The World Tomorrow

Christ's Resurrection

by Herbert W Armstrong


Millions will be celebrating Easter next Sunday, but listen to this shocking truth. The resurrection of Jesus Christ did not occur on an Easter Sunday morning or any other Sunday morning! It's commonly supposed that Jesus was crucified on Friday and therefore it's been called - for at least in the lifetime of all us living today - it's been called 'Good Friday' and that the resurrection occurred about sunrise, or just before, on Easter Sunday morning. That is not true! That is a false tradition. Millions have been deceived by it.

Listen to what Jesus Himself said - Jesus Christ Himself. The Pharisees had been questioning Him, they tried to doubt Him, they tried to tie Him up with trick questions, and they asked Him for a sign, that is for a miracle, a miraculous sign to prove that He really was the Christ – the Son of the living God – and not just an ordinary human but that He was God in the human flesh.

And so in Matthew the twelfth chapter and beginning with verse thirty-nine, Jesus answered and said to them:

"An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign [that is a miracle in proof – a sign]; there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly [and incidentally whale, is a wrong translation, it should be a great fish]; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:39-40)

As Jonah had been three days and three nights. He was in a veritable grave as I am going to show you in just a moment.

Let's turn back now to that in Jonah the first chapter, and in verse seventeen: "Now the [Eternal] had prepared a great fish [not necessarily a whale - but a great fish] to swallow up Jonah [God had prepared it, it says]. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:17)

I will continue right on: chapter two verse one: " Then Jonah prayed unto the [Eternal] his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the [Eternal], and he heard me; out of the belly of hell [now the word hell here is translated from the Hebrew word 'sheol' which means a grave – out of the belly of a grave. He was in a grave] cried I and thou heardest [me]." (Jonah 2:1-2)

And so he was resurrected by being vomited up by the whale after which he went and delivered the message that God had told him to at the city of Nineveh. Now that was the only sign that Jesus said He would give as a miraculous proof. He would be in the grave – in the heart of the earth. And it was in the heart of the earth. I've been in that grave – oh, three or four times as a matter of fact through the last ten or twelve years. And it is hewn right out of the heart of the earth in stone. I have a booklet I am going to offer you that gives a picture of it on the cover, of the very tomb where He was buried – in the heart of the earth. The sign was, the miracle to be performed was that He would be after His crucifixion, three days and three nights in that grave – in that tomb. That was the only sign that Jesus gave.

Now in John the eleventh chapter and verses nine and ten: and incidentally I am going to read you a good many scriptures right now, more that I usually do in a program. You don't hear the Bible read very much on television program especially the average religious program.

We need to see what God's word said because this is God speaking when I read out of the Bible. Most people don't believe God. They will believe other people. They will believe traditions of men but they don't believe what God says. Adam and Eve didn't, not very many believed what Jesus said when He was on earth – only 120. Although thousands upon thousands heard Him – multiple thousands.

Just What Is A Day? (PLAY FROM 04:50)

Now John 11:9-10. Just what do we mean now by a day? "In three days and three nights." What is a day and what is a night according to the Bible? Well let Jesus Himself explain.

John 11:9-10: "Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day [now He is giving a definition of a day: there are twelve hours in a day]? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not [but He says in the next verse], if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth," (John 11-9-10). So He is talking about day and night and there are twelve hours in a day. Well then, there are twelve hours also in the night. Now that is Jesus' definition of how much time is a day and a night.

Now you see the common understanding, the common tradition and you've heard it all your life, so have I, most of us have, is that Jesus was crucified on Friday. He was buried just before sunset on Friday. He didn't die until after three 'o clock in the afternoon, that He arose about Sunday morning before sunrise, or just about sunrise. So they have sunrise Easter services all over Christendom today.

But how can you figure three days and three nights from Friday evening, just before sunset - all that night is only one night. Saturday is one day and Saturday night is two nights. You have one day and two nights. That's not three days and three nights. And yet the only sign Jesus gave that He is your Savior, your Messiah, is that He would be three days and three nights in the grave. Actually after He was buried. Three days and three nights in the tomb.

Now the Good Friday-Easter tradition is a little bit different. Let's turn next to Mark the seventh chapter and verses eight and nine: I have just shown you the tradition and what you have always heard all your life. Notice what Jesus said about these traditions: beginning with verse seven.

"Howbeit in vain do they worship me [Jesus said] teaching for doctrines the commandments of men [now can you worship Christ in vain? That's what He said. They worship Him in vain, you don't hear that preached very often] teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold to the traditions of men ...Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." (Mark 7:7-9 paraphrased)

All we have is the tradition about Easter being on a Sunday morning, or the resurrection of Christ being on a Sunday morning. You can worship Christ in vain just believing traditions of men. That is precisely what Jesus said at that point.

There is another expression used in the New Testament. Let's get to that next. The expression, 'after three days.' Now it can't be after three days unless it is at least 72 hours. It has to be after three days. It doesn't have to be even one minute after but it must be at the end of three days to be after.

Alright, notice Mark 8:31

"And [Jesus] 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 [the] scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again." (Mark 8:31)

You can't have after three days on a Good Friday burial and a Sunday morning resurrection – that's impossible, and yet that is exactly precisely what Jesus said. Listen my friends, tradition cannot be relied on. Jesus said you worship Him in vain holding tradition instead of the truth and the only record, the only historic record is what I am reading you now right out of the Bible – out of God's Word, which is inspired by the Eternal God.

Alright, notice Mark nine beginning with verse thirty-one:

"For he taught [Jesus 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 9:31)

But after He is killed it would be the third day. Now the first day after He was killed - if He was killed on Friday - the first day after would be on Saturday and the second day after would be on Sunday, but the third day after would be on a Monday. Now nobody thinks He rose on Monday. So you see again, that completely blocks out a Good Friday burial and an Easter Sunday morning resurrection.

Day Of The Preparation (PLAY FROM 10:00)

Now I would like to have you notice Matthew 27:62:

"...following the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive [now that is just after His death], After three days I will rise again." (Matthew 27:62-63)

Again Jesus Himself said 'After three days' He would rise, not after one day and two nights, but after three days.

I am going to give you so much proof right from the Bible and you know in the mouth of just two or three witnesses the Bible says a thing is established (Deuteronomy 19:15). But this is a whole lot more than just two or three.

So I am going to show you now He was to rise in three days not after, but inside of - it could be right at the end of it but not one day longer or actually not a minute longer, it wouldn't be in three days – that's in John two beginning with verse nineteen.

"Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days [not after but in, that's within, in] three days [inside of, not outside of, in three days] I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was [the] this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body." (John 2:19-21)

When He was crucified, He would - or God the Father would raise it up - in three days, not outside of, but it would be after three days and within three days. There could be no time except precisely three days and three nights, at the same time of day as He was buried. It had to be then at the very same time of day.

There are three expressions now that I have already read to you and given you adequate proof right out of the New Testament: three days and three nights He would be in the grave. After three days He would rise again. So it had to be after three days – now that could be right at the end of three days and still within it. And 'in three days' that can not be any more. It couldn't be more than three days – it can't be less that the full 72 hours – it has to be right within that time.

So the resurrection had to occur at the same time of day as the burial. Now He is talking not about the time of the crucifixion – not the time of His trial before the crucifixion, He is talking about the exact amount of time He would be spending in the grave. From the time He was buried until the time of the resurrection. So the resurrection was at the same time.

Now if you will notice John 19:13-14: Now this is talking about His trial just before He was crucified. He was on trial before Pontius Pilate.

"Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the passover [season]." (John 19:13-14)

It was the preparation of the Passover and Jesus observed the Passover. The preparation meant the day following the Passover. The Passover was held in the evening part of the day.

God's days end at sunset and the next day begins at sunset. Man had to change what God had done and begin the days in the middle of the dead night. God began a year in the spring when life is just budding out fresh and the new buds are coming out before the leaves on trees, and buds on fruits and all sorts of things in nature. A dead winter is past and new life is springing in nature. God started the year along in the spring – just fourteen days before the Passover. That was the beginning of the Sacred year that God gave His people Israel. And God has never changed that: men changed it. So the day ends and the next day begins at sunset.

So it was the preparation of the Passover. Now the Passover was in the beginning of that day, but the Passover day was a preparation, the next day was an annual Sabbath day. There were seven of those given to Israel. Jesus observed them all. The apostles observed them all. The early Church in the first century observed them all. Jesus' apostles observed them all. But nobody seems to do it today. I've been doing it a good many years – but not very many do it. But notice:

"And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour [which means noon. Now this was in the daytime of that same day of the Passover. The Passover had been held the night before – right after sundown]: and about the sixth hour [which was noon]: and [he] saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!" (John 19:14)

Now let me explain that sixth hour again. They had hours by day and watches by night. So there are twelve hours in a day – I read you that. The first hour begins from six o'clock in the morning – the sixth hour then would be noon. And the ninth hour is three o'clock in the afternoon. And then you come to the twelfth hour and that is the end of the day: twelve hours in a day. And then you have the first, second, third, sixth watch at night and the ninth watch and the twelfth watch ends it and then you have another day, in the day and night sequences.

Christ's Death (PLAY FROM 16:07)

Now let's skip on over next to verse 30:

"When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar [on the cross now, this is when He is hanging on the cross, and He said He thirsted and He asked for some water, and they gave Him vinegar instead] he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation [that is the day for preparing for the annual Sabbath that came the next day. Actually this was on a Wednesday and the annual Sabbath that year came on a Thursday, but it can come on any day of the week], The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, [it was an annual Sabbath], (for that sabbath day was an high day,)" (John 19:30-31)

Ask any Jew what is a high day? He'll say that is not a weekly Sabbath, that's not a weekly Saturday: that is an annual Sabbath. There are seven of them every year that God gave to Israel. Jesus observed them, the early apostles observed them, the Church observed them until tradition got it all changed and they went to keeping other days. They went to keeping Easter and other pagan days and I am going to show you later that is was a pagan day, instead.

