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True2Ourselves Forums   > Community Topics > Theology  > On What Day Was Jesus Born?

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  #1  
Old 12-19-2010, 10:47 PM
Moses
 
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Default On What Day Was Jesus Born?

While much of the world celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ on the 25th of December, can the actual day of Jesus' birth be determined from scripture? This question will be explored in some detail, and will yield a result that is quite intriguing. The first passage we will consider begins with the father of John the Baptist, Zacharias:

What day was Jesus born?

As you can see it was during the feast of Booths, Sukkoth.

So what is about the Dec 25th? Well more like Conception of Jesus
25 Kislev during Hanukkah. WHen God came back to dwell with his people, conception is secret.
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  #2  
Old 12-20-2010, 01:58 PM
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Default Re: On What Day Was Jesus Born?

What feasts are celebrated on or around March 19?

The calendar we go by has had several adjustments from times when the calendar was not maintained and so has shifted it's dates a bit by those attempting to realign it. The dark ages was one such time when keeping the calendar was lost for a time.

There is a great documentary to help use biblical evidence to pinpoint the time of Jesus birth.

The Star of Bethleham by Rick Larson
Producer Stephen McEveety (The Passion of the Christ)

The Star of Bethlehem

According to the documentary, I haven't seen it in it's entirety, December 25, 2BCE, counting back from present, was when the Magi gave their gifts to the child Jesus.
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  #3  
Old 12-20-2010, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: On What Day Was Jesus Born?

If we can pinpoint the day of his birth, why not the day of his death?
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Old 12-20-2010, 09:33 PM
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Default Re: On What Day Was Jesus Born?

As for the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ according to the flesh, the math is simple. Zechariah was serving in the Temple on the feast of tabernacles (which followed the day of atonement in September), until it ended on September 23 according to the Roman-Julian calendar as it existed in the early 1st century. And immediately after those days, Elisabeth conceived. 6 months later (March), Mary conceived. 9 months later (Late December) Christ was born. Now there is the argument as to exactly how many days off our modern December 25 is to December 25 in those days. However, we do know that Dec. 21 was the winter solstice in Rome while in Alexandria it was the 25, so it was “close” to our reckoning today. Enter the historical exchanges years later. In 337AD Julius I became Bishop of Rome, and there was an exchange of letters between the Bishop of Jerusalem and the Bishop of Rome. In several places in the Church, some celebrated all the manifestations of Christ together on January 6, the feast of Theophany, or Epiphany (included Nativity, the Baptism of Christ, the first miracle at Cana, etc.), whereas others were celebrating Nativity on December 25 and the Baptism alone on January 6. We see this also in the exchange between Bishop John of Nicea and Zacharias of Armenia Major, where it was also brought up a dispute as to the exact date. In his first reply to the Julius of Rome, the Bishop of Jerusalem asked the question "how can I participate simultaneously in the celebration of the Birth in Bethlehem, and the celebration of the Baptism in the Jordan River?" Julius replied that there were several historical records in the historical archives to which they are bound, including one from 1st century historian Josephus which stated that the birth of Christ took place on the 9th of the month Shevat of that year (=December 25).
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  #5  
Old 12-20-2010, 09:44 PM
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Default Re: On What Day Was Jesus Born?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gray View Post
If we can pinpoint the day of his birth, why not the day of his death?
Um, we do. St. Hippolytus, living in the mid-100's AD to the early 200's AD, and having access to the civil records of the imperial capital, as well as all that had been handed down to him ecclesially reported this:

Hippolytus in his Commentary on Daniel 4.23.3 says:

"For the first advent of our Lord in the flesh, when he was born in Bethlehem, eight days before the kalends of January [December 25th], the 4th day of the week [Wednesday], while Augustus was in his forty-second year, [2 or 3BC] but from Adam five thousand and five hundred years. He suffered in the thirty third year, 8 days before the kalends of April [March 25th], the Day of Preparation, the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar [29 or 30 AD], while Rufus and Roubellion and Gaius Caesar, for the 4th time, and Gaius Cestius Saturninus were Consuls."

