Nazarene Space

Birth of Yeshua at Sukkot Luke 2:1-7
By James Trimm


2:1-2 And it happened that in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the Land should be enrolled. This enrollment first happened during the governorship of Quirinius in Syria. –

that all the Land should be enrolled - “all the Land” The Old Syriac Aramaic has )(r) hlwk which is ambiguous in Aramaic. )(r) (Strong's #772) is the Aramaic equivalent of Hebrew Cr) eretz (Strong's 776). This word can mean "world" (as in Prov. 19:4) "earth" (as in Dan. 2:35) or "land" (as in Dan. 9:15) and is often used as a euphemism for "The Land of Israel" (as in Dan. 9:6). The Greek translator mistook the word to mean “world” here causing scholars to mistakenly think that Luke was speaking of one of the three empire-wide censuses which were in 28 B.C., 8 B.C., and 14 A.D. None of these dates fits well with the time of the birth of Messiah. However we learn from the Aramaic text that Luke actually refers a much smaller local census and not one of these empire-wide censuses at all. This is supported by the fact that Luke uses the phrase “this enrollment first happened” so as to contrast this enrollment by another ordered by Quirinius in 6 C.E. which Luke mentions in his second book (Acts 5:37). That census was a local census of Judah and so it stands to reason that this census was also a local census of Judah or “Ha-Eretz” “The Land” as well.

during the governorship of Quirinius in Syria - This is the reading of the Peshitta. The Old Syriac Aramaic says “in the years of Quirinius governor of Syria” .

His full name was Publius Sulpicius Quirinius. Skeptics have made much of the fact that Quirinius is known to have become Governor of Syria in 6 C.E. (several years to late to fit the time of Yeshua’s birth). However there are two very workable solutions to this apparent problem.

The first is that Quirinius may have served as governor of Syria once before, perhaps as a military governor, prior to his installation in 6 C.E.. A Latin inscription has been found recording the career of a distinguished Roman officer who, when he became imperial legate of Syria entered upon that office ‘for the second time’ (Lat. iterum). This Roman officer could very well be Quirinius.

The second is that “the years of Quirinius” actually began before he actually became governor of Syria. Quirinius was governing in Syria as a Roman Senator in charge of being the assessor of property in Syria as well as Judea (which the Romans regarded as part of Syria). His name was also mentioned in "Res Gestae - The Deeds of Augustus by Augustus" which was found in the city of Antioch Pisidia placing him as consul as early as 12 B.C.. The Greek geographer and historian Strabo (circa 63 B.C. - circa A.D. 23), seems to indicate Quirinius may have been in Syria with a special commission for military operations between 10 and 7 B.C. Moreover the Roman historian Tacitus mentions that Quirinius was appointed by Augustus to be an advisor to his young son Caius Caesar in Armenia. Caius was sent to administer Syria in 1 C.E. with Quirininus as his advisor. So there is good evidence that “the years of Quirinius” in Syria began several years before his installation as governor in 6 C.E..

2:7 and laid him in a manger – Or a Sukkah booth.

There is evidence that Yeshua was born at Sukkot. The key to calculating the date of the birth of Messiah is Luke 1:5 where we learn that Zechariah the father of Yochanan was a priest of the course of Abijah.

The priests became to numerous to all serve at the Temple all the time, so they were divided into 24 courses (1Chron. 24). Each course served for two weeks each year, once in the former rain (first half of the year) and once in the latter rain (second half of the year). There were also three weeks in which all the priests were required to serve, these
were the three pilgrimage festivals (Dt. 16:16). 24 times 2 is 48 plus three is 51. 51 weeks is 357 days fitting nicely within the 360 day lunar year.

The course of Abijah is the eighth course (1Chron. 24:10) which serves the tenth week during the former rain portion of the year (this is because during Passover and Shavuot (Pentecost) all for the priests serve together Dt. 16:16). Zechariah had his vision while serving in the course of Abijah in the tenth week (It will become apparent that he
was serving his first course not his second as the timing will show as we progress). Thus Zechariah's vision took place during the 10th week of the year (The religious year beginning at Nisan/Abib around 14 days before Passover). We must add two additional weeks before Yochanon (John) could be conceived, due to the purity laws (Lev. 12:5; 15:19, 25). So Yochanon was concieved in the 12th week of the year. He was born about 40 weeks later during the 52nd week of the year (12 + 40 = 52) which brings us to Passover. Thus Yochanon was born at Passover, the very time that Elijah was, according to Jewish tradition, supposed to appear.

Yeshua was conceived 6 months (about 25 weeks) after Yochanon's conception. This means Yeshua was conceived around the 37th week around Chanukah. This would mean the light of the world was conceived during the festival of lights.

Yeshua was born 40 weeks later (around week 77 that is week 25 of the following year) this brings us to the time of the fall feasts.

There are several clues that Yeshua was born at Sukkot:

1. Bethleham was "booked solid." This would not have been due census which would have taken place over the period of a year.  Every Jew was required to come to Jerusalem for Sukkot (Dt. 16:16) this would have over run Jerusalem as well as Bethleham just five miles away.

2. Yeshua was born in a “manger” or stable. The Hebrew word for "stable" is "sukkah" (as in Gen. 33:17) so it is likely that Yeshua was born in a Sukkah/booth.

3. If Yeshua was born on the first day of Sukkot then he would have been circumcised on the "eighth great day" a festival following Sukkot. This day was the original "Simchat Torah" (Rejoicing in the Torah) which is now held the following day in Rabbinic Judaism.  So Yeshua would have entered the covenant on the day of "rejoicing
in the Torah."

4. When the angels appeared to the shepherds they made a statement which closely echoes the ancient Sukkot liturgy "...behold, we have come to declare to you glad tidings of great joy." (Lk. 2:10-11)

5. Sukkot is symbolic of Elohim dwelling in a "tabernacle" (body?) with us.

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Don’t forget to support this work with your contributions, tithes and offerings.


Through our free Bible Correspondence course and other free literature and Operation Kiruv we are reaching a lost world with Torah and Messiah. Through our blogs, literature, podcasts and the Nazarene Radio Network we are also feeding young believers milk and mature believers nice juicy steaks.

Is this work worthy of your support? What other ministry provides this kind of teaching?
Now is time to step up to the plate!

As I have said to you many times, I look on this work as a co-operative one with me, and all of you combining our resources together in order to get the job done of helping to teach this great truth to all in the world who will listen. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your continued support, you are the ones who make it all possible by your contributions and your prayers for our work. I truly appreciate your help in every way.
You can donate by going to the pay-pal counter at http://www.nazarenespace.com or donations can be sent by paypal to donations@wnae.org.

Donations can also be made out to “Nazarene Judaism” and sent to:

Nazarene Judaism
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053

Views: 1264

Comment by David Brigham on September 28, 2012 at 6:49am
As to point 5:
Often John 1:14 ("And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among  us") is
[since Billinger] also given as additional clue for Messiah's birth season. Others
however have apllied it to the tabernacle/tent with the ark (YHWH dwelling
among Israel during Exodus). What are your thought on this, and what words
does the Aramaic version use here? Greek has "pitch tent" so could apply to
both analogies.  Thanks.
 
Comment by Pedro Luis Sanchez on September 28, 2012 at 10:23am

Dear Brother:

For quite some time I held to the same belief you express in this work.

However, There is some evidence that you mis, the same as I used to.

1. Luke tells us that Elisheba was confined 5 months after John's conception and immediately after

the angel comes to Mary when the six month had come. If we want this to be a chronological data, we have but no choice other than counting 5 lunar months plus one day to come to the annunciation and the conception of Yeshua, the very same day; this is 29.5*5+1= 140.5 days, for the pregnancy is 266 days in length or 9 lunar months( avg 29.5)

2. The document of Qumran the calindrical mishmarots, would tell you that the priestly courses are just a sequence with no interruptions. During the festivals the other courses would join and help the course in turn, but the cycle remains intact, for David instituted it as a calendar. This means we have to calculate straight with no interruptions. This is also in harmony with Josephus testimony.

3. Yes, the census was local and took place 2 years before Herod's death and its in harmony with his decision to kill the kids up to 2 years old.

4. The starting point for the calculation of the week of Abiyah is the destruction of the temple, for it happened in the sabbath of the week of Jehoiarib.

All this my brother will take you to the 25th of  December 6 BCE, which is coincidental with tradition and the testimony of Julius Africanus, of the second century.

This is if we account a 266 day pregnancy, however the word pregnancy in hebrew ads up to 271 in numerical value. If we use this number, which is believed to be the full pregnancy we arrive to a 30 of december date.

Perhaps it is my question, the month of kislev was a solar month when the Maccabeans re dedicated the temple, which would put the birth of Yeshua in the tenth month, this is in Hanukka.

As you point out Yeshua is the Light of the World or The Rising Sun, according to Scriptures, so there is no point on objecting to a date just because the pagan world had their own festival and their idols worshipped in the same solstice. YHWH is the owner of the seasons and the sun and all the celestial bodies.

His comming (conception) happened then in Pesac of 6 BCE, which allows 35 years exactly for his "staying" with us up until his death, this is 1/2 a week to be cut off, according to the prophecy of Daniel.

Your view of sukkot is good, but it belongs to his second comming, which happens in sukkot.

Thanks for reading this message with an open mind,

Pedro

Comment by James Trimm on September 28, 2012 at 10:30am

Any actual documentation for item 2?

Comment by Pedro Luis Sanchez on September 28, 2012 at 10:33am

Yes, I have the full translation of the Qumram documents

Comment by James Trimm on September 28, 2012 at 10:48am

So what is the document number and what is the Josephus reference?

December is out of the question as the shepherds were at watch in their fields.  Also in Matt. 24:20 and Mark 13:18 we are told of the last days escape to the Mountains of Judea to pray that it be not in winter, pointing to the fact that travel in the area of the Judean hills is made difficult by winter at that high elevation, making it unlikely that large numbers of people would be traveling in winter. 

Comment by Pedro Luis Sanchez on September 28, 2012 at 10:49am

I live in Charlotte NC at the same latitude as Jerusalem, we just had a warm december.

Comment by Pedro Luis Sanchez on September 28, 2012 at 10:51am

The bad winter days in Jerusalem are in January and February.

In other words, not likely does not mean impossible.

Comment by James Trimm on September 28, 2012 at 10:53am

There are only 24 courses, making 48 weeks yet the Qumran calendar Solar calendar has 52 weeks...  something does not add up...

Comment by Pedro Luis Sanchez on September 28, 2012 at 10:55am

Yes, but the sequence is straight, with no interruptions. You dont stop at the feasts and then restart. That makes your calculations a lot easier.

Comment by Pedro Luis Sanchez on September 28, 2012 at 10:56am

In other words if you start with Gamul, then Gamul is going to be in service 3 times that year.

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