| by Moshe Morrison |

I was teaching two young ladies in our Bat Mitzvah class and we were studying the yearly cycle of holidays that God has given to us. I asked them if they knew which festival came after Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) and one of the girls answered "Chag HaMolad" - literally "Celebration of the Birth" - Christmas. I was somewhat taken aback and was about to correct her when I realized that she was not that far off, since the right answer would be Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) and the Bible strongly suggests this actually was the time of Yeshua's birth.

How can I say such a thing? It begins by understanding that the courses of priestly service were well established in the first century. Zechariah, father of John the Baptizer, served according to that order (Luke 1:5,8). His division's rotation included the second or third week of Sivan (early or mid June).

Like all Jewish men Zechariah would have been in Jerusalem during Shavuot which was on Sivan 6 (June). This year's priestly service turned out to be a momentous one. He drew the lot which gave him the privilege of burning incense before the Lord in the Holy Place. It was the honor of a lifetime. It was then that the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah in the sanctuary, announcing the forthcoming conception and birth of his son who would be the forerunner of the Messiah. (Luke 1:8-22)

Zechariah arrived home around the end of Sivan (late June). He and his wife Elizabeth received the faith and physical regeneration to conceive a child (Luke 1:23-25). John was born nine months later in the spring month of Nisan around Passover. When Gabriel visited Miriam in Nazareth he told her two things. "You've been chosen by God to give birth to the Messiah and your relative Elizabeth is six months with child." Miriam came to see her. At the sound of Miriam's greeting, John lept for joy in Elizabeth's womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Miriam returned home three months later, after the birth of John.

Divine Arithmetic

Since Miriam conceived when Elizabeth was six months pregnant, Yeshua was born six months after the birth of John. This brings us to the middle of Tishrei, the time of Sukkot. We cannot be 100% sure, but Tishrei 15, the first day of Sukkot, is the most likely birth date. Even the wording of John 1:14, confirms this. "The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us." The word "tabernacle" is the same word that the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Tenakh) uses to describe the booths that we are commanded to build on Sukkot (Leviticus 23:42). While building my first sukkah as a believer, 27 years ago, the truth of John's words overwhelmed me with such force that I could not stand, but only lie on the ground in great amazement. Truly, the Lord dwelling in the midst of His people and His care for us is the central message of Sukkot.

Chanukah Conception for the Light of the World

The period of human gestation is 40 weeks. The number 40 is extremely noteworthy in the Scriptures, appearing nearly 40 times. It symbolizes complete development. Counting back 40 weeks (280 days) from Tishrei 15, we arrive at the first day of the month of Tevet. Tevet 1, always came 280 days before Tishrei 15, (except on leap years). Remarkably, Tevet 1 is the seventh day of Chanukah.

What an incredible picture! Young Miriam, lighting the eight lamps as the sun was setting on Tevet 1, to usher in the last day of the Festival of Lights. But there is a glow in the room that is greater than that emanating from the flames dancing on their wicks in the little pools of oil. "The Holy Spirit came upon her, and the power of the Most High overshadowed her," and Yeshua was conceived within her womb. Forty weeks later, on the Feast of Tabernacles, He exited His mother's womb to "tabernacle among us."

By Moshe Morrison


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Comments:
23:40 05Oct05 John Glueck -
This clearly articulated teaching is sorely needed in most all of the congregations today. The notion of negativity toward Christian holidays needs to be replaced by the positive presentation of the plain meaning of Scripture.

11:48 12Oct05 James Wagner -
I had heard speculation that Jesus was probably born in the fall, because the shepherds would not have been in the fields at night in the dead of winter if Jesus had actually been born at "Christmas". Even though the Bible does not give his birthday, your reasoning fits everything together perfectly, that it is quite likely that this was God's timing, that the Messiah would be conceived at Hannukah and born to tabernacle among us on the feast of Tabernacles! Every one of the Feasts of the Lord given to Israel had not only significance to Israel, but also to the Church, and to both the first and the second coming of the Messiah.

17:21 21Oct05 Diana Bailey -
Thank you, Moshe! Having pored over Joseph Good's book, "Rosh HaShannah and the Messianic Kingdom to Come", I was aware of the probable birth date of Yeshua being during the Feast of Tabernacles, but had never seen the dates "backed out" to show the Immaculate Conception occurring on the 7th day of Hannukah. Marvelous!!

16:26 02Oct08 A. Hartmann -
Awesome!

16:40 02Nov08 M. Raymond Svestka -
Magnified and sanctified be His great Name in the world which He hath created forever and ever! For years I have known that Y'shua was born during or around Sukkot, but never have I heard or seen it presented so clearly & succinctly -- Baruch haShem!

18:50 25Dec08 Scott English -
Is this a new idea or is there historic evidence that early believers held this view as well?

