top of page
  • Writer's picturehenrydaviscc

The Reason "Luke" Changed The Genealogy Given By "Matthew"

Updated: Jul 14, 2023


Within academia, it is no secret that the genealogies of the Jesus character in the gospels of 'Matthew' and 'Luke' have, and still do, remain another unsolved problem for scholars.

The genealogy in Matthew chapter 1 traces Jesus's descent from Abraham. The Gospel of Luke traces the genealogy from Jesus to Adam. Jesus's genealogy in Matthew chapter 1 draws parallels between Jesus and Moses, and, therefore, the son of Jacob is presented as Joseph, reflecting the Jacob of the Old Testament.

The genealogy in Luke, however, presents Joseph's father as Heli, not Jacob. To reconcile these two genealogies, experts have made the hypothesis that Luke is presenting the genealogy of Mary. However, Joachim Jeremias, who was a scholar of Near Eastern Studies and university professor for New Testament studies, states in Jerusalem - In The Time of Jesus, page 290:

"Both give the ancestry of the carpenter Joseph, and both try to show his Davidic origin." - Note 69 here states, "The ancient and modern attempts to see one as Mary's genealogy have all failed."

Because Matthew gives Josephs's father as Jacob, and Luke gives Josephs's father as Heli, Matthew traces the line through Davids' son Solomon, while Luke traces the line through Davids's 'common' third of four sons born to him and Bathsheba, Nathan. The only names in common in these genealogies are Shealtiel and Zerubbabel.

Raymond E. Brown, who was an American Catholic priest, and a prominent biblical scholar, states in An Introduction to the New Testament, page 236:

"While Luke's list may be less classically monarchical than Matthew's, there is little likelihood that either is strictly historical."

The late Edgar V. McKnight, who was a research professor, and the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Religion Emeritus at Furman University, states in Jesus Christ in History and Scripture, page 43:

"Even such a routine item as Jesus' genealogy is molded differently in terms of each Gospel's purpose."

Joachim Jeremias says, in Jerusalem - In The Time of Jesus, pages 316;

"...the custom of using the names of the twelve patriarchs as personal names did not arise until after the exile... The name Levi as a personal name appears only during the Maccabean era and in the New Testament times. Luke gives for the period of the ancient monarchy the names of Joseph, Judah, Simon and Levi as the sixth to the ninth descendants of David, but this is an anachorism, and shows that the pre-exilic part of the Lucan genealogy has no historical value."

Apologist, Dr. Terry Mortenson reaches the same conclusion in Searching for Adam, page 68:

"Indeed if any man in the genealogy is not historical, including Adam, then Jesus is descended from a myth or metaphor and therefore not truly man and therefore not our Redeemer."

Because of the many contradictions between the genealogies, they can't co-exist. Matthew portrays Jesus as being descended from all the kings of Judah, after David and Solomon. 'Luke' on the other hand presents a more 'common' genealogy, where Jesus descends from Nathan, son of David. In order to include Zorobabel/Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel/Salathiel, and governor of Judaea, who began the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, 'Matthew' and 'Luke' are forced to provide two different fathers for Salathiel. Matthew states that Salathiel's father was Jechonias, and Luke states his father was called Neri.

Matthew and Luke both used numerology to present their genealogies, using a pattern of sevens to 'prove' Jesus was the Messiah. However, the genealogies are clearly fabricated because of the implausible patterns, as will be discussed below.

A Recent Hypothesis And The Reason For This Article

Professor of Theology, David T. Landry, recently asked the question, and gave several possible answers, as to why Luke changed the genealogy of Jesus given by Matthew.

The question was asked this year (2021) at a Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting.

Landry presented a paper called 'The Genealogies in Matthew and Luke as a Problem for the Farrer-Goulder Hypothesis'; the Farrer Hypothesis presents a possible solution to the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) problem. The theory is that the Gospel of Mark was written first (correct), followed by the Gospel of Matthew, and then by the Gospel of Luke.

