In our first Scripture, Psalm 16:10, the Spirit speaks through His prophet David, as though he were Jesus speaking to God, "You will not leave My soul in hell; neither will You suffer Your Holy One to see corruption".
Jesus knew by revelation that He was God's Holy One prophesied by David. And he also knew that corruption sets in to the human body within 72 hours after death. So when the Jews asked in John 2:18-19, "What sign will You show us?" He answered and said, "Destroy this temple, and in THREE days I will raise it up". Jesus knew His part was to die as Adam's near Kinsman to redeem Adam's fallen race, and to be the first-born from the grave. And being familiar with the prophets, He was confident His soul would ascend from the realms of the departed and that God must raise His body within 72-hours before corruption could set it.
In our third text, Matthew 12:38-40, "Some scribes and Pharisees asked, 'Master, we would see a sign from You'.
But He answered and said, 'An evil and adulterous generation seek after a sign; and there shall be no sign given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah: For as Jonah was THREE days and THREE nights in the fish's belly; so shall the Son of man be THREE days and THREE nights in the heart of the earth'."
Taking the FIXED dates and FIXED days provided by Scripture we are going to prove when our Lord's body arose from the grave.
Let's quote a fourth witness of Scripture: Matthew 16:20-21, "From the time Jesus acknowledged Peter's revelation of the true Oneness of the godhead which unlocks the Kingdom of heaven in a new birth, He warned His disciples not to share the revelation with outsiders. From then on, Jesus began to speak plainly to them, of how He must go to Jerusalem and suffer at the hands of the Jewish leaders, and be killed, and be raised again the THIRD day".
These four witnesses of Scripture appear to be a contradiction, if we take the "rhema" or letter of these Words. But the "three days and three nights" cannot mean a precise time of 72-hours, for Jesus said, "I will be raised again the THIRD day". That is, within 72-hours. In rabbinical thought, a day and a night make one "onah", and a part of an onah is as the whole. (This is adequately borne out by such Scriptures as I Kings 20:29 II Chronicles 10:5, 12 and Esther 4:16; 5:1, which are common approximations wherein a number of days and nights equate so many days. These Scriptures establish that Jesus meant WITHIN three days and nights or part thereof, and on the THIRD day, He must resurrect. Matthew 17:23; Mark 9:31 and Luke 24:21 state that He will rise upon the third day).
There are so many more FIXES, I feel as if I'm on the yacht, doing some coastwise navigation, and in that manner we'll draw a "cocked hat," and let the Scripture prove by Scripture that we're not lost in its sea of Words.
Before we can take any measurements, we must first decide upon a common scale of time. Whereas in the Western world, we calculate our day from midnight to midnight, the Hebrews calculate their day from sunset to sunset. Their "evening" is from 3:00pm to 6:00pm, taking sunset arbitrarily as 6:00pm. So their Saturday night would be our Friday night because their days commence at sunset, so that the evening precedes the morning. Tricky, I know.
First, let's review what we learned in "Easter – When Was Jesus Crucified?" Please follow on the chart I made, and your Bibles.
1. The "HIGH DAY" of John 19:31 was the FIRST day of the feast of Unleavened Bread, the holy convocation of Nisan 15 which commenced after sunset on Friday, Nisan 14, our time. Here are three FIXED references, the FIRST day of the Feast, the DATE of the day, and the TIME that it commences in relation to Western understanding.
2. "SIX days before the Passover" meal—after sunset on Nisan 14 takes us back to Nisan 8, our Friday sunset to our Saturday sunset (John 12:1).
3. "After TWO days is the Passover" (to be killed), takes us back to Nisan 12 (Matthew 26:2; Mark 14:1).
4. We may verify our sums by working back "three days and three nights" from "the first day of the week" (Matthew 28:1) when Jesus resurrected. This takes us to the day of our Lord's burial before sunset on Nisan 14, or in our reckoning, before Friday sunset.
