Christian Churches of God

No. 159

 

 

Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection

(Edition 5.0 19960413-20040321-20070511-20030314)

 

Conventional Christendom teaches a Friday crucifixion and Sunday resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Historical records show this doctrine was not taught by the Apostles or the early New Testament Church. This paper examines the Scriptures, history, lunar calendar data, and recent research evidence and lets them provide the truth of the timing. Evidence is presented that Christ’s ministry was for two-and-a-half years, not for three-and-a-half years as has sometimes been inferred from some translations of Daniel 9. A detailed analysis of the events during the six days before the Passover is provided. This paper includes new work which shows that the year of the crucifixion was 30 CE rather than 31 CE or 33 CE as many have believed.

 

 

Christian Churches of God

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(Copyright ã 1996, 1999, 2004, 2007, 2009 Wade Cox)

 

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Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection

 


The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is perhaps the most important single event in human history and the most misunderstood.

 

The traditions associated with the crucifixion assert that Christ was crucified on a cross. This is translated from the Latin word crux. The origin and significance of the cross is dealt with in the paper The Cross: Its Origins and Significance (No. 39)). The Companion Bible at Appendix 162 deals with the two words translated as cross from the Greek NT. The words are stauros and xulon. The Companion Bible notes that the Greek word stauros denotes an upright pale or stake, to which the criminals were nailed for execution. The word xulon denotes a piece of dead log or wood, or timber for fuel or any other purpose. It is not like dendron which is used of a living or green tree (as in Mat. 21:8; Rev. 7:1,3; 8:7; 9:4 etc.). The Appendix states that:

As this latter word xulon is used for the former stauros, it shows us that the meaning of each is exactly the same. Our English word “cross” is the translation of the Latin crux; but the Greek stauros no more means a cross than the word “stick” means a “crutch.” Homer uses the word stauros of an ordinary pole or stake, or single piece of timber. And this is the meaning and usage of the word throughout the Greek classics. It never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but always of one piece alone. Hence the use of the word xulon (no 2 above) in connection with the manner of our Lord’s death, and rendered tree in Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Gal. 3:13; 1Pet. 2:24. This is preserved in our old Eng. name rood or rod. See the Encycl. Brit., 11th (Camb.) ed., vol. 7, p. 505d.

There is nothing in the Greek of the N. T. even to imply two pieces of timber.

The letter chi, X, the initial of the word Christ [Christos] was originally used for His name; or Xp. This was superseded by the symbols       and       , and even the first of these had four equal arms. These crosses were used as symbols of the Babylonian sun god,       , and are first seen on a coin of Julius Caesar, 100-44 BC and then on a coin struck by Caesar’s heir (Augustus), 20 BC ... (see App. 162, p. 186).

 

The first confusion of the matter of the crucifixion is perhaps more clear. Christ was crucified on a stauros or stake, not a cross. He was crucified on the 14th of Nisan sometime in the reign of Tiberius Caesar. The identification of the day of the week will depend on the year in which he was killed and the sequence of events of the week as herein. The Passover rotates depending upon the New Moon and not on the day of the week. There are a number of Scriptures that determine the exact time and there are a number of prophecies that have to be fulfilled in order for Jesus, or more correctly Jehoshua, to be the Messiah.

 

The way of determining the year in which the crucifixion fell is to commence with the known dates of Scripture. The only certain date we have is from the ministry of John the Baptist.

Luke 3:1-6 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, 2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. 3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; 6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. (KJV)

 

The preamble in Luke 3:1 here gives an exact date for the commencement of the ministry of John the Baptist. By establishing his ministry, Scripture then supplies the clues that allow us to establish with absolute certainty the commencement and duration of the ministry of Jesus Christ.

 

Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus, the successor to the Roman Emperor Augustus, was born in 42 BCE to noble parents who were divorced so that Livia, his mother, could marry Octavian (Augustus). Augustus had forced him to divorce his wife so that he could marry the emperor’s daughter, Julia, in order to produce an heir to the throne. Julia was banished in 2 BCE for scandalous behaviour, and, due to the death of her two sons from a previous marriage, Tiberius had to be adopted by Augustus as his heir in 4 CE. The Senate gave him Tribunician power and proconsular authority. When Augustus died, the Senate named Tiberius emperor on 17 September 14 CE (Interpreters Dict. of the Bible, Abingdon, 1962, Vol. 3, p. 640).

 

Augustus reigned until 19 August 14 CE. This is noted by Schürer (The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, T & T Clark, 1987, Vol. 1, p. 203). Schürer dates the reign of Tiberius from this date. There are thus two dates: an effective date and a proclaimed date.

 

The sacred year of Israel began in Nisan, but the civil year in the east began in approximately October, the Month of Beginnings or Tishri. The New Moons of 14 CE began in Jerusalem on Thursday 13 September 14 CE at 04:31 hrs and Friday 12 October 14 CE at 19:47 hrs (determined from H.H. Goldstine, New and Full Moons 1001 BC to 1651 CE, American Philosophical Society, 1973). Tishri might thus begin on 13 October or the fifteenth year of Tiberius was in 28 CE. Depending upon the method of calculation, it is impossible for 1 Tishri to be more than 177 days from 1 Nisan under the postponement system or perhaps less (to 173) by observed months. From 13 October, 1 Nisan would fall on approximately 26 April. This is more than 30 days from the equinox, which occurs in these Julian dates on 20-21 March. This date is thus impossible. It can be deduced that 1 Tishri thus fell on 13 September 14 CE. The second year of Tiberius had to begin in October 14 CE for the fifteenth year of Tiberius to be assumed to have begun in Tishri of 27 CE if the proclamation date is assumed.

 

Pontius Pilate held office for 10 years (A of J, xviii, 4, 2) from 26 CE to 36 CE when he was deposed shortly before Vitellius’ visit to Jerusalem, shortly before Passover of 36 CE. Josephus dates Pilate’s assumption to the twelfth year of Tiberius, which is held as 25-26 CE (Schürer, p. 382, fn. 130). This rests only on the statement of Josephus. 27-28 CE is thus the fourteenth year according to Josephus. This matter, introduces an apparent contradiction to the biblical text, which can be reconciled if it is assumed that Josephus is working from the date of his appointment by the Senate, and Luke is working from the death of Augustus.

 

Another aspect needs to be considered also. The Macedonian names for the months were adopted in Syria from the Seleucid dominion, and the confusion with the Julian Calendar had the year begin on different days in some large cities. In Tyre the year began on 18 November, in Gaza and Ascalon on 29 August (Bickerman, Chronology) and the Julian months were later simply called by the Macedonian names (Ideler I, pp. 429 ff). There is thus some dispute as to whether Josephus was referring to the Jewish month by the Macedonian name or, in fact, the Macedonian/Julian. This question and the Jewish Calendar used is examined by Schürer (ibid., Vol. I, pp. 595-599). Schürer discounts the contention that the Tyrian Calendar was used by the Jews (ibid., p. 599).

 

John the Baptist’s ministry would also have coincided with the month of the blowing of the Jubilee, as 27 CE was a Jubilee year and Atonement on 10 Tishri was the time that it was blown. John could not have commenced his ministry before Tishri 27 CE as the fifteenth year of Tiberius commenced in that month, at the earliest, counting from the death of Augustus.

 

A noteworthy observation from the construction of the calendar in the Book of Jubilees, based on the 364-day year of exactly 52 weeks, placed the Passover on a Wednesday every year with Atonement on a Friday and Tabernacles commenced on a Wednesday. There is general agreement among authorities that the Qumran community deprecated the use of the luni-solar calendar and adopted the calendar similar to or identical with that used in the Book of Jubilees (Schürer, ibid., pp. 600-601). It can thus be assumed that Qumran held a Passover on a Wednesday, which coincided with the general community only in a few years over that period.

 

The placement of the Passover on a Wednesday in 31 CE has been generally accepted by the Churches of God in the twentieth century. Fred Coulter, Harmony of the Gospels, appears to place it on a Wednesday in 30 CE as well as in 31 CE. However, Daniel-Rops, Jesus and His Times, tr. Ruby Millar, Dutton & Co, New York, 1954, places the crucifixion on 7 April 30 CE which is claimed to be a Friday (p. 432).

 

Fred Coulter is grossly in error and perhaps even contrived in his understanding and arguments about the Passover in his work, The Christian Passover, York Publishing Co, CA, 1993. However, it appears to be that Daniel-Rops constructs this Friday argument from a desire to have the crucifixion on a Friday and the sequence of events is re-constructed accordingly. Palm Sunday is inexplicably distanced and the historical comments and comparison between the routes used by Christ and the modern city are fanciful. The entire argument is constructed around the premise that Friday was the day of crucifixion rather than constructing a table of events, which shows the sequence of activity from the entry to Bethany around the preceding Sabbath. No explanation is offered for the Holy Day. Moreover, the Passover is determined from the New Moon which, as we will see, in 30 CE absolutely precludes a Friday crucifixion.

 

It is important for the Orthodox Church to establish 30 CE as a Friday Passover as we will see that the sequence of the Passovers in John from the fifteenth year of Tiberius indicates a 30 CE crucifixion, given the Passover narrative in John 11:55 and John 12:1. The timing of the Passover either in 30 CE or 31 CE has great significance for the Sign of Jonah. Daniel-Rops intuitively understands this point when he observes that:

 

Forty years later, at the beginning of the month of Nisan, in the year 70, a Roman army invested the Holy City. Four legions of Syrian and Numidian auxiliaries, sixty thousand men with the finest material equipment, were led by the Emperor Titus, the son of Vespasian, who had been proclaimed only six months earlier by a coup d’etat of the legions in Egypt (ibid., p. 452).

 

Thus, if the gospel of John refers to only one Passover in chapters 11 & 12, which is almost certain, and the commencement of the narrative is at the Passover of 28 CE, we have a 30 CE Passover. Thus the Orthodox must fabricate the Friday crucifixion, and the Sign of Jonah commences in 30 CE and finishes at 1 Nisan 70 CE. The subsequent destruction of the Temple and the closure of the Temple at Leontopolis in Egypt, is just narrative from the commencement of the closure. If it is in 31 CE the closure of the Sign is with the cessation of sacrifice. Let us examine the options.

 

A necessary step is to establish the dates of the New Moons at Jerusalem over the period of 28-33 CE in order to examine when the dates of 1 Nisan and, thence, the Passover occurs in those years. It is then possible to ascertain quite accurately when a Wednesday or Friday crucifixion is possible, and whether such a view coincides with the biblical texts.

 

Her Majesty’s Nautical Almanac Office has supplied the dates on which the New Moons fell in the years 28-33 CE based upon the work of H. H. Goldstine (ibid.). The times are supplied from observation at Babylon (Baghdad) and thus 37 minutes must be deducted from the times to get Jerusalem civil time. Irregularities in the earth’s rotation give rise to small irregularities in times. The equinox is also earlier from the Julian dates, i.e. 20-21 March. The equinox can be as early as 20 March in the Gregorian system also. Dates and times can also be obtained from the U.S. Naval Observatory and adjusted to Jerusalem time.

 

New Moon times are thus:

Monday                 15 March 28 CE            @ 03:38

Tuesday                13 April 28 CE               @ 17:21

Friday                       4 March 29 CE            @ 04:13

Saturday                  2 April 29 CE               @ 20:43

Wednesday          22 March 30 CE            @ 20:59

Friday                     21 April 30 CE               @ 12:48

Monday                 12 March 31 CE            @ 01:29

Tuesday                10 April 31 CE               @ 14:45

Saturday                29 March 32 CE            @ 23:08

Monday                 28 April 32 CE               @ 10:09

Thursday               19 March 33 CE            @ 13:41

Friday                     17 April 33 CE               @ 22:12

 

From the New Moon timings, the beginning of the sacred year, or 1 Nisan, fell as follows using the standard rules of the New Moon nearest the equinox and the Passover, on 15 Abib, falling past the equinox and working on the standard Jewish day from dark on one day to dark, End Evening Nautical Twilight (EENT) the next day:

Monday                 15 March 28 CE

Sunday                    3 April 29 CE

Thursday               23 March 30 CE

Monday                 12 March 31 CE

Sunday                  30 March 32 CE

Thursday               19 March 33 CE

 

Thus, the Crucifixion would have been as follows:

 

Sunday                  28 March 28 CE

Saturday                16 April 29 CE

Wednesday          5 April 30 CE

Sunday                  25 March 31 CE

Saturday                12 April 32 CE

Thursday               2 April 33 CE

 

It is impossible for the crucifixion to have been on a Friday. The date in 30 CE is clearly a Wednesday. The date in 31 CE is a Sunday. Thus, 31 CE appears ruled out by the advocates of a Wednesday crucifixion. How might 31 CE be accommodated? The argument is made that the sacred year in 31 CE did not begin until Wednesday 11 April 31 CE according to the rules of postponement now extant. However, that still only places the crucifixion on a Tuesday, namely 24 April. Aside from this fact there are a number of other problems with this date. From the ancient system of calculation according to the conjunction, which was observed by both Orthodox Christians and Jews prior to the Hillel calendar’s introduction in 344-358 CE, the latest possible date for 1 Nisan is the Gregorian 7 April (or earlier with the Julian date).

 

The nearest New Moon to the equinox and the Passover after the equinox makes a latest possible date of 7 April (Gregorian). The postponements have seen dates as late as 8 April for 1 Nisan (e.g. 1997 Jewish Calendar), but this rests on no biblical authority and no evidence prior to 344 CE. The Passover cannot fall later than 22-23 April in any year. Under the Julian system the dates are earlier. Thus 25 April 31 CE appears to be a complete fiction.

 

Why was this fiction introduced? The answer appears to lie in the false assumptions behind the theological speculation regarding the seventy weeks of years ending with Messiah. This is based upon the mistranslation of Daniel 9:25 in the KJV. The commencement date for the prophecy is taken from the reign of Artaxerxes I, and the sixty-nine weeks are then ended in 27 CE, which is then claimed as the beginning of Christ’s ministry. He is then claimed to have preached for three and one half years. The week is then split and another period is claimed for the end normally being attributed to the witnesses or such like. The argument is totally contrived and rests on no biblical evidence. H. Hoeh uses this flawed theology as his base in the work The Crucifixion Was Not on Friday (Ambassador College Press, 1959, 1961, 1968). While that title is a true statement, the arguments produced by Hoeh and those such as Coulter, to support this position are not true. The Sign of Jonah is a complex issue and is explained in the paper The Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 13).

