To build a truly reliable chronology, we need to attack the question from a totally different angle. Last time we did the technically difficult, but straightforward in principle, job of wading through all the dates in the Bible. This time we need to do the opposite; we need to understand the Bible and use what we’ve understood to find out when God should have started this plan – and then see if that matches the dates we established last time. That’s...
LESSON 56: Chronology, Part 3
Ask yourself, what do you know about the plan of God? In the big picture sense, what do you understand? After all these lessons, if you know nothing else, you know that God is making man in His image, after His likeness.
How long did that take God, the first time? Exodus 20:11. So as one “type”, or one layer of the understanding, God worked for 6 days and on the 7th, He rested. We also know that one day is as a thousand years to God, which gives us reason to suspect there are seven thousand-year-days to the plan of God.
Hebrews 3-4 tells us that the millennium will be a Sabbath day of rest, when we cease from our labors, as God ceased from us – which again ties the millennium back to the first Sabbath in Genesis 2:1-3, and the literal week of creation to the millennial week of creation.
Everyone knows Jesus died “roughly” 2,000 years ago, and that Adam was created “roughly” 4,000 years before that. That would total approximately 6,000 years, or six working days of creation, and strongly imply that the 7th “day” is coming to the world soon, wrapping up this stage of the plan of God. That plan is one week long, beginning with Adam; and as we speak, the sun is getting low in the sky on the sixth day.
But there is yet another symbolic meaning to a week – a week also means a week of years (Genesis 29:27, Leviticus 25:8). And of course, sometimes a week is just a week of 7 regular days, as in the week of creation. And following the Biblical principle of duality, often times a week symbolizes ALL these things.
ONE WEEK TO CONFIRM THE COVENANT
Given all that, when you read Daniel 9:27 it casts a new light on the verse. Clearly this is a day-for-a-year prophecy, meaning that these 70 weeks are weeks of years. The focus of the prophecy is all on the last week, and the Messiah was to be cut off in the midst of that “week of years”. From this most people infer that Jesus’ ministry was 3½ years long.
This interpretation isn’t necessarily wrong, although as you’ll see it isn’t quite right either; but that application is only a small fraction of the MUCH larger picture which solves all our chronology problems! Read through Daniel 9:24-27 slowly and look at what exactly was going to happen within those 70 weeks. The starting date from this prophecy, as you read in the last lesson, was the decree of Artaxerxes in 457 BC. Counting 490 days forward ends in 34 AD.
But the bulk of the events were to happen in the 70th week, which would have spanned from 27-34 AD. In the midst of that last week the Messiah would be “cut off”. By the end of the 70th week, “an end of sins” would be made; a “reconciliation for iniquity”, “everlasting righteousness”, and “sealing up the visions and prophecy”, and to “anoint the most Holy”.
These are all specific prophecies of things Jesus did; Hebrews 9:26, Romans 6:22, Hebrews 1:9, Hebrews 2:17, Colossians 1:20-21, etc. That shouldn’t need proven, but some people believe this verse refers to some pagan prince like Titus, who destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. Yet these verses clearly prove only MESSIAH the Prince could have fulfilled these prophecies.
The prophecy is broken up into two groups, 7 weeks and 62 weeks. I’ve never seen a good explanation for that – it is surely significant but I don’t know how. Regardless, together they make 69 weeks, which ended in 27 AD, after which would come the 70th week, in the midst of which “Messiah shall be cut off [killed], but not for himself”.
In Daniel 9:26, a different prince is referenced – Titus, who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD, over 500 years after this prophecy was written, and continued “desolations” were prophesied until the end of the war. But which war? There was a war between Judea and Rome in 66-70 AD, but the destruction of the city and temple put a decisive end to that war. No “desolations” continued.
So we must look for other ways this prophecy could be fulfilled. Rome destroyed the temple of God in Jerusalem. But not before the temple had been abolished and “moved” into the hearts of true Christians! Titus didn’t destroy THAT temple!
But to this day, Rome is still trying to put the abomination of desolation in that temple – they are still at war with the saints – and will be until Jesus returns! And sometimes, actually most of the time, Rome wins and gets the true Christian to compromise with them, and so “desolations” of the true temple of have continued, and will continue, until the end of the war.
And it is appropriate that when she is judged, God makes her desolate, a fitting punishment for her crime! (Revelation 17:16-17). In this way, God is rewarding her double as she rewarded the saints (Revelation 18:5-6).
There is a solid bridge between Daniel 11:31, 35 and Daniel 9:26-27, so read the whole passage in Daniel 11:30-39 again. Earlier, we’ve connected this prince in Daniel 11 to the Pope, and therefore “people of the prince” in Daniel 9:26 must mean not only the Roman armies, but also the Pope’s “armies”!
The “end of the war” in Daniel 9:27 bridges to Daniel 11:35’s “time of the end”, and the true people of God have been constantly at war with them ever since – as prophesied! Now finally in Daniel 9:27, is this talking about the “prince” (Pope/Titus/Rome) or Messiah the Prince? Did the Pope ever “confirm the covenant” of God’s people with anyone?
Therefore this verse is once again talking about Jesus! A great deal depends on this (obvious) conclusion, so make sure; the whole point of this passage has been to take us from the decree of Artaxerxes to Jesus’ first coming. There was a brief digression to talk about the other prince, but the main thread of the subject has always been the Messiah.
When verse 27 talks about someone “confirming the covenant”, which requires the very same things that verse 24 talks about, no one but Jesus could have done this. This means the context is back to Jesus again in verse 27, and “in the midst of the week”, “he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease”. Did Jesus do this, or did Titus?
It is true that Jesus didn’t destroy the temple, per se; but He did destroy any NEED for the temple. It is true Jesus didn’t abolish the sacrifices, but He abolished all need for the sacrifices. Jews, even Christian Jews who wouldn’t listen to Paul, kept offering sacrifices as long as the temple stood; but Jesus made the need for sacrifice and offering to cease!
And He did so “in the midst of the week”, but we’ll come back to that. Why did He stop the offerings and take the temple out of Jerusalem? Because of the “overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate”; because Jerusalem had rejected Him, He rejected them – as Luke 20:9-19 said He would.
So Jesus made Jerusalem desolate because of their abominations until He returned; until “the end of the war” between Rome and true Christianity. He referenced this in Mark 13:14, speaking of His return. Compare this Luke 13:34-35.
The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD was a small type of this prophesy, but the much more significant type was when the temple veil was ripped at Jesus’ death. When that happened the need for Jerusalem ceased to exist, for mankind no longer needed the temple; the veil was ripped and we now had access to go boldly before the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). The barrier had been removed.
And because Jerusalem rejected Jesus, now Jerusalem is as Sodom and Egypt to God (Revelation 11:8), and their house is “left unto them desolate” just as Jesus promised. And it will stay that way until the full measure of punishment God promised to Jerusalem is fulfilled.
THE MIDST OF THE WEEK
All of this would be fulfilled in the midst of the week. In the primary context of this prophecy, that meant specifically that in the midst of the 70th week, on the 4th day of that week, Jesus would be “cut off”, killed, so that we would not have to be.
This tells us that if Jesus began His ministry in 27 AD, He would be killed between three and four years later, in 31 AD. Most people assume it was exactly the middle of the week, giving him a 3½ year ministry. Which, while plausible, is an assumption and happens to be wrong. We’ll come back to that.
But in the principle we established in the beginning of this lesson, there are three weeks that this prophecy can refer to; in fact, given the Biblical principal of duality, three weeks that it must refer to. The literal week of days, the week of years, and the week of millennia.
In the millennial week we can see, superficially, that it fits closely. Roughly 4 days passed between Adam and Jesus, and roughly 2 days passed since; that means that Jesus could easily have died on the 4th day from Adam, or “in the midst of the week”, the seven-thousand-year-week during which He has been “confirming the covenant with many”!
In the daily week, we can also see the same pattern. As you know if you’ve read the booklet “The Resurrection Is Not On Sunday!” Jesus died on a Wednesday – the fourth day of the week! This means He spent three days dead, and four days alive, that week.
The Bible does not say exactly when Jesus entered Jerusalem for the last time. But the world is absolutely certain it happened on Palm Sunday; this alone makes me question it. So let’s look at the facts; we know that in 31 AD, the Passover fell on Wednesday, the 14th of Abib/Nisan. According to John 12:1, Jesus arrived in Bethany, near Jerusalem, six days before the Passover.
Six days before the 14th would be the 8th of Abib, a Thursday, or possibly the 9th, a Friday, depending on whether it meant six full days before, or on the sixth day – which would be between five and six days before. I favor the Friday explanation, because it fits nicer as you’ll see later.
Read John 12:2-13. Assuming for a moment that Jesus arrived on Friday afternoon, the 9th, the meal described would have taken place Friday evening. Sundown would have begun the 10th day of the month, so the woman anointing Jesus’ feet would have done so on the 10th day. This is important.
The next day, the daylight portion of the 10th, Jesus entered Jerusalem. Several important things happened on that day, of which the palm leaves were perhaps least important; far more important is that Jesus said for the first time “the hour is come” (verses 23-26), announcing His death.
People heard an angel’s voice relaying a message from the Father saying that Jesus’ name was glorified, and would be glorified again (verses 27-30); Jesus said that the world’s judgment had begun (verses 31-33).
All of these things add up to a clear fact; after 3-4 years of teaching and preaching, something had changed; Jesus was now committed to the sacrifice and was ready for it. He knew it was time. All this happened on the 10th day of the first month.
Now read Exodus 12:3-6. The Old Testament lamb, which pictured a large part of Jesus’ sacrifice, was chosen, prepared for the sacrifice, and set apart from the flock... on the exact same day of the month that all these things happened to Jesus!
None of these things work with so-called “Palm Sunday” – there is no way to fit all those extra days into a Wednesday crucifixion. And the prophecies of the OT lamb don’t quite fit if Jesus came to Bethany on Thursday; therefore it had to be the afternoon of Friday, the 9th, when He entered Bethany; Saturday the 10th when He entered Jerusalem.
