Birth of the Christ
22. Now all this came to pass, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, 23. "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall give birth to a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel"; which is, being interpreted, "God with us." 24. And when Joseph was awakened from his sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded, and took his wife to wed; 25. But he did not have sexual relations with her until after she had given birth to her son, the firstborn; and he called His name Jesus. (Matthew 1, HBFV)
1 At that time Emperor Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 When this first census took place, Quirinius was the governor of Syria. 3 Everyone, then, went to register himself, each to his own hometown (including Joseph). 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them (shepherds in the fields surrounding Bethlehem) . . . They were terribly afraid, 10 but the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid! I am here with good news for you . . . (Luke 2)
In the events that unfolded around the birth of Jesus God managed to move the Roman empire by causing its leader to set up a new government department (taxes) that would ultimately result in Jesus' family coming to the small town of Bethlehem right when Mary was to give birth! They had to travel to Bethlehem because Joseph was of King David's lineage.
It may seem cruel that the Roman Empire required folks to travel great distances during Mary's final month of pregnancy. Jesus' mother and father were not acting out any special predestined fulfillment of prophecy.
The miracles having to do with the precise moment of Jesus' birth, the decree of Augustus, the building of the temple, the beginning of His ministry, etc. all prove that Jesus was truly God's son.
Isaiah's prophecies concerning the Messiah were known by many in Palestine.
14. Therefore, the LORD Himself shall give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14, HBFV)
2 The people who walk in darkness shall see a great Light — a Light that will shine on all those who live in the land of the shadow of death. 3 For Israel will again be great, filled with joy like that of reapers when the harvest time has come, and like that of men dividing up the plunder they have won. (Isaiah 9:2-3, TLB)
Probably one of the most famous prophecies of Isaiah regarding the Messiah is in chapter 9, where the Savior is called Wonderful, Mighty God, Prince of Peace and other titles. Three complete different sets of people were used to herald the birth of Christ - shepherds, those who lived in and around Bethlehem and of course Jesus' own immediate family.
What occurred in just the first several weeks after the birth of Jesus drew attention from a wide area. It is clear that Herod the Great was fearful at what he learned and was told.
some men who studied the stars came from the East to Jerusalem 2 and asked, 'Where is the baby born to be the king of the Jews?
4 He called together all the chief priests and the teachers of the Law and asked them, 'Where will the Messiah be born?' 5 'In the town of Bethlehem in Judea,' they answered.
7 So Herod called the visitors from the East to a secret meeting and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 9-10 And so they left, and on their way they saw the same star they had seen in the East.
12 Then they returned to their country by another road, since God had warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod. (Matthew 2)
The Bible says Herod had a troubled mind. After learnng about the Messiah He quickly got together all the chief priests and scribes and demanded they tell him where the Messiah was to be born (Matthew 2:4). People throughout the land were expectant that some great event would occur at about this time. There is no direct statement in the Bible regarding the time between the moment the "star" (an angel) appeared to the Magi in "the east" until their arrival in Jerusalem.
After leaving Herod the Magi saw the star again followed it to where Jesus lived. This was in Bethlehem, a short distance of about six miles from Jerusalem.
The wise men of Parthia, warned by God through a dream, quietly left the land of Judea. After they left, Joseph also had a dream where he was told by one of the angelic hosts to hurry and take his family to Egypt since Herod the Great was looking to kill his child. Joseph no doubt got up, got his family together and quickly left for Egypt.
Joseph was not aware that he was fulfilling yet another prophecy which said, "When Israel was a child, loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt." Herod the Great then decided to wait several days then, in a rage fit, decided to have children that were under the age of two slaughtered.
After staying in Egypt for a very short time Jesus' family were told it was safe to go back home.
19. Now when Herod had died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in Egypt in a dream, 20. Saying, "Arise and take the little child and His mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who were seeking the life of the little child have died." 21. And he arose and took the little child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. (Matthew 2:19-21, HBFV)