Now then, about Jesus' death. We turn next to Mark 15 beginning with verse 34. "And at the ninth hour [that's three o' clock in the afternoon as I have just explained] at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice [now there is another scripture that shows that He had been pierced with a sword and the blood gushed out and He literally screamed: that is not in the King James translation but in one of the more modern translations. He screamed, but here it just says with a loud voice] saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? [then in verse 37] And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost." (Mark 15:34; 37)

In other words He died. The spirit came out of Him and His breath left Him and that is when He died: after three o'clock – just after three o'clock in the afternoon.

Alright. Now He was buried before sunset, and sunset was the end of the day. The day ended at sunset: the next day began that way, as God counted time.

Next turn to Luke 23: and verse 50: "And, behold, there was a man named Joseph [Joseph was as you read in the next verse], 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." (Luke 23:50-52)

He didn't die until after three o' clock. It took him some time to go into the city because the crucifixion was outside of the city and he had to go into the city and beg the body of Pilate and then come back and get the body and wrap it and take care of it in order to bury it and his tomb was at least a few steps away but fairly close.

"This man went unto Pilate, And he took it [the body] down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone [see, in the heart of the earth], wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation [just before the annual Sabbath. You don't call Friday necessarily the preparation but the day before an annual Sabbath is in Bible parlance], and the sabbath drew on." (Luke 23:52-54)

That was the annual Sabbath drawing on which in that year occurred on a Thursday. Now He was buried before sunset and the resurrection had to take place at the same time of day but three days and three nights later.

Now then, what day was the crucifixion? It was before {1} the high day Sabbath. There were seven annual Sabbaths as I say, every year. Jesus held the Passover with His disciples. He was seized later that same night after the Passover. And the Passover was the day before the annual Holy Day.

Passover Instituted (PLAY FROM 20:35)

Turn back to Numbers 28 and I will show you that, when it was first instituted in ancient Israel. Here it is:

"And in the fourteenth day of the first month is the passover of the [Eternal]. And in the fifteenth day of this month is the feast: seven days of unleavened bread shall be eaten. In the first day shall be an holy convocation;" (Numbers 28:16-18)

That could come at any day, it was an annual time on an annual calendar day and could come on different days of the week. Not necessarily on a Saturday or a Sunday but on whatever day it happened to come. So the crucifixion was late on the day of the Passover which was a preparation for the day that was a holy convocation: the annual Sabbath. The holy convocation that came the very next day.

So the resurrection took place on a Saturday afternoon because when the women came, while it was yet dark on Sunday morning - it was before sunrise, very early, while it was yet dark - Jesus was not there He had already risen.

There was an angel there that said "Why seek you Jesus among the dead he is not here. He is already risen" (Luke 24:5 paraphrased). And that was while it was yet dark on Sunday morning. So He rose prior to that time. He was buried shortly before sunset because the bodies could not be on the cross, they had to be buried before sundown. And Joseph of Armithea had to hurry to get Him buried that soon and so He was resurrected in the end of a day: that had to be Saturday night was the resurrection. Saturday afternoon before sundown. You go back three days and if you will trace the calendars on that year the fourteenth day of the first month was on a Wednesday, the fifteenth day, the annual Holy day was on a Thursday and He was crucified before the Holy day. As they said in another place, they couldn't crucify Him on the Holy day. So they hurried to do it the day before, on the preparation of that day.

And so the crucifixion was on Wednesday afternoon. He was buried just before sunset. All Wednesday night is one night, all day Thursday is one day, all Thursday night is now two nights, all day Friday is two days, Friday night is three nights, Saturday is three days. That was when the resurrection occurred.

It was in the end of the Sabbath and He rose in the end of the Sabbath as you read in Matthew 28:1.

Now that is quite a shock to a lot of people. It was to me when I learnt it almost 54 years ago: it was quite a shock. It will be to some of you, but it is the truth of God. People have been carried away by the fables and by the traditions of men. I have a booklet I would like to offer you: it is, 'The Resurrection Was Not On Sunday.' 'The Resurrection Was Not On Sunday.'

On the front cover: I don't know whether you can see it very well on the screen or not, but it is showing the Garden Tomb. And I am sure that He was buried in the Garden Tomb because Golgotha, where He was buried was the place of the skull and you can still see the skull on the top of that hill. It is just outside of what was the gate of the city in those days.

Now this is just a short booklet – you can read it at one sitting and it gives you all the scriptures I've just given you now and more. It gives you absolute proof. It is something that will completely prove it if you are willing to believe the truth of God's Word. Of course not many people do believe God but I hope you do and let me say I would like to give you this – there is no charge, we have nothing to sell, we don't solicit money from the public, we are not going to follow it up with a request for money, but I would like to send you this booklet absolutely gratis, absolutely free, so until next time and I will be speaking on Easter a week from now. Until then this is Herbert W Armstrong saying, "Goodbye friends".

{1} Mr Armstrong made a slip of the tongue and said "after"