A study on the phenomenon of God's timing – Continued…
Fall-to-Fall Calendar Issues
Some scholars insist the "week of seven years" clock and the Jubilee cycle used a Fall to Fall civil calendar. Much evidence in the Bible is contrary to this claim. Scripture confirms that God always reckons a year with a Spring to Spring synchrony.
This synchrony was imposed upon "the week of seven months" clock (the ceremonial year); the "week of seven years" clock and the "seven weeks of seven years" clock (the 49 year Jubilee cycle). This writer finds the following six points to be true. Each point will be discussed on the pages that follow:
1. – When it was put into operation, the "week of seven years clock" was synchronized with Spring and with the year of the Exodus. God used this clock to sentence Israel to 40 years in the wilderness at Kadesh Barnea. For Israel's apostasy, God sentenced them "40 years for 40 days," a day for a year. This "death sentence" was imposed two years after this clock began to operate.
2. – According to the "week of seven months clock," the end of the ceremonial year occurred on Tishri 30, at the end of the seventh month. In an effort to support the presence of a civil calendar prior to the Babylonian captivity, certain Scripture is maligned by advocates of a Fall-to-Fall calendar. It is true that Jews observed a Fall-to-Fall civil calendar after their Babylonian captivity, but there is no evidence in Scripture that God initiated a Fall-to-Fall civil calendar when He established the "week of seven years" clock or the "seven weeks of seven years" clock.
3. – Nehemiah and other prophets confirm the continued presence and operation of God's "week of seven months" clock when double-dating events. It was not unusual in ancient times to date events with the calendar of the empire as well as the calendar of the tribal nation, but the writers of the Bible never merged calendars. God's months are never assigned a calendar position that violates their Spring-to-Spring synchrony. For example, Nisan (the first month of God's calendar) is never identified as the sixth month of a Fall-to-Fall calendar and Tishri (the seventh month) is never identified as the first month of a Fall-to-Fall calendar.
4. – The decree of Artaxerxes (Ezra 7,8) that fulfills the prophecy of Daniel 9 was issued in the Spring of 457 B.C. Therefore, the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 commence in the Spring.
5. – Using Spring-to-Spring reckoning for the 70 weeks of Daniel 9, the death of Jesus occurred in A.D. 30. The actions of Jesus, as well as astronomical data for that year, confirm A.D. 30 is the only year during which all of the events surrounding His death could occur.
6. – If God did initiate a Fall-to-Fall civil calendar for the Jews, where is a record of events that use months and years according to this Fall-to-Fall synchrony prior to the Babylonian captivity?
Point 1: The "Week of Seven Years" Clock Was Synchronized with Spring
The Bible indicates that after two years of wandering in the wilderness, Israel arrived at Kadesh Barnea. There, God told Moses to send 12 spies into Canaan. (Numbers 13:1-3) Upon their return, ten of the 12 spies and all of Israel murmured against God.
Consequently, He sent them back into the wilderness for 38 more years. "Thirty-eight years passed from the time we left Kadesh Barnea until we crossed the Zered Valley. By then, that entire generation of fighting men had perished from the camp, as the Lord had sworn to them. The Lord's hand was against them until he had completely eliminated them from the camp." (Deuteronomy 2:14,15)
When God sentenced that generation to die in the wilderness, He assigned a 40-year penalty that dates back to the day of the Exodus and not from their insurrection at Kadesh Barnea! "For forty years — one year for each of the forty days you explored the land — you will suffer for your sins and know what it is like to have me against you.' I, the Lord, have spoken, and I will surely do these things to this whole wicked community, which has banded together against me. They will meet their end in this desert; here they will die." (Numbers 14:34,35)
We know from Joshua 5:11 that the 40 years were measured from the day of the Exodus. (1/15/1 to 1/16/41)
The 40 Years in the Wilderness
*The actual date for the rebellion at Kadesh Barnea is unknown except it occurs two years after the Exodus. (Deuteronomy 2:14)
Why did God begin counting 40 years of punishment from the month and day of the Exodus and not from the time of Israel's failure at Kadesh Barnea? Why did God reckon the years of punishment on a scale where a day of the week represents a year while Israel was in the wilderness?
Because the "week of seven years" clock began operating at the time of the Exodus, in the Spring of the year. Even though this clock was operating while Israel was in the wilderness, they were not required to observe sabbatical year rests until they entered the land of Canaan. (Leviticus 25:2)
Therefore, when God sentenced Israel for 40 years, He affirmed the operation of the weekly cycle of seven years by sentencing Israel a day for a year. God started the count of 40 years from the day of the Exodus because the generation that came out of Egypt rebelled from the beginning. Forty years later, to the very day, in the Spring of year 41, a new generation of Hebrews entered Canaan. (Joshua 5:11)
Point 2: The Jews Did Use a Fall-to-Fall Calendar
We know that God imposed a Spring-to-Spring calendar upon the Jews at the time of the Exodus. (Exodus 12:1,2) We have examined God's sentence of 40 years in the wilderness and His use of "the week of seven years" clock when a day represents a year. We also know that the length of punishment was dated from the very day of the Exodus which occurred in the Spring. This suggests a Spring-to-Spring operation for the week of seven years clock as well as the year of Jubilee.
It is also known that the Jews adopted a Fall-to-Fall calendar for civil purposes after their Babylonian captivity. Even though the Babylonians used a Spring-to-Spring calendar, their successors, the Medes and Persians, used a Fall-to-Fall calendar. It was customary in ancient times for tribal nations to use two calendars. One calendar was based on the year of the ruling monarch or king, which was used through out the empire for dating purposes. (See Nehemiah 2:1.)
It was also customary for emperors to allow vassal nations to continue with their own calendars as long as they conducted federal business according the calendar of the empire. In Israel's case, they used the Persian calendar as well as God's Spring-to-Spring calendar. (Nehemiah 1:1, 2:1) Archeologists have discovered a number of documents showing dates with two calendars inscribed on them. This has been helpful because it allows researchers to align various calendars for dating purposes.
Some scholars claim the Jews used a Fall-to-Fall calendar prior to their Babylonian captivity to determine Jubilee years and civil matters,but no archeological evidence has verified this claim. A Fall-to-Fall versus a Spring-to-Spring calendar is an important issue in this discussion for two reasons.
First, as mentioned earlier, some scholars say that the Jews synchronized the Jubilee calendar and consequently, the "week of seven years" clock with a Fall-to-Fall calendar. If this argument is true, the dating and synchrony of several events in Scripture, including Christ's death during the 70th week, is dramatically affected. Second, the interpretation and chronological placement of several prophetic time-periods in Daniel and Revelation are also affected. Therefore, a correct understanding of God's synchrony and His calendar is imperative.
Did God initiate a civil Fall-to-Fall calendar? Those who say "yes" mark the beginning of the civil year, the week of seven years and Jubilee cycles with Tishri 1, the seventh month of God's Spring-to-Spring calendar. They support this action with textual references that appear to support a Fall-to-Fall calendar. (See Exodus 23:16, 34:22; Leviticus 25:9,10.) However, when the references in question are aligned with the weight of evidence, the Fall-to-Fall claim is not reasonable.
Notice these two translations of Exodus 34:22. God said:
1. "And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end." (KJV)
2. "Celebrate the Feast of Weeks with the firstfruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year." (NIV)
The Hebrew word, tequwphah (Strong's H:8622) is translated "at the year's end" in the KJV and is translated literally "at the turn of the year" in the NIV. The word tequwphah is derived from the verb naqaph (Strong's H:5362) which can mean "to go around" or "to make a turning point."
From Leviticus 23:34 we know that the Feast of Ingathering (or Tabernacles) was celebrated on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, that is, in the Fall of the year. Therefore, Fall-to-Fall advocates say that tequwphah in Exodus 34:22 suggests the operation of a Fall-to-Fall calendar because when one year ends, another year logically begins. However, if God is speaking about the end of the ceremonial year, another year does not necessarily begin.
If a school year ends in May, this doesn"t mean that the next school year begins in June. The ceremonial year was seven months in length and the seventh month ended on Tishri 30, a few days after the Feast of Ingathering had been celebrated.
We know that the Feast of Ingathering is near the half-way point or the turning point of the year which occurs at the Fall Equinox (around September 22). Depending on the alignment of the Sun and moon, the seventh month can start as early as September 14 or as late as October 13. This would put the Feast of Ingathering as early as September 29 or as late as October 28. The Hebrew language should be understood from the perspective of those who lived during Old Testament times.
The verb naqaph means "to make a turning point" as in "the return" of a year. In this light, consider how tequwphah and its root verb naqaph apply if the year starts in the Spring and we observe the path of the Sun.
At the Spring Equinox, the path of the Sun begins moving north of due East a little each day. When it reaches its northmost position, the Summer Solstice occurs (about June 21). Then, the Sun begins to return to Earth's celestial equator and by September 22, at the Fall Equinox, the Sun rises due East and sets due West. At this point, the Sun is halfway through its yearly cycle, So, the Autumnal Equinox was known as "the turning point" of the year.
After the Fall Equinox occurs, the observed path of the Sun begins moving South until the Winter Solstice occurs (about December 21). Then, the Sun begins moving northward until it reaches the celestial equator; about March 21 when it aligns with due East and due West. Thus, the midway point of the year (at the Fall Equinox) is marked by the Sun's crossing of the celestial equator and tequwphah and its root verb naqaph reflect the "return" or "a turning point" of the Sun's path.
The KJV translators translated tequwphah in Exodus 34:22 to mean "at the end of the year" in a Fall context, but they also translate the same word to mean "at the end of the year" in a Spring context! (2 Chronicles 24:23) Does the KJV translation of tequwphah prove there are two different calendars in operation or does the word mean there are two turning points in a year? Of course, there are two turning points involving the Sun each year and translators do their best to identify which is which.
Perspective is Crucial
The perspective of ancient people must be considered if we are to understand their use of words. They observed the Sun crossing Earth's celestial equator twice a year, once at the Spring Equinox and once at the Fall Equinox. Notice how tequwphah is used in four translations of 2 Chronicles 24:23. Keep in mind, the event described in this verse is known to be in the Spring:
1. "At the turn of the year, the army of Aram marched against Joash. . . " (NIV)
2. "And it came to pass at the end of the year, that the host of Syria came up against him . . ." (KJV)
3. "So it happened in the spring of the year that the army of Syria came up against him. . ." (NKJV)
4. "Now it came about at the turn of the year that the army of the Arameans came up against him. . . ." (NASB)
Notice an interesting development. The NIV and NASB translate tequwphah literally by saying, "at the turn of the year" leaving the reader to figure out which turn of the year the verse is talking about. However, the KJV for 2 Chronicles 24:23 says, "at the end of the year" which is interesting since this verse clearly reflects a Springtime event.
Translators of the NKJV agree this verse describes a Springtime event (see above). So, why does the KJV use the word tequwphah in Exodus 34:22 (see previous comments) to indicate the end of a year in the Fall, but use the same word to describe the end of the year in the Spring? Perhaps the KJV translators based their translation of the earlier text (Exodus 34:22) on their understanding of Exodus 23:16 which we will examine in a moment.
For now, we know the word tequwphah means a turning of the year, but there are two instances in a year where the Sun crosses the celestial equator. Which event marks the end of the year — the one in the Spring or the one in the Fall?
Wartime is Springtime
Translators today know from numerous historical sources that ancient kings went to war in the Spring of the year to take advantage of favorable weather through Summer and Fall. The importance of favorable weather cannot be underestimated in ancient warfare. Notice these translations of 2 Samuel 11:1:
1. "In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king's men and the whole Israelite army. . ." (NIV)
2. "It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel. . ." (NKJV)
3. "Then it happened in the spring, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him and all Israel. . . " (NASB)
4. And it came to pass, after the year was expired, at the time when kings go forth to battle, that David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. . ." (KJV)
Three of these translations indicate a Spring time event and the KJV could indicate a Springtime even saying, "after the year is expired" if the student makes provision for a Spring to Spring year. The Hebrew word in these four verses, teshuwbah (Strong's:H8666) literally means "at the return" or "at a recurrence of time."
Since it is well known that kings went to war in the Spring, and because teshuwbah means "at the return" as in the Sun's position at the Spring Equinox, it is translated "in the Spring of the year." One more look at teshuwbah should resolve this matter. Notice how teshuwbah is used in three translations of 1 Kings 20:22:
1. "And the prophet came to the king of Israel and said to him, "Go, strengthen yourself; take note, and see what you should do, for in the spring of the year the king of Syria will come up against you." (NKJV)
2. "Afterward, the prophet came to the king of Israel and said, "Strengthen your position and see what must be done, because next spring the king of Aram will attack you again." (NIV)
3. "And the prophet came to the king of Israel, and said unto him, Go, strengthen thyself, and mark, and see what thou doest: for at the return of the year the king of Syria will come up against thee." (KJV)
Notice when the predicted event was fulfilled (2 Chronicles 36:10):
1. "In the spring, King Nebuchadnezzar sent for him and brought him to Babylon, together with articles of value from the temple of the LORD, and he made Jehoiachin's uncle, Zedekiah, king over Judah and Jerusalem." (NIV)
2. "And when the year was expired, king Nebuchadnezzar sent, and brought him to Babylon, with the goodly vessels of the house of the LORD, and made Zedekiah his brother king over Judah and Jerusalem." (KJV)
3. "At the turn of the year King Nebuchadnezzar summoned him and took him to Babylon, with the costly articles from the house of the LORD, and made Zedekiah, Jehoiakim's brother, king over Judah and Jerusalem." (NKJV)
NIV translators and most commentaries on Old Testament history place the event recorded in 2 Chronicles 36:10 in the Spring of the year. Yes, the Hebrew language leaves some uncertainty because there are two "turnings in a year." However, the uncertainty can be resolved by looking at the weight of evidence. In summary, the choice of words used by the KJV translators in Exodus 34:22 could have been better. The weight of evidence indicates the Hebrew word tequwphah in Exodus 34:22 should be understood to mean "at the turn of the year" or "mid-year."
The last text we will examine that indicates an end of the year in the Fall is found in Exodus 23:16. Please notice "the end of the year" phrase in these four translations:
1. "And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labours out of the field." (KJV)
2. "Celebrate the Feast of Harvest with the firstfruits of the crops you sow in your field. "Celebrate the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your crops from the field." (NIV)
3. "Also you shall observe the Feast of the Harvest of the first fruits of your labors from what you sow in the field; also the Feast of the Ingathering at the end of the year when you gather in the fruit of your labors from the field." (NASB)
4. "And the Feast of Harvest, the firstfruits of your labors which you have sown in the field; and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you have gathered in the fruit of your labors from the field." (NKJV)
The Hebrew word used in this verse for year is shaneh (Strongs H:8141). Shaneh means a year, "as in the revolution of time." The root word yatsa' (Strongs H:3318) is translated a variety of ways in the Old Testament. It is used in these verses to mean "at the end of" and it can mean "going out of." One Interlinear of the Hebrew Old Testament (The Interlinear Hebrew-Greek-English Bible, Volume I, Jay P. Green, Sr.) transliterates this verse saying, "when out goes the year."
Does Exodus 23:16 prove the operation of a Fall-to-Fall calendar? Not when the weight of evidence is aligned. The Feast of Harvest (Pentecost) and the Feast of Ingathering are associated in this text because they identify two harvests. One occurred in the Spring and the other occurred in the Fall. These two feasts were directly connected with these principal harvests during the ceremonial year. Therefore, when the harvests are gathered and the feasts are finished, the ceremonial year ends.
A Compelling Question
Fall-to-Fall advocates claim the year of Jubilee is part of the civil year which starts with the seventh month, Tishri 1. So how can the year of Jubilee commence on Tishri 1 when the feast that marks the end of the year lasts until Tishri 21? In other words, Exodus 23:16 places the Feast of Ingathering "at the end of the year," so how can the Feast of Ingathering be considered to be at the end of a year and yet be 21 days into a new year! This contradiction brings the Fall-to-Fall argument to an end.
Point 3: Nehemiah's Use of Calendars
For reasons stated above, God did not mandate a Fall-to-Fall civil year. God's synchrony for the "year clock," the "week of seven months" clock and the "week of seven years" clock is always Spring-to-Spring. Remember that documents in ancient times often contained two calendar dates. Likewise, Bible writers sometimes reference two calendars in the same verse, but they remain distinct – one, the calendar of God; the other, the calendar of men. For example, notice how the Fall-to-Fall calendar of the Persians and the Spring-to-Spring calendar of God align in these two verses:
"The words of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah: In the month of Kislev [the ninth month of God's Spring-to-Spring calendar] in the twentieth year [using King Artaxerxes' Fall-to-Fall calendar], while I was in the citadel of Susa….." (Nehemiah 1:1, insertions mine)[Months later…] "In the month of Nisan [in the Spring, the first month of God's calendar] in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before…" (Nehemiah 2:1, insertions mine)
Here is the problem: In the first verse, Nehemiah associates the month of Kislev (the ninth month of God's Spring-to-Spring clock) with the twentieth year of Artaxerxes which is based on a Fall-to-Fall calendar. Months later, after New Year's day, Nehemiah describes another event that also occurs during the twentieth year of Artaxerxes. Scholars have used these two verses to support the view that the Jews used a Fall-to-Fall civil calendar because Nehemiah placed the ninth month of Kislev and the first month of a new year (Nisan) within the twentieth year of Artaxerxes.
They say that if Nehemiah was using a Spring-to-Spring calendar, he would have indicated the twenty-first year of Artaxerxes since Nisan is the first month of a new year. While this logic appears valid on the surface, it is not valid. Whenever Nehemiah and his contemporary, Ezra, date an event with Jewish months, they consistently speak in terms of a Spring-to-Spring calendar, not a Fall-to-Fall calendar. (See Nehemiah 8:14.)
Conversely, when they date an event with Persian years, they consistently speak in terms of a Fall-to-Fall calendar. (Nehemiah 5:14) Here's a pictorial harmony showing how Nehemiah reconciled God's Spring calendar with the Persian Fall calendar:
Notice that Kislev is the ninth month and Nisan is the first month of God's Spring calendar and they fit comfortably within the twentieth year of Artaxerxes since the king's twentieth year is determined by the Persian Fall-to-Fall calendar. The reader can see from the diagram that Nehemiah places the month of Nisan in its rightful place, in the Spring of the first month of God's year. Incidentally, we sometimes date events just as Nehemiah did.
For example, suppose Bobby's tenth birthday is in September. In the United States, we would date Christmas 1999 and Easter 2000 during Bobby's tenth year of life even though January 1, 2000 marks the beginning of a new year.
Point 4: Daniel 9 and the Decree of Artaxerxes
While in Babylonian captivity, God predetermined a probationary time-period for His people using the "week of seven years" clock, namely seventy weeks. We know from Creation's week that the weekly clock of seven days is not a "stand alone" unit of time. We also know from the Exodus that a "week of seven years" clock is not a stand alone unit of time. Both clocks have synchrony, that is, they are aligned with other events.
In Daniel 9, God defined Israel's 490 years of probationary time in units of "70 weeks" because they perfectly synchronize with the calendar He initiated at the time of the Exodus. In other words, the "week of seven years" clock did not suddenly begin operating at the time of the decree of Artaxerxes.
God chose to represent Israel's probationary time of 490 years in units of Jubilee weeks instead of actual years to affirm the synchronism of His calendar. He could have identified the time-span as 490 days (as He did with the 2,300 days in Daniel 8:14), or He could have identified the time-span as 490 years (as He does with the 1,000 years in Revelation 20:2).
Instead, He chose a unit of time that aligns with the year of the Exodus.
God is so marvelous! He foreknew there would be several decrees to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. These occurred in 536, 519, 457 and 444 B.C. A number of weak and deficient arguments have been offered in support of 444 B.C., however 457 B.C. terminates the argument because it is the only date that historically aligns with the specifications of the prophecy. The 70 week prophecy was given for the primary benefit of those who should live prior to the appearing of Messiah.
Knowing in advance that four decrees would be issued, God placed specifications within the prophecy so that only one decree could meet its fulfillment. The appropriate decree is the one that is synchronous with the beginning of a Jubilee cycle.
King Artaxerxes, in the Spring of 457 B.C. (Ezra 7 & 8), issued the decree. This is a profoundly important point. Notice that God divided the 69 weeks (until the appearing of Messiah) as 7 weeks + 62 weeks in Daniel 9:25. Seven weeks of seven years (49 years) is one Jubilee cycle. In other words, it was God's intention that His people watch for the decree that would be issued in the Spring at the beginning of a Jubilee cycle.
If they started counting Jubilee weeks from that decree, they could know the year that Messiah would appear. (This may have been the means by which the wise men calculated the time of Messiah's birth.) Indeed, history confirms the synchronism of God's calendar! King Artaxerxes issued the decree on or about the first day of the first month of a Jubilee year. (Ezra 7:9) Interestingly, the decree was issued on the first days of the twentieth Jubilee cycle since the Exodus.
Ezra departed from the Ahava canal on Nisan 12 day with decree in hand. (Ezra 8:31) Four hundred eighty three years later, Jesus affirmed the synchronism of the Jubilee calendar again. He appeared on the banks of the Jordan to be baptized by John at the beginning of the 70th week, in A.D. 27 which is a Sunday year. (Luke 3) Jesus died on the cross, "causing sacrifices and oblations to cease" in the middle of the 70th week, A.D. 30. Notice how the following chart places A.D. 30 is the middle of the 70th week of years.
The Week of Years Counting from 457 B.C.
|Sun||Mon||Tue||Wed||Thu||Fri||Sab||Weeks of Years|
|Since Decree||Since Exodus|
|B.C.||1437||1436||1435||1434||1433||1432||1431||—||= Week 1|
|. . . .||. . . .|
|457||456||455||454||453||452||451||1st Week||Week 141|
|450||449||448||447||446||… –||…||2nd Week||Week 125|
|A.D.||27||28||29||30||31||32||33||70th Week||Week 210|
|34||35||36||37||38||39||40||71st Week||Week 211|
|. . . .||. . . .|
|538||539||540||541||542||543||544||143rd Week||Week 283|
Note: 1437 B.C. is the year of the Exodus. 457 B.C. is the year of the decree that starts the 70 weeks. (Ezra 7) A.D. 538 will be discussed shortly, for now, notice that it is a Sunday year. Also notice that 457 B.C. is a Sunday year that marks the beginning of the 141st sabbatical week since the Exodus, as well as the first week of the 70 weeks. According to the specifications of the 70th week given in Daniel 9, Jesus began His ministry in A.D. 27 and He was crucified in A.D. 30., the middle of the 70th week.[display-audio category="199" count="1"]
Point 4: The Death of Jesus
There is sufficient astronomical and Scriptural evidence to conclude that Jesus died on Friday, April 7, A.D. 30. If we allow God's synchrony to place His death at that time, all of the pieces will comfortably fit together. In fact, A.D. 30 exclusively satisfies the synchrony required by all seven clocks which the Creator devised! Furthermore, A.D. 30 is the only year during which the events described in Scripture can occur.
It is well known that post-exilic Jews abandoned God's method for reckoning months and adopted the Babylonian practice of starting a new month with the sighting of a new moon crescent. The onset of a month using the Babylonian method is usually one or two days later than God's method.
This difference is the basis for much confusion in Scripture about the time of Christ's death: Jesus and His disciples observed Passover according to God's synchrony for the month, while the nation of Israel observed Passover according to Babylon's synchrony. Herein lies the confusion. The gospel writers do not address the presence of two methods for determining a new month as they describe various events that lead up to Christ's death.
According to solar and lunar tables posted at this U.S. Naval Observatory web site.
the following chart shows the position of the Sun and moon during A.D. 30 as well as the course of events for Passover in April, A.D. 30. When examining the data at the web-site, be careful to observe the differences between Julian and Jewish reckoning:
- Eq = Spring Equinox, Thursday night at 12 am local time
- Nm = New Moon, Thursday night at Julian 8 pm local time
- Cr = New Moon Crescent seen on Sabbath night, Nisan 1
- Fm= Full Moon at Julian 10 pm = Jewish Friday and Julian Thursday
- Cx = Friday afternoon crucifixion about 3 pm
- Pass = Passover meal around midnight
- Re = Resurrection just before sunrise
The gospel writers also indicate that Jesus ate the Passover on Thursday night with His disciples before going to His death on Friday afternoon. The records of the disciples do not indicate anything unusual about eating Passover or beginning the Feast of Unleavened Bread at a time that was not in harmony with the national Passover. (Matthew 26: 17; Mark 14:12)
Nor do they offer any explanation for killing the Passover lamb on Wednesday afternoon and eating the Passover on Thursday night, even though the national Passover lamb was slain on Friday. Perhaps the reason for this divergent course of events stems from a difference in marking the beginning of the month. It would be inappropriate to assert that the Creator did not know the true time for Passover. Actually, the actions of Jesus affirm what is Truth, for He is the Truth. (John 14:6)
Jesus correctly observed Passover and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread with His disciples on Thursday, the 15th day of the month – using God's method for reckoning monthly cycles. Because a new moon occurred on Thursday, the same night as the Spring Equinox in A.D. 30, the 15th of Nisan is Thursday. The Creator's actions are naturally synchronous with the instructions that He gave to Moses in Exodus 12! Notice the timing of events if one follows God synchrony for starting the month:
- Eq = Spring Equinox, Thursday, 12 am local time
- Nm = New moon Thursday, 8 pm local time
- Cx = Slaying of Passover lamb at Wednesday twilight using Creator's reckoning
- Pass = Passover supper around Thursday midnight
- Fm = Full moon Friday night at 10 pm local time
- Ac = Actual crucifixion of Jesus using Babylonian reckoning
The mystery is solved. Jesus celebrated Israel's final Passover on Thursday night, at exactly the right time with His disciples, on the 15th day of the first month. The alignment of the Jubilee calendar, the 70th week, the position of the Sun and moon along with the actions of Jesus pinpoint the time of Passover in A.D. 30 as Thursday night. The actions of Jesus and the astronomical position of the Sun and moon are two witnesses that confirm the truth. No wiggle room is left. A.D. 30 is the only year during the 70th week that can satisfy all the necessary specifications.
I find three interesting points surrounding the Thursday evening Passover. First, Jesus' actions must be viewed as a confirmation of the synchrony of time according to the calendar that He established at the Exodus.
Second, Jesus ended the paschal sacrifice that Thursday night. "While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (Matthew 26:26-28)
With these words, He pronounced the end of 1,467 years of paschal lamb sacrifices and He initiated the Lord's supper. (John 13, 1 Cor 11) The following day, He terminated the observance of Passover. (Col 2:14-16, Heb 7:12) Last, Scripture indicates that the nation of Israel was not observing Passover on a day synchronous with God's will at the first Advent. It is ironic that now, just before the second Advent, most of the world worships on days that are not synchronous with God's will either.
It is astronomically true and historically plausible for Passover to have occurred on Sabbath, April 8, A.D. 30 if one dates the beginning of Nisan with the new moon crescent. It is astronomically true and historically plausible for the true Passover to have occurred on Thursday night, April 6, A.D. 30 if we interpret the actions of Jesus as affirming the proper synchrony for Nisan 15 with a new moon. The 70th week demands the death of Messiah in a Wednesday year and A.D. 30 uniquely meets this specification.
When these issues are aligned with the actions of Jesus, no other year, month or day is possible. In fact, the two Passovers mentioned in the gospels confirm the year A.D. 30 because no other year can satisfy this astronomical setting within the range allowed by Daniel 9.
A.D. 31 Is Out of the Question
Some scholars defend A.D. 31 as the year of Christ's death because they insist on using a Fall-to-Fall calendar for the synchronism of the 70 weeks, and the use of the Babylonian first crescent method to begin the month. The Bible and astronomy refute both arguments. If a person assumes A.D. 31 is the year of Christ's death, the following chart describes the course of events necessary for a Friday crucifixion:
- Eq = Spring Equinox occurs on Friday, March 23, 5 a.m. local time
- Nm = New Moon after Equinox occurs on Tuesday, April 10, at 10 a.m. local time
- Cr = New Moon Crescent seen on Sabbath night, April 14 = Nisan 1
- Fm= Full Moon on Thursday, March 26 at 9:30 p.m. local time
- Cx = Crucifixion about 3 pm on Friday afternoon
- Pass = Passover meal around midnight Sabbath night
- Re = Resurrection just before sunrise on Sunday
The first problem with this scenario is the number of hours between new moon conjunction (Tuesday, April 10 at 10 a.m.) and the sighting of a new crescent (Sabbath evening at sundown, April 14). This requires a time-period of 80 hours at a minimum.
Some have eliminated A.D. 31 as a possibility on this irregularity alone. But, the greater problem is that Jesus would have begun Nisan 1 with the New Moon on Tuesday April 10 and He would have observed Passover with His disciples on Tuesday night, April 24 (Nisan 15).
This produces a span of 60+ hours between Passover with His disciples and His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane on Friday night. This length of time does not align with the account given in the gospels. See Chart 20 below:
It has been demonstrated that God's calendar operates from Spring to Spring. The month of Nisan, the first month of the ceremonial year and the solar year always occurs in Spring. We also know the week of years and the year of Jubilee were synchronized with the year of the Exodus which occurred in the Spring.
The 70 weeks of Daniel 9 also began in the Spring. King Artaxerxes issued the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem during the first days of Spring, 457 B.C., and Ezra left Babylon on the twelfth day of Nisan to journey to Jerusalem with decree in hand. (Ezra 8:31) Therefore, A.D. 27, the first year of the 70th week must also begin in the Spring. This forces Passover in A.D. 31 to be a Thursday year and since Thursday is not the "middle of the week," A.D. 31 is eliminated from any further consideration. See below:
The Week of Years Counting from 457 B.C.
|B.C.||457||456||455||454||453||452||451||=||Week of Years # 1|
|450||449||448||447||446||. . . –||. . . –||=||Week of Years # 2|
|A.D.||. . . –||. . . –||. . . –||23||24||25||26||=||Week of Years # 69|
|27||28||29||30||31||32||33||=||Week of Years # 70|
|34||35||36||37||38||39||40||=||Week of Years # 71|
Again, synchrony is the compelling reason to select A.D. 30 above all other possible dates. A.D. 30 is the Wednesday year, which is also the middle year of the 70th week. Jesus confirms the true timing of the Passover by His actions in A.D. 30., the positions of the Sun and moon confirm that no other year will meet these specifications except A.D. 30. All seven clocks that Jesus created align in such a way as to eliminate all other possible dates for His death. The gospels eliminate any other possibility due to time constraints.
God's Calendar Alone Sufficient
Different methods of measuring time have been mentioned because Jewish practices were influenced at various times by the Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians and Canaanites. The Jews lived in Egypt for 430 years, in Canaan for more than 1,400 years, in Babylon for 70 years and they lived under Persian dominion for 200 years.
Therefore, we should not be surprised to find some adaptations in Jewish methods for reckoning time over the course of Old Testament history. We can see from the dating of annual feasts, sabbatical years and the year of Jubilee that the Jews could not totally adopt the calendar of another nation. All other calendars were simply inadequate for Jewish needs.
However, post-exilic Jews did adopt the practice of the Babylonians who marked the beginning of a month by observing the "new moon crescent." (Incidentally, Moslems continue to use the "new moon crescent" method today.) New moon crescent sightings at the time of Jesus were made in the vicinity of Jerusalem where priests announced the commencement of a new month. It is believed this tradition continued until the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
Point 6: Jubilee Synchrony Determines the Location of the 1,260 Years
If the possibility of perpetual synchrony in God's units of time is accepted, then the commencement of any time-period in prophecy is influenced by its synchrony. For example, God could have said 1,260 days in Daniel 7:25, just as He said 2,300 days in Daniel 8:14. However, there is a difference in synchrony between units of days and units expressed in "times." "A time" begins in the Spring, a day begins at sundown, a week begins with Sunday.
If perpetual synchrony is a valid concept, then an interesting synchrony exists between "the time, times and half a time" in Daniel 7:25 and the 70 weeks of Daniel 9.
For reasons beyond the scope of this study, the span of time called a "time, times, and half a time" in Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 12:14 was fulfilled during A.D. 538 to 1798. Mathematically, we find that 1,260 years are 180 Jubilee weeks. (7 days x 180 weeks = 1,260 days)
Dating from the Sunday year of the Exodus, and in synchrony with the beginning of the 70 weeks in 457 B.C. (a Sunday year), A.D. 538 is a Sunday year and February 1798 (the month of the pope's capture) is the last month of a sabbatical year! (Remember, Julian February 1798 is Jubilee February 1797 because the Jubilee calendar is a Spring-to-Spring Calendar.) In other words, the "time, times and half a time" time-period starts and stops exactly where it should according to synchrony.
There is perfect alignment within the Jubilee calendar for this period of 180 weeks and the synchronism implied by the Aramaic word hiddan (a set time) is marvelously confirmed. The impeccable synchrony of this time-period assures this writer that the "seven times" assigned to Nebuchadnezzar also constituted a synchronous week of seven years.
Little Horn power = 1,260 years = 180 Jubilee weeks
Time, Times and Half a Time = 1,260 Years
|545||546||. . . –||. . . –|
|. . . –||. . .||1789||1790|
A Prophetic "Catch 22"
If we ignore or reject the synchrony that God's seven clocks impose on Biblical events as well as future prophetic events, then we are left without a means (as in a rule) to manage the interpretation of time or time-periods in Daniel and Revelation. Every interpreter is therefore free to interpret and thus place time-periods according to his private schematic.
Time Is Always Literal in the Bible
When dealing with time or time-periods in the Bible, understanding the synchronism of time is job one. We have spent a great deal of time examining the importance of synchronism. We have seen that throughout the Bible, God reckons "a week" to be a period of time that is synchronous with Creation's week!
In fact, there are places where God distinguishes between a period of seven days and a week within the same conversation. (Leviticus 23:6,15) Yes, man may call a seven day period such as Thursday through Wednesday a week, but this does not make it a week. Yes, man may call April 15 through May 14 a month, but this does not make it a month. And yes, man may define a year as any number of days, but man's reckoning of time is not necessarily God's reckoning of time.
This is a key point in studying prophetic time-periods. God gave different names to the time-periods to help us properly place them according to their synchrony. Every time-period is literal because each has its own synchrony and duration. There is no such thing as symbolic time.
Yes, time may be expressed as a figure of speech, but God does not represent a time-period with a symbolic expression in Scripture. Every time-period has its own duration and synchrony. Every time-period has its beginning and ending point in time. Every clock has its own unique unit of time.
For example, a prophetic time-period of 42 literal months would start with a new moon because God's months begin with a new moon! The prophetic time-period of 70 Jubilee weeks has to begin with a Sunday year because the first year in the "week of seven years" clock is a Sunday year. A prophetic time-period involving years has to begin in the Spring because God's "year clock" always begins in the Spring.
The key to interpreting the time-periods in Daniel and Revelation is understanding which clock God is using.
A Valid Rule?
Each time-period in Daniel and Revelation has to be understood within the context of its intended clock. For example, Daniel says, "In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a revelation was given to Daniel (who was called Belteshazzar). Its message was true and it concerned a great war. The understanding of the message came to him in a vision. At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. – (Daniel 10:1,2) We have to interpret "the third year" and the three weeks that occur within that year according to the "year clock" of the Persians Likewise, the seven times decreed upon King Nebuchadnezzar have to be seven years because "a time" was one cycle of the Sun. Some, like the Jehovah's Witnesses, have argued that if "a time, times and half a time" equals 1,260 years, then seven times equals 2,520 years (7 x 360). The problem with this argument, of course, is the use of the wrong clock. Nebuchadnezzar did not live like a beast for 2,520 years. Another interesting point is this: The Aramaic word for "weeks" in Daniel 9:24 is identical with the word "weeks" in Daniel 10:2. How is it that a week is seven literal days in one verse and in another, a week is seven literal years? The answer appears to be consistent with this rule: Time-periods must be interpreted according to the clock and synchrony that God is using.
Which Clock Is God Using?
How should we interpret the 1,000 years of Revelation 20? Does God mean 1,000 solar years according to His "year clock" that dates from Creation or does God mean 360,000 years using the day/year clock that dates from the Exodus (1,000 x 360)? This is a fair question. Even though the context of Revelation 20 is highly symbolic, the time-period is literal because time is always literal.
Furthermore, if the three Jubilee clocks: "the week of seven months," "the week of seven years," and "the seven weeks of seven years" stop operating before the Second Coming, the "year clock" is all that remains. (The termination of the three Jubilee clocks will be presented shortly.)
Why is the devil "tied down" for 1,000 years? Could it be that he is forced to "rest" from his evil work for a sabbatical millennium so that Earth might rest? There appears to be an eighth clock, although the Scripture does not directly say there is an eighth clock.
There is a strong possibility for the presence of "a week of seven millenniums" clock. In short, it appears that Creation's week was a marvelous template – revealing God's foreknowledge to rescue man from sin and restore him to Eden – even before man sinned! God created "a week of seven days" clock to reveal the beauty of resting from our cares and in His care on His Sabbath. He then created "a weekly clock of seven months" which contains six feasts that foreshadows the essential events of the Plan of Salvation.
He also created "a weekly clock of seven years" to foreshadow Earth's sabbatical millennium from the works of sin and the emancipation of His faithful ones from the curse of sin at the beginning of the sabbatical millennium! God also created "a clock of seven weeks of seven years" to foreshadow the-one-time Jubilee, the restoration of the land to the heirs of Abraham. In light of these parallels, there is good reason to say an eighth clock, a week of seven millenniums, exists. (See chart on page 40.)
When the genealogical data in the Bible dating from Adam to the Exodus is added to the Jubilee calendar and those time-periods yet to be fulfilled during the Great Tribulation, plus the 1,000 years of Revelation 20, the total number of years reach surprisingly close to 7,000 years:
How Many Years since Sin Began?
|Adam to the Flood||=||1656|
|Margin for Error||=||10|
|Flood to Exodus||=||989|
|Margin for Error||=||10|
|Exodus to 1994||=||3,430|
|1994 to the year 2,000||=||6|
|Total Years Since Creation||6,081 to 6,101|
- Assuming Adam and Eve were the garden about 100 years before sinning (When Seth was born, Adam and Eve were 130 years of age.) Totals 5981 to 6001 years since sin began
- If the margin for error is averaged to 10 years, this current year appears to be about 5,991 years since sin began. Keep in mind, this is only an estimate
Do the Jubilee Clocks Stop?
God appears to terminate these three clocks implemented at the Exodus (not at creation) just a few years before the Second Coming: (1) The week of seven months, (2) The week of seven years, and (3) The seven weeks of seven years (49-year Jubilee cycles). For several prophetic reasons beyond the scope of this study, this writer concludes that the operation of these three clocks ended in 1994 with the completion of 70 Jubilee cycles. (March 1437 B.C. – March 1994 = 70 Jubilee cycles or 3,430 years) Why terminate these three clocks in 1994? Because the following appears to be true:
- We know "the week of seven years" clock did not end at the Cross. Jesus died in the middle of the 70th week. This means "the week of seven years" clock must continue to operate beyond the death of Jesus in A.D. 30 or the prophecy in Daniel 9 would have to terminate at 69.5 weeks.
- The "week of seven years" clock did not stop at the Cross because the "time, times and half a time" of Daniel 7:25 and Revelation 12:6,14 took place long after the cross (A.D. 538 to 1798). This time-period of 1,260 years does not span across the B.C. to A.D. line of demarcation, yet these prophecies depend upon the day/year translation offered by the "week of seven years" clock History proves the 1,260 years to be synchronous with the "week of seven years" clock.
- The 70 weeks (490 years) of Daniel 9 and the 2,300 days of Daniel 8:14 operated concurrently until the 70 weeks expired with A.D. 33. Afterwards, the count of the 2,300 day/years continued onward until 1844. In this case, the "week of seven years" clock must operate until 1844 at a minimum.
- Even though the obligation of observing feasts was terminated at the cross, this writer concludes these three clocks continued to operate until 70 Jubilee cycles were completed in 1994. This may sound strange to the reader at first, but consider the fact that even though ancient Israel did not observe the sabbatical years required by God for 430 years prior to the Babylonian captivity, God counted the sabbatical years. The 70 years in Babylonian captivity proves that God's clocks operate whether man regards their presence or not.
Why terminate the clocks in 1994? Here are three reasons:
a. – Every time man fails, God increases the next probationary period of time:
- God tested Israel on the observance of the Sabbath day. (Exodus 16:4)
- God tested Israel for 40 days resulting in 40 years of captivity in the wilderness.
