Jesus’ One Year Ministry

Three Biblical records prove Jesus started His ministry some time after 18th September 28 AD, the first is when John the Baptist is recorded as beginning His ministry in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign:

Luke 3:1-3
1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene—2 during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Tiberius’ predecessor Augustus Caesar died on 18 September 14 AD and although Tiberius had been co-ruling for just over a year, which had been made official by Augustus on 3 April 13 AD, most historians usually quote reigns from when the predecessor has died, so the later date of 18 September 14 AD is most likely. This fact places John the Baptist as starting his ministry from some time after 18 September 28 AD; the beginning of Tiberius’ 15th year.

Secondly this date also agrees with this verse:

John 2:20
They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?”

This was said to Jesus when He cleared the temple on the first Passover of His ministry, history records Herod became king in 37 BC and Josephus records Herod began to rebuild the temple in his 18th year, which was therefore from 20 to 19 BC. Adding 46 years to this arrives at 27 to 28 AD and thus the 47th year in which this was said was from 28 to 29 AD and Passover that year began at sunset 18th April 29AD.

And the third and final time is when the Bible states that Jesus was about 30 when He began His ministry:

Luke 3:23
Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.

It can be known that Jesus was born on 11th September 3BC because there was a specific astronomical sign given at His birth. When God made the stars it was not just some random act, the stars and constellations He made were a purposeful and deliberate heavenly pictograph displaying and foretelling what would happen to mankind, from Adam to Jesus and until the end of the age. Even though Satan has tried to hide all this with astrology God’s truth is still displayed in the stars:

Psalm 19:1-4
1 The Heavens proclaim the Glory of God. The skies display His Craftsmanship. 2 Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known. 3 They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. 4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.

In Revelations 12:1-2 we read:

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.

This was fulfilled the evening of Jesus’ birth when the constellation of Virgo, representing the Virgin Mary, became visible just above the horizon towards the west, as the stars began to appear it looked as if the sunset was cloaking her body and the crescent moon was positioned under her feet. Virgo appears in the birthing position on her back and Jupiter the King planet representing Jesus was between her legsAbove Virgo’s head are the nine stars of Leo that represent the Lion of the tribe of Judah and that night there were also three planets in Leo: Mercury, Venus and Mars making a total of twelve stars above Virgo’s head that represented the crown. The word planet literally means wondering star.

The best time to have witnessed this momentary display was between 5:53 p.m. and 6:35 p.m. that evening and Jesus was born at about 6:12 p.m because at that precise time the brightest star in Virgo, called Spica, that represents an ear of corn held in Virgo’s left hand, appeared to ‘touch’ the horizon, or ‘alight to the earth’ as the stars were setting. The name of this star in Hebrew is Tsemech which means ‘branch’ and is the subject of prophecy by Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah. Spica is actually Latin for ‘a kernel of wheat’ and Jesus Himself alluded to this sign:

John 12:23-24
Truly, truly I say to you, unless a kernel of wheat alights to the earth and dies, it remains a single seed. But if it dies, it bears fruit.”

This means Jesus turned thirty on the day of Trumpets on the 8th September 28 AD and according to Numbers 4 Priests were only allowed to do the work of a priest once they turned thirty (God repeats this in the law 7 times) Jesus had to be thirty in order to full-fill the law and not break it:

Numbers 4
2“Take a census of the Kohathite branch of the Levites by their clans and families. 3 Count all the men from THIRTY to fifty years of age who come to serve in the work at the tent of meeting.

22“Take a census also of the Gershonites by their families and clans. 23 Count all the men from THIRTY to fifty years of age who come to serve in the work at the tent of meeting.

29“Count the Merarites by their clans and families. 30Count all the men from THIRTY to fifty years of age who come to serve in the work at the tent of meeting.

34Moses, Aaron and the leaders of the community counted the Kohathites by their clans and families. 35All the men from THIRTY to fifty years of age who came to serve in the work at the tent of meeting,

38 The Gershonites were counted by their clans and families. 39All the men from THIRTY to fifty years of age who came to serve in the work at the tent of meeting,

42 The Merarites were counted by their clans and families. 43All the men from THIRTY to fifty years of age who came to serve in the work at the tent of meeting,

46 So Moses, Aaron and the leaders of Israel counted all the Levites by their clans and families. 47 All the men from THIRTY to fifty years of age who came to do the work of serving and carrying the tent of meeting

Jesus’ One Year Ministry from 3rd February 29 AD to 31st May 30 AD (483 days)

John’s record of the Jewish feasts helps to build a chronology of Jesus’ one year ministry:

John 2:13
When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

John 5:1
After these things there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

John 6:4
Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was near.

