Crucifixion Prophecies of the Messiah

 

Jesus of Nazareth pointed to prophecies that were to be fulfilled by the Messiah, according to Gospels Mark and Luke, although no one specific prophecy is sited. Jesus told the Disciples, “everything that is written about the Son of Man by the prophets will be accomplished.”[1]

Prophecies are seldom as clear as Micah’s Bethlehem prophecy predicting the Ruler of Israel would come from Bethlehem or Zechariah’s prophecy foretelling the King of Israel would come riding on the foal of a donkey.[2] Some are delivered in perplexing, oracle-style prophecies often requiring knowledge of historical context, analogies or symbolisms, and intermingling the present and future.[3]

Three parashahs or passages from the Old Testament, the Tenakh, are the focus of potential crucifixion prophecies – Psalms 22:1-24, Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and Zechariah 12:8-14. Historical and modern medical analysis are consistent with them.

Historical context substantiating the Gospels first comes from Cicero, Rome’s most celebrated orator and lawyer, describing the details of a crucifixion. In a murder prosecution case, he described how a victim of a Roman crucifixion was first scourged, “exposed to torture and nailed on that cross” – it was “the most miserable and the most painful punishment appropriate to slaves alone.”[4]

Jewish historian Josephus additionally wrote in several accounts about the terrors of crucifixion and how it became a commonplace means to kill Jews, convicted or innocent. Rescued victims from the cross did not even survive the attempted crucifixions as attested by his own personal experience.[5]

Judaism and Christianity have disagreements on the exact meaning of Messiah prophecies, even within their own ranks. One exception; however, they virtually all agree on one aspect in the Zechariah 12:10 prophecy.

Succinctly, the prophecy foretells the Messiah will be killed and “… they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” Christianity points to the Gospel accounts that describe Jesus being pierced by nails and thrust with a spear.[6]

A potential Psalms prophecy of a death by crucifixion is the well-known yet controversial, Psalms 22, depicting a man whose “bones [are] out of joint,” “heart has turned to wax,” “tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth,” and “they have pierced my hands and feet.” Psalm 22 also describes the psychological torture of enduring agony, humiliation, taunting and insults.[7]

Modern forensic medical expert analysis of a crucifixion provides further context. The act of merely trying to take a breath added to the excruciating pain of being nailed to a cross by pulling at the nail wounds driven through nerves in the wrists while pushing up full body weight on nailed feet. Many of the crucifixion victims most likely died by asphyxiation.[8]

Isaiah’s 52-53 parashah is a graphic depiction wholly consistent with that of a Roman crucifixion. Further details in the passage describe how “My Servant” will be treated.

Virtually all Bibles for Isaiah 53:5 contains the word chalal, one of those words that have multiple definitions. Two main definitions categories are either a form meaning “to profane, defile, pollute, desecrate” or “to wound (fatally), bore through, pierce, bore.”

Christian Bibles, in about a 50/50 split, translate chalal as either “pierced” or “wounded.” Jewish Bibles likewise interpret chalal differently with the Jewish Publication Society and the William Davidson translations use “wounded” while The Complete Jewish Bible uses the word “pained.

“My Servant” is depicted to have a physical “appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness.” Described next, the mental anguish of suffering of his soul,” is “despised and rejected by men” and is considered “stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.”[9]

Jewish authorities are virtually silent on the parashah as a whole being a prophecy about the Messiah yet 6 of the 15 verses – 52:13, 15, 53:2, 3, 5, 7 – are considered by various Jewish authorities to be prophecies about the Messiah.[10] Talmud tractate Sanhedrin 98b quotes Isaiah 53:3 as the prophetic basis for one of the names of the Messiah.[11]

Independently of his contributions to the Talmud, Jose the Galilean wrote the Messiah would be wounded for our transgressions quoting from Isaiah 53.7.[12] He quoted Isaiah 53:5 declaring it is a prophecy referring to “King Messiah” who would be “wounded” for our transgressions.

Rabbi Maimonides similarly identified the Messiah as the subject of Isaiah 52:15 and 53:2. The Rabbi sage expounded the Messiah could be identified by his origins and his wonders.

Rabbi Moshe Kohen ibn Crispin boldly disagreed with the prevailing Jewish view that “My Servant” is a metaphor referring to the nation of Israel, rather “My Servant” in Isaiah 52:13 refers to “King Messiah.”[13]12 Crispin is renowned for his twelfth century authorship of Sefer ha-Musar meaning the Book of Instruction.

