On the 24th of June each year many people in the Philippines celebrate what the Roman Catholic Church has designated as the Feast of Saint John the Baptist. The same feast is also celebrated in most other countries where there are Roman Catholics.
In many cities, towns and barrios in the Philippines people would traditionally douse water on their neighbors and passersby on this day. This is supposedly to commemorate the birth of the prophet John, who went about baptizing in all of Judea during the time of Jesus Christ (the first century A.D.).
Why the 24th of June?
How did the Roman Catholic Church arrive at June 24 as supposedly John’s birthday? Here’s how, according to the article “Saint John’s Day” on this website link: www.officeholidays.com/countries/europe/stjohnsday.php:
Always celebrated on 24 June, this holiday celebrates the birthday of St. John the Baptist.
In the Gospel of Luke, certain verses imply that John the Baptist was born six months earlier than Jesus. And since it has become tradition that Jesus was born on 25 December (Christmas), Midsummer day, being six months before, was taken to be the feast day of St. John the Baptist [emphasis added].
As we can see, the basis for the June 24 date of John the Baptist’s birthday is mere tradition — not the testimony of Scripture. Those who are familiar with Roman Catholic doctrines know that the Roman Catholic Church places church tradition above the testimony of the Bible. This church believes that the popes in union with the church’s “Magisterium” have the sole authority — supposedly handed down through the apostle Peter (as Christ’s chief apostle) — to define dogmas as interpreted by them from Scripture. [To understand better the Catholic stand on this, see this link: https://carm.org/roman-catholicism-bible-and-tradition. You may also search Google under “catechism of the catholic church,” click on CCC-Catechism of the Catholic Church, and scroll down to PART ONE:THE PROFESSION OF FAITH, then CHAPTER TWO: GOD COMES TO MEET MAN, Article 2: THE TRANSMISSION OF DIVINE REVELATION.]
The testimony of the Bible
The “gospel” accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) do not give a direct statement as to the exact date of the birthday of John the Baptist [or John the Baptizer, as his name is better translated, so as to dispel the impression that John belonged to some Protestant (Baptist) denomination]. However, in this and other matters of the Bible, God has not left us without a witness or testimony (Acts 14:17) in His Word.
A vitally important clue which the Bible gives us is the fact that John’s father, Zacharias, served as priest at the temple in Jerusalem during the course of service for the division or order of his ancestor Abijah, as ordered long before by Israel’s King David. We can read about this in Luke 1:5 and 1 Chronicles 24:1-19.
Abijah’s schedule to serve in the temple was the eighth out of a total of 24 divisions (1 Chronicles 24:10, 18). This was the same schedule followed by Abijah’s descendants, as it was by Zacharias.
Since the Hebrew year generally consists of 12 months, the 24 divisions of the priests would each have a schedule of two weeks’ service at the temple. This being the case, the schedule of the division of Abijah would fall in the latter half of the fourth month (Tammuz) of the Hebrew or Sacred Calendar.
If we are to follow the God-ordained beginning of the year, we will see that the first month is the month during which the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are observed by God’s people as God has commanded (Exodus 12:1-20; 1 Corinthians 5:6-8). The Jews call this month Abib or Nisan. Compared with the commonly used Gregorian (or Roman) calendar, this month would fall between March and April. [See: “Happy New Year!” For a comparison of Hebrew and Gregorian months, see this link: www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-jewish-calendar. ]
The fourth month of the Hebrew calendar (Tammuz) would thus fall during June-July. The eighth division of Abijah would thus have been during the first half of July (weeks 1 and 2). It was during this time that an angel of the Lord told Zacharias, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John” (Luke 1:13).
Luke 1:23-24 shows that soon after Zacharias’ tour of duty ended, his wife Elizabeth conceived. In the Roman calendar, this would have occurred in the latter half of July — now into the beginning of the fifth month of the Hebrew calendar (Ab or Av), or July-August in the Roman calendar.
Projecting nine months forward from that time of John’s conception, we will see that John’s birth would have taken place in the first month (Abib or Nisan) of the Hebrew calendar. That would be sometime between March and April in the Roman calendar. That’s about three months earlier than the purported birth of John, on June 24, as Catholics observe it!
God’s Word — the truth!
In His prayer to God His Father, Jesus said: “Your word is truth” (John 17:17). Based on the foregoing Scripture passages, the proof from the Hebrew calendar, and the events’ equivalents in the Roman calendar, the assigning of June 24 as John’s supposed birth date is amiss — erroneous! The date is not true to Scripture and the facts!
Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him” (John 4:23). Worship that is not based on truth — God’s Word — but on human tradition is not True Worship! [See also: Fake News and Beware of False Prophets.]
Proverbs 6:16-19 lists seven abominations or things God hates. Among these, two are related to lying or not telling the truth — “a lying tongue” (Verse 17) and “a false witness who speaks lies” (Verse 19). This indicates God’s double hatred toward lies! Jesus said that liars have Satan as their father (John 8:44). At His return Jesus will “destroy with the brightness of His coming” the leader (called “the man of sin,” “the son of perdition,” and “the lawless one,” Verses 3 and 9) of this world’s religious system based on lies. [See: Are We All God’s Children?]
Unless people under Satan’s deception repent (sooner or later) of their false worship — worship based on lies — they will suffer destruction at Christ’s return (Revelation 11:15-18; 15:1-19:21) or, ultimately, the “second death” in the “lake of fire” at the end of the ages (Revelation 21:8; see also Luke 13:3, 5). Revelation 21:27 adds: “But there shall by no means enter it [the “holy city,” “the New Jerusalem, Verses 1-2] anything [or anyone] that defiles, or causes an abomination or lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” [See also: Revelation 22:15 and The Book of Life, God’s “Book of Remembrance”, This Is Not the Only Day of Salvation, Why Is the “Unpardonable Sin” Unpardonable?and “Whoever Loves and Practices a Lie”.]
John’s conception key to time of Jesus’ birth
Dovetailing with the approximate time of John’s conception and birth are the approximate times of the conception and birth of Jesus Christ. As can be proven beyond a doubt, the assigning of December 25 as Jesus’ supposed day of birth (with the 24th as its eve) does not square with the Bible’s evidence!
Luke 1:26, 36 shows that it was in Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy that the angel Gabriel announced to the virgin Mary that she would conceive and bear a Son by the Spirit of God the Father and call His name Jesus (Verse 31). This sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy would be in the 11th month of the sacred calendar (Shebat) or sometime in January-February of the Roman calendar.
Assuming that it was in this same 11th month of the sacred calendar (Shebat) that Mary conceived Jesus, nine months later would bring us to the seventh month of the sacred calendar (Tishri) or September-October of the Roman calendar the following year as the time of Jesus’ birth. Possibly this birth could have occurred on the first day of Tishri, which is the Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:22-25), the day of Christ’s “first coming.” It is also possible that Christ’s “second coming” could take place on a Feast of Trumpets. [See: The Comings of Christ.] Jesus’ return will be heralded by seven trumpets (Revelation 8-11, 15-19).
Thus it becomes obvious that, in order to “justify” a supposed December 25 birthday of Jesus, the Catholic Church has designated June 24 as John’s birthday — both dates not compatible with the testimony of Scripture.
For more details on the origin of the Christmas tradition, see this link: http://www.herbert-armstrong.org, click ENTER HERE, and select “Books & Booklets” and scroll down to the booklet titled “The Plain Truth About Christmas.”
What a far cry the common December 25 tradition of the supposed birth of Christ is from the truth of the Bible!
Come out of “Babylon!”
If we got down to the roots of the many customs and traditions observed by many religions and regions of the world, we would be shocked to realize that almost all of these come right out of ancient Babylon! [See: “Your Eyes Will Be Opened!” and Drunk With Strange Wine.]
That “Babylon” is very much alive today! Otherwise, why would God tell His people to “Come out” of an end-time Babylon if it does not exist in some form today (Revelation 18:1-9)? Satan has deceived — through his agent Babylon — not a tiny minority, but the vast majority, of this world’s society (Revelation 12:9).
Incidentally, the tradition of water-dousing (called “wata-wata,” probably a variant of “water-water”) on certain dates is also found among non-Christian societies like Thailand and other countries. Would this indicate that the June 24 water-dousing tradition in the Philippines and similar traditions elsewhere have come from a common origin somewhere outside the Bible?
If you are concerned about being saved from God’s coming wrath on Babylon, come out of this world’s un-Biblical ways! Come instead to Jesus Christ, to where He is actively working to teach His people to truly believe and practice His Word and fulfill the will of God the Father. [See: “The Next Chapter of History,” The Value of the “Firstborn,” God’s Feasts in the Book of Acts: Mere Time Markers — or to Be Observed? The True Christ, and Where Is God’s Church Today?]
Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.