Welcome! Jesus Christ is my LORD and Savior! Romans 10:9-10,13; John 3:16

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Thank you for coming.
In the Year of our LORD Jesus Christ
-- As of January 20, 2017
A Sigh Of Relief With The Inauguration Of Donald John Trump as President of the United States of America, And Hope For A Prosperous Future For All United States Citizens (we who are a nation called "the melting pot of the world"). We shall be great and exceptionally great again.

It is likely that the entries to this blog will be less frequent than in years past. I do intend to keep this blog active, and to offer insightful information and/or opinion (and sometimes humor and/or entertainment on occasion) when I do post.

Peace and Liberty. Semper Fidelis.

Friday, April 22, 2011

On the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

By asking and answering questions, both student and scholar learn.  One well known and popular Jewish skeptic of Christianity (named Tovia) and I had exchanged e-mails and parried back and forth over the course of a month or so, some years back.  I have incorporated some of what I shared with believing Messianic Jews and the skeptic Tovia in the ff.    I have also included a past post from October 2009, a 4 Gospel Resurrection Account with Greek Word Pictures by me.  I hope you will find some or much of the information a blessing and illuminating. 

One of the challenges he raised was:

At what time was Jesus crucified?

Not mentioned in Matthew

9:00 a.m. -- “It was the third hour when they crucified him.” (Mark 15:25)

Not mentioned in Luke

12:00 p.m. -- Jesus was not crucified until after the sixth hour! (John 19:14-15)


“Was then (the) third hour, and they crucified Him.”  (Mark 15:25)

“It was then, Preparation of the Passover, hour then about the sixth,
And he says to the Jews,  Behold (look and see), the king of you!
They then cried, Away, Away, Crucify him!…

then, therefore, he delivered  up Him
To them in order that He might be crucified.”

Preparation of the Passover , from the Kohen / Priestly point of view, from inside the Temple ritual,  began at 3 am.

The priests starting duty would awake and wash in 40 se'ah or 340 liters of water or more (Yoma 3,3).  The G'vinay would yell their rear ends up and about. One was so loud a screamer, the Jerusalem Talmud says Agrippa rewarded him, as he was heard as far as 8 parasangs {23 miles} away (Jerusalem Talmud, Shekalim 5,1), which is obviously an exaggeration.

 The priests would then enter into the holy area {only} of the chamber of hewn stone and do assignment "lottery".  They would then assemble in squads, with squad leaders bearing torches, unlock the access to the Levitical courts, and undergo various other pre-dawn rituals to verify the sanctity of the Temple, the presence of the 93 Temple Vessels, etc. Once the search is over, and "all is well" is sounded, only then can the preparation of the High Priest meal offering begin.

Another  lottery for pre-dawn ash removal from the altar and other assignments will then be conducted.

On the Three mandatory Temple Gatherings of the all the men of Israel, those Festival Preparations when all men of Israel must appear, i.e., that of the Passover, Sukkot, and at the dedication of the First-fruits of Shavuot (Pentecost), the activity of the priests must begin at the start of the 3 am Watch.

   Hence, to the Kohen / the Priests,  it was the sixth hour at 9am on this Preparation of the Passover day, in the proper interpretation of John 19:14. Tovia got it wrong again, as his objections often do.   

John, as a sacrificing Kohen Priest who wore his own high priest garb and still sacrificed the unblemished lamb on Pesach, even after the Resurrection and destruction of the Temple, wrote and spoke from this vein.  The High Priest’s or final Passover lamb, was sacrificed at 3 pm at the 12th hour with the equivalent expression  as Jesus stated upon the Cross as if a High Priest over His own sacrificial life (as it were), saying, “It is finished”.

Hence, there is NO contradiction, as both the Synoptic Gospels and John  are designating 9 am. 

Another objection he raised was...:

Who carried the cross?

Simon of Cyrene (Matthew 27:32)
Simon of Cyrene (Mark 15:21)
Simon of Cyrene (Luke 23:26)
             Only Jesus himself carried the cross. (John 19:17)


Tovia made two primary errors in his questioning.  He misreads contextual testimony in the New Testament Scripture, and he did not check NT Greek source of the translation for veracity.  

“Going forth, then;  they found (a) man, (a) Cyrenian --by name, Simon -- ;  
This one they compelled [by force]  in order that he bear  the Cross of Him.”  
 Matthew 27:32 

“They  seized*into*possession* then, Jesus, and led away,
and bearing the Cross of Him, He went out into that called, “Of a Skull-cap” ,
 the place of which is called in the Hebrew ‘Golgotha” ,
 where Him they crucified.”  
John 18:16b-18a

In the above,  John testifies that when Jesus was led away, He most certainly was bearing the cross.  It says "He went out" bearing, but it doesn't say he necessarily "arrived" bearing.

In the Greek, John is clearly clarifying a misconception that some may have had that Simon carried the Cross virtually the whole way, rather than halfway or less, from where the Dung gate road and the Siloam Water Gate road met.

Just who led captivity captive? The First Priests were so confident in their zeal, that 6 of the 7 elders of the Sanhedrin (minus Nicodemus) were probably the ones that  triumphantly led Jesus directly out the Water Gate, and out of the City, stripped of His clothing, to be led as one near naked to His death on Golgotha.

As the “Nasi”, as the “princes” of the city, they lead Jesus on -- as if they were returning Caesars, -- leading their captive foe for all of Rome (in this case, for all of Jerusalem) to see.

In all likelihood, the precious garment of purple was carried in a satchel by one of the guards; because if it were ruined through and through with blood, it would be all but worthless to gamble over (Matthew 25:36-37).

