1 1 Teen Bible Study notes: Friday, April 11, 2014 Presented by: Sheldon Monson Topic: Prophecy The Resurrection was not on Sunday THE RESURRECTION WAS NOT ON SUNDAY Introduction: It is commonly supposed today that Jesus was crucified on Friday, and that the resurrection occurred about sunrise on Easter Sunday morning. Few professing Christians have ever thought to question or prove this tradition. There were no eye witnesses to the resurrection. Even the apostolic fathers had no source of information save the record which is today available to us the biblical revelation. Any tradition that conflicts with the biblical record must be rejected. The significance of the sign The doubting Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign supernatural evidence of proof of His Messiahship. Jesus answered Matthew 12:39-40: V39 But He answered and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. V40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. So will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth consider the tremendous import, the overwhelming significance, of Jesus statement! THE ONLY SIGN HE WOULD GIVE TO PROVE THAT HE WAS THE MESSIAH WAS THAT HE WOULD BE THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE HEART OF THE EARTH (the rock-hewn sepulcher). Think what this means! Jesus staked His claim to being our Savior upon remaining exactly three days and three nights in the tomb. If He remained exactly just three days and three nights inside the earth, He would prove Himself the Savior if He failed in this sign, He must be rejected as an imposter! No wonder Satan has caused unbelievers to scoff at the story of Jonah. This one and only proof ever given by Jesus for His Messiahship has greatly bothered the commentators and higher critics. Their attempts to explain away this sole proof for Christ s divinity are ludicrous in the extreme and their Good-Friday-Easter tradition collapses. Jesus they say was placed in the tomb shortly before sunset Friday, and rose at sunrise Sunday morning two nights and one day.
2 2 The Bible definition of nights and days The Bible definition of the duration of nights and days is simple. Even the critics admit that in the Hebrew language in which the book of Jonah was written the expression three days and three nights means a period of 72 hours. Notice Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Note the symbolism: As Jonah was in the grave sheol 72 hours, after which he was supernaturally resurrected by God, by being vomited up, to become a savior of the people of Nineveh upon proclaiming the warning to them, so should Jesus be 72 hours in His grave, thereupon being resurrected by God to become the Savior of the world. Question: Did Jesus know how much time was in a day and in a night? Answer: John 11:9-10: V9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. V10 But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him. Also notice the Bible definition of the expression the third day. Text after text tells us that Jesus rose the third day. Notice how the Bible defines the time required to fulfill the third day. Genesis 1:4-5, 8, 13: 4 And God saw the light that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. V5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening [darkness] and the morning [light] were the first day. V8 So the evening and the morning were the second day. V13 So the evening and the morning were the third day. Here we have the Bible definition which explains and counts up the amount of time involved in the expression the third day. It includes three dark periods called night, and three light periods called day. That is very conclusive! Jesus warns against making the word of God of no effect through your tradition. The world s false traditions do just that! Mark 7:13 Making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.
3 3 Four more scriptural proofs that three days and three nights = 72 hours of time (1) Mark 8:31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. This verse plainly says that the resurrection occurred three days after the crucifixion. If he rose after three days, it might be more than 72 hours, but it could not have been a second less. (2) Mark 9:31 For he taught His disciples and said to them, The Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him. And after He is killed, He will rise the third day. The duration expressed here must be between 48 and 72 hours. It could not be past 72 hours, and Jesus still rise the third day. (3) Matthew 27:63 Saying, Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, After here days I will rise. This cannot be figured as less than 72 full hours. (4) John 2:19-21: V19 Jesus answered and said to them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. V20 Then the Jews said, It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days? V21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. To be raised up in three days after being destroyed, or crucified and buried, could not be more than 72 hours. Conclusion If we are to accept all the testimony of the Bible, we must conclude that Jesus was exactly three days and three nights in the grave! The time of day of resurrection In order to be three days and three nights in the tomb, Jesus had to be resurrected at exactly the same time of day that His body was buried in the tomb. If we can find the time of day of His burial, then we have found the time of day of the resurrection. If the burial, for instance, were at sunrise, then for the body to be left an even three days and three nights in the tomb, the resurrection likewise had to occur at sunrise, three days later. If the burial were at noon, the resurrection was at noon. If the burial were at sunset, the resurrection was at sunset, three days later.
