14.02.22 Mt 26:33-35 (See also Mk 14:29-31)
PETER ANNOUNCES HIS LOYALTY
33 Peter told Him, “Even if everyone runs away because of You, I will never run away!”
34 “I assure you,” Jesus said to him, “tonight, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times!”
35 “Even if I have to die with You,” Peter told Him, “I will never deny You!” And all the disciples said the same thing.
14.02.22.Q1 Concerning the number of rooster crows, how does Matthew 26:34 reconcile with Mark 14:30?
Matthew recorded that before the rooster crowed Peter would deny Jesus three times and Mark said the denial would come before the rooster crowed twice. Again, this is a matter of interpretation. The disciples were not at all concerned how often the so-called rooster crowed, especially when several crows in succession were considered a single crow. At issue is the phrase, “before the rooster crows.” Some Bibles use the more accurate phrase, “cock crow,” or “rooster crow.” But as already been hinted, it probably was not a rooster that crowed! The phrase has two possible interpretations.
- Jesus could have referred to a literal rooster crowing early in the morning. But Jewish writings clearly indicate that chickens were not permitted inside the Holy City. The Oral Law states,
They may not rear fowls in Jerusalem because of the Hallowed Things, nor may priests rear them [anywhere] in the land of Israel because of [the laws concerning] clean foods.
Mishnah, Baba Kamma 7.7
A rooster crowing outside the city walls might have been heard inside the city. However, this is highly unlikely.
- Jesus, most likely, referred to the “rooster crow” as the trumpet blast that signaled the end
of the third watch (3:00 a.m.) and the changing of military guard throughout the city. That trumpet call was known in Latin gallicinium which means cock crow, and in Greek as alektorophonia. The first “cock crow” was the midnight trumpet blast at the end of the second watch, and the second “cock crow” was at the end of the third watch (3:00 a.m.).
Most scholars believe that Jesus was referring to the third watch trumpet blast because
- The 3:00 a.m. trumpet blast alektorophinia is earlier than a natural rooster’s call
- This call permitted time for the illegal judicial proceedings to occur.
Two priests stood at the upper gate … with two trumpets in their hands. At the cock crow they blew a sustained, a quavering and another sustained blast. When they reached the tenth step they again blew a sustained, a quavering and another sustained blast. When they reached the Court [of the Women] they again blew a sustained, a quavering and another sustained blast.
Mishnah, Sukkah 5.4
Concerning the differences between Matthew and Mark, Mark evidently referred to the two trumpets that blew while Mathew probably referred to the number of trumpet blasts. It is a logical matter of perspective. Later, three trumpet blasts marked the end of the fourth watch (6:00 a.m.) and the beginning of a new work day.
14.02.22.Q2 How do the Synoptic gospels reconcile with the gospel of John on the Passover Narrative?
The apparent difference between the gospel of John and the synoptic gospels has been the fuel for much discussion. Since Gentile church leaders did not know the symbolic relationship between the Passover sacrifice and the timing of the death of Jesus, they had difficulty reconciling the three day event, as well as compressing the six trials into a time frame of less than twelve hours.
There are several ancient documents from the third and fourth centuries that reflect this incorrect interpretation. Adding to the error is the fact that the church at this time counted days as beginning at midnight. It should be noted that the purpose of these documents was to support the existing Gentile church doctrines and interpretations, which distorted the biblical narrative. The third century teachings of the Apostles, titled Didascalia Apostolorum, from Syria, comment:
While he (Jesus) was still with us, before he suffered, when we were eating the Passover with him, he said to us: “Today in this night one of you will betray me.” And Judas came with the scribes and the priests of the people and betrayed the Lord Jesus.
When we had eaten the Passover on Tuesday evening, we went to the Mount of Olives. And during the night they arrested our Lord Jesus. And on the following day, on Wednesday, he remained imprisoned in the house of the High Priest Caiaphas. And on the following day again, on Thursday, they took him to the Procurator Pilate. But when Friday commenced they accused him vehemently before Pilate. And they were unable to produce anything truthful, but gave false witness against him. And they urged Pilate on to kill him. And they crucified him on the same day.
