When Was Jesus Born?

The Christmas season is here and in full effect!  

Although Christmas has been commercialized & secularized, many haven’t forgot that the reason for the season is Jesus Christ!  Although we traditionally celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25th, I can assure you it’s highly unlikely Christ was born on December 25th.  Intrigued?  Please hold your judgments and read on.

DISCLAIMER: The Scholar In Me Is About To Come Out 😀

Throughout history, calendars have been dated according to important historical events.  Our calendar is dated in relation to the birth of Jesus. “B.C.” = ‘Before Christ’. “A.D.” = “Anno Domini’ = ‘in the year of our Lord.’  How did they come up with this date? Is this 2010 years after the birth of Jesus?

In 46 BC, Julius Caesar came up with the “Julian Calendar”, with 12 months and 365 days. It was based on the founding of the city of Rome.  In 1582 AD, it was revised by Pope Gregory XIII, because it had fallen behind by 10 days. He declared October 5th to be October 15th and arranged for Leap Years. He based the new calendar on the date of the birth of Christ.  Our current calendar is called the “Gregorian Calendar”.  It’s pretty accurate, but it’s off by 26 seconds each year. (Source: Logos 4 Bible Software)

Our calendar is based on the birth of Jesus. HOWEVER, if you look in your Bible, the birth of Jesus is dated at 4 or 5 B.C.  Pope Gregory was in error by 4-5 years.  How do we know this?  We look to history.  Jesus was born when Herod was King.  He reigned for 37 years.  Josephus (a Jewish historian) says that there was a lunar eclipse shortly before Herod’s death.  History tells us that Herod died 7 days before the eclipse. The eclipse is dated in March of 4 B.C. (Source: WORDsearch Bible Software)

Are You Still With Me?

Mary & Joseph’s flight into Egypt occurred BEFORE the death of Herod.  The Bible tells us that Herod died while they were in Egypt (Source: Matthew 2:14-15, 19-20).  Mary had to wait 40 days after the birth of Jesus before she could present Jesus before the Lord (Luke 2:2; Leviticus 12:2-8).  SO, they couldn’t have traveled to Egypt until after 40 days after the birth of Jesus.  According to Luke 2:2, Quirinius was Governor of Syria TWICE.  The FIRST time was around 4 B.C.  This puts the birth of Jesus around 4-5 B.C.

We celebrate Christmas on December 25th. WHY?

In 180 A.D., Clement of Alexandria wrote that the birth of Jesus was thought to be on April 21 … or April 22 … or May 20 … depending on who you asked.  Most believed that it was around the Passover time.  This is when the shepherds would be out in their fields … not in the winter (December).  WHY DECEMBER 25th? In the 4th Century, the Western Church set the date as December 25th.  There was a pagan holiday on that date, and so to diminish and obscure the importance of the pagan holiday, they decided to celebrate the birth of Jesus on that date (Source: Logos 4 Bible Software).

In closing, if God would have wanted us to know the exact date…if it was that important…He would have told us.

The IMPORTANT thing is … to celebrate the birth of Jesus … no matter what date you choose.

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