With Man this is Impossible

Introduction: Lk. 18:27 (In regards to the difficulty of a rich man being saved, Jesus taught that things impossible with man are possible with God. This principle is almost limitless in its application. A good example of how it applies is the Bible. The magnitude and wonder of the Bible is such that it could not have been accomplished by man, but was inspired by God. In this study we will illustrate this with the genealogy of Christ. The prophetic demands of the Christ creates an impossible scenario, impossible for man, but not for God.)

A. Prophetic Requirements Of The Christ: (The combination of prophesies made regarding Christ are staggering in what they require. The composite scenario formed seems impossible to fulfill.)

1. In The Physical Lineage Of David: II Sam. 7:12-13 (Nathan prophesied to David that Christ would be of David's descendants.) Acts 2:30, Rom. 1:3 (The New Testament application of this is emphatic and unquestionable. Christ was to be in the blood line of David in a physical, literal way.)

2. But Born Of A Virgin: Isa. 7:14 (Isaiah said the Christ would be born of a virgin. This was to be a sign of God's protection and care for his people.) Lk. 1:34-35 (Luke's mention of this event is clear. The Lord meant a literal virgin, not just a young woman. If Christ would be born of a virgin, how could he trace his lineage back to David, since he had no physical father?)

3. Rule On David's Throne: Isa. 9:6-7 (This and many other prophesies make it clear that Christ is to rule on David's throne. He is to be in the legal lineage and be a legal heir of David's throne.) Lk. 1:31-32 (Again, the New Testament shows the same idea as the prophesy. There is no escaping the idea Christ must be legal heir to David's throne.)

4. But Can't Be In The Physical Lineage Of Coniah: Jer. 22:30 (Jeremiah prophesied against Coniah [Jehoiachin], saying none of his descendants would rule on David's throne. This creates an apparent problem because Christ was to descend from David in the royal line so he would have a rightful place on the throne. Matthew even traces his physical ancestry through the royal line.)

5. Summary Of The Difficulty: (Christ had to be a physical descendant of David. But he was born of a virgin so that lineage could not be traced to an earthly father. But he was to rule on David's throne, and inheritance generally come through the father. If we provide for this by giving him a physical father he couldn't be born of a virgin. If we don't give him a royal line back to David he can't rule on David's throne. If we have no physical connection to David that prophesy fails. If we provide a physical connection through the royal line that makes him a descendant of Coniah and means he can't rule on David's throne. The difficulty seems insurmountable.)

B. Apparent Conflicts In Christ's Genealogy: (Add to the above difficulty the fact that many Bible critics claim the two accounts of Christ's genealogy in Matthew and Luke contradict between themselves and with Old Testament genealogies.)

1. Different Fathers For Joseph: Mt. 1:16 / Lk. 3:23 (The two historians seem to list two different fathers for Joseph. Matthew lists Jacob and Luke lists Heli.)

2. Different Names: Mt. 1:7-16 / Lk. 3:24-31 (The two accounts agree until we get to David. From David through Jesus they differ dramatically, with more names being different than being the same.)

3. Seems To Differ With Old Testament Genealogies: Lk. 3:36 (There are cases where the New Testament uses names that are quite different. Also, Luke adds Cainan between Sala and Arphaxad and he is not in the Old Testament genealogy. Also, there are several names left out in the New Testament tables.)

C. God Can Make It Work: (As we observed in our text, things that are impossible for man, such as the above difficulty, are possible with God. If we can show how the Bible resolves the difficulty, this would therefore prove the Bible must be from God and not man.)

1. Mary Provides The Blood Line: Lk. 3:23 (Joseph wasn't actually the son of Heli. In fact, "son" is a supplied word used to smooth out the English rendering. Joseph was "of Heli" in that he was son-in-law to him. The text says Jesus was believed to be of Joseph. To some this implies he was in reality of Heli. It is not unheard of to trace a blood line through the mother instead of the father. Note that in I Chron. 7:14 along with 1 Chron. 2:3-22, Jair is reckoned of the family of Manasseh. Actually his connection to that family was through his paternal grandmother, the daughter of Machir. His paternal grandfather, Hezron, was of the tribe of Judah. So it is possible for a blood line to go through a female in the genealogy. This seems to be the case with Christ's genealogy back to David, going through his mother, Mary. This satisfies the requirement that Jesus be in the lineage of David, but allows for the virgin birth.)

2. Joseph Provides The Legal Line: Mt. 1:16 (Joseph was literally begotten by Jacob. This shows Joseph descended from the royal line all the way back to David. Though Jesus was not his physical son, he was his step son. Jesus was commonly regarded as Joseph's son. See Lk. 2:48, Lk. 4:22. As such he was legally the first born and rightful heir. This satisfies the requirement that Jesus be rightful heir to David's throne, but does not make him a blood descendant of Coniah.)

3. This Accounts For Differences In Genealogies: (Understanding the two genealogies follows two different lines clears up the apparent difficulties between the two records.)

4. No Contradictions With Old Testament Genealogies: (The New Testament writers do not include all the links found in the Old Testament genealogies. It was not uncommon to skip generations, and was not at all inaccurate. Neither historian claims to include all the links, but they both include enough to fulfill their purposes. While Cainan is not in the Hebrew genealogy, he is found in the Septuagint. So they did have record of him.)

Conclusion: (Man could not contrive a story so detailed with such apparent impossibilities. Nor could man control human events sufficient to fulfill these prophesies. Nor could man produce a book that so exactly chronicles these events and satisfies all its own prophesies. However, with God this is possible. And he accomplished this great feat and recorded it in his book, the Bible.)