Jesus was Born at the end of December!


UnknownQ. Was Jesus really born on December 25th? I have heard he was born in the spring.

A. ARGUMENT FOR DECEMBER BIRTHDATE OF JESUS

 God has allowed His Church to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on the right day or very close to it. This is not mandatory or a matter of faith, but why doubt it without very good reason?

The argument for assigning late December as the rightful date of the birth of Yeshua is based on the time Zacharias was told that Elizabeth would conceive a child.

Osservatore Romano: December 24,1998

“December 25 is an historical date,” Professor Tommaso Federici, Professor at the Pontifical Urbanian University and a consultant to two Vatican Congregations, has stressed. In an article in the Osservatore Romano on December 24, he wrote: “December 25 is explained as the ‘Christianization’ of a pagan feast, ‘birth of the Sol Invictus’; or as the symmetrical balance, an aesthetic balance between the winter solstice (Dec. 21-22) and the spring equinox (March 23-24).

But a discovery of recent years has shed definitive light on the date of the Lord’s birth. As long ago as 1958, the Israeli scholar Shemaryahu Talmon published an in-depth study on the calendar of the Qumran sect [Ed. based , in part, on Parchment Number 321 — 4 Q 321 — of the Qumran Dead Sea Scrolls,], and he reconstructed without the shadow of doubt the order of the sacerdotal rota system for the temple of Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 24, 7-18) in New Testament times.

Here the family of Abijah, of which Zechariah was a descendant, father of John the herald and forerunner (Luke 1, 5), was required to officiate twice a year, on the days 8-14 of the third month, and on the days 24-30 of the eighth month. This latter period fell at about the end of September. It is not without reason that the Byzantine calendar celebrated ‘John’s conception’ on September 23 and his birth nine months later, on June 24. The ‘six months’ after the Annunciation established as a liturgical feast on March 25, comes three months before the forerunner’s birth, prelude to the nine months in December: December 25 is a date of history.”

Therefore, If Zacharias served during the end of September and Elizabeth conceived shortly thereafter, we can place the date of Jesus’ birth during the month of Tevet, in late December. The explanation is as follows:


1. Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, was conceived just after Yom Kippur (late Sept) and born 9 months later in (late June).

* John’s father (Zacharias) was a Levite of the house of Abijah who was assigned to serve in the temple during the 8th and 34 weeks of the year. If the Angel’s announcement to Zechariah was the 34th week that would have been during the High Holiday of Yom Kippur.
* It is written that John was conceived shortly after this tour of duty (Luke 1:23-4), and Yom Kippur. Thus, John would have been born around (late June).

2. Jesus was conceived in (late March), six months after John the Baptist (Luke 1:24-27, 36) near Passover, and born 9 months later during late December.

Luke 1:36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.

3. Circumstantial Evidences:

Church history, since the time of the late first century, has attested to a late December birth.

Hippolytus, in the second century AD, argued that this was Christ’s birthday.

In the fourth century,

John Chrysostom (347-407) argued that December 25th was the correct date. Chrysostom taught that Zechariah received the message about John’s birth on the Day of Atonement and John the Baptist was born sometime in June or July, and the birth of Jesus took place six months later, in late December (or early January). There was never a question about the period of Jesus’ birth either in the East or in the West; only in the recent years this date was challenged.
Early Jewish sources suggest that the sheep around Bethlehem were outside year-round. In the normal traffic of shepherds they move around and come near Bethlehem from November to March of the year. But then these were a special class of Levitical shepherds who kept the sacrificial lambs. They do not move around because they supply the lambs for daily sacrifice from whom people bought their approved lambs, which are blemishless. The fact that the Angels announced the arrival of the perfect sacrificial lamb to these shepherds indicates this. The climate near Bethlehem is more like Southern California, it is after all Mediterranian. It is not a Canadian or Russian climate.

Alfred Edersheim, a Messianic Jew, wrote, “There is no adequate reason for questioning the historical accuracy of this date. The objections generally made rest on grounds which seem to me historically untenable.”

Edersheim notes that Megillot Taanit states that the 9th of Tevet is considered the day of Christ’s birth, and that puts the birth of Yeshua sometime during late December.

Summary:
If Zacharias served during Yom Kippur and Elizabeth conceived shortly thereafter, we can place the date of Jesus’ birth during the month of Tevet, in late December.

Both views can be seen HERE

There Was NO Papal Primacy for the First 1000 Years of Christianity!


papacyKim: In the first 1,000 years there was no papal primacy,what church are you refering to ?

BFHU: There absolutely was papal primacy attributed to the Bishop of Rome. One of the reasons I was convinced of this is that while reading about some controversy in the early Church ( I was not even researching evidence for papal primacy)I saw that historically, it was always decided, that to settle a matter, they would go to the Bishop of Rome for a final decision. I don’t remember what historical event I was looking up back then but here are a few ancient examples way, way, way, before 1000AD

In the writings of the Early Church Fathers the fact of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome is taken for granted. Before, 80 A.D. the Corinthian Church kicked out their bishop. Appeals were made to Pope Clement I,(who died in 80 AD) the fourth Bishop of Rome to settle the matter. And yet, the Apostle St. John was still alive at Ephesus and living a lot closer to Corinth than Rome. Never-the-less the appeals were made to the Pope/Bishop of Rome rather than to one of the 12 original apostles,  because all knew that only the Bishop of Rome had the authority to make a binding decision.Peter & the Keys

Pope Clement I: “You therefore, who laid the foundation of the rebellion, submit to the presbyters(priests) and be chastened to repentance, bending your knees in a spirit of humility.

“If anyone disobey the things which have been said by Him (Jesus) through us (Pope & Church) let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger”(First Letter to the Corinthians)

St. Irenaeus180 AD, a student of St. Polycarp (a disciple of St. John the Apostle), exhorts all “Christians (to) be united to the Church of Rome in order to maintain the Apostolic Tradition/Teaching.

St. Irenaeus: “But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a small volume as this, the succession of all the Churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the succession of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient Church known to all,  founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that Church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us, after having been announced to men, by the Apostles. For with this Church, because of its superior origin, all the Churches must agree, that is all the faithful in the whole world; and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the Apostolic traditions. (Against Heresies)

St Peter'sHe then made a list of all the Bishops of Rome up to his time. There is nothing in his writing that sounds like he is trying to be convincing because he is teaching something new, but rather that all Christians took for granted that the Bishop of Rome is the head of the Church.

Also, for 250 years the Roman Emperors tried to destroy Christianity through persecution. In the first 200 years of Christianity, every Pope but one was martyred. So, even the pagans knew that the Bishop of Rome was the head of the Church.

A Roman Emperor’s greatest fear was a rival to the throne. Nevertheless, the emperor Decius (249-251 A.D.) one of the harshest persecutors of the early Christian Church made the following remark:

I would far rather receive news of a rival to the throne than of another bishop of Rome. (Christian History, Issue 27 1990, vol IX, No. 3, p22)

Decius said this after he had executed Pope Fabian in 250 A.D.
Beginning Apologetics by Fr. Frank Chacon and Jim Burnham

IS EASTER A PAGAN HOLIDAY?


IS EASTER PAGAN ?

Eastern Orthodox Red Eggs

Eastern Orthodox Red Eggs

History Disproves Sola Scriptura


Monisha: Scripture is inanimate !! Oh really! I am aghast. Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

BFHU: Dear Monisha, Don’t worry. I said Scripture was inanimate, I did not say or mean that it was inactive, powerless or worthless. I was not speaking about Scripture in general but about a specific aspect of it. Many people like to quote, “Scripture interprets Scripture.” But that is just simply not true. Other Scriptures can help us understand Scripture and help us interpret it but it cannot and it does not give one single, clear, unequivocal interpretation for difficult or disputed passages. Here is what I said,

Only people can interpret Scripture. Scripture is inanimate and unable to infallibly give the correct interpretation all by itself all of the time.

You clearly agree with me on the second half of my sentence below:

Monisha: and moreover subjecting the word of god to the interpretation of sinful people is a grave mistake. Because we are sinners, we are incapable of interpreting God’s word perfectly all of the time. The body, mind, will, and emotions are affected by sin and make 100% interpretive accuracy impossible. we need to approach His word with care, humility, and reason.

BFHU: I agree. Especially for people 2000 years after the birth of Christ. The best interpreters would be those who knew the apostles and heard what Jesus taught directly from their lips. The earlier the exegete the better and the later the exegete the less and less reliable.

Monisha:Additionally, we need, as best as can be had, the guidance of the Holy Spirit in interpreting God’s Word. After all, the Bible is inspired by God and is addressed to His people. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand what God’s word means and how to apply it.

BFHU: Again I agree.

Monisha:John 14:26, “These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
Luke 12:12, “for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”

BFHU:  Do you think that this is a promise to you, and to each and every sincere reader of Scripture? I used to think so when i was a sola scriptura Protestant. But this promise was not made to all believers but only to the apostles first of all. And secondly, you will notice the promise does not refer at all to Sacred Scripture. It is a promise to the apostles that the Holy Spirit will teach them all things WITHOUT THE NEW TESTAMENT, b/c it did not exist at all at the time and would not be finalized for another 400 years. And thirdly, the Holy Spirit would remind them of EVERYTHING Jesus said to them. Can you or I remember one thing Jesus said without the aid of the Bible and only with the aid of the Holy Spirit? No, because we were not there. So these verses do not support the theory of Luther, that anyone and everyone could, with the aid of the Holy
Spirit interpret scripture accurately. These verses just are not about the interpretation of scripture at all.

images-1Now, let me be clear. I do believe that the Holy Spirit aids us in understanding scripture and applying it to our lives. But I do not believe that the Holy Spirit has been promised to us in order to enable us to infallibly interpret scripture. This is what Luther believed would prove to be true, but now, a mere 500 years later Luther’s “church” has splintered into 30,000 different denominations because people of sincere faith read and interpreted scriptures differently. The reason for all of this disunity, contrary to the desires of Christ, is because:

Only people can interpret Scripture. Scripture is inanimate and unable to infallibly give the correct interpretation all by itself all of the time.

Since Protestantism has hitched itself to the horse of Sola Scriptura, it has crashed and splintered into thousands of pieces. This was inevitable when Luther et al. unhinged themselves from the Historic Church founded by Jesus Christ and began to follow the unproven, unscriptural theory of sola scriptura.

Sola Scriptura: A Protestant Tradition of Men

St Peter's

How to Test Authenticity of Sacred Tradition?


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MONISHA: How do you test the authenticity of the traditions (if they are not to be found in the Scriptures)?

BFHU: Were these doctrines believed by Christians always and everywhere? This is also partly how some books were eliminated from the canon…if they taught things not believed by Christians since the beginning.

“MONISHA: These doctrines were hammered out centuries before Martin Luther arrived on the scene by the Councils of the Catholic Church.”
Just because these doctrines were hammered out centuries before Martin Luther arrived on the scene isnt reason enough to accept them just as the doctrines that came about after him isnt reason enough to reject them!

BFHU: So, do you think doctrines can be created continuously? OK but I do not. I want to know what Christians, who were taught the pure gospel by Jesus himself taught Christians. I want to know what the earliest Christians believed and practiced. I do not trust a doctrine invented 1500 years after Christ. Sorry. You have the freedom to do so if you want to. I, however,  was searching for historic Christianity not a Christianity that was a mere 500 years old and relied on me being an infallible interpreter of Scripture. That was a heavy burden.

MONISHA: What is the basis of your claim to “It just so happened that Luther liked these doctrines and therefore adopted them even though they were not spelled out in Scripture alone.”?

BFHU: How else can you explain that Luther rejected some doctrine and accepted other doctrines, both of which, could not be found explicitly in scripture?

MONISHA: Why do you believe the doctrines of Trinity, the hypostatic union, etc. to be true even though they are not explicitly stated in Scripture, and at the same time refuse to believe the Sola Scriptura doctrine (even though reasonable verses point towards it)! And i think that is nothing less than hypocrisy.

BFHU: I believe these doctrines because they have been taught and believed by Christians since the first century of Christianity. I cannot prove scientifically that they are true. But historical evidence supports them as authentic and ancient. Just like I believe that George Washington was the first President of the US. I was not alive then. I cannot know this on my own. I have to rely on historical documentation. And it is also historical documentation that upholds Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church. I trust it because it is closest to Jesus in time. But you are free to reject it.

And this brings us to the crux of the matter. You are trusting your interpretation of “reasonable verses” that point (do not command) to Sola Scriptura. Therefore you accept Scripture only and reject historic Christianity. This is a tradition of men.–>Protestant Tradition: Sola Scriptura

What Evidence for Sacred Tradition and Infallibility of the Pope?


scrollsQ. What evidence do you have to support the traditions ? What document whatsoever in antiquity do you have to attest them?

A. There exist early Christian writings from the 1st-8th centuries. We call these the writings of the Fathers. They document the beliefs and practices of Christians at the dawn of Christianity. We do not consider them 100% inerrant but as historical documents they contain, in writing, what Christians believed. Here is a link to all of them.

