Historicity of Jesus the Christ
The Reality of the figure Jesus the Messiah.
E.F. Harrison wrote: “Some religions, both ancient and modern, require no historical basis, for they depend upon ideas rather than events. Christianity is not one of these” (1968, 11). The religion of Jesus Christ stands or falls upon the events of history. Did Jesus of Nazareth ever live? Is the New Testament data regarding him reliable? This is a crucial issue.
In the nineteenth century, German historian Bruno Baur alleged that Jesus was the mental invention of a few second-century Christians who were influenced by Graeco-Roman philosophy. More recently, an atheist associated with the Freedom From Religion Foundation argued that “the New Testament Jesus is a myth” (Barker 1992, 378).
More careful scholars, however, have been forced to acknowledge the historicity of the Lord. German historian, Adolf Harnack (1851-1930), declared that Jesus was so imposing that he was “far beyond the power of men to invent” and that those who treat him as a myth are bereft of “the capacity to distinguish between fiction and the documentary evidence” (as quoted in Harrison 1968, 3). Joseph Klausner, the famous Jewish scholar of Hebrew University (who did not accept Christ as the Son of God) conceded that Jesus lived and exerted a powerful influence, both in the first century and subsequent thereto (1989, 17-62). Even rabid skeptics have had to bow bloody heads to the blows of solid historical evidence. Entertainer Steve Allen has written some bitter diatribes against the Bible. Nevertheless, he confessed: “My own belief is that he [Christ] did indeed live in the time of Augustus Caesar” (1990, 229).
Several lines of evidence converge to establish the historical reality of the founder of the Christian religion:
- the New Testament documents;
- ancient Jewish sources;
- Roman writings;
- early antagonists of Christianity;
- the testimony of the patristic writers;
- the art of the Roman catacombs;
- the impact of Christianity in history.
The New Testament Documents
Christ’s existence is established clearly by the primary documents of the New Testament. Skeptical writers would dismiss these, but to do so is irresponsible since more than five thousand Greek manuscripts, in whole or part, establish the body of New Testament literature (Metzger 1968, 36). All of the New Testament had been completed within sixty years or so of Jesus’ death. Of those twenty-seven books, no less than ten were penned by personal companions of the Lord. And Paul, an eyewitness of the resurrected Savior, wrote thirteen or fourteen of the remainder.
Liberal scholars have tried to relegate New Testament books to the second-century
(or later), and have suggested that these documents are productions of unknown authors in order to repudiate them as primary sources of historical information. It is interesting to note, however, that even some radical theologians have conceded the strong evidence for the early composition of the New Testament.
For instance, John A.T. Robinson, a liberal theologian of England, has acknowledged that all of the New Testament books were written in the first century. He also has admitted that the book of James was penned by a brother of the Lord within two decades of Jesus’ death, that Paul authored all the books that bear his name, and that John, the apostle, wrote the fourth Gospel (1976; see also Time 1977, 95). The New Testament contains irrefutable evidence of the existence of Jesus.
The earliest non-Christian testimony to the Lord’s existence is that of the Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus (
37-100). In Antiquities of the Jews, the historian twice referred to Jesus. In one passage he called Jesus “the Christ,” referred to his “marvelous deeds,” and alluded to his death and resurrection (18.3.3). Though some would dispute the genuineness of much of this reference, suggesting that it was embellished by an over-zealous Christian scribe, the passage, as it stands in all standard texts, can be defended (Jackson 1991, 29-30). In another place, Josephus commented on the trial of James, and identified him as “the brother of Jesus, the so-called Christ” (20.9.1).
Additionally, the Jewish Babylonian Talmud took note of the Lord’s existence. Collected into a final form in the fifth century
, it is derived from earlier materials, some of which originated in the first century. Its testimony to Jesus’ existence is all the more valuable, as it is extremely hostile. It charges that Christ (who is called Ben Pandera) was born out of wedlock after his mother had been seduced by a Roman soldier named Pandera or Panthera.
