Shalom, Shalom; peace, peace in the name of Yeshua. This is Crystal Sharpe and welcome to the Ancient Scrolls program. (January 12, 2020)

Today I hope to finish out this teaching on when the Messiah could have possibly been birthed. I gauge it from the Word where the males of Israel were required to appear before the LORD at three of His seven feasts. These would be Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. Yeshua was the lamb sacrifice at Passover, He ascended at the counting of the Omer and ten days later the Holy Spirit descended. This would leave Tabernacles unfulfilled until the Messianic Age when the resurrected saints and the nations eat together at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

So, the possibility exists that Messiah was born at Tabernacles and fulfills that feast also. He would have made his appearance at Tabernacles along with the other males at this feast. Also, He would be the celebration of it as we saw last week in Luke 2.

I know I reiterate, but it is worth repeating that God follows His own feasts, because they are visuals of His kingdom purposes.

The Shema

Shema (Hear) O Israel, the Lord God, the Lord is One

Deuteronomy 6:5-9; Numbers 15:37-41

Psalm 24

The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof; the world and those who dwell therein.

Father YHVH,

We thank You for being God, that You are the King of heaven and earth. We thank You that You are merciful and compassionate toward Your people. Cleanse us and deliver us from all unrighteousness, for we are surely in the last days; and the Messiah is soon returning. We desire to be prepared for His coming.

The last couple or three programs we have visited scripture and explored other extracurricular books and articles in order to get an understanding of the history at the time of Yeshua, at the timing of His birth.

We are going to continue looking at Luke, and include some passage from Matthew to form a picture of the nativity story. Let’s examine the inn in Luke 2, starting at verse 3: So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

4. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5. to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.

There existed at that time also another town called Beit-Lechem and it was located in the Galilee area, about 7 miles northwest of Nazareth. I just read about it some three weeks ago. It is considered a very fertile area. Bethlehem means house of bread, and isn’t it a coincidence that Yeshua was placed in a feeding trough at His birth.

6. So it was, that while they were there (and not upon arrival), the days were completed for her to be delivered.

7. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped him swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Here we know a decree for a census had been given and everyone was to report to their home town. It is in Nazareth that Mary is visited by the angel Gabriel to prepare for the conception of Yeshua by the Holy Spirit. Because of the census, Joseph and Mary travel to the Bethlehem. The word does not give us any clues as to how long they were in Bethlehem before she began the process of delivering Yeshua. On first reading, one would think they just arrived there and all the inns are full and she is pushed outside in either a cave or a stall.

But if you take the time to read it and just let the story speak to you, there is much information given. It isn’t condensed or compressed as the gospel of Matthew presents the nativity story.

So, this census was ordered and Joseph and Mary travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem. She is a betrothed wife to him, when reading this I understand they have performed the second stage of marriage. There are three stages: the shidduchin (arrangement where fathers of the couple would arrange for the future marriage; second stage is the erusin where a ketuba is signed and a cup of wine is blessed and shared; the third is the procession, nisuin, the consummation of the marriage.

They have already signed the ketuba (a marriage contract), and drank the wine at their home or under a chupah. A chupah is a large overhead curtain spread over the couple. After this ceremony, she is called Joseph’s betrothed wife.

This is the stage that Matthew refers to 1:18, before they came together, so this means before the third and final stage of marriage; she was found to be pregnant. They are in the second stage of marriage and it is here that if something impure has occurred, the now betrothed husband can grant her a divorce which is known as a “get.” Joseph has no desire to cause her great humiliation. What he plans to do is write out a divorce and give it to her.

The second stage of marriage in the middle east is more binding than engagements as we know in our western culture. Mary being pregnant can be looked upon as adultery. The community may stone her for the accusation of adultery, but it would be unlikely. By the law set by Torah, Joseph would have to be the one to take her to the priest at the Temple and go through what is known as the bitter water ordeal (Numbers 5:11-31). This is really unnecessary since Mary is already with child. She is maintaining her innocence and confessing to him and to her family she is still a virgin. Joseph is pondering many things and he decides to make the divorce a private matter and not humiliate her by taking her to the Temple priest. He just wants to write her a divorce. Matthew 1.

But then Joseph has a dream and is instructed to take Mary his wife (it means to go to the third stage of marriage) and that her baby is conceived by the Holy Spirit.

After this dream of instruction to take her as his wife, they leave from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Reading Luke and Matthew together, the picture emerges that when they arrive in Bethlehem, they complete the final stage of the marriage and are husband and wife. It is likely they are staying with his relatives, perhaps even his parents. In the ancient Middle East, the son and his wife moved in with his parents. A room would be added for the daughter-in-law and the son. And this house in which they are staying could be just acquaintances, we are not certain.

They are there for a number of days since he had to report for the census. While there in Bethlehem, it is possible the fall feasts of the Lord had begun. He is required to attend Tabernacles so they stay to attend the feast. While staying there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. Let’s read verse 7.

7. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped him swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Let’s focus on the word inn, but not put 21st century understanding to a first century world and think it means a Comfort Inn.

