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The Nativity Puzzle – What Year Was Yahshua Born

This post is best read as the third installment of Taking Christ Out of Xmas (this is part 3)

Historical Markers

According to Matthew, the Nativity occurred during the reign of King Herod the Great (Matthew 1:1).

Herod: Herod the Great died in 4 BC.

Archelaus: Herod’s son Herod Archelaus took over until 6 AD (he reigned about 10 years) when the Romans sent him away.

Augustus: According to Luke, the Nativity occurred when Octavian Caesar (Augustus) was Roman Emperor.  Augustus ruled until 14 AD.

Quirinius: Luke says Quirinius was governor of Syria.  He began ruling 5 – 6 AD

Census: In the rule of Qurinius, there was a census taken 6 – 7 AD.

According to Matthew, the Nativity had to have occurred before the death of Herod the Great in 4 BC.

According to Luke, the Nativity had to have happened in 6 or 7 AD.

Contradiction: So there is a 10-year contradiction between the two evangelists.

Solution: The contradiction is fixed if Matthew’s Herod is not the one they call the Great, but his son Herod Archelaus.

In 6 AD: Augustus was Caesar, Quirinius was Governor, a Herod was King of the Jews, and a census was ongoing. So I choose September 9 (or so), 6 AD as the most likely date of the Nativity (according to the calendar we use).

And the Lifespan?

It is recorded in the annals of secular history that the Savior did indeed die under the governorship of Pontius Pilate.

Pilate: ruled for 10 years – from 25 AD to 35 AD. After the Savior’s crucifixion, Pilate was exiled.

With this plan, the Savior’s natural lifespan would have been 5-6 AD to 30-35 AD.

This works well with the Scripture of Luke 3:23, which tells us that “Yahshua was about thirty years old when he archomenos.”

This word does not mean “began his ministry.”  It means simply ‘began.”

According to our calculations, he lived 5 AD to 35 AD, which is indeed 30 years. (Besides, how can ‘Christ’ have been born ‘BC’?)

THE STAR: What the Star Wasn’t?

Finally let us resolve the mystery of the star mentioned in Matthew that led the Wise Men to Bethlehem, “till it stood over where the child was.”  With this description, we may eliminate several kinds of ‘stars’:

Planet, Conjunction: no – they do not come down. I hope you watched the sky throughout November and December of 2009.  Jupiter was brighter than at any other time in our lives.  I looked at Jupiter many nights – for it first appeared right beside the moon – and saw that we would never be able to tell what Jupiter (or any other planet) was hovering over.

Comet: no – comets never stop moving.

Meteor: no – because they hit the ground in a burning explosion.

Meteorite: no – they burn up in the atmosphere.

There is one kind of start remaining.

THE STAR: What the Star Was

The Wise Men said (Mattyah 2:2), “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East (Anatolē, Anatolh – note the capitalization in the RSV) and have come to worship him.”

Anatolē can mean three things: (1) in Turkey, is still called Anatolia; (2) in ‘the East’ (actually, from the East); and (3) ‘at its rising,’ this being the correct translation.  Why?

Because YAHSHUA HIMSELF WAS THE STAR, and thus the true fulfillment of the enigmatic prophecy of Balaam (Bamidbar 24:17):

The saying of Bil’am, son of Beor . . . ‘I see Him, but not now; I observe Him, but not near. A STAR WILL COME OUT OF YA’AQOV (Jacob), and A SCEPTER WILL RISE OUT OF YISRA’ ĔL . . .

Since the Wise Men were looking a STAR in Judea (star out of Ya’aqov), belonging to the KING of the Jews (the Scepter), we need no longer look for planet conjunctions or such astral phenomena, but a supernatural sign, perhaps even Yahweh’s Malach himself.

In the Scriptures,

Jackson Snyder



January 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Taking Christ Out of Xmas, part 2

Roots & Branches Hebraic Roots Study Group will be presenting an informal but liturgical service on Erev Shabbatot in 2010 (7 PM) and Roundtable Study each Shabbat (2 PM).  These are closed meetings, but if you are receiving this message and are in the area, you are invited.  Starting this coming weekend (1/16), we will be starting on the new translation of The Didaché: The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. The books will be available for you at the study.  If you’re not around here and are interested in the study of the Didache, contact me at http://www.Nevy.us. – Jackson Snyder

The Offended Minorty

The last message I send seemed to have scared a few.  (It was titkled, “Taking Christ Out of Xmas.”)  It is fashionable to “put Christ back in Christmas,” not take him out.  But it seems to me that if we would just start again, maybe on the anniversary date of when he was actually born, we could allow “Christ’s Mass” to remain so for those who wanted the tinsel, mistletoe, Yule log, Asherah tree, and the rest of the pagan window dressing.

In the last issue, we also worked on the Roman Catholic “Christ’s Mass,” the conjuring of “Christ” back from the dead in the form of a wafer so the priest might break his body into pieces again.  To do this is what they might call “a mortal sin,” “since they crucify the Son of God on their own account and hold him up to contempt” (Hebrews 6:6).

For you Protestant friends, Christmas is not just an innocent custom, but an invocation for the Messiah to be sacrificed yet again.  If you Protest, why not protest “Christ’s Mass”?  You did away with indulgences and selling baptisms, didn’t you?  Why continue supporting “Christ’s Mass” (Christmas) and thus tacitly approve of the unrighteousness of it?  Your founders and forefathers in the faith certainly did not either condone it nor practice it.

The Founding Fathers

Nor did the founders of this nation celebrate any kind of Mass much less “Christ’s Mass.”  Our foremothers left Europe to get away from such pagan popery and pernicious practices.  Yet now, in the days when folks have again taken up the study of our founding fathers’ spirituality (none of which celebrated Christ’s Mass or Christmas), we are adamant not to “keeping Christ in Christ’s Mass” or any mass. And you spineless Tea Partiers and Federalists – deifying the men and women who were instrumental in bringing the United States into existence and then taking up the combination of secular and religious nationalist worship that none of them would ever go near.

George Washington had a partner in this nation’s birth who is NEVER mentioned by those deifying founders.  His name was Haym Salomon. I have never heard his name mentioned on The Glenn Beck Program or in any contemporary rousing speech.  Why not look up Haym Salomon.

When Was the Nativity

It is very surprising to some that ‘Jesus’ Birthday’ did not take place on December 25.  No shepherds or sheep would be camping outside Bethlehem December 25th! It gets cold in Bethlehem in October – by December, it’s freezing cold.  A babe being born in a stable on December 25th without succumbing to the weather would definitely have to be a miracle.  And why would there be no rooms in hotels that day?  The only celebrations going on around Bethlehem at that time were the pagan Saturnalia of the Romans and the “Birth of Helios, the Unconquered Sun” god of the Greeks.

As the shofat of our study group rightly observed, “December the 25th, the Winter Solstice, is one of the the dumping grounds for pagan holidays; the other is the Vernal Equinox, which we call Easter.” Indeed, then and now, there are plenty of gods and goddesses worshiped on December 25th.

The Surgeon Knew Almost Everything!

In fact, last week I was in the doctor’s waiting room when the doctor popped out of his office after learning I was a ‘theologian.’ He saw my tassels (tzitzim) and gave me a little lecture, “Say, do you know that Jesus wasn’t really born on December 25th – but that it was Saturnalia, the Roman holiday of pagan gods and birthday of the sun god?”  And on went the surgeon with his lecture.  I waited until he was finished and said, “Yes, I know all those facts.”  Then he said, “Well, hardly anyone I ask knows anything about it and some get offended!”  I wanted to say, “For crying out loud – I am a theologian.  Would I give you instructions on how to lance a boil or remove a hemorrhoid?”

He Enskinned September 9

The Scriptures give us a very good clue as to the season and date Yahshua (‘Jesus’) was born.  I asked the surgeon if he knew the following clue – he did not.  Yochanon (John) 1:14 finds us in the middle of a Nativity discourse.

“The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us,” the Word of course being Yahshua the Messiah (aka Christ).

A far better translation is “the Word became flesh and pitched his tent among us.”  Other versions say, “and tabernacled among us.”  A tabernacle is a tent of skin.  The Greek word behind dwelt, pitched his tent, and tabernacled is eskēinōsen, which means was skinned – the implication is that Yahshua was born at the Feast of Tabernacles (aka tents, skins), one of Yahweh’s seven feasts (Leviticus 23), occurring in September or October.  (One might note that in the World of Tomorrow, it will be required that all nations send envoys to Jerusalem to observe the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16).  Maybe one reason for this law is to honor Messiah on his birthday at Tbaernacles.

Another “theologian” I know traced the Nativity to September 9th, a day upon which certainly the shepherds with their sheep would be tabernacling on the outskirts of Bethlehem.  I believe this man is correct as one can be in his dating, and those who really want to rejoice in the Nativity without the pagan trappings of Christ’s Mass should reinstitute September 9 or some such as Nativity Day – a day that is not otherwise connected with commerce, sun gods, or jolly old elves.

The Peoples’ Customs Are Not Fit

As for those trappings, – none are traditions connected to the Nativity, but to another set of traditions, just as biblical; that is the day of Ba’al Asherah.  Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) 10 is one of many passages describing Ba’al Asherah Day:

Hear what Yahweh says to you:

Do not learn the customs of the people . . .

(Such as) a tree is cut out of the woods

and worked with and ax by the cutter’s hands.

The people decorate it with silver and gold;

they fasten it down with hammer and nails so it cannot move.

The people are both ignorant and foolish,

taking instructions of wooden idols! (Jeremiah 10 excerpts)

These “Christmas” trees have names – they are called Asherah Trees.

Pastors and people – read the words of Torah:

“You will not set up any tree as an Asherah beside the altar of the Yahweh your Elohim that you will fashion.” (Devarim 16:21)

Asherah is the name of a common goddess in the Bible, a name that transliterates directly into English as Easter. They are exactly the same name.

So at “Christ’s Mass,” the people, even here in the tropics, have to set up their Easter Tree for Christ’s Mass – and so does every church in town, and right by the altar rail.

This prohibition of learning such customs of the people around you is taken up throughout Jeremiah, with not only trees but other popular customs and characters of Christmas time.

It’s time to re-read Fossilized Customs if you have a copy.  If not, let me know and I’ll send you a copy.  Your world will change for the better after reading this little book.

January 18, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking Christ Out of Christmas, Completely, Permanently

Times for Service and Study

Blessings in YHWH to you during these post-chaos days of rest.  This is the Roots & Branches Letter by Jackson Snyder and a ministry of Roots & Branches Hebraic Roots Study Group in Vero Beach, Florida.

Note that our schedule has changed.  Erev Sabbath with the Siddur Todah Rabbah begins Friday night, 7 – 8:30 PM.  The Study Group is at 2 – 4 PM on the Sabbath.  Directions and distinctions are found at www.nevy.us or phone (772) 538-4867.  These meetings and studies are not open to the public, but if you are receiving this letter, you are invited.

The Didache, or Teaching of the Twelve

I have published a new translation of “The Teaching” (The Didache).  “The Teaching” is that of Yahshua the Anointed left to his brothers, the Overseers of the Jerusalem Assembly of Yahweh through the first century.  These borthers are best known as James the Just and Simon Zelotes. (Go here if you want to learn about them.)  “The Teaching” is an ancient guidebook in two parts – the first for new believers, the second for new overseers.  It sets out how assembly members are to treat each other, about the two roads: life and death, how to pray, fast, and perform both mitzvot (immersions) and the todah rabbah (the great thanksgiving or communion).  It ends with the three signs of the Last Days and the destruction of evil.  of the end of evil.  “The Teaching” text predates the New Testament and contains much teaching directly from the Great Teacher before it was edited into the New Testament. That this is the case, “The Teaching” is an amazing, important, and useful resource. You may purchase it in paperback at www.apostolia.us or get the pdf and audio book without cost at our website www.nevy.us under “Rare Apostolic Autographs.”

What is an Oxymoron?

CHRISTMAS is the assimilation / concatenation of the two words. When we break the holiday’s title down into its parts, we get an oxymoron.  An oxymoron is generally known as two words seen together and relating to each other, yet having nearly opposite meanings.  Pianoforte is such a word when parsed; piano meaning soft and forte meaning loud. The pianoforte was a breakthrough in technology because it could be played both loudly and softly, unlike the clavichord or harpsichord.

How many oxymora (oxymorons) can you find in the following sentence?

In the deafening silence of the convent, that pretty ugly nun recalled the sweet sorrow of her love hate relationship with the saintly priest.

OK, so I could have done a better job with the sentence if I didn’t have “Christ’s Mass” on my mind; a ritual that always involves priests and nuns – and oxymora. The only pair of words we might argue as not being oxymoronic my sentence is saintly-priest. You may disagree, but I submit that this word pair is not always in opposition for, as a product of a Roman Catholic seminary, I can personally assure you that I have been acquainted with three or four saintly priests! And I believe they are still saintly, even in these days of suspicion.

‘Christ’ in ‘Christ’s Mass’ (Christmas)

Let’s look at the original oxymoron: ‘Christ’s Mass’ (Christmas). Christ means anointed, as in anointed with oil. Rulers were thought to be anointed (christed) by a god. (Evidently, they still are.  Our nation has such a leader who is even called The Anointed One – and such is the meaning of the word christ / christos).

The title CHRIST in the Bible, besides being ‘Jesus’’ supposed last name, has come to mean “the anointed one with eternal life who rules forever.”  So to most, CHRIST is understood as the ANOINTED KING WHO LIVES FOREVER. Correct?

On the other hand,

‘Mass’ in ‘Christ’s Mass’ (Christmas)

MASS is a ritual of the Roman Catholic Church in which the mass of people gather to witness how the priests are miraculously able to resurrect the very body and person of Jesus Christ in the form of a large round wafer, then execute him again and again by breaking his newly formed, wafer-thin flesh into pieces. Here are the words spoken, “Christ, our Passover, is sacrificed . . .” (at this point the priest loudly breaks his body in half) “ . . . therefore let us keep the feast” (at this point, the priests eat the man Christ they have just re-created).   The Mass as ritual is a human sacrifice and an act of cannibalism for the entertainment of those in attendance.

The Mass Execution

The MASS is not a memorial ritual! Ask a priest.  Every Roman Catholic priest will insist that the wafer, at priest’s behest, becomes the actual flesh of Jesus Christ in his hands, and that he as priest of the line of the Romans apostles, has the ability and duty to kill he whom brought back to life moments before. He performs this creative miracle and execution every single day he recites the magic formula (“saying mass”).

Now we see why these two words, “Christ’s Mass” or Christmas is an oxymoron.  Look once again.

CHRIST   (an anointed ruler having eternal life)

MASS       (is made to attend the people to be shattered, die, and be cannibalized)

Let’s Take Christ Out of Christmas

Spiritual evil, no matter how far back it originated, has contemporary, temporal consequences.  With this new knowledge of life, death, death-cult, and contradiction, would you – a thinking and intelligent person – consider doing something counter-cultural in response?  Everybody is saying, “Don’t let them take Christ out of Christmas.”  Popular conservative talk radio hosts, as I recall, made “keeping Christ in Christmas” a major campaign in 2006 and 2007. In 2008 with the advent of Obama, the conservative media have been turning their attention to the Founding Fathers, their Federalism, and their religious inclinations. As for their religious inclinations, less than 2% of the Founding Fathers attended Christ’s Mass, while NOT ONE OF THESE FATHERS CELEBRATED CHRIST’S MASS.  (www.adherents.com/gov/Founding_Fathers_Religion.html) As a matter of fact, the founding mothers and fathers of Jamestown and other early, religious settlements came over here to get away from Masses and religious practices that were syntheses of Roman Christianity, Anglicanism, and pure paganism.

Next end-of-year secular / religious holiday season, my advice, if anybody cares to have it, will be LET’S TAKE CHRIST OUT OF CHRISTMAS THEN LET’S TAKE MESSIAH OUT OF CHRIST.  Nowlet me end up by giving some readers a shock.  I am making an educated guess that 65 – 75% of the believers who receive this letter DO NOT CELEBRATE DECEMBER 25th or JANUARY 1st AT ALL.  And I would further prophesy that the children of these families know exactly why they have no Asherah Tree in their house (Jeremiah 10:1-5), and totally agree with their parents’ decisions to follow Scripture rather than culture.

In my issue next week, I will show you exactly when the Messiah was born, why that date is important, and why we as believers are missing out on a huge, Scriptural blessing and promise by not observing the true festival of the Nativity that the Scripture devotes much ink to but readers devote little time.

Topics next week:

  • Repairing the Contradiction on the Nativity between Matthew and Luke
  • The Surgeon Knew Everything
  • What Year Was Yahshua Born? A Great Surprise
  • What the Star Wasn’t

In the Scriptures,

Jackson Snyder

New site http://www.NEVY.us

January 6, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments