April 3, AD 33: Why We Believe We Can Know the Exact Date Jesus Died
In our book, The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived, Justin Taylor and I make an educated guess as to the date of Jesus’ crucifixion, but we do not argue for or against it. For a variety of factors, virtually all academics think that Jesus was executed in the spring of either AD 30 or AD 33, with the majority preferring the former. As a result of the astronomical data, the alternatives are reduced to AD 27, 30, 33, or 34). However, we would want to present our case for the date of Friday, April 3, AD 33, as the precise day on which Christ died in our place as atonement for our sins.
However, this does not rule out the possibility of understanding or importance.
No one makes this argument more forcefully than Luke, the Gentile physician who became a historian and inspired recorder of early Christianity.
The Year John the Baptist’s Ministry Began
In Luke’s account, John the Baptist began his public ministry soon before Jesus did, and the author provides us with a historical reference point for when the Baptist’s ministry began: “in the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign.” (See Luke 3:16). It is known from ancient Roman history that Tiberius succeeded Augustus as emperor on August 19, AD 14 and was approved by the Roman Senate on the same day. He reigned until the year AD 37. “The fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign” appears to be a straightforward date, but there are some ambiguities, beginning with when one begins the calculation.
Most likely, Tiberius’ reign was measured from the day he assumed office in AD 14 or from the first day of January of the following year, AD 15 (whichever came first).
So John the Baptist’s ministry began anywhere between the middle of AD 28 and the beginning of AD 29.
The Year Jesus’s Ministry Began
In Luke’s account, John the Baptist began his public ministry soon before Jesus did, and the author provides us with a historical reference point for when the Baptist’s ministry began: “In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar.,” he writes. In the book of Luke, the author says, It is known from ancient Roman history that Tiberius succeeded Augustus as emperor on August 19, AD 14 and was ratified by the Roman Senate a few days later. A.D. 37 was the last year of his reign. There are some uncertainties in what seems to be a basic date, beginning with when one begins the calculation.
Depending on who you ask, Tiberius’ rule was most likely counted from the day he assumed office in AD 14 or from January 1 the following year, AD 15.
The ministry of John the Baptist might have started somewhere between the middle of AD 28 and the beginning of AD 29, depending on the source.
The Length of Jesus’s Ministry
Luke hints that John the Baptist began his public ministry shortly before Jesus did, and he provides us with a historical reference point for when the Baptist’s ministry began: “In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar.” (See also Luke 3:16). Tiberius succeeded Augustus as emperor, and he was ratified by the Roman Senate on August 19, AD 14, according to Roman historians. He governed until the year AD 37. “The fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar’s reign” appears to be a straightforward date, but there are some ambiguities, starting with when one begins the calculation.
Depending on who you ask, Tiberius’ reign was most likely counted from the day he assumed office in AD 14 or from January 1 of the following year, AD 15.
So John the Baptist’s ministry began sometime between the middle of AD 28 and the beginning of AD 29.
- A Passover was observed in Jerusalem at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry (John 2:13–23)
- Passover was celebrated in Galilee around halfway through Jesus’ public ministry (John 6:4). In Jerusalem, at the conclusion of his public ministry, that is, at the time of his crucifixion (John 11:55
- 12:1), there was a final Passover celebration. And it’s possible that Jesus attended another Passover that wasn’t reported in the Gospel of John, but was documented in one or more of the Synoptic Gospels (i.e., Matthew, Mark, and Luke)
Even if there were only three Passovers, this would still result in an a.d. date for the first Passover. For the date of the crucifixion, the year 30 is all but impossible. As previously stated, the earliest possible date for the beginning of Jesus’ career, according to Luke 3:1, is late in the first century AD. 28. As a result, the first of these Passovers (which occurred at the start of Jesus’ ministry; John 2:13) would happen on Nisan 15 in the year a.d. 29 (since Nisan is in March/April, which is towards the beginning of the calendar year).
The second would be completed by 30 at the earliest, and the third would be completed by 31 at the earliest.
30.However, since John the Baptist began his preaching in AD 29, it seems likely that Jesus began his mission in late AD 29 or early a.d.