 

The alternatives are thus Wednesday 5 April 30 CE, Sunday 25 March 31 CE, Sunday 13 April 32 CE, and Thursday 2 April 33 CE. We can now test what appears to be the year of the crucifixion Passover, based upon the biblical evidence and historical evidence. We know that Christ did not commence his ministry until after John had been put in prison (Mat. 4:12-17; Mk. 1:14).

 

Matthew 4:12-17 Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; 13 And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: 14 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; 16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (KJV)

 

We know from John’s gospel that John was not imprisoned until after the Passover which appears to be that of 28 CE, being the first mentioned and following John’s commencement of his ministry as outlined. The Passover is mentioned at John 2:13,23.

 

John the Baptist was baptising in Aenon near Salim. Jesus had come into Galilee with his disciples who were baptising, although he himself did not baptise (Jn. 4:2). John had not yet been cast into prison.

John 3:22-24  After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. 23 And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. 24 For John was not yet cast into prison. (KJV)

 

We know that Christ was conscious that his ministry had not yet come because he made that point to the woman at the marriage in Cana (Jn. 2:4).

 

From a reconstruction of the timings of the events, we can deduce with some certainty that Christ was baptised around February some 50 days prior to the Passover. The Synoptic gospels do not bear witness to the full number of Passovers concerned. John, however, lists the greater number in question. The first Passover, which appears to be that of 28 CE, is mentioned in John 2:13,23.

 

The next feast mentioned is in John 5:1. The feast is not certain, but it is thought to be perhaps Purim by some (see Comp. Bible, fn. to v. 1). Christ, however, is recorded by John as being in Samaria at the harvest (and perhaps four months from Ingathering) which is approximately at Pentecost of 28 CE (Jn. 4:35).

 

The next Passover feast, in what would be 29 CE, is mentioned in John 6:4.

John 6:1-4 After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. 2 And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased. 3 And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. 4 And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh. (KJV)

 

He taught in Capernaum after this period (Jn. 6:59).

 

There is a feast mentioned in Luke 6:1 when the term second Sabbath after the first is used to translate deuteroprotos or second first Sabbath. This refers to the second Sabbath of a feast from Yom Tov or the first Holy Day. Thus it is either the weekly Sabbath (see fn. to Companion Bible) or the second Holy Day (Friedrich Westburg Die Biblische Chronologie, p. 122 -- see H. Hoeh The Crucifixion Was Not on Friday, 1968 reprint, p. 32). The Companion Bible ties this text to Matthew 12:1 as the weekly Sabbath. This feast is referred to as a Passover by those who seek to establish a fourth Passover, and one distinct from those mentioned in John, in order to establish 31 CE as the year of Christ’s death.

 

The feast of Luke 6:1 at first glance appears to be Tabernacles rather than Passover as the corn is ripe. However, the term corn can refer to barley or wheat and thus refer to the period between March and June and, hence, Passover or Pentecost. The New RSV translates Luke 6:1 as grain fields and not corn fields. If it was Passover and it was the weekly Sabbath, then the Wave Sheaf had not been presented, being presented on the morning after the Sabbath (not the Shabbatown or Holy Day). Remember, Sivan 6 was part of the postponements established under the Hillel system. Christ would not have broken his own injunctions by eating new grain before the wave-sheaf was presented (Lev. 23:14).

 

Barley (and wheat) must be threshed. The reference in Luke 6:1 indicates that the ears of corn were rubbed in the hands before being eaten. Maize (or corn) does not need this action but rather is stripped. Thus, the day appears to be the second Holy Day of the Passover at the earliest. The other possibility is that it was Pentecost Sunday at the wheat harvest. Christ was entitled to glean. This activity preceded the appointment of the twelve apostles (Lk. 6:13) and thus was very early. In this instance, it would then appear to be Passover of 28 CE (or 29 CE at the very latest) that is in question. The activities took place on the (coastal) plain prior to Christ’s entry to Capernaum.

 

The Feast of Tabernacles is mentioned at John 7:2. Jesus went up secretly to the feast but then taught at the Temple (Jn. 7:10,14,37; 8:1-2,20).

 

The Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah is mentioned from John 10:22. The feast is of eight days commencing from the twenty-fifth of the month of Chislev. It is also called the Feast of Lights by Judah. This was winter, two months after the Feast of Tabernacles. The Jewish authorities sought to kill him, but Christ escaped and went beyond Jordan to where John had at first been baptising (Jn. 10:39-42). No mention is made of the duration of this time beyond the Jordan.

 

He came back in to raise Lazarus from the dead and went away again to the city of Ephraim where he remained for some time.

 

The next Passover is mentioned at John 11:55.

