5

The Jewish calendar calculates a day from sunset to sunset, thus the Last Supper (on the Thursday evening) and Jesus' crucifixion (on Friday afternoon) happened in the same day. In John Gospel this day was the 14th of Nisan (April 3, 33 CE) of the Jewish calendar; In the three Synoptic Gospels the Last Supper is a Passover meal so Jesus' crucifixion must have taken place during the afternoon of the festival itself, the 15th of Nisan (April 4, 33 CE).

Both dates obviously can not be true. Which date is correct?

6
  • We strongly discourage asking more than one question at once here. I've edited your question to only contain one. Please feel free to ask the other in a separate question. Apr 1, 2015 at 14:14
  • 3
    Why do you assume the year 33? Apr 1, 2015 at 17:25
  • 2
    For many reasons.For example, according to (news.discovery.com/history/religion/…): "when data about the Jewish calendar and astronomical calculations are factored in, a handful of possible dates result, with Friday April 3, 33 A.D. being the best match, according to the researchers." Apr 2, 2015 at 5:33
  • @AndrewShanks, sorry, that was a silly typo, repeating 33 instead of being 31. Thanks for pointing it out. It should have read: "Without giving any reason, the current answers assume that the year 33 is correct, and that the Crucifixion was on a Friday. ¶ Try Wednesday 25 April 31CE instead, and many problematic verses (e.g. Matthew 12:40) will no longer be problematic. – Ray Butterworth Dec 19 '20 at 19:12" Feb 7, 2021 at 16:44
  • @RayButterworth - Ah. Though I personally believe the crucifixion happened on a Friday, I see your date is now self- consistent, and yes 25th April 31 was a Wednesday and was either 14th or more likely 15th Nisan. Thanks for clearing that up. Feb 7, 2021 at 17:55

11 Answers 11

6

Writing in The Mystery Of The Last Supper, Professor Sir Colin Humphreys, a scientist at the University of Cambridge, proposes a new solution, based on a combination of Biblical, historical and astronomical research. He urgues that Jesus used a different calendar and crucifixion took place in the 14th of Nisan (April 3, 33 CE) of the official Babylonian-influenced post-exilic Jewish calendar. He explains:

" I have worked with an expert astronomer to investigate, for the first time, the possibility that a third Jewish calendar was in use in the first century A.D. The official Jewish calendar at the time of Jesus' death was that still used by Jews today: a lunar system in which days run from sunset to sunset. This was developed during the Jewish exile in Babylon in the sixth century B.C. Before that, however, the Jews had a different system. This is referred to in the Book of Exodus, in the Old Testament, when God instructs Moses and Aaron to start their year at the time of the Exodus from Egypt.

There is extensive evidence that this original Jewish calendar survived to Jesus' time. It was used by groups such as the Samaritans, Zealots, some Galileans and some Essenes. Under this pre-exilic calendar, Passover always fell a few days earlier than in the official Jewish calendar, and the days were marked from sunrise to sunrise, not sunset to sunset.

Using our reconstruction of this calendar we can see that in A.D. 33, the year of the Crucifixion, the Passover meal was on the Wednesday of Holy Week. From the clues they give, it's clear that Matthew, Mark and Luke all used the pre-exilic calendar in their description of the Last Supper as a Passover meal, whereas John uses the official calendar in which the Last Supper was before the Passover.

Holy Thursday is the well-known day on which Christians annually commemorate the Last Supper of Jesus. But my research shows that we should really be celebrating this on the Wednesday of Holy Week. A Wednesday Last Supper with the Crucifixion on Friday also allows just the right amount of time for all the events the Gospels record between the Last Supper and the Crucifixion".

1
  • The problem with this is our understanding of when the day starts. I believe the last supper was on Thursday night and he was crucified Thursday afternoon. Yes you read that right. Night comes before light in the Jewish day. So I agree when you say Wednesday night last supper (because that is actually the night of the beginning of Thursday). Then he is crucified roughly 15-18 hours later and dies 21 hours later, 3 hours before the start of the Passover Sabbath. Passover could have been on Friday that year because Hillel II's rules about back to back holy days wasn't in place.
    – Joshua
    Mar 23, 2016 at 14:02
5

A plausible argument that resolves the Nissan 14/15 dispute would be one that claims: The date of the Passover in the synoptics is earlier than what is indicated in John's gospel -- which is because Jesus and His disciples were using a slightly different calendar from the Jewish authorities at the time, and it is to that slightly earlier date that Jesus refers to eating the Passover with his disciples, as in Mark 14:12-15. (See the reference quoted in the answer by nasraya for more details.)