The Passovers in the book of John would thus take place on the following dates:
|Nisan 15||AD 30||John 2:13|
|Nisan 15||AD 31||Either the unnamed feast in John 5:1 or else a Passover that John does not mention (but that may be implied in the Synoptics)|
|Nisan 15||AD 32||John 6:4|
|Nisan 15||AD 33||John 11:55, the Passover at which Jesus was crucified|
Jesus Was Crucified on the Day of Preparation for the Passover
It is also mentioned by the apostle John that Jesus was crucified on “the day of Preparation” (John 19:31), which corresponds to the Friday before the Sabbath of the Passover week (Mark 15:42). Earlier in the day, on Thursday evening, Jesus had a Passover meal with the Twelve (Mark 14:12), which is referred to as his “Last Supper.” Passover always falls on the fifteenth day of Nisan (Exodus 12:6), according to the Pharisaic-rabbinic calendar that was generally used in Jesus’ day. According to this calendar, Passover begins on Thursday after sundown and finishes on Friday after nightfall.
33, the year in which the crucifixion is most likely to have occurred, the most likely date for Jesus’ crucifixion is April 3 in the year a.d.
33, also known as the year of Jesus’ crucifixion. Accordingly, we created the following chart in The Final Days of Jesus to indicate the dates for Jesus’ final week in the year a.d. 33, which is shown below:
|April 2||Nissan 14||Thursday (Wednesday nightfall to Thursday nightfall)||Day of Passover preparation||Last Supper|
|April 3||Nissan 15||Friday (Thursday nightfall to Friday nightfall)||Passover; Feast of Unleavened Bread, begins||Crucifixion|
|April 4||Nissan 16||Saturday (Friday nightfall to Saturday nightfall)||Sabbath|
|April 5||Nissan 17||Sunday (Saturday nightfall to Sunday nightfall)||First day of the week||Resurrection|
The computations in the preceding section may look difficult, but in a nutshell, the reasoning goes as follows:
|Beginning of Tiberius’s reign||AD 14|
|Fifteenth year of Tiberius’s reign:Beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry||AD 28|
|A few months later:Beginning of Jesus’s ministry||AD 29|
|Minimum three-year duration of Jesus’ ministry:Most likely date of Jesus’s crucifixion||AD 33 (April 3)|
While this is, in our opinion, the most plausible scenario, it should be noted that many people think Jesus was killed in the year AD 30, rather than the year AD 33, as we have said. If, on the other hand, the beginning of Tiberius’ rule is set at the year AD 14, it becomes nearly difficult to fit fifteen years of Tiberius’ reign and three years of Jesus’ ministry between AD 14 and AD 30, as is the case. As a result, some have speculated that Tiberius and Augustus shared co-regency (combined rule) during the last few years of Augustus’ reign.
As a result, we believe that Jesus was most likely crucified on April 3, AD 33, as previously stated.
Because of this, when we celebrate Easter and walk with Jesus every day of the year, we may be certain that our faith is founded not just on subjective personal confidence, but also on solid historical evidence, which makes our faith a perfectly rational faith.
Crossway’s executive vice president and publisher for books, Justin Taylor, holds this position.
QUESTION: Was Jesus’ resurrection day on a Sunday or a Saturday or both? Christians, as well as many other people, are familiar with the account of Jesus’ resurrection. Traditionally, it is thought that He died on a Friday (today known as Good Friday) and that He was raised the following Sunday (now celebrated as Easter Sunday). But there is disagreement about whether this timeline corresponds to the biblical prophesy contained in Matthew 12:40, which states: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Our present technique of counting days indicates that Jesus would have been in His tomb from late Friday afternoon until early Sunday morning according to our calendar.
- Even if you consider Friday and Sunday to be complete days, it would imply He remained in the grave for a total of three days and two nights at the most.
- In defense of Friday and Sunday, many biblical scholars argue that it was typical among Jews at the period to consider any segment of a day to constitute the full day and night, which is what happened on those days.
- According to Jewish custom, the next day (Sunday) begins when the sun sets on the previous day (Thursday), making it plausible that Jesus was killed and buried on a Thursday, or possibly a Wednesday, with His resurrection occurring on Saturday night.
- His disciples, without a doubt, were the only ones who knew how long He had been in the tomb.
- He either opted not to fulfill the prophesy in its entirety, lingering in the grave for three days and three nights, or he chose to do it in a way that was consistent with the text.
- His challenge to them, as well as to all of us, was to place our trust in Him, rather than on whatever “evidence” He may provide.
However, it would be far more awful if He had genuinely been dead for the entire three days and nights and they had failed to acknowledge it because they had hardened their hearts to the truth.
On What Day Did Jesus Rise?
The May/June 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review is available online. Biblical Perspectives is a weekly column. Staff of the Biblical Archaeology Society On November 16, 20217, there were 107233 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.
