Solve Passover problems and 3½ year ministry
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The Gospels do not contradict but we have to interpret them very carefully It is difficult to reveal a mystery.
- Problem concepts with the Passover
- The Gospels do not contradict each other
- Jesus had to have a ministry of 3½ years
- Jesus was baptized in AD 29 to start His ministry
- 4 Passovers indicate that 3 years have passed
Problem concepts with the Passover
We do not know the day or month of the birth of Jesus.
All our dates will be give-or-take a month.
Do the Gospels contradict each other concerning the Passover?
No. Not if you are aware of certain rules that apply to the Passover.
A big problem is that today's churches believe in Good Friday, that Jesus died on a Friday.
That is simply not true.
Jesus had to die on Thursday in order to spend 3 nights in the tomb before His Sunday resurrection.
No Bible verse says "Good Friday" or "Easter Monday". These are man-made ideas.
LUKE 22:1 Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.
An added complication is that both Thursday is called Passover (and is also called the Day of Preparation when the lamb is killed) and Friday can also be called Passover. Friday is usually called the Feast of the Passover when the lamb is eaten.
But Friday can also be called Passover.
Another complication is that the Jewish day starts with supper at 1800, not at midnight.
Thus the Last Supper with Jesus and the disciples was Thursday on our calendar but Friday on the Jewish calendar.
Also, please remember that they had two timing systems.
The Jews began timing their day from 0600 in the morning at sunup. So, their sixth hour would be 1200, midday.
The Romans used our timing system of starting at midnight.
So, their 9th hour would be 0900 in the morning.
Also, remember that the Feast of the Passover (on Friday) was also the Feast of Unleavened bread and was a special Sabbath day. But Saturday was the normal Sabbath. So there were two Sabbaths next to each other.
Firstfruits were waved on a Sunday. The morrow or tomorrow after the Saturday Sabbath.
The firstfruits represented the resurrection of Jesus on the Sunday when He waved goodbye to death, hell, and the grave.
LEVITICUS 23:10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:
:11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.
The tomorrow after the Saturday Sabbath is a Sunday.
The Passover lamb was chosen on the 10th day and killed on the 14th.
EXODUS 12:3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
EXODUS 12:6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
Jesus was chosen as King of the Jews on Palm Sunday (10th day). Thus He was killed on Thursday afternoon (14th day).
This allowed Him, like Jonah, to spend three nights in the depth of the earth.
MATTHEW 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Three nights: Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night.
He arose early on Sunday morning, while it was yet dark.
JOHN 20:1 The first day of the week [Sunday] cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
Passover (Thursday) was the day before the Feast of the Passover (Friday).
But Friday, the Feast of the Passover is also called the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The first of 7 days when they can only eat unleavened bread.
The first day and the last day of the 7 days of unleavened bread were annual Sabbaths or High days. These 7 days refer to the 7 church ages of the Christian church that followed the death of Christ. No leaven or rottenness represents the holiness of Christ in His church during the 7 church ages. Those are days 15 to 21.
The single day of unleavened bread on the 14th represents the holiness of Christ as He died for our sins. He was the only perfect Sacrifice.
The first day of the Feast of unleavened Bread was the 15th day of the month, Friday.
Passover was the Day of Preparation (the 14th day or Thursday) when the lamb was killed and cooked.
The Jewish day started at 1800 so when they ate the lamb in the evening, it was their next day. Thus, the Feast of the Passover was on Friday. (The Jewish Friday starts on our Thursday evening).
That Friday, being a double feast day, was a special Sabbath called a high day.
The Jewish day began with supper.
Passover was our Thursday that began with Wednesday’s supper. That was called Passover.
It was a normal supper with say a dish of stew and unleavened bread.
Another thing to keep in mind.
Passover day could only have unleavened bread. But that day did not count as part of the 7 days of unleavened bread.
Then Thursday’s supper (the start of the Jew’s Friday) was the roast lamb, the Feast of the Passover.
