Solar eclipses and the conquering of Gadara by Jesus Christ
We have already explored the solar eclipse of 29 AD on the local coins of Pontius Pilate, Herod Antipas , and Herod Philip. I believe the baptism of Jesus Christ occurred at the same time of the solar eclipse of November 24, 0029 AD. The "heavens were torn open as Jesus arose from the Jordan river after His baptism. This provides us with a clear astronomic time table of the ministry of Jesus Christ from His baptism to His crucifixtion of April 3, 33 AD. His crucifiction occurred during a lunar eclipse on Passover. No way around these dates and the NASA eclipse tables. It cleary fits in with the chronology of the Gospels
We know that Jesus Christ crossed the Sea of Galilee early to mid ministry to visit the City of Gadara which appears early in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. Knowing the history of solar eclipses and war, Jesus Christ invades the region of the Gadarenes with His disciples. Why was this small trip with His disciples so important? Jesus came to spread the gospels not only to the lost children of Israel but to the Gentiles as well. City of Gadara had the largest of the ancient harbors on the Sea of Galilee. It was the economic powerhouse of the region and both Herod Antipas and Philip founded the cities of Tiberias and Bethsaida( renamed Julias ) during the years of solar eclipses to compete with Gadara.
The economic importance of Gadara during the time of Jesus Christ is not the only thought playing out in the Gospels. In 29-30 AD Herod Antipas divorces the wife of the Nabatean King Aretas IV. This is likely at the same time of the 29 AD solar eclipse, the founding of Julias (Bethsaida) by Herod Philip on the Sea of Galilee , followed by Jesus visiting the southeast shore near Gadara and then the beheading of John the Baptist. If one considers these actions to be a prelude to war with the Nabateans then what is the military and cultural significance to the Jews with Jesus crossing the sea and landing in Gadara. Let's look at the history.
A brief solar eclipse occurred over Israel when the Hasmonean Priest/King Alexander Jannaeus came to power in 103 BC. His reign represented unending conflict and war.
Note on the above coin a circular ridge around the planet on the obverse. The flame like projections from the disc have been identified as a royal diadem. I think it looks more like a planet in front of a solar disc, i.e. the solar eclipse of 103 BC when Alexander Jannaeus became king. Again very important, he was Alexander Jannaeus after Alexander the Great. He tried to act like the Hellenistic Alexander the Great by waging a military campagin of conquest. Alexander the Great started his conquest of the Levant after the solar eclipse of 335 BC. The Kingdom of Israel was almost as large as it was under King David at the time of Jannaeus. Alexander Jannaeus attacked Gadara in 93 BC and almost lost his life at the battle against the Nabateans. This was a contributing factor to the Jewish civil war that followed and claimed the lives of 50,000 Jews. The Pharisees disagreed with Jannaeus and his Hellenistic military ambitions. Jannaeus became ill from heavy drinking and likely died in a similar manner in 76 BC like his idol , Alexander the Great.
Jannaeus and his defeat at Battle of Gadara ushered in the Golden age of Nabatean influence. The Nabatean King Obodas who defeated both Jannaeus at Gadara in 93 BC and later the Seluccids at the Battle of Cana (84 BC in Gadara) was elevated and worshipped as a god by the Nabatean people for his accomplishments against the Jews. Gadara continued to be the economic hub of trade with ancient Israel and the Nabateans until Pompey The Great invaded the Levant in 63 BC. Note again just like Alexander the Great.
In 63 BC, Pompey placed a siege on Jerusalem and reorganized Gadara to strengthen the area from Nabatean expansion. When Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee on His way to Gadara he was met with a violent storm in which he calmed and controlled as the Son of the Living God. Note the above coin was first minted in Gadara in 63 BC under Pompey. The residents, in honor of Pompey, reset the date of the founding of the city in Pompey's honor. A bust of Hercules is on the front, a graven image offensive to the Jews, and on the rear is the prow of a warship. Military force in the Galilee is best exerted thru naval power. Large numbers of troops can be transported to areas of trouble easily with ships and the above coin indicates how Pompey's troops likely conquered Gadara. The City of Gadara is inland but once a military force controls the docks, ships and fish, the food dwindles quickly in a siege. In 30 BC Caesar Augustus gave Gadara to Herod the Great.
Jesus visited the regions of three pagan cities in scripture. The first was the region of Gadara. The last was Caesarea Philippi. His journey encountered a storm which he calmed. A storm of this magnitude would have destroyed the ships of Pompey the Great invading Gadara. His landing on the shore of the southeastern Galilee was met by demoniacs. Again this is Jesus Christ invading a region in which the last "great" Hasmonian King/Priest Jannaeus lost a war against the Nabateans. The same Nabateans in which war was brewing with Herod Antipas and Herod Philip at the present time. Rome was now in control and the demon answers Jesus that his name was "Legion." Clear military terminology and political allegory in the Gospels. The Gadarenes are eating pork and are thoroughly a Hellenized, non Jewish people. Jesus does something so incredible it could not have been fabricated. The demoniac lives in the tombs screaming and crying. Nobody has the strength to bind him and he comes out to confront Jesus as Jesus gets out of the boat. Not a friendly welcome party. The demoniac cuts himself with stones. One disease associated with pork consumption does this to people, Trichinosis. The cysts live in peoples muscles causing pain and spasticity. No cure or medicine is available and the victims are ostracized from society and trying to dig the parasites out from their bodies. Only Jesus knew this. He permits the demons to go into a herd of pigs and run off a cliff into the sea to die. Jesus likely saved the city of Gadara from additional vectors for the spread of Trichinosis. Notice Jesus allowed the legion of demons to stay in the area by sending them into the pigs. The response of the people of Gadara then tells us why, they were scared and asked him to leave. The demoniac was saved and healed and Jesus asked him to stay and spread the Gospel. One tradition has the cured demoniac saving many people in the cities of the Decapolis. We know from Josephus the Jews destroyed Gadara during the First Jewish Revolt and then Vespasian destroyed the city and the surrounding area. Vespasian had a fleet on the Sea of Galilee to project his power.
The Gadarenes and the citizens of Jerusalem rejected Jesus and they were destroyed. Christ comes to conquer our will but we must freely give it to Him. Jesus Christ always wins. The Gadarenes loved the Nabatean king Obodas who was worshipped as a god. They reset their calendar for Pompey the Great. They rejected the definition of Love which is Jesus Christ. Rather than fighting Jesus even the demons begged Him for mercy. How much more should we love and respect the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings, Jesus Christ.
Coin Photos Athena Numismatics