Why was Jesus born in Bethlehem?
In light of the fact that Jesus’ parents, Mary and Joseph, lived at Nazareth (Luke 2:39), what was the reason for his birth in Bethlehem? Because of the fulfillment of a prophesy by the minor prophet Micah, the birth of Jesus at Bethlehem was the most important reason for his birth there. As he put it in his own words: “And you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, you who are the least among thousands in Judah, out of you He (Jesus) shall come forth (be born) to Me, that is, He will become the Ruler of Israel.” HBFV is used throughout (Micah 5:2, throughout).
Mary was engaged to Joseph before she embarked on her journey to Bethlehem, but she had not yet consummated her marital bond with him.
The Roman Empire would perform censuses from time to time, not only to count the population, but also to determine what they possessed.
), it was determined that a Roman taxation census would be conducted in Judea (Luke 2:1-4), as well as the surrounding region.
- Cornelis Massys was born in 1543.
- Why did the Romans not conduct a census in Judea and the surrounding area, as they did in the rest of the Empire, to determine the number of people living there?
- In the eyes of many Jews, particularly those who returned to the country after being exiled from Babylonia, tribe identification and line of lineage were extremely important concepts.
- Even the Apostle Paul wrote of his own ancestors in his letters (Romans 11:1).
- Christmas Greetings from Sweden A census of Palestine would be conducted on the basis of the place from which a person’s ancestral line descended, according to Roman rule, in deference to Jewish customs and prejudices (as well as a desire to peacefully collect taxes from a conquered people).
- When did the Roman census take place, forcing the family of Jesus to go to Bethlehem?
- The Holy Bible Faithful Version provides some intriguing information about the time period during which such journeys to Bethlehem took place.
- As a result, Luke’s account of this taxing demonstrates that the birth of Jesus occurred during the Autumnal season ” (Appendix E).
- In his book “God’s Appointed Times,” Barney Kasdan writes about Rome, stating that they held censuses at a period that was convenient for them based on local customs.
When God combined Rome’s goal to collect as much tax income as possible with the Jewish interest with their ancestors, he was able to bring about the fulfillment of an incredible prophesy concerning the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem!
Why Was Jesus Born in Bethlehem? The Town’s Rich Meaning & Significance
Why did God chose Bethlehem as the location for Christ’s birth, out of all the historic towns on the planet? For what reason wouldn’t He send His own Son, this long-awaited Savior, to the holiest of cities, Jerusalem, or the cultural center of ancient Athens? In sending the “Bread of Life” to a hungry and waiting world more than two thousand years ago, God may have been exposing some important truths. Why did God chose Bethlehem as the location for Christ’s birth, out of all the historic towns on the planet?
In sending the “Bread of Life” to a hungry and waiting world more than two thousand years ago, God may have been exposing some important truths.
Bethlehem: The Setting for the Story
It’s possible that you’re already familiar with the narrative. In the Bible, this ancient event is recorded inLuke 2:1-20, and we name it the birth of Christ. This miracle narrative begins with God sending an angel named Gabriel to a Jewish youngster living in Nazareth, who was then able to communicate with him. “Greetings, valued woman!” the angel said enthusiastically. “The Lord is with you!” says the prophet. (Luke 1:28, New Living Translation) The information he subsequently shared with her left this young virgin perplexed.
“May all of the things you’ve spoken about me come to pass” (Luke 1:38, NIV).
This obedience was likely tested a short time later, when Caesar Augustus mandated a census that required Mary to go with her husband some 80 miles, either on donkey or on foot, to Bethlehem, where Joseph’s ancestors were buried, in order to be counted.
Image courtesy of Getty Images
Where Was the Town of Bethlehem?
Historically, experts believe that Bethlehem’s size and geographic position were insignificant at the time. This little trade-way town, six miles south of Jerusalem, located between the Holy City and Egypt on the ancient commerce route. It didn’t achieve significance until Herod constructed his fortifications, which were surrounded by this old village and whose highways were shaded by it. This demonstrates “how God may use something that appears to be insignificant to have a long-lasting influence.” This significant location, albeit a blip on an old map, serves as a reminder to “never mistake size with significance,” as the authors, Neil Wislon and Ryken Taylor, put it.
Despite the fact that she was an unknown and presumably unappreciated young woman from an apparently tiny Galilean hamlet, God picked her to give birth to a child who would one day redeem the world.
