…And the crucifixion was NOT on good Friday!
Those shocking words should stir up anger in any good Christian, and I hope they build a fire in you! You have grown up supposing that the Bible taught that Christ was killed on Friday afternoon, laid in the grave for about 36 hours, and then rose at dawn Sunday morning. Every year you keep Easter sunrise services to commemorate His resurrection. And friend, YOU HAVE BEEN WRONG!
It’s time you PROVED, FOR YOURSELF, the facts about this question so CENTRAL to Christianity! I don’t think you ever have proved it for yourself – you’ve just accepted what you’ve always been spoonfed all your life. But the Bible commands you to PROVE ALL THINGS (1 Thessalonians 5:21), and if you don’t do what God commands you then you’re SINNING against God! It is a SIN not to prove what you claim to believe!
I want you to PROVE that the resurrection was on Sunday, CONVINCE yourself that what I’m about to say is ALL WRONG! But use the Bible, not your own opinions; use God’s words, not the words of imperfect men. STUDY so that you can base your beliefs on FACT instead of MYTH! Study as if your very life depended on it, so that YOU can stand before God as a workman that doesn’t need to be ASHAMED of himself (2 Timothy 2:15), but as someone who RIGHTLY divides the word of TRUTH!
Don’t believe me! Believe the facts in your Bible, but whatever you do, don’t trust me to steer you right! PROVE IT FOR YOURSELF!
Do you know where this Good Friday/Easter Sunday idea come from? Most people assume that it is taught in the Bible, but it most definitely IS NOT! I imagine you’ve always believed that Jesus was in the grave on Friday night, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning.
Now count for yourself – that is 2 nights (Friday and Saturday) and 1 day (Saturday). Any first-grader can understand that. If that’s true, then you should certainly be able to find it in the Bible. But you won’t be able to! But what you WILL find there is…
Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man [Jesus] be THREE DAYS and THREE NIGHTS in the heart of the earth.
There Jesus said very plainly exactly what He said; it was no parable, no hidden meaning to discover; He said, ABSOLUTELY, that He would be in the heart of the Earth for THREE DAYS and THREE NIGHTS. Now there is simply no way to figure three days and three nights between Friday at sundown and Sunday at sunrise! It just won’t fit! There were 2 nights, and 1 day! You can’t stretch or pull and get anything out of that statement but that Jesus would be in the heart of the earth (the grave) for three days and three nights!
But we live in a world with billions of people who attend tens of thousands of different churches; no two agree on most points. And in the midst of this confusion, some people have tried to find answers to explain things like this; some explanation that can make the Bible fit what their church teaches. Friends, THAT IS 100% BACKWARDS! You must make your CHURCH fit what the BIBLE teaches! Not the other way around! The BIBLE was inspired by God, every last word of it! Your CHURCH must be in line with it!
Nonetheless, because people DO try to make the Bible fit what they believe, there are quite a few objections to this clear scripture; the first one is always “But that was a Greek idiom (a slang term)! Three days and three nights just means three PARTS of three days and three nights!”
This is a very easy objection to answer, for it has several flaws; firstly, let us say for the sake of argument that Greek DID have such an idiom; even these people admit that Hebrew DID NOT have such an idiom! That in Hebrew, three days and three nights means very definitely THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS.
The reason this matters is that Jesus said that He would be in the heart of the Earth THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME AS JONAH WAS IN THE WHALE! And every schoolboy knows that Jonah was in the whale for THREE FULL DAYS and THREE FULL NIGHTS!
Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS.
So if Jesus was in the earth just like Jonah was in the fish, no matter what idiom Greek may or may not have, He could only have been there for THREE FULL DAYS and THREE FULL NIGHTS! But we have more proof than that; for Jesus Himself told us just how long a day and a night was, so we would KNOW and be CERTAIN of this question!
John 11:9 Jesus answered, ARE THERE NOT TWELVE HOURS IN THE DAY? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.
Jesus said that there are TWELVE hours in the day, and therefore TWELVE hours in the night! So if you go someplace for THREE DAYS and THREE NIGHTS, you will be there for 72 hours!
Another objection people have is that the “three days and three nights” didn’t start when he was buried, but it started when he died, or some earlier point; but again, that scripture and others clearly state that he would be IN the heart of the EARTH three days and three nights – which means that the “clock” started when he was set in the tomb, which was JUST before sundown! (Luke 25:54, 1 Corinthians 15:4, Mark 15:42, Matthew 27:57, John 19:42).
The next objection some people come up with is that when Jesus said He would be in the “heart of the earth” for three days and nights, He meant He would be in JERUSALEM for three days and nights – not in the grave. In other words, that the phrase “heart of the earth” meant Jerusalem.
