Who are some of the most famous men/women you know?
What made them famous?
What impact have they made on the world?
Consider the impact that the atonement of Jesus Christ has had on the world. He bore our grief, and carried our sins, and it is through him that we can receive an etenal reward of a remission of sins. The impact of his life does not last through time alone, but rather into the infinity of existence after the resurrection.
What think ye of Jesus Christ... who's son is he? (Mat 22:42-46)
Events leading up to the the Birth of Jesus Christ.
Political Background: What of these famous men as well?
Alexander the Great - Tutored under Aristotle unto age of 16 - 336 BC began Reign
Died in Babylon age of 323 BC - age of 32
responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands - reign filled with violence and war - what impact has he made?
Roman Empire - began concurrent with Alexander - Most Power initially in the Senate - (then military takeovers closer to Christ's time)
King Agrippa - friend of Mark Antony, Political Intrigue, General - Military rule - Completed Pantheon
Judea under Roman Rule -Plays a large role in the politics and situation at the time of Jesus Birth, and life.
These men may have been "Great" in their own minds or even the minds of others. But their impact on the world both in time and in etenity pales in comparison to the life/death/atonement of Jesus Christ.
Zacharias & Elisabeth:(Luke 1:5-7)
Zacharias, of the course of Abia - His wife of the daughters of Aaron
Both righteous before God - walking in ordinances and commandments
They had no child - Elisabeth barren - both well stricken in years
What would Elisabeth's barrenness have meant to them? (Luke 1:25) Why was it a reproach?
Do you think that they hadn't been praying for children?
Why wasn't their prayers answered?
How can we remain faithful if our prayers don't seem to be answered?
What other examples in the scriptures do we have of desires not being immediately granted/answered?
Zacharias of the Course of Abijah:(1 Chron 24:10, Luke 1:8-10)
He executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his course
His lot was to bun incense when he went into the temple of the Lord
Some attempt to use this as a a means of determining the birth date of Jesus Christ. However this is not actually a viable means of determining the date of the birth of Jesus Christ for a variety of reasons:
- Jewish Service of the priests is 48 weeks - solar calendar is 52 weeks (drift in solar calendar date over time causes inaccuracy)
- one out of every three years in the Jewish religious calendar contains 13 months
- Gregorian Reformation added additional days based upon lunar/solar calendar inaccuracies.
We know however the basic date of Jesus's Birth through Moden revelation. (D&C 20:1, April 1997 Ensign)
Zacharias's Vision(Luke 1:11-17)
Elisabeth bear a son - call his name John
Drink neither wine or strong drink - Filled with Holy Ghost from womb D&C 84:27-28
Elisabeth conceives - hides herself
Why did she hide herself?Perhaps she was afraid of giving birth in her old age?
The Enunciation:(Luke 1:26-39)
Gabriel sent to Mary Espoused to Joseph of the house of David
When she saw him she was troubled - at the greeting
Thou shalt conceive and bring forth a son and call his name Jesus
He shall be great - Son of the highest, shall be given throne of David
How shall this be - seeing I have known not a man?
Mary gives her consent:Luke 1:36-38
Be it unto me according to thy word- the angel departed.
What role did Noah play in the events surrounding the birth of Christ?
Noah was also known as the angel Gabriel and was sent to announce the birth of Jesus Christ (see Luke 1:19, 26; TPJS p 122 Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 104). He was sent by God to tell Zacharias that he and his wife, Elisabeth, would have a son they should name John. This was John the Baptist, who would prepare the way for the Savior (see Luke 1:5–23). Gabriel also visited Mary and told her that she would be the mother of the Son of God (see Luke 1:26–38). Lean more about the birth and life of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Why did Jesus need a mortal mother?
Through a mortal mother - he gained the capacity to die - having no sin and not being under the effects of sin
Power given to him of the father - to atone for the sins of the world (Hel 5:11)
Why did Jesus Need to be the son of an Immortal Father and a Mortal Mother?
“God was his Father, from which Immortal Personage … he inherited the power of immortality, which is the power to live forever; or, having chosen to die, it is the power to rise again in immortality, thereafter to live forever without again seeing corruption. …
“… Mary was his mother, from which mortal woman … he inherited the power of mortality, which is the power to die. …
“It was because of this … intermixture of the divine and the mortal in one person, that our Lord was able to work out the infinite and etenal atonement. Because God was his Father and Mary was his mother, he had power to live or to die, as he chose, and having laid down his life, he had power to take it again, and then, in a way incomprehensible to us, to pass on the effects of that resurrection to all men so that all shall rise from the tomb” (The Promised Messiah , 470–71 Elder Bruce R. McConkie).
What was he immortal?
Points of Note:
- He was not subject to the penalty of Sin – namely death – John 5:26
- He was bon of an immortal man and thus had the capability to live forever
- He could feel pain, sorry, hunger, and all the experiences we have in this life (mortal mother).
- He had the capability to die because of his mortal mother Mary.
Joseph's Dilema - my fiance is pregnant!
Mary Espoused to Joseph
Joseph her husband - planned to put her away privately
He receives a Dream and takes her unto himself
He knew her not until after Jesus's Birth
What can we lean from this about Joseph?He initially though she must have been with some man and gotten pregnant. Could you imagine the sadness in his heart. Yet he isn't vindictive, he doesn't attempt to get some sort of revenge upon his espoused wife. But instead is planning to put her away privately to avoid as much shame/humiliation as possible.
We also lean he listened and believed the dream that was sent to him - which means he is a man of faith and righteous, one who does the will of the lord.
We also lean he is a man of restraint - and withheld himself from his new wife until after Jesus had been born.
Notice that it references Joseph as her husband - the Betrothal Contract was binding(Betrothal Ceremony and other pertinent information)
Jewish Betrothal - article
The groom then poured a cup of wine for the prospective bride. Because Jewish law stated that a woman could not be forced to marry a man distasteful to her, the bride was ultimately allowed to choose whether to accept or reject the groom’s proposal. If she drank the cup he offered, they were betrothed. The groom would formally accept his bride with another ritual statement, often “Thou art set apart (or consecrated) for me according to the law of Moses and Israel.” Interestingly, the same word for “set apart” was also used to describe a dedicated temple; the bride was considered a temple now set apart for her husband. From this point on, the bride would wear a veil over her hair in public to indicate her status as a betrothed or married woman.
Joseph and Mary Betrothal:
"Betroth: To promise "by one's truth." Men and women were betrothed when they were engaged to be married. This usually took place a year or more before marriage. From the time of betrothal the woman was regarded as the lawful wife of the man to whom she was betrothed (Deuteronomy 28: 30; Judges 14: 2, 8; Matthew 1: 18-21). The term is figuratively employed of the spiritual connection between God and his people (Hosea 2: 19, 20)."
In the Jewish culture of New Testament times, a young woman became marriageable at age twelve and a half. At a ceremony of betrothal, the bride and groom would exchange marital consent, but normally the bride would remain in the house of her father for somewhere between three months and a year. Marriage had the aspect of a man acquiring title to his bride, and only later did he acquire actual possession.
We know that Mary and Joseph had completed the contract of betrothal from the testimony given by St. Matthew (1: 18) and St. Luke (2: 5). What causes some confusion, though is Luke's reference to "Mary his espoused wife" when Mary and Joseph were already in Bethlehem, seeking a place to give birth to our Infant Lord. For them to be in Jerusalem together, Joseph had obviously taken Mary from her father's house, and it seems clear that their betrothal had already been converted into a marriage. As he was aware of the circumstances of our Lord's conception, Luke was probably following the custom of referring to a non-consummated marriage as an "espousal."
How Mary became pregnant?Holy Ghost shall come upon the, Power of the highest overshadow thee,
That Holy thing - shall be called the son of God
Did God have physical Intercourse with Mary? In my opinion: No
Virgin has two common meanings - young maid, young woman who has not yet known a man.
Of the Holy Ghost - a Virgin Mathew 1:18-23,Isaiah 7:14, Alma 7:10
Seed of David according to flesh - Romans 1:3 (Mary is of David's descent)
Born of a Woman - Gal 4:4, Luke 1:34-35,2 Nephi 17:14)
Joseph as Espoused to Mary. (Sperry - Hebrew Mannerisms and Customs)
A Betrothal is a binding contract between two people much like a marriage
Did the Father, having flesh and bones, have sex physically with Mary? No, for she was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus as is plainly taught.
Ensign 1971 Mary
Since Mary was to become a mother without her ever having known a man, it was necessary that Joseph understand and believe if their marriage vows were to be consummated.
Ezra Taft Benson -"Thus the testimonies of appointed witnesses leave no question as to the paternity of Jesus Christ. God was the Father of His fleshly tabernacle, and Mary, a mortal woman, was His mother. He is therefore the only person born who rightfully deserves the title “the Only Begotten Son of God.” ...There are those who would seek to convince us that the divine birth of Christ as proclaimed in the New Testament was not a divine birth at all—nor was Mary, the virgin girl, a virgin at the time of Jesus’ conception. They would have you believe that Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, was His physical father, and that Jesus was therefore human in all His attributes and characteristics.
I am bold to say to you, … Jesus Christ is the Son of God in the most literal sense. The body in which He performed His mission in the flesh was sired by that same Holy Being we worship as God, our Eternal Father. He was not the son of Joseph, nor was He begotten by the Holy Ghost. He is the Son of the Eternal Father!" Ensign Dec 2001 - Divinity of Christ
Mary conceived the infant Jesus the same way that any mortal woman conceives a son. Standard reproduction process is that the egg of a woman combines with the semen of a man and thus eventually a baby is formed. How these two were combined and placed within Mary has yet to be revealed. Yet I believe it was not through the act of physical sex... or Mary would no longer have been a virgin.
This occurred with Mary in some miraculous way through the means of the Holy Ghost. This process occurred in such a way that she was considered a virgin even after she was pregnant. Thus the birth of Jesus is a Virgin Birth! She had not had sex before the Birth of Jesus as is plainly taught in the scriptures.The concept of a bride being a virgin before marrying in Jewish tradition was very important. They even testified that this was the case before the man took the woman as his wife, as part of the ceremony. In Deuteronomy it speaks of the confirmation of a woman being a virgin (Deu 22:13-21). This was often taken symbolically rather than literally, meaning that the evidence of her purity was often the testimonies of her relations more than some physical artifact. However, that proof was demanded and required by law shows how important it was in Jewish tradition.
It is also plainly taught in the scriptures that the son born to her is the Son of God. The paternity of Jesus is not an obscure or mysterious doctrine! He was the literal, biological son of an immortal, tangible Father and Mary, a mortal woman. He is truly the only begotten son of God in the flesh!
The only real question is... is how Mary became pregnantMary as a a virgin, gave birth to Jesus.. became pregnant in a way which has not yet been revealed. But even with our weak science can be explained.... perhaps.
Even with the limited understanding man has concerning human reproduction and the process by which it occurs, we can have a virgin conceive and give birth. Don't you think God could as well? I do... even though I don't know exactly the means used for the conception of Jesus Christ! I do know that he is the son of a physical immortal being, God! and a mother who is mortal. For he is the son of God!
Adultery under Roman/Jewish Law:Mary could not have been killed under Roman Law but rather under Jewish Law Deut 22.
loose 1/3 property/banished - not death penalty
husband had right to kill both in certain situations
Mary visits ElisabethLuke 1:39-40 Mary arises with haste to go into Judea to visit Elisabeth
Why did Mary go with "Haste" to visit Elisabeth?
Many have said it was because she feared she would be discovered pregnant. However this doesn't make much sense because 3 months later she returns home? Often times a women doesn't "Show" visually pregnancy for at least 2-3 months. Which, interestingly enough, is when she returns - not when she leaves.
I believe she went to visit Elisabeth then to be with her and help her and congratulate her not because of fear of discovery. (see below for additional reasoning... on if she was under legal shame or not)
Why was there no room in the Inn?
It could have been possible that the relatives didn't want to take Mary in as an embarrassing situation?
Conclusion:I think that we can lean a lot from these stories. Both the story of Elisabeth, and Mary teach us that the Bible is not just full of stories about men. Women played important roles in the lives of the prophets and in the fate of Israel. This yet again shows the importance of women, and their impact they can have through the children that they bear, and the testimonies that they give.
Watching the life of Mary, and the things she experienced can be a great example to us and our family. Just think of the impact this one woman had on the world!
Sidney B. Sperry Professor of Old Testament Languages and Literature, Brigham Young University Sidney B. Sperry, Ensign, May 1972, p. 33.
When sons in a Hebrew family were to marry, their wives were chosen by their parents. This custom still prevails among Arabs in certain Bible lands. Children usually married at a very early age among the Hebrews. Dr. Ludwig Kohler, one of my former professors and an avid student of Hebrew manners and customs, used to say that an average Hebrew man was a father at nineteen, a grandfather at thirty-eight, and a great-grandfather at fifty-seven. Occasionally a Hebrew man would marry at a more advanced age. Such was the case with Isaac, who was forty years of age when he took Rebekah to wife. Even so, Abraham, his father, chose Rebekah through the inspired agency of the foreman of his estate.
When a girl was chosen to be the wife of a young man, the fiancé was expected to pay a mohar or sum of money to the bride’s father or even to the bride herself. In case of divorce, the dowry became a source of protection to her. The dowry that was paid may be looked upon as compensation to her family for loss of valuable services that she gave by tending flocks or working in the fields
Among the Jews in New Testament times there were usually three steps in marriage. First, there was the engagement, which could be made even if the couple were only children. The match might be arranged by the parents themselves or by a professional go-between. Often the couple involved had never seen each other. This fact may astonish young people today, but marriage was looked upon as a very serious step and not as something to be left to human passion and hasty action. Second, there was the betrothal. In this step the engagement would be ratified unless the girl was unwilling to accept it. But if she accepted it, the Jews regarded the betrothal as absolutely binding. For one year the couple were regarded as man and wife but without the rights of marriage itself. Betrothal could be terminated only by divorce. Third, the marriage proper took place after the year of betrothal.
Not to be married was considered a reproach among Hebrew women. The prophet Isaiah reflected this feeling when he quoted unmarried women as saying to a man, “take away our reproach.” (Isa. 4:1.)
Edward J. Brandt Edward J. Brandt, “Everyday Life in Palestine,” Ensign, Sept. 1974, 22
Marriage was viewed as a religious duty. A young man was to marry by 16 or 17, and by 20 in extreme cases. Girls up to the age of 12 years and one day might be given in marriage by their fathers. If they were married before this early age, they had rights to divorce. After the legal age the young woman had her free will to consent to any betrothal or marriage. Both a betrothal and a marriage required a writing or contract, which could be broken only through divorce. The betrothal was a type of engagement period prescribed by law in order to make all the arrangements necessary for marriage. Divorces were obtainable with some ease according to the interpretations and traditions established by the elders of the people. No divorce, however, was legal without a letter or writing of divorcement.
Richard K. Hart, “The Marriage Metaphor,” Ensign, Jan. 1995, 22
The Hebrew Marriage It comes as no surprise that marriage in Israel was contractual in nature, involving covenants and oaths, generally proceeding in a strict and formal manner. Covenants and oaths were, after all, the means by which the Israelites committed to one another, to family, to tribe, and to God. Marriage consisted of two separate ceremonies. First, there was a betrothal—an engagement ceremony at which covenants between the bride and groom were formalized. “The Jews regarded the betrothal as absolutely binding. For one year the couple were regarded as man and wife but without the rights of marriage itself.” (Sidney B. Sperry, Ensign, May 1972, p. 33.)
Following the year of betrothal, the solemnization of the wedding vows took place, accompanied by a degree of feasting commensurate with the social standings and income levels of the parties involved. However, “the betrothal ceremony … was a more important celebration than the nuptial,” a biblical scholar reports. “The betrothal was considered to be more than the promise of marriage similar to our engagement. Engagements could be broken off, a promise might be set aside, but the betrothal was considered binding because it was entered into by a sacred oath and covenant.” (Reed C. Durham, Jr., “… Mary Was Espoused to Joseph … ,” Instructor, July 1967, p. 265.)
The first step in the marriage ceremony which contractually sets the couple apart in Betrothal is known as the KIDDUSHIN (or QIDDUSHIN), the act of "Sanctification" or "Consecration". The meaning of kiddushin is to, "Be set apart", "Be holy". >From the Hebrew perspective, marriage is a sacred bond, “A holy relationship". It is an act of being set apart unto God and each other. This concept is central to the covenant at Sinai.