In this article we will investigate the factors that contribute to dating the Crucifixion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This article will show that Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday April 25th, 31 AD and died around 6pm that evening and then rose from the dead on Sunday April 29th.
Jesus gave a sign to the Pharisees who pressed upon Him as detailed in the following verse:
Mat 12:40 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.
Some have speculated that the sign could simply refer to three periods of day and three periods of night and that it didn’t have to be consecutive complete periods of day and night. Consider that this sign is being given to those evil Pharisees, does anyone believe that Jonah would only be in the belly of the great fish for 3 incomplete periods of night and day? Would anyone believe that the fish cast out Jonah and then swallowed him again and again over and over, especially given that this is a sign? Many of these opponents to 3 complete days and nights in the heart of the earth are those that have failed to resolve a solution to the scriptures. That resolution is detailed in this article.
It is important to mention that the Jewish Calendar would start a month at the first sliver of moonlight following a new moon.
The Jewish Calendar is starting days at sunset (a period I compare to when the sun is no longer claiming the land by casting a shadow). The day continues through night into the day-light hours to then end at the same period of sunset. We often see this period of sunset referred to in the Bible as “between the evenings”.
The Bible tells us there are 12 hours in a day:
Joh_11:9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.
These twelve hours are not variable in length depending on the time of the year but are fixed periods. However, there was not twelve hours of the day during the day of the Crucifixion. Only the peak months of summer would have 12 hours of daylight. During the Crucifixion, there would be around 9 hours of daylight. So to consider this in a manner for comprehension it is best to think of an hour as consisting of around 80 minutes for calculation purposes.
The Sign of Jonah breakdown
Sunday April 22nd (Nisan 10) – Chief Priests of the Temple decide to kill Jesus. Jesus proclaims at this time that after two days He will be crucified.
Mat 26:1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples,
Mat 26:2 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.
NOTE: In the verse above (Mat 26:2), Jesus says AFTER two days that He would be crucified. Since He states this on Nisan 10, then AFTER two days would be Nisan 13. So we know at this point He is going to be crucified on Nisan 13.
Exo 12:3 Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, On the tenth of this month let them take each man a lamb according to the houses of their families, every man a lamb for his household.
Mat 26:3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
Mat 26:4 And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.
Tuesday April 24th (Nisan 13) the evening after the “Last Supper”, Jesus is apprehended in the Garden of Gethsemane and suffers through interrogation by the Temple Priests.
Wednesday April 25th (Nisan 13 ) – This is Preparation Day for the Passover. Jesus is brought to Pilate in the morning and he orders Jesus to be crucified upon further petition by the Jews. Jesus is crucified at the 3rd hour (approx. 10 am.) There is a darkness that comes on the land at the 6th hour (approx. 2 pm) and lasts until about the time Jesus dies which is the 9th hour (approx. 6 pm.)
Wednesday April 25 (Nisan 14 & Passover starts – at sunset) – Jesus dies on the cross at the 9th hour (approx 6 pm). There is a full moon consistent with being the 14th day of the month since the start of the month is based on a Lunar calendar.
Exo 12:6 Exo 12:6 ‘And it hath become a charge to you, until the fourteenth day of this month, and the whole assembly of the company of Israel have slaughtered it between the evenings; (YLT)
Exo 12:6 And it shall be kept by you till the fourteenth of this month, and all the multitude of the congregation of the children of Israel shall kill it toward evening. (Brenton)
NOTE: I have included Young’s Literal Translation and Brenton versions of the verse above. The period when the Lamb is killed is often referred to as “between the evenings”. This was covered in the Background Information section earlier in the article.
Wednesday April 25 (Nisan 14 – Passover – evening has come) – Jesus is entombed. This night doesn’t count for Jonah’s sign (3 Days and 3 Nights) because Jesus was placed in the tomb during the night so it would not be a full night.
Deu 21:23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
Mat 27:57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple:
Mat 27:58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
NOTE: Some have claimed that the verse above (Deu 21:23) is evidence that He had to be entombed during the day period. Let’s remember this verse exist for the very purpose of relating to the Messiah. This verse was already foreshadowing that Jesus would be buried in the night and recall that the day did not start until sunset had arrived. Therefore, in order for Jesus not to “remain all night upon the tree”, He would have to be entombed that night.
Thursday April 26 (Nisan 14 – Day time) – (Jonah Sign – DAY 1/3 NIGHT 0/3) On this Day the Temple Priests request from Pilate to have the tomb sealed and have the tomb guarded.
Thursday April 26 (Nisan 15 – Night time) – (Jonah Sign – DAY 1/3 NIGHT 1/3)
Friday April 27 (Nisan 15 – Day time) – (Jonah Sign – DAY 2/3 NIGHT 1/3) Preparation Day for weekly Sabbath.
Friday April 27 (Nisan 16 – Night time) – (Jonah Sign – DAY 2/3 NIGHT 2/3) Weekly Sabbath Day.
Saturday April 28 (Nisan 16 – Day time) – (Jonah Sign – DAY 3/3 NIGHT 2/3) Weekly Sabbath day.
Saturday April 28 (Nisan 17 – Night time) – (Jonah Sign – DAY 3/3 NIGHT 3 /3) Third night of Jonah’s sign until Sunday morning daybreak.
Sunday April 29 (Nisan 17 – early morning) – Jesus is Resurrected at day break completing Jonah’s sign of 3 days and 3 nights. This day is also known as the Feast of FirstFruits.
Signs in the Heavens
During this period of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, there are significant astronomical events taking place.
The planets of Venus, Mars, and Saturn had entered into Gemini while Jupiter had entered into Taurus. The significance of this is that the heavens are raising an emphasis by putting this much illumination to this particular constellation. Research has not yet yielded significant information about the meaning of the planets but regarding the constellation of Gemini, ancient cultures applied to it the meaning of a “union” or “marriage”. There was an account of Gemini as representing Adam and Eve. This “union” or “marriage” is a direct fit for this period of time since the Passover event is when Jesus is having His “Last Supper” with His disciples which signifies a union with Him. Interesting to also note is that Jupiter is in Taurus which is often been giving the meaning of “resurrection” in ancient cultures while Jupiter represented the “King”.
While the confidence of correctly reading these astronomical events is lacking, they are presented because some historical interpretation was correlated. However, there is an event that we do know took place on the evening of April 25th, 31 AD, and that was a Lunar Eclipse visible in the evening sky. We know this event took place on that evening because even NASA has archived the eclipse:
But now we have to ask where was there a Lunar Eclipse recorded as being associated with this event. We find that recorded in the book of Acts:
Act 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
Now to set that context, the day is Pentecost and Peter is rebuking the crowd about how they saw the moon turn to blood and the sun turned into darkness which is a prophecy from Joel 2:31 and directly relates this event to Jesus. Now when the sun did turn to darkness, this must have been an extraordinary event as compared to a typical solar eclipse because the darkness was upon the land for around 2 pm until the time Jesus died – around 6 pm. (Luk_23:44). If there is a full moon, you cannot also have a solar eclipse.
A blood moon is what is referred to a moon that turns the color of red (blood) and is the result of how the light passes from the earth’s atmosphere.
Length of Jesus Ministry before the Crucifixion
The Length of time that Jesus performed His ministry before the Crucifixion is important from a dating perspective because we know that He was 30 years old when He was baptized and that Tiberius Caesar was in his 15th year of rule as the following verse shows:
Luk 3:1 Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,
From chronological events we can conclude that Jesus’ ministry was for 3.5 years. Tiberius was Roman Emperor from 14 AD to 37 AD. So if it was the 15th year of his reign that would mean (14 + 15 = 29 AD) or at the ealiest 28 AD. So that would mean that the dating of 31 AD would not fit the time that Tiberius ruled and correlate to the 3.5 years of Jesus’ ministry. However, Tiberius actually began to reign two years earlier. The verse in Luk 3:1 doesn’t say when Tiberius was Emperor but rather the 15th year of his reign. According to Suetonius, these ceremonies and the declaration of his “co-princeps” took place in the year 12 AD.
Therefore if Tiberius was “co-princeps” in 12 AD then the 15th year of his reign would be 26/27 AD. Therefore, we are in alignment with the dating of the scriptures and His ministry of 3.5 years.
Now we have another dating event that we need to ensure we don’t contradict because if Jesus was 33 years old when He was crucified then that places His birth at 3 BC using our date of 31 AD for His death. We know that Herod was ruling Judea at this time and upon hearing of the coming King had dispatched the orders to kill the children two years and younger when the Magi (wise men) didn’t come and report back to him the location of Jesus. We see that in the following verse:
Mat 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.
But according to many historical accounts King Herod is said to have died in 4 BC. Now if that is the case, then our record of Jesus being born in 3 BC and being Crucified in 31 AD at at 33 could not have happened since Herod ruled Judea after Jesus had been born. Now if Herod died in 4 BC then since he commanded the children of 2 years and younger to be killed then this would have indicated that Jesus was born in 6 BC or earlier and would put Jesus at least 36 years old when He died since we can already conclude when Tiberius’ 15th year was. We know His ministry was not that long. The only way anything fits is if Herod died in 1 BC. There is a great deal of evidence, to lengthy for this article, to show that 1 BC is the year that Herod died.
Another evidence we need to look at is the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem which occurred in finality on 70 AD. However, the destruction began on the day of Crucifixion when the Veil was rent:
Mat_27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
If we include 31 AD as the start of the Destruction then 31 AD plus 40 years would give us 70 AD (remember this math is including year 31 AD).
For those 40 years, Jewish history records that there were desolations taking place in regards to the Temple. The year 40 is significant because this number is associated with events of Trial/Judgement such as when the Israelites were in the Wilderness after the Exodus and when Noah and his family underwent 40 days and nights of rain, or when Jesus Himself, after His baptism, withstood the Devil for 40 day and nights. The Jewish Temple was desolated for 40 years in showing us a “type” also of the 40 Jubilees that would follow of trial/judgement upon His Church. So the only year that would fit for accomplishing that 40 years of judgement upon the Temple in Jerusalem would be 31 AD since the destruction was also in year 70 AD. That would complete the 40 year “type”. Therefore, this is more weight to show that 31 AD was the year of the Crucifixion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Jesus was Crucified, Died, and Rose again from the dead on April 25th 31 AD. The evidence shows that Jesus met the criteria of the Sign of Jonah which He gave to the Pharisees of being in the heart of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights.
Some people have asked why this information is even important to understand. For the student of Truth, we obviously want to ensure the record is true. But additionally, there are prophetic events still unfolding that are based on this date and the events that took place according to their timing. For example, this date of April 25th is a Jubilee year. This is significant in understanding key events ahead including the Lord’s Day. Please refer to the article called The Last Jubilee on this site for more information on the Jubilee year.
Hopefully, this message has given edification and confidence to those who study God’s Word.