The Christian’s Guide to the Bible
To the Glory of God. Thank you Jesus.
As you read this book I pray the Holy Spirit will open your eyes.
The Bible’s most repeated command: “Fear not”
Chapter 1 God’s Calendar and His Sabbaths According to the Bible……..17
Chapter 2 God’s Calendar and His Prophetic Feasts ….………..………………42
Chapter 3 Daniel’s Seventy Weeks Prophecy……………..…….…………………76
Chapter 4 The Star of Bethlehem ……………………………..…..………………….96
Chapter 5 Jesus’ One Year Ministry ………………………….………………………107
Chapter 6 Jesus’ Ministry Begins ………………………………..……………………122
Chapter 7 The Year of Jubilee …………………………………..…….……………….142
Chapter 8 Jesus’ Death and Resurrection ………………………….……………..155
Chapter 9 The Chronology of the World …………………..…………….…….….182
Chapter 10 The Last Days ……………………………………………….………………229
Chapter 11 Jerusalem, Israel ……………………………………..……………………287
Chapter 12 The Who’s Who of the Last Days …………….………………………308
Chapter 13 The Who Else of the Last Days ………………….…………………….371
“People Perish for lack of knowledge”
The Bible is God’s way of imparting all the information mankind needs, in order for us to know everything God wants us to know about Himself, ourselves and this reality we find ourselves in. It connects Heaven to Earth, God to Mankind and is literally the supernatural existing in the natural world. God inspired over forty different authors, over a fifteen hundred year time span to write about history, law, poetry and prophecy and a bit like a jigsaw puzzle it can help us to build a picture of the true nature of this reality from the beginning of time to the end. Jesus is the central figure of the Bible and can be found on just about every page in some way. From the very beginning He was prophesied to come into this world and is prophesied to come again. The Bible is our guide to our lives and the future.
Today, Jesus is recognised around the world as having started what is now the largest religion on Earth. His ministry of showing love for God and everyone, including our enemies (which was a new idea at the time), has proven to be very successful. However, although Jesus is widely recognised as a very loving person, it wasn’t the main subject he tried to teach everyone. In fact, during His ministry, He only spoke and taught about love on six occasions, as recorded in the historical records written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This, therefore, represents less than one percent of His total ministerial teaching. Love wasn’t the only reason He came to Earth. If it was, then Jesus would have instead taught us more about love, but clearly He had more important things to tell us in the time he was with us. So what was Jesus trying to say?
Jesus talked about Heaven and Hell quite a bit. The word Heaven is spoken by Jesus 123 times and Hell 46 times. Clearly, Jesus wanted us to know that these two places are real and we’ll all end up in one or the other after this life. That said, around nearly a fifth of everything Jesus said related to money and possessions. He spoke even more about this subject than Heaven and Hell combined. This was because Jesus understood how money itself can become a god. Money was just as important then as it is now and He knew that the world would end up turning to money more and more as the basis for its way of life.
However, above all and by a big margin Jesus taught more about the coming Kingdom and His return than any other subject. Over half of everything Jesus is recorded as saying related to this coming event. The phrase ‘Kingdom of God’ appears fifty-three times in the New Testament Gospels and ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ appears thirty-two times in the Gospel of Matthew alone. Jesus also made a specific point about this coming Kingdom at the very beginning of his ministry:
14 Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the Good News of God, and saying, 15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the Good News”.
And this is what it boils down to, a person’s belief in the Good News, which is to believe Jesus is our Lord and Saviour in order for us to enter Heaven:
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
After all, just about everyone who will end up in Hell will be individuals who had loved others. Love itself does not get anyone into Heaven, instead it’s our belief in Jesus. However, if you wish to receive the Holy Spirit and deepen your relationship with Jesus and God the Father, thus ‘sealing’ your place in Heaven, you should also repent and be baptised:
Peter replied, “Repent, and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Therefore, the three things we are commanded to do in order to receive the Holy Spirit are:
1. Believe in Jesus as our risen saviour.
2. Repent of our sins.
3. Get baptised.
After all, the first thing Jesus did in His ministry was to get baptised and then at the end of his mission He gave the ‘Great Commission’:
19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”.
Therefore, Christians should do as He commanded by repenting of their sins and getting baptised in water, in the prayerful expectation of receiving the Holy Spirit:
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water, and the Spirit”.
Although Jesus spoke little about love, He demonstrated His love by dying an excruciating death on our behalf (actions speak louder than words), but as many non-believers may point out, He was only one of countless thousands who were also crucified. However, he was the only person in history to come back to life after having died such an irrevocable death. All the historical records point to this fact and there are no historical documents that show His dead body was ever found or hidden away afterwards. Again and again His followers claimed He had come back to life, until their dying day, even when tortured to death. This is the proof we have, just as Jesus said it would be; the sign of Jonah, His resurrection:
39 Jesus answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as Jonah was three days, and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Therefore, using logic, reason, critical thinking, science and removing any emotions, or preconceived ideas, the evidence of the historical records all point to this as an event in history unique to science and human experience. Resurrection is the only rational, albeit highly unusual answer, but that’s science for you. For example it seems unbelievable that because gravity, space and time are intrinsically linked, that at the speed of light the mass of an object becomes infinitely heavy and time stands still and also how time slows down as gravity increases. Besides, anyone would have to be beyond foolish not to believe, considering how much Jesus spoke of Heaven and Hell, as being real places. So, either Jesus’ dead body was resurrected, or where on Earth did it go?
Jesus argued for the truth till it cost Him His life. He didn’t turn from His convictions about what the truth of this reality really is. He also died in order to pay the price for all our sins so that man and God could be reconciled and anyone who believes this may know God too. Jesus did all this because He loves us.
As mentioned, Jesus taught about his return and the coming Kingdom more than anything else and the Old Testament warns us about this too. Over eighty times it says about the day on which Jesus would return, often referred to as the great and terrible day of the Lord. The Bible contains a wealth of information about the future. It predicted Jesus first coming nearly two thousand years ago, to the exact month and year, and it also gives us many signs and prophesies for those awaiting His second coming to recognise too. The Bible also lays out a complete history of the world from creation to the end of time and with prayerful study all this knowledge can be revealed in detail, allowing us today to know exactly when, where, who and what to expect; thus preparing us for everything that God wants us to be ready for and by being aware of God’s plan we can work to it accordingly.
However, the Devil has tried hard to keep this plan from man. He knows that the more we know about the truth of this reality and its future, the more effective as Christians we will be. Satan has done much to try and hide from mankind the key pieces of information about God’s plan but as always God manages to make a way so that we can piece together the information given to us in the Bible. Jesus taught us that the Old Testament was to be believed in its entirety and quoted from much of it Himself:
“The Scriptures cannot be discredited”.
The New Testament testifies to the Old and they are in complete harmony, showing that Jesus was the fulfilment of the prophesied Old Testament Hebrew Messiah, which means anointed and in Greek anointed is Christos or Christ. So simply by believing what you read, rather than reading what you believe and letting the Bible interpret the Bible, then the secret plan God has for mankind’s future can be revealed. Letting us know the when, where and who of the End-Times.
