The Coming of the Kingdom

Christ 2 BC - 31 AD

Anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and Power - Acts 10:38

We do know that in the scriptures, the year (and day) of Christ's conception and birth is not terribly clear. Early tradition stated it was in the 3rd year of the 194th Olympiad (i.e. between July 2 BC and June 1 BC). Note, there is no year zero.

In one of the few scriptures referring to it, Luke 3:1, John the Baptist commenced his ministry in the 15th year of the Roman Emperor Tiberius's reign. In historical records - click here - Tiberius's 1st year had commenced on September 18, 14 AD which meant his 15th year ended on September 17, 29 AD. As his fame grew, John baptized Jesus, when in Luke 3:23 Jesus was beginning to be as it were 30 years old — i.e. at the start of 30 AD.

Three of the gospels record that Jesus's baptism was followed by 40 days in the wilderness.

The four gospels then record about one year of ministry — the acceptable year of the Lord — mostly covering Jesus work in the Galilee (Kinnereth) region in 30 AD. Map on right.

Click here for a map in Jesus's day, including Cana and Nazareth, Jesus's home town where he grew up. Click here for a modern photo of the Sea, taken in the west looking towards the east at its southern end. The sea is actually a freshwater lake, 53 kilometres in perimeter and 210 metres below sea level, very low.

Note, the first three gospels tend to move around at times, reflecting the theme involved in each specific passage. John, in contrast, the writer of the fourth gospel, sets out a consecutive chronology of events.

After the first disciples visit him in Nazareth

  1. Jesus, his mother, and the disciples go to a wedding feast in Cana. (John 2)
  2. Jesus shifts with his family to Capernaum on the northern side of the Sea of Galilee, and is joined by his first disciples. Peter and Andrew, James and John have received and accepted the invitation "Follow me".
  3. Jesus goes to Jerusalem with these disciples for the Passover at the start of April in that year.
  4. Speaks to Nicodemus, while his disciples occupy themselves baptizing converts. (John 3)
  5. Speaks to the woman at Jacob's Well, on the way back to Galilee. (John 4)
  6. Following a second visit to Jerusalem, feed the 5000 on a remote hilltop, at the time of the "Second Passover", in May (John 5 and 6)
  7. Visit to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, in September (John 7)
  8. Feast of Dedication, in December (John 10:22)
  9. Finishing in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, the following March (John 11:55).

One year of ministry for Jesus (not three) was the general understanding of the early church fathers, as seen in the writings of Clement of Alexandria (150-215). Presumably, so soon after an event, they would know. Origen (184-253) and particularly Eusebius (263-339) changed this up to three years, following a strange attack by Irenaus (130-202) that this one year of ministry was a heresy and it should rather be twenty years, that Jesus lived to be nearly fifty. However, one year fits the overall sense in all the four gospels. A passover mentioned in John 6:4 at the feeding of the 5000 following Herod's execution of John the Baptist, would therefore refer to the second month passover, the weekend the manna began. Click here for a possible sequence of events between the first and this second passover in John.

Then finally, we have those events leading up to the crucifixion and his resurrection on Sunday March 25th in 31 AD.
Earliest records show that Jesus entered Jerusalem to huge acclaim the previous Sunday, March 18th. Traditionally, he entered via the Golden Gate (a gate currently walled up) in the eastern part of the city. The Jews sought to have him killed but were unable, due to the crowds everywhere see Luke 19:47. It was the day for the selection of a sacrificial passover lamb, the 10th day in the month of Nisan in the Jewish calendar see Exodus 12:3. The following Wednesday, two days before Passover Friday, as the priests and scribes met to plot his death, Judas who hypocritically had been indignant over Mary's anointing of Jesus the previous Saturday, March 17th, reveals his true side, meeting with them to betray Jesus in exchange for payment Matthew 26:1-15, Luke 22:1-6, John 12:1-8.
John incidentally reveals Judas's father Simon to be the leper Simon, owner of the house in Bethany where the anointing occurred and the receiver of a humbling object lesson from the Lord. So, both were proud, cold and cranky, like son, like father.

And now, it was Thursday, March 22nd, the 14th day of the Jewish month, and the day a passover lamb was due to be killed see Numbers 28:16, Luke 22:7. Following the passover meal Thursday evening, Jesus was betrayed and then on the Friday crucified — cut off from humanity for the sins of all. It was now the 15th day of the Jewish month, the first day of seven of the feast of unleavened bread see Numbers 28:17.
Jesus was laid in a tomb prior to Saturday, then resurrected early on Sunday morning, March 25th, now the third day in that passover week.

As he had prophesied Matthew 12:39-41, from Thursday - Saturday he had been three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, like Jonah, in the belly of the monster, at the mercy of and constrained by the earth's wicked thoughts and plans.

Jesus ascended to heaven 40 days after his resurrection, which is Thursday May 3rd. Pentecost followed ten days later on Sunday May 13th, 31 AD.

And from Christmas week at the beginning of 30 AD (on Friday Dec 30 to be precise) to Thursday May 3rd in 31 AD is exactly 70 weeks, another reflection of God's perfect timing.

In terms of his birth, as there was never a starting year called Zero AD, Jesus's first year occurred in what we now call 1 BC (when he was in Egypt). And according to early tradition, Jesus was circumcized — his foreskin cut — and given his name on Friday January 1st 1 BC, born Friday December 25th 2 BC and conceived by the Holy Spirit Wednesday March 25th 2 BC.

If so, then John the Baptist, who was 5 - 6 months older, would have been conceived in September/October 3 BC, the same month as the Jewish New Year (not January or March), as they hold it was in this month that Adam was created. It is the seventh month in their religious year, the month for the sounding of the ram's horn.

Though there is no scripture to confirm a Friday December 25th birthday - called "day of Venus" in Latin and "Venerdi" in Italian, it was certainly recorded in early writings - e.g. the consul lists of Philocalus of 354 AD, with 2 BC matching that date with the correct day of the week. Click here to view further references from the earliest times. And we also know, from Luke 1:15, John, the forerunner of Christ, was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb.

Luke 16:16 "The Law and the Prophets were until John; from then the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is pressing into it".

Matthew 12:28 "If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you".

Click here for more background on the change from BC to AD, formally implemented by Dionysius, using scholarly Easter data obtained from church councils in Alexandria in Egypt. And click here for an account of the death of King Herod, almost certainly in 1 BC, or 1 AD at the latest.

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