Note: The following Post is taken from an upcoming book by Joseph Lenard entitled Mysteries of Jesus’ Life Revealed—His Birth, Death, Resurrection, and Ascensions. For an overview and complete chapter listing of this fascinating study, click here.
Both Christianity and Judaism have traditions which have been passed down from generation to generation for hundreds – sometimes thousands – of years. Unfortunately, some of these traditions are simply not biblical and run counter to a credible chronology of the crucifixion week of Jesus. Exploring these traditions constitutes the eleventh and final puzzle piece in our quest to discover the true date of the death of Christ.
Perhaps most unfortunate is when traditions prevent people from accepting the truth. Often, the only rationale for ignoring the truth is the simple reluctance to abandon traditions that have been around for so long that they have somehow come to be accepted as truth. Unfortunately, long-standing tradition does not necessarily equate to truth.
We find, for example, that the church-accepted “Christmas” and “Good Friday” dates for the birth and crucifixion for Christ, respectively, simply do not correlate to scripture. These dates evolved from the fourth and fifth centuries AD, far removed from the actual events. Even so, they continue to be accepted and celebrated as annual church traditions.
In my earlier Post Timing of the Spring Feasts I discussed how the two separate Feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread in the Jewish faith had come to be combined into a single feast. These two feasts date to the first century BC and were in effect during the life of Jesus. And yet, the thoroughly un-biblical practice of combining the two is still practiced in Israel today.
The point is this: Religious traditions can take on a life of their own, irrespective of their relationship to scripture or church history. When this happens, traditions become defacto truths and consequently more difficult to unseat as accepted doctrine. Simply put, people don’t want to change their entrenched beliefs. Often the thinking is that tradition cannot be wrong; if the church supports something, then it must be right.
This is not to say that all traditions are wrong. However, from my research on the birth, death, burial, resurrection, and ascensions of Jesus, I can state with certainty that virtually all church traditions regarding the dates and places for these events are inaccurate.
Accepting the correct chronology of the crucifixion week requires that longstanding traditions be forfeited for the truth. I admit that one’s salvation does not depend on whether the information I have presented is accepted or not; God will continue to love you even if you cling strongly to traditional dates and places for historic Christian events. God is most concerned with the salvation of souls and with the trust that results in the saving Grace available through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father expect through me” (John 14:6). That is what is most important. What I am trying to do here is make Jesus more real – because He is real and historical. His life and teachings are firmly anchored in scripture and should be firmly anchored as well in our understanding of history and in all aspects of our lives.
Yes, giving up traditions can be difficult. But as the Bible makes clear, “The truth shall set you free” (John 8:32).
Note: In my next Post I will present a table which summarizes the chronology of events during the week of Jesus’ crucifixion.