In the Second part of the Series on Christmas-related prophecies, today we focus on the Station of His birth…
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.” (Micah 5:2 (Prophecy about 750 years before the First Christmas)
This prophecy has three dimensions (A 3-D prophecy fulfilled hypothetically on first AD). Firstly where else would the “Living Bread” (one of the many names given to Jesus, see John 6:51) be born other than in the place known as House of Bread…Bethlehem in Hebrew language means House of Bread. However secondly the description of Bethlehem as “only a small village” would have raised many an eyebrow during the time Micah ministered (250 years after the reign of King David ended), for was not King David, the greatest King (both in terms of military might and spirituality) of Israel born there? What does this prima facie “confusing” Prophecy mean? Welcome to the Laws of Spiritual relativity!!! The greatest King of Israel pales in comparison with the King of Kings, who has been in Heavenly throne from the “distant past.” The stock of Bethlehem in the eyes of the Almighty would go up, only when His Son would be born there! What is the primary purpose of lakhs of tourists who perennially throng Bethlehem? To see the birthplace of the Greatest King of Israel or the King of Kings from infinity? The answer is obvious, isn’t it?
Say Reader, have you been taking pride in your rich spiritual heritage (your parents/ancestors may have done yeoman’s service in the Lord’s vineyard)? Good as it is, we become “valuable treasured possession” of the Almighty (1 Peter 2:9), only if Jesus is born in us. Let’s get our spiritual reasoning right…God selects a place/person, not because it/he/she is “great,” rather they become “precious” because the Lord selects them. Ditto with a Christian…
Coming to the third dimension, which goes with tone and tenor of this message…the Sovereign Lord who can guide a King’s heart like a stream of water (Pro 21:1/Ezra 1:1-3) stirred the heart of the Roman Emperor to pass a decree that all the people in his dominion should return to their native villages to register their names to facilitate the Roman Government in preparing accurate records on which the taxation system would be latter based.
Though Joseph belonged directly to the Davidic line, in the thousand years which had lapsed from the life and times of King David, apparently due to several intermittent changes in circumstances, this descendent of David came to settle in the Northern portion of Israel (a town of Nazareth) which is good 90 miles away from his native village (Bethlehem) in the south. Now even as there was a royal compulsion for him to go to Bethlehem, why did he take Mary, his fiancée (not even his wife, at that point of time) along with him in advanced stage of pregnancy? No maternity doctor would have approved of the travel from Nazareth via Jordan River (a good 90 miles) bypassing the hostile region of Samaria (to Jews) for obvious, historical reasons (reading of 2 Kings 17 would help along with Ezra 4:6-16, Nehemiah 4:1-9, Luke 9:52-56 to know the subject better…the origin of Samaritans and their hatred for the Jews). As per reputed Bible commentator Adam Clarke, the Roman Government, “Census form” required details only from the head of the family (husband) of the family details. Taxes would be imposed on a family basis and not separately on men and women of a family. Divine providence…Ladies and Gentlemen, had it that a Virgin conceived who was engaged to a righteous, God-fearing man Joseph (Matt 1:19). As there were notable bodily changes in her even before marriage no doubt in the small village of Nazareth news spread thick and fast that Mary had conceived even before marriage (negative reports spread fast in this sin-accursed world-Romans 8:21-23-not salutary reports of a person) making her a target for many an unkind, scathing, derogatory remark. Outside of her own family which may have been privy to her dialogue with Angel Gabriel, tongues in Nazareth waged, without knowing anything about the Divine Sovereign act behind it all. Was not Joseph himself on the verge of breaking his engagement with Mary but for the timely angelic intervention (Matt 1:19-21)? Once the angel had spoken to him revealing the Divine plan, Joseph doubtless, started acting virtually as a “shield” to his espoused one protecting her from public barbs at all times. No wonder he did not want leave her alone at the critical stage of child-birth and hence took her along with him to Bethlehem…along the way-figuratively speaking-the prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem was fulfilled…Hallelujah!
Prayer: Father, we thank Thee for bringing so many of the prophecies to fruition, at once making us realize that You are in complete control of events in the lives of your precious ones. We have nothing to worry about. We praise Thee in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
An unprofitable servant
J and SM Ministries
(To access the entire “Christmas Prophecies” mini-series, please click here.)