The day celebrated on December 25th as the time when the Savior of the world, the Holy Babe from the womb of Mary, the betrothed wife of Joseph, descendant of David from Nazareth of Galilee is one of the greatest events in all Christendom; but is affixed point in historical time really true, or even likely? There is a lot of debate on when this celestial and supernatural event occurred and even if it happened at all as reported in the Gospels, and numerous writings of the early Church Fathers and theologians vary as to chronology, so it is imperative that one diligently search the Scriptures to find as much information as possible and then like pieces of a puzzle, put each little bit together to see what the whole picture reveals.
Luke 1: 26-28, 30-33, 35-36, 38
Now in the sixth month [Elul; August-September] the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth ("the guarded one"), to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; the virgin's name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the LORD (Mar YAH) is with you; [Blessed are you among women]!" Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. "And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus (Yeshua). "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest, and the LORD God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end (Cp. II Samuel 7: 12-17; Isaiah 9: 6-7; Daniel 7: 13-14)." Then the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit (Ruach ha Kodesh) will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. "Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has "also" conceived a son in her old age; this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
NOTE: Elizabeth must have conceived around the twelfth month [Adar; February-March]. Also, the angel Gabriel told Mary that her cousin Elizabeth is "also" pregnant [just like you now are]. SEE also verses. 41-43. The city where Elizabeth lived, as a descendant of Aaron, was most probably Hebron (Cp. Joshua 21: 13).
Luke 1: 56-57
And Mary remained with her (Elizabeth) about three months, and returned to her house [in Nazareth]. Now Elizabeth's full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son.
NOTE: Mary probably stayed with her cousin Elizabeth until she delivered and then returned back to Nazareth in Galilee. However, the virgin who is espoused to the devoutly religious Joseph is showing signs of a three month pregnancy after supposedly visiting her cousin; and what a dilemma for both of them now.
Matthew 1: 18-23
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit (Ruach ha Kodesh). And you shall bring forth a Son and call His name "JESUS" [Yeshua] and He shall save His people from their sins. So all this was done that it might be fulfilledwhich was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, bear a Son, and they shall call His name "IMMANUEL," meaning, 'GOD WITH US.' (Cp. Isaiah 7: 14 )
Luke 2: 1-2, 4-7
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the entire world should be registered [for taxation]. This census first took place while Quirinus was governing Syria. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem ("house of bread"), because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes [a blanket used to put upon sick animals] and laid Him in a manger [a feeding trough for animals], because there was no room for them in the inn.
NOTE: It is curious why a descendant of King David, Jewish royalty in fact, would live such a meager life of deprivation, squalor, poverty and obscurity.
LUKE 2: 8-12, 15-18
Now there were in the same country [Judea] shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And behold, an angel of the LORD stood before them, and the glory of the LORD shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings ['Evangelion'- "Good News"] of great joy which will be to all people. "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ [Meshiyach] the LORD. "And this will be a sign to you: You will find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger. So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this [wondrous] thing that has come to pass, which the LORD has made known to us." And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made known [spread the word] the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
NOTE: Mary most likely gave birth to Jesus in the third month [Sivan; May-June] which coincidentally is near the same time as the Feast of Firstfruits and the Barley/Wheat Harvest on the 6th day of the third month [Sivan; May-June]. Interestingly, Jesus said in John 12: 24, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.
Matthew 2: 1-7, 9, 11a, 12, 16
Now after Jesus [Yeshua] was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men [Magi or Astrologers] from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His Star in the East and have come to worship Him." When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ [Meshiyach] was to be born. So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea for thus it is written by the prophet: 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come forth a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.' "[COMMENT: Curiously, Matthew doesn't include the part in Micah that mentions "Whose goings forth are from of old, from Everlasting," and in Matthew 2: 6b, "Who will shepherd My people Israel" is found in II Samuel 5: 2??]. Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the Star appeared. When they heard the heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, until it came and stood over where the young Child was. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother and fell down and worshipped Him. Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not depart to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry [maddeningly insane or a psychopath]; and he sent forth and put to death the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all the districts; from two years old and under, according to the time which had been determined by the wise men.
NOTE: At Jesus' birth, recorded in LUKE'S Gospel, the living arrangement for the family was outside at a place for lodging the animals but now they are in a house; which is at least two years later in Bethlehem. It is puzzling that king Herod and the religious leaders were kept in the dark about the greatest event in human history because the shepherds certainly told everybody they could in Bethlehem and the surrounding area what they witnessed, and not only that, but Mary, after the days of her [ritual] purification, she and Joseph brought Jesus [Yeshua] to the Temple in Jerusalem to be dedicated to the LORD (Cp. Luke 2: 22-24; Exodus 13: 2).
Also, at the Temple were the devout Simeon and Anna, a prophetess and the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher, who upon seeing Jesus [Yeshua], recognized and blessed Him through the Holy Spirit [Ruach ha Kodesh] as the Redeemer of Israel. It is unlikely that all of this attention plus what the shepherds said would not have caused quite some excitement and doubtless people would have carefully investigated these things and continually visited where the holy family stayed until they fled to Egypt; and after some time left that country and settled in Nazareth of Galilee way up in the North.
Now, regarding the Nativity Star:
Genesis 49: 10
The Scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until He comes to whom it belongs.
Numbers 22: 2, 5
Now Balak the son of Nippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. Then he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the River [Euphrates] in the land of his people [Amau or the city of Mari in the Euphrates Valley].
Numbers 24: 17
I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And shatter the forehead of Moab, and destroy all the sons of the "people in an uproar" [Moab].
NOTE: Moab is the place name of modern-day 'Kerak' when Yemeni tribes entered the lower Eastern district of Jordan around AD 200 [Referenced in Bible Dictionary, Smith and Peloubet, 1948, The John C. Winston Company, Moab, pgs. 411-412].
Although there have been noted cosmic phenomenon associated with the births of certain great historic rulers in the kingdom of men that have their destiny revealed among the heavenly bodies such as with the star Regulus, the planet Jupiter, the constellations and all of that; but Jesus is the King of kings and the LORD of Lord's, so the annunciation and heralding of His birth [into and among humanity] had to be undertaken by the very holy and celestial angels of Heaven themselves. Now, the narrative in Matthew talks about stargazers from the "East" but little else is mentioned. The one clue is that Balaam was from the region around the Euphrates River, which is coincidentally, 'East' of Judah and Israel.
Astronomy was first cultivated by the Chaldeans of Mesopotamia, along the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates. The question which many have not sought to answer is why would these men come from another country [if they are not Jews] searching for the King of the Jews that they might come and worship Him? Of course, the Babylonians/Persians [modern-day Iraqis] could be good candidates as 'Magi,' as found in Isaiah 46: 13, which says: You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels. Let now the astrologers and stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up and save you from these things that shall come upon you.
Some of these ancient Babylonian astronomers might have come to believe in the God of Israel, like their king, according to Daniel 4: 36-37: And at the end of days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored Him that lives forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. At the same time that my reason returned to me; and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and brightness [intelligence] returned to me; and my counselors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those who work in pride he is able to abase.
Let's not forget that of the thousands of captives taken to Babylon during the "Seventy" years, many of them remained. Over the intervening centuries these families, although ethnically, racially, and culturally are more Babylonian/Persian than Hebrew, doubtless they still retained some of the Jewish religious practices as well as studying the 'Tanakh' (Jewish Old Testament). It is plausible that some of these learned men are the "Magi" or wise men (Cp. Daniel 2: 2, 10, 13, 27; 4: 6-7; 5: 11) are referred to in MATTHEW'S Gospel.
Additionally, it is a little known fact that the ancient Persians [Iranians] were most like the Jews in religion of all nations in the Middle East or world at a particular time period. They believed in One God and did not worship idols, and "light" was represented in their worship as the symbol of deity; much like "fire" was represented among Ur of the Chaldeans. Ellicott, quoting the works of Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius, tells us that everywhere throughout the East [Middle East??] men were looking for the 'Advent' of a King who would arise from among the Jews; and this thought was fermented among Jews and pagans alike. Virgil the poet, writing earlier, says that a child from heaven was looked for who would one day restore the 'Golden Age' and take away sin [Referenced in Bible Dictionary, Smith and Peloubet, 1948, The John C. Winston Company, Magi, pg. 374].
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December 19, 2009
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