Category: Christmas

Birth of Y’shua (Jesus) …

When was Y’shua REALLY born?

Most scholars have now concluded that Y’shua (Jesus) was NOT born on December 25th. Even so the “church” continues to celebrate it then – no matter what. So when WAS He born? It is a little known fact but one that can easily be found right in the Bible.

1. We can start with Zachariah the priest. It was his lot that was picked to burn incense in the Holy of Holies when the angel Gabriel appeared to him, informing him of the coming birth of his son and that he was to name him John. (Luke 1:8-13) We know what time of year he was there. We learn from the Book that his son, Yochanan the Immercer (John the Baptist,) was six months older than Y’shua. (Luke 1:26– 33) So when was John (Yochanan) born? Zachariah was a priest, a Levite of the course of Abijah – the eighth course. (Luke !:5) I Chronicles chapter 24, tells us about the courses or groups into which King David had divided the priests. Each course served in the Temple for one week in the beginning of the year, (Ex 12 says the beginning of the year is at Pesach in the Spring) one week in the last half of the year, and all priests served for one week during each of the three Pilgrimage Festivals, which are: Pesach, (Passover) Shavuot (Pentecost) and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) as shown in Lev. 23 . He would have served the 10th week. (He would have served the eighth week, but we need to add the two weeks for Pesach and Shavuot, making it the 10th week) It can be determined that he served in June/July. Counting for the two weeks of separation, (Lev) John would have been born at Pesach (Passover) in March or April. Y’shua, being six months younger, would have been conceived on Chanukah (November or December), and counting the nine months of pregnancy, been born in September or October. Remember, the Jewish calendar counts the months by the moon, each new month beginning on the new moon, whereas the Gregorian (Catholic) calendar month is calculated by the sun. It can be determined that Y’shua was born on the first day of Sukkot in the Fall. Sukkot is called “the season of our joy” and all are commanded to be joyful! Why not!? The Saviour of all mankind was born and the world needs to rejoice at that! Since Sukkot is an eight day celebration – it would be natural to assume that He was circumcised on the eighth day. A must for all Jewish males who kept G-d’s law.

2. The only time the sheep were kept out in the fields in Beit Lechem, would have been at Sukkot. They were kept there in readiness for the sacrifice of Simhat Torah at the conclusion of Sukkot. Angels were said to proclaim, “Glory to God in the heavens and on the earth peace and good will toward the earth.” Sound familiar? This is recorded in the Talmud. (Hallel Five) Incidentally, all sheep raised for sacrifice at the Temple had to be raised within five miles of the Temple. Migdal Eder (Tower of the Flock) was in Beit LeChem. The shepherds there were not unlearned men, they were Levitical priests who would have known about the Messiah being born there. They would have heard this proclamation every year! But this time it was said by a host of angels. No wonder they readily accepted the angelic message. He only comes where He is expected ….

3. Then there is King Herod. We know that “wise men” from the “east” came to him in Jerusalem, asking about the birth of the new King. The “wise men” were Jewish scholars who came from Babylon. Babylon is always referred to as “the east”. Remember when Daniel and many others were exiled to Babylon when Israel was conquered by the Babylonians? When the Jews were allowed to return to Israel, most chose to stay in Babylon, where they had jobs, families, houses and lands and had grown very comfortable. Why would they give it all up to go back to desolate Israel and start over? The “wise men” were their descendents. Who but a Jew would know the Jewish Scriptures and know enough to look for the Jewish Messiah coming out of Bethlehem? Another thing – we don’t know how many there were and certainly not their names. Some guess three because there were three gifts, but my guess is there were many more. Why travel all that long way unless you were in a larger, safer group? At any rate, they came and inquired of King Herod and you know the rest of the story. In those days a child was counted to be one year old at birth and so Herod really commanded all baby boys in Bethlehem one year and under be killed. History tells us that Herod died after a transgression against the Jews. Josephus, the Jewish historian, records the death of Herod around September, of 4 BCE (B.C.) So we are still in the right time frame. Put all that together and you have to know that Y’shua was born on the first day of Sukkot!

Whenever He was born, it wasn’t in December. We can chose not to believe a lie and celebrate His birth at Sukkot. We can keep the day focused on Him and not all this crass commercialism that we see in December. However, let’s be patient and kind to those still blinded to the truth and let the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) do His work. One day when Messiah comes, He will bring us all truth! And I think ALL of us will be surprised!

See you next time!
Shalom, Sharaka

Migdal Eder

The Watchtower of the Flock

Many of you celebrate the birth of Christ at “Christmas”. Literally “Christ Mass“. Most scholars today agree that He was NOT born in the winter, but in mid-Autumn. Most Messianics believe that He was born on the first day of Sukkot. (Sept – Oct) Our family celebrates His birth at that time. We believe He was born in a sukkah (temporary dwelling, hut or stable). We can celebrate His birth without all the trappings of Saturnalia (the ancient Roman celebration of their god by bringing in evergreen trees, holly, mistletoe and other greenery, feasting, drinking, the giving of gifts and time off work to party – all happening on December 25th). At Sukkot we can focus on Y’shua and the real meaning of His birth without all these distractions and the taint of pagan Saturnalia. But that’s another article!

Scripture tells us that Y’shua was born in Bethlehem (Beit l’chem – or house of bread). He lived there only a short time. His family soon went to Egypt and then returned to their hometown of Nazareth, where He was raised. When He started His ministry, He left home, and moved to Kfar Nahum (Capernaum).

So what was Bethlehem all about?

Scripture tells us that the Messiah, G-d’s anointed One, would be born of a virgin in Bethlehem, the town of His ancestor, King David. Scripture also says the lambs for sacrifice must not have any blemishes. With that in mind, Rabbinical law said that all Passover sacrifices (sheep/lambs) must be raised within five miles of Jerusalem, which Bethlehem is. A group of Levites were appointed to raise these sheep just outside of Bethlehem near Migdal Eder. They were the shepherds to whom the angels appeared. They were not lowly, uneducated men. They were Torah-trained Levites. They should have made the connection to the Messiah, the Lamb of G-d. Perhaps some did.

A watchtower was built to aid the shepherds in watching for predators, human or animal. These watchtowers were common all over the land. They were also found in vineyards for the same reason. The watchtowers were built of stones and had a covered platform on top where a guard could be posted.

The watchtower of Bethlehem was called Migdal Eder – Watchtower of the Flock. Isn’t it wonderful to know how very accurate our G-d is and that He caused Miriam and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem so Y’shua could be born as predicted and within the limits of the sacrificial lambs? Y’shua is our Passover Lamb and had He NOT been born there, He would not have been eligible as a sacrifice. Every letter of the Law was followed though out His whole life.

G-d thinks of everything and you can be sure He thinks of everything in your life. There are no coincidences. G-d has a reason and a purpose for everything that happens. We can trust Him to take care of us in all situations.

Think of Noah’s ark. It was dimly lit; the inhabitants were most likely sea-sick many times and it must have smelled pretty bad. As bad as it must have been, G-d preserved their lives and we are here because of them and their faith. For Noah and his family, it must have been a terrible year and yet they were the only ones that made it through alive.

Let’s take heart, no matter how bad it gets, G-d has a plan. Let’s trust in Him and keep His commandments. The Word says if we love Him, we will. And it will be worth it all!

See you next time!
Shabbat Shalom,
Sharaka
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Why I Don’t “Do” Christmas

I don’t “do” Christmas any more!

I remember so well when our house was the most decorated on our street…. Maybe 20 years ago. Nobody loved Christmas more than me! Every nook and cranny was filled with angels and nativity scenes and posters of the Christ child, wise men, greenery & glitz. We even had a small manger with one of the girls’ dolls in it – a life size “Baby Jesus” under our tree.

I had been looking into “Messianic things” for a while and was very interested. A Jewish friend, Polly Perkins, had invited me to a Messianic Passover Dinner (a Seder) at the Women’s Aglow where we were both officers, and I was hooked!

Christmas came later that year and a large charismatic church, where my husband’s sister & her husband were charter members, invited us to their great Christmas music extravaganza….

We went.

