4 Gospels Logo

Jesus' Ministry: 3 ½ Years? One Year?

By starting with the chronology in the Gospel of John, and noting Yahushua’s (Yeshua's, Jesus’) attendance at the Feasts, and correlating this to the other three Gospels, we discover that his public ministry was about one year long.

Further investigation reveals that the entire length, including the 40 days fast in the wilderness and 50 days until Pentecost, is exactly 70 weeks, or 490 days. The chart below shows the events and the Gospel references.

Simple Chart
"The Year of Favor of the LORD" contained exactly two Passovers, In the beginning of his public ministry, he cleansed the Temple, and he did the same at the end.

There was no "3 ½ Year Ministry".

What is a “Harmony of the Gospels”?

A “harmony of the Gospels” is a compilation in which the events of the four gospel accounts are presented as a compete record with all the details. Many people have attempted to do this, but they do not always agree: In the majority of the accounts, there is a critical assumption made which prevents achieving this goal. Once we remove this obstacle, we can create a harmony which will reveal a consistency not seen before.

An Example

The records of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called the “Synoptic Gospels” because they are similar. As an example, let us look at the account of the healing of two blind men on the road near Jericho which is recorded in the three Synoptic Gospels. This story follows after the encounter with the “rich young man”, which is recorded here:

And the healing of the blind follows it here:

In all cases, the incident occurred on the road near Jericho, and the man or men called out “Son of David, have mercy”. By putting all three accounts together, we see that there were two blind men, and the one who did most of the talking was named Bar-Timaeus.

The story of the Rich Young Ruler is similar in the three Gospel accounts.

The same event of healing blind Bar-Timaeus (and another blind man) is reported with slightly different details by three Gospel writers.

Four different viewpoints

Besides writing on different aspects of the life of Yahushua, the Gospel writers wrote in different ways. However, each Gospel writer followed the same pattern in his account. This was generally:

In particular, this is how the Gospels are written:

Each of the writers wrote on a different aspect of the Messiah, to fulfil his prophesied role, as shown in the five references in the Hebrew prophets as “The Branch”. (see Appendix)

The fact that there are four different Gospel accounts has puzzled and fascinated people for centuries. This church stained glass window depicts a traditional understanding.

Son of Man
Son of God

The 4 Gospels depict 4 aspects of the Messiah's ministry, and the Book of Revelation gives the fifth.

A Summary of the Ministry

Chronology Chart
Gospel Event Season Location and travels Feast
All 4 Baptism late Winter AD 27 After baptism in the Jordan river in Judea, goes to  
Mt, Mk, Lk Fast in wilderness the wilderness of Judea for 40 days, then back to
John John says "Behold the Lamb" the Jordan river in Judea to meet John's disciples
John Wedding at Cana early Spring AD 27 and stop off in Cana in Galilee while on the way to
John Ejecting money changers from Temple, meeting with Nicodemus Spring AD 27 Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. Passover 1
John John the Baptist and Yahushua's disciples baptise Then afterwards back to Judea where John is baptising, heading to  
John Meeting woman at the well of Samaria Samaria for 2 days, then to
John Healing nobleman's son Galilee, heading to
Mt, Mk, Lk Imprisonment of John the Baptist
John Healing at Pool of Bethseda early Summer AD 27 Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost. Pentecost
John rejected in Jerusalem Summer AD 27 Since they want to kill him, he escapes to  
Mt, Mk, Lk hears John is in prison; goes to Galilee
Mt, Lk rejected at Nazareth, goes to Capernaum Galilee for the Summer.
Mt, Mk, Lk call by the sea .
Mt, Mk, Lk details of ministry in Galilee, various healings, sermon on the mount and by the sea
Mt, Mk, Lk Herod hears about Yahushua; death of John the Baptist
All 4 Feeding of the 5000 Autumn AD 27 Heading into Autumn, he does not need to leave Galilee for Day of Trumpets Trumpets
Mt, Mk, Lk Transfiguration or Day of Atonement. Atonement
All 4 secret journey to the Feast of Tabernacles but 5 days later has to be in  
John at the Feast of Tabernacles. Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. Tabernacles
John At the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) Winter AD 27 At Jerusalem, they try to seize him so he goes to Hanukkah
Luke mission of the seventy disciples Judea beyond the Jordan.  
Luke various parables and healings  
John rising of Lazarus early Spring AD 28 At Bethany, then goes into  
All 4 Triumphal entry into Jerusalem; various experiences at the Temple (widow's mite, etc) Spring AD 28 Jerusalem. Passover 2
All 4 passion week


One example of the different aspects is seen in how they record the issues of Yahushua’s genealogy.

Note: In the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, the word "givra" is used in verse 1:16; it refers to the head of the clan, that is, the father.

Concerning the fact that Matthew wrote in Hebrew, not Greek, Eusebius quotes Papias of Hierapolis as saying, "Matthew wrote the oracles in the Hebrew language, and every one interpreted them as he was able". Eusebius also quotes Irenaeus of Hierapolis as saying, "Matthew published his Gospel among the Hebrews in their own language ..."

Properly translated, the two different genealogies of Yahushua as reported in the Gospels are in compete harmony.

The Early Years

We will now begin a walk through the life of Yahushua. Feel free to follow along in your Bible. In Luke 1:5 we read of Zechariah and Elizabeth, and that he was a priest in the course or division of Abia. That’s a very specific piece of information. In verses 8-10, we see that he was serving in the temple according to that priestly schedule, and he was chosen to burn incense in the temple at the time when a “whole multitude” was praying outside.

There is only one time when a priest of Abia would burn incense while a multitude of people waited outside, and that is during the High Feast day of Shavuot. (Because this occurs seven weeks after First fruits, it is called the “Feast of Weeks” in English or “Pentecost” in Greek; “Pente” means fifty since 7x7 is 49 and the next day is 50.)

