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the true birthdate of jesus
by C.E. McLain
The Birth (September 29, 4 B.C.)
2 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 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.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.
If we are to appreciate the happenings of that time, we must by the nature of things get into the spirit of that day. The prophetic timeclock of God’s purpose was in place. Only the rejection of God’s way could postpone the grace that was to be proferred. Hence man’s attempt in the flesh to force the issue was, on the one hand, a hindrance; yet, on the other hand, the ambitions and personal involvement of all concerned were means whereby the true homogeny (world government) was in prospect.
At the birth of Christ the doors of the temple at Janus at Rome were closed, throughout the physical life span of Christ. You see, the doors of that heathen temple were open in times of war so that the citizens might enter in to pray for the armies of Rome. Outwardly the Roman army had forced a peace. At the same time, and yet hidden from human wisdom was the real fact, namely, that the Prince of Peace was here on His own little earth.
Peace! Yes, there was peace, but what a price had been paid by men who had lost the will to resist. The nations, so to speak, had worked themselves into a corner, and mankind sat in the darkness of their own wisdom. In fact, the peace was so heavy and unnatural that Caesar refused to be called dictator, saying that the thought was too temporary in nature. Hence, the senate of Rome had bestowed upon him the title of “Augustus.” This was the peace and the setting of that time.
Observe how Caesar used the peace and the power. He issued a decree to enroll the whole habitable world (v.1). There was no appeal. The purple and the peasant, both alike, must bow the neck and return to the city of their respective lineages for the enrollment. Homogeny, particularly concerning taxation with its control, was the goal. Man seemed to be strutting his stuff. Caught up in this drama were two of the royal lineage of David — Joseph and Mary, and she being heavy with child. This was their part in the scheme of things as they traversed the long road from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
Outwardly then, these are the facts, for after all, all roads led to Rome. But wait! Things are not always what they seem. For the hidden hand of God’s provision through the Spirit (Luke 1:35) had been at work. Some 600 years prior to this enrollment and the birth, God had unsheathed His plans for this hour.
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.
2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Without belaboring the point, little Augustus was only the messenger boy, though it is obvious his thinking would be otherwise. There is no question about it that Caesar’s decree was used of God to move Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem right on schedule (Luke 2:6). Truly, God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform.
Obviously, the great fact was the birth of the Savior, Lord, and Messiah (v.11). This Savior was to be a King (John 18:37), a Priest (Heb. 6:20), and a Prophet (compare Heb. 1:2 with Acts 7:37). Thus, the little Babe in the manger was all this, plus the fact that in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col.2:9). On the one hand, it seemed as though Caesar were making quite a splash for himself; while on the other hand, the miracle of God’s grace so embodied in His only begotten Son, hardly make a ripple. As you can see, things are not always what they seem.
In passing it should be noted that the King of kings passed by the palace; that the High Priest and the Prophet of God passed by the temple. Thus, the Most High chose the lowest of places in which to be born, an outhouse. When I was a boy, the wagon yard was still in existence. It was such a place which provided hay, straw, feed, and water for the stock — just an enclosure. The kataluma, translated “inn” was just such a place.
If you read between the lines of verses 6 and 7, you will see that Joseph was probably out trying to find better accommodations, for verse 7 says that she (alone) wrapped Him in swaddling clothes. She (alone) laid Him in a manger. Without controversy, no child was ever born in a more ominous place, nor so alone, and yet . . .
He was not alone, for it is written,
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
Not only so, but the heavenly Father had dispatched Michael, the archangel, and prince of Israel, to announce to certain shepherds the glad tidings concerning the birth (Luke 2:10-12).
The shepherds’ fear is understandable, for the awesome glory of this creature would put the fear of God into any man. Hence the quiet assurance of Michael, “Fear not.” The good tidings: A Savior, Messiah, Lord is born. A sign is given, because God has always dealt with signs where Israel was concerned. The sign: The Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.
All of a sudden, right out of the blue, a whole host of angels join Michael and begin singing praises to God in the highest and offering “Peace” to all men of good will. It is unfortunate that most translators have been slack with the translation concerning God’s offer of peace, for there is never peace with men of ill will; it must be on God’s terms, for He never compromises. You see, men of good will are those who rejoice in God’s gift — the Prince of Peace —
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The majestic spectacle has passed. If you read between the line, the shepherds were simply mesmerized. The shock is over and they make their way with haste to the Babe in the manger. How long they remained, we are not told. In any case, their testimony is clear, for they went abroad declaring the birth of God’s only begotten Son, the Savior. That their testimony fell on deaf ears is without doubt, for when the wise men came to Jerusalem, inquiring concerning the birth, the lack of knowledge apart from Scripture, demonstrates this tragic fact (Matt.2:2-6).
Eight days have gone by. The name of Jesus is now a matter of legal record (Luke 2:21). The Babe is circumcised, identifying Him with the people of covenant and their God.
Thirty-three days later, the waiting time of Mary’s purification according to the law of Moses (compare Lev. 12:2-4 with Luke 2:22), and Jesus is brought to the temple at Jerusalem and there presented to Jehovah, the God of covenant. While they were there, Simeon, a devout man in Jerusalem, and Anna, a prophetess in the temple, enlightened by the Holy Spirit bring further testimony about the Christ child (Luke 2:25-38). Since the Holy Spirit never works apart from the Word of God, it follows that these two must have had some knowledge of Daniel 9:24-27. In any case, verse 39 goes on to say that when all these things were performed, the (the Royal Family) returned to Nazareth, their own city.
We want to conclude this part by quoting from Dr. Joseph Parker, an English clergyman of a past generation:
“The world did not want an advisor. The world had advised itself almost into hell. The world did not ask for a speculator. Everything that man could do had been done, and men sat in the darkness of their own wisdom. The world did not want a reformer, a man who could change the outward and transient relations, an engineer (for appropriate remuneration) to the readjustment of the wheels and pulleys and the various mechanical forces of society. The world wanted a Saviour. ‘Saviour’ is a word, a pathetic name. It is not an official title; it is not an image you could robe in scarlet, and bow down before on account of its majesty and haughtiness; ‘Saviour’ is an Angel with tears in his eyes, arms as mighty as the lightnings of God, but a heart all tenderness. ‘Saviour’ is a complex word. It is all human nature, all divine nature, all the past of history, all the possibility of prophecy, all the mystery of apocalypse; the tenderness outvying the love of women, the majesty humbling the haughtiness of kings!”
That is a Savior!
posted by sage, with permission https://www.swrc.com/