Jesus’ Death and Resurrection – How the Church Erred

Note: The following Post is taken from an upcoming book by Joseph Lenard entitled Mysteries of Jesus’ Life Revealed—His Birth, Death, Resurrection, and Ascensions. For an overview and complete chapter listing of this fascinating study, click here.

Accidental or Intentional?

If you have been following my Posts as I have built my case for a revised chronology of the week of Jesus’ crucifixion, it should by now be clear that Jesus did not die on a Friday, as has been traditionally maintained by the church. The simplest explanations for how the church could have erred in accepting a Friday crucifixion are rooted either in ignorance or intentional disregard for the Hebrew roots of the chronology.

Although the early church began distancing itself from its Jewish roots as early as AD 70 – at the fall of Jerusalem – the beginning of the fourth century AD marked the most distinct departure of the church from everything Jewish. Under the governance of the Roman Emperor Constantine, the church was intended to be wholly Gentile. Any remnants of Judaism that celebrated or acknowledged Jewish Feast days or a Jewish construct for biblical understanding were extracted from the practices and theology of the church.  Unhappily, this led many parts of the church to become anti-Semitic – a stigma still present among some today – and led to a misunderstanding of the actual sequence of the events associated with Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection. The church did not properly understand the Feasts of the Lord – specifically, that there were two Sabbath days in the crucifixion week, with the first day of Unleavened Bread being a High Holy Day (Sabbath), in addition to the weekly Sabbath.

In short, it seems clear that the reason the church “got it so wrong” was because it did not follow Scripture. Specifically, the church did not take into account the words of Jesus in scripture related to the “three days and three nights” that He would be in the heart of the earth (Matthew 12:40). This is impossible with a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday chronology, as there are only two nights in this sequence (Friday night and Saturday night). Regardless what concessions the church made to make it fit, the scenario simply does not qualify as the correct, theological chronology of the most significant religious events in human history.

My position remains that a Wednesday crucifixion and resurrection at the division of Saturday and Sunday – at twilight of the start of Sunday – does align exactly with all of the evidence presented in this case, the accounts of scripture, and the specific words of Jesus.

Note: In my next Post I will present evidence that Jesus ascended not once, but twice, in the days following his crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.