Pastor David B. Curtis


Media #1,198 MP3 Audio File Video File

Myths About the Birth of Christ

Luke 2:1-11

Delivered 12/24/2023

Good morning, Bereans. Tomorrow is Christmas, and it is a very controversial subject in churchianity. A couple of weeks ago I got a text from someone asking if I taught the truth about Christmas and Easter. How do I respond to that? I think I teach the truth about them, but it may not be what they think is the truth. There are many different views in churchianity about Christmas.

To some folks it is a pagan holiday that should be avoided at all costs. The Puritans in America called Christmas, "Romish rags," and deliberately worked on the first December 25 in order to show their disdain for the pagan holiday. In 1644 the English Puritans passed a law that made Christmas day a working day. It even became illegal to cook plum pudding and mince pie on that day. The Puritans were for the most part Pharisees. Does the Bible indicate anywhere that it is a sin to make plum pudding or mince pie? No, this is legalism. Don't be like the Pharisees by judging people for celebrating Christmas.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.  Romans 14:5 ESV

When you think about Christmas, what comes to your mind? Most, if not all, of us have celebrated Christmas in the traditional fashion since we were born. From my earliest memories, Christmas was presents, presents, and more presents. In my memory, Christmas is opening a lot of gifts and spending the day playing with them. Thoughts of Christmas bring different things to the minds of different people. Many things are associated with Christmas, such as lights, trees, presents, food, Santa Claus, family gatherings, and even the birth of Christ.  

I believe that Christmas is a pagan holiday. By that I don't mean it's bad; I just mean that it is not a biblical holiday. I'll explain this further shortly. So, let me a question. s it wrong to bring a tree into you house and decorate it? What about what Jerimiah says?

Hear the word that the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the LORD: "Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them, for the customs of the peoples are vanity. A tree from the forest is cut down and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman. They decorate it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so that it cannot move. Jeremiah 10:1-4 ESV

Christians will use this passage to teach that it is wrong to have a Christmas tree. But this text has nothing to do with Christmas trees. It is simple a passage about idolatry. So, unless you are worshipping your Christmas tree, you are OK.

Is it wrong to put up lights on your house? Is it wrong to give people gifts? Is it wrong to send out greeting cards? Is it wrong to have your family and friends over for a Christmas meal? No. Christians are free to do them even though some within churchianity condemn them for doing so. However, is it wrong to lie to your children and tell them that Santa brings presents to every child in the world in one night? Yes! Lying is wrong!

Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices Colossians 3:9 ESV

My problem is with Christians who work hard to try to make Christmas a Christian holiday. How much of Christmas has to do with Christ? None of it! None of it is biblical, none of it is commanded by the Lord, none of it was apostolic, and none of it was ever observed by the early church! Yet to many Christians, this is a Christian holiday!

Christians today do everything they can to try to keep Christ in Christmas. But why? There is a Christian song that says, "He's the reason for the season, He's the purpose of it all." He's the purpose for all what? The gifts, lights, Santa? What does Yeshua have to do with any of those things? From a biblical point of view, we find that Christ and Christmas have nothing to do with each other. The only way that Christ is connected to Christmas is through tradition. There is nothing Christian about Christmas.

The Myth of the Name

The word "Christmas" means "Mass of Christ," or, as it came to be shortened, "Christ-mass." The Roman Catholic Mass grew out of a specific feast day established in AD 1038. It has nothing to do with Scripture or the birth of Christ!

The Encyclopedia Britannica, (1946 ed.) states that "Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the church. It was not instituted by Christ or the Apostles, or by Bible authority. It was picked up after-ward from paganism." So, the name itself is not Christian.

The Myth of the Date

Is the date important? Was Yeshua born of December 25? No. The apostles and early Church never celebrated Christ's birthday at any time. There is no command or instruction to celebrate it in the Bible. As a matter of fact, the celebrating of birthdays is a pagan, not a Christian custom. The Scriptures tell us that we are to celebrate his death in the observance of the Lord's Supper, but they never tell us to celebrate His birth. So, the date December 25 really have nothing to do with Christ.

According to Scripture, Christ was born on September 11?

And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. Revelation 12:1-2 ESV

The word John uses for "sign" was the term used in the ancient world to describe the constellations of the Zodiac. John's model for this vision of the Church is the constellation of Virgo which does have a "crown" of twelve stars. All of the twelve stars are visible ones that could have been seen by observers.

John said that the moon was located "under her feet." Since the feet of Virgo, the Virgin, represent the last 7 degrees of the constellation (in the time of Christ this would have been between about 180 and 187 degrees along the ecliptic), the Moon has to be positioned somewhere under that 7-degree arc. But the Moon also has to be in that exact location when the Sun is mid-bodied to Virgo. In the year 3 BC, these two factors came to precise agreement for less than two hours, as observed from Palestine, on September 11. This is the only day in the whole year that this could have taken place. If you want the details on that, go to our website and search for, "The Incarnation and the Zodiac" Revelation 12:1-2.

We just saw from Revelation 12:1-2 that Christ was born on September 11, 3 BC. Well in the year 3 BC, the 1st of Tishri was on September 11th. Tishri 1 is the first day of the first Jewish month. The date was also called Yom Teruah: The Day of Trumpets; the Feast of Trumpets. The Feast of Trumpets was to take place on the first day of the seventh month.

The close proximity of the positions of the sun and the moon as described in Revelation indicate a new moon time frame, which is exactly the situation which exists on the first day of a Jewish lunar month, as on Tishri 1, the Feast of Trumpets.

So, both the birth of Yeshua (His First Coming) and His Second Coming (the Resurrection) were on the Feast of Trumpets. Two bookends in the life and redemptive ministry of Yeshua, both occurring at the appointed times on this most significant date in the Jewish calendar year!

Clearly, Christmas is a secular holiday. I'm not saying it's wrong for Christians to celebrate Christmas. I enjoy the holiday and most of what goes along with it, but let's just enjoy it for what it is—a holiday of no religious significance, similar to the fourth of July or Valentine's day.

We are often told by Christians to "Keep Christ in Christmas." Now you can call Christmas Christ's birthday, but isn't the purpose of a birthday celebration to honor the person whose birthday it is? What is it about how we celebrate Christmas that honors Christ?

The Myth about the place of Christ's birth                                                                

Cathy and I watched a Christmas movie last week where an angel came to a man who had lost his job and was very bitter and ungrateful for what he had. The angel transported him to first-century Bethlehem to watch Joseph and Mary being forced to have their baby in a stable in order to show him that other people have had it worse off than him. It seems that the angel and the movie's writer didn't know the Scriptures very well. Yeshua was not born in a stable.

I often talk about the importance of understanding the Hebrew culture in order to properly understand Scripture. If we study that culture in light of the birth of Christ, we will see quite a different picture from that which tradition paints. If we study the biblical text, the archaeological evidence and the first-century cultural context, we will find that the details surrounding Yeshua's birth are quite different from what we have traditionally thought.

Most modern versions of the story of Yeshua's birth go something like this: Joseph and Mary arrive in Bethlehem late in the night on December 24. Mary is in labor and about to give birth. The local inn has its "no vacancy" sign clearly displayed. The tired couple seeks alternatives and finds none. With no other option, wearied from their journey and desperate for any shelter because of the imminent delivery, they spend the night in a stable where the child is born. Then some shepherds and three Kings show up and worship Him. Is this what Scripture teaches? It sounds like what Luke records. So, let's examine the text and see what we can discover.

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.  Luke 2:1 ESV

A regional census leads Joseph and his betrothed, Mary, to the city of David, better known as Bethlehem. "All the world" means all territory ruled by Rome. The decree comes from Caesar Augustus. Caesar was a title used for Roman emperors much as we use the title "President" today. This Caesar was called Augustus, but his actual name was Gaius Octavius. He ruled alone from 27 BC to AD 14.

This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  Luke 2:2 ESV

The administrator of the census was Quirinius ("Tacitus Annals" 2.30; 3.22, 33, 48; Strabo Geography 12.6.5). This census probably sought to produce a registration list for taxes. A journey to the ancestral home would have fit Jewish practice, so that the custom was done in a culturally inoffensive manner. This was important, since the tax itself would have been a painful reminder of Israel's position before Rome.

