When was Jesus conceived? Like so many others I wanted to know the truth surrounding the birth of our Messiah. When did the angel Gabriel appear to Mary? Was it on a special day or just an ordinary day? Are there any clues from Scripture?
With the answers to these questions we could construct a time line that would shed light on THE Light of the World’s appearance on earth. So in looking for answers we can jump into the shoes of Luke who, according to scripture, conducted a thorough investigation and reported to his esteemed disciple, Theophilus.
Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us,
2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word have handed them down to us,
3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus;
4 so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.
(Luk 1:1-4 NAS)
Since Luke conducted the investigation for us we can gleam a few facts that will point us in the right direction. Luke tells us he has researched and found the “EXACT TRUTH” and passed it onto Theophilus and us.
Time Frame 1
Our first clue as to the time frame comes from Luke 1:5:
In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. (Luk 1:5 NAS)
Here we saw that the time was during the reign of Herod, Zacharias was serving as a priest and was part of the order of Abijah. The priests were organized into different groups and then would serve together at their appointed time for a designated period of time and then return home. There were so many priests that the duties could be divided up throughout the year and during heavy feast days they all could serve to ease the burden.
Time Frame 2
Our second clue comes from Luke 1:8-9:
Now it came about, while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division,
9 according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
(Luk 1:8-9 NAS)
Here we see that Zacharias is conducting his priestly serve and was selected to enter the Temple of YHVH. This raises a few more questions:
- What time of the year was his order, Abijah, required to serve?
- What is the honor of being selected by lot to enter the Temple?
From The Chronological Gospels by Michael Rood on page 39 we read this excerpt:
Each year, Zecharyah began his first tour of duty on the Sabbath preceding the High day of Shavuot. He then reported for duty six months later, just before the Feast of Hanukkah. Only on the High Sabbath of the Feast of Shavuot does the order of Aviyah have the responsibility to minister in the Temple when there is “a multitude present at the time of the incense offering.” This detail allows us to pinpoint the moment the Gavriel announced the upcoming birth of “the prophet” who comes in the spirit and power of Eliyahu.” This theme repeats throughout the Gospels: the Almighty acts to fulfill His promises and His Feasts at His “appointed times.” [An alternate method for reckoning the priesthood courses was uncovered in the Dead Sea scrolls of the Essenes. This method, detailed by Eugene Faulstich in Bible Chronology and the Scientific Method, also calculates that the order of Aviyah was serving in the Temple during the Feast of Shavuot in this same year]
One must understand that the “b” in Hebrew is a ‘v” and there is no “J” in Hebrew, thus the order we are looking at from the Greek translated text is Abijah.
So from this quoted text we have what we need to proceed in answering the above 2 questions. We and also meet the test of having 2 or 3 witnesses to establish truth with both Michael Rood and Eugene Faulstich’s research into this subject.
Zacharias was serving during the High Feast of Shavuot, called in the New Testament Pentecost (pente meaning seven or fest of sevens reflecting the count off of seven weeks) and according to the calculations completed by Michael Rood, the date would have been Sunday, June 3, 4 BCE.
The calculations completed by Mr. Rood were done using high-speed computers and math calculations to pinpoint dates in the past based upon the movements of the stars and the moon. Since we know the exact length of time for the lunar cycles, it becomes an easy calculation for a computer.
A Side of J’s and Y’s for Hey-Sus
As a side note, there could be no “J”esus name in Hebrew since the “J” sound is actually like a “Y” sound. Even in Latin languages there is no hard “J.” For instance in Spanish it is pronounced HEY-SUS. Thus the name would be something like Yeshua.
It would be good for any serious Bible student to learn some of these translation and transliteration facts. We are dealing with a Hebrew people, speaking the Hebrew language and living in the Hebrew customs that our savior was born into. As the Scripture says in Galatians:
But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
5 in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
(Gal 4:4-5 NAS)
Thus we are redeemed by Jesus IF we are under the law and then are adopted as sons.
Zacharias returns home
So Zacharias completes his duty and then returns home to his barren wife, Elizabeth. This must have been terrifying for Elizabeth to receive her husband. He leaves for work, sees an angel next to the right of the Alter and returns home unable to speak.
23 And it came about, when the days of his priestly service were ended, that he went back home.
24 And after these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant; and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying,
25 “This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.”
26 Now in the sixth month (of Elizabeth’s pregnancy) the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee, called Nazareth, (Luk 1:23-26 NAS)
Let’s do a little math shall we?
So figuring that we know from scripture that the messenger carrying great tidings of joy visited Mary in the sixth month of Elizabeth pregnancy based upon this scripture:
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, (Luk 1:26 NIV)
So giving timing of Zacharias’ priestly service and then adding six months to the date of Zacharias’ getting home at the end of the month we can figure that the glorious visit of Gabriel must have been towards the end of December (June = 6 and December = 6 + 6 or December)
According to the computer calculations that would be the Immaculate Conception date would be: Saturday, December 22, 4 BCE a Sabbath. This was the last day of Hanukkah, the Feast of Lights and the “light of the world” as promised being announced.
Basic math of adding 9 months to the end of December would take us to the end of September. Applying the computer in this problem we see a calculation of the birth of our Messiah was Thursday, September 26, 3 BCE. This date would fulfill prophecy with him “tabernacle”-ing among us.
So the LIGHT (Jesus/Yeshua) is announced to Mary
Look is the significance of the Light announced during the Festival of Lights:
There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. (Joh 1:9 NAS)
19 “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.
20 “For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
21 “But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
(Joh 3:19-21 NAS)
12 Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (Joh 8:12 NAS)
5 “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (Joh 9:5 NAS)
46 “I have come as light into the world, that everyone who believes in Me may not remain in darkness. (Joh 12:46 NAS)
The WORD became flesh and TABERNACLED among us
Now with a greater understanding of the power of YHVH’s word and His promises we now can see the significance of Jesus/Yeshua being born on the first day of Sukkot. This is why we see that he was born in a barn, a Sukkah in Hebrew. Looking for some proof? Go to this verse:
And Jacob journeyed to Succoth; and built for himself a house, and made booths for his livestock, therefore the place is named Succoth. (Gen 33:17 NAS)
With the knowledge from Leviticus 23 that all the males are required to go up to Jerusalem three times a year and at this time, Sukkot, was one of them. No wonder there was no room for them at the in. So Joseph would have kept his wife with him due to her term of pregnancy. There would have been tons of Sukkahs everywhere in keeping with the command.
Let’s “swaddle” up
So when was the Messiah Conceived? December 22. This does present a problem for a December 25 birthday doesn’t it. Either Mary grew very fast and delivered a baby in 3 days or She had a pregnancy lasting a year and 3 days. Guess the birth on September 26 makes more sense considering she went right afterwards to visit her relative, Elizabeth.