The Timing of David and Solomon's Reigns

by John P. Pratt

Reprinted from Meridian Magazine (12 Nov 2003)
©2003 by John P. Pratt. All rights Reserved.

Index, Home

Contents
1. Solomon's Temple
1.1 480th Year of the Exodus
1.2 Temple Dedication
1.3 Dedication Finale
1.4 Priest Cycle Begins
2. King David
2.1 David's 40-Year Reign
2.2 David's Birth
2.3 Birth of the United States
2.4 Solomon's Birth
3. Ezekiel's Witness
3.1 430-day Ordeal
3.2 Nebuchadnezzar's Siege
3.3 Josiah's Cleansing
3.4 King of Israel
3.5 Assyrian Chronology
4. Years as Days
4.1 1 NISAN
4.2 17 TAMMUZ
4.3 70-Year Captivity
4.4 Jesus Christ
4.5 LDS "Passover Week"
5. Beyond Chance
6. Conclusion
Notes
Sacred calendars provide precise dates for King David, his son Solomon, and the dedication of Solomon's temple, completing the chain of interlocking dates from Adam to Jesus, the son of David.

Michelangelo's David.
King David ranks with the great patriarchs of the Old Testament in many ways. At the time of Christ, a synonym for "Messiah" was "Son of David" (Mat. 12:23, 15:22, 20:30, 21:9) because the promised Messiah was to be a descendant of David. Matthew begins his Gospel with a detailed genealogy to prove that Jesus Christ fulfilled that requirement. Although not officially classed as a prophet, David composed most of the book of Psalms, which contains some of the most inspired revelations about Jesus Christ found anywhere in scripture. David is clearly a key figure in the Old Testament.

Matthew also provides what appears to be a grand key in his genealogy of Jesus Christ. He points out an important pattern which he knew would be meaningful to the Jewish audience he was trying to convert. He noted that there were 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 more until the Babylonian captivity, and then 14 more to Christ (Mat. 1:17). Thus, he was indicating that God has a plan, and that Christ was not only in the right family line, but that he filled the precise slot reserved for the Messiah. But perhaps Matthew also provided for us a great clue as to how we might find the last link to complete the chain of dates from Adam to Christ.

The first four articles in this series have shown how sacred calendars can be used to derive precise dates for key religious events during the lives of Adam, Noah, Abraham and Moses, respectively.[1] In former articles, precise dates were derived for the Savior's birth and ministry, and the day that King Jeconiah was taken captive to Babylon.[2] Comparing this list of results to Matthew's chain, we see that David is the missing link. That is, we have dates for Abraham, Jeconiah, and Christ, so if we can determine the dates of King David's birth and reign, we will have completed a list of anchor dates that span the entire Old Testament.

Let us begin the derivation of some important dates in the life of King David with his son, King Solomon.

1. Solomon's Temple

Temples are links between heaven and earth, and often the dates of important events associated with temples are clearly indicated on the Lord's sacred calendars. We saw in last month's article on the Exodus that the date of the raising of the tabernacle was an important sacred day, and that was only a portable tent version of the magnificent temple which would be erected centuries later during the reign of King Solomon. That edifice was Israel's first temple, and it was accepted by the Lord with fire from heaven consuming the offerings at its dedication (2 Chr. 7:1). Thus, we might expect some dates associated with the temple to be prominent on the Lord's sacred calendars.

Solomon's Temple.

1.1 480th Year of the Exodus

The Old Testament provides one very precise link from the Exodus to the time of King David and his son Solomon. It gives the very day on which the temple began to be built: the second day of the second month of the fourth year of Solomon's reign, which was the 480th year from the Exodus (1 Kings 6:1, 2 Chr. 3:2). That is the kind of detail that chronologists dream about. There is only one such clue to tie David and Solomon back to the Exodus, but only one clue is needed if it is indeed correct.

The approximate time of David is known to be about 1000 BC, as determined by counting back the lengths of reigns of the kings from the known time of the deportation of King Jeconiah on Sat 10 Mar 597 BC.[3] Traditional chronologies indeed date the Exodus by counting back 479 years from Solomon's supposed fourth year. For example, the edition of the Bible used by the LDS Church before its new version was published listed the Exodus in 1491 BC, and Solomon beginning to build the temple in 1012 BC. But many modern scholars have totally rejected the 480 years as symbolic or erroneous, and they date the Exodus to about 1260 BC.[4]

Construction of Solomon's Temple.
Is the Bible right or not about the date of King Solomon's temple? Now that we have the new tool of the sacred calendars, we can check on at least some religious events to see if they fit into the Lord's established pattern. And we have a precise date to check: the date indicated for beginning Solomon's temple most likely corresponds to Tue 14 Apr 983 BC (2 Iyar, 479 years after Exodus).

Looking at that date on the seven sacred calendars published so far, we find that it was not a special day on any of the calendars. But that is not surprising even if it is correct for we have no precedent to believe that the date on which a temple was begun should be a red-letter day on God's calendars. In the only other case of a temple-like structure we have considered so far, the portable tabernacle of Moses, it was the day on which it was first set up for use that the Lord's cloud settled on it. That would probably correspond to the dedication of Solomon's temple. The events which have been found significant so far are dates of the births and deaths of the great patriarchs and prophets, the dates of priesthood ordinances, and the dates of visits of angels and of the Lord himself.

The month of completion of the temple is also given, being the eighth month of Solomon's eleventh year (1 Kings 6:38), which would be Oct-Nov, 976 BC. Searching that entire month also yields nothing impressive on those calendars. Before passing judgment on the correctness of the Biblical date, let us look at other related implied dates to see if any witnesses can be found to testify of the correctness of this date. In fact, we have come to learn that if an event does indeed occur on a significant calendar date, even then the Lord does not leave us wondering if it was just a chance coincidence. In every case published so far in this series, there have been many mutually consistent witnesses formed by a network of interlocking significant dates of related events. Thus, based on previous discoveries, let us consider some of the more significant religious events of that time.

1.2 Temple Dedication

There was no doubt that the Lord accepted Solomon's temple because fire came down from heaven and consumed the offerings. That seems like a much more promising date to be significant.

Solomon's Temple Dedication.
When was the temple dedicated? The Bible doesn't give the exact year in Solomon's reign, but it gives enough clues to narrow it down to a few possible years. Let us review the order of events because it appears that an important misunderstanding has occurred in many published chronologies.

Here are the relevant events in the order presented in the Bible:

  1. Solomon began building the temple in the fourth year of his reign (1 Kings 6:1, 2 Chr. 3:2).
  2. He finished the temple seven years later in his eleventh year (1 Kings 6:38).
  3. Solomon was building his own house for thirteen years (1 Kings 7:1).
  4. Solomon continued making furnishings for the temple until finally all was ready (1 Kings 7:15 51, 2 Chr. 5:1).
  5. The temple was dedicated at the feast of Tabernacles (1 Kings 8:2, 2 Chr. 5:3).

To me there is a natural interpretation of the sequence of those events: Solomon finished the temple building in his eleventh year, his own home in his thirteenth year (which he presumably began at his coronation), the temple furnishings were finished shortly thereafter and the temple dedicated. Thus I would begin to look for the temple dedication beginning about the fourteenth year of his reign.

The reason for presenting this detail is there is one (repeated) verse which has led to another interpretation. An event is mentioned which occurred "at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses" (1 Kings 9:10-11, 2 Chr. 8:1). Because twenty happens to equal seven plus thirteen, it has been assumed that Solomon first built and completed the house of the Lord, then got the idea to build himself a home on which he spent thirteen more years, during which he finished the furnishings for the temple.[5] That would mean that the temple wasn't dedicated until thirteen years after it was completed which seems unlikely.

In any case, using our new tool of sacred calendars, we can see if either of these interpretations leads to the feast of Tabernacles being aligned with holy days on other sacred calendars. One very plausible candidate presents itself: Sat 19 Sep 972 BC. That day was the Feast of Tabernacles, the Autumn Equinox (Enoch), 1 Lord (Mercury), and 1 Water (SR). Being a holy day on four sacred calendars is a good start, now let's look for related dates.

The Holy of Holies.

1.3 Dedication Finale

Tabernacles is usually a one week feast, with a solemn assembly on the eighth day (Lev. 23:34-36), but we are told that Solomon held the feast for two weeks that year (1 Kings 8:65, 2 Chr. 8:9). Why this change? Looking at the calendar shows that two weeks after Tabernacles was another very special sacred day on the other calendars: Fri 2 Oct 972 BC pm* was the Feast of Tabernacles on the Enoch calendar, 1 Creation (Mer), and 1 Wind (SR). Thus, if these dates are correct, then by extending the feast, he celebrated the Feast on both the Hebrew and also the Enoch calendar. This result suggests that Solomon was not usurping his authority as king to change the sacred calendars, but instead was applying his famous wisdom to follow them.

The high priest.

1.4 Priest Cycle Begins

There is another important detail which is not mentioned in the narrative at all, but which is crucial to any date which is proposed. The 24 courses of priests who would take turns officiating weekly in the temple would then begin to serve. We have seen that this rotation of service constitutes a calendar, and the correlation of that calendar to ours is known.[6]. Thus, we would expect that the day on which the first family began to serve (Jehoiarib) would be a significant date, for it would begin a cycle that would hopefully continue unbroken until the destruction of the temple centuries later. At the raising of the Tabernacle of Moses, the priests began to serve a week prior to the event. Aligning with the priest cycle really narrows down the choice because the week of Jehoiarib only occurs once every 24 weeks, only near Tabernacles every few years, and the cycle always begins on a Saturday. An excellent date presents itself for the priests to have begun: Sat 5 Sep 972 BC, two weeks before the dedication, was Trumpets (Hebrew), Passover (Enoch Fixed), 0 Res (Mer), 13 Eagle (SR), and most importantly, 1 Jehoiarib (Priest), the first day of the 168-day cycle.

Thus, these three dates present a strong trilogy of testimonies that 972 BC was indeed the year of the dedication of the temple, after Solomon had reigned fourteen years, and that the temple might well have really been begun in the 480th year of the Exodus as claimed by the Bible.

2. King David

There are clues that important events in the life of King David might have been scheduled according to the Venus cycle. First, he is tied to Christ who was the "Bright and Morning Star," symbolized by Venus. Secondly, he reigned for 40 years, and we have seen that 40 years is a Venus/Mercury realignment cycle. Moreover, parents are often linked calendrically to their children and his son Solomon also reigned for 40 years.

David Slays Goliath.

