by John P. Pratt
Reprinted from Meridian Magazine (9 July 2003)
©2003 by John P. Pratt. All rights Reserved.
|1. Venus Calendar|
|1.1 Birth, and Resurrection of Venus|
|1.2 Venus and The Sacred Round|
|1.3 Rare Venus Anchor Points|
|1.4 Other Witnesses|
|2. Historical Examples|
|2.1 Capture of Jeconiah|
|2.2 Siege of Jerusalem|
|2.3 Return from Exile|
|2.4 Resurrection of Christ|
|2.5 Book of Mormon Resurrects|
|3. Christ's Birth|
|4.1 The "Perfect Birthday"|
|4.2 Adam's Death Date|
|5. Beginning of Mortality|
|5.1 4,000 years|
|5.2 Overwhelming Odds|
|5.3 Adam and Christ|
The Book of Genesis provides us with a detailed chronology in the genealogies included, and through modern revelation we know that the book was not composed by Moses, but rather it was a revelation from God (Moses 2:1). It covers the first third of the temporal history of the earth, from Adam to Joseph. But from what point on our calendar is that time-keeping reckoned?
Until now there has not been any absolute method, tied to astronomical calculations, which could be used to fix even one date in Genesis with certainty. Celestial phenomena can be calculated with pinpoint precision. For example, ancient records in Assyria state that a total eclipse of the sun was visible in a certain city during the reign of a certain king. From historical sources that year can be narrowed down to a range of a few decades. But astronomy provides the key to knowing the exact date of that eclipse, because a solar eclipse is only visible in any given city about once every three hundred years. Astronomy is the most sure secular method to determine historical dates.
Without astronomical clues, researchers have been left to simply adding up the ages provided in the genealogy and king lists of the Bible. That method results in so much uncertainty that none of the many proposed chronologies has been generally accepted. Looking in the dictionary provided in the LDS Bible shows two different chronologies of the Kings of ancient Israel, which differ by decades. Looking at it before the reign of King David, one sees that no dates at all are included, except that Adam dates from 4000 BC.
The purpose of this article is to show that there is indeed evidence in the scriptures, which allow some of the dates given in the genealogies of Genesis to be calculated with quarter-day precision. The key is to recognize certain intervals as periods in which the Venus Calendar and Hebrew Calendars can align. These alignments are rare. When they occur, they can provide anchor dates with the same astronomical precision and certainty that eclipses provide.
The Venus calendar tracks these phases of Venus. It is a cycle which averages 584 days in length, and has 8 "holy days," which are the first and last days of the phases of Creation, Birth, Prime, and Resurrection. The planet Mercury is also a morning and evening star and experiences the same phases and has the same 8 holy days in a 116-day cycle. Often it appears to be used as a second witness to the Venus calendar of the importance of a date.
The phases of Venus are aligned with the Sacred Round such that the phases always begin on a day "1" The three most important phases of interest for this article occur on the three days "1 Creation", "1 Birth" and "1 Resurrection." Thus the "1 Birth" on the Venus calendar sometimes occurs on the day "1 Light" on the Sacred Round, sometimes on "1 Eagle", and similarly for all twenty of the different figures.
The method I propose to precisely determine religious chronology is to look for dates in which holy days on various sacred calendars occur at the same time. So far, seven sacred calendars have been discovered, and it is expected that other planetary calendars will be forthcoming, such as a Jupiter calendar. Thus, even if the Lord really is using these calendars, they probably are only used for certain religious events, and none of these seven calendars may apply to some events.
Notice just how rare calendar dates are which are holy on several calendars. How unusual is it for these calendars to align on any given day? Take, for example, the first day of each cycle. How often do all of the calendars begin on the same day? New Year's Day occurs once per year on the Hebrew calendar, which could be any day of the 584-day Venus cycle. That means that only about once every 584 years does New Year's Day coincide with the first day (1 Creation) on the Venus calendar. Thus, alignments just between those two calendars are often enough to specify a given day within a few centuries. That provides a wonderful mechanism for pinpointing dates in chronology, provided that God is actually using such a system. But there are at least seven Sacred Calendars which God appears to use. How often do all seven begin on the same day? It turns out that they never can all align on their first day, but if the Priest calendar had been designed with that in mind, then they could align about once every 1,400,000,000 years!
