The Night He Died

The Scriptures seem to tell us that Y'shua (Jesus) died on Thursday afternoon, Aviv 14th, and rose just before dawn on Sunday morning, Aviv 17. While there was a Sabbath day each week, several holidays were also called "Sabbaths" (See Lev 23 and Talmud m.Eduyyot 2:10 H) and Yeshua is said to have been crucified - not on the week Preparation Day - but on...

"It was the day of Preparation of Passover " (John/Yoch 19:14)

....not the weekly Preparation Day. So this was Aviv 14, not necessarily a Friday.

So both Friday Aviv 15 and Saturday Aviv 16 were Sabbath days, which meant that the only day to have prepared for EITHER Sabbath - the annual Sabbath of Aviv 15 or the weekly Sabbath - would have been Thursday Aviv 14.

One piece of evidence that 2 Sabbaths happened back to back is found in Luke 23:53 etseq , which tells us:

Then he [Joseph of Arimathea] took it [the body of Y'shua] down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Y'shua from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.

So they rested because the Sabbath had come. Now had a day existed BETWEEN the High Sabbath and the Weekly Sabbath, the women could have gone to the grave that day, rather than waiting until the first day of the week. The only reason they would have waited until Sunday morning would have been the fact that there were 2 Sabbaths back-to-back.

Some have suggested that there must have been a day between the two Sabbaths, to allow the women time to buy the spices/perfumes / etc. But they had the opportunity to buy them from Nicodedmus, which may have been the case. Also, the Mishnah (See Moed Qatan for examples) tells us that during the days of unleavened bread, the only commerce that was allowed was commerce directly involved with the festivals. So shops would not have been allowed to sell any perfumes on such a "Thursday between Sabbaths" anyway.

Several aspects of Jewish Law would have forbidden them from visiting the grave on the Sabbath.

So the order of events for the women may have been...

3 days/3 nights

Y'shua said He'd spend 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth. Had he died on a Wednesday, He would have had to have risen BEFORE Saturday Evening to satisfy the "3 days 3 nights" requirement. Thus Sunday morning would have been the 4th day, beyond the 3 days in which they have a window to apply the perfumes to the dead body. But the Word tells us in Mark 16:9 that "Y'shua rose early on the first [day] of the week", not BEFORE Saturday night, not Saturday night, but on or after Sunday morning had arrived. So His body was still in the grave Saturday night. If He died on a Wednesday, His body would have spent Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night and Saturday night in the grave - that's 4 nights!

But if He died on a Thursday afternoon, you have Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights as 3 nights. You have all day Friday and Saturday and He died at 3pm on Thursday. That wasn't just 3-5 hours of daytime death, but since there was darkness from 12 noon to 3pm, it was an entire day of being dead, since the darkness lifted when He gave up His spirit and a 'day', by the Biblical definition, is defined by the presence of light or darkness, not by the passage of a certain number of hours. (See Genesis chapter 1)

Matthew 12:40 tells us He spent 3 days and 3 nights, not 3 nights and 3 days. The first "day" of His death preceded the first "night" of His death. You have to count the nights first to go with a Wednesday crucifixion and you have to eliminate a night to go with a Friday crucifixion.

Does the order the "days/nights" are mention matter? Possible not. One wouldn't jump to that conclusion if the phrase only appeared once in scripture. But it's reported as "3 days and 3 nights" in several places in scripture, not just one. The rabbis have often said that there are places in scripture where order is indicative. For example, Genesis / Bereshit chapter 1 says the choronology of creation was plants>animals>man, but chapter 2 gives it as plants>man>animals. Perhaps this is because both where created at the same time, and this is indicating by reporting it with one order one time and another order another time. If Y'shua died on a Wednesday, then why isn't His death listed as lasting "3 nights and 3 days" in at least ONE of the accounts in which it appears?

Why The Resurrection had to be 3 days/3 nights but still less than 72 hours

Had Y'shua been buried on a Wednesday it would have been a serious violation of Jewish custom to have waited until Sunday to have gone to the grave. Jewish custom demands a burial within 3 days of a death. Once someone is laid to rest, the grave is not revisited after 3 full days have expired. To bury someone after 3 days have expired since they died or disturb the grave thereafter is considered a desecration by Jewish custom.

The Bible tells us "You [God] will not let your Holy One see decay" (Acts 2:27, Acts 13:35). A corpse begins decaying after 72 hours, thus any crucifixion involving more than a 72 hour span would be ruled out. That would eliminate a Wednesday crucifixion, since even a Saturday evening Resurrection is more than 72 hours after the death/burial of Y'shua. He had to have been buried 30-60 minutes before Wednesday Evening arrived, since Joseph, Nicodemus, and the two Mary's had to do work after He was buried and before the Sabbath came. (They had to walk home before sundown of the Sabbath.) In order to avoid violating the Sabbath, His body would have had to been placed in the tomb far enough BEFORE sunset they could return home before sunset - or at least close enough to home to be within a Sabbath Day's Journey, which would be within 2-4,000 cubits (slightly over half a mile to a mile for you Americans out there) outside of their own "camp". Yeshua was killed "outside the camp" [of Jerusalem] in Golgotha. I don't know the location of His tomb, but it must have been "outside the camp" as well, since the Torah required this of the sacrifices that were His typology. That could have been an hour, 30 minutes, or whatever, but would require some part of the day before the Sabbath arrives. So at least PART of the day He was crucified must have expired AFTER His body was put in the tomb and a Wednesday death / Saturday Evening Resurrection definitely gives you something in excess of 3 days of His body in the tomb and His Soul in the heart/center of the earth.

The women didn't finish annointing His body, but they didn't realize that someone else already had done so and completed Jewish custom in this manner. The annointing was done in Mark 14:2-8.

