On Which Day Did Christ Die?

On Which Day Did Christ Die?

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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…and the third day he shall be raised again. (Matt 12:40, 17:23 KJV)

Some Things To Think About

  • Like Mark 8:31’s “after three days “, Matt 12:40’s “three days and three nights ” cannot refer to a 72 hour period (i.e. three full days and three full nights) because in Matt 17:23 Christ was also prophesied to rise on the 3rd day. [2, 7, 10]
  • If one allows for the accepted Hebrew idiom of regarding any part of a 24 hour day as a whole day [2] , then Friday would satisfy Matt 17:23’s “the third day ” but still fail Mark 8:31’s “after three days ” & Matt 12:40’s “three days and three nights .”
  • Likewise, even if one explains Matt 28:1’s plural Sabbath as referring to overlapping Sabbath days, John 12:1’s Ephraim to Bethany 20-mile trip occurring six days earlier (i.e. on a Sabbath) clearly violates the expectations for a Sabbath day’s journey [5] .

A Thursday crucifixion is the only option which satisfies Mark 8:31’s “after three days “, Matt 12:40’s “three days and three nights”, Matt 17:23’s “the third day “, Matt 28:1’s plural Sabbath and John 12:1’s trip to Bethany occurring 6 days earlier.

Explanations

  1. It may be observed that the Jews, speaking of their Passover, sometimes speak according to their civil computation, wherein they measured their days from sun-rising to sun-rising. Sometimes according to their sacred computation, which was from sun-set to sun-set. (TSK Mt 28:1)
  2. The Jewish idiom “three days and three nights” allowed for any portion of a day or night to be reckoned as the whole (See 1 Samuel 30:12-13; Ester 4:16; Ester 5:1; Judges 14:17-18, Matthew 27:63-64 etc.). If “three days and three nights” is taken literally to mean seventy-two hours,
    there would be an apparent contradiction with the many prophecies and records that He would rise on “the third day” (Mat 16:21, 17:23, 20:19; Mark 9:31, 10:34; John 2:19; Luke 13:32, 18:33, 21:7,21,46; Acts 10:40; 1Co 15:4; etc.) Henry Morris DSB.
  3. In Matt 28:1, the Greek word for Sabbath (i.e. Sabbaton) is plural (e.g. YLT, ISV). This is not the first time translators have neglected to rightly render the Sabbath as a plural noun. For instance, Mark 1:21 & Luke 4:31 are both parallel verses with a plural Sabbath but for some reason, the plurality only appears in Luke.
  4. At the evening, between the evenings or both? Verses like Numbers 9:5, Deut 16:6 & Joshua 5:10 would suggest that the command to kill and eat the Passover was understood to convey an evening sacrifice, however the Hebrew text (of Exodus 12:6) actually states: beyn haarbayim , “between the two evenings.” (Clarke)
  5.  Six days from a Friday turns out to be the preceding Sabbath day. As the trek from Ephraim to Bethany (i.e. 20 miles) was longer than what a “Sabbath day’s journey” (i.e. about a mile or two in Acts 1:12) permitted, it seems clear that Nissan 14th could not be (Good) Friday (Missler)
  6.  John 19:14’s “the third hour” means the third hour after sunrise or 9:00 a.m. using the Jewish civil computation of a 24 hour day. John, writing mainly for Gentile readers, used the Roman computation of a day, commenting that Jesus was before Pilate at “about the sixth hour” (John 19:14). Since the Roman day started at midnight, this would have been about 6:00 a.m. (Morris). Moreover, “the preparation of the Passover” must refer to the day before the Feast of Unleavened Bread since in John 13:1-2, the “feast of the Passover [i.e. the seven-day Feast of Unleavened bread]” was approaching with “supper [i.e. Passover supper] being ended.”
  7. Only Thursday allows for three Days and three Nights: 1. (Day 1 was Nissan 14th’s Morning, Night 1 was Nissan 15th’s Evening) 2. (Day 2 was Nissan 15th’s Morning, Night 2 was Nissan 16th’s Evening) 3. (Day 3 was Nissan 16th’s Morning, Night 3 was Nissan 17th’s Evening when Christ arose!)
  8. Nissan 14th would have been the Day of Preparation for both the High Sabbath (i.e. 1st day) of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Friday, Nisan 15th) and the weekly Sabbath (Saturday, Nisan 16th). As such was the case, John 19:14 could refer to that day as the “preparation of the Passover.”
  9. The Feast of Firstfruits was always on Sunday or the “morrow after the sabbath.” The term “sabbath” in Lev 23:14 refers to the weekly Sabbath which fell within the 7 days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and not to the High Sabbath of Nissan 15th (See Lev 23:10-16). This interpretation is confirmed by the implications of the Feast of Weeks’ (Shavuot or Pentecost) instructions to reach the 50th day by counting 7 (weekly) sabbaths from the starting point of Firstfruits. Any other interpretation of Firstfruits’ computation must equivocate on the term “sabbath” in Lev 23:11, 15 & 18 because the 49 days succeeding Firstfruits do not contain 7 High Sabbaths.
  10. The word “days” in Matt 17:23’s “three days and three nights” refers to the daylight portion of a day (i.e. 12 hours). A similar usage occurs in John 11:9 where Jesus asks: “Are there not 12 hours in the day?” However, regarding Acts 10:40’s “Him God raised up the third day” (like Matt 17:23 & 1 Cor 15:4) the word “day” there refers to a 24 period of time. Hence, Matt 27:63-64’s usage of both the 12 hour day (v.63) and the 24 hour day (v.64) proves that both interpretations of “day” were employed in the gospels. Adopting the correct understanding of the term “day” will protect the reader from forming invalid expectations.
  11. John 19:14’s the “preparation of the Passover” must refer to the day before the Feast of Unleavened Bread since in John 13:1-2, the “feast of the Passover [i.e. the seven day Feast of Unleavened bread]” was approaching with “supper [i.e. Nissan 14th’s Passover supper] being ended.” Hence, “eat the Passover” in John 18:28 need only refer to whatever was to be eaten on the 15th of Nissan as a result of the Feast (See Num 28:17).

Life is a test and all things in this life are just distractions!

It has become apparent to me that all things in this life are just distractions. Yes, I mean ALL things that do not involve reading, learning and loving the Word of God. There are of course good distractions and bad distractions. A good distraction is that which will eventually lead one to the pages of God’s Word, which in reality are the only words of life (Philippians 2:6, 1 John 1:1). One example of a good distraction is a godly wife who urges her husband to go and lose himself in the pages of the Word of God (1 Corinthians 7:33). Another example of a good distraction is a daily hour of passive commute time (e.g. on a train) which allows a prudent believer to routinely engage the weighty parts of God’s word. It is a distraction because it is a commute, but it is a good distraction (if re-purposed advantageously) because it forces one into a routine of Bible study which might not otherwise be as routine. There are also necessary distractions such as eating and sleeping. Nevertheless, these necessary distractions are still distractions as they do not lead us to the Word of God, though they enable us to continue that quest. Living a spiritually healthy life is all about managing the many distractions that are in one’s life. Do not get caught up in distractions.
God—understanding that we need significant amounts of undistracted alone time with Him in order to truly know Him and excel in this test that is life— prudently designated 1/7th of our time here on this earth as distraction-free. In His study guide for how to pass the test, He called this distraction-free time, the Sabbath. He promised that those who partook of worship and rest during this period would experience the blessings specifically associated with this time segment. However, most have seen this Sabbath as an affront to their own personal time and/or have decided to re-designate another unblessed and unhallowed time-segment as their Sabbath. They have also shunned the idea that the entire time-segment needs to be distraction-free and have hence encumbered their Sabbath with all sorts of distractions which are sure to limit the time spent in the word of God.

Surprisingly, many times our own family members can be the greatest distractions. Jesus in Matthew 10:25 says: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” A brother, a relative, or a friend can prove to be a bad influence and therefore a bad distraction. We pursue earthly distractions because we think that they will bring us happiness. But the Bible tells us that Christ has gone to prepare mansions in Heaven for those who believe in Him (John 14:1-3). The earthly success that we desire is merely a glimpse of the joy that believers will realize in Heaven. The Bible in Psalms 16:11 tells us that “in God’s presence is fullness of joy; [and] at His right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Therefore, if we do not seek to place ALL of our dreams, desires, and hopes in Christ then we have misunderstood our purpose here on earth and will surely encounter disappointment. This is why Paul in Colossians 3:2-3 says “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” The success that we desire is “hid with Christ in God.” Though we may encounter success in this life, that is not the purpose of life. Each person whom God allows to live in this world must realize that they have entered a test, a final examination. This a profound test as it involves our future well-being. There are only two outcomes for this test: a future eternal life with Christ in a world which unlike our current one is not cursed (Genesis 3:16-19, Romans 8:20-22, Revelation 22:3) or dying the “Second Death” which the Bible tells us is experiencing eternal torment in the lake of fire (Matthew 25:41, 2 Thessalonians 1:9 and Revelation 20:14-15; 21:8). Hence, the outcomes of this test called life involve the greatest incentive (i.e. the good news of the gospel) and the greatest disincentive (i.e. the failure to obey the gospel). No one knows when the test will end; for some people, the test ends a lot sooner than they hoped or expected and some sadly find out that they have not done what it takes to even get a passing grade. Therefore, we all need to be concerned with passing the test with flying colors. How do we pass the test with flying colors? By realizing that all things in this life that do not involve reading, learning and loving the Word of God are distractions. Once we understand this then we can manage the distractions in our life so that we will leave this life with a rich understanding of the true knowledge of God. Do not, therefore, allow the distractions in your life to steal your destiny. Many church-goers will end up dying the Second Death because they thought it was more important to chase “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). The Bible reminds us in 1 Timothy 6:10 that in chasing these distractions, many have “erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” From the day we are born, we are told and taught to covet “the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” and sadly most people will die in pursuit of these earthly treasures. Jesus urges us not to pursue these earthly treasures and warns us that “moth and rust will corrupt” them and that “thieves break through and steal” them. Christ’s advice is to instead “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” (Matthew 6:20). So how do we lay up treasures in Heaven?

God knows that we all yearn for some measure of earthly happiness which I will hereafter refer to as “these things.” That is why He has provided us with a non-destructive way to arrive at “these things.” A way that doesn’t involve the pursuit of distractions. In Matthew 6:33, God says “seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all ‘these things’ shall be added unto you.” In Psalms 34:10, God says: “they that seek the LORD shall not want [i.e. lack] any good thing.” In Psalms 37:4, God says “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” In Psalms 145:19  we read “God will fulfill the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.” In John 15:7 Christ says “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
Therefore, anytime you (or anyone you care about) find yourself yearning for “these things” or wondering whether you will find some modicum of success in this life, just remember God’s advice: Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, delight yourself in the LORD, fear Him, abide in Him, and allow His words to abide in you.
To many, this advice may sound counter-intuitive. After all, why would someone want to read a Bible if they can’t eat, buy clothes, or do not have anywhere to sleep? Yet, we must remember that all our help comes from God. I am weak having my own burdens. I need God’s grace each day just to survive. But my King is strong and He is still coming back soon! He is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). He supplies my needs in proportion to how relentlessly I pursue His Word.

7 Unmistakable Modern-day Fulfillments of Bible Prophecy

prophecy

One of the most startling things that sets the Bible apart from any other book which has ever been written is the Bible’s ability to accurately predict history ahead of time. No other book—including the Muslim Qur’an, the Hindu VedasRamanyanaBhagavad Gita, Upanishads, the sayings of Buddha, the sayings of Confucius, the Book of Mormon, etc.—can boast of foretelling future events with unmistakable accuracy except the Bible . In fact, most of these texts contain no prophecies whatsoever. This is why apart from biblical Christianity, no other worldview including: Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Bahá’í, Jainism, Shintoism, Zoroastrianism, etc. can account for what has happened in the past, what is currently going on in the world, nor what will unfold in the future. Fulfilled prophecy is therefore one formidable verification that the biblical worldview is the only one which can make sense of the world that we live in. Accordingly, the God of the Bible challenges the gods of all other worldviews to issue a prediction about the future so that the world may see who is really God (Isaiah 41:22-24, Isaiah 44:7-8). So far, all other worldviews have utterly failed. Continue reading