Astronomical Evidence of Messiah’s Crucifixion

Posted by on May 29, 2016

 

By almost all historical accounts, Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea from 26 AD until 36 AD (replaced by Marcellus either in 36 AD or 37 AD) establishing the date of the death of Yeshua prior to 36 AD. Scholars generally assume that Yeshua died between 30-36 AD as 33 AD being the most often quoted year of His death. The hypothesis of the present author is that the Messiah had to die on the day of Passover, He was three full days and nights in the tomb, and resurrected on the Feast of First Fruits. The basis for this hypothesis is that in the year Yeshua was killed, three days after the Passover (a fixed day), came the celebration of Bikkurim, or Firstfruits, a floating day which always falls on the first day of the week. This was the time of year when the barley in the Land of Israel was ready to be harvested. All of the seeds that had been planted would emerge from the earth to bear fruit and give an abundant harvest. Before any of the grain could be eaten, an omer of the first of the harvest would be brought before the Altar of YHVH and waved as a wave offering (Lev_23:5-11).

When some of the scribes and Pharisees asked Yeshua to give them a sign from Him in order to test Him, He said to them that no sign should be given to them except the sign of the prophet Yonah with which He predicted His own death and resurrection (Mat_12:40):

For as Yonah was three days and three nights in the stomach of the great fish, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

If the day of the First Fruits always falls on the first day of the week, counting three days and three nights backwards will lead us to the day of Passover on the fourth day of the week. In other words, in the year when Yeshua was crucified and resurrected there were three full days, seventy-two hours, between Passover and First Fruits but the resurrection was still within the third day as witnessed in the Apostolic writings and by Josephus, as well:

Now there was about this time Yeshua, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Messiah. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Messianics so named from him are not extinct at this day. Josephus, Antiquities 18:3:3

This could have only occurred if Yeshua died at sunset of the fourth day (Wednesday) and resurrected at sunset of the seventh day (Saturday) when the first day of the week began. Below are the possible dates of the crucifixion of the Messiah when the 14th of Aviv (Passover) fell on Wednesdays before or after the equinox in all possible years of the crucifixion. Additionally, the proclaiming of the first month of the year was determined in the Torah by the New Moon sighting that permitted the barley harvest to be full enough to perform the Wave Sheaf Offering for the Feast of First Fruits. It is important to note that the Torah has never commanded nor had there been such a practice in Israel the beginning of the year to be determined according to the equinox but for the sake of thoroughness and since this is still a rabbinical tradition and misunderstanding among some scholars today, both pre and post equinox months will be considered in this study (in bold). It is also worth knowing that not the equinox but the observance of the aviv barley and sighting of the new moon are the factors which determine Rosh Hashanah (the Head of the Year), not calendrical calculation.

Table 4

YEAR

1st Aviv pre/post Equinox (starting at 6 pm)

14th Aviv – Julian

(ending at 6pm)

14th Aviv – Gregorian (ending at 6pm)

AD 26

Fri Mar 8/ Sun April 7

Fri Mar 22/ Sun April 21

Fri Mar 20/ Sun April 19

AD 27

Wed Feb 26/ Thu March 27

Wed Mar 12/ Thu April 10

Wed Mar 10/ Thu April 8

AD 28

Tue Mar 16/ Wed April 14

Tue Mar 30/ Wed April 28

Tue Mar 28/ Wed April 26

AD 29

Sat Mar 5/ Mon April 4

Sat Mar 19/ Mon April 18

Sat Mar 17/ Mon April 16

AD 30

Fri Mar 24/ Sat April 22

Fri April 7/ Sat May 6

Fri April 5/Sat May 4

AD 31

Tue Mar 13/ Wed April 11

Tue Mar 27/ Wed April 25

Tue Mar 25/ Wed April 23

AD 32

Sat Mar 1/ Mon March 31

Sat Mar 15/ Mon April 14

Sat Mar 13/ Mon April 12

AD 33

Fri Mar 20/ Sat April 18

Fri April 3/ Sat May 2

Fri April 1/ Sat April 30

AD 34

Wed Mar 10/ Thu April 8

Wed Mar 24/ Thu April 22

Wed Mar 22/Thu April 20

AD 35

Sun Feb 27/ Tue March 29

Sun Mar 13/ Tue April 12

Sun Mar 11/ Tue April 10

AD 36

Sat Mar 17/ Mon April 16

Sat Mar 31/ Mon April 30

Sat Mar 29/ Mon April 28

Schaefer, B.E., Lunar Visibility and the Crucifixion. Royal Astronomical Society

Additional information which will help us determine more precisely whether the Passover that year took place before or after the spring equinox and to have all facts considered can be found in the records of Mar_11:13 and Mat_21:19, where Yeshua, we are told, sees a fig tree with leaves on the eve of his crucifixion. Since figs are among the late-bearing fruits in Yerushalayim, this evidence points to Rosh Hashanah and a crucifixion late spring in the year, and thus a post-equinox start of the year for the sake of the argument. This limits the possible dates of the crucifixion to the following years: Wed April 28, AD 28 and Wed April 25, AD 31 according to the Julian calendar.

According to the accounts in Mat_27:62, Mar_15:42, Luk_23:54, and Joh_19:31, Yeshua was executed on the Preparation Day, that is the 14th of the Aviv, and died at the exact time when the Pesach (Passover) lambs were slaughtered in Yerushalayim, as it is written.

Therefore, since it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the stake on the Sabbath – for that Sabbath was a high one – the Yehudim asked Pilate to have their legs broken, and that they be taken away. (Joh 19:31)

Therefore, His body was placed in a tomb just before the beginning of the 15th of the Aviv (the first day of Feast of Unleavened Bread). Yeshua was three days and three nights in the tomb according to His own prophecy in Mat_12:40 and Luk_11:29-30 and resurrected on the 17th of the Aviv, on the Feast of the First Fruits of the barley harvest, SATURDAY night. That He meant literal three days and three nights, meaning seventy-two hours, is seen from Joh_11:9 where He defines what a day means: twelve hours.

It is not in the scope of this study to expose the meaninglessness of three days and three nights between “Good Friday” and “Easter Sunday” but it is sufficient to say that Yeshua must have been literal seventy-two hours in the heart of the earth to fulfill His own words.

Below is the chronology of the events of Yeshua’s crucifixion (some hours have been approximated):

Event

Day

Roman Time

Remarks

Last Supper*

Aviv 14 -Night

Tuesday

18:00~22:00

Joh_13:1-2

Messiah arrested

Aviv 14 -Night

Tuesday – midnight

Luk_22:55

Messiah tried and convicted at Sanhedrin

Aviv 14 -Night

Wednesday

1:00~6:00

Joh_18:19-24

Messiah brought before Pilate

Aviv 14 -Day

Wednesday – 7:00

Mat_27:1-14; Luk_23:1-7; Joh_18:29-38

Messiah sent to Herod

Aviv 14 -Day

Wednesday – 7:30

Luk_23:8-10

Messiah brought again before Pilate

Aviv 14 -Day

Wednesday – 8:00

Joh_19:8-16

Messiah crucified

Aviv 14 -Day

Wednesday – 9:00

Mar_15:25

Darkness over the land

Aviv 14 -Day

Wednesday

12:00~15:00

Mat_27:45; Mar_15:33; Luk_23:44-45

Messiah dies

Aviv 14 -Day

Wednesday ~15:00

Mat_27:50; Mar_15:37; Luk_23:46; Joh_19:30-31

Messiah placed in tomb

Aviv 14 -dusk

Wednesday

19:16 sunset

Mat_27:59-60; Mar_15:46; Luk_23:53; Joh_19:41-42

1st Day of Unleavened Bread, High Day Sabbath

Aviv 15 – Night/Day

Wednesday

/Thursday

1st night/day in tomb

Women buy and prepare spices

Aviv 16 – Night/Day

Thursday/Friday

2nd night/day in tomb; Luk_23:56

Women rest, Weekly Sabbath

Aviv 17 – Night/Day

Friday/Saturday

3rd night/day in tomb; Luk_23:56

Messiah resurrected

Aviv 17 -dusk

Saturday

19:16 sunset

Mat_12:40

Women visit the empty tomb to do proper burial

Aviv 18 -dawn

Sunday – 6:00

Mat_28:1; Mar_16:1-4; Luk_24:1-3; Joh_20:1

Messiah -the Wave Sheaf

Aviv 18 -day

Sunday – between 7:00-18:00

Joh_20:17

*YHVH commanded the Israelites to select a lamb on the tenth day of the month of the Aviv in preparation for the Passover in Egypt. Later, these four days, from the tenth of the month when the lambs were chosen out of the sheepfolds of Bethlehem and led by the priests back to Yerushalayim for the triumphal entry, through the time of observation, selection, and preparation for sacrifice on the fourteenth day, were known as preparation of the Passover. The ignorance of this very fact led people today to believe in error that Yeshua’s last supper was the Passover Seder (Joh_13:1-2, Joh_18:28). If Yeshua had participated in the Passover Supper, which according to the Torah, was to take place after sunset on the onset of the First day of the Unleavened Bread, the fifteenth day of the month, He would have missed the slaughter of THE Passover Lamb of YHVH on the fourteenth day and He would not have been able to pay with His blood for the forgiveness of sins, therefore He would not have been the Messiah.

And on the first day of the week after the weekly Sabbath, at early dawn, the two women came to the tomb, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and they found the stone rolled away and did not find the body of Yeshua in the tomb (Luk_24:1). That same day two of the disciples encountered Yeshua (Luk_24:13) on their way to Amma’us. And here we come across something interesting in their conversation with Him and it is not that they did not recognize Him.

We, however, were expecting that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. But besides all this, today is the third day since these matters took place. (Luk 24:21)

From the text we infer that “that day” the first day of the week (Sunday) had been the third day since “these matters took place.” Which matters? The trial and the crucifixion of Yeshua. Therefore, the first day, when “these matters took place,” would be the fifth day of the week or Friday. But, we already came to the conclusion that the death of the Messiah took place on the fourth day (Wednesday) as it will be confirmed later on in this study. Is there any contradiction in the account in Luke 24? Not at all. It is not the intention of the present author to debate the supremacy of one language over another, but it suffices to say that he believes that Greek was not the original language the Gospels were penned in. A closer examination of the Aramaic text of the same account, however, reveals quite a different picture.

But we were hoping that he was the one to save Israel; and behold, it is three days since all these things happened. (Luk 24:21 LBP)

This is what transpires when we read the Aramaic of the Peshitta. Yeshua had foretold the disciples that He would rise in three days and three nights. As His body was placed in the tomb on fourth day of the week, the day of His expected resurrection would be the end of the seventh day. It is not unlikely that the disciples looked to the seventh day expecting something extraordinary to happen but they observed nothing. The two women brought witness to them early on the first day of the week (Luk_24:1) but they did not believe (Luk_24:11). We are told that sometime between Yeshua’s encounters with the women and the two men, Yeshua also appeared to Shimon Kepha. It is not known precisely when this happened, as the time and place are not mentioned in the narrative but Shaul has referred to it in 1Co_15:5, from which it appears that He appeared to Shimon before He did to any other of the apostles. From the context of Luke 24 and from the Aramaic of the Peshitta of Luk_24:21 we may paraphrase Luk 24:21, as if they had said disappointed, “Three days have come to pass, today is the fourth day, and we have not seen Him as He had promised.” Therefore, the Aramaic text confirms the fourth day as a day of death and the seventh day (Sabbath) as a day of resurrection of Yeshua.

As already said above, there are two possible scenarios for the year of crucifixion of the Messiah and they are 28 AD and 31 AD, because only then the Passover would fall in late April. The hypothesis of this author, however, is that the year 28 AD was the year of the crucifixion and preceding year 27 AD had thirteen months. If the year had had twelve months, the Passover would have fallen in late March.