A Prophetic Witness to the Church Today
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Jesus' Resurrection Was NOT On Sunday!
Millions of Christians believe that Jesus was
crucified on a Friday and rose on a Sunday. Yet that tradition totally contradicts Jesus'
own words that He would be in the grave three days and three nights (Matt 12:39,40).
Moreover, that 72-hour sign was the only
sign He gave an unbelieving generation of His Messiahship! Read on to find out just when
Jesus was crucified, and when He rose from the dead.
There is a saying that
truth is stranger than fiction. I wonder if that statement was inspired by the Holy
Spirit! Certainly in the area of understanding God's Word it carries much weight! Many
Christian traditions are heavily laced with fiction!
The conventional belief about when Jesus died and rose from the dead is believe it
or not one such fable. It is a colossal misunderstanding.
I hope you seek absolute truth and are prepared to take the time to study carefully and
meditate on the evidence that follows. May you be willing to open your mind to all
truth and be released from erroneous preconceptions and prejudices.
Millions of Christians have come to believe that Jesus was crucified on 'Good' Friday and
rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. That is a three-pronged lie, just like the devil's
proverbial pitch fork!
1. Jesus was not crucified on Friday.
2. He was not resurrected on Sunday.
3. His death and resurrection have nothing to do with Easter. (See footnote1.)
When our Lord inspired John to record in the book of Revelation that the devil has
deceived the whole world (Rev 12:9), He meant what He said the whole
world. Far too many Christians complacently think they are exempt from Satan's clever
bombardment, that they are not part of the world and are therefore free of deception. But
they do live in the world, just like everyone else. None of us can afford to assume we
have not been negatively influenced by the devil's subtle and devious deceptions. It is
highly pertinent to remember that all the virgins, portrayed in
Jesus' parable in Matthew 25, fell asleep.
Are you asleep to the truth about the timing of Jesus' crucifixion and
resurrection? Read on and see.
3 Days And
It is strange that so few have questioned the prevalent theory of the Good Friday,
Easter Sunday tradition. Matthew's gospel makes it quite plain that Jesus said He would be
in the grave three complete days (72 hours). The traditional view allows only some 36 or
40 hours nowhere near three days and nights!
The unbelieving Pharisees and Sadducees were badgering Christ for a sign of His
Messiahship, and in response Jesus gave them only one sign. Here it is:
A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be
given it except the sign of Jonah (Matt 16:4, NIV).
In the story of Jonah, he had departed from doing what God had commanded. He tried to run
from his divinely appointed duty by boarding a ship for Tarshish. But none of us can hide
from God or from our responsibilities. God 'caught up' with him at sea.
A furious storm ensued, and the ship and the sea-farers' lives were threatened. They cast
lots to determine who was the cause of this calamity; the lot fell to Jonah. As a last
resort, Jonah was thrown into the turbulent sea. Miraculously, it suddenly became calm
(Jonah 1:15,16). That miraculous change instilled great awe in those mariners.
As a result of that drastic action, all lives were saved. The seamen thought Jonah had
drowned. Instead, Jonah was engulfed by a huge fish, miraculously prepared to preserve him
and carry him to his destination. For three days and three nights he lay
in the darkness of the fish's 'belly'.
Likewise, this was the only sign God gave to the world that Jesus was
indeed the promised Deliverer: the fact that He would be inside the 'belly' of the earth
for three days and three nights. From that time on, Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to
Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of
the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life (Matt
By saying "the third day", did Matthew mean that Jesus would not be in the grave
for three 24-hour periods? No! Mark explained that after three
days, Jesus would rise again (Mark 8:31). Plainly, one cannot explain, by any stretch of
the imagination, that from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning fulfils the meaning of
this text. "After three days" means what it says: at
the end of three whole days!
If Jesus had been crucified on a Friday (afternoon), "after three days" would
not expire until the same time on Monday (afternoon). Even if one were to count only the
daylight portion of the days, the traditional concept still does not fulfil this text. If
Jesus had risen early on Sunday morning, then He would have risen before
the daylight portion of Sunday, not after. He would have risen after only one day (the
daylight part of Saturday).
It is clear also from an earlier passage in Matthew's account that Jesus did not mean part
of three days, but three whole days. He said:
... as Jonah was 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 (Matt 12:40,
This is not a trivial matter! This sign is the only one given upon which Jesus staked His
Messiahship! Just as Jonah's rejection and 'death' secured the physical deliverance and
salvation of those on that sea of death, so Jesus bought deliverance and life for the
'ocean' of humanity through His own death. The parallel is inescapable and essential.
Satan wants to destroy our confidence in the immense power of that sacrificial purchase.
He attacks truth in every way he can. One such attack is through the false notion that
Jesus was not in the grave for the allotted time span. Through the Good-Friday, Easter
Sunday tradition, sceptics could reject the authenticity of Christ. Yet, the scripture
cannot be broken (Jn 10:35). Jesus said His body would be in the "heart of the
earth" for three days and three nights, so we must believe that without compromise!
About AD 66 or 67, Peter predicted the inroads of heresy into the Church:
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false
teachers among you. They will secretly [most don't notice] introduce destructive heresies,
even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them... (2 Pet 2:1, NIV).
The Good-Friday, Easter Sunday myth effectively denies the Lord who bought us! It denies
the only sign He gave that He was the Christ. Notice, Peter says these heresies are
secretly introduced. Of course! A deceived person does not know he is deceived, just as a
sleeping person does not know he is asleep that is, until he wakes up!
It is now time to awake! We must not continue to believe cunningly devised fables (2 Pet
1:16, KJV), doctrines of demons (1 Tim 4:1), which are intended to create confusion, and
distrust and suspicion of God's Word and of His immutable promises.
Jesus Died On The Passover
Let us start our investigation of this matter by examining the scriptural texts God has
given us as benchmarks from which we can work.
In Matthew 27:62, we discover that the day of the crucifixion was a "Preparation
Day". Specifically what this meant, was that it was a day of preparation prior to a
Sabbath day of rest. All menial work in preparation was done this day, before the onset of
the Sabbath at sunset. (Biblically, all days begin at sun-down, not at midnight Lev
23:32; Gen 1:5,14.) On the Sabbath, no work was done which could have been done
previously, leaving the day free of needless chores to allow the rest to be kept for
uplifting, enjoyable spiritual purposes.
Other texts corroborate the fact that the day on which Jesus died was in fact a
preparation day before a Sabbath (See Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:14,31, 42). John's
gospel points out an added fact: it was not merely a preparation for a weekly Sabbath
(Saturday), but a preparation for the 'Passover' week otherwise known as the seven
Days of Unleavened Bread.
In early Old Testament times, the Passover lamb was sacrificed during twilight on the
evening beginning the 14th Abib (also known as Nisan, the first month of the biblical
year). That day from evening at the end of the 13th until evening at the end of Abib 14
was the Passover day. The Passover meal was eaten by Hebrew families at the beginning of
the 14th, during the hours following sun-down. The family would share time together over
this meal of a one-year old lamb, eaten with bitter herbs, depicting the bitterness of the
night the firstborn died in Egypt (Ex 12). The proceedings might continue until midnight,
as they commemorated the Israelites' deliverance from Egyptian slavery, symbolic of the
bondage of sin.
It was on this evening that Jesus kept His last appointment with His disciples, eating
with them the Passover meal and instituting the New Covenant symbols of His death. The
sacrificial lamb is replaced by the symbols of the New Testament Passover: Jesus' body is
represented by broken unleavened bread, and His blood by red wine. Luke records what
happened on that memorable night:
...they prepared the Passover. When the hour came, Jesus and His apostles reclined
at the table. And He said to them, 'I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you
before I suffer... After taking the cup [there was one large cup of wine from which they
all drank], He gave thanks and said, 'Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I
will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the Kingdom of God comes.'
And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is
My body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.' In the same way, after the
supper [showing that the Lord's supper was merely a dinner, not a ceremonial partaking of
bread and wine] He took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which
is poured out for you' (Lk 22:13-20).
The following day, the 15th of
Abib, is the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
This day is a 'High Day', an annual Sabbath, on which God commanded no regular work to be
done (Lev 23:6,7). It was this day the Jews were preparing for when Jesus was killed (John
19:31,42). Thus, Jesus died the day before the 15th Abib on Abib 14, the Passover
day (Lev 23:5, Num 9:5) perfectly fulfilling Old Testament symbolism of the Passover lamb
(1 Cor 5:7; 1 Pet 1:19).
The Crucifixion Was Not On Friday!
Abib 15, although it was a (yearly) Sabbath, could occur on almost any day of the week,
depending upon when God's new year began. The start of the new year is determined by the
appearance of the first new moon in spring, closest to the spring equinox (see our
booklet, God's Calendar Revealed To Man).
In the year Jesus died, Abib 15 was not a weekly Sabbath day (Saturday) because, according
to a correct translation of scripture, He was already risen before dawn on that Sabbath
morning! (See opposite.) We know He was dead for three days and three nights, so the
crucifixion must have occurred at least three days prior to the weekly Sabbath. Even if
one assumed the wrong traditional view that He rose on Sunday morning, counting three days
before would mean the Passover (Abib 14) was on a Thursday, and the high Sabbath day
15) on a Friday. But the Sunday morning resurrection hypothesis is preposterous because
Jesus did not rise from the dead in the morning. He had to fulfil the complete time lapse
of three days and three nights (Matt 12:40). He died in the afternoon (Matt 27:46; Mark
15:34,37,42; Luke 23:44-46), so He must have risen in the afternoon!
That annual Sabbath day, 15th
Abib, in that particular year, could not
have been a Saturday! It was much earlier in the week.
Jesus was definitely not crucified on a Friday! That is simply untenable according to all
Matthew records what was common knowledge, at that time, of Jesus' prediction about His
own death. Even the chief priests and the Pharisees knew what Jesus had said about Him
being in the grave for three days and three nights (Matt 27:63). Although they refused to
act positively on this knowledge, they were terrified that they might be proven wrong.
They wanted to foil any possible attempt by the disciples to steal away Jesus' body and
fake His resurrection. So they went to Pilate, the Roman governor, and asked for the tomb
to be sealed and sentries posted at the entrance until the end of the third day. Even they
knew He meant three full days, not just for the next two days! They were granted their
request (Matt 27:63-66).
Continuing the story in Matthew's account, we come to the reason so many have
misunderstood about what really happened.
Misunderstanding Due To Mistranslation
In most contemporary English translations of the N. T., Matthew 28:1 and parallel texts
are mistranslated. For example, in the NIV, it reads: "After the Sabbath, at
dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the
tomb." This rendering, though sounding very plausible and quite
straightforward, is highly erroneous.
Compare with a literal translation of the Greek texts, and one sees why. The Concordant
Literal New Testament shows the essential link with the context of the previous verse,
which most translators have failed to convey in the English. (Paragraph breaks, verses,
chapters, and even most punctuation, are missing in Greek texts, unlike in English. All
these things have to be decided upon by the translators, depending on what they
think the context ought to mean.)
Taking into account the meaning of Matthew 28:1 in conjunction with the last verse of
chapter 27, the Concordant Literal New Testament (CLNT) says this:
Matt 27:66 Now they [the chief priests and Pharisees], being gone,
secure the sepulchre, sealing the stone, with the detail [sentries].
Matt 28:1 Now it is the evening of the
[Notice the paragraph break here.]
Matt 28:1b At the lighting up into one of the
Sabbaths came Mary
Magdalene and the other Mary to behold the sepulchre. [Underlined type
indicates the presence of corresponding Greek words; those in normal type have been added
to make the text more readable in English.]
This translation shows clearly that there were two Sabbaths that week, and that THE DAY
MATTHEW 28:1 REFERS TO IS NOT SUNDAY BUT A SABBATH!!
One of the Concordant scholars explains more about the mistranslation of this and other
texts where "first day of the week" occurs:
"The references in the New Testament to the 'first day of the week' in the King James
version are spurious. The word 'day' does not occur in the original text, and the
expression translated as 'first of the week' is a distorted, fallacious translation,
founded upon human precept and tradition, gullibly swallowed by many students and scholars
alike! The phrase occurs eight times: Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1,19;
Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 16:2; and Mark 16:9 with a slight variation. The original of this
phrase in each of the three oldest manuscripts reads; 'mia ton sabbaton', which literally
means in English, 'one of the Sabbaths'.
"The translators altered 'one' to read 'first', then inserted the word 'day' (note
that it is printed in italics in your Bible which denotes that the word is not in the
original manuscripts), and then changed the plural 'Sabbaths' to the singular word 'week'!
No more perfidious and deceptive work of translation can be imagined, and multitudes have
been deceived by it to believe that Christ arose on Sunday, and that it is the day
ordained by God as the 'Christian Sabbath'! But in the language taught by the Holy Spirit,
the first seven occurrences of the phrase, as given above, should consistently read 'one
of the Sabbaths'.
"The expression denotes one of the series of Sabbaths [from Passover week]...
until Pentecost (Lev 23:15), while Mark 16:9 should read 'the first
Sabbath', and denotes the first one of the series..." (from 'How to
Scripturally Study the Scriptures' by Adlai Loudy).
Jesus First Appears On The Sabbath!
What this accurate translation of the Greek texts makes plain is that there was one
Sabbath which they observed immediately following the sealing of the tomb (28:1a), and
another Sabbath three days later (28:1b). It was early in the morning on this second
Sabbath that Jesus made Himself apparent to Mary. Notice John's account: Now,
on one of the Sabbaths, Miriam Magdalene is coming to the tomb in the morning,
there being still darkness, and is observing the stone taken away from the door of the
tomb (John 20:1, CLNT).
Luke's gospel corroborates this: Now in the early depths on one
of the Sabbaths, they, and certain others together with them, came to the
tomb, bringing the spices which they [had made] ready (Luke 24:1,
Some have wondered why the women would wait three days before coming to the tomb to embalm
the body with the spices. It ought to be obvious to any thoughtful mind that it was an
impossibility to get into the tomb before this time. The opening into the tomb had been
blocked with a huge rock and the entrance completely sealed off under the surveillance of
Roman guards, who had strict orders not to let anyone in. The women must have tried every
day from after that first Sabbath (the annual Sabbath) to come and 'anoint' Jesus' body,
but had simply been prevented.
On the second Sabbath (the weekly Sabbath), presumably getting desperate now not to waste
the expensive perfumes (the body would decompose after three days), the women came to the
tomb early to try once more. On this occasion an angel appeared and rolled away the huge
rock from the entrance with a terrific display of power. The earthquake and the brilliance
of his appearance terrified the guards, and they collapsed! (Matt 28:2-4.) After being
reassured by the angel's words, the women were told that Jesus HAD risen from the
dead (Matt 28:6; Mark 16:6). They could see inside the tomb that it was empty!
(Luke 24:3.) John and Peter later confirmed this (John 20:3-7). Jesus had already risen
previously and had left the tomb without needing to roll away the stone. He was now
totally transformed into Spirit. Since He died in the afternoon, He had been raised from
the dead the previous afternoon, three days after His death.
So, rather than rising from the dead on Sunday, Jesus' first appearance following His
resurrection, occurred on the weekly Sabbath day! The correct account further highlights
the fact that the true Lord's day is, in fact, not Sunday but the Sabbath! (Mark 2:28.)
That was the day made holy at creation (Gen 2:3). It is the day which God commands us to
remember and which God desires Christians to keep holy (Ex 20:8; Heb
4:9,10; Heb 13:8).
Also, since Jesus had already risen by the time the women first came to the tomb early
that Saturday morning, we can deduce that He must have been vivified on the Friday
afternoon at about the sixth hour (3 pm), the same time when He died.
We learn in Romans 5:14 that Adam was a pattern or type of Christ who was to come later.
As in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive (1 Cor 15:22,
NIV). It is
written, 'The first man Adam became a living being'; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit
(1 Cor 15:45, NIV).
Adam was made a physical being on the sixth day of the week. So, too, was Jesus made a
Spirit Being on the same day of the week. God's spiritual plan is always in perfect
parallel with His physical creation.
The Amazing True Story
Therefore, piecing together this jig-saw puzzle, we can see now what did
happen that historic week.
The Passover was observed by Jesus and His disciples after sunset on Monday evening, the
beginning of the 14th Abib. At that final evening meal together, they partook of the new
emblems of that memorial of deliverance through death (Luke 22:13-20), sang a hymn and
then followed Jesus out to the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:30,36).
He was arrested that night. Tried by kangaroo court before dawn that Tuesday and taken
before Pilate and Herod (Luke 23:1-6). He refused to defend Himself (Luke 23:9; John
19:9). He was sentenced to death by crucifixion by a mob stirred up by satanic forces, and
by the religious leaders (John 19:6). He was cruelly scourged and mocked by Roman soldiers
and led away to be crucified (John 19:1-16).
He was nailed through the wrists and ankles to a stake at about 9 am and left to die. From
noon until about 3 p.m. the sun ceased to shine as the life of the Light of the world went
out (Luke 23:44). Finally, at about 3 p.m., He gave up His spirit to the Father and died
(Luke 23:46). That Passover day was a Tuesday the third day of the week. Three,
in the Bible, depicts finality or completion. Jesus' last words on the cross were,
"It is finished" (John 19:30).
The curtain around the Holy of holies in the temple was supernaturally ripped apart (Luke
23:45). The earth shook (Matt 27:51) and the Roman centurion assigned to watch Him die was
convinced that this man, was indeed righteous (Luke 23:47).
Jesus was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea (Luke 23:50-53) and a huge rock used
to block off the entrance. The next day, the High day, the entrance rock was sealed so the
rock could not be moved humanly, and guards were assigned to keep the tomb secure, round
the clock (Matt 27:62-66).
The disciples observed that annual Sabbath (Luke 23:56), which was a Wednesday, and
waited, not understanding what really had happened. They were down-hearted, bewildered and
decimated by what had occurred. Over the subsequent days they feared that they would be
next! They feared for their own lives, now that their Leader had died (John 20:19).
Precisely three days after His death, on Friday afternoon Jesus rose from the dead. His
body was changed into spirit, leaving the strips of cloth which bound him precisely in
place. They just fell away as His body was transmuted into spirit (Jn 20:5-7).
Early the next morning, on the weekly Sabbath (Matt 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1)
the women made a last ditch effort to see if they could make use of the spices and
perfumes they had prepared for Jesus' body. They arrived at the tomb to find an awesome
sight awaiting them. Angels frightened them but reassured them not to fear. Jesus had
already risen, exactly as He had said (Matt 28:6). In order to prove it to them, the stone
was rolled away from the entrance (Matt 28:2).
Later that day Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene (John 20:16), but He told her not to touch
Him because He had not yet fulfilled the symbolism of the wavesheaf offering (Lev
23:10,11) and gone before His Father in heaven (Jn 20:17). Later that day, after the sun
had gone down, Jesus appeared to His disciples in the upper room, and they did
touch Him and worship Him then (John 20:19,20), so by that time He had completely
fulfilled the symbolism in the scriptures.
Don't Reject The Truth
The truth about the exact time of Jesus' death and resurrection has been kept a mystery
until this last time. It is one aspect of 'lost' truth which is being restored to the
Church through the work of the end-time 'Elijah'. This is a work of the Holy Spirit (see
our booklet, Who Is The End-Time Elijah?) It is the Holy Spirit
which reveals all truth (John 16:13).
God gives understanding to those whom He chooses. But with everything there is a price.
Understanding comes to those who are willing to obey all God's precepts (Ps 111:10), to
those who search it out (Prov 2:1-6) and to those who are prepared to lay down their own
lives for their brothers and sisters (John 15:12-16).
The Good-Friday, Easter Sunday tradition is a lie which has been subtly, insidiously
introduced into the Church by heretics (some of whom were misnamed 'church fathers' or
'apostolic fathers') during the early centuries of the Christian era. Believing such a
myth through ignorance will not cause you to forfeit your salvation, but wilfully
continuing to believe it when you know the truth, could! We must allow
the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth (Jn
16:13), accepting what is true and rejecting what is false, because it is only those who
are led by the Spirit of God who are God's sons.
If you for whatever reason refuse to come out of error and accept all truth,
God will disown you as His child. Refusal to come out (Rev 18:4; 2 Cor 6:17-18) is
rebellion and severs our relationship through Christ with God. Through such stubborn
rebellion, we could forfeit the eternal inheritance God wants to give us.
Let us not step back, but move forward in the light of His stunning truth.
Malcolm B Heap, April 1994
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(This article first appeared in Awake! Awake! of