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More Americans Say Muslim Extremists Are True Muslims Than Christian Extremists Are True Christians

More Americans say that self-described-Muslims who commit violence in the name of their religion are real Muslims than say that self-described-Christians who commit violence are real Christians.

Eighty-three percent said violent people who claim to be Christian are not true Christians while only 48 percent said violent people who claim to be Muslim are not true Muslims.


A Public Religion Research Institute survey asked 2,450 Americans two questions:

"When people claim to be Christian and commit acts of violence in the name of Christianity, do you believe they really are Christian, or not?"

"When people claim to be Muslim and commit acts of violence in the name of Islam, do you believe they really are Muslim, or not?"

The survey was conducted in 2011 but the results were republished on the PRRI website in light of the recent terrorist attack by Islamic extremists on a satirical newspaper in Paris that had mocked Islam. (The newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, also mocked other religions, including Christianity.)

Forty-four percent answered that violent people claiming to be Muslim are not really Muslim while only 13 percent answered that violent people claiming to be Christian are not really Christian.

Republicans were more likely than Democrats to attribute Muslim violence to true-Muslims and Christian violence to heretics. Eighty-six percent answered that violence in the name of Christianity is not true to the faith while 55 percent answered that a violent Muslim is true to their faith. For Democrats, the same split was 78 percent/40 percent.

White evangelical protestants had the largest gap of any demographic group. Only 10 percent said that those who commit violence in the name of Christianity are really Christian while 57 percent said that those who commit violence in the name of Islam are truly Muslim.

The issue whether Muslim extremists are behaving consistently with their proclaimed faith was also raised in September by comedian Bill Maher.

In an interview with PBS's Charlie Rose, Maher said: "Vast numbers of Christians do not believe that if you leave the Christian religion you should be killed for it," Maher responded. "Vast numbers of Christians do not treat women as second class citizens … Vast numbers of Christians do not believe if you draw a picture of Jesus Christ you should get killed for it. So yes, does ISIS do Khmer Rouge-like activities where they just kill people indiscriminately who aren't just like them? Yes. And would most Muslim people in the world do that or condone that? No."

The survey's margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus two percentage points. –Source: Christian Post

Archaeologists Find Possible Site Of Jesus’s Trial In Jerusalem

It started 15 years ago with plans to expand the Tower of David Museum. But the story took a strange turn when archaeologists started peeling away layers under the floor in an old abandoned building adjacent to the museum in Jerusalem’s Old City.

They knew it had been used as a prison when the Ottoman Turks and then the British ruled these parts. But, as they carefully dug down, they eventually uncovered something extraordinary: the suspected remains of the palace where one of the more famous scenes of the New Testament may have taken place — the trial of Jesus.

Now, after years of excavation and a further delay caused by wars and a lack of funds, the archaeologists’ precious find is being shown to the public through tours organized by the museum.

The prison “is a great part of the ancient puzzle of Jerusalem and shows the history of this city in a very unique and clear way,” said Amit Re’em, the Jerusalem district archaeologist, who headed the excavation team more than a decade ago.

For Re’em, the building has yielded a trove of thrilling discoveries from across the centuries — symbols etched into old jail walls by prisoners from the Jewish resistance fighting to create the state of Israel in the 1940s, fabric-dyeing basins from the era of the Crusades and the foundation walls and an underground sewage system that probably underpinned the sprawling palace built by Herod the Great, the eccentric king of Judea under the Roman empire.

But for the more than 1 million Christian pilgrims who visit Jerusalem each year, the site is especially significant because it could have been an important place in the life of Jesus.

“For those Christians who care about accuracy in regards to historical facts, this is very forceful,” said Yisca Harani, an expert on Christianity and pilgrimage to the Holy Land. “For others, however, those who come for the general mental exercise of being in Jerusalem, they don’t care as long as [their journey] ends in Golgotha — the site of the Crucifixion.”