Now how does Jewish tradition count days? The Talmud says

"part of a day is like a whole day" (Talmud, Pesachim 4a - See also Shabbat 9.3 of the Jerusalem Talmud)

Now this Talmud quote appears in The Second Book of Jewish Why in explaining how to count the number of days for mourning for the dead. Here's what it says:

"If a burial is completed just before nightfall and the mourner simply removes his shoes in the cemetary as a token sign that mourning has begun, this counts as the first day of mourning"

and elsewhere the same author also says:

"If a mourner sits shiva for as little as one hour on the day of the funeral, that is considered as one full day of shiva" immediately after citing the teaching of the Talmud in Pesachim 4a as well. (The Jewish Book of Why , page 69)

This rule is about as close as you're going to get to a rule on how to count the time, since there's no Jewish tradition on how to count the time spent by dead Saviors. But the parallels on how many days mourners are required to mourn for the dead after they died would certainly be counted the same way.

So the Day He died on the cross, even though it was a few hours before nightfall, would have counted as a "day" in the "3 days, 3 nights" count of things. Over and over again, He says "3 days and 3 nights" and never "3 nights and 3 days". So we start the count of the days first, then the nights, which could only be done for a Thursday Resurrection.

Also, since ANY PART of the evening would count as a "night", He would have had to have Risen BEFORE Saturday night if He died on a Wednesday afternoon. Thus, He would have had to have Risen on the Sabbath, not AFTER the Sabbath. Yet the Word tells us in Mark 16:9 that "Y'shua rose early on the first [day] of the week", not BEFORE Saturday night, not Saturday night, but Sunday morning. So His body was still in the grave Saturday night.

Another important clue is found in Luke chapter 24. After the resurrection, Yeshua is found talking to two men who said

"...our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified is the third day since these things were done." (Luke 24:20...21)

The timing of this is the first day of the week. We see this from several sources. One is the timing given in the first verse of this chapter and leading up to this verse. also, since they were travelling between two cities, it could not have been a Shabbat since travel could not be performed on Shabbat.

Had Yeshua died on a Wednesday, Sunday would have been the 4th or 5th day that had lapsed depending on whether you include Wednesday in the counting of the number of days that have elapsed. Only by counting His death since Thursday, and excluding the day of His death, can you legitimately call it "3 days" since He died.


Why The Resurrection had to be Sunday just before Dawn

The Greek version of Luke 24:1 tells us the two Mary's found the tomb empty at "orthrou batheos", which means the earliest part of sunrise or what southerners might call "the crack of dawn." "Orthrou" means early morning and "batheos" is an intesifier to that. It refers to when the sun's rays first begin to reach over the horizon. (The Peshita calls it "Dawn, while it was still dark" - basically the same thing.) The gospel of Yochanan / John tells us it happened while it was "still dark" (similar to the Peshitta Luke), and Matthew and Mark use a bit more ambiguous terms which have been translated "dawn" since that's the only meaning that will agree with Luke and John.

Some people have quoted the Greek Matt 28:1, which says the empty tomb was found at "episooskousé", but there are several problems with using this to "prove" a Saturday night Resurrection. First, the word here is a bit vague since it could mean dawn or dusk, so it neither proves nor disproves the point being made. But also, it must agree with the rest of scripture, if it too is to be believed, and the KJV translates it "dawn" since it has to be referring to the same event as Luke 24:1 and Luke 24:1 clearly refers to the earliest part of dawn. Let's take a look at all 4 gospel accounts and harmonize them...

Greek Matthew 28:1
After the sabbaths, toward the dawning of the first of the week, came Mary the Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre,

Mark 16:2
and early in the morning of the first of the week, they come unto the sepulchre, at the rising of the sun,

Luke 24:1
And on the first of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, bearing the spices they made ready, and certain [others] with them,

John 20:1
And on the first of the week, Mary the Magdalene doth come early (there being yet darkness) to the tomb, and she seeth the stone having been taken away out of the tomb,

Now some have suggested that Matthew 28:1 is really placing the timing of things as the sun sets on Saturday and the Sabbath comes to a close.  OK, let's assume that's true.  If it's true, we have a problem necause it disagrees with the other 3 accounts.  Matthew 28:1 is an account of when the women WENT TO THE TOMB!  In fact, all 4 of these accounts are when the women went to the tomb, which may or may not be the same as when He rose.  They went there on or after the timing of His rising.  

Greek Matt 28:1 places it "after the Sabbaths, towards the dawning of the first of the week..."
Mark 16:2 places it "early in the the rising of the sun"
Luke 24:1 places it "at early dawn"
John 20:1 places it "early (there being yet darkness)"  

John 20:1 tells us it was STILL DARK.  Now if the sun just set, what's the point of saying it was "still dark".  It just got dark, so there's no "still" to talk about.  The phrase "still dark" makes sense if this happened at sunrise, since it tells us if this is just before sunrise or just after.  But it makes no sense if this happened at sundown.  If it happened Saturday night, you'd say "AFTER DARK", not "STILL DARK".   Mark 16:2 clearly says "at the rising of the sun" and Luke "early dawn".  Since all 4 record the same events, we can only conclude that Matthew is saying the same thing.

Now the Hebrew version of Matthew 28:1 gives some insights on timing that are rather hard to reconcile without a little background knowledge. Click here for more detail.

Is it possible Y'shua rose sometime in the night on Saturday evening? No. Y'shua appeared to Mary and said, "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father" in John 20:17 during early dawn. Also, Mark 16 clearly tells us that the earthquake and removal of the stone from Y'shua's tomb occured while they were on the way to visit Y'shua's tomb. Also, the Torah makes it clear that the sacrifice Y'shua was to fullfill was to be offered in the morning as we'll see in the next section.

Occasionally people have suggested that Yeshua rose on a day PRIOR to the first day in the week, and they point out that Matt 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1, and John 20:1 don't say He rose on the first day of the week, just that His tomb was found empty on the first day of the week. But the fact is it DOES tell us that this is when the stone was rolled away from the tomb and that He appeared to the women having not yet risen to the Father in John 20:17 . So those verses do seem to make it clear that this was indeed when He rose.

