An exhaustive study of the genealogies in the Bible confirms this hypothesis and is based on the following:
1) –We cannot find in the New Testament (NT) that Jesus ever said he was born of a virgin.
2) –Mark and John, two of the four official gospels, do not mention Jesus’ Virgin Birth
3) –Paul, who wrote half of the books of the NT, does not mention Jesus’ Virgin Birth and even contradicts it by saying that Jesus was a descendant of David "according to the flesh" (Rm1:3)
4) –Matthew and Luke[i], the two official gospels that refer to a mystery regarding Jesus’ birth, offer genealogies that neither coincide in the amount of generations nor in all the names. (Mt1: 1-17 /Lk: 23-38).
5) –The genealogies in the gospels try to demonstrate that Jesus was the Messiah. Since the Jews expected the Messiah to be a descendant of King David, it is surprising that Matthew starts with Abraham and ends with Jesus, while Luke starts with Jesus and goes back all the way to Adam of whom he says, “Adam, son of God.”[ii]
6) –Matthew and Luke both mention Joseph, but neither of them claim he was the father of Jesus. Matthew says, "…Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born.” Luke says "Jesus was, as was believed, the son of Joseph...” The assumption that this suggests that Jesus was born of a virgin makes little sense, since Jesus then has nothing to do with that special lineage that goes all the way from King David to Joseph.
7) –Matthew and Luke offer a different father for Joseph. Whereas Matthew says “Jacob begat Joseph”, Luke says, “Jesus was, as was believed, the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of…”
8) –Because of extramarital affairs some lineages are real and others supposed: the father of a child is not necessarily the mother's partner. The genealogies in the Bible recognize this reality: Matthew offers the real lineages, since they are based on the 'father begot son' principle while Luke offers the supposed lineages, since they start with "Jesus was, as was believed, the son of ..." This is why Matthew and Luke offer a different father for Joseph.
9) –When we compare Jesus’ real lineage in Matthew with Jesus’ supposed lineage in Luke we see that on several occasions they diverge from each other before converging again several generations later. An incorrect link in a genealogy (when the husband of a woman is not the father of her son) makes us follow the wrong lineage. However, several generations going back in time, this false lineage may again coincide with the real lineage, since two sons may have the same father.
One example is that after Joseph, instead of offering the real genealogies through Jacob, Saint Luke offers the genealogies of Heli, the husband of Joseph’s mother. But that false lineage coincides again with Joseph’s real lineage due to the fact that Nathan (an ancestor of Heli) and Salomon (an ancestor of Jacob) are both sons of David.
10) –Matthew mentions in his genealogy for Jesus four women – Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and Tamar – and we find in the Old Testament that all had extramarital affairs. This information doesn’t fit well with the idea that Jesus was born of a virgin. On the contrary, it seems to prepare us for what we will discover about Jesus’ parents.
11) –Matthew’s genealogy for Jesus ends with an enigma. It says, "... Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born. So the amount of generations is: 14 from Abraham to David, 14 from David to the Babylonian deportation; and 14 from the Babylonian deportation to Jesus. Why doesn’t Matthew say, “Joseph begat Jesus”? What is so important about dividing the genealogies between Abraham and Jesus in groups of 14 generations? Why does Matthew refer to three people (Abraham, David and Jesus) and one event when he encourages us to divide these generations in groups of 14?
12) –The traditional division is: Abraham/David, David/Josiah and Jeconiah/Jesus. There is however something not quite right about separating the generations in this way. While in the second column we again calculate the generation of David, we do not do so in the third column with the generation of Josiah.
13) –Matthew suggests that every 14 generations this special lineage, always from father to son, produces someone very important: Abraham, David and Jesus are all very important figures: God offered Abraham a covenant; David founded a kingdom and God said that the Messiah would be a descendant of him; Josiah imposed an important religious reformation; and Jesus did something similar.
By starting Jesus’ genealogy with Abraham, Matthew not only encourages us to find out who marks the Babylonian deportation, but also who is separated 14 generations from him going back in time. When we complete the genealogies in Matthew with those in Genesis that are also based on the ‘father begat son’ principle (Gn5:3-32 and Gn11:10-26) we find Enoch is the person who is separated 14 generations from Abraham going back in time, and he is also very special. Genesis says of him: “….In all, Enoch lived for 365 years. Enoch walked with God, then was no more, because God took him.”
When we include both the first and the last generation when we count the 14 that go from the deportation to Babylon to Jesus Christ, we get the following division: Enoch/Abraham, Abraham/David, David/Josiah and Josiah/Joseph. Since Josiah marks the Babylonian deportation, and there are 14 generations from him to Joseph, the fact that Matthew says there are 14 generations from the Babylonian deportation to Jesus, means that Joseph and Jesus belong to the same generation. This is possible when Jacob first had Joseph, and later, when this son reached adulthood, he had Jesus from Joseph's wife Mary, his daughter-in-law.
14) –In case Jesus was the son of Jacob, he was a descendant of David and Matthew's genealogy makes sense: it traces Jesus’ lineage back to David, because the Messiah was supposed to be a descendant of him; it lists 4 adulterous women because Jesus was born from an extramarital relationship; it ends with 'Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born' and invites us to divide the generations in groups of 14 to enable us to discover that Joseph and Jesus were brothers; and it hides this information in an enigma because the Jews stoned adulterers to death and did not respect bastard children.
15) –This enigma should not surprise us since the Bible is considered a sacred book and calling a book ‘sacred’ originally seems to have meant that one recognized that it held secrets[iii], while the word ‘religion’ originally seems to have referred to reading a sacred book many times in order to discover its secrets[iv].
