A Timeline of Christianity


With respect to the early timeline, we can know a few events: We can be fairly certain that Jesus was born in September or October of 5 BC and that he died in 30 AD. It is likely that Peter and Paul were martyred in 67 AD. James was martyred in 62 AD. Beyond this most everything else is speculation apart from the historical data of the Romans who kept marvelous records which come down to us from men like Josephus or Tacitus. Pay careful attention to Jewish events which I’ve listed. Key to understanding many of the events recorded in the Gospels and Acts is to grasp the background of the Jewish milieu of the 1st century. This will be gone into in greater detail at another time, but the source of nearly all the strife between Jesus, the Apostles, and what the translators of the Bible mistakenly label as "Pharisees" or "Jews" were those Pharisees who were influenced by the School of Shammai--an ultraconservative religious institution that openly espoused separation of the races and the denial of salvation for anyone who wasn’t born Jewish.


44 Julius Ceasar assassinated.

41 Marc Antony names Herod the Great king of Judea.

29 Octavian, nephew of Julius Caesar conferred the title of Augustus by the Senate.

20 Schools of Hillel and Shammai founded.

19 Herod begins to rebuild the Temple.

5-4 Jesus and John the Baptist born. Herod dies; succeeded by Archelaus.


1 Paul Born?

5 John the Apostle born?

6 Annas becomes High Priest. Archelaus deposed by Augustus and replaced by Herod Antipas.

7 A young Jesus astounds the religious leaders in the Temple with his wisdom.

8 The School of Shammai (the dominant group of Pharisees in the 1st century), issues 18 edicts meant to create forced separation between Jews and Gentiles. These edicts will be accepted by most Jews and will form the basis for the opposition by 'the Jews" and the "Pharisees" to the mission of Jesus and the Apostles). A number of rabbis from the school of Hillel (called "prophets" in the Talmud) are murdered by Zealots sympathetic to Shammai, which Jesus may later refer to in Matthew 23:30-31.

10 Hillel (founder of the Pharisee School of Hillel) dies; succeeded by his son Shimon.

14 Augustus dies; Tiberius succeeds him as emperor.

15 Annas removed as High Priest and son-in-law Caiaphas eventually succeeds him.

26 Pontius Pilate becomes Procurator of Judea.

27 John the Baptist begins his ministry. Herod Antipas marries his brother’s wife.

28-29 Jesus begins His ministry.

29 John the Baptist beheaded by Herod.

30 (?) Jesus crucified and resurrected. Shammai (founder of the Pharisee school of Shammai) dies.

31 Gamaliel, head of the Sanhedrin, encourages tolerance of the Christians.

33 Steven stoned. The school of Shammai attempts a power play, expelling all non-Hebrew Jews from Jerusalem. The Christians (Acts 8) are swept up in this and are scattered abroad, while the Hebrew Apostles remain in Jerusalem. Phillip preaches the Gospel in "Samaria" (probably Ceasarea).

34 Paul persecutes the Christians but undergoes conversion, thereafter spending three years in Damascus, eventually becoming the target of an assassination attempt.

36 Pilate butchers a group of Samaritans and is relieved of his position as Procurator for this act, and his treatment of Herod Agrippa; he commits suicide in Italy a year later. James, brother of John, martyred by Herod.

37 Tiberius dies; Caligula succeeds him as emperor. Paul meets with key apostles in Jerusalem; then he begins proclaiming Christ boldly, enraging the religious leaders. He is forced to go home to Tarsus by the church elders and the Christian church then ‘had rest and was edified’ once Paul and his zeal were removed. Caiaphas removed as High Priest by Pilate’s successor Vitellius; Jonathan succeeds him. Peter founds the church in Antioch.

40-41 Conversion of Cornelius. Caligula orders a statue of himself placed in the Temple at Jerusalem but is assassinated before the order is carried out. Claudius is declared emperor by the Praetorian Guard.

44 Paul and Barnabas minister in Antioch; the term Christian comes to be used there for Believers. James, brother of John, beheaded. Agrippa I dies (Acts 12).

46-48 First missionary trip of Paul and Barnabas to Cypress (Acts 13, 14). Ananias appointed High Priest. Book of Galatians and James written (?).

49 Council of Jerusalem deals with the subject of Gentiles in the church. James--not Peter--issues a decree that the Gentiles are relieved from following the Torah and becoming circumsised. Claudius expels the Jews from Rome as tension between orthodox and Christian Jews flares up in violence.

