Christ's Resurrection on the 7th Day Sabbath
by Peter Salemi
It is commonly supposed today that Jesus was crucified on Friday afternoon, and that the resurrection occurred on Sunday Morning. Few professing Christians ever thought to question, or prove this Good Friday-Easter-Sunday tradition." Yet in the Bible it tells us to "prove all things," and you will be astounded at this proof. And where we will get the proof, is from the pages of the Bible.
When Jesus was alive as a human being, the Pharisees asked him for a sign-for proof of him being the Messiah. Jesus answered them saying: "But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
" For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew 12:39-40). He expressly said that the only sign of him being the Messiah is, he would be in a rock hewn tomb (heart of the earth) for three days and three nights. If this did not happen, then he would be an impostor, and he would not be your saviour and mine.
Some people try to split hairs with this statement, because in the other gospels Jesus said he would rise on the "third day," see Matthew 16:21; Mark 10:34; Luke 24:7. There is NO contradiction with this statement, and with the statement he made when he said "Three days and three nights." Both expressions are used interchangeably in the scriptures. In Genesis for example we read that: " God divided the light from the darkness.
"God divided the light from the darkness.
"And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening (darkness) and the morning (Light) were the first day.
"And the evening and the morning were the second day.
"And the evening and the morning were the third day" (Gen 1:4, 8, 13). Here then is an example of the term "the third day," counted up and shown to include three days and three nights.
Jesus even said, "Are there not twelve hours in the day?" (John 11:9). 12 hour period for the day and as we see, in Genesis, a twelve hour period for the night which is a 24 hour period. So Jesus had to stay in the tomb for 72 hours. As Jesus said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up...But he spake of the temple of his body" (John 2:19, 21). Now I know some people believe that Jesus meant part of three days and three nights to try and defend the position of Good Friday to Easter Sunday. In our argument section at the end of this article we will go through in detail to show that this view is just not valid.
Now let's continue. Now If Jesus died on Friday, then 72 hours later would make it Monday afternoon, according to three days and three nights. And of course Good Friday to Easter Sunday Morning is not three days and three nights either so we are left with a problem that men created not God. When we read the events of Christ's death there is no contradiction. We have complete harmony with the scriptures. Only men put confusion into religion, not God.
Now Jesus had to stay into the tomb for 72 hours, we know that the resurrection had to take place at the SAME TIME HE WAS BURIED! It has to be at the time of burial to fulfill what Jesus said that he had to be in the heart of the earth for "three days and three nights." If we can find the hour he was buried then we can find the time WHEN HE WAS RESURRECTED!
The Preparation Day
Before we go on further, we must examine what preparation day is, and which one the Bible is specifically describing when it pertains to Jesus death. When we understand this we can understand the time, and the day in which Jesus died.
Now the Bible makes it clear in all Gospels that Jesus was buried on the preparation day, “And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid....And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on ["near" NKJV, LEB, WNT, EMTV].” (Luke 23:53-54).
“And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed....And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre....Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,” (Matthew 27:60-62).
“And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,...Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus....And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead....And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph....And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.” (Mark 15;42-46).
“There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.” (John 19:42).
What is this day of Preparation? And prepare for what? This word is used for two preparations!
The Adam’s Clarke Commentary shows the first meaning of preparation day: “Every Sabbath had a preparation which began at the ninth hour (that is, three o’clock) the preceding evening. Josephus, Ant. b. xvi. c. 6, s. 2, recites an edict of the Emperor Augustus in favor of the Jews, which orders, ‘that no one shall be obliged to give bail or surety on the Sabbath day, nor on the preparation before it, after the ninth hour.’ The time fixed here was undoubtedly in conformity to the Jewish custom, as they began their preparation at three o’clock on the Friday evening.” The Jews were to prepare on Friday, and get things ready for the coming of the WEEKLY Sabbath.
But John connects this preparation with the “High Day” Sabbath (John 19:31). This is not the weekly Sabbath. Notice what The New Englishman’s Greek Concordance and Lexicon says. Their definition is “preparation - in New Testament only, the Day of Preparation before a special Sabbath.” (emphasis added) The "High Day," not the weekly Sabbath! Bullinger writes, "'That Sabbath' and the 'high day' of John 19:31, was the 'holy convocation,' the first day of the feast, which quite overshadowed the ordinary weekly sabbath...'for that sabbath day was a high day,' and, therefore, not the ordinary seventh day, or weekly sabbath. See John 19:31" (Appendix 156, emphasis added).
Rabbi Samuel Lacks states, "The day of preparation (Greek paraskeue) equals
Friday or the day before a holiday." (Samuel Tobias Lachs, "A Rabbinic
Commentary of the New Testament," New Jersey: Ktav Publishing House, Inc. 1987,
p.437, emphasis added)
Since the day of preparation can mean a day before any holy day, the preparation day Christ was crucified on could well have been
on any day of the week and the Passover Sabbath on a weekday as well. With this scenario, the Passover meal would have been on a Tuesday.
This is the annual Sabbath of the First day of Unleavened Bread that begins on the 15th of Nisan that the Jews would prepare for. John 19:14 shows specifically which preparation day it was, “And it was the preparation of the PASSOVER,” Not for the weekly Sabbath. The 14th of Nisan was the day when the lambs would be sacrificed and the houses would be cleansed of the leaven, and the great day of the Feast would start of the Passover to commemorate the night when the death Angel Passed over the house of the children of Israel, see Ex 12.
So in conclusion, this preparation because it is connected with the High Day Sabbath was not preparation for the weekly Sabbath but the Passover, in which John 19:14 also reveals this to be the case.
The "High Day" Sabbath, the First Day of of Unleavened Bread
The High Day Sabbath that the Jews prepared for was the First Day of Unleavened Bread where they celebrate the Feast when the Death Angel Passed over their houses as they ate the Lamb that was slain on the 14th, see Ex 12:6. Then on the 15th “... I will pass through the land of Egypt this night,” (Ex 12:12). Bullinger’s Companion Bible writes, “It was called by the Jews Yom tov ( = Good day), and this is the greeting on that day throughout Jewry down to the present time.
"This great sabbath, having been mistaken from the earliest times for the weekly sabbath, has led to all the confusion....We have therefore the following facts furnished for our sure guidance:
1.The “high day” of John 19:31 was the first day of the feast.
2.The “first day of the feast” was on the 15th day of Nisan.
3.The 15th day of Nisan, commenced at sunset on what we should call the 14th. “ (Appendix 156, emphasis his).
This annual feast day was not a fixed day on the weekly cycle, it could end up on any day of the week! A Tuesday or a Wednesday. The Apostle John made specific that the day was a high day Sabbath so is to not cause confusion to the real day of the Resurrection.
Notice Numbers 28:16-17, “And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the Lord. And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast.” This feast was the first Day of Unleavened Bread. It was 14th and the 15th of the month, not on a specific day OF THE WEEK! Not the first day, or second, or third, day of the weekly cycle, but the 14th and 15th day of the month! "The Jewish Christians linked it with the Passover, and so observed it on the 14th day of Nisan, regardless of the day of the week...." (Zondervan's Pictorial Bible Dictionary, p. 230f., emphasis added).
Many people do not realize that the annual feast days of God were called "Sabbaths" Notice the following texts, Leviticus 16:31; 23:24, 26-32, 39.
Also God says to, ".., from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath." (Lev 23:32). This passage isn't even speaking of the weekly Sabbath, but the day of Atonement, and annual holy day that God calls "a sabbath of rest" in that same passage, that we must observe from "even to even." This is why many have gone wrong when trying to figure out the resurrection of Christ. They count the days at sunrise and sunset as we do today. But as Robertson's Word Pictures puts it, "The confusion is to us, not to the Jews or the readers of the Greek New Testament. Luke is not speaking of the twelve-hour day which began with sunrise, but the twenty-four-hour day which began with sunset....it was sundown, not sunrise when the Jewish sabbath (twenty-four-hour day) began." (emphasis added).
Confusion is Cleared Up
Now, when it comes to the other Gospels, because of John’s Gosepl, we can easily know which“Sabbath” and which “preparation day” they mean:
“And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid....And that day was the preparation,[of the Passover] and the [High Day] sabbath drew on.” (Luke 23:53-54).
"And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed....And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre....Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, [of the Passover] the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,” (Matthew 27:60-62).
"And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, [of the Passover] that is, the day before the [High Day] sabbath,...Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus....And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead....And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph....And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.” (Mark 15;42-46).
Now that we understand the meanings of some of these terms we can understand the Gospels much more clearer in a new light as to what was going on, and to which day Jesus actually died. This High day Sabbath that was about to begin could have landed on ANY DAY OF THE WEEK we must remember. It is crucial if we want to get to the truth of the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus.
Now let’s go to the events and the timing of the death of Jesus Christ...
The "Ninth Hour"
The Bible tells us that Jesus died on the "ninth hour." This corresponds to our three o'clock in the afternoon. Matthew writes, "Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour."And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? "Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. "And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. "The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost." (Matthew 27:45-50 see also Mark 15:34; Luke 23:44-46).
