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2017, 2024, And The 3 1/2 Year Ministry Of Christ

As I was researching material for my recent articles The Gospel In The Stars and Signs In The Heavens: Second Advent, I discovered something interesting about the years 2017 and 2024 on our Gregorian calendar: if you subtract 2017 'prophetic' years of 360 days each from September 23, 2017 and 2024 'prophetic' years of 360 days each from Yom Kippur 2024, you arrive in the Fall of 29 AD for both dates - the traditional start of Jesus' earthly ministry.

Jesus' ministry began with His baptism by John the Baptist in the Jordan River and ended with His crucifixion on what I suspect was April 3, 33 AD.  Historically-speaking, the predominant view was that His ministry was thought to have lasted about three and a half years because the Gospel of John records at least two different Passovers that Jesus attended after His ministry started, but before the Passover of His death (John 2:13, John 6:4).  That would mean that His ministry lasted at least two years plus whatever time transpired between His baptism and the first Passover.

Between His baptism and the first Passover the gospels record Jesus doing many things including His 40 days in the wilderness, the wedding in Cana, the calling of the first disciples, a visit to Capernaum where He performed miracles, and possibly other traveling and preaching in Galilee.  Scholars generally assign half a year to one and a half years to this period of time, making Jesus' ministry two and a half years to three and a half years total.

A number of scholars believe Jesus attended another Passover between John 2:13 and John 6:4, giving greater weight to the three and a half year theory.  Indeed, John 5:1 says that Jesus celebrated a festival near the Sabbath, but which festival is not specified.

Further solidifying this possibility is the fact that Luke 3:1-6 gives the beginning of John's ministry as occurring in the "fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar".  The Roman Senate made Tiberius emperor on September 18, 14 AD, which means a straightforward counting of years would put the end of his fifteenth year as emperor in the Fall of 29 AD.  Therefore John began baptizing in the Jordan sometime between the Fall of 28 AD and the Fall of 29 AD.  This lines up perfectly with a three and a half year ministry of Christ and his baptism occurring sometime in the Fall of 29 AD.  According to Luke, Jesus was "about 30" when His ministry began (Luke 3:23) and if in fact Jesus was born in 2 BC as we suspect, then Jesus was 30 years and a few months old in the Fall of 29 AD - fulfilling Luke 3:23 perfectly.

To be thorough, some scholars date the beginning of Tiberius' reign to 12 AD when he became co-regent with the previous emperor Augustus.  This would place the beginning of John's ministry sometime in late 26 AD or 27 AD, which would conclusively establish a three and a half year ministry of Christ, although I suspect Luke began his count of years from when the Roman Senate officially made Tiberius the emperor.

I am not dogmatic about this, but I think when you put all the pieces together, the three and a half year theory is fairly conclusive, which means that Jesus began His ministry in the late Summer or Fall of 29 AD.  2017 prophetic years before September 23, 2017 is September 7, 29 AD and 2024 prophetic years before the Karaite reckoning of Yom Kippur 2024 (October 13th), is November 3, 29 AD.  All of the Fall Feasts fell between that date range in 29 AD.

Isaiah and the other prophets tell us that Jesus would have two earthly ministries: the first as the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53:1-12, Isaiah 61:1-2a) and the second as King and Judge (Isaiah 61:2b, Isaiah 9:6-7).  Jesus was appointed to the role of Suffering Servant at His baptism as this article by Dr. Allen Ross so aptly describes.  Does it not pique your interest that 2017 and 2024 prophetic years before an increasingly likely 2017 AD and 2024 AD Second Coming/Tribulation time-frame, respectively, happen to outline Fall 29 AD, when Jesus became the Suffering Servant and Lamb of God and when the purpose for which He first came into the world began?


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5 comments :

  1. Studying all of this just makes me more and more in awe of God.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I believe Sir Robert Anderson's theory of the Triumphal Entry being in 32 AD is equally plausible.

    Regardless, I do believe you are correct in a 3.5 year ministry. Obviously, it's speculation, but I believe His ministry was exactly 1,260 days. The same length as the time of Jacob's trouble. God does things in decency and order.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gary, your work on the 33 AD potential date for the Crucifixion is excellent! Gavin Finley has done some incredible work on his blog endtimepilgrim.org as well which advocates for a 32 AD Crucifixion year, and I have a youtube video which explains a potential date for 32 AD linked here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTIf62tVPps

    That said, I would be happy with either date! It is incredible as you have aptly pointed out how suggestive the signs are for a 2017-2024 timeline for the 70th week. Thanks for the great summary!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sam! I will take a look at that article.

      Delete
  4. The "Passover" mentioned in John 6:4 presents some very significant issues if indeed this indicated a Passover. First, Jesus was feeding the multitudes leavened barley loaves, something that would not have been possible since Passover requires cleansing the leaven from the land in preparation for Feast of Unleavened Bread. Next, the Pharisees were confronting Jesus about the multitudes not washing hands as commanded in the Rabbinic traditions, yet a more severe violation would be the fact that Jesus and the multitudes were not in Jerusalem for the Passover, and in fact the Pharisees would never have left Jerusalem at that time themselves. Finally, Jesus never goes up to the Passover, something commanded in Torah which would disqualify Him as Messiah. There is an answer, there are two Passovers in John, the one referenced in John 2 and the other from John 12. John 6:4 breaks the narrative and is obviously out of place. Early Greek manuscripts of John do not contain the 10 Greek words inserted to indicate a non existent Passover to deliberately extend His ministry. The ministry of Yahshua (Jesus) was exactly 70 weeks fulfilling Daniel 9:24

    ReplyDelete


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