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Friday, April 14, 2006

Good Friday. Good? Yes. Friday? No!

It is my contention that Friday is not the day that Jesus was crucified. I have done some research and will put this out for discussion. I suspect much of the confusion is due to the fact that all were in a hurry to get Jesus down from the cross before "the Sabbath" would arrive. But Saturday was, and is, not the only Sabbath celebrated by the Jews.

Day before a High Day, not an ordinary Sabbath

Mark 15: 6-9. "Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?" (Thanks to "Hawkeye" Jim for a correction here.)

Notice the reference to the feast. Not only the Passover, but the Feast of Unleavened Bread is occurring during the crucifixion week.

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."

Exodus 13:7-9. "Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, and in the seventh day shall be a feast to the LORD. Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days; and there shall no leavened bread be seen with thee, neither shall there be leaven seen with thee in all thy quarters. And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, this is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD's law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt."

The Pharisees and Sadducees disagreed concerning the Sabbaths, with the Pharisees generally believing that the Passover feast and the Feast of Unleavened Bread should be held together, and the “Sads” holding them separately as two distinct Sabbath days. The Pharisees had control of the Temple and the Jew’s portion of the government. One suspects that Jesus would have a very literal view of the Bible and see the two events as separate but the officials would proclaim just one day as a High Sabbath.

Leviticus 23:6-8. "Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work. But for seven days you shall present an offering by fire to the Lord. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work."

Is the feast celebrated at the time of the crucifixion before the feast of Unleavened Bread; or, is it concurrent with the first day of the feast of Unleavened, the 15th of the month? The Jewish community has generally connected the two and keep the Passover Seder meal on the eve of the first day of unleavened. I am not convinced that traditional observance is correct. The eve of the 14th is the day before the first day of unleavened bread. In parallel, there has also been some controversy about the timing of Jesus' death. We know He was prophesied to be buried three days.

If you have the crucifixion on Friday after a Thursday evening Passover meal and Jesus is buried before sundown Friday, then how can He be seen on Sunday morning (the first day after Sabbath) and it be called three days and three nights? By Jewish count, it can be called three different days, but it is not three days and three nights. We definitely know the day He arose; therefore an argument can be made for an earlier Passover observance (maybe the evening of the 14th instead of the 15th). Maybe, Jesus observed the Passover meal on the evening of the 14th (Tuesday night), was arrested and crucified on Wednesday day. Wednesday then would be "the day of preparation" for the first day of the Feast of Unleavened bread which begins on the 15th (Wednesday night). Moses instructed that the first and seventh days of unleavened bread are high Sabbaths (days of holy convocation with no labor).

The Jews of that time, led by the Pharisees, would have been celebrating their Passover on the 15th in conjunction with the Feast day. So Jesus and His disciples had their Passover the night before (the 14th), then Jesus is caught, "tried and convicted" and crucified all before the official beginning of the next day when most of the Jews were having their High day.

Keep in mind that by Jewish reckoning in those days, a new day began at about six PM. This was established all the way back in the Book of Genesis when God created the world and it is written that "the evening and the morning were the first day" (Genesis 1:5). Therefore the urge to get Jesus down from the cross and into the tomb before six PM and before the beginning of the new High Sabbath which would be celebrated beginning at six, as a new day. If the approaching Sabbath had been a Saturday, then Jesus would have been crucified on Friday afternoon. But it was a high day, a different Sabbath and was not a normal Saturday Sabbath.

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."

Matthew 27:63
"Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, after three days I will rise again."

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."

Esther 4:16
"Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish."


Three full days is something of a theme in the Bible (Jesus, Jonah, Esther), and three full days were prophesied concerning Jesus. If Jesus was crucified on Friday, the scripture was not fulfilled. But there is very good evidence here that Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday afternoon. Thursday would have been a High Sabbath by Pharisitical reckoning. Friday would have been another day that preparations would take place for a Sabbath. Saturday would have been the normal Sabbath day and the last day of the week by Jewish reckoning.

On Sunday, very early (anytime after six PM Saturday evening by our reckoning and 72 hours after his death on the cross) Jesus would have risen. Sunday was the first non-Sabbath and non-preparation day for the women who discovered that Christ had risen. This is why they did not come to the tomb until Sunday, for they could not do it on a Sabbath and they were responsible for all preparations on the day before a Sabbath. Sunday was the first "free" day that they would have had available to them. It was on this day that they discovered Jesus had risen.

That Jesus lived a perfect life made Him eligible to die a terrible death on the cross, taking all of our sins upon Himself in the process. That He died made him the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world, as John the Baptist had proclaimed. That Jesus rose is the fulfillment of the ultimate Bible prophecy! Because He lives, I have hope of redemption, eternal life, and a living relationship with Him!

A Blessed Easter weekend to you all!


Johnny said...

I'm not sure where you are going with this. I am not aware that the confluence of a minor recurring feast (Unleavened Bread) would significantly impact the major high holy day (Passover) observance. I have heard it argued that Jesus celebrated the Passover a day early with his disciples (actually, by your reckoning, Thursday night = Friday = Passover/Sabbath). The three days and nights citation may have a linguistic explanation. It says in Hosea 6:2
After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight."

That has been interpreted as a Messianic prophecy as well, without as much corroboration however as other passages.

This would mean buried 2 days, rise on the third, perhaps the Aramaic in Matthew would be closer to the Hebrew in the Hosea passage?

radar said...

Not going anywhere, just stating a premise.

Tuesday - Jesus celebrates with disciples, shares the Passover feast.

Wednesday - Jesus is caught, convicted and crucified, then entombed just as Thursday (by Jewish count) approaches.

Thursday - in the earth 24 hours

Friday - in the earth 24 hours

Saturday - in the earth 24 hours

Now He has been entombed for 72 hours, and as Sunday arrives He rises from the dead. When the women come and see that He has risen, the guards had fainted away, the stone had been rolled away, etc. it had not been much past 72 hours since Jesus had been put in the tomb.

Sunday by Jewish reckoning would begin on 6 pm Saturday evening by our clocks, by the way.

radar said...

I am not trying to rain on anyone's parade or say that you are not a "good Christian" if you disagree with me, by the way.

I hope everyone checks out Johnny's music! Looks like Brian and Carl and John and Paul have been there already?

Stingray said...

This is something that I think about every year. I have read convincing arguments that Jesus was crucified on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. However, I have decided, based on scripture and Jewish laws of the time, that he was buried on Friday before sunset.

First of all, let me say that this is a family discussion and is certainly not anything that Christians should divide over.

The gospels assert the urgency of getting Jesus down from the cross and buried. Torah Law is clear on the burial of executed men:

If a man has committed a sin worthy of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day, for he who is hanged is the curse of God, so that you do not defile your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance. (Deuteronomy 21:22-23; cf. Joshua 8:29, 10:26-27).

It's interesting that Isaiah 53:9 says "He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death..." (NIV). Because he was considered a criminal, Jesus could not have been buried in a grave next to a righteous man, or even a partially wicked man. If he had been buried in a traditional Jewish cemetery, he would have buried in a portion reserved for those who had wicked lives.

Joseph of Arimathea prevented this, though, by burying him in a tomb in a garden near where Jesus was crucified. Joseph quite likely did this because of the time element, but he also may have done it because, by his asking for Jesus' body, he had identified publicly as a follower of Jesus and, as a follower, did not want Jesus buried with the wicked.

As far as a portion of a day being considered a full day, we have this from a first-century rabbi.

Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah (who lived around A.D. 100) said, "A day and night are an Onah [a portion of time] and the portion of an Onah is as the whole of it" (Jerusalem Talmud, Shabbath ix.3; cf. Babylonian Talmud Pesahim 4a).

I'm fairly convinced now that Jesus was crucified on a Friday and was hastily buried before sunset. Thus, he was in the grave part of Friday, all of Saturday, and all of Sunday. In accordance with Jewish law, this constituted 3 days.

-Michael McCullough

Stingray:  a blog for salty Christians

radar said...

