Monday, June 7, 2021


Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was born in 5 A.D. He was crucified in 30 A.D.

Unfortunately, the date of Jesus Christ’s birth has been a topic of much controversy for centuries. Various theories have placed His birth from 6 B.C. to even 1 A.D. As to the season of the year, some claim He was born in the spring, others believe He was born in the fall. However, overwhelmingly, most believe and teach that He was born in the dead of winter.

Even though an abundance of Scriptural, along with secular sources, proves that Jesus Christ was not born in the winter on December 25th – the majority of professing Christians continue to observe this date as His birthday.

Very few realize, and those who do apparently don’t seem to care, that this date is actually linked to pagan traditions that predate Jesus’ birth by thousands of years. Pagan customs entered this world’s so-called Christian churches many centuries ago and are now wholly viewed as essential parts of Christian worship. Most who profess Christ ask not the question: “Where did Christmas come from anyway!?”

Still, our Lord Jesus Christ’s glorious birth is a foundational Cornerstone of true Christianity – and truly fulfilled a number of significant biblical prophecies that are recorded for us in the Holy Bible. A proper understanding of the true circumstances surrounding His birth will provide a deeper insight into the awesome meaning of His life and of the ultimate purpose of His FIRST COMING.

Our Lord Was Born During the Reign of King Herod (the Great)

Apostle Matthew records for us that the glorious birth of Jesus Christ occurred during the reign of King Herod (the Great) (c. 72 – 4 B.C.). Shortly after Jesus’ birth, Herod heard that the prophesied ‘King of the Jews’ had been born and feared the Jews would revolt against his rule –
“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2) saying, ‘Where is He who was born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’ 3) When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him” – Matthew 2:1-3.
God warned Joseph (who was engaged to Mary, the mother of Jesus) in a dream that Herod would attempt to murder the infant Jesus and instructed him to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt –
“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him’” – v. 13.
Apostle Matthew’s account indicates that Herod died not long after they fled to Egypt. In his last years, Herod suffered from arteriosclerosis. He was in great pain and in mental and physical disorder. After an unsuccessful attempt at suicide, Herod died. 1 After his death, Joseph brought Jesus and Mary back to Nazareth, a city in the district of Galilee –
“Now when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20) saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.’ 21) Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22) But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. 23) And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene.’” – vs. 19-23.
So, the Scriptural record offers us conclusive evidence that the glorious birth of Jesus Christ occurred a short time before the death of King Herod (the Great). Also, through a historical recording of the noted historian Flavius Josephus, we can determine precisely when Herod I (the Great) died. Josephus reveals the specific year that he was crowned king in Rome -
“And thus did this man receive the kingdom, having obtained it on the hundred and eighty-fourth Olympiad, when Caius Domitius Calvinus was consul the second time and Caius Asinius Pollio [the first time]” (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 14:14 §5 ).
An Olympiad is four years in length and is reckoned from July/August to July/August. The 184th Olympiad extended from July 1, 44 B.C., to June 30, 40 B.C. Records of this period show that Gnaeus Domitius Calvinus and Gaius Asinius Pollio were consuls in the year 40 B.C. So, we know that King Herod (the Great) became king in 40 B.C. While the Olympiad was reckoned from July/August 1 to June/August 30, the calendar year for consuls was reckoned from January 1 to December 31. Since the 184th Olympiad ended on June 30, 40 B.C. and the consuls did not take office until January 1 of that year, we know that Herod was made king sometime during the six-month period from January through June of 40 B.C.

Now, although Herod (the Great) was crowned in 40 B.C., three long years passed before he conquered Jerusalem and began reigning there. For Josephus records –
“When the rigor of winter was over, Herod removed his army, and came near to Jerusalem and pitched his camp hard by the city. Now this was the third year since he had been made king at Rome…” (Josephus, Ant., 14:15 §14).
Even while Herod launched his attack in the spring, it wasn’t until the summer of that year that he was able to take the city. Again, Josephus provides for us a specific date of this event –
“for it was summertime … This destruction befell the city of Jerusalem when Marcus Agrippa and Caninius Gallus were consuls of Rome, on the hundred eighty and fifth Olympiad, on the third month, on the solemnity of the fast…” (Ibid., 14:16 §2, 4).
The 185th Olympiad extended from July 1, 40 B.C., to June 30, 36 B.C. Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa and Lucius Caninius Gallus both became consuls in 37 B.C. The fast of the third month that Josephus refers to was the 23rd of Sivan, according to the Hebrew calendar, which was June 22 on the Julian calendar. Herod completed the conquest of the city of Jerusalem in the summer of 37 B.C. and began to reign as king in Jerusalem at that time.