Days before entering Jerusalem for the last time, Jesus forewarned his Disciples predicting what he was about to endure as foretold by the prophets: 

LK 18:31-32 “Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be turned over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him.”(NIV)

History, Judaism and Christainity affirm that Jesus of Nazareth was subjected to the horrific physical and psychological designs of a crucifixion consistent with accounts of historians and modern forensic science analysis. Is crucifixion predicted in the Messiah prophecies foretelling the manner of suffering and death by the Messiah?

Rabbi Crispin profoundly summed up the challenge for each person to arrive at his or her own conclusion about the prophecies:

“… if any one should arise claiming to be himself the Messiah, we may reflect, and look to see whether we can observe in him any resemblance to the traits described here:  if there is any such resemblance, then we may believe that he is the Messiah our righteousness; but if not, we cannot do so.”[14] – Rabbi Crispin

 

Updated February 12, 2024.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

REFERENCES:

[1] Like 18:31. NASB. Luke 18:31-34;24:26. CR Mark 18:31, 1931; Luke 22:37.
[2] Micah 5:2; Zechariah 9:9.
[3] Psalms 78:1-3; Hosea 12:10. Boucher, Madeleine I. “The Parables.” Excerpt from The Parables. Washington, DE:  Michael Glazier, Inc. 1980.  PBS|Frontline. n.d. <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/jesus/parables.html>   Bugg, Michael. “Types of Prophecy and Prophetic Types.” Hebrew Root. n.d. <http://www.hebrewroot.com/Articles/prophetic_types.htm>
[4] Cicero, Marcus Tullius. In Verrem Actionis Secundae M. Tulli Ciceronis Libri Quinti.  “Secondary Orations Against Verres. Book 5, LXVI. 70 B.C.  The Society for Ancient Languages  University of Alabama – Huntsville.  10 Feb. 2005. <https://web.archive.org/web/20160430183826/http://www.uah.edu/student_life/organizations/SAL/texts/latin/classical/cicero/inverrems5e.html>  Quintilian, Marcus Fabius. Quintilian’s Institutes of Oratory. 1856. Trans. John Selby Watson. Book 8, Chapter 4. <https://web.archive.org/web/20170815223340/http://rhetoric.eserver.org/quintilian/index.html>
[5] Josephus, Flavius. Wars of the Jews. Book II, Chapter XIV. Book V, Chapter XI. <http://books.google.com/books?id=e0dAAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false>  Chkoreff, Larry. International School of The Bible. “Is There a New World Coming?” crucifixion. image. 2000. <http://www.isob-bible.org/world-new/04world_files/image019.gif>
[6] The Compete Jewish Bible – with Rashi Commentary. Zechariah 12:10 <http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/63255/jewish/The-Bible-with-Rashi.htmSoncino Babylonian Talmud. Sukkah 52a. <http://www.halakhah.com/rst/moed/16b%20-%20Succah%20-%2029b-56b.pdf>  Chkoreff, Larry. International School of The Bible. “Is There a New World Coming?” crucifixion. image. 2000. <http://www.isob-bible.org/world-new/04world_files/image019.gif>
[7] Cilliers, L. & Retief F. P.  “The history and pathology of crucifixion.”  South African Medical Journal.  Dec;93(12):938-41.  U.S. National Library of Medicine|National Institute of Health. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14750495>  Zugibe, Frederick T.  “Turin Lecture:  Forensic and Clinical Knowledge of the Practice of Crucifixion.”  E-Forensic Medicine. 2005. <http://web.archive.org/web/20130925103021/http:/e-forensicmedicine.net/Turin2000.htm>  Maslen, Matthew W. and Mitchell, Piers D.  “Medical theories on the cause of death in crucifixion.” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.  J R Soc Med. 2006 April; 99(4): 185–188.  doi:  10.1258/jrsm.99.4.185.  National Center for Biotechnology Information. Search term Search database. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1420788>  Alchin, Linda.  “Roman Crucifixion.”  Tribunes and Triumphs. 2008.  <http://www.tribunesandtriumphs.org/roman-life/roman-crucifixion.htm> Zias, Joe. “Crucifixion in Antiquity – The Anthropological Evidence.” JoeZias.com. 2009. <http://web.archive.org/web/20121211060740/http://www.joezias.com/CrucifixionAntiquity.html>  Champlain, Edward. Nero. 2009. <https://books.google.com/books?id=30Wa-l9B5IoC&lpg=PA122&ots=nw4edgV_xw&dq=crucifixion%2C%20tacitus&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false>
[8] The Complete Jewish Bible – with Rashi Commentary. <http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/63255/jewish/The-Bible-with-Rashi.htm> Jewish Publication Society (JPS) translation. 1917. Benyamin Pilant. 1997. <http://www.breslov.com/bible> William Davidson Talmud, The. Talmud Bavli. The Sefaria Library. <http://www.sefaria.org/texts/Talmud> Isaiah 53:5. NetBible. Hebrew text. <https://classic.net.bible.org/verse.php?book=Isa&chapter=53&verse=5> Chalal <02490> NetBible. definitions. <https://classic.net.bible.org/strong.php?id=02490> H2490. Lexicon-Concordance Online Bible. n.d. <http://lexiconcordance.com/hebrew/2490.html> Isaiah 53:5. BibleHub. 2022. <https://biblehub.com/lexicon/isaiah/53-5.htm > <https://biblehub.com/lexicon/isaiah/53-5.htm > <https://biblehub.com/isaiah/53-5.htm>
[9] Isaiah 53:3. Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Sanhedrin 98a. Soncino Babylonian Talmud. footnotes: Isaiah XLIX:7, XVIII:5, I:25, LIX:19, LIX:20, LX:21, LIX:16, XLVIII:11, LX:22; footnote #31. <https://israelect.com/Come-and-Hear/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_98.htmlSoncino Babylonian Talmud. Sanhedrin 38a, footnote #9 to Isaiah 8:14. <https://israelect.com/Come-and-Hear/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_38.html>
[10] Sanhedrin 98a footnotes: Isaiah XLIX:7, XVIII:5, I:25, LIX:19, LIX:20, LX:21, LIX:16, XLVIII:11, LX:22; footnote #31. <https://israelect.com/Come-and-Hear/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_98.htmlSoncino Babylonian Talmud. Sanhedrin 38a, footnote #9 to Isaiah 8:14. <https://israelect.com/Come-and-Hear/sanhedrin/sanhedrin_38.html>
[11] Moses Maimonides. Neubauer, Adolf. And Driver, Samuel Rolles.  The Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpreters. 1877. “Letter to the South (Yemen).” pp xvi, 374-375.  <http://books.google.com/books?id=YxdbAAAAQAAJ&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=advent&f=false> Isaiah 53:3. Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Ed. Isidore Epstein. Sanhedrin 98b, footnote #31. <https://israelect.com/Come-and-Hear/talmud/index.html>  CR Neubauer, Driver & Rolles. The Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpreters. pp 12-16.
[12] The Babylonian Talmud. Rodkinson. “Part I.  Historical and Literary Introduction to the New Edition of the Talmud, Chapter 2.”  pp 10, 12-13.  <http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/t10/ht202.htmThe Babylonian Talmud. Derech Eretz-Zuta. “The Chapter on Peace.”  Yose the Galilaean. Neubauer, Driver & Rolles. The Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpreters. Quote. Siphrej. pp 10-16. <https://books.google.com/books?id=YxdbAAAAQAAJ&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q=Jose&f=false>
[13] Crispin, Moshe Kohen ibn. Neubauer, Driver & Rolles. The Fifty-third Chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpreters “Sefer ha-Musar.” pp 99-101.
[14] Crispin. “Sefer ha-Musar.” p 114.

Passover – an Appointed Time for the Crucifixion?

 

Crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth didn’t happen on just any day of the year…the timing is simply too hard to ignore. His execution was either a 1-in-365 happenstance incident or an appointed time of divine design.

Nisan 15th – Jesus was crucified on the first day of the Jewish Passover commencing at sunset with the Feast of Unleavened Break commemorating the event when the sacrifice of an innocent lamb had once been required of God for salvation from the slavery and tyranny of Egypt. Merriam-Webster defines a sacrifice as “an act of offering to a deity something precious.”

Determining whether or not the timing of the crucifixion was merely a coincidence or if the timing had a deeper significance starts with a basic understanding of an appointed time. Clues are found in the story of how the Hebrew Law came to be given by God at Mt. Sinai.

_ _ _ _ _

God told Moses with His voice from the burning bush at the base of Mt. Sinai to return to Egypt after a 40-year exile. Along with his brother Aaron, they were to confront the mighty Pharaoh of Egypt with a clear and succinct message:

Ex 5:1 …”Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.’”(NKJV)

Initially, Pharaoh was not willing to give up his slave labor force, but he paid a big price for taking that stance. Suffering through several plagues, Egypt’s ruler was finally looking to stop the misery and commanded, “‘Go, serve the Lord your God.”

Having an afterthought, he asked, “Exactly who is going with you?” Pharaoh realized he was about to make a big mistake if he let all of his Hebrew slaves leave. On the other hand, if he only released the Hebrew men to go have this feast, he could hold their families hostage.[1]

Moses countered with a unexpected response that ruined Pharaoh’s scheme: “We will go with our young and our old, with our sons and our daughters, and with our sheep and our cattle we will go, because we are to hold a pilgrim feast for the Lord.”[2]

‘No way!’ was the essence of Pharaoh’s response saying, “‘No! Go, you men only, and serve the Lord, for that is what you want,” then Moses and Aaron were driven out of Pharaoh’s presence.”[3] The 9th plague of deep darkness for three full days came next, but Pharaoh still didn’t relent.

A 10th plague was now mandated to persuade Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. This time it would include financial and very personal consequences.

Livestock value to both the Egyptians and Hebrews was very significant, especially for the enslaved Hebrews. Sheep were the source of clothing, food and milk, even as pets. For a household to lose a single lamb meant losing this valuable commodity.

For the Egyptians, cattle were valued in much the same way, probably more so. Cattle were part of the Egyptian religion and represented a status of wealth. Losing a significant portion of livestock would have a disastrous affect.[4]

Leading up to the horrible night of the 10th plague, God offered protection for the Hebrews if they followed a precise sacrificial ritual. Each family was to choose one of their unblemished lambs, sacrifice it, splash its blood on the door posts of their homes, and roast the lamb for a family feast at sunset.[5]

At midnight, the angel of death passed over any home with the lamb’s blood splashed on the doorposts thereby sparing the associated lives of the Hebrew’s firstborn and their livestock. The 10th plague was devastating for the Egyptians – every firstborn died. With the death of his own son, Pharaoh’s resolve was finally broken.

Salvation from the plague of death set the stage for what would become Israel’s first legally mandated Feast observance, “It is the LORD’s Passover.” Every year thereafter, the Passover was to be observed:[6]

Ex 12:14 ‘So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.(NKJV)

A few weeks later, God handed down the Law to Moses at the top of Mt. Sinai. The Law defined the observance of three annual Festivals or Feasts and a permanent place to observe the Passover at at its appointed time:

Lev. 23:4-7‘These are the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times.

‘On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the LORD’S Passover.

‘And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven days you must eat unleavened bread.

‘On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. (NKJV)

Centerpiece of the Passover commenced on Nisan 14 with the sacrifice of the paschal lamb eventually to permanently occur in the place God was yet to reveal.[7] Following at sunset, Nisan 15, was the Feast of Unleavened Bread featuring the roasted meat of the sacrificial lamb.

Passover was a week-long celebration yet the Festival was intended to be a solemn time in remembrance of God’s miraculous deliverance from slavery and tyranny. The Law’s definition of the Passover used similar terms as for the weekly Sabbath, each was called “a holy assembly” or “holy convocation.”[8]

Found to be innocent by the government rulers Tetrarch Herod and Procurator Pilate, at the urging of the Jewish leadership Jesus was still crucified on the first day of Passover at its appointed time. In addition to the timing are the circumstances factors. Events surrounding the crucifixion of Jesus at the Passover were controlled solely by his archenemies, the Jewish leadership – out of the control of Jesus, his Disciples or any alleged Christian conspirators.

Was the crucifixion of Jesus on Nisan 15th just a coincidence or a divinely appointed time?

 

Updated June 27, 2023.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.  