- God tested Israel for 70 sabbatical years resulting in 70 years captivity in Babylon.
- God tested Israel for 70 weeks resulting in His final rejection of Israel.
Years granted to the Jews: 30 complete Jubilee cycles (1437 B.C. – A.D. 33 = 1,470 years).
Years granted to the Gentiles: 40 complete Jubilee cycles (A.D. 34 – 1994 = 1,960 years).
Total years granted to Jews and Gentiles: 70 complete Jubilee cycles (ending in 1994).
Years allotted for the duration of sin appears to be 70 centuries (7,000 years).
b. – Assume for a moment that the seven angels of Revelation 8:2-7 were given the seven trumpets in March, 1994 because the allotted time of mercy for the world (corporately speaking) ended. And, as the first four angels prepared to harm Earth, they were told to wait until the 144,000 were sealed. (Revelation 7:1-4) Because the seven trumpets are future, because the seven trumpets are judgments of God, because the seven angels are given the seven trumpets at a point in time when God's patience with Earth has expired, it seems rational to place the empowerment of the seven angels in Revelation 8:2 at 1994 – at the end of 70 Jubilee cycles. If this is the case, then we are currently living in a delay. The first four angels are waiting for the sealing of the 144,000 to be completed before they begin their harm. At an appointed time, Jesus will declare the delay to be over. (Rev 10:6) The commencement of the seven trumpets could begin any day. The Great Tribulation will be a maximum of 1,335 days in length (Daniel 12:11,12) and this time-period will reach to the end of the 6,000th year of sin, to the very day. For reasons stated earlier, the window for the 6,000th year appears to be somewhere between 1998 and 2017.
c. A number of time-periods will occur during the Great Tribulation. Each of these require planetary clocks instead of Jubilee clocks. Otherwise, these time-periods would be translated into day/year units, which would make nonsense of the prophecies. For example, the fifth trumpet has a time-period of 5 months within it. If one insists on using a Jubilee clock, then the five months would equal 150 years (30 days per month x 5). This would frustrate the prophecy in Daniel 12:11,12 which establishes the length of the Great Tribulation as being 1,335 days.
Therefore, this writer follows this general rule of interpretation: "The presence or the absence of the Jubilee calendar determines whether God reckons apocalyptic time in day/year units or in literal units." If this approach is followed, there is ample room for the fulfillment of several prophetic time-periods during the Great Tribulation and also allowing the 6,000th year since sin to occur somewhere between 1998 and 2017. The following chart (Chart 24) outlines the harmonious operation of God's great clocks, including the possibility of an eighth clock, a week of millenniums:
[display-audio category="206" count="1"]
[display-audio category="207" count="1"] References:
|1. Daniel 12:12||4. Revelation 13:5||7. Revelation 20|
|2. Daniel 12:11||5. Revelation 9:5||* Seven last plagues|
are 75 days in length
|3. Revelation 11:3||6. Revelation 11:9|
Dating the Exodus
Where Does the Count of Years Begin?
Some scholars claim that the week of years and the Jubilee cycle began operating at the time Israel entered into the Promised Land rather than at the Exodus. They base this assumption on this text: "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: "When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath to the Lord." (Leviticus 25:2)
On the surface, this text could be understood to mean that the Jews were to begin counting off seventh year sabbaticals "when you enter the land. . ." However, the text could be understood in the future tense, not the future indicative tense. To paraphrase this text, God says, "I know you are in the wilderness right now and sabbatical years are not necessary here, but when you enter the land I am going to give you, that land must observe my sabbatical years according to the calendar that I have given you."
The following text contains language that is similar to the above text. "Speak to the Israelites and say to them: 'When you enter the land I am going to give you and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain you harvest.
He is to wave the sheaf before the Lord so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the [seventh day] Sabbath." (Leviticus 23:10,11, insertion mine) The presentation of the wave sheaf on the first day of the week was not observed in the wilderness because there was no harvest. But, the "week of seven months" clock that determined the timing of the ceremonial year began operating at the time of the Exodus.
God was very firm about the importance of maintaining the synchrony of His clocks before the actual feasts were observed. "But if a man who is ceremonially clean and not on a journey fails to celebrate the Passover, that person must be cut off from his people because he did not present the Lord's offering at the appointed time. That man will bear the consequences of his sin." (Numbers 9:13)
During the wilderness sojourn of 40 years, it appears the Passover was not observed because the rite of circumcision was suspended. Therefore, the younger generation could not participate in the Passover. (Exodus 12:48) When the time came to enter Canaan, Joshua had all of the males circumcised. (Joshua 5:2-5)
The point here is that the "week of seven months" clock (the clock that marked off the ceremonial year) did not stop operating because Passover was not observed in the wilderness. On the contrary, Passover was celebrated according to this clock when the feast of Passover was resumed. (Joshua 5:9-12)
How then, do we prove that we should begin counting from the year of the Exodus instead of the year of entry into Canaan? It is quite simple if we approach the question from three different points of view. Keep in mind that each approach is not conclusive, but when combined, they become "airtight."
Point of View #1
First, let us assume for the point of argument that the Jubilee calendar is synchronized with a date for the Exodus. Therefore, the year of the Exodus needs to be a Sunday year (the weekly cycle begins with a Sunday year). Let us also assume the Sunday year is 1437 B.C.
This date will be demonstrated to be true later on. The 1437 B.C. date of the Exodus forces the entrance into Canaan on the 16th day of the first month of a Friday year, 1397 B.C. (See the following chart.) After Israel spent exactly 40 years to the day in the wilderness, they entered Canaan on the 16th day of their 41st year of sojourn. (Joshua 5:11) Therefore, Israel's first full year in the Promised Land was a Sabbatical year (just like Adam and Eve's first full day in Eden was a Sabbath.)
With these two dates in mind, notice what the Bible says: "In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites had come out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, he began to build the temple of the Lord." (1 Kings 6:1)
If we subtract 480 years from the Exodus date of 1437 B.C. we arrive at 958 B.C., a very reasonable date for the fourth year of Solomon's reign. (See chart below.) I say reasonable because the regnal years of Israel's kings are a matter of dispute. It is not possible to assemble a flawless time-frame for the reign of kings because of the problem of counting ascension years and co-regent years.
Even more, the poverty of ancient data makes it impossible to accurately date the Exodus using historical records. Nevertheless, scholars who know nothing about the perpetual synchrony of God's six clocks have dated the commencement of Solomon's temple between 966 and 961 B.C.
This finding commends those who have put forth the painstaking work that such research requires, because their calculation is not far from the date which the synchrony of God's calendar produces (958 B.C.). However, if one counts backward 480 years from 966 B.C. the date of the Exodus becomes a Friday year, 1446 B.C., a date which is not synchronous with the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 nor Hezekiah's year of Jubilee in 702 B.C.
Further, if we count the 480 years from Israel's entrance into Canaan in 1397 B.C., the resulting date for Solomon's fourth year is several years beyond the window of time that history allows.
The Synchrony of Weeks That Occurs with the Exodus in 1437 B.C. –
|Weeks of Years|
|Exodus||1437||1436||1435||1434||1433||1432||1431||=||Week # 1|
|1430||1429||1428||1427||. . . . –||. . . . –||=||Week # 2|
|Canaan||1402||1401||1400||1399||1398||1397||1396||=||Week # 6|
|Solomon||961||960||959||958||957||956||955||=||Week # 69|
|709||708||707||706||705||704||703||=||Week # 105|
|702||701||700||. . . . –||. . . . –||=||Week # 106|
|Zedekiah||596||595||594||593||592||591||=||Week # 121|
|Decree||457||456||455||454||453||452||451||=||Week # 141||*1st|
|Calvary||27||28||29||30||31||32||33||=||Week # 210||*70th|
|Little||538||539||540||541||542||543||544||=||Week # 283|
|Horn||. . . . –||. . . . –||1795||1796||1797||=||Week # 462|
* The 70 weeks occurred between 457 B.C. through A.D. 33. It began with the decree of Artaxerxes. (Ezra 7 and 8) This count totals 70 weeks inclusive. Notice also that Solomon's 480th year is a Wednesday year (958 B.C.) and the year of Christ's death is also a Wednesday year, the middle of the 70th week (A.D. 30). It is interesting to note that construction on Solomon's temple began in the middle of the 69th week, counting from the Exodus, and the temple of Jesus (His body) was destroyed in the middle of the 70th week, counting from the decree. (John 2:19)
Point of View #2
The second reason we should date the commencement of the Jubilee calendar from the Exodus is because God reckons the weekly cycle of years from the year of the Exodus. This topic was presented earlier and is referenced again because God's actions confirm the synchrony of the "weeks of years," as well as the Jubilee calendar, because they share the same synchrony.
There is one more point that could be added: "For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, "They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways." So I declared on oath in my anger, "They shall never enter my rest." (Psalm 95:10,11) The generation that perished in the wilderness never experienced one of God's sabbatical years (His rest).
Point of View #3
The third reason we should date the Jubilee calendar from the year of the Exodus is because of the compelling alignment that synchrony imposes on events. (See the previous chart for location of dates.) If we allow the Exodus to occur in the Spring of 1437 B.C. (and this is well within historical allowances) there is perfect synchrony with a series of known dates such as the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 (Spring 457 B.C. through A.D. 33), the seventh year of Zedekiah (591 B.C.), and the 14th and 15th years of Hezekiah (703 and 702 B.C.).
Even more, there is perfect synchrony within the 70th week (Spring A.D. 27 to Spring A.D. 34). The 70th week began with the Sunday year A.D. 27, and according to Daniel 9, Messiah would be "cut off" during the middle of the 70th week. The middle year of the 70th week is a Wednesday year, A.D. 30.
As shown earlier, there is sufficient astronomical evidence and Scriptural evidence to conclude that Jesus died on Friday, April 7, A.D. 30. If we allow God's synchrony of time to place Him there, all the pieces comfortably agree. In fact, A.D. 30 exclusively satisfies the synchrony required by all seven clocks which the Creator imposed upon Earth! Furthermore, A.D. 30 is the only year during which the events described in Scripture can occur.
