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The Four Passovers in Jesus Public Ministry

23 Nov

In my most recent posts concerning the 70 Weeks Prophecy, I showed how the prophetic days—1260 days, 1290 days and 1335 days—all fall within a seven year period beginning and ending on the Jewish holy days mentioned in Leviticus 23 or, as was the case of the 1290 days, the count began on a significant day having to do with those annual Festivals. In order for this understanding to be true, the Scriptures must refer to or at least imply four Passovers to have occurred during Jesus’ public ministry. The problem is the Gospel of John mentions only 3 Passovers: John 2:13, John 6:4 and John 12:1. For this reason some Christians believe Jesus’ public ministry lasted only 2 years or 2 ½ years at the most. If this is so, the prophetic days mentioned above cannot refer to Jesus’ first coming. Therefore, it will be necessary for me to show four Passovers to have occurred during this period.

I hope to prove that the “missing” Passover is that of 30 CE, so the Passovers of John 2:13 and John 6:4 occurred in 28 CE and 29 CE respectively. Many Christians believe Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem in Luke 9:51 refers to his going to Jerusalem to die, but this isn’t so. Notice that when compared with its sister Scriptures, Luke 9:51 shows Jesus set his mind to go up to Jerusalem by the farther side of the Jordan (Mark 10:1), thus coming to Bethany as they journeyed to Jerusalem (Luke 10:38). Therefore, since Jesus went to Bethany first, which is only a few miles from Jerusalem (John 11:18), his “ascension” in Luke 9:51 could not have referred to his coming to Jerusalem to die, because all accounts of the Passion Week show Jesus went to Jerusalem first and then to Bethany.

After the 2nd Passover in his Gospel, John clearly shows Jesus went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles but secretly (John 6:4; 7:1-10), because the Jerusalem authorities sought his life (John 5:18). Nevertheless, this particular journey was very public. The Samaritans knew his intentions and refused to receive him, since he was going to Jerusalem (Luke 9:52-53). It should be noted that the Samaritans were upset with Jesus, because his journey had to do with a special time of celebration, and they felt Jesus was showing a preference for the Jews over them. They were jealous because Jesus intended to celebrate one of the annual holy day seasons in Jerusalem rather than with them. Moreover, Jesus sent out the 70 into various towns and villages on the way to Jerusalem (Luke 10:1, 17) showing it was hardly a secret that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. Therefore, Jesus journey of Luke 9:51 had to have occurred later than John 7:1-10.

Moreover, Jesus’ journey was during a time of harvest (Luke 10:2), which would necessitate Jesus’ journey to be either immediately prior to the next Passover following the Feast of Tabernacles in John 7:1-10, or the Feast of Tabernacles the following year. So, no matter which holy day Jesus intended to observe in Luke 9:51 (Passover or Tabernacles) it necessitates an additional Passover, because even if Jesus was celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles a third Passover is implied to have already occurred, since Jesus’ journey had to be later than John 7:1-10.

Jesus often used the surrounding scenery to elucidate a spiritual principle. Therefore, when he says “Consider the lilies…” (Luke 12:27) he was speaking of what the people were able to see at that specific time. These lilies were scarlet in color, arrayed more gloriously than the scarlet robes of Solomon. These lilies bloomed from late winter in January to the spring in early May. This indicates that Luke 12:27 and consequently his ascension in Luke 9:51 refers to his coming to Jerusalem to celebrate either the Passover or Pentecost. Since Jesus had already been in Jerusalem by this time (cp. Luke 10:38), the harvest mentioned in Luke 10:2 must refer to that between Passover and Pentecost. Therefore the feast that Jesus so publicly made his way to celebrate (Luke 9:51-53; Luke 10:1-2), yet slowly so as to spend time with those along the way (Luke 10:1; Luke 10:38), could be none other than the Passover.

Finally, Luke 13:1 indicates Jesus’ visit to Jerusalem was during a major Jewish holy day. Pilate’s official residence was at Caesarea. However, it was customary for the Roman procurator to travel to and stay at Jerusalem in Herod’s palace and officiate at the Antonia whenever one of the Jew’s three great Festival periods occurred. Luke 13:1 shows itself as a time when Pilate came to Jerusalem, which he did only when a great many pilgrims came to worship at the Temple. He did this because of the danger of sedition developing when so great a number of zealous pilgrims gathered in one place (cp. Matthew 26:5 and Mark 14:2). Luke 13:1 speaks of an event to which Josephus may also refer in Antiquities of the Jews; Book 18; Chapter 3, paragraph 2 (cp. Wars of the Jews; Book 2; Chapter 9, paragraph 4). The fact that Pilate was present in Jerusalem indicates Jesus’ visit was during one of the three major festival periods in 30 CE. Therefore, Jesus’ journey in Luke 9:51 demands an addition Passover season and Jesus’ public ministry lasted 3 ½ years, making it possible for us to use the prophetic days (1260, 1290 and 1335) to refer to Jesus confirming the (New) Covenant with his people (Daniel 9:27). May God quicken his word to the hearts and minds of his people everywhere.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 23, 2009 in Religion, Textual Criticism

 

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2 responses to “The Four Passovers in Jesus Public Ministry

  1. librarygeekshari

    December 15, 2013 at 22:28

    Hi! I found this interesting because I was actually trying to figure out why we say Jesus’ public ministry was about 3 years and yet the three Passovers add up to more like 2 1/2 years. However, I didn’t quite follow why Jesus’ journey of Luke 9:51 had to have occurred later than John 7:1-10.

