|Vol. 1, No. 1||Page 10||January 1999|
The Birth of Jesus Christ
The world took little note of an event which took place about 2,002 years ago in the hills of Judaea, in a small village called Bethlehem. However, that event -- along with other subsequent and important events during the next thirty-three years -- has changed the human race more than all other world events put together! That event was the birth of Jesus Christ.
The birth of Jesus Christ was according to God's eternal purpose, but it was hid in God from the beginning of the world (Ephesians 3:7-11). Peter said the coming of Christ was foreordained before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20)! The first hint in the Bible of the coming of Christ was spoken by God to Satan in Genesis 3:15. Later, God promised Abraham that, through his seed, all the kindreds of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:3; Acts 4:25). Still later, Moses declared that the Lord would raise up a Prophet like unto him and that every soul which would not hear him would be destroyed (Deuteronomy 18:15; Acts 4:22-23).
All of God's holy prophets foretold of the coming of Christ (Acts 4:24). Isaiah prophesied, over seven hundred years before Christ's birth, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel ('God with us')" (7:14, 9:6; Matthew 1:22-23). Balaam had prophesied "there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel . . ." (Numbers 24:17). Daniel said that God would set up this King and his kingdom in the days of the Roman kings (Daniel 2:44).
As time passed, the people anxiously looked forward to the fulfillment of God's promises. The prophecies were not crystal clear, but the people understood enough to know that the Messiah was coming (Daniel 9:25-26; John 1:45, 4:25). Finally, in the days of the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus -- when the fullness of the time was come -- God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law (Luke 2; Galatians 4:4).
When Jesus was born, he was the incarnate Word. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John l:1-4; 8:58). Before he was born, Jesus was in the form of God and thought it not robbery to be equal with God. He made himself of no reputation, took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:5-11). He said, "Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God" (Hebrews 10:4-11). Jesus was born into the world willingly.
The holy angels announced the birth of Christ. Gabriel was sent to tell Zacharias that he and his wife, Elisabeth, would have a son (John) who would "go before him (Jesus) in the spirit and power of Elias" (Luke 1:5-25). Gabriel was then sent to tell the virgin Mary that she would conceive in her womb and bring forth a son, and would call his name Jesus (1:26-38). Later, the angel of the Lord appeared to tell Mary's husband, Joseph, that Mary's child was conceived in her of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 1).
The Bible does not reveal the day, month or year of Jesus' birth. Historians today agree that, when Dionysius Exiguus, in the sixth century, calculated the year of Christ's birth, he miscounted 4 to 6 years later than the actual date. Since it can be proven that Herod died in the year 4 B.C. of our present calendar, and since Jesus was born before Herod died, Jesus must have been born in about the years 4, 5 or 6 B.C. If this is true, this means that the second millennium actually began at least 2 years ago!
The Bible does not say that Jesus was born on December 25. The evidence seems to contradict this date. It doesn't seem likely that the shepherds would be abiding in the field in December, keeping watch over their flock by night (Luke 2: 1-8). However, since the Holy Spirit did not reveal the day, month or year of Jesus' birth, they should be of no significance to us.
It should be of great significance to us, however, that
Jesus Christ was born. The angel said, ". . . I bring you good tidings
of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day
in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." Suddenly a multitude
of the heavenly host appeared, praising God, and saying, "Glory to God
in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:11-14).
Today, we, too, praise God for the birth of his Son Jesus Christ (John