Print This Bible Study


the contents of this page may take a few seconds to load . . . thank you for your patience...



The Royal Genealogy of Jesus Christ[1]


The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham. (Matthew 1:1)


In the opening verse of Matthew, God reveals His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the one who will be the future King who will rule over the earth.  He also presents Christ’s genealogical credentials and His Messianic titles, the “son of Abraham” and the “son of David.”  This was necessary to prove to Israel that He was of the royal line of David and the Promised Seed of Abraham.  Thus, His Messianic titles were established in the very first verse of Matthew.  In the remaining portion of the first chapter, His full genealogical credentials were recorded from Abraham down through Joseph (Mary’s husband).  This is called the royal line although Joseph was not His natural father.


Mary, His natural mother, gave to Jesus the legal line to the throne of David; she was a lineal descendent of Abraham and of David through Nathan.  Nathan, David’s other son by Bathsheba, was older than Solomon; so he became the legal heir to the throne and passed the title down to Jesus through Mary.  The genealogy of the royal line is listed in Luke 3:23-38 and traces Jesus’ lineage back to Adam and God.  It proves that Jesus was the divine man (the Son of Man).


Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli. (Luke 3:23)


Additionally, in Luke 3:23, Joseph is identified as the “son of Heli,” who was actually Mary’s father and Joseph’s father-in-law, because fathers-in-law were called “fathers” and sons-in-law, “sons.” Also, “as was supposed” would have been more accurately translated “according to law,” thus revealing Jesus as the legal heir of Joseph.


The Royal and Legal Lines Compared


Is this man Coniah a despised, broken idol, a vessel in which is no pleasure? Why are they cast out, he and his descendants, and cast into a land which they do not know? (29) O earth, earth, earth, hear the Word of the LORD! (30) Thus says the LORD: “Write this man down as childless, a man who shall not prosper in his days; for none of his descendants shall prosper, sitting on the throne of David, and ruling anymore in Judah.” (Jeremiah 22:28-30)


Joseph’s position as the unnatural father of Christ may present a problem to the casual reader of the Word.  However, as we look closely at the royal line of Christ, we see that God used Joseph to safeguard the virgin birth of Jesus Christ and to thwart the efforts of Satan in his attempt to keep Jesus Christ off the throne of David.


God accomplished this by revealing in Joseph’s genealogy that he could not possibly have been Jesus’ natural father.  There had been a corruption of the royal line, of which Joseph was a member (see above scripture verse 30), because of Coniah (same as Jechonias in Matthew 1:11, 12).  The royal line stopped when God declared that no man of the seed of Coniah (son of King Jehoiakim) could prosper, “sitting on the throne of David, and ruling anymore.”  Therefore, Jesus could not have been physically out of the royal line and also sit on David’s throne.  God solved this problem by having Joseph marry Mary after she conceived by the Holy Spirit.  This made Jesus the legal heir of Joseph and the legal heir to the throne of David.


The reader may be tempted to question this solution, thinking that the genealogy of Jesus must be from father to father.  However, there is no spiritual law of God that excludes women from the genealogy of Jesus.  As examples, Matthew 1:3 tells us that the royal and legal seed came through Thamar, who was a prostitute.  In Matthew 1:5, the line continued through Rachab, the Canaanite, and Ruth, the Moabitess.


Orthodox Jews totally reject this genealogical record that authenticates Jesus as their Messiah.  They look forward to another that will be their Messiah, not knowing that if Jesus is not their Messiah, there can be no other.  They do not realize that all genealogical records of the Messiah were destroyed in the first century.  Hence, anyone who claims to be the Messiah today will be unable to authenticate his claim, since there are no records.


The Beginning of the Seed


The book of Genesis is the germ seed of the kingdom; the book of Matthew is the announcement of the kingdom.  The germ seed begins in Genesis 3:15, when it presents the coming King as a man — the God-man who is the Seed of the woman (the virgin birth).  Still further in Genesis, we will recognize Abraham as the first foundational stone of kingdom truths.  It was to Abraham and his seed that God first gave the promises of the kingdom.  As the centuries passed, his seed (collectively) multiplied until finally his Seed (singularly), the Lord Jesus Christ, invaded human history as the Seed of the woman, and made the announcement recorded in Matthew that the kingdom was at hand.



Note from the editor of


For a more detailed treatment of the genealogy of Jesus Christ go to the website associated with the following link:


[1] The Matthew Mysteries by Gary T. Whipple, Schoettle Publishing Co., Inc., 1995, pages 5-8