NKJV = New King James Version translation.
NET = NETBible translation

REFERENCES:

[1] NET.
[2] NET.
[3] Quotes from NET translation. Exodus 10[iv] Exodus 12.
[4] Benner, Jeff A. “Ancient Hebrew Livestock.” Ancient Hebrew Research Center. 2022. <https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/culture/ancient-hebrew-livestock.htm> Cownie, Emma. Emmafcpwnie.com. 2018. “Why cattle mattered in the Ancient World.” <https://emmafcownie.medium.com/why-cattle-mattered-in-the-ancient-world-4e27b1c37e58> “Cattle in the ancient world of the Bible” Women In The Bible. 2006. <https://womeninthebible.net/bible_daily_life/cattle_ancient_world/#:~:text=Cattle%20were%20an%20important%20status%20symbol.%20In%20biblical,as%20well%20as%20for%20ploughing%2C%20threshing%20and%20transport.> Broyles, Stephen. The Andreas Center. 2010. <https://www.andreascenter.org/Articles/Sheep%20and%20Goats.htm> “Sheep in History. Sheep101.info. 2021. <http://www.sheep101.info/history.html
[5] Mock, Robert. Destination Yisra’el. “The First Pesach in the Land of Egypt.” photo. 2017. <https://destination-yisrael.biblesearchers.com/destination-yisrael/2017/04/the-history-of-the-passover-in-the-days-of-the-nazarene.html&gt
[6] Exodus 13, 34.
[7] Exodus 12; Deuteronomy 16; Leviticus 23. “Abib” and “Nisan.”  Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011.
[8] Exodus 16:22-23, 29; 20:8-10; Leviticus 23:3.  Babylonian Talmud. Rodkinson. 1918. Book 1, Tract Sabbath, Chapters 1-10; Book 2; Erubin, Pesachim, Book 3,  Chapter IV, VI,  VIII. <https://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/talmud.htm#t03>  Edersheim, Alfred.  The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah. 1883. Book V, Chapter 15. pp 1382-1392 & pp 1393-1421.  <http://philologos.org/__eb-lat/default.htm>   Edersheim, Alfred. The Temple – Its Ministry and Services. Chapter 10. 1826 -1889. The NTSLibrary. 2016. <http://www.ntslibrary.com/PDF%20Books/The%20Temple%20by%20Alfred%20Edersheim.pdf> Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. https://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6359-friday  “Festivals,”“Holy Days,” “Passover,” ”Shabbat,” “Sabbath ” & “Sabbath and Sunday.” 2011. <http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com>  “Shabbath.” <https://israelect.com/Come-and-Hear/shabbath/index.html; “Shabbat” and “Festivals. Jewish Encyclopedia. 2011. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com

Horrors of Death By Crucifixion

 

Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and died on the cross according to all four Gospels. In contradiction some opposing theories, including a major world religion, claim Jesus did not actually die on the cross…even if he was crucified.[1]

Crucifixion of Jews is a reality meant to kill without survivors. In addition to the four Gospel authors, among others historian Josephus and the great Roman orator and lawyer, Cicero, wrote of crucifixions.

Roman capital execution by crucifixion followed a well-honed process. Horrors of crucifixion can be described in no less than graphic terms. In fact, the English word “excruciating” is derived from the word “crucify” or “crux” meaning cross.[2]

Modern medical science has corroborated the effects of a Roman scourging and crucifixion referenced by historical sources.[3] PhD level research in the fields of forensics, pathology, and modern medicine articulate the horrific impacts.[4]

First, the victim was flogged or scourged by a multi-tipped whip containing fragments of metal or bone intended to rip the flesh off the victim. It inflicted terrible pain and weakened the victim through loss of blood causing severe dehydration and thirst, induced shock, and could even lead to death before the actual crucifixion.

Next, it is believed the condemned were often forced to carry their own patibulum (crossbeams) weighing about 75 to 125 pounds on the long trek to a conspicuous public place of execution outside the city walls. Awaiting there were upright posts or stipes left in place, as historical evidence suggests, because of the frequency of use and scarcity of wood.

crucifixion nail

Once at the crucifixion site, the execution detail stripped off the clothing of the victims; forced down to the ground in their open wounds; and were affixed to the patibulum by nails and possibly along with ropes. The patibulum was then fitted onto the upright stipes where the job was finished by nailing their feet to the stipes.

Crucifixion victims shredded by flogging were then faced with enduring a humiliating and slow death. They suffered from severe dehydration, exposure and unspeakable pain.

Consequence of hanging by extended arms with each breath caused more excruciating pain. The victim had to push up full body weight on nailed feet which at the same time pulled at the nail wounds driven through nerves in the wrists.

Hypothermia would have added to the misery considering the average 59° April temperature in Jerusalem. At that time of year, the temperature ranges from lows as far down as 49°F to highs in the 70s°F.

