Where Was Jesus Born?
Note: The following Post is taken from an upcoming book by Joseph Lenard entitled Mysteries of Jesus’ Life Revealed—His Birth, Death, Resurrection, and Ascensions. For an overview and complete chapter listing of this fascinating study, click here.
Why Migdal Edar?
The specific field, flock, and shepherds visited by the angel of the Lord who came to announce the birth of the Savior were chosen by God for a reason. God does not work by happenstance.
The location in Bethlehem might have been chosen to honor David, who was selected by God to be the King of Israel. David was beloved by God and in the genetic line of the Messiah. It is even likely that the shepherds in the fields of Bethlehem were in the same fields where King David once tended his father’s sheep and composed Psalms to honor God. The shepherds in the field to which the angel came undoubtedly knew the Psalms, especially those written by David, who grew up as a shepherd himself. Perhaps the shepherds had recently read Psalm 8:
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. (Psalm 8:3–5, KJV)
David tended sheep in the fields of Bethlehem, but this is likely not the reason that God selected Bethlehem and a particular field in which to announce the Messiah. Neither was it because it was the same land which Boaz redeemed for Naomi, land that later passed by inheritance to Jesse, David’s father.
Rather, I believe God chose Migdal Edar because this was the place where the sacrificial lambs were born and protected, lambs raised to be an acceptable sacrifice for Temple ceremonies. Jesus was the “Lamb of God”, the acceptable sacrifice to take away the sin of the world; and God wanted Him to be born at Migdal Edar as a prophetic message of His future role. Jesus was born to be sacrificed, just as the lambs of Migdal Edar were born to be sacrificed. The difference was that the lambs were continuously sacrificed to temporarily cover the sins of the people, while Jesus was the perfect, acceptable sacrifice from God. Jesus died but once to pay the price of our sin-debt to God. His death was acceptable to God as atonement for all those who believe and trust Him for salvation. That is the Good News of the Gospel.
Why is it important that Migdal Edar is the birthplace of Jesus? One reason only: It is where Scripture states that the Messiah would be born (Micah 4:8). It is understood by all believers that the Scripture is inspired and true (II Timothy 3:14, 16). If we say that Jesus was born somewhere else, then we are saying that the Scriptures are not true.
There is presently no archaeological evidence establishing the exact location of Migdal Edar in ancient Bethlehem at the time of Jesus. Admittedly, it could be at the present location of the Church of the Nativity. But that is unlikely.
Note: In my next Post I will provide some conclusions to the evidence presented in solving the “puzzle” for our topic “Where Was Jesus Born.”