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Featured Why don't the Four Gospels record the exact date of Jesus' birth?

Discussion in 'Christian History' started by Jesus_is_Saint, Dec 26, 2016.

  1. Hank77

    Hank77 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm a little confused here. If Zacharias' coarse ended on the 10th how could John have been conceived on the 10th? Luke says Zacharias went home and shortly after Elizabeth conceived.
    I'll go read your link, thanks.
     
  2. Hank77

    Hank77 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Again a question.
    There were 24 coarses that ran twice a year, that's 48 wks. The other 3 wks were the three festivals when all of the priests serviced. So each priest serviced 5 wks in the year. There were no coarses that overlapped during a festival that I can see.
    I don't think the dates for Zacharias' coarses can be correct.
    The Feast of Unleavened Bread is Nisen 15-21. There is two wks. (thus 2 coarses) before the FoUB. So that is 3 wks.
    Then begin counting 6 more wks to get to Zacharias' 8th coarse is way past an April date, it would have fallen in May or June. Either the wk before Pentecost or the week after Pentecost.
    That leaves 16 more coarses, plus the week of the Feast of Tabernacles, plus the 7 second coarses before Zacharias' so 24 wks before Zacharias would service his second coarse.

    In 6 BC the first day of the FoUB fell on April 1st and Zacharias' coarse would have begun the 6th week after the week of the FoUB, placing it in the 3rd week of May for his first coarse.
    24 wks later would be his 2nd coarse, the first wk of November.

    In the chart at this link there are the dates for passover/Nisen 14, in the years that Jesus may have died and of coarse rose, too. All of the relevant dates are in April. Counting forward 6 wks/coarses end in late May early June for Zacharias' coarse.
    Crucifixion Passover Date
    Counting backwards from that April date, 6 mths falls in October and back another 3 yrs. is of coarse still Oct. Counting 30 (Jesus being about 30 yrs. old when He began His ministry), still gets to an Sept/Oct birth date.

    If you see where I have counted wrong or made some other mistake please let me know. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2016
  3. Gideon

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    Good observation. Also, the fact the Innkeeper made the manger available for accommodation is proof that it was not winter, because animals were not in it. (spoils our Christmas card piccies doesnt it?)

    So winter is out. I believe he was born sometime between March and October, 5 BC.
     
  4. jimmyjimmy

    jimmyjimmy Pardoned Rebel Supporter

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    The writers tell us what is vital information, and Christ's birthday is not of vital importantance. His death is.
     
  5. JoeP222w

    JoeP222w Well-Known Member

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    Because knowing the exact date of Jesus' birth is not crucial element of salvation. Knowing that Jesus did indeed become incarnate, yes, that is absolutely crucial, but the exact date is not.
     
  6. rockytopva

    rockytopva Love to pray! :) Supporter

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    If astrology is any help we could reason...

    The bright constellation in the sky could have began on April 17 of 6 BC (with the heliacal rising of Jupiter that morning, followed, at noon, by its lunar occultation in the constellation Aries) and lasted until December 19 of 6 BC (when Jupiter stopped moving to the west, stood still briefly, and began moving to the east, as compared with the fixed background stars). And maybe had some heavenly help in their illumination.

    If the wise men followed this star it may have taken months to get from the Orient to Bethlehem. So by the time they would have arrived Christ would have been a new born.
     
  7. smithed64

    smithed64 To Die is gain, To Live is Christ

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    There is a lot of great information here. But doesn't really answer the question. Does it?

    Maybe, just maybe...God didn't clarify the day of Christ birth, because it wasn't the day that was important. But what was done on that day, that was important.

    I could see it now. If God had said a specific day, week, and month. Then that day, week or month would be worshipped more than the One who was born on that day week or month. It's just us being human. Someone would put that day, week or month above the Son of the Living God.

    I agree historically it's nice to know. But it isn't important. What is, important is that Jesus Christ, the savior of Mankind. The Son of the Living God was born on a day, from a virgin, just as predicted in the Old Testament. Just as God said he would and why He came.
    To be the sacrifice, that we should have been. To take the sins that we should pay for and paid the fine for us. To face the wrath of God, as we should have, for us. So that we wouldn't have to.

    Have you noticed something. We can't without any certainty come to a conclusion about His Birth date. But we are all pretty sure on the day He died and rose from the Dead. Why would that be? not so that we worship that day, but so that we do worship on that day. That's the main reason why the apostles started having their worship move to the first day of the week. Was because of the day Christ rose from the dead and showed himself to the Apostles and many others.

    The day he was born, isn't as important, as to who was born on that day....Jesus Christ.
     
  8. Norbert L

    Norbert L Well-Known Member Supporter

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    From what I understand about the significance that a date isn't directly mentioned, I would go so far as saying the vital truth about Jesus' birth is not which exact day He was born. Rather the writers of scripture used it as objective evidence of one huge thing. That the Word became flesh. The belief that the God of Israel, with all His claims about who He is and what He has done, took on human form by being born of a woman (Galatians 4:4). Considering the number of ancient manuscripts that support the words found in the Bible, as some modern translations put it, "that Jesus, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt" (Jude 1:5).

    The way I see it, the exact date isn't mentioned because in their mindset 2000 years ago, its' relevance to the good news, its' big picture, wasn't necessary to write down.
     
  9. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    It's generally thought that Matthew and Luke were written sometime around 80 AD. Mark was probably written around 64 AD, but he doesn't tell the birth stories at all.

    It's very unlikely that Mary was still alive when Matthew and Luke were written. As far as I know, there aren’t any early traditions about her later life. The earliest one mentioned in Wikipedia is from the 7th or 8th Cent, and says she died in 41, which would be well before even Mark was written. But that’s a pretty late tradition, so I wouldn’t place much weight on it.

    The fact that Mark and John didn’t give the birth stories at all, and that Matthew and Luke have such different stories, suggests strongly that by the time the Gospels were written, almost nothing was preserved about Jesus’ birth.

    Beyond that we can only speculate. Why wasn’t it passed on? I can make guesses as well as anyone else, but I don’t think it accomplishes much.
     
  10. Bible Highlighter

    Bible Highlighter Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Supporter

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  11. Bible Highlighter

    Bible Highlighter Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. Supporter

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    BC stands for Before Christ. AD stands for anno domini, which means: “in the year of our Lord.” The BC and AD (which is a part of the Gregorian Calendar) was invented in 1582. So if we are to take the words "BC" as meaning "Before Christ" we cannot say Jesus was born in 4-6 BC. That would be illogical because Christ cannot be born before BC (i.e. Before Christ). If anything the calendar has to change today to fit our LORD and not the other way around. This means we have to add 4-6 years to our current year (if it is in fact true that Jesus was born earlier). Meaning, we should be in the year 2019 or 2020 currently if it is true that Christ was born earlier than the Gregorian Calendar suggests. But I am not so sure about that. How can we possibly know the year is wrong?


    ...
     
  12. Deadworm

    Deadworm Well-Known Member

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    Egyptian evidence reports that the Romans conducted a census every 14 years. The census of Quirinius reported by Josephus was conducted in 7 AD. On that reckoning, the census that drew Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem would have been conducted in 7 BC. That year coincides with the best candidate for "the Star of Bethlehem," the triple conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn, and Mars in 7 BC, which occurred in Spring and in December. In Middle Eastern astrologer, this conjunction meant that a great world ruler would shortly be born in the Israel region. Thus, when the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn recurred in the 1500s, many Jewish rabbis expected the Messiah's imminent birth. [For a discussion of some of these issues, see Raymond Brown's magisterial book, "The Birth of the Messiah."]
     
  13. AvgJoe

    AvgJoe Member since 2005 Supporter

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    I am not the author of the article. I shared it because it was pertinent to the subject of this thread. Normally, I've thoroughly read an article before I share it, but I confess, I didn't do that this time. There's so much there and I haven't thoroughly gotten through all of it yet.
     
  14. JackRT

    JackRT Flat earther waking up ... Supporter

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    If the shepherds were with their flocks in the fields by night, it must have been lambing season. At all other times the shepherds would keep their sheep within a stone corral and lay their bedrolls across the entrance. They were with the sheep in the field since in a crowded corral there was a very real possibility that the newborn lambs might be trampled. Lambing season in Palestine occurred around Passover which would make it early springtime.
     
  15. JackRT

    JackRT Flat earther waking up ... Supporter

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    Dionysius Exigius (aka Dennis the Short), a monk from Russia who died about 544, was asked by Pope John I to set out the dates for Easter from the years 527 to 626. It seems that the Pope was keen to produce some order in the celebration of Easter. Dionysius decided to begin with what he considered to be the year of Jesus' birth. He chose the year in which Rome had been founded and determined, from the evidence known to him, that Jesus had been born 753 years later. He did have an error in that because one emperor changed his name during his reign, Dionysius counted him twice.


    He was almost certainly acquainted with a suggestion by Hippolytus (170–236) that the date of Jesus' birth was December 25, but the trouble was that Hippolytus had not backed up this claim with sound arguments. Dionysius, however, had just the argument: His contemporaries claimed that God created the earth on March 25. It was inconceivable that the son of God could have been in any way imperfect. Therefore Jesus must have been conceived on March 25. This meant that he must have been born nine months later—December 25. Dionysius also concluded that, as a perfect being, Jesus could not have lived an incomplete life so he must have died on March 25 as well!


    December 25 was an auspicious choice. In 274, in Rome, the Emperor Aurelian declared December 25 a civic holiday in celebration of the birth of Mithras, the sun god. By 336, in that same city, Christians countered by celebrating the birth of Jesus, the son of God, on December 25. Christians in Antioch in 375 celebrated the birth of Jesus on January 6. Christians in Alexandria did not begin to celebrate Christmas at all until 430. So until Dionysius came along there was confusion over dates, and debates raged, even over the usefulness of celebrating the birth of Jesus at all. What had been universally important for all Christians—the pre-eminent event—was the celebration of Easter.


    When, in 527, he formalized the date of Jesus' birth, Dionysius put Christmas on the map. Jesus was born, he declared, on December 25 in the Roman year 753. Dionysius then suspended time for a few days, declaring January 1, 754—New Year's day in Rome—as the first year in a new era of world history.


    With a stroke of ingenuity Dionysius had managed to shift the attention of the church from Easter to Christmas. From this point in time it seemed only logical to celebrate the birth of Jesus before his death. If Jesus' death by crucifixion had made possible salvation for all people everywhere, so the argument went, then his birth was the sign that God was identifying with human kind by taking human form.


    But Dionysius made a mistake in his calculations. Perhaps he had never read the gospel account of the birth of Jesus. In Matthew Jesus is said to have been born while Herod was still King (2:1). That would translate into 4 BC (or even earlier) according to the calculations of Dionysius. As a consequence, for Christians the year 2000 is not two thousand years after the birth of Jesus, but more like 2004.


    That was not his only mistake. Dionysius followed the convention of his times and, as the Roman calendar moved from the year 753 to 754, he called the latter "year one" of the New World order—anno domini, the year of our Lord. The concept of naught (zero) didn't come into Europe from Arabia and India until about two hundred years later. As a result, centuries end with naught and begin with the digit one. So for us the year 2000 was the end of one millennium but it was not the beginning of the next: that occurred in 2001.


    Later, when Pope Gregory tidied up the calendar on 24 February 1582, the calendar lost eleven days. To synchronise the calendar of Dionysius with the movement of the sun, October 4 became October 15, and to avoid having to make further adjustments a leap year was introduced. Pope Gregory must also have known of the mistakes made by Dionysius but all he did was to confirm them, perhaps hoping that no one would notice.


    There is one other problem. Bishop Ussher (1581–1656) worked out the precise year of creation as 4004 BC (he knew about Dionysisus getting the date of Jesus birth wrong). But he also advanced the view that the earth had a total life span of six thousand years. In order to come up with this conclusion he based his calculations on all the generations mentioned in the Bible.


    In reality we do not know when Jesus was born—neither the year, the month, nor the day. The chronology of our western calendar is based on mythology masquerading as theology. We do well to treat it all with the humour it deserves.
     
  16. brokerfloyd

    brokerfloyd Newbie

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    Neither is correct, to Understand Jesus miraculous birth is to understand His sovereignty and omniscience, omnipotence. His birth cannot be defined in the normal sense as we understand with our carnal minds, we should look further to the scriptures for the correct answer and that would be Galatians 4:4 "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law."
     
  17. THE W

    THE W AFRIKANB0T

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    since there is nothing in scripture that commands or even suggests that we hold an annual celebration of the day of the incarnation of our LORD, I suppose the Holy Spirit of God did not think it necessary for us to know Jesus' birthday through His Inspired Word.
     
  18. RDKirk

    RDKirk Alien, Pilgrim, and Sojourner Supporter

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    I gave you a "Winner" because this is the correct answer of why scripture provides less information about the day of Jesus' birth than about His death, and why He commanded commemoration of his death, not His birth.

    ...the day of death better than the day of birth. -- Ecclesiastes 7

    And that continues to be true, which is why not only do the gospels not nail it down, but Jesus' birthday is not even mentioned in passing by later apostles or the Church Fathers.

    Celebration of birth days was also closely tied to pagan astrological beliefs...prohibited to Jews. Birthdays were not considered suitable for celebration for Jews or early Christians.
     
  19. Daniel Marsh

    Daniel Marsh Well-Known Member

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    they don't record the dates to my knowledge because our calendar did not exist then.
     
  20. psalms 91

    psalms 91 Legend

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    If you really want to research it you will find that this is the time of year He was conceived and He was born around Feast of tabrinacles
     
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