As Promised to gsmiro and V1G1L4NT: Messiah's Birthdate (Hint: He Tabernacled Among Us)Submitted by Libera_me on Wed, 12/25/2013 - 20:25
As others requested, here are some reasons for a birthdate of 15 Tishri 3758 (5-6 Oct 4 BC, 1st of Sukkoth) for Yeshua. (That is, Jesus, who has finally become Today's Featured Article on Wikipedia after only 13 years). Feel free to disagree with evidence which overcomes all of the following. We will watch the thread to answer questions, but not polemics.
Yeshua had two validated birth certificates. After reading this we hope you'll find more evidence for a birthdate of 15 Tishri 3758 than you will for the birthdate of that guy with two fake birth certificates (who also failed four times to take a valid oath).
1. Zechariah was of the course of Abijah (Lk 1:5), the 8th of 24 courses (1Ch 24:10). The courses served one week of each half-year, excluding Pesach (Passover), Shavuoth (Pentecost), and Sukkoth (Tabernacles, Booths; listed Dt 16:16). So Abijah served roughly the 9th or 10th week of each half (Lk 1:8, 1Ch 24:19). Add two weeks for conception and nine months for gestation and John's birth falls close to either Pesach or Sukkoth. (This puts Yeshua's birth close to the other of the two festivals.)
2. Elijah was expected at Pesach, and John came in Elijah's spirit (Lk 1:17), confirming a likelihood for Yeshua coming at Sukkoth combined with the above.
3. 6 months after the 10th week of the year is Chanukkah (Dedication; Lk 1:26, 36). Conception followed (Lk 1:31, 2:21). So Messiah's conception was probably around Chanukkah and his birth (not his personal dedication) was probably around Sukkoth; this can explain the modern link between the winter solstice and his birth if the correct link is conception, not birth. (Edersheim also quotes Megillah Taanach as showing an unexplained Jewish fast on 9 Tebet, which is often 25 Dec, supporting such a date for birth or conception; but we are unable to synchronize this with a 5 BC conception.)
4. Josephus is often misunderstood. He puts Herod's death after the eclipse of 13 Mar 4 BC (not 29 Dec 1 BC, which is clearly after his death and Archelaus's succession; the 4 BC eclipse had sufficient visibility). He mentions several events in Herod's illness, then Herod's suicide attempt and later death, then several events in Archelaus attempting to control the kingdom, leading up to the conflict of Passover (April). These events did not all happen in one month! They most likely happened over one year and one month; Archelaus confirmed his rule starting Apr 3 BC; and Herod's death is the rough middle of the narration, fall 4 BC. Further, since Herod had spies in Jerusalem and the shepherds (probably the skilled Migdal Eder shepherds of the Orthodox-approved sacrificial sheep) made the news widespread (Lk 2:17-18), he must have heard rapidly, being a diligent inquirer (Mt 2:7, 16). Further, Yeshua's presentation or dedication happened on his 40th day (Lev 12:2-4 is quoted by Luke himself in 2:22-40); if Herod had been alive by then he would have surely heard of the prophecies of Simeon and Anna and tracked down the child. So Herod's death was probably in the first 40 days of Yeshua's life, again supporting Sep-Oct.
5. The Hebrew for "stable" and "tabernacle" is the same (sukkah; Gen 33:17)!
6. The Magi are often misunderstood; it is inferred from Mt 2:16 that they came 1-2 years after Yeshua's birth, but the nova or star was planned from eternity and occurred in space many years earlier than observed, so there is no reason for it to be seen only upon Yeshua's birth; it could have appeared early enough to guide the Magi to arrive just in the same month of his birth. So the nova can also be reconciled with the next point below, which places the Magi within the same month as the shepherds.
7. After the wise men left, Yeshua was taken to Egypt and then to Galilee according to Mt 2:14, 21, 22. But immediately after the 40th-day presentation in Jerusalem, Yeshua went to Galilee according to Lk 2:39. He did not go to Galilee twice here! He went from Egypt through Jerusalem to Galilee, and the statement that Yosef was afraid to go in Jerusalem (Mt 2:22) means just that: he was afraid to go, but according to Luke he went anyway. This all supports an early death for Herod, in Yeshua's first 40 days, and confirms both events happening in fall 4 BC.
