Prophecy Update Newsletter
April 14, 2017
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Solving the Three Day Three Night Mystery - Jack Kelley - https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/holidays-and-holy-days/solving-the-three-day-three-night-mystery/
Note: Jack originally published this article in 2003. It remains one of the most popular on this site, and for good reason. It's a great example of what we love about his studies: taking God at His Word and not relying on human logic or tradition. This study has been an eye opener for so many, but some have had a hard time reconciling the differences between the Jewish calendar and their own, in particular, that the Jewish day begins at sundown. I created the new image you'll find at the bottom of the article, hoping that a visual representation would make this all a bit clearer. I hope this helps! -Samantha
In Matthew 12:38 Jesus was asked for a sign to show that He was the promised Messiah. The religious officials had just accused Him of using the power of Satan to perform His miracles, and so He described the only sign they would see. "Just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish," He said, "So will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Matt. 12:40)." By this He meant that because of their hardened hearts they would only know for sure that He was their Messiah after He rose from the dead, an unmistakably miraculous sign. History shows they didn't accept even as incredible a sign as this, but His response has resulted in a 2,000 year controversy surrounding the time of His death.
What's A Sabbath?
People who were unfamiliar with the sequence of the spring Feasts of Israel determined that the phrase in John 19:31 identifying the day after the crucifixion as a special Sabbath meant that Jesus was crucified on a Friday, because everyone knows that the Jewish Sabbath is Saturday. And almost everyone agrees that He rose again on Sunday. But there isn't any way you can put three days and three nights between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. Hence the controversy.
So let's set the record straight. Sabbath is a Hebrew word that means means "rest" and refers to holy days when no work is allowed. There is one every Saturday in Israel, but there are also several during the year that are date specific. That means they are always observed on a specific calendar date, regardless of the day. They're like our Christmas. Every year it comes on the 25th of December no matter what day of the week that happens to be.
The special Sabbath John referred to is the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and it's a date specific holy day; always observed on the 15th of the month they call Nisan, which corresponds to March/April on our calendar. So the first thing we learn is that the special Sabbath mentioned in John 19:31 didn't have to be a Saturday.
Originally there were four special days in the month of Nisan. The first was Passover on the 14th. Then the Feast of Unleavened Bread which began on the 15th and ended on the 22nd, both of which were special Sabbaths. And finally, there was the Feast of First Fruits which fell on the Sunday morning following Passover (Leviticus 23:4-14).
Of the four, only the two that opened and closed the Feast of Unleavened Bread prohibited work like the weekly Sabbath, but all have both a historical and prophetic purpose and like all days in the Jewish calendar they begin at sundown, following the pattern of Genesis 1 where God repeated the phrase, "and there was evening and there was morning" six times, once for each day of creation.
The Passover Lamb
The next issue we have to consider is the sequence of events in the week we call Holy Week. In Exodus 12:1-13, where the Passover was ordained, we learn what that sequence was. God told the Israelites to select a lamb on the 10th day of the month and inspect it for defects until the 14th. This means through the end of the 13th. Then at twilight they were to slaughter and roast it, eating it that same evening, as the 14th was beginning. Using some of its blood they were to paint their door posts red to protect them from the plague coming upon Egypt at midnight.
Jesus came to fulfill the prophecy of the Passover Lamb, to save from death everyone who spiritually applies His shed blood to their lives. The only day He ever allowed the people to hail Him as King was on the day we call Palm Sunday, and as we'll see it was the 10th day of the month. He did this to fulfill the selection process for the Passover Lamb. When the officials told Him to rebuke His disciples, He said that if they became quiet, the very stones would cry out (Luke 19:40). For this was a day ordained in history. It was the day He officially presented Himself as Israel's Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29). It was 483 years to the day from the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, spoken of by Daniel the Prophet (Daniel 9:25). A little while after the officials cautioned Him, He condemned Jerusalem to utter destruction because they did not recognize the day of His visitation (Luke 19:41-44).
The next three days were filled with the most aggressive debate and confrontation with the officials in His entire ministry. He was being inspected for any doctrinal spot or blemish that would disqualify Him as the Lamb of God. They found none, and finally no one dared ask Him any more questions. (Matt. 22:46)
Some years before the birth of Jesus, the Passover celebration had been changed and in the Lord's time called for a brief ritual meal of lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs (horseradish) to begin the 14th followed by a great and leisurely festival meal on the 15th, when the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins. This meal is called the Passover Seder.
The 14th became known among the people as Preparation Day , because during the day they made ready for the great feast day beginning at sundown, after which no work was permitted. Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, John 19:31 all identify Preparation Day as the day of the Lord' s death, while Matt. 27:62 says the day after the crucifixion was the day after Preparation Day. So all four Gospels agree; Jesus died on Preparation day, the 14th of their month Nisan, which is Passover. As evening began the day, He ate the ritual meal with His disciples in the Upper Room, and then was arrested, tried, convicted, and put to death; all on Passover. So just like the Lord had commanded in Exodus 12, our Passover Lamb was selected on the 10th, inspected on the 11th, 12th, and 13th, and executed on the 14th of Nisan.
How Do We Know This?
A little over 100 years ago a believer named Robert Anderson was head of Scotland Yard's investigative division. He became intrigued by the three days and three nights issue and enlisted the help of the London Royal Observatory to investigate the problem since astronomers can locate the exact position of the planets and stars on any date in history. Since Passover always falls on the 14th, and since the Jewish calendar is lunar (moon) rather than solar (sun) oriented, there is always a full moon on Passover. This fulfills Genesis 1:14.
Plotting the course of the Sun and Moon they documented the day and date of every full moon. The Royal Observatory discovered that the first Palm Sunday was the 10th of Nisan, the day when Exodus 12 says to select the lamb. Therefore Passover, the 14th, was a Thursday. The Feast of Unleavened bread began on Friday the 15th, Saturday the 16th was the weekly Sabbath, and Resurrection Morning was also a Sunday, the 17th, when the Feast of First Fruits was celebrated. From Thursday to Sunday there are three days and three nights. It's a little confusing to our way of thinking because the Hebrew day changes at sunset, which means that night precedes day. But read carefully and you'll see that it makes sense.
As I've said, Jesus had to die on Passover to fulfill the prophecy. Early that Thursday morning the Jewish leadership had gotten permission to crucify Him. (Matt. 27:1-26) His fate was sealed and He was hanging on the cross by 9 AM, as good as dead. His actual time of death was about 3 PM and His body was laid in the tomb sometime later, since the officials wanted it off the cross before sundown brought the Feast of Unleavened Bread, after which no work was permitted. By then Jesus had been in Sheol for several hours. Thursday was day one.
Because in Jewish reckoning the night precedes the day, at sundown it became Friday the 15th, night one, and the special Sabbath John mentioned began (John 19:31). At sunrise it was Friday morning, and day two began. The next sundown brought Saturday night the 16th, night two, and the regular Sabbath began. As of sunrise it was Saturday day, the beginning of day three. At sundown on Saturday it became Sunday night the 17th, night three, and sometime before sunrise Jesus rose from the tomb. Three days and three nights. When the women arrived at sunrise to anoint His body early in the morning, He was already gone.
