Sunday, 2 October 2016

Exact day of the birth of Yah'shua

Towards the end of each year the season of feasts in many cultures will be upon us once again.

Ask yourself what are you celebrating?

These feasts include Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Muharram, Dasara, Mawlid an Nabi, Christmas, Diwali, Muharram, Ashura, Rohatsu and the like.


They all celebrate something or some one ...

25th of December celebrates the birth of the evil Baal god, Tammuz ... not the birth of Christ!

(see here)

The celebration of birthdays is a western culture thing. Nothing wrong with it ... but Jesus never said to celebrate His birthday ...

With all these feasts and celebrations going on and as followers of the Truth, what is our role in all this?


Is the day even important?

Well, Jesus didn't say it was.


Yet, to our surprise the date of birth of Christ can be accurately determined from scripture itself if we really want to.

If Jesus did not say to celebrate his birthday, then what's to celebrate?

There is only one feast that Jesus suggested to celebrate as often as we could - He Himself! Life! 1Co 11:26

But Daniel ...


The purpose of determining the exact date of the birth of Jesus is of mere academic value. Yet, it will also bring some perspective in terms of our appointed man-made feasts. That our feasts are pure religion and nothing more. That nothing but a ritual. That it is all about the decorations, the bright lights and spending and fake giving and going to church, a mere fasade. It really is a compromised day taken out of context for the purposes of Constantine's own power-struggle and Babylonian mixture between corrupted Christianity and paganism. 

Instead, God calls us for intimacy and  relationship with Him!

What about our feasts?


What about our feasts?

He says about man's feasts in Isaiah 1:14:

Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.

... and then goes on to explain, through out the whole of the book of Isaiah, that Jesus is the appointed feast!

Jesus is the feast!

Still in need of a date?

Let's get the date then
, if you really want a date.

In order to determine the date we'll go step by step:

Step 1: The Temple Duty Cycles

We can accurately determine the date of birth of Christ following the cycle of temple duties instituted by King David himself. We use that as a reference and look at the father of John the Baptist who was a Levite priest who had to do priestly service at the exact appointed times as determined.


The Bible is very specific with regards to the dates determined for temple duty for the Levites and these were strictly adhered to from generation to generation leading up to the birth of Christ.

According to scripture King David determined the set cycle of dates for Levite priest groups to perform yearly temple duty as per instruction of God (See 1 Chr 28:11-13; 1 Chr 24:1-4).


24 groups (courses) were determined to perform temple duty in a fixed sequence. These were according to 1 Chronicles 24:7-18

1. Jehoiarib

2. Jedaiah

3. Harim

4. Seorim

5. Malchijah

6. Mijamin

7. Hakkoz

8. Abijah (note that this course is in bold)

9. Jeshuah

10. Shecaniah

11. Eliashib

12. Jakim

13. Huppah

14. Jeshebeab

15. Bilgah

16. Immer

17. Hezir

18. Aphses

19. Pethahiah

20. Jehezekel

21. Jachim

22. Gamul

23. Delaiah

24. Maaziah

It is even accounted for outside of the Bible


According to historian, Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 7, Chapter 14, Paragraph 7) the distribution of the course were determined by lot, in the presence of David, Zadok and Abiathar, the high priest. The course which came up first was written down as the first, and accordingly the second, and so on to the twenty-fourth. This partition hath remained to this day.

How did it work?


Very specifically, each one of the 24 groups (courses) of priests would begin and end their service in the temple on the Sabbath. The length of duty was one week (2 Chr 23:8, 1 Chr 9:25). After group 24 had completed their duty the courses would start again at course 1, until course 24 (Maaziah) when it will repeat again ...

Yet, on three occasions during the year, all the men of Israel were required to travel to Jerusalem for the festivals of the Lord. For these three occasions all the priests were required to do temple duty. The three festivals were that of Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles (Deut 16:16).

According to the Hebrew calendar - let's get technical


Remember that these events and temple duties happened according to the Hebrew calendar (see here for the Hebrew calendar). 

Note especially that the Jewish calendar begins in spring, during the month of Nisan. The first group scheduled for temple duty would be that of the Jehoiarib family serving for one week, Sabbath to Sabbath. The courses of temple duty will repeat over 51 weeks or 357 days, covering the Jewish calendar year (about 354 days).

A Jewish calendar year features twelve lunar months of twenty-nine or thirty days, depending on the month. An extra lunar month is added seven times every nineteen years to make up and synchronize the twelve lunar cycles with the longer solar year. The beginning of each Jewish lunar month is based on the appearance of the new moon and had to be certified by witnesses (priests). This happened the very moment the new moon appeared and two or more agreed that it was seen. (the western calendar is a solar calendar, a Babylonian inheritance enforced by Constantine and the Roman empire) 

Notice that in the period of a year each group of priests would perform temple duty twice in addition to the 3 major festivals. This brings the tally to about five weeks each of Temple duty per group (course).