    I see that Luke 9:10-17 & John 6:5-13 both are about the Feeding of the 5,000 & John records that this was near the time of the Passover in v.4. John goes on to say what happened the next day when Jesus walked on water & then was followed by the crowds. He then makes a perfect Passover analogy to accepting & believing in Himself & they don’t understand and reject Him in v.66. In both Luke 9:18-20 & John 6:68-69 we see Peter confessing Jesus is the Christ or the Holy One of God. Could be too separate occasions, or the maybe the same one with different details recorded.

    Luke says in v.28 that 8 days later Jesus was transfigured before them, another day passes in v.37 but then in v. 51 we see Him heading up to Jerusalem for a Feast. As John 6:4 never specifies how close it was to Passover, why couldn’t this be the same Passover & not one after the Feast of Tabernacles discussed in John 7:1-10? If He went to Jerusalem so publicly in Luke and did it secretly in John 7, wouldn’t that imply that it was before He was in danger enough that He had to go secretly?

    Otherwise it would seem also that Jesus didn’t go to Jerusalem for the Passover that near the Feeding of the 5000, or else the Gospels never recorded that He did, right?

    Also, how do you mean here: “Since Jesus had already been in Jerusalem by this time (cp. Luke 10:38), the harvest mentioned in Luke 10:2 must refer to that between Passover and Pentecost.” ?
    If Jesus and His disciples were still on their way to Jerusalem for Passover when He was in Bethany in 10:38, how could the Harvest mentioned in v.2 be later… between Passover & Pentecost?

     
    • Eddie

      December 16, 2013 at 00:46

      Hi there. I’m glad to see a library geek reading my blog! :-)

      I see that Luke 9:10-17 & John 6:5-13 both are about the Feeding of the 5,000 & John records that this was near the time of the Passover in v.4… In both Luke 9:18-20 & John 6:68-69 we see Peter confessing Jesus is the Christ or the Holy One of God. Could be too separate occasions, or the maybe the same one with different details recorded.

      Yes, Jesus celebrated the Passover—the 2nd in his public ministry in Galilee, not Jerusalem. Most of John 6 is about the Passover. The text comprises excerpts from several sermons / speeches around the Sea of Galilee. Peter’s confession in John 6:69, I take to be made on the same occasion as that of the Synoptics and took place in Caesarea Philippi (cp. Matthew 16:13-16). Jesus stayed in or around Galilee because the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem sought his life, which is why he had to go up to Jerusalem for Tabernacles in secret (John 7:1-10).

      Luke says in v.28 that 8 days later Jesus was transfigured before them, another day passes in v.37

      Beginning in Luke 9:23, Jesus speaks in Tabernacles terminology. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” The word **cross** is an interpretation, not a translation. The Greek is stake, and stood for the main stake in the tent or temporary dwelling at Tabernacles. This symbolized the 40 years in the wilderness where the Israelites had to be ready to pick up their stakes and follow the cloud when it began to move. So, beginning in Luke 9:23 Jesus is going secretly to Jerusalem (John 7:1-10). The 8 days in Luke 9:28 refers to the 8th day of the Feast and this is when the Transfiguration occurred. Again we have Tabernacles terminology. Peter wanted to build a **Tabernacle** for Jesus, Moses and Elijah (Luke 9:33).

      in v. 51 we see Him heading up to Jerusalem for a Feast. As John 6:4 never specifies how close it was to Passover, why couldn’t this be the same Passover & not one after the Feast of Tabernacles discussed in John 7:1-10? If He went to Jerusalem so publicly in Luke and did it secretly in John 7, wouldn’t that imply that it was before He was in danger enough that He had to go secretly?

      As the Scriptures imply above, Luke 9:23 to 36 show Jesus going up to Jerusalem in secret, coinciding with John 7 to 9. What occurs in 37-42 occurred somewhere near the base of Mount Olivet (cp. Luke 9:37). But what occurs in Luke 9:43 occurs inside the House (the Temple) as seen in Mark 9:28-29. But Luke 9:44 occurs in Galilee as seen in Mark 9:30-31. Therefore, if Luke 9:23-33 occurs in Galilee around the time of the Passover, how is it that Mark, describing the same events of Luke 9:37-44 shows Jesus trying to teach the disciples privately without anyone knowing he was there. He would have had to have been absent for quite awhile for the people in Galilee not to be looking for him. He didn’t want anyone to know he returned (Mark 9:30-31). He was somewhere else and the context fits Jerusalem around the time of the Feast of Tabernacles. So, Luke 9:51 has Jesus returning to Jerusalem once more, sometime after the Feast of Tabernacles of 29 CE. The most obvious is either Passover or Pentecost, because the Samaritans were jealous of Jesus’ attentiveness to spend the Feast with the Jews. They felt slighted. They didn’t celebrate the minor Holy Days – Chanukah (December) or Purim (March).

      Concerning the danger to Jesus’ life, this occurred in John 5 when Jesus was celebrating Pentecost in 28 CE at Jerusalem. This is why he didn’t celebrate the Passover of John 6 in Jerusalem; the Jewish authorities still sought his life (cp. John 7:1) and why he had to go up to Jerusalem in secret (John 7:1-10).

      Also, how do you mean here: “Since Jesus had already been in Jerusalem by this time (cp. Luke 10:38), the harvest mentioned in Luke 10:2 must refer to that between Passover and Pentecost.”?
      If Jesus and His disciples were still on their way to Jerusalem for Passover when He was in Bethany in 10:38, how could the Harvest mentioned in v.2 be later… between Passover & Pentecost?

      What I meant, and stated poorly, was this particular harvest mentioned in Luke 10:2 was the harvest that began at Passover and continued to Pentecost. In other words it was the spring harvest not the fall harvest.

       

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