The Lamb of

The Passover lambs that were slain on the 14th day of the first

(in the northern hemisphere) as the most likely time of Jesus' birth, based on details of the conception and birth of John the Baptist.

Since Elizabeth (John's mother) was in her sixth month of pregnancy when Jesus was conceived (Luke 1:24-36), we can determine the approximate time of year Jesus was born if we know when John was born. John's father, Zacharlas, was a priest serving In the Jerusalem temple during the course of Abijah (Luke 1:5). Historical calculations indicate this course of service corresponded to June 13-19 in that year (The Companion Bible, 1974, Appendix 179, p. 200).

It was during this time of temple service that Zacharias learned that he and his wife, Elizabeth, would have a child (Luke 1:8-13). After he completed his service and traveled home, Elizabeth conceived (verses 23-24). Assuming John's conception took place near the end of June, adding nine months brings us to the end of March as the most likely time for John's birth. Adding another six months (the difference in ages between John and Jesus) brings us to the end of September as the likely time of Jesus' birth.

Although It is difficult to determine the first time anyone celebrated Dec. 25 as Christmas, historians are in general agreement that It was sometime during the fourth century.

This Is an amazingly late date. Christmas was not observed in Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire, until about 300 years after Christ's death. Its origins cannot be traced back to either the teachings or practices of the earliest Christians. To learn more about the origins of Christmas, request or download your free copy of the booklet Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Keep?

month by the Israelites (Exodus 12:3-6; Leviticus 23:5) were a powerful and poignant depiction of the sacrifice of the Messiah, though the Israelites never understood it at the time.

It was on this same day of the Hebrew calendar, the day the Passover lambs were slain, that Jesus was arrested, tried and executed. He truly was "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" as spoken of by John the Baptist (John 1:29).

For centuries the Israelites missed this prophetic picture, as did the Jews of Jesus" day, and only after the fact did the disciples understand that Jesus fulfilled whole sections of Scripture that no one suspected would be fulfilled by the Messiah.

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