The Final Days of Yeshua

Blaine Robison, M.A.

 Published 24 January 2016; Revised 18 March 2017

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Terminology: In order to emphasize the Jewish nature of the apostolic writings and message I use the terms Yeshua (Jesus), Messiah (Christ), Tanakh (Old Testament), and Besekh (New Testament) and incorporate other appropriate Hebrew and Jewish terms. (See the glossary.)

Abstract: This article is a chronology of Yeshua's final days on earth in A.D. 30 leading to his crucifixion, resurrection and finally ascension to heaven. Based on the biblical narrative, evidence of the church fathers and other data I believe Yeshua was born in September of 3 BC and immersed in February of AD 27. For more detailed information on the dating of the nativity of Yeshua see my commentary on Luke 2; Luke 3:23; Matthew 1; Matthew 2 and the PowerPoint presentation The Birth of Yeshua.

Calendar Setting

On the Hebrew calendar the month of Nisan (Abib in Exodus 13:4) is the first month of the sacred year (Ex 12:2; 13:4), which corresponds to March-April on the Julian and Gregorian calendars. The month begins with the New Moon celebration (Heb. Rosh Chodesh) on the first (Num 29:6), then Passover (Heb. Pesach) and the slaughter of the Seder lambs on the fourteenth (Ex 12:6), the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Heb. Hag HaMatzah) on the fifteenth (Ex 12:18; 23:15; Lev 23:6), and offering of the First Fruits of Harvest (Heb. Reishit Qatsiyr) at the Temple on the sixteenth (Lev 23:10). Coincidental with First Fruits ritual was the ritual of Counting the Omer (Heb. Sfirat Haomer) or beginning the count of fifty days until the Feast of Weeks (Heb. Shavuot or Pentecost).

In ancient times calculating the beginning of the annual calendar (Nisan 1) was based on observation of the New Moon when the sun is in Aries (Josephus, Ant. III, 10:5). The determination of the New Moon was made by the Sanhedrin upon reports by at least two witnesses. According to the current Hebrew Calendar Nisan 1 in A.D. 30 (Heb. Cal. 3790) fell on a Thursday, 23 March on the Roman calendar. Since Yeshua died on Nisan 15 after the Passover Seder and before the Sabbath (i.e., Friday, Mark 15:42; John 19:31, 42), then Nisan 1 must have occurred on a Friday.

According to the U.S. Naval Observatory chart, Spring Phenomena 25 BCE to 38 CE the new moon to start Nisan in A.D. 30 occurred at 8 P.M. (Jerusalem time), Wednesday, March 22 (Julian calendar). In the Julian system (as the Gregorian) the day begins at midnight. By Jewish custom the 24-hour day begins at sundown and 8 P.M. is already the next day. Thursday was probably not set by the Sanhedrin as Nisan 1 that year because a new moon is not visible to an observer on the earth for 18 to 48 hours afterward. Nisan 1 would have been set once a sliver of the moon became visible and reported by witnesses to the Sanhedrin. So, Nisan 1 would correspond to 24 March on the Roman calendar for that year.

Chronology

The sequence of events is based primarily on the record of Mark with parallel passages of other apostolic narratives in parentheses. Activities or events unique to the other apostolic narratives are also included. Some assumptions were made in constructing the chronology. Distinguishing between the days is generally marked by various time references, such as "morning," "evening" or "day." Some activities are arbitrarily assigned, because of the general statement of Luke that after Yeshua's arrival in Jerusalem on Sunday, "He was teaching daily in the temple" (Luke 19:47). See my commentary on Mark for detailed discussion of individual passages.

Nisan 7 (Thursday)

  • Yeshua comes to Jericho, Mark 10:46.

  • Yeshua heals Bartimaeus and another man of blindness, Mark 10:46-52
(Matt 20:29-34; Luke 18:35-43).

  • Yeshua visits the house of Zacchaeus, Luke 19:1-10.

     – Parable of Money Usage, Luke 19:11-27.

  • Yeshua spends the night in Jericho, probably at the home of Zacchaeus.

Nisan 8 (Friday)

  • Yeshua arrives in Bethany (six days before Passover), John 12:1.

  • Yeshua and his disciples enjoy supper at the home of Simon (whom Yeshua healed of a skin disorder, Mark 14:3), with Lazarus and his sisters attending, John 12:2.

  • Miriam, sister of Lazarus, anoints Yeshua with nard, John 12:3-8 (Matt 26:6-13;
Mark 14:3-9; the Synoptic account is retrospective).

  • Yeshua spends the night in Bethany, probably at the home of Simon.

Nisan 9 (Saturday-Saturday), John 12:9-11.

  • Yeshua and Lazarus meet many visitors and many people trust in Yeshua.

  • Yeshua spends the night in Bethany.

Nisan 10 (Sunday)

  • Leaving Bethany, Yeshua sends two disciples to Bethphage to obtain a donkey, Mark 11:1-7 (Matt 21:1-7; Luke 19:28-35; John 12:14).

  • Yeshua, riding the donkey toward Jerusalem, is welcomed with shouts of Hosanna, Mark 11:8-10 (Matt 21:8-11; Luke 19:36-40; John 12:12-13).

  • Nearing Jerusalem, Yeshua weeps over the city and prophesies its destruction, Luke 19:41-44.

  • Entering the city Yeshua addresses Hellenistic Jews introduced by Philip,
John 12:20-26.

  • Yeshua addresses a crowd of pilgrims concerning Messianic expectation,
John 12:30-36.

  • Yeshua visits the Temple and then returns to Bethany, Mark 11:11 (John 12:36).

Nisan 11 (Monday)

  • Yeshua, en route to Jerusalem, curses a fig tree, Mark 11:12-14 (Matt 21:18-22).

  • Yeshua visits the temple and drives out commercial activity, Mark 11:15-19
(Matt 21:12-17; Luke 19:45).

  • Yeshua spends the night on the Mount of Olives, Mark 11:19 (Luke 21:37).

Nisan 12 (Tuesday)

  • Yeshua, en route to Jerusalem, tells parable of faith, Mark 11:20-26.

  • Yeshua goes to the Temple where the chief priests challenge his authority, Mark 11:27-33 (Matt 21:23-27; Luke 20:1-8).

     – Parable of the Vine-growers, Mark 12:1-12 (Matt 21:33-46; Luke 20:9-19).

  • Yeshua challenged by Pharisees and Herodians on paying taxes, Mark 12:13-17 (Matt 22:15-22; Luke 20:20-26).

  • Yeshua challenged by Sadducees on the resurrection, Mark 12:18-27 (Matt 22:23-33; Luke 20:27-38).

  • Yeshua challenged by a scribe on the greatest commandment, Mark 12:28-34 (Matt 22:34-40).

  • Yeshua teaches concerning David and the Messiah, Mark 12:35-37 (Matt 22:41-46; Luke 20:41-44).

  • Yeshua pronounces woes on hypocrites, Matt 23:1-36 (Mark 12:38-39; Luke 20:45-46).

  • Yeshua visits the Temple treasury and lauds the sacrificial widow, Mark 12:41-44 (Luke 21:1-4).

  • After leaving the Temple Yeshua goes to the Mount of Olives and teaches concerning last things, Mark 13:1-37 (Matt 24:1-51; Luke 21:5-36).

     – Parable of the Ten Virgins, Matt 25:1-13.

     – Parable of the Talents, Matt 25:14-30.

     – Parable of the Sheep and Goats, Matt 25:31-46.

  • Yeshua spends the night on the Mount of Olives, Luke 21:37.

Nisan 13 (Wednesday)

  • Yeshua returns to the Temple and teaches, Luke 19:47-48.

  • Yeshua predicts his death, Matt 26:1-2 (John 13:1).

  • Chief priests plot to arrest and kill Yeshua, Mark 14:1-2 (Matt 26:3-5; Luke 22:1-2). (2 days before Passover). This could well have happened Tuesday evening (Wednesday by Jewish reckoning), prompted by the great debates that took place Tuesday morning.

  • Judas meets with chief priests and accepts bribe to betray Yeshua, Mark 14:10-11 (Matt 26:14-15; Luke 22:3-6).

  • Yeshua spends the night on the Mount of Olives, Luke 21:37.

Nisan 14 (Thursday)

  • Passover preparation in Jerusalem, Mark 14:12-16 (Matt 26:17-19; Luke 22:7-13).

     – All leaven and leavened products are removed from homes.

     – Lambs are slaughtered at the Temple for the Passover Seder.

     – Peter and John are sent to prepare a meeting room for the Seder, Luke 22:8.

Erev Nisan 15 (after sundown Thursday evening; i.e., Friday)

  • Passover Seder, Mark 14:17-26 (Matt 26:20-29; Luke 22:14-23; John 13:1-2).

     – Yeshua and his disciples observe a Messianic Passover.

     – Yeshua inaugurates the New Covenant with bread and cup.

     – Yeshua washes the feet of his disciples, John 13:3-20.

     – Yeshua prophesies betrayal and Judas departs, John 13:21-30.

     – Yeshua teaches on a variety of subjects, John 13:31―16:33.

     – Yeshua's intercession for his disciples, John 17:1-26.

  • Yeshua departs for Gethsemane with disciples and prophesies Peter's denial during the time of the cock-crowing, Mark 14:26-31 (Matt 26:30-35; Luke 22:31-34, 39).

  • Yeshua agonizes in prayer in Gethsemane, Mark 14:32-42 (Matt 26:36-46; Luke 22:40-46).

  • Yeshua is betrayed and arrested about midnight; the apostles flee, Mark 14:43-50 (Matt 26:47-56; Luke 22:47-53).

Nisan 15 (Friday)

  • Yeshua is taken to Annas, emeritus high priest, John 18:12-23 (Luke 22:54).

      – John and Peter witness the hearing.

  • Yeshua is taken to Caiaphas, ruling high priest, Mark 14:53-65 (Matt 26:57-68; John 18:24).

      – Peter in the courtyard denies knowing Yeshua.
[NOTE: The time of the first two hearings may be fixed during the third watch (midnight–3 a.m.), since this is the period of the cock-crowing, cf. Mark 13:35.]

  • Other Jewish leaders join Caiaphas at sunrise and condemn Yeshua, Mark 15:1a (Matt 27:1; Luke 22:66-71).

  • Yeshua is taken to Pilate for judgment, Mark 15:1b-5 (Matt 27:2, 11-26; Luke 23:2-3; John 18:28-38).

     – Remorse of Judas, return of money and suicide, Matt 27:3-10.

  • Yeshua is taken to Herod Antipas and then returned to Pilate, Luke 23:8-12.

  • Pilate negotiates with chief priests, releases Barabbas and condemns Jesus, Mark 15:6-15 (Matt 27:15-26; Luke 23:13-25; John 18:38-40; 19:8-15).

  • Yeshua is scourged and humiliated, Mark 15:16-20 (Matt 27:27-31; John 19:1-7)
[This begins the process of crucifixion, which took place in the third hour, 9-10 a.m., Mark 15:25]

  • Yeshua is taken, carrying the cross-beam, to Golgotha, Luke 23:26-32 (Matt 27:32; Mark 15:21).

     – En route the cross-beam is given to Simon of Cyrene to carry and Yeshua comforts women mourners.

  • At Golgotha Yeshua is nailed to the cross-beam and vertical stake, which is then raised. Two robbers are also crucified next to him, Mark 15:22-32 (Matt 27:33-49; Luke 23:33-43; John 19:16-27).

      – Pilate has a sign affixed to the cross with "Yeshua of Nazareth, King of the Jews," John 19:19.

      – Bystanders and members of the Sanhedrin mock Yeshua.

      – Soldiers gamble for clothing of Yeshua.

      – Yeshua promises Paradise to one of the crucified robbers, Luke 23:43.

      – Yeshua commits the care of his mother to John, John 19:26-27.

  • Darkness covers the land, sixth to ninth hour (noon–4 p.m.), Mark 15:33
(Luke 23:44-45).

      – Yeshua cries out "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me" to fulfill Psalm 22, Mark 15:33.

      – Yeshua cries out "I am thirsty" and is given vinegar, John 19:28.

      – Yeshua cries out "It is finished," John 19:30.

      – Yeshua cries out "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit," Luke 23:46.

  • Yeshua dies in the ninth hour, Mark 15:34-39 (Luke 23:46; John 19:28-30).

      – The veil of the Temple is torn in half, Luke 23:45.

      – An earthquake occurs, tombs are opened and many righteous are resurrected, Matt 27:52-53.

      – A centurion witnessing Yeshua's death and the earthquake declares, "Surely this was a son of God," Matt 27:54 (cf. Luke 23:47).

  • Soldiers break the legs of the robbers; one soldier pierces Yeshua's side with a spear and out comes blood and water, John 19:31-37.

  • Pilate confirms the death of Yeshua, Mark 15:44-45.

  • Yeshua is removed from the cross, his body anointed and buried in a nearby tomb by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, Mark 15:42-46 (Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42).

Nisan 16 (Saturday)

  • The spirit of Yeshua rests in Heaven as the disciples rest in Jerusalem,
Luke 23:43, 46, 56.

  • Chief priests appeal to Pilate for security of the tomb, Matt 27:62-64.

  • Priests conduct rituals of Reishit Qatsiyr (First Fruits of Barley Harvest) and Sfirat Haomer (Counting the Omer) at the Temple, John 19:31.

Nisan 17 (Sunday)

  • Yeshua raised from the dead during the fourth watch (3–6 a.m.), Mark 16:9.

  • An angel descends from heaven, causes an earthquake that moves the stone away from the entrance. The opening is for the benefit of Yeshua's disciples. The angel sits on top of the stone. The temple guards at the tomb witnessed the opening (but not the resurrection) and shook with fear at the sight of the angel. The guards then fled the scene and reported the incident to the chief priests (Matt 28:2-4, 11-15).

  • Miriam of Magdala arrives at the tomb while it was still dark in the company of the wife of Clopas (Matt 28:1; cf. John 19:25). They found the tomb empty and Miriam left immediately to inform Peter and John (John 20:1-2). No angel appeared to them at that point.

  • Four other women arrived shortly after the departure of Miriam of Magdala and before full sunrise. These were Salome, Johanna and at least two unnamed women (Matt 28:1; Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10). They see the stone moved away from the entrance.

  • The other women see two young men in dazzling apparel that they assume to be angels (Matt 28:2-7; Mark 16:5-8; Luke 24:4-9). The angels invite the women to inspect the empty tomb. The angels then reminded them of Yeshua's prophecy they heard in Galilee that he must be crucified and then rise from the dead. The angels also commission the women to go to the eleven disciples and inform them of the resurrection.

  • The other women left the tomb and went to the apostles (nine as it turned out) as instructed. The women obviously split up to carry out their task. They also informed other interested persons (Luke 24:9), including two disciples who left for Emmaus (Luke 24:22). The women were probably disappointed when the apostles did not believe their report.

  • Peter and John arrive at the empty tomb accompanied by Miriam of Magdala and confirm her report. The apostles then return home, John 20:2-10 (Luke 24:12).

  • Miriam remains at the tomb and shortly afterwards two angels and then Yeshua appear to her, John 20:11-18 (Mark 16:9)

  • Yeshua appears to disciples on Emmaus Road, Luke 24:13-31 (Mark 16:12).

  • Yeshua appears in the late afternoon to the apostles and others (less Thomas), John 20:19-24 (Mark 16:14; Luke 24:36-43).

      – Yeshua explains the Messianic prophecies in the Tanakh, Luke 24:44-45.

Nisan 24 (Sunday)

  • Yeshua appears to the eleven apostles, John 20:26-29 (Mark 16:14; cf. 1Cor 15:4).

      – Thomas touches Yeshua and offers adoration.

Nisan 25―Iyar 26

  • The eleven apostles travel to Galilee where Yeshua appears to them at the Sea of Galilee, John 21:1-22.

      – Yeshua performs the miracle of a large catch of fish.

      – Yeshua commissions Peter to shepherding care of his followers,

      – Yeshua prophesies Peter's martyrdom and John's long life.

  • Yeshua appears to the eleven on a mountain and commissions them to proclaim the Good News, Matt 28:16-20.

  • Yeshua appears to many persons (Acts 1:3), including over 500 persons at one time and then his half-brother Jacob (1Cor 15:6-7).

  • Yeshua and the apostles return to Judea.

Iyar 27 (Friday)

  • Yeshua commands the apostles to remain in Jerusalem until empowered by the Holy Spirit, Luke 24:49 (Acts 1:4-5).

  • Yeshua reiterates his commission for his apostles to be witnesses, Acts 1:8.

  • On the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives in the vicinity of Bethany Yeshua ascends to Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father, Luke 24:50-51 (Mark 16:19; Acts 1:9, 12)

 

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