Friday, February 27, 2015

This Generation shall not pass

From Matthew 24 is one of the most debated details of Bible Prophecy.

The Preterist view is the most obviously wrong, in saying Jesus must have meant the people currently listening to him, they ignore the entire context in which that quote is made.

What I want to discus here is the disagreement among Futurists about whether or not it's valid to see this statement as being about modern Israel.

Throughout history Christians have wanted to believe they are living in the last generation.  Those of us living post 1948 feel the main thing that makes our belief the End Times will happen soon more legit is that for most of that history the lack of a nation of Israel in the Holy Land forced Bible Prophecy believers to allegorize everything to make it fit their own time.  The Temple is clearly in view in Matthew 24, 2 Thessalonians 2 and Revelation 11.

But none of that makes Israel's founding in 1948 a specific fulfillment of Prophecy.  And I agree with the critics of Dispensationalism and Zionisism that the major Bible Prophecies we keep trying to make sound like they're about 1948 are clearly in their Biblical Context about Israelites returning in Belief, and from a Christian POV modern Israel is still in Unbeleif.  Those Prophecies are really mainly about either stuff that happens after Armageddon and/or during the Millennium, or the descent of New Jerusalem.

As for Matthew 24, the debate is if the "This Generation" just refers to the ones who see the Signs Jesus had been describing?  That seems like the plainest reading, but the Mystery is the Parable of The Fig Tree bares investigating.  Matthew 24:32-34
"Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."
Why see the blossoming of this Fig Tree as about Israel?

First there was a curious incident involving a real live Fig Tree earlier in Chapter 21 after Jesus first arrived in Jerusalem for this Passover season.   In which Jesus curses a Fig Tree to never bear fruit again, and then it withers and dies.  At face value this story interprets itself as being just a demonstration of the power of Faith.  But why demonstrate it in such an odd way?  Why not demonstrate it by giving life rather then taking it?

Commentators of Mathew's Gospel like Chuck Missler like to view Matthew 13 as when Israel's leadership rejects Jesus as Messiah.  If the Fig Tree is in some way a symbol of Israel, Jesus unstated intent may have been for his disciples to realize it's up to them to use the power of their Faith to restore life the Fig Tree that Jesus just withered.

Is there a basis in the Hebrew Scriptures for using the Fig Tree symbolically in such a way?

The first reference in The Bible to a fig trees is in Deuteronomy, that passage like many others is just listing them among various trees.

Judges 9:10-11 uses the Fig Tree as a symbol of Gideon, symbols of national leaders often becomes symbols of the nation.

1 Kings 4:25 describes the nation's peace and prosperity by saying "And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon."  The Fig Tree is affiliated with Israel's prosperity.  2 Kings 18:41 repeats this imagery in the days of Hezekiah, the same situation is again repeated in Isaiah 36-39.  And it's used again in Jeremiah 5:17.  Later Jeremiah 8:13 says "I will surely consume them, saith the LORD: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them."

So all this together makes a re-blooming of a Fig Tree a good symbol for Israel's restoration.

Now to show this interpretation is not purely the result of Darby and other Nineteenth Century Dispensationalists.  The apocryphal Apocalypse of Peter which was probably written in the Second Century and was considered canon by many early Christians.  Clearly states the Olive Tree is Israel.  That writer's agenda in that identification may have been different from anyone today.  But the point is it existed.

You might object "Even so, it's about Spiritual restoration not nationally in unbelief".  That is true, but the two are linked.  Israel's Spiritual Blindness discussed in Romans 9-11 did not fully overtake them over night.  It was there from the Birth of The Church, but still the Early Church was mostly Jewish when it started, and in the region remained predominately Jewish until well after the Bar-Kochba revolt.

After Suileman began rebuilding the Wall of Jerusalem from 1534-1541, Zionisim was born in 1561 thanks to Joseph Nasi.  And not long after in the wake of the Reformation, especially in the English Speaking world, Christian Zionism is born thanks to men like Thomas Brightman.

Likewise since 1948 Messianic Jews have gown in number greatly.  I'm a Dispensationalsit sort of but not a strict one like Pre-Tribers are.

However I will say the fact that it's first and foremost Spiritual means it may be an error to link it to some easily definable Geo-Political calendar date like 1948, or retaking Jerusalem in 1967, or even the yet Future rebuilding of The Temple.  It may be referring to the Spiritual Blindness being significantly lifted when the Abomination of Desolation happens. In which case a maximum number for a Generation is not needed.

But I refute the usual argument against Date-Setting here.

What number should be a Biblical Generation?

Hal Lindsay popularized 40 based on the wondering in The Wilderness.  F. Kenton Beshore has suggested 70-80 based on Psalm 90:10.  We could also use 120 based on Genesis 6, as well as that being about roughly the Maximum people can live to today, and it's how long Moses lived, and about the length of the combined reigns of Saul, David and Solomon.  But both Moses siblings were older then him and died earlier the same year.  And Jehoiada lived to 130.

There are also dates older then 1948 one could choose if they wanted to.  1897 is considered the Birth of the modern Zionist movement.  120 years from that is 2017, 2017 is popular in some currently trendy Speculation based on a flawed understanding of Revelation 12 which I've addressed before and am highly skeptical of.

1904 was an important year for reasons having to do with William Hechler's efforts and that being the beginning of a major wave of Jewish immigration to the region.  120 years from that is 2024.

In 1909 the city of Tel-Aviv the secular Capital of Modern Israel (or at-least the city the international community recognizes as it's capital) was founded by the ruins of Jaffa the ancient port city of Dan.  120 years from that is 2029.

The Balfour Declaration was in 1917, 120 years from then would be 2037.

1933 was the controversial transfer agreement, 120 years from that would be 2053.

1948+40 was 1988 which notoriously didn't happen. The 70-80 theory gives about 2018-2028 which lines up interestingly with some earlier numbers.  120 years from 1948 would be 2068.

1967 Israel recaptures Jerusalem, the Jewish construction in the Old City was officially allowed around Passover of 1969.  Adding 40 years was 2007-2009 which was nothing.  Adding 70-80 gets 2037/9-2047/9.  Adding 120 years gets 2087-2089.

So it'll be interesting to see how those possible dates line up with other speculative calculations.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Christmas and Pagan festivals linked to the Winter Solstice

This is a follow up to this post.

The modern secular commercialized Christmas Holiday is Pagan, an amalgamation of various winter pagan traditions. The ones we in modern America are familiar with mostly come from Celtic and Norse/Germanic traditions more so then the Greeco-Roman/Egyptian/Levant/Mesopotamian religions The Bible's human authors directly interacted with..

Secular Easter is Pagan too, but no one denies that Springtime was when Jesus Death and Resurrection happened.

Jeremiah 10 is about cutting down a tree to carve it into an idol, that's clear when you read the entire chapter.  Isaiah 60:13 refers to pine trees as decorations in a positive context.  The Christmas tree does have a relationship to some Germanic rituals involving trees, but the desire to connect it to that Jeremiah passage is a torturing of the text.  I Laugh at any pastor who calls a Pine Tree an Idol but has an American Flag in their Church.

There are pagan holidays all year round, the Wiccans and related Neo-Pagans alone have 8 evenly scattered throughout the year, all of which are based on ancient ones.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

No matter when Jesus was born, some Pagan holy day is near by if not exactly on it.   It's popular now to say he was born on one of the Tishi Jewish Holy Days, any one of those could fall on the Autumnal Equinox, and Tabernacles sometimes can fall late enough to put Halloween on one of it's 8 days.  Also the Full Moon of Tabernacles is always either the Harvest Moon or Hunter's Moon.  As for those who think Jesus was born in the Spring, spring holidays will come up later.

The Church should do Spiritual warfare on Pagan holy days against the demonic forces whether or not there is a Biblical Holy Day to celebrate.  That includes reading The Bible, praying in unison, singing godly hymns ect.  So the way I see it whether the date is correct or not reading the Gospel Nativity narratives and singing the strictly Jesus centric Christmas hymns in December can never be a bad thing.

Rob Skiba even condemns the act of gift giving "why are giving gifts to other people if it's supposedly Jesus Birthday?" he says.  Because Jesus said "it is better to give to receive" and we are the Body of Christ so any gift given to a brother or sister in Christ is a gift to Jesus in my book.  I've always felt the healthy attitude is to delight in giving gifts but not feel entitled to receive any.

Christians should certainly never deceive their children into believing in Santa Claus (Odin), or the Easter Bunny, or the Tooth Fairy or any other such modern folk deities.  Satan has repeatedly used that as a means to make people doubt the existence of God.  One notorious example is Gene Roddenberry.

The other Pagan aspects like Christmas Trees and Yule Logs and Mistletoe may be harmless as long as you don't do them with false god worshiping intent.  But people think the same about Quij boards and many demonic possessions started from dabbling with that.  It's ultimately between you and the Holy Spirit.

What I'm seeking to refute here is the notion that December 25th specifically has it's origin in Paganism, and Christians only adopted it to co-opt the Pagan holiday.  This is based on the poor research of Hislop just like the Semiramis was married to Nimrod myth.

Now it's cited by countless both skeptics of Christianity and Christians as an absolute fact that every major Demigod or Avatar was born on December 25th.  But in fact that claim is no more credible then them being born of Virgins or Crucified or any other alleged parallel to Jesus claimed by Christ Mythers.  But it's the only popular Christ Myther claim used in films like Zeigueist that Christian apologists don't object to, instead the concede by saying December 25th isn't Biblical, or even Anti-Biblical, my prior post however argues that it is Biblically supportable.

The Winter Solstice is actually the 21st or 22nd of December.  Saturnalia was many days that ended on December 23rd.

The only remote basis for claiming Mithra a connection to December 25th is the connection Mithra worship developed over time to Sol Invictus.  Mithra is a deity that always existed in Persia, but during the Hellenistic era he became popular in synchronizing Hellenic religion with Middle Eastern religion.  However everything we know about the Mithridic Cult of Roman Times goes back to the second Century at the earliest.  And none of it mentions December 25th.

It is the Roman Sol Invictus cult the date is accused of directly coming from.  And that is indeed the cult that Constantine and other Romanizeing Christians were trying to merge Christianity with.  But it seems the superficial things like names and dates are what were taken from Christianity, while the Substance came from Paganism.

The Sol Cult was created in the early Third Century. but it was not the official Imperial Cult until Aurelian made it so in 274.  Aurelian held game to Sol Invictus in October not December.  All Pre Constantine references to the Sol cult refers to festivals in December no later then the 22nd.  But the August festivals were considered far more important.

All of this after December 25th for Jesus Birth had been refereed to by Hippolytus as I documented in my previous post.

The Earliest reference to a Sol Invictus holiday on December 25th is the Chronography of 354.  The exact same source refers to Jesus being born on December 25th as well.  So Jesus was on December 25th first, it was Sol who was moved.

Dionysus is another deity who comes up.  Dionysus aka Bacchus aka Bromius had many festivals all over the year, pretty much every month there was a Bacchus festival somewhere in Greece.  The Greeks however even after they adopted a Solar calendar for Civil purposes still used the Lunar Attic Calendar for religious ceremonies.  So none were linked to December 25th consistently.  The Roman Bacchanilias were the only ones linked to a Solar calendar, they were in Spring.

Bacchus had many Births in Greek Mythology.  The Festivals linked to his Birth were always in Spring.

Before Christianity came along, rarely were winter holidays about births.  Pagans, especially if they were worshiping a Solar deity (Sol, Mithras, Apollo as he latter became), or Vegetation deities (Bacchus, Attis, Tammuz) would have considered the Winter Solstice the WORST time to affiliate with their god's birth.

That is when the days are shortest and the Sun is seemingly less powerful then usual, and plant-life is seemingly dead.  The Winter Solstice is in fact defined as when the Sun dies and then rises again.

To the Pagans, Christmas and Easter should be switched.  The Winter Solstice is when Solar and Vegetation Gods die and rise again (none of that being the same as Biblical Resurrection which is about defeating Death not carrying out an endless cycle) and Spring is the time for Birth and Youth and Vitality.  A child born on the Spring Equinox would be conceived around the Summer Solstice (June 21st) when the Sun is at it's most Powerful.

Egypt was perhaps an exception, their unique dependence on the Nile inverted a lot of things.  Including making Summer rather then Winter the time they affiliated with death due to the Nile drying up.  Horus alone of the pagan deities and demigods cited by Christ Mythers was born in winter according to some sources, but it was on the Winter Solstice not the 25th.  But our documentation of that is shaky and largely dependent on sources no older then Plutarch.  With even how to interpret/translate what Plutarch said being disagreed on.

Other sources say he was born on the 5th of the Epagomenal Days, which would be in August on our calendar.  Plutarch has been cited in support of both dates.  An October/November (Khoiak) birth for Horus has also been cited.  It's important to remember according to the Egyptian kings-list there were two Horuses, the latter the son of the first and Hathor.  I think it's also possible the answer to the confusion could be that Horus was conceived on or soon after the Winter Soslicise and born in the Spring.  I have a hunch Orsiis "death(which proceeded Horus conception) was on one of the Solstices.

This changed because of trying to merge Christianity and Paganism, so modern Neo-Pagans may or may not find reason to justify Births at the Winter Solstice and Death at the Spring Equinox (and claim ancients saw them the same way).  Just as they'll seek to justify seeing a Virgin Birth as Pagan even though the ancients considered the idea of a goddess being both a mother and a virgin at the same time unthinkable.

You know what, Switching those two things around is exactly in God's character.  The Pagan Caananites built their temples facing East, so God told Israel their Tabernacle should face West.

Now you may think "don't pagans talk about death and rebirth"  Pagans affiliated conception and the sexual act with both death and rebirth.  One layer of meaning to it is seeing the... I'm going to get a little crude here... Erect Penis becoming flaccid after it ejaculates as a type of death.  Then when it in time becomes hard again later as a rebirth.  So when Isis temporarily reanimated Orisis to conceive Horus in part represents her getting Osiris hard one last time before he becomes permanently impotent.

Judeao-Christians thought also (for different reasons) liked to see symmetry in seeing Conception and death happening on the same day of the year.  In the post this is a follow up to I talk about why it can make sense to see Jesus as conceived around Passover or First Fruits.

Seeing Jesus as being born in September as is popular with people like Rob Skiba.  Puts his conception in December.  The irony is Skiba has been tricked into rejecting December 25th as the birthday of the gods he wrongly thinks are Nimrod.  But in turn has placed Jesus conception where sun gods are killed and conceived.

Apollo specifically was believed to have spent the winter months in hyperborrea, a mythical northern land.  Why would the Greeks affiliate Apollo's birth with the time they believed he was gone?  Ten festivals on the Greek calendar were affiliated with Apollo, some are harder to find info on then others.  Boedromia was in the Summer, Carnea was in August.  When Daphnephoria happened in the year seems unknown, but it wasn't annual it was every nine years.  Hyacithia was in Summer.

The only ones not in Summer are Pyanopsia being in October, and Thrgelia which is the only one identified as being affiliated with birth.  Apollo and Artemis were it seems born on May 6th and May 7th respectively.  Later in Roman times Augustus Caesar made his birthday (September 23rd) the national holiday of Apollo, because he was seeking to be seen as an incarnation of Apollo, hence Virgil's fourth Ecalouge and it's made up prophecy from the Sybil.  And the Coptic Calander shows that Egyptians placed the Birth of the Sun in September at the end of the Month of Mesori.

I think it's interesting that John The Baptist was both conceived and born exactly 6 months before Jesus.

All the pagan birthdates I can find (besides contradictory info on Horus birth) seem to be fall in spring, not winter.

That thing about Augustus is very interesting because that's contemporary with the Birth of Christ.  This man who could be viewed as a type of The Antichrist, was being deified as an incarnation of one of the gods Rob Skiba thinks is his imaginary version of Nimrod.  His birth and Apollo were being celebrated at about the Autum Equinox during the time the Nativity narrative happened.  But we're today being told your celebrating the birth of Apollyon if you celebrate Christmas in December rather then September.

The death of Tammuz (and the women weeping for Tammuz) happened at the summer Solstice (usually in the Hebrew month that became named after Tammuz).  The Greek Adonia for Adonis was the same time.  Tammuz died about the Summer Solstice and was risen about the Winter Solstice, Ishtar took his place dying about the Winter Solstice and rising about the Summer Solstice.

I've seen some Christians spreading Christmas paranoia (like Michael Rood) add to and confuse this trying to bring Spring holidays into it and saying Tammuz or someone was born on December 25th.  But that is all nonsense.  Winter was his resurrection not his birth.

Again, modern Neo-Pagans often like all this comparative mythology stuff so you may see material from them supporting births at the winter solstice.  But nothing backs that up in actual ancient sources.

Even if an ancient pre 354 AD example of a pagan deity born on the Winter Solstice can be found, so what.  Genesis 1 tells us the Sun, Moon and Stars were all given for times and for seasons.  At the Exodus God codified a Lunar Calendar for Israel, but the Moon is never a symbol for Jesus himself, Malachi calls Jesus the Sun of Righteousness.  So when the days begin growing longer makes sense as a time for him to be born.  That pagan also fond significance in that is just a reminder that Satan can only copy and corrupt the things of God.

Maybe The Antichrist will claim the same Birthday, so what, I have reasons to suspect Satan will arrange for him to be killed on Passover too.

Dionysus is interesting to study in relation to Hannukah.

First Maccabees chapter 1 verse 54 to the end says Antiochus Epiphanes placed his Idol in the Holy of Holies on the 15th of Kislev, and on the 25th sacrifices were made to the Idol.  The same day it was cleansed 3 years later.

