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When Was Yeshua Born?

Birth date of Yeshua

When was Yeshua (Jesus) born.  Tradition says Dec 25th (Christmas), but as has been demonstrated in earlier articles (Roots of the Christian Faith), this date was done to convert a Pagan Festival into a “Christian” Festival.  The motive appears to have been to make alternatives to the Pagan Festivals.  This has had unfortunate side-effects as outlined in the previous article.

So when was Yeshua born?  Below is the explanation of why many believe Yeshua was born on Succot (Feast of Tabernacles).  This Theory is consistent with scripture, historical events and Jewish Culture.  More importantly, it is consistent with G-d’s prophetic foreshadowing of major events.  As we have seen in the Feasts of the L-rd article, G-d gives extra purpose to His ordained Feasts, in that they are “foreshadows” of the coming of Messiah.

This work includes major portions from Dr. David Hargis, President of Messianic Bureau International (MBI,

So with that brief introduction, consider this amazing work of Ha’Elyon (The Most High). 

Conception of John

In order to establish the date, we must first rely on clues found iin scripture, then add external historical and cultural elements.  The Birth of Yochanan (John) is key as he is a forerunner who announces Messiah.

First Chronicles tells us that the Levitical priesthood was divided into 12 divisions of priests. The ancient Jewish Historian Josephus (Antiquities 7) tells us that each division served for a period of one week. The first division began its period of service on the first day of the year — 1 Nisan (also called Aviv or Abib) — as God had established the calendar in Exodus 12:2. Three weeks out of each year — during the weeks of Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost), and Sukkot (Tabernacles) — all 24,000 priests served together.

As Zekharyah was in the division of Aviyah (Luke 1:5), his term of service began in early Spring on the first day of the eighth week (27th of Ayyar) and ran for one week through the 4th of Sivan. As the following week (5-11 Sivan) was Shavuot, the Feast of Pentecost, he would have stayed in the temple and served that week also with all the priests. Luke 1:23-24 tells us that Zekharyah finished his duties at the Temple , and that Elisheva conceived shortly after his return home. This sets the date for Yochanan’s conception at approximately the third week of Sivan.  [In Gregorian year 2001, that week corresponds to the first week of June. Adding nine months to that date puts the birth of Yochanan sometime near the first week of the Gregorian month of March.]

Conception of Yeshua

We know from scripture that Yeshua (Jesus) was conceived after Yochanan (John), further more, with this information we can now ascertain When Yeshua was conceived.  An interesting point, The early Church may have agreed on December for the reason that was His conception date, not birth.

Near the end of the sixth month of Elisheva’s pregnancy the angel Gavri'el appeared to Miryam and told her about Elisheva saying, “this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.” Miryam immediately left Natzeret (verse 39, “with haste”) and went to the “hill country” near Jerusalem to the home of Zekharyah and Elisheva. We know for sure that Miryam was already pregnant with Yeshua because Yochanan, still in Elisheva’s womb, recognized the unborn Yeshua. [What further evidence do the pro-abortionists need that life begins at conception?]

This sets the conception of Yeshua about end of Kislev during Chanukah (mid-December), the Feast of Lights, thus demonstrating in a very special way that Yeshua is the Light of the World.

“Yeshua is shown celebrating Chanukah in John 10:22,23. It is at this celebration that He declares ‘I and My Father are One’ [John 10:30], which testifies to His Divine origin in His conception. It also reinforces Chanukah as the time of His conception.” 

Birth of John

Given the above events, it is now straight forward to calculate when Yochanan was born.

The prophet Mal'akhi (Malachi) tells us that Eliyah (Elijah) the prophet must come to prepare the hearts of the fathers and their children before Mashiach comes.

4 “Remember the law of Moshe [Moses] my servant, which I commanded to him in Horev for all Yisra'el, even statutes and ordinances. 5 Behold, I will send you Eliyah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the eretz with a curse.” (Malachi 4, HNV)

Therefore, in anticipation of the coming of Mashiach, when Pesach (Passover) is celebrated, a place at the table is set and a cup of wine is poured for Eliyah (Elijah), and the door of the house is left open so that he may come in to the celebration. It is clear that for centuries before the birth of Messiah the Jews had been anticipating the return of Eliyah during Pesach.

The way in which Gavri'el worded his announcement to Zekharyah makes it clear that Yochanan was to be the fulfillment of Mal'akhi’s prophecy: “He will turn many of the children of Yisra'el to the Lord, their God. He will go before his face in the spirit and power of Eliyah, ‘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 1:56 tells us that Miryam stayed with Elisheva for three months, which would have been up until the time Yochanan was born. We can now calculate the date of Yochanan’s birth with a great deal of accuracy.

• A full term pregnancy term is 41 weeks.
• There are 27 weeks in the first six months (two trimesters) of pregnancy.
• There are 27 weeks from the spring service of of Abiyah to Chanukah.
• There are 14 weeks remaining to accomplish the last trimester and bring 
   the pregnancy to full term.
• There are exactly 14 weeks from Chanukah to Passover (Nisan 14-22).

Therefore, Yochanan was born at Passover, most certainly on the first day of Unleavened Bread. He was circumcised on the eighth day, which would be the last day of Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread. His birth therefore exactly fulfills both Mal'akhi’s prophecy and the Jewish expectation of that fulfillment to occur at Passover.

The Birth of Yeshua

So we have established that Yochanan was born at Passover.  Given this, and knowing Yeshua was conceived in December (Kislev), we come to the time of His birth.  Chanakuh occurs on Kislev 25 (note a similarity to December 25th, adding weight to the Theory the early church picked Dec. 25 because it was His conception).  Adding 9 months to Kislev, and you get Tishrei, Succot occurs in the Hebrew month of Tishrei.