50-52 Paul and Barnabas separate over young John Mark; Paul undertakes second missionary journey with Silas, and spends 18 months in Corinth. Books of 1st and 2nd Thessalonians written. The Virgin Mary dies in Ephesus at age 64 (?); Church tradition will assert that she undergoes an immediate resurrection and is assumed into Heaven. Gamaliel dies. Matthew’s Gospel possibly written in Aramaic, to be followed by a Greek translation after Mark’s Gospel makes use of it. Agrippa II made king of Chalcis by Claudius. Felix appointed procurator of Judea (Acts 23).

53-54 1st and 2nd Corinthians written. Book of Romans written?

54 Claudius poisoned and succeeded by Nero (whose real name was Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus).

55 The "Egyptian" (see Acts 21:37) and thousands of Jews slain during a re-enactment of Exodus.

56-57 Book of Romans written, Paul brings donations to the church in Jerusalem.

58 Paul tried before Festus, appeals to Ceasar and sent to Rome for two years; evidently Nero* finds him innocent of wrongdoing.

* Or, more specifically, Afranius Burrus, the Praetorian Prefect who appears to have treated Paul well and who also, with the Stoic Seneca, kept Nero on a reasonably benign path. According to Tacitus, Nero did not judge cases personally appealed to him, delegating that to the Praetorian Prefect. Paul’s second judgment, in which he was found guilty and martyred, would have been under Gaius Ofonius Tigellinus, Burrus’ replacement from 62AD, who was noted as a particularly odious and cruel Sicilian.

60-63 Gospel of Luke, Colossians, and Ephesians written.

62 James, head of the Jerusalem church, stoned and clubbed to death. Simeon, son of Cleopas, succeeds him. Books of Ephesians and Colossians written. Mark, who heads the church in Alexandria, gives up the position to Annianus.

63 Jews begin forming rebellion against Roman rule. Philemon written.

64 Rome burns; Nero blames the Christians and severe persecution begins. Book of Acts written. Matthias stoned to death.

65 1st and 2nd Peter written.

65-67 1st Timothy, 2nd Tiomothy, and Book of Hebrews written.Book of Jude written?

67 Simeon leads the Christian Jews out of Jerusalem into the Decapolis as the rebellion against Rome formally starts; Peter and Paul martyred by Nero. According to Catholic tradition, Linus succeeds Peter as pope of Rome. Mark martyred.

68-69 Nero commits suicide, resulting in a quick succession of emperors--Galba, Vitellius, Otho, and finally Vespasian.

70 Jerusalem destroyed by Titus. A Heavenly voice is supposedly heard in Yavneh declaring that the Jews should follow the teachings of Hillel over Shammai.

71 The Romans cut down every tree in Israel and salt the land to punish the Jews for the rebellion.

73 Masada taken, and the assassins who have held out against the Romans commit suicide. The Christian Jews return to Jerusalem.

79 Vespasian dies; succeeded by son Titus.

80 1st John written.

81 Domitian succeeds Titus as emperor; eventually begins severe persecution of Christians after an assassination attempt.

85 2nd and 3rd John written. A sect mentioned in the Book of Revelation that will impact Christianity forever after arises in Pergamum known as the Nicolaitans. Taking their name from Nicholas of Antioch, an early church elder mentioned in the Book of Acts, they will promote a number of false doctrines. Their lasting impact will be to greatly elevate the priesthood above the laity which will give birth to the Catholic and Orthodox hierarchies. The very name Nicolaitan translated means to conquer laity.

90 Rabbis Johanan ben Zakkai, Gamaliel II and Simeon (not the Simeon who heads the Christian church in Jerusalem) re-establish the Sanhedrin and expel all Christians from the synagogues. They also forbid the reading of the 10 Commandments in synagogues, possibly because Gentile Christians were claiming these were the laws they should live their lives by. The Didache written.

90-95 Epistles of John written.

96 Domitian assassinated. Book of Revelation and Gospel of John written. Pope Clement of Rome writes a rebuke to the church at Corinth--the cornerstone of Catholic assertion that the Roman church has authority over all Christian churches.

100 John, last of the Apostles, dies in Ephesus.

107 Simeon, bishop of Jerusalem and last verifiable relative of Jesus, martyred at the ripe old age of 120. First recorded use of the term "Catholic church" by Ignatius.

125 First recorded instance of a prayer to Mary.

132 Bar Kochba proclaimed Messiah by Jewish leaders and revolt forms against Roman rule; the Christians do not participate.

135 Last vestiges of Jewish self-rule eliminated by the Romans as the rebellion is crushed. The Temple is given over to Zeus. The first Gentile bishop, Marcus, appointed over the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem (the 15 previous bishops had been fully Jewish, and Torah observant).

169 Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna and disciple of John, martyred.

175 the term Old Testament is first used by the bishop of Sardis in reference to the Tanakh.

