Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – John 3:16 – January 1, 2020

John 3

Christ teaches Nicodemus the necessity of regeneration
And there was a man of the Pharisees, Naḵdimon was his name, a ruler of the Yehuḏim.  This one came to יהושע (Yeshua/Jesus) by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from Elohim, for no one is able to do these signs You do if Elohim is not with him.”
יהושע (Yeshua/Jesus) answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born from above, he is unable to seea the reign of Elohim.”
Naḵdimon said to Him, “How is a man able to be born when he is old? Is he able to enter into his mother’s womb a second time and be born?”
יהושע (Yeshua/Jesus)answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he is unable to enter into the reign of Elohim. “That which has been born of the flesh is flesh, and that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit.  “Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You have to be born from above.’  “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who has been born of the Spirit.”
Naḵdimon answered and said to Him, “How is it possible for this to take place?”
יהושע (Yeshua/Jesus)answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Yisra’ĕl, and do not know this? “Truly, truly, I say to you, We speak what We know and witness what We have seen, and you do not receive Our witness. “If you do not believe when I spoke to you about earthly matters, how are you going to believe when I speak to you about the heavenly matters?
“And no one has gone up into the heaven except He who came down from the heaven – the Son of Aḏam.
of faith in his death
“And as Mosheh lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so the Son of Aḏam has to be lifted up, so that whoever is believing in Him should not perish but possess everlasting life.
the great love of God towards the world
“For Elohim so loved the world that He gave His only brought-forth Son, so that everyone who believes in Him should not perish but possess everlasting life.  “For Elohim did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
and the condemnation for unbelief
“He who believes in Him is not judged, but he who does not believe is judged already, because he has not believed in the Name of the only brought-forth Son of Elohim. “And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were wicked. “For everyone who is practising evil matters hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. “But the one doing the truth comes to the light, so that his works are clearly seen, that they have been wrought in Elohim.”
Jesus baptizes in Judea
After this, יהושע (Yeshua/Jesus)and His taught ones came into the land of Yehuḏah, and He remained there with them, and was immersing.
The baptism, witness, and doctrine of John concerning Christ
And Yoḥanan was also immersing in Ayin near Salim, because there was plenty of water there. And they were coming and were being immersed, for Yoḥanan had not yet been put into prison.
Then a dispute arose between some of Yoḥanan’s taught ones and the Yehuḏim about cleansing, and they came to Yoḥanan and said to him, “Rabbi, He who was with you beyond the Yardĕn, to whom you have witnessed, see, He is immersing, and all are coming to Him!”
Yoḥanan answered and said, “No man is able to receive any matter unless it is given to him from the heaven. “You yourselves are witnesses for me that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but I am sent ahead of Him.’ “He that has the bride is the bridegroom, but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the voice of the bridegroom. So this joy of mine is complete. “It is right for Him to increase, but me to decrease.  “He who comes from above is over all, he who is from the earth is of the earth and speaks of the earth. He who comes from the heaven is over all. “And what He has seen and heard, that He witnesses. And no one receives His witness. “He who receives His witness has set his seal that Elohim is true. “For He whom Elohim has sent speaks the Words of Elohim, for Elohim does not give the Spirit by measure. “The Father loves the Son, and has given all into His hand. “He who believes in the Son possesses everlasting life, but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of Elohim remains on him.”

(The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research – 2009 Edition)


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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day -Hebrews 9:15 – December 31, 2019

Hebrews 9

Now the first covenant indeed had regulations of worship and the earthly set-apart place.
For a Tent was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, and the table, and the showbread, which is called the Set-apart Place.
And after the second veil, the part of the Tent which is called Most Set-apart,
to which belonged the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that held the manna, and the rod of Aharon that budded, and the tablets of the covenant,
and above it the keruḇim of esteem were overshadowing the place of atonement – about which we do not now speak in detail.
And these having been prepared like this, the priests always went into the first part of the Tent, accomplishing the services.
But into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not without blood, which he offered for himself and for sins of ignorance of the people,
the Set-apart Spirit signifying this, that the way into the Most Set-apart Place was not yet made manifest while the first Tent has a standing,
which was a parable for the present time in which both gifts and slaughters are offered which are unable to perfect the one serving, as to his conscience,
only as to foods and drinks, and different washings, and fleshly regulations imposed until a time of setting matters straight.
But Messiah, having become a High Priest of the coming good matters, through the greater and more perfect Tent not made with hands, that is, not of this creation,
entered into the Most Set-apart Place once for all, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood, having obtained everlasting redemption.
For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the defiled, sets apart for the cleansing of the flesh,
how much more shall the blood of the Messiah, who through the everlasting Spirit offered Himself unblemished to Elohim, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living Elohim?
And because of this He is the Mediator of a renewed covenant, so that, death having taken place for redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, those who are called might receive the promise of the everlasting inheritance.
For where a covenant is, it is necessary for the death of the covenanted one to be established.
For a covenant over those dead is firm, since it is never valid while the covenanted one is living.
Therefore not even the first covenant was instituted without blood.
For when, according to Torah, every command had been spoken by Mosheh to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,
saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which Elohim commanded you.”
And in the same way he sprinkled with blood both the Tent and all the vessels of the service.
And, according to the Torah, almost all is cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
It was necessary, then, that the copies of the heavenly ones should be cleansed with these, but the heavenly ones themselves with better slaughter offerings than these.
For Messiah has not entered into a Set-apart Place made by hand – figures of the true – but into the heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of Elohim on our behalf,
not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters into the Set-apart Place year by year with blood not his own.
For if so, He would have had to suffer often, since the foundation of the world. But now He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the offering of Himself.
And as it awaits men to die once, and after this the judgment,
so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time, apart from sin, to those waiting for Him, unto deliverance.

The Scriptures by Institute For Scripture Research – 2009 Edition


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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – Luke 2:47 – December 29, 2019

Luke 2

Yeshua’s Birth in Bethlehem

Now it happened in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the world’s inhabitants. This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Everyone was traveling to be registered in his own city.

Now Joseph also went up from the Galilee, out of the town of Natzeret to Judah, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was from the house and family of David. a]”>[a] He went to register with Miriam, who was engaged to him and was pregnant.

But while they were there, the time came for her to give birth— and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped Him in strips of cloth and set Him down in a manger, since there was no room for them in the inn.

Shepherds Witness Angelic Praises

Now there were shepherds in the same region, living out in the fields and guarding their flock at night. Suddenly an angel of Adonai stood before them, and the glory of Adonai shone all around them; and they were absolutely terrified.

10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! For behold, I proclaim Good News to you, which will be great joy to all the people. 11 A Savior is born to you today in the city of David, who is Messiah the Lord. 12 And the sign to you is this: You will find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”

13 And suddenly a multitude of heavenly armies appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth shalom to men of good will.”

15 And when the angels departed from them into the heavens, the shepherds were saying to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which Adonai has made known to us!” 16 So they hurried off and found Miriam and Joseph, and the Baby lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the word that had been spoken to them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard were amazed at the things the shepherds told them. 19 But Miriam treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, just as they had been told.

Temple Prophets Rejoice

21 When eight days had passed for His brit-milah,b]”>[b] He was named Yeshua, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. 22 And when the days of their purification were fulfilled,c]”>[c] according to the Torah of Moses, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present to Adonai23 As it is written in the Torah of Adonai, “Every firstborn male that opens the womb shall be called holy to Adonai.” d]”>[d] 24 So they offered a sacrifice according to what was said in the Torah of Adonai: “a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons.”e]”>[e]

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and pious, waiting for the consolation of Israel.f]”>[f] The Ruach ha-Kodesh was on him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Ruach ha-Kodesh that he would not die before he had seen the Anointed One of Adonai27 So in the Ruach, Simeon came into the Temple; and when the parents brought the Child Yeshua to do for Him according to the custom of the Torah28 Simeon received Him into his arms and offered a bracha to God, saying,

29 “Now may You let Your servant go in peace, O Sovereign Master,g]”>[g]
according to Your word.
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation,
31 which You have prepared
    in the presence of all peoples:
32 ‘A light for revelation to the nations’h]”>[h]
and the glory of Your people Israel.”