The Day of Preparation for Passover, the Day of the Crucifixion
Nisan 14, our Thursday sunset to Friday sunset
(The First Day in the Tomb)
How long was Jesus "in the heart of the earth"? As we have shown, He died on Friday afternoon and arose on Sunday morning. But there can't be "three days and three nights" in what is at the very most thirty-six hours and only two nights. We know therefore that this expression is a figure of speech and an approximation.
Difficulties have arisen because few Bible scholars have bothered to familiarize themselves with the laws of the Jews concerning the Feast. They misplace the Passover meal on Nisan 14 instead of 15. Some have Jesus eating the Passover meal with His disciples before it was killed, and they confuse the sabbath of the "high day" with the regular weekly sabbath day. Furthermore, they neglect to take account of the fact that the Hebrew day commences six hours before our own: at sunset, rather than midnight.
Jesus and the felons are on their crosses:
John 19:31, "Because it was the preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from hanging on the cross on the sabbath, (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate to have their legs broken, and the bodies taken away."
Luke 23:50, 52-54 "A man named Joseph, a member of the Sanhedrin, a good and just man (who according to the Talmud, was Mary's uncle and Jesus' great uncle) . . . went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. And he took it down, wrapped it in a long linen swathing cloth, and laid it in an unused sepulchre hewn from the rock. (I'm told by one of the team that discovered this tomb, how the place for the body has been crudely extended as if in haste for a corpse taller than the one for whom it had been built). That was the day of preparation, and the sabbath drew on".
This doesn't mean it was almost midnight. The Hebrew day commenced six hours ahead of our day, at sunset the previous day. What Luke is really saying is that it's getting on for 6:00pm or sunset. As Jesus died "about the ninth hour," 3:00pm our time (Matthew 27:46) Joseph's request and the burial transpired between 3:00 and 6:00pm (or what ever time the sun set), on Nisan 14, which was a Friday.
We know Jesus died on Friday NOT because the day that followed was the holy convocation of Nisan 15. Nisan 15 is a fixed DATE. NOT a fixed DAY. Nisan 15 is ALWAYS a sabbath as it's a holy convocation (Leviticus 23:7). It is seldom a Saturday. But in the year of the crucifixion, Nisan 15 was also the weekly or seventh-day sabbath. We know He was crucified on a Friday because He was raised on the FIRST day of the week we call Sunday.
The First Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the "High Day"
Nisan 15, our Friday sunset to Saturday sunset
(The First Night and Second Day in the Tomb).
The crucifixion occurred on the fourteenth of Nisan, which was the preparation for the Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread. It was ALWAYS "the day before the sabbath," because the following day was first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the high day or special sabbath of John 19:31 and Luke 23:52-54. And since the day had a fixed DATE (Nisan 15), the sabbath was a "holy convocation," and not necessarily a weekly or seventh-day sabbath.
The word "sabbath" applies not only to high days but to sabbatical years which also have fixed DATES. The Bible describes two kinds of sabbath whereon all customary work was precluded: the regular weekly sabbaths which were fixed DAYS, "the seventh day of the week," and special sabbaths or high days that are fixed DATES, and can fall upon any day of the week. The first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread, (the day following the death of the Lord), was a Special Sabbath. That's why John 19:31 says, ". . . that sabbath day was a high day," or special sabbath, that may fall upon any day of the week.
According to Leviticus 23:11, "The priest shall wave the sheaf of the first fruits of the harvest before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the day after the SABBATH the priest shall wave it".
What this says is that the sheaf offering is ALWAYS waved on Nisan 16 which is ALWAYS "the day after the sabbath" but NOT necessarily Sunday, the first day of the week.
Jesus was the first fruits of the sleeping Old Testament saints. We know that He was accepted by God, and raised the third day for our justification because He was that firstripe sheaf waved before the four cardinal points, signifying He's the first fruits of a harvest from among those Gentiles who are Christ's at His "parousia" ("The Rapture and the Second Coming").
The feast of Pentecost which types the Gentile dispensation begins on Nisan 16. Leviticus 23:15-16 says, "You shall count from the day after the sabbath, from the day of the sheaf wave offering, seven sabbaths. Even to the day after the seven sabbaths will you number fifty days".
Now because we use these seven sabbaths or rests to type the seven Church Ages, or seven distinct baptisms of the Holy Spirit doesn't mean these "seven sabbaths" were seven Saturdays. They were seven sabbaths of days, seven sevens of days or seven weeks. Each week would only contain one Saturday. But where it fell in the counting would depend upon the day of the week on which counting commenced. In the year of Christ's resurrection, it began on the first day of the week. Each sabbath of days ended upon a Saturday. The fiftieth day was therefore a Sunday.
Let's be settled in our minds that Jesus was crucified on a Friday and that the sabbath following His death was a high day and also a weekly sabbath, and that He resurrected on (Sunday), the first day of the week.
"The day after the day of the preparation, that is on Saturday the high sabbath, the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate and said, 'We've been reminded how that impostor said, while he was still alive, "After THREE days I will rise again".'
'Therefore give an order to have the sepulchre secured until after the THIRD day, in case His disciples come of a night and steal Him away, and tell everyone, "He has risen from the dead:" so the last deception shall be worse than the first'.
Pilate said to them, 'You may have a guard: take them, and make it as secure as you can'.
So they went, and made the sepulchre secure, by sealing the stone, and leaving the soldiers to keep guard" (Matthew 27:62-66).
The Second Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread
Nisan 16 our Saturday sunset to Sunday sunset
(The Second Night and Third Day in the Tomb)
Jesus resurrected on "the third day" at some time between Saturday sunset and Sunday sunrise. This is confirmed by Matthew 28:1-2:
"After the sabbath, at the commencement of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the sepulchre. Suddenly there was a great earthquake: for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it."
Guards had watched at the entrance to the sepulchre from sunset on the sabbath throughout the night of Nisan 16, (which was a Sunday, the first day of the week in Hebrew reckoning). Jesus raised early Sunday morning our time.
Mark 16:1, "After the sabbath had passed (that is, after sunset on Saturday our time), Mary Magdalene and Mary mother of James, and Salome went to the store and purchased aromatics that they might come and anoint the body of Jesus (the following morning)."
Luke 23:55-66, "The women who had come from Galilee with Joseph of Arimathaea viewed the body of Jesus in the sepulchre on the day of preparation (Nisan 14) and returned to where they were staying and rested on the sabbath day (Nisan 15) according to the Commandment. Very early on Sunday morning (Nisan 16) they came to the sepulchre with spices and aromatics they had prepared".
What time was Jesus buried? Close to sunset, as Nissan 14 darkened into the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the High day of John 19:31 and the SPECIAL sabbath of the other passages.
How long was He buried? According to His Own prophecy, three days. When the Sisters came to the tomb on Sunday morning to anoint (not embalm) Him with aromatics, the stone had already been rolled away from the entrance.
When was He raised? "As it began to dawn toward the first day of the week (Sunday)." He had risen from the tomb "on the third day." He could not have risen earlier as guards were posted near the end of the sabbath.
When did Jesus die? Counting back three days from Sunday morning, (between Saturday sunset and Sunday sunrise our time) we count the Sunday morning as the third day, Saturday as the second night and day, and Friday as the first night and day.
Is there any inconsistency with Jesus' saying that He would be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights? Not so far as the Word of God is concerned. It is an expression of speech not to be taken literally.
Christians generally worship of a Sunday as a memorial of Christ's resurrection on Sunday, the first or eighth day of the week, which speaks of Eternity. Sunday is not and has never been the sabbath. The sabbath day was given by God to natural Israel and can only be observed in the place He gave for their natural rest: the Promised Land. Outside Israel no man can observe the sabbath.
Jesus said, "Come unto Me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (sabbath). Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your SOULS" (Matthew 11:28-29).
The Christian sabbath is not one day of rest for the body, It's an Eternal Rest for the soul. Twenty-four hours a day, and seven days a week from which he can never depart, for he is sealed to the day of his redemption. The Place of our rest is not in any land but in Christ Jesus, the Place of God's Promise.
Those who claim to be Christians yet observe sabbath days deny the resurrection and the Coming of the Holy Ghost to baptize His Elect into the Promised sabbath we call the new birth. Paul said "I fear you've never experienced the new birth" (Galatians 4:11).
Christians have no command to worship on any specific day. Easter and Christmas have nothing to do with Christianity and are not the "doctrine of the apostles and prophets" upon which Christ's Church is established. The natural, worldly church seek to observe both a fixed DATE and a fixed DAY by their strange method of establishing Easter so that it always falls upon a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This is unscriptural and impossible. Besides, Christmas and Easter are pagan feasts introduced by the Roman Catholic church.
"But Brother Anthony, what bearing does this have on my election?"
"Perhaps none. Perhaps It will prove instrumental in clearing some misunderstanding that is hindering further Light on other issues. Maybe It will strengthen and encourage your faith by demonstrating the perfection of God's Word.
What is certain is that if this is the revelation of God's Word we call 'the mind of Christ', and if you are among His elect, there's no way you can not receive It without a, 'Thank You Lord!'"
I thank the Lord, that He opened my eyes.
God richly bless you Brethren, as you "prove all things, holding fast to what is sound Bible doctrine." Now share the good news.
Chart illustrating the Six Days Before Passover in Hebrew Time and "Three Nights and Three Days Jesus was in the heart of the Earth":
> 1800 | (sunset) Nisan 8, sixth day before Passover (John 12:1)
--0000 | (midnight) Our Friday sunset to Saturday sunset
--0600 | The sabbath day
> 1800 | (sunset) Nisan 9, fifth day before Passover
--0000 | (midnight) our Saturday sunset to Sunday sunset
--0600 | ("Palm Sunday")
--1200 | John 12:2-19; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 9:29-44;
--1500 | 19:36-44
> 1800 | (sunset) Nisan 10, fourth day before Passover
--0000 | (midnight) our Sunday sunset to Monday sunset
--0600 | Matthew 21:18-22; Mark 11:12-19;
--1200 | Luke 19:45-47; John 12:20-50
> 1800 | (sunset) Nisan 11, third day before Passover
--0000 | (midnight) Our Monday sunset to Tuesday sunset
--0600 | Matthew 21:23-23:39; Mark 11:20-12:44;
--1200 | Luke 20:1-21:38
> 1800 | (sunset) Nisan 12, second day before Passover
--0000 | (midnight) our Tuesday sunset to Wednesday sunset
--0600 | Matthew 24:1-26:13; Mark 13:1-14:9;
> 1800 | (sunset) Nisan 13, day before Passover
--0000 | (midnight) our Wednesday to Thursday sunset
--0600 | Matthew 26:14-19; Mark 14:10-16;
--1200 | Luke 22:1-13
> 1800 | (sunset) Nisan 14, Passover
--0000 | (midnight) our Thursday sunset to Friday sunset
--0600 | preparation day and the day of the Crucifixion
--1200 | Matthew 26:21-27:66; Mark 14:18-15:47; Luke 22:14-23:56;
--1500 | John 13:1-19:42 *First day in the grave
> 1800 | (sunset) Nisan 15, the first day of Unleavened Bread,
--0000 | (midnight) our Friday sunset to Saturday sunset
--0600 | "high day" of the Feast when the Passover
--1200 | meal is eaten
--1500 | *The first night and second day in the grave
> 1800 | (sunset) Nisan 16, second day of the Feast
--0000 | (midnight) our Saturday sunset to Sunday sunset
--0600 | **The second night and THIRD DAY in the grave
--------| First Day of Week, Resurrection morning
--------| Matthew 12:40; 27:63; 16:21; John 2:19
--------| Matthew 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-18; Luke 24:1-49;
--------| John 20:1-23 bb980603.htm
See "Easter – When Was Jesus Crucified?"
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