English blog

Dates and Days Around Pesach

23-09-2011 - Posted by Andre Piet

QUESTION: On which date and day of the week was Jesus crucified and on which date and day of the week was He resurrected? ANSWER: Disagreement in advance… The answer to this question is disputed. Anyone willing to check the inventory of all the differing answers, will quickly discover that agreement among theologians and Bible student is not to be found. You are forewarned … The following is the answer which I have found in the Scriptures. Read with an open mind en check it out for yourself, “whether or not these things are so”. SHORT SURVEY:

Thursday The crucifixion took place on 14 Aviv (or Nisan), the day on which the Passover lamb had to be slain. When Jesus at 3 in the afternoon died, much haste had to be made to the embalming and burial of the body, because at sunset (at about six o’clock) the feast of the Passover would begin. Friday The first day of the feast (15 Aviv) was counted as a Sabbath, since on this day no occupational labour was allowed to be done. In the evening of this day, Pilate granted a watch to be placed at the grave of Jesus. Saturday Again a sabbath, this time the weekly sabbath. In the evening, at the expiration of the sabbath, a few women bought spices and myrrh in order to “anoint” the body of Jesus, the following morning. Sunday The intended “anointing” was not anymore needed, because early in the morning, 17 Aviv, was Jesus roused and the stone of the grave was rolled away!

A few crucial points, from the above mentioned overview, further clarified: # 1: Jesus was crucified on 14 Aviv The 14th of Aviv is the day the Passover lamb had to be slain (Lev.23:5). On the next day (15th of Aviv), the feast of Passover began. It was a day in which no occupational work was to be done (Lev.23:6,7). The crucifixion and burial had to be completely finished before the start of the Passover feast (Mat.26:5; John 18:28; John 19:31). #2: Jesus remained not two nights, but “three nights” in the grave In the usual presentation in which Jesus died on Friday and arose on Sunday, He remained for only two nights in the grave. This is also true for the presentation in which Jesus died on Thursday and arose on Saturday. This conflicts with Mat.12:40 where we read that Jesus would remain for “three nights” in the grave. If He arose on Sunday (see # 4), then it follows that He was buried on Thursday. # 3: Jesus arose after two sabbaths Jesus lay in the grave not one sabbath, but two. In Mat.28:1 the NGB-translation reads: “late after the sabbath” (singular), but literally it states: “in the evening of the sabbaths” (plural). The phrase “in the evening of the sabbaths” refers back to the preceding sentence (Mat.27:66), which speaks of the securing of the grave with a watch and the sealing of the stone. Therefore, the reading of it is: “They went and secured the grave with the watch, after having sealed the stone, in the evening of the sabbaths. At the dawning of the…” #4: Jesus’ resurrection occurred on Sunday Jesus’ resurrection occurred after the sabbath, on a workday. In Luke.23:56-24:1, we read “on the sabbath, indeed, they are quiet, according to the precept. Now in the early depths of one of the sabbaths, they, and certain others together with them, came to the tomb…” One [day] of the sabbaths does not mean that it was a sabbath, but refers to the period in which seven sabbaths were to be counted. (see question 3). On the same day as the resurrection (Luke 24:7,21), two disciples walked sixty stadia to the village of Emmaus, more than ten times the distance allowed to journey on a sabbath (>a sabbath’s day journey: Acts 1:12). #5 Jesus’ resurrection was, as well, AFTER three days, as ON the third day AFTER three days: Mark.8:31; Mat.27:63 ON the third day: Mat.16:21; 17:23; Luc.9:22; 18:33; 24:7; 24:46; Hand.10:40; 1Kor.15:4. In the first instance, the days are counted in which Jesus has been dead. In the second instance, the days are counted that He was in the grave. If Jesus died on the 14th of Aviv and arose on the 17th of Aviv, then He arose AFTER three days: 14 Aviv, 15 Aviv and 16 Aviv. However, when we want to count the days Jesus was in the grave, we have to start counting one day later, because He was buried at the end of the 14th day of Aviv (Luke 23:54: “a sabbath lighted up”). The 15th of Aviv was the first day in the grave, the 16th of Aviv was the second and on the 17th of Aviv, the third day, He left the grave. A FEW QUESTIONS: 1 Did Jesus celebrate the Passover meal earlier than the people? Evidently, because John 18:28 makes it very clear, during the process in the early morning, that the people had, as yet, to eat the Passover. Jesus desired with strong yearnings to be eating the passover meal with His own before His suffering (Luke 22:15). We have to assume that for this reason He had chosen an earlier time for it. On account of Scripture reckoning days from evening to evening (cp Lev.23:32), this Passover meal was eaten on the prescribed day of the 14th of Aviv. 2. In Judaism, is the beginning of the Omer-counting (=the day of the sheaf of the Firstfruit) celebrated on the 16th of Aviv (Nisan)? Yes, it is… but it is incorrect. The first sheaf of the barley harvest was to be waved by the priest “from the morrow after the first sabbath” Lev.23:9-11). In distinction from the other appointed seasons, for this day no date is set, neither is it for the feast of Weeks which follows fifty days later. Only the weekday is established. In Judaism, has the expression, “day after the sabbath”, been assumed to mean the day after the 15th of Aviv (consequently, the 16th of Aviv). But if the dates for the day of the sheaf of the Firstfruit and for the feast of the Weeks (50 days later) already had been established, what purpose is there for counting the days? For that matter, the school of the Sadducees taught that “the day after the sabbath” meant: the day after the weekly sabbath. 3. According to some is the expression “the first day of the week” not a good translation but should read “one of the sabbaths”. Is this correct? Yes and no. The expression “the first day of the week” which we invariably read in our Bible versions is indeed not correct. The literal rendering of this phrase is “one (day) of the sabbaths”. Due to ignorance concerning Israel’s appointed seasons, this expression has gotten lost in the translation. Too bad. It is, however, jumping to conclusions that Jesus’ resurrection occurred on a sabbath. Three fact make this clear: 1. As mentioned earlier (#4), the resurrection happened after the weekly sabbath; 2. Grammatically, ‘one’ (Gr. mian) in the expression “one of the sabbaths”, refers not to “sabbaths” (Gr. sabbatoon), because ‘mian’ is a feminine word and ‘sabbatoon’ is neuter. The rendering “one of the sabbaths” is for that reason not correct. However, the rendering “one day of the sabbaths” is correct; 3. The expression “one day of the sabbaths” refers to the period which begins at the day of the sheaf of the Firstfruit (“morning after the sabbath) and ends at the feast of Weeks, During those days, Israel had to count seven sabbaths (Lev.23:15,16) and were reckoned as the days of the sabbaths. Jesus resurrection occurred on the day after the sabbath and on “one day of the sabbaths” (Mat.28:1; Luke 24:1), and with this it is triumphantly declared that He was resurrected on the day of the sheaf of the Firstfruit. ——————————— first published (in Dutch): 2008 translation: Peter Feddema

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