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CHAPTER 9

A CLEARER PERSPECTIVE

 

Scholars believe that Jesus our Lord was born in either the spring or the summer but no one really knows for certain.  However, for Bible scholars and inquiring minds the debate goes on as to an accurate date of the nativity.  In this section there are some interesting key scripture we will investigate as when our Messiah was truly born.  One of these is found in the gospel of Luke.  At the time Jesus was born we read about the shepherds in the field:


“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.”
  Luke 2:8


Most scholars believe the Savior’s birth could not have taken place in the winter month of December.   According to Bible scholars the winter month of December was too cold so the flocks were brought into shelter at this time in Canaan.  If this is true then that would likely rule out a winter time birth of the Savior because the Bible tells us the flocks were outdoors at that time.

Scholars through Biblical research have provided a more accurate time of the Nativity.  This key verse is in Luke’s 1st chapter:


“There was in the days of Herod the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: …”
Luke 1:5


The key here is “course of Abia”.  Dr. Bullinger’s amazing research and work in the Bullinger’s Companion Bible says:
 

“This [course of Abia] was the eighth of the priestly courses of ministration in the Temple (1 Chronicles 24:10), and occurred, as did the others, twice in the year.” 

 

The “Courses” were changed every week, beginning each with a Sabbath.  The reckoning commenced on the 22nd day of Tisri or Ethanim (Appendix 51.5).  This was the eighth and last day of the Feast of Tabernacles=the “Great Day of the Feast” (John 7:37), and was a Sabbath (Leviticus 23:39).

 

The first course fell by lot to Jehoiarib, and the eight to Abia or Abijah (1 Chronicles 23:10).

 

Bearing in mind that all the courses served together at the three Great Feasts, the dates for the two yearly “ministrations” of Abiah will be seen to fall as follows:

 

The first ministration was from 12-18 Chisleu =December 6-12.

 

The second ministration was from 12-18 Sivan =Jun13-19.

 

The announcement there fore to Zacharias in the Temple as to the conception of John the Baptist took place between 12-18 Sivan (June 13-19), in the year 5 B.C.  After finishing his “ministration”, the aged priest “departed to his own house” (Luke 1:23), which was in a city in “the hill country” of Juda (verse 39).

 

The day following the end of the “Course of Abia” being a Sabbath (Sivan 19), he would not be able to leave Jerusalem before the 20th.

 

The thirty miles journey would probably occupy, for an old man, a couple of days at least.  He would therefore arrive at his house on the 21st or 22nd.  This leaves ample time for the miraculous “conception” of Elizabeth to take place on or about 23rd of Sivan – which would correspond to June 23-24 of that year.  The fact of the conception and its date would necessarily be known at the time and afterwards, and hence the 23rd Sivan would henceforth be associated with the conception of John the Baptist as the 1st Tebeth would be with that of the Lord. 

 

But the same influences that speedily obscured and presently obliterated the real dates of our Lord’s “Begetting” and Birth, were also at work with regard to those of the Forerunner, and with the same results.  As soon as the true Birth day of Christ had been shifted from its proper date, videlicet: the 15th of Tisri (September 29), and a Festival Day from the Pagan Calendars substituted for it (videlicet: December 25), then everything else had to be altered too.

 

Dr. Bullinger’s research calculates the conception of Christ six months after the conception of John the Baptist through this verse:
 

“And in the sixth month [Of Elisabeth’s pregnancy] 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 1:26-27

 

The angel Gabriel went on from there to inform Mary:


 “And, behold, thou shalt conceive in the womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus.” 
Luke 1:31

 

Six months into Elisabeth’s pregnancy, according to Dr. Bullinger, puts the conception of Jesus at the 25th of December.  Then calculating a nine-month pregnancy cycle would put the birth of Christ at the end of September on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles.  Dr. Bullinger continues on to say:
 

“The fact of the birth of our Lord having been revealed to the shepherds by the Archangel Michael on the 15th of Tisri, corresponding to the September 29th, 4 B.C. – the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles – must have been known to believers in the Apostolic age.  But the ‘mystery of iniquity’ which was already working in Paul’s day (2 Thess. 2:7) quickly enshrouded this and the other great fact of the day of the Lord’s ‘begetting’ on the first day of the Jewish month Tebeth, corresponding to December 25th, 5 B.C., as well as other events connected with His sojourn on earth, in a rising mist of obscurity in which they have ever since been lost.”
 

Dr. Bullinger charts his calculations in the “Bullinger’s Companion Bible”:

 

The conception of                    on or about                   in the year

John the Baptist                       23rd Sivan=June          5 B.C.

                                                24

 

The Gennesis                           on or about                   in the year

(Begetting) of our                    1st Tebeth=                   5 B.C.

Lord                                         December 25

 

The birth of John                     on or about 4th-                        in the year

The Baptist                              7th Nisan=March         4 B.C.

                                                25-28

 

The birth of our                        on or about 15th           in the year            Lord                                       Tisri=September          4 B.C.

                                            

 

Whether these calculations are accurate or not, Dr. Bullinger has done some incredible research on this subject.  That September 29th calculation claimed by Dr. Bullinger is to have been the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles of that year 4 B.C.  And it would seem logical that Jesus Christ was born on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles.  After all, John 1:14 says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt (Greek word for “dwelt” is “to tent, encamp, to occupy or to reside, (as God did in the Tabernacle of old, a symbol of protection and communion) among us, …”.  Since Jesus our Lord died on Passover wouldn’t it make sense that Jesus our Lord was to be born on one of His appointed Holy days, the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:39-42, Deu. 16:13-15, Num. 29:12, Neh. 8:14)?  Eight days later was another Holy day (Lev. 23:39, Num. 29:35, Neh. 8:18) which is when the Christ child was circumcised.  It is a long-standing Jewish custom to circumcise their children eight days after birth (Lev. 12:2-3): 

 

“And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” Luke 2:21

 

However one may look at it, the picture seems to be much clearer when examining the birth of Christ to the Holy days of the Bible.  However, we know that it was not in the winter month of December.  There are other research methods and dates other scholars have come up with but the Bible seems to remain silent on the precise birth date of our Heavenly King, and probably for a good reason.  Reasons we won’t exactly know until our Lord comes again for His people.  And when that glorious day does come the scriptures make it clear that the whole world will be observing the Feast of Tabernacles.  Speaking of Christ’s second coming and establishing His Kingdom on this earth, the prophet Zachariah was inspired to write:


“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.  And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.  And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.  This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.”
  Zac. 14:16