Thus, the method proposed in this article, which the Lord appears to use, is that he includes enough alignments between these sacred calendars to remove all reasonable doubt of a chance coincidence. Of the seven calendars, several are linked to each other, which increases the number of alignments, and makes it possible to have alignments on holy days every few years. Also, it is possible to have alignments for only a 6-hour period because the calendar day begins at a different time of day for different calendars. That can double the number of alignments, but then they are for a shorter time.
The two most independent calendars are the Hebrew (based on sun, moon, and the week of 7 days) and the Venus calendar (based on Venus and 13-day cycle). They are totally independent of each other. They appear to be the two principal sacred calendars. This article will deal exclusively with dates which are holy days on those two calendars because they are the most rare alignments and hence the most useful for chronology.
Symbolism. Sometimes there is a witness in the appropriateness of the day for the occasion. For
example, if someone dies on a day "Skull" on the Sacred Round, then it seems more meaningful
because that day represents death. It often isn't enough for the event simply to be on any holy day,
it means much more if it is on the right holy day. In the case of Joseph Smith, the day 1 Tebeth is
the winter solstice on the Hebrew calendar. It has been suggested that the significance of his birth
at that time might be that he would bring the light of the gospel, even as the light of day becomes
brighter after the winter solstice.
Death Date. Research so far suggests that birth and death dates often occur on holy days using the same sacred calendars to be a witness that it was not chance. In the case of Joseph Smith, he also died on a Hebrew holy day, 10 Tammuz, the day of the fall of Jerusalem. Another example is that the Apostle Orson Pratt was born on Thu 19 Sep 1811, which was the Feast of Trumpets (1 Tishri) on the Hebrew Calendar. An indication that it was not random chance is that he died on Mon 3 Oct 1881, which was the Day of Atonement that year. Thus there are two witnesses that the Hebrew calendar may have been important in his life schedule.
Ordinances. Second witnesses can also come in the form of other important religious events in ones life, especially priesthood ordinances. The Lord revealed the ordination dates of the ancient patriarchs (D&C 107:42-52). Why? What does it matter when they were ordained? As we shall see, those ordination dates can be determined, and they are usually are closely related to the birth and death dates. They serve as another witness of the correctness of the dates.
Returning to the example of Orson Pratt, he was baptized on his 19th birthday, Sun 19 Sep 1830. The Hebrew calendar realigns with our calendar every 19 years, so he was baptized within a day of his birthday on the Hebrew calendar. That serves as another witness that his life was tied to the Hebrew calendar.
This example seems instructive because his brother Parley was also an apostle, and yet nothing in Parley's life seems tied to the Hebrew calendar at all, but rather to other calendars. Parley's martyrdom occurred on Wed 13 May 1857 which was 6 Skull (Sacred Round), 6 Death (Venus) and 6 Death (Mercury). Moreover, the number 6 is also symbolic of death; the Skull is figure number 6 in the cycle. That date is unusual indeed. It only occurs once between 1700 and 2200. That alone seems to be telling us that his murder had been foreseen long before his birth by an all knowing God. But there seems to be no corroboration in the calendars of any relation of his birth and death date. There is much research yet to be done.
This might be a good place to say that the coincidence does not mean that the murderer was "forced" in any way to do his foul deed, any more than was Judas Iscariot. But God has told us he can see the end from the beginning, and he is now allowing us to discover proof that it is true. We are free to act, but he is free to see the future and know what we will choose.
Family Members. As the dates of birth of the ancient patriarchs were discovered, it was astounding to me how many showed a tie to their fathers and sons. For if calendars A, B, and C aligned at the birth of one, then often it was B,C, and D for the next, and then C,D, and E. There seems to be a definite calendrical link between parents and children.
