The Bible study began when someone mentioned the significance of April 17th in the Bible and how many fascinating events occurred on this date.
While I’m grateful for the lead-in that opened the door to some of the amazing stuff we will see below the April 17th date has no significance whatsoever.
The date with major significance is the Jewish date of 17th Nisan.
The confusion comes from the fact that the month Nisan sometimes corresponds with our April however our modern-day calendar is very different from the Jewish one and sometimes Nisan falls in March.
Think how our Easter date varies from year to year so it is incorrect to say major events happened on the 17th of April but it is mind-boggling the things that have happened on Nisan 17th in the Bible.
As an aside: If you really want to get confused try to work out all of the different calendars. There is the Jewish religious calendar, the Jewish civil calendar, the Gregorian calendar, and the Julian calendar.
There are way more than these ones as well. However, these are the calendars used when people argue about dates in the Bible, and when you consider every calendar above has to add a leap year, or in some cases an entire leap month you can see why there are so many disagreements.
So… let’s keep it as simple as possible and stick with Bible events that happened on the 17th of Nisan…
What Does The Number 17 Mean In Bible Numerics?
Before diving into all of the events that happened on the 17th Nisan it is worth retaining in our memories while we read what the number 17 means.
It means complete victory over the enemy.
In the below events that all happened on the 17th Nisan, we will see the following pattern.
- God fulfills a promise
- He destroys the enemy
- He shows himself to mighty
- It results in a new beginning
Jesus Rose From The Dead On The 17th Nisan
I’m starting with the biggest event of all. The resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I have no doubt that he was crucified on the 14th of Nisan and therefore 3 days later on the 17th of Nisan he is raised from the dead.
Things to consider:
- Right back to the story of Abel and Cain, we can see the significance of a Lamb sacrifice. (Gen 4:4)
- Abraham told Isaac that God will provide a Lamb. (Gen 22:8)
- Passover: The LORD tells Israel to slay a lamb and put its blood on the doorposts and eat the entire Lamb. (Exodus Chapter 12)
- Jesus is declared to be the Lamb of God. (John 1:29. John 1:36)
- Jesus is our Passover Lamb. (1 Corinthians 5:7)
Just think about it:
God himself after Israel was in bondage for 430 years chose a specific date (the 14th of Nisan) for them to slay the Passover Lamb.
God chose the date. They were to slay the Lamb in the evening (between 3 PM-6 PM).
We know Jesus died at 3 PM (Mat 27:46)
Do you think that God himself choosing the date for the Lamb to be slain at Passover and Jesus is the Lamb of God, provided by God, as our Passover, that Jesus obviously would have been slain as the Lamb on the very same date?
Here is a brief break down of events just using Exodus and Matthew:
|Passover:||Christ Our Passover:|
|10th Nisan Israel is to choose a lamb (Ex 12:3)||10th Nisan Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey and a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.|
And they cried out, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
Israel chooses their Lamb! (Mt 21:1-11)
|Your lamb shall be without blemish (Ex 12:5)||But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Pet 1:9)|
|And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month. (Ex 12:6)||It is believed the lamb was kept from the 10th to the 14th for examination (this was later done by the Priests) to make sure it was blemish-free.|
If this is so Jesus was well and truly examined by the Priests and even by Pilate during these days.
From Mat 21:12 through to Mat 23
Mat 26:47 through to Mat 27
|And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. (Ex 12:6)||Jesus crucified and died in the evening at the 9th hour (3 PM) after the whole congregation of Israel cried out to crucify him.|
Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. (Mt 27:22)
|And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. (Ex 12:7)||Jesus is both the door and blood of the lamb. (1 Pet 1:19, John 10:7, and many more)|
|They had to eat the entire lamb before morning (Ex 12:8-10)||Jesus is the Lamb… Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. (John 6:53)|
|And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye 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. (Ex 12:13)||Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Rom 5:9 and many more)|
|And this day shall be unto you for a memorial (Ex 12:14)||Our communion service is a memorial (1 Cor 11:24-25)|
|Feast of Unleavened Bread – from the 15th Nisan – 21st Nisan. The 15th and the 21st were Holy Days (Sabbaths)|
Leviticus 23:6 and Numbers 28:17, say that the festival of Unleavened Bread starts on the 15th and not the 14th as stressed in Exodus 12:18 – of course, the even of the 14th at dark would be the 15th.
|14th – Jesus Passover Lamb of God at 3 PM. (Close of Jewish Wednesday). Was alive on the cross from 9 am -3 pm – 6 the number of man.|
14/15th – Just on dark and the beginning of the 15th he is buried (stone rolled in front of tomb) (Jewish Thursday) – Sabbath (Passover – First day of unleavened bread) High day – special Sabbath NLT John 19:31 – It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was the Passover).
