It has lengthy been held inside the Christian Church that Christ was crucified on the sixth day of the week, the day that we now name Friday – therefore the time period “Good Friday.”
How was it determined by the early Church fathers that Jesus will need to have been crucified on a Friday? This misunderstanding arises from the next passages (and associated passages from the opposite gospels): when Jesus was introduced earlier than Pilate, the gospel of Mark studies: “It was Preparation Day (that’s, the day earlier than the Sabbath). In order night approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a outstanding member of the Council, who was himself ready for the dominion of God, went boldly to Pilate and requested for Jesus’ physique.” (Mark 15:42, 43 NIV).
What’s “the sabbath” however the seventh day of the week, and what then could be “the day earlier than the sabbath” however Friday? It’s due to this fact simple to conclude that Jesus was crucified on Friday. That is an incorrect conclusion, nevertheless — however solely the gospel account of John supplies the data needed to achieve the proper conclusion. However earlier than we research the clarifying passage in John, we should first have a greater understanding of the time period “sabbath.” For this we flip to the 23rd chapter of the e-book of Leviticus.
In Leviticus 23:three we learn, “There are six days when chances are you’ll work, however the seventh day is a day of sabbath relaxation, a day of sacred meeting. You aren’t to do any work; wherever you reside, it’s a sabbath to the LORD.” This, in fact, is the that means that’s often meant and understood by the time period “sabbath” — the seventh day of the week, the day which the Lord commanded the Israelites to look at every week as a day of holy relaxation. However the time period means extra. Let’s learn additional on this chapter.
In Leviticus 23:5-Eight we learn, “The LORD’s Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the primary month. On the fifteenth day of that month the LORD’s Pageant of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days it’s essential to eat bread made with out yeast. On the primary day maintain a sacred meeting and do no common work. For seven days current a meals providing to the LORD. And on the seventh day maintain a sacred meeting and do no common work.” Examine the language from verse three (relating to the weekly seventh day sabbath) with the language of verse 7 (relating to the primary day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread). Each are “a sacred meeting”; on each the Israelites are commanded to “do no (servile) work therein.” We see then that the primary day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread suits the definition of the phrase “sabbath,” though there isn’t a particular definition of today as a “sabbath.” Now let’s proceed discover additional within the chapter.
Concerning the Feast of Weeks, at the moment generally referred to as Pentecost, we learn, “From the day after the Sabbath, the day you introduced the sheaf of the wave providing, rely off seven full weeks. Depend off fifty days as much as the day after the seventh Sabbath, after which current an providing of latest grain to the LORD” (Leviticus 23:15, 16). Skipping over verses 17-20, which describe the choices to be made on this feast day, we learn in verse 21, “On that very same day you might be to proclaim a sacred meeting and do no common work. That is to be an enduring ordinance for the generations to come back, wherever you reside.” Be aware once more that today is outlined as “a sacred meeting,” and the Israelites are commanded to “do no servile work therein” – once more the definition of a “sabbath.” However we nonetheless have not seen the precise phrase “sabbath” utilized in reference to any day aside from the seventh day of every week, so there may stay just a little doubt. We’ll now take away that doubt by inspecting the directions for the Feast of Trumpets.
In verses 24 and 25 we learn, “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the primary day of the seventh month you might be to have a day of sabbath relaxation, a sacred meeting commemorated with trumpet blasts. Do no common work, however current a meals providing to the LORD.” Right here we’ve a transparent connection past any doubt: the Lord is instructing the Israelites to look at every of those feast days as a “sabbath” – a phrase which He right here defines Himself as “a sacred meeting,” a day wherein the Israelites are to “do no (servile) work.” (I put the phrase “servile” in parentheses as a result of it seems in a few of these passages however not in others.)
I cannot cite the descriptions of the Day of Atonement and the feast of Tabernacles, however by studying the rest of the 23rd chapter of Leviticus, one can simply verify that today have been additionally Sabbaths within the very strictest sense of the phrase. So we see that when the time period “sabbath” is used within the gospels, in addition to elsewhere, it could actually consult with a weekly seventh day sabbath or to any of the seven excessive feast days which the Lord instructed the Israelites to look at all year long.
Returning now to the gospel of John, we learn in 19:31 the passage referring to the identical level of time that was the topic of the passage cited above from Mark 15: “Now it was the day of Preparation, and the subsequent day was to be a particular Sabbath. As a result of the Jewish leaders didn’t need the our bodies left on the crosses through the Sabbath, they requested Pilate to have the legs damaged and the our bodies taken down.” Solely John tells us this necessary element: the next day was not an unusual Seventh-day sabbath, however relatively “a particular sabbath (or within the King James model, a “excessive day”).” “A particular sabbath” implies that the approaching day was a sabbath as a result of it was a feast day — one of many seven excessive feast days ordained by God — and never as a result of it was the seventh day of the week. It may even have been a Saturday, as a result of the Passover (14 Nisan) and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (15 Nisan) may fall on any two sequential days of the week – they have been scheduled in line with the day of the month, not the day of the week. However by exploring additional we are going to see how we may be sure that on this yr the “particular sabbath,” the sabbath of the primary day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, didn’t fall on a Saturday, and that the approaching sabbath day talked about right here should even have been the sixth day of the week, which we now name Friday — that means that the day past, on which Jesus will need to have been crucified, was a Thursday.
Really, cautious readers of the Bible could have already puzzled whether or not the Lord’s crucifixion was on Thursday due to an announcement He made: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights within the stomach of an enormous fish, so the Son of Man can be three days and three nights within the coronary heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). Be aware rigorously the specificity, each of the passage in Jonah, “… and Jonah was within the stomach of the fish three days and three nights” (Jonah 1:17), and of Jesus’ citation of this passage, “… so the Son of Man can be three days and three nights within the coronary heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). The passage in Jonah may have stated “three days,” and even “three full days,” and so Jesus most likely would have quoted it. The Israelites reckoned days from sundown to sundown, so it was clear to them in addition to to us that the time period “day” can imply both the interval of daylight or the 24-hour interval that features each daylight and darkness. However the specificity of the passage in Jonah, and of the Lord’s citation of that passage, reveals clearly that God meant us to know this not as some imprecise interval of roughly three days, however as three durations of daylight and three durations of nighttime: “three days and three nights.”
Be aware additionally how clearly Jonah’s expertise was meant by God as a vivid image or kind of Jesus’ dying, His time within the grave and his pending resurrection — although it was written a whole bunch of years prematurely: “… In my misery I referred to as to the LORD, and he answered me. From deep within the realm of the lifeless I referred to as for assist, and also you listened to my cry” (Jonah 2:2); “I stated, ‘I’ve been banished out of your sight; but I’ll look once more towards your holy temple…” (2:four); “… To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in endlessly.
However you, LORD my God, introduced my life up from the pit” (v. 6).
We all know from clear statements in all 4 gospels that the Lord arose from the grave simply earlier than daybreak on the primary day of the week, which we now name Sunday. (See Matthew 28:1-6, Mark 16:1-9, Luke 24:1-6, and John 20:1-Eight.) If we rely backward three days and three nights from early Sunday morning, we are able to arrive at a crucifixion solely on the fifth day of the week, our Thursday. The “three nights” can solely be Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights; the “three days” can solely be the portion of Thursday afternoon between the Lord’s dying and sundown, plus Friday and Saturday.
Confusion has been created on this level by quite a lot of well-meaning students who’ve tried to reconcile the standard Friday crucifixion with the required three days and three nights within the grave, however the arguments is not going to stand as much as shut scrutiny.
First there may be the argument that the three days included a portion of Friday, all day Saturday, and a portion of Sunday. Cautious studying of the passages cited above from all 4 gospels will present that Jesus arose and departed from the tomb earlier than dawn on Sunday, so He couldn’t have meant that day to have been one of many three durations of daylight that He would spend within the grave. It is usually not possible to reconcile “three nights” with a Friday crucifixion, as a result of solely two nights, Friday and Saturday, would have fallen between the crucifixion and the resurrection. Some have tried to beat this impediment by counting the three midnights (see Matthew 27:45) as a “evening.” There are, in fact, two issues with this argument, even when one have been to simply accept that Jesus meant this era of darkness as an evening. First, there nonetheless could be solely two durations of daylight — Friday afternoon and Saturday — and second, Jesus was not within the grave throughout this era of darkness, however died following it.
Crucifixion on Wednesday has additionally been argued, however this might clearly require 4 durations of daylight and 4 durations of darkness previous to a Sunday morning resurrection.
The “three days” due to this fact will need to have been 1.) the portion of Thursday afternoon between Christ’s dying and sundown; 2.) all day Friday; and three.) all day Saturday. He arose earlier than dawn on Sunday. And the “three nights” will need to have been 1.) Thursday evening; 2.) Friday evening; and three.) Saturday evening.
So right here is the correct timing of the Lord’s crucifixion (utilizing our fashionable English names for the times): He was nailed to the cross on Thursday morning. He died on Thursday afternoon. When Joseph of Arimathaea and the opposite Jews mentioned the removing of His physique from the cross with Pilate, their sense of urgency was that His physique (and people of the 2 thieves crucified with Him) be taken down earlier than sunset, which might mark the start of the Excessive Sabbath (see John 19:31) which was the primary day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Be aware rigorously then that the approaching sabbath which created the urgency for eradicating the our bodies from the crosses and the sabbath following which the ladies went to the tomb weren’t the identical sabbath: the primary was the primary day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, “a particular sabbath,” which on this explicit yr occurred on a Friday and was due to this fact adopted instantly by the standard Seventh-day sabbath on Saturday.
As talked about beforehand, nevertheless, the significance of building this timing lies not a lot wherein days of the week the occasions occurred, however relatively within the significance of that one and solely day on which God’s plan completely required the Lord’s crucifixion should happen. We’ll now look at this facet rigorously.
There’s an obvious battle between the synoptic gospels and the gospel of John with regard to the timing of the Lord’s final supper with the disciples. For example typical of the synoptic gospels, Matthew studies, “On the primary day of the Pageant of Unleavened Bread, the disciples got here to Jesus and requested, “The place would you like us to make preparations so that you can eat the Passover?” He replied, “Go into town to a sure man and inform him, ‘The Trainer says: My appointed time is close to. I’m going to have fun the Passover with my disciples at your home.'” So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and ready the Passover. When night got here, Jesus was reclining on the desk with the Twelve” (Matthew 26:17-20).
You will need to perceive that the Jews usually handled the primary three feasts of the non secular yr – Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Firstfruits — as one prolonged feast, which they referred to collectively because the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Due to this fact, this passage is meant to convey that the disciples made the higher room prepared on “the primary day of the feast of unleavened bread,” which might be Passover day — due to this fact the preparation to “eat the passover.”
Between this account and the parallel accounts in Mark and Luke, it’s broadly believed and taught that Jesus and His disciples ate the passover meal on the day of the Passover feast, and that Jesus was crucified on the next day, which might have been the primary day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As soon as once more, nevertheless, the gospel of John reveals us that this isn’t an accurate understanding of the timing of those occasions.
Allow us to look at John’s account of this final supper which the Lord celebrated with His disciples. “Now earlier than the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he ought to depart out of this world unto the Father, having beloved his personal which have been on this planet, he beloved them unto the top. And supper being ended, the satan having now put into the guts of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him; Jesus realizing that the Father had given all issues into his fingers, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid apart his clothes; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water right into a basin, and started to scrub the disciples’ toes, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded” (John 13:1-5 KJV).
Be aware the language very rigorously: though the supper had already been eaten (“And supper being ended…” (v.2)), the Passover feast had not but arrived (“Now earlier than the feast of the Passover…” (v.1)). John right here reveals us that Jesus ate the Passover meal with His disciples the night earlier than the precise Passover feast day. As we noticed above, John 19:14 additionally reveals that this final supper was truly eaten on the day earlier than Passover: when Jesus appeared earlier than Pilate on the next day, it was “the preparation of the Passover” — “preparation” was the killing of the lamb earlier than sundown, in order that the Passover meal could possibly be eaten after sundown. That is additionally clear from John 18:28, the place we see that the Jewish leaders wouldn’t enter into Pilate’s judgment corridor: “… they themselves went not into the judgment corridor, lest they need to be defiled; however that they could eat the passover” — which might happen that night.
Why would Jesus eat the Passover meal with His disciples on the day earlier than the feast was scheduled to be noticed? His choice to do that arises instantly from one of the vital central and demanding doctrines of the Bible, an important facet of the work that Christ achieved on behalf of fallen man. With a purpose to perceive this doctrine and its significance within the timing of Jesus’ crucifixion, we have to assessment some essential historical past.
When God despatched Moses to guide the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt, He discovered it essential to inflict a collection of plagues upon the Egyptians earlier than Pharaoh would conform to launch the Israelites from slavery. The final and decisive of those plagues was the go to of the dying angel to each Egyptian family. God decreed that each one the firstborn of Egypt would die, each man and beast.
When the primary 9 plagues have been visited upon the Egyptians, the Israelites have been mechanically exempted. However with this tenth and remaining plague solely, God required the Israelites to take a constructive motion with the intention to stop the dying of their very own youngsters. He instructed them to pick out an ideal lamb for every family, to slay it and apply its blood to the doorposts and lintels of their homes. When the dying angel noticed the blood on the door, he would “cross over” that home and never carry dying to the firstborn.