The Jewish historian Josephus recorded for us additional information concerning the reign of Herod’s that enables us to determine the time of his death –
“he [Herod] died, the fifth day after he had caused Antipater to be slain; … thirty-four years; but since he had been declared king by the Romans, thirty-seven” (Ibid., 17:8 §1).
So, in linking Antigonus II Mattathias’ death with Herod’s conquest of Jerusalem in 37 B.C., Josephus confirms that Herod did not reign in Jerusalem until three years after his coronation as king. Consequently, there are two methods of reckoning the reign of Herod (the Great) — the Jewish method, which counts thirty-four years from 37 B.C., and the Roman method, which counts thirty-seven years from 40 B.C. Since the first year of his reign is included in the count, both methods of reckoning arrive at 4 B.C. as the end of Herod’s reign. This date is conclusively established by the records of history as the year that King Herod died - (the Great?; for certain he was not great, five days before he died he slew his own son Antipater, not to mention attempting to murder our Lord Jesus with the  Massacre of the Innocents).

Scriptural Evidence of the Season of Jesus Christ’s Birth

Apostle Luke recorded for us a couple of major historical events of the time of Jesus Christ’s birth.
“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered” – Luke 2:1.
According to Unger’s Bible Dictionary, “Dr. Edersheim says: ‘In consequence of the decree of Caesar Augustus, Herod (the Great) directed a general registration to be made after the Jewish rather than the Roman manner.” 2

Now, there is no record of any law of Caesar Augustus that a universal census is held. 3 But he did reorganize Roman administration, and there are records of censuses held in a number of places. Apostle Luke describes this taxing as “the first” and states that it took place when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 4 It was customary to return to one’s home for such a census. This would mean, “made after the Jewish rather than the Roman manner,” that taxes would be collected after the fall harvest season approximately September or October, not in the winter. Thus, Luke’s record of this taxation reveals that the birth of Jesus took place during the autumn. When we combine Luke’s record with Matthew’s account of Herod’s death, it is evident that Jesus was born in the fall of 5 B.C.

Indeed, the recording of oaths (where people ascribed their names) was a type of registration. That exactly is what Luke said, “all went to be registered.” This enrollment would have included Joseph and Mary, even though they were not Roman citizens. As “royal claimants” they would have both been especially singled out to pledge their loyalty to Caesar Augustus.

Apostle Luke also gives us additional evidence that our Lord Jesus Christ was born during the fall harvest season by recording that there were no guest rooms available at the inn when Joseph and Mary arrived in Bethlehem.

The scarcity of room was due not only to the taxation but also to the festival days that followed the fall harvest. Many thousands of people were already in the Jerusalem area to observe the fall festival season. Bethlehem was extremely crowded because of its proximity to Jerusalem. Since there was no room at the inn, Joseph and Mary were resigned to lodge in a stall, where Jesus was born.

In addition, Luke makes it clear that Jesus was not born in the winter by noting that shepherds were tending their flocks in the fields that night –
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night” – v. 8.
Shepherds in that region of Palestine always bring their flocks in from the fields before the onset of winter.

Birth of John the Baptist Key to the Day of Christ’s Birth

In the Book of Luke chapter 1, we find a detailed account of the circumstances and events which preceded the glorious birth of our Savior – Jesus Christ. The apostle Luke reveals that the conception of Jesus by the virgin Mary occurred six months after the conception of John by Mary’s aunt, Elizabeth – the wife of Zacharias. Zacharias was a priest unto God who served at the temple in Jerusalem.
“There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. … 8) So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, 9) according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord” – Luke 1:5, 8-9.
So, here was the priest Zacharias, performing his duties according to the order and custom of Abijah. This information is very helpful in establishing the time frame of the apostle Luke’s account.

