Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Place of the Birth of Jesus

Dr. David R. ReaganBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Every year at Christmas time I am reminded of the remarkable prophecies concerning the birth of Jesus and how they substantiate His deity and the faithfulness of God. Let's take a look at one of those prophecies.

The place of the Messiah's birth had also been precisely prophesied five hundred years earlier by the prophet Micah: "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel" (Micah 5:2).

Have your ever wondered what the term, "Ephrathah," means in this passage? It is a geographical designation to indicate precisely which Bethlehem is being identified. It's like differentiating between Springfield, Missouri and Springfield, Illinois.

The point is that there was another Bethlehem in the land of Israel in the area to the north near the Sea of Galilee. It had been allotted to the tribe of Zebulun.

By specifying the area of Ephrathah, the prophecy of Micah made it clear that the Bethlehem that would host the birth of the Messiah would be the one in the south of Israel near Jerusalem. In fulfillment of this very precise prophecy, Matthew tells us that "Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea" (Matthew 2:1).

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