The Perfect Harmony
The panoramic time line shows the perfect harmony of the birth’s of Yoɦanan and Yeshua. This is the best of all synchronisms possible with astronomy, new moons, feast days, and the biological facts of human gestation. The most important dates in world history are Messiah’s coming into the world and his death and resurrection. Once we have solved the parables and riddles in the text the results do not disappoint.
First the span of two years in terms of Hebrew months from the spring of 3 BC going forward to the beginning of 1 BC. The Hebrew months are numbered in Roman numerals from I to XII. And the individual boxes are color coded to give an idea of the seasons.
The time line shows five new moon days. The first one NM1 was on July 14, 3 BC. The new moon was seen on July 13, 3 BC at the head of the new moon day July 14. This is the earliest that Zeƙaryah may have arrived home since he has come off duty at noon on the Sabbath. The priestly service for his division is marked by the dark blue column with the division name Aνıyah to the left.
The circumstances are that his wife Elıshaνą conceived on that new moon day. For Temple purposes the new moon offerings are reckoned from dawn on July 14 to daybreak on July 15. The conception of Yoɦanan took place sometime on the new moon day. If we are to ask when, it is probably near the end of the new moon day. All we can be certain is that it was that day. It is likely that the couple in an act of faith did their duty according to the divine message, and then as an act of faith waited till the pregnancy was confirmed about the middle of the month. Zeƙaryah was already well disciplined for his faithfulness on hearing the message and certainly did not want to add to it. Luke says they were blameless in keeping the commandments. And they were charged with a holy mission to beget a prophet. The resultant time line indicates that they knew when the conception date was.
Going foward to the sixth month of Elıshaνą and the first day brings us to the announcement to Miryam. The five months are numbered off 1-5 just below her name. The line marked December 10, 3 BC is the new moon day of the sixth month (NM2). This new moon is the 10th month. It is toward the end of the winter festival called Hanukkah which starts on Kislev 25 and last eight days. That always takes the feast a few days into the 10th month, marked X in 3 BC. The feast that year was Kislev 25 to Tebeth 3, (Dec. 5 to Dec 12). The conception of Messiah was on December 10, the first day of the 10th month. It is as if everything is happening in the best way possible in the best of all the worlds. December means the 10th month. It is the 10th day, and it is the new moon day, the first of the 10th Hebrew month, and it happens on a major Jewish holiday.
Sometime in the middle of month X (which is the 6th month of Elıshaνą), Miryam takes off to find her cousin in the hill country of Judea. This is likely two weeks later or so after she has confirmed that she is pregnant. She knows to count the term date from the day of the announcement, which is exactly 9 lunar months to the nearest whole day, or 266 days. The average month is 29.5 days, and
29.5 x 9 = 265.5. We round this up 1/2 day to 266, and 266 is the ideal time to term based on the human average. This is just 14 days short of the often cited figure of 280 days, which is not from conception, but from the beginning of a cycle. It is on day 14 of the cycle that conception is most likely.
Miryam spent about three months with her cousin, which is part of her month 1, all of her month 2, and part or all of her month 3. It appears that Miryam returned home by Nisan 1, 2 BC. One month later, it is the first day of the second month. This is marked NM3, April 6. This is Elıshaνą’s term date, and the scripture assures us that she reached it. Even though we do not have closure data demonstrating that the child was not born past the due date, we can be reasonably sure with these divinely attended pregnancies and births that the child was born at term on April 6th, the first day of the second month.
Exactly five months later, we come to the first day of the seventh month, which is Miryam’s term date. Again scripture assures us that the term was reached when they arrived in Bɛt-leɦem, and before they were able to find better than last minute hospitality, and she gave birth before any vacancies opened up. We know from the sign in Revelation 12:1-2 that the birth was on the first day of the seventh month.
The background scene here is the constellation of Virgo (the Virgin) when the sun is at 180 degrees (midday) on September 1, 2 BC. I have shown the diagram from 8/31 just after sunset in the previous scenes, which is when Miryam went into labor according to Rev. 12:1-2. I suppose she was in labor for around 18 hours and gave birth about noon on the new moon day. That night the shepherds were told of the birth and went and found the child. The night following Yom Terah is reckoned with the new moon day. The night before that day is reckoned with the special annual Sabbath for Yom Teruah.
Teruah is a Hebrew word meaning shouting or blowing. Thus the day is celebrated with blowing the shofar and making joyful sounds. It is often called the Feast of Trumpets because trumpets are one way of blowing in celebration of the day. It is clear that the day is the biggest celebration of all, because Messiah was born upon it.
The final new moon marked on this time line is December 28/29, 2 BC. The new moon was first seen on the 28th after sunset, and this time was simultaneous, or nearly so with the closest stopping point of the star of Bɛt-leɦem. This was the planet Jupiter which the Magi were watching. This star reached a stationary point in the constellation of virgo just opposite the BRANCH which the woman holds in her right hand. The words of the Magi have triple meaning. They said they saw his star in the rising. This means they saw the star Tzedeq (Jupiter) rise in the east adjacent to the stars marking the Branch in virgo’s right hand. The word for rising also means a “branch” in the LXX and to the Jews of the time. The rising also means that Jupiter reached its helical rising on the morning of 9/1, 2 BC.
Upon this news, Jerusalem went into an uproar. The wise men set out on December 28th to find the child and the star had stopped, and was seen south of Jerusalem most of the night of December 28th. In the night of the 28th/29th of December, which was when the new moon was seen, they presented their gifts, and worshiped. The next morning they left by another road and then Yosef, having also been warned also in a dream, made hast to leave for Egypt. Before the new moon day was finished on the 29th, Herod’s soldiers reached the town with orders to slay all boys under two years of age in the town and in the surrounding countryside.
It should be noted that the Eastern Church marks December 29th as the day on which the baby boys in Bɛt-leɦem and its environs were murdered.
The Latin Church instituted the feast of the Holy Innocents at a date now unknown, not before the end of the fourth and not later than the end of the fifth century. It is, with the feasts of St. Stephen and St. John, first found in the Leonine Sacramentary, dating from about 485. To the Philocalian Calendar of 354 it is unknown. The Latins keep it on 28 December, the Greeks on 29 December, the Syrians and Chaldeans on 27 December. These dates have nothing to do with the chronological order of the event
I have a better explanation. Someone did figure out when the slaughter took place by consulting now destroyed records. The Latins kept it on the 28th because that was when the new moon was seen. The Chaldeans on 27 December because that is when the star stopped, and the Greeks on December 29th because the slaughter really happened at the end of the new moon day. Such a speculation seems reasonable.