APRIL 3, AD 33 – Why We Believe We Can Know the Exact Date Jesus Died

By Andreas J. Köstenberger and Justin Taylor

“In our new book, The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived, we assume but do not argue for a precise date of Jesus’s crucifixion. Virtually all scholars believe, for various reasons, that Jesus was crucified in the spring of either a.d. 30 or a.d. 33, with the majority opting for the former. (The evidence from astronomy narrows the possibilities to a.d. 27, 30, 33, or 34). However, we want to set forth our case for the date of Friday, April 3, a.d. 33 as the exact day that Christ died for our sins.

To be clear, the Bible does not explicitly specify the precise date of Jesus’s crucifixion and it is not an essential salvation truth. But that does not make it unknowable or unimportant. Because Christianity is a historical religion and the events of Christ’s life did take place in human history alongside other known events, it is helpful to locate Jesus’s death—as precisely as the available evidence allows—within the larger context of human history”

Beginning of Tiberius’s reign a.d. 14
Fifteenth year of Tiberius’s reign: Beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry (Luke 3:1) a.d. 28
A few months later: Beginning of Jesus’s ministry a.d. 29
Minimum three-year duration of Jesus’ ministry: Most likely date of Jesus’s crucifixion a.d. 33 (April 3)

John’s Gospel mentions that Jesus attended at least three Passovers (possibly four), which took place once a year in the spring:

•There was a Passover in Jerusalem at the start of his public ministry (John 2:13, 23).

•There was a Passover in Galilee midway through his public ministry (John 6:4).

•There was a final Passover in Jerusalem at the end of his public ministry, that is, the time of his crucifixion (John 11:55; 12:1).

•And Jesus may have attended one more Passover not recorded in John but perhaps in one or several of the Synoptic Gospels (i.e., Matthew, Mark, and Luke).

Nisan 14 a.d. 30 John 2:13
Nisan 14 a.d. 31 either the unnamed feast in John 5:1 or else a Passover that John does not mention (but that may be implied in the Synoptics)
Nisan 14 a.d. 32 John 6:4
Nisan 14 a.d. 33 John 11:55, the Passover at which Jesus was crucified

For more details, read the rest of the article: http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/04/april-3-ad-33

One thought on “APRIL 3, AD 33 – Why We Believe We Can Know the Exact Date Jesus Died

  1. We also know through astronomy software that at about the time (3:00 in the afternoon) Jesus died on April 3, 33CE that the moon went into a blood red eclipse at that exact same time! May we be reminded of the Passover Lamb who took away the sins of the world. Great Post!

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