After giving the account of the women coming to the tomb of Yahushua on the first day of the week, just before daybreak, and finding the tomb empty (vs. 1-8), it continues by saying that the women immediately went to the apostles and other disciples to report their findings (vs. 9-10).
These people disbelieved the women, but Keph (Peter) rose up and went to the tomb to see for himself. Finding their testimony true, he returned home wondering about what had happened (vs. 11-12).
Road to Emmanus
We next read:
And behold, two of them (the disciples) were going ON THE SAME DAY to a village being 60 furlongs distant from Jerusalem, which is named Emmanus; and they were conversing with one another about all these things which had taken place. (Luke 24:13-14)
The conversation between the two men, therefore, being “on the same day” that the messiah was raised, occurred on the first day of the week. Their discussion shows that this journey happened after the women had reported the empty tomb to the disciples, and therefore in the daylight hours of that first day.
While these two men were walking along, the resurrected Yahushua drew near and began walking with them. Their eyes being kept from seeing that it was Yahushua, Yahushua asked them why they appeared so downcast. They responded by discussing the great events which took place in Jerusalem:
And answering the one, whose name was Kleopas, said to him, You sojourn alone in Jerusalem, and have not known the things which are come to pass in it (Jerusalem) in these days? And he (Yahushua) said to them, What things? And they said to him, The things concerning Yahushua the Nazaraean, who was a man, a prophet, mighty in deed and word before the deity and all the people; and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him up to judgment of death, and put him upon a stake. But we were hoping it was he who was about to redeem Israel. But indeed, with all these things, TODAY IS THE THIRD ἀφ’ οὗ (aph ou; AFTER WHICH) THESE THINGS CAME TO PASS. (Luke 24:18-21)
Therefore, today, being the same day that Yahushua was resurrected, i.e., the first day of the week, was the third day “after which” the messiah was put on a stake and murdered. This important story continues by relating how Yahushua chastised the men for being slow to trust in the things spoken of by the prophets, how it was needful for the messiah to suffer and to enter into his glory.
As Yahushua recited to them various passages from Scriptures concerning himself, they came close to the village to which the two men were traveling, and Yahushua appeared to be going farther still:
This portion of the text demonstrates that when the above comment was made, that “today” was “the third day after which these things came to pass,” it occurred just prior to sunset (i.e., late afternoon of the first day of the week).
Computing the Days
It seems that now is the right time to calculate the days to see how the math works out.
The first day of the week was the third day “after which” the messiah was killed. When we combine this evidence with the sign of Jonah, which foretells that the messiah would be dead and in the earth for “three days and three nights,” we are able to reconstruct the Passover week observed in the year that Yahushua was murdered.
The third day AFTER which the messiah was killed was the first day of the regular week. Therefore, the second day AFTER would be the Sabbath (Friday/Saturday), the first day AFTER would be the sixth day of the week (Thursday/Friday), and THE DAY OF his murder would be the fifth day of the week (Wednesday/Thursday).
The fifth day of the week, therefore, was the day that Yahushua ate his Passover supper and was the 14th of Abib. The sixth day of the week, meanwhile, was the Jewish or Pharisaic Passover meal and their high Sabbath, i.e., the 15th of Abib. The 16th was a weekly Sabbath.
The sign of three daylight periods and three night periods is also accomplished. Counting the daylight part of the 24-hour day first, as instructed:
• Daylight 1 belongs to the fifth day of the week (Thursday afternoon), on the 14th of Abib, during the time of daylight that Yahushua was murdered and placed in the tomb.
• Daylight 2 belongs to the sixth day (Friday), Abib 15, and daylight “three” to the weekly Sabbath, Abib 16.
The three nights are made to follow these three daylight periods.
• Night 1 belongs to the first half of the sixth day (Thursday/Friday), the 15th of Abib.
• Night 2 is the first half of the seventh day (Friday/Saturday), Abib 16.
• Night 3 is the first half of the first day of the week (Saturday/Sunday), Abib 17. This third night likewise belonged to the third day after which the messiah was executed, and therefore complies with all those statements to that effect.
Plain and simple here is the bottom line. Yahushua was murdered during the afternoon of Thursday, Abib 14. The messiah was resurrected just before sunrise on Sunday morning, Abib 17. Additionally, when the historical evidence is considered, it becomes clear that the year of Yahushua’s death and resurrection was 30 C.E.
A few more points of interest will be presented and addressed as we proceed with our discussion.
What About the Good Friday Theory?
It has long been held by many Christian groups that the messiah died on Friday (called “Good Friday”) and was raised on Sunday morning. As we have already demonstrated, the messiah was murdered and buried on Thursday afternoon and was raised before dawn on the first day of the week.
Some are so insistent on conforming to the Good Friday arrangement that they alter the reading of Luke 24:21 so that it will comply with their own preconceived concept.
The New Jerusalem Bible, for example, goes to such lengths as to translate the clear and undeniable Greek statement of “τρίτην ταύτηνἡμέραν ἄγει ἀφ’ οὗ ταῦτα ἐγένετο (triten tauten hemeran agei semeron aph ou taut egeneto; Today is the third day after which these things came to pass)” to read, “two whole days have now gone by since it all happened.”
This translation is totally unsupported by the text. It is built on the common misunderstanding about the difference between a high Sabbath and a weekly Sabbath. It was this misunderstanding that has confused many theologians unfamiliar with scriptural laws.
When these theologians saw the reference to the death of the messiah as being on the day prior to a great Sabbath, they assumed it referred to the day before the weekly Sabbath. Yet as we have already demonstrated, it was a reference to the Jewish (Pharisaic) high Sabbath of the Passover Feast.
It is impossible to fit three days and three nights in the period from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning (even if one counts the daylight period of Sunday morning).
Three days would be Friday daylight, Saturday daylight, Sunday daylight; three nights would be Friday/Saturday night, Saturday/ Sunday night, and Sunday/Monday night. This calculation is infeasible since the messiah was already resurrected before Sunday/Monday night. It still leaves the third night missing.
Nevertheless, even a scheme of three days and two nights beginning with Friday is unattainable. The Synoptic Texts clearly state that, when the women arrived at the tomb, dawn had not yet passed.
Further, when they entered the tomb, the messiah was already resurrected and was gone. Therefore, it is impossible to count Sunday daylight as the third day. This scenario can only account for two days and two nights.
What About the Wednesday Death/Burial Theory?
Some argue that the messiah’s death took place on Wednesday afternoon. In this arrangement, they count “three nights and three days,” making them three complete 24-hour periods: Three nights being the nights of (1) Wednesday/Thursday, (2) Thursday/Friday, (3) Friday/Saturday; three daylight periods being Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The theory goes that the messiah was raised immediately at the very end of the Sabbath on Saturday.
This argument fails on three fronts.
• First, our instructions from Scriptures do not say that we are to count three nights and three days. Rather, it specifically states we are to count three DAYS and three NIGHTS, the daylight being counted first (Jonah 1:17; Matthew 12:38-40). The Wednesday system, therefore, does not account for the daylight hours of the day when the messiah died and was buried.
• Second, it falsely assumes that the text means three complete 24-hour periods. Nowhere in Scriptures is this circumstance even suggested. To demonstrate, Scriptures never state that Jonah was swallowed by the fish at sunset, that he was spat back up on dry land at sunset on the third day, or that the counting was from sunset to sunset.
Actually, Scriptures only state that the messiah, like Jonah, would be in the heart of the earth (sheol) for three DAYS and three NIGHTS. The texts would have to at least state “three NIGHTS and three DAYS” to even indicate a possibility of three complete 24-hour periods (a Hebrew day beginning with sunset and the night). However, it does not.
Even the Pharisees understood the words of the messiah as a reference to his being raised during the third night (Matthew 27:62-64, 28:11-15). In fact, when the guards reported back to the priests that the messiah had disappeared from his tomb, the leaders bought off the soldiers with silver and told them to say that “his disciples came and stole him BY NIGHT, we being asleep” (Matthew 28:11–15).
• Third, since the messiah was actually in the tomb during the last part of Abib 14, he was in the heart of the earth during that day’s daylight period. These facts fully comply with the scriptural definition: three days (daylight periods) and three nights. Corrupting the phrase to the opposite reading of three nights and three days is unwarranted.
Which Day Was the High Sabbath?
The Synoptic Texts provide us with evidence that the 14th of Abib was the true high Sabbath of Passover and was considered such by the followers of the messiah. We uncover this detail in the story about the women who followed Yahushua to his tomb and then later returned to anoint the body.
The Synoptic Texts inform us that at the time that Yahushua was buried, which was on the 14th of Abib before sunset, Mariam (Maria) Magdalene and Mariam (Maria) the mother of Jacob and Joseph were there:
Matthew 27:61. “And there was Maria the Magdalene and the other Maria sitting opposite the grave.”
