by John P. Pratt & John C. Lefgren
Reprinted from Meridian Magazine (9 Apr 2003)
©2003 by John P. Pratt. All rights Reserved.
|1. The 24-Week Priest Cycle|
|1.1 Wheels within Wheels|
|1.2 Points to Jesus Christ|
|2. Presentation at the Temple|
|2.1 Birth of Jesus: A Unique Time|
|2.2 Sun 14 May 1 BC|
|3. Beginning of the Public Ministry|
|4. The Annunciation|
|5. Other Dates|
|5.1 Gabriel's visit to Zacharias|
|5.2 The Resurrection|
|5.3 The Day of Pentecost|
Last month's article entitled "Dead Sea Scrolls May Solve Mystery" pointed out that the calendar scrolls from Qumran include enough detailed information to pinpoint precisely how their calendar corresponded to ours, at least for a period of seven years from 42-35 BC. While the Qumran calendar was peculiar to their sect, one result might be of interest to all Judeo-Christians. That was the confirmation of exactly how and when the priest cycle of temple service functioned. This month's sequel explores three consequences of that result. First, it appears that the priest cycle may be the basis of yet another sacred calendar, with each of its 24 weeks symbolizing a different aspect of the life of Christ. Second, it appears that at least three important events in the life of Christ were timed to coincide with its cycles. And finally, that calendar is the seventh sacred calendar which testifies of the exact dates for the key events in the life of Jesus Christ. With so many witnesses, there is little doubt that Christ was born on the evening preceding Thu 6 Apr 1 BC and resurrected on Sun 3 Apr AD 33.
The scriptures tell us that Christ has many missions and many names. He was the King of Kings, the Savior, the Redeemer, the Messiah, etc. The following table shows how the 24 names might possibly all refer to a different aspect of Christ's work.
|Name||Meaning||Role of Christ||Ref.|
|1. Jehoiarib||Jehovah contends||Lord of Hosts, Mediator, Advocate||1 Samuel 1:3, Mat. 28:6, Luke 2:11|
|2. Jedaiah||Jehovah has known||Prophet||Deut. 18:15-16, Mat. 21:11|
|3. Harim||Dedicated, consecrated||Anointed (Messiah, Christ), Holy One, Priest||Daniel 9:25, Luke 2:11, Isa. 1:4, John 1:14, Heb. 5:6|
|4. Seorim||Barley or grain||First Fruits, Only Begotten, Son of God||Gen. 3:15, John 12:24, 1 Cor. 15:20|
|5. Malchijah||My King is Jehovah||King||Psalms 89:18, Mat. 2:2, Luke 19:38|
|6. Mijamin||from the right hand||Faithful Witness on Right Hand of God, express image of God||Col. 3:1, Rev. 1:5, Jer. 42:5, Heb. 1:3|
|7. Hakkoz||Thorn, from root meaning to clip off or harvest||Harvest||Mat. 9:38|
|8. Abijah||Jehovah is my father||Father||Isa. 9:6|
|9. Jeshua||He will save||Savior||Mat. 1:21, Luke 2:11|
|10. Shecaniah||Jehovah has dwelt||Immanuel (God dwells with us)||Isa. 7:14|
|11. Eliashib||God restores||Restorer||Ruth 4:15|
|12. Jakim||He will raise||Teacher, Master, Creator||John 3:2, Mark 9:5|
|13. Huppah||Canopy, from root meaning to protect||Protector, Shepherd||John 10:11|
|14. Jeshebeab||Sit down with the father||Eternal, Everlasting||Gen. 21:33, Isa. 9:6, Heb. 13:8, Rev. 1:8|
|15. Bilgah||Invade with destruction||Judge||2 Tim. 4:1,8|
|16. Immer||Lamb||Lamb (Sacrifice)||John 1:29, 1 Cor. 5:7|
|17. Hezir||Swine, from root meaning penned up, enclosed||Gatherer||Deut. 30:3, Isa. 54:7, Luke 13:34|
|18. Aphses||Dispersive||Scatterer||1 Kings 14:15|
|19. Pethahiah||Jehovah has opened||Light in Darkness||John 1:5, 8:12|
|20. Jehezekel||God strengthens||Strengthener||Philippians 4:13|
|21. Jachin||He will establish, from root meaning to set in upright position||Resurrection||John 11:25, 1 Kings 7:21|
|22. Gamul||Rewarded||Rewarder||Hebrews 11:6|
|23. Delaiah||Jehovah has delivered||Deliverer||2 Samuel 22:2, Romans 11:26|
|24. Maaziah||Jehovah has rescued||Redeemer||Job 19:25, Isa. 59:20|
Now that we have seen that there is a very real possibility that the priest cycle may form the basis, along with the week of seven days, of a sacred calendar, let us explore whether there is any evidence that God has ever actually used such a calendar for scheduling his sacred events.