Today, many Christian pilgrims to Jerusalem walk the Stations of the Cross, or Via Dolorosa, taking them from where it is believed Roman procurator Pontius Pilate held the trial and sentenced Jesus to death, to where Jesus was eventually crucified and buried. –Source: Washington Post

Side By Side

Try not to shed a tear as George Younce sings “Side By Side” a deeply moving love story about an elderly couple’s honeymoon. You’re never too old to fall in love and get married even if you’re not quite as fit as you were when younger. I’m so glad George was able to share his feelings of being side by side with the love of his life on their romantic night. If you like this you might also like to see a Geriatric Traffic Jam. –Source: Big Geek Dad


Side By Side Song FUNNY & HILARIOUS!
George Younce & William Gaither [HQ]

~Contributed by Mary ~

A Threat To Us All:

Millions Buying into Apocalyptic Religion Pose a Direct Threat to Modern Society

We must no longer ignore the propagation of apocalyptic fables that large numbers of people take seriously.

 would like to thank Reza Aslan.  In his recent Salon rebuttal to denunciations (including mine) of religion put forward by people the media has come to call New Atheists, he resurrects a word the late Christopher Hitchens, now three years departed, used to describe himself: antitheist.  (Aslan even provides the link to a relevant Hitchens text from long ago that is well worth reading.)  Antitheists hold that the portrayal of our world and humankind’s place in it as set out in the foundational texts of the three Abrahamic religions constitutes, to quote Hitchens, “a sinister fairy tale,” and that “life would be miserable if what the faithful affirmed was actually the case.”  The reason?  “[T]here may be people,” he wrote, “who wish to live their lives under a cradle-to-grave divine supervision; a permanent surveillance and [around the clock] monitoring [a celestial North Korea],” but he certainly did not.  The eternally repressive alternate reality concocted by the religious of eons past, if true, would be, in his words, “horrible” and “grotesque.”

Well said!  Speaking for myself, I’m happy to be labeled an antitheist.  Or an atheist.  It makes no difference to me.  The point is, I do not, cannot, believe, and do not wish to believe.  I have never envied people of faith their worldview, never esteemed the ability to consider something true without evidence, never respected as morally superior those who manage this feat of credulity and illogicality.  For that matter, I have never had an experience for which I sought a religious – that is, supernatural or superstitious – explanation.  For Aslan, though, the semantic distinction between “atheist” and “antitheist” is key and intended to discredit those speaking out for rationalism and against religion.

“Not only is New Atheism not representative of atheism,” he writes.  “It isn’t even mere atheism.”  It is in fact antitheism, which he finds “to be rooted in a naive and, dare I say, unscientific understanding of religion – one thoroughly disconnected from the history of religious thought.”  He contends that “atheism has become more difficult to define for the simple reason that it comes in as many forms as theism does” – negative atheism, positive atheism, empirical atheism, and even agnosticism.  He cites an obscure poll dividing nonbelievers into categories – academics, activists, seeker-agnostics, “apatheists” and “ritual atheists,” with the least numerous (and hence ostensibly least credible) being the antitheists, who account for only 12.5 percent.  His conclusion: “the vast majority of atheists – 85 percent according to one poll – are not anti-theists and should not be lumped into the same category as the anti-theist ideologues that inundate the media landscape.”

Just how an atheist’s understanding of religion per se differs from that of an antitheist Aslan does not say.  Neither of them, after all, believe in God.  And is he saying that an atheist’s concept of faith is more “scientific” (and thus presumably more accurate) than an antitheist’s?  Doubtful: Aslan is a Muslim.  The critical factor would appear to be that unlike (upstart) antitheists, (old-time) atheists, at least as he sees it, don’t speak out much about religion.  Presumably, (plain-old) atheists keep quiet and humbly listen to scholars such as Aslan explain away the role of faith in, for instance, the barbarities that assault us daily in news from abroad.  If, however, atheists forcefully advocate their rationalist convictions, they become antitheists and join the negligible 12.5-percent minority of his poll, to be safely dismissed or regarded as an annoyance.

These are questionable assumptions, to put it charitably, but they are beside the point.  Aslan is hoping to discredit and classify into irrelevance those who publicly insist, as I have (and he quotes me), that religion is “innately backward, obscurantist, irrational and dangerous.”  Backward, because it relies not on reason for solutions, but on looking to ancient texts for ready-made answers.  Obscurantist, because it discourages searching for truthes about our world using empirical methods.  Irrational, because (for starters) the very notion that this or that shepherd or merchant ages ago was chosen by a divine being to deliver a message valid eternally and for all humanity offends reason and commonsense.  Dangerous, because (again, just for starters), armed with “holy” texts, the faithful practice all sorts of mischief and savagery, damaging both members of their own communities and those outside them.  But atheist or antitheist, no matter: what counts is the shared bedrock of nonbelief, the refusal to accept as fact, and defer to, what is asserted without evidence.

