Crucifixion Week Chronology

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Crucifixion Week Chronology

In response to a request from the Scribes and Pharisees for a sign to prove His Messiahship, Yeshua (Jesus)[1] told them, “An evil and adulterous generation demands a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Yonah (Jonah). For as Yonah was in the belly of the great fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights” (Matt. 12:39-40[2]). Christian tradition proposes a “triumphant entry” of Messiah into Jerusalem on “Palm Sunday,” His crucifixion on “Good Friday,” and a resurrection early on “Easter” Sunday morning.

Problems with the Traditional Christian Chronology

For something like 1,500 years or more, the Church has taught us that Messiah’s “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem was on “Palm Sunday,” that He celebrated His “Last Supper” with His disciples on Thursday evening the day before the Jewish Passover (which would then be Friday), that He was crucified a bit before noon on “Good Friday,” died sometime around 3:00 p.m. and was resurrected just before sunrise (approximately 6:00 a.m.) on “Easter Sunday” morning. This traditional chronology creates two very significant problems that Christian theologians and Bible teachers conveniently ignore:

 1. The Sign of Yonah is not fulfilled, and

 2. There is an apparent inconsistency in the Gospels as to the date of the Crucifixion.

The Sign of Yonah

Yeshua told the Scribes and Pharisees that the proof of His Messiahship would be His fulfillment of “the Sign of Yonah.” The traditional chronology makes Him a liar at worst or simply wrong at best. Either option would prove that He was a false prophet (Deut. 18:22) and disqualified from being Israel’s Messiah.

Dates Inconsistency

There is an apparent inconsistency in the Gospels as to the date of the Crucifixion:

Mattityahu (Matthew) writes that the “Last Supper” was actually the Passover Seder[3] that the Disciples and their Rabbi celebrated on the first day of Unleavened Bread[4] (Matt. 26:17-20).

Agreeing with Mattityahu, Markus (Mark) and Lukas (Luke) both write that the Disciples were preparing their Passover Seder “on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was being sacrificed” (Mark 14:12-16, Luke 22:7-15).

However, Yochanan (John) says that when Yeshua was crucified on the day after their final Passover Seder, it was “the day of Preparation for Passover” (John 19:14), that is the day before Passover. Which part of the Scriptures are in error, John or the synoptic Gospels? Remember that one single error in any part of the Scriptures nullifies the validity of the entire Bible!

Fuzzy Math

Yeshua said that He would fulfill the “sign of Yonah” by being in the grave for “three days and three nights.” On every clock that I have ever been able to find, “three days and three nights” is a period of 72 hours, and there simply are not 72 hours between 3:00 PM on Friday and 6:00 AM on Sunday.

No matter what kind of “fuzzy math” you perform, the time between a Friday evening burial and a Sunday morning resurrection cannot possibly be more than 36 hours, exactly half the time required to fulfill “the sign of Yonah.” If Yeshua did not literally and completely fulfill “the sign of Yonah” with a full three days and a full three nights (a total of 72 hours) in the tomb, then He either lied about it or He was wrong, and is thus not qualified to be the Messiah. Since He claimed to be the Messiah, then if He is not all He claimed to be, He was a false prophet. The validity of the entire Christian and Messianic faith hinges upon whether or not He literally fulfilled “the sign of Yonah.” One would think that “the Church” might consider this to be a significant problem.

The Source of the Traditional Chronology

The Church’s traditional chronology relies totally on Roman Catholic tradition and conveniently chooses to ignore both Jewish history and the Biblical record. It is this writer’s opinion (and only an opinion, with which you are at liberty to disagree) that this erroneous chronology is the direct result of Constantine’s outlawing of all Jewish practices, especially the Passover observance, in the new “Church” that he created sometime between 311 and 325 CE.[5]

The tradition that sets “Good Friday” as the day of crucifixion is based on ignorance of Hebrew tradition. It assumes that the Shabbat (Sabbath) referred to in Mark 15:42 was the seventh-day Shabbat (Saturday). The translators and interpreters did not understand that every Jewish Holy Day is a Shabbat, and the Shabbat referred to in verse 42 was not a Saturday, but the first day of Unleavened Bread, the 15th of Nisan. The first and eighth day of Unleavened Bread are both “high” Shabbats. Passover is less than an hour in duration and occurs “at twilight” (which is defined as the period just after sunset but before total darkness) on the 14th of Nisan according to Leviticus 23:5-6.

In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, between sundown and complete darkness, comes Pesach [Passover] for ADONAI. On the fifteenth day of the same month is the festival of matzah [unleavened bread]; for seven days you are to eat matzah.

So during the tend days that included Yeshua’s crucifixion and resurrection there were five sabbaths: the day of Passover was a sabbath, the first and last days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread were both sabbaths, First Fruits was a sabbath, and there was also the regularly weekly seventh-day Shabbat.

