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TorahTimes Messianic Ministry

Teaching Truths about Torah, Time, and Messiah

The Sabbath in Biblical Chronology

Abstract: In this article I identify 14 dates in which Biblical Chronology links to the seventh day Sabbath. I have chosen dates for which modern astronomy may be used to confirm the accuracy of the dates by an independent means, and thus prove that the seven day cycle as we know it today is the same as the cycle used for all these Scripture Sabbaths.

How do we know that the Sabbath today is on the same day as the Sabbath in Scripture? My research has provided some interesting answers to this question in addition to other often given answers, which I should first summarize here. The first is that there have always been people who kept the seventh day Sabbath among both Jews and Christians, and these two groups kept it on the same day even when there were other lay Christians thinking that Sunday was the seventh day. Christian scholars have never seriously believed that Sunday was the seventh day. If they did, they would then have a problem in supposing the resurrection was on the first day of the week if Sunday were the seventh day!

Second, about 160 languages of the world identify the Sabbath with words related to rest or seven, and this day is always between Friday sunset and Saturday sunset. Furthermore, most cultures and peoples use a seven day continuously rotating week, and this practice can be traced back to the most ancient cultures to time immemorial.

Now what my research into biblical chronology shows is that we can identify the Sabbath in a number of cases in real historical instances connected to Scripture passages, which can be calculated via historical chronology and then confirmed by astronomical calculation.

The general procedure is as follows, for the 14 dates. First we use general chronology to identify the year, the month, and the monthly date of the instance. Then we identify the day of the week of the instance from Scripture, (or history in just one case). Modern astronomy works like this. The movements of the sun and moon have been fixed and plotted at the present, and the mathematical laws for their movement are known. We run the algorithms backwards an exact number of years, days, hours, and minutes to the astronomical situation described by the Scriptural year, month, and day. This is matched against rotation of the weekly cycle from the present backwards, and matched against the year and month dates. When both these measurements agree with the weekday given in Scripture we have independent confirmation of the weekly cycle.

The 14 instances are:

#1 Acts 20:7 The meeting at Troas on the Sabbath
#2 The destruction of the Second Temple just after the Sabbath
#3 The Sabbath that Zechariah burned incense in the Temple
#4 The priestly rotations
#5 A dis-confirmation in Ezra that Sunday is the 7th day
#6 Yōm Terūah in the 12th year of Solomon on the first day of the week
#7 David’s flight to Nob on the Sabbath
#8 Dis-confirmation that Sunday is the 7th day when Solomon began to build the Temple
#9 Ziv 15 was a Sunday in the year of the Exodus
#10 Sivan 6 was a Sabbath in the year of the Exodus
#11 The flood started on a Sabbath
#12 Noah sent out the birds on the first day of the week for several weeks
#13 The monthly and yearly cycles proleptically synchronize with the first day of the week in the year of creation
#14 Messiah was crucified on Nisan 14, a Wednesday and raised on the weekly Sabbath, Nisan 17

All these dates, I will proceed to calculate and demonstrate according to a continuous weekly cycle, which is the same cycle as used throughout the world today.

Instance #1

The first instance is Acts 20:6-7, And we sailed during the days of unleavened bread from Philippi. And we came to them unto Troas, up to five days, where we used up the seven days. And on the first of the Shabbats, […] we were gathered together to break bread. Here we have all seven days of the week of Passover being used up before the first Sabbath after Passover. This will only happen when Nisan 15 falls on the weekly Sabbath so that Nisan 21 falls on a Friday. Nisan 21 is the 7th day of the feast. Nisan 22 is therefore the first of the Sabbaths, i.e. the first weekly Sabbath after Passover. Now the year of Acts 20:7 is AD 57. So what we have is a weekday synchronism with the day of the month and the year. Nisan 22, AD 57 = the Sabbath. It is therefore a matter of astronomical calculation to show this is actually the case.

First the year. Paul’s sojourn in Corinth was put at an end during the time of Gallio, proconsul of Asia. The Delphi inscription dates his office to the 12th year of Claudius, 26th Triumph. This puts the date in AD 52. Paul then sailed for Antioch at summers end. In the spring of AD 53 he traveled overland in Asia Minor. He then reached Ephesus by the summer, and taught in the hall of Tyrannus for 2 years, but he was in Ephesus for 3 years (Acts 20:31). These years were AD 54, 55, and 56. In the fall of AD 56 was the incident with Demetrius the silversmith. Leaving Ephesus Paul sojourned three months in Greece and then ended up at Philippi. In the spring of AD 57 he set sail for Troas on the coast of Asia Minor. Paul was arrested when he came to Jerusalem, and then locked up by Felix for 2 years (fall AD 57 to fall 59). Festus assumed office in AD 59, the 5th year of Nero according to the coins. Therefore working forward from Gallio and backward from Festus we arrive at AD 57 for Paul’s arrest.

We have that Nisan 22 in AD 57 was the first Sabbath after Passover. To confirm this we find the sighted new moon on March 25, five days from the spring equinox. April 16 then is Nisan 22, and it is the Sabbath. That is, counting seven day week cycles from then until now makes the current Sabbath now days match the same cycle as required by the history and astronomy.

Instance #2

The second instance we have is that the Temple was burned in AD 70 on the 9th of Av and that the first division of priests had just come on duty, and that it was the end of the Sabbath when it happened. This would be the first day of the week. By astronomical calculation Av 9 in AD 70 was August 5, a Sunday. The new moon of the 5th month was seen on July 27th. Thus it is confirmed from the Seder Olam record that the Sabbath was August 4, AD 70. This Sabbath was on the same seven day cycle as the Sabbath we observe now days. I should point out that Seder Olam is incorrect in the claim that the Temple was destroyed in AD 69. And this also is confirmed by calculation, because Av 9 that year was a Monday. But when the year is corrected by Roman records and Josephus’s records, it is clear that the year is AD 70.

Instance #3

I go back to the birth of Messiah for the third instance. Commentators who have noticed Luke’s language agree that Zechariah was on duty during the morning service on the Sabbath when the messenger announced he would have son and name him Yohanan. We can tell this from the size of the crowd and the fact that the priest was allowed to finish his duties. He would not have been allowed being dumbstruck, if it has been on another day, or the afternoon offering of the preceding Sabbath. For his inability to serve would have been discovered. According to Law Zechariah finished his duty at noon on the Sabbath. Then the next division of priests came in.

Zechariah therefore was returned home on the first day of the week. Now the year was 3 BC and this is figured from Luke’s notice that Yeshua was almost 30 in the 15th year of Tiberius (AD 29). We figure back from here to the fall of 2 BC for the birth of Yeshua and to the spring of 2 BC for the birth of Yohanan. Yohanan was therefore conceived in 3 BC.

Zechariah was from the division of Abijah. The dates of Abijah for 3 BC are figured back from AD 70, via continuous rotations. These dates are July 6 to July 13 (Month IV, days 23 to 30). And July 13 (Month IV, day 23) was the Sabbath. Now since every priest goes off duty on the Sabbath no matter when his division serves, this itself would not confirm that the Sabbath cycle was synchronized with today. However, we know that the birth of Messiah was on Sept 1, 2 BC (Tishri 1). Furthermore, the days of Miryam’s pregnancy were fulfilled. Figuring back 266 days from there brings us to Dec. 10, 3 BC, which was the new moon day falling during the celebration of Hanukah, at which time it was the 6th month of Elizabeth. But it was shown above that the priest was home on July 14, 3 BC, the first day of the week. This also happened to be the first day of month V, and then Elizabeth was 5 months in seclusion, that is until the messenger announced that she would conceive Messiah. Therefore, there are only exactly 5 months between Zechariah’s vision and the visit the annunciation to Miryam. Between July 13, 3 BC and December 10 3 BC there are exactly only 5 months. December 10 3 BC is itself the 1st day of the sixth month. And there is 266 days to Sept 1, 2 BC. If Miryam’s term were just one day longer, then Elizabeth could not have reached her sixth month going from July 14th to December 9th. Elizabeth must have conceived on the first day of the week.

To summarize. The Revelation 12:1-3 sign is for the day Aug. 31/Sept 1, 2 BC. Going back 266 days yields Dec. 10, 3 BC, a new moon day. Going back 5 months yields month V, day 1, which is July 14th, 3 BC. The prior day was the weekly Sabbath. To confirm this calculate the new moon day for month V. It was seen on July 13th just after sunset at the end of the Sabbath.

Instance #4

It should be noted here that the rotation of the priestly divisions itself shows that the seven day cycle is a continuous rotation, because the law requires that all priests serve equally, and have an equal chance to eat of the offerings. The priests went in at noon on the Sabbath and they went out at noon on the Sabbath. The legal requirement for equal access shows that the rotations were always for seven 24 hour periods. There could be no irregular weeks. The tie in between today’s sabbath and the sabbath at the time of Zechariah shows that the two synchronize perfectly, and further that the Sabbaths of the entire second Temple period are confirmed, since the priestly rotation was regular from the rebuilding of the Temple.

Instance #5

In Ezra 8:33, they weigh out the silver and gold on the 4th day of the 5th month (Ezra 7:9, 8:32). They must have arrived late on the new moon day, Thursday, July 20th, 397 BC, which was the 49th year after the building of the walls, seven sevens later, and also the 7th year of Artaxerxes II according to Judean reckoning. The decision was taken not to weigh out the gold and silver on Friday, and so they waited to the first day of the week, July 23, 397 BC. This evidence shows that Sunday was not the seventh day, since they would not have weighed out the money on a Sabbath.

Instance #6

In the 12th year of Solomon the Ark was brought into the Temple on the feast day of the seventh month, which is Yom Teruah (Trumpets). This was in 1012 BC, Tishri 1, October 7. The assembly lasted 7 days (1 Kings 8:65) to dedicate the altar. On the 8th day, the first day of the week, he sent the people away. Then they returned to keep the feast of Sukkot for 7 days (2 Chronicles 7:9), For the dedication of the altar they had kept seven days, and the feast seven days. They had an assembly on the 8th day (Tishri 22) and he sent them home on the 23rd. That year Tishri 7, 14, 21, 28 were weekly Sabbaths, and Tishri 1, 10, 15, 22 were annual Sabbaths. The priestly rotations began with the 2nd week of Tishri that year, since the first week the priests were sanctified without respect to divisions. The first division served the whole of the following week, and this is confirmed by the Qumran calendar. From this we can infer that Yom Teruah in the 12th year of Solomon was on the first day of the week. Calculation by astronomy confirms this is so.

Instance #7

In 1069 BC David fled to Nob from king Saul on the Sabbath, where he received the old bread just as it was being taken away from the Sanctuary to be replaced with hot bread for the next week. This happened on the 4th day of the month as the first three days he had spent in hiding awaiting the news from Jonathan about the disposition of his father the king. On the third day of the month he recevied the bad news, and fleeing he arrived at Nob on the 4th day. We know the month since David’s ruse involves the annual Passover offering. So it was Nisan 4 that was the Sabbath. In 1069 BC the new moon was seen on April 11, and the day after April 12 was the new moon feast. David’s spot was empty. On the next day, April 13, it was empty again, and Jonathan gave the excuse. Saul flew into a rage and tried to kill him. In the morning, on the third day, Jonathan went out to warn Daυi̱d of his father’s intentions. It was April 14th. That very day, he fled, and arrived in Nob on April 15 (Nisan 4) which was the Sabbath. We may calculate the astronomy for 1069 BC and find that April 15th was indeed the 4th day after the new moon and also the Sabbath.

Instance #8

They began to build the Temple on the 2nd day of the 2nd month in the 4th year of Solomon. This was 1019 BC, May 1, (Ziv 2). That day was the first day of the week by astronomical calculation for 2 Ziv. It was the logical day to begin a great building project. So that Sunday was not the Sabbath. It was the first day of building the Temple.

Instance #9

The 15th of the 2nd month in the year of the Exodus was the first day of the week. This was the year 1632 BC. The calculations work out. The Sabbath was reinstated for Israel at the end of this week according to Exodus 16.

Instance #10

The 6th day of the 3rd month in the year of the Exodus was the Sabbath. The year was 1632 BC. Again the astronomy works out (May 31, 1632 BC). After the appearance of the Almighty on Mt. Sinai, Mosheh went up the mountain and waited for six days. Yahweh then spoke to him on the seventh day. This was on Sivan 13, 1632 BC (June 7).

Instance #11

The 17th day of the 2nd month when the flood began was the Sabbath according to the decree that the flood would come in seven days. The Almighty made a beginning on that day of redeeming the world from the infestation of evil in it. He sent the rain for 40 days and 40 nights. The year was 2483 BC. This year is confirmed by other astronomical calculations in my book which I will not go into here.

Instance #12

The 11th, 18th, 25th days of month XI were the days Noah sent out the birds to see the state of the waters. These correspond to the first day of the week in 2483 BC, Feb 15,22, March 1, respectively.

Instance #13

In the creation year (4139 BC), the proleptic new moon, the proleptic equinox, and the first day of the week all synchronize. Thus the weekly cycle, the month, and the year were all set to begin at the same time.

Instance #14

During the week of Yeshua’s suffering, the crucifixion was on a Wednesday, Nisan 14, and the following Sabbath was the first Sabbath after the Passover, the resurrection day. The year of his suffering may be calculated starting from Luke’s note that Yohanan came preaching in the 15th year of Tiberius (AD 29). Tiberius died in the 23rd year of his reign in the consular year of Gnaeus Acerronius Proculus and Gaius Pontius Nigrinus. This was AD 37. 23-8=15 and 37-8=29. So the 15th year was AD 29. Yohanan turned 30 in the spring of this year and was ordained a priest, and then Yeshua was almost 30 at his immersion just before Tishri 1, AD 29. He was in Jerusalem at Passover in AD 30 (John 2:13), and then Luke 6:1 takes place the next spring in AD 31. In AD 32 we have the Passover of John 6:4. In the spring of AD 33 the Temple tax is paid in Adar, and this leads us to AD 34 for the year of his suffering. This four year ministry lasting five Passovers, two at the endpoints, and three in the middle is confirmed in Luke 13:6-9.

This leads us to AD 34 for his suffering. This year is additionally confirmed by Joseph Scaliger’s initial calculations, Sir Isaac Newton, and Jewish Scholar Solomon Zeitlin. Their historical research all concluded that AD 34 was the year. Scaliger was later bullied into changing his mind. Luther speculated that AD 34 was the correct year, and Thomas Lewin produced an AD 29 - AD 33 chronology, the same as the correct only, but off by one year. Luke’s note on Tiberius exposes Lewin’s mistake. The ministry years are AD 30 - AD 34. Additionally, AD 33 supplies only a Friday date for Nisan 14 and therefore does not agree with Matthew 12:40. It does not agree with Daniel 9 either, since AD 32/33 was Sabbatical, and Daniel 9 requires the suffering of Messiah to be after the Sabbatical year.

The next step is to see if Nisan 14 in AD 34 was indeed a Wednesday and if Nisan 17 following it was a Sabbath. The new moon was on Wed. March 10, and the 14th of Nisan was on Wed. March 24 according to astronomical calculation. So the sun and the moon confirm the dates of Passion week, and therefore the weekly cycle is secure, the same today as it was then.

This then demonstrates that the weekly cycle has not changed since creation, and that the seventh day of the week as we now know it, between Friday sunset and Saturday sunset, has remained unchanged.

Why have these instances not come to light until now? Firstly, we have not had the technical tools until now. Then the necessary mathematics was not invented until ca. 1700. Astronomical accuracy was not sufficient until ca. 1940 for first century calculations, and ca. 1970 for more ancient calculations. The equation of the earth’s rotational slowing due to tidal effects has been continuously refined until the present. Secondly, tradition has kept errors in Biblical Chronology. This prevented researchers from looking in the right years, because they have been committed to a false theology of sacred days, Easter, Christmas, and Sunday. These celebrations had replaced Passover, Trumpets, and the weekly Sabbath. Finally, those willing to follow the Divine Law and keep the later dates have been far fewer, and due to persecution have come to the truth by means of revival from humble backgrounds, and have often uncritically accepted the science and chronology invented to support the errant celebrations.

Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against that arch-deceiver the devil who accuses the holy ones and assaults them with lies from high places. His traffic has infected almost every university and school with so called Biblical Scholars who daily assault the truth of the word with higher criticism, saying that the Torah and Prophets were a politically pieced together hodge-podge of contradicting sources. This is the battle arrayed against the saints. On their right wing is the false Church, which has accepted the higher critical theory, and on their left wing are the atheists. In the center are the lawless teachers of fundamentalism who are ignorant allies of both the side divisions, who are stubbornly and pridefully stuck in their traditions, thinking they have all the truth, and nothing to learn. But Yahweh is going to take away their innocence with the truth and defeat them with the Word of the Almighty.

Calendar notes. According to Genesis 1:14 the sun and moon are lights to give signs for set times. This means that the new moon is when the light of the new moon is seen, and this is the sign for the new moon feast on the following day. Therefore, we calculate the new moon according to its sighting. All calculations were done from the locations noted in the Scripture, which for most cases is Jerusalem. These calculations are independent of any human calendar. They are simply based on the mathematical laws and astronomical calculation. It is convenient to translate these results into the Julian calendar. However, in the raw the astronomical result is simply given as a number of days, hours, minutes, and seconds, before the present positions of the sun and moon. These can be translated into any calendar with internally consistent rules. Therefore, astronomy is independent of the calendar system used to translate the results.

The cycle of the year is determined by the sun, and the first day of the year is defined by induction from Scripture texts as approximately equal to the day of the spring equinox. To be more precise, the first day of the year is when the sun sets due west or minimally north of due west in the spring. The ancient method did not adjust the visible sun to a theoretical sun position for determining the equinox. Therefore the observation is made with refraction included.