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Why Does The Bible Timeline show Birth of Christ as 4 BC?

The original year calculated by Dionysius Exiguus was incorrect although close. Matthew and Luke both place Christ’s birth just before the death of Herod the Great. Herod’s death occurred shortly after a lunar eclipse. Scholars assume this is the eclipse in March of 4BC putting Christ’s birth that year.

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Birth of Christ
Birth of Christ

However, Christ’s birth could have been up to two years earlier since Herod also ordered the death of the innocents aged two and under based on information he received from the Magi. Ussher was aware of the information regarding Herod. He placed Christ’s birth 4 years earlier than the Christian calendar of 1 AD (Anno Domini or year of our Lord) making it 4 BC.

 

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