The Chronological Aspects

The following chart shows the rulers of the period that Palestine was under the control of foreign powers
until the birth of Christ.

The chronology aspects of Christ’s life are primarily determined by two dating schemes. There is a three-
year variation in the dating of the events in Christ’s life, which depends upon how one interprets Luke
3:1, “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar.” The two most prominent ways to understand
this phrase is:

1. Fifteenth reckoned from the time of Tiberius became co-ruler with Augustus, A.D. 11, thus
rendering the commencement of John the Baptizer’s ministry at A.D. 26.
2. Fifteenth reckoned from Tiberias’ accession year, A.D. 14, then the date would be A.D. 29, which
is more probable in terms of Roman dating procedures.
Luke 3:23 mentions that at the commencement of His ministry, Jesus was “about thirty years of age.”
However, the Jews said to Jesus, “You are not yet fifty years old” in John 8:57. Irenaeus held that Jesus
was in His forties, for if Jesus were in His thirties they would have said, “You are not yet forty years old.”

The first recorded visit of Christ to Jerusalem after His baptism is found in John 2:13-3:21. At this time,
the building of Temple had taken forty-six years. The Jewish historian Josephus states that it was started
in Herod’s eighteenth year (Antiquities of the Jews, xv. 11.1:238). Herod the Great was proclaimed King
in 40 B.C. This would make the starting point of the rebuilding of the Temple around 23/22 B.C.
However, Herod’s reign coincides with the arrival of Augustus in Syria according to Dio Cassius, which
occurred in the spring or summer of 37 B.C., which Josephus confirmed in Bellum Judaicum, i 21.1:401.
The Temple reconstruction began in 20/19 B.C. However, the Temple edifice/building was completed in
18/17 B.C., and 46 years later would bring the date to Passover A.D. 29/30, instead of A.D. 27.

The field of astronomy offers the most help in fixing the year of Christ’s crucifixion. The Jewish calendar
was based on lunar months. Hence, by noting the date of the new moon’s appearances in the general
period of Jesus’ death, it is possible to determine in which years Nisan 14 (according to the sunset-tosunset
reckoning) fell between Thursday at sundown and Friday at sundown. Jesus was crucified between
A.D. 26 and 36 because this was the period of Pontius Pilate’s governorship. Complex astronomical
calculations reveal that during this period Nisan 14 fell on Friday twice, in A.D. 30 and in A.D. 33.
Deciding between the two dates is no easy matter.

The sixty-nine seventh (476 years or 173,880 days) of seventy-sevens prophecy of Daniel 9:25-26
calculated from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem on March 5, 444 B.C. (Nisan 1 of Artaxerxes’ 20 Year
(Nehemiah 2:1-8)) comes to March 30, A.D. 33 the date of Jesus’ Triumphal entry on Nisan 10, A.D. 33.
The Messiah was cut off after 69 weeks—Friday, April 3, A.D. 33. He arose on the first day of the week.
Hence, Jesus Christ entered into the history of our world in the period from 8 B.C. to 4 B.C., but no later
since Herod the Great died in the Spring of 4 B.C.

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