Nowhere in the Bible shows the exact date when Jesus (Yeshua) was born.
Yet, there are three possible birthdates and one of them is known worldwide and the most debated possibility:
A second possibility is the fifteenth day of the Hebrew Seventh month, which is the day Sukkot (feast of Booths) begins (Jewish month Tishrei).
This possibility is most known in the Hebrew Roots/Messianic movement and although there are clues in the Bible that may point out to this date, it is also debatable.
A third possibility is less known:
I think it is safe to say that the date of birth of Yeshua (Jesus) isn’t important. If it were so, the exact date would have been mentioned. Therefore, not for the sake of importance, but to our curiosity, let’s check these three birthday possibilities.
From generation to generation this date is known to be the day Jesus was born.
Worldwide this day is celebrated, although not to all celebrated as the day of birth of Jesus.
Symbolically we can say “How convenient!”
The earth on the western half is in the winter season, of which most of the 24 hours in darkness. The days are cold and the food we eat are the food we’ve gathered last fall, because during this season nothing grows on the land.
On the eastern half it is summer season. The days are hot and sometimes – if not, most of the times – extremely hot and there’s a drought over the land, which causes nothing to grow.
Then, being the Light of the world and the Life giving Water, the Messiah comes to the world as an infant. He grows up in, what we can say, the center half of the earth and when His Father calls Him, He teaches about the Word of God. And by doing so, He gives spiritual food to the hungry and the needy.
Traditionally the celebration of His birth is with a decoration of a tree, which should symbolize the nature and what she gives to us. Presents are given to each other and there is a variety of food on the table, shared with family and friends.
There is a problem with this birthdate possibility.
According to Luke there were shepherds nearby during His birth, which was near a town called Bethlehem - which is in Hebrew called Beyt-Lekhem (Bread House/House of Bread) - in the Roman province called Judea & Syria (todays Israel & south-Syria).
The next is what we should now what the weather condition in Israel is like.
In Israel there are two seasons: summer and winter.
During winter season Israel gets its water by rainfall and in Northern Israel, on mount Hebron, snow is falling. The temperature is in December during daytime about 20*C in Tel-Aviv and about 10*C during the night. In Jerusalem the temperature could even drop to 5*C and the coldest ever measured is -7*C. Bethlehem is near Jerusalem and both the cities lies on a mountain and are, therefore, colder than the rest of Israel. During the night one doesn’t sit or lay down on the ground in winter season, even if there’s a campfire; the ground is too cold.
It might be that during those 2000 years the weather condition in Israel has changed a bit, although I doubt it that it has changed that much.
I don’t believe that tradition is by definition “wrong”, except when it is against Gods Law.
The celebration of this date is all about symbolism and tradition and has less connections of what is written in the Bible. But, is it against Gods Law?
True, cutting a tree and decorating it isn’t the same as cutting a tree, making an image or icon from it and decorate it with gold and silver. Yet, there were nations who worshiped trees like the ones that are brought in the houses round the 25th of December. They did that by decorating the tree with slingers, balls and by offering food to it. They didn’t cut it down and placed it in or near their houses, but they went to it and danced and sung by and to it. And worshipping like nations do is forbidden by our God.
Another tradition is giving gifts to each other during this day, which isn’t “wrong” by definition either.
However, the gifts that are given, is supposedly by a being that doesn’t show in the Bible anywhere! As a matter of fact, the being doesn’t exist at all and is a make believe, a fairy tale. Children are being lied at!
The 15th day of the Hebrew Seventh month (Jewish month Tishrei) is de day the festival of Booths (Chag HaSukkot) begins. For seven days one eats (and some of them sleeps) in booths and during the Second Temple most of them did that in Jerusalem.
Sukkot is held after the gathering of the entire harvest during fall season (in Israel, late summer season). Every ripe fruit that is still on the land, is harvested right before the feast of Sukkot. For seven days there is a dancing, singing, feasting and thanking the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and on the eight day there is a “simkhat Torah”. The word “simkhat” means joyful and the word “Torah” is in most of our Bible translations translated into “Law”. This is, however, incorrect. “Torah” means Instruction/Teaching. Thanking and praising God for giving His Word to His people, men are dancing with the Torah scrolls in the streets.
The number 15 can in Hebrew be written with a Yud and a Hey יה, which is also the shortened Name of God, pronounced “Yah”. This first day of Sukkot is a high Sabbath and every men from the children of Israel is summoned to come to the Temple. The eight day of Sukkot is also a high Sabbath.
Symbolically the Word of our God became flesh on the first day of the festival of Sukkot – a high sabbath – and on the eight day He was presented to the priest in the Temple, where He was circumcised (Brit Milah), the same day when the people rejoiced over the Word of our God by dancing and singing with the Torah scrolls. The eight day, which is also a high sabbath.
The feast is held just like one celebrates Sukkot. The booth is build and with family and friends one eats and feasts in the booth. Some of them even sleeps in the booths, but not all of them do that these days. The only difference between a believer in Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) and one that doesn’t believe Yeshua is the Messiah, is that a believer sees the bread, that is placed on a special scale with a cover over it, as being the infant Yeshua that was placed in a booth just like the one their in and being placed in a manger just like the bread.
In Luke 1 it says that Elisabeth, wife of the priest Zacharias, conceived after the days of his service in the Temple (Luke 1:24). It says that he was of the course of Abijah. In 1 Chronicles 24:10 is shown when the service of Abijah was up; the 8th lot. Since there were 24 offspring of Aharon (Aaron) – 16 by Elazar and 8 by Itamar – there were also 24 priestly course over 12 months (and for 7 times in the 19 year over 13 months).
Going from 12 months in a year, Zacharias’ priestly service must be in the last half of the Fourth month of the Hebrew calendar (Jewish month Tamuz). After his service his wife Elisabeth conceived and hid herself for 5 months. In her sixth month Miryem (Mary) paid her a visit and it says in Luke 1 that she was conceived about that time by the Holy Spirit. So, Elisabeth must be conceived in the Fifth month (Jewish month Av) and Miryem must be conceived in the Tenth month (Jewish month Tevet) and the thought is that it happened a few days after the month of the Jewish festival called Hanukah (festival of lights), which is on the 25th of the Ninth month (Jewish month Kislev). Yochanan (John) the Baptist must be born in the Second month (Jewish month Iyar) and Yeshua (Jesus) must be born in the Seventh month (Jewish month Tishrei). And on the eight day of Sukkot, Yeshua was being circumcised according to Gods command.
The problem is that our God instructed through Moses that all the men of Israel had to come to the Temple three times a year, of which the first day of Sukkot is included. By reading the Bible we see that Yoseph (Joseph) didn’t leave Miryem alone, which says that he didn’t go up to Jerusalem. That is a violation of Gods command, of which I believe Yoseph never would do.
It is believed that by the mentioning “after those days Elisabeth was conceived”, that it should be considered right after Zacharias’ priestly service when he got home to Elisabeth. However, “after those days” could be any day and doesn’t necessary have to be right the next day of his arrival back home at the first day of the Fifth month. It could also mean that Elisabeth was conceived between his last service and his next coming service.
Then there is also the thought about Miryem (Mary) being conceived by the Holy Spirit a few days after Hanukah, that is today seen as the festival of Lights.
However, the festival of Lights wasn’t celebrated in those days. The dedication of the Altar of the Temple was celebrated in those days, what the true meaning of Hanukah is!
In the books of the Maccabees, the Temple was captured and on the Alter was a pagan altar build. When the Maccabees re-captured the Temple, they demolished the Altar and build a new Altar and dedicated it according to the Torah (Instruction), given by Moses. Then they said to each other: “Let us celebrate this joyful moment at this time of the month, like Sukkot is celebrated.” And so the Jews celebrated the festival of the dedication of the Temple 8 days long, just like Sukkot.
However, about 70 C.E. the Temple was destroyed and after the Bar Kokhba revolt in 132 – 136, no Jew was allowed to go to Jerusalem. So, the festival was changed into a festival of Lights, which is celebrated till this day.
There are several moments in the Bible that may point out to the birth of our Messiah, and with this possibility one can say that this must be the day.
Though the fact that Yoseph ignored Gods command to go to the Temple isn’t explained, nor the reason why the shepherds where not just by day, but also by night by their sheep, makes me think that we can not hold for sure that the 15th day of the Hebrew Seventh month must be the day Yeshua (Jesus) was born.
Another thought about the festival of Sukkot (Booths) – Chag HaSukkot – is that it is a wedding party, not a birthday party.
The names of months placed in the sub-titles between [ ] are from Babylonia, as mentioned in the Talmud. Nisan was one of the Babylonian gods and all the Babylonian months were equal to the Hebrew calendar, including some of their festivals.
Hebrews called their First month also “Aviv”. Aviv is the state of barley, when it is ripe for harvest.
In both Egypt and Israel, the harvest of barley begins end March/begin April. It is the first harvest after a winter season. Spring is in the air, flowers are coming out of the ground and the crop of the leaves and blossoms of the trees are showing themselves. Lambs of sheep and goats are to be born, which causes for shepherds to stay with the sheep and goats during day and night. (Read the book of Luke, where the shepherds were in the fields during the night.)
In Bethlehem, which is in Hebrew called Beyt-Lekhem (Bread House/House of Bread), the flock designated for the Temple are held. The lambs that are born, are allowed to be used 1 year later for Passover (Pesach).
In Exodus 12 we read that by Moses our God said that “this month” shall be the first month/head of the month of the year. An assumption is that it was different before they came out of Egypt, and I believe it was … for the number of years they were in Egypt. Egypt must have had a different calendar then the Hebrews did. Probably the Hebrews adopted the Egyptian calendar, which causes our God by Moses to say that from now on, this would be the first month/head of the month of the year. Yet, He didn’t mentioned that it was like this in the days of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob or in the days before the patriarchs.
That being said, this is de month from which we count the months of the year. When 12 months are counted, the next year begins. And sometimes, 13 months are counted.
It could also be that our God said this to point out to the birth of His Son, that is, His Word which would become flesh in the future. And since, for our God, one day equals thousand days and thousand days equals 1 day, it might be for our God in the near future.
The Passover lamb had to be a 1 year old male and without blemish and had to be taken in by the Israelites from the 10th day of the First month. It had to be examined until the 14th day of the First month, and then it should be slaughtered between the evenings.
Now, Jesus (Yeshua) – God’s Word which became flesh and dwelt (“tabernacled”) among us – was our God’s Passover Lamb. Therefore, he must be born in the same month when Passover was held, because the Passover lamb had to be 1 year old. And most likely Jesus was born within the first 10 days of this Hebrew First month, because Yoseph would not go up to Jerusalem until it was the 14th day of the First month.
Yeshua is known to be the Bread of Live, for which we pray to our God to be given to us daily. He was afflicted, beaten, pierced through and when we take a look at an unleavened bread (matse) we see that it has holes in it. This was (and still is) eaten during Passover meal and so must Yeshua have done with his disciples, and at the last supper he broke the bread and gave his blessings and said: “Eat this, for this is my body.”
The blood of the Passover lamb was not allowed to be thrown on the ground. It had to be taken in a bowl the first time (Exodus 12) and later the lamb had to be slaughtered at the altar, so the blood could be taken instead of being poured out on the ground. During the last supper with his disciples, Yeshua said that his blood would be given for us. He said that when he was giving blessings over the wine.
The last supper was 1 day before Pesach (Passover) begun.
Since there isn’t in the Bible mentioned about a feast or memorial that should be held the first week of the Hebrew First month (Jewish Nisan), there isn’t a tradition being held in the first week of this First month. When the Temple was still here, we would go and gather for ourselves a lamb without blemish – one year old – on the 10th day of this First month and we would keep it until the 14th day of this First month arrives.
The first day of the Hebrew First month is a day to be remembered.
In Exodus 40:1 we read that our God said to Moses that the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting (Mishkan Ohel Mo’ed) should be set up on the first day of the First month.
The Passover lamb had to be a male, without blemish and being one year old.
Yeshua was about thirty years old when He started teaching, and it is debatable if He taught in Israel for only one year or for three years.
With this birthday possibility we have explained why the shepherds, according to the scriptures, were sitting around a campfire by night when the Messiah was born. We have also explained that Yoseph was not disobedient when the Messiah was born and he was nearby, while he actually had to be in Jerusalem at the Temple.
When Yeshua (Jesus) was born, He was born being an infant. He could not speak, and if there was ever coming out from His baby-lips any wise words, it must have been by a miracle from our God.
When a boy reaches the age of 13, he is accountable for his own actions. No longer are his parents held responsible for the deeds of their son. Of course the boy keeps on learning and studying and by the time he is blessed and immerged being a teacher/rabbi, he will gather students for his own.
This is more symbolic to the First month of the year, when everything grows and develops. By the time the Seventh month appears, the blossoms became fruits and the leaves are about to be dropped to the ground. The fruits are about to be harvest.
If we take a look at our God’s Festivals/Feasts, we will see that they occur during spring season and during fall season (Israel’s late summer season). The spring season feasts shows the ingathering of the first fruits and the fall season feasts shows the ingathering of the entire harvest. During the latter harvest, the bad fruits are to be separated from the good and the weed from the crop. The harvest will be gathered in the House of Yehovah, our God, and the weed and bad fruits will be burned. When this is done, the feast can begin.