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Was CHRIST Born "B.C."?
Garner Ted Armstrong   
Church of God

Born: February 9, 1930
Died: September 15, 2003
Member Since: 1930
Ambassador College: 1956
Ordained: 1955
Office: Evangelist

How COULD Jesus have been born in 4 B.C.? B.C. means "BEFORE Christ"! Then HOW could Christ have possibly been born "BEFORE Christ"? Read the surprising answer!

   THE real time of the birth of Christ has mystified millions. You may have been stunned, shocked to learn in the previous article that Jesus was not born on or anywhere near December 25th. You may have been mystified to learn He was born, not in the winter at all, but in the autumn of 4 B.C.
   But how could this be? How could Jesus have possibly been born in the year 4 B.C.? Hundreds wrote, questioning, wondering.

Where Did We Get Our Calendar?

   Think a moment! Did all the world suddenly begin to reckon time differently at the birth of Christ? Did everyone announce that from this point on, they would begin year A.D. 1 (Anno Domini, or "Year of Our Lord")? Did the whole Western world suddenly begin counting time the same way you have always counted time?
   Why, of course not! Herod himself didn't know the exact time of Jesus' birth, and killed all the children up to two years of age. He must have been guessing by at least as much or more than ONE FULL YEAR.
   Remember at the birth of Christ, the wise men, or magi, saw a star. They followed the star (the Bible uses stars as symbols of angels Rev. 1:20; 12:4) to the place where Christ lay. When Herod tried to have Jesus killed, he sought to find from the wise men not the date of Christ's birth, but the time when the star appeared (Matt. 2:7). God very carefully obscured the exact date of the birth of Christ. When Herod tried to kill Christ by having all the babies slain, he included "all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men" (Matt. 2:16).
   The Jews in Palestine were then counting time according to the regnal years of their rulers (Luke 3:1). The Chinese count rime totally differently than we do, or than do the Jews. The Mohammedans, or the adherents of Islam, reckon time from the Hegira, or the fabled flight of Mohammed from Mecca to Medina.
   In the so-called "Christian" world, we are now supposedly living in the year One Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy-three After Christ. But are we, really?

A Pagan Calendar

   Believe it or not, our whole method of counting time is completely pagan. All your plans, your calendar markings, your "dates" with friends have always been set according to pagan, heathen days and seasons.
   Did you ever analyze the very names of the days? Sunday is the chief day of the professing Christian world or the day specially dedicated to the sun god, not the Son of God! Monday is the second day of the week, and the day of the moon god. In other languages, such as in some of the Romance tongues, the word lunes (having the same Latin root as our word "lunar") is used. When you use the term "looney," referring to someone who is crazy, you are actually reverting to an ancient superstition that people became "moonstruck" or went crazy because of the influence of the moon. Tuesday comes next. The day dedicated to Mars. In the Spanish language, the word for Tuesday is MARtes. Then comes Wednesday. Did you ever have trouble learning to spell the name of this day? Why? Didn't you think the N should come before the D? But it can't. Because it must preserve the name of WEDN, or WODEN, which was a Norse name for Mercury. In Spanish, the name for Wednesday is Miercoles.
   There's much more. Thursday is obvious, isn't it? It is the day of THOR, the ancient Norse god of thunder. Friday derives its name from Freyia, the ancient goddess of the Teutonic peoples. In some of the Romance languages, it is called venerdi or viernes, which means a venerable day, after the supposition that Christ was crucified on a Friday, which He was not. Because of this supposition, people have regarded Friday as the unlucky day.
   Then comes the seventh day of the week, the day of which Jesus is the real Lord (Mark 2:27-28), but which the pagan calendar calls the day of SATURN, another name for Nimrod. Had you ever faintly realized these things before? If we are a really "Christian" society, why do we still sprinkle our very basic customs liberally with pagan deities of bygone heathen religions? Even our huge missiles are named after these ancient pagan gods.
   But what about the months? The very same thing has happened. The Romans, and then the professing Christian world, adopted, and many times adapted the same old pagan calendar, calling the names of the months, not after the divinely revealed pattern of the Bible, but after the god "Janus" or "Juno" or in honor of a pagan emperor, such as Julius or Augustus.

