Mark 16:9; Early on the first day of the week?

 

Many Sunday resurrection advocates believe that Mark 16:9 is proof that Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday. The source below claims:

 

A. Mark 16:9: Irrefutable Sunday resurrection passage #1:

  1. These three translations absolutely state that Sunday was resurrection day:
  1. These two translations also state that Sunday was resurrection day, but because of the wording, some will take issue:
  1. The only way anti-Sunday resurrection folk can get around Mk 16:9 is by using the following argument:

What Sunday resurrection folk say

What Saturday resurrection folk say

This verse states that the very action of Jesus' resurrection occurred on Sunday. Read the verse, this is exactly what it says.

The tense of the Greek word "risen" is perfect present active ??? and that the verse is not saying that Jesus actually rose on Sunday but that he was in a state of resurrection on Sunday. This view means that Jesus rose on Saturday and after this he will be in a state of resurrection forever! For example, they would use the parallel illustration: "In the year 1997, when Jesus was risen from the dead." Or "When Jesus was risen from the dead on new years of 1996..." In both cases, Jesus actually rose in the first century, and was in a state of being "risen from the dead" in 1997.

There is no way around the obvious meaning of this verse. If this verse does not give the day of actual resurrection, then THE BIBLE IS TOTALLY SILENT as to what day Jesus actually did raise. Challenge: What verse outright states the day Jesus was risen up from the dead?

This view is an example of stretching things to an unreasonable limit.

  • It amounts to etymological gymnastics (word games).
  • The majority of translations render the verse in such a way that this "being in a state of resurrection" just won't work.
  • This view doesn't prevent the interpretation that the verse is actually saying that Jesus rose-up on Sunday. (From Bible.ca)

 

I do not know which groups advocating the Sabbath resurrection reason the way he says, but let’s examine the scriptures.

 

“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). Now we quote the whole passage to get the complete context unlike this source that has a habit of taking the context out of the verses to prove their doctrine instead the truth of God. This verse does not say that early on the first day of the week Jesus was “rising” or that he “did rise” at that time. This is not speaking of when he rose from the dead but when he first appeared to Mary-that’s the context! This appearance took place as Bullinger says, “early : i.e. any time after sunset on our Saturday, 6pm, see Append 165” (Companion Bible, p.1426). This was not a Sunday Morning when you look at the sequence of events. It was at “…end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week” (Matthew 28:1). This begins at Sunset Saturday not a Sunday morning.

 

The word “early” is “proi” (Strong’s #4404). The Hebrew equivalent is “nesheph” (Strong’s 5399). This word means, “Twilight.” There are examples of this in the Old Testament (see 1 Samuel 30:17; Job 3:9). Twilight is, “The diffused light from the sky during the early evening or early morning when the sun is below the horizon and its light is refracted by the earth's atmosphere. b. The time of the day when the sun is just below the horizon, especially the period between sunset and dark.” (The Free Dictionary, emphasis added). The context of the Gospels shows not the morning but sunset till dark that Jesus appeared to Mary at the end of the Sabbath.

 

Now the first half of the verse says, “Now when Jesus was risen” This is past tense the event of the resurrection already occurred.

 

Since there were no punctuation marks in the Greek manuscripts from which our NT is translated, the phrase "early the first day of the week" could just as correctly be linked with the time Jesus appeared to Mary. By simply placing the comma after the word “risen ,” this verse would read: "Now when Jesus was risen, early the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene."  The following verses show Mark is recording some of the APPEARANCES of Jesus and not explaining on which day Jesus was resurrected.

 

Note: "...the translators placed commas wherever they thought it should go-BASED ENTIRELY ON THEIR BELIEFS. In Mark 16:9, notice where the comma is placed: 'Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week,' Placing the comma here seems to connect the first day of the week with the time of the resurrection. But, if the comma had been placed after RISEN, it would read like this: 'Now when Jesus was risen, early the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary...'Is the scripture explaining the time of the resurrection OR the time when Jesus appeared to Mary? The context, other verses, the fact that 'was risen' is the past perfect tense-these things all indicate that the first day of the week is when Jesus appeared to Mary, NOT the time of the resurrection. This would have been more clear to the reader if the translators placed a comma after 'risen,' instead of after 'week.' Let us remember that it is the words of the Bible that were inspired by God, but the punctuation was later added by men and is subject to error [by man's way not God's]" (Woodrow, Mystery Babylon, pp.145-146, emphasis added).

