Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Messiah’s Birthplace and the Time of His Birth Foretold

2. Not only was the lineage of the Messiah foretold, but also the place of His birth—Bethlehem, the city of David.

Micah 5:2 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.

Again, the gospel writers were clear in establishing the place of Jesus’ birth.

Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king….

Luke 2:4-7 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:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should 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.

Isn’t it interesting that since the destruction of the temple and the worldwide dispersion of the Jewish people, no one born subsequent to that time would be able to prove his lineage as a descendant of David born in Bethlehem. And the Jewish people are still looking for their Messiah.

3. I think few people realize that there is a very specific prophecy in the Old Testament regarding the time that the Messiah would appear. It is recorded by the prophet Daniel.

Daniel 9:25-26 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off….

Gabriel gave Daniel some specific time references. In context, he is talking about the time that the Jews would be allowed to return to Jerusalem from the Babylonian captivity. Also necessary to understand is that the Hebrew word used for “weeks” is a reference to “weeks of years.” He clearly states that from the time of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem and the coming of Messiah will be 69 weeks or 483 years—seven weeks (7 x 7 = 49 years) + 62 weeks (3 x 20 = 60 + 2 = 62 x 7 = 434 years) (49 + 434 = 483). Nehemiah 2:1-8 describes the decree signed by Artaxerxes authorizing the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem, including the walls, as occurring during the 20th year of his reign, circa 446BC. Based on the biblical use of a 30-day month, this would carry us forward 173,880 days to circa 31AD, during the time of Jesus.

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