Luke does not show Jesus’ right to the title, Messiah, through David, but through Adam. Jesus is the Son of Man (i.e. the man, Adam) and therefore the Messiah that was promised in Eden (Genesis 3:15; Luke 3:38), who would save Adam’s race (see an earlier blog: Eve’s Messianic Expectations).
The royal Messianic line is presented in Matthew chapter one. However, here the Lord presents us with a paradox (Matthew 1:11). The Jeconiah line, the only royal line left through David and Solomon, cannot possibly lead to the Messiah, because God rejected Jeconiah and pronounced him and any descendant of his childless (Jeremiah 22:24; cp. Jeremiah 22:28-30). The Scriptures even say the royal seed would be made eunuchs in Babylon (2Kings 20:16-18; cp. Daniel 1:3). Nevertheless, Zerubbabel, the grandson of Jeconiah, through his adopted son, Shealtiel (cp. Matthew 1:12 & Luke 3:27), was a chosen vessel of the Lord (Haggai 2:23), showing that otherwise the Lord was very kind to the royal line after Jeconiah?
While it is clear that Jeconiah was to have no descendent reign upon the throne of David (Jeremiah 22:28-30), the genealogy of Jeconiah is the only royal line to David that the word of God records after the captivity (1Chronicles 3:17-24). Certainly other descendents of David were still living. Luke 3:23-38 shows at least one other line to him, yet there does not seem to be another royal line that would come from David to the Messiah through Solomon. Certainly, Solomon fathered many sons for he had many wives, but not all were heirs to the throne. Only the designated heir and his sons could be considered for the throne. The Jeconiah line has become a paradox. It is the only royal line to David that Scripture preserves; yet God has pronounced it childless as far as a reigning king in Jerusalem is concerned. If the paradox can’t be solved, there can be no Messiah, according to Scripture, for clearly God rejected Solomon as king.
One might say that Jeconiah repented, and, therefore, the curse would be reversed. If one’s sons have been made eunuchs, however, such repentance although having value with God, could not reverse the act that was done to his sons’ bodies. The fact is: Scripture implies Jeconiah had a change in heart and turned to God while in Babylon (Jeremiah 52:31-34). Moreover, the Rabbis claim that God healed the breach between himself and David’s line through Jeconiah, thus making the argument moot that Jesus could not come from Jeconiah, at least as far as the Jews are concerned, but how could repentance undo what was done to the bodies of the king’s sons?
The problem is that even if Jeconiah repented, this alone does not conclude that the breach is healed or God reversed his curse upon his lineage. David repented, but God chastised David and the sword never departed from his family (2Samuel 12:10). Moses repented and greatly desired to take Israel into the Promised Land, but God said no. God receives our repentance, but often we must reap the fruits of our iniquity. Just because our parents forgive our disobedience does not mean we won’t be punished for our transgressions. The point is, God does not say the curse has been reversed. Even if we say Jeconiah repented, this alone does not give us the right to claim God reversed himself in cursing the Jeconiah line, making it childless. There isn’t a shred of evidence in Scripture that would permit such a conclusion. What then did occur? How could the royal line be childless as far as the royal throne is concerned, and yet David have his Son reign as Messiah?
Although Scripture pronounces Jeconiah childless, concerning the throne, the Law provides a way that seed could be raised up to the one who is childless (Deuteronomy 25:5-6). This is what Boaz did in marrying Ruth in order to play the part of the kinsman-redeemer and raise up a son to his near relative, Mahlon, Ruth’s husband who died childless. It is due to Boaz’ obedience to the Law that David, the king, was born two generations later, and it is through this very law the Lord resolved the Jeconiah problem.
Lamentations 1:1-8 identifies Jerusalem or Zion as a widow. The text says the city is like a widow and describes her desolate state. Her walls are destroyed, and her gates are sunk into the ground, her king and princes are in captivity and she is bereft of her sons (cp. Lamentations 1:16). Jerusalem mourns and enters her widowhood without hope of redemption.
Nevertheless, the God of Israel is merciful and loving. He remembers his promises and is willing to lift Israel out of her trouble. Notice in Isaiah 54:1-6 Jerusalem is described as the barren one, having no children (princes or heirs to the throne). The Lord, himself, says he will build up her walls and place her gates in their proper places (Isaiah 54:11-12). How is this done? The Lord describes himself not only as her Husband (Isaiah 54:5), but also her Redeemer. The context of the title, Redeemer, is not in the sense that is usually understood by Christians. It is in the context of giving seed to the barren one just as it is used of Boaz in Ruth 4:14.
Thus, it is the Lord who provides Seed for the widow (Jerusalem), and a King is born into the Jeconiah line. Only the Virgin Birth could solve the Jeconiah problem. God is true to his word that Jeconiah is childless as far as the throne of David is concerned, yet he is also true to his word to David that one from his line would come who would rule Israel (the Messiah).
According to Josephus the ancient Jews must have believed Jeconiah presented a problem and that a miraculous birth would be needed in order to fulfill Scripture. Notice this excerpt from Antiquities:
“…and for Bagoas (the eunuch), he had been puffed up by them (the Pharisees), as though he should be named the father and the benefactor of him (the Messiah) who, by the prediction, was foretold to be their appointed king; for that THIS KING WOULD HAVE ALL THINGS IN HIS POWER, and would enable Bagoas to marry, and to have children of his own body begotten.” [JOSEPHUS: Antiquities of the Jews: Book 17; Chapter 2; Paragraph 4. – parenthesis and emphasis mine].
So even the ancient Jews believed in a kind of virgin birth (that is, a male virgin not as Christians believe or the Scriptures convey), whereby one who was physically unable to have children would miraculously bring forth the one who would be the long awaited King of the Jews. The truth, however, is not as strange as this fictitious idea as told by those Pharisees in Josephus’ history. In reality, it was the Creator who became a Kinsman Redeemer for Israel, healing the breach that could not be healed by man. He does this through the Virgin Birth. The Sacred Text reveals no other one who could become King of Israel. Therefore, no other but Jesus could ever be Messiah.