In The Star of Bethlehem DVD, Fred Larson explains how computer-generated star maps show that Jesus was born in June of 2 BC. This was Sivan of the Hebrew year 3759. Sivan is the THIRD month; you know how God loves THREEs.
- The Hebrew month count begins with Nissan.
- The Hebrew year count begins with Tishri.
- Nissan <- Passover, Firstfruits
- Sivan <- Jesus’ birth
- Av <- Baby Jesus presented at Temple
- Tishri <- New Year, Yom Kippur, Sukkot
- Tevet <- Magi visit Child Jesus
- Adar (In leap years, there are two Adars)
Larson’s DVD doesn’t show precisely what day Jesus was born, but it appears to me to have been around June 17, 2 BC, aka, Sivan 15, 3759.
According to Leviticus 12, when a Jewish woman gave birth to a boy, she remained ritually unclean for a period of 40 days, after which she would undergo ritual purification and then go to the Temple to offer a sacrifice. According to Luke 2, Mary and Joseph fulfilled these obligations, so I marked off that period in purple.
In the DVD, Larson explains how star maps show that the Magi visited the child Jesus and presented their gifts to Him on December 25, 2 BC. How cool is that!
Jesus’ birthday wasn’t even celebrated in the early church. And it wasn’t set on December 25 until the fourth century which, as I understand it, was done mostly to give pagan converts a holiday to celebrate in place of (and so they wouldn’t go sneaking off to) their old Winter Solstice bacchanals.
I know that we always picture the Kings visiting Jesus as a newborn in a stable, but the Scriptures say they visited Mary and the CHILD Jesus in a HOUSE, so there’s nothing there to make it wrong to suggest He was 6 months old when they dropped in. It also helps explain why Herod told his soldiers to slaughter not just infants, but also toddlers.
I think it was totally cool of God to have the Kings show up with their presents on the day that would become Christmas, even though nobody would figure it out until some lawyer geek with an astronomy software package and a speedy little laptop computer would get all obsessed with the Star of Bethlehem!