Monday, October 27, 2014

Support for a Wednesday Crucifixion

Life of Christ 143

Note: This is the first of a two day discussion on the timing of the crucifixion. It is a little technical rather than being devotional, but I think many of you will find it at least informative and hopefully helpful.

         There is, to put it mildly, tremendous disagreement as to the exact timing of the events of the Passion Week, mostly relating to the day of the crucifixion. It is important to remember that the vital issue is a belief in the resurrection, not a belief in a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday crucifixion. In other words, the timing is not a fundamental of the faith.
          On the other hand, establishing the day of the crucifixion determines what schedule you use for the rest of the week, and does have some impact on an in-depth study of the events of that week. Because of that, I found myself forced to study it out and to take a position although I am frankly not exactly sure I am right. So please keep that in mind.

          1. Jesus entered the vicinity of Jerusalem six days before Passover
John 12.1 Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.
                    -if the Passover was 15 Nisan then that makes this 9 Nisan
                    -the day of preparation would be 14 Nisan
                    -if the crucifixion was on Friday that would put Jesus' arrival in Bethany on the previous Sunday
                    -if the crucifixion is on Wednesday then that puts His arrival in Bethany at the previous Friday

          2. Jesus was crucified on the day before Passover, what was commonly called the day of preparation
Mt 27:62  Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
Mark 15.42   And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,
Lu 23:54  And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.
John 19.14  And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!
Joh 19:31  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.
Joh 19:42  There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

          3. the Jewish day does not run, like ours, from midnight to midnight, but rather from twilight to twilight
Le 23:32  It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.

          4. Jesus was crucified on Wednesday

                    A. because Scripture specifically says three days and three nights
Mat 12.38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
39  But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
40  For as Jonas 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.

                    B. because 'sabbath' in Scripture does not always mean Saturday; it means 'day of rest' and was found at the beginning of date-specific feasts regardless of what day of the week they fell on

          Day of Atonement referenced earlier (10 Tisri)
Lev 16.29 ¶  And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you:
30  For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.
31  It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever.

          Feast of Tabernacles (14 Tisri to 21 Tisri)
Le 23:39  Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when ye have gathered in the fruit of the land, ye shall keep a feast unto the LORD seven days: on the first day shall be a sabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a sabbath.

          Thus, those who would insist that the day of preparation had to be Friday based on a Saturday sabbath are incorrect. The day of preparation was simply the day before Passover. Passover was date specific (though there is some confusion as to whether that date was 14 Nisan or 15 Nisan; the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus' day observed it differently), and so it wasn't tied to Saturday at all. I completely agree that Jesus died the day before the sabbath, but that sabbath was Passover, and could have been any day of the week.
          There are those who have attempted to show, by way of lunar calendars et al, that Passover during the Passion Week was on Thursday, but that is problematic. First, because we do not have a very firm idea of exactly which year it was Jesus died. Many people have tried to establish that but I am not absolutely convinced by any of them. That would throw out any certainty of establishing Passover by lunar calendars. Second, because it is not sound hermeneutics to establish beliefs based on extra-biblical supports. But we do not need these lunar calendars to establish that the sabbath could justifiably have fallen on Thursday, and that Jesus was buried for 72 hours. Scripture alone supports that.

                    C. Because the women who brought spices to anoint His body with could not have purchased them on the sabbath

          Jesus was buried hastily just before the sabbath commenced. As such, the women attending did not have time to sufficiently prepare His body as they wanted to. They quickly did what they could and planned to return after the sabbath.
Luke 23.50  And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:
51  (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.
52  This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.
53  And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
54  And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.
55  And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.
56  And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.
24.1 ¶  Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

          But the day after the Passover sabbath, Friday, was also Feast of Firstfruits as well as its own preparation day for the Saturday sabbath. It is entirely reasonable that these women, while squeezing in enough time to purchase more spices, did not have time to go the tomb and finish preparing Jesus' body. They could not go Saturday. Thus we find them at the tomb on Sunday morning.

          Clearly they bought additional spices between the time of Jesus' initial burial and the time they saw the empty tomb on Sunday morning. They could not have done that if He was buried Friday night for Saturday was the sabbath.
Mark 16.1 ¶  And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

2  And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.

          Tomorrow, I will discuss the reasons that underly support for a Friday crucifixion, and what I think about those reasons.

No comments:

Post a Comment