Tag Archives: The shepherds

14) Did the wise men meet the shepherds?

Question

Did the wise men meet the shepherds?

Answer

Gospel and history did not report such story.

The shepherds visited newborn Jesus in the cave stable on December 25, 5 BC Julian Calendar. Weeks later, the wise men visited young child Jesus in a house. See “Pseudo-contradiction: shepherds or wise men” for more discussion.


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4) Did Jesus celebrate Christmas? Why?

Question

Did Jesus celebrate Christmas?  Why?

Answer

No, because he was the object of Christmas celebration, as  exemplified by the angels (Luke 2: 13-14) and the shepherds (Luke 2: 20).

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2: 13-14)

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (Luke 2: 20)

 Angels are God messengers, they convey divine message from God. The angels set an example of celebrating Christmas for human. Then, their example of celebrating Jesus birth, Christmas, was a divine message from God. Consequently, following their example, i.e. celebrating Christmas, follows God’s instruction.


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3) Where in the Bible does it say to celebrate Christmas?

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Soal

Where in the Bible does it say to celebrate Christmas?

Jawab

  1. Following example of the angels (Luke 2: 13-14).

    And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2: 13-14)

  2. Following example of the shepherds (Luke 2: 20).

    And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (Luke 2: 20)

  3. Following advice to remember Jesus of David lineage  (2 Timothy 2: 8)

    Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel (2 Timothy 2: 8)

Christmas celebration 2014 in Manger Square, Bethlehem, Palestine, which was officially held by Bethlehem municipality.
Christmas celebration 2014 in Manger Square, Bethlehem, Palestine, which was officially held by Bethlehem municipality.

 

Biblical reason for the shepherds to watch flocks in the open field in December

Disinformation

At the time that the angel announced His birth to the shepherds of Bethlehem, they were feeding their flocks by night in the open fields [see Luke 2:8]. It was not the custom for the shepherds of Judea to watch their flocks in the open fields later than about the end of October.

The truth

Torah requires its adherents to sacrifice animal every day, morning and twilight.

Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two one year old lambs each day, continuously.  The one lamb you shall offer in the morning and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight; (Exodus 29:38-39)

This verses created a real need of two lambs (young sheep) in Jerusalem every day in any weather, including December weather. However, citizens were prohibited from raising sheep inside Jerusalem.

One may not raise small cattle [i.e., sheep, goats, etc.] in the Land of Israel, but one may do so in Syria or in the uninhabited parts of the Land of Israel (Mishna Baba Kama 7)1

The sheep farming, which are located close to the highway to Jerusalem, on Bethlehem pasture, supplied and met the daily need.

Shepherding on Bethlehem pasture
Shepherding on Bethlehem pasture
Bethlehem pasture.
Bethlehem pasture. Source: http://www.carrollcrossroads.com/uploads/7/4/9/9/7499075/206870_orig.jpg

The ritual of animal sacrifice needed sheep every day in any season, weather, temperature, and month; and the sheep farming on Bethlehem pasture was always there to meet the need. Here is a reason for the presence of shepherds and their sheep on Bethlehem fields in December.

Conclusion

The shepherds of Judea watched their flocks in the open fields in any month, including December, to meet the need of daily sacrificial lambs in Jerusalem, near the pasture.


 

Bibliography

1) http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0005_0_04581.html. January 9, 2015. 11:49

2) Shepherds or wise men?

Disinformation

Luke has shepherds at the manger, no Wise men present.
Matthew has no shepherds, and has wise men visiting a house in Bethlehem. The wise men go in the House to give their gifts to Jesus. There is no stable or manger. Should we go by Matt.,which was written earlier than Luke? Both can’t be true.

The truth is….

Both are true because both happened in different times.

  1. The shepherds came to newborn Jesus in the same days when Jesus born.

    For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2: 11)

    This verse implies that human Jesus was still newborn when the shepherds came to him.

  2. The wise men came to child Jesus several weeks or months later. Time range of their arrival was between 2 weeks to 12 months after delivery.

    And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child (παιδιον ‘paidion’) with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. (Matthew 2: 11)

    παιδίον ‘paidion’1 refers to young child or infant, but not newborn (βρέφος ‘brefos’)2

From their information, we know that Mary family did not dwell in the cave forever. Instead, they moved to a normal house once the opportunity came to them. Matthew and Luke provide different information, which are complementary to each other.

Conclusion

  1. The wise men came to Jesus in 2 weeks up to 12 months after the shepherd.
  2. Matthew 2: 11 does not contradict Luke 2: 11.
  3. Disinformation technique: ignoring time setting of the Christmas story.

Bibliography

1http://www.studylight.org/lexicons/greek/gwview.cgi?n=3813 ; access 5/8/2015 23:17
2http://www.studylight.org/lexicons/greek/gwview.cgi?n=1025 ; access 5/8/2015 23:15

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Train of Thought about Christmas December 25

Please bear in mind, use Hebrew Calendar and Julian Calendar, instead of Gregorian Calendar, as discussed before. (seeChristmas-related calendars“)

Sukkot celebration, it was the day where Gabriel came to Zechariah.
Sukkot celebration, it was the day where Gabriel came to Zechariah.
  1. Luke 1: 10-11 => Gabriel visited Zachariah in Sukkot day (Tishri 15, 3756 Hebrew Calendar a.k.a September 26, 6 SM)
  2. Luke 1:23 => Zachariah departed to his home in Hebron immediately after his task had completed. His desire of having son drove him to immediately go home and meet his wife. By implication, he did not spend the night in Jerusalem.
  3. Considering distance and night traveling time from Jerusalem to Hebron on foot and Zachariah’s advanced age, Zachariah arrived in Hebron 16th days of Tishri morning.
  4. He, then, took a rest during the day at his home after serving at the temple for 24 hours plus walking on foot for approximately 11 hours 35 minutes. Meanwhile, copulation with his wife took place in the evening/ night (Tishri 17, 3756).
  5. Elizabeth (Zechariah’s wife) got pregnant at 17th of Tishri 3756 Hebrew Calendar.
  6. Luke 1: 26-27, 36 => Gabriel visited Mary at the six months of Elizabeth’s gestation.
  7. 17th of Tishri 3756 Hebrew Calendar + 6 months = 17th of Nisan 3756 Hebrew Calendar (March 25th, 5 BC Julian Calendar)
  8. Mary got pregnant on 17th of Nisan 3756 Hebrew Calendar or March 25th, 5 BC Julian Calendar.
  9. επλησθησαν αι ημεραι ‘eplēsthēsan ai hēmerai’ in Luke 2:6 => Mary gave birth to a full-term infant, called Jesus the Christ (Isa Al-Masih).
  10. According to the ancient Hebrew culture, full-term labor was 9 months of gestation.
  11. Thus, the date of birth of Jesus is March 25th, 5 BC Julian Calendar + 9 months = 25th of December 5th BC Julian calendar.
  12. December  25th on which Jesus born is also written in old writings from 1-3 AD centuries, hundreds years before Nicene council I (325 AD)

What about Bethlehem climate in December? Did it allow shepherds and sheeps in the Bethlehem pasture by night?

Yes. Bethlehem has been geographically located at 31° 4211North Latitude and 35° 1144East Longitude and at an altitude of 775 asl. The geographical position indicates that Bethlehem is located in the SubTropical Zone or Warm-temperature Zone with average temperature ranges between 6° C – 14° C (December 2014).

In addition to climatic factor, there were three other factors allowing the shepherd and the sheep in the Bethlehem pasture during December. SeeShepherds on Bethlehem Pasture in December.


Bibliography

http://www.myweather2.com/City-Town/Israel/Bethlehem/climate-profile.aspx , 29 Desember 2014 , 9:00 WIB

Suhu rata-rata bulan Desember di Betlehem
Average Bethlehem temperature in December

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