Jesus (as) Mary (as)

Was Jesus(as) the Son of David(as)?

Christians hold the view thatJesus(as) was the descendant of D a v i d( a s ) as the following references taken from the New Testament reveal: ‘…(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;’ (Romans 1:2-3) Genealogies have been set forth in the first chapter of Matthew and the third chapter of Luke: ‘The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham…’ (Matthew 1:1) The genealogy ends with the words: ‘…and Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.’ (Matthew 1:16) Of course this is the genealogy of Joseph the Carpenter, the legal – not biological – father of Jesus(as). Although the Gospel admits that J e s u s ’( a s ) birth was without the agency of a father, it presents a lineage that makes him the offspring of David(as). Based on various prophecies, Jews held the view that the coming Christ (meaning the Messiah) would be descended from the family of David(as) the most popular of the Israeli kings. Any descendant of King David ( a s ) was popularly known as the Messiah. The writer of the Gospel attempts to apply those prophecies to Jesus(as) and attribute his lineage to King 22 The Review of Religions – April 2005 This article uses Biblical and Qur’anic references to suggest that Jesus(as) was perhaps a descendant of Aaron(as), not David(as). The author found contradictions in the Biblical accounts of Jesus’(as) genealogy; for example, in some Gospels he is described as the son of David(as) while Jesus(as) himself denies this. [Editor] JesusWas the Son of David(as)?(as) By Iqbal Ahmad Najam – Yorkshire, UK David. Similarly an attempt is made in the gospel of Luke to prove that John was also a descendant of the family of David(as): ‘And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began.”’ (Luke 1: 67-70) However, according to Luke, John (or Yahya(as) according to the Holy Qur’an) descended not from the family of David(as) but from the tribe Levi and was a descendant of Amram or Imran(as): ‘In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias of the course of Abia.’ (Luke 1:5) The Old Testament tells us that Abia (or Abijah) descended from the sons of Aaron: ‘The Sons of Amram: Aaron and Moses. Aaron was set apart to consecrate the most holy things that he and his sons forever should burn incense before the Lord.’ (I Chronicles 23:13) ‘The division of the sons of Aaron were these(1)….the eight to Abijah (10)…these had as their appointed duty in their service to come into the house of the Lord.’ (I Chronicles 24: 1-19) It can be inferred from the correspondence between the information given in the Old Testament and the statement of Luke that Zacharias(as) was from the division of Abia, while Abia was from the division of the sons of Aaron(as) and Aaron(as) was the son of Amram. Therefore, Zacharias(as) and likewise his son, John or Yahya, was the descendant of Amram, not David(as). There is another statement concerning Elizabeth, the mother of John: 23 WAS JESUS (AS) THE SON OF DAVID(AS)? The Review of Religions – April 2005 ‘In the days of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zachariah of the division of Abia and he had a wife of the daughter of Aaron and her name was Elizabeth.’ (Luke 1:5) Elizabeth was the very lady who had a kinship with Mary the mother of Jesus(as): ‘And behold your kinswoman (or cousin as in King James Version) Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son.’ Luke (1:36) Hence, Jesus( a s ), who was born without a father as the New Testament acknowledges, cannot be attributed to a family or genealogical tree except with reference to his mother. It is indiscreet to attribute him to an ancestry to which he does not belong. It is clearly stated in Matthew that the genealogy described is that of Joseph the husband of Mary. Similarly at the start of the genealogy recorded in Luke it is stated that: ‘Jesus, when he began his m i n i s t r y, was about thirty years of age, being the son of J o s e p h … . ’ (Luke 3:23) As Luke clearly explains, Mary was a virgin at the time when an angel gave her the glad tidings of a son. Therefore, she enquired of the angel in surprise: ‘How shall this be since I have no husband?’ (Luke 1:34) In this connection, we read the following in Matthew: ‘Now the birth of Jesus C h r i s t( a s ) took place in a way when his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph; before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit and her husband, Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying, ‘Joseph, Son of David, do not 24 WAS JESUS(AS) THE SON OF DAVID(AS)? The Review of Religions – April 2005 fear to take Mary as your wife for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit….’ (Matthew 1:18-20) The Bible admits that Mary had conceived Jesus( a s ) before she had established conjugal relationships with her husband Joseph the C a r p e n t e r. It is not correct to present views that are contrary to this reality and to set forth contradictory genealogies in sup- port of such views. Before discussing the genealogies as presented in the Gospels it would be beneficial to examine and compare the Qur’ a n i c statements in relation to Jesus’( a s ) lineage. Allah the Almighty says in the Holy Qur’ a n : Such was Jesus, son of Mary. This is a statement of the tru t h about which they doubt. ( C h . 1 9 : V. 3 5 ) When Allah will say: O Jesus, son of Mary, remember My favour u p o n thee and upon thy mother… (Ch.5:V.111) …his name shall be the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, honoured in this world and in the next, and of those who are granted nearness to God. (Ch.3:V.46) When the disciples said, ‘O Jesus, son of Mary, is thy Lord able to send down to us a table s p read with food fro m heaven?’… (Ch.5:V.113) …And we gave Jesus, son of M a ry, clear proofs and s t rengthened him with the Spirit of holiness… (Ch.2:V.254) …Verily, the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was only a Messenger of Allah… (Ch.4:V.172) And We caused Jesus, son of M a ry, to follow in their footsteps, fulfilling that which was revealed before him in the Torah; and We gave him the Gospel which contained guid- 25 WAS JESUS (AS) THE SON OF DAVID(AS)? The Review of Religions – April 2005 ance and light, fulfilling that which was revealed before it in the Torah… (Ch.5:V.47) The Messiah, son of Mary, was no more than a Messenger. All Messengers before him have passed away… (Ch.5:V.76) And when Allah will say, “O Jesus, son of Mary, didst thou say to men, ‘Take me and my mother for two gods beside Allah?’ ”… (Ch.5:V.117) He has been declared ‘Son of Mary’ in the above-mentioned verses of the Holy Qur’an and his fatherless birth is clear proof of this fact. As far as his blood relationship is concerned he was related only to Mary and it is on this basis that he is called ‘Son of Mary’. It also appears from the above-quoted verses that he was known amongst his people as the Son of Mary. His disciples used to address him with this appellation. Let us examine the genealogies of Jesus(as) in Matthew and Luke in detail: The Genealogy of Christ according to Matthew ‘The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, son of David, the son of Abraham. Abrahamwas the father of Isaac and Isaac was the father of Jacob and Jacob the father of Judas and his brothers and Judas the father of Phares and Zerah by Tamar and Phares the father of Esrom and Esrom the father of Aram and Aram the father of Amminadab and Amminadab the father of Naasson and Naasson the father of Salmon and Salmon the father of Boaz by Rahab and Boaz the father of Obed by Ruth and Obed the father of Jesse and Jesse the father of David the King. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Urias, and Solomon the father of Roboam and Roboam the father of Abia and Abia the father of Asa and Asa the father of Josaphat and Josaphat the father of Joram and Joram the father of Uzziah and Uzziah the father of Jotham and Jotham the father of Ahaz and Ahaz the father of Hezekiah and Hezekiah the 26 WAS JESUS (AS) THE SON OF DAVID(AS)? The Review of Religions – April 2005 father of Manasseh and Manasseh the father of Amon and Amon the father of Josiah and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of deportation to Babylon. And after the deportation to Babylon Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud and Abiud the father of Eliakim and Eliakim the father of Azor and Azor the father of Zadok and Zadok the father of Achim and Achim the father of Eliud and Eliud the father of Eleazar and Eleazar the father of Mathon and Mathon the father of Jacob and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary of whom Jesus was born and who is called Christ. So the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations and from the deportation to Babylon to Christ fourteen generations.’ (Matthew 1:1-17) The Genealogy of Christ according to Luke Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son of Joseph, the son of Heli, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Janna, the son of Joseph, the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Naum, the son of Esli, the son of Nagge, the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semei, the son of Joseph, the son of Juda, the son of Joanna, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Salathiel, the son of Neri, the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, the son of Jose, the son of Eleezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Mathat, the son of Levi, the son of Simion, the son of Juda, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonan, the son of Eliakim, the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of 27 WAS JESUS (AS) THE SON OF DAVID(AS)? The Review of Religions – April 2005 Naasson, the son of Ammimadab, the son of Aram, the son of Hezron, the son of Phares, the son of Juda, the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Therah, the son of Nachor, the son of Saruch, the son of Ragau, the son of Phalac, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamich, the son of Mathuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleil, the son of Cainan, the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.’ (Luke 3:23-38) It is clear that only two Gospels, Matthew and Luke, have presented these genealogies and attributed them to Christ while the other two Gospels, Mark and John are silent about it. It is stated in Matthew and Luke that Joseph, the son of David ( a s ), was the descendant of the family of Judah, the son of Jacob ( a s ). Moreover, forty generations are listed between Abraham( a s )s and Jesus Christ(as). However, there should be forty-two as according to Matthew 1:17 it seems clear that the number fourteen has some special significance. To complete this number the original genealogies have been changed. For instance, Ahazia, Joash, Amaziah have not been mentioned in the genealogy of Matthew, whereas Ahaziah was the son of Joram according to the Old Testament: ‘Joram, his son Ahaziah, his son Joash, his son Amaziah, his son Azarah…’ (I Chronicles 3:11-12) But, according to the genealogy of Matthew, the name of the son of Joram is Uzziah. Following are a few more examples of contradictions between the Old Testament and the genealogies of the New Testament, especially the one presented by Matthew. Zerubbabel was the son of Pedaiah, the son of Jeconiah according to the Old Testament: 28 WAS JESUS(AS) THE SON OF DAVID(AS)? The Review of Religions – April 2005 ‘And the sons of Jeconiah the captive, Assir, Salathiel his son Malchiram, and Pedaiah, S h e n a z z a r, Jekamiah, Hoshama and Nedabiah and the sons of Pedaiah were Zerubbabel and Shimei…’ (I Chronicles 3:17-19) But in the genealogy according to Matthew, Zerubbabel was the son of Salathiel who was the son of Jeconiah. According to the Old Testament: ‘And Pharaoh Nechoh made Eliakim the son of Josiah King in the place of Josiah his father.’ (2 Kings 23:34) But Matthew writes: ‘At the time of the deportation to Babylon and after the deportation to Babylon, Jechoniah was the father of Salathiel and Salathiel the father of Zerubbabel and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud and Abiud the father of Eliakim.’ (Matthew 1:11-13) If the genealogy of the Old Testament is true then Matthew has added some generations to his genealogy. Likewise, we find forty generations from Abraham( a s ) t o Jesus(as) in Matthew while in Luke this number reaches fifty-five. Evidently either Matthew subtracted fifteen generations or Luke added fifteen. There is another major difference between the two genealogies. Matthew shows that Jesus(as) is the descendant of Solomon(as), the son of David(as). According to Luke however, he was the descendant of Nathan, the second son of David(as). Jews differed amongst themselves as to which son of David(as) would be the progenitor of the Messiah. Some held that it would be Solomon(as) while others thought that it would be one of the other sons of David(as). From the above analysis we can see that the two genealogies differ in many respects and these differences exist perhaps to make the old Biblical prophecies fit Jesus(as). It is on the basis of these prophecies that Jews held the view that the expected Christ would be 29 WAS JESUS (AS) THE SON OF DAVID(AS)? The Review of Religions – April 2005 a descendent of David(as). These prophecies are as follows: ‘There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse and a branch shall grow out of this root.’ (Isaiah 11:1) ‘Behold the days are coming says the Lord when I will raise up for David a righteous branch…’ (Jeremiah 23:5) ‘The Lord swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back: one of the sons of your body I will set on your throne.’ (Psalms 132:11) H o w e v e r, Biblical scholars felt that the problem arose from the differences found between the two genealogies and from the two contradictory views of the gospels. The Oxford Junior Encyclopaedia under the entry ‘Jesus Christ’ states that there are two different views in the New Testament. On the one hand he is called son of Joseph and Mary and through his father from the royal family of David and on the other hand it is claimed that he was without father and born of a virgin. As the majority of the Jews held the firm belief that the Messiah(as) would be a descendant of David(as), the gospels always trace Jesus’ ancestry back to David(as) through Joseph the Carpenter. Professor A.J. Grew in P e a k e s Commentary is of the opinion that probably all these genealogies were compiled to respond to the Jewish objection that Jesus ( a s ) could not be Messiah because he was not the progeny of David(as). (Peakes Commentary, p.701) It is wrong to set forth genealogies of Jesus(as) that show him to be the progeny of David (as) simply to win him acceptance among the Jews. Bishop Epiphanieus wrote in the fourth century after the death of Christ that the early Unitarian Christians of Jewish origin, who were called Abuonis, meaning humble in nature, did not consider the genealogies of Matthew and Luke reliable. Rather they rejected them. They held the view that they 30 WAS JESUS (AS) THE SON OF DAVID(AS)? The Review of Religions – April 2005 were altered or tampered with, Matthew in particular. They claimed to hold the original gospel of Matthew in their custody. The Holy Qur’an and the gospels agree that Jesus ( a s ) was born without the agency of a father. The Holy Qur’an states: O People of the Book, exceed not the limits in your religion, and say not of Allah anything but the truth. Verily the Messiah, Jesus Son of Mary, was only a Messenger of Allah and a fulfilment of His word which He sent down to Mary, and a mercy from Him… (Ch.4:V.172) C h r i s t ’s Family according to the Holy Qur’ a n Mary and her mother, according to the Holy Qur’an, belonged to the family of Imran. Jesus( a s ) w a s born without father and was called ‘Son of Mary’. His family was the family of his mother. The Holy Qur’an first of all mentions him in Surah Al-Imran as a chosen or selected servant of God. Then his mother Mary is mentioned as Imra-ati ‘Imran, meaning a woman from the family of Imran. Finally the birth of Mary, Yahya and Christ are described. It appears from this sequence that the Holy Qur’ a n declares them all to be descen- dants of Imran(as). Allah did choose Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham and the family of Imran above all peoples – a race, co-related with one a n o t h e r. And Allah is All- Hearing, All-Knowing. Remember when the woman of Imran said, ‘My Lord, I have vowed to Thee what is in my womb to be dedicated to Thy s e rvice. So do accept it of me; v e r i l y, Thou alone art All- Hearing, All-Knowing.’ But when she was delivered of it, she said, ‘My Lord, I am d e l i v e red of a female’ – while Allah knows best what she had d e l i v e red and the male she was thinking of was not like the female she had brought forth – ‘and I have named her Mary, and I commit her and her offspring to Thy protection fro m Satan, the re j e c t e d . ’ (Ch.3:Vs.34-37) 31 WAS JESUS (AS) THE SON OF DAVID(AS)? The Review of Religions – April 2005 Then in Surah Al-Tahrim, Mary is clearly stated to be the daughter of Imran(as) and obedient to Allah. In Surah Al-Maidah and Al-Imran she is described as a pure and truthful woman. Allah says: And the example of Mary, the daughter of Imran, who guarded her private parts – so We breathed into him of Our Spirit – and she fulfilled in her person the words of her Lord and His Books and was one of the obedient. (Ch.66:V.13) The Messiah, son of Mary, was no more than a Messenger. All Messengers before him have passed away. And his mother was righteous. Both of them used to eat food. See how We explain the Signs for their good, and see how they are turned away. (Ch.5:V.76) And remember when the angels said, ‘O Mary, Allah has chosen thee and purified thee and chosen thee above the women of all peoples. O Mary, be obedient to thy Lord and prostrate thyself and worship God alone with those who worship.’ (Ch.3:Vs.43-44) Two things come to light from the above-quoted Qur’anic verses. First, Mary was the offspring of the family of Imran ( a s ) a n d secondly she was pious, the follower of the word of Allah, obedient, superior in spiritual rank to all women of her time. The kinship between Jesus(as) and Yahya(as) is described in an Hadith of Bukhari as follows: ‘They, Yahya and Jesus, were maternal cousins according to the relationship.’ (Bukhari, Babul Mi’raj) ‘Muslim historians say that Zachariah(as) was appointed as M a r y ’s guardian. His wife, Elizabeth, and Mary’s mother, Hannah, were sisters. The rank of a maternal aunt is like that of a mother’. (Fath-ul-Bari, Vol. 4, p.364) Thus Yahya(as) was the maternal cousin of Jesus(as). 32 WAS JESUS (AS) THE SON OF DAVID(AS)? The Review of Religions – April 2005 In the light of this evidence of the Q u r’an and Hadith it can be concluded that Jesus(as) was the descendant of the family of Imran(as) as his mother was from that family. The Qur’an also tells us that Mary was obedient to God, righteous, a believer and that she had an exalted position in relation to all other women of her time. The question is why is such a detailed description of her provided in the Holy Q u r’an? Before answering this question I would like to describe a principle given by the founder of the Ahmadiyya Community, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad( a s ) of Qadian. In his book B a r a h e e n – e – A h m a d i y y a he writes: ‘Here it should be noted that the Holy Qur’an has come to remove the false doctrines of the Jews and Christians and to settle their differences. And before interpreting any verse of the Holy Qur’an in relation to the Jews and Christians, we must analyse what the dispute was between them which the Holy Qur’an wants to resolve?’ (B a r a h e e n – e – A h m a d i y y a , Vol.5, p.41) The second successor of the Promised Messiah( a s ), Hadhrat Mirza Bashir-ud-din Mahmud Ahmad(ra) comments on verse 29 of Surah Maryam: It means that O sister of Aaron, your father was not a wicked man, nor was your mother an unchaste woman…I believe that there is another meaning of ‘O sister of Aaron’. The Jews used to call Mary the ‘Sister of Aaron’ as a taunt. In fact, Moses ( a s ) had a stepsister who was Aaron’s real sister or according to some historians she was Moses’ sister- in-law and her name was Miriam. According to Numbers 12 in the Old Testament, Miriam was more closely related to Aaron ( a s ) a s compared to Moses( a s ). She objected to both Moses ( a s ) a n d Aaron(as) because he married an Ethiopian woman. (Numbers 12:1) It appears from the Holy Qur’an that these objections were raised to the extent as if an illicit connection had been established. Allah the Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an: 33 WAS JESUS (AS) THE SON OF DAVID(AS)? The Review of Religions – April 2005 O ye who believe! Be not like those who vexed and slandered Moses; but Allah cleared him of what they spoke of him. And he was honourable in the sight of Allah. (Ch.33:V.70) It seems that the Jews objected to M o s e s( a s ) marrying a wicked woman or any married woman. Anyhow it appears that a charge of illicit connection was brought against him. According to the Bible, as a punishment for her sin, Miriam was made a leper. On the one hand the Bible tells us that both Aaron ( a s ) and Miriam objected against Moses( a s ), but on the other hand, only Miriam was punished, whereas Aaron( a s ) w a s not punished. This proves that as usual, the name of Aaron( a s ) h a s been mentioned in the Bible just to criticise the prophets…. Therefore I think that they taunted Mary by calling her the ‘Sister of Aaron’ to indicate that she did bad deeds like the Miriam of yore who became a l e p e r. …So in these words they taunted her that just as Miriam had caused a commotion so too had Mary raised a problem. Miriam accused Moses( a s ) of wickedness while according to the Jews, Mary actually committed a sinful act herself, despite the fact that ‘your father was not a wicked man nor your mother an unchaste woman., So why did you commit this foul d e e d ? ’ ( Translated from Ta f s e e r- e – Kabeer, Vol.5, p.193) A Christian author writes in his book Masih kay Shaan (T h e Dignity of the Messiah): ‘They were cursed by God and even now, some people in favour of the rejected Jews, slander the chaste Mary and thereby share the curse that is the destiny of Jews.’ ( Translated from Masih kay Shaan, by M.A. Barkatullah, p.7) Hence the Jews taunted Mary, accusing her of committing a calumny. It is probably to appease the Jews that the Gospel writers degrade the status of Mary. Jesus’s(as) disregard for his mother was so great that impressed by his lecture a woman said to him: 34 WAS JESUS(AS) THE SON OF DAVID(AS)? The Review of Religions – April 2005 ‘Blessed is the womb that bore you and the breasts that you sucked.’ (Luke 11:27) Jesus, rather than appreciating the praise for his mother, replied: ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it.’ (Luke 11:28) The hidden theme in the above statements is that of Mary’s faithlessness. The Holy Qur’an refutes this depiction of her and states that Mary was a chaste, righteous and faithful woman. She prostrated and worshipped with Jesus’ other disciples. She was superior to other women of her time, like Mary Magdelene etc. It is strange that Mary, who according to the Gospels, was conceived by the Holy Spirit and angels granted her glad tidings of the miraculous birth of a son with extraordinary characteristics, yet those same Gospels claim that she had a poor opinion of Jesus( a s ) and refused to accept his claim. If a woman sees a vision and in accordance with that vision she has a child, then that indeed would be a great sign. But it would not be as great a sign as the virgin birth. Mary was given the glad tidings that she would bear a child of noble c h a r a c t e r. Her son grew up and enjoyed tremendous respect and repute. It can be expected that she too would respect and love her child, and in light of the great miracle she herself experienced, one would not expect her to regard Jesus( a s ) as insane or to deny his claim. In the presence of such a great divine sign there was no room for her to refute his truth. So the Gospel’s statement that Mary was a non-believer and thought Jesus( a s ) to be insane is a false one. The Gospels mention many women by the name of Mary; they are described as righteous and pure. But Mary, the mother of Christ is depicted as his enemy. This is an injustice. The mother of J e s u s( a s ) was superior to other women of the time. This view should also be acceptable to Israelites for any woman who has a true dream is regarded as a prophetess. Mary received great 35 WAS JESUS (AS) THE SON OF DAVID(AS)? The Review of Religions – April 2005 tidings through divine revelation and God selected her because of her goodness, righteousness and nearness to Him. And a great prophet, Jesus( a s ), was born from her womb. After him the perfect, most superior and the seal of prophets, Muhammad( s a ), was to come. Wherry claims that the Holy Q u r’an sets forth false events. But here the facts presented by the Holy Qur’an are 100% true and appeal to the intellect. It can be easily understood that the writers of the Gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, have disparaged the mother of Christ merely to present themselves as the true servants of God. But the Qur’ a n has made the facts quite clear. Mary witnessed her son advancing rapidly in wisdom and knowledge. When Jesus( a s ) made his claim to prophethood she accepted the truth of his claim. A saying of Jesus ( a s ), written in the gospel of Thomas, discovered in Nag Hamadi in Egypt, proves the truth of the Qur’anic statements about Mary: ‘Whoever does not hate [father] and mother as I do cannot be my [disciple], and whoever does [not] love [father and] mother as I do cannot be my [disciple]. For my mother […], but my true [mother] gave me life.’ (Gospel of Thomas 101) This reveals that Jesus( a s ) called his mother true and that is exactly in accordance with Qur’anic state- ments about her. C h r i s t ’s Family According to the B i b l e Amram, or Imran( a s ), is the name of the father of Moses( a s ), Aaron( a s ) a n d their sister Miriam, and is mentioned in the Torah and the Old Testament (Numbers 26:59). I m r a n( a s ) was the grandson of Levi and the son of Kohath and founder of the family of Amram (Exodus 6:16-20). The family of Kohathites was the descendant of Aaron’s o ffspring. (1 Chronicles 6: 2-3) A a r o n( a s ) was the son of the family of Imran( a s ). This was the most respectable family in the Israelites as priests were selected from them. 36 WAS JESUS(AS) THE SON OF DAVID(AS)? The Review of Religions – April 2005 M o s e s( a s ) and Aaron ( a s ) were raised in this family initially along with their older sister Miriam. Miriam is described in the Old Testament as a prophetess as she was a recipient of divine revelation. (Numbers 12:4) Later on, priests were selected from Aaron’s offspring. They were the guardians of faith and the Divine Law and the religious leaders of the whole nation. A a r o n(as), Moses( a s ) Miriam and the sons of Aaron( a s ) were the off s p r i n g of Amram according to the Bible (1 Chronicles 6:3). Zacharias( a s ) and John (Ya h y a( a s )) were raised as prophets at the end of this family line. The Gospel Luke states clearly that Zacharias(as) was from the family of a well-known priest, Abia. (Luke 1:5) The Old Testament states that Abia was the descendant of the family of Aaron, which means he was from the family of Imran. (1 Chronicles 24) In the Gospel of Ebionites, the early Christian Unitarian sect, it is stated that Jesus ( a s ) was the descendant of Aaron ( a s ). (Epiphanius, Panarion 30.13.6) (Apocryphal New Testament by Montague Rhode James, p.9). Elizabeth, the mother of John wife of Zacharias( a s ), was also a descendant of Aaron( a s ). (Luke 1:5). The four Gospels do not mention the name of Mary’s mother, but in Christian literature it is Hannah, who also belongs to the same f a m i l y. For this reason it is stated that Elizabeth and Mary were near kin (Luke 1:36). According to the Holy Qur’ a n J e s u s( a s ) was a descendant of I m r a n( a s ) as he was born from the womb of Mary without the agency of a father. In other words the family that started with great prophets like Moses ( a s ) a n d A a r o n( a s ) ended with Jesus ( a s ), terminating this spiritual series. In the Holy Qur’an the chosen people of the family of Imran ( a s ) a r e praised in the highest terms. The Bible declares that the family of Imran had spiritual dignity and g l o r y. Now the question is did J e s u s( a s ) attribute himself to any other family or not? On the c o n t r a r y, if he refused to attribute himself to another family no-one else has the right to do so. It is claimed in the Gospels that he was the son of David( a s ) but what was his own point of view? 37 WAS JESUS (AS) THE SON OF DAVID(AS)? The Review of Religions – April 2005 In none of the four Gospels does Jesus(as) claim to be the son of David. On the contrary, he refuses it clearly. A blind man mentioned in the gospel of Mark requested that Jesus ( a s ) restore his sight, calling him the son of David. (Mark 10:47-52). Jesus( a s ) was fully aware of the Jews’ belief that Christ would be a descendant of D a v i d( a s ). To dispel this mis- conception, he is reported in the Gospel of Mark as saying: ‘And Jesus ( a s ) answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David? For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him g l a d l y. ’ (Mark 12: 35-37) The above quotation is also mentioned in Matthew 22:41-45 and Luke 20:41-44. It appears from the references quoted above that the Jews’ view that the promised Christ would necessarily be a descendant of D a v i d( a s ) is rejected by Christ himself, citing the fact that D a v i d(as) called Christ Lord, not son. (Peakes Commentary u n d e r the title, ‘Is Christ the son of David’). Similarly according to the C o n c i s e Bible Commentary by Reverend W.K. Lawther Clark, page 195, it is clear that Jesus( a s ) has not adopted the name Son of David… It can be concluded from the above references that the commentators of the Bible are unable to comment on Mark’s verses and confine themselves to saying that Jesus( a s ) did not claim to be the son of D a v i d( a s ). Another reference from John shows that the people of Jesus’ time knew that he was not a descendant of David( a s ): ‘Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the scripture said, 38 WAS JESUS(AS) THE SON OF DAVID(AS)? The Review of Religions – April 2005 That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David w a s ? ’ (John 7:40-42) This tells us that the commonly held view was that Christ would be a descendant of David( a s ) and that he would come from the village of Bethlehem. Jesus(as) came from the village of Nazareth in Galilee and he was not a descendant of D a v i d( a s ). Therefore in the opinion of these people he was not the promised Christ. This opinion was of course incorrect. When describing a procession near Jerusalem, the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 21:9) quotes the disciples as calling Jesus( a s ) the son of David( a s ). The same procession is described in Mark 11:9-10, (the oldest of the four gospels), but that title is not used. This indicates that the title son of David was perhaps a latter addition. It becomes quite clear from the above arguments that Jesus( a s ) w a s the descendant of Imran(as) not King D a v i d( a s ) and the common people also had the same view as mentioned in the Gospel. The Holy Q u r’an declares him to be from the family of Imran( a s ) and mentions that his disciples used to call him the ‘Son of Mary’. 39 WAS JESUS (AS) THE SON OF DAVID(AS)? The Review of Religions – April 2005 Advertise your business in The Review of Religions and see sales scale to new heights. Existing adverts can be placed and sponsorship on regular features is available in this longest running worldwide Muslim monthly magazine in the English language. Rates available on request from the Manager at: The Review of Religions 16 Gressenhall Road, London SW18 5QL