SOLOMON’S TEMPLE DEDICATED ON THE JUBILEE
This article takes the yearly progression of time as compiled by Dr. E.W. Bullinger through use of scriptures in the Old and New Testament, showing that the 480 years of I Kings 6:1 did not constitute an unbroken passage of time from the exodus to Solomon’s beginning of the temple. Bullinger’s writing in the Companion Bible clearly shows how this passage of time is to be calculated.
What Dr. Bullinger was unable to pinpoint was how the dedication of the temple occurred in the Jubilee Year. Utilizing his timetable, but applying the following compilation of the passage of time of the Hebrew Calculated Calendar – year, month, and day, it correctly defines how and when the start of the count of the Jubilee Year was to be figured. Placing the Jubilee Year accurately, his work is proven correct biblically and calendrically.
The destruction of the second Jerusalem Temple is on calendar chart “70 AD Temple,” and has the date charted, showing that the Hebrew Calculated Calendar places the 9th of Ab (5th month) on a Sabbath day, just as the Jews have recorded in their history. It was at the end of the Sabbath, or the beginning of the tenth day, a Sunday that the temple was destroyed. (See attached calendar for 70 AD). This mirrors the destruction of the first temple as recorded in Jeremiah 52:12-13. “Now in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month (which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon), Nebuzaradan, the captain of the guard, who served the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He burned the house of the Lord and the king’s house; all the houses of Jerusalem, that is, all the houses of the great men, he burned with fire.”
While there is this secular date which corresponds perfectly with the Hebrew calculated calendar for the destruction of the second temple – year, month and day – the bible gives the fixed year, month and day for the start of the construction of the first temple. This is the objective of this work.
I Kings 6:1, “And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Ziv, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the Lord.”
II Chronicles 3:1-2, “Now Solomon began to build the house of the Lord at Jerusalem on Mt. Moriah, where the Lord appeared to his father David, at the place that David had prepared on the threshing floor of Ornan the Jebusite. And he began to build on the second day of the second month in the fourth year of his reign.”
This period of four hundred and eighty years comes into question when all the biblical statements of time are added as shown in the Companion Bible which uses the King James version. They total five hundred and seventy three years. Christ, the Word, put this little time hiccough here for us to ponder, that we ultimately would realize a significant truth:
- 40 years in the wilderness.
- 450 years under the judges – (Acts 13:20).
- 40 years under Saul.
- 40 years under David.
- 3 years under Solomon.
- 573 years total.
How then are we to understand the bible statement of 480 when the passage of time was clearly greater? Once this period of time is seen as the years in which Israel functioned as an independent nation under God’s government the problem is solved. The book of Judges records four periods in which Israel is in subjection to other nations.
8 years – Judges 3:8, “Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and He sold them into the hand of Cushan-Rishathaim, King of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim eight years.”
18 years – Judges 3:14, “So the children of Israel served Eglon, King of Moab for 18 years.”
20 years – Judges 4:3, “And the children of Israel cried out to the Lord; for Jabin had nine hundred chariots of iron, and for twenty years he harshly oppressed the children of Israel.”
7 years – Judges 6:1, “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years.”
40 years – Judges 13:1, ”Again the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines for forty years.”
93 years total.
The statement by Paul in Acts 13:18-21 gives the passage of time as follows: 40 years in the wilderness is not questionable, and is followed by his statement, “450 years under the judges,” and concluding with the 40 years under Saul. “Now for a time of about 40 years He put up with their ways in the wilderness. And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land to them by allotment. After that He gave them judges for about 450 years, until Samuel the prophet. And afterword they asked for a king; so God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.”
Paul has bracketed the 450 years of the Judges between two events, leaving no doubt about the historical period that he applied to the 450 years. It was the time that Israel was led by the Judges, and included the Israelite’s periods of bondage. In Jephthah’s dispute with the king of Ammon he spells out the passage of time from Israel’s entering the Promised Land to his judgeship. Once again Dr. Bullinger in the Companion Bible points to these facts.
Judges 11:26, “While Israel dwelt in Heshbon and its villages, in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities along the banks of the Arnon, for three hundred years, why did you not recover them within that time?”
This scripture shows that the 300 years had passed from the time that Israel had first conquered the land on the east side of the Jordan. Of Jepthah’s six year reign five would have remained to be added to the 300 years.
The following is a compilation of the passage of time that supports Paul’s statement in Acts 13:
- Jephthah - 5 years (Judges 12:7).
