Bethlehem, Land of Royalty
Bethlehem is a small city about five miles south and slightly east of Jerusalem. This little city has some interesting historical details that you might not have put together before. Let's take a look at these and see if there is any significance to Jesus being born in Bethlehem.
Naomi and Ruth
In the book of Ruth we have the story of Noami, her husband and two sons moving from Bethlehem to Moab. While in Moab, both of her sons married Moabite women. In time, both of their husbands died and Noami decided to return to Bethlehem. Although Naomi was an Israelite, Ruth was a Moabite. Moabites were not allowed to enter the assembly of the Lord (Deut. 23:3) in Israel. When Naomi made up her mind to go back, Ruth was insistent that she return also, even though she was not an Israelite.
The story of how Ruth met Boaz, a respected citizen, and married him is well known. Our point for this article is the fact that Ruth, who was not an Israelite, came to Israel with Naomi and she accepted the Israel's people and God (Ruth 1:16). This is symbolic of Gentiles accepting Jesus and the fact that Jesus accepts all people (Luke 10:25-37).
The family line of Israel's great king David was from Bethlehem (1 Sam. 16:1-3). The kingly line of royalty was established from descendants of Bethlehem. Jesus was of the line of David. The prophet Isaiah told us in Isa. 9:6-7 that Jesus would rule on the throne of David.
We also read in Rev. 5:5 "See the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has triumphed." Here we have, once again a reference to Jesus being a descendant of David, who was from Bethlehem originally.
The Word Bethlehem in Hebrew
The word Bethlehem comes from the two Hebrew words "bayth" (house) and "lechem" (of bread). Jesus told the Jews in John 6:32-33 that it wasn't Moses who gave the bread from heaven, but His Father that gives the true bread from heaven. "For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives His life to the world."
The manna that the Israelites received in the wilderness kept them alive temporarily. True and everlasting life comes from belief in Jesus. He provides the true nourishment that provides everlasting life.
Bethlehem was a very appropriate place for Jesus birth. The kingly line was established from 1,000 B.C. Jesus who descended from this humble city will reign forever.
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