When Was Christ Crucified and Resurrected?
Here is the one and only sign that Jesus presented to indicate that He was the promised Messiah. D o you have any idea just how significant the events surrounding Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection are to you and to the rest of the world? If you identify as a Christian, you must unquestionably believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but have you ever looked into the one and only proof Jesus ever provided for this claim? Have you ever taken the time to thoroughly consider what Jesus said, what actually happened, and how it compares to the teachings of your own religion?
The religious authorities of Jesus’ day were continually putting Jesus’ teachings to the test.
In the New Testament, the nameJonah is derived from the Old Testament character of the same name, whose life narrative is documented in the book of the same name.
The events surrounding the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are crucial to understanding what it means to be a genuine Christian.
Three Days and Three Nights
A number of significant features of Matthew 12:38-40 should be objectively analyzed and examined. It is in verse 40 that Jesus explicitly and expressly states that He will be buried for three days and three nights. This is possibly the most important statement in the Bible. Is this something your church believes? Alternatively, have you been told the tale of a Friday crucifixion and a resurrection on Sunday morning? Make a mental note of the number of nights and days that have passed. From Friday evening until Sunday morning, there will only be two nights and one day available, not three of each kind of accommodation.
- Assuming the teachings of the majority of “Christian” denominations are correct, Jesus was only on the planet for two nights and one day, concluding that Jesus has not been shown to be the Son of God.
- How can you claim that Jesus is the Son of God when His own statements contradict that claim?
- Religious authorities first appeal to the fact that Jesus was executed the day before a sabbath day as evidence of his sacrifice.
- For the record, this demonstrates that those same religious leaders are aware that Saturday is the biblical Sabbath, which we are obligated to keep holy in the Fourth Commandment.
- Secondly, it was predicted that there would be erroneous doctrines that would influence or be accepted by “many” people (e.g.
- Revelation 12:9 reveals that Satan, who has been working to deceive mankind for 6,000 years, is the one who is behind this deceit.
- Your Bible establishes that Jesus was murdered on Wednesday, April 25, in the year a.d.31, not on Friday, as some have claimed.
In addition, it demonstrates that Jesus’ resurrection took place at sunset on Saturday evening, April 28, rather than at daybreak on Sunday morning. Now, let us take a closer look at what actually transpired when Jesus was crucified.
Not Buried Before a Weekly Sabbath
Following two days, the feast of Passover with unleavened bread was celebrated, and the top priests and scribes plotted how they might capture Jesus and put him to death by trickery. (Matthew 14:1). In Israel, this occurred immediately before the start of the spring holy days. The holiday of Passover, as well as the yearly sabbath day known as the first day of Unleavened Bread, were just around the corner. Leviticus 23 contains a list of the yearly sabbaths that are to be observed. (“Pagan Holidays or God’s Holy Days—Which?” is a free ebook that provides thorough information on the yearly holy days.
- (Matthew 14:12) Jesus was instructing His disciples on how to prepare for the Passover, which is not a religious holiday but rather a hallowed ceremony.
- This is the occasion that is generally referred to as the “Last Supper,” however it is really known as the “Lord’s Passover” (Exodus 12:11, 27; Leviticus 23:5).
- Continue reading through Mark 14, and the sequence of events and the precise moment will become apparent.
- In the evening, Jesus and His followers had the Passover meal and then proceeded to the garden, where Jesus prayed.
- “And they took Jesus away and brought him before the high priest, and with him were gathered all the chief priests and elders and scribes” (Mark 14:53).
- Jesus was carried to Pilate the following morning, as soon as the sun rose.
- Following the farce that passed for a trial, Jesus was found guilty and condemned to death.
And when he had been crucified, they divided his clothing, casting lots to determine which garments each man would get.
The military timepieces, sometimes known as guards, were used to measure the passage of time.
in our current time zone.
And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud cry.
Jesus died at 3 p.m.
Traditionally, the day preceding a holy day is referred to as a day of preparation. This was one of those days. The first day of Unleavened Bread is observed as an annual sabbath, or a holy day, by the Jewish people. The burial of Jesus was followed by Joseph’s death.