- Ibsan - 7 years (vs. 9).
- Elon – 10 years (vs. 11).
- Abdon – 8 years (vs. 14).
- Philistine - 40 years (Judges 13:1). Twenty years under Sampson, (Judges 16:31) and 20 years under Samuel, (I Samuel 7:2).
- Eli – 40 years (I Sam. 4:18).
By adding the 300 years from their first conquest to Jeptha the total is 410 years.
By subtracting the 410 years from Paul’s 450 years it is clear that Samuel’s judgeship was 40 years. The statement in Judges 13:1 needs to be understood as being two separate periods of 20 years, giving a total of 40 years.
The Philistine rule is understood by the account of Sampson’s final act of destroying the principal men of the Philistines. Judges 16:27, “Now the temple was full of the men and women; all the lords of the Philistines were there.” Verse 30, “Then Sampson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines!’ And he pushed with all his might and the temple fell on all the lords and all the people in it. So the dead that were killed at his death were more than he killed in his life.’”
The time frame is given in the last sentence of verse 31. “He had judged Israel 20 years.” This resulted in a period of 40 years of freedom from the Philistines reign under Eli and his sons, which ended with the defeat of Israel and the capture of the ark of God. I Sam 7:2, “So it was that the ark remained in Kirjath Jearim a long time, it was there 20 years. And all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.” The result was the rise of Samuel to the judgeship of Israel, and the defeat of the Philistines. At the end of their defeat it is seen that the two periods of oppression under the Philistines equals the 40 years as stated in Judges 13:1.
The 480 years of I Kings 6:1 is believed to be an exact passage of time from the exodus to the start of Solomon’s temple, but fails to take into account other scriptures, delineating a different time line that would not allow the 480 years. For example:
- 40 years in the wilderness.
- 300 years from entering the Promised Land to the start of Jepthah’s judgeship.
- 5 years to complete Jepthah’s judgeship.
- 25 years for Ibsan, Elon and Abodon.
- 20 years of Philistine rule under Sampson.
- 40 years for Eli’s judgeship.
- 20 years of Philistine rule from Eli’s death to the defeat of the Philistines (I Sam. 7:2). “So it was that the ark remained in Kirjaph Gearim a long time; it was there 20 years.”
- 40 years of Saul’s rule.
- 40 years of David’s rule.
- 3 years of Solomon’s rule.
This total equals 533 years – a contradiction of I Kings 6:1, in addition, this would leave no time for Samuel’s judgeship. The bible plainly states that Samuel judged Israel until he was in his old age, when he was incapable of continuing his travels in the land of Israel, clearly showing that he was the sole judge of Israel for a considerable length of time – 40 years, as Dr. Bullinger points out. The passage in I Samuel 8:1-5 makes this evident. In addition, Paul’s statement in Acts mathematically demands a 40 year period – 40 years of Philistine oppression and 40 years of Samuel’s judgeship.
The bible is never wrong. It is when we fail to look at all the biblical statements on an issue, and concentrate on one statement that our interpretation is found to be in error. The time line as previously presented takes in ALL the scriptures and demonstrates the infallibility of the bible.
Subtracting these 93 years of oppression from the 573 years equals a total of 480 years. From the previous work presented on the calendar we know that the exodus occurred at the beginning of AM 2519 – from the week of creation to the exodus. By adding this to the 573 years it results in the year 3092 AM.
(Definition of AM is “After Man’s Creation”). The year Solomon began the construction of the temple was 3091 AM. The year 2519 is included in the total of 3092. Because they left Egypt at the start of the year, that year must be subtracted and the result is 3091 AM showing that 2519 is the first year of their 40 years in the wilderness.
By fixing the Gregorian AD and BC years to the AM years from creation as shown in the calendar generator, which is the seventh in a series of thirteen - 19 - year progressions from creation. It is found that 3097 AM is the BC year 950, meaning that 3091 AM is 956 BC, showing that the construction of the first temple began the second day of the second month of this year.
YEAR 3091 AM (956 BC)
The above calendar was produced by the Calendar Generator which tracks time in seven day increments. The Generator produces yearly calendars showing every seventh day, the Sabbath of the bible, of every year, beginning with creation and continuing to the present day and beyond.
As has been noted, II Chron. 3:1-2 states that Solomon began to build on the second day of the second month. The year 3091 shows the first Sabbath to be on the 5th day of the solar calendar. The Hebrew calculated calendar places the beginning Sabbath for that year on the 3rd of Nisan, followed by the 10th, 17th and 24th. It follows that the first Sabbath of the second month was on the first day of the month. This calendar shows conclusively that the work began on a Sunday, the second day of the second month, the first working day of their week. It also shows the significant fact that in the first month the 14th, the Passover day, was a Wednesday. It is the same day as the original Passover of Exodus, and the crucifixion and death of Christ in the New Testament.
Just as His death signaled the beginning of a new organization of worship and redemption, so the start of the temple did the same. Matt. 21:42. “Jesus said to them, ‘Have you never read the scriptures; the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”
Acts 4:11. “This is the stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.” Eph. 2:20-22. “Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
I Peter 2:6-8. “Therefore it is also contained in the scriptures, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’ Therefore, you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone, and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence.’”
With God nothing happens by chance or accident, but is planned to the last detail as plainly shown here.
God uses the 480 year period as a marker directing us to another important truth that will be seen as the time elements are compiled. The 480 years represents the passage of time that Israel was under God’s government. Subtracting the 40 years spent in the wilderness, the 440 years is the time Israel spent in the Promised Land being governed by God. This is an important point because it will allow the tracking of a significant event that God specified Israel to follow; one that would guarantee the financial success of the nation, as well as protecting the individual families’ future stake in land ownership.
In Leviticus 25:1-34 God instructs Israel on how to keep the land Sabbaths and the Jubilee year. This directs our attention to the 480 years. It is imperative that we understand the time progression of these two events because their counting is going to show the year, month and day of the temple dedication. It will also show that their counting runs independent of the normal yearly cycle that began in the spring. Notice Leviticus 25:3, “Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyards and gather in its fruit.”
This makes it clear that the count begins about the time of the sowing of their fields, because wheat and barley are planted in the fall of the year for harvest in the spring and early summer, meaning that the count begins in the fall. Clearly God gave Israel two systems of tracking time: one system based on planting crops and the other to be calculated on the 19 year cycle of the sun, moon and earth.
Israel’s religious year begins in spring with the month Nisan. Remember, Israel entered the Promised Land in the latter half of the fortieth year on the east side of the Jordan, at which time they planted the first crops, and pruned their captured grape vineyards, meaning they started the count of six sowing years in the fall before they crossed the Jordan. (See article on Wave Sheaf Offering)
God’s instruction is clear, they are not to sow or prune in the seventh year. This is not speaking of the seventh religious year, but of the seventh planting and harvesting year resulting in the count to the sabbatical year of rest beginning in the fall of the 40th year upon leaving Egypt. The exodus occurred at the start of 2519 AM. By adding 39 years the first year of planting begins in the fall of 2558 AM.
This shows there are two systems for determining the year counts, one for the sabbatical beginning in the fall, and one for the religious beginning in the spring.
Is the time element of I Kings 6 and II Chronicles 3 designated in religious, or agricultural, years? The answer is known because the date for the starting of the temple is given in religious calendar time – the 2nd month Ziv, and the 2nd day. It is clear from Lev. 25 that the count for the sabbatical year is reckoned from the fall planting; but did God give a specific day to begin the sabbatical count? Lev. 25:8-11, “And you shall count seven Sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven Sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years. Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the 50th year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family. That 50th year shall be a Jubilee to you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of its own accord nor gather the grapes of your untended vine.”
Here God designates the Day of Atonement as the start of the 50th year, the Jubilee, an additional sabbatical year. If the 49th year, also a sabbatical year, concluded on the day before the Day of Atonement, then it also had its start on that day, Atonement. The important part here is that the announcement for the return of family property occurs at the beginning of the 50th year.
Keeping these directions in mind they can now be overlaid on the time frame given in I Kings 6 and II Chronicles 3, which allows the determination of when the dedication of the first temple occurred relative to the Jubilee year.
Going back to the time of the beginning of construction of the temple in 3091 AM it was completed in seven and one half years, placing it in the later half of 3098 AM, after the Day of Atonement of that year. I Kings 6:38, “And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, the house was finished in all its details and according to all its plans. So it was seven years in building it.”
Picking up the date for the first planting in the land of Israel, 2558 AM, gives the last half of that year plus the first half of 2559 AM, making up the first year of the count to the seventh year rest, and ultimately the Jubilee – the 50th year.
The 480 years under God’s government minus 40 years in the wilderness equals 440 years at the beginning of building the temple.