33 And His father and mother were marveling at the things that were said about Him. 34 And Simeon offered a bracha over them and said to Miriam His mother, “Behold, this One is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that is opposed, 35 so the thoughts of many hearts may be uncovered. (And even for you, a sword will pierce through your soul.)”

36 Now Anna, a daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher, was a prophetess. She was well advanced in age, having lived with a husband onlyi]”>[i] seven years 37 and then as a widow until age eighty-four. She never left the Temple, serving night and day with fasting and prayers. 38 And coming up at that very instant, she began praising God and speaking about the Child to all those waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.j]”>[j]

39 When Joseph and Miriam had completed everything according to the Torah of Adonai, they returned to the Galilee, to their own city of Natzeret40 The Child kept growing and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon Him.

The Boy Astonishes Jerusalem Scholars

41 Now His parents were going every year to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. k]”>[k] 42 When He became twelve years old, they were going up according to festival custom. 43 As they headed home after completing the days, the boy Yeshua remained in Jerusalem, but His parents didn’t know. 44 Supposing He was in the caravan, they went a day’s journey, then began looking for Him among relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for Him.

46 After three days they found Him in the Temple, sitting in the center of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all those hearing Him were astonished at His understanding and His answers. 48 When His parents saw Yeshua, they were overwhelmed. And His mother said to Him, “Child, why did you do this to us? Look! Your father and I were searching for You frantically!”

49 He said to them, “Why were you searching for Me? Didn’t you know that I must be about the things of My Father?” 50 But they did not grasp the message He was telling them.

51 Then He went down with them to Natzeret and was obedient to them. But His mother treasured all these words in her heart. 52 And Yeshua kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 2:5 cf. Mic. 5:1(2).
  2. Luke 2:21 cf. Gen. 17:12; Lev. 12:3.
  3. Luke 2:22 cf. Lev. 12:1-8.
  4. Luke 2:24 Exod. 13:2, cf. Exod. 13:12, 15.
  5. Luke 2:24 Lev. 12:8; 5:11 (LXX).
  6. Luke 2:25 cf. Isa. 40:1; 51:3.
  7. Luke 2:29 Grk. Despota; cf. Heb. Ha-Adon, Isa. 3:1; 10:33.
  8. Luke 2:32 Isa. 42:6; 49:6; cf. 60:1-3.
  9. Luke 2:36 Lit. from her virginity.
  10. Luke 2:38 cf. Isa. 43:1-3; 49:26.
  11. Luke 2:42 cf. Exod. 23:15; Lev. 23:4-8; Deut. 16:1-8.

Tree of Life Version (TLV)Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.


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Muslim UN Officials Block Christian Refugees from Getting Help

Muslim UN officials are blocking Christian refugees from Syria — especially those who have converted from Islam to Christianity — from getting any help.

The moves includes blocking them from entering refugee camps and labeling them as security risks, a status which makes them ineligible for emigration to Western countries, including the U.S. and Britain.

In the course of a trial concerning a related issue in 2016, a federal judge chastised the Obama administration for allowing into the U.S. such a small number of Christian refugees from Syria. While the Obama administration exceeded by almost 1,000 its goal of admitting 10,000 Syrians to the U.S. (during the 2016 fiscal year), only 56 were Christian.

“To date, there has not been a good explanation for this perplexing discrepancy,” wrote Judge Daniel Manion at the time.

By 2017, after President Trump took office, he vowed to help the Christians, which make up 10 percent of the Syrian population. But moves from Jordanian officials working for the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) have thwarted that effort by labeling Christian refugees as security risks and refusing their entry into refugee camps.

According to a CBN report (see below), “The two governments that could stop this persecution of Christian refugees – the US and Britain – have done little to nothing about it.”

One official in the UK is doing something about it. The former archbishop of Canterbury, Lord George Carey, is suing Britain’s home office, contending that “politically correct” officials have been “institutionally biased” against Christian refugees.

Lord Carey’s attorney, Paul Diamond, explained the case to CBN: “You have this absurd situation where the scheme is set up to help Syrian refugees and the people most in need, Christians who have been ‘genocided,’ they can’t even get into the U.N. camps to get the food.

“If you enter and say I am a Christian or convert, the Muslim UN guards will block you [from] getting in and laugh at you and mock you and even threaten you.”

Carey says by doing nothing, Western governments are complicit in what calls “the steady crucifixion of Middle East Christians.”

“No simple measures are taken by both the British and the American government,” Diamond said. “It would be simple just to open up a refugee camp for religious minorities, for Christians, Yazidis, whatever they are, and they’d be safe. But no one does that.”

Meanwhile, as the report notes, Britain’s Home office is spending considerable time and money on bring back to the UK the children of ISIS terrorists. (Click to Source)

Watch the report on how Muslim UN officials in Jordan are blocking Christian refugees from getting help:


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Your Daily Readings -Verse of the Day – Luke 2:7 – December 25, 2019

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the entire inhabited earth should be taxed. This taxation was first made when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone went to his own city to be taxed.

So Joseph also departed from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to the City of David which is called Bethlehem, in Judea, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be taxed with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So while they were there, the day came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in strips of cloth, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

And in the same area there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And then an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were very afraid. 10 But the angel said to them, “Listen! Do not fear. For I bring you good news of great joy, which will be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign to you: You will find the Baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly there was with the angel a company of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace, and good will toward men.”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see what has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”

16 So they came hurrying and found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in a manger. 17 When they had seen Him, they made widely known the word which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

21 When eight days had passed and the Child was circumcised, He was named JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.

22 When the days of her purification according to the Law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be called holy to the Lord”a]”>[a]24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”b]”>[b]

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 Led by the Spirit, he came into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he received Him in his arms and blessed God and said:

29 “Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace,
    according to Your word;
30 for my eyes have seen Your salvation
31     which You have prepared in the sight of all people,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of Your people Israel.”

33 Joseph and His mother were amazed at those things which were spoken about Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Listen, this Child is destined to cause the fall and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign which will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And a sword will pierce through your own soul also.”

36 And there was Anna a prophetess, a daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age and had lived with her husband seven years from her virginity. 37 And she was a widow of about eighty-four years of age who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 Coming at that moment she gave thanks to the Lord and spoke of Him to all those who looked for the redemption of Jerusalem.

The Return to Nazareth

39 When they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own city of Nazareth. 40 And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom. And the grace of God was upon Him.

The Boy Jesus in the Temple

41 Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 When He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. 43 When the days of the feast were complete, as they returned, the Child Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know of it. 44 But supposing Him to be in their company, they went a day’s journey. Then they searched for Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 When they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for Him. 46 After three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 All who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and His answers. 48 When they saw Him, they were amazed. And His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You dealt with us like this? Look, Your father and I have anxiously searched for You.”

49 He said to them, “How is it that you searched for Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” 50 But they did not understand the word which He spoke to them.

51 Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was obedient to them. But His mother kept all these words in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and men.

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 2:23 Ex 13:2, 12; Nu 3:13; 8:17.
  2. Luke 2:24 Lev 5:11; 12:8.

Modern English Version (MEV)The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.


