Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Two Sabbaths of Matthew 28

"A vital text proving that there were two Sabbaths in that week has been obscured by almost every translation into English."
-Herbert W Armstrong, "The Resurrection Was Not on Sunday", 1972, p.13

I think HWA had a fine little thing going with the "two Sabbaths" argument. It was quite convincing. One of his premier arguments! It certainly convinced me for a number of years. But can it hold up to our intense scrutiny here at ABD?

What Herbert Armstrong did was to make a huge deal about the Greek word “sabbaton” that is improperly translated as "Sabbath" in Matthew 28: 1 [KJV]. He assigned an unconventional explanation to the verse, and with that wedge he attempted to split apart almost 2,000 years of Christian tradition. Before we start, I need to fill in a small background detail regarding how HWA viewed the timing of the death and resurrection of our Lord:
"Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday, the middle day of the week. He died shortly after 3 p.m. that afternoon; was buried before sunset Wednesday evening. Now count three days and three nights. His body was Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights in the grave - three nights. It also was there through the daylight part of Thursday, Friday and Saturday - three days. He rose Saturday - the Sabbath - late afternoon, shortly before sunset, at the same time of day that He was buried!"
-Herbert W Armstrong, "The Resurrection Was Not on Sunday", 1972, p.12
Anyone who has spent any time in Adventism knows this depiction. But there becomes an issue between understanding how time is counted by the modern American mind, and the ancient Hebrew mind. Some people treat the Bible as if it was originally written in English. Also, there is an issue regarding Sabbaths. The Gospel accounts only mention one Sabbath, but then we come to Matthew 28: 1. It is clear that the word "Sabbath" in this one verse can be plural under the right circumstances. 
At any rate, what Herbert Armstrong concluded was this:
"There is only one possible explanation: After the annual high-day Sabbath, the feast day of the days of Unleavened Bread - which was Thursday - these women purchased and prepared spices on Friday, and then they rested on the weekly Sabbath, Saturday, according to the commandment (Ex. 20:8-11)."
-Herbert W Armstrong, "The Resurrection Was Not on Sunday", 1972, p.13
HWA said "There is only one possible explanation," and with that I take exception!
It is not the only explanation.


The word "Sabbath" is translated from the Greek word "sabbaton." What can we see about this word?
According to the New Testament Greek Lexicon, the second definition of this word is thus:
"2. seven days, a week"
-New Testament Greek Lexicon, Copyright © 2001-2010, Heartlight, Inc.
Seven days? A week? What is that supposed to mean?
Turns out it means the word translated as "Sabbath" can represent all 7 days of the week, as well as just the seventh day, depending on context. This is much the same thing as calling your car your “wheels.” Wheels are only part of a car, but they represent the whole thing.
This from a Wikipedia article on the Sabbath:
"By synecdoche (naming a part for the whole), the term "Sabbath" also came to mean simply a seven-day week in Jewish sources by the time of the Septuagint, namely, the interval between two Sabbaths. Jesus's parable of the Pharisee and the Publican describes the Pharisee as fasting "twice a week" (Greek dis tou sabbatou, literally, "twice of the Sabbath")."
-"Sabbath". WikiPedia. 3-20-2010 at 12:35 PM.
Now that you understand what we’re dealing with here, can we be confident that it affects Matthew 28: 1? The answer to that is, yes! Adam Clarke’s Commentary can help us here.
"In the end of the Sabbath - Οψε δε σαββατων. After the end of the week: this is the translation given by several eminent critics; and in this way the word οψε is used by the most eminent Greek writers."
-Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible, chapter XXVIII, Commentary on Matthew 28
So, “Sabbath” in Matthew 28: 1 is plural, not because it represents two Sabbaths [Thursday and Saturday], but it is plural because it represents the week [Saturday to Saturday].

Still, I would feel much better if I had some contextual support for this. Do we have any insight into the context? Yes!
The entire point of this verse is to tell us when these things happened.

(MAT. 28: 1) Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn...
(MAR. 16: 1) Now when the Sabbath was past...
(MAR. 16: 2) Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week...
(LUK. 24: 1) Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning...
(JOH. 20: 1) Now the first day of the week... 
*All of these are from the NKJV.

All of these verses tell us about Sunday morning hours right before sunrise - the timing of the resurrection. Timing is key! All of these verses are telling us about the time Jesus was resurrected. The weekly Sabbath came and went, and now, early on Sunday morning we focus. That is the context. Matthew is focusing on this time. This timing is key! Because the context is "when did we first know Jesus had risen?"

And in that context, what Matthew is telling us, in his peculiarly Hebrew way, is "at the end of the previous week, as the first day of the next week began to dawn..." Matthew is saying nothing at all that the other Gospel writers did not also say. He simply says the same thing in a different, and very Hebrew, fashion.

I want you to know that there are some Armstrongists who claim that Matthew 28: 1 supports a Saturday resurrection. This is simply not possible. The phrase "in the end" literally means "after" not "during". I have read people who assert "began to dawn" is a forgery added later. Based on what scholarly evidence? None. In their minds, if the Bible does not support their belief, then the Bible is wrong. But for us who take a less ideologically fundamentalist approach to the pursuit of truth, Matthew 28: 1 precludes a Saturday resurrection. As do all of the other Gospels.

We get no mention whatsoever from the other Gospel writers about there being two Sabbaths at the end of that week. (Just because it doesn't say anything, doesn't mean it didn't happen. But we have learned to require more than HWA's word.) But given this information that you now know, doesn’t this silence speak volumes? The other Gospels aren't saying anything about timing that Matthew didn't say, and Matthew isn't saying anything about timing that they didn't say. We don’t need to invent elaborate scenarios if we simply stick to the simple and well known explanation.

Want more evidence? OK! I'd love to!


Let's look at the beginning of Matthew 28: 1 in Greek: "Opse de sabbaton, ho epiphosko eis heis sabbaton..."
Notice anything odd in there? That's right! "Sabbaton" appears twice! What this means is astoundingly bad for HWA. 

Look at the very same phrase once again, this time we'll put the Greek into the NKJV English:
"Now after the Sabbath [sabbaton], as the first day of the week [sabbaton] began to dawn..."

So, sabbaton can be "week" after all, and it is… in this very verse

This is entirely consistent with the Strong's Concordance definition of the word. It can be singular or plural, one Sabbath or … a whole week.
4521 Sabbaton: the Sabbath (that is, Shabbath), or day of weekly repose from secular avocations (also the observance or institution itself); by extension a se'nnight, that is, the interval between two Sabbaths; likewise the plural in all the above applications: - sabbath (day), week.
If one instance can be translated “week,” why on earth not both instances? In fact, wouldn’t uniformity in translation make far more sense?


Keep in mind that we have one word here - sabbaton. The proper translations, depending on context, can be Sabbath, Sabbaths, and week.

Let us now transliterate this into HWA's thinking in order to illustrate something:
"Now after the Sabbaths [sabbaton], as the first day of the weeks [sabbaton] began..."

That is how HWA sees things. And he didn’t just redefine the first instance, he redefined them both! He knew and accepted that the second sabbaton was best translated "week." So he simply redefined what week means. The first sabbaton becomes "Sabbaths" (meaning one annual Holy Day and one weekly Sabbath), the second sabbaton becomes "weeks" (plural).

The main problem? Neither of those are valid translations.

How can he explain why the first sabbaton means "a Holy Day and a Sabbath", but the next appearance of sabbaton means "the first of several weeks of Sabbaths" - especially when the day we’re talking about was a Sunday? Sunday isn't the Sabbath!

The answer is simple and straightforward: he just assigned a meaning to it that isn't there. Our ignorance of the Greek takes care of the rest.

Here's what he did --
After redefining the first appearance of sabbaton, he now had to explain the second. He said the second appearance of sabbaton refers to the seven-Sabbath count to Pentecost. See that? Week became weeks, plural, and then weeks became the seven week count to Pentecost. Now, it all makes sense, right? 
Wrong! Why? Timing!


According to LEV. 23: 9-16, Deuteronomy 16: 9, and Armstrong’s own understanding, the seven-Sabbath count to Pentecost is initiated by the Wave Sheaf offering - which, by the way Jesus is the fulfillment of. It is plain that the first of the seven Sabbaths in the count to Pentecost is the first Sabbath after the Wave Sheaf offering. After! That Sunday morning, the morning of Jesus' appearance, the same morning Matthew and the other Gospels are referring to here, was the morning of the Wave Sheaf offering. That was the marker that designated the following Sabbath, not the prior, to be the first of the seven-Sabbath count to Sukkot/Pentecost.

Did I lose you? To simplify - the second sabbaton can't be referring to the first Sabbath in the count to Pentecost because that day was a week later.

A Thursday holy day can't be the first Sabbath in the count.
The Saturday prior to the resurrection can't be the first Sabbath in the count.
The day of the resurrection cannot be the first Sabbath in the count because Sunday isn't the Sabbath.

What this proves is that it cannot be translated, "first of the Sabbaths" as Herbert Armstrong said. The second sabbaton cannot be translated "seven Sabbaths" or "weeks"; it has to be "week." Sadly, in order to make this change, HWA is forced to improperly pluralize the already plural sabbaton to become "weeks" as in "first of the weeks." Therefore it cannot mean what Herbert Armstrong says it means.

To work around this crippling problem, HWA points to Deuteronomy 16: 9 and proclaims this seven-week count to Pentecost itself as a whole, and not any specific Sabbath, must be what Matthew is talking about. But that does not solve the problem.

This is grasping at straws, as neither the direct words of Matthew nor the context gives us any indication at all that the count to Pentecost is what is being referred to. Nor is there any tradition, at that time or any other, of referring to the count to Pentecost as sabbaton.

I remind you again, astute reader, sabbaton literally means "Sabbaths" (plural), and can mean "Sabbath" (singular) or figuratively "week" (singular), not "weeks" (plural). "Weeks" is not an option.  "The count to Pentecost" is not an option. What HWA did to work around his dilemma is wholly improper! Therefore it absolutely, positively cannot mean what he says it means. His explanation cannot stand.