Two Sabbaths That Week
It is plainly stated in Luke 23:50-55 that Jesus died and was buried on the day before the Sabbath (sometimes referred to as the holy day) and that Jesus was buried in the tomb of Lazarus (John 19:31). The use of the term “the sabbath drew on” indicates that it was approaching very close to sunset, which is when days begin and conclude according to biblical timekeeping. Take a close look at the following occurrence in the book of Mark. Once the Sabbath had passed, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome had gone out and purchased pleasant spices in order to come and anoint him (Mark 16:1).
It is said in the Anchor Bible on Mark that “after the Sabbath was ended, Mary of Magdalla, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went and bought fragrant oils to go and anoint him,” according to the Bible.
This is according to Lange’s Bible Commentary: “Only the two Marys had been at the grave for an excessive amount of time; hence they could not make their purchases until after the Sabbath had gone.” As has been plainly demonstrated in Scripture, Jesus was buried in the afternoon, right before sunset on the eve of the Jewish Sabbath.
- According to Luke 23:56, they returned and prepared spices and ointments while keeping the sabbath day holy as instructed by the law.
- There is just one possible explanation that is consistent with both scriptures: Following the purchase of the spices, the ladies prepared them for application to the body of Jesus.
- John records that the sabbath following Jesus’ burial was the first day of Unleavened Bread, which was a high sabbath.
- In other words, the Bible is clear that there were two sabbath days the week Jesus was executed, but it requires a little detective effort to figure out which ones they were.
- Take a look at Matthew 28:1 and the Greek word identified byStrong’s as 4521 that is translated as “sabbath” (King James Version).
- There are various plural variants indicated by the comment; nevertheless, Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:2, and John 20:1, 19 are particularly noteworthy.
If you look closely, you will notice that each utilizes the plural form of the term “sabbaths,” as opposed to the incorrect single translation. This illusion is initiated by taking off the “s,” which would otherwise indicate that the wordsabbath are plural.
It is plainly stated in Luke 23:50-55 that Jesus died and was buried on the day before the Sabbath (sometimes referred to as the high day) and that Jesus was buried in the tomb (John 19:31). The use of the term “the sabbath drew on” indicates that it was approaching extremely close to sunset, which is when days begin and conclude according to biblical calendar. Keep an eye out for the next event in Mark’s gospel. Once the Sabbath had passed, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome had gone out and purchased fragrant spices so that they may come and anoint him (Mark 16:1).
- “When the Sabbath had ended, Mary of Magdalla, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased fragrant oils with which to anoint him,” according to the Anchor Bible on Mark.
- This is according to Lange’s Bible Commentary: “Only the two Marys had been at the burial for an excessive amount of time; hence they could not make their purchases until after the Sabbath had gone.
- In fact, Mark tells us that the Marys purchased spices following that yearly sabbath day.
- After the sabbathand, according to Mark 16:1, the ladies went out day bought spices.
- Both texts are consistent with a single explanation: They then prepared the spices for application to the body of Jesus after purchasing them.
- John records that the sabbath following Jesus’ burial was the first day of Unleavened Bread, which was a high sabbath.
- There were two sabbath days during the week of Jesus’ crucifixion, according to the Bible; however, discovering this requires considerable investigation.
- Take a look at Matthew 28:1 and the Greek word identified byStrong’s as 4521 and translated as “sabbath” (King James Version).
- The terms “sabbath” and “sabbaths” are both apluralform of the word “sabbath,” and each should have been translated accordingly.
The plural word “sabbaths” is used in each instance rather than the mistranslation of the singular word “sabbath.” A very subtle illusion is initiated by omitting the “s” to indicate the plural form of the word Sabbath.
When Was Jesus Christ Crucified and Resurrected? : Did He Really Die on Good Friday and Come Back to Life on Easter Sunday?
As recorded in Matthew 12:38, a group of scribes and Pharisees approached Jesus and requested for a sign to show He was the Messiah. However, Jesus informed them that the only sign He would provide would be similar to that of the prophet Jonah: “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the big fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:38). (Matthew 12:40). The question is, how can we accommodate “three days and three nights” between a Friday afternoon crucifixion and a Sunday morning resurrection?
- A number of people feel that Christ’s “three days and three nights” remark does not necessitate a precise period of 72 hours, believing that a portion of one day can be counted as a whole day.
- In this theory, however, only two nights are taken into consideration: Friday night and Saturday night Something is clearly wrong with the traditional perspective of when Christ was buried, and it is not difficult to see why.