The hymnography of the Orthodox Church alludes to the fact that he was both conceived upon and died on the same date, March 25 (according to the old-old Julian Calendar).
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  #6  
Old 12-20-2010, 11:00 PM
Moses
 
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Default Re: On What Day Was Jesus Born?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linsinbigler View Post
As for the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ according to the flesh, the math is simple. Zechariah was serving in the Temple on the feast of tabernacles (which followed the day of atonement in September), until it ended on September 23 according to the Roman-Julian calendar as it existed in the early 1st century. And immediately after those days, Elisabeth conceived. 6 months later (March), Mary conceived. 9 months later (Late December) Christ was born. Now there is the argument as to exactly how many days off our modern December 25 is to December 25 in those days. However, we do know that Dec. 21 was the winter solstice in Rome while in Alexandria it was the 25, so it was “close” to our reckoning today. Enter the historical exchanges years later. In 337AD Julius I became Bishop of Rome, and there was an exchange of letters between the Bishop of Jerusalem and the Bishop of Rome. In several places in the Church, some celebrated all the manifestations of Christ together on January 6, the feast of Theophany, or Epiphany (included Nativity, the Baptism of Christ, the first miracle at Cana, etc.), whereas others were celebrating Nativity on December 25 and the Baptism alone on January 6. We see this also in the exchange between Bishop John of Nicea and Zacharias of Armenia Major, where it was also brought up a dispute as to the exact date. In his first reply to the Julius of Rome, the Bishop of Jerusalem asked the question "how can I participate simultaneously in the celebration of the Birth in Bethlehem, and the celebration of the Baptism in the Jordan River?" Julius replied that there were several historical records in the historical archives to which they are bound, including one from 1st century historian Josephus which stated that the birth of Christ took place on the 9th of the month Shevat of that year (=December 25).
Zechariah was serving in the Temple on the feast of tabernacles?
What do you base it on?

According to scripture

Zacharias' administration in the Temple as beginning on the second Sabbath of the third month, Sivan (May-June) not on the 7th month.

Luke 1:5 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 1:8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, ...

Luke 1:23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.
Luke 1:24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, ...

The clue given to us here is that Zacharias was of the "course" of Abia.

Beginning with the first month, Nisan, in the spring (March-April), the schedule of the priest's courses would result with Zacharias serving during the 10th week of the year.

This is because he was a member of the course of Abia (Abijah), the 8th course, and both the Feast of Unleavened Bread (15-21 Nisan) and Pentecost (6 Sivan) would have occurred before his scheduled duty. This places Zacharias' administration in the Temple as beginning on the second Sabbath of the third month, Sivan (May-June).


King David on God's instructions (1 Chr 28:11-13) had divided the sons of Aaron into 24 groups (1 Chr 24:1-4), to setup a schedule by which the Temple of the Lord could be staffed with priests all year round in an orderly manner. After the 24 groups of priests were established, lots were drawn to determine the sequence in which each group would serve in the Temple. (1 Chr 24: 7-19). That sequence is as follows:

1 Chr 24:7 1. Jehoiarib 2. Jedaiah
1 Chr 24:8 3. Harim 4. Seorim
1 Chr 24:9 5. Malchijah 6. Mijamin
1 Chr 24:10 7. Hakkoz 8. Abijah
1 Chr 24:11 9. Jeshuah 10. Shecaniah
1 Chr 24:12 11. Eliashib 12. Jakim
1 Chr 24:13 13. Huppah 14. Jeshebeab
1 Chr 24:14 15. Bilgah 16. Immer
1 Chr 24:15 17. Hezir 18. Aphses
1 Chr 24:16 19. Pethahiah 20. Jehezekel
1 Chr 24:17 21. Jachim 22. Gamul
1 Chr 24:18 23. Delaiah 24. Maaziah

Last edited by Moses : 12-21-2010 at 08:45 AM.
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  #7  
Old 12-21-2010, 05:47 AM
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Default Re: On What Day Was Jesus Born?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linsinbigler View Post
Um, we do.

The hymnography of the Orthodox Church alludes to the fact that he was both conceived upon and died on the same date, March 25 (according to the old-old Julian Calendar).
So why do we persist with dating it by a pagan calculation that lets it fall on any of about 35 different dates?
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  #8  
Old 12-21-2010, 11:29 AM
Josiah
 
