When Was Jesus Born?
When Was Jesus Born? We have established in Part 1 of this study that it could not have been on December 25 and that it was likely some time before that, around the feast of Tabernacles in the fall of the year. Let's look at some more clues.
When Was Jesus Born? - The Census
There is no logic to requiring the people to travel to complete the census in the middle of winter. The most logical time of census and taxation would be just after the harvest, in the fall, when people had the revenue of their harvest with which to pay taxes.
When Was Jesus Born? - The Star
"Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him." (Matt 2:1-2)
The wise men made came from the East to Bethlehem because they had seen His star. Watching the stars was associated especially with the Feast of Tabernacles because of a prophecy:
"I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth." (Num 24:17)
The roofs of the booths were built with leafy branches spaced to allow some visibility of the stars. The people watched for this star. It was in connection with the Feast of Tabernacles, the special season of star watching, that the wise men saw the Messianic star and "rejoiced with exceeding great joy." (Matt 2:10).
So When Was Jesus Born According to the Bible?
"Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;" (Phil 3:5)
While Paul would be referring to the eighth day of his life, it is interesting that at the end of the Feast of Tabernacles there is a day called "the great day of the feast" or "the eighth day." If Jesus was born into this earth to tabernacle (dwell) with us on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles and then was circumcised the eighth day (both of His life and of the Feast) it would seem to best fulfill God's appointed times. Of course, many significant Bible events happened on the appointed times of God's calendar.
So I would pick Tishri 15 as the most likely date our Saviour came to dwell or tabernacle with us. Of course, that would fall on a different date on our modern calendar each year but it would be in about the early fall and certainly not on December 25. One would have to look into the Hebrew calendar to get the exact day each year. The 15th day of the seventh Hebrew month falls in approximately our late September to October.
A Few Other Thoughts Related to When Was Jesus Born
We are Not Commanded to Observe the Day When Jesus was Born
"For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come." (1 Cor 1:26)
No Indications of Early Celebrations
Connection to Paganism
Jesus Connected Himself to the Feast of Tabernacles
"Now the Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand. ... But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast ... In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." (John 7:2, 10, 37)
Each day of the feast, this ceremony pointed to the Messiah:
"Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." (Isa 12:3)
However, the people had been blinded as to the nature of the Messiah and had failed to recognize Him as the source of their salvation. Jesus is also the Light of the World typified by the ceremony of lights that helped, at night, to illuminate the Temple during the Feast of Tabernacles:
"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12)So, at least to me, from all this evidence, it seems quite reasonable to conclude that the answer to when was Jesus born is on the 15th day of the seventh Hebrew month (Tishri). What do you think? Is there sufficient evidence from the Bible or would you rather go by tradition?
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