When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, the religious leaders started brainstorming ways to have Jesus murdered. It is difficult to pin down the exact years, days, and times of the crucifixion because of the many changes in calendars, the deletion of years, and alterations to text. But we can decipher what occurred on the week of the crucifixion. What we do know is that Jesus would have kept the proper calendar day for the passover. This is why there were two passovers. Moreover there were indeed two holy days requiring a sundown to sundown observance. Then there were also two earthquakes defining two separate events. There was also an eclipse. Daniel gives us some exact years to be aware of, and the Essenes, Nazarenes, Therapeutaes, and Damascus Community people along with the Zedeks, Prophets, and the Zadok priests were all paying close attention to the prophecies and the dates that they were fulfilled.
Once Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, everyone in Bethany heard about it. The religious leaders had to find a way to stop Jesus. Caiaphas foretells sacrificing Jesus to save the nation, but Caiaphas did not mean “save” as unto eternal life, but “save” as in keeping the Romans from destroying Jerusalem and the temple. The plan to kill Jesus was inspired by the devil who was allowed to influence the religious leaders’ ideas because they were working to cover their initial error, which was allowing someone to become High Priest when they were not of Aaronic lineage. This took place around 153 BCE when Jonathan Apphus (Maccabus) was awarded his position after fighting the Seleucids.
John 11:47 So the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting of the council (the Sanhedrin) and said, What are we to do? For this Man performs many signs (evidences, miracles). 48 If we let Him alone to go on like this, everyone will believe in Him and adhere to Him, and the Romans will come and suppress and destroy and take away our [holy] place and our nation [our temple and city and our civil organization].
(That is in fact what happens. In 70 AD the Zealots and Idumaeans started a civil war with the Jews, and eventually the Romans took over all of Jerusalem, destroying the temple, and kicking the Jews out of the region.)
Caiaphas “prophesies” that Jesus should die for the nation, but Caiaphas is not a prophet. The actions of Caiaphas throughout the scriptures bear out that he is not a spirit filled leader, as the Pharisees lost the Holy Spirit when they decided to stay and serve in the temple. Caiaphas is simply stating that getting rid of Jesus is better for them, as they would be squashing an uprising and the Romans would not take the city and temple from them. Caiaphas’ words are fueled by his intent during Jesus’ trials taking place in the middle of the night. Also recognize that Caiaphas and Annas had temple guards, a Roman military force, at their disposal, so they could kill Jesus. This made Caiaphas and Annas, and those who followed them, look good to the Romans who were not interested in an uprising. All this scheming and planning was to eliminate Jesus to save themselves and the temple from Roman takeover. But this was/is part of Jesus’ plan to redeem the righteous dead from hades.
While it seems that this meeting is a systemized conspiracy against Jesus, it was going to enable the exact thing Jesus came to do. Remember Jesus’ conversation with Peter after the mount of transfiguration? Jesus knew that he had come to die for the world, not just Jews, but for everyone who would believe. After the Holy Spirit infills the believers on the day of Pentecost, Caiaphas and the religious leaders arrest Peter and John for healing the lame man and talking to people about how healing is possible. 5,000 believed. Caiaphas and the other religious leaders are lectured by Peter and John and could not stop the disciples speaking Jesus’ name.
Caiaphas keeps going in the wrong direction, never repenting. Systemized error surrounding the entire Pharisaical set up in the temple caused constant misdirection in all matters, not just regarding Jesus. The Pharisees became so focused on what people did wrong that they forgot about what people did right. Healing on the Sabbath is not evil or breaking the Sabbath, it is doing good rather than evil. Raising someone from the dead was not evil, but good.
John 11:49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was the high priest that year, declared, You know nothing at all! 50 Nor do you understand or reason out that it is expedient and better for your own welfare that one man should die on behalf of the people than that the whole nation should perish (be destroyed, ruined). 51 Now he did not say this simply of his own accord [he was not self-moved]; but being the high priest that year, he prophesied that
Jesus was to die for the nation, [Isa 53:8.] 52 And not only for the nation but also for the purpose of uniting into one body the children of God who have been scattered far and wide. [Isa 49:6.] 53 So from that day on they took counsel and plotted together how they might put Him to death. 54 For that reason Jesus no longer appeared publicly among the Jews, but left there and retired to the district that borders on the wilderness (the desert), to a village called Ephraim, and there He stayed with the disciples.