Eusebius, in his epistle to Marius discusses what he considers a contradiction between Matthew 28:1 and Mark 16:9. He also concludes that a comma [3rd century BC, Aristophanes of Byzantium system of single dots (distinctiones), same idea and ancestor to the modern comma] should be placed after the word "risen" So the word "early the first day of the week" tells when Jesus appeared to Mary rather than telling when he rose (Edward J Hills Believing Bible study, p.146, emphasis added).

The above translations that this source quotes, these translations have taken the position that In the Greek the phrase "early the first day of the week" can be grammatically connected with the words "having risen." But it can also be connected with "he appeared first to Mary Magdalene."

 

The Expositor's Greek Testament says the phrase "early the first day of the week" may be either "connected with (having risen), indicating the time of the resurrection, or with (appeared), indicating the time of the first appearance." We have seen that it could not refer to the time of the resurrection. Mark 16:9 should have been translated, "Now having risen, early the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene." It is rendered this way in the Montgomery translation.

The Centenary Translation renders it this way: "Now after his resurrection, early on the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene."

The Contemporary English Version has, “Very early on the first day of the week, after Jesus had risen to life, he appeared to Mary Magdalene. Earlier he had forced seven demons out of her.”

 

“The word translated “having risen’ (Gr. ἀναστὰς, Gtr. anastas) is the nominative, singular, masculine, second aorist, active participle of the verb ἀνίστημι, (Gtr. anistemi), "I raise up". The timing of the aorist participle is almost invariably prior to the main verb (here "appeared"), especially when it appears before the verb, and is used in a temporal sense. This shows what is obvious from the context, that Jesus rose from the dead before he appeared. Being masculine, "anastas" refers to Jesus rising from the dead.

 

That translated the first day  (KJV)(RPT) (Gr. πρώτῃ, Gtr. prōte) is the dative, feminine, of the adjective "prōtos". It means "first" whenever it applies to more than one thing numerically, which is by far the most common use, and that is what it means here.

 

The word translated of the week (KJV) and after the sabbath (RPT)(Gr. σαββάτου, Gtr. sabbatou) is the genitive, singular of the word "sabbaton", which means "Sabbath". It is translated "week" (Mark 16:9) and in one other place in the KJV (Luke 18:12). This verse makes it clear that this was Jesus first appearance to anybody after his resurrection, and when Mary Magdalene told it to the disciples they did not believe her.

 

Looking at the context and the Greek words it is clear that it was the appearance that took place after the Sabbath not the resurrection. These translators chose to translate it that way is clear because of their bias and traditions. Other translations realize like the ones above that connecting it with the appearance to Mary is the correct way to translate the text, not the connection to the resurrection.

 

Perhaps the number one reason that has been put forth over the centuries, for keeping Sunday as the Sabbath, has been the teaching that Jesus was resurrected the morning of the first day of the week. This teaching is not only unscriptural but contrary to a number of Historical sources.

 

The Didascalia, an early Christian work which is preserved in Syriac, supports a Wednesday crucifixion day. In this work the apostles are quoted as saying that it was on Tuesday evening that they ate the Passover with Jesus, and on Wednesday that He was taken captive and held in custody in the house of Caiaphas.

 

Epiphanius, a post-Nicene writer, gives Tuesday evening as the Last Supper (A.Gilmore, "Date and Signiticance of the Last Supper," Scottish Journal of Theology, Sept. 1961, pp. 256-259, 264 - 268).

 

Victorinus of Pettau, worked out a chronology that arrives at the conclusion that Jesus was arrested on a Wednesday. Loc.cit.

 

There is a certain amount of evidence found in the writings of the Early Church Fathers for the Last Supper having taken place on the 13th of Nisan, i.e., Tuesday evening. Loc.cit.