The 15th would be after a Full Moon, and since as I said the Greeks also used a Lunar calendar for their religion this could have been significant.  This time of year among other things is when the Athenian Rural Dionysia would happen.

Second Maccabees informs us that the feast of Bacchus was kept in The Temple.  That could be significant, but we're not told which feast, or if this is really supposed to be an elaboration on the ritual that first desecrated The Temple.

People will use this same material from Second Maccabees 6 to say Antiochus Epiphanes birthday was celebrated in The Temple.  And overlap that with the 25th of Ksilev reference to say Antiochus was born on December 25th.  But Second Maccabees 6 was referring to the day of the Kings' birth every MONTH not a yearly anniversary, and again there is no evidence that it is connected to the Kislev 25th sacrifices.

The Books of Maccabees do place Antiochus Epiphanes death about the same time The Temple was cleansed, three years after he first desecrated it.

Again the Rural Dionysia was not about Dionysus' birth.  It was a festival that like many other Dionysian festivals was affiliated with the Theater, a time for Plays to be performed and competitions between play writers to be held.  So the Rural Dionysia's main contribution to modern Christmas is the Christmas season being a time when Hollywood releases (besides Summer) the most of it's big event movies.

I'm absolutely NOT one of those Baptists saying it's bad to enjoy a good time at the movies, or to enjoy any secular media.  I love going to the Cinema, there is a 50/50 chance I'll see The Force Awakens this Christmas.  Just be aware of the possible secret reasons behind when they release them.

Returning to my earlier themes though.  If the Antichrist's abomination of Desolation is on his birthday which could be something he'd want to do.  We know that Abomination is at the Midway Point of the seven year period, which I'm convinced will occur in Tishei (September-October).  Meaning it'd be evidence for the Antichrist's birthday in Fall not Winter.  And I think it's possible the opening of the Abyss is 9 months before that.

I think Jesus was born about December 25 and conceived about March 25

Or very near there at least.  The possibly that Jesus Circumcision was on the 25th is something I've been considering.

I held to the September 11th 3 BC theory for a long time, including in my last Christmas related post on this blog I made fairly recently.  My basic point of that post I still stand by, that there is nothing wrong with celebrating Jesus Birth on the wrong day.  And I'll say the same for those who even after reading my argument still here feel compelled to celebrate it during the Fall Feasts.

I still support the 3-2 BC range for the year of his Birth.  Africanus specifies the date in terms that can be understood as 3/2 BC. Both Irenaeus and Tertullian assign Jesus' birth to the forty-first year of Augustus. If this date presumes that the reign of Augustus began when he was elevated to consulship in August 43 BC, the year intended is 2 BC. Tertullian conveniently confirms this conclusion by adding that Christ's birth was 28 years after the death of Cleopatra and fifteen years before the death of Augustus. Cleopatra died in August 30 BC, and Augustus died in August AD 14. Konradin Ferrari d'Occhieppo has demonstrated that the date which Clement of Alexandria furnishes for the birth of Jesus is equivalent to 6 January 2 BC.

Nothing in Matthew 2 actually says the Star was seen by the Magi the day he was born.  Which means I can still support the same basic view I have before on the Star of Bethlehem, as well as viewing the visit of the Magi as being in December of of 2 BC.  There were three Jupiter-Regulus Conjunctions, I don't think they'd have fully understood their significance till all three happened.  Herod rounded up to two years because he wanted to make absolutely sure.

Likewise I still stand by my prior posts on the Census of Luke 2.  Josephus' reference we commonly cite and that I did there (Antiquities, XVII, 41-45 ),  however is probably not a specific Oath but to this sect in general rejecting Rome.

First I want to express my objection to him being born on either Passover or Tabernacles.  There is no way Rome would have enforced a Census requiring presence in their hometown in Judea on a day their religion demanded most people to pilgrimage to Jerusalem.  I feel this makes Trumpets and Tom Kippur unlikely too, that's still to close to the pilgrimage day.

Shepherds in Winter

The Biblical Argument against a winter birth for Jesus is a claim that Shepherds would not have had their flocks outdoors in winter.  These people are forgetting that Israel does not have the climate of Northern Europe or America.  The Weather can indeed be very bad in Winter there sometimes but not always, plenty of areas around the same latitude like the Southern US often have nice weather at this time.  I live in one of the Coldest part of the US, Wisconsin, and sometimes we don't get Snow till after Christmas has passed.

Genesis 31:38-40: "This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten.  That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night.  That which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee; I bare the loss of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day, or stolen by night. Thus I was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine eyes. "

Jacob was at this time much further north then Bethlehem, yet he was engaged in Shepherding during the winter.  So using the no shepherds in winter argument calls Scripture a liar.  Research into Migdal Eder mentioned in Genesis 35:21 is what is more directly relevant to Bethlehem.

James Kelso, an archaeologist who spent a number of years living in Palestine and who has done extensive research there says this:
The best season for the shepherds of Bethlehem is the winter when heavy rains bring up a luscious crop of new grass. After the rains the once-barren, brown desert earth is suddenly a field of brilliant green. One year when excavating at New Testament Jericho, I lived in Jerusalem and drove through this area twice every day. At one single point along the road, I could see at times as many as five shepherds with their flocks on one hillside. One shepherd stayed with his flock at the same point for three weeks, so lush was the grass. But as soon as the rains stopped in the spring, the land quickly took on its normal desert look once again.
Since there seem to have been a number of shepherds who came to see the Christ child, December or January would be the most likely months (James Kelso, An Archaeologist Looks At The Gospels, p. 23-24).
 Also there is Canon H.B Tristram
“A little knoll of olive trees surrounding a group of ruins marks the traditional site of the angels’ appearance to the shepherds, Migdol Eder, ‘the tower of the flock’. But the place where the first ‘Gloria in excelsis’ was sung was probably further east, where the bare hills of the wilderness begin, and a large tract is claimed by the Bethlehemites as a common pasturage. Here the sheep would be too far off to be led into the town at night; and exposed to the attacks of wild beasts from the eastern ravines, where the wolf and the jackal still prowl, and where of old the yet more formidable lion and bear had their covert, they needed the shepherds’ watchful care during the winter and spring months, when alone pasturage is to be found on these bleak uplands“. Picturesque Palestine Vol 1 page 124 
 Also note this excerpt from Messianic Jewish Scholars Alfred Edersheim:
“That the Messiah was born in Bethlehem was a settled conviction. Equally so, was the belief that He was to be revealed from Migdal Eder , the tower of the flock.
This Migdal Eder, was not the watch tower for ordinary flocks which pastured on the barren sheep ground beyond Bethlehem, but lay close to town, on the road to Jerusalem. A passage in the Mishnah leads to the conclusion that the flocks which pastured there were destined for Temple Sacrifices, and accordingly that the Shepherds who watched over them were, no ordinary Shepherds. The latter were under the ban of Rabbinism on the account of their necessary isolation from religious ordinances, and their manner of life, which rendered strict legal observances unlikely, if not absolutely impossible.
The same Mishnic also leads us to infer, that these flocks lay out all year round , since they are spoken of as in the fields thirty days before Passover- that is, in the month of February, when in Palestine the average rainfall is nearly greatest. Thus Jewish traditions in some dim manner apprehended the first revelation of the Messiah from Migdal Eder, where Shepherds watched the Temple flocks all year round. Of the deep symbolic significance of such a coincidence, it is needless to speak -The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah By Alfred Edersheim
I've also seen it claimed by Chuck Missler and others that Israel is "impassable" during winter, and Mary and Joseph couldn't have traveled south at this time.  But John 10:21-22 tells us Jesus traveled to Jerusalem to keep the feast of the Dedication/Hannukah.  Indeed I take from this passage that Hanukkah while not one of the required pilgrimage days became an unofficial additional one, since it was intimately about Jerusalem and The Temple.

The course of Abijah

Those arguing for Jesus being born in Tishri will claim the documentation places the course of Abijah operating in the Summer, around June/July.  However the agreement on this is far from universal.

Josef Heinrich Friedlieb’s Leben J. Christi des Erlösers. Münster, 1887, p. 312.  Strongly argues that Joarib was the course operating when the Temple was destroyed on the 9th of Av.  This would place the course of Abijah about the second week of Tishri, which happens to be when Yom Kippur happens.  The Dead Sea Scrolls seem to back up this chronology.

The apocryphal Infancy Gospel of James, is clearly not inspired, but it's an early witness being from the first half of the second century.  It promotes Zacharias to being The High Priest which is clearly wrong.  But the key thing is it says Yom Kippur is when Gabriel appeared to him.  John Crysostom also refers to Zachariahs being in The Temple during Tishri.

John The Baptist was conceived pretty much immediately after the course ended, which would place it possibly during Tabernacles or just before it, (in 3 BC the 15th of Tishri tell on September 25th, since it is well known September 11th that year was the First of Tishri).  Six months latter is when Jesus was conceived, which would be during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  Nine months after that would be December or January.

John being convinced on Tabernacles or the Eve of it, and the Visitation happening during Passover/Unleavened Bread, could likely place John's birth on the 17th of Tammuz, which is an interesting date.  That agrees with the traditional date for his birth on our calendar being June 24th or 25th.

Early Church References

It is frequently claimed that it was a long time before Christians starting celebrating the Birth of Christ at all.  The very Early Christians indeed didn't have the time (dealing with persecution) to create new celebrations.  But there is evidence of a winter date for Christ's birth showing up fairly early.

Hippolytus of Rome (170-235 AD), who was a student of Ireaneus, who was a student of Polycarp, who was a student of John, to whom Jesus entrusted the care of his Mother.  Placed the Birth of Jesus on December 25th, and the Crucifixion on March 25th.  He was off by one on the year on the Crucifixion placing it in 29 AD.
For the first advent of our Lord in the flesh, when he was born in Bethlehem, eight days before the kalends of January [December 25th], the 4th day of the week [Wednesday], while Augustus was in his forty-second year, [2 or 3BC] but from Adam five thousand and five hundred years. He suffered in the thirty third year, 8 days before the kalends of April [March 25th], the Day of Preparation, the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar [29 or 30 AD], while Rufus and Roubellion and Gaius Caesar, for the 4th time, and Gaius Cestius Saturninus were Consuls.
From his Daniel commentary, he also spoke elsewhere on believing Jesus Conception and Death were the same day.  Clement of Alexandria, Jullius Africanus and Theophilus of Caesarea are also cited as early sources for these dates.  The Constitutions of the Apostles dated to 250 AD also refers to December 25th.

Irenaeus (130-202 AD) and Julius Sextus Africanus (160-240 AD) in his work Adversus Haereses, both gave March 25th as the day of Jesus Conception.

The Early Church belief in a winter birth seems to be related to a belief that Jesus was conceived about the same day of the Hebrew year as his Death or Resurrection.  The Western/Latin Church favored December 25th for Christmas and March 25th exactly 270 days earlier for the conception.  Whether they placed the Crucifixion or Resurrection on March 25th varies.  The Eastern/Greek church favored January 6th for Christmas and April 6 for the Crucifixion/Conception.  My argument for a 30 AD Crucifixion agrees with April 6th.

First Fruits did fall on March 25th in 37 AD, it seems some early Christians in Egypt got confused and gave 37 AD as the Crucifixion year.  Might be because that's when the 70 Weeks would have ended without a gap.

You may be thinking, "Wouldn't Mary have been in Jerusalem rather then Nazareth if the annunciation was during Passover/Unleavened bread?"  It's actually only males at least 12 years old the Law required to be in Jerusalem for the three pilgrimage Holy Days.  Now often husbands brought their wives and children with but that wasn't obligated,  Elizabeth may have stayed behind due to being six months pregnant.  Mary wasn't married yet, only betrothed.  The Bride is traditionally supposed to be separated from the groom during betrothal.  And I have reasons to think Mary was perhaps older then we assume and was at this time a single woman not in her father's house.  The men of the story are all absent during the Annunciation and Visitation narrative.

Cyril of Jerusalem in the late 4th century requested the date of Jesus birth be determined from the Census documents which apparently still existed in Rome.  He said they verified it to be December 25th.  Now that's late enough we should take it with a grain of salt, but it's there.

One of the first Protestants to oppose the 25th of December Christmas was Isaac Newton, who was a good scientist but also a Neo-Pagan and Alchemist.. Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John, Volume 1 (London: J. Darby, T. Browne & All, 1733), 144-65.

As far as the death and conception correlation goes.  Genesis 4 seems to hint at Seth being conceived very shortly after Abel died.  Abel is considered a type of Christ.

Leviticus 23

Lots of people in the Hebrew Roots movement and other Messianic fellowships that don't deny Grace, have an insistence that Jesus must have been born on one of the Appointed Times of Leviticus 23.

If Jesus birth was meant to be a fulfillment of one of those like his Death was Luke or Matthew would have made that clear, we wouldn't have to deduce it from elsewhere.  The fulfillment of the Fall Feast days lies in the middle of the 70th Week of Daniel.

As far as Revelation 12 goes.  There is a symbolic summery of history there but those signs being seen in Heaven is part of the events of the Seventh Trumpet, the chapter divisions weren't in the original text.  I deal with that here.

My main argument against Jesus being born on any of the Leviticus 23 Holy Days is it's absurd to think Rome would not have enforced a Census in Judea requiring people to be in different scattered towns close to any of the days where there local religion required people to be in Jerusalem.

Mary and Joseph happened to have been headed closer to Jerusalem then they were before so we don't think of that implication a lot.  But other people would have been just the opposite (there could hypothetically have been people living in Bethlehem who were required by this to go to Galilee). Jerusalem itself had lots of citizens who's family origin wasn't in it.  So you'd have people who usually didn't have to worry about the Pilgrimage requirement at all suddenly having that matter over complicated.

Now you can argue that Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur are not pilgrimage days themselves.  In fact I've seen Rob Skiba use Sukkot's pilgrimage day status against it arguing in favor of Yom Teruah.  But those two days are still way to close.  One is 5 days before and the other is 14 days before.  And Sukkot required being in Jerusalem an entire week.  My family has even with modern conveniences making travel a lot easier never gone on a week long trip without beginning the preparations more then three weeks in advance.

The time around the Winter Solstice was about as far away from the pilgrimage days as you can get.  And the date I've come to favor puts it like a month after Hanukkah and over a month away from Purim, so the Census would need not disrupt those less important Holy Days either.

Attempting to determine which year

Using Stellarium, it seems the 14th of Nisan of 3 BC could likely have fallen on April 1st.

However in 2 BC Passover and March lined up almost exactly the same as they did in 37 AD, with a discrepancy of less then 24 hours.  Maybe that is also a factor in the confusion.

And it was December 25th of 2 BC that Jupiter stopped in the night sky in exactly the right conditions to match Matthew 2.  I've seen an argument against the usual view that the Magi must have arrived a significant amount of time latter.

They have decent responses to most of the usual arguments, about the Greek word translated  "young Child" (Luke 2:17 uses the same term for a an infant Jesus) and moving to a house (Joseph could very well have done that the next day).  And insist the tone of Matthew 2:1 is clearly that they arrived in Jerusalem when Jesus was born.

We should consider the possibility that both the flight into Egypt and return (and in-between Herod's Death) happened before the presentation in The Temple.  May was supposed to be set aside for her Purification, Joseph could have found a way to do this even with them doing some traveling.  And it could explain why Mary is not a very active part of the story in Matthew 2, as she is in Matthew 1 and everything in Luke that's largely her POV.  Some have suggested January 28th 1 BC as the Day Herod died.  The presentation in The Temple would be about February 2.

Matthew 2:1 "now when Jesus was born", implies that the one event speedily followed the other. Directly after the presentation, Jesus went with His parents to Nazareth (Luke 2), therefore the presentation must have been preceded by their visit.  At the coming of the Magi, Herod first heard of the birth of Jesus, but if the presentation at the Temple had previously taken place, he must have heard of it, as it had been made public by Anna (Luke 2:38).

I feel placing the specific Oath of Allegiance 15-12 months before Herod's death may be flawed.  When Moses of Khorone refers to the same Oath, we learn it came with Imperial Idols.  Josephus in Antiquities 17.6 refers to a Golden Eagle Herod had erected that was torn down by upset Jews possibly very close to his death, when he was already ill.  If the tearing down of the Eagle happened immediately after it was set up (which I find highly likely), then it's interesting that this seems to have been fairly close to when Herod died..

The major problem for a 2 BC date is the length of Jesus ministry, which begins after he turns 30.  The notion that it's 3 or 3.5 years I refute in my 30 AD study, it's confusion based on not realizing John isn't chronological.  But it does seem to be nearly a whole year.  And we know from John 7-10 that a Tabernacles and Hanukkah happened during it.  And Jesus being born December 25th of 2 BC had Jesus turn 30 around December of 29/30 BC.

However maybe Luke 3 isn't saying what we assume.  I've often been curious about how it seems exact (saying began) and vague (saying about) at the same time.  Given the way Ancient Hebrews didn't even do Birthdays how we do, what if it really means the beginning of the year in which he turned 30?  Which would be Nisan of 29 AD if he was born around December 25th of 2 BC.  That could work quite well.

It was at Jesus Baptism that John proclaimed him "The Lamb of God who takes away the Sins of the World".  So it'd be fitting if this was around the Passover season the year before the ultimate Passover.  And maybe Jesus 40 days in the wilderness correlates a year in advance to the 40 days from the Resurrection to the Ascension.