It is the open show -- the parade to which the First Priests made of Jesus, -- that Jesus did reverse (by the power of His Resurrection) and make of these First Priests and others to which Paul also alludes to in Colossians 2:15,

And having stripped the clothes off the first rulers and
  the authorities, 

He displayed (these ones instead) in all  public speaking (and in the public eye), 
leading them   in it triumphantly (as if they themselves now follow behind).”

(Colossians 2:15 -- my translation w/ word pictures)

         Even so, it is the power of what GOD did at the Cross, which was the true triumph; because the Resurrection was the affirmation of that very power and victory of GOD, in Christ Jesus, over sin -- through the Cross.

Again, Matthew and Mark accurately portray what the Roman soldiers did to Jesus, and having been the ones who led Jesus away (Matthew 27:31; Mark 15:20).  Luke’s documentary from eyewitnesses to the event, as well as John of Zebedee, infer that the chief priests also participated in the living funeral march -- as Christ was led away to Calvary  (Luke 23:26; John 19:16).

Therefore, the parade led by the priests is not a Pauline theological hypothesis or concept, it is an established and historically testified eyewitness fact.  The documentary evidence gathered from Mark through Peter would have also included the testimony of Simon the Cyrene through Simon’s wife and their son Rufus, who were founding members of the Churches of Rome (Romans 16:13).

The Churches of Rome and Ephesus found their origin in Corinth of Achaia, where Luke had written his Gospel years earlier in A.D. 50.  Therefore, both Mark (i.e. Peter) and Luke, who both spent time with Rufus and his mom, found their source witness in mother and son.  Because of Luke’s meticulous nature for accuracy, we may conclude the extreme likelihood that both of these (and perhaps others of Simon the Cyrene's family, or unimpeachable source witnesses of some kind) personally could witness to and testify regarding Simon being "kicked about with the knees" (as it says in the Greek), until he submitted to carrying the Cross.

  Afterwards, following the family Patriarch to Golgotha, where he was set free from his forced service in carrying the Cross of Jesus all the way from the Dung and Water Gate street intersect.  From there, he followed behind Jesus, who followed behind and up alongside with the Romans, who followed behind the  First Priests.

This confirms Paul’s statement in Colossians 2:15, for Christ not only won every debate, but He -- through the Cross, and visibly confirmed by His victorious resurrection -- did turn the defeat into a victory, placing shame and dishonor upon the would be victors of the Sanhedrin Conspiracy.    

Let's look a little more at Simon's role.
The Passage of Simon the Cyrenian who joined at the halfway point in carrying the Cross...south

Prophecy says Jesus was cast out through the Siloam Gate
As was just mentioned, that even as the First Priests made an open show of Christ, and led him to His death; there was another victim in all of this, who was forced into this event: Simon of Cyrene (located in modern eastern Libya).

Cyrene, in the early First Century A.D., was an overflow colony from Egypt, settled largely by Jews from out of Alexandria.   Because of the Crucifixion experience, and what followed thereafter, (i.e., the Resurrection), Simon settled and was buried in Jerusalem.*

       In A.D. 50, the physician Luke compiled His Gospel account while in Corinth of Achaia, Greece.   In relation to this, he would write the Book of Acts some 7 years later.  Acts was almost immediately followed (within two months) by Paul’s teachings as recollected by Luke (following the June 29, 57 A.D. deaths of Peter and Paul in Rome).  That third work became known to us as the Book of Hebrews.

         So, in 50 A.D., in the midst of the Apostles Peter and Paul, and in the midst of other Apostles who have come to Corinth (cf., I Corinthians 9:5), and of Rufus and his mom, Luke writes:

"And as they led (Christ) away, they [the Roman guards] laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and they laid the cross on him, that he might bear (it), following behind Jesus."  
  (Luke 23:26) King James Version /  KJV

The combined accounts of Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:20c-21, and Luke 23:26, in the Literal Greek to English Translation would read as thus:

"And brings out and leads Him so that He may be crucified;
and after having searched,

found a man returning from the wild fields,
a certain Simon, --who by name and reputation is the father of Alexander and Rufus --  

this one they beat about with the knees violently,
 in order that he would take up, raise the Cross, and bear it;
which he did take up, bear, and endure 

 behind the back of Jesus.”                                      (Translation mine)

       The emphasis in this verse is where Simon was coming from: the "country".  The word for "country" in the Greek, is the anarthous noun "agrou"; or literally, "a field".  When this usage is examined in relation to Jerusalem, it is directly used of that region which lies south of Jerusalem.  Hence, an exit that reasonably would have had to lead southwards by one of the lower city gates., but not through the gate by which Simon returned by (i.e., not by the Dung Gate).

So in order to intersect Simon the Cyrene, Simon would have had been leading an animal cart north on the Dung Gate road, while the Romans escorted Jesus east along the lower city Water Gate road, toward the Kidron Valley and Mount Olivet.

* Biblical Archaeology Review, Vol. 29, No. 4, Jul/Aug 2003, pp. 46-51.  “Family Tomb of Simon the Cyrene…’Treasures in the Storeroom’ by Tom Powers.”  In 1941, Eleazar Sukenik (and his assistant Nahman Avigad) discovered the hewn rock cave of Simon the Cyrene in the Kidron Valley.  Among the bone ossuaries: Simon, his son Alexander, and three others of the family.  A Herodian era lamp lay present, which I contend was perhaps a keepsake from the Upper Room.

Simon was in Temple Service at the time of his being pressed into service, he could only exit and enter Jerusalem by the Dung Gate route, and therefore any other route than south from Antonio and East on the Water gate road is in error...even though this upsets hundreds of years of scholarship presumption, my presentation of the route appears to be absolutely correct as taken from both New and Old Testament requirements, and even earliest Church Tradition which mentioned a descent into Hinom (valley).

Now, in the 50s A.D., some confusion may have surfaced in the early Church amongst the Gentiles that Simon could possibly have carried the Cross from as far north as the Fortress Antonia, from which Jesus moved and carried the Cross South and then East from, prior to Simon’s being pressed into service.  For this reason, John clarifies...and does NOT contradict.  The answer, from the location of the Tower and Fortress of Antonio's Gabbatha to the Dung Gate road, Jesus carried the Cross alone, and headed out toward Calvary. John never says that Jesus never had help later, and writes in such a context in the Greek.

So clearly, there is no contradiction when one understands the witness view of vantage points seeing the carrying of the Cross and the route taken.   From Gabbatha directly south past the Western Wall of the Temple and continuing south to the Water gate road, and then due east toward the Gihon Spring gate, Jesus carried the Cross alone.  At the road juncture south of the Temple, where the Dung gate road "T" intersects into the Water Gate / Gihon Spring Gate Road, any witness from this point to the Golgotha area, would have seen Simon carrying the cross, etc.

Objection:  Well then, what about the 3 days and 3 nights difficulty? 

There is no actual difficulty, except an erroneous day accepted by the Roman Catholic Church et al.   Jesus was Crucified on a Wednesday, not on a Friday.

Three days and three nights      Jesus died upon the Cross at the ninth daylight hour on March 23, A.D. 30; the tenth of the Kalends of April (Lactantius, Letter to Donatus, .2). This fell on a Wednesday, the 14th in the correct calendar reckonings which modern computer software has yet to align to.   At Sunset (Shkias HaChamah) Joseph of Arimathea and Nico-demus (a Greek translation for "Chief Rabbi of Eretz Israel"-- of all Israel outside Jerusalem) embalmed Jesus' body just south of the Olivet fault, near the Kidron & Hinom Juncture on Olivet, just north of En Rogel.  They finished by the time of the appearance of the first three small stars at which time was called "Tzais HaKochavim".

       Shkias HaChamah and Tzais HaKochavim is called "between suns".  It is at this time that we are in the twilight zone in which the days change, a time of erev or disorder (as we find implied in Genesis 1).

     Jesus was buried from Tzais HaKochavim Wednesday night (now the day becoming in Jewish reckoning the 15th of Nisan) through Thursday night (now the 16th - 1 night / 1 day), through Friday night (now the 17th - 2 nights / 2 days), through to Saturday night (now the 18th): three nights and three days.

In all likelihood, He rose again from the dead in the third watch of the night.  However, Yeshua / Jesus he was in the earth for an entire three nights and three days.

     When the first light began to break on the eastern sky, but while it was still dark, we see the passages of Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, Luke 24:1, and John 20:1 in this reverse sequence called "Alos HaShacar": which is defined as "first light which appears before the sun itself is visible".  The time in which the women left for the tomb was at this point, but on the leeward or western side of Olivet, the tomb and the valley of the Kidron would have remained in darkness even after that "Naitz HaChamah" (the rising of the sun as it slips upon and above the horizon). Therefore, there is no discrepancy in the Gospel accounts: none.

At such a point as Alos HaShacar, Jesus had long since arisen, probably at about 3 am, such as when the Apostles on the Sea of Galilee once thought Him a ghost walking upon the water.  We can place the time of the resurrection after the 2 am passing of the Centurion's messengers.  In normal peaceful situations, the Centurion would merely dispatch one of his 4 designated runners to verify the posts and watches were present and accounted for, and receive back special marks unique to each post on a tablet with the watchword written by that post or watch.  In cases outside the encampment, such as when huge crowds still lingered in the hundreds of thousands, as on First fruits, it is very likely that these otherwise 4 runners would instead act as a guard, and these 4 would have instead accompanied the Centurion on horseback, the  foot-soldiers 4-square around him on this occasion or such an occasion due to the number of the crowds.  At night, outside the city walls, the designated Centurion was  required to make his rounds at or about the time of each watch, the outposts like the resurrection tomb to be traveled to and from on horseback for expediency, and the watchword only given the sunset before exchanged in the verification (cf. Polybius Book 6.35 and 6.36).  Thus the watch is issued the Password / Watchword at 6pm for the evening, and exchanges it in a small tablet form with a mark or signature known only to the Centurion and his Chili-arch Commander, at 10pm, 2am, and 6am...the last check being 2 am before the 6am morning report   If by darkness he was delayed , the latest he would have visited and made ALL his rounds, and returned to his own primary post (beginning and end destination) would be 3 am.

     This recognition of 3 am as being the first hour of the Temple Priests on high Holidays, as when they are to awaken, also points us to that time being the time of Christ's own awakening from the dead as well.  This is yet the uncompleted evening hours of  the evening and day of Firstfruits, upon which day, like the kernal of wheat, Christ was resurrected from out of the ground, as the prayer goes: "Blessed are You, HASHEM our G-D, King of the Universe, who gave us the Torah of Truth and implanted eternal life within us...Blessed are You, HASHEM our G-D, King of the Universe, who brings forth Bread from the Earth."  The Bread from the Earth is Messhiach Yeshua, who becomes our manna, our bread, whom implants the Instruction (the Voice of HASHEM) within us, by way of the person of the Holy Spirit, and gives us eternal life.

      After the tying of the Torah, and upon its being covered again, we in ritual may join with those who are Jewish believers into Yeshua, and cite the Haftarah, and then we reaffirm the Resurrection of Messhiach, saying: "Blessed are You, HASHEM, our G-D, King of the Universe, Rock of all eternities, Righteous in all generations, the trustworthy G-D Who says and does, Who speaks and fulfills, all of Whose words are true and righteous.  Trustworthy are You, HASHEM our G-D, and trustworthy are Your words, not one of Your words is turned back upon itself to its origin as unfulfilled, for You are G-D, the trustworthy (compassionate) King.  Blessed are You, HASHEM, the G-D who is trustworthy in all His words."  (cf. Psalm 93:1-2, Micah 5:2, Exodus 15:18 -- HASHEM's Kingship over Israel is eternal, and must be linked to Judah and to other passages dealing with David's line -- the Messiah must be eternal and HASHEM Himself come amongst us at some point in time).

       The words of Jesus are sure, for  His history and the New Testament rests unchallenged by the sages nearest to His time, and for generations thereafter, even when Christianity was weak and vulnerable had it been untrue.  The ancients are silent, but for a few far removed  scoffers, hundreds of miles from the facts of where the resurrection and trustworthiness of Messhiach were made known.  Therefore, an accurate accounting does matter, and is available to those who truly will search out the matter from a willing heart seeking Him.

    When Jesus entered Jerusalem, He did so on Palm Shabbat (Saturday), not on a Sunday -- which is erroneous.  He spent 4 days at the Temple, teaching and being examined, even as the Lamb of Pesach, found without spot and without blemish.

Most Jewish Calendars have mistakenly reckoned how the dates fell in their reconstructions, because March 23, 30 A.D. fell on a Wednesday before a later period of calendar adjustments altered how we reckon the past in computer generations.

After the Seder, at about midnight, when the Jesus and the disciples "went out and sung a hymn" (Mark 14:26), this refers to the fact that about midnight, all 3,000,000 in and about Jerusalem would rise up to the sound of the shofar and would stand on rooftops or wherever they could face and see the Temple...and at the cue, the nation of Israel would sing the hymn / the Hallel Psalm.  

Such a reference by Peter (through Mark) enforces that fact that Jesus is a literal Passover sacrifice who literally was in the Earth 3 days and nights.

In Acts 2:19-23, Peter preached:

19  And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

20  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:

21  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

22  Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

23  Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

   The Ante-Nicene documentation, including the "hard to accept" account of Pilate's official letter to Caesar, as well as the Greek NT and various biblical passages, clearly infers that before all 3,000,000 in Jerusalem, from noon to 3pm, the day was as an erev (a night of disorder) in which it was red like a camera and film darkroom..and Jesus upon the Cross, after a ghostly fashion, appeared to be burning and greatly smoking, as if a ghostly fire were consuming Him as the literal Passover sacrifice. For which reason when it was all over, many of the 3,000,000 (Luke 23:48),
            "beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned."

   More happened at the Cross than any film-maker has ever attempted to show.  I suspect, especially with Matthew's testimony in the midst of hostile witnesses (as Peter was during Acts 2)...so much more happened at the Resurrection as well.

Tertullian, Apology Chapter 21, states:

"at last they brought Him before Pontius Pilate, at that time Roman governor of Syria; and, by the violence of their outcries against Him, extorted a sentence giving Him up to them to be crucified. He Himself had predicted this; which, however, would have signified little had not the prophets of old done it as well. And yet, nailed upon the cross, He exhibited many notable signs, by which His death was distinguished from all others.

At His own free-will, He with a word dismissed from Him His spirit, anticipating the executioner’s work. In the same hour, too, the light of day was withdrawn, when the sun at the very time was in his meridian blaze. Those who were not aware that this had been predicted about Christ, no doubt thought it an eclipse. You yourselves have the account of the world-portent still in your archives."

The question becomes, to what account is still in the archives of Caesar's Libraries?  For Tertullian opens the Apology / Defense at the beginning of his chapters with:

"Rulers of the Roman Empire, if, seated for the administration of justice on your lofty tribunal, under the gaze of every eye, and occupying there all but the highest position in the state, you may not openly inquire into and sift before the world the real truth in regard to the charges made against the Christians...." 

This tells us he is addressing the highest body politic of the Senate of the Empire; to which Caesar sat with and presided over, and probably would have heard this letter read aloud also (if he was paying attention, and not reading and quietly conversing on other matters). 

"All these things Pilate did to Christ; and now in fact a Christian in his own convictions, he sent word of Him to the reigning Caesar, who was at the time Tiberius. Yes, and the Caesars too would have believed on Christ, if either the Caesars had not been necessary for the world, or if Christians could have been Caesars."

Pilate is known to have sent word to Tiberius, and that letter would have become an official document in the archives and libraries of Caesar -- in the same manner or way, in which the works of Josephus' were also placed and made available for examination.

In Chapter 47, indirectly inferring also to the signs mentioned by Pilate's letter, which we shall later see, Tertullian writes:

"Accordingly, we get ourselves laughed at for proclaiming that God will one day judge the world. For, like us, the poets and philosophers set up a judgment-seat in the realms below.  And if we threaten Gehenna, which is a reservoir of secret fire under the earth for purposes of punishment, we have in the same way derision heaped on us. For so, too, they have their Pyriphlegethon, a river of flame in the regions of the dead...The reason simply is, that they have been taken from our religion."

What made Pilate change to being a Christian?  Was it just the fact of the Resurrection, or was there a horror of the miraculous that preceded it?  If so, what were those miracles or signs that persuaded Pilate to become a Christian?  Believers in Pyriphlegethon generally were reincarnationists...but Pilate chose a faith that certainly wasn't.  Why?

Scholarship has no problem redacting the accounts of Josephus' testimony of Jesus.  We know for a fact that Tertullian was able to get an official account in his hands between 192 - 206 A.D. in the libraries of Caesar in Rome.

Lumped together from five manuscripts by a German "higher critic" in the 19th century, this account strangely will hold the same veracity as Julius Caesar, and various other ancient writers.  However, the actual [although abridged version of the] testimony of Pilate may have been as thus:

In those days, our Lord Jesus Christ having been crucified under Pontius Pilate, procurator of Palestine and Phœnicia, these records were made in Jerusalem as to what was done by the Jews against the Lord.  Pilate therefore, along with his private report, sent them to the Caesar in Rome, writing thus:—

"To the most mighty, venerable, most divine, and most terrible, the august Caesar, Pilate the governor of the East sends greeting. ...in... Jerusalem, all the people of the Jews have delivered to me a man named Jesus, bringing many charges against him, which they were not able to convict him of by the consistency of their evidence.

And one of the heresies they had against him was, that Jesus said that their Sabbath should not be a day of leisure, and should not be observed.  For he performed many cures on that day:  he made the blind receive their sight, the lame walk; he raised up the dead, he cleansed the lepers; he healed paralytics that were not at all able to make any movement of their body, or to keep their nerves steady, but who had only speech and the modulation of their voice, and he gave them the power of walking and running, removing their illness by a single word...

And these are the things which I lately had in my mind to report, which Jesus accomplished on the Sabbath.  And other signs greater than these he did, so that I have perceived that the wonderful works done by him are greater than can be done by the gods whom we worship.

And him Herod and ...all the people, delivered to me, making a great uproar against me that I should try him.  I therefore ordered him to be crucified, having first scourged him, and having found against him no cause of evil accusations or deeds.

And at the time he was crucified there was darkness over all the world, the sun being darkened at mid-day, and the stars appearing, but in them there appeared no luster; and the moon, as if turned into blood, failed in her light."

Note: that the same signs of the moon and sun are later noted, in 52 A.D., by Thallus - who attributes the event to a solar eclipse.  A Solar eclipse in which the moon is visible as a full moon and as a red lamp. A Solar eclipse in which the sun is observed to be put out.  The position of the moon would have probably been about the same angle as the sun at 9am off the horizon. It has been many years since I last observed a full moon in the blue daytime sky, but it would have been such a like event.

And the world was swallowed up by the lower regions, so that the very sanctuary of the temple, as they call it, could not be seen by the Jews ...and they saw below them a chasm of the earth, with the roar of the thunders that fell upon it.

The reference made by Tertullian to a river of fire -- " Pyriphlegethon, a river of flame in the regions of the dead" -- was also seen, which suggests that the original letter of Pilate probably proclaimed such a record, but was altered by a later copyist.  We are dependent on Tischendorf's version after combining 5 manuscripts in the mid 1800s.

With that terror, being in perplexity, and seized with a most frightful trembling, I have written what I saw at that time, and have reported to thy majesty.  Having set in order also what was done by the Jews against Jesus, I have sent it, my lord, to thy divinity."

This above abridged version is probably close to the original letter sent by Pontius Pilate, as saved in references left us. In part, we have this testimony regarding Tiberius' own reaction to the report as:

"To say a word about the origin of laws of the kind to which we now refer, there was an old decree that no god should be consecrated by the emperor till first approved by the senate.

Marcus Æmilius had experience of this in reference to his god Alburnus.  And this, too, makes for our case, that among you divinity is allotted at the judgment of human beings. Unless gods give satisfaction to men, there will be no deification for them: the god will have to propitiate the man.

"Tiberius, accordingly, in whose days the Christian name made its entry into the world, having himself received intelligence from Palestine of events which had clearly shown the truth of Christ’s divinity, brought the matter before the senate, with his own decision in favour of Christ.  The senate, because it had not given the approval itself, rejected his proposal. Cæsar held to his opinion, threatening wrath against all accusers of the Christians."  
Tertullian, Apology, Chapter 5

Why was Caesar so persuaded to make Jesus a "god" to be worshiped by Rome?  What was in that report?  What factor helped persuade him?  Could it be more than Tiberius Caesar observing a full moon solar eclipse while on his self-imposed island exile?  His great fear was thunder, and his greatest concern about the stars.  If, as I have indicated, the above was written to Tiberius at Capreae (Capri); this would have been enough, with his own other observation and other reports, to have persuaded his public bombast upon the Senate and desire to deify Christ under Roman worship and Roman profiteering.

In Joel, we read:
"And I will perform signs in the heavens and on the earth: Blood, fire, and pillars of smoke.

[Rashi comments  - "and pillars of smoke" - Perpendicular pillars of smoke, as tall as a palm tree.]

The sun shall turn to darkness, and the moon to blood, prior to the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord."

The question becomes...for it to be a "sign", where would these perpendicular (perfectly vertical) pillars of smoke have to ascend from to be preternatural?

Somewhere where it is impossible to come from...such as the Cross.

And from the inferences left us by Tertullian and Pilate about the Kidron and Hinom turning into a living abyss, and the "fiery river" where the Kidron torrent was now running (cf. John 18:1)...perhaps even the Kidron river, from noon to 3pm, also blew forth columns of smoke as well.  Were the columns of smoke at the 3 wooden bridges which crossed the valley riverbed, or clearly separate?  We won't know until Heaven.  But it sure will be another nice little tidbit to find out!

Notice also, that the signs of blood and fire are listed separately from the signs in the sun and the moon.  This means that, along with the pillars of smoke being separate signs...so also the blood and fire.

Once again, in Acts 2, the clear accusation is that all Jerusalem beheld such signs...

19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come:

21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

...and for hundreds of years after, we NEVER have any denial or refutation of such supernatural events, incredible as they were,  by either non-believing Jews or those who call themselves Christians.

Like the miracles of Jesus, there is a reservation from telling us the greatness and wonder...as if to give us what we need to know, and what our minds can grasp and comprehend.


The Resurrection

(A Four Gospel Abridged Account, faithfully translated from the Greek with word pictures: by Brianroy)


“And coming toward and into a tract of land, upon which is called Golgotha in the Hebrew, the which is saying -- in interpretation -- ‘the skull cap area’. {1}

[Comment:  The insinuation is a yarmulke. The tomb of David, which was prominent in this land-tract, was like the skullcap upon the head of Jerusalem. In this area, only those kings of Israel that were considered worthy, had their bones interred. Nehemiah 3:16 (and other passages), tell us that there were multiple burial sites for the Kings of the Davidic line here: thus, the name “Golgotha” or “skull-cap”, being an idiom for an area dedicated to the “kings or the skull-caps of the nation of Israel”. Kings were therefore a type of yarmulke in their symbolism.

The tomb of David was a white sepulcher that eerily resembled a skull at certain times of the day. This was hated by the first priests. In effect, David was looked down upon by the first priests of the city as just an ancestral reference whose name, like the Almighty, could be invoked to frighten the common folk into compliance.]

And having crucified Him, sitting down, (the soldiers) guarded Him there. {2}

And the people stood wherever they were at, viewing attentively. {3}

[Comment:  This testifies to the crowded conditions mentioned by Josephus and others, 3,000,000 plus were crammed into an area less than a few square miles. By comparison, Alexandria Egypt was a crowded city with less than a mile in width and four miles in length, being congested daily with just 500,000. The condition in Jerusalem was 6 - 7 times worse in a comparable area of about half that length for three times a year: twice being in excess of 7 days at a time. This feast of Unleavened Bread - the Passover - First Fruits was one of those occasions. Just the fact that the Romans were able to push their crucifixion through the streets of Jerusalem was practically a feat in itself.]

And it was then the third hour [being 9 a.m.] when they crucified Him. {4}

Then from sixth hour [being 12 p.m, that is, at or about noon] the light of day was removed

entirely, for the darkness came into being (as night) upon and over all the

the Land [of Israel, even upon the whole Earth] until the ninth hour

[until 3 p.m.], for the sun was as black as the darkness. {5}

Then, in the ninth hour, Jesus emphatically cried out with a loud and

commanding voice {6} …and the veil of the Temple was rent violently in two,

from top to bottom. {7} Then Jesus again emphatically cried out with a great

and commanding voice, releasing the wind, {8} bowing His head and having

stopped breathing. {9}

[Comment: The night and morning previous, there was rainfall. The clouds had dissipated by the third hour, and there was no wind for six hours. Upon the death of Jesus, not only did His “Spirit” or pneuma depart from His body, but doubly applicable, the “wind” or pneuma was released, as though with a vengeance or authority, as well.]

And the earth trembled with an agitated shaking. {10}

[ Comment:  Scripture reference to consider
“ O YHVeH, 
put on them reverent fear 
and dread (like clothing) [upon a man],
(and like scrub) [upon a field].
Let the nations know intuitively
that they(are only) mortals. Selah.” (Psalm 9:20)]

And the centurion standing near, but across, out and off at the opposite of
Him, {11} guarding Him, {12} saying,
‘Surely this righteous man was the son of GOD.’ {13}

Then the soldiers came, and …coming upon Jesus, when they saw and perceived that He was presently at this time dead, they did not break his legs -- as with an axe, in two. {14} But still another one of the soldiers with a lance, drove in deep, pierced the side of Him: and all at once (there) came out (of the wound) blood and water. {15}

[Pilate asks Joseph to bury Jesus]

Then after these things, {16} Joseph of Arimathea went in, up to, and alongside
Pilate. {17} And taking courage asked (what was to become) of the body of
Jesus. {18}

Then…having called near the centurion, he (Pilate) interrogated him {19}….And fully knowing from the centurion, {20} Pilate asked Joseph of Arimathea, -- then being a concealed disciple of Jesus, through the terror and fright of the Jews -- in order that he might take up and carry away the body of Jesus. {21}

[Comment: In Polybius 6.24.2, where he speaks on the Roman Army structure, he designates this centurion for us as one of those who sit upon the Military Council, and advises the Chili-arch  and those above him.  He is well informed as to what happens as reported to him by other Centurions also under him, and in this sense, he is of the Officer's Counsel.  Clearly, the most knowledgeable and well informed Roman Centurion on the War Council, and one perhaps who with his own eyes witnessed the events from start to finish as well, was present to make his report to Pilate.
      The testimony of John in the Greek specifically and literally says that Pilate asked Joseph. The testimony of Peter through Mark infers a fearsome inquisitiveness to the effect of: ‘Now that this one has died, you’re not really going to leave the body up there are you? It’s already between the evenings, the preparation time of our observance of Holy Day.’ Therefore, it makes perfect sense for Pilate to turn to Joseph and ask the favor, and may be that he personally issued some money quietly for the linen for Jesus’ burial. Although Pilate’s wife may have wished Jesus ill, I sincerely believe that Pilate did not. However, to say Pilate gave Joseph money to make the linen purchase is simply a 50/50 speculation on my part, based on the reading of the Gospel text.]

And purchasing a linen fabric, and coming, {22} he took the body of Jesus. {23}

Then also came Nicodemus, bearing up and carrying a mixed blend of myrrh and aloes, about 100 (times) 12 ounces. {24} They together, they bore up the body of Jesus, and wrapped Him up in the linen sheeting, and bound it around and fastened it together with the spices, as is customary with Jewish burial. {25}

And in that same tract of land where He was crucified, there was a garden; and in the garden there was a new tomb out of rock, in which no one had ever been placed.

They then put Jesus there through the (time) of the Preparation of the Jews

[until the first three stars were about to appear in the sun setting sky],

because the tomb was near. {26}

And having rolled a very great stone to the door of the memorial cave, he left. Then, was there Mary the Magdalene and the other Mary sitting down before the presence of the grave.

Then upon the next day, the which is in the midst {27} of the Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees were gathered together up alongside and next to Pilate, saying 
‘Lord, we do mindfully so recollect that one, the deceiver, said upon (His) life, ‘’After three days, I will be raised up (a new creation).’’ 
Set in motion and urge then (for) the grave to be made secure until the third day, lest at any time the disciples of Him come near by night, and by stealth steal Him, that they might say to the people, ‘’He is arisen from the dead’’; and the last deceit will thereby be worse than the first.

Then Pilate shone forth his words to them,

[having heretofore been suspicious of them, and having kept silent],

You now have and hold possession of a custodian guard. Go away and depart in secret, and secure it against (your) enemies and verify all with your sight and observance that it is so. They then, rushed and ran through with violence and made the grave secure against (their) enemies, setting the stone (with) the seal of authenticity (upon) the grave in the midst of the custodian guard. {28}

[Comment: Upon arrival, the Pharisees and First priests have the stone removed, and verify the identity of Jesus, while in the midst (or presence) of the custodial guard. The centurion verifies definitively that indeed their testimony is true. That is, probably the entire council witnesses Jesus’ chest and head with their own eyes. The tomb is closed back up with the great rock, and then sealed with the signet of Pilate. The two Mary’s are chased off from the area; the site is secured to the council’ satisfaction. The guard will consist of about 20 sentries and one centurion. They will be checked up on at regular intervals of generally 4 hours by the Centurion of the Day-watch or the Centurion of the night watch or one of his messengers.  The watchword and mark must be reported in by tablet form to the Centurion who gives these to the Chili-arch, and verifies the watches are in good order.  If one is absent, does not have the correct watchword issued daily at sunset, etc., the fact is immediately known.  Punishment for failing to respond is to be beat by every soldier in the command (as was Jesus by Pilate), or to be stoned by the same.  The Centurion's punishment was a severe flogging. Survivor's became stateless, and any who aided them, such as family, were to be mercilessly destroyed in the same manner as those who may possibly have survived such punishment received at the first.]

Then, the evening watch of the Sabbaths, upon the first rays of light dawning
into the one of the Sabbaths [First-fruits], Mary the Magdalene and the other
Mary came towards, to gaze and closely look upon the grave. And behold!

A shaking came into being, very great! For (the) Angel of the LORD descending down out of Heaven, and coming up to and alongside (the location) rolled up back and (sending uphill and) away the stone, and sitting down up on top of it.

[Comment: The context of the rolling back of the stone appears to be that it was done so forcefully, that the great rock was out of its groove, and tossed a short way up and behind the tomb entrance, yet still over the cave’s perspective. This indicates that the rock was circular, and not squared, like a cork. As the Psalmist said, “But GOD will redeem My soul from the power of the grave, for He shall receive Me. Selah.” (Psalm 49:15 - KJV)]

And then the face of His was the beholding of lightning, and the weight of his
glory as white as snow. Then from the intense and quaking fear of him, those guarding were shaken to their very core, and came into being as if they were dead.

From judging discreetly, the Angel then said to the women,

‘Don’t you be frightened out of your wits (also). For I see and know that you
seek Jesus, He having been crucified. He isn’t here, because He was raised up, just as He said. Come here. Look and see the place where the LORD lay
down. {29}

Then weeping outside up alongside the tomb, Mary stood; and as she wept, she bent over beside and into the tomb, and beheld two angels sitting down: one up alongside the head, and one up alongside the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And say these to her, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’

She responds and says, ‘Because they took up and carried away my LORD,

and I don’t see or know where they placed Him.’

And saying these things, she turns about to where she was looking back, and looks at and gazes at Jesus [up close, and personal], standing (there), and still does not see and yet know that it is Jesus.

Jesus says to her,

‘Woman, why are you crying? Just who is it that you seek after
and strive to find?” {30}

This question is on the lips of Jesus to you. Just who is it that you seek after and strive to find?



1 Matthew 27:33, Mark 15:22, Luke 23:33, John 19:17

2 Matthew 27:35, 36; Mark 15:24

3 Luke 23:35

4 Mark 15:24. Also, the symbolism of a conqueror who captures his enemy, and drags him through the streets, as in a noose, is prophesied as a result of the crucifixion in the Hebrew of Psalm 9:16.

“YHVeH is made known in the Judgment He has made and brought about:
in the work of the bend of His Hands [.i.e., in His wrists]
are the wicked ensnared
(as in a noose). A Meditation. Selah!” (Psalm 9:16, my translation)

“And (one) shall say unto Him, ‘What are these wounds in thine hands?
Then He shall answer,
(Those) with which I was wounded (in) the house of my friends.” (Zechariah 14:6, KJV)

5 Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33, Luke 23:44-45

6 Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34, Luke 23:7 The Greek emphasis given by Luke and Mark’s gospel is that the cry was great, and loud, and commanding; not just a query. It goes to experiencing the separation of which the unbeliever has in hell, and why Christ -- without sin -- experienced the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth aspect of sin upon the Cross. By confining Himself to Scripture, YHVeH the Son not only experienced man’s separation from GOD the Father, but was able to offer up the appropriate response to which we believers are called to respond with. We may call GOD into question for activities of withdrawal and ask why. We may not lawfully accuse Him or slander. Jesus simply noted the activity and then demandingly questioned, why? As seen in the Psalms, and as the Son of David, this response is perfectly acceptable with GOD.

7 Luke 23:45, Mark 15:38. Matthew 27:51 places the order of the temple veil, the earthquake, and resurrection in a collective utterance (i.e., vv. 51-53 are to be read as parenthetical).

8 Matthew 27:50

9 John 19:30, Mark 15:37, Luke 23:46

10 Matthew 27:51,54. The biblical writers had a habit of leaving natural events and weather out of their writings. Matthew, in the heart of the capitol, among thousands of hostile witnesses, in 55 A.D., freely speaks of the simultaneous earthquake, the solar anomaly, and the sudden wind that blew fiercely at the time of the crucifixion. When these events happened, it made the senses of the millions watching even more acute, so that when the centurion cried out, ‘Surely this was the son of GOD!’, and the more heard him and paid his words attention. There is no Talmudic teaching to argue or dispute the Gospels or their events from having occurred. If there was any objection, despite the persecutions of the Roman Catholic Church in their sphere of influence, those disputations of Christian history would have survived among the rabbinate. That rabbinical silence is, de facto, an affirmation of the Christian witness.

11 Mark 15:39 - ο παρεστηκως εξ εναντιας αυτου This tells us the positioning of the centurion and the soldiers in relation to the Cross. The soldiers had placed Jesus on one side of the stone fissure which leads up to David’s tomb, while they stood upon the other side. The fissure’s width had to be narrow and easily traversed by a running soldier (e.g. Mark 15:36). The area of crucifixion also had to be leveled out, yet steep round about it: easily defensible.
Only one centurion was needed to prevent access while his troop sat and rested. Why? Perhaps the site was a steep mound, like a high place, easily controllable, accessible by one narrow path no more than 4-5 feet wide. Though upon the Eastern Mount, the western slope of Olives, the Romans held a south-north positioning from Jesus near the Kidron - Hinom Valley Juncture. This will not entirely make sense until the fissure to Azal is excavated, and David’s tomb is found along that fissure. Once that site of David’s former tomb in Jerusalem is found, then the Gospel accounts will make perfect sense.
Having never seen what the Apostles saw, as it relates to Jerusalem’s topography in 30 A.D., accurate visualization is very difficult. Paul through Luke in Hebrews indicates the Romans were to the north, and Christ crucified closer to the south or Hinom gate, through which the blood of animals were to be burned without the camp.

12 Matthew 27:54

13 Mark 15:39, Luke 23:47, Matthew 27:54

14 John 19:32-33

15 John 19:34 The blood and water aspect shows that Jesus heart burst after dying of asphyxiation, and congestive heart failure. What little blood was left in His body was quickly separating. The Gospel of John is telling us that there was probably about a 20 minute interval between Jesus’ death and the piercing. This probably occurred when the soldiers receive the writ from Joseph of Arimathea, bearing Pilate’s order to give the body of Jesus to him, and get rid of the other two by usual means (cf. John 19:38). The spear would have punched through  from a six to eight inch blade -- with a quick counter clockwise twist before removal -- would have had the same effect as the lance.
However, the Psalms specifically list the “spears” of the bulls of Bashan “western or Roman” soldiers, as piercing Messiah. The left side must flow forth the Living Waters if Messiah is to sit at the Right Hand of the Father in order for the river of Life to proceed from BOTH the throne of the Father and the Lamb (e.g. Revelation 22:1).

16 John 19:38

17 Mark 15:43; Matthew 27:57-58; Luke 23:50,52

18 Mark 15:43

19 Mark 15:44

20 Mark 15:45

21 John 19:38

22 Mark 15:46

23 John 19:38

24 John 19:39

25 Mark 15:46, Matthew 27:59, Luke 23:53, John 19:40

26 John 19:41-42

27 Meta… here means “in the midst” of the Preparation, evening-morning. Based on the context: “the next morning” following the Passover sacrifice, even though it is still a holy day. The Passover has already been partaken of, so defilement with Pilate is not an issue. Whether they penalize themselves 7 days or not, the primary concern is to secure the body of Jesus before the disciples gain courage to do so.

Now that the Passover had been taken, the number of people had dwindled dramatically from the very hour of the 3pm sacrifice (Luke 23:48), so that by the next day, and well before the time of First fruits, less than a few thousand beside the Temple guard and Roman patrols would still be remaining in the hills about Jerusalem. Many hundreds of thousands would be leaving in a very short span of time, so that it might not be hard to tamper with the tomb upon the following evening. Therefore, it was imperative to open the tomb, verify the identity of the body, seal it, and guard it. By doing this very act, these first priests verified and sealed the authenticity of the coming Resurrection of Jesus as definitive fact, though unknowingly at the time.

28 Matthew 27:60-66

29 Matthew 28:1-6

30 John 20:11-15 The woman stooped down and was able to look inside the cave-tomb. The entrance was probably at least 3 feet high, with a groove of at least 1 ½ - 2 feet in depth, of sufficient width to allow a man to safely turn about in it without falling down. The platform and floor of the cave had to drop another 3-5 feet below the elevation where the woman was standing, and be back into the cave some 8-10 feet. In all likelihood, there were finger mausoleums -- which were also cut into the back of the cave, curving out of sight, even from the light of the angelic radiance. Because of its proximity to the tomb of King David, and its being on the Mount of Olives, this newly hewn out rock-cave tomb was a very expensive purchase and stone cutting project, and speaks of immense wealth. Whoever owned this cave was not only rich, he was almost like a government treasury unto himself. Perhaps more so than the rich young man of Matthew 20:16-22.

[Update:  Font recoloring for easier reading on 01/07/2014]

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