16) –That Matthew indicates that Jacob had Jesus from his daughter-in-law should not surprise us since generations earlier Judah, a great grandson of Abraham, had Peres from Tamar who was his daughter-in-law (Gn38) and Tamar is one of the four women Matthew mentions in his genealogies.
17) –When we compare the supposed genealogies in Luke with the real genealogies in Genesis and in Matthew, we see that Luke refers to several cases of relations between a father-in-law and a daughter-in-law.[v] This suggests that also he knew who Jesus’ real father.
17) –When we compare the supposed genealogies in Luke with the real genealogies in Genesis and in Matthew, we see that Luke refers to several cases of relations between a father-in-law and a daughter-in-law.[v] This suggests that also he knew who Jesus’ real father.
Since Luke must have been familiar with the genealogies in Genesis it is relevant that he offers an additional generation between Enoch and Abraham. Whereas Matthew says that Arpachshad begat Shelah, Saint Luke indicates that people thought Selah was the son of Cainan and that Cainan was the son of Arphaxad. Therefore, Luke suggests that Arpachshad (Matthew and Luke often offer different spellings for the same name) first had his son Cainan and later, when he became an adult, had Shelah from his daughter-in-law, Cainan’s wife.
Luke offers an additional generation not only between Henoc and Abraham but also between Abraham and David. Whereas Matthew says that Hezron begat Ram and Ram begat Amminadab, Luke indicates that people thought that Amminadab was the son of Admin, son of Arni, son of Hezron. It seems obvious that Arni and Aram are two versions of the same name. Therefore, just as Arphaxad begat Selah from the wife of his son Cainan, Aram begat Amminadab from the wife of his son Admin.
18) –The idea that Jesus was born of a virgin comes from the fact that after offering Jesus’ lineage, Matthew says, "...Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit" and also, "Now all this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: "Look the virgin is with child and will give birth to a son whom they will call Immanuel, a name which means "God-is-with-us". Matthew refers to a text in the book of Isaiah, but this prophet does not refer to a virgin but to a young woman.[vi] (Is7:13-16)
19) –In the days of Jesus Christ the people from Egypt were familiar with the idea of a god who was born of a virgin[vii] and the people from Persia with the idea of a Messiah who was born of a virgin. The gospels refer to ideas that pagans were familiar with because Christianity was specifically created to attract the pagans to the idea of monotheism. That is why after Christianity became a success the Jews stopped proselytising.
20) –At the time the Gospels made their appearance, the Christian authorities were no longer descendants of Jews, who were familiar with books that guard secrets, but instead of pagans, who were familiar with pagan ideas. When these people read in Matthew: "...Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit", they assumed that this meant that Mary had Jesus without having a sexual relationship. And when they read, "Now all this took place to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: "Look the virgin is with child and will give birth to a son whom they will call Immanuel, a name which means "God-is-with-us", they believed it confirmed their assumption. Therefore, they thought that Matthew said: "... Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born" and that Luke said, "... Jesus was, believed to be, the son of Joseph" to indicate that he was not the son of Joseph, but of an angel.
21) –When we research the genealogies in Genesis, and take into account the difference between real lineages and supposed lineages, we can discover several cases of endogamy, incest, and extramarital relations among Jesus’ ancestors[viii]. For instance, Rebekah, who was Isaac’s wife and Jacob’s mother, turns out to be the fruit of an incestuous relation between Milcah and her son Bethuel. Since Milcah was Lot’s brother, and Genesis says he committed incest with his daughters, it should not surprise us that this book suggests that Milcah committed incest with her son.[ix] These secrets in Genesis prepare us for the secrets in Matthew and Luke.
[ii] It is also remarkable that Luke says people believed Adam was the son of God, just as they believed that, for instance, Isaac was the son of Abraham or Jacob the son of Isaac.
[iii] The word ‘sacred’ has the same origin as ‘secret’ and derives from the verb ‘to segregate’. Our ancestors called the part of the temple that only the high priest could enter ‘sacred’ because it was ‘segregated’ (separated) from the rest. Since what is segregated conceals something from other people, the ideas ‘sacred’ and ‘secret’ were associated with each other from the very beginning. Therefore, when later they created stories that held secrets, they referred to them as ‘sacred’, just like the books in which these stories were later written down.
[iv] The word ‘religion’ derives from the Latin verb ‘legere’, which originally meant ‘to gather’ and, subsequently, ‘to read’. The prefix ‘re’ means ‘once again’. In order to discover the secrets in a sacred book we have to read the texts over and over again, i.e. re-read them, because this helps us to associate certain ideas with each other –in other words, to ‘reunite’ scattered ideas– and thus gain a better understanding of the whole.
[v] The prophet Amos warned against sons and fathers having relations with the same woman. (Am: 2:7).
[vi] In certain versions of the Bible, such as for instance the ‘New International Version’, we find that the prophecy in Isaiah does refer to a virgin, but that is because the changed it to make it coincide with Matthew.
[viii] We refer to these secrets further on in this book but encourage you to discover by yourself what the genealogy of Cain and the genealogy of Seth have in common. Now that you know that a genealogy can be real or supposed you are able to discover how the Enoch and Lamech that appear in both genealogies can refer to the same people. And when you have learned everything there is to learn by comparing both genealogies you will be ready for the secrets regarding the family of Abraham.
[ix] Genesis says that Haran was the father of Lot and Milcah, but doesn’t tell us who was their mother. This is remarkable since it does tell us who Nahor and Abraham, Haran’s brothers, were married with. When we investigate this matter we find that Haran had children from a wife of his father Teraj. Therefore, he wasn’t married. Although in case this woman wasn’t his mother, and therefore there was no inbreeding, this type of relation is also considered incest, since this concept refers to any relationship between relatives who are not allowed to marry. This definition may very well have its logic, because Genesis suggests that an incestuous relationship between a son and one of his father’s wives who is not his mother leads to an incestuous relationship between a mother and her son, or between a father and his daughter, one generation later. If this is true, it explains why Amos, an Old Testament prophet, while speaking of Israel, spoke out against fathers and sons having relationships with the same woman. Amos may have discovered what this would entail for the next generation.
Did Jesus create the enigma in Matthew
which indicates who was his father?
After discovering that the dogma of Jesus’ Virgin Birth stems from a misinterpretation of an enigma in the gospel of Saint Matthew which in reality indicates that Mary had Jesus from her father-in-law we have to investigate who created this enigma, why he created it and what this new discovery really teaches us.
The discovery that an enigma in the first pages of the New Testament once made people assume it says that Jesus was born of a virgin but today reveals it actually says he was born of an extramarital relations obliges us to ask questions such as, for instance:
-Is this really what the Bible says?
-Should we loose respect for Mary and Jesus?
-How does this enigma affect the NT?
-Was the author of this enigma a heretic?
-What kind of person created this enigma?
-Who created this enigma?
-Why did he create this enigma?
-Why does this enigma reveal its secrets now?
-What enabled us to resolve this enigma?
-Is this really what the Bible says?
That the dogma of Jesus’ Virgin birth comes from a misinterpretation of an enigma in the first pages of the New Testament, which in reality indicates that Mary had Jesus from her father-in-law, becomes obvious when one becomes familiar with the study on which this new hypothesis is based. Since this study refers to the genealogies in the Bible we must however take into accunt that certain people will object that one can find in the Bible whatever one wants to find in it. Therefore, before we reflect upon the significance of this enigma, we have to see whether that is or not a valid objection.
The fact that in the past people have used the Bible both to defend and to condemn the same idea – slavery, for instance– shows that this book can be interpreted in many ways. But this doesn’t mean that we can find in it whatever we want to find. For instance, we cannot find in the Bible that Adam and Eve ate other creatures in the days of Paradise.
What is true, however, is that we can ignore in the Bible – and in life in general – whatever we want to ignore. We can ignore, for instance, that because of extramarital relations some lineages are real and others are supposed; we can ignore that the Bible recognizes this difference; we can ignore that the only consistent way to divide the 14 generations from Abraham and David, from David to the deportation to Babylon and from the deportation to Babylon to Jesus is Abraham/David, David/Josiah and Josiah/Joseph&Jesus; we can ignore that in case Jesus was a son of Jacob he was a descendant of David and Matthew’s genealogy makes sense, which it doesn’t when he was born of an angel, etc.
People who claim that one can find in the Bible whatever one wants to find in it often make this remark when someone has found something in this book they dislike. This tells us that there is nothing wrong with the Bible but with these people and their expectations of that book.
Christians may wonder whether Matthew was perhaps a heretic who pretended to harm Christianity. But Matthew doesn’t harm Christianity. He actually gives it new strength by forcing Christians to pay less attention to all the hocus pocus in regard with Jesus’ life and death. It is because of all the importance that Christians have given to miracles and rituals that they have ignored important teachings such as, for instance, not to judge or to long for wealth.[i]
Christians must realize that this study of the genealogies in the Bible not only demonstrates that Matthew, but also Luke and John indicate that Jesus was born from an extramarital relation
-What this new hypothesis means and doesn’t mean
It is not because the gospel of Saint Matthew indicates that Jesus was born of an incestuous relation between Mary and her father-in-law that Jesus was indeed born of such an incestuous relation. What a book says is not necessarily true. But when we realize that what Matthew says is not necessarily true, there is also no longer a reason for assuming that Jesus was born of a virgin, since that idea also comes from Matthew. Therefore, believers now also have a reason for rejecting the Virgin Birth dogma[ii].
-Should we now loose respect for Mary and Jesus?
People who have given a lot of importance to Jesus’ virgin birth will at first find it difficult to accept that according to this exhaustive study of the genealogies in the Bible Jesus was born of a an extramarital relation. They must however realize that what matters about a person is what he does and not who his parents are, since that is something he can’t do anything about. What matters about Jesus are his philosophy and the fact that he behaved accordingly. What matters is that Jesus set an example and had a great impact on society. People who no longer respect Jesus after finding out that he was born of an incestuous relation have never really respected him.
What matters about Mary is that she gave her son such a fine upbringing that later in life he became one of the most important figures of our history. How can we judge her for having had an extramarital relation when we don’t know anything about the circumstances that led to that relation? How can we judge other people’s relations? Why do we think we would react differently when we would get confronted with the same circumstances?
A book that holds secrets
One of the first things the revelation of this enigma teaches us is that it demonstrates that the Bible holds secrets and it therefore makes sense to associate a ‘sacred book’ with one that holds secrets and ‘religion’ with re-reading a sacred book in order to discover its secrets. The gospel of Saint Matthew deserves to be called a ‘sacred’ book because it holds secrets. And we discovered these secrets after reading that book and other books of the Bible many times.
