Tuesday 9 December 2014

Jesus was literally King of the Jews, by genealogical descent - says James E Talmage


This is an idea that, for whatever reason - but rather shockingly it now seems to me, has never crossed my mind: I mean the idea that Jesus would have been the actual, earthly King of the Jews; were it not for the Roman takeover.

If this is correct, then it puts a very different perspective on some of the events described in the New Testament: allowing them to be taken at face value, rather than figuratively.


Two genealogical records, purporting to give the lineage of Jesus are found in the New Testament, one in the first chapter of Matthew, the other in the third chapter of Luke... 
The all important fact to be remembered is that the Child promised by Gabriel to Mary, the virginal bride of Joseph, would be born in the royal line. A personal genealogy of Joseph was essentially that of Mary also, for they were cousins... That Mary was of Davidic descent is plainly set forth in many scriptures; for since Jesus was to be born of Mary, yet was not begotten by Joseph, who was the reputed, and, according to the law of the Jews, the legal, father, the blood of David's posterity was given to the body of Jesus through Mary alone.
Our Lord, though repeatedly addressed as Son of David, never repudiated the title but accepted it as rightly applied to Himself. Apostolic testimony stands in positive assertion of the royal heirship of Christ through earthly lineage, as witness the affirmation of Paul, the scholarly Pharisee: "Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;" and again: "Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead."
In all the persecutions waged by His implacable haters,[Pg 87] in all the false accusations brought against Him, in the specific charges of sacrilege and blasphemy based on His acknowledgment of the Messiahship as His own, no mention is found of even an insinuation that He could not be the Christ through any ineligibility based on lineage. Genealogy was assiduously cared for by the Jews before, during, and after the time of Christ; indeed their national history was largely genealogical record; and any possibility of denying the Christ because of unattested descent would have been used to the fullest extent by insistent Pharisee, learned scribe, haughty rabbi, and aristocratic Sadducee.
At the time of the Savior's birth, Israel was ruled by alien monarchs. The rights of the royal Davidic family were unrecognized; and the ruler of the Jews was an appointee of Rome.  

Had Judah been a free and independent nation, ruled by her rightful sovereign, Joseph the carpenter would have been her crowned king; and his lawful successor to the throne would have been Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.
From Jesus the Christ by James E Talmage, 1922 


Leo said...

Had Judah been a free nation, Mary could have been recognized as a princess of royal blood through descent from David.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Leo - Yes, Talmage uses the same word.

Several aspects of the New Testament make immediate sense if Jesus really did have a credible claim to be earthly King of the Jews - which I had always tended to interpret as a misunderstanding by some overexcited Jews and ironic black humour by the Romans.

It would explain why Jesus was regarded as a credible political threat for a start.

I think I was misled by the false emphasis on Jesus having been born in a 'lowly' state, as if his family were poor and despised. Mary is often depicted as an utterly obscure and unremarkable young woman; Joseph as a shadowy cipher.

I knew that this emphasis on deprivation and want wasn't accurate; but it apparently stopped me seeing that almost the opposite was true.

Wade McKenzie said...

Firstly, the two genealogies given in the New Testament differ to a considerable degree, as I'm sure you know. This is sometimes explained by supposing that the Matthean genealogy is Joseph's and the Lukan one is Mary's.

That the Lukan genealogy is, in fact, intended to be a genealogy of Joseph is made quite clear in Luke 3:23. The "as was supposed" indicates that the Joseph in question is indeed Joseph, the husband of Mary.

Now, I'm not sure how the divergence of genealogies affects the notion that Jesus is/was the true king of Israel, but from the standpoint of the divine inspiration of the Bible, one has to come to grips with the fact that God elected to put two largely contradictory genealogies into the New Testament. My own supposition would be that the intent is, at least in part, precisely to downplay the notion that Jesus is the rightful king of Israel in any earthly, carnal respect.

I mention this somewhat en passant. What I really would like to draw your attention to is the fact to which the "as was supposed" draws our attention in the Lukan genealogy (and narrative) and which is every bit as evident in the Matthean genealogy and narrative. And that is--that Jesus is by no means the son of Joseph.

Somehow you must account for this lacuna, in any attempt to substantiate the idea that the (notional) throne of David was Jesus' by right of birth.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Wm - The significance of the genealogy/s is simply that detailed genealogy is being provided to prove Jesus's royal descent in a way that would be regarded as valid at the time - then there is joining the dots with the prophecies of the Messiah being King of the Jews.