Here is a good article to ponder. Many of our churches today have been doused with pagan beliefs (thanks to Roman Catholic church) in many ways. Because of this the truth is distorted. Although I do not know for sure the timing of events, I know for sure that the Sabbath and Jewish holy days are very important in timing for Christ's death and resurrection. This is even more important to understand than when Christ was conceived and born.
CHAPTER THREE---THE BIBLICAL ACCOUNT OF THE
DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
Having dealt with the origins of Easter and its customs, what is the truth about
the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ? He did die, and He did
rise from the dead; and the saints praise God for that, for without His death
and resurrection there would be no salvation for any sinner. But even leaving
aside the pagan origins of Easter, the plain fact of the matter is that the
"Easter story" we have heard for so long is not even scripturally correct. The
true facts about the death and resurrection of Christ are distorted at
Did the Lord Jesus, in fact, die on a Friday?
In Matt. 12:40, Jesus 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." Even as a young boy I used to wonder how anyone could
calculate three days and three nights from late Friday afternoon to early Sunday
morning. It is impossible. Mk. 8:31 says, "And he began to teach them, that
the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of
the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again."
How long did Jesus consider a day to be? Of course, the Lord knew perfectly how
many hours were in a day. In Jn. 11:9 we read, "Jesus answered, Are there not
twelve hours in the day?" There are twelve hours in a day, and twelve hours in
a night, making a day and a night to be twenty-four hours. Three days and three
nights would be seventy-two hours.
The Jewish reckoning of time began with the evening. In Genesis 1 it says: "And
the evening and the morning were the first day" (vs.5); "And the evening and the
morning were the second day" (vs. 8); etc. It does not say, "morning and
evening", but evening first, and then morning; the first part of the night being
put for the whole, and then the first part of the day being put for the whole.
With the Jews, the day began at sundown (about 6:00 PM), and lasted until the
next sundown, a night and a day.
Jesus died "about the ninth hour" (Matt. 27:46-50) - that is, about 3:00 PM.
Now, the law of Moses stated that the body of one put to death on a tree was to
be buried before sundown (see Deut. 21:22-23). Therefore, Joseph of Arimathaea,
and Nicodemus, must have placed Jesus' body in the tomb just before sundown (see
Jn. 19:38-42). And in fact, Mk. 15:42-43 says that "the even was come" when
this was done.
On what day, then, was Jesus crucified and buried? Was it a Friday? The Bible
declares plainly that He was buried before the Sabbath began (Mk. 15:42; Lk.
23:53-54). The Sabbath would begin at sundown. The weekly Sabbath began at
sundown on what we would call Friday, and lasted until sundown on Saturday. Was
Friday, then, the day on which Christ died?
No, it could not have been. True, the Scriptures declare that He was buried
before the Sabbath began, and it is therefore immediately assumed that He died,
and was buried, on a Friday; because everyone knows that Saturday is the Jewish
Sabbath. However, a very important passage of Scripture is overlooked. In Jn.
19:31, it says, "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." There was a special Sabbath at that time. It was
NOT the weekly Sabbath; it was a "high day" Sabbath.
What was this "high day" Sabbath?
We need to go back to Exodus 12, to the institution of the Passover. This feast
was kept on the 14th day of the month Abib, in the evening (Exod. 12:6). But it
must be remembered that the Jewish day began with the evening. On the evening
of the 14th day, the lamb was killed (vs. 6); and it was eaten, with unleavened
bread, that night (vs. 8).
Then, for seven days following the Passover (i.e., the 15th to the 21st days of
the month), the feast of unleavened bread was held (vs. 15); and the first of
those seven days, and the seventh, were Sabbaths. This is clear from vs. 16.
The Israelites, therefore, ate unleavened bread for eight days: on the Passover
day (14th), and then during the feast of unleavened bread (15th to 21st).
Let us now move on to the Passover period during which Christ was crucified. By
His time, "the Passover" was a term given to both the feasts of Passover AND
unleavened bread; likewise, "the feast of unleavened bread" was a term given to
BOTH feasts as well. Understanding this fact helps us to understand such
passages as Matt. 26:17, Mk. 14:12, Lk. 22:7-8, Jn. 18:28, and Jn. 19:14.
The Passover was kept by Jesus and His disciples the evening of the 14th day,
according to the law. That same night He was betrayed, and arrested, as the
Gospel accounts tell us. He was crucified during the day of the Passover (still
the 14th, since it began with the evening). This brings us to Jn. 19:31, "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." "The preparation" for what? For the Sabbath. NOT, however, the
weekly Sabbath, which was held on Saturday, but the "high day" Sabbath---the
15th day, which was the first day of unleavened bread, and which was, remember,
a Sabbath day (Exod. 12:16). See also Mk. 15:42-43.
Jesus kept the Passover meal during the evening of the 14th; He was crucified
during the day of the 14th (the Passover day, thus becoming "our Passover"-1
Cor. 5:7); and was buried before the beginning of the 15th, which was the first
day of unleavened bread (i.e., before the evening, which for the Jews was the
beginning of a new day).
Jesus, therefore, was not buried before the weekly Saturday Sabbath, but before
this other, special Sabbath.
What day of the week was it?
The Lord was not buried on Friday evening. If He had been, 72 hours later would
mean that He rose on Monday evening. But we know He did not rise on a Monday
evening! For we know that, when the women arrived at the tomb "very early in
the morning the first day of the week" (i.e., Sunday), He was already risen (Mk.
16:2). Nor could He have been buried on Thursday evening, because then He would
have risen on Sunday evening; but we know that when the women arrived on Sunday
morning, the tomb was already empty.
Nor did He rise early on Sunday morning, as is generally supposed, because 72
hours earlier would be Thursday morning; but He did not die on Thursday morning,
nor any morning for that matter, but at about 3:00 PM (Matt. 27:46-50).
We have seen that He was buried towards the evening when the Sabbath began. He
must then have risen after the end of the third day; i.e., after about 6:00 PM
in the evening, which was the beginning of a new day, according to Jewish
reckoning. For it was at approximately this time that He had been buried.
Mk. 16:1 says, "And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the
mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they night come and
anoint him." Think carefully about this verse. They bought spices, after the
Sabbath (for they would not have been able to buy them on the Sabbath). But if
this was the Saturday Sabbath, they would not have been able to buy AND prepare
(see Lk. 23:56) spices in time for Sunday morning. Yet they definitely bought
them after the Sabbath, and before Sunday morning!
According to Lk. 23:56, the women prepared the spices before resting on the
Sabbath. So we find that Mk. 16:1 tells us they BOUGHT the spices AFTER the
Sabbath, and yet Lk. 23:56 tells us they PREPARED the spices BEFORE the Sabbath!
These two Scriptures cannot be harmonized, UNLESS there were two Sabbaths.
What is the truth here? It is this: Jesus must have been crucified on what we
call Wednesday. He was buried before the "high day" Sabbath began; and this
would have begun on Wednesday evening, and continued through Thursday. And then
on Friday, which was a normal day, the women bought the spices, according to Mk.
16:1, and prepared them, according to Lk. 23:56. Then came Saturday, which was
the normal weekly Sabbath, and they rested on that day. And then early Sunday
morning, they went to the tomb, and found it empty (Matt. 28:1-8; Mk. 16:1-8;
Lk. 24:l-10; Jn. 20:1). There are TWO SABBATHS in the biblical accounts of His
death and resurrection. One of them was a "high day" Sabbath. 72 hours after
Wednesday evening would be Saturday evening, the end of the weekly Sabbath.
Jesus was in the tomb Wednesday evening, Thursday evening, and Friday evening
(three nights); and Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (three days). And He rose
sometime after the end of the Saturday Sabbath, and thus on the first day of the
week according to Jewish reckoning, exactly as Scripture states-even though this
is what Westerners would today call Saturday evening!
Lk. 23:54 thru 24:2 says: "And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath
on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and
beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared
spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.
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. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre." This
passage makes it clear. If it is kept in mind that there were two Sabbaths at
that time, a special one on what we call Thursday and the other, the weekly one,
on Saturday; and that the day in between the two Sabbaths was when they bought
(Mk. 16:1) and prepared the spices; and that they rested on the Saturday, and
then came early Sunday morning; then the Lord must have been crucified on the
Wednesday, and He rose after the end of the Saturday Sabbath. When, therefore,
they came to the tomb early on Sunday morning, He had already been gone from the
tomb for some time. He rose on the first day of the week, but according to the
Jewish reckoning of time---what we would call Saturday evening! It must be
understood that the stone was not rolled away to let the Lord out---it was
rolled away to let the women in (Matt. 28:1-6)! The resurrected Christ was
perfectly able to leave the sealed tomb, as a subsequent event proved (Jn.
To all this it may be objected that, although in Matt. 12:40 it is said that the
Lord would be in the tomb "three days and three nights", and although in Mk.
8:31 it is said that He would rise "after three days", yet other passages speak
of Him rising "the third day" (e.g., Matt. 16:21; 17:23; Mk. 10:34; Lk. 24:7; 1
Cor. 15:4; etc.).
This objection, however, may be answered thus:
1. All the scriptural facts given in this chapter prove that He was in the tomb
for three days and three nights.
2. Matt. 27:63 reveals that the Jews understood Him to mean that He would rise
"after three days". Yet He had said, many times, that He would rise "the third
day". So they understood His expression, "the third day", to mean "after three
3. In Matt. 27:64, "until the third day" could not have meant, "until the third
day began" -for they themselves knew He said He would rise "after three days"
(vs.63). It must have meant, "until the third day was past". This furnishes a
further clue to understanding the expression, "the third day".
And so in conclusion, the entire "Easter story" is a false account of the death
and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.