God’s Calendar and His Sabbaths According to the Bible
In order to piece together God’s prophetic plan an understanding of God’s Calendar is needed. This is the calendar by which He plans His future events. Our current calendar, called the Gregorian calendar, named after Pope Gregory XIII b.1502AD d.1585AD, is an amended version of the Julian calendar, named after Roman Emperor Julius Caesar b.100BC d.44BC, and was created by first century BC Greek astronomer and mathematician Sosigenes. This fixed 365.25 day solar calendar was implemented by Julius Caesar in 45BC and was intended to replace all the different calendars being used in the various countries within the Roman Empire. The aim was to standardise them so that it would make it easier for people to co-ordinate events and meetings, as up to then the various civilizations, nations and other people groups had been using different calendars with various lengths of weeks, months, and even years. The Romans for example used a calendar that had an eight day week, while others had five day weeks or ten day weeks. Therefore, the continuous seven day cycle we currently use only began in 45BC which means we cannot know for sure if the Sabbath used today is on the day God originally intended it to be.
However, God’s Calendar is explained in the Bible and is based on a lunar-solar calendar which uses the phases of the moon to determine each month, while the sun determines the number of months in each year. Sabbaths are then fixed to set days within each lunar month and so were not on a continuous rolling seven day cycle anyway. Most calendars of antiquity worked in this way as it was so convenient to use the phases of the moon as a time measuring piece, in an era before any time measuring equipment was available. It was not until later in history that fixed solar calendars using fixed lengths of months and years became more popular.
Julius Caesar’s new calendar introduced in 45BC unified all the different peoples calendars within the empire under one standard calendar. However, God’s Calendar used by the patriarch Moses had been used by the Jews for at least 1,500 years prior to this and is even recorded in Genesis chapters 7 & 8 as being used at the time of the flood. Also there is no evidence that the Jews used the new pagan Roman calendar until later in 325AD, when it began to be forced upon them by the Roman Emperor Constantine b.272AD d.337AD. From the scriptures we can learn how God’s Calendar works. God’s days begin just after sunset and end the following day just after sunset:
God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning, the first day.
God’s weeks have six days of work and one day of rest called the Sabbath:
There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the LORD.
God’s months begin with the sighting of the first sliver of the new moon from Jerusalem:
1 Samuel 20:18 + 24-27
18 Then Jonathan said to David, “Tomorrow is the New Moon feast [Day 1]. You will be missed, because your seat will be empty.
24 So David hid in the field, and when the New Moon feast came [Day 1], the king sat down to eat. 25 He sat in his customary place by the wall, opposite Jonathan, and Abner sat next to Saul, but David’s place was empty. 26 Saul said nothing that day, for he thought, “Something must have happened to David to make him ceremonially unclean, surely he is unclean.” 27 But the next day, the second day of the month, [Day 2] David’s place was empty again. Then Saul said to his son Jonathan, “Why hasn’t the son of Jesse come to the meal, either yesterday or today?”
On the first day of the month worked stopped and a feast was held, after which there were six days of work followed by the first Sabbath on day eight, when work stopped again. This pattern continues so that the Sabbaths fall on days 8, 15, 22 and 29. As a month is on average 29.53059 days long the sliver of the new moon is seen again on either days 30 or 31, at which point the monthly cycle begins again and that day then becomes day 1 – New Moon Day. Months therefore alternate between 29 and 30 days in length.
In Leviticus chapter 23 and Exodus chapters 9 through 12, Moses recorded when on God’s Calendar the Sabbaths were fixed and also when God’s Feasts had to be celebrated each year. God’s Feast of Passover for example begins as the sun sets on day 14 of the first month and the Feast of Unleavened Bread continues through all of day 15 to the end of day 21 . Day 15 is also described as a Sabbath in verses 11 and 15 of Leviticus 23:
4 ‘These are the LORD’S appointed festivals, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times: 5 The LORD’S Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. 6 On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD’S Festival of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. 7 On the first day [Day 15] hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. 8 For seven days present a food offering to the LORD. And on the seventh day [Day 21] hold a sacred assembly, and do no regular work.’ 9 The LORD said to Moses, 10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, and you reap its harvest, bring to the priest a sheaf of the first grain your harvest [The first grain of the barley harvest]. 11 He is to wave the sheaf before the LORD so it will be accepted on your behalf; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath [Day 16]. 12 On the day you wave the sheaf, you must sacrifice as a burnt offering to the LORD a lamb a year old without defect, 13 together with its grain offering of two-tenths of an ephah of the finest flour [Made from the new grain of the barley harvest] mixed with olive oil, a food offering presented to the LORD, a pleasing aroma, and its drink offering of a quarter of a hin of wine. 14 You must not eat any bread, or roasted new grain, until the very day you bring this offering to your God [Day 16]. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. 15 ‘From the day after the Sabbath [Day 16], the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. 16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD. [The first grain of the wheat harvest]
So here it shows God is naming day 15 of the first month as a Sabbath and day 16 was called the day of First Fruits, when a sheaf of the new barley harvest was waved before the LORD and an offering of fine barley flour was burnt on the altar of incense in the temple.
However, from the above scriptures the fifty day count up to Pentecost (Shavuot in Hebrew) although counted as fifty actual days up to day 6 of month 3, as traditionally practised by present day Jews, should actually be counted to the day after the seventh full Sabbath, which is day 9 of month 3 and is the day after the actual seventh Sabbath on God’s Lunar-Solar Calendar. This is an important point that is discussed further in chapter 2.
It can also be determined from scripture that the first month (called Aviv) is calculated each year by the need for the barley to be ripe enough for it to be made into fine flour, so that it can be offered as a burnt offering. The need for the barley to be ripe is confirmed again in Exodus when Moses mentioned that the seventh plague, the plague of Hail, happened when the barley was ripe:
Exodus 9:18 + 31
18 Therefore, at this time tomorrow I will send the worst hailstorm that has ever fallen on Egypt, from the day it was founded till now.
31 (The flax and barley were destroyed, since the barley had headed and the flax was in bloom. 32 The wheat and spelt, however, were not destroyed, because they ripen later.)
This shows that it was the beginning of spring in the month the Jews call Aviv, which literally means young barley or spring. According to various verses in Exodus chapters 9,10 and 11, the hail occurred five days before the first Passover:
33 Then Moses left Pharaoh and went out of the city. He spread out his hands toward the LORD; the thunder and hail stopped, and the rain no longer poured down on the land. 34 When Pharaoh saw that the rain, and hail and thunder had stopped, he sinned again: He and his officials hardened their hearts. 35 So Pharaoh’s heart was hard and he would not let the Israelite’s go, just as the LORD had said through Moses.
1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these signs of mine among them 2 that you may tell your children, and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the LORD.” 3 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “This is what the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me. 4 If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow.
Therefore, the day after the hail was the plague of locusts, which was the eighth plague:
Exodus 10:13 + 16-19
13 So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and the LORD made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts;
16 Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God and against you 17 Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the LORD your God to take this deadly plague away from me.” 18 Moses then left Pharaoh and prayed to the LORD. 19 And the LORD changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which caught up the locusts, and carried them into the Red Sea.
Pharaoh again refused to let the Hebrews go, so on the same day Moses prayed and the plague of three days of thick darkness happened. The ninth plague:
20 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go. 21 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt, darkness that can be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his and toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days.
After these three days, Pharaoh refused to let the herds go with the Hebrews, this was now five days since the hail. Pharaoh then says:
28 Pharaoh said to Moses, “Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die.” 29 “Just as you say,” Moses replied. “I will never appear before you again.”
But before Moses leaves, he gives a warning about the final tenth plague:
Exodus 11:1 + 4-5
1 Now the LORD had said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, and when he does, he will drive you out completely.
4 So Moses said, “This is what the LORD says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. 5 Every first born son in Egypt will die.
So the barley was ripe just five days before day 15 of Aviv, when the Israelites left Egypt. Then God confirms that the month of Aviv was to become the first month of the new year in Exodus chapter 12:
1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.
This tells us that God was changing which month of the year would now be recognised as the first month of the religious year. Present day Jews believe Tishri, now month seven, was originally the first month of the year, and this is also shown in the Bible:
“Celebrate the Festival of Weeks [Shavuot/Pentecost] with the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the Festival of Ingathering [Tabernacles] at the turn of the year.”
Although God had set the religious year to start from the month of Aviv, the civil new year continued to begin from the month of Tishri (as it always had done), which now became month seven. Originally God simply numbered each month but some were eventually given a Hebrew name and later all the months adopted Babylonian names from when the Jews were in exile there. Here are the names:
Month Hebrew name Babylonian name
1 Aviv Nisan
2 Ziv Lyyar
3 – Sivan
4 – Tammuz
5 – Av
6 – Elul
7 Ethanim Tishri
8 Bul Heshvan
9 – Kislev
10 – Tevet
11 – Shevat
12 – Adar
Also, in Exodus chapter 16 it can further be determined that a Sabbath in the second month after leaving Egypt fell on day 22 of that month, and therefore shows that God’s Calendar, and his Sabbaths, are most certainly linked to the phases of the moon:
1 The whole Israelite community set out from Elim, and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim, and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month [Day 15] after they had come out of Egypt. 2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 3 The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’S hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” 4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from Heaven for you. The people are to go out each day, and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. 5 On the sixth day [Day 21] they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.” 6 So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening [Day 16] you will know that it was the LORD who brought you out of Egypt, 7 and in the morning [Also day 16] you will see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?” 8 Moses also said, “You will know that it was the LORD when he gives you meat to eat in the evening, and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the LORD.” 9 Then Moses told Aaron, “Say to the entire Israelite community, ‘Come before the LORD, for he has heard your grumbling.’ ” 10 While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the LORD appearing in the cloud. 11 The LORD said to Moses, 12 “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘In the evening [Beginning of day 16] you will eat meat, and in the morning [Also day 16] you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.’ ” 13 That evening [Day 16] quail came, and covered the camp, and in the morning [Also day 16] there was a layer of dew around the camp. 14 When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. 15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?”[Manna in Hebrew literally means ‘what is it’] For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat. 16 This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.’” 17 The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little. 18 And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed. 19 Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.” 20 However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them. 21 Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. 22 On the sixth day [Day 21], they gathered twice as much, two omers for each person, and the leaders of the community came, and reported this to Moses. 23 He said to them, “This is what the LORD commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of Sabbath rest, [Day 22] a holy Sabbath to the LORD. So bake what you want to bake, and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left, and keep it until morning.’ ” 24 So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it. 25 “Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a Sabbath to the LORD. You will not find any of it on the ground today. 26 Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”
So here it shows God also names day twenty-two of the second month after leaving Egypt a Sabbath (four times to be sure). This was not a feast day that God was initiating, otherwise it would be listed with the others in Leviticus. Also, as it’s known that the new moon festival was held on day one of every lunar month, it can be determined, with certainty, that God’s Calendar had four Sabbaths every lunar month, on days 8, 15, 22, and 29 with six days of work preceding each Sabbath. God again confirms the Sabbath is linked to this lunar cycle in the seventh month:
So beginning with the fifteenth day of the seventh month, after you have gathered the crops of the land, celebrate the festival to the LORD for seven days; the first day [Day 15] is a day of Sabbath rest, and the eighth day [Day 22] also is a day of Sabbath rest.
As lunar months are on average 29.53059 days long and in order for the Jews to determine when the new month began, the Sanhedrin (the highest Jewish court judges) would need two witnesses to testify they had sighted the first sliver of the new moon within a days walk from Jerusalem, which would either fall on the day after day 29 or the day after day 30 and as said months therefore alternated between 29 and 30 days long. It’s not clear from scripture what the Israelites did when there was an extra thirtieth day but some ancient Jewish sources suggest that the thirtieth day was automatically new moon day but if the new moon was not seen that day then the next day would then become new moon day. Although it was not a Sabbath it was seen as a feast day so while work could take place on these days in the evening there would be a celebratory feast. There was also a reward for the first two witnesses who could correctly report the sighting of the new moon to the Sanhedrin in the form of a grand meal. The first two witnesses who reached the temple gates with the news would be called up by the High Priest who would shout, “Come up here.” This was a prophetic foreshadowing of what will happen with the Two Witnesses in chapter 11 of Revelation:
Then they heard a loud voice from Heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they went up to Heaven in a cloud, while their enemies looked on.
Christians too should be looking out for the first signs of the coming of our Lord Jesus, as He too will have his reward with Him.
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done”.
However, there are only 354.36708 days in twelve lunar months and so an extra thirteenth month, called Adar II, would be added whenever it was judged by the Sanhedrin that the barley was not going to be ripe enough to be made into fine flour, ready for the day of First Fruits held on day 16 of Aviv. This was determined at the end of month twelve, Adar I, and if it wasn’t ripe enough the extra month, Adar II, was added. Then the whole yearly cycle would begin again with the sighting of the next new moon, which would begin the month of Aviv, month 1.
Below shows God’s Lunar-Solar Calendar as revealed from the scriptures. Please click on the image to view or print as a PDF:
If you would like to know more about how the Sabbath is calculated, Bible scholar Robert-Aaron Richmond has put together a very useful YouTube film that also explains from scripture when the Sabbath is , here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJq8tKvnemU
All of this means, is that the Sabbath can occur on any day of the Julian/Gregorian calendar, whether a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, etc., (which are all Roman Pagan names, for example Saturday is named after the Roman god of agriculture called Saturnus) and therefore most Christians and Jews are currently not worshipping God on the day He ordained as Holy but most are instead completely unaware of it. Especially the Seventh Day Adventists who hold to strictly worshipping God on Saturdays. (This also includes Muslims who worship on Fridays on this pagan Julian/Gregorian calendar, rather than their own similar lunar-solar calendar which was used by Muhammad and his followers in seventh century Arabia). That said there are a minority of Christians who are aware of this fact and some of whom are today trying to teach about it, such as Bible Scholars John D. Keyser and Robert-Aaron Richmond for example. However, the fourth commandment: ‘Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy’ has virtually been forgotten, a command more important than murder for example, which is the sixth commandment and both were punishable by death! Jesus kept the correct Sabbath day holy; so, should we also try to follow Jesus and keep the correct Sabbath day holy?
Well, even before Jesus came, God seemed to be getting a bit tired of His people trying to keep His Feasts and Sabbaths. The prophet Isaiah in the eighth century BC warned the northern half of Israel about this shortly before they were conquered by the Assyrians:
[The LORD says] 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths, and convocations I cannot bear your worthless assemblies. 14 Your New Moon feasts, and your appointed festivals I hate with all my being. They have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.
This was because their hearts were far from God:
The LORD says: “These people come near to me with their mouth, and honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
Soon the northern kingdom of Israel was conquered, and most of its inhabitants were taken as slaves, while the land was then resettled by foreigners who later became known as the Samaritans. Later still in the sixth century BC the southern half of Israel was conquered by the Babylonians, who destroyed Solomon’s grand temple, and again also took many Jews into captivity. However, after seventy years the Jews in Babylon were allowed back to Israel, where they then rebuilt the temple, and restarted the feasts and festivals. So by the time Jesus arrived, He was fully adhering to all of these set feasts and Sabbaths. However, after His death, and resurrection, we read from the Apostle Paul:
Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
This expresses the fact that we are now not under the law, and instead the laws should be in our minds, and written on are hearts, as was always intended by God:
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people”.
This therefore sounds like we should perhaps pay even closer attention to the laws. After all, Jesus kept the law and is noted as saying:
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or will be subject to judgement. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of Hell.
Although we are saved by our belief in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and God’s Grace which supersedes the law, we should still use the ten commandments as our guide as to how to live. We are not dependent on them but it will prosper us if we adhere to them. Equally, if we break these laws then we will face the consequences. For example, murder could well result in a person going to prison. Jesus also gives us a simple instruction as to how to keep all of the laws; The Great Command:
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Jesus here was still quoting from the law however, as these are two of the 613 Old Testament laws found throughout the first five books of the Old Testament, that are known as the Torah:
Love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.
Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbour as yourself. I am the LORD.
Therefore, we should be trying really hard to be as excellent as possible to God, as well as one another, but if we fail, and we all do, then it’s okay, because it’s by our belief in Jesus as our Saviour that makes everything right with God. Therefore the Sabbath, and God’s Calendar is still relevant to us today, and if we really knew why this was then we would see why it was the enemy, Satan, who has brought this whole calendar confusion about. Ending up with the pagan Roman Catholic Julian/Gregorian calendar on which is celebrated Jesus’ death at Easter; a pagan religious festival named after Queen Ishtar who was Nimrod’s Queen and own mother! (Nimrod and Ishtar began the false Babylonian mystery religion which included infant baby sacrificing. More is explained about Nimrod in chapter 13). This Roman calendar also celibates Jesus’ birth on the pagan day that celebrated sun worship, named Sol Invictus which means ‘unconquered sun’ and was also supposed to be the day Ishtar’s son Tammuz was born. Whether we acknowledge God’s Calendar or not, God is still using it, and sets His prophetic plans by it, if we ignore it then we will not be ready for when He has planned His prophetic acts to happen. However, just to be clear:
1. Be as excellent as possible to God and others every day.
2. Be aware of God’s Calendar and when His Sabbaths and Feasts really are. (Although they currently still hold to a Friday-Saturday Sabbath; TorahCalendar.Com is a useful website to help with this, or see: guidetothebible.wordpress.com)
3. Take one day off in every seven, any day you like, just to rest, and do no work. You will feel better and be more productive.
4. If you wish to honour God on the correct Sabbath, without having to take the day off work, why not try fasting. It doesn’t have to be a total fast of all food. You could just decide to skip a meal, or eat only fruit, or even to just not watch non-Christian TV, for example.
However, as said God’s original Calendar is starting to be recognised by some Christians and Jews. In the year 2000, a Jewish American called Nehemia Gordon b.1972 began to coordinate Aviv barley searches and new crescent moon sightings from Jerusalem. He is now the co-founder of the World Karaite Movement, a Karaite revival group in Israel. Karaites believe that the divine commandments handed down to Moses by God were recorded in the Torah and therefore do not accept the written collections of the oral traditions in the Jewish Midrash or Talmud Rabbinical writings. Some Christians have recognised the importance of his work in relation to the re-establishment of God’s Calendar in the land of Israel, and how it connects with end time prophecy.
For sometime, orthodox Jews have been preparing to rebuild the original temple and restart Jewish worship and sacrifices. Founded in 1987 The Temple Institute, based in Jerusalem, emphatically states on their website that their ultimate goal is to see Israel rebuild the Holy Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, in accordance with the Biblical commandments. In addition, halfway between Jerusalem and Jericho in Mitzpe Yericho, is a school for teaching and training Cohanim and Levite priests in how to serve in the yet-to-be-built third temple.
In order to fulfil the Biblical commandments, the priests in the temple will have to celebrate God’s Sabbaths and Feast days on the correct Biblical days as God originally instructed Moses. However, currently most Jews around the world still use a calendar that was created by Hillel II in 359 AD, who was the president of the Sanhedrin in Israel. He created a calendar that was based on the fixed nineteen year Metonic cycle of 235 lunar months (named after Greek mathematician Meton of Athens; 5th century BC), that closely approximated God’s ‘visually sighted new moon calendar’. This was done because it was becoming too dangerous for the Jews to sight the new from Jerusalem, as they had been banned from living there by the Emperor Hadrian b.76 AD d. 138 AD, after the Simon Bar-Kokhba revolt of 135 AD which the Jews had lost. Hadrian also made an anti-religious decree forbidding Sabbath observance.
So this fixed calendar allowed the Jews to worship God on the same day as each other, no matter where in the world they were. But this calendar is only accurate around half of the time for the feasts and approximately only one-in-seven times do the Sabbaths on God’s Calendar, coincide with the Friday-Saturday ‘Sabbath’ on the Julian/Gregorian calendar. Therefore, in order for the priests to worship God on the right days all of the time, they will need to use God’s original calendar. World events are beginning to shape up to fulfilling one of the Bibles most famous prophesies:
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.
It’s widely believed amongst many Christians that these scriptures refer to the third temple that will be rebuilt in Jerusalem and the Anti-Christ’s actions in the last days:
He will speak against the Most High, and oppress his holy people, and try to change the set times and the laws. The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time, [Three and a half years].
I believe God’s Calendar will be re-established at the temple and it is these ‘set times’ that the Anti-Christ will try to change. Mankind’s enemy, Satan, has always tried to hide God’s Calendar and His reckoning of time. The reason why is because for Christians this calendar and particularly His set Feasts, are of the utmost importance as they have a specific purpose which is discussed in the next chapter.
God’s Calendar and His Prophetic Feasts
The First Six Feast’s and Holy Days of God
God set aside particular days on His Calendar as celebratory feast days, when the Jews had to perform certain rituals, rituals which were actually prophetic preparations for the coming Messiah. This was done to help the Jews to recognise who the Messiah would be, as the Messiah would fulfil each celebratory ritual they had been practising. By the time Jesus came, they had been practising this ‘dress-rehearsal’ for over a thousand years. During Jesus’ ministry, He fulfilled every prophetic feast except one! And as we study the feasts, we will see why God’s Calendar is so important for us today. There are seven main feasts and holy days through the Jewish year as shown below:
Day 14, month 1 (Aviv)—Preparation day & Passover at twilight.
Day 15, month 1 (Aviv)—The festival of Unleavened Bread from day 15 to 21.
Day 16, month 1 (Aviv)—First Fruits.
Day 9 (not day 6, as explained below), month 3 (Sivan)—Pentecost (Shavuot).
Day 1, month 7 (Tishri)—The day of Trumpets.
Day 10, month 7 (Tishri)—The day of Atonement.
Day 15, month 7 (Tishri)—Tabernacles from day 15 to 22.
The first feast Jesus fulfilled was Passover (also known as the Festival of Unleavened Bread), this was actually the first of three times each year when it was required by God that all Jewish males had to go up to Jerusalem to worship, the other two times were Shavuot (also known as the Festival of Weeks) and the third was the feast of Tabernacles:
Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Weeks and the Festival of Tabernacles. No one should appear before
the LORD empty-handed.
Every Passover, the Jews had to each take a one-year-old male lamb or goat and present it to the priests who would slaughter it. It was then tied to a stake and placed in one of the hundreds of ovens on the temple mount before sunset on Preparation day. Jesus fulfilled the Passover feast by being nailed to the cross, dying and being placed in the tomb. In fact, Jesus was on the cross for around six hours before He died, from about 9am to 3pm, it was during this time that the animals would be slaughtered, then at about 3pm the high priest would stop the sacrifices and slaughter the main Passover lamb last of all, he would then say; “I thirst” and taking a drink he would shout; “It is finished!” Jesus our real High Priest cried out these same prophetic words in fulfilment of this ritual. It was then necessary that all the lambs were put into the ovens before the sunset, and Jesus too was put into the tomb before sunset. After Jesus’ death His Spirit descended into Hell:
1 Peter 3:18-20
18 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. 19 So he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20 those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat.
And . . .
1 Peter 4:6
For this is the reason the Gospel was preached even to those who are now dead, so that they might be judged according to human standards in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.
Jesus Himself alluded to the fact that he was going to descend to Hell after his death:
“I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock, and one shepherd.”
And . . .
Jesus answered [to the criminal on the cross next to] him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Paradise is the name of three different places in the Bible: Eden, a garden in Heaven, and a place where the righteous went after death:
22 “But that poor man died and Angels brought him to The Bosom of Abraham. And the rich man also died and he was buried.” 23 “And suffering in Sheol, he lifted up his eyes from afar off, and he saw Abraham, and Lazarus in his bosom.” 24 “And he called in a loud voice and he said, ‘My father, Abraham, have pity on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water, and moisten my tongue for me; behold, I am suffering in this flame.” 25 “Abraham said to him, ‘My son, remember that you have received your good things in your life, and Lazarus, his evil things, and now, behold, he is comforted here, and you are suffering.” 26 “And along with all these things, there stands a great abyss between us, and you, so that those who would pass from here to you are not able, neither is whoever is there able to pass over to us.’
Here Jesus describes two different parts of Sheol (Hebrew for Hell), separated by an Abyss that is also mentioned in the book of Revelation:
He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.
It was this preaching in Hell when Jesus fulfilled the second feast, known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread and then after He had resurrected He confirmed that He had as yet to ascend to Heaven, as He told Mary:
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father, and your Father, to my God, and your God.”
Because Jesus was ceremonially clean, He could not let anyone touch Him until He had presented Himself before God. After He had done this Jesus was seen again by the women who were hurrying back from the tomb, where He then allowed them to touch Him:
8 So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet, and worshipped him.
So on the third day Jesus rose from death and ascended to Heaven on the morning of First Fruits’, day 16. Every year on this day the High Priest waved the first sheaf of the barley harvest before the LORD and burnt the offering of fine barley flour on the altar of incense in the temple. That morning Jesus ascended to Heaven as the first fruits offering to God, thus fulfilling the day of first fruits which was the third holy day Jesus fulfilled:
1 Corinthians 15:20
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
This shows that Jesus ascended to Heaven at the same time the high priest would have been presenting the first fruits wave offering in the temple. Again this ritual had been practised for over a thousand years and the significance of this will be discussed further in chapter 8.
The fourth feast in the year is Shavuot, also known as the Feast of Weeks, which Christians recognise as Pentecost. This feast is held on the day after seven full weeks from the Day of First Fruits and is the second time each year Israelite’s were required to go up to Jerusalem. Again the high priest would make a wave offering to God in the temple but this time with a sheaf of the wheat harvest which was ripe by this time.
Jews traditionally celebrate Shavuot on day 6 of month 3 because they count off 50 days from day 16 month 1 on the Hillel fixed Metonic calendar that uses the Julian rolling week system and most Christians today think Pentecost should be day 6 month 3 as well but originally it was always day 9 month 3 on God’s Calendar. This is because of how the instruction for when Shavuot is, is interpreted:
15 From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. 16 Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD.
Notice how God ‘bookends’ the fifty day count instruction with ‘count off seven full weeks’ and ‘up to the day after the seventh Sabbath’. This is because there are sometimes two consecutive months of 30 days that fall between Passover and Shavuot, so that Shavuot can fall either 53 or 54 days after the Feast of First Fruits. So putting the three instruction into context shows the first and most important way to make sure Shavuot is on the right day is to count off seven full weeks and to make sure this is done accurately they would count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath. This ‘belt and braces’ way of counting the days ensured they got the right day for Shavuot after the seventh Sabbath.
Think for yourself which is easier to count and keep track of; 50 days or seven weeks? I know that I can remember the different weeks that have gone by easier than trying to remember the different days. God was just making an easy way to keep track of when Shavuot would be.
Some Christians think this verse is an Achilles heel to the Lunar-Sabbath of God’s Calendar but they’re not reading it as intended and it also means having to ignore dozens of verses about the Lunar Sabbath in both Old and New Testaments, that the Hebrews had been using for over a thousand years before the current seven day rolling week system was invented in 45 BC. They also need to ignore all the historical records about of when Hadrian and Constantine forced the Jews to not use God’s Lunar-Sabbath Calendar. When put into context along with the historical background it makes perfect sense.
In fulfilment of Shavuot Jesus sent the promised Holy Spirit:
3 After His suffering, He presented Himself to them, and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days, and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift My Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.”
1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from Heaven, and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated, and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Besides the receiving of the Holy Spirit, Jesus also healed the lame man at the pool of Bethesda on the Sabbath day which was actually the day before Shavuot. The man had been lame for thirty-eight years, the same amount of time Israel had been condemned by God to live in the wilderness after the Exodus, until all had died except for Joshua and Caleb. This feast in John chapter 5 is named as a feast of the Jews and I will explain in more detail as to why this feast was Shavuot, in chapter 5 of this book.
The fifth feast is on day 1, month 7 (Tishri), known as The Day of Trumpets and in Hebrew is Yom Teruah.