An abstract for the paper presented by Landry is as follows:

'The wildly divergent genealogies in Matthew and Luke have often been identified as a weak link in any solution to the synoptic problem that involves Luke's knowledge of Matthew. Why would Luke not simply retain Matthew's genealogy if he was willing to employ so much other Matthean material--the entirety of the double tradition--elsewhere in his gospel with relatively little modification? This paper proposes to undertake a deep dive into the solutions proposed for the divergence between Luke's genealogy and Matthew's, with an eye toward finding a solution that permits the Farrer-Goulder Hypothesis to stand.
Among the resources to be explored are ancient attempts to harmonize the two genealogies, early modern critical theories involving multiple early versions of the gospels (such as "proto-Luke") that may or may not have included a genealogy, modern source-critical insights (such as the phenomenon of editorial fatigue), and literary critical analyses of Luke that envision reasons for Luke's rejection of Matthew's genealogy that are consistent with the author's broader purposes and concerns, both literary and theological.'

The answers proposed by Landry were:

  • A dislike of the system of fourteens.

  • Placement of Jesus in an obscure, rather than a prominent, branch of Davidic descent.

It seems here that Professor Landry is approaching this issue from the view that the authors of 'Matthew' and 'Luke' did not know each other, or were not even the same person. He may even be unaware that recent research (The Origins of Early Christian Literature; Class Struggle in the New Testament) provides evidence showing the scriptures could only have been written by the elite of the time after 70 CE. After the Roman-Jewish War of 70 CE, the entire Mediterranean was controlled by an oligarchy that consisted of the Flavian emperors, the Herodian royal family, and the distinguished senatorial and powerful family the Calpurnius Pisos. These families controlled all publishing of any histories and religious material; also see Jewish Literacy in Roman Palestine.

System Of Fourteens

The system of fourteens mentioned by Landry is found in Matthew 1:7:

"So all the generations from Abraham to David [were] generations fourteen; and from David until the carrying away of Babylon, generations fourteen; and from the carrying away into Babylon to the Christ are generations fourteen."

The lineage of Jesus presented in 'Matthew' is:

1. Abraham, Isaac; Jacob; Judas; Phares; Esrom; Aram; Aminadab; Naasson; Salmon;

Booz; Obed; Jesse; David.

2. David; Solomon; Roboam; Abia; Asa; Josaphat; Joram; Ozias; Joatham; Achaz; Ezekias;

Manasses; Amon; Josias.

4. Jechonias; Salathiel; Zorobabel; Abiud; Eliakim; Azor; Sadoc; Achim; Eliud; Eleazar; and Matthan; Jacob; Joseph; Jesus.

Matthew's genealogy is from the Davidic line through Solomon. The above genealogy omits several generations of the Davidic line; Ahaziah, Jehoash, and Amaziah, all kings of Judah are omitted. King Jehoiakim, the father of Jeconiah/Jehoiachin is also omitted. The omission of Jehoiakim is very important to the genealogical problem of Jesus, as will hopefully become apparent later in the article.

Omissions in 'Matthew' marked by an X:

Old Testament (1 Chronicles 3:4-19)

John Nolland, in a paper called Jechoniah and His Brothers (Matthew 1:11) for the Bulletin for Biblical Research, volume 7: 169-77, states regarding Matthew's genealogy:

"Josiah begot Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile," he appears to conflate the two, because Jehoiakim, not Jeconiah, had brothers, but the exile was in the time of Jeconiah. While some see this as a mistake, others argue that the omission was once again deliberate, ensuring that the kings after David spanned exactly fourteen generations."

Matthew's genealogy also supposedly has 42 generations, however, the name David appears in two lists. As number 14 in the first list of generations and number 1 in the list immediately following, meaning only 41 names are given.

The lineage of Jesus presented in 'Luke' is:

'Luke' has 77 names, arranged in 11 groups of seven:

