1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

Lesson 40,  Geography Study Concerning the Scriptures, Geography of the Christmas Story


Luke 1 and 2


Gabriel announces in Jerusalem the coming birth of John to Zacharias while he is on temple duty. Luke 1:8


After temple duty Zacharias and Elisabeth return to home in the hill country of Juda where she conceives and hides herself 5 months.  Luke 1:23-24


In the sixth month of Elisabeth’s pregnancy Gabriel announces forthcoming conception of Jesus in Mary in the town of Nazareth (80 miles from Jerusalem) and Elisabeth’s pregnancy.  Luke 1:26




[NAZ-uh-reth; “watch-tower” (?)] The town in lower Galilee where Jesus lived until the age of 30. It was an unimportant town (Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?  John 1:46)(not mentioned in the Old Testament, the writings of Josephus, or the Talmud) located in the territory of Zebulun, overlooking the plain of Esdraelon (Plain of Megiddo). Although situated near several of the important trade routes of Palestine, the town itself was surrounded on three sides by high hills, giving it the appearance of isolation. This, with the poor reputation of Galileans, led to the scorn with which the strict Jews viewed Nazareth. Jesus was twice rejected by the people of Nazareth, prompting his statement that “only in his hometown…is a prophet without honor” (Matthew 13:53-58). The ancient site lies near the modern town of Nazareth, or En-Nasira.


Apparently this is the first that Mary has heard of it.


Mary goes in haste to visit her cousin Elisabeth in the hill country of Judah and stays three months and then returns to her own house in Nazareth.  Luke 1:39


At this time then Elisabeth was finished with her 9th month.


Was Mary there when Elisabeth gave birth to John? Luke 1:57


When Mary was ready to deliver, (was this 6 months after John was born) Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem because Joseph was of the house and lineage of David and apparently all those of the house of David had to return to the place were David was born in order to pay taxes.  Luke 2:1


Most likely they had passed thru Jerusalem on their way to Bethlehem.

Bethlehem (Judah)


[BETH-luh-hem; “house of bread”] A Judean town about 6 miles (9 km) sw of Jerusalem, (on a limestone ridge along the main highway to Hebron and Egypt) notable as the birthplace of Jesus. In patriarchal times, it was known as Ephrath, and later became known as Bethlehem in Judah or Bethlehem Ephrathah to distinguish it from the Zebulunite city (seven miles northwest of Nazareth) of the same name. The Amarna Letters refer to it as Bit-Lahmi, in a report of the city’s capture by the Habiru in the 14th century.


Centuries before the birth of Christ, Ruth (the great grand mother of David) the moabitess came with her mother in law to Bethlehem.


Ruth 1:19,  So they two went until they came to Bethlehem. And it came to pass, when they were come to Bethlehem, that all the city was moved about them, and they said, Is this Naomi? 20And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me. 21I went out full, and the LORD hath brought me home again empty: why then call ye me Naomi, seeing the LORD hath testified against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me? 22So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.


David was born and raised in Bethlehem, and it was here that Samuel anointed him the successor of King Saul.


In accordance with Micah’s prophecy, the Messiah, a descendent of David, was also born in Bethlehem. A tradition going back to the 2nd century a.d. identifies the site of his birth with a cave that once served as the stable of an inn near Bethlehem. The Church of the Nativity now marks the ancient site, believed by many to be the authentic birthplace of the Savior.


Jesus Christ born in a stable because there was no room in the Inn. Luke 2:1


Because they were in Bethlehem 40 days they most likely found a place to live


After eight days Jesus was circumcised in Bethlehem.


After the days of Mary’ purification (40 days total) Joseph and Mary took Jesus to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord


Leviticus 12:1-8,  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a woman have conceived seed, and born a man child: then she shall be unclean seven days; according to the days of the separation for her infirmity shall she be unclean. 3And in the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. 4And she shall then continue in the blood of her purifying three and thirty days; she shall touch no hallowed thing, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying be fulfilled. 5But if she bear a maid child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her separation: and she shall continue in the blood of her purifying threescore and six days. 6And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest: 7Who shall offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the issue of her blood. This is the law for her that hath born a male or a female. 8And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.


Luke says that after the visit to Jerusalem for the sacrifice offered on behalf of Jesus and the visit to Simeon and Anna  they returned to Nazareth


Luke 2:39,  And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. 40And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.


But in order for the events that are described in Matthew to have happened as recorded there must have been a return to Bethlehem first and a short time there and their exodus to Egypt before their ultimate return to Nazareth.


So based upon this there is a considerable time period between the events of verse 38 and verse 39 in Luke 2. 


Matthew 2


Geographically the account of Jesus’ birth begins in Bethlehem. 


The announcement of his birth to Joseph probably takes place in Nazareth but it is not mentioned where it took place.  Matt 1:18


The scene in chapter 2 begins in Jerusalem where wise men come from the east. 


The passage indicates that Jesus had already been born when the wise men came to Jerusalem for they asked “Where is he that is born, King of the Jews?”  Matt 2:2


They are told by Herod after consulting with his chief priests and scribes that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem and every indication is that the wise men go to Bethlehem.


The scriptures tell us that they had come to a house where the young child is indicating that Joseph and Mary had been in Bethlehem for some time.  Matt 2:11


It appears they had taken up residence there. 


From the age of two years old and under that Herod included in his murder degree perhaps Joseph and Mary had been in Bethlehem up to two years.  Matt 2:16


But being warned of God in a dream after the wise men had departed, Joseph fled to Egypt (about 250 miles) and stayed in Egypt until Herod had died but did not return to Bethlehem because of Archelaus, Herod’s son’s reign in Judea, and this caused Joseph to return to Nazareth in Galilee where he would be further away from the  control of Archelaus.  Matt 2:21


Mary and Joseph Flee to Egypt

Wise men from the east came to worship Jesus, having seen a sign in the heavens indicating his birth. While tradition holds that there were three, the exact number of wise men is not revealed in scripture. Many scholars suspect that this visit took place when Jesus was as old as two, as is suggested by the fact that Herod subsequently killed all the boys two years old and under in the vicinity of Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16).


Having been warned in a dream that Herod would seek to kill Jesus, Joseph took Mary and the boy to Egypt. While a direct route across the desert would have been faster, it is likely that Joseph traveled via the established trade routes that would have taken him through Ashkelon and Gaza. This would have been a less arduous trip. Matthew 2:1-18


Now according to history Herod the Great died in 4 BC.


This dating is before the birth of Christ if Christ was born in when BC turned to AD. 


So calendars are wrong by at least four years. 


This may indicate that the baby Jesus was not 2 years old when Joseph and Mary took him to Egypt or calendars are wrong by even more year then 4. 


If Jesus was born two years before Herod died then he was born in 6 BC so calendars are off by 6 years.


Herod dying in the year that he killed the children under two years old would certainly be a just reaping of what he sowed.