Did Jesus die on Friday, Nissan 14?

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By BibleAsk Team


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 Jospeh 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:

  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; Exodus 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 (Leviticus 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 (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.
  5. The gospels call the Last Supper a Passover supper (Matthew 26:17, 20; Mark 14:12, 16, 17; Luke 22:7, 8, 13–15).
  6. 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 – 20:1), which would be Nisan 15.
  7. 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).

Summary

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 [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 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,
BibleAsk Team

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Tracy Baugh
Tracy Baugh
1 month ago

The Bible doesn’t teach the Jesus died on a Friday. It does state the Jesus died on the Preparation Day and that the next day was a Sabbath, but John 19:31 states, “for that Sabbath was a high day.” In other words, it was a High Sabbath because it was associated with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and one of the “special Sabbaths” of the Feasts of the Lord. The first and last days of the 7 days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread were High Sabbaths.
Because Passover isn’t necessarily on the same day of the week every year, it is possible to have two Sabbaths in the same week, even back-to-back.
Passover and Preparation Day are synonymous with each other. Passover actually isn’t a “day,” it is the sacrifice. You can’t offer, kill, slaughter or eat a day as the Bible instructs people to do, but you can a sacrifice. The Preparation Day is the day appointed for killing the Passover and preparing your home by removing all leaven from it for the Feast that begins the following day.
We also know that Jesus was crucified while Pilate was governor of Judea. History has recorded his tenure as governor between the years 26 and 36 A.D. We also know all the days of the week Passover fell on during his tenure. One was on a Sunday; five were on a Tuesday; three were on a Saturday; none were on a Friday; but two were on a Thursday.
We also know from John’s recording of the cleansing of the Temple when Jesus what year the crucifixion took place. In response to the Jews asking for a sign, Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” to which the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple …” History records that the building of Herod’s Temple began in 20 B.C., since there is no year “0” and 46 years had passed, then this cleansing of the Temple had to be in the year 27 A.D.
Since John records the cleansing of the Temple in the beginning of his gospel and the other gospels record it during the Passion Week, some believe that there might have been two cleansings, John’s account and three years later during Jesus’ Passion Week. If that is the case, then the crucifixion took place in 30 A.D.
We can argue whether or not there was one cleansing or two, but the significance of these years are that the two years Pilate was governor of Judea when Passover fell on Thursday were the years 27 and 30 A.D.
In conclusion, Jesus was crucified on a Thursday, Nisan 14, and He died at the appointed time of the Passover offering, 3 p.m. Friday was a High Sabbath and Saturday was the weekly Sabbath. The resurrection took place on the first day of the week, Sunday, which would have also been the Feast of Firstfruits. Thus, Jesus was in the “heart of the earth three days and three night” just as He said, and Paul is 100% correct when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:4, “and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” We can have the full assurance “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,” as Paul stated in verse 3.

BibleAsk Team
Admin
28 days ago
Reply to  Tracy Baugh

Hi Tracy, yes, the argument for the Crucifixion happening on a Wednesday, where He was in the grave Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (3 days) is a popular one. While there’s good argument for it, I think the Bible is not 100% clear. It comes down to two schools of thought, either Jesus was in the grave for 3 complete days (Jesus died on a Wednesday argument), or that he rose on the third day, where he died Friday, stayed in the grave Saturday, and rose on the third day Sunday (Jesus died on a Friday argument).

I’m yet to find evidence that leans more to one over the other. Where the Sabbath prior to Christ’s death was a “high day” the Bible doesn’t define what that means. To your reference, that could have been a holiday, or it could have been a Sabbaths holiday and coincidently a Seventh-Day Sabbath.

Passover was representative of the sacrifice, but was also a holiday that was typically celebrated for at least 7 days. Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples the night He was betrayed. During the years 26AD to 34AD the Passover started twice on Sunday, twice on Friday, twice on Wednesday, and twice on Monday. There’s good argument of Jesus dying on the 31AD which supports the Wednesday argument, however, if Jesus died on 27AD or 30AD then the first day of Passover would have been on a Friday. Since the Jews considered the day ending / starting and even (sundown), this would support the Crucifixion happening on Friday.

While these topics aren’t salvation, they make an interesting study / discussion that encourages the reading of the Word, which is something we always enjoy here on BibleAsk 🙂