TIME OF CRUCIFIXION
Of all the important events that have occurred throughout history, one is dramatically significant to us. More than anything else, this event is the door to our glorious destiny. I am referring to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. How we perceive this event is the basis of our redemption. God’s church is built upon this foundational rock. Yet Satan has planted confusion around this very root of our salvation, the core to our conversion experience. Satan uses the same deceptive approach on the church that he used on Eve. He starts with “Hath God said,” followed by an accusation that God’s word is wrong; “shall not,” followed by his alternate conclusion, that you will be god and make your own rules. Just as Eve had a choice to believe God’s word or the tempting alternative, we also have a choice. What is that choice? The choice is your answer to the all-important question. Do you believe Jesus? Do you believe His personally spoken words? Do you believe that Jesus knew what He was talking about and how to say it? On the other hand, do you believe and promote the traditions of man over God’s word? Many have fallen into a common trap of discounting God’s word and promoting the popular deceptions of Satan. For example, Jesus’ statement regarding the time between his burial and resurrection is plainly recorded in the Bible.
40. For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Jesus made it clear that He would be in the tomb three days and three nights. The Bible reveals that Jesus actually died on Wednesday, not Friday. I think it would be powerful to focus on what Jesus accomplished on the cross during the Wednesday service before Resurrection Sunday. Maybe we could call it Wonderful Wednesday because of what Jesus did for us that day. If you desire tradition, it is not evil to honor Jesus’ crucifixion on Good Friday, no more than it is evil to have a memorial service for someone who died a few days or weeks earlier. It is good to set aside special days to commemorate Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection. The problem and confusion arise when we repeat and promote a lie inspired by Satan (1Timothy 1:4-6, 13). If we continue to promote deceptions after the truth becomes clear to us, we are no longer blameless because of our ignorance. If we become enlightened to the truth and turn away from it to promote deception, our actions enter the realm of rebellion. It doesn’t matter whether it is a large church or an individual. If we become rebellious, it will limit God’s power to us. Most people in the world can count to three, so they may seriously wonder about our Christian math skills. We do not need to discount, correct, or change Jesus’ plainly spoken words. This is what Peter got into when Satan used him to oppose the Holy Spirit. Peter reprimanded Jesus as He was teaching about His rising from the dead after three complete twenty-four hour days. I know we just looked at this passage, but this time let’s look at it from Peter’s point of view.
31. And He began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
32. And He spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke Him.
33. But when He had turned about and looked on his disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.
Peter made some false assumptions and began denying Jesus’ plainly spoken words regarding His death and resurrection. It led to Peter fighting against God’s ultimate plan in the Garden of Gethsemane. After that, Peter completely denied his association with Jesus, resulting in depression, remorse, and brokenness. Let’s not be too hard on Peter or any disciples that may be following Saint Peter’s leading. Peter experienced God’s presence and promoted God’s word more than many others, but Peter needed to repent in this area. He needed to accept Jesus’ word as true and reliable before he could move on in truth and light. Jesus plainly stated that He would be three days and three nights in the tomb. No matter how many ways you look at it, there are not even close to three days and three nights between Good Friday night and Easter Sunday morning. Biblically speaking, that would only be one complete day (Saturday). When Jesus used day and night together as He did in Matthew 12:40, it is not a metaphor or vague reference. He was specifically referring to three complete twenty-four hour days. To clear up the confusion and prove to the skeptical world that we can count and add properly, let’s put our faith in the Bible’s order of events instead of misguided traditions. Once we understand a few facts, God’s word is very clear in proving that Jesus was in the tomb exactly three days and three nights. The first fact is that the Jewish time clock is different from the Gentile clock. We both have 12-hour clocks, but our Gentile day begins and ends at 12 midnight. The Jewish day ends and begins around sundown as stated in Genesis.
