Adventures In Spiritual Living

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Jesus’ Birth and First Year
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Jesus’ Birth & First Year 

William Cooper

Who Was Jesus

More than 37,000 years ago this planet was selected for the culminating bestowal of the deity ruler of our universe. This time he was becoming a mortal baby to get the experience of growing up as an ordinary mortal person.  This happens only once in the entire history of a universe of 10 million inhabited planets.  It is a really big deal if you understand its rarity and purpose and the special status it gives to the bestowal planet.  But no mortal on this planet did.

Celestial Planning

There was lots of planning by celestial beings in preparation.  A group of local universe celestials directed by the archangel Gabriel did a study on the status of the various troubled worlds whose planetary administrators had rebelled against our universe ruler. The decision had already been made that this bestowal would be on a planet still involved in a rebellion.  The 13 rebellious planets in our system of 1000 planets probably were the only planets in this universe with unresolved rebellion issues.  

Gabriel reviewed the report.  Then our bestowing ruler, Michael, reviewed it and selected this planet.  Gabriel then came in person as part of a study of human groups and spiritual, intellectual and geographic features of our planet.  Gabriel decided that the Hebrews had advantages warranting their selection as the race within which the bestowal would be made.  He then sent a family commission of twelve celestials to identify proper families.  They identified three families thought to be equally favorable.  Gabriel made the choice of Joseph and Mary. 

It was an interesting process over an extended time.  Nothing magical happened.  It was more like pulling together a plan by rational, thought-out, and researched steps.  It was done just the way we would think a good plan should be done.

Connection with John the Baptist

John the Baptist was part of the bestowal, not just a coincidence. Following John’s conception, Gabriel visited with Elizabeth, John’s mother, and among other things, told her that John would be the herald of the message Jesus would proclaim.  John’s parents were Elizabeth and Zacharias. Zacharias was of advanced years and was a priest at the temple in Jerusalem.  Elizabeth was younger and childless.

Celestial Confirmations by Visits and Dreams

John was born 5 months before Jesus.  Jesus and John were distantly related through their mothers. Before Jesus was conceived by Joseph and Mary, Gabriel told Elizabeth that Mary would bear Jesus soon.  Gabriel appeared in person to Elizabeth and Mary.  These were not dreams.  Elizabeth kept her secret for 5 months even from her husband.  Zacharias was skeptical and doubted the entire experience. It must have been a stressful time in both households.  

Six weeks before John’s birth, Zacharias had an impressive dream that fully convinced him that Elizabeth was to bear a child of destiny.  Zacharias and Elizabeth talked a lot about what was happening and concluded that Jesus was to be the Messiah and John was to be his chief advisor and assistant.  Gabriel had not said this to either Elizabeth or to Mary.

From infancy, John was told by Zacharias and Elizabeth that he would be a spiritual leader and religious teacher and he accepted this and pursued it.

Averageness of Joseph and Mary

Joseph was the human father of Jesus.  He was an average, ordinary man of his place and time.  His immediate ancestors were builders, masons, carpenters, and smiths.  Joseph was himself a carpenter and eventually he became a general contractor for large buildings.  Historically a few of his ancestors could be found playing a role in the evolution of religion on this planet, but he was an average person.

Mary was a different case. She was descended from a long line of many of the most remarkable women in the history of this planet.   But Mary herself was an average woman of normal temperament.  She was Jewish in culture and religion but her heredity was from various non-Jewish Mediterranean people.  Jesus was an average person and so were his parents. 

Joseph and Mary met when Joseph was doing some building work at her home in Nazareth.  They courted for two years and married in March 8BC.

Gabriel’s Visit to Mary

The day after Joseph and Mary conceived Jesus, Gabriel visited Mary in Her home. This was the only supernatural event of carrying and bearing Jesus. Gabriel told Mary her son would “inaugurate the kingdom of heaven on earth and among men.”  Mary had reservations about even telling Joseph about the Gabriel visit until she knew she was pregnant.  Joseph had doubts about the Gabriel visit.  But they soon concluded that their son must be the Messiah. However, they held different views about the mission of the Messiah. Joseph thought the Messiah would be a spiritual leader. Mary expected the Messiah to be a political leader of the Jews.

Mary had her own doubts about her experience of Gabriel’s visit. Following Mary’s conclusion that she was pregnant, she and Elizabeth visited for three weeks at Elizabeth’s home in the City of Judah two miles east of Jerusalem. It must have reassured both women that they each had independent experiences of visits from Gabriel. Surely in those three weeks they repeatedly shared their visits and messages from Gabriel. This visit with Elizabeth greatly strengthened Mary’s resolve.  It must have been a heavy responsibility, for both women, to bear a child of promise.

