New Testament Chronology

New Testament Chronology, (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1990)

Kenneth Frank Doig
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Exact Dating of the Birth and Crucifixion of Jesus

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POSTSCRIPT

This study has offered a revised interpretation of the calendars of Scripture, confirmed the traditional dating for the life of Jesus, and written an epitaph for existing explanations of Daniel's Seventy Weeks. Which conclusions will hold, and which will come under attack? A cautious perspective is necessary in evaluating any conclusions derived from Scripture and ancient history. The obstacle to understanding usually begins not in the words but in the reader.

As a point of illustration, my closing in the Preface nagged at me. I could not forget Jesus' words about Daniel's "abomination of desolation." (Mat 24:15) He said of it "that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone." (Mat. 24:36) The careful reader might have noted that the Preface closed with the words of Jesus out of context. His words would better read: "There is nothing covered up that [a person says or does that] will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known [to God]." (Luke 12:2) This statement actually contains no promise that He would reveal any special knowledge to us. I used the Scripture incorrectly, and I have left it there for your consideration.

Consider that from the Creation to the rebellion of Bar Kokhba the people of the Book observed a lunar calendar that began the year in the spring and the day at sunrise. This was the calendar of the Temple in Jerusalem, both in Solomon's day and in the Second Temple. The correct reckoning of the required Jewish feasts was by this biblical calendar. The Sadducees and Bar Kokhba maintained this reckoning in the face of Israel's defeat. This should be the religious calendar of the renewed nation of Israel.

God's calendar has been under repeated attack. The use of this Temple calendar was interrupted by the Babylonian captivity, the desecration of Antiochus, the Essenes and twice by the Pharisees. Jeroboam led the change to the fall new year and sunset day. Jeroboam's northern kingdom was scattered in the Diaspora, but his calendar returned to Jerusalem with the Pharisees. After the Roman destructions of Jerusalem the rabbis of the Pharisees continued this mistaken reckoning in the Mishna and Talmud. Hillel formalized this unscriptural calendar, and it became the present Jewish calendar. Israel continues to use the wrong calendar dated from a miscalculated Creation.

An unexpected find in my studies is that all of the basic traditional Christian dating for the time of Jesus appears to be correct. The simplest review is a list of dates confirmed or of high probability:
 

Annunciation March 25, 5 BCE Vernal Equinox*
Christmas December 25, 5 BCE Hanukkah
Epiphany January 6, 28 CE Baptism of Jesus
Palm Sunday Sunday, April 2, 30 CE Nisan 10
Good Friday Friday, April 7, 30 CE Nisan 14/15
Easter Sunday Sunday, April 9, 30 CE First Fruits

* The source for the dates of the Vernal Equinox during this period appears to have been in error, actually occurring on March 22/23. See http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/SpringPhenom.html. Jerusalem time is 2 hours and 13 minutes earlier.

It is time once more to observe these days and dates as more than symbolic of some unknown time. The sectarian detractors have had their hearing, and they have provided no real facts and only division. The birth and resurrection of the Son of God should be properly acknowledged on their true days.

The evidence does not support the "traditional" three-and-a-half-year ministry of Jesus. This Christian myth was started by Origen in the third century. He used it to explain Jesus as the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks in Daniel, with His ministry as half the seventieth week. However, if we disregard this interpretation from prophecy it then becomes difficult and unnecessary to insert a third year in Jesus' ministry. From Jesus' baptism to His crucifixion was 823 days, or about two years and three months.

A three-and-a-half-year ministry of Jesus has been crucial to various interpretations of the Seventy Weeks. Yet, Daniel was told, "conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time." (Dan. 12:4) As of this writing it is not yet "the end of time," except in the sense that each day it comes closer, just as each day everyone is closer to death. The prophecy of the Seventy Weeks is still sealed and unknown, perhaps until after the sixth trumpet of the Revelation (Rev. 10:8-11).

Origen's interpretation of the Seventy Weeks has been around for seventeen centuries, so he did not write it at the end of time. The epitaph must read: "Origen's interpretation of the Seventy Weeks is obsolete." However, many still accept his basic premises as part of denominational dogma. Examine carefully your sectarian beliefs in light of the new information presented here. Sometimes it is as important to know what is not true as it is to know what is true. Know the context of your beliefs.


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Zeitlin, S., "The Second Day of Rosh Ha-Shanah in Israel," Jewish Quarterly Review NS44 (1954).

Zeitlin, S., "The Second Day of the Holidays in the Diaspora," Jewish Quarterly Review NS44 (1954).

Zeitlin, S., "Herod a Malevolent Maniac," Jewish Quarterly Review NS54 (1963), 1-27.

Zeitlin, S., The Rise and Fall of the Judean State, 2 Vols (Jewish Publications, 1967).

Zeitlin, S., Studies in the Early History of Judaism, 4 Vols (New York: KTAV, 1973).


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