Book: The Day Jesus the Christ Died

The Day Jesus the Christ Died-the Biblical Truth About His Passion, Crucifixion and Resurrection - by Fred R. Coulter

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From eternity past, before the foundation of the world, God the Father and God the Son planned for and predetermined the day that Jesus the Christ would die. In the history of the universe, no other day can be compared with it. So profound was this day that it will always be remembered even into the ages of eternity to come.

This day of destiny was the ultimate culmination of the spiritual battle for the lives of men; a battle waged between Jesus the Christ, Son of God and Savior of mankind, and Satan the devil, adversary of God and destroyer of mankind. This fierce battle was centered in Jerusalem, but its outcome would determine the destiny of the world. It was the power of God versus the power of Satan, the Advocate vs. the adversary, love vs. hatred, good vs. evil, humility vs. pride, compassion vs. brutality, righteousness vs. sin and forgiveness vs. condemnation.

All the evil forces and powers of the world were gathered together against one man, Jesus the Christ—the Son of God. Who would be victorious? Would good finally triumph over evil?

For healing the sick, raising the dead and teaching the love of God, Jesus Christ was condemned, beaten, scourged, reviled, ridiculed and crucified. Yet, He was faithful to the end—giving His life as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world.

Even Jesus’ own disciples, whom He had taught for three and one-half years, did not understand the significance of this day. As they watched Jesus die and His body being placed into the tomb, they were bewildered. To them it appeared that evil had won—the political and religious establishments that held them in bondage were victorious. All they felt was a dark and foreboding despair because Jesus, the Anointed Messiah of God, was dead and buried. It was beyond their wildest imaginations that Jesus would come back to life after three days and three nights in the tomb. But He was raised from the dead by the power of God the Father.

When Jesus showed Himself to them after He was raised from the dead, He personally revealed to them from the Scriptures that His death and resurrection were foreordained: “And He said to them, ‘These are the words that I spoke to you when I was yet with you, that all the things which were written concerning Me in the Law of Moses and in the Prophets and in the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘According as it is written, it was necessary for the Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day’ ” (Luke 24:44-46).

In the world today, many people do not understand the significance of the death of Jesus the Christ and the specific day that He died. This book was especially written to help them understand the Scriptures concerning Him. The inspired Word of God reveals the full story.

Mel Gibson’s movie confronted the viewer with a powerful emotional presentation of The Passion of the Christ. However, because of time constraints and artistic license, the movie did not bring the full biblical truth. This book is a composite of the Scriptures from the New Testament that chronicle the events of the crucifixion day to Jesus’ resurrection and final ascension into heaven. Special commentaries tie together the prophecies of the Old Testament with the events of the New Testament to expound upon the meaning of this Day of Destiny—The Day Jesus the Christ Died.


We first acknowledge God the Father and Jesus Christ and thank them for preserving the Holy Bible in spite of mankind’s tumultuous history so that today the truth is available for everyone. It is the Word of God that gives us the true understanding about Jesus the Christ and why He died for the sins of the world. Jesus said, “Your Word is truth … and you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free” (John 17:17, 8:31). It would not be possible to write this book without the true Word of God.

Many people have helped and shared in producing this book. Their diligent work and support made it possible. First, I give my heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to my lovely, dear wife, Dolores, for her personal encouragement. Special acknowledgments go to Carl and Jean Franklin, who for over thirty years have helped in editing all of the author’s publications and books. Special thanks go to Marcia Ritke Momose for her diligent editing of the text and appendices. John and Hiedi Vogele are to be commended for the final formatting and proof reading of the entire text for publication of this book.


Destined to be viewed and experienced by millions around the world, the movie The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson has confronted this generation, as never before in modern history, with these burning questions: “Who was Jesus Christ? Who killed Him? Why did He have to die? Why did He die such a horrific, humiliating, cruel and gruesome death by beating, scourging and crucifixion?”

Attempting to graphically portray the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life, the movie has shocked its viewers with stark realism and gross brutality. On the one hand, it has been enthusiastically praised as the greatest religious film ever made. On the other hand, pundits have decried it as being filled with hatred and gruesome violence. Many church leaders have praised it for its love and forgiveness. Some Jews have denounced it as being just another rendition of the medieval Catholic anti-Semitic passion plays, which historically led to the killing of Jews.

From all the controversy and public discussion, it is evident that no movie about Jesus Christ has ever evoked such contradictory, polarized emotional reactions—belief and scorn, love and hate, praise and condemnation. There is little doubt that the controversy over this film will continue for years to come.

Gibson claims that he followed the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as closely as possible. However, that is not quite correct. “To tell his story, Gibson has amalgamated the four Gospel accounts and was reportedly inspired by the visions of two nuns: Mary of Agreda (1602-1665) of Spain and Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) of France; Emmerich experienced the stigmata on her head, hands, and feet and chest—wounds imitating Jesus’ ” (Newsweek, 2/16/04 p. 47). In fact, Gibson added many things in the film that were derived solely from Catholic tradition and Emmerich’s book, Delorous Passions of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Although the movie is a mixture of Gospel accounts, Catholic tradition, mysticism and “artistic license,” the majority of viewers who are unfamiliar with the Gospel accounts will accept it as an accurate portrayal of the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life. The best way to separate unsubstantiated mystic tradition from biblical truth is to closely examine the records of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They are the true, inspired historical accounts of the passion, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Furthermore, the prophecies in the Old Testament about Jesus Christ must also be examined. Only then can one truly understand why the Son of God had to die such an ignominious, horrendous, brutal death by crucifixion.

For centuries, many of the true teachings of the Bible have been branded as “heresy” by the leaders of Orthodox Christendom. Religious doctrines and dogmas have been developed, which are founded upon a combination of the Scriptures and the traditions of men. The result has been distorted or erroneous teachings that are accepted as the true doctrines and teachings of the Bible by the faithful.

Sadly, very few religious, church-going people take the time to study their Bibles in order to prove whether the teachings of their churches are actually the true teachings of the Bible. Therefore, they do not realize that many of their church’s teachings and traditions originated, not in Christianity, but in pagan religion. As such, these beliefs are contrary to what the Bible teaches, yet they are taught in the name of Jesus Christ. When these corrupt teachings are compared to the Bible, fully fifty to ninety percent are not true!

Thus, truth has been exchanged for lies, and lies have been accepted as truth, in a process Dresden James noted in this well-known quote:

“When a well-packaged web of lies

has been sold gradually to the masses over

generations, the truth will seem

utterly preposterous and its

speaker a raving lunatic.”

This book The Day Jesus the Christ Died presents the biblical facts concerning the meaning and purpose of Jesus Christ’s passion, crucifixion and resurrection. The truth is more astounding and profound than all of the ideas, superstitions, traditions and misbeliefs of men!


Today, most people, even professing Christians, are ignorant of what the Bible really teaches. For example, because pagan myths and religious practices have been “Christianized” and interwoven with Scripture, most people believe that the traditional holidays, practices and traditions of Christendom came from the New Testament. They also assume that Jesus and His apostles practiced and taught them. Nothing could be further from the truth!

In a two-hour movie depicting the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life, it is impossible to convey much more than an emotional impression, as moving as it may be. Mel Gibson’s movie only alluded to the true biblical meaning of Jesus’ passion—The Day Jesus the Christ Died.

In order to fully understand the meaning of Jesus Christ’s passion, crucifixion and resurrection, it is necessary to unwind the historical clock. We must go back beyond 325 AD when the Emperor Constantine founded the Roman Catholic Church as a state religion—an amalgamation of apostate Christianity and pagan religions. We must go back beyond the teachings of the early church fathers of the second and third centuries. We must go back even to the first part of the first century when Jesus began His three and one-half year ministry in 26 AD and continue to the year of His crucifixion in 30 AD as recorded in the New Testament.

Furthermore, we must set aside all religious practices and traditions of men that were added after the death of the apostles. We must realize that Jesus, the original apostles and the true believers of the first century always taught and observed the seventh day Sabbath, known as Saturday today. In addition, they observed the annual feasts and holy days of God that He had commanded the children of Israel to observe. In order to keep God’s feasts and holy days in their proper seasons, they used the calculated Hebrew lunar/solar calendar to reckon time, with the first month of the year being in the spring of the year (March/April), and they reckoned a day from sunset to sunset (Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, cf; Lev. 23:32). Because the majority of people do not know these things, few realize the significance of the actual historical date that Jesus was crucified. This date has great significance!

Jesus Christ was not crucified on “Good Friday.” He was not resurrected from the dead a day and one-half later on “Easter Sunday” morning. He was crucified and died on the Passover day, the most important feast of God. That day was the 14th day of the first month of the sacred Hebrew calendar (Lev. 23:4-5; Exodus 12), also known as Nisan 14, 30 AD. Coordinated with the Julian Roman calendar it was April 5. Moreover, Jesus was resurrected after He was in the grave a full three days and three nights as He said He would be (see Chapter Six).

A Summary of the Passover of God in the Bible

The Passover in the Old Testament: The account of the first Passover that God commanded the children of Israel to observe is found in Exodus 12. God commanded the heads of households to select a male lamb of the first year without blemish. They were to kill it just after sunset as the 14th day of the first month began. They were to place some of the blood on the doorposts and upper lintels of the entrances to their houses. The blood was a sign and a protection against the death sentence of the firstborn that God executed against the Egyptians. At midnight on the 14th, the LORD passed through the land of Egypt and killed all the firstborn of man and beast. He declared: “For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast. And I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. And the blood shall be a sign to you upon the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you. And the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be a memorial to you. And you shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it a feast as a law forever” (Ex. 12:12-14).

The 14th day of the first month is called “the Passover” because God passed over Israel’s houses on that night and spared their firstborn: “And it will be, when your children shall say to you, ‘What does this service mean to you?’ Then you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORD’S Passover, Who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our houses.’ And the people bowed their heads and worshiped” (Ex. 12:26-27).

Editor’s note: The historical records show that in the time before and after the seventy-year Babylonian Captivity (605-535 BC) there was a dispute among the Jews about the date for observing the Passover. Some faithfully followed the commands of God in the Bible to observe it on the 14th day of the first month using a domestically killed lamb and eating their Passover meal in their houses on the night of the 14th. Others who observed it on the 15th day of the first month abandoned the domestic killing of the lamb in the evening of the 14th, as the day began at sunset, and substituted a temple sacrificed lamb in the afternoon of the 14th. Consequently, they ate their Passover meal a day later on the night of the 15th, which is contrary to the scriptural commands of God.

From the New Testament records it is clear that Jesus always obeyed the commands of God concerning all things, including the scriptural observance of the Passover on the 14th day of the first month. In fact, Jesus’ last Passover with His apostles was a domestic 14th Passover observed in a house in Jerusalem. The Christian Passover by Fred R. Coulter is the most comprehensive book ever written on this vital biblical teaching. Those who desire to understand more about the true Passover of God in the Old and New Testaments may order the book from or directly from York Publishing Company

The Passover in the New Testament: From the time of Israel’s first Passover in Egypt to the time of Jesus Christ, the Passover was observed to commemorate God’s sparing their firstborn. The male lamb without blemish that was sacrificed for the observance of the Old Testament Passover was a foretype that symbolized Jesus Christ, Who was the “Lamb of God” sacrificed for the sin of the world.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus foretold the meaning of the New Testament Passover—the true Christian Passover: “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; the one who comes to Me shall never hunger; and the one who believes in Me shall never thirst at any time’ … Then the Jews were complaining against Him, because He said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ And they were saying, ‘Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? Why then does He say, “I came down from heaven”?’

“For this reason, Jesus answered them and said, ‘Do not be complaining among one another ... Truly, truly I say to you, the one who believes in Me has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate manna in the desert, but they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven so that anyone may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread, which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is even My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.’ Because of this, the Jews were arguing with one another, saying, ‘How is He able to give us His flesh to eat?’

“Therefore, Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up in the last day; for My flesh is truly food, and My blood is truly drink. The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood is dwelling in Me, and I in him. As the living Father has sent Me, and I live by the Father; so also the one who eats Me shall live by Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven; not as your fathers ate manna, and died. The one who eats this bread shall live forever’ ” (John 6:35, 41-43, 47-58).

Consequently, on the night of His last Passover with His apostles, Jesus Christ changed the symbols and meaning of the Passover to commemorate the New Covenant of eternal life that He was instituting: “And as they were eating, Jesus took the bread and blessed it; then He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’ And He took the cup; and after giving thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘All of you drink of it; for this is My blood, the blood of the New Covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins’ ” (Matt. 26:26-28). See Chapters Nine and Ten that explain the meaning of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

However, during supper, before Jesus instituted the symbols of the bread and wine to be taken once a year on the Passover night, He instituted the ordinance of footwashing: Jesus “rose from supper and laid aside His garments; and after taking a towel, He secured it around Himself. Next, He poured water into a washing basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel which He had secured … when He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and had sat down again, He said to them, ‘Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me the Teacher and the Lord, and you speak rightly, because I am. Therefore, if I, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, you also are duty-bound to wash one another’s feet; for I have given you an example, to show that you also should do exactly as I have done to you. Truly, truly I tell you, a servant is not greater than his lord, nor a messenger greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them’ ” (John 13:4-5, 12-17). See Chapter Eight that explains the meaning of footwashing.

On the night of the Passover, Jesus Christ instituted the New Covenant Christian Passover. All the events recorded in Scripture of Jesus’ betrayal and arrest, His trial, beating, scourging, crucifixion, death and burial took place within that one 24-hour day. The death of Jesus Christ for the sins of the world is the foundation of true Christianity. Without His death and the shedding of His blood, as well as His resurrection, there is no forgiveness of sins (I Cor. 15:1-23). Therefore, by virtue of this profound historical and spiritual fact, the Passover day is the most important commanded feast of God. Jesus Christ is the supreme sacrifice of God the Father—He is our Passover Lamb. The apostle Paul wrote to the Gentile church in Corinth: “For Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us” (I Cor. 5:7).