Inn in this passage is the Greek word katalyma (kataluma) and should not be translated inn. The 1395 edition of John Wycliffe’s translation of Luke 2:7 reads: “And sche bare hir first borun sone, and wlappide hym in clothis, and leide hym in a cratche, for ther was no place to hym in no chaumbir. For reasons known only to themselves, William Tyndale and the translators of the Geneva Bible and the Authorized Version opted for “inn” rather than “chaumbir”. And so it has continued. The two exceptions to this translational custom are The New English Bible and David Stern’s The Jewish New Testament. The NEB translates Luke 2:7 as: “She wrapped him in his swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them to lodge in the house.” The JNT renders Luke 2:7 as: “She wrapped him in cloth and laid him down in a feeding trough, because there was no space for them in the living quarters.

The scenario is for me, the houses were crowded because of the census going on and possibly the fall feast of the Lord. It is possible there were other relatives who took up the guest space and Joseph and Mary were placed at the level where the animal was kept. The guest room could have been exceptionally small, and it limited the movement of midwives, and the taking in out of fresh spreads. So she was moved for convenience. We don’t really know.

Kennith Bailey mentions in his book Jesus Through Middle Eastern eyes (pg. 26) “To turn away a descendant of David in ‘the City of David’ would be an unspeakable shame on the entire village.”

https://www.stepbible.org/?q=version=Wycliffe|reference=Luk.2

And she bare her firstborn son, and wrapped him in ?clothes, and laid him in a feed-trough [and put him in a cratch], for there was no place to him in no chamber .  https://www.biblestudytools.com/wyc/luke/2.html

There are a couple of other places where katalyma appears and clearly does not mean inn. Mark 14:14 and Luke 22:11, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ Verse 12, Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.

Let’s look at the parable of the good Samaritan. A man on his way to Jericho falls among thieves who abuses him. He is left for half dead dead. A priest and Levite travel by but ignores the wounded victim, but a Samaritan had compassion on him. He pours oil and wine on his wounds, places him on his beast or his ass and takes him to an inn. The Greek word for inn in this situation is pandocheion (pawn-da-chy-on), a public house for the reception of strangers; a commercial hostelry.

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=G3829&t=KJV

http://www.bible.ca/D-Xmas-story.htm#fourroom

So Mary gave birth to her baby son in a home. They cut His cord and wash Him. Next, oil is applied to His body and lastly He is rubbed down with salt as was their Middle Eastern custom. Salt is a sign of the covenant. She covers him with a single cloth, and with strips of cloths binds the single cloth and His limbs. He looks like a stiff little baby. Wikipedia has pictures of swaddled babies in the 17th century, and a swaddled native American baby.

After this she lays Him in the feeding trough, and this represents Him fulfilling the blessing of Joseph where he dreamed of his brothers sheaves bowing to him. This is symbolic of material blessings. Yeshua was placed in a feeding trough, or manger—think of food supply, the material, and he was born in Beit-lechem which in Hebrew means house of bread.

Joseph dreamed the sun, moon and stars bowing to him and the magi followed a star until it stood over the house where Yeshua stayed. So there are some parallels.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swaddling

According to Leviticus 12, a mother must offer a sacrifice after the days of her purification. For a male it was 40 days. By this we know Joseph and Mary stayed at least this long in Bethlehem, if not longer, depending on her healing process; concerning her body fluids drying up. Then she would offer at the temple a lamb, or two turtledoves, or two pigeons. She could afford two turtledoves. Which makes me wonder if the magi had not visited Yeshua until after her offering of two birds. Had they been earlier, she may have offered a lamb from the treasures they brought to the house where they were staying.

These magi, or magistrates, they were not magicians; darkness is in direct conflict and opposition to God’s light, followed a star where it stood over the house.  These magi may have been astronomers who were taught by the prophet Daniel the sign, or His star, that would announce the appearance the birth of Yeshua in the world. I find it interesting that the star is described as His star in Matthew 2:2. Which star? The text does not say.

The magi worship, perhaps stay there at the house for the night, because being warned in a dream they should not return to Herod, they return to their own land going in a different direction. When they had departed, Joseph is warned by an angel to take Yeshua and Mary to Egypt. He immediately rises up in the night and makes the journey. Herod dispatches troops and they slaughter all the male children in Bethlehem and all its districts from two years old and under.

This does not mean that Yeshua was already two years old. This was Herod’s own estimation of Yeshua’s age from the testimony given by the magi. According to Luke 2:39, So when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, their own city, Nazareth. Yeshua was an infant when Mary and Joseph finished performing the Torah instructions on purity. He was an infant when they had gone to Egypt.

It is obvious that Luke does not give the details that Matthew 2 does, like the visitation of the magi, nor does he mention the slaughter of the innocents. When I combine the two accounts together, a picture emerges, for me, that when they go to Egypt, they are there for only a few months—until Herod dies. His death happens before a Passover. This means that Yeshua was perhaps 6 months to a year and a half old when Herod died. After Herod’s death, they return to Galilee, their own city Nazareth.

I am at the end of the program. Remember to walk by faith, not by sight. Ask the Father to cleanse you from all unrighteousness every day. Keep your spiritual garments clean from spot, wrinkle and blemish. Do two things this week: love and forgive. Love God and love your neighbor.

Rico Cortes will sing the Aaronic blessing.