When these three points of view are aligned, Leviticus 25:2 cannot be interpreted to mean that the "week of seven years" clock began operating when the Hebrews entered Canaan. On the contrary, when all of the evidence is assembled for dating the Exodus, i.e. the Jubilee calendar beginning with the year of the Exodus, the weekly cycle of years beginning with the year of the Exodus and the death of Jesus confirming a precision alignment of seven clocks, the weight of evidence answers the question.
If we establish Solomon's fourth year as 958 B.C. and the year of the Exodus as 1437 B.C., there is perfect synchrony. When we consider that God used an existing scale of time, namely the "week of seven years," for punishing Israel 40 years from the date of the Exodus, we have very strong evidence showing that a day for a year mechanism began operating at the year of the Exodus.
We know the week of years and the Jubilee calendar are not only synchronized with each other, they are also aligned with the four clocks established at Creation. When we consider the harmony of all seven clocks at the death of Jesus during the 70th week, there remains no justification to date the commencement of the Jubilee calendar from any other date than that of the Exodus in 1437 B.C.
Dating the Year of the Exodus
Five steps will produce a satisfactory date for the year of the Exodus:
Step 1. God established the synchrony of the "week of years" and the Jubilee calendar two weeks before the Exodus by identifying the 1st day – 1st month – 1st year. (See Exodus 12:1_12; 40:17.)
Step 2. – The 70 weeks of Daniel 9 (457 B.C.- A.D. 33) are synchronous with the "week of years" established at the Exodus. Jesus was baptized during the Sunday year of the 70th week, A.D. 27. (Luke 3) Jesus confirmed the synchrony of the Jubilee calender by dying in the middle of the 70th week, a Wednesday year, A.D. 30.
The Week of Years Counting from 457 B.C.
|B.C.||457||456||455||454||453||452||451||=||Week of Years #1|
|450||449||448||447||446||. . . –||. . . –||=||Week of Years #2|
|A.D.||. . . –||. . . –||. . . –||23||24||25||26||=||Week of Years #69|
|27||28||29||30||31||32||33||=||Week of Years #70|
|34||35||36||37||38||39||40||=||Week of Years #71|
Step 3. Since A.D. 27 is a Sunday year and A.D. 30 is a Wednesday year, the following is also true:
|457 B.C. = Sunday Year||A.D. 27 = Sunday Year|
|1437 B.C. = Sunday year||A.D. 538 = Sunday year|
|1388 B.C. = Sunday year||A.D. 1988 = Sunday year|
The 70 weeks prophecy began in the Spring of 457 B.C. with the decree of Artaxerxes and it ended with the 70th Sabbatical year in A.D. 33. A total of 490 years (counting from Spring to Spring) elapsed. The decree by Artaxerxes was issued in the first days of Spring, 457 B.C. (Ezra 7:9; 8:31) which also happens to be a year of Jubilee. (See Step 4.)
Step 4. The Bible mentions the presence of a year of Jubilee during the 15th year of King Hezekiah. "In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah's reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. [Isaiah said to the king] "This will be the sign for you, O Hezekiah: "This year [your fourteenth] you will eat what grows by itself, and the second year [your 15th year] what springs from that.
But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.'" (See Isaiah 36:1, 37:30, insertions mine.) Since the synchrony of Jubilee cycles remains intact from the Exodus, this Sabbatical/Jubilee year sign can be accurately located because Sennacherib has to be in power and Jubilee years are always Sunday years. In addition to this, we know that kings went off to war in the Spring of the year. (2 Samuel 11:1, 1 Chronicles 20:1)
A review of history reveals that Sennacherib came to power around 705 B.C. So, the fourteenth and fifteenth years of Hezekiah have to occur after 705 B.C. The first Sunday year (using the synchrony of the 70 weeks) after 705 B.C. is 702 B.C.
Hezekiah's Jubilee Year-Weeks since Exodus
|Weeks of Years|
|Exodus||1437||1436||1435||1434||1433||1432||1431||=||Week # 1|
|1430||1429||1428||1427||. . . .||. . . .||=||Week # 2|
|Canaan||1402||1401||1400||1399||1398||1397||1396||=||Week # 6|
|Solomon||961||960||959||958||957||956||955||=||Week # 69|
|709||708||707||706||705||704||703||=||Week # 105|
|702||701||700||. . . .||. . . .||=||Week # 106|
|Zedekiah||597||596||595||594||593||592||591||=||Week # 121|
|Decree||457||456||455||454||453||452||451||=||Week # 141||1|
|Calvary (A.D)||27||28||29||30||31||32||33||=||Week # 210||70|
We can determine if 703 / 702 B.C. is a reasonable time-frame by backtracking to the well known date of 586 B.C. when Nebuchadnezzar finally destroyed Jerusalem. Therefore, a list of kings, their regnal years of reign according to Scripture, and the actual years of reign (computed as though 703 B.C. was Hezekiah's fourteenth year) is provided:
|1. Hezekiah **||14th||15||703 – 688 B.C.|
|2. Manesseh||55||54||692 – 638 B.C.|
|3. Amon||2||2||638 – 636 B.C.|
|4. Josiah||31||29||636 – 607 B.C.|
|5. Jehoiakim||11||10||607 – 597 B.C.|
|6. Jehoiachin||.25||.25||597 – 596 B.C.|
|7. Zedekiah||11||11||596 – 586 B.C.|
|8. Jerusalem's 3rd Destruction||586 B.C.|
*A regnal year is counted as any part of a year on the throne – even if it is only a partial year. A regnal year is also credited to a king even if two kings reign at the same time. For example, David and Solomon (Father – Son) were kings of Israel at the same time. They both reigned 40 regnal years, but the actual number of years they reigned over Israel does not equal 80 years since their reigns ran concurrently for a few years. In ancient times it was often customary for the outgoing king to stay on the throne to ensure the transfer of power to the incoming king, especially if the new king was a young heir to the throne.
**During Hezekiah's 14th year, he was given a promise of fifteen more years of life – so his total reign lasted 29 years. We know from Scripture that a Jubilee year occurred during his fifteenth year on the throne (702 B.C.) – leaving him fourteen more years of life. It is assumed that he placed his heir, Manesseh, on the throne when he turned twelve years old in 692 B.C. to teach him the ways of the court before he died. After all, Hezekiah foreknew the year of his death. Thus, Hezekiah reigned for a total of 29 years, but he reigned alone for about 25 years.
Regnal Versus Actual
According to Scripture, regnal years for this time-period total 125 years, while the actual number of computed years is 118. The seven year difference is well within the ten years allowed by scholars for this time-period. Therefore, the synchrony of God's clocks forces two matters to be true:
- Since Jesus died in the middle year of the 70th week (A.D. 30), we can determine the date of all Sabbatical and Sunday years, forward and backward.
- Hezekiah's fourteenth and fifteenth years are Sabbatical and Jubilee years respectively. Hezekiah's fourteenth and fifteenth years have to occur after Sennacherib comes to power in 705 B.C. The only two dates that can satisfy this equation is 703 and 702 B.C. Other Sunday years are either too late or too early to meet historical specifications. Notice the impact that synchrony produces on this conclusion: If 702 B.C. is correctly identified as a Jubilee year and a Sunday year, then Artaxerxes' decree in 457 B.C. was a Jubilee year since it aligns with 49 year cycles dating from 702 B.C.! Earlier, the point was made that Daniel 9 indicates the restoration decree occurs at the beginning of a Jubilee cycle because the 70 weeks are divided as 7 + 62 + 1. The "seven sevens" in Daniel 9:25 is a reference to the seven weeks of a 49 year cycle that constitutes one Jubilee cycle. (457 B.C. – 409 B.C.) God used this terminology (7 weeks + 62 weeks) to reveal the synchrony of the decree from which He would begin counting. Obviously, when one Jubilee year is known, all Jubilee years can be calculated. For example, 16 B.C. is a Sunday year and it is also a Jubilee year.
Step 5. The synchrony of God's clocks forces certain events to be positioned at certain times, but can we rely on this synchrony? To make sure our conclusions are reasonable, one more step is necessary to determine the year of the Exodus. We must test the validity of 958 B.C. against a widely known historical event. The Bible indicates Solomon began to build the temple in the 480th year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. (1 Kings 6:1)
According to Exodus 12:1-2, year one of the Exodus is also year one of the Jubilee calendar. It is a Sunday year because Sunday is the first day of the week and it is also the first year in a Jubilee cycle. Therefore, the year of the Exodus has to synchronize with 702 B.C., 457 B.C., the 70 weeks, and of course, the 70th week. Good news, it does!
If we can confirm the approximate time of Solomon's reign through some external evidence, then we can count 480 years backwards and determine the date of the Exodus with some degree of confidence. We also know that 702 B.C., 457 B.C. and the 70th week are perfectly synchronized.
So, one of the following dates must be the year of the Exodus because they land on 49 year cycles within reach of the 480 years dated from the fourth year of Solomon's reign:
1486 B.C. – 1437 B.C. – 1388 B.C. – 1339 B.C. –
Providentially, there is a well confirmed, widely accepted date outside the Bible showing that Ahab, king of Israel was killed during the 22nd year of his reign in 852 B.C. The distance between Solomon's 4th year and Ahab's death is a maximum distance of 120 regnal years. (Based on the Jubilee calendar, the length of time proves to be 106 actual years). Here are the regnal years from Solomon's 4th year to Ahab's 22nd year:
|1. Solomon||36 Years|
|2. Jeroboam||22 Years|
|3. Nadab||2 Years|
|4. Baasha||24 Years|
|5. Elah||2 Years|
|6. Zimri||1 Week|
|7. Omri||12 Years|
|8. Ahab||22 Years|
|Total Regnal Years||120 Years|
Beginning with Ahab's death in 852 B.C. and counting backwards to Solomon's 4th year, we can calculate the following data:
|The date of Ahab's death||852 B.C.|
|Plus: The regnal years that date back to Solomon's 4th year||120|
|Plus: The 480 years that date back to the year of the Exodus||480|
|Equals: The approximate date of the Exodus||1452 B.C.|
However, 1452 B.C. is not a Jubilee year, nor is it a Sunday year. Moving forward in time to the closest Jubilee year, since regnal years always total more than actual years, we find:
|The date of Ahab's death||852 B.C.|
|Add: 106 actual years (reducing regnal years by 14)||106|
|Plus: The 480 years that date back to the year of the Exodus||480|
|Equals: The date of the Exodus||1437 B.C. –|
The difference between regnal and actual years for Solomon and Ahab is 14. This is well within the tolerance allowed for the succession of these eight kings. Some scholars reduce the regnal years for this time-period by five and say the actual years are 115 instead of 106. But, the records of co-regent reigns during this time-period are virtually nonexistent. So, the actual years must remain within the realm of "educated guessing" unless we allow the synchrony of the Jubilee calendar to impose a timing matrix on this time period.
Summary — 1437 B.C. Is the Exclusive Solution for the Date of the Exodus
There are several reasons why 1437 B.C. is the only year that can qualify for the date of the Exodus. It is a Sunday year and it is the first year of the Jubilee calendar. In addition, 1437 B.C. occurs within the time-frame allotted by Scripture. All other Jubilee years are too near or too far away from the regnal or actual reigns of the kings to qualify. Therefore, 1437 B.C. is the only synchronous date possible for the Exodus.
Simple but Profound
The measurement of time can be a complex process because planetary motion does not align in a convenient way. Fortunately, God's calendar was not based on a series of complex calculations, instead it was based on observation and weekly cycles. Yes, man has invented and used many types of calendars, but only God's calendar is perpetually self-correcting each month and each year.
The accuracy of God's marvelous calendar is not hampered by the fact that some years had 13 moons and others had 12. God's calendar is not frustrated by bad weather or global position. God's calendar and the means for synchronizing it are adequate for an entire world.
Even more, to insure that the synchrony of all seven units of time would not be lost or forgotten, God commanded Israel to observe a number of feasts and rituals at appointed times each year that no man-made calendar could accurately determine in advance. How marvelous of God. Each obligation imposed upon man contributes to the preservation of His timing. Nearly 6,000 years later we are just now waking up to discover that we are living at Earth's last hour!
Questions about the Jubilee calendar
A great deal of misunderstanding exists on the nature, purpose and synchronism of the Jubilee calendar. Listed below are five common issues of misunderstanding concerning the Jubilee calendar.
(1) Some people say no Biblical record exists from which Jubilee cycles can be determined and any choice of an initial date is purely arbitrary. This article attempts to (a) demonstrate that God initialized and synchronized the Jubilee calendar with the Exodus, (b) that God has confirmed the synchrony of the Jubilee calendar at least three times since the Exodus, and (c) that a number of historical dates and events confirm the presence and operation of the Jubilee calendar.
(2) Some people say there is uncertainty regarding the number of years which constitute a Jubilee cycle. This article attempts to demonstrate from Scripture that Jubilee cycles are 49 years in length. The year of Jubilee (the 50th year) and the first year of a new cycle run concurrently.
(3) Some people say the seventh year sabbaticals and Jubilee cycles were civil institutions. This article provides evidence showing that the observance of the Sabbatical and Jubilee cycles were as sacred to Israel as was the observance of the seventh day.
(4) Some people say there is no initial date from which to figure Jubilee cycles. This article offers an explanation showing that one can historically determine the date the first Jubilee cycle.
(5) Some people say the Jubilee calendar is a topic having no relevance today. This article attempts to show that God reckons a number of prophetic time-periods in Daniel and Revelation in Jubilee units as well as in literal units. The operation of the Jubilee calendar uniquely explains this variance.
Claim #1: There is no record of an actual observance of a year of Jubilee. There is no factual basis from which we can compute Jubilee cycles. Any choice of an initial date is purely arbitrary. –
This statement uses the same logic that many Christians today use to avoid observing the true seventh-day Sabbath. They say, "There is no Scriptural record of anyone keeping the seventh-day Sabbath from Creation to the time of Moses." Their underlying argument is that the synchronism of the weekly cycle from Creation cannot be determined, therefore no one can reliably prove from Scripture that Saturday really is the seventh day of the week since Creation.
This argument is easily eliminated since God Himself confirmed the synchrony of the seventh-day Sabbath about 2,500 years after Creation when He withheld manna in the wilderness for 40 years. (Exodus 16:1-35) Certainly, God knows the synchrony of His own calendar!
In fact, it is only through the synchrony of the weekly cycle with Creation's week that we can have any confidence as to which day of the week is God's seventh day! God did not impose the observance of seventh-year sabbaticals and the year of Jubilee upon Israel and then abandon their synchronism.
On the contrary, He repeatedly confirmed the synchrony of the Jubilee calendar. The following references, Jeremiah 34:13-15; Isaiah 37:30 and Daniel 9:24-27, will be addressed later in this section.
Some people claim that any initial date for the Jubilee calendar is purely arbitrary. The Bible does not support this assertion. (Exodus 12:1,2) The Israelites understood the synchronism of the Jubilee calendar and they knew when to observe sabbatical years, as well as the year of Jubilee.
Every Israelite knew when day 1, month 1, of year 1 took place and they defined their history by it. (1 Kings 6:1) God did not declare every seventh-year holy and then leave Israel to question which years were sabbatical years. Did God leave Israel to decide by a committee vote when the year of Jubilee should occur? Did God allow Israel to determine for themselves which day of the week was the seventh? Absolutely not.
God does not create a Sabbath rest and then leave it up to man to guess when or where it occurs. This claim treats the sabbatical years and the year of Jubilee as though they were an inferior creation. God Himself declared the seventh-day of the week holy at Creation (Genesis 2:1-3), and He also declared the Sabbatical years holy (Leviticus 25:2).
We know about the penalty for showing contempt for the seventh-day Sabbath (Exodus 35:3, Numbers 15:33-36), and we should be aware of the severe penalties for violating God's sabbatical years. (Leviticus 26:33-36)
Similarly, the Jubilee calendar was established and synchronized just before the Exodus. (Exodus 12:1,2) God initiated the Jubilee calendar 14 days before Passover and the Exodus occurred on the 15th day of the first month in the first year of His calendar.
By definition, a week always begins with a first day and it always ends with a Sabbath rest. When God synchronized the weekly cycle with Creation's week, it was a deliberate act that makes it possible for man to accurately identify the Sabbath rest. In a similar way, when God synchronized the Jubilee calendar at the time of the Exodus, He made it possible for Israel to accurately schedule annual feasts, Sabbath years and the year of Jubilee.
God's seven clocks, the day, month, year, week, the week of months, week of years and seven weeks of seven years have perpetual synchrony that He established. Any other synchrony is asynchronous.
The Jubilee Calendar Examined
The calendar which God gave to Israel at the Exodus was superior to any calendar contrived by man. The Jubilee calendar was synchronized with the Exodus (for counting off Sabbatical years) as well as with the Sun and Moon (for purposes of planting crops).
God planned that Israel should flourish as long as they remained in sync with His calendar. God's calendar was properly synchronized for maximum daylight, seasons of rain and favorable weather patterns. In fact, the presentation of first fruits at Pentecost mandated the presence of a harvest. So, it can be seen that God's calendar was designed to be beneficial in many ways.
In the wilderness, the synchrony of the weekly cycle was observed for forty years by the absence of manna on the seventh day. Similarly, the Jubilee calendar was determined by the observation of heavenly bodies. A new day was marked by the setting of the Sun. A new moon marked the beginning of a new month and a new year was marked by the first new moon on or after the Spring Equinox. Before Israel entered Canaan, God had informed them on the synchrony of days, weeks, months, years and years of Jubilee.
Today, we often reckon time inappropriately. For example, a co-worker might say, "I'll be out of the office for a week, starting Wednesday and returning next Wednesday." However, the worker will not be gone for "a week." The co-worker will be gone for seven days. A week is not any seven day time-period. A week is a unit of time that requires synchrony with the seven days of Creation, therefore the seven days Sunday through Sabbath make a week. Any other time-period of seven days is simply seven days. This point will be more clearly seen in the next section.
Three Times Confirmed
Previously, three references were provided showing that God confirmed the synchronism of the Jubilee calendar. Please consider each of these in light of how they relate to history and each other.
It was shown previously in this article how the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 confirm the operation and synchrony of the Jubilee calendar. The specifications of Daniel 9 are fulfilled with the decree of Artaxerxes in 457 B.C. and the appearing and deat of Jesus during the 70th week. Even though these issues have been discussed earlier, the point is emphasized that God confirmed the synchrony and operation of the Jubilee calendar by His own actions during the 490 years of Daniel 9.
The dating of Isaiah 37:30 also confirms the synchronization of the Jubilee calendar. God spoke to king Hezekiah through the prophet Isaiah saying, "This will be the sign for you, O Hezekiah: "This year you will eat what grows by itself, and the second year what springs from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit." The language used in Isaiah 37:30 is identical in concept with the language used in Leviticus 25, when God said to Israel shortly after the Exodus, "You may ask, "What will we eat in the seventh year if we do not plant or harvest our crops?"
I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years. While you plant during the eighth year, you will eat from the old crop and will continue to eat from it until the harvest of the ninth year comes in." (Leviticus 25:20-23) The point is that Isaiah 37:30 confirms the presence and location of a 49th Sabbatical year and its sequential 50th year of Jubilee. Isaiah 36:1 and Isaiah 37:30 indicate that Hezekiah's fourteenth year was a 49th Sabbatical year.
At that time, Sennacherib was attempting to destroy Jerusalem. Scholars widely agree that Sennacherib came to power around 705 B.C., therefore dating the occurrence of this event is not difficult since we know the synchronism of Jubilee weeks from Daniel 9. This 49th Sabbatical year and the 50th year of Jubilee occurred during Hezekiah's reign in 703 and 702 B.C. It is amazing how Bible dating precisely synchronizes with the seventy weeks of Daniel 9 and the history of Hezekiah's reign.
God's words in Isaiah 37:30 confirm several things. First, they indicate that God was still marking the passage of time in sabbatical years and the year of Jubilee since the Exodus. Second, God confirmed the synchrony of His calendar to Hezekiah that year (in case the king's court had any doubt).
Third, God's confirmation of the year of Jubilee confirms the synchrony of the Jubilee calendar. Last, this statement to Hezekiah is 246 years before the implementation of the seventy "weeks" prophecy in 457 B.C. Isaiah 37:30 confirms the presence, synchrony and location of the week of years and the year of Jubilee that began with the year of the Exodus.
