Question:

I was just reading an article explaining the reasoning behind the belief that Jesus's birth was the fulfillment of the prophecy associated with the Feast of Tabernacles, in the seventh Jewish month of Tishri. When would that be on our calendar? I don't celebrate Christmas religiously, namely because if we were asked to celebrate it, we would have been told exactly when, and I'm sure Jesus would not have wanted us to celebrate His birthday by lavishing unnecessary gifts on everyone else, but I think that the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy is fascinating. To me, it is proof of God's existence. Can you tell me what you think about this proposition, and when Jesus might have actually been born?


Answer:

The Jewish calendar doesn't precisely line up with our modern-day calendar because they used "leap-months" to keep it on track instead of the leap-days we use in our calendar. Thus the Jewish calendar roughly starts somewhere around mid-March to mid-April. The feast of the tabernacle would fall somewhere in the September to October time frame.

However, there is no prophesy connecting Jesus' birth to the Feast of the Tabernacles; thus, it cannot be evidence when it doesn't exist.

"Being a priest, Zacharias served two weeks out of each year in the temple, running from Sabbath day to Sabbath day. Thus each Sabbath had two divisions on duty at the same time, the one ending their turn and the one beginning their turn. Being of the division of Abijah, his division worked the eighth and thirty-second week of the year (I Chronicles 24:1-19). Josephus wrote that David “divided them also into courses; and when he had separated the priests from them, he found of these priest twenty-four courses, sixteen of their course 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 Abiathaar the high priests and of all the rulers” [Antiquites of the Jews, VII.xiv.7]. [The Gospel Accounts: A Chronological History].

Using the traditional time for when Zacharias would have been serving in his division you get either a spring or fall birth date for Jesus since Jesus was born 15 months after John was conceived. What I've noticed on many claims is that they skip over the fact that the priestly divisions served two times each year.