Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Integrated Advent Chronology

Luke 1:5,8-9,23-24a,26-28,31,39,56 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah (1 Chron 24:10). And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth....Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty (about late September) according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense...And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived....In the sixth month (about late March) the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary And he came to her and said, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!...Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus"... In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah...And Mary remained with her about three months (until John was born, late June) and returned to her home.

Matthew 1:18b-21 When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

Luke 2:1,4-5,7-11,16 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.... And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to 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, who was with child... And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, (about late December) because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord... And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.

Luke 2:21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Matthew 2:1,7,11-15- "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 saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him."(this would mean they left before He was born)...Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him."... And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt I called my son."

Matthew 2:19-21 - But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, "Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead. And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. "

Luke 2:22- And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, (Lev 12:1-4) they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord

Luke 2:39a, Matthew 2:22a, Luke 2:39b, Matthew 2:22b And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord...he (Joseph) heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee...to their own town of Nazareth....(so) that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: "He shall be called a Nazarene."

(Note: The temple dedication is the last thing the family does in Luke's account (Luke 2:39) before returning to their home in Nazareth, and according to the law of Moses that's 40 days after He was born. It therefore seems unlikely to me that the family waited around 40 days in Bethlehem, dedicated Jesus, went home to Nazareth, then returned again to Bethlehem (for no given reason) to live there for nearly two years before the Magi reach Judea. It also stretches credulity to say the Magi took nearly two years to make a two month trip on something they were excited about; I think rather that they saw the star before Jesus was born and left in time to arrive very near the time of His birth. That they found Him in a house is not surprising, it is reasonable to assume that immediately after the census everyone fit to travel left for home, clearing up enough space for Joseph to find a house to stay in for a few days while Mary recovered. For that reason I don't think the account of the escape to Egypt should be inserted between Luke 2:39a and b. I think it much more probable that the Magi gifts financed an escape trip and Joseph and Mary were running very low on cash by the time they returned to Jerusalem. The Matthew story should be either right before or right after Luke 2:21.

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