In the example of Joseph Smith, the mother of both Joseph and Hyrum was born on the day of their martyrdom on the Hebrew Calendar, 10 Tammuz (Sat 8 Jul 1775). That provides another witness that it was not a chance alignment. Now let us review some historically known religious dates which have been simultaneous Venus and Hebrew holy days.
Let us now consider several such examples of Hebrew-Venus calendar alignments. Many of these have been published previously, but a brief review could be useful here to see that God truly seems to be using these calendars.
That day was also the day 1 Birth on the Venus calendar, so it fits the pattern of interest for this article. Remember that New Year's Day only coincides with some Venus holy day about once in 73 years.
That day was Fri 11 Dec 589 BC and it was 1 Resurrection on both the Venus and Mercury calendars. Moreover, it was 1 Flower on the Sacred Round. In the Mayan tradition, the heliacal rising (resurrection) of Venus "was probably the most important single event in Maya astronomy." Moreover, when it occurred on the day 1 Flower (1 Ahau, in Mayan, meaning "1 Lord") it was the most meaningful of all.
To have one date, known from history to the very day, correspond to a Venus holy day can only be expected 1 in 73 times (8 in 584). That is, if we examine random known dates, such as the dates of declarations of war, we should expect about 1 in 73 to be on Venus holy day, just from random chance, likewise for the dates on which the wars ended. But the chances of the same war both starting and ending on a holy day is only 1/73 x 1/73 = 1/5,329. To see why we multiply, think of actually doing this exercise. You gather 5,329 pairs of war starting and ending dates. You check all the start dates and discover about 73 on some Venus holy day. Now you only need check the end dates of those 73, and only about 1 of those 73 will be on a Venus holy day. And after all that work, the one you found probably wouldn't mean anything because that is the number you expect from pure chance.
Thus, we probably would have to study over 5,000 wars in order to find just one example to match this one of the Israelite captivity and return. This shows how the odds really multiply for several related dates. The law of multiple witnesses is compelling indeed. This pair alone should begin to convince us that God really might be using these calendars.
The day Sun 3 Apr AD 33 is the ideal symbolic fit to the Venus Calendar because it occurred right on the very day 1 Resurrection. It was also a holy day on the Hebrew Calendar, being the time of the offering of the sheaf of firstfruits of the barley harvest. For simplicity, I have simply renamed that holy day "Easter" on the Hebrew Calendar, now that it is clear that it foreshadowed Christ being the firstfruits from the harvest of souls from the ground (1 Cor 15:20). It is determined almost exactly the same as the Christian Easter, being the Sunday after Passover. Easter only occurs on 1 Resurrection about once in 584 years. Moreover, the day was 1 Creation on the Mercury calendar.
To continue this example, it turns out there is one match in that decade of uncertainty. In 1 BC Passover occurred on Thu 6 April. L.D.S. readers will know that several modern prophets have testified that 6 April is the very day of the anniversary of Christ's birth, and implied that 1 BC was the year. According to the scriptures, the Savior was born some time in the evening while shepherds watched their flocks by night, so that leaves open the possibility that he was born either before or after the daylight part of 6 April. The preceding evening, however, seems much more likely because otherwise we'd be celebrating before the event. Moreover, the actual feast of the Passover always occurs on the preceding evening, so that symbolism favors the birth of Christ being on the evening preceding Thu 6 Apr 1 BC.
The first day of the Venus cycle, the holy day 1 Creation, occurred on Wed 5 Apr 1 BC from midnight to midnight. The Hebrew day of 6 April 1 BC actually begins at 6 p.m. on the preceding evening. Thus, for a period of only six hours, there was an alignment of Passover with 1 Creation, on Wednesday evening from 6 p.m. until midnight (Wed 5 Apr 1 BC pm*). That is a perfect match with the most probable interpretation of what modern prophets have been telling us.
Moreover, there are two more calendrical witnesses. The day was also 1 Creation on the Mercury calendar. There is only a 1 in 9 probability that such was a chance alignment. Moreover, the day was 1 Reed on the Sacred Round. Native Americans were named for the day on which they are born on the Sacred Round. Some traditions maintain that 1 Reed was the name, and hence birth date, of Quetzalcoatl. So we have many witnesses of the date of Christ's birth.
