What Do We Really Celebrate on Christmas Day?

A key part of understanding the timing and events of the Second Coming is to understand the timing and events of the First Coming. Although most scholars agree that Jesus Christ was not born in December, there is an important reason we celebrate His incarnation near Hanukkah. Some traditional beliefs have truth mixed with fiction. Jewish feast days God gave to Moses are fulfilled by Jesus Christ in His redemption and return.

 
In the third century, the church transformed pagan holidays into church holy days.
  Under the Julian calendar, the 25th of December was the Winter Solstice. It was the birthday of the unconquered Sun, a day to worship the sun god.
  In 532, Dionysius Exiguus of what is now Romania computed dates for Easter and unintentional set the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25 in 1 BC.
 
In 1654, Anglican Archbishop James Ussher of Ireland calculated the start of creation to October 22, 4004 BC and Christ's birth to October 4 BC.
  The Christmas season has become a time of greed, gluttony and drunkenness. The holidays should be renamed ChrisHanuKwanzakahMas, a jumbled mess of holidays void of Christ and of meaning.
  With the Bible as our primary reference and using historical events, astronomy records and Jewish culture, we understand the timing of events for the birth of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
 
The timing of the First Coming sets the timing of the Second Coming.
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8 BC - Roman Census - Augustus Sets the Year

It came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria) (Luke 2:1-2).

Caesar Augustus was ruler over the Roman Empire. At the time, Rome's territory included all the lands surrounding the Mediterranean Sea including Judea, Samaria and Galilee. Augustus ordered a census in 24 BC, 8 BC and 14 AD. Luke the historian describes the decree of 8 BC. Because of the vast empire, it would take a year to implement a census for taxation and for the people to pledge allegiance to Rome.

Then again, with consular approval, I conducted a census alone when Gaius Censorinus and Gaius Asinius were consuls (8 BC), in which a census counted 4,233,000 heads of Roman citizens.
----Caesar Augustus, The Achievements of the Divine Augustus

June 8 BC - Priestly Service - Zechariah Sets the Month

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zechariah, of the course of Abijah: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth (Luke 1:5).

In Luke's historical account, why did he tell us about Abijah? Many times when we read the Bible, we skip over words or phrases we do not understand. Abijah tells when Zechariah was in the temple. That starts the timing of the birthday of Jesus Christ.

Priestly Order: 1) Jehoiarib, 2) Jedaiah, 3) Harim, 4) Seorim, 5) Malchijah, 6) Mijamin, 7) Hakkoz, 8) Abijah, 9) Jeshuah, 10) Shecaniah, 11) Eliashib, 12) Jakim, 13) Huppah, 14) Jeshebeab, 15) Bilgah, 16) Immer, 17) Hezir, 18) Aphses, 19) Pethahiah, 20) Jehezekel, 21) Jachin, 22) Gamul, 23) Delaiah, 24) Maaziah (1 Chronicles 24:1-18)

These were the orderings of them in their service to come into the house of the Lord, according to their manner, under Aaron their father, as the Lord God of Israel had commanded him [David] (1 Chronicles 24:19).

Zechariah is the descendant of Aaron which makes him a priest. David divided Aaron's twenty-four grandsons into twenty-four divisions of priests. All priests served during the three feasts of Passover, Weeks (Pentecost) and Tabernacles. Then each division serves one week the first half of the year and a second week about six months later. Each service ran from Sabbath to Sabbath.

The Jewish year starts in Nisan (April) and the priestly division of Abijah was picked eighth. Add Passover and Weeks, so Zechariah served at the temple in the ninth week (Weeks/Pentecost) and tenth week (Abijah's division) of the Jewish year in the month of Sivan (June).

It came to pass, that while he [Zechariah] executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course, According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord (Luke 1:8-9).

One spring day in Sivan (June) on the 10th week the Jewish year in 8 BC, Zechariah had a once in a lifetime opportunity to offer incense and a prayer in the temple's holy place.

There appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And when Zechariah saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zechariah: for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you shall have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:11-14, 16-17).

Inside the temple, Zechariah is met by the angel Gabriel, who gives him the good news. Zechariah would have a son that prepares the hearts of the Jewish people for the Messiah. A short time later, Elizabeth was pregnant. It takes about 280 days for a woman to give birth. There are 304 days between the feasts of Weeks and Passover.

The historical timing:
Caesar Augustus, ruler of the Roman Empire, ordered a census in 8 BC (Luke 2:1).
Herod the Great is governor of Judea and Samaria until the spring of 4 BC (Matthew 2:1).
Zechariah of Abijah meets the angel in the temple in June of 8 BC (Luke 1:5).
December 8 BC - Mary and Elizabeth

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, you that are highly favored, the Lord is with you: blessed are you among women. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to your word. (Luke 1:26-28, 38).

Hanukkah is the Incarnation of Jesus Christ

Six months later in Kislev (December), Gabriel tells Mary that she would be the mother of the Messiah. She travels from Nazareth to the Jerusalem area to help her pregnant cousin, Elizabeth. Jesus Christ was not born in December but He was conceived on the Jewish feast of Hanukkah (25th of Kislev-2nd or 3rd of Tevet). In 8 BC, the 25th of Kislev (Hanukkah) starts on December 26/27 and the winter solstice is December 25 on the old Roman Julian calendar. December 26/27 Julian is December 24/25 Gregorian. We celebrate God with us. On the darkest day of the year, the Light of the World began.

Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Judah; And entered into the house of Zechariah, and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit: And she spoke out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb (Luke 1:39-40, 41-42).

Mary said, My soul does magnify the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house (Luke 1:46-48, 56).

April 7 BC - The Birth of John the Baptist

Now Elizabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he has visited and redeemed his people, And has raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (Luke 1:57, 67-69).

John the Baptist was born during Passover. Jewish tradition leaves a seat for Elijah at Passover which John the Baptist filled.

Spring of 7 BC - Joseph and Mary

Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, fear not to take unto you Mary your wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son, and you shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:18-19, 20-21).

Mary was engaged to be married but was pregnant with Jesus. Under Jewish law, a man had the right to stone the unfaithful fiancée. However, Joseph decided to quitely cancel their engagement. After an angel appeared in a dream, Joseph took Mary to be his wife and Jesus as his son.
First Coming of Jesus Christ
Matthew 1-2, Luke 1-2

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