THE BIRTH OF MESSIAH
THE BIRTH OF MESSIAH
We are going to use Scripture and the Eugene Faulstich Calendar Conversion Program to try and determine a reasonable time for Yeshua’s birth date. Let’s begin in Luke 1:
Luke 1:1-9 HRB “Since many took in hand to draw up an account concerning the matters having been borne out among us, 2as those from the beginning delivered to us, becoming eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word. 3It seemed good also to me, having traced out all things accurately from the first, to write in order to you, most excellent Theophilus 4that you may know the certainty concerning the words which you were taught. 5In the days of Herod the king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the daily course of Abijah. And his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6And they were both righteous before Elohim, walking blameless in all the commandments and ordinances of Yahovah. 7And no child was born to them, because Elizabeth was barren. And both were advanced in their days. 8And it happened in his serving as priest in the order of his course before Elohim, 9according to the custom of the priests, entering into the Holy Place of Yahovah, it was Zacharias‘ lot to burn incense.”
In this passage, we discover that Luke had thoroughly and accurately researched the birth of Messiah Yeshua. In verse five we see that the events discussed occurred during the reign of King Herod. I’m going to pick the year 5 B.C. Most scholars agree that King Herod was still king in those days of 5-1 B.C.
We also learn that John the Baptist’s father, Zacharias, was a priest of Yahovah, assigned to the priestly course of Abijah. The Abijah course was the eighth course of the 24 courses of priests created by ancient King David in 1 Chronicles 24:1-19 HRB “1And these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. . . 3And David divided them according to their offices in their service, even Zadok of the sons of Eleazar, and Ahimelech of the sons of Ithamar. . . 5So they divided them by lots, these with these. For these were the rulers of the sanctuary and rulers of the Divine Ones, of Eleazar’s sons and Ithamar’s sons. 6And Shemaiah the son of Nethaneel the scribe, of the Levites, wrote them before the king, and the rulers, and Zadok the priest, and Ahimelech the son of Abiathar, and the rulers of the fathers of the priests and Levites. One father’s house was taken for Eleazar, and one taken for Ithamar. 7And the first lot came out for Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah, . . .10the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah, . . .19These were the orderings of them in their service to come into the house of Yahovah, according to their ordinance, to Aaron their father, as Yahovah Elohim of Israel had commanded him.”
What this means is that the eighth course, Zacharias’ course, went to serve in the Temple TWICE a year, not counting the three pilgrimmage Feasts of Unleavened Bread, Shavuot (Pentecost), and Feast of Tabernacles, when all priests showed up to work at the Temple of Yahovah in Jerusalem. So, on any given Sabbath, at the Temple in Jerusalem, there were two courses of priests, the course going off duty, and the course going on duty. They worked an 8 day work week, from Sabbath through the next Sabbath. In most Bible studies I’ve seen on this subject, the student assumes that because Zacharias is of the eighth course, this story is talking about his FIRST service week of the year, in late spring early summer. I beg to differ and I will use Scripture later in this study to substantiate my claim. I believe the story in Luke 1 is speaking of Zacharias’ SECOND service week in 5 B.C. Using Eugene Faulstich’s calendar conversion software, we determine that Zacharias began his second service week on Sabbath, Kislev 17, 5 B.C., which was December 17, 5 B.C., on the Julian calendar, in use by Rome at that time. That year, Zacharias’ 8 day service week ended on Sabbath, Kislev 24, 5 B.C., which was December 24, 5 B.C., on the Julian calendar. So, what is significant about this? Well, look what Luke said about this week in Luke 1:23-24a HRB “And it happened when the days of his service were fulfilled [his week ended on Kislev 24], he went away to his house. 24And after these days[after Zacharias’ work week of Kislev 17-24] his wife Elizabeth conceived. . .” Luke states plainly that after Zacharias’ work week at the Temple, his wife conceived. So, what day is after Kislev 24? Kislev 25, the FIRST DAY OF HANUKKAH!!!! John the Baptist was conceived at Hanukkah, NOT Yeshua, as many believe and proclaim!
Let’s move forward in Luke’s text. Luke 1:24b-27 HRB “. . .And she hid herself five months [this brings us to the end of the second month of the new year, in 4 B.C., Iyar, which is late May, Julian calendar], saying, 25So has Yahovah done to me in the days in which He looked on me to take away my reproach among men. 26And in the sixth month [of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, now we are at the end of the third month, Sivan, in the year 4 B.C., late June on the Julian calendar], the cherub Gabriel was sent from the presence of Elohim to Galilee to the city whose name is Nazareth, 27to a virgin who had been betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David and the virgin’s name was Mariam[Mary].” The angel Gabriel confirms our timeline in Luke 1:36 HRB “And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth! She also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month to her who was called barren;”
Ok, so now, the virgin Mariam, Mary to Christians, is pregnant! And what does she do at the end of the third month of Sivan, or the beginning of the fourth month of Tamuz? Luke 1:39-40 HRB “And rising up in these days, Mariam went into the hill country with haste to a city of Judah. 40And she entered into the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.” Mariam went to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, and stayed with her three months! Luke 1:56-57 HRB “And Mariam remained with her about three months, and returned to her house. 57And the time was fulfilled to Elizabeth for her to bear, and she bore a son.” My guess is that Mariam left Elizabeth’s home before all the excitement and visitations by relatives at the birth of John, since she was an unmarried pregnant Israelitess, beginning to “show”. If Mariam had stayed until the day of John’s birth, she may have been found out and stoned by the city elders for being pregnant and not married!! This is now the end of Elizabeth’s nine months of pregnancy, from Kislev 25, this brings us to the end of the sixth Hebrew month of Elul, or the beginning of the seventh Hebrew month of Tishri. My guess is that since John the Baptist was the fulfillment of some Scripture prophecy, he was born right on the new moon of Tishri 1, the Feast of Trumpets! After all, he was to trumpet the appearance of the Eternal King of Israel, Yeshua!!
And now, according to Luke’s timeline, Mariam (the Christian Mary) is three months pregnant with Yeshua. So, all we have to do is count forward six more months from Tishri 1, 4 B.C., and we arrive at New Year’s Day, Nisan 1 (or Abib 1), 3 B.C., as Yeshua’s birth date!! Nisan 1 was always the beginning of the King of Israel’s regnal year. Now, is that not appropriate, for Yahovah to have the King of all the earth born exactly at the beginning of the King’s year!?! That was March 18, 3 B.C., on the Julian calendar.
Now, what Scripture corroborates and verifies this as the accurate date of Yeshua’s birth? Let’s follow Luke’s account in Luke 2:1-5 HRB “Now it happened in those days that a decree went out from Augustus Caesar that the names of all the people of his dominion should be written down. 2This registration first occurred under the governing of Syria by Cyrenius. 3And all went to be registered, each to his own city. 4And Joseph also went from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because of his being of the house and family of David, 5to be registered with Mariam the one having been betrothed to him as wife, she being pregnant.” Friends, you can study ancient kings from many different kingdoms in antiquity and most all of them made NEW DECREES at the beginning of their regnal years, IN THE SPRING of the year. So Augustus Caesar issues a decree on March 18, 3 B.C., and Joseph takes Mariam, now fully nine months pregnant, to his clans’ hometown of Bethlehem to register his family with the Romans. Is this all the evidence Scripture has for us? It’s helpful and good, but not yet complete.
Let’s follow Luke’s story further in Luke 2:6-11 HRB “And it happened as they were there the days were fulfilled for her to bear. 7And she bore her son, the Firstborn. And she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in the manger, because there was no room where they could lodge. 8And shepherds were in the same region living in the fields and keeping guard over their flock by night.9And, behold, a cherub of Elohim came on them. And the glory of Yahovah shone around them. And they feared with a great fear. 10And the cherub said to them, Do not fear. For, behold, I proclaim good news to you, a great joy, which will be to all the world, 11For today is born to you in the city of David, the Savior, who is Yahovah, the Messiah.”
Look carefully at verse 8. What time of year do Hebrew shepherds live out in the fields with their sheep or goats? Why are they out there guarding them at night at this springtime of the year? Friends, the ewes are lambing, giving birth to the little lambs, the ones that will be yearlings next year in time for next year’s Passover sacrifices!!! And how does the Torah confirm the accuracy of Luke’s account? Remember the first Passover in Egypt? Exodus 12:1-5 HRB “And Yahovah said to Moses and to Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2This month [Abib, Nisan] shall be the head of months for you. It shall be the first of the months of the year for you. 3Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, On the tenth of this month, they shall each take for themselves an animal of the flock for a father’s house, a flock animal for a house. 4And if the house is too small for a flock animal, he and his neighbor next to his house shall take according to the number of souls, each one according to the mouth of his eating, you shall count concerning the flock animal. 5A flock animal, a male without blemish, a yearling, shall be to you. You shall take from the sheep or from the goats.”
The sacrificial lambs are born in the Spring of the year! Our Savior, our Sacrificial Lamb of Yahovah, was born in the Spring of the year! I believe exactly on Nisan, or Abib 1, of 3 B.C. In Hebrew thought, 3 B.C. would then be Yeshua’s first year of life. In 30 A.D., at His crucifixion, He was then in His 33rd year of life, at His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension!!
Go back to Luke 2. The angels made the announcement to the shepherds at night, verse 8, which would be the beginning of Nisan 2, but according to the Greek structure of the word, they were telling them of an event that had just happened in the daytime, or warm hours, of Nisan 1!! So, during this early evening of Nisan 2. . . Luke 2:15-17 HRB “And it happened as the cherubs departed from them into the heaven, even the men, the shepherds, said to one another, Indeed, let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this thing occurring, which Yahovah made known to us. 16And hurrying, they came and sought out both Mariam and Joseph, and the Babe lying in the manger. 17And seeing, they publicly told about the word spoken to them about this Child.” The humble Hebrew shepherds physically, visibly, saw baby Yeshua lying in the manger, and publicly proclaimed his birth!! Luke 2:18-20 HRB “And all those hearing marveled about the things spoken to them by the shepherds. 19And Mariam kept all these words, meditating in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising Yahovah for all things which they heard and saw, even as was spoken to them.”
Praise Yahovah forevermore!! Bless His Name eternally. Give all glory to Him alone! Our Savior was born exactly when Yahovah wanted Him to be born, which was Nisan 1, in the Spring, not December 25, in the Winter.
Oh, and by the way, Hebrews never celebrated a person’s birth day. They celebrate a person’s death day. But since our Savior was only dead 3 days, and is now alive forevermore, I believe we should always celebrate His resurrection day, at the end of the Sabbath that occurs during Passover, or Unleavened Bread week!!
But even more exciting than that, we look forward to His return! Will it be on Shavuot-Pentecost, or during the Fall Feasts? Well, that’s a discussion for another post.
Bless you and yours today (winter solstice) and always,
Gene Benjamin II
December 21, 2013 AD