Shalom, shalom; peace, peace in the name of Yeshua. This is Crystal Sharpe and welcome to the Ancient Scrolls program.
Today we are going to use passages in the Gospels to figure out the age of Yeshua when He began His ministry and His possible age at His death. I know years ago if someone asked the age of Yeshua at His crucifixion, the answer was always 33½ years old. No one explained how they arrived at this conclusion, and no one certainly asked. It was information that had continued to be passed down from generation to generation.
Going by what historians like Josephus had written, the death of Yeshua took place about forty years before the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. It is uncertain the length of Yeshua’s ministry, or even His age upon His crucifixion. There are outlandish claims of His living to be a hundred years of age, and the word does not even support such manufactured stories. A year or so ago, someone suggested His ministry had lasted a year; but according to the gospel of John, it was longer than that. My guess is that his ministry lasted anywhere from 2½ to 3½ years.
During the program I will bring out some information concerning Elijah and Passover, there is, I think, some connection to the passages where Yeshua alludes to John the Baptist as the Elijah who is to come. The gospel of John mentions Passover more frequently than any of the other gospels. In fact, he takes note of the other feasts, as well.
As we examine a couple of the gospels, we will attempt to put together a picture of when Yeshua began His ministry and His age. Remember, everything I present is circumstantial.
Shema (hear) O Israel, the Lord God, the Lord is one.
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the earth and those who dwell therein.
Blessed is the Lord Almighty whose name is above every name and every circumstance, we thank You for being God, for being the only King of the Universe. You are just and righteous; and Your mercy and kindness endures forever. Thank You for Your Word, for it brings Your presence into my life and changes me. We bless and praise You.
Okay, as I said we will just look at some passages and see what the Word can speak to us concerning the age of Yeshua when He began His ministry and His age at His death.
For some the information probably does not matter except for trivia moments, and curiosity’s sake. However, it adds dimension to His life, it assists in making a more finished picture of Him.
Just recently a cousin of mine and I have been sharing information with each other on our ancestors, going back as far as 400 years ago. As some know, working on a family tree, each person represents a leaf. The other night I was looking at the tree and I thought: “They are just names. I am not acquainted with them.” I sensed a vast distance, and well, they are strangers to me. They are related to me but they are strangers to me. In my head were questions of what had they done with their lives besides marrying and having babies.
So, my cousin began sending information that I was unable to find. He discovered our earliest relatives were involved in the Revolution with the Roger’s expedition against the English in Indiana and Illinois. Some were farmers, some had gotten married twice. A few settled in the area of Alderson and established a First Baptist Church, and a few eventually migrated to Ansted and founded the Hopewell Baptist Church. They endured loss of children, they all had their own challenges and difficulties, and they continued on. All this information put flesh on the names connected to the leaves on the tree.
It is the same with Yeshua, we are reminded of His humanity, we become acquainted with Him through the gospels. We become familiar, or intimate with Him through His birth, His life, His death, resurrection and ascension. The gospels give us a visual of Him in this life as a person and not as just a historical figure.
So, I am going to use some passages from Luke and John and create a visual that will flesh out Yeshua a little more.
Let’s get started with Luke 1. The chapter begins with Zacharias from the division of Abiyah, and his wife, Elizabeth, who was a descendant of Aaron, the lineage of the High Priest. While performing the incense offering, a spiritual portal opens in the Temple and the angel Gabriel appears and speaks to Zacharias. He gives details to Zacharias on the son that he and Elizabeth will have. He would be called John, he will be great in the sight of the Lord and filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb. Verse 17. John would go before Yeshua in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready people prepared for the Lord.
John became known as the Immerser, or John the Baptist. Before I proceed I will like to focus on John coming in the spirit and power of Elijah. Let’s go to Matthew 11. It opens up with John being imprisoned. This is certainly a great misfortune for him and he is struggling with it. He is experiencing some conflict on many levels, and wondering if he is going to die in prison. He sends his disciples to inquire after Yeshua, if He was the coming One or if they were to expect another. Yeshua reponds: that the blind see and the lame walk; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.
And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me. Here is the innuendo that John is going lose his life. It is as if Yeshua is saying to John to not be offended at Him because of his current situation and his eventual death. Yeshua then continues and quotes Malachi 3:1 in reference to John: “Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.” And then continues: “And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.”
He is Elijah who is to come. I was thinking why Yehsua would say this. Yeshua is not speaking of Elijah being reincarnated. Some of His hearers may have understood His referencing the Lord’s feast of Passover. This feast is called the Seder. Seder means given in order. Passover is done in memory of when the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt. Wine is poured in a cup to honor Elijah, and this cup is called “the cup of Elijah.” After this, a door is opened for Elijah to come. All seated at the Passover rise and quote aloud Malachi 4:5-6: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the YHVH: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to the fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
The realization came, John the Baptist was the messenger being spoken of at the Passover observance. Yeshua specified to His hearers that John the Baptist was the Elijah who is to come. (Matthew 11:14). John was not a reincarnation of Elijah, but he was endowed, he would function, with the same spirit and power of Elijah.
John, the messenger, was to prepare the way of the Lord. John came before Yeshua in birth and the first to preach repentance in the region around the Jordan.