Respected scholar, the late Bruce Metzger of Princeton, has commented upon this appellation:
The defamatory account of his birth seems to reflect a knowledge of the Christian tradition that Jesus was the son of the virgin Mary, the Greek word for virgin,
, being distorted into the name Pandera (1965, 76).
The Talmud also refers to Jesus’ miracles as “magic,” and records that he claimed to be God. It further mentions his execution on the eve of the Passover. Jewish testimony thus supports the New Testament position on the historical existence of Jesus.
There are allusions to Christ in Roman times (see Bettenson 1961, 3-7). Pliny, governor of Bithynia, wrote the Roman emperor Trajan (ca.
112), asking for advice about how he should deal with Christians who made it a practice to meet on an appointed day to sing a hymn “to Christ as if to God” (Epistle of Pliny to Trajan X.96).
The Roman historian Tacitus, in his Annals (ca.
115), referred to “Christus,” who “was executed at the hands of the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius” (XV.44).
120, Suetonius, a popular Roman writer, declared that Claudius expelled the Jews from Rome because they “were continually making disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus” (Vita Claudii XXV.4). “Chrestus” is a corrupted form of
(Christ). Luke alluded to this situation in Acts 18:2.
Antagonists of Christianity
Another line of evidence establishing the historicity of Jesus is the fact that the earliest enemies of the Christian faith did not deny that Christ actually lived (see Hurst 1897, 180-189).
Celsus, a pagan philosopher of the second century
, produced the oldest extant literary attack against Christianity. His True Discourse (ca.
178) was a bitter assault upon Christ. Celsus argued that Jesus was born in low circumstances, being the illegitimate son of a soldier named Panthera (see above). As he grew, he announced himself to be God, deceiving many. Celsus charged that Christ’s own people killed him, and that his resurrection was a deception. But Celsus never questioned the historicity of Jesus.
Lucian of Samosata (ca.
115-200) was called “the Voltaire of Grecian literature.” He wrote against Christianity more with patronizing contempt than volatile hostility. He said Christians worshipped the well-known “sophist” who was crucified in Palestine because he introduced new mysteries. He never denied the existence of Jesus.
Porphyry of Tyre was born about
233, studied philosophy in Greece, and lived in Sicily where he wrote fifteen books against the Christian faith. In one of his books, Life of Pythagoras, he contended that magicians of the pagan world exhibited greater powers than Christ. His argument was an inadvertent concession of Jesus’ existence and power.
The Patristic Writers
The Patristic writers authored significant works between the end of the first and eighth centuries
These so-called “church fathers” (
) produced volumes important to understanding the changes occurring in the Christian religion during the post-apostolic age, and testify profusely to the historical Christ (see Bettenson 1956).
Polycarp (c. A.D. 69-155), for example, lived in the city of Smyrna in Asia Minor. He spoke passionately of Christ, and wrote against certain heretics of his day. Irenaeus (c. A.D. 130-200) said that Polycarp had personal association with the apostle John, and with others who “had seen the Lord” (Eusebius V.XX). He died a martyr, having served Jesus Christ for eighty-six years (suggesting that almost his entire life was dedicated to the Savior). The testimony of the “church fathers” certainly is more compelling than the trifling objections of biased critics, twenty centuries removed from the facts.
The Roman Catacombs
Beneath Rome there exists a maze of galleries that served, from the second to the fifth centuries
, as tombs (and secret places of worship during persecution) for early Christians. It has been estimated that there are some six hundred miles of these subterranean passages, representing 1,175,000 to 4,000,000 graves (Blaiklock 1970, 159).
The catacomb vaults are filled with artwork, which testifies to the deep faith in Christ that was embraced by legions in the capital of the Roman Empire. Common among these inscriptions was the figure of a fish, frequently containing the word
(Greek for “fish”; Boyd 1969, 203). The letters, however, were an acrostic for the declaration, “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.” Did millions, living in the shadows of the first century, die for a myth? Such a theory makes no sense.
The Impact of Christianity
Finally, the impact of the Christian movement is powerful testimony to the reality of its Founder. It is inconceivable that a nonexistent figure could have generated a societal force as world-shaking as Christianity. There is no logical way to explain how the Christian system started, and grew so rapidly, except for the fact that adherents knew of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Christianity itself is a monument to the vibrant presence of God’s Son in history.
The cause we espouse is not grounded in a wispy vapor of antiquity, but on unshakable historical facts.
- Allen, Steve. 1990. Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion & Morality. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus.
- Barker, Dan. 1992. Losing Faith In Faith. Minneapolis, MN: Freedom From Religion Foundation.
- Bettenson, Henry. 1956. The Early Christian Fathers. London, England: Oxford University Press.
- Bettenson, Henry. 1961. Documents of the Christian Church. London, England: Oxford University Press.
- Blaiklock, E. M. 1970. The Archaeology of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
- Boyd, Robert. 1969. A Pictorial Guide to Biblical Archaeology. New York, NY: Bonanza Books.
- Harrison, E. F. 1968. A Short Life of Christ. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.
- Hurst, John F. 1897. History of the Christian Church. Vol. 1. New York, NY: Eaton & Mains.
- Jackson, Wayne. 1991. Josephus and the Bible [Part II]. Reason & Revelation, 11:29-32.
- Klausner, Joseph. 1989. Jesus of Nazareth. New York, NY: Bloch.
- Metzger, Bruce M. 1965. The New Testament—Its Background, Growth, and Content. Nashville, TN: Abingdon.
- Metzger, Bruce M. 1968. The Text of the New Testament. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
- Robinson, John A. T. 1976. Redating the New Testament. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster.
- Time. The New Testament Dating Game. March 21.
Much of the confusion regarding Jesus Christ arose due to the omission
of the personal Name of Almighty God from MOST Bible translations.
Indeed, our having an accurate knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ, AND of the ONLY true God
(John 17:3) may determine our having a FUTURE in the"new earth" and "new heaven"
to come. The Wikipedia encyclopedia says:
Of all the names of God, the one which occurs most frequently in the Hebrew Bible is the Tetragrammaton, appearing 6,823 times, according to the Jewish Encyclopedia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Encyclopedia>. The Biblia Hebraica <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblia_Hebraica> and Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblia_Hebraica_Stuttgartensia> texts of the Hebrew Scriptures each contain the Tetragrammaton 6,828 times.
A correction to the above though, there is ONLY ONE Name of Almighty God, the others are
titles or descriptives.
Sir Godfry Driver wrote <http://www.bible-researcher.com/driver1.html>: "The Reformers preferred Jehovah, which first appeared as Iehouah in 1530 in Tyndale's translation of the Pentateuch (Exodus 6.3), from which it passed into other Protestant Bibles." The English transcription "Iehovah", is found in the 1611 edition of the King James Bible, and during the 1762-1769 edit of the KJV <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KJV>, the spelling "Iehovah" was changed to "Jehovah" (in accordance with the general differentiation of I/J and U/V into separate letters which developed over the course of the 17th century in English). Thus began a period where the word was rendered: "Jehovah <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jehovah>". The Jerusalem Bible (1966 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1966>) uses Yahweh exclusively
Meaning of God's NAME.
When Moses <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moses> asks, in response to the calling of God, "Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, 'The God of your forefathers has sent me to you,' and they ask me, 'What is his name?' Then what shall I tell them?" (Exodus <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exodus> 3:13) God responds, "I Shall Be As I Shall Be" or "I Shall Be That Which I Shall Be" (???? ??? ?????).(Exodus <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exodus> 3:13) This phrase reveals the meaning of the Tetragrammaton when "I Shall Be (?????)" is replaced by the Tetragrammaton: "So shall you say to the Children of Israel, 'I Shall Be has sent me to you'" (Exodus <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exodus> 3:14). "So shall you say to the Children of Israel, 'YHWH, the God of your forefathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob has sent me to you.' This is MY NAME forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation"(Exodus <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exodus> 3:15).
