Jesus' birth and when Herod the Great *really* died

04/17/2013 Comments (11)

The birth of Jesus Christ is tied to the death of Herod the Great. Here's when that *actually* happened.

The Gospel of Matthew tells us that Jesus Christ was born in the final years of the tyrant known as Herod the Great.

He tells us that when Jesus was born, Herod panicked and had all the baby boys in Bethlehem killed.

Fortunately, the Holy Family escaped to Egypt and remained there until Herod was dead.

They didn't have to stay long, though.

Here's when Herod the Great actually died . . .


Setting Aside a Common Mistake

For just over a hundred years, the question of when Herod the Great died has been dominated by a proposal by the German scholar Emil Schurer.

He suggested that Herod died in 4 B.C., and this view took off in scholarly circles.

But in recent decades, it's...READ MORE

Filed under birth of christ, birth of jesus, christmas, herod the great, nativity

The 100-year old *mistake* about the Birth of Jesus

04/13/2013 Comments (30)

This man is Emil Schurer. It appears that, over a hundred years ago, he made a mistake that messed up our knowledge of when Christ was born.

You know how people often say that Jesus was born in 4 B.C., 6 B.C., 7 B.C., or a time earlier still?

The calculations that lead to these dates are all based on a proposal that was made just over a hundred years ago.

But now scholars are challenging this proposal, because it looks like it's wrong.

And it's been distorting our understanding of when Jesus was born for over a hundred years.

Here's the story. . . .


When Herod Died

The Gospel of Matthew records that Jesus was born during the reign of Herod the Great.

Luke doesn't say it explicitly, but he does indicate that the birth of John the Baptist was foretold during Herod's reign.

If Jesus was born during the reign...READ MORE

Filed under birth, christmas, jesus

7 clues tell us *precisely* when Jesus died (the year, month, day, and hour revealed)

04/10/2013 Comments (85)

If we put the clues together, can we figure out precisely when Jesus died? Yes, we can!

We recently celebrated Good Friday and Easter, the annual celebrations of Jesus' death and resurrection.

We all know that this happened in Jerusalem in the first century.

That separates Jesus from mythical pagan deities, who were supposed to live in places or times that none could specify.

Just how specific can we be with the death of Jesus?

Can we determine the exact day?

We can.

And here's how . . .


Clue #1: The High Priesthood of Caiaphas

The gospels indicate that Jesus was crucified at the instigation of the first century high priest named Caiaphas (Matthew 26:3-4, John 11:49-53).

We know from other sources that he served as high priest from A.D. 18 to 36, so...READ MORE

Filed under chronology, crucifixion, crucifixion of jesus, death of jesus, good friday, history, myth, mythicists

8 things to know and share about the Annunciation

04/07/2013 Comments (9)

The Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to announce the birth of Christ. Here are 8 things to know and share about the event and how we celebrate it.

This Monday we're going to be celebrating the solemnity of the Annunciation.

This day celebrates the appearance of the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary to announce of the birth of Christ.

What's going on and why is this day important?

Here are 8 things you need to know.


1. What does the word "Annunciation" mean?

It's derived from the same root as the word "announce." Gabriel is announcing the birth of Christ in advance.

"Annunciation" is simply an old-fashioned way of saying "announcement."

Although we are most familiar with this term being applied to the announcement of Christ's birth, it can be applied in other ways also.

For example, in his book Jesus of Nazareth 3: The Infancy...READ MORE

Filed under annunciation

9 things you need to know about Divine Mercy Sunday

04/04/2013 Comments (8)

What is Divine Mercy Sunday and why are so many people moved by it? Here are 9 things you need to know.

We're almost up to Divine Mercy Sunday.

It's a recent addition to the Church's calendar, and it has links to both private revelation and the Bible.

Millions of people look forward to and are profoundly moved by this day.

What is it, and why is it so important to them?

Here are 9 things you need to know.


1. What is Divine Mercy Sunday?

Divine Mercy Sunday is celebrated on the Second Sunday of Easter. It is based on the private revelations of St. Faustina Kowalska, which recommended a particular devotion to the Divine Mercy.

It also has links to the Bible and the readings of this day.

To learn more about St. Faustina, you can CLICK HERE.


2. When was it made part of...READ MORE

Filed under chaplet of divine mercy, confession, divine mercy, divine mercy sunday, easter, sr. faustina, st. faustina, st. faustina kowalska.

Meet the Popes Who Thought About Resigning—But Didn't

04/01/2013 Comments (17)

Long-time Vatican expert's new book contains a fascinating look at the recent popes who almost resigned but didn't. You'll be surprised how many there are!

Benedict XVI's resignation may have been the first papal resignation in hundreds of years, but it didn't come completely out of the blue.

He'd already indicated that he had been thinking about the subject of resignation.

What is less well known is that other recent popes had been thinking about it, too.

A lot of recent popes.

Here's the story . . .


An Increasingly Heavy Cross

For some time, I had been aware that several recent popes, including Pius XII, Paul VI, and John Paul II had thought about resignation--or even made contingency plans for it.

But recently I was reading Andrea Tornielli's fascinating new book Francis: Pope of a New World, and he includes a passage...READ MORE

Filed under benedict xvi, papal resignation, pope, pope benedict xvi, resignation, resigns

8 things you need to know about Easter Sunday

03/30/2013 Comments (4)

Easter is the most important day of the Christian calendar, even more important than Christmas. Here are 8 things you need to know.

The great day is finally here: Easter, the most important day of the Christian calendar. More important even than Christmas.

What happened on this day?

Was Jesus' resurrection a real, historical event?

How does the Church celebrate this day?

Is Easter a pagan holiday?

Here are 8 things you need to know.


1. What happened on Easter?

Among other things:

  • The women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body.
  • They saw angels, who told them he wasn't there.
  • They went to tell the apostles, who initially didn't believe them.
  • Peter and the beloved disciple rushed to see the tomb and found it empty.
  • Mary Magdalen, in particular, had an encounter with the risen...READ MORE

Filed under easter, easter sunday, resurrection, resurrection of christ, resurrection of jesus

12 things you need to know about Holy Saturday

03/29/2013 Comments (2)

On Holy Saturday the earth waits in stillness for the Resurrection of the Lord. Here are 12 things you need to know about it.

Every time we say the creed, we note that Jesus "descended into hell."

Holy Saturday is the day that commemorates this event.

What happened on this day, and how do we celebrate it?

Here are 12 things you need to know.


1. What happened on the first Holy Saturday?

Here on earth, Jesus' disciples mourned his death and, since it was a sabbath day, they rested.

Luke notes that the women returned home "and prepared spices and ointments. On the sabbath they rested according to the commandment" (Luke 23:56).

At the tomb, the guards that had been stationed there kept watch over the place to make sure that the disciples did not steal Jesus' body.

Meanwhile . . .


2. What...READ MORE

Filed under descended into hell, easter vigil, holy saturday

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About Jimmy Akin

Jimmy Akin
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Jimmy was born in Texas, grew up nominally Protestant, but at age 20 experienced a profound conversion to Christ. Planning on becoming a Protestant pastor or seminary professor, he started an intensive study of the Bible. But the more he immersed himself in Scripture the more he found to support the Catholic faith. Eventually, he entered the Catholic Church. His conversion story, "A Triumph and a Tragedy," is published in Surprised by Truth. Besides being an author, Jimmy is the Senior Apologist at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to Catholic Answers Magazine, and a weekly guest on "Catholic Answers Live."