Bullinger's shows the exact time of day Jesus died, "The twenty-four hours were divided into the twelve hours of the night (reckoned from sunset), and 'twelve hours in the day ' (reckoned from sunrise. See Joh 11:9). Hence 'the sixth hour' of Joh 19:14 was our midnight; 'the third hour' of Mar_15:25 was our 9 a.m.; 'the sixth hour' of Mat 27:45; Mar 15:33; Luk 23:44; was our noon and the 'ninth hour' of Mat 27:45; Mat 27:46; Mar 15:33:34; Luk 23:44; was our 3 p.m." (Appendix 165, emphasis added).
Thayer's as well, "ennatos 1) ninth 1a) the ninth hour
corresponds to our 3 o’clock in the afternoon for the sixth hour of the Jews
coincides with the twelfth of the day as divided by our method, and the first
hour of the day is 6 A.M. to us"
Now according to the reckoning of time in the Bible, each full 24 hour period of a day ended, and a new day began at sundown, see Leviticus 23:32. And since our Saviour was put to death on the "preparation day" the day before the "high day" Sabbath, special measures were to be taken to be sure that his body was removed before sundown-before the high day Sabbath began: "The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
"Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him...But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs" (John19:31-33).
The reason why the Jews did not want the body on the cross after sundown was because the law required it: "And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:...His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance." (Deut 21:22-23). The Apostle Paul used this same scripture when he was speaking of Jesus Christ in Galatians 3:10-13. But notice the scripture. Jesus had to be buried "THAT DAY" before sundown!
Jesus was then taken down and buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimethea: "There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand" (John 19:42). These things took place "when the even was come." (Matthew 27:57; Mark 15:42). The Greek word here translated "even" is "opsios" meaning "late afternoon" (see Strong's #3798)(Mark 15:42). Barne's Notes complies, "The time after three o’clock in the afternoon." (emphasis added). This is when they buried him, between 3 and 4 O'clock in the late afternoon! And it happened on "Preparation Day" the “day BEFORE THE [High Day] SABBATH.”
Let's look at Luke's Gospel to confirm this truth: "And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:
"(The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.
"This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
"And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
"And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on" (Luke 23:50-54). The expression "the Sabbath drew on" really should read "and the Sabbath drew near" ( NKJV, WNT, EMTV & LEB Bible). Luke reveals that Jesus was buried before the "High Day" Sabbath, before sundown, the same time the other gospels say Jesus was buried, at the ninth hour, these events took place (Lk. 23 v.44).
Conclusion: Now if Jesus was buried just before sundown BETWEEN 3 & 4 O'clock in the afternoon, then he must of RESURRECTED AT THE SAME TIME, 3 DAYS AND 3 NIGHTS LATER JUST BEFORE SUNDOWN! NOT IN THE MORNING! And the proof of this is absolutely biblical.
Two Sabbaths That Week
Where people start to err, (as we alluded to earlier) is when the Bible mentions the "Sabbath" in the synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. But the Apostle John makes it clear that the Sabbath mentioned was a "High Day" Sabbath, after the day of Preparation of the Passover. People fail to study the Old Testament. They do not understand that there was TWO SABBATHS THAT WEEK! That week there was an ANNUAL SABBATH, and the WEEKLY SABBATH!
The "High Day" Sabbath was a Jewish usage of the annual Sabbath that could occur at ANY DAY OF THE WEEK! And John made it clear that the Sabbath after the burial was the High Day ANNUAL SABBATH, and this annual Sabbath was the first day of Unleavened Bread that took place after the killing of the Passover when Jesus died, see Lev 23: 5-7 and Bullinger's Companion Bible, p.1569 & Appendix 165. Many times in the Bible God calls his annual feast days a "Sabbath" see Lev 16:31 23:24, 32. This why God says to Israel "My Sabbaths [Plural] shall ye keep" (Ex 31:12-15).
The Weekly Sabbath: We have demonstrated that there was an annual Sabbath, but what about the weekly Sabbath? In every passage about the resurrection the word “Sabbath” in the Gospels there is a mistranslation, and only the Ferrar Fenton Translation of the Bible renders it correctly.
In Matthews 28:1 it should read: "After the SABBATHS [Plural] towards the dawn of the day following the SABBATHS [plural]..."
Mark 16:2: "And at very early dawn following the SABBATHS [plural]..."
Luke 24:1: "But at daybreak upon the first day following the SABBATHS [plural]..."
John 19:20: "Now on the first day following the SABBATHS [plural]..." Ferrar Fenton says: "This is literally according to the Greek Text: and its important to observe that at that particular period [there were] TWO SABBATHS, OR DAYS OF SACRED REST..." (Ferrar Fenton Bible, p.1042, emphasis added). Strong's Exhaustive Concordance and Thayer's Lexicon correct the English translation and add "Sabbaths." Strong's states, "sabbaton Of Hebrew origin [H7676]; the Sabbath (that is, Shabbath), or day of weekly repose from secular avocations (also the observance or institution itself); by extension a se'nnight, that is, the interval between two Sabbaths; likewise the plural in all the above applications: - sabbath (day), week." (#4521, emphasis added).
The Bible itself in the Gospels gives evidence for this as well.
In Mark 16:1 it says that Mary Magdalene and her companions bought spices "AFTER THE SABBATH WAS PAST." They were planning to prepare these ointments and spices, so they can anoint the body of Jesus. Yet Luke 23:56 says they prepared these spices and then rested on the weekly Sabbath day.
Compare these two texts carefully: "And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him." (Mark 16:1).
"And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment." (Luke 23:56). This has confused many people thinking it was a contradiction but it is not! Mark said they brought spices AFTER the Sabbath was past. Luke said they prepared the spices BEFORE the Sabbath arrived. Is this a contradiction? They are not! They complement each other perfectly, if you understand that there were two Sabbaths that week. They bought spices on Friday after the annual High Day Sabbath on Thursday. Then they prepared spices that Friday before the weekly Sabbath, and rested according to the commandment. When the weekly Sabbath was coming to an end, then they went to the tomb! This also proves that the Sabbath that is mentioned in connection with Jesus' resurrection was the weekly Sacred day of rest, the Seventh-Day Sabbath! The previous Sabbath connected with his death was the annual Sabbath!
Resurrection Accounts in the Gospels
Since we have established that there were two Sabbaths that week. The first Sabbath that came when Jesus died was the annual Sabbath; the second Sabbath when he resurrected was the weekly Sabbath. Let’s examine the resurrection accounts and what they say about when Jesus was raised from the dead! Do they prove that Jesus resurrected in the afternoon near Sundown as we have proven he died at this time? Let’s examine each of the Gospel accounts.
Matthew's Gospel: Matthew 28:1 says: "In the end of the Sabbath, as it BEGAN to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre." Let's look at the literal translation of this verse: "But LATE of the Sabbaths at the DRAWING TOWARDS [the close of] ONE of [the] SABBATHS" (NIV Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, Marshall, p.134, emphasis added). The Sabbath was just about to come to a close when Mary came to the tomb. So this was about Saturday afternoon around 6 o'clock PM when the Sabbath was about to close. Remember, God says that from sundown to sundown is the time when the days start and end, see Lev 23:5,32.
Here's another literal translation of the same text: "Now LATE on the Sabbath as it was getting DUSK towards the first [Day] of the week" (George Ricker Barr, Greek to English Interlinear, p.86, emphasis added). You see it was NOT after the Sabbath, but LATE ON THE SABBATH, that she came to the tomb.
The word translated “In the end” (KJV), and after (RPTG) (Gr. ὀψὲ, Gtr. opse) is an adverb that has a basic meaning of "late", and occurs in only two other places in the New Testament. It is translated "evening" (Mark 11:19), and "in the evening" (Mark 13:35). It occurs four times in the Septuagint, where it has a similar meaning (Genesis 24:11; Exodus 30:8; Isaiah 5:11; Jeremiah 2:23). In these cases it means "late in the day" (see Strong’s #3796). Here are more translations of the same text:
The Apostolic Bible Polyglot has, “Late on the Sabbath”
American Standard Version, “Now late on the sabbath day, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week”
The Bible in Basic English Version says, “Now late on the Sabbath, when the dawn of the first day of the week was near,”
Darby Bible says, “Now late on sabbath, as it was the dusk of the next day after Sabbath”
Literal Translation says, “But late in the sabbaths, at the dawning into the first of the sabbaths,”
Revised Version, “Now late on the sabbath day, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week,” Obviously Mary came to the tomb late on the Sabbath just when it was coming to its end which occurs at sunset!
In the above translation it says it was “getting dusk” towards the next day. The word “dusk” mean? “earliest part of the evening just BEFORE darkness” (Webster's Dictionary, p.52, emphasis added).
"Sunset;...Dusk...sundown" (Collier's Thesaurus, p.920, emphasis added). So its sundown! That's when she came to the tomb!
Some have said that the word “dawn” in Matthew 28:1 can only mean, “morning.” First of all, this is false. Any good dictionary will tell you that the word “dawn” can also mean, “beginning,” as for example in “dawn of civilization.” This is exactly what this passage is telling us. Compare, too, the Interlinear Translation of the Greek New Testament, by Berry. Note that it was getting dusk TOWARD the first [day] of the week. The Greek word for “toward” is “eis,” and means here “toward,” “to” or “into,” according to Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible. So a new day was beginning or dawning from the 7th day to the first day of the week which begins at sunset!
Again, if one wants to be honest with the Scriptures, there is no way to say that this refers to Sunday MORNING. According to the Hebrew calendar, days start and end with sunset. The Sabbath ends with sunset, and the first day of the week begins at sunset. Matthew 28:1 CLEARLY states that the Sabbath was ending and it was getting dark, as the first day of the week began (AT SUNSET).
