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Thread: September 11th: Happy Birthday Jesus?

  1. #11
    Thread Killer QuantaFille's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuantaFille View Post
    I've read that the supposed "pagan holiday" wasn't actually celebrated until after Christmas became popular, and was intended to supplant it, not the other way around. I'll have to see if I can find the article.
    http://apologetics-notes.comereason....pagan.html?m=1
    Curiosity never hurt anyone. It was stupidity that killed the cat.

  2. Amen Raphael, Teallaura amen'd this post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raphael View Post
    The Dec25 date lines up to a Jewish (and most likely early church) belief that a prophet would die on the same day of the year as he was concieved. Easter is (roughly) 9 months before December 25th.
    I'm open to either view. This view is the one that the scholars I read usually support, but the supplanting one makes sense to me as well (wouldn't be the first time).

    Quote Originally Posted by Raphael View Post
    Edit to add: the 11 September date suggested above would be early autumn in Israel so would also work for shepherds to be watching their flocks at night.

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    tWebber Teallaura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoughtful Monk View Post
    I think it's generally agreed across Christianity that Jesus's actual birth wasn't December 25th. I think the date was picked to supplant a major pagan holiday on that date. I've read His birth was more likely in the spring because that's when shepherds would be watching the flocks at night.
    The idea stems from shepherds only staying out during lambing - but it is possible to lamb in fall (ewes go into estrus if separated from rams several weeks before reintroducing the ram). I wonder if they didn't do this - it would make yearlings more available for purification.

    But even if not, goats breed year round, with breeding season from Sept to March and 150 days ave. gestation - shepherds could easily be standing watch in Sept for the late breeders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    I'm not sure if I can, but I'm going to attempt to summarize this.

    Scripture Verse: Revelation 12:1

    A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. 7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.

    © Copyright Original Source



    • Heiser goes into how ancient Jews views astrology/astronomy in the 2nd Temple period.
    • What John is looking at is indisputably astronomical.
    • The woman is the key figure, and represents both the virgin Mary and Israel, the virgin of Zion (Israel perhaps being a better paradigm than Mary).
    • The virgin is Virgo, with 12 stars around her head, which Jews at the time of Jesus's birth would understand as the 12 tribes of Israel, and the imagery would have been completely familiar to 1st/2nd century Jews and Christians.
    • The description that the woman was clothed with the sun is stock astronomical language of the day for the sun being in the midst of a constellation.
    • While the sun is in the woman, the moon is at her feet. For this situation to occur, the constellation of the woman must be (in astronomical language) "on the ecliptic"—the imaginary line in the sky that the sun and the moon follow in their journey through the zodiac constellations.
    • Paul might have had the ecliptic in mind when he references Psalm 19 in Romans (in the Masoretic, Psalm 19:4 states: "their line goes out through all the earth.")
    • Virgo is on the ecliptic.
    • [T]he apostle John saw the scene when the Sun was “clothing” or “adorning” the woman. This surely indicates that the position of the Sun in the vision was located somewhere mid-bodied to the woman, between the neck and the knees. The Sun could hardly be said to clothe her if it were situated in her face or near her feet. The only time in the year that the Sun could be in a position to “clothe” the celestial woman called Virgo (that is, to be mid-bodied to her, in the region where a pregnant woman carries a child) is when the Sun is located between about 150 and 170 degrees along the ecliptic. This “clothing” of the woman by the Sun occurs for a 20-day period each year. This 20 degree spread could indicate the general time when Jesus was born.
    • Because of the moon's "behavior" relative to the ecliptic and Virgo in any given year, the 20-day window narrows to a roughly 90-minute period in which to astronomically pinpoint the birth of the child of Revelation 12, which is the Messiah, which was Jesus.
    • Revelation 12:5's reference to the child is Jesus, and his ascension, and is a reference back to Psalm 2:7-9
    • The dragon is a reference to the Middle Eastern concepts of the sea monster which represented chaos. Bruce Malina points out that there are only two major constellation candidates for it: Hydra or Scorpio (both have their strengths). It can't be Draco because of its position at the North Pole.



    • This collection in Revelation 12 isn't rare, although to be fair, there are only a handful of dates in real time that could accommodate them in the context of New Testament chronology for the birth of Jesus. But those dates narrow to one date once other astronomical events that occurred at the same time (which are not noted in Revelation 12) are added to the celestial profile.
    • The constellation above the head of Virgo (the very next one in the zodiac) is Leo, the lion. The lion was the symbol associated with the tribe of Judah and royalty (Genesis 49:9-10).
    • Leo was considered a royal constellation since it was dominated by the star Regulus. The star Regulus was known by astrologers as the "King Star." So we have the king constellation (Leo, Lion of Judah) and the star Regulus in Leo.
    • Leo also comes into conjunction with Jupiter, the "King Planet."



    [I]f you're the Magi and you're familiar with Gentile religious astronomical thinking and you're familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures (which we know they are because they go to Bethlehem)... If you're looking at this sign you've got a virgin with twelve stars, the sun in her midst, the moon at her feet, the dragon... Then above that, you've got Leo, the lion. It's the symbol of the tribe of Judah. And within that constellation you have Jupiter, the King Planet, and Regulus, the King Star, overlapping. They're conjoined at this moment. Remember, we're talking about a 90-minute window where all these things are there. So the combination of astronomical signs produces a unique set of circumstances, which can only be accounted for by one date that matters in the sweep of New Testament chronology. And this date, as we will see... I'm just going to say it here, but we'll talk more about it. This date has dramatic significance in the Jewish calendar. According to all of these signs taken together (and Martin has even more in chapter 5), the day of Jesus' birth—the birth of the Messiah—was September 11, 3 B.C.


    that's just the bare bones of the transcript found here: https://www.nakedbiblepodcast.com/wp...Transcript.pdf. Heiser goes into much more detail, also making other points like how the discussion of the heavenly appearance of the temple and the Ark of the Covenant immediately preceding Revelation 12 (Revelation 11:19) is significant.

    New Testament scholar Greg Beale notes the significance of this juxtaposition by John of Revelation 11 and 12 (the reference to the ark in the temple and the references given in Revelation 12:7—these signs. Beale writes this:

    [A] trumpet was to be blown on Tishri 1, which in the rabbinic period came to be viewed as the beginning of the New Year. God’s eschatological judgment of all people was expected to fall on this day. . . The New Year trumpet also proclaimed hope in the ongoing and ultimate kingship of God, in God’s judgment and reward according to people’s deeds, and in Israel’s final restoration.

    That's Beale (page 620), and he actually alludes to the Babylonian Talmud: Rosh Hashanah 16 for that information. Now incredibly, the astronomical reconstruction of the circumstances of Revelation 12:1-7 that produces a September, 3 B.C, date for the birth of the Messiah was also the beginning of the Jewish new year in 3 B.C. (Rosh Ha-shanah, Tishri 1, the Day of the Trumpets, the Feast of Trumpets). Tishri 1 was also the day that many of the ancient kings and rulers of Judah reckoned as their inauguration day. This procedure was followed consistently in the time of Solomon, Jeremiah, and Ezra. If you want proof of that, you can look at Edwin Thiele's Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (page 28, 31, 161, 163). I would say this is a powerful piece of evidence for the astronomical reading of Revelation 12:1-7 as celestial signs of the birth of the messianic king.


    Not much of a summary, but hope that's helpful.
    Thanks. I have seen this same imagery used for various other purposes. I believe Tim LaHaye (Left Behind) used pretty much the exact thing to interpret this as explaining the end times and the dragon as the devil seeking out God's remnant at Petra (the desert).

    And recently David Meade used it to claim that the apocalypse and rapture were upon us on Sept 23, 2017. https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/...k-off-saturday

    So I am pretty leery of such things.

  6. Amen Thoughtful Monk amen'd this post.
  7. #15
    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    I'm not sure if I can, but I'm going to attempt to summarize this.

    Scripture Verse: Revelation 12:1

    A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. 2 She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. 3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads. 4 Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born. 5 She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.” And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. 6 The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days. 7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.

    © Copyright Original Source



    • Heiser goes into how ancient Jews views astrology/astronomy in the 2nd Temple period.
    • What John is looking at is indisputably astronomical.
    • The woman is the key figure, and represents both the virgin Mary and Israel, the virgin of Zion (Israel perhaps being a better paradigm than Mary).
    • The virgin is Virgo, with 12 stars around her head, which Jews at the time of Jesus's birth would understand as the 12 tribes of Israel, and the imagery would have been completely familiar to 1st/2nd century Jews and Christians.
    • The description that the woman was clothed with the sun is stock astronomical language of the day for the sun being in the midst of a constellation.
    • While the sun is in the woman, the moon is at her feet. For this situation to occur, the constellation of the woman must be (in astronomical language) "on the ecliptic"—the imaginary line in the sky that the sun and the moon follow in their journey through the zodiac constellations.
    • Paul might have had the ecliptic in mind when he references Psalm 19 in Romans (in the Masoretic, Psalm 19:4 states: "their line goes out through all the earth.")
    • Virgo is on the ecliptic.
    • [T]he apostle John saw the scene when the Sun was “clothing” or “adorning” the woman. This surely indicates that the position of the Sun in the vision was located somewhere mid-bodied to the woman, between the neck and the knees. The Sun could hardly be said to clothe her if it were situated in her face or near her feet. The only time in the year that the Sun could be in a position to “clothe” the celestial woman called Virgo (that is, to be mid-bodied to her, in the region where a pregnant woman carries a child) is when the Sun is located between about 150 and 170 degrees along the ecliptic. This “clothing” of the woman by the Sun occurs for a 20-day period each year. This 20 degree spread could indicate the general time when Jesus was born.
    • Because of the moon's "behavior" relative to the ecliptic and Virgo in any given year, the 20-day window narrows to a roughly 90-minute period in which to astronomically pinpoint the birth of the child of Revelation 12, which is the Messiah, which was Jesus.
    • Revelation 12:5's reference to the child is Jesus, and his ascension, and is a reference back to Psalm 2:7-9
    • The dragon is a reference to the Middle Eastern concepts of the sea monster which represented chaos. Bruce Malina points out that there are only two major constellation candidates for it: Hydra or Scorpio (both have their strengths). It can't be Draco because of its position at the North Pole.



    • This collection in Revelation 12 isn't rare, although to be fair, there are only a handful of dates in real time that could accommodate them in the context of New Testament chronology for the birth of Jesus. But those dates narrow to one date once other astronomical events that occurred at the same time (which are not noted in Revelation 12) are added to the celestial profile.
    • The constellation above the head of Virgo (the very next one in the zodiac) is Leo, the lion. The lion was the symbol associated with the tribe of Judah and royalty (Genesis 49:9-10).
    • Leo was considered a royal constellation since it was dominated by the star Regulus. The star Regulus was known by astrologers as the "King Star." So we have the king constellation (Leo, Lion of Judah) and the star Regulus in Leo.
    • Leo also comes into conjunction with Jupiter, the "King Planet."



    [I]f you're the Magi and you're familiar with Gentile religious astronomical thinking and you're familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures (which we know they are because they go to Bethlehem)... If you're looking at this sign you've got a virgin with twelve stars, the sun in her midst, the moon at her feet, the dragon... Then above that, you've got Leo, the lion. It's the symbol of the tribe of Judah. And within that constellation you have Jupiter, the King Planet, and Regulus, the King Star, overlapping. They're conjoined at this moment. Remember, we're talking about a 90-minute window where all these things are there. So the combination of astronomical signs produces a unique set of circumstances, which can only be accounted for by one date that matters in the sweep of New Testament chronology. And this date, as we will see... I'm just going to say it here, but we'll talk more about it. This date has dramatic significance in the Jewish calendar. According to all of these signs taken together (and Martin has even more in chapter 5), the day of Jesus' birth—the birth of the Messiah—was September 11, 3 B.C.


    that's just the bare bones of the transcript found here: https://www.nakedbiblepodcast.com/wp...Transcript.pdf. Heiser goes into much more detail, also making other points like how the discussion of the heavenly appearance of the temple and the Ark of the Covenant immediately preceding Revelation 12 (Revelation 11:19) is significant.

    New Testament scholar Greg Beale notes the significance of this juxtaposition by John of Revelation 11 and 12 (the reference to the ark in the temple and the references given in Revelation 12:7—these signs. Beale writes this:

    [A] trumpet was to be blown on Tishri 1, which in the rabbinic period came to be viewed as the beginning of the New Year. God’s eschatological judgment of all people was expected to fall on this day. . . The New Year trumpet also proclaimed hope in the ongoing and ultimate kingship of God, in God’s judgment and reward according to people’s deeds, and in Israel’s final restoration.

    That's Beale (page 620), and he actually alludes to the Babylonian Talmud: Rosh Hashanah 16 for that information. Now incredibly, the astronomical reconstruction of the circumstances of Revelation 12:1-7 that produces a September, 3 B.C, date for the birth of the Messiah was also the beginning of the Jewish new year in 3 B.C. (Rosh Ha-shanah, Tishri 1, the Day of the Trumpets, the Feast of Trumpets). Tishri 1 was also the day that many of the ancient kings and rulers of Judah reckoned as their inauguration day. This procedure was followed consistently in the time of Solomon, Jeremiah, and Ezra. If you want proof of that, you can look at Edwin Thiele's Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (page 28, 31, 161, 163). I would say this is a powerful piece of evidence for the astronomical reading of Revelation 12:1-7 as celestial signs of the birth of the messianic king.


    Not much of a summary, but hope that's helpful.
    A couple points: The magi going to Bethlehem is not an indication that they were familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures; they got that information from Herod's advisers (Mat. 2:1-6). Also, if the date were so important that John encoded it into Revelation, why is there no evidence the early church knew of this date?
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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    A couple points: The magi going to Bethlehem is not an indication that they were familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures; they got that information from Herod's advisers (Mat. 2:1-6). Also, if the date were so important that John encoded it into Revelation, why is there no evidence the early church knew of this date?
    And why encode it in the first place? Why not just say it plainly? It's not like it would be a secret at that time anyway.

  9. Amen Cerebrum123 amen'd this post.
  10. #17
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    Thanks. I have seen this same imagery used for various other purposes. I believe Tim LaHaye (Left Behind) used pretty much the exact thing to interpret this as explaining the end times and the dragon as the devil seeking out God's remnant at Petra (the desert).

    And recently David Meade used it to claim that the apocalypse and rapture were upon us on Sept 23, 2017. https://www.extremetech.com/extreme/...k-off-saturday

    So I am pretty leery of such things.
    I totally understand using caution. For the record, on top of HATING Bible Code stuff, Heiser points out that this has absolutely NOTHING to do with future prophecy. This is what he wrote on Sep 11, 2016:

    Another abuse comes from folks out there who are using the celestial signs of Rev 12 to predict the rapture and the tribulation are going to happen on Sept 23, 2017. I’m not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet, but I’m going to predict something: This won’t happen. This is a false prophecy. I’m not going to be chummy toward people who abuse Scripture after the fact, like saying certain passages predicted the fall of the twin towers or an American financial collapse, or [fill in the blank with a modern event impacting America]. Sorry, but America isn’t the focus of biblical prophecy. I don’t care what code language they think they’ve figured out (or had channeled to them by special revelation). Ignore these people. Their exegesis is awful (if I were Ezekiel I might use scatological language now, but like I said, I’m not a prophet).

    I have many reasons for criticizing modern “prophetic” use of Rev 12:1-7, but I’ll save that for the book. For now I’ll just say that much of what passes for “application” of Rev 12:1-7 misses something very important: the other celestial signs associated with the birth of Jesus that were present on Sept 11, 3 BC that are not mentioned in Rev 12:1-7 (i.e., there’s a lot more going on in the sky than the items John mentions). Our modern “prophets” don’t seem to be aware of that. But even if they were, see the above — there is nothing in the Bible that says any of this should matter for the second coming.

    The bottom line is that if I, or anyone else, tells you they know when the Lord is returning, ignore it. That said, I’m not dumb enough or vain enough (or in the habit of ignoring Matt 24:36) to do that. I’m not going to portray myself as a prophet to dupe you into buying something from me, thinking you’re getting secret information dispensed to me from on high. I just do biblical scholarship and give readers the academic breadcrumb trail. You know the drill if you’ve followed my work for any time


    https://drmsh.com/september-11-happy-birthday-to-jesus/

  11. #18
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    A couple points: The magi going to Bethlehem is not an indication that they were familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures; they got that information from Herod's advisers (Mat. 2:1-6).
    I think his point was that foreign astrologers knew to go to Judea (and Jerusalem near Bethlehem) to find the "king of the Jews" to begin with, even if they needed help getting to Bethlehem specifically. From the podcast transcript,

    The constellation of the virgin giving birth to the Messiah would, of course, have been viewed as quite coherent by the Magi, especially if they knew about Isaiah 7:14. They're from Babylon, Persia, and there's lots and lots and lots of Jews there, starting with the exile. Daniel himself was part of this wider tradition of "wise men." To me, it's unthinkable that the Magi would not have been exposed somewhere to Jewish learning, and specifically, the focal point of Jewish learning is the Scriptures. So this is not very difficult to imagine, that if the Magi knew of Isaiah 7:14 and linked it to the Davidic dynasty, this idea of a virgin, Virgo (and we're going to see a few signs in a moment here that telegraph to the Magi very clearly that a divine king was being born, and part of the signage was associated with Virgo being clothed with the sun between the head and the knees here)... They would look at that and go, "Boy, there's that thing in the Old Testament that read 'this virgin shall conceive' and maybe we ought to go look at that. Oh yeah, boy, it was a sign for Ahaz in the Davidic dynasty and boy, oh boy, oh boy." In other words, this isn't hard to do the math for the Magi if they had known the verse, and I think there's more than a reasonable expectation that they did know the text.

    But even if they were ignorant of Isaiah 7:14, the astro-theological linkage would still make sense to them, since the sign we know as Virgo had strong associations with other ancient "mother goddesses" (figures that would produce divine kings). So even if they were totally ignorant of Isaiah 7, what they would have been looking at would still have been a neon sign for divine/royal birth. We're going to pick up a few of the other signs that would make that clear in a moment. But the fact that they go to Bethlehem tells you that they were familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures.


    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    Also, if the date were so important that John encoded it into Revelation, why is there no evidence the early church knew of this date?
    That's a good question. I don't know. Looking through Martin's The Star that Astonished the World, he suggests that they knew enough to know that Jesus's birth happened some time after 4 BC (the majority asserting between 3 to 2 BC), which he finds significant because that's when a lot of these astrological signs lined up, but he only cites another book on this, and doesn't list early church fathers who held this view (though he does mention Tertullian for the date of the census). I'll see if I can contact Dr. Heiser on this subject, and if he can add anything to it.

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    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    And why encode it in the first place? Why not just say it plainly? It's not like it would be a secret at that time anyway.
    I don't know, but I imagine the reply would be something like "John wasn't attempting to encode anything." The date of the birth of Jesus in the early church was not nearly as significant as the date of his death and resurrection, and so perhaps the picture he paints is merely the one that the Magi themselves would have seen on their way to visit the newborn king. Maybe the exact date wasn't as significant to him as all of the portents that the constellations represent. But that's just a guess. I don't know the answer.

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    For a visual, I thought these might be helpful.

    sept.11.jpg

    star-of-bethlehem.jpg

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