John 11:55-57  And the Jews' passover was nigh at hand: and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves. 56 Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye, that he will not come to the feast? 57 Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him. (KJV)

 

From this text we follow on to John 12:1 which deals with the entry to Bethany. Lazarus had been raised from the dead and was at table with them. Jesus had left the Jews and gone to another area in the city of Ephraim after the raising of Lazarus from the dead and continued there with his disciples (Jn. 11:54).

 

It is assumed that the Passover of John 11:55 is that of John 12:1ff and that appears likely from the text. There are thus two Passovers mentioned in Luke and three in John. There seems to be no basis for a fourth Passover, unless it could be established that the feast of Luke 6:1 is a Passover and another and separate Passover to the record of John.

 

The real problem is that the forty days for Jonah was given forty years for Judah from the ministry of Messiah. The ministry of Messiah, on a literal interpretation of John, is just under two years with the ministry of John the Baptist preceding him by six months, which is their age difference (see Luke 1). Thus the combined ministry was less than three years as Jonah’s ministry was less than three days. Thus, Jonah entered a day’s journey (which corresponded to John’s ministry) and prophesied for two days (which corresponded to Christ’s ministry for two years). The year for a day nexus is still retained. From the reconstruction we thus appear to be faced with a 30 CE Passover date for the crucifixion.

 

While it is difficult to deal with all the activities over this period in one paper, it is nevertheless useful to construct a table of events. This must be done in order to test the biblical chronology against the dates.

 

The next task is to proceed to a harmony of the last days of the Passover period from the entry to Bethany.

 

The Law requires a number of aspects to be observed for the Passover. Christ’s actions prior to the Passover symbolised the requirements of the ordinances concerning the Feast of the Passover and Unleavened Bread.

 

The major requirements are that:

1.    The Temple is cleansed from the first of Nisan.

2.    The simple are atoned for on the seventh day of Nisan.

3.    The priesthood are sanctified under their own responsibility.

4.    The lamb is set aside on the tenth of Nisan;

5.    The temporary accommodation is prepared on the thirteenth of Nisan and occupied from the evening commencing the fourteenth of Nisan. The chegigoh meal, or meal of preparation, is eaten on the fourteenth of Nisan. This was the Lord’s Supper. This is a meal of the Passover but is not the Passover meal itself (see the paper The Passover (No. 98)).

6.    The Passover lamb is killed on the afternoon of the fourteenth. The Passover is then eaten standing up on the evening commencing the fifteenth of Nisan.

7.    On the morning of the day of the fifteenth the people are then allowed to return to their homes (Deut. 16:6). The Feast then continues for seven days, the last of which is a Holy Day.

 

This sequence helps us understand what is happening at the crucifixion Passover.

 

The period of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is an extended period, which covers the preparation days, the Passover proper and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The first day of Unleavened Bread is actually the preparation day commencing the fourteenth of Nisan. The period in question in Matthew 26:17 was in the preparation period of the thirteenth of Nisan prior to taking up the temporary accommodation for the thirty-six hour period from the evening of the fourteenth of Nisan to the first Holy Day morning (Deut. 16:6).

 

The first activity undertaken by Christ at this final Passover was the cleansing of the Temple. This process was done from the first of Nisan. He had cleansed the Temple previously at the beginning of his ministry as we note from John 2:13-21.

 

There were in fact two entries by Messiah to Jerusalem in this final phase and not one. The first entry mentioned in Matthew 21:1-7 was unexpected and was preliminary to the second expected entry.

 

The sequence is set out to explain the harmony of events undertaken by Christ in order to obey the requirements he had issued to Moses at Sinai as the Angel of the Presence and elohim of Israel, being anointed to that position by The God Most High who was Yahovah of Hosts, Eloah (Deut 32:8 (LXX; RSV); Ps. 45:6-7; Heb. 1:8-9).

 

The fourteen days before the Passover

The priesthood prepare themselves in accordance with the Law. Ezekiel 45:18-20 shows the cleansing process. The Tabernacle is cleansed on the first of Nisan. The simple and sinful are cleansed on the seventh day (Ezek. 45:18-20). The priesthood cleanse themselves for the Passover. It was suspended by Hezekiah because of the failure of the priesthood to sanctify themselves (2Chron. 30:3).

 

We can now deal with the events of the six days before the Passover, from 9 Nisan.


 

The Sixth Day Before the Passover 9 Nisan: (EENT) Thursday to (EENT) Friday

Event

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

Christ approaches Jerusalem from Jericho.

 

 

19:1-10

 

Christ passes Thursday night at the house of Zacchaeus

 

 

19:6

 

and delivers the parable of the pounds.

 

 

19:11-27

 

He proceeds towards Jerusalem.

 

 

19:28

 

He sends two disciples for an “ass” and a “colt”. Note that there are two animals.

 

21:1-7

 

 

 

He makes his first entry from Bethphage (not Bethany)

and fulfils Zech. 9:9.

21: 8-9

 

 

 

He is unexpected, and they ask “Who is this?”

21:10-11

 

 

 

He cleanses the Temple in accordance with the Law.

21:12-16

 

 

 

He departed to Bethany to the house of Lazarus.

21:17

 

 

12:1

 

We see that the purpose of the first journey to Jerusalem was to cleanse the Temple, which had to be done for the Passover ceremony where Christ was to be the Passover Lamb. He fulfilled that which was written of him by the prophet Zechariah (Zech. 9:9) and Matthew records that on this occasion the people also spread their garments before him (Mat. 21:1-17). The Chief Priests were then aware they had to do something about him (Mat. 21:15). He then departed for Bethany to the House of Lazarus where Mary anointed his feet with the pound of spikenard. Judas Iscariot challenged this anointing and Christ specifically reveals that it was for the purpose of his death and burial that the ointment had been kept and it was being used for that specific purpose. This anointing denoted the sacrifice of Christ as the Lamb of God. It effectively set him aside for that purpose. These activities took place on the evening of the tenth of Nisan which is the setting aside of the lamb for the Passover sacrifice in accordance with Exodus 12:3. This occurred on Friday (EENT) to Saturday (EENT). Christ dedicated himself and was anointed on this Sabbath.

 

The Fifth Day Before the Passover 10 Nisan: (EENT) Friday to (EENT) Saturday

Event

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

The Lord passed the Sabbath at Bethany.

 

 

 

 

From dark (EENT) on Sabbath (Saturday) the first of three suppers are held (probably at Lazarus’ house).

 

 

 

 

12:2

At this supper the first of two anointings takes place.

 

 

 

12:3-11

 

Lazarus is recorded as sitting with him at supper (Jn. 12:2). John tells us that many of the Jews knew he was there and they came to see him on that Sabbath and also to see Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead (Jn. 12:9). It was because of this that the Chief Priests (including High Priests of divisions) consulted that they might also put Lazarus to death because many believed in Christ because of Lazarus (Jn. 12:10-11). The word used is apokteino (to kill) which implies violent death rather than death by judicial process.

 

The text in John continues on in 12:12 to say: “The next day many people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem took branches of palm trees and went forth to meet him and fulfilled that which was written by the Psalm 118:25-26 and cried Hosanna! ‘Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord’”. Luke 19:38 is different in cry but the intent is the same and the text in John leaves out the Son of David that is present in Matthew 21:9.

 

The error made is that it is assumed that the term on the next day refers to the Sabbath on the morrow after the evening meal rather than the Eleventh Day of Abib. However, the term does refer to the following day rather than the morning or morrow of the Sabbath. Bullinger also holds that the term referred to the Eleventh of Abib, which was the Sunday. This view is also backed up by the fact that many people had come on the Sabbath to see Christ and they could hardly have met in the house at night. Also, the consultation of the High Priests would have taken place on that Sabbath. Thus Christ was set aside as the sacrifice by the anointing and by the consultation of the Chief or High Priests on the Sabbath, the Tenth Day of Abib, they being there in one place because of the Feast. Christ then was ready to enter Jerusalem in triumph.

 

The Fourth Day Before the Passover 11 Nisan: (EENT) Saturday to (EENT) Sunday

Event

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

The second or triumphal entry to Jerusalem occurs.

 

 

 

 

Christ sends two disciples for one animal, an unbroken colt.

 

11:1-7

19:29-35

12:12

The Lord then starts from Bethany (not Bethphage) and is met by multitudes from Jerusalem.

 

 

11:8-10

 

19:36-40

 

12:12-19

He weeps over the city.

 

 

19:41-44

 

He enters the Temple and looks around.

 

11:11

 

 

He then returns to Bethany.

 

11:11

 

 

 

The Third Day Before the Passover 12 Nisan: (EENT) Sunday to (EENT) Monday

Event

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

Christ returns to Jerusalem in the morning.

21:18

11:12

 

 

The fig tree is cursed.

21:19-22

11:13-14

 

 

He reappears at the Temple and re-cleanses.

 

11:15-17

19:45-46

 

Teaches in the Temple.

 

 

19:47

12:20-50

He faces the opposition of the rulers.

 

11:18

19:47-48

 

He leaves the city (probably for Bethany; see Lk. 21:37-38).

 

11:19

 

 

 

The Second Day Before the Passover 13 Nisan: (EENT) Monday to (EENT) Tuesday

Event

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

The question of the disciples about the fig tree arises on the way to Jerusalem.

 

 

11:20-26

 

 

Christ is again in Jerusalem and the Temple.

21:23-27

11:27-33

20:1-8

 

Christ teaches in questions and parables.

21:28-23:39

12:1-44

20:9-21:4

 

The first great prophecy in the Temple is given.

 

 

21:5-36

 

Statement re the Lord’s custom in this last week.

 

 

21:37-38

 

The second great prophecy on the Mount of Olives.

24:1-51

13:1-37

 

 

The second prophecy continued.

25:1-46

 

 

 


This point appears to carry on in the dialogue but is probably a regression back to the events of the previous evening where the activities in the house of Simon, the leper, occurred. The statement after two days is the Passover is the time indicator. This story takes up concurrent activities, which were set in motion for the activities at the house of Simon. Judas Iscariot went to betray Christ over the activities of this day. The other disciples were sent in the afternoon to arrange the temporary accommodation. If the story is actually continuous, then the meal at Simon’s house could only have been the midday meal and the

activities flowed from that event. The tight time frame and comment indicates that the story may have regressed to the previous evening.

 

The narrative in Mark appears to continue the action in a list of activities of the same day. It appears that multiple activities were undertaken for the preparation day and, at the very latest, the meal in Simon’s house had to be the midday meal on 13 Nisan. The Appendix in the Companion Bible regarding the Three Suppers (Appendix 157, p. 182) is thus dependent on the regression to the previous evening or be confined to three meals, being two evening meals and one midday meal. In any event, the disciples and Christ had taken up their accommodation by the evening of the fourteenth of Nisan for the last supper.


 

Event

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

The statement “after two days is the Passover”.

26:1-5

14:1-2

 

 

He returns to Bethany and is present in the house of Simon the leper. The second anointing takes place.

 

26:6-13

 

14:3-9

 

 

Judas Iscariot plots to betray Christ.

26:14-16

14:10-11

22:1-6

 

The preparation for the last supper.

26:17-19

14:12-16

22:7-13

 

 

The disciples here prepare to take the Lord’s Supper in temporary accommodation.

Deuteronomy 16:5-7  Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee: 6 But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt. 7 And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents. (KJV)

 

This then brings us to the close of the thirteenth of Nisan.

 

The Day Before the Passover

The preparation day of the fourteenth of Nisan. The day of the crucifixion

14 Nisan: (EENT) Tuesday to (EENT) Wednesday

Event

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

“The even was come” to execute the plot against Christ.

26:20

14:17

 

 

The Last Supper commenced with the washing of feet.

 

 

 

13:1-20

The announcement of the betrayal.

26:21-25

14:18-21

 

13:21-30

The supper is eaten and the New Covenant of Jer. 31:31 is announced. The bread and wine is instituted.

 

26:26-29

 

14:22-25

 

22:14-23

 

The first prophecy of Peter’s denials is made.

 

 

 

13:31-38

The quarrel as to who would be greatest.

 

 

22:24-30

 

The second prophecy of Peter’s denials.

 

 

22:31-34

 

The final appeal is made to his first commission (Lk. 9:3).

 

 

22:35-38

 

The last address to the eleven is followed by Christ’s prayer.

 

 

 

14:1-17:26

The party goes to Gethsemane.

26:30-35

14:26-29

22:39

18:1

The third prophecy of Peter’s denials.

 

14:30-31

 

 

The agony in the garden.

26:36-46

14:32-42

22:40-46

 

The apprehension of the Lord.

26:47-56

14:43-50

22:47-54

18:2-11

The escape of Lazarus  (see fn. Mk. 14:51-52, Comp. Bible).

 

14:51-52

 

 

The trials of Christ continued throughout Tuesday night.

26:57-27:31

14:53-15:19

22:54-23:25

18:12-19:13

At our Tuesday midnight, the sixth hour, Pilate said “Behold your king”.

 

 

 

 

19:14-15

Christ is led away to be crucified.

27:31-34

15:20-23

23:26-31

19:16-17

With him were led two criminals (kakourgoi).

 

 

23:32-33

19:18

The discussion with Pilate occurs re the inscription.

 

 

 

19:19-22

The dividing of the garments occurs.

27:35-37

15:24

23:34

19:23-24

He was crucified at the third hour (9 am our Wednesday).

 

15:25-26

 

 

Then two robbers were crucified with him.

27:38

15:27-28

 

 

The reviling of the rulers, both robbers and one malefactor.

27:39:44

15:29-32

23:35-43

 

The Lord delivers his mother to John.

 

 

 

19:25-27

Darkness envelops the land at the sixth hour (noon).

27:45-49

15:33

23:44-45

 

Christ gives his last cry at Wednesday 3 pm and dies.

27:50

15:34-37

23:46

19:28-30

Later activities and events.

27:51-56

15:38-41

23:47-49

19:31-37

Christ was buried in haste before dark on Wednesday at about 6 p.m. before the First Holy Day began at dark (EENT).

 

27:57-66

 

15:42-47

 

23:50-56

 

19:38-42

(See also Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, art. ‘Fasting’ for a Wednesday Crucifixion).

 


Christ is then in the tomb for three days and three nights to fulfil the sign of Jonah (Mat. 12:39-41).