But how can one speak of dawning at sunset? "The reference is obviously to the shining of the first star as the Sabbath comes" (Lohse, op.cit. p.20, n.159).
Tim Hegg writes, “But though them is unanimity among all of the Gospel accounts as to the day, i.e., the first day of the week, at first reading there appears to be conflict over the time of the day. Some of this may be resolved by paying closer attention to the Greek that stands behind our English translations. For instance, in Matt 28:1, the phrase ‘as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week’…[this]corresponds quite closely to the terminology used in the Mishnah to describe the beginning of the day, ‘On the night preceding the fourteenth [of Nisan] they seek out leaven by the light of a candle.’
“Note that the Hebrew reads ‘the light (or) of the fourteenth they seek out leaven by the light of a candle’ Thus, the ‘light of the fourteenth’ means ‘the beginning of the fourteenth.’ If this corresponds to Matthew’s words, then when he writes ‘as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week,’ he means ‘as the first day of the week was just beginning,’ which, from a Jewish perspective, would have been just after sunset at the end of the Shabbat” (The Chronology of the Crucifixion, pp.22-23, emphasis added).
And what happened on THAT DAY before Mary even got there? The angel said to them, "He is not here; for he is RISEN [past tense]..." (v.6). Jesus was already gone. And this was at the time when the Sabbath was coming to an end, late on a Saturday afternoon when Mary got this message!
Notice the text does not say that he "rose" on the that day, but that he was "risen" in the past tense. Jesus was gone long before Mary even got there before 6 PM on the Sabbath. JESUS ROSE ON THE WEEKLY SABBATH AFTERNOON!
Luke's Gospel: What about Luke's Gospel? Does this contradict Matthews account?
"Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them" (Luke 24:1). What! Didn't Matthews account say that they came when it was late on the Sabbath, just before the first day of the week, at sundown? Why does Luke's account say that they came "very early in the morning"?
First, notice, the word “day” is in italics—it is not there in the original Greek text. And the word for “week” again is plural and should read “Sabbaths” (Strong's #4521), as we alluded to earlier. Luke should read, “And day one of the Sabbaths,” (Luke 24:1 The Apostolic Bible Polyglot). The word “Day” is italicized and added in, it is not in the original text. The rendering is “And one of the Sabbaths”
Please keep in mind that virtually all translators of the Greek Bible into English have been Protestants or Catholics who traditionally keep Sunday and believe in the “Easter story” according to what they have grown up with. It is only natural for them to interpret the scriptures according to their beliefs when there is a question of the intent of the original.
Now the phrase “very early in the morning,” in the Greek is orthrou batheos. (see Robertson’s). This expression, “Lit., at deep dawn, or the dawn being deep. It is not uncommon in Greek to find βαθύς, deep, used of time; as deep or late evening. Plutarch says of Alexander, that he supped ‘at deep evening;’ i.e., late at night. Philo says that the Hebrews crossed the Red Sea ‘about deep dawn (as here), while others were yet in bed.’ So Socrates, in prison, asks Crito the time of day. He replies, ὄρθρος βαθύς, the dawn is deep, i.e. breaking (Plato, “Crito,” 43).” (Vines Word Studies, emphasis added). The dawning of a new day according to the Bible (not our reckoning of time) is sunset to sunset (Lev 23:31). It was “Late” on the Sabbath at its end as Matthew’s Gospel says when they came to the tomb, as it dawned towards the first day of the week-this is what “orthrou batheos” connotes the day being “late” in the afternoon and the dawning of a new day as noted above not the dawning of the Sun in the sky. This is exactly how Matthew put it in his Gospel, “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week,”
Alford’s Greek New Testament writes, “ὄρθρ. βαθ., deep dawn, i.e. just beginning to dawn (in Plato, Crito, § 1, we have οὐ πρῲ ἔτι ἐστίν; πάνυ μὲν οὖν. πηνίκα μάλιστα; ὄρθρος βαθύς) = σκοτίας ἔτι οὔσης, John, and τῇ ἐπιφωσκ. εἰς μίαν σαβ., Matt., and λίαν πρωΐ, Mark; but not ἀνατείλαντος τοῦ ἡλ., Mark also: see notes there. βαθέως may be an old form of the gen. as rendered above, or the adv.” (emphasis added).
Tim Hegg makes an interesting statement about Luke’s phrase “orthrou batheos”: “Once again, this could be general language reflecting ‘as the day began to dawn,’ that is, at the very beginning of the day (following sunset).” (ibid, p.23, emphasis added). Again this phrase means the dawning of a new day regardless of the Sun’s position in the sky. The dawning of a new day according to the Bible (not our reckoning of time) is sunset to sunset (Lev 23:31
Confirming the above scripture, we also have historical evidence that in the first century, the Sabbath was observed starting at evening. Josephus, a first century Jewish historian makes the following comment in the Wars of the Jews 4:582: “and the last was erected above the top of the Pastophoria, where one of the priests stood of course, and gave a signal beforehand with a trumpet, at the beginning of every seventh day, in the evening twilight, as also at the evening when that day was finished, as giving notice to the people when they were to stop work, and when they were to go to work again.” The day was finished at sunset, and a new day dawned after sunset just like the Gospels report.
John's Gospel: Does John’s Gospel compliment Matthew’s and Luke’s?
"The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre" (John 20:1). First the word "day" is italicized, and the word "week" is "Sabbaths."
The phrase "early, when it was yet dark" should read "early darkness yet being" (Marshall, p.453, emphasis added). Or "yet being early darkness." (see also Apostolic Bible Polyglot).
What is "Early darkness"? "Dusk; EARLIEST PART OF THE EVENING, JUST BEFORE DARKNESS" (Webster's Dictionary, p.52, emphasis added). "Sunset; ...Dusk...sundown" (Collier's Thesaurus, p.920, emphasis added). It was early evening, dusk, or sundown. It means darkness just arrived, meaning sundown on a Saturday night at 6 PM. This is what Luke says. They came in the late afternoon at sundown at the end of the Sabbath. Saturday SUNDOWN, NOT SUNDAY MORNING!
The “First” of the Sabbaths?
John's Gospel accurately reads, "The first of the Sabbaths cometh Mary Magdalene, yet being early darkness unto the sepulchre,"
Luke has the same phrase, and his should read, "Now on the first of the Sabbaths, at deep dawn, they came to the sepulchre."
But notice the word "first" here and in the other Gospels about the resurrection is "mia" (Strong's 3391), and it means "Irregular feminine of G1520; one or first: - a (certain), + agree, first, one, X other." (Strong's). Marshalls as we have seen above shows the same in the literal translation as "one [of] the Sabbaths." It occurs 67 times in the New Testament, and 58 times it is translated "one." Only 8 times as "First," and one time "agree." As we look at the context, and also the biases of the translators, the correct rendering for Luke, Matthew, and John should read "one" and not "first" as the correct word to used especially when you look at the context of the verse. It is a cardinal number, used for counting. Since we know there were two Sabbaths that week, the word "one" should be used to distinguish between the two Sabbaths.
Marshall, "one [of] the sabbaths" (Matthew 28:1).
Luke again should read, And day one of the Sabbaths,” (Luke 24:1 The Apostolic Bible Polyglot). The word “Day” is italicized and added in, it is not in the original text.
John's Gospel, The Apostolic Bible Polyglot renders it, "But on [day] one of the Sabbaths." "Day" is inserted, not in the original text. Leaving the bias out, its is "But on one of the Sabbaths."
When the true rendering is made the truth of the resurrection comes out. They came to the tomb at sundown, and Jesus was "risen" already. He was buried between 3 and 4 O'clock, and so exactly 3 days and three nights later, he rose between 3 and 4 O'clock on the weekly Sabbath in the afternoon.
Why did they come when the Sabbath was coming to an end? Because they "rested the Sabbath day, according to the commandment" (Luke 23:56). So as soon as the Sabbath was over at sundown, they rushed to the tomb to anoint him with spices, its only logical.
Mark's Gospel: Now Mark's Gospel is the gospel most people use to show the resurrection took place on Sunday!
"Now whenJesus 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).
But the verse does not say that he "rose" on the first day of the week. Look at it closely. Does it say early on the first day of the week Jesus was "rising" or that he "did rise" at that time? No, it says that when the first day of the week came, he "WAS RISEN." This is past perfect tense, that is, he was risen already!
The Greek word rendered "was risen" is "anastas" and has the meaning of "having risen" indefinitely in the past. Neither the Greek or the English wording of the verse indicates that Christ rose early on the first day of the week. The Greek word (anastas, an active aorist participle) suggests an action completed prior to the time of the main verb, in this case, "appeared." Thus, Jesus was resurrected sometime before He appeared to Mary Magdalene early on the first day of the week. That is all that Mark is trying to say! Placing a simple comma after "rose" (NKJV) or "risen" (KJV) is the easiest way to resolve the matter.
Another added truth to this word translated “was risen” (Gr. ἀναστὰς, Gtr. anastas). It 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, and not to Mary Magdalene rising from sleep.
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" tell when Jesus appeared to Mary rather than telling when he rose (Edward J Hills Believing Bible study, p.146).
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."
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, because it happened on the Sabbath. Yet when did he 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!
Let's examine the verse even more closely, "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). The word for "early" (Strong's #4404), is the same word John uses, meaning again "early darkness" meaning "dusk" or "sundown."