Let’s pick up where we left off in Luke 1
As soon as the days of his service were completed Zacharias returns home and Elizabeth conceives. She hides herself five months. Verse 26. In the sixth month (this is vague, does it mean the 6th Jewish month or Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Then verse 36 confirms it means Elizabeth’s 6th month of pregnancy) the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth. This is north of Jerusalem. After the preliminary introductions and the purposes of God revealed to Mary of her conceiving the Son of God through the Holy Spirit, she is told her relative Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy. Verse 36.
This is why people know John was 6 months older than Yeshua. Mary then goes to Elizabeth’s home in the hill country with haste to the city of Judah. Verse 56. And Mary remained with her about three months. After Mary leaves, Elizabeth delivers her baby son.
The information that Luke (1:5) gives us is that John the Baptist’s father, Zacharias, was of the priestly division of Abiyah, which according to I Chronicles 24:7-18, was the 8th order to serve in the Temple. There were 24 divisions, or rotations of families that served one week, from Sabbath to Sabbath at the Temple. Each family/division served twice a year besides ministering at three of the Lord’s feasts: Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.
We know from Josephus that the first division, the division of Jehoiarib, was on duty when Jerusalem was besieged during the first week of April, AD 70 (Nisan 1-8, AM 3830). This would be their first month of Nisan. So, even then, the courses or rotations were faithful to what King David had prescribed in I Chronicles 24.
Zacharias’s family, Abijah, was the eighth course; the two pilgrimage festivals of Passover and Pentecost throws his rotation off by two weeks, resulting in his family serving in the tenth week. This would be somewhere about the third week of our June. Zacharias serves his week, and returns home at the end of the month of June. Sometime within a month’s period, Elizabeth conceives, and delivers her son at around the time of Passover.
Manuscripts found at Qumran (4Q321) confirm the seasonal order of the families to serve in the Temple.
Yeshua is born 6 months later in the month of Tabernacles. Josephus records that Herod died before Passover and Yeshua was born before Herod died. By this time, John the Baptist was almost a year old, and Yeshua possibly five months old.
We are close to the end of the program, and I am going to just use Luke 3 and the rest of the gospel of John to fix Yeshua’s age when He was killed.
Luke 3, John is the first to begin the ministry of the Lord. The Word tells us he preached repentance and immersion along the Jordan. From the gospels we learn people from Jerusalem, Judea, Galilee, and Bethany came to hear him and be immersed. He begins his ministry, what appears, about 6 months before Yeshua. Luke 3, verse 23. Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age . . . . So, He is close to being 30 years of age.
From the gospels we know John the Baptist began the ministry of the Lord before Yeshua. This would put Yeshua’s immersion in the summer. After His immersion by John, He goes into the wilderness for 40 days to be tempted by the devil. He returns before the rainy season begins in the Jewish month of Tishrei, around our September/October calendar period. He is not yet thirty years old when He returns.
Within a space of time, after His return, Yeshua begins the process of choosing His disciples. This is where the gospel of John picks up the rest of the story. John 2:1 On the third day (this would be a Tuesday) there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited. The wedding runs out of wine. It is likely here, that He has already turned 30 years of age and he performs His first miracle, at a wedding. He turns the water into wine. After this they all travel to Capernaum. We know the wedding took place before the Lord’s feast of Passover; because John 2:13, Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He observes His Father’s feasts and He departs to do mikvah, to perform water purification in order to be ritually clean for Passover.
John 2:23, Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. Sounds strange when as westerners we hear and many believed in His name. His name, Yeshua, means Yah’s Salvation; many believed in His name.
This is the first feast that is mentioned in John. From here we can count Passovers until Yeshua’s death.
A feast of YHVH is mentioned in John 5:1. It looks like it is the feast of Pentecost from Passover. After Pentecost he turns 31 years old.
The second Passover mentioned is John 6:4. Yeshua had gone over the sea and sat with His disciples on the mountain. Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near. It is here He feeds five thousand men, not counting the women and children, with five loaves of barley bread and two small fish.
This is significant. The grain, the barley, is symbolic of Israel. What is the connection with the symbolism of five barley loaves and 2 small kingdoms?
The barley, symbolic of all Israel, receives bread from five loaves; this is the Torah, the first five books, the Torah; Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The two small fish is the northern and southern kingdom of Israel; Ephraim and Judah.
After this second Passover was the feast of Tabernacles John 7:2. At this feast Yeshua turns 32 years of age.
Then came the feast of Chanukkah, or Dedication, which is around our December. John 10:22
John 11:56, is the last feast of Passover: And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves. This is Yeshua’s third and last observance of Passover before His crucifixion.
John 12:1, Then, six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany. Within this 6 day period, He enters Jerusalem in a triumphant procession, He prepares His disciples for His death; there is a last meal to be shared and then there is His arrest and crucifixion. So, from this, we know He began His ministry at about 30 years of age. The passages tell us He attended at least two Passovers and was crucified on the third Passover. So from this information we know His ministry was at least 2½ years in length, and He was 32½ years old when He was crucified.
I am at the end of the program. Remember to walk by faith, not by sight. Ask the Father to cleanse you from all unrighteousness every day. Keep your spiritual garments clean from spot, wrinkle and blemish. Do two things this week: love and forgive. Love God and love your neighbor.
Rico Cortes will sing the Aaronic blessing.