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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – Luke 1:38 – December 22, 2019

Luke 1

Dear Theophilos:

Concerning the matters that have taken place among us, many people have undertaken to draw up accounts based on what was handed down to us by those who from the start were eyewitnesses and proclaimers of the message. Therefore, Your Excellency, since I have carefully investigated all these things from the beginning, it seemed good to me that I too should write you an accurate and ordered narrative, so that you might know how well-founded are the things about which you have been taught.

In the days of Herod, King of Y’hudah, there was a cohen named Z’kharyah who belonged to the Aviyah division. His wife was a descendant of Aharon, and her name was Elisheva. Both of them were righteous before God, observing all the mitzvot and ordinances of Adonai blamelessly. But they had no children, because Elisheva was barren; and they were both well along in years.

One time, when Z’kharyah was fulfilling his duties as cohen during his division’s period of service before God, he was chosen by lot (according to the custom among the cohanim) to enter the Temple and burn incense. 10 All the people were outside, praying, at the time of the incense burning, 11 when there appeared to him an angel of Adonai standing to the right of the incense altar. 12 Z’kharyah was startled and terrified at the sight. 13 But the angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Z’kharyah; because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elisheva will bear you a son, and you are to name him Yochanan. 14 He will be a joy and a delight to you, and many people will rejoice when he is born, 15 for he will be great in the sight of Adonai. He is never to drink wine or other liquor, and he will be filled with the Ruach HaKodesh even from his mother’s womb. 16 He will turn many of the people of Isra’el to Adonai their God. 17 He will go out ahead of Adonai in the spirit and power of Eliyahu to turn the hearts of fathers to their childrena]”>[a] and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready for Adonai a people prepared.”

18 Z’kharyah said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this? For I am an old man; my wife too is well on in years.” 19 “I am Gavri’el,” the angel answered him, “and I stand in the presence of God. I was sent to speak to you, to give you this good news. 20 Now, because you didn’t believe what I said, which will be fulfilled when the time comes, you will be silent, unable to speak until the day these things take place.”

21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Z’kharyah; they were surprised at his taking so long in the Temple. 22 But when he came out unable to talk to them, they realized that he had seen a vision in the Temple; speechless, he communicated to them with signs.

23 When his period of his Temple service was over, he returned home. 24 Following this, Elisheva his wife conceived, and she remained five months in seclusion, saying, 25 Adonai has done this for me; he has shown me favor at this time, so as to remove my public disgrace.”

26 In the sixth month, the angel Gavri’el was sent by God to a city in the Galil called Natzeret, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man named Yosef, of the house of David; the virgin’s name was Miryam. 28 Approaching her, the angel said, “Shalom, favored lady! Adonai is with you!” 29 She was deeply troubled by his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Miryam, for you have found favor with God. 31 Look! You will become pregnant, you will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Yeshua. 32 He will be great, he will be called Son of Ha‘ElyonAdonai, God, will give him the throne of his forefather David; 33 and he will rule the House of Ya‘akov forever — there will be no end to his Kingdom.” 34 “How can this be,” asked Miryam of the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered her,

“The Ruach HaKodesh will come over you,
the power of Ha‘Elyon will cover you.
Therefore the holy child born to you
will be called the Son of God.

36 “You have a relative, Elisheva, who is an old woman; and everyone says she is barren. But she has conceived a son and is six months pregnant! 37 For with God, nothing is impossible.” 38 Miryam said, “I am the servant of Adonai; may it happen to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

39 Without delay, Miryam set out and hurried to the town in the hill country of Y’hudah 40 where Z’kharyah lived, entered his house and greeted Elisheva. 41 When Elisheva heard Miryam’s greeting, the baby in her womb stirred. Elisheva was filled with the Ruach HaKodesh 42 and spoke up in a loud voice,

“How blessed are you among women!
And how blessed is the child in your womb!

43 “But who am I, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For as soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy! 45 Indeed you are blessed, because you have trusted that the promise Adonai has made to you will be fulfilled.”

46 Then Miryam said,

“My soul magnifies Adonai;
47     and my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior,
48 who has taken notice of his servant-girl
    in her humble position.b]”>[b]
For — imagine it! — from now on, all generations will call me blessed!
49     “The Mighty One has done great things for me!
Indeed, his name is holy50 and in every generation
    he has mercy on those who fear him.c]”>[c]

51 “He has performed mighty deeds with his arm,
    routed the secretly proud,
52 brought down rulers from their thrones,
    raised up the humble,
53 filled the hungry with good things,
    but sent the rich away empty.

54 “He has taken the part of his servant Isra’el,
    mindful of the mercy
55 which he promised to our fathers,
    to Avraham and his seed forever.”

56 Miryam stayed with Elisheva for about three months and then returned home.

57 The time arrived for Elisheva to have her baby, and she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard how good Adonai had been to her, and they rejoiced with her.

59 On the eighth day, they came to do the child’s b’rit-milah. They were about to name him Z’kharyah, after his father, 60 when his mother spoke up and said, “No, he is to be called Yochanan.” 61 They said to her, “None of your relatives has that name,” 62 and they made signs to his father to find out what he wanted him called. 63 He motioned for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s surprise he wrote, “His name is Yochanan.” 64 At that moment, his power of speech returned, and his first words were a b’rakhah to God. 65 All their neighbors were awestruck; and throughout the hill country of Y’hudah, people talked about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard of them said to himself, “What is this child going to be?” For clearly the hand of Adonai was with him.

67 His father Z’kharyah was filled with the Ruach HaKodesh and spoke this prophecy:

68 Praised be Adonai, the God of Isra’el,d]”>[d]
    because he has visited and made a ransom to liberate his people
69 by raising up for us a mighty Deliverer
    who is a descendant of his servant David.
70 It is just as he has spoken
    through the mouth of the prophets from the very beginning —
71 that we should be delivered from our enemies
    and from the power of all who hate us.

72 “This has happened so that he might show
    the mercy promised to our fathers —
that he would remember his holy covenant,
73     the oath he swore before Avraham avinu
74 to grant us that we, freed from our enemies,
    would serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness
    before him all our days.

76 You, child, will be called a prophet of Ha‘Elyon;
    you will go before the Lord to prepare his waye]”>[e]
77 by spreading the knowledge among his people
    that deliverance comes by having sins forgiven
78 through our God’s most tender mercy,
    which causes the Sunrise to visit us from Heaven,
79 to shine on those in darkness, living in the shadow of death,f]”>[f]
    and to guide our feet into the paths of peace.”

80 The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he lived in the wilderness until the time came for him to appear in public to Isra’el.

Footnotes:

  1. Luke 1:17 Malachi 3:23–24(4:5–6)
  2. Luke 1:48 1 Samuel 1:11; 2:1
  3. Luke 1:50 Psalms 103:17; 111:9
  4. Luke 1:68 Psalms 41:14(13); 72:18; 106:48
  5. Luke 1:76 Malachi 3:1; Isaiah 40:3
  6. Luke 1:79 Isaiah 9:1(2)

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.


Complete Jewish Bible

 

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Yeshua Was Not Born in December

When was Yeshua Born?

Best Guess: September 29, 5 B.C.E.

Want the details? Read more below.

Biblical scholars readily tell us that it was most likely NOT on December 25th, C.E. 0. Why?

When were shepherds in the fields

Israeli meteorologists tracked December weather patterns for many years and concluded that the climate in Israel has been essentially constant for at least the last 2,000 years. The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible states that, “broadly speaking, weather phenomena and climatic conditions as pictured in the Bible correspond with conditions as observed today” (R.B.Y. Scott, Vol. 3, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1962, p. 625).

The temperature in the area of Bethlehem in December averages around 44 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius) but can drop to well below freezing, especially at night. Describing the weather there, Sara Ruhin, chief of the Israeli weather service, noted in a 1990 press release that the area has three months of frost: December with 29 F. [minus 1.6 C.]; January with 30 F. [minus 1.1 C.] and February with 32 F. [0 C.].

Snow is common for two or three days in Jerusalem and nearby Bethlehem in December and January. These were the winter months of increased precipitation in Messiah’s time, when the roads became practically unusable and people stayed mostly indoors.

This is important evidence to disprove a December date for Messiah’s birth. Note that, at the time of Messiah’s birth, the shepherds tended their flocks in the fields at night. “Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields,” wrote one Gospel writer, “keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8). A common practice of shepherds was keeping their flocks in the field from April to October, but in the cold and rainy winter months they took their flocks back home and sheltered them.

One commentary admits that, “as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could He have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground the nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological fact, which casts considerable light upon this disputed point” (Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Abingdon Press, Nashville, note on Luke 2:8).

Another study source agrees: “These humble pastoral folk are out in the field at night with their flock—a feature of the story which would argue against the birth [of Messiah] occurring on Dec. 25 since the weather would not have permitted it” (The Interpreter’s One-Volume Commentary, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 1971, note on Luke 2:4-7).

The Companion Bible, Appendix 179 says:

Shepherds and their flocks would not be found “abiding” (Gr. agrauleo) in the open fields at night in December (Tebeth), for the paramount reason that there would be no pasturage at that time. It was the custom then (as now) to withdraw the flocks during the month Marchesven (Oct.-Nov.) from the open districts and house them for the winter.

The census described by Luke

Other evidence arguing against a December birth of Yeshua is the Roman census recorded by Luke.

“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered… So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem…, to be registered with Miriam, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son…” (Luke 2:1-7).

The Roman and Judean rulers knew that taking a census in winter would have been impractical and unpopular. Generally a census would take place after the harvest season, around September or October, when it would not seriously affect the economy, the weather was good and the roads were still dry enough to allow easy travel. According to the normal dates for the census, this would probably be the season of Messiah’s birth.

One author states that this census “could hardly have been at that season [December 25], however, for such a time would surely not have been chosen by the authorities for a public enrollment, which necessitated the population’s traveling from all parts to their natal districts, storms and rain making journeys both unsafe and unpleasant in winter, except in specially favorable years” (“Christmas at Bethlehem,” Holy-Days and Holidays, Cunningham Geikie).

Luke’s account of the census argues strongly against a December date for Messiah’s birth. For such an agrarian society, an autumn post-harvest census was much more likely.

The year of Messiah’s birth

Yeshua wasn’t born in C.E. 0 either. In  525 Pope John I commissioned the scholar Dionysius Exiguus to establish a feast calendar for the Church.. Dionysius also estimated the year of Messiah’s birth based upon the founding of the city of Rome. Unfortunately because of insufficient historical data he arrived at a date at least a few years later than the actual event.

The Gospels record Yeshua’s birth as occurring during the reign of Herod the Great. Herod’s death is recorded by Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus, Book 17, Chpt. 8) and occurred in the spring of 4 B.C.E. (New Testament History, F.F. Bruce, Anchor Books, p.23). Therefore, Messiah’s birth had to take place at least four years before the traditional date!

Yeshua was not born on December 25, C.E. 0. [Actually there is no such year as C.E. 0. Our calendar jumps from 1 B.C.E. to C.E. 1 with no intervening year of zero.]

The celebration of Messiah’s birth in the the early church

In the first 200 years of Christian history, no mention is made of the calendar date of Yeshua’s birth. Not until the year 336 do we find the first mention of a celebration of His birth.

Why this omission? In the case of the Church fathers, the reason is that, during the three centuries after Messiah’s life on earth, the event considered most worthy of commemoration was the date of His death. In comparison, the date of His birth was considered insignificant. As the Encyclopedia Americana explains,

“Christmas… was, according to many authorities, not celebrated in the first centuries of the Christian church, as the Christian usage in general was to celebrate the death of remarkable persons rather than their birth…” (1944 edition, “Christmas”).

Speculation on the proper date began in the 3rd and 4th centuries, when the idea of fixing Messiah’s birthday started. Quite a controversy arose among Church leaders. Some were opposed to such a celebration. Origen (185-254) strongly recommended against such an innovation. “In the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners who make great rejoicings over the day in which they were born into this world” (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908 edition, Vol. 3, p. 724, “Natal Day”).

During this time eight specific dates during six different months were proposed by various groups. December 25, although one of the last dates to be proposed, was the one finally accepted by the leadership of the Western church.

A summary of the debate on the dates of Messiah’s birth appears in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church: “Though speculation as to the time of year of Messiah’s birth dates from the early 3rd century, Clement of Alexandria suggesting the 20th of May, the celebration of the anniversary does not appear to have been general till the later 4th century. The earliest mention of the observance on Dec. 25th is in the Philocalian Calendar, representing Roman practice of the year 336. This date was probably chosen to oppose the feast of the Natalis Solis Invicti [nativity of the unconquerable sun] by the celebration of the birth of the ‘Sun of Righteousness’ and its observance in the West, seems to have spread from Rome” (1983 edition, Oxford University Press, New York, 1983, p. 280, “Christmas”).

Around 200, when Clement of Alexandria mentioned the speculations about Messiah’s birthday, he said nothing about a celebration on that day. He casually reported the various ideas extant at that time: “And there are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord’s birth, but also the day…, the 25th day of Pachon… Furthermore, others say that He was born on the 24th or 25th of Pharmuthi” (“The Stromata, or Miscellanies,” The Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 2, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1986, p. 333).

Later, in 243, the official feast calendar of the time, De Pascha Computus, places the date of Messiah’s birth as March 28. Other dates suggested were April 2 and November 18. Meanwhile, in the East, January 6 was chosen, a date the Greeks had celebrated as the birth of the god Dionysus and the Egyptians as the birth of the god Osiris. Although pagans commonly celebrated the birthdays of their gods, in the Bible a birthday is never celebrated to the true God (who, of course, had no birth or day of origin).

December 25 popularized

In Rome December 25 was made popular by Pope Liberius in 354 and became the rule in the West in 435 when the first “Christ mass” was officiated by Pope Sixtus III. This coincided with the date of a celebration by the Romans to their primary god, the Sun, and to Mithras, a popular Persian sun god supposedly born on the same day. The Roman Catholic writer Mario Righetti candidly admits that, “to facilitate the acceptance of the faith by the pagan masses, the Church of Rome found it convenient to institute the 25th of December as the feast of the birth of Messiah to divert them from the pagan feast, celebrated on the same day in honor of the ‘Invincible Sun’ Mithras, the conqueror of darkness” (Manual of Liturgical History, 1955, Vol. 2, p. 67).

Protestant historian Henry Chadwick sums up the controversy: “Moreover, early in the fourth century there begins in the West (where first and by whom is not known) the celebration of December 25th, the birthday of the Sun-god at the winter solstice, as the date for the nativity of Messiah. How easy it was for Christianity and solar religion to become entangled at the popular level is strikingly illustrated by a mid-fifth century sermon of Pope Leo the Great, rebuking his over-cautious flock for paying reverence to the Sun on the steps of St. Peter’s before turning their back on it to worship inside the westward-facing basilica” (The Early Church, Penguin Books, London, 1967, p. 126).

The Encyclopedia Americana makes this clear: “In the fifth century, the Western Church ordered it [Messiah’s birth] to be observed forever on the day of the old Roman feast of the birth of Sol [the sun god], as no certain knowledge of the day of Messiah’s birth existed” (1944 edition, “Christmas”).

Is there any evidence from the Bible that will help us fix the date and year of Messiah’s birth?

Actually from the Bible, we can at least determine the probable season and year of His birth. The most convincing proof of when Yeshua was born comes in understanding the evidence that is presented in the book of Luke concerning the birth of John the Baptist.

Luke 1:5-17 says:

In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years. Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense.  Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,  for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

Zechariah was of the division of Abijah (Luke 1:5,8). Back in King David’s day, the priests had been separated into 24 turns or divisions. These turns began in the first month of the Jewish calendar (1 Chronicles 27:2), March or April of our modern calendar. According to Talmudic sources, the turns rotated every week until they reached the end of the sixth month, when the cycle was repeated again until the end of the year. This would mean that Zechariah’s division served at the temple twice a year.

We find in 1 Chronicles 24:10 that Abijah was the eighth division of the priesthood. Thus, Zechariah’s service would be in the tenth week of the Jewish year. Why the tenth week? Because all divisions served during primary feast weeks of the Jewish year. So all of the divisions of the priesthood would serve during Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread (the third week of the year). Likewise, all of the divisions of the priesthood would serve during the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (the ninth week). Thus, the eighth course of the priesthood would end up serving on the tenth week of the year.

Now we must make an assumption here. Remember we said that Zechariah’s division served at the temple twice a year. The Bible does not specify which of the two shifts of service it was. Regardless, nine months after one of the two dates John the Baptist was born. This would place his birth in March or September.

We will assume that Luke is recording Zechariah’s first shift of service for the year. We will find that assumption tends to prove true as we discover the dates of John the Baptist’s and Yeshua’s’ birth. Therefore, the date of Zechariah’s service would be the Jewish date of Sivan 12-18 (See the Companion Bible, Appendix 179, Section III).

Picking up the story in Luke 1:23-25:

When his time of service was ended, he went to his home. After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, “This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.”

After his service in the temple, Zechariah went home to his wife. Due to the laws of separation (Leviticus 12:5; 15:19,25), two additional weeks have to be counted. Now I don’t know about you, but if an angel had told me that I was going to have a special child, I would get to it just as soon as the law allowed. So we will make a second assumption, that Elizabeth conceived a child two weeks after Zechariah’s return.

Passover (Nisan 15)!  The Jews always looked for Elijah to return on the day of Passover. Even in modern times there is an empty chair and a table setting for Elijah whenever Passover is celebrated. Little children also go to the door of the home and open it in anticipation of Elijah’s coming. The Old Testament prophets had said that God would send Elijah before the coming of the Messiah (Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6). According to these calculations John the Baptist was born at Passover. Remember the angel’s words to Zechariah? The angel said that John the Baptist was to come “in the spirit and power of Elijah” (Luke 1:17). Elijah came at Passover!

Continuing in Luke 1:26-36:

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Miriam. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Miriam, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Yeshua. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Miriam said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”

Luke tells us that Elizabeth was six months pregnant when the angel Gabriel visited Miriam. The beginning of Elizabeth’s sixth month would have been the celebration of the Jewish feast of Hanukkah, which occurs in December of our modern calendar. Hanukkah (Chanukkah) is known as the “Feast of the Dedication” (John 10:22) because it is connected with the dedication of the second Jewish temple and the rededication of the temple after the Maccabean revolt. Miriam was being dedicated for a purpose of enormous magnitude: God’s presence in an earthly temple, i.e. a human body (John 2:18-21).

If Miriam did conceive on Hanukkah, John the Baptist would have been born three months later at Passover. And assuming a normal pregnancy of 285 days, Yeshua would have been born on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Tishri (September 29 by modern reckoning). This is significant because it is the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). It is a high day, a special Sabbath, a time of great rejoicing.

The Feast of Tabernacles and Yeshua

As you have seen, the birth of our Lord can be reasonably shown to have occurred in the autumn of the year on the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles is a joyful feast. Jewish believers would build a tabernacle or booth known as a “sukkah” out of green tree branches. They would eat their meals and sleep in this sukkah for eight days.

There are some very interesting connections in Scripture with Yeshua and aspects of the Feast of Tabernacles.

John 1:14 says:

And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. [literal translation of the Greek]

Look at what Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi has to say concerning this verse:

To introduce the nature and mission of Messiah, John in his Gospel employs the metaphor of the “booth” of the Feast of Tabernacles. He explains that Messiah, the Word who was with God in the beginning (John 1:1), manifested Himself in this world in a most tangible way, by pitching His tent in our midst: “And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, as of the only Son from the Father” (John 1:14).

The Greek verb skenoo used by John means “to pitch tent, encamp, tabernacle, dwell in a tent.” The allusion is clearly to the Feast of Tabernacles when the people dwelt in temporary booths. In his article “The Feast of Tents: Yeshua’ Self-Revelation,” published in Worship (1960), David Stanley notes that this passage sets the stage for the later self-revelation of Yeshua at the Feast of Tabernacles in John 7 and 8. Stanley writes: “The most basic clue to the mystery pervading this entire narrative [John 7 and 8] is provided by the symbolic action that gives this feast its name: the ceremonial erection of little bowers, made with branches of trees, in which every Jew was expected to live during the festival. These shelters were commemorative of the forty years’ wandering in the desert when Israel had lived as a nomad in such intimate union with her God. For John this dwelling in tents is a primordial symbol of the Incarnation: ‘Thus the Word became a mortal man: he pitched his tent in the midst of us’ (John 1:14). It is this insight which presides over the composition of John’s narrative which we are considering [John 7-8]. All that happened, all that Yeshua said on this occasion has some reference to the Incarnation.”

In seeking to describe the Messiah’s first coming to His people, John chose the imagery of the Feast of Booths since the feast celebrates the dwelling of God among His people. This raises an interesting question on whether or not John intended to link the birth of Yeshua with the Feast of Tabernacles.

[from: God’s Festivals in Scripture and History Part II: The Fall Festivals, page 241.]

According to the Companion Bible, Appendix 179:

The word tabernacled here receives beautiful significance from the knowledge that “the Lord of Glory” was “found in fashion as a man”, and thus tabernacling in human flesh. And in turn it shows in equally beautiful significance that our Lord was born on the first day of the great Jewish Feast of Tabernacles, viz. the 15th of Tisri, corresponding to September 29 (modern reckoning).

The Circumcision of our Lord took place therefore on the eighth day, the last day of the Feast, the “Great Day of the Feast” of John 7.37 (“Tabernacles” had eight days. The Feast of Unleavened Bread had seven days, and Pentecost one. See Lev. 23).

From The Seven Festivals of the Messiah by Eddie Chumney we read this:

As we have stated earlier in this chapter, the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles) is called “the season of our joy” and “the feast of the nations.” With this in mind, in Luke 2:10 it is written, “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings [basar in Hebrew; otherwise known as the gospel] of great joy [Sukkot is called the ‘season of our joy’], which shall be to all people [Sukkot is called ‘the feast of the nations’].” So, we can see from this that the terminology the angel used to announce the birth of Yeshua were themes and messages associated with the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles)

Light was also a prominent feature of the Feast of Tabernacles. At the end of the first day of the Feast, the Temple was gloriously illuminated. According to the Mishnah (Succah 5:2), gigantic candelabras stood within the Court of the Women in the temple. Each of the four golden candelabras is said to have been about 75 feet tall. Each candelabra had four branches, and at the top of every branch there was a large bowl. Four young men bearing 10 gallon pitchers of oil would climb ladders to fill the four golden bowls on each candelabra. And then the oil in those bowls was ignited. Picture sixteen beautiful blazes leaping toward the sky from these golden lamps. There was not a courtyard in Jerusalem that was not illuminated by this light (Succah 5:3).

According to Alfred Edersheim (Life and Times of Yeshua the Messiah, chpt. 8):

…the Court of the Women was brilliantly illuminated….In connection with this we mark, that the term ‘light’ was specially applied to the Messiah. In a very interesting passage of the Midrash we are told, that, while commonly windows were made wide within and narrow without, it was the opposite in the Temple of Solomon, because the light issuing from the Sanctuary was to lighten that which was without.

This reminds us of the language of devout old Simeon in regard to the Messiah, as ‘a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of His people Israel.’

John 1:6-9 says:

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

In these verses John refers to Yeshua as “the light”; and as we have also seen, verse 14 says that he “became flesh and tabernacled [literal meaning of the Greek] among us”. Since John chapter one is a passage about Yeshua’s coming, these verses could be references to the Feast of Tabernacles at which time Yeshua was born.

Magi from the east

The Scriptures tell us that there were wise men (scholars) who came from the east looking for the birth of the Messiah, saying “we have seen his star in the east”. Who were these scholars from the east? Why were they looking for a Jewish Messiah?

Matthew 2:1-6 says:

In the time of King Herod, after Yeshua was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage. When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.'” [cited from Micah 5:2]

Babylon was known as “the land to the east.” At the time of the birth of Yeshua, the largest Jewish population was actually in Babylon, not in Palestine! Nearly five hundred years earlier, the entire nation of Judah had been carried away captive into Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. Only a small colony of Jews returned to Palestine after sixty-three years of captivity. The greater number of them remained where they had established homes in the land of Babylon.

The Greek for “wise men” is magoi. Daniel was referred to by this same title (Daniel 4:9). The word is somewhat equivalent to the Jewish term “rabbi.” It is possible that the wise men from the east were Jewish rabbis who had been anticipating the coming of the Messiah because of Daniel’s seventy weeks prophecy [Daniel 9:24]. They had spotted a new star in the sky and took it to be a sign of the coming of the Messiah.

At the very least, even if the wise men were not Jewish, they would have been influenced by Daniel’s writings. At an earlier time, Daniel had been the Master of the Magians of Babylon (Daniel 2:48; 4:9; 5:11), so anything Daniel wrote would have been important to even Gentile magoi. Parts of the book of Daniel are even written in Aramaic (the international language of the eastern Gentiles), so that it could be read by them.

The star and the Feast of Tabernacles

There is one time of the year when Jews would typically look at the stars. That time was during the Festival of Tabernacles. As we already said, Jewish believers would build a tabernacle or booth known as a “sukkah” out of green tree branches. They would eat their meals and sleep in this sukkah for eight days. It was customary to leave a hole in the roof of the sukkah so that one could look at the stars. If the magoi were Jewish, then Jewish “wise men” celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles would have noticed the appearance of a new star.

Of course, if the magoi were Gentiles, it is still likely that a new star would have been noticed by them rather quickly. The Babylonian magoi excelled at astrology. As a matter of fact, the Babylonians are generally credited with the birth of astrology.

The year of Yeshua’s birth

Yeshua was born while Herod the Great was still living (Matthew 2:1). Wise men appeared in Jerusalem asking about “one who has been born king of the Jews?” Of course, this upset Herod, who had been given the title “King of the Jews” by the Roman Senate. Herod talked to the wise men secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared (Matthew 2:7). The wise men then journeyed to Bethlehem and found Yeshua, Miriam, and Joseph in a house (Matthew 2:11) and they bowed down and worshiped Yeshua.

When the wise men did not return to give Herod a report, “Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the wise men.  He was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the wise men” (Matthew 2:16).

This tells us that Yeshua may have been born two years before the appearance of the wise men and the death of Herod. Herod died the spring of 4 B.C.E. (according to the Jewish historian, Josephus). Let’s assume that the star appeared at Yeshua’ birth. Let’s also assume that Herod was already close to death when the wise men appeared. It was the custom in ancient Israel to count the years of one’s age from the date of conception – in other words, when a child is born he is one year old until his first birthday (this is still a practice in some oriental cultures). Therefore, Herod actually killed the children one year old and under according to the way that age is calculated today. This would mean that Yeshua had to have been born in 6 B.C.E. (if Yeshua was one year old) or 5 B.C.E. (if Yeshua was under one year and Herod was just being extra careful).

This date for Yeshua’s’ birth fits with other Biblical data such as Yeshuabeing “about thirty years old” when He began his ministry (Luke 3:23). From evidence given to us in John 2:20 about the construction of the temple, we know Yeshua’s’ ministry began in C.E. 26. Counting forward from 6 B.C.E. to C.E. 26 (one year has to be subtracted because there is no year zero) would make Yeshua 31 years old when he began his ministry — that is, about thirty years old. Counting forward from 5 B.C.E. to C.E. 26 would make Yeshua 30 years old when he began his ministry. The birth years of 5 or 6 B.C.E. also fit with the best date for the crucifixion, that is C.E. 30. Personally I opt for the 5 B.C.E. date, because I assume the wise men would want to come at once and the time for a journey from Babylon to Jerusalem takes only four months.

When was Yeshua born? Nothing is absolutely certain, because we are dealing with implications and assumptions, but a good guess from the Scriptures and history is September 29, 5 B.C.E.

Sources of Information for this Article:

  1. The Biblical Festivals: God’s Appointed Times from Hebraic Roots of Christianity by Eddie Chumney.
  2. The Gospel of Luke by William Hendriksen, Baker Book House.
  3. When was Yeshua born? by Christian Renewal Ministries International.
  4. New Testament History by F.F. Bruce, Anchor Books.
  5. When Was Yeshua Christ Born? by Mario Seiglie, The Good News, United Church of God, 1997.
  6. Life and Times of Yeshua the Messiah by Alfred Edersheim, 1890.
  7. The Companion Bible, Published by Kregel Publications.
  8. God’s Festivals in Scripture and History, Part 2 by Samuele Bacchiocchi, PhD. Available from: Biblical Perspectives
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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – Psalms 119:89 – December 16, 2019

Psalms 119

א (Alef)

How happy are those whose way of life is blameless,
who live by the Torah of Adonai!
How happy are those who observe his instruction,
who seek him wholeheartedly!
They do nothing wrong
but live by his ways.
You laid down your precepts
for us to observe with care.
May my ways be steady
in observing your laws.
Then I will not be put to shame,
since I will have fixed my sight on all your mitzvot.
I thank you with a sincere heart
as I learn your righteous rulings.
I will observe your laws;
don’t completely abandon me!

ב (Bet)

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
don’t let me stray from your mitzvot.
11 I treasure your word in my heart,
so that I won’t sin against you.
12 Blessed are you, Adonai!
Teach me your laws.
13 I proclaim with my mouth
all the rulings you have spoken.
14 I rejoice in the way of your instruction
more than in any kind of wealth.
15 I will meditate on your precepts
and keep my eyes on your ways.
16 I will find my delight in your regulations.
I will not forget your word.

ג (Gimel)

17 Deal generously with your servant;
then I will live and observe your word.
18 Open my eyes, so that I will see
wonders from your Torah.
19 Though I’m just a wanderer on the earth,
don’t hide your mitzvot from me.
20 I am continually consumed
with longing for your rulings.
21 You rebuke the proud, the cursed,
who stray from your mitzvot.
22 Remove scorn and contempt from me,
because I observe your instruction.
23 Even when princes sit and plot against me,
your servant meditates on your laws.
24 Also your instructions are my delight;
they are my counselors.

ד (Dalet)

25 I lie prostrate in the dust;
revive me, in keeping with your word.
26 I told you of my ways, and you answered me;
teach me your laws.
27 Make me understand the way of your precepts,
and I will meditate on your wonders.
28 I am melting away from anxiety and grief;
renew my strength, in keeping with your word.
29 Keep deceitful ways far from me,
and favor me with your Torah.
30 I choose the way of trust;
I set your rulings [before me].
31 I cling to your instruction;
Adonai, don’t let me be put to shame!
32 I will run the way of your mitzvot,
for you have broadened my understanding.

ה (Heh)

33 Teach me, Adonai, the way of your laws;
keeping them will be its own reward for me.
34 Give me understanding; then I will keep your Torah;
I will observe it with all my heart.
35 Guide me on the path of your mitzvot,
for I take pleasure in it.
36 Bend my heart toward your instructions
and not toward selfish gain.
37 Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
with your ways, give me life.
38 Fulfill your promise, which you made to your servant,
which you made to those who fear you.
39 Avert the disgrace which I dread,
for your rulings are good.
40 See how I long for your precepts;
in your righteousness, give me life!

ו (Vav)

41 May your grace come to me, Adonai,
your salvation, as you promised;
42 then I will have an answer for those who taunt me;
for I trust in your word.
43 Don’t take away completely my power to speak the truth;
for I put my hope in your rulings;
44 and I will keep your Torah always,
forever and ever.
45 I will go wherever I like,
for I have sought your precepts.
46 I will speak of your instructions even to kings
without being ashamed.
47 I will delight myself in your mitzvot,
which I have loved.
48 I will lift my hands to your mitzvot, which I love;
and I will meditate on your laws.

ז (Zayin)

49 Remember your promise to your servant,
through which you have given me hope.
50 In my distress my comfort is this:
that your promise gives me life.
51 Though the arrogant scorn me completely,
I have not turned away from your Torah.
52 Adonai, I keep in mind your age-old rulings;
in them I take comfort.
53 Fury seizes me when I think of the wicked,
because they abandon your Torah.
54 Your laws have become my songs
wherever I make my home.
55 I remember your name, Adonai, at night;
and I observe your Torah.
56 This [comfort] has come to me,
because I observe your precepts.

ח (Het)

57 Adonai, I say that my task
is to observe your words.
58 I beg your favor with my whole heart;
show pity to me, in keeping with your promise.
59 I thought about my ways
and turned my feet toward your instruction.
60 I hurry, I don’t delay,
to observe your mitzvot.
61 Even when the cords of the wicked close around me,
I don’t forget your Torah.
62 At midnight I rise to give you thanks
because of your righteous rulings.
63 I am a friend of all who fear you,
of those who observe your precepts.
64 The earth, Adonai, is full of your grace;
teach me your laws.

ט (Tet)

65 You have treated your servant well,
Adonai, in keeping with your word.
66 Teach me good judgment and knowledge,
because I trust in your mitzvot.
67 Before I was humbled, I used to go astray;
but now I observe your word.
68 You are good, and you do good;
teach me your laws.
69 The arrogant are slandering me,
but I will wholeheartedly keep your precepts.
70 Their hearts are as thick as fat,
but I take delight in your Torah.
71 It is for my good that I have been humbled;
it was so that I would learn your laws.
72 The Torah you have spoken means more to me
than a fortune in gold and silver.

י (Yud)

73 Your hands made and formed me;
give me understanding, so I can learn your mitzvot.
74 Those who fear you rejoice at the sight of me,
because I put my hope in your word.
75 I know, Adonai, that your rulings are righteous,
that even when you humble me you are faithful.
76 Let your grace comfort me,
in keeping with your promise to your servant.
77 Show me pity, and I will live,
for your Torah is my delight.
78 Let the proud be ashamed, because they wrong me with lies;
as for me, I will meditate on your precepts.
79 Let those who fear you turn to me,
along with those who know your instruction.
80 Let my heart be pure in your laws,
so that I won’t be put to shame.

כ (Kaf)

81 I am dying to know your salvation;
my hope is in your word.
82 My eyes fail from watching for your promise;
I ask, “When will you comfort me?”
83 For I have shriveled like a wineskin in a smoky room;
still, I don’t forget your laws.
84 How long can your servant stay alive?
When will you bring judgment on my persecutors?
85 The arrogant have dug pits for me to fall in;
this is not in keeping with your Torah!
86 All your mitzvot [show your] faithfulness;
they are hounding me with lies; help me!
87 They have nearly ended my life on earth,
but I have not abandoned your precepts.
88 In keeping with your grace, revive me;
and I will observe your spoken instructions.

ל (Lamed)

89 Your word continues forever, Adonai,
firmly fixed in heaven;
90 your faithfulness through all generations;
you established the earth, and it stands.
91 Yes, it stands today, in keeping with your rulings;
for all things are your servants.
92 If your Torah had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my distress.
93 I will never forget your precepts,
for with them you have made me alive.
94 I am yours; save me
because I seek your precepts.
95 The wicked hope to destroy me,
but I focus on your instruction.
96 I see the limits of all perfection,
but your mitzvah has no bounds.

מ (Mem)

97 How I love your Torah!
I meditate on it all day.
98 I am wiser than my foes,
because your mitzvot are mine forever.
99 I have more understanding than all my teachers,
because I meditate on your instruction.
100 I understand more than my elders,
because I keep your precepts.
101 I keep my feet from every evil way,
in order to observe your word.
102 I don’t turn away from your rulings,
because you have instructed me.
103 How sweet to my tongue is your promise,
truly sweeter than honey in my mouth!
104 From your precepts I gain understanding;
this is why I hate every false way.

נ (Nun)

105 Your word is a lamp for my foot
and light on my path.
106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
that I will observe your righteous rulings.
107 I am very much distressed;
Adonai, give me life, in keeping with your word.
108 Please accept my mouth’s voluntary offerings, Adonai;
and teach me your rulings.
109 I am continually taking my life in my hands,
yet I haven’t forgotten your Torah.
110 The wicked have set a trap for me,
yet I haven’t strayed from your precepts.
111 I take your instruction as a permanent heritage,
because it is the joy of my heart.
112 I have resolved to obey your laws
forever, at every step.

ס (Samekh)

113 I hate doubleminded people,
but I love your Torah.
114 You are my hiding-place and shield;
I put my hope in your word.
115 Leave me alone, you evildoers,
so that I can keep my God’s mitzvot.
116 Uphold me, as you promised; and I will live;
don’t disappoint me in my hope.
117 Support me; and I will be saved,
always putting my attention on your laws.
118 You reject all who stray from your laws,
for what they deceive themselves with is false.
119 You discard the wicked of the earth like slag;
this is why I love your instruction.
120 My body trembles for fear of you;
your rulings make me afraid.

ע (‘Ayin)

121 I have done what is just and right;
don’t abandon me to my oppressors.
122 Guarantee your servant’s well-being;
don’t let the arrogant oppress me.
123 My eyes fail from watching for your salvation
and for [the fulfillment of] your righteous promise.
124 Deal with your servant in accordance with your grace,
and teach me your laws.
125 I am your servant; give me understanding,
so that I can know your instruction.
126 The time has come for Adonai to act,
because they are breaking your Torah.
127 Therefore I love your mitzvot
more than gold, more than fine gold.
128 Thus I direct my steps by [your] precepts;
every false way I hate.

פ (Peh)

129 Your instruction is a wonder;
this is why I follow it.
130 Your words are a doorway that lets in light,
giving understanding to the thoughtless.
131 My mouth is wide open, as I pant
with longing for your mitzvot.
132 Turn to me, and show me your favor;
in keeping with [your] judgment for those who love your name.
133 Guide my footsteps by your word;
don’t let any kind of sin rule me.
134 Redeem me from human oppression,
and I will observe your precepts.
135 Make your face shine on your servant,
and teach me your laws.
136 Rivers of tears flow down from my eyes,
because they don’t observe your Torah.

צ (Tzadeh)

137 You are righteous, Adonai;
and your rulings are upright.
138 You have commanded your instructions
in righteousness and great faithfulness.
139 My zeal is destroying me,
because my foes have forgotten your words.
140 Your word is refined to complete purity,
and your servant loves it.
141 I may be small and despised,
but I do not forget your precepts.
142 Your righteousness is eternal righteousness,
and your Torah is truth.
143 Trouble and distress have overtaken me,
but your mitzvot are my delight.
144 Your instruction is righteous forever;
give me understanding, and I will live.

ק (Kuf)

145 Wholeheartedly I am calling on you;
answer me, Adonai; I will keep your laws.
146 I am calling on you; save me;
and I will observe your instruction.
147 I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I put my hope in your word.
148 My eyes are open before the night watches,
so that I can meditate on your promise.
149 In your grace, hear my voice;
Adonai, in keeping with your justice, revive me.
150 The pursuers of carnality are getting close;
they are distancing themselves from your Torah.
151 You are close by, Adonai;
and all your mitzvot are truth.
152 Long ago I learned from your instruction
that you established it forever.

ר (Resh)

153 Look at my distress, and rescue me,
for I do not forget your Torah.
154 Plead my cause, and redeem me;
in keeping with your promise, revive me.
155 Salvation is far away from the wicked,
because they don’t seek your laws.
156 Great is your compassion, Adonai;
in keeping with your rulings, revive me.
157 Although my persecutors and foes are many,
I have not turned away from your instruction.
158 I look at traitors with disgust,
because they don’t keep your word.
159 See how I love your precepts, Adonai;
in keeping with your grace, revive me.
160 The main thing about your word is that it’s true;
and all your just rulings last forever.

ש (Shin)

161 Princes persecute me for no reason,
but my heart stands in awe of your words.
162 I take joy in your promise,
like someone who finds much booty.
163 I hate falsehood, I detest it;
but I love your Torah.
164 I praise you seven times a day
because of your righteous rulings.
165 Those who love your Torah have great peace;
nothing makes them stumble.
166 I hope for your deliverance, Adonai;
I obey your mitzvot.
167 My soul observes your instruction,
and I love it so much!
168 I observe your precepts and instruction,
for all my ways lie open before you.

ת (Tav)

169 Let my cry come before you, Adonai;
in keeping with your word, give me understanding.
170 Let my prayer come before you;
in keeping with your promise, rescue me.
171 Let my lips speak praise,
because you teach me your laws.
172 Let my tongue sing of your promise,
because all your mitzvot are righteous.
173 Let your hand be ready to help me,
because I choose your precepts.
174 I long for your deliverance, Adonai;
and your Torah is my delight.
175 Let me live, and I will praise you;
let your rulings help me.
176 I strayed like a lost sheep; seek out your servant;
for I do not forget your mitzvot.

Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.


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Your Daily Readings – Verse of the Day – Philippians 3:9 – 11 – December 15, 2019

Philippians 3

All for Christ

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. For me to write the same things to you is not tedious, but for you it is safe.

Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship a]”>[a]God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attainb]”>[b] to the resurrection from the dead.

Pressing Toward the Goal

12 Not that I have already attained,c]”>[c] or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have d]”>[d]apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already e]”>[e]attained, let us walk by the same f]”>[f]rule, let us be of the same mind.

Our Citizenship in Heaven

17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

Footnotes:

  1. Philippians 3:3 NU, M in the Spirit of God
  2. Philippians 3:11 Lit. arrive at
  3. Philippians 3:12 obtained it
  4. Philippians 3:13 laid hold of it
  5. Philippians 3:16 arrived
  6. Philippians 3:16 NU omits rule and the rest of v. 16.

New King James Version (NKJV)Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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UN Officials Block Syrian Christian Refugees from Getting Help

Syrian Refugees | 2019-12-08 18:15:49

Christian Syrian refugees have told CBN News that they have been blocked from getting help from the United Nations Refugee Agency, the UNHCR, by Muslim UN officials in Jordan.

UN Response to Syrian Christians? Get Lost

One of the refugees, Hasan, a Syrian convert to Christianity, told us in a phone call that Muslim UN camp officials “knew that we were Muslims and became Christians and they dealt with us with persecution and mockery. They didn’t let us into the office. They ignored our request.”

A clear pattern of discrimination by the United Nations refugee agency in Jordan against Christians. And it appears to be one reason that while tens of thousands of Syrian Muslim war refugees have been settled in the United States and Britain, only a small number have been Christian.

And the two governments that could stop this persecution of Christian refugees – the US and Britain – have done little to nothing about it.

A Former Archbishop of Canterbury Says “Enough”

Lord George Carey is suing Britain’s home office alleging that “politically correct” officials have been “institutionally biased” against Christian refugees. He also wants to find out why out of 60-thousand Syrian war refugees accepted into the United States and Britain in 2014, almost none were Christians.

Lord Carey’s attorney, Paul Diamond, explains the case:

“You have this absurd situation where the scheme is set up to help Syrian refugees and the people most in need, Christians who have been “genocided,” they can’t even get into the U.N. camps to get the food. If you enter and say I am a Christian or convert, the Muslim U.N. guards will block you [from] getting in and laugh at you and mock you and even threaten you.

Christian Refugee Viewed as the Enemy by Muslim UN Officials

Another Syrian refugee, Timothy, who told us he became a Christian after seeing Jesus in a dream, said he was also blocked from entering a refugee camp by Muslim UN officials.

“All of the United Nations officials, most of them, 99 percent, they are Muslims,” Timothy explained from Jordan, “and they were treating us as enemies.”

Diamond says, “Sunni Muslim officials have blocked the way. They’ve laughed at them, threatened them, said ‘You shouldn’t have converted. You’re an idiot for converting. You get what you get,’ words to that effect.”

Carey says by doing nothing, western governments are complicit in what calls “the steady crucifixion of Middle East Christians.”

“And no simple measures are taken by both the British and the American government,’ Diamond says, “It would be simple just to open up a refugee camp for religious minorities, for Christians, Yazidis, whatever they are, and they’d be safe. But no one does that.”

Nations Also Deporting Christian Refugees to Certain Imprisonment or Death

Christians refugees who have made it to western countries are increasingly being deported back to Muslim nations, with no regard for the danger they will face.

Swedish attorney Gabriel Donner who represents Christian asylum seekers, says Sweden is now deporting up to one-third of Christian refugees back to Muslim nations where they are likely to be imprisoned or killed.

One of those Christian refugees now facing imminent deportation is Iman Amir-Ourang from Iran, shown here with members of his church in a foot washing. He says Swedish officials either did not understand or care about the evidence of his Christian faith.

Amir-Ourang told us, “There are so many atheists living in Sweden, so they can’t believe in somebody that believes in God. So just because they don’t believe in our Lord, they don’t trust anybody else to believe in the Lord either.”

“They don’t understand the message in the Bible. It’s just completely alien to them,” Donner added.

Britain Ignores Christian Refugees While Welcoming ISIS Children

President Trump told CBN News in 2017 that Christian refugees would be given priority. But Muslim governments officially classify Christians as security threats, causing their asylum applications to western countries to be rejected.

The UN Refugee program did not respond to our request for answers.

Lord Carey has publicly appealed for money in his suit against the British home office, which has already threatened the 84-year churchman with all court costs if he loses.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Home office is spending a lot of time and money on the resettlement of the children of ISIS terrorists. (Click to Source)

CBN


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