History of Jesus’ Crucifixion

Three men costumed as Roman soldiers standing at the foot of the Cross at a re-enactment of the Crucifixion.

Jesus Christ really walked the earth. His birth, death and resurrection changed the world forever. Many people have searched history books to discover the exact dates that Jesus lived. Lawyer Fred Larson has uncovered some interesting findings.

Larson began looking into what the Bible says about the day Christ was crucified, hoping to pin down a specific date. Beginning with the Gospels, Larson found the Crucifixion happened the day before the Sabbath, which was also the day the Passover was celebrated. In addition, the Gospels say Jesus was taken before Pontius Pilate. Pilate ruled Jerusalem from A.D. 26 to 36 A.D. Larson then checked those years to see when the Passover fell on the Sabbath and found two possible dates: April 7, A.D. 30 and April 3, A.D. 33.

To help decide between those two dates, Larson compared passages from the Bible with scientific evidence. In Acts 2, Peter tells the crowd about the Crucifixion and points to prophesies confirming that Jesus is the Christ. He mentions the prophet Joel, who said that the moon would be turned to blood. If you’re familiar with lunar eclipses—when a full moon passes through Earth’s shadow—you probably know that the moon emits an eerie red glow. NASA records show that a lunar eclipse occurred April 3, A.D. 33.

Want more evidence? In chapter 9 of the book of Daniel, the archangel Gabriel appears to Daniel and predicts the coming of an Anointed One, or Messiah, who would rule, but then would be “cut off” after a certain period of time. Gabriel says that from the time the decree is issued to rebuild Jerusalem until the time the Anointed One is cut off would be “seven ‘sevens’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ ” While this time-frame isn’t exactly clear, most scholars believe that the sevens refer to a period of seven years—an important period of time in Jewish culture.

Thus, the number of years is (7×7 years) + (62×7 years) = (49 years) + (434 years) = 483 years. The calendar used in Bible times was not the same calendar we use today; in fact, their calendar only had 360 days a year, not 365. Taking the difference in days-per-year into account, that’s 476 years. The decree to rebuild Jerusalem was given in 444 B.C. When 476 years is added to that (keep in mind, there was no “year 0”), the result is that the Anointed One is to be “cut off” in the year A.D. 33! In Matthew 16:16, Peter refers to Jesus as “the Christ”—some translations say “Messiah.” “Christ” is the Greek word for “Anointed One.”

Pretty cool, huh? When the Bible is tested, it always comes back true.

Copyright © 2009 by Focus on the Family. Used by permission. Clubhousemagazine.com; Photo © 2011 istolethetv/Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.

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