By the way, the “whole multitude” present in Jerusalem during this pilgrimage feast of Pentecost would have easily been in the range of many hundreds of thousands. This did not happen in secret.

But the conception of John did not occur then, only the announcement did. Verses 23-24 show when he was conceived, and that six months later (verse 26) Mary conceived. We can then place the birth of John the Baptist at Passover (when it is customary to watch for the coming of Elijah), and was circumcised eight days later (verse 59) during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Obviously, Yahushua’s birth would have been six months later.

The sign (Matthew 2:2) announcing the coming (preceding the actual birth) of Yahushua occurred at the Feast of Trumpets, and his birth at the Feast of Tabernacles. When the angels announced the birth to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-14) they used language - “great joy to all people”, “goodwill toward men” - associated with Tabernacles, when the Word became flesh and “Tabernacled” among us (John 1:14)

He was circumcised (Luke 2:21) eight days later on the “Last Great Day” of Tabernacles. As with Pentecost, this was a pilgrimage feast, when multitudes would have been present in Jerusalem to hear the prophecies of Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25-39)

We next see Yahushua attending the Passover when he was twelve years old. (Luke 2:40-49)

Yahushua's birth, and the visit of the Shepherds, occcured at the Feast of Tabernacles.

Yahushua attended the Passover when he was a boy; did he neglect to as an adult?

“The Year of Favor of the LORD”

The Beginning of Yahushua’s Public Ministry

Luke continues with the beginning of the ministry of John the Baptist. He is very specific in giving the time: the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar (Luke 3:1-3) and he cross references this with listing the reigns of five other governing officials, including Pilate, two Herods, etc. He wants people to know the exact time. We read that “multitudes” (Luke 3:7) came to be baptized.

How was it that all these people had time to go out to see John? Because it was AD 27, and that year was a seventh-year Land Sabbath! (This can be referenced with the records of Josephus.)

Luke records the baptism of Yahushua by John in Luke 3:21-23, and Matthew 3:13-17 gives additional information. We know from Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-13 that immediately after the baptism, Yahushua went into the wilderness to fast for forty days, and that the biggest temptations occurred right before the end of the fast.

Since John the Gospel writer was a disciple of John the Baptist, we now will move to John’s gospel. After his introduction from John 1:1-14, the gospel begins with the testimony of John the Baptist to the priests and Levites from Jerusalem (John 1:19) who were Pharisees (verse 24).

John is giving his testimony at the same time that Yahushua is being tempted in the wilderness. We know this because we read that “the next day”, after speaking with the Pharisees, he saw Yahushua coming towards him and called out “Behold the Lamb!”. (John 1:29) Yahushua was returning from the wilderness. As John the Baptist is speaking to the crowd in verse 31-34, he speaks of the baptism in the past tense. But this day in verse 29 is the first day of the Jewish year, and begins “The Year of Favor of the LORD”.

John repeats his “Behold the Lamb!” proclamation “the next day” (verse 35), being now two days after John’s testimony to the priests in verse 19. Andrew and John then follow Yahushua; Andrew gets his brother Simon (Peter), and then on the “day following” (verse 43), Yahushua finds Philip, who gets Nathaniel. They all leave Bethsaida, travel a day, and then on the “third day”, they all go to the wedding at Cana - (John 2:1).

(The Greek shows that the words translated “third day” (KJV) or “two days later” (TEV) are referenced to the day in which Philip and Nathaniel join, not the day John announced the “Lamb”. This would then be four days after the announcement.)

Here is a timeline. (The first month of the Hebrew year is named "Aviv").

At the wedding, Yahushua arrives with John, Andrew, Simon, Philip, Nathaniel, and possibly others. This begins his confrontation with the Jewish leaders, since John says that there were six (not a friendly number) stone water pots used by “the Jews” for purification. John defines the term “the Jews” as the priests, Levites, and Pharisees in John 1:19,24. The use of stone water pots is a rabbinic (not Biblical) tradition documented in the Talmud, and they say that the water would be defiled if there was any wine mixed in with it. Incidentally, the themes of water pots and ceremonial washings runs throughout the Gospel of John, for example, in:

This is the first miracle Yahushua performs, and after the wedding, he goes with the disciples and his family to Capernaum for a few days. (John 2:12)

John 2:12 After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days. 13 And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, 14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money

It is now time for the Passover, which is 14 days after the beginning of the year; it is two weeks after John announced “The Lamb”. Arriving in Jerusalem, he prepares for the Passover by expelling the money changers from the Temple (verse 14), and when the priests ask for a sign, he introduces the prophetic statement “destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up” (verse 19).

Nicodemus, a Pharisee, witnesses this event, and comes to Yahushua at night during the Feast of First fruits, part of the week of unleavened bread connected with the Passover. We know that Nicodemus came during that week, since John 2:23 says that Yahushua was in Jerusalem during the Feast, and that after that, Yahushua and the disciples went into Judea where John was baptizing, John 3:22. So Yahushua had to still be in Jerusalem for Nicodemus to meet him.

As Yahushua and the disciples get to Judea, John continues baptizing; it has only been a few weeks since he said “Behold the Lamb”. In verse John 3:25, an argument develops between John’s disciples and Yahushua’s disciples about ceremonial washing. Why? Because of the recent miracle of turning the water to wine, which had defiled the Pharisees’ ceremonial washing vessels.

As Yahushua becomes more popular, John says “He must increase, but I must decrease” (verse 30). Yahushua’s disciples, and also John, continue to baptize, but when Yahushua finds out that the Pharisees are on his case (John 4:1-3), he heads towards Galilee, passing first through Samaria (John 4:3-4).

At Samaria, he meets the woman at the well, and then with the entire town (John 4:5-42), and stays there for two days (verse 40). He even tells them that he is the Messiah (verses 26, 42).

Finally, in verse 43, he continues his journey to Galilee. This could be the time of his rejection at Nazareth (verse 44). The Galileans received him since they had seen the things he had done in Jerusalem at the Feast of Passover (verse 45), which was just a few weeks before. In verse 46, he comes again to Galilee “where he had made the water wine” and heals the nobleman’s son (John 4:46-53). It’s been less than two months since John announced "The Lamb".

The next thing we see is “a feast of the Jews”, and Yahushua goes to Jerusalem (John 5:1). What feast is this? Many people believe this to be the next Passover. But we see that it’s only been less than two months since the last Passover.

This is Shavuot, also called Pentecost, 50 days after the Passover/Unleavened Bread Feast of First fruits. Pentecost is a pilgrimage feast, and Yahushua is required to attend it, which he does. Note that when there is a “multitude” (verse 13) present at a pilgrimage feast, this means hundreds of thousands of people. He heals the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethseda (John 5:2-9), and the rest of the chapter documents his encounter with the Pharisees. (John 5:9-47)

Nicodemus, a Pharisee, had come to Yahushua at night on the Feast of First fruits, and now, on Pentecost, 50 days later, one might expect that there would be a spiritual harvest among the Pharisees. But instead, they want to kill Yahushua (John 5:16)

Now it is fishing season, and John does not narrate his Gospel account. Simon Peter has been away fishing since the wedding at Cana, so Mark, who got the information from him, does not begin a detailed narration until Peter joins full time. This is at the event known as the “Call by the Sea” where those disciples make a commitment to become “fishers of men”. (see Matthew 4:18-22, Mark 1:16-20, and Luke 5:1-11.) John 6:1 shows that Yahushua left Jerusalem to go to the Sea of Galilee. It is here that the “Call by the Sea” occurs, although John does not detail it.

While Yahushua was being tempted in the desert, John was testifying about him.

Yahushua's public ministry, and "The Year of favour of the Lord" began with his baptism.

He immediately "went to work": His first miracle was at a wedding.

The Messiah revealed his mission to the Samaritans early on in his ministry.

Did the "Healing at the Pool" really occur at the next Passover almost a year later? No, the next feast in Jerusalem was Pentecost.

At the "Call by the Sea", James and John made a commitment to follow Yahushua full time.
They had witnessed his baptism and miracles just a few months before this call.

The First Event in all Four Gospels

In order to correlate the three Synoptic Gospels with that of John, we need to find the first event which they all mention. This event is "The Feeding of the Five Thousand", and is presented in John 6:1-14. (Remember that chapter 5 only documents the healing at the pool and his rejection by the Sanhedrin.) According to the Synoptic Gospels, there are many events which occur between the end of John 5 and the beginning of John 6.

Unfortunately, there is a gap in John’s record. But how big is that gap? The only way to get a definite time frame is to identify the feasts which Yahushua attends, especially the pilgrimage feasts which require his attendance at Jerusalem. The next feasts in order of occurrence are:

The first event mentioned in all four Gospels is the Feeding of the Five Thousand. This will help us to synchronize them.

Trumpets / Atonement / Tabernacles

Of these, only Tabernacles is a pilgrimage feast. This feast is also mentioned by name with Yahushua’s attendance in Jerusalem in John 7:2-14. There is also information on a secret journey to the feast (verse 10), which helps us when we see that there is also a mention of a secret journey in the Synoptic gospels, although they do not mention the feast by name.

There is also a discussion between the disciples at this time about who is the greatest, and this is mentioned in the gospels during this time. So we will assume that all these references are to the same event, and see if it fits in. As for the preceding two feasts, the strategy is to start at Tabernacles and work backwards.

By doing this, we find that the themes of a secret journey and Yahushua predicting his death which are in John 7:2-14 also occur in the Synoptic Gospels here:

And the discussion of who is the greatest appears immediately follows the secret journey to the Feast of Tabernacles:

So let’s say that those three refer to the Feast of Tabernacles, and back up some more. This is an event known as the “Transfiguration”.

During the Transfiguration, Peter makes a remark about building three tabernacles in Matthew 17:4, Mark 9:5, and Luke 9:33. Why would he talk about making “tabernacles”, unless the Feast of Tabernacles was coming soon? So this gives evidence that our previous assumption is correct, and we can now synchronize the Synoptic Gospels with John concerning the Feast of Tabernacles.

When did the Transfiguration occur? A reasonable assumption would be the Day of Atonement, which occurs five days before Tabernacles.

When Yahushua and the three disciples come down from the Mount of Transfiguration, they encounter a demon-possessed boy. The other disciples could not cast it out. After Yahushua himself does so, he explains:

Note that prayer and fasting are the themes of the Day of Atonement.

But ten days before the Day of Atonement is the Feast of Trumpets – can we identify that in the Gospel account? Remembering that John 7:2-13 refers to Tabernacles, we see that the preceding event in John 6:25-7:1 is the “Bread of Life Discourse” which occurs in the synagogue of Capernaum (John 6:59), in which he speaks of the resurrection and the last days (John 6:39-44).

But isn’t the resurrection and last days the themes of the Feast of Trumpets? So there you have it – we have shown that John 6:25-7:14 is the Trumpets / Atonement / Tabernacles sequence, and we have cross referenced it to the Transfiguration in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. This shows that the gap between John 5 and 6 is only about three months.

During the three months between John 5 and 6:1, the following events (among others) occur, as reported in the Synoptic Gospels. (Remember, we have worked backwards from the Feeding of the Five Thousand, and are now going forwards again to use the three Synoptic Gospels to identify what happened in the gap between John 5 and 6.) John does not narrate his account while he is fishing or sent out as an apostle.

The events which occurred between John 5 and 6:1 are:

The call by the sea

The healing of Peter’s mother in law and others

The paralytic lowered through the roof

The call of Matthew and his feast

The appointment of the 12 apostles and their being sent to the “lost sheep of Israel”

The sermon by the sea

The storm on the lake, and the demoniac on the other shore (did those demons cause that storm? Things aren't random.)

The martyrdom of John the Baptist

And finally, we are back at the feeding of the five thousand which puts us back in sync with John. The Gospels first line up here:

At the "Transfiguration", Peter makes a remark related to the Feast of Tabernacles. This helps us match up with John chapter 7, which mentions that feast by name.

During the three months between John 5 and 6:1, the following events (and others) occur:

Healing Peter's mother in law.

Healing the paralytic.

The appointment of the 12 apostles.

The storm on the lake.

This sequence ends with the "Feeding of the Five Thousand", which lines up again with the Gospel of John, which will continue with the Feast of Tabernacles.

A problem: Passover or Feast of Trumpets?

There is one issue which we need to address, and concerns the timing of the Feeding of the Five Thousand as recorded in John’s Gospel. Here’s the problem: John 6:4 says “And the passover [lower case sic], a feast of the Jews, was nigh (KJV).” But we said that John 5, the healing at the pool, was Pentecost. The next feast after Pentecost is Trumpets, and this agrees with our “working backwards from Tabernacles in John 7” exercise. There are multiple problems with Passover being in John 4. Briefly, from John’s account, they are:

By reading the Synoptic Gospels, we find even more reasons to question John 6:4. In Matthew 15:1-20, and Mark 7:1-23, the Pharisees accuse their tradition) hands, but say nothing about the more serious offenses: Yahushua of him and his disciples (that is, the entire multitude who ate the loaves and fishes) of eating with “unwashed” (according to

The way to understand this is to realize that it is a manuscript issue. The text for John 6:4 concerning the Passover does not exist in some manuscripts, and is not part of the original. (See, for example, the codex Miniscule 472 at the Lambeth Palace Library in England. See also the Appendix on Lant Carpenter.)

Having resolved that issue, we are at the Feast of Tabernacles, in John 7, and the time frame is seven months into the year, which is seven months after John announced “The Lamb”.

Did Yahushua really feed the Five Thousand with leavened bread right before Passover, and then stay in Capernaum instead of going to Jerusalem?

The miracle of "Walking on the Water" occurred after the Feeding, while still in Galilee.

The Feast of Tabernacles

There are two interesting occurrences at the Feast – the story of the woman caught in adultery, John 8:1-11, and the healing of the man born blind, John 9:1-41. Both of these events occurred during the Feast, giving maximum visibility. In the case of the blind man, Yahushua to him to wash in the pool of Siloam, John 9:7. As water was a major theme of the Feast of Tabernacles (see John 7:37-38), the pool, and ceremonies connected to it, were a point of attention. So when the blind man gropes his way to the crowd surrounding the pool, and regains his sight, everybody (remember: pilgrimage feast = hundreds of thousands) knows what happened, and all see the response of the religious leaders also. The events connected with Tabernacles continue to John 10:39.

Two more months of ministry occur before the next feast in Jerusalem – the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah) mentioned by name in John 10:22-42. This feast is not one of the feast days of Leviticus 23, and is not required attendance, but Yahushua attends it anyway; the Pharisees try to stone him. It is winter and about ¾ of a year has passed since John announced “The Lamb”.

Several events follow, and are mentioned by all the Synoptic Gospels:

Blessing the Children

The Rich Young Man

Blind Bartimaeus

It’s now approaching Passover, and Yahushua is anointed by Mary Magdalene (sister of Martha and Lazarus).

Yahushua healed the blind man by putting clay on his eyes, and having him wash in the pool, during the water cermony of the Feast of Tabernacles.

The event of "Blessing the Children" was witnessed by the "Rich Young Man", whose story follows it.

The Anointing and Triumphal Entry

The Passion Week begins with the anointing of Yahushua by Mary Magdalene, an appropriate place to start since Mary will be our star witness in documenting the details of the burial and resurrection.

All four gospels contain a story of a woman anointing Yahushua:

Are these two different events?

The confusion occurs in Luke’s account, where it appears way back in chapter 7, giving the impression that it happened earlier in his ministry, and was not connected with the other stories. Since Luke’s account is intended to be chronological (“in order”), Luke 1:3, how should we understand this?

It must be the same event, because Yahushua said “wherever this gospel is preached … what she has done will also be told in memory of her” (Matthew 26:13, Mark 14:9). So there are four gospels, and each must fulfil the words of Yahushua and tell that story. Luke apparently places the story in chapter 7 because his theme in Luke 7:33-35 was that the Pharisees accused Yahushua of associating with “sinners”, and so he then amplifies the theme with a illustration of this “sinful woman” (Luke 7:39), which, although happening months later, fits his point.

We’ve already looked at the evidence showing that this is the same event recorded by all the gospels.

Now John tells us in John 12:1 that this was “Six days before the Passover”.

John 12:12 tells us that Yahushua rode into Jerusalem on a donkey on the “next day”. This is the Triumphal Entry, and is recorded by all four gospel writers:

The multitudes are in Jerusalem for the Passover which will be in five days. Normally, the high priest would lead a lamb from Bethlehem into the city, and the lamb would be publicly inspected for four days. But this day, the true Lamb enters the city. The crowds wave palm branches and welcome Yahushua as he rides in. It is the end of the 62nd week since his baptism.

illustration Was Yahushua anointed by a woman twice?