The Passover feast was ordained by God as an annual commemoration of this milestone occasion. Sadly, the Israelites could by no means have absolutely understood the complete significance of this ceremony. However the New Testomony Scriptures have revealed to us that all the passover lambs that have been sacrificed by way of the a whole bunch of years of this celebration have been sorts or photographs of the One True Passover Lamb Who could be sacrificed on the cross for the sins of all mankind. This shedding of Christ’s blood and the atonement overlaying it supplies for sinful man is the central truth of the Bible, foretold within the Previous Testomony and recorded within the New. The Holy Spirit revealed by way of Paul that “… Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” (I Corinthians 5:7).
Now, if Christ is our Passover, and if the Passover feast was instituted by God to level ahead to this central truth in His covenant relationship with man, on what different day than Passover may Christ presumably have been sacrificed for the sins of man? Christ may have chosen any time of the yr to push the antagonism of the Jewish leaders over the brink and pressure the choice to place Him to dying. However He selected this precise time as a result of it was important that He set up Himself on this remaining act, as He had carried out in all His actions thus far, as The Passover Lamb.
So now we are able to return to Jesus’ choice to have fun the Passover feast with His disciples someday early. It was not possible for Him to look at the feast on the precise feast day of Passover, as a result of on that day, He couldn’t eat the Passover lamb: He could be the sacrificial Passover Lamb. On Passover He could be on the cross till simply earlier than sunset, after which within the grave. The Jews killed the one true Passover Lamb as was required, they shed His blood as was required on today, however they didn’t obtain the promised atonement as a result of they didn’t acknowledge Him for Who He was: they didn’t apply His shed blood to the doorposts and lintels of their very own hearts. Jesus stated, “… Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life…” On that one Passover to which all their historical past had pointed, the Jews ate the flesh of the fallacious lamb, and due to this fact didn’t obtain everlasting life.
There stays one fascinating level to look at, and that’s the timing of Jesus’ resurrection — once more, not with regard to the day of the week, however with regard to God’s calendar for Christ’s work in redeeming fallen man.
Recall that Jesus was crucified on Thursday, which was Passover. The next day was a Excessive Sabbath, as a result of it was the primary day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was then adopted by a weekly sabbath on Saturday. The following feast the Israelites have been instructed to look at was the Feast of Firstfruits. This feast was to be celebrated on “… the morrow after the sabbath.” (Leviticus 23:11).
The significance of the timing of Christ’s resurrection is parallel to the significance of the timing of His crucifixion on Passover. The entire Israelite observances of the Passover feast have been sorts pointing towards the one true Passover Lamb Who could be sacrificed on the one true Passover that may finish the necessity for additional observations of this feast. Simply so, all the Israelite observances of the Feast of the Firstfruits have been sorts pointing towards the one true Firstfruits from the lifeless Whose resurrection would finish the necessity for additional observations of this feast as effectively. Simply as “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us,” (I Corinthians 5:7), so additionally “now’s Christ risen from the lifeless, and change into the firstfruits of them that slept,” (I Corinthians 15:20); “… in Christ shall all be made alive… Christ the firstfruits; afterward they which might be Christ’s at his coming (I Corinthians 14:22, 23).
Simply because it was essential to God’s revelation of His plan of redemption that the true Passover Lamb be sacrificed on Passover, it was additionally essential that the Firstfruits be born the primary of the dominion of heaven on the Feast of Firstfruits.
So in abstract, right here is the proper timing for the occasions of the Ardour Week, the Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection:
- Wednesday: Christ observes the Passover feast someday early with His disciples within the higher room.
- Thursday (Passover): Christ the Passover Lamb is condemned and crucified, dying shortly earlier than sundown.
- Friday (First day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread — a Excessive Sabbath as a result of it is among the seven ordained feast days): Christ is within the grave.
- Saturday(a second consecutive sabbath, this one an unusual weekly sabbath day): The Lord continues to be within the tomb. It’s “ultimately” (Matthew 28:1) of this sabbath “because it started to daybreak towards the primary day of the week” that the ladies come to the Lord’s tomb and discover it empty.
- Sunday (Feast of Firstfruits): Christ the Firstfruits arises from the lifeless to change into the firstborn of many whose everlasting lives will spring instantly from Him, the Seed.
Subsequent Easter, whether or not you consider Thursday or Friday because the day of our Lord’s crucifixion, do not forget that on the Passover feast day He was the Passover Lamb, Whose blood was shed for the remission of sins. And do not forget that on the Feast of Firstfruits, He was the Firstfruits from the lifeless, our Forerunner into heaven.
Copyright 2010. Daniel E. Wafford