Genesis 1:5, 8, 31
5. And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
8. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
31. And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.
The Jewish first hour of the day starts in the evening at sunset. The first twelve hours are divided up into four nightly watches. Sunrise is the beginning of the daytime twelve hours, to which Jesus referred in John 11:19. The twelve hours are not referring to twelve sixty-minute hours, but rather to the twelve equal segments of time between sunrise and sunset. This varies depending upon the season. For simplicity and consistency, in this book we will consider sunrise to be 6 am and sunset to be 6 pm. Since the Passover began about two weeks after the Spring Equinox, this timetable is accurate to within a few minutes. Because exact Jewish time is constantly changing depending on season and location, some modern Jews use this more consistent timetable today. This would consistency reflect a six-hour difference between their time and the time we normally use. For instance, 6:01 would be the beginning of the Jewish first hour, which would be completed at seven o’clock. A Jewish third daytime hour would be our 9 am. This is confusing but important, because John’s Gospel uses Gentile time, and the other Gospels use Jewish time. Not only is Jewish time different from Gentile time, their calendar is also different. The Jewish calendar has a few different New Years. They celebrate the civil New Year in their seventh month at Rosh Hashanah, because it is believed that this is the month of creation. For instance, at Rosh Hashanah, September 2012, the Jewish calendar counts 5,773 years since Adam was created. Just a note, there seem to be some missing years in the Jewish calendar, so it may actually be closer to the year 6,000. God instructed Moses to start the religious calendar in the month of the Passover, which is in March or April, depending upon the year.
2. This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
This passage refers to the month of Aviv, which came to be known as Nisan, the month of the Passover. The first event of the year was preparation for the Passover celebration that would last a week and included the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Passover celebration started on the 14th day and continued until the 21st day (Exodus 12:18). Before the Passover, there was much preparation which concluded on the final preparation day which was the 13th day of Nisan.
Exodus 12:3, 5-7
3. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, in the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
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.
This was the actual Passover that the celebration commemorated. Notice that the four days of examination correlate with Jesus entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. The Lamb of God was then questioned and examined for error. Jesus was examined for four days, from the beginning of the 10th day to the end of the 13th day. This included Palm Sunday and the day He hung on the cross for all to see. That 13th day was Preparation Day, which was set aside for removing the leaven, which represented sin. It was also the day for killing the spotless Passover lamb. The lamb was to be inspected “up until the 14th day” of the month, but not including the 14th day. The evening can refer to the end of the day, which commonly came to be accepted as the time between 3 pm and sunset. It was also a term for the beginning of the new day. The first Passover lamb was to be killed “in the evening,” which was the transition to the new day. After its blood was applied to their door area, the lamb was roasted, which took quite a while. The first Passover meal was probably around midnight, which is when the death angel passed over the homes that had the blood applied (Exodus 11:4).
Exodus 12:8, 29
8. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
29. And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
One more thing we need to note. “Sabbath” does not mean Saturday. It means a day of rest. In the Bible, there are many more Sabbaths than Saturdays. Saturday was a Jewish weekly Sabbath; but there were also High Sabbaths, like the Passover, and other special days.
Leviticus 23:4-5, 24, 32
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.
24. Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, in the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.
32. It shall be unto you a Sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your Sabbath.
“Passover” is a high Sabbath that refers to the deliverance received after the blood of the lamb was properly applied.
13. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
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.
A form of Passover is to be celebrated forever as a memorial (Deuteronomy 16:1-7). The memorial feast was a fun and exciting reunion, celebrating the gift of freedom from bondage. There were special days in the Passover week.
16. And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of the Lord.
17. And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.
18. In the first day shall be an holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work therein:
The 15th day is a special feast. Many have confused this with the Feast of the Passover Lamb, but the Bible is clear that the Passover was on the 14th day (Numbers 9:1-5). The original Passover was at midnight of the 14th, and the Lamb was to be slain and roasted before midnight. On the night of the 14th, the Lamb was to be the featured entree with a side of bitter herbs and unleavened bread (Exodus 12:8). All the leftover Passover lamb was to be consumed by fire before morning (Exodus 12:10). During the day of the 14th, Israel gathered their things and the gifts from the Egyptians (Exodus 12:35-36) and left their homes in Goshen. Millions of people left their homes in Egypt and assembled at Rameses, a city built by their slave labor (Exodus 1:11). On the 15th, they organized their systematic departure from the nation of Egypt. They looked more like a vast army marching out than an unorganized mob (Exodus 12:51, 13:18).
3. And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.
They had no time for preparing lamb because they were traveling. The featured entree for the special feast commemorating their march to freedom was unleavened bread.
37. And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
38. And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
39. And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.
The feast of unleavened bread was to commemorate their departure on the 15th (Exodus 12:17). The Passover Feast was on the 14th day of Nisan, which was Thursday (not Wednesday or Friday) the year Jesus was crucified. We traditionally celebrate Christ’s resurrection on Easter. Easter is actually named after the obscure pagan goddess Eostre. She seems to be associated with fertility and the dawn of spring. We added Easter bunnies and colored eggs to celebrate the holiday. Easter is often on a different week than the Passover, because we celebrate Easter the first Sunday after the full moon. We use this holiday to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. While it’s wonderful to set aside a day to celebrate Christ’s resurrection, don’t let tradition cloud out the truth. Jesus is associated with the Passover lamb, not the goddess Eostre or the Easter bunny. It is a true statement to say, “This Easter we will celebrate Christ resurrection” or on Good Friday say, “Today we honor Christ’s death.” In contrast, it is a false statement to say, “Good Friday is the day Jesus died.” The difference is a subtle one, and yet it is like day and night. One statement is true while the other statement promotes a lie, confusion, and darkness, because Jesus did not die on a Friday.
As examined earlier in Numbers 28:17, the Bible states that the Feast of Unleavened Bread began after the Passover, on the 15th day of Nisan. It seems that the Jewish people traditionally began eating unleavened bread on Preparation Day, the day before the Passover. It was referred to as the “first day of unleavened bread” which some might confuse with the Feast of Unleavened bread. As a matter of fact, the NIV translation even calls this “the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.” So like Christ’s crucifixion day, there was a biblical day of the event with symbolic significance and a different traditional day of the event. This can be confusing if you assume that tradition and God’s word are always the same. Once you see the facts and understand them, you can see not only where the confusion comes in, but also how the Bible clearly backs up Christ’s words. Jesus was in the tomb three days and three nights. Let’s look at the order of events leading up to Christ’s burial and resurrection. Verse 12, of the following group of verses is the most confusing one in the lineup. It can be hard to reconcile, but let’s see how all the rest of the verses support the interpretation and explanation of this passage.
12. And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, His disciples said unto Him, where wilt Thou that we go and prepare that Thou mayest eat the Passover?
13. And He sendeth forth two of His disciples, and saith unto them, go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him.
14. And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, the Master saith, where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the Passover with My disciples?
15. And he will shew you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us.
16. And His disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as He had said unto them: and they made ready the Passover.
17. And in the evening He cometh with the twelve.
There are two important points to remember about this passage. The first is the day of this event. Verse 12 mentions “the first day of unleavened bread,” which was from a Jewish tradition, not Numbers 28:17. The first day of unleavened bread is probably a reference that the last of the leaven had been removed from their houses and they began eating only unleavened bread. It was before the Passover on the day “they killed the Passover” lamb. It was Preparation Day, which occurred on Wednesday that year. I believe this conversation actually started on Tuesday as they were looking forward to the work to be done on Wednesday (Preparation Day). For example, I could be looking for my ship to come in, and finally I see it on the horizon approaching me. I could rightfully make the general statement, “my ship is here.” I can see it, but it’s not time to get onboard yet. Many Jews at that time believed the Messiah would come and deliver Israel from the Romans on Passover, because Moses delivered Israel from Egypt on Passover. The disciples may have been looking forward to the Passover all year like I look forward to Christmas and were eager to start preparing for it. Then about 6 pm our Tuesday (their Wednesday), they posed the question to Jesus, where do we start? Jesus directed them to a place that was already “prepared,” except for a few personal details. Therefore, He only sent two of them to announce their arrival and finish the details. It was probably not long before the two disciples returned to inform the remaining disciples that everything was ready. Then, “in the evening He came.” It may have been around sunset, but it was probably shortly afterward when Jesus and the twelve disciples arrived at the Upper Room. We do not know what time it was, but we do know the day. It was Wednesday, the beginning of Preparation Day, our Tuesday evening.
The second point is the most important. It takes more time to comprehend this information, but it is the key to understanding what happened that week. Jesus was about to introduce a New Covenant represented by a new Passover. Just like the Jewish temple was a forerunner and symbol of Christ’s body, the Passover Lamb was a forerunner and symbol of Christ’s spotless pure humanity.
19. Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
36. And looking upon Jesus as He walked, he saith, behold the Lamb of God!
The perfect Lamb of God was to be sacrificed for our deliverance. The new Passover meal (to memorialize the sacrifice and our redemption) would be called the Lord’s Supper. Because of its importance, let’s examine the Bible’s account of the introduction of the New Covenant and why the old covenant needed to be replaced.
Hebrews 8:1-2, 5-9, 13
1. Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: we have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the majesty in the Heavens;
2. A Minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
5. Who serve unto the example and shadow of Heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, see, saith He, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
6. But now hath He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.
7. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.
8. For finding fault with them, He saith, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
9. Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.
13. In that He saith, a new covenant, He hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.
Hebrews 9:1-12, 15, 23-24
1. Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.
2. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.
3. And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the holiest of all;
4. Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;
6. Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.
7. But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
8. The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
9. Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
10. Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
11. But Christ being come an High Priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
12. Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
15. And for this cause He is the mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
23. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the Heavens should be purified with these; but the Heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
24. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
Hebrews 10:1, 9-10
1. For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
9. Then said He, lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.
10. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
Although the old English may be a little hard to interpret you should read the context; but if you just read what I’ve underlined in Hebrews, the message is relatively clear. God’s blessing has moved from the old covenant based in works of the law to the New Covenant based in faith in what Christ has done. “The Holiest of All” or the Holy of Holies was a special room in the temple. No one could enter or see the room except one person. Once and only once a year, the High Priest humbly entered the room on the 10th day of the 7th month (the Day of Atonement). Historians say that he entered with a rope around his ankle so that if he died in the sacred room, others could drag him out without going in. The High Priest had one purpose for going in, to sprinkle the lifeblood of the sacrifice on the golden mercy seat. This was the atonement offering for that year. It was like a payment of interest until the sin debt could be paid off. There was no provision for full repayment of the debt under the old covenant. All they could do was to keep making the interest payments, because they had no ability to pay off the principal debt. The debt was paid off in full by Christ. Jesus spoke the word “Telco” from the cross, meaning paid-in-full, no more debt, and no more interest payments. There was only one way into the Holy of Holies, through a very thick curtain. This is the curtain that supernaturally ripped open from top to bottom when Jesus died, revealing that the power of atonement had been transferred from the temple to Christ’s death on the cross. We now honor Christ’s sacrifice with the Lord’s Supper. Although some may call it Communion, it is actually a symbol recognizing the New Covenant provided by Jesus Christ who is our Passover Lamb. The New King James Bible is quite clear regarding our new Passover (The Last Supper), which is not bound to any particular day of the year.
1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (NKJ)
23. For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread;
24. And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “take, eat; this is my body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
25. In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “this cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”
26. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.
Let’s take a close look at the wording in John 13 regarding this special evening.
John 13:1-2, 30
1. Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end.
2. And supper being ended, the Devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him;
30. He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.
Notice the words “supper being ended.” This was the Last Supper, the same night Judas left to betray Jesus. It is very clear that the Last Supper was “before the Feast of the Passover.” The Passover feast was on Thursday, while the Last Supper took place on Wednesday Jewish time (Tuesday night Gentile time, sometime between 6 pm and midnight). At the conclusion of the events of the Upper Room, Jesus and his disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane. I believe they were there until well after midnight because the disciples couldn’t stay awake for even an hour to pray with Jesus.
37. And He cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? Couldest not thou watch one hour?
38. Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.
39. And again He went away, and prayed, and spake the same words.
40. And when He returned, He found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer Him.
41. And He cometh the third time, and saith unto them, sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
42. Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth Me is at hand.
43. And immediately, while He yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.
Jesus was taken from the Garden of Gethsemane to stand before a mock trial arranged by the religious leaders. Then early Wednesday morning, He was sent to Pontius Pilate.
63. And the men that held Jesus mocked Him, and smote Him.
64. And when they had blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face, and asked Him, saying, prophesy, who is it that smote Thee?
65. And many other things blasphemously spake they against Him.
66. And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led Him into their council, saying,
67. Art thou the Christ? Tell us. And He said unto them, if I tell you, ye will not believe:
1. And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate.
28. Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover.
Notice that Jesus had finished his “New Testament” Passover (the Lord’s Supper) many hours earlier, but the religious leaders were still looking forward to their Passover and didn’t want to be defiled. The Passover had the following exceptions to being observed on the 14th day of the first month:
Numbers 9:10-11, 13-14
10. Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, if any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the Passover unto the Lord.
11. The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
13. But the man that is clean, and is not in a journey, and forbeareth to keep the Passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from among his people: because he brought not the offering of the Lord in his appointed season, that man shall bear his sin.
14. And if a stranger shall sojourn among you, and will keep the Passover unto the Lord; according to the ordinance of the Passover, and according to the manner thereof, so shall he do: ye shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger, and for him that was born in the land.
Thus, the men who removed Jesus from the cross would not be celebrating the Jewish Passover until the following month. For them, it must have been the most wonderful Passover ever. The order of events and how they support Jesus’ words recorded in the Bible become very clear if you study the Crucifixion Time Chart at the end of this chapter. It is clear that after the early morning trials and beatings, Jesus was presented before the gathering mob. It was around the first hour of the day Jewish time (about 6 am Gentile time).
14. And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, behold your King!
The decision was popular–“Crucify Him!”
25. And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him.
Jesus was nailed to the cross at the third hour Jewish time (9 am Gentile time). Jesus was on the cross a total of six hours. Using the Gentile time clock, Jesus was nailed to the cross at 9 am Wednesday. At noon, darkness covered the land until Jesus died at 3 pm Wednesday afternoon. According to Jewish tradition, the lamb was sacrificed for the evening sin offering at around 3 o’clock in the afternoon. This was the time of the daily evening offering called the Asiell. It seems that the exception was Passover when a multitude of Passover lambs took priority. Preceding the Passover feast was the time of massive sacrifice, personal preparation, and dedication. This year God provided the special Passover lamb that was to be killed before the Passover meal in order to provide deliverance.
33. And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.
34. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani? Which is, being interpreted, my God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?
35. And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, behold, He calleth Elias.
36. And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave Him to drink, saying, let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take Him down.
37. And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.
38. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.
39. And when the centurion, which stood over against Him, saw that He so cried out, and gave up the ghost, He said, truly this man was the Son of God.
The Father God never left or turned his back on Jesus, even while His only begotten Son suffered such agony on the cross. Why? The Father is omnipresent. He cannot leave. The Father can increase or decrease His intensity and activity, but He is always here. The Father is the great “I Am.” Also notice that the next moment after the “My God why hast Thou forsaken Me?” statement, Jesus spoke to the Father, saying “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit.” Jesus put His perfect human spirit into the Father’s hands.
44. And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.
45. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
46. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, He said, Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit: and having said thus, He gave up the ghost.
I strongly believe the God who left Jesus before His death was the Holy Spirit, the Divine Nature of God. He would come back later to raise Jesus from the dead. What remained on the cross was the perfect human nature (the species of man) and God’s grieving soul (the divine personality), which together left the sinless body at death. Illustrated on the following pages are the stages Christ went through on the cross.
25. And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him.
34. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani? Which is, being interpreted, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?
37. And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.
30. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, it is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.
31. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
Just before He died, Jesus proclaimed in a loud voice, “It is finished,” translated from the word “Teleo,” a banking term referring to a debt that was paid off. The debt was finished. It was over. The spotless Lamb of God paid for all the sins of all the people, everyone in the past, present, and future. This happened on Preparation Day, the day the Passover lamb was killed for the next day’s High Sabbath of Passover. Like the Passover example of applying the blood of the lamb to the doorpost, the payment Jesus Christ made for us had to be personally applied for it to count on our behalf.
42. And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath,
43. Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
Joseph could see the evening fast approaching, which was the end of the Preparation Day. This would be between 3 and 6 pm Gentile time. The evening offering was around 3 pm. The evening or end of the Jewish day would occur at 6 pm.
52. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
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.
They rushed to wrap the body and get it to the tomb before 6 pm Gentile time, or at least by sunset which was almost upon them.
41. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.
42. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
The new sepulcher was nearby, and they had just enough time. Perfect timing, exactly as God would have it. If you count the days and nights, it is clear that Jesus was in the tomb exactly three days and three nights, just as Jesus had said. He was placed in the tomb just before the beginning of Passover, which was Thursday Jewish time. He was there all night and all day Thursday; all night and all day Friday, the second day; and all night and all day Saturday. At the end of the third night and day Jesus left the tomb, long before sunrise Sunday morning.
1. The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
Jesus was free to go after 6 pm Saturday. Fearing that someone might take the body, the religious leaders went to Pilate to request a three-day guard. This was at the beginning of Passover after the close of Preparation Day, probably shortly after 6 pm Wednesday night (Gentile time).
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.
65. Pilate said unto them, ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
66. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
Once they knew the guards were on duty at the tomb, the religious leaders could finally relax and enjoy their Passover, believing that it was finished. Then came the end of their weekly Sabbath, Saturday evening 6:00 Gentile time. The three nights and three days were completed. At the “dawn,” or in other words, around the beginning of the first day of the new week (Sunday), everything changed. The earth shook, the dead raised up, Angels appeared to mankind, and the great gravestone had been rolled away to show everyone that Jesus was already gone. “Hallelujah!”
1. In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
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.
7. And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him: lo, I have told you.
8. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring His disciples word.
9. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, all hail. And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him.
10. Then said Jesus unto them, be not afraid: go tell My brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see Me.
11. Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.
12. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,
13. Saying, say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole Him away while we slept.
14. And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade Him, and secure you.
15. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.
Satan could not change the facts of the death and resurrection of Christ. All he could do is what he always does—tell lies. With a close look, Satan’s lies usually do not even add up or make sense. Just think about it. Pilate gave the Jewish religious leaders an armed Roman guard to “watch” and overcome any attack or attempt to raid the tomb. These guards had the authority to check inside to verify the contents and then seal the tomb with a Roman seal. The unbroken seal assured that the body remained secure. The clay with a Roman insignia or seal represented the Roman government’s authority to execute anyone who broke that seal. The watch was not one or two guards. It was a job performed by the Roman military. A complete Roman guard of numerous soldiers sleeping and not keeping watch is very unlikely, because they would be executed for negligence of their basic duty, as in Acts 12:19. This much is easily verified in history and is stated in the Bible. I think the Roman guards had the primary task of guarding the tomb. Also present as a secondary watch were some of the temple guards whom the chief priest knew and trusted. These secondary guards served as the eyes and ears of the religious leaders. Some of the temple guards may have been with Judas and were the same ones who escorted Jesus to and from the priest. It would be these temple guards, “some of the watch,” who reported to the priest in Matthew 28:11. Between the Roman government and the Jewish religious leaders, there were no doubt plenty of fresh guards on duty, especially as the notorious third day approached. I believe it was the Jewish temple guards who could have been bribed and spared from the execution that awaited the Roman guards. The Roman soldiers failed to secure the tomb area and were accused of sleeping on the job. It is true that the guards passed out at the appearance of the angel rolling back the stone for the women to see the empty tomb; but who would believe them? I doubt anyone could prevent their execution as an example to other soldiers of the importance of staying alert. I also doubt that the surviving soldiers enjoyed their money very long after promoting the lie inspired by Satan. Someday we will know all the details. Even if you disagree or dismiss the abilities, reputation, or number of soldiers guarding Jesus tomb, at least consider these three questions. What would motivate the fearful disciples to break open a Roman-sealed tomb with guards around and the earth shaking from an earthquake? Why were the fearful defeated disciples changed into fearless witnesses and martyrs if they had not witnessed the resurrection of Jesus? Would these disciples knowingly die for a lie, or would they simply go back to the lives they had known just a few years earlier?
8. Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,
9. If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;
10. Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by Him doth this man stand here before you whole.
11. This is the Stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the Head of the corner.
12. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
13. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.
14. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.
15. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,
16. Saying, what shall we do to these men? For that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.
17. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name.
18. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
19. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.
20. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.