Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Jesus the Christ: A Family Study - Lesson 4: The Reckoning of History

Mary and Baby Jesus

Welcome back to Jesus the Christ: A Family Study. I hope you enjoyed Lesson 3 on the Divinity of Christ. I was able to discuss all five points with my children. As usual, they asked great questions and showed understanding. They were especially interested in the story of His conception and birth. Children are a lot smarter than we give them credit for!

Find Lesson 2: The Meaning Behind the Name.

Find Lesson 1: Jesus the Christ: A Family Study.

Today we are learning from the third paragraph of Chapter 1 of Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage.

"Christian and unbeliever alike acknowledge His supremacy as a Man, and respect the epoch-making significance of His birth. Christ was born in the meridian of time;b and His life on earth marked at once the culmination of the past and the inauguration of an era distinctive in human hope, endeavor, and achievement. His advent determined a new order in the reckoning of the years; and by common consent the centuries antedating His birth have been counted backward from the pivotal event and are designated accordingly. The rise and fall of dynasties, the birth and dissolution of nations, all the cycles of history as to war and peace, as to prosperity and adversity, as to health and pestilence, seasons of plenty and of famine, the awful happenings of earthquake and storm, the triumphs of invention and discovery, the epochs of man’s development in godliness and the long periods of his dwindling in unbelief—all the occurrences that make history—are chronicled throughout Christendom by reference to the year before or after the birth of Jesus Christ."

The Meridian of Time

Bruce R. McConkie said, “Our Lord’s mortal ministry took place in the meridian of time. … The meridian is the middle or high point of the day; the sun passes the meridian at noon. … Since Christ lived, ministered, and worked out the atonement in time’s meridian, such era was truly the high point of history.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 486.) 

The Lord told our first father, Adam, when He would be born: "And now, behold, I say unto you: This is the plan of salvation unto all men, through the blood of mine Only Begotten, who shall come in the meridian of time." Moses 6:62

The great prophet, Enoch, had a vision in which he communicated with the Lord:

"And it came to pass that Enoch looked; and from Noah, he beheld all the families of the earth; and he cried unto the Lord, saying: When shall the day of the Lord come? When shall the blood of the Righteous be shed, that all they that mourn may be sanctified and have eternal life?
 And the Lord said: It shall be in the meridian of time, in the days of wickedness and vengeance.
 And behold, Enoch saw the day of the coming of the Son of Man, even in the flesh; and his soul rejoiced, saying: The Righteous is lifted up, and the Lamb is slain from the foundation of the world; and through faith I am in the bosom of the Father, and behold, Zion is with me." Moses 7:45-47
Gordon B. Hinckley expressed: "It is only two millennia since the Savior walked the earth. It is a wonderful acknowledgment of His place in history that the calendar now in use throughout most of the world places His birth as the meridian of time. All that went before is reckoned back from that date. All that has happened since is measured forward from that date.
Every time anyone uses a date, he knowingly or unknowingly acknowledges the coming to earth of the Son of God. His birth, as it has been popularly determined, marks the center point of the ages, the meridian of time recognized throughout the earth. As we use these dates we pay no attention to it. But if we pause to think, we must recognize that He is the one sublime figure in all the history of the world on which our measurement of time is based."
I am guilty of taking the reckoning of the years for granted. But now that I am thinking about it, I am filled with sense of amazement that the world found the perfect way for all to acknowledge Christ's life whether they realize it or not. 
The actual year of Christ's birth is varied depending on the source. That, however, does not negate the importance of His birth in, as Christ said Himself, the meridian of time. It was in the middle. In the eternal scheme of things - which is where Christ always operates - a year's number on a mortal calendar has little significance. 
I recognize the fact that no other person born on earth can claim to be the source for how all the world delineates history. 
You can print the lesson here.


I've put together a sheet of two bookmarks to keep with your reading materials. Hopefully it will help you remember the most significant person in the history of the world: JESUS THE CHRIST. It was a lot of fun to go through wikipedia and find really cool events. I had no idea some of these took place when they did. It will print out as a regular sheet of paper with some blank space at the bottom.

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