Did Jesus die on Friday, Nissan 14?

The Bible teaches that Friday, Nissan 14 was the day of the crucifixion. Mark 5:42 confirms that, “And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath.” Mark’s precise statement, 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 following chronology for the last Supper and the Crucifixion is generally accepted by Bible students:

  1. 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; Ex. 12:6).
  2. 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.
  3. 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 (Lev. 23:6–8; cf. Mark 15:42 to 16:2; Luke 23:5 to 24:1).
  4. The Last Supper happened the night before the crucifixion (Matt. 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.
  5. The gospels call the Last Supper a Passover supper (Matt. 26:17, 20; Mark 14:12, 16, 17; Luke 22:7, 8, 13–15).
  6. Jesus laid in the tomb during the Sabbath (Matt. 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.
  7. Jesus rose from death early Sunday morning, Nisan 16 (Matt. 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 (Ex. 12:6–14, 29, 33, 42, 51; 13:3–7; Num. 9:1–5; 33:3; Deut. 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 [423]; Philo De septenario, sec. 18; Mishnah Pesaḥim 5. 1, Soncino ed. of the Talmud, p. 287).

Thus, the type met the anti-type. Jesus was crucified at the time of the evening offering of the lamb. “Christ our passover,” who was to be “sacrificed for us” (1 Cor. 5:7). Similarly, the wave sheaf of the Feast of Unleavened Bread typified “Christ risen from the dead, … the first-fruits of them that slept” (1 Cor. 15:20, 23). All this point to a Friday crucifixion confirming the seventy-week prophecy of Daniel 9.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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