Quiz time!!! (Yay!!)
I’d like to just share something I quizzed myself on last year. When I finished my pop quizzes (I had a few at different times), I was well into January. I decided to take some extra time to slow down to read every word in a verse so that I would be less likely to miss something while gaining some new insight/understanding of what I read in Scripture. This is meant to be enjoyable and doesn’t mean I hit on everything here. This is one of the tools I use when I quiz kids, too, so they begin to use Scripture to support their answers while using comprehension and logic skills to consider reasons something occurred. (This won’t be graded, so relax!) Grab a paper and pen so you can keep track, if needed. (Btw, I do realize the Bible never numbers the wise men and that they did not visit Jesus the night He was born. I wanted an image that is easily recognizable to many.) Ready?
- Where, specifically, was Jesus born? Do you have an OT and NT verse to support your answer?
- Why did God send instruction to name Christ “Jesus”? Reference(s).
- Ever wonder why the Bible says there was no room in “the” inn?
- Why do you think the wise men were “warned” not to return to Herod? (Matt 2)
- The answers are in the details…Who appeared to the shepherds? What happened? Who sang the night Jesus was born?
- Why were shepherds first to hear about the birth of Jesus, given a personal Heavenly visit, and given instruction/invitation to go see Him? Is there any significance? How did they know to go to Bethlehem instead of Jerusalem (City of David)?
- Extra: Think about it.
Do you see any parallels/similarities between Moses (Exo 1-2) and Jesus (Matt 1-2)?
- Bonus: Challenge
The wise men, also referred to as king makers who may have traveled with a small group of armed men, went to Jerusalem looking for the young King. What Scripture might they have read that would lead them to search for Christ, and why in Jerusalem? How did they know to go to Bethlehem? When did they follow the star?
- Bethlehem in Judaea – At the time of the birth of Christ, there were TWO Bethlehems – one in Judaea in the south and one in Zebulin in the north. link
Old Testament – Micah 5:2
New Testament – Luke 2:1-7
- “Jesus” means “Jehovah is salvation.” We are often reminded, especially in psalms, that the Lord is our salvation. As Jesus is Lord, and dwelt among us (John 1), He is Emmanuel, yes (Isa 7:14). Jeremiah 23:6 speaks of Judah being saved and that His name would be called “the Lord our righteousness.” Our righteousness is as filthy rags, so we need Christ’s righteousness because our sins separate us from God. Matt 1:21 states “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus: FOR He shall save His people from their sins.” His name tells us the Lord Himself, the Word made flesh, would save us. (I probably had more notes, but I was using a tablet to type one letter at a time. Lol)
- According to what we’ve learned and reenacted through pageants and plays, Jesus’s family was turned away from at least one lodge by a cold-hearted innkeeper who couldn’t assist a pregnant Mary in the middle of a medical emergency. The word “inn” is “kataluma” in Greek, which means guest room. This is normally the upper room of a home what we’d read about later in the gospel. Joseph was returning to his hometown, which means he not only wasn’t a stranger in a strange town, he had family that would provide a pace to stay. Jewish hospitality provided for strangers and especially family. Notice Luke 2:6 states “while they were there, ” – already in Bethlehem – she went into labor. It’s likely other family were already in the guest room, so the next available space would be in another part of the house like the lower section where one or two animals would be. It would be like going to stay with your aunt, but your cousins are already in “the” guest room. She might make arrangements for you to stay in the garage. You’d still be in the house. The word for manger is sometimes interpreted as stall, but a newborn wouldn’t need to be placed in an entire stall. However, a manger makes a perfect temporary bassinet. So while Mary did travel a long distance far into pregnancy, she wasn’t riding on a donkey about to deliver while her husband searched frantically for a roof over their heads only to have to settle for a barn or cave.
