The Day of Christ’s Death & Day of Christ’s Resurrection

Eric Jon Phelps
By Eric Jon Phelps May 19, 2010 17:16 Updated

jesus-christ-resurrection-150x150Posted by: VA Webmaster.

The following explanation of the details surrounding the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is from a recent Post by Eric Jon Phelps replying to a reader’s email.  That post can be found in our “Mail” section.  We do not make a habit of placing “Mail” postings in our “News” and “Featured” sections so the meat of that Post has been placed here.

This is truly beautiful and further demonstrates the beauty of God and His Word.

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Eric’s Explanation:

The last year of Christ’s ministry to his elect nation of Israel, as he sought to re-establish the Davidic Kingdom as prophesied in Isaiah 9:6, was 32 AD. The day he rode into Jerusalem and declared himself to be the Messiah/King of Israel, according to Zechariah 9:9, was Sunday, April 6, 32 AD.  According to the Hebrew calendar, that daytime declaration occurred on the 10th of Nisan.  Never before during his ministry had he openly proclaimed to the nation that he was indeed “Messiah,” the promised Seed of David to rule the nation on the Throne of Davidforever! Further, it was on “this thy day” (Luke 19:42) that Christ literally fulfilled the prophecy of the first 69 weeks of years as given to Daniel the Prophet by the Angel Gabriel.  For concluding the first 69 weeks of years (483 Hebrew years to the very day—173,880 days) would be the open manifestation of “Messiah the Prince” (Daniel 9:25) to “thy people”—the nation of Israel.

In answering your assertion that the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Wednesday (Hebrew; “Fourth Day,” 13th of Nisan, 32 AD) and rose from the dead on the early morning of the Sabbath (Hebrew; “Seventh Day,” 16th of Nisan), we must consider the following irrefutable facts as they relate to the Prophecy of the 70 Weeks of Daniel as given to him by the Angel Gabriel (Daniel 9:24-27):

A. The date Artaxerxes Longimanus, King of Persia, gave the decree to rebuild “the holy city” of Jerusalem was March 14 (Hebrew date; 1 Nisan) 445 BC.  The only place in Holy Writ where that command is given by Artaxerxes is found in Nehemiah 2:1-8.  On this day commenced the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks of Years according to Daniel 9:25.  Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson, English archeologist, as recorded in his Herodotus, vol. iv, p. 217 (as cited by Anderson in his The Coming Prince, p. 64), confirms he discovered that very recorded command during his archeological excavation at Susa, in the king’s Shushan Palace.

Anderson, Sir Robert, The Coming Prince, 18th Edition, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 1972) p. xxxviii.

B. The date the Lord Jesus Christ declared himself to be “Messiah the Prince,” according to Zechariah 9:9 fulfilling Daniel 9:25, was April 6 (Hebrew date; “First Day,” 10th of Nisan), 32 AD. We know that Jesus of Nazareth began his ministry “in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar.” Since Tiberius became Caesar in 14 AD, Christ’s ministry began in 29 AD. The Lord Jesus subsequently observed three Passovers (John 2:13; 6:4; 13:1-4) the first for 30 AD, the second for 31 AD and the third for 32 ADthe year of his death, burial and resurrection.

C. The date of April 6 (Hebrew: “First Day,” 10th of Nisan), 32 AD fell in that year between the hours of 6:00 PM on Saturday evening to 6:00 PM on Sunday evening. We know that at the time of the approaching third and final Passover which the Lord Jesus would observe, he came to Bethany “six days before the passover,” that day being a Friday. On the following day, the Sabbath, he was given a supper by his apostles and friends (John 12:2-11). “On the next day,” Sunday, Jesus declared himself to be Messiah of Israel (John 12:12-15). That daytime declaration occurred on Sunday, April 6 (Hebrew; “First Day,” 10th of Nisan), 32 AD.

D. During this most important week in the history of man, there was more than one “holy convocation” during which no Israelite could work. The 15th of Nisan (Friday), the first day beginning the week of the “Feast of Unleavened Bread,” was a “holy convocation.” Thus, no work could be done on that Friday (Lev. 23:7). (This is another reason why Christ could not have been crucified on the pope’s “Good Friday.”) The following day was the Sabbath (Saturday) and was also another “holy convocation” in which no labor could be performed (Lev. 23:3).

Again, the above four facts are irrefutable. Anyone who disagrees with them is either ignorant or is a determined liar.

Now we shall begin to ascertain on what day the Lord Jesus observed his last Passover Supper, the day he was illegally tried and crucified, and the day he rose from the dead. As stated, from the day he died to the day he arose from the dead was three days and three nights as Jesus “That Prophet” foretold (Matt. 12:40). And nowhere does it state that He had to be in “the heart of the earth” for three entire days and three entire nights, 72 total hours—nowhere.  A portion of a “night” is sufficient as well as a portion of a “day” to constitute a scriptural “night” and a scriptural “day” in this context.  Thus, “after three days,” He would “rise again” (Mk. 8:31).

The Prophet Jesus of Nazareth has declared himself “Messiah the Prince” on “Palm Sunday,April 6, 32 AD (Hebrew: “First Day,” 10th of Nisan.  The “Passover Supper” (as distinguished from the “Passover Feast,” also called the “Feast of Unleavened Bread”) is to be observed on the 14th of Nisan, Nisan being the first month of the year for Israel (Lev. 23:5).  If Christ is to fulfill the “Passover Supper,” he must be put on the cross to die as the Lamb of God during the daytime hours of Thursday, the second 12 hours of the 14th of Nisan.  He could not have been crucified during the daytime hours of Wednesday, the second 12 hours of the 13th of Nisan; for the Passover Supper, anticipating the death of the actual Lamb of God, would have never been fulfilled on that date! Additionally, the day following the crucifixion—the 15th of Nisan—was a day in which any servile work was punished with death (Lev. 23:7).  This 15th of Nisan was the First day of the Two days of rest called “sabbaths” (the Greek noun “sabbaton” being in the genitive plural form as found in Matthew 28:1).

Concerning the utter impossibility of Messiah Jesus observing the “Passover Supper” on Tuesday evening, the 13th of Nisan, to then be crucified during the daylight hours of Wednesday, the 13th of NisanAlfred Edersheim (1825-1899), the foremost Hebrew Christian author of the Nineteenth Century wrote:

“At the outset we may dismiss, as unworthy of serious discussion, the theory, either that our Lord had observed the Paschal Supper at another than the regular time for it, or that St. John meant to intimate that He had partaken of it on the 13th instead of the 14th of Nisan.  To such violent hypotheses, which are wholly uncalled for, there is this one conclusive answer, that, except on the evening of the 14th of Nisan, no Paschal lamb could have been offered in the Temple, and therefore no Paschal Supper celebrated in Jerusalem.”  [Emphasis added]

Edersheim, Alfred, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services as They Were at the Time of Jesus Christ, (New York: Hodder & Stoughton, George H. Doran Company, No date; first published in 1874) p. 245.

1. Therefore, on the evening of the “Fifth Day,” 14th of Nisan (Wednesday evening after 6:00 PM), Christ observed the Passover Supper with his disciples (Matthew 26:19-20). Christ observed the Passover Supper before the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread also called the “Feast of the Passover” (John 13: 1).

2. During the evening of this same “Fifth Day,” 14th of Nisan (Wednesday evening after 6:00 PM) Christ Jesus went to the garden of Gethsemane, was betrayed, led captive to the High Priest, illegally tried and condemned to death for blasphemy, the rooster crowing (to the shame of Peter) in early morning about 6:00 AM (Mark 14:69).

3. During the morning of this same “Fifth Day,” 14th of Nisan (Thursday morning before 6:00 PM) Christ is led before Pilate, sent to Herod, sent back to Pilate, condemned to be crucified by Pilate and was nailed to the cross by the “third hour” of the day (9:00 AM) according Mark 15:1-25.

4. During the morning of this same “Fifth Day,” 14th of Nisan (Thursday daylight hours before 6:00 PM), from the third hour to the ninth hour (9:00 AM-3:00 PM), the Lord Jesus Christ is on the cross paying for the sins of the world.  At 3:00 PM he gives up his spirit and dies (Mark 15:34-37).  At this moment begins the counting of the first day of the “three days and three nights.”  This first day only entails three daylight hours, from 3:00-6:00 PM.  (The first day is now fulfilled.)

5. During the morning of this same “Fifth Day,” 14th of Nisan (Thursday afternoon before 6:00 PM) Pilate gives up the body of Jesus to a rich man, Joseph of Arimathea, who then prepares the body for burial.  By the arrival of sundown, Christ Jesus is entombed in the sepulcher. This day, now over, has been called “the preparation of the passover” (John 19:14, 31). “The preparation” covered the time from the Lord’s Passover Supper Wednesday night to the time of Christ’s burial on Thursday afternoon, the end of the “Fifth Day,” 14th of Nisan.

6. On the evening beginning the “Sixth Day,” 15th of Nisan (Thursday evening just after 6:00 PM), the tomb is sealed and from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM the body of the Lord Jesus is in the grave for its first night.  (First day and first night now fulfilled.)  During the daylight hours of the “Fifth Day,” 15th of Nisan (Friday morning from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM), the body of the Lord Jesus is in the grave for its second day. (The second day and first night now fulfilled.) This “Fifth Day,” 15th of Nisan is the week’s first sabbath day, its first “day of rest” when work is forbidden, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  This first sabbath of the Passion Week is called “a high day” (literally, “that great sabbath day”John 19:31).  The second sabbath would arrive on the following day; the common, normal sabbath observed every week.  Both of these “sabbaths” are referred to in Matthew 28:1, the world “sabbath” being, in fact, in its plural form, “sabbaton,” indicating the Lord Jesus would rise from the dead after two consecutive “sabbaths.”

7. During the evening of the “Seventh Day,” 16th of Nisan—the normal, weekly sabbath day of rest—(Friday from 6:00 PM to Saturday 6:00 AM) the body of the Lord Jesus has been in the tomb for the second night. (The second day and second night now fulfilled.)

8. During the morning of the “Seventh Day,” 16th of Nisanthe normal, weekly Sabbath day of rest—(Saturday from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM) the body of the Lord Jesus has been in the tomb for the third day. (The third day and second night now fulfilled.)  The body of the Lord Jesus Christ was at rest during the entire sabbath day of rest, he ceasing from any and all activity as per Genesis 2:1-3.   No resurrection took place at any time on this “Seventh Day” sabbath, 16th of Nisan, 32 AD.

9. During the evening of the “First Day,” 17th of Nisan“the First day of the Week”—(Saturday from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM) the body of the Lord Jesus has been in the tomb for a portion of the third night.  “In the end of the sabbath [lit. “sabbaths”—the two sabbaths of the 15th and 16th of Nisan, both days being “holy convocations” in which work was forbidden], as it was beginning to dawn toward the first day of the week [the body of the Lord Jesus having been in the grave during a portion of the night of the “First Day,” 17th of Nisan], . . .there was a great earthquake . . . And the angel answered and said . . . He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. . . .” (Matthew 28:2-6).  Clearly, the Lord Jesus arose from the dead early in the morning “when it was yet dark” (John 20:1), prior to 6:00 AM, as any time in the tomb past that hour would have included unnecessary daylight hours constituting a potential fourth day of his death.  Therefore, it is safe to conclude that Christ did not remain in the tomb for the entirety of the third night; a few hours would suffice as was the case with only three daylight hours constituting the first day of Christ’s death.  He arose during the night of the third night of his death, several hours prior to 6:00 AM, on the “First Day,” 17th of Nisan, 32 AD.  (The third day and third night now fulfilled.)

10. Finally, from the day of Christ’s resurrection (during the early, predawn hours of Sunday on the “First Day,” 17th of Nisan, 32 AD), to the Feast of Weeks/Feast of Pentecost was exactly “fifty days” (Lev. 23:16). On that Day of Pentecost, 7 of Sivan, 32 AD, was fulfilled the type of that Feast of Weeks with the arrival of the Person of the Holy Spirit of God to indwell the 120 believers in the Upper Room (Acts 2:1-4).  The day of Pentecost, being the beginning of the Feast of Weeks, fell on a Sunday, the “First Day” of the week.  Had the Lord Jesus Christ risen on the evening of the “Seventh Day,” 16th of Nisan, He would not have fulfilled the Day beginning the Feast of the Firstfruits on that very Sunday, the evening of the “First Day,” 17th of Nisan, 32 AD.

In conclusion, the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified on Thursday, during the daylight hours of the “Fifth Day,” 14th of Nisan, 32 AD.  Christ was in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights as he had foretold (Matt. 12:30).  The three-hour first day was three hours on Thursday, from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM, on the “Fifth Day,” 14th of Nisan.  The 12-hour first night and 12-hour second day was fulfilled on the “Sixth Day,” 15th of Nisan, from 6:00 PM Thursday to 6:00 PM on Friday.  The 12-hour second night and 12-hour third day was fulfilled on the “Seventh Day,” 16th of Nisan, from 6:00 PM Friday to 6:00 PM on Saturday.  The 6 to 10-hour third night was fulfilled on the “First Day,” 17th of Nisan, from 6:00 PM Saturday to anywhere from 12:00 AM to 4:00 AM on Sunday morning.  Once again, a partial day of three hoursand a partial night of six-to-ten hours still constitute a “day” and a “night.” This same principle holds true for the numbering of the years of the reigns of the Hebrew kings, as they did not need to rule a full year to be reckoned with that year of rule. (See The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings by Edwin R. Thiele.)

By Eric Jon Phelps
Posted by: VA Webmaster

Eric Jon Phelps
By Eric Jon Phelps May 19, 2010 17:16 Updated
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