When I began studying these things, what I focused on first was Jupiter. It played a major role in the signs of 3/2 BC, so I was trying to understand it better. Looking at its behavior over long periods of time I began to see a pattern which was fascinating but at the same time kind of frustrating.
It takes about 12 years for Jupiter to make one journey all the way around the sky, but not being precisely 12 years, when we compare the beginning of the journey to the end, we see some shift in its position with respect to the stars.
In 7 of these 12-year journeys, this shift in position accumulates to the point where one full year has been lost, giving us an overall cycle length of (7 x 12) – 1 = 84 – 1 = 83. This 83-year cycle is fairly stable, meaning that there isn’t a whole lot of shift in position from beginning to end. In the middle of the 83-year cycle we can always expect to find at least two triple conjunctions, occasionally three, separated from each other by 12 years.
If we take four of these 83-year cycles, the shift in position again begins to accumulate, but by adding one more 12-year journey the shift is mostly canceled out, giving us (4 x 83) + 12 = 344. This is a more stable cycle. Stable enough that from -4130 to -2 is a series of 12 of these intervals, with a triple conjunction at each point in between, every 344 years. The fascinating thing in this was that seven Jubilee periods, 7 x 49 = 343, is almost the same time period, making this 344-year interval very close to being a Jubilee marker. The frustrating thing was that though it comes so close, it’s not a perfect match. It seemed too close to a match to be just a coincidence, but yet it was a year off.
At that point I was new to the study of Jubilee cycles. I knew about two interpretations – the 49-year interpretation, and the 50-year interpretation, and hadn’t sorted out which one was most likely to be correct. I wondered if maybe the 49-year interpretation was mostly correct, but with every 7th Jubilee period being 50 years. That would have fit this 344-year cycle nicely. But in reading through the Scriptures that define the Jubilee cycle, I didn’t find any support at all for such an idea. The Scriptures seemed to be pointing to 49 years as the right answer, and even with its 1-year mismatch, the 344-year cycle supported the 49-year interpretation far better than it supported the 50-year interpretation.
Well, as it turned out, I wasn’t yet seeing the whole story. Quite some time passed before I saw this next piece of the picture. Looking closely at Jupiter’s triple conjunctions every 344 years, we again see a gradual shift. In the year -2, Jupiter is at its last triple conjunction of the current 83-year cycle, meaning that the second two conjunctions of the triple are closer together than the first two. As we go back in time, 344 years at a time, by the time we reach the year -4130 we find Jupiter at its first (or next-to-last) triple conjunction of the cycle, meaning that now it’s the first two conjunctions of the triple that are closer together. For a better match of the quality of the first and last triple conjunctions of the series, we could jump ahead 12 years, taking the triple conjunction of -4118 as the first of the series. So now we’re looking at the last triple of the 83-year cycle, just as in the year -2.
But what is this going to do to the math? Surely whatever match we almost had with the Jubilees will be thrown out the window now. We had twelve 344-year periods, 12 x 344 = 4128, but now we’ve reduced the overall time span by 12 years, to 4116.
Well, the amazing end of the story, in case you don’t already see it from the numbers above, is that this 12-year adjustment actually corrects that frustrating mismatch between the conjunctions and the Jubilees. What do we get if we divide 4116 by 12? We get that number 343, which as we saw earlier, is exactly 7 Jubilees. 4116 = 12 x 7 x 49, for a total of 12 x 7 = 84 Jubilees in this time period we’re looking at, begun and ended by a matched pair of triple conjunctions.
A couple of things that this tells us –
1) The 49-year interpretation of the Biblical Jubilee cycle is well-supported by Jupiter’s cycles.
2) The kind of support found here for the Jubilee cycle is a bit different from what we might have expected to find, and this can guide us in what to be looking for as we study the cycles of the other planets. We don’t find every Jubilee to be marked. What we find instead is a longer period, of multiple Jubilees in length, marked just at the beginning and end.