Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Support For a Friday Crucifixion

Life of Christ 144

Note: This is the second 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.

          Here are the traditional supports for a Friday crucifixion position. I do not find them compelling, or even as weighty as the supports for the Wednesday position, but they are reasonable enough that I will not quarrel with someone who holds that position.

                    A. In the OL (original language) Greek the word translated in our KJV 'preparation' in the phrase 'day of preparation' is the same word for 'Friday'
                    Of course, the KJV translators chose to use the word 'preparation' instead of 'Friday' for very good reasons, so this one doesn't hold a lot of weight with me.

                    B. The day before the sabbath was Friday

                     We have already discussed this, and I found it holds no merit whatsoever.

                    C. church tradition in general holds a Friday crucifixion view

                    That is true, but there have always been, in every generation, reputable Christian leaders who held a Wednesday view. It has never been the majority, but it has always been present. This reason is not sufficiently weighty.

                    D. Because the Jews viewed any portion of a day as counting for a whole day, chronologically; thus late Friday, all day Saturday, early Sunday count as three days

                    This is, in my mind, a feasible explanation for the most part, but Mat 12 emphatically and specifically says 'three days and three nights'.

                    E. because the day after Passover was the Feast of Firstfruits, and Jesus was raised as the firstfruits of the resurrection (I Cor 15)

                    This is also a good point as it keeps Jesus in line as an example of the OT feasts. This would not be possible with a Wednesday crucifixion for in that view He spend the Feast of Firstfruits in His tomb on Friday.

                    F. Because a vast majority of Scriptures refer to the fact Jesus was raised on 'the third day'; if He was in the ground for three days He would have been raised on the fourth day
                              Hosea 6.2
                              Mat 16.21, 17.23, 20.19
                              Mark 9.31, 10.34
                              Luke 9.22, 13.32, 18.33, 24.7, 24.21, 24.46
                              Acts 10.40
                              I Cor 15.4

          I find this, by far, the most telling argument for a Friday crucifixion position. For example, on the day of His resurrection Jesus discusses the events incognito with two men while walking toward Emmaus. We know He rose from the dead on Sunday. Yet they say:
Lu 24:21  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.

          It is largely because of Mat 12.38-40 that I must maintain a Wednesday crucifixion, and it is largely because of Luke 24.21 that I am charitable toward those who maintain a Friday crucifixion.


  1. A few considerations to throw into this:

    1) Passover is also a Shabbat, a Shabbat shabbaton (Sabbath of Sabbaths) to be exact. The day before any Shabbat is a day of preparation.

    2) The biblical day ends and begins at sunset. As soon as the sun set on Shabbat would be early on the first day by Jewish accounting. So, technically, Yeshua could have risen on what we consider to be Saturday evening.

    3) In the 1st Century two Passovers were kept: the Sadducees, who controlled the Temple, kept it a day earlier than the Pharisees, who controlled the Sanhedrin.

    4). The Sadducean accounting of first fruits was always the Sunday after Passover, not the day after Passover. This would appear to line up with Gospel accounts. First fruits began the counting of the omer, counting 49 days (7 days x 7 weeks) the 50th day being Shavuot, the feast of weeks, the GREAT first fruits, when all Israel is to appear before the LORD in Jerusalem. That is the New Testament day of Pentecost (Pente- 50), which occurred on a Sunday.The only way Shavuot/Pentecost could occur on a Sunday is for the Passover first fruits to also occur on a Sunday.

    1. Your first three points I covered in yesterday's post. I agree with you about the Saturday evening resurrection. I think He rose sometime between sundown on Saturday and sunrise on Sunday morning. I lean toward Saturday evening.

      Your fourth point is entirely new to me. Thank you. It would help explain the first fruits typology and still allow for a Wednesday crucifixion.

      Do you take a Friday or a Wednesday view?

    2. Wednesday, Thursday latest.