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Basic Facts of the Nativity of Christ

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An archaeological, historical, and literary analysis of the Nativity narratives of Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2. The author makes a spirited defense of the historicity of Christmas and validity of the ancient Church's view of the key events of the Incarnation of God's Son. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Basic Facts of the Nativity of Christ


1
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

2
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • E? ???? ?? ? ?????, ?a? ? ????? ?? p??? t?? Qe??,
    ?a? ?e?? ?? ? ?????. ??t?? ?? ?? ???? p?o? t?? ?e?
    ?.  p??ta d?' a?t?? ????et?, ?a? ????? a?t??
    ????et? ??d? ?? ? ?????e?. p??ta d?' a?t?? ????et?
    , ?a? c???? a?t?? ????et? ??d? ?? ? ?????e?. .
    . . .
  • ?? a?t? ??? ??, ?a? ? ??? ?? t? f?? t?? ?????pw?
    ?a? t? f?? ?? t? s??t?? fa??e?, ?a? ? s??t?a a?t?
    ?? ?at??aße?.
  •  

3
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The
    Nativity of Our Lord Jesus
    Christ.

  • The First Christmas

  • A Biblical and Historical Study of

  • the Basic Facts.

  • Presented by Joseph David Rhodes, M.A.

  • High School English Science
    Instructor

  • New Frontiers Lighthouse Christian
    Academy

  • Wills Point, Texas (December, 2011
    A.D.)

4
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • In him was life, and the life was the
    light of men. The light
    shines in the darkness, and the
    the
    darkness has not overcome
    it.


  • (John 14,5. ESV)

5
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Today, we begin with the Johns Gospel, the
    witness of John of Zebedee to Jesus Christ. But
    why Johns Gospel ?
  • Here is the answer
  • 1. In the beginning was the
    Word, and  the Word was with God, and the Word
    was God.  2 He was in the beginning with God. 
    3 All things were made through him, and without
    him was not any thing made that was made.  4 In
    him was life, and  the life was the light of
    men.  5 The light shines in the darkness, and the
    darkness has not overcome it.

  • English Standard Version

6
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • The Apostle John then goes on to say this
    about the eternal Word who was always with the
    Father but now entered into mans world and time
  • 9. The true light, which gives light to
    everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in
    the world, and the world was made through him,
    yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his
    own, and his own people did not receive
    him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who
    believed in his name, he gave the right to
    become children of God, 13 who were born, not of
    blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the
    will of man, but of God. . . .
  • 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among
    us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the
    only Son from the Father, full of grace
    and truth. 

7
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.
  • Christmas is not Gods second plan. Before he
    created the world, God determined to save sinners
    through the blood of his own Son. The grand
    narrative of the Bible points to this essential
    truth God determined to bring glory to himself
    through the salvation of a people redeemed and
    purchased by his own Son, the Christ. Bethlehem
    and Calvary were essential parts of Gods plan
    from the beginning, before the cosmos was brought
    into being as the Son obeyed the will of the
    Father in creation.

8
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • The Christmas story does not begin in
    Bethlehem, but we appropriately look to Bethlehem
    as the scene of the most decisive event in human
    history the incarnation of the Son of God. Even
    as we turn our attention to Bethlehem, we must
    remember that the story of our salvation does not
    begin there. That story begins in the eternal
    purpose of God. 1
  • 1Dr. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern
    Baptist Theological Seminary (Louis-ville,
    Kentucky) in his blog for December 21, 2009
    Where Does the Story of Christmas Begin ? at
    www.albertmohler.com

9
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • This actually connects perfectly with one of the
    most well known of all the prophecies of the
    Messiah in the Old Testament (the Hebrew
    Scriptures)
  • The Coming Messiah
  •  2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are
    little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of
    you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler
    in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old,
    From everlasting."
  • Micah 52 (NKJV)
  • 51)
  • ???????? ???????????? ????????? ?????? ?????????
    ?????????? ???????? ??????? ??? ????? ?????????
    ??????? ????????????? ????????????? ????????
    ?????? ????????

10
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • But now lets us turn to the history of the
    Incarnation, i.e., the Nativity of our Lord Jesus
    Christ

11
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • . . . But there was immediate historical
    preparation for the birth of Jesus the Messiah.
    According to prophecy, He (i.e., the Messiah)
    must have a forerunner. This is like a prelude to
    the main drama of history and the unfolding of
    Gods plan
  • John's role as forerunner to Jesus was alluded to
    in a prophecy from Isaiah 403, which spoke of A
    voice of one calling "In the desert prepare the
    way for the Lord make straight in the wilderness
    a highway for our God." 

12
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • There is another prophecy, in Malachi 31, that
    also alludes to John the Baptist's role in
    preparing the way for Jesus Christ
  • 1 "Behold, I send My messenger, And he will
    prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom
    you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple,
    Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom
    you delight. Behold, He is coming, Says the
    LORD of hosts.

  • Mal 31 (NKJV)

13
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Thus, by the logic of Scriptural prophecy, the
    forerunner must announce the coming of the
    Messiah. This is true even in his birth, because
    John the Baptist, son of Zecharias and Elizabeth,
    was born about six months before Jesus.

14
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Now, if one sets on one side the
    two key events in the announcement and conception
    of John the Baptist (the cousin of Jesus
    according to the flesh, incidentally !), this
    then leaves exactly twelve events or stages in
    the Nativity narrative. While not all scholars
    would see it this way, most accept a similar list
    or chronology in their interpretation. Yet, all
    of these stages are simple reflections on either
    Matthew 118-2 23 or Luke 11-240. These are
    sometimes called the Nativity narratives and
    express the historical conception and birth of
    Christ and the aftermath. These are the reports
    of the chief Advent of the Savior !

15
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • I. Joseph and Mary betrothed - Matt. 118,19
    Luke 126,27.2
  • According to the accepted Jewish betrothal
    custom, Joseph and Mary had made a contractual
    pledge to be married. This commitment was
    considered so binding that dissolution required a
    formal decree of divorce, as Joseph considered
    doing. Cohabitation and sexual coitus were not
    considered proper during the betrothal period as
    the betrothed parties were preparing for their
    wedding festival.
  • Tradition indicates that Joseph was considerably
    older than Mary. The absence of later mention of
    Joseph, may indicate that he had died while Jesus
    was fairly young, and was not alive during the
    time of Jesus' passion. We do know that he was a
    carpenter (Matt. 1355), and he seemed to be able
    to care for his family, even in a foreign country
    (Egypt).

16
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • In ancient Galilean Jewish culture that betrothed
    woman should become pregnant was a disgrace.
    Joseph's knowledge that he had not had
    intercourse with Mary would have given him cause
    to dissolve the betrothal, but being a righteous
    and merciful man he was willing to do so without
    public humiliation (Matthew 118-19 Luke
    126,27).
  • The supernatural conception of Jesus in the womb
    of Mary was caused or created by the Holy Spirit.
    As the "second Adam," Jesus was only the second
    man to ever live who had only God as His father.
    His was thus of divine paternity. Though fully
    human, "born of a woman" (Galatians 44), He did
    not participate in the depravity of sin
    predicated to all of the human race because of
    Adam's disobedience (Romans 512-21).

17
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • II. Gabriels Annunciation to Mary. (Luke
    126-38)
  • Although there is no infallible Biblical evidence
    of Marys age, given Jewish marital customs of
    the time, she probably would have been a teenager
    of thirteen to seventeen years. Sometimes, Jewish
    girls were betrothed as early as twelve years of
    age but married a year or two later.
  • Some scholars take Marys statement in the
    Magnificat of Luke 146-55
  • (i.e., that she was of low estate) that she
    was from a poor family or
  • of socially humble status (even though both
    she and Joseph were royal
  • descendents of the famous king David). The
    real focus here, however,
  • may be that she is expressing humble
    gratitude at being the servant of
  • the Lord.

18
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   

19
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   

20
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • Young Mary was terribly confused at the
    announcement that she would bear a child though
    she had no sexual intercourse with any man (Luke
    134). Yet, she was nonetheless willing to accept
    the explanation of the archangel Gabriel that
    "nothing will be impossible with God" (vs. 37).
    She consented to be the servant of God in accord
    with His solemn declaration.
  • ( See the Next Slide . . . . !
    )

21
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   

22
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • II. Gabriels Annunciation to Mary. (Luke
    126-38) (Contd)
  • 1. Many scholars simply understand the
    sixth month in which Gabriel
  • visited Mary to be the sixth month of
    Elizabeths pregnancy, rather
  • than a month on the Jewish or Roman
    calendar. But Luke wrote his
  • Gospel from Marys point of view and
    Mary would have lived by the
  • Hebrew festival calendar of Leviticus
    and Deuteronomy. 3
  • 2. On the following slide the Hebrew year
    is displayed. The civil year
  • began in late September/early October
    (Tishri) and the sacred or
  • festival year began at Passover in
    Nisan (Late March).
  • 3Cf. Exodus 2316 3422 and Leviticus 259. See
    the article on Time in the
  • Bible in James Orr, et al., (eds.), The
    International Standard Bible Ency
  • clopedia (Edinburgh T. T. Clark, 1915), n.p.

23
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   

24
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • II. Gabriels Annunciation to Mary. (Luke
    126-38) (Contd)
  • Thus, if Marys visitation from Gabriel occurred
    in the sixth month as counted from Tishri (the
    Jewish civil year), then it must have been in
    either the later part of the month Adar or the
    early part of Nisan. We will return to this
    point later, but suffice for now to say that the
    tradition of Marys conception of Jesus on March
    25 in the ancient fathers of the Church appears
    to have a sound Biblical and historical basis.4
  • 4Professor Kenneth F. Doig speculates, however,
    that St. Luke, a Greek, may have used the ancient
    Syrian-Macedonian calendar rather than the
    Jewish. Cf. New Testament Chronology (Lewiston,
    N.Y. Edwin Mellen Press, 1990), ch. 6 cited from
    Doigs Biblical Chronology http//www.doig.net
    /NTC06. htm

25
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • III. The Angels Revelation to Joseph Matthew
    120 25
  • 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.
  • "And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall
    call His name JESUS, for He will save His people
    from their sins. . . . . (NKJV).
  • ta?ta d? a?t?? ????µ????t?? ?d?? ???e??? ??????
    ?at ??a? ?f??? a?t? ????? ??s?f ???? ?a??d µ?
    f?ß???? pa?a?aße?? ?a??a? t?? ???a??? s?? t? ???
    ?? a?t? ?e?????? ?? p?e?µat?? ?st?? ?????.
  • t??eta? d? ???? ?a? ?a??se?? t? ???µa a?t??
    ??s??? a?t?? ??? s?se? t?? ?a?? a?t?? ?p? t??
    ?µa?t??? a?t??

26
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • III. The Angels Revelation to Joseph Matthew
    120 25
  • That Joseph was a man of true fidelity
    and trust in God is revealed here in the brief
    record of the first chapter of Matthew. Like
    Mary, he is a descendent of David (through
    Solomon and Jehoiachin, however), and now he
    becomes a recipient of Divine revelation and is
    included the Messianic plan of Yahweh. It was, of
    course, Gods grace, yet Gods wisdom is
    displayed. The Divine messenger (presumably also
    Gabriel, but this is disputable) quelled his
    fears about both Marys purity and his own
    reputation. Although the original situation
    could hardly be worse for a perspective
    bridegroom, God revealed that He was in sovereign
    control and that Josephs choice in Mary was
    perfectly in His unfolding eternal design.

27
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   III. The Angels Revelation to Joseph
    Matthew 120 25
  • The angel of the Lord who appeared to Joseph
    revealed to him the name which God had chosen
    for His Son and His Messiah, the name Jesus.
    Lukes Nativity narrative adds that this name was
    revealed to Mary as well (Luke 131). Our
    English translation Jesus comes from the
    original Koine
  • Greek, I?s??? Iesous, which in turn comes from
    the Hebrew Yeshua (derived from Yehoshua, meaning
    Yahweh is salvation. ) Naturally, Yeshua in
    the Hebrew Old Testament is the same as Yehousha
    or Joshua. Then, the angel of the Lord adds
    the further exegesis of Jesus name by explaining
    that He will save His people from their sins (v.
    21). Luke and John each add in their own way
    that He will be a savior (Cf. Luke 211 and
    John 442).

28
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   III. The Angels Revelation to Joseph
    Matthew 120 25

29
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   

30
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • III. The Angels Revelation to Joseph
    Matthew 120 25
  • Matthew also tells us via Joseph that all
    these events were foreordained by the Lord God
    and spoken by the ancient prophets. He thus cites
    the famous prophecy from Isaiah 714 about the
    sign of the Virgin with child. Isaiahs prophecy
    described him as Immanuel which means God
    with us (Hebrew
  • ???????? ???). This connection between Matthew
    and Isaiah (not to mention Psalms 2 and Daniel
    927) is an incredible miracle and forms the
    basis of the Christian doctrine of the Virgin
    Birth (cf. also Romans 13,4 and Galatians 44).
    5
  •  
  • 5See the superb classic apologetic monograph on
    this topic by the great Princeton scholar, J.
    Gresham Machen, Ph.D. , The Virgin Birth of
    Christ (2nd Edition London, U.K. James Clarke,
    Ltd., 1958. Original Edition, published 1930).

31
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Isaiahs Prophecy of the Virgin-Born Messiah (ca.
    740 B.C.)  
  •  ????????? ?????? ??????? ?????????
    ??????? ??????????? ???? ????? ?????? ?????????
    ??????? ???????? ??? ??????????
    ??????????  ????????? ????? ????????????
    ?????????????? ???????????   ?????????
    ???????????? ????? ?????? ??????? ?????? ????????
    ????????? ???? ??????? ???? ????????????  ?????
    ?????? ??????? ???? ????? ???? ?????? ?????????
    ????? ????????? ???? ???????? ?????? ????????
    ???? 6
  • 6See my research article, The Ultimate Sign for
    Gods People The Advent of Immanuel (Isaiah 7)
    . A Thru the Bible lesson taught at Park Central
    Baptist Church (Dallas, Texas) (November, 2009).

32
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • IV. Augustus Caesar Obeys God The Roman Census
    Decreed
  • Even the mighty Caesar Augustus is moved by the
    unseen hand of God. (Luke 21 6). He is known
    to have issued a decree in ca. 8 B.C. to enact a
    census of the Roman Empire. This possibly occurs
    even before Mary and Joseph receive their Divine
    call to servanthood in Gods orchestration of
    the world for the Messiahs Advent. We shall
    discuss the details of this later.7
  • 7See the evidence of G. H. Stevenson, The
    Imperial Administration, in The Cambridge
    Ancient History, ed. by S.A. Cook, F. E. Adcock,
    and M. P. Charlesworth (Cambridge, U.K.
    Cambridge University Press, 1934) , X, 192-193
    A.N. Sherwin-White, Roman Society and Roman Law
    in the New Testament (Oxford, U.K. Oxford
    University Press, 1963), p. 168 William M.
    Ramsey, The Bearing of Recent Discoveries on the
    Trustworthiness of the New Testament (4th ed.
    London Hodder Stoughton, 1920), pp. 255-274.
    See also Professor Harold W. Hoehners analysis
    in his Chronological Aspects of the Life of
    Christ (Grand Rapids, MI. Academie Books,
    Zondervan Publishing House, 1977), Ch. 1, pp.
    14-18.

33
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   

34
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • IV. Augustus Caesar Obeys God The Roman Census
    Decreed
  •   
  • Joseph, we are told by both Matthew and Luke,
    was from the house and family of David. Since
    Davids familial city was Bethlehem in Judea,
    Joseph had to travel there. A particular date
    must have been set or else Joseph would not have
    felt compelled to take his pregnant bride on such
    a difficult and exhausting journey of almost
    seventy miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. But now
    the betrothed are going with assurance of Gods
    revelation spoken by Gabriel.

35
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   

36
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • V. Gods Son is born to Mary in Bethlehem
    (Luke 26,7).
  • This is actually the fifth stage in the Nativity
    story, and here at this point preachers and
    laymen both tend to follow tradition and ignore
    the literal Biblical text and actual history.
    Here are St. Lukes words in the original Greek
  • ????et? d? ?? t? e??a? a?t??? ??e? ?p??s??sa? a??
    µ??a? t?? te?e?? a?t??, ?a? ?te?e? t?? ???? a?t?? 
    t?? p??t?t???? ?a? ?spa?????se? a?t?? ?a?
    ???????e? a?t?? ?? f?t??, d??t? ??? ?? a?t??? 
    t?p?? ?? t? ?ata??µat?. 

37
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • The New King James Version here
    correctly translates the Greek second aorist
    deponent middle verb (indicative mood) of ????µa?
    (here ????et? ) as so it was ( or so it
    happened the 3rd person singular) with
    preposition ?? rendered as while (then
    followed by the present infinite e??a? with the
    nominative plural pronoun (a?t??) immediately
    before it . Thus the NKJV gets it right when it
    translates it as So it was, while they were
    there, the days were completed for her to be
    delivered. 8
  • 8 Consult also the footnote 22 on this verse in
    the NET Bible (www.netbible.com) and most
    standard exegetical commentaries. One Christian
    archaeologist, Professor Gary Byers, M.A. ,
    Hebrew University, Associates for Biblical
    Research), substantiates this exegetical
    analysis in his article, Away in a Manager,
    But Not in a Barn, in the BibleStudyMagaz-ine.com
    , November December, 2009, pp. 44-46.

38
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • Thus Mary and Joseph were already in
    Bethlehem when Jesus was born! So, in this regard
    most movies and religious presentations are
    partially incorrect about the couple frantically
    searching for a place to stay a few hours before
    Jesus was born. As many scholars have recently
    pointed out, they were looking for privacy and
    space in a small crowded town of numerous
    relatives. The hard-hearted innkeeper whom
    preachers frequently abuse never existed ! (see
    the next slide).9
  • 9Professor Gary A. Byers, Away in a Manger, but
    not in a Barn in the BibleStudyMagazine.com ,
    November December, 2009, pp. 44-46.

39
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Away in a Manger
  • Most people for many centuries have imagined
    that the reference to the manger in Luke
    27,12,16 must mean that Jesus was born in a
    barn. Yet, we must be wary of reading our modern
    western ways in the ancient world, especially the
    ancient Middle East. There for thousands of
    years, and even in many places today, managers
    for domestic animals are found within the
    confines of family residences.10
  • 10 Away in a Manger, but not in a Barn , Ibid.
    Look carefully also at I Samuel 2824 and Judges
    1131.

40
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Archaeologists have uncovered
    stone-carved and plastered mangers on the ground
    floor of numerous domestic structures from
    biblical times. Historians and anthropologists
    have noted the practice of keeping animals in the
    house down through history. While flocks were
    kept in sheepfolds out in the fields (see Luke
    28), at night very valuable or vulnerable
    animals (an ox, donkey, or pregnant sheep and
    goats) would be brought into a room on the ground
    floor of the house. This kept a weak animal safe
    from harm and prevented theft. 10
  • 10 Away in a Manger, but not in a Barn , Ibid.
    Professor Byers adds Animals also provided
    additional body heat on cold Palestinian nights
    and convenient access to them for special
    purposes like milking. In the morning the animals
    would be led out of the house (p. 45). Cf. also
    Kenneth E. Bailey, Ph.D., The Manger and the
    Inn, Theological Review of the Near East School
    of Theology, Vol. 2, No. II, November 1979),
    cited in http//www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2008
    /11/08/the-manger-and-the-inn.aspx

41
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • A Typical First Century

  • Jewish Home.


  • Notice the animals in
    the
  • lower level !
    (httpwww.bible archaeology
    - info/htm.)

42
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   

  • Reconstruction of the central

  • courtyard of a
    two-story house
  • in ancient Israel.

43
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • Thus Professor Byers explains
    The text does not say there was not a room
    available, but no available space (topos, t?p??)
    in the inn. The Greek word translated inn in
    that verse (kataluma, ?ata??µa) is used in only
    one other story in the New Testament. In Luke
    2211 (and its parallel in Mark 1414), the word
    describes the upper chamber of a house where the
    Last Supper was held. As such, the word may be
    translated guest room, as in the ESVs
    rendering of Luke 2211. When Luke says that
    there was no room at the inn, his point is that
    at the particular house Joseph and Mary
    approached, the guest room was already occupied.
    11
  • 11 Away in a Manger, but not in a Barn , p. 46.
    See Kenneth E. Baileys elaboration of this and
    its connection with the cave of Justin Martyr,
    Dialogue with Trypho, LXXIX, The Writings of
    Justin Martyr and Athenagoras, trans. by M.
    Dodds, G. Reith and B.P. Pratten (Edinburgh T.
    and T. Clark, 1868), pp. 195196 in The Manger
    and the Inn , Op. Cit. His article is
    marvelously documented and relevant .

44
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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • VI. Shepherds Are Guided to the Stable (Luke
    28-20).
  • Now we come to the Sixth Stage of the
    story. Shepherds near ancient Bethlehem were
    tending their flocks at night. Perhaps it was
    lambing season. Some scholars (e.g., Alfred
    Edersheim) have conjectured that these were
    "lambs without blemish" being prepared for
    sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem. However,
    in the Palestinian social milieu of that time
    shepherds were regarded as a low-class
    subculture, and were often isolated from the
    mainstream of Jewish life. How appropriate that
    Jesus' birth was first announced to these lowly
    and outcast people. While the Angels appearance
    to the shepherds greatly frightened them, it was
    full of symbolic significance. The supernatural
    phenomenon of angels in the Nativity story here
    and earlier relate to the Messiahs Incarnation.
    The multitude of angels over Bethlehem were
    praising God and announcing God's Prince of Peace
    now born among men (cf. Isaiah 96).

45
Glory to God in the Highest A Savior Has Come !
  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • Shepherds Are Guided to the Stable (Luke 28-20).
  • For to us a child is born,
  • to us a son is given
  • and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
  • and his name shall be called
  • Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
  • Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
  • Of the increase of his government and of peace
  • there will be no end,
  • on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
  • to establish it and to uphold it
  • with justice and with righteousness
  • from this time forth and forevermore.

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   

47
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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • VI. Shepherds Are Guided to the Stable (Luke
    28-20).
  • Incidentally, you may have heard from some
    loud modern revisionists and authorities that
    Jesus birth could not have been in winter
    because the shepherds and sheep could not stand
    the terribly wet and cold nights. Before you leap
    to this conclusion, here are few facts you ought
    to know

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  • HISTORICAL MONTHLY AVERAGES FOR DECEMBER
  • The information presented below gives detailed
    historical monthly average weather conditions
    along with exceptional weather occurrences. To
    maintain relevance to current weather trends the
    displayed information has been calculated using
    data collected over the past two decades. The
    climate profile is taken from closest available
    data source to Bethlehem, Israel
  • Temperature
  • Throughout the month of December daytime
    temperatures will generally reach highs of around
    14C, that's about 58F. At night the average
    minimum temperature drops down to around 7C,
    that's 44F.
  • In recent times the highest recorded temperature
    in December has been 29C that's 83F, with the
    lowest recorded temperature -1C, about 30F. 12
  • 12http//www.myweather2.com/City-Town/Israel/Bethl
    ehem/climate-profile.aspx

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • This Migdol Eder was not the watchtower for the
    ordinary flocks which pastured on the barren
    sheep-ground beyond Bethlehem, but lay close to
    the town" (Edersheim Life and Times of Jesus the
    Messiah 1186). . . . He surveys (in
    Appendix VII) all the evidences he is aware of,
    and while he admits that 'absolute certainty' is
    impossible as to the exact date of the Nativity,
    he shows that the known 'factors do not really
    conflict with the December dating. "There is no
    adequate reason," he wrote, "for questioning the
    historical accuracy of this date. The objections
    generally made rest on grounds which seem to me
    historically untenable.
  • Readers of Scripture who possess first-hand
    knowledge, or have acquaintance with
    authoritative works on the climate of Palestine,
    recognize that the arguments against the December
    date, based upon wintry and snowy conditions, are
    untenable. The facts have long been known. . .
    . As far back as 1863, Smith's Bible Dictionary,
    under the heading 'Palestine the Climate',
    explained the rarity of snow in southern
    Palestine, while it conceded its more frequent
    occurrence in the northern parts of the land. The
    mean temperature at Jerusalem during December is
    said to run around 47 to 60 degrees F. 13
  • 13David J. Gibson, The Date of Christs Birth,
    The Bible League Quarterly (October-December,
    1965) republished on the website,
    http//nabataea.net /birthdate. html

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   Occasionally, Bethlehem has had a white
    Christmas in modern decades, and probably it did
    sometimes in the ancient times as well

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • VI. Shepherds Are Guided to the Stable (Luke
    28-20).
  • Q. But what would the shepherds do if it was too
    cold and wet ?
  • A. They wore warm clothes and knew where
    shelters were near
  • Bethlehem (like enclosed sheepfolds and
    even warm caves !).
  • B. They knew how to build fires to keep
    themselves and their
  • sheep toasty warm (incidentally, a herd
    of sheep create
  • warmth themselves !)
  • C. On the night of the Nativity, God could
    have arranged for more
  • seasonable weather !

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • VII. Jesus Circumcision on the Eight Day (Luke
    221)
  • Chronologically, this is the seventh phase or
    stage of the Nativity story. While its
    significance is often minimized by modern Western
    Christians, for first century Jewish believers
    the circumcision and identification of the
    Promised Seed of Abraham and the Messiah of
    David held incredible meaning. When He was eight
    days old Jesus was circumcised according to
    Jewish custom, probably in Bethlehem. This was a
    distinctive physical mark given to all Jewish
    males from the time of Abraham (Genesis 179-14).
    It was also at this time that the baby was
    officially given the name "Jesus" as Joseph and
    Mary had both been instructed (cf. Matthew 121
    Luke 131).

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •  
  •  VII. Jesus Circumcision on the Eight Day
    (Luke 221)

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • VIII. Jesus Temple Presentation In the Temple
    (Luke 222-40).
  • Once again, Jesus early life as a child
    conforms to Gods will and the ancient covenant
    of Yahweh with Israel. Hence, when he was forty
    days old, his parents brought him to be presented
    at the Temple in Jerusalem. The Apostle Paul thus
    writes that He was born of a woman, born under
    the law, (Galatians 44), intimately partaking
    of His Jewish ethnicity and heritage. These were
    traditional ceremonies and family tradition which
    made Jesus a Jews Jew, a true son of Abraham in
    external matters. Levitical law further required
    thirty-three days of purification of a woman who
    had born a son before she could enter into
    worship at the Temple (Leviticus 124).
    Logically, these days would be spent in Bethlehem
    with the newborn infant . Continued . . . Next
    Slide

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • VIII. Jesus Temple Presentation In the Temple
    (Luke 222-40).
  • Then, after the required time, and in accord
    with the Law (Exodus 132,12), Joseph and Mary
    took Jesus to the temple and made a sacrificial
    offering of "a pair of turtledoves and two young
    pigeons," which was the offering for the humble
    poor who were unable to afford a lamb for
    sacrifice (Leviticus 128).

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • VIII. Jesus Temple Presentation In the Temple
    (Luke 222-40).
  • Elderly Simeon, a righteous and devout Jewish
    man, had been told by God that He would not die
    until he had seen the expected Messiah. When
    Jesus was presented in the temple Simeon declared
    that he had seen God's salvation who would be "a
    light of revelation to the Gentiles" (Isaiah
    426 496) and not only to Jews. Simeon told
    Mary that her son would be the basis of many
    Jewish people either stumbling or being
    resurrected (vs. 34), but this would require the
    piercing suffering of her own soul (apparently
    alluding to the death of Jesus).
  • Anna, a prophetess in the temple, also
    recognized the infant Jesus as God's Redeemer at
    this same time (vs. 38).

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   

58
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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • IX. The Eastern Magi Seek The New King
    (Matthew 21-12)
  • ( Read Matthew 21 12 in modern translation).
    Think !
  • Three popular (traditional) myths about the
    Magi
  • 1. There were only three Magi.
  • 2. The Magi were kings from foreign nations.
  • 3. The Magi were mainly astrologers who
    practiced magic.

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • IX. The Eastern Magi Seek The New King
    (Matthew 21-12)
  • 1. The different groups of Magi (wise men
    , skilled princes, etc. have existed from
    remote antiquity in Egypt, Babylon, Persia, and
    many other places in the Middle East (Cf.
    Herodotus, Histories I 101,132
  • Daniel 22).
  • 2. Although many fakes and sorcerer
    types existed among the ancient Magi, some
    (especially in Babylon and Persia) were ancient
    priests, astronomers, scientists, and physicians.
    According to Professor Merrill F. Unger (Dallas
    Seminary) It is with such men that we have to
    think of Daniel and his fellow-exiles as
    associated. But They are described as ten
    times wiser than all the magicians and
    astrologers (120) (See the rest of the
    quote on the next slide . . . )

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • IX. Eastern Magi Seek The New King (Matthew
    21-12).
  • 3. Professor Unger goes on to state The
    office which Daniel accepted (511) was probably
    identical with that of Rab-mag who first came
    before us. Dr. Unger is referencing back to
    the Chaldean officer or emissary sent by
    Nebuchadnezzar into Jerusalem (Jeremiah 393,13)
    .14
  • 4. It appears highly probable that the Magi
    depicted by Matthew were of this nobler kind
    (also referred to in the writings of F. Josephus
    and Philo Judaeus) who, being wise men and
    priests in the Babylonian and Chaldean
    traditions, had some knowledge of the prophecies
    of Daniel and the other Biblical prophets.
  • 14Ungers Bible Dictionary (3rd Edition Chicago
    Moody Press, 1972), Magi, pp. 678 679. Cf.
    also Paul Maiers article on these men which is
    quoted later.

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  • IX. Eastern Magi Seek The New King (Matthew
    21-12)
  • Why have people calculated that there
    were three Magi ? This is undoubtedly a
    conjecture based on the three different kinds of
    gifts mentioned. Their gifts were gold,
    frankincense (fragrant gum resin used as incense)
    and myrrh (aromatic resin used in perfumes). The
    costly nature of these gifts provides a contrast
    that evidences the universality of Jesus Christ
    the shepherds were poor, local and Jewish, while
    the Magi were rich, foreign and Gentile. Jesus
    came for all men, both Jew and Gentile (cf. Acts
    18 Ephesians 211-18).

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • IX. Eastern Magi Seek The New King (Matthew
    21-12).
  • The star that the Magi observed has been the
    source of much conjecture and astronomical
    calculation. Was it an astronomical occurrence
    such as a meteor, or a comet, or a nova? It is
    calculated the well-known Halley's comet would
    have appeared in 11 B.C. (but this is a few years
    too early!) Or, was the star which the Magi
    observed a divinely placed supernatural light in
    the sky? It must also be asked whether anyone
    other than the Magi saw this star. Since they are
    the only ones reported to have seen the star, it
    might have been a special revelation for them.
    Herod inquired of them when and where they had
    seen the star (vs. 7), so apparently it was not a
    phenomenon of sufficient import that others had
    noticed.

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   

64
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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • IX. The Eastern Magi Seek The New King (Matthew
    21-12).
  • A fourth possibility ( if the star is to
    be understood as a natural astronomical phenomena
    ) was a rare conjunction of the planets. It is
    now known that there was an unusual near
    proximity of Jupiter and Saturn three times in 7
    B.C.15
  • 15Burke-Gaffney, W. Kepler and the Star of
    Bethlehem. In Journal of the Royal
  • Astronomical Society of Canada. XXXI
    (December, 1937) 417-25 Hughes, David.
  • The Star of Bethlehem An Astronomer's
    Confirmation. New York Walker and
  • Company, 1979 Marshall, Roy K. The Star of
    Bethlehem. Charlotte, North Caro-
  • lina University of North Carolina Morehead
    Planetarium, 1963 and Molnar,

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   

66
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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   

Dr. Mike Molnar, Ph.D. Author - Astronomer,
Historian, and Violin Maker
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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •    IX. The Eastern Magi Seek The New King
    (Matthew 21-12)
  • In the decades before Christs coming, the
    Jews no longer had their own king (though they
    desired such), and Herod (an Idumean) had been
    declared king over the Palestinian region where
    Jewish people lived. The star itself did not
    necessarily guide the Magi to Palestine, though
    the popular song refers to "following yonder
    star". If they were led continuously by the star,
    why did they stop in Jerusalem to inquire where
    the king could be found? It did not guide them
    directly to Bethlehem, but doubtless it was a
    unique celestial phenomenon. They had seen it and
    did inspire them to travel to Israel.

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   IX. The Eastern Magi Seek The New King
    (Matthew 21-12)
  • When the Magi inquired where the "King of the
    Jews" could be found, Herod interrogated the
    Sanhedrin, the Jewish council of "chief priests
    and scribes", to ascertain where the Messiah was
    to be born. They quickly told him that prophecy
    indicated that it was in "Bethlehem, in the land
    of Judea" (Micah 52). The city of Bethlehem,
    located five miles south of Jerusalem, was the
    familial city of famed King David (I Samuel 164
    1712). God had indeed foretold to David that his
    descendant would be the Messianic King, the Son
    whose throne was forever (II Samuel 712,13).

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • IX. The Eastern Magi Seek The New King
    (Matthew 21-12)
  • The star that the Magi had previously seen
    now reappeared, and they were elated at its
    epiphany. Yet, it is possible that the celestial
    light led them in a different direction than
    Bethlehem, where Herod had directed them and
    requested a report (Matthew 28). Perhaps the
    star directed them to Nazareth where Joseph, Mary
    and Jesus had gone to live after His presentation
    in the temple (Luke 239). The time required for
    the Magi to journey to Palestine was probably
    many months, and possibly more than a year. It
    was after Jesus birth (Matthew 21).

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   IX. The Eastern Magi Seek The New King
    (Matthew 21-12)
  • Now, although it is rarely noticed by some
    casual readers of the Bible, Matthew supplies
    some missing parts to the Nativity story and his
    account enhances the historical veracity of
    Lukes narrative. For Matthew plainly records
    that the Magi entered a house (Gk., e?? t??
    ????a? not a stable or place (Matthew 211).
    Though Jesus was referred to as an infant "babe"
    (Greek, brephos) while in Bethlehem (Luke
    212,16), He is referred to as a "young child"
    (Greek, paidon) when the Magi arrive (Matthew
    28,9,11). It was a glorious moment right before
    a flight for their lives to Egypt !

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   IX. The Eastern Magi Seek The New King
    (Matthew 21-12)

72
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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   

Dr. Mark Kidger, Instituto de Astrofisica de
Canarias, Tenerife, Spain. Astronomer.
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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •  
  • X. The Holy Family Flees to Egypt (Matthew
    213-15)  
  • After the Magi depart from Herods domains
    by another route (possibly Nabatea) an angel
    advises Joseph to take Mary and the child, Jesus,
    to Egypt to avoid Herod's search for Him. Matthew
    regarded this action as a fulfillment of Hosea's
    prophecy of God's delivering His Son out of Egypt
    (Hosea 111).

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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  •   
  • XI. Herods Massacre of Bethlehems Males
    (Matthew 216-18).

Herod had been appointed by Caesar
Augustus in 40 B.C. to serve as Palestine's ruler
under Roman authority. He was highly respected by
the Romans as an architect. He built fortresses,
cities, temples, and aqueducts. He greatly
encouraged foreign trade by building a port at
Caesarea. He was an accomplished political
negotiator who forced religious and ethnic groups
to cooperate. Yet, the Jews hated Herod for his
burdensome taxation, for his tyrannous cruelty
and selfishness, and for his political scheming
which included many murders.
76
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  • The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • XI. Herods Massacre of Bethlehems Males
    (Matthew 216-18).

When the Magi did not return from
Bethlehem as Herod had requested (Matthew 28),
and that probably because they were led to
Nazareth rather than to Bethlehem, Herod
concluded that he had been deceived, and he
became enraged. Herod then ordered his soldiers
to slay all male children under two years of age.
He chose this age group because he knew the child
was no longer a newborn infant, but must have
been between one and two years of age. This
calculation was probably based on the time when
wise men said they first saw the star, and the
time required for their travel to Palestine.
The slaughter later of the Jewish infants was
regarded by Matthew as being the fulfillment of
Jeremiah's prophecy of "great mourning and
weeping for the children" (Jeremiah 3115), which
leads into his prophecy of a new covenant
(Jeremiah 3121-34).
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  •   
  • XII. Return to Nazareth after Herod's Death
    (Matthew 219-23).
  • The Return to Nazareth
  • 19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the
    Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in
    Egypt, 20 saying, Rise, take the child and his
    mother and go to the land of Israel, for those
    who sought the child's life are dead. 21 And he
    rose and took the child and his mother and went
    to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that
    Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his
    father Herod, he was afraid to go there,
    and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the
    district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in
    a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken
    by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would
    be called a Nazarene.
  • http//www.esvbible.org/search/
    Matthew23A12-23/

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