The Wikipedia continues:
The editors of the Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon <http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2003-7/264290/BDBYahwehtrimmed.jpg> state that ???????? occurs 6518 times in the Masoretic Text <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masoretic_Text>. While ???????? occurs 6518 times in the Masoretic Text that underlies all editions of the King James Bible, JEHOVAH [in all capitals letters] only occurs 4 times in current editions of the King James Bible <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_James_Bible>: Exodus 6:3 and Psalm 83:18 and Isaiah 12:2 and Isaiah 26:4 (and three more times in place-names). (The King James Bible which is commonly sold in bookstores is an 18th century spelling and punctuation revision of the King James Bible of 1611) Instead of YHWH or Jehovah, the expression "The Lord" (with the word "Lord" in all capital letters) has commonly been used in most English-language Bible translations.
So then, MOST Bibles have replaced God's personal name, Jehovah with GOD or LORD
as stated again, below by Wikipedia:
"IEHOVAH" [in all capital letters]. In the King James bible of 1611, the tetragrammaton is predominantly translated (over 6,500 times) as LORD or GOD, all in capital letters e.g. Exodus 6:2, Psalm 110:1, Psalm 113:1, Proverbs 18:10, et al. Four times it is transcribed as JEHOVAH: Exodus 6:3, Psalm 83:18, Isaiah 12:2, and Isaiah 26:4.
Now, since there are MANY lords and MANY gods, to the NATIONS, we who SEARCH for
TRUTH know there is ONLY ONE God, Jehovah, and ONE Lord, Jesus Christ.[John 4:23, 24].
But if anyone loves God, this one is KNOWN by him.
Now concerning the eating of foods offered to idols, we know that an idol is NOTHING in the
world, and that there is no God but ONE.
For even though there are those who are called "gods," whether in heavens or on earth, just as there are many "gods" and many "lords," there is actually to us ONE God, the Father, out of whom ALL things are, and we for him, and there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things are, and we through him. 1 Corinthians 8: 3, 4, 5, 6.
Here we see, that there is ONE God, the Father, Jehovah [Yahweh]; and one Lord, the Son, Jesus Christ, as being TRUE, though there ARE many FALSE "gods" and "lords".
Jesus Christ is Son of Almighty God, Jehovah.
The account at 1 Corinthians 8, is CONSISTENT with the rest of the Scriptures, please SEE
Colossians 1: 15; Deuteronomy 6: 4; Psalm 82: 1, 6 and John 10: 34, 35, 36; John 5: 30.
See, also Revelation 3:14, John 14: 28; 1 Corinthians 15: 28, Matthew 24: 36.
There are MANY prophets who have prophesied about the coming of
Prophecies Pertaining to Messianic King
Genesis 49:10: The scepter will not turn aside from Judah, neither the commander's staff from between his feet, until Shi'loh comes, and to him the obedience of the peoples will belong.
Psalm 2:8-9: Ask of me, that I may give nations as your inheritance. And the ends of the earth as your own possession. You will break them with an iron scepter, as though a potter's vessel you will dash them to pieces.
Isaiah 11:1-5: And there must go forth a twig out of the stump of Jesse, and out of his roots a sprout will be fruitful. And upon him the spirit of Jehovah must settle down, the spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the spirit of counsel and of mightiness, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Jehovah, and there will be enjoyment by him in the fear of Jehovah. And he will not judge by any mere appearance to his eyes, nor reprove simply according to the thing heard by his ears. And with righteousness he must judge the lowly ones, and with uprightness he must give reproof in behalf of the meek ones of the earth. And he must strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the spirit of his lips he will put the wicked one to death. And righteousness must prove to be the belt of his hips, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
Daniel 2:44, 45: "And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite, forasmuch as you beheld that out of the mountains a stone was cut not by hands and [that] it crushed the iron, the copper, the molded clay, the silver and the gold. The grand God himself has made known to the king what is to occur after this. And the dream is reliable, and the interpretation of it is trustworthy."