- Was your first thought to protect the infant Jesus? The safety of Jesus was always my first thought and may have some part, but I think it’s a little more personal considering verses 12 and 13. (There was a lot of prophetic fulfillment in that chapter…yep)I think the warning was more for the safety of the wise men. V. 12 is warning for them to avoid Herod, but v. 13 is an instruction to move quickly because of the coming decree to kill babies. It doesn’t appear that much time passed between their departure and Joseph’s dream. The fight to Egypt was part of the prophecy that would be sparked by the wise men not obeying the king. In v.2, they upset the king and “all Jerusalem” by announcing they not only didn’t come for Herod but were coming to worship the one they recognized as King of the Jews. I believe Herod would have killed them regardless of what they revealed. Herod the Great was a vicious murderer who killed his own son. I’m thinking Herod didn’t want them to spread word about anything concerning Jesus, which is why he talked to them privately to get as much information as he could. I believe he was going to issue a murder command anyway to attempt to kill Christ, but God provided protection for these men who kept watching for signs of His coming, made this trip, brought offerings, and then worshiped because they believed. They risked their lives to make this trip then stand before this evil king and state their intent to see and worship another king. Herod ordered males two and under be killed based on the time of the appearance of the star. TWO YEARS! Everything they did and risked was because the men were watching and waiting…all for the one opportunity to see a child – not to get a miracle – to see, make offerings that spoke of Who He was and His purpose, and worship Him. Joseph was going to be warned anyway to protect Christ. I think this faith pleased God and is why they were warned to return home another way. Just my thinking…
- Luke 2:8-14 Since Gabriel had delivered the message of miraculous birth and Christ’s coming in Luke 1, it’s likely he announced Christ’s birth to the shepherds. He announced the birth, told where He was, and the sign to know him. “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ” Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” As much as I’ve repeated this from memory, I still say they sang. That’s what our Christmas hymns and plays say. However, the Bible says they spoke these words. We tend to tie praising God with singing. That is certainly one way to do it but can be spoken, too. At the same time, angels singing may have occurred. It’s just not written. I just wanted to share another thing I caught myself saying based on what I learned vs. What I’d read so often.
- This one’s pretty packed (and took an awfully long time to type out one letter at a time). There are multiple reasons people have to explain why shepherds, and I believe most tie together. Shepherding was not a respected profession, and many looked down on them. Christ’s salvation is available to all who will receive Him. Psalm 23 and John 10 tell us He is the Good Shepherd. The Shepherd of shepherds. Through Abraham, Moses, Jacob, David, we learn about the great lengths taken to care for sheep through these leaders who knew their sheep. In v. 8, we see they were watchful. They took shifts as they were abiding/living in the fields to ensure the sheep were safe from harm. When the angel appeared, he carried he glory of the Lord. He was with shepherds and broke the quiet of the night with news of the birth of the Lord Who is the expected Messiah. Shepherds lived in the fields during lambing season – when Jesus was born. “…Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” – John 1:29b. Shepherds there were likely caring for sheep which would become Passover sacrifices. Shepherding is their livelihood. They sacrificed all they had – risking the lives of their sheep – to see the Lamb Who would be slain and also be the shepherd of their souls. The City of David is Jerusalem. However, the shepherds weren’t just watching sheep. They were watching for the Messiah. David called Bethlehem his city (1 Sam 20) his hometown. The prophecy said the birthplace was Bethlehem – not Jerusalem. They were given a “sign” and his city. Can you imagine if you were told you could find a newborn in “X” neighborhood wearing green socks sleeping in a purple bassinet? It’s the middle of the night, they had the right city, were willing to risk everything they had to see Him, then had to search during the night, possibly disturbing multiple sleeping families, to FIND Jesus (v. 16). They then returned glorifying and praising God. (Would you/we have gone looking? Would you give up if you didn’t know the exact home/location or gone home after some irritated man slammed the door in your face for disturbing his sleep?)
- - We see the ruler of the land for both times issued a decree to slaughter the young male children.
– We read of one young male saved alive in both accounts – Moses and Jesus.
– The pharaoh specifically wanted to kill Moses. King Herod specifically wanted to kill Christ.
– Moses fled from Egypt to avoid being killed by the ruler. Jesus (well, Mary & Joseph took Him) fled to Egypt to avoid being killed by the ruler.
– The midwives would rather obey the Lord and risk their lives than disobey. Mary was willing to allow God to work through her at the risk of her life.
– God provided for both before directing their entrance to or exit from Egypt. When the Israelites left, they collected gold and various items from the Egyptians that they would later use for items for the Lord. The wise men provided items to Jesus’s family before they left, so they would have resources (ie. gold) they could use to purchase items they needed on the way to and in Egypt.