Now the phrase "first day of the week." First the word "day" is Italicized and not in the text. Second the word "first" is not "mia" like the other passages, but “prōte.” This word means "Contracted superlative ofG4253; foremost (in time, place, order or importance): - before, beginning, best, chief (-est), first (of all), former." (Strong's #4413). The meaning is more like, "first in rank 2a) influence, honour 2b) chief 2c) principal 3) first, at the first" (Thayer's). What is Mark trying to indicate to us here? Before we get on with this, just one more note, the word "week" again is the same as the others, it means "Sabbaths." So the true rendering is the "beginning of the Sabbaths." The beginning of what?
After Passover after the first weekly Sabbath, Israel was to count seven Sabbaths, and the morrow after the seventh Sabbath was Pentecost. Observe the LORD’s instruction to Israel, "You shall count seven [sevens] for yourself; begin to count the seven [sevens] from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain” (Deut. 16:9). “And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD” (Lev. 23:15-16). God says in the first day of the Feast of Weeks, “And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the [weekly] sabbath the priest shall wave it.” (Lev 23:11). Christ was the “First Fruits” from the dead. He was the wave sheaf offering that went to God on the “first of the Sabbaths” Mark is telling us that Jesus was the wave sheaf of the Old Testament festival.
Bullinger's Companion Bible agrees, "The expression is not a Hebraism, and 'Sabbaths' should not be rendered 'week', as in Authorized Version and Revised Version. A reference to Lev 23:15-17 shows that this 'first day' is the first of the days for reckoning the seven Sabbaths to Pentecost. On this day, therefore, the Lord became the firstfruits (verses: Joh 20:10, Joh 20:11) of God's resurrection harvest (1Co 15:23)" (p.1570 emphasis added).
Now does Mark 16:1 contradict the other gospel accounts?
"And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him."
The word “Past” is “diaginomai (Strong’s #1230). It means “to elapse” Thayer says, “to be through” JFB Commentary writes, "that is, at sunset of our Saturday." Gill's Commentary says, "In the end of it" Like Matthew, the Sabbath was "at its end," at sundown. Henry Alfrod’s Greek Testament says “i.e at sunset”
So it should read, “, “And when the Sabbath was past [“to elapse,” or “to be through”].
What about Mark 16:2?
“And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.” This verse differs from Luke and John’s. The only identical phrase is the “first day of the week.” But the word “early” is different. It’s “lian” (Strong #3029). It means “exceedingly” (Apostolic Bible Polyglot). The Polyglot translates this verse, “And exceedingly in the morning of day one of the Sabbaths, they come unto the tomb, at the rising of the sun.”
The Greek words τῆς μιᾶς σαββάτων (Gtr. tes mias sabbaton), which literally read “during one of the Sabbaths.” The words “tes mias” are in the genitive case, which deals with “time during which” (H.P.V. Nunn p43, J.W. Wenham p64, Ward Powers p108), and literally means “during one day (or night) of,” or “during one day (or night) from,” or “during one day (or night) after.” So they came “exceedingly” during “one of the Sabbaths.” Now this was at the “rising of the sun.” The phrase here is “anateilantos tou hēliou.” The Jamieson Faucette and Brown Commentary says that the rising of the Sun is “not quite literally, but ‘at earliest dawn;’ according to a way of speaking not uncommon, and occurring sometimes in the Old Testament.” (Emphasis added).
Strong’s #6079 the Hebrew equivalent in the Old Testament is “aphapayim” and it means, “dawning” Job 3:9 says, “dawning of the day.” It was at “earliest dawn.” (JFB Commentary). As noted above the dawning of a new day meant the beginning of a new day which took place at sunset on the Sabbath. Basically all four expressions from the Gospels:
· According to the first, Matthew’s, Τῃ επιφωσκουσῃ, “As it began to dawn.”
· According to the second, John’s, Πρωΐ σκοτιας ετι ουσης, “Early in the morning when it was yet dark.”
· To the third, Luke’s, Ορθρου βαθεως, “Very early in the morning.”
· To the fourth, Mark’s, ἀνατείλαντος τοῦ ἡλίου “rising of the sun.”
These are all basically the same meaning of the dawning of a new day which took place at sunset! One must understand, “the New Testament Greek is actually a translation of older Hebrew idioms and expressions.” (Darkness at the Crucifixion, p.148, Anthony Alfieri). When we read the Greek words for “three days and three nights”, or “night and day,” “dawning towards” etc… “...we are mostly confronting the Jewish way of expressing time, not the Greek!” (ibid, p.148).
First of the Sabbaths?
As mentioned earlier in Mark’s Gospel, the “First of the Sabbaths” (Mark 16:9) was used. The word for “first” here was not “mia” like the other passages, but “prōte.” This word means, “first in time or place a) in any succession of things or persons; first in rank a) chief b) principal first, at the first” (The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon). An example of this is “Now there were seven brothers. The first (prōtos | πρῶτος | nom sg masc), having taken a wife, died childless.
“And the second took her to wife, and he died childless.
“And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died.
“Last of all the woman died also.” (Luke 20:29-32). This word clearly shows that this was the first of a succession of coming Sabbaths. There is only festival that counts a number of Sabbaths that were to be complete, and that is the feast of Sabbaths or weeks after Passover.
After Passover after the first weekly Sabbath, Israel was to count seven Sabbaths, and the morrow after the seventh Sabbath was Pentecost. Observe the LORD’s instruction to Israel, “You shall count seven [sevens] for yourself; begin to count the seven [sevens] from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain” (Deut. 16:9).
“And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the LORD” (Lev. 23:15-16). God says in the first day of the Feast of Weeks, “And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the [weekly] sabbath the priest shall wave it.” (Lev 23:11). Christ was the “First Fruits” from the dead. He was the wave sheaf offering that went to God on the “first of the Sabbaths” Mark is telling us that Jesus was the wave sheaf of the Old Testament festival.
Due to the fact that most modern day Christians do not understand or keep God’s Holy Days, this knowledge is lost on most people and they believe the mistaken assumption that what is referred to by the gospel writers is “Sunday” as the first day of each week. This is in error. Several noted scholars understand what the phrase “first of the weeks” actually means.
The Gospel writers use this expression, “first of the Sabbaths (weeks)” which every Jew of that day understood to be the day of the wave-sheaf offering and the beginning of the counting of seven Sabbaths until the Day of Pentecost. This was a day that occurred once a year in the calendar, not once a week. Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible states simply in reference to this phrase, “Literally, the first day of the Sabbaths, referring to the seven Sabbaths to Pentecost...” (Note on John 20:1).
Now we can understand in full Mark 16:9: “Now when Jesus was risen [on the weekly Sabbath], early the first day of the week [First of the Sabbaths] he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.” This fits exactly with the scripture of the Feast of weeks in Lev 23:10-11: “ye shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest [Christ is the first fruits from the dead 1 Corinthians 15:20] unto the priest:...And he shall wave the sheaf [representing Jesus] before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the [weekly] Sabbath [The Sabbath when the Resurrection occurred] the priest shall wave it.” This is why he told Mary, “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father:” (John 20:17). He was not presented to his Father yet as the wave sheaf. Interesting, the wave sheaf could not be touched by anyone until the offering was made (see Yochanan 20:17). But Jesus went to Heaven presented himself as the wave sheaf offering, then afterwards allowed his disciples to touch him.
What about John 20:19? "Then the same day at evening, being the first [mia] day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you." Here the word is "mia" not "prōte" Does it mean that this scripture contradicts all others because clearly this is the next day what we call "Sunday" John says the "same day at evening," meaning when"...He appeared to Mary; at the evening of that day, after he had been with the two disciples to Emmaus," (Gill's Commentary). The expression is exactly as John 20:1 which we have proven was at the end of the Sabbath at sunset! Does this contradict? Absolutely Not! As noted above context is key! As noted "mia" translated "one" and can also mean "first" is a cardinal number, used for counting. The context of John 20:1 was used to distinguish between the two Sabbaths. In John 20:19 with Mark 16:9 clearly shows that the context is the "First of the Sabbaths" God says, "...ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete: Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days;" (Lev 23:15, 16)-this is the context of John 20:19. Robertson's Word Pictures even admits that in the context of this scripture, "for this use of miāi [is] like prōtēi)" (emphasis theirs and mine). So there is no contradiction with this scripture and the others.
When was the Wave Sheaf Cut?
The passage in Lev 23 says nothing about WHEN the wave sheaf was cut. The instruction there has to do with WHAT must be done with the wave sheaf, before WHOM and WHEN. It was the day of “waving” the sheaf not the “cutting” of the sheaf of grain. Jesus fulfilled this symbolism when He presented Himself before the Lord (Father) of heaven on the first day (John 20:1-18). This wave sheaf represented the RISEN Christ and the work He had to do on the first day before the Father, NOT when He rose.
“Jewish history from the Second Temple period gives an interesting insight. The second-century Mishnah affirms that, when the Sadducees controlled the Temple, the sickle was put to the grain just as the sun was going down on the weekly Sabbath (Menahot 10:1-4, Jacob Neusner translation, pp. 753-754). The book, Biblical Calendars, states, “The Boethusians [Temple priests] reaped [the firstfruits sheaf] at the going out of the Sabbath” (p. 218. Additional information can be found in the section titled “Temple Service,” p. 280, as well as in The Temple: Its Ministry and Services by Alfred Edersheim, 1994, pp. 203-205). The New Testament’s silence on this Sadducean practice—along with its agreement with the ritual’s fulfillment in Christ—must be construed as acceptance of its validity” (Forerunner Commentary, under “Leviticus 23” emphasis added).
At the time of the first century, there were two beliefs. One was the Pharisees who believed that the sheaf was cut after the annual Sabbath of the first day of Unleavened bread. Second. The Saducees believed however that the “morrow after the Sabbath” meant the first weekly Sabbath after Passover, which the gospels confirm as well. They argued that the word “Sabbath” in Greek, when used by itself, can only mean the Seventh-Day Sabbath of the week, and not the annual Sabbaths.
Now, “The largest and main group were the Sadducees, prominent during the time of Christ and the apostles. This sect was predominately secular in nature and, unlike the Pharisees, did not pretend to be zealous. Their power and influence were political—not religious (Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed., Vol. 23, pp. 989-990).
“We know that the Samaritans and the Sadducees kept a Sunday Wave Sheaf and a Sunday Pentecost. That is an important factor in history. The Jews do not keep the Wave Sheaf because they keep a Sivan 6 Pentecost, which came from the traditions of the Pharaisees in rabbinical Judaism, AFTER the Temple was destroyed.... So the Temple period structure and right throughout, including the Samaritans, always kept Pentecost on a Sunday. The early church kept Pentecost on a Sunday. Only the Jews [who followed the Pharisees] kept a Sivan 6 and only after the Temple was destroyed.
“Modern Judaism does not do this now.... This (the Sadduccean) position was held up until the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE (see F F Bruce, art. Calendar, The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, ed. by J D Douglas and N Hillyer, IVP, 1980, Vol. 1, p. 225). AFTER the dispersion, the Pharisaic position became the accepted practice and the conflict is noted in the Mishnah (Hag. 2:4)” (Article, ‘The Wave Sheaf offering, by CCOG, emphasis added).
The Sadducees method of counting Pentecost was correct. The high priests who served during the first century (until A.D. 70) were Sadducees. They were in charge of the temple as Pentecost arrived in A.D. 31. By keeping the correct day, and with thousands of orthodox Jews present in Jerusalem, the stage was set for Christ to miraculously build the Church of God (Acts 2).
The Pharisees established the method followed by most Jews today. The rabbinic Jewish tradition adopted their method, which dates back to the early centuries A.D. Instead of using the day after the weekly Sabbath, the Pharisees assigned the wave sheaf offering to the day following the first High Day, regardless of the day of the week that it fell upon.
One obvious inconsistency is that by always counting from Nisan 16 (the day after the first High Day) the target date should always be Sivan 6, regardless of the day of the week. If the day God determined for Pentecost had been a set date on the sacred calendar [which the Pharisees do], it would NOT be necessary to count in the first place!
Using this method, the Pharisees were correct about 25% of the time. So since the gospels are silent on the matter, and the chronology of events concerning Christ’s death and resurrection shows that the “first of the weeks” or “Sabbaths” occurs in the gospels after the weekly Sabbath, then we come to the conclusion that the “morrow after the Sabbath” means the weekly and not the annual Sabbath.
But notice, they cut the wave sheaf offering (which was a symbol of the time when Christ ROSE FROM THE DEAD), at the same time when Jesus was resurrected, late on the weekly Sabbath near sundown! Then they would keep that grain for the next day in the morning and wave it to God as an offering of the firstfruits of the harvest, and “the sheaf was offered (waved) before God the following morning, or more precisely, between 9:00 a.m. and noon” (Forerunner’s Commentary), which symbolizes the RISEN (past tense) CHRIST!
Wednesday or Friday Crucifixion?
If we count backwards from 3-4 O'clock that late Sabbath afternoon when the resurrection took placed, three days and three nights we get to Wednesday 3-4 O'clock. This is the day when Jesus was crucified. Exactly three days and three nights later, Jesus resurrected on a Sabbath afternoon.
The chart below verified by works on the "Jewish Calendar"-actually God's calendar-is absolutely correct according to the computation preserved since the days of Moses!
A.D 29 Sat April 16
A.D. 30 Wed April 5
A.D. 31 Wed April 25
A.D. 32 Mon April 14
A.D. 33 Friday April 3
(Quotes from "The Crucifixion was not on Friday by David Hulme). This fits perfectly with the scenario of the Bible. In 31 A.D. Jesus was put to death on a Wednesday and exactly 72 hours later, or three days and three nights later, he was resurrected on The Sabbath Day.
Donald Grey Barnhouse confirms the day in which Christ was put to death:
"Now from the Dead Sea Scrolls comes remarkable confirmation of this interpretation. The Benediktinische Monatschrifte, published by the Benedictines in Germany, carries an article by S. Schwank under the title 'War Das Letzte Abendmahl am Dientstag in der Karwoche?' (Was the Last Supper on Tuesday of Holy Week?). In this article the latest results of research in the Dead Sea Scrolls are made available to the German reader.
"In the Qumran document 4Q is a calendar which clearly places the Paschal meal on Tuesday evening of Holy Week. This means, of course, that Christ was crucified on Wednesday...
These shrewd Roman Catholic scholars realize the importance of these discoveries, and they clearly state the consequences which are from the new knowledge. Schwank knows that although Roman scholars will continue to observe 'Good Friday', in their hearts they will know that through the centuries their tradition has been wrong.
"He says, 'The necessity of another change is definitely not the answer. Our present Holy Week liturgy is the liturgy of the Mystical Body of Christ and as such has its own value. It need not copy with minute exactitude the historical conditions of the Passion Week of Christ.
"A Roman Catholic theological journal 'L' Ami du Clerge', published in Langres, France, also carried an article on this subject. J. Delorme, under the title 'Did Jesus Take the Last Supper on Tuesday Evening?' sets forth similar evidence. He quotes Miss A. Jaubert as having discovered the proofs for the Tuesday Last Supper date.
"1. The Qumran MSS have revealed the existence of a very ancient calendar other than the official calendar.
"2. An ancient Christian tradition, attested by the Didascalia Apostolorum as well as by Epiphanius and Victorinus of Pettau (died 304), gives Tuesday evening as the date of the Last Supper and prescribes a fast for Wednesday to commemorate the capture of Christ.
"The Gospel accounts of the Passion are reconciled (Delorme concludes) if we admit that John follows the legal calendar, while the Synoptics follow the calender attested by the Qumran MSS. Among the difficulties thus resolved are the date of the anointing in Bethany, the requirements of the Mishna in legal matters, and the schedule of the narratives which seemingly crowds too many events into too little time."
(Is Good Friday on Wednesday? By Donald Grey Barnhouse ETERNITY Magazine June 1958, 1716 Spruce Street, Philadelphia 3, Pa. emphasis added)
Wycliffe Bible Commentary agrees: "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, emphasis added).
Clues from the Bible
The traditional date for Jesus’ death among Christians through the years has corresponded with the 33 A.D. date. Jesus was about 30 when he began His ministry (Luke. 3:23). His ministry lasted about 3 ½ years. By adding the two together and using the dating system of Dionysius Exiguus (6th century A.D.), many have arrived at the date of 33 A.D. These conclusions are all sound if Dionysius did not make a mistake.
Dionysius did make a costly mistake! He dated the birth of Jesus four years after the death of Herod the Great during whose reign Jesus was born (I.S.B.E., “Chronology of the New Testament,” Vol. 1, pp. 644B-645.). By making this mistake, he has rendered his calendar ineffective as a tool in determining the date of Jesus' death. This means that the method of determining the date is in error.
Seeking to explain the star of the wise men (Matt. 2:2) by some astronomical phenomenon, or explaining the darkness over the face of the earth, when Jesus was crucified (Luke. 23:44), by a solar eclipse are what two British scientists have fallen prey to. They have reached conclusions based in part upon “astronomical calculations.” Supposing that biblical references to the moon “turning to blood” “probably refers to a lunar eclipse,” which they perceive identifies the date of Christ's death “unambiguously,” they have deducted that Jesus died on April 3, 33 A.D. Their method of calculation demonstrates their ignorance of biblical terminology, its use and application, and their failure to accept by faith the biblical accounts as revealed.
Clues in the Bible as well reveal to us when Jesus died approximately. First we know that the decree of Artaxerxes in the Days of Ezra was 457 B.C. this began the 70 weeks prophecy which leads us to 27 A.D. and the beginning of the ministry of Jesus Christ on the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall. 3 ½ years later brings us to 31 A.D. (Read our booklet Daniel’s 70 weeks Prophecy for details).
Luke records that John the Baptist began his ministry “in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea” (Luke. 3: 1). Tiberius began his full reign upon the death of Augustus in 14 A.D., and Pilate ruled Judea from 26 to 36 A.D (I.S.B.E., “Pontius Pilate,” Vol. IV, p. 2396.). If Luke’s fifteen years are to be counted from 14 A.D., then 28 or 29 A.D. would correctly identify the beginning of John’s ministry and subsequently that of Jesus. However, this includes Tiberius’ co-regency with Augustus which began in 13-11 A.D. (I.S.B.E., “Tiberius,” Vol. V, p. 2979.) If so, 26-27 A.D. must be accepted as the proper date for the beginning of the ministries of John and Jesus. Hoehner states that, “…the 15th year of Tiberius can be dated circa A.D. 27 to 29” (Harold Hoehner Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, p.19).
