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Thread: The problem with "Good Friday"

  1. #1

    The problem with "Good Friday"

    There is an inherent problem with "Good Friday", the day that commemorates Christ's death. (Aside from the fact that a certain date, Nisan 14, can't perpetually be on a Friday every single year, and the fact that Scripture doesn't mention "Friday".)

    First and foremost:
    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.
    Christ directly said that he would be "in the heart of the earth" (i.e., buried in his tomb) for "three days and three nights". The tradition of "Good Friday", the tradition that most Christians celebrate, is that Christ was crucified on a Friday, buried that evening, and rose to life early Sunday morning. This is just plain not "three days and three nights". It is only two nights (Friday night and Saturday night) and one day (Saturday day). It is literally only half of the time Christ said he would be buried in the earth.

    Some argue that Christ was simply saying he would be buried over the course of three days, and that merely part of Friday and part of Sunday counted as entire days. Yet, again, this is not in line with what Christ said would happen. He appealed to the example of Jonah: Jonah was in the belly of the sea creature for three days and three nights. Both the book of Jonah and Christ directly state this. There is no indication that "part" of a day counted as an entire day in this case. Also, the very nature of the language Christ used indicates that he would be buried for a full three-days: he specifically said that he would be in the earth for "three days and three nights". The only way for the "Good Friday" crucifixion and burial to work is if we outright ignore Christ's statement that he would be buried for three days and three nights. Again, Friday night, Saturday day, and Saturday night, a period of one day and two nights, is not equal to three days and three nights.
    Mark 16:1-2 And the sabbath having passed, Mary the Magdalene, and Mary of James, and Salome, bought spices, that they might go and anoint him, and early in the morning of the first of the week, they came to the tomb, at the rising of the sun.
    After the sabbath, the women bought spices.
    Luke 23:54-56 And it was the day of preparation, and sabbath was approaching, and the women also who had come with him out of Galilee having followed after, beheld the tomb, and how his body was placed, and having turned back, they made ready spices and ointments, and on the sabbath, indeed, they rested, according to the command.
    On the day of preparation (Nisan 14), before the sabbath, the women prepared the spices.

    Understand the dilemma with the "Good Friday" tradition? The problem here is that the "Good Friday" tradition says Christ was crucified and buried on a Friday, was in his tomb on Saturday (the sabbath), and rose to life early Sunday. Yet, according to Scripture, this would mean the women prepared the spices and ointments on Friday evening, but they bought them on Sunday morning... even before "the rising of the sun" (and likely before any stores would have been open yet).

    How is this scenario physically possible? How can the women prepare spices and ointments that they didn't even have until two days later?
    John 19:31 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.
    John specifically mentions that following the day of preparation (Nisan 14) was a "high day" sabbath (Nisan 15). A "high day" sabbath was an annual sabbath, and not the same thing as the weekly sabbath. There is, of course, a chance that the annual sabbath would land on the weekly sabbath, but the odds are against that.

    But something unnoticed in most English translations is this important verse:
    Matthew 28:1 Now at the end of the sabbaths, at dawn, toward the first of the week, came Mary the Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the tomb.
    In the Greek, Matthew's gospel specifically uses the plural of the word sabbath: "at the end of the sabbaths, at dawn, toward the first day of the week". John mentions a "high day" sabbath, Mark says the women bought their spices after the sabbath, Luke says they prepared their spices before the sabbath, and here Matthew specifically says that the women went to the tomb after the sabbaths, plural.

    There was more than one sabbath during the time that Christ was dead: the "Good Friday" tradition is impossible.

    Now, we have this information:

    • Christ was crucified on the day of preparation (Nisan 14)
    • Christ was buried that evening (Matthew 27:57-60)
    • Christ said he would be in the earth for "three days and three nights"
    • The following day (Nisan 15) was a "high day" sabbath
    • The women bought their spices and ointments following the sabbath
    • The women prepared the spices and ointments before the sabbath
    • The tomb was empty by dawn on the first day of the week

    So what would the chronology of Christ's crucifixion and resurrection be? Before I go into that point-by-point, I should bring something else to attention. The ancient Jews (and modern ones, depending on who you go to) reckoned their days as from sunset-to-sunset or sunrise-to-sunrise (again, depending on who you go to), not midnight-to-midnight. The majority, it appears, went with sunset-to-sunset. This means that Nisan 14 (the day of preparation, the 24-hour period in which Christ was crucified) began Tuesday at sunset and ended Wednesday at sunset. The chronology, then, is probably as this:

    • The day of preparation (Nisan 14) was from Tuesday-sunset to Wednesday-sunset. Christ was crucified during the daytime of Wednesday.
    • Christ was buried Wednesday evening, as the date (Nisan 14) was changing (to Nisan 15). Thus, the new date was the "high day" sabbath.
      • (Nisan 15) Wednesday-sunset to Thursday-sunset: Christ is in the earth for one day and one night.

    • The "high day" sabbath ends, and following this sabbath the women buy the spices and ointments, and they prepare them during the daytime of what we call Friday. Hence, the women prepare their spices and ointments after the annual sabbath.
      • (Nisan 16) Thursday-sunset to Friday-sunset: Christ is in the earth for two days and two nights.

    • The date changes again, and the women rest on the weekly sabbath "according to the command" (on what we correspond to Saturday).
      • (Nisan 17) Friday-sunset to Saturday-sunset: Christ is in the earth for three days and three nights.

    • The sabbaths are over, and the new week is approaching. Sometime following Saturday-sunset (whether in the evening, during the night, or sometime before Sunday-sunrise, I do not know) Christ is raised to life. The women go to the tomb early in the morning, at dawn, and find it empty.

    A "Good Wednesday" scenario is far more Scripturally sound than the "Good Friday" tradition. I do not post this to upset anyone, nor to step on the heels of those who desire to commemorate the specific day of Christ's sacrifice. Some may say, "Who cares?" or "Why is it such a big deal?", or something similar.

    If you commemorate Christ's sacrifice daily, great. But if you choose to commemorate Christ's sacrifice on the anniversary, on the annual date of its occurance, I would encourage you to do so on the equivalent day (Wednesday), or, if you want to go all the way, commemorate his sacrifice on the proper date (Nisan 14; it lands on April 8 this year, which also just so happens to be a Wednesday) and not some arbitrarily chosen "Good Friday".

    I post this in the interest of truth over tradition. The "Reformation" took place because Christians were upset with the Roman Catholic Church getting too comfortable with tradition rather than faithfully searching for the truth found in the Word. Hopefully, you desire to faithfully follow the truth found in the Scriptures (in this case, the truth that Christ could not have been crucified on a Friday), rather than clinging to a comfortable, but error-based, tradition.

    Final note: No, this is not a condemnation of those who celebrate "Good Friday". Neither is it me being a "legalist". It is, plain and simple, a Biblical study in the pursuit of Truth.

  2. #2
    bosco Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by markedward View Post
    Final note: No, this is not a condemnation of those who celebrate "Good Friday". Neither is it me being a "legalist". It is, plain and simple, a Biblical study in the pursuit of Truth.
    And a well done one! Consider too that the names of the days of the week make it a bit harder to make the whole thing fit. The first day of the week is Sunday for us, but would have started Saturday night after the sun went down for them. Also, God is not as specific as we are. For example, if I am 5'11" and you are 6'8", the length between your elbow and wrist (cubit) is longer than mine, yet both are acceptable as a cubit. Being dead 3 days and nights, is that 3- 24 hour periods, or any part of three consecutive days? I am not supplying my answer, just some more food for your biblical study thought.

    Bosco

  3. #3
    Julian Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by bosco View Post
    Being dead 3 days and nights, is that 3- 24 hour periods, or any part of three consecutive days? I am not supplying my answer, just some more food for your biblical study thought.

    Bosco
    You can't get 3 days between Friday evening and Sunday before dawn. Neither can you get 3 nights!

  4. #4
    Julian Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by markedward View Post
    If you commemorate Christ's sacrifice daily, great. But if you choose to commemorate Christ's sacrifice on the anniversary, on the annual date of its occurance, I would encourage you to do so on the equivalent day (Wednesday), or, if you want to go all the way, commemorate his sacrifice on the proper date (Nisan 14; it lands on April 8 this year, which also just so happens to be a Wednesday) and not some arbitrarily chosen "Good Friday".
    So when is the actual time this year (in the U.S. time zones relative to the Jerusalem time zone) since their days back then started at evening and we have many hours different in the time zone?

    Is our April 8 the actual date relating to 14 Nisan at around the 9th hour?

  5. #5
    This year, the anniversary of the chronology of events I have presented above falls on exactly the same days.

    Nisan 14 is from sunset of Tuesday the 7th to sunset of Wednesday the 8th. The anniversary of Christ's crucifixion, then, is during the daytime of Wednesday the 8th. (Specifically, Nisan 14, at the ninth hour, should fall at about 3:00 PM on Wednesday, April 8, 2009. I'm not too concerned with catching the exact minute to celebrate, but I will be keeping the event in thought throughout the whole day.)

    If you choose to celebrate Christ's resurrection at the time when the second sabbath ends (that is, when Nisan 17 the sabbath ends and when Nisan 18, the first day of the week begins), that will be around sunset of Saturday the 11th.

    Personally, I will be commemorating Christ's resurrection on Sunday the 12th, during the day (still part of Nisan 18, for those who care about technicalities), in celebration of the discovery of the empty tomb.

  6. #6
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    still some will observe easter with a good conscience, knowing the days and nights do not add up
    Edify the brethren, love the brethren, and forgive the brethren until I have nothing left.

    www.woc-church.org

  7. #7
    bosco Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Julian View Post
    You can't get 3 days between Friday evening and Sunday before dawn. Neither can you get 3 nights!
    Did I say you could?

    Bosco

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by bosco View Post
    God is not as specific as we are. ... Being dead 3 days and nights, is that 3- 24 hour periods, or any part of three consecutive days?
    I would say that Christ was being specific: he specifically said he would be in the earth for three days and three nights. On other occasions he did simply say "three days", with "day" referring to the generality of a 24-hour period. But in the example of Jonah, Christ specifically said he would be in the earth for 1,2,3 days and 1,2,3 nights. I don't see how Christ could have been referring to "any part of three consecutive days" when he went out of his way to cite a literal example of three days and three nights and applied the same amount of time to himself.

  9. #9
    Julian Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by bosco View Post
    Did I say you could?

    Bosco
    No. You may have misread tone into that post that wasn't there.

    If it was 'any part of 3 consecutive days' then one can't actually have 3 days AND 3 nights involved because they aren't there.

  10. #10
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    At least the man made religious tradition labeled with the pagan term 'easter' arrives during Pesach this year.

  11. #11
    bosco Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Julian View Post
    No. You may have misread tone into that post that wasn't there.

    If it was 'any part of 3 consecutive days' then one can't actually have 3 days AND 3 nights involved because they aren't there.
    Which is why I left it with a question mark and stated that I will not submit my opinion on it then. I was simply trying to make sure that every aspect was considered. When we "prove all things" Julian, as we are asked to do, we have to go outside our comfort zone and consider any idea that is scripture based on the subject, weigh it out, PRAY about it, discern which is correct, and then accept that....but NEVER 100% of the way because we are still corruptible and we must leave room to grow.

    As to the three days and nights...I believe that because that is what it says. That doesn't mean 72 hours, for it does not indicate that. But clearly a period involving 3 days and nights passed. For example, he was put to death in the afternoon but by the early morning of the 1st day of the week, he was already risen as the grave was found empty. It was "very early in the morning" so the 72 hour period wasn't met because, again, it was later in the afternoon when he died. The counting then starts from the day he died, even though there was only a few hours of sun left in that day.

    All that is meaningless anyway....it was three periods of day and three periods of night, just as he said.

    Bosco

  12. #12
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    Bosco, you may also consider that the Hebrews didn't count the hours like we did. There were 12/12 in a day night at the time, no matter what season it was. If it were light more than 12 of our standard hours, they just stretched the hour to 70 minutes, for example.

    That and other issues of using our western standards for time keeping and understanding of days and nights create an illusion that the event was not as written. The fault lies with us, not the Word of God.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by markedward View Post
    I would say that Christ was being specific: he specifically said he would be in the earth for three days and three nights. On other occasions he did simply say "three days", with "day" referring to the generality of a 24-hour period. But in the example of Jonah, Christ specifically said he would be in the earth for 1,2,3 days and 1,2,3 nights. I don't see how Christ could have been referring to "any part of three consecutive days" when he went out of his way to cite a literal example of three days and three nights and applied the same amount of time to himself.
    Anyone who takes into account the fact that a high Sabbath fell during the feast would clearly see that Jesus did not Die on Friday. You are very correct in your conclusion that Jesus did not die on Friday.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by bosco View Post
    As to the three days and nights...I believe that because that is what it says. That doesn't mean 72 hours, for it does not indicate that. But clearly a period involving 3 days and nights passed. For example, he was put to death in the afternoon but by the early morning of the 1st day of the week, he was already risen as the grave was found empty. It was "very early in the morning" so the 72 hour period wasn't met because, again, it was later in the afternoon when he died. The counting then starts from the day he died, even though there was only a few hours of sun left in that day.
    Just to put it in there, an actual 72-hour period is possible (assuming we're going for a strict set of three 24-hour periods, and it does indeed fit in the scenario described above). He said he would be "in the earth" for "three days and three nights". We know he was buried in the evening of the day he was killed. If we're going by the Hebrew reckoning of days, and we take the scenario above into account... then we have Wednesday night (N1), Thursday day (D1), Thursday night (N2), Friday day (D2), Friday night (N3), Saturday day (D3). If he was buried in the evening of a Wednesday, and he rose to life after the Saturday-sabbath, then he would have risen sometime following sunset on Saturday. A literal 72-hour period does fit in there perfectly, if one requires it to.

  15. #15
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    Except a 72 hour period is not a Biblical statement. When we add our logic / reasoning to the Word of God, we can skew it and create a stumbling block for ourselves/others.

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