How December 25 Became Christmas

Read Andrew McGowan’s article “How December 25 Became Christmas” as it originally appeared in Bible Review, December 2002.—Ed.


 

A blanket of snow covers the little town of Bethlehem, in Pieter Bruegel’s oil painting from 1566. Although Jesus’ birth is celebrated every year on December 25, Luke and the other gospel writers offer no hint about the specific time of year he was born. Scala/Art Resource, NY

On December 25, Christians around the world will gather to celebrate Jesus’ birth. Joyful carols, special liturgies, brightly wrapped gifts, festive foods—these all characterize the feast today, at least in the northern hemisphere. But just how did the Christmas festival originate? How did December 25 come to be associated with Jesus’ birthday?

The Bible offers few clues: Celebrations of Jesus’ Nativity are not mentioned in the Gospels or Acts; the date is not given, not even the time of year. The biblical reference to shepherds tending their flocks at night when they hear the news of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:8) might suggest the spring lambing season; in the cold month of December, on the other hand, sheep might well have been corralled. Yet most scholars would urge caution about extracting such a precise but incidental detail from a narrative whose focus is theological rather than calendrical.

The extrabiblical evidence from the first and second century is equally spare: There is no mention of birth celebrations in the writings of early Christian writers such as Irenaeus (c. 130–200) or Tertullian (c. 160–225). Origen of Alexandria (c. 165–264) goes so far as to mock Roman celebrations of birth anniversaries, dismissing them as “pagan” practices—a strong indication that Jesus’ birth was not marked with similar festivities at that place and time.1 As far as we can tell, Christmas was not celebrated at all at this point.

This stands in sharp contrast to the very early traditions surrounding Jesus’ last days. Each of the Four Gospels provides detailed information about the time of Jesus’ death. According to John, Jesus is crucified just as the Passover lambs are being sacrificed. This would have occurred on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Nisan, just before the Jewish holiday began at sundown (considered the beginning of the 15th day because in the Hebrew calendar, days begin at sundown). In Matthew, Mark and Luke, however, the Last Supper is held after sundown, on the beginning of the 15th. Jesus is crucified the next morning—still, the 15th.a
 


 
Interested in learning about the birth of Jesus? Learn more about the history of Christmas and the date of Jesus’ birth in the free eBook The First Christmas: The Story of Jesus’ Birth in History and Tradition.
 


 
Easter, a much earlier development than Christmas, was simply the gradual Christian reinterpretation of Passover in terms of Jesus’ Passion. Its observance could even be implied in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 5:7–8: “Our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the festival…”); it was certainly a distinctively Christian feast by the mid-second century C.E., when the apocryphal text known as the Epistle to the Apostles has Jesus instruct his disciples to “make commemoration of [his] death, that is, the Passover.”

Jesus’ ministry, miracles, Passion and Resurrection were often of most interest to first- and early-second-century C.E. Christian writers. But over time, Jesus’ origins would become of increasing concern. We can begin to see this shift already in the New Testament. The earliest writings—Paul and Mark—make no mention of Jesus’ birth. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke provide well-known but quite different accounts of the event—although neither specifies a date. In the second century C.E., further details of Jesus’ birth and childhood are related in apocryphal writings such as the Infancy Gospel of Thomas and the Proto-Gospel of James.b These texts provide everything from the names of Jesus’ grandparents to the details of his education—but not the date of his birth.

Finally, in about 200 C.E., a Christian teacher in Egypt makes reference to the date Jesus was born. According to Clement of Alexandria, several different days had been proposed by various Christian groups. Surprising as it may seem, Clement doesn’t mention December 25 at all. Clement writes: “There are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord’s birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the 28th year of Augustus, and in the 25th day of [the Egyptian month] Pachon [May 20 in our calendar] … And treating of His Passion, with very great accuracy, some say that it took place in the 16th year of Tiberius, on the 25th of Phamenoth [March 21]; and others on the 25th of Pharmuthi [April 21] and others say that on the 19th of Pharmuthi [April 15] the Savior suffered. Further, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi [April 20 or 21].”2