There can be only one reason that Aslan adduces his taxonomy of nonbelievers: to confuse the argument, this time by claiming that atheists (or antitheists) are busy propagating a fundamentalism of their own, and a potentially murderous one at that.  Once harmless, some of the faithless, in his telling, have been horribly transmogrified into wannabe tyrants.  He opens a brief but otherwise interesting historical excursus on the roots of nonbelief by erroneously deciphering the Greek roots of the word atheist, atheos, which breaks down not as “without gods” but “without god.”  In any case, antitheists, from the middle of the 19th century, he says, have professed a “stridently militant form of atheism,” and seen  “religion as an insidious force that must be rooted from society – forcibly if necessary.”

To lead readers to this conclusion, he presents a misapprehension of history from which he draws an incorrect analogy injurious to New Atheists.  He announces that Marx’s vision of a “religion-less society was spectacularly realized with the establishment of the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China – two nations that actively promoted ‘state atheism’ by violently suppressing religious expression and persecuting faith communities.”  But it wasn’t “atheism that motivated Stalin and Mao to demolish or expropriate houses of worship, to slaughter tens of thousands of priests, nuns and monks.  It was anti-theism that motivated them to do so.”

Untrue.  In both countries, faith enjoyed nominal constitutional protection as a private matter and was never outlawed, lingering on despite official efforts to the contrary.  Militantly atheist, the communist governments of the two countries opposed religion because it rivaled the all-encompassing state ideology they were bent on inculcating in their subjects.  This was particularly true in the case of Russia, where the tsar had claimed a divine right to the throne and ruled as God’s viceroy on earth, and the Russian Orthodox Church functioned as an arm of the state.  Lenin and then Stalin waged a decimating war on the Old (faith-buttressed) Order, with the clergy numbering heavily among their countless victims, with many houses of worship destroyed or expropriated.  But Stalin eventually had to backpedal and enlist the Church to help him rally the masses in World War II.  The point is, both Russia and China aimed to break resistance to their versions of Marxism, with the goal of establishing dictatorial temporal power.

(Perhaps, though, religion did play a part in deforming Stalin’s psyche.  He was a seminary student until he found his calling with the Bolsheviks.)

But back to New Atheists and antitheists and their alleged penchant for dangerous fundamentalism.  Having equated them with history’s most notorious tyrants, Aslan provides incendiary quotes from Richard Dawkins and Hitchens, and poses the question: “If you honestly believed [such terrible things] about religion, then what lengths would you not go through to rid society of it?”

Aslan is not alone in saying this.  Religion scholar Karen Armstrong suggested much the same in a recent Salon interview.  But both are wrong.  Rationalists – I’ll dispense here with Aslan’s spurious taxonomy and use a more appropriate term – are assertively making their case because religion, since the Reagan years, has been abandoning the realm of private conscience (where it has every right to be) and intruding itself into national life, with politicians and public figures flaunting their belief, advocating and (passing) legislation that restricts women’s reproductive rights, attempting to impose preposterous fairy tales (think intelligent design) on defenseless children in science classes, and even, in the case of Texas, recasting the Constitution in school textbooks as a document inspired by the Bible.  Abroad, militants pursuing Islamist agendas have been raining death and destruction on entire populations, with religious extremism the main cause of terrorism the world over.  Given the possibility that terrorists may acquire weapons of mass destruction and nuclear states with faith-based conflicts may let fly their missiles, religion may be said to endanger humanity as a whole.  No one who cares about our future can quietly abide the continuing propagation and influence of apocalyptic fables that large numbers of people take seriously and not raise a loud, persistent, even strident cry of alarm.

Aslan has often argued that we atheists are eschewing interpretation and reading religious texts too literally.  Well, if we want to see religion as the majority of believers do, we should continue to do so: three-fourths of Americans believe the Bible to be the word of God – numbers that, to the shame of the Republic, find reflection in our resolutely anti-science Congress.  Pew research shows that a majority of Muslims believe only one interpretation of Islam is possible.  Chances are it’s not the Latte flavor apparently popular in today’s university religion departments.  Whether or not interpretations are possible, what the religious texts actually say does matter and must be taken seriously.

Aslan doesn’t touch on this subject in his Salon essay, but he does provide a link to an interview he gave the Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur in which he skirts Uygur’s refreshingly bold questions about why he has chosen to believe in Islam, the texts of which Uygur finds “wrong.”

