Dear Mr. Collins,
My question doesn’t have to do with the lost tribes but, I’m wondering if you can help me out with a Jewish objection to the Messiahship of Jesus or recommend someone who may know how to counter this objection.
They claim that tribal affiliation is conferred through the birth father only (for which they cite Numbers 34:14, Numbers 1:18-44, Leviticus 24:10) and that because we believe that Jesus had no human father, he would have had no tribal affiliation and would be eliminated from messianic consideration. They use this as an example of an alleged  flaw  in Christian theology, supposedly contradicting the Law in the Old Testament (Apparently, Nahmanides popularized this claim).
Further, they claim that tribal affiliation could not be conferred through adoption and thus adopted sons could not inherit their step-father’s genealogy. One of them claims, “There is also no Biblical Hebrew word for “adoption” or “step-father”. The non-child would be considered a “house guest”, and would be treated well. The Aramaic word for “Family” had “zera” at it’s root, meaning “from the seed of the master of the house”. Hence, “You shall count the children according to the house of their father” has an important meaning. And so Joseph provides nothing to his wife’s child.” Can this claim be refuted or put in it’s proper context?
I understand that the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 says that a virgin would give birth and that this is obviously speaking of the Messiah, but how can this be reconciled with tribal affiliation allegedly coming only from the birth father, and the requirement of the Messiah being of the tribe of Judah and a descendant of David?
I’m asking these questions for my own peace of mind and conviction.
Thanks and God bless,

You ask a very good and incisive question. There are biblical answers which affirms Jesus Christ’s right to be reckoned a descendant of the tribe of Judah so he can fulfill the prophecies that the Messiah had to be from that tribe (Genesis 49:10). Let’s look first at New Testament evidence on this matter, and then we’ll look at an Old Testament (Tanakh) precedent which affirms that Jesus was, indeed, from Judah.  
Paul, who was raised as a “zealous Pharisee” who was deeply familiar with all matters involving the Tanakh’s laws (Philippians 3:5) and who was a student of the great teacher, Gamaliel (Acts 22:3) clearly had no doubt that Jesus was from the tribe of Judah. In Hebrews 7:14, Paul (or someone in the “Pauline” school…to satisfy some scriptural critics) writes: “For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah (emphasis added).” The Apostle John refers to Jesus Christ as the “lion of Judah (emphasis added)” in Revelation 5:5. The Jews of Jesus’ day often hailed him as “the son of David.” The contemporaries of Jesus regarded Jesus and his nuclear family as observant, fully-Jewish members of the Jewish community of Judea. Jesus had plenty of detractors among the Pharisees, Sadducees and opponents of his day, but not one of them alleged that he was not from the tribe of Judah. That would have been a great challenge to bring against Jesus’ Messiahship by his contemporary critics, but no one made that charge. They did not make that charge because it had no validity in the Law.
We are given Jesus’ linage in Luke 3 and Matthew 1 as being Jewish via the seed of David on both the side of Mary (his biological mother) and Joseph (who provided his human paternal responsibilities even though he was not Jesus’ biological father). Now let’s look at the Old Testament/Tanakh.
It was prophesied in Isaiah 7:14’s Messianic prophecy that “a virgin shall conceive and bear a son.” Therefore the Tanakh prophesied that the Messiah couldn’t possibly have a human father! Any human being who has a biological, human father is ineligible to be the Messiah! This eliminates all human males except Jesus Christ. The “Prophets” section of the Jewish scriptures requires that the Messiah’s Father be Divine, not human. Also, there is an example in the Torah (the “Law” section of the Tanakh) that when there was no son to receive an inheritance, inheritance rights would pass to the female side by default. This example is recorded in Numbers 27:1-11, and it is a powerful precedent to answer your question. When the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land, the daughters of a particular man came to Moses and asked that they be given inheritance rights within the Land because their father had no sons (that this was apparently either an exceptionally rare or unique situation affirms how large the Israelite families of that time were). This question was brought to the Lord Himself, who ruled that in inheritance matters, when there is was no male heir, the right of “inheritance” defaults to the female side.  If inheritance of tribal properties defaulted to the female side when there was no male heir, then one’s tribal “inheritance” would also default to the female side if there were no father through whom to reckon it. No one questions that Mary was a full-blooded member of Judah and a direct descendant of King David, so her offspring is reckoned to be part of Judah when she gave birth as a result of Divine Fathership. 
I think a word should be mentioned about Mary. I am not a Catholic and I grew up in a Protestant faith. It was common among Protestants to deride the Catholic veneration of Mary, praying to Mary via “Hail Marys,” etc. The Bible does not teach that Mary is Divine, but I think those of us with a Protestant upbringing need to realize something. It is not the Catholic Church, but the Bible which records that Mary was “blessed among women” in a visitation by the high-ranking angel, Gabriel (Luke 1:26-38). I cannot imagine how pure, innocent and virtuous Mary must have been to be chosen to be impregnated by God the Father and to be the mother of the very Son of God. In human relationships, it is “fighting words” to insult or cast slurs upon someone’s mother. You can be sure that Jesus Christ feels the same way about anyone who impugns or mocks Mary, His Mother. Matthew 12:36 states that we will have to give account for “every idle word” that we have spoken. Anyone who has ever said any words about Mary in a flippant or disrespectful manner ought to repent of it now, before facing either God the Father (who personally chose Mary to bear His Son) or Jesus Christ (who was borne by Mary) in a future Judgment. Mary’s name should only be spoken of in high respect for the role God selected for her.
Thanks again for this excellent question!