Clearly there was great uncertainty, but also a considerable amount of interest, in dating Jesus’ birth in the late second century. By the fourth century, however, we find references to two dates that were widely recognized—and now also celebrated—as Jesus’ birthday: December 25 in the western Roman Empire and January 6 in the East (especially in Egypt and Asia Minor). The modern Armenian church continues to celebrate Christmas on January 6; for most Christians, however, December 25 would prevail, while January 6 eventually came to be known as the Feast of the Epiphany, commemorating the arrival of the magi in Bethlehem. The period between became the holiday season later known as the 12 days of Christmas.

The earliest mention of December 25 as Jesus’ birthday comes from a mid-fourth-century Roman almanac that lists the death dates of various Christian bishops and martyrs. The first date listed, December 25, is marked: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae: “Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea.”3 In about 400 C.E., Augustine of Hippo mentions a local dissident Christian group, the Donatists, who apparently kept Christmas festivals on December 25, but refused to celebrate the Epiphany on January 6, regarding it as an innovation. Since the Donatist group only emerged during the persecution under Diocletian in 312 C.E. and then remained stubbornly attached to the practices of that moment in time, they seem to represent an older North African Christian tradition.

In the East, January 6 was at first not associated with the magi alone, but with the Christmas story as a whole.

So, almost 300 years after Jesus was born, we finally find people observing his birth in mid-winter. But how had they settled on the dates December 25 and January 6?

There are two theories today: one extremely popular, the other less often heard outside scholarly circles (though far more ancient).4

The most loudly touted theory about the origins of the Christmas date(s) is that it was borrowed from pagan celebrations. The Romans had their mid-winter Saturnalia festival in late December; barbarian peoples of northern and western Europe kept holidays at similar times. To top it off, in 274 C.E., the Roman emperor Aurelian established a feast of the birth of Sol Invictus (the Unconquered Sun), on December 25. Christmas, the argument goes, is really a spin-off from these pagan solar festivals. According to this theory, early Christians deliberately chose these dates to encourage the spread of Christmas and Christianity throughout the Roman world: If Christmas looked like a pagan holiday, more pagans would be open to both the holiday and the God whose birth it celebrated.
 


 
In the five-part documentary An Archaeological Search for Jesus, Hershel Shanks travels from Galilee to Jerusalem in search of the first century world in which Jesus lived. Visit Nazareth, Sepphoris, Capernaum, Bethsaida, Qumran and other landmarks as Shanks interviews eminent archaeologists and New Testament scholars about the sites associated with Jesus and other gospel figures.
 


 
Despite its popularity today, this theory of Christmas’s origins has its problems. It is not found in any ancient Christian writings, for one thing. Christian authors of the time do note a connection between the solstice and Jesus’ birth: The church father Ambrose (c. 339–397), for example, described Christ as the true sun, who outshone the fallen gods of the old order. But early Christian writers never hint at any recent calendrical engineering; they clearly don’t think the date was chosen by the church. Rather they see the coincidence as a providential sign, as natural proof that God had selected Jesus over the false pagan gods.

It’s not until the 12th century that we find the first suggestion that Jesus’ birth celebration was deliberately set at the time of pagan feasts. A marginal note on a manuscript of the writings of the Syriac biblical commentator Dionysius bar-Salibi states that in ancient times the Christmas holiday was actually shifted from January 6 to December 25 so that it fell on the same date as the pagan Sol Invictus holiday.5 In the 18th and 19th centuries, Bible scholars spurred on by the new study of comparative religions latched on to this idea.6 They claimed that because the early Christians didn’t know when Jesus was born, they simply assimilated the pagan solstice festival for their own purposes, claiming it as the time of the Messiah’s birth and celebrating it accordingly.

More recent studies have shown that many of the holiday’s modern trappings do reflect pagan customs borrowed much later, as Christianity expanded into northern and western Europe. The Christmas tree, for example, has been linked with late medieval druidic practices. This has only encouraged modern audiences to assume that the date, too, must be pagan.

