OR GOOD WEDNESDAY?
by Ed Stevens
"Good Friday" is commonly understood to be the day on which Jesus Christ was crucified. It was a "good" day for mankind when "the Lamb of God" died to "take away the sin of the world", that "whosoever BELIEVETH in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 1:29; 3:16). It is a bad thing to make Friday the day of this event for in that case the Lord rose from the dead after being in the grave but one night and one day! That He would rise from the dead "the third day" is affirmed over twelve times in Scripture. Thus "good Friday" time-setting has caused some to doubt the full inspiration of the Bible. We read in Mark 8:31 as follows:
"And He began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests and of the scribes, and be killed, and AFTER THREE DAYS rise again."
Furthermore, our Lord declared that "As Jonah was THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS in the whale's belly SO ALSO shall the Son of man be THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS in the heart of the earth" (Matt. 12:40. See also Jonah 1:17).
"He that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son" (I John 5:10).
Thus we see it is a serious matter to uphold this error of so-called "Good Friday". Since Christ said He would be in the grave fully three days and three nights, there MUST be definite proof in the Bible that He died at three o'clock Wednesday afternoon, was placed in the rock-hewn tomb apparently just at sunset and that He rose from the dead any time between sunset of Saturday and while yet dark Sunday morning. We shall now bring forth these facts from God's inerrant Word, beginning with Leviticus 23:5, 7 as follows:
"In the fourteenth day of the first month at even [literally, 'between the two evenings', as in margin]
is the Lord's passover. And the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord; seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation; ye shall do no servile work therein."
The first and last days of these seven days of eating unleavened bread were ANNUAL SABBATHS in connection with the ANNUAL passover day which came on the fourteenth day of the Jewish first sacred month, called Abib, or Nisan, which answers to part of our March and April. Rome has arbitrarily fixed passover day (incorrectly called "Easter" in the King James Version in Acts 12:4) on the first Sunday after the full moon which happens upon or first after the vernal equinox, March 21. This makes a variance of seven days every seven years. Israel's WEEKLY SABBATHS varied as to proximity to the annual Passover day and its next-day "high sabbath". Our God who timed the universe had the death of His Son come on the day we call Wednesday. We shall use these heathen names of week days for clarity but please remember in this study that each day began at sunset—Jewish time.
Since the passover came "between the two evenings" of the 14th of Nisan, our Lord ate His last supper with His disciples on Tuesday AFTER SUNSET when 14th of Nisan began. His arrest and trial in the high priest's house followed that night (Matt. 26:17-66). Next morning Pilate consented to His death and He was crucified at 9:00 a.m., "the third hour" (Mark 15:25). At the ninth hour, 3:00 p.m., shortly after crying (in our place) that awful cry, "My God, My God, Why hast thou forsaken me?" He "gave up the ghost" (Mark 15:37; Matt. 27:46).
Some time elapsed while Joseph was begging the body of Jesus and Nicodemus was bringing about seventy five pounds of myrrh and aloes, travel being on foot or by donkey. The sun was soon to set when the 15th of Nisan, the annual sabbath, would begin. In haste they brought the body to the new tomb near at hand—"and the sabbath drew on" (Luke 23:54). The women watched the proceedings and returned home with the intention of buying spices and ointments to further anoint the Lord's body (Mark 15:47).
Please remember here that our Lord spake of being in the GRAVE three days and nights, not taking into account the three hours between His death at 3:00 p.m., and His body arriving at the tomb at 6:00 p.m., sunset. Here is where a fatal error comes in, to reckon these three hours of Christ's DEATH into the time-span of His ENTOMBMENT! It is popularly construed that "a part of a day makes a day". The plain facts explode this theory.
We see then that Christ's body was in the grave ONE NIGHT (our Wed. night), the high annual sabbath having begun at sunset.
This sabbath's daylight hours (our Thurs.) in which the women could not buy and prepare spices, makes ONE DAY of entombment.
At sunset our Friday began, making the SECOND NIGHT of entombment. The women could now buy and prepare spices in the daylight hours of Friday.
Here we should turn to Mark 16:1. It seems the King James is the only translation that erroneously inserts the word "had" before the word "bought": "And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, and Salome BOUGHT (not 'had bought') sweet spices that they might come and anoint Him". This occurred during Friday, making the SECOND DAY of entombment.
The daylight hours of Friday passed away, for we read that the women now "rested the [weekly] sabbath day [begun at sunset], according to the commandment" (Luke 23:56). Friday night now makes the THIRD NIGHT of entombment.
The daylight hours of this Saturday sabbath makes the THIRD DAY!
Praise God, His Word is TRUE! "All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all PLAIN to him that understandeth, and RIGHT to them that find knowledge" (Prov. 8:8, 9).
The time of THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS being fulfilled, our Lord arose from the dead after sunset Saturday. He was no longer in the tomb when Mary Magdalene came the next morning "when it was yet dark" (John 20:1). Luke 24:1 reads: "Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre bringing the spices which they had prepared... "
The Bible nowhere tells us to observe the day of Christ's resurrection as "an holy day". See Col. 2:16.
The Scriptures themselves reveal that a translation error exists in Luke 24:21, where we find two disciples on the way to Emmaus, the first day of the week, saying to their risen Lord, "But we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, TODAY is the THIRD DAY SINCE these things were done", i.e., Christ condemned and put to death. Common use of such language carries us back two days to Friday, which is false. It should read, "today is OFF, or FROM the third day since these things", as we found one Greek scholar making this note. Moffat's translation has it: "and that is three days ago". The Syriac: "and lo, three days have passed since all these things".
As to there being mistranslations in our Bible, rest assured that the Word itself, regardless of the original Greek, faithfully makes known to its readers how the text should of necessity read, simply by COMPARING SCRIPTURE WITH SCRIPTURE. It is by so doing, the humblest reader can see that "good Friday" is wrong. It is a mere tradition held by the masses, making God's Word "of none effect" concerning the "three days and three nights" of Christ's entombment. See Matt. 15:6-9.
In pointing out the "Good Friday" error we do not propose observance of "Good Wednesday", for in Colossians 2:16, 17 we are told, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [substance] is Christ".
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