This is plausible because even to this day there are disputes within Judaism over calendric issues. See this site about Karaite Jews for instance http://www.karaite-korner.org/karaite_faq.shtml

As an aside, I think the jury is still out on the question of the year of Jesus' death. The key issue there seems to be when did Herod the Great die? If in 4 BCE (as many modern scholars believe) Jesus would have been older than 35 when He died; if Herod died in 1 BCE as originally thought, year 33 of our era could work for the death of Jesus.

1
3

Mark's Gospel was the first New Testament gospel to be written, and John Dominic Crossan says, in The Birth of Christianity, page 110-111, there is a massive consensus among scholars that this gospel was the major source used by the authors of Matthew and Luke. If it was also the indirect source for John's Gospel as well, as some scholars believe, then Mark should provide the correct account. This is evidence in favour of the crucifixion taking place on the 15th Nisan.

John's Gospel tells us that Jesus was crucified of the day before the Passover, in other words, the 14th of Nisan:

John 19:14: And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!

We see the reason for the change, because the author of John wanted to portray Jesus as the paschal lamb, an interpretation that was already present in the synoptic gospels, but incompletely so. In order to accomplish this portrayal, the crucifixion had to be moved to the day before the Passover, and John's Gospel merely has Jesus and the disciples eat what appears to be an ordinary supper, with Jesus washing the disciples' feet (John 13:5ff) rather than celebrating the eucharist.

As to whether the crucifixion taking place on 33 CE, we simply do not know: estimates vary between 30 and 33 CE, and sometimes even outside this range. If indeed the crucifixion took place in 33 CE, changes in Jewish intercalation mean we can not really be sure exactly which day in our modern calendar corresponds to 15th Nisan. Mark's Gospel precisely marks out exactly eight periods of three hours from the beginning of the Last Supper to the hour on which Jesus was buried, and each gospel says that the crucifixion took place on a Friday:

Mark 15:42: And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath

John 19:31: The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day . . .

6
  • 1
    But the 15th IS Passover. It is to be treated as a Sabbath. Which included the rules for work and cleanliness(so burying a body is out). How then can he be crucified on a 15th that is also not a Sabbath?
    – Joshua
    Mar 23, 2016 at 14:06
  • @JoshuaBigbee Thanks for pointing that out. I can only assume that the synoptic authors (especially the author of Mark) were not fully aware that the day of the Passover was to be regarded as a Sabbath. The author of John is known to have been more aware of Jewish customs. Mar 23, 2016 at 20:06
  • I've considered your comment, but I'm unable to accept that assumption. I believe it far more likely the synoptic gospels have a level of familiarity with their world that exceeds our own. They do not misunderstand their world, we misunderstand theirs. The Essenes disappeared soon after Christ, it is generally accepted they embraced Christianity. Knowledge of them had been common, but by John's time, writing to a more general audience, he had to simplify the narrative, removing things that would be confusing. Such as calling the Essene Passover meal the Passover meal.
    – Joshua
    Mar 25, 2016 at 13:54
  • 1
    The Gospels don't say he was crucified on a Friday, but that is inferred from the fact that is was the day before the Sabbath. But special feasts, or "high days" as in John 19:31, were also called Sabbaths. The math seems to favor that Jesus was crucified on Thursday (which would correspond to the Nissan 14 when the lambs were slain).
    – wcochran
    Oct 29, 2017 at 4:16
  • Dick, actually no Gospel passage nor any passage anywhere says it was Friday. Look at the verses Dick quotes. This is the exact mistake that caused the Friday Myth. Catholic church leaders did not understand Jewish culture and holidays. All 7 feasts are Shabbat. They incorrectly assume that the Sabbath was the weekly sabbath but it wasn't. It was unleavened bread. Scripture says there were 2 Sabbath in that week. It also says the women bought spices after the Sabbath. This is impossible- it would be Saturday night. Dark- and merchants were closed - buying & selling on Shabbat was forbidden
    – Tennman7
    Jan 1, 2021 at 14:53
2

(In the spirit of not stating "The Truth" but what Christians believe and why...) It is my belief, and that of my church that Jesus had to have been crucified on the 14th of Nisan or He could not have been the true Passover because He wouldn't have fulfilled the sacrifice. Exodus 12:6 says

And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the 
same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation 
of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

For Christ to have fulfilled the sacrifice He had to die on the 14th.

The problem comes in determining the meaning of "in the evening". Some then as now believed it meant after sunset at the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th. Others believed it meant just before sunset as the 14th was ending and the 15th was beginning. cf. http://biblehub.com/commentaries/exodus/12-6.htm

Under either interpretation though, the Passover had to be killed after sunset ended the 13th and before sunset began the 15th.

0
2

Was Jesus Christ crucified on the 14th of Nisan (April 3, 33) or the 15th (April 4, 33)?

Embedded in the question is a misunderstanding of the problem: the question should be: "Was Friday 3rd April 33 AD (Julian date) - which some/many suppose to be the date of the crucifixion - the 14th of Nisan or the 15th Nisan?"

