Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

When Was the Messiah Crucified?

According to the Talmud, A BLACK stone came up 40 consecutive years without a single WHITE stone prior to the siege of Jerusalem. This is hardly the kind of thing that could happen by chance. The statistical odds against chance in this case are horrendous. The rabbis realized this was an extremely bad omen.

by HOIM Staff

The dating of the Crucifixion of the Messiah depends upon the dating of Passover in the years Pontius Pilate was ruling. The only years in which Passover occurred while Pilate was in charge, and early enough to allow Paul's conversion to have occurred at least 14 years before the council in Acts 15, were 28, 30, 31, 33 and 34 A.D.

Paul says in Galatians that he was three years in Damascus following his conversion and then fourteen years elapsed until he joined in the council described in Acts 15. This council was in 48 or 49 A.D. Even if we telescope the three years of his time in Damascus into the fourteen and assume the latter date of 49 for the council, the conversion of Paul can be no later than 35 A.D. Since Acts shows Paul's conversion must have been in the year following the crucifixion, 34 A.D. is the latest possible year.

We can absolutely eliminate the years 29 and 32 because those years are impossible to reconcile with any of the other evidence. Tertullian in the third century mistakenly identified 29 as the year because in that year March 23 was when the pagans celebrated the death of one of their "resurrection" gods. He had heard they were emulating the crucifixion of the Messiah. However, the Passover cannot occur that early.

One modern writer picked 32 A.D. because it fit his theories about the prophecies in Daniel 9. He apparently never bothered to check the date of Passover that year before he wrote his book.

However, the Jewish Talmud contains numerous references to mysterious events that occurred "40 years before the destruction of Jerusalem." Ernest L. Martin has documented a large number of these as relating to the crucifixion of the Messiah; the references can be found in the latest edition of his book Secrets of Golgotha. Dr. Martin, unfortunately, assumed the destruction of the Temple was in 70 A.D., when the wooden portion burned, and so he dates these mysterious events to the year 30 A.D. and concludes that the crucifixion must also have occurred in that year.

Nevertheless Josephus, an eyewitness and official Roman historian of the war, records that AFTER the Temple burned it was used to house the Jewish survivors, and several thousand people were housed there for some time following the end of the siege. Obviously, the Temple had not yet been completely "destroyed."

Since we know that the destruction of the Temple required it to be COMPLETELY dismantled stone-by-stone, and that some of the stones were very massive and needed many men to move them, it is unlikely the Romans did all the work themselves. The Jewish prisoners were certainly forced to destroy their own Temple -- a process that would have taken many weeks or months.

Given that this process started (at the very earliest) in the fall of 70 A.D. and extended into late 70 A.D., the rabbinical references to the destruction year would be to the year that BEGAN THAT FALL and which extended through the FOLLOWING Passover. They would hardly have reckoned the Temple "destroyed" as of the PRECEDING Passover back PRIOR to the siege in the spring of 70 A.D. To count the 40 years from that earlier Passover would make no sense whatsoever! Indeed, it's possible that the dismantling of the great Temple stones was not completed even by the Passover of 71 A.D. After all, it had taken many years to build it.

But there is a way to prove that the rabbis intended the mysterious starting year of the 40 years to be 31 A.D. and not 30. One of the strange things they record has to do with Yom Kippur in the Fall. On this day it was customary for the High Priest to prophecy about the coming year. Indeed, John's gospel records that the High Priest Caiaphas prophesied on the preceding Yom Kippur that "one man must DIE for the nation" and that clearly indicated a NEGATIVE forecast for that year.

Now just before prophesying for the year, the High Priest would reach into a cloth bag and pull out one of two smooth stones. If he pulled out a WHITE stone, it signaled a "good" year and Divine favor. But if he pulled out a BLACK stone, it meant Divine disfavor on the people.

According to the Talmud, A BLACK stone came up 40 CONSECUTIVE YEARS WITHOUT A SINGLE WHITE STONE PRIOR TO THE SIEGE OF JERUSALEM. This is hardly the kind of thing that could happen by chance. The statistical odds against chance in this case are horrendous. The rabbis realized this was an extremely bad omen. And it began about the time they knew the Messiah had been crucified, as Dr. Martin has shown. It is not in their interest as Jewish leaders to record such a thing. It obviously tends to imply something ominous about the crucifixion and its connection to the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. These are not the kind of things the rabbis liked to acknowledge. Therefore, the recording of the strange occurrences is CONTRARY to their vested religious interest.

Yet the rabbis have honestly and with the utmost integrity recorded these omens which cast a very unfortunate light on the events related to the Messiah's death and the destruction of the Temple. We should be in awe of the courage it took for a persecuted people to record and preserve such information.

Now let us count backwards from the last BLACK stone, the one which must have been drawn in the Fall of the year 69 A.D., the LAST Yom Kippur the High Priests ever kept in Jerusalem. That was the 40th stone. If we count back, the 30th stone would have been drawn in the Fall of 59, the 20th in 49, the 10th in 39. That means the FIRST black stone would have been drawn in the Fall of 30 A.D.

And the last WHITE stone in the Fall of 29 A.D. So there would have been a FAVORABLE prophecy in the Fall of 29 for the year in which the coming Passover of 30 A.D. was kept. Since John states that Caiaphas had given a NEGATIVE prophecy for the year the Messiah was crucified, 30 A.D. with its FAVORABLE prophecy CANNOT be the year of the crucifixion.

Therefore, the ONLY possible conclusion is that the first BLACK year was 31 A.D., and this must have been the year of the Messiah's death. Dr. Martin is to be commended for his research, but his conclusion is off by one year. Ironically, he had formerly argued for 31 A.D. in earlier writings.

But this does not exhaust the evidence. The Temple curtain tore in two from top to bottom at the time of an earthquake when the Messiah died. Dr. Martin shows that this event is also recorded in the Talmud and a number of other sources in various ways. And it coincides with these mysterious events that took place 40 years before the destruction of the Temple. So the year of the first BLACK stone was also the year of the earthquake that broke the lintel stone that fell down and split the Temple curtain in two from top to bottom. And since we have shown that the first black stone year was from the Fall of 30 A.D. until the Fall of 31 A.D., it follows that the lintel stone that fell the SAME year as the first black stone must have fallen through the Temple curtain in 31 A.D.

And since the Talmud indicates that once the stone fell, Temple ritual remained DISRUPTED until its destruction, there can be only one event in question, the SAME one described as occurring at the death of the Messiah. Again, we must conclude that the Messiah was crucified that same year: 31 A.D.


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Azusa, CA 91702, U.S.A.

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