23 The LORD said to Moses, 24 “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of Sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. 25 Do no regular work, but present a food offering to the LORD.’ ”
This day was fulfilled by the birth of Jesus, and there is information in the Bible to show that He really was born on this exact day. However, a rough way of working out when Jesus was born is by using the priestly division recorded in the Gospel of Luke:
Luke 1:5 & 8-9
In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.
8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
These priestly divisions are listed in Chronicles. Each division would serve for one week in the temple starting from day 1 month 1, and after all 24 divisions of priests had served, they began again from day 1 month 7. The festival weeks of Passover, Shavuot, Atonement and Tabernacles were served by all 24 divisions of priests. Abijah was the eighth division:
1 Chronicles 24:10
the seventh to Hakkoz, the eighth to Abijah.
From this list, it can be calculated that John the Baptist’s father, Zachariah, severed in the temple on both the first week of month three and the second week of month nine. Therefore, Zachariah received the message from the angel Gabriel, about his son’s birth, in either one of these two weeks in the spring or autumn. After which he went home and his wife Elizabeth conceived. About six months later Gabriel visited Mary:
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.
Therefore, Jesus was born in the spring or autumn. However, for a precise time of Jesus’ birth, God gave many signs and prophesies for us to recognise, here is how God gives us His signs:
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the Heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.
The signs were the sun, moon, stars, planets, and constellations. When God made all these heavenly bodies, 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:
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.
Adam had perfect intelligence and was in full communication with God before the fall. He knew just about everything about the created order around him, including the prophetic story of mankind in the heavens. This story was passed down through the generations till the tower of Babel, where the names of all the stars and constellation changed into seventy different languages. However, the story and the meanings of the names remained the same, which is why today every ancient culture around the world has virtually the same story and meaning behind the names of the stars and constellations. But Satan has tried to deceive the world with astrology and has twisted the truth of what the stars are really telling us.
Virgo, or Bethulah in Hebrew, both mean virgin and represents Jesus’ mother Mary. Virgo appears in the night sky lying on her left side, with her legs in the air as if in the birthing position. With modern technology, we can now look back in time and know the position of every star and planet, at any given point in time as viewed from anywhere on Earth. On day 1 month 7, Tishri (11th September 3BC) God used Virgo to give us a sign in the heavens. That evening, from Bethlehem, as the constellation of Virgo became visible just above the horizon towards the west, it appeared as if sun set had ‘cloaked’ Virgo’s body. The crescent moon was positioned right under her feet, whereas the day before, and after, the moon was not under her feet. Also, above Virgo’s head are nine stars that form the constellation of Leo, which represents the Lion of the tribe of Judah, who is Jesus. That night however Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter were also in Leo, making a total of twelve stars above Virgo’s head. Planets were considered as stars in ancient days and the word planet literally means ‘wondering star’. The book of Revelation describes a great sign in the Heavens with the sun, moon and stars, and describes that the child being born was Jesus:
1 And a great sign was seen in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, 2 and upon her head a crown of twelve stars, and she being with child screamed, travailing in birth, and agonised to be delivered.
She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron sceptre.” And her child was snatched up to God, and to his throne.
The prophet Isaiah also made a prophetic allusion to this sign over 700 years before.
Therefore the LORD Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, and give birth to a son, and will call him Emmanuel.
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. It’s possible to be confident that this was the time of Jesus’ birth because it was also at this precise time that the brightest star in Virgo, called Spica, which represents an ear of corn being held in Virgo’s left hand, appeared to ‘touch’ the horizon, or ‘alight to the earth.’ 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 ‘ear of corn’ or ‘a kernel of wheat’, and Jesus Himself alluded to this sign:
23 And Jesus responded to them, “The hour is come that the Son of Man should be magnified. 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.”
There are twenty different Hebrew words for the word branch, but only one of them, Tsemech, is used exclusively in the Old Testament four times, and each time it is in reference to the coming Messiah:
In that day the Branch of God will be beautiful, and resplendent, and the fruit of the land will be the pride, and splendour of the survivors in Israel.
Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD. “When I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely, and do what is just and right in the land.
Hear O High Priest and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring My Servant, the Branch.”
12 And speak to him saying, this is what of Hosts says: ‘Here is the Man whose name is the Branch, and He will branch out from His place and build the Temple of God, 13 He will be clothed with majesty, and will sit, and rule on His throne. And He will be a Priest on His throne. And there will be prosperity between the two.’
In studying these prophesies, several things can be learned about the identity of the Branch. He is a King, a Servant, a Man, and a Priest. His name is God, Our Righteousness, and is Jesus Himself. These themes about the Messiah were divinely developed in the Gospels. He is presented as the King in Matthew, a Servant in Mark, a Man in Luke, a Priest in John, and as Himself in John’s Revelation. This Branch prophecy is also eluded to else where:
and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.
The name Nazareth means ‘Branch-town,’ as the root word for Nazareth is Netzer which means branch or shoot. A Nazarene from Nazareth is like saying an Israeli from Israel. A Netzer is actually a particular kind of branch that grows from a stump of a plant that’s been cut down and has spouted up some distance from the stump, this is what happened with Jesus:
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The stump of Jesse relates to what happened to the Davinic line of descendants. David had taken Israel to the height of its greatest achievements, which his son Solomon maintained until his death, but then the kingdom divided due to civil war, and continued to decline till the southern kingdom of Judah was taken into captivity in Babylon. This was the stump. The Davinic descendants continued on into virtual obscurity until Jesus was born, and this is the Shoot, the Netzer that ‘came up’ in Nazareth far from the original stump in Bethlehem where David had been born.
However, the heavens declare even more than this as around this time there were also a number of other astronomical alignments beginning to take place involving Venus, the brightest planet, known as the mother planet, and Jupiter, the second brightest planet, known as the king planet. Jupiter in ancient Hebrew is called Zedek and forms part of the word Melchizedek, which means means king of righteousness and represents the Messiah. This all took place in the constellation of Leo which also represents Jesus; The Lion of the tribe of Judah. These conjunctions helped signal the birth of the Messiah and were clearly seen in the east by the Magi. A subject discussed in more detail in chapter 4.
Besides Jesus’ birth being on the Day of Trumpets, His transfiguration happened on this day too, as a day or two after the transfiguration he was asked to pay the temple tax, when He arrived in Capernaum:
After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?”
The Greek two drachma temple tax was the half shekel atonement tax mentioned in Exodus chapter thirty, which was always collected before the Day of Atonement (day 10 month 7):
10 “Aaron shall make atonement on its horns once a year. With the blood of the sin offering of atonement he shall make atonement for it once in the year throughout your generations. It is most holy to the LORD.” 11 The LORD said to Moses, 12 “When you take the census of the people of Israel, then each shall give a ransom for his life to the LORD when you number them, that there be no plague among them when you number them. 13 Each one who is numbered in the census shall give this: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as an offering to the LORD”.