–>CHURCH FATHERS

When I was trying to stay Protestant I decided that i would read Church Fathers of the first 3 centuries since the Bible was canonized at the beginning of the 5th century, and if I found that they were Protestant then I could stay Protestant. However,  I found them to be very Catholic. Therefore, I realized that Ancient Christianity was Catholic. The Church Jesus founded was Catholic, so I had to be Catholic. For specific Catholic doctrines you can start here under “Disputed Questions”

–>Catholic Answers

or look through tracts that address specific issues. Click under “Category”

–>Catholic Tracts

Q. please quote the scripture for “And the Pope is empowered by Christ to never teach anything to the church that is in error, thereby protecting us from false traditions of men.” i reject the traditions because they are not even remotely pointed to by the scriptures. Even Paul praised the Bereans for checking even what he said against scripture (Acts 17:11)

Peter & the KeysA. Regarding Scripture about the Pope and infallibility, of course there is nothing that explicit. However, that is how the doctrine of the infallibility of the Pope is defined by the Church. Papal infallibility.

You reject anything that is not found in scripture because that is what you have been taught to do. Searching the Scriptures IS to be praised and Catholic have studied and prayed the scriptures for 2000 years. But people can love and meditate and treasure Sacred Scripture while at the same time realize as St. John said, everything is not written down.

But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

please see, : Infallible?

Where Did Peter Ever Claim to be the First Pope?

How Can a Sinner be Infallible?

Why is there a Pope?

Historical Evidence for Pope?

Popes and Bishops in the Early Church

Where are the Pope and Bishops is in Scripture?

Rock? Peter Rebuked! Priestshood. Papal Infallibility!

Pope Peter? That should get you started, if you are actually interested…..

Which is the Final Authority? Scripture or Tradition?


biblespine-coan-300x200MONISHA:  The Scriptures hold the place of final authority and by that position are shown to be superior to Sacred Tradition.

BFHU: You are very close to what we believe here. However, we would not state it quite this way. You say “Scripture is the final authority”. We would say “Nothing believed or taught by the Catholic Church may contradict Scripture”. The relevant difference is going to depend upon INTERPRETATION. Many Protestants think that they are able to infallibly interpret scripture, although they would never admit this. So, when based upon their perceived infallible interpretation, they find the Catholic Church teaching something that contradicts their interpretation they are convinced that the Catholic Church MUST be teaching heresy. When Protestants claim that Scripture is the final authority, what they are really saying is that their interpretation of Scripture is the final and infallible authority, but they would never claim the infallibility part.

As an example: The Catholic Church teaches the perpetual virginity of Mary. But Protestants will point out the scriptures about the “brothers and sisters of Jesus” and assert that the Catholic Church teaches something opposed to Sacred Scripture. They rarely explore with an educated Catholic how we can believe this doctrine in spite of the scriptures about the brothers of Jesus. They totally trust their own “infallible” interpretation.–>A Tradition of Men: Jesus had Siblings. Mary is NOT a Perpetual Virgin.

MONISHA: This means that Sacred Tradition is not equal in authority to the Word of Godpapacy

BFHU: This is a Protestant belief because they rarely understand what we mean by Sacred Tradition. Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scriptures are equal in authority in the Catholic Faith. That is because they both derived from the same exact source: The Teaching of the Apostles.

However, as you read this blog or other Catholic apologetics sources, we quote scripture in defending our faith, not because we think it is more authoritative. It is not. But, we are writing for our audience: Protestants. They believe Sacred Scripture is more authoritative or the only authority. Therefore, we quote Scripture as much as possible and appeal to Sacred Tradition as ancient historical support for our beliefs when necessary.

MONISHA:…to assert that Sacred Tradition is equal to Scripture effectively leaves the canon wide open to doctrinal addition. Since the traditions of men change, then to use tradition as a determiner of spiritual truth would mean that over time new doctrines that are not in the Bible would be added, and that is exactly what has happened in Catholicism with doctrines such as purgatory, praying to Mary, indulgences, etc.

BFHU: You are quite mistaken. As I said before Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture are merely the oral and written teachings of the Apostles as taught to them by Jesus Himself. Therefore they are equal in authority. Even St. Paul teaches this–>Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition Equal

As you said earlier, Christians believe such doctrines as the Trinity, Incarnation etc that cannot be found explicitly in Scripture alone. The Church teaches the doctrine of Purgatory, intercession of the Saints, indulgences etc as simply other things taught by the Apostles but not explicit is Scripture, the same as the Trinity, Incarnation etc..

The canon is very much CLOSED and nothing can now be added to it. New and novel doctrines cannot be added and have not been added. Let me be very clear about something often blurred in Protestant thinking. Sacred Tradition and the tradition of men are two VERY DIFFERENT things. Traditions of men may or may not be true but Sacred Tradition is True Apostolic Teaching. Traditions of men may be so wrong that they are condemned in Scripture and by the Catholic Church. But Sacred Tradition cannot change or be added to and it is never condemned but recommended by St. Paul.

MONISHA:Furthermore, if they can use Sacred Tradition as a source for doctrines not explicit in the Bible, then why would the Mormons then be wrong for having additional revelation as well?

BFHU: The Mormons are wrong because their additional revelation burst upon the scene less than 200 years ago. They have nothing to support that this new revelation came from the Apostolic Tradition or is attested by any document whatsoever in antiquity.

MONISHA:If the Bible is not used to verify and test Sacred Tradition, then Sacred Tradition is functionally independent of the Word of God. If it is independent of Scripture, then by what right does it have to exist as an authoritative spiritual source equivalent to the Bible? How do we know what is and is not true in Sacred Tradition if there is no inspired guide by which to judge it?

BFHU: Sacred Tradition is not at all functionally independent of the Word of God. The Oral Tradition/ Sacred Tradition is one part of Apostolic Teaching. Sacred Scripture/written Tradition is the other part of Apostolic Teaching. It has the right to exist because without it we lose the complete teachings of the Apostles.

Well, one could say that Sacred Tradition may not contradict anything in Sacred Scripture. And it does not. That is because they are both derived from the same God through the Apostles. And the Pope is empowered by Christ to never teach anything to the church that is in error, thereby protecting us from false traditions of men.

MONISHA:Sacred Tradition is invalidated automatically if it contradicts the Bible, and it does. Of course, the Catholic will say that it does not. But, Catholic teachings such as purgatory, penance, indulgences, praying to Mary, etc., are not in the Bible.

BFHU: Yes, Sacred Tradition would be invalidated if it contradicted Sacred Scripture. But it does not. It only contradicts Protestant Traditions and Protestant interpretation. Catholic teachings that are not found in the Bible do not, by their absence create a contradiction to the Bible. They are however found in Sacred Tradition just like the Doctrines of the Trinity, Incarnation, Hypostatic Union etc.

MONISHA:A natural reading of God’s Word does not lend itself to such beliefs and practices. Instead, the Catholic Church has used Sacred Tradition to add to God’s revealed word and then extracted out of the Bible whatever verses that might be construed to support their doctrines of Sacred Tradition.

BFHU: Quite the contrary, I am afraid. If you go back historically you will find all the unique Catholic beliefs in existence prior to the canonization of the Bible. What the Christian Church believed in the first centuries of Christianity is very Catholic. You will not find historic Christianity, prior to Martin Luther, to be anything remotely resembling Protestantism of any denomination.

We have always believed and taught the uniquely Catholic doctrines. They just happened to be found in Sacred Oral Apostolic Teaching rather than in the Written Apostolic Teachings. The Catholic Church did not use “Sacred Tradition to add to God’s revealed word and then extract out of the Bible whatever verses that might be construed to support their doctrines of Sacred Tradition.” It only appears this way to you b/c we try to use scripture as much as possible to show Protestants any possible scriptural support for Sacred Tradition b/c we know that you will reject anything that is not scripture. Protestant even reject historical affirmation of Catholic doctrine. So we do the best we can with what is in Scripture.

MONISHA:Since the Bible is the final authority, we should look to it as the final authenticating and inerrant source of all spiritual truth. If it says Sacred Tradition is valid–fine. But if it doesn’t, then I will trust the Bible alone. Since the Bible does not approve of the Catholic Church’s Sacred Tradition, along with its inventions of prayer to Mary, prayer to the saints, indulgences, penance, purgatory, etc., then neither should Christians.

BFHU: Where does the Bible disapprove of even one thing in Sacred Tradition? Or Catholic Teaching? And, are you fully aware that by rejecting Sacred ORAL Apostolic Teaching that you are left with only a fraction of what Jesus taught by trusting  Scripture alone?

Mt 28:18 “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you

Jesus told the Apostles to teach all that He commanded. He did not say teach only what gets written down in the first 100 years of Christianity.–>Which Church Did Jesus Start?

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