IDENTIFYING CHRIST BIRTHDAY: A BIBLE STUDY ON CHRISTMAS (Part 3)


WAIT A MINUTE! You need to study Part 1 and Part 2 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 in Part 2 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.

Apostle John also wrote about John the Baptist:

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.” John 1:6-8.

John was to bear witness of Jesus and we could see in part 1 and part 2 that his birth bore witness of Christ birth as well. We concluded that Jesus must have been given birth during the 7th month of Tishri (September-October) not the generally accepted month of December 25th which from our study could likely be the month of His conception not birth. But let us see other evidences from Scripture and History.

Q: Why was Jesus named Immanuel?

The various evidences we saw in part 1 and part 2 has destroyed December 25th theory of Christ birth but we have other evidences to prove that this December 25th theory is totally wrong.

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

Immanuel means “God with us” Matt 1:23. Jesus Christ is the son of God and in Him was the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col 2:9). Therefore Christ was God in verity. He came to dwell or Tabernacle with us by partaking of the seed of Abraham (Heb 2:16) and of our flesh and blood (Heb 2:14) and did not take the nature of Angels.

John wrote that Jesus Christ, “dwelt among us.” John 1:14. The very word “dwelt” in Greek is skenoo which means “to make tent or encamp. To Tabernacle among us.” We have identified the likely date of Christ birth as 15th Tishri which is the beginning of the feast of Tabernacle. The feast of Tabernacle was celebrated because of the deliverance of Israel from the Egyptian bondage.

“Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: 43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.” Lev 23:42-43.

There is no coincidence with the Lord. He is a master planner. He sent his Son right on time to tabernacle with His people during the time of the feast of Tabernacle to become “God with us.”

Q: Why was there no room in the inn for Jesus earthly parents?

Luke 2:7-11 gives another strong evidence that the feast of Tabernacle was celebrated during Christ birth.

“And she [Mary] brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:7-11.

Why was there no room in the inn for Jesus earthly parents? The reason being that all the men in Israel has come to Temple in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacle/ booths that was required by the Law of Moses. All the rooms had been occupied.

“Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD.” Ex 23:17

“And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year’s end. 23 Thrice in the year shall all your men children appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel.” Ex 34:22-23.

Q: What were the Israelite to do when they attend the feast of in-gathering or tabernacle?

“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 . . .  Ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all that are Israelites born shall dwell in booths: 43 That your generations may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God” Lev 23:33-34, 42-43.

During this feast of ingathering, everyone was to live in a temporary Booths (Tents or Sukkoth) as a memorial of their deliverance from Egypt.

Jesus birth typify the coming deliverance of God’s people out of the Slavery of Sin and worldliness because Jesus dwelt in a temporary place called a manger.

The feast of Tabernacle is an eight day feast (Lev 23:36, 39). If Jesus was born on the 15th day of the month of Tishri (September – October) which was the day the feast began, then this might be the reason why the Child Jesus was dedicated by performing circumcision on the 8th day. The 8th day was also the last day of the feast of Tabernacles, which falls on a Sabbath Day

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” Luke 2:21.

Q: What about the shepherd?

I hope we enjoyed the fascinating Bible facts and evidences. Am sure many have not taken their time to look into this prior to this time. The Old Testament is the key in understanding the New Testament, we cannot ignore the Old Testament. Let us now move to some other facts and this time we would look at the season during that period.

“It is well-know among Biblical scholars that Jesus was not born in December, because the shepherds were never out in the fields with their sheep at that time.”[1] “The Gospels do not indicate when Christ was born. That the shepherds were watching their flocks in the fields at night (Luke 2:8), eliminates December. Because of cold weather and chilling rains at that time, sheep would not be unsheltered in the open at night.”[2]

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11.

Adam Clark has this to say:

The reason why they watched them in the field appears to have been, either to preserve the sheep from beasts of prey, such as wolves, foxes, etc., or from freebooting banditti, with which all the land of Judea was at that time much infested. It was a custom among the Jews to send out their sheep to the deserts, about the passover, and bring them home at the commencement of the first rain: during the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day. As the passover occurred in the spring [March-April], and the first rain began early in the month of Marchesvan [or Bul], which answers to part of our October and November, we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole of the summer. And as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could he have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground the nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological fact, which casts considerable light upon this disputed point. See the quotations from the Talmudists in Lightfoot.”[3]

Charles J. Ellicott also commented on Luke 2:8 as follows:

“The fact has been thought, on the supposition that sheep were commonly folded during the winter months, to have a bearing adverse to the common traditional view which fixes December 25 as the day of the Nativity. At that season, it has been urged, the weather was commonly too inclement for shepherds and sheep to pass the night in the open air, and there was too little grass for pasturage. In summer, on the other hand, the grass on the hills is rapidly burnt up. The season at which the grass is greenest is that just before the Passover (Mark 6:39; John 6:10); and, on the whole, this appears the most probable date. The traditional season, which does not appear as such till the fourth century, may have been chosen for quite other reasons—possibly to displace the old Saturnalia, which coincided with the winter solstice. It is noticeable that the earliest Latin hymns connected with the festival of Christmas dwell on the birth as the rising of the Sun of Righteousness on the world’s wintry darkness.”[4]

To be continued in Part 4 . . .

 

 

 

[1] Vance Ferrell, The real story behind: Christmas, Easter, and Halloween, p. 4.

[2] Gerhard Pfandl, Seventh-Day Adventist and Christmas, Newsletter.

[3] Clarke, Adam. “Commentary on Luke 2:4”. “The Adam Clarke Commentary”. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-2.html. 1832.

[4] Ellicott, Charles John. “Commentary on Luke 2:4”. “Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers”. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-2.html. 1905.

 

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