The exact date of Jesus Christ’s birth is a contested topic among historians and theologians alike. But regardless of whether Jesus was born on December 25 or not, most Christian denominations agree Christ was the prophesied Messiah and the Son of God. The Bible’s Gospel of Matthew pinpoints the location of Jesus’s birth as the small town of Bethlehem in the modern-day West Bank, Palestine.
Scripture says Jesus was born in an extremely humbling environment to his mother Mary and his earthly father Joseph.
The Bible makes it clear in the gospels that Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit and his genealogy can be traced to the famous King David.
The Book of Matthew reads: “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.'”
Standing over the believed location of Christ’s birth today is the Church of the Nativity, a Byzantine house of worship also known as the Basilica of the Nativity.
Tom Meyer, a professor of Bible studies at Shasta Bible College and Graduate School in California, US, told Express.co.uk evidence of Christ’s divine birth rests within the ancient church.
Originally raised by the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, the basilica was built between the years 330 and 33 BC.
The church was destroyed some 200 years later in the sixth century AD but was rebuilt by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian.
Professor Meyer said: “At the east end of Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity is a cave that has a 14-pointed silver star laid on a marble pavement marking the spot venerated by Christians for millennia as the birthplace of Jesus Christ.”
And according to the Bible expert, the star’s 14 points paired with the Gospel of Matthew can reveal Christ’s divine origin.
He said: “The gospel of Matthew was written with a specific audience in mind: Jews.
“Also, it was written with a specific purpose: to demonstrate that Jesus was the Son of David, the fulfilment of many Old Testament prophecies, and the rightful heir to the Davidic Throne.
“When Matthew recorded the family tree of Jesus through the line of Joseph, he was very careful to break the genealogy into three sections of 14 names each.
“Matthew deliberately omitted names from his primary source, 1 Chronicles, to format the genealogy into three parts of 14 names.”
This first section of 14 names begins with the prophet Abraham and ends with King David, the third ruler of the United Kingdom of Israel and Judah.
According to Professor Meyer, this section spans some 1,200 years of ancient Israel’s history and signifies the notion Israel was “born for greatness”.
Professor Meyer said: “But the second section of 14 names which begins with David and ends with the Jews being sent into Babylonian exile in 586 BC emphasizes the shameful history of Israel, full of unbelief, apostasy, and divine judgment.
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“This second section which covers the 400 years of David and his descendants ruling from the throne in Jerusalem ends with the idea that Israel has lost its greatness.
“The third section covers a period of 600 years and also has 14 names.
“But in this third and final section even though most of the men are unknown to historians, they were legitimate descendants of David and thus rightful heirs to the throne.”
The family tree then culminates with the birth of Jesus Christ, which Professor Meyer believes marks a revival of royal power.
Jesus was given the title of Christ upon his birth, which in Hebrew means Messiah or the “anointed”.
Professor Meyer said: “This is just part of the motive behind shaping Jesus’ genealogy into groups of 14.
“Additionally, the 14-pointed silver star is linked directly to the name David.
“Due to the fact that in ancient Hebrew, letters could stand in for numbers, every person’s name had a numerical value.”
For example, the letters a, b and c could stand in for the numbers one, two and three.
In Hebrew, Professor Meyer said the named David represents the numbers of four, six and four as ancient Hebrew did not have written vowels.
Added together, the numbers add up to 14, which the expert claims proves his theory.
He said: “So, when you “add up” the meaning of history, the bottom line is that Jesus Christ is the Son of David, the Jewish Messiah.”
There are, of course, those who do not embrace Jesus Christ as the Messiah.
According to the Judaic faith, for instance, Jesus did not fulfil the messianic prophecies the Hebrew Bible has laid out for the coming of the Messiah.
Historians also argue the accepted accounts of Jesus’s life – the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John – cannot be taken at face value because they were likely written many decades after Jesus died.
And atheists will outright challenge the idea of God and divinity, instead stating Jesus of Nazareth was a revolutionary figure who preached love and unity but at the end of the day was human.
What is true, however, is that billions of people across the globe have embraced Christianity, forming the world’s biggest religion.