Daniel 7:13-14: "I kept on beholding in the visions of the night, and, see there! with the clouds of the heavens someone like a son of man happened to be coming, and to the Ancient of Days he gained access, and they brought him up close even before that One. And to him there were given rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him. His rulership is an indefinitely lasting rulership that will not be brought to ruin.
Matthew 26: 64: Jesus said to him: "You yourself said [it]. Yet I say to you men, from henceforth you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven."
Luke 1:32, 33: This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.
Isaiah:7:14: Therefore Jehovah himself will give you men a sign: Look! The maiden herself will actually become pregnant, and she is giving birth to a son, and she will certainly call his name Im-man'u-el.
Revelation 22:16: "'I, Jesus, sent my angel to bear witness to you people of these things for the congregations. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright morning star.'"
Psalm 110:1-2: The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is, "Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet. The rod of your strength Jehovah will send out of Zion, [saying] "Go subduing in the midst of your enemies."
Hebrew 10:11-18: Also, every priest takes his station from day to day to render public service and to offer the same sacrifices often, as these are at no time able to take sins away completely. But this [man] offered one sacrifice for sins perpetually and sat down at the right hand of God, from then on awaiting until his enemies should be placed as a stool for his feet. For it is by one [sacrificial] offering that he has made those who are being sanctified perfect perpetually. Moreover, the holy spirit also bears witness to us, for after it has said: "'This is the covenant that I shall covenant toward them after those days,' says Jehovah. 'I will put my laws in their hearts, and in their minds I shall write them,'" [it says afterwards] "And I shall by no means call their sins and their lawless deeds to mind anymore." Now where there is forgiveness of sins, there is no longer an offering for sin.
Please see also Jeremiah 31: 33-34.
See also Acts 7:52-56.
Revelelation 20:6: Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.
See also, Phillippians 2: 5-11.
Now if you have rulers you must have dominion, and subjects, please, read on.
See please, Isaiah 2: 2, 3,4.
Isaiah 55:11-13: so my word that goes forth from my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted, and it will have certain success in that for which I have sent it. "For with rejoicing you people will go forth, and with peace you will be brought in. The mountains and the hills themselves will become cheerful before you with a joyful outcry, and the very trees of the field will all clap their hands. Instead of the thicket of thorns the juniper tree will come up. Instead of the stinging nettle the myrtle tree will come up. And it must become for Jehovah something famous, a sign to time indefinite that will not be cut off.
Isaiah 45:18: For this is what Jehovah has said, the Creator of the heavens, He the [true] God, the Former of the earth and the Maker of it, He the One who firmly established it, who did not create it simply for nothing, who formed it even to be inhabited. I am Jehovah, and there is no one else.
Isaiah 9:6, 7: For there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given us, and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. To the abundance of the princely rule and to peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom in order to establish it firmly and to sustain it by means of justice and by means of righteousness, from now on and to time indefinite. The very zeal of Jehovah of armies will do this.
Psalm 72: 7: In his days the righteous one will sprout, and the abundance of peace until the moon is no more.
Psalm 104:5: He has founded the earth upon its established places; It will not be made to totter to time indefinite, or forever.
2 Peter 3:5-7 (reading from verse 1 to the end is encouraged).
Revelation 7: 9, 10: And after these things I saw and, look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, and there were palm branches in their hands. And they keep on crying with a loud voice, saying: "Salvation [we owe] to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb." [Compare with John 1: 29].
The book of Revelation also mentions a "new heaven" and "new earth"(Rev. 21); it also refers to "the original serpent, Satan" being thrown down from the heavens and "its tail dragging a third of the stars" with it. Rev., 12:9: So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth, he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven say:
"Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before God! And they conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their witnessing, and they did not love their souls even in the face of death. On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a SHORT PERIOD OF TIME."
