WHEN WAS JESUS CRUCIFIED? The dating of the Crucifixion depends upon the dating of Passover in the years Pontius Pilate was ruling. The only years in which Passover occurred on a Wednesday, Thursday or Friday while Pilate was in charge, and early enough to allow Paul's conversion to have occurred at least 14 years before the council in Acts 15, were 28, 30, 31, 33, and 34. Paul says in Galatians that he was three years in Damascus following his conversion and then fourteen years elapsed until he joined in the council described in Acts 15. This council was in 48 or 49 AD. Even if we telescope the three years into the fourteen and assume the latter date of 49 for the council, the conversion of Paul can be no later than 35 AD. Since Acts shows Paul's conversion must have been in the year following the Crucifixion, 34 AD is the latest possible year. We can absolutely eliminate the years 29 and 32 because in those years the Passover occurred at the beginning of the week and are thus impossible to reconcile with any of the other evidence. Tertullian in the third century mistakenly identified 29 because in that year March 23 was a Friday, and the pagans celebrated the death of one of their "resurrection" gods on March 23. He had heard they were emulating the Crucifixion of Jesus. However, the Passover cannot occur that early. One modern writer picked 32 AD because it fit his theories about the prophecies in Daniel 9. He apparently never bothered to check the date of Passover that year before he wrote his book. The Jewish Talmud contains numerous references to mysterious events that occurred "40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem." Ernest L. Martin has documented a large number of these as relating to the Crucifixion of Jesus; the references can be found in the latest edition of his book "SECRETS OF GOLGOTHA" [We will try to make it available to you to order soon]. Dr. Martin, unfortunately, assumed the destruction of the Temple was in 70 AD, when the wooden portion burned, and so he dates these mysterious events to the year 30 AD and concludes that the Crucifixion must also have occurred that year.[Dr. Martin died in 2002.] However, Josephus, an eyewitness, and official Roman historian of the war, records that AFTER the Temple burned, it was used to house the Jewish survivors and several thousand people were housed there for some time following the end of the siege. Obviously, the Temple had not yet been "destroyed" completely. Since we know that the destruction of the Temple required it to be dismantled stone-by-stone and that some of the stones were very massive and needed many men to move them, it is unlikely the Romans did all the work themselves. The Jewish prisoners were certainly forced to destroy their own Temple--a process that would have taken many weeks or months. Given that this process at the earliest started in the fall of 70 AD and extended into late 70 AD or early 71 AD, the rabbinical references to the destruction year would be to the year that began THAT FALL and which extended through the FOLLOWING Passover. They would hardly have reckoned the Temple "destroyed" as of the PRECEDING Passover back prior to the siege in the spring of 70 AD. To count the 40 years from that earlier Passover would make no sense whatsoever. Indeed, it's possible the final dismantling of the great Temple stones was not completed even by the Passover of 71 AD. After all, it had taken years to build it. But there is a way to prove that the rabbis intended the mysterious starting year of the 40 years to be 31 AD and not 30. One of strange things they record has to do with Yom Kippur in the Fall. On this day, it was customary for the High Priest to prophecy about the coming year. Indeed, John's Gospel records that the High Priest Caiaphas prophesied on the preceding Yom Kippur that "one man must DIE for the nation" and that clearly indicated a NEGATIVE forecast for that year. Now just before prophesying for the year, the High Priest would reach into a cloth bag and pull out one of two smooth stones. If he pulled out a white stone, it signalled a "good" year and Divine favor. But if he pulled out a BLACK stone, it meant Divine disfavor on the people. According to the Talmud, a BLACK stone came up 40 CONSECUTIVE YEARS WITHOUT A SINGLE WHITE STONE PRIOR TO THE SIEGE OF JERUSALEM. This is hardly the kind of thing that could happen by chance. The statistical odds against chance in this case are horrendous. The rabbis realized this was an extremely bad omen. And it began about the time they knew Jesus had been crucified, as Dr. Martin has shown. It is not in their interest as Jewish leaders to record such a thing. It obviously tends to imply something ominous about the Crucifixion and its connection to the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. These are not the kind of things the rabbis liked to acknowledge. Therefore, the recording of the strange occurrances is contrary to their vested religious interest. Yet the rabbis have honestly and with the utmost integrity recorded these omens which cast a very unfortunate light on the events related to Jesus' death and the destruction of the Temple. We should be in awe of the courage it took for a persecuted people to record and preserve such information. Now let us count backwards from the last black stone, the one which must have been drawn in the Fall of the year 69 AD, the last Yom Kippur the High Priests ever kept in Jerusalem. That was the 40th stone. If we count back, the 30th stone would have been drawn in the Fall of 59, the 20th in 49, the 10th in 39. That means the first black stone would have been drawn in the Fall of 30 AD. And the last WHITE stone in the Fall of 29 AD. So there would have been a FAVORABLE prophecy in the Fall of 29 for the year in which the coming Passover of 30 AD was kept. Since John states that Caiaphas had given a NEGATIVE prophecy for the year Jesus was crucified, 30 AD with its FAVORABLE prophecy cannot be the year of the Crucifixion. Therefore, the only possible conclusion is that the first black year was 31 AD, and this must be the year of the Crucifixion. Dr. Martin is to be commended for his research, but his conclusion is off by one year. Ironically, he had formerly argued for 31 AD in earlier writings. But this does not exhaust the evidence. The Temple curtain tore in two from top to bottom at the time of an earthquake when Jesus died. Dr. Martin shows that this event is also recorded by the Talmud and a number of other sources in various ways. And it coincides with these mysterious events that took place 40 years before the destruction of the Temple. So the year of the first black stone was also the year of the earthquake that broke the lintel stone that fell down and split the Temple curtain in two from top to bottom. And since we have shown that the first black stone year was from the Fall of 30 AD until the Fall of 31 AD, it follows that the lintel stone that fell the same year as the first black stone must have fallen through the Temple curtain in 31 AD. And since the Talmud indicates that once the stone fell, Temple ritual remained disrupted until its destruction, there can be only one event in question, the same one described as occurring at the death of Jesus. Again, we must conclude that Jesus was crucified that same year: 31 AD. DID THE MOON "TURN TO BLOOD"? There is further confirmation. On Pentecost day, Peter mentions the darkening of the sun and the moon turning to blood in Joel's prophecy as if these events had been fulfilled that year. The Gospels do speak of the sun being darkened for some reason when Jesus died, but what of the blood-red moon? This too is mentioned. On the night of the Last supper, Jesus goes up to the top of the Mount of Olives on the EASTERN side of Jerusalem. Hence, Jesus is facing toward the EAST as He experiences the "agony in the Garden." The Gospels say His sweat looked like BLOOD. Because it is the night of the Passover, the FULL MOON would have been rising IN THE EAST at about this time. So Jesus was FACING a rising moon, which Peter implies was BLOOD RED in color. Hence, the BLOOD-COLORED SWEAT on the face of Jesus was caused by the reflected red moonlight. In the year 31 AD, the Passover full moon was eclipsed by the Earth and the darkest part of the eclipse was about 11 pm. It is about this very time that Judas came out with a group of men carrying TORCHES on the night of a full moon. As they reach the apostles, Jesus says "Now is your hour and the POWER OF DARKNESS." Here is the very peak of the full moon and Jesus is calling it the hour of DARKNESS. Again, it all makes perfect sense if the moon is at the maximum of an eclipse. Even though Jesus had been seen daily in the Temple, they needed Judas to point Jesus out in the reddish darkness of the eclipse. It is significant that 31 AD was the ONLY year in which an eclipse of the full moon occurred with a maximum around the time Judas is said to betray Jesus, in those years Pilate was in power. Again, ONLY in 31 AD do events fit the Gospel account and the astronomical evidence and the rabbinical evidence. But there is one problem. The eclipse in question occurred on a Wednesday night, which would result in a THURSDAY Crucifixion. Is it possible the Crucifixion was not on Friday? ON WHAT DAY WAS THE CRUCIFIXION? Jesus says the only "sign" given to that generation would be that He would be "three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Note that Jesus says "DAYS" FIRST, then "nights." The count begins at the start of the first DAY, and ends at the end of the third NIGHT. That is, the count begins and ends at SUNRISE. Now we know where the third night ends: Sunday morning at sunrise. But where would the FIRST sunrise of that sequence have been? Count back: One day takes us to SATURDAY sunrise. Two days takes us to FRIDAY sunrise. And three days takes us back to THURSDAY for the first sunrise, the start of the FIRST "DAY" of Jesus' three days and three nights. What happened at sunrise on Thursday morning? If we assume a Friday Crucifixion, nothing happened. But if instead we consider a Thursday scenario, sunrise becomes extremely significant. If the Crucifixion were on Thursday, then sunrise on that day would be the moment when Jesus had been condemned to death. Jesus was reckoned as good as dead and buried and "in the heart of the earth" once sentence was pronounced at sunrise that day: THURSDAY. In Matthew's Gospel, chapter 28 begins--literally--with the words, "In the end of the SABBATHS," as the women approach the tomb. Why does Matthew refer to PLURAL "Sabbaths" if the Crucifixion were on Friday? He can only mean, as scholars have long recognized, that FRIDAY itself was a Sabbath day, the High Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And indeed, in 31 AD, this was the case. But here is where Matthew throws a curve. For he says that the day after the Crucifixion was "the next day after the Pasover"--and that is equivalent to saying that Jesus was crucified on the 14th of Nisan and that the following day was the 15th: The Feast of Unleavened Bread. In other words, Matthew is saying that Friday was the day AFTER the day of the Crucifixion, which must accordingly have been on a Thursday. Luke agrees. He tells of two men on the road to Emmaus on Sunday, who are joined by Jesus after the Resurrection. They relate the events of the Crucifixion and say, "THIS [day] is now the 3RD DAY SINCE THESE THINGS HAPPENED." That would mean the 2ND day after was Saturday and the 1RST day since the Crucifixion would have been Friday. Again, the evidence points to a Thursday. John likewise says the day of the Crucifixion was the 14th of Nisan, the day of the Passover sacrifice and that the next day was the day of a "high" Sabbath, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. But if all this is true, then how could Jesus and the Apostles have kept the Passover a day early? Simple. The meal they ate was in commemoration of the very first of the Passover meals, the one eaten the evening before the Angel of Death came at midnight to take the firstborn of Egypt, much as Judas came to take Jesus near midnight. The Torah, however, commands that the meal of the Passover thereafter be eaten "on the night you went out of Egypt ...as the Egyptians were buring their dead" from the previous night. The Jews now eat the Passover meal ONE DAY LATER than the original meal was eaten in Egypt. That's not all. In 31 AD, the new moon of Nisan 1st had been very close to the sun and difficult to see. It would have taken very little hindrance to have delayed its sighting a day. And that would make the astronomically "correct" day to eat the Passover ONE DAY EARLIER than the day the Gospels say the Jews ate it that year. In Galilee, Jesus and the Apostles might have seen the new moon and begun their count to Passover a day earlier than the priests in Jerusalem. Knowing that the "blind guides" in Jerusalem, as Jesus called them, had missed seeing the new moon the first day, the Apostles might have had no problem with eating the Passover a day early. If they were keeping Passover a day before the scribes considered to be proper, special precautions of secrecy might be expected. And that is exactly what the Gospels relate. Jesus gives cryptic instructions to prepare to eat the Passover in a house they can only identify by following a certain man carrying a water jar. [Yes, this is also one of Jesus' plays on words, here indicating the sign of Aquarius.] There is more evidence, but the point is made. The Crucifixion was clearly on a Thursday in 31 AD. That day can be calculated. It was the 26th of April. An unusually late Passover. No wonder Jesus had said to them that week, "You know that SUMMER IS NEAR," for already the fig trees were beginning to bloom. By contrast, Passover in 30 & 33 AD came 18 and 23 days earlier, respectively. WHERE AND HOW WAS JESUS CRUCIFIED? It has long puzzled many people that the Romans would fashion wood into a "cross" like a typical crucifix. It is an unnecessary and odd extravagance to create a crucifix for killing someone. Josephus saw some 50,000 people crucified by the Romans during the seige in 70 AD. They were simple hung on stakes. The New Testament repeats SEVEN TIMES that Jesus was crucified on a TREE. In one place Jesus explicitly says a "GREEN" tree--indicating it was LIVING. Dr. Martin noted this and then wondered whether such a big tree might not have been used to hang all three men. He discovered a verse in John that says in fact that is precisely what happened: All three men were crucified on the same tree. In the pseudepigraphical Gospel of Nicodemus IX:5, written perhaps before the time of Helena--before 325 AD--it also implies all three men were put to death on one tree. And it locates this tree atop Olivet. It expressly states that the Garden of the Crucifixion site was the very same Garden in which Jesus had been arrested. Is this possible? Not only is that possible, it was standard proceedure under Roman law to execute a man where he committed his crime or was arrested. In the eyes of the Jewish authorities, Jesus had "blasphemed" while they were questioning Him in the Sandhedrin, which was on the Temple grounds at that time. To properly execute Him, they had to do it on the site of the Temple. It happened that there was an altar of the Temple atop Olivet near where Jesus was arrested. Called the "MIPHKAD" Altar, it was considered the eastern-most extension of the Temple, as far away as one could get from the Holy of Holies. Hence, it was at this site that a person convicted of defiling the Temple had to be put to death. [The Miphkad Altar was the place where the Red Heifer was sacrificed,, whose ashes were then used to purify everything else in the Temple.] The Gospels record that at the time the Temple curtain tore in two, the Roman soldier declared, "Surely this man was the Son of God." Now it is unlikely he meant that in a Christian sense. What no doubt took place was that he saw the curtain of the Temple tear apart in the very poignant gesture of mourning of "rending the garments" familiar to any Roman in Judea. So he concluded that the God of that Temple had made the traditional sign of a father whose son had died: Tearing open the tunic to bear his chest in a gesture that meant, "Why couldn't you have stabbed me through the heart rather than taken my son?" As the Roman in charge of the execution of Jesus, this man may have felt this sign was directed at him personally. The question is not whether this Roman believed in God or Jesus, but how he could have SEEN THE CURTAIN TEAR. The ONLY location from which a GENTILE soldier could have witnessed this event was from the top of Olivet. Therefore, the Crucifixion had to have taken place at the summit of the Mount of Olives, near the Miphkad Altar.