IN DEFENSE OF THE FRIDAY CRUCIFIXION POSITION
By Russell Earl Kelly, PHD
March 24, 2016
Note: If you disagree, don’t simply tell me I am wrong. Please write me a detailed rebuttal and cover every point as I would do with your article. Thanks.
1. Matthew 12:40 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.
Only once, in Mathew 12:40, the Bible records Jesus saying that He would be resurrected after “three days and three nights” and the cry goes out “if this is not literally true, then Jesus is a liar.”
However, Matthew alone also records SEVEN TIMES (al after 12:40) Jesus saying that He would be resurrected “in three days” (267:61; 27:40), “after three days” (27:63) and “the third day) (16:21; 17:23; 20:19; 276:64). Why, why, why do not these same people cry out say the same words about these text? --- “if this is not literally true, then Jesus is a liar”???
When Mark, Luke and John are added to Matthew’s list, a total of 17 (SEVENTEEN) statements of Jesus read “in three days; after three days” and/ or “the third day.” That 17:1. Every word is inspired. However, rather than reconcile all 18 references, those who insist on Matthew 12:40 (by their actions) teach that the 17 other quotations of Jesus are wrong.
“In three days”
“After three days”
“The third day”
It is obvious from these texts that “in three days,” “after three days,” and even “three days and three nights” are all equivalent to “on the third day.” Matthew uses all three phrases for the same period. The interval from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning is three days, by inclusive reckoning.
2. INCLUSIVE RECKONING: The common mode of counting employed in the Bible is shown to have been inclusive reckoning, that is, counting both the first and the last unit of time in calculating an interval.
3. JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA: This means that any part of a day was counted as a whole day. The Jewish Encyclopaedia states. “A short time in the morning of the seventh day is counted as the seventh day; circumcision takes place on the eighth day, even though, of the first day only a few minutes after the birth of the child, these being counted as one day.” Vol. 4, p. 475.
Scores of contradictions would appear in both Old and New Testament if this principle were ignored –especially with the kings’ list of accession and regnal years in Kings and Chronicles.
4. USED IN EGYPT, GREECE AND ROME: This method was also used generally by other ancient nations, as is shown unmistakably by source documents. An EGYPTIAN inscription recording the death of a priestess on the 4th day of the 12th month relates that her successor arrived on the 15th, “when 12 days had elapsed.” Today, we would say that when 12 days had elapsed after the 4th, the date would be the 16th. The GREEKS followed the same inclusive method. They called the Olympiad, or the four-year period between the Olympic Games, a pentaeteris (five-year period), and used other similar numerical terms. The ROMANS also, in common usage, reckoned inclusively; they had nundinae (from nonus, ninth), or market days, every ninth day, inclusive, actually every eight days, as indicated on ancient calendars by the letters, A through H. TODAY our current musical OCTAVE (8) is actually only 7 notes long since the 7th note of one octave is the first note of the next octave.
5. Genesis 17:12 A Hebrew boy was circumcised when “eight days old”, that is, “in the eighth day” (Levites 12:3).
Luke 1:59; 2:21 Similarly Luke speaks of circumcision “on the eighth day” or “when eight days were accomplished”. Evidently “when eight days were accomplished” does not mean eight full days from the date of birth, but eight inclusive.
6. I KINGS 12:5, 12; 2 CHRONILE3S 10:5, 12 When, at the death of Solomon, Rehoboam was petitioned to lighten the tax burden, he told the people to depart “for three days” (1 Kings 12:5) and then return for his decision “after three days” (2 Chronicles 10:5). They came “the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day” (1 Kings 12:12; cf. 2 Chronicles 10:12).
7. 2 KINGS 14: 2, 17, 23 Jeroboam II of Israel succeeded his father Jehoash in the 15th year of Amaziah of Judah (2 Kings 14:23), and Amaziah “lived after the death of Jehoash … of Israel fifteen years” (2 Kings 14:17). A modern reader would mentally add 15 to 15, reaching Amaziah’s 30th year, yet Amaziah reigned only 29 years (verse 2). Inclusive reckoning is again the most logical explanation, since 15 years, inclusive, from the 15th year is the 29th, in which he evidently died.
87. 2 Kings 18:9-10. The siege of Samaria lasted from the fourth to the sixth year of Hezekiah, which is equated with the seventh to the ninth year of Hoshea, and yet the city is said to have been taken “at the end of three years.” In modern usage we would say two years, by straight subtraction. Obviously the Bible writer reckoned inclusively (years four, five, and six totaling three years).
