Was Jesus Born on

Most people assume Jesus was born on Dec. 25. After all, that's the date celebrated throughout the world as the day of His birth. A careful analysis of Scripture, however, clearly Indicates that Dec. 25 Is an unlikely date for Christ's birth. Here are two primary reasons:

First, we know that shepherds were In the fields watching their flocks at night at the time of Jesus' birth (Luke 2:7-8). However, shepherds did not remain In the fields of Judea at night during December due to lack of forage and the bad weather. According to Celebrations: The Complete Book of American Holidays, Luke's account "suggests that Jesus may have been born In summer or early fall. Since December Is cold and rainy In Judea, It Is likely the shepherds would have sought shelter for their flocks at night" (p. 309).

Similarly, The Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary says this passage argues "against the birth [of Christ] occurring on Dec. 25 since the weather would not have permitted" shepherds watching over their flocks In the fields at night.

Second, Jesus' parents came to Bethlehem to register In a Roman census (Luke 2:1-4). The Romans would have known better than to have taken such a census In the dead of winter, when temperatures often dropped below freezing and roads were In poor condition for traveling. Taking a census under such conditions would have been self-defeating.

So If Jesus Christ was not born on Dec. 25, does the Bible Indicate when He was born? The biblical accounts point to the autumn of the year

Psalm 40:6-8 in describing the willingness of Christ to surrender Himself as a sacrifice to pay the price for the sins of everyone.

The sacrificial system God instituted in ancient Israel was a representation of Jesus" sacrifice that would pay this price once and for all Shedding the blood of bulls, heifers, sheep and goats could not take away sin (Hebrews 10:4).

Only the shed blood of the Creator Himself could atone for their sins as well as the sins of every other human being. The sacrifices that were commanded under Moses pictured in a very graphic way the future sacrificial death of humanity's Savior for our sins. In this sense the sacrificial system itself was prophetic of the Messiah.

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