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Posts tagged ‘Bethlehem’

Matthew 2:16-18 – Slaughter of the Innocents

Matthew 2:16-18 – Slaughter of the Innocents

MT2:16 Now Herod, realizing he had been out-smarted[1] by the magi was greatly enraged. He sent off [soldiers] into Bethlehem, and in the surrounding districts, and had all the boys from two years and under – by reason of the time carefully ascertained from the magi – slaughtered.[2] MT2:17 And so was fulfilled the thing spoken by the prophet Jeremiah,[3] saying: MT2:18 “A voice was heard in Ramah – much weeping and wailing – Rachel weeping for her children and she was unwilling to be comforted because her children were no more.” [Jeremiah 31:15]

21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures [NCMM] or Nazarene Commentary 2000© by Mark Heber Miller

[1] Out-smarted: Or, KJV: mocked; TCT: trifled with; LAM: tricked.

[2] Slaughtered: Or, WEY: massacred; BER: murder all the boy babies.

[3] Jeremiah: At Jeremiah 31:15. The prophetic context is the restoration of Israel after the Babylonian captivity. The Nazarene is later to quote Isaiah 61:1-3 which has a similar application giving it a second or spiritual application to his ministry.

File:Duccio di Buoninsegna - Slaughter of the Innocents (detail) - WGA06764.jpg

Slaughter of the Innocents (detail) – between 1308 and 1311, Duccio (1260–1318) , tempera on wood, Museo dell’Opera metropolitana del Duomo

 

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Preceding articles:

Matthew 2:1-6 – Astrologers and Priests in a Satanic Plot

Matthew 2:7-12 – Pawns of Herod, the Magi Find the ‘Child’

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:8-14 – Angels and Shepherds in the Night

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ

Matthew 2:13-15 – Escaping the Slaughter by a Flight to Egypt

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  • Murder of the Innocents (Repost – 2014) (unsettledchristianity.com)
    Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance. Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “A cry was heard in Ramah– weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.” (Mat 2:16-18 NLT
  • Matthew 02:01-23, “Responses to the Newborn King” (ezracommentary.wordpress.com)
    The Bible calls Him King of kings and Lord of lords. He is not nominated or appointed. He is not elected and he cannot be voted out of office. His kingship does not depend on your vote. He does not become king by some parliamentary procedure, and he cannot be removed from office by a motion of no-confidence. Jesus was born King. It is his nature to rule. Look at the prophecy of Micah again in v. 5-6,
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    Herod was a man who, because of jealousy, had killed his favorite wife. He had killed two of his own sons. Herod would accept no rivals. He would attempt to kill the newborn King.

    History has had its fill of men like Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, and Saddam Hussein. This past few years we have seen rulers in North Africa and the Middle East and North Korea kill thousands of innocent people to maintain their position as ruler.

    King Herod would not hesitate to do away with a child who was born King of the Jews. So when Herod was troubled, everyone was troubled. Someone has aptly said that Herod was more interested in saving his throne than in saving his soul!

  • Period plausibility and the gospel narratives (timescolumns.typepad.com)
    One of Matthew’s abiding messages is that Christ is the new Moses. Among much else, this accounts for the parallels between the infant Jesus and the Old Testament law-giver, who also evaded a slaughter of male Jewish babies when he was hidden in the bulrushes.
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    Jesus “is acting like the God who chose Israel in the first place. In the Old Testament God had chosen his cluster of slaves to be a people; and Jesus, in choosing his fishermen, tax collectors and prostitutes, repeats and re-embodies this moment of choice: he claims a creative liberty for himself that belongs strictly to God”. So here, on a Christian understanding, is a human life so shot through with the purposes of God that early believers could speak of it as God’s nature projected onto the screen of history. As the author of the Letter to the Colossians put it within a few decades of the crucifixion, in Christ, “all the fullness of God was embodied”.
  • The Christmas Story (lestark1.wordpress.com)
    Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.
  • Prophecy Fulfilled: Flight Into Egypt (born2bfree.wordpress.com)
    Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.  The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
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    Judges 13:5 is many times referenced in relation to Matthew 2:23.  The similarity can be recognized when we see how, at the time referenced in Judges 13, because of their sins against Him, God had allowed the children of Israel to be brought into bondage to the Philistines.  Then, He raised up a deliverer in the man Samson, to deliver Israel from the Philistines.
  • Hosea Say What? (christianreformedink.wordpress.com)
    Hosea (speaking for the Lord) is harkening back to the Exodus. He is remembering when Israel was just a little toddler of a nation, and God delivered them out of bondage in Egypt. “Many years ago, by Moses and the plagues and all that, I called my son Israel out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery”–that’s what Hosea 11 is about.

    But look again at Matthew. “Out of Egypt I called my son” here refers to God hiding Jesus away in Egypt to avoid Herod’s decree and then calling him back from Egypt when Herod is dead. This seems to be unrelated to anything Hosea was talking about. How can Matthew say this flight to Egypt fulfilled the words of the prophet Hosea when the two events seem connected by no more than the word Egypt? How can this possibly be a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy? Hosea say what?

  • Remember the Dragon: Christmas is an Invasion (gospelbondservant.com)
    For those of us raised in middle America, this genocide was completely left out of our Christmas understanding. Our visions of the nativity were shaped by the lovely crèche displays in parks, church lawns, and on many coffee tables. And while I still love those tableaus very much, I am convinced they are an almost total re-write of the story.

    On the night before the military “massacre of the innocents,” as it has come to be called, another urgent moment took place:
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    I think if this had informed our understanding of the birth of Christ, it would have better prepared us for our own lives, and the events unfolding in the world today. I think far fewer of us would be so… puzzled by the way things are going. I think we would better understand the words of the grown-up Jesus when He said,

  • Grief knows no color: Preaching peace on earth and goodwill toward men during a race war. (mariomurilloministries.wordpress.com)
    As surely as Herod ordered the death of baby boys in Bethlehem Satan has ordered the deaths of young black men and police officers in America.  After he has done his dirty work the devil sits back and laughs at how we choose sides and ignore him altogether.

    The best way, the fastest way and the only way to destroy America is set herself against herself in ravenous hate…hate that will eat us up alive, hate that will blind us to the one thing we should be doing right now.

    Why is all of this happening near Christmas?  To discredit its power and to seal our doom by cutting us off from the only hope we have.

  • Sermon: “Covenants” (robertsmusings.com)
    From among a series of oracles of restoration of Israel from Babylonian captivity pledging the restoration of the city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants.
  • Conversion (youngcalvinists.org)
    Shia Labeouf, a popular Hollywood actor, recently claimed to have converted to Christianity. ” I found God but not in a flaky sort of way” is a sanitized version of what he said. It’s not very often that a celebrity claims to convert to Christianity, especially in the day and age we live in, where the Bible is often regarded as a folktale at best. What are we to make of Shia Labeouf’s conversion? Is it authentic? Is it sincere? God is ultimately the judge of such things, but I personally tend to doubt its sincerity.

