Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Little Something Extra...Fourth Sunday of Advent

Bethlehem Q & A 

Q-1. What does the name Bethlehem-Ephrathah mean? 

A-1. Bethlehem means “House of Bread” (quite appropriate, really, since the One Who is the true Bread of Life was born there). Ephrathah (sometimes spelled Ephrath) was an early name for Bethlehem. It means “fruitful” and refers to the town's fertile countryside, which produced olives, figs, grapes, and corn in abundance. 

Q-2. Where is Bethlehem located? 

A-2. Bethlehem is located six miles southwest of Jerusalem. 

Q-3. Which prophet predicted that Bethlehem would be the birthplace of the Messiah? 

A-3. The prophet Micah foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem when he wrote: 

Thus says the LORD:
You, Bethlehem-Ephrathah
too small to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for Me
one who is to be ruler in Israel;
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient times.
(Micah 5:1) 

Q-4. Which Old Testament matriarch is buried near Bethlehem? 

A-4. Jacob's beloved wife, Rachel, the mother of Joseph and Benjamin, is buried near Bethlehem. She died shortly after giving birth to Benjamin. 

Q-5. Who was the Moabite woman who came to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law? 

A-5. The Moabite woman Ruth came to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law Naomi. Both women were poor widows, so Ruth gathered their food by gleaning unpicked crops in the field of Boaz, who soon married her. Ruth and Boaz became the great-grandparents of Jesus. 

Q-6. Which great Old Testament king was born and anointed at Bethlehem? 

A-6. King David was born at Bethlehem and anointed there by the prophet Samuel as God's choice for King of Israel. 

Q-7. What is the weather like in Bethlehem during the winter? 

A-7. Bethlehem's winters tend to be cool and damp. Temperatures in the coldest month of January range from 33°F to 55°F. 

Q-8. How large was Bethlehem at the time of Jesus' birth? 

A-8. Bethlehem was home to only a few hundred people when Jesus was born there. 

Q-9. How many times is Bethlehem mentioned in the Bible? 

A-9. Bethlehem is mentioned by name 49 times throughout the Old and New Testaments. 

Q-10. Who built the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem about 330 A.D.? 

A-10. St. Helena, the mother of Roman Emperor Constantine, ordered the building of the Church of the Nativity about 330 A.D. atop the traditional location of the cave where Jesus was born. 

Sources: Biblos (http://topicalbible.org/b/bethlehem.htm); Wikipedia articles about Bethlehem, Rachel, Ruth, and David; e-Sword sources, including International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Smith's Bible Dictionary, Easton's Illustrated Bible Dictionary, and Fausset's Bible Dictionary 

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