Chapter 6. What Day Was Jesus Resurrected?

[I have updated “Chapter 5. What About All Those “First Day of the Week” References?” to include the incident where the women worshipped Jesus the first day of the week after visiting the tomb.]

Are you a Christian?  Do you follow Jesus?  Are you sure?  Do you believe Jesus?  Could you be worshipping the wrong Jesus?

Jesus made a claim that there was only one sign that would be given that would prove He was the Messiah.

38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

39 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:

40 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.

~ Mt 12:38-40

Did you catch that?  If Jesus was not in the “heart of the earth”, that is the tomb, for 3 days and 3 nights, then He was not the Messiah!

Traditional Christianity, however, is worshipping a false Messiah!  Their Messiah was not in the tomb for 3 days and 3 nights!

Good Friday Crucifixion, Sunday Resurrection NOT Biblical

The traditional view is that Jesus was crucified on Friday, buried Friday just before sundown and was resurrected Sunday morning around sunrise.  However, Scripture does not support this view at all.  It is only 2 evenings and 1 daytime portion, which is a far cry from “three days and three nights”!

Good Fri Fri Eve Sat Sat Eve Sun Morn
X X 2 evenings
1 day

The math just doesn’t add up!

The only scenario that will work is if Jesus were crucified on Wednesday and buried Wednesday evening.  Jesus would have been resurrected before Sunday morning, the first day of the week at sunrise, just as Scripture describes.

Wed Wed Eve Thur Thur Eve Fri Fri Eve Sat Sat Eve
X X 3 nights
3 days

However, some people get tripped up by the fact that there were 2 Sabbaths that week! Yes, you read that right. There were 2 Sabbaths, because the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is a holy day!

6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.

7 In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.

~ Lev 23:6-7

Remember, Jesus just had the Passover with His disciples!  Therefore, the following day (remember, days begin at sundown) would be the first day of Unleavened Bread.

Some people debate a few of these “third day” and “three day” Scriptures, but I have already written up a more comprehensive article on that specific article on Yahoo! Voices in the article “Good Friday – Easter Sunday: 3 Days and 3 Nights?

The Sabbath “Contradiction”

The fact that there were 2 sabbaths that week explains one of the most troublesome “contradictions” in the NT!  That of when the Sabbath occurred that week.  It is an argument that many professing Christians lose because they don’t understand their own Bibles.  However, it really isn’t a contradiction at all!

First of all, Jesus died about 3:00 pm (15:00 for non-Americans).

46 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?

50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

~ Mt 27:46, 50

We get the word “nine” from “none”, a Latin word for the ninth hour after dawn.  This is about 3:00 pm, a time that no scholar I know of disputes.

The important thing is that there would only be a few hours between the death of Jesus and when He was buried.  Sundown would be rapidly approaching, perhaps in about 3 hours or so, depending.

62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,

~ Mt 27:62

This is where people get confused.  The preparation day was usually on Friday, the day before the weekly Sabbath.  It was a day where a good portion of it was set aside in order to do what needed to be done before sundown Friday evening, the beginning of the Sabbath.  However, it is assumed that it refers to the day before the weekly Sabbath rather than the first holy day.  If this were the weekly Sabbath, however, Matthew could have just written that it was the Sabbath!  He didn’t, though.  That’s because it was an annual sabbath or holy day rather than the weekly Sabbath.

42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,

43 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.

~ Mk 15:42-43

Again, Jesus had to be buried quickly because a sabbath was drawing near.

54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.

~ Lk 23:54-55

Not only did Joseph of Arimathaea bury Jesus, but the women followed along to see which tomb He was laid in.  This is why on Sunday morning they knew exactly which tomb it was.  However, the women play a key role in also showing that there were 2 sabbaths that week.

14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!

~ Jn 19:14

Language is often imprecise, and the Jews often referred to all eight days of the festival as “Passover” rather than two separate feasts as Leviticus 23 defines them.  Jesus and His disciples already had the Passover!  Therefore, the only possible meaning of this verse is that Pilate brought Jesus out on the daytime portion prior to the First Day of Unleavened Bread!

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.

~ Jn 19:31

This clinches it!  Jesus was crucified before a “high day” “sabbath”!  He died at 3:00 pm, before sundown.  Was He buried before sundown?

42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

~ Jn 19:42

John repeats that Jesus was crucified on the preparation day, and here we see for certainty that He was buried while it was still daytime (but after 3:00 pm, remember).  This part of the story should be quite clear to any honest and open minded individual who is humble enough for God’s word to instruct him or her rather than arrogantly reading into Scripture what is not there.

However, so far, we have only proven that the sabbath day was the annual one.  We need more information to determine what the relationship between the First Day of Unleavened bread, an annual sabbath, is to the weekly Sabbath.

52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.

53 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.

54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.

56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

~ Lk 23:52-56

Remember I said the women would figure prominently in this “contradiction”?  They followed in order to mark where the tomb was so they could prepare embalming materials for the dead body.  After they returned home, they got to work right away because the holy day was approaching, and then they rested.

But, what does Mark say about when they bought and prepared spices?

16 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.

~ Mk 16:1

Does the Bible contradict itself?  Here we see that they “bought sweet spices” but not until “the sabbath was past”.

This proves there were two sabbaths that week with a workday stuck in between!

Matthew 28:1 and the Two Sabbaths

That proof should be convincing enough, but Herbert W Armstrong wrote in the booklet The RESURRECTION was NOT on Sunday that Matthew 28:1 should actually be translated as “After the sabbaths”, as in plural.

There is yet one final clinching PROOF of this amazing truth.

A vital text proving that there were two Sabbaths in that week has been obscured by almost every translation into English. Only Ferrar Fenton’s version has this point correct.

Turn to Matthew 28:1. In the common versions it says, “In the end of the Sabbath,” or more correctly, “after the Sabbath.” Notice that both of these renderings use the singular — Sabbath. But in the original Greek the word is in the PLURAL. Fenton renders it correctly by saying, “After the SABBATHS,” although the remaining part of the verse he has not translated quite correctly. In a foot-note to this text, he says, “The Greek original is in the plural, ‘Sabbaths’.”

Is there anything substantial to back this up?  Well, in an odd way, there is, sort of.  However, the author wasn’t addressing this particular issue.  Still, his point is that the Greek word for Sabbath is often plural even when one would think it should be singular.  He bases this argument on some fairly concrete examples, and he brings into the argument that it was likely because the predominant language was Aramaic, and the Aramaic word would have been carried over into Greek.

The Greek word for “Sabbath” is often plural, even when it has singular meaning. There is a historical reason for this….

Notice that each of the Greek forms above ends with an [a] sound and that the Aramaic word for Sabbath ends with an [a] sound. Jews spoke Aramaic before they spoke Greek. During their exile in Babylon they learned Aramaic and brought it home with them on their return. The language Jesus grew up with was a down home dialect of Aramaic. So when people said “Sabbath” in Aramaic (more often “the Sabbath”) it carries over into Greek as sabbata.

~ Frank W Hardy, PhD, “The Sabbath in Matthew 28:1” (bolding mine)

Some dishonest criticisms of HWA’s analysis make weird claims that HWA “redefined twice” the word sabbata here (it is used again in the form of sabbaton in the phrase of “on the first day of the week”), when the honest truth is that the inconsistency comes from the language itself!  While sabbata could be translated “Sabbath”, it is important to note that can be translated into the plural and is 19 times in the NT.

So, rather than saying Matthews engaged in some form of “Hebrewism” in going to great pains to say it was after the Sabbath and was the first day of the week (which would be redundant), perhaps the real point is that it was the first day of the week following two sabbaths.

Why would this be significant?

6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread.

7 In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.

10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest:

11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.

~ Lev 23:6-7, 10-11

It was significant that it was the “first day of the week” during the Days of Unleavened Bread because that was when the wave sheaf offering was offered up.  This symbolized Jesus’ resurrection and initial ascension to the Father.  You can read more about this in “Reflections: Jesus as the Wave Sheaf”.

It is silly to criticize HWA for “redefining” terms when even the translators do the same.  They have to.  “After the sabbath(s)” and “first day of the week” are different concepts, and “sabbath” and “week” are not interchangeable in English.

Why Christ Could Not Have Risen Sunday Morning at Sunrise

However, that’s not all.  People focus in on Sunday morning at sunrise to say that’s when He rose.  In fact, it is interesting that some authors will even say to “focus” in on it, that Matthew in particular “focuses” in on it.  And, they are right yet so very wrong.  Yes, Matthew does focus in on Sunday morning at sunrise, but they totally mistake why ironically.

28 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.

2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

~ Mt 28:1-6

Notice He had already risen!  He was “not here” = He was gone already.  Matthew zooms in on this morning because that was when it was confirmed that Christ had risen.  He said He would be in the grave “three days and three nights”, which means He would have risen sometime around sunset on Saturday night.

Who Will You Believe?

Last time, I asked if you were going to believe the commentators or the Bible.  This time, I’m going to ask if you are going to believe men or believe Jesus?  Some people claim to be “red letter Christians”, but in reality it seems that the words in red are the ones most people want to ignore.

He said He would be in the grave 3 days and 3 nights, and you can either believe the only sign He Himself gave as proof of His Messiahship or you can choose to worship a completely different Christ.

The choice is yours.