Part II: The Lord of the Scroll – The Two Kingdoms
The Dark Archangel – Satan – knew that none born of the DNA in the seed (i.e., sperm) of man could defeat him since Adam’s sin had tainted the genetic code of man. Consequently, all born of man’s DNA (male and female babies) would be under his influence from birth and belong to him when they willfully disobeyed God (i.e., they sinned). Nevertheless, God had said that it would be one born of the DNA in the seed (i.e., egg) of a woman that would break his rule over planet Earth! (Genesis 3:15) Satan then launched an evil plan to taint the DNA of all women so that there would be none to birth into the Earth, the one that would defeat him!
4000 B.C – 30 A.D. (approximately 4,000 Earth years or 4 Heaven Days, 2 Peter 3:8)
Satan’s plan was to have fallen angels mate with human females and produce offspring with tainted DNA (Genesis 6:1-5). Therefore, no woman’s egg would have pure DNA from which the one to break his rule over planet Earth could be conceived! Giants (i.e., Nephilim) were born of this unholy union, and the small population of Earth was being overtaken with these mutants (Genesis 6:6,7). However, this plan was stopped by God when He saved genetically pure humans and animals in the Ark of Noah and destroyed the polluted species of man (Genesis 6:8-22). The fallen angels that participated in this attempt to thwart the one to break Satan’s rule were thrown into a chamber in Hades called Tartarus (2 Peter 2:4,5. Jude 1:6,7). Hades is the overall name given to the spiritual place in the heart of the Earth that contains Hell, Tartarus, and Paradise (at this time in history).
Recall, upon the fall of man, God immediately started making covenants, sealed in the blood of animals, to cover or protect man. Before his fall, the man was covered or protected with light as a garment (i.e., covered with the Glory of God) (Psalms 104:2. 1 John 1:5). This practice of covering our sin by blood was started when the first animals were killed for their clothing (Genesis 3:21), and we see this practiced by Abel (1) in offering animal sacrifices (Genesis 4:4). Later a blood covenant was made with Abraham so that God would have the legal right to ask a woman of Israel to become pregnant with the one that was to break the rule of Satan (Genesis 12:7. Genesis 22:18. Galatians 3:16. John 10:2). Once Satan knew that the one promised to destroy him was to be born of the nation of Israel, he tried unsuccessfully to eliminate Israel time and time again. However, God always preserves a remnant of those faithful to Him (Isaiah 1:9. Ezekiel 6:8).
God then started describing (1) the one that was to break Satan’s rule of planet Earth:
He would come from the Tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10). He would be born of a human female (virgin), thus not of man’s contaminated DNA; therefore, not born under Satan’s authority (Isaiah 7:14. Matthew 1:23). He would be born in Bethlehem, which means the city of bread – a fitting place for the bread of life to be born! (Micah 5:2. John 6:48,51). He would not only be a man but God’s unique Son (Isaiah 9:6,7). He would be a descendant of King David (Jeremiah 23:5). He would be a Jewish prophet like Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15).
At precisely the right time (Galatians 4:4,5), the Archangel Gabriel (God’s personal messenger angel (1)) appeared to a virgin named Mary (1)(2) to deliver a message from God – she had been selected by Him to bear His unique Son. This Son is the promised one to bring salvation to her people, and His name was to be JESUS (Jesus means God Saves and is equivalent to the Hebrew name Joshua or Yeshua, Luke 1:26-37). When she asked how this could physically happen, Gabriel explained that God the Holy Spirit would cause one of her eggs to supernaturally start to develop into this male child (Matthew 1:18,20). No human male DNA would be involved; consequently, this child would NOT be born in sin and NOT subject to Satan.
However, His spirit would be that of the second person of the Trinity of God – the one known until this time as the Word (John 1:1). The holy child Jesus would be eternal God, equal to God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit, who has no beginning and end that would become flesh and dwell among mankind, Emmanuel! (1 John 4:2). He would be both fully God and fully man; however, He had voluntarily restricted Himself from using the power and authority that was rightfully His as God (Philippians 2:5-8).
The first man Adam had committed treason in the Garden of Eden, thus forfeiting rule over the world to Satan; therefore, only a man could make provision for men to be set free from this covenant of death between Adam and Satan. Jesus is the SECOND MAN born free of Satan’s authority. He is the LAST ADAM meaning there will NOT be any need for another Adam to start a new race of man (1 Corinthians 15:45,47). The first Adam’s transgression had brought death into the world; the last Adam’s sinlessness will bring eternal life to all that believe in Him (1 Corinthians 15:22. Romans 5:14. John 1:12).
Mary could have said no as God does not override the will of anyone. Nevertheless, Mary willingly accepted the task of bearing a child while still a virgin (Luke 1:38;1:46-55). By doing so, she was putting her marriage to Joseph and her very life in jeopardy (she could be stoned for being pregnant without her engagement to Joseph having been consummated in marriage)(Deuteronomy 22:23,24). Through this, we see why God selected Mary – she was humble, she loved God with all her heart, she feared (i.e., deeply respected) God more than she feared what man could do to her, and she was ready to serve by giving birth to Jesus, the Son of God (Deuteronomy 10:12,13).
However, Mary is not divine, or else the angel Gabriel would have worshiped her (Psalms 148:2). Mary had fallen DNA in the cells of her body (except her eggs, just like any other female) and was born under Satan’s authority, yet protected by living in compliance within the Covenants of Abraham and Moses. Furthermore, her blessedness was later said by Jesus to NOT consist of being selected to be His mother, but rather in believing in Him, His God-given mission, and living in obedience to His words (Mark 3:31-35). Keeping the commandments was an essential quality that God was looking for, and he found that in Mary (1). Jesus was to live a perfect life without sin (Hebrews 4:15); therefore, God selected a mother for His Son who would be diligent in teaching the commandments to Jesus and living them before Him (however, she was not sinless, Romans 3:23). Lastly, though I admire her above all the females in the Bible and look forward to meeting her in Heaven – we are not instructed to pray to her (or worship her) but rather God the Father in Jesus’ name (John 16:23,26,27). Hear her instruction; she did not say do what she says to do but rather whatever her Son – the unique Son of God – asks you to do (John 2:5).
Jesus, the unique Son of God, was born in 6 B.C. as Son of Man (6) through Mary, the bondservant of the Lord (3), (Luke 1:38) in the lowest of places – a place where animals were kept (Luke 2:7). His birth was announced by angels to those in lowest social standing – shepherds who visited Him the night of His birth (Luke 2:8-18). At this time, God is in Heaven, and He is on Earth! Peace and goodwill towards all mankind! (Luke 2:14).
Sometime later (likely two years based on Herod’s murder of the baby boys (7)), wise men came to the house (not the tower of the flock (1)) where Mary, Joseph, and Jesus lived (Matthew 2:11). Unfortunately, the wise men had mentioned the reason for their coming to King Herod. That is, to find the promised Messiah based on the appearance of His star in the night sky approximately two years earlier. Satan, hearing of the birth of the one that was promised in the Garden to break his rule over planet Earth (Genesis 3:15), manipulated King Herod to order the murder of all babies born in Bethlehem two years old and younger based on the timing of the wise men (Matthew 2:16). However, an angel warned Joseph, and the young family escaped to Egypt. Later they returned, and Jesus was raised as a human male child in Nazareth. Satan, apparently thinking he had killed the baby that was to destroy him.
The Seventy Weeks of Daniel
While I [Daniel] was still speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and presenting my request before the LORD my God concerning his holy mountain—yes, while I was still praying, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen previously in a vision, was approaching me in my state of extreme weariness, around the time of the evening offering. He spoke with me, instructing me as follows: “Daniel, I have now come to impart understanding to you. At the beginning of your requests a message went out, and I have come to convey it to you, for you are of great value in God’s sight. Therefore consider the message and understand the vision: “Seventy weeks have been determined concerning your people and your holy city to put an end to rebellion, to bring sin to completion, to atone for iniquity, to bring in perpetual righteousness, to seal up the prophetic vision, and to anoint a most holy place. (Daniel 9:20–24 NET)
In 539 B.C., the Messenger Archangel Gabriel, who would later announce the births of both John the Baptizer and Jesus, the final sacrifice, came to Daniel when the evening sacrifice (3 P.M.) would have been held in the temple. He explained to Daniel that there were seventy weeks of years of prophetic history that would be divided into three sections or periods:
Period I: 49 Years to Rebuild and Restore Jerusalem
7 weeks of years (7 x 7 = 49 years)
So know and understand: From the issuing of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until an anointed one, a prince arrives, there will be a period of seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It will again be built, with plaza and moat, but in distressful times. (Daniel 9:25 NET)
The seven weeks (or sevens) of years in which Jerusalem’s city was to be restored and rebuilt, which was decreed in 457 B.C. by Artaxerxes to Ezra and completed with much distress in 408 B.C., forty-nine years later. (Ezra 7:11-26. Ezra 9:1. Isaiah 58:12) (35)
Period II: 434 Years from the restoration of Jerusalem until the Anointed Prince Arrives
62 weeks of years (62 x 7 = 434 years)
So know and understand: From the issuing of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until an anointed one, a prince arrives, there will be a period of seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It will again be built, with plaza and moat, but in distressful times. (Daniel 9:25 NET)
The sixty-two weeks (or sevens) of years began with completing Jerusalem’s restoration and rebuilding in 408 B.C. However, the first contiguous seven years are added back to the sixty-two years for simplicity. Then, we calculate the end date of the sixty-nine weeks (483 years) time period from the order to rebuild the temple (457 B.C.) to determine when the Anointed Prince (Luke 4:18. Acts 4:27;10:38. Isaiah 9:6) was predicted to appear on the scene.
