STUDY 9: The Gate. The Door. The Vail.

THE GATE. THE DOOR. THE VAIL..jpg

There were three entrances in the Tabernacle arrangement which include:-

  1. the “gate” to the “outer court” (Exodus 27:16-19).
  2. the “door” to the “holy place” (Exodus 26:36-37; 36:37-38).
  3. the “vail” to the “holy of holies.” (i.e. “Most Holy”) (Exodus 26:31-33).

All three entrances were made of the same material: a fine white woven linen with blue, purple and scarlet threads running through the material (Exodus 38:18).

All three entrances had the the same dimensions as regards their area, that is, they were all 100 square cubits a number representing Christ Jesus:

  • The gate was 20 cubits long x 5 cubits high (Exodus 38:18);
  • The door and the veil were 10 x 10 cubits — SQUARE — a symbol of PERFECTION (equality on every side)!

NOTE: For the door, we do not have an explicit text for its measurements however the boards were 10 cubits high (Exodus 26:16). As to the width, we infer from the 20 cubits of Solomon’s Temple that the Tabernacle was half the size (1 Kings 6:2) — thus, 10 cubits wide. The back of the Tabernacle was defined by 6 board of a cubit and a half, so 9 cubits interior — the two sides, if each 1/2 cubit thick, would constitute 10 cubits outside dimension of the Tabernacle. If the door was sufficient to cover this, then it was 10 cubits wide.

This teaches us that the same truth seems therefore to be embodied in each of these typical curtains. The same Jesus is portrayed in each. There could be no access to God, of any kind, whether of comparatively distant worship, or of closest intimacy, but through the one door, the Lord Jesus. “I am the door” (John 10:7).

The value of 100 also “beautifully correlates to the “redemption price” of the “firstborns” which was five shekels at 20 gerahs per shekel: 100 gerahs (also representing Christ Jesus)! (Numbers 3:46,47; 18:15,16)” (Notes on the Tabernacle, page 100).

Jesus is our entry into:

  • justification (the gate into the court),
  • sanctification (the door into the Holy) and
  • glorification (the vail into the Most Holy).

(1) THE GATE

the-gate-beauties-of-the-tabernacle

The gate was the only way into the court and represents our Lord Jesus who said of himself, “I am the door. Whoever enters through me, will be saved” (John 10:9, NIV).

“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NIV).

By faith in Christ’s ransom sacrifice, represented in the Brazen altar, we enter the ‘gate’ to the ‘Court’ — the vail of unbelief and sin is passed” (Tabernacle Shadows, page 22).

The gate was wider than any of the other entrances, enabling all Israelites to enter the court. The width of the entrance shows that God makes grace available to many for “many are called but few are chosen(Matthew 22:14).

In Exodus 40:33 we read, And he erected the court around the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the screen of the gate of the court. So Moses finished the work.”

The root word of “gate” from Exodus 40:33 is shâʻar, shaw-ar’ and means, to split or open, reason out, estimate… and the Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon writes: “to set free… to set a price” and Jesus most certainly did “set free” every human from the curse of sin.

The gate, (as also the door and the vail) was really a “hanging.” (See Exodus 27:9, 16; 26:31,32, 36).

All three entrances were suspended by way of metal (silver or gold) hooks from the pillars which supported them (Exodus 38:19; 26:32,37). (See Study 4 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle.”) There were no curtain rods nor any other device by way of which these “hangings” could be raised up or pulled to one side.

To enter the court, and thus, in order to pass “beneath” the “hangings,” one had to lift the bottom of the curtain and stoop down and go under the curtain. This bowing to enter shows a right attitude of heart, for when we come to Christ we come humbly in need of a Saviour. The man who will not bow his knee and his heart to Christ, cannot enter in (Psalm 99:5, Ephesians 3:14, Matthew 19:24).

We can only approach Jehovah God, by recognizing Jesus’ merit and through the eyes of a New Creation mind — the mind that was also in our Lord Jesus.

There were no cherubim interwoven into this outdoor screen surrounding the court area and the gate, unlike that of the vail. (We discuss about the cherubim a little later in this Study.)

The tribe of Judah, the kingly tribe, camped outside the Eastern Gate. The name Judah means “praise,” and Jesus was descended from this tribe (Hebrews 7:14).

The Four Posts at the Gate

There were FOUR posts at the Gate (Exodus 27:16-19).

Perhaps FOUR here, could represent the four authors of the Gospels of Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) who most conspicuously held up Christ’s character before the world and who are the instruments used to build our faith into Christ — by studying about Jesus and getting to know who he is and thus how to become like him, and learning about what he taught to likewise follow his teachings and spread the lessons to all who have a listening ear.

(2) THE DOOR

the-five-posts-at-the-door-of-the-tabernacle

The “door” was the one entrance into the Holy (which represents the spirit begotten condition of the “little flock” class — see Study 3 of the “Beauties of the Tabernacle” series of posts on this website).

The door of the Tabernacle is of finely twisted linen (Exodus 26:36) because Jesus has completely satisfied the justice of God.

It is white to express the purity and righteousness of Jesus’ character. Jesus was the one without sin and without stain or blemish (1 Peter 1:19).

As was the gate and veil, this door was made of “blue, purple, and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen—the work of an embroiderer” (Exodus 36:37).

The door would have been thick enough to block light and it was in the Holy Place where the golden lampstand was (which stood directly opposite the table on the south side) and it was to burn continuously both night and day (Exodus 27:20-21).

The Materials Used for the Fabric of the Sanctuary

Flax and goat’s hair were the materials used for the fabrics of the sanctuary. According to Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers, “the flax was dyed before it was spun into thread.”

weavers.jpgHere is an image of two Israelite women moving the “weavers beam” forward on a large vertical loom as they make fine twisted linen.

In Exodus 35:25 we read, “And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. 26 And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats’ hair.

In the above verse, “wise-hearted” women refers to all who had sufficient skill. Although both men and women of ancient Egypt spun thread, spinning seems to have been done primarily by the Hebrew women. It was effected in early times by means of a wheel and spindle, with or without a distaff. (Reference: http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200000994).

Jesus Christ referred to spinning when he urged his disciples, not to be unduly anxious about clothing, but to trust in God to clothe them. Jesus said: “Mark well how the lilies grow; they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, Not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these.” (Luke 12:27, 28; Matthew 6:28-30).

“Of fine linen” — Rather, of white. Most of the Egyptian linen is of a yellowish white, being made from flax imperfectly blanched.

Note: It is described in the English version as the linen being wrought with the needle, or embroidered; but the word rendered “needle-work” is now believed to denote a striped or checked pattern produced by the loom. Hence the curtain of the gate and door had a blue, scarlet and purple colour appear in them in stripes or checks, instead of being wrought into figures of cherubs, as on the curtain of the vail.

The Colours of the Linen Curtains

colours-of-the-tabernacle

  • White

White linen was used for garments for royalty and persons of rank and has been found in the tombs of the Pharaohs. White linen always speaks of purity and righteousness:

Revelation 15:6 —And out of the temple came the seven angels having the seven plagues, clothed in pure bright linen, and having their chests girded with golden bands.

Revelation 3:5  “He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.”

Revelation 19:14  “And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.”

The fine-twined, white linen speaks of righteousness and typifies Jesus, the Son of Man, spotless, pure, and sinless.

1 John 3:3-5 — “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure…and you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin.”

  • Blue

The interwoven thread of blue seems to speak the fact that Jesus remained completely loyal and true to his heavenly Father; that he faithfully maintained his righteousness and purity at all costs.

Blue is the colour of the sky without clouds and so it is also known to be a symbol of what is heavenly.

Blue is also the colour of nobility. We recognize those qualities in our Lord Jesus. He came from heaven, he then returned there as a divine soul. “He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you” (1 Peter 1:20, ESV).

We read that Jesus came and being found in the appearance of a man humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:5-11).

  • Scarlet

Scarlet represents Christ’s blood shed for all — his sufferings and death on the cross. Our Lord’s loyalty and faithfulness were put to the severest tests, tests in which obedience to the will of God resulted in his sacrificial death on Calvary’s cross.

The Apostle Peter captures the thought here in saying “it was not with …. silver and gold you were redeemed… but with the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:17-23).

It is Christ’s blood which gives life and purifies.

  • Purple

Purple represents Jesus’ royalty; he was of the royal line of David, Lord of the earth, and the inheritor of all the promises of God.  Our Lord Jesus became King of kings and Lord of lords since Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matthew 28:18, NIV).

Jesus is king of a kingdom not of this world (John 18:33-39).

Because of Christ’s faithfulness unto death, God indeed did highly exalt him to the royalty of the kingdom, as was prophesied many centuries in advance:

“Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death; and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12).

The Five Posts at the Door

There were FIVE posts (pillars) that supported the first vail (the door) of the Holy (Exodus 26:37; Exodus 36:38). The number 5 in the Bible represents the New Creature in Christ. (See Study 3 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle”.)