Joseph’s Dream

Joseph was reconciled and convinced by a very impressive dream.  A brilliant celestial messenger told Joseph his son would be a great light to the world, but the Jews would hardly receive him.  None of these messages said Jesus was to be the Messiah or deliverer of the Jews.  Jesus’ followers restated Jewish prophecy to make it fit Jesus being the Messiah.  The dream messenger said Jesus would be a great light in the world.  “He would come to his people, but they will hardly receive him.  But to those who do receive him he will reveal that they are the children of God.  He will be a divine messenger to the world.”

If Joseph had lived, he would have been a believer in Jesus’ spiritual mission as were many of Joseph’s relatives. (He had 8 brothers and sisters.)  Mary went back and forth between belief that Jesus would be the Messiah and doubt.  Her family tended not to believe in Jesus’ spiritual mission.  

Jesus’ Home

Jesus’ Nazareth home, which his family would return to when he was three, was a one room stone structure with flat roof and an adjoining building for animals.  It was in the north rural part of Nazareth.  It was furnished with a low stone table, pottery and stone dishes and pots, loom, lampstand, several small tools, and mats for sleeping on the stone floor.  There was a separate structure for the oven and grain mill in the back yard.

The Nativity Trip to Bethlehem

Even though Jesus’ birth was approaching, Mary insisted on going to Bethlehem with Joseph when he went to register for the census.  The motivations for her were the adventure of travel, fear of Joseph being absent when she delivered Jesus, and the hope of a visit with Elizabeth.  

They set off on the journey early on the morning of August 18, 7BC.  It was a two and one-half day walk from Nazareth to Bethlehem north of Jerusalem. Joseph walked while Mary rode the donkey.

Birth in a Stable

When they arrived there was no room at the inn in Bethlehem nor with Joseph’s distant relatives who lived at Bethlehem.  The caravan stables under the inn had been cleaned and prepared for guests, so Joseph and Mary lodged in the grain storage room. Mary was weary when they arrived, and Joseph stayed with her.

By daybreak the next day, Aug 21, Mary was in labor.  Jesus was born at noon.  On the following day, Joseph enrolled for the census.  Joseph and Mary were in the stable room only one day.  On the 22nd they exchanged rooms with a traveler who had a room in the inn.  They lived there for almost 3 weeks and then moved to a distant relative’s home in Bethlehem.

Remaining in Bethlehem

Joseph and Zacharias visited during the week after Jesus’ birth.  Zacharias and Elizabeth believed Jesus would be the Messiah and wanted him to grow up in Bethlehem, the city of David.  Mary agreed, so Jesus’ family stayed in Bethlehem and were there for more than a year.

The Three Kings

Jesus had no visitors following his birth until 3 priests (Ardnon and two others) from Ur arrived shortly before the family left the inn.  A strange religious teacher (informed by angels) at Ur told the priests that he had a dream informing him that the “light of life” was about to appear on earth as a babe and among the Jews.  They set off in search. They had been in Jerusalem for many weeks looking for the child and were about to give up and return to Ur when they ran into Zacharias.  He told them he believed Jesus was the child they sought and told them where he was.  They found him and left their gifts. 

Herod’s Early Involvement

Old Herod was the ruler of Judea, which included Jerusalem and Bethlehem.  His spies reported the presence of the 3 priests and their purpose of finding the newborn king of the Jews.  Herod summoned the priests, listened to their story, and gave them a purse for the new king asking them to return and report to Herod where the child was so that he too could go worship him.  They had told Herod that the new king was a spiritual, not a temporal king.  

When the three priests from Ur did not return with information on the location of the child, Herod became suspicious.  Informants told Herod of the extraordinary poem by Simeon at Jesus’ circumcision ceremony a few days earlier.  Herod was angry that no one followed the family.  Herod sent searchers but Jesus was not found.  Jesus was hidden with Joseph’s relatives.  Joseph was in hiding too because he was afraid of being discovered and forced to disclose Jesu’s location.

Escape from Herod

After more than a year, Herod ordered a systematic search of every house in Bethlehem and all boy babies under 2 years were killed.  16 babies died in one day in mid-October 6BC.  An administrator at Herod’s court reported the coming slaughter to Zacharias who got word to Joseph. 

Joseph and Mary left Bethlehem the night before the slaughter to go to Alexandria in Egypt.  They traveled alone on funds supplied by Zacharias and stayed in Alexandria until Herod died two years later.  The family stayed with a rich relative of Joseph and Joseph worked as a carpenter.

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