Jesus’ Age 12 Visit to the Temple

Jesus stayed behind at the temple when he was age 12. This is the only fixed event in his life (besides his birth) when we know his age with certainty. He explained to his mother that if she (and we) knew him we’d know he had to be in his "father’s house." This was the reason he had to stay behind in this particular year. If we can figure out the riddle we’ll know the specific year of this visit and that year will also fix the year of Jesus’ birth.


There are two times in Jesus’ life when we know how old he was when he did something. The first time is when he was an infant. The second we look at here, when he stayed behind at the temple when he was age 12. Of course age 12 means Jesus’ 12th year, as all ancient ages count the first year of life as the 1st year. (This is not like modern westerners count life lengths today.) If we can fix the year of this visit at the Temple we can back up to Jesus’ first year, and fix the year of Jesus’ birth.

This is the only direct concrete Bible reference when Jesus is of significant age. The following is the relevant text.

41And his people went every year to Jerusalem during the feast of the passover. 42And when he was 12 years old they went up to the feast as they were accustomed. 43And when the feast days were over they returned, but the boy Joshua remained in Jerusalem and Joseph and his mother did not know it. 44They thought that he was with the sons of their party, and when they went 1 day's journey they sought for him among their own people and those who knew them, 45but they could not find him so they returned again to Jerusalem looking for him.

46After 3 days they found him in the temple sitting in the middle of the teachers listening to them and asking them questions. 47And all those who heard him were amazed at his wisdom and his answers. 48And when they saw him they were astonished and his mother said to him, My son why have you done this to us? Look your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety. 49He said to them, Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I would be in my father's house? 50But they could not understand the words which he said to them. 51So he went down with them and came to Nazareth and he was subject to them, and his mother kept all these words in her heart.

52And Joshua grew in his stature and in his wisdom and in favor with god and men. Luke 2:41-52

This passage not only provides Jesus’ age, but it also provides as many clues as we’re going to get for figuring out what was so special about this year, and this visit to the temple. Here are some of those clues.

  • Jesus was not in the habit of staying behind. The family went to Passover every year, and if Jesus was in such a habit the family would have looked for him and not have presumed him in their company. Something was special about this year, and no previous year, that caused him to stay behind.

  • The sense of the comment that Jesus would remain subject to his parents suggests Jesus would not stay behind in future years either, at least not until he was of age and no longer in the house of his parents. His 13th and following years were not special enough to stay behind.

  • When they confronted him, his answer basically said if you knew me, you’d know that Jesus had to be in his father’s house.

This last line is the key. Jesus was not talking about his own mother and father’s house, but the temple, where his mother found him. This was his answer to why he was there, and this is also the answer as to why it was only at age 12 that he would do such a thing. Something, in that year, must have been so special that he would disregard his parents and their authority over him and remain behind in Jerusalem to stay at the temple.

But what?

The Ten-Fold Jubilee Temple Pattern

The first reference to the temple occurs in the year 9000 from Adam (or early 9001 from Adam) when Jacob has a dream of a ladder to heaven. (We established this date when we worked through the original Bible Chronology in the History section of the website.)

Jacob calls the place Bethel, meaning house of God, sets up a stone there and marks the point in chronological time. The specific encounter is not given day-accurately. Indeed, it either occurred near the end of the year 9000 from Adam or in the first month of the year 9001. For our purposes here it is good enough to put the event somewhere near the start of the year 9001 AA.

It should go without stating that the year 9001 AA is the first year in the 10th Millennium from Adam. The first day in that millennium is 9001/1/1 AA. Another way to state this date is as the start of God’s day 10 in his dealing with Adam’s race.

The following date report is more precise than we can actually date Jacob’s dream, but it does provide a starting point for considering the date of the dream. This date report puts the event at 1986 years before Christ, computed with a year 0, as indicated with the modern NS Gregorian calendar.

None of the old Roman dates are valid in this period. If the most restrictive Roman Era calendar is used this date could be stated as far back as 2265 BC, a difference of about 400 years just from different statements of the calendar. In other words this is in an unstable era for Rome, but it is stable from the perspective of the Bible and it is stable day-accurately to the modern period, so the days-by-number are valid in the following report.

Jacob’s Dream of a Ladder to Heaven
Mon9001-01-01 AA22 Dec -1986 NS7 Apr 1512 BAUC3283201 AAN
-499-01-01 FE8 Jan -1986 OS7 Apr 2265 BC996044 JDN

Mount Sinai

The Ancient Israelites departed Egypt and after several months of wandering in the wilderness eventually had an encounter with the Lord himself at Mount Sinai. This meeting happened in the 3rd month, and began at the 60 day mark from the Exodus from Egypt. The following is the date report for the assembly at the base of the mountain. Moses and the rest would ascend the mountain for a meal across the following days.

Within a few month tolerance this is 500 years after Jacob’s dream of a ladder to heaven. It is starting to establish a pattern. Temple events, or house of God events, happen on a 500 year, or Ten-Fold Jubilee pattern. This event is exactly in the middle of God’s day 10 in his dealing with the affairs of Adam’s race.

The middle of day 10 is the time on the ancient Mosaic calendar when the Passover Lamb is selected and penned. It appears that the Lord selected and penned all of Pharaoh’s Egypt, in effect all of the fallen, pagan, world. The plague on first born was simply a taste of what happens at twilight on God day 14, a period still future, when he will likely deal with the rest of the pagan world. Anyone not under Jesus’ blood, a substitute Passover Lamb, is at risk at that event.

Assembly at the base of Mt. Sinai
500 years from Jacob’s Dream
Sat9501-03-15 AA28 Jul -1486 NS20 Jun 912 BAUC3465675 AAN
1-03-15 FE10 Aug -1486 OS20 Jun 1665 BC1178518 JDN

Solomon’s Temple

After another 500 years, another Ten-Fold Jubilee, Solomon dedicates his temple. The dedication of Solomon’s temple and palace likely occurred in the year 10,000 from Adam, leaving the first day of 10001 from Adam as the start of another Ten-Fold Jubilee pattern at this period.

The year 10,001 from Adam is the important year here because it starts God’s day 11 in his dealing with the affairs of Adam’s fallen race.

Solomon’s Temple Dedication
500 years from the Exodus
Wed10001-01-01 AA6 Oct -987 NS7 Apr 312 BAUC3648001 AAN
501-01-01 FE15 Oct -987 OS7 Apr 1065 BC1360844 JDN

Ezra and the Second Temple

Ezra’s Second Temple stories land in a 20 year period that ends with the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem’s walls in the year 10499 AA. The start of the next Ten-Fold Jubilee begins at 10501 AA on a date indicated here. Note how the Roman calendars are converging because the distance back is going down and the variation between ways of stating the Roman calendar are reduced. This is the middle of God’s day 11 in his dealing with the affairs of Adam’s race.

Ezra’s Temple Dedication
500 years from Solomon’s Temple
Thu10501-01-01 AA27 Feb -487 NS19 Six 253 AUC3830401 AAN
1001-01-01 FE4 Mar -488 OS19 Six 501 BC1543244 JDN

Jesus’ Era Temple Cycle

The Ten-Fold Jubilee pattern continued during the life of Jesus. It only occurred one time while he was on earth. The theoretical date would have been 500 years further on from the previous dates.

The following is the date report for 11,001 AA, the start of the next Ten-Fold Jubilee in this period. Note at this point the AUC dates for the period are valid, indicating the date was used by people alive at the time. The OS year labeling system was also valid, but unknown, and it identifies the year of this date as what today we call the year 12. Notice also that only the NS calendar disagrees as to the day of the month for this date. As far as the rest of the Roman world was concerned this new Ten-Fold Jubilee began on July 22, 12 AD. This date was the very first day in God’s day 12 in his dealing with the affairs of Adam’s fallen race.

Ten-Fold Jubilee in Jesus’ Era
Fri11001-01-01 AA20 Jul 12 NS22 Jul 765 AUC4012801 AAN
1501-01-01 FE22 Jul 12 OS22 Jul 12 AD1725644 JDN

This pattern of Ten-Fold Jubilee dates that started with Jacob at Bethel had only one place in the life of Jesus when he could celebrate on the cycle in public. It was here, near July, in 12 AD.

What Kept Jesus at the Temple?

Scripture is clear that Jesus never did anything in secret. Jesus did hide his public actions and speech through what the Bible calls parables. Today we would more likely call what Jesus did "riddles" since the process of solving Bible parables is closer to solving riddles.

The story of Jesus remaining behind at the temple is one such riddle, a riddle we are drawn into just like Jesus’ mother. Recall that the primary key for understanding all such riddles is the principle of reduction used to compose the Bible. Every detail not needed has already been eliminated. Nothing remaining in the Bible’s text is extra. It matters that Jesus was age 12, otherwise it would have been eliminated. It also matters that Jesus had to be in the Temple, no other place would be important to this story.

These two clues are in fact a match to the Ten-Fold Jubilee Temple pattern we explored already. As with all other scripture, days and years are equivalent for prophetic and riddling purposes. Jesus being age 12 is like 12 days, just as easily as 12 years. And, every time Jesus does anything, if we are told the number of days, Jesus is operating with a meaning of 1000 year long millennium days of God the father in view.

Why did Jesus stay behind at the temple? At age 12? Because every 500 years, on the Ten-Fold Jubilee, there has been a temple "visitation" and this time was to be no different. We know Jesus, he is habitual, and in this case his habit is to appear to someone at the temple. This particular visit is the 12th day visit, a visit on a pattern that began at Jacob 2000 years before.

The key detail is that it took 3 days to find Jesus at the temple. This visit is the start of the 3rd day from the 1st day of the 1st visit with Jacob and his dream. It will also take the rest of us, the Christian world, 2000 years before find him in the same place, in the temple.

Picking the Exact Passover

The date report given above puts the theoretical first day of the new millennium at July 22, 12 AD. Passovers happen in March. Which Passover would have been the target Passover when Jesus needed to stay behind?

The two candidates are the two Passovers on either side of the July, 12 AD, date. In other words, Jesus had to have stayed behind in March of 12 AD, or in March of 13 AD in order to keep the Ten-Fold Jubilee pattern.

Of the 4 earlier Ten-Fold Jubilee pattern dates we looked at, 3 of them had dedication events Before the indicted Ten-Fold Millennium date, while 1, the Exodus case, saw the event happen 60 days later. This pattern suggests the indicated Passover is the one at March, 12 AD.

Another detail, one we look at in detail later, suggests Jesus was born in 1 AD. If the March 13 AD Passover was indicated, then Jesus would have been born in 2 AD, a date excessively far future and hard to reconcile with other dates.

The Passover that Jesus attended when he was 12 years old, was the last Passover in the old millennium, held at March 12 AD. This date fixes the year of Jesus’ birth around the year 1 AD. A date we’ll confirm in other articles.

Before looking at the other dates around the life of Jesus, let’s explore this Ten-Fold Jubilee cycle a little more. At this point there were 5 places in Scripture where there had been a New Temple, or visit to a heavenly temple, and a visitation of Jesus with men. What would the pattern be if it continued into future years?

Future Passovers

There is reason to believe that the 500 year marks would remain important times for new temples or other "visitations" all the way to the end of the age. The following summarizes the future dates.

500 Year -- Ten Fold Jubilee Pattern
From Jesus’ Era to Today
Time of Haggai Sophia in Constantinople
Sat11501-01-01 AA12 Dec 511 NS10 Dec 1264 AUC4195201 AAN
2001-01-01 FE10 Dec 511 OS10 Dec 511 AD1908044 JDN
Time of St. Sophia in Kiev
Sun12001-01-01 AA5 May 1011 NS29 Apr 1764 AUC4377601 AAN
2501-01-01 FE29 Apr 1011 OS29 Apr 1011 AD2090444 JDN
Time of St. Peter’s in Rome
Mon12501-01-01 AA26 Sep 1510 NS16 Sep 2263 AUC4560001 AAN
3001-01-01 FE16 Sep 1510 OS16 Sep 1510 AD2272844 JDN
Today (perhaps Jerusalem or New Jerusalem)
Tue13001-01-01 AA16 Feb 2010 NS3 Feb 2763 AUC4742401 AAN
3501-01-01 FE3 Feb 2009 OS3 Feb 2010 AD2455244 JDN

Except for the last one, which has not happened yet, they all appear significant.

  • 511 AD Appears to be St. Sophia’s cathedral built at Constantinople. The name of the building is takes on a Christianized, post resurrection, form and the purpose of the building is to praise Jesus. This is consistent with the Bible’s purpose for an Old Testament temple. St. Sophia’s still stands, but has been converted into a Mosque. It was constructed over a more than 20 year period, future from this date.

  • 1011 AD Appears to be the Haggai Sophia’s Cathedral built in Kiev. Again, a Christian structure that becomes the center for an entire Christian tradition. Kiev would be known as the Jerusalem of Russia and the construction of this Cathedral marked the conversion to Christianity of the Russian peoples, over the 20 years previous.

  • 1510 AD Appears to be the rebuilt St. Peter’s Basilica at Rome, Italy. The old cathedral, St. Peter’s Church, that stood at the same location from the early 300s, was torn down about 1490. That older structure was itself a prophetic structure, started in the early 300s with the general conversion of Rome to Christianity. The new Basilica would be started at the time of Luther’s visit about 1510 AD, though it would take 125 years to complete. The money raising needed for such a large structure lead to the church at Rome selling indulgences, a major sin. This call to build the Ten-Fold cathedral became a trap. Luther’s radical impact on the Christian world was so strong he may have been prophetically walking out a visitation similar to Jesus in 12 AD.

  • 2010 AD This would be expected as a temple in Jerualem. There may yet turn out to have been a secret start, but the most likely temple started on this date was Shanghai Disney.

    When I originally worked out this math I expected a religious structure in the tradition of religious systems. Walt Disney will turn out to be one of the modern prophets, and he built his first Disneyland Park in California to a series of remarkable Biblical designs. That first park became the model for Shanghai, the expected 10 fold Jubilee structure.

This story fixed the year of Jesus’ birth. Further study and we can fix the date. We look at that next.

Phil Stone, updated 2016-11-04