The Crucifixion

The Crucifixion would take place outside Jerusalem, at Golgotha, or "Skull Hill." When you see the picture of it, you can understand the name:


John reports that Jesus carried his cross. Matthew, Mark and Luke say that Simon the Cyrene was conscripted to carry the cross for Him. The common interpretation of this is that Jesus started out carrying His cross and then was too exhausted from the beatings to continue, and so Simon was forced to finish the job.

Golgotha was outside the wall of Jerusalem. No executions would take place inside the city. Today the Roman Catholic Church of the Holy Sepulcher is inside the wall of Jerusalem and the claim is made that the wall has been moved since that time. However, we can see where the ancient foundations of the wall were and that church is inside the wall, meaning it is not where the Crucifixion took place. In the map below, Jeremiah's Grotto is where Skull Rock, or Golgotha, is. Joseph of Arimathea's tomb is the second one over to the left. Although most available maps show both the place of the Crucifixion and the tomb to be inside the third wall, that wall was built shortly before Jesus' birth by Herod the Great. The Gospels are extremely clear that the Crucifixion took place outside the city walls, and we know Joseph's tomb was only a hundred yards or so away, so what is shown below is much more accurate.

plan of Jerusalem

There appears to be a contradiction in the time of both the trial and the Crucifixion, but that disappears when it is realized that there were two different time systems in use: the Roman time which started the day at midnight and the work day which started the day at sunrise.  The system used by the Jews in Matthew 20:1-16 was the workday, which means the sixth hour of the day was about noon. Mark and Luke also follow this system. John, however, is using the Roman time system which means that, for him, the sixth hour was about 6 in the morning, when he says the trial started.

Matthew, Mark and Luke all record that at the time of the Crucifixion there was a three hour darkness from about noon until about three (starting at the "sixth hour") -- three hours of darkness. This was not a solar eclipse, as they do not last nearly that long. Amos 8:9-10 prophecies a strange darkenss at noon. This darkness was recorded by several others: the Samaritanl historian Thallus in his "Comments" in 52 AD, by the Greek historian Phlegon in 137 AD, and by Tertullian as well as Julius Africanus in The Ante-Nicene Fathers XVIII (Volume VI, p 130).

There are two other times in the Bible when the sun appeared to do 'strange' things: Joshua's "long day" when the sun "stood still" and during Hezekiah's time when the sun's shadow backwards on the sundial ten degrees. It has happened since the Crucifixion as well.  About 800 A.D. the Song of Roland records a long day during one of Charlemagne's battles.   In Africa, it was described as ‘the time the night came twice.’  In 1516 Thai pottery show that there were some unusual changes in the earth’s magnetic field that were temporary.  This was reported in the University of Sydney News, vol. 16. no.4, for 6th March, 1984.  There appears to be a mathematical sequence to this.    Joshua was around 1500 B.C.  Hezekiah was about 710 B.C.  The Crucifixion was about 32 A.D.  The long day was about 800 A.D. and the Asian pottery event was about 1516.  Thus we are seeing about a 740-770 year break between these events. 

The Greek historian Herodotus recorded that when he visited Egypt, the priests there showed him an ancient manuscript that told the story of a day that lasted twice as long as a normal day

Several North American Indian tribes have accounts of long nights. The Ojibways, Wyandots and the Bungees tell of a long night. The Omahas tell of the sun being caught in a rabbit's trap and only released just before dawn. The Dogribs tell of the sun suddenly becoming dark at noon.  The Mexican Indians tell of a long night.  The Aztecs recall the sun not appearing for a long time, and thus sacrifices were made.  The Quiche Mayans of Guatemala recall “They did not sleep; they remained standing and great was the anxiety of their hearts and their stomachs for the coming of the dawn and the day.”  In Peru the memory is of the time the sun was hidden for twenty hours.  And in west Africa there is a story of a long night – a night which lasted too long because the owl overslept and did not waken the sun. These would be referring to the 1516 event, before the Europeans started colonizing America.

Greek mythology also has the story of Phaeton losing control of his father’s sun chariot. 

So what was happening? In 2345 BC, Dodwell's research indicates that the Earth underwent a severe change in axis tilt, probably due to a series of asteroid impacts. That change was what brought the ice age to an end when the tilt of the axis was "corrected" from 26-28 degrees to its current 23.5 degrees. That doesn't seem like much, but for a body the size of earth, it was catastrophic. As Dodwell outlines, a number of civilizations recorded the event and archaeology records a massive destruction of a number of cultures around the earth at that time. The effects of that hit have been long lasting. The earth does, indeed, wobble on its axis, but every once inawhile, like a giant gyroscope, the 'wobble' becomes a figure 8 movement which makes it look like the sun is doing strange things in the sky. The sequence as can best be determined is 2345 BC  - 1553 BC  -  760 BC  -  33 AD  - 800 AD  -  1516 AD. Further discussion can be read in answer to a question we received about a possible change in the length of days.


The four different accounts of the Crucifixion are in parallel form here. It is important to note that what people remembered hearing depended on where they were standing in relation to the Cross. Those indications are bolded in the appropriate sections.

There were hundreds, and later thousands, of crucifixions in the Roman Empire at various times. It was not normal to put the charge against the person to be executed on the cross. However, Pilate did that with Jesus. Why? Politically, it may have been expedient, so that he could not be accused of condoning the execution of an innocent man. Challenging Caesar was a capital offense. But what Pilate put up there angered the Jewish leaders. Pilate did not put up that Jesus claimed to be king of the Jews, but simply "King of the Jews." The phrase was up in three languages. In Latin, it read, IESVS·NAZARENVS·REX·IVDÆORVM, which is often abbreviated as INRI. However, in Hebrew it read Yeshua Ha-notzri V-melekh Ha-yehudim, which, when abbreviated, spelled the letters YHVH (there is no Roman letter 'w'), which are the famous Tetragrammaton, or the "I AM" by which God identified Himself to Moses in the burning bush and by which Jesus also identified Himself with the term "ego eimi" ( I am I am) in the Greek. No wonder the Jewish leaders were upset! Pilate was effectively referring to Jesus not only as King of the Jews, but as God.

When asked to change the inscription, Pilate is recorded as saying, "What I have written, I have written."

Through the last 2000 years the Jews and the Romans have been blamed for killing Jesus. But neither is true. When the soldiers, needing to hasten the deaths of the three being executed that day broke the legs of the two thieves causing rapid asphyxiation when they could not support themselves, they found Jesus was already dead. An interesting medical confirmation of this is in John who describes both water and blood coming from Jesus' side when it was pierced by a Roman spear (John 19:34) -- in other words, the blood had already begun to separate. If we read the Gospels, we find Jesus states that He had the authority to give up His life and then to take it again. We read read that, at the time of the Crucifixion, Jesus cried to the Father, "Father, into thy hands I commend my Spirit." He gave up His own life -- no one killed Him, although they certainly tried!

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me —  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.  I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.  The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10:14-18

Although it was normal with crucifixions to leave the bodies rotting on the crosses to be eaten by vultures, Jesus' body was claimed that day and removed. It could only have been claimed by a relative. The person who claimed it was Joseph of Arimathea. According to the records of the Sanhedrin and in the Talmud, he was Jesus' mothers' uncle (Mary's uncle). He was also a wealthy and respected man, as a trader in tin and lead, and thus Pilate would not have refused him. We do not know if the bodies of the two thieves were also removed that day.

There appears to be a discrepancy among the four Gospels about what Jesus said while on the cross. But if you understand where people were in relationship to the cross itself, the discrepancies disappear. Most of the people would not be close, and would only hear what was said loudly or shouted. Only those close would have heard the rest.

Matthew: All he records is something Jesus 'cried out' -- "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" While many think this was a cry He had toward God, remember the Jews were bar mitzvah'd and knew their Scriptures. Look at the leading line of Psalm 22: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus was pointing them to that Psalm which not only talked about the crucifixion, but ended with the triumph that would come.

That is all that is recorded in Mark, as well. As mentioned, it is often presumed that Mark wrote at either the dictation of Peter or with his advice. Neither Peter nor Matthew would have been close to the cross, but father off, in the crowd.

Luke was not there. He, however, researched what had happened and had talked to Mary. It is from Luke, for instance, that we learn about Mary's conception, pregnancy, what she thought, her visit to Elizabeth, the visit of the shepherds, what happened at the Temple. And so it is from Mary that we learn what happened close to the cross, as she recalled. We read that Jesus asked the Father to forgive those who had crucified Him, "for they do not know what they are doing." The soldiers were simply obeying the orders, as they had with many other crucifixions. It is from Luke we learn of the interaction among the three who were being crucified, and the fact that one of the thieves recognized Jesus as the Messiah and was told by Him, "I tell you the truth; today you will be with me in Paradise." And it is from Mary, via Luke, that we hear the last words of Jesus: "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." Obviously, Jesus knew God had not forsaken Him! This also points to the fact that no one killed Jesus. He had already told His disciplies that He had the authority to lay down His life and the authority to take it up again (John 10:18). He did both. When the Roman soldiers wanted to hasten the deaths that day, they broke the legs of the two thieves. This guaranteed a fast asphyxiation, as they could no longer lift with their legs to breathe in. But Jesus was already dead. He had given up His spirit Hiimself. In fact, He had given it up enough before hand that His blood had already started to separate. John records that when His side was pierced, both blood and 'water' came out.

John was at the foot of the cross with Mary. John records that Jesus gave the care of His mother, Mary, to him, John. John also records two other things: "I am thirsty," and "It is finished." The phrase used in the Greek which translated into "It is finished" is a term, often used financially, meaning then, "Debt paid" (teleiosis -- meaning "completion, verification, expiation, perfection, absolution."); and so it was. For all time, for all people. Many refuse it, but it is there.

Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for permission to take the body of Jesus, and received that permission. Two things are interesting with this. First of all, Joseph had enough influence to be allowed to do this. Second, only relatives could take the bodies. The Talmud tells us that Joseph of Arimathea was Jesus' mother's uncle (Mary's uncle).

Joseph of Arimathea had his own tomb which had been prepared for him (wealthy people did this) in a cave near Golgotha. This had required quite a bit of money on Joseph's part. It is referred to today as the Garden Tomb.

Garden Tomb


It was here that Jesus' body was wrapped and put by Joseph. By putting Jesus' body there, however, Joseph would no longer be able to use it for himself. That is because Jesus was a convicted and executed criminal. What cannot be seen above is the 'rolling stone' that was used to seal the tombs of the time. It would have been rolled along a manufactured groove something like what is shown below:

rolling stone

A floor plan of the tomb below shows, in yellow, where Jesus' body was laid in preparation for the actual entombment.

Garden tomb plan


What about the Shroud of Turin. This is what it looks like:

shroud of Turin

This cloth seems to indicate that one long cloth was used to cover Jesus' body head to toe and then wrapped to cover the other side as well. An old painting of this idea is below:


This does not fit with what we read in the Bible:

John 19:40 -- Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.

John 20:5-7 -- And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth that had been around his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.

Note that Lazarus was also bound this way. In John 11:44 -- And he who had died came out, bound hand and foot with grave clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth.

Below is an ancient picture of what these burial cloths might have been like:

Jewish burial cloths

So whatever else the Shroud of Turin is, it is not a burial cloth from Jesus' time, let alone of Jesus, Himself

Prophecies Fulfilled on the day of the Crucifixion.

  1. Messiah hated without a cause Isaiah 49:7.                         Fulfilled John 15:24-25
  2. Messiah betrayed by a friend Psalm 41:9.                                  Fulfilled Luke 22:21
  3. Messiah rejected by the rulers Psalm 118:22.              Fulfilled Mat.21:42, Jn.7:48
  4. Messiah sold for 30 pieces of silver Zechariah 11:12.         Fulfilled Matthew 26:15
  5. The coins to be cast on the floor Zechariah 11:13.                Fulfilled Matthew 27:5
  6. Messiah’s followers to forsake him Zechariah 13:7.           Fulfilled Matthew 26:56
  7. Messiah to be accused by false witnesses Psalm 35:11.       Fulfilled Matthew 26:59
  8. Messiah to be silent before his accusers Isaiah 53:7.     Fulfilled Matthew 27:12-14
  9. Messiah to be considered a transgressor Isaiah 53:12.       Fulfilled Matthew 27:38
  10.  Messiah to be struck and spat upon Micah 5:1.            Fulfilled Matthew 27:30
  11.  Messiah to be scourged Isaiah 50:6.                                       Fulfilled John 19:1.
  12. Messiah to be crucified (hands & feet pierced) Ps.22:16.    Fulfilled Mat. 27:35
  13.  Messiah to be crucified with thieves Isaiah 53:12.        Fulfilled Matthew 27:38
  14. Messiah’s garments divided & lots cast Psalm 22:18.    Fulfilled Matthew 27:35
  15. Messiah was to be mocked Psalm 22:7.                           Fulfilled Matthew 27:39
  16. Messiah was thirsty during execution Psalm 22:15.            Fulfilled John 19:28
  17. Messiah given vinegar to quench thirst Psalm 69:21.    Fulfilled Matthew 27:34
  18. Messiah to pray for his persecutors Isaiah 53:12.                Fulfilled Luke 23:34
  19. Messiah’s death to be voluntary Isaiah 53:12.                Fulfilled John 10:17-18
  20. Messiah killed - no bones broken Ex. 12:46 & Ps. 34:20.   Fulfilled Jn 19:33-36
  21. Messiah buried in a rich man’s tomb Isaiah 53:9.         Fulfilled Matthew 27:57
  22. His death atones for our sins Is.53:5-7, 12.   Fulfilled Jn 1:29, 3:16, Acts 8:30 ff
  23. These events to happen 173,880 days after Wall rebuilt Dan 9:24-26.    

23 prophecies fulfilled in 1 day out of 1400 years as nation in 70 year lifespan in a population of about 1 million = one chance in 823 million million.

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