Historical Evidence for the Birth of Jesus Christ
Mary and Joseph
      Every year as December 25th rolls around, our minds begin to focus on the birth of that little baby born at Bethlehem. But more than just a baby, The Savior, Christ the Lord.
 
     Throughout the ages, in the search for the historical Jesus, many evidences have surfaced which confirm that wonderful event, God becoming man.  
     One such evidence comes from an early Church leader named Origen. He wrote that the actual cave where Jesus was born could be seen by anyone wanting to visit it. He wrote the following in 'Against Celsus', Volume 1, chapter 51.
      “In regards to the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, if anyone, after studying Micah’s prophecy and the history recorded in the sacred writings by the disciples of Jesus. If needing to have additional sources of evidence, Let him be aware that the Scriptures are confirmed and the Gospel involving his birth, for there can be seen the cave located in Bethlehem where He was born and the manger where He was wrapped in swaddling-clothes And this site is talked about with great interest in all the surrounding countries. Even among the enemies our faith it is being said that in this cave Jesus was born, the One who is worshiped and revered by the Christians.“
     In their search for the historical Jesus, the early Church historians even give evidences for the virgin birth. Justin Martyr, who lived around 150 A.D., recorded that if anyone questioned the virgin birth of Jesus, they should go and refer to the official archives Augustus Caesar.
 
     Another early Church leader, who was brought up under the Apostle John's instruction, was a man by the name of Ignatius. In one of his epistles to the Ephesians, which was written sometime around 110 A.D., he made the following statements regarding the Virgin birth.
     "Jesus Christ our God was . . . conceived in Mary's womb . . . according to the Holy Spirit. Mary's virginity and the One whom she brought forth . . . these are the mysteries which are commonly known throughout the entire world. Yet these things were done by God secretly."
 
     In 125 A.D. another early writer by the name of Aristides also mentioned the miraculous birth of the Savior.
      "He being the Son of God Most High, made known by the Holy Spirit, came down from above, and being born of a Hebrew virgin took on himself flesh . . ."
 
      Justin Martyr, wrote these words around 150 A.D.:
"The Lord Jesus Christ our instructor, who was the first born of God the Father, was not born through sexual relations . . . God's power came upon the virgin, lighting upon her while she was still a virgin, causing her to conceive . . . By the will of God, his Son, Jesus Christ was born of the virgin Mary."    
     According to the Bible, shortly after Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Herod the Great was visited by Magi from the East. They were searching for the King whose Star had risen.
The three wise men
     Herod troubled by this King whom he considered a threat to his imperial reign, sent for the priests to find out where he was to be born. They told him the Child would be born in Bethlehem. Herod then sent his soldiers to that town to slay all the male children 2 years old and under.
      This event may have been alluded to by a non-Christian writer named Ambrosius Macrobius, who around 430 A.D. wrote the following in his work Saturnalia Volume II chapter 4:11:
      ‘While listening amongst the male children’s bones, who in Syria, Herod King of the Jews ordered killed, those fewer than two years old, his son likewise he slaughtered.’ He (Augustus Caesar) says: “It is  better to live as Herod’s pig than to be his son”
      (Note: Syria, at this time , was known as the area between Asia Minor and Egypt, which included Syria, Lebanon and the land of Israel.)
      Other pieces of historical evidence confirm the evil character of Herod the Great in keeping with the Biblical record.
      Josephus writing in the first century recorded that Herod had a number of Torah scholars burned alive for removing Rome’s golden eagles from the Temple gates. He also had his wife and a few of his sons murdered simply for considering them a threat to his royal throne.  
      Fearing that nobody would mourn his death. He also ordered that men, numbering in the thousands, should be locked inside the hippodrome in Jericho to be massacred when he died. This would assure that there would be great mourning on the day of his departure from this world. Luckily, for those concerned, that order was never carried out.
THE GREATEST STATEMENT MADE
ABOUT THE BIRTH OF JESUS
 
     "And you, O (tower of the flock) the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, even the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter Jerusalem." . . . "But you Bethlehem Ephrathah. Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting." Micah 4:8-5:2 (NKJV)
 
      In Micah 4:8, the Hebrew word for "Tower of the Flock" is "Migdal Eder". Located near Bethlehem today is a little spot considered to be the ancient site of Migdal Eder.
      You see our Lord Jesus was born in Bethlehem where all sacrificial lambs were born, and our Lord Jesus died in Jerusalem where all sacrificial lambs were killed.
The good shepherd
"The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." John 10:11(NKJV)
      This article is a chapter from our 3 volume book series "Bible Believer's Archaeology" which can be downloaded for your ebook reader or mobile device by visiting our resource download page by Clicking Here.
Sources:
 
Origen - 'Against Celsus' Volume 1 chapter 51
(Origen account of the cave where Jesus was born)
 
Ambrosius Macrobius “Saturnalia Book 2, Chapter 4:11"
Roman writer around 430 A.D. (Quotes Caesar Augustus as saying “I’d rather be Herod’s pig than his son.)
 
Evidence That Demands a Verdict(Vol.1) Author: Josh Mcdowell
pg.115-116 Quotes from Ignatius, Aristides and Justin Martyr on the virgin birth.
 
Josephus The Essential Writings, Author: Paul L. Maier
Pg 252 (Herod’s death and the Hippodrome account)
 
Radio Ministry: Hope for Today, Speaker David Hocking
Cassette Message #2025: Luke 2:1-14
(Tower of the Flock and Migdal Eder information)
 
Art:’The Nativity' Nineteenth Century Engraving
from "The New Testament - A Pictorial Archive', Dover Pub.
Image © 2002-(current year) Jupiterimages Corporation
 
Artwork:‘ Wisemen From the East’ Illustrated in “The Illuminated Bible Containing the Old and New Testaments”  (1846)  pg.3 Publisher: Harper and Brothers.
 
Artwork:‘The Good Shepherd’ Illustrated in “The Parables of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (1864) Illustrated by John Everett Millais, Engraved by the Dalziel brothers. Publisher: Routledge, Warne and Routledge.
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