The Biblical “After Three Days” Resurrection
It is that time of year again! Passover is the pivotal festival in Judaism and it is a transition from being a motley crew of related tribes (and their converts) to the hosts of the L-rd. Once we were delivered from Egyptian bondage and arrived at the foot of the holy mountain, we were organized into banners which camped around the tabernacle, once it was constructed and consecrated.
Our people have always had a roller coaster ride when it came to walking with the L-rd. The L-rd chose the most stubborn, stiff necked people on the planet to show the world both how tenacious His love is and how even the most lost people are welcome to come and learn how to walk with Him.
There were two changes to how our people celebrated Passover, after the miracle of the first one. Our people no longer put blood on the lintels of our doors, because the passing of the angel of death was a one time, non repeatable event. Also, we allow uncircumcised gentiles to celebrate with us, because it is a ritual of celebration and remembrance and we want to tell the world about the amazing love of our blessed Redeemer.
The last supper was actually a Passover Seder meal which our Messiah observed with the twelve apostles and it was during this ceremony, that He added a special feature of remembrance so that future generations of believers, both Jew and Gentile, would remember His death and resurrection until He returns.
As a matter of fact, the marriage supper of the Lamb is a cosmic Passover Seder, where the Messiah will once again be able to celebrate Passover with all believers.
There are two ceremonies were both Jewish and Gentile believers stand as equals before our Messiah. They are Immersion (baptism or tevilah) and the L-rd’s Table. At the L-rd’s Table, we have a ritual meal which can be celebrated at any time over the course of the year. It was derived from the Seder, but the Seder is not the only context where it can be celebrated.
Paul gave instructions on how to observe the L-rd’s Table WHENEVER we gathered and not only in conjunction with the Seder ( I Corin. 11:20-26). He said we have to be conscious of what we are doing and recognize that we are doing this before the L-rd and not just with each other.
During the first centuries of the early church, the celebration of the resurrection of our Messiah was celebrated in conjunction with the annual Passover Seder meal. The resurrection was celebrated as an “after three days” celebration. To say that it occurred on the third day was an idiomatic expression which meant “after three days”.
So let me review a biblical little chronology with you which is a departure from how the church celebrates this glorious event – because how they do it is also a departure from the biblical chronology.
In the year when our L-rd was betrayed and crucified – and buried and resurrected (and ascended), the 14th of Nisan fell on a Tuesday evening, between sunset and full dark. Full dark is when the 15th of Nisan began. He went out into the Garden and was arrested, tried and crucified on Wednesday, the 15th of Nisan. The next day (Thursday) was the Festival of First Fruits, which was the biggest annual celebration in the second temple.
The temple authorities did not want Yeshua (Jesus) to hang on the cross for the three days it usually took for the crucified one to die. They wanted His body off the cross before sundown on Wednesday, because full dark on Wednesday was actually the beginning of Thursday and the Festival of First Fruits.
This festival was one of the three pilgrimage festivals, where people brought their agricultural tithes to the temple. So, just as they were about to kill the L-rd, they discovered that He was already dead and piercing Him in the side, confirmed that His heart had stopped, because blood and water came out – His circulation had stopped.
He was taken down and buried and the tomb was sealed in the night of Wednesday, which on the Jewish calendar, was already Thursday. He remained in the tomb all day and night for three days: Thursday, Friday and Saturday – sunset to sunset.
Sometime after sunset on Saturday, He rose from the dead. Sunset on Saturday is the start of Sunday, which is the first day of the week and was “after three days” since His burial. He arose on the 19th of Nisan on the Jewish calendar and the early church would celebrate this amazing miracle “after three days” from the annual Jewish celebration of Passover.
Sometime in the early centuries of the church, after Jewish believers had been excluded, the now fully gentile church, decided to fix the date of the resurrection on a special Sunday, which is now called Easter Sunday, and the resurrection is no longer calculated from Passover.
The resurrection happened “after three days”, which just happened to be Sunday, but nowhere in the Scriptures does Sunday become a special day, or a holy day. The special day and the holy day always needs to be “after three days” from Passover.
Yeshua (Jesus) is called our Sabbath. He is never called our Sunday. We were never given the biblical mandate to change the date when we celebrated the resurrection and to celebrate it apart from its relationship to Passover is a violation of the actual biblical chronology.
A group of gentile believers refused to participate in this departure from the biblical chronology and they were called quatordecimins (keepers of of the fourth of the ten), since whenever Passover falls (or any of the other biblical feasts), is considered a sabbath.
The early church committed a double violation. They abandoned the weekly Sabbath, which is the only day of the L-rd, which the Bible recognizes and the abandoned observing the resurrection in conjunction with Passover, the most important annual sabbath.
Judaism does not consider a part of a day, a whole day and if you consider Good Friday, the day in which He was crucified, the resurrection would not have occurred sometime on Wednesday. Hey, guess what, that is why we are celebrating His resurrection “after three days” and never in relation to the position of any supposed special Sunday.
Saturday is the day of the L-rd and we should always calculate the resurrection in relation to “after three days” from Passover. May you have a blessed celebration of His resurrection.
We celebrate the resurrection and not Easter. We are not hostile to how the gentile church observes His death and resurrection. We just follow the biblical chronology because we follow the Living Word of G-d, who is our Messiah. May the L-rd show His people how to get it right, both Jew and Gentile.
On Wednesday next week, we will proclaim with great joy: He is risen, yes, He is risen indeed!