Gospels accounts report the crucifixion process of Jesus began at 9:00am which is soon after reaching the nightly low temperature. Exposure was compounded by wind chill, moisture from blood and sweat, and the severe injuries inflicted by scourging and being nailed to the cross.[5]

As if the physical torture wasn’t enough, there was the mental torment of humiliation by being stripped of clothing and hanging from the cross at a high traffic location as a spectacle for staring passers-by who, along with the Roman soldiers, shouted insults at the victim. Hanging defenseless, bloodied and fully exposed on the cross, the sufferer was subject to becoming living carrion for scavenging birds.

Victims most likely died from hypovolemic shock (blood circulation complications) or a combination of other factors.[6] Death was believed to be hastened by breaking the legs of the victim such as mentioned in the Gospel accounts of the two thieves crucified with Jesus.

Roman judicial crucifixions were overseen by an execution squad consisting of a centurion, exactor mortis, and four soldiers known as a quaternion.[7] In charge of the execution, the centurion was responsible for reporting back to the governing authority when the execution had been completed.[8] Failure to complete his duty could have dire consequences – survival of a crucifixion victim was not an option.[9]

crucifixion nail & heel bone

Archeological evidence of a crucifixion was found in an ancient cemetery excavated in 1968 by Vassilios Tzaferis of the Israel Department of Antiquities.[10] Pottery shards in the tomb dated to the period that followed King Herod’s dynasty up to 70 AD.

One adult male’s remains, those of “Yehohanan, the son of Hagakol,” were identified by anthropologists to have died by crucifixion, his heel bone pierced by a bent 4.5 inch nail. Remains of the olive wood cross were still attached between the nail bend and the heel bone as well as a remnant of the acacia or pistacia wooden plaque between the head of the nail and outside of the heel bone. The lower leg bones had been splintered by a sharp blow.

Forensic, pathology, and medical research; antiquity historical references; an archeological discovery and anthropology research all remarkably corroborate the circumstances of the crucifixion details in the Gospel accounts.

Considering the scientific information that substantiates historical references, how believable are the Gospel accounts saying that Jesus of Nazareth died by means of crucifixion ?

 

Updated February 6, 2024.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

REFERENCES:

Gospel accounts of the crucifixion of Jesus:  Matthew 27:26-56; Mark 15:15-41; Luke 23:20-49; John 19:1-35.

