V RaptureChrist Newsletter
March 1, 2004

Jewish Time 

The apostle John uses Jewish time in reporting events.  What do we mean by Jewish time?

Similar to the way we divide the hours into night and day, so did the Jews in the time of Jesus.  They divided the whole 24 hour day into 12 daylight hours and 4 nightime watches (Matt. 14:25; Mark 6:48; Luke 12:38), because they would have a watchman watching the city walls during the night.

The hours of the day started at daybreak and ended at sunset.  Therefore  7:00 am of our time would correspond to the first hour of the day in Jewish time.  Six hours from daybreak would be around noon of our time.  Therefore, the sixth hour in Jewish time corresponds to noon, when the sun is highest in the horizon.

In all of his references, the apostle John uses Jewish time.

One example is when Jesus was gathering his disciples.

John 1:38
And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?"

John 1:39
He said to them, "Come, and you will see." So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.

The tenth hour would be 4:00 pm of our time.  There were only two hours left of  daylight, therefore the disciples stayed at Jesus' place that night.

Another example given by the Apostle John is when Jesus went to Samaria in one of his journeys.

John 4:6
and Jacob's well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the
sixth hour.

People journeyed during the day, as there was no electricity along the roads on those days.  The sixth hour corresponds to noontime.

It could not be 6 pm of our time, because people were still working, buying and selling.  See the whole context of the story.

John 4:7
There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink."

John 4:8
For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

The last example, and the one most important for the article next to this one, is the time John quotes when Jesus was with Pilate in the Gabatha.

John 19:14
Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the
sixth hour. And he [Pilate]said to the Jews, "Behold, your King!"

Nisan 14 was the day of preparation for the Passover.  The Passover lamb had to be killed between the two evenings of Nisan 14.  It had to be eaten during the night (which corresponds in Jewish time to Nisan 15) and nothing of the lamb could remain for the daybreak of Nisan 15  -- either it was eaten or it was burned, or it was buried, but nothing could remain of the Passover lamb by daybreak.

Nisan 14 was therefore a preparation for all of these events.  Nisan 15 was a feast day in commemoration of the exodus from Egypt, which occurred during the time of Moses exactly as we relate, on Nisan 15.

Jeshua's Final Hours

There are exactly 5 quotes in the Bible that give exact time about Yeshua's final hours.  They are in the Book of Mark, Luke, and John.

John 19:12-13 ...if you release this man you are not a friend of Caesar, everyman making himself a king speaks against Caesar. Therefore Pilate, after hearing these words, brought Jesus outside, and he sat down on a judgment seat in a place called the stone pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.  Now it was preparation of the Passover, it was about the sixth hour.  and he said to the Jews:  'See your King!'......at that time, therefore, he handed Him over to them to be crucified.

Whenever John states a time, he is using Jewish time.  It was not 6:00 am Roman time as we prove in Did Christ Die on Friday.  It was noontime when Jesus was with Pilate in the Gabatha.  

Mark, on the other hand, used Roman time in reporting  events. 

Mark 15:24-25   And they crucified Him and distributed His outer garments by casting the lot over them as to who takes what.  It was now the third hour, and they crucified Him.

It was at 3:00 pm that Jesus was nailed to the cross.  It took 6 hours for him to die.

Luke also uses Roman time in reporting events.


The sun failed.

Luke 23:44-45  Well by now it was about the sixth hour, and yet a darkness fell over all the earth until the ninth hour, because the sunlight failed; then the curtain of the sanctuary was rent down the middle. 

Mark also uses Roman time when he relates what happened during Jesus' final hours.

Mark 15:33  When it became the sixth hour a darkness fell over the whole earth until the ninth hour.  

Mark 15:34-37   And at the ninth hour Jesus called out with a loud voice; 'Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani' which means when translated: 'my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? And some of those standing near, on hearing it, began to say: 'See, He is calling Elijah' but a certain one ran, soaked a sponge wit sour wine, put it on a reed, and began giving Him a drink, saying: 'Let Him be.  Let us see whether Elijah comes to take Him down.  But Jesus let out a loud cry and expired.

According to Mark, Jesus died at 9:00 pm of our time.  The theory that Jesus died at 3:00 pm is therefore incorrect because it does not match the reports of the apostles.


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