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Dates of Our Messiah's Birth and Death

 

Traditions of Men

As we approach December 25th each year I like to repeat this sermon, in that I think it is important that we prove (1 Thes 5:21& 1 John 4:1) when Christ was really born. Today= s sermon will address the specific dates of John= s birth and our Messiah= s birth and death.

Many today observe Christ's birthday on the Catholic date, December 25th, or on the Eastern churches date of January 6th. Most of us know full well these are not the date of his birth. Latin languages (e.g. French, Italian, Spanish) do not use an equivalent word for the word A

.@ They use words describing A birth.@ such as A Navidad.@ The word A Christmas@ means the mass of Christ, which is a Catholic church service held on Christmas eve.

(Mark 7:7-8) They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.' {8} You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men."

Yes, Christmas is a tradition of men. But people like their traditions. Many newcomers to God's Truth find their greatest difficulty is in giving up Christmas. It is a time of festivities, sparkling lights, the receiving of gifts, office parties, pretty music, a time to decorate the home, family get-togethers, notes sent to old acquaintances to tell them of the highlights of the past year, a theme for the winter holidays. Yes, Christmas is fun for most people. But Christmas can also be a difficulty for some and a tragedy for others: Drunken driving, suicides, large-scale theft from stores, loneliness if away from home, overspending, an increase of crime, and over-crowded stores, roads and parking lots.

Most historians admit that Christmas is not even the birth date of Christ. The Reader's Digest Atlas of the Bible says that the Roman festival Saturnalia was replaced by the observance of Christmas about 400 AD. This is also admitted in the book The Bible as History. If the observance of Christmas is based upon a continuation of a pagan Roman festival which worshipped the returning sun, then when was Christ really born?

To properly analyze when He was born, we need to determine when He was crucified. So when was he crucified? Most believe it was on Good Friday, with his resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday. The Bible explains that Christ was crucified in the spring on Passover and His ministry lasted three and a half years. So, He had to begin that ministry in the fall. We also know that He was thirty years old when His ministry began

(Luke 3:23 NASB) And when He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being supposedly the son of Joseph, the son of Eli,

We know that he was crucified on a Wednesday Passover afternoon and resurrected late Saturday afternoon. But which Wednesday?...Which Saturday? How can we know?

If you didn't know Christ was crucified on a Wednesday, please let me refer you to a few scriptures:

(Mat 12:39-40 NKJV) But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. {40} "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

(Mark 8:31 NKJV) And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

(John 2:19, 21 NKJV) Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.". . . {21} But He was speaking of the temple of His body.

Christ would be in the grave for three days and three nights

(Mark 15:33-34, 37 KJV) And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. {34} And at the ninth hour [about 3 PM] Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? (G4518, sabak-than-ee= )which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?..37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.

(John 19:31 NKJV) Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

The High Day Sabbath was the first day of unleavened bread. [Ref: Lev 23:4-7] The day before was the Passover, the day Christ was sacrificed for our sins. After He died, permission had to be obtained to take Him away for burial, He had to be transported, and He had to be wrapped, all before sunset, the beginning of the high day.

(Mat 28:1,6 NKJV) Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.. . . .6 "He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.

On Sunday morning, before dawn, Christ had already been resurrected. In order to be in the grave three days and three nights and still be resurrected before Sunday morning, He had to be in the grave Wednesday night, Thursday, Thursday night, Friday, Friday night, and Saturday. He was resurrected at about sunset on Saturday evening.

So much for what is called A Good Friday.@

Two calendar charts are available with this sermon to assist you in analyzing the information given in this sermon. One shows the Passover dates for the years 22-36 AD. The other shows Passover, Trumpets and Feast of Tabernacles dates for the years 6 BC through 1 AD.

 

The Bethlehem Story

Bethlehem is the site of Christ's birth. The Christmas story also states that. Let's start our study of the Bethlehem story with:

(Luke 2:8-11) And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. {9} An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. {10} But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. {11} Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

It is common knowledge that flocks in that region are kept out in the fields overnight only from about April to October. From November to March is the cold, rainy season in Israel. Snow is not unusual in the Bethlehem region during their winter, but even without snow, the nights are quite cold - much too cold for shepherds to be living outdoors.

So the blessed event must have occurred during the warmer months, the drier months, not at the end of December.

Another consideration is that the Roman government would be unlikely to irritate the population by requiring the people to travel to register for the census (or taxes) during the difficult, even treacherous winter weather.

In addition, it was the custom of Jesus' family to attend the Feast of the Passover in Jerusalem.

(Luke 2:41) Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover.

It is very likely they routinely attended the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem too. Remember that Bethlehem is only about five miles from Jerusalem. It is unlikely that a family chosen by God to raise His son would be so luke-warm as to not attend the Feast of Tabernacles.

It may have been more than coincidental that they were commanded to register for taxes in Bethlehem at the very time Jesus was due to be born. Bethlehem is the region from which animals were specially raised for sacrifice at the Temple; also the City of David (Luke 2:4,11) from where the ancestors of both Joseph and Mary (Miryam, in Hebrew) originated. Census, registration, and the payment of taxes could also be accomplished on their way to the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) in Jerusalem. At any rate, it seems unusual and inhuman that Mary had to travel by foot or on the back of an animal with Joseph during the dead of winter just to register for taxes when she was late in her ninth month of pregnancy. Caesar Augustus was considered a wise ruler. Collecting taxes would be much better accepted by the people during the happiness and joy of the Feast of Tabernacles than asking them to trudge sixty miles or more at a relatively high altitude through wet, cold weather in the dead of winter. The Feast would certainly explain why the inns were all full, but might not explain why she had to make the journey all the way from Nazareth, because only males were required to attend the Feast (Ex 23:17 and Deu 16:16). But perhaps they knew their child should be born in Bethlehem during the Feast of Tabernacles. Also, when Mary was due for delivery of her child, neither she nor Joseph would want her to be left alone. Some speculate that the place they stayed in Bethlehem was a sukkah, the temporary Festival booth or dwelling designated by Lev 23:42. The crib, in that case, would probably have been a storage place for food.

 

The Begetting of John the Baptist

Now let's look at the begetting of John the Baptist as it relates to the birth date of Christ.

Luke 1:5-25 In the time of Herod [the Great - he should have been called Herod the Horrible] king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah [Z'kar-yah' in Hebrew], who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah [A-vi-yah']; his wife Elizabeth [E-li-she'-va in Hebrew] was also a descendant of Aaron. {6} Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly. {7} But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years. {8} Once when Zechariah's division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, {9} he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. {10} And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. {11} Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. {12} When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. {13} But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John [Yo-cha-nan' in Hebrew, meaning "God gives grace"]. {14} He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, {15} for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. {16} Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. {17} And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous--to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." {18} Zechariah asked the angel, "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years." {19} The angel answered, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. {20} And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time." {21} Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. {22} When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak. {23} When his time of service was completed, he returned home. {24} After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. {25} "The Lord has done this for me," she said. "In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people."

Verse 5 mentions the course of Abijah [A-vi-yah']. This course is mentioned in:

(1 Chron 24:10) the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah,

So Abijah is the eighth course. There were 24 altogether. Josephus, in Book 7, Chapter 14, Section 7 of his Antiquity of the Jews, states that each course is eight days long, from Sabbath through Sabbath. So there were priests from two courses on duty each weekly Sabbath. For the same reason, all the priests were on duty all days of holy weeks such as the days of Unleavened Bread and during the Feast of Tabernacles. We can find out why in Numbers 28, which lists the sacrifices used in each of the Feast days. They sacrificed a different number of animals on each of the Feast days and the New Moon days. The New Moon days were treated like a Feast day in terms of sacrifices. On the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles they used thirteen bullocks as well as a bunch of other things...2 rams, 14 lambs, etc. Each Feast day had its own amounts of animals. There was obviously a great deal of work to be done on these various Feast days. The month of Nisan, the first month, in the year 6 BC began on Saturday, March 20th. The reason for selecting 6 BC will become clear as we go through this study. Assuming that the first course began on Sabbath, March 20th, the first course would run from March 20th through March 27th. Let's list the courses:

 

Course

Jewish Calendar

Roman Calendar

1

Nisan 1-8

March 20-27

2

Nisan 8-15

March 27-April 3

ULBread

Nisan 15-21

April 3-9

As stated, the week of Nisan 15 through 21 would be skipped in the count of courses because it is the week of Unleavened Bread when all the priests were serving (per Josephus). During the Holy Days the Holy Day offering was made, plus the daily offering, plus the Sabbath offering if it happened to be a weekly Sabbath.

 

Course

Jewish Calendar

Roman Calendar

3

Nisan 21-29

April 10-17

4

Nisan 29-Iyar 6

April 17-24

5

Iyar 6-13

April 24-May 1

6

Iyar 13-20

May 1-8

7

Iyar 20-27

May 8-15

Pentecost

Iyar 27-Sivan 5

May 15-22

8

Sivan 5-12

May 22-29

 

During the week of Pentecost, they not only had the Pentecost sacrifice and the daily sacrifice, but they also had a New Month (new moon) sacrifice. This year the new month began on Tuesday and Pentecost, of course, fell two days earlier on Sunday, Iyar 28. That places the eighth course from Sivan 5th through Sivan 12th, which is May 22nd through May 29th. Pentecost (the Feast of Weeks) falls between course 7 and 8. We don't know for sure if Pentecost week was excluded from the schedule of courses or not but we will exclude it for our estimate. Is it possible that Zechariah was struck dumb on Pentecost? Most important events seem to happen on High Days. Special events in Christianity were designed to occur on High days. See our booklet A God= s High Days.@

Zechariah probably completed his service and went home about the first of June, Sivan 15. Sometime during June, Elizabeth conceived. Obviously, there is no way to know exactly what day she conceived, but let's place the date about the 15th of June, Sivan 29.

The next scriptural clue is found in:

(Luke 1:24) After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion.

We must remember that both Elizabeth and Zechariah were in advanced years. It is quite probable that Elizabeth, knowing her advanced age for child bearing, remained in seclusion so as to gain as much rest as possible and to give the unborn child the best possible chance of survival. At any rate, let's track these five months:

 

 

Month

 

Roman Month

Jewish Month

1st month

June 15th to July 15th

Sivan 29 to Tammuz 29

2nd month

July 15th to August 15th

Tammuz 29 to Elul 1

3rd month

August 15th to September 15th

Elul 1 to Tishri 3;

On Tishri 1 the year changed to Hebrew year 3756; but still Roman year 6 BCE.

4th month

September 15th to October 15th

Tishri 3 to Heshvan 3

5th month

October 15th to November 15th

Heshvan 3 to Kislev 4

 

In the sixth month, Mary, mother of Jesus, heard about Elizabeth being pregnant.

(Luke 1:36) Even Elizabeth [E-li-she'-va] your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.

The sixth month would be about November 15th, Kislev 4, to December 15th, Tevet 4. Let's assume the statement was made about December 1st, Kislev 20 in 6 BCE, mid way through the 6th month.

(Luke 1:39-44) At that time Mary [Mir-yam' in Hebrew] got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, {40} where she entered Zechariah's [Z'kar-yah's] home and greeted Elizabeth [E-li-she'-va]. {41} When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. {42} In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! ["The fruit of your womb" in the KJV] {43} But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? {44} As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.

Mary= s haste to reach Elizabeth probably enabled her to arrive by December 7, Kislev 26.

The 7th month of Elizabeth's pregnancy would be from about December 15th to about January 15th. January is in Roman year 5 BC. The Hebrew year remains 3756.

 

Month

Roman Month

Jewish Month

7th month

December 15th to January 15th, 5 BC

Tevet 4 to Shevat 6

8th month

January 15th to February 15th.

