J.C. - You write: "We know the messiah arrived (was baptized) in 29 C.E." May I enquire as to exactly how do we know that? As I know, people have never been able to assign an exact date to Jesus' birth. By all accounts, it is only possible to assign an approximate date to his birth - anywhere from the year 8 B.C.E. to the year 4 B.C.E. In regard to the time that he suppsedly began his ministry, that is based on the hypothesis of traditional folklore. If you have any extra-biblical sources [sources outside the Bible] that you could share, I would greatly appreciate your sharing them.
With regard to the above, the gospels specifically tell us that John's ministry began in the spring of the 15th year of Tiberius (Luke 3:1). Jesus began his ministry in the fall of that year, and thus 29 CE. This is fairly well the accepted chronology...
Tiberius Caesar Augustus (or Tiberius I), born Tiberius Claudius Nero (November 16, 42 BC – March 16, AD 37), was the second Roman Emperor, from the death of Augustus in AD 14 until his own death in 37.
Since this is directly related to Jesus ministry, coordinating when he ws born is not a factor at this point. 29 CE is when he began his ministry. From an advanced exegetical point of view, Jesus must begin his ministry during the Festival of Booths and end it during Passover. Those two week-long celebrations are six months apart. Jesus' ministry is 3-1/2 years, but 43 months. Two special sabbaths seem to bookend his official ministry. The 8th day of the Festival of booths is a special sabbath day and the 7th day of the Passover festival is a special sabbath day. So theoretically, if Jesus' official recognized ministry began on the 8th day of the Festival of Booths and ended on the 7th day of the Festival of Passover you could assign that to 1290 days. This becomes part of the fulfillment of the "1335 days" occurring at Pentecost since Jesus dies on Nisan 20th, 45 days from Pentecost (i.e. Pentecost, a reference to the 50th, is the 50th day after the 15th, and thus the 45th day after the 20th, etc.)
Meaning? Meaning we can use astronomy, specific for that year to determine rather precisely when Jesus began his ministry per that interpretation. But likewise, advanced exegetical reference as far the Jesus fulfilling The Law suggests that the 8th day of the Festival of Booths would be his 8th day of life and thus he was circumcised on the 8th day of the Festival of booths. Circumcisions specifically take place on the 8th day, so you have two 8th day events occurring around the same time of the year, so we just put one-and-one together and presume Jesus was actually circumcised on the 8th day to fulfill the 8th day of the Festival of Booths. IF that's the case, and you can't say it isn't, no one can, though I don't mind it being a preusmption for everyone else, then we can also use astronomy to determine EXACTLY the day Jesus was born approximately 30 years earlier. That would be September 15, 2 BC. The Full Moon was on the 14th. So we, in fact, know exactly what Jesus' birthdate was (some of us).
We can thus compare this to exactly how old he was in 29 CE when he got baptized, which should be "as if" 30, meaning close to being 30 years of age but not quite. You know, it's very much how we do now. If you're birthday is next week and someone asks your age, usually say, "Well, I'm ___, but I'll be ___ on my birthdate next week." The person usually acts shocked and says, "Wow, I can't believe you'll be __!!! You look so much OLDER...oops! I mean YOUNGER (Lie!) than that!!!)
Anyway, "as if" should be relatively close to his actual 30th birthday, the closer the better. So what do we find?
Hope you don't mind the PROCESS, but you wanted the "extra Biblical" reference. So what you do is go to an astronomy program, like Redshift, and look up when the Full Moon occurs in September of 29 CE. It occurs on the 11th. So the Festival of Booths would have been from the September 12-19. So Jesus would have been 30 years old on the 15th and thus 30 years old by the time he would officially have started his ministry on September 19 and officially ended it 3-1/2 years later on Nisan 20th, 33 CE. However, Jesus' baptism 40 days ealier would have made him maybe 35 days from his 30th birthday. So with very close to just a month until his 30th birthday he is said to be "as if" 30, meaning almost 30, which is 29.
As far as the extra-Biblical references for Jesus birth is concerned, there are several but they will be related to Herod's reference to an eclipse that occurs shortly before Herod's death and shortly after a Jewish fast. Herod died on Shebat 2 and the earliest fast to that date is the Fast of the 10th of Tebet, and thus about 22 days earlier. Lunar eclipses occur at Full Moon which are from 13-15th of the month, primarily on the 14th. So this fits his description of an eclipse occurring the night he executed two rabbis shortly after the Fast of the 10th. But this is yet another "cryptic" reference by Josephus to actually date the death of Herod to Shebat 2, 1 AD though his text leads to another date, which is his death in 3 BC, 3 years earlier. The clue to this is that he gives two days for the rule of Herod one of 37 years beginning in year 40 and one of 37 years beginning in year 37. He gives two dates for the temple contruction beginning, one in the 15th of Herod and the other in the 18th of Herod. So when you see number games like this, the "error" usually leads to the cover-up date. That is, you would presume with the double-rulership that Herod ruled 37 years from 37 or 34 years from 40, alternatively.
The Bible's dating for Jesus' birth would be, as noted, September 15, 2 BC. Herod tried to kill babies 2 years and younger near the time he was going insane and thus close to the time of his death. If we place that in the fall leading into the winter of 1 BC, then Jesus would have been over a year old, which explains why babies 2 years and younger were killed. However, this scenario only fits the historical alternative for Herod's rule when he rules for 37 years from 37 BC.
Now I bring this up only because it is SPECIFIC. You know? You can use this theory but the result would be specific if applied. That is, Herod would specifically rule for 37 years from 37 and specifically die on Shebat 2, 1 AD with this theory. So you have this specific dating for Herod's death based upon the obvious double-dating reference of Herod's rule. This is the one I like to use as my reference for Herod's death. This would agree with the Bible for Jesus' birth in 2 BC, but is an independent esoteric reference for Herod's death.
In the meantime, from an astronomical point of view in relation to that eclipse, it must occur in Tebet after the Fast Day of the 10th, which would mean Herod dies shortly thereafter just 18 days later. There is no way possible under any circumstances that the currently dated eclipse of March 13/14, 4BCE is this historical eclipse reference for two clear reasons among others:
1. March 13/14 is AFTER Herod's traditional date of death on Shebat 2 (i.e. February 2). Herod certainly can't experience and eclipse in March for an event that happens in December. Sorry. No way. Per Josephus, even if you use the 37-year rule from 40 BCE, his death would have occurred on Shebat 2, 3 BC not 4 BC. The eclipse occurs in 4 BC and some think generally Herod died that year shortly afterwards. But that can't happen if he dies in February.
2. Again, you need a Jewish fast in connection with this eclipse. The only Jewish fasts are 4, one in the 4th, 5th, 7th and 10th months. There is none in month 12! So it doesn't work and never can work.
But if are familiar with Josephus and Jewish cryptic references, usually there is something eccentric connected with these refrerences to tip off the "insiders" that it's a cryptic reference. Clearly the eclipse is used to point to the correct date. But the circumstances of the eclipse event is "suspicious" because of why it is said Herod wanted to oust the high priest. It's because he could not perform the service because he had a "dream about a conversation with his wife." That's a polite way of saying this old man had a "wet dream." When a man spills semen then he becomes unclean for the evening. (Lev 16:15-18). So you weigh the odds of an old man having a wet dream vs Josephus playing historical games and it earmarks this reference as only being included to give the true date for Herod's death, which would be Shebat 2, 1 AD, which is precisely in line with the Bible's reference.
Once you get to this point, you get another semi-confirmation that 3 years were reduced during Herod's reign because Herod Agrippa I per the gospels died 14 years after Paul was converted or something and there's about a 3-year mismatch for that. Paul was converted in 34 and so 14 years later is 48 AD (Gal 2:1). It was at this time that Herod Agrippa I was miraculously killed by God. But history dates his death 4 years earlier in 44! Finally, those trying to link the destruction of Jerusalem to some numerical relationship to Jesus find none when Jerusalem falls in 70 CE versus 40 years after 33 CE in 73. So you're looking at the same 3-4 year discrepancy here, which would be explained if there were a 3-year adjustment in the chronology for this period, perhaps expanding the reign of Flavius with the help of Josephus who was commissioned to write the history of the Jews. In that case his rule would start earlier and so the fall of Jerusalem would be earlier as well. It would make Biblical sense if it were exactly 40 years after the death of Jesus in 33 CE thus falling in 73 CE rather than 70.
That's the speculative or loose references involved here. I understand it might be inconclusive per your standards, but otherwise the current date for Herod's death, based upon that 4 BCE eclipse is completely dismissible. That is, if you come up with some other date for Herod's death than in 4 BCE based upon this eclipse, then we we might have something to discuss. 4 BCE is OUT! It is an "incompetent" reference on every level. The only available eclipse in the context presented occurs on December 29, 1 BC which dates Herod's death 18 days later on Shebat 2, 1 AD (note, there is no Roman "zero" year" so it jumps from 1 BC to 1 AD).
IN CONCLUSION: Absolutely no issues regarding when Jesus began his ministry in 29 CE or his birth on September 15, 2 BC, or Herod's death on Shebat 2, 1 AD. These are "non-issues" for the better informed.
In regard to your stating that the second coming of Christ occured in 1992, I can offer no comment on that. I would not know how to respond to such a claim. Sorry, but such a claim is outside the realm of rational debate. Such a statement is either farcical, or...well, I won't even begin to address the alternative.
Your position is "incompetent." Why? Because the basis for dating the second coming of Christ is purely based on Bible chronology. If you presume that Bible chronology itself is "outside the realm of rational debate" then you develop a non sequitur, and thus self-disqualify yourself on this basis. That's OKAY, generally, but in the context of an XJW or JW setting, you have no valid position for making that claim. Basically, when you say the second coming is "farcical" in a JW setting where chronology determines that event simply would reflect a profound lake of reference on your part, that's all. It's like an atheist who believes there is no god making a statement "Nobody believes in god because there is none." Of course, that's a non sequitur because, obviously there are some people who believe there is a god, whether or not there is one. An atheist's personal beliefs about god does not affect what others believe. Your statement suggests that there is nothing in the Bible that points to 1992 as the date of the second coming, an issue of academic reference, not personal belief. Thus it is not necessary to defend 1992 as the actual date for the second coming, only to give you the exegetical bases in the Bible that would point to that date. It's not an issue of debate, one way or the other. No one would debate that New York was an actual city or not. You're suggesting that there is no chronology in the Bible; which, of course there is. So, it's okay to debate whether or not Christ actually arrived in 1992 or not, not whether or not that's the correct date for the Biblical second coming. I may have misunderstood you. But there are numberous references pointing to 1992, arrived at by others. I won't go into all the prophecies but will just show you one reference that introduces that date, which is the only criteria here.
If 1917 was the termination of 1260 years, then the 1290 years would have been 30 years later -- the year 1947-48! That is the year when the United Nations voted to establish the state of Israel in the Middle East, and Israel fought off Arab invasion and became a nation! This would mean that the 1335 years would be an additional 45 years later -- or 1992-93! That was the year of the beginning of the Oslo Peace Accords, with their signing at the White House by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat! http://www.triumphpro.com/1260,1290,1335.htm
That is, many think 1917 ends the 1260 days, and 30 years later ends the 1290 days in 1947. That means the end of the "1335 days" occurs in 1992. That's just one of other prophecies that would point to 1992. You may personally disagree based on your own references. It like this one because it is based on modern events and not ancient history which is complicated because of presumed or apparent revisionism. So that is where that "apparent" date comes from. It's up for debate if the messiah actually arrived on that date or not, but it is not up for debate that some interpreters of the Bible see 1992 as the fulfillment of the 1335 days. JWs originally linked 1874 to the second coming date but in connection with the "1335 days" prophecy. So it's a big mess, but not really so much on the fringe of what most people looking into chronology would read into this. My personal beliefs regarding this are my own which I don't have to defend past that. Obviously, your skepticism is acknowledged. I feel my 1992 date is fairly well established in the Bible but if you have other arguments for another date perhaps you'd like to share them. But usually 98% of anyone who dates chronology with me will lose if they contradict me. Maybe you'll be that 2% who forces me to revise something. JC