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The Meaning Of AD In The Bible

Chronology, or setting things in the right sequence, is important in history and in our lives. We mark our days and years according to our dates of birth, graduation, marriage, and death. So, what does “AD Bible meaning” mean?

In the timeline of humanity’s existence on earth, chronology attempts to point out precisely the important milestones or turning points of human history. It ranges from the creation or origins of life and the universe, to the conquests of civilizations and the rise of wars. Today, timelines mark the many developments in social science and technology that humanity accomplishes at a rapid pace and in many numbers.

In general, world history and other cultures are illustrated by time periods. What is BC, AD, BCE, and CE? What is their significance? Does the whole of humanity adopt these systems of dates?

What Is The Meaning Of AD?

The majority of people on Earth use the word AD to mark the year of the present date or after Jesus’ death[1]. AD stands for the Latin phrase “Anno Domini,” which means “Lord” or the “Year of the Lord.” It starts with 1 AD, signifying Christ’s birth. The years prior to Jesus’ birth are marked with the word BC, or Before Christ.

But some modern scholars say that Christ was born around 6-4 BC, not AD 1. We also use the Gregorian Calendar with the AD dating system to guide most of our activities to indicate the days and dates of the year.

But not everybody uses the BC and AD systems. Many countries in Asia and the majority of Muslim nations use a unique system. The Islamic calendar utilizes the AH or Latin phrase “Anno Hegirae” or AH, which refers to the year the Prophet Muhammad made his journey called the “Hijra.”

Adherents of atheism and evolution do not believe in the BC and AD systems because they don’t believe in the existence of God and the incarnation of Christ. But, they also use the method in order to relate to the rest of the human population.

different numbers and ad bible meaning

Time System During Creation

And God said, let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years.—Genesis 1:14

Before the setting of the BC and AD systems, the activities and movements of ancient humanity were governed by the movement of the stars, light, darkness, and seasons. Plowing the fields, harvesting, and hunting were done according to the time of the year when the climate and environment were suitable.

Dionysius Exiguus: Originator Of The AD System

The AD (Anno Domini) dating system was developed by a monk named Dionysius Exiguus. He was driven by the new date system to deal with the problems Christians were facing about when to celebrate Easter.

Before the AD system, many Christians celebrated Easter based on Anno Diocletian, the time when the Roman emperor Diocletian ruled. The brutal monarch persecuted and killed more Christians than his previous predecessors. Exiguus felt that it was improper to celebrate Easter under a system named after a ruthless and murderous emperor.

History Of The BC And AD Systems

Before the development of the BC/AD system, many cultures in the world adopted various and unique ways of stating the years in world and church history. Many countries and cultures use the present year, or regnal year, named after the reigning king or queen. For example, in ancient Egypt, historians might state “year 1 of Cleopatra VII.”

Timeline And Evolution Of The AD System

  • Dionysius developed the AD (Latin phrase “Anno Domini”) dating system. The method was only accepted and fully implemented several centuries after the death of Jesus.
  • Bede, a monk, helped popularize its use in 672 or 673 AD with his books: The Ecclesiastical History of the English People and The Reckoning of Time.
  • During the Carolingian empire in the Middle Ages, Charlemagne made AD more popular in many European countries.
  • Most European countries officially started using the AD system in their calendars between the 14th and 16th centuries.
  • In 1700, the Russian Tsar, Peter the Great, instigated the use of the AD system in Eastern countries that practice Eastern Orthodoxy with its Byzantine calendar.
  • In the 1980s, the BCE (Before Common Era) and CE (Common Era) systems were introduced as an alternative to the BC/AD system.

What Does Jesus Have To Do With AD?

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.—2 Peter 3:8

Jesus Christ Is Alive!

The timeline of AD or the Christian era establishes and supports the biblical truth that Jesus Christ is alive today. When Jesus rose again from the dead and ascended into heaven, He said to the apostles that he would be with us until the end of the age. The Bible declares that God is eternal and that the Holy Spirit indwells us in every moment of our lives.

More importantly, it was in AD when Jesus Christ declared all the precepts contained in the Gospels and the New Testament. Through the apostles, Jesus preached about sin, repentance, and salvation. Righteousness is also emphasized by Christ as to how we can live in the right and moral manner and how we relate to other people. Finally, the church was also established at this time as the beacon of faith and hope for all believers.

Why Does BC Or AD Divide History?

From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.—Acts 17:26

It is fitting that BC and AD separate world history into the ancient era and the Christian world. The scriptures divide the books between the Old Testament and the New Testament, running parallel to the separation of the life of humankind before the Messiah was born and the timeline when God sent the Lord to save mankind. In essence, the birth of Jesus divides history.

In recent times, there has been a movement to replace BC and AD with BCE and CE, meaning Before Common Era and Common Era, respectively. This notion is to give respect to those who do not believe in the deity and existence of God and the declaration of Jesus Christ as the Messiah.

Thus, the BCE and CE (Common Era) remove any religious connotation. But it is ironic that the dividing timeline is still based on the BC and AD precepts that declare Jesus as the dividing point in history.

Why Is Jesus The Turning Point Of History?

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.—John 3:16

Our perfection was marred when Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden. They were stripped of their immortality and perfection and driven out of Paradise. Since that time, humanity has suffered pain, anguish, sickness, and death. But because of God’s love, He promised the arrival of our Messiah, Jesus Christ, to save and bring us back to perfection and eternal life.

Therefore, BC stands for the era regarding the preparation of the Messiah. On the other hand, AD signifies the arrival of Jesus Christ as the focal point in history and the fulfillment of the redemption of humanity.

numbers on paper

Conclusion

As the international standard, the BC/AD system has been proven beneficial to our lives and for the rest of mankind. It successfully recorded important milestones in world history and civilizations. Moreover, modern society can safely estimate future events such as space travel or earthquakes. More importantly, the BC/AD system has proven beneficial in celebrating our dates of birth and other valuable anniversaries.

But the overriding significance of the BC/AD methodology is the strong representation and corroboration that God is the Creator of life and the whole universe. He is the same God who prophesied the arrival of Jesus Christ and the fulfillment of salvation and eternal life where time and dates are no longer relevant. 

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