Thursday, April 18, 2019

It's Thursday, But Sunday's Coming!

You may think it unimportant to know when Jesus died, but if you take a few moments to read this post, I’ll convince you that Jesus died on a Thursday (not Friday). 

This understanding will help you comprehend why God accepts you based on His Son’s performance, not your own. 

Christ’s death and resurrection are foundational to our Christian faith. 

The Scriptures declare that God delivers sinners by Christ’s death on the cross (Romans 3:25). If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then our hope in life after death and our proclaiming Christ to others "is in vain” (I Corinthians 15:14). 

Without faith in the Person and work of Christ, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

Jesus Christ died on Thursday, not Friday.

If this is the first time you've heard that Jesus died on a Thursday, it might sound strange to your ears, mainly when powerful songs, great messages, and vivid memories revolve around Good Friday

If you allow the Scriptures only (sola Scriptura) to guide you on this matter, you will find that the Thursday death of the Messiah becomes a powerful demonstration of God's infinite ability to orchestrate His Story as the centerpiece of history.

  • Jesus died at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 6, AD 30, at the age of 33.

  • The Jews used a lunar calendar, so their date was Thursday, Aviv 14, AD 30, at age 33.

"I have come to fulfill the Law and the prophets" (Matthew 5:17).

Jesus did just as He said He would—He fulfilled the Law.

There is no other day, no other time, no other way Jesus could have died, and no other day, no other time, no other way Jesus could have risen from the dead for the Law of God to be fulfilled.

For all those reading this post who have been duped by religious leaders into believing that sins are swept away by our promises to God or our performance for God, what I am about to write can help you see that those religionists who are stuck on man-oriented religious performance have no idea that true, biblical Christianity sets sinners free to trust Christ's performance.

The truth of what is written in this post will thoroughly erase any belief that our ability to adequately perform determines God's mercy, love, and grace. Take a moment to decide to "Grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" and read carefully through this post. You will not regret it.

Jesus dying on Thursday and rising on the following Sunday is thoroughly supported by the Scriptures and is not a new proposition among evangelicals. 

  1. Nearly one hundred and fifty years ago, the scholarly Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 27 (1870), pp. 401–429, published an article entitled The Crucifixion on Thursday – Not Friday by J.K. Aldrich.
  2.  Greek and New Testament scholar Professor Brooke Westcott of Great Britain, author of the classic work An Introduction to the Study of the Gospels (Cambridge: 1881), pp. 343–349, adamantly maintained that Christ's crucifixion was on Thursday, not Friday. 
  3.  In 1974, Christianity Today published The Day He Died by Dr. Roger Rusk, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of Tennessee. In this short article, Dr. Rusk shows through his computer-enhanced lunar calculations that Jesus died on Thursday, the 14th of Abib, 30 A.D.

The Way the Jews Measured Time

There are three basic things you need to understand about the way the Jews kept time in Jesus' day before you can know why Jesus died when He did.

First, the Jewish months revolved around eyeballing the moon during its phases of brightness in the sky. When a 'new moon' occurred (see chart), the priests would blow their horns and declare that a new 'month' had begun. Aviv was the first month of the new year for the Jews (see Leviticus 23:5), occurring in the spring as God woke nature from her winter slumber. Aviv corresponds to March/April on our calendar. Jesus died on the 14th day of Aviv, 30 A.D. at 3:00 in the afternoon, which would correspond to April 6, 30 A.D. on our Western calendar.

Second, the Jews in Jesus' day did not call the days of their week Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc... as we do. They called them "the first day of the week, the second day of the week, etc..." The seventh day of the week was a Sabbath known to us in the Western world as 'Saturday.' The 'first day of the week is what we call Sunday. Of course, Jesus rose on "the first day of the week" (John 20:1).

Third and finally, a new day began for the Jews at 6:00 p.m. in the evening. In the Western world, we have six hours of night before 12:00 midnight, the last six hours of our day. At midnight, a new day begins.

For the Jews, the hours from 6:00 p.m. to 12:00 midnight were the first six hours of a NEW DAY

So, Jesus died at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, the 14th of Aviv, just three hours before the sixth day of the week (Friday), the 15th of Aviv, began. The Jews ate their "Passover Meal" after sunset (6:00 pm), the meal would be consumed in the first hours of a new 24-hour day, not the last hours of a 24-hour day, the 15th of Aviv, the beginning of a week-long celebration called the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 

The LAST SUPPER Jesus had with his disciples on Wednesday night was an ordinary meal, so “every time you eat or drink, you are to remember Jesus.”

The LAST SUPPER was not the Passover meal. The disciples didn’t observe the Passover until AFTER Jesus died. 

Jesus Died on Thursday (the 14th of Aviv) in AD 30.

After Moses led the Jews out of their Egyptian bondage fifteen hundred years before Christ was born, God "appointed" seven Holy Days (holidays) for the Jews to keep throughout the year.

 These Holy Days, called High Sabbaths, were national celebrations of God's faithfulness and mercy to His people.

God was particular in His Law (Leviticus 23) regarding when and how Holy Days (holidays) for the Jews would be celebrated.

The first three Holy Days (holidays) occurred in the Spring (Passover, The Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Waving of the First Sheafs). 

The fourth Holy Day, Pentecost, happened in the summer, fifty days after First Sheafs

The last three Holy Days occurred in the Fall (Tabernacles, Atonement, and the Feast of Trumpets)

Since we are only dealing with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we will deal with the first three Holy Days in the Spring month of Aviv (Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Sheafs).

  1. The first holiday was Passover.

According to Exodus 12:1-14, the Passover lamb for each family was to be chosen on the 10th of Aviv. After the Passover lamb had been selected on the 10th of Aviv, the people would inspect it to ensure there were no spots or blemishes. The lamb could not have broken bones or be defective. Four days after the lamb was chosen, each Jewish family would slay the Passover lamb “between the evenings” (3:00 pm) on the 14th of Aviv.

At 3:00 p.m. on the 14th of Aviv, the lamb would be killed in preparation for the Passover meal. The 14th of Aviv was therefore called "the day of Preparation for Passover" in Scripture (John 19:14) . The Jews would also use the Day of Preparation (the 14th of Aviv) to sweep away any leaven in their houses in preparation for the second Holiday, The Feast of Unleavened Bread.

  1. The second holiday was the Feast of Unleavened Bread (a week-long celebration).

As already stated, the Feast of Unleavened Bread began the next day after Passover preparation, the 15th of Aviv. This is when the Passover Meal was eaten. Jews call this meal “The Seder.”

During the week-long festival of Unleavened Bread, which began with the Passover meal, the Jews were forbidden to consume bread with leaven. As the week of Unleavened Bread started during the early hours of the 15th of Aviv (from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.), the Jewish Passover meal would be eaten.

The lamb killed three hours earlier (at 3:00 p.m. on the 14th of Aviv) was roasted and eaten at the Passover meal after sunset. The lamb would be eaten along with the unleavened bread prepared during the daylight of Aviv 14. Leaven in Scripture is a picture of sin or evil. After the Passover lamb died and was taken into the Jewish houses, sin and evil disappeared.

The Passover lamb always died on Aviv 14, and the leaven was always swept away from the homes on Aviv 14. Again, this day of Aviv 14 was called the day of Preparation for Passover. The actual Feast of Passover was eaten after sunset, in the early hours of Aviv 15, the first day of Unleavened Bread. 

Remember (again) that a new day BEGINS for the Jews at 6:00 p.m., so though the Passover meal was eaten between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. on what we in the Western world would consider the SAME day (Passover, Aviv 14) or April 6, AD 30, on the Gregorian Calendar. But the Jews ate the Passover Meal the NEXT DAY, Aviv 15, according to how they kept time.

The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Aviv 15) was considered a High Sabbath for the Jews.

High Sabbaths were not the weekly Sabbath (Saturday) but a special annual Sabbath.

That means Friday, Aviv 15, AD 30, was a High Sabbath, and Saturday, Aviv 16, AD 30, was a regular Sabbath.

Christ's resurrection occurred on Sunday morning (Aviv 17) after two Sabbaths, back to back, had been observed by the Jews.

Two Sabbaths (the plural Shabbaton in Hebrew) occurred back-to-back before the Resurrection of Jesus, which is precisely what the New Testament teaches.

The gospel writer Matthew describes the time when the disciples came to the empty tomb of Christ on Sunday morning by writing:

After the Sabbath(s), at dawn on the first day of the week...” (Matthew 28:1a).

The Greek word translated as Sabbath in this text is “Shabbaton” (plural), not “Shabbat” (singular). Any English translation that does not use "Sabbaths" is mistranslating the Greek text. The crucifixion week had the High Sabbath on Friday plus the weekly Sabbath (on Saturday).

  1. The third holiday was “the Waving of the Sheaves of First Fruits” on “the day after the regular Sabbath following Passover” (see Leviticus 23:9-14)

    This day, “the first day of the week,” was always the Holiday when Jewish men would gather at the Temple at dawn and “wave the first fruits of their harvest” before YHWH and pray, “LORD, as you have blessed these my firstfruits, please bless the full harvest.”

This is the day (First Fruits) that Jesus rose from the grave. It’s why the Apostle Paul, in speaking of the resurrection from the dead in I Corinthians 15, uses the language of Christ as “the First Fruits of resurrection, and our resurrection to come, the full harvest” (see I Corinthians 15). 

In Summary

  • Jesus died on Thursday, AD 30, Passover Preparation Day, Thursday, Aviv 14.

  • The next day, the First Day of Unleavened Bread (Friday), was Aviv 15 and a special High Sabbath for the Jews.

  • The next day, Aviv 16 (Saturday), was the regular Sabbath for the Jews

  • It was not uncommon for the Jews to have TWO Sabbaths back to back during Passover, an event that occurred at least once a decade, and this is precisely what happened during crucifixion week, as stated in Scripture.

  • In further fulfillment of Scripture, Jesus died at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, Aviv 14, at the very time the national Passover lamb was being sacrificed in the Temple. 

  • When the Jews counted days, they measured any portion of a day or night and considered it a day or a night. Jesus was in the grave for three days and three nights.

  • He was placed in the tomb on Thursday (Aviv 14), remained in the tomb all night/day Friday (Aviv 15), all night/day Saturday (Aviv 16), and into the nighttime hours (6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m) of Sunday, Aviv 17, the first day of a new week.

  • Jesus rose from the grave sometime between the sunset following Saturday (Aviv 16) and sunrise of the first day of the week (Mark 16:9), which was Sunday (Aviv 17), for the Scripture says it was still night. 

  • The time Jesus spent in the grave fulfills the prophecy Jesus said about His death and resurrection:

"For 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" (Matthew 12:40).

The Anti-Type Fulfills the Type

Follow Jesus as He enters Jerusalem in the spring of 30 A.D.

He entered the city on Sunday, Aviv 10, the day we call Palm Sunday. 

The procession for the national Passover lamb of Israel had just taken place. The lamb had been led into the city from the east and was taken to the Temple to be the public sacrifice for the nation of Israel, an event that would occur four days later (Aviv 14). 

The lamb was met by crowds waving palm branches and joyously singing Psalm 118.

Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey, following the national Passover lamb (Matthew 21:1-11).

The Jews, many of whom had either known of Jesus or personally witnessed His great miracles, placed their palm branches in front of Him and shouted to Him passages from Psalm 118: 

"Hosanna to the Son of David!’ ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ 
 ‘Hosanna in the highest!’”

Just as the Jews began to cleanse their homes of leaven in preparation for Passover, Jesus went to His Father's house and cleansed the Temple of evil (Matthew 21:12-13). 

From Aviv 10 to Aviv 14, the national Passover lamb was in full public view at the Temple so the Jews could ensure the lamb was perfect and without defects. 

During those same four days, Jesus was inspected and interrogated by the chief priests, elders, Pharisees, and Sadducees. He left them bumfuzzled because "they could find no fault with His character" (see Matthew 21:23-27). Even the Roman governor of Jerusalem (Pilate) and Herod, the governor of Galilee, could "find no fault with Him."

Jesus ate His last supper with His disciples on Wednesday night, the night BEFORE He was crucified (between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., Aviv 14). 

The Jews would NOT eat their Passover until 24 hours later, but Jesus instituted a New Covenant - with no lamb eaten - giving bread and wine and saying:

 "This is My body, broken for you. Thiis is My blood, which is shed for you." 