The apostle John also relates that the Jews in rebuttal to Jesus’ statement, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” said, “Forty and six years was this temple in building, and will thou rear it up in three days?” (Jn. 2:19-20). Their statement is significant because the temple at that time was still under construction and was not completed until A.D. 64 (I.S.B.E., “Temple” (Herod's), Vol. V, p. 2937). The temple work was started by Herod the Great in the eighteenth year of his reign (ibid) or 19 B.C. Counting forty-six years from 19 B.C. brings us to 28 A.D. Jesus was in Jerusalem for the observance of the first Passover of His ministry (28 A.D.) when this discussion took place (John. 2:13). It is thought that John records three other Passovers, which includes the last Passover when Jesus died, observed by Jesus during His ministry (Jn. 5:1; 6:4; 12: 1). If so, Jesus’ death came in 31 A.D. if you count 6 months before this episode which brings us to the Feast of Tabernacles when his ministry started, and three years after this first Passover observance and it brings us to 31 A.D. Notice this source, “It was at the close of the year 20 B.C. or the beginning of 19 B.C. that Herod the Great began the rebuilding of the temple. The temple itself was completed in eighteen months; the extensive buildings round it required eight years more. So many additions, however, proved necessary before the work could be regarded as finished, that the final completion is assigned by Josephus to the year 50 A.D., seventy years after the commencement of the undertaking, and but twenty years before Jerusalem was destroyed. The ‘forty and six years’ bring us to the year 28 A.D.” (A Popular Commentary on the New Testament, emphasis added).
Events of the Passover Week
Bullingers Companion Bible examines the events of the Passover week and proves that the crucifixion took place on a Wednesday. For a thorough understanding of the events during the entire "preparation day," the fourteenth of Nisan, or the day before the Passover, be sure to study the chart.
Events During the Last Day Before the Passover
Nisan 14th-"The Preparation Day" (John 19:31)
The Day of Jesus' Death
(Corresponds to our Tuesday sunset to Wednesday sunset)*
Judas' plot to betray Christ:
Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:10,11, Luke 22:1-6
"Preparation" for Last Supper:
Matthew 26:17-19, Mark 14:12-16, Luke 22:7-13
"The even was come"; plot for betrayal:
Matthew 26:20, Mark 14:17
The last supper; foot washing:
Announcement of betrayal:
Matthew 26:21-25, Mark 14:18-21, John 13:21-30
Supper eaten; "New Covenant" proposed: bread and wine
Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:14-23
First prophecy of Peter's denials:
Strife over greatest:
Second prophecy of Peter's denials:
They go to Gethsemane:
Matthew 26:30-35, Mark 14:26-29, Luke 22:39, John 18:1
Third prophecy of Peter's denials:
Agony in garden:
Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:40-46
Matthew 26:47-56 Mark 14:43-50, Luke 22:47-54,
Trials - all through Tuesday night:
Matthew 26:57;27:31, Mark 14:53;15:19,
Luke 22:54;23:25, John 18:12;19:13
"Sixth hour" (our Tuesday midnight) Pilate's speech:
"Behold your king."
Christ led away to be killed:
Matthew 27:31-34, Mark 15:20-23, Luke 23:26-31,
Discussion with Pilate about inscriptions:
Dividing of garments:
Matthew 27:35-37, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34,
"It was the third hour and they crucified Him" (Our 9:00
"The sixth hour" (our Wednesday noon) and darkness:
Matthew 27:45-49, Mark 15:33, Luke 23:44,45
"The ninth hour" (our Wednesday 3:00 p.m.) Christ cries
out, dies on stake.
Matthew 27:50, Mark 15:34-37, Luke 23:46,
Many subsequent events:
Matthew 27:51-56, Mark 15:38-41, Luke 23:47-49,
Christ buried IN HASTE, BEFORE SUNSET (our Wednesday
about 6:00 p.m.) BEFORE THE "HIGH DAY" (The first day of unleavened bread, an
annual Sabbath); our Wednesday sunset:
Matthew 27:57-66, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42
* After Bullinger's Companion Bible, Ap.156, 157, 158, 165.
There is even a prophecy that says the Messiah would be "cut
off" and that "in the midst [middle] of the week he would cause the oblation to
cease" (Daniel 9:26-27). Notice, if people adhere to Jesus being crucified in 30
A.D., the Passover still lands on a WEDNESDAY. The
crucifixion was not on Friday, but Wednesday, and he was resurrected on the
Sabbath Day. Bullinger's concludes, "It follows, therefore, that
the Lord was crucified on our Wednesday; was buried on that day before
sunset...The fixed days and dates, at either end, hold the whole period as in a
vice, and place the whole subject on a sure foundation." (appendix 156).
Charts Below shows the exact time sequence of events of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus & Friday to Sunday Does not Work
How the Bible Counts Time
God said “from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.” (Lev 23:32)
Jesus said “Are there not twelve hours in the day?” (John 11:9, 10). Distinguishing it from the night (v.10).
Genesis 1 shows the counting of time, “evening (night) and morning (day) is one “day” counted sunset to sunset.
The Jewish Tradition and culture of Three days
Jesus meant a full 72-hour burial for a very important reason: “It was a tradition of the Jewish religious leaders and a landmark of Jewish culture that a man was not truly dead until at least three complete days, a full 72 hours, had passed. The scholarly writings of the Rabbis certified this position and it is clear to most that the tradition was very old, older than Jesus. Men had been known to revive, return from comas, whatever, in the days immediately following their ‘death.’ There was no heart monitoring or brain scanning 2,000 or 2,500 years ago. The one method to prevent possible interment of the living was to repeatedly examine the body for signs of life for three full days. Only after the three days were complete, was the person officially certified as dead. The Rabbis documented a story of one man who had been declared dead for nearly three days, then revived and went on to live another 25 years. This was not viewed as a divine miracle, or a resurrection at all. The Rabbis also taught that the spirit of a person hovered around the body for three days, seeking the opportunity to return to it. Only after three full days were passed, would it accept the irreversible decay of the corpse’s face as final and return to God.
“This conviction was not simply a scholarly bit of esoterica privy only to rabbinical students; rather, it was built into the mourning process for all Jewish dead. It was a known thread in the fabric of the culture, accepted by all Jews, then as well as now.
“ ‘Jewish mourning is built around three distinct periods of time. The Rabbis decreed thirty days are for Mourning, The first three days are for Weeping; the next four are for Lamentation. At the end of the first three days, ‘all hope of ... [the dead man’s] coming [back] to himself [was] wholly gone.’ (emphasis mine).
“The undercurrents beneath Jesus’ words run deeper still. Besides the dictates of the decomposition process, (Jews did not embalm their dead, they only perfumed the body with spices), the number three has an old and hallowed place in the Jewish culture. When something is repeated three times, or when it is refused three times, the idea is one of finality, certainty, full empowerment, or irrevocable completion.- The number ‘3’ is used in this way throughout the Old Testament.
“Jesus was tapping into this cultural consciousness when he used the word ‘three’ and referred to Jonah. His audience…fully understood his intent. Certainly, a ‘day and a half,’ would never strike this kind of resonance in the minds and hearts of the Jewish people.“We see that Jesus was working off the deeply engrained social beliefs of his time, offering a Sign that He would be utterly dead beyond any hope of revival; a Sign that would pass even the most stringent tests of the most scrupulous religious leader of his day. Some had ridiculed his miracles as deception and magic; they would certainly do the same for anything less than 72 hours. Contrary to the modern opinion, time, the full 72 hours, was the most critically important part of the Sign Jesus gave. No one, least of all no Jew, would have become his disciple without it.” (Anthony Alfieri, Darkness at the Crucifixion, pp.160-162, emphasis added). The Jewish culture itself demanded a 72 hour time for a man to be declared completely dead, anything shorter than that many would have claimed Jesus was a fake. A Friday crucifixion to a Sunday Resurrection can fall into this category since this is not a full 72 hour period.
Spiritual Significance of Jesus' Resurrection on the Sabbath
The Sabbath was very significant for the resurrection of Jesus. It shows that the Sabbath is liberty and not bondage. Even Jesus showed that the Sabbath was a time for freedom and liberty. Think of it! Even God said in the Old Testament: "And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day" (Deut 5:15). The Sabbath was a memorial of God delivering them from bondage to freedom. This is what the Sabbath stood for! As God says: "I am the Eternal thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of Bondage" (Deut 5:6). Now how does this tie in with the resurrection of Jesus on the Sabbath Day?
Jesus through his resurrection broke the bondage of death and corruption! "For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: "Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption" (Acts 2:27-28) Corruption is bondage: "Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God." (Rom 8:21). Jesus conquered corruption: "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
" The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinth 15:55- 57). Jesus had freed us from the bondage of sin and death. Therefore, the SABBATH IS A SYMBOL OF FREEDOM FROM BONDAGE TO LIFE, THAT'S WHY JESUS RESURRECTED ON THE SABBATH DAY!
1) Some may argue in Luke 24:21:" ... and besides all this, today is the third day SINCE THESE THINGS WERE DONE."