For those like me who believe our Lord was crucified on a Friday there are only three possible dates between 27 & 35 AD (inclusive)... 7th April 30 AD or 3rd April 33 AD, and 23rd April 34 AD.

The website onlineconversion.com/julian_date.htm can be used to check the day of week for any Julian date in history.

And the date of month of an unnamed month can be easily astronomically calculated: modern astronomy can calculate when the new crescent moon first appeared for every month. This was the 1st of the month for the Jews.

The only remaining difficulty is to be sure the month being examined is actually "Nisan". Nisan was the first month after the Spring equinox. There remains some doubt as to whether the Passover on the 14/15th Nisan had to be after the Spring equinox or the 1st Nisan had to be after the Spring equinox.

Because of the above uncertainty in some years either of two successive months need to be considered as possibly being the month Nisan.

Fortunately, for those who are clear that our Lord was crucified on a Friday, and narrowing down to the year range AD 30 to AD 34, there are still very few Fridays, i.e. only three Fridays, which fall on either 14th or 15th Nisan.

Astronomical calculations of Karl Schoch before 1930 & used by Parker & Dubberstein in "Babylonian Chronology" (1952) place the (daylight hours) date of the new crescent moon date (ie 1st Nisan) for AD 33 as 21 March, meaning 3rd April was 14th Nisan, which was a Friday.

Similarly the daylight hours of AD 30 1st Nisan was 14th March, so the daylight hours of 14th Nisan was 7th April AD 30, a Friday.

Modern 21st century astronomy software, as used by Rita Gautschy agrees entirely for these dates with the data produced a hundred years earlier.

(Google search for "Rita Gautschy Jewish Calendar" and download data first for (calculated observations from Jerusalem.)

The only exception to Friday-14th-Nisan is AD 34 April 23rd, which was Friday, Nisan 15th. (It should also be noted that cloud cover preventing observation of the new crescent moon at the end of the previous month could have pushed the Friday to the 14th Nisan for AD 34.) But this year tends to be discounted because it does not give enough years for the ministry of the Apostle Paul. Also, it means one more Passover needs to be added in our Lord's earthly ministry, and that he died not at 33 years of age but at 34 years. And even for a crucifixion date of April 3rd AD 33 ((at least)) one additional Passover is needed in addition to the three Passovers clearly noted in John's Gospel. (Bible Chronology Anoraks like myself need to remember when we search for a timetable of Bible events we are only picking up the crumbs that fall from the table - the Bible was primarily written for our spiritual sustenance, not to satisfy our yearning for a chronological map. The Bible might not give us all the chronological data we are hoping for.)

1
  • Sometimes less is more! Thank you for that very clear explanation.
    – Lesley
    Feb 28, 2021 at 17:39
1

The crucifixion happened on 3rd April AD 33, 14th Nisan. (The OP misunderstands the problem.. the Julian date would not change, only the Nisan date.)

The following is a table for all the "possible" dates between AD 30 and AD 34.

To explain: every lunar month has either 29 or 30 days. The Jewish month began with the first sighting of the new crescent moon after the disappearance at New Moon. This sighting relied on a clear sky. Clear skies could be relied on in the summer, but less so from autumn to spring ( and much less so in winter). When the skies were cloudy the priesthood had to decide whether the previous month would have 29 or 30 days. Their decision would of course affect the Nisan dates for the following month by one day. However it must be stressed that only a few miles east of Jerusalem in the wilderness down to the Jordan river clear skies are and probably were very common even in winter.

In order to get all possible Fridays in the time frame it is necessary to assume firstly the Nisan date for a clear sky and secondly the possible date for a cloudy sky and a consequent changed date. (The date would not have necessarily been changed, but it might have.)

Assuming a clear sky accurate sighting:-

Year.........Julian........Nisan............number

(AD)........Date..........date of..........of days

...................................Friday...........in previous

...................................during...........month

...................................Passover

...................................week

30...............7 April...14th................30

31..............27 April...16th................29

32..............18 April...(18th)..............(Can be discounted)

33...............3 April...14th................29

34..............23 April...15th................29

Assuming cloud cover at the start of month and a consequent change of day

30...............7 April...15th

31..............27 April...15th

33...............3 April...13th

34..............23 April...14th

I am only interested where the crucifixion happened on a Friday (see Luke 13:32).

From the above table it can be seen that Friday 14th Nisan "could" have happened in ADs 30, 33 and 34 and Friday 15th Nisan "could" have happened in ADs 30, 31, or 34. Friday 15th Nisan could not have happened in AD 33.

Josephus tells us the lambs were slaughtered in the temple on the afternoon of Nisan 14th. Yet I believe our Lord was crucified 14th Nisan AD 33. This creates a problem: was the Last Supper a passover meal including a sacrificed lamb? I think scripture says clearly "yes". Was it celebrated at the same time as the majority of the Jews' celebration? I now think "probably not". In the book of Colin Humphreys, "The Mystery of the Last Supper", on page 221, a possible clue is given in the "Tosefta Pesahim, 4.8":

'The Tosefta Pesahim supplements the teaching of the Mishnah about the Passover and it contains a section concerning Passover sacrifices performed at the wrong time which states: "The Passover which is slaughtered on the morning of the 14th [of Nisan] not under its [proper] designation ["under some other name"]: Rabbi Joshua validates [it], like those offered by people who say that Passover can be slaughtered on the 13th" [Tosefta Pesahim 4.8].

In other words, some Jews, maybe only in some years, sacrificed the lambs on the 13th and this was accepted as valid.

Whatever the reason, there are at least three good reasons for believing the crucifixion was in AD 33 :-

Firstly there was a red moon on the evening of 3rd April a few hours after the crucifixion.

Secondly, the hours of darkness are mentioned several times by secular historians (Tertullian; Thallus writing in AD 52, in his 3rd book of histories according to Julius Africanus writing AD 221;and Phlegon's Olympiades). In Phlegon's Olympiades we are told it happened in the 4th year of the 202nd Olympiad which is AD 33. Julius Africanus quoted from the Olympiades a section no longer in existence which said this darkening if the sun happened at the time of the full moon.

And finally, if the crucifixion was on 3rd April AD 33 (Julian) then it is 490 years (70 weeks, Daniel 9:24) to the exact day from the day of obedience to the decree to rebuild Jerusalem mentioned in Ezra 7:9 to the day of the resurrection using the accurate Gregorian calendar.

0

Jesus was crusified according to scriptures from old testament and new testment 14 Nissan second part of the day, Levi 23: 5. Its a symbolic feast but in Him Jesus bore the sins of the world. There is prophecy in Daniel 9 : 27He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven.' In the middle of the 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. To fulfill gods word jusus crucified on cross 14 the of Nissan. In john 22: 1, 8, 15. Conforms it as well as some more scriptures in mark . Matthew. Luke. and corintians gospel...

1
0

The bottom line of my answer is that John is factually accurate and that he intentionally deviated from the Synoptics for the purpose of noting important theological meaning, not for the sake of dating accuracy itself.

There are two possible chronologies, which I will call C14 and C15.

C14: Crucifixion on 14 Nisan. It implies, with Nisan dates reckoned as per the Jewish official calendar:

  • 13 Nisan: from Wed. sunset to Thursday sunset.
  • 14 Nisan: from Thursday sunset to Friday sunset.
  • 15 Nisan: from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset (regular weekly Sabbath).
  • The Last Supper was held one day before the time of the Passover meal according to the Jewish official calendar.
  • Jesus died when the Paschal lambs where being sacrificed in the Temple.
  • The information about dates provided by John is factually accurate, while that provided by the Synoptics is not.

C15: Crucifixion on 15 Nisan. It implies, with Nisan dates reckoned as per the Jewish official calendar:

  • 14 Nisan: from Wed. sunset to Thursday sunset.
  • 15 Nisan: from Thursday sunset to Friday sunset.
  • 16 Nisan: from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset (regular weekly Sabbath).
  • The Last Supper was held at the time of the Passover meal according to the Jewish official calendar.
  • The information about dates provided by the Synoptics is factually accurate, while that provided by John either is not accurate or requires heavy hermeneutic work to make it compatible with the Synoptics.

Whereas two detailed answers to a similar question in hermeneutics.stackexchange.com, by Jas 3.1 and Joseph, argue for C15, I will argue for C14. Specifically, I will argue that there is some key information in John, not taken into account in previous answers, which cannot be made compatible with C15.

First of all, for the purpose of this discussion I will assume an agnostic position about the year of the Crucifixion, as the issue of the Crucifixion being either on Friday April 7, 30 AD or on Friday April 3, 33 AD is wholly irrelevant to the subject of this discussion.

I will assume as an agreed starting point that when Jews refer to a specific date as "the Passover" they mean 15 Nisan, so that when they date an event as occurring "six days before the Passover" they mean that the event occurred on 9 Nisan. This is key for my argument because John dates a specific event that way: the supper that Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha made for Jesus in Bethany, during the course of which Mary anointed Jesus:

Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.”

The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead. (John 12:1-9. NASB.)

Now, lets reckon the day of week of that supper in both possible chronologies working backwards:

C14:

  • 15 Nisan: from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset (regular weekly Sabbath).
  • 14 Nisan: from Thursday sunset to Friday sunset.
  • 13 Nisan: from Wed. sunset to Thursday sunset.
  • 12 Nisan: from Tuesday sunset to Wed. sunset.
  • 11 Nisan: from Monday sunset to Tuesday sunset.
  • 10 Nisan: from Sunday sunset to Monday sunset.
  • 09 Nisan: from Saturday sunset to Sunday sunset.

In this chronology, the event is perfectly compatible with Sabbath observance for both the hosts of the supper and "the large crowd of the Jews" that went from Jerusalem to Bethany to see Jesus and Lazarus.

C15:

  • 16 Nisan: from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset (regular weekly Sabbath).
  • 15 Nisan: from Thursday sunset to Friday sunset.
  • 14 Nisan: from Wed. sunset to Thursday sunset.
  • 13 Nisan: from Tuesday sunset to Wed. sunset.
  • 12 Nisan: from Monday sunset to Tuesday sunset.
  • 11 Nisan: from Sunday sunset to Monday sunset.
  • 10 Nisan: from Saturday sunset to Sunday sunset.
  • 09 Nisan: from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset (regular weekly Sabbath).

In this chronology, the event is wholly incompatible with Sabbath observance for both the hosts of the supper and "the large crowd of the Jews" that went from Jerusalem to Bethany to see Jesus and Lazarus, as the distance from Jerusalem to Bethany exceeds what Jews are allowed to travel on a Sabbath.

Since I stated the teleological side of my argument, i.e. the reason why John intentionally deviated from the Synoptics, as the purpose of noting important theological meaning, and as the straightforward theological meaning in C14 and not in C15 is that in the former Jesus died when the paschal lambs where being sacrificed in the Temple, my argument would be strengthened if I could show that John provides another chronological coincidence between the paschal lambs and Jesus. And indeed he does.

Let's quote John's narrative of Jesus' entrance to Jerusalem, which follows right after the supper in Bethany:

On the next day the large crowd who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, “Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel.” Jesus, finding a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written, “FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SEATED ON A DONKEY’S COLT.” (John 12:12-15. NASB.)

Thus, Jesus entered Jerusalem on 10 Nisan. Let's read now the instructions in Exodus for the preparation of the paschal lamb:

Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, “This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you. Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household. Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb. Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. (Exodus 12:1-6)

Thus, on 10 Nisan the large number of lambs that were being kept grazing in the fields around Jerusalem for the feast were brought into the city so that each household could buy one for themselves. Therefore, Jesus entered Jerusalem at the same time as the paschal lambs were entering the city.

3
  • 1
    Johannes your answer has several assumptions - one is that John intentionally deviated from the synoptic gospels - which made his gospel inaccurate. Then, you also give in the body of your answer the assumption that the dates provided by the synoptic gospels is not accurate - undermining the infallibility of the scriptures. I love the crucial point you make in the last paragraph. Nisan 10 - Lamb was selected. Also, scripture explicitly says that Passover is 14th of Nisan, not the 15th. This is also why 'six days before Passover" proves it could not have been Friday crucifixion.
    – Tennman7
    Jan 1, 2021 at 17:25
  • My notion of biblical inerrancy is different from yours. The Synoptics were fairly accurate when stating that Jesus was crucified on Passover, as He was not crucified at any other feast or time of the year. Then John increased the degree of accuracy by stating that He was actually crucified the day before Passover (Nisan 14), dying at the time of the day when the paschal lambs were being slaughtered in the Temple. That Passover means Nisan 15 is well known and beyond the scope of this comment.
    – Johannes
    Apr 3, 2021 at 5:59
  • @Johannes There were two sabbaths that week, the passover sabbath and the regular weekly sabbath. John calls it a high day (passover sabbath). Maybe problems in timing are from working from the wrong year of crucifixion and assuming it was a Friday crucifixion, and not say a Wednesday crucifixion and the body was in the ground 3 full days and nights.
    – DDover
    Jan 4 at 10:16
0

Jesus is believed to have had a 3 year public ministry as the Messiah ending in crucifixion. In Luke 3 Jesus was baptized, which was the start of that public ministry, in the 15th year of Tiberias, who was governor over the Syriani province then, and his 15th year was 27 CE. This would place the crucifixion in 30 CE.

Tiberius' 15th year spanned the last 4 months of A.D. 26 (when Christ was baptized just after His 30th birthday) to the first 8 months of A.D. 27, and Tiberius' 18th year spanned the last 4 months of A.D. 29 into the first 8 months of A.D. 30 (when Christ was crucified on April 3rd).

http://theos-sphragis.info/years_of_tiberius_timeline.html

There is Talmudic evidence for the Messiah being crucified in 30 C.E. Both the Jerusalem and the Babylonian Talmud record strange temple events that began 40 years before the destruction of the temple in 70 CE.

"Every night for 40 years (over 12,500 nights in a row) the main lamp of the Temple lampstand (menorah) went out of its own accord no matter what attempts and precautions the priests took to safeguard against this event!"

"the Temple doors swung open every night of their own accord. This too occurred for forty years, beginning in 30 CE The leading Jewish authority of that time, Yohanan ben Zakkai, declared that this was a sign of impending doom, that the Temple itself would be destroyed."

"Each year the red cloth on the Temple door turned white as if to signify the atonement of another Yom Kippur was acceptable to the Lord. This annual event happened until 30 CE when the cloth then remained crimson each year to the time of the Temple's destruction."

"a random choosing of the "lot" which was cast on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). The lot chosen determined which of two goats would be "for the Lord" and which goat would be the "Azazel" or "scapegoat." During the two hundred years before 30 CE, when the High Priest picked one of two stones, again this selection was governed by chance, and each year the priest would select a black stone as often as a white stone. But for forty years in a row, beginning in 30 CE, the High Priest always picked the black stone! The odds against this happening are astronomical (2 to the 40th power). In other words, the chances of this occurring are 1 in approximately 5,479,548,800 or about 5.5 billion to one! By comparison, your chances of winning your local state or municipal-run cash Lottery would be much more favorable! The lot for Azazel, the black stone, contrary to all the laws of chance, came up 40 times in a row from 30 to 70 AD"

http://www.3dbibleproject.com/en/temple/details/evidence.htm

Now what event could have led to these circumstance? In Matthew 27 we read immediately after Jesus died on the cross the great veil that separated the Holy of Hollies ripped from top to bottom. Temple sacrifices were only a precursor to the actual sacrifice that took away sins, that of Jesus Christ, and a priest making sacrifices to intercede for the people was finished when Christ became the final sacrifice, and Jesus is our mediator.

In any event, it appears that Jesus began a 3 year public ministry as the Messiah in 27 CE (the 15th year of Tiberius) and was crucified in 30 CE, and the Talmud seems to point to that date as a monumental change in how God treated the temple.

-1

The AD 33 date is problematic for this very reason, and the short answer is, both days are wrong! Jesus was indeed crucified after the paschal meal on the 15th day of Nisan. However, it could not have been in the year AD 33, because on that occasion it fell on a Sabbath.

This question raises a matter that has been a frequent source of misunderstanding. Was Passover held on the 14th or was it the 15th of Nisan? Simply stated, it commenced just before one day finished and the next began. The Hebrew day began at sunset, and the lambs were slain late on the 14th, with the actual Passover meal being eaten later that evening, that is to say, early on the 15th day. The Jewish historian Josephus said the sacrifices were carried out between 3 pm and 5 pm, and the original description in Exodus bears this out.

“And you shall keep (the lamb) until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight. Then they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in which they eat it. They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it. ... In this manner you shall eat it: with your belt fastened, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. And you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover.” (Exodus12:6-11)

An example of this is found in King Josiah’s famous Passover, which describes in detail the sacrifices continuing until nightfall. (2 Chron. 35 1-14) Leviticus is also clear. “The LORD’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD’s Festival of Unleavened Bread begins.” (Leviticus 23:4-6) However, other Bible references simply say, “the fourteenth” without specifying the last portion of the day. That is why casual readers, not familiar with Hebrew practice, assume Passover to be the entire fourteenth day. Not so! It started in the final hours of the fourteenth then spanned the fifteenth day, synonymous with (the same as) the first day of unleavened bread.

Accordingly, Jesus ate his last supper with the disciples in the evening early on Passover day and was crucified later on the same day. By western reckoning, it was a Thursday/Friday crossover but by Jewish reckoning, it was the 15th of Nisan. It looked approximately like this:

  • 6 pm Day began.
  • 9 pm Passover meal.
  • 12pm Jesus arrested.
  • 6 am Judgement passed.
  • 9 am Jesus crucified.
  • 12am Great darkness.
  • 3 pm Jesus dies.
  • 6 pm Day ended.

At this juncture, we must address the confusion stemming from an apparent contradiction between St. John’s account and that of the synoptic gospels. He said:

“Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover.” (John 18:28)

Non-Jewish readers may be excused for interjecting, “But hadn’t they eaten it the night before”? That is when Matthew, Mark and Luke said it took place. Some commentators just choose to ignore John, but others make much of it, claiming the Paschal lambs were slain when Jesus died. Still others suggest there may have been several Jewish factions observing different timetables. Such explanations are unnecessary.

John was simply referring loosely to the overall ‘Passover week’ which included the feast days following the actual Passover day. On the morning of the first day following the Paschal evening, was another meal called ‘Chagigah’. This is the meal John was referring to, and as one rabbinic expert noted, “the Chagigah might not be offered by any person who had contracted Levitical defilement.” (The Temple, Alfred Edersheim, ch. X111) So, the ‘contradiction’ is really no contradiction at all; it was a special morning meal eaten as part of the celebration.

Again, the answer to the original question is that both days are wrong. For those who wish use Passover and astronomical data to pinpoint the crucifixion, may I suggest that you look beyond the commonly quoted year of AD 33?

8
  • Jesus could not have been crucified after the official paschal meal. Even if the Passover was on Thursday/Friday (which I agree it was consecutive days not on the Sabbath but SabbathS plural) they wouldn't have been out arresting Jesus on Passover. A Wednesday night Essene Passover meal, without lamb because they didn't recognize the priest's sacrifices, explains how Jesus ate the meal with them ON the day of preparation (our Wednesday night is beginning of Thursday 14). Then he is arrested, on trial and crucified on Thursday and dies when the official lamb would have for Passover.
    – Joshua
    Mar 4, 2016 at 15:45
  • John is not referring to the Chagigah, nor can John's last supper be the official Passover meal. John 13:29: "Some thought that, because Judas had the moneybag, Jesus was telling him, “Buy what we need for the feast,” or that he should give something to the poor." If it was the Passover meal, no store would be open for him to buy what they need for the feast on that night, it was essentially a Sabbath. Also all three synoptic gospels say the priests agree to arrest Jesus not during the feast meaning "hurry we need to do it before the Passover week or else it will mess up our feast."
    – Joshua
    Mar 4, 2016 at 16:01
  • Edersheim is the authority on Hebrew festivals and I am satisfied with his explanation that I have referenced above. Mar 4, 2016 at 19:31
  • Edersheim explicitly links the Chagigah to St. Johns reference. (page252) Mar 4, 2016 at 19:38
  • 1
    He can very well be an expert on it and what he says is still true. However....i really offered no objection to that. Far too many people start with the assumption of the Friday crucifixion because of a misunderstanding of the "day before the Sabbath" mentions. But the women went to the grave after the Sabbaths. Plural. Look up the Greek. Many translations of Matthew 28:1 ignore that and make it Sabbath singular. And since Hillel II's Jewish calender there can't be back to back holy days, furthering the confusion. Friday was Passover Sabbath Saturday was regular Sabbath.
    – Joshua
    Mar 4, 2016 at 19:47
-1

Scripture is explicitly clear that Passover is Nisan 14th. Nisan 15th is the High Sabbath of Feast of Unleavened Bread, and no work could be done, this includes cooking, buying and selling and burying a body. The question is a bit unclear, and has several assumptions built in. In the body of the original question, there are 2 assumptions, which create problems.

  1. The assumption of the year 33 AD, and
  2. the Assumption the crucifixion was a Friday.

The entire problem of the confusion about Christ's death, burial and resurrection comes from a lack of understanding of Jewish culture and holidays. First off - In Hebrew, all the 7 feasts are Shabbat - the root of our word Sabbath. So we have weekly Shabbat, and then the 7 feasts which are also Shabbat - Day of Atonement, Pentecost, Feast of Booths, etc.

All feasts are Shabbat, but not all are high sabbath, or more specifically - on some, no work was allowed all all, not even cooking. Passover is a feast, but is there is a lot of work involved in making a fire and slaughtering a lamb, before the priests did this in the temple. Passover was the day of Preparation before the High Sabbath of Feast of Unleavened Bread in which no work could be done. The special commands of "no servile work" was not given for Passover.

https://www.blueletterbible.org/faq/crux.cfm "Please note, the Passover is not a High Sabbath day, this important fact is often overlooked. You can tell because the usual command for a sabbath of "an holy convocation and no servile work is to be done," is not given for Passover. So while Passover is a feast day, it is not a sabbath day."

It was however given for Feast of Unleavened Bread, Nisan 15th. This also included no buying or selling, nor burying a body. Dick H cites 2 passages that mention "the day before the Sabbath". He cited these passages as evidence that the crucifixion was Friday, but it's the same mistake the Church made. The church assumed this was the weekly Sabbath, but in the original Greek, Matthew 28:1 says Sabbaths plural.

"What the Bible says about After the Sabbaths (From Forerunner Commentary) Matthew 28:1 provides additional proof of two Sabbaths occurring that week. However, the Bible's translators, confused by the Greek wording of this verse, have consistently mistranslated it. Matthew writes, "Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn . . . ." The wording of the original text, though, reads, "after the Sabbaths" - plural! Richard T. Ritenbaugh"

There are two nails in the coffin of the Friday Myth.

  1. First is the words of Christ himself - The only sign that Christ gave that He was the Messiah was the sign of the Prophet Jonah. What was the sign of Jonah?

Jonah 17:1 And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights." Christ quotes Jonah and repeats the exact words from the Prophet, in Matthew 12:40 "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40) "What about the sign of Jonah?