2.1 David's 40-Year Reign

The Bible states that David reigned for forty years (1 Kings 2:11, 1 Chr. 29:27). We have seen that forty years may or may not refer to a Venus/Mercury realignment cycle of 14,599 days. The big clue that the 40-year cycle is implied is on the rare occasions when both the beginning and end of the cycle both occur on Hebrew holy days. Is there any such pair ending at the time of David's death?

If the temple was begun in 983 BC in Solomon's fourth year of reign (1 Kings 6:1), then his first year most likely began in 986 BC.[7] Checking alignments for that year yields a very promising candidate for David's death: Mon 12 Jun 986 BC pm* which as 1 Tammuz (Hebrew, Summer Equinox) and also 1 Creation (V) and 1 Lord (M).

Before proposing that day as David's death date, we need to check the day 14,599 days earlier which began the 40-year cycle. If it also falls on a Hebrew holy day, then there is sufficient reason to propose that David's reign really was tied to a 40-year Venus cycle. Sure enough, that day turns out to be Thu 22 Jun 1026 BC which was the sacred fast day 17 Tammuz on the Hebrew calendar, as well as being the expected 1 Cre (V) and 1 Lord (M).

Thus, let us accept as a working hypothesis that David began to reign over Judah on Thu 22 Jun 1026 BC and that he died on Mon 12 Jun 986 BC pm*, having had a reign of one 40-year Venus/Mercury realignment cycle. Let us now investigate whether any supporting evidence can be found.

2.2 David's Birth: July 4th

David was about thirty when he began to reign (2 Samuel 5:4), so we can look for a birth date, which according to the pattern of other proposed birth dates in this series should occur both on a Hebrew holy day, at least some other sacred calendars, and also on a date similar on some calendars to his death date. Those requirements are so stringent to occur in a given year that if we find such a date, it is highly likely to be correct. Moreover, in nearly every case so far, the birth date is more impressive than the death date, and David's proposed death date is a sacred day on 4 calendars (also being 1 Condor on the Sacred Round).

Searching for a possible birth date for David produces an ideal candidate, a holy day on 6 of the 7 known sacred calendars. The day Sat 4 Jul 1057 BC was 17 Tammuz (H), 14 Sum (Enoch, Summer Fast), 1 Res (V), 1 Bir (M), 1 Deer (SR), and 1 Jac (Easter on Priest). That Hebrew day is known simply as the Fast of the Fourth Month, which the Lord says will become a day of rejoicing some day (Zech. 8:19). That date ranks with the best birth dates found so far for the prophets. It is identical on the Venus and Mercury calendars to Isaac's birthday. This date fits the pattern so well of all the great prophets, as it should to be in Matthew's chain of key links to Christ, that it confirms this whole set of dates as being correct, including the Biblical assertion that the temple was built in the 480th year of the Exodus.

2.3 Birth of the United States

The United States of America was also born on July 4th, the date proposed for David's birth. Is that of any significance? If so, there will also be at least another witness, according to what has been discovered so far in the research. It turns out that Thu 4 Jul 1776 was also 17 Tammuz on the Hebrew calendar as was David's birth, so it may not be by chance that the nation which consistently sides with modern-day Israel was born on David's birthday.

So are all the fireworks on the Fourth of July the fulfillment of the prophecy that 17 Tammuz will become a day of "joy and gladness"? Probably not, partly because it is to be a day of rejoicing for the Jews and partly because it is not celebrated annually on 17 Tammuz. But that prophecy may have begun to be fulfilled at the Nauvoo Temple dedication on 17 Tammuz.[8]

Solomon's Wisdom.

2.4 Solomon's Birth

If Solomon's birth date could be found, it might also testify of the correctness of these proposed dates because we have seen that there is usually a calendrical link between parents and their children. When was Solomon born? How old was he when he inherited the throne upon the death of David? The Bible does not say, and checking other sources yields many confused opinions. One standard Jewish interpretation is that he was crowned at age twelve, but that cannot be because his son Rehoboam was born before David's death (1 Kings 15:10). The historian Josephus put his age at death at 94 (Antiquities VIII.vii.8), which makes no sense because he was born to Bathsheba during David's reign. So is there any hope of finding Solomon's birth date? From the events of David's reign, he was most likely in his early twenties.

Fortunately one scholar lists Solomon's age as being 23 when he began to reign.[9] I don't know his source, but now we have a way to check his result. In fact, a date can be found which is so perfect that I feel confident enough to publish it: Tue 26 Jun 1009 BC was 1 Tam (H), 1 Res (V), 1 Pri (M) and 1 Monkey (SR). That is not only a sacred day on four calendars, it is the same day as his father David's birth on the Venus calendar, and the same day as David's death on the Hebrew calendar. This double link to David is rare enough to occur in the very year indicated as to verify the correctness of that date.

3. Ezekiel's Witness

There is one last link to this time period which needs to be investigated. Hundreds of years after David, and even after Nebuchadnezzar had deported all but the poor of the Kingdom of Judah, the Lord had his prophet Ezekiel suffer a long ordeal to symbolize both Israel and Judah. Ezekiel was among the captives in Babylon before the final destruction of Jerusalem.

3.1 430-day Ordeal

The Lord commanded Ezekiel to give captive Judah a very strange symbolic demonstration. First, he set up a model battering ram to show how King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon would lay siege to Jerusalem (Ezek 4:1-3). Then the Lord told him to lay on his left side for 390 days to represent Israel, and then to turn over and lay on his right side for 40 days to represent Judah, with each day symbolizing a year (Ezek. 4:4-6). To show he was serious, the Lord commanded him to be bound in those positions so that he wouldn't accidentally turn over prematurely (Ezek. 4:8). And if that wasn't ordeal enough, the Lord also had him mix cow dung in with a recipe for bread, and kept him on a strict ration of that bread and water, again to symbolize what Judah would experience (Ezek. 4:9-17). At the end of the ordeal he was to shave his year's growth and divide it into three parts to show the fate of those remaining. He was to burn one third, destroy one third with his knife, and scatter one third to the wind. A very few shaven hairs were to be bound into captivity, but the point was that this time Nebuchadnezzar would not be taking many captives as he did before, but would show no mercy (Ezek. 5:1-17).[10]

The Brazen Sea.
Let us focus on just the numerical part of this dramatic demonstration. A period of a total of 430 years is indicated: 390 for Israel followed by 40 for Judah. We have seen many 430-year intervals in this series, always tied to the Venus cycle. Moreover, the 40 years for Judah is also a Venus/Mercury realignment cycle. So if we knew what ending point of the count of years was implied, then we could count back both 40 years and 430 years to look for possible significance.

3.2 Nebuchadnezzar's Siege

Ezekiel's demonstration of the coming siege of Jerusalem indicates that most likely the beginning date of the siege would complete the 430 years. We have already seen that the Lord later commanded Ezekiel to record the very day the siege began (Ezek. 24:1-2), which was Fri 11 Dec 589 BC, being 10 Teb (H), 1 Res (V), 1 Res (M).[11] That is an ideal place to begin counting back a 40-year Venus/Mercury realignment, because both the Venus and Mercury calendars were aligned on the sacred day 1 Resurrection and they would likely align again 40 years earlier.

3.3 Josiah's Cleansing

Counting back one 40-year Venus/Mercury alignment cycle of 14,599 days, brings us to Mon 21 Dec 629 BC pm*, which was 1 Teb (H, Begin Winter), 1 Res (V), 1 Res (M), and 1 Light (SR). Those last three holy days are not a surprise because a Venus/Mercury realignment period is expected to realign those days. But it is a bonus that the day was also 1 Tebeth, a holy day on the Hebrew Calendar (Winter Solstice). So that is a witness that we are on the right track, and that this truly is the day symbolized by Ezekiel. What might have happened at that time? It was most likely when King Josiah began to purge all of the idolatry from Judah in his twelfth year (2 Chron. 34:3). If so, then it would be a good date to represent Judah as the Lord said. I have not yet attempted a detailed chronology of all of the kings of Judah and Israel; at this point I am only trying to establish the key anchor dates of religious history, so more research on this point is needed.

David Victorious.

3.4 David: King of Israel

Now let's count back another 390 years, for a total of a 430-year Venus realignment interval. That brings us to Sat 16 Nov 1019 BC, 5 Kislev (Hebrew), 1 Res (V), 1 Light (SR). What event might have occurred at that time that the Lord might have chosen to represent Israel? That day was seven years and six months from the date proposed for the beginning of King David's reign over Judah. Did anything significant happen at that time of David's reign?

The answer is a resounding yes! The record states that David "reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah." (2 Sam. 5:5). So counting back a 430-year Venus cycle from the siege of Nebuchadnezzar brings us to the very month indicated that David began to rule over all of Israel, that is, both the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. Thus, it not only brings us to some significant date, it is also an ideal date to represent Israel.

This is the final link in the chronological chain from Adam to Christ. That is, by counting forward on the sacred calendars, and especially with the 430-year Venus cycle, we have been able to derive precise dates for Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and then David. Also, we have seen in previous articles that key dates in the life of Christ aligned with the Venus cycle, as did the captivity of Jeconiah. The final link is now seen to be counting back one 430-year Venus cycle from the siege of Jerusalem to David's being crowned King of all Israel. So we have counted forward from Adam, and backward from Christ, and with the amazing precision of agreeing with the exact scriptural month that David's reign over Israel began. Now we have more than sufficient justification to accept all of these dates as correct.[12]

Solomon's Temple.

3.5 Witness of Assyrian Chronology

After David became King of all Israel (in 1019 BC), many of the nearby nations made war against him, and he prevailed. The Kingdom of Israel grew into a major power very quickly, having conquered Palestine, Syria, Edom, Moab, Ammon, and Zobah (2 Sam. 8). Then those nations sent for help from the "Syrians beyond the river," referring to Assyria, beyond the Euphrates (2 Sam. 10:15). That nation also suffered huge losses (40,000 infantrymen and 7,000 horsemen, 2 Sam. 10:18). The Septuagint (Greek) version of the Old Testament includes the name of the King of Assyria at that time, "Chalamak" (II Kings 10:15). The historian Josephus explicitly states, "they sent to Chalaman, the king of the Syrians, beyond the Euphrates, and hired him for an auxiliary." (Antiquities VII.vi.3). He adds that after that battle, Assyria also became part of David's empire.