As often as you eat or drink, remember Me. 

Jesus was the Lamb of God. 

It was His death that mattered. 

The Law of God in the Old Covenant was about to be fulfilled by the Lamb of God. Within a few hours, the Anti-Type (the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world) would fulfill the type (the Passover lamb of Israel). 

The agreement between God and man changed at Calvary with the institution of the New Covenant. God had Himself a new people (from every tribe, race, and nation), a new Temple (the lives of believers in His Son), a new priesthood (men and women, slave and free, Gentile and Jew), and a New Command ("love one another as I have loved you"). 

The Law pictured that "the just live by faith," but the Lamb made that picture a reality. Faith in Christ's performance for sinners is the only thing that makes a sinner right with God.

Jesus was placed on the cross at "the third hour" (9:00 a.m.) on Aviv 14 (Mark 15:25), less than twelve hours after He shared the New Covenant meal in the Upper Room with His disciples. 

The Jewish national Passover lamb was bound to the Temple's altar at the same hour. 

  As Jesus hung on the cross, darkness came over the land (Luke 23:44-46) from about "the sixth to the ninth hour" (from noon to 3:00 p.m.). At 3:00 p.m. on Aviv 14, 30 A.D., Jesus died. At the same time, the High Priest slain the national Passover lamb in the Temple. 

The Passover lamb was sacrificed in the Temple on Aviv 14 "between the evenings" (3:00 p.m.), just as Jesus, the Lamb of God, was sacrificed for the world "between the evenings." 

As the High Priest brought the knife down on the national Passover lamb, he cried, “It is finished!”  Just outside the city gate, at that very hour, Jesus cried on the cross: 

 "It Is Finished!" 

And Jesus died.

Remember, it was forbidden by the Law of God for any of the bones of the Passover lamb to be broken (see Exodus 12:46).  

At the crucifixion, soldiers came by to break the legs of the two criminals crucified along with Jesus, but they discovered Jesus was already dead. 

The reason for breaking the criminal's legs was to ensure that they would die before sunset, the Passover meal, and the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Aviv 15). 

It took Jesus only six hours to die. I am reminded that He said: 

"No one takes my life. I lay it down of my own accord" (John 10:18).

Jesus rose three days later, early on "the first day of the week" (Sunday).  

His Resurrection Day was the same day the Jews "waved the sheaf of first fruits" in the Temple during the Feast God appointed in the Law, a Feast called "The Feast of the Waving of the Sheaf of First Fruits." 

Jesus rose on this day, and the fulfillment of the Law in rising as our "First Fruits" of resurrection is quite instructive.

The Application

Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law of God.

Everything in the Hebrew Scriptures was about Him. When He walked with the two men on the road to Emmaus, He "began with Moses and all the prophets and explained to them all those things concerning Himself" (Luke 24:27)

God appointed the seven Holy Days for Israel (Leviticus 23) nearly a millennium and a half before Jesus ever walked the streets of Jerusalem!

What are the odds that Jesus enters Jerusalem on the 10th of Aviv, dies on the 14th of Aviv, is in the tomb during the days of Unleavened Bread, and rises on the "morrow after the Sabbath" (Sunday, the 17th of Aviv) on the very day the Jews celebrated the Feast of the Sheaf of Firstfruits?

I could explain the Anti-type fulfillment of the last four Jewish feasts (Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, Feast Day of Atonement, and Feast of Tabernacles), but that is another post.

I think you see the beauty of Christ in the Passover.

Next time somebody mocks Christianity and tells you it is a religion of myths and fairy tales, why don't you take a little time to show them that His Story is history itself.

It would be wise for all to see the Holy One in the Holy Days of the Old Testament and how Jesus Christ is the utter fulfillment of the Law.

Finally, when somebody asks you how your sins are swept away, refuse to point that person to any promise of man, commitment, or pledge of religious fidelity by man! Point the questioner to the Man who accomplished what we cannot accomplish for ourselves.

This is the faith once delivered to the saints, and it is worth believing.

Christ sets you free from trusting in your performance and trusting His performance for you.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful post!

Good old time grace based preaching!


Shari England said...

I had never before tied John 10:18 to His swift death. That's good. Love those rich nuggets! Thank you!

John Wylie said...

Outstanding article Wade. I've held to a Thursday crucifiction for the past few years. Great job.

Robert Prince said...

Wade, I'm sorry but this is a terribly ignorant post. The scriptural evidence for a Friday crucifixion is overwhelming. ALL the gospels agree that the Sabbath was the next day, beginning at sundown. The Sabbath began at sundown Friday. Plus there's no evidence that the Passover Lambs were sacrificed at 3:00 p.m. A quick reading of good commentaries would correct your error.

John Wylie said...

Robert, I'm not trying to be insulting but your comment belies the fact that you failed to read the article. If you had read the article you would know that Wade addressed your Sabbath issue very aptly.

New Every Morning said...

This is fascinating, but I'm puzzled by one statement. Doesn't the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah)occur in the fall?

Blessings to you, Wade.

Linda Tinker

Wade Burleson said...


There is a Jewish "civil" calendar and a "religious" calendar. In Leviticus 23 God calls the month of Aviv the beginning of the year for the Jews (the first month).

Wade Burleson said...

Robert Prince,

I agree with John. Read the article and click on the source material (I took the time to connect the links). Much better to comment after you actually read the article and the source material. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Dear Brother Wade,

I've heard this proposed calendar of crucifixion events previously. I’m sure you’re very educated and informed but given the thousands of theologians and very learned scholars at seminaries, writers of commentaries and ministers in churches that have served over the centuries who adhere to the “Friday crucifixion” what explanation would you give for the absence of consensus with your “Thursday” calendar?

You use Dr. Roger Rusk as a key source of your proposition. I figure he’s the same man who wrote the book “ The Other End of the World Roger Rusk…An Alternate Theory Linking Prophecy & History”. I haven’t read his book but the add on the internet for his book reads, “The Other End of the World will be of great interest to you. Instead of random historical events and great gaps in God’s revelation of His plan for His children Roger Rusk gives his readers a prophetic view that brings together God’s Word and today’s news.”
Also, “You can read with excitement and awe the newspaper in one hand and the Bible in the other.”

These prophets and Biblical interpreters like Harold Camping and others who use formulas and convincing arguments and their “prophetic views” that contradict positions established over the centuries and which have been examined and re-examined by scholars much more informed that myself seem to be surfacing at an increasing rate these days. I think I’ll withhold my excitement in this regard to the “Thursday crucifixion” interpretation but it is interesting and informative to read as you join their ranks.

Side note: I also picked up on your mention that “what I am about to write can help you see that those religionists who are stuck on man-oriented religious performance have no idea that true, biblical Christianity sets sinners free to trust Christ's performance.” I wonder if this is not a “not so subtle” shot at those of us that adhere to the position that God created man with a “free will” and that we make a decision whether to receive or reject Christ as a basis of our salvation? If so, call me “stuck” on Jesus but not on “man-oriented religious performance.”

God blessings to you.

Wade Burleson said...


Answer this question: Since Jesus prophesied that "Just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights, so shall the Son of Man be in the grave three days and three nights..." how do you get three nights from a Friday death?

I am simply pointing out what Scripture says about the death of Christ, and though others place it on Friday, I find NO EVIDENCE from the text that He even could have died on a Friday.



greg roberts said...

Harold Hoehner has best book on subject I ever read

"Since Jesus prophesied that "Just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights, so shall the Son of Man be in the grave three days and three nights"

Luke 18:33
they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again."

Luke 24:7

The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' "

1 cor 15
3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

he rose the 3rd day not the 4th

Wade Burleson said...

He died on the 14th.

He rose on the 17th - the third day.

Greg, you didn't answer the question about the three nights.

Unknown said...

I agree the Thursday crucifixion fits better with Jesus' statement that he would be in the earth for 3 days and 3 nights, not just 3 days. What do you think about the extra biblical evidence though, such as the early church's celebration of Friday, as well as the full lunar eclipse on 4/3/33 which might be the "blood moon" prophesied by Joel? Rick Larson has an intriguing discussion of the astronomical evidence on his site though like most people he doesn't address the above textual problem.

Ryan Loyd

Mandy said...

I'm going throw a curveball in here. Please check out the various pages on "Dating the Crucifixion" on the Star of Bethlethem website: . Mr. Larson presents an argument for the crucifixion occurring in 33 AD based on the astronomical events surrounding the date. Just something to think about. I don't know who is correct but both approaches are fascinating.

Anonymous said...


Let me qualify all of my comments by acknowledging that you are a much more astute Biblical scholar than I. That’s one reason I respect you and enjoy your posts and seriously consider your comments.

I cannot answer your question as to “how do you get three nights from a Friday death?” when taking the position that Jesus died and was buried on Friday and in the tomb Friday “night” and Saturday “night” and arose on Sunday morning. But given the one reference by Jesus about being in the ground for “3 days and 3 nights” compared to 10-15 Scripture passages made by Him and witnesses that He arose “on the third day” I choose to take the traditional “Friday-Sunday” schedule.

There are similar questions that arise in Scripture when it seems to contradict itself or other realities like, “6 days to create the universe so when did the dinosaurs roam the earth?”/ “God holds us accountable to decide whether or not we will accept Him but at the same time He is sovereign and all-knowing so what choice can we have?”/ “Father, Son and Holy Ghost but there’s only one God?”/ “The Rapture occurs but there is still a church in the world during The Great Tribulation?”/ “The 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth related to the chronological order of events pertaining to His return.” etc. I always try to take Scripture literally as it is written and search and pray to arrive at some conclusion most consistent with who I know our God to be and what His proclaimed Kingdom Plan to be.

Due to the huge support by so many Biblical scholars that Jesus died the day prior to the traditional Jewish Sabbath, Friday, was buried in the tomb Friday, was there Saturday and rose from the dead on the third day, Sunday morning, I prefer to take that position. The most difficult conflict to reconcile with this position is of course the one reference to Jesus’ words when He said, “so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40).

We find 10-15 passages where Jesus and witnesses refer to the resurrection taking place “on the third day”. One could conclude as you and others do that He was in the grave 3 days and 3 nights but then I could say He would then have to rise on the “fourth day” which is even more difficult to reconcile with all the references Jesus made to the contrary.

When the two men traveling along the road to Emmaus meet Jesus they tell Him in reference to the crucifixion events AND the reported resurrection, “It is the third day since these things happened.” They don’t say, “It is the fourth day since these things happened.” which would have been the case had Jesus been crucified on Thursday, buried Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night and then arose on Sunday morning.

My intentions are not to convince you to agree with my position but only to point out why I do not accept yours. I do greatly benefit from your informative posts and respect you as a scholar and good source of information for me to consider.

Off The Cuff said...

Bro. Wade,
You said; "Jesus died on the 14th day of Aviv, 30 A.D. at 3:00 in the afternoon which would correspond to April 6, 30 A.D. on our western calendar." Since your research fixes the precise date of the crucifixion on April 6th, that would make the precise date of his resurrection on April 9th. Does you church observe resurrection Day on April 9th each year, or do you follow the traditional observance of Holy Week and Easter with the rest of us who are ill informed? (smile).
Just Wondering!

p.s. I agree with a Thursday crucifixion.

Wade Burleson said...

Off the Cuff,

Similar to Christmas Day celebrations, we adopt cultural standards and celebrate the birth of Christ on that day, though we do not consider Christmas Day to be the birthday of Christ and acknowledge that nowhere in Scripture is there a celebration of Christ's birth except for the actual occasion of the Messiah being born.

Were we to accurately celebrate the day of Christ's resurrection it would ALWAYS be the "morrow after the Sabbath" of Passover Week - but once again, our Roman Catholic brethren and western culture has adopted a convulated way to calculate the celebration of Easter and we follow culture on this matter.

Probably more importantly, we celebrate the resurrection of Christ every Sunday, since that is the foundation of our faith.

Wade Burleson said...


Good comment. I understand.

Thank you for commenting and I always respect a man who says, "I do not agree," but is uninterested in convincing another of his position. That is my story as well! :)

Well done.

Wade Burleson said...


I do not believe the darkening of the skies on the crucifixion NECESSARILY has to mean an eclipse.

I am reminded of other times where light was extended and darkness given where there was no astronomical sign.

As far as the early church is considered I would ask "How early?" I grant that by the time of Constantine's reign (325 AD) the crucifixion day was fixed, but will not agree that the church earlier than this date affirmed a Friday crucifixion.

B Nettles said...

What Ryan was referring to re: the Star of Bethlehem's website (Rick Larson's work) is not a solar eclipse, but a lunar eclipse resulting in the moon "turning to blood." A total lunar eclipse results in the moon's surface turning blood red in color.

While growing up I was bothered that you couldn't count 3 nights with a Friday crucifixion. The whole "part of a day counts as a whole day" scheme bothers me a bit, too. I was introduced to the "early" crucifixion by some Dallas Th. Sem. people. They also pointed to what seems to be a missing day in the Passion week if you have the Last Supper on Thursday evening.

Some people debate the timing (on both sides of the issue), saying that Matthew uses Jewish counting, but Luke uses Gentile.

I think it's a minor issue, not to get distracted from the Gospel message about. Paul warns about arguing about days and times and making such things an issue.

Johnny D. said...

Wade, I learn so much from reading your blog. I know it takes time to put it together. Thank you for taking that time. I'm a smarter, better-equipped Christian because of you.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Wade,

Thank you for this post. I was a young girl at Emmanuel Enid when you became pastor. The thought of Easter egg hunts and Christmas trees at that place will probably never sit well with my soul. I'm now grown, with my own family, and these pagan traditions are thankfully, with the conviction of the Father, far removed from our lives. But, try teaching that on an Easter Sunday, heh?

Anonymous said...

Fascinating article. I agree, the connection between Passover and the passion narrative is definitely intended by the Gospel authors.

One question, how do you deal with Mark 14:12-16? I’m curious because that passage seems to indicate that the Last Supper was a Passover meal. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.


Wade Burleson said...

All, I first posted this article in 2013, and it's my tradition to update and repost every Easter season.

Happy Resurrection.

Wade Burleson said...


The Mark passage TWICE said "they prepared" for the Passover, not that they ate the Passover. Preparation for the Passover involved several days.

Jesus ate a LAST SUPPER with His disciples on Wednesday night. There is no mention of a Lamb - only bread and wine (food staples).

I believe koinonia fellowship takes place at every meal and we are to "remember Jesus" when we are around our daily bread with those we love.

The Lord's Supper is not a glorified Passover. It is a completely New Covenant concept that "whatever you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God."

Anonymous said...

Christiane said...

Heavily Redacted MUELLER REPORT

Anonymous said...

Christiane, everyone knows you are the anonymous on imonk spreading the Mueller report even though it has no connection to the post above. At least be honest.

Tom Kelley said...

Wade said:

“He died he died on the 14th.

He rose on the 17th - the third day.”

That’s some strange math.

From 14 to 17 on a calendar (Jewish or Roman) is 4 days. Count the days:

14th - the 1st day
15th - the 2nd day
16th - the 3rd day
17th - the 4th day

As to the “3 days and 3 nights” — most scholars have long held it is a Hebraism, that is, a Hebrew figure of speech or colloquialism that simply means “3 days”. And there is precedent in both the Old Testament and other ancient Jewish writings for counting portions of a day as a day.



I personally don’t think it is a significant issue, as it is a matter of interpretation, not a matter of one view being biblical and the other not biblical.

I also think the core message is what matters - Jesus died for sinners to secure our salvation. and rose from the dead in triumph over death and the grave and sin, demonstrating that the Father accepted His sacrifice on our behalf. That makes it a Good Friday (or Thursday) indeed!

Happy Easter, Wade! God’s blessings on you and your family!

Christiane said...

just a thought on the topic(s) at hand:

no offense intended, and I have no problem with conjecture about times and dates, which seems a human thing as the sacred Scriptures do present us with some contradictory viewpoints which promote curiosity and excuse conjecture, of course;

but it seems a better way to understand that the timely event of the Crucifixion also has meaning in Eternity
. . . IF the early calendars of Western tradition got it wrong which day or year or month,
at least these calendars marked the entire Christ Event as THE gold standard from which to count all time backward from Him into the past and forward from Him into the future, so that the years are marked FROM the time of Christ With Us and He is always at the center of all time as we know it,
and our Western tradition's focus emphasizes this:
that 'time' and 'eternity' BOTH meet in the very Person of Christ, the Kyrios who is 'unto the ages of ages'

Rex Ray said...


What really happened? When Jesus said, “…the Son of man will be three days and nights in the heart of the earth.” (Mathew 12:40)

“You will not leave my soul in hell or let the body of your Holy Son decay.” (Acts 2:27 Living)

I believe Jesus being in hell for three days made Calvary look like a picnic. Countless people have died more painful, longer, and horrible deaths in honoring Jesus than the physical death of Jesus.

I said “physical death” because the spiritual death (separation from his Father) burst his human heart by his honest question, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? (Matthew 27:46 NLT) (God could only answer his Son’s question by his tears.)

As one person said, “Jesus asked his Father a real question. He did not think, ‘Oh, I think I’ll quote some Scripture as recorded in Psalm 22:1.”

The price for our sins required the same punishment the rich man was suffering in hell. “…I am in anguish in these flames.” (Luke 16:24 NLT)

We can never fathom how much God loves us that he had his Son suffer for us on the Cross and in hell.

Christiane said...

An Eastern Orthodox prayer on Holy Saturday

"When You did descend to death, O Life Immortal,
You did slay hell with the splendor of Your Godhead,
And when from the depths You did raise the dead,
All the Powers of Heaven cried out,
"O Giver of Life, Christ our God, glory to You!"

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rex Ray said...


You quoted, “When You did descend to death, O Life Immortal, You did slay hell with the splendor of Your Godhead,”

I don’t believe Jesus slayed hell because God is in charge of hell. In hell, Jesus did not whip up on the devil, but suffered his Father’s punishment for all mankind.

Christiane said...

Good Morning, REX RAY

hope you had a wonderful Easter Day!

That wording comes from the Eastern Christian (Orthodox) liturgy which is referring to Jesus Christ as God in the Second Person of the Holy Trinity.

It is a doctrine that was formed by the early Christian Church, this Doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and I'm not certain how much of that teaching made it through the Reformation intact.
But most certainly, in the eastern Church, Our Lord is also called 'the Son of God', but that understanding is rooted in their all-encompassing Trinitarian Doctrine.

I think I have come to understand that many evangelical people do not see Christ as God, but rather, refer to the Father as God instead, and Jesus Christ as 'the Son of God'.
The formation of the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity was a response to the early heresies of the Church that questioned 'who Christ was'.

There was much confusion among many in those days, and new teachings were arising that differed from what had been handed down to the Apostles and their followers, so the first Councils of the Church were convened to address those heresies and to formulate the Church's teachings on 'Who Christ Was', and to clarify the 'Doctrine of the Holy Trinity'.

To call Our Lord 'the Son of God' was and is a part of the original teachings handed down from the Apostles and passed on through the ages of the Church.

I hope this helps. Like I said, I don't know how much of the 'Doctrine of the Holy Trinity' made it through as believed by some or all of evangelical Christian people, so I am unclear about whether it is the 'language' that is confusing, or if there is some different theological interpretation of 'Who God Is'. I do think most evangelical people see Our Lord as 'the Giver of Life', at least I hope that's true.

Hope you and yours are well. I continue to pray for your family members with health problems. By the way, Wade had a beautiful sermon on the Wartburg Watch blog on Easter morning, so if you get an opportunity to listen to it, I highly recommend it.

Rex Ray said...


Yes, we had a wonderful Easter. Started early with a good sermon by our pastor and good singing in the woods. Then a sermon by a former missionary to Hungry, whose our County Association Director, in a near-by church in Ector, Texas where I graduated from high-school in 1950.

Judy and I got many compliments from getting lights on a nine foot cross that’s 22 feet above our 40 foot high slide on Easter. We hope the many cars that pass will be reminded of our Lord’s message in days to come.

We appreciate your prayers.

David T said...

Picking nits here, but the "Waxing" and "Waning" labels on the moon chart are backwards. Waxing means "gaining in strength, getting stronger, headed to fullness" while waning means the opposite.

Wade Burleson said...

David T - five years after you first commented! Thank you. :)