So, here we have a constant that we may now use to caculate our dates.

Step 2 - Zachariah's turn and how this accounts for the birth of Jesus

The book of Luke painstakingly goes to great length describing the temple duties of Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist. Is this so for a reason?


Check it out!

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. (Luke 1:5)

And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, ... 
(Luke 1:8)

And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. 
(Luke 1:23)

As soon ... meaning the very moment ... and what did he do?


And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived. (Luke 1:24)

Step 3 - Can we get the date and time here please?

Zachariah's temple duty, according to the Levite courses had to be in the spring (March-April), during the 10th week of that year. This is because he was a member of the course of Abijah, the 8th course.


Both the Feast of Unleavened Bread (15-21 Nisan) and Pentecost (6 Sivan) would have occurred before his scheduled duty. So, Zacharias' administration in the Temple is easily determined to have begun on the second Sabbath of the third month, Sivan (May-June). He would have completed his temple service on the third Sabbath of Sivan and returned home and then immediately conceived his son John. Scripture tells us that John the Baptist was conceived shortly after the third Sabbath of the month of Sivan.

Also, John the Baptist could not have been conceived any time before the temple duties of Zachariah since priests had to abstain to prepare themselves.

Step 4 - From here, how do you get to Jesus?

The reason why the information about John is important, is because Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the sixth month of Elisabeth's pregnancy (according to the book of Luke). 


Let's continue in Luke 1 again and see if we can see it ...

And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,

Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
 
(Luke 1:24-27)

Context please


We have to note here that verse 26 emphasizes the sixth months of Elizabeth's pregnancy (not Elul, the sixth month of the Hebrew calendar, but six months after the conception of John as  clarified by the context of verse 24 as well as verse 36).

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)

So, six months after Elizabeth, Mary conceived.


Step 5 - Still counting months ...

So, Mary stayed with Elizabeth for the last 3 months of her pregnancy, until John the Baptist was born.

And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.


Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son 
(Luke 1:56-57)

And John the Baptist was born.


Some biology please

Human gestational averages 38 weeks (8.74 months) from conception. 


However, pregnancy is customarily measured from the date of the last menstruation — about 2 weeks before conception. By this scale, pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, or 9.20 months. Counting then from the conception of John the Baptist shortly after the third Sabbath of the month of Sivan, a term of 10 lunar months (40 weeks), takes us to the month of Nisan for the birth of John the Baptist.

It thus appears that John the Baptist may have been born in the middle of the month, coinciding with Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread on the 15th day of Nisan (first month on the Jewish calendar, early Spring - April). It becomes even more interesting to note that even today, the Jews in accordance with the prophecy in Malachi 4:5, would set out a special place at the Passover Seder meal in anticipation of the arrival of Elijah at this very time.

Elijah returns

Even Jesus identified John as the "Elijah" that the Jews had expected.

And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. Mat 17:10

And the angel that appeared to Zacharias in the temple also indicated that John would be the expected "Elias". Wow!

And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:17

Step 6 - Counting months to the birth of Jesus
Now, let' do some simple mathematics ...


Since Jesus was conceived exactly six months after John the Baptist and we have determined the date for John's birth, we need only to add six more months to arrive at the date for the birth of Jesus.

Doing this simple math brings us to the 15th day of the 7th month (Tishri - September/October on the western calendar).

But is it significant?


What did you think?

Amazingly, we arrive at yet another Jewish feast, the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot! (see here and here and here).

The 15th day of Tishri is the beginning of the third and last festival of the Jewish year which all the men of Israel were compelled to attend in Jerusalem (Lev 23:34). On the western Greko-Roman calendar this brings us normally to the end of September or beginning of October (last days of Summer in Israel. Remember the dates on the western calendar differs every year because of the length of the Jewish lunar year being 353, 354 or 355 days, while a leap Hebrew calendar year can have a length of 383, 384 or 385 days, compared to our fixed 365¼ days.)

Also, Jesus was not born in the Winter since the Shepherds were out at night in the field.

Prophecy fulfilled!


The birth of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles starting on 15 Tishri in the Hebrew calendar (The feast of tabernacles or Sukkot - see here, here and here)

Almighty God came to tabernacle amongst man!


What is our role?

Focus on Jesus.


Not just the baby Jesus in the crib, the way the enemy wants the world to see Him ...

But the all-mighty, all-victorious, all-lovely, all-loving, resurrected and abiding Jesus, who resides within you right now!

Help people to celebrate Jesus, our King and lover, our precious Saviour, our wonderful Redeemer and Victor by celebrating His body and His blood as often as they can!

Why celebrate the beginning when you can celebrate the victory and restoration?

All honour, all power, all glory, all praise to Him who sits upon the throne and onto the Lamb that was slain!


Forever!

From before time was.

Forever more!
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