Every Christmas, a relatively small town in the Palestinian West Bank comes center stage: Bethlehem. In one stream of Jewish thought, the Messiah was expected to be an everlasting ruler from the lineage of David. The Bible tells us that Jesus was born in the city of Bethlehem, which is just south of Jerusalem. As most first century Jews believed that the promised messiah would be a military leader, the connection to David helped bolster Jesus’ messianic credentials. Jesus, according to some biblical sources, was born … Since Joseph was a descendant of King David, Bethlehem was the hometown where he was required to register. Just like the comet that celebrated Caesar or the eclipse that accompanied the death of Jesus, the star of Bethlehem was supposed to herald an event of cosmic proportions. John mentions a debate where some Jewish people referred to the prophecy which claimed that the messiah would be a descendant of David and come from Bethlehem. . First, let’s look at Mark, the first gospel written, and John, the last gospel written. "Zero. Tragically, she died in childbirth as Joseph’s beloved brother, Benjamin, came into the world. Caesar Augustus, who was the first Roman emperor, was proclaimed as a descendant of Apollo. Jesus, according to some biblical sources, was born in this town some two millennia ago. Did the Nativity really happen during winter in Bethlehem 2,020 years ago? Perhaps assertions that Jesus was born in Bethlehem were generally accepted, given understanding that he was David’s descendent. 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, (Matthew 2:1) This isn’t quite what the Bible says, however. The story about the journey to Bethlehem was a later invention that connected Jesus to King David. . The ubiquitous image of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus squeezed into a Bethlehem stable has a timeless appeal in artwork, crèches, and seasonal plays everywhere, but historians question many elements of its historicity. Jesus, according to some biblical sources, was born in this town some two millennia ago. During the period of Jesus’ life, there were multiple perspectives on the Messiah. This is about six miles, (10 kilometers), south of Jerusalem " on the east side of the 'Patriarch's Highway' that ran along the ridge between Shechem and Hebron ." The Gospels of Matthew and Luke begin with narratives about the birth and infancy of Jesus. Luke mentions that Jesus is not only genealogically connected to King David, but also born in Bethlehem, “the city of David.”. Jesus, according to some biblical sources, was born in this town some two millennia ago. Early Christian traditions describe Jesus as being born in Bethlehem: in one account, a verse in the Book of Micah is interpreted as a prophecy that the Messiah would be born there. Jesus was born in a stable, not because all the hotels were full but because the guest room of the relatives with whom Joseph and Mary were staying was already overcrowded with guests. There are problems with those claims and I’ll come back to them in a moment. Every Christmas, a relatively small town in the Palestinian West Bank comes center stage: Bethlehem. We also have these very specific descriptions of what the town was like at the time. The gospel of the evangelist Matthew tells us that "Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea (now Palestine). The Gospels of both Matthew and Luke place the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.] There are a number of reasons for this. In the Greco-Roman era, birth stories and genealogical claims were used to establish rights to rule and link individuals with purported ancestral grandeur. Mary, the mother of Jesus, lived in the little town of Nazareth, among the hills of Galilee. A doll representing the infant Jesus in St. Catherine's, the Franciscan church in the town of Bethlehem. And a Jewish writer named Philo who lived in the first century wrote that Abraham and the Jewish priest and prophets were born of God. Dr. Long, I love your points on the importance of Jesus being born in Bethlehem. The ancients didn't ask how; they asked why: Jesus's name tells us: 'God with us' (Emmanuel), 'save his people from their sins.' Some do not mention Bethlehem or Jesus’ birth at all. Today, genealogies may bring more awareness of one’s family medical history or help uncover lost family members. Typically, Joseph’s family would have put them up in the guest quarters that formed part of the upper rooms of the house. Galilee is Jesus’ hometown. Was he born in Bethlehem in Judea, or in Nazareth, or in another Bethlehem? Why Is it Important That Jesus Was Born in Bethlehem? Bethlehem! Rodolfo Galvan Estrada III, Fuller Theological Seminary. Luke 2:7 reads, in the NRSV translation, that Mary gave birth to Jesus and “laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them at the inn.” Though we might assume that they were turned away from the ancient equivalent of the Hilton, there’s no actual mention of a stable here. In first-century Judea mangers were found both inside and outside the home and were sometimes used to divide the area used to keep animals from human living space. These are the only references in the New Testament to Bethlehem as Jesus’ place of birth. There they prosp… She was going to be married to a carpenter called Joseph, who, like herself, lived in Nazareth. For example, Ion, the founder of the Greek colonies in Asia, was considered to be a descendant of Apollo. First, in the earliest life of Jesus (the Gospel of Mark), Jesus is only ever associated with Nazareth; Mark doesn’t seem to know a birth story that links him to Bethlehem. More specifically, Christ was born in a stable, possibly a stable inside a cave. The reason that we might think of this main room as a stable is that there was a manger or animal trough there. Luke and Matthew both place Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. Jesus, according to some biblical sources, was born in this town some two millennia ago. Moreover, the Greek word translated as “inn” (kataluma) doesn’t mean hotel in any kind of modern service industry kind of way. Jesus was born in Bethlehem in a humble and lowly state. The Gospel of Luke, an account of Jesus’ life which was written during the same period as the Gospel of Matthew, has a different version of Jesus’ birth. Every Christmas, a relatively small town in the Palestinian West Bank comes center stage: Bethlehem. The New Testament Gospels do not agree about the details of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. Though planetary conjunctions aren’t especially rare, this one is getting a lot of attention because of its occurrence before Christmas. Was Jesus Born in Bethlehem? Jesus, according to some Christian biblical sources, was born … After the birth, Joseph and Mary are visited not by wise men but shepherds, who were also overjoyed at Jesus’ birth. John Meier, a scholar on the historical Jesus, explains that Jesus’ “birth at Bethlehem is to be taken not as a historical fact” but as a “theological affirmation put into the form of an apparently historical narrative.” In other words, the belief that Jesus was a descendant of King David led to the development of a story about Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. But Bible scholars are less sure about more specific details involving the setting. Of the four canonical gospels in the Bible, only two talk about Jesus’s birth. > Was Jesus born in Bethlehem or Nazareth? In challenging traditional depictions of the birth of Jesus some scholars go a lot further than just reconfiguring the sleeping plans. And after the birth of Jesus … The primary reason the birth of Jesus took place in Bethlehem was to fulfill the prophecy given by the minor prophet Micah.He stated, "And you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, you being least among the thousands of Judah, out of you He (Jesus) shall come forth (be born) to Me, that is to become Ruler in Israel . In the same way, the star of Bethlehem was also intended to present Jesus as a person of global importance. David Silverman/Getty Images. Was Jesus Really Born in Bethlehem? Its arrival took place a few months after the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C. As Bart Ehrman puts it in his New Testament Introduction, a situation like this would have been a “bureaucratic nightmare” that would have involved “massive migration.” It is unbelievable, he argues, that millions of people were uprooted for this one event, and that no other ancient sources thought to mention it. if the religious knew that jesus was supposed to be born in bethlehem ” yet when they reached Jerusalem all the chief priests and scribes of the people (Matthew 2:3-6) were already aware that the Messiah was to be found in Bethlehem.” Matthew also says that after Herod dies from an illness, Joseph, Mary and Jesus do not return to Bethlehem. Answer: It is a common saying at Christmastime that Jesus Christ was “born in a manger.” Of course, it wasn’t possible for Him to actually be born in the manger, but that’s where Mary laid Him after His birth (Luke 2:7). "(Micah 5:2, HBFV throughout). Whereas the distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem is possible." Today Bethlehem (Bet Lahm in Arabic) is located in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and has a … Mary and Joseph were descendants of David. It took 1,000 years for one prophecy and 700 years for the other, but God always keeps his promises. Jesus is born in a manger because all the travelers overcrowded the guest rooms. Roman historians report that many contemporaries interpreted it as a sign that Caesar had been deified. The New Testament records that Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea. . Star of Bethlehem as Comet . You ask, "Why Was Jesus Born in Bethlehem?" Was Jesus Born in