The book of Jeremiah also offers additional evidence indicating that Israel not only knew about the synchronism of the week of years, but the presence of a seventh year is confirmed during the time of Zedekiah. Notice these words, "The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to proclaim freedom for the slaves. Everyone was to free his Hebrew slaves, both male and female; no one was to hold a fellow Jew in bondage.
So all the officials and people who entered into this covenant agreed that they would free their male and female slaves and no longer hold them in bondage. They agreed, and set them free. But afterward they changed their minds and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again.
Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: "This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: I made a covenant with your forefathers when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. I said, 'Every seventh year each of you must free any fellow Hebrew who has sold himself to you. After he has served you six years, you must let him go free.' Your fathers, however, did not listen to me or pay attention to me. Recently you repented and did what is right in my sight: Each of you proclaimed freedom to his countrymen. You even made a covenant before me in the house that bears my Name.
But now you have turned around and profaned my name; each of you has taken back the male and female slaves you had set free to go where they wished. You have forced them to become your slaves again. "Therefore, this is what the Lord says: You have not obeyed me; you have not proclaimed freedom for your fellow countrymen. So I now proclaim 'freedom' for you, declares the Lord — 'freedom' to fall by the sword, plague and famine. I will make you abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth." (Jeremiah 34:8-17, NIV)
This lengthy reference has been included to demonstrate that God is referring to His calendar and its seventh-year Sabbatical synchronism since the Exodus. This text proves that God continued to hold Israel responsible for the observance of the seventh-year Sabbaticals which required, among other things, the release of slaves. Not only did God know when the seventh year Sabbatical was supposed to take place, but so did King Zedekiah and the people.
It is evident that the synchronism of the Jubilee calendar was not lost or arbitrary as some claim. God does not hold people accountable for violating something that they do not know about. Incidentally, because of the synchronism of the 70 weeks and Hezekiah's year of Jubilee, the only seventh-year Sabbatical to occur during Zedekiah's reign was 591 B.C.
Scriptural evidence eliminates the assertion purporting that there is no record of an actual observance of a Jubilee or any factual basis from which to compute Jubilee cycles. The choice of an initial date is not purely arbitrary.
Claim #2 states: "There is uncertainty on how many years constitute a Jubilee cycle."
This statement is false. There is no uncertainty in the Bible on this point. The Bible explicitly explains there are 49 years within a Jubilee cycle. (Leviticus 25:8) A cycle consists of seven weeks of years. Thus, there are seven Sabbath years within a Jubilee cycle. The Bible also confirms the fact that the year of Jubilee, the 50th year of celebration, occurs concurrently with the first year (the Sunday year) of the following Jubilee week.
In other words, weekly cycles continue without interruption (as we see in 70 consecutive weeks of Daniel 9). There are never more than six years between two seventh year sabbatical years. This simple fact requires the year of Jubilee to occur during the first year of the next Jubilee cycle. When seven Jubilee weeks end with the 49th Sabbath year, the next cycle of 49 years begins with a Sunday year, the first year of a new week.
The perpetual repetition of the weekly cycle leaves no uncertainty on the length of a Jubilee cycle.
To ensure that Israel's reckoning of Jubilee cycles would not get lost, God installed a "miniature Jubilee calendar" within Israel's annual feast calendar. This miniature is called "the feast of weeks" or Pentecost. Pentecost, the 50th day feast always fell on a Sunday (the first day of the week) after seven, seventh-day Sabbaths had passed. (Leviticus 23:15,16)
Just as the 50th day4 of Pentecost occurred on the first day of the following week, so the 50th year of Jubilee occurred during the first year of the next Jubilee cycle. (Incidentally, anniversaries are celebrated today the same way as they were in Biblical times. For example, a married couple celebrates their first anniversary during the second year of marriage. If a couple was married on January 1, 1998, then their first anniversary is celebrated on January 1, 1999, which happens to be the first day of their second year of marriage.)
Therefore, a Jubilee cycle is 49 years in length (and not 50) and it has a total of eight holy years within it: (1) year of Jubilee + (7) sabbaticals. Notice again how the Bible mathematically confirms the repetitive cycle of 49 years. In Ezekiel 4:5-6, Ezekiel was told to lay, first on one side and then on the other, for a total of 430 days – each day representing one year of Israel and Judah's apostasy.
In 430 years, there are exactly 70 Sabbath years! The Babylonian captivity was precisely 70 years in length because within a period of 430 years, Israel and Judah had violated 70 holy years. God had warned them that they would be evicted from the land if they did not keep the Sabbath years! (See 2 Chronicles 36:21; Leviticus 26:33-35)
Claim #3 says: "The sabbatical and jubilee cycles were civil institutions designed to regulate certain aspects of the secular life of the nation. They were not integral parts of the sanctuary ritual system (as were the spring and fall festivals)."
The Bible shows that God initiated and instituted Jubilee cycles. (Leviticus 25:8) He who declared the seventh day of the week to be holy (Exodus 16:23), also declared the Day of Atonement to be holy (Leviticus 23:28). This same God also declared each seventh year and the year of Jubilee to be holy. (Leviticus 25:4-11)
What God sets apart from the common is neither secular nor civil. The Bible does not diminish the significance of the seventh-year sabbaticals and Jubilee cycles as some do. On the contrary, the observance of seventh-year sabbaticals and the year of Jubilee was as important to God as the observance of any annual feast! This is proven by the serious penalty associated with failing to observe sabbatical years. (Leviticus 26:33-36; 2 Chronicles 36:21)
Claim #4 says: "There is no initial date from which to figure Jubilee cycles. Interest in calculating such cycles has led to a focus on what we now know to have been sabbatical year dates: 457 B.C., A.D. 27, and A.D. 34 . . . "
God Himself established the first day, first month, and first year of the Jubilee calendar and it began operating fourteen days before the Passover in Egypt took place. (Exodus 12:1,2) Therefore, we should not be surprised to find that the synchronism of the week of months, the week of years and the seven weeks of seven years dating from the year of the Exodus.
In fact, it is God's perfect synchronism and relentless accuracy that help us accurately date the decree mentioned in Daniel 9 that led to the restoration of Jerusalem, as well as the death of Christ. According to the synchronism of Jubilee weeks, the 70th week necessarily began with a Sunday year.
Claim #5 says: "The Jubilee calendar is a topic having no relevance today."
This claim is interesting in light of the fact that a very large percentage of Christians believe the 70th week of Daniel 9 is yet future. While most Christians have been led to understand that the 70th week is a period of seven years, most have no clue as to the origin, synchrony or function of the Jubilee calendar. Even worse, Christians who anticipate a future fulfillment of the 70th week have no problem with disconnecting the 70th week from the earlier 69 weeks.
Somehow, many Christians have been led to believe that such reckoning is allowed or justified in Scripture. This writer finds the insertion of "a gap of time" between the 69th and 70th weeks to be unwarranted and a violation of God's great clocks. It is not possible for man to insert time between two units of perpetual synchrony. When Wednesday ends, Thursday begins.
No one can insert time between days of the week, nor can anyone insert years of time between the weeks of years cycles established at the Exodus. This type of time manipulation violates everything known about the synchrony of time.
A correct understanding of God's great clocks is of utmost importance in the process of interpreting Daniel and Revelation's time-periods. Since the prophetic time-periods in Daniel and Revelation were pre-decreed before they came to be, God evidently had eight clocks in mind from the beginning of time and He set them in motion as needed, by His own authority, to measure off the length and time for the duration of this world. Today, we stand on a mountain precipice.
We can see 6,000 years into the past, and like Moses on Mt. Nebo, we can see over the Jordan into the Promised Land. We are that close! Because we are at the end of the age, an understanding of God's great clocks is essential. Yes, there are many scoffers within the Christian community. They ridicule the idea that we can know the end is here. They denigrate any study of God's time-tables and to support their disbelief, they usually offer two texts: "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36) and "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me." (Matthew 25:34-36)
The first text, they allege, means that we cannot know anything about the timing of the return of Jesus, so don't discuss it. The second text, they say, means that Christians should primarily be focused on the suffering of the world, not on a date for the Second Coming. While there is an element of truth in both statements, these texts are misused.
True, Christians should be caring and concerned about those who suffer. But, in this world, suffering never ends. The only solution to suffering, sickness, death, sorrow, disease and injustice is the return of Jesus! Second, when Jesus told His disciples that "no one knows the day or hour", that was the case at that time. It will not forever be the case. The date of the Second Coming is not designed to be an event cloaked in mystery forever.
On the contrary, there will be a host of rapid-fire prophetic fulfillments that will herald the return of Jesus! The return of Jesus will not secret. (1 Thessalonians 5:4)
When Jesus was upon Earth, He did not explain the lengthy prophetic time-periods written in the book of Daniel or His disciples would have been overcome with discouragement. Jesus said to His disciples, "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth…" (John 16:12,13)
Later on, the disciples pressed Him again about the time of His return and Jesus said to them, ."..It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority." (Acts 1:7) Do these statements mean that Jesus' disciples will never know or understand the times or dates the Father has set? No. The inclusion of prophetic time-periods in Daniel and Revelation were put there for understanding.
We can understand the times and dates set by the Father when the time arrives. If the disciples knew in A.D. 30 that 2,000 years were ahead of the church, they would have lost faith. But, now that we have reached the end of the age, a comprehensive understanding of the times and dates which the Father has set is not harmful to our faith. Actually, this knowledge will prove to be helpful during the Great Tribulation because an understanding of the duration of certain time-periods will be a source of immeasurable encouragement.
I do not know the day or hour of our Lord's return, but I am confident that we have entered a narrow whisker of time where the 6000th year will occur. I should also mention that I expect the return of Jesus in the Spring of the year since in God's synchrony, a year begins in the Spring! Shouldn't the 1,000 years begin in the Spring? In fact, I'm looking for a day in the near future when the synchrony of the day, month, year, week and millennial clocks converge on one day as God's great clocks did at the time of the Exodus.
Jesus is coming. His appearing will be right on time! When He comes we can joyfully say, "This is the day the Lord has made!" Let us be glad and rejoice in it." (Psalms 118:24)
Passover Week Chronology The timing of events according to the gospels during Passover A.D. 30.
For a color view of the "Jubilee Calendar," see our Chart Index
A.D. 30 chart showing two Passovers
Also see, Great Clocks from God – part 1
© Wake Up America Seminars, Inc., February, 2000