Or another alternative is it could have meant the beginning of his 30th year.  Which would be when he turned 29.

If Jesus was 30 when he died in 30 AD, then He was Crowned with the Crown of Thrones the same age David was crowned in Hebron.  David had a second coronation 7 years latter, Jesus will have a second one too. Possibly 2007 years latter, but I'm not certain on that.

(Update: I've come to think it maybe more likely December 25th or after is when the Magi vistied Jesus, but they arrived in Jerusalem before.  The 25th of Tevet would have been the 23rd of 24th of December that year.)

Passover Conception 

What makes this model fascinating to me is the possibly of Jesus being Conceived on Passover or First Fruits, why?  Because of an insight made by Zola Levitt, about a possible correlation between the Gestation process and the High Holy Days of Leviticus 23.  One of the briefer websites describing it.
After the end of woman’s monthly cycle, the new cycle begins. On the fourteenth day of that first month, the egg appears. This matches Passover, which is the fourteenth day of the first month of God’s calendar. (Leviticus 23:5)
The egg must be fertilized within twenty-four hours, or it cannot be fertilized at all and will pass through her body. Twenty-four hours after Passover is the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which falls on the fifteenth day of the first month. (Leviticus 23:6)
If the egg does become fertilized, it attaches to the mother’s uterus within 2 – 6 days. This corresponds to the Feast of Firstfruits, which falls anywhere from 2 – 6 days after Passover. Passover and Unleavened Bread can fall on any day of the week, and then Firstfruits is the Sunday after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is why the timing is a flexible date. (Leviticus 23:11)
After another fifty days, the embryo begins to look like a human. You can clearly see the head with eyes, the arms with hands and fingers, and the legs with feet and toes. The fiftieth day after Firstfruits is Pentecost (which is the Greek word for fifty). (Leviticus 23:15-16) 
By the beginning of the seventh month, the baby’s hearing is developed. The first day of the seventh month of God’s calendar is the Feast of Trumpets, sometimes called the Day of Shouting. (Leviticus 23:24) It is the day in God’s calendar that includes a sound to alert his people of the last call to come out of false worship and sin, referred to as Babylon.
By the tenth day of the seventh month, the baby’s bone marrow is starting to produce red blood cells. The tenth day of the seventh month of God’s calendar is the Day of Atonement, the most holy day on the calendar. (Leviticus 23:27) This was the only day that the priest would take the blood sacrifice into the Holy Place of the Sanctuary, to place the blood on the mercy seat to obtain forgiveness of all confessed sins. We are told in Hebrews 9:22, that “Without shedding of blood, there is no remission.”
By the middle of the seventh month, the baby’s lungs have fully developed. This corresponds to the Feast of Tabernacles on the fifteenth of the seventh month (Leviticus 23:34), which is a day of celebrating our reunion with our spiritual Father and his Son. The Greek word for “spirit” is “pneuma” which relates to the lungs (as in the English word pneumonia).
The human gestation cycle is 280 days. Nine months of 30 days each is 270 days, so on the tenth day after the ninth month, the baby is born. Nine months and ten days after the Feast of Unleavened Bread is the Feast of Hanukkah, also called the Feast of Dedication in John 10:22. This festival lasts for eight days. The eighth day after birth is the day God commanded circumcision (Genesis 17:12).
The one thing wrong here is the Hanukkah tie in fudged the numbers a bit. Though maybe not as much as I at first thought.  This makes all the Leviticus 23 Holy Days potentially significant to the Nativity of Jesus.

The Birth of someone conceived around Passover is likely to be in Tevet (The Tenth Month), and December 25th can fall in Tevet almost as often as it can in Kislev.  If Jesus was born on the Fast of the Tenth Month, that'd be pretty interesting considering Zachariah 8:19.  Messianic Scholar Alfred Edersheim has suggested a theory that the 9th of Tevet was affiliated with Christmas by early Medieval Jewish tradition.
for this section: There is no adequate reason for questioning the historical accuracy of this date. The objections generally made rest on grounds which seem to me historically untenable. …but a curious piece of evidence comes to us from a Jewish source. In the addition to the Megilloth Taanith, the 9th Tebbeth is marked as a fast day, and it is added that the reason for this is not stated. Now, Jewish chronologist have fixed on that day as that of Christ’s birth and it is remarkable that, between the years 500 and 816 A.D. the 25th of December fell no less than twelve times on the 9th of Tebbeth. If the 9th Tebbeth, or 25th December, was regarded as the birthday of Christ, we can understand the concealment about it. — The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah By Alfred Edersheim
Here is a Jewish website on Tevet (Update: that Link isn't working now and I don't know how to find the same information again), which may give insight into significance to The Messiah being around the 24th or 25th of Tevet.  But of course I don't want to build doctrine on Rabbinic sources.

According to Esther 2:16 the Tenth month is when Esther was made Queen.  But we're not told when in the month exactly.  Since the same books gives further significance to the time I place the Resurrection and thus now possibly Conception of Jesus (the 17th of Nisan) it is interesting.

It seems the 25th of Tevet was the day Alexander The Great met with the High Priest in Talmudic sources.  But Josephus disagrees with the Talmud on many details here, and he doesn't imply a date directly.  However he places Alexander coming to Jerusalem after he takes Tyre and and Gaza but before he went went to Egypt.  That wouldn't fit well with placing this event in Tevet(December-January) since Alexander was Crowned Pharaoh of Egypt November 14th.

Other inaccuracies in the Talmud account include who was High Priest at that time, and a claim Alexander let the Jews punish the Samaritans, the Samaritan got the same positive treatment from Alexander the Jews did.

Could be a reason for the confusion is the Rabbis wanted a reason for a holiday they'd forgotten the origin for.  Or perhaps confusing the history of Alexander with something else Simon the Just did.

Many people discussing the Magi arriving in Jerusalem or Bethlehem on the 25th of December 2 BC think that was at the end of Kislev (during Hanukkah).  But since I've decided Passover must have been around the 22nd of March 2 BC the 25th of December that year must have been near the end of Tevet.  1 BC probably had a second Adar.  Remember Judaism hadn't entirely settled on it's current leap year system yet so that could explain by some scholars are confused.

It should be noted that around the 22nd of Tevet is generally when the Moon is under Virgo's feet during it's Tevet cycle.  In 2 BC it was under the feet of Virgo on the 19th of December, 7 days before a Solar Eclipse on the 26th of December and 29th of Tevet.  The day after that was a New Moon (beginning of a Hebrew Month) and the 14 days later was the Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse described by Josephus as proceeding the death of Herod.  It could be Jesus was born on the 22nd and Circumcised on the 29th.

If Jesus was born around the 22-25th of Tevet he could have been presented in The Temple on the 2nd of Adar, the same day the Second Temple was originally completed.

Some out there like to believe Jesus was born on the 25th of Kislev and Circumscribed on last day of Hanukkah.  That model doesn't fit well with a Passover Conception unless he was slightly premature.  But if someone wants to try arguing for Jesus being convinced on Purim, that could be interesting.

It could be the Rabbis were observing them a month off from the accurate dates the year in question.  And that the Jews were observing Hanukkah during what was Biblically Tevet.  I should note that the theory Herod died on the 2nd of Shevat of 1 BC based on conjectures of the Scholion of Megillat Ta'anit, place the 25th of December 2 BC during Hanukkah rather then Tevet.  The January 10th Lunar Eclipse would have been the 14th of Shevat in my preferred model.

I will do a separate post on the Paganism of Secular Christmas, which I'm not at all trying to justify.

I will say here as one key thing

The Sun, Moon and stars move the way they do because God designed them to.  The Bible says the Sun, Moon and stars are for discerning times and seasons.

Malachi 4:2 calls Jesus "the Sun of righteousness".

So maybe when the Sun appears to move in a way that could be interpreted as it being "reborn", is exactly the time God intended The Sun of Righteousness to be born.  Likewise when Jess was crucified on April 6th 30 AD the Sun was in Aries The Ram (see Genesis 22).

That Pagans saw significance in those same movements doesn't mean they weren't part of God's design.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Suleiman and the 70 Weeks of Daniel

I've argued on this Blog for why I believe the first 69 weeks of Daniel 9 were fulfilled from 454 BC-30 AD.  I decided later in response to those who are Futurists yet view the 70th Week as fulfilled, to investigate the possibility of the 70th week being fulfilled from 30-37 AD.  And then I came to the conclusion that the 70th Week is a Prophecy with a dual Fulfillment.

I eventually decided to contemplate in my mind the possibility of the first 69 weeks having a second fulfillment also.  This would require another decree to rebuild Jerusalem.  It need not seem identical to the one by Artaxerxes or any other Persian ruler.  It matters only that it fit what Daniel 9 says of it.  Interestingly Daniel 9's description of the Decree says nothing about Israelites returning to Jerusalem at this time, or anything about The Temple.  Only the City being restored and rebuilt with a specific emphasis on The Walls.

