The Congregation Of Yahweh 



The Sign of The Prophet Jonah

 

     Easter Sunday does not commemorate the resurrection!  The Messiah did not die on Good Friday!  Here's proof of the true dates of the crucifixion and the resurrection.




Part One


THE CRUCIFIXION WAS NOT ON FRIDAY

     EITHER the Good Friday-Easter Sunday tradition is a fable, or you have no Savior! Yahshua gave only one sign to prove that He was the Messiah, and that sign was the length of time He would be dead and buried.
     Notice Yahshua's own words concerning the only sign that would prove His Messiahship: "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.  For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matt. 12:39-40).
      If Yahshua did not fulfill that sign, then He was an impostor and you are without a Savior!
     Of course, theologians and scholars deny that Yahshua fulfilled this sign.  They say He was in the heart of the earth only one day and two nights, half as long as He said He would be!  In so doing they deny the only proof Yahshua gave that He is the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

It Was Prophesied

     Did you know that it was prophesied that many would deny this sign, would deny that Yahshua actually is the very Messiah?

Turn to the scriptures:

     "But there were also false prophets among the people (in Old Testament times), even as there will be false teachers among you (Believers), who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them ... and many will follow their destructive ways..." (II Pet. 2:1-2, New King James Version throughout, unless otherwise noted).
     The many are today denying their Savior by believing a tradition that rejects the only sign Yahshua gave to prove He is the Messiah.  Did you know that it was not until after the death of John, the last of the 12 apostles, that the Good Friday-Easter Sunday tradition began to spread through the churches?

How Long Dead and Buried?

     Let's examine Yahshua's own words, recorded in the gospels, to find out if He meant what He said about the sign of Jonah.  Did Yahshua really expect to be buried in the earth for three days and three nights?  Notice Mark 8:31: "And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again (from the grave)."
     Did you grasp that?  Yahshua did not say "after a day and a half."  Yahshua said "after three days."
     Consider:  If Yahshua were crucified and buried late on Good Friday, then one day after would be Saturday evening, two days after would be Sunday evening and three days after would be Monday evening.  But Yahshua rose long before Monday evening.  Either Yahshua was not crucified on Good Friday, or He did not fulfill His sign and He is therefore an impostor and not the Messiah.
     Did Yahshua fulfill His sign?  Turn to Matthew 28:6.  Here is the testimony of the angel: "He (Yahshua) is not here; for He is risen, as He said." Yahshua did fulfill His sign exactly.  He is the Savior.  Then He could not have been crucified on Good Friday!
     But this is not all.  Turn to John 2:19, 21: "Yahshua answered and said to them, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.'... But He was speaking of the temple of His body."
     If Yahshua were crucified and had died on Friday afternoon and would have been resurrected on Sunday morning, the temple, His body, would have been raised in a day and one half But Yahshua did not say it would occur in a day and one half. Not even in two and one half days, but in three days time, 72 hours.
     In other words, three 24-hour days after His death, He would be made alive again as immortal spirit by a resurrection.  Yahshua meant exactly what He said.
     But Yahshua also declared He would rise the third day.  Let us suppose again that Yahshua was crucified on Friday.  If He were to rise on the first day after His crucifixion, He would be raised on Saturday, if on the second day after His crucifixion, He would rise on Sunday.  But if He were to rise on the third day, He would have been raised on Monday.
     But Yahshua was already resurrected by Sunday morning.  Plainly, Friday was not the day of the crucifixion!

How the Bible Counts Days

     Adam Clarke, for example, in his commentary on Matthew 12:40, quotes the Talmud in support of the idea that three days and three nights supposedly mean one day and two nights.  The Seventh-day Adventist Commentary implies the same. But the Bible is not interpreted by the Talmud or by human commentary. Yahshua rejected the traditions of the elders. The Review and Herald, the official publication of the Seventh-day Adventists, listed several texts that, they claim, indicate that three days means no more than a day and one half. Let's look to see if Scripture supports these claims.
     Here is the first text they offer as "proof" that "after three days" does not mean after three days.
     King Rehoboam told the people who came to meet him, Come back to me after three days. And the people departed (II Chron. 10:5).  The same event is quoted in I Kings 12:5: "Depart for three days, then come back to me." The story continues with verse 12: "So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king directed, saying, 'Come back to me the third day.' The people left "for three days" and did not return until "after three days," as the king had appointed.
      Let us suppose they had first met the king sometime on Friday.  As they were ordered to return at the end of three days, they would not have returned before the same time of day the following Monday.  Now was Monday "the third day" from the day they had originally met with the king?  The first day from that Friday was Saturday, the second day from that Friday was Sunday and the third day was Monday, exactly the time the king expected them to return.

Monday, not Sunday, was the third day from Friday.

     The next text offered as "proof" that "three days and three nights" means only one day and two nights is Esther 4:16 and 5:1.  "Fast for me," said Queen Esther, "neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day.  My maids and I will fast likewise.  And so I will go to the king." "Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes" and went to the king.
     Which day was this?  The third day of the fast.  Suppose Queen Esther had requested the Jews late Friday evening, shortly before sunset, to fast.  The first day of their fast would have been Saturday, the second day would have been Sunday and the third day, Monday, the queen would have entered the king's palace.  Isn't that plain?  The Jews did not fast parts of three days, but three days, night and day.
     Notice that in each of these examples, three days means three days, not parts of three days or only a day and one half.

Which Day Was the Crucifixion?

     Yahshua died some three hours before sunset on the day of the crucifixion (Luke 23:54).  Since Yahshua said that He would rise the third day after His crucifixion and death, it is obvious that He was made alive by a resurrection precisely at the completion of the third day following His death.
      When the women came to the tomb early Sunday morning, Yahshua had already risen.  The angel said: "He is risen!  He is not here" (Mark 16:6).  Of course, Yahshua had been resurrected the previous evening.
     Yahshua arose from the dead late Saturday afternoon; He was not at the sepulcher Sunday morning.  Three days before Saturday afternoon would place the crucifixion on Wednesday, the preparation day for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  Thursday of that year must have been an annual Sabbath, the first annual Sabbath in the Days of Unleavened Bread.
     So that we would know that the Sabbath that followed the crucifixion was not necessarily the weekly Sabbath, John was inspired to call it a "high day" (John 19:31), which, according to Jewish usage, means an annual Sabbath that may occur any day during the week.
     Mark picks up John's account by adding that after that Sabbath, which was a high day, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the women bought sweet spices to use in anointing the body of Yahshua (Mark 16:1).  This purchasing of the spices could not have been on Thursday, the annual Sabbath.  It must have been Friday.  Having made their purchases, the women prepared these ointments and "rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment" (Luke 23:56).  This was the seventh-day Sabbath upon which, near its close, Yahshua was raised from the dead.
     Thus the Bible proves that the resurrection was not on Sunday morning, the crucifixion not on Friday.  There were two separate Sabbaths that week, one an annual Sabbath, the other a weekly Sabbath.
     Now look again at Mark 16:9.  This verse makes clear that the resurrection and departure of Yahshua from the grave was not on a Sunday morning.  In the Greek text the phrase "early on the first day of the week" refers to the early part of the day, the evening, for a day began at sunset.
     Yahshua had risen from the tomb the early evening before Sunday morning.  That is, He was already risen Saturday night.  That was three days and three nights after His burial and the closing of the tomb.  We read in the Revised Standard Version, which has the correct translation of Luke 23:54: "It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning." That is, it was very late on the preparation for the Feast, or first annual Sabbath, and the new high day Sabbath had just begun as Joseph of Arimathea finished the burial.

How It All Began
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
      It was the so-called apostolic fathers, steeped in traditions, who first began to teach that the crucifixion occurred on Friday.

Yet they admitted that the ancient custom of fasting on Wednesday, the actual day of the crucifixion, as we have seen, was derived from "the day on which Yahshua was betrayed" and "on which the Sanhedrin decided to kill him" (Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, "Fasting")!
     These same men soon attempted to change the year of Yahshua's birth, the year that He began His ministry, the length of His ministry, the days of His death and His resurrection from the dead. Astounding proof exists of these attempts to change the days of the resurrection and of the crucifixion.  James A. Walther, in an article entitled "The Chronology of Passion Week," in the Journal of Biblical Literature, mentions that numerous Catholic writers for centuries maintained that Yahshua ate the Passover Tuesday night, that early Wednesday morning He was taken by the Jewish mob.  Mr. Walther declares: "References in the Didascalia, in Epiphanius, in Victorinus of Pettau ... support the Tuesday (night) Passover dating and the subsequent arrest of Yahshua in the morning hours of Wednesday." One of the first post-biblical attempts to explain the day of the resurrection from the dead late Saturday to the hours of Sunday morning occurred in the spurious "gospel of Peter," which was probably circulated from Rome about the time of the death of the apostle John.  This "gospel" reads as follows: "And then they drew out the nails from the hands of the Master, and laid him upon the earth ... and the Jews rejoiced, and gave his body to Joseph that he might bury it.... And he took the Master and washed him, and rolled him in a linen cloth, and brought him into his own tomb.... And I with my companions were grieved; and being wounded in mind we hid ourselves ... and upon all these things we fasted and sat mourning night and day until the Sabbath.
     "But the scribes and Pharisees and elders being gathered together one with another ... came to Pilate, beseeching him and saying, Give us soldiers, that we may guard his sepulchre for three days, lest his disciples come and steal him away.... And with them came elders and scribes to the sepulchre, and having rolled a great stone together with the centurion and the soldiers, they all together who were there set it at the door of the sepulchre; and they affixed seven seals ... and guarded it.  And early in the morning as the Sabbath was drawing (dawning), there came a multitude from Jerusalem and the region round about, that they might see the sepulchre that was sealed.
     "And in the night in which the Master's day was drawing on ... the tomb was opened", and Yahshua was already risen. He was not there (from the Ante-Nicene Fathers, volume 10, pages 7-8).
     Notice!  Between the crucifixion and the Sabbath, the disciples and Peter are said to have fasted "night and day until the Sabbath." This alone is a candid admission that the crucifixion was not on Good Friday!  You can't fit "night and day" between Friday afternoon and Friday sunset!  It was decades later before the idea of a Friday crucifixion and a Sunday morning resurrection was widely believed.
     The apostle Paul called Yahshua the Messiah our Passover (I Cor. 5:7).  According to the gospel records, Yahshua was crucified on the Passover day, Abib (or Nisan) 14, immediately before the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Which Day Was the Passover?

     On the eve of that 14th of Abib, after sunset, Yahshua instituted the New Testament Passover.  By custom that day was also a day on which all leaven was finally removed and only unleavened bread was to be seen in the homes (Luke 22:7-8).  See also John 18:28 as proof that day was Passover, Nisan 14.
     The Jews and Yahshua and the apostles agreed as to which day it was.  There is no question about the date.  But how did the Jews know which day it was?  How did Yahshua and the apostles know that this was the Passover day as Yahweh had appointed it?
     By Yahweh's calendar, of course!  The Passover was the 14th day of the first month according to the sacred calendar used by Yahshua and the Jews.  By that calendar we can know precisely which day the Passover was in the year of the crucifixion!
   
The Hebrew Calendar Tells When

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Only two matters are needed to prove when the crucifixion and the resurrection of Yahshua the Messiah occurred.  One is to determine the calendar dates of the Passover during the years of Messiah's ministry.  The other is to determine the exact year of the crucifixion.
     Here is a chart verified by works on the Jewish calendar actually Yahweh's sacred calendar, correct according to computation preserved since the days of Moses!




