Why is Jesus said to be of Nazareth if he was born in Bethlehem and who was the serpent in the Garden?



My brother-in-law asked me, "Why was Jesus called Jesus of Nazareth if he was born in Bethlehem?" My answer was because he was only born in Bethlehem, but he was raised in Nazareth. Was I correct?

He also feels that Jesus, in the form of a snake, tempted Adam and Eve to test them. I feel that's not true but didn't know the answer. Could it be that God doesn't tempt us, but that it's by our own desires? Where does that fit into the Old Testament?

Thank you for your time and God bless you.


Matthew explains that after Jesus' birth in Bethlehem (fulfilling the prophecy in Micah 5:2), his family fled to Egypt to avoid the killing of infants by Herod the Great (fulfilling the prophecy in Jeremiah 31:15). After Herod died, God told the family to return (fulfilling the prophecy in Hosea 11:1). Because Herod's son also had a bad reputation, they decided to return to their previous residence in Nazareth. This doesn't fulfill one particular prophecy, but several obscure ones hint at it.

Matthew 2:23 points out that this move fulfilled prophecies. But notice that Matthew is not quoting one particular prophet, he is giving a general summary of what multiple prophets have said. The name Nazareth might be derived from the Hebrew word for “branch.” There are numerous prophecies concerning the Messiah being called the Branch, such as Isaiah 11:1. The best case, however, is that the region of Galilee had a poor reputation (John 7:52) and the town of Nazareth had an even poorer reputation (John 1:46). The Hebrew word netzer, from which Nazareth is derived, refers to the small twigs that are worthless (Isaiah 14:19; John 15:21). Such was deemed an appropriate name for a small village of little use. There are several prophecies dealing with people despising the Messiah, such as Isaiah 53:2-3 and Psalms 22:6. The Messiah's coming from a despised area was foretold in Isaiah 9:1-2. It is possible that Matthew is stating that by coming from Nazareth the foundations for Jesus’ eventual rejection were being laid.

Regarding the temptation in Eden, you are quite correct that Jesus could not have been the snake as James tells us "Let no man say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God," for God can't be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one." (James 1:13). And John tells us that Jesus is God, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). Besides, the Bible is quite clear as to who was the serpent. "The great dragon was thrown down, the old serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him" (Revelation 12:9). Jesus also spoke of this, "You are of your father, the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and doesn't stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks on his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44).

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