Bible Question:

The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke mention that the day of preparation for PASCA is on the 15th day of Nisan, but the gospel of John says it was on the 14th day of Nisan. Which is correct? Also, is it true that the day Noah's ark rested on mount Ararat is the same as the day of Jesus' crucifixion (April 14)?

Bible Answer:

Careful scholarship determines the day of Jesus’ resurrection and if Noah’s ark rested on Mount Ararat on the same day of His resurrection. Each of the gospels give us such wonderful information that we can determine the year, month and day of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Here are the passages,

Now on the next day, the day after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, and said, “Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.'” (NASB) Matthew 27:62-63

When evening had already come, because it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. (NASB) Mark 15:42-43

It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. (NASB) Luke 23:54-55

Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!” (NASB) John 19:14

Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. (NASB) John 19:31

Timeline of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection

Passover and Sabbath

It is important to note that John 19:14 refers to a preparation for the Passover meal which occurred at twilight and coincided with the beginning of the Sabbath. The words “day of” should not appear in the phrase “day of preparation” in John 19:14 and John 19:31 because the Greek words for “day of” do not appear in the Greek text, contrary to many translations. Consequently, we should understand both passages to refer to the preparation required for the Sabbath and Passover since both started at 6:00 pm on Nisan 14 and ended at 6:00 pm on Nisan 15. Consequently, the Sabbath was a called a High Sabbath or the Great Sabbath. Matthew 27:62-63, Mark 15:42-43, Luke 23:54-55 and John 19:31 all refer to the preparation  for the Sabbath because the Jews would prepare in advance of the Sabbath. This helps determine that Jesus died on a Friday.

Using sophisticated Jewish calendars and astronomical calculations, we can determine that Jesus died on Friday, Nisan 14, A.D. 33. The Jewish calendar reveals that Nisan 14 occurs on a Friday only in the years of A.D. 29, 33 and 36. Contrary to popular belief, Passover could not have occurred on A.D. 32. This date is confirmed using a computer and a sophisticated astronomical program to confirm that a full moon did occur on a Friday, Nisan 14., A.D. 33.  For more information read, “Prophecy of Daniel’s 70 Weeks.” This means the Jesus died on Nisan 14. The next was the Sabbath, Nisan 15 and Nisan 16 was the day of His resurrection.

Noah’s Ark and Jesus’ Resurrection

Genesis 8:2-4 tells us that Noah’s ark rested on Mount Ararat on the seventeenth day of the seventh month.

Also the fountains of the deep and the floodgates of the sky were closed, and the rain from the sky was restrained; and the water receded steadily from the earth, and at the end of one hundred and fifty days the water decreased. In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat. (NASB) Genesis 8:2-4

Now by comparing Exodus 12:2 to Exodus 13:4 we find that God instated the Feast of Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month of the Jewish calendar.

This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you. “Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household.'” Exodus 12:2-3 (NASB)

You shall keep it until the  fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. Exodus 12:6 (NASB)

From Exodus 13:4 we discover that Abib was the name of the first month of their calendar year at that time.

In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. Exodus 12:18-19 (NASB)

On this day in the month of Abib, you are about to go forth.  Exodus 13:4 (NASB)

The Jewish calendar remained unchanged from the time of Noah to the time of Moses and until the defeat of Judah by King Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:12). Then the calendar was changed. This can be observed that the Jewish calendar containing the months of Abib, Ziv were still being used in Exodus 23:15; 34:18; Deuteronomy 16:1; 1 Kings 6:1, 38 and 37. After 2 Kings 24:12, the Jewish months no longer appear in the Old Testament. However, the Babylonian month of Nisan appears in scripture (Nehemiah 2:1; Esther 3:7). Nisan was the first month of the Babylonian calendar and it replaced the month of Abib. Consequently, the Jewish Passover now occurs on Nisan 14.

Now comparing Exodus 12:2 to Esther 3:7, we find that the name of the first month was later changed from Abib to Nisan, the first month of the Jewish year.

In the first month, which is the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of King Ahasuerus, Pur, that is the lot, was cast before Haman from day to day and from month to month, until the twelfth month, that is the month Adar. (NASB) Esther 3:7

Consequently, both Exodus 12:2, 18-19 and Esther 3:7 reveal that Nisan 14 is the day on which God had commanded the Israelites to celebrate the passover. Now note that Noah’s ark did not rest on Mount Ararat on the same month of the Jewish calendar year nor on the day in which Jesus died or was resurrected.

Conclusion:

Jesus died on Nisan 14 which is the Passover day, the day on which the passover lamb was killed. He died before the Sabbath rest which started in the evening at 6:00 pm (1800 hours). Then Jesus was resurrected on Nisan 16 and not on the day Noah’s ark rested on Mount Ararat which was Nisan 17.

For those who might be disappointed that Noah’s ark did not rest on Mount Arat on the same day of the month that Jesus as resurrected, you might be encouraged by the fact that the ark rested on Mount Ararat during the time of the Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacles. In Leviticus 23:33-36 God commanded the Israelites to start the Feast of Booths on the fifteenth day in the seventh month which is Tishri. The feast was to last for seven days. That means the seventeenth day of the seventh month occurs in the middle of the feast. It should also be noted that the Feast of Booths is celebrated during the millennial kingdom (Zechariah 14:16-19). The Feast of Tabernacles is symbolic of Christ’s Second Coming when He will establish His earthly kingdom. The landing of Noah’s ark marked a new beginning and the millennial kingdom will make a new beginning.

Reference Links:

Time To Rest!
Date of Jesus' Death
How old was Yeshua when He died?
In which month is the Passover?
Passover dates - A.D. 30-33
Prophecy of Daniel's 70 Weeks