the Birth of Jesus

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Archeryaddict, Nov 20, 2006.

  1. Archeryaddict

    Archeryaddict
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    Christmas And The Feasts of Israel
    by Ron Graff

    It came as a big surprise to the Early Church to realize that Jesus' death and resurrection were the fulfillment of important feast days that Israel had observed for ages. He died on Passover, and was raised from the dead three days later at the Feast of First fruits! Then, on the next feast day, Pentecost, His promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit was fulfilled (Acts 2). The effect of this was to give additional proof or validation that Jesus was who He claimed to be. These holy days were symbolic of things to come. According to Colossians 2:16-17:

    "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ."

    It has been noticed that many other important events in Israel's history took place on the anniversaries of their holy days. Students of prophecy could not help but notice that the next festivals on the Jewish calendar could have special meaning for future events. We do not believe in setting dates, but there is possibly a connection between these feasts, which followed Pentecost, and key events of prophecy. Rosh Hashanah, the ancient Jewish New Year's Day, is also called the Feast of Trumpets. Wouldn't that be a fitting time for the Rapture of the Church (at the last trumpet)? Yom Kippur, the most solemn day of the Jewish year, is the Day of Atonement. Perhaps this will the festival which will be fulfilled by Christ's glorious appearing, when there will be great mourning for the one whom we have pierced. Then there is The Feast of Tabernacles, symbolizing the presence of God in our midst. This would be a most appropriate time for ushering in the Millennial Kingdom of the future.

    The Christmas Connection

    Could it be that Jesus' birth was also on one of Israel's holy days? Let's consider some of the possible connections here. Please notice that we are not dogmatic about this. We will have to wait until we get to heaven to know for sure, but these are exciting possibilities!

    Birth of John the Baptist

    John's father, Zechariah, was a priest, and it was during his cycle of duty that he was told that John would be born. Careful scholars have determined that, since Zechariah's family was eighth in the rotation of priests, that Zechariah's first service of the year would be about June (of our calendar). If John was actually conceived at this time, he could very well have been born at Passover, nine months later. This is a fascinating thought because Jesus said that John had come in the spirit of Elijah. At every Passover an empty place is set for Elijah, and someone is sent to the door toward the end of the evening to see if he has come yet!

    Birth of Jesus

    Jesus was born six month after John. If John was born at Passover, this would place Jesus' birth at the time of the fall festivals (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Feast of Tabernacles). The Feast of Tabernacles would be an exceptionally meaningful time for the birth of Christ, since the tabernacles, or booths symbolized God's dwelling with His people, and John starts his Gospel by affirming that Jesus, who is the Word of God, actually became flesh and dwelt ("tabernacled") among us! (John 1:1, 14) This, by the way, would be a time of year when the shepherds would still be with their sheep in the fields. This is not the case in December. In the Middle Ages, at this time of year, Michaelmas ("Coming of Michael the Archangel") was celebrated. This could be symbolic of the angelic choir which announced Christ's birth. But what of the traditional date of December 25th? Skeptics tell us that this was a date chosen for convenience and because it corresponded with pagan winter celebrations, such as Saturnalia. There is some historical evidence for this view, but consider one further, very interesting point.

    Jesus' Conception

    If, in fact Jesus was born at the Feast of Tabernacles, His conception would have been nine months earlier, just at the time of Hanukkah, The Feast of Lights! Because of the difference between the Jewish calendar and our own calendar, Hanukkah is sometimes a few weeks before Christmas, but it is sometimes very close to it. The Jewish festival is based on God's miraculous provision of light during the days of the Maccabees. Again, how very appropriate it is to celebrate the coming of the One who is The Light of the World! (John 1:4-9; 8:12) (from
     
  2. Allan

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    Wow, that is a lot of speculation, what if's, and maybes.

    There are some points in the beginning portion I have heard before but it is stretching quite a bit to go to the lengths of all those hypotheticals as a whole.

    Interesting read though, thanks.
     
    #2 Allan, Nov 21, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 21, 2006
  3. mountainrun

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    Good work Archery Addict. {I'm one myself}

    Let's not forget though that each division served twice a year.

    I believe He was probably born on a special Jewish day. Possibly the 10th of Nissan when the sacrificial lamb was chosen, if His birth was during the time of the Passover.

    These studies are fun and teach us a lot about things we never spend much time on ordinarily.
    Like the function of the priests and their schedules.

    Even if we can't come to a conclusion.

    MR
     
  4. Ed Edwards

    Ed Edwards
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    For the past 20 years or so I've tracked the Jerusalem area
    temps (close to Bethlehem). 5 out of 7 years the
    night of 24 Dec, morning of 25 Dec is OVER 55l-degrees-F.
    This does NOT preclude getting the sheep out of the open.

    Here is why I believe Jesus was born on 25 Dec 0001BC:

    The Hebrew law said to circumcise the Child on the 8th day.
    The day of birth was counted as day one. Boys not
    living to the day of circumcision weren't consider to
    have been born (but were still born).

    Day 1 - 25 Dec 0001BC
    Day 2 - 26 Dec 0001BC
    Day 3 - 27 Dec 0001BC
    Day 4 - 28 Dec 0001BC
    Day 5 - 29 Dec 0001BC
    Day 6 - 30 Dec 0001BC
    Day 7 - 31 Dec 0001BC
    Day 8 - 01 Jan 0001AD

    Jesus became an official Jewish Person
    on the first day of the first month of
    the first Year of our Blessed Lord and Savior:
    Messiah Jesus.

    BTW, there is no year zero.
    31 Dec 0001BC is followed imediately by 01 Jan 0001AD.
     
  5. Pipedude

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    Edersheim, Andrews, or Farrar (who can remember all this stuff?) pointed out that there's a break in the weather over there around Dec 25--a dry, warm period passes by.

    Also, I've heard that in sheep farming communities here, the farmers seldom make it to Christmas Eve services, cantatas, what-have-you, because they're out pulling lambs. Even as deer are together in the woods all year, but only mate at a certain time each year, so with sheep--which means that lambs are born at a certain time each year, and that's Christmastime.

    I haven't verified this. I'm just one of those rare folks in our circles who loves to pass around hearsay.
     
  6. Watchman

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    "If, in fact Jesus was born at the Feast of Tabernacles, His conception would have been nine months earlier, just at the time of Hanukkah, The Feast of Lights!"

    Yes, this is what I have come to believe. Conceived at the Feast of Lights (Light came into the world); Born at the Feast of Tabernacles (God "tabernacled" with us.
     
  7. Helen

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    Archeryaddict, good post and thanks. There is further confirmation that Jesus was born in the autumn of 3 BC. That is the time the registration commanded by Augustus took place. He was confirmed "Father of his Country" in February of 2 BC, and he refused to accept that title unless the Roman citizens across the Empire agreed to it. That was one of the purposes of the registration (it was not for tax purposes) which was completed by mid-autumn of 3 BC.
     
  8. tinytim

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    I remember reading here on BB, I think last year, a good argument using the facts concerning the birth of John the Baptist to show that DEc. 25th is plausible....

    But I can't seem to find it..
    Ed, do you remeber.. .I think you were in the discussion.
     
  9. Helen

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    It's not even a vague possiblity, Tim. Zechariah was in the eight course, or rotation of priests and would have been serving in early June when Passover and the Feast of Weeks are taken into account. If Elizabeth then conceived in late June, John would have been born the following spring, of 3 BC. Mary had evidently just conceived when she visited Elizabeth, staying with her until John was born and then traveling home. She had Jesus six months later. That puts it at the end of summer or early autumn of 3 BC.

    Astronomically, the signs looked for by the Magoi (NOT 'magi') began the summer of 3 BC and culminated December 25, exactly, of 2 BC, when they visited, and worshiped the fifteen month old Child in Bethlehem.
     
  10. tinytim

    tinytim
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    My brain hurts...

    Thanks Helen for the info.
     

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