I decided to look at Wikipedia's Timeline of Jerusalem and saw that 1535-1538 AD Suleiman The Magnificent had Jerusalem rebuilt including The Walls which had been in ruin since at least 135 AD. Also The Dome of The Rock was renovated then.  These restored Walls are the Walls that stand to this day.  The story goes that he gave a decree to rebuild the Walls that was prompted by a divinely inspired dream he had.  Whatever prompted the Decree, we have archaeological evidence of it.
Building inscription commemorating the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem 
Jerusalem 
Ottoman period, 1535–1538 
Stone 
Israel Antiquities Authority 
Accession number: IAA 1942-265 
The Ottoman Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent ordered the construction of new buildings in Jerusalem and the renovation of existing ones. Among his most notable projects were the renovation of the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount and the rebuilding of the Jerusalem city walls. The walls, reminiscent of those surrounding Istanbul, are the ones that still surround Jerusalem’s Old City today. This building inscription commemorates their renewal.
“Has decreed the construction of the wall he who has protected the home of Islam with his might and main and wiped out the tyranny of idols with his power and strength, he whom alone God has enabled to enslave the necks of kings in countries (far and wide) and deservedly acquire the throne of the Caliphate, the Sultan son of the Sultan son of the Sultan son of the Sultan, Suleyman.”
Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir
I've already addressed the usual argument against Date Setting.  

Problem is we don't know exactly when this "decree" was, it was in the range of 1535-1538 AD.  In my view in order for it to fit perfectly it needs to have been made in Nisan.  

I did some searching and found that others had noticed this possibility before me.  A lot of them however seem to incorporate mistakes about the 70 Weeks Prophecy I addressed in my earliest posts on it.

I saw on one website someone arguing that only this Decree could fit Daniel 9 and not any of the Persian ones.  They base it on seeing Daniel 9:25 as saying that the Wall must continually stand at least during the entirety of the 62 weeks.  The Walls built during Persian times were breached at least once before the earliest possible date one could give for the 62 weeks ending (106 BC and that requires a few assumptions I view as wrong, I as you know see them as ending in 30 AD), by Antiochus Epiphanes forces, Josephus Antiquities of The Jews Book 12 Chapter 5 does say he destroyed the walls.  Suleiman's Walls meanwhile have stood without interruption unto this very day.

The problem with that argument is that it removes the first Advent of Christ from the 70 Weeks.  Also Gabriel was clearly promising something in the near future, something at least some of Daniel's original readers would live to see.  What's said about the Walls standing has room for interpretation, Antiochus did not completely destroy them like the Romans did in 70 and 135 AD. 

It is a common feature of Double Fulfillment Prophecies that certain key details are not fulfilled in their truest sense till the second fulfillment, that's largely why we know it needs a second.  In the case of the 70 weeks we tend to see the 70th alone as what needs something yet future to be fulfilled.

But given what I argued already about my view of the 70th Week, the implication that perhaps the Walls could be torn down or breached when the Eschatological 70th Week starts is pretty provocative.  Since I am expecting the Nisan that starts The Week to include an Islamic conquest of Jerusalem in response to The Temple being rebuilt.  And a Decoy Antichrist will kill the true Antichrist who will be heralded as Messiah Ben-Joseph.

Most people believe if Jerusalem is conquered by a foreign enemy during the 70th Week it's at the midway point, at the same time as the Abomination of Desolation.  And I have other reasons for thinking an End Times deception could involve making people think the beginning of The Week was it's middle.  It was I think in Nisan that the Walls of Jericho fell.

If this theory is true, I think some discovery will be made before the 70th Week begins that will clarify exactly when Suleiman made his decree.  And if it was in Nisan on either the Rabbinic Hebrew, Kariete Hebrew or Samaritan Hebrew calendar, then I will start feeling this hypothesis is very possible.

The margin of error currently gives us Nisan of 2018-2021 for the start of the 70th week.  Tishri of 2021-2024 for the Midway Point ,when I place The Rapture/Second Coming, and when we all place the Abomination of Desolation.  And Nisan of 2025-2028 for the end of the 70th Week.

People have independently of this seen reasons to look to that range for the end times.  Some of those I might get into in future posts.  I've offered two possible 70th Week theories on this blog before, neither of which are compatible with this.  I'm trying to consider many possibilities.

Update: It seems the 1535-1538 range is really the time the walls were under construction, though other construction in Jerusalem continued for awhile after, 1541 for the Golden Gate, and then additional renovations after the 1546 Earthquake.  Which means the Decree could have likely been Nisan 1535 placing the 70th week as 2018-2025, with the Seventh Trumpet sounding on the First of Tishri in 2021, marking the Mid-Way Point.

I've come to view the 7 and 62 weeks distinction as that the 7 weeks is how long the construction went on.  I know of no documentation that anything was exactly finished in 1584, but it's possible, that's 38 years after the earthquake.

Also a correction on something I said above, it was April 1st 1969 not 68 reconstruction in the Old City was allowed.  I've seen one website suggest that the second fulfillment perhaps switched the order of the 7 weeks and the 62 weeks.  I think that's torturing the text a bit, but that it is a full jubilee from then to Nisan 2018 is interesting.

Update May 2017:   If you want to learn more about Suleiman himself in an eays and fun way, I recommend watching Extra History: Suleiman The Magnificent.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Rob Skiba on Christmas and Hanukkah

Rob Skiba has spoken out on feeling that Christians need to stop celebrating Christmas and doing the Pagan practices linked to it.

 I agree with what he says mostly.  He also says it's good to do some sort of truly Godly celebration at that time year, like Hanukkah, but without the Rabbinic additions to it.

Here is where I think he's wrong.  He seems to feel that even when you remove Santa and the Tree and all the other Secular Christmas traditions that have pagan roots, and sing only the purely Jesus centered Christmas hymns.  It's still bad to do it as a celebration of Christ's birth since the date is wrong.  That even reading the Biblical Nativity Narrative on the premise of it being "Christmas Time" is sacrilegious.  That somehow those 4 chapters of Scripture, the beginnings of two of the Gospels, should only be read on the correct anniversary of when those events happened.

As a minor note I could mention Chuck Missler's augment that you're being unwittingly Amillennial if you sing Joy to The World as a Christmas song.  If the events behind Hanukkah were a foreshadowing of the defeat of The Antichrist then I say that makes it a very good time to sing "Let Earth receive her King".  Though I believe the actual fulfillment of Revelation 19 will be in Nisan.

I'm not gonna get into that some people are out there arguing the traditional date is in fact correct, 25th being the claimed Birth Date goes back to Hipplytus and they have an answer to the shepherds objection..  And they point out that the Pagan Holiday is the Winter Solstice the 21st-23rd.  The 25th did not become the birth date of Sol Invictus until the mid 4 Century.  Satan was early on trying to lay seeds for the Christ Myth nonsense, like that 4th Century stone that has Dionysus name next to an image of a man being Crucified.

I'm not gonna endorse that argument since I don't believe that's when Jesus was born, but I have come to believe that December 25th specifically (not just as part of a broad season or festival) was a Biblical Holy Day (coming from the 25th of Kislev) before a Pagan one.  Satan has made Pagan holidays to correlate to the Spring and Fall feasts too.  He wants to Steal what is God's.  But I agree with Skiba and others that Jesus was born on the Feast of Trumpets which fell on September 11th 3 BC.

But more importantly it's God's Word, every Jot or Tittle of it is good for any day.  And for everything wrong with the Secular Christmas celebration, it is a good thing if people feel compelled to read those important Scriptures because of that celebration.

He compares celebrating Christ's birth on the wrong date to the Israelites at Sinai calling the Golden Calf the God that delivered them out of Egypt.  That's an absurd comparison to me.  If the Israelites had said some random date near the Summer Solstice not the 14-15 of Nisan was when God delivered them out of Egypt, that would be comparable.  What would make Christmas comparable to that incident is if we pointed at an image of Santa (Odin) and said "That is Jesus".

Also for Christmas we celebrate the entire Nativity Narrative, that did not all take place on the same day.  It spans I believe over two and a half years.  From Gabriel appearing to Zacharias in the Summer of 4 BC to the Death of Herod in January of 1 BC.  In fact the Birth itself isn't in Matthew at all.

Purim is another Biblical Holy Day, ordained by The Book of Esther.  Everything in Esther is commemorated on the three days affiliated with Purim, around the middle of Adar.  The most climactic scenes of which actually took place during the Passover Season.

I believe, based on supporting the same date of Jesus Birth that Skiba does, that two Hanukkah seasons were involved in the Nativity narrative.  4 and 2 BC (Hanukkah can fall right where our calender changes years).

For 4 BC would be the Conception of Jesus.  Which in the Nativity narrative is the Annunciation, followed very soon after by the Visitation.  When the events of Matthew 1 takes places is the hardest to pin down.  Luke says Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months.  That's till right about when she'd have given birth to John.  The question is only did she inform Joseph before or after she went to see Elizabeth?