483 years – 457 B.C. + 1 (offset for no year zero) = 27 A.D.
Jesus then bursts onto the scene (68), being declared, by John the Baptist, the Lamb of God who will take away the world’s sin!
On the next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29 NET)
Again the next day John was standing there with two of his disciples. Gazing at Jesus as he walked by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:35,36 NET)
The Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus like a dove (1) and anoints Him as the Messiah!
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John to be baptized by him in the Jordan River. But John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?” So Jesus replied to him, “Let it happen now, for it is right for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John yielded to him. After Jesus was baptized, just as he was coming up out of the water, the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my one dear Son; in him I take great delight.” (Matthew 3:13–17 NET)(cf. Mark 1:10; Luke 3:21,22)
That is, the Anointed One, the Prince is Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus the Christ, Jesus the Anointed, or Jesus the Messiah)! Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), was revealed to Israel when baptized by John the Baptist and anointed with the Holy Spirit by God His Father.
Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he endured temptations from the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were completed, he was famished.(Luke 4:1,2 NET)
Then Jesus, in the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and news about him spread throughout the surrounding countryside. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by all. (Luke 4:14–15 NET)
This occurred on the Day of Atonements, the 10th of Tishri 3788 (Monday, September 29, 27 A.D.), when Jesus’ human body was thirty-two years old.
So Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years old. He was the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, (Luke 3:23 NET)
Thus satisfying the legal requirement of being at least 30 years old before entering the priestly service (Numbers 4:3).
Furthermore, the Day of Atonements was not designated as a “Pilgrimage Festival,” meaning there was no requirement for all males to be in Jerusalem during this time, as required for Pilgrimage Festivals (1). Consequently, Jesus could be with John the Baptizer at the Jordon River on this day.
Going down under the water, He is baptized (1) by John the Baptizer and, in so doing, publicly accepted the mission of dying as the sacrifice for man’s sin on the cross (Romans 6:4,5). This, even as the scapegoat was sacrificed and its blood sprinkled over and in front of the mercy seat on the Day of Atonements, typologically represents Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross for our sin and sins (Leviticus 16:15-19. Leviticus 23:26-32).
Now in those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan River. And just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my one dear Son; in you I take great delight.” (Mark 1:9–11 NET)
The anointed Prince of Peace had arrived! Also, the water baptism was the moment when Jesus became our High Priest establishing a new order of priesthood not of Aaron but like Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:10). John the Baptist, who was of the order of the priesthood of Aaron, officiated in the priesthood ordination ceremony by washing Jesus in water (i.e., baptized Him) and then God the Father anointed Him with the Holy Spirit (1)(which the oil (1) of the Old Testament represented, Leviticus 8:1-12). Jesus becomes our High Priest (1) so that He can later offer Himself as our sacrifice for sin on the cross of Calvary! (Hebrews 7). God, His Father, announces to all present that Jesus is His unique Son with whom He is well pleased.
Full of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit into the desert where The Two Kingdoms (1) – The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan – will have their first confrontation! (Luke 4:1). Typologically, the scapegoat sent into the wilderness on the Day of Atonement to face Azazel (the fallen angel (1), Satan) represented Jesus being led into the wilderness to face Satan (a fallen angel (1)) (Leviticus 16:5-10;20-22).
The line of authority from God to Man has been remade! Now, the Battle for the Scroll of Authority begins…
The basis for the March 20, 6 B.C. birth of Jesus (Yeshua)
The following graph indicates the various events that can estimate the most likely period of time that Jesus was born.
The various events point to the time from 8 B.C. to 4 B.C. for the birth of Jesus (Yeshua).
The Shepherds in the Fields
Now there were shepherds nearby living out in the field, keeping guard over their flock at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were absolutely terrified.But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people: Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”Suddenly a vast, heavenly army appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:8–14 NET)
“During the rainy season—particularly the cold months (December through February)—shepherds typically brought their sheep in from the fields. Shepherds often watched over their flocks in lambing season—March through April (Hebrew, Nisan) —making a spring birthdate (1) most likely.” (43)
Realize the Lambs born during Nisan would be at the required age of one-year-old by Passover the following year.
The Wise Men’s Question
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, in the time of King Herod, wise men from the East came to Jerusalemsaying, “Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was alarmed, and all Jerusalem with him. After assembling all the chief priests and experts in the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they said, “for it is written this way by the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are in no way least among the rulers of Judah, for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ” Then Herod privately summoned the wise men and determined from them when the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and look carefully for the child. When you find him, inform me so that I can go and worship him as well.” After listening to the king they left, and once again the star they saw when it rose led them until it stopped above the place where the child was. When they saw the star they shouted joyfully. As they came into the house and saw the child with Mary his mother, they bowed down and worshiped him. They opened their treasure boxes and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. After being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back by another route to their own country. After they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to look for the child to kill him.” Then he got up, took the child and his mother during the night, and went to Egypt. He stayed there until Herod died. In this way what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet was fulfilled: “I called my Son out of Egypt.” When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he became enraged. He sent men to kill all the children in Bethlehem and throughout the surrounding region from the age of two and under, according to the time he had learned from the wise men. Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud wailing, Rachel weeping for her children, and she did not want to be comforted, because they were gone.” (Matthew 2:1–18 NET)
Note that the wise men did not locate Jesus in a stable but rather in “the house.” Furthermore, if they had given their expensive gifts on the night of His birth, Joseph and Mary would not have given the offering allowed for the poor when Jesus was presented in the Temple after her days of purification were fulfilled. (Leviticus 12:1-8. Luke 2:22-24)
Herod the Great killed all children two years old and younger, which alludes to the wise men communicating to him that the star had appeared two years earlier. According to the general consensus of research, Herod the Great died in the spring of 4 B.C. after a lunar eclipse on March 13, 4 B.C., and was buried before Passover on April 11, 4 B.C. This date is based on the Jewish historian Josephus’s work, who recounts the death of Herod the Great in two of his works, Jewish War I.665 and Jewish Antiquities XVII.191 and XVII.167. (40)(41)
In addition, since the thirty-fourth year of his reign would have begun on Nisan 1, 4 B.C. (March 29, 4 B.C.), his death would have occurred sometime between March 29 and April 11, 4 B.C. Therefore, Jesus could not have been born later than March/April of 4 B.C. (16)
Since the wise men visited Herod before his death in March of 4 B.C., the star appeared two years earlier, which puts the star’s appearance on or before April of 6 B.C.
The Wise Men’s Astronomy and Astrology
For the record, I do not endorse astrology, horoscopes, or anything associated with these demonic practices. (Revelation 21:8)
“The Bible condemns astrology (Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 18:10; Isaiah 8:19), yet God blessed the wise men (Magi) and seemed to even guide them with the stars to show the birthplace of Christ. First, astrology is a belief system that studying the arrangement and movement of the stars can foretell events, whether good or bad. Second, the star (singular) in the biblical story was to announce the birth of Christ, not to foretell it. God gave the star to the Magi to let them know that the Christ child had already been born (Matthew 2:16). Third, there are other instances in the Bible in which the stars and planets are used by God to reveal his desires. The stars declare God’s glory (Psalms 19:1-6); creation reveals his existence (Rom. 1:18-20) and will be affected by the return of Christ (Matthew 24:29-30). So the star guiding the Magi was not used to predict, but to proclaim the birth of Christ.” (47)
God put the stars and constellations in the heavens to indicate seasons and time and to declare His glory.
God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs to indicate seasons and days and years, (Genesis 1:14 NET)
By the Lord’s decree the heavens were made; by a mere word from his mouth all the stars in the sky were created. (Psalm 33:6 NET)
He counts the number of the stars; he names all of them. (Psalm 147:4 NET)
Look up at the sky! Who created all these heavenly lights? He is the one who leads out their ranks; he calls them all by name. Because of his absolute power and awesome strength, not one of them is missing. (Isaiah 40:26 NET)
Can you tie the bands of the Pleiades, or release the cords of Orion? Can you lead out the constellations in their seasons, or guide the Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens, or can you set up their rule over the earth? (Job 38:31–33 NET)
The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky displays his handiwork. Day after day it speaks out; night after night it reveals his greatness. There is no actual speech or word, nor is its voice literally heard. Yet its voice echoes throughout the earth; its words carry to the distant horizon. In the sky he has pitched a tent for the sun. Like a bridegroom it emerges from its chamber; like a strong man it enjoys running its course. It emerges from the distant horizon, and goes from one end of the sky to the other; nothing can escape its heat. (Psalm 19:1–6 NET)
However, Satan perverted this system, starting with Nimrod at the Tower of Babel to become a system to worship false gods. Unfortunately, the nation of Israel, including Judah, fell into this trap of worshipping the heavenly objects.
The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the high-ranking priests, and the guards to bring out of the Lord’s temple all the items that were used in the worship of Baal, Asherah, and all the stars of the sky. The king burned them outside of Jerusalem in the terraces of Kidron, and carried their ashes to Bethel. He eliminated the pagan priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed to offer sacrifices on the high places in the cities of Judah and in the area right around Jerusalem. (They offered sacrifices to Baal, the sun god, the moon god, the constellations, and all the stars in the sky.) (2 Kings 23:4–5 NET)
Ancient Persia (i.e., Babylon) had a priestly caste of wise men called magi. Astrology was prevalent in the ancient Near East, and the magi were astrologers, astronomers, and mathematicians who relied on calculations to predict signs in the stars. These signs included the birth of leaders, which was of great interest to ruling monarchs. (13)
“Early Jews also were interested in astrology. One of their messianic prophecies said, “A star will rise from Jacob” (Numbers 24:17). To them, Jupiter was “the King’s planet,” and Saturn was Israel’s “defender.” An old Jewish proverb said, “God created Saturn to shield Israel.”” (13)
‘I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not close at hand. A star will march forth out of Jacob, and a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the skulls of Moab, and the heads of all the sons of Sheth. (Numbers 24:17 NET)
“Early astrologers observed planets moving in a belt in the heavens that they termed the zodiac. They divided the zodiac into twelve equal blocks or signs. According to Chaldean (Babylonian) astrology, each sign represented a different nation. Since many Jews did not return from the Babylonian captivity and continued to live in Persia, the magi would have been familiar with Jewish astrological beliefs.” (13)
Recall that Daniel, starting in 604 B.C., was in charge of the magi and may have communicated the prophecy of a coming king in Judah. Probably this is why the magi knew to look for the signs in the stars and came to find the king born during the reign of “Herod the Great” many years later.
Then the king elevated Daniel to high position and bestowed on him many marvelous gifts. He granted him authority over the entire province of Babylon and made him the main prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. (Daniel 2:48 NET)
The Magi considered Aries the Ram to be the constellation sign for Judea. Unknown to them, the ram represented God’s lamb (Genesis 22:8,13). On March 20, 6 B.C., the Magi calculated and observed that the Sun was in Aries, the Ram, its sign of exaltation. Also, Jupiter and Saturn were in Aries on that day, with Jupiter helically rising (i.e., rising before the Sun). Immediately before sunset in Judea, the moon occulted (i.e., completely obscured) Jupiter while in Aries. According to the canons of the time, this was a significant sign to the Magi, a combination worthy of kings, emperors, and deities! This conveyed to the Magi that a king was born in the land ruled by Aries the Ram, Judea!
“I obtained a copy of the free astronomy program Stellarium. After getting a basic feel for it, I somewhat arbitrarily chose Persepolis, Iran, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire ruled by Cyrus, as a possible home base of the Magi. Then I set the date for dusk on March 20, 6 BC (strangely, the software includes a year 0, so the year had to be set to -5), and the view due west from Persepolis. I confirmed for myself that there was an occultation of Jupiter by the Moon in Aries after sunset. Here is a screen capture from Stellarium of that information. One can see Jupiter and the Moon almost meeting on the horizon.” – Rick Lanser MDiv (46)
On the Hebrew religious calendar, March 20, 6 B.C. is Saturday, Nisan 1, the religious year’s first day. Therefore, Jesus was born on the night of the new year, in the Passover month, and on the Sabbath! He would later end His life and earthly ministry on a Passover!
Interestingly, being born on a Sabbath meant the infant Jesus would be circumcised on the following Sabbath, which adds context to what Jesus said to the religious leaders and the Jews.
Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for people, not people for the Sabbath. For this reason the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27–28 NET)
How fitting the Lord of the Sabbath was born on a Sabbath!
This is my requirement that you and your descendants after you must keep: Every male among you must be circumcised.You must circumcise the flesh of your foreskins. This will be a reminder of the covenant between me and you. Throughout your generations every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, whether born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not one of your descendants. They must indeed be circumcised, whether born in your house or bought with money. The sign of my covenant will be visible in your flesh as a permanent reminder. Any uncircumcised male who has not been circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin will be cut off from his people—he has failed to carry out my requirement.” (Genesis 17:10–14 NET)
However, because Moses gave you the practice of circumcision (not that it came from Moses, but from the forefathers), you circumcise a male child on the Sabbath. But if a male child is circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses is not broken, why are you angry with me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? Do not judge according to external appearance, but judge with proper judgment.” (John 7:22–24 NET)
So, why do we celebrate Christmas on December 25th?
