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Why Bethlehem, Egypt, Nazareth And Capernaum?

Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, then lived for a few years in Egypt, then lived in Nazareth for about 25 years, then lived in Capernaum during His ministry. Was it all just coincidence, moving from one place to another in response to circumstances alone? Or could someone who read the Scriptures have known, before He was born, where He would be born, and where He would live through His life?

Consider how King Herod (see The Herods) came to know where The Christ was born:

"2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

2:3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 2:4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 2:5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

2:6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel." (Matthew 2:4-6 KJV)

The prophet quoted in the verses above was Micah (see The Prophets: Micah). Those who knew the Holy Scriptures knew that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

"5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." (Micah 5:2 KJV)

"That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene"

Herod of course didn't want to know where the Messiah would be born in order to worship Him; Herod wanted to kill Him. For that reason, Joseph was told to take the child and His mother to Egypt - which fulfilled another Prophecy.


"2:13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

2:14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 2:15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son." (Matthew 2:13-15 KJV)

The verse quoted above, when it was fulfilled, was from Hosea (see The Prophets: Hosea).

"11:1 When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt." (Hosea 11:1 KJV)

When Herod died, Joseph was told to return to the land of Israel, but Bethlehem was still too dangerous because Herod's son Archelaus was then ruling in the area in place of his father. Joseph was told to instead go to live in Nazareth, which was the fulfillment other prophecies about Nazareth and Galilee, "that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene" (see Why A Nazarene?).

"2:19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 2:20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.

2:21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 2:22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene." (Matthew 2:19-23 KJV)

The move from Nazareth, overlooking the valley of Armageddon, to Capernaum, on the Sea of Galilee, happened at the beginning of His ministry, in further fulfillment of prophecies written about Him long before He was born.

"4:13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 4:14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,

4:15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:13-17 KJV)

The verses of prophecy quoted above are from Isaiah (see The Prophets: Isaiah):

"9:1 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. 9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined." (Isaiah 9:1-2 KJV)

Fact Finder: Did Jesus Christ base everything that He said and did upon the Holy Scriptures?
See The By-The-Book Messiah

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