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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.
— Matthew 12:40
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And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
— Jonah 1:17
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Six for creation, three for sheol—Why Jesus did not die on a Friday, and why it matters a lot.

 

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Prologue

Six for creation, three for sheol—Why
Jesus did not die on a Friday, and why it matters a lot.

While Christians are generally adamant about the six days of creation as is the account in Genesis, most of them are curiously oblivious to the math that only accounts for one and a half days between Good Friday, the traditional day of Jesus’ death, and Sunday morning, when he traditionally rose again.

Jesus, the Word of God who created the heavens and earth in six days was very, very clear about how long he would be in the grave. If the account of Jonah, three days in the whale’s belly, is as specific as the account of the days of creation, why do we not balk at this?

Without a doubt the confusion has come from the day of the weekly Sabbath and the fact that Passover, 15 Nisan, is also a high Sabbath. On 14 Nisan, the preparation for Passover, there would have been the usual hurry and bustle as on Friday for the weekly Sabbath.

Why is this important anyway? It is important of course because Jesus said it and his words are the highest authority to all believers. Beyond that it is a matter of accuracy of prophecy. In fact, I believe that it is the most critical matter of all prophecy in the Bible. If Jesus was not in the grave for three days like he said, then how can we, and why should we believe him at all?

Jesus is the Almighty Son of God. His words are true and we have got the details wrong. The scriptures prove the accuracy of three days and three nights in Sheol.

Introduction

Introduction To Hebrew Times And Days

In order to understand the timeline of Passover, it is critical to understand some key differences between the Jewish and Gregorian calendar. A Jewish day begins at dusk, specifically around 6PM. So when I say April 14 and 6 Nisan, you must understand that 6 Nisan begins a 6PM on April 13 and ends at 6PM on April 14. Our day is from midnight to midnight. This hearkens to Genesis where God describes the evening and the morning as being a day. The evening then is after dusk.

Now another very important point is the difference between hours of the Jewish day and the Roman day. You will read that Jesus gave up the ghost at the ninth hour of the day. That is 3PM by our clock. By the Jewish measure the 9th hour is counted starting at 6AM, or the zero hour. The third hour would be our 9AM, the sixth hour would be noon.

It is essential to remember when you see the reference to hours that there can seem to be inconsistencies with the times between the four Gospels. Why is that?

This verse in John is translated in some versions as the noon, but it is obviously not noon. In the King James version it is described as the sixth hour.

John 19: 13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!

John here is using the sixth Roman and not Jewish hour so it is actually 6AM. Remember that Jesus has been up all night being shuffled from one place to another after his arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. If this were the sixth Jewish hour it would be noon. However, Jesus would have to have been condemned at 12PM and crucified and dead by 3PM, the ninth Jewish hour. That would mean all that would have had to transpire in only three hours.

My Scofield Bible has a note for John 19:14 that explains that John was using the Roman hour here. Without the understanding of the difference between Roman and Jewish ‘hours’ this can be confusing On the other hand, it clearly links the two reference frames of time.

The next important thing to note is where is Jesus on 6 Nisan? More specifically, where is he going? I want you to think about that question with the specific understanding that Jesus does NOTHING that he is not directed to do by the Father. His movements are not random as you will see as we follow them through the Passover where he is crucified and raised.

For now, I want you to focus on the details of the very first Passover below. The question you need to constantly keep in your head is this. Does the instruction of the original Passover follow the events that Jesus experienced in his Passover week crucifixion, or were the events of his Passover week dictated by the original Passover instruction as though it were a map?

Exodus 12 (KJV)
1  And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying,
2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.
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:
4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.
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 evening3.
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.
8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it.
9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof.
10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire.
11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S passover.

The Original Passover in Relation To The Passover Week Of Jesus’ Cricifixion

Mull on that question again. Does the instruction of the original Passover follow the events that Jesus experienced in his Passover week crucifixion, or were the events of his Passover week dictated by the original Passover instruction as though it were a map?

Simply stated here, you must understand that the timelessness of God makes the Passover crucifixion of Jesus appear the same as the instruction given for the original Passover in Exodus. In other words, all our times are ‘now’ for God, because he is timeless.

That makes the description of the Passover instruction in Exodus very important. It is why I say that you must not underestimate the very specific details of Jesus’ Passover crucifixion. Remember God does NOT do random, ever!

8-9 Nisan

8 Nisan & 9 Nisan

Now 8 Nisan is of particular mention here in John.

John 12 NIV
1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.
3 Then Mary took about a pinta of pure nard, an expensive perfume;a she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 

Mark 14 below is very interesting because it is describing the events just before 14 Nisan. However, there is a flashback that refers to the evening of 9 Nisan in Bethany that are recorded in John above.

Mark 14 NIV
3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 
5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. 
6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.
7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.
8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world,a what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

While the evening of 9 Nisan is the supper, day of 9 Nisan is described further in John below.

John 12 NIV
9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.
10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 
11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and believing in him.

The next scripture is key to identifying 10 Nisan and leads into the discussion of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

10 Nisan

10 Nisan

Now let’s refresh what I’ve told you so far. Remember that 6PM is the end of one day and the beginning of the next.

8 Nisan (day, i.e. before twilight) – Jesus arrives in Bethany to stay with Lazarus, Mary, and Martha.
9 Nisan (evening, i.e., after twilight) –  They all feast at Simon the Leper’s house, and Jesus is anointed with oil.
9 Nisan (day, before twilight) -A great crowd comes out to Bethany to see Jesus as well as Lazarus who Jesus had raised from the dead.
10 Nisan (evening, after twilight) – Jesus is back at the house of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha to sleep.

Our story picks up here on 10 Nisan (the day which is the next morning). This is what we call Palm Sunday, but which is really our Saturday morning. It is still Sabbath.

John 12 NIV
12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.
13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!”
  “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
  “Blessed is the king of Israel!”

This day is significant because 10 Nisan is when all of Israel is bringing their Passover lambs into their homes, and Jesus rides into Jerusalem. In Hebrew, Jerusalem is the ‘foundation of peace.’ It is nothing less than the House of God, and Jesus, the true Passover Lamb of God is now in the house.

The fact that Jesus is recorded in multiple places to have ridden in on an ass is prophesied here.

Zechariah 9:9   Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.

Here is the descriptive scripture that is in Matthew. Notice something very interesting here. This seems to be a summary that covers Jesus’ short time in Bethany Wikipedia states the following.

Bethany has traditionally been identified with the present-day West Bank city of al-Eizariya (Arabic (العيزرية), meaning “Place of Lazarus”), site of the reputed Tomb of Lazarus, located about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) to the east of Jerusalem on the south-eastern slope of the Mount of Olives.

Matthew 21 NIV
1   And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,  
2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 
3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 
4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,  
5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.  
6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,  
7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.  
8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.  
9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.  
10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?  
11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

Mark and John gives this more detailed account also. Now I’d like to draw your attention to the borrowed colt.

Mark 11
1   Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus* sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, mon which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” 4 And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it.  5 And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?”  6 And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. 

Notice that Jesus rides in on the colt to the praise of the crowd, enters the temple, looks around, and the leaves. What is interesting is the further reading of the scripture here. Only in this account do you see that Jesus rides in on the donkey with praise and palm branches, enters the temple, which is essentially empty, and then leaves and goes back to Bethany. It is actually the Jewish day after the prophetic entrance Jerusalem.

Mark 11
7 And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it.
8 And many nspread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields.
9 And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of sour father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
11   And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
12   On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry.
13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
15   And they came to Jerusalem…

This very small, and almost hidden detail is of vital importance. Why didn’t Jesus wait until the following day to enter triumphantly when he chased the moneychangers or sellers of pigeons, etc.?

This is very key I think. Jesus was inspecting the temple, to be sure. But the shear act of entering the temple and not just Jerusalem itself is equivalent to the Passover lamb being taken into each family’s house four days before Passover as it describes in Exodus.

Once again, you can see that God is nothing in his Word if not very, very precise in details.

11 Nisan

11 Nisan

Here are the details so far to bring our timeline up to date.

8 Nisan (day, i.e. before twilight) – Jesus arrives in Bethany to stay with Lazarus, Mary, and Martha.
9 Nisan (evening, i.e., after twilight) –  They all feast at Simon the Leper’s house, and Jesus is anointed with oil.
9 Nisan (day, before twilight) -A great crowd comes out to Bethany to see Jesus as well as Lazarus who Jesus had raised from the dead.
10 Nisan (evening, after twilight) – Jesus is back at the house of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha to sleep.
10 Nisan (day,) – Jesus tells the disciples how to obtain the colt, and he rides into Jerusalem. The palms waved by the people were spontaneous as they heard that Jesus was coming. Nothing is scripted. Incredibly, the foretelling of this in Old Testament is highly accurate.

Now let’s pick up where we left off. It is now 11 Nisan (day).

Mark 11:12 ESV   On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it. 

Now this is a very notable scripture. I’ve pondered this many times. Now the fig tree is not a person, that could understand or comprehend what the Lord wanted, so this must be representative of something different.

Clearly the fig tree has a season for fruit, and when Jesus walked by, it is clear that he knew that. Why curse the tree then? I think that the subsequent scripture is directly related to the fig tree.

Mark 11:15   And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 16 And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” 18 And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because gall the crowd was astonished at his teaching. 19 And when evening came they* went out of the city. 

The prophecy in Zechariah here is directly related to the fig tree that Jesus cursed. Remember that the evening before, Jesus had gone to the temple, inspected it, and then left. Today he comes back. The fig tree is deliberately mentioned here before he gets to the temple. It is a figura umbrae, or symbol, of all that is good. Goodness always bears fruit, and fruit is the sign of whose we are.

Zechariah 3:6 ESV  And the angel of the LORD solemnly assured Joshua, 7 “Thus says the LORD of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. 8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. 9 For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes,* I will engrave its inscription, declares the LORD of hosts, and dI will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. 10 In that day, declares the LORD of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree.”

Zech. 3 KJV
8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.
9 For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
10 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree. 

We should pay close attention to what Jesus said in Mathew below. It explains why and what he is doing in the temple. The fig tree represents Israel’s religious abrogation. He curses the fig tree and then cleans out the temple. This is in preparation for what Zechariah says that in one day, Jesus will remove the iniquity of the land.

Matthew 7:15 ESV   Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Matthew 7:21   Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

I’ll conclude with the account of the withered fig tree on the morning of 12 Nisan, which I’ll pick up with tomorrow.

Mark 11:20 ESV   As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received* it, and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, tif you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”*

 

12 Nisan

12 Nisan. Jesus Teaches For The Last Time In the Temple

Here is the recap of the timeline. Again, remember that 6PM is the end of one day and the beginning of the next.

8 Nisan (day, i.e. before twilight) – Jesus arrives in Bethany to stay with Lazarus, Mary, and Martha.
9 Nisan (evening, i.e., after twilight) –  They all feast at Simon the Leper’s house, and Jesus is anointed with oil.
9 Nisan (day, before twilight) -A great crowd comes out to Bethany to see Jesus as well as Lazarus who Jesus had raised from the dead.
10 Nisan (evening, after twilight) – Jesus is back at the house of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha to sleep.
10 Nisan (day,) – Jesus tells the disciples how to obtain the colt, and he rides into Jerusalem. The palms waved by the people were spontaneous as they heard that Jesus was coming. Nothing is scripted. Incredibly, the foretelling of this in Old Testament is highly accurate.
11 Nisan (evening, after twilight) – Jesus again is back at the house of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha to sleep
11 Nisan (day) – Jesus and the disciples pass the fig tree which has no fruit. He curses it, then moves on to the temple where he drives out the money changers and those selling the doves for purchase for sacrifice
12 Nisan (evening, after twilight) – Jesus is back in Bethany at the house of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha

It is now 12 Nisan in the morning, just two days, before Passover which start at the end of day, twilight or 6PM, on 14 Nisan. Just the day before, Jesus had cursed the fig tree. That figura umbrae is reflective of the cutting off of all that does not bear fruit in Israel. I see this as the end of Israel’s witness to the world as a nation, and the beginning of the tame and wild olive trees, representing the oil of the Holy Spirit applied to those who believe in Christ, Jew and Gentile. God is doing something new and doing away with the old which is no longer fruitful.

I really didn’t appreciate how bland and ‘saltless’ is Pasach (Passover) until I actually saw the Seder on a TV program recently. It is all about food and family and tradition. I did not hear one person say anything about the origin of Passover, and I didn’t see any roast lamb either. I thought these particulars would be very important to the Jews, but they didn’t seem to be in that TV program.

There are some very important points to make about this passage. First, Jesus is NOT saying that God is a genie and you rub his lamp when you want something. Remember, he’s talking about the fig tree, and he also does nothing that he does not see the Father do. In other, words, if the Father tells you to do something, go somewhere, etc., then when you believe as you have heard in your prayers, you can rest assured that faith will produce its fruit.

He further links prayer for these things with forgiveness for those who have trespassed against us.

Mark 11:20 ESV   As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots.  21 And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”  22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23 Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, m‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received* it, and it will be yours. 25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”*

At the temple, the scribes, Sadducees, and Pharisees all take their shots at tripping Jesus up. What is interesting of course is his answers, but more importantly the result of those answers. At the end of the day, the only thing left to do, is plot to kill Jesus in order to stop him from ‘infecting’ the people with him and his teaching.

Mark 11:27 ESV   And they came again to Jerusalem. And as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him,  28 and they said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?”  29 Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30 Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.” 31 And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’  32 But shall we say, ‘From man’?”—they were afraid of the people, for they all held that John really was aa prophet.  33 So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Mark 12:1 ESV   And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country. 2 When the season came, he sent a servant* to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again hhe sent to them another servant, and they struck him on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 And he sent another, and him they killed. And so with many others: some they beat, and some they killed. 6 He had still one other, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 But those tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 And they took him and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Have you not read tthis Scripture:
 
  “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;*
 
11  this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

Mark 12:12   And they were seeking to arrest him but feared the people, for they perceived that he had told the parable against them. So they left him and went away. 

Mark 12:13   And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk.  14 And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances,* but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?”  15 But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius* and let me look at it.” 16 And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.”  17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him. 

Mark 12:18   And Sadducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection. And they asked him a question, saying,  19 “Teacher, Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife, but leaves no child, the man* must take the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.  20 There were seven brothers; the first took a wife, and when he died left no offspring.  21 And the second took her, and died, leaving no offspring. And the third likewise.  22 And the seven left no offspring. Last of all the woman also died.  23 In the resurrection, when they rise again, whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.” 

Mark 12:24   Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God? 25 For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor pare given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26 And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God spoke to him, saying, t‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? 27 He is not God of the dead, but of the living. You are quite wrong.”

Mark 12:28   And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”  29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.  33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, cis much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions. 

Jesus is convincing people that he is the Christ as you can see from that above. Now he teaches them what I teach about the timelessness of God. He can be both the Lord of David and David’s son in the flesh because he is timeless.

Mark 12:35   And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord, 
“Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”’

Mark 12:37   David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.

No doubt the scribes and those that oppose Jesus are further incited by the following scripture. This day is like no other day in the Temple. Where Jesus has been more reserved previously because it was not his time, he is bold and brash and utterly right.

Mark 12:38   And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces 39 and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 40 who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”

Mark 12:41   And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums.  42 And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.* 43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

He even prophesies the destruction of the Temple. The figura umbrae of the fig tree is this destruction.

Mark 13:1 ESV   And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”  2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

When he leaves the Temple, he goes to the Mount of Olives and there has further discussions with the disciples. He is very specific about what we are to look for as signs.

Mark 13:3   And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,  4 “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?”  5 And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. 6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. 7 And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.

Mark 13:9   “But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. 10 And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. 11 And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

The abomination of desolation is a person that is standing where he should not be. That Antiochus was the figura umbrae of the antichrist here is known, because Antiochus sacrifice a pig in the Temple previously. The instructions given here are for those of our time who are present to see this abomination of desolation.

Mark 13:14   “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything out, 16 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 17 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 18 Pray that it may not happen in winter. 19 For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. 20 And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. 21 And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23 But be on guard; sI have told you all things beforehand.

This tribulation period will be followed by Christ’s return. It will also be shortened because God’s mercy is the only thing that will prevent us from destroying every living thing.

Mark 13:24   “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

Here is another figura umbrae using the fig tree. He is telling us to be watchful and contemplative. We don’t know the time of his return, but we can and should be able to identify the season, and being to anticipate it.

Mark 13:28   “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, eat the very gates. 30 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Mark 13:32   “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard, keep awake.* For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants* in charge, peach with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, sin the evening, or sat midnight, or when the rooster crows,* or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”

And finally this verse confirms that the above scripture was two days before Passover. It also tells you that the result is that the chief priests were now convinced as a whole, that Jesus had to die to stop this threat to their way of life.

Mark 14:1 ESV   It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him,  2 for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.” 

13 Nisan

13 Nisan. Preparing For The Lord’s Supper & Plot to Kill Jesus

Here is the recap of the timeline. Again, remember that 6PM is the end of one day and the beginning of the next.

8 Nisan (day, i.e. before twilight) – Jesus arrives in Bethany to stay with Lazarus, Mary, and Martha.
9 Nisan (evening, i.e., after twilight) –  They all feast at Simon the Leper’s house, and Jesus is anointed with oil.
9 Nisan (day, before twilight) -A great crowd comes out to Bethany to see Jesus as well as Lazarus who Jesus had raised from the dead.
10 Nisan (evening, after twilight) – Jesus is back at the house of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha to sleep.
10 Nisan (day,) – Jesus tells the disciples how to obtain the colt, and he rides into Jerusalem. The palms waved by the people were spontaneous as they heard that Jesus was coming. Nothing is scripted. Incredibly, the foretelling of this in Old Testament is highly accurate.
11 Nisan (evening, after twilight) – Jesus again is back at the house of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha to sleep
11 Nisan (day) – Jesus and the disciples pass the fig tree which has no fruit. He curses it, then moves on to the temple where he drives out the money changers and those selling the doves for purchase for sacrifice
12 Nisan (evening, after twilight) – Jesus is back in Bethany at the house of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha
12 Nisan (day) – Jesus is back at the temple preaching. The chief priests are humiliated in their attempts to trip him up. They decide he must die and the scheming begins.
13 Nisan (evening, around twilight) – Jesus and his disciples are back in Bethany on 13 Nisan (evening), because it says in Mark 14:10 that he sent them back into the city the next day.
13 Nisan (day) – where we pick up today

There are two important things happening on 13 Nisan. The first thing is the arrangement for the Preparation of Passover which is 14 Nisan. You have to be careful when you read the passages not to confused the arrangements for where to do the Passover, with the Preparation of Passover which is 14 Nisan. The Preparation of Passover is that evening and day prior to twilight at the end of 14 Nisan (6PM) and the beginning of 15 Nisan which is Passover when each family is eating the roast lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs as described in Exodus.

13 Nisan is when the disciples are making the the arrangement for the evening of 14 Nisan which begins at 6PM, and is what we call The Lord’s Supper. Jesus instructs them either shortly before 6PM 13 Nisan or just after on 14 Nisan where to go and what to say to the person who already has a room prepared.

Bear in mind that what we call The Lord’s Supper is not a Passover meal. It is the night meal the day before the Passover.

Matthew 26:17 ESV   Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?  18 And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.

Mark 14:12 ESV   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.

Luke 22:7 ESV   Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.  8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat. 9 And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare?  10 And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in. 11 And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples? 12 And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready. 13 And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.

The second important thing that is in motion, is the conspiracy to capture and kill Jesus which began in the minds of the chief priests the day before, on 12 Nisan.  At the end of that long day of Jesus’ teaching in the temple, every challenge by the Pharisees and Sadducees has been dashed to pieces, and Jesus has preached and preached and the people are astonished and drawn to the Son of God. Defeated and humiliated, the Chief Priests begin to plan how to do it.

Mark 14:1 ESV   It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him,  2 for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.”

Judas has been seeking a time to betray Jesus since he was anointed at Simon the Leper’s house. Here are the accounts of those.

Mark 14:10   Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them.  11 And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him.

Matthew 26:14 ESV   Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests,  15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver.  16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

Luke 22:1 ESV   Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover.  2 And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.  3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.  4 And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them.  5 And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.  6 And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.

So now, the stage is set. The place of the Lord’s Supper is set. The betrayal is arranged and paid for with thirty pieces of silver. In just 24 more hours from after twilight on the end of 13 Nisan and the beginning of 14 Nisan, Jesus will already be dead and buried, and Passover, or Pasach, begins as twilight welcomes 15 Nisan.

14 Nisan

14 Nisan. The Lord’s Supper, His Betrayal, Trial, Crucifixion, and Burial

Here is the recap of the timeline. Again, remember that 6PM is the end of one day and the beginning of the next.

8 Nisan (day, i.e. before twilight) – Jesus arrives in Bethany to stay with Lazarus, Mary, and Martha.
9 Nisan (evening, i.e., after twilight) –  They all feast at Simon the Leper’s house, and Jesus is anointed with oil.
9 Nisan (day, before twilight) -A great crowd comes out to Bethany to see Jesus as well as Lazarus who Jesus had raised from the dead.
10 Nisan (evening, after twilight) – Jesus is back at the house of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha to sleep.
10 Nisan (day,) – Jesus tells the disciples how to obtain the colt, and he rides into Jerusalem. The palms waved by the people were spontaneous as they heard that Jesus was coming. Nothing is scripted. Incredibly, the foretelling of this in Old Testament is highly accurate.
11 Nisan (evening, after twilight) – Jesus again is back at the house of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha to sleep
11 Nisan (day) – Jesus and the disciples pass the fig tree which has no fruit. He curses it, then moves on to the temple where he drives out the money changers and those selling the doves for purchase for sacrifice
12 Nisan (evening, after twilight) – Jesus is back in Bethany at the house of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha
12 Nisan (day) – Jesus is back at the temple preaching. The chief priests are humiliated in their attempts to trip him up. They decide he must die and the scheming begins.
13 Nisan (evening, around twilight) – Jesus and his disciples are back in Bethany on 13 Nisan (evening), because it says in Mark 14:10 that he sent them back into the city the next day.
13 Nisan (day) – The disciples are in Jerusalem where Jesus sent them to make the arrangements for the upper room. The chief priests have paid Judas thirty pieces of silver to betray Jesus.
14 Nisan (evening) – our story continues today

Now there is a very important issue to address in the following scripture in the NIV because there are some inconsistencies with the KJV that apparently led to assumptions here which cause confusion as to whether this is Passover that begins at twilight on the end of 14 Nisan (daytime) or Preparation for Passover that begins at twilight the end of 13 Nisan and the beginning of 14 Nisan.

Mark 14:12 NIV    On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb,a Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 

Mark 14:12 KJV   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? 

Notice that the NIV apparent assumes that what the KJV states is the first day of unleavened bread is the First Day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread. In both verses though, the disciples are asking where they will go to ‘prepare’ to eat the Passover. You see the day of preparation of Passover is 14 Nisan (daytime) and at twilight between the end of 14 Nisan and the beginning of 15 Nisan, the lamb is killed and roasted. You don’t prepare for Passover after you have killed the lamb at twilight. You prepare that day before.

In my opinion, the NIV mistakenly assumed that the first day of unleavened bread in the KJV was the same as the First Day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread. Look at these two texts in Exodus and you will see that. The Passover you see isn’t eaten until the evening, but in Exodus, it says that even the first day there is to be no leaven, as well as 14 Nisan. So you see the scripture above in Mark cannot mean the 15 Nisan (day), but the 14 Nisan day which is the day of Preparation for Passover.

Exodus 12:15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.

Exodus 12: 18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.

Further details of that evening also provoke support that The Lord’s Supper is not the same as the Passover. In the scripture below, you will see that Jesus arrives in the evening.

Mark 14 KJV
13And 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. 

Jesus is clearly arriving the evening before Passover which is 14 Nisan, not 15 Nisan, and 14 Nisan is Preparation for Passover. They are eating, but this is what we call The Lord’s Supper, and it is not the same as Passover. Additionally, the scriptures only mention bread and wine and something that the bread was dipped in. While Jewish tradition today is varied and has through Rabbinical fiat changed and been interpreted in slightly different ways, Exodus is very clear. There were only three things eaten in the Exodus Passover: roast lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs. Now one could make the case that these bitter herbs were a dip, but I remain a bit skeptical even after a brief search on the web for how these herbs are prepared.

I want to turn to Matthew 26 and look at the section of scripture here where Jesus tells Judas that he knows that he has betrayed him. Visualize the scene where Jesus has just announced that one of the disciples has already betrayed him. All of them as a group must have been dumbfounded. Then individually and quietly each disciple approaches Jesus in the course of the meal and ask if they are the one.

Matthew 26 KJV
17 Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?
18 And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.
19 And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.
20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
21 And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
23 And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.
24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.
25 Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.

I very much suppose that the disciples understood that Jesus knows the future. He has demonstrated his prescience as one of the persons of God already. When Judas asks him, he is not asking as a disciple that believes. He knows what he has already done that day. He is asking to see if Jesus might really know. Once Jesus tells him that he knows, then Judas heart is hardened further. No doubt, he doesn’t slip away until they are headed to the Garden of Gethsemane, then he brings back the guards with him. You see, since it is Wednesday 14 Nisan, and the the new crescent moon won’t be visible until Friday 16 Nisan of the year 30 (http://www.judaismvschristianity.com/passover_dates.htm and http://aa.usno.navy.mil/faq/docs/SpringPhenom.php), it is dark. As easily as Judas slithers away on the way to Gethsemane, he slips back into the group. The guards cannot identify Jesus because of the darkness, so Judas kisses Jesus and thus points them to arrest the correct person, Jesus.

Judas really didn’t know or understand that Jesus wouldn’t flee. He didn’t understand that Jesus was freely welcoming his sacrifice. It sounds so terrible to say that, but our Lord was looking ahead beyond that despite his agony in the garden. You see I think that his agony her is the separation from the Father and the Holy Ghost, and not the suffering he anticipate. Hebrews clearly states that he was joyful about saving us. It makes his love for us in this verse in Hebrews so much more real.

Hebrews 12 KJV
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Here now is the account of Jesus’ taking which clearly speaks for itself. The interesting thing here is that the young man who ran away naked, after his loin cloth was snatched as they attempted to arrest him, is not named. It suggests to me that Mark was the one and including that detail is confessional on his part as one who abandoned Jesus.

Mark 14 KJV   
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. 
44 And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely. 
45 And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him. 
46 And they laid their hands on him, and took him. 
47 And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 
48 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me?
49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled.
50 And they all forsook him, and fled. 
51 And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: 
52 And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked. 

And so it is about midnight as best we can assume. Jesus is shifted back and forth from the chief priests to Pilate, until finally he is sentenced to death by crucifixion. He is nailed to the cross at the third hour which is 9AM. Darkness engulfs Jerusalem at the sixth hour which is noon. Jesus dies at the ninth hour which is 3PM.

Mark 15 KJV
25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. 

Mark 15 KJV
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.

By the ninth hour, or 3PM, Jesus has declared it is finished. The significance of this statement cannot be underscored. Remember that Jesus is the Word, the Creator. No man can take his life. He alone as one of the persons of God can will himself to die. The cross was the method, but until he says the words ‘It is finished’ he will hang there and suffer. I believe with all my heart that he stayed on the cross suffering until his Father told him that enough was enough. He loves his Father more than we can understand, even beyond the torture that he voluntarily endures. This is confirmed here in John.

John 19 KJV
28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.
29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Now the Passover lambs are not slain until twilight (6PM) 14 Nisan. Why did Jesus choose 3PM to die?

Technically there are several good reasons for his plan. First, Joseph of Arimathea needs time to get his body off the cross, prepared and draped for burial, and transported to the tomb before Passover.

You see Passover is a High Holy Day, just like Sabbath. That is one of the reasons that scripture has been misinterpreted to describe Jesus dying on Good Friday. He had to have died on Wednesday to fulfill the three days and nights of which he himself prophesied.

Remember, Jesus enters Jerusalem on what we call ‘Palm Sunday,’ which was actually the Sabbath day, or our Saturday. He can do this without violating the Sabbath, because Bethany, where he is staying, is less than two miles walk into Jerusalem. Wednesday evening, twilight 14 Nisan, begins Passover, itself a Sabbath or High Holy Day. Friday evening at twilight 17 Nisan is when the next Sabbath starts. Thus you can see how the confusion of Good Friday came about.

The grave, or sheol, is Jesus’ tomb. It is the moment that the stone covers his body, that the sign of Jonah begins. Just as Jonah’s tomb was the belly of the whale, Jesus’ tomb is the belly of the Earth. He will be there from twilight 14 Nisan to twilight 17 Nisan, exactly three days. The disciples are scattered in the meantime.

Is everything over? Not even hardly! Watch for my next installment on 17 Nisan, our April 25th this year of 2016. I’ll leave you with one interesting question to ponder in the meantime.

Was Jesus raised on Sunday, the morning of 18 Nisan or Saturday, the evening of 18 Nisan (twilight 17 Nisan, the end of the three days)?

18 Nisan

18 Nisan. The Risen Lord

It will be important to review the final details of Jesus’ death on the cross in order to understand the particulars of his resurrection. Here is the account in Mark that links those two events.

Mark 15 KJV
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. 
44 And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.
45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. 
46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. 
47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid. 

Mark 16 KJV
1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.  2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.

At 3PM Jesus has surrendered his life when he says that ‘It is finished.’ This is one of the most important details in all of the Bible, because while he was tortured and hung on the cross, because he is the giver of all life, it is only he that give it up. It sounds even macabre to think that Jesus could have and would have hung on that cross without dying until he uttered those words. I am persuaded, even with chills as I write, in that conclusion by this scripture.

John 10 KJV
15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

Had Jesus not given his life freely, then Psalm 85:10 would not be true: mercy and justice have met and kissed. While some may point the finger at the Romans or even the Jews as Jesus’ murderers, this is just not scriptural. It is true that the chief priests schemed with the complicity of Pilate to put him to death, but remember that we are talking about God the Son, the third person of the timeless trinity. We offer with great arrogance the idea that we actually could kill him, our maker.

With Jesus’ death, absolute justice and absolute mercy are provided for us in a single, simple act of God’s love.

Now let’s turn to some particulars in Mark 15/16 above. Remember that Jesus dies at 3PM so that Joseph of Arimathea can claim his body, remove it from the cross, cover it in the shroud, and transport it to his burial tomb. Why 3PM? Because Passover officially starts at 6PM, twilight, the end of 14 Nisan and the beginning of 15 Nisan.

According to this scripture, Passover is treated just like Sabbath. All the Jews would be at home, not working, and preparing to eat the unleavened bread and bitter herbs that were made 14 Nisan, the Preparation for Passover. The will have killed the lambs that twilight and will be roasting it on the fire. As soon as it is roasted, these three things will be consumed together entirely, with all the remains of the lamb burned by the fire before the the morning of 15 Nisan.

In Mark 16:1 above though, Mary and Martha come to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body after the Sabbath. But this is not the Passover Sabbath, because it clearly says in verse 2 that they came to the tomb on the morning of the first day of the week, which is Sunday morning, 18 Nisan. That is also the Feast of Firstfruits.

Mary and Martha find the tomb with Jesus’ body gone and a young man in white raiment tells them that he has risen. In point of fact, Jesus resurrection would have been at twilight, the end of 17 Nisan and the beginning of 18 Nisan because this would be the three days. He has been alive for about 12 hours before Mary and Martha drive at the tomb and has gone on to Galilee.

The young man in white is there to give them that message, and to make sure the tomb is open so that they can get inside. Jesus doesn’t need the stone removed to let him out you see. The fact that the guards have vanished, the huge stone is rolled away, and there is an empty grave shroud clothe are Jesus’ statement to the world. He is who is says he is.

It is important to understand that the instructions given to Jesus’ messenger in the tomb are specific. He told them that Jesus had gone on to Galilee. And this is precisely what Jesus told them at The Last Supper the evening before the Passover.

Mark 14 KJV
22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.
23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. 
24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
25 Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.
26 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. 
27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. 28 But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. 

This is very remarkable because no one knew this person. Had he been a disciple of Jesus rather than an angel, they would have known. The only way that he would have known Jesus was raised would be that he indeed was an angel, and Jesus was truly raised instead of his body simply being snatched away to promote a hoax. Indeed, it is totally illogical for Jesus to have given the specific instructions to the disciples to go to Galilee, then simply die for such fakery.

It is also of note, that there are multiple accounts that Jesus was seen alive to many, many people. Here is the final account in Luke.

Mark 16 KJV
9  Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.  10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 
11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. 
12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. 
13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. 
14   Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. 
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Easter & Passover

For Christians, the traditionally hallowed day of the death of Jesus is Good Friday. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Sunday, at which many a Christian congregation holds a memorial sunrise service. What has always puzzled me is that there are only 36 hours between Friday at 6 PM, when Jesus was in the grave, and Sunday, at 6 AM when he was raised. This is because Jesus, in his own words, clearly stated that the Son of man would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Matthew 12 KJV
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.

It seems important to distinguish that this is a sign as opposed to a miracle. Miracles are events where something that happens normally in nature is sped up, slowed down, or reversed. When Jesus turned the water into wine, we see the natural fermentation process accelerated. Miracles are very significant, to be sure, but Jesus so emphasized this sign about himself as to harshly warn a wicked and perverse generation who would seek one. The only sign they would be given would be the sign of Jonah. 1

The Passover lamb is a figura umbrae, 2 or shadow, of Jesus Christ’s death, and it is described with great detail in Exodus 12:1.

Exodus 12 KJV
1  And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 
2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. 
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: 
4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. 
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 3
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. 
8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 
9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. 
10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. 
11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD’S passover.

 The month that is described in this passage is Nisan. 4 As you see, God changed it to be the first month in the Hebrew calendar.

There also are very specific instructions about the Passover lamb. It was to be brought into the house with the family on 10 Nisan. On Nisan 14, at the end of day, the lamb is sacrificed. This is necessarily before dusk, because 15 Nisan begins at 6 PM, and not six hours later at 12 AM. 14 Nisan is known as the Preparation of Passover, and 15 Nisan is Passover.

In Egypt, God passed through slaying all the first born. Only the occupants of the houses where the blood of the Passover lamb had been applied to the door posts and lintel of the house were spared grievous judgment. The Passover lamb is the figura umbrae 5 of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for us. His blood marks the posts and lintel of our hearts.

The weekly Sabbath, 6 or day of rest, starts at dusk, i.e. 6 PM, on Friday and ends at 6 PM on Saturday. It is also noteworthy that Passover is called a special, or high, Sabbath, and in addition to the meal of bitter herbs, unleavened bread, and roast lamb, it carries the same work restrictions as the weekly Sabbath.

Now it is also important to understand that the Hebrew calendar is lunisolar. 7 Our calendar today is the Gregorian solar calendar, named for Pope Gregory. It replaced the Julian solar calendar, which was named for Julius Ceasar. The Julian calendar is based on a 365.25-day year, which is a few minutes longer one solar revolution. The Julian calendar has gradually advanced over the centuries, and today is more than two weeks ahead of the Gregorian calendar which replaced it precisely to correct this problem. 8

In the Hebrew calendar, 14 Nisan is the day of Preparation of Passover. It is also called the Fast of the Firstborn. 9 It is always on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday, but never a Tuesday or Thursday.

Let’s summarize the most important things to glean from the above discussion. Jesus Christ, the Passover Lamb, was killed on 14 Nisan at the end of the day of Preparation of Passover, the same time as all the other passover lambs were being slaughtered. He died at 3 PM, sooner than was expected. His body was taken down off the cross, and given to Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. They prepared it for burial with some 75 pounds of myrrh and aloes, and transported it to a nearby newly hewn, and as yet unused, tomb. Both these men were working against the 6 PM deadline in time for Passover.

Looking ahead to Sunday morning, the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene discovers the empty tomb. The angel she encounters tells her that Jesus Christ has risen, and is not there. Remember that 15 Nisan begins at dusk, and Jesus is in grave, and literally in Sheol. From 15 Nisan  to the first day of the week, there must be three days and three nights.

If 14 Nisan falls on Friday, as is church tradition, then between dusk Friday and sunrise Sunday, Jesus could have only been in Sheol from the night of 15 Nisan to sunrise 16 Nisan which is only a day and a half.  If 14 Nisan falls on Saturday, then he could have been in Sheol only the night of 15 Nisan, or just 12 hours. If 14 Nisan was on a Monday, then counting to sunrise Sunday results in six days and seven nights. These are all untenable if we are to believe that Jesus Christ meant what he said about three days and three nights.

The only viable option left for when Jesus died is where 14 Nisan fell on a Wednesday. Counting from sunset on Wednesday 14 Nisan to sunrise on Sunday 18 Nisan there are three days and four nights. This doesn’t seem to work at first either though. However, there is something quite assumed in the scripture about Sunday 18 Nisan. Here are the two harmonic accounts in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark of the tomb that Feast of Firstfruits morning.

Matthew 28 NIV-1984
1 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2 There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stonec and sat on it.
3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
4 The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.
5 The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.
6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

Mark 16 NIV-1984
1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body.
2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb
3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.
5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
6  “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.
7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”

There is one detail that is stunningly absent.  There is nothing said about exactly when Jesus arose! The best that we have assumed till now, is that the women arrived immediately after Jesus was raised and the stone rolled away. But the scripture says nothing that indicates that Jesus had risen even shortly before , or sometime during the night. It simply doesn’t say when he was raised. There is little reason to think even, that the presence of the angel rolling away the stone had anything specifically to do with Jesus being raised from the dead. If Jesus didn’t need any help coming back from Sheol, it’s certain that the stone walls of the tomb had no strength to confine him.

This highlights the notable contrast in how Lazarus appeared after Jesus raised him from the dead. Lazarus was wrapped in his burial linens, and had to hobble out to have them removed. Jesus’ body was translated straight through the burial linens and out of the tomb. That’s why the grave clothes were left neatly folded with the head covering separate but nearby.

John 20 NIV-1984
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.
4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.
6 Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there,
7 as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.
8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.
9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)

Without any other scripture to consider, the only thing we can do is to take Jesus at his word about three days and three nights at face value. If his death and burial occurred just before sunset on Wednesday 14 Nisan, then he rose again on Saturday 17 Nisan, at the end of the third day. The presence of the angel the next morning was necessary for the sake of the women, but was not required for Jesus to escape death or the tomb.

If Jesus’ resurrection occurred at sunset on Saturday the end of 17 Nisan, why did the women not show up at the tomb until sunrise on Sunday 18 Nisan? They were observing the Sabbath rest until 6 PM Saturday. By that time, it was getting dark. The lack of light caused them to put off their visit to the grave until daylight the next morning.


Passover Week 2

 

Learning the true day of Jesus’ death is highly significant because it confirms to us the accuracy of scriptural prophecy as well as absolute authority of Jesus’ own words. It also reveals something most equally amazing. Look here at the list of weekdays by year in which Preparation for Passover falls on Wednesday.

 

Day of the Week
for 14 Nisan
Preparation of Passover
10
Age of Jesus
for
Variously Proposed Nativity Years
11
Hebrew

Year
Gregorian / Julian
Day
of
Week
12 B.C. 12 7-5 B.C. 13 3-2 B.C. 14
Mon Day Year
3770  April 14/16 10  Wed  21 14-16  11-12
3771  April 4/6 11  Mon  22  15-17  12-13
3772  Mar 23/25  12  Fri  23  16-18  13-14
3773  Apr 12/14  13  Fri  24  17-19  14-15
3774  Mar 31/Apr 2  14  Mon  25  18-20  15-16
3775  Mar 20/22  15  Fri  26  19-21  16-17
3776  Apr 8/10  16  Fri  27  20-22  17-18
3777  Mar 29/31  17  Wed  28  21-23  18-19
3778  Mar 17/19  18  Sat  29  22-24  19-20
 3779  Apr 5/7  19  Fri  30  23-25  20-21
 3780  Mar 25/27  20  Wed  31  24-26  21-22
 3781  Apr 12/14  21  Mon  32  25-27  22-23
 3782  Apr 2/4  22  Sat  33  26-28  23-24
 3783  Mar 22/24  23  Wed  34  27-29  24-25
 3784  Apr 10/12  24  Wed  35  28-30  25-26
 3785  Mar 31/Apr 2  25*  Mon  36  29-31  26-27
 3786  Mar 20/26  26*  Fri  37  30-32  27-28
 3787  Apr 7/9  27*  Wed  38  31-33  28-29
3788  Mar 27/29 28*  Mon  39  32-34  29-30
3789  Apr 14/16 29*  Sat  40  33-35  30-31
3790  Apr 3/5 30*  Wed  41  34-36  31-32
3791  Mar 24/26 31  Mon  42  35-37  32-33
3792  Apr 12/14 32  Mon  43  36-38  33-34
3793  Apr 1/3 33  Fri  44  37-39  34-35
3794  Mar 20/22 34  Mon  45  38-40  35-36
3795  Apr 9/11 35  Mon  46  39-41  36-37
3796  Mar 28/30 36  Fri  47  40-42  37-38
3797  Mar 18/20 37  Wed  48  41-43  38-39
3798  Apr 5/7 38  Mon  49  42-44  39-40
3799  Mar 25/27 39  Fri  50  43-45  40-41
3800  Apr 13/15 40  Fri  51  44-46  41-42

So which Wednesday 14 Nisan is the Preparation of Passover in which Jesus Christ was crucified? Let’s take a look at this scripture in Luke.

Luke 3 NIV-1984
1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene—
2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the desert.
3 He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
4 As is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet: “A voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.
5 Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth.
6 And all mankind will see God’s salvation.’”
7 John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?
8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.
9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”
10 “What should we do then?” the crowd asked.
11 John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.”
12 Tax collectors also came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?”
13 “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them.
14 Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.”
15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ.
16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
18 And with many other words John exhorted the people and preached the good news to them.
19 But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done,
20 Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.
21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened
22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli,

The first verse very specifically ties the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry to the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Ceasar. He ruled as emporer from A.D. 14-37, which would mean that, at first glance, John the Baptist begins preparing the way of the Lord in the year 29.

The date of his ascension as Roman emporer in A.D. 14 however does not probably correspond to his first year of reign as verse 1 might suggest, because of the practice of antedating. 15 While Tiberius actually ascended in A.D. 14 when Augustus Ceasr died, he would have antedated the year of his reign from as far back to the point at which Augustus appointed him as heir, which was A.D. 4. 16

More importantly though, there is a descrepancy in date of Augustus Ceasar’s death as indicated by astonomical evidence which places his demise at A.D. 10 instead of A.D. 14. 17 Also the first year of a reign does not count the actual year of ascencion usually, because the first year must be a whole, and not a partial, year. Therefore, rather than appointing Tiberius as his heir in A.D. 4, he did so in A.D. 1.

As a combination of at least the error of Augustus Ceasar’s death and when Tiberius Ceasar antedated his reign, we can see that the fifteenth year of his reign does not likely point to year A.D. 29, but sometime earlier, perhaps A.D. 25-26. The significance of course is that if A.D. 29 is correct, then there is not enough time for John to have been ministering, and Jesus to have been baptized and start his ministy, and also to have observed the three documented Passovers in scripture before the Wednesday Preparation of Passover in A.D. 30.

That particular Wednesday occurrence of Preparation of Passover of A.D. 30 does not occur again until A.D. 37 which seems far too long. This is especially more significant when you see that the beginning of Jesus’ ministry at about age thirty is noted in Like 3:23 of the scripture above.

In conclusion, it appears to me that Jesus’ ministry started circa A.D. 27 which is when John baptized him. The first Preparation of Passover was on a Wednesday A.D 25-27 with two subsequent occurrences on Monday and Saturday. His final Preparation of Passover where he was crucified was again on a Wednesday A.D. 30. This three and a half years of Messiah where he is cut off, is also mentioned in the following prophetic scripture, with which I’ll close and leave you the reader to ponder.

Daniel 9 KJV
20 And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God;
21 Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.
22 And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding.
23 At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision.
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know 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: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

 

Even so Lord Jesus, come and redeem our selves as you have redeemed our souls. -Amen

Today is... A Narrative from 10 Nisan to 18 Nisan and on to Pentecost

Today is 10 Nisan

We traditionally call it Palm Sunday and think of Jesus riding in on a colt as the most significant event on this day, just 5 days before Jesus was crucified.

But it isn’t. The most significant thing that happened is accounted in Mark 11:11 when Jesus went into the temple, looked around and then left. Why did he do that? Because like 10 Nisan before God freed the Jews from Egypt, the Lamb must be brought into the home and kept there until dusk at the beginning of 15 Nisan when it is sacrificed.

Jesus Christ the Lamb of God, our sacrifice is in the House of God, his Temple.

Mark 11
7 And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it.
8 And many nspread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields.
9 And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of sour father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
12 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry.
13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
15 And they came to Jerusalem…

Today is 11 Nisan

The afternoon before, Jesus walked into the Holy Temple where he stood alone, looked around, and departed. And so the sacrifician lamb is in the house.

This time his comes to clean that house. He had walked from Bethany the day before and walked back, a distance oef under 2 miles. Walking that distance was not against the traditional Jewish law which was important because 10 Nisan is Sabbath. No work can be done on that day, and that included walking too far. That’ why the crowd was there with the palms…they weren’t working.

Today he is again walking from Bethany where he slept. He is hungry and figs are a staple of Jewish life with most people having trees in and around their house.

On his way back to the temple, he walks past a barren fig tree. Even though it is not the time of year for figs, he commands that the tree die. The significance here is at first hidden. What does a fig tree have to do with this Passover in particular so that Jesus would even take notice of it?

