Did Mary Go to Bethlehem to Fulfill the Prophecy?


In your booklet Christ The Saviour Is Born, it is written that Mary went with Joseph to Bethlehem to celebrate the first month of the sacred New Year beginning with the new moon of April or March, the first month of the Hebrew year. It is also stated that loyal Jews were under bond to observe the new moon feast according to custom at Bethlehem, where the family of David assembled to carry out the command.

I know that Mary did not go to Bethlehem for the tax enrollment, but wasn’t the reason Mary went to Bethlehem to fulfill the prophecy of Mic. 5:2, for both Mary and Joseph would have known about the prophecy and to fulfill it? They would have known because it is in the Old Testament. Would you please help me to understand this subject.


You are correct in your conclusion that Mary and Joseph would likely have known of the prophecy in Micah 5:2, because as far as we know from historical records the Old Testament books were already assembled by this time in a volume known as the Septuagint.

You are also correct that Mary would not have been required to go to Bethlehem with her husband for the enrollment for taxation.

It does seem realistic that Mary would have gone to Bethlehem to keep the new moon feast, and the fact that the family was doing this when Jesus was twelve years old is further evidence that it was a family custom, for we read that “When he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast” (Luke 2:41-42). The Passover feast was held in Jerusalem; the new moon feast would have been kept with the family in the city of David, or Bethlehem.

However, your thought that Mary would have gone to Bethlehem for the purpose of fulfilling the prophecy of Micah 5:2 does not seem like a valid conclusion. God does not depend on the will or decisions of us human creatures to fulfill His predictions. He prophesies by His ability to know in advance what we will do, and any decision we may make will not change that, for His foreknowledge includes all. If God had to depend on human decisions and human willfulness, His Word would not carry the authority and power that it does. But God is able to say “I will,” or “It shall be,” and there is no question about the certainty of its fulfillment. As the prophet Isaiah wrote, speaking for God, “As rain and snow from heaven fall not in vain, but water earth until it yields seed for the sower, food for hungry men, so would the promise that has passed my lips: It falls not fruitless and in vain, but works out what I will, and carries out my purpose” (Isa. 55:10-11, Moffatt). Or as the Psalmist wrote, again speaking for God, “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips” (Ps. 89:34).

God’s Word is certain beyond anything humanly possible. The only certainty on the side of man and what he will do lies in the foreknowledge of God, who can read the future as easily and as surely as we can read the past.