There are problems with this popular theory, however, as many scholars recognize. Most significantly, the first mention of a date for Christmas (c. 200) and the earliest celebrations that we know about (c. 250–300) come in a period when Christians were not borrowing heavily from pagan traditions of such an obvious character.

Granted, Christian belief and practice were not formed in isolation. Many early elements of Christian worship—including eucharistic meals, meals honoring martyrs and much early Christian funerary art—would have been quite comprehensible to pagan observers. Yet, in the first few centuries C.E., the persecuted Christian minority was greatly concerned with distancing itself from the larger, public pagan religious observances, such as sacrifices, games and holidays. This was still true as late as the violent persecutions of the Christians conducted by the Roman emperor Diocletian between 303 and 312 C.E.

This would change only after Constantine converted to Christianity. From the mid-fourth century on, we do find Christians deliberately adapting and Christianizing pagan festivals. A famous proponent of this practice was Pope Gregory the Great, who, in a letter written in 601 C.E. to a Christian missionary in Britain, recommended that local pagan temples not be destroyed but be converted into churches, and that pagan festivals be celebrated as feasts of Christian martyrs. At this late point, Christmas may well have acquired some pagan trappings. But we don’t have evidence of Christians adopting pagan festivals in the third century, at which point dates for Christmas were established. Thus, it seems unlikely that the date was simply selected to correspond with pagan solar festivals.

The December 25 feast seems to have existed before 312—before Constantine and his conversion, at least. As we have seen, the Donatist Christians in North Africa seem to have known it from before that time. Furthermore, in the mid- to late fourth century, church leaders in the eastern Empire concerned themselves not with introducing a celebration of Jesus’ birthday, but with the addition of the December date to their traditional celebration on January 6.7
 


 
Read Andrew McGowan’s article “The Hungry Jesus,” in which he challenges the tradition that Jesus was a welcoming host at meals, in Bible History Daily.
 


 
There is another way to account for the origins of Christmas on December 25: Strange as it may seem, the key to dating Jesus’ birth may lie in the dating of Jesus’ death at Passover. This view was first suggested to the modern world by French scholar Louis Duchesne in the early 20th century and fully developed by American Thomas Talley in more recent years.8 But they were certainly not the first to note a connection between the traditional date of Jesus’ death and his birth.

The baby Jesus flies down from heaven on the back of a cross, in this detail from Master Bertram’s 14th-century Annunciation scene. Jesus’ conception carried with it the promise of salvation through his death. It may be no coincidence, then, that the early church celebrated Jesus’ conception and death on the same calendar day: March 25, exactly nine months before December 25. Kunsthalle, Hamburg/Bridgeman Art Library, NY

Around 200 C.E. Tertullian of Carthage reported the calculation that the 14th of Nisan (the day of the crucifixion according to the Gospel of John) in the year Jesus diedc was equivalent to March 25 in the Roman (solar) calendar.9 March 25 is, of course, nine months before December 25; it was later recognized as the Feast of the Annunciation—the commemoration of Jesus’ conception.10 Thus, Jesus was believed to have been conceived and crucified on the same day of the year. Exactly nine months later, Jesus was born, on December 25.d

This idea appears in an anonymous Christian treatise titled On Solstices and Equinoxes, which appears to come from fourth-century North Africa. The treatise states: “Therefore our Lord was conceived on the eighth of the kalends of April in the month of March [March 25], which is the day of the passion of the Lord and of his conception. For on that day he was conceived on the same he suffered.”11 Based on this, the treatise dates Jesus’ birth to the winter solstice.

Augustine, too, was familiar with this association. In On the Trinity (c. 399–419) he writes: “For he [Jesus] is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also he suffered; so the womb of the Virgin, in which he was conceived, where no one of mortals was begotten, corresponds to the new grave in which he was buried, wherein was never man laid, neither before him nor since. But he was born, according to tradition, upon December the 25th.”12
 


 
Learn about the magi in art and literature in “Witnessing the Divine” by Robin M. Jensen, originally published in Bible Review and now available for free in Bible History Daily.
 


 
In the East, too, the dates of Jesus’ conception and death were linked. But instead of working from the 14th of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, the easterners used the 14th of the first spring month (Artemisios) in their local Greek calendar—April 6 to us. April 6 is, of course, exactly nine months before January 6—the eastern date for Christmas. In the East, too, we have evidence that April was associated with Jesus’ conception and crucifixion. Bishop Epiphanius of Salamis writes that on April 6, “The lamb was shut up in the spotless womb of the holy virgin, he who took away and takes away in perpetual sacrifice the sins of the world.”13 Even today, the Armenian Church celebrates the Annunciation in early April (on the 7th, not the 6th) and Christmas on January 6.e

Thus, we have Christians in two parts of the world calculating Jesus’ birth on the basis that his death and conception took place on the same day (March 25 or April 6) and coming up with two close but different results (December 25 and January 6).

Connecting Jesus’ conception and death in this way will certainly seem odd to modern readers, but it reflects ancient and medieval understandings of the whole of salvation being bound up together. One of the most poignant expressions of this belief is found in Christian art. In numerous paintings of the angel’s Annunciation to Mary—the moment of Jesus’ conception—the baby Jesus is shown gliding down from heaven on or with a small cross (see photo above of detail from Master Bertram’s Annunciation scene); a visual reminder that the conception brings the promise of salvation through Jesus’ death.

The notion that creation and redemption should occur at the same time of year is also reflected in ancient Jewish tradition, recorded in the Talmud. The Babylonian Talmud preserves a dispute between two early-second-century C.E. rabbis who share this view, but disagree on the date: Rabbi Eliezer states: “In Nisan the world was created; in Nisan the Patriarchs were born; on Passover Isaac was born … and in Nisan they [our ancestors] will be redeemed in time to come.” (The other rabbi, Joshua, dates these same events to the following month, Tishri.)14 Thus, the dates of Christmas and Epiphany may well have resulted from Christian theological reflection on such chronologies: Jesus would have been conceived on the same date he died, and born nine months later.15

In the end we are left with a question: How did December 25 become Christmas? We cannot be entirely sure. Elements of the festival that developed from the fourth century until modern times may well derive from pagan traditions. Yet the actual date might really derive more from Judaism—from Jesus’ death at Passover, and from the rabbinic notion that great things might be expected, again and again, at the same time of the year—than from paganism. Then again, in this notion of cycles and the return of God’s redemption, we may perhaps also be touching upon something that the pagan Romans who celebrated Sol Invictus, and many other peoples since, would have understood and claimed for their own, too.16
 


 
“How December 25 Became Christmas” by Andrew McGowan originally appeared in Bible Review, December 2002. The article was first republished in Bible History Daily in December 2012.
 


 
andrew-mcgowanAndrew McGowan is Dean and President of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale and McFaddin Professor of Anglican Studies at Yale Divinity School. Formerly, he was Warden and President of Trinity College at the University of Melbourne, and Joan Munro Professor of Historical Theology in Trinity’s Theological School within the University of Divinity. His work on early Christian thought and history includes Ascetic Eucharists: Food and Drink in Early Christan Ritual Meals (Oxford: Clarendon, 1999) and Ancient Christian Worship (Grand Rapids, MI: BakerAcademic, 2014).
 


 

Notes:

a. See Jonathan Klawans, “Was Jesus’ Last Supper a Seder?” Bible Review, October 2001.

b. See the following Bible Review articles: David R. Cartlidge, “The Christian Apocrypha: Preserved in Art,” Bible Review, June 1997; Ronald F. Hock and David R. Cartlidge, “The Favored One,” Bible Review, June 2001; and Charles W. Hedrick, “The 34 Gospels,” Bible Review, June 2002.

c. For more on dating the year of Jesus’ birth, see Leonora Neville, “Origins: Fixing the Millennium,” Archaeology Odyssey, January/February 2000.

d. The ancients were familiar with the 9-month gestation period based on the observance of women’s menstrual cycles, pregnancies and miscarriages.

e. In the West (and eventually everywhere), the Easter celebration was later shifted from the actual day to the following Sunday. The insistence of the eastern Christians in keeping Easter on the actual 14th day caused a major debate within the church, with the easterners sometimes referred to as the Quartodecimans, or “Fourteenthers.”

1. Origen, Homily on Leviticus 8.

2. Clement, Stromateis 1.21.145. In addition, Christians in Clement’s native Egypt seem to have known a commemoration of Jesus’ baptism—sometimes understood as the moment of his divine choice, and hence as an alternate “incarnation” story—on the same date (Stromateis 1.21.146). See further on this point Thomas J. Talley, Origins of the Liturgical Year, 2nd ed. (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991), pp. 118–120, drawing on Roland H. Bainton, “Basilidian Chronology and New Testament Interpretation,” Journal of Biblical Literature 42 (1923), pp. 81–134; and now especially Gabriele Winkler, “The Appearance of the Light at the Baptism of Jesus and the Origins of the Feast of the Epiphany,” in Maxwell Johnson, ed., Between Memory and Hope: Readings on the Liturgical Year (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2000), pp. 291–347.

3. The Philocalian Calendar.

4. Scholars of liturgical history in the English-speaking world are particularly skeptical of the “solstice” connection; see Susan K. Roll, “The Origins of Christmas: The State of the Question,” in Between Memory and Hope: Readings on the Liturgical Year (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2000), pp. 273–290, especially pp. 289–290.

5. A gloss on a manuscript of Dionysius Bar Salibi, d. 1171; see Talley, Origins, pp. 101–102.

6. Prominent among these was Paul Ernst Jablonski; on the history of scholarship, see especially Roll, “The Origins of Christmas,” pp. 277–283.

7. For example, Gregory of Nazianzen, Oratio 38; John Chrysostom, In Diem Natalem.

8. Louis Duchesne, Origines du culte Chrétien, 5th ed. (Paris: Thorin et Fontemoing, 1925), pp. 275–279; and Talley, Origins.

9. Tertullian, Adversus Iudaeos 8.

10. There are other relevant texts for this element of argument, including Hippolytus and the (pseudo-Cyprianic) De pascha computus; see Talley, Origins, pp. 86, 90–91.

11. De solstitia et aequinoctia conceptionis et nativitatis domini nostri iesu christi et iohannis baptistae.

12. Augustine, Sermon 202.

13. Epiphanius is quoted in Talley, Origins, p. 98.

14. b. Rosh Hashanah 10b–11a.

15. Talley, Origins, pp. 81–82.

16. On the two theories as false alternatives, see Roll, “Origins of Christmas.”
 


 

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  • ssewankambo says

    The intention is to celebrate the birth not the day.when the three wise men came to him ,they worshipped him and gave him presents.

  • Omonigho says

    Hmmm, there seem to be too many controversial and unrealistic aspects of Christianity as a religion that leave one doubting weda it’s a good religion at all. S ancient Romans really adulterated the true Christian religion that no one knows d truth. It is mixed up wt paganism nd demonism feather than d true God. I believe Jesus is my saviour but He Jesus at all timesattributed all glory 2 God Almighty all through His ministry. Today many call Him God even wn He refused 2 be call ‘ good Rabi’ in d bible. Xtians hav adopted dr own ways nd left d ways of d bible. Adultery nd fornication is tolerated but not polygny. Jesus is worshipped not d His Father, wealth has replaced love 4 neighbour, miracle has replaced true salvation etc. May God help us!

    • Ekemini says

      You have well said, all I will say, is check out the teaching if Jehovah’s witnesses, the are the only Christian group closest to the first century apostles….

      • JOHN says

        Wayne says: I do not see much in common between Jehovah’s Witnesses of today and the first – century church. The pattern of church organization, articles of worship etc. in the denominations that I have researched I find none who follow the pattern set forth by the Holy Spirit through the apostles. I attribute this to the mistakes of the reformers in their efforts to correct the apostasy of the Roman Catholic church. If they had only gone to the book of Acts and followed the instructions there and the letters of Paul to correct any problems that might have arisen, we would not have the divisions in Christianity that are present today. Paul, in his first letter to the church in Corinth, decried the divisions that existed there. They pale by comparison with the divisions that exist today; Jesus is surely weeping now because of these divisions. God has never allowed mankind to worship Him according to his feelings or desires; rather He instructed Moses as to how the Israelites were to worship. The Holy Spirit guided the apostles as to how we are to worship and it is recorded in the book of Acts and is amplified in the letters following that book. Many of us today are following the doctrines of men instead of the writings in the New Testament. There are no instructions for us to celebrate the birth of Jesus our Lord; only his death, burial and resurrection and that is to be done each first day of the week.

        • John says

          “…… only his death, burial and resurrection and that is to be done each first day of the week.”
          How often do you commemorate a wedding anniversary, or other special event………once a year………and recall Jesus death was on the very same day that the Jews celebrated the Passover which was celebrated annually (in recognition of their deliverance from Egyptian slavery)……….Jesus told his followers to commemorate his death, and this of course would be annually (Luke 22:14-20)…….not weekly, or at any other time period. The Apostle Paul at 1 Corinthians 5:7 called Jesus the Passover Lamb and John 1:29 he is referred to as the lamb of God

  • Roxanne says

    Of course, no one really wants to believe that Jesus’ birth is celebrated on December 25th because of assimilating pagan dates with Christian ideology, but that is precisely what this article found In It’s research, so face it! Now, let’s move on! Or should I say, let’s return to God’s Instructions about His Appointed Times in Leviticus 23. this is His Calendar by which He would carry out His Great Plan of Redemption for mankind. We see that the Seventh Day Sabbath is the first day that He sanctifies and sets apart for a Holy day of Remembrance of Creation, and a day of Rest and Convocation and Worship. Then God speaks about a day in which He will Redeem mankind who He has created. That is Passover, Nissan 14,Unleavened Bread teaches us how to walk a sanctified life by feasting on His Unleavened (Holy) Bread (Word). First Fruits hidden day that is ‘sandwiched’ within the 7 day Festival, on the Day after the Sabbath of UB, therefore, always on a first day of the week (our Sunday) not on a set date. Are you getting the picture? Jesus died on Passover, His sinless body was buried in the earth but did not suffer decay (Unleavened). He rose as the First Fruit, the Bread Of Life, of those who would one day follow in the Resurrection of the Righteous, those who lived a sanctified life of Faith. Forty days later as Jesus gathered with his Diciples, he told them to wait a little while longer (50 days) for the Promise of the Father, which was the Festival Of Shavuot (Weeks, 7 wks = 49 day’s plus one= 50 dys. Most call this day Pentecost. These were the Spring Feasts. The Fall festivals are: Yom Teruah or Day Of Trumpets (mostly referred to as Rosh haShana, but listed in Lev 23 as the day of hearing the Trumpets. Ten days later is the Day Of Atonement/Yom Kippur, a Judgment Day of sorts, then five days later, the Festival of Tabernacles, this lasts 7 days with a bonus Eighth Day Celebration and special Sabbath. Do you see this picture? Jesus, whose Hebrew name is Yeshua, will return at the Sound of the Trumpet, He will Judge the Living and the dead, and then He will Tabernacle among us forever more. Tabernacles is also known as the feast of the Ingathering, when all the Sheaves/souls are harvested and gathered/assembled together for a most wonderful Marriage Feast. A Hebrew wedding lasts for 7 days. Messiah, the Lamb of God will have a Grand Ceremony! Most refer to this as the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!! And the Eighth Day will usher in the New Beginning of the Millennial Reign with the King of Kings, who was born, by the way, during the Feast of Tabernacles, when he came to dwell among us as the book of John describes. The Hebrew word for Tabernacles or Booths is Sukkot, a temporary dwelling made to commemorate our leaving Egypt/Slavery to Sin, Living not by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the Father (remember the Unleavened Bread?) Knowing God’s Calendar, the Birth of Yeshua our Savior and Messiah becomes much clearer.
    As previously stated, many agree, and rightly so, it wasn’t in December. Luke gives us a huge clue. If we can establish the birth of John, we can know the birth of Yeshua (Jesus, His Greek nick name;) Zachariah’s term of Temple service was the course of Abijah, which was the Eighth course in the year. Chronicles tells us there were twenty-four courses, so, that’s two courses of service a month. Beginning with the month of Nissan, Zechariah served in the fourth month. Nine months later brings us to the Spring month of Nissan, the month of Passover, when John was born to Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, who was six months pregnant when Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit. Jesus then was born in the Fall at Sukkot or Tabernacles, probably the first day of Tabernacles and thus circumcised on the Eighth Day! Why do you suppose that the Roman government chose that particular time to tax the people? Because they could collect a huge amount from people coming up to Jerusalem to a Pilgrimage Feast, rather than trying to collect taxes in smaller outermost towns. Also, there was no room in the inns, because such a large number of people were traveling to their families’ place of origin and to observe Sukkot. I hope this sheds some light on this subject and that this also causes people to re-read the scriptures with all this in mind.

    • Ekemini says

      You have well said it well…

    • Lawrence says

      “As previously stated, many agree, and rightly so, it wasn’t in December. Luke gives us a huge clue. If we can establish the birth of John, we can know the birth of Yeshua (Jesus, His Greek nick name;) Zachariah’s term of Temple service was the course of Abijah, which was the Eighth course in the year. Chronicles tells us there were twenty-four courses, so, that’s two courses of service a month. Beginning with the month of Nissan, Zechariah served in the fourth month. ”

      The Priestly cycle was continuous and did not reboot to first cycle Nissan 1 every year. See Witnesses for Jesus The Messiah by E W Faulstich. Luke does give very good chronological anchor. Zechariah would have gone off duty Adar II 21/7
      BC which was March 20.. Luke 1.26 “in the 6th month” would have been Hebrew month of Elul. Jesus was conceived and born Iyyar 28 or May 14 of 6 BC. 24 sectionsX7 days=168 day cycleX2/year=336 day cycle every year..

      John would have been born around Hanukkah. Gene and I speculated that it was First Day & Circumcised/Named on 8th Day. You had same idea but for Jesus & Tabernacles.

      • Lawrence says

        E W Faulstich Bible Chronology free download http://biblechronologybooks.com/ Science & God in Balance states page 64: “…The first Temple was destroyed was the eve of the ninth of Ab, a Sunday, …and the Mishmar of the family of Jehoiarib were on duty….”(Ta’anith 29a)

        This could not happen for Nisan 1 Jehoiarib service every year and same service dates every six months every year..

  • Helen says

    Send me a Scripture from the Bible as it is today.
    My email is: quibell1936@gmail.com
    Thank you.
    Helen Jarvi

  • BAS says

    Jesus Christ was born October 9th derived from the triangular number 153, thus 17×9=153. He was reincarnated from King David who was born 7 10 1053BC, from 117×9=1053. The 17 was split in ancient times as 7 & 10, thus 7 BC 10 th month 9th day. Mithra was born December 25th as were many of the Roman Gods. Centre of Stonehenge 51.10.73 Lat and 1.49.57 Long, Jesus is 7 10 9 ‘153’ 51* 47* 51 is 51 Latitude which again comes from the three sides of the triangular number 153, 17+17+17=51. Rev 4:7 shows a four part reincarnation of King David the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Jesus is next as the Ox, calf which is from Old Creek ‘Boys’ which the surname which the Second Christ is born under.

    • John says

      Sorry Bas, numerology could be regarded as a form spiritism and of course that is not compatible with the teaching of the Bible. Acts 19:19 shows that those early Christians in Ephesus brought out all their books on magic and burned them.

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