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Chronology 16: the link with our calendar

26-03-2016 - Posted by Andre Piet

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Four thousand years

So far we have determined in this series about Biblical chronology, that the time from Adam until the birth of Abram was two thousand years. Then we saw that from Abram’s birth until Israel’s rejection (stoning of Stephen) was again a period of two thousand years. Two thousand years that were found to fall in four equal parts of each five hundred years.

The link with the current era

The last five hundred years we paid attention to, were the seventy weeks of Daniel 9 (seven weeks was forty-nine years plus one year of jubilee, so seventy weeks is ten times as much). These seventy weeks of years started from the word of King Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem (3500 AH) and ended (4000 AH) in the rejection of the Evangel by the Jewish people, three and a half years after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Therewith is said that the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Christ took place in 3996 AH. The question we now have to face is: what year in our era we can link to the crucifixion? This link is necessary to determine in which year of the Biblical chronology we are now. We, however, as far as I know, cannot determine that precise year with certainty.

The birth of Christ

In our current era of BC and AD the starting point is the birth of Christ. This era was introduced retroactively by the monk Dionysius Exiguus, around the year 525 AD. The problem is that nowadays is widely believed that this Exiguus has made a mistake of a few years in determining the time of Jesus’ birth. Jesus was not born in the year 0 (which anyway doesn’t exist) but a few years earlier. But the estimates thereof vary somewhat. Some assume 2 BC, others say 3 or 4 BC and still others even say 8 BC. This is related to the fact that historians cannot agree on the time of the census organized by Emperor Augustus, and thus also about the time that Jesus was born. This also applies to the question of in what year King Herod the Great (infanticide in Bethlehem) deceased. Another historical clue might be “the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius” (Luke 3:1), the year in which John the Baptist began his activities. But since Emperor Tiberius also has been co-regent with his father Augustus, also this is not decisive information.

The year of the crucifixion

The year in which Jesus’ crucifixion is placed, varies from 30 AD to 33 AD, where usually especially 30 AD or 33 AD are under consideration. Assuming that Jesus was crucified in 30 AD (see below), Pesach 2030 would be exactly the 2000th year since Jesus’ death and resurrection. Then it corresponds to the year 5996 since Adam. So three and a half years later, autumn 2033 AD, is the start of the year 6000 AH. The reservation I make in this statement of dates is the uncertainty about the exact date of Jesus’ crucifixion in the current era.

Jonah and Nineveh, Jesus and his generation

Personally I see good reasons to determine Jesus’ crucifixion in 30 AD. In particular because this year is forty years before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. This year is (as far as I know) historically undisputed. Forty years between Jesus’ death and Jerusalem’s destruction provides a remarkable parallel with what Jesus said about Jonah. In Luke 11:30 we read:

30 For, according as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, thus the Son of Mankind, also, will be to this generation.

Jonah spent three days and three nights in the sea monster, and in the same way Jesus would be in the heart of the land (=his tomb in Jerusalem), as we read in Matthew 12:40. Here in Luke 11, however, Jesus speaks about how Jonah became a sign for the people of Nineveh. This means that when Jonah announced in Nineveh that the city would be destructed after forty days, he was a sign for them. What Jonah was to the Ninevites, Jesus (Ben Adam) would be for his generation. Jesus also announced the destruction of the city of Jerusalem (Luke 21:20). A generation in Bible stands for forty years. So the scouts were forty days in the Promised Land, and when they found an unbelieving people upon their return, the people had to pay one year for each of the forty days(Numbers 14:34). That generation would perish  in the wilderness, and for that reason the journey through the wilderness was to last forty years (Hebrews 3:9,10). The parallels between Jonah and Jesus, between Nineveh and Jerusalem, between the forty days and “this generation” point in the direction of forty years between Jesus’ announcement of Jerusalem’s destruction and the fulfilment of that. And so, to  a crucifixion in the year 30 AD.

Confirmation from the Talmud

A confirmation from an unexpected source for those forty years, is provided by both the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmud. Both sources mention forty consecutive years of bad signs in the temple service, before the temple was destructed in 70 AD. Four signs are mentioned in the Talmud:

  1. The western lamp of the Menorah in the sanctuary was extinguished every night
  2. The fate for YHWH, on Yom Kippur, came on the high priest’s left hand (instead of the right hand)
  3. A crimson-red thread hanging at the temple didn’t colour white (as before)
  4. De large doors of the temple (Hekhal) were open(ed) spontaneously each morning

According to the Talmud these signs began in 30 AD. The Jewish tradition itself links the destruction of Jerusalem and the year of Jesus’ crucifixion! It would match perfectly with the sign in the temple mentioned in the New Testament, viz. the renting of the curtain, during Jesus’ death!

Conclusion

The biblical era as we did follow so far from Adam, cannot be linked with certainty with our current era. Presumably the crucifixion took place in 30 AD, but even if that would not be correct, the margins are small. Not more than three years. Currently (March 2016) we live in the year 5982 since Adam; possibly one, two, three years earlier. That brings us to the exciting question how long we are away from the messianic age and thus from the return of Jesus Christ to this world… What does the Bible tell about that? 1_blog_13 MB

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