If you don’t know the answer to this question, the liberals will tear your faith apart. It’s imperative that you immunize yourself against it…
This is the question that Harvard professor Karen L. King says she would like to see asked more frequently in public discussion. She revealed to the public an ancient piece of papyrus nick-named “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife” that is purported to have Jesus speaking the line “My wife…she will be able to be my disciple.” This is choice, coming from the person who occupies the oldest endowed chair of theology in the country.
So, to help her out, I’ll ask the question: “Why does Jesus being married, or not, even matter?” I’ll show from Scripture why it’s crucial that Jesus did not have a wife. If you read this and understand it, and if you review the verses of Scripture I cite, it will protect you from this kind of question in the future. It will also deepen your faith in God.
These liberals are tricky. They know exactly where to set the trap so that, should you take the bait, it will set its jaws upon the neck of your faith so fast that it will break it into pieces before you even realize what happened to you. They love to undermine your faith by preying on your ignorance (I speak from experience). They ask what they propose to be harmless questions for the orthodox, and they propose answers that, while seemingly innocuous initially, will multiply like a terrible virus within your soul.
I want to give you the answer up front. Then I’ll explain how that conclusion is reached.
AND THE ANSWER IS….
The short answer to the question of “Why does Jesus being married, or not, even matter?” is this: since Jesus wasn’t married, He was able to transfer His inheritance to His Church. Jesus’ lack of biological heirs was part of God’s plan from the beginning. By Christ’s death, He transferred His kingdom — legally His as an heir of David — to His adopted heirs, His church: “Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof” (Mat. 21:43).
The key to understanding the Biblical theology which undergirds the requirement that Jesus not have a wife is to understand the Old Testament seed laws and land laws imposed upon national Israel for a time. Those laws governed tribal (and thus, family) inheritance. Inheritance is the main idea here.
Those laws were designed from the beginning to be temporary, to be lifted once the Messiah arrived. Their purpose was to show forth a shadowy picture of the looming fullness of truth that was dawning in the historical approaching of Christ. The laws of land inheritance served a prophetic function, in that regard.
The fundamental issue is covenantal inheritance.
The nation of Israel was God’s son: “And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn” (Ex. 4:22). Because of that he had God’s name placed upon him (Deut. 28:10). God had made a promise to Abraham that He would preserve his seed. Ultimately, this meant Jesus Christ: “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ” (Gal. 3:16). God’s reputation in history was tied to his promise of the preservation of Israel as a nation. “To fulﬁll this promise, God had to provide inter-generational continuity, i.e., an inheritance down through the generations of Israel.”
The survival of God’s people, then, was tied to the survival of the tribes of Israel. Two tribes in particular were critical.
The priests were appointed from the tribe of Levi. They were critical because they were the only people authorized to make atonement at the Tabernacle and Temple on behalf of others; if they didn’t atone for the whole nation (and the world at large), eventually the whole world would be obliterated because of God’s unexpiated wrath.
Second, the Messiah was to come from the critical tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10). It was because God foresaw the future sacrifice of Jesus that he could impute Christ’s righteousness to individuals and the nation (corporately) and extend his mercy to them on His behalf.
Therefore, if either of these two tribes failed, certain ruin would come upon all of mankind. As North puts it, “the separation of the tribes and their continuity through time was basic to God’s covenant with Israel.”
Each family belonged to one of the tribes, and each tribe received a certain portion of the land which was assigned to it. The land was valuable. It was a source of sustenance and wealth for the family. Since God was the primary owner of the land that would become Israel, he decided how it would be apportioned. For that reason, Mosaic law strictly dictated how the family’s land would be governed (transferred) in matters of inheritance.
The firstborn son would gain possession of the father’s inheritance. If there was no son, then the inheritance would pass to the daughter: “And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter” (Num. 27:8). If there’s no daughter, then the man’s inheritance goes to his brothers. If no brothers, then the man’s nearest kinsman (Num. 27:9-11).
The crucial issue in ensuring a proper transfer of inheritance is the preservation of a man’s name. That’s why the five daughters of Zelophehad approached Moses: “Why should the name of our father be done away from among his family, because he hath no son?” (Num. 27:4a) Unrighteous men were cut off from the nation and lost their inheritance. Therefore, for a man to receive an inheritance was proof that he was righteous. His name was worthy of preservation in history.
For a family’s name, and thus a tribe’s name, to live on into the future until the arrival of the Messiah, the land had to stay within the family. The original distribution of land could not cross tribal boundaries: “Neither shall the inheritance remove from one tribe to another tribe; but every one of the tribes of the children of Israel shall keep himself to his own inheritance” (Num. 37:9).
This preservation of the family name was the point of the law of the kinsman redeemer, which required that a deceased man’s brother marry his sister-in-law if they had no children: “And it shall be, that the firstborn which she beareth shall succeed in the name of his brother which is dead, that his name be not put out of Israel” (Deut. 25:6).
The deceased man’s land would then pass to the firstborn child born to his brother with the widow. But the brother’s child, then, would take the family name of the deceased brother, not the living brother.
The firstborn child would be the biological son of the living brother, but he would become the covenantal son by adoption of the deceased brother (his uncle). He would receive his uncle’s landed inheritance and take the name of his uncle as his adopted child.
Because Jesus did not get married, he had no wife. He had no biological children. With his advent, the seed laws and land laws were definitively abrogated. As the true son of God, indeed the only begotten son of God, He is the heir of all things. “By refusing to marry, He thereby transferred His inheritance to His kinsmen. He died on their behalf, so that they could be legally adopted into His covenant line…As the heir of Jacob’s promise (Gen. 49:10), Jesus was the true heir in Israel, the son of David the king.”
North puts it nicely: Jesus extended his kingdom grant, not by holding on to it in history, but by letting it go. He surrendered his family name to ensure that it would continue in time and on earth until the end: “And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch” (Acts 11:26b).
In the New Covenant, Biblical inheritance is now based upon confession of faith in Jesus Christ instead of on family/tribal name. “The New Covenant’s preservation of Christ’s name through adoption by conversion has replaced the Old Covenant’s preservation of family name through adoption by reproduction.”
Jesus did not have a wife or biological heirs because his inheritance was intended to be transferred to his kinsmen. His name was preserved in history because he gave up his earthly inheritance by dying on behalf of his elect. By doing so, he adopted them into his family:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:3-5).
Jesus said that his kinsmen were not determined by blood relation, but by ethical (covenantal) relation:
“But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Mat. 12:48-50).
Those who have faith that Christ is Lord, King, and Savior by believing in their heart and confessing with their mouths are justified by their faith (Rom. 10:9-10; Gal. 3:24). We seek to conform ourselves ethically to Christ’s example by continual obedience to His law. As Paul reminded us, it is not the hearers of the law, but the doers of the law who are righteous before God (Rom. 2:13). And James was clear that faith without works is dead (Jm. 2:14-20). We ratify our personal covenant with God through our baptism, in which we have God’s Trinitarian name placed upon us (Mat. 28:19) and by which we put on Christ (Gal. 3:27) and invoke his sanctions which ultimately determine our eternal inheritance: eternity in God’s presence in the New Heavens and New Earth or eternity suffering in the Lake of Fire.
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Mat. 5:5). The church shall inherit the earth because Christ is the heir of all things (Heb. 1:2), and in Him Christians gain access to their portion of His inheritance.
The irony in all of this is that the liberals know very well all about inheritance. By their subversion, they have stolen the inheritance of the church in the last several centuries. Harvard, the most prestigious university in America, was founded by Calvinist Puritans. It was eventually invaded and captured by Unitarians. A small contingent of Calvinists saw this coming, so they broke off and founded a replacement Calvinist institution that they named Princeton. It, too, was eventually captured by liberals. The Presbyterian Church, USA (PCUSA) was one of the most prestigious and influential Christian denominations in the United States. It, too, was systematically invaded and its inheritance stolen by the liberals in 1936. The same goes for all of the mainline denominations in the United States.
Liberals know about inheritance. They understand the importance of the Church in history. Because Christians stood by and did not defend Christ’s inheritance, He gave it over to the serpent, the agent of evil. The Church’s worldly influence and wealth were transferred to covenant-breakers instead of covenant-keepers. It’s my prayer that Christians wake up to the importance of Christ’s inheritance in history and once again begin taking it seriously as something to multiply, preserve, and defend.
1. Gary North, Inheritance and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on Deuteronomy (Dallas, Georgia: Point Five Press, 2012), p.796.