If Jesus was born on the Feast of Trumpets, the First of Tishri.  Then the basic concept of a pregnancy being 9 months would lead one to look to the Conception happening on the First of Tevet, which is part of the Eight day Hanukkah festival, and interestingly the day Esther was made Queen in 2:16-17.

Going with September 11th Gregorian date, and a 259-280 day Gestation period (a strict 9 month Pregnancy would be 270 days).  That gives us (assuming no leap year) December 5th to December 26th, with December 15 being perhaps the best date.  Hanukkah can fall anytime time during that period, but also before or after it.

Christians who care a great deal about being Pro-Life should consider Jesus Conception not Birth the true day of the Incarnation.

As for two years latter.  I believe based on the research of others who view Jupiter as the Star of Bethlehem, that when the Magi arrived in Bethlehem was probably on the 27th of Kislev in 2 BC.  The Third day of Hanukkah.  Basically all the core events of Matthew's Nativity narrative I believe were in Kislev and/or Tevet.

One more note, Rob Skiba likes to consider Apocryphal works like Jasher and Enoch and Jubilees valid sources, when it suits him at least, he puts them almost right up there with Scripture.  Well in Jubilees Noah told his children to celebrate feasts on the New Moons of the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th Months, which roughly equate to the Solstices and Equinoxes.  And as commemorating the Flood on the 17th of the 2nd (either after Exodus) month.  Which correlates to Halloween.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

My future plans for this blog

I know I said this early once early on, but I I've done all the key Bible studies I want to do.  I"m going to try to start simply doing more responding to current new in Bible Prophecy circles.  But I may post some more future studies.

On my other main Bible interpretation Blog, the posts that have become the most popular/frequently viewed posts are pretty reflective of what I intended the over all flavor of that blog to be.  But here somehow my most polar post is one that wasn't really about Prophecy.  I did promote it rather aggressively at Christmas time, and may again next December.  But it's pretty not my main goal here.

Of the posts currently listed at the side as the post popular, the 1290 days one is the one I most want to get the message out about.  I feel the misconception I clear up there could be the key to answering many mysteries.  But the Dome of the Rock one is also key.

The posts linked to on the Imminence Trilogy Page are important (one of those is up there, I had forgotten), as are others where I lay out the key reasons I'm "Mid-Trib" which you see linked to on the Midway Point page.  The only two posts on the 30 AD Label are also pretty definitive, I think we need to understand the first 69 weeks in order to decipher the 70th.

Of all my Antichrist related posts, the starting point I've decided should be Messiah The Prince of Daniel 9.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Rob Skiba and The Nephilim

[Update, July 2016, please read This Post instead.]

I've been researching what Rob Skiba is teaching.  I like his personality, I'm finally discovering fellow Christians who are also openly Nerdy, that's fun.  I've got some issues with how he builds his theories.  He's very dependent on Extra-Biblical texts, and I have fun researching those too, but we shouldn't take them as Canon, they're Biblicaly inspired Fiction no more useful for learning the truth behind the characters they depict then Cecil B DeMille.

Jasher is the one most popularly cited as a Book endorsed by The Bible.  If an ancient Book of Jasher did exist it's not any of the books around today claiming to be Jasher, they are known medieval forgeries.

As far as Jude supposedly quoting the Book of Enoch.  He says he's quoting Enoch himself not a book.  If you look in the Book of Enoch for that quote, it's the entire Chapter, a 1 or 2 verse chapter, with no discernible connection to what came before or after.  I think Jude was referencing an independently known (or directly divinely revealed to him) quote of Enoch that got incorporated into the book of Enoch as it was transcribed over time.

His Nimrod theory takes on many common errors I've addressed elsewhere.  And Nimrod can't be one of the 7 heads.

He speaks against Pagan Christianity when it comes to subjects like holidays like Easter and Christmas.  But there is more then one kind of Pagan Christianity, another kind I feel he very much falls into, and it's one I am fully self aware I myself skirt the edges of with my interests.  Where you sort of incorporate all Pagan myths onto your worldview but just reinterpreting them to make the Pagan Heroes the villains.

I want to address his Nephilim theory.  He believes there was no additional post-flood incursion of Angel-Human interbreeding, and that the post-flood fallen Nephilim were Human-Animal cross breeding.  And he builds that argument entirely on apocryphal references.

He asks supporters of additional Angel incursions to provide a second reference besides the "after that" of Genesis 6 which he has his own interpretation of.  My second reference would be Jude 6-7.
"And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.  Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."
People refuse to see this as a second reference to that since they are so obsessed with making Sodom and Gomorrah entirely about Homosexuality, a purely modern view of that story.  And so Chuck Missler claims the only thing the comparison to Genesis 6 here proves is a sexual nature to what happened.

The word translated "strange" in "Strange flesh" in the KJV is, ironically enough, Heteros.  It means different, and some people have felt justified in translating that "Alien Flesh".  What it's pointing out is how the flesh these people sexually desired was different from themselves, not the same.  2 Peter 2 also connects these two events.  And Nephilim theorists love "as the days of Noah were" it's not really proper to use that in that way, but my point here is that same passage makes comparison to Lot as well as Noah.

In Genesis 18-19 the word translated "men" when referring to the men of Sodom is Enosh.  Enosh is not actually a gender specific word, Moses would have used Zakar or Ish if he meant that.  It most literally means "mortal", but I think it became a term for human being in the post flood world because of descent from Enosh son of Shem.

"the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter".

I think it's textually justifiable to say that it may have been only the Women having the sex.  At any rate point is I don't think these two were the first Angels they saw.

The Testament of Naphtali refers of the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs 3.3.4-5 refers explicitly to the Women of Sodom having Sex with Angels, with terminology that is similar to Romans 1 interestingly.  Since Rob is ok with accepting Apocrypha.

That all the post-flood "Giants" we encounter go back to Genesis 10 names (all ones from Ham) he thinks somehow contradicts Angel interbreeding.  No, Angel-Human hybrids would descend from Genesis 10 names too.  That's why they are hybrids.  Yes tribal identity was usually determined pater-lineally, but in the case of bastards who's father was unknown they were counted as part of their mother's tribe.

I also have my Argument that Nephilim refers to the Angels themselves, not the offspring.  That misunderstanding begins with the flawed Septuagint.  Nephilim means "Fallen Ones" derived form Naphal which is sued in Isaiah 14:12.  And so Numbers 13 informs us of their existence on Earth.

Also 1 Corinthians 11:10 implies Angels can still fall from lust for human women.

He questions why in more time things haven't gotten as bad as before The Flood yet if the same Nephilim activity is going on.  I don't think there have been as many after The FLood, base don how I connect the references in 2 Peter and Jude with Revelation 9 I believe Two Hundred Million fell in Genesis 6.  I think that was most angels who will wind up falling.  But certainly new ones have fallen since.

Also Rob Skiba identifies a father for Anak, that is not Biblical.  My personal hypothesis is Anak is the name of a Fallen Angel.  Update: Arba is named as the father of Anak in Joshua, but there is still nothing to connect him to a specific Canaanite tribe.

He talks about the ramifications for the two views on eligibility for Salvation.  First off I don't see how you can argue not having Adam's Y Chormozone makes you ineligible when usually Women don't a Y chromosome at all.

I do not believe there is anyone with Nephilim ancestry among the population of the Human Race today.  I'm not David Icke, the Royals are not Reptilians.  The post Flood ones for awhile dwelt in the land God promised to Abraham, for a reason I think.  But by the time David finished his conquests all such individuals were gone.  The Aliens operating today I think do so inter-dimensionaly.

He wants to see people with Nephilim ancestry as potentially Saveable.  And I don't want to put anyone descended from Adam or Eve beyond the Power of the Blood of Jesus either.  But one has to address the issue of Isaiah 26, where it says the Raphaim (descended in the KJV) shall not rise.  We know from Daniel 12 and Revelation 20 the unsaved will be resurrected too.

Note: I do believe it would be horribly abusive to the text to apply Isaiah 26's comment to purely human clones if any are ever made.

It's a touchy subject, in my opinion what kind of Hybrid they are, or if the corrupted line in pater-lineal or mater-lineal is irrelevant to that issue.  Paul's talk of Jesus as the last Adam was not about the Y chromozone.

But either way on the Y chromozone thing, I believe for the reasons William Shcnoebelen does that the Angels gained the ability to do this by drinking Human Blood, so Adam Y chromozone could still be involved.

Update

I have revised my Nephilim view here.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Possibility of 2050-2057

I'm not dogmatic on any date setting.  But I have come to an interesting hypothetical theory.

If you take Ussher's Creation date (4004 B.C.) and correct him only on the 60 year dispute on when in Terah's life Abraham was born, you get 3944 B.C. Which then has 2057 mark the begging of the 6001st year of History, (remember that there is no year 0).