Many precise dates have been proposed for important sacred events in the Life of Jesus Christ. Three such dates fall exactly on the day 1 Jeshua, meaning the first day of the week when the course of Jeshua served (Sat afternoon through Sunday morning). Jeshua is the Hebrew form of the name rendered in the (Greek) New Testament as Jesus, meaning Savior. Moreover, two of those three dates are directly linked to events which occurred at the temple. It was the discovery that two of the visits of Christ to the temple occurred on days when the "Jesus" Priest was officiating that led to the research resulting in this article. Let us now look at each of those dates.
Luke records that Mary fulfilled this commandment. She and Joseph brought not only the doves, but also the infant Jesus to Jerusalem, "to present him to the Lord" (Luke 2:22). This they did in order to fulfill the law, which seems especially appropriate in that Jesus was the Lamb of God (John 1:29) who would later be sacrificed, even as the priest would sacrifice their offering. Luke goes on to record the prophetic utterances of both of Simeon and Anna at that time. Simeon declared, ". . . mine eyes have seen thy salvation," with the double meaning of "mine eyes have seen thy Jesus" because Jesus means "salvation" or "savior." Anna then prophesied that he would be the Redeemer (Luke 2:25-38). With these marvelous prophecies being pronounced, apparently no one noticed which course the officiating priest represented, to whom Mary presented her child. What course was it?
To know that, we need first to know the date of the presentation. Then the newly discovered correlation of the priest cycle to our calendar will tell us the course, because it was one continuous round from 42 BC to AD 70.
A proposed date for the presentation at the temple has already been published: Sun 14 May 1 BC. That was based on knowing the date of the birth of Jesus Christ, and was confirmed as being correct by three different sacred calendars. We authors have each separately published historical evidence that Jesus Christ was born on the evening preceding Thu, 6 Apr 1 BC. Because the subject of this paper deals with the alignment of sacred events on sacred days, it might be well to briefly review how the birthday of Jesus Christ was a unique calendrical day in history.
The second clue is that the Native American tradition is that the birth of Quetzalcoatl, which appears to have been their name for Jesus Christ, occurred on the day 1 Reed. That day occurs once every 260 days, implying that Passover can only occur on 1 Reed about once in 260 years. In the period from 84 BC through AD 130, the only time on which Passover coincided with 1 Reed was during the night preceding Thu 6 Apr 1 BC. It is pinpointed to the night time because the Hebrew day begins after sunset, whereas the Native American day begins at dawn. The scriptures even tell us that Jesus was born at night (Luke 2:8), and the Passover feast is timed to be a night. Thus, this coincidence alone might be enough to convince us that the L.D.S. position that April 6 is the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ is not without historical foundation.
But there are two more calendars which point to the day as a unique sacred day in history. There are also Mercury and Venus calendars, which are based on the phases of those planets symbolizing the four sacred events in the life of Quetzalcoatl of Creation, Birth, Prime, and Resurrection. Those calendars most likely begin at midnight, when those evening and morning stars can never be seen. It turns out that the day Wed 5 Apr (midnight to midnight) coincided with "1 Creation" of both of those cycles, being the first day of each cycle. How often do Passover, 1 Reed, and 1 Creation on both Mercury and Venus calendars occur at the same time? Only for one 6 hour period in 7,000 years, from sunset to midnight on Wed 5 Apr 1 BC. Thus, there is no doubt in the minds of these two authors that Jesus Christ was born at that time, as testified by the heavens themselves (Moses 6:63).
To these three witnesses of that date, we can now add a fourth witness. On the priest cycle, that morning was 1 Jeshua, the first day on which the priest of the course of Jeshua (Jesus) was serving. Was that significant? One clue is that the priest temple cycle aligned not with just a random event, but with the presentation to the temple priest himself. Even so, by itself it could just be a chance coincidence. It is our experience that when the Lord wants us to know something, he always provides at least two or three witnesses. Let us now look at some other dates in the life of Christ for other witnesses that the priest cycle is indeed a divine calendar.
Again we find Jesus at the temple on an important day in his life. And which course began officiating that day, when Jesus also began officiating in his public ministry? Again, it was the course of Jeshua. Thus there is another witness both of that date being correct, as well as that the priest cycle indeed is a sacred calendar, instigated and used by the Lord.
But what was the date of the Annunciation, presumably a few days before the actual conception? Until now that date has not been clear, but with the priest cycle, there is one day which presents itself as the most likely date.
Sun 13 Jun, 2 BC was sacred on at least two calendars. First it was the Feast of Firstfruits on the Judean calendar of the Sadducees. That is the day associated with the first fruits of the wheat from the ground. Christ referred to himself as the grain of wheat, which must fall into the ground and die in order to bring forth much fruit (John 12:24). The grain is also associated with the seed of woman, which was the great promise to Mother Eve, that her seed would crush the serpent's head (Gen. 3:15). This is depicted in the constellation of Virgo, the Virgin, who holds some wheat in her hand. The only bright star in the constellation, Spica (meaning "ear of wheat"), is found in that wheat, not in the maiden proper. That is significant because the constellations were apparently revealed by the angel Uriel to the prophet Enoch. Thus, the Feast of Firstfruits is an appropriate day for the Annunciation to have occurred. It turns out that, as a second witness to the correctness of that date, that morning was also 1 Jeshua on the priestly cycle. These two witnesses are perhaps enough to propose that date to have been the Annunciation.
The visit of Gabriel to Zacharias occurred about 6 months before his visit to Mary (Luke 1:24-26). Now that we have a proposed date of Sun 13 Jun 2 BC for the Annunciation to Mary, we can estimate that it must have been about December of 3 BC that Gabriel appeared to Zacharias. That creates a rather precise prediction about when the course of Abijah must have served. That course served for an entire week, but that week only occurred once every 24 weeks, or every 168 days. That is only about twice per year.
Now that we know when the priestly cycle really was, we can use it for a check on the whole series of dates proposed for the Annunciation, the birth of Jesus, and of the presentation at the temple.
Calculating when the course of Abijah served, we find a bull's-eye in two ways. First, the course served from the afternoon of Sat 19 Dec 3 BC through the morning of Sat 26 Dec 3 BC. So that in itself is a perfect fit, which only has a 2 or 3 week chance in 24 weeks to have been a perfect fit. Secondly, checking the schedule we see that the week after Abijah served is when Jeshua serves. Presumably the conception of John the Baptist occurred in that following week, and if so, then there would be yet another alignment with the course of Jeshua, which by now appears to be the preferred course for events relating to Jesus. All of the pieces fit perfectly into place, and all testify that Christ was indeed born on the evening preceding Thu 6 Apr 1 BC.
Let us look at just one "resurrection-like" event; more will come forth later. The date we have proposed for the First Vision is Sun 26 March 1820. That date could be said to begin the "Resurrection" or "Restoration" of the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth in these latter days. That morning was 1 Jachin on the priest cycle. Note that again the timing is down to a fraction of a day. The afternoon of 26 March would have been 2 Jachin because the day on the priest cycle begins at noon. Similarly the Resurrection of Christ was in the morning (before dawn), so these calendars work together to define precise intervals accurate to a quarter day.
Let us now consider one more example of what might be an important date on the priest cycle.
So what priestly course was presiding on the morning of that Pentecost? It was the day 1 Seorim, when the course of Seorim officiated. "Seorim" means "Barley" or "Grain" which is what the Feast of Firstfruits is all about: the offering of the firstfruits of the harvest of the winter crop. This is only one isolated example of a Firstfruits-type event occurring on the right day, but it appears to be another bull's-eye.
There are other dates which could be checked. The day of the birth of Christ would have been 5 Harim, which we have translated Messiah. That might be significant but it is hard to tell. After all, we have translated all 24 names to represent Christ, so we could hardly have missed. On the other hand, Messiah is definitely one of the best. But until there are a series of meaningful birth dates on that calendar, we assign no importance at all to that one. The other dates discussed in this article are dates of priesthood ordinances on which we would expect the priesthood calendar to be used. We have seen no evidence yet that the priest calendar is important for anyone's birth date. On the other hand, the date of the Savior's baptism falls on "1 Harvest" on the priest cycle. Harvest and baptism might be a hit, because the Lord speaks of the fields being ready to "harvest," and we associate that symbolism with baptism. Baptism is a priesthood ordinance, and the symbolism might apply. Clearly, more research is needed.
|Gregorian||Wed 5 Apr 1 BC pm*||Sun 14 May 1 BC am||Sat 6 Oct AD 29 pm||Sat 6 Apr AD 30 pm||Sun 3 Apr AD 33 am*|
|Sacred Round||1 Reed||1 Grass||13 Water||13 Monkey||13 Temple|
|Venus||1 Creation||||0 Prime||||1 Resurrection|
|Mercury||1 Creation||1 Birth||0 Creation||||1 Creation|
|Priest||||1 Savior||1 Harvest||1 Savior||1 Resurrection|