The Case for the Pre-Trib Ratpure, Part Two – The Date of Firtsfruits and the Omer

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You are reading this correctly – this is part two of the series, and it is not the counting of the omer specifically.  This will be an explanation of the start of Firstfruits and the start of the counting of the Omer.

Due to the length of this project, here is the link to the numbered page PDF version:

The Case for the Pre-Trib Rapture, Part Two

I was all set to start the omer project when the Lord emphasized that I needed to give a “minor” explanation of when Firstfruits and the counting of the omer started.  Originally, what you are about to read was going to be considerably smaller, and a section inside the omer project.

When I started putting this together, the Lord began to emphasize what He wanted included, and why.  Soon, it was clear that this would be a project of it’s own accord.  So, the question is “why?”

The counting of the Omer is one of the most amazing pictures of the rapture in all of the Bible.  It is also proof of the divinity and resurrection of Christ.  The Omer is a unit of measure.  On the second day of the Passover, in the days of the Temple, an Omer of barley was cut down and brought to the Temple as an offering.  The grain offering was referred to as the Omer.  However, to fully grasp what we will share on the Omer, you must understand exactly when the count starts.  Therein lies the problem.

The start of the count and the date of Firstfruits is one of the most controversial subjects in the Bible.  It should not be, but to recognize what the Bible actually says is to discard a lot of false doctrine.  The start of the count holds the truth of who Christ is, and the truth of the rapture.  This is one of the select few issues in which we find the building blocks of many false doctrines.  So, it is vigorously debated to support false doctrine over real doctrine.

If we are to present the project on the counting of the Omer, we must first deal with the single most pressing issue on the topic – an issue that exists before we ever even get into the heart of what the Omer actually is!  By tackling this first, it clears up all the mess left from the myriad of false doctrines that subvert this singular day of the year.  When you make it through the Omer project, you will understand why it is critical to address the start of the count first and foremost.

Onward, and upward!

When Does Firstfruits Begin?  

As you will see in a moment, the proper starting point for Firstfruits is a critical proof of Jesus Christ as the Son of God.  However, it is also a prophetic timing marker as well, revealing an astounding picture of the timing of the tribulation and the timing of the rapture.

The Feast of Firstfruits

9 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you come into the land that I give you and reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the priest, 11 and he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, so that you may be accepted. On the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. 

12 And on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb a year old without blemish as a burnt offering to the Lord. 13 And the grain offering with it shall be two tenths of an ephah[b] of fine flour mixed with oil, a food offering to the Lord with a pleasing aroma, and the drink offering with it shall be of wine, a fourth of a hin.[c] 14 And you shall eat neither bread nor grain parched or fresh until this same day, until you have brought the offering of your God: it is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.

The source of the biggest conflict in this discussion is the meaning of “Sabbath” in verse 11.  So, let’s examine this a bit closer and see if what we covered holds.

Leviticus 23:11
HEB: לִֽרְצֹנְכֶ֑ם מִֽמָּחֳרַת֙ הַשַּׁבָּ֔ת יְנִיפֶ֖נּוּ הַכֹּהֵֽן׃
NAS: on the day after the sabbath the priest
KJV: for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest
INT: to be accepted the day the sabbath shall wave the priest

In this verse, the word used is haš·šab·bāṯ, which is used 44 times in the Old Testament.  In every instance, it refers to the weekly Sabbath alone.  It does not indicate any other Sabbath possibility.  This would include the two additional references in verse 15 and 16 where Pentecost is concerned.  It should be noted that the difference between haš·šab·bāṯ and šab·bāṯ is the addition of “the” in most cases.

Leviticus 23:15
HEB: לָכֶם֙ מִמָּחֳרַ֣ת הַשַּׁבָּ֔ת מִיּוֹם֙ הֲבִ֣יאֲכֶ֔ם
NAS: for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day
KJV: unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day
INT: count the day the sabbath the day brought

Leviticus 23:16
HEB: עַ֣ד מִֽמָּחֳרַ֤ת הַשַּׁבָּת֙ הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔ת תִּסְפְּר֖וּ
NAS: the seventh sabbath; then you shall present
KJV: after the seventh sabbath shall ye number
INT: unto to the day sabbath the seventh shall count

Let’s examine Brown-Driver-Briggs and see what is revealed:

Brown-Driver-Briggs

שַׁבָּת 111 noun feminineEx 31:41+ and masculine Isaiah 66:2,6 (under influence of יוֺם in frequent ׳יוֺם הַשּׁ, AlbrZAW xvi (1896), 47) sabbath ( = ת + שׁבת; Late Hebrew שַׁבָּת, Aramaic שַׁבְּתָא, ; perhaps Assyrian šabattum (“”um nu— libbi, day of rest of heart (i.e. propitiation) [of deity]: only in lexical Tablets); compare LotzQuaest. de hist. Sabbati, 1883 JenZA iv (1889), 274 ff. (doubts connection of Assyrian word with Hebrew Sabbath) IdS. S. Times, Jan. 16, 1892, 35 f. Muss-ArnJBL xi (1892), 93 SchwIdioticon 127; see (more recently) JastrAmos. J. Theol. ii (1898), 332 ff. ToyTBL xviii (1899), 190 ff. DrHast. DB SABBATH (1902) ZimKAT 3. 592 ff.; ZMG 1904, 199 ff. [15th day of month so called]458ff.); — absolute ׳שׁ Exodus 16:25 64t.; construct שַׁבַּת Exodus 16:23 10t.; suffix שַׁבַּתּוֺ Numbers 28:10 3t. suffix; plural שַׁבָּתוֺת Leviticus 23:15 7t.; construct שַׁבְּתתֹ Leviticus 23:38; Leviticus 25:3,8; suffix שַׁבְּתוֺתַי Isaiah 56:4 +, etc.; —
1 sabbath:

a. primitive ליהוה ׳שׁ Exodus 16:25 (J), Exodus 20:10 = Deuteronomy 5:14 (ten words) Leviticus 23:3 (P); ׳הַשּׁ Exodus 16:29 (J); בַּיוֺם ׳הַשְּׁבִיעִי שׁ Exodus 16:26 (J); on seventh day יוֺם הַשַּׁבָּת Exodus 20:8,11 = Deuteronomy 5:12,15 (ten words), so throughout; Exodus 31:15 3t. P, Jeremiah 17:21; Ezekiel 46:4; Nehemiah 10:32 9t., + (“” new moon) Isaiah 1:13; Ezekiel 46:1; 2 Kings 4:23; Amos 8:5, compare Isaiah 66:23 (twice in verse), also חג and מועד Hosea 2:13; time of change of watch in temple 2 Kings 11:5,7,9 (twice in verse) = 2 Chronicles 23:4,8 (twice in verse); מיסך ׳הַשּׁ (in temple) 2 Kings 16:18; originally observed simply by abstinence from labour Exodus 20:9,10 = Deuteronomy 5:12-14; Exodus 23:12 (E), Exodus 34:21 (J; BrHex. 181-195).

1.c. intensified by anith. ׳חלּל שׁ Ezekiel 20:13 5t. Ezekiel; compare Nehemiah 13:18. Phrases in H: ׳שׁמר (ה)שׁ Leviticus 19:3,10; Leviticus 26:2, then P Exodus 31:13,14,16; compare Isaiah 56:2,4,6; יוֺם קָדְשִׁי, ׳קדושׁ י: Isaiah 58:13 (twice in verse) (with כבּד). H also שַׁבְּתֹתֵיכֶם Leviticus 26:35; ׳מִמָּחֳרַת הַשּׁ Leviticus 23:11,15,16; שַׁבְּתוֺתַי Leviticus 19:3,30; Leviticus 26:2; Isaiah 56:4; Ezekiel 20:12; Ezekiel 22:26, +8 t. Ezekiel; “” מוֺעֵד Lamentations 2:6.d. P gives as basis God’s resting Exodus 20:11; Exodus 31:17; ׳שׁבתות י Leviticus 23:38; קדשׁ ׳שׁ ליהוה Exodus 16:23, compare Nehemiah 9:14, שׁבתון ׳שׁ Exodus 31:15; Exodus 35:2; Leviticus 23:3; ׳עשׂה השׁ Exodus 31:16, בְּשַׁבַּתּוֺ ׳עֹלַת שׁ Numbers 28:10, compare Isaiah 66:23; ׳בְּיוֺם הַשּׁ ׳בְּיוֺם הַשּׁ Leviticus 24:8 on every sabbath, abbreviation שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּת 1 Chronicles 9:32; לַשַּׁבָּתוֺת “” חֳדָשִׁים + מועדים 1 Chronicles 23:31 3t. Chronicles, Nehemiah 10:34 (ל omitted by error); work punished by stoning Numbers 15:32,36; trade prohibited Nehemiah 10:32; Nehemiah 13:15-21.

Here is what we need to notice.  In 1(a), we see that “Sabbath” is specifically “on the seventh day”, as well as several variations of the understanding, such as the seventh day as an instrument of timekeeping.  However, in 1(c) we find something interesting.  Here, “Sabbath” is the same word, only it is intensified by anith.  In plain English, this tells us that it becomes “my Sabbath”, “the Sabbath”, etc.  In other words, it is the exact same Sabbath we see in Leviticus 23:3, with specific emphasis placed on proper ownership.  We can see the exact same script an meaning in other scriptures, such as Exodus 31:14, where the context of that particular block of scripture settles the issue at hand.

We see the prominence of the weekly Sabbath continued in 1(d), where the seventh day Sabbath is now given as the basis for God’s resting, where Sabbath is again linked back to Leviticus 23:3.  The interesting thing about reviewing Sabbath in BDB is that there are no indications of the Sabbath ever being linked to anything other than the seventh day timing requirement.  Remember, the word Sabbath in any form is never used in the actual descriptions of the four spring feasts.  It is used only in determining the start of Firstfruits, the Omer, and Pentecost (firstfruits of the wheat harvest).

Let’s go back to Leviticus 23:3 for a moment, and bring in 23:32:

Leviticus 23:3
HEB: וּבַיּ֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֗י שַׁבַּ֤ת שַׁבָּתוֹן֙ מִקְרָא־
NAS: day there is a sabbath of complete rest,
KJV: day [is] the sabbath of rest,
INT: day the seventh sabbath of complete convocation

Leviticus 23:32
HEB: שַׁבַּ֨ת שַׁבָּת֥וֹן הוּא֙
NAS: It is to be a sabbath of complete rest
KJV: It [shall be] unto you a sabbath of rest,
INT: sabbath of complete he

I highlighted the text for both, as there is a distinction that needs addressed.  First of all, the reason we need to examine verse 32 is that this is the Day of Atonement.  As we covered earlier in the Shemitah section, the use of the word “Sabbath” in the Day of Atonement was a prophetic reference that reveals this to be the Second Coming of Christ.  As such, it reveals another piece of the puzzle in our current discussion.

One of the reasons behind the “High Sabbath” designation is an assumption based in part on the Day of Atonement.  Actually, the assumption of the High Sabbath stems from the fact that the three fall feasts contain Sabbath declarations – with Tabernacles declaring the first and seventh days as Sabbaths (as actual seventh day Sabbaths, which gets missed, I might add) – coupled with the Sabbath component in the calculation of the Omer and Pentecost.  Also, the first and seventh day requirements for Tabernacles are simply “transferred” to the first and seventh days of Unleavened Bread.  If day one and seven of Tabernacles are a Sabbath, then surely day one and seven of Unleavened Bread are Sabbaths as well!  We will discuss this further in later sections of this project.

Where the Day of Atonement is concerned, we see a slight difference in the original Hebrew script that begs a question.  Is there a difference between “the Sabbath”, and “a Sabbath”?

In the examples above, I highlighted the translation in the King James, as it accurately renders the context in question.  Stated differently, it catches the subtle difference which has helped lead to the assumptions we are now discussing.  So, is there a difference between the two versions?  Is the Bible telling us that there is “the Sabbath”, as well as “just Sabbaths”, if you will?

Truthfully, the answer can be both yes and no with each proving that the seventh day Sabbath is the day in which Firstfruits, the Omer, and Pentecost are derived.  If the answer is no, then Sabbath used in Leviticus 23 is the seventh day Sabbath alone.  That should come as no surprise.  However, if there is a difference in the meaning of “the Sabbath” and “a Sabbath”, then something more amazing emerges.

If “a Sabbath” is meant to indicate a Sabbath that was in addition to the weekly Sabbath, then the absence of any such designation in the four spring feasts means that they are not “High Sabbaths” either!  Remember, the distinction of “a Sabbath” is found in the Day of Atonement, and NOT the spring feasts.  That means it is there, and was intentionally not included in the spring feasts, yet was intentionally included in the fall feasts.  If “a Sabbath” is meant to distinguish between the seventh day Sabbath and another Sabbath that comes solely on the feast days, then the fact that this designation is not used in the spring feasts eliminates the possibility that they are in fact “High Sabbaths”.