Shevat 6 to Adar 7

9th month

February 15th to March 15th.

Adar 7 to Nisan 7

 

John the Baptist was probably born about middle or late March, possibly about Passover of 5 BC. Passover, Nisan 14, in 5 BC was on March 21st.

The Birth of Christ

Yeshua ha Mashiach, (Jesus Christ), the Son of God, was probably conceived about December 6th, or Kislev 25. Hanukkah is celebrated from Kislev 25 to Tevet 2, December 6 to December 13 in 6 BC, so Hanukkah very likely encompasses the date of His conception. Some surmise He was conceived on December 25th, but again, the day of conception cannot be known for sure, and the December 25th conception idea may simply be an attempt to justify the observance of Christmas. Besides, it appears from Luke 1:41-42 that Yeshua was conceived before Mary visited Elizabeth, which we estimate to be about December 7th, Kislev 26. Let= s read those verses again.

(Luke 1:41-42 NKJV) And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. {42} Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!

If our Messiah's conception was on December 6th, the first day of Hanukkah, Christ probably would have been born by the middle of September. The Feast of Tabernacles, Tishri 15-22 in 5 BC, started on Saturday, September 16th.

There is obviously some logic for the belief that Yeshua was born on the first day of the Feast, September 16th, then circumcised on the eighth day, September 23rd. The High Day some call the Last Great Day is called the Eighth Day by Judaism and by the Bible in Lev. 23:39. Important events seem to occur on the High Days.

Is there a similar message taught by Luke 2:10, about the birth of Jesus, and Deut 16:13-14, about the Feast of Tabernacles? Let= s look at these two verses to see their similarity:

(Deu 16:13-14 NKJV) "You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress. {14} "And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates.

(Luke 2:10 NKJV) Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.@

But there is another reason Yeshua might have been born on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles. In John 1:14 we are told:

(John 1:14 NKJV) And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

The word A dwelt,@ G4637, is translated as A tabernacle@ in the Greek lexicon as well as in the margin of the AV and other translations. So we could read verse 14 as A And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.@ In the days of Moses the Eternal tabernacled or dwelt among His people. It is our belief that the A LORD@ who led Moses is the same being as He who later became our Messiah. In John 1:14 we saw that the Son of God the Father became flesh and again tabernacled among us. Let= s compare that verse with:

(Exo 40:38 NKJV) For the cloud of the LORD was above the tabernacle by day, and fire was over it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.

The events of this Old Testament verse were apparently a foreshadow of Yeshua= s later arrival on the anniversary of the Feast of Tabernacles. In the case of Yeshua= s birth He was named A Emmanuel,@ meaning A God with us.@ But in both advents, He who was to become the Father= s Son, tabernacled (dwelt) with us.

There seems to be a parallel pattern for John: Born on Passover, March 21st; and circumcised on the last day the Feast of Unleavened Bread, March 28th, again the eighth day. To repeat: Important events seem to occur on the High Days.

 

Is 5BC The Correct Year?

Most chronologies do indicate that Christ was born in 4 BC. So why do we think 5 BC is the correct year? To answer that, we need to look at the year-numbering conventions used. Today, chronologists recognize that there is no year zero in the Christian BC-AD and the Jewish BCE-CE calendars. But that was not always the case. For example, Appendix 50-VI of the Companion Bible clearly shows a year zero AD. So, when referring to a BC date, the question is: Did the author accept a year zero or didn't he? We, in the twentieth and twenty-first century, have no way of knowing if the author didn't state or show what convention he was using.

Now, let's begin our 5 BC study by reviewing the seventy weeks prophesy of Daniel 9. Before we read the verses, it should be pointed out that there are many interpretations of these verses. What we are presenting now is what we feel is the correct interpretation.

(Dan 9:25-27)"Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. {26} After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. {27} He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing <of the temple> he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him."

The "70 weeks" (7+62+1) is generally understood to mean 70 weeks of years, that is, 70 sevens of years, or seven times 70 years; that is 490 years.

The "day for a year" rationale probably comes from Ezek 4:

(Ezek 4:6) "After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the house of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year.

Now let's look at Dan. 9:25 again. Daniel is told that there will be 7 weeks (49 years) between the order from Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem as mentioned in Nehemiah 2:1-11 which he gave in 454 BC (according to The Companion Bible, Appendix 50) and the date of the dedication of the temple in 405 BC (Ezra 6:15). Some chronologies place these dates three years earlier.

Next, in verse 26, Daniel was told there would be 62 weeks (434 years) between the temple dedication and the year the Messiah would be cut off. 405 BC + 434 years brings us to 30 AD. We must keep in mind that there is no year zero in either the BC-AD "Christian" calendar or in the BCE-CE "Jewish" calendar. For easy calculation you might want to convert the years to the Julian or astronomical calendar which contains a year zero. In the Julian or astronomical calendar 405 BC is -404. -404+434=30 AD or 30 CE. Interestingly, Passover in 30 AD falls on a Wednesday, April 5th.

Another proof of 30 AD is as follows: Caesar Augustus died 19 Aug 14 AD. If Tiberius= co-regency was for two years before Augustus= death, his first year was 12 AD. Consequently his fifteenth year (Luke 3:1) was 26 AD. Christ was thirty years of age when He began His Ministry so His Ministry lasted from late September, 26 AD to early April, 30 AD - about three and a half years.

Some chronologies indicate 457 BC as the date of Artaxerxes' decree. That would cause Christ's crucifixion to occur three years earlier in 27 AD. In that case Passover could also fall on a Wednesday, this time on April 8th, but only if Jewish calendar postponements were in effect then. Postponements are not believed to have started until after 300 AD. Obviously His birth would then occur three years earlier too. It is our belief that the 30 AD Passover is the only likely date of the crucifixion and this sermon will reflect that date.

We know that Christ began his ministry at about age 30. But let's now read it from scripture:

(Luke 3:23) Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry........

(Num 4:1-3) The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: {2} "Take a census of the Kohathite branch of the Levites by their clans and families. {3} Count all the men from thirty to fifty years of age who come to serve in the work in the Tent of Meeting.

About seven scriptures in Numbers 4 specify one cannot enter into the ministry before age thirty. Other scriptures specify age twenty or more to even work in the tabernacle.

(Num 8:23-26) The LORD said to Moses, {24} "This applies to the Levites: Men from twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the Tent of Meeting, {25} but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer. {26} They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the Tent of Meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites."

The Levites work was hard. With many heavy dead animals to handle, their hard -working life was limited.

1 Chr 23:24 These were the descendants of Levi by their families--the heads of families as they were registered under their names and counted individually, that is, the workers twenty years old or more who served in the temple of the LORD.

(1 Chr 23:27) According to the last instructions of David, the Levites were counted from those twenty years old or more.

For our purposes, we will use the age of 30 as specified by the books of the Law (Numbers) and Luke 3:23, which we read.

Nearly everyone would agree that Christ was crucified somewhere between 22 AD and 36 AD. From 22 AD to 37 AD, only the years 27, 30, 33 and 37 AD contain a Wednesday, Abib 14 (Passover). We know that Christ ministered for three and a half years (from Dan. 9:27.) That means that he began his ministry three and a half years before his crucifixion on April 5, 30 AD which would be about October 5, 26 AD, shortly after the completion of his 30th year. The Feast in 26 AD, if there were no postponements, would occur from September 14th through September 21st. Remember we estimated he was born at about the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles. If he was born about the middle of September and was cut off in early April, he must have begun his ministry at about the same time as his 30th birthday.

We established that the sixty-two sevens ended in 30 AD, with the crucifixion of Christ. We also established that Christ ministered for 3-1/2 years. As we just showed, his ministry, therefore, began about October 5, 26 AD. There are 30 years between 26 AD and 5 BC if there is no year zero. So if Christ was born in 5 BC, he was 30 when he started his ministry. As you can see, his age at the beginning of his ministry depends upon the year he was born and vice-versa, but for the dates shown, the crucifixion day ends up on Wednesday too, which is certainly a requirement. It probably seems like we are going around in circles but this is an attempt to try to approach the question from several directions.

The Temple was destroyed in 70 AD. That is exactly forty years after the year 30 AD. Forty is the scriptural number for trial and testing. Many compare this with repentance and forgiveness, the main theme of the Jewish forty-day tradition of Teshuvah. It appears that God gave the priests forty years to repent and seek forgiveness for their part in the crucifixion which occurred in 30 AD. They did not repent and the Temple was destroyed right on schedule, forty years later.

So again, how do we know what year Christ was born? The analysis we have just gone through supports the 5 BC date. Most chronologies support a 4 BC date, perhaps because there is considerable inconsistency about including a year zero in the "Christian" calendar. Nearly everyone would agree Christ was born in -4 on the Julian calendar.

King Herod is believed to have died in April in 3 or 4 BC. The translator's notes in Josephus state that Herod died soon after the lunar eclipse described by Josephus (The Works of Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, Book 17, Chapter 6, Paragraph 4). These notes state that the eclipse occurred on "March 13th, in the year of the Julian period 4710, and the 4th year before the Christian era". A review of eclipse canons for this period indicates the partial lunar eclipse on March 13th does appear to have been visible in Israel. Also, the year of the Julian period 4710 (3 BC) is not the same as the 4th year before the Christian era (4 BC), unless a year zero was included. The translator may have assumed there was a year zero. Perhaps their calendars reflected that in 1736, when the translation was made. There was a total eclipse on March 23 and on September 15 in 5 BC but the most probable eclipse was the one that occurred on March 12, 4 BC. The dates in the notes are thus inconsistent and too risky to use. On the other hand, there is no reason to doubt that Herod died shortly after an eclipse. We will not base our conclusions on the notes about Josephus' eclipse other than to consider the note's dates as approximations. The eclipse of March 12, 4 BC and the total eclipse on September 15, 5BC do seem significant however, because God often precedes an important event with an eclipse.

If Herod died in -3 Julian (4 BC), it would have occurred after the birth of Christ in -4 Julian (5 BC) or -7 Julian (8 BC). That is consistent with Matthew 2. A -4 Julian birthday corresponds with a 30 AD crucifixion; a -7 Julian birthday corresponds with an unlikely 27 AD crucifixion. A 33 AD crucifixion would therefore be impossible because Herod would have had to have died before the birth of Christ, contrary to Matthew 2.

Many chronologies also conclude that 4 BC was also supposed to be the 80th jubilee year. (If you want to research the jubilee, read Lev 25 and 27.) 4 BC would then be the 4000th year from Creation, according to these chronologies. That would also have made portions of 1996-7 AD the 6000th year from Creation. Thought provoking. How much time could we possibly have before the seventh millennium begins or has it already begun? Or did the 4000th year simply occur during Christ= s life on earth? We can only conclude we are very close to if not in the seventh millennium. Deteriorating conditions since 1996 for Israelite people may be evidence of where we are in prophecy.

 

Our conclusions are that John was probably born on Passover, Nisan 14, March 21, 5 BC, and that Christ was born six months later, probably on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles, September 16, 5 BC. Christ was crucified on Passover Wednesday, April 5, 30 AD. Admittedly, we have made several assumptions and many of the dates are estimates, but the estimates are very close and the assumptions have plenty of basis. While the scriptures do not give pinpoint dating, the clues left for us, nonetheless, allow all to see the errors of man= s traditions in Christmas and Easter.

(Deu 12:29-30 NASB) "When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land, {30} beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, 'How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?'

 

 

Sermon given by Wayne Bedwell

14 December 2013

 

 

 

Coypright 2013, Wayne Bedwell

 

 

Links: God's High Days, Is Christmas Christian?, 22-36 AD, 6 BC through 1 AD.

 

 

 

       Church of God Most High 

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