These posts were constructed of shittim wood overlaid with gold, and they were set in sockets of copper — representing perfect (or justified) human nature, and therefore, the spirit-begotten condition of the church. How beautifully this reflects that the saints still in the flesh (in the Holy — representative of the “in part” condition (1 Corinthians 13:9) have their “treasure” of the Spirit (gold) in “earthen vessels” (copper) as we read of in 2 Corinthians 4:7 (ASV):

 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves.”

(3) THE VAIL

the-vail-of-the-tabernacle

The entrance to the Most Holy is called “the vail” (or in Hebrew, paroketh) of the Tabernacle and which the Apostle Paul in the New Testament designates “the second vail” (Hebrew 9:3).

It was only through the vail (which represents Christ’s flesh, R.4746) that one could enter into the Most Holy — the spirit-born condition of glory, honor and immortality to which the faithful over-comers of this age became heirs. (See Study 3 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle.)

For a certain period of time the door to the High Calling of the Church stands ajar during the 6000 years of permission of evil which has been allowed since 33 AD. Jesus opened up this new way of life through the veil; that is to say, his flesh—his sacrifice.

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say, his flesh (Hebrews 10:19, 20).

The Rending of the Vail

The rending of the Temple vail (in Jerusalem) took place at the same time as the earthquake at the moment of our Lord’s death — his crucifixion — which we read about, in Matthew 27:51 and Luke 23:45.

Interestingly, this great vail was torn, not from the bottom toward the top, as would be the expectation if it were the result of wear, but from the top to the bottom, as indicating it was a manifestation of divine power.

The rending of this curtain represents symbolically the opening of the narrow entrance way into the High Calling — an opening between heaven itself and the heavenly condition of those living in the Gospel Age (now spanning nearly 2000 years since 33 AD) by Christ through the sacrifice of his flesh.

Through that rent vail we may see into the things beyond and be ready to pass into the Most Holy (R.4746).

Passing through this second vail into the Most Holy, involves “the death of the HUMAN body” (Tabernacle Shadows, page 22).

Both the fleshly mind and fleshly body must be left behind before we can enter into the “holiest of all.” We will then be in the spirit realm, for flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 15:50).

True believers are represented as being associated with Jesus as priests in the Holy, (the outer apartment of the two) where they have fellowship with God through the light of the golden candlestick, through the bread of the golden table, and through the incense that we are permitted to offer on the golden altar. It is from this standpoint we can now by faith see beyond the vail — catch glimpses at least of the heavenly estate which God hath in reservation for them who love him, for the called ones according to his purpose, for the Christ, head and body (R.3371:2).

The Cherubim

Unlike the curtain for the gate and the door, the linen curtain of the vail was embroidered with cherubim, (as were the walls of the Tabernacle proper — due to cherubim embroidered on the first of the Tabernacle’s coverings). Any cherubim in the vail would presumably have been depicted in a different way than the two golden cherubim over the ark of the covenant — these being described in Exodus 25:20:-

“And the cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubims be.”

Here is one artist’s impression of what the vail pattern may have resembled:

artist's impression of vail pattern .jpgCherubim being heavenly (angelic) creatures suggests that those passing beyond this vail enter into the heavenly condition — life on the spirit plane — partakers of the Divine Nature.

The ancient Jews said this later veil of the temple was as wide as four fingers, so that no one could possibly see into the Most Holy place (David Guzik).

The vail divided the Tabernacle into two, the Holy place at the front — 20 x10 cubits — and the Most Holy place that became a room 10 cubits long x 10 cubits wide x 10 cubits high.
Only the high priest was permitted to go beyond the vail. This occurred once a year, on the Day of Atonement.

When it came to moving from place to place, the vail was taken down from its hanging position and draped over the ark of the covenant (in which case, there was no “most holy” at that point, the vail defining the most holy having been taken down).

“(5) And when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall take down the covering vail, and cover the ark of testimony with it: (6) And shall put thereon the covering of badgers’ skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue, and shall put in the staves thereof” (Numbers 4:5-6).

Hence there was sufficient means by which the Levitical priests could carry out God’s requirements of not entering the most holy nor seeing the ark of the covenant exposed and thus not inflicting death on themselves or others. For whomever would touch the ark of the covenant (other than the High Priest on the Day of Atonement) would die, such as in the case of Uzzah (Exodus 25:14-15).

Is this not a wonderful reassurance that a consecrated child of God should not fear failing in their vows of consecration until death or fear second death! Why? Because the Heavenly Father provides enough immunity against the evils that surround when, one’s fear of reverence to the Father through Christ (Proverbs 1:7) helps one seek for God’s wisdom, help and comfort in every time of need and trial (Psalm 46:1). This reverential fear of doing wrong in the eyes of God is a blessing in disguise! — helping the consecrated Christian overcome (Romans 8:37) all the testings and temptations as did our Lord Jesus when he was on earth.