16th after the Sabbath (Passover) – Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. (Jewish Friday)
17th Sabbath (Jewish Saturday) Rose from the dead around 6 pm
18th – Jewish Sunday women arrive at the grave – The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early when it was yet dark. Sometime before 6 am more likely 4-5 am – Jesus has already risen… he isn’t there.
|And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. (Lev 23:11)||The day after the sabbath the priest shall wave the sheaf before the LORD. This is the feast of firstfruits – from 15th-21st. So Sunday when Jesus showed himself to be alive on the day after the Sabbath he was the wave offering.|
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ, all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (1 Cor 15:20-23 )
Did Israel Leave Egypt On The 17th Of Nisan?
I will address this in the Red Sea section below however, I want to address the following scripture first.
And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:41)
Many claim that this verse proves that Israel left Egypt on the 17th Nisan and because it says on the exact same day at the end of the 430 years that also means that Jacob also entered Egpyt on the 17th Nisan.
This is not saying on the same day of the 430th year. It is saying on the very same day of the Passover. The very day it all took place.
This is confirmed here:
And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the LORD did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies. (Ex 12:51)
The argument also goes that they hadn’t left Egypt yet. They didn’t leave Egypt until they crossed the Red Sea. Now, this might have been on the 17th as we shall see but the verses above say went out from on the same day – therefore the 15th!
So, I don’t see this one as being accurate but it does depend on how you read the scripture so it could be.
The Red Sea Parts 17th Of Nisan – Israel Leaving Egypt Continued…
Again. I’m not too sure about this one either. Some claim that (Ex 3:18, 5:3) where Moses said to Pharoah let us go 3 days journey into the wilderness proves that they went through the Red Sea on the 17th.
They clinch it by itemizing the following chapter to prove they crossed the Red Sea on the 17th but I come up with something different by my reckoning:
In Numbers 33:1-8 we read about the review of the journey from Egypt to Jordan.
- They departed from Rameses on the 15th Nisan and pitched at Succoth.
- 16th Nisan they move from Succoth and pitch at Etham which is in the edge of the wilderness.
- 17th Nisan they move from Etham and pitch at Pihahiroth.
- That night at the start of the 18th they crossed the Red Sea.
So I don’t see it. They got to the edge of the sea and it was a 3-day journey. But they didn’t cross until the night (start of) the 18th. Maybe I’m missing something but I can’t reconcile their sums.
Plus they tie Israel leaving Egypt and coming into Egypt on this date as well. So again, as far as I can see, and as much as I would like it to be, it is not the case.
But… It is almost identical to the resurrection account. If I’m right about Jesus rising from the dead at the end of the 17th Nisan and revealing himself alive on the 18th then the crossing of the Red Sea very closely matches.
It would involve Moses lifting his hand over the sea just before nightfall (nothing to prove that) at the same time Jesus rose.
Then during the night, the sea parted and they crossed the sea. Daybreak the next day the Egyptians could see that they were gone and pursued.
Jesus dies evening of the 14th, rises on the evening of the 17th, reveals he is alive on the 18th. He is not here is risen.
The Red Sea crossing is almost identical and a good case can be put forward for it. But we can’t prove it.
Did Israel Enter The Promised Land On The 17th Nisan?
No. They did not. They actually entered the Promised Land on the 10th of Nisan. (Joshua 4:19)
This calculated from Joshua 5:9-15
And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.
So they were already in the Promised Land when they kept the Passover on the 14th.
What is significant is if you trace the events of the days prior you see that they were commanded to be circumcised because none of those born in the wilderness were.
After they were circumcised in (Joshua 5:9) God says… This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you.
After they were circumcised they kept the Passover. It seems this is the first time Israel celebrated Passover after leaving Egypt. There is no record of them keeping the Passover in the wilderness.
Now that they were circumcised the new generation could celebrate Passover. The first Passover in the Promised Land.
Jordan symbolizes water baptism. Circumcision points to receiving the Holy Spirit. On the day we received the circumcision of the Spirit our reproach was rolled away and we could now partake of the Passover – the bread and the cup of communion.
But, they were clearly in the Promised Land on the 10th, so those who say they entered the Promised Land on the 17th are mistaken.
Israel Ate The Firstfruits Of The Promised Land On The 17th Nisan
So, while they didn’t enter the Promised Land maybe the 17th still has significance.
In Joshua 5:10-15 we see:
- On the 15th Nisan, they did eat unleavened cakes, etc.
- And on the very next day the 16th Nisan, the manna from heaven ceased and they never ate manna again.
- So the next day the 17th Nisan was the day they ate the firstfruits of the Promised Land.
Next, it says it came to pass that a man with a sword stood over against him and gives Joshua instructions for defeating Jericho.
So because it happens next in the text people conclude it was on the 17th and therefore the instructions for the fall of Jericho were received on the 17th.
It could be so but the words it came to pass could be any time frame.
Some say the walls of Jericho fell down on the 17th but that is clearly not the case. At best it is possible that the Angel revealed to Joshua the victory on the 17th. It’s in the ballpark but can’t be one hundred percent proven
What About The Cleansing Of The Temple By Hezekiah?
Hezekiah is an amazing character as his father Ahaz was a very evil king and in his reign shut up the temple of God and let it go to ruins.
We read the story in 2 Chron 29:1-28
However, Hezekiah, despite being raised by an evil father was right in the sight of the Lord and when he came to power in the very first month of his reign he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them.
Verse 17 gives the date repairs began, It was the 1st of the first month. Therefore it was the 1st of Nisan.
It goes on to say on the 8th Nisan they came to the porch. So they had fixed the inside in 8 days and then it says it took another 8 days to finish the repairs and on the 16th Nisan they made an end.
In verse 20 – Hezekiah rises early the next day on the 17th Nisan gathered all the rulers, and went up to the house of the Lord and offered sacrifices.
Verse 24 – The priests killed the sacrifices, and made reconciliation and atonement for all Israel.
So, this fits the story of destroying the enemy and a new beginning coinciding with the 17th Nisan
Plus… Jesus also cleaned the temple. Leading up to his death he overturned the table of the moneychangers and drove them.
Destroying and rebuilding the temple was the very charge of blasphemy they charged him for and took him to Pilate demanding the death penalty…
And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. (Mat 26:61)
They mocked him about it when he was on the cross…
And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. (Mat 27:40)
But he spake of the temple of his body. (John 2:19-21)
Jesus rose on the 17th Nisan – Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
Through Esther God Delivers The Jews From Annihilation
The story in Esther is a famous one that most people are familiar with. Basically, Haman who was a descendent of the Amalekites convinced the King to kill all of the Jews.
In Esther 3:12 we read that on the 13th of the first month, therefore Nisan, Haman calls all of the rulers together and they send out letters sealed with the king’s ring to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, even up to the 13th day of the 12th month, which is Adar, and to take a spoil and a prey.
Adar was 12 months away. So the Jews had 12 months and on a set day the 13th they would be wiped out.
Mordecai contacts Esther and asks her to approach the King.
She says in Est 4:11 – All the king’s servants, and the people of the king’s provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days.
Mordecai persists and Est 4:16 – she asks for him to gather all the Jews that are in that area and fast 3 days and nights for her.
Esther 5:1 – On the third day Esther approaches the King during a banquet. This would have been the 16th of Nisan and Esther invites the king and Haman to another banquet the next day which is the 17th Nisan.
The end result is Haman is hanged on the very gallows he built to hang Mordecai and the Jews were delivered and the enemy was destroyed on the 17th Nisan.
Sauls Seven Son’s Killed
In 2 Sam 21:9, we read… And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the LORD: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest.
As we have read the barley harvest was the start of the Passover week.
What is of note here is that in 1 Sam 15:1-28 Saul was instructed to utterly destroy the Amalekites and didn’t.
But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
The point is that Haman was a descendant of these people and Saul’s disobedience almost caused the Jews to be completely wiped out.
What a disaster if the lineage that the Messiah would come was wiped from existence.
Noah’s Ark Rested On Mount Ararat On The 17th Nisan
We read in Gen 8:4 that the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
Now, this was Nisan 17th.
Remember that later in Ex 12 God changed this month to be the first month but at the time of Noah, it was the seventh month.
So on the 17th the ark was no longer tossed to and fro and in danger but it was at REST on Ararat.
What is even more interesting is the word Ararat means the curse is reversed.
Wow! How wonderfully does that tie in with the Lord’s resurrection?
The curse is reversed and we have rest.
More Seventeens In The Bible
Jacob lived 17 years in Egypt. Gen 47:9 says Jacob was 130 years old when he entered Egypt and in Gen 47:28 he died at 147 years of age.
Remember 17 is complete victory over the enemy
Romans 8:35-39 says – 17 Things Can Not Separate Us From The Love Of God
- Things present
- Things to come
- Nor height
- Nor depth
- Nor any other creature
In summary, there is definitely something in the claims that the 17th Nisan has significance.
Some of the claims I couldn’t verify however there is plenty more that I can.
So absolutely no doubt are:
- Hezekiah cleansing the temple
- Noahs Ark resting on Ararat
- Eating the firstfruits in the Promised Land
- Resurrection of Jesus
- Esther saving the Jews
Possible But No Way Of Knowing For Sure:
- Saul’s sons put to death
- Parting of the Red Sea
- Angel instructing Joshua about the downfall of Jericho
Possible But Don’t Think So:
- Israel left Egypt (Yes at the Red Sea but no for the 430 years)
- Israel entering Egypt
- Entering Promised land
- Walls of Jericho falling down
Below I have tried to address some questions that may arise from some of the things above.
Getting the dates of Jesus’ death and resurrection is particularly difficult and I may be wrong on that one however it gives you an idea of the wonderful accuracy of God’s word when it comes to Jesus being our Passover lamb and the lamb of the world.
If only everyone would heed the words of John the Baptist and… Behold the Lamb of God!
Doesn’t It Say Jesus Rose On The First Day Of The Week?
Not really. At first glance, it seems to but does it?
The only scripture that comes close to saying such is…
Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. (Mark 16:9)
Similar language is used earlier in the chapter…
And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. Mark 16:2
It could be a simple punctuation thing. There were no punctuations in the original Greek these are used by translators.
It could simply be read…
When Jesus rose. Early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene.
Other versions have…
Early on the first day of the week, after he arose, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene.
So it’s not necessarily saying he rose early on the first day of the week but he appeared after he had risen to Mary early on the first day of the week.
My belief is that he was buried and rose again during the borderline and disputed time between days.
The following is from Wikipedia
The Jewish day is of no fixed length. A day in the rabbinic Hebrew calendar runs from sunset (the start of “the evening”) to the next sunset. The same definition appears in the Bible in Leviticus 23:32, where the holiday of Yom Kippur is defined as lasting “from evening to evening”.
Halachically, the previous day ends and a new one starts when three stars are visible in the sky.
The time between true sunset and the time when the three stars are visible (known as tzait ha’kochavim) is known as bein hashmashot, and there are differences of opinion as to which day it falls into for some uses. This may be relevant, for example, in determining the date of birth of a child born during that gap.
This video breaks down the crucifixion days the best. (Remember with all of the different calendars, etc, there is a lot of arguments about this) – but it explains how the different scriptures line up about Jesus being 3 days and 3 nights in the grave, how he rose the third day, and how he was raised after 3 days.
I also disagree with his statement that Jesus ate the Passover. See below the video for more on that…
Did Jesus Eat The Passover?
How could Jesus eat the Passover yet be slain as the Passover Lamb?
The confusion arises particularly from Mat 26:17
However, here is a great explanation
(Matthew 26:17) then, can more accurately be translated, “Now before [the Feast of] Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying to Him, ‘Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?'” In other words, this incident happened before the Feast of Unleavened Bread had begun. Since they were inquiring about preparing the Passover, this could have taken place either late in the day on Abib 13 or possibly just after sunset on Abib 14 (since the Passover lamb was to be killed between sunset and dark as the 14th began).
Luke 22:15 – And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer:
Many think the last supper was Jesus eating the Passover yet it was never called the last Passover but the last supper.
He was talking about the Passover to come. He desired to eat this Passover with them before he suffered but it wasn’t to be.
Luke 22:16 – For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
It could not have been Passover because they thought Judas was going to buy the things needed for the feast…
John 13:29 – For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.
So the feast hadn’t started yet
And if had how could Judas had bought something that night as it would have been a sabbath (holy day)
A Spanner In The Works?
Just when we think we have it all worked out along comes a spanner in the works.
The guys on the road to Emmaus Luke 24:13-32
When talking to the risen Christ said in verse 21 – today is the third day since these things were done.
If I am right about everything else we have discussed so far this statement creates a potential issue.
Verse 14 makes it clear what they were talking about… And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
The chapter also makes it clear what these things were. Jesus being crucified and what the chief priest and rulers did.
In Mat 27:62-66 – we read the day AFTER Jesus’ death therefore the 15th the Chief priests and the scribes went to see Pilate and asked for a guard to placed at the tomb because Jesus said he would rise after 3 days.
They said to Pilate… Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day.
Remember this was asked on the day after Jesus’ death and in verse 66 they SEALED the stone and setting a watch.
So it is feasible they were saying it is the third day since all these things happened.
You may also be interested in… The Terms Of Peace: The Only Way To Have Peace With God and 30 Names and Titles of The Holy Spirit
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