December 1, 2010

Born Five Years After He Was Born

Since it is the first day of December here in jolly ole Pennsylvania, I felt like typing a post on Christmas...well, sorta. You'll figure it out by the time you're done reading.

Christianity began in the Roman Empire and often numbered the date "in the ___th year of Emperor Soandso" or "in the time of King Whatshisname". Dates were associated to rules or leaders or reigns of kings since they had been recorded in public records. Having been recorded they were easier to date. These records of leaders may have often been recorded in such permanent manners as carving in stone, especially in the case of Emperors. These methods allowed for rather pinpoint dating at times. Even after two millennium we still have an accurate view of when things took place in the New Testament (and Old in some places). The examples below from Luke are exceptional since he was trying to document a historical account of Jesus Christ for Theophilus. Unfortunately, at other times like in the Book of Daniel, trying to date Kings Darius and/or Cyrus it makes things rather confusing.

"In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron." ~Luke 1:5

"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)" ~Luke 2:1-2

"In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene—during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness." ~Luke 3:1-2

The early Christians also dated the way the Romans did initially which was dated from the beginning of the empire or "anno urbis conditae" meaning "from the the foundation [of the city] of Rome". To make a long story sort, the church eventually did not like using a dating system that mated it with a empire that persecuted them (Christians) mercilessly so the church abandoned the practice. In the mid-4th century the Church decided it was only proper to begin dating in honor of Christ the founder of the faith (obviously). In 540 Dionysus Exiguus invented the Christian chronology and the year of Jesus' birth was 1 A.D. "anno domini" or "the year of our Lord". There is no year zero as that would be an absence of a date so the sequence would be like this 2 B.C.,1 B.C. 1 A.D., 2 A.D.
Using information from the Gospels, Dionysus concluded that Jesus was born on 753 A.U.C. but his calculation was off by approximately 4 years. Jesus was born before Herod actually died in 4 B.C. so His birth ended up being about four and a half to five years before the official dating of His birth.

The dating system formulated by Dionysus didn't get instituted until 690. Once it was it went global and spread with the spread of Christianity. Jewish people still use their own dating which supposedly dates back to the world's creation based in the Bible (Old Testament). Both of these dating systems are now being forced out by a secular world that wants nothing to do with Christianity or Jesus Christ and they have begun to shift to B.C.E. and C.E. which are "before common era" and "common era". Ironically, the common denominator between these two date identifiers? They both still pivot around the birth of Christ, and even the secular version uses this basis although they won't aknowledge Him. They want the date of Jesus' birth but they don't want Jesus. How ridiculous.

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