This movie requires Flash Player 8. Download Flash Player 8

 
Issue Features
Discovery Magazine 9/1/1999

When Was Jesus Born?

No one knows for sure when Jesus was born. We do not know the exact year, month, or day. The Bible does not tell us, and it was not a big deal to the early church. Some of the best Christian thinkers and writers of the time did not think that Jesus’ birth could be pinned down to any particular date.

Still, by A.D. 354, the religious leaders in Roman had settled on a date of December 25th. Why this day?

Again, no one knows for sure. The best guess is that they picked the day on which non-Christian Romans celebrated the birth of Sol, the Sun god. This was called the "Birthday of the Unconquered." Christmas has been mixed with pagan ideas ever since.

What about the year? This is a little more serious because some people have doubted Luke’s record of a census (Luke 2:1-2). A census was a chance for Rome to count the people and collect taxes. For a long time, critics of the Bible pointed out that a census did not take place until A.D. 6. This was way too late for the birth of Jesus. But now there is some evidence that a census was ordered in 8 B.C.

The next piece of the puzzle is Herod the Great. He ordered the death of all male children 2 years old and under who lived in and around Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16). A little later, on March 11, 4 B.C., Herod was dead himself. So, the most likely time for Jesus’ birth is somewhere between the time the census was order (8 B.C.), and the year of Herod’s death (4 B.C.)

Today, Christmas has become a special family time. It is true that if Jesus had not been born, we would not have had this holiday. But the church we read about in our Bibles did not set aside this special day. The early Christians remembered His birth, life, death, and resurrection, all year long. We would be wise to follow their example.



Copyright © 1999 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, in whole or in part, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.

For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:

Apologetics Press
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
U.S.A.
Phone (334) 272-8558

http://www.apologeticspress.org

Web Store

Explorer Series 7: The Church

This seventh installment of Explorer Series is for fifth and sixth graders to learn about the Church that Jesus came to Earth to establish. Students will learn about how and when the Church was established, who it includes, and how it should function (amo

Featured Audio

Listen

Click the following link to visit our Multimedia section.

Featured Audio