So in the week Jesus died two Sabbaths that permitted no work were observed back to back: The Feast of Unleavened Bread on Friday the 15th, and the regular weekly Sabbath on Saturday the 16th. In Matthew 28:1 we read that at dawn on the first day of the week (Sunday the 17th) the women who were close to Jesus went to the tomb. Luke 24:1 tells us they were going to anoint His body for burial. The two consecutive Sabbaths had prevented them from doing so earlier (Luke 23:55-56). But He wasn't there. He had risen. Being the Sunday after Passover, at the Jewish Temple it was Feast of First Fruits. At the Empty Tomb it was Resurrection Morning.
How Can We Confirm This?
Some people try to equate his time of death with the burial of His body and say you can't count Thursday as day one, because His body wasn't laid in the tomb until sunset was upon them. But that doesn't make sense. A person's death always precedes his or her burial, sometimes by several days. In the Lord's case it was several hours between the time He died and the time His body was laid in the tomb.
The two disciples who met the Lord on the road to Emmaus that Sunday (the day the Lord's resurrection was discovered) help us to confirm this (Luke 24:13-35). At first they thought the Lord must have been a very recent visitor to the area when He asked them to explain why they were so sad. In the course of the discussion they indicated it was the third day since the crucifixion. "Since" is roughly equivalent to "after". It being a Sunday, the previous day (Saturday) would have been the 2nd day since it happened , and Friday would have been the first day since it happened, making Thursday the day it happened.
Others argue that this view doesn't permit three full days and three full nights in the tomb but that's not what the Scripture says. It simply says three days and three nights. If you move his death up to Wednesday to get three full days you violate the Passover Lamb prophecies, the women wouldn't have waited until Sunday morning to prepare the Lord's body because they could have done it on Friday, and the disciples on the Emmaus road would have said Sunday was the fourth day since the crucifixion. So the Thursday date is the only one that will accommodate both the Passover Lamb and the three day three night prophecies. Mystery solved.
Most of us see our "day" beginning when we get out out of bed in the morning, but the reality is that it began hours before, at midnight. If you keep that subtle difference in mind, it shouldn't be too difficult to back up a few more hours to sundown of the previous day. That's when the Jewish calendar day began. In this calendar, each column represents one day of the week, just like your daily calendar. The top row represents the daytime hours while the bottom row represents the nighttime hours, just as you're used to. The difference in this calendar is in the dating. Since the Jewish day begins at sundown, the first half of each day is shown on the bottom half of the calendar. To follow that day to it's completion, you jump to the top of the next column to the right.
EASTER: Fact or Fiction? - Brittney Gunter - http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=8421
A trip through any big box store will alert you that the Easter season is quickly approaching. Stuffed bunnies, egg-shaped chocolates, and all things pastel have taken over prime real-estate in the retail business.
Easter is the pinnacle event of the Christian faith. The crucifixion, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is so critically important to Christian doctrine that if its basis is not found in historical fact, then all hope is lost. Salvation does not exist. Sins are not forgiven. And the dead return to the dust from which they came with no one to rescue. As the Apostle Paul put it, in 1 Corinthians 15:16-19, "For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins," and we are a people to be most pitied.
So true, Paul. So true.
For skeptics and atheists, the Easter holiday is such an easy point to pick on and dismantle. Didn't Jesus say he would be dead for three days and three nights? Don't Christians believe Christ died on Good Friday and rose from the dead on Sunday morning? Can't they do math? There is no way to account for three days and three nights in the 39-hour time frame if we are to believe the scriptures. This idea is so preposterous that many will then discount the authority and authenticity of the entire biblical revelation as myth and hoax. It even has some theologians scrambling to redefine days and times to make the biblical account fit into a 72-hour time frame.
Easter: the great Christian myth perpetuated by a sect of discontent Jewish men which has its origins in pagan mythology. Sound likely?
Not so fast.
The forethought of the events that occurred during Christ's crucifixion were, in fact, ordained by our Divine Creator from the beginning. More simply stated: God knew what day and time Christ would die when He spun the earth in motion. It is God who formed the universe, placed the planets in their orbits, fixed the sun and other stars in their places, and determined the moon's rotation. It is God who determined that evening would occur before morning in all the days of creation (see Genesis chapter 1). It is God who uses His universe as both His blueprint and His timepiece to make Himself known to mankind. Careful and systematic examination of the scriptures reveal this divine forethought to us. In order to gain a full understanding of the wisdom of God from creation to Christ, we don't have to look much further than the Jewish calendar.
The Jewish Calendar is, in fact, God's calendar. It is not some predictable invention of mankind based on the lunar cycle with randomly placed events that have no true significance. God chose to reveal His timing to the prophet Moses. He does this when He directs Moses to go back to Egypt and to demand the Pharaoh release the Hebrew slaves. You know the story...there's a famous Charlton Heston movie about it. Take a closer look at Exodus 12:2 where God tells Moses, before sending him back into Egypt, 'This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year."
That month was the Jewish Month of Nisan, the first month in Israel's religious calendar year. It is the month that the first Passover would occur, where God would pass over the firstborns of Israel if they smeared their doorposts with the blood of the lamb. It is the month that Christ would be handed over to the Romans to be crucified. And it is the month that we will be focused on to determine if the contemporary Easter timeline has any basis in fact.
This month of Nisan was to begin with a new moon. On the 10th day of the month, that is Nisan 10, the Israelites were to choose their lamb for slaughter. However, they were not to kill the lamb until the 14th day of the month, or Nisan 14. Then they were to smear the lamb's blood on the doorpost, eat the lamb for dinner, and wait. God had made a promise to them that death was coming to the firstborns in all the land, but if anyone did these things then he and his entire household would be spared. So the nation of Israel obeyed and waited. But Egypt did not believe and obey, and at midnight, the Lord struck down the firstborns of Egypt. Neither person nor animal was spared, all households experienced a loss. Then, in the middle of the night, Pharaoh summons Moses and sends them and the whole nation out of Egypt. The full account is found in Exodus Chapter 12.
So the first Passover was a great success and God gave instructions to His people that they were to celebrate the Passover in the same manner every year so as not to forget the great work the Lord had done on their behalf. Nisan was to start the new calendar year. On the 10th day of the month they were to pick a lamb. They were to slaughter the lamb on the 14th day and eat it for supper. Then on the 15th day of Nisan they were to hold a feast week, a 7-day festival called the Festival of Unleavened Bread. They were also to hold a sacred assembly and do no ordinary work on the first and last days, or the 15th day and the 21st day of this holy week (like bookend sabbath days). For a review of the laws of the Passover, take a look at Leviticus chapter 23.
Fast forward to the last week of Jesus' life. The events line up perfectly with the Passover observance. Mark 14:12 says, "And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, "Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?" That day was Nisan 14. Jesus is alive on the day the Passover lambs are slaughtered. That evening Jesus would have the Last Supper with his disciples. Remember the original Passover in Exodus chapter 12? It wasn't enough that the lamb was slaughtered, but it also had to be eaten. It was eaten with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. It was during this Last Supper that Jesus would symbolically offer the bread and the wine of the New Covenant, which represented his body and his blood being offered for our sake.
After evening comes, Jesus and his disciples proceed to the garden where he will be betrayed and arrested. Since Jewish days begin with evening (because God's days begin with evening...remember Genesis?), the night Jesus was arrested began the calendar day of Nisan 15. He is taken to the Jewish Council to be be tried and condemned, although, the appropriate number of witnesses cannot be found and soon it is morning. That particular morning begins the Festival of Unleavened bread and there is a large Jewish crowd gathered for the sacred assembly. This poses a problem for the Jewish leaders who want to kill Jesus. To do so on a sacred holy day would break the law of Moses and leave them ceremonially unclean (see John 18:28). Therefore, they craft a different plan and offer Jesus up to Pilate as one who is claiming to be King of the Jews. This charge would imply treason against Rome, a crime punishable by death.