Matthew 2:7-12 – Pawns of Herod, the Magi Find the ‘Child’

Matthew 2:7-12 – Pawns of Herod, the Magi Find the ‘Child’

MT2:7 Then Herod secretly called the magi and carefully ascertained from them the time[1] of the star’s appearing,[2] MT2:8 and sending them off to Bethlehem he told them: “Go your way and make a careful search for the young child[3] so you may report back to me so I can also[4] go and prostrate myself to the child.” MT2:9 But, having heard the king these [magi] went their way, and, look! the star[5] which they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stood right above where the young child was. MT2:10 Seeing the star they rejoiced with a great deal of joy. MT2:11 And when they went into the house[6] they say the young child with his mother Mary. They fell down and prostrated themselves on the ground before the child. They opened the treasures[7] they brought and presented the gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.[8] MT2:12 However, the magi were given a divine warning in a dream[9] not to return to Herod, so they withdrew by another route to their own country.

 

[1] The time: This is no longer the time of the birth but about two years later. It is unlikely these Persian magicians time matters to be present at the birth in the manger. Rather, something else has led them on their long journey from the east. The classic image of the angels, shepherds, and wise men is mistaken. Apparently the timing of the observation of this “star” was two years before.

[2] The star’s appearing: Of great interest to astrologers and seemingly Herod believes in astrology. He has determined the place (Bethlehem) and now he knows the rough age. His plot grows more and more evil. Revelation 12:4 reveals the Satanic plot to devour the Christ Child upon his birth. This Satan does throughout the life of Jesus, including his death.

King's College Chapel, Cambridge

King’s College Chapel, Cambridge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[3] The young child: This is no longer a newborn baby but rather according to the Greek a PAIDIOU, or young boy. By this time surely the little Jesus is walking and forming words.

[4] So I can also: Herod is lying. His agenda is murderous as events will show.

[5] Star: Note evidently this star now reappears. It is possible they have not seen this “star” for two years and thus the considerable joy on their part. Now it “appears” again and moves with them – it is not a comet, asteroid, or meteorite. It is highly unlike it is a super nova. The identity of this “star” is discussed in the notes on Matthew 2:2.

[6] House: Note it is not a “manger” but a house. The family has moved and possibly lived here for about two years.

[7] Treasures: The value is not stated, however, we may assume it was considerable and no doubt later is used in the trip to Egypt and life there.

[8] Frankincense, and myrrh: “Frankincense” is an African incense with a pleasurable odor. “Myrrh” was one of the ingredients in the priestly anointing oil. Jesus is offered wine drugged with myrrh at his execution so the incense appears in both his birth and death, including his burial (John 19:39, 40).

[9] Dream: RHM: instructed by dream; BAS: made clear to them. We see dreams are a divine instrument, and they occur in several contexts here in the opening chapters of Matthew.

Mark Heber Miller 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures [NCMM] or Nazarene Commentary, 2000©

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Preceding articles:

  1. The Advent of the saviour to Roman oppression
  2. Story of Jesus’ birth begins long before the New Testament
  3. Nazarene Commentary to Zechariah and Elizabeth
  4. Nazarene Commentary to An Angel Appearing to a Priest
  5. Nazarene Commentary to Struck Dumb For Disbelief
  6. Nazarene Commentary to Elizabeth Pregnant
  7. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:46-56 – Mary Magnifies God
  8. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:57-66 – Elizabeth Gives Birth To John
  9. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:67-80 – Zechariah’s Prophecy
  10. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  11. Matthew 1:1-17 The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
  12. Matthew 1:18-25 – Genesis of Jesus Christ
  13. Matthew 2:1-6 – Astrologers and Priests in a Satanic Plot
  14. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:8-14 – Angels and Shepherds in the Night
  15. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ
  16. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:21-24 – Presenting the Baby to God
  17. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:25-35 – Simeon’s Blessing and Warning
  18. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:36-38 – Anna’s Thanks before Those Waiting
  19. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:39-40 – The Young Child Grows
  20. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:41-50 – Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple

Upcoming articles:

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Early life of Christ in the Bowyer Bible print...

Early life of Christ in the Bowyer Bible print 8 of 21. adoration of Jesus by the Magi. Vos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

  • Jesus or Herod? (mydelightandmycounsellors.wordpress.com)
    In Matthew’s second chapter, we see that Jesus’ birth creates a conflict about who is King. It was in the time period of the reign of Herod the Great. Herod endowed his realm with massive fortresses and splendid cities, as well as a new Temple.
  • Matthew 02:01-23, “Responses to the Newborn King” (ezracommentary.wordpress.com)
    • No guns signaled his birth.
    • No decorations were put up in Jerusalem
    • No commemorative coins were issued.
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      Rome had appointed Herod king in 37 B.C. But the wise men had spoken of a supernatural star that had announced the birth of a king. Notice that they asked, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?” They were not talking about someone who would be appointed king at some point in history. They were talking about one who was born king, one who by His very nature is King. The Bible calls Him King of kings and Lord of lords. He is not nominated or appointed. He is not elected and he cannot be voted out of office. His kingship does not depend on your vote. He does not become king by some parliamentary procedure, and he cannot be removed from office by a motion of no-confidence. Jesus was born King. It is his nature to rule. Look at the prophecy of Micah again in v. 5-6,
  • The Virgin Shall Conceive And Bear A Son (todaysanewday.wordpress.com)
    Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
  • Birth of Jesus in Bethlehem (dailytwocents.com)
    They arrived at the house where the star stood shining above,praised and worshiped then presented gifts to the child.They then went their way, never to return to Herod.
  • Preparing for Christmas 2 – They followed a Star… (fortyandfantastique.wordpress.com)
    After so long without a prophet, and so many prophecies yet to be fulfilled, the Jewish people had to have been yearning for something to happen! But, as we learn in Matthew 2, it wasn’t just the Jews who noticed!
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    it must have taken some time for the Magi to travel from the East (some commentators speculate that they came from Persia) to see Jesus. Matt 2:11 states that the Magi came to a “house” not a manger.  According to the Jewish laws, a woman had a period of 40 days of confinement after giving birth to a male child (Leviticus 12:1-8) and then she was to take an offering to the temple. Luke 2:21-22 says that Mary and Joseph went to the temple to do this, so they had to have remained in Bethlehem at least that long. They departed for Egypt to escape Herod’s wrath sometime after this forty days and also after the visit of the Magi, as recorded in Luke, but before Jesus was 2 years old, because based on the Magi’s calculations, Herod killed all the male children 2 years old and younger, in order to be “sure” to eliminate Jesus as the “King” of the Jews. So Jesus was older than 40 days and younger than 2 years when the Magi visited Him.
  • The day the Star stopped: Understanding Christmas (commdiginews.com)

    Christian historian Sextus Julius Africanus (ca. A.D. 180 – ca. A.D. 250) is said to have been the first to claim that Jesus was born on the 25th of December. It turns out that Africanus might have had Jesus’ birthday confused with another prominent event in His life – the visit of the Magi, scholars and astronomers from Babylon who likely were intellectual descendents of the prophet Daniel.

    How could following a star lead somebody to the location of the Christ child? In order to understand the star-gazing journey memorialized in Christmas songs and fashion, we have to once again look to the Old Testament.

    The purpose of stars, planets, etc. was mentioned in the beginning – “for signs and for seasons and for days and years” (Genesis 1:14). The Scriptures say that the stars and constellations were named by the creator Yahweh, not by mankind (see Job 9, Isaiah 40:26, and Amos 8) – although different cultures ascribe a variety of stories to these preformed patterns in the sky.

  • Jesus, Our Precious Gift: An Interactive Christmas Drama 2014 (amberdover.wordpress.com)
    I wrote a nativity play for our homeschool group. I also had an Advent craft and goodies for the kiddos.
  • God’s Will (genesisone.wordpress.com)
    The prophecy was that the promised Messiah would come from Bethlehem, in Judea. This was affirmed by the religious leaders to Herod.
  • One Thing’s Perfect (josephelonlillie.com)
    Christmases are never the same. They change from year to year, and they are never really perfect, no matter how hard we try to force them to be so
  • Finally, the night has come~by rldubour (ourpoetrycorner.wordpress.com)
    In your thoughts you know the true meaning.The star of David and why the three wisemenCome seeing.A child was born in a manger that night.

    The Son of God to show us the light.

Matthew 2:1-6 – Astrologers and Priests in a Satanic Plot

Chapter Two: The Birth Of Jesus Christ And The First Two Years

Matthew 2:1-6 – Astrologers and Priests in a Satanic Plot

MT2:1 Now Jesus was generated[1] in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of[2] King Herod.[3] Look! magi[4] from the east came into Jerusalem, MT2:2 asking, “Where is the one born king of the Jews? For we saw his star[5] in the east and we came to prostrate[6] before him.” MT2:3 But hearing this King Herod,[7] and all of Jerusalem[8] with him, were agitated, MT2:4 and gathering the peoples’ chief priests[9] and scribes[10] he inquired of them where the Christ was to be generated. MT2:5 The [religious hierarchy] told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea – just as it has been written by the prophet [Micah]:[11] MT2:6 ‘And you, Bethlehem [of the] land of Judah, are by no means the least among the governors of Judah. For out of you will come forth a Governor[12] who will shepherd My[13] people Israel.’” [Micah 5:2]

 

[1] Generated: Or, born.

[2] In the days of: The birth is precisely related to a then ruling king, Herod. Compare the precision of Luke 3:1, 2. This is an historical event.

Agrippa I also called the Great (10 BC - 44 AD...

Agrippa I also called the Great (10 BC – 44 AD), King of the Jews, was the grandson of Herod the Great, and son of Aristobulus IV and Berenice. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

[3] Herod: What we know about Herod is from the first century Jewish historian Josephus. “Herod” is really the designation of a royal house. These were semi-Jews from Edom, ancient enemies of the Israelites. (The Jewish War, I, 429, 430 [xxi, 13]; I, 656 [xxxiii, 5]; Jewish Antiquities, XIV, 168-176 [ix, 4]; XV, 395, 396 [xi, 3]; XV, 421 [xi, 6]; XV, 380 [xi, 1]; XV, 334, 335 [ix, 6]; XIV, 487, 488 [xvi, 4]; XVII, 190, 191 [viii, 1]; XVII, 167 [vi, 4]; 213 [ix, 3]; XVII, 148 [vi, 1]; XIV, 158 [ix, 2])

[4] Magi: From which comes “magi(c).” Or, Persian astrologers. The Latin magos occurs first at Leviticus 19:31 where the LXX has “ventriloquists.” Compare 1 Samuel 28:3; Isaiah 47:13; Daniel 2:27; 4:7; 5:7, 11. These astrologers were those “who, from the position of the stars at the hour of birth, by various arts of computation and divining… determined the fate of individuals.” (Gesenius’s Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon, translated by S. P. Tregelles, 1901, pp. 166, 167)

[5] Star: Is it possible this “star” is related to the one described at Isaiah 14:13 (compare Job 38:7) and 2 Corinthians 11:14, 15? (Revelation 9:1)

[6] Prostrate: The Greek is PROS-KYNESAI (bow before + kiss) and means a bowing to the ground and generally kissing the fringe of a garment or feet. Or, KJV: worship; RH: bow down; TCNT: do homage.

[7] Herod: The idea of another king of the Jews – which was what Herod was – was fraught with suspicion. The Romans would look with great disfavor on such an idea.

[8] All of Jerusalem: The news is widespread and there is a general agitation over the idea.

[9] Chief priests: The Greek is ARCHIEREIS and likely the source of the English “hierarchy.” This class of Jews is to appear 65 times.

[10] Scribes: The Greek is GRAMMATEIS; or, grammarians, writers; those who copied the Holy Scriptures. The group is to occur 54 times. Many later become Christians.

[11] Written by the prophet [Micah]: The prophet is Micah (Micah 5:2). Matthew is to use the word most often with Luke second.

[12] Governor: Or, BECK: a leader; WEY: prince; MON: ruler. This is understood to be the Messiah, foretold King of the Jews.

[13] My: That is, Yahweh. It is clear the future Governor or Ruler is not Yahweh but the Messiah. They are two different persons.

Mark Heber Miller 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures [NCMM] or Nazarene Commentary, 2000©

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BS note:

Iesou => Jesus = “Hail Zeus”, the name given to the Nazarene Jew at the Council of Nicaea in 325 to come to terms with the three-headed greek-roman gods. Up until about 360, theological debates mainly dealt with the divinity of the son, which had to be the seame one as the son-god of the Romans and the Greeks. The worshipping of that son and the use of the statues in the community should be allowed for all the sorts of worshippers, so that the market vendors could sell their statues at liberty to any worshipper. Jeshua, Joshua (/ˈɒʃə/) or Jehoshua (Hebrew: יְהוֹשֻׁעַ Yĕhôshúa or Hebrew: יֵשׁוּעַ Yĕshúa; Aramaic: ܝܫܘܥIsho; Greek: Ἰησοῦς, Arabic: يوشع بن نونYūshaʿ ibn Nūn, Turkish: Yuşa) Yeshua (ישוע, with vowel pointing יֵשׁוּעַyēšūă‘ in Hebrew) which means “Jehovah saves/Jehovah is salvation” or “the Help(ipa) from Jehovah” or “From Jehovah comes salvation”, for the politicians had to become the second person of their tri-une godhead.  The main god Zeus (Ancient Greek: Ζεύς) had to be the “Father of Gods and men” (πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε, patḕr andrōn te theōn te) and as such should be the god of Greeks, Romans and Christians because Jupiter (Latin: Iuppiter; /ˈjʊpɪtɛr/; genitive case: Iovis; /ˈjɔːvɪs/) or Jove is the king of the gods and the god of sky and thunder in myth.

By the time of the 4° Century CE lots of false teachers had managed to introduce the Roman teachings of their gods back into the teachings of their followers. Lots of people found it easier to adapt to the new religion because it had adapted itself to their faith. for them it was than much easier to accept Jesus to be the King of kings, to be the god of light, the god of thunder, the god of miracles, the god of enlightenment, etc.

Note 2 on publication day December 25:

Today many celebrate Christmas as a reminder, as C. S. Lewis put it, “that the rightful King has landed and has invited us to take part in his campaign of sabotage against all the powers of the world that seek to lie to us and to destroy all that is good and beautiful in the world.” Though the Christmas celebration have a pagan origin and are months away from the real birthday of Jeshua, the Nazarene Jew who we consider to be the promised Messiah, born 17 October 4 BCE. It was that man, born at the time of Herod the Great and the Big falling Star, born in un-kingly conditions (in full simplicity), who later entered Jerusalem on a donkey (a colt) as a sing of kingship, a few days later to be killed on a wooden stake with the sign on top of him marking him as the”King of the Jews”.

Christians should be more aware of the civil historical facts, who was ruling when and which orders were decreed (Like the week of the consensus, the days of the slaughtering of young children, etc.).

HerodtheGreat2.jpg

Herod the Great (74/73 BCE – 4 BCE), Roman client king of Judea

Herod born around 74 BCE in Idumea, south of Judea, had been apointed governor of Galilee at 25, and his elder brother, Phasael, governor of Jerusalem, by his father Antipater the Idumaean. He had captured Jerusalem and executed Antigonus. Herod took the role as sole ruler of Judea and the title of basileus (Βασιλεύς, “king”) for himself, ushering in the Herodian Dynasty and ending the Hasmonean Dynasty. He was granted the title of “King of Judea” by the Roman Senate, and took on an authoritarian attitude, having a secret police to keep everything under control.

Herod was responsible for the construction of the palace of Masada and the rebuilding of the temple on Temple Mount, a portion of which remains today as the Western Wall and re-established the Sanhedrin. In addition, Herod also built the harbour at Caesarea.

In the attempt to destroy the infant Jesus children of Bethlehem “from two years old and under,” were killed by his order. The Innocents have been venerated in the Christian Church as martyrs since ancient times. In the Eastern Church they are known as the Holy Children. The remembrance of this Infanticide in Bethlehem, venerated in the Christian Church as martyrs since ancient times, are known in the Eastern Church as the Holy Children, , in Belgium known as “Onnozele kinderen” (Innocent children) is celebrated on Holy Innocents’ Day, December 28, in England known as Holy Innocents formerly remembered on Childermas, celebrated in Spain and parts of Latin America in a similar way to April Fools’ Day.

Herod the Great divided his kingdom among his sons Archelaus, Herod Antipas, and Philip. Archelaus (d. after 6 CE) ruled Palestine south of the Vale of Jezreel from 4 BCE to 6 CE; he was removed by Augustus after complaints by the Jews. Herod Antipas (d. after 39 CE), tetrarch of Galilee (4 BCE–39 CE) and Peraea, repudiated his wife, daughter of Aretas, to marry his niece Herodias, wife of his half-brother Herod Philip, whom she divorced to marry Herod Antipas and was the Herod who executed John the Baptist and who was ruling at the time of Jesus’ death.

Herod the Great disregarded many of the demands the Pharisees for the construction of the temple, which caught their anger. Simultaneously, the Sadducees, who were known for their priestly responsibilities in the Temple, were opposed to Herod because he replaced the high priests with priests from Babylonia and Alexandria (in an attempt to gain support from Jews in the diaspora).

At the end of Herod’s reign, anger and dissatisfaction were common feelings amongst the Jews. Heavy outbreaks of violence (such as riots) followed Herod’s death (4 BCE), in many cities including Jerusalem. All the grievances the Jews had toward Herod’s actions during his reign, such as heavy taxes and violating the rules, built up during the years before he died. Because of the treatment the Jews were receiving, they were ready to break free from Roman Rule. Herod’s leadership sparked such anger, that eventually it became one of the causes driving the Great Revolt of 70 C.E.

The Division of Herod’s Kingdom:

Light green Tetrarchy (Judea) under Herod Archelaus,

Mauve Territory under Herod Antipas

Orange Territory under Herod Philip II

Grey Salome I (cities of Jabneh, Azotas, Phaesalis)

Dark green Roman province of Syria

Yelow Autonomous cities (Decapolis)

There’s no pre-birth travel involved for Joseph and Mary, and indeed the elaborate story of Archelaus’ rule over Judaea is later told to explain why the couple went to Nazareth. Joseph heard that Archelaus ethnarch of Samaria, Judea, and Idumea (biblical Edom) from 4 BC to 6 CE, the son of Herod the Great and Malthace the Samaritan, the brother of Herod Antipas, and the half-brother of Herod Philip I had come to power after the death of his father, Herod the Great.

Herod Archelaus from Guillaume Rouillé’s Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum (16th century depiction)

Archelaus appeared to be kind to the populace in Jerusalem in order to appease their desires for lower taxes and an end to the (political) imprisonment of Herod’s enemies. Archelaus acted in every manner a King, before such title had been given by Caesar. He thought of himself highly and is said to have committed suicide after being banished. Archelaus received the Tetrarchy of Judea last will of his father, though a previous will had bequeathed it to his brother Antipas. He was proclaimed king by the army, but declined to assume the title until he had submitted his claims to Caesar Augustus in Rome. In Rome he was opposed by Antipas and by many of the Jews, who feared his cruelty, based on the murder of 3000; but in 4 BCE Augustus allotted to him the greater part of the kingdom (Samaria, Judea, and Idumea) with the title of ethnarch (not king).

Archelaus held, in honour of Zeus, nine days of games in Dion, a small Macedonian village on the slopes of Mount Olympus. Mount Olympus, in Greek mythology, was the home of the gods. While Archelaus’ games were not the famed Olympics, they are an example of the value the ancient Greeks placed on the connections between body, mind and spirit.

Dynasty of herod

Dynasty of herod (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Categorie:Afbeelding stamboom Categorie:Afbeel...

Vrouwen en kinderen van Herodes de Grote) – Women and children of Herod the great (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Preceding articles:

  1. The Advent of the saviour to Roman oppression
  2. Story of Jesus’ birth begins long before the New Testament
  3. Nazarene Commentary to Zechariah and Elizabeth
  4. Nazarene Commentary to An Angel Appearing to a Priest
  5. Nazarene Commentary to Struck Dumb For Disbelief
  6. Nazarene Commentary to Elizabeth Pregnant
  7. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:46-56 – Mary Magnifies God
  8. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:57-66 – Elizabeth Gives Birth To John
  9. Nazarene Commentary Luke 1:67-80 – Zechariah’s Prophecy
  10. With child and righteousness greater than the law
  11. Matthew 1:1-17 The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
  12. Matthew 1:18-25 – Genesis of Jesus Christ
  13. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:8-14 – Angels and Shepherds in the Night
  14. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ
  15. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:21-24 – Presenting the Baby to God
  16. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:25-35 – Simeon’s Blessing and Warning
  17. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:36-38 – Anna’s Thanks before Those Waiting
  18. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:39-40 – The Young Child Grows
  19. Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:41-50 – Twelve Year Old Jesus in the Temple

Upcoming articles:

 

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Find also to read:

  1. Jesus begotten Son of God #1 Christmas and Christians
  2. Jesus begotten Son of God #2 Christmas and pagan rites
  3. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  4. Jesus begotten Son of God #3 Messiah or Anointed one
  5. Jesus begotten Son of God #14 Beloved Preminent Son and Mediator originating in Mary
  6. The wrong hero
  7. Why think that (2) … Jesus claimed to be something special
  8. A season of gifts
  9. God’s Special Gift
  10. Christmas, Saturnalia and the birth of Jesus
  11. Nativity scene of the birth of the Bill of Rights
  12. Preexistence in the Divine purpose and Trinity
  13. Around pre-existence of Christ
  14. The radiance of God’s glory and the counsellor
  15. Yeshua a man with a special personality
  16. Jesus and his God

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  • The Gift of Grace (amokarts.wordpress.com)
    My friend Brenda Hendricks just posted a wonderful video on the gife of grace we receive in Christ. It shows some of the great moments in the life of Jesus and it is quite beautifully done.
  • For the Fourth Sunday of Advent (oneragamuffin.wordpress.com)
    So many things distract us from Jesus, so many ads for new products that they say we need, so many news stories that are mostly depressing and tragic. There’s so much noise that keeps us from hearing the silence of the silent night.
  • Saturday Morning Devotional Prayer and Praise Service “Birth of Jesus Christ” (vineandbranchworldministries.com)
    Today, we present to you one of the most Incredible Christmas Story ever told.  It was told to us by Luke, “a Disciple of Jesus Christ,” with no trees or lights, just a manger and animals and a too-crowded inn.  It isn’t surprising that there was no room for them in the village inn considering the number of travelers flocking to various cities during the time of this census.
  • Good Things (mydelightandmycounsellors.wordpress.com)
    God uses His Word to encourage our hearts with the blessings that we have through His Son Jesus Christ.  He tells us in Philemon that knowledge of the good things we have in Christ Jesus empowers us to share our faith effectively.
  • Jesus Christ (en.memory-alpha.org)
    According to the [[Bible]], ”’Jesus Christ”’ was the son of [[God]] born to a virgin named [[Mary]]. The teachings of Christ, a philosophy of total love and total brotherhood, would become the foundation for the [[Christianity|Christian]] [[religion|faith]].
  • Wednesday, December 17, 2014 (heartfixxer.wordpress.com)
    Throughout the Old Testament we see Jesus Christ foretold of. It speaks to our all-knowing God and his love for mankind. Jesus wasn’t a second thought, he was in God’s plan the whole time. God’s gift to us is His overwhelming love.
  • The Wise Men and the Celebration of Christmas (divinehealingword.wordpress.com)
    People are too busy with other things while forgetting the real reason of celebrating Christmas.  In our daily lives, we have all our reason just to excuse ourselves in encountering God.  You don’t have to travel thousand miles to meet God, you just have to exert effort.
  • Forget Santa Claus, Virginia. Was there a Jesus Christ? (religionnews.com)
    As another Christmas approaches and the usual holiday laments are unpacked like so many old ornaments — too much commercialism and too little faith, too much food and too little time — there has always been one reassuring constant: The reason for the season is the birth of Jesus some 2,000 years ago.
    +
    Lataster is the author of “There Was No Jesus, There Is No God,” one of a growing number of books and blog posts by Jesus “mythicists” who question the very existence of the man from Galilee.
    +
    Believers and skeptics can argue with each other, and among themselves, about exactly who Jesus was and what he meant, Ehrman said in an interview. But arguing that Jesus did not exist “is such a ridiculous proposition.”Ehrman said beyond the non-Christian references to Jesus from the era, scholars can plausibly trace elements in the Gospels to shortly after the time Jesus was killed. That fact, and the historical details in the Gospels, have convinced “virtually every scholar … in the Western world” that Jesus existed.
  • He comes in the most unexpected ways (donkeywhispererfarm2010.wordpress.com)
    Nobody every expected Jesusto be born in a manger. Nor was riding on a donkey worth calling a triumphal royal entry into Jerusalem.The leading interpreters were completely blindsided by the appearance of the Messiah — partly because their envy blinded them, but also because they interpreted erroneously.
  • Fourth Week of Advent (str.typepad.com)
    Over 400 years before Jesus, Zechariah foretold how God would one day come and live with men. “‘Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you’” (Zechariah 2:10-11). 

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ

Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ

LK2:15 Now when the angels departed from them to heaven the shepherds talked to one another: “Let us go up to Bethlehem now and see if this has really happened just as the LORD[1] has made known to us.” LK2:16 Quickly they arrived [in Bethlehem] and found both Mary and Joseph and the infant lying in the manger. LK2:17 Now as soon as they saw them they realized the [truth of the] message that had been made known to them regarding this child. LK2:18 So everyone that heard this was amazed regarding everything that had been reported by the shepherds. LK2:19 But Mary kept all these things in her memory[2] and pondered over them in her heart. LK2:20 Then the shepherds returned [to their flocks], glorifying and praising The God for everything they had heard and seen, just as it was


[1] The Lord: The Greek is HO KYRIOS.

[2] Mary kept all these things in her memory: It is possible Luke interviewed Mary in her old age. If she had been a young girl of 14 when she gave birth to Jesus, Mary would have been about 45 when Luke was doing his research.

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Preceding: Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:1-7 – A Firstborn’s Birth In Bethlehem

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:8-14 – Angels and Shepherds in the Night

Next: Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:21-24 – Presenting the Baby to God

File:Illustrations from Alden's Prince of Peace c. 1890 0004.jpg

Church built where angels appeared to shepherds – The Prince of peace by Isabella Macdonald Alden c. 1890

  • Merry Christmas and the Shepherds (samcdonaldblog.com)
    It has always interested me that the revelation of Jesus Christ to those outside the circle of Mary, Joseph, and Elizabeth started with shepherds.  From most accounts shepherds, during the time of Christ, lived outside established religion and were generally mistrusted by society.  Yet the greatest revelation of history, “God in flesh”, was first announced to a group of shepherds outside of Bethlehem by angels.
  • Merry Christmas! Peace on Eath, Good Will Toward Men (closetprofessor.wordpress.com)
    The gospels of Luke and Matthew both describe Jesus as born in Bethlehem in Judea, to a virgin mother. In the Gospel of Luke account, Joseph and Mary travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census, and Jesus is born there and laid in a manger. Angels proclaim him a savior for all people, and shepherds come to adore him. In the Matthew account, astronomers follow a star to Bethlehem to bring gifts to Jesus, born the King of the Jews. King Herod orders the massacre of all the boys less than two years old in Bethlehem, but the family flees to Egypt and later settles in Nazareth.

    Luke’s story takes place mostly before the birth of Jesus and centers on Mary, while Matthew’s story takes place mostly after the birth of Jesus and centers on Joseph. The two other gospels, the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of John, begin their narratives of Jesus’s life in his adulthood; both mention him coming out of Galilee and John mentions the name of Jesus’ father, but neither John nor Mark gives any other details of his life prior to adulthood.

  • Shepherds Hear that the Great Shepherd Brings Peace (Day 12 of the 12 Days of Christmas devotionals) (gloriousfilms.com)
    What does it say about Jesus that shepherds were the first to receive – and tell – the good news of His birth?
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    By Christ’s day, shepherds had lost much of their ancient esteem from the days when Abel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and David plied the trade.  They were no longer among the mighty, the rich, the great, or the respected among the population, but were on the margins of society, working a difficult, dangerous and undesirable job of watching over some of the smelliest, stupidest animals on earth, living outside in the cold and weather, and not being highly paid for doing so.  Thus, choosing to give such a great honor to the shepherds, and therefore, snubbing the high priests, the rich, and the kings of the earth like Herod, sends a message from on High.  As we have touched on before, it must represent the “great reversal” that Christ’s Kingdom brings, where the humble are the exalted, and the exalted are brought low.
  • The True Meaning of Christmas (tillynailart.com)
    And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
    +
    the glory of the Lord shone around them
  • Saints and Feasts: The Nativity of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ (orthodoxlogos5.wordpress.com)
    Concurring with the witness of the Gospel, the Fathers of the Church, in their God-inspired writings, describe the Feast of the Nativity of Christ as most profound, and joyous, serving as the basis and foundation for all the other Feasts.
  • Merry Christmas to All of You!! (menofredemption.wordpress.com)
    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 widely known 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. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
  • Mary pondered these things in her heart: the art of pondering (johndgrigsby.com)

    One of my favorite verses in the Bible is that part in verse 19 where it said that Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.

