Minor Celebrations Connected with the Birth of Messiah

  by Geert ter Horst

If it is correct that Messiah was born on the first day of Sukkot, i.e. the 15th of Tishri, a date for which strong arguments can be given, then the calendrical dates of a number of minor celebrations connected with his Birth can be established.[i] The following deductions are all based on the assumption that indeed the 15th of Tishri is the correct Birthday of Messiah. Arguments for this assumption may be found e.g. in the article of David M. Hargis, “Biblical Dates for Messiah’s Conception and Birth.[ii] Another source for this opinion is the Companion Bible of E.W. Bullinger. In Appendix no. 179 Bullinger meticulously points out that the biblical and historical evidence goes in the direction of the 15th of Tishri, which according to his calculations fell on September 29 in the secular year 4 B.C. [iii]

The first event after Yeshua’s birth would be his Circumcision, which had to be performed on the 8th day. According to our assumption Messiah’s Circumcision thus occurred on the 22th of Tishri, which is the concluding day of the Sukkot celebrations, Shemini Atzeret. Both dates are of great spiritual significance. The 15th of Tishri signifies Messiah dwelling among us in the fragility of a temporal, earhly and perishable body (cf. John 1:14). This fits the image of the Sukkah, which is a temporary and fragile dwelling. The commandment is to dwell in the Sukkah for seven days, symbolically all of our earthly life. The eight day we go home. This home now signifies the non-temporary dwelling of the World to Come. The 8th day of Sukkot thus signifies (our entrance in) the World to Come. 

The theme of entering the World to Come is strongly connected with the theme of Circumcision. Circumcision of the flesh signifies the destruction of the earthly body and also prefigures the Circumcision of the heart. The Circumcision of the heart and the destruction of our earthly existence are the two necessary prerequisites for entering the World to Come.

The next events after Messiah Birth occured on the 31th and the 41th days. On the 31th day the ceremony of the Redemption of the first born was performed, and the 41th day was the day of the Purification of Miryam, Yeshua’s mother. According to our present fixed calendar, which has Tishri always as a full month of 30 days, the day of Yeshua’s Redemption falls on the 15th of Cheshvan, and the day of Miryam’s Purification thus happens to be the 25th of that month.

From our earlier accepted assumption we can also trace the time of Yeshua’s Conception. If 40 weeks is to be accepted as the ideal time period for human conception, then Yeshua’s conception would have happened on Rosh Chodesh Tewet, which falls during the celebration of Chanukah. If Kislev is a full month this is the seventh day of Chanukah, otherwise it is the sixth.

It seems to be of significance that the month of Chesvan thus connects the events of Tishri and Kislev. The celebration of Yeshua’s Redemption as a firstborn on 15th day of Cheshvan refers backward to the 15th of Tishri, the celebration of his Birth. The celebration of the Purification of Miryam on the 25th of Cheshvan refers forward to the Purification of the Temple at Chanukah, which begins at the 25th of Kislev. The person of Miryam is of course strongly connected with the Temple, because her body became a Temple of the Ruach HaKodesh of HaShem in a unique sense when Messiah was supernaturally conceived.

In sum, we have thus at least five occasions during the festive year which are connected more or less tightly with the Birth of our Messiah. Two of them (Birth and Circumcision) are on Yamim Tovim prescribed by the Torah itself. One (Conception) occurs on a minor festival instituted by the Sages. And the other two (Redemption and Purification) are minor celebrations which fall on other calendar dates and which are only of the importance of liturgical remembrances.

Thus we arrive at the following order of events:

1st day of Tewet (Rosh Chodesh): Conception of Messiah

15th day of Tishri (Sukkot): Birth of Messiah

22th day of Tishri (Shemini Atzeret): Circumcision of Messiah

15th day of Cheshvan: Redemption of Messiah

25th day of Cheshvan: Purification of the Virgin Miryam

It is my opinion that, should the above given reconstruction be correct, it is proper to celebrate the 15th and the 25th of Cheshvan as minor occasions, and to add prayers in the daily liturgy, to remember the events of the Redemption and the Purification. However, one should notice that the proposed reconstruction is not clearly proved yet. There may be reasonable alternatives for it. Another possibility seems to be that Messiah was born on Rosh HaShanah. The historical and halachic issues of all the hypothetically proposed dates have to be carefully examined before making a definite decision on this subject.

[i] For the arguments in favour of the 15th of Tishri as Messsiah’s Birthday see for instance http://www.keremel.org/Articles/When%20was%20messiah%20Born%2012-24-04.htm

[ii] This article is available at http://waterclear.tripod.com/messiahbirthdate.htm

[iii] The Companion Bible‘s Appendix 179 can be viewed at http://www.therain.org/appendixes/app179.html


3 Responses to “Minor Celebrations Connected with the Birth of Messiah”

  1. 1 Ronald October 30, 2009 at 5:54 am

    Very interesting post. This calendrical scheme fits perfectly with the traditional Jewish commemoration (Yahrzeit) of Rachel on the 11th of the month Cheshvan (btw. this was yesterday). Herod’s murder of the innocent children of Bethlehem must have happened about that time. The Gospel of St. Matthew tells us: “Then was fulfilled that which spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentations and weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” (Matthew 2:17-18)

    In Christianity the celebration of “Holy Innocents” is traditionally on December 28. But it might be a better idea to remember this event on the Yahrzeit of Rachel, between the commemorations of the circumcision (day 8)and the redemption of Jesus (day 31). What would you say?

  1. 1 One Size Fits Most « Grasping Mashi’ach Trackback on December 22, 2008 at 4:01 am
  2. 2 Name Card Design Trackback on November 17, 2011 at 8:43 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: