April 3rd, A.D. 33 (on the Julian Calendar)
Late Thursday evening, April 2nd, A.D. 33 or early Friday morning April 3rd, A.D. 33, after Jesus the Messiah’s time of prayer in the garden of Gethsemane, Judas Iscariot entered the garden with “a band of men, and officers from the Chief Priest and the Pharisees” from the Sanhedrin (the Jewish High Council of Israel which was mostly comprised of Sadducees with a few Pharisees). Judas betrayed Christ with a kiss and Jesus the Christ was arrested by the forces of the Jewish Sanhedrin (Luke 22:47-53 & John 18:2-12).
Jesus the Promised Messiah of God was then brought to stand charges before the Jewish Sanhedrin, God’s ruling authority over Israel.
Jesus was taken to the house of Joseph Caiaphas, the Jewish High Priest, for a preliminary hearing before Caiaphas and his father-in-law, the former Jewish High Priest Annas and the council of the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:57-75 & John 18:12-23).
It should be noted that at this time in Jerusalem the Jewish High Priests were no longer descendants of the family of Levi, or from one of the three priestly lines descended from the Zadokite Priesthood. After the Jewish civil war of 90 B.C., Alexander Jannaeus favored the wealthy and politically astute Jewish sect of the Sadducees as temple priests. Realize that the great religious temples of the ancient world also acted as de facto national banks for the countries in which they existed and the temple in Jerusalem was no exception to this practice. After Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (a.k.a. Pompey the Great) marched on Jerusalem in 63 B.C. the Jewish High Priests became political appointees of the Roman Prefect, and in A.D. 6 the senate in Rome organized the territory around Jerusalem into the Roman Province of Iudaea (the Roman province which included the greater Judea area). Simply put by A.D. 33, the Jewish high priests had been a Roman political appointees for 70 years.
As dawn broke on Friday Jesus was formally condemned to death by the Sanhedrin for blasphemy, however the Sanhedrin did not have the legal authority to carry out the sentence they had passed. Under Roman rule the Jewish religious court did not have the authority to execute a blasphemer, nor was Jewish blasphemy a Roman imperial crime.
Jesus was brought by the Jewish Sanhedrin and presented to the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate as an imperial criminal needing execution
The Jews then brought Christ to Pontius Pilate (Governor of Judea from A.D. 26 to A.D. 36), the 5th Prefect of Iudaea (Judea) and there the Sanhedrin charged Christ with treason against Rome. When Pilate found out that Jesus was a Galilean, Pilate shuttled Jesus off to Herod Antipas, who was also in Jerusalem for the Jewish festival of the Passover. Herod allowed his soldiers to mock Jesus, dressing him in “royal clothing”, and placing a crown of thorns on his head, but when Herod “tired of the amusement”, he returned Jesus to Pilate. Pilate gave into Jewish demands that Jesus be executed.
The Imperial Trail of The Messiah of God:
When Herod returned Jesus to Pontius Pilate, Pilate tried to avoid sentencing Jesus to death by offering to pardon Him. It was the custom of Roman Governors was to pardon one criminal in honor of the Jewish Festival of Passover, and Pilate offer to do this for the crowd outside his palace, but the crowd were prompted to demand that the criminal Barabbas be released instead, so Pilate released Barabbas and sentenced Jesus Christ to death.
The Crucifixion of Christ:
Pilate allowed his soldiers to scourge Christ and mock him with a rob and a crown of thorns. Then Pilate had Jesus taken to Golgotha (outside of the city walls of Jerusalem) at “the third hour of the day” and there he placed on Roman Cross bearing a sarcastic label “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS” and he was crucified (and lanced) to death (Matthew 27:50, Mark 15:37, Luke 23:46 & John 19:30).
The sky darkening for 3 hours
While Christ was dying on the Cross the sky turned dark for 3 hours, “Now it ‘was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour” (Luke 23:44). The words of the Jewish prophet Joel were recorded in the Old Testament Book of Joel “the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of great and awesome day of the Lord” (Joel 2: 31). Peter quotes this passage as having been fulfilled in Acts 2:20. This was not an astronomical phenomenon; eclipses last for minutes, not hours, and there was a lunar eclipse at sunset. This must have been some kind of a divinely timed weather phenomenon, e.g., a very heavy cloud cover, or a sand storm, etc. BTW: Solar and lunar eclipses can’t occur on the same day (see below).
The moon turning red at moonrise immediately after the crucifixion
The above prophesy describes the moon turning red immediately after Christ died on the cross and while his lifeless carcass was subsequently laid to the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea and respectfully fragranced with myrrh and aloes by the Jewish priest/lawyer Nicodemus of the Sanhedrin (John 19:38-39). That would be a lunar eclipse!
Previous (and future) lunar eclipses can be calculated using routine modern astronomical methods. Isaac Newton was the first person to use this technique to look for a lunar eclipse which would have been visible in Jerusalem on Good Friday evening before the Passover sabbath during the reign of Pontius Pilate (Newton published his result in 1733). Such an eclipse did occur, at moon rise (just after sun set) on Friday April 3rd, A.D. 33 (this is the date on the Julian calendar in use throughout the Roman empire since 45 B.C.).
Jesus’s innocent sacrifice atones for the sins of all those willing to follow him
Christ’s death atoned for the sins of the world, providing the way of salvation for mankind and redeeming all of creation. He trampled on death with death and those in the tombs he bestowed life.
The Burial of Christ:
Once he had died on the cross Christ’s body was taken down and carried to a tomb and a large stone was rolled over the entrance, just prior to sun down. Pilate had guards placed on the stone so Jesus’ followers could not steal the body, and claim that Christ had be resurrected.