The Virgin Birth and Joseph

We continue today our look at the Virgin Birth from For all who want to know, the webpage I am going to be dealing with tonight is the following:

There is a reference to the two genealogies passage. We will look at that at a later date. For now, we’re going to deal with the “arguments” from this site on Joseph.

To begin with, it’s important to note that Matthew and Luke, which are the referenced gospels, both state that Joseph was not the father of the child. That is important to note for as you go through this, you should be wondering “Then if he isn’t the father of Mary’s child and Mary was not a virgin, then what does that say about Mary and her child?”

Yet why then do the passages say that Jesus was seen to be the son of Joseph? This is only the appearance. Walls of Jericho agrees that Joseph is not the father, but the messiah had to be of the lineage of David. There is a problem supposedly then in the genealogies in that Jeconiah is mentioned in both genealogies. The author says the way Luke deals with it is in another article, so we will look at it for Matthew for now.

The problem is in Jeremiah 22:

24 “As surely as I live,” declares the LORD, “even if you, Jehoiachin [c] son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. 25 I will hand you over to those who seek your life, those you fear—to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and to the Babylonians. [d] 26 I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die. 27 You will never come back to the land you long to return to.”

 28 Is this man Jehoiachin a despised, broken pot, 
       an object no one wants? 
       Why will he and his children be hurled out, 
       cast into a land they do not know?

 29 O land, land, land, 
       hear the word of the LORD!

 30 This is what the LORD says: 
       “Record this man as if childless, 
       a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, 
       for none of his offspring will prosper, 
       none will sit on the throne of David 
       or rule anymore in Judah.”

The problem is how can the Messiah be brought through that line? However, it’s quite likely that since this was right before the exile into Babylon, YHWH was referring to immediate descendants not prospering and sitting on the throne of Jerusalem. 

Consider how, for instance, in the next chapter, we have a prophecy about a branch still being raised up:

 5 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, 
       “when I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, 
       a King who will reign wisely 
       and do what is just and right in the land.

 6 In his days Judah will be saved 
       and Israel will live in safety. 
       This is the name by which he will be called: 
       The LORD Our Righteousness.

It’s my thought also that the “curse” was reversed in Haggai 2.

20 The word of the LORD came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month: 21 “Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I will shake the heavens and the earth. 22 I will overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother. 23 ” ‘On that day,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”

Zerubbabel is put in the leadership position and is made like a signet ring. Notice the striking parallel to the Jeremiah passage.

Glenn Miller of the Christian-Thinktank states that even the rabbis thought this was the case.

for no man of his seed shall prosper -In this, too, no man of his seed shall prosper, namely that no one will occupy the throne of David nor rule in Judah. Although we find that Zerubbabel, his great grandson, did rule over Judah upon the return of the exiles, the Rabbis (Pesikta /’Rav Kahana p. 163a) state that this : ‘was because Jehoiachin repented  in prison. They state further: Repentance is great, for it nullifies a person’s sentence, as it is stated: inscribe this man childless.’ But since he repented, his sentence was revoked and turned to the good, and  he said to him, “I will take you, Zerubbabel, and I will make you a signet” (Haggai 2:23). They state further: Said Rabbi Johanan: Exile expiates all sins, as it is said: Inscribe this man childless,” and after he was exiled, it IS written: ‘(I Chron. 3:17) And the sons of Jeconiah, Assir, Shealtiel his son–Redak” [Judaica Books of the Prophets, in loc]

If this is the case, then the problem is removed.

What about the angel speaking to Joseph? We are told that Matthew 1:20 is speaking about the child and not of the conception. The comparison is made to Luke 1:15, but there is a distinct difference there. Luke 1:15 says the child will be filled of the Spirit but does not say the child will be of the Spirit. 

I am amazed that someone cannot see the difference.

What’s the conclusion though of Walls of Jericho?

Wonder no more:

Some argue that Joseph would not have taken Mary as his wife if she had been pregnant by another man, and therefore this shows that Joseph believed in the “virgin birth”.

This argument cannot be sustained. The reality is that Joseph knew Mary was pregnant by another man, and he had decided to end the betrothal. But after receiving instructions from the angel, Joseph acted contrary to his original intention.

It was not a matter of Joseph doing whatever he was inclined to do. It was a matter of doing what he was instructed to do.



So rather than go with what the Scriptures, say, let’s make Mary have a child out of wedlock….

Let’s hope they do more homework next time.

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