An answer to the above question is controversial, in advance. Did Jesus die on the fourteenth OR on the fifteenth day of the first month (Nisan or Aviv)? In this blog, I would like to take you along in my Bible research, step by step, to share my discovery of some details concerning this topic.
Crucial in Bible-teaching is the fact that Jesus is the true Passover.
… For our Passover also, Christ, was sacrificed for our sakes.
The date for this sacrifice was, centuries in advance, already established:
In the first month on the fourteenth day of the month is the Passover to Yahweh.
It is important that the calendar day in the Bible is counted "from evening to evening", as we read of the Day of Atonement and the sabbath.
It is a sabbath of cessation for you, and you will humble your souls. On the ninth day of the month in the evening, from evening until evening shall you cease for your sabbath.
Also of the Passover is something similar stated:
In the first month on the fourteenth day of the month between the evening hours, is the Passover to Yahweh.
The Passover in Scripture, in the first place, is the name of the lamb that on that day had to be slain (Ex.12:21). It is also the name of the date concerning this slaying of the lamb (Num.28:16) and in the broadest sense, the term ‘Passover' refers to the entire feast of unleavened bread, lasting seven days. To date, Passover (or Pesach), popularly has this meaning.
Now near drew the festival of unleavened bread, termed the Passover.
On the fourteenth of the month was the Passover slain and on that date were also the houses cleansed of all leaven, so that so from the fifteenth day on, they could celebrate, for one week, the feast of unleavened bread.
And on the fifteenth day of this month is the celebration of unleavened cakes to Yahweh. Seven days shall you eat unleavened cakes.
The feast of unleavened bread began on the fifteenth of the month. Concerning this day, we read:
On the first day you shall come to have a holy meeting, when you shall do no occupational work at all.
Regardless of which day of the week, this fifteenth day fell: it was celebrated as a Sabbath. That is also why the crucifixion and burial of Jesus were before this feast started.
1 Now it was the Passover and the unleavened bread after two days. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how, laying hold of Him by guile, they should be killing Him. 2 For they said, "Not in the festival, lest at some time there will be a tumult of the people."
Consequently, there was no time to be wasted at the crucifixion, because the big annual Sabbath was about to begin.
The Jews, then, since it was the preparation, lest the bodies should be remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for it was the great day, that sabbath), ask Pilate that they might be fracturing their legs, and they may be taken away.
From which it follows that Jesus, prior to the great, annual Sabbath was crucified. I.e., on the 14th of the first month. This calendar day began, as mentioned, in the night before. We read concerning it:
7 Now came the day of unleavened bread, in which the Passover must be sacrificed. 8 And He (=Jesus) dispatches Peter and John, saying, "Go and make ready for us the Passover, that we may be eating."
Is this contrary to what we have seen so far? No, if we recognize that the term Passover not only refers to the slaying of the lamb. Preparing the Passover refers to the activities of the related date. It's about the putting away of the leaven: the big cleaning in preparation for the feast. The meal this evening, that Jesus and His disciples shared, was not eating a slain lamb, but unleavened bread. It was a meal during Passover and therefore a Passover-meal.
And He said to them, "With yearning I yearn to be eating this Passover with you before My suffering.
When Jesus, the next morning, is brought to the courthouse of Pilate, we read the following:
They are, then, leading Jesus from Caiaphas into the pretorium. Now it was morning, and they did not enter into the pretorium lest they may be defiled, but may be eating the Passover.
The night before, Jesus had eaten the Passover meal and they still had to eat it? How can that be? Complex calculation have been suggested that imply that Jesus used another calendar than the people in general. However, the solution is much simpler! The eating of the Passover is not necessarily the eating of the slain lamb, but every unleavened meal during Passover.
Jesus died on the fourteenth day of the first month. This date began the previous evening, in which Jesus with his disciples enjoyed the last supper. Between this and the following evening ("between the two evenings"), He would be slain, just as God, centuries before, had determined with reference to the Passover. The next day, the fifteenth day of the month, was the beginning of the seven-day feast and a great Sabbath, and does, therefore, not qualify as the day that Jesus would have been handed over to Pilate, by the Jews.
Translation: Peter Feddema