Where Is Bethlehem Mentioned in Scripture?
Scripture first references Bethlehem, which was formerly known as Ephratah or Ephrath, in Genesis 35, when Jewish Patriarch Jacob returned to his country after spending more than a decade in Paddan Aram. Bethlehem is considered to be the oldest town in Palestine. In order to avoid being killed, he had deceived his brother Esau out of his birthright, which God had previously promised would be his. Because Jacob’s blessing did not arise as a result of anything he had done or had not done, his tale illustrates God’s grace, even in the face of Jacob’s terrible behavior.
- However, since Jacob did not put his faith in God to fulfill His promise, or possibly because he did not understand the prophecy that had been revealed to his mother, he fooled his father into giving him the blessing that had been intended for his brother.
- God called him home fourteen years after he left this world.
- However, while he and his clan were still a long distance away, his wife died while giving birth to their youngest son, Benjamin, who would go on to become the progenitor of the Jewish tribe that bears his name.
- This narrative of an impoverished widow and the Bethlehem man who subsequently married her, sheltered her, and supplied for her is a portrait of Jesus, our kinsman redeemer, who we can identify with.
- Individuals who had sold themselves into slavery may be “redeemed,” or bought back, by their family members in ancient times.
“Meeting the profound needs of others on the basis of a relationship of commitment and covenant” was proven by this act of chesed, which can be translated as loving kindness or mercy. This hamlet, which gave birth to our Redeemer, has a long and illustrious history of redemption.
Why Is it Important That Jesus Was Born in Bethlehem?
Bethlehem literally translates as “house of bread” (beth: home, lehem: of bread), and food was extremely important throughout biblical times. It was a mainstay of the ancient diet, providing not just comfort but also the nutrition required for life at the time. Bread, which was used in Temple worship, also came to signify God’s sustenance and presence, and it played a major role in Jewish Passover rituals, particularly the Seder. Photograph courtesy of Unsplash/Wesuel This once again pointed to Christ as the ultimate Redeemer.
- During the 400-year reign of Egyptian authority, God’s people had been mistreated.
- God showed them how to establish an intimate connection with Him while they were traveling, and that relationship was built on complete reliance on Him.
- These principles were reaffirmed by Jesus in the gospel of John, when He declared Himself to be the Bread of Life.
- According to Scripture, He didn’t simply give them a taste or just enough to keep them going until their next meal.
- He followed the same procedure with the fish” (John 6:11, NIV, emphasis mine).
The miracle feeding was followed by Jesus’ proclamation “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” As a result, God the Father has bestowed His mark of approval on him.” Following their questioning, He responded by saying,”The actual bread that comes down from heaven is given to you by My Father.
Following this, He declared, “I am the bread of life.” It is guaranteed that everyone who comes to Me will never go hungry, and that anyone who believes in Me will never be thirsty.” His listeners would have quickly grasped the ramifications of his words.
“Thus, bread is a metaphor that reflects redemption history: God’s daily supply, sustenance during desert times, participation in Christ’s death, and participation in the coming kingdom via trust in Christ,” the writers continue.
Scripture Points toward a Promise to Come from Bethlehem
God promised Jesus, the Bread of Life, that he would return when mankind realized it needed a Savior for the first time. (See Genesis 3:15.) Through the pages of Scripture, God reaffirmed this promise as He led His people in a Passover supper and led them out of Egypt, as He gave manna in the wilderness, and as He revealed His Redeemer through the romance of a widow and a wealthy landowner. Rachel Dawson is responsible for the design. “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a little hamlet among all of the people of Judah,” God said in Micah 5:2, years after all of these vivid pictures were shown to the people.
- Then, in the grandeur of the name of the Lord His God, He will rise to lead His sheep with the Lord’s power and in the glory of the Lord His God.
- During this Christmas season, may we all feast on the One who longs to nourish and support us on a daily basis and to fill us to overflowing levels beyond our wildest dreams.
- Jennifer Slattery is the author of several books, including Hometown Healing, and she also writes a devotional blog, JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.
- Check out her website to learn more about her speaking engagements or to book her for your next women’s event.
- Photograph courtesy of Getty Images/lukbar
Was Jesus really born in Bethlehem? Why the Gospels disagree over the circumstances of Christ’s birth
Every Christmas, Bethlehem, a very modest village in the Palestinian West Bank, takes center stage: it is the birthplace of Jesus Christ. It is believed that Jesus was born in this village about two millennia ago, according to certain biblical texts. Although the New Testament Gospels all mention Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, they do not all agree on the specifics of his birth. Some passages make no mention of Bethlehem or the birth of Jesus at all. It may be difficult to reconcile the differing viewpoints expressed throughout the Gospels.
Today, genealogy can assist people become more aware of their family’s medical history, as well as find long-lost family relatives.
It was common practice throughout the Greco-Roman period to utilize birth myths and genealogy claims to strengthen a ruler’s authority and link individuals to a supposedly illustrious ancestor.
Gospel of Matthew
A very modest village in the Palestinian West Bank takes center stage every Christmas season: Bethlehem. It is believed that Jesus was born in this village around two millennia ago, according to certain biblical texts. However, the accounts of Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem in the New Testament are not consistent. The town of Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus are not mentioned in any of these versions. It may be difficult to reconcile the conflicting viewpoints expressed in the Gospels. I contend that the Gospels, as a scholar of the New Testament, provide valuable insight into Greco-Roman conceptions of ethnic identity, particularly genealogy, which are otherwise difficult to discern.
Borneo-Roman legends and genealogy claims were used to establish rights to govern and link individuals with alleged ancestors of great wealth and power during the period of the Roman Empire.
Gospel of Luke
The Gospel of Luke, a biography of Jesus’ life that was written at the same time as the Gospel of Matthew, contains a different story of Jesus’ birth than the Gospel of Matthew. The Gospel of Luke begins with Joseph and a pregnant Mary in the Galilee region of Palestine. They travel to Bethlehem in response to an acensus, which was issued by the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus and demanded of all Jewish people everywhere. Because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he was obligated to register in Bethlehem, which was his homeland at the time.
When Jesus is born, he is filled with rage because all of the tourists had crammed the guest rooms.
Angels, according to Luke, informed these shepherds of Jesus’ location in Bethlehem, and they responded accordingly.
Luke also adds that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus leave Bethlehem eight days after Jesus’ birth and go to Jerusalem, then to Nazareth, according to the Gospel of Luke.
According to John Meier, a historian who specializes in the historical Jesus, Jesus’ “birth at Bethlehem is to be considered not as a historical reality” but rather as a “theological affirmation disguised as an ostensibly factual tale.” In other words, the assumption that Jesus was a descendant of King David resulted in the formation of a myth about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, which is now widely accepted.
According to Raymond Brown, another Gospel expert, “the two tales are not just different – they are diametrically opposed to one other in a number of points.”
Mark’s and John’s Gospels
The birth of Jesus in a manger is shown in this Nativity scene. Swen Pförtner/Getty Images, image courtesy of the picture alliance To make matters worse, neither Jesus’ birth nor his link to Bethlehem are mentioned in the other two Gospels, Mark and John, which makes it much more problematic. The Gospel of Mark, which was written about the year 60 A.D., is the oldest known narrative of Jesus’ life. In the first chapter of Mark, it is said that Jesus hails from the town of Nazareth in Galilee.
- The Gospel of Mark presents Jesus as being both from Nazareth and the son of David, who reigned as the second king of Israel and Judah between 1010 and 970 B.C.
- He was originally from Bethlehem.
- It is also worth noting that the Gospel of John, which was written roughly 15 to 20 years after the Gospel of Mark, does not identify Jesus with Bethlehem.
- When Jesus initially arrives in Galilee, he meets his first disciples, performs numerous miracles, and has brothers in the region.
- John refers to an argument in which certain Jewish people alluded to a prophesy that said the messiah would be a descendant of David and would arrive from Bethlehem as justification for their position.
- The Gospels of Mark and John suggest that the authors either had difficulty connecting Bethlehem with Jesus, were unaware of his birthplace, or were unconcerned about the location in question.
- Despite the fact that the apostle Paul, who penned some of the first manuscripts of the New Testament, thought Jesus to be a descendant of David, he did not identify him with Bethlehem.
An ethnic identity
During the time period of Jesus’ life, there were a variety of viewpoints on the Messiah to consider. In one school of Jewish belief, the Messiah was supposed to be an eternal ruler descended from the line of David, as was the case with King David. Further support for this concept may be found in other Jewish books like as the book of Ezra, which was written in the same century as the Gospels, and the Jewish sectarianQumran literature (which was published two centuries earlier). Although it is believed to have been written about B.C.
- In Matthew’s version, this sentence is repeated once more.
- Many ancient founders and political leaders were linked to certain individuals through genealogy.
- Hercules was said to have been a son of Alexander the Great, who reigned over an empire that stretched from Macedonia to India.
- As well as this, a Jewish writer named Philo who lived in the first century AD said that Abraham, along with all of the Jewish priests and prophets, were created by God.
As the Greek historian Polybius says, the great actions of forebears are “part of the inheritance of posterity” because they are “part of the heritage of posterity.” The presence of the city of Bethlehem in the gospels of Matthew and Luke added to the assertion that Jesus was the Messiah descended from the House of David.
The legends of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem helped to solidify the notion that he was a legitimate descendant of King David.
As a result, today, when the significance of Bethlehem is mentioned in Christmas songs or depicted in Nativity scenes, the name of the town is used to link Jesus to an ancestral lineage as well as the prophetic desire for a new king in the manner of King David.
Why Was Jesus Born in Bethlehem?
Bethlehem was the site of the Nativity, an event that went largely unnoticed by the rest of the world but which altered the fate of every human being. For better or worse, as Ralph W. Sockman memorably put it, “the hinge of history lies on the door of a stable in Bethlehem.” We envisage a calm night—but keep in mind that the inns were full and that celebrants were likely to be seen roaming the streets. We expect Bethlehem to be a sleepy village—yet the town already has a shockingly varied historical record.
It served as the residence of Ruth and King David, as well as the ultimate burial place of Jacob’s wife Rachel.
The History of Bethlehem
Bethlehem was the site of the Nativity, an event that went largely unnoticed by the rest of the world yet had profound consequences for the fate of all living things. “The hinge of history lies on the door of a Bethlehem stable,” as historian Ralph W. Sockman memorably put it. However, keep in mind that the inns were all booked up and that there must have been a lot of celebrants roaming around. As a little town, Bethlehem may seem unremarkable, yet its history is filled with surprises. Beginning in ancient Israel’s earliest days, the seemingly inconspicuous village of Bethlehem has played an important part in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
In the book of Micah, more than seven hundred years before Jesus’ birth in the stable, the prophet predicted that a strong ruler from Bethlehem would come, “whose beginnings lie in the ancient past.”
The Prophecy of Bethlehem
The most important hint of all, however, was there in front of the eyes of every Hebrew who looked through the Scriptures. In the scrolls of the prophets was recorded an incredible prediction: “You, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are merely a little community among the people of Judah. You will be destroyed.” “However, a king of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf,” says the Lord (Micah 5:2). Bethlehem Ephrathah is a place with two names and two meanings. Bethlehem is a Hebrew word that meaning “the abode of food.” He would subsequently refer to Himself as “the Bread of Life,” and He would declare, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven” (John 6:51).
- What do you think of that second name?
- It was always there for those who studied the old books and pondered the everlasting workings of God—in the history, in the names, in the surprising ways of God Himself—for those who paid attention.
- As the years passed, the rabbis recalled the events and the academics maintained a close eye on the small hamlet.
- That Bethlehem appears to us as a timeless town, situated on an eternally silent and starry night, may be due to this very fact.
However, we are unable to hold a grudge against the innkeepers and tax collectors since the occasion is filled with too much delight.
The Miracle of Bethlehem
Because, in some forgotten nook of a forgotten town in a forgotten nation, the most amazing news has arrived from somewhere else in the world. The Bread of Life was present in the “house of bread,” where he served all of mankind. Someone has arrived in the town of fruitfulness with a wonderful offering of the delicious fruit of heaven. And from the spot where there was once a well that a thirsty king sought, a fountain of living water would come up for the benefit of all people. “Those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again,” said the One who offered it.
What is the significance of Bethlehem?
Both the city and the soul are equally quiet, equally entangled in their respective histories, and equally thirsty.
- Is there a specific place in your family’s history that you would want to share? Have you lately traveled to that location? Describe any additional significant events that occurred in Bethlehem, according to this chapter.
For more research: Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13 as a guide. List three noteworthy events that occurred in Bethlehem throughout the course of this narrative. ~ ~ ~ This article is an excerpt from David Jeremiah’s book Why the Nativity?, which explores the 25 compelling reasons why we commemorate the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day.
When and Where was Jesus Born?
