“And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb” (Luke 2:21, KJV-BRG).
At first glance, this Scripture reads as ordinary, commonplace, and without particular significance. Circumcision had been going on for Israel-born boys since God gave the command to Abraham over 2,000 years earlier.
“This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant” (Gen. 17:10–14, KJV-BRG).
Jesus had to be circumcised to become an “official Jew.” In terms of the Jewish law, He was not officially declared Jewish until this practice of removing the foreskin was accomplished. Joseph and Mary saw to it that on the eighth day, according to Scripture, Jesus was circumcised and “his name was called Jesus” (Luke 2:21, KJV-BRG). Remember they were in Bethlehem to register for Roman tax purposes. It is very likely that these new parents waited the week required in Genesis 17 and registered on the census all three names—Joseph, Mary, and their eight-day-old son Jesus. (Note that Luke uses the word “child” in Luke 2 for an eight-day old baby, the very same word used by Matthew in Matthew 2. Christmas skeptics use the word “child” in Matthew to try and prove Jesus was older, as much as two years old, in Matthew’s account.)
Because of an entry of the name “Jesus” into Jewish records, about 500 years later a devout Christian monk, Dionysius Exiguus, changed the world’s dating system, in both Julian and Gregorian calendars, to reflect BC and AD with Jesus at the exact center of the division.
The term BC means “Before Christ” (before the baby was officially a Jew) and AD is a Latin word, Anno Domini, meaning “In the year of our Lord” (based on the day He was named “Jesus”). Exiguus bridged 1 BC to AD 1 without a “0”. This identity of time would place Jesus’s day of circumcision on the first day of the first month of AD 1. Backing up eight days would place Jesus’s birth on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month of 1 BC. In fact, Jesus was physically born on a Sunday (the last Sunday of the BC era), was registered into His nation’s records on a Sunday (the first Sunday of the AD era), and then rose from the dead in AD 33 on a Sunday. Let us recall that the first day of creation was a Sunday as well: “And God said, ‘Let there be Light’” (Gen. 1:3, NIV), and the evening and the morning were the first day (Sunday)! God began the creation of the world on a Sunday, He sent His Son to be born of woman on a Sunday, He named Him with official registration as “Jesus” on a Sunday, and He resurrected Him from the grave on a Sunday. (And some folks don’t think Sunday is important!) Praise be to the Lord God and Father of all who controls and orders all existence in perfect harmony and symmetry to the praise of His glory!
Exiguus’s intentions and work on historical timing seem solid. His work has set the order of time for over 2,000 years in AD and 4,000 years in BC. Unfortunately, some who consider themselves modern scholars began focusing on Herod’s date of death (fixed, with much conjecture, at 4 BC) as a benchmark for early BC/AD. They have thereupon ignored and discarded Exiguus’s work on the transition of BC to AD (and the exact birth of Jesus). Nonetheless, God’s celebration of divine Sundays happens every time December 25, the day of Immanuel’s birth, falls on a Sunday; and it will happen again every time January 1, Immanuel’s name day, falls on a Sunday. Most of the whole world will celebrate the New Year on January 1 yet will fail to see that the very reason for the AD celebration came over 2,000 years before when a child, a baby boy, was brought to Jerusalem’s temple on the eighth day and named JESUS!
(Do you think Jesus might just return on a Sunday?)