Now let us turn to applying this procedure of hunting for days on which the Hebrew and Venus calendars align to see if it could be useful in understanding the chronology implied in those long "begat" lists in the Book of Genesis.
Next to Jesus Christ, Adam was the most important man who has ever lived on this planet. He is the head of the Priesthood. Both before and after his sojourn in mortality, he is the archangel, the chief of the seven holy angels who serve God (D&C 107:54). Thus, according to this theory, he should have vital dates which stand out in a crowd. There is no guarantee that the planet Venus is involved. There are many planets and I believe each has an associated calendar. But let's try with Venus calendar because it is the best understood.
Let's start with the working hypothesis that Adam may have had a very special b-day. Maybe it is so good that it will "jump out" at us if we just look for it. Let's think big and start with the very best. What day would be the perfect b-day on all the sacred calendars?
The day for birth on the Hebrew calendar is Tabernacles, the day on which Israel was to begin dwelling in a tabernacle. "Tabernacle" can refer to the body, and Israel celebrated this feast by actually building little huts to dwell in for a week. To me, that clearly represents birth, when the spirit enters the tabernacle of the body. Similarly, the perfect day for death would be the "Last Day of Tabernacles" which ends that holy week, when one ceases to dwell in a tabernacle.
On the Sacred Round, the best day for birth is 1 Temple, also symbolic of when the spirit enters its "temple." Note that temple and tabernacle are very similar concepts, both referring to a sacred dwelling, as physically illustrated on Temple Square. On the Venus and Mercury calendars, the day for birth is 1 Birth.
My research so far has indicated that these four calendars are the ones important for determining birth and death dates, which might be expected since all four have birth and death symbolism clearly indicated. The "Tabernacles" holy day is also on the Enoch and Enoch Fixed calendars, but indications to date imply that those calendars are rarely employed for births and deaths. Similarly, the Priest calendar does not even include any birth or death date symbolism; it appears to be used solely for priesthood officiating and ordinances. The Hebrew calendar appears to be the most important, so much so that every major prophet for whom birthdates have been determined using this method has been born on a Hebrew holy day. That is not true of priesthood ordinations and other important events.
Thus, perhaps the "perfect birthday" would be a day representing birth on all four of those calendars. How often should we expect such a birthday?
As noted above, the principal alignment is between the Hebrew and Venus calendar. Once every 584 years Tabernacles should occur on 1 Birth. Mercury would also be on 1 Birth about once in 9 x 584 = 5,256 years. Requiring 1 Temple also lowers the expectation to one day in 20 x 5,256 = 105,120 years. Are there any such dates? Having the computer search for 8,000 years (4700 BC to AD 3300) results in no such dates at all.
Removing the last requirement of 1 Temple results in two days in the 8,000 years on which the other three calendars indicate birth. The only BC date is Sat 17 Oct 4070 BC. That looks very promising, being in the right period of time. Moreover, there are several witnesses that it may well be Adam's b-day. One is that it was also the Last day of Tabernacles on the Enoch calendar, which is a bonus. While that calendar does not seem to be used much for birthdates, it could well be another witness that this date is correct. If this extra alignment is not just by chance, then usually a similar alignment will also be present in the death date.
The surprising witness to me was from the Priest Calendar, which doesn't even have a "birth" day on it. It is simply a succession of 24 priests, who each preside for one week. It turns out the afternoon of this possible b-day for Adam began the day "1 Jehoiarib", the first day of the Priest cycle! That occurs only once every 168 days. If this day does indeed turn out to be Adam's b-day, then it may indicate that he was ordained to be the presiding high priest on that very same afternoon that he took his first breath. If that interpretation is correct, I would expect the second witness to be that the priesthood keys were passed on from Adam to the next one officiating on the day "1 Jedaiah" because that is the day following "7 Jehoiarib" (the last day he presides).