Scripture indicates this day is also the preparation of day for the "high Sabbath" (see John 19:31). Preparation days occurred on Fridays before the weekly Saturday sabbath. In Jewish tradition, a regular Saturday Sabbath would be certain to fall somewhere during the 7-day festival of Unleavened Bread. When the Saturday Sabbath fell on an intermediate festival day, that is between the two bookend sabbath days of sacred assembly, it is called Pesach Chol ha-Moed Shabbat. It would be a most holy day. Nisan 16 accounted for this day. So when Jesus dies during the sacred assembly of Nisan 15, his body is quickly taken down before evening so it doesn't remain on the cross during the Nisan 16 Sabbath.
This brings us to our last Jewish calendar day of Nisan 17. All four gospel accounts agree that Jesus rose on the first day of the week. This gives us some very valuable information! The first day of the week in the Jewish calendar is Sunday. Jewish people are allowed to work for six days, but on the 7th day they must rest. This 7th day has historically and consistently been observed on Saturday. Therefore, Jesus definitely rose from the dead on a Sunday morning, the first day of a new week.
If we were to put these events on a timeline, the last days of Jesus' life would look like this:
Thursday, Nisan 14 (lamb slaughtered and eaten): Jesus has Passover Meal with disciples
Friday, Nisan 15 (sacred assembly of festival): Jesus is crucified in view of the crowd
Saturday, Nisan 16: Jesus' body lays in the tomb
Sunday, Nisan 17: Jesus is risen
But, wait...that still doesn't account for three days and three nights, does it?
"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
Actually it does.
See, Jesus didn't die for just Jerusalem. He didn't even die for just those in Israel. The often quoted John 3:16 tells us exactly for whom Jesus came to die, "for God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
Jesus died for the world. The whole world. For all of time. So that, whoever believes in him should not perish but will have eternal life. Whoever. That's a very powerful and inclusive statement! And if Jesus died for the whole world, when it was about 3pm in Jerusalem on Friday Nisan 15, then what day and time was it in the rest of the world?
Simply put, when Jesus gave up his life on the cross, it was the evening and the morning of Nisan 15 for the entire earth. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day... Does that sound like a familiar verse? It's from Genesis chapter one.
When Jesus lay in the grave on Saturday, the entire earth experienced God's calendar day of Nisan 16. And there was evening and there was morning, the second day...
When Jesus rose on Sunday morning, the entire earth experienced God's calendar day of Nisan 17. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day...
Jesus died and rose from the grave after 3 days and 3 nights, just as he said he would. The problem with our understanding is simply our perspective. We want to examine the events of Jesus' crucifixion from man's perspective, counting the hours and days that pass from the location of Jerusalem, but God's ways are higher than our ways. When we look at the events from God's perspective, taking into account the days and nights the entire earth experienced during this time, the wisdom of God is revealed.
Of course, there will always be those who doubt. Let's remember, your very salvation is dependent upon your faith. "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God" Ephesians 2:8. If there were not an opportunity to have faith, then who could receive the gift of grace? None.
But, for arguments sake, let's just entertain for a moment that the story of Jesus is a hoax.... If so, then we have the mother of all conspiracy theories ever known to mankind! The significance of that is so mind-blowing that it is impossible to believe. If the story of Jesus is a fairy tale, that would indicate that a sect of uneducated Jewish men rebelled against the Jewish religious establishment of the day. This establishment was comprised of well-educated men who spent years and years studying and examining the scriptures. Then, these ordinary men were able to concoct such an intricate storyline that it fulfilled God's timing all the way back to the book of Genesis. It fulfilled Jewish law to the letter, right down to the events that occurred day by day. They would have had to understand the Jewish calendar, the Jewish law, the significance of each event, the symbolism...the list goes on and on.
You can't simply write-in Jesus, as the Hebrew Torah and its laws have been so closely guarded by the Jewish people for thousands of years (who by the way, still reject Jesus). If the Hebrew Torah was re-written by unhappy Jews and pagan Greeks to incorporate a fake Jesus, then the Hebrew Torah should reveal an inconsistency in the fulfillment of its laws by the Christ.
The truth is that Jesus is real. He said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." Matthew 5:17. The reality is that the Hebrew Torah is our greatest witness to the work of Christ.
The cross of Christ was a predetermined event ordained by God from the very creation of the world. When God suspended the earth on its axis He knew the exact calendar day and time He would give His Son up for our sins. He ordained feasts and holy days and events to foreshadow this coming. Then, He gave all this knowledge to a people who wouldn't even believe it. About them, Jesus says this, "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead." Luke 16:31.
So, dear Christian, go your way and celebrate your Easter with passion and thankfulness. Your faith has healed you. Let the mockers mock and the scoffers scoff, but do not be discouraged! And when you have the chance to share the hope that is in you, do so with grace, kindness and great patience. "For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." 1 Corinthians 1:25
Pray fervently that all people will come to a knowledge of the truth of salvation. They don't even understand what they don't understand.
The Eyewitness Testimony That'll Make You Never Doubt the Resurrection Again - Paul Strand - http://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2017/april/why-you-can-believe-in-the-resurrection
Christianity's core belief is that the Son of God took on human form, died for our sins and then rose from the dead to give us eternal life. But if Jesus Christ didn't come back to life, it undoes His claim to be the all-powerful, eternal Son of God, Savior and Messiah. So, Christianity hangs on the Resurrection.
To believe the events around that first Easter, you pretty much have to believe that Jesus did indeed exist and that the New Testament can be trusted.
At the Impact 360 school in Pine Mountain, Georgia, Prof. Jonathan Morrow preps college-bound Christians in how to fight with the facts of their faith.
Jesus Isn't Just in the Bible
He told CBN News, "Investigating the Resurrection is a historical question that you can do with eyes wide open; it's not a blind faith kind of thing, like believing in the Easter Bunny or a lucky rabbit's foot. This is real world kind of stuff. And you can investigate the data for it."
Morrow added, "So when it comes to the Resurrection, we say 'Well, how do we know Jesus existed?' Some people even doubt that. The fact is, we have far more sources for Jesus of Nazareth than we do for many historical figures in the first century. We have at least 18. Twelve of those are non-Christian sources."
There's more evidence Jesus existed than Julius Caesar. Anyone doubt Caesar existed?
As for the Scriptures, Prof. Darrell Bock of the Dallas Theological Seminary explained that any piece of a surviving ancient work is called a manuscript. And more ancient pages or fragments of the Bible have survived by far than any other book from antiquity.
"It's exceptional," Bock said. "You're talking about over 5,800 Greek manuscripts, over 8,000 Latin manuscripts. Most books that we work with in the ancient world have maybe at best a dozen manuscripts."
Jonathan Morrow is a defender of the faith, the literal meaning of "apologist." But he says Christians shouldn't just defend the faith and the Resurrection. They should embrace it and let it change their lives just like it changed the ancient world. Watch below:
Christians: If Jesus Is Dead, So Is Your Religion
For some people, they might be ready to believe the Bible is legitimate, but they have a hard time believing Jesus Christ could have actually risen from the dead.
The problem with that, as far as Morrow is concerned, is that everything hangs on that fact.
This author of Questioning the Bible explained, "Paul made the argument in I Corinthians 15, saying 'Look, you can test this: if the Resurrection didn't happen, Christianity is false. Whether you believe it or not, whether you're sincere about it, if the Resurrection didn't happen, Christianity's false - go to the next religion."
If He's Dead, Then They Lied
Some suggest that the apostles all lied in a vast conspiracy to turn the deficit of Jesus' death into the positive of a risen Lord. But biblical apologists insist when you examine it all the way through, it's actually easier to believe in the Resurrection than its alternatives.
Such Bible experts say that to dismiss the Resurrection, any theory you come up with to explain the historical happenings has to explain away three historical facts:
Top biblical experts point out all the holes in these and other anti-Resurrection theories. Watch below.
Did Jesus Die, or Just Almost Die?
Still, alternative theories live on.
Some theorize that Jesus didn't die on the cross but just went into a death-like state that fooled everyone who checked His body. Then under this theory, He awoke in the tomb, got up and walked out. Proponents say that explains His many appearances after His supposed death.
What this doesn't explain is how in a near-death state and with exceedingly crippling wounds, He could work His way out of tightly-wrapped, glued-on burial garments and then roll away the massively heavy stone sealed onto the tomb by the Romans. And it doesn't explain why He'd suddenly disappear after several weeks among His disciples, never to be seen again. Nor does it explain how so many people saw Him ascending up into the heavens.
Oops, Wrong Tomb
Some suggest the female disciples who first found the empty tomb might have just had the wrong one, and the other disciples took advantage of that, concocting a Resurrection myth to explain the empty tomb. But surely the Jewish leaders who'd had Roman guards placed by Jesus' burial place, and Joseph of Arimathea who owned the tomb where Jesus' body had been laid, would have quickly displayed the body and corrected the mistake if indeed the women had gone to the wrong tomb.
"If you're going around preaching Jesus was physically raised from the dead and people knew where He was buried and knew where they could find His bones, that message wouldn't even get off the ground," insisted Bock, author of Truth Matters.
Not Smart to Lie Where Everyone Knows You're Lying
Josh McDowell, author of New Evidence That Demands a Verdict, said the disciples knew this well.
"In the Resurrection, where was the hardest place in the world to convince anyone it was true if it was false? Jerusalem, where a 15-minute walk by anyone could confirm the emptiness of the tomb," McDowell said."
Matthew 28 points out the Jewish leaders bribed the tomb's guards to say they'd fallen asleep and the disciples then stole Jesus' body. But if these guards were asleep, how would they know it was the disciples? And how could they have slept through the disciples rolling away the huge stone that covered the entrance to the tomb, a stone some have suggested was so heavy, it may have taken more than a dozen men to push it away?
Debunking this conspiracy idea, Morrow said, "Conspiracy theories unravel very quickly because people will eventually tell what they know. And the more people who are involved, and the more people who saw the event, you multiply your chances of the story getting out. So that's the first thing. The second thing is the Gospels, the earliest historical record we have, don't show the tales of being doctored to say the same thing, like they got their stories straight. They had the ring of truth to them."
Would You Die for a Lie You Made Up?
And if the disciples were making up Jesus' Resurrection, would they have lived and died for Him and a fiction they themselves made up?
McDowell explained, "They said after He was crucified and buried, He was raised from the dead and for 40 days - not 40 hours, not four days - for 40 days, they lived with Him and walked with Him, with overwhelming proof that He'd been raised from the dead."
McDowell concluded, "If the Resurrection was a lie, they had to know it. And if they knew it, then you'd have to say here were these men who not only died for a lie, but they knew it was a lie. I challenge you to find others in history who that's true of. It's not."
Morrow added, "The earliest disciples would have known - not just believed, but would have known - that either Jesus was who He claimed to be and was actually raised from the dead or they were making this thing up. And yet history tells us that we have good reason to think they all went to their death with the exception of one for that core belief: that Jesus was raised from the dead. They didn't recant that. Conspiracies break down under pressure. And this conspiracy would have cost them their lives."
What Would Cause Such Radical Transformations?
These and other experts say that in truth, it would take something as radical as Jesus' Resurrection to completely transform the disciples like cowardly Peter, who was so scared just before the crucifixion, he swore he didn't even know Jesus. Watch below.
But just a few weeks later Morrow pointed out Peter went from hiding away, fearful the Jewish leaders might have him killed as well, to boldly preaching salvation through Christ before a crowd of thousands, including some who sought Jesus' death.
Morrow explained, "You see Peter with this radical transformation, going from coward to this courageous champion who's saying 'Look, here I stand, this is what I'm saying, this is what's true. You crucified this guy, but this is what He offered.' You've got that radical transformation right at the heart of what's going on around that earliest Christian movement."
From Christ-Hater to Christian Martyr
Morrow pointed out Jesus' doubting brother James was also instantly changed.
He said, "James - the brother of Jesus -didn't follow Jesus during His earthly ministry; thought He was crazy."
McDowell agreed, saying, "James despised his brother. Thought He was embarrassing the family. And then Jesus appeared to him in James' own word, and he became the leader of the church of Jerusalem."
Morrow added, "And after the fact, James becomes an early leader in the Church, and was persecuted and eventually killed for that belief."
And biblical apologists say it could only be a resurrected Jesus showing up forcefully and vividly two to three years later that could transform the church's worst persecutor into its main missionary.
Greatest Murderer Turned to Greatest Missionary
"Saul of Tarsus was anything but a follower who believed in Jesus," McDowell said. "He went from city to city casting his vote to have them imprisoned and executed. But in his own words, Christ appeared to him. Whether you believe that or not, something took. One of the greatest murderers into one of the greatest missionaries. A Christian-hater to a Christian-lover."
Morrow stated, "What in the world would flip Paul - or actually, Saul of Tarsus - to Paul, the chief proclaimer in the early Church? He was a smart guy. He was holding the coats when people were killing the first Christians. He was adamantly opposed to this movement. And then he became a Christian. What accounts for that?"
Short of the risen Jesus appearing to Paul, Bock believes it's an unfathomable transformation.
As he put it, "So the main thing is just explaining how someone like a Saul who becomes Paul even exists."
McDowell concluded, "Something happened in Paul's life that I've never found any other explanation that even comes close to satisfying me intellectually except: 'And Jesus appeared to Paul after the Resurrection.'"
Liars Wouldn't Have Testified About the Female Disciples' Role
Another crucial factor that debunks the idea all these disciples were trying to sell a false Resurrection to the world: the fact that they proclaimed it was females who found the empty tomb and let the male disciples know Jesus was missing.
The first century Jews believed women were second-class citizens. So if the disciples were lying about the resurrection, they made their story all the harder to accept by putting women at the forefront.
"Matthew, Mark, Luke and John - they all recount Jesus' earliest women followers finding the empty tomb," Morrow said. "In the first century, where a woman's testimony would have been about the level just above a slave, that would not be your best foot forward."
Bock imagined being with the disciples plotting how they'll push a false Resurrection.
The Criterion of Embarrassment
"'We're going to sell this difficult idea, and the people we're going to get to sell it are people that the culture doesn't believe have the right to be witnesses,'" Bock imagined them saying.
But he insisted, "You'd never make up a story that way. This is what's called the Criterion of Embarrassment in historical Jesus studies: that you'd never make up the story this way. So the reason the story is this way is because it must be grounded in what happened."
Morrow completely agreed, stating the Gospel writers testifying about the women's role has "the ring of truth."
