“He is of the Lineage of both King and Priest”
By John David Pitcher Jr, MD
If the first use of a word in the 70 Rabbis’ translation of the Hebrew Scripture, the Septuagint (LXX) holds the key to the hermeneutical definition of the words of the New Testament, what does it say about the name and identity of the Messiah, Yeshua?
The name of Yeshua (Jesus is the English spelling) is the same as Joshua (meaning “Yahweh saves”), so the first use of the name is found in an event surrounding the life of Joshua. That first use is in Exodus 17:9 when Moses asked Joshua to choose men to go and fight against Amalek [cf. Numbers 24:20 and son of the first son of Esau; Genesis 36:12] in Rephidim [meaning place of rests]. This was just after Moses “struck the rock” at Horeb providing water and just before Moses lifted up his hands with God’s rod in his hand during the battle against the Amalekites with Aaron of Levi on one side and Hur of Judah on the other. (The altar Moses built he called “The LORD is our Banner”.)
So the name Yeshua is associated with the battle won on the one hand of the Mediator Levi and on the other hand Judah. He is of both Levi and Judah. Can we prove that the Messiah is descended from both Judah and Levi?
The relatively uncommon word “suppose” (nomizo) is unused in the LXX. It is related to the word “pasture” (noma) that has its first use in Genesis 47:4 describing Joseph’s brothers’ words to Pharaoh regarding their occupation. Note the English translation of the Greek in the LXX where the word is translated “pasture”:
“And they said to Pharaoh, “We came to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for the cattle of your servants, for the famine grew in strength in the land of Canaan. Now then let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen!
A significant use of the word in the New Testament is in Luke 3:23 and translated “was supposed.” The word is imperfect active indicative and better translated “he was pasturing” indicating Yeshua was the adopted son of Joseph and the lineage in Luke 3:23-38 is that of Mary, whose father, Eli was of the tribe of Judah and whose mother was of the tribe of Levi (cf. Luke 1:5, 36). Another indication of his adopted nature to Joseph is the lack of the definitive article “of the” (tou) in the Greek associated with Joseph’s name.
The phrase in Luke 3:23 regarding Yeshua is better translated taking into account the first use of the noun “pasture” in the LXX, “He was, a son pasturing and being nourished in the choice field of Joseph, the son of Eli…” The lineage then in Luke 3:23-38 is the lineage of Mary through her father Eli, tracing back through Judah.
Mary’s mother was of the line of Levi because Elizabeth was her cousin (Luke 1:36) and both Elizabeth and Zachariah, the parents of John the Baptist, were of the lineage of Levi (Luke 1:5). Of note, Aaron married Elisheba, a daughter in the lineage of Judah (Numbers 7:12), so every priest had some of the bloodline of Judah although later the Law stipulated that the priest was not to intermarry (Leviticus 21:14). (Although Mary was a Levite on her mother’s side, this would have not qualified Yeshua to be a High Priest under the Law and is associated with his pre-Incarnate appearance as Melchizedek, discussed in another short note.)
In summary, the identity of the Messiah is identified in part in the first use of his name in the LXX. He is our Mediator of the lineage of both High Priest and King and is our perfectly sanctified and anointed High Priest and King who has won the battle for us to bring us into the place of rest. He is the LORD our Banner.
The illustration is a black and white sketch of the three-dimensional “Body of the Man of the Shroud” sculpted in bronze by Luigi E. Mattei and displayed at the Museo dell Sindone in Turin. A replica is displayed at the Pontifical Institute Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center (from which this sketch was made).