The Genealogy Of Christ Jesus
The biographers of Jesus, although they have placed him in a position
the most humiliating in his infancy, and although they have given him
poor and humble parents, have notwithstanding made him to be of royal
descent. The reasons for doing this were twofold. First, because,
according to the Old Testament, the expected Messiah was to be of the
seed of Abraham,[160:1] and second, because the Angel-Messiahs who had
usly been on earth to redeem and save mankind had been of royal
descent, therefore Christ Jesus must be so.
The following story, taken from Colebrooke's "Miscellaneous
Essays,"[160:2] clearly shows that this idea was general:
"The last of the Jinas, Vardhamana, was at first conceived
by Devananda, a Brahmana. The conception was announced to
her by a dream. Sekra, being apprised of his incarnation,
prostrated himself and worshiped the future saint (who was in
the womb of Devananda); but reflecting that no great saint
was ever born in an indigent or mendicant family, as that of
a Brahmana, Sekra commanded his chief attendant to remove the
child from the womb of Devananda to that of Trisala, wife of
Siddhartha, a prince of the race of Jeswaca, of the Kasyapa
In their attempts to accomplish their object, the biographers of Jesus
have made such poor work of it, that all the ingenuity Christianity has
yet produced, has not been able to repair their blunders.
The genealogies are contained in the first and third Gospels, and
although they do not agree, yet, if either is right, then Jesus was
not the son of God, engendered by the "Holy Ghost," but the legitimate
son of Joseph and Mary. In any other sense they amount to nothing. That
Jesus can be of royal descent, and yet be the Son of God, in the sense
in which these words are used, is a conclusion which can be acceptable
to those only who believe in alleged historical narratives on no other
ground than that they wish them to be true, and dare not call them into
The Matthew narrator states that all the generations from Abraham to
David are fourteen, from David until the carrying away into Babylon
are fourteen, and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Jesus are
fourteen generations.[161:1] Surely nothing can have a more
mythological appearance than this. But, when we confine our attention
to the genealogy itself, we find that the generations in the third
stage, including Jesus himself, amount to only thirteen. All attempts
to get over this difficulty have been without success; the genealogies
are, and have always been, hard nuts for theologians to crack. Some of
the early Christian fathers saw this, and they very wisely put an
allegorical interpretation to them.
Dr. South says, in Kitto's Biblical Encyclopaedia:
"Christ's being the true Messiah depends upon his being the
son of David and king of the Jews. So that unless this be
evinced the whole foundation of Christianity must totter and
Another writer in the same work says:
"In these two documents (Matthew and Luke), which profess to
give us the genealogy of Christ, there is no notice whatever
of the connection of his only earthly parent with the stock of
David. On the contrary, both the genealogies profess to give
us the descent of Joseph, to connect our Lord with whom by
natural generation, would be to falsify the whole story of his
miraculous birth, and overthrow the Christian faith."
Again, when the idea that one of the genealogies is Mary's is spoken of:
"One thing is certain, that our belief in Mary's descent from
David is grounded on inference and tradition and not on any
direct statement of the sacred writings. And there has been a
ceaseless endeavor, both among ancients and moderns, to
gratify the natural cravings for knowledge on this subject."
Thomas Scott, speaking of the genealogies, says:
"It is a favorite saying with those who seek to defend the
history of the Pentateuch against the scrutiny of modern
criticism, that the objections urged against it were known
long ago. The objections to the genealogy were known long
ago, indeed; and perhaps nothing shows more conclusively than
this knowledge, the disgraceful dishonesty and willful
deception of the most illustrious of Christian
Referring to the two genealogies, Albert Barnes says:
"No two passages of Scripture have caused more difficulty than
these, and various attempts have been made to explain them.
. . . Most interpreters have supposed that Matthew gives the
genealogy of Joseph, and Luke that of Mary. But though this
solution is plausible and may be true, yet it wants
Barnes furthermore admits the fallibility of the Bible in his remarks
upon the genealogies; 1st, by comparing them to our fallible family
records; and 2d, by the remark that "the only inquiry which can now be
fairly made is whether they copied these tables correctly."
Alford, Ellicott, Hervey, Meyer, Mill, Patritius and Wordsworth hold
that both genealogies are Joseph's; and Aubertin, Ebrard, Greswell,
Kurtz, Lange, Lightfoot and others, hold that one is Joseph's, and the
When the genealogy contained in Matthew is compared with the Old
Testament they are found to disagree; there are omissions which any
writer with the least claim to historical sense would never have made.
When the genealogy of the third Gospel is turned to, the difficulties
greatly increase, instead of diminish. It not only contradicts the
statements made by the Matthew narrator, but it does not agree with
the Old Testament.
What, according to the three first evangelists, did Jesus think of
himself? In the first place he made no allusion to any miraculous
circumstances connected with his birth. He looked upon himself as
belonging to Nazareth, not as the child of Bethlehem;[162:1] he
reproved the scribes for teaching that the Messiah must necessarily be a
descendant of David,[162:2] and did not himself make any express claim
to such descent.[162:3]
As we cannot go into an extended inquiry concerning the genealogies, and
as there is no real necessity for so doing, as many others have already
done so in a masterly manner,[162:4] we will continue our investigations
in another direction, and show that Jesus was not the only Messiah who
was claimed to be of royal descent.
To commence with Crishna, the Hindoo Saviour, he was of royal
descent, although born in a state the most abject and humiliating.[163:1]
Thomas Maurice says of him:
"Crishna, in the male line, was of royal descent, being of
the Yadava line, the oldest and noblest of India; and nephew,
by his mother's side, to the reigning sovereign; but, though
royally descended, he was actually born in a state the most
abject and humiliating; and, though not in a stable, yet in a
Buddha was of royal descent, having descended from the house of
Sakya, the most illustrious of the caste of Brahmans, which reigned in
India over the powerful empire of Mogadha, in the Southern Bahr.[163:3]
R. Spence Hardy says, in his "Manual of Buddhism:"
"The ancestry of Gotama Buddha is traced from his father,
Sodhodana, through various individuals and races, all of royal
dignity, to Maha Sammata, the first monarch of the world.
Several of the names, and some of the events, are met with in
the Puranas of the Brahmins, but it is not possible to
reconcile one order of statement with the other; and it would
appear that the Buddhist historians have introduced races, and
invented names, that they may invest their venerated sage with
all the honors of heraldry, in addition to the attributes of
How remarkably these words compare with what we have just seen
concerning the genealogies of Jesus!
Rama, another Indian avatar--the seventh incarnation of Vishnu--was
also of royal descent.[163:4]
Fo-hi; or Fuh-he, the virgin-born "Son of Heaven," was of royal
descent. He belonged to the oldest family of monarchs who ruled in
Confucius was of royal descent. His pedigree is traced back in a
summary manner to the monarch Hoang-ty, who is said to have lived and
ruled more than two thousand years before the time of Christ
Horus, the Egyptian virgin-born Saviour, was of royal descent,
having descended from a line of kings.[163:7] He had the title of "Royal
Hercules, the Saviour, was of royal descent.[163:9]
Bacchus, although the Son of God, was of royal descent.[164:1]
Perseus, son of the virgin Danae, was of royal descent.[164:2]
AEsculapius, the great performer of miracles, although a son of God,
was notwithstanding of royal descent.[164:3]
Many more such cases might be mentioned, as may be seen by referring to
the histories of the virgin-born gods and demi-gods spoken of in Chapter
[160:1] That is, a passage in the Old Testament was construed to mean
this, although another and more plausible meaning might be inferred. It
is when Abraham is blessed by the Lord, who is made to say: "In thy
seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast
obeyed my voice." (Genesis, xxii. 18.)
[160:2] Vol. ii. p. 214.
[161:1] Matthew, i. 17.
[161:2] Scott's English Life of Jesus.
[162:1] Matthew, xiii. 54; Luke, iv. 24.
[162:2] Mark, ii. 35.
[162:3] "There is no doubt that the authors of the genealogies regarded
him (Jesus), as did his countrymen and contemporaries generally, as the
eldest son of Joseph, Mary's husband, and that they had no idea of
anything miraculous connected with his birth. All the attempts of the
old commentators to reconcile the inconsistencies of the evangelical
narratives are of no avail." (Albert Reville: Hist. Dogma, Deity, Jesus,
[162:4] The reader is referred to Thomas Scott's English Life of Jesus,
Strauss's Life of Jesus, The Genealogies of Our Lord, by Lord Arthur
Hervey, Kitto's Biblical Encyclopaedia, and Barnes' Notes.
[163:1] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 130. Asiatic Researches,
vol. i. p. 259, and Allen's India, p. 379.
[163:2] Hist. Hindostan, ii. p. 310.
[163:3] See Higgins: Anacalypsis, vol. i. p. 157. Bunsen: The
Angel-Messiah. Davis: Hist. of China, vol. ii. p. 80, and Huc's Travels,
vol. i. p. 327.
[163:4] Allen's India, p. 379.
[163:5] See Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 200, and Chambers's Encyclo.,
[163:6] Davis: History of China, vol. ii. p. 48, and Thornton: Hist.
China, vol. i. p. 151.
[163:7] See almost any work on Egyptian history or the religions of
[163:8] See Lundy: Monumental Christianity, p. 403.
[163:9] See Taylor's Diegesis, p. 152. Roman Antiquities, p. 124, and
Bell's Pantheon, i. 382.
[164:1] See Greek and Italian Mythology, p. 81. Bell's Pantheon, vol. i.
p. 117. Murray: Manual of Mythology, p. 118, and Roman Antiquities, p.
[164:2] See Bell's Pantheon, vol. ii. p. 170, and Bulfinch: The Age of
Fable, p. 161.
[164:3] See Bell's Pantheon, vol. i. p. 27. Roman Antiquities, p. 136,
and Taylor's Diegesis, p. 150.