  1. Jesus; Joseph; Heli; Matthat; Levi; Melchi; Janna;

  2. Joseph; Mattathias; Amos; Naum; Esli; Nagge; Maath;

  3. Mattathias; Semei; Joseph; Juda; Joanna; Rhesa; Zorobabel;

  4. Salathiel; Neri; Melchi; Addi; Cosam; Elmodam; Er;

  5. Jose; Eliezer; Jorim; Matthat; Levi; Simeon; Juda;

  6. Joseph; Jonan; Eliakim; Melea; Menan; Mattatha; Nathan;

  7. David; Jesse; Obed; Booz; Salmon; Naasson; Aminadab;

  8. Aram; Esrom; Phares; Juda; Jacob; Isaac; Abraham;

  9. Thara; Nachor; Saruch; Ragau; Phalec; Heber; Sala;

  10. Cainan; Arphaxad; Sem; Noe; Lamech; Mathusala; Enoch;

  11. Jared; Maleleel; Cainan; Enos; Seth; Adam; God.

Luke's genealogy is from the Davidic line through Nathan, a little-known son of David, only briefly mentioned in the Old Testament (2 Samuel 5:14; 1 Chronicles 3:5, 14:4; Zechariah 12:12). The ancestry in 'Luke' completely agrees with the Old Testament in regards to the ancestry of David. However, inserted between a man called Arphaxad and his son Selah/Salah/Shelah/Sala is the name Cainan, a name not found in extant Hebrew manuscripts of the Hebrew Scriptures. The name does appear in the Septuagint, but not the 9th century C.E. Masoretic text; I cover the actual reason for the creation of the Septuagint (LXX/70) here.

The issues with the genealogies given by 'Matthew' and 'Luke' are summarised as follows:

The genealogy in Matthew begins from Abraham down to Jesus.

The genealogy in Luke begins with Jesus back through Abraham to Adam.

Both genealogies match from Abraham to David and follow the Old Testament (Ruth 4:12, 18-22; 1 Chronicles 2:1-14)

But then the differences begin:

The genealogy in Matthew is deliberately arranged into three sets of 14 generations, with 41 names; a hypothesized reason given for this, based on numerics is that the numeric value of the name David in Hebrew is 14.

The two genealogies overlap where Matthew has 41 names and Luke has 57, i.e. at Abraham

'Matthew' traces Jesus's genealogy through David’s son, Solomon.

'Luke' traces the genealogy through David’s son, Nathan.

At the time of the Babylonian exile, both lists agree on the name Shealtiel. However, 'Matthew' 1:12 lists Shealtiel’s father as Jeconiah (in accord with 1 Chronicles 3:17.)

'Luke' 3:27 lists the father as Neri.

The genealogies only match again at Shealtiel/Salathiel and Zerubbabel/Zorobabel, who lived just after the Babylonian captivity. But then the genealogies separate again, continuing through two different sons of Zerubbabel-'Matthew' 1:13 has Abiud, 'Luke' 3:27 has Rhesa.

The genealogies then meet again with Joseph, but they disagree on the name of Jesus' grandfather. 'Matthew' 1:16 lists the father of Joseph (Mary's husband) as Jacob, 'Luke' 3:23 lists him as Eli (or Heli); although the Greek presents "Joseph of Heli", without the "son" word, the same is seen for the other names in 'Luke's' list.

Furthermore, 'Matthew' lists four women but 'Luke does' not list any women.

Proposed Solutions To The Differences

One main approach used to reconcile the differences is suggesting that Matthew traces Joseph's genealogy while Luke traces Mary's line. According to the individual known as 'Sextus Julius Africanus', Matthew gave the natural line, while Luke gave the royal line. In 1490, Annius of Viterbo (c. 1432 – 1502), born Giovanni Nanni (Nenni), an Italian Dominican friar, scholar, and historian, who is now remembered for his fabrications, proposed the above notion. This view was defended by Norval Geldenhuys, who was a South African minister and Bible commentator, in his Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, [Eerdmans], pages 151-152.

The argument is that Luke says that Jesus was only "supposedly" the son of Joseph, and intends to trace Jesus' descent through Mary, whose father was Eli; this argument has produced further arguments stating the name 'Yeshua ben Panthera', mentioned in rabbinic literature, is assumed to be a reference to several passages in the Jewish Talmud, which are assumed to be referencing Jesus. It is assumed that a Roman soldier called Tiberius Iulius Abdes Pantera was Jesus's father, however, there is no proof of this. Panthera originated as a word used for 'beast' in antiquity, and of course, a beast is described in the Book of Revelation. (ref - Creating Christianity A Weapon Of Ancient Rome, pages 238-240)

"And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli..."

