Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Birth of Jesus (Yeshua)

By Brenda Cathcart.

It is at this time of year that Beleivers around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus whose Hebrew name is Yeshua which means He will save.

Matthew 1:21 MKJV 21 And she shall bear a son, and you shall call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.

For Christians everywhere, it is a time of great joy. The words of the angels as they announce his birth convey that feeling of joy.

Luke 2:10-14 MKJV 10 And the angel said to them, Do not fear. For behold, I give to you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For to you is born today, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this is a sign to you. You will find the babe wrapped, lying in a manger. 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.

The location of His birth has deep symbolic meaning. He was born in the City of David, Bethlehem, in the region called Ephratah. (Micah 5:2) Bethlehem means the house of bread and Ephratah means fruitfulness. Jesus was born in the house of bread in the region of fruitfulness. He is the Bread of Life.

John 6:33-35 MKJV 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from Heaven and gives life to the world. 34 Then they said to him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes on Me shall never thirst.

He tells His followers that those who remain in Him will be fruitful.

John 15:1-2 MKJV 1 I am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away. And every one that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bring forth more fruit.

What else do we know about Bethlehem? Its first mention in scripture is in connection with Rachel. Rachel’s name means ewe lamb. Jesus is the Lamb of God.

John 1:29 MKJV 29 The next day John sees Jesus coming to him and says, Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Rachel, like Mary, gave birth at Bethlehem. Her son Benjamin was born as she died.

Genesis 35:16-20 MKJV 16 And they moved from Bethel. And there was only a length of land to come to Ephrath. And Rachel travailed, and she had hard labor in her bearing. 17 And it happened when she was in hard labor in her bearing, the midwife said to her, Do not fear, you shall have this son also. 18 And it happened as her soul was departing (for she died) that she called his name Benoni. But his father called him Benjamin. 19 And Rachel died and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. 20 And Jacob set up a pillar upon her grave. That is the pillar of Rachel's grave to this day.

Benjamin’s name whose birth is at Bethlehem is a foreshadow of Jesus. Rachel called him Benoni which means son of my sorrow referring to Jesus’ first coming as a man of sorrows.

Isaiah 53:3 MKJV 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as it were a hiding of faces from Him, He being despised, and we esteemed Him not.

Interestingly, it is the sorrow of Rachel that foreshadows the sorrow of Jesus. He expresses that sorrow over Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 31:15-17 MKJV 15 So says the LORD: A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her sons; she refuses to be comforted for her sons, because they are not. 16 So says the LORD: Hold back your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for your work shall be rewarded, says the LORD. And they shall come again from the land of the enemy. 17 And there is hope for your future, says the LORD, that your sons shall come again to their own border.

Luke 13:34 MKJV 34 Jerusalem! Jerusalem! The one killing the prophets, and stoning those having been sent to her; how often I desired to gather your children in the way a hen gathers her brood under the wings, and you did not desire it.

Luke 19:41-42 MKJV 41 And as He drew near, He beheld the city and wept over it, 42 saying, If you had known, even you, even at least in this day of yours, the things for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.

Jesus goes on to say that He will return when they can say “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD.

Luke 13:35 MKJV 35 Behold, your house is left to you desolate. And truly I say to you, You will not see Me until it come when you say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.

Jacob, also called Israel, named him Benjamin which means son of my right hand. This speaks of His resurrection and second coming. Jesus even now sits at God’s right hand waiting for His enemies to be put under His feet.

Hebrews 12:2 MKJV 2 looking to Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right of the throne of God.

Rachel was buried just outside of Bethlehem. Her burial tomb is there to this day near the tower of Edar. The Tower of Edar is the “Tower of the Flock” built to watch over the sheep around Bethlehem. The flocks around Bethlehem were the temple flocks and the shepherds were all Levites. It was from these flocks that the sacrifices were chosen. Jesus, the lamb of God was born among the sheep of God’s pasture. It is to these shepherds that the announcement is made of the birth of a very special lamb.

Luke 2:8-9 NKJV 8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

Since the shepherds were living in the field, we know that this cannot be in the winter time. In the winter near Bethlehem and Jerusalem, the nights are too cold to keep the sheep out at night. When is the most likely time that Jesus was born? To answer that, we can look at His death. His death and resurrection were at the Feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits. These Feasts commemorate the Israelites redemption from Egypt foreshadowing their redemption from sin accomplished by Jesus’ death and resurrection. If we look to the Feasts of the LORD for His birth, the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall is the most likely time He was born. The Feast is to be celebrated with great joy.

Leviticus 23:40 MKJV 40 And you shall take the fruit of majestic trees for yourselves on the first day, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook. And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days.

Deuteronomy 16:14-15 NKJV 14 "And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates.

This Feast commemorates their time in the wilderness when God dwelt among them His shekinah glory visible over the Tabernacle for all to see. John speaks of the birth of Jesus as the Living Word of God dwelling with man.

John 1:14 NKJV 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Rejoice in the birth of Jesus, Yeshua, who comes to save us from our sins. And next year, at the Feast of Tabernacles, take some time and learn about this feast which is one of God’s ordained times during which He promises to meet with His people. It has prophetic significance equal to that of Passover.

שלום ברוך
Shalom and Be Blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart

Dan and I are going “home” to Israel next June 19th to 29th and so can you. Join us in the land promised to Abraham for a special tour where you will see the promised Messiah of Israel like you have never seen Him before! We will visit places off the beaten path and follow in the foot steps of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Join us as we also explore the people, culture, politics and conflict that is today’s Israel and a special Sabbath day in Jerusalem. For details on the tour visit www.theheartofisrael.com .

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