Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 18 Number 1 January 2016
Page 16

Questions and Answers

Send your religious questions to editor@gospelgazette.com

Dates for Christ's
Death & Resurrection?

Louis Rushmore, Editor

Brief History of Calendars

Calendars were developed to permit mankind to measure time – past, present and future. The world has experienced numerous, often competing calendars throughout the centuries. These calendars differed from each other based on the emphasis placed upon them in various parts of the world (e.g., earth’s revolution around the sun, cycles of the moon, seasons, politics, religious considerations, etc.).

The lunar calendar, taking notice of the cycles of the moon, anciently was a popular approach to defining time. “The lunar calendar became the basis of the calendars of the ancient Chinese, Babylonians, Greeks, and Jews” (“History of the Lunar Calendar”). However, lunar calendars especially fail to correspond to the makeup of a year as defined by solar calendars – the time it takes for our planet to revolve around its sun. Having less days than solar calendars, lunar calendars represent the four seasons inconsistently at different times on the lunar calendar from year to year. Proponents of Islam still use the Islamic Calendar, a lunar calendar, for religious purposes and observances.

The Roman calendar, itself evidencing that it was a revision of previous calendars, was revised by Julius Caesar in 45 B.C. “The Julian calendar was no longer dependent on the observation of the new moon but simply followed an algorithm of introducing a leap day every four years. …The Gregorian calendar was introduced as a refinement of the Julian calendar in 1582 and is today in worldwide use as the de facto calendar for secular purposes” (“History of Calendars”).

“While the Gregorian calendar is now in worldwide use for secular purposes, various medieval or ancient calendars remain in regional use for religious or social purposes, including the Julian calendar, the Hebrew calendar, the Islamic calendar, various Hindu calendars, the Zoroastrian calendar etc.” (“History of Calendars”).

Regarding dates for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, various “authorities” cannot even agree on what year, projected backward from the calendar now commonly used, that those events occurred. In addition, neither is there common agreement regarding in what month the death and resurrection of Christ transpired. Jewish and Roman calendars were in use in first century Palestine, and those two calendars did not even agree on the makeup of a day. The Roman calendar, like our calendar today, calculated each day from midnight to midnight (12:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m.), but the Jewish reckoning of a day was from sunset to sunset (roughly from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.). Those factors deserve careful consideration and require scrutiny of biblical context to ascertain in any passage whether reference is to Jewish or Roman time in Scripture.

In any case, the year or month that any event recorded in the Bible occurred is not usually as significant as the event that appears in Holy Writ. That certainly is true regarding the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. One may think that he has ascertained or concurs with others who affirm the precise date of those or other events in the Bible, but these are not matters over which one needs to be concerned.

That being said, though, days of the week regarding the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ are known. They are known from their placement in consideration of the Jewish Sabbath and Jewish Passover on the front end as well as from the back end counting backward from the Pentecost (a Sunday) of Acts 2. After selecting a year, for instance, A.D. 30 or A.D. 33, it is a matter of projecting backward, after analysis of the various pieces of information, to select prospective dates for the death and resurrection of our Lord as well as the Pentecost on which the Lord’s church began. Still, the events and ramifications of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ take center stage, and they are on what one needs to dwell. If suggestive dates in a narrative about the death and resurrection of our Lord as well as the beginning of the church add a sense of realism and factualness that soothes, then note them in passing. On the other hand, if such are a distraction, simply ignore or overlook them.

Works Cited

“History of Calendars.” Wikipedia. 18 Dec. 2015 <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_calendars>.

“History of the Lunar Calendar.” Infoplease. 17 Dec. 2015 <http://www.infoplease.com/calendar/lunar.html>.

Works Consulted

Akin, Jimmy. “7 clues tell us *precisely* when Jesus died (the year, month, day, and hour revealed).” 10 Apr 2013 National Catholic Register. 17 Dec 2015 <www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/when-precisely-did-jesus-die-the-year-month-day-and-hour-revealed>.

“The Historical Calendar of Jesus.” Albatrus.org. <http://www.albatrus.org/english/potpourri/dates/historical_calendar_of_jesus.htm>.

Time and Date.com. 17 Dec. 2015 <http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/?year=0030&country=1>.

Why Does Man Exist?

Royce Pendergrass

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). God created the light, the firmament of heaven, the earth and seas, day and night, living creatures in the ocean and air, living creatures on the earth and saw “that it was good.” Yet, there was something missing, and He created “man” to fill that void. Not only did He create man, but He created man in His own image. The creation of man was His crowning glory, and following it, God said “It was very good” (v. 31).

When God created man, He blessed him and said, “Be fruitful and multiply, replenish the earth and subdue it, have dominion over the fish of the sea and fowls of the air and over every living creature” (Genesis 1:29-30). From the beginning, it was God’s intent that mankind produce offspring after his kind, and He gave men a brain unlike any other of His creation so that man could think and reason to be able to meet God’s mandate to replenish and subdue the earth and exercise dominion over the rest of God’s creation.

God created man because He chose to do so. He didn’t need man to do anything for Him because He is quite capable of doing all things for Himself and for all others. He created man to take care of the rest of His creation and to worship and serve Him. We’re told in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Fear God and keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of man.” “Whole” means complete, full, all of. Obeying God is what man is to do. In his book entitled, For This Cause, Stanley Sayers said, “It is as though the earth (man’s great house) was built especially for him and completely furnished to the utmost detail and then the man, the keeper of the house, was invited to live in this house and be master to all things in it.”

Man’s existence came about so that God would have someone to “dress it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15); man was created to be the keeper of the earth. Still, there were others things man had to do. From the beginning man was told what not to do. God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and if they did, they would die. They did eat of that forbidden fruit, and that day they died spiritually because they were separated from God, and they began to die physically. God had to put into motion a plan whereby man could be reconciled to Him (through Jesus).

“The Lord has made all things for Himself” (Proverbs 16:4), and that includes mankind. Psalm 149:4 tells us that “the Lord takes pleasure in His people.” When God spoke to Moses about the exodus out of Egyptian bondage, He said, “I am the Lord…and I will take you to Me for a people and I will be to you a God and you shall know that I am the Lord your God” (Exodus 6:2, 7). God is still the same. He still loves His creation and will take care of the needs of His people. “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory” (Philippians 4:19). Man was placed on the earth by God, and His people are to “worship God and serve Him only” (Matthew 4:10).

Man is not here by accident. From the Garden of Eden until this day, God has a plan. He has always been very open about His expectations of men. He has always given assurance to the faithful with such being “the peace of God that passes understanding” (Philippians 4:7). He has also told men what would happen if they failed to do His bidding. “These will go away into everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:46). There will be no surprises at the Judgment.

God created us to faithfully serve Him, but when we fail, He has a plan. “If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32). The plan is forgiveness through the blood of Christ.

[Editor’s Note: Even Christians often fail to make the distinction between the purposes for their creation and existence, and on the other hand, daily living. Christians, too, confuse vocations and avocations; each child of God’s primary vocation or job is to do the bidding of God (Matthew 22:37). One’s avocation or second job pertains to daily life – making a living, amusements, etc. (Matthew 6:24). “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these [other, material] things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 NKJV). We Christians serve at the good pleasure of our Creator. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]

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