The angel Gabriel tells Daniel: "There are seventy weeks that have been determined upon your holy city, in order to terminate the transgression, and to finish off sin, and to make atonement for error, and to bring in righteousness for times indefinite, and to imprint a seal upon vision and prophet, and to anoint the Holy of Holies. And you should know and have the insight that from the going forth of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until MESSIAH the Leader, there will be seven weeks, also sixty-two weeks. She will return and be actually rebuilt, with a public square and moat, but in the straits of the times." --- Daniel 9:24, 25.
"Messiah the Leader" would appear at a specific time, this would occur within "seventy weeks." Since Gabriel does not mention days, these are not weeks of seven days each, which would amount to 490 days-- a mere year and a third. The foretold rebuilding of Jerusalem "with a public square and moat" took much longer than that.
THE WEEKS ARE WEEKS OF YEARS. That each week is seven years long is suggested by a number of modern translations. Example, "seventy weeks of years" is a rendering indicated by a footnote on Daniel 9:24 in Tanakh- The Holy Scriptures, published by The Jewish Publication Society. See also; translations by Moffatt and Rotherham etc.
According to the angel's words, the "seventy weeks" would be divided into three periods: (1) "seven weeks," (2) "sixty-two weeks," and (3) one week. That would be 49 years, 434 years, and 7 years-- totaling 490 years. [ The Revised English Bible reads: "Seventy times seven years are marked out for your people and your holy city." ]
So, following their exile and suffering in Babylon for 70 years, the Jews would experience special favour from God for 490 years, or 70 years x 7. THE STARTING POINT would be "the going forth of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem." WHEN would this be?
In the 20th year of Persian king Artaxerxes. Nehemiah 1:1-3; 2:1-3.
The account involving Nehemiah continues: "In turn the king said to me: 'What is this that you are seeking to secure?' At once I prayed to the God of the heavens. After that I said to the king: 'If to the king it does seem good, and if your servant seems good before you, that you would send me to Judah, to the city of the burial places of my forefathers, that I may rebuild it.'
Nehemiah 2:4-8 shows that the king gave letters authorizing Nehemiah's mission of rebuilding Jerusalem.The actual "going forth of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem" occurred when Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem and began his work of restoration. Artaxerxes' 20th year = 455 B.C.E.
"Messiah The Leader " Appears
How many years elapsed before Jerusalem was actually rebuilt? Well, the restoration of the city was to be accomplished "in the straits of the times" because of difficulties among the Jews themselves and opposition from the Samaritans and others. The work was evidently completed to the extent necessary by about 406 B.C.E. -within the "seven weeks," or 49 years. (Daniel 9:25) A period of 62 weeks, or [62 x 7] 434 years, would follow. AFTER THAT TIME PERIOD, the long-promised Messiah [Seed] would appear. COUNTING 483 YEARS [49 PLUS 434] FROM 455 B.C.E. BRINGS US TO 29 C.E. What happened at that time? The Gospel writer Luke tells us: "IN THE FIFTEENTH YEAR of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was district ruler of Galilee...... God's declaration came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. So he came into all the country around the Jordan, preaching baptism in symbol of repentance for forgiveness of sins." At that TIME "THE PEOPLE WERE IN EXPECTATION" of the Messiah. Luke 3:1-3, 15.
John was NOT the promised Messiah. But concerning what he witnessed at the baptism of Jesus of Nazareth, in the fall of 29 C.E., John said: "I viewed the spirit coming down as a dove out of heaven, and it remained upon him. Even I did not know him, but the very One who sent me to baptize in water said to me, 'Whoever it is upon whom you see the spirit coming down and remaining, this is the one that baptizes in holy spirit.' AND I HAVE SEEN IT, AND I HAVE BORNE WITNESS THAT this one is the Son of God." John 1:32-34. AT HIS BAPTISM, Jesus became the Anointed One-the Messiah, or Christ.