After the purification ceremony of Miriam in Luke 2.39, they returned to Nazareth. The Christian model is they stayed in Bethlehem for two years, but the biblical model says that were in the Temple at 40 days after his birth, then went to Galilee. When we say the Christian model, we are not saying that every Christian believes this, but many do and it is prevalent in certain movies, even a recent one, concerning his birth. Now, we are told in Matt 2.23 that they returned to Nazareth so that what the prophets spoke could be fulfilled, “He shall be called a Nazarene.” However, we have a problem. Nazareth is never mentioned in the Tanach or the Talmud. There is no Scripture that says this. People have criticized the New Testament and said that it is untrue, and they use this verse to try and prove it, but that is because they have a lack of understanding. John Chapter 1 has been looked at before and how the seven days from John 1.19 to John 2.1 and the wedding at Cana are a picture of the 7000 years. We saw that these verses take lace during the fall High Holy days of Rosh ha Shannah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. Now, we are going to go back to something else.
In John 1.43 we have the fourth day of the sequence of days in this story, so that day is like the year 4000. Nathanael is told by Phillip that they have found the Messiah, Yeshua of Nazareth, and in John 1.46, Nathanael says, “Can anything good come out of Galilee?” The reputation of Nazareth was that of a “despised” city. Yeshua lived there, and the Messiah is called “despised” in a passage from what is called the “Servant Passages” of Isaiah chapters 40 through 55. In Isa 49.5-8 it says, “And now says the Lord who formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him in order that Israel might be gathered to him. For I am honored in the sight of the Lord, and my God is my strength, He says, ‘It is too small of a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make you a light of the nations (Sukkot term) so that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.’ Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, its Holy One, to the despised one (Messiah), to the one abhorred by the nation (Israel), to the servant of rulers, ‘Kings shall see and arise, Princes shall bow down because of the Lord who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.'” Also, Isa 53.3 (also a part of the Servant passages) says, “He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face, he was despised, and we did not esteem him.”
So it was with Nazareth in Galilee. Galilee itself was seen as remote and away from the center of the “Judaisms” in Jerusalem, not known for great knowledge, civilization or scholarship. Within Galilee itself, Nazareth barely registers, receiving no mention from Jewish sources before the third century AD. This led some skeptics to doubt whether Nazareth even existed at all in the first century. However, archeology does show that the city was inhabited. It is now believed that Nazareth was a village of no more than 500 people in the days of Yeshua when he grew up there.
Nazareth is about 16 miles southwest of the Sea of Galilee and it is near the Mediterranean Sea and would not be on a lot of trade routes. Nazareth is near Sephoris, a Roman garrison on high ground. Just like many places today, there were “Nazareth jokes.” Everybody saw Nazareth as a “despised place” because it was in Galilee. John 7.52 says, “They answered and said to him (Nicodemus), ‘You are not also from Galilee are you (meaning “stupid”)? Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee.'”
Nazareth was seen as backwards, out in the “sticks” and away from any real schools and scholarship. With educated, it was seen as “ignorant” and the people from there were “simple-minded sinners.” So, let’s go back to Matt 2.19-23 where it says, “But when Herod was dead, behold, and angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph (who was in Egypt), saying, ‘Arise and take the child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel; for those who sought the child’s life are dead.’ And he arose and took the child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea (just as evil as his father Herod) in the place of his father (Herod), he was afraid to go there. And being warned in a dream, he departed for the regions of Galilee (he stopped at the Temple first for Miriam’s purification ceremony) and came and resided in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene (or despised).'”
Joseph and Miriam returned to their own city of Nazareth, the despised city (Luke 2.39). Gen 3.15 says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed and he shall bruise you on the head and you shall bruise him on the heel.” Her seed indicates that the Messiah will have a virgin birth. From the beginning, we are being told about the birth of the Messiah so that is why we have spent so much time detailing what really happened so that you don’t fall prey to all the pagan myths and untruths that are in the world concerning this event. Just about everything associated with the world’s celebration of Christmas is untrue, from the date to certain events to interpretations. Hopefully these teachings concerning his birth will help you understand what really happened and that it also brings out the richness of the Scriptures.
In Part 51, we will begin to discuss the ceremony of the Parah Adumah, the Red Heifer.