“If you actually do believe the [Islamic] texts,” Uygur asks, “then you’re one of the most dangerous people on the planet . . . or, you don’t believe the texts, [so] what’s the point?  Why do you” – Aslan – “choose to believe Islam, if you know the text isn’t really true?”

Dodging the question, Aslan terms Islam a “man-made institution, a set of symbols and metaphors that provides a language for which to express what is inexpressible, and that is faith . . . .  It’s symbols and metaphors that I prefer, but it’s not more right or more wrong than any other symbols and metaphors, it’s a language, that’s what it is.”

No matter how many times Aslan deploys such sophistry, it will not work.  Nonbelievers reject the comic-book cosmogony propounded as “sacred truth” by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – “sacred truth” far too many in the present day are eager to die, mutilate, and kill for.  We ask, quite rightly, how reasonable people could believe it.  We dismiss as incompatible with modern life the master-slave ethos, the affirmation of slavery as an institution, the patriarchal misogyny, the wanton punitive cruelty (check out Leviticus, for example), the vile stigmatization of gays, and the shaming of the female body that permeate the religious dogma and its canon.

We understand the real purpose behind religion whenever it exceeds the bounds of conscience, as it has done throughout history, and seeps into politics.  More than two centuries ago, the English and American revolutionary Thomas Paine penned words that still ring true: “All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”

Atheists, New and old, hold religion to be of human provenance and based on texts of human authorship riddled with human flaws exploitable for entirely profane purposes.  Once one ceases regarding religion as quaint myth or a source of comfort (albeit false) for those who accept it, and begins grasping the lethal force it is regaining in much of the world, alarm and outrage ensue.

In his Salon essay, Reza calls New Atheism “a reactionary phenomenon.”  He is right about that, in one sense: nonbelievers have taken to reacting vociferously against attempts of the past decades to drag us all, in the name of faith and our own good, away from secularism and the Enlightenment, and back toward a more primitive age.

Benjamin Franklin once observed that, “The way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of Reason.”

We all have a choice to make – with both eyes open. –Source: AlterNet

Gandhi & The English Professor

An amusing anecdote about Gandhi as a law student in England. . .whether or not it is true, it is amusing nonetheless.

When Gandhi was studying law at the University College of London, an English professor, whose last name was Peters, for whatever reason disliked the Indian intensely and always displayed animosity and prejudice towards him. Also, because Gandhi never lowered his head when addressing him as the professor expected, there were many arguments and confrontations between them.

One day, Mr. Peters was having lunch at the University dining hall when Gandhi came along with his tray and sat next to the professor. The professor said, "Mr. Gandhi, you do understand that a pig and a bird do not sit together to eat." Gandhi looked at him as a parent would a rude child and calmly replied, "Do not worry professor. I'll fly away," and he went and sat at another table [implying that the professor was a pig].

Mr. Peters, reddened with rage, decided to take revenge. On the next oral test, the professor posed what he thought were very difficult questions, but Gandhi responded brilliantly to all of the queries. The frustrated Mr. Peters then asked him the following question. "Mr. Gandhi, if you were walking down the street and found a package, and within was a bag of wisdom and another bag was a lot of money, which one would you take?"

Without hesitating, Gandhi responded,"The one with the money, of course."

Mr. Peters smirked and smiling with condescension said, "I, in your place, would have taken the wisdom, don't you think?"

Gandhi shrugged indifferently and responded, "Each one takes what he doesn't have." [implying that the professor had no wisdom].

By this time, Mr. Peters was fit to be tied. So great was his anger that on Gandhi's next paper, he wrote the word "idiot" and handed it to Gandhi. Gandhi took his paper and upon seeing what the professor wrote on his paper, he sat down at his desk trying very hard to remain calm.

A few minutes later, Gandhi got up, went to the professor and said to him in a dignified and polite tone but with unmistakable sarcasm, "Mr. Peters, you signed my paper, but you did not give me the grade." [implying that “idiot” was the professor's signature]. –Author Unknown/Contributed by Ralph

Same-Sex Marriage 'Threatens To Disfigure God's Plan'

Pope Francis on Friday in front of a large audience in the Philippines attacked same-sex marriage.

While traveling in the Philippines, Pope Francis moved into a more conservative mode and attacked same-sex marriage.

