When was Jesus Born? Tabernacles?

Jewish Calendar When was Jesus Born? Was it during the Feast of Tabernacles? This post is pretty involved - but if you are interested, it is provocative.
A lot of this information is from Messiah Understanding His Life and Teachings in Hebraic Context Volume 2 by Avi Ben Mordechai

The best evidence is forJesus to be born approximately on Tishri 15, the beginning of the Feast of Sukkot. Here's the basic chart:

| Event | When |
| John Conceived | mid to late June |
| Jesus Conceived(6 months later)| mid to late Decemeber(Hanukah) |
| John Born | Passover |
| Jesus Born | Sukkot |

What we know:
Zechariah was a priest in the Temple when the angel Gabriel appeared and told him that he and his wife Elizabeth were going to have a son. His son would have the spirit of Elijah. Here's the verses from Luke 1:5-17

Luk 1:5 There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth.
Luk 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Luk 1:7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.
Luk 1:8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course,
Luk 1:9 According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
Luk 1:10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
Luk 1:11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
Luk 1:12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
Luk 1:13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
Luk 1:14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
Luk 1:15 For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.
Luk 1:16 And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
Luk 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Priestly Order
One very important pieces of information in this passage is that Zecharias belonged to the course of Abia (also spelled Abijah). Zecharias was executing his priestly duties when Gabriel visited him. What this means is that if we can ascertain when the order of Abijah served in the temple we can determine when John was conceived.

If we examine 1 Chronicles 24:3-19, we find that the priests were divided into 24 orders for serving in the temple. In particular, 1 Chronicles 24:10 (1Ch 24:10 The seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah)indicates that Abijah was eighth in the order of service.

So far so good, but what does serving eighth mean. According to the Mishna (a collection of the Jewish religious law that was passed down and developed before 200 A.D.), each order served for two weeks per year. The weeks were not necessarily consecutive and began on first sabbath of Aviv or Nisan (two weeks before Passover), which is roughly March/April. All the priests also had to serve at the three major feasts: Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. So for Zacharias his order would occur, 8 weeks from 1 Nisan, plus 1 weeks for Unleavened Bread and 1 week for Pentecost, so a total time of 10 weeks, somewhere mid to late June. So we can conclude that Zechariah was serving in the temple mid to late June when John the Baptist was conceived.

John the Baptist's Birth
9 months from mid to late June gives us mid to late March, which is the beginning of Passover. The prophet Elijah is clearly associated with Passover, and we anticipate his coming by leaving a place for Him each Passover at the meal. Since we know that John came in the spirit of Elijah (Matthew 11:10-14), then this helps us affirm that John the Baptist was born during the Passover season.

Jesus - 6 months younger than John
According to Luke, in the 6th month after John's conception, the angel Gabriel announced that Mary would have a child. (Luke 1:36). Adding 6 months to John's birth places the birth of Jesus in the month of Tishri (September). This is the biblical narrative evidence that allows us to determine the month of the birth of Jesus.

It is highly significant that the feast of Tabernacles occurs during the month of Tishri. The feast of Tabernacles commemorates the time where dwell in a temporary booth, called Sukkah. It is therefore highly significant that the apostle John describes the coming of Jesus to earth as dwelling or tabernacle-ing among us. His name is called Emmanuel, or God with us. It is possible that the word manger is in fact a sukkah. The feast of Tabernacles is a season of joy, which matches the angelic announcement of Christ's birth "I bring you tidings of great joy".

Additional Information
Avi Ben Mordechai elaborates on this subject his aforementioned book and I would recommend it for your reading.

Thanks to Jim Powers for doing the research on this and composing this great summary.

Photo from: www.torahtots.com

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1 comment

Comment from: Gail Mc [Visitor]  
Gail Mc

It is a real delight to stumble across your page - there aren’t many people out there who believe what we do and with the run-up to Christmas now well under way it is getting increasingly difficult to share the Truth with others concerning the pagan rituals they are following … thank you and bless you.

11/02/09 @ 01:50