Logo Copyright © 2007 NCCG -
All Rights Reserved
Return to Main Page




Symphony of Truth

In a Nutshell

Topical Guide


5 Commissions

10 Commandments

333 NCCG Number

144,000, The


Action Stations

Agency, Free





Apostolic Interviews

Apostolic Epistles

Archive, Complete

Articles & Sermons





Baptism, Water

Baptism, Fire

Becoming a Christian

Bible Codes

Bible Courses

Bible & Creed


Calendar of Festivals


Charismata & Tongues

Chavurat Bekorot

Christian Paganism

Chrism, Confirmation


Church, Fellowship

Contact us



Covenants & Vows












Ephraimite Page, The

Essene Christianity




Family, The



Festivals of Yahweh

Festivals Calendar



Gay Christians


Godhead, The






Hebrew Roots





Holy Echad Marriage

Holy Order, The

Home Education


Human Nature




Intro to NCCG.ORG



Jewish Page, The

Judaism, Messianic

Judaism, Talmudic


KJV-Only Cult





Marriage & Romance



Messianic Judaism






NCCG Origins

NCCG Organisation

NCCG, Spirit of

NCCG Theology



New Age & Occult



New Covenant Torah

Norwegian Website


Occult Book, The

Occult Page, The

Olive Branch



Paganism, Christian















RDP Page




Satanic Ritual Abuse



Sermons & Articles

Sermons Misc







Swedish Website


Talmudic Judaism



Tongues & Charismata



True Church, The




United Order, The




Wicca & the Occult


World News


Yah'shua (Jesus)




Why We Believe Messiah
was Born on Passover

25 December, 6 January, Tabernacles or Passover?

3rd (Creation Calendar) Revised Edition, 2012 [2]

We often get alot of surprised comments from friends in different assemblies and churches when they learn that we believe that Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) was born in the early morning of 6 April on the Gregorian Calendar or Pesach (Passover) on the Creation Calendar, as this is not generally believed either by Christians (who are for the most part still imprisoned by the pagan 25 December date) or by Messianics (who believe He was born in the autumn/fall). In this essay I shall attempt to give the scriptural and historical reasons for our belief. But before I do so, I want to hasten to add that a knowledge of the Saviour's birth is not essential for anyone's salvation even though such knowledge is useful to have. Finally, though we are not commanded to celebrate the birth, it would be nice to know when it was for those Christians and Messianics who, wish to mark His birth date in some way.

Fixing the Year

Because the Hebrews did not use the solar calendar as we do but operated from a luni-solar one, knowing the year of the birth of Messiah is essential to fixing the actual day. This is because using a lunar calendar the day varies in each year. Thus though (for the sake of argument) Yah'shua (Jesus) may have been born on 6 April 1 B.C. it does not follow that His birthdate follows on 6 April every year. Anyone who follows the Hebrew calendar will immediately realise this when it comes to the celebration of Israel's feasts as will those Christians who still follow the pagan tradition of Easter for Messiah's resurrection (which varies each year).

As we look at the evidence we will see that nothing is absolutely conclusive, at least if we use the Bible alone. However, if we are willing to lend some credence to the traditions of the Jews, who have a long-standing belief about when the Messiah will be born, and other historical evidence, then it is possible to affix the historical date of Messiah's birth with some accuracy.

Messianic Evangelicals believe the Messiah was born in the early morning of 6 April 1 B.C. In arriving at this conclusion we will be considering seven principal strands of evidence:

  • 1. The reign of Herod the Great as King of Judea;
  • 2. The reign of Augustus Caesar as Emperor of Rome;
  • 3. The Governorship of Cyrenius (Quirenius) of Syria;
  • 4. The shepherds in the field;
  • 5. The appearance of a new star;
  • 6. Jewish tradition about the birth of the Messiah; and
  • 7. The witness of the Qumran sectaries

In addition will will recall that Luke gives a year in the reign of Tiberias Caesar during which John the Baptist began his ministry, and the approximate age Yah'shua (Jesus) had reached when John baptised Him.

The weight of evidence produced by traditional scholarship suggests that the Messiah was born 7-5 B.C. which is at variance with the conclusions we have reached. These particular years are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to correlate with the time of the beginning of Yah'shua's (Jesus') ministry as found in Luke 3:1-2 which is one of the reasons we dismiss them as being far too early.

1. Herod the Great

    "...Yah'shua (Jesus) was born in Bethlehem in Judea during the time of King Herod...After Herod died, a malak (angel) of Yahweh appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, 'Get up, take the child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead'" (Matt.2:1, 19-20, NIV).

The first conclusive fact that we have is that Yah'shua (Jesus) was born whilst King Herod the Great was alive. Traditionally, scholars have tried to narrow the limits of time for Messiah's birth by determining the likely time of Herod's death. Our greatest source of data on this comes from the Jewish historian, Josephus, even though much of the chronology of his writings is disputed by some scholars, and especially the length of Herod's reign. He is, however, our principal sourse of information, and in general is thought to be very accurate by most scholars. One interesting thing Josephus mentions is that Herod the Great died after an eclipse of the moon and before a Passover (Josephus, Wars of the Jews I.32.5). That eclipse has been identified to have taken place on the night of 12-13 March 4 B.C. using the older Julian calendar. However, this eclipse is not conclusive evidence because two other eclipses have been identified - one on 9 January 1 B.C. and another on 29 December 1 B.C. (both in the Julian calendar). The second of these was visible when the moon rose over the eastern horizon of Jerusalem in the evening, a time when many people in Judea would have been awake to have noted the unusual phenomenon of a moon rising in eclipse. As early as the 16th century, Joseph Scaliger, the mastermind behind the Gregorian calendar reform and the Julian period used by astronomers, decisively maintained that the death of Herod the Great was connected with a 1 B.C. eclipse (Ernest L. Martin, The Celestial Pageantry Dating of Christ's Birth, in Christianity Today, vol.21, no.5, 3 December 1976, p.16).

Obviously the death of Herod the Great is an important factor in trying to determine the time of Messiah's birth but doubt remains as to the year of his death. Our only real source of data is Josephus whom many scholars believe to be ambiguous and unreliable, and we are left to make a choice between the three aforementioned eclipses whilst at the same time trying to decide whether Josephus got his facts correct. Whilst we can come to no final conclusions we are certainly not excluded the possibility of a spring birth of Messiah in the year 1 B.C.

2. Augustus Caesar

    "In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.." (Luke 2:1, NIV).

Augustus Caesar ruled as Roman emperor from 27 B.C. to A.D. 14 which places his reign well within any probable date for Messiah's birth. No one has ever found another record conclusively referring to the census (for taxation purposes) around the year of Yah'shua's (Jesus') birth.

3. Quirinius

    "This was the first tax census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria" (Luke 2:2, NIV).

Senator P. Sulpicus Quirinius is now believed by scholars to have held office as Governor of Syria on two separate occasions, though the dates of these are disputed. A census is associated with each term of office, the second one being mentioned in Acts 5:37. The concensus places the first governorship between 6 and 4 B.C. (the term is disputed) and there are not many scholars who believe it took place during 1 B.C. The ambiguity is such, though, that scholars are able to marshall evidence for a term between 4 and 1 B.C, and this is the opinion of Jack Finegan (Jack Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology, Pinceton, NJ; Princeton University Press, 1964, p.235). There is uncertainty amongst historians as to the identity of the governor of Syria in 4-1 B.C. though there is none for the periods 9-6 B.C. and 6-4 B.C. when it is known for certain that C. Centius Saturninus and P. Quinctilius Varus were, respectively, governors of Syria. Thus the concensus between biblical scholars that Messiah was born sometime between 7 and 5 B.C. does violence to the scripture at Luke 2:2 and it is at this point that the searcher after truth must decide either for the Word of Yahweh or for the fickle concensus of scholarly opinion.

Joseph & Mary registering for the census before Governor Quirinius.
Byzantine mosaic at the Chora Church, Constantinople 1315–20

4. Shepherds in the Fields by Night

    "And there were shepherds living out in the fields near by, keeping watch over their flocks at night" (Luke 2:8, NIV).

Whilst many commentators who have remarked on the impossibility of Messiah being born on 25 December because of the shepherds have opted for an autumnal birth, they have invariably overlooked one vital piece of information which in my opinion gives us an important key to a spring birth for the Messiah, namely the fact that spring is the lambing season. In Israel and in surrounding nations lambing occurs over a two week period from late March to early April. During this season the flocks require the constant attention of their shepherds, who keep careful watch over their sheep and their newborn for their own safety. At no other time of the year are shepherds so closely tied to their flocks.

Whilst it is true that the flocks are also under the shepherds' watchcare during the summer and autumnal/fall months as well (they are outdoors from late March to early November), it is by no means as demanding as in the lambing season when predators are more likely to exploit the vunerability of both sheep and lambs. We should also recall the prophetic events surrounding Yah'shua's (Jesus') birth and how it was that Herod the Great, that human predator, attempted to massacre all the newborn children of Bethlehem following Messiah's reported birth (Matt.2:16-20).

Considering how the seasons of the year affect the behaviour of the sheep and the shepherds, it seems reasonable to conclude that the shepherds in the Judean hills would be "keeping watch over their flocks at night" in the spring and that, therefore, spring was a likely time for the birth of Messiah. The early morning of 6 April falls during the lambing season.

5. The Star of Bethlehem

    "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him" (Matt.2:2, NIV).

    "..the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was" (Matt.2:9, NIV)

For centuries astronomers have attempted to identify the star that heralded the birth of Messiah and some have even speculated that the new star could have been a supernova as this can be a hundred million times brighter than a middle-sized star, which may make it appear even brighter than the moon. About a dozen novae are observed by astronomers but ones that are visible to the naked eye are rare.

Another explanation for the star of Bethlehem was made by the German astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler in the early 17th century. Observing the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on 17 December 1603, he calculated that the same planets had come into allignment in 7 B.C. as well. Since then other persons have speculated that the 'New Star' could have been the triple conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in the constellation of Pisces during October, 7 B.C.

However, conjunctions are temporary, and don't move around and then suddenly stand still. Nor, for that matter, do supernovae. Herod's surprise at being told of the star by the magi suggests that the Star of Bethelehem may not have been particularly large or spectacular. More likely this was an astronomical phenomenon deliberately created by Yahweh as a sign. More than that we cannot say.

Additional Evidence from Dr. Luke

    "In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar - when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod Tetrach of Galilee, his brother Philip Tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias Tetrarch of Abilene - during the High Priesthood of Annas and Caiphas, the word of Elohim (God) came to John son of Zechariah in the desert" (Luke 3:1-2, NIV).

This is one of the easiest references in the New Testament to fix in time. Most historians identify 17 August A.D. 14 (Julian calendar), as the beginning of the reign of Tiberias Caesar, the second emperor of Rome. Luke tells us that John the Baptist began his ministry in the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius. This suggests that sometime between A.D. 27 and A.D. 29 John "went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of teshuvah (repentance) for the forgiveness of sins" (Luke 3:3, NIV). Though this information is useful it is not conclusive in determining the the time of Messiah's ministry as well as the year of His birth.

Luke gives us another important reference from which it is possible to approximate the time of the birth of Messiah:

    "When all the people were being baptised, Yah'shua (Jesus) was baptised too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened, and the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came down from heaven: 'You are My Son whom I love; with You I am well pleased.' Now Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself was about 30 years old when he began His ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph" (Luke 3:21-23, NIV).

From these passages we understand that John was baptising in the 15th year of Tiberius' reign and that Messiah was about 30. These two references make it possible to approximate the year of Messiah's birth. Historians recognise Tiberius as an important figure in the history of Rome and are able to define within a tolerance of at least two years the timing of the 15th year of his reign. Luke records that Messiah was about 30 when He was baptised. These chronological references would support 1 B.C. as the year of the birth of our Master. On the other hand, these references from Luke contradict the popular thesis that Messiah was born sometime in 7-5 B.C.

Passover and the Birth of Messiah

Table Showing the Birth of Messiah as Observed in Israel in 1 B.C.

Event Day of Week Gregorian Calendar Julian Calendar Judean Method of Reckoning Galilean & Pharisee Method of Reckoning
Vernal equinox, 9:30 am Monday 20 March 22 March    
  Tuesday 21 March 23 March    

Astronomical new moon occurs at approximately 1:49 pm on Wednesday afternoon but is not observable until next sunrise.

Vernal equinox, 9:30 am

Wednesday 22 March 24 March

Rosh Chodesh begins at sunrise.


Thursday 23 March 25 March Sunset for Sadducees and Judeans marks beginning of day and month of Aviv Aviv 1

Sunrise for Galileans and Pharisees marks beginning of day and month of Aviv


Friday 24 March 26 March Aviv 1 Aviv 2
  Saturday 25 March 27 March Aviv 2 Aviv 3
Sunday 26 March 28 March Aviv 3 Aviv 4
  Monday 27 March 29 March Aviv 4 Aviv 5
Tuesday 28 March 30March Aviv 5 Aviv 6
Wednesday 29 March 31 March Aviv 6 Aviv 7
Shabbat begins at Sunrise Thursday 30 March 1 April Aviv 7 Aviv 8
  Friday 31 March 2 April Aviv 8 Aviv 9
  Saturday 1 April 3 April Aviv 9 Aviv 10
Sunday 2 April 4 April Aviv 10 Aviv 11
(The Torah requires all healthy male Hebrews over 12 years of age and living within 90 miles of the temple to celebrate Passover in Jerusalem. In addition, Augustus Caesar has decreed that all the world should be taxed)
  Monday 3 April 5 April Aviv 11 Aviv 12



4 April 6 April Aviv 12 Aviv 13

In afternoon Paschal lambs are slain at temple for Galileans and Pharisees

Joseph & Mary arrive in Bethlehem 5 miles south of Jerusalem



5 April 7 April

Aviv 13

Aviv 14

Galileans and Pharisees eat Passover meal at sunset

Birth of Yah'shua occurs sometime during this night

In afternoon, Paschal lambs are slain at temple for Sadducess and Judeans



6 April 8 April Aviv 14

Sadducees and Judeans eat Passover meal at sunset.

The First day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and High Shabbat begin at sunset.

Aviv 15

The First day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and High Shabbat begin at sunrise.

Astronomical full moon, 2:21 pm.

Friday 7 April 9 April Aviv 15 Aviv 16
  Saturday 8 April 10 April Aviv 16 Aviv 17
  Sunday 9 April 11 April Aviv 17 Aviv 18
  Monday 10 April 12 April Aviv 18 Aviv 19
Tuesday 11 April 13 April Aviv 19 Aviv 20
Wednesday 12 April 14 April

Aviv 20

7th and last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins at sunset

Aviv 21

7th and last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins at sunrise

Thursday 13 April 15 April

Aviv 21


Aviv 22

Circumcision of the Messiah child on 8th day.

7th and last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread among Judeans and Sadducees

Friday 14 April 16 April Aviv 22 Aviv 23

The table above shows the correlation among four calendars during the spring of 1 B.C. The Julian and at least two different Jewish calendars were in use at the time. The Gregorian calendar was not known or used in the 1st century, being introduced in the mid 16th century by Pope Gregory XIII and has since become the most common calendar throughout the world. The Gregorian dates are calculated as if that calendar had existed at the time of Messiah's birth. Our secular calendar, the Gregorian calendar, would have identified the early morning of Messiah's birth as 6 April 1 B.C. The Julian calendar places the birth on 8 April 1 B.C. []

The dating of Messiah's birth in Jewish calendars of the first century is unexpectedly symbolic. The birth of Messiah was recognised by the normative Jews as having occurred on the night of Aviv 14, a time when the Galileans and Pharisees were most likely celebrating the Passover meal. The Passover was celebrated during the time of the full moon in the spring. It was, and continues to be, an important celebration during the Jewish year. Some pious Jews consider Passover an important time in the future chronology of Israel. The Passover table currently includes a place and cup of wine reserved for Elijah, whom the Jews expect some day to return for the eating of the Passover meal. In the Messianic Evangelical Passover celebration, the Passover table sometimes includes and place and a cup of wine for Yah'shua (Jesus) for His Second Coming.

The fixing of the Hebrew Passover month to the spring lunar cycle of 1 B.C. shows that Messiah came into the world on Aviv 14 - the same day, in the calendar of the Galileans, in which He ate the Last Supper, and the same day, in the calendar of the Judeans, on which he died. The birth of Messiah at the beginning of the Passover feast is of significance. In the reckoning of Yahweh this was not coincidental. The birth of the Messiah occurred at that time of the year when Yahweh's covenant with Israel was most remembered and honoured by the Hebrews. The Messiah came to earth to redeem His people at a time when remembrance of Yahweh was uppermost in the minds of the Judeans.

There is an added symbolic significance of Messiah being born in the lambing season, for not only was He born as the "Lamb of Elohim (God)" (Jn.1:36) but He died as the "Lamb of Elohim (God) which taketh away the sins of the world" (Jn.1:29) at about the same time.

The Passover birth of Messiah takes on greater meaning when we examine the writings of the Hebrews. According to Jewish literature, Isaac, the only son of Abraham and Sarah, was born on the first day of the Passover and "at his birth the sun shone with unparalled splendour, the like of which will only be seen at the time of the Messiah's coming" (Isaac, Encyclopedia Judaica, Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House, Ltd., 1971, pp.3-4). The suggestion here is that the birth of Isaac was a prototype of the coming of the Messiah.

In addition, the Midrash Rabbah, a collection of rabbinic writings commenting on the Tanakh (Old Testament) (Ibid., Midrash, pp.1508-13), indicates that the Messiah would appear on Passover (Midrash Rabbah - Exodus, S.M.Lehrman, trans., London: Soncino Press, 1939, pp.227-28). Exodus 14:42 states that Passover is "a night all the Israelites are to keep vigil to honour Yahweh for the generations to come" (NIV). Midrash Rabbah focusses on this verse and asks the question, "Why does He call it a night of watching?" The answer then follows: "Because, on that night, He performed great things for the righteous, just as He had wrought for Israel in Egypt. On that night, He saved Hezekiah, Hanniah and his companions, Daniel from the lion's den, and on that night Messiah and Elijah will be made great (will appear)...'Let this (Passover) be a sign to thee; and whenever thou seest this sign, know that I will soon come back'" (Ibid.).

Jewish tradition clearly links the (first) coming of Messiah to Passover. This tradition has deep historical roots and appears to be in perfect harmony with a revelation received by this ministry:

    "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, that the Son of Man was born upon the sixth day of the month which ye call April, upon a Thursday, at the third hour in the morning, in the year 1 B.C. (Aviv 14, 3760) by the [Gregorian] calendar"(Olive Branch, NC&C 301:1).

At the time of Messiah's birth hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of Jews were in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and renew their faith in the Elohim (God) of their fathers. At no other time during the year would Jerusalem be so crowded. The large crowds taxed the facilities of the city and suburbs.

Is it any wonder that Joseph and Mary were unable to find appropriate shelter? Bethlehem is about 5 miles south of the walls of Jerusalem, the overflow Passover crowds had apparently filled even the city of David. Luke tells us that Joseph and Mary were in Bethelehem because of Caesar's census. It also appears that Joseph was commanded by his faith to be at Jerusalem for the celebration of the Passover.

While in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to the Messiah at the beginning of Israel's Passover feast, early in the morning at 3 a.m., at a time that in her calendar, would bring great sorrow and grievous suffering 33 years later; and at a time that, in the Creation Calendar, this is the end of the second week of the biblical New Year - a time for new birth, new life, new committment, a new beginning.

The Qumran Witness

At the time of Yah'shua (Jesus) there were several Jewish sects, each following a ritual practice that they felt most correctly satisfied the Law of Moses. Among these sects were the Essenes, about whom Josephus, Pliny the Elder, and other historians wrote. More recently we have received from the Dead Sea Scrolls significantly more information about the practices and beliefs of a religious community that most likely consisted of Essenes. The Dead Sea Scrolls have increased our understanding of the events and thinking of people in the Holy Land during the first century.

The land of Judea at the time of Messiah was full of anticipation and expectation. Many Judeans awaited the arrival of the Messiah and the redemption of Israel. Members of the Judean sect near the Dead Sea at Qumran were faithfully waiting for the coming of the Anointed One (Messiah). These people had great respect for the flow and meaning of time. We read from their Manual of Discipline: "They must not deviate by a single step from carrying out the orders (commandments) of Elohim (God) at the times appointed for them; they must neither advance the statutory times nor postpone the prescribed seasons" (T.H.Gaster, Dead Sea Scriptures, NY, Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1964, p.47).

The calendar used in Qumran at the Dead Sea was different from the lunisolar calendar used by other Judeans living in the Holy Land (Talmon, The Calendar Reckoning Sect). This religious community in the desert used a calendar based on the week. There is uncertainty about the exact operation of their calendar, but their year apparently had 52 weeks, or 364 days, and their day began at sunrise. The first day of each month for them was always a Wednesday. This meant that their Passover would also occur each year on a Wednesday.

Why would the Dead Sea Scroll sect have insisted on starting their years and months as well as observing their Passover on a Wednesday - the fourth day? Probably because they believed that Yahweh created "two great lights" on the fourth day, "the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night"? (Gen.1:16, KJV). (See, Sun, Moon and Stars: When Were They Created? which explains the Qumran error). Did these dissident Judahites want to start their months as well as their year on the fourth day of the week because that was the day on which they believed the sun and the moon were made, or became visible during the creation? There is as yet no conclusive evidence why those people maintained, even in the face of death, a calendar based on the week.

The people of Qumran were in the desert waiting for an event to take place in the future, which they called "the time of visitation" (Gaster, Op.cit., p.3; see also Gezer Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, rev.ed., NY, Penguin, 1968, p.13). The covenantors of Qumran looked forward to the arrival of a prophet "like unto Moses" (Dt.34:10). The Messianic hope of these people still burns as one reads their scrolls. The Qumran sect went to the desert to wait the pasaage of time, which they chose to measure differently than did the main body of Judeans. Did they start their year on the Roman Wednesday because they expected the Messiah to come on that day of the week?

When we examine Messiah's birth we note that He came at a time which would have been recognised by the people of the Dead Sea Scrolls as Wednesday, and that could likely have been their Passover. (One should bear in mind that their days began at sunrise, as did those of the Pharisees and Galileans).

There appears to be a harmony and precision in the timing of Messiah's birth. The believers in the Judean desert at the turn of the first century were looking for harmony in Yahweh's time and for the coming of the promised Saviour. It seems that they would have recognised the night of 5-6 April 1 B.C. as a night of watching, a night of expectation, and a "time of visitation".

The Passover and the Crucifixion

The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Messiah and the Dating of Passover in A.D. 33
Event Day of Week Gregorian Calendar Julian Calendar Judean Method of Reckoning Galilean & Pharisee Method of Reckoning
Rosh Chodesh begins at Sunrise Saturday 19 March 21 March Sunset for Sadducees and Judeans marks beginning of day and month of Aviv

Aviv 1

Sunrise marks beginning of day and month

Spring equinox Sunday 20 March 22 March Aviv 1 Aviv 2
  Monday 21 March 23 March Aviv 2 Aviv 3
  Tuesday 22 March 24 March Aviv 3 Aviv 4
Wednesday 23 March 25 March Aviv 4 Aviv 5
Thursday 24 March 26 March Aviv 5 Aviv 6
  Friday 25 March 27 March Aviv 6 Aviv 7
Shabbat begins at Sunrise Saturday 26 March 28 March Aviv 7 Aviv 8
  Sunday 27 March 29 March Aviv 8 Aviv 9
Triumphal entry of Yah'shua into Jerusalem. Monday 28 March 30 March Aviv 9 Aviv 10
  Tuesday 29 March 31 March Aviv 10 Aviv 11
Wednesday 30 March 1 April Aviv 11 Aviv 12

In afternoon Paschal lambs are slain at temple for Galileans & Pharisees

Messiah eats the Last Supper with His apostles after sunset.

Thursday 31 March 2 April

Aviv 12

Aviv 13

Galileans and Pharisees eat Passover meal at sunset

Yah'shua suffers in Gethsemane during, and is seized and arrested this night. Talmidim (disciples) scatter, and Peter denies Yah'shua before the cock crows.


The trial, crucifixion, death and burial of Messiah

In afternoon, Paschal lambs are slain at temple.

Friday 1 April 3 April

Aviv 13

Sunset marks the beginning of 14 Aviv

Aviv 14

Pharisees rush to bury Yah'shua before Sunset in accordance with Father Yah's commandment in Deut 21:21-23. Yah'shua's body is prepared and placed in tomb.

High Shabbat and First day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread

Messiah visits the spirit world (1 Pet.3:19)

Saturday 2 April 4 April

Aviv 14

Sunset marks the beginning of 15 Aviv

Aviv 15

Feast of First Fruits.

Yah'shua resurrected as Father Yah's Firstfruit from the grave.

Sunday 3 April 5 April Aviv 15 Aviv 16

    "The animals you choose must be one-year males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or goats. Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight" (Ex.12:5-6, NIV).

    ""And when your children ask you, 'What does this ceremony mean to you?' then tell them, 'It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when He struck down the Egyptians". Then the people bowed down and worshipped. The Israelites did just what the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron" (Ex.12:26-28, NIV).

    "Messiah our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed" (1 Cor.5:7, NIV)

The Gospels testify that Yah'shua (Jesus) died on a cross and that He died at a time of sacrifice. He died when the Judeans sacrificed their Paschal lambs and when the children of Israel remembered the night of redemption when the malak (angel) of death passed over the Israelite houses in Egypt and smote the firstborn of the Egyptians. He died as the last great sacrifice, to atone for the sins of the world and to redeem the righteous.

The Gospels, fortunately, give great attention to the events surrounding the atonement, death, and resurrection of Messiah. Almost one-third of the chapters in the Gospels contain the account of the last week of Messiah's life. There is probably no week in the first century about which we have more information than the week during which Messiah died. The events of that week are commemorated by more people than the events of any other week of the past. Hundreds of thousands of Christian and Messianic congregations around the world partake of the Lord's Supper or partake of the Pesach Seder and remember the atoning sacrifice of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). Indeed, Messiah commanded us to remember always the events of the week of His atonement, death, and resurrection.

A knowledge of the calendar traditions of the Judeans at the time of Messiah helps to identify the probable date of the last great sacrifice. The relation of the spring lunar cycle to the timing of Passover and the seven-day week cycle over the last 2,000 years indicate that Friday, 3 April A.D. 33 (Julian calendar), is a day that satisfies the New Testament account of the crucifixion.

Yahweh gave to Moses the Passover, which symbolised the offering of the Lamb of Elohim (God) and marked in the Hebrew calendar for one and half millennia the time that Messiah would die. Moses established this calendar according to the cycles of the sun and the moon and fixed the new moon in the spring as the "beginning of months" (Ex.12:2, KJV), which was known as Aviv and later became known among the post-exilic Jews as the month of Aviv (from the Babylonian Avivnu). In the afternoon of the fourteenth day of that month the Paschal lamb was slain, and, after sunset, the Passover meal was eaten (Ex.12).

During the time of Messiah the Judeans understood that the calendar and feasts given to them by Moses were essential to the practice of their religion. There were, however, differences of opinion as to what reckoning of time most completely satisfied the requirements of the Law of Moses. The Essenes, as we have already noted, appeared to have followed a calendar based on the week. The normative Judeans followed a lunisolar calendar but had differing views about when a day should begin. The Sadducees, the Judean aristocracy (who evolved into the modern Karaites), favoured a reckoning of time in which the day went from sunset to sunset (Harold W. Hoehner, Chronoligical Aspects of the Life of Christ, Grand Rapids, Zondervan Publishing House, 1977, pp.81-90). The Galileans and Pharisees appear to have followed a sunrise-to-sunrise scheme for seeting the limits of their days. These differences may seem to be of little significance, but they become important in harmonising the Synoptic accounts of the Passover and Last Supper with the account of the Passover and crucifixion found in John.

At the time of Messiah the Judeans' lives orbited around the temple and the Sanhedrin. The temple was the place of sacrifice, and the Sanhedrin told the Judeans when they should sacrifice. It would have been a mockery to Yahweh to offer an untimely sacrifice. The Law of Moses gave them the order of the calendar and the method of marking the time of sacrifice.

The Judeans and Sadducees most likely determined the beginning of each month by the direct observation of a thin lunar crescent over Jerusalem in the western sky just after sunset, the practice brought back from Babylon, the original method being lunar conjunction. At that time the Sanhedrin sanctified the month and announced its beginning with the sounding of temple trumpets and the lighting of fires on the tops of hills.

In order to keep the Passover in the spring, the Sanhedrin periodically inserted a thirteenth lunar month before Aviv. The intercalation of an extra month was apparently made by following the Metonic cycle of the Babylonians and Greeks or by observing astronomical conditions in Judea. The celebration of Passover was kept in the spring also to ensure that the barley - the first green heads of grain - would be ready for the Feast of the Firstfruits of the harvest. This feast followed Passover "on the day after the sabbath" (Lev.23:11, NIV).

Both sacred and secular history emphasise that the sighting of the new moon in the spring would trigger the necessary preparations for the Passover among the Judahite people. The first day of Aviv for the Judeans and Sadducees seems to have begun in the evening when the crescent of the spring moon appeared above the western horizon, though as mentioned abive, it was not always so. The beginning of the 15th day of Aviv for the Judeans and Sadducees occurred at sunset and marked for them the time for eating the Passover meal.

The first day of Aviv for the Galileans and the Pharisees seems to have been at sunrise after a moonless night - about 12 hours before the calendar commission of the Sanhedrin witnessed the crescent of the new moon. The Galileans and Pharisees would then count 14 sunrises into the month of Aviv. On the afternoon of their 14th day, they would sacrifice their Passover lambs. These calendar traditions imply that the Galileans and Pharisees sacrificed their lambs exactly one day before the Judeans and Sadducees. This reckoning also suggests that the Galileans and Pharisees would eat their Passover meal a night before the Judeans and Sadducees.

Matthew, Mark and Luke record that the Saviour with His apostles ate the Passover meal the night before His death (Mt.26:2,17-19; Mk.14:1,12-16; Lk.22:1,7-8,13-15). There is no doubt that Messiah considered the Last Supper His Passover meal. We read in Luke 22:14-16 the following: "When the hour came, Yah'shua (Jesus) and His apostles reclined at the table. And He said to them, 'I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of Elohim (God)'" (NIV).

All four Gospels testify that Messiah died in the afternoon of the day following the night of His Last Supper. Moreover, John indicates that for those who sought to destroy Messiah's life, the morning of 'Good Friday' was a time before their eating of the Passover meal. John 18:28 states: "Then the Judeans led Yah'shua (Jesus) from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Judeans did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover" (NIV).

There is no contradiction between the synoptic account of Messiah's Passover meal and the account of John in which we learn that those who sought the life of Messiah had not yet eaten the Passover meal even though the Saviour and His apostles had. It appears that Yah'shua (Jesus) and His disciples followed the practice of the Galileans in setting the beginning of the day at sunrise, and that those who sought to kill Messiah followed the custom of the Judeans by fixing sunset at the beginning of the day. These different systems used among the first century Jews resulted in two different nights for the eating of Passover.

In addition, the New Testament might indicate a sunrise-to-sunrise reckoning among the disciples of Messiah. Matthew 28:1 states that the women came to the tomb "after the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week" (NIV). Acts 4:3 also might indicate that sunrise marked for the apostles the beginning of the day.

The chronology of our Master's ministry as found in the New Testament, particularly in the Gospel of Luke, points to the year A.D. 33 as the time of our Master's death. In that year the seven-day weekly cycle and the fixing of the month of Aviv to the spring moon conform to the biblical account of the crucifixion and resurrection. At the very hour of Messiah's sacrificial death, Judeans and Sadducees were slaying their Passover lambs at the temple.

The symbolism of sacrifice instituted by Moses was literally fulfilled, in Messiah's death, in accordance with the ritual and timing Moses had prescribed.

Messiah Visits the Spirit World

    "Messiah died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to Elohim (God). He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Ruach (Spirit), through whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when Elohim (God) waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built" (1 Pet.3:18-20a, NIV).

After His death on Friday afternoon, Messiah's disembodied spirit visited the world of the dead to preach the Gospel and/or announce His victory over sin and death.

Firstfruits of the Resurrection

    "'When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priests a sheaf of the first grain you harvest, He is to wave the sheaf before Yahweh so that it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath'" (Lev.23:10-11, NIV)

    "Messiah indeed has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep (died)" (1 Cor.15:20, NIV).

    "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death (grave), is your sting?" (1 Cor.15:55, NIV).

Yahweh, through Moses, commanded the children of Israel that when they had arrived in the Promised Land they were to offer the firstfuits of the field after Passover "on the day after the Sabbath" (Lev.23:11, NIV). At that time the Cohen Gadol (High Priest) waved before the temple altar a sheaf of barley. On 5 April 33 A.D. (Julian calendar), the Jews celebrated the harvest of the firstfruits, and on that same day Messiah rose from the dead and became "the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep" (1 Cor.15:20). Once again we witness how the Law of Moses gave to Israel a feast, fixed in the Hebrew calendar, that symbolised what was to have been one of the most important events in the history of Yahweh's people and all others who would believe: the resurrection of Yah'shua (Jesus), the confessed Messiah of Israel.


This, then, is the basis of our belief in a Passover (Gregorian 6 April, 1 B.C.) birth of Messiah. And we see how everything begins and ends in the Passover. The birth and death are a compound in one, for Yah'shua (Jesus) was born, as He declared, to die, born in the lambing season as the Lamb of Elohim (God) to be offered as the Paschal Lamb.


[1] John C. Lefgren, April Sixth, Deseret, 1980 (for first edition)
[2] Ella Oakman, Blog, 12.2011 (for second edition)

Further Reading

[1] When Was Yah'shua Born?
[2] Springtime for Yah'shua: The Tavnith of Messiah's Birth Revealed

Go to main index of articles on the True Birth of Messiah
Return to Index of Articles on Messiah's True Birthday

This page was created on 27 November 1999
Last updated on 28 October 2013

Copyright © 1987-2013 NCCG - All Rights Reserved