The air was electric! Everyone was dressed to the nines in their very best holiday clothes…. gold and sparkles (I love sparkles….) and Christmasy reds and greens were everywhere – in the clothes, the decorations – everything. You know how it is. More than beautiful!

The program started – everyone was SO excited. This church has always done grand productions. They had magnificent old English backdrops, ice skaters, falling snow – the whole thing. No expense spared. We sat in the balcony watching – spellbound.

It started very small – just a tiny uncomfortable feeling somewhere down deep inside. More music, “Winter Wonderland”, “Silent Night”, the one about chestnuts roasting and all the old familiar beloved carols. It seemed as if a cloud drifted into the room and settled over me. I couldn’t shake it. I became more and more unhappy. I just couldn’t figure out what was wrong. How could anything be wrong when everything seemed so right? Toward the end of the production, I saw in my mind’s eye, the wings of the stage. I did a lot of operettas back in high school and am familiar with ‘backstage’. It was dark there but I could see a figure, standing all alone, looking out through the thick curtains, at the audience. He just stood there – alone – in the dark – sadly, quietly, shaking His head. Yes, it was Y’shua.

This whole big thing that had taken days and weeks and months to ready, was supposed to be about Him. But He wasn’t even there! He was way off in the back wondering “why”? That scene was forever burned into my memory, and it was the last “Christmas Program” I ever attended – anywhere.

After that, ‘Christ Mass’ disappeared from my vocabulary and never again did I ever consider it. Since then I have studied the subject at great length and I am totally convinced the Spirit of the Lord showed me, Himself, this is not pleasing unto Him.

Even the word “Christmas” is a fake. It comes from the Roman Catholic “Christ Mass” – meaning Holy Communion in the Roman church. The whole holiday comes down to us from the ancient Roman feast called “Saturnalia”. It occurred on December 25th. People took time off from their regular duties, slaves were freed for a time, “office” parties were common, greens and trees (did you ever look at Jeremiah 10? It’s quite revealing!) filled the houses. Alcohol and revelry of all sorts was the thing to do. Sexual perversion abounded. Holly and mistletoe had disgusting meanings. Gifts were exchanged as well as wives …. Everything you see today in the secular world was there! No Santa – no Nativity scenes, but everything else was there.

I know the Christians mean well. They truly believe they are celebrating the birth of the Saviour. People are kinder and more loving. Good deeds are the challenge of the day. It’s a time for families to gather and “mend fences”. It’s cold and dreary this time of year and everybody wants warm fuzzies and something to brighten up the long winter days. But the truth is – Y’shua (Jesus) was NOT born on December 25th. He wasn’t even born in December. In Biblical times, birthdays were not celebrated at all. Only twice are birthdays recorded and they were pagan kings! I LOVE my birthday and I don’t think there is anything wrong in celebrating them. But …. Let’s do it right!

I believe Y’shua was born on the first day of Sukkot and circumcised on the eighth and last day. This holy day usually comes in October and is called “the season of our joy” among other names. The Feast of Tabernacles is another name recorded in Leviticus 23. Tabernacle means, “to dwell with” and truly, Y’shua came down from the glories of heaven to dwell with us. It is also called the Festival of Light and we know that Y’shua said he is the Light of the World. We know that John the Baptist was Y’shua’s cousin and was six months older. We can find in the Scriptures just when he was born – at the time of Passover in the Spring. We know exactly when John’s father was doing his priestly duties. It’s all easy to figure out – from the Bible.
Go to Eddie Chumney’s link and click on his book – “The Seven Festivals of the Messiah”. See the last part of Chapter Nine about Sukkot and it will tell you what you want to know.

Our family celebrates the birth of Y’shua at the time of Sukkot. We build a sukkah (Lev 23 again) a small temporary dwelling and sit in it singing songs of His birth, remembering what He must have endured just because He loves us. We believe Y’shua was born in a sukkah – a stable, or small temporary place for animals. We praise G-d for sending His Son and we are so grateful for the plan of salvation He gave to us.

Yes, I do celebrate His birth – but I don’t celebrate “Christmas”!

See you tomorrow! – Sharaka

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