Lesson 3 Unto You Is Born … a Saviour
Timeline for the Birth of Christ:
When was Jesus Born? FairMormon.Org - Info on the subject
There are really two possible timelines for the Birth of Jesus Christ based upon Scripture, and an assumption of which date Zacharaias served under his course.
Under the Course of Abia as given below we can see that The two times that the course served would have been in June 8-14
2nd Week of June (Sivan 8) or Dec 6-12 (Chisleu 6)
Some believe it was April 6th
- What is real date of Jesus Birth
- John P. Pratt Restoration of Priesthood Keys - Dating the Birth of Christ
Jeffrey R. Chadwick - Dating the Birth of Jesus Christ
This belief is based upon D&C 20:1 which has been interpreted to be the actual birth date of Jesus Christ.
Having seen the documents myself It is plain and obvious that this is not a revelation by the Lord about his birth date and in fact is speaking of the organization of the church not anything about Jesus Birth Joseph Smith Papers
Courses of the Priests:
The Jewish calendar begins in the spring, during the month of
so the first "course" of priests, would be that of the family of Jehoiarib, who would serve for seven days. The second week would then be the responsibility of the family of Jedaiah. The third week would be the feast of Unleavened Bread, and all priests would be present for service. Then the schedule would resume with the third course of priests, the family of Harim. By this plan, when the 24th course was completed, the general cycle of courses would repeat. This schedule would cover 51 weeks or 357 days, enough for the lunar Jewish calendar (about 354 days). So, in a period of a year, each group of priests would serve in the Temple twice on their scheduled course, in addition to the 3 major festivals, for a total of about five weeks of duty. For the course of Abijah this would mean that it's tour of duty would occur in the 2nd Week of June (Sivan 8), or Dec (Chisleu 6).
2 Possible Timelines for the Birth of Jesus - based upon which time during the year his course served
|Zacharias fulfills his course||Luke 1:9|
|June - end||Dec/Jan||Elisabeth conceives John||Luke 1:23-24|
|Nov/Dec||June/July||Mary is approached by Gabriel (6 months later)||Luke 1:36|
|April||Oct/Nov||John is Born||Luke 1:57-63|
|Dec||April||Jesus is Born||Luke 2:6-7|
Therefore, it isn't really possible for us to know for sure baring some additional revelation when Jesus was actually born it could easily have been in December or April... but Most scholars believe that the predominant facts point to the December Month as being correct.
Who was Jesus Christ in the Premortal Existence:
- Creator of heavens and earth
- Jehovah - God of the Old Testament
- Firstborn of our heavenly father's spirits
- More Intelligent than all other spirits - Abr 3:18-19
The Occurance of his birth:
Census or tax assessment was a common occurance to the time. There are many references of this being a regular event some say every 7 or 14 years. These events were always proclaimed well in advance so that individuals had time to determine the taxation and be able to pay it. This event may have been different from others in that they were required to register in their ancestral homes instead of in the locations of land ownership, or place of residence. Interestingly this census also included a taxation probably based upon individual count in the family and/or land ownership. Note that no monetary amounts are given in the text, just that there was a tax to be paid.
During the time of Jesus Birth there weren't really such things as motels or inns, people would normally have stayed with an extended family or relative. They did also occasionally have an external room available for a person to stretch out on the ground for a night’s sleep, a room in someone’s home situated by the highway, or a public building where rent was charged and food would be served to individuals or large caravans. However the greek word used in Luke 2:7 is kataluma - which literally means "to unloose" or to "unharness" in other words the location where you put your animals/took off your shoes etc. - inside your home for security.
Travel time to get there:
The distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem is about 70 miles which could be traveled in about 3-4 days usually. However, Mary was great with child so it would be probable that they took longer to travel there than normal. When they had arrived all of the extra rooms the family/extended families had to be already been occupied.
How long until the birth:
Luke's comment is that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be deliverd. This does not necesarily mean that on the day they arrived she gave birth to her son. In fact it is much more probable that they had been living with their family for some time before the actual birth took place.
What Actually Happened?
Well it may not have happened exactly as the Myth/Legends of his birth seem to say. We don't know exactly how far along Mary was when they left. We don't know how long they were in Bethlehem before she gave birth to her child. Is it likely that Joseph would take his wife to Bethlehem when she is just about to be delivered? That would be a very uncomfortable ride - and would be unnecessarily cruel... The census event was told to the population months in advance to allow them time to register.
My thoughts are that Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem as required by the census, however they may have been delayed or it took longer for them to travel than was originally planned. Thus when they got there all of their extended families "extra" rooms were all taken so they had to take a lower position in the house or cave. They probably were there some period of time and then Mary was delivered of her son. We do not know how long they were there before this event. There was probably a midwife present and/or at least members of her extended family helped with the birth. Birth back in that day was a dangerous event and they would have done what they could for the safety of Mary.
Then that evening the sheperds were informed of the birth of the Messiah and went to find the child. Bethlehem in that day was a very small location and would have been around 2 or 3 hundred people. It should have been easy for them to find the child that was born that day in order to visit the familiy.
Truth is... we just don't know for sure.
10-12 Birth Announced - Joy to all Born in Bethlehem in an manager
13-14 Heavenly host - praising God - Singing
15-16 Shepherds go see - find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes
A few points of note concerning this event:
- Shepherds not surprised or comment on him being in a stable? (he wasn't in one he was in an area in the house as described above)
- No one seems displeased at the arrangements at all - and in fact act as if all was normal
- They probably saw the star as well - wondering what was going on.
Mary's Response to all of these events:
Mary kept these things in her heart
Shouldn't I be about my fathers business
Mary - what a wonderful lady! Video Jan 1991 EnsignLuke 1:46-55 - The Song/Prophecy of Mary
He hath done to me great things - holy is his name
His words to us and our fathers will be fulfilled!
most beautiful and fair above all other virgins
Mother of the Son of God after the maner of the flesh
Points of Note:Mary didn't doubt the angel - but rather asked a simple question as to how she was to be the mother of Jesus!
The child would inherit the physical, mental, and spiritual traits characterized by his parents—one the glorified God; the other a worthy, blessed mortal woman.
She was a virgin before and after the birth of Jesus Christ
What about the star?October 1981 - What about the wise men and star
The new star was also seen by inhabitants of the American continent (see Hel. 14:5; 3 Ne. 1:21)
The new star was accompanied by a tremendous brightness in the heavens which made the night appear as day. (See Hel. 14:2–6; 3 Ne. 1:15–21.)
How then were they manifested to the ages? A star shone forth in Heaven more brightly than all the stars, and its light was greater than words can tell, and its strange appearing caused perplexity. And all the other stars, with the sun and moon, formed themselves into a band about the star. But the star itself surpassed them all in its brightness. And there was distress to know whence came this strange sight so unlike the other stars. From that time all sorcery and every spell began to lose their power. (Ignatius to the Ephesians 4:11–12, The Lost Books of the Bible.) Translation of the Episles of Clement
Comet seen by Chinese and Korean stargazers at about 5BC
Characteristics of the Star:
- The star was new in the sky
- It travelled slowly through the sky - seen in east - it went before them and they followed it
- The star stood over Bethlehem - the place where the child was
- It was amazingly bright - so much so that all stars were weak compared to it.
- It may have even been seen during the day... ?
- It stayd around for over 2 years - Magi followed it
- A supernova - they don't move - and then stand still
- A conjunction of Planets - for the same reason
- A gamma ray burst
Things that this could have been:
- A comet - they are often signs of the birth of kings -
- A satellite or other object in the sky
Jesus Christ as a young man: See The Life and Atonment of Jesus Christ
The Magi come - The young family flees into Egypt
Where is king of the Jews - we have come to worship him
3Herod & Jeruslem troubled
4-7 Herod determines location of Brith
8 Determines time when star appeared
Sends them to Bethlehem - bring him word
9Lo the star they saw in the east went before them - stood over where child was
10 They rejoiced with great Joy
11 Presented Gifts to family - at their house - (probably 2 years after birth)
12 Warned in a dream did not return to Herod
13-14 Joseph warned in a dream - fled into Egypt
15 There until Death of Herod
Who were the wise men from the east?
Magi - Bible Dictionary Of a necessity of 2-3 to bear witness
Wise Men of the East - Bible Dictionary Holy Men from a land east of Palestine - Astrologers - Probably not accurate.
Wise Men and Star - Ensign Oct 1981 - I have a Question
Although we may not know all the details concerning the life of Jesus Christ. It is amazing that he was born in humble circumstances and as a helpless child as are we all. His birth was proclaimed to the righteous and the knowledgeable understood that he had come. However, to the world in general it was unknown that the creator, the God of the Old testament, our savor and redeemer had been born.