4 4 The crucifixion day was called the preparation, or day before the Sabbath. Matthew 27:62 On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, Mark 15:42 Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Luke 23:54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. Days begin and end at sunset according to Bible reckoning. Leviticus 23:32 It shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls, on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your Sabbath. Jesus cried out soon after the ninth hour or three o clock in the afternoon. Jesus died shortly after 3pm as these scriptures prove. Matthew 27:46-50: V46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? V47 Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, This Man is calling for Elijah! V48 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink. Sour wine cheap wine used by soldiers and the lower class. Christ may have accepted this in order to give Himself enough moisture and strength to cry our again with a loud voice. V49 The rest said, Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him. V50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Mark 15:34-37: V34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is translated, My God, My God, why have You forsaken me? V35 Some of those who stood by, when they heard that said, Look, He is calling for Elijah! V36 Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down. V37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last. Luke 23:44-46: V44 Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. V45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. V46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit. Having said this, he breathed His last.
5 Yet Jesus was buried before this same day ended before sunset. Matthew 27:57-60: V57 Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. V58 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. V59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, V60 And laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. Luke 23:52-54: V52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. V53 Then he took it down wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one have ever lain before. V54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. John 19:42 So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby. John added because of the Jew s Preparation Day According to the laws observed by the Jews all dead bodies must be buried before the beginning of a Sabbath or feast day. Hence Jesus was buried before sunset on the same day He died. These scriptures prove that the burial of Christ s body occurred late in the afternoon between 3:00pm and sunset! And since the resurrection had to occur at the same time of day, three days and three nights later the resurrection occurred late in the afternoon, near sunset. Not at sunrise! Jesus rose at the end of the day near sunset or else He is not the Christ! He staked His claim of His Messiahship on that one and only sign. What Sabbath followed the crucifixion? The Scriptures say that the day after the crucifixion was a Sabbath. Hence, people have blindly assumed the crucifixion was on Friday. All four Gospel accounts show that the crucifixion day was called the preparation. The preparation day for the Sabbath. But for what Sabbath? John s Gospel gives the definitive answer: John 19:14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, Behold your King! John 19:31 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 5
6 Bodies should not remain on the cross It is ironic that in the midst of a deliberate judicial murder the Jews were scrupulous about keeping the ceremonial law. According to Jewish law (Deuteronomy 21:23), it was necessary to remove the bodies of executed criminals before sunset. To avoid breaking the Law, the Jews requested that the legs of the condemned be broken so that the men would die quickly and could be removed from their crosses. Breaking the legs was not always part of crucifixion. But with his legs broken, a victim could no longer lift his body in order to breathe and would soon suffocate. Question: Just what is a high day? Answer: Just ask any Jew! He will tell you it is one of the annual holy days, or feast days. The Israelites observed seven of these every year every one called a Sabbath! Annual Sabbaths fall on certain annual calendar dates, and on different days of the week in different years just like the Roman holidays now observed. These Sabbaths might fall on a Monday, on Thursday, or on Sunday, etc. The Bible calls these annual Holy Days Sabbath days. Leviticus 16:31 The Day of Atonement It is Sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls Leviticus 23:24 Feast of Trumpets In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a Sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation. Leviticus 23:26-32, 39 also refer to these verses. Matthew 26:2 You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified. If we follow through this chapter we will see that Jesus was crucified on the Passover! What was the Passover? In Exodus 12 we find the story of the original Passover. The children of Israel killed the lambs, and struck the blood over the doorposts and on the side posts of their houses, and wherever the blood had thus been applied the death angel passed over that house, sparing the firstborn from death. Following the Passover was a holy convocation or annual Sabbath (the First Day of Unleavened Bread). Numbers 28:16-18: V16 On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of the LORD. V17 And on the fifteenth day of this month is the feast; unleavened bread shall be eaten for seven days. V18 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation 6
7 7 The Passover lamb was killed every year on the 14 th of the first month (called Abib ) and was a type of Christ [the Lamb of God] that takes away the sin of the world. Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us (I Corinthians 5:7). Jesus was slain on the very same day the Passover had been slain every year. He was crucified on the 14 th of Abib, the first Hebrew month of the year. This day the Passover Day was the day before [and the preparation for] the Feast day, or annual high day Sabbath (which occurred on the 15 th of Abib). The Hebrew calendar shows that in the year the Jesus was crucified the 14 th of Abib, Passover day, the day that Jesus was crucified, was Wednesday. And that the annual Sabbath [the First Day of Unleavened Bread] was Thursday. This Thursday high day was the Sabbath that drew on as Joseph of Arimathea hastened to bury the body of Jesus late that Wednesday afternoon. There were two separate Sabbaths that week. What day was the resurrection? Now which day of the week was the resurrection day? The first investigators Mary Magdalene and her companions came to the sepulcher on the first day of the week [Sunday] very early, while it was yet dark, as the sun was beginning to rise, at dawn. Mark 16:2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. Luke 24:1 Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. John 20:1 Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Here are the texts most people have supposed stated that the resurrection was at sunrise Sunday morning. But they do not say that! When the women arrived, the tomb was already open! At that time Sunday morning while it was yet dark, Jesus was not there! Notice what the angel said: Mark 16:6 But he said to them, Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.
8 8 Luke 24:6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, Matthew 28:5-6: V5 But the angel answered and said to the women, Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. V6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said, Come, see the place where the Lord lay. He was not there! Jesus had already risen. He rose from the grave in the late afternoon near sunset on Saturday! The resurrection of Christ took place late Saturday afternoon! It was not a Sunday resurrection at all. It was a Sabbath resurrection! Did Christ fulfill His sign? Did Jesus fulfill His sign of being three days and three nights in the grave? We have the proof of the angel of the Lord, recorded in the sacred Word of God that Jesus did fulfill His sign. Matthew 28:6 He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. Another proof that Christ fulfilled His sign is found in I Corinthians 15. I Corinthians 15:3-6: V3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, V4 And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. V5 And that He was seen by Cephas [Peter], then by the twelve. V6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. According to the Scriptures His death and burial were according to scripture, not contrary to them. It is significant that in Daniel s prophecy of the seventy weeks (Daniel 9:24-27), Jesus was to be cut off in the midst of the week. While this prophecy has the application of a day for a year, so that this 70 th week became a literal seven years, Christ being cut off after three-and-a-half years ministry, as He was, yet it is significant that He was also cut off on the middle day of a literal week. The Resurrection Was Not on Sunday, Herbert W. Armstrong, (1952, 1971, 1972) Worldwide Church of God, p. 12.
9 9 Honest objections examined Objection #1: Some people think that Mark 16:9 says the resurrection was on Sunday. Mark 16:9 Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. King James Version Mark 16:9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene Was risen is in the perfect tense. What was Jesus condition early the first day of the week? Answer: He was risen. He had risen late the afternoon before so naturally He was risen Sunday morning. Objection #2: Another passage that is confusing to some is Luke 24:21. Luke 24:21 and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. These things included all the events pertaining to the resurrection the seizing of Jesus, delivering Him to be tried, the actual crucifixion, and, finally, the setting of the seal and the watch over the tomb the following day, or Thursday. Study verses 18-20, telling of these things and also Matthew 27: These things were not completed until the watch was set, Thursday. And the text says Sunday was the third day since these things were done. Sunday truly was the third day since Thursday. But it was not the third day since Friday so this text could not prove a Friday crucifixion! Final fact two Sabbaths that week There is yet one final clinching proof of the truth we ve seen in the study tonight. A vital text proving that there were two Sabbaths in that week. This fact has been obscured by almost every translation into English. Ferrar Fenton s version has it correct. NKJV Matthew 28:1 Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. KJV Matthew 28:1 In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week In 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.
10 Fenton renders it correctly saying: after the Sabbaths [plural] although the remaining part of the verse he has not translated quite correctly. In a footnote to this text, he says, The Greek original is in the plural, Sabbaths. According to Mark 16:1 Mary Magdalene and her companions did not buy their spices to anoint the body of Jesus until after the Sabbath was past. They could not prepare them until after this yet after preparing the spices they rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment (Luke 23:56). Mark 16:1 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. They bought the spices on Friday after the First Day of Unleavened Bread [high day]. Luke 23:56 And they returned, and prepared the spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment. Then they rested on the weekly Sabbath [Saturday]. If we study these two texts carefully there is only one possible explanation. After the annual Sabbath [the high day the First Day of Unleavened Bread] the women purchased their spices [on Friday]. Then they rested on the weekly Sabbath [Saturday], according to the commandment. A comparison of these two texts proves there were two Sabbaths that week, with a day in between. Otherwise, these texts contradict themselves. And the Bible does not contradict itself! 10