WAS JESUS MARRIED?

by David Allen Rivera (2006)

Because of the prevailing winds of The DaVinci Code, the best-
selling novel by Dan Brown (published in March 2003, and was #1 for
nearly a year), the suggestion that Jesus was married has ignited a
firestorm of controversy in this country. Because of the success of the
book, the ABC Television network produced a one-hour news special
in November, 2003, called Jesus, Mary and DaVinci, hosted by news
correspondent Elizabeth Vargas. Books like Cracking DaVinci's Code
(James L. Garlow & Peter Jones), The Truth Behind the DaVinci Code
(Richard Abanes), Breaking the DaVinci Code (Darrell L. Bock) and
Secrets of the Code (edited by Dan Burstein) were among the 15 or so major books written in
response to this work of fiction, said to be based on fact. You can also find numerous articles
about the book and its theories. To date, the book has sold 40 million hardback copies
worldwide (a successful illustrated edition was published in November, 2004), in 44 languages;
and in March, 2006, the paperback version was released, selling nearly 1½ million copies in a
month.
This juggernaut continued to chug right along when the Paramount movie was released
in May, which was produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer (A Beautiful Mind), and stars
Tom Hanks. Because of the record-breaking sales, and Hollywood's penchant for not effectively
translating an author's work to the screen, Brown had resisted the idea of making his book into a
movie until Harvey Weinstein, head of Miramax Films (a Disney subsidiary) told him that the
public needed to know about The DaVinci Code, and that most people don't read.
Hardline apologists argued about whether or not the gnostic gospels were earlier than the
canonical ones, or whether the gnostic Gospel of Philip, which talks about Jesus kissing Mary,
actually refers to Mary as a "spouse," or if there is an error in the translation. There is even a
theory (from the book Hierogamy and the Married Messiah) that the story about Mary, with the
alabaster jar, anointing the feet of Jesus, was actually an ancient royal ceremony that sealed the
marriage between a king and his spouse, and had to be done before He could be considered
the Messiah.
Much of the research becomes suspect when Brown referred to the Dead Sea Scrolls as
"Christian" documents, when they actually pre-date the Christian era, and are actually Jewish
writings. In addition, Brown has been accused of plagiarizing the book Daughter of God by
Lewis Perdue, which was a revision of his two previous books The DaVinci Legacy (1983) and
The Linz Testament (1985). Perdue said that The DaVinci Code "duplicates most of Daughter of
God's most important elements..." In addition, the authors of the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail
sued Brown for plagiarizing their work, while they watched a resurgence of their seminal work
on the best seller list. In both cases, the court found him innocent of the charges.
What you need to understand is that these are not new ideas.
Hippolytus, a Church leader from the late 2nd century; as well as Origen, in the 3rd
century, believed that the Song of Solomon was a prophecy of the marriage of Christ and Mary
Magdalene. In recent times, one of the earliest references was the book Was Jesus Married?
The Distortion of Sexuality in the Christian Tradition (Harper & Row, 1970) by William E. Phipps,
a Presbyterian minister, who concluded that yes, He was married. He argued on the basis that
because the New Testament is silent on the matter, it actually confirms that He was married,
because nearly all Jewish men, especially Rabbis, were married.
Unlike most Christians, I never got upset about the book or the movie, because I
recognize it for what it is– a good work of fiction. No matter how intricately Brown has
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intertwined speculation and truth, the fact of the matter is– it is a novel– it is fictional. With the
success of the Left Behind series, as well as the emergence of the Christian fiction genre, it
appears that many Christians have given up their Bible for works of fiction. It is apparent that
people are more preoccupied with entertainment, rather than attainment. As such, we are
breeding a generation of spiritually bankrupt people without the Scriptural foundation to stand up
for what they believe in. I'm not saying that it's wrong to read fiction. I'm just saying that it's
wrong not to balance it with a regular reading of the Word of God.
Plus, no matter how well-researched something appears to be, you can't assume that it is
historical fact without checking it out for yourself, and consulting credible resources to pursue
contradicting points of view.