And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, Luke 2:3-4 ESV

Let's look at verse 4 in the Complete Jewish Bible to get the Hebraic flavor.

So, Yosef, because he was a descendant of David, went up from the town of Natzeret in the Galil to the town of David, called Beit-Lechem, in Y'hudah, Luke 2:4 CJB

Yeshua's parents weren't Joseph and Mary. They were Yosef and Miryam. The meaning of Yosef is "Yahweh shall add or enlarge." Miryam means "bitter or strong waters or waters of strength."

The distance between Nazareth and Bethlehem is about ninety miles, assuming that Samaria was bypassed. Such a journey would have taken around three days. This was a significant distance for an expectant mother to travel. No donkey is mentioned, so they might have walked. In Yeshua's day, Bethlehem was a little town of 300-1,000 inhabitants. The word "Bethlehem" comes from two words: Beit, meaning "house"; and Lechem, meaning "bread." Yeshua was born in the "house of bread." What do we call a house of bread? A bakery! This is interesting in light of the fact that Yeshua said

"I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.  John 6:35 ESV

The Bread of life was born in a bakery. Yeshua, the "Bread of life," offers spiritual food that will completely satisfy our hunger. This may sound a little silly to you, but this is Hebraic, which commonly described things pictorially.

That Bethlehem is the town of David indicates Yeshua's birth connection to the promise made in the Tanakh.

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 ESV

Notice that it is not just Bethlehem; it is Bethlehem Ephrathah. Why Ephrathah? Because there were two Bethlehems. One Bethlehem was in Galilee and the other one was in Judea. To avoid confusion, we must understand that this prophecy dealt with the birth of this One who was going to be born in Bethlehem of Judea, a tiny little town south of Jerusalem. It was no big deal other than the fact that King David was born there.

Yeshua, the Son of David, is born in Bethlehem, the city of David, just as Micah prophesied.

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7 ESV

We've grown up hearing the account that the "inn" in Bethlehem was full, with no "room" available, so Joseph and Mary ended up in a stable, with Yeshua born and laid in a manger there. This image has been used to promote the typical Christmas nativity scene for generations. Yet a careful analysis of the biblical text reveals quite a different story!

The Greek word translated "inn" here is kataluma. It means "a place of rest, usually a guest room." In fact, the same writer, Luke, uses this very word later where it clearly refers to a guest room and not an inn.

and tell the master of the house, 'The Teacher says to you, Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?'  Luke 22:11 ESV

Here we have the same author, same Greek word, but a totally different translation? This word is only used one other time in the New Testament and that is in Mark.

and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?'  Mark 14:14 ESV

If both Mark and Luke translated kataluma as "guest room," why is it translate as "inn" in the story of Christ's birth?

What is interesting is that when Luke does speak of an inn, he uses a different word. Let's consider the parable of the Good Samaritan.

He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.  Luke 10:34 ESV

Yeshua mentions that the injured man in the story was taken to an "inn." Luke uses the Greek word pandocheion. The first part of this word means "all." The second part, as a verb, means "to receive." The pandocheion, then, is the place that receives all. It refers to a commercial inn. This common Greek term for an inn was so widely known across the Middle East that over the centuries it was absorbed as a Greek loan word into Armenian, Coptic, Arabic, and Turkish with the same meaning—a commercial inn.

If Luke expected his readers to think Joseph was turned away from an "inn," he would have used the word pandocheion, which clearly meant a commercial inn. But in Luke 2:7, it is a kataluma that has no room.

Young's Literal Translation uses the term "guest-chamber" instead of an inn.

and she brought forth her son—the first-born, and wrapped him up, and laid him down in the manger, because there was not for them a place in the guest-chamber. Luke 2:7 YLT

"No room in the inn"—has taken on the meaning of an inn with a number of rooms, and all were occupied. The "no vacancy sign" was already "switched on" when Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem. But the Greek word "room/no place" does not refer to "a room in an inn" but rather to "space"; it is the Greek word "topos" as in "There is no space on my desk for my new computer." What Luke is telling us is that there was not enough space for them in the guest room.

The linguistic evidence shows that Luke used the term kataluma to mean not an inn but the guest room—the definite article is used, so the meaning is "the" guest room of a particular house.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, after pointing out that the word kataluma is used elsewhere in the Gospels for the guest chamber of a private home, comments:

Was the 'inn' at Bethlehem, where Joseph and Mary sought a night's lodging, an upper guest room in a private home or some kind of public place for travelers? The question cannot be answered with certainty. It is thought by some that it may have been a guest chamber provided by the community. We know that visitors to the annual feasts in Jerusalem were entertained in the guest rooms of private homes (1982, Vol. 2, "Inn," p. 826).

I think that by understanding the culture, the question can be answered with certainty. Another factor that powerfully argues against the term meaning an inn is that these places were not appropriate for giving birth to a child. Inns at that time were far from anything like typical motels or hotels we might think of today. Generally speaking, inns had a bad reputation. The poor conditions of public inns, together with the Semitic spirit of hospitality, led the Jews and the early Christians to recommend the keeping of an open house for the benefit of strangers.

Besides this, for commercial reasons, inns were usually found along the major roads. Yet Bethlehem was a small town in the upper mountains of Judea, and no major Roman road is known to have passed through it. Since it seems to have been an insignificant village at the time, it's doubtful that an inn even existed there.

This gives us reason to realize that what Luke really wrote is that there was no room for them in the guest chamber. Certainly, due to the Roman census being taken at the time and the huge number of people traveling to their birthplaces, available space in the guest quarters was scarce.

The question then becomes: Does that mean Joseph and Mary aimed to stay in someone's home, but since the guest room was full, were turned out into the night to a stable? When Mary was in labor? That might seem worse than being turned away from an inn. Both scenarios seem downright inhospitable, which is far out of line from the way things were at that time.

In Christ's day, hospitality to visitors among the Jews was essential, based on biblical example and law. Hospitality was a huge deal in this culture. The Jews had a list of six things to commend a man in the life to come. Does anybody know what the first thing on that list was? It was hospitality! We don't usually think of hospitality as one of the top ten commands, but the Jews saw it as number one. Where did the Jews get the idea that hospitality was so important? They got this idea from the Bible.

"When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God. Leviticus 19:33-34 ESV

Israel was told to love strangers as much as they loved themselves. The word "strangers" doesn't necessarily mean that they are strange; it normally applied to travelers and aliens, people we not known. If they were to love strangers, they certainly were to love each other.

Denial of hospitality was shown throughout Scripture to be an outrage. Hospitality toward visitors is still important throughout the Middle East.

Since Bethlehem was Joseph's ancestral home, he probably had relatives there. And being a descendant of King David, whose hometown this was, he would have been highly respected upon his arrival. Think of a descendant of George Washington coming to his hometown of Alexandria, Virginia, after a long lapse of time. The townspeople would've shown him respect.

Kenneth Bailey, a Middle Eastern and New Testament scholar explains as follows:

[My] thirty-year experience with villagers in the Middle East is that the intensity of honor shown to the passing guest is still very much in force, especially when it is a returning son of the village who is seeking shelter. We have observed cases where a complete village has turned out in a great celebration to greet a young man who has suddenly arrived unannounced in the village, which his grandfather had left many years before. ("The Manger and the Inn: The Cultural Background of Luke 2:7," Bible and Spade, Fall 2007, p. 103).

It should also be pointed out that childbirth was a major event at that time. In a small village like Bethlehem, many neighboring women would have come to help in the birth. Bailey states the following: "In the case of a birth, the men will sit apart with the neighbors, but the room will be full of women assisting the midwife. A private home would have bedding, facilities for heating water, and all that is required for any peasant birth" (p. 102).

What this all means is that it would have been unthinkable and an unimaginable insult and affront to societal decency for Joseph, a returning village son, and his laboring wife to need to seek shelter in an inn to have a baby of Davidic descent—and then, even worse, to be sent out to have the birth in a stable. Nor can it be that they were sent out into the night from a private home. So, what actually happened? Sadly, the birth of Christ is later overlaid with so much tradition and legend about Christmas that it's hard to let the biblical text speak for itself.

The common assumption is that Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem and, being anxious because of her labor pains, rushed to an inn only to find it full with no vacancies, so they ended up in a stable where she gave birth. However, a careful reading of the text shows us they had already been in Bethlehem for some days when she went into labor. In Luke 2:4, we are told that Mary and Joseph "went up" to Bethlehem. The verse assumes their arrival. Then in verse six we are told the following:

And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.  Luke 2:6 ESV

This text affirms a time lapse between the arrival in Bethlehem and the birth of Yeshua.

They must have already been lodging somewhere in Bethlehem when her birth pangs began—and this was surely not a stable for a period of days. Couldn't Joseph have found a more suitable lodging place for his pregnant wife in that amount of time? I sure hope so. In fact, we should realize that not far from here is where Mary's cousin Elizabeth lived. Mary had lived with Elizabeth for a while during her pregnancy (Luke 1:39-40). If they were seeking a place to stay for days, why didn't they go to Elizabeth's house? The answer is simple. They found a house in which to stay in Bethlehem—probably that of Joseph's relatives.

And being in these accommodations already, it makes no sense for them to suddenly be out seeking a room in an inn or anywhere else at the time of Mary's labor.

Yet we might still be asking why they were sent out to a stable? Why do we think Yeshua was born in a stable? The text doesn't say that.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.  Luke 2:7 ESV

How did we come up with a stable? It says that they "laid him in a manger" and everyone knows that mangers are in stables, right? Wrong! The Archaeological Study Bible says this: "The 'manger' was the feeding trough of the animals. This is the only indication that Jesus was born in a stable. Very early tradition suggests that his birthplace was a cave, perhaps being used as a stable."

Justin Martyr, in the second century AD, stated that Yeshua's birth took place in a cave close to the village. Over this traditional manger site, the emperor Constantine (AD 330) and his mother, Helena, constructed the Church of the Nativity.

Note that it is only the manger, an animal food or water trough, that gives any indication of a stable. And, indeed, a manger might well have been found in a stable. But it's important to realize that they were also to be found within first-century homes!

A typical Judean house of that day consisted of an area near the door, often with a dirt floor, where the family's animals were kept at night—so they wouldn't be stolen or preyed upon and so that their body heat could help warm the home on cool nights. The family lived and slept in a raised part of the same room set back from the door. There was also usually a guest room either upstairs on a second floor or adjoining the family common room on the lower floor. Typically, the lower area near the door had a manger for food and/or water for the animals.

Eric F.F. Bishop, an expert in Middle East culture, noted that the birth of Christ probably took place in "one of the Bethlehem houses with the lower section provided for the animals, with mangers 'hollowed in stone,' the dais [or raised area] being reserved for the family. Such a manger being immovable, filled with crushed straw, would do duty for a cradle. An infant might even be left in safety, especially if swaddled, when the mother was absent on temporary business" (Jesus of Palestine, 1955, p. 42).

Yet another authority on Middle Eastern life, Gustaf Dalmann, stated:

In the East today the dwelling-place of man and beast is often in one and the same room. It is quite the usual thing among the peasants for the family to live, eat, and sleep on a kind of raised terrace… in the one room of the house, while the cattle, particularly donkeys and oxen, have their place below on the actual floor… near the door; this part sometimes is continued along under the terrace as a kind of low vault. On this floor the mangers are fixed, either to the floor, or to the wall, or at the edge of the terrace (Sacred Sites and Ways, 1935, p. 41).

This scene of an ox or donkey in the house at night might go against our Western sensibilities. Yet, as Bailey comments: "It is we in the West who have decided that life with these great gentle beasts is culturally unacceptable. The raised terrace on which the family ate, slept, and lived was unsoiled by the animals, which were taken out each day and during which time the lower level was cleaned. Their presence was in no way offensive" (p. 105). Of course, the animals could have been taken outside when the actual birth was occurring.

Understanding what we have said so far, consider what the text says about the witch of En Dor whom King Saul consulted.