Because the answer isn't obvious, let's search for the matching "perfect" death date in those same 8,000 years. What is the ideal death date on the Venus and Mercury calendars? One would expect it to be "1 Death" but that may not be quite perfect because it is not a holy day. There are two other obvious possibilities: 0 Creation, the last day of the cycle, and 0 Resurrection, which is the last day of death. Looking for a Last Day of Tabernacles on one of those three dates leads to a real winner. That day is Tue 26 Sep 3071 BC, the Last Day of Tabernacles, and 0 Creation on both Venus and Mercury. That match is about in the right part of that 4,000 years. Moreover, the day was Atonement on the Enoch calendar, which was same the "extra" witness calendar used on the b-day. That is yet another indication that we are on the right track.
Could these dates really be correct? They would imply that Adam lived 999 years. Comparing that to the Genesis declaration that he lived 930 years could mean either that the dates are wrong, or that he lived 69 years in the Garden of Eden, and then 930 in mortality. Is there any evidence that he could have been in the garden that long?
Two different religions provide support for that very idea. First, there is the following Hebrew tradition: "[Adam's] appointed span was to be a thousand years, one of the Lord's days." It was felt that the longest time he could live would be 1,000 years, because God had warned him that "in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17). The tradition goes on to say the he gave seventy years of his life to someone else, so that he lived 930 years. This teaching could be based of the belief that he did indeed live nearly 1,000 years.
A modern confirmation comes from statements attributed to the Prophet Joseph Smith. Charles
Walker recorded in his diary that he heard Wilford Woodruff state:
Our Father [Adam] held [the Priesthood], and he was the oldest man that ever lived, according to the Prophet Joseph's sayings. He lived until he was 1,000 years old within a few months.
Father Adam began his work and finished what was to be done in his time, living to be one thousand years old with the exception of about six months. Truly the Bible gives Methuselah the credit of being the oldest but the Prophet Joseph had it revealed to him otherwise. It is only an error of man in translating the record.
But then, surprisingly, in the final revision of his new translation, he changed it back to 930 years, as it now stands. Why? Perhaps the Prophet realized that even though Adam lived nearly 1,000 years, the Biblical chronology is reckoned from the beginning of Adam's mortality. If so, then it was not a mistake in Genesis, it was just that he had misunderstood at first how time was measured.
Looking back 930 years from the proposed date for Adam's death leads to the "perfect date" for the official Beginning of Mortality. The day Sun, 9 Apr 4001 BC, was Passover on the Hebrew calendar, Easter on the Enoch calendar, and 1 Creation on the Venus calendar. The alignments with the Mercury and Enoch Fixed Calendars occurred two weeks earlier on the Hebrew New Year's Day, on Sun 26 Mar 4001 BC.
The Passover symbolism helps us to understand just what event occurred at the Beginning of Mortality. Passover is the traditional time to "go into the wilderness." Israel went into the wilderness for 40 years at their exodus from Egypt at Passover, and Lehi most likely went into the wilderness at Passover. This symbolism implies that the Beginning of Mortality occurred when Adam and Eve were driven out of the Garden of Eden into the wilderness.
There are several traditions that 4,000 years would separate Adam and Christ. First, if one simply adds up the lengths of lives and kings reigns in the Bible, one gets a number very close to 4,000 years. When Bishop Ussher determined that the history of the earth began on the Sunday after the fall equinox in 4004 BC, that year was calculated as exactly 4,000 years before the usually accepted date for the birth of Christ in 4 BC. That chronology was published in Bible dictionaries throughout the 18th and 19th centuries and has been the starting point for most subsequent refinements.
Secondly, it is the Hebrew tradition that "The world is to exist 6000 years. The first 2000 are to be void; the next 2000 are the period of the Torah; and the following 2000 years are the period of the Messiah.". Thus, there would be 4,000 years from Adam to Christ, the Messiah. They also believed that during the subsequent seventh thousand years that the earth will rest during the Millennium.