Therefore, the argument is that as Luke has described the virgin birth of Jesus (1:26-38) it is natural for him to list Jesus's physical descent through her. We could argue the question then as to why a genealogy of a "supposed" father was given at all. Also, because Jewish genealogical records were well preserved, especially among families of Davidic descent, one would think that Mary would supply genealogical information to Luke, judging by the hypothesis above, Mary appears to be the source of Luke's material. However, Luke stresses that Joseph is a descendent of David, never mentioning Mary’s Davidic descent. Because 'Luke' does not mention Mary, we can assume, based on the current understanding of Christian history, that listeners would have assumed Luke was tracing Jesus's descent through Joseph, who Luke claims is not the natural father. It is worth noting here that the Old Testament placed a curse on Jeconiah in Jeremiah 22:30, where the Lord curses Jeconiah and makes him childless and unable to have heirs sit on the throne of David. But God did promise that one of the descendants of David would sit on the throne forever. The man known as 'Eusebius' apparently wondered if this curse made it impossible for Jesus to come from the royal line. But if the above 'brother marriage' solution is accepted, then it can be surmised that the above curse would be broken. But in Judaism the family of an individual's mother is not the individual's family, therefore Mary's genealogy would not establish a royal bloodline (ref: Parallels to Matthew's Version of the Pedigree of Jesus. Novum Testamentum no. 28 (1):32–47 (specifically page 40). Scholars have indicated that coming to the above conclusion is impossible if the Greek text is read naturally (ref: Carson, D. A., 'Matthew.' In The Expositor's Bible Commentary, edited by Frank E. Gaebelein, 3–599 (specifically page 64). Furthermore, Barbara Sivertsen argues that Mary's father and husband were called Joseph, meaning 'Matthew' confused the genealogy, giving Mary's genealogy rather than Joseph's. But her argument relies on many assumptions and is not reliable (ref: Sivertsen, Barbara. 2005. New Testament Genealogies and the Families of Mary and Joseph, Biblical Theology Bulletin no. 35 (2):43–50. (specificaly pages 44–47.)

Put simply, based on the above view, it is claimed that Mary, not just Joseph, would have had to have been of Davidic origin. Another proposed solution is that of one genealogy being a royal or legal one, and the other being a physical one. Essentially this argument is stating that Matthew is listing the official line of Davidic kings, but not the actual ancestors of Jesus. Luke is presenting a genealogy in the way we are accustomed to seeing. This assumes that as Jeconiah was cursed to be childless, he later adopted Shealtiel, son of Neri, as his legal heir to the throne. Matthew could then follow a line of 'secret kings', whether biological or 'adopted' up to Jacob, who also had no heir and appointed Joseph as his heir to the throne. However, we have no evidence for this and it need not be taken seriously (ref: Johnson, Marshall D. 1969. The Purpose of the Biblical Genealogies, With Special Reference to the Setting of the Genealogies of Jesus. London, Cambridge University Press, page 142). This argument may, on the surface, resolve, to some extent, the issues with Shealtiel and Zerubbabel being on both lists, but it does not answer the problem of how Jesus could be the son of the 'secret king' and still remain unknown in a Galilean village; the village or city where the Jesus of the New Testament supposedly grew up has no archaeological evidence to suggest it was inhabited, that is, lived in, during Jesus' time. That means that we have no idea where 'Nazareth' was located and no evidence for its existence, leading to the conclusion that the evidence for an historical Jesus is virtually non-existent. For a full investigation into this please read my article on 'Nazareth' here.

The next proposed solution is that Joseph had two fathers. This is argued in two ways. One is by stating that Mary had no brothers to carry on the name of her father, so Heli (Joseph’s father according to Luke) adopted Joseph as his own son. Thereby giving Joseph two genealogies—his own and Mary’s. The second way is by taking into account the context of levirate marriage, according to the Old Testament law. Deuteronomy 25:5 describes Levirate marriage:

"If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her."

Also see Numbers 27:8 and 36:6-8.