    What did it mean for her to ponder in her heart?

    Ponder means to consider.  It means to take what you know, and consider what might be.

  • Joy. (wccollegedotorg.wordpress.com)
    17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
  • Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours! (freehealthandwellness.com)
    We know that Christ was born and we should be very, very thankful!
    +
    The birth of the baby Jesus stands as the most significant event in all history, because it has meant the pouring into a sick world the healing medicine of love which has transformed all manner of hearts for almost two thousand years… Underneath all the bulging bundles is this beating Christmas heart.

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:1-7 – A Firstborn’s Birth In Bethlehem

Luke 2:1-7 – A Firstborn’s Birth In Bethlehem

LK2:1 Now it occurred in those days[1] that a decree[2] was sent out from Caesar Augustus[3] to register[4] all the inhabitants of the land.[5] LK2:2 This was the first census during the time Quirinius[6] was governor of Syria. LK2:3 So everyone traveled to register in their individual towns. LK2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee and the village of Nazareth to Judea and David’s village called Bethlehem.[7] LK2:5 Because his family was of David’s genealogy he registered there with his pregnant fiancée[8] Mary. LK2:6 And it came about while they were there it became the time for her to give birth. LK2:7 She gave birth to a son – her firstborn[9] – and then she wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them at the inn.[10]


[1] In those days: About 10 AD.

[2] Decree: The Greek is DOGMA.

[3] Caesar Augustus: The Roman Emperor died in 15 AD.

[4] Register: Or, taxed, census, registration.

[5] All the inhabitants of the land: The word may refer only to Judea.

Vespasianus01 pushkin edit.png

Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus, 9th Emperor of the Roman Empire

[6] Quirinius: His full name is Publius Sulpicius Quirinius. Tacitus the Roman historian mentions him: “[Quirinius] sprang from the municipality of Lanuvium – had no connection; but as an intrepid soldier and an active servant he won a consulate under the deified Augustus, and, a little later, by capturing the Homonadensian strongholds beyond the Cilician frontier, earned the insignia of triumph,… adviser to Gaius Caesar during his command in Armenia.” [The Annals, III, XLVIII)] He died 21 AD. Josephus mentions him: “Quirinius, a Roman senator who had proceeded through all the magistracies to the consulship and a man who was extremely distinguished in other respects, arrived in Syria, dispatched by Caesar to be governor of the nation and to make an assessment of their property. Coponius, a man of equestrian rank, was sent along with him to rule over the Jews with full authority.” Josephus mentions that he ordered a taxation which may have caused the need for the census. This led to a Jewish revolt. [Jewish Antiquities, XVIII, 1, 2, 3, 4 [i, 1]] For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Acts 5:37. Another commentary states: “Quirinius stood in exactly the same relation to Varus, the governor of Syria, as at a later time Vespasian did to Mucianus. Vespasian conducted the war in Palestine while Mucianus was governor of Syria; and Vespasian was legatus Augusti, holding precisely the same title and technical rank as Mucianus.” [The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge 1957, Vol. IX, pp. 375, 376] This and other histories and archaeological discovers proves the existence of such a person.

[7] Bethlehem: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew 2:6. [Micah 5:2]

[8] Fiancée: Or, espoused wife, betrothed, engaged, having been given in marriage. The state of engagement made Mary his woman or wife. Though they were not married by the Jewish ritual of the wedding feast, there was no legal condemnation under the Law of Moses.

[9] Firstborn: Or, her first child. The Greek is PROTOTOKON, the first born of a woman. Thus, inferring she had other children. [Matthew 1:25]

[10] Inn: Or, lodging house. This may have been a guestroom, however it may have been a caravanary – a place where those on the trade routes stopped for over night rest. Surely it was primitive and one thing dominated the sense – the odour of animals.

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File:Daphni.jpg

A mosaic from Daphni Monastery in Greece (ca. 1100), showing the midwives bathing the new-born Christ. Originally uploaded to English Wikipedia by User:Ghirlandajo.

Additional notes:

About the birth of Christ there are different opinions, but all historians agree Jeshua son of Josef and Miriam (Joseph and Mary) was born before the beginning of the contemporary time calendar system. We take it he was born on October 17, 4BCE.
All has to be taken in account: cleaning of the stalls, having the sheep out in the fields, position of the stars and lunar circle with the amount of falling stars and special notated events in the air, plus the census and the people in charge at the time, as well as the killing of the babies.

Please do find additional reading:

  1. Astronomical and Historical Evidence for Dating the Nativity in 2 BC
    By Nollet, James A.
    Academic journal article from Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Vol. 64, No. 4
    Article details
    It is commonly accepted that Jesus Christ was born either before 4 BC (working from references in Matthew, Flavius Josephus) or after AD 6 (working from information in Luke). However, Flavius Josephus’s dates are unreliable and sometimes argue against themselves. Astronomically, the eclipse of March 13, 4 BC, is highly unlikely to have been the eclipse which Josephus states heralded the death of King Herod, who, therefore, did not die in 4 BC; neither did Herod die in 3 BC or 2 BC, since there were no lunar eclipses visible in Judea in those years. However, 1 BC had two eclipses; either of these, more likely the latter, was the eclipse which just preceded Herod’s death. Herod, therefore, died either in 1 BC or AD 1, and Jesus, therefore, was born either from 3 BC to 1 BC, or from 2 BC to AD 1. The Quirinius census of Luke’s gospel was not the Quirinius census of AD 6, but rather the Pater Patriae census in 2 BC. Jesus was probably born then in 2 BC. This date is consistent with the records of Matthew, Luke, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, and Eusebius.
    When I attended Catholic parochial schools, the nuns taught us that Jesus was born “in the Year 0.” (1) Today, it is generally taught that Jesus was born during or before 4 BC. But there is no actual record of this date. This supposition rests solely on Flavius Josephus’s passing remark that a lunar eclipse occurred shortly before King Herod died, and we know there was an eclipse visible in Jerusalem on March 13,4 BC. Since we know from the Gospel of Matthew that Jesus was up to two years old or younger when Herod died, this means Jesus could have been born as early as 6 BC. This date, however, seems to clash with the Nativity account in Luke, which says that the Nativity occurred during a census conducted by the Roman Governor of Syria Quirinius, who we know conducted a census of Judea in AD 6. This article proposes that the likeliest date of the Nativity was not 4 BC, but instead about 1 BC. This is also the year when Herod actually died, and it reconciles the apparent discrepancy of dates in the Nativity accounts of Matthew and Luke.
    There are actually many estimates for the year of the birth of Jesus. Some of the earliest include the placement of the birth of Jesus in the 44th year of the reign of Emperor Augustus, about 3-2 BC by Irenaeus in AD 180. (2) In AD 194, Clement of Alexandria estimated that Jesus was born 194 years before the death of the emperor Commodus who died on the last day of AD 192; therefore Jesus was born around 2 BC. (3) Early in the fourth century, Eusebius wrote that Jesus was born in the 42nd year of the reign of Augustus, and in the 28th year after the death of Cleopatra. (4) Leaving aside the issue of inclusive or exclusive counting, that places the birth of Jesus at around 2 BC. The Gospel of Luke states that there was a “universal census” of the entire Roman world shortly before Jesus was born, when P. Sulpicius Quirinius was governor of Syria. Quirinius was governor twice, in 3 BC and in AD 6. (5) However, we generally and popularly suppose that Luke was referring to the latter term, because that was the year in which a local census for taxation purposes occurred; this would mean that Luke exaggerated when he spoke about a census of the whole (Roman) world.
    According to Josephus, Augustus sent Quirinius to be governor of Syria at the same time that he sent Coponius to be the first procurator of Judea, (6) stating also that this census occurred in the 37th year “after Caesar’s victory over Antony at Actium” (31 BC) (7) which, counting inclusively, brings us to AD 6. However, we will see that Josephus was wrong on many of his dates. Therefore, as a working hypothesis, I regard it as possible that Josephus got his fact wrong about Coponius, confusing Quirinius’s first term as governor with his second term. If so, most of the discrepancy between the dates of the Nativity which exists between Luke and Matthew …
    Read the full-text article

    Eusebius of Caesarea.jpg

    Eusebius of Caesarea Roman historian, exegete and Christian polemicist

  2. The Historical Christ and the Jesus of Faith: The Incarnational Narrative as History
  3. Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity
  4. Nativity Allusions–Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary, 1986
  5. Christmas and Arbitrary choice for 25 December
    The choice of 25 December is considered arbitrary and not based on evidence provided in the New Testament, the Christian text dealing with the life of Christ. Many theories have been put forward for the choice of the 25 December as Christ’s Nativity, but that it fell during Roman Saturnalia is now largely dismissed. It appears to have been fixed in relation to Epiphany (6 January), counting backward twelve days (now the twelve days of Christmas) or thirteen nights by the lunar calendar. It also falls three days after the winter solstice, a date when a number of pagan gods underwent resurrection after the shortest day of the year. This includes Sol Invictus of the Roman state religion during pagan times, a cult associated with the deification of the emperor. Whatever the explanation, it is evident that the early Christian Fathers, in their struggle for political and psychological supremacy, turned the interpretatio romana (the process of romanizing foreign gods) on its ear by expropriating a number of pagan symbols and observances and providing them with new Christian meanings. For this reason, Christmas and especially the foods associated with it represent a fusion of diverse pagan strands varying widely in emphasis from one country to the next. The celebration of Yule in Scandinavia has become one of the most distinctive aspects of the holiday as observed in northern Europe. The tradition of St. Nicholas of Myra in the Netherlands and the Franciscan cult of the Bambino Gesu in Italy are examples of the many forms these fusions have taken. All are expressed symbolically in food.
  6. Christmas [Christ’s Mass], in the Christian calendar

    The observance probably does not date earlier than AD 200 and did not become widespread until the 4th cent. The date was undoubtedly chosen for its nearness to Epiphany, which, in the East, originally included a commemoration of the nativity. The date of Christmas coincides closely with the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere, a time of rejoicing among many ancient cultures. Christmas, as the great popular festival of Western Europe, dates from the Middle Ages. In England after the Reformation the observance became a point of contention between Anglicans and other Protestants, and the celebration of Christmas was suppressed in Scotland and in much of New England until the 19th cent.

    In the mid 19th cent. Christmas began to acquire its associations with an increasingly secularized holiday of gift-giving and good cheer, a view that was popularized in works such as Clement Clarke Moore‘s poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (1823) and Charles Dickens’s story A Christmas Carol (1843). Christmas cards first appeared c.1846. The current concept of a jolly Santa Claus was first made popular in New York in the 19th cent. (see Nicholas, Saint).

    The Yule Log [Yule, from O.E.,=Christmas], the boar’s head, the goose (in America the turkey), decoration with holly, hawthorn, wreaths, mistletoe, and the singing of carols by waifs (Christmas serenaders) are all typically English (see carol). Gifts at Christmas are also English; elsewhere they are given at other times, e.g., at Epiphany in Spain. The Christmas tree was a tradition from the Middle Ages in Germany. The crib (crèche) with the scene at Bethlehem was popularized by the Franciscans. The midnight service on Christmas Eve is a popular religious observance in the Roman Catholic and some Protestant churches.

  7. Observance of Christmas in early British North America
    The observance of Christmas in early British North America derived from practices familiar in England, where 25 December was celebrated with a good deal of bawdy revelry. Due to this association, as well as the lack of any biblical sanction for that date, observance of Christmas was opposed by Puritans in England and was banned in the Massachusetts Bay Colony between 1659 and 1681.
    In the nineteenth century, Christmas became domesticated, with a shift toward a nuclear family experience of gift giving around a Christmas tree. The tree was popularized by immigrants from Germany, where it had become prominent earlier in the century. Christmas became the principal sales holiday of the year, presided over by Santa Claus, a figure compounded from myth, religious history, and the need for a congenial symbol for the new attitude toward the holiday. He was introduced and promoted by popular literature and illustration, from Clement Moore‘s “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas” (1823) to Thomas Nast’s cartoons of the portly character. Charles Dickens toured America in 1867 reading from his enormously popular “A Christmas Carol,” which further reinforced the notions that were crystallizing about how Christmas should be celebrated.

    Charles Dickens-A Christmas Carol-Title page-First edition 1843.jpg

    A Christmas Carol, a early Victorian era Britain novella by English author Charles Dickens, first published by Chapman & Hall on 19 December 1843. One of the greatest influences in rejuvenating the old Christmas traditions of England but, while it brings to the reader images of light, joy, warmth and life, it also brings strong and unforgettable images of darkness, despair, coldness, sadness and death.

  8. Christmas, Saturnalia and the birth of Jesus
  9. God’s Special Gift
  10. Birth of Christ – articles
  11. A season of gifts
  12. Thanksgivukkah and Advent
  13. Christmas customs – Are They Christian?
  14. Jesus begotten Son of God #1 Christmas and Christians
  15. Jesus begotten Son of God #2 Christmas and pagan rites
  16. Irminsul, dies natalis solis invicti, birthday of light, Christmas and Saturnalia
  17. The nativity story
  18. Religious Practices around the world
  19. Idolatry or idol worship
  20. Focus on outward appearances
  21. Speedy Christmas!
  22. Christmas trees
  23. Merry Christmas with the King of Kings
  24. What do you want for Christmas
  25. Ember and light the ransomed of Jehovah
  26. Sancta Claus is not God
  27. Wishing lanterns and Christmas
  28. ‘Tis The Season To Be Cranky: Religious Right Gears Up New Round Of ‘War On Christmas’ Claims
  29. The atheist’s Thanksgiving dilemma  Whom to thank when there’s no recipient?
  30. Pagan Roots? 5 Surprising Facts About Christmas
  31. Nativity scene of the birth of the Bill of Rights
  32. Mocking, Agitation and Religious Persecution
  33. History of Christianity
  34. The imaginational war against Christmas
  35. Being Religious and Spiritual 8 Spiritual, Mystic and not or well religious

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  • Merry Christmas From Real Media (thisisrealmedia.com)
    So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
  • Have yourselve a Merry Christmas (prhayz.com)
    Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into 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 wife who was with child.  So it was, that 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, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
  • Practical Details (loveunderstandserve.wordpress.com)
    Jesus was born at the time of a census called for throughout the Roman Empire. In order to expedite the data collection, the different Israelite tribes were require to assemble in their ancestral hometowns. For Joseph, this was the town of Bethlehem, where his great- (x24) grandfather David was born. This census was most probably being conducted in anticipation of a tax increase and for the purpose of enforcing military service.
  • Did a Census Really Bring Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem? (gospelbondservant.com)
    The census or enrollment, which, according to Luke 2:1, was the occasion of the journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem where Jesus was born, is connected with a decree of Augustus embracing the Greek-Roman world. This decree must have been carried out in Palestine by Herod and probably in accordance with the Jewish method–each going to his own city–rather than the Roman.

    While Josephus does not mention the Herodian census, Luke carefully distinguishes the census at the time of Jesus’ birth as “first,” (i.e. first in a series of enrollments connected either with Quirinius or with the imperial policy inaugurated by the decree of Augustus).

    The geographical work of [Herod] Agrippa, together with the interest of the emperor in the organization and finances of the empire and the attention which he gave to the provinces are indirectly corroborative of Luke’s statement. Augustus himself conducted a census in Italy in and in Gaul in 727/27* [see Roman dating system, ‘AUC‘] and had a census taken in other provinces. For Egypt there is evidence of a regular periodic census every 14 years extending back to 773/20 and it is not improbable that this procedure was introduced by Augustus.

    The time of the decree is stated only in general terms by Luke, and it may have been as early as 727/27 or later in 746-8, its execution in different provinces and subject kingdoms being carried out at different times. Luke dates the census in the kingdom of Herod specifically by connecting it with the administrative functions of Quirinius in Syria. But as P. Quintilius Varus was the legate of Syria just before and after the death of Herod from 748/6-750/4 and his predecessor was C. Sentius Saturninus from 745/9-748/6 there seems to be no place for Quirinius during the closing years of Herod’s reign.

    Tertullian indeed speaks of Saturninus as legate at the time of Jesus’ birth. It is possible that the connection of the census with Quirinius may be due to his having brought to completion what was begun by one of his predecessors; or Quirinius may have been commissioned especially by the emperor to conduct a census in Syria.

  • Nazareth to Bethlehem (toddthehiker.wordpress.com)
    More than 700 years before the birth of Christ the prophet Micah foretold the place of the Messiah’s birth, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.”  (Micah 5:2)  The reason Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem in the first place was because of the decree from Caesar Augustus, someone who did not even acknowledge the God of the Israelites.  If not for his decree there would have been no reason for a poor carpenter from Nazareth and his pregnant betrothed to make the difficult trip to Bethlehem.  When you stop to consider the events that took place to ensure the fulfillment of this prophesy you realize just how incredible they are, and perhaps you can begin to understand the sovereignty of God.
  • The Nativity explained: The Census (christiantoday.com)
    A counting of peoples across the Roman Empire, requiring that all people return to the lands of their origin. In Joseph’s case, that was Bethlehem, the city of David.
    +
    it isn’t as though Rome only had one census that came round every so often. There were tax censuses, designed to give an idea of exactly how much money the government could bring in, but there were also allegiance censuses, where rather than merely counting everyone, people were gathered up and encouraged to swear a pledge of allegiance to Caesar in Rome.
  • The Star of Bethlehem explained? (must read) (religionstudent.wordpress.com)
    The Star of Bethlehem plays a significant role in the nativity story.  Most Christians accept this as part of tradition, while the phenomena is criticized by those who are less likely to buy in to the story.  However, could it be that the Star of Bethlehem isn’t just part of a story?  Could the famous star actually have existed at the time of Jesus? According to “Biblica The Bible Atlas: A Social and Historical Journey through the Lands of the Bible” it may have actually existed.

    First, to support Biblica’s claim, we must first look at the birth of Jesus.  By exploring the two accounts of the Birth of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of Matthew.  Matthew makes the claim that Jesus was born in the time of King Herod (the man who later plans to kill the newborn).  Luke does not only make mention of King Herod, but the author also makes mention of Jesus being born during the time of Augustus Caesar and Quirinius the governor of Syria.  Luke’s account, however, is controversial.  Augustus ruled from 27 BCE to 14 CE and Quirinius governed Syria from 6-7 CE.  The problem comes with Herod who ruled from 37-4 BCE.  This historical fact means that Luke’s mention of Quirinius is inaccurate and should be disregarded (although historical accuracy is not the focus of Luke’s Gospel).

  • Was There Really a Census at the Time? (nostopministries.wordpress.com)
    Luke’s precise language emphasizes a particular census, as if to contrast it with similar ones. In fact, another census did occur ten years later, which Luke refers to in Acts 5:37. The author’s additional information concerning Qurinius’s governorship (Luke 2:2), which is unnecessary for the narrative, reveals a familiarity with the recent past. Luke knew his audience would need clarification between similar events, so he gave them the details necessary to understand the date he meant.The emperor at the time of Jesus’s birth, Caesar Augustus, kept count of the population throughout his empire for taxation purposes. Israel would have been no exception. Even if we have no other accounts of the census taken during that time (which is no proof that the event didn’t happen given the sparse records available), the event seems likely from what we do know of the Roman Empire.

    Quirinius may, in fact, have governed Syria at the time and also ten years later. However, the original Greek suggests another possible reading. Luke’s statement may imply that King Herod performed a Jewish style census (counted according to the historic location of the tribes and clans) to keep the peace. Thus, the command of Caesar was notreally carried out in the Roman method (counted by where the person was born) until ten years later when Qurinius was governor and Herod had died.

  • The Nativity According to Luke | David’s Commonplace Book
    Linus quotes from the Gospel according to Luke. There are two accounts of Jesus’s birth in the New Testament, the account that Luke gives and the account that Matthew gives. Mark ignores the question of Jesus’s birth entirely, preferring to begin with Jesus’s public ministry while John actually begins his account before the nativity and moves from there to Jesus’ career.
  • What Luke Actually Wrote (str.typepad.com)
    The gist of the problem is that Luke claims that the first tax when Quirinius was governor of Syria was at the time of Jesus’ birth – around 4-2 B.C. The Jewish historian Josephus, however, records that the first tax under Quirinius’ administration was in 6 A.D., after Jesus’ birth. There’s no reconciling these reports, unless we actually look back at what Luke wrote and at some historical data.
  • Was Jesus really born? – Virendra Parekh (bharatabharati.wordpress.com)
    “Let me tell you at the outset that Jesus is no mythological mumbo-jumbo like your Rama and Krishna, and even Buddha. On the contrary, he was a solid historical figure whose miracles were witnessed and vouchsafed by many contemporary people,” said a Jesuit missionary to Sita Ram Goel. Let us have a closer look at this ‘solid historical figure’.

    Historicity of Jesus as described in Gospels has been one of the principal dogmas of all Christian denominations. Now, as Ram Swarup used to say, historicity by itself does not mean much. You and I are historical persons, but that fact by itself does not confer greatness or any other virtue on us. However, when historicity of the founder is touted as a point of superiority, we are inclined to examine it a little more closely.
    +
    Sita Ram Goel has pointed out that word “Christian” does not appear in the Christian literature itself before 140 AD. On the other hand, anti-Christian polemics which appears for the first time around 160 AD, starts by questioning the existence of a character called Jesus Christ.

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