The system of error was put in place to turn people against Jesus and to kill him; but notice Jesus’ actions, he is waiting for the right time to be killed. Again Jesus goes to the desert and stays with disciples. Jesus knows that he will be crucified when he goes back to Jerusalem and he is waiting for the Passover. Meanwhile the Pharisees, priests, and Sanhedrin are plotting and systemizing error to keep people from believing that Jesus is the Messiah. As far as these religious leaders know, all the “simple minded people” will follow after Jesus the healer, especially since Lazarus was raised from the dead after four days. The religious leaders don’t have any clue what is supposed to take place. For that matter the devil did not know either, because if he had known the mystery of the infilling of the Holy Spirit on all believers, he would never have crucified the Lord of Glory, 1 Corinthians 2:8. Even though the scheming of the Pharisees, priests, and Sanhedrin was inspired by the devil, and from an earthly vantage point it seemed like they were doing the Jews a favor by preventing them from following Jesus, their plan freed the righteous dead from hades.
We’ve now come to the week before Nisan 14, the Passover. The Pharisaical Passover was irrespective of the day of the week and this particular year it was on a Wednesday at sundown. The Essene/Nazarene/Therapeutaes always kept the passover on Nisan 14, which would always be a Tuesday from midnight to midnight. The religious leaders were watching for Jesus. Everyone knew Daniel’s prophecy and while the Essene/Nazarene/Therapeutaes/Damascus Community/ Zedeks/Zadok priests were all guarding the calendars, they knew the exact day that the Messiah would ride into Jerusalem.
Just before the Exodus, Moses tells Jacob’s children to kill and eat the Lamb in the evening of the 14th then strike the blood on the door posts. This would become a memorial and they were to then eat unleavened bread for seven days.
Exodus 12:1-7 (KJV)
1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you….
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
Exodus 12:14-19 (KJV)
14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.
15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel…
18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.
19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.
After the Exodus when the children were in the wilderness, they were to keep the fourteenth day as the Lord’s Passover and the 15th day is the feast of unleavened bread.
Leviticus 23:4-8 (KJV)
4 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S passover.
6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.
7 In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
8 But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
Every year the Passover was to take place on the same day. Moses was told that the calendar was to be a solar calendar and if they went to a lunar calendar the Israelites would mix up the appointed days. There was a spiritual reasoning to this as Jubilees explains. The earthly feast days were to be the same as the heavenly feast days. If we miscalculated, the holy feast days would not coincide with the feasts that the other heavenly sons of God celebrate.
The Essenes kept track of the correct days with extensive calendars correlating the solar days to the lunar days so that they could keep the correct solar day. This meant that the feasts would fall on the same day of the week, every year, in the solar cycle; however the feasts would change in the lunar cycle. They felt that many Jews were keeping the wrong days for holy days. On a solar calendar the dates would not have changed, every year would be the same holy day on the same day of the week. The lunar cycle can sometimes mix weekly Sabbaths and holy days, but the solar calendar did not. The Essene calendar was Enoch’s calendar of 360 days plus 4 intercalary days. At the end of each quarter was one intercalary day. That day was like a holiday and not counted in the yearly cycle.
Jubilees 6:32. And command thou the children of Israel that they observe the years according to this reckoning-three hundred and sixty-four days, and (these) will constitute a complete year, and they will not disturb its time from its days and from its feasts; for everything will fall out in them according to their testimony, and they will not leave out any day nor disturb any feasts.
The feasts seem to have been disturbed by the time that Jesus was ready to be crucified. Once the calendar changed to a lunar calendar the passover could change over the course of a month. This means the feasts were celebrated on various days. As compared to set times, such as Passover on Tuesday and the Sabbath on Saturday every year, the lunar calendar had the lunar Passover on Wednesday and the Sabbath on Saturday the year that Jesus was crucified.