This is an extremely important clue to chronology, because Assyria preserved a detailed listed of kings and important events for centuries. The wonderful fact about these Assyrian records is that they include some eclipses of the sun, which lock in those years with absolute certainty. It was these records which led to the "Revised Chronology" listed in the LDS Bible Dictionary under "Chronology" which starts at a date for Solomon's son Rehoboam in 953 BC. Nevertheless, the Assyrian chronology is still being revised because several versions of their chronology have been found which do not all agree, and more recently proposed dates for Rehoboam are 931 BC and 945 BC. The results being presented in this article agree well with the latter proposal because Solomon's 40-year reign would have ended about that time.[13]

So the question is, is there an Assyrian king listed shortly after 1019 BC who could be identified with Chalaman? The answer is that, based on the Assyrian chronology, Shalmaneser II is listed by scholars as having reigned from 1030-1018 BC.[14] "Shalmaneser" is very close linguistically to "Chalaman." Thus, this independent record confirms that the battle of David vs. Shalmaneser II most likely occurred in the summer of 1018 BC. This date agrees precisely with the conclusions of at least one scholar who has researched this material in detail.[15] Table 1 summarizes the dates proposed in this article and all the dates published so far are listed on all seven sacred calendars on my website.[16]

EventDate BCHebrewS. RoundVenusMercury
David bornSat 4 Jul 105717 Tam1 Deer1 Res1 Bir
King of JudahThu 22 Jun 1026 17 Tam1 Quake1 Cre1 Lrd
King of IsraelSat 16 Nov 10195 Kis1 Light1 Res
Solomon bornTue 26 Jun 10091 Tam1 Monkey1 Res1 Pri
David diedMon 12 Jun 986 pm*1 Tam1 Condor1 Cre1 Lrd
Temple begunTue 14 Apr 9832 Iyr
Temple doneSun 30 Oct 97612 Hes
Priests beginSat 5 Sep 9721 Tis13 Eagle0 Res
Temple DedicationSat 19 Sep 97215 Tis1 Water1 Lrd
Temple FinaleFri 2 Oct 972 pm*29 Tis1 Wind1 Cre
Josiah's PurgeMon 21 Dec 629 pm*1 Teb1 Light1 Res1 Res
Ezekiel beginsThu 30 Jun 593 pm*1 Eagle1 Res
Ezekiel turnsTue 25 Jul 592 pm*1 Serpent1 Qui
Ezekiel endsSat 2 Sep 5921 Dragon1 Adt
SiegeFri 11 Dec 58910 Teb1 Flower1 Res1 Res
Table 1. Summary of Dates presented in this article. Those for Ezekiel's ordeal are derived in footnote 12.

Now let us turn to one more witness of the entire series of dates.

4. The Witness of Years as Days

There is another independent witness of many of the dates that have been presented in this entire series of articles. It is the fact that the Lord says he counts years as he does days. That led me to ask whether or not every year might be given a name in exactly the same manner as the days of the Hebrew year. That is, one year could be called 1 NISAN (capital letters referring to a year), and the next year 2 NISAN, even as the days of the year are called 1 Nisan, followed by 2 Nisan. Thus, the year named 1 NISAN would only occur about once in 365 years.[17]

The order in which the Hebrew days appears is fixed. Once a year is chosen to correspond with 1 NISAN, then all of the other years in history are determined, subject to a few other constraints.[18] Let us choose the year of the Beginning of Mortality, when Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden of Eden, to be the year 1 NISAN, corresponding to New Year's Day. Having made that choice, look at the amazing results which come from merely following the Lord's pattern, which is ultimately derived from the orbits of the earth and moon.

EventYear BC/ADYear NameRemarks
Beginning of Mortality4001 BC1 NISANNew World Begins
Exodus1462 BC1 NISANNation of Israel born
Change from Judges to Kings?1077 BC1 NISANNew Government
Solomon's Temple Dedication972 BC17 TAMMUZFast Day, also David's Birthday
Captivity of Israel begins723 BC1 NISANIsrael scattered
Captivity of Judah begins605 BC1 ABHoly Day, Begin counting 70 years
Captivity of King Jeconiah597 BC9 ABFast Day
Captivity Ends537 BC10 TISHRIAtonement, 70th year
Greek Empire begins?370 BC1 NISANPhilip of Macedonia
Savior born1 BC14 ADAR2Feast of "A Star" (Esther)
Savior baptizedAD 2914 NISANPassover
Savior begins Public MinistryAD 3015 NISANPassover
Nephites DestroyedAD 38415 NISANPassover
LDS Church bornAD 183014 NISANPassover
Restoration CompletedAD 183620 NISANLast Day Passover
Table 2. Year Names. When years are sequentially named for Hebrew days, a pattern emerges showing many key religious events occurred in "holy years."

4.1 New Beginnings: 1 NISAN

From the table it is seen that the year 1 NISAN seems to mark beginnings of long eras in the history of the Lord's people. The year of the Exodus falls exactly on the year named 1 NISAN using this counting pattern. It is important to understand that the pattern indicates a precise year, that is, once the pattern is chosen, it cannot be shifted by even one year. The next time the year 1 NISAN comes around is in the year 1077 BC. That is twenty years before the birth of David and may somehow symbolize the end of the period of Judges and transition to kings. The next occurrence of 1 NISAN occurs in the year 723 BC, the year of the deportation of Israel to Assyria.[19] This date certainly was a "new beginning" for Israel, resulting in one portion becoming "lost" and the many of the rest spreading out over Europe.[20] An interesting tie to the Book of Mormon is that the Nephite civilization ended in AD 384, being 384 years after the birth of Christ in 1 BC (Mormon 6:5). That year corresponded to 15 NISAN. Sometimes ages seem to begin or end in the PASSOVER year and sometimes on the NEW YEAR; more research is necessary to clarify this point.

4.2 Temple Dedication: 17 TAMMUZ

Now we see another witness of the correctness of the date of the dedication of the temple of Solomon. According to this pattern, it occurred in the year 17 TAMMUZ, which corresponds to the birthday of David, and to a holy year. Note that the birthdays of the prophets rarely occur in these holy years. Those years seem to be more for scheduling events on a larger scale that affect all of the Lord's people.

4.3 70-Year Captivity of Judah

The most amazing part of the table to me is the set of three related years of the 70-year captivity of Judah. It began in the year 605 BC (1 AB) when Nebuchadnezzar took the first captives. Most of Jerusalem was deported in 597 BC (9 AB), and the captivity ended in 538 BC (10 TISHRI) when Cyrus conquered Babylon.[21] All three of those years are not only "holy years" but even the particular days are meaningful. The day 1 Ab begins a month and hence is a good "beginning" day, the day 9 Ab is the fast commemorating the destruction of the temple, and 10 Tishri is the day of Atonement, representing making reconciliation with God. That all three of those key dates all testify of the captivity is a strong witness of their accuracy and importance on the Lord's schedule. It is also witness of the foreknowledge of God, as well as of his creating the huge clock of the orbits of the earth and moon such that the Hebrew calendar pattern would work not only to measure every day in history, but also that the identical pattern could also reckon every year of history.

Savior Born at Feast of "A Star."

4.4 Jesus Christ: Meridian Passover

Of course if this year-to-a-day pattern is used for religious events, we would expect it to apply to key events in the Savior's life. Here we are not disappointed. His birth occurred in the year 1 BC, which corresponds on this calendar to the day 14 ADAR2, the Feast of Esther. As this research began, it was not clear to me whether or not the Feast of Esther was an holiday on God's calendar, or only on the Jewish calendar. After all, many holy days have been added, and I needed to prove each one to see if God celebrates that holy day. It was when I discovered this correlation, and also that the name Esther means "a star," that I became convinced that this holy day is real. I had expected the Christ would be born in a Passover year, but what could be more appropriate that having him born in the year of the Feast of a Star? Apparently the Star of Bethlehem itself was prepared to join in the festivities.

An example of "meridian" symbolism is that when one reckons the Grand Year of 385 years in which Jesus was born from 1 TISHRI to 1 TISHRI, the year of his birth corresponds exactly to the middle year. That is, it is year 193 of 385.

It was both the Baptism and Beginning of the Public Ministry of Christ which occurred in the Passover year.[22] One full week of seven years corresponding to Passover week began at his baptism, and he was crucified precisely at the midpoint of that week. Every detail of the timing of the Savior's life seems to have taken into consideration at the Creation.

4.5 LDS "Passover Week"

Was the Hebrew calendar all fulfilled with the law of Moses at the Resurrection of Jesus Christ? The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that what was fulfilled and done away with after the Resurrection was only the detailed laws which were given to Moses, but not what was known from the days of Adam (TPJS pp. 172-173). We have seen that the Hebrew calendar was used in the timing of events from Adam on, so it should not be surprising to see that the Lord may still be using it in our day.

The 7-year PASSOVER week of years only occurs about once every three or four centuries. It turns out that the pattern indicates that the current Grand Year began on Thu 20 Mar 1817, which was the day 1 Nisan in the year 1 NISAN. The pattern described above suggests that the year 1817 should mark a "new beginning" for the Lord's people.

Elijah's Return Completed the Passover Week of Years.
The LDS Church was born on Thu 6 Apr 1830, near the beginning of the year 14 NISAN, corresponding to PASSOVER. That in itself is a huge indication that the Lord is still using this pattern. Remember, a PASSOVER year only occurs once in 365 years, on the average.

There is a second witness that this was not a chance coincidence. That year began a 7-year week, which should end 6 years later with a "holy convocation," also called a "solemn assembly" on the seventh and last day (year) of Passover (Lev. 23:8). Sure enough, on Easter Sunday of the year 1836, the Savior, Moses, Elias and Elijah all returned to the Kirtland Temple to bestow keys which would complete the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. Thus, the 7-year PASSOVER period encompassed key events of the restoration from beginning to end and definitely seems to be part of the grand overall pattern.

5. Beyond Chance

It seems pointless to me to try to impress the reader by calculating the odds of one in trillions of trillions that all of these alignments are totally beyond chance. Instead, I will compare it to a hike I took last month to see some petrified trees. The hike was along a ravine without a marked trail and I had no map. Walking up the rocky dry wash, I noticed a small pile of about four rocks, like a little pillar, with a piece of petrified wood on top. I was still far from my destination so I looked around, and there on the ground, at the bottom of the stream bed was a petrified log embedded in the ground. Later, near the location where I hoped to find the remains of the ancient forest, I saw another small pile of rocks, again with a piece of petrified wood on top. Looking about, I saw no petrified wood, but I believed that these pillars had been created by someone to indicate the way. So I left the ravine at that point and was delighted to find the petrified trees nearby.

What are the chances that those piles of rocks just happened to be piled up by natural random forces, such as rocks tumbling down the hill and landing on top of each other? And what is the chance that the last such piece would be a flat piece of petrified wood? And that two such pillars would assemble themselves? And that both would occur right at the location of large petrified logs?

One doesn't have to be skilled in calculating mathematical probabilities to know that there is not a chance in the world that those markers built themselves. It was not even necessary for me to know that piles of rocks are often used to mark trails. The piece of petrified wood atop the pillar would make it clear to anyone that someone was trying to communicate something about petrified wood to future hikers. No one would think that those piles happened by chance.

The chances that all of the calendar alignments on holy days and in holy years presented in this series of five articles happened by chance is about the same as those two piles just happening by chance to be near the petrified logs, without having been stacked up by a person. And yet, the pillars were very easy to explain once I believed that someone had prepared the way for me. Accordingly, the only rational explanation known to me of all of these calendrical alignments is that there was a Creator, who had a Master Plan from the beginning, who scheduled the key events in religious history on his day-planner and DAY-planner, and then created a solar system to indicate just what day it is.

6. Conclusion

The set of interlocking dates between David and Solomon testify that the Biblical account that Solomon's temple was begun in the 480th year from the Exodus is precisely correct. It proposes a very likely birth date for David which fits the pattern of having fallen on a Hebrew holy day and also of Venus and Mercury, as was Jesus Christ, the "son of David." Ezekiel's 430 years (a Venus cycle), which indicates to the very month when King David began to rule over Israel, witnesses of the last link in the chronological chain from Adam to Christ.

These five articles started with Adam and showed that there is a continuous set of linked anchor dates at the times of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David. The last two key anchor dates are at the time of the captivity of Jeconiah and of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. In addition to each of these sets of dates having the witnesses of several rare alignments of multiple sacred calendars, there is also the over-arching witness of the names of years counted by exactly the same pattern used for days. Calculating the odds of so many alignments occurring by chance indicates that there is negligible probability of that happening. Thus, an absolute framework of anchor dates throughout history has been established, based on astronomical calculations as precise as those which calculate the dates of past observed eclipses. All of these dates together testify in an irrefutable chorus that there is a Creator who has a master schedule of key religious events which was known to the very day before the foundations of the solar system were laid.

Notes

  1. Pratt, John P., "Venus and the Beginning of Mortality," Meridian Magazine (9 Jul 2003), "Astronomical Witnesses of the Great Flood," Meridian Magazine (13 Aug 2003), "Divine Calendars Testify of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," Meridian Magazine (11 Sep 2003), and "Exodus Date Testifies of Christ," Meridian Magazine (7 Oct 2003).
  2. Pratt, John P., "Passover: Was it Symbolic of His Coming?" Ensign (Jan. 1994), pp. 38-45, and "When Was Judah's 70-Year Babylonian Captivity?" Ensign (Oct 1998) pp. 64-65.
  3. See Pratt, "Captivity." This date is known precisely because it is recorded in the Babylonian Chronicles. A great source on this subject is Edwin R. Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983), who on p. 186 states, "The Babylonian tablet states that Nebuchadnezzar ... besieged Jerusalem and captured the city on 2 Adar (Saturday, 16 March) 597." That date on the Julian calendar (which historians prefer) is identical to Sat 10 Mar 597 BC on our modern Gregorian calendar, used throughout my articles because of its greater accuracy.
  4. Largey, Dennis L, ed., Book of Mormon Reference Companion (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2003), in the article on "Chronology, Bible" by David R. Seely, p. 194. This wonderful new encyclopedic volume contains a wealth of research and is an instant "must have" for anyone wanting to keep abreast of current scriptural research. Seely gives the date of about 1260 BC as commonly accepted by scholars for the Exodus. He is in turn quoting what is perhaps the most accepted standard reference: Jack Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology, Rev. ed. (Peabody, Mass.: Henrickson, 1998), pp. 202-206, 245.
  5. This traditional interpretation is found in the Chronology section of the Dictionary in the current LDS Bible.
  6. Lefgren, John C. & Pratt, John P., "Dead Sea Scrolls May Solve Mystery," Meridian Magazine (12 Mar 2003).
  7. Even this seemingly simple calculation must be done with caution. There is evidence that some kings counted their reigns from the fall and some from the spring. If he counted from the fall, then it could have begun in 987 BC. Also, there is debate about whether the first year of the king was when he actually was crowned, or if it began at the beginning of the following year. Fortunately we can avoid many of these details because we have a new tool to determine actual death dates. The death date found for David implies that the first year of Solomon was counted from when he actually began to reign, whether or not regnal years were reckoned from fall or spring.
  8. Pratt, John P., "From Martyrdom to Celebration!" Meridian Magazine (June 6, 2002), section 6.
  9. Thiele listed his age as 23 as quoted on p. 261 of Faulstich, E.W., History, Harmony & the Hebrew Kings (Spencer, Iowa: Chronology Books, 1986). The dates for David and Solomon's reigns, as well as for the Exodus are within a year of what Faulstich calculated using very different techniques. He researched the relationships to the Assyrian Eponym tables in detail and proposed dates for all of the kings of both Israel and Judah.
  10. An important consequence for understanding the Book of Mormon about this demonstration is that the Babylonian captivity, prophesied by Lehi (1 Nephi 1:13) was well underway at this time, and only a few captives would be taken at the final destruction in 587 BC. Lehi probably left in Apr 601 BC before the first destruction of Jerusalem in Nov 601 BC. See Pratt, John P., "Lehi's 600-Year Prophecy of the Birth of Christ," Meridian Magazine (31 Mar 2000).
  11. Pratt, John P., "Mortality," Section 2.2. This proposed date is one month earlier than that usually given (see Thiele, p. 190) because the Hebrew calendar did not always coincide with the Babylonian calendar, which most scholars use for their calculations. The Hebrew often began one month ahead of the Babylonian, was we have seen in the case of the capture of Jeconiah on 10 Mar 597 BC, which was 1 Nisan (Hebrew) and 2 Adar (Babylonian). In 589 BC the Hebrew year again began on 10 March, but the Babylonian a month later. That might explain why the Lord actually told Ezekiel what the day was called, rather than simply to tell him to record the date, because the day differed from the calendar where he was captive.
  12. Another witness comes from the dates on which the 430-day ordeal occurred. Ezekiel tells us the precise day on which he began: one week (Ezek. 3:16) after he had had a vision about wheels within wheels on 5 Tammuz of the fifth year of the captivity (Fri 24 Jun 593 BC, Ezek. 1:1-2). The beginning day of the ordeal was Thu 30 Jun 593 BC pm*, which was 1 Eagle (SR) and 1 Res (M). That day is indicated precisely in the Bible, so it is significant that it was a holy day on two sacred calendars. The day 390 days after he began was Tue 25 Jul 592 BC pm*, being 1 Serpent (SR) and the Midsummer Fast (Enoch). The 40th day thereafter, the last day of the ordeal, was Sat 2 Sep 592 BC, being 1 Dragon (SR) and the Last Day of Burning on the Jubilee Fixed Calendar. All three of those dates are significant: beginning on 1 Res (M) can imply that all of the symbolized dates were 1 Res (V); and the actual burning of the temple most likely ended on Sun 24 July 587 BC, the day after 9 Ab (Midsummer Fast, Hebrew) and the Burning on the Jubilee calendar. On that calendar the feast of Tabernacles often requires two weeks, which would explain why Solomon extended that feast at the dedication of the temple. This is the first reference to the Jubilee calendar in my articles, but in due time it will be published because it is yet another witness of many of the dates proposed in this series.
  13. Thiele derives 931 BC, but admits that it is only one possible proposed solution. His goal was not necessarily to get the one "true" answer, but to show that at least one answer consistent with the Bible is possible. After reviewing Thiele's work, Faulstich proposed 945 BC for Rehoboam, which agrees with my reckoning that Solomon's 40-year reign would have ended in 946-945 BC.
  14. The reference used by Finegan, Thiele and Faulstich is Daniel David Luckenbill, Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, Vol. II (New York: Greenwood Press, 1968), sec. 1196-98, pp. 428-439, reprinted in Faulstich p. 265. The 1018 date represents a later revision by one year, Faulstich, p. 274.
  15. Faulstich, p. 84, concludes that the "Battle of David vs. Shalmaneser II" occurred in 1018 BC, the year that Shalmaneser died.
  16. Pratt, John P., "Religious Chronology Summary," at http://www.johnpratt.com/items/docs/lds/dates.html.
  17. The Hebrew calendar has year lengths of 353, 354, 355, 383, 384 and 385 days, arranged so that years begin at the new moon and average to 365.25 days in length.
  18. One such constraint of the Perpetual Hebrew Calendar used in these articles is to choose which year corresponds to a "sabbath year." Remember that the Lord also counts years in weeks of seven years (Lev. 25:3-7), and hence every year can be thought of as named for the days of the week. Thus, a SUNDAY (again capitals refer to a year) would be the first year of a the 7-year cycle, and SATURDAY would be the last day, like the days of the week. My work agrees with the traditional Jewish interpretation, which is that Hebrew years which are divisible by seven are sabbath years (SATURDAY). For example, the last Jewish sabbath year began on Sat 30 Sep 2000, 1 Tishri (Hebrew), beginning the Hebrew year 5761, which year is a multiple of seven (5761 = 823 x 7).
  19. The years 721 and 722 BC are often given, but both Thiele and Faulstich argue strongly that the reconciliation with the newly found ancient records demands that 723 BC is correct (Thiele, in his preface to his most recent third edition, p. 24).
  20. Pratt, John P., "Geological Evidence for the British Throne of David?" Meridian Magazine (2 June 2003).
  21. Pratt, John P., "Captivity" and "Celestial Witnesses of the Meridian of Time," Meridian Magazine (10 Jul 2002), Section 1.
  22. Here, the details of the celebration are important. If the day is counted as beginning in the evening, then Passover is the day 15 Nisan, as on the Hebrew calendar. But if the day is counted as beginning at dawn, then Passover begins on the evening of 14 Nisan, and continues through the evening of 15 Nisan. The distinction was made by referring to the holy day on the 15th as Unleavened Bread, and to the 14th as Passover (Lev. 23:5-6). In my articles, to avoid confusion and because I use almost exclusively the Hebrew calendar as beginning at 6 p.m., I simply combine both into one, as do the Jews, calling it Passover. But counting years as days from 1 Nisan in the spring is like counting days from dawn (i.e. spring is like dawn). So the "year" of Passover technically begins on 1 Tishri in the autumn of the year 14 NISAN and continues until the following 1 Tishri in the year 15 NISAN. Thus, in a sense, both 14 and 15 NISAN are "Passover years."