[1] Shah, Zia.  “Jesus did not die on the cross!” For Christians, To be Born Again in Islam!  2012.  <https://islamforwest.org/article/jesus-did-not-die-on-the-cross rel=”nofollow”>  Quran 4:157, Pickthall translation.  <http://www.islam101.com/quran/QTP/index.htm > Hill, Kate, “The Physical Death of Jesus Christ: The “Swoon Theory” and the Medical Response.” 2015. Providence College.  <http://digitalcommons.providence.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1000&context=faith_science_2015>  Samuelsson, Gunnar.  Crucifixion in Antiquity.  2011.  Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck.  <https://www.academia.edu/4167205/Crucifixion_in_Early_Christianityrel=”nofollow”>
[2] “excruciating.”   Dictionary.com.  2017.  <http://www.dictionary.com>   “crucifixion.”  Merriam-Webster.  2017 <http://www.merriam-webster.com>
[3] Cicero. Secondary Orations Against Verres, Book 5, Chapter LXVI.   Zias, Joe.  Joe.Zias.com. “Crucifixion in Antiquity – The Anthropological Evidence.” 2009. Archive.org. <http://web.archive.org/web/20121211060740/http://www.joezias.com/CrucifixionAntiquity.html>  Josephus, Flavius.  The Life of Flavius Josephus. #75. Google Books. n.d.  <http://books.google.com/books?id=e0dAAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
[4] Edwards, William D.; Gabel,Wesley J.; Hosmer, Floyd E. The Journal of the American Medical Association. “On The Physical Death of JesusChrist.” March 21, 1986, Volume 256 <http://hopechurchonline.net/pdf/JAMA_article_The_Crucifixion_of_Jesus_Christ.pdf>  Zugibe, Frederick T., PhD. E-Forensic Medicine. “Turin Lecture:  Forensic and Clinical Knowledge of the Practice of Crucifixion.” 2005. <http://web.archive.org/web/20130925103021/http://e-forensicmedicine.net/Turin2000.htm>  Cilliers, L. & Retief F. P.  U.S. National Library of Medicine|National Institute of Health. “The history and pathology of crucifixion.” Dec;93(12):938-41.  <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14750495>   Maslen and Mitchell. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. “Medical theories on the cause of death in crucifixion.” 2006. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14750495
[5] “Weather in April in Jerusalem.” Climatemps.com. <http://www.jerusalem.climatemps.com/april.php>   “Jerusalem.”  HolidayWeather.com. <http://www.holiday-weather.com/jerusalem/averages/april>   McCullough, Lynne, M.D. and Arora, Sanjay, M.D.  AAFP.org. 2004 Dec 15. http://www.aafp.org/afp/2004/1215/p2325.html>  Li, James, M.D. “Hypothermia.” Sep 09, 2016. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/770542-overview#a5>  “Ancient Roman “Crucifixion Spike” 1st – 2nd Century AD.” Ancient Resource. photo. 2020. <http://www.ancientresource.com/lots/roman/crucifixion-nails-spikes.html
[6] Cilliers & Retief.  “The history and pathology of crucifixion.”  Zugibe. “Turin Lecture – Forensic and Clinical Knowledge of the Practice of Crucifixion.”  Maslen and Mitchell. “Medical theories on the cause of death in crucifixion.”  Alchin, Linda.  Tribunes and Triumphs. “Roman Crucifixion.” 2008. <http://www.tribunesandtriumphs.org/roman-life/roman-crucifixion.htm>  Zias. “Crucifixion in Antiquity – The Anthropological Evidence.”  Champlain, Edward.   Zugibe. “Turin Lecture – Forensic and Clinical Knowledge of the Practice of Crucifixion.”  Geberth, Vernon J. “State Sponsored Torture in Rome: A Forensic Inquiry and Medicolegal Analysis of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.” 2012. Reprint: AAFS Proceedings Annual Scientific Meeting Washington, D.C. February 18-23.  pp 176-177. 2008. <https://r.search.yahoo.com/_ylt=AwrNZs.XOMplcmMnC3wPxQt.;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZAMEc2VjA3Ny/RV=2/RE=1707780375/RO=10/RU=http%3a%2f%2fwww.practicalhomicide.com%2fResearch%2fRome2012.doc/RK=2/RS=c4KuoiEJ.qGr7k28di3AscjU6i0-> Champlain, Edward. Nero. Harvard University Press. p 1222009. <https://books.google.com/books?id=30Wa-l9B5IoC&lpg=PA122&ots=nw4edgV_xw&dq=crucifixion%2C%20tacitus&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false>  Champlain, Edward. Nero. Harvard University Press. p 122. 2009. <https://books.google.com/books?id=30Wa-l9B5IoC&lpg=PA122&ots=nw4edgV_xw&dq=crucifixion%2C%20tacitus&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false>
[7] Zugibe. “Turin Lecture – Forensic and Clinical Knowledge of the Practice of Crucifixion.
[8] Santala, Risto. The Messiah In The New Testament In The Light Of Rabbinical Writings. Trans. William Kinnaird. “Jesus Before The Representatives of the Roman State.”  1993.  <http://www.kolumbus.fi/risto.santala/rsla/Nt/index.html>   Swete, Henry Barclay.  The Gospel According to St. Mark, The Greek Text with Notes and Indices. 1902.  Google Books.  <https://books.google.com/books?id=WcYUAAAAQAAJ&lpg=PA127&ots=f_TER300kY&dq=Seneca%20centurio%20supplicio%20pr%C3%A6positus&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false
[9] Seneca, Lucius Annaeus. “Seneca’s Essays Volume I.”  Moral Essays. Book III. “To Novatus on Anger+.” Book I.  The Stoic Legacy to the Renaissance.  <http://www.stoics.com/seneca_essays_book_1.html#ANGER1>   Josephus, Flavius.  Wars of the Jews.  Book VI, Chapter IV,  Chapter VII.  Google Books. n.d. <http://books.google.com/books?id=e0dAAAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false>  Shimron, Aryeh. The U.S. Sun. 2022. photo. Last accessed 12 Sept. 2022. <https://www.the-sun.com/news/1672868/nails-crucify-jesus-fragments-bone/#
[10] Shanks, Hershel.  “Crucifixion Bone Fragment, 21 CE.”  The Center for Online Judaic Studies. 2004.  <http://cojs.org/crucifixion_bone_fragment-_21_ce>  Tzaferis, Vassilios. Bible Archaeology Society. “Crucifixion – the Archaelogical Evidence.” n.d. <https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/crucifixion/a-tomb-in-jerusalem-reveals-the-history-of-crucifixion-and-roman-crucifixion-methods