Now the woman had a fattened calf in the house, and she quickly killed it, and she took flour and kneaded it and baked unleavened bread of it, 1 Samuel 28:24 ESV

Anything in this text jump out at you now? It says she "had a fatted calf in the house" which she killed to prepare a meal for Saul and his men. Now do you understand why she had a calf in the house?

Another story in the Tanakh that shed some light on this cultural understanding is Judges 11:30-31.

And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD and said, "If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, then whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the Ammonites shall be the LORD's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering." Judges 11:30-31 ESV

This man was counting on the fact that his animals would be the first thing coming out of his house when he returned home in the morning, and not his daughter.

It was more often the wealthy who had stables for their animals apart from the house. Thus, a more realistic view of what occurred with Christ's birth according to the customs of the time is that the manger was in a house and not in a stable. It should be stated that this could conceivably have involved a cave, but that's only because some houses were built over caves. Yet this was not the norm. And the cave imagery may come from the belief of some that Christ's birth had to have been in seclusion.

Some might object that Mary and Joseph's being accommodated in the family common room of a house instead of in the guest room is itself inhospitable. But as Bailey points out:

No unkindness or lack of hospitality is implied when the Holy Family is taken into the main family room of the home in which they are entertained. The guest room is full. The host is not expected to ask prior guests… to leave. Such would be quite unthinkable and, in any case, unnecessary. The large family room is more appropriate in any case (p. 104).

Let us consider also that the women would have been going in and out of the room during the birth, so having Mary stay in the main room would have seemed the wisest choice for everyone concerned. In fact, it's possible that Luke's mention of there being no room or space meant that this particular guest room was too small for all the birth activity.

This cultural information gives new understanding to the story of Yeshua's birth. Joseph and Mary arrive in Bethlehem. They find shelter with a family whose separate guest room is full (or too small), and are accommodated among the family in acceptable village style. The birth takes place there on the raised terrace of the family home, and the baby is laid in a manger.

The Palestinian reader of Luke's account would have instinctively thought, 'Manger, oh, they are in the main family room. Why not the guest room?" The author instinctively replies, "Because there was no place for them in the guest room." The reader concludes, "Ah, I see, the family room is more appropriate anyway."

So, throw your nativity scenes away.

Another element of the story that reinforces the picture here is that of the shepherds who received the announcement of the birth of the Savior from an angel.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:8-11 ESV

Shepherds were near the bottom of the social ladder and their profession was declared unclean by some of their rabbis. Shepherds unclean? Anyone have a problem with that?

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  Psalms 23:1 ESV

This shows you how far first-century Judaism had departed from Yahweh. As men of the lower ranks of society, shepherds might not have felt that they would be received well in visiting a king. But the angel told them that as a sign they would find the child lying in a manger:

And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."  Luke 2:12 ESV

They would find the Christ child in an ordinary peasant home such as theirs. He was not in a governor's mansion or a wealthy merchant's guest room, but in a simple two-room home like theirs. He was one of them.

The bottom line, then, is that what really matters about the birth of Christ is our understanding why He was born. The birth of Yeshua Christ is a miraculous event of great significance to mankind.

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Yeshua, for he will save his people from their sins."  Matthew 1:21 ESV

The Bible teaches that Yeshua came into the world to "save His people from their sins." That's the reason for His coming. He came to save His people. Is this restricted to only Israelites? No, but it is restricted to those who are his chosen people which is manifest by their faith in Him.

In the birth of Yeshua, Yahweh invaded human history in the form of a man. This Yeshua lived a sinless life and then died a substitutionary death at calvary. On that cross, Yeshua took upon Himself our sin and received the judgment of God that we deserved as sinners. Because He was an innocent infinite sufferer, He satisfied fully and completely the righteous demands of a holy God, and God was propitiated. Propitiation is the removal of wrath by the offering of a sacrifice. The birth of Yeshua, the incarnation, God's becoming a man was God's gift of love to us.

Berean Bible Church provides this material free of charge for the edification of the Body of Christ. You can help further this work by your prayer and by contributing online or by mailing to:

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