Question: (Background) Matthew's genealogy of Jesus goes through Jeconiah, who was cursed by the prophet Isaiah. Neither he nor his descendants will rule from David's throne, which Messiah must do. This disqualifies Jesus as King Messiah. Luke's genealogy is different and doesn't carry a curse, but goes to David through the wrong son (Nathan) to qualify as a true Messianic Line. So, Jesus is disqualified here as well. Question: Why doesn't the Church admit that Jesus did not qualify as King Messiah, perhaps qualifies as the Suffering Messiah, and that the REAL Royal Messiah is the spirit-being Son of God who possessed Jesus at his Baptism? Why accept the apostate Catholic Council of Nicaea declaration that Jesus was a "god-man" when the only status the Hebrew Testament supports is a human man with Divine Possession or with direct Grace to perform a Divine Mission? Why does the Church routinely misapply Isaiah 7:14 as having a Messianic context when all this verse and surrounding verses are doing is exalting King Hezekiah?
Answer: This is a packed question to be sure, and I will address some of your specific points, but let me be clear about two things right up front. First, although you have used the Bible to build your complaints, you have ignored it where it testifies against your assertions. You can’t do that. The Bible is either God’s authoritative word or it is not. You cannot rest on its authority while you choose your objections, yet deny its authority where it refutes your claims. You are obliged to seek its entire counsel. By the way, you are not alone in this error. It even has its own name: "the Taxi-cab Fallacy." Second, many cults try to redefine Jesus Christ as non-God, a spirit-being, merely a great teacher and the like, but neither the Bible nor God will have any of that. Salvation comes only through the biblically revealed Jesus Christ, and anyone who does not come to grips with the God-man Savior will not be saved. You seem to be in jeopardy here. Please visit the suggested links1 concerning salvation at the end of this article.
The New Testament plainly asserts that Jesus-in-the-flesh was the Messiah. No number of complaints, no conspiracy at the Council of Nicaea and no cultish preferences can undo this. All Scripture must conform to the New Testament revelations like the following passage from Luke:
“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
(Luke 1:31–33, ESV).
There is nothing ambiguous about the above passage. God sent an angel to speak to Mary about Jesus. The angel said that Jesus will sit on the throne of David and reign over the house of Jacob. Any of Matthew’s Jewish contemporaries would have understood that this referenced the Messiah as revealed in the Old Testament. If you insist that the curse of Jeconiah2 (Jer. 22) locks God out of performing his will, then you misunderstand the relationship of the testaments; you have it backwards.
It is the natural progression of documents that the newer ones will explain the older ones—and God does this continually with the New Testament (cf. the book of Hebrews). Since God used common language tools and common rules of interpretation when designing his special revelation (the Bible), he would not later change the rules of reading—that would be fraudulent! This is not to say that we abandon the relationship between the testaments. But this is to say that, all things being equal, (and “equal” means that all of Scripture is equally God’s word [2 Tim. 3:16]) the newer revelation explains the older revelation. You have this quite backwards. You have an ancient curse blocking the revealed Messiah. You are staring at an empirical fact while denying its veracity because of an ancient saying. At a point like this, when the New Testament is plain and the Old Testament is not doing what you want it to do, it is time to regroup. We must consider the Bible’s synergy.
A book is said to be in synergy when the work as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts. As such, all of its parts must work together to make the greater whole, and the Bible is no exception. What does this mean for the reader? As in the relationship between any other book and its author, it is incumbent upon the reader to figure out what God is up to and then support him in that. This takes some work with a book like the Bible because of its scope, but it is worth the effort. Once you understand what God is up to, then you will be more patient with any parts that seem out of place at the moment. For example, an overarching theme of the Bible is the redemption of humankind through Jesus Christ. This began before the foundations of the earth and it will continue until the earth itself is fully redeemed and at a time future to us now. Everything in the Bible aids God’s redemptive plan and nothing can stop it. Therefore, when you find an apparent conflict to the redemption story, your job as a reader is to treat it as just that—an apparent conflict, not an actual one. So, if there are any plausible resolutions available, we should give God a break. And certainly, we should not go out of our way to install roadblocks.
One plausible answer to Jeconiah’s curse is that Joseph was not Jesus’ biological father and is therefore not answerable to that curse. As you can see, this answer relies on belief in the virgin birth. So, if you are off synergistically (as would be anybody who does not subscribe to Jesus’ virgin birth, and perhaps you because of that “spirit-being Son of God” business), you would not accept that answer as plausible—and plausibility (whether or not the solution is actually correct) dissolves these types of conflicts. This is where having “an ax to grind” hobbles a person in her walk toward the truth.
