Luke 2 is probably one of the most famous in the Bible because it tells the “Christmas Story.”
Joseph took his espoused pregnant wife from Nazareth in Galilee to the city of David, which was called Bethlehem to be taxed. Luke 2:5 Mary “being great with Child.” It would have taken them 4 to 5 days walking and riding a donkey over the rocky hilly Judean desert.
Luke 2:7 “And she brought forth her first-born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger.” Luke doesn’t say the birth of Jesus occurred on the very night of their arrival in Bethlehem, though it seems to have been soon after that. The setting was probably in a limestone cave used for a stable. Here the Greatest of all would enter mortality in the humblest of circumstances.
We’ve been trained to think of the manger as wooden. But, in Palestine animals were fed from stone troughs. It was symbolic of Jesus’ final resting place at the end of His life, being placed in a stone sepulcher.
The birth of Christ is announced to the Shepherds in their fields. There was a Heavenly Choir singing and praising God. Then the Shepherds find Mary, and Joseph and the babe lying in a manger. Afterwards the Shepherds spread the word abroad to many. But Mary kept all these things in her heart realizing that this tiny, helpless infant was the Son of God, the Promised Messiah, the Savior of the world.
The Scriptures are clear that Jesus was born during the reign of King Herod the Great. The best historical evidence dictates that the birth of Jesus occurred about the year 4 B.C.
For Latter-day Saints, the challenge comes in attempting to reconcile this historical evidence with Doctrine and Covenants 20:1, which refers to the organization of the LDS Church on April 6, 1830, as being “one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh.” Church leader’s interpretations of this verse as they relate to the Savior’s birth vary from being taken literally on April 6, 1 A.D. to not proposing any date as, the true date.
Matthew 2:1 “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.” The LDS Bible Dictionary suggest “that they were actually prophets on a divine errand.”
Why in the Book of Mormon, does Alma 7:10 say that Jesus will be born at Jerusalem when Micah 5:2 and Matthew 2:1-7 speak of Christ being born in Bethlehem? In that same Alma 7:10 verse it says, speaking of Mary “who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power the Holy Ghost.” Alma supposedly writing in 83 B.C. uses the word “Ghost.” That word was not even formed until the 15th Century A.D. which proves that the entire passage is anachronistic and plagiarized from the King James Bible.
Matthew 2:9 “When they 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.” By the time the wisemen arrived in Jerusalem, Jesus was already a young child. Joseph and Mary had apparently decided to stay in Bethlehem for a while after the Savior’s birth and had settled in a house there. Thus, the pictures we see of the wise men and the shepherds visiting the baby Jesus in a stable were a composite of two separate events.
After the wise men worshipped Jesus and presented Him with gifts, an angel warned the wise men that they should not return to Herod to tell him the whereabouts of Jesus.
Luke 2:21 Jesus at 8 days old was taken to the priest in the temple to be circumcised. He also officially received his name “Yeshua”, or in English “Jesus”, meaning “Savior” or “Salvation.”
In the Book of Mormon between 559 B.C. and 545 B.C., Nephi, referring to the Messiah, states in 2 Nephi 25:19 “according the words of the angel of God, his name shall be Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” According to the Book of Mormon, Jesus Christ was a name given him long before his conception and birth into mortality. Do you see the problem with that? We don’t find that name anywhere in the Old Testament. In fact, the word “Christ” is a Greek term. How did it get into the Book of Mormon written in Reformed Egyptian? Everywhere you see the term “Jesus Christ” in the Book of Mormon from 1 Nephi to 3 Nephi, is completely anachronistic. In other words, it is out of context, place and time.
Luke 2:41-50 Records that Jesus who at this time was 12 years old, went with his family to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.
On their return trip Joseph and Mary discovered that Jesus was missing, so they returned to Jerusalem searching for him for days. Finally, they located him in the temple in, the midst of doctors and teachers, “both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.”
Offering a mild rebuke, Mary asked why her son had made them worry about him missing. His reply to her was “How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? It’s apparent at this young age, Jesus already knew who He was, even though the fulness of the time of his ministry had not yet come.
During the coming years, Jesus lived in Nazareth until He entered His ministry at age 30. Luke 2:52 reports on those preparation years in one sentence, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Jesus being God, took on a human nature and was subject to the normal process of human growth and development.
That concludes our review of the second chapter of Matthew and Luke.
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