The revelation of this enigma also teaches us that people accepted the idea that Jesus was born of a virgin and later found it difficult to question this idea because they no longer associated a sacred book with a book that held secrets, but instead with a book that held the Word of God and said nothing but the truth. Whereas before people questioned everything it says, later they simply accepted everything it says.
It is because of the assumption that a sacred book says the truth that the world is divided in believers and non-believers. Whereas the former idolize it and thus don’t want to hear anything bad about it, the latter reject it and thus don’t want to hear anything good about it. Therefore neither believers nor non-believers read this book in an objective way. And therefore neither of them discovered the enigma in Matthew.
We can of course only solve an enigma when we recognize there is an enigma. Whereas revelations clearly refers to an enigma when it says, “This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man’s number. His number is 666.” Matthew simply says, “Thus there were 14 generations in all from Abraham to David, from David to the deportation to Babylon and from the deportation to Babylon and Jesus.” To discover that Matthew holds an enigma, we have to have an inquisitive mind. We not only have to count those generations, but also to acknowledge that there is something wrong with the traditional division of those generations.
-How does this enigma affect the New Testament?
The revelation of this enigma enables us to interpret several New Testament stories differently. A good example is that of the adulterous woman, which only appears in the Gospel of Saint John (Jn8:1-8)[iii]. According to this story the scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery. They asked Jesus what to do, since Moses ordered such women to be stoned.[iv] After Jesus said, “Let the one among you who is guiltless be the first to throw a stone at her” they all left, one by one, beginning with the eldest. When they were all gone Jesus told her that also he didn’t condemn her and she could leave but should sin no more.
We now see that Jesus had a good reason to defend this woman: she had a lot in common with his mother and may even have been his mother. However, Jesus’ response is also consistent with what he said about judgments: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; because the judgements that you give are the judgements that you will get, and the standard you use will be the standard used for you. Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the great log in your own?”(Mt7:1-3).
Although everyone present in the story of the adulteress admits to having sinned, it is not clear what kind of sins they have committed, so it seems quite possible that among the crowd gathered to stone an adulteress to death there would have been people who also had had extramarital affairs, but who were simply lucky enough not to have been found out.
Since it is more difficult for a woman to keep extramarital relations secret than it is for a man, because she is the one who gets pregnant, the person who had had relations with that woman might even have been among the people that would have stoned here, but whereas he could deny the facts, her pregnancy meant that she could not.
Christians associate being born of a virgin with being born without sin. But by not throwing the first stone Jesus admits to be a sinner just like everybody else. That Jesus once was a sinner is something we can also learn from the prophecy of Isaiah that Matthew refers to since it says, “The young woman is with child and will give birth to a son whom she will call Immanuel. On curds and honey will he feed until he knows how to refuse the bad and choose the good.”(Is7:15-16)
That story about the adulterous woman also suggests that the scribes and Pharisees knew about Mary’s adulterous relation. This becomes clear when a bit further on in that gospel the Pharisees say to Jesus: “Are you trying to teach us, and you a sinner through and through ever since you were born!” (Jn9:34).
Also Matthew suggests that people knew that he was the fruit of an incestuous relation. According to him Jesus once said: “…and blessed is anyone who does not find a scandal in me!” (Mt11:6). Since Jesus also said, “the truth will set you free”, we can assume that Jesus blesses those who know he was born of an incestuous relation, but find no scandal in that.
-WHAT KIND OF PERSON CREATED THIS ENIGMA?
To discover who created this enigma, we have to reflect upon its nature. This enigma is so ingenious that although certain elements made it possible to discover what it says, others made this so difficult that only many generations later it revealed its secrets.
Let us imagine a few small changes. Let us imagine that Matthew would have started his genealogies with David and pointed out there are 14 generations from David to the deportation to Babylon and 14 generations from the deportation to Babylon. In that case the division David/Josiah and Jechoniah/Jesus would not have been inconsistent. Or let us magine that Matthew would have said there are 14 generations from Abraham to David, from David to Josiah and from Josiah to Jesus. In that case it would have very been easy to discover that Jesus and Joseph were both sons of Jacob.
The more we reflect upon the nature of this enigma, the clearer it becomes that it is the work of someone who was enlightened. One has to be very bright to create an enigma that first makes people believe it says one thing, and many centuries later reveals it actually says something very different. That although the Bible is the most widely read and studied book in human history, this enigma guarded its secrets for so many centuries, suggests it was specifically created to do so only at a specific time in mankind’s evolution. Also this demonstrates that its author was enlightened.
-WHO CREATED THIS ENIGMA?
Since we know that the author of the enigma in Matthew was enlightened, we can assume that Jesus created it. Someone who creates a world religion is of course enlightened. Moreover, as the genealogies of Matthew and Luke are so similar to those in Genesis for Seth and Cain, the former being real and the latter supposed, we can assume that the author of the genealogies in the New Testament discovered the secrets in regard with the genealogies in the Old Testament. And of whom can we expect such a feat if not Jesus? If Jesus was indeed born of an extramarital affair, who, if not Mary, Jesus’ mother, would possess this confidential information about Jesus’ true father?
Bible scholars may object that the gospel of Matthew was written after Jesus’ death. That however doesn’t mean that Jesus wasn’t the author of the genealogies in Matthew and Luke. The authors of these gospels may of course have used material they received from Jesus or from his disciples.
-WHY DID THIS PERSON CREATE THIS ENIGMA?
That Matthew doesn’t openly say that Jesus was the fruit of a relation between Mary and her father-in-law makes a lot of sense: the Jews stoned adulterers and had no respect for their illegitimate children. That instead of simply keeping quiet about this, Jesus created an enigma which indicates he was born of an incestuous relation means that he considered it important that one day people would acknowledge this, which is consistent with his saying, “the truth will set you free”.
This enigma demonstrates that we are insufficiently critical with the ideas that we consider truths and also demonstrates that we must question authorities as they do not necessarily always process information better[v]. Since the belief in dogmas is the belief in the authorities that defend these dogmas, Jesus created this enigma to force us to be more critical with the ideas we consider truths and with the religious authorities that defended these ideas.
-WHY DOES THIS ENIGMA REVEAL ITS SECRETS NOW?
The fact that after so many centuries this enigma finally reveals its secrets encourages us to ask whether there is perhaps something about these days. When we reflect upon mankind’s evolution, we see that what is most relevant about this period is that we now have weapons that threaten mankind’s survival and it is only a matter of time before these are used. To avoid self-destruction we must establish harmony, which means that we must discover why we have conflicts with the other people and with the environment.
Whereas Christians consider that Jesus was the Messiah, Jews claim that he wasn’t, because he didn’t restore harmony, which is what they expect of the Messiah. Since Christians believe in the Second Coming of Jesus, and not only associate this with the end of times (Apocalypses) but also with a revelation (the Greek word for revelation is ‘Apocalypses’), we can wonder whether Jesus’ Second Coming will restore harmony by revealing why we have conflicts with the other people and with the environment.[vi] The Messiah the Jews are still awaiting may therefore be the Second Coming of Jesus.
-WHAT ENABLED US TO RESOLVE THIS ENIGMA?
A lot of people think that to understand the Bible one has to study theology and learn Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. But people who studied theology and who learned Hebrew, Arameic and Greek have ignored the secrets in the Bible, while we discovered them although we haven’t studied theology and don’t know Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.
What enabled us to discover the secrets in the Bible and to resolve the enigma in Matthew was instead humility[vii], a questioning mind[viii] and perseverance[ix]. Without a questioning mind we would not have realized there was an enigma in Matthew. Without humility we would have assumed the genealogies make no sense. And without perseverance we would not have discovered all the different arguments in favour of our hypothesis regarding the origin of the Virgin Birth dogma.
When we don’t understand a text (a sentence, a chapter, a book or whatever), instead of immediately assuming that it makes no sense, we should always keep in mind that this may be because we still ignore something about it.
Let us for instance take the genealogies in Matthew and Luke. When two genealogies for the same person do not coincide with each other, at least one of them has to be false. Since Matthew and Luke are two of the official gospels of the Bible, a book that is assumed to tell the truth, we could easily have come to the conclusion that the genealogies don’t make sense and the Bible doesn’t always tell the truth. Our questioning mind however made us reflect upon how Matthew and Luke came to form part of the New Testament. It was obvious to us that the people who took that decision realized those genealogies don’t coincide with each other. That they nevertheless included these two books in the New Testament encouraged us to wonder whether perhaps both genealogies could be right. Therefore, we read those genealogies again and again till we finally paid attention to the fact that while Matthew’s is based on the father begat son principle, Luke’s isn’t, but instead starts with the words ‘was believed to be’. When we wondered what that meant, we soon realized that because of extramarital relations lineages can either be real or supposed.
When one is confronted with a mystery that is the work of someone who is enlightened, humility, a questioning mind and perseverance are very important. Since the Bible is based on a mystery, approaching it with an inquisitive mind is much more important than reading it in the original language. Someone who studies the Bible is like a detective, for whom the language is not a decisive factor. If he is good and recognizes his weaknesses – the fact that certain information gets lost in translation –, he will succeed by asking the right questions.
When we study a subject, we must always keep in mind its essence. A lot of scholars know a lot of details about the Bible, but ignore that this book recognizes the most important lesson that mankind has to learn: the fact that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself and that asking why we have conflicts with others and with the environment is the same as asking what the forbidden fruit refers to.
[i] Jesus said, “in the same way you judge others, you will be judged’ and ‘it is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to make it into paradise’.
[ii] Whereas non-relieves reject that idea because it goes against the laws of biology, believers accept it because the Bible says so and they believe that what that book says is the truth.
[iii] The story of the adulterous woman apparently did not originally form part of the Gospel of Saint John, but was added later on. The enigma in the gospel of Matthew explains why it was added.
[iv] Moses’ law of stoning people to death goes against the commandment God gave his which said, “Do not kill.”
[vi] When we reflect upon the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, it is logical to assume that he will be a descendant of that special lineage that, starting with Enoch, produces an important person every 14 generations. Jesus’ crucifixion and the Fourteen Stations of the Cross seems to refer to how the descendants of Jesus were going to marry each other to obtain, several 14 generations later, a clone of Jesus: His Second Coming
[viii] Albert Einstein said, “I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious” and also, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”
The fact that nearly half of the world’s population –2.2 billion Christians and 1.6 billion Muslims– believe[i] that Jesus was born of a virgin because many centuries ago a few ‘learned’ individuals misinterpreted Matthew demonstrates that we are not rational and trust authorities too much.
When one is familiar with the study of the genealogies in the Bible, which reveals several cases of extramarital relations, endogamy and incest among its protagonists, one sees very clearly that the dogma of Jesus Virgin birth stems from a misinterpretation of an enigma in the gospel of Saint Matthew, which actually tells us Mary had Jesus from her father-in-law.
The revelation of this enigma not only affects Christianity, but also Judaism and Islam. By demonstrating how easily the Christian authorities were misled and how easily Christians accepted erroneous conclusions, it demonstrates how easily the authorities and followers of whatever religion can be fooled.