If you keep those facts in mind you will find that there are no conflicts between the Gospels.
Without that basic background, you will not get them to fit together and you will point a finger at the Gospels and accuse them of being contradictory.
Your 3 fingers pointing back at you will tell you where the real error is. We, humans, have not tried hard enough to understand the Bible. Or else, we do not want to understand the Bible and we are just desperately looking for contradictions and mistakes in the Bible to justify our rejection of Scripture.
God never made the Bible easy to understand so that those who have only a casual interest or those who pride themselves on being skeptics will never be able to puzzle it out.
The Bible is Light.
Just like quantum mechanics. Natural light can behave like a particle moving in one direction at a time or like a wave rippling out in all directions at a time. Or like something else that is neither a wave nor a particle but is something that we cannot understand at all. And then the light particles can be in numerous different positions at the same time. And what a particle calls a position is not what you and I would call a position.
So, God did not make basic physics, the real world that we live in, easy to understand.
But dedicated scientists persevered to grapple with these mysteries and by sheer hard work have produced lasers, blueray, internet, and are now into quantum computers which defy our common sense.
By endless hard work and thinking deeply in new ways these scientists are getting a grip on the mysteries of nature.
So, we have to study the Bible hard and keep tackling the “contradictory” verses until we overcome our own ignorance and discover what the revelation is that unfolds the mystery. Mysteries do not easily reveal their secrets. And we easily misinterpret the Bible mysteries.
Top scientists denied that smoking caused cancer. They denied that man caused the ozone hole with his chemicals. They denied the harmful effects of asbestos. They deny that climate change is aggravated by buring coal to produce carbon dioxide.
They even deny the antivirus injections against the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
In the same way, top church leaders deny the revelation of the Bible mysteries as they hang onto the unscriptural terms like "Christmas", "celebrating the Lord's birth", "25 December", "Good Friday", "a man must be the head of a church",
"instead of the written Word we can just believe the quotes of an important man", etc.
The Gospels do not contradict each other
Each Gospel writer has a different point of view. But it is always the same events that are described.
Consider some typical examples of verses from different Gospels that refer to the Passover time. They all mesh very happily with each other.
MATTHEW 26:19 And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.
This day of preparation was the Passover. It began with the last Supper on our Wednesday night when Jesus was arrested and cut off from His disciples. But our Wednesday night is the Jew’s Thursday or Passover.
So Jesus was cut off from His disciples on Wedneday night of the Gentile calendar, which is in the midst of the Gentile week. He was arrested and completely separated from His disciples who fled in that awful spirit of Fear that Satan unleashed.
MARK 14:1 After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread:
(So the Feast of the Passover and the Feast of unleavened bread were on the same day, Friday 15th.
The feast of unleavened bread (on Friday 15th) was the first of the 7 days of unleavened bread that followed the killing of the lamb on Passover (Thursday 14th).
MARK 14:12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?
(Thursday 14th was also the day of unleavened bread but was not part of the 7 days of unleavened bread.
It can be called the first day of unleavened bread because the first day of the 7 days of unleavened bread (which is Friday) is always called the Feast of Unleavened Bread)
LUKE 22:7 Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. (Thursday 14th)
Thursday was the single day of unleavened bread as opposed to the 7 days of unleavened bread.
The holiness of Christ as our sinless Sacrifice on the single day of Calvary paid the price for our sins. He alone could perform that Sacrifice.
Then, after that day, the holiness of Christ in His true church would enable people to overcome sin and find truth during the 7 church ages.
The first church age was special as they had the truth from the apostles, which was then lost.
The 7th church age will be special if they can be restored back to the truth of the first church age.
The 7 days of Unlevened Bread refer to the 7 church ages.
EXODUS 12:1 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.
No leaven or rottenness is allowed at all for 7 days. This tells us of Christ's holiness as He guides His church through the different conditions of each church age.
EXODUS 12:16 And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you.
No work can be one on the first and the seventh days. They are special annual Sabbaths.