And Sunday began the last work-week of His life, in the midst of which He was killed by the “whole congregation of Israel” on the 14th day of the month. This gave Him four days in Jerusalem – the first “half” of the week – and three days in the grave. And in the midst of this week is when He gave His life a ransom for many, confirming the covenant.
ODD THING ABOUT THE WEEK
But the odd thing is, Jesus did not die in the exact middle of that week. If He had died literally in the middle of the week, He would have died at dawn on the fourth day; yet He died in late afternoon on the fourth day, and was not buried until just before sundown on that day.
While it would make sense to measure “causing the sacrifice to cease” from the moment of His death, the job really wasn’t done until He was laid in the tomb. The prophecies had mostly been fulfilled by His death, but they were not all fulfilled until He was buried with the wicked and the rich, as prophesied in Isaiah 53:9. That didn’t happen until the very end of the day, when the sun had almost set (Luke 23:54).
So why wasn’t this all done in the exact middle of the week? Isn’t that what God prophesied? Looking at Daniel 9:27 again, God did not say it would be the precise moment of the middle of the week; He said only “in the midst of the week”, which technically is any time within the middle day.
Just as God used the phrase “in the midst of the garden” to describe, not the spot in the precise center, but a region in the middle of the garden (Genesis 2:9). Expanding this reasoning to the millennial week, the exact middle of the week would be 3,500 years from creation; which is simply impossible to reconcile with the facts of chronology you learned in the previous lesson.
We know it had to be close to 4,000 years from Creation to Jesus’ death, we just don’t know how close; but using what we learned from the pattern of the literal week, Jesus should have been cut off near the end of the 4th day – but He MUST have been cut off INSIDE of the 4th day.
In other words, to fulfill Daniel 9:27, Jesus had to die in less than 4,000 years from creation in order for it to qualify as the midst of the week! In the picture on the next page you can see a chart that highlights the problem with traditional chronology.
In the first row, you see Bishop Ussher’s chronology; most people use something close to that. It has the creation of the world 4004 BC , 4,000 years from Jesus’ birth, which means His death would be 4,033 years from the creation of Adam, in the 5th day from creation! This cannot be!
On the second row, you can see a chart made to fit the pattern of the daily and yearly weeks; that is, putting the death of Christ at the very end of the fourth day. Jesus died in 31 AD, according to the 70 weeks prophecy, and there is quite a bit more proof of that to follow later in this lesson.
And if 31 AD is at the very end of the 4th thousand-year day from creation, then we only have to count back 4,000 years to find the date of the beginning of the plan of God... and guess what? It just happens to be 3968 BC, the exact same date you found in the last lesson by a completely separate method!
And out of the mouth of two or three witnesses everything is established! This is an absolutely unique date I have never found in any other chronology, but one which automatically follows from basic understanding of the Bible and letting it explain itself!
On the next two lines, you see how the pattern follows perfectly in all these weeks; in each case, Jesus died at the end of the fourth day of the week. Fulfilling perfectly the prophecy that He would be cut off in the midst of the week!
JESUS’ MINISTRY AND SACRIFICE
It follows naturally from our chart above that Jesus’ ministry during the week of years should have been just under 4 years long, not 3½. The only reason to conclude 3½ years is Daniel 9:27, and since it didn’t mean the precise middle moment of the week in either of the other weeks, it is illogical to assume it did this time.
The gospels are not clear on exactly how long it His ministry was, but no more than four separate Passovers are listed so this certainly fits. We know from the 70 weeks prophecy that it lasted from 27-31 AD, and we know it ended in the springtime, on the day of Passover.
Actually, that isn’t quite true. Jesus’ death was important, but it was not the only thing that happened. Nor was it even the MOST important thing that happened that week! That statement alone would get you kicked out of any Protestant church as a heretic, but read it for yourself: Romans 5:10.
Many people have died in history, given their life for others, been tortured for crimes they did not commit – but none of them were our savior, because none of them lived a perfect lifeor were resurrected! It was His resurrection that brought us life, not His death! His death paid for our sins but that alone did not make us alive! (Romans 6:3-5, 8-10). Jesus had to CONQUER death in order for us to live with Him!
And so Jesus’ job wasn’t done until He was resurrected, and that didn’t happen until the end of the literal “week” that He was confirming the covenant, sunset after Saturday. Because we were not saved by His death, but by His life.
But actually, His job wasn’t really concluded then; why not? John 20:17. At this point, Sunday morning around dawn, Jesus still dare not be touched by tainted human hands; why? Because He had not yet ascended!
Jesus had to die, be resurrected, and be carried by the angels into the bosom of the Father (Luke 16:22), before He could be given “all power in heaven and in Earth” (Matthew 28:18). So again I ask you, why? Jesus had overcome sins. He had been resurrected from the dead. So why did He have to do something ELSE in order to receive all power?
Well, look at it differently. What was Jesus? Ephesians 5:2. And what must sacrifices be? Philippians 4:18. And what must they be in order to be accepted? Leviticus 22:21. Does God sometimes refuse to accept sacrifices? Hosea 8:13.