Although the calendar we use today was essentially in use before the birth of Jesus, the era system, that is, the designations B.C. and A.D., was not implemented until much later. In A.D. 533, Dionysius Exiguus (Dennis the Little), a Christian monk in Rome, proposed that the enumeration of the years should be based upon the birth of Jesus. Dionysius added up the lengths of the Roman emperors’ reigns since the year of Jesus’ birth, which was in Dionysius’s time celebrated on December 25. He set December 25, 1 B.C., as the birthday and defined the Christian Era’s start one week later, on January 1, A.D. 1. As a result, the year of Herod’s death became 4 B.C. Since the historical evidence indicates that Jesus was born during Herod’s reign, Dionysius evidently made a mistake in summing the Roman emperors’ reigns. (Even scholars of his time argued over how many years he had skipped.) (42)
Another error or misconception that Dionysius perpetuated was the fixing of December 25 as the birthday of Jesus. Dionysius’s problem is that the correct date, if it had ever been known, had definitely been forgotten by his time. How the date was set as December 25 is a complicated story. In the early third century, Clement of Alexandria (ca. A.D. 150-215) wrote about theories that Jesus had been born in the spring, on April 20-21 or May 20. In the fourth century, Christians celebrated January 6 as the Epiphany of Jesus, which became associated with the Adoration of the Magi. However, the early Church was more interested in celebrating other dates in the life of Jesus, such as the Crucifixion, the Resurrection, and his baptism. The evidence indicates that there was no established birthday for Jesus early in the Church’s history. (42)
The earliest reference to a Nativity celebration on December 25 comes from a Roman document known as the Philocalian Calendar, which dates from A.D. 354 but may include an earlier reference to A.D. 336. Some people erroneously think that the feast day of Jesus’ birth was set to coincide with the Saturnalia, a Roman festival held at the close of autumn in honor of Saturn, the god of farming and the harvest. However, the Saturnalia, which fell on December 17 and lasted three to seven days, ended before December 25. Although historians note that the merriment of Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve may, in fact, be a vestige of this ancient Roman holiday, they note two much more important reasons why Christians would have selected December 25 for Jesus’ birthday. (42)
As it happens, pagan Romans celebrated two significant holidays on December 25. The first was one of the most significant holidays and was even grander than the Saturnalia. In A.D. 275, Emperor Aurelian had decreed that December 25 was Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (the birthday of the Unconquerable Sun). Sol Invictus was called “the heart of the universe” because the Sun played significant roles in nature and because, according to the Stoics, the Sun was the central divine fire of the universe. The Sun’s radiance regulated life on the earth seasonally and daily, and the Roman emperor was often considered the Sun incarnate-the essential, central source of Roman civilization. Furthermore, the Sun’s motion among the stars defined the zodiac path, to which the motions of all the planets and the Moon were confined. Thus, the Sun was worshipped for its influence, and the emperor shared in this glory. (42)
The second celebration on December 25 was connected to the secret cult of Mithras, which was very popular among the military across the empire. The Roman fascination with astrology eventually led to incorporating astrology aspects into religious beliefs. Mithras was a celestial god who was evidently seen as responsible for the precession of the equinoxes. According to the Mithraic art that has survived the ages, Mithras and the Unconquerable Sun ruled over the cosmos together; that is, they oversaw and controlled the motions of the stars and planets. (42)
Many scholars believe that December 25 was chosen as Jesus’ birthday because Christians wanted to give a Christian meaning to the popular pagan holiday. It is readily apparent that they succeeded, perhaps beyond their wildest expectations. Today December 25, is called Christmas in English, a name from medieval times when the “festival of Christ” was known as Christes maesse (Christ’s Mass). However, biblical scholars agree that December 25, 1 B.C., the date that Dionysius selected, does not mark the birth of Jesus. More evidence is needed to get a better estimate of his birth. (42)
His-Story (History) Series:
- Part I: The Lord of the Scroll – Fellowship Lost!
- Part II: The Lord of the Scroll – The Two Kingdoms
- Part III: The Lord of the Scroll – The Revelation of the King!
- Part IV: The Lord of the Scroll – The Death of the King
- Part V: The Lord of the Scroll – The Re-Birth of the King!
- Part VI: The Lord of the Scroll – Salvation
- Part VII: The Lord of the Scroll – Revelation of the King’s Bride!
- Part VIII: The Lord of the Scroll – Revelation of the King of Kings!
- Part IX: The Lord of the Scroll – The Lord of Hosts
- Part X: The Lord of the Scroll – When will the King of Kings Return?
- Part XI: The Lord of the Scroll – Daniel’s 70th Week (God’s Throne Room)
- Part XII: The Lord of the Scroll – Daniel’s 70th Week (The Beginning of Birth Pains (BBP))
- Part XIII: The Lord of the Scroll – Daniel’s 70th Week (The Great Tribulation (GTrib))
- Part XIV: The Lord of the Scroll – Daniel’s 70th Week (The Day of the Lord (DOL))
- Part XV: The Lord of the Scroll – Daniel’s 70th Week (GTrib and DOL Revisited)
- Part XVI: The Lord of the Scroll – Daniel’s 70th Week (Mourning Revisited)
- Part XVII: The Lord of the Scroll – The Return of the King of Kings to Earth!
- Part XVIII The Lord of the Scroll – God has made everything fit beautifully in its appropriate time
(Security, Wholeness, Success)
Dear friend, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. (3 John 1:2 NET)
(1) Select the link to open another article in a new tab with additional information.
(2) English transliteration of her name from the Koine Greek is actually Mariam, not Mary.
(3) Bondservant (Doulos) – one who is willingly in a permanent relationship of service to another. The will of the servant is completely consumed by the will of the master.
(4) The water baptism was also the moment when Jesus became our High Priest establishing a new order of priesthood not of Aaron but like Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:10). John the Baptist, who was of the order of the priesthood of Aaron, officiated in the transfer of the priesthood by washing Jesus in water (i.e., baptized him) and then God the Father anointed Him with the Holy Spirit (which the oil of the Old Testament represented Leviticus 8:1-12). Jesus becomes our High Priest (1) so that He can offer Himself as our sacrifice for sin! (Hebrews 7).
(5) Jesus is a man free from Satan’s authority; therefore, He has the authority to rule on Earth that Adam originally was given. He is now empowered by God the Holy Spirit to face Satan in God the Father’s strength. Again, this will not be a battle of God the creator against a fallen archangel (a creation). But rather, Jesus is both God (but voluntarily emptied of his divine power and authority as the creator God, Philippians 2:5-8) and Man (a creation) empowered by God the Holy Spirit against a fallen Archangel (a creation). That is, it will be a fair fight. Realize God could have done away with Satan from the time of the fall of man; however, in so doing, He would have done away with Satan’s servant race of man in the process. God so loved the world… (John 3:16).
(6) The term “Son of Man” is a claim to being born a human from the lineage of the first Adam, with the authority of Adam before the fall, and a reference to divinity. I believe Jesus had the plan to reveal His full identity, but not at the beginning of His ministry. He chose “Son of Man” because it seems rather innocuous being a human. However, those who knew the scriptures realized that “Son of Man” was a reference to an Old Testament title. In the book of Daniel, the Son of Man is an exalted figure who comes with the “clouds of heaven,” has authority and power over all creation, eternally reigns over His kingdom, and is worshiped by every person on earth. (Daniel 7:13,14) That is, He is very God of God! When the chief priests asked Him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus answered, “I am; and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Matt. 26:64). When the high priest heard this response, he tore his clothes and declared that Jesus had committed blasphemy. According to His claims, he was subsequently executed because He made Himself equal with God (John 5:18).
(7) Furthermore, if the wise men had visited during the birth of Jesus and given their gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh to Joseph and Mary, they would have been able to afford a lamb for the burnt offering portion of Mary’s purification ceremony which took place 40 days after the birth of Jesus (Leviticus 12:1-5). Consequently, they would have violated the Law of Purification when presenting sacrifices of a pair of doves or two young pigeons, which was allowed for the poor but not for those that could afford a lamb (Luke 2:22-24. Leviticus 12:6-8).
Now when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, Joseph and Mary brought Jesus up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (just as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male will be set apart to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is specified in the law of the Lord, a pair of doves or two young pigeons. (Luke 2:22–24 NET)
“ ‘When the days of her purification are completed for a son or for a daughter, she must bring a one year old lamb for a burnt offering and a young pigeon or turtledove for a sin offering to the entrance of the Meeting Tent, to the priest. The priest is to present it before the Lord and make atonement on her behalf, and she will be clean from her flow of blood. This is the law of the one who bears a child, for the male or the female child. If she cannot afford a sheep, then she must take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a burnt offering and one for a sin offering, and the priest is to make atonement on her behalf, and she will be clean.’ ” (Leviticus 12:6–8 NET)
(13) Rusten, S. with E. Michael. (2005). The complete book of when & where in the Bible and throughout history (p. 10,71). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
(16) Harold W. Hoehner, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977], 74–90
(40) Pettem, M. A. (2018). The Star of Bethlehem: Science, History, and Meaning. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
(41) Josephus, F., & Whiston, W. (1987). The works of Josephus: complete and unabridged (p. 462). Peabody: Hendrickson.
(42) Michael R. Molnar, The Star of Bethlehem: The Legacy of the Magi (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press, 1999).
(43) Ramos, A. (2016). Infancy Narratives in the New Testament Gospels. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
(46) The Daniel 9:24-27 Project, Rick Lanser MDiv
(47) Norman L. Geisler and Randy Douglass, Bringing Your Faith to Work, p. 169.
(68) The only other view of the younger Jesus is when He was 12 years old. Jesus’ parents had left Jerusalem thinking He was with some of the relatives, but after a day’s journey, they realized He was not. Upon returning to Jerusalem, they found Him in the temple, both learning and teaching the religious teachers of Israel! (Luke 2:42-52) This was one of the moments when Mary was reminded of things told to her when Jesus was born (Luke 2:27-32). His mission to save humanity would come not come without some cost to her as well (Luke 2:34,35). Jesus, while obeying the fifth commandment to honor His earthly father and mother (Exodus 20:12), answered to a higher authority – a higher call than just being a good son they could be proud of in their old age. This was Mary’s first of several friendly reminders that He would be controlled by no one but God – not even Mary, His mother would be allowed to derail the mission – as the mission was to set her free, too. Realize Jesus emptied Himself of His power and authority as God to become a man (Philippians 2:6-8). He was not born with a genetic memory knowing all things in His soul (i.e., mind, will, and emotions). Yes, in His spirit, He was the creator of all the universe, including man. However, as the Great Shepherd leader, He became flesh and lived out life on this fallen planet to show us the way. That is, when He messed His diaper like a baby, He was NOT just faking it! Jesus came as the Second Man and Last Adam and accomplished what the First Adam was supposed to do – subdue all enemies of God (Genesis 1:28). He did it with no advantage over what the First Adam had available to him. Through studying the scriptures and mentoring by the Holy Spirit, His soul learned who, what and why He was, is, and ever shall be – this knowledge He already subconsciously had in His spirit. (Psalms 119:98-104. Luke 2:40) Jesus never stopped being the eternal God; however, He voluntarily limited Himself to being a Man submitted to God the Holy Spirit. God, the Holy Spirit, performed the miracles that God the Father wanted to be performed through Jesus while He was on Earth (John 14:10). This was available to the First Adam and now available to all that are in Him (John 14:12). All hail the God that became Man to save an undeserving wretch like me!!!
(I) Neusner, J. (1988). The Mishnah : A new translation (p. 742). New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
(II) Malda, B. D. (Ed.). (2015). Come and Worship: Ways to Worship from the Hebrew Scriptures (p. 62). Clarksville, MD: Lederer Books: a division of Messianic Jewish Publishers.
(III) Sklar, J. (2013). Leviticus: An Introduction and Commentary. (D. G. Firth, Ed.) (Vol. 3, p. 101). Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press.
(IV) Masterman, E. W. G. (1915). Barley. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 405). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.
(V) Balfour, J. H. (1885). The Plants of the Bible (p. 212). London; Edinburgh; New York: T. Nelson and Sons.
(VI) Eisenberg, R. L. (2004). The JPS guide to Jewish traditions (1st ed., p. 670). Philadelphia: The Jewish Publication Society.
(VII) Hannah, J. D. (1985). Exodus. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 153). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
(VIII) Easton, M. G. (1893). In Easton’s Bible dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers.
(IX) Singer, I. (Ed.). (1901–1906). In The Jewish Encyclopedia: A Descriptive Record of the History, Religion, Literature, and Customs of the Jewish People from the Earliest Times to the Present Day, 12 Volumes (Vol. 9, p. 568). New York; London: Funk & Wagnalls.
(X) Hamilton, M. W. (2000). Elevation Offering. In D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck (Eds.), Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible (p. 392). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.
(XI) (2016). The Lexham Figurative Language of the New Testament Dataset. In J. R. Westbury, J. Thompson, K. A. Lyle, & J. Parks (Eds.), Lexham Figurative Language of the Bible Glossary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
(XII) Larson, K. (2000). I & II Thessalonians, I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon (Vol. 9, p. 331). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
(XIII) Lindsey, F. D. (1985). Leviticus. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 177). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
(XIV) Neusner, J. (2011). The Babylonian Talmud: A Translation and Commentary (Vol. 19, p. 617). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.
(XV) Freeman, J. M., & Chadwick, H. J. (1998). Manners & customs of the Bible (p. 143). North Brunswick, NJ: Bridge-Logos Publishers.
(XVI) Wuest, K. S. (1961). The New Testament: an expanded translation (1 Co 5:6–8). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
(XVII) Thompson, J. A. (1974). Deuteronomy: An Introduction and Commentary (Vol. 5, p. 147). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
(XVIII) Keach, B. (1858). An Exposition of the Parables and Express Similitudes of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ(pp. 239–240). London: Aylott and Co.
(XIX) Beis Hamikdash Topics – Tour of the Temple: Class 10, The Altar
(XX) C. S. Lewis, Miracles (New York: HarperCollins, 1974), pp. 236–37.
(XXI) Hall, K. D. (2000). Libation. In D. N. Freedman, A. C. Myers, & A. B. Beck (Eds.), Eerdmans dictionary of the Bible (p. 807). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans.
(XXII) Rogers, A. (2017). Back to Bethel. In Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Ge 35). Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust.
(XXIII) Ryrie, C. C. (1999). Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (p. 341). Moody Press.
Propitiation, as we have seen, means the placating of the personal wrath of God. Expiation is the removal of impersonal wrath, sin, or guilt. Expiation has to do with reparation for a wrong; propitiation carries the added idea of appeasing an offended person and thus brings into the picture the question of why the offended person was offended. In other words, propitiation brings the wrath of God into the picture while expiation can leave it out.