The March of time of the Time of March...
It is impossible to have order without time. For correct timing is the essence of all order. And relates to all things, even though you might not think it at first; you might not think timing is involved in stacks of boxes in storage, for example, and yet those boxes cannot be stacked in storage before the storage facility is built, things cannot be put in boxes before the boxes are made, the boxes cannot be made before the trees are harvested to make paper pulp etc. etc. i.e. ....timing.
And accurate timing, which is essential for order, needs reference points. In a race; a starting and finishing point, in life; calendars, clocks, annual markers also called anniversaries.
And so, in Genesis chapter 1:14 God himself mentions that the sun, moon, and stars are there to mark 'times and seasons and days and years'. And so it should come as no surprise that God organizes his dealings with man based on our calendar system.
It is commonly recognized that God's first dealing with man on earth (Adam's creation) was in the fall of the year, around what we, in our calendar system call September/October. And so, that became the start of the year, or New Year's, as we say. And in fact, for Jews the new year still begins around October.
However, that once happy beginning of things became marred with a sad story that needs no repeating here.
And thus a new beginning was needed, in every sense.
God began this new process at the time he led his people out of Egypt, this was to mark the beginning of the new arrangement to restore mankind. And so, God actually changed New Year's day for them at this time (Exodus 12:1,2).
Because the original date had become tarnished, that is, unholy, God deliberately chose the date furthest from September/October, that date would be; March/April. It would thus be the holiest day by virtue of it's distance from the original New Year's day. (going backwards or forwards)
So the Jewish calendar system actually has two semi-concurrent years, the secular year that begins around September/October. And the sacred or holy year that begins around March/April.
A careful reading of John chapters 1 and 2 will reveal that Christ' ministry began around sacred new year (just before Passover) and his ministry ended at Passover. Interestingly, Jesus was also born near or on sacred New Year's.
How can that be established?
Here are some facts that can be used:
Zechariah (John the Baptist's father) was in the priestly course of Abijah*. The first week of temple service for the course of Abijah was 8 weeks after the secular new year began (September/October). which would put John's conception in early December. (Luke 1:18)
Elizabeth was 6 months (lunar months) pregnant when Jesus was conceived. (June) (Luke 1:26)
Mary was pregnant 10 months with Jesus (a human pregnancy is appx. 280 days; 10 lunar months). (Thus, March/April)
So, Jesus was born near/on Sacred new year.
Jesus began his ministry near/on Sacred new year.
And he died near Sacred new year. (note: Jesus died April 1)
It is also logical to conclude that he will begin His kingdom rule very near or on Sacred new year.
This, for the afore mentioned reasons, plus this interesting little titbit; Secular Jewish new year (September/October) is also called "festival of Trumpet Blast", when Jesus comes to call his holy ones it is with a 'trumpet blast'. If 'Trumpet Blast' in the Jewish system corresponds to anything in the Christian system it would be that 'Trumpet Blast'. Which would be in the fall (September/October). Counting backwards 3 1/2 years (based on Revelation) would start his rule in spring (March/April).
And here's a curious observation; In March of this year (2004) I was in Jerusalem, and I went to the Israeli national museum. In the museum there is one very large room dedicated to explaining and displaying all of the Jewish holidays. The only holiday not celebrated or discussed was, you guessed it, Sacred New Year's.
Neither Christian nor Jew recognizes that Holy Day. And yet it is absolutely provable from the Bible that God himself picked that day to be Sacred New Year's day.
courses were for two weeks, however, they were not consecutive, but
reciprocal, that is, if your family's course had one week in January,
your second week would be in July, or there abouts, six months later.
The family course of Abijah started service in the month that would
somewhat correspond to our November-December.
Counting 10 actual lunar months (human gestation being appx. 290 days or 10 lunar months. 42 weeks. It really is. [A Lunar Month is 29.53 days, synodic.] So Mary left about one month before Elizabeth gave birth, in Elizabeth's 9th Lunar month. I always wondered about that...) So that brings us to about late September early October for John's birth. Which fits the biblical account; if John were born in March-April, (his birth month if you calculate from the second week of service for the course of Abijah) Mary, who stayed with Elizabeth until her ninth month (February-March) would have had to leave in the dead of winter, a three months pregnant woman traveling apparently alone in Winter, I don't think so. However, if John was born in late September/early October, Mary would have been traveling before early fall (late August/early September) when the days were still very long and the weather was temperate, and before the autumn rains. Which is also probably why she left one month before John's birth.
Also, consider this; the registration by Caesar, for which Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem, would not logically be in Sept/Oct, this would have been harvest season. It's not reasonable to think that the Roman Government would force an already rebellious people (the Jews) to miss or at least disrupt their harvest. March/April would have been the wisest time, by any measure, to do this. Winter would be wet, cold, and muddy, Summer would be too hot, Autumn would be Harvest, early spring would be just right. Again lending support to a 'Sacred New Year' birth for Jesus.
In any case, the bible is quite clear that Jesus began his ministry right before Passover, if you read John 1:29-2:13 carefully you will see that even the days are counted. It appears that Jesus may have actually began his ministry very nearly on sacred new year's day. If that is true, and if that is also his birthday, then Luke's comment at Luke 3:23 makes sense when he says that 'he was about 30 years old' on the day of his baptism. This due to the fact that he was baptized 40 days before his ministry began (remember, he spent 40 days in the wilderness after his baptism, before beginning his ministry) and had not quite yet reached his 30th birthday.