The Book of Abraham claim about planetary “set times” leads to startling evidence for design by a Creator. Planetary periods, and even some intervals between conjunctions, are multiples of two sacred time units.
In last month’s article we summarized the Lord’s revelation on astronomy as recorded in the Book of Abraham as Abraham’s Three Truths:
- One revolution of Kolob is one day unto the Lord, being 1,000 earth years.
- There are set times for the earth, moon and sun which were designed to reckon time.
- The planets form a progression of increasing set times, designed to reckon time, beginning with the earth and moon and ending with Kolob.
The first two truths were discussed in detail, where it was pointed out that the precise “set time” for the moon of 29.53059 days and of the sun of 365.2425 days form the basis of the (corrected) Hebrew Calendar, and both of those numbers need to be just that precise for the calendar to work perfectly for the 7,000 years of the earth’s temporal existence. This article proceeds to discuss Abraham’s Third Truth, proposing just what the “set times” of the other planets in the solar system are, and demonstrates that they form a series of very precise intervals like perfectly interlocking gears in a great celestial timepiece, just as the Lord revealed to Abraham. The astonishing result is that the periods of the planets and even of their conjunctions are almost exactly whole number multiples of two sacred time intervals. That is strong evidence that the entire solar system was designed by a Creator.
Planetary Set Times
Synodic or Sidereal?
These two periods can be very different. For example, consider the planet Venus. It orbits the sun 13 times while the earth orbits the sun 8 times, that is, in 8 years. Thus, it’s sidereal period is 8/13 of a year, or about 225 days. But suppose we ask, “How many times will Venus appear to rise with the sun in those 8 years?” The answer is that as we orbit the sun 8 times, Venus must pass us 5 times in order for it to finish its 13 orbits. Thus, it will appear on earth that Venus passes the sun 5 times in 8 years and its synodic period is 8/5 of a year, or about 584 days. In case you don’t understanding that reasoning, the main point is that the sidereal period of 225 days is very different from its synodic period of 584 days.
Which planetary period makes the most sense to be what the Lord called the “set time” for each planet? There are reasons for choosing either, so we need to consider this point. The planets can be divided into two groups: the inner and the outer planets. The planets Mercury and Venus are nearer to the sun than is the earth and hence are called “inner” planets. Because they must always stay near the sun, they can only be seen shortly after sunset or before sunrise. Hence, they are both called evening and morning “stars.” (Note that throughout the Book of Abraham and also in this paper, the words “star” and “planet” are used almost interchangeably). Venus often can be seen in the twilight before stars are even visible. Thus, for the inner planets, as for the moon, the synodic period relative to the sun seems to be the more important, and will be used for their set times.
On the other hand, it can be argued that the more important period for the outer planets is the sidereal period because they are usually only visible at night when the stars are visible. The way the “star clock” works is that the principal stars in each of the twelve zodiac constellations are like the twelve numbers on the face of a clock, and the planets are like “hands” on the clock face which move around the clock at different rates to tell time. Thus, the more important period for those planets is that relative to the stars, so it seems more likely that the “set time” of the outer planets is their sidereal period.
Before considering each of the planets in order, we need to say a word about the celestial yardsticks used to design the solar system intervals. As stated above, the earth’s average solar day is taken to be the basic unit. The 7-day week seems to be the principal yardstick of Abraham’s Second Truth, concerning the sun-earth-moon system for two reasons. First, both the lunar month and the solar year come out nearly even in weeks, and second, the Enoch and Hebrew calendars are both based on the week. But other intervals appear to be those used when the Lord “laid the foundations of the earth” and of the heavens (Job 38:4).
The Vientena, Trecena and Novena
Work in Progress. It is important to note that this entire subject is one of current research and discovery. I have delayed some two decades to publish parts of what is in this article, awaiting further confirmations. The work on Mercury and Venus is now becoming mature, but I have barely scratched the surface for the outer planets. One note that occurs to me as I write this article is that the 9-day count may be more important for the sidereal (night) periods and the 13-day count may be more important for the synodic (day) periods. In fact, I am not even sure of when the first day of a novena occurs, so I tentatively adopt the same one used by the Mayans. Now let us look at each of the planets in order to see how their set times form a set of interlocking intervals, designed according to these yardsticks of the merc and the sacred round.
One Planet Above Another
Because I have already discussed the role of Mercury in some details in my articles, just one example should make it clear that the Lord is using the merc as a unit of measure. The date proposed in my articles for the birth of Christ is Wed 5 Apr 1 BC pm* (after sunset), and for his resurrection is Sun 3 Apr AD 33 am* (before sunrise). That interval between what are arguably the two most important dates in the history of mankind is 12,051 days. In my earlier papers, I have discussed how that interval is equal to exactly 104 cycles of the planet Mercury (104 x 115.8775 = 12,051.26). On the Mercury calendar, both the Savior’s birth and Resurrection occurred on the holy day “1 Creation,” which is the first day of the Mercury cycle.
What has this got to do with the merc? That interval happens also to be exactly equal to 103 mercs (103 x 117 = 12,051). First, this is offered as an indication that the Lord is using the merc as an interval of time measurement. Moreover, it also demonstrates how an interval which is only approximate (such as one Mercury cycle differing by more than a day from a merc) can be made to fit precisely to the very day by dropping or adding an entire cycle when needed (103 mercs = 104 cycles).
Eight Years.Venus, besides having nearly exactly five times the synodic period of Mercury, is also closely tied to the length of the year on earth. The relationship is very simple: there are almost exactly five Venus cycles every eight years. To show the accuracy, note that 8 x 365 days exactly equals 5 x 584 days. The period of eight years also realigns the moon. Thus, if a child is baptized on her eighth birthday on our Gregorian calendar, she will be “reborn” near her birthday on both the Hebrew Calendar, and also the Venus calendar. This relationship is shown in the illustration by gears with 25 teeth for the earth, and 40 for Venus.
Forty Years. An excellent realignment interval of all three set times of Mercury, Venus, and the year occurs after forty years. Forty years of 365 days = 25 Venus cycles of 584 days and also completes 126 Mercury cycles. As noted in my previous articles, some of the periods of forty years mentioned in the scriptures apparently occurred when these cycles aligned with the holy days on the Hebrew Calendar.
The Venus Calendar. It might be constructive here to note how the cycles of Venus form a miniature of all history, because this again shows the design to the solar system. The period of Venus is about 583 11/12 days, so after 12 cycles, it comes out approximately even: 12 Venus cycles equals nearly exactly 7,007 days. Using the 13-day trecena as the unit of time for the Venus calendar, one can count 11 cycles of exactly five mercs (585 days) each followed by one cycle of 572 days, for a total of 7,007 days. That way, every cycle begins at the start of a trecena.
A Miniature of History. It turns out that 7,007 days is exactly seven periods of 1,001 days, each of which is in turn divisible by 7 (1,001 = 7 x 143). Evidence for design is suggested when the intervals divide exactly into units which the Lord seems to prefer. For example, we have been told the temporal existence of the earth will be 7,000 years, or 7 days of the Lord (D&C 77:6). We also know that the Lord divides periods into 12 parts, such as 12 hours in a day (John 11:9) or 12 months in a year. We know that all of history is also divided into 12 “hours” and that we are living in the eleventh hour (Mat. 20:6-9, D.C. 33:3). Thus, the earth’s temporal history of 7,000 years is divided into 12 periods, just as are the cycles of Venus.
This is the kind of order which argues most strongly that the solar system was created to be a precise timepiece. The atheist can continue to claim that all such alignments are chance coincidences, but such a posture becomes extremely unlikely, and much harder to believe than simply accepting that it was designed.
The synodic period of Mars is nearly exactly three sacred rounds of 260 days (3 x 260 = 780), which fact argues strongly for the set time of Mars to be the synodic period. An even the slight discrepancy eventually comes out to be exact. That is, the set time is 779 59/63 days, so after 7 x 9 years, the orbital period comes out to be exact in days.
The synodic period of Mars is in a 4:3 ratio with Venus. When the 585-day approximation to Venus’ synodic period is used, then it is exact: 3 x 780 = 4 x 585 = 2,340 days. This also is exactly the period on the Mayan calendar when the cycles of the vientena, trecena and novena all realign: 20 x 13 x 9 = 2,340 days. These coincidences add greatly to the arguments for the design of the solar system, as well as supporting the Mayan belief that the solar system was created according to the calendar and not the other way around.
