Dates of the birth and death of Jesus- Jewish Temple Priest Rotation- Courses of Priest from 70 AD to 4 BC

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Dates of the Birth and Death of Jesus
As related in depth in the Joyful Mysteries section of this website, having extensively studied this calendar along with the Jewish Feasts and religious customs, Greg Biltz has concluded that Jesus was born on September 13th, 2BC (the Feast of Tabernacles), and that Jesus died on the Feast of Passover, April 3rd, 33AD.

Concerning the date of the Birth of Jesus he writes:
"If Jesus fulfills the Feast of God with us: Emanuel; that has to be the date [September 13, 2BC] as that is the date of the feast of Tabernacles in 2 BC.  It also is validated by the story in Luke of Zechariah of the division of Abjiah getting his vision.  We have always known that December 25 is nothing more than the feast of the Roman sun god.  Most Messianic Jews hold that Jesus was born on the feast of Tabernacles.   There is something about the date of Jesus’ birth that the devil just doesn’t want it known.  There has been centuries of obfuscation.  Herod died in 4 BC, Quirinius didn’t serve as governor of Syria until 6 AD, and there was no reason to register.  I have shown with sources referenced the answers to those objections.  I made nothing up.  The Feast of Tabernacles explains why there was no room in the inn: it was full of wealthy men’s tents (sukkot).  Why Jesus was born in a stable: it qualified as a sukkah and provided more privacy than a poor mans sukkah.  It fulfills both Jewish celebrations of light:  the incarnation on the last day of Chanukah and the great celebration of light at the feast of Tabernacles.  The year also has to be 2 BC  because that is the year of the taxation that required all to register.  That only happened every 14 years!"

In addition he adds: "One of the things about the story of the Nativity that struck me the most was that Jesus was born in a stable used to protect paschal lambs from the weather, He was inspected by Levitical shepherds and found without blemish thus set aside for sacrifice on Passover: the Lamb of God.  That would not have happened if He had not been born on the Feast of Tabernacles.  He would have been born in a family home, remember Joseph was from Bethlehem.  He certainly had friends and family there."

Through his studies he also believes that John the Baptist was born on Passover, March 20, 2BC, noting how the Jews always leave a place for Elijah at the table, as in Jewish custom and tradition he is believed to return on a Passover.

Some conclusions concerning the dates of the birth and death of Jesus that can be drawn from studying this calendar
By Greg Biltz

It is one thing to derive the approximate year of Jesus birth and to believe that Jesus fulfilled the feast of Tabernacles with his birth. It is another to show that is in accord with Luke’s description of the events surrounding the conception of John the Baptist. There is no reference in scripture as to which division of Priests was serving on any particular date. Once I found a reference in the Talmud: Mishnah (b. Ta‟an 29a) that Jehoiarib was serving on the 9th of Av in 70 AD, Saturday, August 4th 70 AD and a correlative reference in Josephus Wars 6.4.5, I realized that the project was doable. All I had to do was to figure out the Hebrew calendar and walk it back in time. My brother, Mark, pointed me to a PC based Hebrew calendar program that he was using. It went back to the Gregorian year 1. 

All the historians seem to begin with establishing the date of Jesus’s death. Using a Hebrew calendar it was easy. There were only three occasions during Pilate’s reign, on which Passover was on a Saturday. The first year in AD 26, the year AD 33, and on the last year of his reign 36 AD. It could not have been his first or his last therefore there was only one possibility. It was apparent none of the historians bothered to look at the Hebrew calendar.

The walk back in time from the 9th of Av, August 4th in 70 AD to the year one was easy because I had a Hebrew Calendar app which showed both the Gregorian date and the Hebrew dates for each week. Then it got difficult because I had to establish the calendar myself to go back to 4 BC. That meant I had to figure out when the leap years were. Fortunately I found the pattern for leap years at: There is a 19-year cycle for leap years: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19 where each bolded year is a leap year. A cycle began in the year 3 AD so 2 AD (year 19), 1 BC (year 17), and 4 BC (year 14) are leap years.

Once the spread sheet contained the parallel calendars all that was necessary was to lay in the rotation of priests. Luke specified that Zachariah was not serving on a common week. There are three common weeks per year: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. There are 51 weeks per year and with 24 divisions that served twice a year that is 24 divisions * 2 cycles/year + 3 common weeks = 51. made sense, right? But what happened during leap years? Since the determination of a leap year was made based on the barley harvest on the last day of the month of Adar there would be no time to communicate to priests who lived more than a few hours walk from Jerusalem to prevent them from coming to serve when it was not necessary, so the rotation had to just continue. Thus, I ran the rotations based on that assumption and established the date of Jesus birth based on Zachariah serving from Tammuz 23 to 29, 3758, [1] July 7 to July 13, 3 BC.

A year or so later another Hebrew Calendar app came out that went back beyond the year 1. So, with great trepidation I checked my calculations and was off only one day (I had missed one of the adjustments made to the calendar to prevent Sabbaths from occurring back to back. That just meant gestation was a day longer. Jesus could still have been born on the Feast of Tabernacles.

In July of 2017, while reviewing what I had discovered, I realized I had made an assumption about the rotation of the priests because I realized that the common feasts did not all fall on the Sabbath, when the rotation of priests changed. So what did they do: change the rotation to split the week? When in doubt ask a rabbi! Rabbi Mordechai Cohen pointed me to Gemara Suka 55b-56a and Rambam Hilchos Klei Hamkidash 4:4-6 in the Talmud. He also indicated that the rotation changed at dawn on the Sabbath. Now was panic time: the rotation didn’t ever pause. There were Feast specific offerings that anyone from any division could serve and the service of those offerings were the ones determined by lot. I had finished the Joyful Mysteries and it all made so much sense, all the questions were answered and now it was all based on an invalid assumption. But this is a God thing. God's way was the truth, and if I sought the truth I must be willing to accept it when I find it. I ran the new rotation only to discover that there are 216 common weeks between Tammuz in 3 BC. and Av in 70 AD. 216 is exactly 9 cycles of priests. The date did not change.

Validation of the Jewish Calendar
Some scholars may complain that I used a derived calendar, whereas the Jews only started using a derived calendar after the destruction of the temple in 70 AD and therefore, all my dates are suspect at best because all the dates are on or before 70 AD.  However the derived calendar was derived based on 2000 years of practice. And was self correcting every spring. So to validate the calendar I will demonstrate its validity using NASA’s solar and lunar eclipse records.  All dates are going to be plus or minus 1 day because the date changes at sunset not midnight  and because the Jews tweaked the calendar to prevent back to back Sabbaths.  Because the Hebrew calendar is a lunar based calendar a total solar eclipse can only occur on the 1st of the month and a total lunar eclipse can only occur on the 15th of a month.

We have shown that the temple destruction began on the 9th of Av, of 70 AD and the Talmud establishes that on the 10 of Av the  priests were reciting the prayers for the afternoon of the first day of the week when the soldiers came into the Holy of Holies. On our derived calendar the 9th of Av is also a Saturday August 4th and the 10th is thus also a Sunday the first day of the week: Sunday August 5th:  exactly right.

Once again the validity of the date of the crucifixion is easy because the moon rose over Jerusalem as a full blood moon: in a total eclipse on April 3rd of the year 33 AD. As shown in this Web publication the crucifixion happened on April 3rd, 33AD, the 14th of Nissan the eve of Passover.

To validate the calendar for the date of Jesus’ birth we have:
On February 15, 3 BC a total solar eclipse #4757 which occurred on the last day of Adar, 30 Adar
On January 10, 1BC a total lunar eclipse #4821 which occurred on the 15th of Shevat
On July 5, 1 BC a total lunar eclipse #4822 which occurred on the 14th of Tammuz

Since Jesus was born on Tishrei 15, of 2 BC, which is after the solar eclipse of February 15, 3 BC at which time the derived calendar was exactly right and before the total lunar eclipse of January 10th, 1 BC at which time the derived calendar was exactly right; we have established the date of his birth.
-Greg Biltz
Many more details concerning the birth and death of Jesus are related on this website in the Joyful Mysteries section, and also the Sorrowful Mysteries sections in particular.
[1] Zachariah would have finished his service after the last sacrifices were offered Friday evening, after sunset. He could not travel more than 2000 cubits, less than a half a mile, since it was now the Sabbath. He would have had to wait until sunset on Saturday to walk the six miles home.

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