Jesus Birth; The True Story from God’s Word – Updated 12/8/19
Jesus born on Day of Atonement Tishri 10, 5BC (Sept/Oct) our time)
We celebrate Christmas Day on December 25th of each year, for the great gift our Heavenly Father would give us on this day. Our Father sent down from Heaven His only Son, to become a physical man, Jesus, in the womb of Mary. You can read how this happened and other background information to the story of how Jesus was conceived in Christmas; God Becomes Man in Mary’s Womb.
Yet we extend our Christmas celebration to include what would happen 9 months later, when Jesus was born as a little baby boy in Bethlehem on the Day of Atonement Tishri 10, 5BC (September/early October our time). See also Jewish Feasts and Day of Atonement
Our Father knew Jesus had to be born quietly, secretly, to avoid satan (dragon) who would try to stir up those he controlled to kill Jesus if he knew where and when Jesus would be born. This would include King Herod, who wanted no one to replace him as King, have any of his power; the powerful Sadducees and Pharisees who would kill any who would would challenge their religious beliefs, and even the Romans if they thought any would start an insurrection against them. Our Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation already had the perfect solution; Jesus would be born in a humble stable, where no one, not even satan would look for a newborn King to be born.
*His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. Rev 12:4 ESV+
*Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1Pe 5:8 NKJV+
As we begin this message only Mary knew about this great miracle happening within her, for she alone was told by the angel Gabriel that she had been chosen to be the physical mother of Jesus. Because of her strong faith in the Lord, she knew she had the little baby Jesus in her womb; and Mary had revealed this secret to no one.
*And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. Lk 1:30-31 ESV+
*The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God Lk 1:35 NASB+
Mary was in a quandary about what she should do, for she was in danger for 2 reasons. She could be stoned to death for being engaged to be married, and being pregnant with someone else’s child within her womb. At the very least she would be put away, looked down upon, and she did not want that for the baby she was carrying. And if she told the truth, that she had the Son of God in her womb, no one would believe her; not Joseph, her parents or friends. She could be charged with blasphemy, for which she would likewise be stoned to death; and she would not lie about Jesus being in her womb.
*“If there is a betrothed virgin, and a man meets her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city, and you shall stone them to death with stones, the young woman because she did not cry for help though she was in the city, and the man because he violated his neighbor’s wife. Dt 22:23-24 ESV+
*Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death. Lev 24:16 ESV+
At the time of Jesus; one who was engaged to be married (betrothed) was considered to be a husband or wife, they often lived together though they were encouraged not to have sexual relationships until they were married, which often was up to a year later. Just like married couples, engaged couples committed adultery if they had sexual relations with anyone who they were not engaged to. The punishment for married people committing adultery was death; the punishment for engaged (betrothed) people was more severe, they were stoned to death (Dt 22:23-24 above).
Yet Mary trusted in God and remembered what the angel had told her about her cousin Elizabeth. Mary had been friends with Elizabeth, and visited with her during the ceremonial Feasts in Jerusalem. Elizabeth had also just received a miracle, though not as great as Mary’s; she had conceived a son though she was past her child bearing years. Since God had just given a miracle to Elizabeth, she would understand about the greater miracle Mary had living within her. The Lord’s plan for Jesus’ birth had provided the perfect person for Mary to talk with, confide in; something she desperately needed now.
*And behold, your relative
Mary went as soon as possible (with haste) to the hill country
around Jerusalem to visit Elizabeth, who now was over six months pregnant with
John. When Mary greeted
*Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. Lk 1:39-40 NKJV+
*When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" Lk 1:39-45 NIV+
At last someone else knew about the great miracle which was happening within her. Mary could at last visit with someone about the feelings, the joy she had held within her heart. She could at last tell someone about the love, the praise she felt for her great God.
*And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great
things for me, And holy is His
name. And His mercy is on
those who fear Him From
generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the
hungry with good things, And the rich
He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant
John’s Birth – Nisan (March/April) 15th 5 BC; John was the forerunner for Jesus; the Elijah who would come Matt 11:14
Each year at the Passover Feast on Nisan 15; Israel would set out plate for Elijah to come. John symbolized Elijah, would come, be born on this day.
Mary stayed with Elizabeth through John’s birth, probably
his circumcision, and maybe through Passover before returning home. Mary not
only received much needed companionship from
Elizabeth in 6th month when Gabriel visited Mary; Week travel Mary from Nazareth to Jerusalem, winter slower, longer route; Add few days line up trip
Elizabeth at least 6 months 1 week along, probably 6 months 2 weeks along when Mary arrived
Elizabeth 6 months 1-2 weeks, have John in 2 months 2-3 weeks; Mary stayed around 3 months, would have been at John’s birth plus 1 or 2 weeks
*And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. Lk 1:56 KJV
*And behold, your relative
Notice also if Elizabeth was pregnant 6 months ahead of Mary; it is the perfect context for John’s birth on Nisan 15, the 1st day of the celebration of “Unleavened Bread”; then 6 months later is the Day of Atonement Tishri 14, the day Jesus was born.
When Mary left Elizabeth and returned to Nazareth she was around 3½ months pregnant and starting to show. She did not want anyone to know she was pregnant until Joseph knew about her situation. She would go home, meet with Joseph, and explain what had happened, and with God’s help maybe Joseph would be able to understand.
From paragraph above verses; Mary would be around 1-2 weeks along when she arrived at Elizabeth’s; would stay there around 3 months = 3½ months.
Still only Mary, Elizabeth, and baby John in Elizabeth’s womb knew the Son of God had become man in the womb of Mary. For as Luke’s story continues, John’s father Zechariah prophesied at his son’s circumcision, that John would become a great prophet who would prepare the way for the Lord. And no one present including Zechariah mentioned anything about Mary being with child, having the Messiah, the Lord in her womb whom John would prepare the way for; for they did not know this great news. Zechariah’s Song Luke 1:67-80
*Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Lk 1:57 ESV+
*And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, Lk 1:76 ESV+
When Mary returned home, Joseph soon knew she was pregnant. We do not know if Mary told Joseph, her parents saw she was pregnant and talked with Joseph, assuming he was the father; or Joseph just noticed on his own. But Joseph, not wanting to expose Mary to public disgrace, even stoning, planned to quietly divorce her. A betrothal was a marriage contract, and Joseph would have to break this contract to Mary, though they had never been married.
*This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. Matt 1:18-19 NIV+
An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream telling him that
Mary’s baby was conceived by the Spirit. The angel told Joseph to name the
child Jesus, for He would save us from our sins. And Joseph was to take Mary
home as his engaged (betrothed) wife. The Father had now told Joseph the secret
of His Son becoming man to save us. Joseph now knew along with Mary,
*But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" --which means, "God with us." When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. Matt 1:20-25 NIV+
Luke clearly tells us that when Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem to be registered with him, she was still engaged to him, they had not been married. Our Heavenly Father designed the Jewish engagement customs for the birth of Jesus. It was customary for a man and woman to be engaged to each other for a period of time before they were married, often a year. The engaged husband could bring his engaged wife home to live with him until they were married, though they were not to have sexual relations.
*in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. Lk 2:5 NASB+
Because engaged couples were bound together as man and wife with a contract; they were often called husband and wife though they had not yet been married; though they were not to have sexual relations until they were married. If the husband died before they were married leaving His wife a virgin; she was to lament his death wearing sackcloth for the husband of her youth as though she was married to him; though they never had been married.
*Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth For the husband of her youth. Joel 1:8 NKJV+
Matthew calls Joseph Mary’s husband before they were married; instead of the man she was engaged to Matt 1:19. Then refers to Joseph taking Mary as his wife; though Joseph was actually taking Mary as his engaged wife home with him Matt 1:20. Matthew and Luke (verses below) both agree Mary was engaged to Joseph but not married to him; they only use different terminology which could be used for those in a Jewish marriage contract at this time.
*And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. Matt 1:19 ESV+
*But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. Matt 1:20 ESV+
*in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. Lk 2:5 NASB+
Yet Mary was accepted within the Jewish community, even though she was pregnant and was not married to Joseph; for she was pledged to him, and was living with him as his engaged wife. No one knew the Holy Spirit had conceived Jesus in the womb of Mary, most thought Joseph was the father of Jesus. Mary and Joseph were probably married after her purification ceremony from having a son was completed, and before they went to Egypt, probably in Bethlehem. They were not married until after Jesus was born; which reaffirmed to believers that God was the real Father of Jesus; Joseph was only a stepfather to Jesus, not His real biological father.
