Putting the pieces together.
We are sitting now in 2015 in the Latter days and we have the world’s repository of archaeological, Internet sites, computer searching, Google Maps, Google Earth and biblical research at hand. What do we know and what have we historically believed? Everything in this paper can be independently checked.
The famous Bethlehem in Judea is 2542 feet above sea level; it is on top of a rocky mountain ridge. It is on the west side of the Dead Sea. It is on a ridge that was obviously uplifted due to an earth fault. It is not a farming area.
There are no bodies of water nearby for which to grow crops
The word "Bethlehem" in Hebrew means House of Bread, Strong’s H1035.
Modern archaeological findings tell us that the Town of Bethlehem did not even exist in the First Century.
The Israel Antiquities Authority has done the research and has reported this information. Refer to the link below from the Times of Israel.
1 Samuel 14-16 mentions Garrisons of the Philistines at least 10 times.
Nazareth is 1174 feet above sea level.
It is about 93 miles from Bethlehem Judah to Nazareth via Google Maps.
Mary was from Tzipponi, another village about 5 miles north from both Nazareth and Bethlehem-in-Galilee.
“Bethlehem in Galilee” or "Bet Lehem HaGalilit" in Hebrew, is a town about 3.7 miles west of Nazareth. It is presently and has been a farming area for over 2000. Archeological remnants have been found there showing its long time existence. Currently it falls under the jurisdiction of the Jezreel Valley Regional Council.
How could Joseph be expected even to meet Mary if they lived 93 miles away from each other.
The Jezreel Valley (Hebrew: עמק יזרעאל, translit. Emek Yizra'el), (Arabic: مرج إبن عامر "Marj Ibn Amer") is a large fertile plain and inland valley south of the Lower Galilee region in Israel. It is the breadbasket of Palestine and the home of Armageddon. Hit the following link in blue to Review the pictures. As you can see this Galilean valley is the real "Breadbasket" and not just a pile of rocks 2542 feet above sea level.
Referring to Joshua 15. There was no city named Bethlehem ever given to Judah.
A map of this valley in Northern Galilee helps to explain many details.
Aviram Oshri, the Senior Archaeologist for the Israel Antiquities Authority, spent 11 years excavating the area called Bethlehem-in-Galilee. They found an artifact, a clay seal that was 2700 years old with the inscription of Bethlehem. Oshri published his findings in the Journal Archaeology in 2005. Oshri believes that based upon this archaeological evidence, that the real Bethlehem is in Galilee, about 3.7 miles west of Nazareth. See www.timesofisrael.com/was-jesus-born-in-a-different-bethlehem/#1. Do a search on Bethlehem-in-Galilee and there are numerous websites mentioned the same category. Oshri uses the distances of 6 and 150 km in the NPR article listed below. These distances translate into 3.7 miles to Bethlehem-Galilee and 93 miles to Bethlehem-Judea, a 25/1 ratio. I will use Oshri's numbers in all cases in this website. One cannot travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem-judah in a straight north-south line. That would require a trip over the back of the mountainous spline of Palestine.
Questions that need to be raised
Has Luke 2 been altered? Some scholars question portions of this narrative.
Joseph was say 18-20 at the time of Christ’s birth. Why would he allegedly be 93 miles away from his birthplace?
Did a census or taxing event actually take place?
Did Mary actually ride a donkey considering that no such event occurs in the NT?
I have left out the details. While we do not know for sure the answers to some of the questions that have been raised, we know for absolute certainly that Bethlehem-Judea was not a House of Bread. It is very reasonable to understand that the jew scribes changed one word from warriors in Hebrew to Bread. Mary, if 9 months pregnant, did not go 93 miles to Bethlehem-Judea either on foot or on a donkey. Furthermore there was much ill feeling between the Samaritans and the Jews. A traveler crossing from Galilee into Samaria would be at risk of attack and would certainly not receive lodging or any other type of assistance on the journey. The alleged historic route is not known, hypothetically the route would have had to be either east to the Jordan river and then south or west to the coast and then south. This would require a circuitous route and consequently a much more difficult journey.
The Bethelehem House of Bread was in Zebulon and importantly this is within 10-15 miles of the future battle of Megiddo, or Armageddon in the Jezreel Valley. What an interesting situation!