– Moses returned to Egypt to set the Lord’s people free from physical bondage. Jesus returned to Judaea from Egypt to set His people free from spiritual bondage.
- Let’s answer in reverse. The wise men saw a star appear but did not “follow” it until they were sent to Bethlehem as the star went before them (v.9). Kings reigned in Jerusalem, and Christ was the newly born King. Maybe they figured the people to whom the Messiah would be sent would know of Him and have Him there since these foreigners knew He was in the area. When King Herod inquired of the chief priests and scribes, they checked the Scriptures to check the location to be Bethlehem before instructing them to go find Him in Bethlehem.
Timeline to Christ
This is likely the information wise men and those actively waiting and looking for Christ used to confirm His appearing. If they didn’t quite understand what would happen, we have it as a timeline to help us keep Bible events clear while showing us how prophecies were fulfilled. Likely, these men came from the area Daniel had lived and had been looking for Him and signs of His coming since Daniel taught them in his later years after his vision. There are a couple different timelines out that vary due to time gaps in some areas of events where dates aren’t specified, sources are questioned, or counting the days of years (for example, the Jewish calendar is shorter than the Gregorian calendar), etc. This is the one I was shown, so these are the dates we’ll use to keep things simple.
“20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God for the holy mountain of my God; 21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation. 22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. 23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 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. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” – Dan 9:20-27
Gabriel is noted in v. 21 as giving this message. This is a major announcement, which includes the birth of Christ (also the same angel who gave the message in Luke 1 to Zaccharias regarding his son, John the Baptist, and to Mary regarding her being chosen to give birth to Christ – v. 19, 26). This is a seventy-week announcement about the future of Israel. A week represents 7 years here. There are three time/date reference points given – 7 weeks, 62 weeks (threescore and two weeks), and 1 week – 7 + 62 + 1 = 70.
- 25, When the command is given to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, it will take 49 years to complete (7 weeks. 1 week represents a year. 7 x 7 = 49). The command to begin rebuilding was given in 445 BC. Forty-nine years later was 396 BC.
- 26 After 434 years, Messiah would be killed. (62 weeks. 1 weeks represents 7 years. 62 x 7 = 434) From 396 BC, 434 years would be 38 AD, the year Christ was “cut off, but not for himself” – crucified for our sins.
- 27 deals with the last week of Jacob’s Trouble/Tribulation, which might have already happened if the Jews hadn’t rejected Messiah, which then allowed Him to turn His attention to Gentiles. However, that’s a separate topic.
I can’t find it right now, but I believe there was a prophecy that stated Christ would be born during the time someone outside of David’s lineage was on the throne. Herod was appointed to be king. Not only was he not a rightful heir to the throne, he was an Edomite – a descendant of Esau.
With these pieces of information and a star to confirm His entrance to the world, the wise men could guesstimate the soon coming of Christ. Knowing He would be “cut off” 434 years after Jerusalem was rebuilt might have been one of the reasons myrrh was brought as a gift.
4&5. “4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
So, that was my set of quiz questions for myself as I concentrated on reading the birth of Jesus verse-by-verse. The calendar timeline was presented during an evening Bible study, so I took notes so that I could read it again later. I hope you enjoyed answering and reading as much as I did. As always, I’m sure there are many other beautiful truths that can be learned from these passages, but that’s what I’ve got now. I’m still learning and growing, too. My hope is that you write down questions as they come to you that spark curiosity to make you want to study also (although I’m guessing you already have a desire to learn and strengthen your walk more, too). Blessings!
Two Bethlehems – link
Several pictures are available online under “kataluma” to give ideas of how guest rooms looked. Many have blogs attached with additional information.
Several timelines give detailed dates and descriptions, and most I’ve seen are within but a few years difference. For instance, some timelines start at 457 or 455 B.C., but a 457 B.C. timeline would put the crucifixion at 26 A.D. while most agree Christ died during the 30s. However, calendars and days counted (one calendar may be longer by 11 days) and then switched contribute to the difficulty in pinning down an exact date on which everyone can agree 2000+ years past. I’ve seen a 455 B.C. come close, but then they interpret both weeks and days as years to fit with a false teaching, so I couldn’t link it as a source.
A brother in Christ shared these with me today regarding my questions on the parallels between Moses and Christ. These go beyond one or two chapters, but I really wanted to share this so you can see it.