Mary should be disqualified to transfer the rights of her lineage to her son Jesus,
except for a little known exception to the rule.
In Matthew 1:1-16 and Luke 3:23-38 we are presented with two genealogies of Jesus Christ. On the surface these different listings would appear to be a contradiction in the scriptures. The genealogy found in Matthew's gospel is the lineage of Jesus' earthly father Joseph, while the genealogy found in Luke's gospel is the lineage of Jesus' mother Mary (see #100 - Dueling Genealogies a complete discussion of the two genealogies). However, many of the people that teach on the genealogies fail to realize or address a major problem associated with the genealogical listing found in Luke's gospel, the lineage of Mary. Once you have established that the line is indeed Mary's you must deal with a second difficulty. The rights of the line are not passed through the mother, only the father. Even though Mary, through her lineage, was of the Davidic bloodline, she should be excluded from being able to pass those rights of the bloodline because of being a female (Deut 21:16). So it is not enough to prove that Mary was an unblemished descendant of David, she had to be a male to transfer the rights. Therefore she would be disqualified to transfer the rights to her son Jesus, except for a little known exception to the rule.
In Numbers 26 we are introduced to Zelophehad. Zelophehad, we are told, had no sons, only daughters. In Numbers 27, following the death of Zelophehad, the daughters of Zelophehad came before Moses and argued their plight. Because their father had died with no sons, all of their rights of inheritance were to be lost and they felt this was unfair. So Moses prayed to God and God gave Moses an exception to the rule. The Lord told Moses that the inheritance CAN flow through a female, IF they fulfill two requirements. There must be no male offspring in the family (Num 27:8) and if the female offspring should marry, they must marry within their own tribe (Num 36:6).
Now we come back to Mary. On the surface she should be unable to transfer the rights to her Son. But when you research you find that Mary had NO brothers, AND Mary did indeed marry within her own tribe to Joseph.
What an awesome God we serve that set in order the requirements to allow
the virgin birth to take place 1,400 years in advance!
Did Mary have any brothers?
After reading the detailed information above, I asked Phil if he knew of any information on Mary's brothers. He cited numerous non-canonical works such as The Catholic Encyclopedia, the apocryphal book called, the Protoevangelium of James... tradition states that Mary had no brothers.
Curious, I went through the four gospels looking for any reference to collaborate Phil's references.
In John 19:25-27 we read:
Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His Mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
When Jesus therefore saw His Mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!"
Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his home.
We see from this passage that Mary had a sister.
Jesus is not saying to His mother "Look at me on the cross" with the statement "Woman, behold your son!" Jesus is telling his mother that John (the only disciple at the cross) is going to care for her. Jesus also tells John that he must care for Mary.
We must acknowledge that Joseph (Jesus Father) has probably died since we see no references to Joseph after Jesus was 12 years old in Luke 2:41-52.
To understand why Jesus is telling John to care for Mary we must understand the Jewish culture at that time. When an woman with children was widowed she would move back with her father or brother. If her father had also died and there were no brothers then one of her sons might care for her.
In this case, Jesus was the eldest son of Mary and was probably supporting her at this time. He passes the responsibility to John one of His disciples and not a son of Mary.
From the comments of Jesus we can extrapolate that Jesus was caring for Mary, which means that Mary had no brothers (at least none that were alive at this time). Taken with the extra-biblical literature that Mary had no brothers we can assume that she passed the first prerequisite that God had given as law (Num 27:8).
Now we see the reason for two different genealogies in Matthew 1 and Luke 3. Not only do we see Joseph's line in Matthew 1 but also Mary's line in Luke 3. Both these genealogies show that both Mary and Joseph come from the same tribe of Judah fulfilling the second requirement by Law (Num 36:6). So the reason for God placing two genealogies is to show that Jesus being of Virgin birth came from Mary's line which was not cursed as was Joseph's. Also to show that both Mary and Joseph come from the same line which was a legal necessity if Jesus was to claim Mary's line and not Joseph's cursed line.
We find that on the surface the Bible can be a simple enough to understand but the complexity we are discovering in which it was written is astonishing.
Phil Luna is an ordained Assemblies of God minister. He teaches a weekly Bible study verse by verse through the Bible. His favorite area of study is the Hebraic roots of Christianity.
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