I remind you, valued reader, that translating languages is not a grab-bag. Sabbaton does not refer to the count to Pentecost. Sabbaton does not refer to a combination of different types of Sabbaths, like a Holy Day and a weekly Sabbath. Sabbaton is never translated 'holy day'.

In Colossians 2: 16, Paul separates "Sabbath day" (sabbaton) from "holyday" (heorte) in the same sentence. They are separate. The only annual high day in the entire Septuagint (the Old Testament that the Apostles used) that is ever called sabbaton is the Day of Atonement (LEV. 23: 32). The Greek sabbaton is never used in reference to the first day of Unleavened Bread in the Septuagint. In the New Testament no annual high day is ever referred to as sabbaton. No, not one. Rather sabbaton is always translated "Sabbath" "Sabbaths" or "week".

Add to that the testimony of Mark who says "Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath" (MAR. 15: 42). The entire phrase "the day before the Sabbath" is from one Greek word: 'prosabbaton'. Mark went out of his way to ensure we understand the preparation day mentioned was the day before the weekly Sabbath.

What you will never completely glean from the Bible, but can glean from other ancient sources, is that the Jews referred to every day by a number according to its relation to the weekly Sabbath. Sunday was the first day. But more specifically, Sunday was the first day after the Sabbath. Monday was the second day from the Sabbath. And so forth.

What we were told in Armstrongism is that only the seventh day had a name - Sabbath. But that's not entirely true. In time Friday also received a name. Friday was called "prosabbaton" and it was called "paraskeue." Both of these words mean preparation day. We can know from other documents that paraskeue and prosabbaton refer to Friday, not the least of which is a decree from Caesar Augustus declaring that no Jew could be compelled to go to court past the 9th hour on Friday (paraskeue). When Mark uses the phrase prosabbaton, that is the name for the sixth day of the week - Friday. Herbert Armstrong said we can just take "preparation day" and just move it all around; put it in front of a holy day. We have seen that you cannot translate sabbaton as holy day in the first place. We have seen how prosabbaton and paraskeue refer to Friday. How can he take Friday and put it in front of any holy day? He cannot.

Since this is how the Bible including Matthew, as well as external documents, consistently treat the language, we would be remiss to insist otherwise. Again and again we see that Armstrong wasn't getting his doctrine from the Bible, he was trying to force his doctrine into the Bible.

If we pay incredibly close attention to the Greek, the Hebrew use, the context, and the related Bible evidence, we come to the conclusion that this second appearance of sabbaton means, "[at the beginning of the] week," or "Sunday."
This is in all ways similar to the first appearance of sabbaton, which means “[at the end of the] week,” or “Saturday.”

The first phrase means "Saturday" and the second phrase means "Sunday."
All of this complexity for something so simple!

So, what is a good translation of Matthew 28: 1?

(MAT. 28: 1)[MKJV] But late in the week, at the dawning into the first day of the week

MKJV gives you a good feel for what the Greek means. I would object that the first part should not be “late in the week” because the Greek and the context both indicate the week had ended. How can it be “late in the week” if the week is over? It cannot. But anywho….

If you really are interested in getting down and gritty with the Greek, see this article by Jerry Griffin entitled "The Idiomatic Use of Sabbaton for Week" which is hosted on the Toledo COG7 website. Be prepared for your head to hurt, however. And don’t say we didn’t warn you ahead of time.


If HWA is right, what we can do any time is just think up a nice theory and assign our own private interpretation into Matthew 28: 1, making a word mean one thing here, and another thing there, regardless of context or proper use of the language. And so we turn a simple word meaning “week” into “a holy day and a Saturday in one week.” Again we turn the same word into "weeks" plural and then into "the count to Pentecost."

Yet, if this is what Matthew meant, there should be some other evidence for it somewhere else in the Bible. There is none. Silence. There is a butchered translation of Matthew 28: 1 and nothing besides.
However if I am right, and it does mean “week” singular, then there should be some kind of evidence somewhere. Other than the fact that the three other Gospels are silent on HWA's interpretation, which works in my favor, and other than the fact that history is silent on HWA's interpretation, which again works in my favor, and other than the fact that I have already shown you from the Wikipedia article mentioned above precisely what I've described also happening in Luke 18: 12, and aside from the fact that respected commentaries align against Armstrong, which should be evidence enough, and aside from paraskeue and prosabbaton specifically referring to Friday, I can present additional supporting evidence from the earliest Christian writings:
"We keep the eighth day [Sunday] with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead" 
-Barnabas, Epistle of Barnabas, 15: 9
"But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration."
-Justin Martyr, First Apology, chapter LXVII [67] (130-165 A.D.)
"On the day of the preparation, then, at the third hour, He received the sentence from Pilate, the Father permitting that to happen; at the sixth hour He was crucified; at the ninth hour He gave up the ghost; and before sunset He was buried. During the Sabbath He continued under the earth in the tomb in which Joseph of Arimathæa had laid Him. At the dawning of the Lord’s day He arose from the dead, according to what was spoken by Himself, “As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man also be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” The day of the preparation, then, comprises the passion; the Sabbath embraces the burial; the Lord’s Day contains the resurrection."
-Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Trallians (98-117 A.D.)
With this latest quote from Ignatius, keep in mind that Ignatius was the Apostle John's student. John was an eye-witness; he knew the timing. If indeed John taught Ignatius anything at all regarding the timing, certainly Ignatius would have no reason to distort it so grossly, especially with the timing of his Epistle not being 85 years from the actual occurrence. Yet we have here what Ignatius said, and claimed he received from John, and we have others who agree with Ignatius, and still yet we have no recorded dissenters.

There are many people who will be quite upset that these are quotes from “Catholic” writers. It is their opinion that all Catholic writers are deceitful. They couldn’t possibly be more incorrect. But I contend these men were not members of the Catholic Church as we know it today. They were members of the Body of Christ. That is how they saw themselves. There were no denominational squabbles in their minds. So to label them solely Roman Catholic is not entirely appropriate. Plus, if one insists, then one admits the Catholic Church is as old as it claims to be, and includes in its members the disciples of the Apostles. I have a hunch that isn't what the people making these kinds of claims had in mind.
(We know and have proven that Alexander Hyslop’s swill regarding the ancient origin of the Catholic Church is wholly inaccurate and entirely unreliable garbage.)


So, what do we have here? In a word: exegesis! We have the proper translation, we have the proper context, we have corroborating evidence from the other Gospels, and we have corroborating evidence from history. We have the Bible and history and we are going to force our ideas to agree with them.

What does Herbert Armstrong have? In a word: eisegesis. He has completely improper translation, distortion of context and Biblical narrative, no support from the other Gospels, and outright condemnation of historical evidence. He has an idea and he's going to force the Bible and history to agree with him.

Therefore, we conclude, dear reader, that there are not two Sabbath days, one on a Thursday and one on Saturday, hidden in Matthew 28: 1. We conclude that there is not a seven week count to Pentecost hidden in Matthew 28: 1. We conclude HWA's greatest and “final proof” is no proof whatsoever other than proof that he is dead, dead wrong. And we also conclude that Herbert Armstrong’s accusations against history and a billion+ Christians are baseless. We are certain that you, our esteemed and intelligent reader, are already beginning to see the implications of what we have shown you here. Far-reaching implications that, unfortunately, exceed the scope of this post. Pursue them!

Now, we may strenuously disagree with HWA, but we are not here to judge and condemn, so rather than make crass comments - returning his condemnation upon us for some of our own upon him - we ask you to pray with us for all of those bound and imprisoned in Armstrongism, that they might see the light of Christ’s glorious mercy, and ask Him for release, and step boldly and permanently into the New Covenant.

May your remembrance of His death and resurrection be blessed and Spirit-filled!

It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.
Acts 17:11


Luc said...

I think it needs to be made clear that it is the KJV that says "Mat 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the..." Herbert would say, do you see it? It was still sabbath, and he had already risen.

I heard him say this, but I didn't find this argument in the literature I have.

The word dawn here is what is given the unconventional meaning in that it's supposed to refer to the beginning of night that is counted as the start of the next day. As xHWA shows us, The KJV is mistranslating the plural of the word for sabbath that is used here, which refers to a week, which is at an end.

In the interlinear Matt 28:1 is rendered "evening yet of sabbaths (the week) to the lighting into the one of sabbaths (first day of the week) came Mariam..." Herbert relied on the KJV (except when it didn't fit his purposes)and didn't check the checkables . He was flat wrong that it was still sabbath evening.

The term "the lighting(interlinear of Matt28:1)is not metaphoric, it means the sun is rising. The sunset to sunset reckoning of a day was used for sabbath observance, but not for regular purposes, where the day begins with sunrise. Jesus died near the ninth hour, which is 3 pm because the day started at 6 am.

Jesus died over 4 hours before sunset. Jesus was probably buried long before evening. The KJV has Joseph asking for the body of Jesus "as evening approached" but the interlinear says in Matt 27:57 "Of-evening yet becoming came rich from Arimathea...." the word for evening is (G3798 opsios op'-see-os from G3796;late; feminine (as noun) afternoon (early eve) or nightfall.) it can mean evening but late afternoon is as likely.

Why would Jesus be left hanging for four hours when Pilate suffering in his conscience because of the Innocent mans brutal death would be anxious for the spectacle to end, and Joseph wasn't likely to have been dodling around in low gear. Herbert said Jesus was buried at the twilight of Sabbath, but the symbolism has the lamb being killed at that time not buried, Jesus died a little after 3 pm, the symbolism cannot be used to argue for the twilight burial, and again revealing a hole in HWA's reasoning.

Luc said...

I've wondered, if Jesus had been raised as the waning rays of the sun were about to disappear over the horizon on the Sabbath, why did he wait until after the women met him Sunday morning to present himself to the Father?

Was he wondering around during the night? It seems that going to the Father would be first priority. What other business did he need to attend to since he had said three days earlier that "it's finished".

