IDENTIFYING CHRIST BIRTHDAY: A BIBLE STUDY ON CHRISTMAS (Part 2)


WAIT A MINUTE! You need to study Part 1 before moving further.

In part 1 we identified the Priestly order among the 24 courses ordained by King David and we also saw from the Bible the various  months in the Jewish calendar. It would be advisable to study part 1 before studying part 2. The two tables below in this present article summarizes part 1.

Also in part 1, we  clearly said that, “To understand Christ birth, we need to understand his cousin’s birth, John the Baptist. The Birth of John the Baptist will shed more light on Christ birth. Malachi wrote about John as the messenger that will prepare the way of the Lord.

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts” Mal 3:1.

John was the lesser light that was to shed light on God’s word for people of God in relation to Jesus ministry. Therefore, in God’s infinite wisdom, John’s birth will shed light on Christ birth.”

Again, i will encourage us to study the two tables below and part 1 before we continue the study. Therefore we will pick up from where we stop yesterday.

Q: When was John the Baptist conceived by Elizabeth? That is, when did Elizabeth became pregnant?

5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia . . .” Luke 1:5.

“And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his [Zachariah’s] ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. 24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying” Luke 1:23-24.

Following the Jewish calendar, Zachariah’s schedule of courses will fall on the 10th week of the month of Sivan because he is from the course of Abia (also called Abijah, 1 Chron 24:10). Sivan is the 3rd month in the Jewish calendar year which falls from mid of May to mid of June (May-June). Abijah is the 8th course which means two of the three major feast most have occurred before the 8th course, that is, the feast of unleavened bread (15-21 Nisan) and the feast of weeks or Pentecost (6 Sivan). Infact the course of Abijah (Abia) begins immediately after the Pentecost because the feast of Pentecost begins first week of the month of Sivan (May-June).

Zachariah’s duty in the temple must then begin on the second Sabbath of the third month (Sivan); this is Sabbath evening because the Pentecost will be ending to the evening of the Sabbath in the third week in the same month of Sivan.

We were told Zachariah ended his duty in the temple on the 3rd Sabbath in the month of Sivan after which he returned home “and after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five month.” Luke 1:23.

Therefore, John undoubtedly must have been conceived by Elisabeth in the month of Sivan (May-June) but the exact day is not known. But we are convinced without doubt, from scriptural evidence that Elizabeth conceived or became pregnant in the month of Sivan.

Q: When was Jesus conceived? Or when did Mary became pregnant with Jesus?

“And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, 25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.” Luke 1:24-25

Take note: Elizabeth hid herself for 5 months after conception. This is very important in order to understand Christ birth.

“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” Luke 1:26-27

The same Angel that appeared to Zachariah now appeared to Mary, a virgin in the city of Galilee in the Sixth month. This sixth month is also the sixth month of Elizabeth conception.

“And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.” Luke 1:36.

Notice the Angel explaining to us that the 6th month of Elizabeth pregnancy is the first month of Mary’s conception. Now let is carefully do the calculation:

The 6th month spoken of here is not 6th month of the Jewish calendar which is called Elul (August-September). The 6th month Angel Gabriel is talking about is the month of Kislev. Kislev is the 9th month in the Jewish calendar (Nov-Dec). When we count 6 months from the month when Elizabeth conceived (became pregnant) which is the month of Sivan (May-June) we will arrive late in the 9th month of Kislev (Nov-Dec).

Mary conceived Christ 6 months after Elizabeth conceived John.

Elizabeth conceived in the month of Sivan (May-June) which is the 3rd month of the Jewish calendar.

Mary conceived 6 months after in the month of Kislev (Nov-Dec) which is the 9th month of the Jewish calendar.

It is imperative to note also that the first day of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah which is also called the feast of Light or rededication of temples falls on the 25th day of December.

“The other postexilic holiday was Hanukkah, a festival which began on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev (Dec.) and lasted eight days. Josephus referred to it as the Feast of Lights because a candle was lighted each successive day until a total of eight was reached. The festival commemorates the victories of Judas Maccabeus in 167 B.C. At that time, when Temple worship was reinstituted, after an interruption of three years, a celebration of eight days took place. The modern celebration does not greatly affect the routine duties of everyday life. This feast is referred to in John 10:22, where it is called the feast of dedication.”—Holman Bible Dictionary.

This feast of light lasted for 8 days. Jesus certainly must have been conceived in the womb of Mary during this period because Jesus is the light of the world.

“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12. (see also John 9:15, 12:46)

Q: When was John the Baptist given birth?

Thank God for His word. Through His Apostles and Prophets, God have revealed enough to us that we might not err. We were told by Apostle Luke that Mary stayed with Elizabeth in her house for 3 months after she heard Elizabeth was pregnant.

And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. 57 Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.” Luke 1:56-57.

This means that Mary was already pregnant for 3 months when she went visiting Elizabeth had been pregnant for 6 months in addition to the 3 months of Mary’s stay making it 9 months of Elizabeth pregnancy. No wonder vs 57 says, “Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.” Her full time came when Mary returned to her own house after she had stayed with her for 3 months.

To recap, Elizabeth conceived on the 3rd month of Sivan (May-June), when we project 6 months of her pregnancy forward plus 3 months of Mary stay making 9 months, we will arrive at the month of Nisan (March-April).

This proves that John the Baptist must have been born in the middle of the month of Nisan probably around the feast of unleavened bread which begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan/Abib.

Q: What about Jesus? When was He given birth?

We can now clearly see that answering this question would not be difficult given the conception month of John the Baptist. We have previously identified that Jesus was conceived six months after John the Baptist was conceived. We have also established the likely date of John’s birth was 15th Nisan (Abib). Also we know Mary had been in pregnancy for 3 month when John was given birth. All we need do is to project 6 months forward from the 15th of Nisan to arrive at a likely date of 15th day of the 7th month of Tishri or Ethanim (September-October). What happen on the 15th of Tishri? The feast of Tabernacles or the feast of ingatherings or the feast of booths.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 34 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD.” Lev 23:33-34.

The feast began on the fifteenth day of Tishri (the seventh month), which was five days after the day of atonement. It lasted for seven days (Leviticus 23:36 ; Deuteronomy 16:13 ; Ezekiel 45:25 ).[1]

The Feast of Booths took place on Tishri 15, five days after the Day of Atonement, in what is now mid-October.[2] 

The feast of Tabernacles was the last of the feast to which all men of Israel were to gather in Jerusalem for temple services (Lev 23:34). It is also the 3rd of the major feast in the Jewish calendar year.

At this point, it would be imperative for us to study the tables below for more understanding. This two tables give us a better understanding of what we are discussion. Table 1 below gives the weekly schedule of priest. On the 3rd week all the priest will have to gather in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. This will also be done for the feast of Pentecost and the feast of Tabernacle (ingathering) which falls on the 7th month of Tishri as we can see in Table 2.

Table 1

 

 

1st Month 2nd Month 3rd Month 4th Month
Abib – Nisan
(March – April)
Zif – Iyyar
(April – May)
Sivan
(May – June)
Tammuz

(June – July)

First Week Jehoiarib (1) Seorim (4) All Priests
(Pentecost)
Eliashib (11)
Second Week Jedaiah (2) Malchijah (5) Abijah (8) Jakim (12)
Third Week All Priests
(Feast of Unleavened Bread)
Mijamin (6) Jeshuah (9) Huppah (13)
Fourth Week Harim (3) Hakkoz (7) Shecaniah (10) Jeshebeab (14)

 

Table 2

Jewish month Begins the
New moon of
John the Baptist Jesus christ
1. Abib / Nisan March-April

(Feast of Unleavened bread)

Birth of John
15 Nisan
  4
2. Zif / Iyyar April-May   5
3. Sivan May-June

(Feast of Pentecost)

Conception of John
after 3rd Sabbath
  6
4. Tammuz June-July 1   7
5. Ab / Av July-August 2   8
6. Elul August-September 3   9
7. Ethanim / Tishri September-October

(Feast of Tabernacle)

4 Birth of Jesus
15 Tishri
8. Bul / Marheshvan / Heshvan October-November 5
9. Chisleu / Chislev / Kislev November-December 6 Conception of Jesus
25 Kislev ?
10. Tebeth / Tevet December-January 7   1
11. Shebat / Shevat January-February 8   2

Courtesy:  Michael Scheifler

 

 

 

 

[1] Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for ‘Festivals’. Holman Bible Dictionary. http://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hbd/f/festivals.html. 1991.

[2] Elwell, Walter A. Entry for ‘Feasts And Festivals of Israel’. Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology. http://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/bed/f/feasts-and-festivals-of-israel.html. 1996.

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