By Sam Eyoboka
GOD’s Kingdom Society, GKS with headquarters in Warri, Delta State has provided answers to the above question, maintaining that the proginator of the Christian faith, contrary to popular belief, was born in October.
Thus GKS has been celebrating Christ’ birthday in October describing the occasion as Freedom Day.
Last Sunday, thousands of members, including the immediate past Delta State Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof. Hope Eghagha and Mr. Emmanuel Efeni with their relations and friends converged at the GKS Service Hall on Ora Street, Olodi Apapa in Lagos for a divine service to commemorate the auspicious birth of Jesus.
The occasion, tagged Freedom Day, featured several cultural displays including the Edo Cultural Group, Rivers Orchestra, Yoruba Group and Urhobo Cultural Group representing various stations of the church in Lagos to express the joy of salvation associated with the birth of Jesus Christ.
Two-timing station minister for Lagos zone, Brother Timothy Esimagbele read the Freedom Day message: “There is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed” and his assistant, Brother Isaac Ennang handled the sermon: “Was Christ born on Christmas Day?”
The preacher contends: “In The Explanatory Catechism of Christian Doctrine, it is stated in answer to Questions 50 and 51, that our Saviour Jesus Christ was born at Bethlehem on Christmas Day, (25th of December). But how the churches came about this date, no one cares to ask. The erroneous belief that the priests and catechists cannot lie makes the churchgoers accept this teaching with quiet contentment.
“The people therefore go all out to celebrate Christmas not out of a Scripturally grounded faith but because they so were bred,” he stated, “but after a diligent research into both sacred and profane history, we have no doubt in our minds that Jesus Christ was born in the month of October, and not in December!” Unlike Christians who have adopted December 25 date, the GKS, however, argues that the exact date, month or year in which Christ was born is not positively stated.
“But there are scriptural records including the Bible Chronology from which we can show to those with open minds that his birth took place in October,” he stated.
From Bible account, the assistant station minister said: “In those days there were appointed 24 Jewish priests, the sons of Aaron, to serve in the temple in a year. Everyone officiated according to the order of his course or turn—two every month.
Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was a successor of Abijah. It was when he was officiating in the temple in the order of his turn – “the course of Abijah” – that an angel appeared to him, saying that his wife, Elizabeth, would bear him a son to be named John. (Luke 1:5-13).
After the completion of Zacharias’ period of duty in early July (Tammuz), his wife became pregnant, and she hid herself for five months. (Luke 1:23-24). In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s conception – Chisleu, which is our December – God sent Angel Gabriel to the virgin Mary and he announced to her that she would conceive and bear a son to be called Jesus.
The angel added: “And behold, thy cousin, Elizabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:26-31, 36-37). Consequent upon the annunciation Mary, no doubt, was in high spirits. With haste she went straight to a city in the uplands of Judah to meet Elizabeth.
She stayed with her cousin about three months (i.e. from January to March) before returning home. (Luke 1:39-40,56) Something dramatic occurred when Mary visited Elizabeth. As soon as she entered Zacharias’ house and greeted Elizabeth, the babe (John) stirred in her womb. The words of Elizabeth to Mary at that instance, which were motivated by the Holy Spirit, showed clearly that Mary herself was already pregnant.
Not only did Elizabeth bless the fruit of her womb but she went on to address her outright as “the mother of my Lord”. Luke 1:41-44. According to medical authorities the span of foetal life under normal conditions is 280 days, which is nine months; any time in the tenth month the child, by God’s grace, can be born. This was the case with John the Baptist. The angel appeared to Mary in the sixth month of Elizabeth’s conception and Mary went to her and stayed three months: six plus three equal nine. It was then “Elizabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son” – obviously, in the tenth month, April. Luke 1:36, 56-57.
Having been equipped with this knowledge, let us now count Mary’s conception from that January as was manifest in Elizabeth’s declaration, we will arrive at September as the ninth month; then in the tenth month October, Jesus Christ was born. But on which day in October his birth took place no one can tell because there is no record. We of the GKS say only what we can prove.
The physical features of Palestine with regard to the climate lend support to the view that Christ was not born in December. According to the Bible account, there were shepherds attending their flocks in the open fields by night when Christ was born. This could not have been possible in December, because all accredited authorities agree that December, which corresponds with the Jewish ninth month, Chisleu, (Zechariah 7:1) was usually a time of winter in Palestine when the people could not stay outside in the night owing to the intense cold.
The Oxford Encyclopedic Concordance states that there was “snow on the mountains”. But October is the Jewish seventh month called Tisri or Ethanim. (I Kings 8:2) It was a time of normal weather that permitted of outdoor or outside activities.
Again, the fact that churches observe the death of Jesus Christ (“Good Friday”) in April confirms that his birth could not have taken place in December. Of a truth, he was killed in April, which is Nisan or Abib, the first month of the Jewish year, when the Feast of Passover or Unleavened Bread was celebrated.