Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wednesday Crucifixion? Not Likely.

For many years I believed the Armstrongist Church of God teaching that the crucifixion was on Wednesday.   I no longer believe that for many reasons, one of which is that the math just doesn’t add up.   Now, I find that ironic considering that those of us who believe in a Friday crucifixion are often questioned regarding our ability to count to three.   So let’s take a look at why the Wednesday crucifixion folks have a bit of a math challenge of their own.

We’ll start by looking at some anchors in time.  That’s what I call the things that we all agree on as fact.  For example, we all agree that Jesus arrived in Bethany six days before Passover because John definitively provides that reference.

(Jn. 12:1)  Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead.

The village of Bethany was just two miles from Jerusalem, on the road from Jericho at the eastern base of the Mount of Olives.   Jesus would apparently lodge there with his friends, Mary, Martha, and Lazarus for the next six nights

The first night of his arrival Jesus had dinner with his friends and Mary famously anointed Jesus’ feet with oil and wiped them with her hair (Jn 12:2-8).   Many people crowded Bethany to see Jesus and also to see Lazarus who was raised from the dead. (Jn 12:9).

Another anchor in time that we know for sure is that it was the very next day after arriving in Bethany that Jesus triumphantly entered Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey. 

(Jn 12:12-15) The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:

      ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
      The King of Israel!”

Matthew, Luke and John do not give a time reference immediately after this event, however Mark does.   Mark writes that after Jesus entered Jerusalem to the cheers of the crowd, he went to the temple and observed the goings on.  As it became late that same day, Jesus went back to Bethany with the twelve disciples.

(Mk 11:11)   And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.

The very next morning Jesus and the disciples left Bethany to return to Jerusalem.  Jesus encountered the fig tree that had no fruit.  

(Mk 11:12-14)  Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry.  And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.”  And His disciples heard it.

This account has great meaning for us, however it is not the point of this article so we will move to the next event.  

The same day as the fig tree incident, Jesus returned to the temple where he overturned the tables of the moneychangers and cleansed the temple.  We see this continuing the story in Mark’s gospel.

(Mk 11:15)   So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sold doves.

When evening came Jesus left the city.  By all accounts it is believed that he returned to Bethany with the twelve.

(Mk 11:18-19)  And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching.  When evening had come, He went out of the city.

So let’s review our time anchors so far.   These are all facts that are not in dispute and are consistent in any reputable commentary.

Day 1 – Six days before Passover (Jn 12:1)

Jesus arrives in Bethany, has dinner with friends, Mary anoints his feet.

Day 2

Morning:  Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem riding donkey’s colt.
Evening:  Jesus and the twelve disciples return to Bethany.

Day 3

Morning: Jesus returns to Jerusalem with the twelve, encounters fruitless fig tree.
Day:  Temple cleansed.
Evening:  Jesus leaves the city.

Mark’s gospel continues to give us a day-to-day chronology specifying that the very next morning after the temple cleansing Jesus would return to Jerusalem again traveling right past the very same fig tree that he had cursed the previous morning.

(Mk 11:20)  Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.

This is when Jesus encountered the Jewish leaders in the temple who questioned him and tried to trap him in his words.    This entire dialogue spanning from Mark 11:27 through Mark 12:44 takes place on the same day while Jesus is in Jerusalem.  The text in Mark is clear that this is one day.   It is possible that this spanned more than one day, but there is nothing in the text to indicate such. 

Now we come to Mark chapter 13.  Jesus and the disciples left the temple to return to Bethany at the foot of the Mount of Olives.  Here Jesus gave what has come to be known as the Olivet Discourse.   Those of us who have a history with the Armstrongist Churches of God are very familiar with these verses.

(Mk 13:1-4)   Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!”  And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”  Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately,
“Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”

Mark’s next reference to time requires careful reading. 

(Mk 14:1-2)  After two days it was the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take Him by trickery and put Him to death.  But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar of the people.”

The time reference here of “after two days” is specifically concerning the leader’s desire to arrest Jesus prior to the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread in order to avoid uproar.   The very next text in Mark concerns the Bethany anointing that we have already seen occurred six days before Passover according to John 12:1.    The reason Mark chooses to digress to this earlier event is because if forms the backdrop to why Judas Iscariot decided to betray Jesus which Mark describes in verses 10-11 that follow.  Matthew 26:14-17 presents the same story as Mark and gives clarity to the timing of the betrayal.   Judas Iscariot’s betrayal then took place the day after the Olivet Discourse.   After this we come to the next day, the day in which the Passover lamb is sacrificed and Jesus has his disciples prepare the meal

Now we encounter some differences in the wording for the Passover and Feast of Unleavened bread.  But these differences are not relevant to our point.

Let’s recap the remainder of our time anchors:

Day 4

Morning: Jesus and disciples return from Bethany, encounter the withered fig tree.
Afternoon:  Jesus questioned by Jewish leaders.
Evening:  The Olivet Discourse.

Day 5

Day:  Judas deals with the leaders, betrays Jesus.

Day 6  - Passover

Morning:  Peter and John prepare the Passover meal.
Evening:  Passover and the upper room discourse.

At first glance you might think the six days from Passover would not include Passover, but true to form the Jews do count inclusively.  So here we are with all six days accounted for using the appropriate inclusive counting of time used by the Jews and also the gospel passages that definitively specify time references during the week of the crucifixion.  

But we still haven’t given any reason to cast doubt that the crucifixion could have been on Wednesday.   But what else do we know for certain, without a doubt?

We know that the Jews kept the weekly Sabbath!

And we also know that moneychangers would not have been set up in the temple on the Sabbath day.  That certainly would not be permitted.  We also know that Jesus overturned the moneychangers on the day after he rode into Jerusalem on a colt.

If the crucifixion were on Wednesday, then based on our six days above Jesus would have had to overturn the moneychangers on the Sabbath.  But that is impossible, because there would not have been moneychangers present on the Sabbath.

Wednesday – Crucifixion
Tuesday – Prepare Last Supper
Monday – Judas’ betrayal
Sunday – Withered fig tree, questioning, Olivet discourse
Sabbath – Cursed fig tree, temple cleansed

So now…we have a math challenge on our hands, don’t we?

In addition, if the crucifixion were on a Thursday, then based on our six days above Jesus would have had to make the Triumphal Entry on the Sabbath:

Thursday – Crucifixion
Wednesday – Prepare Last Supper
Tuesday – Judas’ betrayal
Monday – Withered fig tree, questioning, Olivet discourse
Sunday – Cursed fig tree, temple cleansed
Sabbath – Triumphal Entry

(Dt 5:12-14)  ‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.

Now, I'm told there may be evidence that a donkey or colt could have in fact carried a man on the Sabbath without breaking the law.  Fine.  But consider the Mishnah prohibitions on gathering, untying, travel, and carrying objects, even small objects, in the open domain.   Consider that one of the Dead Sea scrolls, dating back to the first century, prohibited even saving another man's life on the Sabbath.  This would certainly explain why the Jewish leaders at the time condemned Jesus as a Sabbath breaker for healing a man and causing him to carry his mat on the Sabbath.   Without a doubt their Sabbath observance at the time was very strict.

With these things in mind, does it make good sense to you and seem likely that Jesus could have traveled two miles from Bethany, rode a colt to Jerusalem to the shouts of the people as they took up and threw branches and palms on the road?   All without any mention of the Sabbath by the same Jewish leaders who told Jesus to quiet his followers and stopped him along the way, who were looking for a reason to condemn him, and who had earlier attacked Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath and for causing the man to carry his mat?

Now please go to your Bibles and look up the events that took place on what we have called Day 4.  The questioning of Jesus.  Tax collectors at work.  The treasury was open, people were putting money in the money box, even wealthy people depositing large sums of money.   Is it likely that these things occurred on the weekly Sabbath?   No.  All of these days have travel and activities that call into question the likelihood that they could have taken place on the Sabbath without mention.

So my Wednesday crucifixion friends, you have a math challenge to account for those six days before Passover clearly noted in the gospel texts without requiring events to fall on the Sabbath day that were either impossible or unlikely to have occurred on the Sabbath.  

There may be a few variations on how to reconcile the days, but all the various formulas end in question marks.

When looking at the dates and timing given in the gospel accounts, it is more likely that our Day 1 took place as sunset began the weekly Sabbath six days before Passover.

Friday – Crucifixion
Thursday – Prepare Last Supper
Wednesday – Judas’ betrayal
Tuesday – Withered fig tree, questioning, Olivet discourse
Monday – Cursed fig tree, temple cleansed
Sunday – Triumphal Entry
Sabbath - Jesus rested at his friend's home

But let’s face it.  The Bible does not clearly specify the exact day of the week for these events.  The texts that we quoted are very convincing and our dating is consistent with many very reputable commentaries.  And certainly, at the very least, these texts should demonstrate that there is good reasoning behind the traditional Christian belief of a Friday crucifixion.  

Now if you are still convinced of a Wednesday crucifixion, well that’s okay.  I have a very good friend in the church I attend that is also convinced of a Wednesday crucifixion.   When we discussed it he smiled at me and said, “as long as we believe that Jesus was crucified, died and was buried, and was raised from the dead on the third day, and we put our faith in him, that is what really matters”. 

Well, I wholeheartedly agree!  

But a Wednesday crucifixion…I still say not likely.

************ 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 ************


xHWA said...

Very good post, Caleb. Excellent points I hadn't considered before. Easy to understand. Puts another nail in the Wednesday crucifixion theory coffin.
Well done!

Some people decide Wednesday has to be right, then they make decisions from there. But if Wednesday is a wrong conclusion, so are the decisions based on it.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate the deconstruction of the crucifiction and resurrection in this way. As a former member of a COG, being able to see this in contrast to a preconceived notion really helpes me see past their doctrine. A most helpful and well written article, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Monday – Last Supper / Judas’ betrayal
Tuesday - trial and scourging of Jesus
Wednesday – Crucifixion on Passover
April 3, 30 A.D.

Caleb said...

Thank you for your comment and proposed timeline.

You have the last supper and the betrayal occurring the same night. By "betrayal" I was referring to when Judas met with the authorities to made a deal, this took place the day before the last supper, see Mark 14:10 and compare to other gospel references. It is also very clear that the night he was arrested was when he was scourged through early morning and crucified that next day.

Another problem, your timeline would put the questioning by the authorities on the Sabbath. But according to the verses I referenced, the treasury was open that day which is not likely on the Sabbath day.

I find your year interesting, 30AD. You must not be a follower of Herbert Armstrong. He calculated the year 31 AD for the crucifixion. See the booklet "the crucifixion was not on Friday" or the Good News Volume XV, number 4-5, 1966 for the two ways that he arrived at that year. One method was using calendars and 19 year time cycles. The other was based on the decree of Cyrus.

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travis mccabe said...

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Caleb said...

Thank you Travis, this article presents some interesting info. However I agree with you, I would not recommend the links.

I take the position, as I did in my article, that the crucifixion was on Friday but allow for Wednesday noting it as "highly unlikely". It is not a matter that would impact my fellowship with other believers. Unfortunately the Armstrong churches will not permit any point of view but their own.

Whichever day one believes is the correct day is not nearly as important as believing in what happened on that day and putting our faith in Jesus Christ, not our own ability to figure everything out or to earn merit by the law.

travis mccabe said...

Yeah it is unlikely dueo also to The fact with a Wednesday view, you have The resurrection on saturday afternoon and The tomb not discovery empty until next day before it Light.

We would have to ask why did it take so Long to find the tomb empty? and

The Most Important Part is when Jesus started to appear to people, it all started The very same day He rose On, The two on the road that said, this is The third day sense everything taken place and The appear to mary before sunlight Morning for sunday, when she discovery it empty etc...

They would need to put this On before t he ending of The sabbath to make there view fit.

Jason said...

Hmm ive been looking at the Wednesday crucifixion & Saturday resurrection in recent weeks. Umm im not sure how i came about it, but like so many other xcog members i decided to take a greater look into it & have come to the conclusion that the 3 days & 3 nights Christ refers to as a sign of His Messiahship is basically an idiom for 3 days & looking at other parallel statements of His regarding when Hed arise from the dead they all mean Hed rise on the 3rd day & such was to be counted inclusively ie day 1: crucifixion, day 2: sabbath, day 3: wavesheaf sunday resurrection. A good example of this Jewish idiom is Esther 4:16-5:1 & even Christ makes clear how we should count to His resurrection in Luke 13:32. So im thinking that it was a good friday after all! Nevertheless as you said it doesnt matter what day He died & rose again the important thing is that He died & rose again on the 3rd day thus as He said: "Because I live you shall live too!" (Jn 14:19)

Anonymous said...

I have heard it said that the Thursday crucifixion in not plausible for several reasons.
1. There were no Thursdays on the 14th of Nisan.
2. That would mean that the Triumphal entry was on a sabbath.
3. The word prosabbattan or something like that only means the saturday sabbath.

On the first point, every view that holds that it could not have been a thursday seems to reference that the 14th of Nisan would have been a Monday. However, when I look at the calendar conversions, I see this warning. From what I can tell, it could be off by as much as 10 days.

Warning! Results for year 1752 C.E. and earlier may be inaccurate.
Hebcal does not take into account a correction of ten days that was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII known as the Gregorian Reformation.[1]

As to Jesus entering Jerusalem on a sabbath. There is a couple resolutions I see for that. One is that Jesus did many things on the Sabbath. I found a nice list from another site (someone who believed that Jesus sinned - which I do not).

1. Pulling an ox out of a ditch on the Sabbath was permitted.
2. Circumcision is permitted on the Sabbath.
3. It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.
4. The precedent of David and his men eating the shewbread.
5. Priests work on the Sabbath and are blameless.
6. The ministry of the Messiah is greater than the ministry of the Temple.
7. God desires mercy from His people and not sacrifice.
8. The son of man is Lord of the Sabbath.
9. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
10. It is lawful to lead animals to water on the Sabbath.
11. The Father works on the Sabbath.

The second is that if the Jews were to be in Jerusalem for the Sunday, they would have likely travelled on Friday. This could explain in part why Jesus received the welcome that he did.

Finally, is it possible that Jesus entered in the evening (i really don't know)? Mark 11:11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

If Jesus entered Jerusalem in the evening, then the sabbath issue would not apply.

For the third point, I really don't know. I do know that Jesus claims to be in the grave for 3 days and 3 nights (which is the opposite of the creation order), after three days, for three days, etc. I don't think a good case can be made for the 72 hour time frame. We know that the passover preceded the feast of the unleavened bread which is a special sabbath. We also know that the priests wanted to not defile themselves so that they could eat the feast (John 18:28). Even if sabbath was not plural in Matthew 28, it could still be after a singular reference (after saturday or after friday/saturday is still sunday).

xHWA said...

Hello Anon. Welcome! Than you for the observations.

I'll work in reverse order. And I'll keep my responses short.

We address the plural Sabbath of Matthew 28 in our article "Two Sabbaths of Matthew 28." In a nutshell, the plural is idiomatic and refers to a week.

If Jesus entered in the evening, it would be the next day.

The Jews could have arrived early. Certainly. This was the second biggest gathering of the year in Jerusalem.

Your resolutions are all good observations. Those are definite insights into what we believe Jesus would have thought of the matter. But the problem remains that Jesus was in violation of the oral law -and- the crowd was in violation of the oral law.

If the crowd saw Jesus in violation of the law they would not have responded in adoration. We see that over and over in the Gospels. But what's more, they would not have responded by violating the law themselves. Riding the donkey was against the law but so was gathering and waving the greenery.

Your observations are spot on so far as Jesus' attitude would have been, but the people didn't share Jesus' attitude.

We agree that determining specific dates by working backwards from today is terribly problematic. We never rely on it. (We might point dates out from time to time, but we try to make sure people understand how problematic it is.) Notice that Caleb's timeline doesn't rely on dating. It relies on order of events.

Glad you stopped by! Keep up the good observations. God bless you and keep you.

Anonymous said...

Day 1 – Six days before Passover (Jn 12:1)

Jesus arrives in Bethany, has dinner with friends, Mary anoints his feet.