Jubilees 49:1 Remember the commandment which the Lord commanded thee concerning the passover, that thou shouldst celebrate it in its season on the fourteenth of the first month, that thou shouldst kill it before it is evening, and that they should eat it by night on the evening of the fifteenth from the time of the setting of the sun. 2. For on this night--the beginning of the festival and the beginning of the joy--ye were eating the passover in Egypt, when all the powers of Mastêmâ had been let loose to slay all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh to the first-born of the captive maidservant in the mill, and to the cattle.
Jubilees 49:7. And remember thou this day all the days of thy life, and observe it from year to year all the days of thy life, once a year, on its day, according to all the law thereof, and do not adjourn (it) from day to day, or from month to month. 8. For it is an eternal ordinance, and engraven on the heavenly tables regarding all the children of Israel that they should observe it every year on its day once a year, throughout all their generations; and there is no limit of days, for this is ordained for ever.
Jubilees 49:10. Let the children of Israel come and observe the passover on the day of its fixed time, on the fourteenth day of the first month, between the evenings, from the third part of the day to the third part of the night, for two portions of the day are given to the light, and a third part to the evening. 11. That is that which the Lord commanded thee that thou shouldst observe it between the evenings.
While holy feast days were important to everyone, the Essenes/Nazarenes/Therapeutaes/Damascus Community/Prophets/Zedeks and Zadok Priests were meticulous in searching out the prophecies, expecting the Messiah’s birth and his death. The spring equinox was the sign that would start the year. The next Wednesday after the equinox would be the first day of the month. Therefore every new year started on Wednesday and fourteen days later every passover would start on Tuesday.
There is something else that we should consider. The number of days in a year in an Enoch/Zadok/Zedek calendar is 360. There are 4 intercalary days that are not counted. Found in the caves at Qumran was an interesting device similar to a sundial that would show the exact day of the equinox. Also the day to start observing the new year was not the equinox, but the first day of the month is always a Wednesday (the fourth day of the week), the first Wednesday after the equinox. Therefore there could be one to seven intercalary days. For example, the equinox for 2019 is/was Wednesday, March 20th. The day after the equinox was a Thursday, therefore the New Month of Nisan started on Wednesday, March 27 of 2019. If we were observing the Enoch/Zadok/Zedek calendar this adjustment of seven days would be a holiday. This tells us the fourteenth of Nissan is always on a Tuesday. This is the night that Jesus observed the passover, Tuesday night.
The Book of Enoch 72:32. On that day the night decreases and amounts to nine parts, and the day to nine parts, and the night is equal to the day and the year is exactly as to its days three hundred and sixty-four. 33. And the length of the day and of the night, and the shortness of the day and of the night arise--through the course of the sun these distinctions are made (lit. 'they are separated'). 34. So it comes that its course becomes daily longer, and its course nightly shorter.
Sir Robert Anderson did a wonderful work regarding the 490 years of Daniel. He even noted they used a 360 day year as well. The only problem we have is the 243 missing calendar years the Masoretes deleted.
Dan 9:24 Seventy weeks [of years, or 490 years] are decreed upon your people and upon your holy city [Jerusalem], to finish and put an end to transgression, to seal up and make full the measure of sin, to purge away and make expiation and reconciliation for sin, to bring in everlasting righteousness (permanent moral and spiritual rectitude in every area and relation) to seal up vision (G3706) and prophecy and prophet, and to anoint a Holy of Holies.
This is a contract that brings swift accomplishment.
- end transgressions
- end sins
- reconciliation for iniquity
- everlasting righteousness
- seal up vision and prophecy
- anoint the Most Holy
The people will have to go through 70 weeks of years, in total 490 years. Verse 25 gives us the 69 weeks of years, on a 360 day calendar year which was what the Jews were instructed by God to use, they had the exact days mapped out to the time of the Messiah. Remember the Essenes/Nazarenes/Therapeutaes/Damascus Community/Prophets/Zedeks/Zadok Priests all kept several calendars. They kept the solar, lunar, and Greek calendars. They knew the exact day that Jesus would ride into Jerusalem. They also knew after that he would be cut off.
In their time it was easier to look ahead to the Messiah’s coming. Today we try looking backwards to determine dates and years, but we struggle with the changes made to the calendar. Not only do we have to attempt to understand the Enoch and the Zadok calendar, we have to understand the lunar calendar, the Greek calendar, and the Gregorian calendar. In our age or administration, we are not on a time limit. Instead, before the harpazo there must be a number of people from the nations who come into the sheepfold. After that event the tribulation period will start.
Dan 9:25 Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem until [the coming of] the Anointed One, a Prince, shall be seven weeks [of years] and sixty-two weeks [of years]; it shall be built again with [city] square and moat, but in troublous times.
Cyrus allowed the Jews to go back to Jerusalem, but they could not build the temple at first because of the contentious people who had been resettled and were living in the region. In order to build the temple, they first had to build the city walls. The Temple was dedicated in 515/514 BCE, and 70 years later the wall was built 445 BCE. Add 62 weeks of years until the Messiah is cut off. They had 7 weeks of years to build from the time of the commandment and 62 weeks of years until the Messiah which is 69 weeks.
Dan 9:26 And after the sixty-two weeks [of years] shall the Anointed One be cut off or killed and shall have nothing [and no one] belonging to [and defending] Him…..
This date Daniel talks about was the date that Jesus rode into Jerusalem, on a donkey, hailed as the Messiah. This event upset the religious leaders. Looking at that week, we see some unusual things. The reason for two sabbaths during the week Jesus died is clear, the passover was one sabbath, and the weekly sabbath was the second sabbath. The Passovers give us some clues as to what was taking place the week of Jesus death. They give us a benchmark. The reason passover was celebrated seemingly twice was that the solar calendar passover is always on the 14th of Nissan, but on a lunar calendar, passover may have a different day, just as the start of the month of the new year has a different day. Jesus was an Essene and kept the Enoch/Zadok/Zedek calendar passover with his disciples. The Pharisees instructed the people to keep the passover on the 15th according to their lunar calendar. Using the lunar calendar there was a High Holy day, the passover, and then the weekly sabbath one day apart. The lunar Passover was celebrated on a full moon. In the solar calendar there were two days between sabbaths.
We want to remember the number of years that the Masoretes deleted from the calendar so that they could make someone other than Jesus the Messiah. They deleted 243 years. Now take 243 deleted years, plus try to account for their lunar calendar instead of the solar calendar, and we can see what kind of a mess we have identifying the year that Jesus was crucified. Jesus kept the Tuesday the 14th, passover, then was crucified the same day which was Wednesday at sundown, just before the lunar passover.
The year that Jesus died would have had to be a year when the solar passover was on the 14th (as the solar passover is always on the 14th) and the lunar passover on the 15th of Nisan. For example, in 2019 the solar passover is/was 4/9, the lunar passover is/was 4/20. The start of the solar month is/was 3/27, while the start of the lunar month is/was 4/6. This tells us that in Jesus’ time the new moon would have occurred one day after the solar month started. It is nearly impossible between the missing years, the altered calendar, and the intentional alterations of text to determine the year that Jesus was crucified.
We have another consideration before Jesus’ crucifixion which tends to cause a problem. In Matthew 28:1 there is a mistranslation from “Sabbaths” to “Sabbath". There were two Sabbaths that week; the regular weekly Sabbath, and a High Holy Day that was also a Sabbath. Young’s Literal Translation translates as follows:
Matt 28:1 And on the eve of the sabbaths, at the dawn, toward the first of the sabbaths, came Mary the Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre, YLT
Here is a breakdown of Jesus’ activities:
Friday the lunar 9th /solar 10th of Nisan, five days before the Passover, Jesus was in Bethany. At sundown the Sabbath started.
Saturday the lunar 10th /solar 11th of Nisan, Jesus entered Jerusalem as the triumphal entry.
Sunday the lunar 11th /solar 12th of Nisan Jesus was in Jerusalem publicly teaching.
Monday, the lunar 12th /solar 13th of Nisan Jesus was again in Bethany. The lunar 13th at sundown.
Matthew 26:1-4 (KJV)
1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,
2 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
Jesus tells his disciples he will be betrayed in two days. Jesus is saying he will be crucified on Wednesday. Also at this time Matthew records that Caiaphas and the other priests, scribes, and elders, started planning how to murder Jesus.
