The traditional understanding of the “seventy weeks” prophecy in Daniel was that it foretold when Messiah would begin His ministry, and that He was “cut off” in the “middle of the week” causing the Temple “sacrifice and the oblation to cease”. The prophetic “week” is seven years, and half of seven years is three and one half years. Then there was a gap of close to forty years being one “generation” before the Temple was made “desolate” in 70 AD; thus completely fulfilling the “seventy weeks” prophecy. In the 1800's the validity of the book of Daniel and all it contained was challenged, and a new view of the “seventy weeks” called the pre-tribulation rapture theory began to take hold in England and America in which the 70th week became seven years of tribulation which believers would be raptured from in which an “antichrist” broke a covenant after 3.5 years starting 3.5 years of great tribulation. In order to attribute the 3.5 year period to an “antichrist” some now even challenge Christ's 3.5 years of ministry. I provide an outline of Messiah's 3.5 year ministry given in John's gospel, which I place from Fall 29 AD to Spring 33 AD.
Overview of Seventy Weeks
The 1st of Tishri is the “memorial of blowing” called Feast of Trumpets and Rosh haShanah. Regnal years in the Bible are from Tishri to Tishri, like a school year which begins in fall, but our modern years are from January to January; hence the need to represent biblical years as two modern years. Artaxerxes Longimanus had a 9-year coreign with his father Xerxes beginning in 475/474 BC. In the 20th year of Artaxerxes' reign (455/454 BC), he made a decree to rebuild Jerusalem which began the 70 Weeks clock in Daniel 9 until “Messiah the Prince”.
“Seventy weeks are determined on your people and on your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem to the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and three score and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after three score and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and to the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured on the desolate.” (Daniel 9:24-27)
Though Nehemiah and Ezra saw Jerusalem's wall rebuilt in 52 days, I assume that it took 7 “weeks” (49 years) to fully restore the “streets” and to return to business as usual by 406/405 BC. After another 62 “weeks” (434 years) the Messiah was introduced as the “Prince” or “Son of God” at His baptism when He was about 30 years old. 434 – 406 = 28, but since there is no year zero, you must add one year to make 29 AD the year of Christ's baptism. Evidence points to Jesus being born on the 1st of Tishri in 3 BC. I believe Jesus was baptized on the 1st of Elul, a month before His 31st birthday. Jesus was 1 year old in Tishri of 2 BC when the magi began their travels to see “he that is born King of the Jews” and encountered king Herod (who died in Spring of 1 BC when there was a full lunar eclipse, not in 4 BC). Jesus was 2 in 1 BC, and He was 3 in 1 AD. 29 – 1 = 28. 28 + 3 = 31, but since Jesus was baptized a month before His birthday, He was thirty years old; and Jesus began His ministry of 3.5 years when He was aged 31. The first half year of ministry was from Fall 29 AD to Spring 30 AD.
Outline of Four Passovers
1st Passover was after the miracle of changing the Water into WINE at Wedding in Cana.
Our Bridegroom, Jesus, was in Jerusalem at Passover in Spring 30 AD.
“This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him. After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brothers, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days. And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a whip of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; And said to them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. . . . Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. ” (John 2:11-16, 23)
In the winter of 31 AD, Jesus spoke with the woman at the well in Samaria, and His disciples returned and begged Him to eat.
“Jesus said to them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. Say not you, There are yet four months, and then comes harvest? behold, I say to you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:34-35)
“And said to the woman, Now we believe, not because of your saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world. 43Now after two days he departed there, and went into Galilee. . . . Then when he was come into Galilee, the Galilaeans received him, having seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went to the feast. So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went to him, . . . Jesus said to him, Go your way; your son lives. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken to him, and he went his way. . . . So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said to him, Your son lives: and himself believed, and his whole house. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judaea into Galilee.” (John 4:42-54 edited) [ v54 is the last in chapter 4]
“The feast” here refers to Messiah's first passover. The barley harvest is celebrated after Passover during First Fruits in the month of Nisan. The wheat harvest is celebrated two months later in Sivan. So Jesus must have spent about six months in Judea before returning to Cana of Galilee.
2nd Passover after making a paralyzed man whole
“After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. . . . And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. . . . The weak man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steps down before me. Jesus said to him, Rise, take up your bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.” (John 5:1-9 edited) [In other manuscripts “a feast” is translated “the feast” or “passover”.]
3rd Passover after the miracle of feeding BREAD to over 5,000 who wanted to force Jesus, the “Bread of Life”, to be king near the Sea of Galilee in Spring 32 AD
“And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. . . . There is a lad here, which has five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples . . . he said to his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves . . .When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone. And when even was now come, his disciples went down to the sea . . . and went over the sea toward Capernaum. . . . And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life: he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst. . . . I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. ” (John 6:3-17, 35, 51 edited)
John 7:2 is the Feast of the Tabernacles which occurs in the Fall.John l0:22 mentions the Feast of Dedication which is in Winter.
4th Passover after Jesus, “the resurrection and the life”, called Lazarus back from the dead
in Bethany prior to Christ's passion week in Spring 33 AD.
“Then said Jesus to them plainly, Lazarus is dead. . . . Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already. Now Bethany was near to Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: . . . Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Believe you this? She said to him, Yes, Lord: I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. . . . Jesus said, Take you away the stone. . . . Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, . . . he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said to them, Loose him, and let him go. . . . Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, . . . And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said to them, You know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spoke he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death. Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went there to a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples. And the Jews' passover was near at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.” (John 11:14-55 edited)“Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.” (John 12:1)
Jesus, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”, died on Nisan 14th before sunset in 33 AD. I think He is returning as the "Lion of Judah" on His birthday this year, September 16th.