Meanwhile J.R. Church had his Hidden Prophecies in the Psalms theory, centered on the fact that Psalm 48 could be viewed as a Prophecy of Israel's restoration in 1948 (though it's ultimately about New Jerusalem). But he stopped viewing them as correlating to years with Book 5 (Psalm 107 and up) because he didn't want the end to be that far off.  With 150 Psalms, that puts the Period the Psalms document as ending in 2050.

There are reasons I've come to theorize that the Seventh Trumpet (which I view as the midway point of the 70th week) could correlate to a Solar Eclipse on the eve of the Feast of Trumpets (First of Tishri).  There will be one on September 12 of 53 AD.  This is similar to the August 2 2027 eclipse a certain website online sees as significant.  But that Eclipse is two months too early to be the Feast of Trumpets.  That site also uses historist day=year theory nonsense about Issac Newton's 2060 theory.

It will only be partial over Israel, but be Total over North Africa and Arabia. I think it only being Partial is fine, it's pretty rare any of the Solar Eclipses at the right time of year are visible in Israel at all, and the next century has none that are Total over Israel.  Jesus' description in Matthew 24 has the Sun and Moon darkened but still visible.  This one fits the best of any within the life time of people alive now.

I'm not a supporter of the Blood Moon theory as I've explained on this blog before.  If the Moon turning to Blood in Joel 2 and Revelation 6 has any natural explanation at all, volcanic eruptions can work just as easily.  And there is certainly no Tetrad needed, the Blood Moon references in Scripture are all a singular event.

However I have argued for unrelated reasons that I feel the Sixth Seal events could happen on the Passover of the Nisan that begins the 70th Week.  And at any rate I do think the moon turning to Blood would have the best dramatic effect if it's a Full Moon.

There will be a Total Lunar Eclipse visible in Israel on May 6 of 2050.  On the Calendar the Jews currently use that's a month too late to be Passover.  But some people think the Jewish calendar is in some years off by a month, and indeed the Samaritans and Karaites both do their leap months differently.  But if it is accurate then that May 6th would be Second Passover, which I have before argued for seeing as possibly eschatologicaly significant.  This Blood Moon is also the first of a Tetrad.

The Sixth Seal theory I've worked out before could easily be adjusted to that, the Horsemen would still ride in Nisan.

Back to the 2053 Solar Eclipse.  It will be at that time that Jupiter is leaving Virgo after having been in her for over 9 months.  Venus, Mercury, Uranus and Mars will all be in Virgo at that time too.  Which can be interesting in light of Revelation 12 theories.  The Moon will indeed be under the feet of Virgo just a few days later.

The top objection to this other then usual anti Date Setting sentiment would be the view that the end must come within a generation of 1948.  People are already beginning to more commonly live to 120, so some people born before 1948 could still be alive in 2057.

Edit Update : I was honestly unaware when I first came up with this of Frank J. Tipler and his reasons for predicting the second coming before 2057. (of course my model as a form of "Mid-Trib" places the Second Coming proper in 2053).

Links on the Authenticity of Daniel

There going to some details in these I don't agree with.  In the future I hope to post my my own thoughts on the related issues.

DanielHistoricity
DanielChapter5
HerodotusDanielNitocris
AddaGuppi
Belshazzar
PublicationFile
DatingDaniel
BelshazzarDariusTheMede
DanielPapers
TheIdentityOfDariusTheMede
DefendingTheBookOfDaniel
Wilson

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyaxares_II
Cyaxares II was said to be a king of the Medes whose reign is described by the Greek historian Xenophon. Some theories have equated this figure with the "Darius the Mede" named in the Book of Daniel. However, the fact that he is not mentioned at all in the history of Herodotus, nor in the very different history of Ctesias, has caused many scholars to debate whether such a king ever actually existed.

According to Xenophon's Cyropaedia, Cyaxares II followed king Astyages to the throne of the Mede Empire, and was also brother of Mandane, Cyrus the Great's mother. He describes the Persian Cyrus as cooperating with his uncle, Cyaxares, in order to conquer Babylon in 539 BC. However Cyaxares was by then an old man, and because Cyrus was in command of the campaign, the army came to regard Cyrus as king. Cyrus thus received not only the king's daughter (his first cousin), but his kingdom, as dowry, and the aged Cyaxares became Cyrus' viceroy in Babylon for two years until his death, when Cyrus seized that kingdom as well.

"4. That Darius the Mede was Cyaxares II, the son of Astyages. Compare the statements in (Prophets and Kings 523, 556, 557) concerning Cyrus as the nephew and general of Darius with Xenophon’s claim that (1) Cyrus, Astyages’ grandson through his mother Mandane, had become acquainted with his uncle Cyaxares during the years Cyrus spent at the court of his Median grandfather (Cyropaedia i. 3. 1; 4. 1, 6–9, 20–22; 5. 2) ; (2) that Cyaxares followed his father on the throne as king of Media, after the latter’s death (i. 5. 2); (3) that when Cyrus had conquered Babylon he visited his uncle with gifts and offered him a palace in Babylon; that Cyaxares accepted the presents, and gave Cyrus his daughter as well as the kingdom (viii. 5. 17–20). Although the details of the story as given by Xenophon cannot be accepted, it is possible that the Greek writer preserves correctly the tradition that Cyaxares was the last Median ruler, and that he was Cyrus’ father-in-law as well as an intimate friend of the great Persian. If these points can be accepted as historical facts, it can be assumed that Cyrus, upon rebelling against Astyages, permitted Cyaxares to rule as a shadow king to please the Medes. At the same time everyone in the kingdom would know that the actual sovereign was Cyrus, and that Cyaxares was a mere figurehead. In that case Darius the Mede may be identified with Cyaxares II, who, presumably, had come to Babylon at Cyrus’ invitation to act in an honorary capacity as king. That Cyaxares II was advanced in age at the time of the fall of Babylon can be shown as follows, assuming Xenophon to be correct: Cyaxares II was the father-in-law of Cyrus. Cyrus himself was most likely at least 40 years old at the time, as is evident from the fact that his son, Cambyses, was mature enough to represent him in an official position during the next New Year’s Day activities. Hence Cyaxares II could have been 62 years old at the fall of Babylon, the age Daniel assigned to Darius the Mede. His comparatively advanced age—in a time when most people died young—may have been responsible for the fact that he did not survive the fall of Babylon very long. This would explain why Daniel mentions only his first regnal year. Xenophon reports nothing further concerning Cyaxares shortly after the conquest of Babylon. Daniel’s statement that Darius was the “son” of Ahasuerus should probably be understood as meaning that he was the “grandson” of Ahasuerus. That the Hebrew word for “son” may mean “grandson,” or an even more remote descendant, can be abundantly demonstrated (see on 2 Kings 8:26). The English form Ahasuerus is from the Heb. ’Achashwerosh, which might possibly be a rendering of Uvaxshtrah, the Old Persian spelling of Cyaxares I, but not of Astyages. If after his arrival at Babylon, Darius became a special friend of Daniel’s, it is understandable that the prophet would date the visions received during this brief reign in terms of Darius’ regnal years ( Daniel chs. 9:1; 11:1), rather than of the regnal years of Cyrus. However, after the one year credited to Darius, Daniel dated events in terms of the years of Cyrus’ reign (Daniel chs. 1:21; 10:1). Contemporary evidence that might shed light on this reconstruction of the history of Cyaxares II is ambiguous and meager. There is a possible reference to Cyaxares in the Nabonidus Chronicle. Since it is certain that Gubaru lived for many years after the conquest of Babylon, whereas Ugbaru died soon after, and a state mourning was provided for some high personage during the same month, it may be possible to see Cyaxares II in the Ugbaru of the Nabonidus Chronicle. Or, the name of Cyaxares may have been in the broken line which speaks about the death of a distinguished individual for whom a nationwide mourning was held. However, there seems to be an error in the first mention of Ugbaru in the Nabonidus Chronicle. Either the name Ugbaru is a scribal error for Gubaru, or the title “governor of Gutium” was by mistake transferred by the author of the tablet from Gubaru to Ugbaru. A second possible piece of contemporary evidence may lie in the double mention of a Cyaxares in the great Behistun inscription of Darius I (on the Behistun inscription see Vol. I, pp. 98, 110). Among the several pretenders to the throne against whom Darius I fought were two who claimed to be of the family of Cyaxares. The Cyaxares in question may have been either Cyaxares I, the father of Astyages, or possibly Cyaxares II, the father-in-law of Cyrus, and last shadow king of Media. The foregoing summary makes evident that there are still many obscure factors in the solution of the problem of identifying Darius the Mede from historical and archeological sources. All things considered, however, this commentary favors the fouth view."

Nichol, Francis D.: The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary : The Holy Bible With Exegetical and Expository Comment. Washington, D.C. : Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1978 (Commentary Reference Series),