- In the event that Jesus remained in the tomb just from late Friday afternoon until early Sunday morning, the sign He delivered indicating that He was the predicted Messiah would not have been fulfilled, as previously stated.
- When we do this, we unearth the true tale of how Jesus’ words were perfectly fulfilled, a story that was previously unknown.
Two Sabbaths mentioned
Take note of the events described in Luke 23. Luke 23:46-53 tells the story of Jesus’ death and burial, which took place in haste because of the approaching Sabbath, which began at sundown that evening. The Bible says in Luke 23:54, “That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath was drawing nigh.” Many have thought that the weekly Sabbath is being referenced here, and that Jesus was killed on a Friday as a result of this assumption. However, according to John 19:31, the impending Sabbath “was a high day”—not the weekly Sabbath (which runs from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset), but the first day of Unleavened Bread, which is one of God’s yearly high, or Sabbath, days (as opposed to the weekly Sabbath) (Exodus 12:16-17;Leviticus 23:6-7).
This high-day Sabbath was observed on Wednesday night and Thursday because, according to Luke 23:56, after witnessing Christ’s corpse being deposited in the tomb shortly before sunset, the women “returned and prepared spices and aromatic oils” in preparation for the final preparation of the body for burial.
As recorded in Mark’s account, “Now when the Sabbath had passed, Mary Magdalene and her sister Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and bought spices, so that they may come and anoint Him” (Matthew 26:35).
The ladies had to wait until the end of this yearly “high day” Sabbath before they could go out and purchase and prepare the spices that would be used for anointing Jesus’ body.
This second Sabbath stated in the Gospel reports corresponds to the ordinary weekly Sabbath, which is celebrated from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset every week.
The first, according to John 19:31, was a “high day”—the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which happened on a Thursday in the year A.D. 31. The second, according to John 19:31, was a “low day.” The second was the weekly Sabbath on the seventh day of the week.
Sign of the Messiah
“While it was still dark,” according to John 20:1, after the ladies had had their normal weekly Sabbath rest, they went to Jesus’ tomb on the first day of the week, Sunday, and discovered that He had already been raised (Matthew 28:1-6;Mark 16:2-6;Luke 24:1-3). It becomes evident when we look at the specifics in all four Gospel texts that the picture is painted in black and white. Jesus was killed and entombed late on Wednesday afternoon, shortly before the Jewish Sabbath began at sunset the same evening.
- The Lord Jesus Christ was buried in the tomb from the evening of Wednesday until the evening of Saturday, when He rose from the dead.
- It couldn’t have happened on Sunday morning since when Mary Magdalene arrived at the tomb that morning before daylight, “when it was still dark,” she saw the stone had been moved away and the tomb had been left vacant.
- Exactly three days and three nights after He was laid in the tomb, Jesus resurrected from the dead.
- We recommend that you read our pamphlet, Jesus Christ: The Real Story, for further information.
The Resurrection Was Not on Easter Sunday!
Every year, billions of people throughout the world celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. However, most people are unaware that the Bible presents a totally different tale from the one they are used to hearing from the pulpit. When it comes to Jesus’ resurrection, what is the truth? Every year, thousands of thousands of professing Christians come for Easter morning services. Even those who are not regular churchgoers will attend services at the church of their choosing on Easter Sunday, regardless of their religious affiliation.
As unbelievable as that statement may appear, it is true—and you can demonstrate it!
In reality, it teaches something very different!
When exactly did Christ’s resurrection take place?
So, what’s the relationship between an Easter egg hunt and the resurrection of Jesus Christ? Continue reading to find out the answers to these and other important questions!
The Sign of Jesus’ Messiahship
The fact that Jesus of Nazareth was the prophesied Messiah of the Old Testament was supported by a number of evidences for people who sought to learn the truth with sincerity. When the disciples of John the Baptist came to Jesus after John’s arrest and imprisonment by Herod, take note of what He told them: “Because you have come to me, I will tell you what I have done for you.” “And when John learned of Christ’s deeds while imprisoned, he dispatched two of his disciples to confront Him with the question, “Are You the Coming One, or should we look for another?” When they asked what Jesus had said, he replied, “Go and tell John what you have heard and seen: the blind see and the crippled walk; lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are resurrected and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” Also, happy is the one who does not feel offended by Me.'” (Matthew 11:2–6; Mark 10:2–6).
- According to John’s narrative, Jesus performed a series of miraculous wonders, beginning with the wedding feast at Cana, when He transformed water into wine (John 2:11).
- These signs were observed by Jesus’ disciples, confirming their belief that He was, in fact, the Messiah who had been foretold.
- John penned the following: “There was a guy named Nicodemus who belonged to the Pharisees and was the ruler of the Jews.
- During the first Passover season of Jesus’ ministry, in the year 28 AD, this occurred.
- None of this was satisfactory to them.
- Jesus assured them on each of these instances that they would only get one sign like this in their lifetime.
When He was confronted by the religious leaders, who demanded that He demonstrate another sign in addition to the miraculous healings He had performed in the temple, He responded by saying, “I will show you another sign.” “‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,’ Jesus responded to their question.
- Because, just as Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the giant fish, the Son of Man will spend three days and three nights in the center of the earth.” (Matthew 12:38–40; Mark 10:38–40).
- The sole indication Jesus gave to the doubting religious leaders of His day was that He would be in the tomb for precisely three days and three nights, as He had promised them.
- “He is not present because, as He stated, He has risen from the dead.
- Jesus had vowed that He would remain in the tomb for precisely three days and three nights, and He resurrected exactly three days and three nights after He said He would.
- It is not possible to count it yourself; it will just not work!
- Others believe that it is a colloquial expression.
- It is important to note that Jesus was referring to Hebrew terminology rather than Greek.
- “The L ord had prepared a massive fish to engulf Jonah at this point.
- As Queen Esther instructed her cousin Mordecai, “Go, collect all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for three days, neither eating nor drinking, day or night” was the exact term used (Esther 4:16).
- This is exactly what Jesus was referring to, and the Pharisees were well aware of it.
They were well aware that Jesus was not referring to a simple day and a half, but rather three whole days, as he had stated.
When Was the Crucifixion?
The Bible, however, says that Jesus was crucified and buried on Friday, and that the tomb was empty on Sunday morning. “But,” many will argue, “doesn’t the Bible say that Jesus was crucified and buried on Friday, and that the tomb was empty on Sunday morning?” However, while it is true that the tomb was already empty on Sunday morning, the Bible makes no mention of Jesus being crucified on Friday. In Mark 15:42–45, it is stated that He was crucified on the “preparation day.” However, it is important to understand which preparation day this was.
- Leviticus 23:4, 7, 24, 27–32).
- The following day—Abib 15—is an annual Holy Day, the first Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
- Thursday was an annual Sabbath, the first Holy Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
- He was resurrected just before sunset on Saturday afternoon, exactly 72 hours after His burial.
- However, they did not witness the resurrection; instead, they witnessed an empty tomb and were informed by an angel that He had risen exactly as He had predicted.
- (John 1:29).
- (1 Corinthians 5:7).
that morning—the “third hour” from daylight in Jewish usage (v.
From noon until Jesus’ death at about 3 p.m., there was complete darkness over the entire area (vv.
Shortly afterward, Joseph of Arimathea sought an audience with Pilate and requested that Jesus’ dead body be released to him for burial (v.
After summoning the centurion in charge of the executions to ascertain that Jesus was really dead, Pilate gave Joseph permission to take and bury the body (vv.
Luke, in his gospel, emphasized that the burial was hurried and took place just before sunset (Luke 23:53–54, cf.
This emphasis that Jesus was hurriedly buried shortly before the Sabbath began has confused many people into thinking that the crucifixion took place on a Friday.
Remember, Abib 15—the day after the Passover—was the first Holy Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the first of seven annual Holy Days commanded to ancient Israel (Leviticus 23:5–7).
Notice Mark’s statement: “Nowwhen the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him” (Mark 16:1).
Shops in Jerusalem would have been closed on both the weekly and annual Sabbaths.
Note that Luke explains it wasafterthe women prepared the spices and fragrant oils —a job that would have taken hours—that “they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56).
How could they have waited until after the Sabbath to buy and prepare spices (as Mark clearly states), yet rest on the weekly Sabbath after they had prepared the spices (as Luke clearly states)—unless there were actuallytwoSabbaths in that week?
Why, then, did the women come to the tomb on Sunday morning?
Of course not!
Why was this a special sign, to the religious leaders, confirming Jesus’ Messiahship?
Remember, Matthew explained that on the day after the crucifixion—early in the morning of the “high day” Sabbath—the Jewish leadership sent a delegation seeking Pilate’s permission to post an armed guard to secure the tomb.
