Correcting the year of Christ’s birth 2

Christmas 2003: The Nativity

Image by DUCKMARX via Flickr


Let’s take a look at some evidence provide by early Christian writers provided by Chuck Missler’s “When Jesus Was Born”.

1.) Tertullian said that Augustus started ruling 41 years before the birth of Jesus and died 15 years after. The date of Augustus’ death was August 19, A.D. 14. This would put the birth of Jesus at 2B.C since we know there is no A.D. Zero. He also stated that Jesus was born 28 years after the death of Cleopatra, once again placing the birth of Jesus in 2 B.C.

2.) Irenaeus, born roughly 100 years after Jesus wrote “Our Lord was born about the 41st year of the reign of Augustus”. This does not contradict Tertullian’s 42 years, since Augustus’ reign began in the autumn of 43 B.C. This puts the birth of Jesus in the autumn of 2 B.C.

3.) Eusebius, in the fourth century, wrote “It was the 42nd year of the reign of Augustus and the twenty-eighth from the overthrowing of Egypt on the death of Antony and Cleopatra.” The 42nd year of Augustus spanned between the autumn of 2 B.C. and the autumn of 1 B.C. The overthrowing of Egypt took place in the autumn of 30 B.C. According to this, the 28th year from the subjugation of Egypt spanned from the autumn of 3 B.C. to the autumn of 2 B.C. The ONLY possible date for the birth of Jesus that meets both requirements would be the autumn of 2 B.C., two years before our records show. That would also make this year, 2008, by the way, since there is no zero year, and Jesus birth begins our way of counting the last 2,011 but he was born two years earlier. Our calendar is based on flawed math to say the least.

All evidence strongly points to 2 B.C. as the year Jesus was born, making Dionysius wrong by just one year. But again, what about the fact that Herod supposedly did in 4 B.C.? Historians calculate this date because Josephus reports a lunar eclipse occurring just before Herod’s death, and for some time, the only eclipse that fitted the evidence was in March 13, 4 B.C. Modern astronomical science, however, has since determined that a lunar eclipse was indeed visible in Jerusalem on January 9, 1 B.C.

Combined with the testimony of those early Christian historians and writers, the weight of evidence leans toward the autumn of 2 B.C., which also corresponds with Luke’s assertion that Christ was “about 30 years old” (Luke 3:23) in or just after “the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar” (Luke 3:1), whose actual ascension to the throne was in A.D. 14.

So, now that we understand when Jesus was born, and have examined the strongest evidence, Monday we will look at what month Christ was born in a new study.

God Bless,



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