The Revelation of Kingdom Calendars, part 1
Jun 22, 2018
I studied the chronology of history from Adam to the present back in 1991, using the book of Jasher to help bridge two unclear spots in the Bible. Being aware of Jubilee cycles, I began to see how certain events correlated with Sabbath years and Jubilees. The most outstanding of these discoveries was to see that Israel was supposed to enter Canaan in the 50th Jubilee.
It was the year 2450 from Adam (50 x 49 years).
However, at that time, Israel did not have the faith to enter the promise, because they thought they had to conquer Canaan by their own will and strength. With the exception of Caleb and Joshua, they did not have faith in God’s promise. We can see in this example the distinction between the Old and New Covenant. Most of the people still depended upon their own ability and found that their own strength was insufficient to overcome the giants. But Caleb and Joshua had faith in God’s promise (Numbers 14:8).
God’s response was, “how long will they not believe in Me?” (Numbers 14:11). They did not have faith in God or His promise. So Hebrews 3:19 looks back upon that day, saying,
19 And so we see that they were not able to enter because of unbelief [apistia, “no faith”].
Their problem was not due to their lack of faith in themselves, but in the lack of faith that God could fulfill His promise. That is a very common problem today, but few Christians understand the underlying issue.
Effects of the Delay
Israel’s refusal to enter the land on their 50th Jubilee meant that they would enter 38 years later in a non-Jubilee year. Israel spent a full 40 years in the wilderness, but they had already spent a year and a half in the wilderness since their Exodus from Egypt. So Deuteronomy 2:14 tells us that “the time that it took for us to come from Kadesh-barnea until we crossed over the brook Zered, was thirty-eight years.”
Kadesh-barnea was the place where the 12 spies gave their report and where Israel refused to enter the land. They crossed the brook Zered just before their Jordan crossing.
Entering the land 38 years late meant that their entrance was not timed correctly according to the prophetic meaning of the holy days. In other words, their crossing into Canaan, miraculous as it was, did not fulfill the law of Jubilee.
Yet God had told them that when they entered the land, they were to begin keeping their Sabbath years and Jubilees (Leviticus 25:2, 8, 9, 10). If they entered at the time of the 50th Jubilee, their Sabbaths would have continued seamlessly in accordance with the Creation Jubilee Calendar. However, entering 38 years late meant they started their Sabbath count in the midst of the week. The Creation Sabbaths fell on the 35th and 42nd year.
Israel’s wars against the Canaanites took about five years, and then they divided up the land in their first Sabbath year—that is, seven years after crossing the Jordan. We know this from Joshua 14:10, where Caleb dates the event,
10 And now behold, the Lord has let me live, just as He spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, when Israel walked in the wilderness; and now, behold, I am eighty-five years old today.
When Caleb gave his good report, along with Joshua, he was given a promise that he would live to cross the Jordan, while the rest of the Israelites would die in the wilderness. So Caleb was 40 years old at the time of the 50th Jubilee from Adam, and 45 years later he was receiving his inheritance along with the other tribes and families.
Since they crossed the Jordan after 38 years, Caleb spoke those words seven years later, which was their first Sabbath year in the land of Canaan. This shows that their Sabbath years and Jubilee years were counted from their Jordan crossing—not from the original calendar that began with Adam.
In other words, Israel had an alternate calendar that no longer measured time by the older Creation Jubilee Calendar.
What did this teach us?
Two Calendars in Canaan
The main lesson is that there can be more than one calendar. Israel’s Jordan Calendar employed Sabbath years and Jubilees as well, but there was an inherent discrepancy that would have to be overcome eventually before the true Kingdom could be established properly.
In Secrets of Time, I inserted a chart in the back of the book showing how the two calendars functioned side by side. Israel’s captivities normally ended on or near one of those Jubilees, because when each judge liberated Israel from captivity, their actions were done as types of Christ, the great Deliverer (or Judge). God tied such events to the years of Jubilee in order to give us a picture of the great Jubilee that was yet to come.
Throughout the history of Israel and Judah during their sojourn in Canaan, their official calendar was based on the Jordan crossing—hence, we may call it their Jordan Calendar. When Israel was deported to Assyria over a period of 24 years (745-721 B.C.), they ceased to use this calendar altogether, for in foreign lands, they would have adopted the Assyrian Eponym Calendar which that nation was using at the time.