So Jesus’ sacrifice had to be accepted by God. The sacrifice itself wasn’t enough; God had to ACCEPT it, APPROVE it, in order for it to be validated. And that means it had to be tested by God. Otherwise, how can God know if a sacrifice is perfect, or if it is lame, sick, and blind (Malachi 1:8)? So on that Sunday morning when Jesus ascended to His Father, powerless, it was to have God look His sacrifice over and stamp “Accepted!” on it.
THE WAVESHEAF DAY
But this wasn’t just any sacrifice. This was a very specific, long-prophesied, sacrifice. In God’s holy day calendar, the morrow after the Sabbath during the days of unleavened bread was a particularly special day; the day of waving the sheaf. Read about it in Leviticus 23:9-16.
This day was the beginning of the numbering cycle of seven Sabbaths, culminating in Pentecost. But the day itself was important, for on this day a sheaf of grain was waved. No other grain could be eaten from this year’s harvest until AFTER this grain was waved.
This was not merely the first fruits. It was one armful only, the FIRST of the firstfruits; one sheaf of grain, preceding all the other firstfruits. Compare that to Exodus 23:19 and 1 Corinthians 15:20-23. We know “they that are Christ’s at His coming” are the firstfruits (Revelation 14:4). But Jesus was the firstfruits of them that slept – the first of the firstfruits! Therefore, Jesus IS that sheaf of wheat that was waved!
And in case you haven’t noticed, this sheaf was waved on the morrow after the Sabbath during the days of unleavened bread; and Jesus ascended to heaven on the morrow after the Sabbath during the days of unleavened bread!
Fascinating as that is, it’s not the point. It’s just one layer of the symbolism – the most literal layer. Working backwards now, we can conclude that the waving of the sheaf represented holding it up for God’s inspection and approval. Or, we could say that it represented the testing of the grain, to see if it was a fit sacrifice.
But in the larger picture, that grain that was waved was just grain. No one ate grain! They ate bread! In Leviticus 23:15-20, we see that the grain was just a beginning! And working from grain, seven weeks later, the priest was to offer BREAD! Bread baked with leaven; leaven representing sin, and the saints representing loaves, and the saints having been prepared and perfected out of sin, clearly the bread represents the firstfruits; and along with many other sacrifices, they, too, were to be waved on Pentecost!
You learned long ago that Pentecost was the fulfillment of God’s plan for mankind. This represents the testing of the sacrifices of the saints, both first and second resurrection saints, at the conclusion of this plan when Jesus offers up the kingdom to His father – WAVES it – and God accepts it from Him (1 Corinthians 15:24, Romans 15:16, 1 Peter 2:5, etc).
WAVESHEAF IN OTHER WEEKS
So the wavesheaf day represents the testing of a sacrifice, in simple words. Jesus’ offering was the defining moment of Jesus’ sacrifice, when He was waved in heaven, and when neither God nor anyone else could find a flaw in Him, the sacrifice was accepted, and Jesus was given a place to sit in God’s throne at His right hand.
But that’s just one type; that was Jesus’ test as a sacrifice, His test to become a God. But Jesus faced other tests. We know Jesus’ death happened within, and just before the end of, the 4th year of the week of years. Four years earlier He began His ministry. And if it was four years earlier, then it was also in the springtime, also around Passover season.
The Bible doesn’t record exactly which day He was baptized; only that He was “about 30”. However, if the fourth day concluded on the wavesheaf day, then exactly 4 years earlier would have been the wavesheaf day as well! And if the wavesheaf day represents testing, what better fulfillment of symbolism could there be, than to have Jesus begin His ministry, and be tested as a leader of men, on the wavesheaf day?
And what’s more, if Jesus was “about 30” at the time, then thirty years before that would have also been the springtime, and also around Passover season! Why did Jesus become a man? To prove that God can be obeyed. What is that, if not a test? And what better day could we choose to begin the greatest test in history, than on the day of testing? The wavesheaf day? Sometime in April of 4 BC?
These last two arguments are not conclusive, but they do fit the pattern beautifully. We will try now to back them up.
According to the 70 weeks prophecy, Jesus should have been presented – baptized – in 27 AD. At the time, He was about 30 (Luke 3:23). It is noteworthy that according to God’s law, no one under 30 could be a practicing priest (Numbers 4:47, etc). So God had to wait until Jesus was 30 to begin using Him to lead others. To find the year of Jesus’ birth, we can simply subtract 30 years from 27 AD and we arrive in 4 BC. But what time of year was He born?
To prove that Jesus was not born in winter is easy. Most people, even Protestants, know this. For one thing, Caesar called a census. It would not make sense to force an entire nation to come to Jerusalem in the worst weather of the year. What was the weather like in Jerusalem in winter? Song of Solomon 2:11, Ezra 10:9, 13. Did even Christ say the weather was terrible in winter? Matthew 24:20.
Also, the shepherds were in the fields tending the flock according to Luke 2:8. Shepherds in Israel bring in their flocks around October, and don’t take them back to the fields until nearly April.
Chronologers use the courses of Abia to prove their points about this subject a lot, the problem is that there just isn’t enough information to reach a firm conclusion with them. The reasoning they use is that Zacharias was following the course of Abia (Abijah in the OT) in Luke 1 just before John was conceived.
The courses were essentially shifts that the priests worked on, because there were too many priests for them all to work at once. Instead, they each worked 2 weeks a year, according to their family. The course of Abia was the 8th of 24 such courses.
This much is fact. Everything else is debatable. It is probable that the priests worked one week in the spring, and one in the fall, although some claim they worked two weeks at once. Clearly, depending on which one of these three courses you choose from (spring, fall, or 16th week of the cycle), you get three different answers.
Also, no one is sure when the cycle begins; with the new year, with the holy day season (spring, Pentecost, or fall). This makes it impossible to use the courses of Abia to prove anything without other evidence. They can be made to fit any theory – thus they are useless to prove any theory.
SPRING OR FALL?
We’ve established winter is impossible. Considering the importance of the holy days, and the fact that most key Biblical events involve them, it is highly probable that Jesus was born on or near one of them. Almost everyone agrees on this. The question is, which?
Most chronologers believe Jesus was born in the fall. There is precisely one reason to believe this, and one alone; that alone should make you nervous about this idea. That reason is found in John 1:14. The word translated in most Bibles as “dwelt” can mean “tabernacled” (although the KJV never uses it this way). Many people – far too many people – take this as a mystic clue that Jesus was born around the Feast of Tabernacles.
But that is an absurdly weak argument. So weak it isn’t worth refuting. It’s better to attack the question differently; what, symbolically, was Jesus represented as most often? John 1:29. And lambs are always born in the spring. This point is not conclusive, but it is much more persuasive than “tabernacled”. If Jesus WAS the Lamb of God, then logically He SHOULD have been born when lambs are born.
Something else to consider is the meaning of the holy days themselves; what, generally, do the spring and fall feasts represent? This question was on the Lesson 15-17 test, so you should know it; the spring feasts all involve the first fruits. The fall feasts all involve the second fruits. So Jesus, as first of the firstfruits, should not have been born in the fall!
ISAAC – A TYPE OF CHRIST
Isaac was a type of Christ. This can be proven quite easily from several different ways, but most easily by comparing exactly what happened to each. Remember from the story of Lazarus and the rich man that Abraham represents God the Father. Therefore, Isaac and Jesus are both sons of Abraham/the Father.
Jesus in fact is specifically represented as the singular Seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16), equating Jesus with Isaac (Genesis 21:12). But more importantly, both were sacrificed by their Father. Compare the stories in detail in Genesis 22:1-16.
Isaac was to be offered on one of the mountains of Moriah. The temple was later built on Mount Moriah (2 Chronicles 3:1). The mount where Isaac was offered was later called “the mount of God” (Genesis 22:14). Thus Jesus and Isaac could well have been sacrificed on the exact same spot; but they were certainly sacrificed nearby. Notice also that God specifically chose the location – as if where it happened meant something to Him (verse 2).
In Hebrews 11:17, speaking of this event, it says that Abraham “offered up his only begotten son”, precisely as it says God the Father did, using identical words, in John 3:16. But Jesus was resurrected from the dead – and so was Isaac, in a manner of speaking, according to Hebrews 11:19.
Pursuing the metaphor, if Jesus was sacrificed on the day of Passover, then Isaac should have been sacrificed then as well, although this is not stated. Jesus was separated for the sacrifice the 10th day of the month, then started His last work week three days before the Passover.
Isaac left home 3 days before the [passover?] sacrifice (Genesis 22:3-4), which means God chose Isaac for a sacrifice the day before (verses 1-2), which would have also been the 10th day of the month. Lambs were separated for the Passover sacrifice on the 10th day of the month, and Abraham said that God would provide a lamb for the sacrifice. But God had told him to use Isaac, which implies that Abraham thought Isaac was the lamb (verse 8).
Given these parallels which strongly tie Isaac to Christ, it is very probable that Isaac was born at the same time of the year as Christ. So when was Isaac born? Genesis 17:1, 19, 21; Genesis 18:1, 10-15; Genesis 21:1-5.
Clearly the events in chapters 17 and 18 were separate, yet they must also have been quite close together for both prophesied that Abraham and Sarah would have a son at “this set time next year”, “according to the time of life”. The birth of Isaac was not a random event; God particularly chose a time for it to happen.
Since chapter 19 is connected to the events of 18, all three chapters happened very close together. “The time of life” is an obvious expression; what time of year would you call the time of life? When does the world “spring to life”? Springtime.
That’s actually where the season’s name came from! The time when things spring back to life! That’s also when lambs are born, as we already said. Since God was prophesying the birth of Isaac about one year from the time of the prophecy, it means these events happened in the springtime as well.
If you compare what happened in Genesis 17 to Joshua 4:19, 5:2-3, it is likely that these both may have happened on the 10th day of the first month – to connect the symbol of circumcision to the same day in both places, and to further support the idea that this was springtime.