Morrow said, "That would have been an embarrassing detail you would have never led with UNLESS it actually happened. And the fact that all four (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) say it happened just gives it that much stronger evidence that it actually did happen."
Hard to Simply Dismiss 500 Eyewitnesses
Saying the disciples lied about Jesus' resurrection doesn't explain His post-Resurrection appearance before 500 people. The Apostle Paul in I Corinthians 15 suggested doubters go talk to them.
Morrow said of that, "You've got living history. You've got the people who were there to cross-check whatever message is being put out there. So, it's not as though these things could have been invented and no one would have challenged it. You've got this idea that 'there are witnesses; go investigate them.'"
He added about this call in I Corinthians to talk to witnesses, "Ancient historians loved eyewitness testimony. That's what they all wanted. Livy, Herodotus, Tacitus, Thucydides - they all wanted eyewitness testimony to get back to the original. And that's what you have."
McDowell said of such eyewitness testimony, "I put a lot of weight on this. You see, people today say, 'How do you know Jesus said that? How do you know He did that?' Well, they had the same question in the New Testament times. Even more so than today because they were dying for it. And they wanted to know: 'Is this true? Did Jesus really do this? Did He really say this?' "
'Can't Get Much Better Evidence'
McDowell pointed out, "In I John 1, how did John answer that? They said 'How do we know this is true?' John said , 'What our eyes have seen, what our eyes have heard, what our hands have handled is what we're declaring unto you.' In other words, 'We were eyewitnesses. We were there.' And then with their opponents they would say, 'You were there, too. You saw Jesus do this; you heard Him do this.' And you can't get much better evidence historically than that. And we have that in the Scriptures."
Morrow returned to how Paul pushed his readers in I Corinthians 15 to gather proof that Jesus rose from the dead: "He says, 'It's not a matter of wishful thinking. Investigate this.' That's why he mentions the eyewitnesses. He mentioned that Jesus appeared to more than 500, and as well as His disciples, and to Paul himself and to others. Because eyewitnesses authenticated that event. And it was central to Christianity."
Morrow concluded, "It has all the ring of truth and not the ring of that conspiracy theory where they just made this thing up to invent their own religion."
Jonathan Morrow and Josh McDowell share more of their insights regarding eyewitness testimony below:
Could 500 People Have the Same Hallucination?
Some doubters try to do away with all the post-Resurrection appearances by saying those who thought they were seeing, talking to and touching Jesus were all hallucinating, even the 500 Paul discussed in I Corinthians.
McDowell told CBN News believing that takes more faith than simply accepting that Jesus really did rise from the dead.
The writer explained, "Here's the key: what is a hallucination? A hallucination is an internal experience, not triggered by anything externally. This is why no two people ever have the same hallucination. Because it's all internal; subjective. Well, to have 500 people have the same hallucination would be 500 miracles equal to the Resurrection."
Speaking of miracles, Morrow called on people to not dismiss them as casually as most folks do these days.
If God Exists, so Can Miracles
"When historians investigate this, in our modern mindset, there's this idea that 'Look, miracles are out of bounds.' Well, why? Because if it's at least possible that God exists, then miracles become possible," he insisted.
But Morrow added, "We shouldn't believe just any and every miracle. We then investigate them on a case-by-case basis. And when you look at the Resurrection evidence, it's pretty remarkable how strong it is, and that's why it's at the core of Christianity. And so, I don't think it's intellectually credible to rule out miracles before you investigate the event, out of hand."
Bock insisted, "The faith is very, very defendable. That's why it's lasted for 2,000 years. And not only that. There's a rationale that shows the uniqueness of what Jesus is that's important to appreciate as well. And so all the time that's often spent on the Resurrection makes sense because that really is the hub of the discussion."
Morrow added, "Christians don't believe that Jesus rose from the dead because the Bible says so. They believe He rose from the dead because that's what the earliest and best historical documents show, and that's what's the best explanation of the data."
Early Is Important
Just like historians put great weight on eyewitness testimony, they also give more respect to early historical writings done close to the events they discuss.
With Peter, John, and James, you have both: They're eyewitnesses who wrote early.
"You can push the earliest core teaching of Jesus - His death, deity, and Resurrection - within months of the Resurrection. Because then it goes back to Peter, James, and John," Morrow said. "These people were eyewitnesses, they were there, and it was early."
Paul's encounter with Jesus came just two or three years after Christ's death and Resurrection, and not long after that, he interviewed Peter, James, and John.
"Then 18 years later he cross-checked himself again," Morrow said of Paul. "In I Corinthians 15, he goes 'Look, I met with them again and they added nothing to my gospel. We're preaching the same exact thing.' This is the core message. And you can trace it back to the beginning, that there was never a Christianity without that at the heart of it."
Bock said that's crucial knowledge for those who might instead have believed these key Christian doctrines were dreamed up much later.
He explained, "The issue that's sometimes raised up: 'well, these books were written many decades later. And so they reflect a theological development coming down the road.' All that shrinks back when you look at the person of Paul."
"He was writing within a few years of the time of Christ," McDowell added. "And this is why for many of the scholars will give I Corinthians incredible credence: because of its closeness."
The Resurrection Proves Jesus Was Who He Said He Was
Morrow said of Paul, "He understood why Jesus of Nazareth was different in the unique claims that He made, but that then those claims were authenticated through His Resurrection that said 'What I said is what is real. This is who I am.'"
Morrow summed up, "These claims to forgive sins sound crazy unless you're the Son of God, you're the Son of Man, you're the Messiah. And that's who He showed Himself to be. And Paul is probably our earliest and best witness to that. And our critical scholars will grant us Paul being that eyewitness."
McDowell spoke of evidence that can help readers believe the words of Paul and other New Testament writers, like archaeological findings.
He explained, "Right now you can almost say every single reference in the Book of Acts has already been verified through archaeology: 600 some references to kings, people, places, everything. In Luke 3, in the first three verses, there are 17 historical references. Every single one now has been confirmed by archaeology."
'The Evidence Is Only Getting Better'
Biblical expert Bock flat-out stated, "These books are the best-attested pieces of ancient literature we possess."
Morrow added, "One of the fascinating things about New Testament manuscripts: We have over 5,700 Greek manuscripts alone. And more manuscripts are being discovered all the time."
He summed up, "I think what Christians need to know is that there's really good reason why we believe what we believe, and the evidence is only getting better. The more we discover and the more we find, the more confidence you can have that this is really true."
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The Resurrection: The Only Supernatural Sign for Us Today - By Sean Gooding - http://www.raptureready.com/2017/04/11/the-resurrection-the-only-supernatural-sign-for-us-today/
Matthew Lesson 50: Chapter 12:33-42
"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt. For the tree is known by its fruit. O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things. And an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word that men speak, they will give an account on the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, 'Teacher, we wish to see a sign from You.' But He answered them, 'An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and will condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah. And now One greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and will condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon. And now One greater than Solomon is here.
Last week we talked about sinning against the Holy Spirit. God is gracious to us in all sins except when we blaspheme the Holy Spirit. We are told that God will not forgive those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit. It is then very important for people to not claim that the Holy Spirit is doing evil.
We live in a time when the Holy Spirit is accused of doing all kinds of things. People pray to the Holy Spirit and address the Holy Spirit when it is clear in the teachings of Jesus that we are to address the Father for our petitions. Jesus and the Holy Spirit simply have one goal to bring glory to the Father. The Father in turn points us to Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
Today we will talk about fruit. Good fruit is what a healthy tree produces and bad fruit is what a sick tree produces. We can also tell what kind of tree it is by the fruit that it produces. A tree that does not produce fruit is of no value to the farmer; it just takes up space and uses resources that a producing tree could use. You will be able to tell what kind of tree it is by the fruit, BUT even more important you will be able to tell the health of the tree by the health of the fruit.
The fruit is a reflection of the tree's condition. Jesus will use this as a way to teach us about the change that God makes in us when we are saved. When we are saved by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit then the fruit that is produced is good fruit. The fruit that is produced by the unsaved man is bad fruit, always; he cannot do anything in and of himself to change that. His root is bad, thus his fruit is bad. What Jesus and the gospels tell us is that mankind need a renewed root before his fruit can even begin to be good.
Your Root Is Your Heart, Verse 34:
Roots produce stability for a tree, the deeper the root the more stable a tree is. Roots ingest food for the tree, good roots are able to gather good food and keep the tree strong. A tree can look good above ground and appear to be strong, but it will only be as strong as its roots. Jesus had this conversation with a man named Nicodemus in John 3.
Nicodemus appeared to be producing "good fruit" at least to the people, but Jesus told Nicodemus he needed to be "born again," he needed a new start. His very nature needed to be changed. When we are born we have the nature of our human father, that of sinfulness. It is a part of our DNA so to speak. But when we are "reborn" from heaven by salvation in Jesus we then have the Holy Spirit in us and we are equipped with a new nature inside. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we see this:
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come."
We are a "new creation." Let that sink in for a while. What you were is passed away and the new man in alive in Jesus. Now you and I can produce 'good fruit'. We live in such a self-made society and we hear of all these stories of men and women who pulled themselves up and made it; they rose from poverty, sickness, lack of privilege or whatever else had them held down to the prominence that they have now.
There are NO such stories in the kingdom of heaven. There are no self-made righteous people. There is NO one who drew themselves from the clutches of the sin nature to self-righteousness and now is accepted by God on their own merit. There will be no 'how to make yourself more righteous' conferences in heaven.
One can only be righteous in Jesus; you need to be covered in His blood as the covering for your sin and you need to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit, nothing else holds any currency in the Lord's kingdom.
Jesus addressed these religious leaders as "vipers." They were dangerous to their listeners. They appeared to be righteous on the outside and a lot of people are still falling for that today. Also a lot of people think that a person can have some kind of intrinsic holiness because of the position that they hold. Right now we have the Pope touring the U.S.; 50,000 plus people showed up to have Mass with him in the U.S. capital city this week.
People wanted him to kiss their babies and touch them as if he could impute on them. We see the same kind of reactions to the Dali Lama or Ghandi when he was alive; but no such righteousness is available outside of the salvation we have n Jesus. In Jesus we are told in Romans 5:1-2 and 8:1 these two things:
"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and so we rejoice in hope of the glory of God."
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."
In these verses we find two traits of the redeemed; we are JUSTIFIED, meaning to be declared righteous and there is no CONDEMNATION toward us. The wages of sin is death, BUT the gift of God is eternal LIFE. So to produce good fruit then we must have these two traits about us. One is not righteous by one's actions, one is declared righteous by complete renewal and regeneration in Jesus.
Then we are able to produce good fruit because our nature is now good in Jesus. Can an unsaved person produce "good looking fruit"? Yes they can. They are created in the image of God and as such can love their children, love their spouse, serve their fellowman.
Just yesterday I watched an old movie with my mom about Louis Pasture who discovered the vaccine for rabies and anthrax; he also helped doctors to understand the important of washing their hands and boiling their instruments before dealing with a patient. He had a genuine desire to stop the suffering of the masses around him and many of the world's governments recognized his contributions. We are still being blessed today by his work. For all that, if he did not know Jesus as His Savior his deeds hold no weight with God. His nature is corrupt without Jesus' transforming power.
A person who is redeemed in Jesus should desire to do good things. God has transformed your core, your very being, given you a fresh start and as such our desires should change. Like any new person, we are growing to the new mind, new root and new goodness of God in us. But it is God who fills us with goodness and it is not of our own power.
On top of that a redeemed person should desire to do good things for the glory of God since he/she understands that they have no goodness of their own. The religious leaders of Jesus' day and many today seek glory for themselves; they want to make a name for themselves and not for Jesus. Check the fruit, it will give you a good idea of the kind of roots the tree has.
Show Us a Sign, Verse 38
Not much has changed in 2000 years of the New Testament church. People are still looking for a sign. We have entire ministries based on signs and wonders. Many of us are like a doubting Thomas, looking for the nail prints in Jesus' hand. We refuse to believe unless Jesus does some miracle, we treat Him like a traveling salesman.
"Wow me" if you want me to buy your product. But Jesus offered only one supernatural sign-the resurrection. If that is not enough for you then He has nothing for you. Abraham made a similar conclusion in the rich man and Lazarus.
In Luke 16; 19-31 we find Jesus gives an account of two men. One who was wealthy and the other poor, the wealthy man died and went to hell, a place of torment where he was in flames. The poor man named Lazarus went to a place called Paradise. This is where people went after death before the resurrection of Jesus from the grave.
The man in hell had a conversation with Abraham who was in Paradise as he asked Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to speak to his brothers so that they would not end up in Hell. Abraham says to him they have the Law and the Prophets (our Old Testament Scriptures) but the man is insistent that only one who was raised from the dead will get their attention to which Abraham replies in verse 31 with this reply
"He said to him, 'If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone should rise from the dead."
Jesus is not some magician trying to fool you with smoke and mirrors. Jesus resurrected in the middle of Jerusalem in the midst of the Feasts of First Fruits when hundreds of thousands of Jews would have been Jerusalem. He was seen by the twelve, then Paul, then by over 500 other men many of whom many were still alive when the gospels and Epistles were written, see 1 Corinthians 15:5-6:
"...and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles."
Folks, here is the scoop if the resurrection of Jesus Christ is not enough of a sign of His Lordship and power over death then nothing will be. That is why people in many churches come to see more shows each week, they need flashes and flares to keep their faith propped up. They cannot and often will not simply accept that God will do what He says He will do. They expect God to put on a show for them all the time. They treat Him like a performing circus dog who needs to wow the crowd to keep the money coming in.
God raised Jesus from the dead! If that is not enough for you to put your full trust and faith in then you are in a hard situation because that is the only sign that God gives. So here is my question, where then do all these signs and wonders come from that we see in the modern New Testament churches?
If they are not from God then from whom are they? Does God reveal Himself to us? Yes, he does. He reveals himself to me in His Word, the Bible, yes the Law and the Prophets. But He also fulfills His promises; God feeds my family, He puts a roof over our heads and He sustains us. No smoke and mirrors, no explosions; just His godly faithfulness and the reminder that He has the power over death.
"An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah (Matthew 12:39).
Great Friday - Jack Kinsella - www.omegaletter.com
Good Friday is known as "good" Friday due to the long history and quirky nature of the English language. Frosted Flakes are "good." Eskimos Pies are "good". Crucifixion is blindingly horrific.
"Good" as in Good Friday is used in the now-obsolete sense of being "Holy" - which is in the near-obsolete sense of being "Great" -- which ends up in the confusing sense of memorializing the agonizing death of the Savior of the world as being a "good" Friday.
So it wasn't really "good" but it qualifies as unquestionably the greatest event of all time.
It was the time that the Creator of the Universe stepped out of space and time to demonstrate how to live the perfect life demanded by the Law and then paid the penalty due for our shortcomings - a penalty administered by His own creation.
Is there a greater event than that? Can there be?
Jesus said that "greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)
What could be greater than that?
"For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die," notes the Apostle Paul. (Romans 5:7)
Think about that - let it sink into your mind and your heart on this Great Friday. There is no greater love a man can express than to die for a friend.
"For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." (Romans 5:10)
God's love for us is such that His sacrifice was on behalf of His enemies!
Jesus was paraded naked before His enemies on this existence - and before His enemies in the next - all of them jeering the Creator like He was no better than they.
Indeed, He was made subject to them on every level - sinners condemning Him, torturing Him, mocking Him - while the demons of hell roared their mocking approval.
He was beaten, whipped, spat upon, clubbed, cut, abused and tortured beyond what the mind can comprehend, before being nailed to a Cross and hung until He was finally, mercifully dead.
Not 'good'. Not 'holy' in any sense of the word that I can make fit the circumstances. And 'great' only in the sense that Japan's recent 9.0 earthquake was a 'Great Quake'.
But from the perspective of the Lord of Glory, as He hung there gasping out the words, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" and that of those in the crowd receiving that absolution, there was only great agony and great sadness and great misery and great earthquakes and great events.
And great darkness. Great darkness.
For three hours, as the sins of the world were heaped upon the Christ, the Lord Jesus Christ was alone, separated from the Father, in unimaginable agony, before crying out, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?"
So it wasn't good. And it wasn't holy. But it was certainly great.
Now, was it on Friday?
The idea that the Lord was crucified on a Friday has some seemingly significant problems, not the least of which is that Friday afternoon to Sunday morning doesn't sound like three days and three nights.
One can run through the texts and find some seeming anomalies because there are two Sabbaths involved in the Crucifixion story. Passover was a High (annual) Sabbath, whereas Friday evening at sundown marked the weekly Sabbath Day.
Most authorities agree that based on the Gospel accounts the day of the Crucifixion was most probably a Friday based on the testimony of John 19:42.
"There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand."
But there is also a strong argument that the day of Crucifixion was actually Wednesday - and not Friday. This theory is based on the two Sabbaths - the high Sabbath (Passover) and the weekly Sabbath.
John 19:42 argues against it. The "Jew's preparation day" is called the Day of Preparation and is in accordance with the Law of Moses that says no food is to be prepared on the Sabbath. (Exodus 16:23, 35:3)
This is in reference to the weekly Sabbath which begins at sundown Friday. So the "Jew's preparation day" is Friday until sundown.
But that week there were two Sabbaths - the high Sabbath of Passover on Thursday and the weekly Sabbath at Friday sundown. The annual, or High Sabbath does not require a 'day of preparation' because food preparation is part of the Passover celebration and allowed according to Exodus 12:16.
So it would seem a certainty that the correct day is Friday. Yes? Well, maybe.
John 19:31 says that He was already on the Cross and it was Preparation Day and that the next day was a High Sabbath, which seemingly would have been Passover.
That was on Thursday, which seems to suggest that He must have been crucified on Wednesday.
Confused yet? Let me help. That week there were actually three Sabbaths. (There. Doesn't that help?)
Jesus died in the first month of the Jewish year, just prior to the start of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. (Leviticus 23:6)
This feast started on the fifteenth day and for seven days Israel could eat no leavened bread.
To prevent accidentally eating leaven, all leaven and leavening products were completely purged from the house.
"For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses, since whoever eats what is leavened, that same person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel . . ." (Exodus 12:19)
The leaven was purged from the houses on the day before the 7 day Feast of Unleavened Bread. It took place on the 14th day, which was Friday. That made both Thursday and Saturday that week High Sabbath Days.
John 19:14 says that it was the 'Preparation Day for the Passover' but the Feast of the Passover is also a seven-day period that starts on the 14th day and ends on the 20th. But Friday was the Day of Preparation for both the weekly Sabbath and the High Sabbath of Unleavened Bread.
So is it Wednesday or Friday? It seems as clear as mud. But there is a way to sort it out.
Astronomy confirms the eyewitness accounts of the three hours of darkness while Jesus endured the sins of the world.
On Friday, April 3, AD 33 there was a total lunar eclipse that began at 3:40 PM and reached its maximum at 5:15 PM with 60% of the moon eclipsed. As the moon rose over Jerusalem it was in total eclipse and stayed in eclipse for some thirty minutes, ending at 6:50 PM.
The effect of a lunar eclipse is what we sometimes call a Blood Moon. We just had one last December 10th. The next lunar eclipse will be June 15th.
The secular Greek historian Phegon wrote of earthquakes and a blood moon occurring during the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad (32/33 AD). Eusebius linked the blood moon and the earthquakes with the 18th year of Tiberius reign, which would have been Spring of AD 33.
The description given by the Gospel of a lunar eclipse lasting about three hours is entirely consistent with the calculations that say a lunar eclipse that lasted about three hours was visible from Golgotha in Jerusalem on Friday, April 3 AD 33.
What does it mean? It means that Jesus was crucified on Friday afternoon, buried before dark, spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the grave, rising at the start of the third day -- Sunday, the first day of the week.
Today is the day that we recall with awesome wonder that our God is so great that He humbled Himself to take the form of a mere man and submit Himself to His own creation so that He could redeem . . you.
He endured the mocking, the scourging, the humiliation, the pain, and the incomprehensibly agonizing weight of the sins of the world separating Him from the Father . . . . and He did it all for you. That's how much He loved you.
The next time you wonder whether or not you can undo what He did by your sin, think about what it was that He actually did to ransom you for salvation.
"Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him." (Romans 5:9-10)
"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Corinthians 6:20).
Spend some time today meditating on the price paid for your eternity. Now ask yourself, if you paid THAT MUCH for something, would you trust it to somebody like you for safekeeping?
Neither does He.
My Review of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?"
Over the last 35 years, I have literally read hundreds of books on Bible Prophecy and End Time signs. I especially enjoy books on the Rapture, and I have read almost every Rapture-related book published. In all those years, devouring thousands of pages, and millions of words, I have not read a better book on the Rapture than, Rapture Ready...Or Not?
Terry James might be physically blind, but he is spiritually sharp and well discerning beyond most authors. In "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" Terry has nailed the pre-trib Rapture, and removed any doubt what so ever about the Church going through the Tribulation. With great insight and Godly discernment, Terry explains with simple, yet profound words, why and how that he has come to believe the ways he does about the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the End Times scenario. I think after reading "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" you too will believe as Terry does, and be Ready for the Rapture like never before! - Randy Thomas - Publisher / Editor - Prophecy Update
For more information and or to get your copy of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" use this link: http://www.raptureready.com/terry/book35.html
Jesus Prayed for You - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
If you knew you were about to be arrested, falsely accused of a crime, put through a mock trial, beaten so badly that pieces of flesh were torn out and your bones showed, mocked, and ultimately crucified, what would your thoughts be? Most of us would run and hide. Our thoughts would be for self-preservation rather than helping others to cope with what was to come. Jesus knew long before the foundation of the earth was laid that Adam would sin and that mankind would need a Saviour. Jesus would enter into His creation in order to provide the only way that sinful humans can be saved. As Jesus began His ministry He chose a handful of men to learn from Him and to spread the Gospel after His blood sacrifice upon the cross. Jesus knew what He would face. The Child whose birth we celebrate had willingly left Heaven to be our Kinsman Redeemer, which would require Him to become the Sacrificial Lamb to take our sin away. "O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:55-58. His blood was shed for our redemption and three days later He was resurrected. Because He lives so will we if we place our faith in Him.
