Archenemies of Jesus May Be the Best Witnesses


In-spite-of being archenemies of Jesus of Nazareth, Jewish leaders are some of the best witnesses to his birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection. Although they were often cited by the Gospels in a negative context, the flip side is they bore witness to events involving Jesus. As a consequence they inadvertently acknowledged that Jesus possessed many of the qualities of the Messiah as foretold in the prophecies.

One prophetic requirement undisputed by Judaism is the Messiah must be born in the lineage of King David. Among them, Branch prophecies by Isaiah, Jeremiah and Zachariah, concurred by some Rabbi sages, foretell that the Messiah would be born in the House of David.[1]

Neither Jewish leadership nor Judaism to this day challenge that Jesus was born in the royal lineage of the House of David. A factor rarely considered is that Joseph and Mary, who was almost 9 months pregnant, willingly traveled about 90-miles to Bethlehem at the behest of a decree by Caesar Augustus. It demonstrates common knowledge in the Jewish community with a strong influences by Rabbi’s that Mary’s baby was in the lineage of King David…or else the couple would not have made the trek to Bethlehem.[2]

According to Jewish Law, a month after the birth of a first-born son he was to be redeemed at the Temple, known as the Redemption of the First-born ceremony.[3] One of its purposes was to affirm the right of inheritance of the firstborn. The process involved a priest of the Temple after payment of a nominal price.[4]

Customary practice of the Jews was for the father to pronounce a blessing on his son at the ceremony to be followed by a feast. A Jewish priest attended the feast and had a dialog with the father to make an impression upon the attendees.

All four Gospels contain accounts of Jewish religious leaders wanting retribution for Jesus when he performed miracles on a Sabbath. To level the accusations, the Jewish leadership first had to acknowledge miracles had occurred in order to criticize the activity.

One Sabbath, Jesus healed a man with a withered hand in a synagogue, a place of prayer and worship headed by a Rabbi.[5] The Pharisees didn’t like that he had performed a miracle on a Sabbath and reacted by plotting against Jesus.[6]

Again in a synagogue on a Sabbath, Jesus saw a woman who had not been able to straighten up for 18 years.[7] When Jesus instantly healed her infirmity, the leader of the synagogue and other critics became indignant, but the crowd’s rejoicing humiliated them compelling them to take no action.[8]

Near the Sheep’s Gate at the Pool of Bethzatha on a Sabbath, Jesus saw a man who had been disabled for 38 years. Jesus simply commanded the man to get up, grab his mat, and walk away which the man did immediately.

Jewish leaders accused the healed man of carrying his mat on a Sabbath in violation of the Law. The man pointed out that the person who healed him told him to do it. Jewish leaders then accused Jesus for working on the Sabbath.[9]

Passing by on another Sabbath, Jesus noticed a man who had been blind since birth. Jesus smeared mud on the man’s eyes and had him wash it off in the pool of Siloam. The man was then able to see for the first time in his life.

Doggedly the Pharisees questioned the man, then his parents who confirmed his blindness since birth. Questioning the healed man again, he replied by saying that he had already answered the questions, but they obviously didn’t listen. The Pharisees then heaped insults on the man accusing him of not knowing where such a man, Jesus, came from. The man’s response:

JN 9:30-33 “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. Since the beginning of time it has never been heard that anyone opened the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, He could do nothing.”NASB

Now infuriated, the Pharisees accused the man of being a sinner who had no place to lecture them. They were so upset, they threw him out of the place where they were questioning him.[10]

During a very raucous day Jairus, a synagogue leader, begged Jesus to heal his 12-year old daughter who was dying. Before Jesus could reach his house, friends arrived informing them that the daughter of Jairus had died. Jesus still went to Jairus’ house where he encountered people who were loudly crying and wailing.

Asking everyone to leave excepting Jairus, his wife and some followers, Jesus went into the room and said, “Talitha koum,” get up and walk. The girl immediately stood up and walked around the room astonishing those who were present.11]

Bethany was the town where Lazarus lived, died and was buried. Arriving four days after Lazarus died, Jesus raised him from the tomb where he was laid to rest.[12] When the Pharisees heard of what had happened and fearing the Romans if the people followed Jesus, they called a council meeting with the chief priests to devise a plan to deal with him. High Priest Caiaphas was at the meeting and proposed that Jesus as one man be killed for the entire nation prompting them to make plans accordingly.[13]

Judaism agrees with the Gospels in that Jesus was executed by crucifixion.[14] Just the opposite of the Gospels is the assertion by Judaism that crucifixion is the reason why Jesus could not be the Messiah:[15]

“The very form of his punishment would disprove those claims in Jewish eyes. No Messiah that Jews could recognize could suffer such a death…” (Deut. xxi. 23), ‘an insult to God’ (Targum, Rashi).” –

After the crucifixion of Jesus, Chief priests and the Pharisees approached Rome’s jurisdictional authority of Judea, Pilate, acknowledging Jesus was dead and buried in a tomb, after all he was buried by two members of their own Jewish Council.[16] The Jewish leaders then requested Pilate to secure the tomb to prevent the body from being stolen.

As a consequence of their testimony, the tomb was sealed and guarded by a Roman-Jewish contingent called a koustodia. The security was breached supernaturally only from inside the tomb, the scenario terrified everyone who witnessed it and they ran away.

According to Matthew, the Jewish Council responded to the report by some of the koustodia that the tomb security was breached and the tomb was now empty. The guards were worried about being punished for dereliction of duty; however, the Jewish Council paid the guards money and promised to take care of Pilate if it became an issue.[17]

Do the acknowledgments by various Jewish leaders to the birth, life, crucifixion and resurrection strengthen the Gospels?


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[1] Isaiah 11:1-2; Jerimiah 23:5, 33:15, Zechariah 3.8, 6:12-13. Maimonides, “Letter to the South (Yemen)”. p374. Neubauer, Adolf, and Driver, Samuel Rolles.  The Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpreters. <>  Crispin, Moshe Kohen ibn. “Sefer ha-Musar.” Neubauer, Driver, et. al. The Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpreters. pp 99-101.  Marlowe, Michael.  Editions of the Hebrew Text of the Bible. Bible Research. “The Incunabula.” 2012. <>  Rosenau, William. Jewish Biblical Commentators. pp 87-91 n.d. < fifty-third chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpreters. pp 99-100.  Niles, Randall. “Caiaphas the High Priest.” 2017. Image.> Last accessed 23 Mar. 2023.
[2] Nehemiah 12:23. Josephus, Flavius.  The Life of Flavius Josephus. Trans. and Commentary. William Whitson. The Complete Works of Josephus. #1, footnote t. n.d.  <>  Maimon, Moshe ben (Maimonides). “Melachim uMilchamot.” Chapter 11, #4. <>  Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Ed. Isidore Epstein based on the Wilna Romm Edition. Sanhedrin Chapter VI, Folio 43a. 1935-1948. <>  Shachter, J. and Freedman, H. “Sanhedrin.” Soncino Babylonian Talmud. “Introduction.” Greenberg, Eric J. “Jesus’ Death Now Debated by Jews.” Jewish Journal. 2003. Reprinted from The Jewish Week.  <>
[3] Luke 2:21-24.
[4] Exodus 18:25-26; Deuteronomy 1:15-17, 16:18-20; Leviticus 12:6-7; Numbers 18:15-16; Matthew 12:9; Mark 11:18; Luke 6:6-11; John 11:46-48. CR Exodus 13:2; Numbers 3:46-49, Deuteronomy 21:17. Edersheim, Alfred. The Temple – Its Ministry and Service. 1826 -1889. “The Offering for the First-born.” <>  “First-born, Redemption of.” Jewish Encyclopedia. <> “First Born, Redemption of.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. Sanhedrin 49b. Soncino Babylonian Talmud. <>  “Chief Priests.” 2019. <>
[5] John 12:42-43. “What Is a Synagogue?” n.d. <>
[6] Matthew 12:9-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11.
[7] “Kyphosis.” Mayo Clinic. n.d. <> “What Causes a Hunchback (Kyphosis)? Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment Tips.” Doctors Health Press. 2017. <>
[8] Luke 13:10-17.
[9] John 5:3-18.
[10] John 9:1-34.
[11] Mark 5:21-43.
[12] John 11:38-44.
[13] John 11:46-53.
[14] Melachim uMilchamot.” n.d. Chapter 11.4.
[15] Tacitus, Gaius Cornelius. The Annals. 109 AD. Trans. Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb.  Internet Classic Archive. 2009. Book XV.  <>  Suetonius (C. Suetonius Tranquillus or C. Tranquillus Suetonius). The Lives of the Twelve Caesars.  Book VI “Nero.” #16. University of Chicago|Bill Thayer. <>  Lucian of Samosata. “The Death of Peregrine.” The Works of Lucian of Samosata. Volume IV. <> “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <> “God Cannot die!” 2012. < Babylonian Talmud. Ed. Epstein, Isidor. “Introduction to the Seder Nezikin.”  Sanhedrin Chapter VI, Folio 43a.  Shachter & Freedman. “Introduction to Sanhedrin.” Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Greenberg, Eric J. “Jesus’ Death Now Debated by Jews.” Jewish Journal. 2003. Reprinted from The Jewish Week. <>
[16] Matthew 27:57, Mark 15:43, Luke 23:50-52, John 19:38. Mark 15:43. Footnote #1. <> Luke 23:50. Footnote #2. <>
[17] Matthew 28: 11-15.

Astronomy Tales: Birth & Crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth


“Follow the science” has often been heard during the COVID crisis. The same mantra can be applied to the birth and crucifixion dates of the Jesus of Nazareth – the science is astronomy.

No mystical meaning is found in astronomy.[1] Positions of stars and planets follow a predictive path that can be charted past, present and future. Planets move in a rotation path around the Sun whereas stars are stationary, yet both can appear in different places in the sky based on such variables as nightly diurnal motions, planetary rotations, seasons and earthly viewing location.

God Himself pointed out the absoluteness of astronomy when He promised the Messiah would sit on the throne of David:

Jer. 33:20-21 “Thus says the LORD: If any of you could break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night would not come at their appointed time, only then could my covenant with my servant David be broken, so that he would not have a son to reign on his throne…” (NRSV)

Going back millennia, many have attempted to interpret the meaning of the various cosmic alignments – Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans and even Jews. Various cultures have given planet-stars and fixed stars names; assigned them to zodiacs; and even going so far as to worship them as gods.[2]

Astrology is different from astronomy where astrology is the belief that celestial bodies influence a person’s journey in life, but it is not a “science.”[3] Horoscopes, for example, attempt to define a personality, successes, sorrows, challenges – a life’s destiny.

Some have viewed interactions of the heavenly bodies and alignments as signs with earthly significance indicating something is about to happen or has occurred.[4] Persian Zoroastrian teachings of the Magi espoused that every planet has a significance.[5] 



Magi in Matthew’s account were not motivated by an ancient prophecy or a prophet, an angelic appearance, or any type of divine revelation. Instead, their actions were compelled by an awe-inspiring scene they observed in the night sky.

Evidenced by their actions, the Magi firmly believed in the signs when they saw “his star” compelling them to do several things well-beyond normal. They set out on a risky month’s long journey around the great Arabian Desert to a foreign land in Judea not knowing where their quest would end; sought input from a ruthless Judean king, eventually even defying him; brought expensive gifts for this unknown baby and they planned to worship him.[6]

NASA’s astronomy data can be used to recreate cosmic events seen by the Magi that may have signaled the birth of the “king of the Jews.” Closing out the last 7 years of the BC era, two sets of stellar events occurred during the years 7-5 BC and 3-1 BC. Rare conjunctions, movements and alignments typically witnessed centuries apart, occurred in a very short period of time.

Matthew reported the death of King Herod ending the Nativity account while historian Josephus described in detail events surrounding Herod’s death between a lunar eclipse and the Passover. One common fact to Matthew and Luke:  King Herod was alive when Jesus was born.[7] Secular history focuses on the death date of Herod.

Many have used the 7-5 BC timeline with a partial lunar eclipse to support the secular year of Herod’s death in 4 BC. More recent research points to the King’s death in 1 BC when a full lunar eclipse occurred.

A four-prong approach overlaying secular history accounts, Jewish calendars, the science of astronomy data and Gospel accounts produces two fascinating scenarios for the birth of Jesus and death of Herod. The question is which one, if any, makes the most logical sense?





Astronomy data can also be used for determining the crucifixion date Jesus of Nazareth, especially when compared with historical accounts and the Gospels. Three sets of information – astronomy data, history, Gospels – are defined separately below and then triangulated into a single assessment.


NASA astronomy data serves as an accurate method to determine the Passover dates as an alternative to unreliable calendars of antiquity. (Calendar conversions of antiquity are unreliable due to variations of Julian and Gregorian calendars.)[8]

Each year for thousands of years, Jewish Nissan 15th, Passover, always occurs on the first full moon after March 20th.[9] Easily seen in NASA astronomy data, full moon dates with these parameters for the years 28-33 AD are:[10]

28 AD:  March 29 (Monday)        31 AD:  April 17 (Tuesday)
29 AD:  March 18 (Friday)           32 AD:  April 14 (Monday)
30 AD:  April 6 (Thursday)          33 AD:  April 3 (Friday)

Often cited for either crucifixion date scenario is a solar eclipse to explain the Gospel reference to darkness from noon until three o’clock.[14] NASA astronomy defines when a solar and a lunar eclipse can occur:

“An eclipse of the Sun can occur only at New Moon, while an eclipse of the Moon can occur only at Full Moon” – NASA astronomy [15]

NASA data shows no solar eclipse occurred over Jerusalem during the Passover periods of either 29 or 33 AD simply because a solar eclipse can only occur during a “new moon” (no visible moon) – impossible during a full moon at Passover.[16] Consequently, the darkening of the Sun also cannot be explained by a lunar eclipse because no lunar eclipse is visible during daylight hours even if one occurred that night.[17]

History – Roman and Jewish:

“At the death of Herod, Augustus Caesar divided his territories among his sons — Archelaüs, Philip, and Herodes Antipas…” making Tetrarchs of the half-brothers Philip and Antipas.[18] Philip’s reign triggered by the death of King Herod becomes a linchpin for subsequent dating. Josephus stated the Tetrarch ruled for 37 years meaning Philip either died in 33 or 36 AD.[19]

Tiberius Caesar began his rule as Roman Emperor on August 19, 14 AD, upon the death of Caesar Augustus. Tiberius ruled until his own death on March 16, 37 AD when Caligula (Caius) became Emperor.[20]

During his reign, Tiberius appointed only two procurators to Judea, first was Valerius Gratus for the years 15-25 AD. Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judea for 10 years from 26-36 AD.[21] Vitellius sent Pilate to Rome in 36 AD to answer to Tiberius for killing Samaritans; however, the Emperor died while Pilate was en-route to Rome.[22]

Ananus was first High Priest of his family, followed by five of his sons and a son-in-law named Caiaphas.[23] Beginning his 10-year tenure in 26 AD, Caiaphas was the high priest until he was removed by Vitellius during a Passover in 36 AD, the same year he removed Pilate as Procurator.[24]

Tetrarch Antipas met Heriodias who was with her husband, Tetrarch Philip, during a trip to Rome. The two devised a plan to divorce their current spouses and remarry each other. The scheme set in motion a chain reaction of historical events – the execution of John the Baptist; an Arab-Jewish war; and Caesar wanting the demise of an Arab King.[25]

John the Baptist is renowned by both Judaism and Islam in addition to Christianity.[26] He publicly criticized the illicit, incestuous marital arrangement which infuriated Herodias.[27] From the perspective of Josephus, Antipas executed John the Baptist for political reasons.[28]

Antipas’ first wife was the daughter of Arab King Aretas. Unbeknownst to Antipas, she found out about his divorce scheme with Herodias and made arrangements to return to her King father. Herodias and Antipas married in 33 AD according to the Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities.[29]

Aretas and Antipas were agitated to war, according to Josephus, “when all of Herod’s army was destroyed by the treachery of some fugitives, who, though they were of the tetrarchy of Philip, joined with Aretas’s army.” Based on this statement, Philip appears to be alive. Historians date the Aretas-Antipas war to 36 AD.

Antipas wrote to Tiberius about his defeat to Aretas which angered Caesar who ordered his Roman Syrian legate, Vitellius, to capture Aretas or “kill him and, and send him his head.”[31] Tiberius soon thereafter died in 37 AD whereupon Vitellius sent his military home because Tiberius’ order was no longer valid.[32]

Philip’s tetrarchy became available when he died and Roman Emperor Caligula gave the tetrachy governance position to Agrippa in 37 AD.[34]


Luke 3:1 “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.”(NET)[35]

John the Baptist and Jesus began their ministries about the same time. Unlike the three Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke, the Gospel account of John is essentially written in chronological order. He was beheaded at the behest of Herodias for her displeasure of John’s criticism of her illicit, incestuous marital arrangement.[36]

After his baptism by John the Baptist in Bethany, the Gospel of John chronicled actions taken by Jesus of Nazareth. After being rejected in Nazareth, he moved to Capernaum; chose some of his Disciples in Galilee; attended a wedding in Cana; returned to Capernaum; then traveled to Jerusalem for the first Passover of his ministry.[37]

Approaching the second Passover during his ministry, Jesus refers to John the Baptist in present tense terms although he spoke of his ministry in past tense strongly suggesting John is in prison:  he “was the burning and shining lamp.”[38] Herod Antipas had John the Baptist arrested, but not immediately executed, for publicly criticizing his illicit marital arrangement with Herodias who was infuriated by John’s criticism.[39]

Between the second and third Passovers attended by Jesus, people referred to John the Baptist in the past tense – he is no longer alive.[40] As a reward for a dance performed by his step-daughter, daughter of Philip, identified as Salome by Josephus, Herod Antipas promised anything she wanted.[41] After consulting with Heriodias, Salome requested the head of John the Baptist.[42]


John the Baptist began his ministry during the 15th year of Tiberius’ reign. Adding 15 years to the beginning the rule of Tiberius in 14 AD equates to 29 AD.

Jesus of Nazareth did not begin his 3-year ministry until after he was baptized by John the Baptist when both were in the initial stages of their ministries that year. This alone eliminates the possibility for the crucifixion year of 29 AD.

Historical accounts from 33-37 AD combined with Biblical accounts support the death of John the Baptist in 32 or 33 AD… Jesus had not yet been executed.

Sending troops in 36 AD to aide Aretas in a war against Antipas, Philip could not have died in 33 AD after a 37-year reign if he began his rule in 4 BC. This, in turn, means King Herod died during the 1 BC scenario for the birth of Jesus.

Caligula, gave the tetrachy of Philip to Agrippa in 37 AD further supporting the scenarios for the death of Herod in 1 BC followed by the 37-year reign of his son, Philip. It is highly unlikely the governorship of a tetrarchy would have been left unfilled for 3-4 years if Philip had died in 33 AD.

Jesus attended three Passovers in Jerusalem, the third and final Passover resulted in his capture, trial and crucifixion. Ruling out 29 AD based on Luke’s historical accounts, NASA data shows the next Friday Passover occurred on April 3, 33 AD. Triangulating history and the Gospels with astronomy, all point to only one date for the crucifixion of Jesus – April 3, 33 AD.

What are the odds that the movement paths of the stars and planets created by God signal the times when Jesus was born and died?


Updated August 14, 2022.