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Default Re: On What Day Was Jesus Born?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linsinbigler View Post
As for the Nativity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ according to the flesh, the math is simple. Zechariah was serving in the Temple on the feast of tabernacles (which followed the day of atonement in September), until it ended on September 23 according to the Roman-Julian calendar as it existed in the early 1st century. And immediately after those days, Elisabeth conceived. 6 months later (March), Mary conceived. 9 months later (Late December) Christ was born. Now there is the argument as to exactly how many days off our modern December 25 is to December 25 in those days. However, we do know that Dec. 21 was the winter solstice in Rome while in Alexandria it was the 25, so it was “close” to our reckoning today. Enter the historical exchanges years later. In 337AD Julius I became Bishop of Rome, and there was an exchange of letters between the Bishop of Jerusalem and the Bishop of Rome. In several places in the Church, some celebrated all the manifestations of Christ together on January 6, the feast of Theophany, or Epiphany (included Nativity, the Baptism of Christ, the first miracle at Cana, etc.), whereas others were celebrating Nativity on December 25 and the Baptism alone on January 6. We see this also in the exchange between Bishop John of Nicea and Zacharias of Armenia Major, where it was also brought up a dispute as to the exact date. In his first reply to the Julius of Rome, the Bishop of Jerusalem asked the question "how can I participate simultaneously in the celebration of the Birth in Bethlehem, and the celebration of the Baptism in the Jordan River?" Julius replied that there were several historical records in the historical archives to which they are bound, including one from 1st century historian Josephus which stated that the birth of Christ took place on the 9th of the month Shevat of that year (=December 25).
Thank you, I appreciate it very much.

MY personal perspective is this: We don't know. It doesn't matter.

I don't recall a single date mentioned anywhere in the NT. I'm not sure precise DATES are relevant to the purpose of Scripture. That doesn't mean we can't embrace dates, of course.

My parents are friends with a man - probably in his late 50's or early 60's - who was born in Korea during the Korean war. He is half-Black and half-Korean, it seems clear his father was an American serviceman. He was brought to a MASH unit and left there. I don't know if any attempt was made to learn of his family or whatever, but in any case, his name and birthdate and such were never determined. Via the Red Cross, he was eventually adopted by a family in Southern California and given the name Randy. The date on his adoption papers and the date he legally uses as his birthday is the date he was found at the MASH unity. It's not known if this is correct; he could have been several days old when left at the MASH unit. So, it is WRONG to celebrate his birthday since no one knows when he was born? IMO, no.

As I understand it (and I ain't saying that's saying much), birthdays were not celebrated by the ancient Jews. The Romans, however, DID - big time! Christianity is one of two major world religious that originated in one culture but developed in an entirely different one (Buddhism being the other), so since Christianity grew up Roman, it's no surprise to ME that the Roman obsession with birthdays came to be a Christian issue. Birthdays were not so much the exact anniversary of a birth as a day to celebrate and honor that PERSON. Since no person deserved to be honored and celebrated more than Jesus - the question became: when was He born? Answer: No one knows! (the question would be "off the radar" of the Jews among whom Jesus was born). As I understand it, for awhile, the DATE was not universally embraced, different areas embraced different dates (remember, for 300 years, Christianity was a very loose movement - underground and illegal at that). Eventually, Dec. 25th was embraced as the day ON WHICH TO CELEBRATE His birth, not the date on which He was born (which remains unknown).

IMO, we just don't know. And it just doesn't matter.

He is born! Glorify Him! Embrace Him! Make room for Him in the cradle of our hearts!






.
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Old 12-21-2010, 12:00 PM
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Default Re: On What Day Was Jesus Born?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linsinbigler View Post
Um, we do. St. Hippolytus, living in the mid-100's AD to the early 200's AD, and having access to the civil records of the imperial capital, as well as all that had been handed down to him ecclesially reported this:

Hippolytus in his Commentary on Daniel 4.23.3 says:

"For the first advent of our Lord in the flesh, when he was born in Bethlehem, eight days before the kalends of January [December 25th], the 4th day of the week [Wednesday], while Augustus was in his forty-second year, [2 or 3BC] but from Adam five thousand and five hundred years. He suffered in the thirty third year, 8 days before the kalends of April [March 25th], the Day of Preparation, the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar [29 or 30 AD], while Rufus and Roubellion and Gaius Caesar, for the 4th time, and Gaius Cestius Saturninus were Consuls."

The hymnography of the Orthodox Church alludes to the fact that he was both conceived upon and died on the same date, March 25 (according to the old-old Julian Calendar).
Fascinating, especially the last paragraph.
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Old 12-21-2010, 01:39 PM
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Default Re: On What Day Was Jesus Born?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gray View Post
So why do we persist with dating it by a pagan calculation that lets it fall on any of about 35 different dates?
You don't know what you are talking about. The calculation is that it falls on the Paraskevi (friday) preceding the Paschal calculation, which is the first Sunday after the Passover as it was calculated in the first century (the first mathematical full moon after the vernal equinox). It is a Hebrew calculation that blends the lunar and solar calendars of the day.
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