I suppose he could have hung around and roasted marshmallows over an angels flaming sword, after all, it seems that resurrected people were usually hungry if my memory serves me correctly.

xHWA said...

Perhaps He went to Denny's.

xHWA said...

Thanks a bunch for those comments, Luc! I think you make very valuable points.

I read that the Jews at that time pretty much called the day over at about 6 PM. Jesus had to be awake before that - according to HWA.
Jesus must have been somewhere in that garden doing something for the better part of 12 hours. He couldn't possibly have folded his tomb clothes and sat around for 12 hours.

HWA's scenario simply does not fit. I used to be dead set in believing that it was the only possible explanation. But now, knowing what you and I studied to write this article, I can no longer accept his view of things.

Now, I can see why the Jewish idiom for "three days and three nights" being another synecdoche makes complete sense.

Seeker Of Truth said...

I've never believed Jesus rose on Saturday. Scripture is quite clear that Sabbath was over and the sun was just on the rise- Sunday. But I've always believed He died on Thursday. (Jesus clearly said, Three days and three nights.)

But you pretty much say that Jesus died on Friday. So I dug in and started searching for evidence for Friday. Biblical evidence. (I like accounts of history if they coaberrate the Bible, but not as stand-alone "proof").

What I found is this:
Lk 24:1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.
[So I see it's Sunday]

:13 Now that same day two of them were going...
[I see it is still the same day - Sunday]

:15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;
[Jesus shows up - but they don't recognize him - and they discuss the events]

:21 ...And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.
[Still Sunday. And they are refering to Sunday as the third day, rather than Saturday being the third day and evening. Meaning That if Sunday is the third day, then Friday must be the first day.]

:22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning
:23 but didn't find his body...

I surprised by this, because I was sure He died on Thursday (day 1 and night 1) and that Friday was day 2 and night 2 and Saturday, day 3 and night three... but, (according to the above scriptures) it appears this could be true, that He died on a Friday.

BUUUT... There is this: This guy says, on Sunday, "It is the third day since..."
So I can back up and say on Saturday, "It is the second day since..." and back up more, and say on Friday, "It is the first day since..." or "It's been one day since all this took place." Putting the death of Jesus, as I have always believed, on Thursday.

Those are my thoughts on the matter.

I'm still scratchin' my head. I'm gonna have to give this more time and attention to be sure. ...not that this is a salvation issue, just curiosity. (Since I never believed the Saturday thing anyway).

Good article! Made me do some digging.

xHWA said...

Thinking is good!

It all starts to come back down again to the Hebrew idiomatic expressions.

Luc said...

The name of the day Jesus was resurrected has been related to goddess worship since alexander Hislop wrote his book 'the Two Babylons,published in 1916.

His ideas have worked their way through the American psyche to where his explanation is the dominate explanation given by virtually all sources including authoritative media outlets e.g. the History Channel which loves an opportunity to malign the Christian foundations, and plant the idea that the whole thing is a deception. There are other explanations for the name 'Easter'.

The Origin of the name of Easter 1

The Origin of the name of Easter 2

xHWA said...

Those are some good links, Luk. You know what, I think that's gonna be my next topic.

xHWA said...


You mentioned wondering what Jesus supposedly did all night long. I wonder what on earth those women supposedly did all day Friday?

Think about this a bit. HWA says there was a Sabbath on Thursday. OK. Let's assume for a moment that's true.
So, Thursday night about 6 PM the Sabbath ended. The women were free to buy and prepare spices at that time. They were desperate to get there and finish the embalming process, and say their final goodbyes. Why didn't they?
Not only that, but they could have bought and prepared spices Friday morning. What on earth were they doing all Friday?

Now look at this:

(JON. 19: 39-40) 39 And Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. 40 Then they took the body of Jesus, and bound it in strips of linen with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.

From the time Jesus died to the time they took Him to the tomb, Nicodemus was able to buy and prepare 100 pounds of spices. Now that's a load of spices!
There is nothing to indicate that it would take from Thursday night at 6 PM and all Friday until 6 PM, plus all of Saturday evening after 6 PM to obtain and prepare spices.

If the ladies were so anxious just to go to the tomb and see Jesus, let alone bring spices, that they would travel out there Sunday morning before it was even dawn - what on earth did those ladies wait for???

HWA's timing makes little sense at all after we see the proper meaning of 'sabbaton'.

Steve said...

What I don't understand is how those who believe in the Friday/Sunday scenario can get "3 days and 3 nights" out of a late Friday burial to an early Sunday resurrection. If you look at the example of Jesus fasting for "40 days and 40 nights", did He just fast a partial day on the first day and night, and a partial day on the last day and night? Just wondering.


xHWA said...

I wish there existed a way to determine what the Holy days were from 30 AD to 33 AD.

I know there are many, many opinions out there. I know many people would like to say "I can prove it." But after 70 AD I simply have no faith in anyone's ability to accurately determine what the timings of years, seasons, months, and days were before 70 AD.
Even astrological sightings don't accurately prove. The timings were determined by sight. They may have been off for a number of reasons. And a day makes a world of difference here!

Does any record exist from pre-70 AD that might help out?

I think Wednesday is ruled completely out. Thursday is a possibility and Friday is a possibility.

If the Jewish idiomatic expression idea pans out, then Friday is the clear front-runner. "Third day since these things" would still be Friday in this scenario.

john said...

Hello, and thanks for a great article! It's nice to find people who try to understand what the Bible actually says, which is so often not what we have been taught.

For the better part of two years I have been trying to understand the timing of the events of Jesus last 24 hours, and I too came to the astonishing conclusion that Jesus probably died on a Friday, not on a Wednesday. You can read my article on this subject at - pages 14 through 17.

Thanks again!

xHWA said...

Steve, we're still sorta wondering that ourselves. We're still figuring things out.

But it really is appearing more and more clear that "three days and three nights" is a Hebrew idiomatic expression. What I mean is that "three days and three nights" was a well excepted expression that did not have to be 72 hours. Just as "sabbath" can mean a whole week.

We'd heard about this before, but our ministers did everything they could to throw it out. They told us it was a Greek idiomatic expression. But they were wrong. The expression is Hebrew, and Luc has identified other places in the Bible where it appears.

With the "two sabbaths" teaching, we accepted what those ministers said. But with that "two sabbaths" teaching now clearly being false, there is no reason to believe they had the truth. They just reasoned out whatever they had to in order to not accept what appears to be reality.

Steve said...

xHWA, thanks for your response, but you didn't answer my question. Is it possible that Jesus just fasted for an hour or less on the first day of His fast, and then say that He fasted for "a day and a night"? I don't see that being the case. How could "a day and a night" consist of just one hour or less? There's definitely something wrong with this picture. I understand about a Jewish idiomatic expression, but this is certainly stretching that belief. The Scriptures tell us that Jesus was put in the tomb right before the sabbath, actually indicating that Joseph and Nicodemus only had very little time before the sabbath began, probably even minutes, not even an hour. How could that very short span of time be considered "one day and one night"? I think too many people accept the Friday/Sunday scenario on face value.

Luc said...

There in no precedent for a 'forty day and forty night' figure of speech. There is one for the three days and three nights as I've included in a comment above (1Sam 30:12-13).

We don't know that there was only minutes before the sabbath, Matt 27:46 seems to indicate that Jesus died shortly after the ninth hour which is 3 pm.Sundown is a little after 7pm during this time of year in Israel. The concern about getting Jesus off the cross (by the Jews)may have been because they wanted to go tend to their preparations and didn't trust the Romans,who would not have cared if Jesus hung there for a week.They would want to verify his being taken down before they could leave.

Also,the interlinear shows that it's the plural form of sabbaton that is used in Luke 24:1. The word translated sabbath (as close as English letters can replace Greek) is 'cabbatwn'(H7676); which is the plural form of 'cabbatw' which is the singular form.

It is the plural form that is an idiomatic term for a week i.e. from sabbath to sabbath.

Luc said...

Check out all the verses referring to the three days. I borrowed this from Three Days and Three Nights

The phrase "three days and three nights" appears in a single verse in Matthew's gospel and does not appear in any of the other gospels. All the other references count only the days, and not the days and nights, as follows:

From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. (Matt.16:21)

And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry. (Matt. 17:23)

And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again. (Matt. 20:19)

... This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. (Matt. 26:61)

... Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. (Matt. 27:40)

... Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. (Matt. 27:63-64)

And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Mark 8:31)

For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day. (Mark 9:31)

And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again. (Mark 10:34)

We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. (Mark 14:58)

And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save thyself, and come down from the cross. (Mark 15:29-30)

... The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. (Luke 9:22)

And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. (Luke 18:33)

... The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. (Luke 24:7)

But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. (Luke 24:21)

... Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day. (Luke24:46)

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. (John 2:19-22)

xHWA said...

Steve, I'm sorry if I didn't answer your question to your satisfaction. I'm going to direct you to Luc's comments for more detail.

At this point, I don't find anything idiomatic about the 40 days and 40 nights expression, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if it was idiomatic. It wouldn't affect my faith in the least. I couldn't care less if it were 38 full days and 2 partial days. Jesus is risen either way.

Have you ever studied Mandarin Chinese (language)? Lots of things don't make sense in Mandarin (to me). But it makes perfect sense to the Chinese.
It's not about making Hebrew conform to my way of thinking, which seems to be what our largest roadblock. It's about understanding the Hebrew mind. It is what it is.

If you don't understand something, does that make it untrue?

xHWA said...

"I think too many people accept the Friday/Sunday scenario on face value." -Steve

I don't recommend accepting anything just on face value.

Good thing accepting that scenario on face value has no application here whatsoever.
Considering the studying we've done, and the alternatives we are considering even now, and that we have not said that we've concluded anything solidly... "accepting on face value" is about as far from what we're doing here as one can get.

Luc said...

Amen xHWA

Steve said...

