Astronomers have written books to make the dating of events on the earth and in the heavens objective. An example is the fine book called Astronomical Algorithms by Jean Meeus and published by the Willman-Bell, Inc. of Richmond, Virginia in 1991. It was first recommended to me by an astronomer of the U. S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D. C.
What have astronomers done to aid in dating events? One thing is to invent the Julian Day number, which is also called the Julian Day and abbreviated JD. By tradition, January 1st of 4713 B. A. D. at the stroke of midnight is day number 1. So, January 2nd of 4713 B. A. D. at the stroke of midnight would be day number 2. On September 11, 1993, it will be Julian Day number 2,449,241.5. Scientists have written computer programs to convert actual calendar dates into Julian Day numbers for both the Gregorian calendar and the Julian calendar. The Julian calendar was established by Julius Caesar in the Roman Empire in the year 46 B.C. and placed in its final form in 8 A. D. But the practice of astronomers has been to extend the Julian calendar indefinitely into the past [for purposes of discussing ancient dates].
The moon is often spoken about in literature and is a key to dating ancient events. Why is this so? It is because a new moon occurs (on the average of) each 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 2.78 seconds. That is, there is a new moon each 29.530597731 days, and that is called the lunation period of the moon. While the moon has been known under rare circumstances to be off schedule by as much as 8 hours, it always catches up with its schedule quickly. The sun is also important in dating events, and we can utilize the solar year which is 365.2425 days. The solar year is also called the tropical year, which is very closely tied to the civilian year. It is the time elapsed between two consecutive passages of the sun at the vernal equinox. The average Gregorian year contains 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 12 seconds. I have written a computer program called MOONS AGO Version 6 which allows very precise dating of ancient events based upon the phases of the moon and the period of the sun. One can look back or ahead many moons or years from a reference date to obtain precise information about events in time.
A utility program which I provide also is EQUINOX.COM which can compute the Julian Day number for any year of the Spring Equinox. The Spring Equinox is the day when the sun appears to set exactly West, and the daylight equals the night at the equator in March or April. The utility also computes the Julian Day numbers for Nisan 1 and Nisan 14 of the sacred Jewish calendar. Nisan was the first month of the sacred calendar. It is found by finding the new moon [the barely 1% illuminated moon] which is closest to the Spring Equinox.
During the period of the astronomer's new moon, the moon follows the sun closely. It starts to lag behind the sun after one or two days. According to Kim Long, who wrote the book called The Moon Book (1988), the first, visible crescent moon (with the crescent of the right) is generally spotted two or three days after the astronomer's new moon. It is seen by observers as the young crescent moon just after sunset, with the moon following the sun down over the western horizon. Kim Long says that the earliest that an observer on the earth has seen the young crescent moon is fourteen hours after the astronomer's new moon.
Israelites used to begin at sundown watching for the just barely visible crescent moon at the time of the Spring Equinox. They knew when to look for it, as each sacred year had either 12 or 13 months in it.
" 3 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of the region of Iturae'a and Trachoni'tis, and Lysa'nias tetrarch of Abile'ne and Ca'iaphas, the work of God came to John the son of Zechari'ah in the wilderness; and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins."This key piece of information places the beginning of John the Baptizer's ministry in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. So, then I referred to The New Encyclopedia Britanica which says about Tiberius Caesar the following:
"In AD 14, on August 19, Augustus [the first emperor] died. Tiberius, now supreme, played politics with the Senate and did not allow it to name him emperor for almost a month, but on September 17 he succeeded to the principate."Now, notice that we have a Julian Calendar date for the beginning of the reign of Tiberius Caesar. The date is September 17, 14 A. D. Using JULIAN.COM, a utility program which translates calendar dates into Julian Day numbers, the beginning of the reign of Tiberius was JD = 1,726,430.5. Fourteen years later would have been that Julian Day number plus 14X365.2425, or 1,731,543.9 [which translates to Julian Calendar date, September 16, 28 A. D. by means of the utility to convert Julian Day numbers to calendar dates].
Candidate Passover Dates for the Death of Jesus Christ
- 29 A. D. Friday, April 15.91
- 30 A. D. Wednesday, April 5.28
- 31 A. D. Sunday, March 25.64
- 32 A. D. Saturday, April 12.54
- 33 A. D. Wednesday, April 1.9 blink>
- 34 A. D. Monday, March 22.28
- 35 A. D. Sunday, April 10.17
Regarding the death of Jesus, I further ran the program CALENDAR.EXE provided by Willman-Bell, Inc. It showed that on April 3rd of 33 A. D. the sun rose just as the moon set. Further, for about 3/4 of an hour, at about 3 P. M. there was a total eclipse of the moon. As the sun was darkened on a bright day, according to witnesses, both the sun and the moon failed to give their light as prophesied. I suspect that God turned the entire earth 180 degrees for 45 minutes, while he examined closely the death of his son, Christ Jesus, and to fulfill the prophecy. Of course, Almighty God can do whatever he wants and in whatever way desired. Just a guess!
Now, what was it that Jesus said on that day in 30 A. D. when he drove the money changers from the temple? Take a look at John 3:18-22 as follows:
"18 The Jews then said to him, 'What sign have you to show us for doing this?' 19 Jesus answered them, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' 20 The Jews then said, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you will raise it up in three days?' 21 But he spoke of the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken."Now, we see clearly that Jesus was at the first Passover [after being baptized] exactly on Wednesday, April 5th of 30 C. E. Further, we see clearly some facts about the chronology of Jesus Christ [when he died, when he arose, and when he was at the Passover of 30 A. D.].