Chronology of the Last of Week of Christ.
Argument is as follows:
"Yet another powerful argument favoring a Friday crucifixion comes after examining the number of days spanning from Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem to His death on the cross. Friday-supporters believe that Christ entered Jerusalem on a Sunday where He was welcomed by people waving palm branches. This, of course, is what led to the institution of Palm Sunday on the Christian calendar. This date is calculated by starting with Mark 11:12-19 which says that on the morrow after His entrance, Christ cursed the fig tree and then cleansed the temple of the merchants and moneychangers. The day after that, according to Mark 11:20-21, the disciples noticed that the fig tree had withered. After discussing the tree, Jesus returned to the temple and spent the rest of the day preaching (Mark 11:27 - 13:37). Next, we are told in Mark 14:1-2 that there were two days to go before the feast of unleavened bread. (In Matthew 26:1-2, Jesus also mentions the two remaining days at the conclusion of His preaching). Finally, in Mark 14:12-18, we are told that on the first day of unleavened bread, Jesus and the disciples prepared and ate the last supper.
"Numbers do not lie, and the numbers provided in the above verses demand the following chronology for a Friday crucifixion to work: Christ entered Jerusalem on Sunday, cursed the fig tree and cleansed the temple on Monday, discussed the withered tree and preached on Tuesday, ate the last supper two days later on Thursday, and was crucified on Friday. Now, if we push the crucifixion from Friday back to Wednesday, then these numbers will demand that Christ’s entry into Jerusalem also be moved from Sunday back to Friday. Yet, as already stated, Mark’s Gospel reports that Jesus cleansed the temple of its merchants and moneychangers the day after He entered Jerusalem. This means that, if Christ entered Jerusalem on a Friday (which is mandatory for a Wednesday crucifixion to work), it would then be necessary for Jesus to have cleansed the temple on a Saturday – a Sabbath. But would the first-century strictly-religious Jews have been selling and money-changing in the temple, or anywhere else for that matter, on a Sabbath day? Based on Nehemiah 13:15-22, the answer would be a solid no. This is therefore another piece of powerful evidence refuting the possibility of a Wednesday crucifixion."
Answer: First the author assumes that the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem took place on a Sunday. No where in the scriptures does it say this took place on a Sunday. Of course he starts with tradition and not the scriptures, or any historical sources for that matter. John 12:1 says Jesus came to Bethany "six days before the Passover" Now since many believe Jesus died on Passover on a Friday they assume Sunday was the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. 6 days before the Passover was a Sabbath, and "On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem" (John 12:12), this is of course Sunday. This was the day of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem (vv.13-16). Of course this is all based on the assumption that Jesus died on a Friday which he DID NOT!
This authors major point seems to be that Jesus could not have cleansed the temple on the Sabbath, and states, "But would the first-century strictly-religious Jews have been selling and money-changing in the temple, or anywhere else for that matter, on a Sabbath day? Based on Nehemiah 13:15-22, the answer would be a solid no. " Therefore this could not have taken place on the Sabbath day, hence the Wednesday chronology could not be right.
Now if we follow the exact chronology that Bible gives, we can know what day this took place. Notice the specific timing the Gospels gives as to the timing of the Passover and the events that take place leading up to it; and the time of the resurrection of Christ. :
"Six days before the Passover" (John 12:1)
"And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:" (v.12). Here Jesus curses the fig tree. This was in the morning as it is revealed in Matthew 21:18. It is this day that Jesus cleanses the Temple Mark 11:15-17.
"Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified." (Matthew 26:1-2; Mark 14:1).
"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." (Matthew 12:40). This is a full 72 hours as Jesus said, " Are there not twelve hours in the day?" (John 11:9). Distinguishes it from the night (v.12). Gen 1:4, 8, 13 "evening and the morning" one day so it's a full 24 hour period. 3 days and nights 72 hours.
"In the end of the Sabbath" (Matthew 28:1).
These main points in the scriptures gives us the chronology so we can know exactly what day these events took place.
Also we know the Bible and the Jews counted the days by sunset to sunset. As these three sources explain, "Moreover, as the Hebrew day began at sunset the day was reckoned from one sunset to another, the "twelve hours in the day" (Joh_11:9) being reckoned from sunrise, and the twelve hours of the night from sunset. An evening-morning was thus used for a whole day of twenty-four hours, as in the first chapter of Genesis. Hence the expression "a night and a day" in 2Co_11:25 denotes a complete day (Gr. nuchthemeron)." (Bullingers Companion Bible appendix 144)
"However, it was sundown, not sunrise when the Jewish sabbath (twenty-four-hour day) began. The confusion is to us, not to the Jews or the readers of the Greek New Testament. Luke is not speaking of the twelve-hour day which began with sunrise, but the twenty-four-hour day which began with sunset." (Robertson's Word Pictures)
Confirming the above scripture, we also have historical evidence that in the first century, the Sabbath was observed starting at evening. Josephus, a first century Jewish historian makes the following comment in the Wars of the Jews 4:582: “and the last was erected above the top of the Pastophoria, where one of the priests stood of course, and gave a signal beforehand with a trumpet, at the beginning of every seventh day, in the evening twilight, as also at the evening when that day was finished, as giving notice to the people when they were to stop work, and when they were to go to work again.”
As God says, "from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath." (Lev 23:32)
Now lets begin putting the pieces together.
First, since the resurrection took place on the Sabbath afternoon, as find in the Gospels Matthew 28:1 that at the "end of the Sabbath" Jesus was gone already. He died at 3 O'clock (Matthew 27:46) He was buried around 4:00 O'clock, 3 days and three nights later around 4:00 that Sabbath he resurrected.
The days were counted from sunset to sunset for the 24hours in length-3 days and Night counting backwards is a Wednesday. So Wednesday was the Passover. This was prophesied to happen in the "midst of the week" (Daniel 9:27).
Now the 8th of Nisan "six days before the Passover." The Passover began on Tuesday sunset to Wednesday Sunset. 6 days before this was Wednesday sunset to Thursday Sunset. This is the day Jesus came to Bethany (John 12:1)
Then "on the Next day" (John 12:12), means, "On the morrow (tēi epaurion)." (Robertson's Word Pictures). This Same word used in Mark 11:12, which the same source says, "Matt 21:18 has 'early' (prōi), often of the fourth watch before six a.m" This "The next day, The Pulpit Commentary states: "(on the morrow) must be the day after the feast." This feast they made him "supper"(John 12:2). The Greek word for supper is "deipnon dipe'-non From the same as G1160; dinner, that is, the chief meal (usually in the evening): - feast, supper." (Strong's #1173). So the next day meant the next day after the supper that took place at night time (Wednesday night). This was a Thursday morning. It was on this day the Thursday that Jesus came, and the Palm branches were cut down and Jesus made his entry into Jerusalem.
In Mark's Gospel chapter 11 he writes about the triumphal entry in Jerusalem in vv.1-11. Then it says, "And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:" (Mark 11:12). Here Jesus curses the fig tree. This was A FRIDAY MORNING, as it is revealed in Matthew 21:18.It is this day that Jesus cleanses the Temple Mark 11:15-17. So the major points of the argument above collapses! The temple was not cleansed on the Sabbath! It was cleansed on a Friday, and what better day to cleanse the temple than the day before the Sabbath to get it holy and cleansed before the holy day of God the Sabbath begins!
Then the next Morning which is the Sabbath, they notice the fig tree that Jesus cursed. This was the Sabbath. Here they were returning to the city (Matthew 21:18).
Two Days before the Passover
Then after the Sabbath, the religious leaders question his authority. This takes place after the Sabbath due to the fact that Luke says, "on one of those days" These are the days he taught in the temple (Luke 19:47). If it was the day he taught on the Sabbath he would have mentioned it as he did on another occasion at the beginning of his ministry (Luke 4:16) but he does not! (As we shall see this was "two days" before the Passover)
But notice mark 11:27, "And they come again to Jerusalem:" This does not indicate the chronological order of the previous verses. So this did not take place on the same morning (Mark 11:20) that the disciples saw the withered fig tree. This took place the next day on Sunday- is there proof of this! Yes as we shall see!
Jesus then spoke to them in Parables, and then that "same day" (Matthew 22:23) the Sadducees debated him. Matthew 23 Jesus condemns the Pharisees. Jesus then leaves the Temple and gives the end time prophecies of his coming (Mathew 24-25). Then Matthew 26 says, "And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified." (vv.1-2; Mark 14:1). The Passover began Tuesday sunset to Wednesday Sunset, so when Jesus authority was questioned (Matthew 21:23; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8) this took place on a Sunday.
Now when Jesus said, "after two days is the feast of the passover" This was a Sunday night. How do we know? When Jesus spoke of the end times and gave all the parables he did it on the Mount of Olives (Matthew 24:3). Luke 21:37-38 sates that in the day he taught in the temple at night he abode in the Mt of Olives. And Matthew says, "And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified." (26:1-2). So this was a Sunday night.
The Greek word for "after" is "meta" And this word
means after two days was come. Gill’s Commentary states, “…not after
three days were ended, and on the fourth day, but after the third day was come;
that is, ‘on the third day,’ as the Syriac, Arabic, Persian, and Ethiopic
versions read; and even the Pharisees themselves thus understood Christ, Matt
27:63, so the phrase, ‘after eight days,’ is used for the eighth day, being
come, or that same day a week later; see Luke 9:28 compared with Matt 17:1.”
So "After two days" had come was the Passover-Sunday night not sunset but after sunset this was said, and then comes Monday night, then Tuesday night not sunset but after sunset that night was the 14th of Nisan, the Passover.
Monday Night, Jesus was anointed at Simon the Leper's House (Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9). Since they "sat at meat" the meal took place at night, and of course Jesus spent his nights in Bethany (Luke 21:37-38). Bullingers Companion Bible demonstrates two anointings. One at Lazarus' house and the Other at Simon the Leper. (Appendix, 158; see also John Lightfoot Commentary of the NT from the Hebraica and Talmud).
*Note- Luke 21:37-38 sates that in the day he taught in the temple at night he abode in the Mt of Olives. This means, "The statement covers all that is related in chapters 20, 21, including the Apocalyptic discourse" (The Expositors Greek New Testament, by Nicoll). These two verses are not chronological but, a "brief picture of the last days of public work is retrospective" (Pulpit Commentary, emphasis added).
So Tuesday night was the time when the disciples celebrated the Passover at the beginning of the 14th of Nisan that night. Jesus held it early because he was to be the Passover lamb when the lambs were slain "between the two evenings" the next day that afternoon at 3'oclock that Wednesday. After that, the Passover meal was eaten "that night." So Jesus held the meal early but it was still on the 14th of Nisan.
Then Jesus was crucified on Wednesday and died in the "ninth hour" (3PM) (Matt 27:46). Buried around 4pm before the high day Sabbath (John 19:31), "that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day," according to the law of God the bodies had to be buried "that day" (Deut 21:23).
3 days and nights later on the weekly Sabbath Jesus resurrected around 4pm, and at the end of the Sabbath they came to the tomb and Jesus was gone. (Matthew 28:1)
So filling in the details of the major points below completes the chronology:
Six days before the Passover" (John 12:1) (Wednesday sunset to Thursday Sunset)
"And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:" (v.12). Here Jesus curses the fig tree. This was in the morning as it is revealed in Matthew 21:18. It is this day that Jesus cleanses the Temple, Mark 11:15-17. (Friday Morning the Temple was cleansed).
"Ye know that after two days is the feast of the Passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified." (Matthew 26:1-2; Mark 14:1). (Sunday Night)
"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." (Matthew 12:40). This is a full 72 hours as Jesus said, " Are there not twelve hours in the day?" (John 11:9). Distinguishes it from the night (v.12). Gen 1:4, 8, 13 "evening and the morning" one day so it's a full 24 hour period. 3 days and nights 72 hours. (Counting Backwards from the weekly Sabbath when the resurrection took place (Matthew 28:1), the Passover was Wednesday).
"In the end of the Sabbath" (Matthew 28:1). (Resurrection already took place at 4 PM)
|Six days before the Passover||
"On the next day" "on the morrow"
|"On the Morrow"-Temple Cleansed||
"And in the morning," (Mark 11:20)
|"after two days is the feast of the Passover,"||Anointing at Simon the Leper's House||Passover Meal eaten||Wednesday Crucifixion (Passover)||"3 days and nights"||Sabbath Day|
|Day 1 night||Day 1 Day||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4||Day 5||Day 6 night||Day 6 day|
|Wednesday sunset to Thursday Sunset Jesus goes to Bethany eats "supper" that Wednesday night.||Triumphal entry into Jerusalem
Thursday morning the "The next day, that is, the day following the feast in Bethany (see on John 12:2).
|Friday Morning curses the fig tree.
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
|The Sabbath Day, the disciples notice the fig tree Jesus cursed||Sunday day time Jesus' authority was
challenged by the religious leaders.
Sunday Night is when Jesus said "after two days" was the Passover.
According to Luke Jesus said this at night on the MT of Olives.
|Monday night Jesus anointed before the Passover.||Tuesday night Passover eaten.||14th of Nisan during the day
Jesus died at 3pm, buried at 4pm
|Full 72 hours were to pass
High Day Sabbath Thursday
Spices bought Friday
Rested Friday sunset according to the commandment.
|Jesus is resurrected on the Sabbath around 4pm
Sabbath Sunset they come to the Tomb and the tomb empty.
So this is a weak argument trying to disprove a Wednesday crucifixion.