"The family is threatened by growing efforts on the part of some to redefine the very institution of marriage, by relativism, by the culture of the ephemeral, by a lack of openness to life,” the Pontiff told thousands at a Mass in Manila. "These realities are increasingly under attack from powerful forces, which threaten to disfigure God’s plan for creation."

The 78-year old Argentinean also referred to the movement in many countries to accept same-sex marriage as an "ideological colonization that we have to be careful about that is trying to destroy the family."

"Every threat to the family is a threat to society itself," Francis also told the conservative Catholic nation. "The future of humanity, as Saint John Paul II often said, passes through the family."

Ironically, Pope Francis concluded his speech by saying he was "very moved after the Mass today when I visited that shelter for children with no parents." Those "children with no parents" likely could have parents if same-sex couples were allowed to marry and adopt. –Source: The New Civil Rights Movement

Chris Tomlin - Jesus Loves Me



How Do Jesus' Two Genealogies Show He Is The Messiah?

The differences in the genealogies of Jesus in Matthew chapter 1 and Luke chapter 3 have been a conundrum for a long time. We know several prophecies must be fulfilled in order for Jesus to be the Messiah. We know according to Micah 5:2 that the Messiah must be born in Bethlehem, and Jesus was born in Bethlehem. We know that because of the Abrahamic covenant that the Messiah must come through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as opposed to Abraham and Ishmael or Isaac and Esau. Both genealogies have Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Because of the Davidic covenant we know that the Messiah must be from the line of David, and many people also believe that the Messiah must come through the line of Solomon (1Kings 2:4, 1Kings 9:5). Is Jesus a descendent of David, from the tribe of Judah, and the legal and spiritual heir to the throne? Why is the genealogy in Matthew different than the genealogy and Luke? Does the Messiah have to come to the line of Solomon or just David? So many questions must be answered to show that Jesus is the legal, Royal and spiritual heir to the throne.

Let's start with the genealogy of Matthew chapter 1. Matthew was concerned with showing the genealogy of the Messiah through Jewish eyes. Matthew's purpose is to show that Jesus carried the proper Jewish credentials to be the Jewish Messiah. Thus, Matthew focuses on Jesus from Abraham through David. The genealogy provided by Matthew is clearly that of Joseph the husband of Mary and the legal father of Jesus the Messiah. As required by Scripture, Joseph was of the tribe of Judah from the line of David and even from the line of Solomon. But two problems arise with Joseph's genealogy; the curse of Jeconiah and the fact that Joseph was not Jesus' biological father. Let's start with the curse of Jeconiah.

The Curse of Jeconiah

Solomon gave birth to Rehoboam who gave birth to Jeconiah who gave birth to Zerubbabel and onto the Messiah, Jesus. According to 1Chronicles 3:16-17, there were seven descendants of King Jeconiah, who was an evil king, all of whom were carried off to Babylon during the captivity. In Jeremiah chapter 22:24-30, God says that he will remove Jeconiah as a signet ring from his hand and none of his descendants would sit on the throne of David or rule Judah anymore; that the King should be counted as childless. If none of King Jeconiah's descendants are eligible to sit on the throne, and Joseph came from this lineage, he and his descendants would be ineligible to be the Messiah.

This curse could be a problem except that Jehoiachin repented and the family line was restored. The first piece of evidence is found in Jeremiah 52:31-34, which describes a special favor that was shown to Jehoiachin after decades of prison and exile. These verses speak that in the 37th year of exile of the King he was released, and on the 25th day of the 12th month (25th of Kislev, which happened to be the day of Hanukkah — the festival of rededication — which is fitting) he was given back his seat of honor eating at the King's table. We also see in Haggai 2:20-23 that Zerubbabel, the grandson of Jehoiachin, became the governor of Judah after the exile. God even says he will shake the heavens and earth and that he will take as his servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, and the Lord declares that he will make him a signet ring because he has been chosen.

These verses and others clearly show that the curse had been broken and reversed. Even the rabbis understand that the curse has been reversed. From one of the Jewish writings called the Pesikta, Rabbi Kahanna, 24:11 states, I accepted the repentance of Jeconiah: should I not accept your repentance? When God restores he restores fully. The curse had been broken through the obedience of King Jeconiah's grandson and all descending from that lineage were now eligible for the throne of David and could possibly be the Messiah.

