Jesus’ Crucifixion Date and the Number 3

There are several clues from scripture that indicate the precise year, month, day, and hour when Jesus died. These clues are as follows[1]:

1. The High Priesthood of Caiaphas: The Gospels suggest that Caiaphas, the high priest of the first century, instigated the Crucifixion of Jesus (Matt. 26:3-4, Jhn. 11:49-53). Historical records confirm that he held the position of high priest from 18 to 36 A.D., placing Jesus’ death within that period.

2. The Governorship of Pontius Pilate: The four Gospels concur that Pontius Pilate ordered the Crucifixion of Jesus (Matt. 27:24-26, Mrk. 15:15, Luk. 23:24, Jhn. 19:15-16). Historical records confirm that he held the position of governor of Judea between 26 to 36 A.D. Thus, we can limit the time range for Jesus’ Crucifixion to a few years within that period.

3. After “the Fifteenth Year of Tiberius Caesar”: The Gospel of Luke specifies that John the Baptist’s ministry began in 29 A.D., the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign when the Word of God came to him in the wilderness (Luk. 3:1-2). Based on all four Gospels, which indicate that Jesus began His ministry after John the Baptist (Matt. 3, Mrk. 1, Luk. 3, Jhn. 1), we can further narrow down the time range. Therefore, Jesus’ Crucifixion must have happened within a seven-year period, from 29 to 36 A.D.

4. Crucified on a Friday: The four Gospels concur that Jesus was crucified on a Friday (Matt. 27:62, Mrk. 15:42; Luk. 23:54; Jhn. 19:42), shortly before the Sabbath, which preceded the first day of the week (Matt. 28:1, Mrk. 16:2, Luk. 24:1, Jhn. 20:1). The mention of “the day of preparation” on which Jews made necessary preparations for the Sabbath confirms that it was a Friday. Therefore, we can narrow down the possible days for Jesus’ Crucifixion to Fridays occurring between 29 and 36 A.D.

5. A Friday at Passover: The four Gospels concur that Jesus was crucified during the annual Passover feast (Matt. 26:2, Mrk. 14:1, Luk. 22:1, Jhn. 18:39). John notes that on the morning of Good Friday, the Jewish authorities had not yet eaten the Passover meal (Jhn. 18:28-29), suggesting that the Passover would have begun at sundown on Friday. This narrows down the possible dates for Jesus’ Crucifixion to April 7 of 30 A.D. or April 3 of 33 A.D., as these are the only two Fridays between 29 and 36 A.D. on which Passover began at sundown.

6. John’s Three Passovers: The Gospel of John records three Passovers during Jesus’ ministry: at the beginning (Jhn. 2:13), middle (Jhn. 6:4), and end (Jhn. 11:55). This indicates a ministry of at least two years, but likely closer to three and a half. Therefore, the 30 A.D. date is unlikely as there isn’t enough time between 29 A.D. and the next Passover to accommodate a ministry of at least two years. Based on this evidence, Jesus’ death is most likely to have occurred on Friday, April 3, 33 A.D.

7. “The Ninth Hour”: Matthew, Mark, and Luke all note that Jesus died at about “the ninth hour” (Matt. 27:45-50, Mrk. 15:34-37, Luk. 23:44-46), which is equivalent to 3:00 p.m. Using this information, we can pinpoint the exact time of Jesus’ death to around 3:00 p.m. on Friday, April 3, 33 A.D.

Daniel’s Seventy-Weeks Prophecy

The prophecy of the “seventy weeks” in Daniel 9:24-27 provides additional evidence for the date of Jesus’ Crucifixion. Specifically, Daniel 9:25 states:
“Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks...”
This prophecy reveals that from the command to rebuild Jerusalem, there would be seven weeks (49 years) and sixty-two weeks (434 years), totaling 483 years or 173,880 days (using 360-day prophetic years), until the arrival of the Messiah. This arrival is marked by Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, where He publicly declared Himself as the Messiah.

It is a historical fact that King Artaxerxes of Persia gave the command to rebuild Jerusalem on March 5, 444 B.C., which is recorded in the book of Nehemiah. Adding 173,880 days to this date leads us to March 30, 33 A.D.[2] If this is indeed the day when Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, then it further supports the date of Jesus’ Crucifixion as Friday, April 3, 33 A.D., which occurred four days later (Jhn. 12:1-19).

Non-Scriptural Evidence

In addition to scriptural evidence, there is also seismological, historical, and astronomical evidence supporting the Crucifixion of Jesus on April 3, 33 A.D.:

1. Seismological Evidence: The Bible records an earthquake in Jerusalem following Jesus’ Crucifixion (Matt. 27:51-54; Mrk. 15:38; Luk. 23:45). According to the Institute of Creation Research, a thin layer of disturbed sediment in a laminated Dead Sea outcrop in Wadi Ze’elim points to an earthquake in 33 A.D.[3] Moreover, the earthquake database maintained by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration does not record any other significant earthquake in Jerusalem between 1 and 50 A.D., apart from the earthquake in 33 A.D.[4]

Image source: Institute for Creation Research (ICR)

2. Historical Evidence: The Bible records darkness during the last three hours of Jesus’ Crucifixion (Matt. 27:45; Mrk. 15:33; Luk. 23:44-45). This darkness was documented by several ancient secular historians who lived at or near the time of Jesus, and one of them, Phlegon, provided a specific date for it—dating it to the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad (32 or 33 A.D.).[5] See more: Is There Historical Evidence for the Darkness & Earthquake at the Crucifixion?

3. Astronomical Evidence: On April 3, 33 A.D., the planets Saturn, Uranus, Jupiter, Earth, and Venus aligned in a way that resembled Jesus on the cross, with the head, hands, and legs accurately positioned and rotated on a galactic scale. Even Saturn’s rings could be interpreted as the “halo” or “crown of thorns.” This alignment has occurred only six times between the year 0 and 2000 A.D., which is equivalent to once every 333 years.[6] Is it merely a coincidence?

An orrery model of the planetary alignment on April 3, 33 A.D., which some believe resembled Jesus on the cross. Photo by Miguel Antonio Fiol.

Interestingly, a partial lunar eclipse was also visible in Israel that same day, which some scholars believe to be a partial fulfillment of Joel 2:31-32’s prophecy, “The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood...And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” While it is uncertain whether the eclipse that evening would qualify as a “blood moon”[7], its duration of 333 minutes and placement 66 degrees above the horizon make it a noteworthy event.[8]

A Recurring Pattern of 3s

An interesting pattern that may have caught your attention is the frequent occurrence of the number 3 in connection to Jesus’ Crucifixion. It is worth noting that the number 3 appears 467 times in the Bible and symbolizes completeness or perfection, although to a lesser extent than the number 7. In the context of Jesus’ Crucifixion and Resurrection, the number 3 holds immense significance. For instance, Jesus prayed 3 times in the Garden of Gethsemane before His arrest, was crucified at the 3rd hour, suffered in darkness for 3 hours while on the cross, and remained dead for 3 days and 3 nights before His Resurrection.

The evidence presented in this article reveals that the number 3 is even more prevalent in relation to Jesus’ Crucifixion. It can be deduced that when Jesus uttered the words “It is finished!” (Jhn. 19:30) just before His death, indicating finality akin to the number 3, it was exactly 3 p.m. on April 3, 33 A.D. At the same time, there was a rare planetary alignment resembling Jesus on the cross, which occurs approximately once every 333 years, along with a 333-minute-long lunar eclipse angled at 66 (33 x 2) degrees on the horizon. Only God could have orchestrated such an intricate sequence of events!


Based on the evidence presented, I conclude that Jesus was most likely crucified on April 3, 33 A.D., and this is supported by the work of scholars such as Colin Humphreys and W.G. Waddington.[9] While the exact date of Jesus’ Crucifixion may not be significant in the grand scheme of things, the details surrounding the event reinforce the historicity of the biblical account and suggests evidence of God’s hand in the sequence of events. For more evidence supporting the Crucifixion itself, refer to Extra-Biblical Historical Evidence for Christianity.


1 Akin, J. (2020, April 10). 7 Clues Tell Us *Precisely* When Jesus Died (the Year, Month, Day and Hour Revealed). National Catholic Register.
2 ICR. (1995, October 18). Sixty. Institute for Creation Research (ICR).
3 Austin, S. A. (2010). Greatest Earthquakes of the Bible. ICR.
4 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). (n.d.). Significant Earthquake Information. National Centers for Environmental Information. Retrieved April 7, 2023, from
5 Phlegon. (2nd century CE). Fragment from Olympiades he Chronika 13, as cited in Keller, O. (Ed.). (1877). Rerum Naturalium Scriptores Graeci Minores (Vol. 1, p. 101). Leipzig Teubner.
6 (2015, August 26). Researcher Claims Discovery of 'Jesus in the Stars'. Newswire.
7 Faulkner, D. (2014). Did the Moon Appear as Blood on the Night of the Crucifixion?. Answers Research Journal, 7, 27-30.
8 NASA. (2009, June 7). Partial Lunar Eclipse of 0033 Apr 03.
9 Humphreys, C. J., & Waddington, W. G. (1983). Dating the Crucifixion. Nature, 306, 743-746.