Sunday Resurrection

Despite popular tradition, we know that Jesus was likely not resurrected early on Sunday morning following His crucifixion, because scripture tells us that when the women went to the tomb ‘very early in the morning,’ the angels told them, “He is not here; he has [already] risen!” (Luke 24:6).

So when exactly was Jesus resurrected?

Despite what church tradition would have us believe, a proper analysis of scripture makes clear that Jesus was not crucified on Friday and did not rise on a Sunday morning in AD 30. According to scripture and the Jewish calendar for the year of Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus fulfilled the Spring Feasts of the Lord (Leviticus 23) at His first coming; he fulfilled Passover with His crucifixion; He fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread with His burial; and He fulfilled First Fruits with His resurrection.

It is especially significant that the Jewish Feast of First Fruits was observed on the day following the weekly Sabbath of the Passion Week – on Sunday. According to Jewish tradition, all days began at sundown; therefore, First Fruits began at sundown of Saturday and ended on sundown of Sunday. Jesus’ resurrection must therefore have occurred at some point during that period. And since we have already established that it was before early morning on Sunday, when did it actually occur?

Jesus specifically stated that – like Jonah – He would be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17, Matthew 12:40). Unfortunately, church tradition – which advocates a Friday afternoon crucifixion, a burial before sunset, and a resurrection on Sunday morning  -simply would not allow for the scripturally-required three days and three nights – even if we allow for partial days and nights.

I believe that in order for Jesus’ Passion to have properly fulfilled scripture and the traditions of the Jewish Feasts, the crucifixion must have occurred on Wednesday afternoon. Burial would have followed at sundown (the beginning of Thursday and the Feast of Unleavened Bread); and the resurrection would have occurred at sundown on Saturday, the start of First Fruits and the beginning of Sunday on the Jewish calendar. This chronology provides three full days and three full nights for Jesus’ body to be in the earth.

Because Jesus served as the First Fruits of the resurrection, it makes sense that He would have been resurrected at the start of First Fruits, which would also have corresponded to the Jewish rite of First Fruits, during which the Temple Priests offered to heaven the first cuts of barley from a special field in the Kidron Valley. This would have been the exact moment at which Jesus rose from the grave.

God makes all things perfect.  What could have been more perfect than this?

For a complete discussion of the when of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension(s), please read the various postings at the following link on the Truth in Scripture website:

Which Passover?

A study of historical Passovers during the time Jesus was alive inevitably raises the following questions: During which Passover did Jesus die?  Does it even matter ?

I will answer the second question first.  Yes, it matters.  Because determining the correct Passover is necessary if we wish to establish with reasonable certainty the day of the week on which Jesus was crucified.  The analysis is a bit complicated, but definitely worth pursuing.

At the time of Jesus’ crucifixion week, there were actually five different Jewish sects observing ‘Passovers’, each with their own day of preparation, the day for the sacrificing of their lambs.  These Passovers were the Mosaic Passover, the Samaritan’s Passover, the Essene’s Passover, the Sadducees’ Passover, and the Pharisaic Passover. And while the Sadducees observed Passover based on the requirements of the Torah, others followed a timing based on the traditions of the Pharisees.

So which of these Passovers did Jesus follow as He approached the observance of His seder (‘Last Supper’) as the prelude to His sacrificial death?  Based on my study of scripture and the works of other theologians, historians, and scholars, I have determined that He followed the Passover chronology set forth by God through Moses, as recorded in the Torah (the Old Testament Scripture). I also believe – for reasons discussed at length on the Truth in Scripture website – that Jesus was crucified on Wednesday afternoon of the crucifixion week in AD 30, in accordance with the Mosaic Passover.

Some say none of this really matters.  But it does matter if we value biblical truth.

For a more complete discussion of this topic, please visit the following link on the Truth in Scripture website:

Palm Sunday – Or Something Else?

The Passover celebration in Jerusalem before Jesus was crucified was different from all others. As Jesus was coming down from the Mount of Olives on Sunday, crowds of people came out to greet Him. The Gospel of John states, “They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!’” (John 12:13)

Scripture does not specify that palm branches are to be waved at Passover in the Spring. So why was that the case at this particular Passover celebration recalled by John and others among the Disciples?  Or was that the case at all?It is helpful to know ‘the rest of the story.’

The only Feast of the Lord celebration during which branches are waved is the Feast of Tabernacles, in the Fall of the year.  During this Feast, a cluster of ‘. . . palm fronds, leafy branches, and poplars (Leviticus 23:40) is waved to recognize and glorify the Messiah. Collectively, these leafy branches are called ‘lulav.’

So, why did John specifically mention that palm branches were waved on this Passover occasion, while Matthew 21:8 recalled branches from the trees’ [like the willow], and Mark 11:8 cited ‘branches they had cut in the fields’ [like leafy branches of the myrtle]. Collectively, the Gospel accounts of John, Matthew, and Mark seem to be describing the three components of the lulav.

Traditionally, Jewish Rabbis taught that ‘Whatever time of year the Messiah was to appear, the Jews were to greet and hail Him by taking up the lulav clusters and singing Hosannas to Him as the Holy One of Israel’ (Peskita de Rab Kahana, 27:3 – as referenced in Messiah in the Feasts of Israel, a book originally published in 2002 by author and Messianic Jew Dr. Sam Nadler.

That is the rest of the story.  So perhaps what we now call Palm Sunday could just as easily been labeled Lulav Sunday. Either way, what is most important is that we recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as the Jewish Messiah, the promised Son of God, and the Savior of the World. His entry into Jerusalem on that long-ago Sunday changed the world – regardless what plants the adoring Jews waved before Him.

%d bloggers like this: