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How do we know the date Jesus died?

Updated on March 30, 2014

Praying for strength

Always on a Friday?

The exact date he did die, cannot always be the same week day - Friday. We never remember other occations like wedding day, birthday or national days. They follow a date!

The same goes with the day of Jesus´ death. He ate the last supper with his desciples the very same evening the Israelites had done for almost 1500 years.

(Matthew 26:17-19) 17 On the first day of the unfermented cakes the disciples came up to Jesus, saying: “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the passover?” 18 He said: “Go into the city to So-and-so and say to him, The Teacher says, ‘My appointed time is near; I will celebrate the passover with my disciples at your home.’” 19 And the disciples did as Jesus ordered them, and they got things ready for the passover.

So when is the first day of the unfermented cakes?

This festival began Nisan 15, the day after Passover, and continued for seven days through Nisan 21. Before this festival was the Passover meal eaten at Nisan the 14th.

Israels liberation from Egypt

Nisan (Abib) 14th

The nation Israel left Egypt where they had been in slavery for many years. We remember the Biblical story how Moses split the Read sea and they all went safely over to the other side, more than 10 kilometers across. This was never to be forgotten so the Jews eat this Passover memory Nisan the 14th, the very day they were delivered.

According to the Jewish law, the Passover was always observed on Nisan (Abib*) 14, being on or near the day of full moon, inasmuch as the first day of every month (lunar month) in the Jewish calendar was the day of the new moon, as determined by visual observation. Therefore, the 14th day of the month would be about the middle of a lunation.

When Jesus left the room after the last meal, he and his desciples must have seen a round full moon over Jerusalem. Still the exact date is at full moon. Jesus died the same day as they had eaten the last evening meal. We know this because the Jewish day starts at 6PM and ends 24 hours later. So Jesus first had the meal after sunset in the evening Nisan 14. He then spent time with his desciples on the Mount of Olives and there the soldiers came to grab him. It is still Nisan the 14th.

After a so called trial that was illegal he was sentenced to death and he had to carry his own pole out to Golgatha to be hung around noon (the sixth hour). In the afternoon around 3PM (the ninth hour) he died and it was still Nisan the 14th.

(Luke 23:44-46) 44 Well, by now it was about the sixth hour, and yet a darkness fell over all the land until the ninth hour, 45 because the sunlight failed; then the curtain of the sanctuary was torn down the middle. 46 And Jesus called out with a loud voice and said: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.” . . .

*)The name Abib was used for the spring month March/April. After the Israelites returned from Babylon they changed the name to Nisan.

A Prophetic Calendar: The Feasts of Israel
A Prophetic Calendar: The Feasts of Israel

Jill Shannon is a Messianic Jewish Bible teacher, author, and singer/songwriter. Growing up in a Jewish home, she also lived in Israel. Jill accepted the Lord in 1973. She speaks and writes about God's glory, holiness, intimacy, Israel, and the feasts


Questions? Comments?

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    • irenemaria profile image

      irenemaria 3 years ago from Sweden

      It is most important because of what Jesus said: (1 Corinthians 11:23-25) 23 For I received from the Lord that which I also handed on to YOU, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was going to be handed over took a loaf 24 and, after giving thanks, he broke it and said: “This means my body which is in YOUR behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” 25 He did likewise respecting the cup also, after he had the evening meal, saying: “This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood. " We want to obey this command and have to do so on the correct day! 2014 that day is April 14 after sunset

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      graceinus 3 years ago from those of the Ekklesia

      I am trying to understand why there are some who are so compeled to know when the exact date that Jesus Christ died when it does not add to or take away from what Christ did for us. To me the exact date is unimportant. There are far more important matters within the teaching of Jesus Christ that christians should be far more concerned with than trying to guess the date of His death.

      Have a good day.