Crucifixion Date contraversy


This was posted on a friend of mine’s blog by someone who thinks the crucifixion was on Wednesday. The guy’s protestant, I’d guess, so how do you respond to this on a scriptural level?

I’m guessing that by “the Sabbath” you take that to mean the regular weekly (Saturday) Sabbath?

If not, I’m about to waste a bunch of time. lol! But, if that is what you are thinking, then here’s my take:

Matthew 12:40
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

When I first began studying this topic I was convinced (as best I can narrow down “because of tradition”) that the 3 days and nights was fulfilled because Jews reckoned a part of one day to mean a full day. I have yet to validate that belief, though. So, I had to dig a bit deeper.

However, the simplicity of what the Lord said was “3 days AND 3 nights”. The “and” is the clincher. Fortunately, we find He was exact and exactly right.

When we go back to Jonah (Jonah 1:17), do we believe he was in the whale’s belly only parts of those 3 days and nights? I’d guess that if we were to read that, having never heard Jesus’ prophecy, we’d reckon a full 3 days and nights…72 hours. And, that is exactly how we should view the Lord’s prophecy.

This is only part of the reason why there could be no Friday afternoon burial and Sunday morning resurrection, seeing as this could not have accomplished the prophecy. The deeper meaning comes from the claim that Jesus Christ IS our Passover Lamb (1 Cor 5:7).

I’ve learned from some incredibly studied men that God not only GAVE laws, but that He obeyed His very own laws. He not only instituted feasts that were commanded to be maintained, but He also kept them AND, even more significant, He FULFILLED them. The one in question that He fulfilled at what we celebrate as Easter is that of the Passover Lamb. To BE the Passover Lamb, Jesus Christ had to fulfill the exact requirements He had given to the children of the exodus, just days after their redemption. He gave exacting requirements that, if not kept, resulted in a Jew being “separated” from the nation. I fully believe that meant they were to be killed.

It would take me pages and pages to go through the requirements given by God for the Passover to be kept “right” in God’s eyes. But, the major points are:

  1. the Jewish day started at sundown (let’s say 6pm);
  2. the day of the Passover was the 14th day of the month of Abib (Lev 23:5; Num 28:16) and it was a Sabbath day, on which no work was to be done; the Jews weren’t even supposed to leave their homes during that night (which, remember, was the beginning of their day);
    3)the lamb that was to be slain was to be kept and nurtured starting on the 10th day, the first month for the Jews (Ex. 12:1-6);
  3. the lamb was to then be killed on the 13th day close to the beginning of the 14th (which began at sundown). This had to be done prior to the 14th, because the 14th was the Passover and was a holy day (a sabbath).

When you piece the last week of the Lord’s life together from all of the gospels, you find that starting on the 10th day of the month He was “kept” safe in Bethany. He made two trips into Jerusalem during those 2 days and then the final one on the Preparation day spoken of in the passages you mentioned. This “preparation” was for the annual Passover, not for the weekly Saturday Sabbath. It would have been the 13th day of the month when the lamb was to be killed, thus the meaning of “preparation”. This is the day that the “Lord’s Supper” took place. It began at evening on the 13th, the beginning of that day for them. It is after this that the Lord goes to Gethsemane in the middle of the night. He is betrayed by Judas, undergoes his “trials” in the morning (still the 13th day) and is crucified starting at noon that day. By 3pm of the 13th He is dead. Because the Jews were about the observe the Passover, a Sabbath day, they had to get Jesus buried quickly. John 19:42 describes this: “So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews’ Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.”

If they (two Jewish leaders, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimethea) had handled the body after sunset (the beginning of the 14th - Passover), they would not have been allowed to partake of the meal that was to be eaten later that evening.

Without having time and space to verify it, the 14th, 15th and 16th were ALL Sabbath days (the 16th being the regular weekly Sabbath). The 13th was a Wednesday (the day the sacrifice must be killed), the 14th was a Thursday (Passover Sabbath), the 15th was Friday (the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a Sabbath) and the 16th was Saturday (the weekly Sabbath). So, because of these sabbaths, no Jew was allowed to do anything with or for the Body of Jesus. That is why we see so few visits during the 3 days and why the spices could only be brought late on the day Saturday (at sundown) which would have begun their Sunday (post-Sabbath).

Doesn’t it make sense that all 3 days that the Lord was in the tomb would be Sabbaths (resting days)? I think that’s pretty neat!! :slight_smile:

Diane, I know that’s a very brief and quick overview, but the events orchestrated and demanded by God are so perfect in their timing that a Fri-Sun schedule just doesn’t cut it.

Jesus Christ was in the tomb a full 72 hours. He was buried very near sundown on a Wednesday and resurrected at precisely the same time of the day on Saturday. I’ve got a study that a man did that even gives the exact date of the month and the exact year these things had to have happened. He’s verified it with many historical sources, like when certain kings reigned, when a group of kings were all alive together, etc). It’s quite an amazing feat of work he did.

I hope that helps. I don’t criticize anyone for holding to a Fri-Sun schedule. I just know what the understanding of this more perfect time frame has done for me and how God’s timings are not coincidental or frivolous. The events of that last week are so overlooked as to how they fulfilled OT prophecy and requirements by God. I just pray that everyone has the privilege of seeing these things as God has allowed me to.

If you are ever interested in seeing the study, I will see if I can get it to you. :slight_smile:


Jesus also said, “‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Luke 24:7

Knowing that Jews also viewed “3 days” as partial days, which is more reasonable to conclude: that the “third day” is actually the fifth (W/1, Th/2, Fr/3, Sa/4, Su/5) or the fourth day (Th/1, Fr/2, Sa/3, Su/4), or that Sunday is the “Third Day” , Friday the First, and Saturday the Second?

What are we to make of this contradiction? Did Jesus literally mean 3 days and 3 nights? Was this just hyperbole? Exagerration to draw a connection to Jonas? I’m not sure based on Scripture. One statement of Jesus seems to say that it was Friday, another on Wednesday.

Is there any other historical evidence that can shed light on this situation? Sure!

Justin Martyr, a second century Saint wrote in his first apology:

“But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.”

This man, only a century removed from the crucifixion, attests that Jesus died on Friday.

Again, which is more likely, considering that Scripture is inconclusive: that your friend who is 20 centuries removed, is correct, or that Justin Martyr, who is 1 century removed, is correct?



I actually have spent a ton of time studying this issue, lol, and I must say it’s quite aggravating when you get into it.

That being said, I would point you to this thread here:

You’ll find the basic info in there that you’ll need. I highly recommend the link I provide in post #17 - that has more info than you could ever want.

Peace and God bless!


Brian C quoting a blog << we’d reckon a full 3 days and nights…72 hours. And, that is exactly how we should view the Lord’s prophecy. >>

I cover this in an article on my site in response to someone who argued a Wed crucifixion.

Day of Crucifixion and Resurrection of Our Lord

Can’t be Wed for this reason. On Sunday morning it is said: " 'Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him…it is NOW THE THIRD DAY SINCE THIS HAPPENED…’ " (Luke 24:18-21 RSV)

Now the third day since he was condemned to death and crucified? Wouldn’t this be, now the fourth or fifth day since this happened, if he was crucified on Wed?

For Wednesday crucifixion we have: Wed, Thurs (“now the second day”), Fri (“now the third day”), Sat (“now the fourth day”), Sun (“now the fifth day since this happened”)

For Friday crucifixion we have: Fri, Sat (“now the second day”), Sun (“now the third day since this happened”)

Another thing to disprove Wed crucifixion, is the Gospels understand “a week later” = “after eight days” (see John 20:26 in various translations). The phrase “EIGHT days later” (John 20:26 RSV, the Greek reads literally “AFTER eight days”) is definitely equated with “a week later” (compare the KJV, RSV, NIV, NASB, etc). The NASB has both readings: in the text “AFTER eight days” and in the margin “or a week later.”

Why is “a week later” = “after eight days” ? Because part of both Sundays are being counted as full days. The Jews counted and reckoned days “inclusively” and part of a day was counted as a whole day.

Sun (day 1, part); Mon (day 2); Tues (day 3); Wed (day 4); Thurs (day 5); Fri (day 6); Sat (day 7); Sun (day 8, part)

The phrase “after eight days” is equivalent to “after three days” in the Fri-Sat-Sun crucifixion-burial-resurrection chronology: Fri (day 1, part), Sat (day 2), Sun (day 3, part). Friday crucifixion proved, Wednesday crucifixion disproved. :thumbsup:

Another one is the New Living Translation of Mark 15:42 and 16:9

“THIS ALL HAPPENED ON FRIDAY, the day of preparation, the day before the Sabbath…” (Mark 15:42 NLT)


Rather explicit. My article quotes many standard sources (TDNT, Protestant commentary, etc) on the subject.

Day of Crucifixion and Resurrection of Our Lord

Phil P


Thanks PhilV! I should have known YOU’d addressed this somewhere!:thumbsup::thumbsup::bowdown2:


Thanks to the other posters, too! When I clicked on the thread, it took me right past your posts!:o


Note that Mark says [15:42]

42** And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is,** the day before the sabbath**,

and John says [19:31]

Since it was the day of Preparation, **in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath **(for that sabbath was a high day)

Both seem quite sure it was Friday.


Happy are those that see,but still belive


I’ve seen an interesting interpretation for “the depths of the earth” to be the time of Jesus suffering and death… and not just the burial. (Considering Jesus was never buried, it makes sense.)

There are 10 references by Jesus mentioning being raised on the third day. And everytime, He starts by being handed over to the authorities which occured on the Thursday night. This is fascinating to consider.

So, I’m still convinced that Jesus died on Friday 3rd April 33 AD.


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