The Day Christ was Born - Revisited

 

Introduction    This account includes some information that is not in The Day Christ Was Born.  The source links at the end of the article contain valuable ancillary information.

 

The Death of Herod the Great    It is well-known that Herod put the death sentence on all male children two years and under when he believed that the wise men mocked him [Matthew 2:16], so that Herod's death date must also be considered in determining the day Christ was born.  I believe that the account of Juan Antonio Revilla and John D. Keyser is as accurate as any

 

Placing Herod's death in 1 B.C. allows us to accept the ANCIENT tradition that the Messiah was born in 3 B.C. The evidence of history, archaeology and astronomy is now showing that Herod died in early 1 B.C. and that the Messiah was therefore born in 3/2 B.C. (regnal dating) -- as confirmed by Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Africanus, Hippolytus of Rome, Hippolytus of Thebes, Origen, Eusebius and Epiphanius.    ----  Juan Antonio Revilla and John D. Keyser  [1]    

Herod's death in 1 BC  is therefore consistent with Herod's decree to execute all two-year and under Jewish males - and is consistent with  3 BC as the latest date of Jesus' birth.

Connecting Jesus' Birth with His Death     Identifying the specific year in which two Sabbaths occurred in the same week, and imposing the proviso that Jesus would be in the tomb three days and three nights (as the scripture says), then only when the high day Sabbath would occur on a Thursday could this proviso be met.    According to the tabular data (The Day Christ Was Born), there are only two dates in which there were two Sabbaths in the same week that satisfied the Passover being on Wednesday - these years were 28 AD and 31 AD.   Of these two dates, 28 AD is ruled out because this would force Jesus' birth to have taken place outside the plausible parameters.

 

If the Lord Jesus was born on October 25th, 3 BC, then He would have begun His ministry on October 25th, 27 AD, for He would have been 30 years old, as the scripture declares    And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli, ...   Luke 3:23.  Some bible translations - like the NIV - mislead the Christian in many seemingly innocent ways, yet mask the truth in ways that preclude the reader from the correct understanding.  Please notice the following 

 

"And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age,..."     King James Translation

"Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry..."   NIV Translation

 

 

These passages seem to be conveying the same information, but they do not!  The King James wording can only be rightly understood as meaning that the Lord Jesus was exactly thirty years old, and not thirty years and some days.  This is true because one can only "begin to be" on one's birthday - one cannot begin to be at any day after that.  This understanding is crucial in pinpointing the exact day in which the Lord Jesus began His ministry.  At least one account postpones Jesus' ministry as beginning after the 40 days that Satan tempted Him, but this ignores Jesus' testimony at His baptism to the people gathered there and that the Lord Jesus overcame the Devil's temptations for those forty days.  No, Jesus began His ministry on the very day of His baptism, when He was exactly thirty years old. 

 

Another Anchor Date    Another highly significant date for these events is found in  the Book of Luke where the bible records the year in which John the Baptist began his ministry of Baptism Unto Repentance.  John began his ministry when he was exactly thirty years old, and he preceded the Lord Jesus in His ministry by exactly six months [read the account in Luke 1:24-33]. Further,

 

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.  And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.   Luke 3:1-4

 

 

Proceeding with the Lord Jesus' beginning His ministry on October 25, 27 AD, we must needs reconcile this date concerning the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar's reign.  Most accounts date the beginning of Tiberius' reign as 14 AD, which would mean that the Lord Jesus' ministry began in 29 AD, and not 27 AD.   An astute scholar notes, however, that there were two years of co-regency between Caesar Augustus (Tiberius' adoptive father) and Tiberius, so that Caesar Tiberius actually became Emperor of the Roman Empire in 12 AD, co-regent with Caesar Augustus until Augustus died August 19, 14 AD [see [2] below].  Therefore, John began his Baptism unto Repentance ministry in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, namely 27 AD.

 

Jesus and Elijah    The Lord Jesus' ministry can be likened to Elijah's ministry, in that His ministry is sandwiched in between Elijah's two ministries, that of his ministry before he was taken up into Heaven in a chariot of fire [2Kings 2:11], and his three and one-half year ministry-to-come commencing at the very beginning of the Tribulation, i.e., the first three and one-half years. [3]   When His disciples asked Jesus about Elijah's coming,

 

And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?   And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.   But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.   Matthew 17:10-12

The Lord Jesus told them that Elijah had both already come and that he would also come again (during the Tribulation), to restore all things.  God will send Elijah at the beginning of the Tribulation, to witness for three and one-half years

 

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.    Malachi 4:5,6

And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.   Revelation 11:3

If we put Jesus' ministry to parallel Elijah's ministry, then He too would have ministered  for three and one-half years.  This would put Jesus' ministry to have begun on October 25th, 27 AD, the day He became 30 years old.  And if we forward His three and one-half year ministry, we arrive at April 25th, 31 AD,  the day He was crucified.  A three-year ministry does not fit the facts that I have already presented, and as far as I know, no scholar has posited Jesus' birth as occurring in the month of April.  Three days and three nights later, between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jesus resurrected after being in Paradise, thus fulfilling His own prophecy concerning Jonas being in the whales' belly for three days and three nights [Matthew 12:40].  Working backwards from the date of His crucifixion and of His ministry, the Lord Jesus was born on October 25, 3 BC.

 

Sources

 

[1]   www.hope-of-israel.org/herodsdeath.html

[2]  https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/19215/was-luke-mistaken-about-the-year-in-which-john-the-baptists-preaching-began

[3]  http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/two-witnesses-first-or-second-half-of-tribulation

 

 

 

 

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