1.    The first day was the High Day (Yom Tov) the fifteenth day of Nisan, from dark to dark (EENT).

2.    The second day was from dark (EENT) Thursday to dark (EENT) Friday, which was not a Holy Day and so Mary and the others could get spices to embalm Christ (Mk. 16:1). They then went to the tomb before dawn on the Sunday to embalm him (Mk. 16:2).

3.    The third day was from dark (EENT) Friday to dark (EENT) Saturday, which was the weekly Sabbath.

This ended the third night and the third day in the tomb. This was foretold in Matthew 12:40 and applies to Matthew 27:63 and Mark 8:31. Christ rose on the evening of the fourth day, which was the beginning of the eighteenth of Nisan. He remained overnight in the resurrected state accompanied by angels until the morning. Mary Magdalene spoke to him when she went to the tomb on Sunday morning while it was still dark. In other words, while it was still the previous evening by Judaic reckoning.


 

Event

Matthew

Mark

Luke

John

 

 

 

 

 

The Resurrection

28:1-10

16:1-18

24:1-49

20:1-23

 

Matthew 28:1-10 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. 2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you. 8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. 9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. 10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me. (KJV)

 

Matthew 28:1 is translated: In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre etc. This text is misleading. Green renders the text from the Greek After the Sabbaths, at the dawning, into the first of the Sabbaths. The plural Sabbaths is used both times. The meaning is more clearly understood as referring to the plural used in the sense of the complete Sabbath or week of seven days. There is no conflict between

 

Matthew, Mark and John. They must be read in conjunction. It more properly could read: At the end of the week, as it began to dawn into the first day of the week. The text in Matthew 28:1 shows that Christ had risen before the dawn broke. Thus he did not rise on the Sunday. The text in Matthew shows that the Angel rolled the stone away. Christ had already risen. Mary saw that he was gone. She then went to the disciples and returned at dawn. Matthew appears to hold that the two women fell at his feet and laid hold of them. John indicates that he would not allow himself to be touched.

John 20:1-17 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. 2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. 3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. 4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. 5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. 6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. 8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. 9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. 11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. 14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. 17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. (KJV)

 

The women were allowed to touch Christ in the first instance because he was still unclean when he had risen and remained so until the end of the Sabbath. As it began to dawn towards the first day of the week (Sunday) they could not touch him again until after he had ascended to His Father as the Wave Sheaf and again returned.

 

The reconciliation of these texts is difficult. The understanding of the resurrection had been given to the women yet appears not to have been conveyed to the apostles. The two women were present but only Mary is mentioned in John. The answer is probably that it was Mary that attempted to seize him and was prevented. The information was conveyed to the apostles but they did not understand the Scriptures that were being fulfilled. Different things are emphasised in each text. What is certain and uniform is that Christ was resurrected well before dawn.

 

The appearance of Christ on the road to Emmaus was three days from the crucifixion and burial (Lk. 24:21). This can be reconciled only by counting from Thursday as day 1 in terms of full days. It is translated to include Sunday as the third day and hence commencing Friday.  Mark 16:12 gives no time frame.  The Greek text is third this day it leads meaning that three full days were past – this being another day (see Marshall’s RSV main text).

 

It is physically impossible for Christ to have been crucified on a Friday and been resurrected on a Sunday and fulfil the sign of Jonah and the Messianic prophecies. He could not have been placed in the tomb until Friday at dark and thus he could only have spent two evenings (one incomplete) and one day in the tomb. The requirement was to spend three days and three nights in the earth. This could only have happened from a Wednesday crucifixion. From the dates this could only have happened in 30 CE. 31 CE has a Sunday crucifixion, 32 CE requires a Saturday preparation day and crucifixion and thus a Sunday crucifixion (postponed from the Sabbath). Only 33 CE has a Thursday preparation day and crucifixion (postponed from the Wednesday). 33 CE is however far too late to be accommodated by the gospels and is completely at odds with the sequence of events in the gospels; only 30 CE accords with all aspects. It is thus concluded that the crucifixion was on Wednesday 5 April 30 CE.

 

Christ ascended to his Father and our Father and his God and our God (Jn. 20:17), at the time for the Wave Sheaf Offering to be made (Lev. 23:11) as the first-fruits of Israel, which he was. He was the firstborn from the dead. He became a son of God in power through the Holy Spirit by his resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4). The Wave Sheaf was to be waved the morning after the weekly Sabbath and not the High Day or Shabbathown (see the paper The Wave Sheaf Offering (No. 106b)). The activities, preceding and succeeding the crucifixion and resurrection and its prophesied duration, tie it in to a period that cannot be moved and make the Easter sequence a fiction of pagan idolatry.

 

Christ was crucified on a Wednesday and resurrected on a Saturday evening, from nightfall.  The Bible narrative cannot fit any other way and accord with, and fulfil all prophecies and texts.

 

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