Monday, September 3, 2012
Christ's Death on Passover Friday
After much consideration, I have determined that Christ died on the Passover Friday which occurred on April 7, 30 AD in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. It has since been called Good Friday by Christians.
Christ celebrated the Passover, His Last Supper, with His disciples on the Jewish calendar’s 14th day of Nisan. The Passover was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread which was celebrated between the 14th and 21st days of Nisan. Because the Jewish day runs from sunset to sunset, the Passover in 30 AD began on the Thursday evening before Friday, April 7th. Christ’s Passover celebration with His disciples on the evening before His death was recorded in Mark 14:12-26. That very next morning He was delivered to Pontius Pilate. He was hung on a cross at 9 AM. About noon, darkness cast its pall over the land until 3 PM when He ultimately yielded His spirit.
There is a difference of opinion as to whether the Passover lamb was originally sacrificed at twilight at the beginning of Passover or in the afternoon at the end of Passover. If at the beginning, then Passover was eaten in the evening on the 14th day of Nisan. If at the end, then Passover was eaten in the evening on the 15th day of Nisan. The Passover in 30 AD ran from sunset on Thursday to sunset on Friday. There is no doubt that Christ ate the Passover on Thursday evening because He died at 3 PM on Friday. About three hours later, the sun set and it was then that the Jewish day changed from Nisan 14 to Nisan 15.
Therefore, the Passover lamb was originally sacrificed at twilight at the beginning of Passover. The ritual meal was then prepared and eaten in the evening on the 14th day of Nisan.
Special Notes: Matthew 12:40: “for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Based on this scripture, some have suggested that Christ died on Wednesday or Thursday. If on Wednesday then He was entombed for 3 days and 4 nights. If on Thursday then He was entombed for 2 days and 3 nights. In support of Friday: Inclusive reckoning was the popular method of recording time when the Gospels were written. By it, part days and part years were reckoned as full days and full years.
Our modern day runs from midnight to midnight. Twelve hours are reckoned between 12 AM & 12 PM and twelve hours between 12 PM & 12 AM. The Jewish day runs from sunset to sunset, 6 PM to 6 PM. Twelve hours are reckoned between 6 PM & 6 AM and twelve hours between 6 AM & 6 PM. Hence, in Matthew, Mark & Luke, 9 AM is called the third hour, noon the sixth hour, and 3 PM the ninth hour. The Roman day also ran from midnight to midnight. In his Gospel, John says that it was "about the sixth hour" when Pilate delivered up Jesus to be crucified (John 19:14-16). Notably, he was speaking in terms of the Roman day, the sixth hour referring to 6 AM. According to Mark, after being delivered over to the soldiers for crucifixion, Jesus was brutally beaten and mocked before He was led to Golgotha where He was crucified at 9 AM (Mark 15:15-25).
According to the Sadducees, the original Passover ran from sunset to sunset on the 14th day of the first month which was the month of Nisan. Now Moses and his followers slew the paschal lambs at sunset at the beginning of Passover. Then they painted their doorposts and lintels with the blood of the slain lambs. That night, while they ate the Passover meal, the angel of death passed over their homes and struck down all first born Egyptians. Later, that same night, the Lord brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt. The Talmud teaches that the paschal lambs were slain between 3 and 5 PM at the end of Passover. If that was the case, then the eating of the Passover meal, the angel’s pass over of Hebrew homes, the smiting of Egyptians, and the night journey out of Egypt would have occurred on the 15th day of Nisan. Christ celebrated the Passover at the time observed by the Sadducees which was based on the Torah. He condemned the Pharisees for neglecting the commandment of God in order to keep the tradition of men which referred to the Talmudic traditions. Mark 7:1-13