Let's close out our study of how the Word became flesh, including when He may have been born...
Why the Father needed to prepare a body
How did the Son in heaven, with a heavenly body, become a man? He would need to fertilize a woman's 'egg' or ovum. That she was a virgin is a sign, proof of Jesus' divine origin, a statement of the Father's integrity.
Mary's egg provided the body for Christ to become Jesus in the conception. The mystery of how that fertilization happened is exactly that, a mystery. We read "A body you have prepared me." That was through Mary.
The gender and blood of the baby is determined by the male at conception. This tells us the blood flowing through Jesus' body was not tainted by sin from Adam's fall because the blood formed in His body was not of earthly origin. This is the crux of Christianity. That the man Jesus is sinless, and God in the flesh. That is how it happened. Without this Christianity is an empty set of philosophies. But Christianity is 'mystical' from the start.
At His birth...
I think we all know Jesus was born in either spring or fall, for various reasons. In fact I've written from time to time about the timing of His birth based on Luke's information in 1:5 - telling us John the Baptist's dad was a priest after the order of Abijah. If we know when John the Baptist was born we can figure out when Jesus was born.
A brief summary: There were 24 divisions of priests with each division serving 1 week in turn, and in I Chronicles 24:10 we are told Abijah was the 8th course, or 8th week in the rotation of service. Additionally, all priests worked Unleavened Bread/Passover week, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. (Dt 16:16)
They took turns for the 24 weeks in the spring starting at Passover, and another round of 24 weeks in the fall starting with Rosh Hashanah/Feast of Trumpets.
For example; If the time Luke documents for Zacharias was the spring round, we'd start with Passover and add 10 weeks to know when Zacharias served in the temple. (8 weeks plus the 2 for Unleavened Bread and Pentecost) And add about 2 weeks for the law of separation before he could be intimate with his wife* for a total of 12 weeks after Pentecost as the earliest John the Baptist could have been conceived. *Leviticus 12:5, 15:25
For instance, if we use 2021 as an example: Passover was March 27, and 12 weeks forward makes it at least the middle to late June before John the Baptist could be conceived. When Elizabeth was in her 6th month*, or mid-late December to early January, she met with Mary, whom Gabriel visited. Meaning John the Baptist would have been born around Passover. The teaching of the day was that Elijah would appear at Passover, so this fits this timeline. *Lk 1:24-26 (Though it could be argued John the Baptist may have begun his ministry around Passover)
Going forward from that meeting between Elizabeth and Mary in the December/January time frame, and adding 9-10 months for Mary's pregnancy from there, puts Jesus being born in September or October. That would mean Jesus being born near the Feast of Tabernacles, when Israel celebrates God living with man, which makes this timeline attractive. If we figure from the fall course of Abijah for Zacharias Jesus would have been born around Passover.
There are other historical factors to consider as well
Shepherds were only in the fields in spring or fall, after the harvest. The timing of Herod's death is also a factor. 1st century Judaism dated a baby's birth from the date of conception or from birth, meaning they start life at 1. Today in the west, we let a baby live a full year and THEN count them as 1 year old.
Some in Asian nations still figure age that ancient way. That means when Matthew 2:16 tells us Herod commanded all children under 2 be killed, it was by our figuring, all babies 1 and under - or no older than 18 months.
As Israel's population grew, job availability in the temple did not. There are only so many jobs maintaining the temple just like there are only so many jobs caring for a church building today. For instance, II Chronicles 5:12 says some Levites became temple singers. By the time of Jesus, many people moved into cities, giving up farming, ranching, and shepherding, yet they still needed animals for sacrifice as commanded by the Law of Moses.
Levites who didn't find work in the temple, began raising crops and animals for temple sacrifice to sell to city dwellers, selling them in the temple. In Luke 19:45-47 Jesus confronts them, driving the sheep and cattle out of the temple area, for they were taking advantage of worshippers by price gouging, stating: "It is written; 'My house is a house of prayer'; But you have made it a den of thieves.'" Mentioned also: Mt 21:13, Mk 11:17, John 2:15
The priests who became shepherds did so around Bethlehem, the 'bread basket' of Israel, for 'Bethlehem' means 'house of bread'. It was to those Priest-shepherds the Father followed the lines of authority as He always does, commanding the Army of Heaven to appear to them to announce the Messiah had been born.
The Army? Yes, the ancient word 'host' means 'troops' or 'layers' of army troops. The Father sent first 1 angel to announce to and calm the shepherds, but then Luke 2:9-15 tells us;
"Suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host (army) praising God and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth; peace, good will towards men."
Heaven's army appeared to the shepherds to tell them the Army had not come to destroy, but to announce a peace treaty: Peace; good will towards men. It doesn't mean everyone be at peace with one another, it means God is saying peace towards men. Paul would later write his second letter to the Corinthians, explaining in 5:17-20:
"God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not charging their sins to them, (but unto Him), and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation...therefore we implore everyone as Ambassadors for God, Be reconciled to God." We are Ambassadors urging people to be reconciled to God because He has reconciled to them. Have you ever made peace with someone in your heart but they reject your efforts to make peace? That's what this is about.
The Word of the Father who appeared to mankind from the start and appeared to people down through the centuries, became flesh and lived among us. He remains the only way to the Father. Once He left heaven to become clothed in human flesh, He has remained that way. It changed His relationship with the Father forever, and changed us forever as well. Amazing Grace. New subject next week, until then, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org