However, the revelation of this enigma not only affects religions and their authorities. The fact that the Bible has also been studied by intellectuals who were atheists or agnostics, and that also they ignored this enigma, demonstrates that they did not process information any better. Although these people claimed to read the Bible in a rational and objective way, they were misled by this enigma like all others.
How the revelation of this enigma affects Christianity
The revelation of this enigma affects in the first place Christianity. The fact that one of its main dogmas comes from a misinterpretation of the Holy Scriptures should make Christians wonder whether other Christian dogmas come from other misinterpretations.
That Jesus did not have a miraculous birth, but was instead born of an incestuous relationship, does not weaken Christianity, but makes it stronger as it forces Christians to pay more attention to who Jesus was, what his philosophy was about, and to what the Jews expected of Jesus, instead of to all the ‘hocus pocus’ they have until now associated him with.
What is wrong with Bible scholars?
It is amazing that in the very first chapter of the New Testament Matthew says there are 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 generations from David to the deportation to Babylon and 14 generations from the deportation to Babylon and Jesus, and that nobody who counted those generations realized that the only consistent way to divide these generations is Abraham/David, David/Josiah and Josiah/Joseph&Jesus, and therefore Jacob first had Joseph and later had Jesus from Mary, who was Joseph’s wife. It is amazing that nobody realized that with that division Jesus is a descendant of King David, which is what Matthew intends to demonstrate with this lineage. It is amazing that people who dedicated their life to the study of the Bible assumed that Matthew said that Jesus was born of a virgin when the four women he mentions in his genealogies for Jesus all had extramarital relations. It is amazing that scholars ignored the fact that Paul says that Jesus was a descendant of David through the flesh, which was important to be considered the Messiah. It is amazing that they ignored the fact that two of the official gospels do not refer to the Virgin Birth.
-Why has this enigma been ignored for so long?
One reason why we have ignored this enigma in Matthew for so long is obviously that we can ignore in the Bible whatever we want to ignore. That we can ignore in the Bible is obvious. Although it says that we should not judge, religious authorities have often been the first to do so. And although Jesus said it is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the gates of heaven, Christian authorities have nevertheless reserved the front seats in their churches for the rich.[ii]
Is it not amazing that Christian authorities have organized synods regarding the nature of Jesus but not about what Jesus meant when he said, “Do no judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged. And with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” or when he said, “It is easier for a camel to enter the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the gates of heaven.”?
Another reason why we have ignored this enigma for so long is that people read the genealogies without reflecting upon the fact that because of extramarital relations certain lineages are real while others are supposed. Those who studied sacred books, such as for instance the Bible, often do so without reading lots of other books. That is a mistake, since the more knowledge we already have about the topics that are treated in a sacred book, the better we can understand them. The genealogies in the Bible, for instance, only make sence when we have previously reflected upon the difference between the male and female lineage: the fact that when we investigate the male lineage of our father, we have to do a DNA test each time we go back another generation, which we do not have to do when we investigate the female lineage of our mother.
Yet another reason is that most of us have prejudices and we do not read what it says, but what we have been told it says. When one has been told that Matthew says that Jesus was born of a virgin, it is difficult to read that book and come to a different conclusion. How can one even come to a different conclusion when in your version of the Bible the story of how Mary became pregnant through the Holy Spirit is preceded by the title ‘The Virgin Birth of Jesus’? Most people of course ignore that these titles did not form part of the original work, but were added later to make it easy to find certain passages.
The Bible holds secrets.
Since the enigma in Matthew demonstrates that Matthew holds secrets and that originally calling a book ‘sacred’ meant to recognize that it held secrets, we have to reflect upon the nature of sacred books and the nature of their authors.
Since the Bible is a collection of books[iii], we have to realize that not all of them necessarily hold secrets[iv]. In regard with the genealogies, this study has only discovered secrets in Genesis, which is the first book of the Old Testament, and in Matthew, which is the first book of the New Testament. However, that doesn’t mean that none of the other books holds secrets. One day someone may discover that also they hold secrets.
That the first five books of the Old Testament hold secrets is obvious since they were written in Old Hebrew, a language that only recognized consonants. When many generations later they added the vowels, they interpreted these texts. Since the same combination of consonants often refers to different words these people may of course have made mistakes.
Why not only Old Hebrew and Old Arabic, but also the first alphabet[v], didn’t recognize vowels is something we will look into on another occasion. However, it is already useful to know that apparently our subconscious pays more attention to consonants than to vowels.
All old books hold secrets, since vocabularies change (what a word in book means today is not necessarily what it originally meant or what it meant at the time that the author used it), and also the ideas that people are familiar with change[vi]. Books like Genesis and Matthew are however very different because they are based on mysteries that are meant to reveal their secrets many generations later.[vii]
How the revelation of this enigma affects Judaism
Although by studying only the genealogies in Matthew one can discover that Mary had Jesus from her father-in-law, this hypothesis makes more sense when we also study the genealogies in Genesis, since it then becomes obvious that this kind of incestuous relation (father-in-law / daughter-in-law) is nothing new in Jesus’ male lineage.
The revelation of the enigma in Matthew affects Judaism because it demonstrates that the author (or authors) of Matthew and Luke discovered the secrets in the genealogies in Genesis, which the Jews still ignore.