Firstly, that phrase is not used anywhere else in the Bible. Secondly, there is no reason to believe that it means that, except that they are trying to make the Bible fit what they believe (notice that is happening a lot!). And finally, WE KNOW FOR A FACT that He did NOT mean that – Jonah told us so!
Jonah 2:1-2(Calvin Bible) And Jonah prayed to Jehovah his God from the belly of the fish, And said, -I cried in my distress to Jehovah, and he heard me; FROM THE BELLY OF THE GRAVE I cried, thou didst hear my voice.
According to Jesus, Jonah was a TYPE of what was to happen many hundreds of years later to Jesus; this means that what happened to Jonah was a PROPHECY (which is not surprising, since Jonah was a prophet!) – and here, Jonah is prophesying FROM THE BELLY OF THE GRAVE – which is just a slightly different way of saying “FROM THE HEART OF THE EARTH” – where Jesus was to be for three days, and three nights, JUST AS JONAH WAS!
Verse 6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever:..
Here again Jonah says that the earth’s BARS were around him FOREVER – because he was symbolically buried!
Verse 6 …yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.
But here he prophesies that God would bring up his LIFE (because he was symbolically dead) from CORRUPTION! And that phrase allows us to tie BACK to the New Testament again…
Acts 2:31 (Murdoch) And he foresaw, and spoke of the resurrection of Messiah, that he WAS NOT LEFT IN THE GRAVE, neither did his body SEE CORRUPTION.
So you see, Jesus was in the heart of the earth – meaning, in the grave – for the SAME amount of time Jonah was – three twelve hour days, and three twelve hour nights!
But there are many scriptures in the Bible that touch on this subject, for it was very important to Jesus that His disciples hear Him prophesy his resurrection beforehand; and on the surface, they appear to disagree. But we know that EVERY word of the Bible was inspired, and it is ALL absolutely true, (2 Timothy 3:16) and that “the scripture cannot be broken;” (John 10:35). So somehow, they must ALL harmonize without doing violence to any of them!
In the Bible, it says 11 times that Jesus would be raised on or in “the third day”. For example:
Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
(To see every place this scripture is used: Mt 17:23, Mt 20:19, Mt 27:64, Mr 9:31, Mr 10:34, Lu 9:22, Lu 13:32, Lu 18:33, Lu 24:7, Lu 24:46, Acts 10:40, 1Co 15:4)
In order for this scripture to be true, then Jesus MUST have been raised in or on “the third day”, a period between 48 and 72 hours after His burial, as shown on this chart:
The Bible also has 6 verses that say that Jesus would be resurrected IN or WITHIN three days:
John 2:19, 21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and IN THREE DAYS I will raise it up. … But he spake of the temple of his body.
Mark 14:58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, AND WITHIN THREE DAYS I will build another made without hands.
(For the other 4 verses, see Mt 26:61, Mt 27:40, Mr 15:29, John 2:20)
So here we see Jesus saying that WITHIN, or “IN LESS THAN” three days, He would be resurrected. This means that He would be resurrected anytime less than 72 hours, as you see in this chart:
So far, these scriptures agree perfectly; but now we find something strange! For twice the Bible says that He would be resurrected AFTER 3 days!
Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and AFTER THREE DAYS rise again. (See also Matthew 27:63)
But this is impossible! The same Bible, written by the same God, inspired by the same holy spirit, can’t disagree with itself! The scripture cannot be broken! So how can we make SENSE of this, without ignoring some of the scriptures and twisting others! How can we make them ALL AGREE?
And the answer lies in the very last scripture – the one I began this article with. There is only one way that all 20 verses that mention this issue can agree; only ONE way to make the Bible make SENSE, and not abuse a single one of the scriptures!
Matthew 12:40 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.
The ONLY possible way to HARMONIZE every scripture is if Jesus Christ was resurrected EXACTLY 72 hours after He was laid in the grave! That makes it the third day (48-72 hours), it makes it within three days (72 hours or less), it makes it AFTER three days (72 hours or more), and it makes it 3 COMPLETE DAYS AND THREE COMPLETE NIGHTS, totaling 72 hours!
Isn’t the Bible a beautiful, amazing, awe-inspiring book, when you fully and truly UNDERSTAND IT, and allow it to explain ITSELF! When all the pieces of the giant puzzle come into place, they can fit in only ONE WAY, and you my friend now know what that way is!
Still, no matter how clear something is, there will always be a few objections to it, and so it’s only fair to explain the most common to you while we’re here. One objection some people will have is based on this scripture:
Luke 24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
They reason that if this was the “third day”, then since this was Sunday, then Saturday and Friday puts Christ being crucified on Good Friday. But remember the first rule of Bible study, that a vague scripture cannot trump several clear scriptures! The clear scriptures interpret the unclear, and ALL must agree! And we know that Jesus was in the grave THREE DAYS and THREE NIGHTS, beyond a doubt.
With that in mind, this was said around mid-afternoon on the fourth day from the time when Christ was crucified, counting from sundown which was when “all these things were done”, and it was all finished. And they were explaining to an incognito Jesus all the things that had happened – the betrayal, crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus.
Now these disciples knew that Jesus was to be in the ground three days and three nights, for the angel had just that morning reminded the women…
Luke 24:7-9 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.
So they well knew that Jesus was to be raised 72 hours from his burial, as you just learned above. But the disciples, even after all this had happened, still didn’t understand that Jesus was going to return to heaven for a few thousand years before actually coming to claim the kingdom, and set up the government of God on Earth!
Acts 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
Forty days after His resurrection, the disciples STILL didn’t realize that Israel wasn’t going to be delivered from Roman rule right away, and restored to the position as chief among nations that it had held under David and Solomon! They didn’t understand that it would be nearly 2000 years before Christ took the reins of the Earth! Instead, they had pictured Christ being resurrected and immediately at His resurrection, the kingdom would be His!
And so as they walked along the road from Jerusalem, knowing three days and three nights had been fulfilled the night before, they lamented because the kingdom had not immediately appeared, and Christ was nowhere to be found! And they were said (vs 17)! And so the “stranger” asked them why they were sad, and they explained “… we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel” – and in their minds, since He hadn’t set Israel up as queen of the nations instantly upon His resurrection, He HADN’T REDEEMED ISRAEL!
They well knew that Jesus was to be resurrected the night before at sundown – 72 hours from his burial – and yet He hadn’t yet restored Israel! And so “the third day” of which He so often spoke had come and gone, and the kingdom still hadn’t appeared!
Luke 24:21 (Phillips) But we were hoping he was the one who was to come and set Israel free…. “Yes, and as if that were not enough, it’s three days since all this happened;
Luke 24:21 (BBE) … In addition to all this he has now let three days go by …
Luke 24:21 (Murdoch) … And lo, three days HAVE PASSED, since all these things occurred.
And so they proceeded to say “and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done” – in other words, today (at the very beginning of the day, sundown the night before) HAD BEEN the conclusion of the third day, when Christ was supposed to restore the kingdom, and NOTHING HAD HAPPENED (that they knew about)!
They weren’t saying that Christ had been crucified on Friday, they were just saying that Christ’s time was up (as they understood it) to restore the kingdom and he hadn’t done it!
“But,” many say, “doesn’t the Bible clearly say that Jesus died before a Sabbath?” – and it definitely does. But not just any ordinary Sabbath!
John 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
This was not an ordinary weekly Sabbath day, because “that sabbath day was an HIGH DAY”. This was a very special Sabbath – one that only came around once a year. This was the first day of unleavened bread and was called a holy day – and also called a high, or special, sabbath.
Mark 14:1-2 After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.
Each year, on the 14th day of the first Hebrew month – corresponding roughly to our April – is the day of the passover (Leviticus 23:5). It is observed from sunset to sunset, as all God’s days are. Then the next day, the 15th day of the month, is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is a high day – a sabbath where no work is to be done. These days fall on different days of the week each year, so it might coincide with the weekly Sabbath, or it might not. Most of the time it doesn’t.
This particular spring, the religious leaders of Israel were desperate to kill Jesus, for He was destroying their social position and turning the people back to God. But they didn’t dare to do it on the feast day – the first day of unleavened bread – for it would foment a rebellion among the people, who would see it as a fulfillment of prophecy and proof of all Jesus’ claims to being the son of God. So instead, they killed him the day before – taking Him into custody just after Jesus ate the passover (Luke 22:1-20), and starting the chain of events which ended with His death at approximately 3pm the next day, which was about three hours before the sundown… the sundown which began the “High Day”, the first holy day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
According to the Hebrew calendar, in the years around 31 AD, these are the days that the Passover fell:
A. D. 29 — Saturday, April 16
A. D. 30 — Wednesday, April 5
A. D. 31 — Wednesday, April 25
A. D. 32 — Monday, April 14
It’s in your Bible dozens of times that Jesus most certainly died on passover and everyone believes that He died in one of those years… and as you can clearly see, NONE of those fall on so-called “good” Friday! And in the year in which Jesus DID die, A.D. 31, PASSOVER FELL ON WEDNESDAY, April 25!