Another possible solution is that Jeconiah’s curse concerned only his immediate children as opposed to his posterity. There is room in the Hebrew wording for this interpretation. Lastly, it is possible that the curse was canceled altogether—and there is a large body of extra-biblical evidence in the Talmudic traditions that teaches this3. Why would this be important? These scholars are not Christians. If anything, they have an interest in Jesus not being the Messiah, so there is no New Testament bias in their commentary. Such scholars would not posit this type of idea without scriptural warrant.
We cannot include the many details of the above arguments without this making this response unwieldy. So, I have included some links at the end of this answer to broaden your context. What should you take away from this section? I have presented you with only three of the plausible solutions to your conflict, so you cannot say with logical certainty that the Scripture is wrong. Any true lover of God should approach his word with the attitude that the Scripture is always right. Why? It is God’s word by definition. If you don’t believe that, then throw it away altogether—but do not first quote it as if it were authoritative. Additionally, logic demands that any plausible solution to an ostensive conflict means that the Bible cannot be in contradiction…and this is true whether or not it is the definitive solution to your problem.
As for Nathan, I am not sure why you consider him to be the “wrong” son of David. His lineage bypasses Jeconiah and his curse altogether, and it connects David directly to Jesus’ DNA! Do you have a problem with forcing the messianic line over to a woman? This is certainly not the norm…but neither is the Messiah! God set aside the “norm” very early in the Bible.
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15, AV).
God announced that the Messiah would be from the seed of a woman. This is extraordinary! Such sayings were reserved for men (Ex. 32:13). But Jesus would have Mary’s DNA—not Joseph’s. So, Mary met both the requirements and the predictions: She was a woman; she came through the line of David; Jesus was born unto her as predicted, and I know of nothing in the Bible that would restrict the messianic line from going through Nathan…but perhaps I missed something in your question. In typical situations, a Jewish heir took the father’s tribal identity. But in those relatively rare situations where the father’s identity could not be established, he took the mother’s tribal identity. So yes, it was unusual…but unusual-on-purpose. Jesus’ birth was the very situation that Gen. 3:15 predicted back in the Garden of Eden, and look what happened: His birth occurred as promised; it was messianically appropriate, and Jesus proved that God had indeed sent him through his many miracles (John 10:25). These facts are hard to dodge if you believe in the New Testament.
Concerning the Council of Nicaea, it is unfortunate that you have such a negative view of this important event…but since you have a skewed view of Jesus Christ, I can see where you would be a little paranoid. So, note this well about this council: It did not invent any doctrines. It clarified, by way of the first officially cooperative statement since Biblical times, the nature of Jesus Christ—especially in relation to the Father and the Godhead. They considered the Scripture first, not ignoring the accumulated wisdom of the post-apostolic era, and they declared what they considered to be the counsel of the Bible.
The Roman Catholic organization (the one that will later justify your paranoia) was not in play at this time—certainly not as in its evil days. This Council would never have considered their decision more weighty than the Scripture. Today’s Roman Catholics do give more weight to their traditions and internal doctrines when they conflict with the Scripture (which is the foundation of our separation)—but that did not occur at Nicaea, nor were any resolutions made that would bind Scripture in any way.
So far, the attendees of the Council of Nicaea, the greater body of Christians worldwide and I disagree with you about the Christ. At this point I must ask, are you confident that you have some insight that the great body of Christian scholars have missed for two millennia? That’s your question to answer…but I would never claim that for myself. A principal member of the Council of Nicaea, Athanasius of Alexandria, fought for our current understanding of Jesus Christ, and although he did not write it specifically, the Athanasian Creed4 is named for him. This is a stunning description of the Trinity…extra-biblical, of course, but as perfect as a human could utter—and I recommend that you read it before turning the incarnate Christ into a spirit…or before you continue to disqualify him as Messiah.
After the New Testament was written and the apostolic period ended, we left the time of divine revelation and entered the time of human commentary. Fortunately, God’s people have the indwelling Holy Spirit to illuminate the way. Unfortunately, we are imperfect vessels who may choose to follow or not follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance. The result? We cannot consider any extra-biblical works as infallible. This does not mean that they are not insightful. And this does not mean that God wants us to ignore them—quite the contrary: this is the process for our age.