Also, at the transfiguration Peter asked if he could put up three shelters. This was because Peter was referring to the booths they would soon be putting up over the time of the feast of Tabernacles, later in Jerusalem. However, Peter wanted to do this two weeks early when he saw Elijah and Moses, because it was such an amazing experience which he didn’t want to end and was trying to prolong. Also he knew that when they went Jerusalem, as they had to for the feast of Tabernacles, it would mean that Jesus’ life might be in danger from the ruling religious leaders, as this verse explains:
After this, Jesus went around in Galilee. He did not want to go about in Judea because the Jewish leaders there were looking for a way to kill him. 2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near. The sixth feast is The Day of Atonement, called Yom Kippur in Hebrew:
26 The LORD said to Moses, 27 The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the LORD. 28 Do not do any work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the LORD your God. 29 For whoever is not afflicted on that very day shall be cut off from his people. 30 And whoever does any work on that very day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall not do any work. It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. 32 It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict yourselves. On the ninth day of the month beginning at evening, from evening to evening shall you keep your Sabbath.
NB: The Day of Atonement and the Day of Trumpets (see Leviticus 23:23) are the only days of the year God called Sabbaths that do not fall on days 8, 15, 22, or 29 of the lunar month, these exceptions are because they are the most Holy Days on God’s Calendar. The Day of Atonement is also traditionally the day Jews read specific scriptures in their synagogues, including Isaiah chapter 61, which begins:
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.
This verse was also read out on day 1 of month 7 every seventh year, on what are called Sabbatical years, or Shemittah years in Hebrew, this was the year Jewish slaves could be redeemed for a price and set free:
If any of your people, Hebrew men or women, sell themselves to you, and serve you six years, in the seventh year you must let them go free. But on a Jubilee year, held every fifty years, all Jewish slaves and their families were set free without needing to pay a redemption. This was one of God’s ways of regulating the economy, ensuring people didn’t get too rich or too poor, so that there wouldn’t be any boom or bust:
Even if someone is not redeemed in any of these ways, they and their children are to be released in the Year of Jubilee,
So every fiftieth year Jubilee was proclaimed on day 10 of month 7:
8 “Count off seven Sabbath years, seven times seven years, so that the seven Sabbath years amount to a period of forty-nine years. 9 Then have the trumpet sounded everywhere on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement sound the trumpet throughout your land. 10 Consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; each of you is to return to your family property, and to your own clan.”
In Luke chapter four Jesus reads from Isaiah chapter 61, in partial fulfilment of this prophetic day and in pronouncement of a year of Jubilee. Although this scripture is near the beginning of Luke’s Gospel, it actually occurred later in His ministry on the Day of Atonement, and I will explain why in chapter 7 (Jesus’ One Year Ministry). However, notice what Jesus says:
16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18 “The Spirit of the LORD is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favour
Jesus stops mid verse and does not read the next line of prophesy:
‘and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn.’
Jesus missed stating this last line of prophesy from Isaiah 61 because the Day of Vengeance was not fulfilled at that time but will be when Jesus is seen on the clouds on The Great and Terrible Day, which will be fulfilled on the Day of Atonement five days before He returns to Earth to the Mount of Olives. This will be on the last of the seven feasts which is called the Feast of Tabernacles, also know as means the Feast of Booths on day 15 of month 7.
The Seventh Feast of God and Five Additional Feasts and Holy Days
The Feast of Tabernacles was the third and final time each year the Jews were required to go up to Jerusalem to worship. It is here on one of these three most important feasts that we see Jesus didn’t do anything to fulfil this prophetic day. In fact, He went out of His way to show that it was not the right time for its fulfilment:
2 But when the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles was near, 3 Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. 4 No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret.
8 Go up to the festival yourselves. I am not going to this festival yet, because my time hasn’t fully come yet.” 9 After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee. 10 However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret.
Jesus went up in secret and chose to stay hidden till day 15 had well and truly passed:
Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts, and begin to teach.
This clearly shows that Jesus purposefully left this prophetic day as yet unfulfilled. The feast of Tabernacles is the celebration at the end of the harvest after the barley, wheat, and grapes had been brought in. Each of these harvests are also prophetic foreshadowing’s of the harvest of the souls of mankind at the end of the age. The Bible often alludes to the harvest of mankind’s souls in terms of agricultural analogies, many of Jesus’ parables used farming elucidations to help explain to the people what this reality is really like, as they were people who mainly worked on the land, in a time when agriculture was the basis of all the worlds economy.
These three main produce were processed in very different ways. The first was the barley harvest which began on the day of First Fruits, day 16 month 1. The barley seed needed to be separated from the chaff, which was done by putting it into a large sheet, while four people holding the four corners would then throw the seed up into the air and the wind would then simply blow the chaff away. This works well as barley and its chaff are easily separated. This separation is reflected in Revelation and the description of the harvest of mankind:
1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.
3 “Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God. 4 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel.
The 144,000 represent the barley harvest, and therefore the Christians who do not hold onto the things of this world (I will explain more about this in chapter 8). However, the next harvest of mankind is represented by the wheat harvest, which began after Shavuot (Pentecost). Wheat seeds also need to be separated from their chaff, but this is much harder to do than with barley. To do this, a threshing sledge called a tribulator was used, ‘tribulation’ is the English translation for the Greek word, thispis, which is translated, as; anguish, affliction, sufferings, persecution, trouble, hardship, distress, or opposition. The word appears fifty times in the writings of the apostles and is connected with the threshing sledge. The sledge would be ridden by someone standing on it, while an animal harnessed to it pulled it along and over the wheat. The underside of the wooden sledge was fitted with flint, or iron teeth, which would separate the wheat from its chaff, as it was driven over the grain. The prophet Daniel alludes to this in a vision he saw:
After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims, and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.
This second harvest is also alluded to in Revelation as the great multitude that comes after the 144,000:
Revelation 7:9 + 13-14
9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes, who are they, and where did they come from?” 14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
The wheat harvest therefore represents the Christians who have not let go of the things of this world and still hold onto sinful ways but manage to hold on to their faith in Jesus unto death. John mentions this harvest right before the final grape harvest that is trodden under foot at the end of the harvest:
14 I looked, and there before me was a white cloud, and seated on the cloud was one like a son of man with a crown of gold on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand. 15 Then another angel came out of the temple and called in a loud voice to him who was sitting on the cloud, “Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 So he who was seated on the cloud swung his sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested. [the wheat harvest]. 17 Another angel came out of the temple in Heaven, and he too had a sharp sickle. 18 Still another angel, who had charge of the fire, came from the altar and called in a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, “Take your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of grapes from the earth’s vine, because its grapes are ripe.” 19 The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great wine press of God’s wrath. 20 They were trampled in the wine press outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 Stadia.
A Stadia is 600 feet x 1,600 = 960,000 feet or 180 miles, and a horse’s bridle is about 5 feet deep. This sounds unbelievable but Revelation says that the seventh and last bowl of God’s wrath is poured out just before Jesus’ return:
From the sky huge hailstones, each weighing about a hundred pounds, fell on people. And they cursed God on account of the plague of hail, because the plague was so terrible.
A hundred pounds is about 8 stone or 50kg. Imagine a hard frozen ball of ice larger than a beach ball falling to Earth at over 120 miles per hour. Now imagine millions of these pummelling a modern army. Even tanks and armoured vehicles would be smashed to bits. Now imagine all that melting ice in the hot Middle Eastern Sun, mixing with the blood of millions of dead troops:
I heard the size of their army, which was 200 million mounted troops.
This would easily produce a river of blood with the melting ice that will flow for 180 miles, and therefore the grape harvest represents all the non-Christians. The three produce each represent three kinds of people at the end of this age. The barley are 144,000 Servants of God whom He will choose as the ones who have served Him the most, by fulfilling their purpose for which God had created them. They are the cream of the crop. The wheat represent the great multitude of believers who manage to hold on to their faith till death during the great tribulation or until Jesus returns. And the grapes represent those that did not believe in Jesus, who are crushed under foot. Jesus said about how His coming will affect believers and non-believers differently:
17 Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: “ ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? 18 Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”
The Bible clearly lays out a time frame for us to know when Jesus came the first time and fulfilled six of the seven feasts with perfect timing but one is left to be fulfilled on day 15 of month 7, this is the day of the year that points to His return. Jesus’ fulfilment of these feasts are beyond coincidence and as if to make extra sure of this Jesus also fulfilled five other notable Jewish holy days and feasts, as listed here:
Day 22, month 7 (Tishri)—Simchat Torah. The last and greatest day of the feast of Tabernacles.
Day 24, month 9 (Kislev)—Hanukkah, The feast of Dedication.
Day 14 & 15, months 12 & 13 (Adar I & II)—Purim.
Day 10, month 1 (Aviv)—The day the Passover animals were selected.
Day 13 to 15, month 1 (Aviv)—The three day fast of Esther.
The first extra celebratory day Jesus fulfilled was Simchat Torah,which means ‘rejoicing in the law’, and was the last and greatest day of the feast of Tabernacles, held on day 22 of month 7 which was when another feast was held:
37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink! 38 The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have rivers of living water flowing from his heart.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. 40 On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.” 41 Others said, “He is the Messiah.”
This was Jesus’ official public announcement that through Himself and unto all His believers that the promise of the Holy Spirit would be fulfilled.
The second extra celebratory day Jesus fulfilled was Hanukkah, which means dedication, held on day 24 month 9 (called Kislev). Hanukkah is celebrated by lighting the nine-branched menorah, one candle per day, the first ‘western’ candle is the ‘servant candle’ that represents Christ. This holy day was fulfilled by Jesus at His conception and was prophesied about by the prophet Haggai over five hundred years before Jesus’ birth:
Haggai 2:10 + 18-22
10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai.
18 ‘From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD’S temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. “ ’From this day on I will bless you.’ ” 20 The word of the LORD came to Haggai a second time on the twenty-fourth day of the month: 21” Tell Zerubbabel governor of Judah that I am going to shake the Heavens and the earth. 22 I will overturn royal thrones, and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms. I will overthrow chariots and their drivers; horses and their riders will fall, each by the sword of his brother.
I believe Gabriel announced to Mary she would become the Mother of The Most High on the evening of 14 December 4 BC (day 24 month 9, when the first of the nine candles are lit) and that Jesus’ conception happened that night. Nine months later (or 38.85 weeks, or 272 days) on 11 September 3 BC Jesus was born. Besides His conception Jesus also fulfilled Hanukkah by a declaration He made to the Jewish leaders about His divinity:
John 10:22 + 30 + 36
22 Then came the Festival of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter,
30 “I and the Father are one.”
36 what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why then do you accuse me of blasphemy because I said, ‘I am God’s Son’?
The third extra celebratory day Jesus fulfilled was Purim, which means ‘lots’, held on days 14 and 15 of month 12 and 13, (called Adar). It celebrates when Esther helped to foil a plot to kill all the Jews that was planned for day 13 of Adar, whilst the Jews were living in Babylon. In modern times, Jews still celebrate this event on these two days and is the only time when Jews are supposed to be allowed to drink alcohol in excessive amounts. This was when Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana, His first miracle. I can’t prove this conclusively, but I will explain in more detail why I believe this was so, in chapter 6.
However, Jesus turned the water into wine that was contained in six large stone water pots used for ceremonial cleansing. Each was said to contain two to three measures each, although there was no reference as to how much each measure was, there were three basic measures of liquid used by Jews at that time, the Bath 22 liters, the Hin 4 liters and the Log 0.3 liters. The Bath is most likely the measure referred to as a lot of water was needed for ceremonial washing, therefore 2.5 measures x 22 liters x 6 = 825 liters (90 gallons) of the finest wine ever tasted, and if there was say a couple of hundred guests at the wedding, that’s still more than four liters each, or about five and half bottles. That’s a lot of drink!
The fourth extra day Jesus fulfilled was the day the Passover animals were selected on day 10 of month 1. This was when the High Priest would select the main Passover lamb that would become the final sacrifice on the day of Passover. This lamb had to be without defect:
Exodus 12:1-3 + 5-6
1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 2 “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. 3 Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb.
5 The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, and you may take them from the sheep or the goats. 6 Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the members of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.
Matthew, Luke, and John’s accounts all agree that Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on this day and for the next four days Jesus taught the people in the temple while the religious leaders tried to find fault with His teachings but could not. He was without defect:
1 Peter 1:18-19
18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
The final extra prophetic event Jesus fulfilled was the fast of Esther that began on day 13 of month 1 (Aviv) and lasted three days:
Then on the thirteenth day of the first month the royal secretaries were summoned.
Later that day:
15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”
Esther broke with tradition and rather than eat the Passover meal she decided to fast in the hope of receiving God’s Favour, as she was about to break a law that could have resulted in her receiving a death sentence. After the last supper Jesus also fasted over these same three days, ending on the evening of the sixteenth day when He broke bread with Cleopas and the other disciple in Emmaus. He then immediately appeared to the eleven disciples in the upper room that night and asked for some broiled fish to eat. His disciples also fasted over that time just as Jesus had said they would:
19 Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. 20 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.
These five extra fulfilled events added to the seven feast days makes twelve days altogether, which is the number of completion, while seven is the number for perfection. Also, the three times a year the Jews had to go up to Jerusalem is the number for God.
By Jesus fulfilling eleven out of twelve Jewish holy-days and feasts is beyond any coincidence. The Jews had been practising most of these feasts for over a thousand years in preparation for their coming Messiah and yet they still did not understand that Jesus was the one fulling these feasts. Therefore, there is only one feast left to fulfil; The Feast of Tabernacles, the one feast He did not attend and also alluded to that He would fulfil at a later time:
“You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.”
This feast celebrates the end of the harvest, many know it as Harvest Festival and it alludes to the great harvest of souls at the end of age when Jesus will return for His believers. Therefore the Feasts of the Lord reveal that Jesus must return on this day. I hope and pray you can believe this and will not be like the Jews who missed His first coming by not recognising all these signs.
Tabernacles is on the fifteenth day of the seventh month but does the Bible reveal which year Jesus is to return? To help us understand if it does, we can look at how the Bible accurately predicted Jesus’ first coming to the exact year and month, the subject of the next chapter.