When were Jesus and John the Baptist born?

This article investigates when John the Baptist and Jesus were born. First, the article notes that Jesus was not born on Christmas. And that Christmas has pagan origin. Then the article discusses the Jewish calendar. Afterward, the article investigates two significance dates when John the Baptist and Jesus might had be born. Finally, the article lists some reasons why John the Baptist was born on Yom Kippur and Jesus was born on Passover.

Jesus was not born on Christmas

Accordingly to Lk 2:111, the shepherds saw baby Jesus the same day he was born. Accordingly to Lk 2:82, the shepherds were outside with their flock. In that area, sheep were left outside from spring to fall. The winter is freezing rain season and is too miserable to leave the sheep outside. The commentaries for Lk 2:83 4 5 6 7 confirm this.

Christmas has pagan origin

When the Roman Empire converted to Christianity, the pagans were celebrating Brumalia8 (Dec. 25), Saturnalia8 9 11 14 15 16 (Dec. 17-24), and Easter. The winter equinox, the darkest day of the year, happened to be December 25th. The Roman Catholic church "Christianized" these pagan holidays. Brumalia and Saturnella were removed and the birth of Jesus was celebrated on Christmas. Easter, first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the spring equinox, was when the resurrection of Jesus was celebrated.

Much pagan traditions passed on. Some traditions like Santa Claus and mistletoe are clearly pagan. Others traditions like Christmas Trees8 9, Yule Logs9 10 11, and Holly and Ivy12 13 are more subtle, but they also have pagan origin. More articles14 15 16 about the pagan origin of Christmas are cited in the reference section below.

The Jewish Calendar

The Jewish months17 18 19 are Nissan, Iyar, Sivan, Shavuot, Menachem Av, Elul, Tishrei, Marcheshvan, Kislev, Chanukah, Shevat, and Adar. All months are 29 or 30 days18 19. An extra month is included on leap years (which occur 7 times every 19 years)18 19. Yom Kipper is on the 10th of Tishrei17 18 and Passover is on the 14th of Nisan17.

The time gap between Passover and Yom Kippur is 173 days and is about 5 2/3 months19.

The time gap between Yom Kippur and Passover is 172-174 days on non-leap years and is about 5 2/3 months19. On leap years an extra month, Adar 2, is included, i.e., add another 29-30 days plus Adar 1 is 30, instead of 29, days. Thus for leap years, the time gap between Yom Kippur and Passover is 202-205 days19.

Zechariah was part of the Abijah family20. This priesthood family is one of the twenty four priestly families that served at Jerusalem temple. Priests were to served two weeks plus holidays21 22. "Abijah" priests served on the eighth week and thirdly-second week (first week starts in Nisan) plus holidays23. This translates to a week at the end of Iyyar (mid-April to mid-May) and a week at the end of Marheshvan (mid-October to mid-November) plus holidays.

Each week, a priest, from the tribe on duty, was chosen by lot to burn incense21. On holidays, all priests served and the odd of them being chosen by lot is a magnitude lower (but not negotiable).

When John the Baptist and Jesus were born?

Disclaimer: I do NOT claim that I know when John the Baptist and Jesus were born. All I know is that Jesus was born sometime between spring and fall, when shepherds and sheeps were outside overnights. And that he definitely was NOT born on Christmas. Below is my guess.

There are two prophetic thoughts about when John the Baptist and Jesus were born.
  1. John the Baptist was born on Passover and Jesus was born on Yom Kippur.

    If Zechariah had an angelic encounter in the temple (Lk 1:1-24) while serving during spring, it is possible that he went home in May, got Elizabeth pregant in June, and John the Baptist was born on Passover. Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregancy when she saw Mary24, so it is possible that Jesus was born on Yom Kippur.

    Yom Kippur is the Day of Atonement. The Jewish name is "Yom Hakippurim" and it means the day of covering, canceling, pardon and reconciling. Jesus came to atone for our sins by being sacrificed to take away our sins.

  2. John the Baptist was born on Yom Kippur and Jesus was born on Passover.

    If Zechariah had an angelic encounter in the temple (Lk 1:1-24) while serving during fall, it is possible that he went home in November, got Elizabeth pregant in December, and John the Baptist was born on Yom Kippur. Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregancy when she saw Mary24, so it is possible that Jesus was born on Passover.

    On Yom Kippur, two goats were presented for a sin offering25. One was sacrificed for sins. The other one was a scapegoat. Sins were laid upon it, and then, taken into the wilderness. John the Baptist symbolizes the scapegoat. He spent much time in the wilderness. He baptized people whom repented of their sins - figuratively he was the scapegoat taking away their sins.

    Passover is when the Jewish people remember that they were delivered from Egypt. Lambs were sacrificed and their blood were posted on the doorposts as a covering for their sins. Jesus was the Passover lamb sacrificed for our sins.

Reasons why John the Baptist was born on Yom Kippur and Jesus was born on Passover

I used to believe Yom Kippur was a likely birthday date for Jesus. But now, I am leaning toward Passover as being the likely birthday date for Jesus. These are the reasons.
  1. Jesus started his ministry at the age of 3026. The Gospel of John mentioned Passover three different periods. The first time the Gospel of John mentioned Passover was nigh, Jesus entered Jerusalem shortly after he turned water into wine at a marriage feast. He proceeded to cleanse the temple and ministered. See Jn 2:13-25. The second time the Gospel of John mentioned Passover was nigh, Jesus fed 5000 men and their relatives. Later Jesus proclaimed that He was the bread of life. See Jn 6:1-65. The third time the Gospel of John mentioned Passover, Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey (Hosanna March), had Last Supper with His Disciples, was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, was scourged, was condemned, was crucified, and rose from the dead three days later. See Jn 11:55-20. If Jesus served longer than 3 years, would had the Gospel of John mentions Passover 4 different periods? Not a foregone conclusion. However, Jesus was always attracting a crowd - wouldn't something had been written up?

  2. Prophetically, it makes sense that John the Baptist was born on Yom Kippur, not Passover. He spent much of his life in the wilderness and his life symbolizes the scapegoat25.

  3. Jesus was born on a cold and chilly night27. Shepherds were warming themselves by a fire27 28. Jesus was probably not born on a hot summer day. Spring days are colder than fall days.

    [Note: Jesus was born in a cave27 28 29 30 31. When he was born, it was after sunset, but it was light as daylight because the glory of the Lord shone all around27 28 29 30. These early Christian writings are interesting, but remember they are noncanonical.]

  4. The Roman Empire followed the Egyptian routine - census was in the spring and dragged into the summer32. Performing a census is a tedious process. When King David wanted to count Judah and Israel, it took nine months and twenty days33. It took less time during the Roman Empire, but still census was a tedious process and not a one day event. Remember there was no computer - everything done by hands. It makes sense to avoid the winter rainy season. It was not just the people whom have to travel, but the Roman Empire workers had to do tedious counting. It makes sense for the census to start early spring - right after the rainy season - and let it drags as long as needed into the summer. If the census was in the fall, it would had dragged into the rainy winter.
Again, I do NOT claim to know exactly when John the Baptist and Jesus were born. I do think that "John the Baptist was born on Yom Kippur and Jesus was born on Passover" is prophetic.


From a prophetic angle, John the Baptist was born on Yom Kippur and Jesus was born on Passover. Prophetically, John the Baptist was the scapegoat that took away sins and Jesus was the Passover lamb sacrificed for sins. The good news is we can turn our lives around - sin no more - and receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord by acknowledging Jesus died for our sins, committing to follow Jesus, and trusting Jesus in our daily problems. We can be baptized to show the new life in Jesus.


1 Lk 2:11 OOYLT
because there was born to you to-day a Saviour -- who is Christ the Lord -- in the city of David,

2 Lk 2:8 OOYLT
And there were shepherds in the same region, lodging in the field, and keeping the night-watches over their flock,

3 Barnes' New Testament Notes
Remaining out of doors, under the open sky, with their flocks. This was commonly done. The climate was mild, and, to keep their flocks from straying, they spent the night with them. It is also a fact that the Jews sent out their flocks into the mountainious and desert regions during the summer months, and took them up in the latter part of October or the first of November, when the cold weather commenced. While away in these deserts and mountainous regions, it was proper that there should be some one to attend them to keep them from straying, and from the ravages of wolves and other wild beasts. It is probable from this that our Saviour was born before the 25th of December, or before what we call Christmas. At that time it is cold, and especially in the high and mountainous regions about Bethlehem.
4 Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
It was a custom among the Jews to send out their sheep to the deserts, about the passover, and bring them home at the commencement of the first rain: during the time they were out, the shepherds watched them night and day. As the passover occurred in the spring, and the first rain began early in the month of Marchesvan, which answers to part of our October and November, we find that the sheep were kept out in the open country during the whole of the summer. And as these shepherds had not yet brought home their flocks, it is a presumptive argument that October had not yet commenced, and that, consequently, our Lord was not born on the 25th of December, when no flocks were out in the fields; nor could he have been born later than September, as the flocks were still in the fields by night. On this very ground the nativity in December should be given up. The feeding of the flocks by night in the fields is a chronological fact, which casts considerable light upon this disputed point.
5 Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
From about passover time in April until autumn, the flocks pastured constantly in the open fields, the shepherds lodging there all that time. (From this it seems plain that the "traditional" church calendar assigned our Lord's birth too late).
6 Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible
... it is not likely that he was born, as is commonly received, at the latter end of December, in the depth of winter; since at this time, shepherds were out in the fields, where they lodged all night, watching their flocks: ... The first rain is in the month Marchesvan, which answers to the latter part of our October, and the former part of November; and of this sort, seem to be the flocks those shepherds were keeping by night, the time not being yet come, of their being brought into the city: from whence it appears, that Christ must be born before the middle of October, since the first rain was not yet come; ...
7 Notes on Lk 2:8 from Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels, Trapp's Complete Commentary, Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible, and Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers.

8 The Plain Truth about Christmas
From many ancient writings, considerable is learned of this man, who started the great organized worldly apostasy from God that has dominated this world until now. Nimrod was so evil, it is said he married his own mother, whose name was Semiramis. After Nimrod's untimely death, his so-called mother-wife, Semiramis, propagated the evil doctrine of the survival of Nimrod as a spirit being. She claimed a full-grown evergreen tree sprang overnight from a dead tree stump, which symbolized the springing forth unto new life of the dead Nimrod. On each anniversary of his birth, she claimed, Nimrod would visit the evergreen tree and leave gifts upon it. December 25th, was the birthday of Nimrod. This is the real origin of the Christmas tree.

9 Christmas - "The Rebirth of The Sun"
"Traditionally, a yule log was burned in the fireplace on Christmas Eve and during the night as the log's embers died, there appeared in the room, as if by magic, a Christmas tree surrounded by gifts. The yule log represented the sun-god Nimrod and the Christmas tree represented himself resurrected as his own son Tammuz." quote from "After Armageddon -Chapter 4 Where do we get our ideas? by John A. Sarkett"

Her new son was named Tammuz according to Ezekiel 8:14 or generically he was called "Ba'al" (which means Lord or husband). Each year on Tammuz's birthday on December 25th, the pagans were ordered by Semiramis to go into the groves (forests) and placed a gift on a tree to honor Nimrod who was "cut down" like a tree. They were also ordered to cut down an everygreen tree, take it into their homes and decorate it with silver and gold balls to symbolize Nimrod's testicles. quote from "The Two Babylons, by Alexander Hyslop"

The origin of the X-mas Tree (X or "the cross" is the symbol of Tammuz and the mark/monogram of Jesus Christ) is actually the Tammuz/Nimrod Tree and has absolutely nothing to do with The Messiah or The Truth found in The Bible. The X-mas Tree was a central figure in the Babylonian Religion with a snake wrapped around a tree trunk. We now, of course, don't have snakes around our tree we have garland! But let us not be so naive to think YHVH approves of such ignorance in worship founded in Babylonian paganism...

Christmas trees are really Asherah poles or sacred trees for honoring "Ba'al" and the ornaments represent Nimrod's testicles! Garland representing the serpent, Satan! Babylonian history records that Nimrod was cut into pieces and his body parts were sent to different provinces of Babylon to warn the people not to sacrifice babies to Moloch. His only body part which was never found was his penis. Semiramis, his mother/wife then decided to memorialize his penis by erecting a giant image of Nimrod's penis which today is called the obelisk. They adorn many Christian Churches today as steeples as I noted earlier in this chapter. We are COMMANDED by YHVH to destroy these very structures: Exodus 23:24, Exodus 34:13, Deuteronomy 7:5, Deuteronomy 12:3, Jeremiah 43:13, Hosea 10:2. Yet, we openly worship them as part of the Christian Religion. The Christmas Tree is also the symbol of Satan in the Garden of Eden, the garland wrapped around the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" like a snake around the tree with the ornamental balls representing the forbidden fruit:
10 The Plain Truth about Christmas
The yule log is in reality the "sun log." "Yule" means "wheel," a pagan symbol of the sun. Yet today professing Christians speak of the "sacred YULETIDE season!"
11 The Shocking Truth about Christmas
The Christmas log, is but the Saxon Yule-log burning on the English hearth, and the blazing holiday temples of Saturn shine again in the illuminated Christian churches.
12 The Plain Truth about Christmas
Holly berries were also considered sacred to the sun-god.
13 The Shocking Truth about Christmas
Holly, ivy and mistletoe are the favorite decorations now, as they were in earlier times. To our ancestors they were strong life symbols, not only because they are evergreens, but also because, unlike most plants, they bear fruit in winter. By tradition, holly is masculine and ivy feminine, thus both are needed if all in the house are to share in the blessings they imply (i.e., fertility).
14 The Real Meaning Behind Christmas



17 The Jewish Holidays: Understanding the Appointed Times

18 The Jewish Calendar: Mindfulness of the Divine Rhythm

19 The Jewish Month

20 Lk 1:5a OOYLT
There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest, by name Zacharias, of the course of Abijah, ...

21 Gabriel Visits Zacharias
The priest was part of the division of Abijah. Abijah was one of twenty-four divisions of the Levitical priests. 1 Chronicles 23-24 lists all of the twenty-four divisions. Abijah is found in 1 Chronicles 24:10. King David had divided the Levitical priests into divisions when there were too many priests to perform the work at the temple. According to David's guidelines, each division served at the temple twice a year and at the major holidays. Fifty-six priests from one of the divisions served each day. It has been estimated that there were as many as 8,000 to 18,000 priests throughout Israel at that time. Consequently, the priest who offered incense at the Altar of Incense in the Holy Place each day was determined by a random lot as we will see shortly. However, a priest could only offer this service once in his lifetime.
22 8. The Priests
Each group was responsible for one week of service in the Temple at a time, so in a given year they would serve a total of two weeks as well as the times of the festivals.
23 The Priestly Divisions
Abijah was the eighth priestly division. The priestly rotation began in the Hebrew month of Nissan (mid-March to mid-April), and therefore the division of Abijah would have served at the end of Iyyar (mid-April to mid-May) and again at the end of Marheshvan (mid-October to mid-November).
24 Lk 1:36 OOYLT
and lo, Elisabeth, thy kinswoman, she also hath conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month to her who was called barren;

25 Lev 16:8-10 OOYLT
`And Aaron hath given lots over the two goats, one lot for Jehovah, and one lot for a goat of departure; and Aaron hath brought near the goat on which the lot for Jehovah hath gone up, and hath made it a sin-offering. `And the goat on which the lot for a goat of departure hath gone up is caused to stand living before Jehovah to make atonement by it, to send it away for a goat of departure into the wilderness.

26 Lk 3:23a OOYLT
And Jesus himself was beginning to be about thirty years of age, being, as was supposed, son of Joseph, ...

27 Bethlehem - Night of Christ's Birth - an investigative report?
In obedience to your order, I met with two men, who said they were shepherds, and were watching their flocks near Bethlehem. They told me that while attending to their sheep, the night being cold and chilly, some of them had made fires to warm themselves, ...
28 A 5th Century Compilation of the Thomas Texts
... After this, when the shepherds came, and had made a fire and they were exceedingly rejoicing, the heavenly host appeared to them, praising and adoring the supreme God. ...
29 The Gospel of James

30 The Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew

31 The History of Joseph the Carpenter

32 The pagan census of the Egyptian adopted by the Roman empire
A Roman census (that began from Easter - spring time, which finishes around the season of summer time at the celebration of Bohemian groove or May pole-).
UPDATE 8/24/17: The weblink is dead.

It makes sense for censuses to be held in springtime. The Roman Empire society was agriculture-based. The rainy season occurred during the wintertime. It makes sense for farmers to travel for censuses right after rainy seasons, and then, return to plant seeds. It would be impractical for farmers to travel during harvest time, and then, during feast time (Rosh Hashanah to Sukkot).

33 2 Sam 24:1-2,8 OOYLT
And the anger of Jehovah addeth to burn against Israel, and an adversary moveth David about them, saying, `Go, number Israel and Judah.' And the king saith unto Joab, head of the host that is with him, `Go to and fro, I pray thee, through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even unto Beer-Sheba, and inspect ye the people -- and I have known the number of the people.' ... And they go to and fro through all the land, and come in at the end of nine months and twenty days to Jerusalem,

Further Readings

You can learn more about what is wrong with the traditional church calendar by figuring out the Crucifixion Riddle .

You can learn more about how the ancient Roman Catholic church messed up the law and seasons at Was Acts 29 Part of the Original Bible? .

If you are a bible scholar, feel free to examine the actual dates Jesus and John the Baptist were born. This study is beyond my grasp. See JJBirthdaysMemo.txt for more details.


Last modified on 8/24/17

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