A dedicated reader contacted me some time ago and lamented on the late Howard Rand’s passage in his “Study in Jeremiah”, “Now a signet ring upon the right hand, bearing the name or seal of the owner, when given into the care of another, has as its objective the accomplishment of a definite and extremely important purpose. The removal of Coniah [or Jechonias or Jehoiachin] to another land with his family was as essential to God’s plans in preserving the line of our Lord as the removal of Joseph to Egypt was essential for the preservation of his father’s household. Through Jeremiah God declares that if Coniah were His signet ring he would still be given to Nebuchadnezzar and taken to Babylon.” Mr. Rand had concluded that Jechonias was removed to preserve the line of our Lord. Our reader disagreed. Still, I think Rand was one of the great Bible scholars of modern times, yet, I know from discussions with other students that there is another side of the subject. “Study in Jeremiah” is one of Mr. Rand’s superior books and to get an in-depth look at Jechonia’s place in God’s Plan from Mr. Rand, I recommend you read it. To give you a further look at this important subject, in the next issue of TKC, we will publish Mr. Rand’s “Which Genealogy?’ It is a wonderful study on Matthew 1 and Luke 3:23-38
But, some time ago, I ran across an article by Bible scholar A.J. Ferris, who lived in the early part of the twentieth century, and who made an extensive study of this subject as well. You will quickly note that he didn’t hold the same high opinion of Jechonias as Mr. Rand did.
In his theses, “The Claims of Jesus Christ to the Throne of David,” he wrote, “In the Gospels according to Matthew and Luke, there are recorded two different genealogical trees. Yet both apparently show the descent of Joseph (the husband of Mary) from David! Matthew 1:1-16 says, “Jacob begat Joseph,” while Luke 3-23, says. “Joseph which was of Heli.” Now, obviously Joseph could not be the son of two men, Jacob and Heli. So, what is the explanation?
Matthew’s genealogy clearly establishes the father-son relationship by the repetition of the word “begat”. Therefore Matthew’s genealogy is Joseph’s physical descent from David. Joseph was the natural son of Jacob. Then Luke’s genealogy cannot also be Joseph’s, nor can Joseph be also the son of Heli. Luke 3-23 ought to read, “Joseph, was the son-in-law of Heli, who was the father of Mary”, so that the genealogy of Luke 3-23 to 31, is really Mary’s physical descent from David. We now have to decide through which genealogy does Christ show his Davidic descent, Joseph’s or Mary’s?
Matthew 1, which gives Joseph’s Davidic descent, clearly demonstrates in verses 18 to 25 that “Mary was found with child of the Holy Ghost before they came together and Joseph knew her not till she had brought forth her first-born child; and he called his name Jesus.” Therefore Jesus had no physical relationship whatever with Joseph, (being conceived of the Holy Ghost.). Therefore, Jesus could not be descended from David through Joseph. Also, Matthew 1 clearly shows that Joseph was a descendant of Jeconias (verses 11, 12) whose seed God cursed because of his wickedness as in Jeremiah 22:30, where He said: “Thus saith the Lord. Write this man as childless: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah.” [Ed: it is very interesting to read Mr. Rand’s take on this passage]
In Matthew 1:6-16, it is clear that Joseph, the husband of Mary, was a descendant of this Jeconias, and thus Jesus could not claim David’s throne through this line. This surely proves still further that Christ was not of Davidic descent through Joseph: if he had been Joseph’s son, God would not have repeatedly promised him the throne of David, as God had sworn Jeconias’ seed would never reign again. This means that Christ, as the Son of God, was born of the Virgin Mary through her line. But, what is this?
To demonstrate Christ’s Davidic descent through Mary, Note that Luke 3-23 to 31, clearly does this by showing Mary’s genealogy back to David, generation by generation. Notice that Mary is descended from David’s son Nathan, and not through his son Solomon. That Christ descended from another branch of David’s family (i.e., Nathan’s) is repeatedly asserted in the prophecies concerning his reign on the throne of David. After passing judgment upon Jeconias in Jeremiah 22-30, the next few verses in Jeremiah 23 describe, in contrast to the evil Jeconias, the coming of a righteous branch. i.e. Verses 5 and 6, “I will raise unto David a righteous branch and a King shall reign … and execute justice … in the earth. This righteous branch of David’s family was that descended from Nathan, culminating in Mary and Jesus Christ.
Jesus is actually called in a number of prophecies the “Branch,” which is always printed in the Bible with a capital ‘B’ to signify that the Messiah would not only be a descendent of David, but also the Son of God. For example, Isaiah 11:1, foretold how “there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse (David’s father) and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” Here the Messiah is referred to as a Branch which has sprung forth from the stump of some tree. In Ezekiel 17, God likened the descendants of David to a Cedar Tree. Christ was to be the descendant of a branch which sprang from the trunk near the roots. How perfectly does this parabolic language describe the descent of Christ through the branch of Mary to Nathan, which branch sprang from the root-trunk of Jesse and his son David! ….. (Slightly abridged as to language)