Jesus as Joseph's Legal Heir

With the establishment that the curse on Solomon's line had been broken, Jesus as the son of Joseph had legal standing to be the Messiah. However, Joseph is not the biological father of Jesus. So would the adoption of Jesus by Joseph give him the legal standing he needed to be born of David through Solomon? Jesus was clearly known as a son of Joseph throughout his life. Matthew 1:18 says that Joseph accepted Jesus as his son. In Luke 4:22 as the crowd is amazed that Jesus is gracious words they ask, "Isn't this Joseph's son?" Again we see a reference to Jesus as the son of Joseph in John 6:42. So throughout his life he was clearly seen as the son of Joseph. According to Jewish law, if the mother is Jewish the child is Jewish, so Joseph was established as the legal adoptive father of Jesus giving him legal authority as Messiah.

Based on the authority of Jewish law and Scripture, Jesus had a legal claim to be the Messiah because he was born in Bethlehem, he was a son of David, through Solomon, of the tribe of Judah and legally the son of Joseph. Some will not accept the legal argument that Jesus had a right to claim to be the Messiah because Joseph was not his biological father. This brings us to the genealogy listed in Luke chapter 3. Was Mary a descendant of King David?

The Genealogy of Mary

The genealogy listed in Luke chapter 3 is that of Mary the mother of Jesus. Luke, concerned not just with the Jewish aspect of Jesus as Messiah but the larger aspect of Jesus as the Savior of the world, takes his genealogy all the way back to Adam and to God. There are no signs of any debate about the Davidic lineage of Jesus in any of the early sources, suggesting that Mary's Davidic background was well known. In Luke 1:32, Gabriel's words to Mary show that she honestly was a descendent of David, since she is being informed that the son to be conceived within her as a virgin will inherit the throne of his father David: "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David." Luke identifies Mary's father, Heli, as Joseph's father in Jewish genealogy because Mary had no brothers.

Now there are concerns that because Joseph was not the biological father of Jesus that Mary must come from the line of David through Solomon in order to give Jesus proper authority to be the Messiah. But Luke clearly shows that Solomon's older brother Nathan is in the line of Mary. Others claim that Mary was not from the tribe of Judah but from the tribe of Levi because she was related to Elizabeth who was married to Zechariah who was a priest and the parents of John the Baptist. So these difficulties must be overcome in order for us to see that Jesus has legal authority to be the Messiah.

Of Covenants and Kings

We must understand the difference in conditional and unconditional covenants and promises of God. God gave to David the unconditional covenant that one of his descendants would reign on the throne forever. David needed to do nothing but sire children in order for the covenant to be fulfilled. Contrast this unconditional covenant given to David — that one of his descendants will reign on his throne forever — with the conditional covenant to King Solomon about his heir apparent. We see many Scriptures where Solomon is told that the royal line will come through Solomon. In 2Samuel 7:14 the prophet Nathan is telling David that after he dies, God will raise up one of his offspring to succeed him, one coming from his own body, and his kingdom will be established. Further this heir is the one who will build a house for the name of the Lord, and God says that he will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. The Lord goes on to say that when he does wrong the Lord will punish him but will never take away his love the way he did from Saul, the first king of Israel. God tells David through the prophet Nathan that David's house and kingdom will endure forever before God; his throne will be established forever. Notice that the promises are made to King David and that it is King David's line that would forever be established on the throne. God is speaking only of David, not Solomon.

Now the assumption is that because Solomon built the house for God that the Messiah must come as a descendant of Solomon. And there are Scriptures such as 1Chronicles 17:11-14 and 2Samuel 7, which indicate that Solomon will be the line from which the Messiah would come. However, the promise that Solomon's seed would forever remain on the throne was conditional. Consider 1Chronicles 28:7 and 1Kings 9:4-9, where God speaks directly to Solomon. God makes it clear that in order for Solomon's line to continue in kingship they must never turn from God or serve other gods. God tells Solomon he must observe all his decrees and laws, and then he will establish the royal throne over Israel forever, but Solomon clearly did not follow the counsel of God. Solomon had hundreds of wives and concubines and he frequently sinned against the commands of God.

The divine threat here is so emphatic that Hebrew scholar Ziony Zevit claims that God actually refused Solomon's request in 1Kings 8:25-26 for an unconditional guarantee. In that passage Solomon prayed his very promise back to the Lord — namely that David would never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel. God tells Solomon that there are conditions, and that the breaking of those conditions would actually result in the exile of the people and the destruction of the Temple. Both of these events happened. The people of Israel were exiled to Babylon and the Temple was destroyed.

