When was Jesus Born
December 06, 2020 | Gary Jackson
Passage: Luke 1:5-38
- Appointed Time
- "Since John was born on Passover, the 15th day of Nisan (the 1st Jewish month), Jesus would have been born six months later on the 15th day of Tishri (the 7th Jewish month). The 15th day of the 7th month begins the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:34-35), also known as Sukkot. Jesus was born on the 1st day of the Feast of Tabernacles! In the year 5 BCE, this fell in the month of September." (herealittletherealittle.net/index.cfm?page_name=Jesus-Birthday)
- "It is probable, because of the circumstances shown in Luke 1, that Mary conceived during the last two weeks of Elizabeth's sixth month. Thus, John was born in the spring of 4 BC, probably between March 18 and 31. By projecting forward another six months to Jesus' birth, the most probable time for His birth occurred between September 16 and 29." (cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/ARTB/k/568/When-Was-Jesus-Born.htm)
- "From the 15th day of Nisan (John's birthday), we add six months to arrive at the 15th day of the 7th month, Tishri - the first day of the festival of Sukkot." (hebrew4christians.com/Articles/Christmas/christmas.html)
- "Theologians have also suggested that Jesus was born in the spring, based on the biblical narrative that shepherds were watching over their flocks in the fields on the night of Jesus' birth — something they would have done in the spring, not the winter." (livescience.com/42976-when-was-jesus-born.html)
The growing body of evidence seems to suggest that Jesus was born sometime between 6:15 pm to 7:45 pm on September 11, 3 BC. While September 11th holds bad memories for individuals in the United States, it would have been a day of celebration in ancient Israel. For it would have been the beginning of the Feast of Trumpets, a feast associated with the Messiah and his return. The Feast of Trumpets called for national repentance and also marked the start of a new agricultural year. The blast from a shofar would announce the beginning of the feast. Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) would follow the Feast of Trumpets.
No one knows for sure what was the month--not to mention which day--on which Jesus was born. Various theories have been raised that put Jesus' birth in March, April, October, and September. But no one knows for sure. December 25 was a popular pagan holiday that dealt with the winter solstice which was the shortest day of the year and signaled the approach of spring. It was a day celebrated by many in the Roman Empire. In order to replace pagan practices, the early church adopted that day and celebrated it as Christ's birthday. But, we know that most probably it was not the correct day. How do we know? We have biblical clues about the time of His birth.
Isaiah 7:14 (KJV) 14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
- The God/Man had to be born w/o the sin nature which is passed on through the seed of man – Immanuel “God with us”
- Had to be born of a virgin so that NO ONE could claim to have fathered the child
Galatians 4:4-5 (KJV) 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
Why Then – here are some thoughts
1) There was a great anticipation among the Jews of that time that the Messiah would come. The Roman rule over Israel made the Jews hungry for the Messiah’s coming.
2) Rome had unified much of the world under its government, giving a sense of unity to the various lands. Also, because the empire was relatively peaceful, travel was possible, allowing the early Christians to spread the gospel. Such freedom to travel would have been impossible in other eras.
3) While Rome had conquered militarily, Greece had conquered culturally. A “common” form of the Greek language (different from classical Greek) was the trade language and was spoken throughout the empire, making it possible to communicate the gospel to many different people groups through one common language.
4) The fact that the many false idols had failed to give them victory over the Roman conquerors caused many to abandon the worship of those idols.
6) The Roman army recruited soldiers from among the provinces, introducing these men to Roman culture and to ideas (such as the gospel) that had not reached those outlying provinces yet. The earliest introduction of the gospel to Britain was the result of the efforts of Christian soldiers stationed there.
There are appointed times in our lives – ordained of God when Chapters of our lives close – there is always a NEW Chapter APPOINTED for us - EMBRACE IT
- Appointed Place
Micah 5:2 (KJV) 2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
Said to be the oldest town in Palestine, Scripture first mentions Bethlehem, initially termed Ephratah or Ephrath in Genesis 35 when Jewish Patriarch Jacob returned to his homeland after spending over a decade in Paddan Aram. He’d fled after deceiving his brother, Esau, out of his birthright, something God had already predicted would be his. Despite Jacob’s poor behavior, his story reveals God’s grace, for Jacob’s blessing arose not through anything he had or hadn’t done. His position came as a gift—a gift he would have received, even if he hadn’t manipulated the situation.
But, not trusting God to come through on His promise, or perhaps not understanding the prophesy previously spoken to his mother, Jacob tricked his father into giving him the blessing intended for his brother. Enraged, his brother determined to kill him, so Jacob fled. Fourteen years later, God called him home. Following God’s leading, he headed toward Bethlehem. But while he and his clan were still a ways off, his wife died giving birth to his youngest, Benjamin, the father of the Jewish tribe bearing his name.
Bethlehem was also the hometown of Ruth’s father-in-law, Elimelech, and where she met Boaz, her kinsman redeemer.
In this story of the destitute widow and the Bethlehem man who later married, protected, and provided for her, we see a picture of Jesus, our kinsman redeemer.
To understand the significance of this, we must look at Israel’s history, preserved in Scripture. In ancient times, family members could “redeem” or buy back individuals who had sold themselves into slavery. This act demonstrated chesed, translated as loving kindness or mercy, in “meeting the deep needs of others based on relationship of commitment and covenant.”
- The Name Bethlehem – “house of bread”
- Staple for survival – giving health and nourishment
- Used in Temple to symbolize God’s provision
- Important element of the Jewish Pasover
John 6:33-35 (KJV) 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
- Location Between Holy City Jerusalem and Egypt
- Jesus our mediator
1 Timothy 2:5-6 (KJV) 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
“Oh Little town of Bethlehem” – God delights in taking “little” and making much of it!
Home of Jesse David’s father thus know as the city of David – where Samuel anointed David
- Appointed Purpose
Luke 2:8-11 (KJV) 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
- Not to Show His Power
The Gospel records Miracles some 38 places but it also says in Matthew 12 He healed a great multitude
- He came to serve
Mark 10:45 (KJV) 45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
- Miracles validated who He was
Acts 2:21-22 (KJV) 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. 22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
- Was to be the Savior
Luke 19:5-10 (ESV) 5 And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. 7 And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” 8 And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, since he also is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
III. Appointed Proclamation
- Come and see
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
- Go and tell
Luke 2:16-17 (KJV) 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
Trust HIM for your timing in life
Psalms 31:15 (KJV) 15 My times are in thy hand:
deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.
See new opportunities in every Chapter of your life
Paul's favorite church may have well been the church at Philippi. He shares three things that are encouraging to him and should be part of our life. He first give Thanks - there is always reason for the child of God to give thanks. Secondly he prayers. We must always pray one for another. Three Paul is confident that God will complete the good work He has started in our life.