“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.” Matthew 12:40
Jesus foretold of how He would be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, and it happened exactly as He said. Jesus did not die on the eve of a weekly Sabbath (Friday sunset to Saturday sunset) and only spend Friday night, Saturday, and Saturday night in the grave. Jesus Christ died on Nisan (also called Abib) 14, 3790 (Hebraic year) according to the correct time that the Passover Lambs were being killed for Passover. The Jews were trying to kill Him and not defile themselves in time for the Passover Sabbath, not a weekly Sabbath. In Julian time, the measure of time used before the Gregorian way of today, the crucifixion happened on Wednesday, April 3, 30. His burial preparation and placement in the tomb was completed just before sunset. It was at sunset, that it became Nisan 15 and the Passover began. The day of His death and crucifixion happened on what was called The Day of Preparation or Preparation Day. This day is always the day before Passover. What difference does knowing this make? Only truth stands upon truth. Over the centuries since the death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord, many falsehoods have crept into the church. There is no such thing as a “Good Friday” whereupon Jesus died. When studied, the Bible reveals that Jesus died on a Wednesday and it can be seen, when one seeks out the truth. How does it look to the lost when they investigate the death and resurrection of Jesus and people try to convince them that from Friday evening to Sunday morning was three days? Our Lord was not in the heart of the earth for only two nights and one day in between (Friday evening to early Sunday morning). He spent three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (in the realm of the dead) just as He said He would. The Bible is accurate and true. When lies are purported as truth, it only helps the enemy and hurts the credibility of our faith. Who would believe in a faith that does not hold true? Our faith stands firmly because it is the absolute truth. After hearing the impossibility of the “Friday evening to Sunday morning scenario” for years, I decided to investigate it for myself. And it did not take long to learn the real truth. Here are some facts that I learned which must be realized. Every week, true Jews honor the weekly Sabbath, the 7th day of their week, from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday. In Judaism, a day goes from sunset to sunset. This began in Genesis when the Lord called the passage of time of an evening and a morning, a day.
Genesis 1:5 God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.
Genesis 1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day.
Genesis 1:13 So the evening and the morning were the third day.
And so on. “One day” in the Hebrew counting of time, is a night followed by a day, equaling “one day.” A holy day such as Passover, is also a Sabbath. It is called a High Sabbath. So when reading the Scripture about the death and resurrection of Jesus, we must realize there are two Sabbaths involved. In addition to weekly Sabbaths, seven holy days are set aside as special Sabbaths per Hebraic year. The rule of not working was kept especially strict on these days. To understand it more, read Leviticus 16:31; 23:32; 26:2; Isaiah 56:4; Jeremiah 20:12-24; 22:8,26; 23:38; 44:24. The High Sabbaths are: Nisan 15, Passover Day and first day of the seven days of unleavened bread. Nisan 21, LastDay of Passover and of the seven days of unleavened bread. Sivan 6, Pentecost (Feast of Weeks, Shavuot) 50 days after the first festive Sabbath. Tishri 1, Day of Trumpets (Yom Teruach) (Rosh Hashanah). Tishri 10, Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). Tishri 15, Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot). Tishri 22, Last Great Day, conclusion of Sukkot (Shemini Atzeret). Consider the following verse.
John 19:31 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for thatSabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
As stated earlier, before the Day of Passover there is the Day of Preparation. This is of vital importance to know. This is the day the lambs are sacrificed/killed for the Passover. More than likely, most know how Passover started, but for some who might not, here is a short synopsis. The very first Passover was in Egypt. A special chosen lamb had to be killed and its blood put on the top and sides of the doorposts of each home, so the death angel would pass over their home. If not, their firstborn would die. This was symbolic of Christ and the blood He would shed for our sins. Even the manner of the blood on the doorposts resembled a cross. The lamb offerings were killed at twilight and had to be eaten that evening. Remember in Hebrew time, the evening was the beginning of the next day. The Day of Preparation ended and the Passover began at sunset.
Exodus 12:5-6 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.
This time began the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Leavening/yeast represented sin and from Passover (Nisan 15) continued for the next seven days.
Exodus 12:18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.
So we have a timeline forming. Nisan 14, Wednesday (Tuesday sunset to Wednesday sunset) Day of Preparation: That evening, the Lord instituted Communion for us, at what is commonly called the Lord’s Supper. Jesus has called it the New Covenant (Luke 22:20). Afterward, starting in the wee hours before sunrise, the Lord was secretly apprehended, falsely accused, arrested, went before the high priest, and later was taken before Pilate and Herod, whipped, mocked, beaten and crucified. At the exact same time the lambs were being sacrificed for Passover, Jesus, the Lamb of God, gave Himself as a sacrifice upon the cross for the sins of the world. Nisan 15,Thursday (Wednesday sunset to Thursday sunset) High Sabbath/Passover: That evening the lambs were eaten (the Passover Seder meal). It was a time of honoring God for delivering them from the bondage of Egypt (representing saving us from sin and its bondage). This High Sabbath was also the beginning of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread. FIRST NIGHT & FIRST DAY IN THE TOMB. Nisan 16,Friday(Thursday sunset to Friday sunset) It was this day that the ladies went and bought the spices and prepared them. The tomb was officially sealed for three days, and they were unable to get to the body. SECOND NIGHT & SECOND DAY IN THE TOMB. Nisan 17,Saturday(started Friday sunset to Saturday sunset) Weekly Sabbath. THIRD NIGHT & THIRD DAY IN THE TOMB. Nisan 18,Sunday(Saturday sunset to Sunday sunset) The ladies came to anoint the body of the Lord but He was not in the grave. The resurrection of the Lord happened sometime between sunset Saturday evening and sunrise Sunday morning. Therefore: Jesus had to die on Nisan 14, He literally spent three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, rising at the end of Nisan 17 or during that Saturday night (early Nisan 18) so that by daylight Sunday morning, He was risen. Please consider the following timeline as it can be challenging with the two different ways of measuring time.
At the end of the third day, Saturday night, at some point Jesus arose. By Sunday morning, when His followers came to add burial anointing, He had risen and the tomb was empty.
John 19:30-31 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. 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.
John 19:38-42 After this, Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus; and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took the body of Jesus. And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews' Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby.
John 20:1-2 Now on 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. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."
So He was killed and entombed at the conclusion of Nisan 14, in time for the High Sabbath of the Passover of Nisan 15. And risen before sunrise of the first day of the week.
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.
We find something interesting in Matthew 28:1. It has been translated by most to say, “one Sabbath” but in fact is correctly translated in the Berean Literal Bible as “two Sabbaths.” This shows the truth of having a Passover Sabbath and the weekly Sabbath.
Matthew 28:1 (BLB) And after the Sabbaths, it being dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
The Literal Standard Version also notes two Sabbaths, as well does the International Standard Version. The following verses and thoughts also confirm the true timing through showing the two Sabbaths and involving the first day of the week.
Mark 16:1 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him.
Luke 23:52-56 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 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 had ever lain before. That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.
“When the Sabbath was past” they bought the spices. This is the first Sabbath. The ladies could not and did not buy them until Friday. Then “they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.” This is the second Sabbath. We learn from Mark 16 that Mary Magdalene and the other Mary bought spices “after” the Sabbath and prepared them. This had to be the Passover Sabbath. In Luke 23 we see that the women prepared the spices and rested on the Sabbath. This had to be the weekly Sabbath. This is totally consistent with the High Passover Sabbath happening on a Thursday followed by the weekly Sabbath on a Saturday. This is not stretching things for a false belief. This is understanding the commandments, manners and customs of Judaism and the time they were living in. Because we have been living two thousand years later and trusting false information passed down for many generations, many of us have missed the truth of the matter. Jesus did not lie. Jesus Christ in spirit, was in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights while His body laid in the tomb. And by linking the Scripture from all four Gospels, we can see the full picture that Jesus did exactly what He said He would do.
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