Is it “Palm Sunday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday?”
Or, Palm Friday, Good Wednesday and Easter Saturday?”

by Pastor Art Kohl
March 15, 2005

To establish the biblical truth we must work backwards:

I. Christ Rose From The Grave Upon The First Day Of The Week.

Matthew 28:1, “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.”

Mark 16:2, “And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.”

Luke 24:1, “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.”

John 20:1, “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.”

Notice in Bible stories that Christ was already risen from the dead when the women got there. When did they get there?: “ it began to dawn,” “very early in the morning,” “when it was yet dark,” “at the rising of the sun.”

The ladies got to the grave when it was dark and the day was just starting to break. That is early. Probably about 6:00 AM.

What did they find? All four accounts tell us they found an empty tomb. Jesus was gone, even before the stone was rolled away. (Matthew 28:1-6).

When did Jesus rise from the dead? The Bible tells us so as to leave no doubt. Let’s repeat Mark 16:9, “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.” The answer: “Early the first day of the week.” The Jewish day began at 6 PM in the evening. From 6 PM Saturday to 6 PM Sunday is considered by the Jews as the first day of the week. Therefore Jesus was probably alive for 12 hours before Mary Magdalene saw Him. He had probably been alive for almost 24 hours before the disciples saw Him. John 20:19, “Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.” Thus, Christ most surely arose sometime late Saturday evening, the beginning of the Jew’s “first day of the week.” Mary Magdalene and the disciples saw Him during the hours we Americans call Sunday, but He probably arose during the time we call Saturday evening.

II. Thus, Christ died on the Cross on Wednesday Afternoon.

The following are 20 verses of scripture which state that Christ would be dead for three days. The first of the twenty also states that it will be three nights also. Thus three-twenty four hour periods:

Matthew 12:40, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (compare Jonah 1:17)

Matthew 16:21 “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.”

Matthew 17:23, “And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.”

Matthew 20:19, “And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify [him]: and the third day he shall rise again.”

Matthew 26:61, “And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.”

Matthew 27:40, “And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.”

Matthew 27:63, “Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.”

Matthew 27:64, “Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.”

Mark 8:31, “And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.”

Mark 9:31, “For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.”

Mark 10:34, “And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.”

Mark 14:58, “We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.”

Mark 15:29, “And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days,”

Luke 9:22, “Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.”

Luke 18:33, “And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.”

Luke 24:7, “Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”

Luke 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.”

Luke 24:46, “And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:”

John 2:19,21, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. But he spake of the temple of his body.”

Acts 10:40, “Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;”

The scriptures tell us that God cannot lie (Titus 1:2) and that it is impossible that God should lie (Hebrews 6:18). The case then should be settled. If Christ died at 3 PM on a Friday and was placed in the tomb by 6 PM on Friday, then three days and three nights later would place the Resurrection of Christ after 6 PM on Monday. But, as we have seen, the scriptures clearly teach that He rose early the first day of the week (Saturday-Sunday). Which will you believe? The scriptures or traditions of religions? Colossians 2:8 warns, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”

Why do some say “Good Friday” then? What is their argument? Their argument is that the next day was the Sabbath, when the truth is, that it was a Sabbath.

The Sabbath starts on Friday at 6 PM and ends at 6 PM on Saturday every week. It was a Sabbath day of rest for all Jews. The proponents of “Good Friday” use this argument based on the following scriptures to say Friday rather than Wednesday:

Mark 15:42-46, “And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.”

Luke 23:50-56, “And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them; he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.”

It is important to note here that although every Saturday was a Sabbath, there were other Sabbaths during the year that fell on different days of the week, but the same Jewish law applied to those sabbaths also (no traveling, no fires, no working). If those sabbaths fell on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. the same rules applied.

Let’s illustrate: In America we used to call every Sunday, “the Lord’s Day.” It was a holiday. We used to have blue laws so it would remain a holiday. But there were other days that were holidays such as Christmas. Christmas is always December 25 no matter what day it falls on - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. Several Mondays are designated as holidays each year.

The Sabbath was the same every Saturday, but also there were other Sabbaths in the Jewish calendar, no matter what day they fell on, such as the “Feast of the Passover.” These Sabbaths were called “High Days.” With that thought in mind, please consider John 19:31, “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.”

By “high day” it means that it was not a regular Sabbath day, but one higher than the rest. The Greek word for “high” means “greater, exceeding, mighty.”

Now we are told that this high day Sabbath had to do with the feast of the Passover. With that in mind, consider these scriptures:

Matthew 26:2, “Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.”

Mark 14:2, “But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.”

Mark 14:12, “And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?”

Luke 22:1-2, “Now the feast of unleavened bread drew nigh, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him; for they feared the people.”

Luke 22:7, “Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.”

Luke 22:15, “And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:”

John 13:1, “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.”

John 18:39, “But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews?”

John 19:14, “And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!”

1 Corinthians 5:7, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:”

The Passover lamb was always sacrificed on the 14th day of Nisan. Nisan is the first month of the Hebrew calendar. There is a difference between the weekly Sabbath (Saturday) and the Passover Sabbath. The Passover Sabbath always followed the killing of the Passover lamb, no matter what day of the week the killing of the Passover Lamb occurred on. (Exodus 12:16; Leviticus 23:7; Numbers 28:16-18). The Passover Sabbath was always the 15th day of Nisan.

The Bible states that Christ died exactly three days and three nights before the first day of the week. Figuring in the Passover Sabbath, He must have died on a Wednesday at about 3 PM and been put in the grave of Joseph of Arimethaea before 6 PM. Common sense and scripture can only come to this conclusion. Both Thursday and Saturday of that particular week, that particular year, were Sabbaths.

III. Palm Sunday Then Must Have Really Been Palm Friday.

Jesus arrived at Bethany six days before the Passover. That would be thus the Thursday before His crucifixion. John 12:1 states it this way, “Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany, where Lazarus was which had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.”

Then on “the next day” we read the history of the Triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem - John 12:12-13, “On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Thus Palm Sunday should really be Palm Friday.

IV. Conclusion:

The believer cannot believe in “Good Friday” for two outstanding reasons:

1. God would have been in error 20 times when He recorded in His word that His Son would be in the grave for three days! How could we then trust in the rest of His word.

2. Six days before “Good Friday” would have been Saturday. That’s when Christ was traveling to Bethany (John 12:1). It was a violation of the law for a Jew to travel on Saturday, thus Jesus and many other Jews (John 12:9) would have violated the law. Violation of the law is transgression, and transgression is sin, (1 John 3:4). Thus we cannot believe in Good Friday for Jesus never sinned. Jesus traveled to Bethany on Thursday of that week, and rode into Jerusalem on Friday. He was crucified the next Wednesday and rose again on Sunday (late Saturday night).

Copyright © 2005
Permission granted to freely copy.
Scripture verses are from the King James Holy Bible.

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