Liberal theologians are quick to point out the evidence presented in apocryphal
documents. In the Gospel of Mary, Peter says: "Sister, we know that the Saviour loved you more
than the rest of women. Tell us the words of the Saviour which you remember– which you know
(but) we do not, nor have we heard them."1 The Gospel of Philip refers to Mary as his "spouse,"
and has been quoted as saying: "There were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary his
mother and her sister (Salome) and Magdalene, the one who was called His companion
(partner)...And the companion (spouse) of the Saviour is Mary Magdalene...He loved her more
than all the disciples and used to kiss her often on her mouth." Near the end of the book, it says:
"There is the Son of Man and there is the son of the Son of Man. The Lord is the Son of Man,
and the son of the Son of Man is he who is created through the Son of Man." It is believed that
Mary Magdalene, carried the (Holy) Grail, Sangraal, or "Royal Blood" to France.
The problem with the Philip rendering, is that words are missing from the crucial passage
of the original tattered Nag Hammadi (52 ancient texts in 12 leather-bound books that date back
to the 4th century which were discovered in an earthenware jar in December, 1945) manuscript
and it actually reads: "And the companion of the (missing) Mary Magdalene. (missing) her more
than (missing) the disciples (missing) kiss her (missing) on her (missing)."2

1
King, Karen L. "The Gospel of Mary." The Nag Hammadi Library. New York, NY: HarperCollinsPublishers,
HarperSanFrancisco, 1988, pg. 525.
2
Isenberg, Wesley W. "The Gospel of Philip." The Nag Hammadi Library. New York, NY: HarperCollinsPublishers,
HarperSanFrancisco, 1988, pg. 148.
3

We don't really know whether Jesus kissed her on her lips, her cheeks, or her forehead,
but in 1 Thessalonians 5:26 (also Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, 1
Peter 5:14) it says: "Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss." Where shaking hands is a form of
greeting in our culture, kissing was a customary greeting in the culture during the time of Jesus,
and was done on the cheek, forehead, beard or lips.3 And we can also go back to another Nag
Hammadi document, The (First) Apocalypse of James which says: "And the Lord appeared to
him. Then he stopped (his) prayer and embraced him. He kissed him, saying, 'Rabbi, I have
found you…'" 4
Certainly many elements of Brown's research can be questioned, and have been
presented in the various books that have been written to address these issues point-by-point.
However, I want to approach the situation from a different angle, which I hope will serve to
buttress the other evidence, research, and documentation against The DaVinci Code. For me, I
would rather not take the time to debate this issue point-by-point, when there is a definitive,
succinct and concise answer to the question of whether Jesus was married.
The main thing that gave Jesus his credentials to being the Messiah was the fact that in
the Old Testament there were over sixty major prophecies fulfilled and over 300 references to
His coming. They were all made at least 400 years before His birth.
We can follow the prophetic timeline leading up to His birth. In Genesis chapters 9 and
10, the progenitors of the world's lineage are given in Noah's three sons Shem, Japheth, and
Ham. Since the Messiah was to come through the line of Shem, that eliminated two-thirds of the
world's nations as to where the Messiah would be born. Then it was stated that the Messianic
line would go through Isaac, Abraham's descendant (Genesis 17:21). Isaac had two sons,
Jacob and Esau, and God chose the line of Jacob (Genesis 35:10-12, Numbers 24:17). Jacob
had twelve sons, and God chose the line of Judah (Genesis 49:10) as the line the Messiah
would come from. Then the line of Jesse was chosen (Isaiah 11:1-5), and of his eight children,
the line of David was chosen (2 Samuel 7:12-16, Jeremiah 23:5).
Where a man is usually considered to be born from the seed of a man, Jesus was the
only one referred to as coming from the seed of a woman (Genesis 3:15, see also Galatians
4:4). Isaiah 7:14 said He would be born of a virgin, in a divine conception without the presence
of a man. He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). The time of His birth was foretold (Daniel
9:25). He was to be a Nazarene (Judges 13:5). The flight to Egypt to escape Herod's wrath was
foretold (Jeremiah 31:15).
Christ's triumphant entry into Jerusalem on a donkey was foretold (Zechariah 9:9). His
entrance through, and permanent closing of the Golden Gate was foretold (Ezekiel 44:1-2). It
was mortared shut with stone, and now has a Muslim cemetery in front of it. His betrayal by a
friend, for 30 pieces of silver was foretold (Psalm 41:9, Zechariah 11:12). Accusations by false
witnesses, and His refusal to acknowledge them was foretold (Psalm 27:12, Isaiah 53:7). The
hatred against him, being spit upon, beaten and having His clothing gambled for, were all
foretold (Psalm 69:4, Isaiah 50:6, Psalm 22:18). His crucifixion, being made to thirst, given
vinegar and gall, His side pierced, no bones broken, thoughts of being deserted by God, and His
resurrection were all foretold (Psalm 22:16, Psalm 22:15, Psalm 69:21, Zechariah 12:10, Psalm
34:20, Psalm 22:1, Hosea 6:2).

