Where It All Leads
Abstract: They got it all wrong: You have heard that Messiah rose from the dead on Saturday around 3 p.m., or according to another view, 1 minute before sunset Saturday, so the resurrection would be on the Sabbath, or according to some, 1 minute after sunset on Saturday, so that the resurrection would technically be after the Sabbath, or according to the usual error, Sunday morning a few minutes after sunrise. For anyone who will be a Berean, I will show you that all of these views are wrong, and that the correct view is the solution key to all of biblical chronology all the way back to Creation. The Scroll of Biblical Chronology is where I put lightyears of distance between the typical argument over when Messiah died and rose, and the scientific truth that defies all tradition. This book is the apologetic to end all anti-apologetics for faith and practice. Of course, for an extraordinary claim, extraordinary proof is required. And such proof is provided therein.
The typical denominational presentation of Passion chronology begins and ends with that subject, and is meant to shore up the denominational creed. But they lack any real solution. That is one of the reasons there are so many denominations. Each has its little piece of truth defended dogmatically by authoritarian and traditional arugments. The method they use is not scientific. It is not based on observation, experiment, word studies, accurate calculations, or the rules of legal evidence requiring two witnesses, and an independent confirmation of every controversial claim. They base their views on dogma, authorities, and tradition, all in the service of their creedal and sectarian emotional commitments based on who their friends are. But what if we can get beyond all this? What if we can break free of this mire and discover the whole truth a scientific way, based on observation and independent confirmation?
This is what I do in the Scroll of Biblical Chronology. Now let us say, for the sake of illustration, that someone has got an incorrect Passion Chronology. That is a safe bet. Someone has an erring chronological system. The way we test this system is to see if it has any explanatory power for larger issues. That is, does it solve anything else? Does it fit with the larger picture? If it does not fit, then it joins the anti-apologetics, and encourages the atheist who claims the bible is one huge jumble of error. So let me step you through the larger issues, and you will see where this is going.
Passion Chronology is also a calendar problem with variables that can only be fairly solved by finding out where individual truths line up to give a third truth. By finding the third truths we gain tools to put together the bigger picture. For example, when someone picks a weekday for the crucifixion, whether it be Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, then the weekday has to be associated with certain dates in the second temple period calendar. For example,a pick of Wednesday or Thursday means that the calendrical date must be Nisan 14. A pick of Friday limits the picks to Nisan 14 or Nisan 15. This is true because the day after the crucifixion was a Sabbath, and this can only be so in the first two cases if the crucifixion date is Nisan 14, and the next day is an annual Sabbath. In the Friday case, the Sabbath after the crucifixion is the weekly Sabbath, which is either the same as the annual Sabbath that year, or the day after the annual Sabbath. Thus, the case is limited to Nisan 14 or 15.
So the problem is quickly limited to where in history do we find the required weekdays lining up with the required calendar dates. During the second temple period, the Jews determined their months by observation of the new moon. When the new moon first appeared in the night, then the next day was made the first day of the month. Modern astronomy has given us the tools to calculate when the new moon would be seen, and further, to determine which weekday the new moon would be seen on. Further, the Passover at which the crucifixion took place was in the first month of the the year.1
The year began on the date that the sun set in the exact west, i.e. it rose due east and set due west. This date is called the spring equinox, but in the second temple period they called it the tequfah or circuit of the year. Just before this date, they would find the first ripe barley that could be roasted and eaten, which could not be eaten until a sheaf of it was offered in the Temple during Passover. Legally the day of the second Passover offering on Nisan 15 had to be on the same day as the new year started, or after. It could not be before the new year started because they kept the commandment to celebrate three feasts in one year.
All of the foregoing requirements allow us to determine which years are possible for each of the theories mentioned by means of astronomical calculation. It would be helpful, however, to know which years to look in, and which years we need not look in. The book of Luke gives us the 15th year of Tiberius as the starting point, a year which is uniquely fixed in Roman history to AD 29.2 John the Baptist came preaching in the spring of that year. Messiah came to be baptized after John’s ministry had been going for about five months, towards the fall of AD 29. Then Messiah began his ministry, the earliest which took place at the Passover of AD 30.
Now there are one year, two year, three year, and four year theories of Messiah’s ministry. It is not really possible to make AD 30 work as the year of the crucifixion on the basis of a one year ministry, but I will include it out of charity. Given the lengths of Messiah’s public ministry, the field is limited to AD 30, AD 31, AD 32, AD 33, and AD 34. Although five years are listed here, it is only four years in actual time from the Passover of AD 30 to the Passover of AD 34.
Next we bring to bear the fact that John mentions at least three Passovers. This does not mean he mentioned them all during Messiah’s ministry, but it does affect the minimum length of ministry. It surely rules out AD 30. The key dates are according to the following chart with notes.
|Year||Nisan 14||Nisan 15: Annual Sabbath||Notes|
|AD 30||Friday, April 7||Saturday, April 8||Contradicts John and Luke|
|AD 31||Tuesday, March 27||Wednesday, March 28||Impossible weekday|
|AD 32||Monday, April 14||Tuesday, April 15||Impossible weekday|
|AD 33||Friday, April 3||Saturday, April 4||contradicts Matthew 12:40|
|AD 34||Wednesday, March 24||Thursday, March 25||passes3|
At this point we are left with two possibilities, a Friday in AD 33, and a Wednesday in AD 34. Aside from the year, both sides of this issue typically face off in an argument over Matthew 12:40 and Luke 24:21. Therefore we need to find out which one fits the larger picture, and which solution does not. Here we must consider which theory fits the Daniel 9 prophecy.
Those holding to AD 33 posit that the decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given in Nisan 444 BC, and that 483 years are to be calculated on the basis that a year is 360 days long. There are serious problems with the method. First, the decree was given in the 20th year of Artaxerxes I, which was in 445 BC, not 444 BC. This is proved by the fact that Xerxes died in the summer of 465 BC. The Scroll of Biblical Chronology shows this in the charts:
Now I show here on the left of the chart from the Scroll of Biblical Chronology the various ways in which the 20th year of Artaxerxes was counted, according to the Egyptians, Persians, and in Judea. To see why they counted the 20th year in Judea from the fall of 446 to fall 445, we must go back to the start of the reign:
The charts in the ebook (which is in PDF format) can be viewed much larger with rulers and guides to line things up. It is all aligned to exact precision. Nehemiah notes an event in the month of Kislev in the 20th year followed by the decree in the month of Nisan in the 20th year. This proves that the 20th year in Nehemiah was counted the same way that they counted it in Judea. The 20th year of Artaxerxes mentioned in Neh. 2:1 began in the Persian calendar on Nisan 1, 445 BC. The 20th year in Neh. 1:1 according to Nehemiah’s brother from Judea was counted from the fall of 446 BC. These methods both overlap in the spring of 445 BC. They do not overlap in the spring of 444 BC.
What happened was that Harold Hoehner guessed wrong (cf. Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ) which way the year was reckoned in Judea, or he convieniently chose to ignore the citation of when Xerxes died in Parker and Duberstein: Babylonian Chronology 626 BC – A.D. 75 (page 17). For this reason 444 BC is ruled out by the archaeological record in favor of 445 BC. An additional problem comes up with the need to use a 360 day year. Firstly the year was not then 360 days. Therefore they justified using a 360 day year by calling it a prophetical year length and citing its possible existence at the time of Noah’s flood. I show in the Scroll of Biblical Chronology, and based on Astronomy, that the year in Noah’s time was in fact 365 days. Sir Robert Anderson was incorrect in his claims for Noah’s flood in his book, The Coming Prince.
I show in the book that 5 months and 150 days will fit into a year with 365 days using all the standard equations to NASA standards. The moon may move such that out of a five month period 4 months are 30 days and one is 29 days. By counting the 17th day of the 2nd month and the 17th day of the 7th month, a total of 150 days are added up. The detail in Genesis allow us to confirm the date of the flood in 2483 BC. It also allows us to reject Anderson’s argument for a 360 day year.
Another fatal error in Hoehner’s theory of Daniel 9 for AD 33 is that the calculation goes as follows
69 x 7 x 360 = 173880 days. The number of days is in fact too long! While Hoehner calls the starting point Nisan in 444 BC, it is in fact NOT NISAN. In the Persian Calendar it is Adar. The Persians always reckoned their new year after the spring equinox, i.e. the first new moon after the equinox was Nisan 1. Even worse, is that following the second Temple methods, the chosen month is still Adar. Nisan 1 in 444 BC was on Julian date #1,559,344, and in AD 33, Nisan 14 was date #: 1,733,204. The difference is: 173860. This is 20 days short (
173880 days - 173860 = 20). To make up for the loss the calculation must be extended to the preceding month, which cannot be Nisan for the Persians or using second temple methods (which are really Scriptural methods).
For this reason, it is necessary to rethink Daniel 9 without the assumption that a year is 360 days. And I have done just that in the Scroll of Biblical Chronology. Firstly, we have to abide by a solid historical and archaeologically proved starting date, namely 445 BC. Second, we have to use years that have an ordinary length. Finally, we have to figure out that Daniel 9 speaks of seventy sevens and does not say weeks. The New International Version has it correct: seventy sevens. Furthermore, it means seventy seventh years, and not seventy seven year periods. Deut. 15:9 refers to one sabbatical year as the year of the seven שְׁנַת־הַשֶּׁבַע, but it means the seventh year. Therefore, “sevens” plural are sabbatical years. This stems from the fact that in Hebrew cardinal numbers are often used to express ordinal meanings. For example the word “one” is used in Genesis 1:5 for the first day. In Lev. 25:10, the words are “year of the fifty” שְׁנַת הַחֲמִשִּׁים. The same word is used in Num. 16:35 the phrase
the two hundred and fifty men: הַחֲמִשִּׁים וּמָאתַיִם אִישׁ, literally,
the fifty and two hundred men. In one place the same word means fifty, and in the other place fiftieth. Therefore, the cardinal number “seven” in “seventy sevens” is expressing the meaning “seventy seventh years”.
So we do not need to find 483 years, nor do we need to try to reduce the length of 483 years using a fictitious 360 day year. We only need to find 69 sabbatical years.4 We may now observe that the decree was given in Nisan 445 BC, and that 69 seventh years fit between then and AD 34. For on a fall to fall basis 444/443 is sabbatical, and AD 32/33 is sabbatical. I then note that it says that Messiah will be cut off AFTER the time period indicated (Dan. 9:26).
And after the sevens sity and two Messiah will be cut off. It is simply impossible to fit the seven sevens and sixty two sevens between 444 BC and AD 33 such that Messiah will be cut off after the final seventh year.
This means that AD 34 and a Wednesday Crucifixion is the one and only year that fits all the facts. It also determines which year is the Sabbatical year, which is the key that unlocks the rest of biblical chronology. The traditional Jewish date for the destruction of the Temple was in AD 69. This was later corrected to AD 70. The reason that the Talmud (Seder Olam) put the destruction in AD 69 was that it required the destruction year to be in the first year of a sabbatical cycle, as noted in the snapshot of the chart from the Scroll of Biblical chronology. The Jews did not then have the sabbatical year incorrect. Therefore Rabbi Halaphta chose AD 69 for his theory of Daniel 9. He wanted the holy place to be cut off after the sabbatical year, because they rejected the Messiah who was the holy ONE cut off after the sabbatical year of AD 32/33 in AD 34! The point is that we now have a common basis in traditional Jewish chronology for the Sabbatical year. AD 32/33 and AD 67/68 are synchronized.
As we have seen the 7th year fits only one way into the Daniel 9 prophecy. This is further confirmed by the circumstance of Nehemiah’s demand for debt release on the eve of the Sabbatical year, and the reading of the Torah at the beginning of that year during the fall feast days. For the torah says that at the limit, or boundary of the seventh year, at the feast of Tabernacles, the Torah should be publically read (Deu. 31:10). As Eben Ezra pointed out, most of the translations have it incorrect in saying “at the end of the seventh year”, and so also the current Jewish tradition. It means at the nearer boundary or limit of the seventh year, after six whole years have expired. This is proved by the legislation for a Hebrew servant. He shall serve for six years, and then he is free when the seventh year beings. The language in Jer. 34:14 is the same as that in Deut. 31:10:
[...] at the [near] limit of the seventh year.
Now that we know when the Sabbatical year was, the rest of biblical chronology can be put together. They key to a key is that it unlocks the exact solution to things that were a deep problem before, and brings them into pefect resolution. One just has to have the key, and then one has to try the locks to see if the key opens them or not. If the door is opened and the view confirms the theory, then the theory is correct. So then here are some points at which the Scroll of Biblical Chronology tries that key and finds that it works:
|Lock to Try||Synchronized?|
|Cycle counted from creation?||Yes, in 4139, first year of the cycle|
|Cycle matches Joseph’s famine?||Yes, 7 plenty years, 7 famine years match|
|Cycle matches entry to Canaan?||yes, cycle renews in first full year of conquest|
|Cycle matches Saul’s Jubilee Trumpet?||yes, in second year of Saul|
|Cycle matches Ark going to Jerusalem||Yes|
|70 Sabbaticals were not kept?||Yes, during 390 and 40 years|
|Cycle matches Hezekiah’s datings?||Yes, exactly|
|Cycle matches destruction of Nineveh?||Yes, exactly, 612 BC|
Please keep in mind that none of these alignments are contrived. All the internal workings of the chronology are spelled out in exhaustive detail, and shown to fit into the picture, without contradicting any chronological texts in scripture. The charts provided in the Scroll of Biblical Chronology are the most complete and most exhaustive chronological charts of Scripture ever produced. The snapshots you have seen in this paper were taken from over 100 pages of continues chronological charts detailing every year from creation to the present day.
There are many chronological frauds. There are fewer honest attempts that fall short of the complete solution. For people who have looked for chronological answers, the chances that you were burned by a fraud are nearly 100%. Usually these are eschatological frauds. The situation only proves how far religion claiming to be biblical has fallen from the truth. The Scroll of Biblical Chronology actually agrees year for year with results produced in 1907 by Willis Judson Beecher, back to the first year of the Judge Eli, in 1182/1181 BC: The Dated Events of the Old Testament.
If you really want to be a Berean and desire first rate apologetical and historical tool, then this book is the one you want. While the rest of the world is busy trading dogmatic sound bites and refusing to scientifically examine the evidence, we have set aside traditions, dogmas, creeds, historical biases, and anything else that gets in the way of objective research to critically examine the issues.
1. The modern Jewish calendar did not reach its final form until about AD 1000. Some say AD 359, but this early date has been shown to be in error by historians of the Jewish calendar. There are important differences between it and the second temple period calendar. The first thing to note is that the modern Jewish calendar is not the calendar described in Jewish traditional sources, the most important being the Talmud and the Mishnah. After AD 1000 Maimonides and other Rabbis tried to cover up the fact that they had changed the calendar. They were very careful to make it seem like their version of the calendar was the same as that described in their traditional sources. However, it has long since been acknowledged by honest Rabbis and Christian scholars that the Mishnah teaches that visual observation of the first light of the moon occurred in the night before the first day of the month. Calculations were used only to confirm whether it was possible to see the new moon. But witnesses were interviewed. The Mishnah knows nothing of postponements, or rules to keep the new moon from falling on certain days of the week.
It should also be noted that the modern Jewish calendar keeps the theory of the first month of the year correct: the 16th of Nisan must fall after the spring equinox. This is the same as saying the 15th of Nisan must fall on or after the spring equinox. This is the method used by the second Temple calendar. However, after the Jews were exiled from Judea, they stopped making visual observations of the equinox. They replaced visual observation with a predetermined length of the year, 365.2xxx days. The exact figure is not needed. All we need to know is that they kept counting days from the last moment of the equinox to determine the equinox for the next year. The problem is that the year length was just slightly off of the true figure, just as the 365.25 figure is slightly off. Anciently the equinox was sighted by watching for rising in the exact east, and setting in the exact west, and by doing so it would be impossible for the equinox date to drift off of the true date by more than one day. However, the modern Rabbinic calendar has long been using an incorrect length for the year, and therefore their equinox date is more than a week later than the true equinox. The tradition is loathe to admit it make a mistake, however one can easily determine that the whole theory was originally based on an observed equinox, and not a calculated one.
2. There are many older and traditional sources that claim Tiberius held a coregency with Augustus from around AD 12. We need to keep several things in mind. There have always been liars who corrupt history for political, or dogmatic religious reasons. There have always been multitudes of people who believe these lies. The coregency theory was invented after the fall of the Roman Empire. For no Roman or Greek historian can be found to support it. They all give AD 29 as the 15th year of Tiberius. Since this is the case, our search will abide by this finding, and we will not search outsided this limit unless the results actually fail to provide the key to biblical chronology.
3. This view is not without contradictions. It depends on which version of a Wednesday crucifixion and Sabbath resurrection one holds to. The purpose of this paper is to explore the larger issue, and not to get lost in the details of the resurrection day. However, a brief explanation is necessary. The phrases usually translated “first day of the week” in fact say “one day of the Sabbaths” in the literal Greek, which according to Hebrew idiom is “the first Sabbath day”. According to Lev. 23:15, seven Sabbaths are counted after Passover. The resurrection was therefore at dawn on the first Sabbath after Passover. Further, Matthew 28:1 properly starts out,
And the later of the Sabbaths, at the dawning on the first of the Sabbaths [...]. Whichever view of a Sabbath resurrection one holds to, or even if one thinks “first day of the week” is valid, the circumstance of a single occurrence of a Wednesday day for Nisan 14 in the years 30-34 allows us to go forward to the larger chronology. The Saturday afternoon, just before sunset, and just after sunset views, may be disproved by texts such as Luke 24:21 and the proper counting of three days, the reckoning of the wavesheaf day, and the daily offering, along with refutation of the Sunday Pentecost theory. The lies surrounding all of these issues are gigantic, where circular reasoning from lie to lie is commonplace.
4. Some may hold out for sabbatical periods, and not sabbatical years. I prove in the Scroll of Biblical Chronology ebook that the seven sevens also are counted per sabbatical year, and not sabbatical period. Another way of looking at this is: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.... It is the sevens that are being counted. The word for “seventy” and “sevens” looks the same in Hebrew. This is because plurals x 10 are expressed by the plural of numbers 3 to 9, i.e. threes = thirty, fours=forty, fives=fity, sixes=sixty, sevens=seventy, eights=eighty, and nines=ninety. Only context can sort out the difference between sevens and seventy. For this reason the vowel pointing in the Masoretic text שָׁבֻעִים is incorrect. Also it is incorrect in Dan. 9:25, 10:2-3:, where it should be “seven sevens”, “three sevens of days”, and “three of sevens of days”. The usual term employed for seven days is shavuot. It appears in Daniel that this term is avoided, and only appears in Daniel 9:27: “one shavua”, i.e. one period of seven years, where in fact the text requires a period of seven.
Taking this to a finer level, the waw infix in “shavua” tends to make the noun passive, something being seven, and gives the sense of a period of seven counted up from 1 to 7. On the other hand a straight plural of seven is shivim and is a plural counting the discrete sevens. The distinction may suffer from ambiguity, but it is linguistically sound as situations justifying it may be posited, i.e. a child is looking at one of those photos where you are supposed to find certain kinds of objects, and it says at the bottom, “Find three balls, six harpins, seven sevens, a pair of dice, and two aces.” Then you will find one of them expressed in tally marks, another in roman numerals, the dice are showing one and six, which add to seven, the eight ball is labeled seven, and so on. Does this make the prophecy cryptic. Perhaps, but as we have seen the key to deciphering the meaning is to avoid the obvious contradictions built into the erring traditions.