Can 72 hours (three days and three nights) fit into a period between late day Friday and early Sunday morning? Remember, this would be the sign to the Pharisees that Jesus was the Messiah (Matt. 12: 39-40). Following are some facts from the book “The True Jesus Christ Unknown To Christianity” by David C. Pack, Copyright © 2008, 2011 The Restored Church of God: “Jesus’ crucifixion occurred on Passover day, the 14th of Abib (or Nisan), the first month in God’s Sacred Calendar. This occurred in the year A.D. 31, in which Passover fell on a Wednesday. Many fail to consider the prophecy that the Messiah would be “cut off…in the midst of the week” (Dan. 9:2627). Wednesday falls in the middle of the week—the very day upon which Passover fell in A.D. 31. According to the Roman calendar, this date was Wednesday, April 25. Between the ninth and twelfth hour (3:00-6:00 p.m.), Christ died (Luke 23:44-46). With Governor Pilate’s permission, Joseph of Arimathaea procured the body, wrapped it in linen (John 19:40) and placed it in the sepulcher (Luke 23:50-53). By the time the burial was complete, the Sabbath “drew on” (vs. 54). Thus, the burial took place on Passover day, shortly before sunset.

The Passover

Passover is a preparation day; it precedes an annual Sabbath. This annual Sabbath (called the First Day of Unleavened Bread) was called a high Sabbath or “high day” (John 19:31) and fell on a Thursday that year of Jesus’ death.

Mark 16:1 records what occurred on that Friday: “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.” (Verse 2 jumps to Sunday morning.) The phrase, “and when the Sabbath was passed,” refers to the high day that occurred on Thursday. Since the women could not buy spices on the seventh-  day Sabbath (Saturday), Friday was the only time they could have done so. Luke 23:56 states, “And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment.” After buying the spices, they returned and prepared them to be applied to Christ’s body in the tomb, which they planned to do after resting on the weekly Sabbath (Saturday).

Luke 24:1 states, “Now upon the first day of the week [Sunday], very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.” The women found the tomb empty (vs. 3). Two angels in shining garments informed them that Christ was already “risen” (vs. 4-6). Mark 16:2 states that the women were present “at the rising of the sun.” This means Jesus was resurrected before sunrise. John 20:1 further tells us that Mary Magdalene came early “when it was yet dark” and found the stone that sealed the tomb was already rolled away.

No sunrise resurrection could have occurred—because Jesus was already resurrected! Nowhere does Scripture record that Jesus rose at sunrise on Sunday morning. Christ was placed in the tomb just before sunset on Wednesday. Three complete days (three days and three nights) bring us to the end of the weekly Sabbath, just prior to sunset, when Christ was resurrected—just as He had prophesied! 

Published by Willie Starks