Given all that, and God’s fondness for working around the holy days, it is very likely that Genesis 17 happened on the 10th day of the first month (or possibly the 15th, the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread, but I prefer the 10th day), and almost certain that Genesis 18 happened on the wavesheaf day and Genesis 19 happened on the last Holy Day.
There are several arguments to support this reasoning that I won’t go into here, but the clincher is found in Genesis 19:3 – unleavened bread is not something you make for honored guests. Unleavened bread is something God’s people have always eaten at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, however.
JESUS AND THE WAVESHEAF
This makes it almost inescapable that Jesus was born in the spring, and nearly conclusive that He was born on the wavesheaf day. Because think about it – He HAD to be born during the days of unleavened bread – those are the days when sin is put out of the camp! Which is precisely what Jesus came to do!
The wavesheaf was the day the firstfruits of the harvest were waved before God, tested, proved and checked, to make sure they were good enough. This happened to Christ on the Wavesheaf day in 31 AD. This was the day when His sacrifice was tested or proved, to see if He had passed His test, and was QUALIFIED to rule the universe.
Four years earlier He was baptized and “waved” to see if He was qualified to lead others, which He then did for 4 years. He HAD to first pass this test to qualify for the final test. And 30 years before that He was born, also on the wavesheaf day – and for 30 years, He was tested to see if He could, Himself, be without sin before He could even take the test of leading others. His life was a series of tests, each of which had to be passed to qualify to take the next.
The conclusion is that if He was born on the wavesheaf day in 4 BC, then the date of His birth, as calculated, was April 15th, 4 BC – oh, and if God had wanted us to observe it and give gifts on it, He wouldn’t have made it so hard to figure out when it was. Instead, He made our income taxes come due on that date.
The main point of this lesson has been the layers of the application of God’s prophesies; specifically the seven day plan of God with the death of Christ in the midst of the week. God works in types and patterns, and when you truly understand an important pattern, you’ll start to see it woven into nearly everything.
God gave us six days to labor, and do all our work, reserving the seventh day for Himself. Of course He meant a literal week; but He also meant a week of years, for He allows us to work our fields for six years, but the seventh they must rest. And He also meant a millennial week, for we work for six thousand years, but the seventh is a rest which we, the saints, are now laboring to enter into.
But now apply that pattern to the very first week – the week of the creation of Adam. God labored for six days on this Earth, but on the seventh He rested. But did He stop creating on that seventh day, while He rested? Jesus said on the Sabbath day “My Father is working still, and I am working” (John 5:17 RSV).
So what did God do that first Sabbath? Sleep? Doodle? Twiddle His thumbs? More importantly, what was Adam doing – he had been created the day before, with Eve, and had a whole new world to explore. Would God send him off into the world without giving him any information? What if he sinned?
Remember, he was the first person to ever be created; everything was new to him. He knew nothing except what God had written into his brain, if anything. So God could not have let Adam go off into the world without giving him some guidelines; some rules or laws to live by.
God stopped creating physical things on that Sabbath, as He expects us to do; but He continued creating spiritual things!
Just as the priest labors on the Sabbath in spiritual matters and is blameless! (Matthew 12:5). And since that fits so perfectly with what happened on all subsequent Sabbaths, that on that day we gather together to learn the laws of God... what else could God have done that Sabbath day? He spent it teaching Adam the laws he was to live and rule the Earth by! And so God was setting an example for the priesthood, as well as the people, of how they were to spend the Sabbath!
This is critical to a point I’m about to make, so let me belabor it; could you tell your child “I’m leaving you alone now for awhile, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do...” without first making sure that he knew WHAT EXACTLY IT IS that you wouldn’t do?? Of course not!
God could not have let Adam rule himself, and therefore his 6,000 years to do all his labor could not begin, until after he had received God’s rules to live by! So on that first Sabbath, God gave him all he needed. And that Sabbath evening at sundown, Adam was ready.
That Sabbath evening, precisely 4,000 years to the second before the Sabbath evening Jesus was resurrected; that Sabbath evening which began the wavesheaf Sunday, began Adam’s waving, the testing of Adam’s fitness to rule the world.
Oh yes, Jesus was not the first one to be tested for moral fitness to rule the world! Jesus was only the SECOND Adam! (1 Corinthians 15:45, 22). The first Adam failed when he was waved that Sunday morning. When Satan came to tempt him, Adam broke God’s law and miserably failed that first test.
SATAN SO SOON?
This probably shocks you, so let’s take a moment and look at it. Suppose you’re God; how long do you wait before testing Adam? He’s been given the knowledge he needs, he’s ready to rule the Earth; why wait? We gain experience by overcoming obstacles. Without tests, Adam would never have been any more ready to face Satan than the very first day.
Or suppose you’re Satan; how long would you wait to try and deceive Adam? A year? A week? A day? You would certainly go after him the absolute first chance you got! God had created Adam on Friday, and spent time with him that evening while creating Eve. God had spent all day Saturday with him. Sunday would be the first chance for God to let him alone to find his own way – so Sunday morning would be the first chance for you, as Satan, to attack.
And back to playing God again... you have to know that Adam was going to sin eventually. That was part of the plan from the beginning – that Adam sin, and then repent and, in time, choose not to sin. How long would you drag out the agony of knowing Adam would sin? How long would you shield him from that which he must face one day?
And finally, we have proof from an unusual source; the devil himself. As we’ve said several times, the devil sees himself as the savior of mankind; and in the false religions of the world, the devil takes on the best roles; so when a Protestant church worships Jesus, the Jesus they really describe with their doctrines is the devil.
The devil is this other Jesus whom Paul did not preach (2 Corinthians 11:1-4). The one whom the false Christians were, even then, tolerating. The one whose mystery religion promoting lawlessness was already hard at work (2 Thessalonians 2:7). You know all this, but I need it fresh in your mind for my next conclusion... when the world says “Jesus”, they mean Satan.
Of course they don’t know that. But when the world’s churches have a doctrine that something special happened to their Jesus, it really means that something special happened to the Devil. For example, the world’s Jesus believes the greatest reward he can give his followers is to allow them to stare at his beauty for eternity (the beatific vision). The true Jesus believes the greatest reward He can give His followers is to make them brethren; equals in everything but age and seniority.
Likewise, the true Jesus was killed Wednesday, resurrected at sunset Saturday; but the world’s Jesus was killed Friday afternoon, and resurrected Sunday at dawn. Now think about this for a moment; Obviously, Satan has never died, per se; but he has been dethroned. And for a being who desperately craves the worship of others, and feeds on power, this must feel like death.
Now the angels which sinned were clearly given an estate – their first place to rule – before they sinned. And afterward, they were placed “under darkness” to await judgment. Darkness was the state of the Earth in Genesis 1:2-3 before God prepared it for Adam, and Satan was cast to Earth (Revelation 12:8-9).
So in short, Satan possessed despotic power over the dark and barren Earth. When did that change? When God installed a new ruler – in Genesis 1:26-28. Now Adam had dominion over the whole Earth and everything that moves or creeps on it. Adam was king! Satan was deposed! Dead! When did this happen? On the afternoon of the sixth day – Friday afternoon!!
All day Saturday God was with Adam, giving Satan no chance to reclaim his throne. But then Sunday morning before dawn, Adam and Eve awoke, and Satan was right there to start working on them; they quickly sinned, and as the unconquerable sun rose on Sunday morning, so the unconquerable false Jesus rose with it!
Like the Phoenix (another version of the same story), Satan rose up from the ashes of defeat and once more was ruler of the world and savior of mankind – for now the rightful rulers of the world, Adam and Eve, had obeyed him – and they were the servants of whoever they obeyed! (Romans 6:16).
Since the king of the Earth obeyed Satan, that made Satan king of kings! A title the false Jesus claims, and for now, rightfully so... for all these kingdoms are given to him, and he gives them to whomsoever he wishes! (Luke 4:5-6).
So yes, it is shocking, but when you think about it, it is not only probable, but nearly certain, that Satan tempted Adam and Eve the first chance he got; which, in God’s foresight, so happened to be on the wavesheaf Sunday; significant to God as the day of testing. Significant to Satan as Easter Sunday, the first “victory” over God. (Of course, God let him win.)
THE OTHER HALF OF THE WEEK
So far, we’ve focused exclusively on the first four days of the week of salvation. What of the other three days? Where were they spent? It clearly says that Jesus would confirm the covenant with many for one week. In the midst of that week He would be cut off, yet still He had to be confirming the covenant for a whole week, even after being cut off!
We’ve already explained part of it; that in the literal week, Jesus was in Jerusalem preparing for the sacrifice the first four days, and on the last day – Saturday – He was resurrected to conclude the week. But what of the three days and three nights He was dead? What did He confirm then? To answer that, we need to look at the patterns of all three weeks.
In the millennial week, Jesus, as the God of the Old Testament, spent four days with the children of the covenant; Adam, then Seth, then Enoch, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the rest of the Bible is entirely about their children. This was an inheritance that could only be accessed by literal blood relatives.
But after the death of Christ, the gospel was opened to the Gentiles. It happened at the moment of His death, or perhaps His resurrection or ascension, but anyway, it was sometime in spring of 31 AD. Since then, you no longer needed to be a blood Israelite; only to have faith, for all those with faith were blessed with faithful Abraham and became His children (Galatians 3:7-9).
So then the first four millennial days were with Israel – or more accurately, with the covenant line which began at Adam – and the last three were spent with Gentiles. In the midst of which, Jesus was cut off.
Which leads us to the week of years; Jesus spent four years training the apostles, all of whom were Israelite; what about the remainder of that week? Galatians 1:15-18. At the very beginning of Paul’s conversion, which was not long after the death of Christ, he was trained in Arabia for three years. Very little is known or said of this period, but it would fit beautifully if Christ trained him, the apostle to the Gentiles, for three years as He had trained the other apostles for four years, rounding out one week to “confirm the covenant with many”, in this case, with many apostles/disciples.
Now back to the literal week, Jesus spent 4 days with the Jews, alive, and spent 3 days dead with “the wicked” and “the rich”, spiritual Gentiles, because He was laid in the tombs of the rich in Jerusalem (Isaiah 53:9).
This establishes a pattern; the first four days of each week were spent with the Israelites/OC/Physical. The last three were spent with the Gentiles/NC/Spiritual. In the midst of each week Jesus was cut off, and in the seventh day of each week there was rest.
As one final part of the pattern, go back to Creation week. The first four days God created light, dry land, grass/plants, and cleared the sky to see the sun and moon and stars. All physical things, nothing with a soul or the breath of life in it (plants have life, but no soul).
But on the 5th day God created fish, aquatic mammals, and birds; on the sixth he created land animals, and of course man. On the seventh He gave man the law. All three days were spent on spiritual things! Thus confirming the pattern once again, of confirming the covenant with many for one week!
To carry it even further, given the assumption that, like the Passover of Exodus and the Passover of Jesus, the holy days fell on the same days of the week during creation week, then it means that it was the 14th day of the month when God divided light from darkness on the 4th day.
That in turn means it was the 10th day of the month when Jesus brooded over the water (Genesis 1:2) and then prepared to create the world as we know it. For four days He worked, without committing to die for the sins of any creature for there were no creatures with souls to die for!
But on the 14th day of the month/4th day of that week, when the sun went down He had finished everything else; He had to create souls next on days 5 and 6, and before He could do that He had to have a sacrifice.
So before He created anything with the breath of life, He committed Himself to the responsibility of cleaning up the mess it would make; taking the burden of dying for His own creation on the 4th/14th day. Thus, in a very real sense, before the foundation of the world the lamb was slain... on the 14th day. (Revelation 13:8, 1 Peter 1:19-20). Doesn’t that wrap up the symbolism neatly?
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
God is working a plan; a plan that revolves around the seven-day week. Six days we work on the physical, and one day we work on the spiritual; and in the midst of that week, Jesus died for our sins. But not only that one week, but in the midst of every important week, in some sense, it happened; in the daily, yearly, and millennial weeks we have established already.
Remember in Lesson 15 how you counted backwards from Exodus 16 and drew a calendar of the Passover in Egypt. And you learned that Passover fell on a Wednesday – just as the Passover fell when Jesus was sacrificed.
What’s more, it was on the 4th day of creation week that God divided the light from the darkness; and what did Jesus do, when He surrendered His life for our sins, but divide light from darkness? Acts 26:18, Luke 1:76-79, John 3:19, John 12:35, 46, etc.
Just as Jesus, then known by the name LORD God, or Yahweh Elohim, divided light from darkness on the fourth day of creation week, so He also spent His life separating light from darkness, and His death allowed those in darkness to come into the light.
In a similar way, it was during the fourth millennial day of creation (from 968 BC to 31 AD) that God seemed to work hardest separating the holy from the profane, the light from the dark; more books were written during that time, or about that time, by God than any other period in history. More prophets, more effort on God’s part to establish a physical kingdom of God on Earth than any other time.
So you see the pattern is everywhere, when you truly understand it; and all of these “weeks”, the daily, yearly, and millennial weeks, as well as specific historic weeks like the passover of Christ, the Passover in Egypt, the week of creation (as well as tons of others I haven’t mentioned like the destruction of Sodom, death of Saul, Genesis 15, etc)... they ALL are fulfilling the same pattern; different layers, different applications, but all part of ONE big picture.
A principle from any one of these patterns will apply to all the others. In this way, the deepest mysteries of the Bible can be unlocked – a concept which we will explore at length in a few more lessons.
To wrap up this lesson, let’s look backwards and forwards. Jesus died on the Passover in 31 AD. He was resurrected three days later, and ascended to heaven as the wavesheaf offering that Sunday morning.
Precisely 4,000 years earlier, also on the wavesheaf day, Adam was tempted; the previous evening at sundown on Saturday, the 17th day of the first month, 3968 BC, creation week was finished and man’s 6,000 years to rule himself began.
That 6,000 years will be up on the wavesheaf day, 2031 AD. Will Jesus return and start the millennium then? I believe so, but I could be wrong. Does it really matter? Not really. See Luke 12:35-46. 10 minutes, 10 years, 10 centuries; if you’re not ready now, you probably won’t be ready then.
If you are worthy to be a ruler in the next life, you won’t be here because you want salvation (Mark 8:35). You won’t care about power or glory or deliverance from the plagues. You’ll be here because you love the law. If you love the law, you will be keeping the law, learning about the law, talking about the law, every day, when you rise up and when you sit down (Deuteronomy 6:7).
And you’ll be doing it whether God tells you to, or not; whether God rewards you, or not; in fact, you’ll be doing it even if God tells you NOT to keep it! (Genesis 18:25, Acts 10:14). And if you love the law, you won’t be disappointed if Christ doesn’t come back then; nor will you be caught off guard if He comes back earlier.
Now or then, with or without Jesus’ return or even God’s existence, keeping the law is its own reward, and those who love it will need no other. And, because of that very thing, they alone will be worthy to inherit all things.
Because only those who love the law above all else, cannot be tempted by anything else.