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The vail (“katapetasma”) means “to hide or conceal”, hide from view the “ark of the covenant” and the “mercy seat.”

It also acted as a barrier between God and man because while we are in the flesh, in the Holy condition as the developing embryonic New Creations in Christ, God is in the Most Holy, thus the vail separates the two of us.

The FOUR POSTS at the VAIL

4-posts-at-the-vail

The FOUR posts (Exodus 26:32; 36:36) supporting the vail into the Most Holy are set in sockets of silver.

Silver is a general symbol of Truth — the knowledge of which the justified believer holds on to the righteousness of Christ. (See Study 4  of the “Beauties of the Tabernacle” Series of posts on this website, regarding details about silver.)

The posts here, represent the spirit-birth (gold) condition as an actuality (silver), where one’s treasure is obtained in the fullest sense by carrying out one’s sacrifice willingly and with great joy in the Spirit, unto death.  Thus, the posts into the Most Holy no longer had sockets of copper as in at the gate and door entrance ways and this signifies that those entering the Most Holy place (Divine Realm) are no longer in the flesh.

The vail was hung from golden hooks from off the 4 posts (not from the 50 golden clasps which joined the two parts of the linen covering, although, the vail was located approximately under these clasps.) Refer to Study 8 of “Beauties of the Tabernacle.” It was probably a unified drapery on the backside of the posts.

As were the golden hooks and covering of the pillars of the holy and most holy — so are our hopes, aspirations, and calling — these all concern with things divine (Exodus 26:32-37).

The Number FOUR — In the Bible

The number four in the Bible refers to the concept of trial, testing, probation, judgment.

Thus here at the entrance of the most holy of the Tabernacle, the time of judgment of the church may be reflected in the four posts.

Here are some other examples of four in the Bible (as explained in an article titled “Symbolic Numbers” by Br. David Rice in The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Nov./Dec. 2004):

  • At the second feeding of the multitudes by Jesus — representing the time of harvest and judgment closing the Gospel age, the number reported was four thousand.
  • The forty years in the wilderness (Numbers 32:13) — representing the Gospel age period of testing, trial, development.
  • The same is represented in the four hundred years of Genesis 15:13 — which describes the period of the affliction of the seed of Abraham, beginning with the mocking of Isaac, at the age of five, by Ishmael — a picture of the early affliction of the Church by the Jewish authorities and ends at the Exodus — a picture of the deliverance of God’s chosen at the end of the Gospel Age.

When multiplying these 400 years by the 360 days in a prophetic year, we yield 144,000, the number of the church in Revelation — showing the fruitage to be developed during the testing period of the Gospel age.

The different orders of magnitude of the number four (i.e. 4, 40, 400 and 4,000) also expressing the symbol.

[It is interesting to also note: “Of the dated visions of Jeremiah in chapters 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, and 36, three are dated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, and three in the fourth year of Zedekiah — all six judgments are in a year four.

When the seven times of punishment on Israel was represented in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, the expression “seven times” appeared four times in the narrative, and four times in the warning by Moses (Daniel 4; Leviticus 26).

These judgments were fulfilled by four Gentile kingdoms dominating Israel during the 2,520 years of their national punishment.] (Symbolic Numbers, The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, Nov./Dec. 2004)

The colours embroidered on the white linen of the vail are the same here as for the entrance into the Holy. The presence of these three colours on the white linen vail is echoed in Revelation:

“Be thou faithful (blue) unto death (scarlet) and I will give thee a crown (purple) of life” (Revelation 2:10).

Psalm 100:2-5 (NLT)

Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

References

[R= Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence – Charles Russell]

Acknowledgment

Content assisted by Br. George Tabac.

Suggested Further Reading

STUDY 1: An Introduction To The Tabernacle And It’s Purpose
URL: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/02/study-1-an-introduction-to-the-tabernacle-and-its-purpose/

STUDY 2: The Pillar of Cloud By Day And The Pillar of Smoke By Night  https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/09/study-2-the-pillar-of-cloud-by-day-and-the-pillar-of-smoke-by-night/

STUDY 3: The Tabernacle Construction: The Holy and The Most Holy   https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/14/study-3-the-tabernacle-construction-the-holy-the-most-holy/

STUDY 4: The Court (“Holy Place”)
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/09/20/study-4-the-court-holy-place/

STUDY 5: The Camp. The Israelites.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/10/28/study-5-the-camp-the-israelites/

