Christian Pilgrim


8. Joanna, Genealogy of Christ

The name Joanna occurs three times in the Bible:

Luke 8:3 - "And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance."

Here we see that Joanna is a FEMALE name.

Luke 24:10 - "It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles."

Here we see that this Joanna was one of the WOMEN. ("women" is in italics in the Authorised Version of the Bible, i.e. it is not in the original Greek, but the context is talking about the women in that place 23:55).

Luke 3:27 - "Which was the son of Joanna, which was the son of Rhesa, which was the son of Zorobabel, which was the son of Salathiel, which was the son of Neri,"

This is part of the genealogy of Christ. Note the words "the son" is in italics in the Authorised Version of the Bible, which means it is not in the original Greek. The inclusion of a female name here proves that some names in the genealogy were female (on occasions when there were no male heirs). Many modern Bible translations change this to Joannas or Joanan, which are men's names, but they have no warrant to do so because we can't get away from the fact that the original Greek says "Joanna."

To reconcile Luke's genealogy with that of Matthew, all we need is for Heli (Luke 3:23) to be female. In that case, Luke gives the genealogy of Joseph through his mother Heli, and Matthew through his father, Jacob. Many people say that Heli is Eli, a man's name, but that is not necessarily so. The only other place in the New Testament where the Greek word occurs is in Matthew 27:46, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani" which proves nothing. For what it's worth, Heli is a very common female name in Finnish, amongst other languages.

Therefore the genealogies in both Luke 3 and Matthew 1 are of Joseph. It is popularly taught that one of these genealogies is that of Mary, but that cannot be, because, firstly, both explicitly state they are the genealogy of Joseph, and secondly, Mary was not from the line of Judah but from the Levites as she was "cousin to Elizabeth" (Luke 1:36), who we are told was descended from the High Priestly line (Luke 1:5 "of the daughters of Aaron").

Mary cannot be of the line of Judah, because the prophesy of Jeremiah 22:30 could not then be fulfilled:

"Thus saith the LORD, Write ye this man childless, a man that shall not prosper in his days: for no man of his seed shall prosper, sitting upon the throne of David, and ruling any more in Judah."

This is similar to the prophecy given to Hezekiah that his line will be made eunuchs in Isaiah 39:7:

"And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon."

Christ was legally of the tribe of Judah, because Joseph was (as was supposed) His father. Mary had married into the line of Judah, so lost any inheritance in the tribe of Levi. If the monarchy had still been in place in Judah in Christ's day, Joseph would have been king of Judah, being directly descended from the kingly line. Joseph died within Christ's lifetime. We conclude this from the following:

(1.) Luke 8:20 - "And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee."

Mention of Joseph is missing here, giving us to believe that he had died by this time.

(2.) John 19:27 - "Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home."

Christ on the cross commits His mother Mary to John for her keeping, because Joseph was dead and John was her nephew, and the nearest family member who was a believer at this point in time - her own children did not believe yet (John 7:5), but only believed later (Acts 1:14).

So, after Joseph's death, Christ would have become king of Judah. I suggest this was when Christ was about 30 years old, i.e. at the beginning of His public ministry. At the same time, John the Baptist sprinkled Him to set Him apart as priest. He was not sprinkled by the priests in the Temple, but John the Baptist was of the High Priestly line, being son to Zechariah, so the sprinkling was valid. Hence Christ was King and Priest, when He started on His public ministry.