The implications of Scripture will be hotly debated until Christ comes back. And even though this means that one side will often be wrong about an issue, the fact that it is in open discussion means that the truth will never go away. Every Christian is responsible for her own study—her own response to the Holy Spirit’s guidance—whether considering the Scripture itself, the work of the ante-Nicene fathers, the reformers or any other great scholars. Ours is a time of sifting through information, not getting new information directly from God. I am sorry that you wound up in such a weird place concerning the nature of Jesus Christ, but there is no scriptural warrant for your position, and I could not address it without giving you an entire Christology…which you should pursue for yourself prayerfully.
Concerning the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14, you are correct in your assertion that this prophecy was directly fulfilled in the book of Isaiah, and you are also correct that Christians claim this prophecy for themselves. But there is good reason for this. Matthew plain old tells us that the connection is there.
“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).” (Matthew 1:22–23, ESV)
So, here is the real question: Did Matthew—the man assigned by God to write this account of Jesus’ birth—get it wrong? After all, a plain reading Isaiah shows that this prophecy was fulfilled by the birth of Isaiah’s son, not Mary’s. But no—Matthew did not get it wrong. Although Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled in his own lifetime, it was only fulfilled in one aspect—literally. In Matthew, however, it was fulfilled typologically. Here’s how that works.
The Old Testament and the New Testament are connected (among other ways) by the story of redemption. (Remember synergy?) One of the tools used to do this is a specialized symbolism called typology. In literature, the elements that make symbolism work are called the vehicle and the tenor. But in the Bible, we call them the type and the antitype. These work the same way as do the symbolic elements in common literature, but they are restricted to biblical themes—usually Jesus and redemption. The Old Testament contains the types, and the New Testament contains the antitypes.
Since the Old Testament was written centuries before the New Testament, many of the biblical types were (temporarily) isolated from their antitypes, yet they still stood as part of God’s progressing revelation. But if the Old Testament were the end of the story, we would not have God’s full revelation. For instance, Isaiah 7:14 was fulfilled to the satisfaction of the Old Testament saints, but when the New Testament was written, then we could then see the full story. This connection gave us an insight into redemption that we would not have had with just the Old Testament alone. But note well the action: The New Testament antitype reached back to connect with the Old Testament type—and not the other way around. This is how the testaments work. The New Testament fulfills and informs the Old. For this reason, people who dismiss the New Testament as not being sacred literature will never understand redemption—nor God’s entire plan for humankind.
As an example of a biblical type, consider the manna in the wilderness (Ex. 16:15). Jesus establish the connection himself when he said, “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.” (John 6:48–49). He did this too at the Last Supper as he took the bread and said, “This is my body” (Luke 22:19). Although the manna had a saving “flavor” for the ancient Hebrews, we who see Jesus as the Bread of Life understand the manna in its intended fullness—a fullness withheld until the completion of Scripture—a fullness unknown without the New Testament.
Concerning Isaiah then, the prophecy in question was proclaimed and fulfilled in his own lifetime. Whether or not Isaiah had even an inkling of what it would mean to us is beside the point. But when the Holy Spirit told Matthew to reach back into Isaiah and connect Jesus’ birth to this prophecy—and knowing full well that it had already been fulfilled in the primary sense—he claimed its typological fulfillment in Jesus Christ, all this without diminishing its primary fulfillment in Isaiah.
A thorough study of the biblical types might cure your low view of the New Testament—and it’s not that difficult. Any decent study Bible explains these Old Testament references on-the-fly. That being said, it is a legitimate process to check whether or not any verses in Scripture are in conflict with any other verses. This is a totally healthy process. But this is not what you are doing. You are coming into your analysis front-loaded with cultish prejudices concerning the person of Jesus Christ. Well, the Bible is either true or it is not—both the old and the new testaments—and if they are true, then God’s declarations are also all true, and none are in conflict. Here we stand: Jesus-in-the-flesh is indeed the Messiah as plenteously declared in Scripture and as connected typologically in both testaments.
It is apparent to me that you give low (or no) credence to the New Testament, and that this is the source of your aberrant views. If you don’t fix this, you will not find salvation. Salvation can only be found in Jesus Christ—the biblically revealed Jesus Christ—and currently, you do not see him.
1. To make sure that you understand what true salvation is, visit the following links:
2. Jeconiah, also called “Jehoiachin” (1 Chronicles 3:16, NIV) and “Coniah” (Jeremiah 22:24), was a king of Judah who was deported as part of the Babylonian captivity (Esther 2:6;1 Chronicles 3:17). He is also listed in the genealogy of Jesus, in Joseph’s family line (Matthew 1:12).
For more information on the curse of Jeconiah visit the following link:
3. For more information that the curse of Jeconiah could have been short-lived and reversed, visit the following link: http://www.jewsforjesus.org/answers/prophecy/jeconiah
4. Read the Athanasian Creed: