Thursday, December 24, 2009
Looking at Christ's Birth: Merry Christmas
This is a fascinating look at scripture, historical records, and astrological estimates.
The rundown is below after the analysis:
1. Joseph and Mary journeyed to Bethlehem for the "census" (registration) at the very close of the Jewish civil year (an apt time for a registration of peoples to occur) in late Summer, 3BC, Lk.2:1.
2. Jesus was born in a stable in the early evening hours (just as the Jewish calendar advanced to 1 Tishri) of September 11, 3BC.
3. He was circumcised on September 19, 3BC, Lk.2:21
4. He was dedicated in the Temple on October 21, 3BC.
5. Luke says, "they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth", Lk.2:39. This means that they did not go to Egypt after the birth of Christ. After all, they had only gone to Bethlehem for the "census", not to move there. So, the family returned to Nazareth in the latter part of October (during that time, they located a house to live in).
6. Then for some reason (they probably thought that a better place to raise the Messiah would be in Jerusalem’s back yard) they decided to move to Bethlehem. This could have been in the Spring or Summer of 2BC. They set up house there, Mt.2:11.
7. Then on December 25, 2BC, when the planet Jupiter came to its stationary point in mid-Virgo and was in meridian over Bethlehem, the Magi arrived in Bethlehem bearing gifts meant for a king.
8. Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt, having been forewarned by an angel in late December, 2BC.
9. Herod killed the male children "in Bethlehem and in all its environs, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had ascertained from the magi", Mt.2:16. This matter of killing two-year-old children can now make good sense. If Jesus was born in September, 3BC, the slaying of infants was about 15 months after His birth. If the conception period were also considered, it comes to 24 months exactly.
10. Joseph and Mary returned from Egypt, having been told that Herod was dead (Herod died in January, 1BC) and took up residence in Nazareth, Mt.2:19-23.
11. In the spring of 11AD, Jesus visited Jerusalem with His parents and observed Passover, Lk.2:41-42.
12. Jesus began His public ministry just after He reached the age of 31, in October or November, 29AD. This satisfies the statement in Lk.3:23 "And when He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age…".