“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.
Become a Member ofBiblical Archaeology SocietyNow and Get More Than Half Off the Regular Price of the All-AccessPass!
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.
Take advantage of an All-Access pass, which gives you unlimited access to the Biblical Archaeology Society’s extensive collection of more than 9,000 publications, 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 time references in the New Testament are interpreted.
Ist it not time that we let these authors to speak in the manner in which they were accustomed throughout their own historical period?
1 – Originally published in Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 2016, “Biblical Views: It’s About Time—Easter Time” by Ben Witherington III.
Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky and St. Andrews University in Scotland are home to Ben Witherington III, the Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctorate Studies. He is also on the doctoral faculty of Asbury Theological Seminary.
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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Is It True That the First Communion Was Celebrated in the Year? Although it was a Passover meal, Jesus’ Last Supper did not meet the requirements. Exhibits from Herod’s Jerusalem Palace are included during a tour of the Seder meal. Perhaps the location of Jesus’ trial. This article discusses the “surprising” conclusion to the Gospel of Mark, as well as why it makes such a significant difference. So, how did the tomb of Jesus get its seal put on it.
When Was Christ Crucified and Resurrected?
When Did the First Communion Take Place? Even though Jesus’ Last Supper was a Passover meal, it was not a Jewish feast. The Herod’s Jerusalem Palace Remains are on Display During the Seder Meal Tour— The location of Jesus’ trial is a possibility. The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes All the Difference – What is the significance of this ending? What Method Was Used to Seal the Tomb of Jesus?
Three Days and Three Nights
When Was the First Holy Communion? Even yet, Jesus’ Last Supper did not take place during the Passover holiday. The Seder Meal Tour Takes You to the Remains of Herod’s Jerusalem Palace— The Site of Jesus’ Trial is a possibility. The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark, and Why It Makes All the Difference How Was the Tomb of Jesus Protected?
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.
Why did Jesus Rise on the Third Day?
Derek Hiebert contributed to this article. 1 year ago today
Why did Jesus Rise on the Third Day?
As a matter of tradition, Christians have commemorated the resurrection of Jesus Christ on a Sunday, three days following the commemoration of his crucifixion on Good Friday. This three-day chronology is based on a number of allusions in the New Testament to the Old Testament. Many times, Jesus foretold it, and the apostles included it in their delivery of the gospel message as well (see footnote references). However, why did Jesus’ resurrection take place three days after his death is a mystery.
Is the third day only a coincidental, insignificant element put on to the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection?
The Third Day Matters
Timing is extremely important for Jesus and his apostles because it has significant theological ramifications. When it comes to biblical story, the three-day timeframe is important because it represents the one-of-a-kind day on which God creates new life and activates his covenant with mankind. How did the writers of the New Testament get at this conclusion?
After all, the Hebrew Scriptures have a constant “third day” design pattern, which Jesus and the New Testament authors are using as a model. Investigating this pattern for ourselves can help us gain a better understanding of the Easter celebration.
The Third Day Pattern in the Hebrew Bible
The passages Jonah 1:17 and Hosea 6:1-2 in the Hebrew Scriptures are among the clearest illustrations of third-day resurrection in the whole Bible. Jesus used Jonah’s three days in the belly of the huge fish as a metaphor for his own three days in the belly of the great fish. The prophet Hosea predicted that God’s reviving operation for Israel would take place on the third day. While these are important passages to study, the pattern of resurrection on the third day is established far earlier in the tale of Jesus.
The creation narrative in Genesis 1 and Abraham’s test in Genesis 22 both begin to develop a pattern of new life emerging on the third day.
The First “Resurrection”
What is the location of the initial glimpse into the three-day significance? The first page of the Bible. The creation story in Genesis 1 is written in the style of a poetry, with repeated declarations and parallelism between events. Within the rhythm of these repeats, two events in the creation tale stand out as particularly noteworthy, each occurring at a three-day interval and occurring at different points in the narrative. During the first “third day,” God creates dry ground and enables flora to emerge from the soil, including plants that produce seeds as well as trees that give fruit for human use (1:11-13).
The second “third day” event occurs on the sixth day of creation, when God produces animals and human beings for the first time (1:24).
Humans were produced from the dust of the earth, according to what we learn later in the book (2:7).
Take note of the parallels between humans and trees: both are newly generated from the ground (2:7, 9), both carry seeds and produce fruit (1:11, 28; 3:15), and both are made in this manner on the third day of creation.
A Pattern Emerges
There are three major characteristics of the “third day” events in Genesis 1 that serve as a template for subsequent events:
- God brings new life where there was once only death (1:11-13
- God establishes his covenant with the creatures he has newly created, in this case humans (1:28-29)
- God creates new life where there was once only death (1:11-13
- 26 In Eden, which we understand to be a lofty site from which a river runs out (2:10-14), the event takes place.
It is impossible to emphasize the significance of this picture and pattern, since it serves as a precedent for future resurrections to come.
Abraham’s Test on the Third Day
Is there any other place where this pattern can be found? Abraham is put to the test by God in yet another “third day” occurrence, which is one of the most interesting events in all of Scripture (Genesis 22:1-19). When God commands Abraham to present his only son Isaac as a burned offering on a mountain, the Bible states that Abraham spotted the location from a distance on the third day and proceeded to complete the test (22:4). God wants Abraham to learn to put his confidence in him when it comes to the covenant and the blessing of offspring in this scenario.
The connection to the “third day” concept is established in this passage by a strikingly dramatic act of atonement on the part of God, in which he substitutes a ram for Isaac (22:13-14).
We learn that this deed is part of a bigger covenant endeavor to increase Abraham’s descendants and, through them, bless the nations, which we will discuss later (22:17-18). On the third day, we notice the same trend as we did on the first:
- Does this trend recur somewhere else in the book? One of the most interesting accounts in all of Scripture is that of Abraham being tested by God on another “third day” (Genesis 22:1-19). It is said in the Bible that on the third day after God summoned Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac on a mountain, Abraham spotted the location from a distance and went to complete the sacrifice (22:4). God wants Abraham to learn to put his confidence in him when it comes to the covenant and the blessing of descendants in this scene. Ultimately, God is responsible for providing the sacrifice and bringing his covenant’s intentions to pass. This passage contains a tremendously dramatic act of atonement by God, in which he substitutes a ram for Isaac. This act of atonement is connected to the notion of “third day” (22:13-14). He explains later that this deed is part of a bigger covenant scheme to increase Abraham’s descendants and to use them to bless the nations through their descendants (22:17-18). On the third day, we notice the same trend as we did on the first two days:
Israel’s Third Day at Sinai
Is there any other place where this pattern appears? Abraham is put to the test by God in yet another “third-day” occurrence, which is one of the most interesting events in all of Scripture (Genesis 22:1-19). When God commands Abraham to present his only son Isaac as a burned offering on a mountain, the Bible records that Abraham saw the location from a distance on the third day and proceeded to complete the test (22:4). God wants Abraham to learn to trust him with the covenant and the blessing of offspring in this drama.
The connection to the “third day” idea is established by a strikingly dramatic act of atonement on the part of God, in which he substitutes a ram for Isaac (22:13-14).
On the third day, we see the same trend as on the first:
- It is God who brings about new life for his people — in this case, new identity for Israel — just as he did at the creation and with Abraham and Isaac (19:4-6)
- God enters into covenant with his people, specifically Israel (19:4-6)
- God accomplishes all of this on a mountain (19:2)
- And God accomplishes all of this on a mountain (19:2).
Similarly to what he accomplished at the beginning of time and with Abraham and Isaac (19:4-6), God brings about new life for his people – in this instance, a new identity for Israel; God enters into covenant with his people, specifically with Israel (19:4-6); God achieves all of this on a mountain (19:2);
Hosea’s Hope, Jonah’s ‘Resurrection’
By returning to these prophets, we get a more complete picture of the “third day” and the tremendous imagery of resurrection that it evokes, as well as its relationship to God’s covenant with Abraham. A typical prophetic phrase for repentance toward covenant integrity is “return to Yahweh,” which Hosea uses to exhort Israel to do, and he also provides them hope in the form of resurrection language (Hosea 6:1-2). This restoration to the covenant will be marked by a renewal of life, as well as our resurrection as a people into the life of Yahweh, which will take place on the “third day,” in accordance with our pattern.
In many respects, the story of Jonah and his failure is a metaphor for the story of Israel.
In the third day, he vomits Jonah out of the fish, bringing him back to life in one of the most bizarre “resurrections” recorded in the Bible.
Jesus Predicts a Third Day Resurrection
In the Gospels, we find Jesus speaking of a third-day resurrection while he is discussing his death with his followers, which leads us to believe that he would rise from the dead on the third day. In fact, he refers to “three days” a total of 21 times! By now, you’ve undoubtedly figured out that this was not a coincidental choice of words.
It is on the third day that Jesus was adamant, since it signifies God’s initiative in the creation of new life and the establishment of a covenant with mankind. Take note of how the Easter event – the resurrection of Jesus — corresponds to our third-day design pattern, as follows:
- Specifically, God raises fresh life from the earth (tomb), in this case, Jesus. God acts to bring about the new covenant via Jesus’ atoning death and resurrection, which in this case is for the benefit of everyone who believe in him. The act of atonement performed by Jesus takes place on a hill.
As in the instance of Jesus, God raises fresh life from the earth (the tomb). God acts to bring about the new covenant by Jesus’ atoning death and resurrection, which in this case is for the benefit of everyone who believe in him; It is on a hill that Jesus performs his deed of atonement.
So what does this mean for us?
This year, as we commemorate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, we are not just carrying on a centuries-old tradition. We are engaged in a profoundly important theology centered on the third day, with all of the implications of God’s redeeming work that it entails, at this time. The design pattern for the third day serves as a reminder that God has begun the process of reviving individuals to new life and bringing them into his covenant partnership with them. What role are we going to play in it today?
The Resurrection Was Not on Easter Sunday!
It is more than merely a historical custom that we are celebrating on Easter Sunday, as we commemorate the resurrection of Jesus. Our discussion is concentrated on the third day and all of the consequences of God’s redeeming act. It is a very significant theology, and we are engaged in it. Reminder: God has begun the process of raising people from the dead and bringing them into his covenant relationship. The third day design pattern serves as a visual reminder of this fact. What role are we going to play in it today, specifically?
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 would argue, “doesn’t the Bible indicate that Jesus was crucified and buried on Friday, and that the tomb was empty on Sunday morning?” However, although 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 said that He was crucified on the “prepared day.” However, it is important to understand which preparation day this was.
- Leviticus 23:4, 7, 24, 27–32).
- The next day, Abib 15, is a Holy Day that occurs once a year, marking the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
- Thursday was the first Holy Day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which marks the beginning of the yearly Sabbath.
- He stayed in the tomb Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night—three days and three nights, just as He had promised.
- When the ladies arrived at His bedside at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning to embalm His body, He had already passed away.
- Jesus Christ came to earth in the role of “the Lamb of God” to pay the price for sin (John 1:29).
- A close examination of the gospel stories reveals that Jesus and His followers ate the Passover supper after sunset at the beginning of Abib 14 (Mark 14:16–18, Luke 22:13–15, cf.
It was later in the evening after dinner that they traveled to the Mount of Olives (Mark 14:26), when soldiers under the command of Judas Iscariot apprehended and arrested Jesus (verses 43–46).
It was 9 a.m.
When Jesus died at around 3 p.m.
33–37), there was utter darkness over the whole region from midday until the time of his death.
Numerous readers fail to notice John’s description that this “Sabbath was a special day” (John 19:31).
As a reminder, Abib 15 (the day following Passover) was the first of seven yearly Holy Days mandated to ancient Israel (Leviticus 23:5–7).
The numerous gospel narratives make it clear that there were actually two Sabbaths that week: an annual Holy Day on Thursday and the ordinary weekly Sabbath on Saturday, according to the gospel reports.
During both the weekly and yearly Sabbaths, shops in Jerusalem would have been closed, as would be expected.
Their first opportunity to purchase and prepare spices would have come on Friday, after the Holy Day that marked the beginning of the Festival of Unleavened Bread.
Please keep in mind that Luke notes that it was after the women prepared the spices and aromatic oils, which would have taken several hours, that “they slept on the Sabbath in keeping with the law” (Luke 23:56).
Understanding this issue is essential to comprehending the length of Jesus’ stay in the tomb after his death.
Was it to commemorate the first Easter morning service that was held there?
They arrived at the scene as soon as the possibility to embalm a deceased person presented itself (Luke 24:1).
What was it about this particular indication that convinced the religious leaders that Jesus was the Messiah?
Remember that Matthew recounted that on the day following the crucifixion—early in the morning of the “high day” Sabbath—the Jewish leadership dispatched a delegation to Pilate to ask for permission to station an armed guard to protect Jesus’ tomb from thieves and thieves’ agents.
These guards were there during the subsequent events, and they were the ones who notified the religious leaders of what had truly transpired on the battlefield (28:11).
These officials learnt that Jesus had fulfilled the sign of the prophet Jonah directly from the mouths of the same guards that they themselves had stationed. It was just as He had promised!
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!