Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him (Matthew 2:1-2.)
BETHLEHEM. (House of Bread) One of the oldest towns in Palestine, already in existence at the time of Jacob’s return to the country. It’s earliest name was Ephratah. After the Jewish conquest it became known as Bethlehem-Judah. It is located five miles south of Jerusalem and is 2460’ above sea level.
It was the birthplace of David and for that reason is called “The City of David.” When Herod ordered everyone to go to the city of their ancestry and register to pay taxes, Joseph and Mary traveled about 70 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register.
Bethlehem became the home of Ruth who returned there with her mother-in-law, Naomi. Ruth worked hard at gleaning barley and became the wife of Boaz. They were ancestors of David who was born there. Our Lord Jesus was born here and was visited here by the shepherds and the Magi (wise men). “Today, Bethlehem is primarily an Arab town called Beit Lahm with about 15,000 inhabitants.” (King James Study Bible p.1406)
When the scribes replied to Herod that Christ would be born in Bethlehem-Judah, they clearly expected a literal and immediate fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning the coming of the Messiah. They depended on Micah 5:2 and most assuredly knew that the greatest of the prophets, Isaiah, had written of a child-ruler to be born. Isaiah 9:6 is famous even today: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder.” Handel’s great oratorio, TheMessiah, is considered one of the greatest pieces of music ever written and is sung around the world even today. This piece of music focuses on Isaiah 9:6.
We should take note of the expectation of the scribes and copy their approach to Bible prophecies: expect them to be fulfilled as they were written. Prophecies are yet to be fulfilled in our future. Christ finished His work as the Suffering Messiah. He is yet to return to the earth as the Ruling Messiah and reign on the throne of David in Jerusalem from which He will rule the earth “with a rod of iron” (Psalm 2:9). He begins here to break the rulers of the earth with a rod of iron. See also: Rev. 2:27; 12:5; and 19:15.
It is important that Christians in America encourage the use of “Christmas” instead of “Holidays.” Without “Christmas” many stores would go broke. “Holiday gifts” don’t sell nearly as well as “Christmas gifts.” Let us insist on buying “Christmas gifts” and not “Holiday gifts.” Also, let’s remember that Christmas is so much more than elbowing through the Christmas shoppers at Walmart and making sure they call it a “Christmas Tree,” etc.
Everything about Christmas should be done right. However, we might do well to look around and feed some hungry children and put some clothes on their backs. Even with all the prosperity of today and government programs now available, it won’t be hard to find people in need. If you feed a hungry child, you won’t ruin his/her character. Feed them in Jesus’ name.
●This article is an edited reprint of “Good Morning December 12, 2007”
Read Through the Bible in a Year
DECEMBER 6, 2017 - WEDNESDAY
A.M. Daniel 7-8 P.M 1 John 5
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verses to Memorize:
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)
Song for Today:
O Little Town of Bethlehem - Acapella (3:48) (S.E. Samonte)
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