Third, 4,000 years from Adam to Christ is an unofficial LDS tradition, as evidenced in the "Chronology" entry in the LDS Bible Dictionary noted above. Moreover, it may be implied in the concept that Christ would come at the "meridian of time" (Moses 5:57). It is official doctrine that the temporal existence of the earth, will last for 7,000 years (D&C 77:6) and that a day of the Lord is 1,000 years (Abr. 3:4). If a day cannot be divided, then the meridian (midpoint) of 7 days would come after 4 complete days.
If the reader is not convinced, let us calculate the chances of having all three of these dates just happen to be in the right years to have mortality begin in exactly 4001 BC, and Adam live 930 years as a mortal and 69 or 70 years before mortality. The chance of Tabernacles in 4070 or 4071 BC being on 1 Birth Mercury and Venus and also any holy day on Enoch is 2/584 x 1/9 x 2/11 = 1/14,400. That means there is only one day like that b-day every 14,400 years.
Before continuing, note that in the case of these calendars, we can go beyond probability. We can actually verify our calculations by exhaustively checking every day in history to see how many matches there are. In this case, the computer tested every date in the range of its program, from 4700 BC to AD 6700. It can be definitely stated that there is only one date in 11,400 years meeting those criteria: Sat 17 Oct 4070 BC. We use the word "chance" only to describe our ignorance of the actual answer. In this case, we can know the answer, and thus remove "chance" from the conclusion.
But let us return to the probability calculation, because the results are instructive. The probability of the Last Day Tabernacles in 3071 BC being either 1 Death, 0 Creation or 0 Res on both Mercury and Venus, and any holy day on Enoch is 3/584 x 1/9 x 4/11 = 1/4,800. And the chance of Passover in 4001 BC being on any holy day on Venus and any holy on Enoch is 8/584 x 1/3 = 1/219. We multiply these three results to find how often we would expect to find the set of all three related dates to be winners from chance alone. Multiplying 1/14,400 x 1/4,800 x 1/219 tells us that the odds of blind luck having led to three such ideal dates are 1 in 15 billion!
As a final witness of design, even those tremendous odds were calculated for having the Beginning of Mortality be any Venus holy at all. But it turned out to be the first day of the cycle, 1 Creation. That is ideal for the beginning of any long era, like the 7,000 years of the mortality of the earth. Moreover, it means that Adam lived exactly 582 Venus cycles in mortality, because he died as a cycle ended. As far as this researcher is concerned, the Lord has provided sufficient witnesses to leave no reasonable doubt that these proposed dates are correct.
The following table summarizes important dates in this article on the five relevant calendars.
|Adam b.||Sat 17 Oct 4070 BC pm||Begin Tab.||1 Bir||1 Bir||1 Eagle||End Tab.|
|Mortality||Sun 9 Apr 4001 BC||Passover||1 Cre||||1 Deer||Easter|
|Adam d.||Tue 26 Sep 3071 BC||End Tab.||0 Cre||0 Cre||13 Grass||Atonement|
|Christ b.||Wed 5 Apr 1 BC pm*||Passover||1 Cre||1 Cre||1 Reed|||
|Christ r.||Sun 3 Apr AD 33 am*||Easter||1 Res||1 Cre||13 Temple||Easter|
|B. Mormon||Thu 25 Apr 1830||New Year's||1 Res||1 Cre||1 Eagle|||
As this article was nearly finished, it occurred to me that the reason is that Adam's vital dates are based on Venus is that he is so closely related to Christ:
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor. 15:22That is, the dates of Adam and the Beginning of Mortality form a related set of dates with the birth and atonement of Jesus Christ. The relation is similar to the beginning and end of the Babylonian captivity discussed above. Adam and Christ are the beginning and end of the captivity of man by sin and death. They are a such a tightly related set that it must have been planned from before the creation of the orbits of the earth, moon, and Venus that there would be exactly 4,000 years to the very day separating the Beginning of Mortality and the coming of Jesus Christ. Thus, the reason that Venus is so important in Adam's life may well be that he is tied to Christ, and Christ is the "bright and morning star" (Rev. 22:16).
Having a firm starting point, let us proceed to find selected anchor points throughout the chronology of Genesis. In next month's article we will see how Venus cycles can be used to determine precise dates in Genesis, including the exact day the Flood began.