Very true that this is not a doctrinal issue at all and should not divide us. I see it as a point of interest and have considered both sides of the argument.

If the Friday date is true, though, then the high day and the regular Sabbath would have had to have been on the same day, true?

highboy said...

We know He was tried at nighttime, it was one of the things that made the trial so illegal. There is actually evidence, according to Dwight D. Pentacost, that He was on Thursday night and killed by Friday morning. I'll try and find some links. It wouldn't surprise me though, if He wasn't killed on Good Friday, as His birthday likewise is not December 25th.

Amy Proctor said...

How's this for cool? According to the Jewish calendar, the Passover begins on April 13, 2006 (yesterday), (5766). The Jewsish calendar has it as the year 5766 and I think it's insulting that Christians choose to believe in evolution. The people closest to the history believe the account. Just a side note.

I tend to agree with Johnny's assertion. But when in doubt, I believe in going back to the source: the Jews. Here's what Judaism 101 says:

The Fast of the Firstborn, normally observed on the day before Pesach (Passover), is observed on Thursday instead. The search for chametz, normally performed on the night before Pesach, is performed on Thursday night. The seder should be prepared for as much as possible before Shabbat begins, because time should not be taken away from Shabbat to prepare for Pesach.


Pesach / Passover in 2005 will commence at sundown on Saturday evening April 23rd, 2005 and will last eight days (seven days for most Reform Jews, some Conservative Jews, and Jews in Israel), concluding on Sunday evening May 1st, 2005, or in the Hebrew calendar, from 15 Nissan 5765 to 22 Nissan 5765.

If I understand correctly, the Passover, Thursday, seems to perfectly correlate with the Christian tradition of Holy Thursday (last supper), crucifixion on Friday, resurrection Sunday morning.

As for 3 days, it doesn't necessarily mean 3 full 24 hour days. Friday, day one. Saturday, day two (full day). Sunday, day 3 (probably just a few hours).

Jeffahn said...

What does this have to do with Easter?

All I want is my choccy eggs, thnx.


Johnny said...

Thanks so much for the kind words and the endorsement of my music. I really appreciate that, especially the remark about Brian, Mike, Carl and Paul! LOL! You made my day!

Congrats on your returning back from combat and God bless you and Mrs. radar for raising such a great son who chose to serve his country during a time of war.
Happy Easter,

creeper said...

"How's this for cool? According to the Jewish calendar, the Passover begins on April 13, 2006 (yesterday), (5766). The Jewsish calendar has it as the year 5766 and I think it's insulting that Christians choose to believe in evolution. The people closest to the history believe the account. Just a side note."

I got a good chuckle out of that one, Amy - thank you for your not-so-subtle attempt to drag Radar back to the main debate.

Amy Proctor said...

Creeper, That wasn't intentional, but Jesus has everything to do with creationism, theologically speaking, so I see it as one big ball of wax.

Also, it's Radar's blog so if he wants to stray from subject to subject, I'm sure you wouldn't object.


creeper said...

"Also, it's Radar's blog so if he wants to stray from subject to subject, I'm sure you wouldn't object."

Absolutely not, Amy. I like hearing Radar's takes on religious matters. I just found it mildly amusing that you interjected that there.

I have to say I'm not sure what Jesus is supposed to have to do with creationism. It appears to me that his spiritual lessons don't dictate a belief in creationism over one in, say, theistic evolution. Could you tell us more about where you see such an exclusivity in Jesus's teachings?

And of course: peace!

BTW, what is the favored theory of why Good Friday is called Good Friday?

Anonymous said...

You said this:

"The Jewsish calendar has it as the year 5766 and I think it's insulting that Christians choose to believe in evolution. The people closest to the history believe the account."

I think you should speak for yourself on this issue. The vast majority of jews do not believe in creationism. Only a minority of ultra-orthodox jews take the bible to be literal.

You're also mistaken about the dates, the Jewish calendar is lunar and the dates change year to year. There's no guarantee that passover will fall on any given day of the week. It can vary by almost a month.

"As for 3 days, it doesn't necessarily mean 3 full 24 hour days. Friday, day one. Saturday, day two (full day). Sunday, day 3 (probably just a few hours)."

...yet the 7 days of creation has to be literally interpreted. I'm no bible scholar, but this strikes me as a contradiction. You do know that the Catholic church has accepted evolution and an old earth for a long time now, right?

(just correcting errors here, I'll buzz off now)

radar said...

This was a comment from Hawkeye that somehow didn't get on the comment thread...?

"Hello Radar,

I can't seem to post a comment at your blog for some reason. Maybe it's just something in the ether today. Who knows?

Anyway, I have to say that I lost you right at the beginning of your article. First of all, the passage you quoted is Mark 15:6-9 (not 7-9). Then, you highlight the words "that feast" in bold. So, I assume you are trying to suggest that there is something different or important about "that feast", which I would ordinarily interpret to be "the Feast of Passover" (which according to Holman's Bible Dictionary is the most important "feast" in the Jewish calendar). Then you say... "the Feast of Unleavened Bread is occurring during the crucifixion week." However, and most importantly, you do not support your statement that the Feast of Unleavened Bread is in fact occurring during crucifixion week. How do you know that? What proof do you have?

I'm not trying to be antagonistic, just looking for how you justify the statement."

Thanks, Hawkeye! I did add an addendum to the post that goes into more detail concerning the Passover and the Feast and gave the scripture reference.

I posted what I believe to be true. Again, it is not a matter of doctrine from my point of view. Hope you check out the addendum and will be interested in your response...

radar said...

S Cohen

Happy Easter to you. In fact, Happy Easter to all!!!

Now, that the Catholic church has endorsed evolution is quite true. I have endorsed creation. It appears that my opinion has not yet swayed them, so this may be true for some time.

I have no way of knowing that most Jews do not believe in creationism. I would have to see documentation on that?

Debbie said...

Radar, I agree with you most the time except on this I don't. I have heard your view from a very prominent Bible teacher, it made sense to me but wasn't really settled in my mind.

John 19
31Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.

I'm not sure that any other holy days were called "sabbath". That passage sounds to me like the weekly sabbath that was coming up was extra special because it was during the Holy week of the Feast of Unleavened bread.

Matt. 12:40,"For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

Mark 8:31, 31He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.

It dosen't say that He would be dead for 3 days and nights but that He would be rejected by the leaders of Israel and then killed. It dose not say anywhere that He would be in the grave for 3 days but in the "heart of the earth".

God considered Jerusalem the center or "heart" of the earth.

Ezekiel 5:5, 5 "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: This is Jerusalem, which I have set in the center of the nations, with countries all around her.

Psalm 74:12, "For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth."

Ezekiel 38:12,To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land (land and earth are the same word).

Center,heart and midst have the same meaning. Jerusalem is the center or heart of the earth.

Acts 1:8,"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

So when Jesus was arrested in the garden, the evening of the Passover He was in the hands of sinners, that begins the count of the days until the resurrection. Hebrew days start in the evening so Thursday eve., Friday eve. and Saturday eve. are 3 days.

That is not a full 72 hours in the way we count days but it is 3 days.

Anonymous said...

look what I found!

In general, the major Jewish denominations accept evolutionary creationism (theistic evolution), with the exception of certain Orthodox groups. The general approach of Judaism is that the creation account in the Torah's Book of Genesis is not to be taken as a literal text, but rather as a symbolic work.
--from the link above; second sentence

So, most jews do not believe in creationism except certain ultra-orthodox sects. Given that most jews do not belong to those sects, my statement is true.

Like I said, just correcting errors.

Just so you know, that was the fourth link if you google for 'judaism and evolution'.

Radar: So you don't think I'm without any manners at all, Happy Easter to you. I've never celebrated easter myself, but I appreciate your good will.


P.S. Radar, I was really talking to Amy, I don't think you made any of those assertions.

Anonymous said...

Love your curiosity. Here's an article you might be interested in called "The Resurrection Was Not On Sunday:"