This study, hopefully, presents ALL the known evidence about Messiah’s and John the Baptist’s births and conceptions in picture form so anyone can easily see the facts.
I see many articles/posts/videos trying to pinpoint the exact time of Messiah’s birth. Every one of them I read seem to ignore various facts and considerations and draw conclusions not based on facts but on conjecture.
Hopefully this brief article settles the matter as to what was probable, what was possible, and what is not known.
In Luke 1:26 in the 6th Month of the year, an angel comes to Mary and tells Mary she will conceive a child and also that her relative Elizabeth is in her 6th month of pregnancy.
***** Many Messianic teachers say Luke 1:36 refers only to the 6th month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy rather than the 6th month of the year. The Greek original text shows us a huge difference. See the PSSS below until such time I incorporate it into this article.
This means with no shadow of doubt that John the Baptist was conceived prior to the first day of the first month of the year. As the chart shows, it is merely simple counting once you understand Luke 1:26 refers to the 6th month of the year. And the timing of John the Baptist’s birth is about the 9th month, no one can argue this fact. His birth could have coincided with Hanukkah as the birth of the one preparing the Way of YHVH in repentance to Torah was paved perhaps even on the Festival of Lights. But this is not provable at all.
Then the issue of Messiah’s conception is next. Is it in the 6th month at or after the time the angel visits Mary before Mary runs off to visit Elizabeth? No one knows for sure but there are serious implications requiring examination and consideration.
The chart takes into account biblical time usually has 12 months but sometimes has a 13th Month added to synch up with the actual new moons and abiv. Thus, the possibilities exist for a normal year, a year in which the 13th month is after John’s birth, and a year in which the 13th Month is before John’s birth.
But simple math shows us in the chart the occurrence of the only 3 possibilities and their mathematical sequences.
The point at which all 3 sequences must coincide is the 6th month.
IF, Messiah’s conception is in the 6th Month, then his birth is either in the 2nd or 3rd biblical months with the possibility he was born very near Shavuot/Pentecost which would be a strong reason coinciding with Joseph’s requirement (from Caesar Augustus) to go to Bethlehem to register himself in the city of his birth. Also all males were required to also be at the 3 major Feasts of YHVH 3 times a year. Keep in mind that a census can take many months or years to register everyone and they go back to where they are born, apparently, to show the birth heritage so people would be going over all Israel to various towns not just to the Jerusalem area because there is an appointed time. So the census/appointed time theory does not pass scrutiny either.
Many have speculated Messiah’s birth coincided with one of those major Feasts of YHVH because there was “no room for them in the inn”. But, is it a coincidence of a busy day at the inn in a tiny town or are all the available rooms taken in Bethlehem because it is one of the Feasts of YHVH? No one exactly knows.
BUT, it is EXTREMELY interesting the scripture makes mention there is “no room at the inn” because IF the Feast were Tabernacles THEN they should be camping in booths (tents) in Jerusalem and they would not be looking for a room at the inn/boarding house in Bethlehem. No one who writes articles on this subject ever seems to think of this and talk about it as far as I have read.
If it were Shavuot, they would be required to be in Jerusalem rather than stay elect to in the inn at Bethlehem and simply walk the 6-7 miles back to Jerusalem for Shavuot up and down hills on a path and that takes several hours of daytime when Joseph is required to be in Jerusalem for the Feast. Walking a couple hours or more back to Bethlehem before sundown is not an option.
NOW, comes the other obvious possibility of Messiah’s conception…
Mary stays with Elizabeth for 3 months then leaves Elizabeth RIGHT BEFORE Elizabeth gives birth. WHY in the world would Mary stay 3 months then leave right before Elizabeth gives birth? Either Mary was showing and she needed to get home to explain to Joseph and face her family OR perhaps the Holy Spirit told her or an angel and she knew it was time to go home and her conception would take place once she got home and it would coincide with John’s birth or afterwards?
That makes for the interesting and romantic idea of birth and conception both miraculously taking place on the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah!
BUT, we do not know.
Did Mary conceive in the 6th Month before visiting Elizabeth?
Luke 1:42 only says Elizabeth says “blessed is the fruit of your womb” it does not say blessed is the child in your womb.
THEN Luke 1:45 says “there will be a fulfillment of those things told her from YHVH” !!!
Does that mean fulfillment of the rest of “those things” if she has already conceived or does that mean none of those things had been fulfilled to date?
We do not know, for sure…
BUT, why would Mary leave Elizabeth RIGHT BEFORE Elizabeth gives birth? Still an unanswered question.
CONSIDER this: What do you think would have been the reaction of Joseph and Mary’s parents if Mary had told them the angel visited her and later that night YHVH’s Spirit conceived within her? Do you think they would have let Mary run off far away to visit Elizabeth? Doubtful, huh?
Would they have simply thought Mary imagined the whole angel story then let her run off to visit Elizabeth? Probable on the first count because there is no evidence of conception but doubtful you let your virgin daughter run off from Nazareth near the Galilee to visit her relative far away. What would be the point of telling Joseph and her parents if she had no proof and had no evidence? At some point, Mary tells Joseph and she is “found with child”. How can that be before she visits Elizabeth since there is no proof of conception?
So, my deductive reasoning tells me Mary left to see Elizabeth because the angel told Mary that Elizabeth was with child and that was also connected to Mary’s future. It also makes me reason Mary did not conceive immediately after the angel left her or before Mary traveled to visit Elizabeth for 3 MONTHS.
So, if Mary left Elizabeth to travel home and conceive just about the time of John’s birth or later then that mathematical sequence puts Messiah’s birth in either the 5th or 6th months.
NOW, put on your best detective thinking cap and place yourself there and analyze all the possibilities. This is like a chess game and I was expert at chess. I think of all the scenarios, eliminate the most unlikely and unprofitable and focus on the most likely and most profitable moves when I consider anything in chess or analysis.
CONSIDER this, if Mary had left the Galilee with her virginity intact and had returned about 3 months later showing herself with child there would have been a tremendous upheaval not only with Joseph but also with Mary’s parents and also with the town religious authorities. For that reason, I think Mary returned to Galilee a virgin and was seen to not be with child for a brief time THEN YHVH’s Spirit conceived within her so there was no doubt Mary was NOT promiscuous when she was out of the sight of Joseph and her parents and all her friends.
BUT, I do not know for sure!
NOW, some had tried to use Zecharias’ priestly ministry service of the Division of Abijah as proof Messiah was born on Tabernacles. This is found in Luke 1:5 and they use this to place the conception of John later in the Spring then jump through some hoops to explain a birth of Messiah on the 1st Day of Tabernacles. The mathematical problem which makes this conjecture most likely FALSE is the Division’s rotate and there is no requirement for the 1st Division of priests to start in the first week of the year. For all we know, all those priest’s divisions started rotating in King David’s time and never stopped rotating so their service could be anywhere during the year
Add to that fact, the priestly service divisions were established during King David’s time and since that time the entire Northern Tribes were carted off to Assyria so MANY, MANY Priests and their divisions were most likely not even around anymore! Then add the fact that Judah was decimated by Nebuchadnezzar and was carted off to Babylon and suffered great numerical losses! It is highly likely many or most of those priestly service divisions did not exist anymore… Then came Alexander the Great, then the Selucid Empire and Antiochus, then the Romans so who knows what of the many priestly divisions survived. From 12 tribes and priest living in cities all over Israel down to essentially 1 tribe Judah and what remains of a once large priesthood.
So, when you get many hundreds of years later in Zecharias’ time who in the world knows which priestly divisions were still in service. Also, what in the world makes anyone think those practicing Judaism would even follow those orders of service established 1,000 years+ before the time of Zecharias? Add that to there not existing a mandate for the 1st division of priests to serve at the beginning of the year. Then how long was a priest’s service before the next division took 0ver? There are many aspects to consider before jumping to a conclusion.
So, lets add even another level of doubt. In Babylon and areas Persia all those many decades, the Israelite’s intermarried. Read Ezra. How many of those surviving priest’s pure family lines do you imagine survived several generations later to return to Jerusalem to serve in the priesthood?
See the MAJOR PROBLEMS with timing based on the division of Abijah to which Zecharias belonged? It ignores history, probability, and most importantly reality.
There is a ROMANTIC allure to manufacture the Messiah’s birth on a significant Feast Day and see it as the PERFECT timing of YHVH God’s CLOCK!
It is such a ROMANTIC notion that men seek after it more than they seek after KEEPing YHVH’s Commandments or understanding WHY YHVH put His Torah into His Son so the people could hear YHVH’s Voice and obey His Torah and pass The Judgment!
I have proven conclusively that it is impossible to know the birth date of Yeshua Messiah (Jesus Christ).
BUT, by the power of deductive reasoning, logical thinking, process of elimination, simple math, and common sense – I will show you what I think happened…
I think Mary visited Elizabeth and had not conceived before she left the Galilee to go see her relative.
I think Mary did not conceive while she was visiting Elizabeth.
I think Mary received Word from YHVH it was time for her to return to the Galilee while still a virgin.
I think Mary returned and she was filled with JOY that YHVH’s Angel had spoken the Truth to her about Elizabeth’s child.
I think YHVH’s Spirit waited a short while to conceive Messiah so as to not give anyone the idea Mary was promiscuous while away visiting Elizabeth.
We know for a fact Mary was betrothed to Joseph before she left to visit Elizabeth so it is highly unlikely Joseph had been told by Mary about the Angel and the conception and she sure was not showing before she went to visit Elizabeth, not even remotely possible.
I think Mary was constantly surrounded by her family and friends so that no one, once she returned from visiting Elizabeth, suspected her of carrying on an affair. If you know the Hebrew roots of their society, you know virgins were not allowed by Righteous parents to spend time in places where they could become compromised. I have no doubt Mary was accompanied by friends/family ensuring her protection while visiting Elizabeth.
I think Mary showed back up in Nazareth of Galilee and had a menstrual period as proof of her continuing virginity and it was knowing her period was about to come on as the reason she left for home from Elizabeth.
I think YHVH’s Spirit conceived Messiah in Mary right about the 1st day of the 10th Month or a little later and Messiah was born on the day before the 1st day of the 7th Month which is the Day of Trumpets! But can I prove it? No. Maybe he was born the day after the Day of Trumpets.
I think shortly after Mary started having morning sickness and before she started showing that she told Joseph and her parents and that before she started showing Joseph had already been visited by the angel of YHVH and decided Mary was a KEEPer and His adopted son was the Messiah of his people! THEREFORE, I think the reason we do not SEE in scripture ANY MENTION AT ALL of family, and neighbors, and busy body’s, and religious authorities pointing the finger at Mary and Joseph is because everyone saw love burning brightly between Mary and Joseph and simply ASSUMED their love burned so hot that those two long since betrothed people simply decided right then and there to have their wedding and did not wait a day longer as it had already been many months perhaps a year. Everyone thought everything was perfectly normal and right on time and no one said even the tiniest little thing negative or suspicious!
BUT, can I prove it?
NO, but I think I humbly have the preponderance of the evidence, thorough thinking, and all the known facts presented perfectly right here far more than any other article or video you have seen that attempts to nail down the date of Messiah’s birth.
If Messiah were born on Tabernacles, Mary and Joseph would not have been in Bethlehem seeking a comfortable room at the inn when the Righteous were in Jerusalem sleeping in tents for the required Feast of YHVH. Joseph could have been in Jerusalem and Mary in Bethlehem but shepherd’s would not be in fields with flocks on a Sabbath.
FINALLY, ask yourself this simple question…
What other reason is given in all the Bible for all the trumpets/shofars blowing and the people shouting on the 1st day of the 7th Month?
23 Then YHVH spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. 25 You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to YHVH.’”
I think Mary and Joseph got into Bethlehem during the week before Trumpets, maybe even weeks or a month early to visit people as well as considering her condition to not be traveling right up to the time of her delivery, and what little inn rooms existed were booked solid, maybe Joseph’s ancestral family members had no room either if people were coming from all over to be in Jerusalem for Trumpets although they were not required to do so but it is a very festive occasion and sight. Remember, there was not an abundance of hotel rooms like Las Vegas or something that would accommodate all those unrighteous “believers” who would not humble themselves to sleep in tents in Jerusalem during a required Feast of YHVH like Sukkot that required all males in the entire country to be in Jerusalem 24 hours a day all those days. The ones who desired to be in Jerusalem for Day of Trumpets were there and that was probably MANY, at least probably enough to cause the overflow in Bethlehem to fill up all the rooms before Mary and Joseph got there. But we don’t really no, this is speculation.
Mary and Joseph were HIGHLY FAVORED which means they kept all of YHVH Commandments. See Luke 1:5-6 to understand what highly favored means.
Luke 1:28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, YHVH is with you; blessed are you among women!”
Matthew 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
In Matthew 1:19 the Greek word for “just” describing Joseph is the same word used in Luke 1:6 which describes Zecharias and Elizabeth as Righteous in all the Commandments of YHVH.
G1342 δίκαιος dikaios dik’-ah-yos From G1349; equitable (in character or act); by implication innocent, holy (absolutely or relatively): – just, meet, right (-eous).
Mary and Joseph built their lives on keeping YHVH’s Commandments not practicing false theologies like Judaism.
Then Messiah was circumcised on the 8th day, according to THE LAW of YHVH.
Everything else we see in the scriptures about Messiah’s parents and Messiah himself is about keeping YHVH’s Commandments.
I do hope, at the very least, this simple logic has shown you it was not even remotely possible for Messiah to be born during the first day of Tabernacles as no Righteous person like Joseph would even be in Bethlehem seeking a room there nor would shepherds be out in fields with flocks on YHVH’s appointed time/Sabbath.
And as far as Messiah being born in late December in the dead of Winter? There is no grass growing for sheep to graze upon in those fields… And babies are not left lying in bitter cold mangers in strips of cloth…!
G4683 σπαργανόω sparganoō spar-gan-o’-o From σπάργανον sparganon (a strip; from a derivative of the base of G4682 meaning to strap or wrap with strips); to swathe (an infant after the Oriental custom): – wrap in swaddling clothes.
Also, after Messiah’s birth, my guess is Mary and Joseph found a room at the inn after the Day of Trumpets crowd left Bethlehem and Joseph went up to Jerusalem alone for Tabernacles as required by THE LAW while Mary stayed in Bethlehem fulfilling the days of her purification. After those things, both of them went up to Jerusalem for the presentation of Messiah as required by THE LAW of YHVH and their sacrifice and sin offerings which evidence they are poor people. They could not have been there and done those things during Tabernacles as Mary had not finished her days of purification.
The matter of the timings of conception and birth of Messiah are very obscure. What is not obscure is how he said to live, how he said the Greatest Commandment is to love his Father, and finally the proof of loving YHVH God the Father is the keeping of YHVH’s Commandments just as he says he did and shows us!
Some teachers teach that Luke 1:26 is merely a continuation reference to the 6th month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy and does not indicate it is the 6th month of the biblical year. But not one of those teachers ever looks into the Greek text and discusses what is there or if they do they simply omit it from their teaching. When we get to Luke 1:36 there the passage obviously refers to Elizabeth being 6 months pregnant. One would think the Greek text handles both references the same since the translators write them the same but that is not true. In Luke 1:36 the translators insert a “the” that does not exist in the Greek text.
But, in Luke 1:26 the Greek definite article is there and shows clearly the writer intentionally put the “the” into the text. Throughout Genesis to Malachi we see over and over again where passages are telling us it is the Xth day of the Xth month or the Xth month, Xth day. YHVH does this to show us the very careful significance of time placement, days, and months, and events. Luke 1:26 is the only instance from Matthew to Revelation where the Greek definite article is used to identify a specific month’s number. The writer intentionally chose to put the “THE” into the text to communicate something different from Luke 1:36
Luke 1:26 Now in THE G3588 sixthG1623 monthG3376 the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth
Luke 1:36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now sixthG1623 monthG3376 for her who was called barren.