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  #1  
Unread 3rd February 2013, 01:47 AM
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Date of Jesus' Baptism

Jesus was baptized shortly after John began preaching in the 15th year of Tiberius. (Luke 3:1) Romans dated their year from January so that means Jesus was baptized some time between Jan AD 26 and Jan AD 27. (Some say one or two years later)

We also know that his earliest ministry activity was approaching Passover (John 2:13) equating to March AD 27 so his Jordan experience would have been late AD 26. But how late? September? October? November? December?

My question relates to the season and I wonder if anyone can help. We have reason to think that he might have been baptized by John on the Day of Atonement 10th Tishri on the Hebrew Calendar. This would equate to 11th Sept AD 26.

Any thoughts? Does any ancient literature add anything to this?

Gideon
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Last edited by Gideon; 3rd February 2013 at 02:11 AM.
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Unread 4th February 2013, 05:06 AM
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Tiberius (pron.: /tˈbɪriəs/; Latin: Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus;[2] 16 November 42 BC – 16 March 37 AD) was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD.

when in AD 13, the powers held by Tiberius were made equal, rather than second, to Augustus's own powers, he was for all intents and purposes a "co-princeps" with Augustus, and in the event of the latter's passing, would simply continue to rule without an interregnum or possible upheaval.[34] However, according to Suetonius, after a two-year stint in Germania, which lasted from 10−12 AD,[35] "Tiberius returned and celebrated the triumph which he had postponed, accompanied also by his generals, for whom he had obtained the triumphal regalia. And before turning to enter the Capitol, he dismounted from his chariot and fell at the knees of his father, who was presiding over the ceremonies.”[36] "Since the consuls caused a law to be passed soon after this that he should govern the provinces jointly with Augustus and hold the census with him, he set out for Illyricum on the conclusion of the lustral ceremonies."[37]
Thus according to Suetonius, these ceremonies and the declaration of his "co-princeps" took place in the year 12 AD, after Tiberius return from Germania.[35] "But he was at once recalled, and finding Augustus in his last illness but still alive, he spent an entire day with him in private."[37] Augustus died in AD 14, at the age of 75.[38] He was buried with all due ceremony and, as had been arranged beforehand, deified, his will read, and Tiberius confirmed as his sole surviving heir
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Unread 4th February 2013, 05:07 AM
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It seems to me that Atheism amounts to a grotesquely exaggerated hyper-empiricism and that Theism amounts to a grotesquely exaggerated hyper-rationalism. Both are bizarre caricatures of what they should be. Between these two extremes lies the middle path where it is possible to be both a rationalist and an empiricist at the same time.


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Unread 4th February 2013, 12:48 PM
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Thanks for your detailed information Granpa. Yes, it makes Tiberius's 15th year AD26 and the crucifixion AD30.
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Unread 8th February 2013, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Gideon View Post
Jesus was baptized shortly after John began preaching in the 15th year of Tiberius. (Luke 3:1) Romans dated their year from January so that means Jesus was baptized some time between Jan AD 26 and Jan AD 27. (Some say one or two years later)

We also know that his earliest ministry activity was approaching Passover (John 2:13) equating to March AD 27 so his Jordan experience would have been late AD 26. But how late? September? October? November? December?

My question relates to the season and I wonder if anyone can help. We have reason to think that he might have been baptized by John on the Day of Atonement 10th Tishri on the Hebrew Calendar. This would equate to 11th Sept AD 26.

Any thoughts? Does any ancient literature add anything to this?

Gideon
Hi Gideon,
I'm not sure you have the right year my friend but there are lots of complexities in this one to explore. To begin our good friend Luke, co-minister of both Paul and Peter states:
Originally Posted by Luke
Luke 3:1-2
Originally Posted by Luke
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
The 15th year of Tiberius is hotly debated. One camp assumes that his reign began when he became co-regent in AD 11 but the other camp places the begining of counting that reign from the death of Augustus Caesar in AD14. The year that John begins his baptism would then be AD29 and not AD26. Another possibility, more remote, is that Tiberius did not start the counting his emperorship until Augustus announced he would be the next emperor. Augustus actually completed his will in AD12 yielding two-thirds of his estate to Tiberius as well as proclaiming he would be Rome's next emperor. This would yield a date of AD 27 for the 15th year of Tiberius, which begins John the Baptists ministry. Obviously Pilate reign does not help here, since he became the Governor in AD26 and continued until AD36, nor does Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, since that began when his tyrant father died and his own death did not occur until AD39.
So we're somewhat stuck somewhere in between the years of AD26 to AD29 as the beginning of John the Baptist's ministry as recorded by Luke. We can now, however, logically rule out AD28 but we're still left with choices of AD26, AD27 and AD29. However, Luke also mentions a Lysanias (the tetrach of Abilene). This provides us with yet another reign that we can throw into the mix of confluent reigns to see what it yields.
Interestingly enough I believe nothing was known of a younger Lysanias until archeologists found an inscription in Abilia (now the Syrian town of Suk Wadi Barada back in the early 60's. The city itself was named after Lysanias and contains not only inscriptions but aquaducts and the remains of a temple as well. Skeptics had formerly ridiculed Luke as a historian on this point because the only Lysanias that was known to them, at that time, was the one mentioned in Josphus that Marc Anthony actually had executed decades before Christ was born. But now we can confirm that indeed there was, in the time of the Baptist that Luke mentions, a Lysianias who was the tetrach of Abilene. The inscription found states (in transliterational Greek)
Originally Posted by inscription found in Coele or now known as Suk Wadi Barada
Huper tes ton kurion Se[baston] soterias kai tou sum[pantos] auton oikou, Numphaios Ae[tou] Lusianiou tetrarchou apele[utheors] ten odon ktisas
Note: the bracketed letters on the actual are unreadable but is not a huge obstacle in translating it.
Translated: " For the salvation of the August lords and of all their household, Nymphaeus, freedman of Eagle Lysanias tetrarch established this street and other things."
The shared title of " August lords" was ascribed to both Tiberius and Livia, his mom. Livia was actually the widow of Augustus Caesar and Tiberius was Augustus' stepson and highly favored by the emperor. The inscription then could be no later than AD29, which is the very year that Livia died.
So really we still don't have any reliable date between AD26, AD27 or AD29 that we can hang our hat on for the year that began the Baptist's ministry. There is however one more thing we can look at from John's Gospel.
Fast forwarding to March 30th, AD30
Originally Posted by John
Gospel of John - Jesus cleansing of the Temple John 2:13-20 (also Matthew 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; and Luke 19:45-48)
Originally Posted by John
13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. 15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. 16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” 17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.” 18 So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”19 Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”20 Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple.
They of course are not talking about the restoration after the Babylonian captivity which is recorded in Nehemiah but the Herodian restoration of the Jewish Temple at Jerusalem, which began in the 18th year of Herod's reign. Herod’s reign began in 36 BC. So the 18th year would have been 18 BC. The temple restoration was not finished until AD63, which was a mere 7 years before its actual destruction. We therefore have a historical footnote in John’s Gospel by which we may calculate the actual year of the cleansing of the temple reported by John in this passage. Using the 46 years stated and knowing the restoration began in 18 BC, by way of both Jospehus and the Chronicon Paschale, we can derive the answer. The Math goes like this: 18 BC to 1 BC = 17 years; 1 BC to AD1 = 1 year, since there is no year AD 0; yielding a total of 18 years. 46 years -18years = 28 years remaining ; AD 1 +28 years = AD 29. However, since Herod began his reign in the month of April and this being the month of March AD 29 we would not yet have reached the anniversary month of commencement yet. In fact we do not know how many additional months were offset from his actual anniversary month of April. But we do know the 18th year of Herod’s reign was somewhere between April of 18 BC to March of 17 BC. So while they had celebrated the 46th year there was still some months yet before they would celebrate its 47th year. Now we know the Passover was at hand in March of AD 30 so therefore it was still only 46 years from the time reconstruction began. If it was March AD29 it would only have been 45 years . I still believe AD 30 was the year Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem so, in my humble estimation this particular event, which assumes this temple cleansing was the same one recorded in the Synoptic Gospels and a 2 and 1/2 year ministry recorded only by John, that this yields a start date for Jesus baptism somewhere in the vicinity of Oct AD27. For AD 26 to work we'd have to prove a 3 and 1/2 year ministry and I don't believe the Scriptures support that from my studies.
May God Bless You and your family,
In Christ, John 1720

Last edited by John 1720; 8th February 2013 at 03:45 PM. Reason: some minor corrections
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Unread 8th February 2013, 07:06 PM
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Some very interesting stuff in your post thanks John. Your info on Lysanius would go well in Archaeology forums where skeptics could do with hearing that. I enjoy biblical chronology and archaeology subjects.

On the subject of Jesus ministry lasting 3.5 years I have an article on my website that you may wish to comment on.

Regards,
Gideon
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Unread 8th February 2013, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Gideon View Post
Some very interesting stuff in your post thanks John. Your info on Lysanius would go well in Archaeology forums where skeptics could do with hearing that. I enjoy biblical chronology and archaeology subjects.

On the subject of Jesus ministry lasting 3.5 years I have an article on my website that you may wish to comment on.

Regards,
Gideon
I love your website Pastor and I very much thank you for your faithful service to the Lord over these years. I think the best thing about these types of forums is meeting true brothers and sisters in Christ, ones that have been molded and shaped by His all encompassing love. I have heard New Zealand is one of the very beautiful places on earth and it sounds like the Lord has given you a wonderful life there.
Yes, I can understand why you believe Jesus had a three and a half year ministry and see where we differ. It is always good to hear another perspective on John that disagrees with where my research has led me. As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another. I once saw on a website that said, "Actually Christian apologists have been blest by the criticism because it forces us to better research ..."
I believe that to be true. I can't tell you the number of times that someone debating my Christian beliefs or what I understand the Bible to say has caused me to look deeper into my faith and the Bible. I have even grown fond of the so called "contadictions" in the Bible. In the end they have only caused me to go deeper and deeper into the Word. I believe I can truly say, without doubt, that the Word of God never disappoints - for there is always a divine meal in that journey that prompts one to tell others how truly amazing God really is. I've been more than blessed by my own befuddledness many time but nuff said about me.