Yes, the walk to Emmaus was on Sunday, but it is a misunderstanding and mistranslation that Sunday was the third day since the crucifixion. The Greek word for "since" after "the third day" in Luke 24:21 actually means "away from" (Strong's #575). Away from is the same as our "after". Jesus died late on a Wednesday afternoon and was laid in the grave at sundown on Wednesday as Thursday was beginning. He was in the grave 3 days and 3 nights on Wednesday night, Thursday night, and Friday night and Thursday day, Friday day, and Saturday day using our reckoning of days and nights. He rose in the Sabbath afternoon. So He was in the grave 3 days and 3 nights and rose after 3 days and 3 nights while the Sabbath was still on. So He rose on the third day. Sunday is therefore the 4th day. The actual literal Greek translation of Luke 24:21 is: "But surely also together with all these things, it brings a third day away from which all these things occurred."
Translators take the cumbersome literal translation and make it flow , taking some liberty with it, but trying to retain accuracy. The 4th day is "away from" the third day. So it is apparent that the verse is literally saying they were walking and talking after the third day, which was Sunday. However, have other translators understood this point too? Yes, let's look at 3 of them. (Luke 24:21).
Moffatt Translation--by James Moffatt “....but he is dead, and that is three days ago!”
The New Berkeley Version in Modern English-- Gerrit Verkugl “Moreover, three days have already passed, since all these events occurred.”
The Bible in Basic English Version says, “In addition to all this he has now let three days go by from the time when these things took place;”
James Murdock Translation has it, “And lo, three days [have passed], since all these things occurred.”
The Syriac New Testament Translated Into English From The Peshitto Version -- James Murdock “...and lo, three days have passed since all these things have occurred.”
The Syriac Reading can be confirmed by 2 of the oldest manuscripts in Estrangelo Aramaic: the Sinaitic Palimpset and the Curetonian Syriac.
There is exceedingly ample evidence that the correct translation for Luke 24:21 is that the KJV should read, "today is after the third day since these things were done." As the information above shows, the oldest and multiple original manuscripts show that "away from" is the correct word for since, and shows us that they were talking about Sunday being the 4th day since Jesus was laid in the grave. That troubled them, because He has clearly said many times that He would rise on the third day, after 3 days and 3 nights. He would fulfill the sign of Jonah, as Jonah was 3 days and 3 nights in the great fish, so Jesus would be 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth. These two disciples were challenged in their faith, because it appeared that Jesus' many prophecies concerning His being raised from the dead had failed. They were going back to Emmaus in defeat, when a stranger joined them. This stranger explained to them all the prophecies concerning the Messiah from the Bible. They did not recognize that it was Jesus, the risen Messiah talking to them. Only when they sat down to eat and He blessed the bread and gave it to them, were their eyes opened and they recognized Him as Jesus. He then instantly disappeared from them.
Another way to look at this I answer this from the book BABYLON MYSTERY RELIGION by Ralph Woodrow, pages 138, 139. "....Because Jesus appeared to the disciples on the first day of the week (verse 13), and this was the third day since these things were done, would this not indicate that Jesus died on Friday? This would DEPEND ON HOW WE COUNT. If PARTS of a day are counted as a whole, Friday could be meant. On the other hand, one day since Friday would have been Saturday and the THIRD day since Friday would have been Monday!
"This method of counting would not indicate Friday. On seeking to offer an explanation, I submit the following: They had talked about 'ALL these things which had happened' (verse 14) - more than just one event. If 'these things' included the arrest, the crucifixion, the burial and the setting of the seal and watch over the tomb all of these things were not done until THURSDAY.....(MAT. 27:62-66)....... 'These things' were not fully completed - were not 'done' – until the tomb was sealed and guarded. This happened, as we have already seen, on Thursday of that week ....... Sunday, then, would have been 'the third day since these things were done,' but not the third day since the crucifixion" (emphasis mine).
2) Now the famous "part of a day theory" that some used to prove that Jesus died on Friday and resurrected on Sunday. They say is was "part of three days and three nights." They say "this is the way Jews told time." They get this from the Babylonian Talmud. Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah, tenth in the descent from Ezra was very specific: "A day and a night are an Onah ['a portion of time'] and the portion of an Onah is as the whole of it" [J.Talmud, Shabbath 9.3 and b.Talmud, Pesahim 4a] . As we have proved,GOD, in his word THE BIBLE says to count the days from SUNSET TO SUNSET, 24 hours periods see Leviticus 23:32.. Jesus said the same thing "Are there not twelve hours in the day?" (John 11:9). The Bible is not interpreted by the Talmud, or by a Human commentary, the Bible INTERPRETS ITSELF, see 2 Peter 1:20. Jesus always referred to the scriptures. He always said, "It is written," see Matthew 4. The Talmud and the other Rabbinic writings are the very things that Jesus complained about to the Pharisees when it was in direct contradiction to the bible which this theory does!. Their strict interpretation of the Bible, is what he called the "commandments of Men," and not of God, notice: " Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,...Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
" But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?...ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition...Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, "This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
" But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matthew 15:1-3, 6-9). So when Jesus said "three days and three nights" he meant it the way God meant in the BIBLE, SUNSET TO SUNSET! Jesus referred to God's word not some Rabbi's.
The Review and Herald, the official publication of the Seventh-day Adventists, listed several texts that, they claim, indicate that three days means no more than a day and one half. Let’s look to see if Scripture supports these claims.
Here is the first text they offer as “proof” that “after three days” does not mean after three days!
King Rehoboam told the people who came to meet him, “‘Come back to me after three days.’ And the people departed” (II Chron. 10:5). The same event is quoted in I Kings 12:5: “Depart for three days, then come back to me.” The story continues with verse 12: “So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king directed, saying, ‘Come back to me the third day.”’ The people left “for three days” and did not return until “after three days,” as the king had appointed.
Let us suppose they had first met the king sometime on Friday. As they were ordered to return at the end of three days, they would not have returned before the same time of day the following Monday. Now was Monday “the third day” from the day they had originally met with the king? The first day from that Friday was Saturday, the second day from that Friday was Sunday and the third day was Monday - exactly the time the king expected them to return. Monday, not Sunday, was the third day from Friday.
The next text offered as “proof” that “three days and three nights” means only one day and two nights is Esther 4:16 and 5:1. “Fast for me,” said Queen Esther, “neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king.” “Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes” and went to the king.
First “night or day” meant that she would not drink or eat night or day, which includes the full 24 hour period. Because she was a Jewess, Esther specifically added "night or day" to make clear what she meant by "three days."
Since Hebrew days began at sunset, it is obvious that, when the fast ended on ''the third day" (Esther 5:1), this "third day" must have followed the "third night," completing three full days and nights, or three 24-hour days!
Second, which day was this? The third day of the fast. Suppose Queen Esther had requested the Jews late Friday evening, shortly before sunset, to fast. The first day of their fast would have been Saturday, the second day would have been Sunday and the third day, Monday, the queen would have entered the king’s palace. Isn’t that plain? The Jews did not fast parts of three days, but three days, night and day.
Notice another Bible example: A young Egyptian was found in a field by David's men. They brought him to David, and "...when he had eaten, his spirit (ruach, meaning breath, or living consciousness) came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights" (1 Samuel 30:12).
Later, in explanation, the Egyptian said, "...my master left me, because three days agone I fell sick" (1 Samuel 30:13).
The young Egyptian therefore meant three complete days and nights, because the Egyptians reckoned the days to begin at sunrise. (See Encyclopedia Britannica 11th Edition, vol. xi, p.77.)
Notice that in each of these examples, three days means three days, not parts of three days or only a day and one half.
One more note. Jesus didn't say "As Esther fasted." Or "As the Talmud says." Or "As Rehoboam commanded the people." No! He said, "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." The Example was with Jonah, not the others! This is the example we must turn to for the sign that Jesus gave us. Jonah said, "Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights." (Jonah 1:17). Bullinger says, "...when the number of 'nights' is stated as well as the number of 'days', then the expression ceases to be an idiom, and becomes a literal statement of fact...Moreover, as the Hebrew day began at sunset the day was reckoned from one sunset to another, the 'twelve hours in the day' (Joh 11:9) being reckoned from sunrise, and the twelve hours of the night from sunset. An evening-morning was thus used for a whole day of twenty-four hours, as in the first chapter of Genesis. Hence the expression 'a night and a day' in 2Co 11:25 denotes a complete day (Gr. nuchthemeron )...Hence, when it says that 'Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights' (Jon_1:17) it means exactly what it says, and that this can be the only meaning of the expression in Mat 12:40; Mat 16:4. Luk 11:30, is shown in Ap. 156." (appendix 144, emphasis added). (more explanations below)
3) Some might object to the reaping of the sheaf in the closing hours of the Sabbath because it is a day of rest when no work is to be done. After one understands the full reason for it, as well as Jesus’ direct statement that a priest is blameless in the performance of his required duties (Matthew 12:5), any objections to the practice disappear.
4) Scholars have attempted to argue this plain statement away by claiming Jesus spoke in a “Hebrew idiom” which meant only a part of a day. Think about it.
If Jesus was not placed in the tomb until just before sunset on Friday and resurrected at sunrise on “Easter” Sunday morning, then He was in the tomb only TWO NIGHTS and ONE DAY!
Friday night, Saturday daylight, Saturday night are but two nights and one day.
But Jesus plainly said, “AS JONAS was three days and three nights... so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” referring to Jonah 1:7. Was this an “idiom”? Did not Jesus mean what He said?
There is such an idiom in the Hebrew, which can include any part of three days. However, when used in conjunction with the expression “three nights” it totally precludes idiomatic expression, and is to be taken quite literally! As Bullinger says quoted above, “The fact that ‘three days’ is used by Hebrew idiom for any part of three days and three nights is not disputed; because that was the common way of reckoning, just as it was when used of years. Three or any number of years was used inclusively of any part of those years was used inclusively of any part of those years, as may be seen in the reckoning of the reigns of any of the kings of Israel or Judah.
“But, when the number of ‘nights’ is stated as well as the number of ‘days,’ then the expression ceases to be an idiom, and becomes a literal statement of fact.
“Moreover, as the Hebrew day began at sunset the day was reckoned from one sunset to another, the ‘twelve hours in the day’ (John11:9) being reckoned from sunrise, and the twelve hours of the night from sunset. An evening-morning was thus used for a whole day of twenty-four hours, as in the first chapter of Genesis. Hence the expression ‘a night and a day’ in 2 Cor 11:25 denotes a complete day (Gr. nuchthemeron ).” (Appendix 144).
Roland de Vaux, a French historian and archeologist who worked for many years in Jerusalem and Paris, says the same thing and explained Jewish day-counting: “When they wanted to indicate the whole length of a day of twenty-four hours, they said ‘day and night’ or some such Phrase” (Ancient Israel-Its Life and institution, p.181).
Mr Alfieri comments on this particular subject and says, “Commentators vigorously assert their opinion that ‘three days and three nights’ must only be understood as a figure of speech in both Hebrew and Greek with surprisingly few facts. The NIV Study Bible, in a note on Matt. 12:40, succinctly summarizes the entire argument: ‘Including at least part of the first day and part of the third day, a common Jewish reckoning of the time’ (emphasis mine). That is all the proof that is given to the general reader, rarely will you see an alternative point of view discussed saying Matt. 12 could also be viewed as three full days. Neither will you learn details of the Jewish mourning process nor how three full days figure in that custom…The Hebrew explanation for Matt. 12 by Christian commentators seems to start in the 1600’s with John Lightfoot. Since that time, a body of various and sundry secondary arguments has been developed to bolster this main interpretation…
“…John Lightfoot was a Cambridge scholar who wrote a commentary on the New Testament strictly from ancient Jewish texts. A Good Friday defender, he cited a rabbinical rule for gauging time in the Hebrew language to prove his case. It involved parts of a day, twelve hours or less, that the Jews call an ‘onah.’ According to the Rabbis both the full 24-hour day and any small fraction of a few hours or less, are sometimes called ‘onah.’ Under certain circumstances in Hebrew speech, the day or the fraction are spoken of in identical terms, as if they both were the same amount of time, when in fact they are not. The question becomes, when is it appropriate to use such plastic phrasing and was it the original Hebrew or Greek of ‘three days and three nights’? If you read Lightfoot you will see just as with the moderns, he starts with the assumption Good Friday and 36 hours are true.- He then infers that ‘three days and three nights’ must be explained by making the first and third days only parts of a day. He never pursues the other side of the argument, discovering the intent or the original words in Jonah, based upon Jewish usage and culture
“Lightfoot quotes four Rabbis to explain the word ‘onah,’ he quotes none to explain the words in Jonah. Each Rabbi has a slightly different opinion on how to apply the idea of ‘onah’ to real life. Some Rabbis taught a complete ‘onah’ was 12 hours long, being either day or night. The opinion that prevailed was ‘an onah is a day and a night,’ (a full 24 hours). The ‘portion’ idea was always present. Now notice something. The very definition of ‘onah’ states that the expression, ‘a day and a night’ means ‘24 hours;’ when you see the words, think 24 hours. So by the same definition, when we see ‘three days and three nights’ shouldn’t we think 72 hours? It would appear that part of the very definition of ‘onah’ PROVES Jesus meant 72 hours in Matt. 12:40. This is not something the commentators admit. Perhaps I am simply misguided?
“…Confused? As we saw, the English-speaking scholars claim is that this is a routine, indiscriminate use of the Jewish language. The only problem is the literal words ‘three days and three nights’ cannot be treated in this fashion at all because they are the untouchable definition of 72 hours. You cannot take the full day definition of ‘onah’ and then modify it with the ‘fractional day’ definition of ‘onah’ to wind up with ‘day and night’ meaning part of a day. This is exactly what the English speaking commentators have done since John Lightfoot, in order to reconcile Good Friday with Matt. 12:40. They appeal to this argument even though Jonah literally says ‘three days and three nights’ and Jonah’s language is very unusual Hebrew. You will find some of the more recent commentaries admitting that Jonah 1:17 truly is a full three days (See Jack Season’s book, Jonah for the Anchor Bible Series)…
“In truth, Lightfoot and his heirs have concocted a broad brush misapplication of the ‘onah’ concept, forcing this rule onto a perfectly clear phrase that does not and cannot use it. As they strive to prove that Jonah and Matthew say ‘three days,’ but actually mean 36 hours, they never seem to explain how an exact 72 hours is expressed in Hebrew or Greek; they do not reflect upon the full definition, as we just did. Everything in their discussions becomes implied ‘fractions of three days,’ nothing in the Hebrew of Jonah or Greek of Matthew describes a full day when we listen to their explanations. The Good Friday apologists say this ambiguity is there in Jonah and other Old Testament verses-, but it is not” (Darkness at the Crucifixion, pp. 156-158, emphasis added).
5) The next point modern commentators overlook involves how Matthew uses the phrase “days and nights” elsewhere in his writings: Why don’t these commentators compare Matthew 12:40 to Matthew 4:2?
“Commentators focus all their energies on re-interpreting the definitions in Matt. 12:40 and its Hebrew equivalent, Jonah 1:17 Very well. Let us meet them on their own turf. Let us examine another reference to ‘days and nights,’ that is also in Matthew, to uncork their entire word argument for Matthew 12.
“The respected scholar F.F. Bruce and others are quick to point out that the phrase used in Matt 12, like the one in Jonah, is unusual- and therefore open to interpretation. But what they do not bother to mention is there are many near identical phrases peppered throughout both the New and Old Testaments. Probably the greatest and most devastatingly similar one is the phrase ‘forty days and forty nights’ which Matthew wrote in Matt. 4:2. The usage is: ‘Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights.’ The layout of this sentence is virtually identical to Jesus’ words, ‘the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’ In both cases, we have a very simple sentence: subject, verb and a fixed duration of time, The actual Greek, if you consult the leading Greek New Testament In print today- is identical for both Matt. 4:2 and Matt. 12:40, with the one exception that ‘forty’ comes after ‘days’ in the Greek, while ‘three’ is placed before it. Roland de Vaux, a French historian and archeologist who worked for many years in Jerusalem and Paris, explained Jewish day-counting this way: ‘When they wanted to Indicate the whole length of a day of twenty-four hours, they said ‘day and night’ or some such phrase.’ This saying, without the use of ‘onah,’ is the common Jewish way for expressing three full days, or 40 full days. This is exactly what we find in Matthew 4 and Matthew 12. Matthew 4:2 reads:
“‘After a fast of forty days and forty nights, he was very hungry.’ (The Phillips Translation of the New Testament)
The parallel account of Matthew is in Luke; it emphasizes the time element even further:
“‘Jesus ... was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days and at the end of them he was hungry’ Luke 4:1-2 (NIV)
“Notice both Matthew and Luke treat the forty days and forty nights as a complete block of time, exactly as de Vaux describes the usage. It may be an idiom, but not one that shortens the time. The two writers are not speaking of 38, or 39 days being ‘the end’ of forty days. You cannot be in a ‘part’ of the 40th day and also be at the end of the 40th day. Never has anyone ever suggested that Jesus fasted part of the first day, all of 38 days, and part of the last day. This time was something Jesus could control, and he based the time upon examples of ‘forty’ used in the Old Testament. I have not uncovered any opinions claiming this expression is a catch phrase that simply means an extended amount of time of unknown duration. It is understood to be a literal expression of forty complete 24hour days. Yet when the number forty is replaced with ‘three’ in a different verse, all manner of excuses and revisions sprout up.
“Commentators readily admit the account of Jesus’ fast parallels other events of 40 days in the Bible. Jesus, who is the New Testament fulfillment of Moses, imitates Moses’ fast of forty days in the book of Exodus. Commentators also admit Jesus’ fast is reminiscent of the 40 years God tested the nation of Israel before they were allowed to enter into the Promised Land. Since the commentators claim Matthew and Luke mimicked Moses’ fast, we should ask, did they know how to correctly read ‘40 days’ in the Hebrew of Exodus? Yet no one ever questions in scholarly literature whether Moses truly fasted a full 40 days. The Jewish translation of Moses, the Tanakh, says ‘Moses remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights,’ implying his total time, including the ascent and descent from the mountain, would be even longer. In the same way then, Jesus went into the wilderness, fasted forty days and forty nights, and left, No one ever doubted the Israelites were a full 40 years in the wilderness; yet if Matt. 12:40 is treated as merely fractions of days, shouldn’t the same approach to the language be strictly applied to Moses’ 40 days, and even the Israelites 40 years? It never is by the scholars; to do so would be ridiculed. We have here in Matthew, the same language phrase with diametrically opposite interpretations, and no justification except the Christian tradition of Good Friday.” (Anthony Alfieri, Darkness at the Crucifixion, pp. 159-160, emphasis added).
If you wish to donate to the BICOG Please click here