8. Though Lk 2:16 with Mt 2:11 imply Yeshua had moved from sukkah to a home, this could have been a family home close to the inn and does not in any way support years of gap; he was probably moved shortly after birth, when the festival crowds would have died down (Sukkoth!). The word "child" also does not mean he had aged years later. The possibility of a move after a festival is a weak one but certainly just as strong as the misinference to two years.
9. A census was usually drawn out and would not flood a city with people, as the inn's state indicated. However, 1 of the 3 feasts like Sukkoth would even overflow the suburbs of Jerusalem.
10. Yosef would be more likely to combine his census requirement in Bethlehem with 1 of the 3 Torah requirements to attend the pilgrim feasts, rather than make two trips. No such Torah requirement occurs for a hypothetical birth around Chanukkah.
11. Of course, the 40th-day presentation in the temple was either before or after the flight to Egypt. If the flight to Egypt was second, it would fit in the gap between Lk 2:39 and 40; if it was first, it would fit between 2:21 and 22. But if the flight to Egypt was second, there were two trips to Galilee, not one (Mt 2:14, 21, 22; Lk 2:39)! It is much less likely to infer two trips and to try to fit the flight to Egypt within Mt 2:1-13 than it is to accept one trip and permit a flight within Lk 2:21-22 between the 8th and 40th days. Such a trip takes only 11 days one-way by foot, and there is ample time to have all the occurrences with only a couple days' rest in Egypt, again supporting Yeshua's birth and Herod's death as close together in Sep-Oct-Nov.
12. The only season in Israel where shepherds would not be outside watching their flocks would be winter! They would watch them in caves or from the tower of Migdal Eder.
13. Messiah became flesh and tabernacled among us (Jn 1:14); he (his flesh) was the tabernacle! The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth) celebrates the Glory (Shechinah) tabernacling among men.
14. Censuses have been historically tracked to begin properly in the fall (Rosh Hashanah) and to drag out for months.
15. It is also likely that Herod would have agreed to schedule a census around a pilgrim festival (not Chanukkah) as well.
16. If Yeshua's birth was on the first day of Sukkoth, that places his circumcision on Simchah Torah, the festival of Rejoicing in the Law. Appropriately, he was Torah in the flesh (embodied). Being named at circumcision is counted as the actual start of social life; but Rejoicing celebrates the Torah coming to life! L'chaim!
17. It is highly unlikely anyone would merely swaddle a baby in a manger with no fire in the middle of the winter equinox, even in Israel!
18. If Yeshua was conceived during Chanukkah, it is a great picture of the Light being conceived in the Temple (his body being the temple, Mk 14:58, Jn 2:19-21), miraculously occurring by the Anointing himself (the Spirit, Is 49:5-6, Lk 2:30-32) dedicating the Temple. This is what Chanukkah celebrates. In contrast to circumcision, conception is the date from which it is customary to count years of age in Israel.
19. If Yeshua was circumcised on Simchah Torah, this is also the festival when the tribes entered into confirmation of the covenant with God at Sinai and the annual time of repeating the covenant blessings and cursings. This indicates the significance of this date in renewing the covenant.
20. Simchah Torah is also the traditional date of the circumcision of Abraham, Isaac, and Ishmael, possibly the "set time" in Gen 17:21, 18:14; cf. 21:1. This indicates precedent.
21. 4 BC has been calculated as the significant 30th Jubilee year from the Exodus.
22. Haggai 2:18-23 makes repeated, specific reference to remembering 24 Kislev (Even Chanukkah), because it is the day from which the Lord begins to bless the construction of the second temple. This date also became the date of Chanukkah Preparation later. Just in case one does not comprehend the message, Haggai adds, "Is the seed still in the barn?" which is a polite Middle Eastern metaphor for indicating that seed is growing in the womb and thus that a process will be fruitful (cf. Gen 3:15, "seed of the woman"). Therefore we have a specific date from prophecy that indicates the actual conception of Messiah! Blessings occur from this day forward!
23. Fall of 4 BC is confirmed by old research from Anderson and Clinton, putting Herod's death between spring 4 BC and spring 3 BC and the Nativity no later than autumn 4 BC; and by Zumpt, who puts the first reign of Quirinius in Syria starting late in 4 BC, putting the Nativity no earlier than autumn 4 BC! (Zumpt concludes an earlier Nativity though). This census of Quirinius is also confirmed by Justin Martyr, who had seen a copy of the document itself, which is no longer extant.
24. If Yeshua were circumcised on 13 Oct 4 BC and crucified on 11 Apr 32 AD, exactly 12,600 days inclusive (35 prophetic years) separate these two events. [This might be chalked up as coincidence, but, as Anderson shows, the Lord has proven several occurrence by exact multiples of 360 days. One of these is confirmed to the month or day by dates within the Bible itself! The 70 years desolation of Jer 39 start 10 Tevet in the 9th of Zedekiah (589; 2Ki 25:1, Jer 52:4, the same date given prophetically long-distance in Ezk 24:2). The 70 years end 24 Kislev in the 2nd of Darius (520; Hag 2:18-19). 70 prophetic years is almost exactly 69 Gregorian years. Using modern lunar calculators, the calculation of 25,200 days may be off by a couple days depending on what you assume, but an error of .01% in such a calculation indicates error in the lunar calculator, not necessarily error in the moon that God created itself.]
25. Josephus mentions one or two slaughters of innocents that resemble the Biblical one. Within the immediate denouement of this event Josephus places the account of Herod's suicide attempt, and then states that it was the 5th day before (4 days before) Herod's eventual death by the disease afflicting him. This supports the idea that the babies were killed while Yeshua was in, or traveling to, Egypt, and that Herod died even the same week as this atrocity! Yosef need not have stayed long in Egypt at all.
26. The birthdate and circumcision date of Yeshua count as triple Sabbaths by being High Holy Days (Sabbaticals or shabbaton), and weekly Sabbaths, and Jubilee Year festivals as well (Lev 23:34-38).
27. The season of Yeshua's birth was inferably a season low in rainfall. Winter of course grows progressively rainier. Autumn is preferred over either winter or early spring on precipitation grounds.
28. Catholics celebrate the Immaculate Conception of Mary on Dec 8. Based on the pragmatism of such festivals (as taught by Anselm to Monica), it is probable this supplanted a like festival, namely the conception of Yeshua at Chanukkah (Dedication).
29. The date of Epiphany on Jan 6 arose the same time as the Dec 25 Christmas in the 4th century. (Same time as Constantine took over both the church and the state: Coincidence? Not likely.) Epiphany celebrates the Magi coming on the 12th of the "12 Days" of Christmas. Could this indicate that the Magi actually came on the 12th day of Yeshua's life, the 26th of Tishri (17 Oct 4 BC)? This gives the correct timing for the flight to Egypt and return to the temple in time for the fulfilling of the command on the 40th day that was required for Yeshua to be perfect under law (28 days, 22 of travel, 6 of rest). It certainly doesn't indicate they found what we would call a two-year-old!
30. Tabernacles being traditionally the most joyous feast in the year, and being a time for both Jews and Gentiles to thank God for protection, provision, and presence, seems an appropriate time for Yeshua ("Salvation") to be born. Tabernacles is Biblically everything Christians want Christmas to be but without any pagan orb-swaddling whatsoever.
31. Finally for now, when Yeshua returns, he will set up a reign and compel the worldwide celebration of Tabernacles (not Xmas) as the international festival of joy (Zec 14:4, 16-19)! Maranatha!
Sources: Robert Anderson; "The Christmas Connection"; Fynes Clinton; Alfred Edersheim; Joseph Good; Alexander Hislop; Chuck Missler; Eric Paschall; "The Tower of the Flock"; Unger Bible Dictionary; Clarence Wagner; Augustus Zumpt; et al.