Posted by: SandreS | April 5, 2015

Good Friday? Easter Sunday?

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That Jesus Christ died on Friday seems a simple, sure and straightforward enough fact. Certainly Christendom has this basic and fundamental element accurate, doesn’t it?

Most of us have assumed that Jesus died on “Good Friday” and arose from the dead early “Easter Sunday” morning. Jesus often said that He would rise the third day (Matthew 16:21; Mark 10:34); but He also spoke of this time period and gave it as a specific sign of His Messiahship as being three days and three nights.

“As Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly,” He said, “so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:38-40).

Since there are twelve hours in a day and twelve hours in a night (John 11:9-10), if we figure a full three days and three nights,” this would equal 72 hours – but was the time element exactly 72 hours?

Jesus was to be in the tomb for Three days and three nights and rise after three days (Mark 8:31). We see no reason to figure this as any less than a full 72 hours. On the other hand, if He was to be raised from the dead in three days (John 2:19), it does not seem unreasonable to assume that the time period was exactly 72 hours. After all, God is a God of exactness. He does everything right on schedule. Nothing is accidental with Him.

What time of day was this? Well, Jesus died shortly after the ninth hour,” or three in the afternoon (Matthew 27:46-50). If the resurrection took place at the same time of day as when Jesus was buried – only three days later – this would place the resurrection close to sundown, not sunrise as is commonly assumed. A sunrise resurrection would have required an extra night – three days and four nights. This was not the case, of course. Instead of witnessing the resurrection at that precise time, those who came to the tomb at sunrise found that the tomb was already empty (Mark 16:2). John’s account tells us that Mary Magdalene came to the tomb when it was yet dark on the first day of the week and that Jesus was not there (John 20:1-2).

The gospel writers tell of several different visits made by the disciples to the tomb on the first day of the week. In every instance, they found the tomb empty! An angel said, He is not here: for He is risen, as He said (Matthew 28:16).

When Sunday morning came, Jesus had already risen, the resurrection having already taken place just before sundown of the day before. Counting back three days would bring us back to Wednesday. Would this make three days and three nights between the burial and the resurrection of Christ? Yes: this would make a total of exactly three days and three nights, or 72 hours.[1]

In pointing out the “Good Friday” error, we do not propose observance of “Good Wednesday,” for in Colossians 2:16-17 we are told,

Let no man therefore judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [substance] is Christ.

Clyde L. Pilkington, Jr.

Excerpted from his book, The Myth of Easter (http://www.studyshelf.com/holidays.htm).

A more detailed look into this subject can be found in The Harmony of the Last Week by Eugene Callaway.

[1]This section adapted from Ralph Woodrow’s Babylon Mystery Religion, pp. 135-139.

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