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Jesus’ Age and Genealogy

09 Aug
Jesus' genealogy - 1

from Google Images

Only Luke reveals Jesus’ age when he began his public ministry. He was about 30 years old (Luke 3:23). That is, he was born in the autumn of 3 BC,[1] and the time of Jesus baptism was in the 16th year of the reign of Tiberius (27 AD) or one year after John began his ministry (cf. Luke 3:1),[2] making Jesus a full 29 years of age, but in his 30th year (29 to 30 years of age was his 30th year from birth). Some interpreters have tried to draw parallels between Jesus age and the age of Levites entering their service of the Tabernacle (Numbers 4:3 etc.), but I don’t believe this can be done, since Luke really doesn’t commit himself to a full thirty years of age for Jesus.

Jesus’ genealogy according to Luke 3:23-38 is different from that found in Matthew 1:1-16. Matthew follows the royal line from David through Solomon to Jeconiah, whose sons were made eunuchs in Babylon. Jeconiah was the 2nd last king of Judah before the captivity, but his line was cursed by God, because God said no descendent of his would reign on David’s throne. Zedekiah, Judah’s last king before the captivity, was blinded and all of his sons were slain (2Kings 25:5-7). Therefore, and for all practical purposes, the royal line through Solomon ended with the sons of Jeconiah who were made eunuchs in Babylon.

While in Babylon, Jeconiah adopted Salathiel of the line of Nathan, another of David’s sons and next in line to the throne after Solomon. Both Salathiel and Zorobabel (Salathiel’s natural son) are in both Luke’s and Matthew’s accounts at the time of the captivity, but in Matthew’s account Salathiel gets back to David through Jeconiah who adopted him from the line of Nathan. In Luke’s account Salathiel gets back to David through Nathan. Zorobabel’s descendents in Matthew’s account down to Jesus come from the son he bore to Jeconiah according to the levirate law of raising up a lineage to a relative who had no male descendents. Zorobabel’s descendents in Luke’s line represent the natural lineage from Nathan to Jesus.[3]

Jesus' genealogy - 3

from Google Images

Nevertheless, how should we interpret Luke saying that Joseph was the ‘son’ of Heli, but in Matthew he is the son of Jacob? Joseph doesn’t have two fathers. His natural father is Jacob in Matthew’s record of Jesus’ genealogy. Heli in Luke’s record of Jesus’ genealogy is Joseph’s father-in-law, who had no sons. Mary was the eldest daughter, and her marriage to Joseph had been arranged to raise up a son to Heli and back to David through Nathan. However, Joseph didn’t have to raise up a son to Heli, because Mary became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit, as testified by Luke in chapter 1. According to the law of a levirate marriage, the firstborn inherits both lines (cf. Boaz and Ruth in the book of Ruth). In so doing, Jesus was able to heal the Jeconiah curse, because Jesus was born from the natural line of Nathan to David. The ‘adopted’ line was the Jeconiah line, because God had ruled that no natural son from that line would ever reign on David’s throne. Thus, God in the person of Jesus was able to be true to his word concerning Jeconiah—that no son of Jeconiah would ever reign on David’s throne, and true to his word to David—namely that the Messiah would be born from his lineage.

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[1] See my previous blogposts: “Did Augustus Tax the World” and “Josephus’ Eclipse Showing Herod’s Death

[2] See my previous blogpost: “Dating the Ministry of John the BaptistDating the Ministry of John the Baptist

[3] For a more in-depth study see my blogposts “The Jeconiah Curse and the Virgin Birth” and “The Virgin Birth Solves the Jeconiah Problem”

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2 Comments

Posted by on August 9, 2016 in Gospel of Luke

 

2 responses to “Jesus’ Age and Genealogy

  1. Lawrence Johnson

    August 9, 2016 at 09:36

    I read that Tiberius was born August 19, 14CE. Which would mean Jesus was baptised in 28 or 29 CE. That would make Jesus between the age of 31-32. Which would make him 34-35 at his crucifixion. We know there was an earthquake and lunar eclipse when Jesus died. Eclipses can be scientifically calculated. I have researched this and the date of the lunar eclipse of this magnitude happened April 3, 33CE. There was not another major eclipse in 30,31,or 32.

    Sent from my iPhone

     
    • Eddie

      August 9, 2016 at 11:40

      Greetings Lawrence and thank you for reading and for your comment. It is often good to see an opposing point of view to keep one thinking about what might be closer to the truth.

      Actually, Tiberius “began” reigning as co-emperor in 12 AD before the death of Augustus. You are dating his reign as sole emperor at the death of Augustus in 14 AD. It can be done from either date. The question is, which date does Luke have in mind? I believe it is the former and have based my calculations upon this reasoning.

      While we can agree that there was an earthquake on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, it would be impossible for a solar eclipse to have occurred on that day to account for the darkness in the afternoon, because the sun and the moon were on opposite ends of the heavens. An eclipse of the sun cannot occur on earth during a full moon, and Jesus was crucified on the 14th day of the 1st month, which followed the lunar calendar. The full moon occurred on the 15th, or the next day following Jesus crucifixion.

      As for a lunar eclipse, that may have been possible as the sun was setting, but nearly all of the calculations made to find that eclipse are based on the assumption of a Friday crucifixion. Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday. The next day, Thursday, was a Sabbath, but, of course, not a weekly Sabbath. It was one of the Annual Holy Day Sabbaths. So, I don’t think your calculations would fit into that context.

      It seems apparent to me that the darkness that occurred on that day had to have been a miracle, because it cannot be explained through our current knowledge of Astronomy. Perhaps one day we shall be able to explain the darkness according to natural law, but at the present this simply isn’t possible without contradicting the Bible.

      Lord bless you in your studies of his word.

       

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