"Was the prophet in the great fish's belly for a complete 72 hours? The marginal note in Bullinger's Companion Bible for Jonah 1:17 reads: "Three days and three nights. The Hebrew idiom 'three days' can be used for parts of three days (and even of years): but not when the word 'nights' is added" (our emphasis). By the addition of "nights," the expression becomes more specific, precluding the idea of "parts" of days!" https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/CGGBOOKLETS/k/419/After-Three-Days.htm Multiple Jewish rabbis confirm that typical custom of "Jewish inclusive reckoning" - counting parts of a day as a whole day - does not apply in passages where the text explicitly says 3 days and 3 nights, or 40 days and 40 nights, etc.

  1. The second nail in the coffin of the Friday myth is the spices.

The text explicitly says the "women rested on the sabbath" and then "bought spices after the Sabbath". This is not possible at all with a Friday crucifixion - just before sundown.

In the first century, the only light besides the sun, moon and stars was candles/ torches. It was forbidden to buy and sell on the weekly Sabbath. Think about it.

Merchants would not have taken all their goods to the market, and set up shop in the dark after the sabbath ended on Saturday night. It was not only impractical, but a safety risk of being robbed.

This is also why a Thursday crucifixion doesn't work at all.

The women rested on the high sabbath of Unleavened bread, - Wed night & Thursday Day.

  • Bought spices on Friday, "After the Sabbath" -being after the high Sabbath of Unleavened bread. Then they rested on the Weekly Sabbath of Friday evening, Saturday day.

Also, the points made by multiple people that there were at least 3 calendars in use at the time are correct. Besides the calendar used by the Romans - there was a calendar used by the Essenes, the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
This is also confirmed by the Jewish historian Josephus who wrote of the hundreds of thousands of people in Jerusalem for Passover. It would have been physically impossible for all the priests to sacrifice all the lambs on one day.

This also explains the issue of how Christ and his disciples ate the Passover meal, and yet he was crucified on Passover.

A 33 AD crucifixion also is a huge problem because it makes Christ too old. He was born about 3 or 4 BC, and scripture says that he was about 30 when we started his ministry and the Gospels record 3 Passovers in his ministry, so this fits with a 30 AD date and age of 33.

Furthermore, in Jewish burial customs, it is believed that the spirit lingers near the body for 3 days, and one could be in a coma. After 3 days - the spirit does not remain, and thus making resurrection impossible. This is why the "resurrection" cannot be explained by the "Coma theory" but most importantly, we see three examples in scripture of someone dying and being dead for at least 3 days and 3 nights.

  • Christ
  • Lazarus
  • and the 2 witnesses in Revelation 11:3-12.
5
  • 1
    Tennant...your statement about the spices is incorrect...read Mark 16:1"When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb." They obviously obtained the spices in th evening after the Sabbath was passed (or Saturday night using our calender system). Also, 2 witnesses in revelation are not real people, that is a metaphor (some say representing the two testaments of the Bible...ie old and the new).
    – Adam
    Jan 31, 2021 at 21:16
  • @adam, say what you want, but the bottom line is that its impossible to get 3 days & 3 nights w Friday crucifixion & the only sign Christ gave to prove he is the messiah is the sign of Jonah. Jonah also explicitly said 3 days & 3 nights. People didn't understand jewish culture so they twist the clear words of scripture to make it fit tradition. Merchants would not travel at night with money by candle to set up the market after dark on Saturday night. There was no Food Lion or Super Target. Either we can trust the only sign of Christs messiahship & his own words or we cant. Cheers
    – Tennman7
    Jan 31, 2021 at 23:53
  • 1
    It is not 3 days and 3 nights...that's what I'm trying to explain to you...the text only says it is "3 days"(or parts of days). Your basing your entire argument on an incorrect reading and therefore interpretation of the verse. Its not my saying...its what the text actually says! The Friday he was crucified is day 1, Sabbath is day 2, Sunday of the resurrection is day 3. In modern Western culture we do not count today...but in times back then they did count the current day.
    – Adam
    Feb 1, 2021 at 0:04
  • @Adam, brother im not sure what text you're reading, but you're completely incorrect. The whole point is precisely because christ himself gave only one sign as proof thst he is the Messiah. Matthew 12:40 "for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Jonah 1:17 Jonah 1:17 NASB "and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights." In these passages & like Gen 7, rained 40 days & 40 nights, Jewish inclusive counting does not apply. Not parts of days. Cheers
    – Tennman7
    Feb 1, 2021 at 14:32
  • @Tennman7 you're correct in almost all your comments over these others who don't understand what happened. One thing I might correct is in Luke 3 "about 30" is an idiom for "in his 30's" The AD 30 date is correct. Jesus began his 3 year ministry in the 15th year of Tiberius (Luke 3:1) which was AD 27 meaning Jesus was crucified in AD 30. I also answered this question.
    – DDover
    Jan 4 at 10:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .