By: Fr. Fr. Abe Arganiosa, CRS
The Angel Gabriel appeared before Zechariah while he was offering incense inside the Temple of God.
The Rota System of the Levites [24 Courses] found in 1 Chronicle 24:7-19
1 Chronicles 24:7-19 (King James Version)
7Now the first lot came forth to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah,
8The third to Harim, the fourth to Seorim,
9The fifth to Malchijah, the sixth to Mijamin,
10The seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah,
11The ninth to Jeshuah, the tenth to Shecaniah,
12The eleventh to Eliashib, the twelfth to Jakim,
13The thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab,
14The fifteenth to Bilgah, the sixteenth to Immer,
15The seventeenth to Hezir, the eighteenth to Aphses,
16The nineteenth to Pethahiah, the twentieth to Jehezekel,
17The one and twentieth to Jachin, the two and twentieth to Gamul,
18The three and twentieth to Delaiah, the four and twentieth to Maaziah.
19These were the orderings of them in their service to come into the house of the LORD, according to their manner, under Aaron their father, as the LORD God of Israel had commanded him.
· When the Temple was destroyed in 70A the priestly course of Jehoiarib was serving. So, both the early Catholics and the Jewish scholars were competent in calculating the date of the offering to Zechariah which the Gospel of Luke specified as belonging to the turn of Abijah clan.
· The Rota System was unbroken from Zechariah [Luke 1:9] to the Destruction of the Temple under General Titus, this calculation has The Course of Abijah [Zechariah’s turn] occurring in the First Week of October. That was the time when Elizabeth conceived St. John the Baptist. The Gospel of Luke [Luke 1:36] states that 6 months later the Angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary in Nazareth. It was then that Mary conceived the Savior. So, it must fall on March if six month after October first – the month of March.
· It means that the Feast of Annunciation chosen by the Church is also correct [March 25] and 9 months after the Virgin gave birth to the Savior of the World. St. John Chrysostom [347-407] supported this calculation of the Temple Rota System when he wrote: “December, the eight of before the calends of January [December 25] or early January – The Birthday of the Unconquered.”