In ancient Israel, King David had divided the duties of the priests into twenty-four working courses, or shifts – see: 1st Chronicles 24:7-19. Each course or shift was assigned to work one full week, from noon Sabbath to noon Sabbath. The Old Testament records the exact rotation and time order of the priestly courses, which continued down to New Testament times. Zacharias was of the course of Abijah, which was the eighth course or shift in the series of yearly assignments for the priesthood.

The noted Jewish historian, Josephus, confirms for us that this priestly course or shift established by King David was still functioning in the first century –
“He [King David] divided them also into courses … he found of these priests twenty-four courses, … and he ordained that one course should minister to God eight days from Sabbath to Sabbath. … and this partition hath remained to this day.” (Ant., 7:14 §7).
This valuable source confirms that the courses of priests remained in effect down to the time of Zacharias and the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Certainly, these courses continued until the second temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.!?

So, we know that the archangel Gabriel delivered the promise of John’s birth when Zacharias was serving in the temple.

The Book of Luke records that John was born six months before our Lord Jesus Christ –
“And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest [God the Father] will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36) Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren” – Luke 1:35-36.
So, the examination of both Scriptural and secular historical records has indeed established that our Lord Jesus Christ – the Son of God – was born a physical human being in the fall of 5 B.C. And, accordingly, John the Baptist was born in the spring of 5 B.C. and was conceived nine months earlier in the summer of 6 B.C.

Now, although the exact time of Gabriel’s appearance is not recorded, it is reasonable to conclude that he delivered this wonderful message from God Most High on the Day of Pentecost. The announcement that Zacharias’s wife Elizabeth would bear a son came during the two weeks in which Zacharias served at the temple, and the Day of Pentecost occurred on Sivan 6, in the middle of the two-week period.

Zacharias did not believe Gabriel’s message from God Most High. So, ultimately, Zacharias would be unable to speak until the child was born and given the name John – which God had chosen –
“But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. … 18) And Zacharias said to the angel, ‘How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.’ 19) And the angel answered and said to him, ‘I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings. 20) But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time’” – Luke 1:13, 18-20.
Based upon the estimated time of conception, the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy was November/December by Roman reckoning (hence the Gregorian calendar).

Records of John the Baptists' Ministry Confirm Jesus’ Birth in the Fall – 5 B.C.

Continuing with the apostle Luke’s account of the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry, he gives yet another reference that helps us to verify the date of Jesus Christ’s birth. He tells us that John began his ministry in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar Augustus –
“Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, 2) while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3) And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” – Luke 3:1-3.
According to Gaius Suetonius, a Roman historian, Tiberius’ “co-Princeps” took place in the year 12 A.D., after his return from Germania. 5 Two years before the death of Tiberius. So, counting this date – we arrive at 26 A.D. as the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar Augustus and the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry. Other Scriptural and secular records confirm that John began his ministry in the spring of 26 A.D. and that our Lord Jesus Christ – the Savior of all mankind – began His ministry six months later in the fall.

Additional support for this is found in the Book of John, which details the first Passover of Jesus Christ’s ministry. During this particular Passover, the Jews stated that the temple had been forty-six years in the building –
“Then the Jews said, ‘It has taken forty-six years, to build this temple, …” – John 2:20.
So, this being said, we can determine the date of this Passover, and the first year of Jesus Christ’s ministry, by counting from the year that the building of the temple began.

Again, the Jewish historian Josephus recorded for us that the building of the temple began during the eighteenth year of King Herod (the Great)’s reign –
“And now Herod, in the eighteenth year of his reign, and after the acts already mentioned, undertook a very great work, that is, to build of himself the temple of God” (Ant., 15:11 §1).
The eighteenth year of Herod’s reign in Jerusalem was from the summer of 20 B.C. to the summer of 19 B.C. Counting forward, the forty-sixth year of the building was from the summer of 26 A.D. to the summer of 27 A.D. The only Passover that occurred during this period of time was the Passover of 27 A.D. Thus, scriptural and historical records place the first Passover of Jesus Christ’s ministry in the spring of 27 A.D. Since His ministry began in the fall of the year, we can date its beginning to the autumn of 26 A.D.

Feast of Trumpets Time of our Lord’s Birth!?

There are a great many passages within God’s living word – the Holy Bible – which show us that the Feast of Trumpets pictures the glorious SECOND COMING of our Savior – Jesus Christ! We clearly understand the meaning of the blowing of the SEVENTH TRUMPET in the Book of Revelation, its symbolism, and its meaning. It is not unreasonable to conclude that God Most High also chose His Feast of Trumpets as the day which His Son was to be born!? Apostle Paul reveals that the prophesied birth of Jesus was fulfilled at a set time –
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law” – Galatians 4:4.
While God’s living word does not reveal a specific day, the glorious birth of Jesus Christ on the Feast of Trumpets certainly would be in harmony with God’s Master Plan of the redemption of all mankind portrayed through His annual feasts. Evidence suggests the two-week period around the Feast of Trumpets, in the fall of 5 B.C., as the glorious time of the birth of Jesus Christ.

We need to realize that a vast amount of evidence is available to us which proves the year of Jesus Christ’s birth. For God says of his principle – that a matter should be on the testimony of two or three witnesses – cf. Deuteronomy 17:6; Matthew 18:16. We find that there are THREE WITNESSES! God’s living word, secular history, and astronomical (recall when the Magi had said how they saw His star when it rose) – which all corroborate the year of Jesus Christ’s birth. These three witnesses combine to build a case – proving that Jesus Christ was born in the fall of 5 B.C.


So, the primary secular historical references that enable us to determine when our Lord and Savior was born are those of Roman historians (i.e. Gaius Suetonius) and of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus – who lived from about 37 A.D. to 100 A.D. These secular historical records are indeed a Godsend in establishing the reign of Herod (the Great), who attempted to murder the infant Jesus. Josephus records the names of the consuls who were ruling in Rome during the years from 509 B.C. to 337 A.D. – which too is essential in identifying the year of Christ’s birth.

Josephus recorded that Herod received the kingdom in Rome in the 184th Olympiad (Antiquities, 14:14 §5). Each Olympiad was four years in length, with the years being reckoned from July/August to July/August. The 184th Olympiad was from July 1, 44 B.C., to June 30, 40 B.C. Josephus also records that Herod began his reign when Calvinus and Pollio were consuls of Rome. Calvinus and Pollio were consuls from January 1, 40 B.C., to December 31, 40 B.C. Since the 184th Olympiad ended on June 30, 40 B.C., it is evident that the reign of Herod as king in Rome began sometime between January 1, 40 B.C., and June 30, 40 B.C.

Also according to Josephus, Herod reigned thirty-seven years from the time of his coronation in Rome (Ant., 17:8 §1; Wars, 1:33 §8). Consequently, the end of his reign occurred sometime between January 1, 4 B.C., and June 30, 4 B.C.

Since our Lord Jesus Christ was born during the final months of King Herod’s reign, the historical facts limit the time of His glorious birth to the period from June 30, 5 B.C. to June 30, 4 B.C. And, because God’s living word places His birth during the fall festival season, the time is further limited to the year 5 B.C.


1) Perowne, S.H., Herod King of Judea, Retrieved 3 June 2021.
2) Unger, M.F., Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Chronology, New Testament (3) Enrollment of Cyrenius* (Quirinius), Moody Press, Chicago, Ill., 1966, pp. 199.
3) In such a census as commanded by Augustus the name, occupation, property, and kindred had to be entered in the public registers. In this instance, the census probably took place with a view to the levying of taxes. The Jews were exempted from military service but were at that time tributary to the Romans. Commentary on the Gospel of Luke: The English Text with Introduction, Exposition, and Notes. The New International Commentary on the Old and New Testament (99). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
4) certain inscriptions show that between 10 and 7 BC Quirinius performed military functions in the Roman province of Syria.
5) Speidel, M., Riding for Caesar: The Roman Emperorors’ Horse guards, Harvard University Press, 1997, pp.19.

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