This page was last updated on 15 July 2018.
Birth of Jesus the Messiah -
1. A quick start
We know John was born (about) 6 month before Jesus. So adding 6 months to John’s birth should give use a fairly accurate date of Jesus birth.
Counting from 14 Nisan: 15 Tishri -
In the following pages you quite frequently will see the numbers 266 and 280.
Besides the fact that reoccurring numbers often add credibility to a theory, both number are about birth. The very topic at hand. That adds even more credibility to my theory.
2. The Roman census makes a Tabernacles birth impossible?
Luke 2:41 Every year Jesus' parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover.
Luke 2:3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
Luke 2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
Luke 2:6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
The Roman census required them to be in Bethlehem. That wasn’t a big deal for them because Bethlehem is very close to Jerusalem. So they could easily combine both trips. But other Jews had to be in their towns far from Jerusalem so they there was conflict between Roman law and God’s Law. Or not?
Deut 16:6 But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.
Deut 16:11 And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to place his name there.
Deut 16:16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:
So they and every other Jew went to their city of birth. But that couldn’t have happened during Passover, because every man had to be in Jerusalem. At least that is how those verses could be understood. But it was not how there were understood during the Second Temple time. It’s more like if you visit. Which could be once a year, but just as well once in a lifetime.
Acts 20 and 21 describe Paul’s 1000 mile trip from Philippe to Jerusalem.
Acts 20:2 And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece,
Acts 20:3 And there stayed three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia.
Acts 20:6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came to them to Troas in five days; where we stayed seven days.
The feast of Unleavened bread starts 1 day after Passover. Verses 2 and 3 states Paul was in Greece for 3 months. That clearly shows Paul wasn’t in Jerusalem at that time.
2b. Jewish commentary
There was a scribe who used to make pilgrimage every year. He was recognized by the residents of Jerusalem as being a great scholar. They said to him: “We will give you fifty gold pieces a year if you will take up residence in our city.”
Tanhuma, Tetsaveh 13
That man went to only one out of 3 feasts a year and everyone thought that was great. Above average
Elkanah used to take with him his wife, children, sisters and all his relatives, and make the pilgrimage [to the tabernacle in Shiloh]. They slept in the squares of the towns and villages through which they passed. Their coming aroused great excitement in each community and the inhabitants would ask, “Where are you going?”
They would answer, “To the house of the LORD in Shiloh from where Torah and commandments go forth. Why don’t you join us and we will go together?”
Immediately their eyes filled with tears. “We will go with you [next year],” they answered.
“Very well,” the pilgrims said to them.
By the next year five families [of that community] had joined them on the pilgrimage, a year later ten families, until finally everyone was making the pilgrimage.
(Yalkut Shim’oni, Torah, remez 77)
Elkanah was praised for going on pilgrimage once a year. Most people (in that village), didn’t go every year.
But there is an even simpler explanation/possibility. Summer 3BC Augustus ordered the registration to be complete by fall 2BC. So Joseph en Mary simply picked the most convenient date, so they could combine the census with their visit to the Temple.
The census likely was only for Roman citizens, no all Jewish people.
The Roman census does not rule out an Atonement Day or Tabernacles birth.
3. Hints pointing to a birth during Tabernacles
3a. Passover -
Lev 23:34 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days to the LORD.
John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and tabernacles among us, and we gaze at His glory, a glory as of an only-
3b. Jesus was born in a tabernacle
Succoth is the Hebrew word for Tabernacles and in the verse below it seems to be used as a synonym for a stable. Perhaps this can be seen as another small hint. Born in a tabernacle during Tabernacles.
Gen 33:17 Jacob, on the other hand, traveled on to Succoth. There he built himself a house and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place was named Succoth (which means "shelters")
Luke 2:8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
Luke 2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Obviously that’s a statement that could be rightfully made every day of the year but it’s recited as part of the Hallel on each Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. So it can be seen as another small hint.
Michaelmas is a tradition that claims archangel Michel announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds on September 29. This date is indeed during or close to Tabernacles. The reason it’s not exact is simply because the Jewish calendar drifts back and forth from our Gregorian calendar. It’s especially popular in England were according to another tradition Joseph of Arimathea founded the first church after he fled Jerusalem for his connection with Jesus.
3d. Tidings of joy
Luke 2:10 Fear not. For, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Tabernacles is also known as the "Season of joy". The use of 'good tidings' can be seen as a hint toward Tabernacles because good tidings cause joy.
3d. Feast of the Nations
Zech 14:16 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.
Zech 14:17 And it shall be, that whoever will not come up of all the families of the earth to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even on them shall be no rain.
Zech 14:18 And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, with which the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Zech 14:19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
Another name for Tabernacles "Feast of the Nations". Gentiles are encouraged to participate in the feast. Jesus also brought the joy of salvation to the gentile nations.
3e. The seven shepherds of Israel
'The Ushpizin' is an ancient feast that's only celebrated during Tabernacles. This feast remembers the "The seven shepherds of Israel" who reflect the seven divine attributes of God. Each day of Tabernacles focuses on one of those people and Godly attributes. Obviously we find all those attributes in the baby that was born that night.
Part of the ceremony is that the Jews living in the Tabernacles invite the Seven Faithful Shepherds, so that they can see if the people correctly observe the commandment God gave regarding the hut (Tabernacle) they lived in during those seven days. While the number of shepherds in the fields isn't mentioned they do visit, to observe what happened. (Luke 2:15) I would be surprised if Jesus was not visited by 7 shepherds.
3f. The death of Jesus
According to Luke 2:10 Jesus started His ministry at the age of about 30. Most scholars agree the duration of His ministry was 3 ½ year. That means He was born a ½ year before Passover which is, surprise, Tabernacles.
Note#1: Day of celebrating the Torah isn’t found in the Bible or in ancient Jewish writings like the Talmud. It’s first occurrence is found in the Middle Ages.
Note#2: Day of celebrating the Torah is the day the the reading cycle of the Torah restarts. But in Israel the cycle restarts one day earlier on Eighth Day of Assembly. So there the two days are the same.
Note#3: Usually the building of the Succoth began, 11 Tishri, the day after Atonement Day
Jesus was born on Tishri 15, the first day of Tabernacles.