Some Important A. D. Dates
September 11, 2001 is a date that stands out in history. Some historians have remarked that September 11 involving the invasion of America by terrorists will go down in history as a date that has greatly influenced our society, "forever changing America." There have been many dates that are of historic interest, dates that have importantly affected man (see addendum).
8 A. D. - the temple discussion involving the twelve-year-old Jesus (Lk. 2: 41-52). One might ask how the event involving Jesus in the temple in discussion with the learned men of his day qualifies as an important A. D. date. Jesus' temple discussion is important because the matter reveals that Jesus was not an ordinary twelve-year-boy.
"And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers" (vs. 46, 47).
Even at this early age, Jesus manifested the fact that he was special and extraordinary, in that, no one has ever affected mankind as importantly as has Jesus of Nazareth (Matt. 1: 21).
26 A. D. - the baptism of Jesus (Matt. 3: 16, 17). John the Baptist's baptism was involved in John's preparatory work in preparing the Jews for the arrival of the Messiah (Matt. 3: 1, 2). John exclaimed the need for repentance and the announcement of the imminent kingdom of God (Ibid). John also taught water baptism for the remission of sins (Mk. 1: 4). We read thus of Jesus' baptism:
"16: And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3: 16, 17).
It was at Jesus' baptism that we tangibly see the expressed approval of the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus' baptism is of great consequence for multiple reasons. It was at this time that Jesus fully began his public three and one half year ministry. The baptism of Jesus is also significant because John's baptism was a matter to be observed and Jesus exhibited this. As seen, John's baptism was for the "remission of sins." However, Jesus had no sin (Heb. 4: 15). Why, then, was Jesus baptized? The answer is, "to fulfill all righteousness" (Matt. 3: 15). The baptism that Jesus would later announce as being part of the Great Commission is also said to be "for the remission of sins" (Acts 2: 38, cp. Mk. 16: 16). Since the lost are laden in sin, scriptural baptism is of the utmost value. Jesus displayed what the proper attitude toward baptism is in his own baptism
28 A. D. - the commissioning of the twelve apostles to go on the limited preaching endeavor (Matt. 10: 5-7). Jesus had already chosen the twelve (Matt. 4: 18ff.). However, this assignment was consequential in that it, just as John's work, was preparatory as well as anticipatory. Consider the commission:
"5: These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7: And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 10).
Great prophetic emphasis had been placed on the establishment of the kingdom of God (cp. Dan. 2; 4). As noticed, John had mentioned the soon to be kingdom; now, Jesus proclaims the nearness of the kingdom (see also Matt. 16: 18, 19). The kingdom was of serious spiritual concern in that in was a sphere involving salvation (Jn. 3: 1-8, Col. 1: 13, 14). Anterior to Acts 2, the kingdom is mentioned as being future; however, beginning in Acts 2, the kingdom is mentioned as in existence (see Col. 1: 13, 14). The limited commission helped spread the word that the kingdom was very close.
30 A. D. - Jesus' death, resurrection, ascension, Great Commission, and the beginning of the gospel (Matt. 26, 28, Acts 1: 11, Mk. 16: 15, 16, Acts 2). In fact, of all dates making up the history of man, 30 A. D. is one of the greatest dates of all.
It was at this time in earth's history that Jesus, the sinless Son of God, was arrested and crucified (Matt. 26: 50-54). Jesus' death was not simply the death of another man. Jesus "shed his blood for the remission of sins" (Matt. 26: 28). Jesus was resurrected and ascended back to the Father (Matt. 28: 6, Acts 1: 11). After Jesus' resurrection and shortly before his ascension, Jesus commissioned the twelve as follows:
"17: And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18: And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matt. 28).
Jesus' appointment of the apostles depended on his resurrection and resulted in the gospel, God's power unto salvation, being preached to all men (Matt. 28; Col. 1: 23; Rom. 1: 16).
36 A. D. - the turning of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9: 1-22). Paul was an apostle concerning whom it was said, "born out of due time" (I Cor. 15: 8). In view of Saul's (later called Paul) status among the Jews, it was highly unlikely that he of all people would accept Christianity. However, he not only became a Christian, but he has gone down in history as one of the greatest promoters of Christianity ever known. Paul said thus of himself:
"9: For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10: But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me" (I Cor. 15).
Paul selflessly preached, debated false teachers, and established churches for about thirty years of his life. When all the math computation is done, multiplied millions have heard and read the gospel largely due to the work of one man, the apostle Paul.
40 A. D. - the salvation of Cornelius (Acts 10). It had been prophesied centuries before that the new covenant would be for all men, Jew and Gentile (Isa. 2: 2). Jesus' Great Commission, accordingly, was for "every creature" and "all nations" (Mk. 16: 15, 16, Matt. 28: 18ff.). However, it would take a miracle to make man understand that the Gentile would be allowed equal participation in the kingdom. Hence, not only did Peter preach the gospel to Cornelius, his family, kinsmen, and friends, but Cornelius received the baptism of the Holy Spirit just as the apostles did in 30 A. D. (Acts 10: 44, 45, 11: 15, 16, cp. Acts 2). About ten years later (50 A. D.), Paul used the example of Cornelius to prove to the Jerusalem meeting that the Gentiles were to be equally treated:
"7: And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8: And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us" (Acts 15).
The date 40 A. D. affects you and me in that as Gentiles, we freely have access to the grace of God and his covenant.
96 A. D. - the writing of Revelation. When John wrote Revelation, the New Testament came to a close. Therefore, the words, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen" serve for more than just the close of the book of Revelation. The New Testament is "the faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3, ASV). In it, we have all things pertaining to life and godliness, a creed, and being completely supplied, spiritually speaking (2 Pet. 1: 3, 2 Tim. 3: 16, 17). The New Testament constitutes the "doctrine of Christ" in which we must abide in order to have God and which the Christian uses to determine the fellowship of others (2 Jn. 9-11).
Just as September 11, the foregoing dates are accented in history. These dates also have forever changed man, providing us with greater spiritual advantages, if you please, and positioning. These combined dates and events make the "better covenant, which was established upon better promises" of which the writer of Hebrews spoke (Heb. 8: 6). (If you are interested in studying chronology, dates, please click on "Time Line Survey of the Bible.")
Addendum: It was not the burden of this article to closely examine Anno Domini (A. D.) regarding the 4 to 8 year alleged discrepancy regarding Jesus' birth involved in the Roman calendar. I placed the stress on the event and used the 4 A. D. date assignment as Jesus' birth).