Luc, thank you for your input, but I've read all of those Scriptures before. They do not negate Matt. 12:40. It's still there! I don't care what the Romans did or thought. The Scriptures indicate that Joseph and Nicodemus had to bury Jesus in haste.(Matt. 27:57). The evening was upon them, and they had to bury Him at a tomb nearby because of the time factor involved.(John 19:42)

xHWA, thank you for your patience. I think there is much that we all don't understand, otherwise we wouldn't be looking for understanding. Even if we THINK we understand something, does not make it true either. We should have all learned that from our past experiences in the WCG.

Steve said...

Considering the studying we've done, and the alternatives we are considering even now, and that we have not said that we've concluded anything solidly... "accepting on face value" is about as far from what we're doing here as one can get.-xHWA

I said, "many accept it on face value". I didn't say "all". I think you're doing a great service here. Please keep it up. I enjoy this website. It has served me well.

xHWA said...

You're welcome, Steve. I need patience a lot, myself.
I'm glad you find the site useful.

We are just a bunch of people trying to make sense of the things we were taught.
Especially with this particular subject.

Luc said...

I'm not making a case for the Friday scenario, but I am saying that there is enough missing information to back off of the,"those so called Christians get their beliefs from somewhere other than the bible." John 19:42 is unspecific enough to where there is room for other possibilities such as I described.

The truth is always better understood from a matrix of verses. Whole cult movements can sprout from getting hung up on a single verse that might just suggest something else.

This has been one of my most frustrating problems when trying to reason with certain Weinland followers. I can provide a dozen or more scriptures, and they'll only reply "but there remains a rest for for the people of God" as an example.

The scripture taken alone could suggest the obligation to keep Sabbath, but only suggest, yet it outweighs everything else.The matrix principle is necessary.

Laurie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
xHWA said...

On, October 24, 2010 8:11 PM, "Laurie" said,

"Although the Bible is clear on the Sunday resurrection, I have often wondered about the possibility of a Thursday crucifixion."

We have wondered that, too, Laurie. We're not finding much support for that, however.

"I stumbled on this site some months ago while researching something else entirely."

I'm glad we could be of help, even though our target audience are Adventists; Armstrongists more specifically.

"He does present a fascinating possibility that he claims to be able to confirm from the Scriptures, as well... His conclusion is that the crucifixion was in 32 A.D., and that in that year, the 'High Day' Sabbath was on Friday, making the crucifixion on Thursday. You would have to read it yourself to see if you agree with his conclusion. [hyperlink removed]"

I am highly skeptical of any group that claims to have prophecy figured out, that's why I am removing the link. I don't want to promote them here.
And as I said in earlier comments, I don't think there is a chance of knowing for certain when things happened in ancient Israel prior to 70 AD when the temple was destroyed.

Things were declared somewhat arbitrarily by site. The Sanhedrin sent people to the hills to the east of Jerusalem, they spotted the right conditions (or didn't spot them) and reported back to the authorites who then declared (or didn't declare) the days, seasons, months, and years.
After 70 AD, even the Jews had a difficult time keeping track like they used to. After 135 they were banned from Jerusalem, so it only got harder.
So, unless someone shows me an actual document proving what happened that year in Israel and unless that document shows what day that was on the Julian calendar, then I cannot accept what anyone says as definitive - only speculative. Interesting perhaps, but not certain. To this day I have never heard of such a document.

xHWA said...

I have updated a few paragraphs in the middle section of this post.

I was unhappy with the portion where I explained why HWA's translation of 'sabbaton' into "weeks" does not work. I have changed the wording to make it more clear.

A Right Mind said...

One more supporting scripture that might be good to toss in is John 19:31
King James Version (KJV)
31The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
Thanks John - you TOLD us that he died on a Friday, all we had to do was listen.

Anonymous said...

There has been no comments for over a year....I wonder why.
In any case here is my reasoning:

OK! Let’s start at the beginning.

Genesis 1:4-13
4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
6 And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

So, there are three days.

John 11:9-10
9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

So it is safe to say Jesus knew there was 12 hours in the Night and 12 hours in the Day.

Matthew 12:38-40
The Sign of Jonah
38 Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.”
39 He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 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.

That would be 6 time 12 hours which gives 72 hours.
Any less or more than 72 hours would prove Jesus untrue!

Mark 8:31
Jesus Predicts His Death
31 He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.

I have more but my HTML is too long.

Anyway that's my view.

xHWA said...

Thanks for sharing your view. We certainly don't want to say anyone is not entitled to their view. We don't demand people agree with us.

We do have a view on the Three Days and Three Nights that might interest you. We go into some depth on the matter.

In that article we planned to address that Jesus knew there were 12 hours in a day. We decided to cut that from the post since it was superfluous. To briefly address it since it came up here --
If we say that "Jesus knew there were 12 hours in the day so 'day' must be 12 hours long" we create other problems.

For example, if "day" is 12 hours long, then the First Day of Unleavened Bread is 12 hours. As is the Last Day of Unleavened Bread. Also the Day of Atonement. The Last Great Day. Also the Day of the Lord -- 12 hours. None of these say "and night", so night is not included and it's just 12 hours.

See the issue it brings up? If we get bogged down in the Bible defining a day, then we need to get bogged down in arbitrary exemptions.
Just to really illustrate my point, let me present it another way.

II Peter 3: 8 says, "But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."
So the Bible defines a "day" as "1,000 years", so everywhere we see "day" it should be interpreted as 1,000 years.

Take what I just said with a grain of salt, of course. I don't literally believe the Day of Atonement is 12 hours or 1,000 years. I speak only to the argument that "the Bible defines a day, therefore...". I think the reasoning is not very strong. It's arbitrary and doesn't take into account any of the problems it raises.

At any rate, please do read the Three Days and Three Nights post for more about our perspective on this. I think that post is the one that better fits your comments.

God bless!

pilotdude57 said...

When God (Jesus) gives a prophecy, that prophecy comes true in every possible way, or Satan would be able to call God a liar. Daniel 9:27 says that "in the middle of the week he will cause sacrifice to cease". Jesus was killed in the middle of a 49-year period, in the middle of the final 7 years of the Daniel "70 weeks" prophecy, and in the middle of the actual week, on a Wednesday (even without HWA's reasoning).

The reason the women would not go to the tomb on Friday is that the Roman Guards were posted there for 3 full days, not allowing anyone to open the tomb.

When Jesus gave his Matthew 12:39,40 statement, he was in effect saying, "the resurrection will NOT happen on Sunday" (Giving no excuse to observe Sunday as a special day, as it came from paganism). Nowhere in the Bible does it say the resurrection happened on Sunday. The comma in Mark 16:9 is in the wrong place. Put it after the word "risen", or "rose" in some versions, NOT after the word "week". Then it reads correctly.

When one of the women said, "Who will help us roll the stone away?", they knew the Roman Guards would be gone, which is why they went at that time, Sunday morning. The Roman Guards were told to stay for three full days, so if the crucifixion happened on Friday, they would not leave until Monday. ASSUMING the resurrection happened right before they found the tomb empty is like me going on vacation for 30 days and I come home to find my house burglarized. Do I ASSUME it happened right before I got back, or could it have happened as soon as I left? Do not ASSUME anything.
The original scripture of Luke 24:21 is: "Besides, it is PAST the third day since these things have happened". There are mistranslations in the King James version to go along with the teachings of the Catholic church, which is 70% Roman Sun Worshipping paganism, and only 30% Christianity. Sunday observance as a special day came from Roman Sun Worshipping paganism, not from the Bible. Luc, what do you mean by " present himself to the Father?". What do you mean by "...going to the father"?

xHWA said...


Thanks for commenting.

I very much disagree with some of your conclusions. I do like your advice, "Do not ASSUME anything" however.

Satan can accuse God of lying all he wants; it doesn't mean anything. God need not play any games to prevent "The Accuser" from accusing. That's what he does. He accuses.

"When God (Jesus) gives a prophecy, that prophecy comes true in every possible way, or Satan would be able to call God a liar."
This is an assumption.

I find no Biblical support for your assertion. Most especially when Gabriel plainly told David the interpretation of "week". That interpretation was not "seven average days". The only way the prophecy has to be fulfilled is the way Gabriel explained it.

If your claim were true, then the Messiah would have to come within seventy average weeks of the "going forth of the command to restore Jerusalem" (Dan. 9: 25) as well as seventy weeks of years. Since that did not happen, your personal interpretation makes Him a false Messiah.
I can think of several other "possible fulfillments" besides this, and none of them happened either.

"The comma in Mark 16:9 is in the wrong place."
This is an assumption.

"When one of the women said, "Who will help us roll the stone away?", they knew the Roman Guards would be gone."
This is an assumption.

I find your conclusion based on no evidence at all. We have multiple articles addressing the timing. A Wednesday crucifixion is actually precluded by the Hebrew.

There were no commas at all in the Greek. Saying one or the other placement is "wrong" is an assertion. It is a matter of interpretation. It needs to be proved out. Armstrong gave his side, and I find it unconvincing.

"The original scripture of Luke 24:21 is: 'Besides, it is PAST the third day since these things have happened'."

Would you provide some evidence for your claim?
I find nothing in any interlinnear or literal translation or respected translation to support your claim.

"There are mistranslations in the King James version to go along with the teachings of the Catholic church, which is 70% Roman Sun Worshipping paganism, and only 30% Christianity."
This is an assumption.

Not only that, but it is demonstrably false.

"Sunday observance as a special day came from Roman Sun Worshipping paganism, not from the Bible"
This is an assumption.

Not only that, but it is demonstrably false. We have articles proving it false. Evidence proving it false are available from several sources.

Given my response, I trust you understand if I continue to disagree with you.

Anonymous said...

Passover and feast of unleavened bread are considered sabbots, as well as the 7th day after unleavened bread.

Anonymous said...

