This book is the culmination of many years spent addressing two questions: Why did Christ come when He did? And what happened as a result? The first question has exercised the minds of countless theologians, philosophers, and historians, those who assume through faith that the Son of God could determine whence He appeared among humans. Why during the Roman Empire? Why during the reign of Herod the Great or his successor Herod Archelaus? Why not centuries earlier, or centuries later? Why at this particular time, two thousand years ago?
Such answers as have been proposed--that He arrived as the Messiah to fulfill God's promise to the Jews; that He arrived when the Pax Romana provided the stability and continuity necessary for the spread of Christianity throughout the Mediterranean region; that He arrived when humans needed Him most--are sufficient, if not wholly satisfactory, answers to the question.
One way to approach the question, Why did Christ come when He did?, is to ask the corollary, And what happened as a result?, which provides a host of new possibilities. He came to establish the Church; He came to replace the Old Testament Law, the old covenant, with a new covenant; He came to inaugurate the Great Commission, to spread His Word throughout the world; He came to save the world; He inaugurated the greatest revolution in thought, culture, and society, the world has ever seen before and since. Which one is true? What is the answer?