Mark 15:47. “And Maria the Magdalene and Maria of Joseph beheld where he (Yahushua) had been laid.”
Luke 23:55. “But also women were following who had been accompanying him (Yahushua) out of Galilee, watching the tomb, and how his body was laid.” Luke’s version then follows with this report:
And HAVING RETURNED THEY PREPARED aromatics and ointments, AND ON THE σάββατον (sabbaton; SABBATH) REMAINED QUIET, ACCORDING TO THE COMMANDMENT. But the first of the σαββάτων (sabbaton; week), at ὄρθρου βαθέως (orthrou batheos; just before day-break) they came to the tomb, bringing aromatics which they had prepared, and some others with them. (Luke 23:56-24:1)
First, it was moving toward sundown when the body of Yahushua was laid in the tomb. Yet these women had to first “return” to wherever they were staying. Then, sometime after returning, they set about preparing aromatics and ointments so that they could go back to the tomb and anoint the messiah’s body.
This evidence also means that these women were, for some reason, unable to tend to this chore before Yahushua’s death and burial (suggesting that the 14th was a Sabbath day for them). Further, the women had not attended the second day of the 7-day Festival of Unleavened Bread (a non-Sabbath), which took place just after sunset on the 15th.
This sequence of events makes it certain that by the time these women arrived back to their place of residence, the sun had already set and a new day (the 15th) had begun. The journey home gave them barely enough time to prepare for and attend the meal for the second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Because of the Pharisaic practice of sacrificing the Passover on the 14th and keeping their high Sabbath, which combined the Feast of Passover and their first day of Unleavened Bread on the 15th, all of the merchant stores were closed.
On the Pharisaic high Sabbath, the women would be afraid of returning to the tomb, fearing that the Pharisaic Jews might condemn them for breaking the state Sabbath ordered by the Pharisees or of trying to steal the messiah’s body. So instead, they stayed home and prepared aromatics and ointments.
These faithful followers would not have prepared aromatics and ointments on a true high Sabbath. This detail and the timing of the event points to the fact that the 15th was a non-Sabbath for these followers of the messiah.
We should also remind ourselves that on the 14th, even though the messiah was sentenced to death and on a torture stake for hours, none of Yahushua’s followers are said to have prepared ointment or aromatics for his burial. Joseph and Nicodemus apparently used only what they had saved up, making it necessary for the women to later return to finish the task. These details are in harmony with messiah’s disciples keeping the 14th as a high Sabbath.
After the day on which they prepared their aromatics and ointments came “the Sabbath,” on which day they remained quiet “according to the commandment” (Luke 23:56). This statement is very significant. It does not say according to the judgments or statutes, which the high Sabbath regulations fall under. Neither does it say “Sabbaths” in the plural, as required if both the 15th and 16th were Sabbaths, but “Sabbath” in the singular.
This singular Sabbath is then followed by the fact that on the first day of the week, just before daybreak, the women came to Yahushua’s tomb bringing the things they had prepared. This singular Sabbath, accordingly, refers to the weekly Sabbath, required by the fourth commandment.
Since they prepared aromatics and ointments before the Sabbath, yet remained quiet on the Sabbath, proves that they did not prepare such items on a true Sabbath. Therefore, these things must have been prepared on the 15th, which for them was not a Sabbath.
To the above statement from Luke 23:56-24:1, we also need to add a remark made in the text of Mark.
And the σάββατον (sabbaton; SABBATH) being past, Mary the Magdalene and Mary of Jacob and Salome bought aromatics, that having come they might anoint him. And very early, the first of the σαββάτων (sabbaton; week), they came to the tomb, ἀνατείλαντος (anateilantos; as was coming to light) the sun. (Mark 16:1-2)
In this version, the two women go out and buy aromatics so that they might anoint Yahushua’s body. Disregarding their personal beliefs, they could not have bought aromatics on the 14th, after the ninth hour, for there was no time left after Yahushua’s body was placed in the tomb since sunset was approaching.
Indeed, it would have been futile anyway, since as of late afternoon the Jews had closed all of their stores in observance of the Passover sacrifice (beginning at the ninth hour).
For the Jews of this period, the Sabbath began in the afternoon preceding the actual Sabbath at approximately the ninth hour, the same time that the messiah died and the Jewish (Pharisaic) Passover lamb was being slaughtered.
Further, because of the requirement to attend the sacrifice at the ninth hour, it is doubtful that any store would have been open after mid-day, i.e., the sixth hour, on the Preparation Day of the Jews.
Josephus Antiquities, 16:6:2, as another example, notes that the Jews did not give bond (appear in court) “on the Sabbath day or on the day of preparation for it after the ninth hour.” To build a fence around the Law, the Jews considered the ninth hour of the day before the Sabbath the time for quitting their work and for beginning their observance of the Sabbath.
This point demonstrates that the Jews would have avoided arresting the messiah in the afternoon of the 14th as well as within the 15th, for no trials could be conducted at that time. Leaving Yahushua imprisoned during that period, on the other hand, would have been too dangerous politically.
Jewish High Sabbath
Meanwhile, the women could not buy aromatics on the 15th because it was the Jewish high Sabbath and the observance of the Pharisaic Passover meal. Even if the Pharisees were totally wrong in making this day a high Sabbath, the other Jewish groups, out of fear of the Pharisees, followed the Pharisaic laws. Even those of the early assemblies greatly feared the Pharisaic Jews at this time (see John 20:19, 26).
Further, the Judaean nation also observed the weekly Sabbath, which fell upon the 16th of that month. Therefore, there were no stores open from the afternoon of the 14th until after sundown Saturday evening, at the close of the weekly Sabbath.
It was only after the weekly Sabbath that these women could go out and buy some additional aromatics in their effort to anoint Yahushua’s body. Accordingly, the women had to wait until both the Jewish high Sabbath of the Pharisaic Passover (the 15th) and for the regular weekly Sabbath (the 16th) had passed.
This evidence shows us that in the last hour of the 14th of Abib, the two Marys saw where Yahushua’s body was laid. With the tomb being closed by Joseph and Nicodemus, the women returned to where they were staying, which would have been toward or very near sunset.
At twilight, the women would have observed Abib 15 which was the second day of the 7-day Feast of Unleavened Bread. Keep in mind that, after the Exodus, the first day of the 7-day Festival (Abib 14) had taken on the additional name of the Feast of Passover (high Sabbath) while the second festival day (Abib 15) along with following days retained their appellation of being the festival days of Unleavened Bread.
At the same time, not only is the first day referred to as the Feast of Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread but so is the entire 7-day Festival. (Deuteronomy 16:1-8; 2 Chronicles 35:17; Ezekiel 45:21; Matthew 26:17; Mark 14:1; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:1; Luke 22:7)
Therefore, between their leaving Yahushua’s grave until they observed the second day of Passover Week and Festival of Unleavened Bread, there was no time for them to deal with the aromatics and ointments. Yet the second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, observed on the evening of the 15th, could not have been a Sabbath for them because they prepared aromatics and ointments after returning home and before the weekly Sabbath.
Preparation of ointments and aromatics would have taken some time, and there was little time between the return of the women and their observance of the second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Therefore, it is apparent that they prepared the ointments and aromatics during the 15th, most probably during the daylight or working hours, thus making the 14th the high Sabbath.
The women remained quiet (i.e., not preparing aromatics and ointments) on the weekly Sabbath, the 16th, as ordered by the fourth commandment. This statement proves that one did not prepare such things on a Sabbath. Therefore, the day before the weekly Sabbath, they were active, preparing aromatics and ointments.
These circumstances, in turn, mean that the 15th was not a high Sabbath for the followers of Yahushua, although it was for those following the practices of the Pharisees.
After the Weekly Sabbath
At some point after sunset, when the weekly Sabbath was over, these women went to a store and bought more aromatics so that they could complete their mission. Then late in the night, at early pre-dawn on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb.
The women certainly would have known that the Pharisees had placed Roman guards at the tomb to keep the followers of the messiah away until after the time claimed for his resurrection had passed. They knew that his claim was during the night portion of the third day after his death.
In accordance with this knowledge, the women went to the tomb at the very moment that they knew the guards would be finishing their duty and they could gain access to messiah’s body, i.e. at dawn of the first day of the week.
Having collected their aromatics and ointments, the women returned to the tomb, arriving just as dawn was ending, where they found that the messiah had already been resurrected and had left the tomb.
When all the facts are considered, there is only one truthful conclusion that one can come to. Yahushua the messiah fulfilled the “sign of Jonah the prophet” by being in the state of death for three days and three nights.
The messiah died on a Thursday afternoon (daytime) and was resurrected by father Yahweh on the third day after his murder during the early morning hours (night time) prior to sunrise on Sunday, the first day of the week.
For more information you might want to check out “The Festival and Sacred Days of Yahweh” by Qadesh La Yahweh Press.