3 1/2 Year Ministry of Jesus

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by mountainrun, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. mountainrun

    mountainrun
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    I'm starting this because it came up on another thread, the old "day of the crucifiction" topic.

    Again.

    I was using Jesus 3 1/2 year ministry to point to the year in which He died when someone questioned how I knew it was 3 1/2 years.

    I got this off Google and it even shows the time of the year He was born.
    {It was easier than scanning all the verses from the Bible about Jesus and the passovers. I'm getting lazy.}

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    Q. I've always heard the time Jesus taught and preached was approximately 3½ years total from His announcement in the temple to the crucifixion. I have yet to find this specific time frame in the Bible. Where did this come from if it is true?

    (Submitted by: B. M.)

    A. The New Testament book of John was written with a central focus on the Holy Days which were commanded by the Lord and recorded by Moses in Leviticus Chapter 23.

    There are scriptures in the book of Luke and John that answer your question in a positive way, but first we need to lay a foundation. In Luke 3:23 we read,

    "When He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age . . . " (NASB).
    In what season of the year did He begin His ministry? In order to know that, we have to know the time or the season of the year when He was born. We do not know the exact year of His birth but there are clues in the first chapter of Luke that can tell us the season. Luke 1:5 states:

    "In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah, and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth."
    1Chron. 24:1-19 tells us that King David divided Levitcal duties by lot into 24 courses, or shifts, that required each course to work one full week twice a year from Sabbath noon to Sabbath noon beginning with the first week of the Hebrew calendar (Talmud, Sukkah) which always began in the fall on the Feast of Trumpets. The Talmud further states that all the courses worked during the three holy day seasons: Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. The course of Abijah worked the ninth and tenth weeks of the year which was during Pentecost (early summer).

    Luke 1:24 tells us that Elizabeth became pregnant around the time of the end of Zacharias' service. Verses 26-38 foretell of the birth of Jesus to Mary. Verse 26 says that the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary in the sixth month (of Elizabeth's pregnancy, Nov. -- Dec.) to announce the birth of Jesus. Mary became pregnant by the holy spirit about this time. Nine months later would place the birth of Jesus in the autumn of the year, or in the months of September/October.

    Now let's go to John and answer your question. We know Jesus was born in the fall of the year and was "about thirty" ( Luke 3:23) when His ministry began. Passover always falls in the Spring of the year (in the month of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar). Jesus' first Passover observance is recorded in John 2:13, which is about 6 months after his ministry began in the fall of the previous year. Jesus kept three OTHER Passovers (for a total of four Passovers): His second Passover observance is recorded in John 5:1, His Third is recorded in John 6:4 and the fourth (and last) one with His disciples is recorded in John 11:55.

    We therefore have about 6 months from Jesus' "birthday" (and beginning of his ministry) to His first Passover, then three full years from Passover to Passover, making for a ministry of three and one-half years. It is true that our Savior's ministry on the earth lasted this short 3 1/2 year period.

    ====================================

    This is an excellent example of Biblical scholarship and should help those who are not well familiarized with Jesus and His ministry to more knowledgably participate in the discussions.

    MR
     
  2. williemakeit

    williemakeit
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    I liked that, and it made sense to me. The only thing left hanging for me was how do we know that "The course of Abijah worked the ninth and tenth weeks of the year which was during Pentecost (early summer)." Where did he get this information?
     
  3. mountainrun

    mountainrun
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    If you mean when Abijah pulled their shift, I believe the information comes from the Talmud.

    MR
     
  4. williemakeit

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    Yeah, when I reread it, it makes sense that is probably where he got that information. If so, there is no reason for me to doubt the information. Of course, others may be able to present substantiated alternatives, which I would also enjoy. Good thread. I hope it continues.
     
  5. mountainrun

    mountainrun
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    I think it's great when we can realize from these things that God doesn't put seemingly insignificant details in the scripture for no reason, such as being able to calculate the time of Jesus birth fairly close because He told us what Zacharias' priestly division was, as seen in paragraphs 4 and 5.

    MR
     
  6. PASTOR MHG

    PASTOR MHG
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    Excellent post!

    Max
     
  7. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    I hold that he had to at LEAST observe 4 passovers, if not more. Remember, Jesus APPEARED 50 to folks who didn't know him.

    Born 6 BCE and died 33 CE (or so) he is still 40.
     
  8. mountainrun

    mountainrun
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    He did observe 4 passovers in his 3 1/2 year ministry, however if He was 40 when He died, He had to have had a ten year ministry, as Luke tells us He was "about 30 years old" when He began His ministry.

    As I mentioned in another thread {which wandered horribly off course} Luke also tells us that John began his ministry in 28-29 A.D., the 15 year of the reign of Tiberius according to known history.

    A 3 1/2 year ministry ends in 33 A.D.

    I once saw some scholarship dating the birth of Jesus to 2 B.C. calculating it according to the shifts of the priesthood, figuring it back from the known shift on duty when the temple was destroyed in August of 70 A.D. but I'm not quite sure how that works.

    Look at me. I'm already off course on my own thread...

    MR
     
  9. Alcott

    Alcott
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    That's an incompetent assumption. "When the days of his priestly service were ended, he went back home. After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying,.. (Luke 1:23-24).

    No you don't--that is, it doesn't help. It doesn't matter what time of the year He was born if He was "about thirty years of age."

    If all we know about Elizabeth's pregnancy is that it began after the days of Zecharias' service, there is no way to know when Mary's pregnancy began. And all we know for sure about the time correlations here is that Mary had become pregnant before Elizabeth gave birth. So, Mary became pregnant some time after the 6th month for Elizabeth, whose time began some time later than when her husband was serving as priest. There is not much to conclude here.

    John 5:1 is only cited as a "feast of the Jews." It was not necessarily the Passover, though it could have been.

    We have 3 Passovers definitely, so Jesus' earthly ministry did last more than 2 years. If the other feast is also a Passover, then it was more than 3 years. But there is not a 'upper' limit. The upper implication is that Jesus appeared less than 50 years old to the Jews in John 8:57. So He was between the ages of 32 and 50; and if He appeared definitely less than 50, He was probably less than 45.

    The fact that John does not mention more than 4 (at the most) Passovers is not competent to discern that there 4 or less. By that reasoning, Matthew, Mark and Luke have it wrong by only mentioning one Passover.

    You overrate this BM, whoever it is.
     
  10. mountainrun

    mountainrun
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    BM, whoever it is, is the one who asked the question.

    If your contention is that we can't really know anything from the Bible, which is what your methodology used on just about everything in the bible would establith, I disagree.

    I believe Jesus ministered for 3 1/2 years.
    You do not.

    Most seem to feel as I do, though a majority does not necessarily make it true.

    MR
     
  11. Alcott

    Alcott
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    [​IMG] [​IMG] ;) [​IMG]

    Large deal.

    How noble of you to say that.
     

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