Just like the temple which he expects to be clean, he expects the chosen people of God to bear fruit continually. But there is no fruit. And there is no place for fruitless trees that take up space where others can grow and bear.

But God never closes a door that at least one other doesn’t open…while they will always be His chosen people, the death of the fig tree means the demise of Israel’s active witness to the world. But what then?

Already Israel has been scattered in the Diaspora beginning as early as the 8th to 6th century B.C. from the time that the ten northern tribes rebelled against the House of David (1 Kings 12:21).

After that Jerusalem had been ransacked and devastated. Nehemiah was rebuilding the walls. Ironically it was during that rebuilding (Ezra and Nehemiah) that the sect of the Pharisees was born.

The Pharisees and the Sadducees make up the Sanhedrin, the legal, moral, and civil heart of Israel’s government. It was the Sanhedrin and those using the temple for profit that Jesus was to face on this 11 Nisan. They and everything they stood for were like that frutiless fig tree.

But the Son of Man did not come to curse Israel. He came to make a better way, because the law and the laws of Halakha could never do that. He would plant something much, much better. He would give us the tree of mercy and grace once and for all. Forever his law would be written not on paper but in the hearts of those who believed in Him.

One door is closing. Just three more days and another door will be thrown wide open. A new fig tree will spring up and this one will bear fruit continually.

Today is 12 Nisan

Remember that on 11 Nisan just the day before, Jesus had driven out the moneychangers and those selling doves and such for sacrifice. Because we don’t really know the context of this per se, it might seem logical that they are providing a useful, and even necessary service to those coming to bring offerings to sacrifice at Temple.

What this meant was sacrificial worship was reduced to a convenient one-stop, shop, offer, and go experience requiring little thought and much less sincerity.

But it was more than that. No doubt the Sanhedrin was getting a cut of the profits from these moneychangers and merchants. After all, they could only be in that temple area with the Sanhedrin’s permission.

When Jesus’ drove the moneychangers and merchants out of the temple the day before, they and the Sanhedrin were simply speechless that day because they feared the people.

But Today is a new day.  The Sanhedrin chief priests and scribes, their profits and power in jeopardy, challenged Jesus, “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?”

Speaking with authority Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question; answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.”

They answered him, “We do not know.”

Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Why did they refuse to respond? They could have. But they didn’t because any way they answered would be an admission that Jesus indeed had authority in the Temple and they did not. Jesus was recognized by most and loved by many. The Sanhedrin was not.

To the chief priests it is now clear that there is only one way to deal with Jesus. They must kill him. And they must do it as inconspicuously as possible for fear that the people would rage and rise up against them.

Their plans begin to formulate…and they think they have a very good plan!

Today is 13 Nisan

Just one more day…until everything changes forever! There are two very important things that happen this day.

While tomorrow, 14 Nisan, is called the Day of Preparation for Passover, it also is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Remember days in the Jewish calendar start at 6PM so it is easy to get confused. This scripture in Matthew seems to indicate that the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is the day before Preparation for Passover.

Matthew 26:17 ESV 

Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?

Some Jewish groups do celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread for eight days instead of seven and that could account for this apparent discrepancy. A closer look at the word “day” here reveals that there is no Greek word in the original text which is translated as “day.” It is implied from the original Greek for the word “first” which means “first in time, order, significance or importance.” So it is transliterated as first day to give us the best sense and meaning of the word “first.” In reality it is like thinking about what you’re going to need to be thinking about for the upcoming feast.

On the Day of Preparation for Passover, like the Passover itself, there is also to be no leaven in the house for fear that some might show up in the food at Passover. So 13 Nisan here is the first day of significance for the Feast of Unleavened Bread because plans have to be made.

Now you see why the disciples are asking Jesus where they will spend the Day of Preparation of Passover, which is 14 Nisan. The evening of 14 Nisan, Day of Preparation for Passover, is of special importance because is what we celebrate when we take communion. We call it the Lord’s Supper, and this will be the first one. And here too there is no leaven in sight.

The second important event is the arrangement for Jesus’ betrayal.

Matt. 26:14-16 ESV

Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?” And they paid him thirty pieces of silver.  And from that moment he sought an opportunity to betray him.

Judas and the chief priests of the Sanhedrin have done their preparations too. Everything is set in motion Jesus knows his time is now very short.

Today is 14 Nisan

Many, many things happen today. Today is the most significant in all of history. Today, creation’s creator…dies.

Two disciples were sent to find and follow and man carrying a pitcher of water to the house where he entered. To the master of that house they said, “The Teacher is coming. Where shall he prepare to eat the Passover?” He showed them a large room was already prepared and waiting.

As dusk falls, the evening of 14 Nisan covers up the day of 13 Nisan. This day is the Preparation for Passover. It is also the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. There is no leaven anywhere in the house as the preparations go on.

Jesus and his disciples are at table eating his final meal. This is not the Passover meal. It is the Lord’s Supper. That’s because Jesus IS the Passover lamb and he will not be alive for Passover.

He shares the unleavened bread and the cup of wine with all his disciples, even Judas. Passover meal is not like this meal. Exodus clearly commands only three things at Passover; bitter herbs, unleavened bread, and of course a roast lamb unparted and without any broken bones.

Where is the wine at the first Passover. Wine is not present at the first Passover in Egypt. Just like the blood of the lamb which was full spilled and applied to the door’s frame, there is no wine. Passover looks forward to the cross. The Lord’s Supper looks back. There is wine because the Lord’s blood has not yet been spilled. There is unleavened bread because he is there.

Judas at some point leaves them all. It is the darkness of night but a full moon is rising as it always does at Passover because the Jewish calendar is lunisolar. He is off to the chief priests because he knows that Jesus is going to the Gethsemane, a favorite garden where he has prayed in times past.

Jesus knows everything that is happening. The events of his coming crucifixion are as clear as the very first Passover in his eyes because all times are “now” for God. Nothing is happenstance and every detail between those two events in our history is precise.

It explains why God created time for us. Time is a blessing he gives creation and is equivalent to experience. Only God made man in the person of Jesus Christ does he experience time. And yet he already knows what is about to happen. And he doesn’t run away…he embraces the experience.

Judas and the guards of the chief priests find Jesus in the moonlit night in the garden, and he identifies him to them by a kiss. Darkness is important to them because everyone is asleep…all who love Jesus are unaware of these chain of events until Jesus is already on the cross and dying.

After being taken by the guards, Jesus is shuffled during the night between Roman and Hebrew authority until finally, to keep the peace, Rome condemns him to death. Flogging is such a small word but for Jesus is not a simple whip lashing. The bleeding begins. His blood marks the post and crossbeam even before the nails pierce his hands at the wrist and his feet.

By 9AM he is hanging between criminals on Skull Hill. News that Jesus is being crucified spreads like wildfire through Jerusalem. But it is too late. The plan to kill Jesus without an uprising in the city has worked. He is dying amidst a shocked population who were sleeping while a relative few jeered and scorned Jesus at his fake trial.

At around 3PM, Jesus, the creator of the creation that is now killing him cries out, “It is finished.” The significance of this statement cannot be underscored. You see Jesus had already said that no man could take his life. He alone can issue the command for death. But it isn’t suicide. It is a willing offering.

Why? Why must there be an offering? At the center of God’s perfect nature is his more core characteristic—love. How could a creation gone evil be allowed. It is what makes us cry for justice for our loved ones who have been severely wronged. We want justice. We want blood!

Forgiveness is not a triangle. We cannot be party to the the forgiveness God offers to those who have wronged us, just as they cannot be so when we wrong them. If there is to be forgiveness and justice then there must still be restitution. God cannot simply “let us off.” Its all about holy “fairness” isn’t it.

Were we to be the ones to “pay up” for all our wrongs and evil doings, no one would survive. All would die you see. Only God can die in our place. Abraham said it more significantly than he could have known when he replied to Isaac, “God will provide himself a lamb.” God IS the lamb.

Only God can die and only God can live again. Judgement for us would be final and permanent. He knows that.

Why does Jesus die at 3PM when Passover doesn’t start until 6PM when 15 Nisan starts? Because Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus must take his body off the cross, anoint it with some 75 pounds of spices, wrap it in a burial cloth in just three short hours. Passover is a high Sabbath you see and they cannot be found working. They must be in their homes consuming the roast lamb and bitter herbs according to Mosaic law.

By the time Passover begins at dusk, the burial stone has sealed Jesus’ body in the grave. For three days there will be…nothing more.

Today is 15 Nisan

The Passover moon is full, as it always is on Passover. His grave is quiet. His followers temporarily scattered.

Where is Jesus really though?

Luke 23:43

Today is 16 Nisan

It is our Thursday A.D. 30 and dusk sees the end of Passover of 15 Nisan and the evening that begins 16 Nisan.

This “Jesus incident” had been so smoothly orchestrated by just a few well-placed men in the Sanhedrin, and right under the noses of most of Jerusalem! With the cover of the nighttime arrest, conviction and early morning crucifixion, it was all done as inconspicuously as possible without time for most of those who followed Jesus to find out, much less, to act.

Passover is just like a Sabbath so that all of Jewry has been for the most part in their houses resting and doing no work. Jesus’ gravesite is alone and unvisited as the fading daylight of 15 Nisan would bring people back out to the streets briefly before the night.

The High Sabbath of Wednesday 15 Nisan and the coming weekly Sabbath at dusk on Friday 17 Nisan meant that most people soon would again be in their homes resting. But what about Friday morning?

Sandwiched between two Sabbaths, Friday morning 16 Nisan would find everyone busier than usual. Even though there would be no more than twelve hours of daytime sunlight before dusk ushered in Friday Sabbath 17 Nisan, the chief priests are aware this might be an opportunity to have their plan thwarted amidst all the busyness of the day.

This is all more than bothersome. What if grave robbers stole Jesus’ body and claimed he had been risen? All their efforts could be in vain. So even before the High Sabbath of Passover 15 Nisan is ended, they are again in front of Pilate asking to have guards posted at his sepulcher….for three days.

Why would they ask specifically for three days? Because they too know that Jesus said he would be raised on the third day—just like all of Jerusalem. There is no ignorant innocence for these chief priests. They are Satan’s henchmen and they know well what they are doing.

Even though Jesus is dead, and unaware of what they have really done. They are…concerned.

Today is 17 Nisan

It is our Friday A.D. 30 and dusk today sees the beginning of 17 Nisan and the weekly Sabbath.

It is this reference to this Sabbath in scripture that led to what we call Good Friday. This day is celebrated in the Christian world as the day Jesus Christ died. It isn’t however…it can’t be really because Jesus has said he must be three days in the bowels of the earth, ie. the grave or Sheol.

Daytime on this Friday the general population of Jerusalem would again be out of their homes until the weekly Sabbath that begins at dusk. These few hours are sandwiched by the High Sabbath of Passover which stated on Wednesday at dusk and ending on Thursday at dusk and this weekly Sabbath.

Because most will be at home resting for both of the High Sabbath of Passover and the weekly Sabbath, these few hours offer little opportunity to visit Jesus’ grave for the preparations necessary for another evening of rest. There is no record anywhere of Jesus’ gravesite that day as far as I know.

Jewry today would also not have visited the grave this early anyway. Shiva is a seven day period starting the day after a person’s death. During this time the family would be in morning. At the end of that period then it is socially appropriate for the family to go to the grave.

It is interesting that this shiva period corresponds with the Feast of Unleavened Bread which is also a seven day period.

But Jesus is still fresh on his follower’s minds and no doubt they are planning to visit the grave before this seven day period is up. For now they wait. And mourn. And they have forgotten what Jesus told them about his resurrection.

Today is 18 Nisan

It is our Saturday A.D. 30 and dusk today sees the end of 17 Nisan and the weekly Sabbath.

It has been three days. Just like Jonah, Jesus has been in the belly of the earth for three days. Traditionally the church celebrates resurrection on Sunday morning. The thinking here is quite natural.

The weekly Sabbath has just ended  Saturday 17 Nisan and nightfall is upon Jerusalem. With the shiva grieving period halfway through and now the darkness of the evening, no one goes to the Jesus grave again.

His followers are disheartened and hiding. They too had some sense that Jesus would end up being crowned and not crucified. But in their minds this is a disaster! What do they do now?

As the morning light pushes back the dark of night, the women are the first to make it to the sepulcher. Their minds are still shocked by all that is happened, but their hearts long for Jesus still.

Upon arriving, they find the stone moved away, and they encounter an angelic messenger. “Do you not know? He has risen!” Hardly can they believe what their senses are telling them. The news they quickly bring back sends several disciples bounding to the tomb to confirm the story.

What they don’t know or say in scripture, is that Jesus didn’t rise again that morning of 18 Nisan…he had to have risen at dusk the evening before at its very beginning. By 6PM at the beginning of Passover 15 Nisan he is in the grave and by 6PM the end of Sabbath 17 Nisan, he is raised from Sheol. Three nights and three days.

Why was Jesus raised from the dead anyway? It wasn’t to show that God could resurrect a dead body. He’d already done that.

Saturday at dusk when Jesus rises also is feast day called the Feast of Firstfruits. This day marks the beginning of seven weeks called the Feast of Weeks.

Why seven weeks? God planted Jesus, and his resurrection is the fruitfruit of the planting’

Pentecost is the first day after Feast of Weeks, and It is fifty days after Jesus rose. The plan of God expresses the work of the trinity better than any. God the Father is justice, God the Son is mercy, God the Holy Spirit is the scribe of our heart and all three work for this harvest.

All this is because God is love.

Jeremiah 31
33.For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Show 17 Footnotes

  1. Jonah 1 and Jonah 2
  2. Latin for ‘shape of the shadow.’
  3. GK H6847 | S H6153   עֶרֶב   ʿereḇ   134x n.[m.] [6845]. evening, twilight, dusk, the fading of the day; twilight can extend into the dark of the night. → evening; twilight.
  4. Nisan |ˈnisən, nēˈsän| noun (in the Jewish calendar) the seventh month of the civil and first of the religious year, usually coinciding with parts of March and April
  5. Latin for ‘shape of the shadow.’
  6. sabbath |ˈsabəTH| noun, (often the Sabbath) a day of religious observance and abstinence from work, kept by Jews from Friday evening to Saturday evening, and by most Christians on Sunday
  7. lunisolar |ˌlo͞oniˈsōlər| adjective, of or concerning the combined motions or effects of the sun and moon.
        • of or employing a calendar year divided according to the phases of the moon, but adjusted in average length to fit the length of the solar cycle.
        • of or denoting a 532-year period over which both the lunar months and the days of the week return to the same point in relation to the solar year.
  8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julian_calendar
  9. “Fast of the Firstborn: When Passover begins after Shabbat” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, March 12, 2015. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Fast_of_the_Firstborn&oldid=650985787.
  10. The Shepherd’s Page, http://www.abdicate.net/cal.aspx
  11. Summers, Ray, and Jerry Vardaman. Chronos, Kairos, Christos Two. Mercer University Press, 1998, p.61-63.
  12. Vardman & Kokkinos
  13. Finegan & Maier
  14. Filmer & Martin
  15. antedating |ˈantiˌdātiNG| noun, an example or instance of a word, phrase, etc., at a date earlier than previously known or recorded:
  16. BibleChronology.com, The Antedating of Tiberius, http://www.biblicalchronology.com/tiberius.htm
  17. BibleChronology.com, The evidence from ecliplse and comet sightings. http://www.biblicalchronology.com/evidence.htm
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