The Birth of Christ in Matthew 1: The Calendar Confirms
By Nathan Jones
First Coming of Christ
The Calendar Confirms
Nathan Jones: Jesus is our hope! Have you ever noticed that the calendar is tied to Jesus’ birth? The Gregorian calendar may have been updated from the Julian calendar by various people over time to create the one we use today, but Jesus remains at the center of our whole concept of time. Jesus remains at the center of history.
Vic Batista: Every day in our calendar is designated as occurring Before Christ (BC) or in Latin Annō Dominī (AD), meaning “in the year of the Lord,” after Christ’s birth. Who else in history could have been able to turn the tide of history and make the calendar center around Himself? Even the Humanist’s attempts to change BC to Before the Common Era (BCE) and AD to the Common Era (CE) still point to an event at the apex of those two eras — the birth of Christ.
Nathan Jones: Exactly, our calendar is based on Jesus Christ. Julius Caesar established the Julian calendar where he began the year with January 1st. We can thanks the Romans for laying the foundation of our modern-day calendar. January 1st marks the beginning of our calendar, but it wasn’t until the 6th Century AD when a Scythian Monk who lived in Rome named Dionysius Exiguus confirmed that the Easter cycle originated with the birth of Christ. We can thank that Scythian Monk for developing a calendar that put the birth of Christ at the center of history. The usage spread and was adopted in England by the Synod of Whitby in 664, and became universally accepted in 1582 when Pope Gregory XIII reformed the Julian calendar into the Gregorian calendar that we use today.
Bear in mind, the birth of Christ in our calendar is off a few years. Jesus wasn’t born in 0 BC/AD. His birth more than likely occurred in 4 BC, so it’s about 4-6 years off, but still Jesus Christ remains at the center of history.
We read in Revelation that the Antichrist when he comes to conquer the world will set up his kingdom. Daniel 7:25 informs us that the Antichrist will then change the calendars, the dates, and the times because he doesn’t want Jesus to remain at the center of history. The calendar as we know it today prophetically will end and a new calendar will begin when the Antichrist sets up his kingdom. The Man of Lawlessness removes Jesus and places himself as the new beginning of modern-day date keeping.
Vic Batista: But, then once again, when the Millennium starts, another calendar will be instituted by Jesus Christ.
Nathan Jones: Yes, the Antichrist’s calendar isn’t going to last more than seven years. No matter what the God-haters attempt to do, like changing BC to BCE, they’re always attempting unsuccessfully to pull the attention away from Jesus. Our calendar continues to bear witness to the birth of Jesus Christ. When we look at the calendar, we are constantly reminded that Jesus is the center of time, and He is also our future. Satan tries in vain to erase Jesus from history, and pretty well will succeed during the Tribulation time period. But, that’s only for a minuscule amount of time. When the Millennial Kingdom arrives, as Jesus sets up His kingdom on this earth, we will again receive a new calendar based on the point of Jesus Christ’s victory.
The Reason for the Season
Vic Batista: Our life now is temporal, but our real life will be eternal. A relationship with Jesus Christ starts us on the eternal road. The birth of Christ that we celebrate every Christmas is the greatest of gifts. Sometimes we focus too much on the presents and merriments of Christmas, but there’s a greater meaning to Christmas. We can share the gift of Jesus with people and so give the greatest gift of all.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). It doesn’t cost us anything to give that precious gift away.
Nathan Jones: Not at all! Jesus is THE reason for the season. That sounds cliché, but it’s so true.
Can you image how much you’d have to give up to become an ant? Just think of all the senses that we have as humans. We are the top of the food chain, which is rather a nice thing. We have our amazing ability to think, to reason, to have emotions, and to appreciate beauty. All of these senses come with being a human.
When you become an ant, though, you become a mindless drone. Your lifespan is super short. You don’t have the sensitive eyesight or taste or smell. You lose all of that.
The God of the universe possesses infinite and unlimited knowledge, power, and ability. Then, all of the sudden, He is crammed into a dark womb as a helpless baby. Once born, He is constantly taken care of by a family, one He created. He has to suffer the humility of being diapered and fed. He grows up suffering all the painful limitations of being a human being. Then He gets rejected by the very people He created, is nailed to a cross, and is killed just for loving us. What a sacrifice God gave in becoming a man!
And so, when Christmas comes, sure the presents and the snow and the family are nice, but they are nothing compared to the reason for Christmas — God became a man in order to provide salvation.
In the fourth and last part of this study on the birth of Christ found in Matthew 1, we’ll gauge the Magis’ reaction to the prophecy of the Christ child.