Dates                                                Passover

C.E. 27                                  Wednesday, April 9

C.E. 28                                     Monday, April 26

C.E. 29                                    Saturday, April 16

C.E. 30                                  Wednesday, April 5

C.E. 31                                Wednesday, April 25

C.E. 32                                     Monday, April 14                                         

C.E. 33                                          Friday, April 3

               

      The 14th of the month Nisan could have occurred on Wednesday in C.E. 30, as well as in C.E. 31.  Thus, if you want to believe that the crucifixion was in C.E. 30, which it was not, you would still have to admit that Friday could not be the day of the crucifixion!
     For the year C.E. 31 a few references, unacquainted with the rules of the Hebrew calendar, mistakenly give the Passover, Nisan 14, as Monday, March 26.  But this is one month too early. 
The Decree of Artaxerxes

     There are several basic dates from which the exact year of Messiah's death may be determined.  These dates are so precise that there can be no doubt that the Passover upon which Yahshua was crucified occurred on Wednesday, April 25, in C.E. 31.
     The first date is the year in which Artaxerxes issued his decree to restore and build Jerusalem (Ezra 7).  Daniel 9:25-26 records that there would be 69 prophetic weeks till the Messiah would come, after which he would be cut off crucified, not for Himself but for the sins of the whole world.
     Sixty-nine prophetic weeks equal 483 years (69 x 7).  This decree was first issued by Cyrus, king of Persia, in 538 B.C.E. It was set aside and reissued by Darius I, king of Persia, and again set aside and reissued by Artaxerxes I.
     When we determine the year in which this decree was issued, we can locate the exact year, 483 years later, when Yahshua the Messiah, began His ministry.
     Records have been found that were written in the very month that Artaxerxes, under whose reign the decree was issued, came to power.  The death of Xerxes occurred in late December, 465 B.C.E., and his son, Artaxerxes, came to the throne in that month.  According to the Persian spring-to-spring reckoning of regnal years, as recently translated business documents clearly show, Artaxerxes' first year extended from April, 464, to April, 463 B.C.E. These same documents show that the Jewish autumn-to-autumn mode of reckoning placed the first year of Artaxerxes from September, 464, to September, 463 B.C.E.
     The period of time from the day the new king ascended the throne to the first year of his reign was called his accession year and was regarded as completing the last regnal year of the previous king.
     Astronomical tablets containing more than a dozen precise records of eclipses prove that the first year of Artaxerxes, according to the Jewish reckoning, was from 464 to 463 B.C.E. The seventh year of Artaxerxes, the year in which he issued his decree (Ezra 7:8), since it is a Jewish record, would extend from about September, 458 B.C.E. to September, 457 B.C.E. From the first month to the fifth month of Yahweh's calendar, from the latter part of March to the latter part of July, 457 B.C.E. , Ezra journeyed to Judea in the seventh year of Artaxerxes, at which time the decree went forth to build Jerusalem as the capital of the revised Jewish nation. And just 483 years later would bring us to the autumn Of C.E. 27, the year when the Messiah would appear.


Age of Yahshua at His Baptism


     Yahshua, according to Daniel's prophecy, was anointed the Messiah in C.E. 27, which was 483 years after the decree of Artaxerxes to restore Jerusalem.  The next fact that we need to understand is the age of Yahshua when He was baptized and entered upon His ministry.
     The only historical account of this was written by Luke to Theophilus (Luke 1:1-4).  In this account it is plainly stated that when Yahshua began His ministry He was "about thirty years of age" (Luke 3:23).
     Luke did not say, "About 29," or "about 31." He records that Yahshua was "about thirty" and he meant it, for he was an inspired historian.  Either this record is true or you might as well discard the Bible.
     As Yahshua was about 30 years old in the autumn of C.E. 27, then He must have been born in the autumn of 4 B.C.E.

The Death of Herod

     The time of Yahshua's birth is important.  Yahshua was born before the death of Herod the king (Matt. 2:15).  When did Herod die?  Again the critics are in confusion because they refuse to weigh all the facts.
     According to Josephus, the Jewish historian, Herod died, "having reigned, since he had procured Antigonus to be slain, thirty-four years; but since he had been declared king by the Romans, thirty-seven" (Antiquities, XVII, viii, 1).
     The two dates for the beginning of Herod's reign are not disputed, but given as 37 B.C.E. and 40 B.C.E. respectively.  Reckoning as Josephus does, the last year of Herod's reign extended from about April, 4 B.C.E. to April, 3 B.C.E.
     Josephus, in Antiquities of the Jews, XVII, VI, 4, mentions an eclipse of the moon before the death of Herod.  That eclipse, as calculated, occurred about March 13, 4 B.C.E. Yet it was some time after this that Herod went beyond the river Jordan to be cured of his diseases.  Finding that the physicians couldn't cure him, he still revived sufficiently to return to Jericho.  There, he gathered together and contrived the death of the principal men of the entire Jewish nation.  And as if this were not enough, Herod had his son Antipater killed five days before his own death.
     Since these and other events occurred after the eclipse mentioned by Josephus, and since Herod died prior to a Passover, according to Josephus, that Passover must have been 13 months after the eclipse and not one month later.  A traditional date on the Hebrew calendar for the death of Herod places it on Kislev 7 (November 26), late in the year 4-3 B.C.E., the only date that agrees with all the known facts of history.
     As Yahshua was about 30 years old in the early autumn of C.E. 27, then He must have been born in the early autumn of 4 B.C.E., shortly before the death of Herod.
     Clearly, Yahshua could not have been born before this time, or He would have been more than 30 years old at the beginning of His ministry.  Neither could He have been born later in 2 B.C.E., as some assume, for He would have been only 28 years old at the beginning of His ministry.  But Luke plainly said that He was about 30 years of age.

When Did the Wise Men Arrive?

     But what are we going to do with the statement recorded in Matthew 2:16 that just before his death Herod had all the children in Bethlehem killed "from two years old and under"?  This would appear to indicate that Yahshua may have been born one year earlier than He really was born.
     Most people carelessly read this account by assuming that Herod knew the date of Yahshua's birth.  They assume he had the children killed because Yahshua must have been between 1 and 2 years old.
     Think for a moment how illogical this would be.  Would a murderer like Herod wait for at least one whole year after the wise men left before attempting to kill the child Yahshua?  Of course not.
     The truth is that Herod did not know the time of Yahshua's birth.  Notice what the Scripture states: As soon as Herod saw that the wise men didn't return to him he became very angry, ordering all those little children butchered "from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men" (Matt. 2:16).
     Now what was the exact time that he learned from the wise men?  Was it the date of Yahshua's birth?  No!  Notice verse 7 of this same chapter: "Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared."

Of course!

     The wise men or magi had come a great distance from the east.  The star had appeared around the time of the conception by Mary of Yahshua, in order for them to prepare to make their journey to Bethlehem while he was still very young.
     Since the star appeared about one year previously, Herod took no chances, but had every infant killed up to 2 years of age.
     Yahshua was a few weeks old at the time of Herod's death.  The latest possible date for the birth of Yahshua was the autumn of 4 B.C.E. before winter arrived (Luke 2:8).  This places the commencement of the ministry of Messiah 30 years later in the autumn of the year 27.



The Reign of Emperor Tiberius

     One of the most vital keys to the chronology of Messiah's ministry, and yet one of the most universally misunderstood dates, is the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar.  Luke tells us that John the Baptist began to preach in his 15th year (Luke 3:1).

When was this 15th year?

     The trouble arises because it has been assumed there were several possible dates from which the reign of Tiberius Caesar was counted.  Tiberius indeed was made co ruler with Augustus Caesar at the very end of C.E. 11 or the beginning of C.E. 12.  The exact month is not known, but it is not essential anyway, as the emperor did not count his official years from his joint rule with Augustus.
     Tiberius reckoned his reign from his sole rule in August, C.E. 14.  Tiberius' 15th year commenced Oct. 1, C.E. 27.
     In the Near East, where Luke lived, the first year of Tiberius extended from August to the end of that calendar year, Sept. 30, C.E. 14.  The second year of Tiberius began on Oct. 1 and extended through Sept. 30, C.E. 15.  The official Syrian calendar then in use began with the autumn month of October.
     At the beginning of this 15th year John the Baptist began to preach repentance around the Jordan River before Yahshua was baptized by him.  John's ministry occupied several weeks before the baptism of Yahshua. Notice how this dovetails with the next proof.

When Was Pilate Governor?

     Luke names Pontius Pilate as governor of Judea when John received his call: "Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea ... the word of Yahweh came to John" (Luke 3:1-2).  Pilate ruled for 10 years.
     Pilate was deposed a few months before the Passover near the close of his 10th year.  He hurriedly sailed for Rome to appeal to Emperor Tiberius.  On his way news came that Tiberius died.  You will read this in Josephus' Antiquities, XVIII, IV, 2.
     Since Pilate was in a great hurry to reach Rome, he must have left shortly before the death of the emperor, which occurred in March, C.E. 37.
     Ten years before this is about the beginning of C.E. 27, at which time Pilate began his procuratorship.  Here is what the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says in its article "Pilate": The assumed date for Pilate is usually "from 26 to 36 C.E.... Tiberius died on March 16, 37 C.E. Such a delay (in Pilate's journey to Rome) is inconceivable in view of the circumstances; hence ... the period of his procurator-ship (is) 27-37 C.E."
     The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia states, under the article "Pilate": "He probably succeeded Gratus 27 C.E. and ended his procuratorship early in 37; it is not likely that Pilate required more than a year for his return journey to Rome ... and he arrived there after Tiberius' death, which took place March 16, 37."
     The appointment of Pilate may have occurred as early as November, C.E. 26, and he entered his office in Judea early in C.E. 27.  As Pilate did not begin his governorship in Judea till about the commencement of C.E. 27 and as Tiberius' 15th year did not begin till October that year, John the Baptist must have begun his ministry in the first few days of October in C.E. 27.
     Yahshua, therefore, must have begun to preach in the autumn of C.E. 27.  There is no other date that would be consistent with all the provable facts.
     To find the date of the crucifixion, we now need only find how long the ministry of Yahshua lasted.

How Long Was Yahshua's Ministry?

     The prophet Daniel foretold that the length of Messiah's ministry at His first coming, to confirm the New Covenant, would be one half of a prophetic week of seven years.
     In the midst of that prophetic week He caused the need of sacrifices for sin to cease by offering Himself for the sins of the world.  He was "cut off in the midst of the week, making the ministry at His first coming three and one-half years (Dan. 9:25-27).
     "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks", 69 prophetic weeks or 483 years in all.
     It was 62 prophetic weeks or 434 years (62 x 7) from the decree of Artaxerxes I in 457 B.C.E.E. to the decision to prepare the stones for rebuilding the Temple.  That occurred in the 15th year of Herod, 23 B.C.E.E. And it was seven prophetic weeks or 49 years (7 x 7) to C.E. 27.
     "And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself ... then he shall confirm a covenant with many for a week", this prophecy is not yet completely fulfilled.
     Why?  Because "in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering", He died for the sins of the world in the middle of the week.
     In a sense this is a dual prophecy.  Messiah died in the midst of the prophetic week of seven years, after three and one-half years of ministry, but He also died in the midst of the week, Wednesday!
     Now let's turn to the gospels to find the proof that Yahshua the Messiah's ministry was exactly three and one-half years.  There would have to be three Passovers during the three years of His ministry, and a fourth on the last day of His earthly life, the crucifixion.
     The first Passover occurred in C.E. 28 and is recorded in John 2:23.  During the following weeks Yahshua spent time baptizing in Judea (John 3:22).
     The next note of time is found in John 4:35, a reference to four months till the next harvest season at Passover in C.E. 29.  So this time reference is to the ninth month or Keslev in December, C.E. 28, only days before Yahshua began to publicly announce the Gospel in the synagogues of Galilee after John the Baptist was imprisoned (Acts 10:37, John 4:43-45).
     In Luke 6:1 is the next time reference, "the second Sabbath after the first" an awkward translation of the Greek, deuteroproton sabbaton.  This is a reference to the second of seven Sabbaths that were counted from Passover to Pentecost.  So here we see a second Passover, C.E. 29, in Yahshua's ministry.
     In John 6:4 is another Passover, which brings us to a Wednesday in the year C.E. 30: "Now the Passover, a feast of the Jews, was near." This was the third Passover in Yahshua's ministry.
     The fourth and final Passover is recorded by all the gospel writers.  Notice John 11:55: "And the Passover of the Jews was near, and many went from the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves."
     This last Passover completed a ministry of three and one-half years, from autumn of C.E. 27 to the spring of C.E. 31, when the Passover upon which Messiah was crucified, fell on Wednesday.
     Since Yahshua began His three and one-half year ministry not later than C.E. 27, He could not have been crucified so late as C.E. 33.  There was, therefore, no Passover that occurred on a Friday during His entire ministry!
     Yes, history proves false the tradition that Yahshua was crucified on Friday and rose on Easter Sunday!




Part Two



MOST SIGNIFICANT
FEAST OF TABERNACLES
IN HISTORY DATES
CRUCIFIXION

     ALMOST everyone has overlooked the fact that the Bible dates the ministry of Messiah and the year of the crucifixion. How?
     By preserving the story of the last Feast of Tabernacles during the ministry of Yahshua!  The apostle John spent almost one fifth of his gospel account on it.  The episode we are about to read begins in John, chapter 7, and continues through chapter 10, verse 21.  Turn to it in your Bible and see how the Bible dates the event.

What John Records

     The background of this historic Festival is found in John 7:1: "After this Yahshua went about in Galilee; he would not go about in Judea, because the Jews sought to kill him.  Now the Jews' feast of Tabernacles was at hand" (Revised Standard Version).
     It was seven months before the Passover and crucifixion, and already the leaders in Judea were looking for a chance to kill Yahshua.  Even Yahshua's brothers were upset with Him.  They said sarcastically to Yahshua:
"Surely no one can hope to be in the public eye if he works in seclusion.  If you really are doing such things as these, show yourself to the world" (verse 4, New English Bible).  Yahshua was not attempting to be in the public eye, but His brothers did not know that.
     Yahshua said to His brothers, "Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast; for my time is not yet fully come" (verse 8, Authorized Version).  Modern translations erroneously omit the first yet in Yahshua's words, "I go not up yet unto this feast." With this answer Yahshua remained behind in Galilee.
     To continue: "But after his brothers had gone up to the feast, then he also went up, not publicly but in private" (verse 10, RSV).  The apostle John refers to this impending Festival in 7:2 as the Jews feast of tabernacles." The Festival is Yahweh's Feast of Tabernacles.  He ordained it.
     But since the Jews were a nation as well as a congregation, it had become a national festival, celebrated with special temple ceremonies and national customs.  "About the middle of the Feast Yahshua went up into the temple and taught.  The Jews marveled at it, saying, 'How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?' " (verses 14-15, RSV).
     Of course Yahshua studied!  But He had not studied as a student of the Pharisees or Sadducees.  When Yahshua was 12, He was found by His parents "sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions; and all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers" (Luke 2:46-47, RSV).
     Yahshua answered His critics that fourth day of the Feast by saying: "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.  If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of Elohim, or whether I speak of myself... Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law?  Why go ye about to kill me?" (John 7: 16, 17, 19, AV).
     Yahshua's teaching came from Yahweh.  He appealed to the law as the basis of true character.  He challenged those who harbored murderous thoughts contrary to the law.  They, in turn, to justify themselves, accused Yahshua of being demon possessed (verse 20).
     For the next two days the people discussed among themselves whether Yahshua was indeed the Messiah.  "When the Messiah appears," they said, "will he do more signs than this man has done?" (verse 31, RSV).


The Controversy Heightens

     John continues, "The Pharisees heard the crowd thus muttering about him, and the chief priests and Pharisees sent officers to arrest him" (verse 32).  When the officers came into the presence of Yahshua and heard Him speak, they were immensely impressed.  It was now the seventh day of the Feast of Tabernacles.
(The Feast of Tabernacles is a seven-day festival.  It is followed by an eighth day, which is an annual Holy Day.  This eighth day, see Leviticus 23:36, last half, has no specific name in the Old Testament.)
     On this seventh day or last day of the Feast of Tabernacles a great closing celebration occurred in the temple ceremonies.  Quantities of water were drawn in public view, and poured out, in preparation for the final or eighth day of the Festival season.
     The ceremony commemorated an event recorded in I Samuel 7:5-6.  There we read that Samuel the prophet, apparently at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, gathered the people to Mispah. (This was before the temple of Solomon was built at Jerusalem.) Samuel then "drew water, and poured it out before Yahweh.
     The Jews had repeated this traditional ceremony, amid great celebration on the end of the seventh day of the Feast.  Yahshua stood up about the end of that day and the beginning of the last or eighth day about sunset (John 7:37).  He proclaimed: "If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink.  He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water."
     The apostle John explains to his readers what Yahshua meant, and what, in fact, this joyous ceremony signified, "Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Yahshua was not yet glorified" (verse 37, last half, to 39, RSV).
     Yahshua's Gospel reveals the way of salvation, the way to eternal life.  Man is born mortal, fleshly.  He has no eternal life naturally abiding in him.  He needs the Spirit of the immortal, Yahweh Elohim.

     That Spirit is made available to humans through Yahshua the Messiah, who offered Himself for the sins of the world, was buried and resurrected, ascended to Yahweh the Father, is glorified and now, as high priest and our personal advocate, ministers for us at the throne of Yahweh.
     This was Yahshua's message for the beginning hours of the eighth day, which Believers came to call the "Last Great Day." This annual Holy Day pictures a time when the Kingdom of Yahweh is established over all the earth.
     Salvation is opened to the whole world.  Those who are now called and chosen will rule with Messiah not only for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:4), symbolized by the seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles, but also during the judgment, at the time of the second resurrection (Rev. 20:11-12).  This Last Great Day pictures this great event, when all who have lived and died in spiritual ignorance will come to a knowledge of the truth and to, salvation.  Out of the saints' innermost being will flow rivers of spiritual water, converting the world.
     When the officers heard these words of Yahshua, they returned that evening to the chief priests and Pharisees without having apprehended Yahshua (John 7:45).  "Why did you not bring him?" demanded the chief priests and Pharisees.  "The officers answered, 'No man ever spoke like this man.' " (verse 46).

Attempting to Trap Yahshua

     Now we turn to the Authorized Version, beginning verse 53 of chapter 7. "And every man went unto his own house." The account continues with verse 1 of chapter 8: "Yahshua went unto the mount of Olives.  And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them."
     After a night's rest the people were again at Yahshua's feet eager to hear Him.  It was the morning of the last Festival of the year, the eighth day (the day we now call the Last Great Day), which immediately followed the seven-day Festival of Tabernacles.
     Hardly had Yahshua begun to teach when the scribes and Pharisees entered.  They hatched a plan during the night to trap Yahshua so they might have cause to arrest Him.
     With them as they entered was a woman who had been found committing adultery.  Instead of privately helping her to overcome her sin, they made a public spectacle of her. " Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned," they intoned, "but what sayest thou?" (verse 5).
     Yahshua's discerning answer was His message of the Holy Day.  "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her" (verse 7, AV).
     Humiliated, the scribes and Pharisees left one by one, beginning with the eldest.  "Woman," said Yahshua, "where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?" When she responded, "No man, Master," Yahshua said, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."
     This account of the woman taken in adultery is wrongly deleted, or mistakenly placed in footnote, in modern versions.  It is a vital part of the story.
     Then Yahshua began to explain to the people who had witnessed this ugly scene, "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (verse 12, AV).  Those millions of human beings who throughout history have lived and died in spiritual darkness will indeed see the light of truth, after the millennium in a second resurrection.
     As Yahshua was explaining this, the Pharisees in Yahshua's audience took offense (verse 13).  They accused Yahshua of bearing false testimony, that His Gospel was a lie and of the devil.
     "Yahshua replied, 'If I glorify myself, that glory of mine is worthless.  It is the Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, 'He is our Elohim,' though you do not know him.  But I know him; if I said that I did not know him I should be a liar like you.  But in truth I know him and obey his word ... They picked up stones to throw at him" (John 8:54-59, NEB).
     We pick up the account in the Authorized Version: "But Yahshua hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.  And as Yahshua passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth" (John 8:59; 9:1).  Yahshua put clay on his eyes and healed the man.  The blind man, now healed, was whisked before the Pharisees.
     The apostle John takes special note of the time this healing occurred: "And it was the Sabbath day when Yahshua made the clay, and opened his eyes" (John 9:14, AV). (See also verse 16.) So the day that followed the seventh or last day of the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles was not only an annual Holy Day, but also the weekly Sabbath.
     This pinpoints it to the autumn Of C.E. 30.  In that year the last Holy Day, the eighth day occurred on the Sabbath, October 7. This date corresponds with the exact date on the fixed Jewish calendar for that year.  But the eighth day did not fall on a Sabbath in C.E. 29, as required by those who assume a crucifixion in C.E. 30, nor on a Sabbath in C.E. 32 as required by Catholic tradition that presumes a crucifixion in C.E. 33.
     The next spring (C.E. 31) the Passover and crucifixion fell on a Wednesday.  Such a combination of the eighth or Last Great Day on a Sabbath and the Passover on a Wednesday occurred at no other time in Yahshua's ministry! 
     John's account of this final Feast of Tabernacles' season in Yahshua's ministry is vital not only in revealing Yahshua's messages on these days and therefore the meaning of these autumn Festivals in Yahweh's plan, but also in dating precisely His ministry and the crucifixion to the very year (C.E. 31) and to the very day of the week (Wednesday).


Part Three


Crescent or Conjunction?
 
    
     Is the biblical new moon the first faint visible crescent or the invisible astronomical lunar conjunction?  Here are a number of reasons why we should use the crescent rather than the invisible conjunction:

1.)    The ancient Hebrews had no almanacs or telescopes to figure out when the lunar conjunction would occur.  The discoveries of Newton were millennia away.  They had no choice but to use the visible crescent.

2.)    The Hebrew words "yerach" and "lebanah," translated "moon," are never used to describe the first day of the month.  The Hebrew word "chodesh" is translated "new moon." In Gesenius' Hebrew/Chaldee Lexicon we find that the term "hodesh #2320 which comes from #2318 and means to be new, or to polish a sword.  In other words, it appears as a scimitar, or curved sword.  It is not invisible.

3.)    Psalm 81:3 says, "Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed (Heb.  "keseh" meaning "full moon"), on our solemn feast day." Since we know that the new moon and feast of the full moon must be the first and fifteenth days of the month respectively, it naturally follows for us to ask whether or not there can be a full moon fifteen days after a crescent.  Or must we use the lunar conjunction in order to come out right?  The truth is that "The necessary time for full moon varies from 13.73 to 15.80 days after conjunction" (over two days depending on how the ellipse is oriented with respect to the sun and earth since it is off center) (The Calendars Of Ancient Egypt by Richard A. Parker).  So from crescent to full moon would have even greater variability than this.  When 200 such months were fed into a computer at random, it was found that the full moon proper occurred the 12th day after the crescent only once; 13th day after, 44 times; 14th day after, 94 times; 15th day after, 60 times, and 16th day after, once.  In other words, the full moon proper doesn't always fall on the 15th day, so Psalm 81:3 means just basically round -- not hair-splitting.

4.)    Revelation 12:1-5 says that "there appeared a great wonder in heaven - a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet ... And she, being with child, cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.... And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron." If an astronomer were to read this passage, he would automatically think of the constellation Virgo at the point in time when the sun's path in the heavens crosses through her body.  This event always occurs in mid-October, the exact time of the Feast of Trumpets in many years.  If Messiah's first coming was on this feast, as we think his second coming will be, then we know it was a new moon that was visible to John.  Trumpets can occur as many as 29 days after September 23rd (Autumnal equinox) or as few as the same day if the equinox and the crescent occur on the same day.  Since John saw the moon under her feet, it couldn't have been the lunar conjunction.

5.)  The historical precedent is visible crescents.  As Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, art.  "New Moon," p.522 says, There was no fixed calendar till the 4th century ... and the New Moon was declared from actual observation.  The eye-witnesses were carefully examined on the 30th day of each month ... If no witnesses were available, then the following day was New Moon." As The Jewish Encyclopedia, art. "New Moon," p.243, says, "The  Sanhedrin was assembled in the courtyard ("bet ya'azek") of  Jerusalem  on the 30th of each month from morning to evening waiting for the reports of those appointed to observe the new moon." (See also Mishnah R.H.i.7, ii.5-7; Sanhedrin 102) The article  "Calendar, History of," p.498 says, "The history of the Jewish calendar may be divided into three periods - the biblical, the talmudic, and the post-talmudic.  The first rested purely on the observation of the sun and the moon, the second on observation and reckoning, the third entirely on reckoning." As the Encyclopedia Judaica, art.  "New Moon," p.1039 says, "Originally, the New Moon was not fixed by astronomical calculations, but was solemnly proclaimed after witnesses had testified to the reappearance of the crescent of the moon.  On the 30th of each month, the members of the High Court (Sanhedrin) assembled in a courtyard in Jerusalem, named Beit Ya'azek, where they waited to receive the testimony of two reliable witnesses; they then sanctified the New Moon.  If the moon's crescent was not seen on the 30th day, the new moon was automatically celebrated on the 31st day."

6.)    Each month is 29 or 30 days.  This is why Saul held a two-day festival (I Sam.20:27, 34). David and Jonathan knew in advance that there would be a new moon festival the next day (I Sam.20:5, 18), and the day after that, because of their mentioning waiting until the third day
(I Sam.20:5,12,19). But they didn't know in advance whether the crescent would appear the first day or the second.  The very fact that two days were celebrated rather than just one is proof of their inability to predict with certainty the new moon day.  Calculating the lunar conjunction is precise and unambiguous only one day is needed using that method.



Part Four


Crescent On Or After
Spring Equinox?


     Many assemblies take the crescent closest to the spring equinox, even if that crescent happens to fall before the equinox and call that "Abib one." Thus their holy days are one month too early.  The correct method is to take the first crescent on or after the spring equinox and call that day "Abib one." (Other assemblies use "green ears" instead of the equinox.  This method is synonymous with using either side of the equinox.)

     Here are some of the reasons why it is correct to use the first crescent on or after the spring equinox:

1.)    It is not consistent to have Abib one in the spring some years and in the winter other years.  The festivals are to occur in their seasons, not out of them (Deut. 16:6; Num.9:2; Ex.13:10). Deuteronomy 16:1, Exodus 23:15 and 34:18 all make it clear that the moon must be "OF" the "GREEN EARS," not before them.  There had to be enough barley developed for the wave sheaf (Lev.23:11).

2.)    If Abib one can fall before the spring equinox, then Passover will always fall in spring but Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles and Last Great Day will fall mostly in summer, not autumn or fall.  The fall holy days will be celebrated in two different seasons.  Instead of harvesting crops during the harvest moon, people will have to travel to the feast empty-handed as their crops rot in the fields.  If Abib one can fall 13 days before the equinox. then Tishri one (seventh month) will be 21 or 22 days before the fall equinox.  It is not proper to have the harvest festivals in the summer (Lev.23:39).

3.)    Farmers and shepherds two and three thousand years ago didn't know ahead of time if the equinox would be March 20, 21 or even 19.  They didn't have almanacs.  So if a crescent came 13, 14, or 15 days before, they wouldn't know if it were nearer or not ahead of time.  Not only this, but also they couldn't predict ahead of time whether the month would have 29 or 30 days, further blurring the midpoint.  And even if the equinox was March 20, and the crescent was 14 days before, the actual time of the equinox would probably fall many hours after the taking of the Passover on the night of the 19th.  So even on the same day, Passover here falls short of spring. The ancients probably couldn't even calculate the equinox to the nearest day, let alone hour or minute.  The equinox might fall at noon the 20th.

4.)    The requirement of ripe barley for the wave sheaf (Lev.23:11), limits Nisan 15 to 21 to a time period from the beginning of April to early June (Solinsky, pp.46-48) "Barley begins to ripen in Palestine with the beginning of April, and in the lower and warmer parts the cutting is begun at the end of the same month.  Hence we see that the first new moon, which began the first month and the Jewish year, could only take place in the last days of March at the earliest, and the sacrifice of the omer (wave sheaf) at the earliest only some days before the end of the first half of April". (Astronomy In The Old Testament, Giovanni V. Shiaparelli, 1905, Oxford).  But if we use crescents 14 days before the equinox, Passover can fall as early as March 19th.
                                                                                                                                                                                           5.)   The Messiah's last Passover was observed in a year when the crescent before the equinox was closer than the one after and yet Messiah used the one after.  Only 28, 31, and 34 C.E. had Wednesday Passover dates, and only 31 C.E. is correct among these three. That being the case, the only Wednesday Passover of 31 C.E. was on April 25th.  Fourteen days earlier makes April 11th which is 21 days after March 21st (latest possible equinox) showing that the nearer crescent before the equinox wasn't used.

6.)    From the book Calendarium Palestini by William Carpenter, page 32, we read about the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread: "It was celebrated on the 14th day of the moon next after the vernal equinox and continued seven days." (Written in 1825) Furthermore, we know that Ezra and Nehemiah used the Babylonian names for the months of the calendar.  By all indications, they actually used the Babylonian calendar itself and knew no other.  We know that the Babylonian calendar used visible crescents and also it did not allow the first month of the year to come  before the vernal equinox for hundreds of years.  No less an authority than Otto Neugebauer, knew of no archaeological evidence to the contrary that the Babylonian and Biblical calendars are the same.  Also, according to the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin, pp. 46 to 51, we find that Rabbon Simeon Ben Gamaliel (Paul's teacher) intercalated a month on three grounds: tekufah*, barley and roads.  He said the most important method was tekufah.  When they asked if the other two matter, Gamaliel made no reply because he would have been persecuted by the Pharisees if he had contradicted them.

* Tekufot (seasons). The four seasons in the Jewish year are called tekufot.
More accurately, it is the beginning of each of the four seasons, that is named tekufah ( literally "circuit", "to go round"), the tekufah of Abib denoting the mean sun at the point of the vernal equinox.



Part Five

"Green Ears" Or Equinox?


     Many assemblies determine New Year's Day or "Abib one" by taking the first crescent on or after the equinox of March 20 or 21.  Other assemblies take the first crescent of "green ears" of barley.  Here are some of the reasons why we should use the equinox rather than "green ears."

1.)    From Adam to Noah (1656 years), "green ears" could not have been used since perpetual springtime existed. There were no seasons then.  "Spring was forever" (Ovid Meta.1:88-108). Genesis 8:22 is when "a seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter" began.  From Adam to Noah the equinox must have been used.

2.)    On board ship, Noah wasn't able to examine a barley field in Israel or anywhere else (Gen.8:13), so he must have used the equinox.

3.)    Israel was led in the wilderness for forty years (Deut.29:5) without examining the barley in Jerusalem or Palestine.

4.)    Barley is variable and not precise.  It ripens faster in warmer latitudes nearer the equator than in colder northern areas farther from the equator.  Also, the barley ripens faster in valleys or at low altitudes than on mountains or at high altitudes.  As Herbert Solinsky points out, "there is about a sixty day variation in the time of the ripening of barley depending on the location within Palestine."

5.)    In light of the variation of "green ears" in different locations, where is the supposed "Bible-authorized" location?  There is no clear-cut answer.  The first location was in the Nile Delta in Egypt (Ex.9:31; 12:2).  Later Israel encountered "green ears" located in the Jericho Valley in Israel (Josh.5:10; cp.2:6 where "flax was bolled" (Ex.9:32)). But virtually all assemblies ignore these two locations.  Instead, they use Mount Zion by inferring into Exodus 12:24 something that's not there.  The Passover and D.U.B. are the "ordinance," not "green ears" of barley.

6.)    What did Believers do for thousands of years who lived in the southern hemisphere?  The cycle of seasons is opposite from the northern hemisphere.  "Green ears" are no guide at all down there.  But the equinox works well all over the world.

7.)    Mount Zion is not the best latitude for the earliest barley.  Also, it is on a hill rather than in a valley.  And what if Mount Zion faces a prolonged drought?  What if a locust plague sweeps through Palestine before "green ears" appear?  As Messiah said, "The hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father" (John 4:21).  For hundreds of years, Jerusalem was occupied by Canaanites.  Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Gideon and Samuel didn't check Jerusalem (a Jebusite town) for "green ears." Therefore, we see that Jerusalem has many potential problems, but the equinox is unaffected by all these problems.

8.)    We observe sunsets locally in the western sky to determine the Sabbath day.  But "green ears" can't be observed locally or in the sky.  They don't fit the pattern.  They aren't consistent.  Instead, to be consistent, let us observe the star locally which appears each year on the equinox to determine the new year's day.  The Hayden Planetarium of New York as reported in the New York Times, March 20, 1988, p.39, shows that the people of antiquity easily knew the spring equinox by Arcturus -- a bright, first-magnitude star which appears shortly after sunset/twilight (the handle of the Big Dipper points to it) -- which always appears March 21st after the previous evening's sunset in the northern hemisphere.  It's the brightest spring star in the northern hemisphere.  This is all in keeping with Genesis 1:14-18 which says the sun, moon and stars are for the purpose of determining the days, seasons and years -- not the barley.

9.)   Messiah said, "Are there not twelve hours in the day?" (John 11:9) and this was spoken seven days before Passover (John 11:7-9 & 12:1) (Nisan 7).  In the spring, day and night are equal for several days around the time of the equinox if the observer is standing on the equator.  The latitude of Jerusalem (31.8N) makes it impossible for day and night to be equal length there on the equinox.  Instead they are equal length there before equinox and daytime is longer than nighttime there on the equinox.  But Messiah's remark at the approximate time of the equinox implies that Messiah was conscious of the equinox at this Passover time.  But he made no remark concerning the state of the barley.