3
Russell, Emmet. "Kiss." Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House,
1963, pg. 470.
4
Schoedel, William R. "The (First) Apocalypse of James." The Nag Hammadi Library. New York, NY:
HarperCollinsPublishers, HarperSanFrancisco, 1988, pg. 264.
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The prophetic sacrificial role of Jesus can be seen in Isaiah 53:4-12, and that is what I
want to focus my attention on.
In Genesis, we find that Abel was a shepherd, and Cain was a farmer (Genesis 4:2). In
the next three verses Cain brings an offering to the Lord of his produce, while Abel offers to the
Lord the "firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof," and that God "had respect unto Abel and to
his offering…" There have been different lines of thinking as to why God honored Abel's
offering, and not Cain's. Some say that it was because of the condition of Cain's heart, that Cain
didn't bring the best of his harvest, or that Cain was disobedient in offering the fruit of his labors,
rather than the animal sacrifice that God desired.
I think that God honored Abel's sacrifice in a prophetic gesture to indicate that this was
going to be the avenue through which man was going to have to deal with God. The common
denominator in the entire system of sacrifice as later practiced by the Jews, had to do with the
blood; and it was the blood of Jesus, on the cross, as the ultimate sacrifice, that eliminated the
necessity for blood sacrifice in Israel. The blood of Jesus redeems (Acts 20:28), it washes clean
(1 John 1:7), it justifies (Romans 5:9), and it sanctifies (Hebrews 13:12). The prophetic nature of
Abel's act can be seen in Hebrews 12:24: "And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and
to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."
In the dramatic story of Abraham taking his son to be sacrificed, Isaac saw the wood and
the fire, but asked where the sacrifice was. Abraham said (Genesis 22:8): "God will provide
himself a lamb for a burnt offering." On the very site of what would later become the Jewish
Temple, Abraham was clearly going to carry out God's request to sacrifice his son, but was kept
from doing so by an angel. In Genesis 22:13, a ram was caught in a nearby thicket by his horns,
certainly a type and shadow for the Lamb of God who would wear a crown of thorns as the sin
sacrifice for mankind.
We can see the signs of the coming of Jesus as the Messiah, and we can also see the
prophetic indications of the sacrificial role He was to play. Plain and simple, He was sent to be
the sin sacrifice for mankind. So, when we view him as that sacrifice, that opens up a different
circumstance to consider in reference to the question of whether Jesus was married.
Let's look at the requirements of the animals that were used for sacrifice. The cow,
sheep, or goat was to be without blemish (Leviticus, 22:20-24, Deuteronomy 17:1). However,
there were no stipulations, either way, about sexual purity. Hebrews 4:15 said that Jesus was
"without sin." Therefore, without spiritual blemish. Certainly evidence which corroborates his
role, but let's look deeper.
I was hoping to prove, that an animal without blemish also meant that it was never used
for breeding purposes, and for all intents and purposes had to be a "virgin" in order to be
considered as pure, for the purposes of sacrifice.
Leviticus 22:28 talks about not killing a mother "and her young both in one day," so I
believe for many sacrifices, sexual purity wasn't an issue. The Jewish system of sacrifice
consisted of the daily sacrifice (a lamb in the morning and one at night), Sabbath sacrifice (2
lambs of the first year), Passover Week (2 bulls, a ram, 7 lambs of the first year), Feast of First
Fruits (2 young bulls, 1 ram, 7 lambs of the first year, and 1 kid of the goats), Feast of Trumpets
(1 young bull, 1 ram, 7 lambs of the first year, and 1 kid of the goats), Day of Atonement (71
bulls, 15 rams, 105 lambs, and 8 goats over an 8-day period), and the New Moon sacrifices (2
young bulls, 1 ram, seven lambs of the first year, and 1 kid of the goats). Needless to say, this
was a lot of animals, and certainly because of the supply and demand, the ability to produce
sexually pure animals would have been a challenge. However, for certain sacrifices, I believe
that sexual purity was an integral part of the spiritual symbolism.
In the 23rd chapter of Leviticus, and the 28th and 29th chapters of Numbers, it talks
about the various sacrifice requirements, and it speaks about lambs of the first year. My feeling
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is, because of the age stipulation, that these are lambs which had not been used for breeding. In
Numbers 19:2, it begins talking about the sacrifice of the red heifer. The term "heifer" (Strong's #
6510) refers to a "calf,"5 which some scholars have determined to mean a "young cow which
has never birthed a calf." This, again, infers that the animal has never been used for breeding,
and has never engaged in mating (sex). This might be enough to convince some people, but it is
too circumstantial to convince everyone.
I researched many sources and could not find an authoritative answer to my question, so
I talked to Rabbi Chaim E. Schertz (of Kesher Israel Synagogue in Harrisburg, PA), a nationally
renowned Talmudic scholar, and explained my situation. He offered this tidbit. Numbers 19:2
talks about a heifer "upon which never came yoke." The yoke was a hunk of wood put over the
necks of animals, possibly to connect them to others, so they could be used to pull wagons or
plows. This meant that an animal that had been put to work in the fields could not be used for
sacrifice. But Rabbi Schertz said that this term actually went much deeper, in that having no
yoke, meant that no burden could have been put upon the animal. The act of breeding, where a
male would mount the female, would be construed as putting a burden on it, which means that
mating, or having sex, would have prevented it from being considered as a sacrifice.

It is very interesting that sexual purity is part of the requirements of the Sacrifice of the
Red Heifer, because of how important it is to end-time events. There are Jewish groups in Israel
that have been fabricating Temple implements, as well as identifying and training Levitical
priests, in preparation for the rebuilding of the Temple. However, before Temple services can be
legally reinstated according to Biblical Law, a ritual cleansing must be performed which involves
the sacrifice of the Red Heifer (Numbers 19:1-22). The ceremony has only been performed
seven times.
The priest would sacrifice an unblemished, unbroken Red Heifer, after which the
remaining ashes were collected and added to the ashes of the next sacrifice. It took place on
the western slope of the Mount of Olives, within sight of the Holy of Holies. The ashes were then
sprinkled upon the waters of a large cistern under the Temple to prepare them to be used as the
water of purification to cleanse sin and defilement. The last sacrifice occurred in AD 70, prior to
the destruction of the Temple, after which the ashes were secretly buried. Because the sacred
Temple ground has been defiled by the Moslems, this ritual cleansing, to purify the land, would
have to be performed on the Temple Mount in order to reinstate Temple worship as commanded
by the Laws of God.

5
Benner, Jeff A. The Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible. College Station, TX: Virtualbookworm.com Publishing
Inc., 2005, pg. 225.
6

There is incontrovertible evidence that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was the
prophetically ordained Messiah that was sent as our sacrifice. John 3:16 says: "For God so
loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life." He fulfilled all of the prophecies which were intended to be His
prophetic identification, so why would Jesus cause doubt to who He was by marrying. You've
heard the term of someone being as "pure as the undriven snow," in regard to their virginity;
well, I believe that sexual purity was part of the requirement that made certain sacrificial animals
"without blemish." For Jesus to effectively fulfill His destiny and His prophetic role, He could not
have been married, because He would have been considered impure, and would not have been
able to fulfill His role as the sacrifice in the eyes of the Jews.
I have heard some Christians say that Jesus being married would not have made Him
any less divine. Hebrews 5:9 says: "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal
salvation unto all them that obey him…" The perfection of Christ was both physical and
spiritual. He was not of this world, and He knew it, so why would He tie Himself to it by
establishing a family; especially when doing so would negate His role as the Messiah.