(28:11). From the mouths of the very guards that they themselves had posted, these leaders learned that Jesus had fulfilled the sign of the prophet Jonah—just as He said He would!
Where Did Easter Come From?
Easter is never mentioned in the New Testament, which was written by the Holy Spirit. The term “Easter” is used in Acts 12:4 in the King James translation, while practically every other translation uses the word “Passover,” which is the true reading of the Greek wordpascha. Any Bible commentary or Greek interlinear will do to confirm this for you, and you can find one in practically any bookstore. It is possible that the early first-century Church did not mark Easter Sunday at all. Christians have continued to observe the Passover in the same manner that the original Apostles did when in the presence of Jesus.
- Christ’s sacrifice was symbolized by these symbols, which were a little piece of broken unleavened bread and a sip of wine.
- So, where did the tradition of celebrating Easter come from?
- Please take note of the following startling comment made by a researcher affiliated with the Pontifical Gregorian University Press in Rome: “Scholars are nearly unanimous in their belief that Rome is, in fact, the origin of the holiday of Easter Sunday.
- 201, he writes: Eusebius, an early Catholic historian, gives insight into the origins of Easter in his Ecclesiastical History (Ecclesiastical History).
- Eusebius penned the following: “But Polycrates was in charge of the bishops of Asia, who were firm in their adherence to the tradition that had been passed down to them from their forefathers.
- Phillip, one of the twelve apostles, was a man of faith.
- Polycarp of Smyrna (Polycarp of Smyrna).
In the next paragraph, Eusebius quotes an account written by Irenaeus, a second-century bishop of Lyons, who claims that the practice of celebrating Easter as a substitute for Passover dates back to the time of Sixtus, bishop of Rome (c.
To put it another way, Easter Sunday was not recognized by the professing Christian community until over 20 years after the death of the Apostle John, the last living eyewitness to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, was killed.
If it truly honored the events of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, it would have been observed from the beginning, wouldn’t it?
Even just hearing it should cause us to sit up and pay note.
Easter is derived from Ishtar or Astarte, names that relate to the ancient Babylonian goddess who was revered as the mother of the sun god and who was worshipped as a fertility goddess.
A large number of Fathers abstracted and reinterpreted pagan symbols and beliefs about the Sun, and they used these symbols and ideas to preach the Christian message in an apologetic manner ” (Bacchiocchi, p.
Much of the symbolism connected with Easter, including the use of bunnies and eggs, may be traced back to ancient customs that started in Babylon and were passed down to us over the centuries by way of Rome.
As a result of this partnership between church and state, most of the trappings associated with contemporary Christian culture have been imposed on the Christian community at large.
Many serious professing Christians would argue that they attend Easter morning services to commemorate Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead, rather than to worship the sun deity, and that this is not their intention.
that you do not enquire about their gods, asking things like ‘How did these countries worship their gods?’ or similar questions.
That it does so actually obscures the very moment in time that Jesus claimed was the defining indication of His Messiahship—the time He spent in the tomb for three days and three nights.
It is past time for those who claim to be God’s people to emerge from spiritual Babylon and worship the Creator in the manner prescribed by God—in spirit and in truth!
Jesus – resurrection – The nature of God and Jesus in Christianity – GCSE Religious Studies Revision – Eduqas
The resurrection, according to Christian religion, is the idea that Jesus rose from the dead three days after he died on the cross. Several passages in the Gospel of Luke (24:1–9) provide insight into how Jesus’ followers learned that he had been resurrected:
- On the Sunday following Jesus’ death, the female disciples of Jesus went to his tomb to pay their respects. The entrance to the tomb had been blocked off by a stone. The stone, on the other hand, had been moved aside, and the tomb was now empty. Two males in sparkling attire came in front of the women. The ladies were terrified, but the men questioned them, saying, “Why are you looking for the live among the dead?” He is not present
- He has ascended into the heavens! Remember what he said to you when he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be given into the hands of sinners, be crucified, and on the third day be risen again’ (Luke 24:5–7). The female disciples then returned to Jesus’ apostles and other people to inform them that Jesus had risen from the dead.
Many Christians place a high value on their belief in the resurrection because of the following reasons:
- The resurrection demonstrates that Jesus overcame death
- It is seen as evidence of life after death
- It also demonstrates God’s power and omnibenevolence.