                                   

The Dead Sea Scrolls.  Writing in "Eternity" magazine, its editor, Donald Grey Barnhouse cited evidence from the scrolls which would place the Last Supper on Tuesday. He also quoted from a Roman Catholic journal published in France that "an ancient Christian tradition, attested to by the Didascalia Apostolorum as well as by Epiphanius and Victorinus of Pettau (died 304 A. D.) gives Tuesday evening as the date of the Last Supper and prescribes a fast for Wednesday to commemorate the capture of Christ" (Eternity, June, 1958)

 

Though strongly holding to a Friday crucifixion, The Catholic Encyclopedia says that not all scholars have believed this way. Epiphanius, Lactantius, Wescott, Cassiodorus and Gregory of Tours are mentioned as rejecting Friday as the day of the crucifixion (Vol.8, p. 378, art. "Jesus Christ.").

 

The Companion Bible, published by Oxford University Press, in its Appendix 156 explains that Christ was crucified on Wednesday.

 

Dake's Annotated Reference Bible.  Finis Dake has said on his note on Matthew 12:40: " Christ was dead for three full days and for three full nights. He was put in the grave Wednesday just before sunset and was resurrected at the end of Saturday at sunset.... No statement says that He was buried Friday at sunset. This would make him in the grave only one day and one night, proving his own words untrue" (p 13).

 

The error in believing Jesus was crucified on a Friday has largely come about by thinking that the Sabbath that followed "the preparation" of Mt.27:62 and Jn. 19:31was the weekly 7th day Sabbath instead of the first Passover Sabbath. The Wycliffe Bible Commentary says, "The day after the preparation (ASV). Usually explained as Saturday...... However, this preparation day was the day before the Passover Feast day (John 19:14,31), which feast may have occurred that year on Wednesday night. Perhaps this accounts for Matthew's not using the term 'Sabbath' here, lest it be confused with Saturday. According to this view, the entombment lasted a full seventy-two hours, from sundown Wednesday to sundown Saturday. Such a view gives more reasonable treatment to Mt.12:40. It also explains 'after three days' and 'on the third day' in a way that does least violence to either" (page 984).

 

Now what about the charge that, “There is no way around the obvious meaning of this verse. If this verse does not give the day of actual resurrection, then THE BIBLE IS TOTALLY SILENT as to what day Jesus actually did raise. Challenge: What verse outright states the day Jesus was risen up from the dead?” Really? Is it obvious what day Jesus rose from the dead. If all the scriptures reveal that they came at the end of the weekly Sabbath and Jesus was gone. Jesus said three days and night he would be in the grave. All you have to do as others have done is put all the scriptures together and you get the clear picture of when Jesus rose from the dead, on the late Sabbath afternoon. Do we need a direct statement? Can’t we look into the scriptures and research it ourselves? As the Bible says, “Search the scriptures” (John 5:39). Jesus said to search. It’s a ‘treasure” hidden in a field, “seek and you shall find.”

 

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2  Tim 2:15). Something Sunday keepers do not believe in “Work:” and study the bible “rightly dividing the word of truth.” God wants us to study. It’s all there, work for it, instead of things just falling into your lap. Idleness and laziness is condemned in the Bible, it is something a Christian should not practice. The Bible is written in a certain way to make you study! Isaiah says, “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine?

“For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

“But the word of the LORD [the Bible] was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little;” (28:9, 10, 13). Yes there are direct statements in the Bible about doctrine as well, but many others we must study and put all the pieces together and we get the complete picture. Even the direct statements in scripture are connected to other scriptures that we must piece together so we can understand God's plan and purpose for us.

 

So here is the conclusion of the text. The first day of the week was the time when he appeared to Mary, and not the time when Jesus resurrected.  Now why does the Bible tells us that the appearances took place on the first day of the week, not the resurrection? Because there was no one there to witness the resurrection because they "rest[ed on] the Sabbath according to the commandment" (Luke 23:56). This is the whole reason you have the past tense in the Gospels of the resurrection, because it happened on the Sabbath. When did Jesus appear to Mary, as Mark's Gospel, and other Gospels write? Saturday afternoon at sundown at the end of the Sabbath around 6:PM AND NOT ON SUNDAY MORNING! "Now when Jesus was risen [The Sabbath afternoon], early the first day of the week he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils." (Mark 16:9).