Matt.2:4-6 – And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet:
‘AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH,
ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH;
FOR FROM YOU WILL COME FORTH A RULER
WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.’”
Most of us have heard that Bethlehem actually means “house of Bread” in the Hebrew language. Amazingly this speaks to us about the fact that Jesus is the “Bread of Life” that nourishes our souls. What many of us have not heard is that this word Bethlehem has another secondary meaning, it can also be translated ‘the house of fighters’. This immediately brings several questions into our minds, what could this be referring to and how could the Prince of Peace be called a fighter? Remember, Bethlehem is the city of David who was also the greatest warrior that Israel had ever known. David famously defeated Goliath and then established Israel with his defeat of the Philistines. David was known and celebrated as a warrior king. His royal seed, Jesus of Nazareth would also be a warrior. Although He did not fight physical battles, He defeated Satan and his plans by the power of the Spirit and the work of the cross. Here are some interesting comments from Brain Simmons on the word Bethlehem.
“Bethlehem, or Byt-lehem, means “house of bread,” the prophesied birthplace of Messiah. However, the Hebrew word lehem can also mean “fighters.” Jesus was born in “the House of Fighters!” This is the city of David, one of the greatest fighters in the entire Bible. Perhaps this is why the people of Jesus’ day expected him to fight the Romans and free their land from foreign occupation. Jesus fulfilled both aspects of the meaning of Bethlehem in Gethsemane and on the cross, where he fought the “Goliath” of our souls and won, becoming Bread for the world. God controls all events, proven by the prophecy that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem even though his parents were living in Nazareth.”
In Isaiah’s famous prophesy Jesus is not only called Prince of Peace but also Mighty God. Mighty God refers to the warrior characteristic of the Lord. This mighty warrior was born in a manger in Bethlehem to conquer the enemies of our soul.