When Did John the Baptizer Start His Ministry?

When Was Jesus Born?

by Murrell Selden April 1, 2010 (revised 2/17/2012, 3/27/12, 8/14/2012)  fuzz@fuzzdepot.com

What Bible Says About the Ministry of John the Baptizer at Luke 3:1-3

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. He came into all the region around the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for remission of sins.

The Wikipedia of 2010 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustus) says:

"Julius Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) was the first ruler of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from January 27 BC until his death in AD 14."

The New Encyclopedia Britannica of 1993

The New Encyclopedia Britannica of 1993 says: "In AD 14, on August 19, Augustus [the first emperor] died. Tiberias, now supreme, played politics with the Senate and did not allow it to name him to emperor for almost a month, but on September 17th he succeeded to the principate."

Julian Day Numbers for Tiberias

To be objective in chronology studies, it is necessary to specify a date in Julian Day Numbers (which can be converted back to dates in calculations). September 17th of AD 14 is JD# 1,526,430.50.  Adding 14 years gives the beginning of Tiberias's 15th year of rulership. That gives JD# 1,731,543.89. That was September 16th of 28 AD. One year later it was September 18 of 29 AD. But, if regnal years were used by the Romans, the range would be January 1st of 29 A.D. to Jan. 1st of 30 A. D.

Conclusion On the Above Facts

John the Baptizer commenced his ministry between September 17th, 28 A.D. and September 18th, 29 A.D. In Mose's day, it was 30 years of age that a Levite assumed his full duties. Also Luke 3:23 indicates that Jesus was about 30 when baptized. Also, see Numbers 4:46-47  of  the World English Bible:

46 All those who were counted of the Levites whom Moses and Aaron and the princes of Israel counted, by their families and by their fathers’ houses, 47 from thirty years old and upward even to fifty years old, everyone who entered in to do the work of service and the work of bearing burdens in the Tent of Meeting, 

When Was John the Baptizer Conceived?

30 years ago + 266.28 days of gestation in the womb. That is a period of 11,223.56 days back from when his ministry began. When converted back to the calendar of the Romans, the range of conception for John the Baptizer was computed as follows:

12/25 of 4 B.C. to 12/26 of 3 B. C

The range would be about 3 months more, if regnal years (beginning in Jan) were used.

What Does Luke Tell Us About the Birth of Jesus and John?

Luke 1:26-28 (WEB) says:

2Now in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, of David’s house. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 Having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, you highly favored one! The Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women!”

This above scripture is simply a reference to the Jewish calendar of the day, and the sixth month was Elul.  Then, the angel says about John the Baptizer:

35 The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore also the holy one who is born from you will be called the Son of God. 36 Behold, Elizabeth, your relative, also has conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing spoken by God is impossible.”  - Luke 1:35-37 (WEB)

So, as Elizabeth was in her sixth month in the month of Elul, which is clearly stated, it follows that she must have become pregnant in Nisan. This would be in the same calendar year of  3 B.C.  But 4 B.C.E. did not have the extra month of Veadar. Nisan 1 in 4 B.C. E. as Nisan 1 in 4 B.C. was Julian Day number 1720048.30.  12 moons later was 3/17 of 3 B.C.E., and that was about Julian Day number 1720402.66 (Nisan 1 of 3 B.C.E.).

According to Shmuel Safrai (now deceased, but famous Jewish historian), Zecheriah's division of Abijah would have served in the temple at the end of Iyyar (mid-April to mid-May) and again at Marheshvan (October to mid-November).  The priests served for one week twice a year, but they may also have served in the extra month (Veadar).  And there is the possibility that Zechariah served at Passover or two other major festivals, when all Levites served together.  If  Zechariah was chosen for burning of incense on Passover, then the conception of John the Baptizer could be later Nisan, seven days after his temple aervice.

See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4WYPzIu6KY. It is the Jewish calendar in 3 B.C. and shows Nisan 1 starting March 17 of 3 B.C. This calendar made the guess that John the Baptizer was conceived in the month of Nisan, and five months later is Elul 29.  There is no scripture  that says Elizabeth was exactly six months pregnant in Elul, as being in her six month could mean 5 months and some hours. Gabriel merely said that she was "in her sixth month." 5 months and 1 hour is  possible. So for reasons of the Torah being given on Sivan 6, this write r sticks  with a guess of Sivan 6 for the birth of Jesus.  Luke 1:56 says that "Mary stayed with with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home." Had Mary not gotten to Elizabeth's house quickly (before six months elapsed), John would have been born during her visit.  Also, Luke 1:39-40,42 indicates that Mary "got ready and hurried to the hill country of Judea."

Elizbeth completed her sixth month in Tishri?

It had to be Tishri, because the angel visited in Elul, and there was no time left in Elul.

What if Gabriel had visited at the end of Elul? But suppose the angel was with Mary on Elul 29, and she got pregant just on Tishri 1, and then went to visit Elizabeth  after  Tishri 10. Then Jesus could be born Sivan 6 and John on Tebeth 29 or Shebat 1. And Mary would go home on maybe Tebbeth 14 , just a few weeks before the birth of Jesus. This all works just  fine.

See the videos in support of this page: this domain is fuzzdepot.com


Year of Birth for Jesus
     Month and Day of Birth for Jesus
      Birth Calendar for Jesus and John


      Birth Calendar for John the Baptizer

Not every video has been updated.  It is no longer believed that Jesus was conceived on Tishri 10, but rather on Tishri 1 (for example).  For births of Moses and Jesus, it has been found the "Star of Bethlehem" is on the covenant date, when they were circumcised as was Abraham when his family.  So, Jesus was not born in the  date of the star in 2 B.C.E., but the date of his circumcision.  There may be other videos on Youtube, search by my name Murrell Selden.

Ministry of Jesus and John Indexed to Passovers

Now, we know that Jesus Christ attended several Passover celebrations. A most notable one occurred when he drove traders from the temple [John 2:13-25]. In fact, that was the first one which he attended after being baptized by John the Baptizer. Now, the Passover of 28 A. D. was after September 16, 28 A. D. (the earliest date on which John the Baptizer could have been baptizing). The next Passover was the one in 29 A. D. So, I ran the program called EQUINOX.COM to find the dates of the Passovers in 29 A. D. through 35 A. D., because these are the Passovers which are the prime candidates for application to the preaching days of Jesus and John. I would note that Jesus turned over the tables of the money changers a second time at the Passover Period of 33 A. D.  In fact, it may have been the third time. All such Passovers begin with  Nisan 14 (preparation day), and these were the results as follows:

Candidate Passover Dates for the Death of Jesus Christ

Passover Year A.D. Day of Week Julian Month Day Estimate Comment
29 Friday April 15.91 day too late, about Sat.
30 Wednesday April 5.28 year too early
31 Sunday March 25.64 day too late
32 Saturday April 12.54 day too late
33 Wednesday April 1.9 close enough to Thursday
34 Monday March 22.28 day too early
35 Sunday April 10.17 day too late

Identification of the Passover on Which Jesus Died on a Torture Stake (on Friday)

Now, the first duty is to identify the Passover (rather Nisan 14) on which Jesus died on a torture stake. Luke 23:44-56 tells us that Jesus died on a torture stake on Friday afternoon at 3 P. M. [also known as the sixth hour of daylight]. The next day, which began at sundown, was Saturday or the sabbath for the Jews. We would call it Friday until midnight, but they called it Saturday at sundown. Of course, we call the day which Jesus died on a torture stake Good Friday. So, then the Last Supper had been on Thursday at sundown, though we would call it Friday until midnight. Only one of the computed Passover Period times for the years 29 A. D. through 35 A. D. qualifies. The one in 30 A. D. was too early, and the scriptures mention at least three passovers before Jesus died on a torture stake. All the other dates are Sunday, Saturday, and Monday. None of those could qualify. However, the one in 33 C. E. could be the one, and (in fact must be the one).

Confirming the Death Date of Jesus via ALMANAC.EXE

So, I ran the program ALMANAC.EXE from Willman-Bell, Inc. to examine the year of 33 A. D. astronomically. It gave a Spring equinox on March 22nd and an astronomer's new moon on March 19th at 15 hours and 41 minutes. But, the astronomer's new moon is invisible, so the next day, March 20th was Nisan 1, after sunset. The Passover preparation was then 13 days later, or April 2nd after sunset. To us, that was the evening of Thursday, April 2nd of 33 A. D. To them, after sunset it was Friday, April 3rd of 33 A. D. And, yes, this fits perfectly Good Friday. In fact, it was the only time from 29 A. D. through 35 A. D. that preparation for Passover [which became the Last Supper for Christians] came at the proper time for the description in the Holy Bible. The next day, Jesus died on a torture stake at 3 P. M. on Friday, April 3rd of the Julian Calendar.  Saturday, which was a sabbath [which did not begin until sunset] and went through Sunday until evening.

Regarding the death of Jesus, I further ran the program CALENDAR.EXE provided by Willman-Bell, Inc. It showed that on April 3rd of 33 A. D. the sun rose just as the moon set. Further, for about 3/4 of an hour, at about 3 P. M. there was a total eclipse of the moon. As the sun was darkened on a bright day, according to witnesses, both the sun and the moon failed to give their light as prophesied. [I personally suspect that God turned the entire earth 180 degrees for 45 minutes, while he examined closely the death of his son, Christ Jesus, and to fulfill the prophecy.]  Of course, Almighty God, Jehovah, can do whatever he wants and in whatever way desired.

Conclusion About the Birth of Jesus

(Based Upon Passover Dates)

Since Jesus attended 3 passovers after his baptism by John, the first one after his baptism was the one in 30 A.D.

But his baptism was in 29 C.E.., so he was 30 years of age in 29 C.E.  So, if he was born in the month Sivan, as previously estimated.  These Julian Day Number conversions were done using the web site of the U. S. Navy (http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/JulianDate.php).

But it does seem that Jesus Christ was born in the Jewish month of Sivan. Luke seems clearly to have meant that the visit by Gabriel to Mary was in the sixth month (Elul). And that Jesus was clearly almost 6 months younger than John the Baptizer. So, it seems clear that the birth of Jesus may have occurred in Sivan 6 of 2 B.C.

It should be noted that the Torah was given on the 6th day of Sivan, according to :


Jesus was called the Logos (spokesman for God Almighty) and the giver of a treasures known as the New Testament. It would be appropriate for Jesus to have been born on Sivan 6 and to be circumcised 8 days later on Sivan 14.

See this link for a letter to you:   http://pmcbags/com.theos.html

I don't think the birth date of Jesus is a mystery. I think Luke made it clear long ago. And the above calculations show that Jesus was born in the month of Sivan in 2 B.C.   This page domain is fuzzdepot.com.  FUZZ refers to Detective Work on the Bible and other writings (which may, or may not, be helpful).  The purpose is to find the truth.  I am old, almost 72.

I cannot live forever to keep this web page active.  Links come and go and updates may not have been done.  Sorry, Murrell Selden.


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