The beginning date for the temple is 3091 AM, or 956 BC. By adding seven and one-half years to this figure the completion is in the fall of 3098 AM, or 949 BC, meaning that Israel had just ended its 448th year of planting because the count started at Atonement in the fall. From the time they entered the Promised Land to the Day of Atonement of 3098 AM, which started the 449th year, would have been a 7th year, a year of rest. Remember, the count for the sabbatical year began ahead of their calendar year. The sabbatical year was 3098, and by taking away its starting year of 2558 from the 3099 there remains 541 years. Then subtracting the 93 years of foreign rule you arrive at the 448 years. A point to remember, the planting count began at the Day of Atonement, so that at the eighth month they would have been in the 449th year – a year of rest. The time that elapsed from the completion of the temple, the eighth month, which was after the Day of Atonement and the next Day of Atonement, would be less than a year. Dividing 50 into 449 shows that the following year is the Jubilee year, a year which started at the Day of Atonement in the year 3099.
The bible points out the the ark was placed into its new home, and the temple dedicated over a 7 day period that had begun on the 1stth day of the 7th month, Tisri. I Kings 8:2, “And all the men of Israel assembled to King Solomon at the feast in the month of Ethanim, which is the 7th month.”
II Chronicles 5:3 , “Therefore all the men of Israel assembled together with the King at the feast which was in the 7th month. So the elders of Israel came and the Levites took up the ark. Then they brought up the ark, the tabernacle of meeting, and all the holy furnishings that were in the tabernacle. The priests and the Levites brought them up.” Verse 13, “Indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the Lord, saying: “For He is good and His mercy endureth forever.’”
The next calendar shows the progression of days for the year of the dedication.
YEAR 3099 AM (948 BC)
The question is, which of the feasts of the three is being mentioned here – Trumpets, Atonement, or Tabernacles? Note: The trumpets are mentioned as the dominant instrument pointing to that feast, which occurred on Thursday, the 1st of Tisri. The calendar shows the 3rd to be the first Sabbath of the seventh month, making the first day of that month a Thursday.
I Kings 8:65-66 give us some idea. “At that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation from the entrance Hamath to the Brook of Egypt, before the Lord our God, seven days and seven more days, 14 days. On the eighth day he sent the people away; and they blessed the King, and went to their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had done for His servant David, and for Israel His people.”
At the end of the eighth day he sent them home, indicating that the second feast ended on the day following the Feast of Tabernacles of seven days. The Feast of Tabernacles began on the 15th, a Thursday, and ended on Wednesday, the 21st. The 22nd was the 8th day of the feast. II Chronicles 7:8-10. “At that time Solomon kept the feast seven days and all Israel with him, a very great congregation from the entrance of Hamath to the Brook of Egypt. And on the eighth day they held a sacred assembly for they observed the dedication of the alter seven days, and the feast seven days. On the twenty-third day of the seventh month he sent the people away to their tents, joyful and glad of heart for the goodness that the Lord had done for David, for Solomon, and for His people Israel.”
This makes clear exactly what happened. The beginning of the 23rd began at sundown; the end of the 22nd which was the last day. Solomon sent them to their tents at the end of the 22nd, or the start of the 23rd day, what would be called Thursday evening.
When did the first segment of the celebration begin? Would it have begun on the 8th day? Or would it mean that the two feasts would have run consecutively? If this were the case, there would be no need to delineate two separate periods of time. In addition, this would place the Day of Atonement within a day celebration. Obviously the Day of Atonement would not be part of a celebration which included a great deal of physical feasting. The Day of Atonement is a day of national fasting. The correct understanding is that the first seven day feast began on the Feast of Trumpets, a feast of one day that was extended to seven days.
In choosing the first day of the month Solomon was following the example of Moses, who dedicated the original tabernacle on the first day of the first month (Ex. 40:1). (Also see Ezek. 43, which explains that the temple of the millennium was dedicated for seven days.) Solomon chose Atonement because it represented a new beginning in two ways: First it was a clean slate from sin for the nation and it had the additional benefit of the Jubilee Year for Israel - the return of the agricultural land to its rightful owners, and freeing those from bondage those who were in servitude in the nation of Israel.
The beginning of setting up the tabernacle by Moses commenced on the first day of the second year in the first month after the exodus. The anointing of the priesthood and the ensuing instruction of how broken laws (sin) are to be nullified through sacrifice (Lev. 9:1-2) shows the tabernacle began functioning on the eighth day.
Solomon was following Moses’ example in celebrating the dedication of the temple seven days, just as Moses celebrated the dedication of the tabernacle for seven days. But more than this was the fact that Solomon had given orders for all the leaders and elders of the tribe of Israel to appear before him. (I Kings 8:1). What is missed is that this is more than the dedication of a building, but was an organizational meeting to cement the governance of the country according to the law, statues, and judgments of God, just as Solomon emphasized in his charge to the people. (I Kings 8:58-61).
Just as Moses spent the first seven days teaching and establishing these precepts, so Solomon did the same. Through this he brought unity and conformance to the whole nation.
The beginning of Solomon’s reign shows a young man who is eager and knowledgeable of God’s system of government, and is willing to follow it. I Kings 3:3, “And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statues of his father David, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places.”
Solomon began his reign with the first step of recognizing his own lack in governing this great nation. I Kings 3:7-9, “Now, oh Lord my God, you have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. And Your servant is in the midst of Your people whom You have chosen, a great people, too numerous to be numbered or counted. Therefore give to your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” God recognized in Solomon the important quality of humbleness.
Isaiah 66:2, “For all these things my hand has made, and all these things exist, says the Lord. But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and contrite and of a contrite spirit. And who trembles at my word.”
God granted Solomon his request and added additional blessings. I Kings 3:12-13, “Behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not seen anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you. And I have also given you what you have not asked; both riches and honor, so that there shall not be anyone like you among the kings all your days.”
By looking at Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple, he gives example after example of Israel sinning and breaking God’s law, and the forgiveness of these sins. Why was Solomon so concerned about God’s forgiveness? It was because this house of God exemplified the rituals necessary to show heartfelt repentance for the individual or the nation. This house was dedicated on the Feast of Trumpets in preparation for the Day of Atonement; a day that represented the epitome of forgiveness.
In Solomon’s address to the congregation he refers to God’s law. I Kings 8:58, “That He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in all His ways, and to keep His commandments and statutes and judgments, which He commanded our fathers.” Then he concluded with the direct admonition to follow those precepts. I Kings 8:61, “Let your heart therefore be loyal to the Lord our God, to walk in His statues and keep His commandments, as at this day.”
With all the leaders of Israel present at the dedication he makes it plain that his intent is to follow God’s direction for his nation. As has been shown the dedication occurs at the start of the ninth Jubilee Year. The sterling command by God for a Jubilee Year was the return of the people’s original parcels of land granted them upon entering the Promised Land as a free gift from God. Leviticus 25:10, “And you shall consecrate the 50th year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family.”
God explains how land ownership was to be handled. Agricultural land could not be sold, only rented according to the number of years remaining to the next Jubilee. However, more than this, as already stated, was the fact that Solomon had given orders for all of the leaders and elders of the Tribes of Israel to appear before him. What might be missed is that this was more than a dedication of a building, but was an organizational meeting to cement the governance of the country according to the laws, statues, and judgments of God. Just as Moses spent the first seven days teaching and establishing the precepts of the sacrifices, so Solomon did a similar thing in the governmental sense. By doing this he brought unity and conformity to the whole nation.
Had he followed this great beginning he would be remembered as a great king instead of one who failed his God, his nation and himself. I Kings 11:3, “For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to his God, as was the heart of his father David.”
The additional point should be made about the passage of time when determining the Jubilee Year. The direction in Leviticus 25 is clear – count seven years of rest seven times to reach the Jubilee Year. When Israel was under the domination of foreign kings they would not be allowed to rest their land every seven years, much less the two years of rest for the Jubilee Year. If the land has not been rested it cannot be counted to bring on the Jubilee, meaning that the 480 years of I Kings 6 is that count, plus the forty years in the wilderness. No other interpretation is possible.
Today numerous articles contain information that certain years on our present calendar will be the Jubilee Year, heralding the return of Christ. As plainly shown, scripture only allows a Jubilee Year to follow the seventh year of seven land rests. Without those land rests there can be no Jubilee Year. As things stand today, there is no nation on earth following the land Sabbaths. Therefore, no Jubilee can be determined. The Jubilee awaits the return of Christ, when He will install the land Sabbaths as part of His rule on earth.
This completes the study for dating the beginning of the building and dedication of the first temple on the Jubilee. It was started in 3091 AM, or BC 956. It was completed in the fall of 3098 AM, BC 949, and dedicated in 3099 AM, BC 948, confirming the work that Dr. Bullinger did in the Companion Bible. The next study will deal with the dating of the destruction of this temple.
— Don Roth (February 17, 2012)