Do I seem a little off base to be saying, “Happy Birthday!” to Jesus in October? Well, hang on and see why I believe that Jesus was not born on our traditional, Dec 25, Christmas day, but rather, He was born in the 7th month, on the 15th day, during the Feast of Tabernacles / Sukkot / Booths or can be known as the Feast of Nations or Feast of Ingathering. This feast is celebrated for 7 days (plus the extra 8th) starting at the 15th day of the 7th month, which usually falls somewhere between Sept – Oct on our calendar (It varies as their years are 360 days and months are 30 days). (For more details click for my previous post)
- “33 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 34 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles)[f] to the Lord. 35 On the first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work. 36 For seven days you shall present food offerings to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall hold a holy convocation and present a food offering to the Lord. It is a solemn assembly; you shall not do any ordinary work….39 “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall celebrate the feast of the Lord seven days. On the first day shall be a solemn rest, and on the eighth day shall be a solemn rest. 40 And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days. 41 You shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It is a statute forever throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month [The month of Tishri]. 42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths, 43 that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”” Leviticus 23:33-36, 39-43
Before I get to “Christmas,” for starters, Thanksgiving was modeled after the Feast of Tabernacles, and so was actually taken from Israel. The whole idea of Thanksgiving is thanking God for the yearly harvest, which is also one of the goals of the Feast of Tabernacles.
- “13 “You shall keep the Feast of Booths seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your winepress. 14 You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your towns. 15 For seven days you shall keep the feast to the Lord your God at the place that the Lord will choose, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you will be altogether joyful. 16 “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths. They shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. 17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that he has given you.” Deuteronomy 16:13-17
God uses farming examples many times in Scripture so that we can easily understand what He is trying to get across. One such example is how Jesus identifies the end time as the harvest from Matthew 13. We can know that the end time harvest will be at God’s appointed time of the Feast of Tabernacles, as this is His final designated feast.
“36 Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, ” Matthew 13:36-41
Second, we need to realize that our bodies are temporary dwelling places, identified as the booths in the Feast of Tabernacles / Booths. This means that this earth is not our home. We see Paul explaining the parallel between the Feast and our earthly body.
“For we know that if the tent [booth, tabernacle, temporary residence] that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent [booth] we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on[a] we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” 2 Corinthians 5:1-5
Back to the set up of Jesus’ Birthday. Let’s set up a time frame first looking at the birth of John the Baptist. During this time in Luke, there were a ton of people praying outside of the temple during this particular evening when Zechariah had a visit from an angel who told him he was going to have a son. This was the summer feast, June, of Pentecost when all the people were required to come and pray and he was required to serve for two weeks as a priest.
“9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. ” Luke 1:9-12 & “23 And when his time of service was ended [Zechariah was required at Pentecost to serve as priest for two weeks], he went to his home. 24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, …” Luke 1: 23-24
Now, five months have passed from the end of Pentecost to Elizabeth being with child which brings us to around November. And, the following month, in her sixth month after Elizabeth conceived, in December, we see that the angel visits Mary to bring her the good news.
“26 In the sixth month [of Elizabeth’s pregnancy] the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed[b] to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”[c] 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[e] will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.” Luke 1:26-31, 35-36
We then see that Mary goes and stays with Elizabeth to help her with her delivery, “about three months,” and then returns home. We are now looking around the first spring feast of Passover when John the Baptist was born and when Mary would be about 3 months.
“39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 56 And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.” Luke 1:39,56
In knowing the time that Mary was pregnant, we can see that she would have had the baby somewhere in Sept – Oct, which would have been during the Feast of Tabernacles. Here’s some more continued evidence that it was specifically on the Feast of Tabernacles.
“6 And while they were [in Bethlehem], the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.[c]” Luke 2:6
Mary and Joseph couldn’t find a room to stay in the entire town of Bethlehem. This would not have been normally the case, but at the Feast of Tabernacles, it was required to gather to celebrate this feast. The rooms would have been booked out months in advance as families would have been traveling in to honor the feast days. The other two fall feasts were not like this, just this last feast required traveling for families because the males were required to present themselves during this feast. If Jesus would have been born in December, there would have been tons of vacant rooms as no feasts went on in Israel in the month of December.
On a side note, Mary wrapped Jesus in ‘swaddling cloths’ which is often misinterpreted. These are not just rags, or pieces of cloth they carried around or found in a barn. These strips of linen cloths would have come from Elizabeth & Zechariah upon Mary’s departure as they were cloths from the Levitical priest line. Mary was also from this lineage and so she wrapped Jesus in priestly garments. Kind of neat, huh?!
We would also realize that Mary would not have given Jesus His name until the 8th day as a woman was unclean for 7 days after she gave birth to a male child, and then on the 8th day she would have been clean to present him before the Lord in the temple.
21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.” Luke 2:21
- “35 “On the eighth day you shall have a solemn assembly [of the Feast of Tabernacles]. You shall not do any ordinary work, 36 but you shall offer a burnt offering, a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord: one bull, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish,[7 is the number of perfection, as Jesus was the perfect lamb0 39 “These you shall offer to the Lord at your appointed feasts, ” Numbers 29:35a, 39a
- “10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, ” Genesis 17:10-12
So, on the 8th day, Jesus was in the temple, confirming the covenant of Abraham and shedding blood for the atonement of sins, even as a baby honoring God’s appointment to the exact day.
We can realize then that Jesus was born sometime during the Feast of Tabernacles, most likely on the 1st day of the feast, the last of the fall feast as it will be the only feast that will be required to be celebrated during the 1,000 year reign of Christ, and if it isn’t celebrated, then there will be a curse on the land for those who chose not to honor this special feast.
- [The Coming Day of the Lord] “9 And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.16 Then everyone who survives of all the nations that have come against Jerusalem shall go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Booths. 17 And if any of the families of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, there will be no rain on them. 18 And if the family of Egypt does not go up and present themselves, then on them there shall be no rain;[h] there shall be the plague with which the Lord afflicts the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths. 19 This shall be the punishment to Egypt and the punishment to all the nations that do not go up to keep the Feast of Booths.20 And on that day there shall be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “Holy to the Lord.” And the pots in the house of the Lord shall be as the bowls before the altar. 21 And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the Lord of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a trader[i] in the house of the Lord of hosts on that day.” Zechariah 14:9, 16-21 (The Feast of Booths will be celebrated in the Millennial reign of Christ and for those who do not come to celebrate this feast, no rain will fall on their land)
The Special 8th Day Feast, The Last Day
At the conclusion of the 7 day feast, on the 8th day, called ‘Shemini Atzeret,’ there is also a sounding of the last trumpets of the year and a sacred assembly gathering together:
“And when the assembly is to be gathered together, you shall blow, but not sound the advance. The sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets; and these shall be to you as an ordinance forever throughout your generations…Also in the day of your gladness, in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be a memorial for you before your God: I am the Lord your God.”” Numbers 10:7-8, 10
Jesus makes a statement in John about the great day of the feast, which points to the Feast of Tabernacles, & specifically on the final, 8th day.
- “On the last day, that great day of the feast [the 8th day of Feast of Tabernacles], Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39
- “This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:39-40, 44, 54 [The ‘last day’ is also another saying for the final day of the Feast of Tabernacles]
The season of joy, is the season of Tabernacles, at the birth. “13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”” Luke 2:13-14
So, Happy Birthday, Jesus!