First day of Unleavened Bread is a Special Sabbath (High Day)- the day after Passover; Matt 28:1 appears to indicate plural Sabbaths; John 19:31 says it was a special Sabbath. We may never know the truth in this lifetime, but an "other than Friday" crucifixion seems entirely reasonable to me using the scriptures. But I'm not married to it. Nicodemus could have procured his spices prior to the death of Jesus... the next day was a (special) Sabbath. can't buy spices then and the women were at the tomb till late. Had to be close to dusk by then. The day after the special Sabbath would be ideal for purchasing and preparing the spices/perfumes. That night would begin the weekly Sabbath. The following was a Sabbath day of rest, leaving early Sunday morning to discover an empty tomb. I don't see the gospels anywhere stating Jesus resurrected after sunrise Sunday morning. John says Mary M. went to the tomb while it was yet still dark and found an empty tomb. I have no idea what hour he resurrected... I agree the "three days and three nights" language compared with the "on the third day" language is puzzling. It's a good discussion and one I think would be best to "agree to disagree"... BTW, I am not a HWA devotee... but you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater either.

xHWA said...

Anon April 18,

Those days are considered Sabbaths in Armstrongism, in the English language, I agree.
However, when you look at those annual high days and the weekly Sabbaths in the Greek, there is no way to get them confused. They simply used different words. The Greek does not have the ability to confuse an annual "sabbath" with a weekly Sabbath the way English does.
Therefore, that the annual high days are considered sabbaths is simply not any help to the argument that there were two sabbaths that week. That would demand two different Greek words (one to describe the annual sabbath and one to describe the weekly Sabbath) but there aren't two Greek words there. All you have is "sabbaton". As I described in the article, sabbaton never describes an annual sabbath; only a weekly.

xHWA said...

Anon April 23,

I'll quote these from our Easter FAQ:


*Does the Holy Week support a Wednesday or Thursday crucifixion?*
Most likely, no. (All options have issues to overcome.)
Wednesday seems completely out of the question. If the crucifixion were on Wednesday, then Jesus’ cleansing of the Temple would have been on the Sabbath, and that simply is not possible. Besides that the words of Cleopas on the Damascus Road preclude it (we’ll get to that later).
Thursday is plausible, but there are issues here, too. If the crucifixion were on Thursday, then the cleansing of the Temple would have been on the Sabbath, and that also is not possible. Not only that, but it puts a holy day back-to-back with the weekly Sabbath. Two days without cooking was not favored. The Jews have been known to postpone holy days so they did not fall immediately before or after a weekly Sabbath. This postponement may or may not have happened that year, but a Thursday crucifixion makes it more likely.
Friday is the best bet, and is supported by the language of the Gospels as well as the Early Church Fathers. But then there is the issue of whether or not "three days and three nights" is literal.
See Wednesday Crucifixion? Not Likely. for more info.

*Was there a holy day then a weekly Sabbath in the crucifixion week?*
Most likely no. The Greek word 'sabbaton' is translated "Sabbath" throughout the New Testament but is never used in exclusive reference to an annual high day. Proper translations of ‘sabbaton’ include “Sabbath”, “Sabbaths” plural, and “week”.
The Greek word 'paraskeue' is translated "Preparation Day" and is generally recognized as meaning Friday. To place Preparation Day on a different week day we need to change the meaning of 'paraskeue'. We should give a reason why the term needs to be redefined. Mark goes out of his way to tell us that this Preparation Day was Friday by including the term ‘prosabbaton’, which is translated “the day before the [weekly] Sabbath” (MAR. 15: 42). So we also need to give reason why "prosabbaton" must be redefined.
“Week” is sometimes a proper translation since ‘sabbaton’ can be idiomatic; a synecdoche. When ‘sabbaton’ is plural, it can sometimes refer to a week by referring to both of the Sabbaths that book-end the week. In Matthew 28: 1, both appearances of ‘sabbaton’ are correctly translated “week”, since they refer to the end of the week (Saturday) and the beginning of the week (Sunday). So there is no annual holy day mentioned in Matthew 28: 1.
In the entire Greek Bible, ‘sabbaton’ is only used once in reference to an annual high day, and that is the Day of Atonement (LEV. 23: 32).
John 19: 31 tells us that the Sabbath was an annual holy day. However John does not tell us that this Sabbath was not a weekly Sabbath. John simply says (and I paraphrase), “that Sabbath day was great”. The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread can fall on a weekly Sabbath. So we have to give valid reasons why they could not have both been on the same day.


xHWA said...


"the next day was a (special) Sabbath. can't buy spices then and the women were at the tomb till late."

I disagree. All of the shops would be open on the next day immediately after the sun went down. That was the tradition at that time, and still is. As soon as the Sabbath is over, the shops open.

I see that you would be open to a Thursday crucifixion. I always like to emphasize that the fact of the resurrection is infinitely more important than the timing. But, so far as timing goes, I would like to suggest that you check out our other article "Wednesday Crucifixion? Not Likely.". It discusses the timing and demonstrates that a Friday crucifixion is (in our opinion) the best scenario to explain all of the facts.

One last suggestion. If you like that article, please read our article "Three Days and Three Nights". It goes into detail on the Hebrew reckoning of time and makes the case that the Hebrew understanding of time rules out a Wednesday crucifixion.

xHWA said...


I never noticed my error in the Easter FAQ post before I read through my quote of it here. In my quote to Anon April 23, it reads:

"Thursday is plausible, but there are issues here, too. If the crucifixion were on Thursday, then the cleansing of the Temple would have been on the Sabbath, and that also is not possible."

That is wrong because that is the scenario for a Wednesday crucifixion. But it should read:

"Thursday is plausible, but there are issues here, too. If the crucifixion were on Thursday, then the Triumphal Entry would have been on the Sabbath, and that also is not possible due to legal restrictions prohibiting some of the things Jesus and the crowd did."

I have corrected this in the Easter FAQ article.

You can read more about the timing in our article "Wednesday Crucifixion? Not Likely."

Interested bystander said...

The church today says dogmatically that Christ was dead for a full 72 hours.
If that is true, then we have no savior at all since the next second is the 4rth day.
72 hours is 3 full 24 hour periods and then comes the fourth day.
Christ's proof was being resurrected ON the third day,not after it.

xHWA said...

Very good observation, Interested Bystander.

xHWA said...

In that same vein..

I find it interesting that the church to this day stands on 72 hours precisely as being the singular sign of Jesus' Messiahship. (Of course we at ABD disagree, and have written about that, but I digress.) YET, and here's the important part, no one was there to witness it!

If 72-hours precisely to the second was the one and only sign, THE sign, why was no one there to witness it?

(Answer: because that wasn't the sign.)

Anonymous said...

Some questions for all COGs and UCGs: 1) Do you believe that God's law is eternal and unchanging?

2) If yes, then NO statute has changed at all since the Law has been instituted, right?

3) If your response is yes, why don't you pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover like Jesus and the Apostles did?

4) If you give any excuse for not pilgrimaging for Passover, please provide Scripture verses in the NT which say that travelling for Passover is no longer needed. In that case I would direct you back to questions 1 and 2, DEU 12:32 and DEU 16:15-17.

5) If you do agree that God's Law has not been changed, how can you change the Law to say that a pilgrimage for Passover is no longer needed? See DEU 16:15-17.

6)If you still insist that a pilgrimage for Passover is no longer needed then you must admit that God's Law is not eternal and unchanging. And if you say that God's Law is not changed, why don't you observe a pilgrimage for Passover? The command for a pilgrimage has not been changed, it is still mandatory and anyone who claims to observe Passover but does not go on a pilgrimage needs to explain why he/she is subtracting from God's Law. Refer back to DEU 12:32. I know some of you will say, some Laws are for Israel and some for the Gentiles. NO! The 613 commands are for GOD'S PEOPLE. Apparently you are not God's people. It's an ALL OR NOTHING contract. You can't cherry pick which parts to keep and which to reject. Such is profaning the singular unit of the Law. The Law is one unit and it cannot be divided up under any circumstance.

Anonymous said...

"I wish there existed a way to determine what the Holy days were from 30 AD to 33 AD."

There is and I did. I wish I could link to the info. Search for it.

xHWA said...


I understand that you believe you have calculated them, but until you produce a record from that period then there is no way to verify. Calculate all you like. You cannot know or prove if your calculations are actually correct.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that the church to this day stands on 72 hours precisely as being the singular sign of Jesus' Messiahship. (Of course we at ABD disagree, and have written about that, but I digress.) YET, and here's the important part, no one was there to witness it!

--- Does the bible said that in order for us to believe what was written on it must always have a "witness?" Let us remember what the messiah said in john 20-- Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed." In this case, believing doesn't always required witnesses. If the bible said 3 days and three nights, that must suffice us to believe, afterall, counting seconds hours and days won't bring us salvation but the faith and belief that all the accounts mentioned in the bible with regards to His resurrection did occur.

xHWA said...

Anon Jun 1,

But there were witnesses. To just about everything He did.
Just because we aren't those witnesses doesn't mean there weren't witnesses. You quote John 20, but Thomas was there to witness it. In the next two verses, John relates that they witnesses so many things that they didn't even bother to write them all.

(I JON. 1: 1) That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life

In fact, the only reason why you can quote John, or any other book in the New Testament, at all is because witnesses were there. So yes, that there were witnesses is incredibly important.

pmary65 said...

There are many accounts that show otherwisr.

xHWA said...

pmary65 .. I don't understand your comment, "Many accounts that show otherwise." Would you please elaborate?

truck driver said...

Guys its quite simple. The earth was created and then God rested on the 7th day. Until the resurrection the 7th day was the sabbath. Then when the Jesus Christ was resurrected we have a new sabbath. Matt 28:1 IS about 2 sabbaths its about the end of the old and the beginning of the new. Simple. Its a special verse that has at its core the end of the old sabbath which was the day God rested and the dawn or beginning of the new sabbath to commerate Christs triumph over death.

David Acre said...

Hi All
I'm preparing a study which addresses this based on an article was written years ago by Wayne Carver of the Christian Jew Foundation. Wayne does an outstanding job of showing how the Wednesday crucifixion is most likely. Why? Jesus made no apologies for stating the prophecy of Jonah (3 days and 3 nights = three 24 hour periods) to the Pharisees. He backs up 10 days before the resurrection, and by using all 4 Gospels points to the time clues to stay in synchronization (like “the next day”), showing which days were which, and which could not have been a sabbath. He also notes several good points about Hebrew manners and customs in effect during the first century, as well as defining when the Jewish day started (dusk), and what the various hours (third hour, ninth hour, etc.) meant. Understanding the Jewish feasts’ timing is also critical. He also calls out the fact that it was well understood that a “high day” is also recognized as a type of Sabbath. As the explanation continues, he also points out three seemingly incompatible situations – that Christ had to satisfy: 1) to be raised on the third day (1 Cor 15:3-4) , 2) to be in the earth for three days and 3 nights (Mat 12:38-40) , and 3) become the first fruits of them who slept (1Cor 15:20) . Only one point in time satisfies all three – at dusk on Saturday, also evidenced by an earthquake – the time of our Lord’s resurrection. The day following the seventh day Sabbath was the Feat of First Fruits. Jesus was the Jew’s Jew and kept the feasts perfectly, even during His death and resurrection. When the women arrived Sunday morning, He was not there, and the stone had already been removed. Thanks to Wayne for showing that the Christian Jews can really show us what the Bible says.

xHWA said...

Hi David Acre. Thanks for reading.

I would be interested in seeing this article by Wayne Carver. Mainly because we have several articles on this subject which use all of the Gospels, and Acts, and Jonah, and history, to display that Wednesday isn't even a possible contender -- mainly because it relies on a method of counting which no one in the Mediterranean at that time used. We've addressed the "high day is a type of Sabbath" claim. From the language used, that claim is contraindicated. We address that in this very blog post, no less.

To make this as short and to the point as possible, when you say "three days and three nights" you are approaching that from a modern vantage point and not that of the Bible. And that's about as simple as I can phrase it.
For more on this particular facet, see our article Three Days and Three Nights

David Acre said...

The article/booklet is out of print, but I obtained permission a couple of years ago from the CJF to copy it, so I took all the pages and scanned them in and placed them into a PDF. I have that file available if you'd like a copy. A couple of points: the Jews counting of days and the way we count them are not equivalent. I don’t know how they generally counted days in the Mediterranean at that time, but I do understand how the Jews counted them. Also, after reading Wayne's article for the first time, I had to sit down with 4 Bibles open and walk through each of the Gospels to find the synchronization points, and they are there just as he says. It was amazing to see how tightly God merged each of the Gospel messages so as to demonstrate when His Son entered the tomb, and when He was raised. Of course this is a debatable and not a salvation issue. But I have seen so much confusion regarding this subject that it became apparent to me that this information needs to be placed into a study so God’s people can learn for themselves. I’ve taught inductive Bible study class since 1989, and this is an amazing study. Most don’t want to put in the time and effort to understand God’s word for themselves, but 2Tim 2:15 says we are to study (make a diligent effort) to know His Word. If you’d like a copy of the file, what would be the best way to do so without publishing my email? My gmail account is not my typical email account.

xHWA said...


Thanks for the offer! Please email the file to
Much appreciated.

I've never read his article, of course, but I'm guessing he came away explaining that "three days and three nights" means a literal 72 hours? If so, then he didn't explain how the Jews of Jesus' day counted time (or even going all the way back to Moses' day). He would be correct in how the Jews now count time, but not the Jews back then. Back then they counted inclusively. Which is how all the ancient Mediterranean peoples counted.

xHWA said...

I'm nowhere near done reading the pamphlet. Turns out the improper interpretation of "three days and three nights" as a literal 72 hours (which is not how the ancient Jews counted at all) isn't Wayne Carver's only mistake.

He makes a second mistake in that he says the Passover Seder was early on the 14th of Nissan as the 13th became the 14th, rather than late on the 14th of Nissan as the 14th became the 15th. I specifically deal with this error in the post Easter History part I.

Any search into how the Jews observe Passover will show that this is simply not how it's done. Just for example, here is an example website ( with a Hebrew calendar for 2017. Notice how Passover begins not on April 9, as Wayne Carver asserts, but on April 10. I have never happened across anything that says the Jews changed their observance by a day. Even the calendar changes of the 350's AD would have no affect on this date. It would almost certainly mean that Nissan 14 of today is not Nissan 14 of 2000 years ago, but it would not change in any way that the Passover Seder is on the evening of Nissan 14, as the 14th becomes the 15th.

Given just these two errors, I would advise against using Wayne Carver's booklet as a reference.

xHWA said...

Wayne Carver's booklet relies mainly on his account of the timeline of events during the crucifixion week. ABD has done our own study of the timeline of evens. You can find it here: Wednesday Crucifixion? Not likely.

David Acre said...

I think you'll see that he explains based on the manners and customs of the time, not in any way based on our calendar (other calendars which call the chronology into question), that observing the events shown in the Gospels is all that is needed to make the determination of the days possible. The feasts and their timing is crucial to understanding of the last week of Christ's life. When I had first read this, the only presupposition I had was that the crucifixion and resurrection were a Friday-Sunday thing. As I read Wayne's information, I realized he did an excellent job with the chronology, and supporting what he said. He also demonstrated that other events had to occur during the week such as the lamb being set apart on Nisan 10, which also helped establish timing. The fact he came up with the actual days of the week is icing on the cake. And Christ having the passover meal with his disciples on the evening (start) of Nisan 14 was perfectly in keeping with the Jewish Passover. The "lamb" could be slain "between the evenings" and still be valid, which permitted his to share the covenant meal with his disciples on the evening, and become the actual intended sacrifice for our sins during the daytime of Nisan 14. Seeing the entire chronology as a whole only solidifies the understanding of what the Jews understood - that Jonah's prophecy was to be taken literlly, and it follows that Christ was using this example, not as a kind of- sort of - maybe it is true type of example, but as a literal example, to be understood by those (the Pharisees) who chose to walk by sight and not by faith. I appreciated the fact that Wayne does an excellent job of establishing context and doing proper observation of the text before he interprets. I read this booklet several times, and compared scripture with scripture before fully understanding what he said. I know I can't get days and 3 nights out of any mental gyration of Friday to Sunday. And if its not 3 days and 3 nights like Jesus said, then He is a liar, but we know God cannot lie. I did look over the Armstong paper, and I did notice he left out several details that Wayne makes clear.

xHWA said...

David Acre,

"observing the events shown in the Gospels is all that is needed to make the determination of the days possible."

But that sentence is precisely what we at ABD protest. It's not the only thing needed. This is illustrated by your later comment:

"And if its not 3 days and 3 nights like Jesus said, then He is a liar"

Did you get that conclusion from the Gospels? No. Because the Gospels don't say what you just did nor do they tell us to interpret the phrase "three days and three nights" literally as you have.

The Bible has other examples of this phrase and when we investigate them we can tell that it's not to be taken literally as Carver did and as you have. If you will but read and compare our article Three Days and Three Nights, and give us the opportunity to explain, then you will understand this.

It is merely and idiom. An ancient idiom. It was never meant to be taken literally. If you go against the proper interpretation and take it literally, as it ought not be, then you cause several other issues that you cannot solve. For example, Wednesday to Saturday is not three days, when counted inclusively as the Hebrews did. It's four days. So how can you reconcile four days in the tomb with the 19 other verses that describe the time of Jesus's death? You cannot. In Luke 24: 18-32, when Cleopas said Sunday (not Saturday) was the third day since Jesus was buried, and Jesus agreed (verse 46), Carver's insistence on literal interpretation makes nonsense of that entire conversation.

The path with the most explanatory power is interpreting "three days and three nights" as the Hebrew idiom it is, and counting the time inclusively as the Hebrews did -- both of which are exactly as the Bible demonstrate, neither of which rely on us just choosing a literal interpretation because we think it sounds good.

That is why I pointed this out to you earlier.

David Acre said...

It doesn't just sound good. If you read what Wayne is saying he points out that the chronology indicated by the text is the only one that satisfies the three "seemingly" incompatible situations. I've noticed that it has become rather popular to call something an idiom or a metaphor, rather than take the text literally. When no other possible explanation exists, then I would agree to say perhaps its an idiom, or perhaps a metaphor is being used. But in this case, close and careful study of the text does support what Jesus said. And the timing of the week had to be such that it worked out the way it did. When I count dusk on Wednesday to dusk on Saturday I get 72 hours (3 days and nights), not 4 days.

xHWA said...

I understand that you would be hesitant to take that phrase as being idiomatic. I certainly was for most of my life. However, it's inescapable that it is a known and ancient idiom. It's not for us in our time and our language to decide for them in their time and their language what was and was not idiomatic.

And when you count, you aren't counting as the Hebrews counted. We can't simply use our own modern method of counting and apply that anachronistically to the ancient Hebrews. They counted inclusively. All of the Mediterranean peoples that I'm aware of counted this way. If any part of a day is touched, then that day is included in the count. The Hebrew word for this notion is "Onah".

So, when you force the death to be on a Wednesday, you have to bend both the language used and the counting method used. And this will inevitably open up other issues - as we can see from the statement Cleopas made.

Basically, I take it from your comments that you have no intention of ever investigating our post "Three Days and Three Nights"?

Which makes me wonder if your questions are simply advertisements for a booklet that As Bereans Did has already answered in depth.

MikeF said...

Thank you for this excellent blog. I as well have been attempting to understand the days in which Jesus died, was buried, and was resurrected. I can see all of the arguments for all opinions on this, but there is one thing that I still cannot reconcile. It seems as though each time you think you have accounted for all of the timeline variables, there is always one thing still out of place.

Assuming your timeline of a Friday (the 14th) crucifixion, and burial in time for the high Sabbath on Saturday (the 15th), and a resurrection sometime before sunrise on Sunday (the 16th) is correct, how can we reconcile the fact that according to Exodus 12:3, the Passover lamb would be selected on the 10th of Nisan. As the lamb was brought toward the Eastern Gate, the pilgrims would line the street leading to the gate, waving palm branches and saying "Baruch ha shem adonai", which means "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord", a prophetic Messianic phrase quoted from Psalm 118:26-27. I'm sure you agree that Jesus fulfilled this symbolism at the Triumphal Entry, which then has to have taken place on a 10th of Nisan. The problem is there is no way to reconcile the Triumphal Entry being on both a Sunday (as traditional Christianity places Palm Sunday, the celebration of this event) and also on a 10th of Nisan. Here is why...

-John 12:1 states that Jesus came to Bethany "6 days before the passover".
-John 12:12 then states that "on the next day" the Triumphal Entry occurred.

According to your proposed timeline, with Friday the 14th being the Passover (aka the day of preparation where the lamb is killed), counting backwards 6 days and then advancing one (as the verses above require), that would then place the Triumphal Entry on Sunday the 9th of Nisan. If we could demonstrate how this could fit on both a Sunday and a 10th of Nisan, then I would be sufficiently convinced of a Friday the 14th crucifixion.

However, at this time, the only way I can see that you get a Sunday, 10th of Nisan Triumphal Entry is with a Thursday the 14th crucifixion, and you then have to assume John 12:1's count back from "passover" means starting from the day the passover meal was consumed (rather than the prep day), which was as the the Feast of Unleavened bread, starting on the evening of the 15th as the 14th ended at sundown.

The only other alternative I can see is if my concept of the Hebrew customs regarding the 10th of Nisan and the passover lamb selection are incorrect. I really am hoping and praying and studying to get some answers here, because from what I known of Scripture, it all should fit perfectly. And right now, there seems to be elements of the typology that do not fit. I am sure there is an answer, but right now I cannot see it!

xHWA said...


Thanks for reading and thanks for commenting.

I am going to propose something that might not be exactly to your liking, but it seems reasonable to me at this time. I don't think Jesus had to fulfill Exodus 12: 3.

Now, don't think that I'm saying that I don't see how you could come to the conclusion that He would. I admit, it makes some sense. But I also have to admit that I don't see it as necessary. I'll give you a couple reasons why not.

1) Even though He was our Passover Lamb He wasn't selected by the people He was selected by God. He was rejected by the people. If he was selected by the Father before the foundation of the world, then there wasn't any pressing need for Him to be selected again here. There was a Triumphal Entry. That may have fulfilled the symbolism of being selected by the people. But we know it fulfills certain specific prophecies, like Zechariah 9: 9. So, was it the selection? Maybe.

2) The timeline is what it is. It doesn't make any difference what day of the week the 14th fell on for these purposes. The 10th is the 10th and the 14th is the 14th and what happened on each day happened on each day. So, no matter what day of the week, we see the same events in the same order. What happened on the 10th is either Triumphal Entry or the cursing of the fig tree and the cleansing of the temple, depending on if you count the Galilean way or the Jerusalem way (they had two different ways of counting days). If Triumphal entery, then perhaps that is the selection. But, if the cursing of the fig tree, then either a) no fulfillment of Exodus 12: 3 is necessary or b) something else happened that we're overlooking or simply was not recorded. For instance, the selecting of the lambs is never mentioned at all.

The issue in the order of events so far as the day of the week goes is how can the events early in the week fall on a weekly Sabbath? Caleb discusses this in his article Wednesday Crucifixion? Not Likely.

That being said, I want to discuss a possible theory.

We have two overlapping timelines. Galilean reckoning of time was sunrise to sunrise, and a half day earlier than the Jerusalem reckoning. Jerusalem reckoning was sunset to sunset and a half day later than the Galilean. Let's assume a Friday crucifixion for the sake of argument. According to the Galilean timeline, Friday was the 15th, the Last Supper could have been a Seder, and the Triumphal Entry was on the 10th. There is no way to get the Triumphal Entry to fall on the 10th according to the Jerusalem counting. But it seems to explain how Jesus had a Seder before the Pharisees did and still be crucified when the lambs were being slaughtered. Later Christians had a debate about when to end their fast prior to observing the death and resurrection. This controversy is called the Quartodecimen Controversy (quartodecimen means 14th). The important part to take from this is that Jesus did die on the 14th -- according to the Jerusalem count because these Christians were arguing over the difficulty of timing their observances according to when the Jews put away leavening from their homes.

What I'm proposing in the previous paragraph is not definite but theoretical. In theory, it seems possible that Jesus too advantage of the Galilean reckoning (we assume He grew up with this) in order to make things fit into the timeline of events on a week where He had to fulfill quite a few prophecies and symbolisms. For example, He was a lamb at a Passover Seder being eaten (bread and wine) by the people there while He was still alive, and the next day was sacrificed as a Passover lamb according to the Jerusalem reckoning.

Theory! But not my theory. It's been debated for years. I personally like it. But I'm not going to die on this hill. Theories and prophetic interpretations are two things I like to talk about but I highly recommend never making doctrine of them.

Martha said...

I could be missing something, but so far I haven't seen a biblical reason that the Triumphal Entry necessarily took place on Nisan 10.

Some things that Jesus did had a direct correlation to the Passover lamb. Some didn't.

Nisan 10 may have been the day that the Passover lamb was sequestered, so to speak, but it doesn't appear that Jesus stayed within the city of Jerusalem after the Triumphal Entry, indicating there may not be a symbolic correlation. Matthew 21:17 tells us Jesus left the city shortly after the Triumphal Entry. Likewise, Mark 11:11 tells us Jesus left Jerusalem late the evening of the Triumphal Entry to go back to Bethany. We see Him in Bethany again a day or two later, in Mark 14. He did not make His entrance into the city and stay there until His sacrifice.

Many things in Jesus' life had a direct correlation to the Passover lamb - His spotlessness and His innocent blood being shed. Others do not. For example, lambs were not crucified when they were sacrificed at Passover. In this instance, the symbolism is found in John 3:14 - the snake being lifted up on a pole as Moses did in Numbers 21 to stop the plague. Also, a one-year-old Passover lamb was chosen. But Jesus was not sacrificed as a one-year-old; nor did He die after the first year of His ministry. And of course, as you mentioned, the lamb was chosen on Nisan 10. But Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8).

I guess, like xHWA mentioned, I don't see the Triumphal Entry fulfilling Exodus 12:3, but rather prophecies like Zechariah 9:9. But I'm open to biblical evidence otherwise, for sure!

MikeF said...

Hey thank you both for your responses. Interesting points of view and theories, though it is just not as tight as I'd like it to be. Theres a part of me that understands the precision of God and the purpose for the institution of these rituals and dates, and even the deliberate engineering of the Scriptures by the Holy Spirit to include these dates for us. I tend to believe that there is some missing key that we are just not seeing. Maybe we will only find out after the resurrection!

I'll also throw this out--

Even more significantly than fulfilling Zechariah 9:9, the Triumphal Entry fulfilled the 70 Week prophecy of Daniel 9, in which the exact timeline countdown to expect the Messiah was given to Daniel by Gabriel in verse 25. So we are given the exact time to the day that the Jews should have expected the Messiah. Well it turns out that when you go through all of the calculations to convert the calendars, leap years, etc into our modern reckoning of time, you find that the exact time prophecies by Gabriel to Daniel ended precisely on the Triumphal Entry, April 6th, A.D. 32, which was the only time Jesus allowed Himself to be hailed as a "King" (a necessary stipulation in the prophecy). This dating is taken from Sir Robert Anderson's classic book "The Coming Prince", in which we indebted to him for pulling a lot of this information together. If his book is correct (and I haven't read it myself yet, but I did order it today!) then a Friday crucifixion is impossible in 32 A.D. The implications here are huge, because this is a precise mathematical prophecy we have recorded in Daniel. And Jesus later announces that the Jews' collective failure to recognize this date and did not recognize the "time of their visitation" in spite of the prophecy was the reason for the destruction of Jerusalem that he predicted would take place 38 yrs later in 70 A.D., which obviously happened. He then stated that corporate blindness on the Jewish people would take place as a result until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. So we need to recognize the importance of nailing down the precision of this Daniel prophecy. Jesus doesn't refer to Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, or any other Messianic passage to demonstrate his Messiahship, but He instead holds the Jews accountable specifically based on this prophecy from Daniel. So in other words, this is really the most important prophetic verification of his identity as the Messiah. The implications of this are that if Sir Robert Anderson's calculations are correct (and they are quite highly esteemed), then the crucifixion could not have been on a Friday. Just throwing that out there! I hope to receive the book soon and go over it more closely...

xHWA said...


"I tend to believe that there is some missing key that we are just not seeing. Maybe we will only find out after the resurrection!"

That's quite possible. I suspect there are more than just a few things we'll be straightened out on when we see Jesus next.

I don't know about Sir Robert Anderson. If he was so successful, many others would be on board. More evidence would be discovered that falls in line. But that's not what we see. There are many, many interpretations. Which is right, if any? I will be the first to admit I don't know. I trust some day it will be revealed, as you said, but as for now I cannot know.

But what I do know is that there is nothing specific to tie the 70 weeks prophecy to the triumphal entry. To tie those two things together is just speculation, just like saying Jesus must be selected on the 10th is only speculation. To take Jeremiah's years and Daniel's weeks of years and make that suddenly into a week of days just doesn't sound proper to me. A second thing I know that it doesn't solve the issue of the triumphal entry being on the 10th. It doesn't matter what year or what day of the week. The triumphal entry cannot be on the 10th according to Jerusalem reckoning, only the Galilean.

I don't say that to put you down or to put myself up. That's not my point. I'm just explaining why I'm not being more specific as you hoped for. I think that without the 10th being explained we already have enough definite understanding in Jesus' death to satisfy us that He is the prophesied Messiah, the Son of God, and that's really the entire point of the whole Bible as a Christian understands things.

MikeF said...

Just wanted to address one thing as far as why this Messianic prophecy necessitates a fulfillment on and only on the Triumphal Entry. The prophecy states that from the going forth of the commandment to rebuilt Jerusalem UNTO THE MESSIAH THE PRINCE shall be 69 weeks ("mechiach nagid", or Messiah the King). So the key here is when did Jesus ever permit Himself to be proclaimed as a king? Many times in the NT we read about the enthusiasm of the crowd. For example in John 6:15, they tried to make Him a king, but He slipped away. He wouldn't let it happen.

Then one day, Jesus does something weird. In fact, He not only permits it, He deliberately arranges it! He apparently intentionally set things up to fulfill Zechariah 9:9 and the 69 weeks prophecy. Jesus deliberately told His disciples to go to a certain place to get a donkey, etc. They bring it to Him, and he rode it into Jerusalem to fulfill the Scripture, "thy KING cometh unto thee..." from Zech 9:9. So this is the first and only incident where Jesus ever allowed Himself to be proclaimed as a King! In fact, Zechariah 9:9 actually requires this, as we just read. So in other words, if you believe that Jesus fulfilled Zechariah 9:9 at the Triumphal Entry, then you in effect, HAVE to believe that at that same time He was presenting Himself as the "Meschiach Nagid", the Messiah the King from the Daniel 70 weeks prophecy. Furthermore....

I'm sure you are somewhat familiar with the following verse from Psalm 118:24 = "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." But we need to understand what "day" this was really referring to. While we can certainly rejoice for each and every day we are alive, this verse celebrating a SPECIFIC day in history. Let's examine which!

In Luke 19, we have the Triumphal Entry with Jesus riding the donkey into the city. People are throwing down the palm branches, and when they run out of branches, they throw down their coats. They are singing a part of the same chapter we just mentioned above: Psalm 118!

According to Luke 19:38, the people lining the streets during the Triumphal Entry are quoting the Psalm 118 Messianic prophecy. Here is Luke's record = "Saying, Blessed be the KING that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest." Again we see "KING"!

As Gentiles we may to this and this its neat, but often we miss the Hebraic point. And whenever we run the risk of missing the point, the Pharisees come to our rescue: "And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said to him, Master, rebuke thy disciples." -Luke 19:39

The people were simply singing a song! Why their angst against this? The Pharisees were very concerned because by the crowd singing that Psalm under those circumstances, they were actually declaring Jesus to be the Messiah. The Pharisees naturally assumed that this Rabbi didn't want His disciples blaspheming by calling Him the Messiah! Notice his "tactful" reply!

"And He answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." -Luke 19:40

So it is very clear that Jesus on this specific day, not only allowed, but actually deliberately arranged to be presented as the Messiah the King! Zechariah 9 and Psalm 118 specifically require this, and we see it fulfilled here and only here at the Triumphal Entry. So this is precisely the connection between the Daniel 69 weeks prophecy and the Triumphal Entry, and it is why the 69 weeks MUST be fulfilled on this event.

MikeF said...

Many of the same people who were crying "Hosanna" and singing the Messianic psalm from Psalm 118 on the Triumphal Entry would a few days later be part of the mob crying "crucify Him!" Jesus, as he rode the donkey, knew this and that is why He exclaimed the following...

"And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in THIS THY DAY, the things why belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes." -Luke 19:41-42

He wept over the city. This is the Triumphal Entry, the big day, but He wept over it. Notice in the above passage His phrase "this thy day". What day? That day that Daniel predicted! He expected them to understand that He was the Messiah because He was arriving right on schedule - to the day, that Gabriel had predicted to Daniel so many years before. He essentially was saying, "you had your chance, and you blew it", and wept. Because of that, He then said "the things which belong unto thy peace" are hidden from them. He announced blindness upon the Jewish people specifically because they did not RECOGNIZE THIS DAY! He furthermore, states that for this reason, Jerusalem would soon be destroyed "because thou KNEWEST NOT THE TIME of thy visitation". -Luke 19:43-44. This happened in 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem fulfilling Jesus' words. This is chilling to think about - Jesus held them accountable to know this prophecy and expect it to the very day! They should have known it, but they failed to recognize the situation and many were destroyed.

This should demonstrate also to us to take this prophecy seriously and all of its implications!

The question then becomes to verify the date. A lot has already been said on this, but in my next post I will provide a tutorial on the Biblical evidence supporting a 32 A.D. crucifixion.

MikeF said...


To find out when Jesus began His ministry we need only look up two things. First we find out which year of the reign of Tiberius saw John the Baptist begin his ministry. That was the year Jesus was baptized and the year He began His ministry. From the passage below from Luke chapter 3 we see it was the 15th year of Tiberius’s reign when John the Baptist began his ministry, preaching and baptising in the Jordan valley. Here is our scripture.
LUKE 3:1-3
1. Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,
2. while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
3. And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, (Luke 3:1-3)

The second thing we need to nail down is what year Tiberius began his reign. This is a well known, well established, and well documented year and season In fact we even know the actual Julian date. A quick check of Google or the encyclopedia tells us that the first year of Tiberius Caesar began on the 19th of August in 14 A.D. Here below, are just two of many available references giving the date for the commencement of Tiberius's reign.
It was August 19, 14 A.D.
Reference #1 and Reference #2.

Since the first year of Tiberius was after August 19, 14 A.D. then the fifteenth year of Tiberius was 14 years later and began on August 19 of 14 + 14 = 28 A.D.. So Jesus began His ministry in 28 A.D. in the fall of the year. Since we know from the Gospel accounts that Jesus saw four Passovers during his ministry of 3.5 years then the first Passover was in the following spring of 29 A.D.. The second was 30 A.D., the third was 31 A.D., and the fourth and final Passover, the passover of His crucifixion, was 32 A.D.

This fits perfectly with the calculation of the first 69 weeks of the 70 weeks prophecy as laid out by Sir Robert Anderson. Jesus as 'Messiah the Prince' came into Jerusalem on the 10th of Nisan in the spring of 32 A.D.

xHWA said...


Thanks for all of that info. Very interesting. You're doing your homework, and that's most often a good thing.

I can't help but notice that it's still all just speculation. Interesting, yes! Perhaps even correct. But speculative none the less.

The main problem is solving what counting system Luke was using. There are more than just two options. Apparently, no one has been able to definitively nail that one down so far. Not even from the earliest years (just ask Dionysius Exiguus). Can we get real close to knowing? Sure. Can we absolutely know with supreme confidence? No. And that's why it's speculation, hence my advice to everyone to never make doctrine out of prophecy speculation.

MikeF said...

I agree with being hesitant to call speculative things doctrine. That being said, I am completely confident in the Daniel 9:25 prophecy in terms of it being the most airtight apologetic for Jesus being the Messiah. That I am sure about from what I currently understand. And the idea of the day of the Triumphal Entry being "that day" spoken of in prophecy throughout the OT is completely airtight as well. What I would like to see become more airtight is understanding the days of the week in relation to the Passion week. That I definitely agree there may be some hidden element we are not recognizing. Then again, if the analysis of 32 A.D. (numbering from Tiberius' reign) is accurate, (and I don't see how it could not be), then maybe we need to consider a Wednesday crucifixion as being at least a viable possibility. That said, I'd definitely like to take a closer look at your article on why Wed is not possible. Interesting stuff!

xHWA said...

My advice would be to be your own harshest critic and try and prove Sir Robert Anderson wrong. In two days of looking into his work, I've found several credible reasons why his calculations are off. You're always going to have some joker saying your wrong. But I mean to take very seriously the credible criticism. A good question to ask is why do so many competent Biblical scholars completely disagree with him?

Feel free to peruse our material. We believe that Wednesday is eliminated due to the language of the Bible itself. We have two other articles in addition the one I mentioned earlier that explain our position on this:
Two Sabbaths of Matthew 28
Three Days and Three Nights

God's blessings to you, and much success in your studies!

MikeF said...

"A good question to ask is why do so many competent Biblical scholars completely disagree with him?"
Clearly, because they are trying to support a traditional Friday crucifixion. And regardless, many agree that his end date was correct, but just dispute how he came up with it. Or they claim his end date in correct DESPITE the fact that he MAY have left out several days. In other words, I have seen people say March 16th 445 B.C. was the date of the Artaxerxes decree rather than March 14th. His calculations based on the lunar cycle was apparently supported by the Royal Observatory, which he had ready access to as the head of Scotland Yard. I would be hesitant to discount his conclusions based on the biased agendas of those who will criticize anyone just to support a traditional viewpoint. That said, I am open to anything at this point, just want to understand the truth.
A more important task though may be trying to disprove the dating mechanism I posted for 32 A.D., which is based on secular accepted starting point for Tiberius and then Biblical text taking it from there to come up with 32.

Ive looked through your other two linked articles and fundamentally I agree with most of your points. I am not one who rigidly holds to a "3 day, 3 night = 72 hr" belief. I don't believe it is a good idea to ignore more solid dating and facts in order to cling to a statement that could very well be idiomatic or a figure of speech. I also agree that the two Sabbaths linguistic in Matthew 28 likely does not mean a feast day followed by a weekly Sabbath. I agree that it most likely refers to at the end of the week. I do believe a Wed or Thurs crucifixion may be possible, but not on the basis of the linguistics of sabbaton.

I am simply hesitant to dogmatically believe something that doesn't fit the model completely (for instance the 10th of Nisan issue, which is CLEARLY part of the Messianic model).

MikeF said...

After much study, I have VERY CONFIDENTLY concluded that Jesus was crucified Fri. April 3, 33 A.D. This would mean he rode into Jerusalem on the Triumphal Entry that Monday, March 30, 33 A.D. That is exactly to the day 69 weeks of years from March 5, 444 B.C. when Hoehner and other scholars (improving upon the calculations of Anderson) determined the decree from Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem to have taken place. This is completely airtight and makes absolute sense in every capacity. The common "3 day 3 night" and "multiple sabbaths" arguments are the only opposition at this point, and they fall apart very easily as they require many assumptions and are faulty to begin with.

xHWA said...


You might be interested in our article "Wayne Carver's Crucifixion Chronology - part II: Holy Week Timeline"

This article is a review of the claims of one Mr. Wayne Carver. We do not agree with Wayne Carver's conclusions. But in the process of writing this article we went into a little depth on the Holy Week timeline. A Monday Triumphal Entry is a possibility, in our estimation. We believe the Monday Triumphal Entry hinges on whether or not there really is a Silent Wednesday. (No, we didn't attempt to answer that.)