (see notes and structure on page 1304 in the Companion Bible). Two of these, the presentation of Christ as God's KING in the Gospel of Matthew and God's MAN in the Gospel of Luke, both require that genealogies be established, else we would not have been given them, would we? You "see", a wise person knows and understands that there are no "filler words" in the Word of God placed there just to take up space. As it is written: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16)." If you believe that, then there surely must be something to be learned from the genealogies which are given to us, right? However, sometimes it takes a little work to dig and uncover the precious gems to be found in His Word. So let's get out the shovels and "see" what lies beneath the surface.
So we "see" then that to present Christ as the royal KING of Israel requires that the legal "royal genealogy" of the Throne of David, i.e. from Abraham downward to David, be established while to present Christ as God's MAN, i.e. "what He is - before Man (intrinsically) - the ideal man", requires that the natural seed line, the human genealogy, be established upward to Adam.
To that end, we saw in our last study where Matthew presented the legal regal lineage of the Throne of David, though it was through Christ's legal stepfather, Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of course since Joseph was not Christ's natural father, neither then is Matthew's genealogy Christ's natural seed line. We find that (Christ's natural branch, His family tree) in chapter three of the Book of Luke where Mary's genealogy is given on her father's side, a man named Heli, the Greek form of Eli.
What means all of this? Well, first take a look at the following two verses which to some appear to be contradictory to each other:
"As was supposed" is a legal term which means "by law". In other words, Christ was Joseph's son as was supposed, "by law" (i.e. his stepson), just as Joseph whose natural father by begettal was Jacob (Mat. 1:16), was Heli's son "by law", i.e. Heli's son-in-law! Therefore the genealogy given in Matthew is Joseph's genealogy while that which is given in Luke chapter three is Mary's genealogy through her father, Heli, who was also a pure-blooded Judahite!Matthew 1:16
And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,
We see also that Christ did not come through David's son Solomon, who is listed in Joseph's genealogy in Matthew, but rather He came through David's son Nathan as documented in Luke 3:31: "Which was the son of Melea, which was the son of Menan, which was the son of Mattatha, which was the son of Nathan, which was the son of David."
So we now know that Mary's father was of the royal tribe Judah. But what about her mother? Remember what we said in our first study concerning the foundation for understanding the things that are written in the New Testament? With that foundation (the OT) under you, Mary's mother's genealogy can easily be determined by reading just a few verses.
Here they are:
This verse tells us that Zacharias' wife, Elizabeth, was of the daughters of Aaron which means that she was a Levite, a descendent of the tribe of Levi!Luke 1:5
There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
Note: Would you believe that this verse actually holds the major key that allows us to determine the conception/begettal and then the very birth date of Jesus Christ? It is contained in the fact that Zacharias was a Levitical Priest who was performing the priestly duties assigned to the "Course of Abia" which is one of 24 courses you will find listed in 1 Chronicles. It is this course of Abia that gives us the key to the date of the conception/begettal and hence the birth of Jesus. Again, there is a reason we are given this information, and you know what? It HAS BEEN THERE ALL ALONG, every Christmas season, year after year, right there in Luke 1:5... but who ever asks the question "What in the world is the Course of Abia"? If you would like to know the actual date of Christ's birth (which is definitely not Dec. 25th) then log unto pamphlet #1072, or if you have a Companion Bible, study appendix 179.
This verse gives a second witness to Elizabeth's pure Levite heritage by testifying to the fact that both Zacharias and Elizabeth obeyed the commandments and ordinances, one of which was that a Levite Priest could only marry a Levite woman. Now couple that with this next verse concerning Elizabeth's relationship to Mary, the mother of Jesus. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
In order for Elizabeth to be a pure blooded Levite, both her mother and father had to be Levites, right? Now let's think this through... In order for Elizabeth and Mary to be blood relatives, i.e. cousins, it means that Mary's mother had to be a Levite, because her father was a pure blooded Judahite, remember? So what does this all mean?It means that Mary was HALF of the tribe of JUDAH and HALF of the tribe of LEVI.Luke 1:36
And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.
You see, the royal KINGSHIP line comes through the tribe of Judah, and the royal PRIESTHOOD line comes through the tribe of Levi. The reason there is so much space taken up in the gospels with the heritage of Christ's lineage is to document that He RIGHTFULLY & LEGALLY qualified, even right down to His PERFECT PEDIGREE as: The KING of KINGS and the LORD of LORDS.
The Word of God is perfect, even
as He was perfect. So next time someone
tells you that Christ was a Jew (of Judah) let them know that, yes... He
was of that regal kingship line of the House of David through which He
is the King of kings, but He was also of priesthood line through the tribe
of Levi through which He is the Lord of lords.
And so it is that Jesus Christ was "made an high priest for
ever after the order of
Melchisedec", king of the just (Hebrews
6:20). Now, did you open pamphlet #1072
yet, to find the actual date of Christ's birth?
... To study the Bible
is the noblest of all pursuits; to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.
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