2019 Study Summary 3: “We Have Come to Worship Him”
Today many people travel to the Holy Land to look for Jesus in traditional spots. They expect a stable behind an inn. They come looking for scenes learned from Christmas cards. Let’s draw our attention to the East where it really happened. The traditional site for Jesus’ birthplace was established only 175 years after His birth. Three Christian churches, the Greek Orthodox, Armenian, and Catholic, hold separate services here and maintain a star decorating the place of birth.
Manger Square and Mosques:
During Christmas week the square is full of bleachers for visiting choral groups. Shops and few nearby trees are festively decorated; the mosque is not. Opposite or close to every Christian church in this Holy Land is a Moslem mosque; and Bethlehem’s Manger Square is no exception. Also, across the street are the local police station and souvenir shops. New Sattelite dishes reach up from the aged housetops. The skyline picture is surely a contrast to what the village of Bethlehem must have looked like twenty centuries ago. Let’s go back to that time.
Ruth and Naomi in Bethlehem:
Around Bethlehem are numerous hills still grazed by sheep and goats. In the spring, the small fields, supported by terraces, are planted with wheat or barley. It was to these hills that the widows Naomi and Ruth returned from Moab. Ruth gathered after the reapers; her good fortune was to come to the fields of Boaz, who was a relative of Naomi’s late husband, Elimelech. Ruth married Boaz. It is still the Middle-East custom for the husband’s family to care for the late husband’s widowed wife. What Boaz did was proper, and it certainly blossomed into a sweet love story. They had a son named Obed. Obed had a son named Jesse, who tended flocks and crops in these same hills.
The Lineage of Kings:
A genetic line begins as he marries Ruth, a foreign convert, and that set the stage for a line of kings. Jesse’s youngest son was David. In obscurity, during his childhood, he was ordained the king of Israel. Yet he continued to be a good shepherd. Born at Bethlehem he was promised by God that his seed would bring the King of Kings, the Messiah—also to be known as the Good Shepherd. (John 10:11)
A Latter-day David:
Later, David proved himself politically, militarily, and spiritually. In spite of his sinfulness later in his life, Israelis still sing about the old David, King of Israel, awaiting a new Davidic descendant. Virtually every Bar Mitzvah celebration is enhanced by singing to the Jewish lad being honored. He is treated as an expected David, one that should come in latter-days, out of obscurity, to reestablish a righteous kingdom. In considering the words of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea, the Jewish expectation of a latter-day David seems to include a person similar to the ancient David in addition to the Davidic Messiah, the King of Kings. He may also come out of obscurity. “But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them” (Jeremiah 30:9), “And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it” (Ezekiel 34:24), “Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.” (Hosea 3:5)
Testifies of the KING OF KINGS:
If ancient events are any kind of pattern for the future, the latter-day David may be like the ancient David. He probably will prove himself politically, militarily, and spiritually. The people may then want to proclaim him a king. However, he will not likely accept that kingship. Although honored as a prince or a noble person, he will introduce and bear witness of the King of Kings. He came in the meridian of time and will return in the latter-days.
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Jesus Born During Passover:
It was the Passover season, spring of that year. According to the biblical calendar, Passover always occurs on the first full moon after the first day of spring. By the way, April 6, 1830, the day the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized was the first full moon after the first day of spring that year. It was Passover. The Deliverer was born during the season that celebrates the deliverance of Israel from Egypt and also the expectation of an even greater deliverance. The two deliverances are linked by a journey of two millennia.
“. . . .While they were there . . .”
Considering their descendancy, they were with relatives, yet there was no private room in the “kataluma,” (translated as guestchamber). “. . . from the original . . . Greek New Testament, the root from which inn was translated is “kataluma” . . . a guest chamber. . . these quarters allowed guests to be elevated slightly above their animals with open doorways so that owners could watch over their animals. The Joseph Smith Translation of Luke 2:7 indicates that there was no room for them in the “inns,” suggesting that all of the katalumas or cubicles . . . . were occupied. In the Greek New Testament the word “kataluma” appears in only two other passages, translated in each instance not as “inn” but as a “guestchamber,” (Elder Russell M. Nelson, BYU Devotional, 10 Dec 2002). The scripture clearly states, “while they were there . . .” (in Bethlehem). (Luke 2:6)
Although western language Bibles refer to Mary’s husband, Joseph, as a carpenter, the Greek New Testament calls him a craftsman. The industry of Nazareth was, and still is, the regional rock quarry. Interestingly, Jehovah, later known as Jesus, is called the “Rock of Salvation.” He studied the Law of Moses. He was considered a rabbi. At twelve years of age He was in the temple—with the lawyers—answering and asking questions. When a Jewish lad turns twelve years of age, he has the opportunity to study a section of the Law and the Prophets, a section he will recite at his Bar Mitzvah. Jews regularly read the Law and the Prophets publicly three times a week (Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturday-Sabbaths). All congregations read the same section on each of those days. Therefore, the boy must choose which day he will read—and then be trained in that particular section throughout his twelfth year. A lawyer (rabbi) has been sufficiently trained to read the appropriate sections at any given time. Jesus apparently had that training.
It is suggested that Jesus was at the temple at the age of twelve to become a “Son of the Law.” That Aramaic expression, “Bar Mitzvah,” usually happens at the end of the twelfth year, close to his thirteenth birthday. In some Jewish circles, a boy may become a Bar Mitzvah one year earlier if he has no father. Jesus had no earthly father.
His Sabbath reading fulfilled a definite messianic prophecy, and Jesus concluded by testifying that He was the realization of Isaiah’s prediction. The congregation apparently heard the words but became enraged that he would point himself out as the “Anointed One” (Messiah in Hebrew). To them, that kind of blasphemy warranted death by stoning.
Mount of Precipitation:
Close to forty different churches mark traditional sites of Jesus’ youth. However, the only scripturally supported site is an old Nazareth quarry. This is probably the place where angered Nazarenes would have stoned Jesus for blasphemy. Ancient Jewish law of stoning required that the victim be thrown over a cliff (the execution). The accuser always had to cast the first stone and then all others threw stones (the burial, without a memorial). “But he passing through the midst of them went his way,” (Luke 4:30). He would never return to Nazareth.
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