No, he said “wherever this gospel is preached … what she has done will also be told … ”, so each account must contain the story of this one event.

Yahushua entered Jerusalem in the "Triumphal Entry" at end of the 62nd week since his baptism.

The Inspection of the Lamb

During the days immediately preceding the Passover, it is the time for the removal of leaven, a symbol of sin. During this time, all the extra leaven (except that which will be immediately consumed) is removed from the houses. Yahushua begins the work of removing leaven by once more cleansing the temple of the moneychangers.

It is also during these days that the disciples rent out the “Upper Room”, Matthew 26:17, Mark 14:12, and Luke 22:7.

The Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians, etc., lose no time in their inspection of “The Lamb”. He’s in the Temple area in Jerusalem at the beginning of a pilgrimage feast, and he has recently entered the city as the prophesied King. He is the center of attention. Many of the well-known stories or sayings of Yahushua take place during these four days. Some of these are show in order below:

Paying tribute to Caesar

The lawyer and the greatest commandment

Whose son is the “Son of David”?

The widow’s mite

Some Greeks come up to Jerusalem for the Passover, and after talking with Philip, arrange an interview with Yahushua, John 12:20-22. At his birth, wise men from the East had come while the Jewish leadership rejected him; now, right before his death, wise men from the West come.

The 70 weeks had begun with the announcement from heaven, “This is my Beloved Son”, at the beginning of the Gospels:

Now, as he speaks with the Greeks (Gentiles) in the presence of the Jewish leaders, a voice from heaven once again speaks, John 12:28-30. The Jewish leaders confirm their rejection on the Messiah, John 12:37-50. It is now “after 62 weeks.”

When he had ejected the moneychangers (the second time) at the beginning of the week, he had called the Temple “my house”.

But now, right before the midst of the week, Yahushua proclaims “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate”, Matthew 23:38. “You will not see me again, until you say”, he declares, quoting Psalm 118:26, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of YHWH”, Matthew 23:39. (Note: Matthew 23:37-24:1 is parallel to Luke 13:34-35.) He has recently quoted that psalm before, specifically verse 22, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone”, in:

He has nothing more to say to them, and walks out of the Temple, never to return. The “Year of Favor of YHWH” has ended. His disciples, remembering his statement of the previous year, “destroy this Temple and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19), assume it refers to Herod’s Temple, and call his attention to the massive stonework and impressive architecture:

This begins Yahushua’s discourse on the destruction of the Temple, and the signs of his return.

Now it’s Aviv 13, AD 28, one day before the Passover. The Passover will be in the midst of the 63rdweek, when “Messiah will be cut off, but not for himself”. (The Hebrew word used for "week" in the prophecy of Daniel 9 simply indicates a continuous count of a group of seven – it does not necessarily have to start at the first day of the week.)

Yahushua "removed the leaven" by cleansing the Temple once again at the second Passover.

The events of the "widow's mite", the dispute over paying Caesar, and the question of the greates commandment all occurs during this short time.

Conclusion and Summary

So that’s it. Four gospel accounts. Two Passovers. A one year ministry - “The Year of Favor of the LORD”. One year, as documented by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Not 3 ½ years with huge gaps in time where not one of the four writers saw anything worth recording. No ignored pilgrimage feasts that Yahushua refuses to attend.

Now that we see a ministry of about one year, we can now go about filling in the details. Up to this point, we have not referenced any of the Old Testament prophecies. We have only read the Gospels as four historical accounts, and attempted to synchronize them together. But now we will investigate the question "Is Yahushua the Messiah", in other words, "Does the ministry of Yahushua fit the prophecies which the Messiah must fulfill?".


The Seventy Week Prophecy


We will now examine the "Seventy Week Prophecy" of Daniel 9. (We assume that the reader is familiar with the prophecy; see Appendix for the full text.) When researching, the student will discover that there are many different interpretations given for this prophecy. The start and end dates are disputed, and the length of time is also questioned. These variations are beyond the scope of this study. This study is based upon the traditional start date of 457 BC with the 69 weeks ending in AD 27.

So we see that the Messiah would begin his ministry in AD 27. But what part of the year? Again, the researcher will find differences of interpretation among scholars in regards to this. However, we will take a simple approach, and look at the obvious points, and see if they fit.

Ezra 7:6-7:9
7:6 This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready scribe in the law of Moses, which the LORD God of Israel had given: and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the LORD his God upon him. 7:7 And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king. 7:8 And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king. 7:9 For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.

In fulfillment of the command to rebuild Jerusalem, Ezra and his crew left Babylon on the first day of the first month, that is, the first day of the year. So let’s assume Yahushua began his public ministry exactly 63x7 years later at the same time – the first day of the year. Does this make sense? Wouldn’t the “Year of Favor of the LORD” begin on the first day of the year? If John the Baptist made the public announcement "Behold the Lamb" on the first day of the year, this will fit the chronology of John’s Gospel perfectly: The first disciples, the wedding at Cana, and the expelling of the moneychangers at Passover shortly later. The Biblical New Year begins on the first new moon of the Spring, and two weeks later is the Passover.

One year – from the Baptism, exactly 70 weeks, with the Passover of his death occurring in the midst of the 62ndweek, as prophesied by Daniel. Seventy weeks between his baptism with water in AD 27 to the baptism by fire at Pentecost. One year – the Year of Jubilee, in which the people had a year free from their usual work in order to follow Yahushua. (Yes, AD 28 was a Jubilee year, and the preceding year, in which John preached, was a seven year Land Sabbath.)

Daniel’s prophecy of “Seventy Sevens”, Daniel 9:20-27, presents two fulfillments:

During this time of 70 x 7, Yahushua was to minister especially to the Jews. This is referenced in his response to Peter in Matthew 18:21-22.

Next we will look at the two views in diagram form.

Daniel is best known for the lion's den, but he recorded the '70 Week Prophecy' which predicts the length of the Messiah's ministry, as well as the date.

The Traditional View

Here’s the familiar view, showing one period of 70 x 7 years. Note that the crucifixion occurs 3½ years after the beginning of Yahushua’s ministry, and then 3 ½ years later, the gospel goes to the Gentiles with the stoning of Stephen or conversion of Cornelius.

traditional chart

Consider the following:

If any of these can be proven, then how convoluted are the proofs? For example, what reason is given to explain Yahushua’s supposed absence from the pilgrimage feasts? Does that explanation agree with the fact that he attended Hanukkah, a non-required holiday, in Jerusalem, and easily escaped an attempt to stone him (John 10:22-39)?

3 ½ years

The Revised View

Compare the traditional view to this revised view, which uses two 70 x 7 periods. You will note that the start and end dates are the same, but the crucifixion occurs closer to Yahushua’s baptism. In the chart under the large green arrow, the complete ministry is "zoomed in" and expanded to show 70 actual weeks, or 490 days, in which all of the feast days are documented with their corresponding gospel reference.

In this revised view:

Download this page, which is Part 1: Harmony Of Gospels 70 Weeks (300 KBytes)
Read Part 2: The Chronology of the Crucifixion and Resurrection

1 year


Appendix : The 5 Prophecies of the Branch

Jeremiah 33:15 – The Judge In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.

Jeremiah 23:5 – The King Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

Zechariah 3:8 – The Servant Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.

Zechariah 6:12 – The Son of God And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:

Isaiah 11:1 – The Son of Man And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

Son of Man
Son of God

Appendix : The Seventy Week Prophecy

Daniel 9:24-27 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.

26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Daniel is best known for the lion's den, but he recorded the "70 Week Prophecy".

Appendix : The Biblical Calendar

This is a brief discussion of the calendar as needed to understand the Chronology of the Gospels. The main reference is the entire chapter of Leviticus 23.

New Year: The new year begins with the first new moon in Spring.

Spring Feasts: Two weeks after the New Year is "Passover" (Hebrew: Pesach) and the week long "Feast of Unleavened Bread". During that week, there is a "Feast of First fruits" and then seven weeks after that is “Feast of Weeks” (Hebrew: Shavuot, Greek: Pentecost).

Fall Feasts: On the first day of the seventh month is the "Feast of Trumpets" (Hebrew: Yom Teruah), then on the tenth day is the "Day of Atonement" (Hebrew: Yom Kippur) and then the fifteenth day starts the week long"Feast of Booths/Tabernacles" (Hebrew: Sukkot).

(Extra) Winter and Summer Feasts: There are none in the Torah. However, by the time of Yahushua, the Rabbis had added some. The most well known is "Hanukkah", which is spelled various ways when written in English, and is translated as "Feast of Dedication". It is mentioned in the John 10:22. It begins on the 25th day of the ninth month and lasts for 8 days.

Of these, there are three - Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles – in which all men are required to attend in Jerusalem, as specified in Exodus 23:14-18 and 34:18-23. Also, Deuteronomy 18:18 says:

I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.

Did Yahushua, the Prophet of whom Moses spoke, attend these three feasts in Jerusalem? "Yes", according to the one year ministry, but "No" according to the 3 ½ year chronology. Note that if he missed just one of these he would have disobeyed the Torah; if he made a habit of missing them, it would have been worse.

In the days of the young King Josiah, the "Book of the Law" was rediscovered. People were surprised to learn that they were not following it!
Are we sure that we are following the Scriptures today?

Appendix : Two Different Approaches

There are not only two different lengths of time given for Yahushua’s ministry, but there are two completely different approaches used.

Method of Determining "Three and One Half Years"

With the "Three and One Half Year" chronology, the method is:

In other words, those advocating the "Three and One Half Years" ministry make the Gospels fit their interpretation of the prophecy. There is a big problem of circular reasoning here. They use the prophecy to determine the length of Yahushua’s ministry, and use the same prophecy to prove he is the Messiah – but one of the proofs of his Messiahship is the timing of his ministry!

Method of Determining "One Year"

With the "One Year chronology", the method is:

Now that we see that the Gospels tell the story of someone named Yahushua who ministered for a bit more than a year, we will ask the question, "Was he the Messiah?". At this point, we look at detail at his ministry, which we know was a bit more than a year. Does it fit the prophecy of Daniel 9? Since we are 2000 years away from the event, we must be very resourceful in determining the dates. We use a combination of the following:

We then determine the dates, and discover that the ministry was not just "a bit more than a year" but exactly 490 days, and that he was crucified (which we know was at Passover) in the midst of the week, after 62 weeks. We see that the start of his ministry was 69 x 7 years after the decree to build Jerusalem, etc. We then can see that he fulfilled the requirements of the Messiah.

In other words, those advocating the "One Year" ministry go first to the historical record - the Gospels. We don’t need the prophecy to show the one-year ministry of Yahushua.We just compare the Gospels to the Biblical Calendar. We only need the prophecy to show that he is the Messiah.

3 ½ years
What assumptions must be made to make this fit?

70 weeks
Is this more straightforward?

Appendix : Not Enough Time?

This exercise will assess the time frame for the Gospels - to see if one year is too short, as some critics claim. This does not use any calendar, just a simple average, and is another way of looking at the subject we have been investigating. In the illustration below, for convenience, we will use a standard solar year of 365 days, not a Jewish lunar year, which may have 13 months.

Pages 210-213 of the SDA Bible Commentary, Vol 5, 1980 edition has a chart showing the miracles of Yahushua. For example, the first 2 are "water to wine" and "healing of the nobleman’s son" and the last two are "healing of Malchus’ ear" and "second great catch of fish". There are 35 total - all that the four Gospel records show. Obviously, the feeding of the Five Thousand is counted as one miracle (not 5000 individual ones), and the healing of the Ten Lepers is also one miracle. Why? Because they were all healed/fed at the same time/event.

Assuming a ministry of exactly one year, this is 365 / 35 = 10 days between miracles. In other words, one miracle every 10 days. If the ministry was 3½ years, then that would be one miracle every 36 days.

There is a similar chart on pages 205-207 listing all the parables recorded in the 4 Gospels. There are 40. Assuming a ministry of exactly one year, this is 365 / 40 = 9 or one parable every 9 days. If the ministry was 3½ years, then that would be one parable every 32 days.

Critics of the one-year ministry say that a year is too short to do all the things in the Gospels.

Let us compare:

illustration The Gospels report only 35 miracles. Did these require 3½ years?

Appendix : Lant Carpenter

The idea of a one-year ministry is not new. Some of the early church fathers spoke of it, as did some scholars in the 1800's. You might be interested in downloading this old book Harmony of the Gospels (1831) by Lant Carpenter and John Gorham Palfrey. Go to this site:


Select the "PDF" file (14 Mytes) on the left side menu. It is a complete photograph of every single page in the book.

Here are some quotes from the Preface:

As for the verse in John 6:4, we read:

To reconcile John vi. 4, with that opinion of Christian antiquity, which included but two Passovers in the ministry, different methods have been proposed. Dr. Priestley thought the words, "to pascha", the Passover, to be an interpolation, and this not only on conjecture, but on the ground, that ancient writers, who were in search of such texts, do not appear to have found the words in their copies. Bishop Pearce conceived the whole verse to be spurious, arguing that it breaks the continuity of the narrative, that nothing in the chapter has relation to any feast, and that John would hardly have repeated an explanation which he had already given, (ii. 13.)

It goes on to show that Lant Carpenter preferred to handle John 6:4 by re-ordering the placement of the verse based on similar descriptions in the other Gospels. The point is, the John 6:4 discrepancy is not new.

If you don't want to download the pdf file, but want to read the first few pages of the preface, it is here.

illustrationLant Carpenter proposed a one-year ministry in his harmony in 1831.

Appendix : Questions Answered

Q.Why is the length of Yahushua's ministry important?

A.It's the "Fourth Angel's Message" of Rev 18:1,2 which is to come completely out of Babylon, and to reject any of her teachings and traditions which are not in the Scriptures. Is your "Bible Study" based on the Bible, or on the teachings of your church and other writings?

Q.Isn’t the "time switch" between "day for a year timing" and "actual timing" for the same prophecy just confusion from Babylon?

A.I agree that it is an unexpected switch but prophecy is meant to be understood in detail after it is fulfilled. If the priests and even the devil had understood that they were fulfilling prophecy in crucifying the Messiah at the exact time as predicted, they would never had done it. The prophecy was cryptic enough to not be detected beforehand, but obvious enough to be recognized after the fact.(It may not be obvious today because the Roman Church has obfuscated the issue, but it was obvious 2000 years ago. Now that’s Babylon’s confusion.)

Would the priests and Pharisees, who were well read in the Messianic prophecies, and who knew (because of their spying) how long Yahushua’s ministry was up to that point be dumb enough to kill Yahushua at exactly 3½ years into his ministry (assuming that was the case)? No, they wouldn’t do that - they wanted to prove him an imposter, not prove him the Messiah. The "timing" switch threw them off. After they did it, however, they realized what happened, and actually worked to alter the historical records.

Q.Doesn’t John say that the Gospels are incomplete, and therefore we cannot use the Gospels to show the length of Yahushua’s ministry? John 21:25 And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.

A.To use this statement to suggest that even with the additional testimonies of Matthew, Mark, and Luke we cannot know the length of Yahushua’s public ministry is unwarranted. The truth is that when the four Gospel records are examined together, they contain all the important details of Yahushua’s ministry, and cover it from before his birth to after his resurrection.


Appendix : Comparison to SDA Bible Commentary

The time line "The Ministry of Our Lord" on pages 232-232 of the Bible Commentary Vol 5, 1980 edition shows the supposed 3 ½ year ministry. The time line also shows the relative position of the seasons and some of the Feast days. There is a chart "A Harmony of the Gospels" on pages 196-201. The chart has 197 rows; each row is a certain event or parable, etc, arranged in their assumed order and referenced to a particular Gospel. The time line references the chart (by showing the number of the event), but shows a scaled placement in time. The excerpts show event numbers 19 to 30 in chart and time line form.

Excerpt from chart "A Harmony of the Gospels", SDA Bible Commentary, Vol 5 (reformatted):

Num. Incident Matthew Mark Luke John
19 The Baptism 3:13-17 1:9-11 3:21-23
20 The Temptation 4:1-11 1:12-13 4:1-13
21 “Behold the Lamb”

22 The First Disciples

23 Wedding at Cana / Visit to Capernaum

24 Passover / Cleansing of Temple

25 Discussion with Nicodemus

26 Ministry in Judea

27 The Samaritan Woman

28 The Nobleman's Son

29 John Imprisoned 14:3-5
30 The Invalid at Bethseda


Excerpt from time line "The Ministry of Our Lord" from "SDA Bible Commentary, Vol 5" (reformatted):


The time line also shows the relative position of the seasons and some of the Feast days, in particular the three “Pilgrimage Feasts” in which all Jewish men are required to attend in Jerusalem. Looking at the time line, we see that Event #19, “The Baptism” is correlated with “Feast of Tabernacles”, #24, “Passover / Cleansing of the Temple”, is correlated to “Passover”, and #30, “The Invalid at Bethesda” is correlated to the next year’s “Passover”. This is how to read the chart and time line.

