Questions From Readers
● On what basis can it be shown that the genealogy recorded in Matthew, chapter 1, applies to Jesus’ ancestry through Joseph, his foster father, while that recorded by Luke, in Lu chapter 3, applies to the genealogy through Mary, his mother?
After both name David, the two genealogies do not agree in the names of descendants, and Luke’s genealogy has fifteen more names than Matthew’s does. Plainly they are not the same genealogies, although both finally include Joseph the husband of Mary. But Matthew’s genealogy begins at the opposite end from that of Luke. Luke begins with Jesus and runs back to Abraham and on back to Adam. Matthew begins with Abraham and runs down to Jesus, and he leaves out the names of a number of men in between. Matthew therefore concerns himself with tracing the genealogy man by man, or male by male, and he does not include women indirectly. He does not wish them to be understood as really necessary but unmentioned links in the genealogy. This is shown by the fact that, where he does have a woman in mind, he directly names the woman, saying: “Judah became father to Perez and to Zerah by Tamar,” and, “Salmon became father to Boaz by Rahab,” and, “Boaz became father to Obed by Ruth.” Neither Tamar, Rahab nor Ruth were descendants of Abraham. Hence it had to be through their husbands that the line of descent was carried along unbroken from Abraham.
Unlike Matthew, Luke mentions no women directly. This suggests that women may be understood in the line of descent, in which case their husbands would be merely the sons-in-law and not the direct sons of the previous man in the line of descent. Jewish genealogies were always traced through the males in the marriage union. Hence in such cases the son-in-law would be called the son of his father-in-law. That something unmentioned is to be understood is indicated at the very start of Luke’s genealogy, for it begins by saying: “Jesus himself . . . being the son, as the opinion was, of Joseph.” Joseph was merely the foster or adoptive father of Jesus, whereas God was the Father of Jesus and Mary his earthly mother. Matthew says regarding Joseph, “Jacob became father to Joseph the husband of Mary.” (Matt. 1:16) But Luke 3:23 says that Joseph was “the son of Heli.” Hence it must be understood that Joseph, the son of Jacob, was merely the son-in-law of Heli, because his wife Mary was the daughter of Heli.
By being the son of Mary Jesus was the direct natural descendant of David. By being the foster or adoptive son of Joseph Jesus was the legal descendant and heir of David. It was not enough for Jesus to be a legal heir of King David and to be merely adopted into the line of descent from David. Jesus had to be a direct, flesh-and-blood descendant of David. Hence it was necessary for the descent of Jesus’ natural mother Mary to be direct from David. Luke proves this point about Mary and in that way shows that Jesus was a direct descendant of David and thus had a natural claim upon David’s throne. Matthew’s genealogy shows that Jesus had only a legal claim to it.
● On page 53 of the book “Let Your Name Be Sanctified” appears the statement: “While Enoch was in a trance he had a vision of the coming new world in which ‘death will be no more,’ and during this vision God cut short Enoch’s life and took his dead body where religious enemies could not find it.” What is the Scriptural basis for this statement?—M. Y., U.S.A.
Enoch was a bold proclaimer of Jehovah’s judgments against the ungodly men of his day. “Yes, the seventh man in line from Adam, Enoch, prophesied also regarding them, when he said: ‘Look! Jehovah came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment against all, and to convict all the ungodly concerning all their ungodly deeds that they did in an ungodly way, and concerning all the shocking things that ungodly sinners spoke against him.’” (Jude 14, 15) Those who speak against God also hate his servants and persecute them. Since these ungodly persons stand condemned by the proclamation of Jehovah’s judgments, they try to get their hands on the ones who proclaim these judgments to do away with them. Such persecution was not something that came into existence only in a later day. According to Jesus, it began in the days of Abel, the son of Adam. (Matt. 23:34, 35) But in the case of Enoch, Jehovah God did not allow his religious enemies to do away with him. As stated at Genesis 5:24: “Enoch kept walking with the true God. Then he was no more, for God took him.” Apparently even his body was nowhere to be found; it was not left to be abused by his religious enemies. “God took him.” It seems that in his case God disposed of his body just as he did the body of Moses, regarding which body Michael had a dispute with Satan.—Deut. 34:5, 6; Jude 9.
As for Enoch’s life being cut short while he had a vision, this is based on Paul’s remarks at Hebrews 11:5, which reads: “By faith Enoch was transferred so as not to see death, and he was nowhere to be found because God had transferred him; for before his transference he had the witness that he had pleased God well.” That these words do not mean that Enoch was taken to heaven, as is generally held in Christendom, is apparent from the following Scriptural testimony:
At Matthew 11:11 are recorded Jesus’ words that there had not risen one greater than John the Baptist, yet a lesser one in the kingdom of heaven would be greater than John, indicating that John would not be in heaven. If not John, then certainly not Enoch. Further, we have Jesus’ plain words at John 3:13, that up to his day it was true that ‘no man had ascended into heaven,’ not even Enoch. Only by means of Jesus’ death was a new and living way to get to heaven opened up. Jesus has become “the one who is first in all things,” including entrance into heaven.—Col. 1:18; Heb. 10:20.
More than that, the apostle Paul, in Hebrews, chapter 11, discusses such faithful ones as Enoch, Noah and Abraham. In Heb 11 verses thirty-nine and forty of this chapter, Paul contrasts the men of faith before the Christian congregation with those who, like himself, were a part of it: “And yet all these, although they had witness borne to them through their faith, did not get the fulfillment of the promise, as God foresaw something better for us, in order that they might not be made perfect apart from us.” In other words, only after the members of the Christian congregation receive their reward will these faithful men of old receive theirs.
Therefore, since we cannot conclude that by Enoch’s being transferred is meant his being taken to heaven, to what does it have reference? Evidently in Enoch’s case death came differently than to the rest of mankind, for which reason it is written that he “was transferred so as not to see death.”
The Greek word at Hebrews 11:5 rendered “transferred” in the New World Translation has the meaning of “transfer,” “transport,” or “change the place of.” It seems that the experience of the apostle Paul throws light on this matter, since he was transferred or caught up to the third heaven; whether in the body or out of the body, he was not able to say. In this state he caught a vision of the future spiritual paradise of the Christian congregation. (2 Cor. 12:1-4) Apparently it was in a similar state of spiritual rapture or ecstasy, while having a vision of the earthly paradise (Enoch not knowing anything about a spiritual one), that God took Enoch away or put him to sleep. He did not see death in that he did not see his own death approaching, and therefore Enoch did not experience any pangs of death. In his instance the resurrection will mean a transition from his vision to the reality of the New World life he was privileged to see.