The genealogies in Matthew and Luke are indeed based on the genealogies of Seth and Cain in Genesis. One offers the real lineage and the other the supposed lineage. Just like there is a lot to learn from comparing the genealogies of Seth with those of Cain, there is a lot to learn from comparing the genealogies in Matthew with those in Luke.
The revelation that Jesus discovered something in Genesis which Judaism still ignores does not weaken Judaism. Since Jews study the Torah in order to obtain a better comprehension of what it says, a new insight regarding Jesus and the essence of the Bible – the fact that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself – can only make Judaism stronger.
How the revelation of this enigma affects Islam
This revelation also affects Islam, since Muslims regard that Jesus was a prophet who was born of a virgin. Therefore, it demonstrates that the Koran holds mistakes and that just like Christians should now question the Bible and Christianity, Muslim should now question the Koran and Islam.
The Koran is, just as the Bible, a book of wisdom. To reject this book when one discovers something in it that is not true, is as ridiculous as rejecting science when one discovers that a particular scientific idea is incorrect.
The fact that the enigma in Matthew demonstrates that Mohamed’s revelations did not come from God – God makes of course no mistakes – does not weaken Islam. It only obliges Muslims and all other people to reflect upon the nature of a prophet and his revelations.
Whereas ‘sacred’ books hold secrets, books as, for instance, the Koran, the prophetic books of the Bible, and the Book of Mormon, are based on the revelations of a prophet.
To understand the nature of a prophet and his revelations we have to reflect upon ‘enlightenment’ and, therefore, upon the difference between the consciousness and the subconscious. Both process information, but whereas our consciousness does so by first accepting a few ideas (theories), and basing on them new ideas (theories), and so on and so on; our subconscious compares new information with old information, and thus continuously obtains a better understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
The problem with our consciousness are what we can call ‘Holy Cows’: ideas that we are so sure of, that we no longer question them, but that are necessarily true. The problem with our subconscious is that only very few people have access to it.
Enlightenment comes from a connection with the subconscious. It tends to happen around the age of 40[viii], which is when people look back on their lives and question themselves.
Someone who gets enlightened suddenly hears an inner voice that transmits new ideas. When this person doesn’t understand where that inner voice comes from, he can easily come to the conclusion that God or another supernatural being is speaking to him. These new ideas this person receives can be so surprising that he can assume they can only come from God
Not only our consciousness, but also our subconscious is defective. Not all the information our subconscious gathers is correct, and therefore also not all the conclusions it reaches after processing that information are correct. The problem is that when someone thinks God talks to him, he doesn’t question what that inner voice says.
Another problem is that sometimes the inner voice of a prophet simply says what the prophet wants to hear. One example is Joseph Smith, the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who heard he could have more than one wife because he wanted to have more than one wife. Another example is Mohamed, the founder of Islam, who heard he could have more than the four women other Muslims were allowed to have, because he wanted to have more than four wives.
But why do sacred book hold secrets?
Genesis holds the essence of the Bible because it recognizes the most important lesson that mankind has to learn: the fact that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself. Without this idea there would be no monotheism and Judaism, Christianity and Islam would not exist.
Genesis starts with Abraham, who is considered to be the father of Jews and Arabs. Therefore, we can assume that he inspired this book. Why did he not simply tell people that a society that doesn’t live in harmony is bound to destroy itself? Why did he not simply tell people what they had to do to put an end to their conflicts?
The answer is very simple: people were not ready for his revelations. Put yourself in Abraham’s position. Do you think that in the days of Abraham people were ready for harmony? Of course they weren’t, because they could not imagine the ultimate consequence of their conflicts (they could not imagine nuclear weapons) nor their ultimate cause (drugs). The world was also not yet ready for harmony because, not like today with the Internet, a lot of communities lived isolated from each other.
While the author of Genesis had a very broad view, all other people had a very narrow view on mankind’s evolution. Therefore, people were not ready for his wisdom and he was forced to create a mystery that one generation would pass on to the following till finally it reached that generation that would comprehend its wisdom.
When Jesus, a direct descendant of Abraham following a strict male lineage, discovered the secrets in Genesis, the world was still not ready for harmony. Not like today with the Internet, a lot of communities lived isolated from each other. Since he could not get in touch with all people, he continued the work started by Abraham.
Religion and harmony
The fact that the enigma in Matthew reveals its secrets today because mankind is on the verge of destroying itself, we have to reflect upon what impedes people to live in harmony.
When we reflect upon religion, we see that all religions teach harmony, but none of them has achieved harmony. Religion is even at the origin of lots of conflicts. Not only have religious authorities often defended ideas that make little sense[ix], but on several occasions they have encouraged people to commit atrocities[x]. Therefore, it is relevant that by revealing its secrets this enigma forces us to question ideas and to question authorities.
How can we restore harmony when Christians think all people have to become Christians, when Muslims think all people have to become Muslims, etc.? How can we restore harmony when Christians, Muslims, etc. are divided into different sects that disagree about the teaching of the founders of their religion?
Religious authorities are very good at explaining why their religion is better than other religions, but they ignore that most likely they did not choose their religion, but were brainwashed into it. In case they had been born in a different family of in a different region, they would defend that religion.
A lot of believers have never wondered whether in case the founder of their religion came back he would recognize his work. Imagine if Jesus came back. Would he be a Baptist, a Catholic, a Jehovah Witness, etc.? Imagine Mohamed came back. What would he be Sunni Muslim or a Chi it Muslim? What would Jesus and Mohamed think of Christians and Muslims fighting each other? What would Jesus think of Christians fighting each other? What would Mohamed think of Muslims fighting each other?
Whereas religions divide people, a better comprehension of our religions can bring people back together. How can we ignore that, most likely, not one religion or philosophy contains all of the truth, but every religion and philosophy contains pieces of the truth and it is our responsibility to put them together?
Religion versus science
Atheists and agnostics suggest to move on and to forget about religion. They claim that we no longer need religion, since science helps us get a better comprehension of ourselves and the world around us. But how can we understand ourselves, when we ignore that the origin and evolution of religion form part of mankind’s history? How can we also ignore religion, when religion teaches harmony, and we have to establish harmony to avoid self-destruction?
Matthew’s enigma not only forces us to be critical with religion and with the authorities of religion, but also with science and the authorities of science.[xi] When we reflect upon religion and upon science we see that just like believers are insufficiently critical with ideas from religion and with the authorities of religion, non-believers are insufficiently critical with ideas from science and with the authorities of science.
To obtain a better comprehension of ourselves and the world around us, we not only have to question religion, but also science. Non-believers claim there is nothing wrong with science, since it studies the nature of ourselves and the world around us, but there is also nothing wrong with ‘religion’, since it studies old books about the nature of ourselves and the world around us. Therefore, what we should question is not religion and science, but how we interpret religion and science.
Whereas believers must realize there is nothing wrong with science, since it studies the nature of ourselves and the nature of the world we live in, non-believers must realize that there is nothing wrong with religion as it studies old books about the nature of ourselves and the nature of the world we live in.
Assuming all scientific stories are right is similar as assuming everything the Bible says is right. The fact that there are continuously new scientific theories that contradict old scientific theories, demonstrates we cannot be sure whether scientific theories are indeed right.[xii]
Just like most believers ignore what ‘religion’ is really about, most non-believers ignore what science is really about. Although both religion and science encourage us to ‘research’, believers and believers and non-believers are more interested in justifying themselves and demonstrating their ideas are right than in simply seeking a better comprehension of themselves and the world around them.
Non-believers often idolize scientists and scientific theories as much as believers idolize religious authorities and ideas from religion. They say that science will bring us salvation – that it will discover cures for all our diseases, etc. – but ignore that it is taking us closer to self-destruction. They ignore that science enables a smaller percentage of the world population to appropriate a larger percentage of all the available resources, thus creating tension between the different groups of people and between people and their environment. They ignore that science enables weapons to become continually more sophisticated. They ignore that not not science, but people’s longing for harmony will avoid mankind’s self-destruction
[i] Muslims do not regard Jesus was the son of God, but do consider him a prophet who was born of a virgin.
[ii] Soren Kierkegard said, “The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.”
[iii] These different books date from different eras, were written by different authors and span different genres (history, laws, poems, prophecies, letters, etc.). Establishing the canon –the definitive list of these books that are supposedly inspired by God– took many centuries. Although certain books, deemed to be apocryphal, were rejected because they are considered dubious, they too may help to reconstruct the history of Judaism and Christianity. The Christian canon is divided into two parts: the Old and the New Testament, which are now also referred to as the First and Second Testament. However, not all Christians recognize the same canon; that of the Protestants is not exactly the same as that of the Catholics or the Orthodox, while the Jewish canon is not exactly the same as the Old Testament.
The Hebrew Bible is also known as the Tanakh, an acronym formed of the initials of the three subdivisions of these texts: Torah (the first five books that Christianity calls the Pentateuch, which comes from Greek and means ‘five books’), Nevi’im (prophets) and Ketuvim (writings). Although the Talmud (the oral law) claims that the contents of the Tanakh were compiled around 450 BC and have since remained unchanged, scholars consider that the process of canonization of the Tanakh ended at some point between 200 BC and 200 AD. The Christian canon dates from the fourth century.
There are three different versions of the Bible –the Hebrew Masoretic Text, the Greek Septuagint and the Samaritan Pentateuch– which do not coincide with regard to certain important points. The Greek Septuagint is believed to be a translation of the Hebrew Masoretic Text. Around 250 BC the Jews that lived in Alexandria decided to translate the Bible into Greek, because this was the language they used instead of Hebrew. Legend has it that six translators from each of the twelve tribes came from Jerusalem. After translating the text they found that their texts matched one another. Although Septuagint is Greek for 70, this name refers to the 72 translators. The Samaritan Pentateuch has only the first five books. It is different because after the reign of Solomon, when Israel was split into two, Judah and Israel each had their own history. It is written in the Samaritan alphabet, which differs from the Hebrew alphabet, and which was the language used prior to the deportation to Babylon. Whereas the Jews, Catholics and Protestants prefer translations from the Hebrew Masoretic Text, Orthodox Christians tend to favour the translations of the Septuagint, while the Samaritans use the Samaritan Pentateuch.
[iv] Just as the best way to hide a book is to keep it in a library –where it doesn’t attract attention–, the best way to hide a ‘sacred’ book is to put it together with other books that are difficult to understand.
[vi] A good example is the book ‘Don Quixote’. Most people ignore that windmills were introduced in Spain very late. Therefore, they also ignore that when Don Quixote fight windmills, he really fights progression.
[vii] Augustine of Hippo said, “The Bible was composed in such a way that as beginners mature, its meaning grows with them.”
[viii] Cabalists, the Jewish mystics, claim that you can only understand the Holy Scriptures when you have reached the age of 40. Buddha, Jesus (the Vatican now thinks he was forty, and not thirty years old, when he started preaching) and Mohamed were about 40 when they got their enlightenment.
[x] Steven Weinberg said, “With or without religion you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”