Judah, however, was delivered from captivity at that time through the ministry of Isaiah, because King Hezekiah was a godly king who appealed to God’s promise (2 Kings 19:1-4). So Judah continued to use the Jordan Calendar for another century until the city was destroyed in 586 B.C. That effectively ended their calendar as the nation went to Babylon for 70 years.
The Renewed Calendar of Judah
Babylon fell to the invading Persian army in 537 B.C. precisely 70 years from the time that Babylon had become a viable empire in 607 B.C. Darius the Mede (who was the father-in-law of Cyrus) governed Babylon for the next three years while Cyrus continued his warfare. When Cyrus returned, he decreed that all the displaced peoples would be allowed to return home.
The first year of Cyrus, then, was in 534. Judah and Benjamin then returned to the old land to rebuild the nation, the temple, and the city. Cyrus’ decree was issued precisely 70 years after the Babylonians had taken the city of Jerusalem in 604 B.C. In other words, the captivity of Judah lasted precisely 70 years according to the word of the Lord in Jeremiah 25:11.
When the people returned, they restored their calendar and began to count their Sabbath years once again. They left Babylon in the first month (April) and arrived later in the summer of 534. Their first year in the Sabbath countdown began on Rosh Hoshana, New Year’s Day, in September of 534. From September 534 to September of 533 was their first year.
Can we prove this? Yes, we can, because their Sabbath years were mentioned three more times in later years. The year 163 B.C. was a Sabbath year, mentioned in Josephus’ book, Antiquities of the Jews, XII, ix, 5. It was the year that the Maccabees overthrew Antiochus Epiphanes and obtained independence for Jerusalem for the next century.
Years later, Herod first became king in Jerusalem. But he had to conquer Jerusalem and overthrow Antigonus (the last Maccabee priestly king) in order to secure his throne. He laid siege to Jerusalem in 37 B.C. Again, Josephus tells us that “this happened to be a Sabbatic Year” (Antiquities of the Jews, XIV, xvi, 2).
In 70 A.D. the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in a Sabbath year (69-70 A.D.).
The point is that these three Sabbath years date back to the time when Zerubbabel led the first group of Judahites back to the old land in 534 B.C. There is no possibility of being a year or two off, because Sabbaths are counted by sevens. It is highly unlikely that we are seven years off when we fix the date of return in 534 and consider the first Sabbath year to be 533 (beginning actually in September of 534).
Nonetheless, this renewed calendar was still not fully aligned with the Creation Jubilee Calendar. Their Sabbath years now correlated with the original calendar, but not their Jubilees.
Daniel’s Seventy weeks
When Cyrus issued his decree allowing the Jews to return to the old land from Babylon, this set into motion much prophecy, but not all of it. It would require a second decree 76 years later to complete this process.
This second decree was from King Artaxerxes in 458 B.C. The Bible dates it in the seventh year of his reign (Ezra 7:7, 11, 12,13). We know from history and from various lunar and solar eclipses that Artaxerxes came to the throne in 465 B.C. As was customary, the beginning of his reign finished out the rest of the year attributed to his father, Xerxes, and so the first year his reign was 464 B.C.
Therefore, his seventh year was 458. This is important, because it marked the start of Daniel’s Seventy Weeks in the prophecy of Daniel 9:24. This was a prophecy about seventy weeks of years, that is, seventy Sabbath years. It was 490 years, which is also ten Jubilees, leading to the work of the Messiah in 33 A.D.
It marked the start of God’s new calendar in 458 B.C., somewhat independent of the renewed Jewish calendar that had begun 76 years earlier in 534.
On the Creation Jubilee Calendar, the year 465-464 was the 70th Jubilee from Adam. If the decree of Artaxerxes had been issued in his first year, then this new calendar would have aligned with the calendar being used in Jerusalem at the time. However, since Daniel’s Seventy Weeks had to wait 76 years in order to go through the national cleansing cycle (76), there was still a discrepancy between the two calendars.
The alignment of these calendars would have to wait until modern times. The alignment was postponed until the time of the end, when the transfer of authority began to take place. By postponing it until the present time, the alignment of the calendar could coincide with the transfer of authority. This alignment, then, has served as a witness to the transfer of authority as well as to mark the end of the time when other contenders and previous Dominion Mandate holders were being dislodged.
(To be continued)
This is part 1 of a series titled "The Revelation of the Kingdom Calendars." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones