Saturday, February 25, 2012

Three Days and Three Nights

Good Friday is a myth long held in church tradition, and a cursory study of history will teach that it is so. But it is not what the Scripture plainly teaches. Jesus over and again said that He would spend three days in the belly of the earth. Once He even declares, “As Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Even if one assumes that Jesus had just arisen when Mary discovered the empty tomb, if Christ was buried Friday night, interred Saturday day and rose at the end of Saturday night, that is only two nights and one day.

I have always looked at the words of Jesus, and reckoned the question of whether the Creator of the universe could count or not. If one assumes He can count and knows the literal meaning of 3 days and 3 nights, then the Friday myth must be wrong. For this reason I posted the blog about the ten Sabbaths of God. Any student of Sabbath study soon finds out that there were always two holy days adjacent to each other, the 14th of the first month being the Passover, and the 15th of the first month being the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a feast of a week, with the first and last day being high holy Sabbaths. The Passover Lamb was to be sacrificed on the 13th of the first month, shortly before twilight(at twilight begins the 14th, Passover), just at the very time our Lord was dying on the cross. It was necessary for Joseph and Nicodemus to move fast in burying the body, needing to get it done before 6 P.M., for the Jewish days started with evening and then morning.

Once you know that the two Sabbaths occur together, a Friday crucifixion becomes impossible since we have to have 48 hours of Sabbath minimum. This means that the earliest time in which Jesus could have been crucified would have been Thursday. But I reject Thursday for the same reason, I do think my Lord knows how to count, and wanted that full 72 hours in the grave to show the world beyond any doubt that He had died, and then arose. So the speculation on my part goes along these lines: what if three Sabbath days had occurred together? The first would be the Passover, the second the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the third day, the regular Saturday. Thus I think the best job of harmonizing the last week puts the crucifixion on a Wednesday, with the body of Christ being interred in a hurry so that the Jews would not touch a dead body on the high Sabbath, the Passover, which began at 6 P.M. Wednesday evening.

I am going to try to present a coherent calendar of the last week over the next few weeks. There is great difficulty in putting all the Scriptures together in a coherent fashion, but I do think the very least problems arise when I fix His burial to begin at 6 Wednesday evening. I also hope to show a calendar of the great events of that week, the most written about week in all of history.

Before I do that, though, I would like to state for the record that there are many, if not most, Christians who have not thought through the inconsistencies in a Friday crucifixion that I clearly hope to show. Their Christianity is in no way being questioned here; rather it seems to me that God will judge us on the basis of our believing that He sent His Son to be a propitiation for our sins, not on the day of the week on which His Son was buried. However, I would challenge the reader to check the Scripture (as a good Berean would do) to see whether these things might be so. It is my heart-felt thesis that the Bible clearly presents Friday as an impossibility, and another day must be searched for that will fit with what must have actually happened. This is not a new doctrine and many of the early church fathers did hold to a Wednesday burial.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus
1. What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Ev'rything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Ev'rything to God in prayer!

2. Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged,
Take it to the Lord in prayer:
Can we find a friend so faithful
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our ev'ry weakness,
Take it to the Lord in prayer.

3. Are we weak and heavy laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
Take it to the Lord in prayer:
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He'll take and shield thee;
Thou wilt find a solace there.

Lyrics: Joseph Medlicott Scriven

1 comment:

Nephew said...

Before you continue with this project, I think you should take a look at the Greco-Roman background that the New Testament was written in. This whole project that you've undertaken is inappropriately anachronistic. No changes need to be made to a Friday-Sunday schema if you take into account the world of the 1st Century, rather than our world of the 21st Century. Please read this quote before trying to reconcile a problem that is non-existent in the Scriptures:

"Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God and Ambassador College and publisher of the Plain Truth magazine, argued that Jesus could not have been crucified on Friday and resurrected on Sunday because three days won't fit between Friday and Sunday. Any grade-school child can see that his arithmetic makes sense. Given the way we count, from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning is a day and a half, at most. But not if you count like the Jews and Romans did. They lacked a zero in their mathematical systems; the zero was not used as a numeral until the early seventh century A.A., by an Indian mathematician...Without a zero, the Jews and Romans counted the day on which something occurred as the first day. In Luke 13:32, Jesus counts exactly in this fashion: 'Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finished my work.'

Furthermore, a portion of a day was counted as a whole day. *****So if Jesus spent any part of a day in the tomb, it would count as a full day. He was placed in the tomb before sunset on Friday, and the day began at sunset. Thus, by the counting system in use in New Testament times, Friday was the first day, Saturday the second, and Sunday--which began at sundown on Saturday--was the third, no matter how small a part of each day Jesus was in the tomb."***** ("Exploring the New Testament World" by Albert A. Bell, Jr., asterisks added to emphasis the conclusion).

In other words, we don't need to impose a "72-hour" scheme onto the text (as you have done in this post), when it is clear from the first-century world that 3 days consist in counting Friday (even though Christ may have died later in the evening) as the first day.

Thus, Day 1=death on Friday evening, Day 2=Saturday, Day 3= rising early on Sunday, even if it is in the morning before a full 24 hours occurred. No problem there for the 1st Century.

From this we learn that all of us should be a good Bereans by studying the Scriptures in their original context.