While in the Western world we celebrate the birth of the Messiah on December 25th of the Gregorian calendar, I’m not convinced this is the actual day of the birth of Jesus. With that said, I will admit that I am not a bible scholar by any means but my understanding of the scripture leads me to believe that Yeshua was born during Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles which is celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei on the Jewish calendar.
So this blog is not dogmatic in that I think that I am “scholarly” right, it’s just my understanding based on Jewish calendar and the study of the Priestly tours issued by King David in 1 Chronicles.
King David in 1 Chronicles divided the sons of Aaron into groups to create a schedule of service in the Temple throughout the year, each group would serve in the Temple twice a year in addition to the major festivals. The Priests would begin and end their service on the Sabbath for a tour of one week. This tour was based on the Jewish calendar. The Jewish calendar begins in the spring of Nisan, even though the Jewish new year starts during Rosh Hashanah in the autum of Tishrei.
The course that Zacharias would have served in would have been the 8th tour of the year. Since the cycle of service began on the first Shabbat of Nisan and both Passover and the Feast of Weeks required all Priestly courses to serve, Zacharias service would have fallen on the 10th week of the year. This places Zacharias’ service in the Temple at the second Sabbath of the month of Sivan which is May/June on our calendar. Scripture tells us that John was conceived shortly after Zacharias’ service in the Temple which would put Elizabeth conceiving sometime after the 3rd Sabbath month of Sivan. Counting 9 months from Sivan would put John being born around Passover which is Nisan 15.
Note: We know that John is the forerunner for the Messiah and Yeshua called John an Elijah type prophet. At Passover it is customary for Jews to set out a special cup of wine for Elijah who will user in the Messiah. John being born at Passover, was he ushering in the presence of the Messiah?
Now we know that according to scripture that Mary conceived 6 months after Elizabeth according to Luke 1:24-27 & 36 but it is important to know that the “six” month is not in reference to the 6th month on the Jewish calendar, it refers to the point in time of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. So Mary conceived 6 months later which when adding 6 months to Sivan, we arrive at late Kislev which would have been around the 25th of Kislev. The 25th of Kislev on the Jewish calendar is the first day of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights/The Feast of Dedication. Now if John was born on the 15th day of Nisan when you add six months to that you would arrive at the 15th day of the 7 month known as Tishri. The 15th of Tishri is the celebration of the Festival of Sukkot.
Yeshua said as recorded in Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” If the day of Yeshua’s birth was the first day of Sukkot the day of His circumcision according to the Law would have been on the 8th day the final day of Sukkot. It is on this day that the Jews complete their annual cycle of Torah readings and they start is all over again at Genesis. It is at this time that the Torah is considered to be a time of “fulfillment” of the Torah. Yeshua was circumcised on this day of “fulfillment” so now go back and read the words of Yeshua in Matt 5:17, it is at this time that the Word (the Law) became flesh.
It is interesting to note here that when Messiah comes to set up His kingdom on earth it is written that only one festival will be celebrated by the nations (much like Christmas today) and that festival is Sukkot (Zach 14:16 “Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and keep the Feast of Booths”) Today. every nation has someone that celebrates Christmas and worships Yeshua, but not everyone celebrates Chanukah in December and no one celebrates Yeshua’s birth in Tishri (September/October).
Last bit of evidence for my case that Yeshua was born during Sukkot as I taught in our Sunday school class at one time. We know that Yeshua was 30 years old when He started His ministry according to Luke in Luke 3:23. We are taught that Yeshua ministered for 3 1/2 years before being crucified during Passover (Nisan 15, oh and remember on Nisan 15 John the forerunner of Messiah was born) so then in our Sunday school class we counted back 6 months to come to the conclusion that Yeshua was most likely born in the month of Tishri which is Sep/Oct for us in the West.
The bottom line is that the scriptures do not focus on the birth of Yeshua but rather it focuses on the teachings, death and resurrection of Yeshua. I think this is to teach us the His birth although important should not overshadow His teachings, death & resurrection. Everyday we should worship what we believe to be the Messiah and not just on the 25th of December.
So in the spirit of Chanukah I will shine my light to proclaim the miracles of G-d and promote the Light of the Messiah until every Nation comes to worship their Savior at the Feast of Tabernacles (Feast of Booths), Sukkot.