Next week this column will concern the birth of Jesus. It had long been predicted to occur 'when the time had fully come.' [Gal.4:4] Though the year and day of his birth are unknown—and in some warmer month when shepherds would be in the field with their flocks-it is estimated that the year was 4-6 B.C. But, what made that year especially propitious?
Next week this column will concern the birth of Jesus. It had long been predicted to occur ‘when the time had fully come.’ [Gal.4:4] Though the year and day of his birth are unknown—and in some warmer month when shepherds would be in the field with their flocks-it is estimated that the year was 4-6 B.C. But, what made that year especially propitious?
If I had space I would recite all the historical conditions making it the right year. It was the time of Pax Romana making travel safe for missionaries. A global language likewise made spreading the Word easier. The diaspora of the Jews following the destruction of Israel in 72 A.D. put places of refuge in place throughout the global marketplace where Christian missionaries typically began their work. No time until then was as favorable for His arrival.
Jesus was called the Great Physician because He came to save mankind from their evil and its consequences. Hence, evil circumstances must have been such in 4-6 B.C. as to require God to intervene in human history to rectify matters. Unlike Islam’s founder, Jesus came in military powerlessness. He came to deal with mans’ souls and hearts so there must have been a tectonic theological catastrophe then. It was the year that Christians refer to when the Old Testament or covenant ended to be replaced by the New Testament.
Any serious study of world history will confirm that dating time B.C. and A.D., before and after Jesus, indeed accurately demarcates the great bend in the arch of history. Look up the condition of the nations now and their antecedents and you will find that the ‘best’ nations in about any terms you wish to specify have Judeo-Christian origins.
In dealing with the world’s sin problem God first tried the ‘outside-in” method of giving them commandments and laws for living a good life. There was nothing wrong with these rules for living detailed in the first five books of the Bible other than the people knew what was right but simply lacked the motive to do it. They preferred their own way because of some predisposition labeled “original sin.”
Laws constrain behavior through rewards and punishments for compliance, but they don’t motivate us when our behavior is unobserved or undetected. [When the majority party in Congress doesn’t like a law, they don’t repeal it: they simply underfund its enforcement.] The ‘law’ or first contract between God and man Christians call the “Old Testament” was contingent not categorical, so when the Jews abrogated it, God exacted the promised consequences i.e., destruction by Rome. [72 A..D.]
This being the case, God turned to his second or new contract/covenant [‘New Testament’] which was an inside-out approach we might think of metaphorically as a heart transplant providing a natural and permanent preference for obeying His will. We call this the ‘new birth’ that comes by simply obeying the two-word cure Jesus offered i.e., “Follow me.”
The airways are full of ads about the ‘holiday’ season we are entering rather than commemoration of Jesus’s birth. Paradoxically, we celebrate the occasion not by either some religious act honoring Jesus but by lavish gifts to ourselves. The symbols of the season are almost entirely secular e.g., Santa Claus, decorated trees, etc. Our Christian churches certainly haven’t filled to celebrate the occasion.
Jesus provides the great cure for mankind’s weaknesses, evils, and problems that only He can address. If the need for help is so great around the globe then the time indeed has fully come for Jesus to come.
The periodic report by the world’s climate scientists was recently released and warned the world of the ‘urgent’ threat of climate change. Recent fires in California and untimely, catastrophic floods and blizzards in the South and Northeast are directly traceable to climate change. Paradise is a paradoxical metaphor of the new normal on earth.
With the recent addition of 1.8 trillion dollars we increased the national debt beyond $20 trillion [U.S.D.] trillion. With the $1.3 trillion in student debt our children have already amassed, their futures are already mortgaged beyond endurance.
Averaging about one ‘mass’ murder a day [really!] little more need be said about our nation’s social degeneration.
As earth’s temperatures rise, pathogens thrive and mutate beyond the capabilities of medical science to discover new medicines. Our greatest threat may be new viruses arising in third world countries and spreading to advanced nations. Discoveries of cures cannot keep up with the speed of their spread from infected persons who travel overseas at 600 mph. .
Wealth and income inequality in advanced economies is sickeningly high and rising. A British book out next March summarizes Rome’s fall. “Romans endured a life of backbreaking work and the knowledge that they would almost certainly end up poorer than their parents. Such a situation could hardly last—and didn’t. By the end of the first century the republic was replaced by autocracy. Rome was undone from within by greed and inequality—and by the sort of politicians ‘who breach a republic’s political norms’, plus citizens who choose not to punish them. Antiquity can illuminate the occasionally alarming political realities of our world.”
Earth’s most precious and scarce resource is water. Citizens of nations desiccated by climate change migrate to neighboring nations creating wars. The great powers are friends of these countries and can thus be drawn into wars begun by their allies. Experts predict WWIII will occur because of just such proxy wars as are underway now in Ukraine and the South China Sea.
We are only one catastrophic event away from such existential conditions that surely the time has fully come for a Savior in our lives and global affairs.
 The Economist, Dec.8, 2018. p82.
Bob Allison is a Shawnee resident who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, where he taught and was Associate to the Director of University Hospitals. He and wife Elaine and he have three children, 11 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.