Did Jesus Die on Friday, Nissan 14?
The Bible teaches that Friday, Nissan 14 was the day of the crucifixion. Mark 5:42-46 confirms that, “Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.”
Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time. So when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. Then he bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. And he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.“
Mark’s precise statements, taken together with the sequence of days in Luke 23:54 to 24:1, makes it certain beyond the possibility of doubt that Friday was indeed the day of the crucifixion. In fact, all four Gospels agree that Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Last Supper on the night preceding the crucifixion, that He lay in the tomb over Sabbath, and that He arose early Sunday morning.
The Chronology for the Last Supper and the Crucifixion:
- The crucifixion took place on “the preparation [eve] of the passover,” that is, on Nisan 14 (John 19:14; cf. Talmud Pesaḥim 58a, Soncino ed., p. 288; Sanhedrin 43a, Soncino ed., p. 281; Exodus 12:6).
- The death of Christ took place on a Friday afternoon (Mark 15:42 to 16:2; Luke 23:54 to 24:1; John 19:31, 42, 20:1), about the time of the evening sacrifice.
- Accordingly, in the year of the crucifixion, Nisan 14, the day appointed for slaying the paschal lambs, fell on a Friday; the preparation for (or eve of) the Passover coincided with the preparation for (or eve of) the weekly Sabbath (John 19:14; cf. vs. 31, 42; ch. 20:1). The first ceremonial sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Nisan 15, thus coincided with the weekly Sabbath (Leviticus 23:6–8; cf. Mark 15:42 to 16:2; Luke 23:5 to 24:1).
- The Last Supper happened the night before the crucifixion (Matthew 26:17, 20, 26, 34, 47; Mark 14:12, 16, 17; 22:7, 8, 13–15; John 13:2, 4, 30; 14:31; 18:1–3, 28; 19:16), that is, during the early hours of Nisan 14 and thus on a Thursday night.
- The gospels call the Last Supper a Passover supper (Matthew 26:17, 20; Mark 14:12, 16, 17; Luke 22:7, 8, 13–15).
- Jesus laid in the tomb during the Sabbath (Matthew 27:59 to 28:1; Mark 15:43 to 16:1; Luke 23:54 to 24:1; John 19:38 to 20:1), which would be Nisan 15.
- Jesus rose from death early Sunday morning, Nisan 16 (Matthew 28:1–6; Mark 16:1–6; Luke 24:1–6; John 20:1–16; Mark 15:42, 46).
The Passover lamb was killed in the late afternoon of Nisan 14, following the regular evening sacrifice, and eaten, with unleavened bread, after sunset that same night, during the early hours of Nisan 15 (Exodus 12:6–14, 29, 33, 42, 51; 13:3–7; Numbers 9:1–5; 33:3; Deuteronomy 16:1–7; Josephus Antiquities ii. 14. 6; iii. 10. 5; xi. 4. 8 [311, 312; 248, 249; 109, 110]; War v. 3. 1 [98, 99]; vi. 9. 3 ; Philo De septenario, sec. 18; Mishnah Pesaḥim 5. 1, Soncino ed. of the Talmud, p. 287).
Thus, the type met the anti-type. Jesus died at the time of the evening offering of the lamb. “Christ our passover,” who was to be “sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7). The slaying of the Passover lamb was a shadow of the death of Christ. The Passover feast was also a memorial of the freedom from Egyptian captivity On the night of the deliverance, the angel of death passed over the homes where the blood was seen on the doorposts (Exodus 11:7; 12:29).
Similarly, the wave sheaf of the Feast of Unleavened Bread typified “Christ risen from the dead, … the first-fruits of them that slept” (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23), to all those that have placed their trust in Him as their personal Savior from sin.
All this point to a Friday crucifixion confirming the seventy-week prophecy of Daniel 9.
In His service,