Matthew 1; Luke 1 – Come Follow Me

The Gospel According to Matthew starts out by giving us the genealogy of Jesus Christ in chapter 1:1-18.  It is a genealogy of the legal successors to the throne of David.  It confirms that Jesus was a descendant from David.  This genealogy is another testimony of Jesus Christ’s fulfillment of Old Testament, prophecies.  It also, allowed for the Jews to prove they were true Israelites since that is a birthright, as opposed to a religion.  

There is a high priority in Mormonism for members to do genealogical research in order to perform temple ordinances for their dead ancestors.  The Apostle Paul warned in 1 Timothy 1:4 and Titus 3:9 that tracking genealogy for spiritual, reasons as this, is discouraged in the New Testament.  In 70 A.D. the temple would come to an end and be torn down, Christian Jews would be killed.  And their genealogies destroyed by the Romans armies.   

However, under the New Covenant it would no longer be necessary to trace one’s ancestoral lineage, since everyone – Jew or Gentile – becomes a son or daughter of God through their belief on Jesus Christ.

Matthew 1:18 states about Mary that, “she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”  As a side note: In other translations of the Bible, the Holy Ghost is referred to as the “Holy Spirit.” 

Matthew 1:20 An angel appears to Joseph to declare “for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.”  Luke 1:35 clarifies what is meant that Mary’s child was “of the Holy Ghost.”  The angel said to Mary, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore, also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” 

Mormonism has a unique perspective.  LDS apostle, James E. Talmage wrote in his book Jesus the Christ p. 81, “That Child to be born of Mary was begotten of Elohim, the Eternal Father, not in violation of natural law but in accordance with a higher manifestation thereof; and, the offspring from that association of supreme sanctity, celestial Sire-ship, and pure though mortal maternity, was of right to be called the ‘Son of the Highest.’…His parents – one immortal and glorified – God, the other human – woman.”

Church President, Ezra Taft Benson in his book Come unto Christ, p. 4, declared: “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints proclaims that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in the most literal sense.  The body in which He performed His mission in the flesh was sired by that same Holy Being we worship as God, our Eternal Father.  Jesus was not the son of Joseph, nor was He begotten by the Holy Ghost.  He is the Son of the Eternal Father!”

It is heavily implied, if not directly stated from these and many other quotes that the LDS resurrected immortal Father in Heaven had physical relations with his virgin spirit daughter Mary.  If that is the case, there is no other way to describe it other than incest.  And, if the Mormon Heavenly Father with a resurrected body did have relations with Mary –  she would no longer be considered a virgin. 

To his credit, Apostle, Harold B. Lee who later becomes Church President from Teachings of Harold B. Lee, p. 13-14, gave a specific caution to those who teach about the divine Conception: “Teachers should not speculate on the manner of Christ’s birth.  We are very much concerned that some of our Church teachers seem to be obsessed of the idea of teaching doctrine which cannot be substantiated and making comments beyond what the Lord has actually said.  You asked about the birth of the Savior.  Never have I talked about sexual intercourse between Deity and the mother of the Savior.”  

Obviously, this had been and still is a highly controversial topic even within Mormonism.

At this point I thought it would be interesting to comment about the Catholic Church’s position on the status of Mary.  Roman Catholicism teaches that from the moment of her conception, Mary, the mother of our Lord, is deemed to have been free from the stain of original sin.  She did not have a sin-nature herself and was sinless – from birth.  This is called the doctrine of the “immaculate conception.”  So, it was Mary’ birth that was the “immaculate conception” – not  Jesus’ birth, which truly was an immaculate conception.

Matthew 1:21 The angel tells Mary that “she shall  bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”  In other words,  Promised Messiah the redeemer of the world.

Matthew 1:23 is a quote from Isaiah 7:14 “Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, GOD WITH US.” 

Joseph and Mary became husband and wife and it says in Matthew 1:25 “And knew her not (had no sexual relationship, so that Jesus was born to a virgin) till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.”   

Once again, Catholicism teaches that Mary remained a virgin after the birth of Jesus.  Apparently ignoring what the Bible says in Mark 6:3, that Joseph and Mary went on to have at least six children of their own.

Even the Book of Mormon confirms that Mary was a virgin in 1 Nephi 11:13, 15 and Alma 7:10.  

Luke starts out his Gospel with an angel named Gabriel announcing to the priest, Zacharias who was attending his duties in the temple, that he and his elderly wife Elizabeth will have a son named John (later known as John the Baptist.)  Consequently, Elisabeth conceived.  Elisabeth happens to be Mary’s cousin. 

We find out in Mormonism that the angel Gabriel had another identity?  But, not from the inspired Bible.  Mormon apostle, Joseph Fielding Smith who later became Church President wrote: “Joseph Smith revealed that Gabriel was Noah; Luke declared that it was the angel Gabriel who appeared to Zacharias and Mary; and the Lord has declared that Elias appeared to Zacharias and Joseph Smith.  Therefore, Elias is Noah.” – Answers to Gospel Questions, 3:141; see also History of the Church, 3:386.  According the LDS Bible Dictionary, Gabriel was an alternate or heavenly name for the prophet Noah. 

Joseph Smith taught that the Aaronic Priesthood continued without interruption from Aaron to Zacharias. I quote from Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 319 “He (God) sent his angel to declare to Zacharias that his wife Elizabeth should bear him a son, whose name was to be called John.  The keys of Aaronic Priesthood were committed to him.”  According to Mormonism, John in 1829 confers the keys of the Aaronic Priesthood on Joseph Smith as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants 13.  LDS believe that conferral of the priesthood today is determined by personal worthiness rather than proper lineage.

Six months after that is when the angel Gabriel appeared to the virgin Mary to tell her that she would be the mother of the Messiah.  Mary asks the angel, in Luke 1:34 “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man (I am a virgin)?”  In Luke 1:35, we read once again “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore, also that holy thing (holy child) which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”   

Mary says something that is quite remarkable in Luke 1:47 “And my spirit hath rejoiced in GOD MY SAVIOR.”  Christians recognize as, Mary did, who Jesus is – both her God and Savior.  She was most likely familiar with the Prophet Isaiah who wrote in Isaiah 9:6 referring to Yehovah as “The mighty God, The everlasting Father” in Isaiah 43:10-11 “I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.  I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no savior.” And Isaiah 45:21-22 “There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Savior; there is none beside me.  Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”

At this point in the story, Elisabeth who is six months pregnant ahead of Mary, bears her son John.

Zacharias prophesies about the future of his son, John in Luke 1:76 “And thou, child shall be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways.” 

Luke ends the chapter by giving a very brief summary of John the Baptist’s life from birth to the beginning of his mission to formally prepare the way for the Savior.  Luke 1:80 “And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.”

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