John 7:2 + 10
2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 10 he also went, not publicly, but in secret.

John 10:22
Then came the Festival of Dedication (Hanukkah) at Jerusalem. It was winter,

John 12:12-13
12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival (Passover) heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.

Clearly John thought these were important to record but this is only two years worth of festivals, unless the second unnamed feast is taken to be a Passover as well. However, this would just be speculation and it would also not make chronological sense of the feasts as they actually occur through the Jewish religious year i.e:

Passover, Shavuot, Tabernacles, Hanukkah, Passover and so on . . .

Instead we have:

Passover, a feast, Passover, Tabernacles, Hanukkah, Passover.

If the unnamed feast was Shavuot (Pentecost) it would make more sense but the second Passover listed would still seem out of place and also does not explain why the other feasts Jesus would have had to attend over a supposed two years were not mentioned. However, the reason John 6:4 is there is simply because it was added into the texts during the early history of the New Testament and for which there exists physical evidence; A thirteenth century manuscript called Minuscule 472 housed in the Lambeth Palace library in London, has an editor’s mark next to it John 6:4 indicating that there were other manuscripts that had this verse missing from them but the scribe had decided to add the verse anyway, as they also had a manuscript that included John 6:4 which was considered either older or more reliable. This manuscript is not alone, a second (fourteenth century) manuscript called Minuscule 1634, housed at Great Lavra Monastery on Mount Athos, in Greece, also has a similar editor’s note made next to verse John 6:4, indicating that other manuscripts in the copyists possession were missing John 6:4.

This discrepancy can also be traced back to the writings of the early church fathers of the first few century’s. The first recorded mention of the length of Jesus’ ministry was made by Irenaeus, Bishop of Gaul in France b.130AD d.202AD who was the first to state Jesus had gone up to Jerusalem on three separate Passovers, stating somewhat sarcastically; “To be sure all the world will agree that three Passovers are not included in a single year.” It’s not known if he was referring to John 5:1, the un-named feast, or John 6:4 (If indeed John 6:4 was even there at this time?). If it was John 5:1 then he is assuming the mentioned feast was a Passover which was just speculation and if he meant John 6:4, then this again throws up all the problems as previously mentioned. Many of the early church fathers continued to debate in favour of the one year ministry, most notably Clement Bishop of Alexandria b.150 AD d.215 AD was one of the first to counter the notion of a more than one year ministry. However, Origen Bishop of Alexandria b.184 AD d.253 AD in his book ‘Contra Celsum’, written in 248 AD stated that he was satisfied that a case could be made for a three year ministry of Jesus.

This seems to be where the error first crept into the theology of the early church, as from then on there was an ever increasing amount of debate over the length of Jesus’ ministry, which didn’t seem to be an issue before these initial remarks. But it was Eusebius b.263 AD d.339 AD Bishop of Caesarea from 313 AD to 339 AD, who perhaps promoted this theory more than anyone else. He stated that Jesus’ ministry was between three to four years long and that this was the fulfilment of the first half of Daniel’s prophetic end times seven years:

Daniel 9:27
He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.

Eusebius then suggested that the last half of the seven years was from Jesus’ death until the baptism of Cornelius the Roman solider, recorded in the book of Acts chapter 10. In his written exegesis on the book of Daniel, Eusebius suggests that the first definite Gentile believer, Cornelius, was the ultimate fulfilment of Daniel’s prophecy and suggested that this was God’s way of passing the ministry and mission that Jesus had begun, onto the Roman Catholic Church and its Bishops. His theory also diminished the role of the Jewish people, who he saw as having rejected Christianity. Most ironically and somewhat disturbingly, is that the seven year prophecy is actually describing what the Anti-Christ will do in the last seven years before Jesus returns and this last seven years is still awaiting fulfilment.

After the error had crept in and grew in acceptance, others continued to try and argue the case back for the one year ministry, such as Sulpicius Sererus who died in 410 AD. In his work ‘Historia Sacra’ he stated Jesus’ ministry was one year in length and that He was 31 years old at His crucifixion. Although not alone in voicing the one year ministry the three and a half year theory, along with Eusebius’ Roman Catholic ‘boosting’ yet unfounded theology began to be generally accepted throughout both the eastern and western halves of Roman Catholic Christendom. Although numerous writings throughout the last two thousand years have tried to put straight the dates for Jesus’ ministry, the battle between truth and tradition continues. Yet God has left us a trail of clues to help re-establish Jesus’ ministry as only being just over a year in length, thus fulfilling this prophecy:

Isaiah 61:2
to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favour.

In addition the Jewish Talmud records at least six strange signs that continued in the Temple for 40 years prior to its destruction in 70 AD:

Talmud—Yoma 39a 11-18:
11 Our Rabbis taught: Throughout the forty years that Simeon the Righteous ministered, the lot [‘For the LORD’] would always come up in the right hand; from that time on, it would come up now in the right hand, now in the left. And [during the same time] the crimson-coloured strap 12 would become white. From that time on it would at times become white, at others not. Also: Throughout those forty years the westernmost light 13 was shining, from that time on, it was now shining, now failing; also the fire of the pile of wood kept burning strong, 14 so that the priests did not have to bring to the pile any other wood besides the two logs, 15 in order to fulfil the command about providing the wood unintermittently; from that time on, it would occasionally keep burning strongly, at other times not, so that the priests could not do without bringing throughout the day wood for the pile [on the altar]. [During the whole period] a blessing was bestowed upon the ‘omer, 16 the two breads, 17 and the shew bread, so that every priest, who obtained a piece there of as big as an olive, ate it, and became satisfied with some eating there of, and even leaving something over. From that time on a curse was sent upon ‘omer, two breads, and shew bread, so that every priest received a piece as small as a bean: the well-bred 18 ones withdrew their hands from it, whilst voracious folk took, and devoured it. Once one [of the latter] grabbed his portion as well as that of his fellow, wherefore they would call him ‘ben hamzan’ [grasper] until his dying day.

Therefore the dates for Jesus’ Ministry in both God’s Calendar dating system and the Gregorian are as follows (I have also included other notable dates that are explained in the first two chapters of my book that can be read here):

Day 24 month 9—14th December 4BC—Jesus’ conception at Hanukkah
Day 1 month 7—11th September 3BC—Jesus’ Birth on the day of Trumpets
Day 11 month 7—18th September 28AD—Earliest John could have began baptising
Day 29 month11—3rd February 29AD—Jesus’ Baptism
Day 15 month 13—20th March 29AD—Purim, the wedding in Cana
Day 14 month 1—18th April 29AD—Passover and the first temple cleansing (John 2:13-25)
Day 8 month 3—10th June 29AD—The Sabbath before Shavuot, healing a lame man after 38 yrs
Day 1 month 7—28th September 29AD—Day of Trumpets and the Transfiguration
Day 10 month 7—7th October 29AD—Day of Atonement and Jubilee announced (Luke 4:16-19)
Day 15 month 7—12th October 29AD—Tabernacles and the unfulfilled day
Day 24 month 9—19th December 29AD—Hanukkah, Jesus says; “He and God are one”
Day 14 month 1—7th April 30AD—Passover, Jesus’ death and burial
Day 15 month 1—8th April 30AD—Jesus preaches to the souls in Hell
Day 16 month 1—9th April 30 AD—First Fruits and Jesus’ resurrection
Day 30 month 2—22nd May 30AD—Jesus’ ascension
Day 9 month 3—31st May 30AD—Pentecost

Just as there were 483 years from Aviv 455 BC when Artaxerxes gave the order to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem to Nehemiah, to Aviv 29 AD when Jesus came and cleared the temple as prophesied through Daniel, I believe there were also 483 days from Jesus’ baptism to the Holy Spirit being given at Pentecost. However, the final week or final seven last years of Daniel’s prophecy, making up the full 490 weeks is yet to be fulfilled from September 2022 to Tabernacles; 24th September 2029.