A Confirmation of the Year of the Crucifixion.

The method by which the chronology shown on this site was calculated is this:-

1. A summation of all the scripturally recorded intervals from Adam to the close of the Old Testament,
2. Use of the great prophecy in Daniel 9 to determine the year of the Crucifixion,
3. Use of information about Jesus contained in the gospels - and particularly in John's gospel - to determine the year of the Nativity,
4. Use of secular records of the post-scriptural years to confirm that the 70th week of Gabriel's prophecy to Daniel occurred in AD 70.

The results thereby obtained all hang together coherently, giving great confidence in their accuracy. But there is an additional majestically superb confirmation that we have here the correct year for the Crucifixion of Jesus the Messiah.

It must first be understood that the Divine count of moons begins each year NOT with the vernal equinox - a practice which the Jews picked up from the astrological methods of pagan Babylon and use even to the present day. The true count, as given by God to Moses, begins with that new moon each year which succeeds the sprouting of the barley and the flax and precedes the sprouting of the wheat and the rye (see Exodus 9:31,32; 12:1; and 13:3). It is for this reason that the very name of the first month of the festal year is the Hebrew word "Abib" which means "sprouting". Sadly, modern Judaism still prefers to use the methods of pagan Babylon instead of the ways of God, but of course God Himself has never changed.

Now in 1999 the renowned Belgian meteorologist, mathematician, programmer and astronomer Dr Jean Meeus was kind enough to send the author a reply to his question about the dating of a lunar eclipse mentioned in Josephus. But guessing correctly the area of the author's underlying interest, Dr Meeus also sent the author a listing he had previously made of eclipses of the Sun during the first century AD.

One of these leapt out at once from all the others. On 28th April AD 32 there was a total eclipse of the Sun as seen from Jerusalem, and its timing could not have been more remarkable. The eclipse began at 05:58 hrs and ended at 06:02 hrs local time, the centre of totality occuring at exactly 06:00 hrs, which is to say at precisely the beginning of the Jewish day.

(This was NOT of course the darkness which overtook the Sun during the crucifixion itself. That darkness lasted for three whole hours and was therefore no ordinary eclipse at all, of which the maximum duration can only ever be 7m 32s. Rather, as the One who had made and sustained the universe Himself hung a-dying, perhaps the Sun itself grew dark as the life of its Maker ebbed away?)

It seems to the author that the significance of the eclipse calculated by Dr Meeus is that it marked precisely the beginning of the Divinely appointed year, as measured by the calendar that He had given to Moses, in which Messiah would be crucified. The Moon is always full at Passover (the feast during which the crucifixion occurred) so there would have been no eclipse of the Sun at that time. But two weeks before Passover there occurred the new moon which marked the beginning of that festal year, and it was probably therefore that new moon which Dr Meeus had calculated to have totally eclipsed the Sun at Jerusalem. If the 14th April seems late in the year for the first festal moon, let it be remembered that its timing is the result not only of the moon's orbital period but also (and very importantly) of the weather, of which no record for AD 32 is extant as far as is known to the author - though perhaps the infant science of dendrochronology may some day come to our assistance in this respect?

Of course two weeks before the Passover of AD 32 nobody but Jesus Himself was anticipating the Cross, and therefore nobody but He would have realised at the time the significance of that remarkable eclipse.

(However, as regards the lunar eclipse recorded by Josephus, the NASA table of lunar phases compiled by Fred Espenak (I believe it was in co-operation with Dr Meeus himself) at http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/phase/phases0001.html lists a total eclipse of the moon on 4th May AD3. This was presumably the eclipse which Josephus mentions as having ocurred just before the death of King Herod. The Star appeared when Jesus was born. The Magi saw it in Persia and, no doubt after some initial discussion and preparation, set out for Jerusalem. That journey evidently took them some 18 months, because after Herod had questioned them he ordered all the Bethlehem children murdered who were two years old and under. After this there was an eclipse of the moon, and after that eclipse Herod died in the year AD3. When Herod was dead, Joseph brought the child Jesus and his mother back from Egypt and settled them at Nazareth.) The author, without of course necessarily associating Dr Meeus with the material presented on this site, wishes to extend and place on record his grateful thanks to that very learned gentleman for his great kindness in providing the author with this most pertinent piece of astronomical information.

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