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 17, 14 AD which meant his 15th year ended on September 16, 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 Luke 4:19 — mostly covering Jesus work in the Galilee (Kinnereth) and Jordan region in 30 - 31 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, while 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 receive and accept 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 6)
  7. Visit to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, in October (John 7)
  8. Feast of Hanukkah, early December (John 10:22)
  9. Finishing in Jerusalem at the Passover, 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 Numbers 9:11, the weekend the manna began Exodus 16. Below is a possible sequence of events between the three passovers in John.

Two Passovers

Events between Passovers
in John 2 and John 6

Jordan River entering the Sea of Galilee (about 210 metres below sea level) via Beit Zaida Valley. A steep drop in elevation occurs shortly after exiting Lake Hula, about 18 Kilometres to the north and about 61 metres above sea level.

Below is a possible sequence of events between the passover in Jerusalem 30AD, and the second passover a month later in accordance with Numbers 9:11, on a remote hillside in Galilee east of the Jordan River shortly after John the Baptist's execution.

April 2ndPassover Eve (14th Day of Moon) in Jerusalem. John 2:13-25
April 3rd-4thSpends some extra days in Judaea with his disciples who were baptizing converts. At this time John the Baptist had not yet been arrested, but it happened shortly afterwards. John 3:22-24
April 5th-6thTwo days in Samaria. John 4:40-42
April 7thCana and miracle of nobleman's son. John 4:46-54
April 8thSabbath Day. Capernaum. Preaches in the synagogue and casts out an evil spirit from one of the congregation. Later at Peter's house, heals Peter's mother-in-law. Huge numbers gather, and there are many healings and deliverances.
Mark 1:21-34, Luke 4:31-41
During the next two weeksJesus travels through Galilee region. Next, back in Capernaum, Jesus heals a paralytic man let down through the roof of a crowded house. Calls Levi (Matthew) a tax collector to be his disciple. Matthew invites his associates over. Mark 2, Luke 5:17-29
April 15thSecond Sabbath following the Passover and issue of disciples plucking corn. Mark 2:23-28, Luke 6:1-5
April 22ndHeals the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath Day. The Scribes and Pharisees declare this to be "working on the Sabbath", and their anger increases. But the people press to touch him and it is followed that day by Jesus preaching from Peter's boat to avoid their crush. After the miracle of the fish catch, the call to Peter and Andrew James and John that they would be made evangelists from then on. Mark 3:1-12, Luke 5:1-11, 6:6-11
April 23rdSpends night in prayer. Appoints the 12 disciples. Huge crowd gathers at the mountain. Sermon on the Mount (mostly to just these disciples). Accused of madness, serving the devil, his family come to the house. Next, a centurion requests healing for his servant.
Mat 5 to Mat 8:1-13, Mark 3:13-35, Luke 6:12-49, 7:1-10
April 24thFollowing day, with many disciples and others, raises widow's son at Nain, outside Nazareth. Luke 7:11-17
April 25th-28thGoes to Jerusalem for a feast perhaps in regard to this coming passover. John 5
While he is healing & delivering many, John sends two disciples from his prison to ask Jesus if he is the one. Visits Simon's house. Luke 7:18-50
April 29thNow in Jerusalem. Sabbath. Heals lame man at pool at Bethesda. John 5
May 1stSecond Passover Eve at hand. Jesus back in Galilee hears John has been executed. Jesus's disciples return with much excitement. Takes ship to remote spot near Bethsaida. That evening he feeds the 5000. That night the miracle of Jesus walking on water. The following day he preaches the message to the crowd who followed him in their boats, of being the Bread of Life. The parable is too hard, many of the people leave him.
John 6, Mat 14, Luke 9:10-17, Mark 6:30-56

Postscript May - September

  1. Jesus travels in north, feeds 4000, heals blind man at Bethsaida
    Mark 7:24-37, 8:1-26, Mat 15:21-39, 16:1-12
  2. In Capernaum accused of serving devil, warns them of blaspheming Holy Spirit. Speaks parables on a boat, explains the parables in a room, then his family comes. Back on boat, calms storm, goes to Gadara, raises Jairus's daughter, visits Nazareth
    Mat 12:22-50, Mat 13, Luke 8, Mark 4 to Mark 6, Luke 4:16-44

Transfiguration (October-November)

Luke 9:18-35, Matthew 17, Mark 9. Peter's insight at Caesarea Philippi followed by the Transfiguration traditionally at Mount Tabor about 18kms west of the Sea of Galilee. Subsequently, Jesus set his face steadfastly to go to Jerusalem Luke 9:51, sending out 70 disciples (two by two) to let people know he was coming Luke 10.
After Hanukkah in Jerusalem, came east of Jordan River John 10:40, Mark 10, Matthew 19. Goes back to Bethany about 3kms east of Jerusalem to raise Lazarus, John 11 then moves to city of Ephraim. Comes through Jericho, healing blind Bartimaeus Mark 10:46-52, calling Zacchaeus Luke 19, delivering the famous parable of the minas (moneys, pounds), and returns to Bethany.

The events leading up to the crucifixion and his resurrection on Sunday March 25th in 31 AD.
Earliest records said 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 wall). The Jews sought to have him killed but were unable, due to the crowds everywhere Luke 19:47. It was the day for the selection of a sacrificial passover lamb, the 10th day in the month of Nisan in their calendar 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 John 12:4 to be the leper Simon Matthew 26:6, owner of a house in Bethany where the earlier anointing occurred and the receiver of a humbling object lesson from the Lord in Luke 7:36. 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.

Although historic calculations today indicate the full moon fell on the 26th or 27th March in 31AD, truly only the Father knows what happened to the moon that month. Christ's crucifixion is the centre point of space and time. In Luke 23:44-45 it says "the sun was eclipsed (or darkened) for three hours at midday". Of course a solar eclipse should be impossible as the moon was on the opposite side of the earth. But not to God. After which the moon may easily have had its orbit around the earth shifted four or five days backwards, causing that lunar month in March-April to be not 29½, but 34, or 35 days long. Matching our historic records.
But regardless, what we do have evidence of are the declarations by early Church historians (Alexander of Jerusalem (c. 218 AD), Julius Africanus (c. 221 AD), Bede (673-735 AD) and others) who declared Jesus was crucified on Friday March 23rd and rose from the dead on Sunday March 25th. And surely, from the early records, they would have known.

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 see Luke 1:36, 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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