When Jesus knew that it was time for His sacrifice on the cross, He willingly went to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. Because of that sacrificewe are sanctified if we believe in Him. "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Hebrews 10:10. In Jerusalem He ate one final meal with His disciples and when the meal was finished Jesus told Judas Iscariot to go and do what he had to do...to go betray our Lord. After Judas left, Jesus spoke openly with the men who remained about what was to soon happen. Anyone today who claims to follow Him should read those words, beginning in chapter 13 of the Gospel of John. Write them on your heart. Jesus finished His talk with a prayer for those men who would spread the Gospel far and wide. Jesus also prayed for you.
"These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was." John 17:1-5. Jesus had done everything that He had been sent to do, and now the hour had come for Him to offer Himself as the sacrificial Lamb of God. He prayed that God the Father would glorify Him with the glory they shared prior to the creation of the world. Jesus is God the Son and existed prior to the creation of all things. We read in the book of Genesis that God spoke all things into existence, and the Gospel of John makes it clear that Jesus Christ is the one who spoke. Now it was time for Jesus to return to the glory He and the Father had shared in the beginning.
"I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kepht thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou has given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee, Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled." John 17:6-12. Jesus specifically prayed for His disciples who had walked with Him and heard His teaching. These men would face some fierce trials, but Jesus knew each one and had chosen them because He knew they would be faithful. The exception was Judas. Jesus chose him, not because he would be a faithful follower but because he would fulfill Scripture "I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, he that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me." John 13:18. Judas had walked with Jesus and heard what He taught, but still he would betray Him. Just because someone claims to follow Christ doesn't mean they are a Christian. After Judas left Jesus prayed for those who remained. We can thank God that those men did what they were asked. Even Peter was not lost. He denied Christ and hid, but Jesus restored him and Peter became a strong leader among those early believers. He was faithful even to his own crucifixion.
"And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth: As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth." John 17:13-19. These men would face great opposition as they carried the Gospel into the angry, fallen world. Their strength would be in God. Jesus prayed that these men would be sanctified, that means set apart from the world. Every Christian today needs to heed this prayer. Do you claim to be a Christian, but instead of living by God's word you follow the world? Maybe you're more like Judas than a true follower of Christ. God's truth hasn't changed so you need to separate from worldly ways and be sanctified through the truth of God's word.
"Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou has loved me." John 17:20-23. Here is where Jesus prayed for you and me. Because Peter, James, John and the others shared the Gospel faithfully, nearly 2,000 years later people read God's word and believe unto salvation. Through the years many false teachings have entered into the various denominations. Shame on you if you follow New Age teachings, participate in yoga, or embrace sin because your denomination believes God's word has changed. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." Hebrews 13:8. Sanctify yourself through God's word and be separate from the world.
"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them." John 17:24-26. Do you want to be with Jesus for eternity? Do you want to behold His glory? I do. Jesus prayed for you and me to be there with Him and I look forward to that time. The world doesn't know God; they follow Satan and his evil horde of demons. The world is not sanctified by the word of God and will hate you if you separate yourself from sin and follow Jesus. Jesus never said it would be easy. "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33. Only through Jesus can we know the love of God and not be a part of the sin of the world. Our victory comes only through faith in Christ.
After Jesus had finished His prayer they left the upper room and went outside. Jesus knew what He was about to face and He continued to pray to the Father. Jesus prayed that there would be another way for the redemption of mankind to be accomplished. "Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him." Luke 22:42-43. There is no other way for salvation than through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. If there were another way, God would have revealed it. Instead He sent an angel to give Jesus the strength to face what lay ahead. Don't think you can be "good enough" or that Allah, meditation, or any other satanic way will lead to Heaven. Satan is the father of lies and has deceived many people. Only faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross will allow you into Heaven.
Have you turned to Him for salvation? If so then be sanctified by His word and separate from the world. Study your Bible and apply it to your heart. When you stumble in your walk with Him, repent and ask forgiveness. He loves you enough to have given His life for you.
Remember, Jesus prayed for you.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
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Daily Jot: Working out our salvation - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
As we Christians celebrate the highest of holy days in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it may well be wise to have some introspect. My son recently sent me an article about the decline of Christianity in our nation. It talked about how only 18% of Millennials find Christianity relevant. It said Christians get enraged at immorality, policy, and the state of affairs in our country and around the world. Yet we are demanding that people hold to moral beliefs as justified by a book that they don't even read. On a day that we commemorate Christ sacrificing his life that all who believe on him may have everlasting life, we Christians, as a whole, should be doing a better job as disciples than what we are doing.
1 Corinthians 5:12 asks, "For what have I to do to judge them also that are outside? do not you judge them that are within?" In direct speak, it means that we have no business holding those who do not know the gospel accountable to our standards. That's why we are exhorted, even commanded, to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey what the Lord has commanded us. We must find ways to make Christianity relevant. It has been tainted to be identified with political ideals, when in reality, the political ideals should be identified with Christianity, foundationally centered on God's love and love for one another. It starts with our individual relationship with the Lord. To look at our families, communities, states, nations from a Christian lens, we should first start by looking in the mirror.
The Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:17-19, "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator." The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 10:13-14, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?"
Jesus said in Matthew 24:23, "Then if any man shall say unto you Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not." Our national identity and, more importantly, our personal salvation is diluted tremendously if we, as Peter put it, "scarcely be saved." If America's preachers are so intent on preaching/teaching a self indulgent, extra Biblical and emotional version of the Christ, then what Christ are we following--the real Son of God, crucified and risen, for our sins, or some humanist version of Christ that fits a social or political extra-biblical gospel? It is here, not on the national policy front, that we as a people have lost our identity. This should be a serious personal consideration that gives weight to working out your salvation with fear and trembling.
Daily Devotion: Finished! - Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
When Jesus had tasted it, he said, "It is finished!" Then he bowed his head and released his spirit. -John 19:30
The cross was the goal of Jesus from the very beginning. His birth was so there would be His death. The incarnation was for our atonement. He was born to die so that we might live. And when He had accomplished the purpose He had come to fulfill, He summed it up with a single word: finished.
In the original Greek, it was a common word. Jesus probably used it after He finished a project that He and Joseph might have been working on together in the carpentry shop. Jesus might have turned to Joseph and said, "Finished. Now let's go have lunch." It is finished. Mission accomplished. It is done. It is made an end of.
So what was finished? Finished and completed were the horrendous sufferings of Christ. Never again would He experience pain at the hand of wicked men. Never again would He have to bear the sins of the world. Never again would He, even for a moment, be forsaken of God. That was completed. That was taken care of.
Also finished was Satan's stronghold on humanity. Jesus came to deal a decisive blow against the devil and his demons at the cross of Calvary. Hebrews 2:14 says, "That through death he might destroy him who had the power of death, that is the devil." This means that you no longer have to be under the power of sin. Because of Jesus' accomplishment at the cross, finished was the stronghold of Satan on humanity.
And lastly, finished was our salvation. It is completed. It is done. All of our sins were transferred to Jesus when He hung on the cross. His righteousness was transferred to our account.
So Jesus cried out the words, "It is finished!" It was God's deliberate and well-thought-out plan. It is finished-so rejoice!
FROM THE HEART
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