“Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?” ―GOD (Psalm 94:16) JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN!!! “I am the way, the truth, and the life; NO MAN cometh unto the Father, BUT BY ME.” —Jesus Christ (John 14:6)

King James Bible Audio Drama with Music and Sound Effects

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Fallacy of "Good Friday" and "Easter Sunday"

Heritage Baptist Bible Church

The Fallacy of "Good Friday" and "Easter Sunday"
By Dr. Max D. Younce

0142 - A Complete Book - Revised 2006

Question: If Christ was taken from the cross on the afternoon of “Good” Friday and was out of the tomb by early “Easter” Sunday morning, how can you get 72 hours?

Answer: The short answer is, “You can’t!” Let me explain. The Lord Jesus had to spend 72 hours in the grave to fulfill Scripture. “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40, cf Jonah 1:17). The Lord, himself determines how many hours there are in a day. “…are there not twelve hours in a day?” (John 11:9). If there are twelve hours in a day, there are twelve hours in a night. Thus, three days and three nights equal 72 hours.

Christ had already been resurrected, probably between 3:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M. on Saturday. (The following is the text from a booklet entitled, "The Resurrection").


  1. The Jewish day was divided at 6:00 P.M.; the old day ended and the new day began. For example, look at “Diagram A” and you will see that Wednesday actually ended at 6:00 P.M. on Wednesday. Thursday actually began at 6:00 P.M. on Wednesday. Friday began at 6:00 P.M. on Thursday and etc. The Romans began their new day at Midnight.
  2. The Sabbath Day is always on Saturday, not Sunday. Sunday is the first day of the week. Paul gave instructions to the Christians to “…lay by him in store, as God had prospered him, on the first day of the week" ( Sunday, I Corinthians 16:2) . The disciples always came together to break bread and fellowship on the first day of the week (Sunday, Acts 20:7).
  3. The Jewish day ran from “even” (evening) until “even” (evening). (Leviticus 23:32). The time being set at approximately 6:00 P.M.


  1. Matthew 12:40. The Lord Jesus had to spend 72 hours in the grave to fulfill scripture. "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Jonah 1:17).
  2. John 11:9. The Lord , Himself, determines how many hours in a day, ".. .are there not twelve hours in a day...? If there are twelve hours in a day, there are twelve hours in a night. Thus, three days and three nights equal 72 hours.
  3. Matthew 28:1. "In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to DAWN toward the first [day] of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre."
  1. The "end of the Sabbath" is the last few hours before the Sabbath ends and the first day of the week, Sunday, begins. Dawn is the Greek word "epiphosko" and means to "draw on." It was “drawing on” or approaching the first day of the week. This first day of the week is Sunday, which actually began on Saturday at 6:00 P.M. (Luke 23:54).
  2. Remember, the first arrivals were there before 6:00 P.M. on Saturday, the Sabbath, and the tomb was already empty. "He is not here, for He is risen as He said." (Matthew 28:6 ).

Refer to DIAGRAM A:

Notice letter "b". This is when the Lord has arisen. As we have seen, these are the last hours before the Sabbath ends at 6:00 P.M. When the first arrivals reached the tomb, Christ had already been resurrected, probably between 3: 00 P.M. and 6: 00 P.M. on Saturday.

Looking backward, from "b" to "c" is 24 hours, from "c" to "d" is 24 hours, and from "d" to "a" is 24 hours. The time of His burial is "a", which would have been in the last hours of Wednesday, probably between 3:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M. This is the only way scripture could be fulfilled, as Christ had to be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, thus seventy-two hours. A far cry from "Good Friday" and "Easter Sunday", which are strangers to the Word of God!

So…if you count backwards. 3 P.M. Saturday to 3:P.M. Friday = 24 hours. 3 P.M. Friday to 3 P.M. Thursday = 24 hours. 3 P.M. Thursday to 3 P.M. Wednesday = 24 hours. Three times twenty-four hours = 72 hours. The time of Christ’s death and burial would have been in the last hours of Wednesday (the Passover Sabbath), probably between 3 and 6 P.M. This is the only way Scripture could be fulfilled, as Christ had to be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, thus seventy-two hours.

NOW…the central truth is this! “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, your faith is also vain.” (I Corinthians 15:14). BUT, we praise the Lord! He DID rise from the grave, showing God accepted His payment for the sins of the world. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). SO…every Sunday is Easter Sunday in our church as we celebrate the greatest event of all History!

DIAGRAM A: 72 Hours in the Grave to Fulfill Matthew 12:40 


THE TWENTY-FOUR HOURS BEFORE THE CRUCIFIXION: (Refer to Time Chart of Trial and Crucifixion.)

Introduction and the Cast of Characters

The following is an attempt to simplify the chain of events from the Last Supper to Christ’s death on the cross. To understand why Christ was treated as He was, it is imperative to have some background concerning Pontius Pilate, Annas, Caiaphas and Herod Antipas. A diagram showing that Christ was crucified on Wednesday and arose on Saturday is included. (Diagram A.) Lenten season, with the abstinence from eating meats, etc. are classified as "doctrines of demons" by the Word of God in I Timothy 4:14. We have included a list of illegal acts contrary to the laws of justice at that time.

To begin, let us examine the background of some who played a part in the arrest, trial and treatment of Christ. 

  1.         Annas, the High Priest: About 7 A. D., he was appointed by the procurator (governor) as high priest at Jerusalem. The son of Seth, an Alexandrian Sadducee, he opposed almost everything that Christ had taught. The family held sway for about 51 years as all 5 of his sons followed him as high priest. Annas had become old and was probably in his 80s when Christ was brought before him. He was rather feeble, but still possessed great wealth and political power in Jerusalem. He was sort of a “high priest emeritus.” He had superb intelligence and seemed unacquainted with fear or remorse of conscience. His unholy philosophy was RULE or RUIN! He had been quite generous in providing numerous luxuries for his son-in-law, Caiaphas. He was not timid about reminding him of his unpaid debt of gratitude. Caiaphas showed his gratitude whenever he could without regard of ethics, law, morals, or any consequences whatsoever. Annas was not a religious man. Being a Saduccee , he held to:

            A.      No life after death.

            B.      No spirit world.

            C.      No future rewards or punishment.

            D.      No resurrection--the grave ended it all! ( Acts 23:8, 4:1, 2).

            One must remember that Annas also hated Christ for upsetting his lucrative scheme of fleecing money from the Jews through his hirelings (bankers or money changers) who worked in the temple. Christ had chased. them out three times. The first time was at the beginning of His ministry, which is recorded in John 2:13-15. The second time we have the record given in Mark 11:11 with Matthew 21:12, which gives the same account explaining the cleansing of the Temple. Christ goes into the Temple just after entering Jerusalem, riding on the foal of an ass, and casts them out. The third time, which is the next day, He does the same thing. This is proven by the facts that, after Christ casts them out the second time in Mark 11:11, He leaves Jerusalem and goes to Bethany (Mark 11:11). The next day He leaves Bethany and goes back into Jerusalem and, again, back into the Temple and runs them out again. (Mark 11:12-17), this being the third time.

  2.         Caiaphas, the High Priest: The son-in-law to Annas. (John 18:13). Caiaphas was co-reigning as high priest, with Caiaphas acting and ruling in the position while Annas was acting more as an emeritus high priest. Caiaphas filled the high priest’s position from about 18 to 36 A.D., when he was deposed by Vitellilus. He and Annas were holding office at the time of John the Baptist’s preaching. (Luke 3: 2).    

                He possessed. the same feelings as his father-in-law; i.e., void of ethics, honor, fairness and common decency. He took a leading part in the trial and condemnation of Christ. It was in his court that the chief priests, Sadducees and Pharisees, who together constituted the Sanhedrin, assembled "that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill him." (Matthew 26:3,4). His conduct at the preliminary trial of Jesus (Matthew 26:57-68), its time and its procedure, were entirely illegal from the standpoint of the existing Jewish law.

                He is also mentioned as being among those who presided over the trial of Peter and John (Acts 3:1, 4:1, 6). He was a friend of Pontius Pilate and hated Christ. Caiaphas and Annas, as high priests of the great Sanhedrin, were both sworn by oath to fairness and upholding of the law, ensuring the right of a fair trial to the accused.

  3.         Pontius Pilate, the Governor of Judea: The territory of Judea included Judea, Samaria and old Idumea. It is said he had married the step-granddaughter of the Roman emperor, Tiberius Caesar. Because of the marriage, he was appointed governor. Most governors disliked being stationed in a distant, difficult outpost like Judea. The governors were usually in charge of taxes and financial matters; but, in governing Palestine and the Jews, he had supreme judicial authority which he used regarding Christ. The historian, Josephus, tells us that he hung golden shields inscribed with the names and images of Roman deities in the temple, itself. He was a vicious murderer as the perpetrator of the horrible incident mentioned in Luke 13:1, "…the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices." No doubt the Roman soldiers slew these men while they were offering their sacrifices in the Holy Place. Pilate's headquarters were usually at Caesarea, but on the Jewish feast days he would come to Jerusalem to keep order. This was the reason he was in Jerusalem when Christ was brought to him.    

                Previously, Pilate had used power, murder, and scare tactics to keep the Jews under control, but in Christ's case he seems torn between offending the Jews and condemning an innocent person. Prior to Christ, he seemed void of ethics, justice or conscience. After hearing for three years of the miracles and the wonderful acts that Christ did, this must have affected his conscience to some degree. Since Pilate's position depended on the favor of Tiberius Caesar, the emperor, he quickly thought of politics rather than justice when the Jews cried, "If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend." (John 19:12 ). The kind of man he was is revealed when he thought more of politics than justice by condemning an innocent man to crucifixion.

Historians differ as to how Pilate's life ended, but most agree he took it himself. The historian, Eusebius, says that soon afterwards, "wearied with misfortunes," he took his own life.

Herod Antipas, Ruler of Galilee and Peraea: His father was Herod, the Great, who tried to kill Christ by murdering all the children under two years of age. Upon death, his will divided the kingdom, giving this section to Antipas. He had married his brother's, Philip's, wife and killed John the Baptist, who had rebuked him for this act. (Mark 6:14-27). In Luke 13:31,32, Christ called him, "that fox." That name, no doubt, had reference to the Herodian cunning, the subtle diplomacy, and astute management of a difficult situation that enabled him to retain his puppet position and petty royal power until A.D. 39. He had heard of Christ's miracles and power. After killing John the Baptist, he, no doubt, was haunted by guilty fears and wanted to get rid of Christ. When Pilate sent Christ to him, he displayed his tyrannical character and hate by mocking Christ. Probably fear made him withdraw from passing the sentence of execution on Christ, thus returning him to Pilate for that responsibility.




1.         Passover, or Last Supper: Our Savior was crucified on Wednesday, which actually began at 6:00 P.M. on Tuesday. The Passover Feast was prepared in the last hours of Tuesday, between 3:00 P.M. a6:00 P.M. It was then partaken of at the Last Supper, just after 6: 00 P.M. or the beginning of Wednesday. Therefore, the feast was observed in the early hours of Wednesday; and Christ partook of the Passover on the same day He gave Himself to be the crucified Passover Lamb. This is substantiated by Matthew 26:19-21.

            A.      (Verse 19 ). Preparation of the Passover (Tuesday), "and the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them, and they MADE READY the Passover."

            B.      (Verse 20). Parting of Days (“even” - 6:00 P.M.), "now when EVEN was come, He sat down with the twelve."

            C.      (Verse 21 ). Partaking of the Passover (Wednesday), "and as they DID EAT, He said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me."

                     For further information on the Passover, read Exodus 12 and Leviticus 23. The Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread were actually two feasts in one. Passover began on the 14th day of Nisan (Abib ) and continued through the next day, on which began the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This feast continued for seven days, making a total of eight days for the combined feasts. A lamb without blemish was selected and sacrificed. This was in type of the Lord Jesus Christ who sacrificed Himself for our sins. I Peter 1:18, 19, and John 1:29, ..."Behold, the LAMB of God which taketh away the sin of the world."

2.         Praying in the Garden: It is called “Gethsemane” in Matthew 26:36. It was located on the Mount of Olives and was a place Jesus customarily resorted to (Luke 22:39 ). Christ was in the Garden within the first few hours of Wednesday, which began at 6:00 P.M. Three times our Lord prayed, "O my Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matthew 26:39, 42, 44). The significance of this is--Christ had been with the Father for all time and eternity. He was saying, "If there be a way we would not be separated while paying for the world's sin, then let it pass.” He did not want to bypass paying for sin, but to bypass separation from the Father in doing so. Christ suffered separation from the Father; so you and I, by faith, would never be separated from Him.

3.         The Arrest: Details of the arrest are only given in John. The arrest took place at night (Matthew 26:31) as the arresting officers came forth with ".. .lanterns and torches and weapons." (John 18:3 ). This was probably between 6:00 P.M. and Midnight, the early hours of Wednesday.

            A point of interest concerning Judas being saved or lost! In Matthew 27:3 it is said that Judas “repented himself,” therefore, some believe he was saved. The answer lies in the meaning of the Greek word translated in our English, "repented." The Greek word for "repented" in Matthew 27:3 is "metamelomai" and means "sorrow" or "regret". The Greek word translated “repent” when used in reference to salvation is always metanoia and means "change of mind." Judas was (metamelomai) sorry when he saw that Christ had been condemned to death (Matthew 27:3), but he never (metanoia) changed his mind about Christ being his Savior. Judas died a lost man.

4.         First Taken to Annas, the High Priest: (John 18:13) "...and led him away to Annas first..." Remember Annas and Caiaphas were co-reigning high priests (Luke 3:2 ). Prior to Christ’s arrest, they had conspired against Christ to kill Him (Matthew 26:3,4). It was Annas and Caiaphas whom Judas dealt with for 30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:14,15). Their hatred was intensified when Malchus’ ear was cut off by Peter as they were attempting to arrest Christ (John 18:10). Malchus was related ( kinsman ) to either Annas or Caiaphas ( John 18:26 ). After a preliminary hearing, Annas bound Christ and delivered him to his son-in-law, Caiaphas.

5.         Appears Before Caiaphas: Christ was brought into the palace of Caiaphas, (Matthew 26:57,58). The palace was not the temple, but the dwelling place of an important official. His treatment of Christ is described in verses 59-68. These events probably took place sometime between Midnight and 3:00 A.M. on Wednesday. The late night and early morning hours were cold as the servants and officers had built a fire to warm themselves while the high priest was conducting the pretense of a trial (John 18:18).

6.         Peter’s Three Denials of Christ: These are recorded in Matthew 26:69-75, also in Luke 22:57-62. Peter had bragged about himself in Matthew 26:33,35 and Luke 22:33,34. A few hours later, he denied Christ three times. His denials were overheard! “And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord…Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice…Peter went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:61,62 ). After the resurrection, the Lord gave him opportunity to confess Him three times (John 21:15-17). Even after Peter’s denial, Christ used him greatly on the Day of Pentecost and thereafter, including the writing of two epistles. We can learn two great lessons from this:

  A.      We should never be overconfident and think of ourselves as impregnable. (Galatians 6:1-4)

  B.      Even after we let the Lord down , He is still willing to use us if we will allow Him. Remember, he came unto Jonah the second time (Jonah 3:1). How many times has Christ come unto us to serve Him? Thank God for his grace to us and his patience with us. ". ..But where sin abounded , grace did much more abound." (Romans 5:20b ).

7.         Caiaphas Sends Christ to Pontius Pilate: (John 18:28) . "Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment (the palace of the Ronan Governor, there were many), and it was EARLY..." This was probably about 4:00 A.M., Wednesday morning. Just prior to this, the chief priests had held a consultation with the elders, scribes, and Sanhedrin (the council) to put Him to death. They bound him and sent Him to Pilate. (Mark 15:1, Matthew 27:1,2). Matthew 27:1 and Mark 15:1 both state it was morning and John says it was “early” when Christ was turned over to Pilate. In John 19:14, it was about the sixth hour John uses Roman time, being six hours from Midnight; therefore, it was 6:00 A.M. on Wednesday. Matthew, Mark, and Luke use the Jewish time (from 6:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M.) in stating the times when Pilate released Christ to be crucified. (We know it was Wednesday, as John 18:28 states, “Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that THEY MIGHT EAT THE PASSOVER.” This would give Pilate about 2 hours from 4:00 A.M. to 6:00 A.M., Wednesday, in his dealings with Christ. Pilate made several trips from the hall of judgment, where Christ was, to the Jews waiting outside.

  A.      (OUT) John 18:29-31. When Christ was first brought to Pilate, he went out to the Jews to ascertain what charge they had against Him.

  B.      (IN) John 18:33-37. Pilate went back in and questioned Christ.

            C.      (OUT) John 18:38. Pilate went out again and declared he found no fault with Christ.

  D.      The Jews replied to Pilate that Christ had stirred up all the people in Judea, starting from Galilee. (Luke 23:5 ) . Since Herod Antipas (Antipater), the ruler of Galilee, was in Jerusalem, Pilate sent Christ to him for judgment. Christ, being a Galilean, would be under his jurisdiction. This was Pilate’s way out! Antipas found Him innocent, mocked Him, and arrayed Him with a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to the judgment hall for Pilate. (Luke 23:7-15).

  E.      (IN) John 19:1-3. Pilate went back in to Christ. The soldiers placed a crown of thorns on His head and struck Him.

  F.      (OUT) John 19:4. Pilate went out to the Jews again, declaring "I find no fault in Him."

  G.      (IN & OUT) John 19:5-8. Jesus was led out in view of the Jews, chief priests and officers. They cried, "Crucify him!"

  H.      (IN) John 19:9-12. Pilate took Jesus and went back into the hall of judgment (9) where he continued to question Christ.

  I.        (OUT) John 19:13. Pilate brings Christ out again to the judgment seat in the courtyard (Pavement). Pilate’s wife sent a message to him and declared Christ innocent to her husband in Matthew 27:19, ".. .Have nothing to do with that JUST man..."

8.         Pilate Releases Christ for Crucifixion: About the sixth hour, Christ was released by Pilate for crucifixion (John 19:14). Keep in mind that John uses the Roman time, Midnight to Midnight, while Matthew, Mark and Luke use the Jewish time in dividing the day from 6:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. Therefore, Christ was released for crucifixion at about 6:00 A.M., Wednesday morning, just after being scourged by Pilate. (Matthew 27:26).

9.         From 6: 00 A.M., Wednesday Morning, to 9: 00 A.M.: Within those three hours the following took place:

  A.      Christ taken to a common hall, striped of His clothing, which was replaced with a scarlet robe. (Matthew 27:27,28).

  B.      The crown of thorns placed on His head. (Matthew 27:29).

            C.      A reed placed in His right hand as they mocked Him as King. (Matthew 27:29).

  D.      They spit on Him and hit Him on the head with the reed ( measuring rod about 9 feet long). (Matthew 27:30).

  E.      Christ’s robe removed and original attire replaced. (Matthew 27:31).

  F.      Christ is forced to carry His cross. (John 19:17). Our song containing the words "he fell beneath the cross" has no scriptural foundation.

  G.      After a distance was covered heading toward Golgotha, Simon , a man of Cyrene, was compelled to carry Christ’s cross the remainder of the way. (Matthew 27:32; Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26).

10.       Christ is crucified the Third Hour: This being from 6:00 A.M., Jewish time; therefore, 9:00 A.M., on Wednesday morning. (Mark 15:25). The next three hours are filled with the events found in Mark 15:26-32 and Matthew 27:35-44.

11.       The Sixth Hour to the Ninth Hour: This was from Noon to 3:00 P.M., Wednesday. There was darkness over the whole land while Christ was still upon the cross. Very shortly after 3:00 P.M., Christ submitted Himself unto death (Mark 15:34-37).

12.       Let us recapitulate for a moment. On Wednesday, Pilate releases Christ for crucifixion at 6:00 A.M. 'Three hours later, he is placed on the cross at 9:00 A.M. After being on the cross three hours, darkness covers the earth for the next three hours He is there. Therefore, Christ was on the cross from 9:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M., Wednesday. Shortly after 3: 00 P.M. he was taken down. Three days later, between 3: 00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M., Saturday, He had arisen!

This is only a brief picture of events that may help us visualize what took place some 24 hours before Christ’s death on the cross.


A careful analysis of the New Testament narratives respecting the so-called "trials" of Jesus, coupled with a thorough reference to an examination of the existing Jewish Laws relating to criminal proceedings, should convince anyone, with an open mind, that the entire proceedings, from the moment of his arrest to the actual crucifixion, were wholly void and unlawful. Consideration, in a judicial manner, will now be given to the numerous errors which were spitefully and illegally committed by the enemies of Christ.

1.         The arrest was without authority of law, and therefore, illegal.

2.         Annas, before whom Jesus was first taken for examination, was a mere politician without jurisdiction whatsoever.

3.         The Great Sanhedrin was unlawfully assembled for these reasons: The Hebrew laws prohibited such a meeting in   the night time or during the Feast of Pass­over.

4.         He was first accused of blasphemy, but when before Pilate, the charge was changed to sedition, without notice to the Prisoner, or anyone.

5.         Jesus was denied an opportunity to obtain His witnesses who would have testified in His behalf or to obtain counsel.

6.         No person could be found guilty upon his own confession of guilt. alone.

7.         There must have been at least two witnesses to testify in support of the charge against the accused: and their testimony must agree as to all the material facts involved.

8.         The trial could not lawfully have been concluded in a single day.

9.         The Roman conquerors had long before taken from the Sanhedrin its authority to sentence anyone to suffer the death penalty.

10.       A unanimous verdict of guilty rendered by the Jewish court had the effect of an acquittal.

11.       The members of the Sanhedrin were definitely disqualified to try Jesus, because of enmity toward the accused.

12.       The merits of Jesus' defense were completely ignored by the Sanhedrin.

13.       Pilate, as the Roman Governor, having stated four times that Jesus was not guilty of any wrong, should have released Him instead of delivering Him over to the mob for crucifixion.

14.       The condemnation of the Christ, resulting in His death on the cross, was permit­ted to be done without a lawful judgment of conviction.

15.       The members of the Great Sanhedrin, though learned in the law, deliberately and spitefully ignored every existing Hebrew law which had been enacted for the protection of the innocent.


Note: No matter who came to visit the tomb, no one found the Lord there. As we have proven with Diagram A and the accompanying comments, the Lord had arisen before 6:00 P.M. on the Sabbath. The Lord Jesus Christ is the “Lord of the Sabbath.” (Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5). He is “…end of the law for righteousness.” (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:22-24; 4:4,5). “Blotting out the handwriting of the ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:14,15; Ephesians 2:15,16).

           We, as Christians, should be talking about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ every time we come to church. It is the Gospel! (I Corinthians 15:1-4).

           We worship on the first day of the week, not because many think Christ rose from the dead on that day, but because of Acts 20:7. “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until after midnight.” This would indicate the use of the apostolic church of the first day, not the seventh. Also see I Corinthians 16:2. We also find that immediately after the Resurrection, the disciples were assembled together on “the first ( day) of the week.” (John 20:19). “And after eight days again,” another Sunday, we find the disciples assembled. (John 20:26).

1.         There were THREE Sabbaths during the period from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.


a.         The Passover Sabbath (Lev. 23:4,5). All preparations for the Passover meal would have to be finished by 6:00 (or at even) as the Passover was a “holy convocation” (Lev. 23:4) in which “no servile work could be done.”


b.         The first day of Unleavened Bread (Lev. 23:6,7) was also a “holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.” (Lev. 23:7) The first day of Unleavened Bread began at 6:00 P.M. following Christ’s crucifixion.


c.        The Weekly Sabbath (Lev. 23:3), which began Friday at 6:00 P.M. and ended Saturday at 6:00 P.M. “Ye shall do no work therein.”


d.        The only time a Jewish person could move about or work during the period from the Crucifixion would be on Thursday from 6:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. on Friday.


e.        According to the Scripture, the daytime hours of the Passover were used as a preparation day for the Sabbath occurring on the first day of Unleavened Bread. (Luke 23:50-56). Luke 23:54 tells us “And that day was the preparation and the Sabbath drew on.” (The first day of Unleavened Bread.) John 19:31 tells us “The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.” Also see John 19:38:42.


2.         One group of women prepared spices before the Sabbath (first day of Unleavened Bread) and rested according to the commandment. They seemed to have had spices on hand and simply went home and prepared them. (Luke 23:54-56)


3.          We find that Mark 16:1 merely states that the three women named in this verse bought spices, not brought them. Who? “Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome.”  When did they buy them? “And when the Sabbath (The first day of Unleavened Bread.) was past.” (Some time Thursday, after 6 P.M. and before Friday 6 P.M.) Some women had spices already and only prepared them. These three “bought” theirs.


4.          Many women were among the disciples who came with the Lord from Galilee and also came up from Jerusalem, and ministered to him. (Matthew 27:55,56; Mark 15:40,41; Luke 23:49).


5.          All the women did not go to the tomb at the same time. The followers of Christ were going through a dangerous time. We are told, “…when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews…” (John 20:19). They could no longer move about in a multitude as they had once done. In reality, scattered groups moved back and forth from the tomb; groups of women, disciples (Peter and John are named); some of the women are named while others are not.


6.          We must take note of the time that different groups arrived at the tomb and how many angels they saw, if any. We know that all those mentioned going to view the tomb did not go at the same time.


7.          We must consider what message the angels gave to each individual or group, and whether they delivered it, or not.


8.          The only ones to witness the earthquake and the rolling away of the stone by the Angel were the members of the watch (Matthew 28:4 cf. to John 20:1) which Pilate had given the Chief Priests and Pharisees permission to set. (Matthew 27:62-66). They then fled back to Jerusalem with their report. What did the council do? Did they say, “This must truly be the Son of God? No, they bribed the watch to say the Lord’s disciples had stolen away the Lords body during the night, and “…they did as they were taught.” ( Matthew 28:11-15). We know the Resurrection was on the weekly Sabbath, as this was the third day and the watch was still standing guard.

FIRST ARRIVALS: We find that Mary Magdalene and the "other Mary" were the first to arrive at the tomb. The time of their arrival was some time during the last few minutes of the weekly Sabbath and the first few moments of the first of the week .

" In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first [day] of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre (day is not in the original)." (Matthew 28: 1).

"The first [ day] of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre." (John 20:1).

           In Matthew, the time is pin-pointed as "drawing on", the meaning of “DAWN” in Matthew 28:1, “the first of the week.” John also fixes the time as "The first of the week… early, yet dark..." This does not mean before daybreak as we think of day and night. It is referring to the "last of the Sabbath", before 6:00 P.M. as it “draws on” toward Saturday, 6:01 P.M. when Sunday began, being the "first of the week." The point is...the two Marys did not witness the great earthquake, they found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty! The resurrection had already occurred!       

           Mary Magdalene left, summoning Peter and John. She supposed that since the tomb was empty, that Christ's body had been stolen. She ran to Peter and John to tell them this and they raced to the tomb.

"Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre and we know not where they have laid him." (John 20:2).

           John, seeing the empty grave clothes, believes (John 20:8). Peter and John then return to their own home (John 20:10).

            Mary remained behind, weeping; and, upon looking again at the tomb, sees two angels, one at the head and the other at the foot of the place where Christ had lain. They question her, "Woman, why weepest thou?" They must have been astonished at the tears of one whose redemption was forever settled by that empty tomb. They had no time to say more, for Mary turns about and mistakes the Lord for a gardener. He reveals Himself to her and, evidently, she wanted to throw herself at His feet. He warns her, "Touch me not" (John 20:17). The women coming later held Jesus by the feet with no rebuke at all. (Matthew 28:9). The Lord gives Mary the reason that she may not touch Him. "Touch me not for I am not yet ascended to my Father." (20:17). The Lord then gives Mary this message and she, alone. "Go to my brethren and say unto them I ascend unto my Father..." Mary delivered this message. (John 20:18).

            Mary Magdalene was the first to see the risen Lord. "Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven devils." (Mark 16:9).

            Mark 16:9. What does it actually say in the original? If we take it to mean that Jesus arose “early the first of the week,” it would contradict other Scripture.

            We reiterate: In Matthew, the time is pin-pointed as "drawing on", the meaning of “DAWN” in Matthew 28:1, “the first of the week.” John also fixes the time as "The first of the week… early, yet dark..." This does not mean before daybreak as we think of day and night. It is referring to the "last of the Sabbath", 6:00 P.M. “drawing on” towards Saturday, or 6:01 P.M. when Sunday began, being the "first of the week

            Therefore, in Mark 16:9, “early the first of the week” could not be referring to the time of the Lord’s resurrection. It is referring to when he appeared to Mary. Actually, the literal trans-lation of this verse as given by Zondervan’s Interlinear Greek-English New Testament reads, “Now having risen(,) early (the) first (day) of the week he appeared first to Mary the Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.” Since commas are not supplied in the original Greek, and, since one has been supplied here by the interlinear, I have also supplied one in this manner (,). I believe it is just as correct in our rules of grammar as the one supplied in this interlinear and does not contradict other Scripture.

SECOND GROUP: This group, found in Matthew 28:5-11, fell and held Christ by the feet (Matthew 28:9) with no rebuke at all. Christ had already ascended to anoint the Mercy Seat with His blood and had returned. They saw one angel and he gave them this message, "Tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead: and behold, He goeth before you into Galilee, there shall ye see Him (Matthew 28:7)."

            On their way to deliver the message to the disciples, they met Jesus, fell about His feet and received a different message than Mary Magdalene had received. Christ repeats the message the angel had given them. "Go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee and there they shall see me." (Matthew 28:10). An important point to remember--this group went to deliver the message. (Matthew 28:9).


            In Luke's account of the tomb visitation (Luke 23:55 to 24:1-9), he does not name all the visitors to the tomb. This is the group that prepared their spices before the Sabbath. Now, the group that prepared their spices before the Sabbath came and Luke mentions "certain" with them.

            This group saw two angels. Their message from the angels is different from the other group in that it is delivered in the form of a stinging rebuke. "Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee, Saying the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day, rise again." (Luke 24:5-7). It is possible that the angels are rebuking them for not believing Christ' s words and not merely blaming them for their poor memories. It must be said that they prepared their burial spices before Christ’s body was yet cold in the tomb. (Luke 23:54-56). They delivered their message. (Luke 24:9).

A LATER GROUP : As we begin Mark's account of the resurrection (Mark 16:1), at first glance we would include Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of Joses, and Salome in the group referred to in Mark 16:2-9). But, as we apply the facts to the account, we find that Mark 16:1 merely states that the three women merely bought spices. When? “And when the sabbath was past.” What Sabbath? The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

            Mark 16: 2-8 is an accounting of a different group at a different time, at the "rising of the sun" on and Mark, himself, points out, in verses 9 and 10, that Mary Magdalene was not included. He states that Mary saw the Lord first, and she delivered her message (John 20:18 and Mark 16:10).       

            Note carefully what is different about the women in Mark 16:2-8. They do not deliver their message, "…neither said they anything to any man, for they were afraid." (Mark 16:8). They are similar to the second group, they saw one angel and their message is similar ( crf. Matthew 28:7 with Mark 16: 7). They are the only ones who say, “…Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?” (Mark 16:3). They are instantly set apart by the fact that... they did not deliver their message or meet Christ when returning. They fled in fear! This could not describe the response of Mary Magdalene (John 20:18) and the “other Mary” (Mary the mother of James) In Matthew 28:8 we find “And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy and run to bring his disciples word.” Neither were the women referenced in Luke 23:55-24:1-9, part of this group given in Mark 16:2-8, as they, too, delivered their message.

            We may ask, why go into these scriptures in such depth? Satan attacks the doctrine of the resurrection. He would like that taken out of the Bible, for without a living Savior we have no Salvation. We should have a clear understanding of these portions of scripture so that we may answer the questions of any man who "…asks the reason of the hope that is with us."


  1. A Jewish day ran from 6:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M. Roman time ran from 12:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. We must emphasize the fact that the Holy Spirit inspired Matthew, Mark, and Luke to use the Jewish way of counting the hours of the day and for John to use the Roman way of counting the hours of the day. From John 19:14,15, we know that Christ was before Pilate at the sixth hour; but, in Matthew 27:44,45, Christ was on the cross at the sixth hour. He could not be in both places at the same time. There is not a contradiction in the Word of God.

  2. The Lord was to spend 72 hours in the grave. (Matthew 12:40).

  3. The Lord was placed in the tomb as it drew toward the Sabbath, which was the first day of Unleavened Bread.. (Luke 23:54).

  4. There were three Sabbaths in the 72-hour period that Christ was in the tomb: the Passover Sabbath, the first Day of Unleavened Bread, and the weekly Sabbath.

  5. He was placed in the tomb as it drew toward the end of the Passover Sabbath (Luke 23:50-54), and arose as it drew toward the first day of the week. (Matthew 28:1).

  6. Christ appeared first to Mary Magdalene before he anointed the Mercy Seat. Then He returned from Heaven to show Himself alive to other witnesses in the time before His ascension from the Mount of Olives. He anointed the Mercy Seat the day of His resurrection.

EXPLANATION OF LUKE 24:21 (Taken from a Question & Answer article, by Dr. Max D. Younce, found on the www.heritagebbc.com website.) 

Question: If, as you say, the Lord arose from the grave between 3 and 6 P.M. on Saturday, how can He be found on the Road to Emmaus talking with two disciples on the “first day of the week” (Luke 24:1) which they call the “third day since these things were done?” (Luke 24:21). Is this a contradiction?

Answer: I will quote the verse you have questioned in its entirety. “But we trusted that it had been he (Christ) which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.” (Luke 24:21).

Here are several important points to consider.

1.         Luke uses the Jewish reckoning of time. The Jewish day was divided at 6:00 P.M., the old day ended and the new day began. As the Luke 24:1 says, “Now upon the first {day} of the week…” (“Day”, as shown by being italicized in the text is not in the original.) “…very early in the morning…” What is actually in the text are the words “very early.” Some translate “early” as “dawn”, but, taken in context and comparing Scripture with Scriptures such as Matthew 28:1 and John 20:1, it should be understood as “the beginning of Sunday sometime after 6:00 P.M. on Saturday.” Therefore, we have established that Luke 24:21 occurred on Sunday, “the first of the week.” (Refer also to Paragraph 5).

2.         The Sabbath day is always on Saturday, not Sunday. Sunday is the first day of the week. Paul gave instructions to the early Christians to “…lay by him in store, as God had prospered him, on the first day of the week.” Sunday! (I Corinthians 16:2). The disciples always came together to break bread and fellowship on the first day of the week, Sunday. (Acts 20:7). This is why the majority of Christians come together in worship on Sundays.

3.         The Jewish day ran from even (evening) until even (evening).…from even to even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.” (Leviticus 23:32). The time being set at approximately 6:00 P.M

4.         The Lord Jesus had to spend 72 hours in the grave to fulfill Scripture. For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40). (See also Jonah 1:17). The Lord, Himself determines how many hours 4n a day, “…are there not twelve hours in a day…? (John 11:9). If there are twelve hours in a day, there are twelve hours in a night. Thus, three days and three nights equal 72 hours.

5.         The tomb was already empty when the first arrivals came before 6:00 P.M. on Saturday. “In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to DAWN toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.” (Matthew 28:1). The “end of the Sabbath” is the last few minutes before the Sabbath ends and the first day of the week, Sunday begins. “Dawn” is the Greek word “epihposko” and means “to draw on.” It was “drawing on” (as Luke 23:54) or approaching the first day of the week, Sunday; which actually began on Saturday at 6:00 P.M. John 20:1 also fixes the time as “The first {“day” is italicized and is not in the original} of the week, very early, yet dark.” This does not mean before daybreak as we think of day and night in our way of reckoning time. It is referring to “the last of the Sabbath”, 6:00 P.M. on Saturday, or 6:01 P.M. when Sunday began, being the “first of the week.”

6.         There were two Sabbaths the week of the Crucifixion: the Passover Sabbath and the weekly Sabbath. Our Lord was buried between 3:00 and 6:00 P.M. on the Passover Sabbath, a Wednesday, and arose between 3:00 and 6:00 P.M. on the weekly Sabbath, a Saturday. Count backwards: Saturday 3-6 P.M. to Friday 3-6 P.M. = 24 hours. Friday 3-6 P.M. to Thursday 3-6 P.M. = 48 hours. Thursday 3-6 to Wednesday 3-6 P.M. = 72 hours.

7.         They traveled to Emmaus sometime after 6:00 P.M. on Saturday (the beginning of Sunday, the first day of the week), or during the daylight hours of the next day, Sunday. Cleopas, identified in John 19:25 as the husband of one of the Marys, and another unnamed disciple were walking to Emmaus, about 6-7 miles from Jerusalem. They would not be walking on the Sabbath (Luke 23:56). They were intercepted by the Lord and walked together until they drew near to the village. (Luke 24:28). The time of day at this point was “toward evening, and the day is far spent.” (Luke 24:29).

    We quote the verse again. “But we trusted that it had been he (Christ) which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.” (Luke 24:21).

Focusing on the words “…to day is the third day…”, we find that “to day” is not the English word “today” as often assumed, but a compound of Greek words. The words “to day” are translated from the Greek word “semeron” (a combination of the article “he” and the noun “hemera”). The Greek word “semeron” means “on the (i.e. this) day (or night) current or just passed”, generally, “now (i.e. at present, hitherto: this (to-) day.” The Greek noun “hemera” means “day, i.e. (literally) the time space between dawn and dark, or the whole 24 hours. Figuratively, “A period of time, always defined more or less clearly by the context.” (These definitions are substantiated by Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Greek and Hebrew Words.) Therefore, letting Scripture interpret Scripture, and taking the context into consideration, “…to day is the third day…” should be translated “this day just passed is the third day…”

If all Scripture agrees, you have the right answer. (II Peter 1:20). THERE IS NO CONTRADICTION!

Are we like the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus? We want so badly to believe in our traditions of Good Friday and Easter Sunday, that we do not recognize the truth about our resurrected Savior. “But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.” (Luke 24:16). Should He say about us, O fools and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory.”

Do we want to be deceived into thinking there is some saving grace in observing traditions like the “Lent,” Ash Wednesday, Good Friday? Christ “suffered these things” , His crucifixion on the cross, His death, burial and resurrection, so that he could pay for our sins. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31).

SOURCE: Heritage Baptist Bible Church Dr. Max D. Younce, Pastor Walnut Grove, MN - USA  Bible Questions & Answers Archive

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