Chapter 1, Part 5

The genealogy in chapter 1 is divided into three parts: 17 "So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations."

From the time that God appeared unto Abraham and promised to bless the seed of Abraham until the time of David the king were fourteen generations. From that point it took fourteen generations until Israel had so disobeyed God that they were given over unto Babylonian captivity. The final fourteen generations gives the time frame in which Israel continued in captivity until Christ the deliverer came on the scene.

The time of David the king represents the highest point of Israel under the old law covenant. From that point on Israel's path was downward. It continued downward until they went into Babylonian captivity and ceased to have a king reign over them. Israel continued on in captivity first to the Babylonians, then to the Medes and Persians, then to Greece, and finally to Rome until the time that Christ came.

It is no coincidence that the Godhead is three yet one as set forth in 1 John 5:7, "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." God has so arranged that this figure of the Godhead is imprinted on all that he has made: Rom. 1:20 "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead." Examples of this include the following:

1. Noah's ark, which while being one ark, consisted of lower, second, and third stories.
2. The tabernacle, which though only one tabernacle, was divided into the Most Holy Place, the Holy Place, and the Outer Court.
3. Similarly, the temple was divided into three parts.
4. Furthermore, even the scriptures are divided into three parts consisting of the law, the prophets, and the letters.
5. New Testament worship consists of thee parts, singing, prayer, and preaching.
6. Water baptism shows forth the death, the burial, and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
7. The communion service consists of unleavened bread, wine, and the washing of the saints feet.
God has so arranged to show us in the genealogy that he was ultimately in control of the final outcome, even though because of sin, things seemed out of control.

Chapter 1 Part 6   The marriage controversy.

I have heard it said often that Joseph and Mary were not married when she conceived Jesus of the Holy Ghost. The argument is that they were simply engaged. This argument arises from the use of the word, espoused. However, the word espoused means to be betrothed. One thing we must do when studying subjects like this is to forget about our modern traditions. When a couple are engaged today, they have promised one another that at some future date they will get married. There is no contractual agreement associated with the word engaged. A couple that is engaged can simply call off the engagement if they choose.

The use of the words, espoused and betrothed, in the scriptures implies a contractual agreement. While a couple that is espoused or betrothed may not have known one another in a biblical sense, yet they are contractually bound to one another. Please notice the following statements in Matthew and Luke concerning the marital status of Joseph and Mary:

1. Matt. 1:18 "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. 20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."

2. Lk. 1:26 "And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."

From the above we make the following observations:

1. In Matthew Joseph is said to be "her husband."
2. Also in Matthew, we read where Joseph was minded to put her away. This raises a question, "How could Joseph put her away if they were not legally married?"
3. It is unquestioned in the above that Joseph is not the biological father of Jesus, but rather that he was conceived of the Holy Ghost. It is also unquestioned that Mary was a virgin at the time that she conceived of the Holy Ghost.

From the above we can conclude that Joseph and Mary were contractually bound to one another as husband and wife through a process known as espousal or betrothal. They, however, had not known one another as husband and wife before that Mary, a virgin, conceived of the Holy Ghost and brought forth her first born son named Jesus.

Chapter 1 Part 7   Joseph's Dilemma.

"Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily."

When Joseph considered that his espoused wife Mary was with child and they had not known one another as husband and wife, he no doubt had much troubling of the mind. Without the knowledge that he would later have he felt it was necessary to "put away" his wife. We are told that Joseph was a just man. This meant that he wanted to follow the law of God in what he did. Joseph saw two possible solutions to his dilemma. He could make Mary a public example or he could put Mary away privately. Joseph's thinking springs from two Old Testament passages of scripture:

1. Put Away Privily - Deu. 24:1 "When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife. 3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; 4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance." To accomplish this Joseph could simply have claimed that he found some uncleanness in Mary and given her a bill of divorcement.

2. Public Example Deu. 22:13 If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her, 14 And give occasions of speech against her, and bring up an evil name upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid: 15 Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate: 16 And the damsel's father shall say unto the elders, I gave my daughter unto this man to wife, and he hateth her; 17 And, lo, he hath given occasions of speech against her, saying, I found not thy daughter a maid; and yet these are the tokens of my daughter's virginity. And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city.

18 And the elders of that city shall take that man and chastise him; 19 And they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel, because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and she shall be his wife; he may not put her away all his days.  20 But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: 21 Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father's house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.

22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to an husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shalt thou put away evil from Israel. 23 If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; 24 Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you. To accomplish making Mary a public example, Joseph would have had to have her stoned to death.

Matt. 1:20 "But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." The angels message from God solved Joseph's dilemma and caused him to see the truth of the matter, that the child was the son of God and was conceived of the Holy Ghost.