180 Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon, becomes the first post-Apostolic church father to assert primacy of the church in Rome over all other churches.

185 Origen forbids teaching from Jewish sources.

200 Christian ministers for the first time are called priests. Judah ben Nasi, of the school of Hillel, begins codifying Jewish philosophies and commentaries in the Mishna.

201 First specific Christian church building erected in Syria.

256 Pope Steven becomes the first head of the Roman church to openly declare succession to Peter and to hold supremacy over all church bishops.

260 First noted instance of Christians praying to the saints (Peter & Paul) for intercession.

300 By this point, only the clergy are permitted to speak from the pulpit. (In earlier centuries, both clergy and lay people were permitted to teach the Scriptures).

301 Armenia becomes the first Christian nation.

312 Constantine superficially converts to Christianity after a dream leads him to a military victory. He remains polytheistic until his death, even striking coins to honor Apollo.

318 Jewish representatives meet with Pope Sylvester to complain about Gentile Bishops being appointed in key Middle East cities, and ask for acknowledgment that the Jerusalem church is the Mother church. They are rebuffed.

321 Constantine declares Sunday the official Christian sabbath day.

324 Constantine moves the capital to Constantinopal, leaving the bishop of Rome the most powerful man in Italy.

325 Council of Nicea meets to codify Christian doctrines in response to growing heresies--Jewish bishops are specifically excluded from the meeting. Doctrine of the Trinity formally acknowledged--in some cases with bishops threatened with death if they do not accept it.

337 Christianity becomes the official state religion of Rome. Constantine finally receives baptism as a Christian (from heretical Arian priests), and dies on Pentecost.

338 Jewish calendar converted to solar calendar.

343 The Council of Serdicia gives preference to the bishop of Rome--Pope Justin--in mediating over the Eastern churches which are embroiled in Arian heresies.

350 Codex Vaticanus, the first complete Bible, is written.

351 The Jews revolt against the Roman emperor Gallus in a losing war.

353 Emporer Constantius orders the closing of all pagan temples of the Empire.

359 Jewish calendar established in its present form by Rabbi Hillel.

364 Council of Laodicea anathematizes Christians who keep a 7th day Sabbath.

367 Athanasius forms the first true canon of New Testament Scripture.

385 Pope Siricius forbids bishops, priests and deacons from having sex.

395 The Roman Empire divides into two portions, the Eastern being Byzantium.

397 Augustine’s council decrees there are 27 books in the official New Testament.

400 The Gamara (Babylonian Talmud) written. Statues are starting to appear in churches with regularity.

404 Jerome publishes the Vulgate, the latin translation of the Old and New Testaments.

425 The Jewish Sanhedrin in Tiberius abolished for good by the Romans, acting under Catholic pressure.

431 Council of Ephesus formally acknowledges Mary is the mother of God and that Jesus was God in the flesh.

451 Council of Chalcedon gives the same authority to the Bishop of Constantinopal as to the bishop of Rome, the beginning of the eventual schism between the Eastern and Western churches.

460 Pope Leo forbids priests to marry.

476 Western Empire comes to an end; the Catholic church now free of civil interference.

491 Armenian orthodox church declares independence from Rome and Byzantium.

500 The word pope, formerly applied to all church bishops, now is used solely by the Bishop of Rome.

529 Justinian abolishes the philosophical schools of Athens, wiping out the last vestiges of paganism in the Empire.

591 Pope Gregory forbids forced conversion of Jews.

607 Pope Boniface III petitions Emperor Phocas to decree that "the See of Blessed Peter the Apostle should be the head of all the Churches" and that the title of "Universal Bishop" should be reserved exclusively for the bishop of Rome, in opposition to the bishop of Constantinople.

613 Jews refusing Christian baptism are ordered out of Spain.

614 Jews are allowed by the conquering Persians to return to Jerusalem after centuries of banishment. With Jewish participation, tens of thousands of Christians are martyred.

625 Mohammad begins the Koran.

638 Jerusalem captured by Moslems.

640 The Moslems burn the famed Library of Alexandria .

688 The Dome of the Rock (Mosque of Omar) is built by Abd al-Malik on the Temple mount, where Mohammed supposedly ascended into Heaven.

721 Pope Leo II orders forced baptism of Jews.

787 Second Council of Nicea approves of statues in churches, and their veneration.

1032 Pope Benedict IX, a teenage boy, made Pope through bribery. He becomes perhaps the worst pope in recorded history and is driven out of Rome by an enraged populace.

