Nisan 1-The Day Jesus was Baptized
In our previous articles, we began to discuss the importance of God’s Holy Festivals and how they were prophetic signs of Christ’s arrival. While Nisan 1, the First Day of the First Month, was NOT a holy festival, it was the date of many firsts, the most important of which was the day of Christ’s Baptism and the start of His Earthly Ministry.
In Exodus 12:1-2, during the Egyptian plagues, God instructed that the Jews recognize this first day, and this first month (Nisan 1) as the beginning of their religious calendar. One year after the Israelites fled Egypt, they had dedicated and “[erected] the tabernacle, the tent of meeting, on the first day of the first month” (Exodus 40:1-2). “Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle”. This was a direct reference to Christ’s future consecration, also on the first day of the first month, during John’s Baptism by water, which was followed by the Holy Spirit coming upon Christ.
Several other important events happened on this special day which focused on the future King Solomon’s Temple and the roles Christ would serve during His time on Earth.
After King Solomon’s construction of the First Temple, several subsequent rulers began to do evil in the sight of God, one of the most heinous being idol worship and the human sacrifices that often came with it. God raised up the righteous King Hezekiah, who was responsible for bringing Israel back to fearing and venerating the one True God. King Hezekiah set a precedent for future rulers and “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD … [and] in the first year of his reign, in the first month [Nisan 1], he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them” (2 Chronicles 29:2-3). This date marked the beginning of the Cleansing of the Temple.
During the seventh year reign of the Persian King, Artaxerxes, his scribe, Ezra, was tasked with bringing in more groups of returning “Israelites, including priests, Levites, musicians, gatekeepers and temple servants, [who] came up to Jerusalem” (Ezra 7:7) to continue rebuilding the Temple of Israel and begin teaching the scriptures in the Temple again. They “had begun [their] journey from Babylon on the first day of the first month, [Nisan 1]” (Ezra 7:9) beginning the reestablishment of the Temple system of Teaching of the Scriptures.
During the twentieth year of Artaxerxes’ reign, we saw the initiation of one of the most important prophecies foretelling of the coming of Christ. During the Babylonian Captivity, Daniel had prophesied that “From the time the word goes out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.'”. On the first day of the first month [Nisan 1], while Nehemiah was serving as cupbearer/chief counsellor to the Persian King, Artaxerxes, God used this foreign sovereign to issue a decree which approved and authorized Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and restore Israel as a state (ref. Nehemiah 2:1-6). This first day of the Israelite religious calendar marked the day Israel would begin to be restored and rebuilt and was the start of the prophetic countdown to Christ.
We can easily trace Christ’s Baptism and the commencement of His Earthly Ministry to this same date of beginnings.
In our previous article, we discussed that during the second Passover Festival of His Ministry, Christ fed the multitude of 5,000 with the five small barley loaves and two small fishes. During the third Passover Festival He was crucified. In John 2:13-25, we learn about Christ’ first Passover Festival where He is filled with righteous anger and drives out the merchants and money changers with a whip, yelling “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” This would have taken place on the 14th day of the first month, Nisan (Abib).
Earlier in the chapter, Christ and a few of His Disciples were attending the wedding feast in Cana. John makes a point of stating that the wedding began on the third day (ref. John 2:1), which is still a custom of modern Jews today, because “God saw that it was good” twice on this day, leading many to believe weddings will be doubly blessed if they start on the third day (ref Genesis 1:9-13). Most weddings lasted a week during this time period and it would be during the last day or two that the wine would realistically run out. The water transformed into wine miracle must have taken place no later than the 9th of the first month, a maximum of seven days.
This 9th of the first month being the latest this miracle could have taken place is reinforced by the fact that “after this [Jesus] went down to Capernaum with His mother and brothers and His Disciples. There they stayed for a few days.” We’ve previously discussed how the 10th of the first month was extremely important, since it was the day that the Passover Lamb was chosen and brought into the family home (ref. Exodus 12:3) before the Passover celebration on the 14th which is mentioned in John’s narrative immediately afterwards.
The few days before the wedding were marked by Christ being baptized [Nisan 1], John’s disciples, Andrew and Simon Peter following Christ the day after His Baptism [Nisan 2], and Philip and Nathanael being called by Jesus the day after that (ref. John 1:35-50) [Nisan 3]. The Wedding of Cana miracle where water was turned into wine would have ended no later than Nisan 9, since the next day [Nisan 10] Jesus went back home with His Disciples to bring the sacrificial lamb into their house in preparation for Passover [Nisan 14] when He chases out the merchants and money changers.
The first day, of the first month, the Tabernacle was consecrated and God’s Spirit filled the building and was also the date of the future Baptism of Christ by water and the Holy Spirit. It marked the beginning of the cleansing of the Temple by King Hezekiah, mirroring Jesus chasing out the merchants and money changers during His first ministry Passover. It was the date when Ezra set out to reestablish the teaching of the Word of God in the Temple, which was fulfilled by Christ by His explaining during His second Passover that, “It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ [so] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from Him comes to Me.” (ref. John 6:45). Ezra teaching in the Temple was necessary so they could recognize when they were being taught by God Himself. This date was also the commencement of the seventy ‘sevens’ marking Christ’s coming and “After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One [would] be put to death” (ref. Daniel 9:25) on the third Passover.
While this First Day, of the First Month is not typically celebrated, it is still significant, since it helps us remember that God set it aside as a special day to mark the beginning of His Calendar in preparation for the Spring Festivals, starting with Passover. In His Infinite Wisdom, God included prophetic signs within the Temple, to point us to the coming Messiah and some of the key prophecies Christ fulfilled during the three Passovers of His Ministry. This beginning of God’s Calendar, we hope you recognize how Christ was baptized to prepare the way for the Holy Spirit to baptize us by fire, to fulfill the roles God’s Kingdom has for our own lives today.
Prepared by, Kent Simpson, Apostolic Prophet & Eric Sepulveda, PMT Administrator
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