We immediately notice that according to the time line, “The Baptism” at the Jordan near the wilderness occurred at Tabernacles. This means that neither John the Baptist, Yahushua, or John’s disciples were attending it in Jerusalem. In other words, they were all disobeying the Torah. Is there a problem here?

Now let us look at the Gospel of John. The background is found in the Synoptic Gospels and shows that, following the Baptism, Yahushua spent 40 days in the wilderness, and was tempted by the devil. Then he came out of the wilderness:

This is an almost day-by-day account, and it takes us to Event #23, “The Wedding at Cana / Visit to Capernaum”. The time line shows them closely spaced, as we expect. Now pay close attention to the rest of verse 12 and the following verse:

What do the chart and time line show? It shows the "Passover/Cleansing of the Temple" as the next event, #24. But what is the time frame? The time line shows the visit to Capernaum, #23, in the beginning of Winter, and the Passover, #24, in Spring. There are a few months between those seasons! But what does the Bible say about those two? According to John, Yahushua spent "not many days" in Capernaum and the "passover was at hand", and then went to Jerusalem for the Passover. Notice, it was a matter of "days" not "months". Is this an error in the time line?

Note the rapid sequence of events: Yahushua comes out of the wilderness, John the Baptist announces him, and a few days later Yahushua has at least 5 disciples, and they go to the wedding at Cana. Shortly thereafter, he goes to Jerusalem for the Passover, and throws out the moneychangers. This prompts the Pharisees to demand a sign of his authority.

2:18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

He then talks with Nicodemus in Jerusalem during Passover week. The chart shows this as #25, and the time line shows it next to #24 at the first Passover. This is correct.

So far, he has acquired disciples, given the prophecy of "destroy this temple", and predicted the manner of his death "lifting up" to Nicodemus.

The next thing on the time line is an marker with the word "Pentecost". There is no event here - it is just marking the time. But Pentecost is a feast which requires attendance in Jerusalem by all Jewish men. Why isn’t Yahushua there? Or is the time line wrong?

Anyway, we continue with the time line Event #26 is “Ministry in Judea”, #27 is “The Samaritan Woman” and #28 is “The Nobleman’s Son”. We see that the time line shows those spread through the Summer, Autumn, and Winter. We notice that there is no mention whatsoever of the “Feast of Tabernacles”, although there is much detailed about the Samaritan woman. The next event is #29, “John Imprisoned”, based on Matthew and Luke, and shown in late Winter. The final event in the set is #30, “The Invalid at Bethesda”, shown at the next Passover. So we have #25 to 30 occupying the space of one year, two Passovers, according to the charts.

Next, we will compare the SDA Bible Commentary time line to the “One Year” time line. We will use the event numbers from the Bible Commentary chart, but will add some comments. Our Feast day time line will include more details. (In the chart, I have used the most common names, being a mixture of Hebrew, Greek, and English.)

New Year:
The new year begins with the first new moon in Spring. This is shown on the time line as "New Year".

Spring Feasts:
Two weeks later is "Passover" and the week long "Feast of Unleavened Bread" (shown as U.B.). During that week, there is a "Feast of First fruits" (not explicitly shown) and then seven weeks after that is "Pentecost".

Fall Feasts:
On the first day of the seventh month is the "Feast of Trumpets", then on the tenth day is the "Day of Atonement", and then the fifteenth day starts the week long "Feast of Tabernacles".

Winter and Summer Feasts:
There are none in the Torah. However, by the time of Yahushua, the Rabbis had added some. The most well known is "Hanukkah", which is spelled various ways when written in English, and is translated as "Feast of Dedication". We show it because it is mentioned in the John 10:22. It begins on the 25th day of the ninth month and lasts for 8 days.

The following is a comparison of the "One Year Ministry" to the early part of the assumed 3 ½ year ministry as seen in the "SDA Bible Commentary, vol 5."

timelines compared

Questions to Consider:

3 ½ years

Appendix : The Days of the Removal of Leaven Preceding the Passover

Prior to the actual Passover, there is a time of removal of the leaven and inspection of the lamb. This is lumped together with the Passover in the chronology of the Synoptic Gospels, but we must understand the sequence in which it occurs.

Matthew 26:17-22
Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? 18 And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover. 20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. 21 And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. 22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?

Notice in the KJV that the words “day” and “feast of” in verse 17 are italicized, indicating they were supplied by the translators. This cannot be the actual feast of Unleavened Bread, since that occurs after the Passover, and they are asking where they should prepare the Passover, which has not yet occurred. This refers to the days preceding the Passover, in which all the extra leaven (except that which will be immediately consumed) is removed from the houses. The actual Feast of Unleavened Bread is an annual Sabbath which follows the Passover.

It’s the same situation in Mark as Matthew.

Mark 14:12-19
And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover? 13 And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. 14 And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? 15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us. 16 And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. 17 And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. 18 And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me. 19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I?

And Luke

Luke 22:7-16
Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed. 8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. 9 And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare? 10 And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. 11 And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? 12 And he shall show you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. 13 And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. 14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
Yahushua "removed the leaven" by cleansing the Temple once again at the second Passover.

Appendix : Acknowledgment

The theme of a literal 70 week ministry revealed in the chronology of the Gospels is based largely upon a series of video presentations, “The Jonah Code”, by Michael Rood.

Download this page, which is Part 1: Harmony Of Gospels 70 Weeks (300 KBytes)
Read Part 2: The Chronology of the Crucifixion and Resurrection