STUDY 6: The Levites
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/11/18/study-6-the-levites/

STUDY 7: The Priests. The Day of Atonement.
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/10/study-7-the-priests-the-day-of-atonement/

STUDY 8: The Tabernacle Coverings
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/01/02/study-8-the-tabernacle-coverings/

The URL for this post:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/03/01/study-9-the-gate-the-door-the-vail/

 

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Calculating the Date of Jesus’ Birth & the 70 week Prophecy of Daniel 9

calculating-the-date-of-jesus-birth

A good starting point for determining the date of Christ Jesus’ date of birth is to look at the dates we have in the Bible surrounding the life of John the Baptist, who was Jesus’s older cousin.

Jesus was 6 months younger than John the Baptist. We read about this in the first chapter of the Book of Luke.

“24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying, 25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men. 26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:24-37).

Another fact to consider in determining the date of Jesus’ birth, is the date of Tiberius Caesar’s 15th year of reign, which was AD 29. This is based on Luke 3:1-3 which reads,

“1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.” And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”

Tiberius received the throne in August of AD 14. If the remainder of that year was an accession year, then his first year would be in AD 15, his 12th when Pontius Pilate was appointed govenor of Judea would be AD 26, and his 15th when John the Baptist began his ministry would be AD 29.

Jesus was thirty years old when he was baptized by John the Baptist and started His ministry. We read of this in the third chapter of Luke:

“21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. 23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli…” (Luke 3:21-23).

In the Gospel of Luke, we read that sheep and shepherds were out in the fields when Jesus was born. This highlights that it was the autumn season in Israel, and could not reflect the cold winter season, which the month of December falls into, in Israel.

“8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger” (Luke 2:8-16).

Now let us discuss the EXACT DAY of Jesus’ birth.

Some have thought that Jesus was born on September 29 on the Julian calendar, because that was celebrated as St. Michael’s day on the church calendar. This may be correct, but it is uncertain. The difference between lunar time, used by the Jews, and solar time, now in common use, involves some uncertainty also. However, autumn of 2 BC, is about correct.

Br. James Parkinson has an engaging analysis in “The Beauties of the Truth,” February 2011 issue, in the article “From Jordan to Golgotha.” “The single most-likely assumption is that Jesus was baptized on the first Sabbath after the Feast of Sukkoth, or Saturday, October 22. If so, then it follows that the number of days of Jesus’ spirit-begotten life to his crucifixion (?April 3, 33 AD) was … 1260 days.”

Nine months back of that date would bring us to the previous winter as the time at which our Lord laid aside the glory which he had with the Father before the world was [made] and the taking of or changing to human nature began. Possibly this is related to the celebration of December 25th as Christmas Day, though that specific date was evidently chosen to connect Jesus to the solar solstice, a day observed in common culture centuries ago.

The Seventy Week Prophecy

Thus the ministry of Jesus would have been about 3 1/2 years in length. This is compatible with what one might infer from the SEVENTY WEEK PROPHECY in Daniel Chapter 9. For that prophecy speaks of the “midst of the week,” which divides the last “week” of seven years into two parts, marking one of those as the ministry of Jesus. If Jesus was 30 years old at his baptism in the autumn of the year 29, then his death at Passover season in the spring of 33 AD yields a ministry, about 3½ years later, would be consistent.

The 70 week prophecy is given not in years but in units of “weeks”—seven year increments—so in weeks of years. Using this fairly course measure, the prophecy stipulates the number of weeks which would pass until the appearance of Messiah, namely 69. Messiah did appear subsequent to the end of 69 weeks, and of course before the end of 70 weeks, so this part of the prophecy is correctly fulfilled.

But precisely when in this last week would his ministry begin?

In order to specify this, the prophecy says, God would cause the “sacrifice and oblation” of the Law to cease “in the midst of the [last] week” (Daniel 9:27).

The middle of that last (70th) week would be in AD 29, the very time Jesus presented himself to John at Jordan for baptism. Jesus there became the antitype of the bullock of the sin offering for 3 1/2 years until 33 AD. Jesus began replacing the typical arrangements by fulfilling them as an antitype. At his baptism, Jesus began to fulfill the Law types and shadows respecting himself. Thus, in Hebrews 10:9 we read:

“Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first [the Law and its types], that he may establish the second [the antitypes] (Hebrews 10:9).

Notice that the prophecy does not say Jesus would be cut off in the middle of the week. This thought, though a common interpretation of the prophecy, is not actually stipulated in the text. Verse 26 says “Messiah will be cut off,” and verse 27 says in the middle of the week God would cause the “sacrifice and oblation” to cease, but these are two separate parts of the prophecy.

Confirmed for One Week

Verse 27 says “he [God] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week.” When the text says “he,” clearly God is the one intended. Some suppose Christ is meant by this pronoun, and claim the antecedent is the same as the pronoun “himself” in verse 26 (King James version).

But in that verse “himself” does not appear in the Hebrew. The “he” of verse 27 who confirms the covenant is the same as the one who “determined” the seventy weeks (verse 24), namely Yahweh.

The week referred to is the last (70th) week, which included the ministry of John the Baptist, which began before Jesus appeared as Messiah in the middle of the week. The Jewish Covenant was “confirmed” to them by both John and Messiah, in order for faithful ones to be transferred from Moses into Messiah.

After the cross Jesus became the “end of the law covenant … to everyone that believeth” (Romans 10:4). The Law Covenant was not being “confirmed” to the Jews after Christ died.

The beginning of the week would be AD 26, and it is natural to ask what episode marked this date. But the prophecy does not specify any particular event. The prophecy does stipulate that 69 weeks would pass before Messiah appeared, but this does not require Messiah to appear immediately at the expiration of 69 weeks, any more than verse 26 requires Messiah to be “cut off” immediately “after threescore and two weeks.”

Incidentally, we notice that AD 26 was the date when Pontius Pilate assumed the governorship of Judea, setting the stage as it were for the events soon to unfold.

The fundamental basis for applying the Seventy Weeks must be proper historical dates. If we loose ourselves from this requirement, the whims of interpretation can direct the issue a variety of ways, with no anchor of fact to settle the matter. Today we have that anchor. Ezra’s commission was in 458 BC (Ezra 7:7-14), Nehemiah’s in 445 BC, and only the first one fits the prophecy.

The traditional understanding amongst many students of the Bible has been that AD 29 marks the beginning of the 70th week. In our understanding this cannot be so. Here is our reasoning WHY:

  • The prophecy tells us that it begins with a decree to restore Jerusalem.
  • There was no such decree in the year 455 BC, as would be necessary to make 69 weeks reach precisely to AD 29.
  • There was also no such decree in 454 BC (which is however, the understanding advocated by many dearly beloved brethren in Christ, and the understanding documented in Volume 2, Study 3, page 67 of “Studies in the Scriptures”)—and if there had been such a decree in 454 BC, then the time from 454 BC to AD 29 is only 482 years, rather than the required 483 years.

Thus 483 years forward take us to the year AD 26, which began the last, or 70th week. Seventy weeks of years forward terminate at Calvary, with no imprecision crossing the BC/AD divide.

The dates of Christ’s life are sometimes disputed elsewhere. But the evidence has been decisively shifting in favor of considerate Bible Student view.

In October, 1966, in The Journal of Theological Studies, appeared an article by William Filmer, “The Chronology of the Reign of Herod the Great,” showing that Herod died near the opening of 1 BC (rather than 4 BC), which allows Jesus’ birth in the fall of 2 BC, 30 years before his ministry began in the 15th year of Tiberius (Luke 3:1,23).

As three Passovers in Jesus’ ministry are explicitly referred to in the book of John, and possibly another in John 5:1, this is consistent with a 3½ year ministry which would have ended at Passover in the year AD 33, in which year Nisan 14 did fall on a Friday, consistent with the Gospel narratives.

See also “Dating the Crucifixion,” by Humphreys and Waddington, Nature magazine, December, 1983, which shows this to be the only feasible date for the crucifixion in all the years Pontius Pilate governed Judea, namely AD 26 to AD 36.

As Jesus died on Friday April 3, 33 AD (Julian calendar)—for that was Nisan 14 in the year 33 AD as best we can judge (which rarely falls on a Friday, but in this year it actually did) then if his ministry was 3½ years, discount the three for a moment, the half year would take us back six months from April—thus to October.

The day of the death of Jesus also coincided with a lunar eclipse, visible at Jerusalem as the moon rose near sunset on that fateful day. In this case, it seems the “moon turned to blood” as a token of the passing of the Law, with the death of Jesus. (Acts 2:16-21)

(Technical side note: in those days the Julian calendar operated in the Roman world, and the Gregorian calendar in use today did not begin introduced in 1582 in some European countries. However, some countries used the Julian calendar much longer. Turkey was the last country to officially switch to the new system on January 1, 1927.

To personally experiment with converting dates from one system to another, one can google “Calendar Converter.” The first hit should be the Formula date conversion site, https://www.fourmilab.ch/documents/calendar/. There are some caveats about computing Jewish dates before about 300 AD or so, but in this case it has it correctly.)

JESUS

THE gentle sighing of the wind among the pines,
The joyous singing of the lark at break of day,
The rippling of the water-brooks through cooling shade,
The patter of the softly falling rain at night,
Are sounds less sweet by far than His most precious name.

No art can show a form so gracious and so fair,
No Master’s hand hath drawn a smile so wondrous sweet,
Nor could depict the majesty of that pure brow;
No canvas ever glowed with such a holy light
As shines from His most radiant image in my heart.

The dearest earthly friend may fail in time of need,
The sweetest and the loveliest grow cold at heart,
The nearest may not heed the throbbing heart’s sad cry,
The gayest throng may hold the loneliest solitude,
But Jesus, Jesus never fails my call to hear.

Oh, may the music of Thy name more clearly fall
Upon my ears attuned to catch that sweetest sound!
Oh, may Thine image in my heart so bright become
That I by gazing may be changed into the same;
Oh, blessed Jesus, let Thy presence ne’er depart,
Oh, come and reign forevermore with my heart!

by Gertrude W. Seibert

Acknowledgement

Br. David Rice – written content.
Br. James Parkinson – for his study from “The Beauties of the Truth” – as referenced in the above post.

Further Reference & Reading Material:

“Confirmation on a Fall Birth Date,” The Beauties of the Truth, December 1980.

Volume 2 of “Studies in the Scriptures” by Br. Charles. T. Russell – “The Time Is At Hand”, Study 2 – Bible Chronology pg.55-62 : THE DATE OF OUR LORD’S BIRTH

“The Birth of a Savior” – The Dawn Magazine, December 2005.

“The Star of Bethlehem” – The Dawn Magazine, December 2003.

What Scriptures Point to Seven Years of Tribulation?https://chicagobible.org/what-scriptures-point-to-7-years-of-tribulation/

The URL of this post:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/06/how-to-calculate-the-date-of-jesus-birth/

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Bible Student Links and Bible Resources

(a) Here is a great list of BIBLE STUDENTS’ WEBSITES :-

Australia

America

Africa

Brazil

Bulgaria

Canada

China

Croatia

England

France

Germany

India

Italy

Moldovia

Philippines

Poland/Polish

Romania

Russia

Spain/Spanish

Swedish

*******

(b) Here are some wonderful, spiritually edifying BIBLE STUDENTS MAGAZINES & PERIODICALS :-

THE HERALD OF CHRIST’S KINGDOM  — monthly magazine. The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom is the official publication of the Pastoral Bible Institute, and has been published since 1918.

THE DAWN BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION — monthly magazine & literature/articles published on Christian living, doctrine, and current events. The “Frank and Ernest” radio program continue to be aired by the Dawn as does “The Bible Answers” TV program.

BEAUTIES OF THE TRUTH — a beautifully insightful regularly published (every 3 months) publication which shares scriptural viewpoints thought to be harmonious with God’s Plan of the Ages. This magazine is a hidden gem for the serious Truth Seeker, Ambassador of CHRIST and Bible student and scholar!

THE PEOPLE’S PAPER — a 12 page (A4 size) periodical published four times each year (January, April, July, October) by the Berean Bible Institution Inc., Australia.

BIBLE STUDENTS DAILY — Here on BIBLE Students DAILY, new posts are shared regularly, with the Home Page displaying the most recent post shared with Readers.

*******

(c) Here is a great list of BIBLE STUDY RESOURCE LITERATURE :-

WHAT PASTOR RUSSELL SAID — This book consists of hundreds of questions and answers by Pastor Charles T. Russell only, covering about twelve years of the Convention Reports and several years of the Watch Tower. Wherever a question is from the Watch Tower the letter (Z) follows the year. Otherwise it is from a Convention Report.

STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES & PHOTODRAMA OF CREATION — In 31 different languages.

OVERLAND MONTHLY, PASTOR RUSSELL’S SERMONS & OTHERS RESOURCES — Web books containing: Berean Studies, Exceeding Great & Precious Promises, Expanded Biblical Comments, Hymns & Poems, Manna, Overland Monthly, Question Book, Sermon Book, Songs in the Night, Topic Index for Studies in the Scriptures and other helps.

TIME & PROPHECY — A Harmony of Time Prophecy with history and Archaeology. July, 1995, by David Rice.

THE STREAM OF TIME — Bible Chronology & Time Prophecy. August 2002, this edition January 2004 by David Rice.
THE APPROACHING END OF THE HARVEST — 6000 Years from Adam; Closing at the End of the Harvest; Anticipated with the year 2043 — Additional Evidence; Structure and Design; Concerns Addressed; February 2016, Faithbuilders Fellowship (DavRice@aol.com).

PILGRIM ECHOES — Web book by Benjamin Barton.

ZECHARIAH — The following exposition comprised a series of articles from 1968-1970 in the journal titled “The Bible Study Monthly” by Albert O. Hudson, of Milborne Port England, who was a faithful Christian, Bible Student and Scholar of the twentieth century. He was born in 1899 and died in 2000 at 101 years of age.
OUR WILDERNESS WANDERINGS — Anton Frey: lessons from Israel in the wilderness.
THE LAST WEEK OF OUR LORD’S MINISTRY — With scriptures and reprint articles for each day fully printed out.
ECHOES OF THE PAST — Web book by Norman Woodworth.
THE GARDEN OF EDEN — An examination of the story of Adam and Eve. Albert O. Hudson, England written 1959-1960.

THE STORY OF THE DELUGE — Biblical, geological and historical account of Noah, the ark and the deluge. Albert O. Hudson, England written 1974-1976.

AFTER THE FLOOD — History, archaeology and symbolism upon entering the new world. Albert O. Hudson, England written 1984-1986.

KING DAVID OF ISRAEL — The life and times of a man after God’s own heart and a fitting symbol of a greater throne. Albert O. Hudson, England written 1982-1984.

THE KEYS OF REVELATION — A verse-by-verse explanation of the Book of Revelation by Frank Shallieu.

EZEKIEL’S VISION OF A NEW TEMPLE — An examination of various features of the vision and how it beautifully portrays the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. By Edmund Jezuit.

HARVEST TRUTH DATA BASE — This website contains:

  • 6 Volumes written by Pastor Charles Taze Russell;
  • 12 Volumes of Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence;
  • Expanded Biblical Comments;
  • Hymns of Millennial Dawn;
  • Question Book;
  • Photodrama of Creation Book;
  • Daily Devotional Books (as featured in detail on this website).

THE BIBLE RESOURCE APP: Go to your APP STORE to download the “BIBLE RESOURCES” APP:

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The Bible Resources App contains daily devotional material, bible resources and hundreds and hundreds of discourses by brethren world wide.

 

 

BIBLE STUDY LIBRARY CD

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This Bible Students’ CD Program is A GOLD MINE! It can be purchased from The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Bookstore and it allows access to a huge variety of Bible Study literature to all the Books of the Bible. The search allows you to type in any topic, Scripture or word(s) and it will direct you to the source of literature you are searching for.

 

 

RVIC – THE REVISED VERSION (AMERICAN EDITION) IMPROVED & CORRECTED BIBLE — from manuscripts discovered and published to AD 1999. The most accurate up to date English version of the Holy Scriptures available.

STRONG’S CONCORDANCE WITH HEBREW & GREEK LEXICON

THE EMPHATIC DIAGLOTT

GOD SOLE CREATOR – Web book.

READ ABOUT THE FIRST VERSION OF THE BIBLE : http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/

power-point-how-we-got-the-bible-23-638

The first time all of these materials from the Old Testament and New Testament were assembled between two covers, was in the time of the Roman emperor Constantine (reigned 313 -337 AD).  This formidable project was a gift to the church from Constantine and each word in Greek was copied by hand in the best penmanship available on costly parchment.   This Holy Bible still exists today and is called the Sinaitic Codex.

For ease of study and cross reference, bound pages (technically called a “codex”) were used comprising of animal skin (parchment), rather than employing scrolls.  Translations of the books in the Holy Bible into every language spoken by Christians have continued from that day to the present.

Physically, Codex Sinaiticus is located in four places: the 43 original sheets in Leipzig; a few remnants forgotten in the Russian National Library; the majority of the text in the British Library; and approximately a dozen sheets that were later discovered after an earthquake at St. Catherine’s. But the digital age has brought the entire manuscript back together in a virtual online museum at www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/.

It was in 1844, that Constantin (von) Tischendorf (18 January 1815 – 7 December 1874)—a world leading biblical scholar in his time—discovered the world’s oldest and most complete disputed Bible dating from 325 with the complete New Testament not discovered before. This Bible is called Codex Sinaiticus, after the St. Catherine’s Monastery at Mt. Sinai, in the city of Saint Catherine, Egypt, where Tischendorf discovered it.

Learn more about the controversy surrounding Constantine Tischendorf and his removal of Codex Sinaiticus by reading “Hero or Thief? Constantine Tischendorf Turns Two Hundred” by Stanley Porter in the September/October 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

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