Where Exactly Was Jesus Born?

In Bible/Theology, Blogs by Chris KatulkaLeave a Comment

Christmas is a joyous time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus the Messiah.

His arrival marks a moment in human history when “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14). The holy God humbled Himself and became human so that He could be present (dwell) with His creation. God’s desire to be present with His people is found all throughout the Scriptures (Exodus 5:8; Exodus 40:35; 1 Kings 8:10; John 1:14; Revelation 21:3), and really, it’s the theme of the entire Bible.

The Gospels of Matthew and Luke give us a great detail of information about the events surrounding the birth of Jesus. Because of their accounts we know Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the hometown of King David. This wasn’t by accident or happenstance, the prophet Micah predicted that the future ruler of Israel would be born there (Micah 5:2).

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting”  (Micah 5:2).

We often marvel at Micah’s specificity in naming the exact city Mary was to give birth, but it’s hardly ever mentioned that Micah names the precise location around Bethlehem where Jesus was to be born. Micah prophesied:

“And you, O tower of the flock,
The stronghold of the daughter of Zion,
To you shall it come,
Even the former dominion shall come” (Micah 4:8).

“Tower of the flock” (Heb, migdal eder), located on the outskirts of Bethlehem, is filled with rugged hills where shepherds would keep watch over their flocks of sheep. Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth mentions “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8). Luke also notes that Jesus was laid in a manger. A “manger” in Greek could be interpreted as a box where animals feed––a trough.

So the account of Jesus’ birth in Luke fits perfectly with Micah’s prediction of the future King of Israel being born in the city of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), specifically in “Migdal Eder” (Micah 4:8).

The flocks of sheep that were watched in Bethlehem that night when Jesus was born weren’t your average sheep raised for domestic reasons like wool and meat. These sheep had a particular purpose designated by Jewish law. They were being watched and shepherded for Temple sacrifice according to the ancient Jewish source of law, the Mishnah (Sheq. 7.4).

To think that Jesus, the Lamb of God, was born in a field of sheep purposed for sacrifice seems to set in place the destiny of our Messiah.

Jesus became flesh, so that we might know God fully. Jesus came to die so that we could experience God’s presence in our life today, and even more tangibly in the future.

Merry Christmas!

About the Author
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Chris Katulka

Chris Katulka is the director of North American Ministries for The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, the host of The Friends of Israel Today radio program, a Bible teacher, and writer for Israel My Glory magazine. He is also the author of Israel Always: Experiencing God’s Pursuit of You Through His Chosen People. If you would like to support Chris, please click here.

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