THE BIRTHDAY OF CHRIST
Kingdom Tract Society
THERE is much evidence to prove that October 5th is the anniversary of the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
On this date in the year 4 B.C, the Babe Jesus was born, although, ironically enough, Christendom does not celebrate the event until December 25th, whilst the true date is allowed to pass by without so much as a sign from the leaders of organized religion.
The belief unfortunately persists that the birth occurred on December 25th between the years 7 B.C. to 3 B.C. Although those holding these beliefs appear to agree on the day and the month. there is a certain amount of disagreement regarding the actual year.
Let us examine some of these statements wherein December 25th is presumed to be the correct date.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th edition) volume six and page 293, states:
“The earliest identification of December 25th with the birthday of Christ is in a passage otherwise unknown and probably spurious, of Theophius of Antioch (A.D. 171-183) preserved in Latin by the Madgeburg Centuriators to the effect that the Gauls contended that as they celebrated the birth of the Lord on December 25th, whatever day of the week it might be, so they ought to celebrate the Pascha on March 25th, when the Resurrection befell."
“Certain Latins as early as A. D. 354 may have transferred the human birth-date (of our Lord) to December 25th, which was then a Mithraic Feast, and is referred to by certain chronographers as Natalis Invicti Solis, or the birthday of the unconquered Sun.”
Although we have abundant evidence that Christianity was introduced into Britain by the Apostles themselves within the fifth year after the Crucifixion, the so-called Christian Calendar giving the Nativity of our Lord as falling at the Winter Solstice, December 25th, was generally adopted by the Western Church about the third century, although the Eastern Church did not do so until near the end of the fourth century, when it was received from Rome with the intimation that the census role in the Roman archives contained the date December 25th as the correct date.
St. Luke (2:2-7) records that Christ was born when Quirinus, the Governor of Syria, commenced to enforce the Decree, of Caesar Augustus that all the (then known) world should be taxed, and reports that Joseph accompanied Mary to Bethlehem to be so taxed, and that whilst there was delivered of her child.
History reveals that the Romans were averse to disturbing Jewish Feasts and Customs, and this particular decree would operate during the civil year which commences in Tisri, the equivalent of our September or October. This period, falling as it did between the harvest and the ploughing season, proved the most convenient time for the making of a register of census.
The Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was held on 15th Tisri, and this would explain why all places were filled so that Joseph and Mary had recourse to the stables of an inn wherein the Babe was born.
Quirinus was Governor of Syria from 4 B.C. to I B.C., and the Register was commenced during the first year of office. It was in this year that the Feast of Trumpets was held on the seventh day of the seventh sacred month, a Saturday or Sabbath day, and therefore the probable day on which the Babe was born.
The Gospels state that the tidings were given to the shepherds who were attending their flocks by night, but here again we have evidence that it was not customary to keep the flocks out in the open during the night after the end of October, certainly not during the winter nights.
St Luke (2:21-39) further records that after the Circumcision and days of purification were ended, Mary went to the Temple at Jerusalem to present the Babe to the Lord in accordance with Jewish custom.
It was about this time that Herod gave orders for the destruction of all boys under the age of two years, and St. Matthew (2.12-15) records that theAngel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, warning him to take the Babe and mother into Egypt, as Herod was seeking to destroy Him. He further records that Jesus was taken a journey of, roughly, 200 miles into Egypt, where He remained until after the death of Herod.
It is well to note here that records at our disposal show how impracticable, such a journey would be if undertaken after mid-November, unless, of course, one travelled via the sea route, but of this we know Joseph and Mary did not avail themselves. At the time of this journey the Babe was about six weeks old, and this exactly fits in with all the other known facts.
Now Herod was proclaimed king by the Romans at the 184th Olympiad, which was a period of four years, at the end of which were held the games that commenced the next period. The first Olympiad was during the period of 776-772 B. C, and was reckoned as from Midsummer to Midsummer. The end of the 184th Olympiad would therefore be Midsummer 40 B.C. According to the celebrated historian Josephus, Herod actually reigned after the death of Antigonus in the Autumn of 37 B.C, and he frequently states that over three years elapsed between the Roman Proclamation and the death of Antigonus.
Josephus counted his year from Nisan to Nisan, the equivalent of our March, and he would therefore have counted the portion of the first year of Herod’s reign before Nisan as being one whole year, and as he states that Herod reigned 34 years after the death of Antigonus, his reign terminated before the Passover of Nisan 3 B.C.
Certain writers have endeavoured to prove that Herod died on a date different from the actual date in order to prove correct their theory that the Holy Babe was born on December 25th.
The records made by Josephus, however, are very complete and authentic. He states that Herod burnt the Priest Matthias and on the same night there was an eclipse of the moon. There is no record whatever to show that such an eclipse of the moon, visible from Jerusalem during the beginning of the year 3 B.C. ever took place, but a record does exist of such an eclipse occurring during the night of March 12th to 13th in the year 4 B.C.
The Feast of the Passover in the year 4 B.C, occurred on April 10th, which is barely a month after the eclipse, and we know that Herod was then alive. .
Josephus records that after the death of Herod, the funeral preparations and the procession of the golden bier to Herodium, together with the period of mourning, amounted to some five weeks. He also records that as the time for the holding of the Feast of the Passover, following the funeral, approached, there was feasting and rioting among the populace, and the authorities were compelled to call out a regiment of soldiers to quell such rioters.
From this it is obvious that the death of Herod must have occurred at the beginning of the year 3 B.C. as the eclipse of 4 B.C. occurred within one month of the Passover of that year, and it has already been shown that the period of time between Herod’s death and the Passover was about ten weeks, so that the eclipse, death, burial, riots and Passover could not possibly have taken place within the period of the same year.
The Jewish Megillah Taanith states that the death occurred on Sebat 1st or January 18, 3 B.C, and with this date the records of Josephus agree.
Referring back to St. Matthew 2:19-23, it is recorded that another Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to return to the land of Israel, and that Joseph did take Mary and the Babe to Nazareth.
St. Luke 2:41 states that Joseph and Mary went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover, and it is presumed that they attended the one held on March 31st, 3 B.C, following the death of Herod.
The correct chronology would therefore be:
Decree of Caesar Augustus, about May, 4 B.C;
Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem for census, late September or very early October;
The Nativity, October 5th, 4 B.C;
Presentation at the Temple (43 days after), November 16th, 4 B.C;
Flight to Egypt, November 18th, 4 B.C.;
Death of Herod, January 18th, 3 B.C;
Funeral, mourning, etc., to February 28th, 3 B.C;
Feast of Passover, March 31st, 3 B.C.
This proves very conclusively that the present-day Christmas celebrations do not connect in any way with the anniversary of the Nativity.
What then, is this celebration connected with?
Professor Waddell in his “The Phoenician Origin of Britons, Scots and Anglo-Saxons” produces evidence, that as far back as 1500 B.C., certain inhabitants of Britain were Sun worshippers similar to the ancient Egyptians of 2000 B.C., and that one of their festivals was Natalis Invicti Solis, the birthday of the unconquerable Sun, and such a festival was held on December 25th, which date originally coincided with the Winter Solstice.
The “Christian” Church did not include any festival in December, certainly not the Christmas festival, until the end of the third century and it is presumed that this festival was probably adopted by the Roman Church at that time when many pagans were being converted to their faith, and no doubt it was considered advisable to hold such a festival in order to retain them in the Roman Church.
As we are now approaching the close of the “Latter Days” so often referred to in the Bible, and in addition have had days set aside for National prayer to God, seeking God’s aid to deliver us from the trials and tribulations that now beset us, is it not a little incongruous that we still hold on to our pagan feast days which obviously are opposed to God, inasmuch as, through the celebrations conducted in many Churches, they lead us to break the first and greatest commandment? We cannot expect God to deliver us from our enemies and still continue with our idolatrous rituals. That surely is sheer hypocrisy which the church seems all too eager to accept, inasmuch as they have consented to both in the past; and it would appear to be high time that the churches reconstituted their Calendar.
It is gratifying to know that Scotland has managed to resist such pagan influence. Let us hope that in the not-too-far future the British Commonwealth of Nations and the United States of America will be equally sensible.
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