St. Paul emphasizes the importance of believing in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead in the biblical book 1 Corinthians, which is written by the apostle Paul. He adds that he personally saw Jesus after his resurrection, and that Jesus appeared to the apostles as well as over 500 other people during that time period. The apostle Paul then informs the audience that Jesus’ resurrection offers the possibility of life beyond death: If it is proclaimed that Christ has been risen from the dead, how can some of you claim that there is no such thing as a resurrected body?
- And if Christ has not been risen from the dead, our message, as well as your faith, is pointless.
- Is this true or false?
- He was raised from the dead.
- As far as we know, Jesus has returned to life in the same physical shape and at the same stage in his life as he was when he died.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Easter?
Easter, also known as the Latin Pascha or the Greek Pascha, is the primary holiday of the Christian church, commemorating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day following his Crucifixion. Even while the remembrance of Jesus’ Resurrection is believed to have taken place far earlier, the first recorded instance of an Easter celebration dates back to the 2nd century AD. The origins of the English term Easter, which is derived from the German word Oster, are unknown at this time. Several theories have been advanced, including one by the Venerable Bede in the 8th century, that it derives from Eostre, also known as Eostrae, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility.
Given the tenacity with which Christians fought against all types of paganism (the belief in several deities), this looks to be a highly problematic assumption.
Pâques, the French term for Easter, derives from the Latin and Greek words Pascha (“Passover”), which means “Passover.”
The date of Easter and its controversies
In early Christian history, the determination of the day on which the Resurrection of Jesus was to be commemorated and celebrated sparked a great discussion in which two opposing viewpoints could be distinguished: the Eastern and the Western. Even in the 8th century, there was no permanent resolution to the issue, which was known as the Paschal disputes. Christian commemorations of the Crucifixion occurred on the same day as Jewish commemorations of the Passoveroffering (14 Nisan), which was marked on the 14th day of the first full moon of spring (14 Nisan) in Asia Minor (seeJewish calendar).
- In the Western world, the Resurrection of Jesus was commemorated on the first day of the week, Sunday, the day on which Jesus had ascended to the right hand of God.
- The Sunday celebration became increasingly popular, and the Quartodecimans (proponents of the 14th day) remained a small minority.
- Because of this, Easter might fall on any Sunday between March 22 and April 25, depending on the year.
- Furthermore, according to Orthodox custom, Easter cannot be celebrated before or at the same time as Passover.
- Despite the fact that this and other proposals had a large number of backers, none came to fruition.
- However, official agreement on a fixed date has been difficult to come by thus far.
On What Day Did Jesus Rise?
The May/June 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review is available online. Biblical Perspectives is a weekly column. Employees at The Biblical Archaeological SocietyNovember 16, 20217 Comments106505 page views What day did Jesus resurrect from the dead? Is it better to wait three days or to wait until the third day?
During his Biblical Views column, “It’s About Time—Easter Time,” which appeared in the May/June 2016 edition of Biblical Archaeology Review, Ben Witherington III explores this subject in further depth. The whole text of his Biblical Views column may be seen below. —Ed.
“It’s About Time—Easter Time”
Anachronism is a hazard that arises when reading ancient books like the Bible in the twenty-first century. By this I mean that we risk introducing damaging current notions and expectations into our readings. This challenge becomes much more serious when dealing with old manuscripts, which have significant historical significance and are thus difficult to interpret. What day did Jesus resurrect from the dead? Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome visited Jesus’ tomb on Easter morning to anoint his corpse (Mark 16:1–2), as shown in Henry Osawa Tanner’s painting “The Three Marys” (1910).
- To provide an example, we are a people who are fascinated with time — and with accuracy when it comes to time — to the millisecond level.
- When it came to the passage of time, they did not stress over accuracy.
- Jesus promised that he would rise from the dead “after three days,” according to certain sources.
- In fact, the time reference should be avoided entirely.
In Mark 8:31, on the other hand, Jesus declares, “The Son of Man will rise from the dead after three days.” In John 2:19, he refers to the same event as taking place “in three days,” and the Gospel authors tell us that Jesus used the term “on the third day” on a number of occasions (see, e.g., Matthew 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; Luke 24:46).
- While it is feasible that both forecasts will be incorrect, is it really possible that both will be correct?
- Furthermore, the term “after three days” in the New Testament might simply indicate “after a time” or “after a few days” without any obvious specificity other than to hint that multiple days, in this case portions of three days, would be engaged in the event.
- “Come to me again after three days,” says the Bible’s Second Chronicles 10:5, 12.
- According to my interpretation, the term “after three days” is a more generic or imprecise way of expressing, but “on the third day” is a little more particular (albeit it still doesn’t tell us when it is on the third day).
When it comes to time, these books were not written in a way that would suit our present high expectations.
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With an All-Access pass, you may access more than 9,000 articles from the Biblical Archaeology Society’s extensive collection, as well as much more. We must recognize that most of the time references in the New Testament are not precise, and we must give the ancient author the freedom to be general when he wants to be general and more specific when he wants to be more specific. This is one of the keys to understanding how the New Testament interprets time references. When you find both types of references to the time span between Jesus’ death and resurrection in the same book by the same author, and in some cases even within close proximity to each other, it is reasonable to conclude that these texts were not written in accordance with our modern exacting expectations when it comes to time references.
- I believe it is past time for us to accord these ancient authors the respect they deserve and to read them with a knowledge of the standards they followed when writing ancient history or ancient biography, rather than imposing our later genre norms on them, as we have done in the past.
- This article has been updated.
- Ben Witherington III is the Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky and a member of the doctoral faculty of St.
- He received his bachelor’s degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky.
Read Ben Witherington III, Reading and Learning the Bible, for assistance in understanding how to read the Bible in light of its original settings (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2014).
Related reading in Bible History Daily:
When Was the First Holy Communion Celebrated? Even yet, Jesus’ Last Supper was not a Passover meal. The Herod’s Jerusalem Palace Remains are on Display During a Seder Meal Tour— The site of Jesus’ trial is a possibility. And Why It Really Does Make a Difference The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Really Does Make a Difference What Method Was Used to Seal Jesus’ Tomb?
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What Skeptical Scholars Admit about the Resurrection Appearances of Jesus
On June 26, 2000, the television network ABC broadcasted a documentary titled The Search for Jesus. Peter Jennings, the network’s most prominent news anchor, conducted interviews with liberal and conservative experts of early Christianity to learn more about what we may learn about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection from historical records. The series came to a close with a powerful speech from New Testament scholar Paula Fredriksen, who is not herself a Christian. In response to questions about Jesus’ post-Resurrection appearances, Fredriksen stated, “I know that what they saw was the risen Jesus in their own words.” That’s what they claim, and then all of the historical information we have afterwards confirms their belief that this is exactly what they witnessed.
- I was not present.
- But, as a historian, I’m confident that they must have witnessed something significant.
- Fredriksen is not the only one who believes that these followers must have witnessed something unusual.
- This is what sparked the birth of the world’s most populous religion.
- Two thousand years later, the message of Jesus’ death and resurrection is being preached by billions of Christians in almost every country and in nearly every language spoken on the face of the planet Earth.
A Bedrock Confession
Following the death and resurrection of Jesus, according to the earliest source we have for the event, a hidden pearl contained inside 1 Corinthians 15, Jesus appeared to a number of individuals and organizations, as well as at least one adversary. This creedal tradition, according to practically all academics, dates to within five years after Jesus’ death. We can trace our lineage back to the early years of the Christian movement in Jerusalem, to the foundational confession of the very first disciples of Jesus, thanks to the use of this source.
- After then, Jesus appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of them are still surviving, but others have gone asleep.
- There is no other inventory of Resurrection appearances like this anywhere else in the New Testament, or even in all of ancient literature, to compare.
- And we also discover that Jesus appeared to three groups: the Twelve (disciples, excluding Judas); more than 500 early followers; and all the apostles.
- Paul boldly puts his reputation on the line when he claims that most of them are still alive.
- We can see, then, that genuine eyewitness evidence to the risen Jesus was easily accessible in the decades following his resurrection.
- As the agnostic New Testament scholar Bart D.
- She is mentioned in only one passage in the entire New Testament in connection with Jesus during his public ministry (Luke 8:1–3), and yet she is always the first to announce that Jesus has been raised.
- One plausible explanation is that she too had a vision of Jesus after he died.” Mary Magdalene was given the high honor of being not only the first to see the risen Jesus but the first person in history to proclaim, “I have seen the Lord!” (John 20:18).
- In 2 Corinthians 11:23–33, Paul recounts his almost daily suffering for his conviction that Jesus appeared to him.
We also possess strong historical evidence that certain key eyewitnesses were martyred for their faith. Peter, for instance, was crucified. James was stoned. Paul was beheaded. Whatever they saw, it was worth giving their lives for. They sealed their testimonies with their blood.
The Magic Wand of ‘Mass Hysteria’
Some historians have hypothesized that the eyewitnesses to the Resurrection were just hallucinating in order to explain away these appearances of the Resurrection. Dale Allison, a New Testament scholar, has written a great book, Resurrecting Jesus, in which he analyzes the scientific research and literature on hallucinations that have been published. He finds that in documented occurrences, there are four things that do not occur, as follows: (or rarely happen). For starters, hallucinations are seldom witnessed by many individuals or groups over a prolonged period of time, according to research.
Third, no evidence has ever been shown to support the claim that a deceased person has been revived.
(It’s also worth noting that hallucinations are not often associated with the founding of global movements or the establishment of world religions.) Nonetheless, in the case of Jesus’ resurrection appearances, every single one of these extremely unusual or seemingly impossible situations has come to occur in the same instance.
Even if one person has a hallucination, twelve people at the same time?
“These are valid concerns, and waving the magical wand of’mass hysteria’ will not make them go away.” “Mass hysteria is not a panacea for all problems.”
In the face of such a compelling historical record, the only alternative option offered by credible experts is some form of “I don’t know.” “That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had Resurrection experiences is, in my opinion, a fact,” argues noted New Testament scholar E. P. Sanders in The Historical Figure of Jesus. “That Jesus’ followers (and later Paul) had Resurrection experiences is, in my opinion, a fact.” “I have no idea what the reality was that gave rise to the experiences.” Jordan Peterson, a well-known professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, is also included in this group of individuals.
Upon being questioned explicitly if Jesus had truly arose from the grave, Peterson said, “I’d need to think about it for approximately three more years before I’d even attempt a response beyond what I’ve already said.” The cautious-point agnostic’s of view is one that ought to be heard.
Nonetheless, if someone with an open mind and heart, such as Peterson, pursues the evidence wherever it goes, I am confident that he will find himself at Jesus’ feet, saying with Thomas, “My Lord and my God!” (See also John 20:28.)
The remarkable character of Jesus’ resurrection reminds me of a moment from Shakespeare’sHamlet, which is one of my favorite scenes in all of literature. The play starts with the “wondrous weird” apparition of Hamlet’s deceased father to Bernardo and Marcellus, and then to Hamlet’s friend Horatio, which are described as “wondrous odd” in nature. As the skeptic of the group, Horatio is challenged by Hamlet to reconsider his skepticism about supernatural events in the following exchange: But this is amazing weird!
- In any case, as a stranger, please accept my greetings.
- When Shakespeare communicates via Hamlet, he is advising us to be prepared for the unthinkable.
- It is, without a doubt, marvelous and weird that the ghost of Hamlet’s father is coming to people, but do not dismiss it just on the basis of this fact.
- Everything in our magnificent planet (and beyond) is happening at a faster rate than you can possibly fathom.
- The ancient world, as well as present times, should be viewed with an open mind when miraculous claims are made.
The most crucial question to ask about any miracle claim is, “What proof do you have to back up your claim?” After all, even from the most critical researchers’ perspective, we have seen that the weight of the historical evidence attests that a large number of persons and groups thought they had seen the rising Jesus.
What makes you think they’re lying?
Moreover, we may go beyond the first century to discover how believing in the Resurrection lay the groundwork for all of Western civilization, inspiring some of the world’s greatest works of art and literature as well as works of music, film, philosophy, morals, and ethics.
And if all of that isn’t enough, let our Horatios look around at the billions of people all across the globe who are willing to attest to how the living Christ has altered their lives right before their eyes.
They have discovered in Christ all of the treasures of wisdom and understanding that can be found.
They are looking for it in you.
Before Easter goes away into the shuffle of regular life, ask your neighbor: What (or who) did all those witnesses witness and how did they perceive it?
This is indeed a wondrous strangeness!
Justin Bass is a professor of New Testament at Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary in Amman, Jordan, where he lives with his wife and children.
[This article is also accessible in the following languages: Espanol and Portuguese.]