The following questions were received concerning the two recent articles in Meridian Magazine by Dr. John P. Pratt, “Venus and the Beginning of Mortality” and “Astronomical Witnesses of the Great Flood.”
Predicting the Future?
Q. If you can calculate the seven sacred calendars backward in time, can you also do it for the future? Of course, you can’t determine the date of the Second Coming, but how about some other events, like the return of the lost tribes?
A. This is by far the most asked question, and it deserves a thorough answer. I’m spending all available time trying to understand the past, which is hard enough. I don’t expect ever to be confident enough to predict future events for several reasons. First, the calendars themselves are a work in progress. While there is no question about the dates I’ve published, there are still a few gray areas where the “leap” corrections are made. Second, all I can do is tell when the calendars align, but I cannot know if there is any event planned for that date. I did find two future alignments and not only notified all Meridian readers, but invited them to celebrate with me. We held both a Native American Easter and also a Feast of Trumpets, but to my knowledge nothing else happened of significance on those days, nor did I predict anything. Third, even if there is an event associated with the alignment date, it is usually a religious event that would not make the headlines. Two of the best alignments during the restoration of the Church were the dates I’ve proposed for the night that Joseph Smith read James 1:5, and the Resurrection of the Book of Mormon. All that happened on those dates was that the Spirit of God entered a young boy’s heart, and a sign was put up in a store window announcing that a new book was for sale. Those dates seemed so insignificant that even the Prophet Joseph Smith made no note of them. Finally, there are other unknowns, such as when the earth will reel to and for as a drunken man , which could change the times and seasons .
There is also another important point. Why did the Lord go to the trouble to write these dates in the record of the skies for us to read? To me, the answer is the same as to the question, “Why does the Lord prophesy any future event?” I believe the purpose is not to satisfy our curiosity about exactly when events will happen, but rather it is often to be a testimony after the fact that the Lord knew the future. So it is with these dates. I do not believe he wishes most of us to know the precise dates in the future when any of the big events will happen, but afterwards it will be clear that they had been planned from before the foundations of the solar system. There has been a huge attack on the Book of Genesis over the last century and a half, to make it appear to be a collection of campfire stories rather than the revealed word of God. My purpose in this series of articles is to show that the events described in Genesis are written in an astronomical record for us all to see that God knows the end from the beginning and that only he could have been the author of Genesis. Thus, I am focusing on the past, in an attempt to recover dates which have been lost to us.
Close Approach of Mars?
Q. What about Mars being so close this month? Does that have any significance?
A. Mars is indeed very close now, and if you haven’t yet gone out to see it, it is worth your time to find the blazing red beacon in the south-east sky after sunset. I do not understand the Mars calendar yet, and even if I did, I doubt there would be any significance to this month’s close approach. None of the other calendars attribute anything special to the distance of the planet, but only to its position in the sky to keep track of time.
Q. If Adam was 4,000 years before Christ, are we now in the seventh seal? If so, what about the great earthquake which was supposed to occur in the sixth seal?
A. The seventh 1,000-year period since Adam apparently officially began on 6 Apr 2000 at the dedication of the Palmyra temple. That day was 1 Nisan, New Year’s Day on the Hebrew calendar. But I’m not sure that is the same day.as when the seventh seal begins. I suspect that the seven seals may be counted with a “little season” called the “meridian of time” between the 4th and 5th seal. Its minimum length would probably be 33 years (the Savior’s life time), and the maximum 70 years, ending at the destruction of the temple. If so, then the sixth seal may not end until 2033-2070, and the earthquake of the sixth seal  could occur any time in the next few decades. I don’t know. This is all just speculation based on the fact that the scriptures say Christ would be born “in” the meridian of time, rather than “at” . Moreover, some ancient calendars were structured with an “extra” little season (Passover week) wedged in the middle of the year, as well as having the little season at the end of the year (Tabernacles). Time will tell.
Meridian of Time?
Q. If the temporal existence of the earth is 7,000 years, and Christ came after 4,000 years, then how can his coming be called the “meridian of time” when it was not at the midpoint?
A. I believe the 7,000 years are counted as seven 1,000-year “days” of the Lord’s time . Apparently those days cannot be divided, so the meridian of time must come after the fourth day, rather than in the middle of it. If so, then the birth of Christ occurred exactly at the meridian of time, to the very day.
Q. If there was a world-wide flood, then what about the histories of ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Chinese and Sumerians? Don’t their records imply that they existed from about 3,000 B.C. on, without any major catastrophes?
A. If there was a world-wide flood in 2343 B.C. as I believe, then our ancient histories of Sumeria, Egypt and China need their chronologies to be corrected. Those histories are not based on any absolute dating technique, such as a solar eclipse, but rather on the unsubstantiated lengths of reigns of kings. It was common for ancient kings to exaggerate the lengths of their reigns, which made them appear more successful. I believe that future research will establish that those civilizations were all founded after 2343 B.C., that is, after the Great Flood.
Sun Stood Still?
A. The calendars work as though the sun, moon, and planets have always been moving smoothly according to the laws of physics. If the Lord altered some of these motions, then he restored them afterward in a way that looks like they were never touched.
Q. Have you looked at any other important dates in history, such as at the founding of the United States? Are any of the birthdates of the founding fathers significant?
A. Yes, I’ve looked at those dates and found nothing interesting. So far, these calendars seem to be used only for sacred events. We might consider the Great Flood to be a secular event, but apparently the reason it was so clearly indicated on these calendars was that it was the sacred baptism of the earth.
Q. You point out parent-child links for Jared and Enoch and other prophets. Are there such links between birth and death dates for the rest of us? If so, is there a way I can calculate my family’s dates on these sacred calendars?
A. I currently believe that birth and death dates of parents and children will be shown to be aligned on these calendars more than could be expected by chance, with the Hebrew and Sacred Round being the most important for vital dates. That is now only a hypothesis; it will require a large statistical study to verify this claim. If you want to check your own family’s dates (or any dates at all), you can make calculations on my website at www.johnpratt.com/items/calendar/index.html, choosing the spreadsheet option. Unfortunately, the versions there are not all the latest, and some are not even available, but I hope to update them soon. You need to have Java enabled in your browser for it to work.
Q. If the true Venus cycle is 583.92166 days, and the Venus calendar counts it as 585 days, how does the calendar keep synchronized with the planet?
A. The length of the cycle is very close to 583 11/12 days, which means that 12 cycles will come out even (7,007 days). That number of days is evenly divisible by both 13 and 7, so it comes out even in both weeks and the 13-day Sacred Round count. The Venus cycle always begins on a day “1” of the 13-day count. There are 11 cycles of 585 days and then 1 of 572 days for a total of 7,007 days per 12 cycles. On the last cycle, Venus does not “die” for 13 days, but is “translated.” That 7,007-day period was also thought of as 7 Big Days of 1,001 days each. It is a miniature model of the earth’s 7,000-year existence.
September’s article in this series will treat the birth dates of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.