May 9, 2009

Condensed Gospel Chronology

The crucifixion of Jesus was either 30 or 33 AD. The 15th year of Tiberius was either 29 or 28 AD. The public ministry of Jesus lasted either 3 or 4 years. Taken all together, these points eliminate 30 AD for the cross. Thefore, the crucifixion was in 33. Our interpretation [of Luke's interpretation] of the 15th year of Tiberius may now depend on the duration of the Lord's public ministry.

John’s Gospel lists three Passovers; the Synoptics include a fourth; Matthew & Luke strongly suggest a 5th Passover, between John’s 2nd & 3rd. Five Passovers contain a 4 year chronology of Jesus' public ministry, which dates Herod Antipas' beheading of John (and Jesus' subsequent withdrawals from Galilee) more fittingly prior to the fall of Sejanus (ie, John died in early 31 AD, not 32). This circumstancial evidence explains much which the alternative view leaves in doubt, providing further weight for accepting the 5th Passover, and thus, the four year chronology.

The four year chronology begins with Jesus' baptism in 28 AD, which allows us to date the Lord's birth as early as 7 BC, keeping strictly to Luke 3:23. Indeed, 28 AD falls 34.5 chronological years after the spring of 7 BC, which fits two other plausible theories on dating the nativity - 12 years prior to Archelaus' exile and two years after Herod's punishment in 9 BC. (In this view, the census must have been organized during Herod's year of disfavor in 8 BC and completed by 7 BC.)

Two incidental points remain. First, astronomical data for the initial "star" of the Magi fits as well in 7 BC as for any other year. And finally, arguments from John 2:20 are unfortunately irrelevant because the amount of time spent on the pre-construction phase of Herods Temple project is completely unknown.

Therefore, it seems most likely Jesus was crucified in 33 AD, baptized in 28 AD, and born in 7 BC.

That's my effort, today, to be succinct. It's not airtight "proof" but it's internally consistent and might be the most comprehensive view yet presented of all the data. After three years of working on this chronology of the gospels, I can't find any problems with it. Can you?


Mark Main said...

I know it's hard to post all the facts on a blog page, but it would probably be a good idea to have all of your supporting evidence written in a word doc so that it's downloadable and gives someone a chance to speak to your points. Lots of people search for this truth, and I believe the answers will come from the Body working together in loving search rather than the in fighting that can sometimes occur. I think it comes when our pride gets hurt as someone questions our facts, and sometimes emails can seem harsh when they weren't intended to be that way. Anyway, food for thought. Here are some nice links to look at, which will not agree with your position, but I liked them and I found them insightful; maybe they will bless you as well.

As I've done my research I'm leaning more toward Jesus birth in the Fall of 4BC and Crusifixion on Wednesday, April 4, 31 AD. I've only started researching and so I'd be very interested in facts and websites that anyone can offer, which supports a view.

Bill Heroman said...

Mark, thanks for your thoughts. Feel free to scan my links, but I'll challenge you with these facts for starters.

(1) Herod the Great died in March of 4 BC. (2) It takes an awful lot of stretching to date Jesus' crucifixion before 33 AD.

Again, see my links for more. Thanks for your interest, brother. :)

Eric said...

Somewhere it says 28 BC, where it should read 28 AD.

Bill Heroman said...

Thanks, Eric. I have just corrected the error.

You make a good editor. Have you considered a career in publishing? ;-)

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