Discover the date and location of Jesus’ birth as we examine significant biblical and historical evidence, as well as academic conjecture, about the miraculous birth of Christ. Explore if Jesus was indeed born on Christmas Day in the little village of Bethlehem by reading the Gospel of Luke.
When was Jesus Born?
This is an issue for which the Bible does not provide a clear solution. According to historical evidence, the earliest Christians did not make a big deal out of the birth of Jesus Christ. Even if they were aware of the particular day of his birth, they did not make a big deal about it. The customary date of December 25 may be traced back to the first decades of the Christian period, according to certain sources. No proof exists that Christians “took” the date from a pagan celebration celebrating the sun, contrary to what some have said.
Tighe, the opposite is more likely to be true: “Rather, the pagan festival of the “Birth of the Unconquered Son,” which was instituted by the Roman Emperor Aurelian on 25 December 274, was almost certainly an attempt to create a pagan alternative to a date that was already of some significance to Roman Christians.” Consequently, the “pagan roots of Christmas” are a fable without any historical foundation.” According to Luke 2:8-9, the Bible describes the precise time of year when Jesus was born: “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their sheep by night.” When they looked up, they saw an angel of the Lord standing before them, and they were surrounded by the glory of the Lord, and they were terrified.” It was customary for the shepherds of that region, according to biblical historian Adam Clarke, to send their sheep out to pasture from the beginning of spring until the beginning of October.
As the darker winter months approached, the flocks would begin to return from their summer pastures in need of shelter and warmth.
Because the shepherds were still tending their flocks in the pastures surrounding Bethlehem when the angels announced the birth of Jesus, it may be assumed that the word of Jesus’ birth was delivered no later than October.
John the Baptist and the Birth of Christ
Christian academics have utilized the birth of John the Baptist as a point of reference in order to determine a more accurate date for Jesus’s conception and birth. John the Baptist is mentioned in Luke 1 as being born to Zacharias and his wife, Elizabeth, after Zacharias’ time of service in the temple was completed. In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, the angel Gabriel came to her and informed her that she would be the mother of Jesus, the Messiah. As a result, the alleged month of Jesus’ birth can be estimated by calculating the time between the date of Zacharias’ clerical duty and the date of Jesus’ birth.
This date can be calculated by starting at John the Baptist’s conception in June, moving forward six months to reach Gabriel’s announcement of Jesus’ conception, in December, and then moving forward nine more months, the time it takes for a human pregnancy to develop, until you arrive at September, when Jesus was almost certainly born.
When the Roman Emperor Constantine decreed that Christmas should be celebrated on December 25th in 336, it became the first known instance of Christmas being celebrated on that day (the first Christian Roman Emperor).
Why is Christmas on December 25th?
Scholars believe the Roman Catholic Church chose December 25 as the date for the decision for a variety of reasons, including the date’s association with the winter solstice and Saturnalia, a celebration dedicated to the Roman god Saturn. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, church authorities most likely chose the date “to correspond with the pagan Roman celebration commemorating the birthday of the unconquered sun,” which occurred around the time of the winter solstice in the year 2000.
Where was Jesus Born?
The answer to the question of where Jesus was born is frequently given as a city – Bethlehem. We know this because of prophecies and narrative records in the Bible, such as Luke 2:4 and Matthew 2:1. Bible experts, on the other hand, are less certain about more particular elements pertaining to the place. As previously said, we know from Luke’s narrative where Jesus was not born – an inn since there was not enough place for his parents (Luke 2:7). Isaiah 5:2 and Jewish tradition both predict that the Messiah (the Christ) will be born at Bethlehem, a tiny village near Jerusalem, on the 25th of December.
In Luke 2, we are told that Mary and Joseph journeyed to the town to take part in a census before the birth of Jesus, thereby fulfilling the prophesy.
- Although Bethlehem and Ephrathah are small towns among the thousands of Judah, out of them will come forth the One who will be ruler over Israel, whose goings forth are from the beginning, from the beginning of time.” Micah 5:2, “However, you, Bethlehem and Ephrathah, though you are small among the thousands of Judah,” says the prophet. The Bible says in Matthew 2:1-2, “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem during the reign of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?'” (King James Version) We have come because we have seen His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
- Luke 2:4-7, “Joseph also traveled up from Galilee, leaving the city of Nazareth and entering Judea, to the city of David, which is named Bethlehem because he was of the family and lineage of David. As a result, she delivered her firstborn Son, wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and lay Him in a manger since there was no room for them at the inn.”
Find out more about the history and significance of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus, by reading the following articles.
True Significance of Jesus’ Birth
The fact that Jesus was born is far more important than knowing where and when He was born in the first place. Jesus came to earth in order to exist alongside us and to be one of us. The angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would become the mother of a boy, whose name would be “Immanuel,” which means “God with us” in Hebrew (Matthew 1:23). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only born Son, that whomever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life,” said the disciple John in his letter to the Romans (John 3:16).
This is the revelation of what took place in Bethlehem and the actual significance of Jesus’ birth on Christmas Day.
on the website Christianity.com Photograph courtesy of Thinkstock/Kevron2001.
7 Things to Know about the Place Jesus Was Born
Every believer retains a special place in his or her heart during the holiday season. Our Christmas preparations—unpacking our nativity scenes, putting on Christmas performances, singing our favorite songs, and rereading the treasured scriptures—transport us into another culture and place, to the time when the Word first became human. The amazing occurrence that altered the course of history for all time occurred in an unusual location, yet it was not by chance. What city was the site of Jesus’ birth?
Where Was Jesus Born and Why?
According to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1-12;Luke 2:4-20). Nevertheless, it is unclear how Mary and Joseph came to be at a place so far away from their birthplace of Nazareth at a time so near to Mary’s due date. The Emperor of Rome, Caesar Augustus, governed from 27 BC to 14 AD, and his reign is the starting point for the explanation. Caesar Augustus is often regarded as the greatest Roman Emperor of all time by historians and historians.
- This census would prove to be a success in Augustus’ broader goal to collect taxes and turn Rome from a brick and mortar city into a marble empire, and it would pave the way for the rest of Augustus’ plans.
- Joseph and Mary were had to go from their hometown of Nazareth to the city of Bethlehem in order to carry out their responsibilities (Luke 2).
- Because of Jewish traditions, Roman law obliged persons who resided in Judea and the surrounding region to return to their original country in order to register for the census.
- Because he belonged to David’s family and lineage, Joseph also traveled from the village of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the town of Bethlehem, where he was born.
He went to the church to register with Mary, who had agreed to marry him and was expecting a child with him at the time. They were there when the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a boy, while they were there.” (See also Luke 2:4-5.)
7 Things to Know about Bethlehem
1. Bethlehem literally translates as “house of bread.” Bethlehem is located in the hill area just outside of Jerusalem and meaning “house of bread.” A warm temperature and abundant rainfall guarantee that the town’s crops, orchards, and vineyards thrive, resulting in reliably abundant harvests every year. The area’s fertile terrain is most likely why it was once known as Bethlehem orBeit Lehem, which literally translates as “house of bread.” As a result of His almighty sovereignty, God chose this town to be the birthplace of His Son, who would go on to proclaim, “I am the bread that gives life.” No one will ever go hungry or thirsty if they come to me, and no one will ever be thirsty if they trust in me.” (See also John 6:35) 2.
- Bethlehem was regarded as a little, inconsequential town—Rather than picking the sacred city of Jerusalem as the birthplace of the King of Kings, God chose a town so minor that it was not even included in the list of towns in Joshua 15 or Nehemiah 11, respectively.
- Theologian John Piper notes that “God took someplace insignificant, quiet, and out of the way, and accomplished something there that changed the path of history and eternity.” 3.
- The prophet Micah predicted that Bethlehem would be the birthplace of the Messiah.
- During Jacob’s lengthy trip returning to his hometown, his loving wife Rachel dies while giving birth to their second son, Benjamin.
- Instead of burying Rachel in the city of Bethlehem, Jacob opted to bury his wife just beyond the city limits (Genesis 48:7).
- When Rachel weeps for her children and refuses to be consoled, a voice may be heard in Ramah, crying and in profound sadness.” (Matthew 2:18; Mark 2:18) Rachel cried for her children, who were in exile and in urgent need of a deliverer at the time of her tears.
- The Messiah would be the next Son sent to Israel, the One who would release Rachel’s children and the entire world from our sin-caused exile into death.
- The loss of Naomi’s husband and boys led to her decision to travel to Bethlehem, the ancestral home of her ancestors.
She insisted on Ruth, Naomi’s Moabite daughter-in-law, following her on her journey, stating: “Where you are going, I will be there, and where you are staying, I will be there.” (Ruth 1:16; 2:4) In Bethlehem, Naomi sends Ruth to work in the fields of a wealthy cousin called Boaz, who has inherited his father’s fortune.
- (Ruth 4:13-17), as well as the forefather of the Messiah.
- He purchased us as His wife with His own blood, rescued us from the curse of sin and death, and bestowed upon us the name that is above all other names: the name of Jesus Christ.
- Bethlehem is referred to as the “City of David” in the Bible.
- Samuel followed God’s leading and discovered and anointed a young shepherd lad called David.
- From David’s family, according to the prophets, would come another King who would rule and reign for all time.
- The Bible says, “He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and supporting it with justice and righteousness from that time forward and for all eternity.” (See Isaiah 9:7) 7.
- Shepherds have cared for their flocks at Migdal Eder, also known as the Tower of the Flock, for decades.
- In the years before becoming king, David farmed sheep in the same Bethlehem fields that were most likely also home to the shepherds mentioned inLuke 2.
Does it come as a surprise that God picked Bethlehem as the location for the birth of our Savior? He is referred to as “the Lamb of God, who wipes away the sin of the world!” (See also John 1:29)
Why Is Bethlehem Still Relevant?
Bethlehem is a city with about 27,000 people living in it now. Those who reside in Bethlehem are regarded to be citizens of the Palestinian Authority. Two million tourists contribute to the town’s prosperity to the tune of 65 percent. Thousands of Christians from across the world flock to Bethlehem each year to see and experience the birthplace of Jesus Christ. This ancient church, which was erected in AD 327 in the center of Bethlehem, is still standing today and is visited by hundreds of believers each year.
- Believers will always cherish Bethlehem, regardless of whether or not this is true, because of the city’s rich biblical legacy and because we can see Jesus there.
- However, He will not arrive in the little town of Bethlehem, where the people are poor and destitute.
- On that long-awaited day, our King of Kings will arrive in a dazzling cloud of splendor, accompanied by all the pomp and circumstance that He so properly deserves (Revelation 19:11-21).
- If you’d want further information on how to do so, check out this article, and you’ll be able to genuinely appreciate the greatest Christmas Gift—who came in the little village of Bethlehem 2000 years ago.
- We can hear the voices of the Christmas angels.
- The year is 1868 in O’ Little Town of Bethlehem.
- “What Is a Family?” will be her first children’s book, and it will be published by Familius Publishing in 2020.
- Her passion is assisting wanderers in their search for a place to call home.
Where Was Jesus Born? – 5 Things to Know about Bethlehem
Christ’s birth is recorded in the Bible as taking place in the city of Bethlehem, which is located just south of Jerusalem. The fact that it is included in numerous famous Christmas carols and hymns makes it known to the majority of Christians and many non-Christians alike.
Even if a person only attends church once a year, there is a strong likelihood that they will hear something about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem during their time there.
Here are 5 things to know about Bethlehem in the Bible:
Bethlehem, which translates as “the abode of food,” is a town in Judea, six miles south of Jerusalem in the Judean hill area. According to the Old Testament, Bethlehem was formerly known as Ephrath (“fruitful”), and it was also the burial site of Rachel (Gen 35:16, 19; 48:7). It was also the home of Ruth and her husband Boaz, who were well-known in the area. Ruth was blessed with the words, “May you have standing in Ephrathah and be well-known in Bethlehem” upon their marriage (Ruth 4:11). One of the most noteworthy aspects of the book of Ruth is that it finishes by tracing the familial line of Perez down to Boaz, who in turn leads to Jesse, the father of David (4:18–22).
Furthermore, it was at Bethlehem that the prophet Samuel anointed David as the king of Israel (1 Samuel 16:1-13), and it was in Bethlehem that David tended his father’s sheep (17:15).
2. Bethlehem was prophesied to be the birthplace of the Messiah.
In the Old Testament, the prophet Micah promised that “one who is to be king in Israel” would arise from Bethlehem, and this was fulfilled (Mic 5:2). The city of Bethlehem was known as the “city of David,” as previously indicated. As a result, this prophesy strengthens the connection between the future Messiah and the house and line of David. By the time of the New Testament, messianic expectations were building during the reign of King Herod over Judea (37–4 BC), who had been chosen king of the Jews under the auspices of Rome and had been appointed king of the Jews under the auspices of Rome.
“For out of the depths of the earth shall arise a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel,” Matthew says in Micah 5:2, referring to the coming of a king who would shepherd my people Israel (2:6).
This passage highlights David’s rightful rule as king over the disastrous reign of Saul.
3. Joseph and Mary journeyed to Bethlehem to be counted in a Roman census.
A census required by Caesar Augustus in 6 or 5 BC, according to the Gospel of Luke, prompted Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem, where Joseph’s ancestors had lived for generations (Luke 2:1-5). According to Luke’s story, the census is an important aspect since it explains how Joseph and Mary ended up at Bethlehem for the birth of their son Jesus. The reference to this census in Luke’s Gospel, on the other hand, has become the single most-discussed historical topic in the whole Gospel of Luke.
In the opinion of historians such as Emil Schürer, there is no historical evidence from Josephus or Tacitus of a Roman census in Palestine during the reign of Herod the Great; and even if there was, Joseph and Mary could have been counted in Nazareth because there was no requirement that they return to Bethlehem.
- Our knowledge of Palestinian history under the reign of Herod the Great is far from comprehensive.
- Apart from that, we know that Caesar Augustus’ administration was distinguished by a large rise in the number of censuses carried out.
- According to Luke, his opening sentence (Luke 2:1) appropriately defines the circumstances.
- In addition to recording census information and property and taxes statistics, this official was also responsible for a variety of other duties.
Contrary to popular belief, it is entirely probable that Luke’s account of the events of the New Testament is historically accurate, especially when one considers that Luke is extremely trustworthy when it comes to facts for which supporting evidence exists.
4. Jesus was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth.
According to Matthew 2:4 and Luke 2:4, Jesus was born at Bethlehem and then returned to Nazareth, where he was reared by his grandparents (Matt 2:23; Luke 2:39). Although these narratives have been questioned, some skeptics maintain that Nazareth was Jesus’ “hometown” and the location of his birth. The story of Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem, for example, was concocted by early Christians in order “to bring Jesus’s parents to Bethlehem so that he may be born in the same city as David,” in fulfillment of the prophesy of Micah 5:2.
- Interestingly, this type of skepticism may be traced all the way back to the days of Jesus’ ministry and the founding of the early church.
- Some people, who were aware of the prophesy of the Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem, questioned whether Jesus could be the Messiah if he came from Nazareth in Galilee, rather than Bethlehem.
- Instead, he humorously exposes the false allegations made by Jesus’ opponents, implying that he expected his readers to be aware that Jesus was, in fact, born in Bethlehem, according to the Gospel of Matthew.
- Moreover, while it is unmistakably stated that Jesus’ “hometown” was Nazareth (Mark 6:1; Luke 4:23), the phrase “hometown” (Greek, patris) does not necessarily refer to one’s place of birth.
- In the book of Luke, this is the phrase used to define Joseph’s relationship to Bethlehem (Luke 2:3).
5. The wise men visited Bethlehem to worship Jesus.
Immediately following Jesus’ birth, Matthew informs us that “wise men from the east” traveled from Jerusalem to Jerusalem to adore the one who had been born as king of the Jews (Matt 2:1–11). Interestingly, these magoi had been directed by their astronomical observations, which was remarkable. When it says “from the east,” it is most likely referring to a possible homeland in Babylon, where there was tremendous interest in astrology and a sizable Jewish population from the period of the exile.
But this is not the first time that Jerusalem has hosted distinguished visitors from the East.
Her visit serves as a foreshadowing of themagoi’s.
When the wise men come, they proclaim Jesus as the greater Son of David, whom even Gentiles revere as their king.
When she heard Solomon’s wisdom, she traveled “from the ends of the world” to hear him and will “rise up” in judgment against those who refused to accept Jesus as the Messiah.
How will we react to hearing the news of Jesus’ birth is the central issue posed by the narrative of the three wise men.
Here is a link to the original article, which you may read.
All Scripture quotes are derived from the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible.
Köstenberger and Alexander E.
Brook CBQ61 (1999): 271.
Reza Allen’s article, “Five Myths about Jesus,” appeared in The Washington Post on September 26, 2013.
“Why Not ‘Beginning From Bethlehem,'” asks Charles L. Quarles in his article. Memory of Jesus: A Critical Assessment of James D. G. Dunn’s Question of the Historical Jesus, edited by Robert B. Stewart (Nashville: B H Academic 2010), 187.