Please note that throughout this document, “Heb.” indicates a Hebrew word and/or a definition for a Hebrew word. Hebrew is the original language of the Bible’s Old Testament. Likewise, “Gk.” indicates a Greek word and/or a definition for a Greek word. Greek is the original language of the Bible’s New Testament. Also, all Scripture quoted in this study is from the Authorized King James Version of the Bible.
Isaiah 9:2-8: “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. 3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4 For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. 5 For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire.
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government [Heb. “misrah” = government, rule, dominion] shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. 8 The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.”
—These verses predict Jesus’ birth. His excellence would equate to His exalted names, including “Wonderful” and “Counselor.”
Matthew 1:17-25: “So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations. 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise [Gk. “houto” = thus, in this manner]: When as his mother Mary was espoused [Gk. “mnesteuo” = to become engaged, betrothed, to woo to marriage] to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet [Isaiah] saying, 23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. [Isaiah 7:14: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”] 24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: 25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”
—Jesus’ birth – to be born of a virgin and to be called, as one of His names, I[E]mmanuel – was all predicted in the Old Testament by the prophet Isaiah.
Matthew 2:1-23: “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 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 [Judah]: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. [Micah 5:2: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah [Heb. “ephrathah” = fruitfulness], 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.”]
7 Then Herod, when he had privily [Gk. “lathra” = secretly, privately] called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. 13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. [Hosea 11:1: “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.”]
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children [Gk. males] that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy [Jeremiah] the prophet, saying, 18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. [Jeremiah 31:15: “Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.”] 19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.
21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: 23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.”
The wise men – how many, we don’t actually know – eventually went to Bethlehem and visited the young child Jesus in a house. The wise men did not return to King Herod in Jerusalem, to report Jesus’ location to him, because God directed the wise me to travel back to their home country by an alternate route. Thus, the angered Herod had all the male children killed who were ages two and younger, who lived in the region surrounding Bethlehem. Joseph had to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus, and only return to the land of Israel after Herod died.
Luke 1:26-56: “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused [Gk. “mnesteuo” = to become engaged, betrothed, to woo to marriage] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation [Gk. “aspasmos” = greeting, welcome, salutation] this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know [Gk. “ginosko” = to know, understand, (in this case: “sexual intercourse”)] not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. 39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda [Judah]; 40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted [Gk. “aspazomai” = greet, welcome, wish well, (peace be with you)] Elisabeth. 41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 43 And whence [Gk. “pothen” = why, how, or where] is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44 For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. 46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify [Gk. “megaluno” = to declare great, extol (praise enthusiastically)] the Lord, 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. 51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. 53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. 54 He hath holpen [Gk. “antilambanomai” = support, help, assist, come to the aid of, concern oneself with] his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; 55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. 56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.”
The angel Gabriel came in advance and told Mary that she would birth Jesus, the Son of God. Both Mary and her cousin Elisabeth rejoiced concerning this heaven-delivered message. Note that verse 35 proclaims that Jesus was born holy, while humanity is customarily born carnal.
Luke 2:1-40: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world [under Roman rule] should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 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🙂 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes [Gk. “sparganow” = strips of cloth], and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger [Gk. “phatne” = manger or crib where cattle are fed].
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. 21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. 22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord😉 24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. 25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation [Gk. “paraklesis” = exhortation, encouragement, comfort, solace] of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. 26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
27 And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, 28 Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, 29 Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30 For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, 31 Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; 32 A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. 33 And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. 34 And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; 35 (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.
36 And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity [Gk. “Parthenia” = virginity, (she was a virgin when she got married)]; 37 And she was a widow of about fourscore and four  years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem. 39 And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. 40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.”
This is the account of Joseph and Mary who went to Bethlehem where Jesus was born. The angels announced Jesus’ birth to a group of shepherds who immediately went to see the newborn Jesus. Later Jesus’ parents took Jesus to be dedicated at the temple where they interacted with Simeon and Anna the prophetess. Finally, the family returned to Nazareth.
Christmas, n. [Christ + mass.]: An annual church festival (December 25) and in some States a legal holiday, in memory of the birth of Christ, often celebrated by a particular church service, and also by special gifts, greetings, and hospitality. [This writer adds, “A coming together of the people to celebrate the festival of Christ’s birth.”]
—Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language.
NOTE: Both newborns and the dead were wrapped in strips of cloth.</span
Matthew 2:1 commentary: Bethlehem in Judea, the birthplace of Christ, was a small town about six miles south of Jerusalem. The word “Bethlehem” denotes “house of bread” – [a description] perhaps given to the place on account of its great fertility. It was also called Ephrata, a word signifying fertility. It was called the city of David (Luke 2:4), because it was the city of his nativity. It was called Bethlehem of Judea, to distinguish it from a town of the same name in Galilee. The soil of Bethlehem was noted for its fertility. Ancient travelers frequently spoke of its productions.
Luke 2:3-5 commentary [regarding Joseph and Mary’s trip to Bethlehem]: The couple knew she would have the baby during the time Joseph was gone, and they most likely did not want to be separated at that event. Also, both of them knew that the Child was the Messiah. They also would have known that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
—Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament
Luke 2:1-7 commentary: His [Jesus’] birth drew Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. Augustus Caesar was ruling, but God was in charge, for He used Caesar’s edict to move Mary and Joseph eighty miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem to fulfill His Word. Rome took a census every fourteen years for both military and tax purposes, and each Jewish male had to return to the city of his fathers to record his name, occupation, property, and family.
—The Bible Exposition Commentary.
Luke 2:1-7 commentary: Mary and Joseph were already husband and wife but since they did not consummate the marriage until after Jesus was born, she is called his “espoused wife” (Matthew 1:18-25). Mothers in that day wrapped their infants in long bands of cloth to give the limbs strength and protection. The word translated “manger” (Luke 2:7,12,16) is translated “stall” in Luke 13:15, and can mean either a feeding trough or an enclosure for animals, based on context. You see ancient stone troughs even today as you travel in the Holy Land, and it is probable that such a trough cradled the Infant Jesus. Many scholars believe that our Lord was born in a cave…and not in a wooden shed such as you see in modern manger scenes.
Bethlehem means “house of bread,” the ideal birthplace for the Bread of Life
(John 6:35: “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life…”).
—The Bible Exposition Commentary.
Luke 2:1 commentary [regarding Caesar Augustus’ decree concerning taxation]: Christ, the son of God, taking upon himself the form of a servant, and making himself of no reputation, is poorly born in a stable: and by the means of Augustus, the mightiest prince in the world, (thinking nothing of it) has his cradle prepared in Bethlehem, as the prophets foretold.
Luke 2:5 commentary [regarding Joseph and Mary’s “engaged” status]: Betrothal provided most of the legal rights of marriage, but intercourse was forbidden. Joseph is courageous to take his pregnant betrothed with him, even if (as is quite possible) she is also a Bethlehemite who has to return to that town.
—IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament.
Luke 2:1-7 commentary: That Jesus would be born in Bethlehem was ordained by God long before Caesar Augustus made his decree (Micah 5:2). The difficult [normally] three-day journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem may have taken longer because of Mary’s condition.
—Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament.
The prophet Isaiah, in the Old Testament, predicted Jesus’ birth, along with some of the exalted names by which He would be called. The prophet also foretold that Jesus would be born of a virgin. The prophet Micah also predicted that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem (the house of bread).
The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her in advance that she would be the mother of Jesus. Both Mary and her cousin Elisabeth rejoiced at this saying. Later, angels appeared in the sky and told a group of shepherds that Jesus had been born. These shepherds traveled quickly to go see the baby Jesus. Subsequently, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus to the temple where Simeon took Him up and blessed Him, and the prophetess Anna gave thanks when she saw Him.
The wise men from the east followed a moving star to locate the young child Jesus. They worshipped Him and gave to Him expensive gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. King Heron tried to kill the young Jesus when he commanded the slaughter of all the male children, ages two and younger, who resided in Bethlehem and surrounding areas. But Joseph, who had been warned in a dream, fled to Egypt with Mary and Jesus to avoid Herod’s murderous designs. After Herod died, Joseph brought Mary and Joseph back to the land of Israel.
Please feel free to direct comments and questions regarding this study to Andrew Manthe by email at email@example.com.