Day Jesus was Crucified

Is it important to know what day Jesus the Christ died and is it important to celebrate or commemorate the correct day?  In the case of the crucifixion day the answer is no for the Christian.  What is more important is the acceptance of the free gift of payment made for each and every single person's sins by Jesus Christ's death on the Cross.  After the acceptance, we all should have our deepest desire to know more and more about our God.

Jesus to spend three days in the grave

We know from Mathew 12:40 - "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the huge fish's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." and John 2:19 "Destroy this temple, [of His body] and in three days I will raise it up." both indicate that Jesus would be three days and nights in the grave.  In Mark 9:31 "For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered up into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and when he is killed, after three days he shall rise again."

The tradition of dying on Friday, John 19:42 misunderstanding, and rising on Sunday, before dawn, has a problem because it is less than three days in the grave.  There is no mention, in the Gospels, that Jesus Christ was crucified on Friday.  The obvious problem with a Friday day crucifixion, is there is not three 24 hour days between Friday and the Resurrection day of Sunday before dawn as it is written in Mathew 28.

Some Sabbaths do not occur necessarily on Saturday

The Jews have additional Sabbath Days besides Saturday, Shabbat.  There are an additional seven "High Sabbaths" that occur yearly and the do not necessarily fall on Saturday.  For example the Feast of Unleavened Bread, also called Passover, which occurs on the 14th of Nisan which is from Numbers 28:16 "On the fourteenth day of the first month the LORD's Passover is to be held.".  In Mathew 28:1 "In the end of the Sabbaths, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher.", Sabbath should be plural and read "At the end of the Sabbaths..." because it is plural in the Greek.   Notice that the two Mary(s) were there before dawn, not yet sunlight on the Sunday.

14th of Nissan at twilight, right before the start of the 15th at sundown

If the 14th of Nisan, Passover, occurred during the week then the 15th could have been any day prior to the weekly Sabbath that occurs on Saturday.  Therefore, Mathew 28:1's reference that the Sabbaths had passed could make it Saturday after sundown, which is then Sunday.  Note that God as referenced in the Genesis refers to the day as starting at Sundown not at midnight.   Think of it is as 6pm to 6pm, which is a 24 hour period. 

Jesus Christ's death is a model of the lamb slain for the Passover.  In Exodus 12:6 "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." is referring to the lamb that will be slain.  It is to be eaten at night time, Exodus 12:8, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.  This is the Passover which is how we all can believe the crucifixion happened on the 24 hour period before the start of the 15th of Nissan.  Notice and read the versus before verse 6 in Exodus, "Your lamb shall be an unblemished male ...".  We can see the parallelism that points to the future complete sacrifice of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, slain for all. 


Jesus Christ had to be buried before night because of scriptural laws.  Recall that once the night begins it is the start of the next day.  Deuteronomy 21:22 - 23 "And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree; his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt surely bury him the same day; for he that is hanged is accursed of God; that thou defile not thy land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee for an inheritance."  We know that Joseph went before Pilate to get Jesus' body before the Sabbath, Luke 23:50 - 56 "And behold, a man named Joseph, who was a councilor, a good and righteous man (he had not consented to their counsel and deed), a man of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews, who was looking for the kingdom of God: this man went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb that was hewn in stone, where never man had yet lain. And it was the day of the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew on. And the women, who had come with him out of Galilee, followed after, and beheld the tomb, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments. And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment."  Note: "Day of Preparation, and the Sabbath drew on" means it was approaching.

Death occurred at approximately 3pm

In Mark 15:25 crucifixion takes place at the third hour (9 a.m.) and Jesus' death at the ninth hour (3 p.m.).  Remember that Jewish time is from Sundown to Sunset and Roman time is from Midnight to Midnight.  Time was recorded in two ways and the 3rd hour meant 3 hours of light since dawn, hence 9am.

Mathew 27:45 "About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out ..." and Luke 23:44 record there was darkness from noon to about 3pm in the afternoon where at the end of this period Jesus cries out and gives up His Spirit.

Note two things regarding the date and time of the crucifixion.  According to Mathew 27:57-28 "57 As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. 58 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him."

Resurrection Day and Time Period

From John 20:1 "Now on the first day of the week (Sunday) cometh Mary Magdalene early, while it was yet dark, unto the tomb, and seeth the stone taken away from the tomb.", so it was Sunday before sunrise when Mary got to the tomb but we know from other scriptures that Jesus Christ was gone.  Therefore Jesus had risen already during the night time which is the first 12 hours of the Biblical Day as God defines a day starting at Sundown and ending at twilight.

Also, Mark 16:1-2 "(1) When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesusí body. (2) Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb", where the sun has risen. 

Author's note: No contradiction here as two of the Apostles are giving the account with different vantage points and perspectives.  When the sun first rises, not everything is perfectly illuminated or visible.  The best analogy is waking up at a camp site after arriving during the night where in the morning as the sun is just rising, you see more things that were not clear during the night but still not as clear until after the sun moves more across the sky.  Also, John doesn't mention the three women because he is saying Mary Magdalene noticed the stone rolled away.  In John's account, the story jumps farther ahead in verse 2. 

Feast of First Fruits

Since Jesus is crucified and dies on the cross in the afternoon before the Passover celebration began.  He is put in the tomb right before the start of Passover meal, which starts on the 15th.  Take the few hours where Jesus is dead on the Cross on the 14th, then three days in the tomb: 15th, 16th & 17th and He rises from the dead on 18th of Nissan, the Feast of First Fruits before dawn.  The western man's view of prophecy is prediction and fulfillment.  God has shown that He uses a pattern to teach us and reveal to us. For example:

(a) the end of the Flood of Noah was on the 17th day of the 7th month, Nisan.  The next day, the 18th, is the new beginning on the Earth.   
(b) Israel crossed over the Red Sea into the Promise Land on the Feast of First Fruits, Leviticus 23:10 "Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, `When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest."

3.5 Days Christ's body is dead

God always uses patterns to teach us.  Notice that the Two Witnesses are dead in the Streets of Jerusalem for 3.5 days.  This fits the model of the Crucifixion death which occurred around 3pm in the afternoon of the Wednesday 14th of Nisan and then Jesus Christ exiting the tomb during the night portion of the 18th of Nisan before the two Mary(s) and other women arrive before dawn.  The death period before the Resurrection is approximately 3.5 days also.   Note that Jesus in Mathew 12:40 did not say 3 days and 4 nights so the 3.5 days does not contradict the Gospel as Jesus rises before dawn, not a full night, on Sunday where it is the opinion that God would use the pattern of 3.5 days like the two witnesses period of time in death.

Hours Christ's
Body is dead
Notes - Hour references with days
3pm to 6pm 3 hours 14th of Nisan, arround 3pm - Jesus is taken to the tomb before sundown on Wednesday
6pm to 6pm 24 hours 15th of Nisan - 6pm on Wednesday to 6pm on Thursday
6pm to 6pm 24 hours 16th of Nisan - 6pm on Thursday to 6pm on Friday
6pm to 6pm 24 hours 17th of Nisan - 6pm on Friday to 6pm on Saturday
before 6am Less than 12
 (probably 9 hours)
18th of Nissan - 6pm on Saturday but before 6am on Sunday
    Two Mary(s) get there at dawn and Jesus Christ is gone.
  3.5 days An approximation


The following chart pieces together the timeline and the theory that the crucifixion occurred on the 14th of Nissan, Wednesday, in the late afternoon.  Jesus Christ became the Passover Lamb.

Why is there a "Good Friday" tradition?

As noted above, the Good Friday comes from the misunderstanding of John 19:42 "Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.".  The "day of preparation" lead to the belief that it was before the Sabbath day of Saturday.  Additionally noted above, this goes against too many other scriptural references and the "Preparation" was a reference to the Passover Meal in the evening not the Sabbath day.  Is it okay to celebrate on Friday and call it "Good Friday"?  Yes, it is absolutely okay! 

Year of the Crucifixion

It was AD 30 because the 14 of Nissan was on a Wednesday in that year, Roman Calendar April 5th, 30 AD.  From "The Annals, Book XV", Tacitus states that "Cristus, from whom the name ['Christian'] had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of the procurators, Potntius Pilatus..."   Pilate was the Roman procurator of Judea from 26 AD through 36 AD.   From the Book of Luke, we know that Jesus began His ministry when He "was about 30 years of age".  From the "Book of John", there are three annual Passovers during His ministry (John 2:23; John 6:4; John 13:1).  Working from these two points of information, it can be determined that Jesus Christ was crucified in his early 30s.  Note that Jesus's birth was before the 1 AD and there is no 0 AD.   Many scholars point to Jesus's birth to be in the year of 4 BC.

Disclaimer: Putting a year on the calendar for the Crucifixion is somewhat difficult.  Sir Robert Anderson's book, The Coming Prince, places the year as 32 AD and the crucifixion as Thursday on page 54 because of the calculation based on Daniel Chapter 9.  The year, proposed in this topic vs. The Coming Prince, might be revised later but the problem is still the 3 days in the heart of the earth as Mathew 12:40 states where a Thursday afternoon death on the cross does not add up to 3 days in the earth.  Additionally there seems to be the parallel with 3.5 days that match the Two Witnesses period of death as God uses parallels / models throughout His entire Scriptures.  The writer of this topic believes the calendar estimates for a specific Jewish day mapped to a specific Gregorian calendar day are not always accurate, so the 14th of Nisan could have fallen on Wednesday in 32 AD and no matter what God's timing on days, it is always perfect.

God's precision is perfect and newer scholarship research will always yield to the proof of Bible and even with our different hypothesis of calendar dates, the prediction of the Messiah in the Book of Daniel points to Jesus Christ and to obviously no other.    

What can be read next?  See Risen - 4 Gospels and is there a discrepancy on Easter? and Flood ends where the next day is the first day on the new earth and it is the same day as Christ's Resurrection

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