This reminds us of the "first and the last", the "Alpha and Omega" (first and last letters in the Greek alphabet) which dominate the first Chapter of the Book of Revelation.
We are in the last or 7th church age. We are not allowed to do any work like making up our own church beliefs. We are not allowed to make up our own religious works. We must only do and believe what the first church age did. We must be restored back to them.
The seed that is harvested is identical to the seed that was planted in the New Testament.
EXODUS 12:17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever.
Of the 7 days of unleavened bread, God only puts an emphasis on the first day of the seven. That day alone is called the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The only important age is the first church age.
Our only value to God is when we believe what they believed.
MATTHEW 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
God's will is for us to get back to the first church age beliefs.
MATTHEW 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Great supernatural ministries do not impress God unless you follow the first church age.
MATTHEW 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
If they disagree with the first church age then they have made up their own beliefs or else copied other churches. But you are not allowed to do your own works on a Sabbath. So you will be condemned.
JOHN 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
(Jesus died on Thursday afternoon, the 14th, and had to be buried before 1800 because that is when their Friday started, which was a special rest (sabbath) day for feasting and doing no work. That would be the 15th. The first of the seven days of unleavened bread that was always called the Feast of Unleavened Bread).
Skeptics claim that John said Jesus died before the "Passover meal". The other 3 Gospels say it was after the Passover meal.
But there is no "Passover meal" mentioned in the Bible.
There is a Passover (on Thursday 14th which starts on our Gentile Wednesday night). Then there is the Feast of the Passover together with the Feast of Unleavened bread on Friday 15th).
The Passover was the Last Supper.
Thursday was the “Passover” or Day of Preparation when they killed the Passover lamb and cooked it.
Friday was the “Feast of the Passover” when they ate the lamb.
So Jesus died after the Passover or Last Supper.
The next night was the Feast of the Passover. Then He was in the tomb.
So Jesus died after the Passover but before the feast of the Passover.
What did John say?
John 13:1 Now before the “feast of the Passover”.
So John says Jesus died before the feast of the Passover. He does not say that Jesus died before Passover.
John 19:14 And it was the preparation of the Passover.
The Day of preparation was Thursday. So the trial of Jesus was on Thursday.
John agrees with the synoptic Gospels. No contradiction.
There is one source of possible confusion if we are not careful.
Luke 22:1 Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh which is called the Passover.
But the feast of unleavened bread was on the same day as the feast of the Passover. They ate the bread with the roast lamb.
But at times this feast of the Passover is just called the Passover.
In Pilate’s judgement hall:
John 18:28 …that they might eat the Passover.Does this mean Passover or the feast of the Passover?
John 19:14 And it was the preparation of the Passover and about the sixth hour (6 o’clock in the morning in Roman time).
The Passover or Last Supper had been eaten the previous night.
So they were preparing for the feast of the Passover as it was the Day of preparation.
No contradiction with the other Gospels. We just have to read carefully.
If you study hard enough you will find no contradictions in the Gospels. They merely give you four different viewpoints on the life of Jesus.
He is a King and yet He is a Servant to carry our sins far away. You cannot describe Him as a King in Matthew with a royal bloodline from David and as a Servant in Mark, in the same way.
Servants do not have to prove their bloodline. They just get on with the job. About 8 times in Mark Chapter 1 you will read “straightway”, “immediately”, “forthwith”.
Jesus was so full of action that He reminded Mark of a strong Ox that could carry our burdens and see us to the finish line despite our defects. Then like an Ox to the slaughter He gave up His Life to pay the price for our sins.
A King owes His authority to His birth. So Matthew has wise men offering 3 gifts in a house to a two-year-old Child to emphasize the status of His birth. Kings are not born in smelly stables so that part is just ignored by Matthew. Servants are not given lavish gifts when they are small children, so Mark just ignores the wise men.
Gold means God. Frankincense burns with a beautiful odour to make the bad-smelling scorched meat sacrifices into an acceptable sacrifice. Myrrh is used to embalm the dead.
Their gifts showed Jesus Who they thought He was. God in the flesh. Coming to perform an acceptable sacrifice which was to die for our sins.
The gifts that you give to Jesus tell Him Who you think that He is.
Jesus had to have a ministry of 3½ years
He came to die for our sins, so the focus is on the cross, not how long He took to get there.
There is no need to mention how long His ministry took, except for one prophecy in Daniel Chapter 7.
Jesus would confirm the covenant of sacrificial animals that God made with Abraham for one week or 7 days.
A day can represent a year in prophecy.
GENESIS 29:27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.
DANIEL 9:27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease,
But in the midst of the week of 7 years the sacrificial covenant that God made with Abraham would be confirmed when the animal sacrifices ended.
In other words, when Jesus died, his death would do away with all the animal sacrifices.
Jesus had fully paid the price for sin.
That meant that His ministry was to last 7 years but He atoned for sin in three-and-a-half-years, which was half a week.
3.5 days or 3.5 years in prophecy.
That also means that half-a-week is still owing to the Jews.
This is the exact time of great Tribulation.
REVELATION 11:2 But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.
:3 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
1260 days is 42 of the 30-day Bible months which is 3½ years.
The 3.5 years of great Tribulation completes the last week, or 7 days, of Daniel's prophecy.
Jesus was baptized in AD 29 to start His ministry
Emperor Augustus died in AD 14.
Tiberius was declared emperor by the senate a month later.
This was all a bit of a farce. Augustus was Emperor but pretending not to be a king.
A king's son automatically becomes king when the father dies.
That must not happen for an emperor.
So, to act out the farce, when Augustus died then the Senate had to ask Tiberius to become emperor.
Tiberius spent many days pretending that he did not want the position but he had already killed his main rival.
Then he announced that he would accept the Senate's offer, and he became emperor.
His 15th year would be 14 + 15 = AD 29.
Roman emperors were called Caesar.
LUKE 3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
:2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
:3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
Ad 29 is when John the Baptist began preaching. Towards the end of that year AD 29 (around October) would be approaching the year AD 30, when he baptized Jesus.
LUKE 3:21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that
Jesus also being baptized,
and praying, the heaven was opened,
:23 And Jesus himself began to be
about thirty years of age,
Luke says Jesus was about 30. A perfect match of dates.
So, John baptized Jesus about three months before the end of the year AD 29.
4 Passovers indicate that 3 years have passed
Passover is usually about the third month of the new year.
So from the baptism to the first Passover would be about 6 months.
That is about 3 months at the end of AD 29 and about 3 months at the beginning of AD 30.
Now we just have to prove that there were 4 Passovers in His ministry which would make a time interval of 3 years.
If Jesus had a ministry of about three and a half years then He died in AD 33.
Let us look at the 3.5 years of Jesus ministry. We only need one Gospel to tell us how to do this calculation.
Remember Daniel had spoken of half a week which is 3½ years.
The first Passover.
JOHN 2:13 And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,
Having been baptized about October in AD 29, this would be AD 30.
The second Passover.
During AD 30, Jesus speaks to the Samaritans four months before the barley harvest which happens in March-April.
JOHN 4:35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest?
Four months before the March-April AD 31 barley harvest and Passover Feast would be November-December AD 30 when Jesus was speaking.
JOHN 5:1 After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Passover was the first feast for the year.
So, whatever feast this was, the Passover of AD 31 would already have happened.
JOHN 6:4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.
This was the Passover of AD 32.
JOHN 11:55 And the Jews' passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.
This was the Passover of AD 33.
Four Passovers means His ministry was at least 3 years and a few months.
He was about 30 when baptized so there were 2 to 3 months of AD 29 to add in.
Then there were about 3 months that had to be added in for His first year, AD 30, in order to get to the Passover Feast.
That gives Him a ministry of about 3.5 years.
Not accurate to a month. Not accurate to a day.
But add 3.5 years to near the end of AD 29 and you are in AD 33.
That was the year of His death.