*But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. Matt 1:20-25 NIV+
Bethlehem is where the Messiah, Jesus, would be born, as
prophesized by Micah. The Heavenly Father plan used a Roman census to bring
Joseph and Mary to the town of Bethlehem. Joseph and his betrothed wife Mary
were both descendants of King David, both were required to register at David’s
birth place in
*"But as for you,
*And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar
Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius
Luke’s genealogy was really that of Mary’s bloodline, not His stepfather Joseph’s, though many supposed Joseph was Jesus real father. Mary’s father was Heli, from the line of King David. And since Mary was cousins with Elizabeth, this means her mother was a sister of Elizabeth; both would have the same Levite Father from Aaron’s line. Matthew’s genealogy only showed the bloodlines of Jesus’ stepfather Joseph, whose father was Jacob (not the Patriarch); which had no bearing on Jesus’ bloodline for He was not conceived by Joseph. Matthew and Luke do not disagree; Matthew shows the legal side of Jesus blood line, while Luke added Mary’s bloodline because Joseph was not the real father of Jesus.
*Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, Lk 3:23 ESV+
*Eliud the father of Eleazar, Eleazar the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. Matt 1:15-16 NIV+
*And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. Lk 1:36 KJV
*In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Lk 1:5 ESV+
Jesus is our King, the Lion of Judah from King David’s line; and our Chief Priest, for all priests must come from the tribe of Levite. He became both our King and our Chief Priest in the likeness of Melchizedek; who was both King and Priest over Jerusalem.
*For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, Heb 7:1 NASB+ Salem old name for Jerusalem Ps 76:2
*where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Heb 6:20 NASB+
Jesus Birth - The Day of Atonement, Tishri (Sept/Oct) 10th 5BC
The Day of Atonement was the holiest day of the year for Israel, for on this day each year our Heavenly Father would come down to His Temple in Jerusalem; and in the Holy of Holies section of the Temple, forgive the sins of Israel for that year. What other day but the holiest day of the year would our Father have His Son be born, as the only one who would never sin. The Day of Atonement foreshadow the day our Savior would replace His Father and forgive our sins by His atoning grace on the cross; once for all forever.
*The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "On exactly the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall humble your souls and present an offering by fire to the Lord." You shall not do any work on this same day, for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God. Lev 23:26-28 NASB+.
*and the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat that is on the ark, so that he may not die. For I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat. Lev 16:2 ESV+
God designed 7 Feasts for Israel which foreshadowed and symbolized how His plan of salvation would work. These 7 Feasts were a road map to how we will be saved; and the Day of Atonement symbolized the birth of Jesus. See Jesus Born Tishri 10, 5BC – Died Nisan 14, 30AD – 9. for the list of them
Tishri was the 7th month of the Jewish Sabbatical (religious) year (Nisan the first), yet it was the first calendar month of the Jewish secular year. The Day of Atonement was celebrated on Tishri 10; was followed by the Feast of Gathering (Tabernacles) which all Jewish men were required to attend in Jerusalem by ceremonial law and lasted 8 days, from Tishri 15-22. These fall celebrations were celebrated at the end of the harvest season, which made it a good time for the Roman census to be taken. The people would not be as busy, and would have money from their crops to pay for any taxes levied.
*On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present an offering by fire to the Lord; it is an assembly. You shall do no laborious work. Lev 23:36 NASB+
God’s plan would require Joseph and Mary to come to Bethlehem to register for a Roman censes; for both Mary’s and Joseph’ fathers were from the tribe of Juda and required to come here. While here Joseph would attend the Feast of Tabernacles at Jerusalem, which God required all men of Israel to attend. Then they would remain around Jerusalem until Mary had baby Jesus, and had completed the ceremonial requirements at the Temple in Jerusalem 40 days after Jesus birth.
The trip from Nazareth to Jerusalem would take around 4 to 6 days depending on the route they chose; and with Mary being very close to giving birth, it would take a little more time to complete this trip. Then it would be another half day to Bethlehem to register.
*So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Lk 2:6-7 NKJV+
We do not know how the situation was created, but Joseph and Mary were traveling to Bethlehem on Tishri 9 to register before the Day of Atonement and then the Feasts of Tabernacles/Booths would occur; and all the crowds would come. Mary may have started labor on the trip which slowed them down, or they just needed more time for the trip. But somehow sundown had come and Joseph had not secured a room for the night for them to sleep in, for Mary to give birth in.
At sundown, the special Sabbath of the Day of Atonement Tishri 10, 5BC would begin, and all of its strict ceremonial laws would have to be observed. All were to pray and praise God for forgiving their sins, and they were to fast, not eat on this day; except the children, and women who were in labor or had just given birth. No one was to work, and business could not even be discussed; including renting a house or to secure lodging. Virtualreligion.net/iho/Sabbath.html 155 - 165
The inn was full of those who came to eat a good meal before they had to fast at sundown, and they would want a room to live in until the special Sabbath was over. It probably included many who had come to register for the census. Mary was about to give birth without a place to stay; and now no lodging would be available until the special Sabbath was over. The inn keeper could only offer them a stable, where animals’ hay was kept and fed to the animals in a manger; since it was sundown He could not even help them settle in.
*You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. It is a sabbath of rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath." Lev 23:31-32 NIV+
On the Day of Atonement two goats would be offered up yearly to forgive the sins of all believers. The 1st goat would be slaughtered, his blood offered up as a sacrifice. The second goat symbolized Jesus; who would be presented to His Father, be used to make atonement for our sins, by having the sins of the world laid upon Him while He was on the cross; then His spiritual being carrying them into a solitary place; the Abyss. What Spiritually Happened on the Cross
*Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. He is to cast lots for the two goats--one lot for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat. Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the Lord and sacrifice it for a sin offering. But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement by sending it into the desert as a scapegoat. Lev 16:7-10 NIV+
*"When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites--all their sins--and put them on the goat's head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert. Lev 16:20-22 NIV+
Jesus was released from His mother’s womb on that quiet, holy night. He would be under the care of His Heavenly Father, until He would come out of the desert to begin His ministry. Then He would shed His blood on the cross, once for all, to establish His new covenant of grace, as the only means by which believers’ spiritual beings can be made holy; replacing the need for the Day of Atonement and its yearly sacrifices in the Old Covenant.
*And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Lk 2:1-7 KJV
*But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Heb 10:3-4 NKJV+
*Then he said, "Here I am, I have come to do your will." He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Heb 10:9-10 NIV+
The Father’s plan for Jesus to be born in Bethlehem in a stable had been completed; for Jesus would always be symbolically tied with the lamb, either a young sheep or goat which was sacrificed for sins. Jesus was born where they were born, for He would replace all of them upon the cross, including the Passover lamb and the scapegoat.
*'Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Ex 12:5 NASB+
*And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. Lk 2:8 NIV+
The yearling lambs and goats in the fields around Bethlehem would be gathered up in the fall so they could be used as sacrifices and food at the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem. They would be held in smaller groups close to Bethlehem and then driven in a larger group down to Jerusalem after the Day of Atonement, when the crowds would start coming. On the Day of Atonement the shepherds watching these lambs and goats could not do any work, except feed bundled hay to the sheep. They would have done all of their other chores before sundown started the Day of Atonement, while they were still allowed to work. They would have also just eaten a large meal before the fast at sundown would begin, to hold them over to sundown of the following day.
angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the
Lord shone around them, and they were
terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for
all the people. Today in the town of
When the angel of the Lord appeared to them they were probably gathered together around a campsite, which was reasonably close to town and the stable where Jesus was born (no one could walk any more than 500 yards without breaking ceremonial laws). The angels suddenly appeared in the sky and terrified the shepherds; as the angels simply announced that Christ, which means Messiah or the Anointed One, had been born in Bethlehem, the town of David. And the shepherds could find the baby Jesus lying in a manager. The shepherds were poor, of lowly status, and deemed undesirable by the prominent yet they were the first after Mary and Joseph to see the newborn baby. For Jesus came to save the poor, the downtrodden, and He would become the great Shepherd. We do not know how many shepherds there were; at least 2, maybe 7 or even more. Now besides Mary, Joseph, John, when he was an unborn baby, Elizabeth, and an unknown number of shepherds (maybe around 7; perfect number work of God) knew about the Messiah who would be born on this night.
Virtualreligionynet/iho/Sabbath.html 155 - 21
*And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." Lk 2:13-14 NASB+
The angels did not sing, but made the greatest announcement ever, and then disappeared back into the heavenly realms. There was not a great show in the heavens above, nor did the angels physically appear at or over the stable, to either Mary or Joseph, or to anyone else; though there would always be angels spiritually watching over Jesus. For if there were reliable, respected people close by who would then see this great event, the news would come back to Christ’s enemies. King Herod, the leaders of the Sanhedrin, would hear of it, putting the Babe born in a manager at risk that night, the next day for sure.
Jesus did not come to make peace on earth at His birth; He came down to make peace between His Father and believers by atoning for our sins on the cross. This means even our own families will be split apart, against each other; those who believe in Jesus, obey His commands and those who follow the world. Our Heavenly Father gave peace this night to all who loved and obeyed Him, who were home praying for their sins to be forgiven on this the Day of Atonement; and hopefully there can be peace for all on this one day when we celebrate Christ’s birth.
*“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Matt 10:34-36 ESV+
*He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. Matt 10:37-39 NKJV+
*Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Ro 5:1 NKJV+
*When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. Lk 2:15-16 NASB+
The shepherds decided to go and see who would be their Savior, though maybe one or two stayed behind to watch the lambs and goats. God would guide the shepherds using only the normal starry heaven with almost a full moon (it would be full in 5 days for the Feast of Tabernacles) to see His new born Son. For His plan of salvation would always be first for the Jew, then the gentile. These Jewish shepherds would be the first to come, believe, and worship Jesus.
*When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. Lk 2:17-20 NASB+
Then the shepherds became the first to announce that the Messiah had been born to others. Ceremonial laws would allow them to walk to town, for their campsite was within 500 yards, approximately 1/3 mile of the town’s boundaries; though shepherds did not always strictly obey ceremonial laws. They might have told the story to family, friends, possibly at the inn, or just announced it out loud as they walked through the empty streets. There would not be many people around or accepting company on a special Sabbath. But those who heard it, wondered about what was said. Yet because it was the Day of Atonement, a time of praying and praising God; at night no one would venture out to the manger to see if it was true.
Joseph would quickly move his family the next day at dusk when the Sabbath was over (remember Jewish days started at sundown, around 6 PM our time); to get away from the confines of a dirty stable, as the darkness of night approached. Those in the town would not come out to look for the baby the shepherds told them about until after they had eaten a dinner that night, hungry from the previous day of fasting. They would not go out after dark to look for them; and probably did not look for them until the light of the next day, when the family had already found a house to live in. Since no one found Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus, they believed this was just a tale the shepherds had made up. Few took the shepherds’ story very seriously, and Jesus’ enemies did not even hear about it. It was not yet time for the nation of Israel to know about the Messiah, the King who had come.
The Jewish day began and ended at sunset in the evening, around 6-7 PM. This is around 6 hours ahead of our time, our day beginning and ending at 12 pm or midnight. Jesus was probably born very early in the evening, around 7-9 PM, as the Day of Atonement on Tishri 10 began; for the shepherds to be able to tell others about what they had seen, before everyone would be sleeping. In our time this would be on the night of Dec 24, the night before Christmas Day Dec 25 began at 12 PM; is why many celebrate Christmas Eve each year as the time Jesus was born.
The Father gave Jesus earthly parents, Mary and Joseph, who obeyed His laws. Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day (during the Feast of Tabenacles/Booths) and presented to the Lord at the temple in Jerusalem on the fortieth day, when Mary’s ceremonial cleansing was completed. These ceremonial laws, though out of Jesus’ control as a baby, had to be kept; or Jesus would have become unrighteous, sinful.
*On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived. When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” Lk 2:21-24 NIV+
(Ceremonial laws completed after Mary purified, 7 days after giving birth to a boy mother is unclean; then she needs 33 days to be purified = 40 days.)
*The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the people of
When Jesus was presented at the temple, God’s promise to Simeon was completed; the Holy Spirit guided Simeon to recognize Jesus, the Messiah, who would bring salvation to all believers. Jesus was also revealed to Anna, a faithful prophetess who thanked God for the child who would redeem Jerusalem. Though because Simeon and Anna were very old, their knowledge was not readily accepted by others; now besides Mary, Joseph, John, when he was an inborn baby, and Elizabeth; a few shepherds maybe around 7; 2 more, Simeon and Anna knew about Jesus the Messiah.
*So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, Lk 2:27-31 NKJV+
*and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple
but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that
very moment, she gave thanks to God
and spoke about the child to all who
were looking forward to the redemption of
Simeon prophesied that Jesus would bring salvation to both Israel and the Gentiles; which amazed His Mary and Joseph.
*“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” Lk 2:29-32 KJV
*And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. Lk 2:33 NASB+
We do not know when the Magi came following a star to find and worship the new King. Yet it would be before King Herod died in the spring of 4 BC; around 5-6 months after Christ’s birth, for Herod met with the Magi. And it would have to be after the 40 day period needed for Mary to be purified. We believe the Magi came in November right after the 40 days Mary required to be cleansed (Jesus born late Sept/early Oct). This leaves around a 3 - 4 month period between November 5BC and March 4BC when Herod died for the family to be in Egypt, before they could return to Israel.
*“‘And when the days of her purifying are completed, whether for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting a lamb a year old for a burnt offering, and a pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering, Lev 12:6 ESV+
*Now after Jesus was born in
We know Joseph and Mary were poor for she offered up the least expensive sacrifice for her uncleanliness. This also means the Magi did not come until after Mary had been cleansed; for if Mary had the riches they were given by the Magi, she would have offered up a lamb for the burnt offering.
*And if she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two pihegeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean.’ ” Lev 12:8 ESV+
*When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord,) "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord" and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons." Lk 2:22-24 NIV+
When the Magi came to King Herod looking for the baby who had been born as the King of the Jews; Herod was troubled, he would give up his crown to no one. Herod deceived the Magi by asking for the location of the baby when they found him, so he could worship the new King; when he really wanted to kill Jesus. Herod got all the information he could from the Magi, including the exact time the star appeared to them; in case he would have to search out and kill this new King on his own.
*When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Matt 2:3 NKJV+
secretly called the magi and determined
from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to
Herod would use the exact time period the star appeared to the Magi as the day Jesus was born; but God sent the star to appear to these wise men 2 years before Jesus was born. The star did not start moving until the right time for the Magi’s 4 month trip to Jerusalem; just as it took Ezra 4 months to come from Babylon to Jerusalem. The Magi arrived at the house where Jesus lived a little over 40 days after He was born.
*And Ezra came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, Ezra 7:8-9 ESV+
A star which only the Magi, who were Gentiles, could see led them to Jesus. It could have been a special star created by the Father for only the Magi to see, or because the Magi were astronomers it could be a star only they would recognize. But either way a star led them to Jesus, and they found the Babe they were looking for.
*When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. Matt 2:9 NKJV+
Our Father’s perfect plan had Daniel (around 586BC) become a prisoner of Babylon, where He would save all the wise men of Babylonia, the magicians and astrologers; by telling the meaning of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The King then made Daniel the administrator over the wise men (Magi) of Babylonia (Da 2:12-48). Daniel told them of a star that would come out of the tribe of Jacob, when the new King (scepter) of Israel would be born. This must have been recorded in Persian records or passed down in some form; for when some Magi saw a special star over 500 years later, they followed it to Israel to worship the newborn King.
*Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon. Da 2:48 NKJV+
*There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods were found in him, and King Nebuchadnezzar, your father—your father the king— made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologers, Da 5:11 ESV+
*"I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult. Nu 24:17 NKJV+
The Magi came into the house where the baby Jesus was, where Mary and Joseph were staying after Jesus’ birth; and the Magi, were the first Gentiles to believe in Him. Simeon’s prophesy had become a reality; Jesus was “a light to lighten the Gentiles”; and the Magi, though gentiles, fell down on their knees and worshipped Jesus as their Savior and King. God’s grace would always be first for the Jews, and then the Gentiles.
*And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matt 2:11 NKJV+
*I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. Ro 1:16
We know there were at least two Magi, but the exact number is unknown. There were probably more magi, along with the servants needed to travel this great distance; a trip which could take up to 2 years. The expensive gifts the Magi gave Jesus were symbolic. Gold was given because Jesus was our King; frankincense because He would become our priest; and myrrh because His death would save us from our sins. These gifts would be sold to cover the expenses this family would have when they had to flee into Egypt to save Jesus; then help this young family get situated in Nazareth.
*After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matt 2:11 NASB+
The Magi were warned by God to go back home by a different route to avoid King Herod; avoid giving him information about Jesus. The Magi would bring their knowledge of the new King back to the Gentile world in the east; who would have to wait until the Apostle Paul came to hear the good news of Christ’s grace.
And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way. Matt 2:12 NASB+
The Magi could have ridden horses for they were rich, maybe with camels to carry their gifts which would be heavy, especially the gold. The ability to travel even faster without the heavy gifts they brought to Jesus; and were able to avoid being found by King Herod by using another route home.
After the Magi had left, the Lord warned Joseph in a dream to bring his family into Egypt, to avoid being killed by King Herod. This would fulfill the prophecy of Hosea, that Jesus would be called out of Egypt by His Father.
*Now when they had departed,
behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying,
"Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to
Joseph would now have gold from the Magi’s gift to purchase horses or donkeys, and quickly carry this family, the gifts they were given, from Bethlehem into Egypt. This would fulfill the prophecy that out of Israel’s slavery in Egypt, a Messiah would come. This trip could take anywhere from 6 days to 2 weeks. Jesus was not a refugee, for Rome controlled all of this area; would be more like moving from one state to another in the U.S., which has different laws and attitudes towards our Christian beliefs and values. The return trip from Egypt to Jerusalem using the same animals would take around the the same time; then it would take around another week to Nazareth.
Because the Magi avoided King Herod, his only option to destroy the new born King was to kill all male children 2 years and younger in the Bethlehem area; this covered the time the Magi first saw the star which later brought them to Jerusalem, when Jesus was a little over 40 days old. This evil deed would fulfill Jeremiah’s prophesy of mothers’ weeping for their lost children. Herod and his advisers believed they killed this new King in the Bethlehem slaughter. All who followed Herod as their King, would always be enemies of Jesus; never knowing He was the new born King born from Bethlehem, who they thought they had killed.
*When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave
orders to kill all the boys in
God’s perfect plan had His angel tell Joseph when it was safe for the family to return from Egypt to Israel; after King Herod, his advisors who wanted Jesus killed, had died. Joseph quickly returned to Jerusalem so he could attend the yearly Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread which God required him to attend.
*But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in
a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying,
"Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the
*Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. Dt 16:16 NKJV+
Yet since a Herod’s son Archelaus was now ruling over Judea and despised the Jews; Joseph was worried about coming back to Jerusalem. God warned Joseph in a dream to go to Nazareth, which would fulfill the prophecy that Jesus would be a Nazarene. Jesus returned from obscurity in Egypt to obscurity in Nazareth, where He safely lived until it was time for His ministry to begin. Where He many would incorrectly believe Jesus was the son of Joseph His stepfather.
*But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father
Herod, he was afraid to go there. Then after
being warned by God in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee and came and
lived in a city called
God’s angel told Joseph when it was safe to come back to Israel, not Jerusalem; yet Joseph quickly started back to Jerusalem so he could attend the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which God required all men of Israel to attend. But when Joseph heard the new king of Judea/Jerusalem was Archelaus, he was afraid to go there, for Archelaus might still be looking for the boy child who would become a king. God answered Joseph in a dream, telling Joseph to take the family to the obscurity of Nazareth in Galilee, the northern part of Israel; where God had made Herod’s son Antipater the new king, who was tolerant towards the Jews. This year God would not require Joseph to attend the Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread.
*Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. Dt 16:16 NKJV+
It was God’s plan for Joseph and Mary to use the money given by the wise men and left over from the trip to Egypt to establish their family in Nazareth. After Jesus was born they would have at least 6 children, 4 boys and at least 2 girls. We believe Joseph must have died sometime after Jesus was 12, for he is no longer mentioned in the Bible; and the money from the wise men helped provide for Mary and her family so she would not have to remarry.
*Isn't this the carpenter? Isn't this Mary's son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" And they took offense at him. Mk 6:3 NIV+
This helps us understand the reason Jesus was left behind when He was 12 and the family had gone to the Passover in Jerusalem. Mary and Joseph probably trusted Jesus their oldest to take care of Himself, while they gathered up the other 6 children, some fairly young; and Jesus was accidentally left behind.
God’s perfect plan was to keep His Son Jesus from being known to protect Him from His enemies; until He would begin His ministry. Mary and Joseph never told anyone that Jesus was the Son of God; Jesus’ step-brothers did not believe He was their Savior until He arose from the dead and appeared to James. John’s mind did not remember the spiritual revelation the Holy Spirit gave about Jesus when he was in Elizabeth’s womb; he did not know Jesus was the Messiah until the Spirit descended upon Jesus and anointed Him. And Elizabeth was very old when the Spirit revealed Jesus in Mary’s womb to her; and never told anyone about Jesus, not even her son John.
*For not even his brothers believed in him. Jn 7:5 ESV+
*I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God." Jn 1:33-34 NKJV+
God even used Herod’s evil act of killing all the babies 2 years and under to keep Jesus from being exposed to His enemies. Herod and those who would follow him would believe Jesus had been killed and would not try to find Him. The shepherds might have thought the baby was killed by Herod, or they would not know what had happened to the baby; because of the family’s quick flight to Egypt; and their talk about the baby Jesus just died out. Anna and Simeon who were very old died without knowing where the baby Jesus was; their talk about Him would merely seem like the feeble story of an old person dying, and no attention was given to it. The wise men went to a faraway country, no longer knew what had happened to the baby who would be King; they would have to await Paul to have the gospel of Christ’s atoning grace on the cross brought to them.
God’s plans always work to perfection, and the Father protected His Son Jesus who was now the Son of Man, without any power to do miracles; until it was time for Jesus to be presented to the world. This happened when Jesus was 30 years old and ceremonially washed, cleansed, to begin His ministry by John the Baptist; then anointed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, as His Father announced Jesus was His beloved Son to all who were there. Jesus now had the power of the Holy Spirit to heal the sick, to help the needy as He began His ministry to the Jewish people; giving eternal life to all who would believe in Him
*He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. Jn 1:10 KJV
*and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” Lk 3:22 ESV+
*how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. Ac 10:38 NIV+
We celebrate Christmas by thanking, praising our Father for sending His only Son down to the earth to become man in the womb of Mary, so He could give His physical life to save us from our sins. We also include in our Christmas celebration the birth of Jesus 9 months later on the Day of Atonement; when Jesus was born and became the eldest brother of all who will love Him, believe in Him. Our Lord and Savior who would 33½ years later die on the cross to atone for our sins, to sanctify us; so He could bring us to Paradise, to live with Him forever.
*This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 1Jn 4:9 NIV+
*For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, Heb 2:11 ESV+
*Dates – see Jesus Born Tishri 10, 5BC – Died Nissan 14, 30AD
Our Time Jewish Calendar
(June/July) 6BC -- Around Tammuz 15th 3755 John the Baptizer is conceived, about 6 plus months before Jesus (9 month gestation).
(Sept/Oct) 6BC -- Tishri 1 3756 A new Jewish calendar year begins
(Dec) 6BC (Jan) 5BC -- Around Tevet 10th 3756 Jesus is conceived in Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit (9 month gestation)
(March/April) 5BC -- Nisan 15th 3756 John born; day of Passover Feast; when yearly plate set out for Elijah, symbolized John’s coming Matt 11:14
(Sept/Oct) 5BC -- Tishri 1 3757 A new Jewish calendar year begins
(Sept/Oct) 5BC -- Tishri 10th 3757 Day of Atonement Jesus was born.
(Sept/Oct) 5BC – Tishri 15 3757 Feast Tabernacles/Booths begins 5 days after Jesus birth; Joseph must attend; no time go Nazareth
(Sept/Oct) 5BC – Tishri 22 3757 Feast Tabernacles/Booths ends 27 days remaining Mary’s purification; minus trip to Nazareth and back to Jerusalem of 12 days = 15 days; not worth taking trip back home with infant
(Oct/Nov) 5BC – Around Cheshvan 25 3757 Mary’s 40 day purification over; wise men soon come to worship Jesus, give Him gifts
(Oct/Nov) 5BC – Around Cheshvan 26 3757 after wise men leave, angel told Joseph take Jesus to Egypt; King Herod kills boys up to 2 years old in Bethlehem
(March/April) 4BC - Around Nisan 1 3758, about 4 months later King Herod dies, soon after angel tells Joseph to come back home
(March/April) 4BC - Around Nisan 10 3758 Joseph told it is not safe at the Passover in Jerusalem to go to Nazareth
Copyright 2009 revised 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 by Ron Borkey
+ ESV “Scripture quotations marked [ESV] are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version,” copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good New Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
+ NEW AMERICAN
STANDARD BIBLE (1995 Update) Copyright © 1981, 1998 The Lockman
Foundation, A Corporation Not for Profit,
+ NIV Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
+ NKJV "Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved."
Some words in the verses from these Bibles may be emphasized with bold letters.