In essence, the above law is stating that a brother of a married man who died should marry his brother’s widow in order to produce heirs for the deceased brother. This solution sees Heli—the father of Joseph according to 'Luke'—and Jacob—the father of Joseph according to 'Matthew'—as either brothers or half-brothers. When one died, the other married his widow and then Joseph was born. This would mean Joseph would technically have two fathers—Heli and Jacob—one a natural father, the other a legal father. However, going on the assumption that this is the correct solution to the genealogical problem, the text does not state which one is which. This solution is viewed by some as explaining why Joseph might have two fathers and two genealogies. But if Jacob and Heli were only half-brothers, it is unlikely that either would have felt obliged to marry the other's widow. In the Mishnah we read "the wife of his brother by the same mother" as a family member that a man need not marry through levirate obligation (ref: Mussies, Gerard. 1986. Parallels to Matthew’s Version of the Pedigree of Jesus. Novum Testamentum no. 28 (1):32–47 (specifically page 41). The Talmud, book of Yevamoth chapter 1, also displays the above understanding. The understanding is that levirate marriage is applicable to paternal brothers and not to maternal brothers. Therefore the brother marrying the widow of the other is suggesting that Jacob and Heli were full brothers through their mother, which requires yet another unclear genealogical link. It is very conjecturally possible, that is, Matthan (in Matthew's genealogy) is deceased and Jacob is the firstborn, or Matthat (in Luke's genealogy) is deceased and Heli is the firstborn, which makes Jacob and Heli full brothers of the same mother but two separate fathers. But this solution requires too many coincidences, such as two levirate marriages in two generations, and solves very little (ref: (Brown, Raymond E. 1993. The Birth of the Messiah. New Updated ed, The Anchor Bible Reference Library. New York, NY: Doubleday, page 504).

Modern scholars, including New Testament scholar Marcus Joel Borg and former Catholic priest, scholar, and historian of early Christianity, John Dominic Crossan, view the presented genealogies of Jesus as not actually being factual history. (Marcus J. Borg, John Dominic Crossan, The First Christmas, page 95): Modern scholars feel the genealogies were created to conform to the Jewish criteria of the coming Messiah, and, based on evidence, it is clear Jesus's family would not have had genealogical information, only priestly families would at that time. However, again, as will hopefully become clear, the answer to this genealogical issue is one of a claim of authorship of the New Testament writings by the elite authors in Rome. The conclusion of this article is based on evidence from primary sources and the context and motives of those in power at the time (after 70 C.E.); this is covered in my book, an academic review of which can be read here

Because there is overwhelming evidence that ancient authors used alias names when writing, again see my book and the academic review above, by using inherited names and distortions of those names, the authors of the New Testament being no different, the genealogies do not make sense because some of the names look to be alias names, also, we must account for omissions.

Another genealogical problem: 400 years or 430?

Jubilees-in Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament-and Galatians-in the New Testament-contain a detail that has proved troublesome for scholars of a literal interpretation of Biblical numbers. Genesis 15:13 states that God said to Abraham that his offspring will be temporary residents and enslaved in Egypt for 400 years:

"And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years."

The Torah, according to 'Paul', in Galatians 3:17, however, was given 430 years after the covenant confirmation with Abraham, which goes against the timeline of Genesis and Exodus in the Old Testament. In Exodus 12:40, in the Book of Jubilees, we read that Israel was in Egypt for 430 years before all the Lord's people left. Jubilees, which presents the calendar of cycles and years, records the period of time from the birth of Isaac, 1896 BCE to the giving of the Torah as 430 years (Jub 15:4). The account includes the sojourn (temporary stay) in Canaan. Therefore, this cannot be a shared tradition, but a direct citation from Jubilees by the man known to us as 'Paul'.

Simply put, only Exodus 12:40, in the Jubilee Bible states the Israelites were in Egypt for 430 years, but other biblical scripture presents a much shorter stay.

"The length of time that the Israelites lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. At the end of the four hundred and thirtieth year, to the very day, all the ranks of Yhwh departed from the land of Egypt."

The above statement is inconsistent with genealogical data gathered from various parts of the Old Testament Bible, including Genesis 46 and Exodus 6:

The Levite Line: Exodus 6 presents a partial genealogy of the descendants of Jacob - the tribes of Reuben, Simeon, and Levi - up to the time of Moses, showing only two generations between Kohath, who came to Egypt (Gen 46:11), and Moses, who brought the Israelites out of Egypt (Levi-Kohath-Amram-Moses). The two generations presented between Moses and his grandfather Kohath is too short a span of time to account for a period of 430 years.

The Reubenite Line: The individuals, Dothan and Abiram, who rebelled against the authority of Moses during the wandering in the wilderness, were grandsons of Palu (Num 26:8-9), who is mentioned as one of the 70 migrants to Egypt in Gen 46:9. However, again we only have a time span of two generations, nowhere near enough the length of 430 years stay in Egypt, again, as stated in Exodus 12:40 of the Jubilee Bible.

The Judahite Line: Nachshon son of Aminadav is presented as a contemporary of Moses and great-grandson of Hetzron, who appears in Gen 46:12 as one of the 70 migrants going to Egypt. Nachshon is listed at the end of Megillat Ruth (4:18-20). This particular genealogy presents a span of three generations, between those who arrived in Egypt and those who were part of the exodus out. Yet this still does not present us with enough data to fill the 430-year gap that a literal understanding of Exodus 12:40 demands.

The Septuagint and the Samaritan Pentateuch look to have attempted to solve the problem by extending the 430-year period back to Abraham's arrival in Canaan, the stay in Canaan is therefore added to Exodus 12:40:

Septuagint (LXX - the 70) - "And the sojourning of the children of Israel, while they sojourned in the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan, was 430 years."

Samaritan Pentateuch (SP) - "And the sojourning of the children of Israel, while they sojourned in the land of Canaan and the land of Egypt was 430 years."

The Septuagint version appears in the Mekhilta (Bo, parasha 14), a rule of critical explanation of scripture in Judaism, as just one of the cases the sages supposedly engaged the Egyptian king Ptolemy on. The Septuagint and the Samaritan Pentateuch present a breakdown of 215 years for each patriarch's stay in Canaan and Egypt:

  • 25 years from the time of Abraham's arrival in Canaan at age 75 (Gen 12:4) until Isaac's birth, at which point Abraham was 100 years old (Gen 47:9)

  • 60 years passed from the time of Isaac's birth until that of Jacob's (Gen 25:26)

  • 130 years passed from the time of Jacob's birth until he moved to Egypt with his descendants (Gen 47:9)

In total, this equals 215 years, with a further 215 years allocated for the stay in Egypt, but, this is too high a figure for 2-3 generations of stay in Egypt. The classical rabbinic solution was to view the 400 years of stay and enslavement as beginning as soon as Isaac was born, whilst in Canaan. Therefore, the rabbis suggested that the 430 years given in Exodus 12:40 refers to God giving the prophecy regarding the 400 years to Abraham 30 years before the birth of Isaac. (ref - 'The Rabbinic Chronology of Lech Lecha') Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon (referred to as 'Rambam') offered an exegetical method of transposing clauses in Gen 15:13 in an attempt to explain that the text does not state the Israelites will be enslaved for the entire period, only that they would be 'resident aliens'.

However, if the stay and enslavement began from the birth of Isaac, as opposed to when Abraham arrived in Canaan, we get 60 years from Isaac's birth until that of Jacob's (Gen 25:26) and 130 years from Jacob's birth until he goes to Egypt with his descendants, leaving us with 190 years, still not enough time to fill the gap.

'St. John's' Apocalypse also contains two (at least) allusions to Jubilees:

  • "a kingdom and priests" (Rev 1:6; 5:10), as opposed to "a kingdom of priests" or "a royal priesthood," a more common phrase. The wording in Rev 1:6; 5:10 is found in Jubilees 16:18.

  • Revelation 4:5; 11:19; 16:18, describes 'St. John' in the heavens hearing "lightnings, voices, and thunderings". Jubilees 2:2 speaks of "angels of the voices and of the thunder and of the lightnings" giving voice at the giving of the Torah.

It is clear there are issues with the Book of Jubilees, which parallels the New Testament and Septuagint. Furthermore, Jubilees is a redoing of the Old Testament of the history of the world, from 'creation' until the time of Moses. It is considered pseudepigrapha by the Roman Catholic church, as well as the Protestant and Eastern Orthodox Churches, and not considered canonical within Judaism, outside of Beta Israel. For the most part, the familiar account in Genesis is followed in the narrative of Jubilees, but with some additional details; such as the names of Adam and Eve's daughters, and a demonic entity called 'Mastema', meaning "hatred", "hostility", "enmity", or "persecution." It was formally excluded in the two major extant Jewish traditions setting forth the collection of sacred Biblical texts. The first tradition, officialized toward the end of the first century CE by a certain representation of Pharisaic Judaism, accepted those sacred books according to the following criteria: they were harmonious with the Pentateuch or Torah (the first five books of the Bible), they were written before the time of Ezra (480-440 BCE), they were written in Hebrew, and they were written in Palestine. The Book of Jubilees does not harmonize with the Pentateuch, and it was written after Ezra. Reading Jubilees, it is clear the anonymous author was preoccupied with the changing of the Jewish calendar, as it proposes a solar calendar of 364 days and 12 months, a major departure from the Jewish Calendar, which is lunar-based. There are also messianic, apocalyptic passages. Jubilees is distinguished from the Pentateuch (Torah), the first five books of the OT: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy as the author states:

"For I have written in the book of the first law, in that which I have written for thee, that thou shouldst celebrate it in its season, one day in the year, and I explained to thee its sacrifices that the children of Israel should remember and should celebrate it throughout their generations in this month, one day in every year." (Jubilees 6:22).

The main objective of Jubilees seems to be to reform the regulation of the calendar and festivals, in place of the intercalated lunar calendar, which the author disapproves of. He proposes to substitute the Lunar calendar for a solar calendar, used by the Romans, consisting of 12 months and containing 364 days, making all festivals, except the Day of Atonement, fall on a Sunday; the author also fixes the date of the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) on Sivan 15th (in place of the traditional Sivan 6th). The proper observance of the feasts, prescribed by divine authority, is, according to his view, impossible so long as the right principles for regulating the calendar are ignored. These principles are justified by the written Law and are represented as having been ordained in "heaven," a concept very much promoted in the New Testament and in the work of Seneca.

Solving The Genealogical Issues of Matthew and Luke

Ultimately, what we are faced with, and what continues to cause problems within Biblical scholarship, are genealogical number issues. Regarding the issues with the genealogies in Matthew and Luke, Jubilees is significant in regard to the author's attempt to use it to correct an important divergence he had created. He looks to have deliberately made a mistake in the Lukan genealogy of Jesus (Luke 3.35-36) to make this second genealogy numerically consistent, that is, in his own mind, with the initial genealogy in Matthew chapter 1.

The name Jehoiakim (Joakim) was omitted from the genealogy in Matthew. In Matthew 1:11 we read that to Josiah there was born Jeconiah, but omitted from the genealogical line was Jehoiakim (Joachim) who appears in the Hebrew Bible in 1 Chronicles 3.15-16. In the Hebrew Bible Josiah had a son Jehoiakim who in turn had a son Jeconiah:

'And the sons of Josiah were, the firstborn Johanan, the second Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum. And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son.'

The “error” in 'Matthew' appears to be deliberate. If the name Jehoiakim had not been omitted from the genealogy in Matthew, the genealogy would have had 42 actual generations, therefore, the list could not have presented 41 generations. But why is the number 41 significant? This number becomes significant when we understand who wrote were the main authors of the New Testament, that is, the Calpurnius Piso family. The number 41 is the numeric value of the name Kalpournios in Greek 'small' numbers, that is, the zeros are omitted, as, unlike Greek, Latin did not have a numeral for zero.


2 1 3 8 7 4 1 5 1 7 2 = 41

The normal Greek values for the above letters are

20; 1; 30; 80; 70; 400; 100; 50; 10; 70; 200

The name Jehoiakim (Joakim) looks to have been deliberately omitted from the genealogical list, as it appears as the husband of Susanna, who appears as a wealthy Babylonian Jewish woman in the Greek but not Hebrew manuscripts of the Book of Daniel. Joakim/Jehoiakim (Joachim) also appears as a judge in the story of Judith and as the king of Judah in 1 Esdras and in the book of Baruch.

A two-step process looks to have been used in order to reinsert Jehoiakim (Joakim) into the genealogy, so as to conform to the Hebrew biblical writing:

In 1 Esdras 36:1-4, we read that Josiah's sons included Eliakim who was also known as Joakim/Jehoiakim. Then in Baruch 1:3, he wrote that Jeconiah was the son of Joakim, the king of Judah:

'And Baruch did read the words of this book in the hearing of Jechonias the son of Joachim king of Juda, and in the ears of all the people that came to hear the book'

Therefore, Joakim was put back into the genealogy of Jesus between Joakim’s father Josiah, and his son Jeconiah, albeit, indirectly. By the above process, the Apocryphal "biblical" writings, had been, as best as they could be, corrected to make the two gospel genealogies conform to the original Hebrew writings.

The Name Cainan Was Then Added To The Lukan Genealogy

The genealogy in Matthew supposedly had comprised 42 generations (3 x 14), however, David is included in both the first list of 14 names and the second list of 14 names - he is the fourteenth generation from Abraham, but is also presented as the first of the next set of 14, as mentioned earlier. That means a straight count of the generations only produces 41 names instead of 42. The next progression would be 4 x 14, which would be a total of 56 names, but the total of ancestral names was only 55.

Here is the wording again in Matthew 1:17 as given earlier:

"So all the generations from Abraham to David [were] generations fourteen; and from David until the carrying away of Babylon, generations fourteen; and from the carrying away into Babylon to the Christ are generations fourteen."

The verse does not specifically state there are 42 generations. Instead, It states there are three groups of 14 generations.

Regarding the genealogy in 'Luke', it meant another name was needed, the name chosen was Cainan, which was added between Arphaxad/Arpachshad/Arphacsad and his actual son Shelah. To achieve this, Cainan was inserted in a story in Jubilees which was then revised; Jubilees is referred to in the Qumram texts, therefore, an earlier text must have been amended. Jubilees became part of the Greek writings and the intention must have been to have it be treated as a legitimate alternative to the Hebrew Bible.

However, the later church leaders must have considered Jubilees too suspect as it was not included in the Septuagint or the Apocrypha, only the Pseudepigrapha. In the account of Cainan in Jubilees 8.1.8 (ref: Charlesworth, Vol.2 page 71) Arphaxad is presented as having married a daughter of Susan (a form of Susanna?) and that they had a son called Kainam. When Kainam married, he had a son called Shelah. The importance of this section is, again, in regard to the identity of the author, by saying Arphaxad's marriage was on the 29th jubilee. This is because 29 was the equivalent of the name Peison, the Greek for Piso in Greek small numbers (zeros omitted). With the above achieved, an ancient "Jewish" book had been created (even though it was written in Greek) to support the inclusion of Cainan in the ancestry of Jesus.

The 400/430 Years Problem Solved

Regarding the '430' years problem, the answer, again, looks to be an 'authorship copyright' number, as 30 is the numerical equivalent of the name 'Flavius' Φλαουιος; here I will point out that the number 666 presents the names 'Christ/Flavius Josephus' (ref: Creating Christianity A Weapon Of Ancient Rome, page 258-260; Academic Review of Creating Christianity, page 4-5)

The numbers revealing the names 'Piso'; Kalpournios; and 'Flavius' are important. Those who are familiar with my investigations into the claims of a Roman/Jewish aristocratic authorship of the New Testament will know that the evidence points to an individual of the Calpurnius Piso family being the main author of the gospels and other writings. That individual's name is Arrius Calpurnius Piso

Many perhaps will be skeptical of the use of gematria to provide an answer here. But we should remember that Isopsephy was used in Ancient Greece and is the practice of adding up number values of individual letters in a word to form a single number. Isopsephy is related to gematria and the practice is used in the Hebrew and Latin alphabet.

Examples include:

In Greek, Νερων, Nero, has the numerical value 50+5+100+800+50=1005, the same value as ιδιαν μητερα απεκτεινε (idian metera apekteine) — "He killed his own mother", (10+4+10+1+50) + (40+8+300+5+100+1) + (1+80+5+20+300+5+10+50+5)=1005.

We of course have the famous example of '666', which has been seriously considered by scholars to be presenting the name Neron Kaisar in Greek (Nero Caesar in Latin/English). When transliterated into Hebrew gematria, it does equal "six hundred sixty-six". But there are multiple problems with the idea that Emperor Nero persecuted any 'Christians'. (ref: Brent D. Shaw, The Myth of Neronian Persecution; Shushma Malik, The Nero Antichrist)

Bibliography to support the above information: 1. Charles, R.H., chief editor, The Apocrypha (Vol.1) and Pseudepigrapha (Vol.2) of the Old Testament in English, The Clarendon Press of Oxford University, Oxford, England 1977-1988. 2. Charlesworth, James H., editor, the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, Volumes 1 and 2. Doubleday and Co. Inc., Garden City, NY 1983-1985.

1,413 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Academic Review of Creating Christianity

My book is currently available to be reviewed by academics in the UK through the Journal for the Study of the New Testament. However, it appears the journal does not allow non-UK academics to submit r


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page