There have been many arguments concerning the date and day of Christ’s crucifixion? Is it important to your family? Join AMBrewster as he presents biblical data for the date and day of the crucifixion and works toward an application for our families.
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I’ve been looking forward to the next two episodes for nearly a year now.
I remember as a small boy asking my parents all the hard Easter questions, “Why is it on a different day every year?” I asked them why there were so many different days in the celebration, and I asked them why we observe Jesus’ death on the Friday when — it was clear to me — that couldn’t have been the day He died.
And I received some good answers to most of my questions, but I never received a solid, biblical answer to the final question.
Over the years, I’ve encountered Christian pastors who addressed my concerns, but it wasn’t until recently that I personally affirmed certain realities about the events of the Crucifixion and Resurrection from the Scriptures.
But, before we jump into all of that, let me thank Lisa for making today’s episode possible. She’s one of our newer Patrons, but she’s just as passionate as the rest of them.
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Okay, let’s talk about some of the issues that people have with celebrating Easter.
There are 3 things I want to discuss today. Two of them I will talk about in brief, and the third will be carried over into our next episode.
The first is this . . .
1. Some people don’t like celebrating Easter because it’s been so tainted and adulterated by the culture.
Many people share the exact same sentiments concerning Christmas.
Here are a few biblical and logical considerations:
1. It is true there are certain celebrations that are completely acceptable for one person to hold and others to ignore.
2. However, regardless of whether you celebrate or not, it must be wholly and completely so that the Lord be honored and glorified. There’s no room for selfishness here.
Romans 14:5-6, “One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.”
In the end, your opinions about the celebration of the Resurrection must be because you believe that God is abundantly pleased with your participation or abstinence.
But, there is another consideration.
3. God is a God of celebrations, memorials, and holy days.
In this conversation, we can’t afford to ignore the reality that from the Seventh Day of Creation week through the New Heaven and New Earth, God has purposely and definitively created and commanded the observation of festivals, feast days, celebrations, and memorials. And, though the Jewish people were given the majority of those, the New Testament church has a fair share just for them as well.
And a few of the more significant revolve directly around the Passion Week of Christ.
Christians are commanded to observe the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him. The early church also stopped corporately worshipping God on Saturday in favor of Sunday due specifically to the fact that Jesus was raised from the dead on Sunday.
And the future Marriage Supper of the Lamb is a celebration of Christ victory over sin and death that allows us to enter into an eternal relationship with Him.
So, to argue against holy celebrations is to stand against a divinely purposed and extremely valuable experience.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the time to discuss it any more today, but I am working on a project that will thoroughly engage with this topic biblically and seek to create a unified and glorious schedule of Holy Day celebrations. My goal is to call it The Year Long Celebration of God, and it will take many of the current holidays as well as a few new ones and seek to weave together an intentional and premeditated set of celebrations that the Ambassador Parent can use to make disciples of their children.
So, you may not want to participate in the diluted cultural holiday, and I don’t blame you, but I beleive there’s more than enough evidence to suggest that we desperately need to understand the significance of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection in such a way that we are compelled to celebrate it as often as possible.
2. Some people don’t like to celebrate Easter because they don’t believe that it, like Christmas, is even celebrated during the correct time of year.
We’ll talk more about this later. However, for now, let me say that I don’t believe we can now for certain what day of the year Jesus was born, but I do believe we can know with great certainty the approximate time of the year of His death, and it wouldn’t be difficult to declare with certainty that Jesus was raised from the dead on only a handful of dates.
But more on that later.
Now, there are plenty of other issues we could discuss concerning the crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ. But, we’re not going to deal with the heretical issues people take like whether or not He actually died. Those arguments are invalid and pointless given the clear biblical data.
But there is a disagreement that I believe is answered biblically but still pervades our thinking.
Now, to be fair, I don’t believe that anyone should separate from people who celebrate differently. I don’t believe our third consideration is something that keeps someone from being saved or anything like that. But I do beleive it’s important because God took so much time and provided us so much detail in order for us to understand it. If it is clearly presented, then why would we continue purposefully celebrating the wrong days?
So, let’s move to our third consideration.
3. Some people don’t like to celebrate Good Friday because they don’t believe Christ was crucified on Friday.
Now, before we jump into this, we have to acknowledge our own blindspots.
So, here we go. I do not believe that Jesus was crucified on Friday.
“What’s the big deal?” you ask.
Honestly, I’m sharing this because I believe we should all desire to be as accurate with our handling of the Scriptures as possible.
Now, the main argument for the Friday crucifixion comes from Mark 15:42, “And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath.”
It’s vital for us to remember that the Jewish day began at nightfall and lasted until right before nightfall of — what we would consider to be — the next day. Of course, for them it was the same day. Our start in the dark and end in the dark, their days started in the dark and ended in the light. They use this off the Creation week when God said that “the evening and the morning were the day.”
Generally speaking, the Jews weekend Sabbath began at nightfall on the day we would call Friday.
Now, we also need to know that every weekly Sabbath had a day of preparation that went before it. It was the day to prepare for the Sabbath by doing the last minute things that needed to be accomplished but would be unlawful to do on the Sabbath.
Mark 15:42 says that Jesus was crucified on the day of preparation. Now, with that evidence alone, it would be easy to assume that Jesus was crucified on Friday, the day before the Preparation.
But, there are a coupe issues, and it’s those issues that will be the focus of the remainder of this episode and the next.
1. The Jews often had more than one Sabbath a week.
There were the 52 weekly Sabbaths, but there were also 7 days of Passover, 1 Feast of Weeks (otherwise known as Pentecost), 1 Feast of Trumpets, 1 Day of Atonement, 7 days for the Feast of Tebernacles, and 1 8th Day of Assembly. That’s 70 Sabbaths in one year!
If we assume that the Mark 15:42 Sabbath is Saturday, then a Friday Crucifixion makes partial sense. But what if there were another Sabbath that week before Saturday?
The Feast of Unleavened Bread is also known as the Feast of the Passover, which was celebrated in remembrance of the Israelites being delivered from Egypt. This feast falls on the 15th of Nisan (Leviticus 23:6). This obviously can fall on any day just like December 25th can all on any day.
This feast day is also a High Sabbath, also called simply a High Day, and it too was preceded by a day of preparation.
John 19:31 reads, “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.”
Jesus was crucified on the Preparation Day before the High Sabbath Day. That would mean that Jesus died on what we would call the 14th of Nissan. And since the feast is set on a date, not a day, then we have to ask on what day was the feast that year?
Now, believe it to not, there are generally three days that people think could have been the day on which Christ was killed: Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
I’m going to share the biblical reasons that I believe clearly show that Christ was crucified on Thursday.
Again, this topic is not intended to be divisive. It’s merely an opportunity for us to understand what the Bible says about Easter so we can inform our children, and not simply continue to propagate traditional views that don’t align with Scripture.
But, please understand . . . if you intend to continue celebrating the crucifixion on Friday to the glory of God . . . we can still be friends!
Okay, here we go!
2. Jesus gave us the timeline of 3 days and three nights.
In Matthew 12:40 we read, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly [Jonah 1:17]; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Jesus made it very clear that he would be “in the heart of the earth” for three days and three nights. It’s completely appropriate to take Christ literally.
We know for certain that Jesus was raised from the dead on Sunday, the first day of the week. In order to have been in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights, Jesus would have to have been buried during the day on Thursday.
I know it’s easier to see this, but try to imagine it with me. We’re going to refer to the days with our English titles, but we’re going to count the days as the Jews would.
That means that Thursday started in the evening. That was when Jesus and His disciples observed the Passover (that would have been our Wednesday night). Jesus was crucified later that day, died at 3:00 pm, and was buried before nightfall on Thursday. That was his first day in the earth.
The beginning of the Jewish Friday (our Thursday night) would have been Christ’s first evening in the grave.
The morning time of Friday would have been the second day in the earth. Then Saturday evening (our Friday evening) would have been his second night in the grace. Saturday morning would have been his third day in the grave. That’s the day time hours on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. He only has one night left. That was the beginning of Sunday (that’s our Saturday evening). And then we’re told that Jesus rose before sunrise on Sunday morning.
Matthew and John were very precise that Jesus raised before the daytime hours on Sunday. Had he risen after the sunrise, He would have been in the heart of the earth for four days and three nights.
Three days and three nights — in that order. His first day in the grave started it and His last night in the grave ended it.
Remember, He didn’t say “Three nights and three days in the grave.”
So, Jesus was crucified on Thursday, the 14th of Nisan, the Preparation day before the High Holy Day on Friday and the regular weekly Sabbath on Saturday.
The 15th of Nisan, Friday, was the High Holy Sabbath.
And then Saturday, the 16th of Nissan would have been the normal weekly Sabbath.
But there’s another consideration that points to Thursday being the day of the Crucifixion.
3. Jesus also gave us the timeline of three total days.
Consider John 2:19-21, “Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ 20 The Jews then said, It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”
Some of you may have noticed that Jesus was not in the grave the entire day on Thursday nor every minute of the third night.
Technically, Jesus was in the grave all day on Friday and Saturday. That’s two full days. But He was only in the grave half the day on Thursday and half the evening on Sunday (that would be our Saturday night).
Those two half days equal the third day.
Jesus raised up His temple in three days.
Now consider 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 the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again.”
This counting method counts each daytime period as one day, with the resurrection taking place “after three days.” The day was not over when Jesus died in the afternoon, so this begins with the day of the crucifixion. A Thursday crucifixion also fits with Jesus being raised up “after three days.”
Now, there are more arguments I’d like to make from the Scriptures, but I’ll do that next time so as not to run too long today.
I also want to make some application for our families from all of this.
Between now and then, though, I encourage you to do your own research and study. There are many who disagree for many reasons.
But, my main concern is that the Bible clearly says that Jesus rose before the morning hours on Sunday. And Jesus said that he would be in the earth for three days and nights. The math is clear, the Jewish “Thursday” would have to be the day.
But people still bring up objections. Which is right? Well, hopefully we can glean even more clarity next time.
I’ll see you then.
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