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 Herbert Armstrong 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?

If you are unfamiliar with Armstrongism, don't worry. This article will still be accessible to you, even though it is geared mainly towards Armstrongists. Allow me to briefly explain.
Herbert W Armstrong (aka HWA) was the founder of the Worldwide Church of God - a Sabbatarian sect heavy on end-time prophecy. Since it was founded by Armstrong, we refer to the movement in short as Armstrongism. Armsrtongism is a split from the Church of God - Seventh Day, which itself is an early split from the Seventh Day Adventists. (We have articles on this for anyone who doubts the truth of this history.) Herbert Armstrong taught a Wednesday crucifixion, and it is this view being addressed in this article.

What Armstrong did was to make a huge deal about the Greek word “sabbaton” in Matthew 28: 1. 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 Armstrong 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. I would presume anyone who has tried to look up Good Friday on the internet knows this depiction. But there are some issues here.

The first issue is, understanding how time is counted by the modern Western mind versus the ancient Hebrew mind. Some people treat the Bible as if it was originally written in English. We get far deeper into this in our article Three Days and Three Nights.
The second issue is, the number of Sabbaths and proper translations of words. The Gospel accounts other than Matthew 28: 1 only mention one Sabbath. But in Matthew 28: 1, it is clear that the word "Sabbath" in the Greek is plural. So what does this mean?

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!

Armstrong started his booklet by advising us to "test all things." But have we tested his explanation? Let's do that together right now.


All of this rests on one word. The English 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 seven days of the week, as well as just the seventh day, depending on context. It's a Jewish idiom. The plural of sabbaton can refer to the entire week by only mentioning the Sabbaths on either end of the week. This is the same thing as calling your car your “wheels.” Wheels are only part of a car, but they represent the whole thing. It's a synecdoche.
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.
If you've read my articles, you know I quote Wikipedia when I want to make a point about information being readily available.

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 in one week (Thursday and Saturday), but because it represents two weekly Sabbaths at either end of the week (Saturday to Saturday). In fact, every time you see the word 'week' in the New Testament, it is translated from sabbaton.

Still, I would feel much better if I had some contextual support for this. Do we have any insight into the context? Yes! Let's look at some context.

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 when Jesus was first known to have been resurrected. Timing is key! All of these verses are telling us about the same time for the same reason. The weekly Sabbath came and went, and now, early on Sunday morning we focus. That is the time context. Matthew is focusing on this time. This timing is key! Because the entire point is to explain when they first knew Jesus Christ had risen: Sunday morning.

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 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" and most certainly not "several hours before" - because Jesus died several hours before sunset and in Armstrong's scenario He would have been resurrected at the same hour.
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. They all speak the same thing: Saturday was over and it was dawning on Sunday. We don’t need to invent elaborate multiple sabbath and counting to Pentecost scenarios if we stick to the proper and well known translation.

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


Let's look at the beginning of Matthew 28: 1 in Greek:
"Opse de sabbaton te epiphoskouse eis mian sabbaton..."
Notice anything odd in there? That's right! "Sabbaton" appears twice! And they are both plural. What this means is astoundingly bad for Armstrong. 

Look at the very same phrase once again in 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 [singular], Sabbaths [plural], and week.

Let us now transliterate this into Armstrong's thinking in order to illustrate something:
"Now after the two Sabbaths, as the first of the weekS began..."
That is how Armstrong sees things. Notice he didn’t just redefine the first instance, he redefined them both.

The first sabbaton -

No one disputes that Matthew 28: 1 is referring to Sunday. The dispute is whether Matthew is telling us it was Sunday morning by telling us the Sabbaths of the previous week were over, or by telling us the week was over. Herbert Armstrong said the first Sabbaton is plural because it refers to two Sabbaths in the week: a weekly Sabbath and an annual holy day. But is that right?

Look at the definition of sabbaton. Do you see that possibility in there? Did you see "Sabbath [singular], Sabbaths [plural], a week, and a combination of whatever type of Sabbath we like"? You do not because it's not there. That is not a proper definition of sabbaton. 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'. Holy days have their own word: hoerte.

In Colossians 2: 16, Paul separates "Sabbath day" (sabbaton) from "holyday" (heorte) in the same sentence. They are separate. In the New Testament, no annual high day is ever referred to as sabbaton. Not one!

I propose "week" is the best translation for the first sabbaton. I do not prefer Sabbath (singular), but if that's what some Bible versions choose, I'm not going to complain.

The second sabbaton -

Herbert Armstrong knew and accepted that both sabbaton are plural. The first one he redefines as two different kinds of Sabbaths, even though that is not at all an acceptable translation. But he couldn't explain the second one. If he was going to demand the first one shouldn't be translated "week" then he can't leave the second one translated as "week". So, he pluralized it. Did you catch that? He turned sabbaton not into "week" singular but "weeks" plural. He pluralized the plural. A double-plural! The first sabbaton becomes "Sabbaths" (meaning one annual Holy Day and one weekly Sabbath), the second sabbaton becomes "weeks" (plural).

Neither of those are valid translations. How can he do this? The answer is simple and straightforward - he cannot.

We cannot just assign a meaning to a word however we wish. If we cannot take Strong's Concordance and rearrange the acceptable meanings of a word in an improper way because we ignore the context, then how much worse is it to just start making up new definitions of words out of thin air? 
He redefined the words, and our ignorance of the Greek takes care of the rest.

With no other viable options, and knowing the time is referring to Sunday morning, I propose that, just like the first sabbaton, the second sabbaton is plural because it is an idiom indicating a week. That is the best, and I would argue the only, translation for the second sabbaton.

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 was hosted on the Toledo COG7 website but now is only accessible by the Wayback Machine. Be prepared for your head to hurt, however. And don’t say we didn’t warn you ahead of time. If you do read it, you will be rewarded with a detailed explanation of why Sabbaton is translated "week", as well as definitive proof of why "first of the Sabbaths" is absolutely not an acceptable translation here.


Let's look at another reason why the second sabbaton cannot refer to the count to Pentecost, besides just being a dead wrong way to translate the word. It has to do with timing.

According to Leviticus 23: 9-16, Deuteronomy 16: 9, and Armstrong’s own understanding, the50-day count to Pentecost is initiated by the Wave Sheaf offering. The day of the Wave Sheaf is called the Day of Firstfruits. The count to Pentecost starts here.

The law orders the Wave Sheaf to happen on the morning after the Sabbath. The modern Jews and the ancient Pharisees interpret this Sabbath as referring to the First Day of Unleavened Bread. In the reckoning of the Pharisees, there were three days in a row with special meaning: Passover, the First Day of Unleavened Bread, and the Day of Firstfruits.
On the other hand, in the reckoning of the Sadducees, the Sabbath referred to is the weekly Sabbath. This way, the Wave Sheaf was always on a Sunday during the Days of Unleavened Bread.
We go over this in depth in our article "Firstfruits and the Beauty of God's Timing".

The 50-day count to Pentecost begins on Firstfruits, but when Firstfruits happens depends on which Sabbath you think the law refers to. 
Take that fact and plug it into a Wednesday crucifixion scenario.

If you're a Pharisee or a modern Jew, Friday in crucifixion week is the Day of Firstfruits, because Friday is the day following the First Day of Unleavened Bread. That makes Saturday the first Sabbath in the count to Pentecost. That was the day the first sabbaton was supposedly referring to, so the second cannot be referring to it.
That changes Herbert Armstrong's version of Matthew 28: 1 to this:
"Now after the Sabbaths, and after the first day of the weeks ..."
Oh! That is terrible news for Mr. Armstrong.
Quick! Side with the Sadducees! (And he does.)

If we go with the Sadducees, Sunday is now the Day of Firstfruits. Sunday starts the 50-day count to Pentecost. This means the first Sabbath in the count to Pentecost is a week away. Matthew 28: 1 is talking about that very morning, the day that was dawning, not some other day a week off. Pointing to a day a week off is not an option. Siding with the Sadducees will not help him.
That changes Herbert Armstrong's version of Matthew 28: 1 to this:
"Now after the Sabbaths, and a week before the first Sabbath in the count to Pentecost ..."
That is also terrible news for Mr. Armstrong.
Notice this is what he actually believed. What he believed has been this wrong the entire time.

Let's review:
  • Any Sabbath prior to Sunday can't be the first in the count. They would be covered in the first sabbaton.
  • Sunday cannot be the first Sabbath in the count, because Sunday isn't the Sabbath.
  • The Sabbath a week away would have to be the first Sabbath in the count, but it's a week off, therefore it couldn't have been dawning as Matthew 28: 1 said.
  • And we cannot punt to translating Sabbaton as weekS because we cannot pluralize an already plural form. 
Nor is there any tradition, at that time or any other, of using the word sabbaton in reference to the count to Pentecost. The count to Pentecost is not an option here. 

What this proves is that sabbaton cannot be translated Herbert Armstrong desired. None of that fits in grammatically or chronologically. Therefore it cannot mean what Herbert Armstrong tries to force it to mean. 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. Languages have rules. You can't just make things up as you go along. We have to translate as the author would have understood, or we aren't actually translating at all. 

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 phrase "preparation day" here is from the Greek word 'paraskeue', and the entire phrase "the day before the Sabbath" is from one Greek word: 'prosabbaton'. What can we know about these words?

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 place in the week. Sunday is the first day of the week, Monday is the second day, and so forth. What we were told in Armstrongism is that only the seventh day had a proper name: Sabbath. But that's not entirely true. In time, the sixth day also received a name. Friday was called "prosabbaton". Prosabbaton means the day before sabbaton. Remember folks, sabbaton never refers to an annual holy day. In other words, prosabbaton is the proper name for Friday.

Friday was also loosely called "paraskeue." Paraskeue means preparation day. As in, preparation for the Sabbath.

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 
"Caesar Augustus, pontifex maximus, holding the tribunician power, proclaims... that they [Jews] shall not give sureties for appearance in court on the Sabbath or on the day of preparation [paraskeue] before it after the ninth hour."
-Augustus Caesar, Edict on Jewish Rights, on 
You could also see the deuterocanonical book of Judith, chapter 8 verse 6:
"And she fasted all the days of her widowhood, except for the eves of the sabbaths [prosabbaton] and the sabbaths [sabbaton], and the eves of the new moons and the new moons, and the feasts and solemn days of the house of Israel.
We can see plainly that prosabbaton is Friday. This is also a fine example where we can see the weekly Sabbath again distinct from annual holy days. Sabbaths and 'feasts and solemn days' are not lumped together.

Now, you might be able to take paraskeue and put it in front of an annual high day, but that is not so easily done with prosabbaton. Sabbaton never refers to a holy day in the entire New Testament. Therefore, prosabbaton cannot be the day before a holy day. Mark was writing to Greek speakers. The Greek Jews of that time referred to Friday as prosabbaton. It would be just as improper to put prosabbaton on a Wednesday as to call Wednesday by the name Friday.

When Mark uses both phrases, paraskeue and prosabbaton, Mark is going out of his way to ensure we understand this is Friday. He only needed to use one. He used both. This was without a doubt the sixth day, Friday. Anything else would be terribly confusing to his audience.

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.


Herbert Armstrong's "final clinching proof" of his timeline was when the ladies prepared spices. Let's address that.

Mark 16: 1 says after the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less, and Salome the mother of James and John purchased spices to anoint Jesus with.
Luke 23: 56 says that before the Sabbath, the women from Galilee (presumably these same women mentioned above, possibly plus Martha) prepared spices.

Herbert Armstrong puts Mark before Luke chronologically and sees this as a clinching proof for a Wednesday crucifixion. In this scenario, on Thursday there is an annual holy day. Friday would then be both before and after a sabbath. The women purchased spices on Friday and prepared spices. 

This definitely fits the description! There is no logical or grammatical reason why this explanation cannot work.
The issue I have with this is the eagerness of the women to go see the tomb. One wonders why the women did not visit the tomb on Friday since they had an entire free day. They could have prepared their spices on Thursday after sunset when the holy day was concluded, then they would have had all day Friday to visit the tomb. Clearly, they did not. Why not? They were so eager to go that they went on Sunday before it was even light, but they didn't go on Friday?

Let's look at how the spices play out in a traditional Friday or even a Thursday crucifixion.

In this scenario, Luke goes before Mark chronologically. The women prepared spices on Friday, maybe even along with Nicodemus (Luke 23: 56). Then they rest on the weekly Sabbath (a Thursday crucifixion would mean a back-to-back annual holy day then weekly Sabbath day). Then on Saturday evening after the Sabbath was complete, the women purchased more spices as in Mark 16: 1.

This also definitely fits the description! There is no logical or grammatical reason why this explanation cannot work.
And in this scenario, there is a very good reason for why the women were so anxious to get to the tomb on Sunday morning - this was their first opportunity.

The Bible never tells us what quantity of spices the women had. There is nothing that stops the women from preparing spices before the Sabbath, maybe with Nicodemus, and again after the weekly Sabbath.  There is every reason to believe shops in Jerusalem opened immediately after sundown on the Sabbath and holy days, especially during what is one of the busiest times of the year. Since we know Nicodemus arrived in short order with around one hundred pounds of spices, myrrh, and aloes (JON. 19: 39), we can conclude that these things were readily available. If Martha was there on Friday, she also had a large quantity of ointment on hand (JON. 12: 3), giving them a head start.

Did Armstrong really deliver the crushing blow of arguments? Does that clinch the victory and demonstrably prove there were two Sabbaths? No. He offers an explanation that works in his timeline and so does the other side. His timeline is problematic in that it introduces a 24-hour period where the women could have visited the tomb but opted not to, thus making their anxious trip before sunrise on Sunday very difficult to explain.


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" 
-Epistle of Barnabas, 15: 9 (70-130 A.D.)
"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.)
"But when it drew on (towards day) on the Friday, they accused him much [Mk 15.3] before Pilate; and they could show nothing that was true, but gave false witness against Him. And they asked Him of Pilate to be put to death; and they crucified Him on the same Friday."
-Unknown author, Didascalia Apostolorum, chapter XXI (200-250 AD)

Some people say Ignatius should be discounted because it is contested. (What ancient document isn't contested? Remember how I mentioned some people contest Matthew 28: 1?) I've actually thought about taking it out. But I realized it's contested for its age. Some of the content looks too Catholic, and that makes people uncomfortable, so they say it has to have been written later. Older or younger, we have no recorded dissenters from what is written therein. All of the oldest historical record agrees as one.

This is a blow to anyone who says the "evil" Catholic Church started the Friday tradition, or the "evil" Constantine the Great started the Friday tradition. Well, Justin Martyr predates Constantine by a century and a half. Barnabas even more so! This evidence means one of two things: either the Catholics are innocent of the charges, or the Catholic Church is a lot older than people would like to admit.

There are many people who will be quite upset about these quotes for one reason or the other. "They aren't in the Bible." (I've already discussed what's in the Bible.) "They are from Catholics." (They are first and second century.) "The evidence of the correct timing was lost." (Prove it!) These are just baseless, dogmatic demands. At what point do we say enough is enough? I am presenting the oldest evidence anyone on earth has. All of it agrees with what I've presented from the Bible itself. None of it agrees with Armstrong. And that is real reason why it gets attacked.


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 Herbert Armsrtong 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."

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. No other support in the Bible. No other support in ancient history.

However if I am right, and it does mean “week” singular, then there should be some kind of evidence somewhere. And there is!
So far I have shown:
  • Sabbaton cannot be translated as a combination of a holy day and a weekly Sabbath.
  • There are not two Sabbaths (one weekly and one annual) hidden here.
  • The seven sabbath count to Pentecost is not an option.
  • Armstrong's timing is all wrong because the context is all wrong.
  • The word prosabbaton specifically refers to Friday.
  • The three other Gospels agree against Armstrong.
  • Every instance of "week" in the New Testament is sabbaton.
  • All professional Greek translators agree against Armstrong.
  • Respected commentaries align against Armstrong.
  • All early accounts outside the Bible witness against Armstrong.
The two Sabbaths hidden in Matthew 28 claim turns out to be circular reasoning.
How do you know there were two Sabbaths that week? Because Matthew 28 says so! How do you know Matthew 28 says so? Because there were two Sabbaths that week!

But if you cannot mistranslate sabbaton as two different kinds of Sabbath, the claim disintegrates.

If we pay incredibly close attention to proper definitions, established uses of the Greek, the oldest historical evidence, the context, and the related Bible evidence, we come to the conclusion that Mark puts the crucifixion on a prosabbaton/Friday, then Matthew's first use of sabbaton means “[at the end of the] week,” or “Saturday.”, and the second appearance of sabbaton in Matthew 28 means, "[at the beginning of the] week," or "Sunday".

The first sabbaton means "week" and the second means "week" and both are meant to tell us it was Sunday morning.
All of this complexity for something so simple!


People say, "look in your Bible and you'll see a Wednesday crucifixion because there are two Sabbaths in Matthew 28," but I did look in my Bible, to the best of my ability, and I see the opposite. In all of the years we have been looking earnestly, and in all the many articles on ABD we have written, we cannot find two sabbaths in Matthew 28.
Did it come from the Bible, then? It couldn't have. So, where did it come from? The next thing people say is, "Your eyes are blinded." Are they? I've done my level best to pull the truth from the Bible. I've shown you my work. If you can refute it, then by all means please do. When I ask people to show me from the Bible I get claims which articles on ABD have refuted conclusively. Or, I get ad hominem attacks, straw men, and empty statements like, "It's just logical." Is it just logical? If you have to change the words of the Bible, change the way language works, and change the historical record, is that truly logical? More importantly, is it truth? God's truth?

So, what do we have here? In a word: eisegesis! Herbert Armstrong 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 to agree with him.

But what does As Bereans did have? 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.

Therefore, we conclude, dear reader, that there are not a holy day and a weekly Sabbath day 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.

Unknown 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.

Anonymous 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.

Unknown 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

Unknown 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.

Unknown 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.

Unknown 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.

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!

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.

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.

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!

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.)

Anonymous said...

"The 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." John 19:31

I wonder why didn't he tapped into the above verse.

Ancient of Days follower said...

Mat 27:62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
Mat 27:63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
Mat 27:64 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.
Mat 27:65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
Mat 27:66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
I am a stone mason. Here is what I see. There has to be a day where this work could be accomplished. This is not an easy day's work, to secure a stone in front of a grave weighing several hundreds of lbs. But in verse 66 it says that they (the Chief Priests and Pharisee's) performed the sealing of the stone. This is hard work. Mixing mortar or shoveling dirt to secure this stone is hard labor. This is very obvious from the above passages. Now my question is when was there an opportunity to do this work? I know they could not perform this work on a Sabbath. so that leaves Saturday out. This completely eliminates a Friday crucifixion. If He was crucified on a Thursday, Then the only day they could do this work would have been the next day, Friday and that work must be done by 6pm that night. But it is obvious that the Body had to be taken down by 6pm because a Sabbath was beginning. John calls this a high Sabbath. There has to be a day to perform this work. When was that?

xHWA said...

AOD Follower,

Thanks for reading the blog and taking the time to comment.

I would agree with you that making a stone would preclude a Friday crucifixion, except that the tomb was already prepared. The Bible doesn't specifically say to whom the tomb belonged. It is believed to be the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea. Joseph was rich and was the one who begged Pilate to give Jesus' body over to Him (otherwise, Jesus' body would have been unceremoniously disposed of in the valley). Joseph must have had a plan in mind on where to put the body. The tomb must have belonged to him and/or his immediate family.

Part and parcel of the process of creating the tomb is crafting the door. It's a necessary part. Therefore, the door would have already been there. And the door closed that same night around sunset. They would not have laid any body in there if there was no door as without a door there isn't a ready tomb.

The guards didn't close the door, they just sealed it. Meaning with wax. It was already closed. The Roman guards were placed there early on, or else there was no point in sealing the tomb. It does not make reasonable sense that on Thursday there was no door at all, then all day Friday they crafted a door, then Friday night the guard was placed to protect from zealots stealing the body after 48 hours had already elapsed. Especially given that the Pharisees specifically knew that this all had to happen within 3 days.

This is why Matthew 27 says this:

(MAT. 27: 59-60) 59 When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.

So, the stone was already there.

God bless and peace to you.

Tjen said...

Therefore, there has to be a sequence of events for the Resurrection that is consistent with all of what Scripture says:
- The Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the Earth (Mat 12:40)
- The Tomb was found empty on the first day of the week (a Sunday morning) after Sabbath (Mat 28:1, Mar 16:2, John 20:1)
- Jesus was just resurrected when Mary saw him first "…. I have not yet ascended to my Father …" (John 20:17)
- Jesus was laid in the tomb on the day of His Crucifixion (Mat 27:57-61, Mar 15:42:47)
3 days and 3 nights in the tomb means that Jesus was crucified on a Thursday
But it also says that the next day (Friday) was a Sabbath day (Mar 15:42, Mat 27:62, Luc 23:54, John 19:42) and this must then be the special Sabbath at the first day of the Unleavened Bread) which follows Passover day, the 15th day of Nissan when the passover meal is held. See particularly John 19:31 was the Preparation Day .... for that Sabbath was A HIGH DAY (emphasis added)
The Last Supper was therefore held on Wednesday 14th day of Nissan at dusk, when the traditional Passover Lamb was slaughtered, i.e on the night before Passover and also this this is consistent with Scripture (John 13:1, 18:28).

To fix a date for Jesus death, we are therefore looking for 14th day of Nissan falling on a Wednesday (beginning at Sundown the day before). There are two possibilities given the passover dates in the period of years from 26-34 AD), these are: 28 AD or 31 AD (

Therefore Crucifixion was on either on
- Thursday 26 April 31 AD and Resurrection on Sunday 29 April 31 AD
- Thursday 28 April 28 AD and Resurrection on Sunday 1 May 28 AD.

This leaves the unresolved issue of purchasing and preparation of spices and oil for the anointing of the body. Mark 16:1 mentions that these were purchased when the Sabbath was past, while Luke says that the spices and oils were prepared before the Sabbath. (unless this was done in quick time between the two Sabbath days)....


xHWA said...

I've heavily edited this post for readability. Never was happy with the flow.