9. ESTHER 4:16; 5:1 Esther asked the Jews of Shushan to fast, and by implication, to pray, for her before she went in to the king unbidden, and then she approached the king “on the third day” (Esther 4:16; 5:1). Obviously a period of “three days” ended on the third day, not after the completion of the three days, as we would reckon it.
10. JOHN 20:26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
“After eight days” – not “seven days later” or “a week later”—means “the following first day of the week. This is attested by the following commentaries: Wycliffe, Adam Clarke, Barnes Notes and Jameson, Fausset and Brown. Yet Wycliffe agrees with the 72 hour theory!
11. HEBREW CALENDAR: WIKIPEDIA
The Hebrew lunar year is about eleven days shorter than the solar cycle and uses the 19-year Metonic cycle to bring it into line with the solar cycle, with the addition of an intercalary month every two or three years, for a total of seven times per 19 years. Even with this intercalation, the average Hebrew calendar year is longer by about 6 minutes and 40 seconds than the current mean tropical year, so that every 216 years the Hebrew calendar will fall a day behind the current mean solar year; and about every 231 years it will fall a day behind the Gregorian calendar year.
The present Hebrew calendar is the product of evolution, including a Babylonian influence. Until the Tannaitic period (approximately 10–220 CE) the calendar employed a new crescent moon, with an additional month normally added every two or three years to correct for the difference between twelve lunar months and the solar year. When to add it was based on observation of natural agriculture-related events. Through the Amoraic period (200–500 CE) and into the Geonic period, this system was gradually displaced by the mathematical rules used today. The principles and rules were fully codified by Maimonides in the Mishneh Torah in the 12th century. Maimonides' work also replaced counting "years since the destruction of the Temple" with the modern creation-era Anno Mundi.
12. COMPARING ED F. VALLOWE WITH BEYONDTODAY.TV
They disagree with each other:
A. One says Christ arose on the weekly Sabbath before sunset. The other says He arose on Sunday before sunrise.
B. One says Christ was crucified in AD30; the other says AD31. Both claim that He was crucified on Wednesday which was the preparation day for a High Sabbath.
13. One Sat-Sun-Mon advocate even says that there were no “preparation” days during non-weekly Sabbaths. Therefore “preparation day” can only precede a week-ending Sabbath. I have been unable to verify this.
14. CHART: BeyondToday.tv
This is the sequence of events on the chart.
A. WEDNESDAY: Jesus died near 3 pm on Wednesday, Preparation Day before the Thursday High Passover Sabbath.
B. WEDNESDAY: Joseph buys linen and entombs Jesus’ body.
C. WEDNESDAY: The women observe Joseph’s entombment.
D. THURSDAY: The women rest during Thursday-Sabbath-Passover Day.
E. FRIDAY: The women buy spices AFTER the Thursday High Sabbath and BEFORE the weekly Sabbath.
F. FRIDAY: The women do nothing more after buying spices on Friday.
G. SATURDAY: The women rest during the weekly Sabbath.
H. SATURDAY: Jesus arises just before sunset 72 hours after he was buried.
I. SUNDAY: The women come to anoint the body which is gone.
15. Matthew 27:58 to 28:1 says Joseph asked for the body on the “even” (27:57-60) of the “preparation day.” The guards were posted during Sabbath, “the next day following the day of the preparation” (27:62-66). When “the Sabbath was over, as it began to dawn upon the first day of the week,” the women came to the tomb.
CONCLUSION: If there were actually two different Sabbaths, it is incredible that Matthew mention of only one! There were not two extra days between the last verse in 27:66 and the first verse in 28:1.
16. Mark 15:42 to 16:2 says that Joseph received Christ’s body in the waning moments of the “preparation day which is “the day before the Sabbath” (15:42-46). It states that the women beheld the body during that same time period (15:47). The very next verse, 16:1, says that the women had already bought spices; it does not say “when” and probably means “before the Sabbath had begun.” Mark 16:2 gives absolutely no indication that two more full days had passed (Friday and Saturday); “and very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.”
CONCLUSION: The story flow of both Matthew and Mark have no mention or inference that more than one Sabbath is involved or that two full days had elapsed between a so-called Thursday Sabbath and the first day of the week.
17. Luke 23:50 to 24:1 says “And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on”; And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid (23:54-55). “And [the women] returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment (23:56). “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, and certain others with them” (24:1).
CONCLUSION: It is impossible to conclude from the context that 23:54-55 and 23:56 are referring to two different Sabbaths as 72-hour theory advocates demand. Like Matthew and Mark, Luke makes no mention of a second Sabbath and two full days intervening between 23:55 and 24:1.
18. John 19:42 to 20:1 says “There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand” (19:42) which is immediately followed by “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 sepulcher” (20:1).
CONCLUSION: Again it is extremely unlikely that “preparation day” in 19:42 refers to a Thursday-High-Passover-Sabbath while the very next words clearly follow the weekly Saturday Sabbath!!! And, again, 19:42 and 20:1 would skip over Thursday and Friday. Therefore neither Matthew, Mark, Luke nor John mention or infer two Sabbaths.
72-hour theorists must conclude that either:
A. Jesus told the truth in Mt 12:40 and lied 17 other times.
B. Jesus lied in Mt 12:40 and told the truth 17 times.
C. All 18 references are to the same time using inclusive reckoning as was common to Jews.
18. According to Strong’s Concordance, N. T. 4521 for Sabbath is plural because the time period (end, ends) is always between two Sabbaths.
19. “BeondToday.tv” errs when he says that the women bought spices on a Friday following a Thursday High Sabbath. This makes no sense. After buying spices they had the almost all of Friday to go to the tomb to anoint the body; thus it would have been unnecessary to rest during the weekly Sabbath!!! Think this through.
20. The argument that the women must have waited until Friday morning to buy spices has no biblical validity.
A. All agree that Jesus died around 3PM. Passover is always a full moon.
B. Passover (Easter) Sunset in Jerusalem this year is between 6:55 and 7:16. (Washington, GA is 6:43 PM, Wednesday, March 23, 2016).
C. Therefore there was between 3 hours and 55 minutes to 4 hours and 16 minutes before sunset for Joseph to purchase the linen shroud and the women to purchase spices after Christ died.
D. According to Mark 15:45-46, after Joseph of Arimathea had received permission from Pilate to have the body, he “bought” the “fine linen,” removed and wrapped the body. This must have occurred Friday before sunset.
E. According to Mark 16:1 the women “had bought sweet spices”. The 72-hour advocates state categorically that the women could only have bought their spices on Friday following a Thursday High Sabbath. This is not true. Like Joseph of Arimathea, they still had time to buy spices after seeing the tomb and before sunset Friday. As previously mentioned, if the 72-hour theory is correct, the women had all day Friday to anoint the body and would not have needed to do so on the first day of the week.
17. Vallowe very seriously errs when he uses Daniel 9:27’s “in the midst of the week” to argue that it pointed to Wednesday as the day of crucifixion. This is horribly wrong!!! “Week” and “weeks” in 9:24-27 (6 times) are “weeks OF YEARS” --- not days of the week. Even worse, the reference in 9:27 is to ANTICHRIST, not Christ!!! “In the midst of the week” is 3 1/2 YEARS after ANTICHRIST makes his covenant with Israel in the last days. Vallowe is evidently not dispensational.
18. Vallowe makes another error when he uses Leviticus 23:10-11 to argue that Christ arose on Sunday as the “firstfruits” of Pentecost –the 50th day after the second High Sabbath of Passover.
A. This argument has no relevance to the 72-hour resurrection theory.
B. This argument counters “BeyondToday’s” weekly Sabbath resurrection argument.
C. The Passover Sabbath could fall on any day of the week – a full moon depending upon which day the New Moon began the New Month.
D. Traditional interpretation (which I agree with) teaches that Christ was crucified on Friday when High Sabbath was also a weekly Sabbath.
19. Vallowe errs when he categorically states that Jewish days are from 6 AM until 6 PM. In reality, even today Jewish days begin at sunrise and sunset which change every day.
20. Vallowe greatly errs when he states that Jewish months are 28 days long. In reality, their months have always begun at the first sighting of the new moon and ends with no moon at all to be seen. Lunar months are 29.53 days long, or 29 ½ days long. Thus each Jewish year is 11.5+ days shorter than a solar year. Because of this Jews add extra days 7 times every 19 years to keep current. [In 2016 there are Adar I and Adar II beginning the year.] Yet Vallowe plays games with “28” to reach 1512 years from the Exodus (when most scholars only guess at the correct date).
CONCLUSION: It is far easier to reconcile “three days and three nights” using inclusive reckoning than to ignore the 13 texts which state that Jesus would rise again on the third day itself (and not “after the third day”).