Clearly, this is incorrect, but it demonstrates how lack of knowledge of Jewish culture attributed to inaccurate conclusions. Another Gentile church father was Bishop Epiphanius of Salamis (ca. 380) whose writings gave details on the month of April of the Gregorian calendar.
He (Jesus) suffered the thirteenth of the Kalends of April. Before that time they ate the Passover, as the Gospel testifies and we have declared many times. They celebrated the Passover meal two days before the official day, that is on Tuesday in the evening…. Further on that day, in the evening of Tuesday, he was taken prisoner. The Day of Preparation was on the 14th, the Sabbath the 15th; hereafter the Sunday lit up which illuminated the underworld, the world and the heaven with its light.
Epiphanius, Panarion 51, 26
To observe the Passover the Savior withdrew to the Mountain (Mt. Zion), where he ate the Passover, which he had, as he said, so much desired (Lk. 22:15). It was there that he ate the Jewish Passover meal; he himself did not do it in any other way, but in the same fashion as they did, so that the Law should not be abolished but accomplished (cf. Mt. 5:17).
Epiphanius, Panarion 51, 27
The Ethiopian apocryphal Book of Adam, (ca. the fourth century) related the days Jesus was arrested and crucified, and has a reference to Mark 2:20 concerning fasting. The author wrote,
God speaks to Adam; “Adam, you have established beforehand the days on which suffering shall come over me, when I shall have taken up flesh, namely Wednesday and Friday.”
Book of Adam
The author of Adam said the Passover was on Wednesday and that Jesus died on the following Friday. Again, there was a constant struggle to reconcile the biblical accounts.
The Judeo-Christians celebrated Passover-communion known as Pascha, which in the fourth century became known as Easter. According to the church historian Eusebius, the fourteenth day of the moon (Nissan) was still associated with the day Jesus was crucified, and He arose on the first day of the week (Lord’s Day). He discussed the fact that the church practiced fasting in observation of the Savior’s Passover in Asia.
The church of all Asia, guided by the remoter tradition supposed that they ought to keep the fourteenth day of the moon for the festival of the Savior’s Passover, in which day the Jews were commanded to kill the Paschal Lamb; and it was incumbent on them, at all times, to make an end of the fast on this day on whatever day of the week it should happen to fall.
Eusebius, Church History 5.23.1
The date that Jesus was crucified on Friday, the 14th day of Nissan, is well established. However, the events preceding the crucifixion remain somewhat problematic.
. Vine, “Cock, Cock-Crowing.” Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary. 2:107-08.
. Barclay, “John.” 2:230 and “Matthew.” 2:347. Lightfoot, A Commentary on the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica. 3:436-37. See Appendix 16.
. Fruchtenbaum, The Jewish Foundation of the Life of Messiah: Instructor’s Manual. Class 22, page 12.
. Parenthesis by Danby, ed., Mishnah.
. The title of Pontius Pilate was always thought to be “procurator.” However, in 1961 an inscription was discovered in Caesarea that has his title as “Prefectus Judaea” (see 16.01.06.B). The explanation of so-called error is that beginning from the time of Emperor Claudius (reigned 41-54), the title of the ruler of Judaea was procurator. Josephus and Tacitus who decades later wrote of Pilate used that title rather than his real one – prefectus, in Latin. See also Billington, “Was the Palace of Herod where Jesus was Tried?” 9.
. Quoted from Pixner, With Jesus in Jerusalem. 78.
. Quoted from Pixner, With Jesus in Jerusalem. 79.
. Quoted from Pixner, With Jesus in Jerusaelm. 79.
. http://www.pseudepigrapha.com/pseudepigrapha/TheBookOfAdam.htm. Retrieved March 30, 2013; Quoted from Pixner, With Jesus in Jerusaelm. 79.
. Rosen and Rosen, Christ in the Passover. 59.