Can the Stars Tell Us Exactly When Jesus Was Born?

by | Mar 20, 2017 | Apologetics, Evangelism

This week on March 23rd will mark the 2021st anniversary of the birth of Jesus.

That’s right. We believe that we can put together the prophecies, historical data, astronomical data and Scripture to pinpoint the birth of Jesus to March 23, 5 B.C.

We know from Luke 3:23 that Jesus was about 30 when He began His ministry. The prophet Daniel tells us the year of Christ’s anointing would come 69 7’s, or 483 years, after the decree which sent Ezra to Jerusalem in 458 B.C (Dan. 9:25). Doing the math, and remembering that there is no year “0”, Daniel’s prophecy says Jesus would begin His ministry in A.D. 26. This year is backed up by two dates from Scripture. John the Baptist began his ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius, A.D. 25 (Luke 3:1) and Jesus cleared the temple the first time 46 years after Herod began renovating it (John 2:20) in 20 BC (According to Josephus), or A.D. 27. Thus, many Bible scholars believe that A.D. 26 is the year Jesus began his ministry. If He was 30 years old, remembering again that there is no year “0”, He would have been born in 5 B.C.

Jesus would have been born either in the spring or fall of the year, according to the Scripture surrounding the birth of John the Baptist. John’s father, Zechariah was a member of the priestly order of Abijah (Luke 1:5) which, according to rabbinical sources, ministered at the temple in May and November. The Angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah in the Temple, and Zechariah would have gone home and probably conceived John the Baptist in June or December, who would have been born nine months later, in March or September. We know from Scripture that John the Baptist was six months older than Jesus (Luke 1:26), so Jesus would have been born in September or March of 5 B.C.

To find the exact time of year, we look to astronomy and archaeology. We know that there was a star that appeared when Jesus was born and that magi from the East, possibly following the prophetic teachings of Daniel the Magi (Dan. 2:48), came looking for Him (Matt. 2:1,2). The Chinese also saw the Star, identifying it as a nova, which appeared in the spring of 5 B.C. and burned for 70 days. Thus, John the Baptist was conceived in December of 7 B.C., Jesus was conceived in June of 6 B.C., John the Baptist was born in September of 6 B.C., and Jesus was born in March of 5 B.C.        

King Herod, the tyrannical ruler of Judea, had interviewed the magi when they arrived in Jerusalem. According to our research, described in The Stars of His Coming, there were signs in the Sun, moon and stars surrounding the birth of Jesus beginning with Zechariah in 7 BC. The magi would have testified to the same date, and for that reason Herod ordered all of the children under 2 years old in Bethlehem to be killed. Josephus tells us that there was a lunar eclipse on Passover and that Herold died later that year. This lunar eclipse, or blood moon, occurred on March 23, 5 B.C. The blood moon occurred in the Spring of 5 B.C., concurrent with the Star of Bethlehem, but one additional piece of evidence is needed to suggest that this is the day Jesus was born.

We find it in Revelation 12:1, 2, which describes a sign in the heavens, a woman clothed in the sun with the moon at her feet at the moment of Christ’s birth. The woman clothed in the sun is the zodiacal constellation Virgo (the virgin), which promises that God will send a savior through virgin birth. Astronomical research shows that the blood moon of March 23, 5 B.C. occurred while the moon was in the feet of Virgo. Thus, Revelation 12:12 presents us with a picture of the night sky when Jesus was born, and that night was March 23, 5 B.C.  

Of course, we know that the whole world will continue to celebrate the birthday of Jesus on December 25. In its way, it is fitting to celebrate the advent on the old Roman winter solstice, when it all began with the conception of John the Baptist around the winter solstice of 7 B.C. and signs in the sun, moon and stars begin to appear.

Even so, it is nice to know His real birthday so we in His family can honor Him on His actual birthday.  

Happy Birthday, Jesus!  {eoa}

Ron Allen is a Christian businessman, CPA and author who serves in local, national and international ministries spreading a message of reconciliation to God, to men and between believers. He is founder of the International Star Bible Society, telling how the heavens declare the glory of God, and the Emancipation Network, which helps people escape from financial bondage, and co-founder with his wife, Pat, of Corporate Prayer Resources, dedicated to helping intercessors.

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