How Long Was Jesus’ Ministry?

A friend asked:

Tim, where do you come down on Jesus ministry being only One year in length and not three years ? Is there a source I can read more about it ?

The length of Jesus’ ministry is not a topic most Christians wonder about. They are universally taught that it was 3½ years long. What they do not realize without personal investigation is that this is only one traditional teaching of several possibilities ranging from 1 – 3 years in length.

I, too, did not realize this for decades as a believer…until meeting Michael Rood. He was teaching a ministry of Jesus of only about a year, or 62 weeks to be exact (70 if you include Jesus’ work up until Pentecost as a glorified man appearing intermittently). This fell in line with what Daniel 9 says about the Messiah being cut off after 62 weeks (Dan 9:26). While the weeks are traditionally interpreted as groups of seven years, not literal weeks of days, in prophecy, there often are dual fulfillments. This allows for both weeks of years and (normal) weeks of days to be intended by the passage. In other words, Jesus died after exactly 62 weeks in ministry as the ministering servant Messiah (from the day John baptized him when he was baptized by the Holy Spirit descending as a dove).

Origins of the 70 Week Ministry

When I asked Michael where he got this theory, he told me about a conference he went to where a couple scholars were teaching it. They claimed that the oldest Greek manuscript fragment for part of the Gospel of John had a different reading than most Bibles follow. I think it was John 6 which in most Bibles has:

John 6:4 (HCSB) Now the Passover, a Jewish festival, was near.

However, in this oldest fragment that the Critical Apparatus of the Nestle Aland had for that chapter, that verse was missing. If the oldest fragment preserved the original, then that verse was not original to John but added later by some scribe.

Michael Rood was intrigued but thought at the time that these scholars were just trying to be controversial to make a name for themselves. Later when he tried to resolve difficulties in The Chronological Gospels (his next book), this bit of trivia came in handy to resolve there being huge gaps in the narrative.

The gaps occurred because certain verses in John inserted extra Passovers without any account of Jesus observing them nor the other of the intervening three annual pilgrimage feasts which the Torah required all males to attend (Unleavened Bread, Pentecost, and Tabernacles). If these Passover accounts were accurate, then Jesus would be breaking Torah which he said he came to fulfill and not to destroy. It would also simply be inconsistent with all the other festivals we see recorded that he always attended like the obedient Jew that he was.

Michael found that two of the four Passovers ascribed to Jesus’ 3½ year ministry were not defensible. John 6:4 did not exist and John 5:1 generic festival reference was not Passover as is normally assumed, but another festival. This left two Passovers, the one soon after the start of his ministry in John 2:23 and the one he died on. Thus, rather than a ministry of over three years, Jesus had a ministry of just over one year (62 weeks) just as some Church fathers had already said.

Why Getting Jesus’ Ministry Length Right Matters

Like Michael, I was not looking for an alternative theory for Jesus ministry either when I encountered it. It just fell into my lap and I accepted it as superior to the 3½ year ministry theory on that merit alone. I did not realize then how key it was that I learned this.

Years later in other research I found compelling research for the correct years of Jesus birth and death: Fall 3 BCE and Spring 30 AD, respectively. These years only leave room for a life span of 31 years, not the 33 years that you need to make a 3½ year ministry beginning at age 30 fit. Only a short one year ministry works. If I still believed the 3½ year ministry at the time of the discovery of those two data points, I probably would have rejected one of this as wrong when all along it was the 3½ year ministry that was wrong. (Note: when you find the difference between 3 BCE and 30 AD be sure to subtract 1 for no year zero! And another 1 because Jesus died six months before his birthday that year. If you don’t, you’ll end up with an age at death of 33 or 32 instead of 31.)

This year of 29 AD for the start of Jesus’ ministry was later confirmed when I discovered that Jesus’ ministry must begin in a Sabbath year. This is derived from his public reading of Isaiah 61:1-2, a declaration of a Sabbath year in Luke 4:18-20 at the start of his ministry. When I researched Sabbath year records, I found the best-supported theory had a Sabbath year fall from Spring 28 to Spring 29 AD (documented in my book). This Sabbath year cycle is the basis for all the many possible years of fulfillment of the 70th week on, since Jesus must return in a Sabbath year, the final year of the 70th Week. (In this way, his two comings are parallel. Both come in the Sabbath year end of one of the 70 Prophetic Weeks: the 62nd or 69th and the 70th respectively.)

If you want to learn more on Jesus one year ministry, check out Michael Rood’s Jonah Code.

46 thoughts on “How Long Was Jesus’ Ministry?”

  1. Not only did the year Jesus stood to read Isaiah 61:1-2 have to be a Sabbath year; it had to be a Jubilee Year because He claimed He had come to free the captives, set the prisioners free!

    • It could not be both a Sabbath year and jubilee. Only one or the other. Debt slaves were released in Sabbath years, too. Jubilee year does not fit since the 69th week and 70th week end in Sabbath years. Jubilee years can only begin a seven year cycle, not end it.

  2. The word for “weeks” starting in Daniel 9:24 means “sevens”;in the context, it obviosly means “seven year periods.70 weeks are determinded upon thy people means 490 years. This 490-year period is divided into three components,49 years,434 years, and 7 years,respectively. The first was to be occupied with the actual completion of the streets and walls of the city in “troublous times,” as described in the books of Nehemiah and Malachi. Perhaps most significantly, the 49-year period did terminate with Malachi’s prophecy, which marked the close of the Old Testament revelation. After the 49-year period was to be another period of 434 years before Messiah would come as Prince of Israel. This period between the two Testaments was marked by the fulfillment of some of Daniel’s other prophecies-the fall of Persia, the rise of Greece, then the great Roman Empire and, in Israel, the conflicts with Egypt and Syria and the wars of the Maccabees. This 62 weeks means 434 years. This was completeded when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a ass. Matthew 21:1-11. This had nothing to do with his ministry. Now after a gap of 2000 years known as the Church age or the dispensation of Grace. There are still 7-years that has to be completed, known as Danials 70th week. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist

  3. My church bible teacher is Pre Wrath and my wife is pre trib. Over the years I have come to know and understand both sides of the coin, Wife sees the importance of the Feasts and bible teacher doesn’t think its such a requierment.Then I present them The Rood Awakening and now they both think I am nuts.

    • Yes, that type of hard-hitting Bible research is liable to make Christians who are not ready for it uncomfortable. That’s why in my book I recommend people not share it with family unless they ask for it first (1Pet 3:15)

  4. A lamb of the first year, without spot or blemish! The Old Covenant sacrifices through all those years as a tupos/type. “The Lamb” had to fulfill the tupos/type. I knew God’s planning couldn’t be sloppy!!! I’ve pondered this for a long time, thank you for showing God’s wonderful, matchless Word to be just that. I’m thrilled.

  5. Interesting topic. If you look at the law the lamb/goat had to be under a year old. So it is possible that Yahshua’s ministry was only a year. After all if he fulfilled the law of the unblemished lamb, and he was most definitely older than a year, it is possible that his ministry was a year. I will have to read Michael’s report, sounds interesting. Some other things to note: in Luke 3:23 we find a scripture that translated properly would read: “And Yahshua the same, to be the first, chief, leader, ruler, to begin, to exist, to be present, to take place, as it were, like as, nearly, thirty years, of the space and time which a thing has been done (in this case him being a chief ruler,leader), being (even as was the custom) the son of Yahseph.” Properly translated this scripture would line up with Yahchanan (John) 8:57 “Then said the Jews unto him, You art not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Why didn’t they say you are thirty years old? Is it possible that Yahshua was older than traditional history tells us? That he was nearly 50? It would line up with the Law! Numbers 5:3;4:23,30,35 Something to think about and discuss…

  6. Amen, Tim.

    BTW, shouldn’t “This year of 29 AD for the start of Jesus’ ministry” be 28AD instead? Spring 30AD minus 1.5 years brings us back to Fall 28AD.

    In Christ,
    Sam 🙂

    • Well, 62 weeks is not quite 1.5 years or 18 months. It’s 1.19 years or around a year and 2 months. So it would take you back from Passover (March/April), 30AD to probably January, 29AD, which puts it in the Sabbath year of 28/29 AD.

  7. Pingback: Exactly how long was Jesus’ ministry? | ethanponder
  8. Hi Tim, any comment on the claim in this article that Rood is badly mistaken about the manuscript evidence regarding John 6:4? I was initially quite interested in Rood’s teaching on this subject, but if this commentary is true, then the authenticity of 6:4 can’t be called into question based on manuscript evidence.

  9. I am not arguing against a 70 week ministry for Yeshua. I do question the methodology that excludes John 6:4. The vast majority of EARLIER Greek & Aramaic manuscripts (than Rood’s selection) include John 6:4. To pick one or two LATE manuscripts to prove a point is a dangerous thing and is not a legitimate methodology.