Now some Sabbath keepers have concluded that Y'shua rose on Saturday night because it somehow disproves the Christian tradition of celebrating on Sunday morning. But we should not allow a "sabbath" agenda to determine how we interpret when He died or rose, but rather read the scriptures for what they have to say without attaching an agenda to how we interpret facts.


The Torah Types

The Scriptures provide an interesting insight as to why Y'shua must have rose just before Mary / Miriam got to the tomb on "very early dawn", as recorded in Luke 24.

John says in Yochanan / John 19:36 that Y'shua's bones weren't broken, against the norm for someone crucified, in order "that the scriptures would be fullfilled." What Scriptures? No where is there a Messianic prophecy that says the bones of the Messiah would not be broken. But there is a type of this in the Passover regulations of Exodus/Shemot 12:46 and Num 9:12. John said this because He knew Y'shua had to fullfill the typology and regulations of the Law prescribed and God would follow the regulations for the Passover sacrifice when sacrificing the ultimate Paschal Lamb for our sins, for it was THIS sacrifice that God was really concerned about when He wrote those regulations. God wasn't really concerned whether an animal lamb had it's legs broken, but it was important only because it foreshadowed the Messianic sacrifice that was to come.

Now the Resurrection was a fullfillment of the type of Firstfruits. The regulations for Firstfruits, given in Leviticus/Vayikra 23:9-14, require a lamb to be offered as a burnt offering. These requirements are given in Lev/Vay 1 and 6:8-13. According to these regulations in Lev/Vay 6:8, "the burnt offering is to remain on the altar hearth throughout the night, 'till morning." So if Y'shua fullfilled the type, He must have remained in the tomb until shortly before "the crack of dawn", when Mary discovered the empty tomb. In the Firstfruits regulations, the lamb, together with the barley, etc., was offered the next morning, not when evening arrived.

Also, the Hebrew words for "offering", "bring near" and "morning" all share the same Hebrew roots and all are important in describing regulations for the burnt offering, indicating there may be a deeper connection than we truly understand. The offering or "Korban" was always brought near or "kerav" [the 'v' and 'b' come from same Hebrew letter] to the altar at morning or "boker". It's inner parts or "kerev" were always washed. The firstfruits offering was made in the morning and the word for firstfruits "bikkur(im)" also sounds similar to the word for 'morning'. So the connection between these is much deeper than we realize just reading it in English.

Y'shua did not want Miriam / Mary to touch him before He ascended. It was only lawful for the priests to touch/offer this sacrifice. For most of the offerings made at the temple, the Torah specifically says what touches it is made Holy, because it's Most Holy. The burnt offering was Holy when burnt, and therefore couldn't be touched, even by the priests. So for her to touch Him would really destroy the typology.

Also, when we look at the oral interpretations of the requirements of Leviticus/Vayikra 6:8, we find this also supports his resurrection being sometime in the dark hours of the day of Firstfruits.The Mishnah teaches in Menahot 10:3 to reap the omer used for the wave sheaf "on the eve of the festival"  Also, Menahot 10:9 VI I-J says "It is a requirement that one reap it (the firstfruits) by night.  If it is reaped by day, it is invalid."  This is logical deduction from scripture since the firstfruits was to be reaped the day it was offered AND had to remain on the altar all night. No way to fullfill these requirements without reaping the harvest itself the evening before it was to be offered. (The Mishnah also teaches that it cannot be reaped before Passover in Menahot 10:7C, which again would follow from logical deduction of Lev 6:8.)  The Mishnah also teaches in several places in this same chapter (Menahot 10) that it is PERMISSIBLE to reap on Shabbat IF the 16th of Aviv falls on Shabbat.  But only IF the 16th falls on Shabbat.

Another interesting thing I noticed is that the tomb fullfilled a type of altar made of rock. I noticed as I was reading in the gospels that the tomb must have looked as sketched below...

...because it says his tomb was "cut out of rock" and it says in John 20:12 that one angel was seated where His head had laid and another sat where His feet had been. In order for the angels to have had room to have sat down, it means both the side and the top of where His body laid was exposed to the open air of the cave (which had been sealed), thus it really looked like an altar of sorts! Neat huh? Don't know if that means anything significant, but I just thought it was neat! His body wasn't actually underground or in the earth, but above the earth, on an altar, concealed in a tomb.

Another Dating Clue from Events in Crucifixion Week

Did Palm Sunday happen on a Sunday, Saturday , or some other time? If it happened on a Sunday, as tradition holds, it would have been the 10th of Aviv, making Wednesday Night/Thursday Day the 14th. Why is it believed this happened on a Sunday?

Now determining when John 12:1 happened is not as easy as it might look at first. It says "6 days before Passover" but is Passover reckoned from when the sacrifice was slaughtered on the 14th or when the meal was eaten on the 15th? Is it counting including the day of Passover or excluding the day of Passover? Also, if he was travelling that day, is it possible he got there just before the day expired and if so, does the "6 days" include or exclude that travel day?

With all these ambiguous questions, we see His trip to Bethany could have been anytime as late as the 10th of Aviv or anytime as early as the 7th of Aviv. Of course, the best clue is found in John 11:55-57. Traditionally, Jews would arrive in Jerusalem at least one week prior to Passover so that if they became unclean during their journey by encountering a dead animal or something, they would have 7 full days to fullfill requirements to be made clean. The point John is probably trying to make here is that Y'shua arrived with less than 7 days to be cleansed from any uncleanness that people normally allow for during this period. So he could have been travelling as early as the 8th of Aviv, during the day.

Now was the dinner on the same day he travelled or later that evening? That is, the 8th would have become the 9th at sundown. "Dinner" is something eaten at 5-7pm for most Americans, but 7-9pm for many Europeans. So when did first century Israelites eat dinner? Well, Passover was rather late at night, and they may have used the more European timing, which was based on using as much daylight to accomplish work as you could before you ate at night. So was the "next day" the day after He travelled or the day after the dinner? My guess is that He travelled on Friday the 8th, and they held a Sabbath day dinner for Him that night. The "next day" is the next day after the dinner. Other verses help put these clues together, with the book of Mark giving us the most clues on dating of these events. Let's take a look at two possibilities...


Now there's not much room to make the sequence of event shorter than what I have here. Mark puts enough "the next day" markers in here to tell us we can't put the temple clearing and the teachings on Taxes, etc., on the same day.

Could Mark failed to have noted a day? Well, that's entirely possible. Nearly all of the 4 gospels list events that the other 3 don't. But if you try to add more time, you run into a problem where you have Y'shua travelling between Bethany and Jerusalem on a Sabbath day. We can rule out Mark 11:12 occuring on Sabbath because Y'shua travelled between two cities on that day. He stayed in Bethany the entire week leading up to His crucifixion. The only place where there is a "break" in the accounts is that there is a Dinner listed after His travel day and the day before He rode into Jerusalem. So if we assume that the night of His "dinner in His honor" in Bethany was an Erev Shabbat, all the timing of the events fit together neatly and lead up to a Thursday crucifixion. Else, we put His arrival more than 6 days beforehand. Or you push His crucifixion beyond the 6 days John 12 talks about.

By the first possibility of chronology, indeed, Palm Sunday was a Sunday, the 10th of Aviv, which began on Saturday evening and ended Sunday evening. Making Monday during the day the 11th, Tuesday the 12th, Wednesday the 13th, and Wednesday Night thru Thursday sundown the 14th and day of His crucifixion. By the second, His entry into Jerusalem would have been on Monday the 11th.

Many have suggested that His entry into Jerusalem fullfilled the Torah type of Exodus/Shemot 12:3-6 that required a lamb to be selected on the 10th of Aviv and taken care of until the 14th. But His entry into Bethany should be considered a candidate for fullfilling this type as well. Just because we've heard the donkey ride mentioned more frequently as the fullfillment of this type doesn't mean it's correct. In fact, a close comparison suggests maybe His trip to Bethany better fullfills the type.

Exodus/Shemot 12:6 required Israel to "take care of" the lamb selected. Simon "took care of" Y'shua.  Jerusalem, as a city, did nothing to "take care of" Y'shua, as the requirements of Exodus 12 state.   So if He arrived at Bethany on Sunday the 10th, 6 days later (counting the 10th as day "1"), would be the 15th when they would eat of the Passover.  So the next "day" could be Monday the 11th, leading us up to Thursday the 14th when He was crucified.   Also, nothing about his status changed after his entry into Jerusalem.  He still stayed at Simon's home in Bethany all week long. If the entry in Jerusalem was it, then why didn't He stay in Jerusalem the rest of the week?  He was annointed TWICE in Bethany that week - the first time when He arrived and the second time 2 days before the feast.  Again, part of the "care" they gave Him there.  

Why His Death was 30 AD


The Talmud lists events to suggest his death occurred in 30 AD. In fact, there are 4 significant signs that happened in 30 AD.

For a detailed description of all of these events, see'shua_nailed_to_the_stake.htm .

Also, the Talmud tells us that the reign of the Herod family ended in 66 AD and lasted for 103 years. That would put the start of it at 38 AD, agreeing with Josephus.

Astronomy tells us several possible dates

We know Y'shua died on the 14th of Aviv, or 14 days after the beginning of the month, which was marked by the first sighting of the first crescent of the New Moon. The Naval Observatory has calculated the moment of conjunction of the New Moon for the years around the death of Y'shua (using the GMT line as their reference point). The following table shows when the month of Aviv would/could have started based on what science knows about the lunar cycles.

The equinox occured about 4 days earlier in the year back then than it does today (currently March 19-21), so for dates VERY CLOSE to the 13-15th, more than one possible New Moon/New Month date is listed. This is due to drift, about 1500 years of mis-calculating how often to set a leap year not perfectly corrected for, and other rather verbose factors. The following table is derived from data obtained by the Naval Observatory at . Those tables give the precise calculated time of conjunction to nearest hour or two. The first visible crescent is likely to be about 16-20 hours after conjunction. Of course, it also had to be visible in Jerusalem in the waning hours before nightfall for the new month to be sanctified so the next 5-8pm time period after the 16-20 hours after conjunction is when the new month would occur (Selah).

Times not qualified are given in Jerusalem Time (JT). Because of the GMT reference, it must be noted that not only do we have to adjust 3 hours for the time zone change, but we also have to remember that the moon may be slightly less mature than the table below indicates, pushing the New Moon Crescent sighting forward in time, but usually not enough to make a difference and probably less than other margin already accounted for.


Year Time of conjunction (from Naval Observatory, error +/-2 hours) 16-20 hours after conjunction (approximate Jerusalem Time) First New Moon Crescent after Equinox Aviv 14 would therefore have been...
27 AD 4am GMT, 7am JT, March 26th 11pm March 26th to 2am March 27th. First possible sighting would be Thursday Evening, March 27th Wednesday Evening/Thursday Day
28 AD Midnight GMT, 3am JT, March 15th

2pm GMT, 5pm JT, April 13

7pm-11pm March 16th

9am-1pm April 14th

Two possibilities for month on Aviv, since first crescent was very eary in March and maybe not a full 2 weeks after the equinox.

First is Tuesday Evening, March 16, but first crescent may not and more likely not visible until March 17th
Second is Wednesday, April 14th

First is Monday Eve/Tuesday Day or alternatively Tuesday Evening/Wednesday Day

Second is Tuesday Evening/Wednesday Day

29 AD 5pm GMT, 8pm JT April 2nd. 12pm-4pm April 3rd Sunday Evening, April 3 Saturday Eve/Sunday Day
30 AD - Considered most likely year 6pm GMT 9pm JT March 22nd 1pm-5pm March 23rd Thursday Evening, March 23rd Wednesday Evening/Thursday Day, April 4th/April 5th on Roman Calendar
31 AD 11pm GMT, 2am JT March 11

Noon GMT, 3pm JT at April 10th

6pm-10pm March 12

7am-11am April 11th

Sunday Evening March 12th or Monday Evening March 13th are both possible as the first crescent sighting after the equinox.

But a March 12/13 date would so close to the equinox the possibility of Aviv starting on Wednesday April 11th must be considered.

First is Saturday Eve/Sunday Day or Sunday Eve/Monday day

Second is Tuesday Evening/Wednesday Day

32 AD 8pm GMT, 11pm JT March 29th 3pm-7pm March 30th Sunday Evening, March 30th Saturday Eve/Sunday Day
33 AD 10am GMT, 1pm JT March 19th or

7pm GMT, 10pm JT April 17th

5am-9am March 20th or

2pm-6pm April 18th

Friday Evening March 20th or Saturday Evening April 18th Thursday Evening/Friday Day or Friday Evening / Saturday Day
34 AD Noon GMT, 3pm JT April 7th 7am-11am April 8th Thursday Evening April 8th Wednesday Evening/Thursday Day

The Bible tells us Y'shua spent 3 days and 3 nights in the tomb, and He rose on the first day of the week. Thus He must have died on a Wednesday or Thursday afternoon. This chart would completely rule out the possibility of a crucifixion on the years 29, 32 or 33 AD, since no crucifixion could have taken place on either a Wednesday or Thursday of those years.

Footnote The actual amount of time that can pass between conjunction and the first crescent sighting can vary according to numerous factors, including time of year, etc. 17-19 hours is about normal for this time of year in Israel. An extra hour was added both ways for margin. Scientists generally acknowledge the first new crescent has never been seen sooner than 15.4 hours after conjunction and has been still not visible as late as 23 hours after conjunction. Only the years 28 and 31 are borderline enough for small descrepencies in such sightings to potentially change the date of the New Moon Crescent sighting.

One thing there's no real record on is the Saviour's "Star". The Bible tells us a special start appeared in the sky when He was born, but since it was only there once, there's no record of it today. It doesn't re-occur, thus there's no way to make calculations. Some people have 'guessed' that maybe this was referring to a certain conjuction of planets, but that would violate what the Bible really says about it being a star.

Y'shua was born before Herod died 4 BC

While our BC/AD dating system is suppose to be taken from the birth of the Saviour, the man who invented the scheme made a mistake in his calculations, thus the year of Messiah's birth was NOT 1 AD.

Historians date Herod's death at 4 BC due to a variety of reasons. Josephus says Herod was made king by the Roman government during the 184th Olympiad (44-40 BC, see Ant. 14:14:5), came to Jerusalem 3 years later (Antiquities 14:15:14) and conquered it during the 185th Olympiad (40-36 BC, see Antiquities 14:16:4), narrowing the time frame for his Roman coronation to 43-40BC. Herod died after "34 years; but since he had been declared king by the Romans, 37" (Antiquities 17:8:1) Adding 37 years to the 43-40 BC period yields 6-3 BC.

Josephus also equates the 7th year of Herod with the battle of Actium (31 BC) as well as the 187th Olympiad (32-28 BC) in Antiquities. 14:5:2, one of the best referenced events in ancient history, making it easy to simply "do the math" to figure out when he died. Clearly, Josephus was marking the "7th year of Herod" relative to his taking the throne in Jerusalem (185th Olympiad), not being given the title in Rome, since 7 years from the 185th Olympiad (40-36BC) can get you to the 187th (32-28BC), but it takes more than that to get from the 184th to the 187th. Other similar datings follow the same patern1. Since Herod's death is measured as 34 years from assuming the throne and 37 from being granted the office (Ant. 17:8:1), counting forward from 31 BC as the 7th year puts us at 4 BC, consistant with other dating of other events.

Herod died between a lunar eclipse and Passover (Antiquities 17 6:4, 9:3). Astronomical calculations put 3 springtime eclipsed before the turn of the Millenium of...

  • total eclipse on March 23rd, 5 BC at 8.52 pm
  • partial eclipse on March 13th, 4 BC at 4.04 am.
  • total eclipse on January 10th, 1 BC at 1.35 am.
  • The one in 1 BC would be too late to reconcile with other records of Josephus. Historians have preferred the 4th over the 5th due to datings mentioned earlier.

    Also, the dating of the reign of Archelaus, who succeeded Herod, gives other clues. Herod split his kingdom 3 ways after he died to...

    Quirinius (also spelled Cyrenius) ruled Syria from 6BC to 4BC (Succeeding Centius, 9-6BC). When Herod died, Herod willed the greater parts of the kingdom (apparently including the region of Quirinius according to Antiquities 17 13:5) to Archelaus (See Josephus' Antiquities 17 8:1, 13:5). Archelaus ruled for 10 years (See Josephus' Antiquities 17 13:2), but commited much evil and was removed from office by Augustus Caesar and banished to Vienna in 6 AD (or the 37th of Actium, according to Antiquities 18 2:1 among other records). Many Roman records confirm the reign of Archelaus as ending in the 37th year from the Battle of Actium (6 AD) after 10 years (including Dio, 200 AD). Count backwards, that puts the start of his reign at 4 BC, and would thus be the year Herod died and one of several reasons historians are in generally agreement on this as the year of Herod's death. A lunar eclipse on March 13th of 4 BC, only a few days/weeks before Passover, provided the two "bookend" events Josephus used to date Herod's death (See Josephus' Antiquities 17 6:4, 9:3)

    Quirinius (Cyrenius) was governing Syria from 6BC to 4BC when Archelaus took over that area in 4BC, at which time Quirinius went back to Rome. Quirinius was re-instated as ruler of that region in 6AD after Archelaus was banished to Vienna. Some have attempted to prove an "error" in the Bible by saying the census mentioned in Luke 2:1-2 could not have happened since Quirinius wasn't governor until 6 AD, but he was governor of that region twice, and there was a census in 6AD and in the 6-4 BC time period as well.

    Everyone was surprised Archelaus was chosen as an heir and it wasn't until Herod was about to die that he changed his mind and allowed Archelaus this position. (See Josephus' Antiquities 17 8:1-2). This is why the only historians I've heard that date Herod's death by the lunar eclipse of 1 BC are those trying to prove Y'shua was born in 2 BC.

    P.S. : Another dating matchup to help fix the years of Herod's reign and thus the year of his death occurs as Josephus dates the completion of the building of Caesarea to the 192nd Olympiad (12-8BC) in the 28th year of Herod (See Ant 16:5:1), which would be 10 BC based on the 7th year being Actium. This matches with common knolwedge from Roman History (See,5716,18812+1+18524,00.html ) which records work as starting in 22 BC and finishing in 10 BC, just as Josephus described.


    Letter from Pilate to Tiberius Caesar

    In the official records of the Roman government, a letter credited as written by Pilate to Tiberius shortly after the crucifixion is recorded in which Pilate comments on Y'shua. He places the resurrection at Sunday morning and the dating at or before April 5th.

    Now let's summarize and compare:

    Evidence Points To... Explanation
    Astronomy (on New Moons) 27, 28, 30, 31 or 34 AD as possibilities These dates are the only years in which a Wednesday or Thursday crucifixion could have happened, and it had to be on one of these two days to satisfy 3 days/3 nights.

    Reconciling this by putting the 15th of Tiberius at 28-30 AD would put the death of Y'shua at 32-34 AD. Since 32 and 33 aren't possible, that would only leave 34 AD as a possibility. a 34 AD date would put his birth AFTER the death of Herod, even if you put the death of Herod in the spring of 1 BC.

    Letter of Pilate 30 AD This letter puts the Resurrection on a Sunday morning (the "4th watch", between 3am-6am), ruling out a Wednesday crucifixion. The only Thursday dates are 27, 30 and 34. It also gives the date as on or before April 5th, eliminating 27 and 34 AD, but the Crucifixion would have been dated April 5th in 30 AD.
    Talmud (Click here for detail) 30 AD Lists 4 events pointing to 30 AD. 2 could mark 30 AD as the beginning of Y'shua's ministry (such as the rejection of the Yom Kippur sacrifices 40 years in a row), but the other 2 could only point to 30 AD as the year of His death. They are the opening of the Temple doors and the discontinuance of the death sentence by the Sanhedrin in 30 AD.
    Dating of Herod's reign and of Archelaus, banished in 6 AD (Actium 37) 29 or 30 AD Since this puts the death of Herod at Spring 4 BC, thus the birth of Y'shua at 5-6 BC.
    Jerome (4th century AD) 30 AD +/- 1 year Jerome says Paul was sent to Rome in

    "the twenty-fifth year after our Lord's passion, that is the second of Nero, at the time when Fetus Procurator of Judea succeeded Felix" (Lives of Illustrious Men, Chapter V) gives Nero's reign as starting in 54 AD. This would mean that the 2nd year of his reign started in 55 AD. Subtracting 25 years from that yields 30 AD, give or take a year since there can be problems with inclusive vs. exclusive dating.


    The scriptures tell us, "By the testimony of 2 or the testimony of 3 witnesses shall every matter be established." The above lists 2 witnesses (The Talmud, with 2 witnesses of it's own of a certain kind and 2 of an ambiguous kind, and Pilate) as putting the death at 30 AD. The dating of Archelaus, Herod, etc., puts his birth at 6-4 BC, making 31 AD or later too late.

    If I apply the principle of believing ALL or as much as possible of the evidence I'm presented, I'd have to conclude the Crucifixion Year was 30 AD. If I selectively choose to believe some witnesses and not others on grounds they lack credibility for one reason or another, of course, I could come to a wider possibility of conclusions, but can't get any 2 independent witnesses to agree on any year other than 30 AD. (I might site some 2nd century historian, but what records would he be using? The same ones I have cited above, but arriving at different conclusions?) So I guess I'll go with this date until some new evidence pops up.


    The Talmud To me, one of the most credible pieces of evidence is the Talmud, because it's the testimony of a HOSTILE WITNESS. The record of the opening of the temple doors is an admission by those who rejected Y'shua as Messiah that a Messianic prophecy was fullfilled at his death. They admitted he fulfilled a Messianic prophecy that defies anything but a supernatural explanation, even though they rejected Him as Messiah.
    Pilate's Letter This evidence is not without holes in it, since there's no proof Y'shua was born in the "day" August Caesar brought peace to the world, although it might be said He was born in "the days" (plural) of the Pax Romanas. Pilate could have been using a non-literal term (remember, this is not God-breathed scripture). The word 'hour' is used to mean 'time' in Spanish even though it may not be referring to an accuracy of +/-1 hour.

    Pilate had no reason to be biased of dates I can think of, but he did have a bias towards supporting Y'shua because Y'shua encouraged the Jews to submit to Roman rule, something well recorded in some of the other documents at . His claim to be "king of the Jews" was a threat to Herod, not Pilate, since Herod was the one who held the title "king of the Jews" as tetrarch of Judea, among other provinces. This may be why Pilate deferred to Herod on this matter, even though the issue was in Pilate's legal jurisdiction.

    Records of Archelaus As reliable as the records of when Tiberius took office. Josephus got his information from the official Roman government records, since Josephus was born about 30 years after Archelaus was banished. He got info on Israeli history from Jewish sources but he was adopted by Caesar after he lost his own governorship, even taking the surname of "Flavius" as his own. (One of his main reasons for writing his histories was to prove he himself was not a traitor to the Jews because of his close relationship with Caesar.) Thus, it's hard to reject this evidence and not also reject the evidence on the dating of when Tiberius took office, since they came from the same source (The Roman government), using the same dating method (relative to the victory of Actium).
    Records of Astronomy OK, if you see the sun go backwards some day, tell me and I'll give some thought to doubting this one.
    Jerome Jerome's account represents the understanding of the Catholic Church in the 4th century AD concerning the timing, which may have been based on earlier records. Jerome was the son of historian Eusebius, recording a bit of history himself in this work.


    The events in detail

    Let's take a look at some of the events in detail that occured when He died. It's clear He died on Aviv 14.

    Wednesday Night, Aviv 14 Y'shua celebrates Last Supper with His disciples.
    Thursday Morning, Aviv 14 Y'shua tried by Pilate, sentenced, sent to Golgotha
    Thursday 12noon-3pm, Aviv 14 Y'shua hung on cross. Darkness covered land at noon until He died at 3pm.
    Thursday Afternoon 3pm to sunset, Aviv 14 Yochanan / John 19:39-40 says, "Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about 75 pounds. Taking Y'shua' body, the two of them [Nicodemus and Joseph] wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs." Now this raises the question, why did the women prepare other spices for Y'shua's body? Did Nicodemus not do everything? Did he not use the entire set of mixes that was part of the custom? Maybe he couldn't carry it all by himself - 75 litras is about 56 pounds and I'm not sure how far he had carry those 56 pounds.

    The women must have known what Nicodemus did for it says in Luke 23:55 that, "The women who had come with Y'shua from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it." So yes, they didn't come back because they weren't aware Nicodemus had already done this. They saw what Nicodemus did. Thus what he did was probably only a partial effort.

    Luke 23:56 says, "Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment." This probably refers to what they did Thursday afternoon, while it was still Aviv 14, using either spices they had at home or maybe spices they obtained from Nicodemus of what he had left over or from a friend. But this may have been a partial effort as well, since apparently they had to go out and buy more later on. Maybe they discovered they didn't have all the spices they needed. Maybe they ran out of time to do it all and had to stop before they were finished. The "spices and perfumes" here are "aromata" and "myrrhs". Nicodemus brought Myrrh and aloes. Maybe he gave them what he had left over.

    Thursday Night, Aviv 15 High Sabbath - First day of Unleavened Bread

    Y'shua in tomb, disciples rested, most Pharisaic Jews celebrate Passover.

    Friday Day Aviv 15 Day of High Sabbath. When High Sabbath Ends, regular weekly Sabbath begins
    Friday Night Aviv 16 Regular Weekly Sabbath Begins
    Saturday Day Aviv 16 Weekly Sabbath ends at Sundown
    Saturday Evening Aviv 17 Matt 28:1 says, "At the end of the Sabbaths (plural, not singular)" Thus Matt 28:1 is talking about the two Sabbaths that happened back-to-back. The KJV mistranslates this as "Sabbath". The word here can mean "Sabbaths" or "Week" or "Sevens" or "High Sabbath" but only "Sabbaths" make sense given the translation, so the KJV probably errored here. The KJV may have been colored by the idea of a Friday crucifixion and they may have disgarded the plural nature of it as not making sense to them due to Catholic tradition. Now had it said "Sabbath" [singular] that would still have been correct, but the plural reference provides more detail.

    In Mark 16 it says, "As the Sabbath was ending" the two Mary's "bought spices so they might go to annoint Y'shua' body." This could have been done Saturday evening. They could have bought some spices from a next door neighbor, friend, what Nicodemus had back at his house, etc. It does not say they went to the marketplace, so there's no requirement that any shops be open.

    It does not say they prepared these spices. Maybe they didn't. Maybe this third set of spices being dealt with was already mixed/ready. Or maybe they did more work. We don't know. Here it mentions "aromata" but no "myrrh". Maybe they got all the myrrh they needed from Nicodemus when they saw him Thursday and were only short on the "aromata". But then again "aromata" is a rather generic term that could include the "myrrh" as well.

    So the Bible may be recording 3 separate partial efforts to prepare spices for the body of Y'shua, and each effort is duely noted and recorded separately.

    And what the women were too late to do may have already been done by another woman in Mark 14:3-9 who annointed Him BEFORE His death.

    At "orthrou batheos" or the crack of dawn, Aviv 17 Luke 24:1 tells us the two Mary's found the tomb empty at "orthrou batheos".
    Sunday Day, Aviv 17 Y'shua appears to all the disciples.


    Some final Notes on 3 days/3 nights

    Now the Catholic Church has used the fact the scriptures that said he would rise "on the 3rd day" as 'proof' that the crucifixion took place on a Friday. This is recorded in Matt 16:21, 20:19, Mark 14:58, Luke 18:33, 24:7 and John 2:19. In Mark 8:31 (and Matt 27:63) it says, "after 3 days". Is this a conflict? Well, when you read it in English, it certainly sounds like the verses conflict, doesn't it? But the KJV, NIV, and other popular modern translations came from the Greek texts. When reading it in the Greek texts, it doesn't conflict. But before I resolve this, let me try to discourage ANYONE from trying to build a doctrine around tense, prepositional words, or grammatical words when you read them in English, because they often don't translate well or don't translate at all into English. If the correct interpretation of a verse hinges on whether it says "on" verses "in" verses "into" or "upon" or "before" or "after" or "when", you could be heading down the wrong road of conclusions. "And" and "But" come from the same Hebrew word but can mean opposite things in English. So if you're reading in the Tanakh (Old Testament) and changing "but" to "and" or vice versa changes the meaning of a sentence, don't hang a doctrine on it or you could be headed for error.

    But the entire "smoking gun" for a Friday crucifixion is based on the idea it happened "on the 3rd day". The "3 days and 3 nights" explanation gives us a mental picture of the proper length of time that does not involve resting our interpretation on grammatical words, and may have been why it was included in the Bible, so that translation into various languages didn't rest on interpretting words that don't translate into another language. The English word "DO" has no equivalent in any language I know of (Spanish, Swedish, Hebrew or Greek). I use to be able to read Swedish faster than I read English (though I haven't used Swedish in about 7 years and have forgotten most of what I learned once). Swedish has MANY grammatical words that don't translate at all or have to be translated into a variety of English words because they just don't map. Hebrew is weak at expressing tense and Greek grammatical words don't map into English well a lot due to the Greek case structure, which explains a lot of things that get lost in translation. So don't hang a doctrine on translated grammar.

    Matt 27:63 is not authoritative since it was spoken by a soldier who could have been saying something wrong, mistaken, or misquoting Y'shua. Mark 8:31 was spoken by Y'shua, so it is authoritative, since He could never say something wrong. The word for "after" here in the KJV is translated from the Greek word "meta" (meta) which is usually translated "with" when it occurs in the Genetive and "after" when it occurs in the Accusitive and however someone decides it fits when it occurs in other cases. In Mark 8:31, it's used in the genetive, but "with" didn't fit in the English translation, so I guess the KJV folks decided to go with "after", even though that's inaccurate. Chalk another verse up to your errors in the KJV notes!

    But this verse does give us another perspective on when the Resurrection would occur that the phrase "on the 3rd day" does not. "On the 3rd day" is ambiguous, since one can argue whether the first day is included or excluded in the way the "day" is being counted. Do you mean "on the 3rd day since it happened" or "on the 3rd day after it happened"? What's the reference point? Until a phrase qualifying this with "since" or "after" is presented, we have an ambiguous term. {And in English, even "since" can be used ambiguously, though "after" is not.}

    Also, "on the 3rd day" doesn't preclude the fact that the event in question can't happen on the 1st or 2nd day in addition to the 3rd day, although in the case of the Resurrection, obviously the event would preclude this, if not the grammar. {Unless you're a wacky new ager who's open to the plethoria of strange ideas they come up with like maybe He died and was Resurrected many times during this period or something weird like that :-) .} "Within 3 days" is ambiguous because it could mean 1 or 2 days or 3 days. "after 3 days" is ambigous since it could mean 3, 4 or more days. "meta 3 days" far less ambiguous than any of these english phrases, but doesn't translate so great.

    "On the 3rd day" is a reference mark. "meta 3 days" is a measurement of time. "Meta" seems to suggest it did not happen before 2 days and/or until the fullment of the measurement in question, but could include the measurement indicated. "After" would be an error because it would imply "the 4th day or more".

    Now if we really believe the scriptures to be inspired, them we must believe that the 3 phrases "on the 3rd day", "meta 3 days" and "3 days and 3 nights" are all mutually true, not that one phrase rules over the other. The arguments presented for a Friday crucifixion require us to disgard what is said about "3 days and 3 nights" because that conflicts with the 'preferred' interpretation presented for "on the 3rd day". But if we truly believe ALL the verses, we need an interpetation that agrees with all 3 of these phrases and not just an explanation that works for one phrase but doesn't fit another.

    The Thursday crucifixion explanation is the only one I know of that makes all 3 phrases work. It counts 3 days and 3 nights without ignoring any part of a day or night, and without counting any part of a day or night as a full day/night in order for the count to come out. It's "on the third day" by two points of reference. On the 3rd calendar day after the day of the crucifixion and on the 3rd "day/night" time period since the crucifixion. It's the only explanation that fits "meta 3 days" since it also is the only explanation I know of that gets the women back to the grave before 72 hours finished but counts 3 full days and nights (the turning of night to day and day to night) at the same time.

    Perhaps the reason the Bible words it this way, instead of being more explicit, is that maybe doubters would never have counted the 3+ hours from 3pm (when the 12-3pm darkness stopped and Y'shua finally died) to sunset as a 'day', even if you pointed out the Genesis 1 definition of a "day" to them. So it's left for the faithful to figure out. After all, this is the reason the Bible gives for why Y'shua often spoke in parables.

    Also, "3 days and 3 nights" is reported to the nearest day/night, not to the nearest hour. It does not say "72 hours". Often, the most common argument against Yeshua's haven risen on a given day is that it doesn't fit a 72 hour scenario. For example....

    Argument 1 Yeshua could not have died on a Thursday, because 72 hours before the 1st day of the week would be less than 72 hours.
    Argument 2 Yeshua could not have died on a Wednesday, because 72 hours before the 1st day of the week would be more than 72 hours

    Either way you examine this issue, it won't fit a 72 hour period and the information isn't given to us to the nearest hour. Also, a count that is less than 72 hours is preferred over a count that exceeds 72 hours for several reasons:

    But trying to make an argument based on using a more finite level of accuracy than scripture reports information is only likely to confuse. If He died at 3pm, and rose ANY TIME on the first day of the week, then it won't be exactly 72 hours no matter how you examine the issue. And if it exceeded 72 hours, then it is either 4 days/3nights or 4 nights/3days, since "part of a day is like a whole day".

    2 Kings 9:29 says Ahaziah became king in the 11th year of Joram. 2 Kings 8:25 says it happened in the 12th year of Joram. Now if it was 11 years, 7 months, we could call either way of reporting it accurate. But it obviously could not have been 11x12=132 months or 12x12=144 months. We can't do math based on a more detailed level of accuracy than we are given. All reporting of measurements of time have some level of margin of error to them based on what was the nearest unit used. If its measured in days, the information is accurate to the nearest half day (or nearest day/night), not the nearest hour. Now if He died at 3pm and "part of a day is like a whole day", then the day He died counts as the first "day" or half day (day/night).