Resurrection Day


Yesterday (as I am writing this) was the day commonly referred to as Easter Sunday. Strangely, no one wished me a happy Easter but three people did wish me a happy resurrection day! That made me wonder if perhaps they knew the truth of the name and the eggs and the rabbits and how they had nothing to do with the resurrection of Jesus. Perhaps that is why more people are referring to resurrection day rather than Easter. The problem is, as Shakespeare put it, “ A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Or to restate the idea, a skunk by any other name would smell the same. As Li’l Abner said, could there be a “skunk in the woodshed?” The answer is an emphatic yes. Let’s do a brief review on Easter and some of the things associated with it.


Consider the name. It’s based on the name of a pagan goddess, Ishtar. From the American Heritage® Dictionary … “The chief Babylonian and Assyrian goddess, associated with love, fertility, and war, being the counterpart to the Phoenician Astarte.” From the Encarta Encyclopedia … “Easter, a Christian festival, embodies many pre-Christian traditions. The origin of its name is unknown. Scholars, however, accepting the derivation proposed by the 8th-century English scholar St. Bede, believe it probably comes from Ēastre, the Anglo-Saxon name of a Teutonic goddess of spring and fertility, to whom was dedicated a month corresponding to April. Her festival was celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox; traditions associated with the festival survive in the Easter rabbit, a symbol of fertility, and in colored easter eggs, originally painted with bright colors to represent the sunlight of spring, and used in Easter-egg rolling contests or given as gifts.”


So the name and major symbols associated with Easter are pagan. Furthermore Easter is never mentioned by name in the Bible excepted by King James in one passage that is a gross mistranslation.

*   (Acts 12:4 KJV)  And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

Every other translation accurately translates the term Easter as Passover. The word translated as Easter appears another 28 times in the Bible. In each of those other cases King James gave the proper translation, “Passover.” This mistranslation is particularly ironic in as much as it is impossible for Easter to fall on the same day as Passover!


Now let’s look at some relevant scriptures about the actual day of the resurrection. Then after that we will put them together and see that the actual day of the week and the day of the3 month can be determined from scripture.

*   (Dan 9:25-27 KJV)  Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. {26} And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. {27} And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

*   (Mat 12:38-40 NIV)  Then some of the Pharisees and teachers of the law said to him, "Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you." {39} He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. {40} For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

*   (John 11:9-10 NIV)  Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light. {10} It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light."

*   (Lev 23:5-7 NIV)  The Lord's Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. {6} On the fifteenth day of that month the Lord's Feast of Unleavened Bread begins; for seven days you must eat bread made without yeast. {7} On the first day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. (This is a special Sabbath)

*   (John 19:31 KJV)  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.

*   (John 19:31 NIV)  Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.

*   (Luke 23:44-46 NIV)  It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, {45} for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. {46} Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last.

*   (Mat 26:18-21 NIV)  He replied, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.'" {19} So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover. {20} When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve. {21} And while they were eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me."

*   (Mat 28:1-6 NIV)  After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. {2} There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. {3} His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. {4} The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. {5} The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. {6} He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.

*   (Luke 23:52-56 NIV)  Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body. {53} Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. {54} It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. {55} The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. {56} Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. (Weekly Sabbath)

*   (Luke 24:1-3 NIV)  On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. {2} They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, {3} but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.

*   (John 20:1-9 NIV)  Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. {2} So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!" {3} So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. {4} Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. {5} He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. {6} Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, {7} as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. {8} Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. {9} (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)


OK let’s summarize the points made by the scriptures and the words of Jesus himself.


Three days and three nights are 72 hours by anyone’s reckoning. This is to say that 3 times 24 hours (a day and a night) is 72 hours. Also note that the day after Passover is always a Sabbath. In fact it is a “Special” Sabbath. So, if Jesus died on a Wednesday, for example, then Thursday would be a Sabbath. Friday would not be a Sabbath and the women could prepare the spices prior to the weekly Sabbath on Saturday. When Sabbath was over it would be dark and they would have to wait until morning to go to the tomb. By the time they reach the tomb Jesus was already risen. The question remains, “When did He rise?”


We know Jesus died shortly before the special Sabbath began, let us estimate three hours before sunset or about 3:00 p.m. Now let us apply the words of scripture and Jesus Himself. Scripture says he will cause the sacrificial system to cease on a Wednesday Middle of the week) with His death. Jesus said He would be buried for 72 hours, three days and three nights. Go forward 72 hours from his death late Wednesday and we arrive at about 3:00 p.m. on Saturday as the time He rises from the grave. So actually resurrection day would have been late on Saturday, the Sabbath, not early on Sunday as many people would have us believe. The day of the month was three days after Passover or the 17th day of the first month on the Jewish religious calendar, the month of Nissan. The women arrived at the tomb the following Sunday morning to find, “He is risen.”


Now let’s look at the traditional time line and see if it fits what we know from the words of Jesus Himself.

*   He dies late Friday. (First day? 3 hours)

*   He is in the tomb Saturday night (First night, another 12 hours makes 15 hours total)

*   He is in the tomb Saturday day (Second day, another 12 hours makes 27 hours total)

*   He is in the tomb Sunday night (Second night, another 12 hours makes 39 hours total)

*   He rises early Sunday morning (Third day? 2 hours for a total of 41 hours)

In hours, He was not in the tomb for even two full days. If you count partial days as full days you still get only three days and two nights.


But Jesus said three days and three nights. Was He wrong? Does it matter? Does the word of God matter? If Jesus was wrong about this, what else was He wrong about? If you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free what will something false do for you?


Ignorance may be excused. But willful ignorance will not be excused. If you claim you didn’t know but you should have known, you are guilty of willful ignorance. Brothers and Sisters hear the scriptures about the matter of Pagan holidays.

*   (Jer 10:2 KJV)  Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen….