The Season of the Messiah’s Birth.
We will need to review the chronology of the birth of John the Baptist, since the information of that account is vital for compiling the chronology for the birth of our Messiah.
The Birth of John the Baptist:
Luke 1:5-13; 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. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. 7 And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. 8 And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, 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. (Zacharias’s course of duty, 1 Chronicles 24:10; The seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah.);continuing Luke 1: 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. 11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. 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.
In Elizabeth’s sixth Month:
Luke 1:23-29: 23 And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. 24 And after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, 25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men. 26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
Mary Visits Elizabeth:
Luke 1:30-40; 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. 39 And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; 40 And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
The Messiah Conceived in Mary:
Luke 1:41-42; 41 And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: 42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
John the Baptist is Born:
Luke 1:56-57, 60; 56 And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. 57 Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. 60 ....he shall be called John.
The Messiah is Born:
Luke 2:4-8, 11; 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.... 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
The Chronology of Events:
We will put together a chronology of these events based on the information that we have. We will, (for estimation and calculation purposes ONLY), assume that April 1 on our modern day calendar was the first day of ABIB on God’s calendar in that year; which is likely. ABIB is the first month on God’s calendar. It means ‘green-tender ears’ of grain; seemingly based on the early spring barley harvest. We will assume that it was on a Friday. Zacharias’s lot fell on the eighth course:
= Course 1: April 3 to 10.
= The Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread can use up portions of two weeks, wherefore, in this scenario the third course would have began on April 24. The Priests were all on duty during the weeks of God’s Feasts. We will assume it to be for two weeks for this scenario.
= Course 2: April 10 to 17/24.
= Course 3: April 24 to May 1.
= Course 4: May 1 to 8.
= Course 5: May 8 to 15.
= Course 6: May 15 to 22.
= Course 7: May 22 to 29.
= Course 8: May 29 to June 5; (Zacharias’s course)
Since Zacharias and Elizabeth went home right after that Sabbath of June 15, we’ll assume that Elizabeth conceived in the week of June 16; so we’ll count from this time forward, for the purpose of this document.
While Elizabeth was in her sixth month after conceiving John, Mary went to visit her. It appears that Mary conceived right about that same time, which puts the time of that event into about mid December.
Mary remained there for three months, at which time John was ready to be delivered into the world; which places John’s time of birth around latter-mid March on our modern-day calendar.
So, according to these Scriptures, Jesus would have been born about six months after John was born, which puts the time of birth of our Messiah into late September/early October.
That makes it likely that He would have been born during God’s Fall harvest Festive season. Possibly on the Feast of Trumpets, which is the first day of the seventh month on God’s calendar; latter September/early October on our modern calendar.
Watching the Flocks by Night:
According to Adam Clarke (Clarke’s Commentary, volume V, page 370), the Jews would not leave their flocks out ‘by night’ after the latter part of September; since the first rain began in mid-latter October on our calendar (Ezra 10:9-13). So the shepherds that were watching the flocks by night as documented in Luke 2:8, could likely be no later than mid-latter October.
Eight day Courses:
I have added some information to elaborate on the courses of the Priests mentioned in 1Chronicles 24, and Luke 1:5 and 8. This is an excerpt from: ‘Antiquities of the Jews’; an account written by a first century Jewish historian called ‘Josephus’: 7:14:7. .... “He divided them also into courses: and when he had separated the priests from them, he found of these priests twenty-four courses, sixteen of the house of Eleazar, and eight of that of Ithamar; and he ordained that one course should minister to God eight days, from Sabbath to Sabbath. And thus were the courses distributed by lot, in the presence of David, and Zadok and Abiathar the high priests, and of all the rulers; and that course which came up first was written down as the first, and accordingly the second, and so on to the twenty-fourth; and this partition hath remained to this day..... Further, the Talmud states that the courses ran from Sabbath noon to Sabbath noon.”
These courses operated until the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD.
God’s First Month:
Exodus 12:2, 13:4; 2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. 13:4 This day came ye out in the month Abib.
=‘ABIB’: #024. byba 'abiyb, aw-beeb'; from an unused root (meaning to be tender); green, i.e. a young ear of grain; hence, the name of the month Abib or Nisan:--Abib, ear, green ears of corn (not maize).
God never ordained for us to celebrate the Messiah’s birthday, or He would have given us the exact date with instructions. But He did instruct us to commemorate His death and resurrection. God had two accounts recorded in the Old and New Testaments regarding Kings’ birthday celebrations, and neither turned out well (Genesis 40 and Mark 6). God seems to be not very fond of birthday celebrations.
http://corniebanman.com, Scriptures quoted from KJV. Greek definition taken from 'STRONG'S' concordance. All emphasis is mine. 2010. Revised 2012.