  10. Determining the Length of Jesus’ Ministry
    The first part of Jesus’ ministry began with John baptizing him in the waters of the Jordan river. On emerging from the water, Jesus visibly received the “Spirit of God” (Matthew 3:16) , and a voice from heaven was heard to proclaim: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17, Mark 1:11). Significantly, this proclamation fulfilled the “righteousness” that Jesus had first spoken of to John the Baptist (Matthew 3:15).
    Jesus was then immediately driven by the Spirit, into the wilderness where he remained for forty days (Mark 1:12-13). The next time that John the Baptist sees Jesus is upon his return from, the being forty days in the wilderness, whereupon the Baptist says, “Behold the Lamb of God” (John 1:29). With this declaration the Baptist reveals that Jesus has been selected by God to be the Passover Sacrifice, which must be chosen on Nisan 10, and kept till Nisan 14, the day of preparation for the feast. When all of the preparations have been made during the fourteenth, then in the evening, the sacrificial lamb must be killed (See Exodus 12).
    Jesus’ baptism had to occur on the tenth of Nisan, the first month of the year, for the passover selection, to be acceptable. The Spirit of God had then driven Jesus into the wilderness for forty days, which meant that both the first month and second month passover dates for that year were past, before he returned. The passover lamb must be kept till the fourteenth of Nisan, thus Jesus’ ministry would of necessity continue till the following year, with him being killed in the evening, at the end of the fourteenth day of the first month of that year.
    The full length of Jesus’ ministry, from baptism to ascension, was thus about one Hebrew calendar year for the first part, plus another forty days for the second part. The lamb must be: “a male of the first year.” (Exodus 12:5). Jesus was first declared to be the lamb of God, by John the Baptist, at the beginning of the year, thus also complying with the first year requirement.

    Neil Gellibrand

  11. John 6:4 has been a source of controversy for a long time. In the 1800’s a Dr Lant Carpenter wrote a book “Harmony of the Gospels” explaining why the ministry of Jesus was about one year. He and others believed that John 6:4 is spurious, breaks the narrative and must be out of place. Others have said that P66 is the oldest fragment of John and it contains John 6:4 however recently other scholars have said that P66 may not be as old as first believed and in fact may be from the 4th century not the 3rd century. Any 4th century Greek manuscript is suspect due to the corruption of Roman universalism. To believe that John 6:4 is accurate poses serious questions not the least of which is that Jesus never went up for this so called Passover making Him a sinner and not the true Messiah. Michael Rood goes into these issues in depth in the Jonah Code

  12. the sixty two weeks are clearly the End Time as the lead up to the abomination of desolation.
    Claiming otehrwise is jus another instance of peopel finding a number they like an building all manner of myth and false doctrine about it . That in itself is a sign of these End Times!

    • Rose, I understand your skepticism from being burnt before by many number theories out there. Your argument is not valid that because it has an end time application it can’t have another one. If there are 62 weeks between Jesus’ ministry start and when he was “cut off” then it works on another level you prefer to discount, but with no good reason given…

  13. I agree:

    Although by my calculations from scripture Jesus’ Ministry was 483 days from His Baptism to Pentecost:

    Day 29 month11—3rd February 29AD—Jesus’ Baptism
    Day 15 month 13—20th March 29AD—Purim, the wedding in Cana (first miracle)
    Day 14 month 1—18th April 29AD—Passover and the first temple cleansing
    Day 8 month 3—10th June 29AD—The Sabbath before Shavuot, (the feast of the Jews)
    Day 1 month 7—28th September 29AD—Day of Trumpets and the transfiguration
    Day 10 month 7—7th October 29AD—Day of Atonement and Jubilee announced
    Day 15 month 7—12th October 29AD—Tabernacles and the unfulfilled day
    Day 24 month 9—19th December 29AD—Hanukkah
    Day 14 month 1—7th April 30AD—Passover, Jesus’ death and burial
    Day 15 month 1—8th April 30AD—Jesus preaches to the souls in Hell
    Day 16 month 1—9th April 30 AD—First Fruits and Jesus’ resurrection
    Day 30 month 2—22nd May 30AD—Jesus’ ascension
    Day 9 month 3—31st May 30AD—Pentecost

  14. We are starting a study of Rood’s CG for a second time and are getting the push back on John 6:4. We have seen the argument on P66 and how critics of the 70 week theory place it at 200 AD because that puts it prior to Eusebius. When shown it could be later, they say it predates manuscrpit 472 and Nestle-Allunds 28th edition included John 6:4 without qualifications. Are the manuscript earlier than P66 without John 6:4. Clearly the English translation with it can’t hold up contextually.

  15. This is a good debate I enjoyed reading everyone’s opinions. Thank you. But I struggle when anything in bible is considered inaccurate. How do we claim it as God’s word if it isn’t 100 percent accurate? If we question it’s accuracy in any place, aren’t we opening up a place for doubt?

    • I dont think it affects Gods word at all. Questioning the accuracy of Gods word undo doubting it only shows our arrogance to think we can judge the accuracy of Gods Word/Work. It also reveals that anyone who thinks that way doesnt actually and literally know Him. Obey Jesus’ words and you will know the Truth, be set free, and know God….and you wont question the accuracy of scripture.

  16. If this post is still open, I would like to interject a question. If anyone reading these posts still believes in the possibility of a 3+ year ministry, then what JOB was Christ performing for that time? ……………………As the Torah plainly states “6 days shall you labor”. It does not say or imply that you MAY work as much as 6 days as long as you “take off” on the 7th. (although some translations take liberty with the imperative tense of the original Hebraic wording allowing for a “MAY work” tense) Answer: Christ’s ministry began in the 49th year… A Sabbath year, the 49th year, a Sabbath year precisely. This was followed by the 50th year “Jubilee”. Both years, according to Torah (Leviticus 25:8-15) no work was to be performed. Now, if you are with me, consider this; Christ’s ascension was in a “JUBILEE YEAR”. His return to Earth to begin THE “millennial” reign should likewise be in a “JUBILEE YEAR”. Just refer to what Jubilee meant in the referenced passages. If that convinces us that “He” will return on Jubilee, which Jubilee year will it be? May I suggest the 40th Jubilee? If that reasoning is correct, then we are 7, 8, 9, or possibly 10 years from HIS return. Why the 4 possible years? Although our calendar says 2020, we know that our dates are off a bit. How? Because through other historical documents we have been able to understand that “Herod the Great” (not actually great) who sought to exterminate the “Messiah” who may have been born up to 2 years prior to his death proclamation, most likely died in 1BC. This means that our calendar is most likely at least 3 years behind or possibly 4 but maybe only 2. I will allow you to do the rest of the math and consider you own belief in the timing of the “rapture” of the church. But I will say “Look up and be watchful for our redemption is drawing nigh”


    The year/ week Jesus was crucified, there was a “special HIGH Sabbath (Feast of tabernacles)midweek the week of the crucifixion“
    …the phrase HIGH sabbath leans to something ‘more holy like the way we look at Christmas these days… and it was on Wednesday,
    It was not the regular every week Friday Sabbath.
    Jesus was crucified on that Wednesday hi Holi-Holiday Sabbath
    and that also explains how he spent 3 three days and three nights. There is no possible way that Friday sundown to Sunday sun up is three days and three nights. Wednesday was a special Sabbath that year if you check the calendars… The real Calendar. IMHO
    Sabbath Luke 23:54 4521 sabbath most places 3957

  18. The statement that John 6:4 does not appear in an early manuscript is mistaken. The verse is missing is Aland number 472 and a few others from that era. The date of the writing of 472 is the 13th century (AD 1301-1400). This is a fairly late manuscript. All of the earlier manuscripts going back to the earliest known manuscripts of John (including third century papyri) contain John 6:4. There is no evidence for omitting the following Passovers mentioned by John based on a few relatively late manuscripts:
    1. John 2:13, 23
    2. John 6:4
    3. John 11:55
    In addition, there is an unnamed feast at John 5:1 (probably Tabernacles, but perhaps Ingathering/Pentecost), making at least full year between #1 and #2 above. Tabernacles (John 7:2), Dedication/Hannukah (John 10:22) are also mentioned, making at least a full year between #2 and #3 above. This means that if you take John seriously you have time before the first Passover (John 1:1-2:12) and at least 3 Passovers or about 2.5 years.

    In addition, the Synoptic Gospels have another spring (which means another Passover; see Matt 12:1; Mark 2:23; Luke 6:1). Nearly every competent scholar believes this is an additional spring, since there is too much activity of Jesus before and after this spring to make this either the first or second Passover mentioned by John. That means there are FOUR springs with FOUR Passovers during Jesus’s ministry requiring about 3.5 years.

    You cannot make a one-year ministry based on an extremely tenuous and tendential reading of Daniel 9 alone (i.e., once you can eliminate the nonsense about John 6:4 not being in an early manuscript). Please quit spreading misinformation and vague statements about “early manuscripts.”

  19. Not correct that ministry us tied to sabbath years. Actually tied to middle of the week of 7 years. That is essential to know


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