THE BIRTH OF JESUS: FACTS AND FALLACIES
In order to live and die for sinners, “the Word became flesh” and dwelt among men (John 1:14). The Christ’s birth was a necessary part of the Godhead’s plan to save lost people. If you and I want to learn what God says about the birth of Jesus, then we need to read what the Bible says. When it comes to our Lord’s birth, we must separate fact from fallacy.
Fact: “Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea”
(Matthew 2:1), just as the prophet Micah had prophesied (Micah 5:2).
Fallacy: Jesus was born in Jerusalem. Yet, that is what the Book of Mormon says (Alma 7:10).
Fact: Mary was still a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus (Matthew 1:24,25).
Fallacy: Mary remained a virgin for her entire life. In fact, Jesus was her “firstborn” child (Matthew 1:25; Mark 6:3).
Fact: On the night that Jesus was born, an angel of the Lord informed some shepherds in the region of Bethlehem that the Christ had been born. Those shepherds went with haste and found “the Babe lying in a manger” (Luke 2:16).
Fallacy: The wise men who visited the infant Jesus came to the manger at the same time the shepherds did. Modern-day “manger scenes” portray Joseph, Mary, shepherds, and wise men all together around baby Jesus in a manger. In truth, when the wise men/magi arrived where Jesus was, they went “into the house” (Matthew 2:11). Again, when the shepherds visited Him, He was in a manger; by the time that the wise men came, He was in a house.
Fact: Wise men came from the East to see Jesus, bringing Him gifts. They gave Him three types of gifts: “gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11).
Fallacy: The Bible says that there were three wise men who visited Jesus after He was born. In truth, the Bible does not tell us how many wise men there were. “But, I have always been told that there were three, and even in some of our songs, we sing that there were three.” The Bible does not say so. “But, every picture that you see or every movie about Jesus’ birth always shows three wise men.” That may be the case, yet the Bible does not tell us that there were three. The Bible says that wise “men” came – “men” is plural, meaning that there were at least two. It is possible that there were three, but it is also possible that there were two or ten. Since the Bible does not say, no human has the right to declare, “The Bible says there were three wise men.” People need to stop saying things that they cannot prove. “But there were three gifts.” Which proves what? It certainly does not prove how many gift-givers there were. A loving son might give his mother two different gifts on her birthday – that would be two gifts from only one giver, right? Here is a Bible example to compare: Jacob sent 10 sons to carry 6 or 7 different types of presents to Joseph in Egypt (Genesis 43:11). So, the number of givers is not always the same as the number of gifts given.
Fact: Jesus was born “in the days of Herod the king” (Matthew 2:1) and when Augustus was emperor of the Roman Empire (Luke 2:1). Biblically speaking, it is also true that He was born “when the fullness of the time had come” (Galatians 4:4).
Fallacy: The Bible gives the specific month and day of Jesus’ birth. What a surprise it is for some people when they learn the truth that nowhere does the Bible record in which month our Lord was born. “Come on, everyone knows that Jesus was born on the 25th of December.” No, my friend, not everyone knows that. In fact, no one knows such a thing – it cannot be proven. There is not a single Bible verse which records either the month or the day of the month when Jesus was born. Thus, men ought to stop speculating and misleading people by declaring the 25th of December to be “Jesus’ birthday.” God’s word says no such thing.
Fact: The first-century Christians worshipped on the first day of every week, and in the process took the Lord’s Supper as a memorial to the death of Jesus (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). There is no Bible record, however, of any early saints carrying out a celebration of Jesus’ birth.
Fallacy: The Bible teaches that believers in Jesus should celebrate Christmas. The word “Christmas” is not in the Bible. The idea of God’s children designating a special day to celebrate the birth of His Son is not in the Bible. It is a man-made idea, making worship and service to God in vain (Mark 7:7). The New Testament does not authorize a religious feast called “Christmas,” so those who respect the authority of the Bible will refrain from engaging in such (Matthew 28:20; Colossians 3:17).
We must discern between fact and fallacy. Let us be content to stick with what the word of God says.
— Roger D. Campbell