James’ Bone Box
In October 2002, an ossuary (bone box) was discovered in Israel with the inscription (in the Aramaic language) of “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”. There is a very high probability the inscription refers to Jesus of Nazareth and thus the first and only physical artifact documenting the existence of Jesus. [See complete story at Biblical Archeological Review.]
The opening of James’ bone box should bring the skeletons of religious traditions contrary to God’s Word out of the closet to be reconstructed. The discovery of the ossuary should bring to mind a bone-chilling question. If Jesus had a brother, whose mother was Mary, then how could Mary be a “perpetual virgin”?
This paper will show, from the Word of God, that Jesus had other brothers and sisters and therefore Mary does not have perpetual virginity. Furthermore, while we are on the subject, this paper examine whether Mary was a virgin at the time of Christ’s birth, as many believe.
The Bible teaches that Jesus not only existed but was the son of God. Believers can rely on the Bible because there are hundreds of prophecies that were given in the Old Testament which have been fulfilled years or hundreds of years later, and many of those, including the coming of Jesus Christ, in remarkable detail. We do not need physical proof because believers have the spiritual proof. Part of this spiritual proof is the Word of God and its inherent accuracy and authority. This paper may serve to convince those who are skeptical of the Bible to reconsider its accuracy and authority rather than man-made tradition and erroneous doctrines of religions.
Speaking of Jesus as he taught in the synagogue, they said:
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
Those in the synagogue were offended because Jesus spoke the truth. The truth of God’s Word will offend some and we cannot apologize for that. This verse says Jesus had at least four brothers and two sisters. Actually, these are half-siblings, since the seed that impregnated Mary to create Jesus was the Holy Spirit, while the seed that impregnated Mary for the other children were of Joseph. Several other scriptures show James was a brother of Jesus.
In one verse of scripture, we now have disproved the age-old theological myth that Mary is a perpetual (eternal) virgin. Jesus was conceived of a virgin and it was a divine conception. But why was Mary singled out to have the Christ child?
In Luke 1:26-55 describes Mary as a handmaid of the Lord who found favor with God. Being told by an angel the Holy Spirit will come upon her and overshadow her and that which shall be born unto her shall be called the Son of God, she said “Be it unto me according to thy Word.” Thus, Mary was blessed among women and blessed was the fruit of her womb. In addition, in v. 45, “blessed is she that believed, for there shall be a performance of that which were told to her from the Lord.”
Somehow many believe that the virginity of Mary must be kept as if having children and sexual intercourse is something that would defile her Godly significance; as if the act is a dirty one. Nothing could be further from the truth, as we shall see. Also, Mary is no more perpetual than any other dead person, including the religious idols commonly referred to as Saints. They are all in the grave, awaiting the return of Christ to be gathered together or resurrected. The truth is there is a spiritual beauty God created in the sex act between man and wife.
Was the birth of Jesus a virgin birth as most Christians believe?
The following section of Matthew 1:18-25 is loaded with truths concerning the timing of events around the conception and birth of Jesus Christ. My notes are in [brackets].
v. 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise [in this manner]: When as his mother Mary was espoused [betrothed, the first period of a lengthy wedding ceremony and tradition before the actual wedding ceremony occurs and before sexual intercourse takes place—See Orientalisms of the Bible by Bishop K.C. Pillai, p. 60-61 for more] to Joseph, before they came together [officially in marriage], she was found with child [pregnant] of [by] the Holy Ghost.
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. [Because the Law was if a betrothed woman was found to be pregnant by another man, the woman could be divorced and left at her father’s house.]
But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee [by the marriage ceremony] Mary thy wife [young woman]: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. [the angel comforted Joseph, saying it is perfecting all right to marry her]
The words “came together” or the words “take unto thee” does not refer to sexual relations in this context, as some teach this, as it is reading into the Scriptures more than what is actually said (forcing it).
The word “take” here is paralambano (Greek), literally to receive or take along side, sometimes with some force or speed involved. For example, when the Devil “took” Jesus to the mountain, or when Joseph and Mary “took” Jesus to Egypt, these are uses of paralambano. So far we can say that Joseph was told not to fear to paralambano Mary to the wedding ceremony.
Continuing in Matthew:
v. 20 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet [Isaiah 7:13-15, another prophecy fulfilled!] , saying,
Behold, a virgin [almah in Hebrew, quoted from Isaiah, literally a young girl or damsel; see notes in EW Bullinger’s Companion Bible] shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife (young woman): And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son [firstborn son, meaning other sons were to follow]: and he called his name JESUS.
Those that teach this is where Joseph had sexual intercourse with Mary, as I did once, jump to a conclusion here. First of all, it is easy to paint a mind picture that Joseph and Mary were sleeping together here and when Joseph awoke immediately took Mary unto him. This is not what it says. Joseph awoke from sleep AND (there is a passage of time here) and married her. There must have been some time lapse here as the ceremony would take place and the immediate families would have to have time to gather.
We know the scripture says a virgin will conceive and bare a son. This implies a virgin will also give birth to the son. The scripture says that Joseph “knew her not” until she brought forth the son. This is an Old Testament way of saying sexual intercourse. This is another proof that Mary was not a virgin after Jesus’ birth!
What a wonderful Word of God we have when it is handled properly and rightly-divided (I Timothy 2:15) and let it fit together like a puzzle. This Word of God fits with scientific accuracy and precision.
Believers do not need bone boxes or other physical evidence of Jesus, the Son of God, because we have the spiritual evidence within and we have the Word that tells us the truth! Hopefully, the discovery of James’ bone box will serve to open the eyes of unbelievers that there is validity to the Bible and our Lord Jesus Christ to the extent they yearn to learn more. Hopefully, it will help to rip off the spiritual scales of many believers’ eyes who hold to man-made religious traditions and error, such as the ‘perpetual virginity’ and the worship of other dead saints. How wonderful it is to let the Word speak and see the brilliant truths that God has freely given us who choose to believe.
Note. Much more concerning the timing of the birth of Christ is contained in the Word of God. It is abundantly clear that the conception was close to the December 25 time, while the birth was in the early September time frame. The best candidate, among most exhaustive evidence both biblically and astronomically, for the birth of Christ is September 11, 3 B.C. (See 1991 book “The Star that Astonished the World” by Ernest Martin.)