1054 The Eastern and Roman church separate with both popes excommunicating each other.

1095 The first of eventually seven crusades begin in the Holy Land at the behest of Pope Urban II.

1135 Maimonides, father of modern Sephardic Judaism, born; his writings forever influence both Judaism and Islam.

1206 St Dominic is supposedly given the rosary by the Virgin Mary.

1208 St. Francis of Assisi renounces wealth to follow Christ.

1232. Pope Gregory IX appoints the first Inquisitors.

1263 Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachmon wins a theological debate in Barcelona over Catholic scholars and is driven out of Spain. Jews thereafter, while forced into theological debates, are restricted in the way they may present arguments.

1272 The last crusade ends.

1290 The Jews are expelled from England by Edward "Longshanks" (the evil king in Braveheart)

1303 Pope Bonafice VIII issues the first papal letter to the Christian church; this is the first de facto use of the doctrine of Papal Infallibility, although it isn’t formally ratified until the 1800s.

1357 Earliest verifiable record of the Shroud of Turin.

1382 John Wycliff publishes the first English Bible translated from the Vulgate.

1451 Pope Nicholas V bans social contact between Christians and Jews.

1453 Constantinopal falls to the Moslems.

1456 Gutenburg Bible printed.

1478 Spanish Inquisition begun by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, resulting in the deaths of  an undetermined number of people. (Recent research has suggested the number was actually very small, and that the vast numbers of victims claimed to have died at the hands of the Inquisition is attributable to English propaganda of the time.)

1488 Pope Eugenius IV prohibits anti-Jewish sermons.

1492 The Jews are expelled from Spain.

1508 Martin Luther has the revelation that a man is saved by faith in Christ alone, apart from either works or the Sacraments.

1516 Pope Paul IV creates Jewish ghettos in Venice.

1517 Luther nails his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church at Wittenberg.

1521 Luther excommunicated.

1535. John Calvin writes his famed work, The Institutes of the Christian Religion. Calvin’s writings will forever influence the Protestant movement from that time forward. Before his death, Calvin himself will cold-heartedly execute (in some cases by torture) more than 50 people he considers heretics.

1540 Ignatius founds the Jesuit order.

1541 The Moslems seal up the Golden Gate to prevent, as Jewish tradition asserts, the entrance point of the Messiah into Jerusalem.

1545 Council of Trent forms to respond to the schism started by Luther, eventually ratifying a number of key doctrines which affect the Catholic church to this day. Included are: Faith alone is not sufficient for salvation; Scripture and tradition hold equal value; the seven Sacraments are necessary for salvation; Transubstantiation formally acknowledged; priests forbidden to marry; Catholic canon of Scripture formally ratified.

1546 Luther dies.

1562 Pope Gregory introduces his famed calendar, changing the New Year from April 1 to January 1.

1604 The bisexual King James of England (actually a Scot) commissions his namesake Bible to be printed.

1609 The Baptist church founded in opposition to infant baptism.

1611 First appearance of the King James Bible.

1633 Galileo is forced to renounce his teachings.

1636 Harvard founded as a religious college.

1655 Cromwell permits the Jews to return to England.

1670 Jews banished from Austria.

1827 Joseph Smith founds the Mormon church.

1831 London Presbyterian pastor Edward Irving and associates start the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement by encouraging Spiritual Gifts at Regents Square Presbyterian Church.

1861 Vatican Council I affirms Papal Infallibility when the Pope speaks ex cathedra.

1867 Start of the American Holiness movement by the Methodists, who proclaim that a second blessing of sanctification is available to believers. This will eventually grow into the concept that Baptism in the Holy Spirit, evidenced by speaking in Tongues, is a second blessing for Christians.

1901 Agnes Ozman, on January 1, is noted as the first person of the 20th century to experience speaking in Tongues. From this event in Topeka, Ks., the modern-day Pentecostal movement is born and flourishes under Charles Parham and black pastor William Seymour at the Azusa Street Revival in Southern California. Noteworthy also for its integrated worship services in an age of racial segregation. Parham will eventually separate from Seymour over the latter’s welcoming Occultists and Spiritualists into the revival. Parham, a white supremist, will eventually join the Ku Klux Klan.

1914 William Durham founds the Assemblies of God, what will eventually be the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world.

1933 William Branham, who will eventually be hailed as the "End-Times prophet Elijah", and whose name will be legend within many Pentecostal groups, begins his ministry. Throughout his career he will evidence a host of supernatural events in his ministry, ostensibly done through the power of an angel. Branham will teach a Holiness-based doctrine of salvation and will deny the Trinity. Many will consider him a false prophet over his beliefs.

1948 Israel formed as a nation.

1950 All missionaries forced to leave China.

1965 William Branham dies in a car wreck.

1967 Israel recaptures Jerusalem.

1975 first woman rabbi ordained.



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