In an interesting side note to this, the oldest extant manuscripts for the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) contain no vowels in their writings.  The Aleppo Codex represents the oldest viable text of the Hebrew Bible, being a bit older than the accepted source for all Hebrew Bibles – the Westminster Leningrad Codex.  What that means is this.  When the vowels are removed, and the consonants alone remain, all distinctions with regards to the Sabbath disappear.  This means that all references to the Sabbath become the seventh day Sabbath alone.

In other words, the Sabbath is just that – the Sabbath.  It is a day that comes every seventh day of the week .

It should also be noted that this premise is slowly being confirmed by the Dead Sea Scrolls, which contains numerous books of the Old Testament which are as much as 1,500 years older than the Aleppo and WLC codices.

All of this is confirmed further still by the Septuagint, which holds the distinction of being far older than the Aleppo and WLC codices as well.  If you are not familiar with the Septuagint, it is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible.  After the return from Babylon and the conquest of Alexander the Great, the Hebrew Bible was translated into Greek, as the majority of Jews no longer spoke or read Hebrew.  Greek had become the predominate language.

Here is the thing.  Without Hebrew manuscripts, the Septuagint represents the oldest, most reliable source for the Old Testament.  It was directly translated from the same scrolls that Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah would have read, written and studied.  The Septuagint likewise confirms the Sabbath indications in Leviticus 23.   Here is another tidbit for everybody – did you know that the majority of the scriptures quoted in the Gospels are actually from the Septuagint, and NOT the Hebrew Bible?

As we stated earlier, the timing for Firstfruits, the Omer, and Pentecost is essential in the proof of the divinity of Jesus Christ, and proof that He is the Messiah.  To that end, we are going to look at the least considered evidence for the start of Firstfruits, an evidence that seems to get left on the bookshelf when this particular debate breaks out.

This debates runs headlong into the discussion on when exactly Jesus was crucified as well.  By now, most Christians have some idea that Good Friday was not the day that Jesus was crucified.  That is not where the debate comes in (usually, though there are still teachers that try to fit everything into the Friday-Sunday window).  The debate comes in exactly which day Jesus was crucified.  When we are finished with this particular section, we will have answered irrefutably when Jesus was crucified, and when Firstfruits actually begins.

We mentioned a moment ago that we will be addressing the least covered of all the scriptures that deal with this topic.  Here are the scriptures in question:

Matthew 12:38-40 ESV – Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.  For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

The reason that this block of scripture gets overlooked is the assumption that it does not reveal anything “we don’t already know”.  However, if one thing should be obvious with every project on Trib Rising, the obvious scriptures are anything but.  In these scriptures is the final evidence for both the timing of the crucifixion and Firstfruits.

Here is the question that needs asked – does “three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish” and “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” indicate more than a generic understanding?  Do these statements give us an actually timing key?  The answer is yes on both counts.

Ironically, these seem odd questions for a scripture that actually states a given time frame in what it is describing.  However, we have a terrible habit of not taking the Bible at its word, as evidenced by the assertion that Friday to Sunday qualifies as the time period the Bible was addressing.  Yet, here we are.  What’s more, the myriad of resources and websites that cannot seem to agree on the exact timing likewise indicate that what we will cover here seems to have been missed by no shortage of scholars.

To start this discussion, let’s make a novel observation – we need to actually look at Jonah to see how long he was in the great fish.

Jonah 1:17 ESV – And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

There are three pieces of information that we need to confirm in this scripture.  We need to lock down the exact meaning of “three”, “days and nights”, and “in the belly”.  In these three items we will find our answer, and can take that answer forward into Matthew 12 to confirm the actually revelation of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  With that, let’s start with “three” and go from there.

In Jonah 1:17, there are two variations of the word “three”, equating to “three” and “and three”:

Šə·lō·šāh – Jonah 1:17
HEB: בִּמְעֵ֣י הַדָּ֔ג שְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה יָמִ֖ים וּשְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה
NAS: of the fish three days
KJV: of the fish three days
INT: the stomach of the fish three days and three

Ū·šə·lō·šāh – Jonah 1:17
HEB: שְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה יָמִ֖ים וּשְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה לֵילֽוֹת
NAS: three days and three nights.
KJV: three days and three nights.
INT: three days and three nights

Strong’s Concordance
shalosh: a three, triad
Original Word: שָׁלוֹשׁ
Part of Speech: Noun
Transliteration: shalosh
Phonetic Spelling: (shaw-loshe’)
Short Definition: three

Brown-Driver-Briggs
שָׁלשׁ, שָׁלוֺשׁ, שְׁלשָׁה 430
noun masculine and feminine a three, triad (Late Hebrew id.; שלש SI2; שלשן30MI2; Phoenician שלש; Assyrian šalaštu, šalatu; Sabean שלתֿ HomChr 47, 124, but also תֿלתֿ, etc., Id.47, A. u. A. ii. 175 SabDenkmNo. 31, 8; Arabic , ; Ethiopic   Aramaic תְּלָתָא, ; Nabataean תלת Lzb377; Palmyrene תלת (in תלת מאה) ReckendZMg xiii (1888), 408; see also Köii. 1. 208); — masculine שָׁלשׁ וֺשׁ- rare, chiefly late), with

noun feminine Amos 4:8 90t., also construct שְׁלשׁ Genesis 18:6 65t. (but Genesis 38:24 read perhaps שְׁלשֶׁת Samaritan, compare Di and others), שְׁלָשֿׁ Exodus 21:11; feminine שְׁלשָׁה (וֺשָׁה- rare, chiefly late), with noun masculine Genesis 6:10 149t., also construct שְׁלשֶׁת Amos 4:4 92t. (3 1013 are additional; on rare exceptions to rule of Gender compare Ges§ 97c), suffix שְׁלָשְׁתְּכֶם Numbers 12:4, שְׁלָשְׁתָּם Numbers 12:4; Ezekiel 40:10; Ezekiel 41:16; — three (Hexateuch chiefly P):

1 no other number:

a. before plural noun, שָׁלשׁ51t., e.g. אַמוֺת ׳שׁ Exodus 27:1 +, בָּאַמָּה ׳שׁ 1 Kings 7:27, שְׁלשָׁה90t., e.g. Genesis 18:2 + (so always שְׁלשׁ, שְׁלשֶׁת; read מִשְׁלשֶׁת Genesis 38:24 Sam Di; = ׳מִשְּׁ, from מִןֿ); after noun (late: on 1 Samuel 1:24 see [שִׁלֵּשׁ) 1 Chronicles 25:5 17t.; noun omitted 1 Samuel 17:4; 2 Samuel 24:12 42t.

Normally, we have a direct in source reference that makes study considerably easier.  However, in the case of common words and numbers, a complete listing of every reference found in the Bible is not possible.  In that instance, we have to actually examine the Hebrew script itself to match up the proper definition.  Here is the operative piece – , שְׁלשָׁה 90t., e.g. Genesis 18:2.

This is the exact script we find in Jonah 1:17.  This gives us a definition of “three – no other number”.  This tells us that “three” means exactly that – the number three.  Now, we can bring in “days” and “nights”, to see if there is something there that changes the definition of either in a way that is not obvious.

Day – yā·mîm — 269 Occurrences

Jonah 1:17
HEB: הַדָּ֔ג שְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה יָמִ֖ים וּשְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה לֵילֽוֹת׃
NAS: three days and three
KJV: three days and three
INT: of the fish three days and three nights

Strong’s Concordance
yom: day
Original Word: יוֹם
Part of Speech: Noun Masculine
Transliteration: yom
Phonetic Spelling: (yome)
Short Definition: day

Brown-Driver-Briggs

יוֺם2285 noun masculine Genesis 1:5 day (Late Hebrew id.; Aramaic יומָא, ; Phoenician ים; MI5 ימן, suffix ימי Genesis 1:6; Genesis 1:9; Genesis 1:33, plural construct ימי Genesis 1:8, suffix 3masculine singular ימה; SI3 ים; Zinjirli יום DHMSendsch Gloss; Plam. יום VogNo. 123a, Oxon. iii.; Arabic ; Ethiopic  Sabean יום, ים MordtZMG 1876, 29, יומה DHMZMG 1883, 328 SabDenkm61; Assyrian ummu, ûmu COTGloss; derivation unknown; on √ and relation of יום to Phoenician ימם, Aramaic ימם, , see NöZMG 1886, 721 BaZMG 1887, 632 f.) — יוֺם absolute Genesis 1:5 +; construct Genesis 2:4 +; suffix יוֺמְךָ Jeremiah 50:31; יוֺמוֺ Exodus 5:13 22t.; יוֺמָם Jeremiah 50:27; Ezekiel 21:34; dual יוֺמַ֫יִם Exodus 21:21; יוֺמָ֑יִם Exodus 16:29; Numbers 11:19; יֹמַ֫יִם Numbers 9:22; יֹמָ֑יִם Hosea 6:2 ; plural יָמִים Genesis 4:3 +; יָמִם; Numbers 6:5; יָמִין (Aramaic form; Ges§ 87, 1 a) Daniel 12:13; מִיָּמִים יָמִ֫ימָה Exodus 13:10 4t.; construct יְמֵי Genesis 3:14 +; יְמוֺת Deuteronomy 32:7; Psalm 90:15 ; suffix יָמַי Job 7:6 9t.; יָמָ֑י Genesis 29:21+ 8 t.; יָמֵינוּ Jeremiah 35:8 7t., etc.; —

2 Day as division of time:

  1. to denote duration of various other acts or states: seven days Genesis 7:4,10; Genesis 8:10,12; forty days Genesis 7:17; Genesis 8:6 (all J); 150 days Genesis 7:24; Genesis 8:3 (both P), 1 Samuel 25:38; 1 Kings 8:65 (twice in verse); Jeremiah 42:7; Ezekiel 4:5,6; 1 Chronicles 9:25; Ezra 6:22; Esther 1:4 etc. In Esther 4:16

We have the same issue with “day” that we have with “three” – there are far too many occurrences for any resource to list them all.  So, we take the given examples, and match up the exact text to our particular scripture.  In this case, we find what we need in Genesis 8:10, 12.

All three use the exact same script for “day” – יָמִ֖ים

This gives us a combined definition of “Day – as a division of time, denoting a duration of various other acts or states”.

Let’s bring in “night”:

Night – lê·lō·wṯ — 4 Occurrences

Jonah 1:17
HEB: יָמִ֖ים וּשְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה לֵילֽוֹת׃
NAS: days and three nights.
KJV: days and three nights.
INT: days and three nights

Brown-Driver-Briggs

לַ֫יְלָה, לַ֫יִל242
noun masculine Genesis 40:5 night (Late Hebrew id.; MI15 (ב)ללה; Aramaic לֵילָא, , ; Arabic , ; Ethiopic  all = night; Assyrian lîlâtu, evening DlHWB; meaning of √ dubious; form probably לילי, and ending הָ֯ radical, and not ה locative, NöM 127 DlProl. 128 Ges§ 90, 2. with R. Köii. p. 57, R. 1); — absolute לַ֫יְלָה Genesis 19:33 214t. + 2 t. Qr. (see below); לָ֑יְלָה Genesis 1:5 3t.; לַ֫יִל Isaiah 16:3 + Proverbs 31:18; Lamentations 2:19 Kt (Qr לַיְלָה); לֵיל Isaiah 15:1 (twice in verse); Isaiah 21:1; construct לֵיל Exodus 12:42; Isaiah 30:29; plural absolute לֵילוֺת 1 Samuel 30:12 4t.; construct id., Isaiah 21:8 5t.; —

1 literally night, opposed to day, Genesis 8:22 (J), Deuteronomy 1:33 + very often (see יוֺם); alternation of day and night divinely ordained Genesis 1:5 (P), Jeremiah 33:20 (twice in verse); Jeremiah 33:25 +; ׳מִיּוֺם עַדלֿ Isaiah 38:12,18 i.e within one whole day; as close of day, ׳עַדלֿ2Chronicles 35:14; as time of sacred (לֵיל) חָג Isaiah 30:29; of suffering and weeping לֵילוֺת עָמָל Job 7:3, compare Psalm 6:7; Psalm 77:3 etc.; of pious desires, prayer, praise, meditation, etc (sometimes “” by day) Isaiah 26:9; Job 35:10; Psalm 1:2; Psalm 22:3; Psalm 42:9; Psalm 77:7; Psalm 88:2; Psalm 92:3; Psalm 119:5 (twice in verse), compare Psalm 16:7; Psalm 17:8; of night-service in Temple Psalm 134:1; of sudden assault, or destruction, Isaiah 15:1; Jeremiah 6:5; Obadiah 5; Job 27:20; Job 34:20,25; Job 36:20; divided into watches Psalm 90:4; לֵיל שִׁמֻּרִים Exodus 12:42 see below שׁמר; with number, denoting duration of time, forty days and forty nights Genesis 7:4,12; Exodus 24:18; Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 9:9,11,18,25; Deuteronomy 10:10; 1 Kings 19:8; three days and three nights (שְׁלשָׁה לֵילוֺת) 1 Samuel 30:12; Jonah 2:1; seven days and seven nights (שִׁבְעַת לֵילוֺת) Job 2:13 ; ׳חֲלוֺם הַלּ Genesis 20:3; Genesis 31:24 (both E), 1 Kings 3:5; ׳מַרְאֹת הַלּ Genesis 46:2 (E); ׳חֶזְיוֺן ל Job 20:8; Job 33:15, ׳חֶזְיֹנוֺת ל Job 4:13, ׳חֲלוֺם חֲזוֺן ל Isaiah 29:7 (compare Micah 3:6 below) ; ׳בִּןלֿ Jonah 4:10 (twice in verse) see בֵּן

Here we find the same thing that we found with “three” and “day”.  So, we must again look for the exact script for “nights” in Jonah 1:17 in the given examples in the resources we have.  In this case, we find our answer in 1 Samuel 30:12.  For that matter, we can bring in the four occurrences for this particular transliteration of “day”, and you can look to see if they are likewise included in the references given above.