Matthew 26:3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
4 And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.
5 But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.
Keep this point in mind, they did not want to kill Jesus on the feast day. Their feast day was one day later than Jesus’ feast day. Then a woman anoints Jesus for his burial.
Matthew 26:12-13 (KJV)
12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial.
13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.
As they are returning from Bethany Judas makes plans to betray Jesus.
Tuesday the lunar 13th /solar 14th of Nisan on the lunar calendar they returned from Bethany; this is the evening at sundown leading into the 14th, still Tuesday.
Remember the solar and the lunar calendar are one day off here and the solar time was from midnight to midnight.
Matthew 26:17-20 (KJV)
17 Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?
18 And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.
19 And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.
This would have been considered Tuesday the 14th for the Enoch/Zadok/Zedek solar passover. The passover meal was eaten in the evening on the 14th. The writers of the gospels were writing from the hebraic tradition of a day starting at sundown, however the solar calendar followers considered the new day to start at midnight, as we do today. This causes confusion for us as we have to read the words carefully. They ate the meal in the evening on Tuesday the 14th but the evening of Tuesday is also Wednesday the lunar 14th
Wednesday the lunar 14th /solar 15th of Nisan, the Last Supper (Tuesday night sundown to Wednesday evening sundown). In the evening on Tuesday the 14th Jesus and his disciples kept the passover. Then went to the Mount of Olives. This was called the day of preparation for the lunar Passover.
Matthew 26:20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
We want to remember here that the passover was not being properly celebrated which was due to the Roman occupation. They were not slaughtering animals, going through cleansing rituals for all the people as Hezekiah and Josiah did. Therefore the passover did not look like the passover of Moses’ day.
Matthew 26:26-35 (KJV)
26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.
27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
This could not be the lunar passover as all the people, the priests, the High Priest, the Sanhedrin would have all been observing the passover. Remember they did not want to kill Jesus on the feast day. The only ones observing the solar passover would have been Essenes/Nazarenes/Therapeutaes/ Damascus Community/Prophets/Zedeks and Zadok Priests, to which most of those people did not live in Jerusalem. The rest of the city would have been following the Pharisees. This is also why there was a rush to try Jesus in the middle of the night and get his murder over with before sundown Wednesday into Thursday. Caiaphas and the religious leaders probably believed that the Romans would kill him quickly, but instead they spent all night and day torturing Jesus and appealing to the people.
Matthew 26: 30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.
32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee.
Jesus says that all disciples will be be offended because of him. The word skandalizō is better translated “entrap”, or “to trip up”, or “entice to sin”. The disciples were not offended at Jesus, they were entrapped in a scandal. An illegal court, an illegal religious hearing, an illegal seizure of a Jewish man. Just as Caiaphas wanted to murder Lazarus, so that the once dead man could not talk about being raised from the dead, the disciples were now marked men themselves. In a way, the scattering or dispersing was for their own protection this night.
Jesus also says that he will meet them in Galilee. Jesus was telling them to go to Galilee. The trip was about ninety miles so they were supposed to be preparing to go north, Matthew 27:55, Matthew 28:7-20. At this point they left the house they were in, it was probably before midnight Tuesday the 14th, but this would have been considered Wednesday on the lunar calendar.
Matthew 26:38-39 (KJV)
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
Jesus says that his soul is grieved until death or “until I die”. Imagine what it must be like to see the devil’s plan for you ahead of time. Knowing what was ahead, Jesus was grieved. Judas and the soldiers of the chief priests came for Jesus. Peter was ready to fight, cutting one guards ear off.
Matthew 26:52-56 (KJV)
52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?
54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.
56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.
Remember that Caiaphas and Annas had a temple guard. It looked good for them to exercise their muscle in front of the Romans. It looked like Caiaphas and his people were all compliant to law and order and the Romans appreciated that.
Matthew 26:57 (KJV)
57 And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
Notice that the scribes and elders were already assembled. They were all waiting for Jesus to be dragged in before Caiaphas. They didn’t have to wake up the scribes and elders in the middle of the night to come to a court hearing. They were already there, in the middle of the night!
Matthew 27:1-2 (KJV)
1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
By morning the decision was made to murder Jesus. So they sent Jesus to Pilate so that the Romans would do the dirty work of murdering him.
Matthew 27:25-26 (KJV)
25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
Meanwhile Caiaphas, the scribes, and the elders, rallied the people to form a mob and yell out for Jesus’ death. They incited the people to pronounce a curse upon themselves, a curse they are still under today. In doing so, it would have looked like the people were serious about killing Jesus as a disrupter of the law and a blasphemer, when in reality the people chanting were probably paid rioters. They had most likely never met Jesus even though they may have heard about him.
Once Jesus was nailed to the cross at Golgotha, there was an eclipse in the middle of the day for three hours.
Matthew 27:45-46 (KJV)
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
The sixth hour was noon and the ninth hour was three in the afternoon. Just after 3PM Jesus died and there was an earth quake.
Matthew 27:50-53 (KJV)
50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
The rocks split and at the same time the veil of the temple, a large curtain that covered the doorway between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, tore from the top of the curtain down to the bottom. This then exposed the way into the Holy of Holies. The tearing of the curtain from the top down is a strange event, compared to the curtain tearing from the bottom up.
Matthew 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
Pilate washed his hands, not agreeing that Jesus should be murdered. Nicodemus wrote a record of these events which explains what happened when the dead people started walking around town. The people who were released from the compartment called Abraham’s Bay or Creek (bosom) were people known to have been dead; the living people attended their funerals. When this happened Nicodemus tells us that the two sons of Simeon, the man who prophesied over Jesus as a baby, both gave accounts of what was taking place in Hades. Jesus was delivering the believers from Abraham’s Bay, he was going to take them to paradise, and some came out of their graves in Jerusalem to testify. This was a big event.
Matthew 27:54-59 (KJV)
54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:
56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.
The eclipse, the earthquake, the graves opening, and the dead walking around Jerusalem, scared the Romans, but not the religious leaders. The Romans confessed Jesus as the Son of God, but the religious leaders did not.
Matthew 27:57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:
58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
Luke 23:53-56 (KJV)
53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.
55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.
56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.
The women who had been watching Jesus’s crucifixion sat against the tomb until they had to leave which would have been just before sundown, the start of the Passover.
Matthew 27:61 (KJV)
61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.
It was the lunar Passover and Jesus had to be buried before sundown when the Passover would begin. In haste he was laid in a tomb by Joseph of Arimathea. Remember, the plan of Caiaphas and the religious leaders was to have Jesus murdered before the feast, the passover. This was Jesus’ first night in the tomb.
Thursday the lunar 15th /solar 16th of Nisan, (Wednesday sundown to Thursday sundown) The lunar calendar passover, the Pharisaical passover.
Jesus was their passover lamb, as well as ours, and killed before sundown. No one did anything on this day but observe Passover. This was Jesus’ first day in the tomb.
Friday the lunar 16th /solar 17th of Nisan (Thursday sundown to Friday sundown) was the day of preparation for the weekly Sabbath.
On this day everyone had until sundown to get prepared. The women would have gone out to buy the spices to anoint Jesus’ body on this day (Friday day) while the markets were open. They would have bought burial cloth which was long strips of material soaked in scented oil. That would have all been prepared so that after the Sabbath (Saturday night) they could properly anoint his body. This was Jesus’ second day in the tomb.
Saturday the lunar 17th /solar 18th of Nisan, (Friday sundown to Saturday sundown) the weekly Sabbath, day of rest, was observed and concluded at sundown. This was Jesus’ third day in the tomb. During the Sabbath, probably Saturday morning, the Pharisees went to Pilate to ask for guards to be stationed at the tomb. Sometime after sundown Saturday night Jesus arose.
Matthew 27:62-64 (KJV)
62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
Sunday the lunar 18th /solar 19th of Nisan and the first day of the week, after sundown Saturday night, the women went to the tomb, there was an earthquake and they found the tomb empty.
Matthew 28:1 (KJV)
1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward in the evening on the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
“At the end of the sabbath” makes this sundown or just after sundown. The words “as it began to dawn” are not in the text, but the words “in the evening” are in the text. Saturday night the two Mary’s went to the tomb. This was the second earthquake that occurred during this three day period. Remember the first one took place when Jesus died and the graves opened and the veil tore. Now another earthquake at the rising of Jesus. The women went to anoint the body of Jesus.
Matthew 28:2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
Mary Magdalene along with another Mary went to the tomb just after sundown on the Sabbath which would now be the first day of the week as Matthew records. There was an earthquake and the women saw the angel, and went back to the disciples to tell them what they witnessed. Then according to Mark and John, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb again and this time Jesus appears to her.
Mark 16:9-13 (KJV)
9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.
Let’s try and establish these details. After sundown Saturday which was Sunday, the first day of the week, the women went to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body. There was an earthquake and they saw the angel who instructed them to tell the other disciples. The two Mary’s went back to town and told the disciples. Peter and John ran to the tomb. Mary Magdalene followed after them. After Peter and John saw the empty tomb they ran back to tell the other disciples. Mary got to the tomb, possibly as they were leaving, and stayed there. Remember she was ready to anoint Jesus’ body, so she was probably carrying burial cloth, anointing oils, and spices. She stayed there at the tomb and Jesus appeared to her.
John 20:3-18 (KJV)
3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
We see in this summary the women watched the crucifixion from a distance. Then two Mary’s stayed at the tomb until sundown. Then right after the sabbath both Mary’s went back to the tomb. They witnessed the earthquake and talked to the angel. After telling the disciples, Mary Magdalene came back to the tomb and talked to Jesus. It seems that the women who were disciples of Jesus were strong believers. They were at the tomb before and after the sabbath and yet the men were not there. The honor of Jesus appearing the first time to a disciple, before he went to the Father, was given to Mary Magdalene, the one that Jesus cast seven demons out of. This is an incredible story, hardly ever told. After being beaten, nailed to a cross, dying, going to hell, setting the captives fee, taking back the keys to death and hell, Jesus then stops by the tomb to visit with Mary before he ascends to the Almighty Heavenly Father. What does this say about our risen Lord and Savior?
Now let’s think about this. Jesus dies and there is an earthquake. Jesus rises and there is an earthquake. But when Mary Magdalene talks to Jesus he says he had not yet ascended to the Heavenly Father. Where had Jesus been for those three days and nights? When Christ died he went down to the grave. He opened the graves and set the captives free.
Ephesians 4:8-10 (KJV)
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
Jesus opened the lower parts, the grave, and took out the believing lineage of Adam and brought them into paradise. This is a well known and believed portion of Jesus’ accomplishment and it was accounted in the Acts of Pontius Pilate, written in the same time frame as Matthew. The Nicodemus account is very detailed. Notice what the Apostles Creed states, which is what the believers recited.
4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:
5. The third day he rose again from the dead:
(from Creeds of the Church, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Jesus was seen throughout Jerusalem for the next forty days. We have several accounts and repeated testimony written in the gospels about Jesus appearing in Jerusalem. Paul also attests to 500 people seeing him at one time. He spoke of the coming Holy Spirit before he ascended.
Matthew 28:16-20 (KJV)
16 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Believers from Egypt started celebrating Jesus’ overcoming the grave on the third day after the crucifixion. These were probably the Therapeutaes. But in later years the Quartodecimans celebrated Jesus’ crucifixion on the 14th. As we move forward in history there was really little contention between those who celebrated the 14th and those who celebrated the first day of the week until we get to the council of Nicaea. At that time Eusebius preferred a celebration on a Sunday. Polycarp opposed this idea but neither one made the decision. Constantine delivered a scathing anti-Semitic discourse and refused to put a holiday on a day that the Jews had a holiday. Therefore the decision was made to have a holiday, Easter, that combined the spring equinox and the Sunday holiday of Eusebius, and to put it after the Jewish Passover so as not to be contaminated by the Jews. The Quartodecimans were overridden by politics and a dislike for the Jews.
It would have been quite simple if that were all there was to it, but there was such controversy over the day and season that some churches throughout the Roman Empire celebrated at different Sundays. Eventually when the new Gregorian calendar started being used, around 1582, Easter became a holiday with a moveable date, the Sunday after Passover.
We know that the apostles believed and understood what happened when Jesus descended into hell because they wrote about it, even Paul wrote about it. About 15 years after a particular battle, Constantine commissioned Eusebius to re-write that account in history. Constantine wanted Eusebius to add a vision to the history books that he claims he had while on a bridge in battle, of uniting the kingdom into one religion. In other words, a political ploy to let people know that their new state sanctioned religion was from an “angel of god”, therefore they should all do what Constantine wanted. Eusebius then went on to help mold this new religion by throwing out some writings and canonizing the ones that would support the new roman religion. By the time we get to the Nicene Creed the part about descending into hell is gone. Eusebius penned the Nicene Creed to match what they thought people should know.
The account of the death of Jesus from the book The Gospel of Nicodemus, or The Acts of Pontius Pilate gives details to accompany Matthew’s account.
The Acts of Pontius Pilate VIII.1 Miraculous appearance at his death. 10 The Jews say the eclipse was natural. 12 Joseph of Arimathæa embalms Christ's body and buries it.
AND it was about the sixth hour, and darkness was upon the face of the whole earth until the ninth hour.2 And while the sun was eclipsed, behold the vail of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom; and the rocks also were rent, and the graves opened, and many bodies of saints, which slept, arose.3 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Hely, Hely, lama zabacthani? which being interpreted, is, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?4 And after these things, Jesus said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit; and having said this, he gave up the ghost.5 But when the centurion saw that Jesus thus crying out gave up the ghost, he glorified God, and said, Of a truth this was a just man.6 And all the people who stood by, were exceedingly troubled at the sight; and reflecting upon what had passed, smote upon their breasts, and then returned to the city of Jerusalem.7 The centurion went to the governor, and related to him all that had passed;8 And when he had heard all these things, he was exceeding sorrowful;9 And calling the Jews together, said to them, Have ye seen the miracle of the sun's eclipse, and the other things which came to pass, while Jesus was dying?10 Which when the Jews heard, they answered to the governor, The eclipse of the sun happened according to its usual custom.11 But all those who were the acquaintance of Christ, stood at a distance, as did the women who had followed Jesus from Galilee, observing all these things.12 And behold a certain man of Arimathæa, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus, but not openly so, for fear of the Jews, came to the governor, and entreated the governor that he would give him leave to take away the body of Jesus from the cross.13 And the governor gave him leave.14 And Nicodemus came, bringing with him a mixture of myrrh and aloes about a hundred pound weight; and they took down Jesus from the cross with tears, and bound him with linen cloths with spices, according to the custom of burying among the Jews,15 And placed him in a new tomb, which Joseph had built, and caused to be cut out of a rock, in which never any man had been put; and they rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre.
In The Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus gives this short account regarding Jesus.
Antiquities 18:3:3. Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.
Josephus writes that Jesus appeared and was alive on the third day. Jesus died on a Wednesday, and was risen by Sunday morning. There were two passovers, the solar Passover and the lunar Passover. There were two holy days that week, the Passover and the Sabbath. Mary Magdalene was at the tomb three times, when Joseph laid Jesus in the tomb, when Jesus rose from the grave, and after telling the disciples when Jesus spoke to her.
We come to confusion with tradition that was added in by Constantine and Eusebius. There were no bunnies with eggs, this was a pagan ritual mixed in with Constantine’s vision and re-vision of history. What was significant was Jesus’ descent into the grave to rescue the righteous. Here is where we come to the rest of the story. What we know from the Bible is that Jesus was in the grave for three days and nights, like Jonah. At Jesus’ crucifixion there was an eclipse for three hours. There were two earthquakes, one at his death and one at his resurrection from the grave which book-marked the events. The first earthquake occurred and the graves opened, the rocks split, and the dead came out walking around town and witnessing, and the veil was torn. Then the second earthquake occurred when he arose from the grave now having taken back the keys to death and Hades. The angel told the women what happened, then Jesus spoke to Mary. After that he was seen by many in Galilee, and regularly visited with his disciples in his resurrected body. Jesus is not dead, he is alive and seated at the right hand of the Almighty, Most High, Eternal, Heavenly Father. He is making preparations to return for us and we will see him in the air, and will be with the Lord forever.
1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 (KJV)
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.