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[1] “astronomy.” Merriam-Webster. 2018. <> “astronomy.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2022. <>  Redd, Nola Taylor. 2017. <>
[2] Eduljee, K. E. “Zoroastrian-Persian Influence on Greek Philosophy and Sciences.”  Zoroastrian Heritage. 2011. <>  Eduljee, K. E. “Astrology & Zoroastrianism,” Zoroastrian Heritage. 2011. <>  Hochhalter, Howard. The Hollow 4 Kids. “A Celestial Road to Truth.” 2022. <>
[3] “astrology.” Merriam-Webster. 2022. <> “astrology.” Encyclopædia Britannica. 2018. <>
[4] Matthew 12:39; 16:4; John 3:2; 20:30; Acts 2:22. Quran Surah 3:41; 19:10. <> “signs.” Oxford Learners Dictionaries. 2022. <>
[5] Eduljee, K. E. “Is Zoroastrianism a Religion, Philosophy, Way-of-Life…? The Spirit.” Zoroastrian Heritage. 2011. <>  Eduljee, K. E.  “Introduction. Zoroastrianism & Astrology.” n.d. <>  “Every Planet Has a Meaning.” Magi Society. Lesson 3. 2008. <>
[6] Eduljee, K. E. “Greek Perceptions of Zoroaster, Zoroastrianism & the Magi.” #2, #33. Zoroastrian Heritage. 2011. <>  “Magi Astronomy.” Magi Society. 2008. <> Humphreys, Colin J. “The Star of Bethlehem – a Comet in 5 BC – And the Date and Birth of Christ.” pp 390-391. SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS). 1991. <>  Dickinson, David. “Is This Month’s Jupiter-Venus Pair Really a Star of Bethlehem Stand In?” Universe Today. October 14, 2015. <>  Roberts, Courtney. The Star of the Magi: The Mystery That Heralded the Coming of Christ. pp. 70-71. <>
[7] Mathew 2:1-10; Luke 1:5.
[8] Beattie, M. J. Church of God Study Forum. “Hebrew Calendar.” n.d. <> “Easter Sunday/Jewish Passover Calculator.” WebSpace Science. JavaScript calculator. n.d. <> “Jewish holiday calendars & Hebrew date converter.” Hebcal. n.d. <> “Hebrew Calendar Converter.” Calculators. 2022. <> April 33 AD. calendar. <>  “How Accurate is the Calendar at this Website?” Church of God Study Forum. n.d. <>  Hochhalter. “A Celestial Road to Truth.”
[9] Leviticus 23:4-7; Numbers 28:16-25. Moss, Aron. “Why Is Passover on a Full Moon?” <> Bikos, Konstantin. “The Jewish Calendar.” n.d. <>  Cohen, Michael M. “Passover, full moon and fulfillment.” The Jerusalem Post. 2019. <>  “Determining the Dates for Easter and Passover.” n.d. <>  Beattie. “Hebrew Calendar.”  Fairchild, Mary. Learn Religions. “What Is the Paschal Full Moon?. n.d. <>  “Lunar Eclipses from 0001 to 0100 Jerusalem, ISRAEL” National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Javascrip  2007. <>
[10] Espanek, Fred. “Phases of the Moon: 0001 to 0100 Universal Time (UT).” n.d. <> Calendars for 28-33 AD. TimeandDate. 2022. <>
[11] Matthew 26:17-20; Mark 14:12-17, Luke 22:7-16, John 19:14. Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Ed. Epstein. Sanhedrin 43a; footnote #34; “Glossary” > “Baraitha” and “Tanna, Tana.” < Babylonian Talmud. Ed. Epstein. “Introduction to Seder Nezikin.”  Visotzky, Rabbi Burton L. Sage Tales – Wisdom and Wonder from the Rabbis of the Talmud. 2011. p153. <> Talmud. “Sanhedrin 43a.” n.d. <>
[12] The Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites. Stillwell, Richard, et. al. “Paneas or Caesarea Philippi or Neronias (Banyas) Syria.” <>[13] “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2007. <> “Easter Sunday/Jewish Passover Calculator.” WebSpace Science.  Beattie, M. J. Church of God Study Forum. “Hebrew Calendar.“ Jewish holiday calendars & Hebrew date converter.” Hebcal.  “Hebrew Calendar Converter.” Calculators. April 33 AD.
[14] Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44.
[15] “Phases of the Moon: 0001 to 0100 Universal Time (UT).”
[xvi] Espenak, Fred. National aeronautics and Space Administration. “Solar Eclipses of Historical Interest.” Java script. 2009. <> Espenak, Fred. National aeronautics and Space .Administration. “Total Solar Eclipse of 0033 March 19.” Chart. 2009. <>  “Phases of the Moon: 0001 to 0100 Universal Time (UT).”
[17] Espenak, Fred. NASA Eclipse Website. “Lunar Eclipses from -0099 to 0000 Jerusalem, Israel.” n.d <>
[18] Peck, Harry Thurston. Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. “Iudaei.” 1898. <>  CR Josephus, Flavius. Antiquities of the Jews.  Trans. and commentary.  William Whitson.  The Complete Works of Josephus. Book XVII, Chapter XI.4; Book XVIII, Chapter II.1. < >  Josephus, Flavius. Wars of the Jews. Trans. and commentary. William Whitson. The Complete Works of Josephus. Book II, Chapter IX.1. <
[19] Josephus. Antiquities. Book XVIII, Chapter IV.6; Chapter V.1. Josephus. Wars. Book II, Chapter IX.1. Strabo. Geography. Hamilton, H.C., Ed. Book 16, Chapter 2, footnotes 125, 128.  <>
[20] Josephus. Antiquities. Book XVIII, Chapter II. 2. Josephus. Wars of the Jews. Book II, Chapter IX.6.  Grant, Michael. Encyclopædia Britannica. “Augustus.” 2022. <> Pohl, Frederik. Encyclopædia Britannica. “Tiberius.” 2022. <> “Tiberius.” Wasson, Donald L. World History Encyclopedia. 19 July 2012  <>
[21] Josephus. Antiquities. Book XVII, Chapter XIII. 2, 5; Book XVIII, Chapters II.2; VI.1-2, 5-7, 10. Josephus. Wars. Book II, Chapter 9.5.  Tacitus. Annals. Books II, XV.  Suetonius (C. Suetonius Tranquillus or C. Tranquillus Suetonius).  Suetonius (C. Suetonius Tranquillus or C. Tranquillus Suetonius). The Lives of the Twelve Caesars. Tiberius, #50, 51, 52. <> “Valerius Gratus.” 2019. <>
[22] Josephus. Antiquities. Book XVIII, Chapter IV.1-2.
[23] “High Priest.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2007. <>
[24] Josephus. Antiquities. Book XVIII, Chapters I1.2; IV.3; V.3; Book XIX, Chapter VI.2. “High Priest.” Jewish Encyclopedia.  “Jewish Palestine at the time of Jesus.” Britannica Encyclopedia. 2022. <>  “Pontius Pilate.” Biography. 2021. <>  Pilate, Pontius.” 2022. <>  “Tiberius.” World History Encyclopedia. <> <>  Smith, Mark. History News Network. “The Real Story of Pontius Pilate? It’s Complicated.” 2022. <>  Larson, Rick. The Star of Bethlehem. 2022. <>
[25] Josephus. Antiquities. Book XVIII, Chapter II.3, V.1.
[26] Quran 3:19:2-7, 6:85; 19:7. <>  Josephus. Antiquities. Book XVIII, Chapter V.2.
[27] Josephus. Antiquities. Book XVIII, Chapter V.4.  A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Ed. William Smith. “Salo’me.” 1848. <> A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. “Hero’des I. or Hero’d the Great or Hero’des Magnus.” <>  CR Matthew 14:5; Mark 6:19-20; Luke 3:19-20. CR Josephus. Antiquities. Book XVIII, Chapter V.4.
[28] Josephus. Antiquities. Book XVIII, Chapter V.2.
[29] Peck, Harry Thurston. Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. 1898. #3. <>  CR Josephus. Antiquities. Book XVIII, Chapter V.1.
[30] Josephus. Antiquities.  Book XVIII, Chapter V.1.  “Herod Antipas.” Britannica Encyclopedia. 2022. <> “Aretas.” Bible History. 2022. <>
[31] Josephus. Antiquities. Book XVIII, Chapter V.1.
[32] Josephus. Antiquities. Book XVIII, Chapter V.1-3.
[3] Josephus. Antiquities. Book XVIII, Chapter VI. 10.
[34] Strabo. Geography. Chapter V. n.d. <>  “Tetrarcha.” A Dictionary of Green and Roman Antiquities. 1890. <>
[35] CR Matthew 14:1, 3-4, 5, 6; Mark 6:14-20, 21; Luke 3:19; 4:16-30; 7:24-30; 8:3; 9:7, 9, 13.31; 23:7, 9, 11, 12, 15; John 1:28-34.  CR Acts 4:27; 12:4, 6, 11, 19, 21, 23; 13;1; 23:8, 35. Josephus. Antiquities. Book XVII, Chapter John 1:28-34. XI.4; Book XVIII, Chapter V.1 Josephus. Wars of the Jews. Book II, Chapter IX.1; Book III, Chapter X.7.
[36] Matthew 14:3-10; Mark 6:17-27; Luke 3:19.
[37] John 1:35-47; 2:1-13. CR Matthew 4:13; 13:53-58. Mark 6:1-4.
[38] John 5:35.  CR Matthew 4:12; 11:2-7; John 5:32-33, 7:18-25.
[39] Matthew 14:5; Mark 6:19-20; Luke 3:19-20. CR Josephus. Antiquities. Book XVIII, Chapter V.4. “Hero’des I. or Hero’d the Great or Hero’des Magnus.”
[40] John 10:40-41; 11:54-12:18.
[41] A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.“Salo’me.”
[42] Matthew 14:6-11; Mark 6:17-29; Luke 3:19-20; Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews. Book XVIII, Chapter V.


Psalms 118 – Messiah Characteristics


Psalms 118 probably comes in a close second behind Psalms 22 in getting the most attention for Messiah prophecies in Psalms, but for opposite reasons. Psalms 22 is front and center because of its controversial nature being consistent with a Roman crucifixion described in the Gospels. Psalms 118, on the other hand, gets attention for its significant uncontroversial prophecies defining the characteristics of the Messiah.[1]

Common ground is found in Psalms 118 among Jewish and Christian religious entities who are typically fierce opponents. Judaism, a renowned Jewish Rabbi sage, Jesus of Nazareth and Christian authorities – all recognize the Psalm defines characteristics about the Messiah.

Judaism regards Psalms 118 as the concept of salvation pointing to the arrival of the Messiah and is, in fact, part of the traditional Jewish Hallel.[2] A stalwart Jewish authority says of Psalms 118:[3]

“The Psalm verses recited have been interpreted by the Rabbis also as referring to the advent of the Messiah (see Midr. Teh. to Ps. cxviii. 17, 21, 22; comp. Matt. xxi. 42).” – Jewish Encyclopedia

“Hallel” in Hebrew means “praise” and is comprised of Psalms 113-118. The Hallel was recited by Levites during the Passover sacrifice and continues to be recited or chanted during the family night celebration of Passover and other Jewish holidays.[4]

Sukkot, also known as the Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacles, is one of the three annual pilgrim festivals required by the Law handed down to Moses. The holiday, often referred to as the “season of our Rejoicing,” serves the dual purposes.

One celebration is to commemorate the Hebrews emerging from the 40 years of wondering in the Sinai wilderness where they had lived in temporary shelters or tents called tabernacles (booths).[5] The other purpose of the holiday is to celebrate the harvest.

In past times during each day of the Sukkot festival, a marching procession would wave branches of palm, myrtle and willow.[6] The seventh and final day of Sukkot is called “Hoshana Rabbah” meaning “Great Salvation.” [7]

A reduced version of the Hallel is chanted the final day of Sukkot consisting of only the final verses of Psalms 118 begins with verse 20.[8] Originating from Psalms 118:25 is the Hallel phrase, “Anna Adonai hoshi-‘ah-nna,” shortened to a single word, “hosanna.”[9] Tracing back to ancient Jewish tradition, “hosanna” is the customary joyful shout of celebration.

“Hosanna” is the same word shouted by the crowd when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey the Sunday before he would be crucified. All four Gospel authors write about that day considered in Christianity to be a triumphal event now known as Palm Sunday.[10] Jewish Encyclopedia confirms the account in the Gospel of John:

“According to John xii. 13…which has the story preserved in its original form, the same cry was raised by the multitude on the occasion of Jesus’ arrival at Jerusalem. They “took branches of palm-trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord”—that is, the verse following “Anna Adonai hoshi’ah-nna” in the Hallel psalm — and then called him “the King of Israel.” – Jewish Encyclopeda

JN 12:12-13  “The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’ The King of Israel!”” (NKJV)

Backstory to John’s account of the triumphal arrival into Jerusalem involves the account in Luke‘s Gospel of a previous encounter with the Pharisees. They had warned Jesus that Tetrarch Herod Antipas was seeking to have him killed. Not concerned about Herod Antipas, Jesus responded in part by foretelling a future event quoting from Psalms 118:26:

LK 13:35 “…assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’”” (NKJV)

PS .118:26 “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD! We have blessed you from the house of the LORD.” (NKJV)

Leading up to his prophecy, Jesus told a parable about a winery rented to tenants by the landowner.[11] Twice the owner sent his servants to collect the rent from the tenants and both times they were harshly rebuffed and beaten.

On the third attempt, the owner sent his only son thinking they would surely respect him, but the tenants actually killed his son. Interpreting the meaning of the parable appearing in all three synoptic Gospels, Jesus quoted Psalms 118:22-23.[12]

MT 21:42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD’S doing, And it is marvelous in our eyes’? (NKJV)

PS 118:22-23 “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD’S doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.” (NASB, NJKV)

Jewish sage Rabbi Rashi wrote his famed commentaries of the Scriptures about a millennium later. In his commentary of the Micah 5:1(2) Bethlehem Messiah prophecy, the Rabbi also quoted from Psalms 118:22. Breaking down the prophecy phrase by phrase, Rashi interpreted the meaning of the phrase “from you shall emerge for Me“:[13]

from you shall emerge for Me: the Messiah, son of David, and so Scripture says (Ps. 118:22): “The stone the builders had rejected became a cornerstone.” Rabbi Rashi

Psalms 118, according to Judaism and Christianity alike, refers to the Messiah. Was Jesus the Messiah being referenced in this Psalm?


Updated October 21, 2022.

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[1]The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary. n.d. < Publication Society (JPS) translation. 1917. Benyamin Pilant. 1997. <> Last accessed 20 Apr. 2021.
[2] “Salvation.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <>
[3]“Hosanna.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <>
[4] “Passover Sacrifice.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <>  “Hallel.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <>  “Holy Days.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <> Posner, Menachem. “What is Hallel?” 2021. <>
[5] Deuteronomy 16:9-17. Leviticus 23:33.  Bogomilsky, Moshe. “Our Season of Rejoicing.” 2022. <>  Pochtar, Israel. “Sukkot – The Feast of Tabernacles.” VoiceofJudahIsael.” n.d. <>   “The Meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles.” OneforIsrael. May 31, 2016. <>  Hosanna Rabbah. ABQ Jew. image. 2014. <
[6] “Hosanna.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. Rich, Tracey R. “Sukkot.” 2011. <> “What is Sukkot.”>
[7] Lawrence, Natan. “Origin of “Hoshana Rabbash.”” 11/15/2019. <> Rich. “Sukkot.”
[8] “Hallel.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. “Hosanna.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011.
[9] “Hosanna.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. “Salvation.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. “Sukkot.” Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. <> Psalms 118:25. Lexicon. 2021. <>
[10] Matthew 21: 9, 15; Mark 11:9-10; Luke 19:35-39; John 12:12-13.
[11] Matthew 21:33-40, Mark 12:1-8, Luke 20:09-16.
[12] CR Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17.
[13] Micah 5:1. The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary. <> “Rashi.” Your Dictionary. n.d. <>  “RASHI Biography.” n.d. <>