It wasn’t long before I began posting Messianic Biblical commentary on Facebook. The posts included things like keeping the Sabbath, and abstaining from unclean meat. It wasn’t long before my pastor’s wife began disciplining me. She would send very nice private messages naming me a Judaiser and dubbing my posts as “divisive.” Our associate pastor effectively made a surprise visit to our home voicing his concerns of my knew-found law-keeping. I assured him that I did not view the Sabbath as an “I can’t work on Saturday,” rather as an “I don’t have to work on Saturday.” It calmed him down for a while.
One night, during my personal Bible study time, I noticed something striking. I read Jesus words from Matthew 12:40, “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” I stopped and counted.
Friday night (night one). Saturday day (day one). Saturday night (night two). Sunday day (day two). Where was night and day three? Let’s count again.
Friday day (day one). Friday night (night one). Saturday day (day two). Saturday night (night two). Sunday day (day three). Where was night three?
I read Matthew 12:40 again, “For just as Jonah was THREE – DAYS – AND – THREE – NIGHTS in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be THREE – DAYS – AND – THREE – NIGHTS in the heart of the earth.”
I studied the Gospels inside and out. I pieced together each gospel in order to see the full story and all that happened those days. Jesus could not have been crucified on a Friday and rose Sunday morning. So when was he crucified?
First to understand the timeline, you must know a little about the various Sabbaths. God instituted a weekly Sabbath (Saturday) and yearly Sabbaths such as the First Day of Unleavened Bread and the Last Day of Unleavened Bread. Pentecost is also a yearly Sabbath. Just as in the weekly Sabbath, work (including buying a selling) was prohibited on a yearly Sabbath. This information will come in handy later.
John 19:31 reads, Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away.
Note that the next day was a high day, not a weekly Sabbath. This was not on Friday!
Luke 23:53-54 Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.
NAS reads, “And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb cut into the rock, where no one had ever lain. It was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.” Remember, no one could work, buy, or sell anything on the Sabbath.
Luke 23:55 The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid.
Mark 15:16 Then the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him.
Luke 23:56 (a) Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. And rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.
The previous two verses are very important. Mark’s account states that the Sabbath was past, then they bought spices. Luke’s account states that they rested after preparing the spices. That shows that there was a High Sabbath, a day in between and then a weekly Sabbath. There could not have been back to back Sabbaths, otherwise, they would not have been able to buy the spices. Since we know there could not have been back to back Sabbaths, that tells us that Jesus was not crucified on Thursday. But we’ll take a moment and double check our facts.
Thursday: Jesus is crucified, put in the tomb just before Sunset. (Night one in the grave begins).
Friday: A High Sabbath (Day One and Night 2 in the grave).
Saturday: Sabbath (Day Two and Night 3 in the grave).
When would the women have purchased the spices?
Now, let’s look at how a Wednesday crucifixion would look.
Wednesday: Jesus is crucified and put in the grave right before the High Sabbath began. (Night One)
Thursday: High Sabbath (Day 1 and Night 2)
Friday: This is the only day the women could have purchased the spices. (Day 2 and Night 3)
Saturday: Sabbath (Day 3).
If Saturday was Day 3 that means he rose right as Sunday was about to begin. Not actually on Sunday. He was put in the tomb as the Sabbath was about to begin and rose as the first day of the week was about to begin. 1 Corinthians 15:4 says, “That he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,” it says “ON THE THIRD DAY,” not after the third day.
JESUS ROSE ON THE SABBATH!
After coming to this realization, I was livid. I was so angry that the modern day Church had robbed me of a special Sabbath worship for the false idea of a Sunday resurrection.
I proceeded to make a timeline, a chart if you will and I took it to my pastor. “You are not a biblical scholar,” He politely informed me.
I zealously schooled him on the pagan origins of Easter as tears rolled down my face. I felt closer to my savior than I ever had before and my pastor all but mocked my findings. “Don’t you think after all these years, someone would have noticed this by now?” He voiced concern over my concerns. “Why is this such a big deal to you?
“I just feel that this is a part of my sanctification… learning how Jesus fulfilled the Feast Days and worshiping him in truth.”
“But YOU aren’t responsible for your own sanctification. You have to let the Holy Spirit do that.”
The next day, I received a message from his wife. “What is this you are talking about? Where did you get that chart? Usually charts like that come from cults.”
“I created the chart myself.”
“From the Bible.”
“Well I don’t see what you are talking about… how does this indicate a Wednesday crucifixion?”
I drove the short mile and a half to her house. The first thing she said to me was, “I can’t believe that people are dying and going to Hell and we are sitting here arguing over which day Jesus was crucified!”
I thought to myself, “Well, if I am keeping you from witnessing to someone, by all means, please go.
We continued and I stated, “Well, first you have to realize that there were two Sabbaths that week.”
“You are reading too much into this,” she said.
Thought bubble, “Did she just say I was “reading too much” into the BIBLE?!”
After an hour or so, I gave up and told her and her husband not to worry about it.
Some weeks or months later, a friend named Chris posted an article titled, “The Gospel is Not Morality.” I rolled my eyes and my fingers went to typing. “Jesus PREACHED MORALITY!”
My comment led to a discussion about grace verses righteousness. Those that clung to nothing but grace, only seemed to quote from the letters of Paul. I remember one of my comments very well, “Why do we use Paul as an excuse for not obeying Jesus?”
A few hours later, Chris’ wife sent me a messaging informing me that our associate pastor had asked Chris to remove his post. AND HE DID. I also received a message from my pastor’s wife telling me I should not be making such comments on Facebook. Rather, we should all be in her living room with our Bibles in our laps, discussing these issues where nonbelievers aren’t within earshot.
That’s when I knew I was in a cult.