For the past several hundred years, Gentile Christians have taught that poor Mary and Joseph were forced to go to Bethlehem to register for their taxes, and that there were so many people trying to register at the same time that all the motels and hotels were full. It’s a beautiful story, but it’s simply not true ... it’s only a tradition.

First of all, when the decree was issued, citizens were given a full year during which to register for the census. There was absolutely no reason for thousands of Bethlehemites to have to come to their home town all at once to register. That being the case, we must ask why Joseph would bring his wife Mary all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register when her pregnancy was so far along. 

There were three great feasts during the year when the people of Adonai were expected to make every reasonable effort to attend in Jerusalem : Pesach (the feast of unleavened bread and Passover), Shavuot (Pentecost, the feast of harvest), and Sukkot (the feast of ingathering, booths, or tabernacles). [“You shall observe a feast to me three times a year.” Exodus 23:14]

During these three feasts, the population of “the metropolitan Jerusalem area” would swell from about a hundred twenty thousand to something over two million people (according to Josephus). Every home in the entire area was open to guests, and of course all the hotels and motels would have been booked up for months.

However, during the feast of Sukkot [Tabernacles or Booths, pronounced “sue-coat”], every family was expected to live at least part of each day in their tabernacle or booth, called a sukkah, which is a temporary dwelling usually made out of palm and/or bamboo branches, to remind them that for 40 years their ancestors had lived in temporary shelters in the wilderness on their trek to the Promised Land. At night, these sukkot [the plural form of sukkah] were available for the overnight lodging of out-of-towners, and the homeowners would stock them with food for the travelers. The food was placed on a food-tray attached to the inside wall of the Sukkah to keep it up off the ground.

Beit-Lechem ( Bethlehem ) was a small village in the suburbs just about four miles south of Jerusalem . Miriam and Yoseph had apparently decided to register with the census-takers when they came up to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. Evidently they had intended to stop over night in Bethlehem , register in the morning, and then proceed on into Jerusalem for the feast. When they checked the hotel for available rooms, as there were no vacancies the innkeeper offered them shelter in his Sukkah, his Tabernacle, which had been erected and well-stocked with food for the express purpose of sheltering feast-keepers. It was not a shelter for animals at all. And when their Baby was born, they laid Him on the food shelf to keep Him up off the damp ground. When the (probably agnostic) Gentiles who translated the “King James” Bible got to this passage in Luke’s gospel, they had no knowledge of Jewish tradition or of how Sukkot was observed.  Thinking only in terms of life in Medieval England , they translated the word for “food tray” as “manger” and the whole Gentile myth of Yeshua’s birth in a barn was created out of an ignorant error in translation.

We can know for sure that December is wrong for the birth, the Sheppard's provide the answer.

As to establishing the date for His birth, one thing is very certain … He was certainly not born during the winter. Luke 2:8 tells us: “There were shepherds in the same country staying in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock."

The weather in Israel is very similar to that in central California . By December it is quite cold, and the sheep have all been brought into the fold for the winter. “As is well known, the shepherds in Palestine do not ‘abide in the fields’ during the winter season. The shepherds always bring their flocks in from the mountain slopes and fields not later than the fifteenth of October!” [Ralph Woodrow, Babylon Mystery Religion. Self-published, 1966, p.160]

Since we have already demonstrated that Yeshua was exactly six months younger that Yochanan, it is now easy to establish the time of His birth as mid-Tishrei. The only reason that Beit-Lechem would possibly crowded in mid-Tishrei would be for Sukkot. The first and last days of Sukkot were “high Shabbats” and travel on those days was forbidden. Therefore Yoseph would have planned their trip to arrive not later than a few hours before sunset preceding the first day of Sukkot. According to Luke’s account, Yeshua was born that  night, on 15 Tishrei.

The circumcision of Yeshua

To someone growing up in church, and probably never being taught the culture & History of the “Roots of His Faith”, the circumcision may seem unimportant.  But in the culture, and to fulfill the commands of G-d, this event is critical.

The “birth” of a Jewish baby boy was not considered complete until he had been circumcised on the eighth day. On the eighth day, Yeshua’s “presentation” in the Temple included His circumcision according to Torah. Thus we see that the birth of Yeshua HaMashiach spanned the entire eight days of Sukkot, including His birth on the holy Shabbat which was the first day of Sukkot and His circumcision on the holy Shabbat which was the eighth and final day of Sukkot.

The Bread of Life

If indeed this theory is correct, then it adds even more meaning to the “Bread of Life” analogy.  Scripture says that Succot will be celebrated even by the gentiles, for all time, could the reason be that it remembers the greatest miracle of all, G-d becoming a mna, and dying for our sins?

At His birth he was placed on the food tray in the Sukkah, thus demonstrating that He is indeed the true Bread of Life (John 6:33-51). God’s preparation of the Feast of Sukkot centuries before His birth gives extra significance to Yochanan’s comment “The Word became flesh, and lived [literally, “tabernacled”] among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

“Note that God provided two holy feasts that lasted eight days, Passover/Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles. John the Baptist, the forerunner of Messiah, was born and circumcised in the eight days of the first, then six month later Yeshua, the Messiah, was born and circumcised the eight days of the second. John came in the first month of the year and Yeshua came in the seventh month. In ministry, John introduced the way through Messiah and then Yeshua perfected it, even as the first and seventh months signify. …

The Feast of Tabernacles is a most important commemoration. Zechariah 14:16,17 tells us that one day all nations will be required by law to honor this feast. For what greater reason, than it is the birthday of the King of Kings! Why should we delay?”

I would like to gratefully acknowledge the work of Dr. David Hargis, for adding insight into the birth of our King!

Shalom, Cameron MMin.

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