I thought it was the historical understanding that if Christ lived 33 years he
was born in either 4 B.C. or 5 B.C., probably 4 B.C. It fits best with the
probable death of Herod's death (4 B.C.) and other reported historical documents
with Christ's birth being in the historical timeline with the death of
Cleopatra, Augustus, and the reign of Tiberius.
What was the "tax" season? That would clearly answer the month.
Actually the Book of Mormon provides the actual date of Christ's Birth, but it
doesn't tells us what calendar system that the Nephites use. The date given is
in 3 Nephi 8:5 where it states that the death of Christ happened in the 34th
year in the first month and 4th day of the day of the month from the giving of
the sign of Christ's birth. But we don't know if the Nephites used a 365 day
calendar, a 360 day calendar, a 365 1/4 day calendar or some other calendar.
Assuming a 365 day calendar, Christ's death would have happened 4-5 days before
his 34th birthday. Assuming a 365 1/4 day calendar it was 4 days after his
birthday. If they used a 360 day calendar it was in the fall around Sept or
October. So again we don't know.
FAIR has an article or two on the subject.
Does it really matter?
Great to see some of the lore aspects being put perspective. Thanks for
Its just as possible that he was never born at all.
It's just as possible that he was born! In fact, regardless of your personal
beliefs, there is some text by the Roman's that actually describe him.
Physical or historical proof I have none, but in my heart I know that He was
born and I know that He lives! And I find great comfort in that knowledge!
YES, but what REALLY matters - only - is that He is born in your heart... That's
the date we should each remember.ANDRemember in John's words
"Testimony of Christ, is the spirit of prophecy".Merry CHRISTmas
Actually, some people are proving themselves too smart for their own good.
There is a lot more inaccuracy than admitted in the dating record. The B of M
says that Christ is born 600 years from the first year of the reign of Zedekiah,
which almost all scholars put around 597 B.C....hmmm...and the angel did not
necessarily come to Mary the day before she became pregnant--who knows. The
time for that event is never specifically given. It seems that passover season
does fit the NT well, though. And lastly, there are no roman documents that
describe Christ. I've seen some examples of fraudulent copies, but the closest
possible archaeological evidence is the headstone on a grave of a possible
brother of Christ decades after his death. Bottom line--don't trust the
scholars. I know, because I'm one of them.
Actually, the historian, Josephus, writes about Christ as an historical man and
gives a physical description of him. I don't think any credible scholar tries
to make the case that Christ was never born. I find this article
fascinating. I had no idea there was a debate going on, within the Church,
about the date of his birth. And...I did think it was considered a revelation
that it was on April 6. This is totally new information to me and I just love
stuff like this. It's so interesting. I've also seen a study done
to determine what date the First Vision took place. The guy who did this came
up with a date, I believe, at the end of March of 1820. He said he had spoken
to another guy who had also analyzed it and came up with the same date. It was
done based on clues and weather information, etc. from that year. I just can't
remember what the date was.Anyway, it would be really cool if we did
find out that Christmas is actually celebrated on the right date.
Amazingly, the question of an actual historical Jesus rarely confronts the
religious believer. The power of faith has so forcefully driven the minds of
most believers, and even apologetic scholars, that the question of reliable
evidence gets obscured by tradition, religious subterfuge, and outrageous
claims. No one has the slightest physical evidence to support a historical
Jesus; no artifacts, dwelling, works of carpentry, or self-written manuscripts.
All claims about Jesus derive from writings of other people.Josephus
Flavius, the Jewish historian, lived as the earliest non-Christian who mentions
a Jesus. Although many scholars think that Josephus' short accounts of Jesus (in
Antiquities) came from interpolations perpetrated by a later Church father (most
likely, Eusebius), Josephus' birth in 37 C.E. (well after the alleged
crucifixion of Jesus), puts him out of range of an eyewitness account. Some
people actually believe that just because so much voice and ink has spread the
word of a character named Jesus throughout history, that this must mean that he
actually lived. Evidence is surely lacking, but the myth is nonetheless
If I recall correctly, Josephus's description was that Christ had brown hair and
hazel eyes. Did he interview an eyewitness?
Fuzz | 9:00 p.m. Dec. 24, 2010 Springville, UTIt's quite
possible you were never born at all. From the evidence we have here, there is
no proof at all that you are alive or have ever existed. You are for all we
know are just a specter on the internet. But no, I am sure you
exist. Just as well as Jesus Christ.
I love to study, seculate and wonder as much as anyone. But lately I am really
starting to question whether ANYTHING that we teach and believe in the church is
actual solid, unchanging, revelation? It seems as if everything is subject to
change, revision, reconsideration, and the next GA, scholar or apologist's
opinion and speculation.
It's my feeling that the actual day of Christ's birth should be hidden from the
world for a wise and rightous purpose.
As we do not know the exact date of Christs birth, the date of December 25 for
Christmas may have been arbitrary. The Church could have chosen another date on
which to celebrate the birth of Christ. One reason December 25 may have been
deemed suitable is its proximity to the winter solstice. After that date the
days start to become longer, and thus it is at the beginning of a season of
light entering the world (cf. John 1:5). The summer solsticeafter which the days
start to get shorterfalls near June 24, on which the Church celebrates the birth
of John the Baptist, who declared of Christ, "He must increase, but I must
decrease" (John 3:30). In the sixth Month, the birth of Jesus. ( Luke
What we know for a fact is that Jesus Birth Date was Not Dec 25th.Even someone taking Religion 095 at a Community College Knows that.Christmas is a Hijacked Pagan Holiday.I partly as a convert and
partly because it just makes sence from a Scripture and describtion point of
view.D&C 20 or Not April 6th is a much closer date.However for Marketing purposes it is to close to his Death.As we
all know theses days its about Sales. Even Religion is about Sales as Converts
to any Religion become Tithe Payers, and this supports the Faith Groups and
those with Jobs In Religion.One of the 1st lessons I learned as a
Convert was to avoid contention. Such as Bible Bashing Others. With
that in mind take the 25th and enjoy it as Jesus Birthday. Next week the Greek
and Russian Orthadox Church will observe Christmas. Just Remember
the purpose of the Birth. Not the Day or Time. Cut the poor Innkeeper some Slack
he did the best he could considering.I accept the 25th of Dec
because that is the way to go and there is No Need Not To. Merry Christmas.
Remember the part about the birth happening while shepherds were tending their
flocks. Shepherds don't do that in winter so it would appear the birth did not
happen in December.
I don't currently see any way to reconcile 3 Ne. 8:5 with a December 25
birthdate using any plausible 3rd-Nephi-era calendar system. That is going to
be my main question when I read this new article. Regardless of any other
arguments, this point is a showstopper in my opinion unless it is credibly
This is not news or historical research. It is nonsensical speculation based on
events that for the most part never happened. The Deseret News is not a news
organization. It is made up of some news and the religious doctrines of men.
What a monumental waste of time.
Let us remember what B.C. Before Christ and A.D.Anno Domini or after the Birth
Of Christ are about.The Roman Calender starts at year 1. That method of keeping track of time and years was not kept until well after
the Death Of Christ.There are other way of counting time in use. The Jewish Calender does Not have a Break or Adjustment.To
them Christ has not come the 1st time let alone the 2nd time. That Child Born in
a Stable was just that a Child Remotely related to King David.The
Jews had been defeated for many years and the Temple Destroyed. They where under
the control of Rome and Rome was Not always Kind.Thus the killing of
all Jewish Males under 2. Jesus Parents had of course taken him somewhere else.
The Christian Religion is inpart the invention of Rome in an effort
to control the masses and counter act forces from the Middle East.This worked well until the Refermation, and the Invention of the Printing
Press and moveable Type.The Bible was put in the Hands of Common Man
some very Common. Today we have the result. Merry Christmas.
Funny I have to agree with cougar classic...the real key is tied to the time of
taxation which in all my course study has proven to be around the months of
March and April in Roman times. The exact date really isn't important. The
important issues are that he was born the literal son of God. That he lived a
mortal existance and organized his true church and gave the keys and authority
of the living Gospel to those he appointed as Prophets Seers and Revelators.
And that he as our Savior died as was foretold by crucifixion.. bringing to pass
the atonement after which he was resurrected thus opening the way for all men to
enter into immortality. Easter and Christmas regardless of place in time are
in sumilitude and represent the bookends of the Life of the Savior. Knowing the
exact dates would be nice....but is it as important as living his teachings???
Again...If you must... start with the season of taxation among the Romans as
described in Epistles of the New Testament.
Jesus in History,"In those days of Caesar Augustus(31B.C.-A.D.14) issued a
decree that a census should be taken in the Roman world, this was the first
census that took place while Cyrenius(4B.C-9A.D.)was governor of Syria.(Luke
2:1-2). God used the decree of a pagan emperor to fulfill Micah 5:2, Jesus was
born in Bethlehem. Fulilled in(Luke 2:4-7)Mt 2:16 Herod (Died in 4
B.C) ordered all the boys under 2 in a small unimportant town of Bethlehem to be
killed but Jesus had fled to Egypt. Fulfills several prophecies.Alma 7:10,
Born in Jerusalem?
I really don't care about the exact date. Excuse me now, I am gonna go climb
back under the Christmas tree and see if I missed anything.
@ Rich in CaliforniaThe article links to the full paper which does
indeed cover your concern from 3 Ne. 8:5. There is a small fee.
DId all of this work in the adjustments made to the calendar by Pope Gregory? I
understand that he corrected an error of many days.But it is
disturbing that for all of my life in the church (60 years) it was confidently
taught from the pulpit that the birth was April 6th. "Proofs" were
offered then that included biblical prophesy and even things like lambing
season. All of the symbology was brought to bear to confirm this date.Now we are supposed to believe something else? Why would Heavenly Father let
the Brethren be so wrong for so long? Or are these resaerchers missing somthing
critical? It would be appropriate at this point for the church to redeclare the
"officla" stand that they have taken for decades, or declare that it
was wrong, and all of the gospel writers and lecturers wrong with it.And if wrong about this, why not wrong about things like the Word of Wisdom?
It was initially a "Principle with a Promise" and not given "by
commandment or constraint." It is time for another McConkie to
rise up and put the doctrines of the church back on firm footing.
I think carver succintly describes the most interesting hypothesis! (Carver
said, "It's my feeling that the actual day of Christ's birth should be
hidden from the world for a wise and rightous purpose.")To
Idaho Coug, who said, "I love to study, seculate and wonder as much
as anyone. But lately I am really starting to question whether ANYTHING that we
teach and believe in the church is actual solid, unchanging, revelation? It
seems as if everything is subject to change, revision, reconsideration, and the
next GA, scholar or apologist's opinion and speculation. " The
SAVING PRINCIPLES haven't changed! Consider your observation in context with
the scriptures about the eternal principles of Jesus Christ, His restored
Gospel, and the Plan of Salvation. For example, the Savior's
birthDATE is not one of the Saving Principles. Pardon me if I'm
taking anyone too literally! But the key things don't change, and that's a
comfort to me.
Yucatan Penninsula Connection to April 6th.The peoples of the
Yucatan Penninsula had a fascnination with April 6th. It is the only day of the
year when sunlight peers through a hole in a wall near the main entrance to the
ancient temple o Talum. Evidence suggests the Mayans believed April 6th was the
date the Descending God was born. (See yucatanrevealed.com) It was also one of
the most important days of the year at Chichen Itza, which was one of the days
on which the most important religious ceremonies were held. (See
Thanks for this piece. I always thought the April 6th date was revelation but
this article sheds light on how that might not be the case. That's good to
I think it is hilarious that people in the Church are all caught up in this. I
personally don't think that the Savior cares if we celebrate a day for his
birth. We should remember his birth, life and death each week as we renew our
covenants in the sacrament. In the end, I think He'll care more about how we
obey, serve and love than whether we celebrate a specific day. Are we willing
to mourn with those that mourn, to comfort those who stand in need of comfort,
to minister to others by giving of our time, means and selves regardless of
their faith? Do we treat our spouses with love and kindness, striving to
communicate and understand, and our children? In the end, that is how our
discipleship will be measured and our efforts should be spent there, not in
matters that truly don't get us actively involved in life and with others IMHO.
Google "John Pratt', "another eclipse for Herod"and
"Planetarium".John explains how folks can be 4 years off in
regards to King Herod.There is another eclipse on 29 Dec 1BC which
was more likely observed then the one in 4BC. The 4BC eclipse happen between 4
and 6 AM in the morning when all were asleep. The 29 Dec 1 BC eclipse happened
right after sunset when all would be awake to notice. I have also
read that there are two Mayan calendar systems and one of these systems if
cycled back, zeros out on 6 Apr 1BC, when the BoM peoples re-started their
calendar system on Christ's birth.The "Taxation" (actually
an enrollment and oath census) season lasted 1 1/2 years. Over 6,000 Jews
refused to give their allegiance to Roman, thus setting up the tension between
Jews and Roman during the NT era. A 6 Apr birth and 29 Dec eclipse
give more time for the wise men to arrive, as they probably originated from SE
Arabia (Bountiful) based on the gifts presented.
"Fair Enough" apparently has lot of time to waste. Funny how the
skeptics like to spend their time on such articles as determining the date of
Christ's birth.For me, Jesus asked us to remember Him and we have a great
opportunity to do that on this semi-secular holiday of cloudy origins. It's as
good a time as any. Marry Christmas, everyone. Maybe it happended on December
Just a reply to those who are concerned about the shepherds being in the fields
during December. It's important to remember that Jerusalem has a completely
different climate than we are used to here in Intermountain West of the U.S.
Shepherds near Bethlehem graze their flocks year round on the grasses that grow
plentifully especially during the rainy season from November to April. They
don't experience the harsh winters that we experience here. A previous comment
mentioned the lambing season being in the spring, but that's not the case in
Jerusalem. As I understand it, the peak of the lambing season in Israel is in
February, but the first of the lambs often come as early as December. We need to
be careful about projecting our own circumstances onto a situation that is
completely different from our own.
The LDS Institute Manual "The Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ"
states the following quote by President Harold B. Lee:This is the
annual conference of the Church. April 6, 1973, is a particularly significant
date because it commemorates not only the anniversary of the organization of The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in this dispensation, but also the
anniversary of the birth of the Savior, our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ.
[Quoted D&C 20:1 ] ( CR, Apr. 1973, p. 4.) So it comes down to
whether you believe the Prophet or the inaccuracies of scholars. I personally
would rather believe the Prophet, even if in error, as opposed to men who base
their opinions on information they really have no way of knowing for sure...
Did you all read the article? It specifically states that D&C 20 has been
misprinted, hence misinterpreted by church leaders and researchers for over a
Excellent article, Michael.To Lyn of Orem: Thanks for your comments.
They provide valuable perspective.By the way, the phrase in the year
of our Lord pops up in D&C 76:11 and in JS History 1:3, but refers to Feb.
16 and Dec. 23, respectively, not April 6.
Whether you want to know the date or not really isn't important. What is
important is that the Father gave his only begotten son, in the flesh, to us as
a gift. His Son, even Jesus Christ, died upon the cross but took upon himself
all the sins of the world.The date is not important nor should we be
concerned with it. As Neal R Anderson said in the last General Conference, some
things are better placed back on the shelf unto the Lord clarifies thigs. There
are only a few dates in Church History that have meaining, April 6, the Date the
Church was organized and restored to the Earth, June 27 the death of Joseph
Smith and July 25 when the Saints entered the Salt Lake Valley. All others are
just dates.It is up to us to understand that if we worry about
something said 150 years ago or even today seems contradictory and we find
offense or anger with it, that is our decision. The Lord knows what is
important and that is why in most scriptures from the Book of Mormon to the
Bible dates are ommitted. Jesus Christ life matters only.
RE: Bill in Nebraska,"dates are not important."Dates are
significant to the Israels Feasts: 1.Passover,Nissan 15./Unleavened bread.
Spring. 2. First fruits, Spring,Nissan 16. 3. Feasts of weeks, 7 weeks
after Passover(Pentecost). 4. Feasts of trumpets(Rosh Hashannah) Tishri 1, early
autumn. 5. Day of Atonement, (Yom Kippur )Tishri 10, autumn. 6. Feasts of
booths, autumn(final harvest).All fulfilled in Christ.
It's obvious that the Lord didn't put much importance to the exact date of His
birth as essential or necessary to our salvation, otherwise he would've given a
specific revelation for such. So if it's not relevant to our eternal salvation
or exaltation, why on earth should we waste any sleep over it? Enjoy the date
as it is celebrated today, not because it's the correct date but because of what
it represents! He WAS born, and He is the Son of God! Don't worry about the
date, it's not that important!
Maybe this scripture has imput:Helaman 14:1 And now it came to pass that
Samuel, the Lamanite, did prophesy a great many more things which cannot be
Interesting discussion. I agree with what cmtam pointed out about the winter
solstice. What we call Christmas appears to be a "Christianing" of
the winter solstice, which was celebrated on the winter solstice with lights,
cheer, and gifts. It is the spread of Christianity that converted this
celebration to Christmas.
sharrona, that comment in the Book of Mormon about Christ being born in
Jerusalem is not an error. First of all, Bethlehem is only six miles
from Jerusalem. It's basically a suburb of the city. When you're talking to
people from elsewhere, you often make the comment that you live in Utah, because
that's a recognizable place. If you were just to say that you lived in Layton,
and you were talking to somebody who had never been to Utah, they'd have no idea
what you were talking about. Also, remember, by the time that prophecy was made,
the Nephites had been living in the Promised Land for nearly 400 years. They had
no idea where Bethlehem was geographically, but they knew that they'd originally
come from Jerusalem. It was to give them a description they could understand.Secondly, Bethlehem is often described as being part of Jerusalem, or in
the land of Jerusalem, in ancient documents, including some stemming from before
the time the Nephites left Israel. Much of the original translation of the Book
of Mormon was written in Hebrew language patterns and phrases. This was almost
certainly one of them.
Dice 1899, that comment in the Book of Mormon about Christ being born in
Jerusalem is not an error? Biblical Prophecy should be correct , Genesis
3:15 Born of a seed of a woman ,fulfilled in Galatians (4:4)MADE of a woman(The
Virgin Birth). Psalm 22; They have pierced my hands and feet not my ears
or nose.Mic 5:2 Born in Bethlehem not JerusalemAlma 7:10Joseph Smith
was also wrong about the precise location of Jesus' baptism by John "in
Bethabara(KJV), beyond Jordan" (1 Ne. 10:9). Earlier a better MS, in
Bethany on the other side of the Jordan (John 1:28 NIV,NET )Papyrus 66,
150-200A.D.,Papyrus 75,175-225A.D.)Also wrong in Joseph smiths
inspired version, These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where
John was baptizing(John 1:34 JST)
So what is the big deal?????????????????I have always believed that he was
born on April 6. If something comes out that proves that this is wrong is it
going to shake my testimony?????? NO!!! The date of when Christ was born is not
on the Temple Recommend interview and is not of eternal consequence in anyway. I
believe he was born !!!! That is what is important - not the day he was born.
Holy cow! Let's hope there's not a mass exodus from true gospel principles.
While the speculation is interesting, it's just that. NOT vital for salvation.
Is Elder McConkie entitled to speculate? How about everyone else? I know that
Christ lives. Amen.
I heard an astronomer present on this topic once, and he pointed out that the
date of Herod's death is not nearly as secure as many assume it to be. Roman
records say there was an eclipse near his death, but modern scholars frequently
assume it was a full lunar eclipse, making 4 B.C. the only option. However (according to the astronomer) partial lunar eclipses happen much more
frequently, and ancient records often refer to them indiscriminately from full
eclipses. There were partial lunar eclipses in the Mediterranean in 1 B.C. and 1
A.D., leaving several options for the "fixed date" of Herod's death
that do not get the consideration they should.
Alma 7:10"And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem
which is the land of our forefathers"2 kings 14:20Amaziah - "And they brought him on horses: and he was buried at Jerusalem
with his fathers in the city of David"Luke 2:4"And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into
Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem"The issue raised here is picking at unimportant details. Clearly the
"Land At Jerusalem" refers to the area of Jerusalem - Which would
LDSareChristians: The wisemen didn't find jesus until he was 3 or 4 years old
According to Matt 2:16, He could have been 2 years old or older when Herod died.
As far as the sheep are concerned, in North America, sheep may be stabled in
winter, but what about the warmer climate of the Mediterranean? Interesting
Casey makes the assumption that when the Nephites switched to calibrating their
calendar from the birth of Christ they set the day of Jesus' birth as the first
day of the year. The actual time frame from the known start of
Zedekiah's raighn to the known death of Herod, which is only 594 years, leads to
the conclusion that at least for part of their history the Nephites used years
that were less than 365 days. John L. Sorenson argues it works fairly well with
a 360-day year.
awsomeron, I would urge that you read Brother Chadwick's well considered
article. There is little evidence for the claim of hijacking a Pagan holiday,
it comes long after the event of choosing that date. It is altogether possible
that Christ was born on December 25th, although proving such is not possible.
To Charles, The point of prophets is to testify of Jesus Christ as the
Savior of the world, the one who provides a way to salvation, and to teach us
the correct doctrines of his gospel and administer His Church by holding the
keys.The function of prophets is not to tell us the exact date that
any event in history happened. If the exact date of Jesus' birth is central to
your faith, it is built on very uninportant things.
To Cant we all just get along?, Brother Chadwick analyses this and
similar statements in his article. He points out that none of these prophets
claimed to have recieved revelation on the matter. He also points out that it
was based on a reading of the Doctrine and Covenants section in question that
assumes a literalism in the section not really justified. God
speaks to man in the language of the man, so he will call the year after the
language of the man. Anyway, the portion in question is clearly not in the
voice of the Lord, since it speaks of "the coming of our Lord". That
is actually the proper English rendering of A.D., so the passage in question is
a statement of the year, not of any particular relation to the birth of
Christ.I do not care what the date of Christ's birth is. However
the Lord has told us to study the scriptures. When the prophet is not claiming
he is making a statement based on revelation, but just based on his own
understanding in his own time, we should not use it as an excuse to stop
Jesus could not have been in early winter, as it was too cold, rainy, and snow
for any shepherds to still be out. This is old news, and it's special
pleading to still maintain a December 25th date for the birth of Jesus. Not to
mention, frankly, rather desperate. And no, He was NOT born in the spring
either. That notion is based on flimsy inferences about Herod's death,
and dogmatic assumptions about just how close Jesus' birth was to
Herod's death. Fail. Also, it's based on a sloppy assumption by some
of wrongly thinking that Jesus was exactly 33 years old when He died. He
wasn't. He was 33 1/2 when He was killed. He died in early Spring, so going
back 6 months lands you in late September/early October. NOT spring or winter.