Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jesus' Lineage

Today I was reading Luke 1 in my daily reading. Luke records that Elizabeth was of the daughters of Aaron (Lk.1:5). Later Luke records that Mary is a relative of Elizabeth's (Lk.1:36). That seems to me that Luke is either hinting or stating that Mary is also of the daughters of Aaron or at least connected in some way. Leon Morris in his commentary on Luke (Tyndale NT) says that Mary must have been of Levi and of Judah otherwise Jesus could not have been a son of David and thus a legitimate heir to David's throne as the messiah. Yet, both Luke and Matthew show that Joseph definitely is a descendant of David's (Luke 1:27; Mt.1:16) but don't really state anything about Mary other than she is a relative of Elizabeth's. Is it possible that Jesus' blood lineage is of the tribe of Levi through Mary and his adopted lineage through Joseph is of the tribe of Judah and thus David? Has anyone read anything on this subject?

I had been wondering if this was what Zechariah meant in 6:13 when he says that the messiah will be a priest on his throne combing the offices of priest and king. But I realize that Jesus is not a priest after the order of Levi but of Melchizedek (Heb.6:20). I'm now wondering if perhaps Jesus came as a legitimate heir to Aaron as high priest but instead becomes a different priest altogether and thus effectively ending the Levitical priesthood by accepting an appointment to another priesthood. Again has anyone read anything about this or am I just all wet in regards to this subject?

12 comments:

mattdabbs said...

Melchizedek is not a lineage matter. It is that Jesus has some significant parallels with Mel. Dr. Black mentions in his NT Intro class that Mel has no mention of father and mother symbolizing no beginning or ending. So it came previous to the levitical system with no mention of an end to his priesthood. That makes his priesthood superior to the Levitical one that did have a beginning and end.

So Jesus could be "of the order of Mel" and still in the lineage of Levi.

Bob Bliss said...

Matt,
Yes I knew about the Melchizedekian priesthood not being according to any lineage which is what Hebrews 7 is all about. I was just trying to figure out Jesus' blood lineage through Mary and if that has any significance theologically. It doesn't seem to me that Luke makes any explicit usage of Jesus' actual blood lineage but I was wondering if perhaps there might be some implicit thought on his part. This is a question that has been on my mind for some time and in reading it today I decided to see if the blogworld knows of a direction in which to steer me.

AncientWanderer said...

I know that you have already traced Mary's lineage through Elizabeth (their mothers' were sisters and Elizabeth is of the line of Aaron so Mary's mother would have to be of the line of Aaron also).

Luke records Joseph's father as Heli but that is actually Mary's father. Both of Mary's parents were from the tribe of Levi. Josephus makes a comment about Mary being hated by the Jews for being the "mother" of God in that section he lists Heli as Mary's father.

I understand also that Heli and Anna had no other children and as such Joseph would have indeed been considered their "son" for inheritance purposes so Jesus was of David and Aaron "through" Joseph.

Now, having rambled and said nothing to help you.

Could you clarify your question a bit more?

Bob Bliss said...

Don, I've heard this explanation before about Luke tracing Mary instead of Joseph. The problem is that Luke's account still goes back to David and thus Luke's genealogy still traces Jesus' lineage back to David and Judah not Levi. So if Heli is Mary's blood father then he is not of the tribe of Levi and Mary could not be of the tribe of Levi. Yet Luke claims Mary is a relative of Elizabeth who is a daughter of Aaron.

Is it possible that Mary's father is of the tribe of Judah and her mother of the tribe of Levi? It doesn't seem like the tribes were encouraged to intermarry but I suppose this scenario is possible. Still I'm looking for answers to a question I haven't found yet.

Thanks for the info about Josephus.

preacherman said...

I found this post to be extremely interesting and am reading more on the subject. Any great commentaries you know of on Hebrews or Zechariah? Wondering.
Keep us challenged brother.
I hope you have a great weekend!

Bob Bliss said...

Kinney, thanks for dropping by and for your encouragement. How do you do it?

I don't really know of any great commentaries on Hebrews or Zechariah. If I come across one I will let you know. I hope you have a great weekend as well.

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Stoned-Campbell Disciple said...

Bob I have been missing ur insightful posts.