I do believe you have a plausible point here but still believe John's Gospel is non linear with respect to chronology. I'm still looking at this however and promise I will keep an open mind in evaluating what you have researched. I noticed you also had the 46 year temple restoration project in your comments about the temple, but they brought you to a Passover in AD27. Perhaps we should compare notes there because we're wound up three years apart! And here I always though my math was pretty good? Alas!

John's Gospel chronology has been an enigma for many people and I really only set out to tackle it when, of all things, I foolishly attempted a four part Harmony of the Gospels and thought I could do John last. Obviously I had to rethink that once it all fell apart with John. And here I am thinking I'd finally gotten the chronology in John correctly Actually I really did want to bounce what I've discovered off many others with similar interests as I know that God has many saints looking into these things. After all we know "all" the truth belongs to Him and so I love to keep knocking at His door and am blest when He sends others into my life to talk me down. I learned long ago I am not only not infallible but more inclined to learn by my mistakes but it not being right that matters it is learning the truth. Certainly a few mistakes here and there also helps to keep the pride thing down too - the Lord is always thinking of me and my needs on that one!
To get back to John's Gospel however, when do you think it was written? I know both Irenaues and Clement of Alexandria said it was written last and that Clement stated that he wrote it for spiritual teaching, (that is not to say ahistorical) as well as to fill in the blanks. Yet, with respect to the Jesus' Passion John does follow the Synoptic Gospels and he gives us a so much deeper picture. I used to love Michener Novels growing up and so when I first read John just assumed the spiritual telling and lessons learned was the main thread and the chronology secondary to what He was teaching. It couldn't of course have been by accident that he had exactly seven signs & miracles. Even most of his events surround the seven Jewish feasts he records as well. On top of that we know John wrote to the seven churches of Asia Minor and that there are a whole lot more sevens in Revelation. I even decided to run some Greek character count tests against the John Rylands papyrus, since we know with a very close proximity the number of characters it holds per page. It turns out the entire Gospel Codex would have been 130 pages. I confess I did that just to test a probable hypothesis that John wrote his Gospel late and though finished it was not yet compiled into a codex at his death but was more likely in the form of loose sheets at the Church of Ephesus. Maybe John even preached from them as an elder of that Church and the other Churches of Asia Minor. Of course this is only a hypothesis but it was amazing to me how non linear elements lined up for me as complete pages. I will give you an example of non linear chronology in John. There is alot here and maybe you could open a new thread for John's amazing Gospel for I'm only a newbie here and cannot.

You have 3 major feasts Jesus usually attended Passover, Sukkot and the Feast of the Dedication. Chapter 4 is obviously right after the Feast of the Dedication for Jesus as He is crossing into Samaria states, "you say four months and then comes the harvest but I say to you look unto the fields and they are already white unto Harvest." Harvest time in Israel is April/May so this had to be weeks after the feast of the temple Dedication in December. It turns out to be exactly 4 pages of similar sheet size to P52 so it could have stood alone. Chapter 5 is of course an unknown feast but we have on Irenaeus' good account that this unknown feast was a Passover, which of course Jesus spent in Jerusalem. Chapter 6, however, opens near but before a Passover that occurs in the Galilean hillsides, which also correlates with the loaves and fishes miracle in the Synoptics. So we take this to be the Passover before the final Passover since the Synoptics only record one year. Chapter 7 and part of Chapter 8 is Jesus in Jerusalem at Sukkot. In Chapters 9 and 10 we find Jesus in Jerusalem again at the feast of the dedication healing a man born blind. Chapter 11 is the final push towards Jerusalem and Lazarus - all the rest are the Passion week, resurrection and post resurrection events. That might make perfect sense but would not flow with the Synoptics. Chapter 6 has to be out of order - it also turns out to be 5 complete pages when compared with P52 so if uncompiles could have also been integrated into a codex out of order. So we have 6 feasts in Jerusalem for one year and a half and 1 feast in Galilee in the same year the Synoptic Gospels record. This is where I get 2 and 1/2 years. There's also much more to show with respect to non linear chronolgy in John but I'd love to compare notes with you. I love the Gospel of John. It was the first Gospel I ever read when I became a Christian while in the service and I remember those first year growing as a Christian rather fondly. Here I am, now a grandfather, and the Gospel of John is still helping me to grow and pull me in ever deeper in the love of Jesus.

Gotta go but just want to pray that God's blessing would be upon you and your family.
In Christ, John 1720 a.k.a Patrick

Last edited by John 1720; 8th February 2013 at 11:09 PM. Reason: Some general font cleanup, etc
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