Bethlehem? Rodolfo Galvan Estrada III, Fuller Theological Seminary. Jesus was the “new David” the “great ruler” that would come from Bethlehem and bring peace and security to all the nations (2007, p. 416). When the wise men went to Herod with the news that a child had been born to be the king of the Jews, he made a plan to kill all young children to remove the threat to his throne. Both Matthew 2 and Luke 2 state that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea. In an article published in New Testament Studies, scholar Stephen Carlson argues that kataluma refers simply to space. Jesus is Born in Bethlehem. The Gospel of Luke includes no flight to Egypt, no paranoid King Herod, no murder of children and no wise men visiting baby Jesus. After Jesus was born, Joseph took his family from Bethlehem to Jerusalem for up to 40 days (Luke 2:22), and from there straight back to Nazareth (Luke 2:39). The prophet Micah prophesied, many centuries before Jesus was born, that Bethlehem is His birthplace. Every Christmas, a relatively small town in the Palestinian West Bank comes center stage: Bethlehem. Bethlehem means house of bread (beth: house, lehem:of bread), and bread held great importance in Bible times. And after the angel informed him of Herod’s death, Joseph settled in Galilee rather than returning to his home in Bethlehem in Judea. So whether Jesus was actually born in Bethlehem or not is secondary. Jesus finds his first disciples, does several miracles and has brothers in Galilee. There are problems with those claims and I’ll come back to them in a moment. A doll representing the infant Jesus in St. Catherine’s, the Franciscan church in the town of Bethlehem. Luke and Matthew both place Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. The Gospel explains that after their visit, Joseph has a dream where he is warned of Herod’s attempt to kill baby Jesus. The problem isn’t one of vocabulary. Every Christmas, a relatively small town in the Palestinian West Bank comes center stage: Bethlehem. Alexander the Great, whose empire reached from Macedonia to India, was claimed to be a son of Hercules. What country is Bethlehem where Jesus was born? In challenging traditional depictions of the birth of Jesus some scholars go a lot further than just reconfiguring the sleeping plans. More specifically, Christ was born in a stable, possibly a stable inside a cave. Some are speculating that perhaps this is the astral event that guided the wise men to Mary, Joseph, and Jesus in Bethlehem. Those not claimed to be fulfillments seem more likely to be his inventions. The differences between Matthew and Luke are nearly impossible to reconcile, although they do share some similarities. (The visit of the Magi could be claimed to fulfill Isaiah 60:3-6.) Though both Matthew and Luke agree that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a number of historians argue that Jesus was actually born in Nazareth. 722, prophesies that the messiah would come from David’s hometown, Bethlehem. The Gospels of Mark and John reveal that they either had trouble linking Bethlehem with Jesus, did not know his birthplace, or were not concerned with this city. Yet the New Testament Gospels do not agree about the details of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem… The Bible offers conflicting narratives around Christ’s birth. This is not to say that John was unaware of Bethlehem’s significance. Regardless, there was a manger or feeding trough in the place where Christ was born, and that was used as a resting place for the newborn Jesus, as stated in Luke 2:7. "(Micah 5:2, HBFV throughout). Pilgrims visiting Bethlehem within about 100 years of Christ’s birth already believed Christ was born there. “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. Around another bend of history’s trail lies Ruth, whose story is short but moving. The story begins with wise men who come to the city of Jerusalem after seeing a star that they interpreted as signaling the birth of a new king. Second, in Luke, the event that necessitates Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem is a census. So today, when the importance of Bethlehem is heard in Christmas carols or displayed in Nativity scenes, the name of the town connects Jesus to an ancestral lineage and the prophetic hope for a new leader like King David. But Matthew says Jesus was born in a "house" where Joseph’s family lived in Bethlehem. Some do not mention Bethlehem or Jesus’ birth at all. They made sure that readers were aware of Jesus’ genealogical connection to King David with the mention of this city. Characters: Jesus Mary Joseph Shepherd King Herod Gaspar Melchor Balthazar Box 1 *bethlehem (night time) - Jesus was born-Mary-Joseph-Baby Jesus Box 2 (in Judea) (day time) – 3 kings came So parang papunta yung 3 kings dun sa kingdom ni king herod Box 3 (in judea) (day time) tinanong ng 3 kings si king herod “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? Dr. Long, I love your points on the importance of Jesus being born in Bethlehem. Regardless of whether these claims were accepted at the time to be true, they shaped a person’s ethnic identity, political status and claims to honor. The author of John does not seem to know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Unfortunately, as Luke stresses, there wasn’t enough room for everyone upstairs, so they likely stayed downstairs in the main room of the house on the ground floor. Question: "Why was Jesus born in a manger?" Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Luke mentions that Jesus is not only genealogically connected to King David, but also born in Bethlehem, “the city of David.” [Deep knowledge, daily. The God of creation was born in a back-woods town and in the overflow section. There’s even a scene in Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth in which a woman gives the holy family directions to a cave-like dwelling. It was prophesied in the 8th century long before His birth. Jesus was the “new David” the “great ruler” that would come from Bethlehem and bring peace and security to all the nations (2007, p. 416). Every Christmas, a relatively small town in the Palestinian West Bank comes center stage: Bethlehem. Recent research by … In the New Testament, the Gospel of Luke says that Jesus' parents traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. It was a staple in the ancient diet and provided not only comfort but nourishment necessary for survival. In Mark and John, he’s just Jesus of Nazareth. (Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem) The claim is made by some scholars that Jesus was not born in Bethlehem. Jesus, according to some biblical sources, was born in this town some two millennia ago. said Dr. Oshri. According to the Gospel of Matthew, the first Gospel in the canon of the New Testament, Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem when Jesus was born. The city of Bethlehem, located about six miles southwest of Jerusalem, is the birthplace of our Savior Jesus Christ. Yesterday I discussed Matthew’s account of how it is that Jesus came to be born in Bethlehem, if in fact he “came” from Nazareth. The Book of Revelation also affirms that Jesus was a descendant of David but does not mention Bethlehem. The Gospel of Mark is the earliest account of Jesus’ life, written around A.D. 60. In a year in which good tidings of great joy were conspicuously absent, the astral event is making news. A blind beggar in the Gospel of Mark describes Jesus as both from Nazareth and the son of David, the second king of Israel and Judah during 1010-970 B.C. It was here in young David's hometown that the prophet Samuel anointed him to be king over Israel (1 Samuel 16:1-13). ROME — As Christmas approaches, debate often arises over when exactly Jesus was born. According to Colin J. Humphreys in "The Star of Bethlehem—a Comet in 5 BC—and the Date of the Birth of Christ," from Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, Jesus was probably born in 5 B.C., at the time the Chinese recorded a major, new, slow-moving comet—a "sui-hsing," or star with a sweeping tail in the Capricorn region of the sky. We know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, there was no room “in the inn,” and that he was wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger. "If you ask me, Jesus was born in Nazareth," said archaeologist Dr Uzi Dahari. In this story of the destitute widow and the Bethlehem man who later married, protected, and provided for her, we see a picture of Jesus, our kinsman redeemer. Yet the New Testament Gospels do not agree about the details of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. Some archaeologists believe Jesus was born in the small village of Bethlehem in the Galilee, located in northern Israel, which later became known for its Nazi-sympathiser German Templer community The Star of Bethlehem. Instead, they travel north to Nazareth in Galilee, which is modern-day Nazareth in Israel. Every Christmas, a relatively small town in the Palestinian West Bank comes center stage: Bethlehem. The story of the birth of Jesus is told in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew and the two versions—each of which focuses on a particular theme—are spliced together to form our modern Nativity story. For many years, critics of the Book of Mormon have called attention to a colossal blunder in that volume (but one of many), though the book claims to be a “revelation” from God.In Alma 7:10, the plagiarizing, inept author of that document “slips,” and names “Jerusalem” as the birthplace of Jesus Christ, rather than “Bethlehem” — the correct location.Here is the exact quotation. The question of where Jesus was born is often answered with a city – Bethlehem. It’s because of the lack of space, tradition tells us, that they end up in a stable and Jesus is placed in a