Birth of John the Baptist
1. John the Baptist was born during Passover
Luke 1:24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,
Luke 1:25 ?Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me , to take away my reproach among men.
Luke 1:26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
When Elizabeth was pregnant for 6 month Gabriel went to Nazareth.
Luke 1:27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
Luke 1:28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
“The Lord is with thee” may be assumed a common way to greet someone. But reading the next verse it’s surely wasn’t. Considering that and the whole context it’s easy to conclude the true meaning is “You carry Lord Jesus in your womb.”
Luke 1:29 And when she saw him , she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
Luke 1:30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
Luke 1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
So John the Baptist (Elisabeth’s son) was about six month older than Jesus. Verse 26 states ‘in the sixth month’, but not an exact day of that month.
John was the prophesied Elijah, of who the Jew’s have always assumed he would come during Passover. Christian scholars agree with that.
2. The priestly course of Abija by Zacharias
This is a quite useless section because sources are unclear and contradicting. I’ll start with listing the views I’m aware of.
I’ll continue, and I’ll have a result that aligns with what I think the result should be. Basically the only reason I added this section, is because that way nobody can discredit my conclusions with any of the above views. Simply because there are so many unknowns that it can’t be taken as evidence.
The calendar I’ll use is likely far different from what you’ve seen before.
The differences relevant for this topic are:
Lots and lots of information about that calendar can be found here.
2d. The target date
If John the Baptist was born on 14 Nisan, Passover, she became pregnant 266 days earlier. That’s 15 Tammuz. 266 days is the ideal days of pregnancy between ovulation and giving birth.
Keep in mind that nowhere Scripture states Zechariah made his wife pregnant the day after his course ended. Scripture only states Elizabeth became pregnant after his course ended. But, I think it’s fair to assume they would have sex at the earliest possibility because it was their big wish to have a child. In the next sections I’ll discuss when the earliest possible time was.
2d1. Two 24 courses
The religious year starts at New Moon Day 1 Nisan. The course of the previous year ends at the Sabbath of 8 Nisan. The first course starts at the same day.
I assume 2 or 3 days traveling until Zechariah gets home. Few days rest and 15 Sivan Elizabeth get’s pregnant.
This date is a month before 15 Tammuz we are looking for.
2d2. Two 24 courses + 3 Feasts
The Temple was very busy during the 3 pilgrimage Feasts (Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles). All courses served during those weeks. Those extra courses didn’t count as a regular course. That means if you would ask Zechariah how many courses he had during a year, he likely would answer 2.
If you asked him how many weeks he served in the Temple each year, his answer likely would be 5 weeks (2 courses + 3 extra pilgrimage weeks)
That extra week during the Passover pilgrimage Feast moves Elizabeth’s pregnancy to 22 Sivan. That’s still 3 weeks before 15 Tammuz
Deut 16:16 Three times in a year shall all your males appear before the LORD your God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks (Pentecost), and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:
2d3. Two 24 courses + 3 Feasts revised
During the pilgrimage festival all 24 courses served as I wrote above. The reason was simple; during those days it was much to busy for one course to handle everything. I’ll list a few events that increased the priests’ workload.
Perhaps more activity I’m not aware of.
The above gives room to another, minor, view that the priests served two weeks because the high workload spanned two weeks.
If the above is true we are an other week closer to our target date. But we are still 2 weeks from 15 Tammuz.
3. Does the exact day really matter?
When is the best time to get pregnant?
So what does all this mean? It means that conception is only possible by having sex in the days just prior to ovulation and on the day of ovulation itself.
Because the egg will only survive for an absolute maximum of 24 hours, any sex you have after ovulation day will NOT result in pregnancy. And actually, even having intercourse on the day of ovulation itself can sometimes be too late.
The above shows that only the day of ovulation counts. And that could mean exact knowledge of the courses isn’t of vital importance. If Zechariah would arrive home a few days after ovulation, the couple had to wait 4 weeks for the next ovulation.
So if we assume ovulation was on 15 Tammuz it means the previous ovulation was on 15 Sivan.
15 Sivan was discussed in section 2d1, and isn’t possible because that section is just an explanation of the counting method and wrongly left out the extra Passover course(s).
That means even if Zechariah was home 22 Sivan, Elizabeth could not get pregnant until her next ovulation on 15 Tammuz.
Lev 15:28 But when her flow of blood is stopped, after seven days she will be clean.
Lev 15:29 And on the eighth day let her get two doves or two young pigeons and take them to the priest to the door of the Tent of meeting,
The above means there were fourteen days the couple couldn’t have sex. The 7 days of menstruation and the seven days to get clean.
So depending what time in her monthly cycle Zechariah came home the couple had to wait up to 14 days.
I think we must take it as a fact Elizabeth and Zechariah were a holy couple the rules God gave in Leviticus 15:28-
So it’s statically proven there was a 1:27 chance the couple had to wait 1-
3a. The rule of eight
Eight days from the ‘official’ end of the period ovulation takes place. This is the ideal day to get pregnant.
As this article (click) shows the eight day of a baby boy’s life is the ideal day for circumcision because the prothrombin is exceptionally high on that day. High concentrations of prothrombin cause faster coagulation/blood clogging which reduces blood loss.
On the third day the prothrombin level is exceptionally low; making it the worst possible day for surgery.
I just wanted to share this little bit of information because it shows Intelligent Design and that God’s Laws in those two cases exactly align with the biologically perfect time.
4. Why 15th and not for example 10th?
I think I was quite honest about that. That’s the only date that fits with what I’m looking for.
But there may be another reason.
If we look as present day women we can state that:
But there is a study that suggests things were different in ancient times. Menstrual cycles were synced to the moon. It is related to the light of the moon and daylight. In ancient times that had a certain rhythm. But today that rhythm is totally gone because of the abundance of artificial light.
Guess what, ovulation was often during the full moon of day 14 or 15 of the month.
Fact or fable, it seems to have some support because writings, celebrations, stories from the past state John was born during Passover (14) and Jesus was born on Tabernacles (15)
5. Verses & quotes
2Chr 23:8 So the Levites and all Judah did according to all that Jehoiada the priest commanded. And they took every man his men, those who were to come in on the sabbath, with those who were to go out on the sabbath. For Jehoiada the priest did not dismiss the divisions.
While it certainly implies one week courses, it doesn’t completely rule out for example two week courses as they are also from Sabbath to Sabbath.
But in Josephus, a priest and historian living in Jesus’ time, wrote:
“one course should minister to God eight days, from sabbath to sabbath.”
1Chr 24:10 the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah,
Luke 1:5 There was in the days of Herod, king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abijah: and he had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
6. Wrong priestly course?
The 24 courses ended about halfway the year and restarted counting again. That means there are two eighth courses in a year. That would shift all dates forward by six month. Let’s investigate.
Luke 6:1 And it came to pass on the second-
Luke 6:1 And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.
Luke 6:1 Now it came to pass for him to be going through the grain fields on a particular sabbath, and his disciples were plucking the ears and were eating, rubbing them in their hands.
Luke 6:1 Now it came to pass on the first Sabbath of the second month that He was going through the grainfields. And His disciples were picking the heads of grain and were eating them, rubbing them in their hands.
Above the same verse from various Bibles. Needless to say the translators had big problems translating it. The first translation is right. It’s exactly as it is in the Greek text. But what does it mean? Something found in the other translations; like for example the first Sabbath of the second month? I think not.
The verse states that the 24 courses were complete and the count restarted. On that day the priests of the first course served their second regular week. That second course doesn’t include them serving on Passover and Pentecost.
Course 24+1= course 25.
Their 28 Tammuz. Pentecost. But that’s not important now. It would break all the 266 and 280 day patterns (shown later). And very likely Scripture would have read ‘second-
7. Open for many views
So, no matter if Zachariah’s duty ended 8, 14 or 21 Sivan there is way to arrive at the desired date. All of that are facts. Another fact is, that I personally would like a less open result…
Conclusion: John the Baptist was born 14 Nisan (Passover).