After taking a little break to do some pro-life videos and a series on my cousin Keith the sculptor, I am trying to finish the Real Jesus video this month. Below is the script.
Myth #3: There was no virgin birth and Jesus was not born in Bethlehem
Jennings: “We cannot tell you whether or not Jesus is the Son of God, that is a matter of faith. But if you have difficulty with the idea that the Virgin Mary could get pregnant without a man involved, there are a number of ways to explain why in Luke it is written that way.”
Jennings: “Some scholars think that Jesus was illegitimate and that the story was a cover-up.”
That Jesus was born of a virgin is confirmed by both Matthew and Luke. In his Gospel, Matthew writes that this miracle was a fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14:
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
The name Immanuel in Hebrew means literally “God-With-Us.” In other words, God himself was to be incarnate in human form. And the miraculous sign would be that He would be born of a virgin.
Now some have said that the word “virgin” in Hebrew can simply mean a maiden or an unmarried woman. The problem with this speculation is the context of Isaiah’s prophecy. A “sign” in the Hebrew language is simply another way of translating the word “miracle.” And the exclamation “Behold!” means to look with wonder. Both Isaiah and the Gospel writers meant to say that the Messiah would be born of a virgin and the witnesses would look in wonder at the event.
Peter Jennings is right about one thing. There is no physical evidence other than the scripture left to us today to determine the miracle of the Incarnation. But not only is the virgin birth called into question, but also the place and circumstances of Jesus’ birth also prophesied in scripture.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:
‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
— Matthew 2:1-6
According to prophecy given hundreds of years before Jesus was born, not only would He be born of a virgin, but He would also be born in the city of David, his forefather, in Bethlehem. Of course, Peter Jennings disagrees.
Jennings: “Luke writes that Joseph and Mary came here to Bethlehem from Nazareth because the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus had ordered a world wide taxation. Now there is no record outside the Gospels that the Emperor Caesar Augustus ordered such a tax. Roman tax records do show that a man is to be taxed where he lives and where he works and Joseph lived and worked in Nazareth. Tax records also show they didn’t count women. And so why would Joseph have brought Mary on this very difficult journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem through the desert especially when she was very pregnant?”[10:33-11:06]
But let’s look at what the Gospel of Luke actually says:
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered (Luke 2:1-6).
Some translations have the word “taxed” for the Greek word apographÈ, a word that comes from the Greek verb meaning to enroll or to register. What Luke actually wrote is not that Joseph came to Bethlehem “to be taxed,” but that he came “to register” in a census. In the ancient world, a census was often used to assess the amount of able-bodied males eligible for military service.
According to ancient historians, this census was for a renewal of loyalty in the form of an oath of allegiance to Caesar Augustus. In order for the oath to be taken, all adult men had to be registered and actually sign their names to the oath of allegiance.
Josephus states, “The whole Jewish nation took an oath to be faithful to Caesar and to the interests of the king [Herod] …” He adds that “above 6000 Pharisees refused to swear.” Based on Josephus’ writings, this oath was sworn in the year 3 B.C. This was the census for the taking of the oath to which Luke refers. The actual census may have been conducted the year before in 4 B.C. which is in accord with most reliable dates for the time of Christ’s birth and stay in Bethlehem.
Furthermore, the fact that Josephus knew the number of Pharisees who did not take the oath indicates that some sort of record was made of who did and did not take the oath. This too, seems to prove that a registration or census took place.
Other ancient historians note that the census took place in other parts of the known Roman world as well. An inscription was found in Paphlagonia (a region in North Central Asia Minor) dated to 3 B.C. stating that an oath of obedience was “taken by the inhabitants of Paphlagonia and the Roman businessmen dwelling among them.”
The Armenian historian, Moses of Khorene, stated that the native sources he had available showed that in the year of Abgar, king of Armenia in 3 B.C., a census brought Roman agents “to Armenia, bringing the image of Augustus Caesar, which they set up in every temple.” (Martin, Ernest L., The Star That Astonished the World, ©1996, ASK Publications; Portland, OR, p.185.)
For a fascinating look at the historical reliability of the Gospels’ nativity accounts, we recommend the Ernest L. Martin’s book, The Star That Astonished the World, (1996, ASK Publications, Portland, OR).
So it is even more amazing that Peter Jennings would sweep aside this evidence only to tell his viewers:
“Now there is no record outside the Gospel that the Emperor Caesar Augustus ordered such a tax.”
In order for Jesus to claim to be the Messiah, the Son of God, He would have to be born of a virgin in Bethlehem according to Old Testament prophecies.
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Is there a connection between pagan religion and the abortion industry?
This powerful presentation traces the biblical roots of child sacrifice and then delves into the social, political and cultural fall-out that this sin against God and crime against humanity has produced in our beleaguered society.
Conceived as a sequel and update to the 1988 classic, The Massacre of Innocence, the new title, The Abortion Matrix, is entirely fitting. It not only references abortion’s specific target – the sacred matrix where human beings are formed in the womb in the very image of God, but it also implies the existence of a conspiracy, a matrix of seemingly disparate forces that are driving this holocaust.
The occult activity surrounding the abortion industry is exposed with numerous examples. But are these just aberrations, bizarre yet anomalous examples of abortionists who just happen to have ties to modern day witchcraft? Or is this representative of something deeper, more sinister and even endemic to the entire abortion movement?
As the allusion to the film of over a decade ago suggests, the viewer may learn that things are not always as they appear to be. The Abortion Matrix reveals the reality of child-killing and strikes the proper moral chord to move hearts to fulfill the biblical responsibility to rescue those unjustly sentenced to death and to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves (Proverbs 24:11,12; 31:8,9).
Speakers include: George Grant, Peter Hammond, RC Sproul Jr., Paul Jehle, Lou Engle, Rusty Thomas, Flip Benham, Janet Porter and many more.
Ten parts, over three hours of instruction!
Running Time: 195 minutes
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
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With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.
The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.
Running time: 105 minutes
Special offer: Order 5 or more for $5 each.
Watch a clip from Martin Luther.
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High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
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Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
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Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
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Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
Running Time: 130 minutes
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2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?
Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.
Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!
Running Time: 240 minutes
Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.
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