The Hebrew Scriptures are absolutely clear on this: what is required for one to be the Messiah is to be from the lineage of David, not Solomon. There are many, many references to the throne of David and the Son of David, but not one reference to the son of Solomon. Solomon's throne was not established forever; David's was. All subsequent kings were said to sit on the throne of David not on the throne of Solomon. Solomon's kingdom was not one that was established forever; Solomon had conditions for his linage to remain on the throne that he broke.

The messianic line was promised through David and not Solomon as we can see clearly in the Psalms: Psalm 89:3-4 God says he has "sworn to David my servant that I will establish your line forever"; Psalm 89:35-37 God says "and I will not lie to David that his line will continue forever and his throne and before me like the sun"; Psalm 132:11-12 the Lord swore an oath to David, "a sure oath that he will not revoke; one of your own descendants I will place on your throne — if your sons keep my covenant and the statues I teach them, then their sons will sit on your throne forever and ever. Notice it is David's throne forever and ever."

Every reference about the eternity of the throne is from the name of David not Solomon. Jeremiah 33:17: "For this is what the Lord says: 'David will never fail to have a man sits on the throne of the house of Israel.'" Consider Jeremiah 17:24-25, which says if the people obey the Sabbath, "then kings who sit on David's throne will come through the gates of the city with their officials." Again David's throne, not Solomon's throne. To whom much is given much is expected and Solomon did not to fulfill the expectation. Even in Jewish law and the Talmud there is no reference that the Messiah must come through the line of Solomon. Not one statement can be found in any of the writings of the rabbis to support the need for the Messiah to come to the line of Solomon. It is significant to note that even Rabbi Moses Maimonides, one of the leading voices in rabbinic Judaism, omitted any reference to the Messiah's supposed need to be of Solomonic descent in his authoritative law code called the Mishneh Torah. It simply was not an issue.

So the fact that Mary came through the line of Nathan, Solomon's brother, is not an issue. Although in the third century a rabbi named Shimon bar Yochai wrote a book called the Zohar. Jewish mystics and those who often spiritualize the Hebrew Scriptures use the Zohar. Many rabbis have added to the Zohar over the centuries, just like the Talmud — the Jewish oral law and traditions. Zohar 3:173b actually states that the mother of the Messiah will be the wife of Nathan, Hephzibah, the mother of Amiel.

Interestingly, a book called Sefer Jerubbabel (written during the medieval times) states that Nathan died childless and therefore all of Nathan's children were fathered by Solomon. The belief is based on her name — Hephzibah, which means "my delight is in her" — and Isaiah 62:4.

"You that bring good tidings to Zion" is Hephzibah, the wife of Nathan son of David, who is the mother of Messiah, Menachem son of Amiel, who was her descendant. She shall go out and bring the tidings about redemption and she is part of the general meaning of: "You that bring good tidings to Zion." Zohar III:173b, Parashat Shlach Lekha 45:298.

It is remarkable that the Zohar, out of the ten sons of David, focuses on Nathan, just as the Gospel of Luke does. Chabad.org notes the brilliant commentary of R' Reuven Margolies on this difficult passage in the Zohar:

    The famed 20th-century Jewish scholar and kabbalist Rabbi Reuven Margolies explains that the Zohar is careful to describe the Moshiach (Messiah) as being a descendant of Nathan's wife, rather than of Nathan himself. Nathan had passed away childless, and Solomon his brother married his widow, according to the laws of yibum, levirate marriage. In a levirate marriage, the firstborn son of the widow and the brother of the deceased is considered to be a continuation of the dead husband's line. Therefore, Moshiach is referred to here as "offspring" of Nathan, even though he is a descendant of King Solomon.

In Jewish Aggadah (stories of the Jewish sages), the mother of the Messiah is named "Hephzibah" which means, "My Delight is in Her." This is apparently based on the passage applied to Israel, "You shall no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall your land any more be termed Desolate: but you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah (married); for HaShem (God) delights in you, and your land shall be married" Isaiah 62:4, cf. 2 Kings 2:11.

As interesting as the Zohar and Sefer Zubbabel may be, I can find no corroborating evidence that Solomon fathered Nathan's children. But as we discussed above, the promise was made to David and not to Solomon, so the fact that Mary has Nathan in her lineage is not an issue for the Messiahship of Jesus.

Mary and Elizabeth; Judah and Levi

The other problem that appears if we use Mary's lineage is that people speculate that Mary was from the tribe of Levi and not Judah. This comes from the Scripture that says Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who we know is the mother of John the Baptist. The Greek word that was translated as "cousin" in Luke 1:36 is syngenis. This word actually does not mean cousin but simply a relative or a kinswoman. Mary and Elizabeth may have been cousins, but all we know for sure is that they were related. But if Mary was related to Elizabeth wouldn't this mean that Mary was of the tribe of Levi? The answer is simply no.

Remember that under Jewish law in order to receive your inheritance, if you are a woman with no brothers, you must marry in your tribe. Mary had no brothers, and therefore by law was required to marry into the tribe of Judah, her tribe, in order to secure her inheritance. So if Mary was from the tribe of Judah and Elizabeth from the tribe of Levi how could they be related? This is all speculation because the Scripture does not clarify. But it could have been that the mother of Mary and the mother of Elizabeth were sisters and Elizabeth mother married outside the tribe of Judah and into the tribe of Levi. Matthew Henry noted "though Elizabeth was on her father's side, of the daughters of Aaron (verse five), yet on the mother's side she might have been of the house of David, for those two families often intermarried, as an earnest of the uniting of the royalty and the priesthood of Messiah." However Mary and Elizabeth were related, they would still be of their father's tribe, the house of David in the house of Aaron respectively, by way of their father's ancestry. This concept is confirmed in Numbers 36:8, which states that when a man had only daughters they were required to marry a member of their own tribe otherwise it would cause problems with the inheritance of the land (see also Numbers 27:1-11; 36:1-13).

Interestingly, if the mother of Mary came from the tribe of Aaron, and Mary's father came from the tribe of Judah, this would give Jesus double standing and authority to be the Messiah as he has a right to be both a priest and a king. We know that Jesus was no ordinary man because he had to be both David's son and David's Lord. Messiah has to be both descended from an earthly king and yet descended from the heavenly throne. Jesus was able to identify with us in our humanity and weakness, yet bearing the divine nature to be able to save us fully from our sins.

Deuteronomy 18 tells us that God will raise up one from the brothers who will be a prophet greater than Moses. In the midrash Yalqut Shim'oni, rabbinic writings, it states that the Messiah will come forth from David and will be higher than Abraham, lifted up above Moses, and loftier than the ministering angels based on Isaiah 52:13. So Jesus fulfills all the requirements from a genealogical and a legal standpoint because he was all three, Prophet, Priest, and King.

Jesus the Messiah

One need not look any further than the baptism of Jesus to see the truth of his being the Messiah. When Jesus came to be baptized by John, the entire Trinity was there providing proof that Jesus is the legal, Royal, and spiritual fulfillment of Messiah. In John 1, John sees Jesus coming and cried out, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" And John testifies that he sees the Holy Spirit alighting like a dove and coming to rest on Jesus. And then recorded by John and Matthew the voice from heaven says, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." The testimony of those who witnessed the baptism of Jesus, who saw the Holy Spirit come upon him and who heard the voice of God cry out from heaven above that Jesus was the beloved Son of God, proves his Messiahship. There are so many more Scriptures and prophecies that Jesus the filled as proof of his legal and lawful claim to be the Messiah.

Even the Jewish rabbis, in the Talmud, tractate Sanhedrin 98a, record this question: Will the Messiah, the Son of David, come with the clouds of heaven, as indicated in Daniel 7:13-14, or will he come riding on a donkey, as it is written in Zechariah 9:9? The Talmud says that if we are worthy, he will come in the clouds, but if we are unworthy he will come riding on a donkey. What the rabbis failed to understand is that it's not an either or situation, both are prophecies that must be fulfilled. Jesus came riding on a donkey in his first coming because we were not worthy. But he will return descending from the clouds to fulfill that prophecy as well; just as he fulfills every prophecy, including his lineage.

I hope this clears up any difficulty in understanding the differences and problems in the genealogies listed in Matthew Chapter 1 and Luke Chapter 3. Because of the inerrancy of Scripture, both genealogies are true and correct. And every prophecy that was required for one to fulfill the office of Messiah was completed through Jesus and his heritage. One must simply understand first century Jewish culture combined with the Scriptures to get a clear picture. –Source: Blog.org