manger. Bethlehem was in Judea which was a Roman province. Charlesworth concludes, “It is impossible to be certain where Jesus was born … but the vast amount [sic] of independent evidence … indicates that Jesus most likely grew up and was born in Nazareth, the home of his fathers” (p. 73). This is what he had to say about the coming Messiah: Micah 5:2 "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to Tradition places Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, a small town a few miles south of Jerusalem. The two accounts agree that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, his mother Mary was betrothed to a man named Joseph, who was descended from King David and was not his biological father, and that his birth was caused by divine intervention. Bethlehem was also the hometown of Ruth’s father-in-law, Elimelech, and where she met Boaz, her kinsman redeemer. We say that he was "born in Bethlehem" because Bethlehem was David's birthplace, King David was Israel's greatest king and the ancestor of the messiah. Jesus, according to some biblical sources, was born in this town some two millennia ago. The gospel tells us that a bright star appeared in the eastern sky when Jesus was born… The details above help fill in the context in some ways that can be helpful to consider the trials that Mary and Joseph faced and to rejoice in God’s providence. The Gospel of Matthew mentions Bethlehem as the place of birth,  and adds that King Herod was told that a 'King of the Jews' had been born in the town, prompting Herod to order the killing of all the boys who were two years old or under in the town and surrounding area. Even so, this doesn’t make the Jupiter-Saturn event the biblical star, nor does it mean that Jesus was necessarily born in a stable, or even in Bethlehem. They find the two birth stories unconvincing, and suggest that both were crafted to explain how Jesus of Nazareth somehow fulfilled the prophetic expectation of birth in David’s city of Bethlehem. The Gospels’ different views might be hard to reconcile. Micah was a contemporary of the prophet Isaiah. Yet Mark doesn’t identify Jesus with the city Bethlehem. Luke does know the Greek word for a hostel or inn and uses it in his telling of the famous Parable of the Good Samarian. This text is repeated in Matthew’s version. Bethlehem Ephrata is where Rachel was buried, Ruth met Boaz and slept at his feet on the threshing floor, Nitzevet (King David’s mother) was sent to live by her husband Jesse, David was born, and Jesus was born. Two widows—Ruth and Naomi, her mother-in-law—left foreign Moabfor the small town where Naomi and her husband had lived, the town of Bethlehem. That he uses different language here means that Luke is describing something else here. According to Matthew’s infancy narrative, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not because of a census (which is Luke) but because Mary and Joseph lived there. The opening chapter of Mark says that Jesus is from “Nazareth of Galilee.” This is repeated throughout the Gospel on several occasions, and Bethlehem is never mentioned. The primary reason the birth of Jesus took place in Bethlehem was to fulfill the prophecy given by the minor prophet Micah.He stated, "And you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, you being least among the thousands of Judah, out of you He (Jesus) shall come forth (be born) to Me, that is to become Ruler in Israel . Some do not mention Bethlehem or Jesus’ birth at all. In fact, this was a fulfillment of prophecy, as Matthew records: Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? Other Jewish texts, such as the book 4 Ezra, written in the same century as the Gospels, and the Jewish sectarian Qumran literature, which is written two centuries earlier, also echo this belief. It may well be that Matthew has placed Jesus’ birth there to fulfill Micah’s prophecy (5:2) that a great ruler (the supposed messiah) would come from Bethlehem.. Matthew explains it all by indicating that Joseph and Mary were originally from Bethlehem. By Rodolfo Galvan Estrada III, Adjunct Assistant Professor of the New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary. Do your upbringings seem small or insignificant? Raymond Brown, another scholar on the Gospels, also states that “the two narratives are not only different—they are contrary to each other in a number of details.”. These are the only references in the New Testament to Bethlehem as Jesus’ place of birth. The Bible tells us that it was in Bethlehem, for example, that Jacob’s beloved wife, Rachel, was buried. Yet the New Testament Gospels do not agree about the details of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem. Jesus, according to some biblical sources, was born in … Yesterday I discussed Matthew’s account of how it is that Jesus came to be born in Bethlehem, if in fact he “came” from Nazareth.
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