But there is a vast amount of proof on this subject, all of which points in the same direction; a good example is the famous seventy weeks prophecy which says that…
Daniel 9:26-27 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: … And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, …
“Messiah” is just a Hebrew word meaning “anointed one”, and the Greek word for “anointed one” is Christ. So after 69 weeks (see vs 25) the Messiah would appear, and in the midst of the 70th week he would be cut off – not for His own sins, but for ours. This caused the need for a sacrifice and oblation to cease, as Paul thoroughly proved.
Now this prophecy literally meant that after the decree of Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem in 457 BC (vs 25) there would be 69 weeks of years – 483 years – before the Messiah would appear, and that in the midst – on the middle “day/year” – of the 70th week, that He would be killed for our sins. This tells us that He began His ministry in 27 AD and died in 31 AD.
But God’s prophecies are nearly always dual – they have one meaning, but also one or more smaller or larger-scaled fulfillments. And though the clearest meaning of this prophecy is that He was to die in 31 AD, a secondary meaning is that He was to die ON THE MIDDLE DAY OF THE WEEK!
But there is even more proof! Absolute proof that THREE FULL DAYS separated Jesus’ death and His resurrection – the most unequivocal yet!
Mark 15:42-46 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea… went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre…
Now this makes it clear that even – darkness – was upon them. Comparing the gospel accounts, this must have happened just minutes before sundown, with the closing of the tomb probably happening at the very instant of sunset.
Mark 15:47-16:1 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid. 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.
As you can verify in any good commentary, any student of the Greek will tell you that even though the King James renders the phrase as “had bought”, the word is simply “bought”. There is nothing to imply a past tense in the original Greek. Look at that verse in a few other translations…
Mark 16:1 (Douay) And when the sabbath was past, [they] bought sweet spices, that coming, they might anoint Jesus.
Mark 16:1 (Murdoch) And when the sabbath had passed, [they] bought aromatics, that they might come and anoint him.
Mark 16:1 (Phillips) WHEN the Sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they could go and anoint him.
So you see that this verse is explicitly and DEFINITELY telling us that they bought the spices AFTER the Sabbath was over. They couldn’t have bought them before, for the sun was fast going down and they only had time to “behold where He was laid” (Mark 15:47) before the Sabbath. And they couldn’t buy them on the Sabbath, for it was a crime in Israel to even pick up your bed on the Sabbath (John 5:9-10), much less to buy and sell spices! Now compare the parallel account in Luke…
Luke 23:54-56 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.
This says that they viewed the sepulcher, returned, prepared spices, and THEN RESTED ON THE SABBATH DAY! And this fact proves that there wereTWO SABBATHS between Jesus’ death and resurrection!
They would not have even had time to BUY the spices before sundown, much less go through the complicated process of preparing them for embalming! And Mark EXPLICITLY says that they bought the spices AFTER THE SABBATH WAS PAST!
Mark 16:1 (Phillips) WHEN the Sabbath was over, … [they] bought spices …
Luke 23:56 And they … prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.
But Luke makes a distinction between the Sabbaths, for he says that AFTER they prepared the spices, they rested on the Sabbath day – ACCORDING TO THE COMMANDMENT! The only Sabbath that was a part of the commandments was “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” (Exodus 20:8)
This was the WEEKLY Sabbath – the one in Mark was the ANNUAL Sabbath, the first day of unleavened bread, which in that year of A.D. 31 fell on a Thursday! It is flatly impossible to fit those two gospel scriptures between a Friday crucifixion and a Sunday morning resurrection!
It can ONLY fit if they beheld the body of Jesus before sundown on Wednesday, returned and rested Thursday to observe the first Holy Day of Unleavened Bread, then bought spices and prepared them Friday “when the Sabbath was past”, and then rested AGAIN, on the Sabbath day “according to the COMMANDMENT”, and THEN before sunrise the next morning, on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb to embalm Him and were told by the Angel that He was ALREADY RESURRECTED! (Luke 24:6, Matthew 28:6).
Is this what you’ve always believed? I’m sure it isn’t. But nonetheless, it is what the Bible plainly says. God did not write the Bible so that only smart people in nice suits with doctorates in theology could understand it. God wrote it so that YOU could understand it. He wrote it to “destroy the wisdom of the wise” and to “bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” (1 Corinthians 1:19)
Jesus told God “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Luke 10:21). The Bible is only a book of mystery to those who won’t believe the clear words written in it; if you will believe the clear things, the unclear will one day be clear to you as well.
But under NO circumstances believe what I have said here! DO NOT DO IT! Believe the BIBLE, and it alone! If this paper points you in the right direction so you can see what is in the Bible, then I hope you’ll look at your Bible and see if that really IS what it says – but DO NOT believe it because I said so! I am fallible – God is not! Prove it, and then BELIEVE WHAT YOU PROVE!