Luke 1:5 (NLT)
When Herod was king of Judea, there was a Jewish priest named Zechariah. He was a member of the priestly order of Abijah, and his wife, Elizabeth, was also from the priestly line of Aaron.
1. Here we see the soon to be parents of John the baptizer (the Baptist).
2. Notice that Zechariah was a member of the priestly order of Abijah.
1 Chronicles 24:1 (NLT)
This is how Aaron’s descendants, the priests, were divided into groups for service. The sons of Aaron were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
3. This is the beginning the twenty four ‘orders’ regarding priestly duties.
a. meaning they were set up into twenty four different ministry teams
1 Chronicles 24:10 (KJV)
The seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah,
4. Here’s that name again, Abijah.
a. his ministry team serves eight in a line of 24
1 Chronicles 9:25 (NLT)
Their relatives in the villages came regularly to share their duties for seven-day periods.
5. These ministry teams would work for 7 days then on the 8th day a new team came in.
2 Chronicles 23:8 (NLT)
So the Levites and all the people of Judah did everything as Jehoiada the priest ordered. The commanders took charge of the men reporting for duty that Sabbath, as well as those who were going off duty. Jehoiada the priest did not let anyone go home after their shift ended.
6. Their services began and ended on a weekly Sabbath.
a. stay with me now...
7. The Jewish Mishnah adds to their normal services several more duties:
a. all 24 ministry teams also served during the three holy seasons every year
b. each ministry team served a week during the first half of the year
c. each ministry team served the three annual festival weeks
d. and each ministry team served a week during the last half of the year
8. This gives us a total of five weeks during a normal year.
1. First half year feast2. Three Annual feasts3. Last half year feast
9. So we now have 24 (first half of the year) + 3 (festival weeks) + 24 (second half of the year) = 51 weeks.
10. A normal year on the Hebrew calendar consists of twelve lunar months of 29 or 30 days, for a total of 354 days
a. their year begins in the Jewish month of Nissan (March \ April)
11. Fifty-one weeks of coverage would be needed to take care of the Temple every day of the week throughout the year.
12. Therefore, the course of Abijah;
a. is the 8th course meaning 9th or 10th week of the year
b. depending on how the Feast of Weeks fell on the calendar
Luke 1:6 (NLT)
Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations.
13. They were a couple who loved God and were committed to serving Him.
Luke 1:7 (NLT)
They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old.
14. Being childless during that time it was considered cursed by God.
Luke 1:8 (NLT)
One day Zechariah was serving God in the Temple, for his order was on duty that week.
15. It was his ministry teams time to serve
Luke 1:23 (NLT)
When Zechariah’s week of service in the Temple was over, he returned home.
16. Now he is off duty and goes home.
Luke 1:24 (NLT)
Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months.
17. Now why do you think the Holy Spirit thought it necessary to tell us how long she went into seclusion?
a. much less tell us when she got pregnant
18. Elizabeth conceived John shortly following the week of his service at the Temple.
a. this would have been sometime in late months of Sivan or early Tammuz
b. Sivan is the Jewish name for the month of May or June
c. Tammuz is the Jewish name for the month of June or July
c. remember that this was dependant upon the lunar cycle
Luke 1:26 (NLT)
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee,
19. Now this begins Mary’s conception by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit.
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit.
20. This would be the Hebrew month Kislev (Chisleu) or the beginning of the month of Tevet (Tebeth).
a. Kislev the Jewish name for the month of November or December
b. Tevet the Jewish name for the month of December or January
c. again, this is based upon the lunar cycle
John 9:5 (KJV)
As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.
21. Kislev 25th is the beginning of the Feast of Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights.
John 10:22 (KJV)
And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
22. Hanukkah is also called the Feast of Dedication...it happens in winter.
23. Does the Apostle John gives us an indication that Jesus was conceived on the Festival of Lights, Hanukkah.
John 1:4-7 (KJV)
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
24. John keeps calling Jesus The Light.
John 1:8-9 (KJV)
8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
Luke 1:56 (KJV)
And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.
25. Mary stayed with Elizabeth right up to the time for her to give birth.
26. The gestation of a human baby is nine months/40 weeks/280 days.
27. Nine months from the time of John's conception:
a. which happened in in early Tammuz (June \ July)
b. would bring us to the month if Nissan (March \ April)
28. This would make John’s birthday happen on Passover of the Jewish year 3756
a. in that year, this Hebrew date fell in the month of March in 5 B.C.E.
29. It's symbolic that John the Baptist was born at the time of Passover. Why?
Malachi 4:5 (MSG)
"But also look ahead: I'm sending Elijah the prophet to clear the way for the Big Day of GOD—the decisive Judgment Day!
30. Today there remains an expectation by religious Jews of the coming of Elijah during the time of Passover.
a. even today a cup is set for Elijah at the annual Passover Seder
b. children symbolically check for him at the door during the services
c. the Jews did not receive John the Baptist in the spirit of Elijah
d. that is why Elijah must come at the beginning of the tribulation
31. Historically, when john the Baptist was born, a lunar eclipse was visible from Jerusalem.
Luke 2:1 (NLT)
At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire.
32. 33. Here we see the time frame of Jesus birth.
Luke 2:2 (NLT)
(This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
This gives us a time from 12 to 4 BC.
34. Since Jesus was born six months after John, that would make His birth in the Jewish month of Tishri.
a. this is the Jewish month for September \ October
b. this is the 7th month on the Jewish yearly cycle
c. seven symbolizes ‘rest’
Matthew 11:28 (MSG)
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest.
35. Now we have a problem.
36. In the time frame of Tishri, there are three feasts worth noting;
#1. The Feast of Trumpets - Numb. 29:1 - the 1st of the month of Tishri
#2. Day of Atonement - Lev. 23:27 - the 10th of the month of Tishri
#3. Feast of Tabernacles- Lev. 23:34 - the 15th of the month of Tishri
37. If Jesus was conceived on Hanukkah, do any of these tell us the time from he was born.
a. let’s see what the Word says
Luke 2:5-7 (MSG)
5 He went with Mary, his fianc-e, who was pregnant. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.
38. Why was there bo room anywhere?
a. was it because of the census or taxation
Nehemiah 8:14-15 (KJV)
14 And they found written in the law which the LORD had commanded by Moses, that the children of Israel should dwell in booths in the feast of the seventh month: 15 And that they should publish and proclaim in all their cities, and in Jerusalem, saying, Go forth unto the mount, and fetch olive branches, and pine branches, and myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of thick trees, to make booths, as it is written.
39. Here we see something that Israel had forgotten to do.
Nehemiah 8:16 (KJV)
So the people went forth, and brought them, and made themselves booths, every one upon the roof of his house, and in their courts, and in the courts of the house of God, and in the street of the water gate, and in the street of the gate of Ephraim.
40. Everywhere you looked, booths\tabernacles cluttered the countryside.
a. the purpose...
Nehemiah 8:17 (KJV)
And all the congregation of them that were come again out of the captivity made booths, and sat under the booths: for since the days of Jeshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so. And there was very great gladness.
41. To remind them that they were come out of captivity.
Deuteronomy 16:16 (MSG)
All your men must appear before GOD, your God, three times each year at the place he designates: at the Feast-of-Unraised-Bread (Passover), at the Feast-of-Weeks, and at the Feast-of-Booths. No one is to show up in the Presence of GOD empty-handed;
42. What better time to get a census and collect taxes when all the Jews are celebrating the feast in one area.
a. this would explain why there was no room as well...anywhere
43. The city was overflowing because of the Feast of Tabernacles.
a. but what does that prove
John 1:14 (KJV)
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
dwelt - Gk - skenoo - (skay nah oh) - to tent or camp
- to live in a tent or tabernacle \ booth
- to reside as God did in a tabernacle
- to fix or prepare ones tabernacle
44. Eight days later Jesus was circumcised.
a. on the Feast of Tabernacles, the the 15th of the month of Tishri (Sept/Oct)
Leviticus 23:36 (NLT)
For seven days you must present special gifts to the LORD. The eighth day is another holy day on which you present your special gifts to the LORD. This will be a solemn occasion, and no ordinary work may be done that day.
45. This eight day was the closing day of the present festival as well as the closing day of all festivals of the year.
a. it was also a day when special animal sacrifices were made
Matthew 5:17 (NLT)
“Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.
46. So does it matter whether we celebrate His birthday on Dec. 25th or not?
Colossians 2:16-18 (MSG)
16 So don't put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. 17 All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ. 18 Don't tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They're a lot of hot air, that's all they are.
May your Christmas be without hot air!