The Year of Christ's Birth and Date of Crucifixion

A prophecy in Daniel 9:25 says, “Know ye therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks….”

So, there would be 7 + 62 = 69 prophetic weeks (483 days) from the giving of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the appearing of Jesus Christ as the “Anointed One.” Applying the day-for-a-year principle (Num. 14:34; Ezek. 4:6), we are looking at 483 literal years from the issuance of the decree to the anointing of Christ and the beginning of His ministry.

There were 3 decrees issued by Persian kings for this purpose. The principal one of these was made during the seventh year of the reign of Artaxerxes (Ezra 7) – in the year 457 B.C. So, adding 483 years to 457 B.C., we come to the year 26 A.D. However, since there is no year zero, we add one year and this brings us to 27 A.D. – the prophesied year of the beginning of the ministry of the Messiah.

Now, since Jesus “began to be about thirty years of age” (Luke 3:23) when John the Baptist began his ministry and just before Jesus began His, then Jesus would have been 30 years old in A.D. 27. Going back 30 years from A.D. 27 brings us to the year of Jesus’ birth, 4 B.C. (again, we add 1 year to compensate for no year zero).

Continuing Daniel’s prophecy, “And after [the] threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off…” (verse 26). When, exactly, after the threescore and two weeks shall the Messiah be slain? The next verse tells us that, “he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease….”

Since Christ’s sacrifice is the ultimate sacrifice [being the only sacrifice that can pay the penalty of the sins of all humanity], it is Christ’s death that “shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease.” So, what the prophecy is saying is that after 3-1/2 prophetic days (“in the midst of the week”), or 3-1/2 literal years of His public ministry – Christ will be slain. Now, If Christ’s ministry began in A.D. 27 then He would have been slain in A.D. 31.

We know that Christ died on Passover Day, the 14th of Nisan because He is our Passover (I Cor. 5:7). In the year 31 A.D., the 14th of Nisan corresponds to April 25 on the Roman calendar, and this day fell on a Wednesday.

Therefore, the date of the crucifixion is Wednesday, April 25, A.D. 31.

Interestingly, Wednesday falls in the middle of the week and Daniel’s prophecy says the Messiah will be “cut off… in the midst of the week.” Most prophecies have a dual meaning and here we find that the Messiah will be slain in the middle of a prophetic week (3-1/2 years) as well as in the middle of a literal week (the 4th day of a seven-day week, or Wednesday).

What do you guys think of this approach to fix the birth and death of Christ? And is there anything wrong with the interpretation of the prophecy?

The dates of Christmas or Holy Week are of no interest to me. That the Church has these dates and we celebrate them on those dates is of great interest to me. I think your interpretation is a possibility, but scripture also says that Jesus was crucified on the sabbath. Jewish sabbath. He was born on or near the feast of the harvest (whatever it´s called). Let´s just glorify Him that He took on man´s flesh and then gave His life for us. God bless:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:

You might like this.

Thanks. I’ll check it out.

Did you mean BEFORE the sabbath (Friday)? Isn’t Good Friday the crucifixion day?

The date of Christ’s birth and death are totally irrelevant. They have absolutely no bearing on our faith or salvation.

So Christmas and Good Friday means nothing to you?

Julian or Gregorian?

What do you guys think of this approach to fix the birth and death of Christ? And is there anything wrong with the interpretation of the prophecy?

I think that attempting to impose a literalist interpretation (especially one burdened with 20th century anachronism) on the apocalyptic language of Daniel, Ezekiel or Revelation is a profoundly deficient way to approach the Word of God.

You haven’t understood.

I did not say Christmas and Good Friday are irrelevant.
I said the date of Christ’s birth and death are not relevant. Nobody knows the actual dates and it makes no difference.

Jesus was born in 12 B.C. and crucified in A.D. 36.

Does anyone seriously question this?

I agree that the actual dates are unknown - perhaps unknowable - and theologically irrelevant. That said, I still find speculation about the dates interesting. Personally, I don’t think the dates can be reverse engineered out of ancient Scripture, though.

Yes, lots and lots of people do. I have seen a lot of different dates put forth by serious scholars. I think most put His birth somewhat later and the Crucifixion somewhat later than you do – I see estimates of 5 BC and 30-33 AD used pretty commonly. Where do you get your dates, and why do you think they are generally assumed to be correct?

There is a good essay in the New Testament version of the Ignatius Study Bible on the Census of Quirinius which describes some of the modern scholarship and theories on Christs’ birth based on the two lunar elipses at the end of the first century BC and the various political offices that Quirinius held.

It’s too lengthy and involved to quote here, or I just don’t have the patience right now (maybe later) but the gist of the essay is that Christ was born between 3 and 2 BC.

Anyone with a copy of the ISB should check it out on page 109.

Establshing the historical accuracy of the Bible is an important topic in so far as some attack the Bible in particular and Christianity in general on this point, especially the historical accuracy of Luke 2:1-2.


We’re on the same page. :thumbsup:

Not with Luke, anyway.

You need Josephus and astronomy to come up with anything coherent. And even then part of Luke has to be dismissed- Luke, Holy scripture!!

Hagan in “Passover” does a good job.

BTW, the book of John suggests that Jesus was crucified when he was close to fifty years of age. Patrick will back me up on this…:slight_smile:

But don’t you celebrate Christmas and Good Friday **on a specific day **of the year? Or am I to understand that you celebrate Christmas and Good Friday on any day to your liking?

If you know the date of Christ’s birth, won’t you then be able to fix **the day **on which to celebrate Christ’s birthday each year? Or, are you saying that it doesn’t matter to you that Christ was not born on the day in which you celebrate His birthday? What about if that day was chosen because it was the birthday of a pagan god? Would that matter to you? Would it matter to you if your family celebrates your birthday in December, but then you were really born in, say, September?

Now, why is the date of crucifixion not relevant when Good Friday, the supposed day of Christ’s crucifixion is relevant? Wouldn’t knowing the date allow you to know the day of observance when it comes around each year? Supposing the crucifixion really happened on a Wednesday, are you saying that it wouldn’t make a difference to you if you observe Christ’s death on a Friday each year?

Well, while Christmas is celebrated on a fixed date, the date on which Good Friday falls changes every year, being determined on which day and month the ‘Sunday of the Resurrection’ (aka Pascha “Passover” or at least in English, ‘Easter’ Sunday), as it is called officially, falls on a particular year. In Western Christianity at least, using the Gregorian calendar, Easter always falls on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25, inclusively, which means that Parasceve (aka Good Friday) would fall on the Friday before it.

In determining the date of the Gregorian and Julian Easter a lunisolar cycle is followed. In determining the date of the Jewish Passover a lunisolar calendar is also used, and because Easter always falls on a Sunday it usually falls up to a week after the first day of Passover (Nisan 15 in the Hebrew calendar). The differences in the rules between the Hebrew and Gregorian cycles results in Passover falling about a month after Easter in three years of the 19-year cycle. These occur in years 3, 11, and 14 of the Gregorian 19-year cycle.

For the record, both the Eastern and Western Churches are going to celebrate Good Friday and Easter at the same date this year: April 22 and 24.

You are being frivolous and also distorting what I have said.

The Church has chosen December 25 each year to celebrate the birth of Christ. Neither the Church nor we know if that is the actual date he was born. The actual date of his birth is not relevant to our faith or salvation (even though it would be interesting to know).

The Church through the calculations described in Patrick’s post tells us when Good Friday will be and shows that the date of Good Friday each year is different. Neither the Church nor we know the actual date Christ was crucified. The actual date of his crucifxion is not relevant to our faith or salvation (even though it would be interesting to know).

For the record, I should mention that the Armenians commemorate the Nativity (Սուրբ Ծնունդ Surb Tsnund) on January 6 - Epiphany/Theophany for much of Christendom - to this day!


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