Question #5 – How was Jesus of the Tribe of Judah?
Jesus’ lineage is given in Matthew 1 and in Luke 3. Those teaching Flesh of God theology argues that both of these are Joseph’s family tree and not Mary’s. Of course, this works to their advantage since their view cannot coexist with a genealogy proving Jesus had a flesh and blood body. Along with this, they say since John the Baptist’s mother, Elisabeth was a Levite, her cousin Mary must be a Levite too. The reason this important to them is Mary being a Levite meant she could not be the source whereby Jesus was of the tribe of Judah. Thus, she was Jesus’ incubator and not his mother. The problem with both these arguments is neither hold up when tested with Scripture.
It is true that there is no Law against a Levite woman marrying outside her tribe, so if Mary was a Levite, she could marry Joseph of the tribe Judah. But, what the Flesh of God folks gets wrong is there is no Law against a woman from the tribe of Judah marrying a man from the tribe of Levi. Therefore, Elizabeth being a Levite is not commensurate with Mary being a Levite. The “proof” texts they use for Elisabeth and Mary being Levites is found in the first chapter of Luke.
Luke 1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abijah: and HIS WIFE WAS OF THE DAUGHTERS OF AARON, and her name was Elisabeth.
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.
Being a “daughter of Aaron” refers to her being a member of the Levite tribe. You can see that though Elizabeth is said to be a Levite, nothing in these verses—or in any other verse in the Bible—says Mary was a Levite. The issue of Elizabeth being in the tribe of Levi may be as simple as her being married
Leviticus 21:13-15 And he shall take a wife in her virginity.  A widow, or a divorced woman, or a woman who has been defiled, or a prostitute, these he shall not marry. But he shall take as his wife a virgin OF HIS OWN PEOPLE,  that he may not profane his offspring among his people, for I am the LORD who sanctifies him.”
“Of his own people” is a reference to marrying a woman of his people–an Israelite–rather than one a woman was an outsider. We also find these qualifications in the prophet Ezekiel’s words.
Ezekiel 44:22 They shall not marry a widow or a divorced woman, but only virgins of the OFFSPRING OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL, or a widow who is the widow of a priest.
We know Elizabeth’s mother and Mary’s mother were sisters. If both of these ladies were of the tribe of Judah, and if Elizabeth’s mom married a Levite, then that union would have made Mary’s aunt a member of the tribe of Levi while leaving Mary’s mom a member of the tribe of Judah. A daughter born to her aunt would have been both a daughter of the tribe of Levi and a cousin to Mary. This same change of tribes would have taken place if Elisabeth, being a daughter of the tribe of Judah, had married Zechariah, a son of Aaron. This would have made Elisabeth a daughter of Aaron and Mary a daughter of Judah. There are no scriptures announcing such a marriage did take place and there is none that says it did not. What we do know is Luke 1:5 says Elizabeth was part of the tribe of Levi and that there are no scriptures saying Mary was also a Levite. Therefore, using Luke 1:5 to “prove” Jesus did not share a physical lineage with Mary is conjecture, not fact.
The Bible has Jesus being a member of the tribe of Judah and thus a physical descendant of (“son of”) King David (see Genesis 49:9; Matthew 1:3; Luke 3:33; Hebrews 7:14; Revelation 5:5). This is one of the biblical parameters that the true Messiah had to be found within. Such a fulfillment requires Jesus to have a biological connection to David’s tribe of Judah. We know this tie could not come through the Heavenly Father since His Spirit has no earthly descent. This leaves Mary being the only descendant through which Jesus can be physically linked to the tribe of Judah. Thus, Luke 3:23-38 is not the lineage of Joseph (Jesus’ “supposed” father) but of Mary (Jesus’ actual mother). She is listed as a daughter of both Judah and Adam (see Luke 3:33, Luke 3:38). Matthew and Luke had a no problem calling Jesus the “son of David” while affirming His virgin conception and birth (see Matthew 1:1/Matthew 1:18-20; Luke 3:31/Luke 1:27-38). These men eventually saw that the prophesied Messiah had become a human being through Mary’s virgin born son, Jesus Christ.
Tribal kinship comes through a Jewish child’s father. Joseph’s lineage in Matthew 1 lists that kinship as it relates to Jesus. However, the Bible shows that a child’s Jewish lineage comes through their mother. An example of Jewish lineage coming through the Jewish mother is found in Ezra 10:2-3.
Ezra 10:2-3 And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: “We have broken faith with our God and have MARRIED FOREIGN WOMEN from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this. (3) Therefore let us make a covenant with our God to PUT AWAY ALL THESE WIVES AND THEIR CHILDREN, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God, and let it be done according to the Law.
Here we find Jews returning from exile to Israel. Some of these men brought their “strange wives” and the children born through that union. In the covenant these men made to God, they had to “put away” their non-Jewish wives and any children born from that union. If Jewish lineage came through the father, then those children in Ezra 10 would have been Jewish and would not need “put away.” But, because Jewish identity comes through the mother, and because the mothers in Ezra 10 were Gentiles, their children were therefore not Jewish. Thus, the children and their mothers were not part of God’s Covenant People and were not allowed to enter Israel with the men. Another example of this pure lineage is found in Ezra 2:62.
Ezra 2:62 These sought their register among those that were RECKONED BY GENEALOGY, BUT THEY WERE NOT FOUND: therefore were they, as POLLUTED, put from the priesthood.
Here, priests returning from Babylonian exile were rejected from ministering at the Temple if they had no written evidence of a pure Jewish bloodline. This again lends credence to why the mother gives a child his or her Jewish identity. Though there is no question of the identity of a child’s mother, without the modern testing we have today, if a doubt arose, no one could have proven the identity of a child’s father. But, there was no obstacle if that evidence is based on the baby’s mother. Thus, the question of a child being Jewish fell to the mother rather than the father. This evidence is why Timothy’s mother Eunice, and his grandmother Lois, is mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:5.
2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
These ladies are recorded as being Jewish, while Timothy’s (Timotheus’) father is said to be Greek.
Acts 16:1 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:
Thus, because his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice, were Jewish, Timothy was accepted as being Jewish and allowed to undergo Jewish circumcision. Normally, a Jewish male is circumcised at eight days old (see Leviticus 12:3). An eight-day-old Jesus underwent this procedure (see Luke 2:21). But, no doubt, Timothy’s was delayed due to the influence of his Greek father (see Acts 16:3). Poor Timothy…
For the most part, the Talmud is a compilation of rabbinical arguments and their opinions on the beliefs and traditions of post-70 AD Judaism. It is not God-inspired text and should not be taken as such. With that said, I am offering the following quote only to substantiate what I said concerning a child’s Jewish identity coming through their mother:
What is the source of the law that a child is Jewish only if its mother is Jewish?
The statement that the mother determines Jewish identity is found in the Mishnah (Kiddushin 3:12), which says that the child of a gentile woman is like her. The Talmud derives this from the passage in Deuteronomy 7:3-4: “Do not intermarry with [him], do not give your daughter to his son or take his daughter for your son, for he will turn your son from Me”: A child born to your daughter (fathered by a non-Jew) is called “your son”, but a child born to your son (by a non-Jewish mother) is not called “your son,” but “her son.”
The Talmud is assuming here that the “he” in Deuteronomy 7:4 is your gentile son-in-law, and that “your son” whom “he” will turn away from G-d is your grandson, born to him and to your daughter. The Torah calls that grandson “your son” because he is regarded as Jewish since he had a Jewish mother. In the other case, where a Jewish man marries a gentile woman, the Torah doesn’t speak about the woman’s influence on her children (i.e., it doesn’t say ‘for she will turn your son from me’), because her children are non-Jewish
tobegin with since their mother is non-Jewish. Apparentlywe are more concerned about the influence of a non-Jewish spouse on the children than about the influence of a non-Jewish spouse’s parents on their children-in-law.
The Talmud (Kiddushin 68b) asks how we know that these laws apply to anyJewishAnswers.org, Basics of Judaism, Who is a Jew?, Matrilineal Descent
non-Jews,since the cited verse refers to the Canaanites. The answer given there is that “he will turn your son [away from Me]” implies that all those who might turn [sons] away are included in the prohibition.
Jesus was born into a Jewish community that was directed by God’s Law. This Law commanded that its prophesied Messiah would be made “like His brethren in ‘all things.’” It also necessitated the Messiah to prove, through Jewish lineage, He was of the tribe of Judah. If He was to be this Messiah, Jesus had to do the same. Thus, He was born through a Jewish mother named, Mary, and through this human mother, Jesus received His Jewish identity, His relationship to the tribe of Judah, and His human flesh and bone body. I find it amazing that our God, who first formed a man of flesh in the image of His Divinity, later robed His Divinity in the flesh of man. This manifestation of God in the flesh is found in verses like these:
John 1:14 And THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: GOD WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
The Almighty God chose to manifest Himself to mankind by being born the baby boy of a young virgin named Mary. She was born a daughter of the tribe of Judah. Her physical connection to Jesus was required to qualify His Messiahship according to Bible prophecy and to give Him the necessary lineage to the tribe of Judah. Jesus’ flesh and bone human body not only fulfills prophecy, but it also physically connects Him to King David, to Abraham, to Adam, and to the entire human race, which means—to you and to me. Truly, what a great God and Savior He is!
Note: Any UPPERCASE, bold, or [bracket] areas in Scripture is added for emphasis.
Copyright © 2019 TK Burk. All Rights Reserved.
The next part of this study will explore question #6: How did Jesus lack qualities for which God is known?