  -- Moshe Morrison replies: I've not seen any external historical evidence that it was understood that way by the early believers.
Some ancient writers claim to have investigated the census records in Rome and found written proof that the date of Yeshua's birth was in fact December 25th. Numerous ancient writers claimed some familiarity with the Roman census records. Justin Martyr stated that Yeshua was born in Bethlehem, which fact could be ascertained from Roman tax records (First Apol. 1:34). Tertullian also spoke of the "census of Augustus" as a faithful witness to the Lord's birth, kept in the Roman archives (Adv. Marc. 4:7). More specifically, by the fourth century several church Fathers were appealing to the census documents to determine Messiah's birth date. Cyril of Jerusalem requested Julius, bishop of Rome, to determine the date of Yeshua's birth "from the census documents brought by Titus to Rome." The date assigned was December 25th.
Today, however, these documents are no longer extant, and it is widely assumed that they were forgeries in the first place. Since at any rate the documents are no longer available to be consulted, the wiser course of action is to disallow them as evidence. We have to look elsewhere for credible evidence of Yeshua's birthday.
John 1:14 notwithstanding, no ancient Christian writer ever drew a direct connection between the birth of Messiah and any of the fall festivals of Judaism. However, that, plus much symbolic imagery in the scriptures certainly more than allows for it. One article I read asked that since the New Testament writers and many others in the first few centuries made much of Messiah's death occurring at Passover, would these same writers have completely overlooked the possibilities for interpreting the symbolism of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot in terms of the birth of Yeshua?
My response would be that not everything is written straight out in the scriptures, there is a mandate "to search." John said there could not be enough books written to contain all that Yeshua did. (And I would assume that would also include all the applications.) One other thought - it's very much a part of Jewish tradition to place much greater emphasis on one's date of death than date of birth. I recently came across a biographical article about a famous rabbi and for date of his birth it just had the year. But date of death had day, month and year. Plus since the spring festivals are connected with his first coming, the fall festivals with his return, there needed to be a greater emphasis there. If we don't have salvation based on what he did for us at Passover, we have no hope of glory at his return.

00:02 29May09 Dillon N. -
This is honestly the first perfectly conceivable and sensible conclusion I've seen yet. Sticking with it too! Nice to see someone that backs up their studies with scripture, science, and math!!! Great job!

13:37 05Oct09 Sharon Smith -
The information presented in this article bears witness to the Spirit within me in a great way!!! It only makes sense since from the scriptures we know that:
SPRING FEASTS - FIRST ADVENT OF YESHUA
Passover = Crucifixion
Unleavened Bread = Day of Yeshua's Burial
Firstfruits = Yeshua's Resurrection
Pentecost = Pouring out of the Holy Spirit upon believers
FALL FEASTS - SECOND ADVENT OF YESHUA
Rosh Hashanah = Catching away of the saints
Yom Kippur = Tribulation
Sukkout = Second coming of Yeshua; Millennial reign
It is obvious that G_d prophetically outlined his redemption plan in Leviticus 23 when He gave the Feasts of the Lord to Moses. It makes so much sense that the conception and birth of Yeshua would coincide with the Feasts as well. And undeniably the scriptures support the dates outlined in the article.

10:02 06Oct09 Webmaster -
Readers should be aware that Asher Intrater has published a serious article to demonstrate that the idea of a rapture before the tribulation is not a biblical position. You can see his article here.

20:28 22Dec10 Katie Kojak -
Understanding our Lord and Savior's birth, life, and death through the Feasts of the LORD, confirms my weak gentile faith in the true faith of the wonderful Jewish Messiah, the wonderful Jewish people that have kept the LORD'S Feasts, even though they know not why, we as gentiles celebrate events but at the wrong time. Now with Christians, Messianic gentiles and Messianic Jews coming together, we are able to finally become obedient to the GOD of Abramham, Isaac, and Jacob.

16:22 02Sep11 Marcel van der Hoff -
Amazing explanation ! Personally I have in my heart for a long time that Jeshua/Jesus was born some days before Succot on the Day of Atonement (can you think of a better day than that the Great Atoner was born on the Day of atonement !) Especially if you consider many babies are born just before or after nine months and mostly not excactly after nine months. But maybe this is heavenly precision ! I was never able to prove He was born on the Day of Atonement. Now consider your version. In Holland many believers turn to the Jewish roots of their faith in God, are grateful they got the gospel of salvation through the Jews; ask forgiveness for Replacement theology and the persecution of Jewish people a.s.o. There is hope for Holland ! Here in Katwijk Holland, we have our Shabbat meetings in our Succot Yeshua, were we have many speakers mostly from Israel.

08:09 28Oct12 Rosemary Onyango -
I bless the LORD for you Moshe and the Messianic congregation in the land of Israel. I know for myself, that the LORD brings certain revelations to light, I believe as He deems me ready to receive and to deal with for my spiritual growth. I therefore tend to meditate upon new information, giving it back to the LORD and asking for clarity. I believe He is able to lead the toughest demands of written proof to every fact, to even greater discoveries.