Friday 3:00 pm

Not in the
grave any
part of this
day

Yeshua dies

 

 

Friday 6:00 pm

Yeshua buried
just before
sunset

 

Friday 6:00pm-midnight

Night one

In the
grave

 

Saturday midnight-6:00am

24 hours

 

Saturday 6:00 am-6:00pm

Day one

 

Saturday 6:00-midnight

Night two

12 hours

Sunday midnight-6:00am

Sunday 6:00 am

Not in the
grave any
part of this
day

Resurrection
at sunrise

 

 

As I was taught in seminary, the Church historically justifies this discrepancy by (incorrectly) proposing that “on the Jewish calendar, any portion of a day is counted as a full day and any portion of a night is considered a full night.” Even if this were true (and it simply is not), between his burial at 6:00 PM on Friday and a resurrection at 6:00 AM on Sunday there are 36 (not 72) hours, and only two nights: Friday night and Saturday night. No matter how you trim and whittle, you can get no more than one full day and two nights; it is mathematically impossible to cram three days and three nights, or even any portions of three days and three nights, into 36 hours. Only when you ignore the Hebrew calendar that the Bible uses and forcibly apply the Gregorian calendar that the Church uses do you have part of Friday, all of Saturday, and part of Sunday; you may have part of three days, but you do not have part of three days and part of three nights.

So how can we resolve this problem? I encourage you to be good Bereans, and look up all these Scripture references in your Bible (or just follow the hyperlinks I have provided) and see what the Word actually says. What I say or think is totally unimportant; be concerned only with what Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) says through the Shliachim (Apostles).

Three Things We Can Know with Absolute Certainly

  1. Yeshua was totally and absolutely Torah-observant, the only Person who ever lived who was able to do so. He was, in fact, the “Living Torah.” He simply would not — could not — violate the Passover. To do so would make him “a sinner,” an unsuitable sacrifice for our redemption, and ineligible to be the Messiah.

  2. If Yeshua lied (or was wrong) about how long He would be in the tomb, then he was a false prophet, and not the Messiah. So if He said that He would prove that He is the Messiah by fulfilling “the Sign of Yonah” — by being in the earth for three days and three nights — then He was in the tomb literally for 72 hours.

  3. The Scriptures are always correct! When Scripture “disagrees” with Scripture, or when the Scriptures are “wrong,” it is we who have arrived at the wrong interpretation, or there is a faulty translation from the original autograph (the original parchment that was actually hand-written by the Apostle or his scribe).

With those three working pre-suppositions, we have a very interesting challenge in unraveling the chronology of the crucifixion week.

The Facts as We Know Them

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt: “This month [Abib or Nisan] is to be the beginning of months for you; it is the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month they must each select an animal of the flock according to [their] fathers’ households, one animal per household. If the household is too small for a [whole] animal, that person and the neighbor nearest his house are to select one based on the combined number of people; you should apportion the animal according to what each persona will eat. You must have an unblemished animal, a year-old male; you may take it from either the sheep or the goats. You are to keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; then the whole assembly of the community of Israel will slaughter the animals at twilight.” (Exod. 12:1-6)

These are the Lord’s appointed times, the sacred assemblies you are to proclaim at their appointed times. The Passover to the Lord comes in the first month, at twilight on the fourteenth day of the month. The Festival of Unleavened Bread to the Lord is on the fifteenth day of the same month. For seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day you are to hold a sacred assembly; you are not to do any daily work. You are to present a fire offering to the Lord for seven days. On the seventh day there will be a sacred assembly; you must not do any daily work. (Lev. 23:4-8)

  1. Passover was given to Israel (and to those goyim[6] who have either converted or otherwise attached themselves to Israel) as a foreshadow of Messiah’s atoning sacrifice.

  2. Passover is on 14th day of Nisan (formerly called Abib), and the lamb is to be slain “at twilight” (literally, “between the evenings” or “between sundown and complete darkness” as the Complete Jewish Version translates it). (Exod. 12:6; Lev. 23:5) From at least the Second Temple Period, “twilight” has been considered to be the time between approximately 3:00 pm and sunset.

  3. The Passover Lamb is to be brought into the house on the 10th day of Nisan for extensive examination until the 14th of Nisan. (Exod. 12:3)

  4. To fulfill the prophetic picture of Passover, Messiah had to enter Jerusalem and the Temple (be taken into the “House” — a Hebrew appellation for the Temple, from “My house shall be called a house of prayer”) on Nisan (Abib) 10 (on no other day), and be killed “between the evenings” on Nisan (Abib) 14 (on no other day).

  5. The “sign of Yonah” was to be literally fulfilled: As Yonah was “in the belly of the fish” for three days and three nights (72 hours, Jonah 1:17), so Messiah was to be “in the heart of the earth” for three days and three nights (72 hours, Matthew 12:39-41). [Sorry, but that “any part of a day counts as a whole day” theory just won’t fly. “Three days and three nights” is English for a Hebrew phrase which means … “three days and three nights.”]

  6. First Fruits was literally fulfilled by the Resurrection (1Cor. 15:20,23), and therefore had to occur on the Day of First Fruits. But the current Jewish Yom HaBikkurim (the Day of First Fruits) is the first day of Shavuot (Exod. 34:22), also called Pentecost, seven weeks after Passover. However, there are two “First Fruits,” the barley first fruits and the wheat first fruits. Barley, the Spring “First Fruits” is the first of the winter planting to be harvested in Spring (Lev. 23:9-10); wheat isn’t harvested until the summer “First Fruits” almost two months later (Exod. 34:22). [Modern Judaism only recognizes the second “First Fruits,” and my personal belief is that they do so because to acknowledge the early “First Fruits” they would have to deal with Yeshua’s fulfillment of that foreshadowing. Ignoring the early “First Fruits” eliminates that problem for them.]

  7. (See “The Hebrew Calendar” at the end of this article.) On the Hebrew calendar, the day begins and ends at sunset, not at midnight [“God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” (Genesis 1:5, NASB)]. On Nisan 13 and 14 (early spring), sunset occurs at approximately 6:30 (give or take a few minutes).

  8. The three Synoptic Gospels confirm that Messiah’s last meal before He died was the Passover Seder (Matthew 26:17-20; Mark 14:12-16; Luke 22:7-12), which Torah requires to be prepared late in the afternoon and early evening (before sunset) of Nisan 14 and eaten during the first hours of Nisan 15; yet his “trial” before Pilate occurred the next day on “the Day of Preparation,” which is the day before the Passover Seder, or Nisan 14. Moreover, John 18:28 tells us that the members of the Sanhedrin who were accusing Him “did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover.” We are therefore faced with the challenge of figuring out how Nisan 14 can fall on two different days.

  9. Yeshua was in Bethany six days before Passover (“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was, the one Jesus had raised from the dead.” John 12:1) Six days before Nisan 14 would be Nisan 8.

 10. Throughout the Gospel accounts, Yeshua’s teaching regarding Torah (but not the “Oral Tradition”) is consistently in line with the teaching of the Pharisees.

 11. The Sadducees, who rejected all things supernatural, accepted only Torah — the five Books of Moshe (Moses) — as inspired, disagreed with the Pharisees on just about every issue, were in firm control of the Temple and the Priesthood, and therefore controlled the “Temple calendar.”

 12. During the Second Temple Period there was no “fixed” calendar. According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (vol. 1, p.266), the first day of the month began “when the thin crescent of the new moon was first visible at sunset.”

If the sky was cloudy at the time the first sliver crescent should have been visible, the “new moon” might not be actually observed until the clouds cleared — perhaps not until the following evening’s sunset. In that event, the Sanhedrin would have had to give it their best guess. It is conceivable that if the Pharisees saw the first crescent at a time different than the Sadducees did (due to weather conditions, for example), the Pharisees and Sadducees would be observing different calendars for that month. But since the Sadducees controlled the priesthood and the Temple, the Temple always ran on the Sadducean calendar, no matter what the Pharisees said.

It is important to remember that Yeshua almost always agreed with the Pharisees in matters of Torah observance, but frequently disagreed with them in matters of Torah application and the Oral Tradition, or the “Tradition of the Elders.” It is therefore most likely that if the suggested difference calendars occurred that month, Yeshua would have followed the Pharisee’s calendar.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all agree that Yeshua and His Disciples prepared (not ate) their Passover “on the first day of Unleavened Bread,” which would be Nisan 15 (Lev. 23:6). As we have seen, the Torah says that Passover occurs at the end of the 14th of Nisan, into the first hour or so of the first day of Unleavened Bread, the 15th of Nisan. I believe that we can safely assume that Yeshua (Who wrote the Ten Commandments in stone with His finger and handed them to Moshe at Sinai, according to Exod. 31:18) knew the correct date to celebrate Passover (the date that He gave to Moshe — the ending of Nisan 14). His “trial” before Pilate was therefore about 14 or 15 hours into Nisan 15, but the “Temple calendar” of the Sadducees put their “Passover” just after sunset on Nissan 15, which would actually be Nissan 16.

So we still have a significant problem remaining that I have been unable to resolve in this study: If the Master’s “Last Passover Seder” was properly celebrated just after sunset as the day was starting on Nisan 15 (as Torah requires), then they prepared the Passover in the final five or six hours of Nisan 14 (as Torah requires). The synoptic Gospels all say that “the first day of Unleavened Bread” was Nisan 14, but the Torah (Leviticus 23:5-6) says that “the first day of Unleavened Bread” is Nisan 15.

The members of the priesthood who attended His “trial” before Pilate did not want to enter the building to avoid being “defiled” and disqualified for eating Passover after sunset that evening (which would have been the first hour of Nisan 15).

Then they took Jesus from Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They did not enter the headquarters themselves; otherwise they would be defiled and unable to eat the Passover. (John 18:28)

So the Sadducees ate their Passover on “the first day of Unleavened Bread,” Nisan 15.

Since the Scriptures must be without error in the original autographs, I can only assume that between the time that the Synoptics were first written in Hebrew[7],[8] then translated into Greek, and then into Latin, and then into English, there had to have occurred an error in translation, probably due to ignorance of the Hebrew method of keeping time. The Greek word protoß (protos) that is translated as “first” in Matthew and Mark is three other times in the NAS translated as “before” — the word “first” does not appear in the Greek text of Luke. It may therefore possibly be that the original autographs said, “… before the day of Unleavened Bread.”

There is one other possibility that I really hesitate to present: the three verses from the Synoptics may possibly have been deliberately redacted by the Roman Church to support their “Good Friday” tradition.

The Known Facts Present Challenges to be Resolved

  1. If the crucifixion occurred on “Good Friday” and the Resurrection occurred just before dawn on “Easter Sunday morning” there is absolutely no possible way to account for “the Sign of Yonah.” Assuming that Yeshua died shortly after 3:00 pm and was buried before the onset of the weekly Sabbath shortly before 6:30 pm, there is an absolute maximum of only 39 hours between His death and resurrection. Therefore, this interpretation must be discarded as intellectually untenable.

  2. The Synoptic Gospels (Matt. 26:17, Mark 14:12, and Luke 22:7 — you are looking up all these Scripture references, aren’t you?) all clearly affirm that the Talmidim (Disciples) prepared “the Passover” on “the first day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed.” This presents a serious problem with the English translation, because Leviticus 23:5-6 clearly says that Passover (the time when the lamb is sacrificed) is on the 14th of the month and the first day of Unleavened Bread is the 15th of the month — the day after Passover. It is simply impossible that the Jewish Rabbis Mattityahu, Markus, and Lukas — who lived in strict obedience to Torah — all wrote in their original autographs that the lamb has to be sacrificed on the first day of Unleavened Bread, the day after the Torah requires the sacrifice. Immediately above, we entertained the possibility that the true original text read “… before the day of Unleavened Bread,” and this conflict with the English text almost surely proves that point.

  3. In order to fulfill the prophetic sign of the Passover, it was essential that Messiah die at exactly the time that the Passover Lamb was being sacrificed in the Temple! If the Talmidim prepared “the Passover” on “the first day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed,” and they ate the Passover Seder that evening shortly after sunset, how is it possible for their Paschal lambs to have been sacrificed 24 hours before those which were being sacrificed at exactly the time that Yeshua died?

  4. The Sanhedrin “took Jesus from Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They did not enter the headquarters themselves; otherwise they would be defiled and unable to eat the Passover.” (John 18:28). They were Sadducees, the chief priests of the Temple, and they did not enter the Praetorium because it was their Day of Preparation for the Passover, which would begin at sunset that evening. Yet Yeshua and His Talmidim ate their Passover Seder after sunset the previous evening (about 14 hours earlier); therefore, on Yeshua’s calendar His trial was clearly being conducted on Passover!

  5. The Sadducees calculated First Fruits as the day after the seventh-day Sabbath (the first day of the week) that comes after Passover.

“On the first day [of Unleavened Bread] you are to hold a sacred assembly; you are not to do any daily work. You are to present a fire offering to the Lord for seven days. On the seventh day [of Unleavened Bread] there will be a sacred assembly; you must not do any daily work.” The Lord spoke to Moses: “Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When you enter the land I am giving you and reap its harvest, you are to bring the first sheaf of your harvest to the priest. He will wave the sheaf before the Lord so that you may be accepted; the priest is to wave it on the day after the Sabbath. (Lev. 23:7-11)

The Pharisees apparently held that “the sabbath” referred to in Lev. 23:11 was the seventh-day Sabbath after Passover, and they celebrated “First Fruits” 50 days later as the first day of Shavuot, or Pentecost (Exod. 34:22). [Modern Judaism has survived from the sect of the Pharisees; the Sadducees “died out” after the Temple was destroyed in 70 C.E.; with no Temple, they had no reason to exist.] But in order for Yeshua to have been resurrected in fulfillment of First Fruits, the true First Fruits of the resurrection had to be the first day of the week following Passover.

The only possible way to resolve these glaring discrepancies, and for the Scriptures to be accurate, is to assume that Yeshua and the Pharisees had a different calendar than the Sadducees and the Sanhedrin. Right or wrong, since they controlled the Temple, the Sadducees also controlled the Temple’s calendar.

Hebrew Day-Names

The day-names on the ancient Hebrew calendar were in relation to Shabbat (not names in honor of pagan “gods,” as is our western calendar):

  • First Day of the Week: After Havdalah[9] (approximately an hour after sunset) Saturday night until sunset Sunday night.

  • Second Day of the Week: Sunday sunset to Monday sunset.

  • Third Day of the Week: Monday sunset to Tuesday sunset.

  • Third Day Toward Shabbat: Tuesday sunset to Wednesday sunset.

  • Second Day Toward Shabbat: Wednesday sunset to Thursday sunset.

  • Erev Shabbat: Thursday sunset to Friday sunset.

  • Shabbat: Friday sunset until three stars can be seen on Saturday evening. This makes Shabbat just short of 25 hours long.

So Here is My Interpretation[10]

Based on the known facts, I developed the following chronology of the crucifixion/resurrection week. In order to accommodate for numerous “discrepancies” in the Gospel accounts, I have been forced to assume that the Pharisees and the Sadducees were operating on different calendars. I have not been able to find anything anywhere to support that assumption, so it is mine alone, and should be regarded as only my opinion. It is critical to remember, however, that on the Hebrew calendar, the day begins and ends at sunset, not midnight.

Nisan 1 — Second Day Toward Shabbat

It is a cloudy evening just after sunset. The Sadducees of the Sanhedrin are watching the sky from the Temple grounds for the first glimpse of the sliver crescent of the moon which marks Rosh Kodesh, the “head” or first day of the month. A group of senior Pharisees are also watching the sky. Suddenly there is a momentary break in the cloud cover and the Pharisees catch the briefest of glimpses of a tiny crescent moon and declare Rosh Kodesh, Nisan 1.

Nisan 2 — Erev Shabbat

There are fewer clouds tonight, and just at sunset the Sadducees catch their first glimpse of the crescent moon and declare it is their Rosh Kodesh, Nisan 1. The Sadducean calendar for the month now lags that of the Pharisees by 24 hours. However, since the Sadducees control the priesthood and the Temple, all Temple services for the month will be on their calendar.

Nisan 8 — Second Day Toward Shabbat (Thursday, which began Wednesday night at sunset)

Yeshua spends the whole day, and possibly the next, in Beit-Anyah (Bethany) with El’ezar (Lazarus), Miryam (Mary), and Marta (Martha). (John 12:1-2)

Nisan 10 — Shabbat (Friday night and Saturday), PC (Pharisees’ Calendar)

Because the Scriptures require the Paschal (Passover) Lamb to be “taken into the house” on Nisan 10, contrary to the Christian “Palm Sunday” tradition, Messiah’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem occurs on Shabbat (Saturday), the tenth of Nisan, not on Sunday (Matthew 21:1-10; Mark 11:1-10; Luke 19:29-38). The Paschal Lamb is taken into the “House” (remember, this is a Hebrew euphemism for the Temple, which Yeshua referred to as “my Father’s House”) where He is carefully observed for defects by both the priesthood and the people until the 14th day of the month. Yeshua spends the afternoon of the 10th, then the 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th of Nisan in the Temple being “examined” for any spiritual defect.

Nisan 11 — First Day of the Week (Saturday night and all day Sunday), PC

Yeshua cleanses the Temple (Matthew 21:12-16, Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-47; John 2:13-16) and spends the day teaching in the Temple and being examined by his “family,” the people, and the priesthood.

Nisan 12 — Second Day of the Week (Sunday night and all day Monday), PC

Yeshua spends the day teaching in the Temple and being examined by his “family,” the people, and the priesthood.

Nisan 13 — Third Day of the Week (Monday night and all day Tuesday); Day of Preparation for Pesach, PC

Messiah spends the day teaching in the Temple and being examined by his “family,” the people, and the priesthood. The Pharisaic priests perform their Paschal Sacrifice.

3:00-6:00 pm: The Pharisees sacrifice their Paschal lambs “between the evenings.”

3:00-6:00 pm: Yeshua’s Talmidim obtain their Paschal lamb from the Pharisees and prepare their Passover Seder.

Nisan 14 — Third Day Toward Shabbat (Tuesday after sunset and Wednesday): Passover (PC);
Nisan 13, Day of Preparation for Passover, SC (Sadducean Calendar)

The day of Nisan 14 (on the Pharisee’s Calendar) begins at sunset Tuesday evening. By Hebrew reckoning, it is now the fourth day of the week, or the Third Day Toward Shabbat. It is the Pharisee’s Pesach. On the Pharisee’s Calendar it is Nisan 13, the Day of Preparation.

6:30-10:30 pm: Yeshua celebrates the Pharisaic Passover Seder with his Talmidim in the evening (beginning just after sunset).

10:30-11:30 pm: Yeshua prays in the garden while the Talmidim sleep (four glasses of wine and a big meal will have that effect on a lot of people).

11:30 pm: Yeshua is arrested in the garden by an entire Roman cohort — according to Josephus, a contingent of between 480 and 600 highly-trained soldiers — plus an unknown, but presumably quite large, number of Temple guards, all of whom He knocks to the ground with His words when He claims to be “The I AM.”[11]

12:00-7:00 am: All night long He is “examined for defect” by both the Jewish Supreme Court (Sanhedrin) and the secular Roman court of Herod, and no defect (fault) was found in Him. He is declared an acceptable sacrifice by both the Sanhedrin and Herod’s court.

7:00 am: Early in the morning Yeshua is taken before the court of Rome, where no defect (fault) was found in Him. He is declared an acceptable sacrifice by Rome, the highest secular court in the world.

7:30-10:00 am: Yeshua is mocked, beaten, and scourged.

10:00-11:30 am: The Roman execution squad takes him to Golgotha, where He is crucified sometime before noon.

12:00-3:00 pm: Darkness covers the land from noon until 3:00 pm (Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44).

3:00-4:00 pm: Messiah’s last few human minutes. He breathes out His spirit shortly after 3:00 pm, at the same exact time that the Sadducean Paschal Sacrifice begins in the Temple (between the evenings); the earthquake tears the temple veil from top to bottom.

4:00-5:30 pm: The execution squad confirms His death with a spear thrust. Yeshua is taken from the cross and is sealed in the tomb before sunset (which occurs approximately 6:30 pm).

Nisan 15 — Second Day Toward Shabbat (Wednesday night and Thursday), PC;
Nisan 14, Passover (SC)

6:30-10:30 pm: The Sadducees eat their Passover Seder in confusion, wondering why the earthquake tore the Temple veil from top to bottom during their sacrifice.

6:30 pm-6:30 am: Messiah is in the tomb; the first full night.

6:30 am-6:30 pm: Messiah is in the tomb; the first full day.

Nisan 16 — Erev Shabbat (Thursday night and Friday), PC

6:30 pm-6:30 am: Messiah is in the tomb; the second full night.

6:30 am-6:30 pm: Messiah is in the tomb; the second full day.

Nisan 17 — Shabbat (Friday night and Saturday), PC

6:30 pm-6:30 am" Messiah is in the tomb; the third full night.

6:30 am-6:30 pm: Messiah is in the tomb; the third full day.

6:30-6:45 pm: The resurrection occurs almost exactly 72 hours after Messiah’s burial, within minutes after sunset, just as the First Day of the Week begins. Remember that Havdalah delays the end of Shabbat by almost an hour after sunset, until the first three stars can be seen. Technically, for that hour, it is both Shabbat and the First Day of the Week.

Nisan 18 — First Day of the Week (Saturday night and Sunday), PC

Sadducean First Fruits (the First Day of the Week following the seventh-day Shabbat that follows Passover). Right or wrong, and regardless of how the Omer is “correctly” counted, the Sadducees control the Temple calendar, and for them it is First Fruits.

6:30-6:45 pm: Messiah’s resurrection occurs Saturday evening during Havdalah, almost exactly 72 hours after His burial, within minutes after sunset, just as the First Day of the Week (First Fruits) begins. Remember that Havdalah delays the end of Shabbat by almost an hour after sunset, until the first three stars can be seen. Technically, for that hour, it is both Shabbat andthe First Day of the Week. (The “Sign of Yonah” is that Messiah will be “in the heart of the earth” for three days and three nights, so the time of His Resurrection needs to be calculated not from the time of His death, but rather from the time of His burial.)

6:45-7:00 pm: Within mere moments after the Resurrection, the women arrive at the tomb only a few minutes after sunset, as it was just becoming dark (perhaps only one star could be seen in the evening sky), at the first possible opportunity that Torah permitted, and discover the Resurrection has occurred: the tomb is empty.

Most English translations have Mattityahu placing the time of the women’s visit to the tomb as “After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning,” or something very similar. However, we must remember that most English translations follow the precedent that was set by King James in his instructions to the translators in 1611, specifically that in the new translation, the “names of the prophets and the holy writers, with the other names in the text,” “the old ecclesiastical words,” and other word having “divers significations” (i.e., when alternate translations are possible) must follow the translation of the Bishop’s Bible. That is, the new translation must not contradict any dogmas or traditions already held by the Church of England![12] The Church of England held that the resurrection occurred at sunrise on Sunday morning, so the new translation was required to so state, and virtually all English translations thereafter have followed that precedent.

However, the Greek text of Matthew 28:1 sets the time of day as th' ejpifwskouvsh (te epiphosko) “at about to begin.” The text says literally, “But late of Sabbath, at about to begin (or, at the drawing on toward) one (first) [day] of the week, came Mary the Magdalene and the other Mary to view the grave.” A smoother translation would be, “But late on the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was about to begin …”

The Greek text of Luke 24:1 similarly says, “But on the one (first) [day] of the week while still very early upon the tomb they came …”

Likewise, the Greek text of John 20:1 reads, “Now on the one (first) [day] of the week Mary Magdalene comes early darkness yet being …” or “Now on the first day of the week, while it was just becoming dark, Mary Magdalene came …”

The only way these three sentences can be interpreted as referring to sunrise is if the translator is thinking on the Gregorian calendar and already has the idea of sunrise fixed in his mind. For anyone thinking on the Hebrew calendar, the obvious interpretation is that it was just becoming dark on the first day of the week; i.e., Saturday evening at Havdalah.

However, in all fairness, the Greek text of Mark 16:2 does include the phrase “anateilantos tou heliou” — which may be translated as “rising the sun” — so it is certainly possible that the grave visit did occur at sunrise. However, the Greek word anatello may also be translated as descending, and may therefore refer to sunset. If this account does disagree with the other three, it is the minority opinion. The complexity of the issue is compounded by the problem that we do not have a single extant Hebrew original of any of the four Gospel accounts for a valid comparison[13]; all we have is the Greek text after it was translated from Hebrew. Is it possible that whoever made that translation also had a predisposition towards a sunrise timing of the event?

As we have discussed, the first day of the week begins at sunset Saturday evening, so the visit to the tomb probably occurred either within a few minutes after the resurrection Saturday evening, or possibly very early the next morning just before sunrise, eight or so hours after the resurrection. Even if the women came to the tomb early Sunday morning, that was when the resurrection was discovered, not when it occurred.

This chronology, and the “dual calendar” theory it represents, resolves each of the interpretive “challenges” noted:

  1. The “Good Friday/Easter Sunday” theory was discarded as simply intellectually untenable.

  2. It demonstrates how Yeshua and His Talmidim ate their Passover 24 hours before the Sadducees ate their Passover.

  3. It demonstrates how Yeshua literally fulfilled three key Messianic prophet pictures:

  a. The Paschal Lamb (taken into the “House” on 10 Nisan and sacrificed on 14 Nisan)

  b. The Sign of Yonah (a full 72 hours “in the heart of the earth”)

  c. First Fruits (the first fruits of the resurrection)

It’s certainly not perfect by any means, but it agrees with all of Scripture and allows for a literal fulfillment of these three critical prophetic signs.


The Hebrew Calendar

One of the most difficult concepts to thoroughly understand when dealing with Bible chronology is that the Hebrew calendar is significantly different than the Gregorian calendar that most of the rest of the world uses.

The Hebrew calendar is a lunisolar calendar. That is, the months are based on the cycle of the phases of the moon, the year is based on the trip of the earth around the sun, and the day begins and ends at sunset.

Since the Hebrew lunar year is about eleven days shorter than the solar year, the Gregorian calendar and the Hebrew calendar are never completely in sync.[14] That is, the first day of Nisan (Nisan 1) on the Hebrew calendar will only fall on March 28 once every several years. To keep the months at least in their correct season of the year, an extra intercalary month (like a “leap month”) is added every two or three years. Even then, the average Hebrew calendar year is about 6 minutes and 40 seconds longer than the mean tropical year[15], so that every 216 years the Hebrew calendar will fall a day behind the mean tropical year, and about every 231 years it will fall a day behind the mean Gregorian calendar year.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and He called the darkness “night.” Evening came, and then morning: the first day. (Gen. 1:1-5)

Based on the authority of the first paragraph in the Torah, the Hebrew day begins and ends at sunset, so any date on the Hebrew calendar begins at sunset the previous date on the Gregorian calendar. This picture shows Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day). On the Gregorian calendar for the year shown in the picture, it is on Friday, Nisan 27 (or Gregorian April 6). In this example, Yom HaShoah actually begins at sunset Thursday evening and continues until sunset Friday evening, and so it is celebrated on both Thursday the 5th (after sunset) and Friday the 6th (during daylight hours).[16]

____________

 1. Out of respect toward those who are named in the Bible, I refer to them not by the names bestowed upon them by the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches, but by their original Hebrew names, as they were known by their friends, families, and everyone who ever knew them. For most of us who speak English as our primary language, our names are important to us. In Israel — both ancient and modern — however, names are of critical importance, as they are the very definition of who the person is; that is, the name describes an important characteristic of the person and is considered the very representation of the person. When we change a Hebrew person’s name, we change our understanding of who that person is. The name “Jesus” in English has no significant meaning; however, the Hebrew name “Yeshua” is of especially critical importance. In the first chapter of his biography of the Messiah, Dr. Lukas (Luke) affirms that the angel Gavri’el (Gabriel) instructed a young Hebrew maiden named Miryam (Mary) that she would become pregnant through the power of Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) and that she was to name her son Yeshua, which is the Hebrew word for “Salvation.” See Luke 1:26-35 and Matthew 1:18-25. To assist the reader, the first time I refer to a Hebrew person in this paper I will provide both their true name and the name bestowed upon them by Roman and Anglican tradition. [RETURN]

 2. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Used by Permission HCSB ©1999,2000,2002,2003,2009 Holman Bible Publishers. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers. [RETURN]

 3. The Hebrew word seder means order or arrangement, and refers specifically to the “order of service” that is followed during the ceremonial Passover meal. Thus, the entire meal is often referred to as “the Seder.” [RETURN]

 4. The Biblical sequence of events for Passover are as follows: the Passover lamb is sacrificed “between the evenings” — that is, between about 3:00 p.m. and sunset — on Nisan 14, then roasted, then eaten. On the Hebrew calendar the day begins and ends at sunset (see “The Hebrew Calendar” at the end of this article), so while the lamb is roasting sunset comes, and it becomes the next day. So the lamb is actually eaten on first day of Unleavened Bread. However, the lamb can only be slain in the Temple, so until the Temple is restored, no lamb can be sacrificed. Instead, a lamb shank bone is traditionally placed on the Seder table as a memorial. [RETURN]

 5. See, for example, the author’s The Model for the Messianic Community, Appendix E and Appendix F. [RETURN]

 6. Goyim is the Hebrew word for “nations.” While it sometimes is used to refer to the nation of Israel, the far most common use of the word (singular, goy) refers to someone who is not a biological descendant of Avraham (Abraham), Yitzchak (Isaac), and Ya’akov (Jacob); that is, someone who is not ethnically Jewish. [RETURN]

 7. See “Appendix B. Evidences for a Hebrew Source of the Apostolic Scriptures” in The Model for the Messianic Community. [RETURN]

 8. See “Appendix C. Scholars Who Support a Hebrew Origin for the Apostolic Scriptures” in The Model for the Messianic Community. [RETURN]

 9. Havdalah is the Hebrew word for “separation” and refers to the verbal declaration made at the end of Shabbat or a Jewish holiday, in which the holy day is separated from the rest of the week; the sacred is separated from the mundane. Today the formal Havdalah service is performed no earlier than nightfall on Saturday night, when three stars can be seen in the sky, or about an hour after sunset. Thus Shabbat “lingers” for us, making the day last about 26 hours. [RETURN]

10. Please remember that this is my interpretation based in large part upon speculation; you are under absolutely no obligation to agree. [RETURN]

11. Most English versions translate John 18:5-8 by quoting Yeshua as saying “I am He” when the lynch mob told him they were looking for Him. (“Then Jesus, knowing everything that was about to happen to Him, went out and said to them, ‘Who is it you’re looking for?’ ‘Jesus the Nazarene,’ they answered. ‘I am He,’ Jesus told them. Judas, who betrayed Him, was also standing with them. When He told them, ‘I am He,’ they stepped back and fell to the ground. Then He asked them again, ‘Who is it you're looking for?’ ‘Jesus the Nazarene,’ they said. ‘I told you I am [He],’ Jesus replied. ‘So if you’re looking for Me, let these men go.’ — John 18:4-8).

Many modern English translations indicate editorial additions or changes by placing those changes in italics. Check your Bible and you may find that in this passage the word “He” appears in italics, indicating that the word has been added by the editors and does not appear in the manuscripts which were used for the translation. In my opinion, this one of the most extremely significant passages in the Gospels!

If you check the Greek text, you will find that it quotes Yeshua as saying “Egwv eijmi” [ego eime], which does not translate as “I am He.” The correct translation is “I AM”, the Name of God which is too sacred to pronounce.

Read carefully the encounter between Moshe and HaShem (the God of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Ya’akov): “Moses asked God, ‘If I go to the Israelites and say to them: “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is His name?” what should I tell them?’ God replied to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I AM has sent me to you.”’” (Exodus 3:13-14)

The God of Israel says that His name is “I AM.” When Yeshua told the lynch mob that His name is “I AM,” the sheer power of His Name knocked them (all 600 or 700 of them) to the ground, where they were forced to stay until He allowed them to get up!

“From His mouth came a sharp sword, so that with it He might strike the nations. He will shepherd them with an iron scepter. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God, the Almighty. … The rest were killed with the sword that came from the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.” (Revelation 19:15,21) [RETURN]

12. “King James’ Instructions to the Translators.” kjvonly.org/other/kj_instructs.htm. See also newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/King_James_Bible. [RETURN]

13. It is a fact of history that Constantine conducted a terrible campaign against “all things Jewish” and ordered all copies of the Hebrew Scriptures to be destroyed. It is entirely possible that he was successful in the destruction of all existing copies of the original Hebrew versions of the Apostolic Writings, the so-called “New Testament.” We will never know for sure until Messiah returns to tell us. [RETURN]

14. To confuse things even further, a prophetic year is always 360 days. [RETURN]

15. A tropical year (also known as a solar year), for general purposes, is the time that the Sun takes to return to the same position in the cycle of seasons, as seen from Earth; for example, the time from vernal equinox to vernal equinox, or from summer solstice to summer solstice. Because of the precession of the equinoxes, the seasonal cycle does not remain exactly synchronized with the position of the Earth in its orbit around the Sun. As a consequence, the tropical year is about 20 minutes shorter than the time it takes Earth to complete one full orbit around the Sun as measured with respect to the fixed stars (the sidereal year). [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_year] [RETURN]

16. Picture and some text from hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/holidays.html. [RETURN]

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