The set time of Jupiter is within four days of being exactly 37 mercs (37 x 117 = 4,329 days). Again, that is surprisingly close to an exact number of mercs for such a large orbit. But the orbital period also comes out even more exactly in sacred rounds: 50 x 260 = 13,000 days, which is three orbits of Jupiter of 4,333.33 days each. So the orbit can be thought of as measure both in mercs and sacred rounds.
The merc is an ideal unit for tracking Jupiter. Jupiter’s period is a little less than 12 years, so Jupiter spends a little less than a year in each zodiac constellation. Three mercs = 3 x 117 = 351 days, which is also a little less than a year. Thus one could create a calendar on which Jupiter moves to the next constellation in intervals of three mercs. After one full cycle of Jupiter around the twelve constellations of the zodiac, it would have taken 12 x 3 = 36 mercs. At that time one more merc could be inserted for a total of 37 mercs which corrects it to within four days. So the merc is especially well suited to track Jupiter’s orbit.
The sidereal period of Saturn is about 29.5 years (10,764.44 days). As already mentioned in other articles, the Lord has explicitly stated that he sometimes counts one day to a year. The moon’s cycle of phases takes approximately 29.5 days, and the orbital period of Saturn is about 29.5 years. Thus, Saturn is counting in years as the moon is counting in days, in the same way that the Lord says he reckons. Taken by itself, it appears to be a chance coincidence, because there is no obvious reason that the moon should be calendrically related to Saturn. The argument against this merely being chance is that there is a long series of such coincidences that form a pattern.
The orbital period of Saturn is almost exactly 92 mercs (92 x 117 = 10,764). I shall not attempt to calculate the odds against all these periods being measured so well in mercs, but by this time it appears to be out of the question that it is caused by blind chance.
Years in Sacred Rounds. One can ask, “What number of years most nearly equals an exact number of sacred rounds?” The answer is that 42 years very nearly equals 59 sacred rounds (42 x 365.2425 = 15,340.185 days and 59 x 260 = 15,340 days). Twice that is 84 years, so if one approximates the orbit period of Uranus to be exactly 118 sacred rounds, then one automatically is counting by exactly 84-year periods. Thus we see that even the year comes out even in sacred rounds, and that happens when it exactly matches the orbit of another planet. By this time it is hopefully clear to the reader that both the sacred round and the merc we used in designing the solar system.
Table 1. Planetary “Set Times.” All are nearly whole number multiples of either the sacred round of 260 days, or the merc or 117 days.
There is an entire field which I have ignored up until this point, and that is the importance of conjunctions. A conjunction means that two objects are near each other in the sky, such as when a planet passes another planet or a star. In the case of considering planets to be hands on a clock, it means that two of the hands are aligned, pointing in the same direction. On our usual clock, the most important time that occurs is at noon and midnight, because both hands are also pointing at a number. But at the ten other places on the clock where the two hands align, they are not pointing to an exact number, but in between. Thus, I had felt that the times of aligning hands was less important than when they align with a number. I have been postponing any research on conjunctions, but that has just been changed because of Neptune.
This discovery opens up the field of conjunctions between other planets, and I cannot now refrain from at least a preliminary investigation. After all, if this conjunction interval really was designed, then conjunctions between some other planets should follow the same pattern and also come out even in celestial time units.
Now I have to check Mars-Jupiter conjunctions and sure enough, we have another winner. They occur every 816.45 days, and 819 days is equal to 7 mercs (7 x 117 = 819). The period of 819 days was already known to me as the period when the 7-day week realigns with the novena and trecena (819 = 7 x 9 x 13), but it had never occurred to me that this period might equal the interval between Mars-Jupiter conjunctions. Table 2 summarizes these results.
- Pratt, John P., “Abraham’s Three Truths of Astronomy,” Meridian Magazine (9 March 2004).
- Pratt, John P., “Venus Resurrects This Easter Sunday,” Meridian Magazine (27 Feb 2001) and “A Native American Easter,” Meridian Magazine (28 Mar 2001).
- The “Lords of the Night” are listed by Anthony Aveni, Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico (Austin, Texas: U. of Texas Press, 1980), p. 157, 162. The names vientena, trecena, and novena are taken from Munro Edmonson, The Book of the Year (Salt Lake City: U. of Utah Press, 1988), p. 5.
- The order of the days of the week derives from taking those seven planets, with each of those “lords” as reigning for one hour of 24, beginning with Saturn, going from the last to the first. Each day is named for the lord reigning during the first hour. This yields the order Saturn (Saturday), Sun (Sunday), Moon (Monday), Mars (Tuesday), Mercury (Wednesday), Jupiter (Thursday), and Venus (Friday).
- The Mayan long count groups eighteen 20-day vientenas together to form the 360-day prophetic year. It has not been mentioned much in my articles because I have not yet determined whether it is part of the Lord’s sacred calendars at all. It may have just been a Mayan invention. The Sacred Round, which groups twenty 13-day trecenas together, is at least a thousand years older than the Mayans, and is clearly a sacred calendar of God. The merc most likely is a group of thirteen 9-day novenas, and is clearly part of the same system as the Sacred Round.
- One assumes that the Mayan long count prophetic year of 360-days begins on day 1 of the novena because 9 divides evenly into 360. The gylphs associated with each day are numbered from that point, being called G1 through G9 (for “Glyph 1”). On my calendrical conversions pages (for example, https://www.johnpratt.com/items/calendar/calcalc/datelist.html), I use the notation “1 Light 1” where the first “1” refers to the day of the trecena, “Light” is the day of the vientena, and the final “1” is the day of the novena.
- The planetary orbital periods from Mercury to Saturn are taken from Stahlman, W.D. & Gingerich, Owen, Solar and Planetary Longitudes for Years -2500 to +2000, (Madison, U. of Wisconsin, 1963). They are average values over that historical period and hence differ from current values. The value for Saturn differs much more from the modern value than the others and is suspect, but it does not appear to be a misprint. The values for Uranus and Neptune are the current values, taken from C.W. Allen, Astrophysical Quantities (London: Athlone Press, 1976), p. 140.
- Pratt, John P., “The Restoration of Priesthood Keys on Easter 1836, Part I: Dating the First Easter,” The Ensign (June, 1985), pp. 59-68 proposes the Resurrection date, and “Passover: Was it Symbolic of His Coming?” The Ensign (Jan, 1994) pp. 38-45, proposed the birth date.
- Pratt, John P., “A Native American Easter,” Meridian Magazine (28 Mar 2001), Table 2.
- An excellent example is the first three large moons of Jupiter, which have sidereal periods of 1.76914 days (Io), 3.55118 days (Europa), and 7.15455 days (Ganymede). The ratio of the first two periods is 2.007, and of the last two is 2.015. (Allen, p. 146).
- The sidereal period of Mercury is 87.969 days and of Venus is 224.701 days, which have a ratio of 2.554.
- The 40-year realignment cycle is discussed in Pratt, John P., “Exodus Date Testifies of Christ,” Meridian Magazine (7 Oct 2003), section 3.3.
- Note that we are not currently in the last hour, because there are twelve hours in a day.
- The day-year pattern is discussed in Pratt, John P., “Enoch Calendar: Another Witness of the Restoration,” Meridian Magazine (5 Aug 2002), section 1.
- The calculation is easy: Simply calculate the rate of one planet moving around the clock relative to the other, which gives the rate of the faster hand crossing the slower. In this case the rate is (1 rev)/(Conj. Period) = (1 rev)/(30,685.4 days) – (1 rev)/(60189.4 days). Exercise for the student: Do you see why the hands on a clock only align in 11 places rather than 12?
- The four principal stars are Regulus = 12 o’clock, Antares = 3 o’clock, Fomalhaut = 6 o’clock, and Aldebaran = 9 o’clock. See Pratt, John P., “The Lion and Unicorn Testify of Christ, Part II: The Four Royal Stars,” Meridian Magazine (5 Dec 2001).
- Pratt, John P., “Venus and the Beginning of Mortality,” Meridian Magazine (9 July 2003).
- 1/P = 1/4332.8486 – 1/10764.44
- 1/P = 1/686.99576 – 1/4332.8486
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