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Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, Judea, during the reign of Herod I (Herod the Great) of Judea[1], and that of Caesar Augustus, emperor of Rome[2]. He was born to a virgin by the name of Mary (Hebrew: Miriam)[3], and adopted by Joseph Bar-Jacob[4]. Since a mandatory census (taxing) had been declared by the emperor, the couple had traveled 70 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem, a suburb of Jerusalem.

When they arrived at Bethlehem, likely they found a room with a relative of Joseph. However, when Mary went into labor, there was no room in their room and had to be moved to the main part of the house where the animals were. Jesus was placed in a manger, wrapped in swaddling strips, as was the custom.[5] Nearby, Jewish shepherds had been keeping sheep in the pastures when an angel informed them that the Messiah had been born. After the angel was joined by many others, the shepherds ran into town to find Jesus.[6]

When he was eight days old, a local rabbi performed the rite of circumcision, following the Law of Moses. At that time the name Yeshua (or perhaps Yehoshua) was given to the infant[7]. Five weeks later, young Jesus (Greek: Iesous, a close transliteration) was brought to the temple in Jerusalem and received an unexpected blessing from Simeon[8].

Some time later, after Joseph had found a house for his young family in Bethlehem, a band of men from the region east of the Jordan River came to visit Jesus. These men were magi, scientists and advisers to dignitaries in their own land. They had brought expensive gifts and honored the toddler, calling him "the King of the Jews." That very night, Joseph had a dream in which he was warned that Herod had sent soldiers out to find and kill Jesus. He fled with Mary and Jesus all the way to Egypt.[9]

Date

Many have discussed and debated the date of when Jesus was born.

The Gospels

Here are the known facts about the circumstances of His birth from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. From Matthew: Jesus was born in Bethlehem prior to King Herod the Great's death[10] yet during his reign[11]. Magi saw Jesus' star in (or from) the East and came to worship Him.[12] By the time Herod realised the Magi had outwitted him, he ordered the execution of all baby boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity that were two years old and younger.[13] So Jesus was no older than 2 years old by then. From Luke: Jesus was born during the reign of Augustus Caesar[14] over the Roman Empire during the time Quirinius was governor of Syria[15].

Prophecy in Revelation

Also the Book of Revelation contains a revelation of the circumstances behind Jesus' birth: A woman in the sky was clothed in the sun with the moon at her feet. She gave birth to a child who was protected by God. She fled into the desert to a place prepared for her and stayed there for 1,260 days (3.5 years), because of the dragon that sought to kill the child.

Likely the woman in space is both the constellation Virgo and Mary. If "the desert" is a reference to Egypt, then Mary, Joseph, and Jesus were in Egypt for about 3 1/2 years before Herod died. The trip to Egypt takes no more than a week, so their time in Egypt — excluding going to and back — would be 1,246 days.

The woman in the sky is also the constellation Virgo. The description of it in Revelation says that she was clothed in the sun and had the moon at her feet. The clothing of the sun is the sun being in front of the Sun. From earth (if the sun didn't block out the stars), it would look like Virgo was clothed with the sun.

Astronomy

The constellation Virgo actually does line up with the Sun as described in Revelation. Every year from September 16th to October 30th, the sun passes in front of the constellation Virgo. Since it is such a large constellation, the sun remains in front of Virgo for more than a month.

Date of Herod's Death

Prior to Herod's death, there was a lunar eclipse. The current accepted date of Herod's death is 4 BC. There was an eclipse on March 13th of 4 BC, putting Jesus' birth in 8 BC. There were at least 11 weeks in between Herod's death and the following Passover. The eclipse that happened prior to his death would have been two late in the year if it were the one in 4 BC. However, it is possible that Herod did not die in 4 BC, but ended his reign in disgrace on that year. His sons then succeeded him after his disgrace in 4 BC, while he died a few years later. If this is the case, then Herod died in 1 BC, following the eclipse of January 10th of 1 BC. However, there is also one on January 10th of 1 BC, which would put Jesus being born in 5 BC.

Verses

  1. Matthew 2:1 (Link)
  2. Luke 2:1 (Link)
  3. Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:31-35 (Link)
  4. Matthew 1:17 (Link)
  5. Luke 2:1-7 (Link)
  6. Luke 2:8-18 (Link)
  7. Luke 2:21 (Link)
  8. Luke 2:34-35 (Link)
  9. Matthew 2:1-14 (Link)
  10. Matthew 2:19 (Link)
  11. Matthew 2:1 (Link)
  12. Matthew 2:2 (Link)
  13. Matthew 2:16 (Link)
  14. Luke 2:1 (Link)
  15. Luke 2:2 (Link)

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