We know from 1 Chronicles that according to the established order of the 24 priestly divisions, that Zechariah’s service in the Temple as part of the division of Abijah would have begun on the 9th day of the third month of Sivan, in the Hebrew year 3997 or June 3, 4 BCE. Zechariah would have returned home from his service during the third week of Sivan. Although Luke is written in Greek, verses 23 and 24 of Luke 1 are a Hebraism which would indicate that Elizabeth conceived immediately after the days of Zechariah’s service. This would put the date of conception for John on or about the second day of the forth
month of Tammuz. Allowing for 280 days of gestation, John would have been born on the 15th day of the Aviv 3998 (3 BCE). Interestingly, every year Jewish families leave an empty place setting and cup of wine for Elijah at their Passover Seder, because tradition holds that Elijah will announce the coming of Messiah. When asked about this tradition, Y'shua stated that John the Baptist had come in the Spirit of Elijah. The fifteenth day of Aviv begins with the Passover Seder. How cool is it that John the Baptist was born on
Passover, the day that the arrival of the one who would announce the coming of Messiah had been anticipated for over a thousand years.
We know from Luke 1:26 that Y’shua was conceived when Elizabeth was six months pregnant. This would place Y’shua’s conception on the last day of Chanukah, the Feast of Lights. How appropriate is it that Y'shua, the light of the world was conceived by the power of the Ruach Qodesh (Holy Spirit) during the festival of lights.
Adding 280 days for gestation from this date, Y’shua would have been born on Tishri 15, 3998 (3 BCE); the first day of Sukkot (also known as the Feast of Tabernacles). This may be what John alluded to when he said: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory…” (John 1:14 NASB) The Greek word translated dwelt in this passage is “skenoo”,which means to pitch ones tent or to tabernacle. I believe that Y'shua partially fulfilled the prophetic significance of the Feast of Tabernacles when He came
and tabernacled among us. There will be another fulfillment of the prophetic significance of this Feast when He tabernacles among us again in the Millennial Kingdom.
Tishri 15 falls in late septber or early October on our calendar. There are some other reasons to believe that Y"shua was born at this time and not on December 25. In Y'shua's time, shepherds were not in the fields with the sheep much past late September or early October. Therefor, if the angels announced the birth of Y'shua to shepherds in the fields, it would have to have been prior to early October. During the Feast of Tabernacles which occurs at this time, all Jewish males were required to come to Yerushalyim (Jerusalem). This would have been a great time to take a census and, it might explain why there was no room at the Inn. Lastly, each of the Moedim (YHVH's Appointed Times) listed in Leviticus 23 either have been or will be fulfilled in the ministry of Messiah. What better time for Messiah to come and tabernacle among us than at the Feast of Tabernacles.
In my next post, I will address whether believers in Messiah should celebrate the birth of Y'shua.