Day 2

Morning: Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem riding donkey’s colt.
Evening: Jesus and the twelve disciples return to Bethany.

What precludes the 6 days being literal days and not jewish days? If you consider that Jesus most likely arrived in Bethany on Friday evening prior to 6PM for the dinner? With a thursday crucifixion, Jesus would have likely arrived before the Sabboth and rested prior to the big week. If He arrived on Saturday, He would have likely arrived in the evening after the sabboth, but then that would also not be 6 days exactly (because it would be as you say the day after). I believe that the likelihood of the exact 72 hours is as wrong as the literal 6 days. It isn't likely intended to be exact in either case. We don't have a reference as to the time that Jesus entered Jerusalem other than from Mark which seems to indicate that he entered, looked around, and left. Is it possible that Jesus entered Jerusalem anytime after 6PM? Does the Donkey being tied up perhaps indicate that it is resting?

xHWA said...

I'm not certain what you mean by literal vs Jewish days. Do you refer to how Jews count inclusively? As in, even though Jesus arrived in the evening the Jews would still count that as a full day?

If this is what you mean, I would take your question to be, "What forces these 6 days to be 6 separate literal days and not 5 or so days counted inclusively?"

And that's a great question. You're thinking deeply, and we TOTALLY encourage that.

What we can't do is count back from today and find those dates conclusively. We both agree that's not to be trusted.

What we can't do is say "such and such week day is 100% certain" because if it were then articles like this one wouldn't need to be written.

But what we can do is see that there are described in the Gospels a certain order of events. For example, what Caleb calls "Day 1" is a series of events that happened on a certain day, and "Day 2" is a different series of events that happened on another day. These will give us the clues we need to ask the important questions.

One thing that works against 5 or so days counted inclusively is that the Gospels sometimes separate these events with the phrase "the next day."
When this phrase is used it means the next day. That's independent of inclusive reckoning or when the day starts and ends. Inclusive reckoning would only do something like count Day 1 as a full day, even though Day 1 in reality starts late. But this phrase would preclude a merging of Day 1 and Day 2.

What Caleb fleshes out is that Jesus arrives in Bethany in the evening before sunset and had a meal with his friends. Inclusive reckoning or no, this should be counted as it's own day. Jesus would not have had the next series of events (the Triumphal Entry) late in the same evening after dark. Even if he did, Day 2 would still be Day 2. So we have Day 1 and Day 2. We can definitely know that much. We can also identify other events that strongly suggest a Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, and Day 6.

So must they be six literal 72 hour periods? No. I wouldn't say that. I think we can preclude that right away since Day 1 starts late. But there are six separate series of events that seriously look like they happened on six separate days.

The important question then becomes -- knowing what we know about the series of events on Day 2, can Day 2 be the weekly Sabbath?

The answer to that question leads us to believe Day 2 is best explained as not being on the weekly Sabbath.

Which, taken forward, puts Day 6 on Thursday and the crucifixion on Friday.

Now, we add in the other evidence such as the language in Matthew 28, or the words of Cleopas on Sunday, or the witness of the earliest extra-Biblical sources, and we can easily support a Friday crucifixion.

xHWA said...

We had a comment from a reader named Karl D Rhoads, that has failed to show up here. I might have deleted it on accident. My apologies. I have to post it myself, so here it is:

"Okay, so using the Jewish practice of sundown to sundown being a day -- and taking Caleb's summation that the Crucifixtion took place on Friday and Jesus was laid in the tomb prior to sunset on Friday -- then how does one account for a Sunday resurrection, if, as Jesus said, "As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth."

I have heard people suggest (as over on that; "The phrase “three days and three nights” need not refer to a literal 72-hour period. Rather, according to the Hebrew reckoning of time, the days could refer to three days in part or in whole."

So why is it okay to fiddle/fudge the 3 days and nights, but not the 6 days? That doesn't make sense to me at all. We can't have it both ways. To do so removes all credibility to the Wednesday/Friday argument."

xHWA said...

Hello Karl. Welcome to ABD. God's blessings to you. Thanks for posting a question. We are happy to help this make more sense to you.

Here is your question:
"So why is it okay to fiddle/fudge the 3 days and nights, but not the 6 days?"

It's a valid question. Let's explore.

I wish to start with a clarification. Caleb did not "fiddle/fudge" with those times.

I agree with your summary of what you read on, that "the days could refer to three days in part or in whole." The Hebrews did have this view of time. This is a natural outcome of counting inclusively, they called it the "onah" and it is very much Biblical.

We have written at length about this in a few of our articles. I would recommend to you "Three Days and Three Nights" or "Easter FAQ." These will explain the onah to you in a detailed way that I just can't duplicate here.

I trust that once you review those articles and perhaps do some of your own research to verify then you will know that the traditional treatment of the Friday-Sunday timeline is not fiddling or fudging. It is a completely accurate and proper treatment of time from a Hebrew reckoning of time. It is Biblically supportable and is supported by the earliest non-Biblical records. The fiddling or fudging then becomes treating time an a way that the Hebrews would not have understood. For example, reckoning that time as we do now. Or forcing five days (Wednesday-Sunday) into three days.

Now regarding Caleb's treatment of the six days.

Three days had to be involved, in part or in whole. If any more or any less were touched, then it would fall apart. Day 1 is Friday, Day 2 is Saturday, Day 3 is Sunday. The same is true about the six days in Caleb's article. Six days had to be involved, in part or in whole. Any more or any less and Caleb's timeline falls apart. The onah does not allow us to choose just any number of days, nor is it some grossly arbitrary method of reckoning that the Hebrews just guessed at and therefore we have license to guess at. How they viewed time is foreign to our modern minds, but it is quite regular and knowable if we understand how they thought. But once we know the onah we cannot just ignore it or fiddle/fudge with it. We must stick to its form. To ignore it becomes the fiddle/fudge.

Caleb outlines the six days that were touched. There are indeed six days, no more and no less. His timeline does not contradict the Gospel narrative in any controversial way. His timeline agrees with the onah reckoning of the Hebrews. So we can confidently claim that Caleb did not fiddle/fudge any time at all.

I truly hope this helps you. You seem to be looking for answers, but just need more info. Please do read those articles I referenced above. And I pray the Lord lead you to the truth you seek.

xHWA said...

Welcome back, Karl.

Yes, at some point or the other, most everyone proof-texts. We at ABD strive to recognize it and correct ourselves. I have to disagree with you that the articles are riddled with it. But if they are, perhaps you could give me an example or two of where we proof-texted in your opinion.

Perhaps your definition of proof-texting and mine are very different. Mine is simply enough taking a small selection of verses out of context and then building doctrine around it. That is not at all what our articles do.

If you truly have read the Easter FAQ, then you already have our answer on why the observers of Easter are not necessarily pagan, nor are the observers of Passover necessarily godly. I notice that you had "EASTER" all in caps like that. I guess that is to mean that you build your conclusion on the word "Easter"? Please refer to the Easter FAQ and maybe even our Easter History articles for our response. Feel free to check our sources. We encourage it.

To be completely forthcoming with you, we used to agree with you in your view about Easter, until we had to accept that the weight of evidence was against us and we were holding on by nothing other than what we wanted to be true.

You said, "a day --as practiced by the religious Jews of the time-- was from sundown to sundown." That is not necessarily true.

The sundown to sundown reckoning of days was observed in Jerusalem. A sunrise to sunrise reckoning of days was observed in Galilee. All Jews. All religious. All at that same time. Different start and end of days. Perhaps the Galileans were not as Biblically strict as they should have been, seeing as the Old Testament starts and ends days at sundown. But it is not true that all Jews at the time followed this.

But regardless of which time keeping, Jesus died well before sundown, was put in the tomb before sundown, and was raised at or immediately after sunrise on the third day. In your comment you start your count at sundown Friday. This start is a few hours late. Let's chart it out.

Friday before sundown is day 1. Sundown Friday to sundown Saturday is day 2. Sundown Saturday to sunrise Sunday is day 3.

Friday before sunrise is day 1. Sunrise Saturday to sunrise Sunday is day 2. Sunrise on Sunday begins day 3 and this is when Jesus was resurrected.

So, no, there are not only two days touched. There are three in either scenario.

If we take the words of Cleopas on Sunday and work backwards, there is no way Wednesday could be possible. Thursday is also very difficult because of both this and Caleb's timeline in this article we are on now. All of the evidence must be weighed, and the traditional scenario comes out ahead in our estimation.

You mentioned falsehoods from antiquity. I can't disagree with you. There must be falsehoods from antiquity. For example let's just take the Gnostics. But if you are going to claim a falsehood from antiquity, best to demonstrate from antiquity some truth. Otherwise it's just you dismissing evidence for no other reason than it doesn't agree with what you want to be true. The Gnostics were pointed out as being false by others of the time. All of the earliest extra-Biblical records agree with the Friday-Sunday scenario. No one argued against it that I can find, except for those who claim Jesus never died at all ...which would be another obvious ancient deception, and was again dealt with by others at the time. All of this we can point out. We aren't just dismissing evidence because we have a strong opinion.

Perhaps your point is to dismiss all extra-Biblical records (not saying this is what you are doing, but we've known some who make this claim). We cannot go down that road with you. Historical records exist, and thus they are evidence. To dismiss them takes more evidence to prove why they should be dismissed. No such evidence can be given because it is all pre-dismissed.

God bless!

xHWA said...


Welcome back! Gods blessings to you.

I'm not sure that you read the Three Days and Three Nights post or not. The phrase "three days and three nights" is not to be taken literally. The We go over this in detail and we give examples from the Bible.

I invite you to present your case here on why it should be taken literally.

Thanks for responding kindly. Much appreciated.

Kevin McMillen said...

xHWA I notice how you keep going back to the "supposed" words of Cleopas. I say supposed because "today is the third day since" is a mistranslation as can easily be shown.

If you look at the Greek, the words "is" and "since" are mistranslated. The Greek word for is being transliterated "ago" means to lead, and the Greek word for since transliterated "apo" means away from.

Only in Luke 24:21 are these two Greek words translated as such, "is" and "since".

The actual Greek says something like "the third day leads today away from". Confusing in English but not difficult to deduce what they were saying.

In fact there is at least one bible translation that gets this verse fairly accurate. The Modern Language Bible which translates Luke 24:21 as:

"Moreover, three days have already passed since all those events occurred."

Depending on inaccurate translations, whether they are in the majority or not, is worse than proof texting!

On Sunday, the third day had already passed, why else would the two disciples on the road to Emmaus have been sad? Jesus said he'd be resurrected on the third day and it was now the fourth day. There is no other reason for their sadness.

Kevin McMillen

xHWA said...

Hi Kevin. Thanks for commenting.

A minor point, but this isn't my article. It's Caleb's.

Regarding your comment on Luke 24: 21 in the Greek I would say that you are correct that the literal Greek word-for-word translation is not "today is the third day" however the idea-for-idea meaning of the literal is still "today is the third day." So it makes no substantive difference. Translating "three days have passed" does not prove a fourth day. It still falls under the onah / inclusive counting system of the Mediterranean cultures.

xHWA said...

Continuing on my last comment....

Just to get a better idea on what you [Kevin] have claimed, I went to the Greek Interlinnear and looked up Luke 24: 21. This is how the sentence plays out literally translated:
"But indeed also with all these things [the] third this day brings away from which these things came to pass."

Here we see some very interesting things.

- The word translated "brings" is agei. That word is present indicative active in this sentence. It therefore cannot be past tense "three days have already passed." There is nothing here to indicate that the three days have passed.

- There is a critical phrase here, which is "third this day." The word "third" points to "this day" and not to any previous day. To point "third" at a previous day to make this day the fourth day (or any day besides the third day) is improper.

Now when you take these two things together - that this day is the third day and the verb is present tense, the Modern Language Bible (aka New Berkeley Version in Modern English) translation becomes highly irregular in this spot.

Considering I don't have one of these translations in front of me, and I can't find one online, I am going to take a wild guess that you copied the majority of your comment here from some other source. My advice - perhaps you might do well to avoid that source.