NATIVITY - TRUE STORY OF JESUS BIRTH

Now the birth of Jesus was on the wise. This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. Mary who was a virgin, living in Galilee of Nazareth, was pledged and engaged to be married to Joseph a Jewish carpenter.

In Bible times, Jewish marriage customs regarding a couple’s engagement were far different and much more stringent than those we are familiar with today, Marriages were arranged by the parents of the bride and groom and often without even consulting the couple to be married. A contract was prepared in which the groom’s parents paid a bride price. Such a contract was immediately deemed binding, with the couple considered married even though the actual ceremony and consummation of the marriage would not occur for as long as a year afterwards. The time between was a sort of testing of fidelity with the couple having little, if any, contact with each other. (Luke 2:1-7) also confirms the idea that Joseph and Mary, though betrothed, were considered as husband and wife by Jewish customs even though the actual marriage ceremony had not been fully effectuated. So, Joseph and Mary were actually legally married before the birth of Jesus though their marriage was not consummated physically until after His birth.

An angel of God “Gabriel” during her betrothal period with Joseph visited Mary and explained to her that she would conceive a son by the power of the Holy Ghost. She would carry and give birth to this child and she would name him Jesus (Matthew 1:18Luke 1:34). At first Mary was scared and troubled by the angel's words. Being a virgin, Mary questioned the angel, "How will this be?" The angel explained that the child would be God's own Son and, therefore, "nothing is impossible with God." Humbled and in awe, Mary believed the angel of the Lord and rejoiced in God her Savior. Surely Mary reflected with wonder on the words found in the Bible scripture.

(Kings James Version) - (Isaiah 7:14)                                                    Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name IEmmanuel. Mary having been told she was going to have a baby went to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was a descendent of Aaron and Moses. Zechariah her husband was a priest before God. One day while Zechariah was working in the temple at Jerusalem burning incense (a once in a life time event for a Priest) the angel “Gabriel” appeared and informed him, his wife Elizabeth will bear a son named John (Luke 1:13). And after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived (Luke 1:24). John the Baptist is Emmanuel’s (Jesus) cousin who is six months older and will baptize our Savior (Matthew 3:13 -17).  

Mary miraculously became pregnant through the Holy Spirit, as foretold to her by the angel “Gabriel”. When Mary told Joseph she was pregnant, he had every right to feel mortified. Joseph knew he could not be the father of the child, and Mary's apparent unfaithfulness carried a serious social disgrace. Joseph's initial reaction was to break the engagement, the appropriate thing for a righteous man to do, he treated Mary with extreme kindness.

Joseph her husband, being a just man was in a quandary and was not willing to make a public example of her and was minded to put her away privily. Jewish law provided that Joseph’s betrothed Mary because of her unfaithfulness could be placed before the elders for judgment and stoned to death. Betrothals or marriage engagements in those ancient times were binding and could only be terminated by an official divorce decree. Joseph had the right to divorce Mary, Joseph wanted to divorce her quietly (Matthew 1:19).

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord (probably “Gabriel” who is God’s Chief Messenger Angel) appeared unto him in a dream (Matthew 1:20-25), saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. She shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins. The angel explained to him that all this was bringing about the fulfillment of prophecy of Isaiah that a virgin would bear a child who was to be the Savior (Isaiah 7:13-14), and “he [Joseph] did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.” The angel appeared in order to verify Mary's story and reassure him that his marriage to her was God's will. The angel explained that the child within Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit to fulfill what the Lord said through a prophet Isaiah, that his name would be Emmanuel which means “God with us” and is the Messiah. When Joseph woke up, he willingly obeyed God and did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to their firstborn son. (Matthew 1:24-25). Perhaps this noble quality is one of the reasons God chose him to be the Messiah's earthly father.

The name Emmanuel takes in the whole mystery. Jesus is "God with us." In the same way, to say that Jesus would be called "Emmanuel" means Jesus is God and that He dwelt among us in His incarnation and that He is always with us. Jesus was God in the flesh. He had a nature like our own in all things, except without sin. Jesus was God making His dwelling among us (John 1:1,14). No, Jesus' name was not Emmanuel, but Jesus was the meaning of Emmanuel,  "God with us." But though Jesus was "with us" in human flesh and blood, He was at the same time completely God. Emmanuel is one of the many titles for Jesus, a description of who He is.

Joseph too must have wondered in awe as he remembered the words found in (Isaiah 7:14). At that time Rome’s Caesar Augustus decreed that a census be taken, and every person in the entire Roman world had to go to his own town to register and be taxed. This was the first census that took place while Cyrenius was governor of Syria. Joseph, belonged to the house and line of David, and went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (Luke 2:4). Joseph and Mary set off on the long, arduous 90-mile journey from Nazareth along the valley of the River Jordan, past Jerusalem to Bethlehem. Mary travelled on a donkey to conserve her energy for the birth. Joseph was to register and taxed with Mary his espoused wife who was expecting her firstborn, a son (Luke 2:5).

When one combines the account of the Gospels regarding Jesus' birth and the status of Joseph and Mary, the conclusion is that Mary and Joseph were technically married at the time of Jesus' birth. While in Bethlehem and shortly before Jesus' birth, it appears Mary, Joseph’s wife was still called his "espoused wife;" his "engaged" or "betrothed" wife (Matthew 1:18 - 23 and Luke 2:5). (Luke 2:5) clearly states “To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child”. (An "espousal" or "betrothal" is a formal agreement to marry. In modern American terms it would be something more than an engagement, yet less than a marriage). I say this based on Matthew's account at the point of (Matthew 1:18 - 20) which tells us that it was on the way, or while they were there, that Joseph struggled with these decisions; the angel of the Lord appeared to him; and he obeyed and married Mary (Matthew 1:24). In the legal sense marriage definitely occurred before the birth of Jesus, because it clearly states in; "Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife (Matthew 1:24). Passage states “And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS" (Matthew 1:25). There are never any contradictions in Scripture. It just takes study on our part to put all of the pieces together.

And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus. While in Bethlehem, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her. Mary gave birth to Jesus. Probably due to the census, the inn was over crowded, and Mary gave birth to Jesus in a crude stable. Mary wrapped the baby Jesus in cloths and placed him in a manger. Jesus' conception was unusual and miraculous (Matthew 1: 20-25).

KJV (Luke 2: 6-20) – Jesus Birth in Bethlehem                                                     And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.         

KJV (Matthew 2: 1-11)Jesus Birth in Bethlehem                                        1Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. 7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

KJV (Luke 2: 8-20) - The Shepherd's Worship the Savior                                     8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

KJV (Matthew 2: 1-12) - The Visit of the Magi - (Wise Men)                                  1  Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

KJV-(Matthew 2:1-12)-Herod’s Search For Jesus Who Will Be Called Nazarene  13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying,18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

Eight Days after the Birth of Jesus

  1. Jesus was circumcised. This probably did not occur in Jerusalem but a local synagogue or perhaps a priest came to them, as was the case for John the Baptist (Luke 1:59; 2:21Leviticus 12:3).
  2. Jesus was given His name (Luke 2:21).

At Least 41 Days after the Birth of Jesus

  1. The Law stipulated a woman wait 40 days following the birth of a son to finish her purification (Leviticus 12:1–8). So Mary and Joseph went to the Temple in Jerusalem to offer a sacrifice of two doves or pigeons, which signified they were poor (Luke 2:22–24). This suggests the magi had not visited yet to offer their expensive gifts; otherwise Joseph and Mary probably could have afforded the lamb and dove required by the Law for those with adequate means.
  2. At the Temple, Simeon held Jesus, blessed God and the family, and prophesied in the Holy Spirit about Jesus (Luke 2:25–35).
  3. Anna, a prophetess, saw the Christ at the Temple (Luke 2:36–38).

 Soon After the 41st Day

  1. The family returned to Bethlehem—not Nazareth, as some have suggested. After all, they were still in Bethlehem when the wise men later visited, and they apparently planned to return there following the flight to Egypt. As such, it is unlikely they would have packed up everything to go to Jerusalem for offering sacrifices. So they would have returned to Bethlehem where they left their belongings             (Matthew 2:5–9).
  2. They were now staying in a house (oikian)—perhaps the same one, but probably not in the stall area since the guest room (kataluma) may have been available at this time.

Within the Year

  1. Alerted by the Christmas star, an unknown number of magi from the East (perhaps Persia) made their way to Herod's palace in Jerusalem to inquire of the Christ child (Matthew 2:1–4).
  2. Contrary to popular opinion, the star was probably not a typical event in the heavens (e.g., supernova, planetary alignment, comet, etc.) Instead, it was truly a miraculous and special star (Matthew 2:279–11).
  3. Jewish chief priests and scribes informed Herod that, according to (Micah 5:2), Bethlehem was to be the birthplace of the Messiah (Matthew 2:4–6).

 Maybe Within the Year The Magi Arrive

  1. These magi followed the star, which moved ahead of them, bringing expensive gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus—who was now a young child living in a house (Matthew 2:9–11).
  2. They worshipped the Christ Child (Matthew 2:11).
  3. Jesus is called a “young child” (paidion, Matthew 2) instead of babe (brephos) - (Luke 2:16) at the time that the magi arrived. Brephos specifically refers to a baby, whether born or unborn, while paidion refers to an immature child, possibly an infant     (Matthew 2:11), so we should not be dogmatic about His age.
  4. The magi returned to their homeland via a different route after being divinely warned in a dream not to go back to Herod (Matthew 2:12).

Herod and the Flight to Egypt

  1. Soon after the wise men left, Herod realized that they were not going to return and he ordered the killing of all boys in and around the region of Bethlehem who were two years of age and under (Matthew 2:16). Herod knew the approximate timing of the star’s appearance (Matthew 2:7), which may be the time that Christ was born. With this information, Herod, who was paranoid about the crown and did not want anyone taking over, would have made sure to kill the child. So he may have at least doubled the time from when the star first appeared to the wise men, thinking this would guarantee that the child would be killed, even if the information was off.
  2. An angel warned Joseph to flee to Egypt to protect his family. This trip would ultimately fulfill a prophecy (Hosea 11:1). Perhaps the new gifts helped finance that trip (Matthew 2:13–15).
  3. Baby boys two years and under in Bethlehem and surrounding region were slaughtered (Matthew 2:16).

Late 4 BC to Early 3 BC

  1. Herod died in 4 BC in Jericho and was buried in Herodion approximately 25 miles away. Reports are that the procession travelled with the body one mile per day. So it was likely 3 BC when he was buried.Herod’s son Archelaus succeeded him (Matthew 2:22).

Early 3 BC

  1. An angel informed Joseph that they could move back since Herod had died (Matthew 2:15, 19).
  2. Since Joseph and Mary had completed the laws and commands (Greek nomos) of the Lord, they returned to the land of Israel from Egypt and settled in Nazareth of Galilee, which became the hometown of Jesus and was where Joseph and Mary lived prior to going to Bethlehem for the census. (Matthew 2:22Luke 2:39)
  3. Jesus would be called a Nazarene, fulfilling a spoken prophecy (Matthew 2:23)

 

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