Even the Years Are Wrong!

   But what about the date, today? Are we really living in the One Thousand Nine Hundred Seventy-third year since Christ's birth?
   No! We are not. Actually, until about September of "1962," we will have been living in the 1965th year since the birth of Christ.
   Let's understand. God did not instruct man regarding the manner of reckoning time according to A.D. or B.C. This is a devising of man's. And, just like nearly everything man has attempted to do, it is corrupt.
   The present-day method of calculating years and epochs was first established by Dionysius the Little, a Roman abbot, and began to be used only in parts of Italy, and did not reach France until the 8th century.
   The Florentines continued to use a totally different method of reckoning the passage of years, until even as late as the 18th century. Further, different peoples, according to location and religion, began the years on different dates, and in different months.
   Do you see? Nothing but chaos and confusion. But God is not the author of confusion! (I Cor. 14:33)
   It was Dionysius who began assigning the years prior to Christ as those "Ante Christum," or, in English, "Before Christ," and those following the supposed date of His birth as "Anno Domini" or, "Year of Our Lord."
   Who was Dionysius? Merely a Roman Catholic abbot who lived in the 6th century. His method of dividing the years with the supposed time of the birth of Christ has led to countless difficulties.
   For instance, astronomers, counting either backward or forward, insert a year "0" between A.D. 1 and 1 B.C. Chronologers and historians do not. Isn't it a little confusing to use two totally different systems, the one the exact opposite of the other, when reckoning time?
   Not only do historians and chronologers resort to a double manner of reckoning, but they must also remember that the cycles of the leap years are totally different in the years "B.C."
   Dionysius was supposedly a learned man. He was a highly skilled theologian according to the Encyclopedia Britannica. But learned in what? Why, in the traditions he had always heard, in the practices and customs of those around him, and in the "knowledge" he gleaned from the accepted ideas of other human beings of his day. He was exactly like any other human being, born into a "ready-made" society, and simply taking for granted the things he was taught.
   First and foremost, he was a loyal Catholic steeped in the oral and written traditions of the monastic culture of his day.
   Secondly, he was actively engaged, as were countless Other Catholics during the same time, in attempting to reconcile and amalgamate the pagan festivals being observed throughout the Roman world with the supposedly "Christian" festivals of the Church!
   But such amalgamation needed skillful adjustment of the calendar! By the means of these adjustments in the methods of reckoning time, "it was found no difficult matter, in general, to get Paganism and Christianity now far sunk in idolatry in this as in so many other things, to shake hands." (Hislop's The Two Babylons p. 105.)
   What about it? Was Dionysius able to be completely objective? Was he completely honest with himself driven only by the intellectual and philosophical pursuit of new knowledge and truth? Or was he striving to see how he could devise a method which would blend the pagan customs with the "Christian" ones?
   To this Hislop replies: "The instrument in accomplishing, this amalgamation (concealing paganism by calling it "Christian") was the abbot Dionysius the Little, to whom also we owe it, as modern chronologers have demonstrated, that the date of the Christian era, or of the birth of Christ Himself was MOVED FOUR YEARS FROM THE TRUE TIME!" (Alexander Hislop, The Two Babylons, p. 105, emphasis mine)
   There it is! You live in a man-made society. It is ordered, devised, constructed, planned and built by human beings, who have totally departed from their God.
   These ancient chronologers did not lose four years, as some have feared. They just misplaced Christ's date of birth by pushing it forward four years on the calendar they had already devised.
   You have always just TAKEN FOR GRANTED that most of what you "learned" was RIGHT! You have accepted, literally without question, beliefs and practices that stemmed directly from the pagan sun-worshippers and idolaters of Babylon and Egypt, of Greece and Rome.
   Jesus was born, according to the man-devised and truly erroneous method of reckoning in use today, in 4 B.C.!

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Plain Truth MagazineApril 1962Vol XXVII, No.4
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