Question and Answer-December 2015

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QThe genealogies of Jesus presented in Matthew and Luke appear to be contradictory regarding the ancestry of Joseph. Could you please comment?

AThe genealogy of Jesus is recorded in Matthew Chapter 1 and Luke
Chapter 3. In Matthew’s Gospel, we obviously have the genealogy through Joseph: “And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ,” Matthew 1:16.

In Luke, we have the genealogy of Mary, rather than Joseph. Luke 3:23 seems to be confusing, because it says that Joseph was the son of Heli, whereas Matthew’s Gospel says he was the son of Jacob. We can well ask, then, in what sense does Joseph become the son of Heli? He could not be, by natural generation, the son of both Jacob and Heli. But in Luke it does not say that Heli begat Joseph. It merely calls him “the son of Heli.”

So, the natural explanation is that Joseph was the son-in-law of Heli, who was, like himself, a descendant of David. That he should in that case be called “son of Heli”

(“son” is not in the Greek, but is rightly supplied by the translators), would be in accord with the Jewish usage (compare I Samuel 24:16).

The conclusion is therefore inevitable, that in Luke we have Mary’s genealogy, and Joseph was “son of Heli” because he was espoused to Heli’s daughter. The genealogy in Luke is Mary’s, whose father, Heli, was descended from David.

QDo you think the writers of the four Gospels copied from each other or did they all see certain things happen and write their own views of those situations?

A Personally, I believe each one of them was personally inspired to write his own account, as per his revelation by the Holy Spirit. Actually, the four Gospels give us four different views of the life of Christ, but when they are all put together they form a complete composite picture and record of the life of Christ our Lord.

Send four people to report a fire, and when they return with their written reports, invariably they will be somewhat different or have variations of the fire, but they’ll actually tell the same or complete story. That’s the account of the Gospels, each in his own way, due to his revelation, his version, inspired by the Holy Spirit and when we place them side by side we have a beautiful account of the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ.

QWhat advice does the Bible give to those who are characterized by a sense of hopelessness?

AHopelessness is terrible because it is hope that draws us on. We are saved by hope, the Bible says, and unless life is lived with a purpose that draws us with exciting anticipation into the future, it gets to be a pretty discouraging. The Apostle Paul says, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them who are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others who have no hope, “ I Thessalonians 4:13.

How do we get past hopelessness, which produces awful results in life? The primary answer is not this world and its possibilities. It is the marvelous fact that Jesus Christ is coming again.

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