Englishman’s Concordance

lê·lō·wṯ — 4 Occurrences

1 Samuel 30:12
HEB: יָמִ֖ים וּשְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה לֵילֽוֹת׃ ס
NAS: days and three nights.
KJV: days and three nights.
INT: days and three nights

Job 2:13
HEB: יָמִ֖ים וְשִׁבְעַ֣ת לֵיל֑וֹת וְאֵין־ דֹּבֵ֤ר
NAS: and seven nights with no one
KJV: and seven nights, and none spake
INT: days and seven nights no speaking

Psalm 16:7
HEB: יְעָצָ֑נִי אַף־ לֵ֝יל֗וֹת יִסְּר֥וּנִי כִלְיוֹתָֽי׃
NAS: my mind instructs me in the night.
KJV: also instruct me in the night seasons.
INT: has counseled Indeed the night instructs my mind

Jonah 1:17
HEB: יָמִ֖ים וּשְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה לֵילֽוֹת׃
NAS: days and three nights.
KJV: days and three nights.
INT: days and three nights

This gives us a definition of “night, literally night, as opposed to day”.

When each of these pieces of information are taken together, we find that Jonah was indeed in the great fish for three full, literal days and nights.  I know that this seems an odd “revelation”, but this is critical to understanding the truth about Firstfruits and the Messiah.

With that, we need to bring back the scripture from Matthew where Jesus reveals the sign of Jonah:

Matthew 12:40 ESV – For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

We know that Jonah was in the fish a full three days and three nights.  So, the question is this – is there anything in the original Greek which permits a different timing than we had with Jonah?  Even though Jesus declares three days and three nights, does the original Greek bear out a full three of each?  Let’s take this in the same order as we used for Jonah – “three”, “days”, and “nights”.

τρεῖς (treis) — 44 Occurrences
Matthew 12:40 Adj-AFP
GRK: τοῦ κήτους τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ
NAS: as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS
KJV: Jonas was three days and
INT: of the great fish three days and

Matthew 12:40 Adj-AFP
GRK: ἡμέρας καὶ τρεῖς νύκτας οὕτως
NAS: DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS
KJV: days and three nights in
INT: days and three nights thus

Matthew 12:40 Adj-AFP
GRK: τῆς γῆς τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ
NAS: of Man be three days
KJV: of man be three days and
INT: of the earth three days and

Matthew 12:40 Adj-AFP
GRK: ἡμέρας καὶ τρεῖς νύκτας
NAS: days and three nights
KJV: days and three nights in
INT: days and three nights

For the record, “three” is used four separate time in 12:40.  I included all four times, to confirm that all four where the exact same script and text.

Strong’s Concordance
treis and tria: three
Original Word: τρεῖς, τρία
Part of Speech: Adjective
Transliteration: treis and tria
Phonetic Spelling: (trice)
Short Definition: three
Definition: three.

NAS Exhaustive Concordance
Word Origin
a prim. cardinal number
Definition
three
NASB Translation
fifty-three* (1), thirty (1), three (66), twenty-three* (1).

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 5140: τρεῖς

τρεῖς, οἱ, αἱ, τρία, τά, three: Matthew 12:40; Mark 8:2; Luke 1:56; John 2:19, and often. (From HOmer down.)

There is little analysis required here.  Simply stated, “three” means exactly that – three.

Days – ἡμέρας (hēmeras) — 127 Occurrences

Matthew 12:40 N-AFP
GRK: κήτους τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ τρεῖς
NAS: WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE
KJV: was three days and three
INT: great fish three days and three

Matthew 12:40 N-AFP
GRK: γῆς τρεῖς ἡμέρας καὶ τρεῖς
NAS: of Man be three days and three nights
KJV: be three days and three
INT: earth three days and three

We have two occurrences of “days” in 12:40, so I have included both of them here.

Strong’s Concordance
hémera: day
Original Word: ἡμέρα, ας, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Transliteration: hémera
Phonetic Spelling: (hay-mer’-ah)
Short Definition: a day
Definition: a day, the period from sunrise to sunset.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 2250: ἡμέρα

ἡμέρα, ἡμέρας, ἡ (from ἥμερος, ἡμορον, properly, ἡμέρα ὥρα the mild time, cf. Lob. Paral., p. 359; (but cf. Curtius, p. 594f; Vanicek, p. 943)); Hebrew יום; day; used
1. of the natural day, or the interval between sunrise and sunset, as distinguished from and contrasted with night;

a. properly, ἡμέρας, by day, in the daytime (cf. colloquial English of a day; Winers Grammar, § 30, 11; Buttmann, § 132, 26), Revelation 21:25; ἡμέρας καί νυκτός, day and night (cf. Winer’s Grammar, 552 (513f); Lob. Paralip., p. 62f; Ellicott on 1 Timothy 5:5), Mark 5:5; Luke 18:7; Acts 9:24; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; (2 Thessalonians 3:8 L text T Tr WH); 1 Timothy 5:5; 2 Timothy 1:3; Revelation 4:8; Revelation 7:15; Revelation 12:10; Revelation 14:11; Revelation 20:10; ἡμέρας μέσης, at midday, Acts 26:13; νύκτα καί ἡμέραν (Winers Grammar, 230 (216); Buttmann, § 131, 11), Mark 4:27; Acts 20:31; 2 Thessalonians 3:8 R G; hyperbolically equivalent to without intermission, λατρεύειν, Luke 2:37; Acts 26:7; ἡμέρας ὁδός, a day’s journey, Luke 2:44 (Genesis 31:23 (μιᾶς ἡμέρας ὁδόν, Josephus, contra Apion 2, 2, 9; cf. Winers Grammar, 188 (177); B. D. American edition, under the phrase, Day’s Journey)); τάς ἡμέρας, accusative of time (Winers Grammar, and Buttmanns Grammar, as above), during the days, Luke 21:37; ἐκείνην τήν ἡμέραν, John 1:39 (40); πᾶσαν ἡμέραν, daily, Acts 5:42; ἐκ δηναρίου τήν ἡμέραν, so sometimes we say, for a shilling the day, Matthew 20:2; δώδεκα σισιν ὧραι τῆς ἡμέρας, John 20:9; to the number of days are added as many nights, Matthew 4:2; Matthew 12:40; γίνεται ἡμέρα, day dawns, it grows light, Luke 4:42; Luke 6:13; Luke 22:66; Acts 12:18; Acts 16:35; Acts 23:12; Acts 27:29, 33, 39 (Xenophon, an. 2, 2, 13; 7, 2, 34); περιπατεῖν ἐν τήν ἡμέρα, John 11:9; ἡ ἡμέρα φαίνει, Revelation 8:12; ἡ ἡμέρα κλινεῖ, the day declines, it is toward evening, Luke 9:12; Luke 24:29.

Let’s go ahead and bring in “nights”, and complete the analysis for both at the same time.

Nights – νύκτας (nyktas) — 4 Occurrences

Matthew 12:40 N-AFP
GRK: καὶ τρεῖς νύκτας οὕτως ἔσται
NAS: AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY
KJV: and three nights in the whale’s
INT: and three nights thus will be

Matthew 12:40 N-AFP
GRK: καὶ τρεῖς νύκτας
NAS: and three nights in the heart
KJV: and three nights in the heart
INT: and three nights

Strong’s Concordance
nux: night, by night
Original Word: νύξ, νυκτός, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Transliteration: nux
Phonetic Spelling: (noox)
Short Definition: the night, night-time
Definition: the night, night-time.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 3571: νύξ

νύξ, genitive νυκτός, ἡ (from a root meaning ‘to disappear'; cf. Latinnox, German nacht, English night; Curtius, § 94) (the Sept. for לַיִל and לַיְלָה) (from HOmer down), night: Mark 6:48; Acts 16:33; Acts 23:23; John 13:30; Revelation 21:25; Revelation 22:5; ἵνα ἡ νύξ μή φοαινη τό τρίτον αὐτῆς, i. e. that the night should want a third part of the light which the moon and the stars give it, Revelation 8:12 (others understand this of the want of the light etc. for a third part of the night’s duration); genitive νυκτός, by night (Winers Grammar, § 30, 11; Buttmann, § 132, 26), Matthew 2:14; Matthew 28:13; Luke 2:8 (but note here the article; some make τῆς νυκτός depend on φυλακάς); John 3:2; Acts 9:25; 1 Thessalonians 5:7; νυκτός καί ἡμέρας, Mark 5:5; 1 Thessalonians 2:9; 1 Thessalonians 3:10; 1 Timothy 5:5 (where see Ellicott on the order); ἡμέρας καί νυκτός, Luke 18:7; Acts 9:24; Revelation 4:8; Revelation 7:15; Revelation 12:10, etc.; μέσης νυκτός, at midnight, Matthew 25:6; in answer to the question when: ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτί, this night, Luke 12:20; Luke 17:34; Acts 27:23; τῇ νυκτί ἐκείνῃ, Acts 12:6; τῇ ἐπιούσῃ νυκτί, Acts 23:11; in answer to the question how long: νύκτα καί ἡμέραν, Luke 2:37; Acts 20:31; Acts 26:7; differently in Mark 4:27 (night and day, namely, applying himself to what lie is here said to be doing); τάς νύκτας, during the nights, every night, Luke 21:37; νύκτας τεσσαράκοντα, Matthew 4:2; τρεῖς, ; διά τῆς νυκτός, see διά, A. II. 1 b.; δι’ ὅλης (τῆς) νυκτός, the whole night through, all night, Luke 5:5; ἐν νυκτί, when he was asleep, Acts 18:9; (κλέπτης) ἐν νυκτί, 1 Thessalonians 5:2, and Rec. in 2 Peter 3:10; ἐν τῇ νυκτί, in (the course of) the night, John 11:10; ἐν τῇ νυκτί ταύτῃ, Matthew 26:31, 34; Mark 14:30; ἐν τῇ νυκτί ἡ κτλ. 1 Corinthians 11:23; κατά μέσον τῆς νυκτός, about midnight, Acts 27:27. Metaphorically, the time when work ceases, i. e. the time of death, John 9:4; the time for deeds of sin and shame, the time of moral stupidity and darkness, Romans 13:12; the time when the weary and also the drunken give themselves up to slumber, put for torpor and sluggishness, 1 Thessalonians 5:5.

We have the same situation with “nights” in the New Testament that we had with “three” and “days” earlier.  Multiple uses do not permit a detailed listing of every example.  In this case, we have highlighted Luke 21:37 and Matthew 4:2. As they are the same script, meaning and example as Matthew 12:40.

What we have in the evidence above is a clear cut understanding of “three days and three nights”.  When the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ spoke these words, He was not giving us some obscure reference that did not mean what it appeared to mean.  There is no way around it – three days and three nights means exactly that.

It means three full days and three full nights.

What you must bear in mind as you review the evidence above, is that each piece must be taken together.  Here is what I mean.  Let’s combine the individual pieces for “three”, “days” and “nights” in the Greek:

Three

a day, the period from sunrise to sunset.

  1. of the natural day, or the interval between sunrise and sunset, as distinguished from and contrasted with night;a. properly, ἡμέρας, by day, in the daytime

to the number of days are added as many nights, Matthew 4:2; Matthew 12:40;

νύξ, genitive νυκτός, ἡ (from a root meaning ‘to disappear'; cf. Latinnox, German nacht, English night; Curtius, § 94) (the Sept. for לַיִל and לַיְלָה) (from HOmer down), night:

τάς νύκτας, during the nights, every night, Luke 21:37; νύκτας τεσσαράκοντα, Matthew 4:2; 

When you put these pieces together, it confirms what we have already stated, and what was revealed in Jonah.  Both Jesus and Jonah spent three days and three nights in their respective locations.

There is something else that we need to examine in the evidence given above.  Rather, I did not include it yet, though it was a part of the studies where this material comes from.  In the evidence for “day” in the Greek, there was a curious separation that caught my attention.  It did so because of what it revealed in the total picture.  With that, let’s look at something that was also found in the definition of “days” in the Greek:

  1. of the civil day, or the space of twenty-four hours (thus including the night): Matthew 6:34; Mark 6:21; Luke 13:14, etc.; opposed to an hour, Matthew 25:13; to hours, months, years, Revelation 9:15; Galatians 4:10; ἡ ἐν ἡμέρα τρυφή, the revealing of a day, i. e. ephemeral, very brief, 2 Peter 2:13 (others refer this to 1 b. above); ἑπτάκις τῆς ἡμέρας seven times in the (space of a) day, Luke 17:4; the dative ἡμέρα of the day on (in) which (cf. Winers Grammar, § 31, 9; Buttmann, § 133 (26)): as τρίτῃ ἡμέρα, Matthew 16:21; Mark 9:31 (Rec.); Luke 17:29; Acts 2:41, etc.; ἡμέρα καί ἡμέρα, day by day, every day, 2 Corinthians 4:16 (after the Hebrew וָיום יום Esther 3:4, where the Sept. καθ’ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν, and יום יום Psalm 67:20 (), where the Sept. ἡμέραν καθ’ ἡμέραν; (cf. Winer’s Grammar, 463 (432))); ἡμέραν ἐξ ἡμέρας (see ἐκ, IV. 2), 2 Peter 2:8; as an accusative of time (Winers Grammar, 230 (215f); Buttmann, § 131, 11): ὅλην τήν ἡμέραν, Romans 8:36; Romans 10:21; μίαν ἡμέραν, Acts 21:7; and in the plural, John 2:12; John 4:40; John 11:6; Acts 9:19; Acts 10:48; Acts 16:12; Acts 20:6; Acts 21:4, 10; Acts 25:6, 14; Acts 28:7, 12 (L dative), 14; Galatians 1:18; Revelation 11:3, 9. joined with prepositions: ἀπό with the genitive from … forth, from … on, Matthew 22:46; John 11:53; Acts 10:30; Acts 20:18; Philippians 1:5; ἄχρι with the genitive until, up to, Matthew 24:38; Luke 1:20; Luke 17:27; Acts 1:2 ( Tdf.); ; ἄχρι πέντε ἡμερῶν, until five days had passed, i. e. after five days, Acts 20:6; μέχρι with the genitive until, Matthew 28:15 (L Tr, WH in brackets); ἕως with the genitive until, Matthew 27:64; Acts 1:22 (T ἄχρι); Romans 11:8; διά with the genitive, see διά, A. II.; πρό with the genitive before, John 12:1 (on which see πρό, b.); ἐν with the dative singular, Matthew 24:50; Luke 1:59; John 5:9; 1 Corinthians 10:8 (L T Tr WH text omit ἐν); Hebrews 4:4, etc.; ἐν with the dative plural, Matthew 27:40; Mark 15:29 (L T Tr omit; WH brackets ἐν); John 2:19 (Tr WH brackets ἐν), 20, etc.; εἰς, unto (against), John 12:7; Revelation 9:15; ἐπί with the accusative for, (German auf …hin), Acts 13:31 (for many days successively); ; Hebrews 11:30; καθ’ ἡμέραν, daily (Winer’s Grammar, 401 (374f)), Matthew 26:55; Mark 14:49; Luke 16:19; Luke 22:53; Acts 2:46; Acts 3:2; Acts 16:5; Acts 19:9; 1 Corinthians 15:31; 2 Corinthians 11:28; Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 10:11; also τό καθ’ ἡμέραν, Luke 11:3; Luke 19:47; Acts 17:11 (L T Tr text omit; WH brackets τό), (Polybius 4, 18, 2; cf. Matthiae, ii., p. 734; (Jelf, § 456); Bernhardy (1829), p. 329; Buttmann, 96 (84)); καθ’ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν, every day, Hebrews 3:13 (Xenophon, mem. 4, 2, 12); also κατά πᾶσαν ἡμέραν, Acts 17:17; μετά, after, Matthew 17:1; Matthew 26:2; Matthew 27:63; Mark 8:31; Luke 1:24; John 4:43; John 20:26; Acts 1:5; Acts 15:36, etc. οὐ πλείους εἰσιν ἐμοί ἡμέραι ἀφ’ ἧς, namely, ἡμέρας, Acts 24:11. A specification of the number of days is thrust into the discourse in the nominative, as it were adverbially and without any grammatical connection (cf. Fritzsche on Mark, p. 310f; Winers Grammar, 518 (481) and § 62, 2; (Buttmann, 139 (122))): ἤδη ἡμέραι (Rec. ἡμέρας, by correction) τρεῖς, Matthew 15:32; Mark 8:2; ὡσεί ἡμέραι ὀκτώ, Luke 9:28. ἡμερῶν διαγενομένων τινων, certain days having intervened, Acts 25:13. ἡμέρα and ἡμέραι are used with the genitive of a noun denoting a festival or some solemnity usually celebrated on a fixed day: τῶν ἀζύμων, Acts 12:3; τῆς πεντεκοστης, Acts 2:1; Acts 20:16; τοῦ σαββάτου, Luke 13:14, 16; John 19:31; ἡ κυριακῇ ἡμέρα, the Lord’s day, i. e. the day on which Christ returned to life, Sunday therefore, Revelation 1:10; the following phrases also have reference to sacred or festival days: κρίνειν ἡμέραν παῥ ἡμέραν, to exalt one day above another, and κρίνειν πᾶσαν ἡμέραν, to esteem every day sacred, Romans 14:5; φρονεῖν τήν ἡμέραν, to regard a particular day that is selected for religious services, Romans 14:6; ἡμέρας παρατηρεῖσθαι, to observe days, Galatians 4:10. After the Hebrew usage, which in reference to a definite period of time now elapsed speaks of a certain number of days as fulfilled or completed (see Gesenius under the word מָלֵא), we have the phrases ἐπλήσθησαν αἱ ἡμέραι τῆς λειτουργίας, the days spent in priestly service, Luke 1:23 (when he had been employed in sacred duties for the appointed time); τοῦ περιτεμεῖν αὐτόν, for him to be circumcised, Luke 2:21; τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ αὐτῶν, Luke 2:22; συντελεσθεισῶν ἡμερῶν, Luke 4:2; τελειωσάντων τάς ἡμέρας, when they had spent there the time appointed, Luke 2:43; ἐν τῷ συμπληροῦσθαι τάς ἡμέρας τῆς ἀναλήψεως αὐτοῦ, when the number of days was now being completed which the reception of Jesus into heaven required, i. e. before which that reception could not occur, Luke 9:51; ἡ ἐκπλήρωσις τῶν ἡμερῶν τοῦ ἁγνισμοῦ, the fulfillment of the days required for the purification, Acts 21:26; συντελοῦνται αἱ ἡμέραι, Acts 21:27; ἐν τῷ συμπληροῦσθαι τήν ἡμέραν τῆς Πεντεκοστης, when the measure of time needed for the day of Pentecost was being completed, i. e. on the very day of Pentecost, Acts 2:1. As in some of the examples just adduced ἡμέρα is joined to the genitive of a thing to be done or to happen on a certain day, so also in ἡμέραν τοῦ ἐνταφιασμοῦ, John 12:7; ἀναδείξεως, Luke 1:80. with the genitive of person, ἐν τῇ ἡμέρα σου (but L T Tr WH omit σου) in the day favorable for thee, the day on which salvation is offered thee and can be obtained, Luke 19:42 (Polybius 18, 5, 8 μή παρῇς τόν καιρόν … σῇ νῦν ἐστιν ἡμέρα, σός ὁ καιρός; meus dies est, tempore accepto utimur Seneca, Med. 1017).

This is a daunting volume of information.  However, it was important to share it for what it reveals.

  1. of the civil day, or the space of twenty-four hours (thus including the night):

In this very lengthy block of evidence, we find that it deals with various aspects of Greek script that deal with the civil day.  It is also important for what it does not reveal.  The use of “days” in Matthew 12:40 does not fit the definition given above!

I actually have two reasons for pointing this out.  The first is, of course, because there is critical evidence in what we find here.  However, the second is for an opportunity.  I speak many times about the apparent lack of critical observation skills in the Body of Christ.  This lends itself to an equally unflattering inability to ask critical questions based on critical observations.  Here is what I mean.  After reading the definition and commentary above, how many of you zero’d in on “or the space of twenty-four hours?.  It would seem a natural thing to do.  After all, I just related that this was not the definition of the word “days” in Matthew 12:40.

Far too many times, our study of the Bible misses critical points, and we arrive at improper conclusions based on incomplete thoughts.  The example above highlights that tendency to do both.  Here is why.  If you zero’d in on “or the space of twenty-four hours?, you will have made a critical mistake, and missed a critical observation.

Here is what you may have missed.  There is a difference between a 24 hour day, and the civil day.  The civil day in Israel runs from sundown to sundown.  It is not merely a 24 hour day, but specifically the 24 hours that runs between the sunsets.  If you got caught up in the 24 hours portion of the description, then you would have likely removed any 24 hour period from your thinking when it came to “day” in the scriptures in question.

The problem here is two-fold.  You would miss what this actually reveals, and likewise be open to false doctrine.  The example of Good Friday is one such idea (not really a doctrine) that becomes possible if you focus on the 24 hours, and not the “civil day” aspect.

Here is the critical question that you would likely have missed as well – why does Jesus and Jonah use a word that does not mean the civil day, but does in fact mean a day?  The first thing we notice is that the definitions we studied above do indicate a full 24 hour day, when the definitions for “nights” are also taken with “days”.  So, why not the “civil” day, if we actually have the 24 hour that is revealed?  Here is where you would have missed the revelation.

Jesus died at an “off” hour!

He died about 3:00 pm.  This means He did not die at a time where the civil day was the measure of time.  He would have needed to die at sundown for the civil day to be the word used.  Instead, having died at about 3:00 pm, a different denomination of timekeeping was required.  Jesus had to be dead for more than three days and three nights, or more accurately, He had to rise after three complete days and nights.  So, with a time frame of 3:00 pm to 3:00 pm, this put the measure of timing to “off” hours.

So, to clear up any confusion, the measure of time given was in “days” and “nights”, where the emphasis was on the periods between the sunsets.  This gives us three complete periods of the day hours, and three complete periods between the night hours.  Here is the kicker – it would not matter that he died at 3:00 pm.  From 3:00 pm to sundown would be the first part of day “one” – with the next daylight period from sunrise to 3:00 pm fulfilling the second part of day “one”!

This tells us that the earliest that Jesus could have arisen was 3:00 pm, 72 hours later. Remember, that would be three days and three nights.  Yet, it is now the fourth day! However, there is something else that we will cover in just a few minutes that will really blow your mind!

Moving forward, you will recall from earlier that we were to examine the meaning of “ in the belly of the great fish” and “ in the heart of the earth” to accurately learn what the Lord is revealing here.  We will start with the great fish.  We do not need to delve into what type of fish this actually was, and the Hebrew and Greek confirm that is was in fact some sort of waterborne life form.  The issue here is “in the belly”.  Just as before, we need to break this down in both the book of Jonah and Matthew.

In the belly – bim·‘ê — 1 Occurrence

Jonah 1:17
HEB: וַיְהִ֤י יוֹנָה֙ בִּמְעֵ֣י הַדָּ֔ג שְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה
NAS: and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish
KJV: And Jonah was in the belly of the fish
INT: become and Jonah the stomach of the fish three

Strong’s Concordance
meeh: internal organs, inward parts, belly
Original Word: מְעֵי
Part of Speech: Noun Masculine
Transliteration: meeh
Phonetic Spelling: (may-aw’)
Short Definition: body

NAS Exhaustive Concordance
Word Origin
of uncertain derivation
Definition
internal organs, inward parts, belly

NASB Translation
abdomen (1), body (4), bowels (4), children* (1), feelings (1), heart (4), inward parts (1), offspring* (1), own (1), soul (2), spirit (2), stomach (4), stomachs (1), within (1), womb (1).

Brown-Driver-Briggs

[מֵעֶה] noun masculine Isaiah 16:11 only
plural internal organs, inward parts (intestines, bowels), belly (Late Hebrew id.; Aramaic מְעָא, מַעֲיָא, , ; Arabic ; Ethiopic ; — on form compare LagBN 156 BaZMG xiii. 1888, 345); — plural [מֵעִים] construct מְעֵי Psalm 71:6 3t.; suffix מֵעַי 2 Samuel 16:11 9t., מֵעָ֑י Psalm 22:15; Psalm 40:9; מֵעֶיךָ Genesis 15:4 6t.; מֵעַיִךְ Genesis 25:23; Numbers 5:22; מֵעָיו 2 Samuel 20:10 5t.; מֵעֵיהֶם Ezekiel 7:19; —

1 literally:

a. וַיִּשְׁמֹּךְ מֵעָיו אַ֫רְצָה 2 Samuel 20:10 and he poured out his inward parts on the ground (through a wound); compare ׳מַחֲלֵה מ2Chronicles 21:15,18, ׳יָָֽצְאוּ מ 2 Chronicles 21:15; 2 Chronicles 21:19.

b. as digestive organs, but without precision, nearly = stomach, belly, Job 20:14; Ezekiel 3:3 (“” בֶּטֶן), Ezekiel 7:19 (“” נֶפֶשׁ; both with מָלֵא), Numbers 5:22; so of fish that swallowed Jonah Jonah 2:1; Jonah 2:2.

The critical takeaway here is that “belly” does in fact mean the inside of the fish.  We can further evidence this with an examination of the fish.

Of the fish – had·dāḡ — 1 Occurrence
Jonah 1:17
HEB: יוֹנָה֙ בִּמְעֵ֣י הַדָּ֔ג שְׁלֹשָׁ֥ה יָמִ֖ים
NAS: was in the stomach of the fish three
KJV: was in the belly of the fish three
INT: and Jonah the stomach of the fish three days

Strong’s Concordance
dag: a fish
Original Word: דָּאג
Part of Speech: Noun Masculine
Transliteration: dag
Phonetic Spelling: (dawg)
Short Definition: fish

NAS Exhaustive Concordance
Word Origin
from dagah
Definition
a fish
NASB Translation
fish (17), fishing (1).

Brown-Driver-Briggs
דָּאג fish, compare דָּג below דגה.
דָּג noun masculine Jon 2:1 fish (Late Hebrew id.) — דָּג Jonah 2:1 (twice in verse); Jonah 2:11 + Nehemiah 13:16 Qr (Kt דָּאג); דָּגִים 1 Kings 5:13 6t.; דְּגֵי Genesis 9:2 7t.; — fish of sea Jonah 2:1 (twice in verse); Jonah 2:11 (in Jonah 1:1 גָּדוֺל ׳ד); Nehemiah 13:16 (דָּאג Kt דָּג article of Tyrian trade; only here collective, read perhaps דָּגָה; or regard as late usage, compare converse דָּגָה of individual Jonah 2:2); — elsewhere always plural: as subject of Solomon’s utterance 1 Kings 5:13; fish-spear צִלְצַל דגים Job 40:31; most often דְּגֵי הַיָּםGenesis 9:2 (P), Psalm 8:9; Hosea 4:3; Zephaniah 1:3; Ezekiel 38:20; Job 12:8 (in all opposed to beasts & birds, & apparently used with them, + רֶמֶשׂ Ezekiel compare verb רמשׂ Genesis, for animal creation in General; also Habakkuk 1:14 compare below); Numbers 11:22 (JE) of fish (with beasts) as food (compare Genesis 9:2f.) in simile of men ensnared, like fish taken in net (מְצוֺדָה) Ecclesiastes 9:12 compare Habakkuk 1:14 (דְּגֵי הַיָּם); 4 t. שַׁעַר הַדָּגִים fish-gate 2 Chronicles 33:14; Zephaniah 1:10; Nehemiah 3:3; Nehemiah 12:39 (on situation compare שַׁעַר).

So, what we have here is a confirmation of the total revelation in Jonah.  When taken with the evidence for “three days”, “three nights”, and “in the belly”, we find that Jonah was actually inside the fish for a full three days and three nights.  I know this hardly seems groundbreaking, but it only seems this way.  In a few minutes, it will give rise to an amazing revelation.  With that, we can now review the evidence in the New Testament account in Matthew.

Belly – κοιλίᾳ (koilia) — 10 Occurrences

Matthew 12:40 N-DFS
GRK: ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ τοῦ κήτους
NAS: NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER,
KJV: in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son
INT: in the belly of the great fish

Strong’s Concordance

koilia: belly
Original Word: κοιλία, ας, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Transliteration: koilia
Phonetic Spelling: (koy-lee’-ah)
Short Definition: belly, womb, the inner man
Definition: belly, abdomen, heart, a general term covering any organ in the abdomen, e.g. stomach, womb; met: the inner man.

NAS Exhaustive Concordance
Word Origin
from koilos (hollow)
Definition
belly
NASB Translation
appetite (1), appetites (1), belly (1), innermost being (1), stomach (7), womb (11), wombs (1).

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 2836: κοιλία

κοιλία, κοιλίας, ἡ (κοῖλος hollow); the Sept. for בֶּטֶן, the belly; מֵעִים` the bowels; קֶרֶן, the interior, the midst of a thing; רֶחֶם, the womb; the belly: and

  1. the whole belly, the entire cavity; hence ἡ ἄνω and ἡ κάτω κοιλία, the upper (i. e. the stomach) and the lower belly are distinguished; very often so in Greek writings from Herodotus down.2. the lower belly, the alvine region, the receptacle of the excrement (Plutarch, symp. 7, 1, 3 under the end εἴπερ εἰς κοιλίαν ἐχώρει διά στομαχου πᾶν τό πινόμενον): Matthew 15:17; Mark 7:19.
  2. the gullet (Latinstomachus): Matthew 12:40; Luke 15:16 (WH Tr marginal reading χορτασθῆναι ἐκ etc.); 1 Corinthians 6:13; Revelation 10:9f; δουλεύειν τῇ κοιλία, to be given up to the pleasures of the palate, to gluttony (see δουλεύω, 2 b.), Romans 16:18; also for ὧν ὁ Θεός ἡ κοιλία, Philippians 3:19; κοιλίας ὄρεξις, Sir. 23:6.

While I am certainly not an expert on fish guts, it seems that Jesus was speaking of the upper stomach, or the stomach (if I understand the anatomy correctly).  However, either way we arrive at the same place.  The belly was indeed referencing the internal parts of the fish.

We need to confirm if the understanding found in Jonah does indeed hold in Matthew.  To do this, we need to confirm the meaning of “in the” to see if “in the belly” indicates actually being “in the belly”.

In – ἐν (en) — 2775 Occurrences

Matthew 12:40 Prep
GRK: τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ
KJV: nights in the heart
INT: the of man in the heart

Strong’s Concordance
en: in, on, at, by, with
Original Word: ἐν
Part of Speech: Preposition
Transliteration: en
Phonetic Spelling: (en)
Short Definition: in, on, among
Definition: in, on, among.

HELPS Word-studies
1722 en (a preposition) – properly, in (inside, within); (figuratively) “in the realm (sphere) of,” as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside (within).

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 1722: ἐν

ἐν, a preposition taking the dative after it; Hebrew בְּ; Latinin with abl.; English in, on, at, with, by, among. (Winers Grammar, § 48 a.; Buttmann, 328f (282f)) It is used:
I. Locally;

1. of place proper;

a. in the interior of some whole; within the limits of some space: ἐν γαστρί, Matthew 1:18; ἐν Βηθλημ, Matthew 2:1; ἐν τῇ πόλει, Luke 7:37; ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαία, ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ, ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ, ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, and innumerable other examples b. in (on) the surface of a place (German auf): ἐν τῷ ὄρει, John 4:20; Hebrews 8:5; ἐν πλαξί, 2 Corinthians 3:3; ἐν τῇ ἀγορά, Matthew 20:3; ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ, Matthew 5:25, etc.

There are far too many examples of “in” for any resource to list them all.  So, we have to review the meaning and construction of the various uses.  When we do this, we find fairly quickly that “in” does indeed mean “inside” in the context of Matthew 12:40, especially when found with the Greek for “the”.

The – τῇ (tē) — 882 Occurrences

Matthew 12:40 Art-DFS
GRK: Ἰωνᾶς ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ τοῦ
INT: Jonah in the belly of the

Matthew 12:40 Art-DFS
GRK: ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ τῆς
INT: of man in the heart of the

Strong’s Concordance
ho, hé, to: the
Original Word: ὁ, ἡ, τό
Part of Speech: Definite Article
Transliteration: ho, hé, to
Phonetic Spelling: (ho)
Short Definition: the
Definition: the, the definite article.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 3588: ὁ

ὁ, ἡ, τό, originally τος, τῇ, τό (as is evident from the forms τοι, ται for οἱ, αἱ in HOmer and the Ionic writings), corresponds to our definite article the (German der, die, das), which is properly a demonstrative pronoun, which we see in its full force in HOmer, and of which we find certain indubitable traces also in all kinds of Greek prose, and hence also in the N. T.

Our resource goes into a lengthy dissertation of “the”, and how it is used in various instances.  However, in every instance given, “the” does indeed mean “the”.  It is the context which gives the overall meaning, and does so for the additional wording found in the text.  In our case, the context is “in the”.

“In the” leads us to the next piece of the puzzle, an examination of “in the heart of the earth”.  We need to ascertain if “in the heart of the earth” reveals the the same information as “in the belly”.

Heart – καρδίᾳ (kardia) — 54 Occurrences

Matthew 12:40 N-DFS
GRK: ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ τῆς γῆς
NAS: nights in the heart of the earth.
KJV: nights in the heart of the earth.
INT: in the heart of the earth

Strong’s Concordance
kardia: heart
Original Word: καρδία, ας, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Transliteration: kardia
Phonetic Spelling: (kar-dee’-ah)
Short Definition: the heart, inner life, intention
Definition: lit: the heart; mind, character, inner self, will, intention, center.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 2588: καρδία

καρδία, καρδίας, ἡ, poetic κραδία and καρδιη (in the latter form almost always in HOmer (only at the beginning of a line in three places; everywhere else by metathesis κραδιη; Ebeling, Lex. HOmer, under the word)) (from a root signifying to quiver or palpitate; cf. Cartius § 39; Vanicek, p. 1097 (Etym. Magn. 491, 56 παρά τό κραδαίνω, τό σείω. ἀεικινητος γάρ ἡ καρδία); allied with Latincor; English heart); the Sept. for לֵב and לֵבָב; the heart;

  1. used of the middle or central or inmost part of anything, even though inanimate: τῆς γῆς (which some understand of Hades, others of the sepulchre), Matthew 12:40 (τῆς θαλάσσης, Jonah 2:4 for לֵב; and for the same ἐν μέσῳ θαλάσσης, Exodus 15:8, 19; add Baruch 6: (Epistle Jer.) ; τῆς κλεψυδρας, Aristotle, probl. 16, 8 (others, κώδια)). Cf. Beck, Biblical Seelenlehre, chapter iii. § 20ff, p. 64ff; Delitzsch, Biblical Psychologie (Leipz. 1861) iv. § 12, p. 248ff (also in Herzog 2, vi. 57ff); Oehler in Herzog vi., p. 15ff (also in his O. T. Theol. (edited by Day) § 71); Wittichen in Schenkel iii. 71f.

We will return to this definition in a moment, as it is critical to another aspect of this particular study.   Now, we need to bring in “earth”, to confirm exactly what is being revealed.

Earth – γῆς (gēs) — 136 Occurrences

Matthew 12:40 N-GFS
GRK: καρδίᾳ τῆς γῆς τρεῖς ἡμέρας
NAS: nights in the heart of the earth.
KJV: in the heart of the earth.
INT: heart of the earth three days

Strong’s Concordance
gé: the earth, land
Original Word: γῆ, γῆς, ἡ
Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine
Transliteration: gé
Phonetic Spelling: (ghay)
Short Definition: the earth, soil, land
Definition: the earth, soil, land, region, country, inhabitants of a region.

HELPS Word-studies
1093 gḗ – properly, the physical earth; (figuratively) the “arena” we live in which operates in space and time which God uses to prepare us for eternity.

The physical earth (1093 /gḗ) is the temporary, probationary place to live out moral preferences “through the body,” i.e. as free moral agents (cf. 2 Cor 5:1-10). In this way, God makes an eternal record of everything we do on the earth. Through faith, each scene of life becomes equally, eternally significant (cf. Mt 13:31,32,17:20; cf. also Lk 16:10; Lk 17:6; 2 Pet 1:1).

[The OT Hebrew term, 776 /asitía (“earth”), also refers to the physical earth as “God’s arena” – “the physical theater” in which our eternal destiny freely plays out.]

NAS Exhaustive Concordance
Word Origin
a prim. word
Definition
the earth, land
NASB Translation
country (2), earth (165), earthly (1), ground (20), land (46), soil (16).

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 1093: γῆ

γῆ, genitive γῆς, ἡ (contracted from γεα, poetic γαῖα), the Sept. very often for אֶרֶץ and אֲדָמָה, earth;

  1. arable land
  2. the ground, the earth as a standing-place
  3. the main land, opposed to sea or water
  4. the earth as a whole, the world (Latinterrarumorbis);a. the earth as opposed to the heavens:
  5. the inhabited earth, the abode of men and animals:
  6. a country, land enclosed within fixed boundaries, a tract of land, territory, region;

Earth is a fairly straightforward definition.  I included the various meanings, to show that all of them have a common denominator – the planet on which we live.  There are a couple exceptions to this, where the Greek is translated “land”, or some form thereof, in which its meaning also includes political jurisdictions.  Context sets the meaning for each particular instance.  In the case of Matthew 12:40, the context is “inside, the heart of”, which is also understood through the context of the “in belly of the great fish”.

When all of this is taken together, we find that there is no alternate meaning to Jonah 1:17 and Matthew 12:40.  What Jesus is saying is simple and straightforward – Jonah was in the fish for three full days and three full nights, and He would be in the earth for three full days, and three full nights.

Earlier, we mentioned something that we would need to come back to.  You will recall this excerpt from earlier:

  1. used of the middle or central or inmost part of anything, even though inanimate: τῆς γῆς (which some understand of Hades, others of the sepulchre), Matthew 12:40 (τῆς θαλάσσης, Jonah 2:4 for לֵב; and for the same ἐν μέσῳ θαλάσσης,

I highlighted an interesting tidbit, as it reveals something fascinating.  As you can gather by the comment, there are two primary positions on exactly what the “heart of the earth” is, and where Jesus actually was.  Some scholars declare that this points to the tomb, while others take this scripture, along with Ephesians 4:8-10, and point to three days spent in Hades (Hell) – specifically Abraham’s Bosom, where the righteous dead went prior to the resurrection.

8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

The subject of descending into Hades is beyond the scope of the discussion.  From that aspect, we can actually see that He was both in the tomb, and in Hades at the same time.  However, there is a specific meaning to Matthew 12:40, one that is critical to the timeline at Passover, and establishing when Firstfruits and the Omer begin.  So, that is where we will address our concerns.

So, does the “heart of the earth” refer to the tomb, or Hades?

To answer this question, we need to go back to something Jesus said when He was addressing this subject.

Matthew 12:38-40 KJV – 38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

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.

Here is the operative part that we need to consider:

but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

We get an idea what the sign of Jonah is, as we see this in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.  Case closed, right?  Not so fast.  There is a critical observation that needs to be made here.

Sign – σημεῖον (sēmeion) — 38 Occurrences

Matthew 12:39 N-ANS
GRK: μὴ τὸ σημεῖον Ἰωνᾶ τοῦ
NAS: will be given to it but the sign of Jonah
KJV: but the sign of the prophet
INT: not the sign of Jonah the

Strong’s Concordance
sémeion: a sign
Original Word: σημεῖον, ου, τό
Part of Speech: Noun, Neuter
Transliteration: sémeion
Phonetic Spelling: (say-mi’-on)
Short Definition: a sign, miracle, indication
Definition: a sign, miracle, indication, mark, token.

HELPS Word-studies
4592 sēmeíon – a sign (typically miraculous), given especially to confirm, corroborate or authenticate. 4592 /sēmeíon (“sign”) then emphasizes the end-purpose which exalts the one giving it. Accordingly, it is used dozens of times in the NT for what authenticates the Lord and His eternal purpose, especially by doing what mere man can not replicate of take credit for.

NAS Exhaustive Concordance
Word Origin
from the same as sémainó
Definition
a sign
NASB Translation
distinguishing mark (1), miracle (2), sign (35), signs (39).

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 4592: σημεῖον

σημεῖον, σημείου, τό (σημαίνω (or σῆμα)), from Aeschylus and Herodotus down, Hebrew אות, a sign, mark, token;

  1. universally, that by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others and known: Matthew 26:48; Luke 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 3:17; σημεῖον περιτομῆς (explanatory genitive (cf. Buttmann, § 123, 4)), equivalent to σημεῖον, ὁ ἐστι περιτομή, circumcision which should be a sign of the covenant formed with God, Romans 4:11; τά σημεῖα τοῦ ἀποστόλου, the tokens by which one is proved to be an apostle, 2 Corinthians 12:12; a sign by which anything future is pre-announced, Mark 13:4; Luke 21:7; τό σημεῖον τῆς σής παρουσίας, genitive of the object, Matthew 24:3; τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, the sign which indicates that the Messiah will shortly, or forthwith, come from heaven in visible manifestation, Matthew 24:30; with a genitive of the subjunctive τά σημεῖα τῶν καιρῶν, i. e. the indications of future events which οἱ καιροί furnish, what οἱ καιροί portend, Matthew 16:3 (T brackets WH reject the passage); a sign by which one is warned, an admonition, 1 Corinthians 14:22. used of noteworthy personages, by whom God forcibly admonishes men and indicates to them what he would have them do: thus σημεῖον ἀντιλεγόμενον is said of Jesus Christ, Luke 2:34; Ἰωνᾶς ἐγένετο σημεῖον τοῖς Νινευίταις (Jonah 3:4), Luke 11:30; hence, τό σημεῖον Ἰωνᾶ, Luke 11:29, is equivalent to τό σημεῖον like to that ὅς ἦν Ἰωνᾶς, i. e. to the sign which was given by the mission and preaching of Jonah, to prompt men to seek salvation (Winer’s Grammar, 189 (177)); in the same sense, ὁ υἱός τοῦ ἀνθρώπου says that he will be a σημεῖον, to the men of his generation, Luke 11:30; but in Matthew 12:39; Matthew 16:4 τό σημεῖον Ἰωνᾶ is the miraculous experience which befell Jonah himself, cf. Matthew 12:40; that Luke reproduces Christ’s words more correctly than Matthew is shown by De Wette and Bleek on Matthew 12:40, by Neander, Leben Jesu, p. 265f edition 1 (English translation, (3rd edition N. Y. 1851) § 165, p. 245f), and others; (but that Luke’s report is less full than Matthew’s, rather than at variance with it, is shown by Meyer, Weiss, Keil, and others (on Matthew, the passage cited)).
  2. a sign, prodigy, portent, i. e. an unusual occurrence, transcending the common course of nature;a. of signs portending remarkable events soon to happen: Luke 21:11, 25; Acts 2:19; Revelation 12:1, 3; Revelation 15:1.b. of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him, or by which men prove that the cause they are pleading is God’s: Matthew 12:38; Matthew 16:1, 4; Mark 8:11; Mark 16:17, 20; Luke 11:16, 29; Luke 23:8; John 2:11, 18, 23; John 3:2; John 4:54; John 6:2, 14, 26, 30; John 7:31; John 9:16; John 10:41; John 11:47; John 12:18, 37; John 20:30; Acts 2:22, 43; Acts 8:6; 1 Corinthians 1:22; but time power διδόναι σημεῖα, by which men are deceived, is ascribed also to false teachers, false prophets, and to demons: Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22; Revelation 13:13; Revelation 16:14; Revelation 19:20; 2 Thessalonians 2:9. σημεῖα καί τέρατα (וּמֹפְתִים אֹתות) or (yet less frequent) τέρατα καί σημεῖα (terms which differ not in substantial meaning but only in origin; cf. Fritzsche, Romans, vol. iii., p. 270f; (Trench, § xci.)) are found conjoined: Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22; John 4:48; Acts 2:19, 43; Acts 4:30; Acts 5:12; Acts 6:8; Acts 7:36; Acts 14:3; Acts 15:12; Romans 15:19; 2 Thessalonians 2:9, (Deuteronomy 28:46; Deuteronomy 34:11; Nehemiah 9:10; Isaiah 8:18; Isaiah 20:3; Jeremiah 39:20 (); Wis. 8:8 Wis. 10:16; Polybius 3, 112, 8; Philo, vit. Moys. 1:16; Josephus, Antiquities 20, 8, 6; b. j. prooem. 11; Plutarch, Alex. 75; Aelian v. h. 12,57); with καί δυνάμεσιν added, 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:4; σημεῖα καί δυνάμεις, Acts 8:13; δυνάμεις καί τέρατα καί σημεῖα, Acts 2:22; διδόναι σημεῖα (see δίδωμι, B. II. 1 a.): Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22 (here Tdf. ποιεῖν, σημεῖον, see ποιέω, I. 1 c.); σημεῖα are said γίνεσθαι διά τίνος in Acts 2:43; 4:(),; (here ποιεῖν σημεῖον, see above); τό σημεῖον τῆς ἰάσεως, the miracle, which was the healing, Acts 4:22.

I included the meaning of each instance of “sign” found in these three scriptures (as well as the meaning for the equivalent discussion in Luke 11:29-30 also, of which the same discussion we are having here applies).  There is an observation here that we need to make, and to understand how that applies to the discussion at hand.  In each of the uses of “sign” in the passages in question, “sign” has a very specific reference.

It refers to things that can be seen, or perceived, as proof of the miracles and power of God.  The critical piece of the equation is this – there are things that can be seen or perceived.  A sign can only be a sign if it can be known.  Here is why this is important.

That which is unknown cannot be a sign!

A sign can be ignored.  It can be explained away.  It can be diminished.  However, in every circumstance it must be knowable.  There are no “unknown signs”, as an unknown sign is not a sign at all.  If a sign is unknown, then it cannot fulfill its purpose as a sign!

Universally, that by which a person or a thing is distinguished from others and known;

A sign, prodigy, portent, i. e. an unusual occurrence, transcending the common course of nature;

Of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him, or by which men prove that the cause they are pleading is God’s.

Indeed, a study of the word “sign” in additional sources reveals the same understanding.  In each case, a sign is something that must be known and distinguishable.  So, how does this apply to the sign of Jonah?  Does this truly reveal the truth as to whether or not “in the heart of the earth” means the tomb or Hades?

Here is the trick on the sign of Jonah.  Nobody knew, or could have known that Jesus was in Hades!  This could not have been the sign of Jonah.

What they did know is that His body was in the grave.  That is what they could “see”.

This is why there is no language used which indicates “heart of the earth” is more than “earth”.  There is no language here that indicates something beyond the “earth”, such as Hades, Hell, or a place of the dead.  Remember, Abraham’s Bosom – though a chamber in the earth – is its own place, with its own reality, and existing in a spiritual realm.  It may have been a chamber in the earth, but if we could have drilled our way into it, there is nothing our eyes could have perceived.

Jonah was in the fish.  He is their sign.  There was no indication of anything beyond being “in the great fish”.  For Hades or Hell to have been the sign, there would have needed to be something “more” to Jonah.  He would have needed to be in the fish, and then someplace else considered miraculous.

Remember, Jesus was buried with witnesses.  These witnesses placed Him in the tomb.  They prepared His body for the closing of the tomb.  The tomb was then closed in their presence.  Guards were placed at the tomb for three days.  There was no breaking of the seal, opening the tomb, entering the tomb, or anybody leaving the tomb for three days – all under the witness of guards.  After three days, under the witness of these same guards, the tomb was opened without human hands, and Jesus was no longer found in the tomb.  To top it off, Jesus then appeared to over 500 hundred people after coming out of the tomb.

That is what a sign looks like!

Here is the final takeaway –

It is not until years later that Paul reveals what had happened during those three days.  By then, the church had already been born, and the sign of Jonah accepted as proof of the divinity of Christ.  It was accepted without the additional commentary on the what Jesus did during the time His body was in the tomb.

We have covered a great deal of real estate so far.  Sometimes this is necessary.  Everything we have discussed lends itself to what we will say next.  There is a tremendous revelation that never gets spoken of.  This is due to the incredible lack of critical observation skills in the Body of Christ.  We speak of taking the Bible at its word, yet years of being exposed to disbelief makes this nearly impossible.  With that said, let me ask you a question.

How long was Jesus dead?

Some of you will immediately quip “three days”.  Some will look quizzically.  Others will take a minute and ponder why I asked the question in the first place, and do so in the context of this section.  However, there will be a few of you that just had a light bulb moment.

There is a lot of debate on this, but from a slightly different perspective.  We have touched on this at the start of this section.  The entire narrative over three days, good Friday, and exactly when Jesus was crucified comes into play.  However, the most critical piece of information gets overlooked, as there are scriptures that seem to answer this question.

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

Mark 14:58 KJV – 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.

John 2:19 KJV – Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

Let’s look at the telling piece in each of the three scriptures – the word “in”.  This is the most telling part, as it establishes whether the key piece in rather or not it is a full three days, or a shortened version of three days.

Matthew 26:61 and Mark 14:58:

In – καὶ (kai) — 9079 Occurrences

Strong’s Concordance
dia: through, on account of, because of
Original Word: διά
Part of Speech: Preposition
Transliteration: dia
Phonetic Spelling: (dee-ah’)
Short Definition: through, on account of
Definition: (a) gen: through, throughout, by the instrumentality of, (b) acc: through, on account of, by reason of, for the sake of, because of.

HELPS Word-studies
1223 diá (a preposition) – properly, across (to the other side), back-and-forth to go all the way through, “successfully across” (“thoroughly”). 1223 (diá) is also commonly used as a prefix and lend the same idea (“thoroughly,” literally, “successfully” across to the other side).

[1223 (diá) is a root of the English term diameter (“across to the other side, through”). Before a vowel, dia is simply written di̓.]

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 1223: διά

διά (“written δἰ before a vowel, except in proper names and 2 Corinthians 5:7; Romans 8:10″ Tdf. Proleg., p. 94), akin to δίς and Latindis in composition, properly, denoting a division into two or more parts; a preposition taking the genitive and the accusative. In its use the biblical writers differ in no respect from the Greek; cf. Winer’s Grammar, 377ff (353ff); 398 (372)f

  1. with the genitive: through;
  2. of Time (cf. Winer’s Grammar, 380 (356); Ellicott or Meyer on Galatians 2:1; Fritzsche as below);1. of continued time; hence,a. of the time throughout (during) which anything is done: Matthew 26:61; Mark 14:58; δἰ ὅλης (τῆς R G) νυκτός, Luke 5:5; διά παντός τοῦ ζῆν, Hebrews 2:15; διά παντός (so L WH Tr (except Mark 5:5; Luke 24:53)), or written together διαπαντός (so G T (except in Matt.); cf. Winers Grammar, 46 (45); Lipsius, Gram. Unters., p. 125), continually, always: Matthew 18:10; Mark 5:5; Luke 24:53; Acts 2:25 (from Psalm 15:8 ()); ; Romans 11:10 (from Psalm 68:24 ()); 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Hebrews 9:6; Hebrews 13:15 (often in Greek writings).

We find important information in what “in“ does not mean in Matthew 26:61 and Mark 14:58.  That is –  b. of the time within which a thing is done:

The key in what we see in Matthew and Mark is that the three days is the complete three days, with the Temple reference requiring the entire block of time listed.  It is not an event that occurs sometime within the three days, rather during the course of the entire three days.  We see this emphasized with with another revelation from this same transliteration found above:

  1. Winers Grammar, 46 (45); Lipsius, Gram. Unters., p. 125), continually, always: Matthew 18:10; Mark 5:5; Luke 24:53; Acts 2:25 (from Psalm 15:8 ()); ; Romans 11:10 (from Psalm 68:24 ()); 2 Thessalonians 3:16; Hebrews 9:6; Hebrews 13:15 (often in Greek writings).

Here is the question – does Jesus also declare a full three days?  Does the word “in” reveal the same thing?

John 2:19:

In – ἐν (en) — 2775 Occurrences

Strong’s Concordance
en: in, on, at, by, with
Original Word: ἐν
Part of Speech: Preposition
Transliteration: en
Phonetic Spelling: (en)
Short Definition: in, on, among
Definition: in, on, among.

HELPS Word-studies
1722 en (a preposition) – properly, in (inside, within); (figuratively) “in the realm (sphere) of,” as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside (within).

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 1722: ἐν

ἐν, a preposition taking the dative after it; Hebrew בְּ; Latinin with abl.; English in, on, at, with, by, among. (Winers Grammar, § 48 a.; Buttmann, 328f (282f)) It is used:

  1. With the notion of Time ἐν marks a. periods and portions of time in which anything occurs, in, on, at, during: ἐν τῇ ἡμέρα, ἐν τῇ νυκτί, John 11:9f, etc.; ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις, Matthew 3:1, etc.; ἐν σαββάτῳ, Matthew 12:2, and in many other examples; ἐν τῷ δευτέρῳ, at the second time, Acts 7:13; ἐν τῷ καθεξῆς, Luke 8:1; ἐν τῷ μεταξύ, in the meantime (Winer’s Grammar, 592f (551)), John 4:31; (ἐν ἐσχάτῳ χρόνῳ, Jude 1:18 Rec.).
  2. within, in the course of: ἐν τρισίν ἡμέραις, Matthew 27:40; Mark 15:29 (L T Tr omit; WH brackets ἐν); John 2:19 (Tr WH brackets ἐν), 20; cf. Winers Grammar, § 48, a. 2; (Buttmann, § 133, 26).

For good measure, we can examine “three days”, and confirm the exact meaning that Jesus was giving.  Again, this becomes critical to an observation that gets missed.  We will confirm that Matthew 26:61 and Mark 14:58 also uses the exact same words for “three days”.

Three – τρισὶν (trisin) — 6 Occurrences

John 2:19 Adj-DFP
GRK: καὶ ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις ἐγερῶ
NAS: temple, and in three days
KJV: and in three days I will raise
INT: and in three days I will raise up

John 2:20 Adj-DFP
GRK: σὺ ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις ἐγερεῖς
NAS: and will You raise it up in three days?
KJV: up in three days?
INT: you in three days will raise up

Strong’s Concordance
treis and tria: three
Original Word: τρεῖς, τρία
Part of Speech: Adjective
Transliteration: treis and tria
Phonetic Spelling: (trice)
Short Definition: three
Definition: three.

HELPS Word-studies
5140 treís – three; also the number of God (symbolically) showing His full-orbed work – i.e. as the triune Godhead (tri-personal being), God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 5140: τρεῖς

τρεῖς, οἱ, αἱ, τρία, τά, three: Matthew 12:40; Mark 8:2; Luke 1:56; John 2:19, and often. (From HOmer down.)

Forms and Transliterations
τρεις τρείς τρεῖς τρια τρία τρισί τρισιν τρισίν τρισὶν τριων τριών τριῶν τρίων treis treîs tria tría trion triôn triōn triō̂n trisin trisín trisìn

We can now confirm Matthew and Mark also use “three” as Jesus spoke in John:

Three – τριῶν (triōn) — 11 Occurrences

Matthew 26:61 Adj-GFP
GRK: καὶ διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν οἰκοδομῆσαι
NAS: and to rebuild it in three days.’
KJV: it in three days.
INT: and in three days to rebuild it

Mark 14:58 Adj-GFP
GRK: καὶ διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν ἄλλον
NAS: made with hands, and in three days
KJV: and within three days I will build
INT: and in three days another

Indeed, we see that all three scriptures in fact have the same meaning for three.  Now, let’s bring in “days”:

John 2:19 N-DFP
GRK: ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις ἐγερῶ αὐτόν
NAS: and in three days I will raise
KJV: in three days I will raise it
INT: in three days I will raise up it

Matthew 26:61 N-GFP
GRK: διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν οἰκοδομῆσαι
NAS: and to rebuild it in three days.’
KJV: in three days.
INT: in three days to rebuild it

Mark 14:58 N-GFP
GRK: διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν ἄλλον ἀχειροποίητον
NAS: and in three days I will build
KJV: within three days I will build another
INT: in three days another not made with hands

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
a day
Feminine (with hora implied) of a derivative of hemai (to sit; akin to the base of hedraios) meaning tame, i.e. Gentle; day, i.e. (literally) the time space between dawn and dark, or the whole aganaktesis hours (but several days were usually reckoned by the Jews as inclusive of the parts of both extremes); figuratively, a period (always defined more or less clearly by the context) — age, + alway, (mid-)day (by day, (-ly)), + for ever, judgment, (day) time, while, years.

see GREEK hora

see GREEK hedraios

Forms and Transliterations
ημερα ημέρα ἡμέρα ἡμέρᾳ ημεραι ημέραι ἡμέραι ΗΜΕΡΑΙΣ ημέραις ἡμέραις ημεραν ημέραν ἡμέραν ημερας ημεράς ημέρας ἡμέρας ημερων ημερών ημέρων ἡμερῶν emera ēmera emerai ēmerai eMERAIS ĒMERAIS emeran ēmeran emeras ēmeras emeron ēmerōn hemera heméra hēmera hēméra hemerai hemérai hemérāi hēmerai hēmérai hēmérāi hemerais hemérais hēmerais hēmérais hemeran heméran hēmeran hēméran hemeras heméras hēmeras hēméras hemeron hemerôn hēmerōn hēmerō̂n

We have covered the different definitions of “days” earlier in this project.  The different transliterations alone would seem to indicate that the different uses of “days” are the same.  However, there is a difference that emerges, which reveals an amazing insight.  Let’s bring back something we addressed earlier.  The text is long and repeated here so don’t be confused that you have already read this.  You have but it needs to be emphasized again.

Here is the material presented earlier:

This is a daunting volume of information.  However, it was important to share it for what it reveals.

  1. of the civil day, or the space of twenty-four hours (thus including the night):

In this very lengthy block of evidence, we find that it deals with various aspects of Greek script that deal with the civil day.  It is also important for what it does not reveal.  The use of “days” in Matthew 12:40 does not fit the definition given above!

I actually have two reasons for pointing this out.  The first is, of course, because there is critical evidence in what we find here.  However, the second is for an opportunity.  I speak many times about the apparent lack of critical observation skills in the Body of Christ.  This lends itself to an equally unflattering inability to ask critical questions based on critical observations.  Here is what I mean.  After reading the definition and commentary above, how many of you zero’d in on “or the space of twenty-four hours?”  It would seem a natural thing to do.  After all, I just related that this was not the definition of the word “days” in Matthew 12:40.

Far too many times, our study of the Bible misses critical points, and we arrive at improper conclusions based on incomplete thoughts.  The example above highlights that tendency to do both.  Here is why.  If you zero’d in on “or the space of twenty-four hours?”, you will have made a critical mistake, and missed a critical observation.

Here is what you may have missed.  There is a difference between a 24 hour day, and the civil day.  The civil day in Israel runs from sundown to sundown.  It is not merely a 24 hour day, but specifically the 24 hours that runs between the sunsets.  If you got caught up in the 24 hours portion of the description, then you would have likely removed any 24 hour period from your thinking when it came to “day” in the scriptures in question.

The problem here is two-fold.  You would miss what this actually reveals, and likewise be open to false doctrine.  The example of Good Friday is one such idea (not really a doctrine) that becomes possible if you focus on the 24 hours, and not the “civil day” aspect.

Here is the critical question that you would likely have missed as well – why does Jesus and Jonah use a word that does not mean the civil day, but does in fact mean a day?  The first thing we notice is that the definitions we studies above do indicate a full 24 hour day, when the definitions for “nights” are also taken with “days”.  So, why not the “civil” day, if we actually have the 24 hour that is revealed?  Here is where you would have missed the revelation.

Jesus died at an “off” hour!

He died about 3:00 pm.  This means He did not die at a time where the civil day was the measure of time.  He would have needed to die at sundown for the civil day to be the word used.  Instead, having died at about 3:00 pm, a different denomination of timekeeping was required.  Jesus had to be dead for more than three days and three nights, or more accurately, He had to rise after three complete days and nights.  So, with a time frame of 3:00 pm to 3:00 pm, this put the measure of timing to “off” hours.

So, to clear up any confusion, the measure of time given was in “days” and “nights”, where the emphasis was on the periods between the sunsets.  This gives us three complete periods of the day hours, and three complete periods between the night hours.  Here is the kicker – it would not matter that he died at 3:00 pm.  From 3:00 pm to sundown would be the first part of day “one” – with the next daylight period from sunrise to 3:00 pm fulfilling the second part of day “one”!

This tells us that the earliest that Jesus could have arisen was 3:00 pm, 72 hours later. Remember, that would be three days and three nights.  Yet, it is now the fourth day! However, there is something else that we will cover in just a few minutes that will really blow your mind!

Here is where critical observations skills come back into the equation.  There is something interesting in John 2:19 that really opens up the total revelation of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ:

  1. of the civil day, or the space of twenty-four hours (thus including the night): Matthew 6:34; Mark 6:21; Luke 13:14, etc.; opposed to an hour, Matthew 25:13; to hours, months, years, Revelation 9:15; Galatians 4:10; ἡ ἐν ἡμέρα τρυφή, the revelling of a day, i. e. ephemeral, very brief, 2 Peter 2:13 (others refer this to 1 b. above); ἑπτάκις τῆς ἡμέρας seven times in the (space of a) day, Luke 17:4; the dative ἡμέρα of the day on (in) which (cf. Winers Grammar, § 31, 9; Buttmann, § 133 (26)): as τρίτῃ ἡμέρα, Matthew 16:21; Mark 9:31 (Rec.); Luke 17:29; Acts 2:41, etc.; ἡμέρα καί ἡμέρα, day by day, every day, 2 Corinthians 4:16 (after the Hebrew וָיום יום Esther 3:4, where the Sept. καθ’ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν, and יום יום Psalm 67:20 (), where the Sept. ἡμέραν καθ’ ἡμέραν; (cf. Winer’s Grammar, 463 (432))); ἡμέραν ἐξ ἡμέρας (see ἐκ, IV. 2), 2 Peter 2:8; as an accusative of time (Winers Grammar, 230 (215f); Buttmann, § 131, 11): ὅλην τήν ἡμέραν, Romans 8:36; Romans 10:21; μίαν ἡμέραν, Acts 21:7; and in the plural, John 2:12; John 4:40; John 11:6; Acts 9:19; Acts 10:48; Acts 16:12; Acts 20:6; Acts 21:4, 10; Acts 25:6, 14; Acts 28:7, 12 (L dative), 14; Galatians 1:18; Revelation 11:3, 9. joined with prepositions: ἀπό with the genitive from … forth, from … on, Matthew 22:46; John 11:53; Acts 10:30; Acts 20:18; Philippians 1:5; ἄχρι with the genitive until, up to, Matthew 24:38; Luke 1:20; Luke 17:27; Acts 1:2 ( Tdf.); ; ἄχρι πέντε ἡμερῶν, until five days had passed, i. e. after five days, Acts 20:6; μέχρι with the genitive until, Matthew 28:15 (L Tr, WH in brackets); ἕως with the genitive until, Matthew 27:64; Acts 1:22 (T ἄχρι); Romans 11:8; διά with the genitive, see διά, A. II.; πρό with the genitive before, John 12:1 (on which see πρό, b.); ἐν with the dative singular, Matthew 24:50; Luke 1:59; John 5:9; 1 Corinthians 10:8 (L T Tr WH text omit ἐν); Hebrews 4:4, etc.; ἐν with the dative plural, Matthew 27:40; Mark 15:29 (L T Tr omit; WH brackets ἐν); John 2:19 (Tr WH brackets ἐν), 20, etc.; εἰς, unto (against), John 12:7;

What a bombshell!  If you stopped your study at the sign of Jonah, you would have missed this truly amazing development.  Does this mean that Matthew 12:40 is wrong?  Perhaps John 2:19 is actually the wrong scripture.  So, what gives?  How can we have an apparent contradiction?

The answer is simple.  We don’t.  What we have here is another prophetic double reference!

Both of these scriptures were spoken by Jesus Himself.  So, rather than either being wrong, what we have is that each reveals a piece of the puzzle.  The first scripture spoken by Jesus was John 2:19.  “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”  In this scripture, Jesus does not opt for “days and nights” as we would see in Matthew 12:40.  Instead, Jesus speaks in terms of the 24 hour civil day.  “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Here is the thing.  If Jesus would not have spoken of the sign of Jonah, then his death and resurrection would have to happen at sundown.  However, this scripture simply reveals the first piece of the puzzle, and confirms what we have surmised already in the study.

The time in question had to be no less than a full 24 hours for each day, for a minimum of 72 hours!

However, the question becomes the use of the word “civil” in the understanding of “days”.  How do we reconcile this with Matthew 12:40, which specifically does NOT mean the “civil” day?  The answer is simple as it is profound.  Matthew 12:40 was the NEXT piece of the puzzle.  It added additional revelation to the overall revelation!

Understand, using the “civil” day first establishes the context.  It sets the context of three days to three full days.  Then, in Matthew, Jesus adds critical information to the picture.  Though it will be three full 24 hour days, it will not be the actual civil days that run from sundown to sundown.  Instead, it will be Jonah – of whom we do not have the exact time of day in which he was thrown overboard.  Rather, we know that it could have been day or night.

That brings up the next piece.  In the first conversation in John 2:19, Jesus uses only the “day”, as opposed to “days” and “nights”.  This also helps to underscore the additional information He is revealing.  By taking out the civil day, and replacing it with the individual mentions of the days and nights, it further reinforces the 24 hour nature of each day, along with the “off hours” of each day.

With that said, we have enough information to reveal one of the most amazing things that most have missed.  You will recall something we mentioned earlier:

We have covered a great deal of real estate so far.  Sometimes this is necessary.  Everything we have discussed lends itself to what we will say next.  There is a tremendous revelation that never gets spoken of.  This is due to the incredible lack of critical observation skills in the Body of Christ.  We speak of taking the Bible at its word, yet years of being exposed to disbelief makes this nearly impossible.  With that said, let me ask you a question.

How long was Jesus dead?

Some of you will immediately quip “three days”.  Some will look quizzically.  Others will take a minute and ponder why I asked the question in the first place, and do so in the context of this section.  However, there will be a few of you that just had a light bulb moment.

There is a lot of debate on this, but from a slightly different perspective.  We have touched on this at the start of this section.  The entire narrative over three days, good Friday, and exactly when Jesus was crucified comes into play.  However, the most critical piece of information gets overlooked, as there are scriptures that seem to answer this question.

Here is why I ask this question.  There is something revealed when Jesus offers the sign of Jonah that answers a lot of questions, including the one I just asked.  The answer is confirmed in all of the scriptures we have covered in this study.  Lets bring back each of the scriptures in question, and see what they have in common.

Jonah 1:17 – Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Matthew 12:39-40 – But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

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.

John 2:19-20 – Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.  Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

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

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.

What do all these scriptures have in common?  It is this – the three days and nights start and end with the specific acts in question.  The belly of the fish, the building of the Temple –  these are the events covered by the three days.

I know, you are completely blown away (insert sarcasm).  This last statement hardly seems a revelation.  Of course the timing runs the course of the specific act.  Jesus died on Passover, and arose three days later.  This hardly seems a great revelation, nor does it change anything in how long Jesus was dead.

Remember, this is about the sign of Jonah, and critical observation skills.  Let’s look one more time, narrowing our vision just a bit:

in the belly of the fish three days and three nights

and in three days I will raise it up.

build it in three days

within three days I will build another

Do you see it yet?  Some of you are starting to.  You may not have it yet, but it is right there.  You know you are looking at something.  You are just not sure what yet.  How about the piece I left out:

so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth

We can bring it in further:

three days and three nights

“IN”

the heart of the earth

Let that sink in for a minute.  You’ll have an “ah ha” moment right about now.

The three days and three nights does NOT begin with the death of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  It begins once He is sealed in the tomb!

How many times have you read these scriptures, and never caught this before?  How many times have you said that the Bible is literal, yet never make the connection on exactly what that means!

Literally, what the Bible actually tells us is that the three days and three nights run from the sealing and unsealing of the tomb.  Go back and read the scripture on Jonah in the fish.  It has been there the whole time as well.  Jonah was IN the fish for three days and nights.  Read the other scriptures as well.

Jesus will perform the REBUILDING for three days.

He is RAISING the Temple for three days.

The three days does NOT include the destruction of the old Temple.  It never has.  We see additional proof of this in the story of Jonah as well.

5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.

6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.

7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.

8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?

9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.

10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.

11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.

12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.

13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.

14 Wherefore they cried unto the Lord, and said, We beseech thee, O Lord, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee.

15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.

While this is a project in itself, for our current project it is sufficient to make another observation.  What we read here is the picture of the capture, trial, condemnation, crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.  Every element of the events that transpired on that fateful Passover day are found in Jonah.  All of this occurs outside of the three day time frame.  It is not until AFTER he is in the fish that the three days and three nights elapse.

And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

It is not until all chance of escape is gone that the three days and three nights begins.  While the tomb is open, there can still be “changes”.  The body can be taken out.  It is only after the tomb is closed and sealed can there be no questions.  When the tomb is secured for three days and three nights, there is no stopping any and all doubts as to the veracity of the claims of Christ.

Understand, we are not declaring a massive rewriting of history here.  To the contrary, that adds four hours at best to the total timeline.  Jesus died about 3:00 pm, and was in the tomb by about 7:00 pm, maybe 7:30 pm at the latest.  However, that is four hours which makes all the difference in the world.  You will understand why in just a few moments.

At this point, we are ready to build the timeline of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.  Here is the critical piece – Christ had to rise on Firstfruits.  He IS the firstfruits of many.  That matters for this reason – if our study has revealed that Jesus did not rise on the second day of Unleavened Bread, then it proves beyond all doubt that Firstfruits and the Omer do indeed start on the day after the weekly Sabbath.

Let’s start by listing the timing specific scriptures that give us our timeline:

From Matthew 27 and 28 ~

60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.

62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,

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

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.

66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

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.

From Mark 15 and 16 ~

42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,

46 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.

1 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.

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

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.

From Luke 23 and 24 ~

53 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.

54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.

56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

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.

2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

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

From John 19 and 20 ~

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

39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.

42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

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.

Most of the listed scriptures contain a direct timing reference such as “on the Sabbath”.  However, there are several scriptures that contain less obvious timing references.  We have included them as well, as they are critical to understanding what happened.

The first thing we need to cover is the use of the word “Sabbath” in each of the scriptures.  Every instance above refers to the seventh day Sabbath, or the day of rest that occurs every seven days.  However, it is also used for the first day of Unleavened Bread, aptly called a “High Sabbath”.  This is due to the first and last days of Unleavened Bread having all the fixtures of the Sabbath, and occurring seven days apart.

You will recall that we have already established that the “High Sabbath” is a creation independent of Leviticus 23.  The Law of Moses never esteemed one Sabbath over another, nor did it ever use the word “Sabbath” in any form when setting the first and seventh days of Unleavened Bread as days of rest and Holy Convocations.

The interesting thing is that in the Greek, “Sabbath” is tied more broadly to a seventh day rest than it was in the Hebrew.  Actually, it is more accurate to say that “Sabbath” becomes a more generic term in the Greek, with its various forms and transliterations being applicable to more than the actual seventh day Sabbath.  We see that even in modern times, with words such as “sabbatical”.  When the first day of Unleavened Bread is declared a “High Sabbath”, it reveals this shift in terms for the Sabbath, and the prevalence of Greek as the predominate language of the Middle East and Israel.

However, there is something that needs to be understood.  Unless the Law of Moses specifically declares a day “the Sabbath”, it is not a Sabbath.  It cannot be a Sabbath, as the Sabbath requires a seven day interval both before and after.  The only place in the Law of Moses where this occurs is the Day of Atonement.  The Feast of Trumpets and the first and seventh day of Tabernacles are declared Sabbath rests, but only Atonement enjoys the singular distinction of being declared an actual seventh day Sabbath in it’s own right.

This distinction is never afforded to Unleavened Bread.  This in no way diminishes Unleavened Bread.  To the contrary, this distinction serves the purpose of being a prophetic reference.  We have already seen this with the Shemitah, and now we see it in the Omer and Firstfruits.  Also, remember that you can have a holy convocation without a Sabbath, but you cannot have a Sabbath without a holy convocation.  Likewise, you can have a day of rest without a Sabbath, but cannot have a Sabbath without a day of rest.

With that, let’s start by grouping the first sets of scriptures together.  Some of these scriptures have several pieces of information, so we will use them several times.

Matthew 27:62

Mark 15:42

Luke 23:54

John 19:14

John 19:31

John 19:42

Each of these scriptures deal with the day of the crucifixion and burial.  They set the timing of the burial to the day of preparation, or the day before Unleavened Bread.  Even though four of these scriptures tell us that the day of preparation is for the Sabbath, John 19:14, 31 gives us additional insight.  John 19:14 tells us that it is in fact Passover, and 19:31 tells us that it is the High Sabbath.  As we have discussed at length, the High Sabbath is a term that describes a Sabbath day that is not the regular weekly Sabbath – in this case the first day of Unleavened Bread.

We can bring in the next piece of the puzzle with the next block of scriptures:

Matthew 28:1

Mark 16:2

Mark 16:9

Luke 24:1

John 20:1

John 20:19

This group of scriptures establish that the tomb was found open early on the first day of the week.  They also establish that Jesus rose on the first day.  This is critical.

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.

So far, this is what we would expect to find.  We have the death and burial of Jesus on Passover, and His resurrection on the first day of the week.  With that, let’s examine the second core point that comes with each of these scriptures.

Jesus dies and is buried the day before a Sabbath:

From Matthew 27 and 28 ~

62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,

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

From Mark 15 and 16 ~

42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,

From Luke 23 and 24 ~

54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

From John 19 and 20 ~

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

42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

Jesus is raised after a Sabbath:

From Matthew 27 and 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.

From Mark 15 and 16 ~

1 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.

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

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.

From Luke 23 and 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.

From John 19 and 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.

Here is the issue.  When you read these scriptures together, it actually seems as though the Good Friday account is correct.  We have the day of the death and burial, the Sabbath, followed by the resurrection.  However, we already know that we are missing something, and the sign of Jonah requires a full three days to elapse from the burial to the resurrection.  Actually, as we covered earlier, it is three days from the closing of the tomb to the opening of the tomb.  Remember, it is only while the tomb is closed that the sign of Jonah can be a sign.  While the tomb is open, the body can be removed by anybody.

For that matter, it is sealing of the tomb that becomes the operative piece.  We will cover this in a few moments.

So, what gives?  Why does it seem as though there is not a full three days – yet the sign of Jonah tells us otherwise?  The answer is found in critical observations.

John 9:14 KJV –  And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!

John 19:31 KJV – 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.

These two scriptures confirm something we have already talked about.  The day Jesus died was Passover, the day before Unleavened Bread – a day declared a High Sabbath.  That is no surprise.  However, if you read through all of the scriptures, you will find something curious.

None of the Sabbath references in the resurrection scriptures are EVER declared a High Sabbath!  They are simply the Sabbath.  Likewise, the few scriptures detailing the events right before this day are never called the preparation.

Of course, there are those that would disagree.  Certainly, it does seems circumstantial at best.  You could just as easily maintain that all of the references to the preparation day do in fact speak to the day before the Sabbath mentioned in the resurrection scriptures.  That leaves us with a question.  Are there any proofs that the resurrection references to the Sabbath are actually the weekly Sabbath, and not the first day of Unleavened Bread?

The answer is yes.

What we need is some indication that there is actually a separation between the two different Sabbath references in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  If we can find a separation, then we will have our answer.  With that, let’s look at several scriptures.

John 19:38-42 KJV –  And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.

42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews’ preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

Luke 23:53-56 KJV – 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.

54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.

56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

Luke 24:1-3 KJV – 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.

2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

There is a series of events that we need to notice, yet rarely ever gets mentioned.  However, this series of events is critical to establishing the timeline of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Let’s examine a few of the scriptures above a bit more closely:

39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.

40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.

56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

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.

You may have gathered that the events in question revolve around the spices and ointments.  So, why exactly is this important?  These are the scriptures that answer the question as to the Sabbaths.

The first things we need to notice is that there appear to be two references to spices – first by Nicodemus, and second with the two Mary’s (even though I left out the scriptures with their names, this is verified by easily enough by reading the scriptures just before these).  Why would there be two references to spices?

The first thing to understand is that burial in ancient Israel is a multi-staged process that lasted a year.  Have you ever been confused by the scriptures that talked about Jesus being laid in a tomb where no one had been laid before?  What this is referencing is the manner of burial.  In ancient times, tombs were built for multiple burials.  When you died, you would be wrapped in linens and placed in the tomb to decompose.  After a year, the tomb would be opened, and your bones would be collected and placed in an ossuary.  You would then be placed on a “shelf”, or in a “nook” to rest.  Eventually, you would have multiple members of your family in there as well, each occupying their own space on the shelf.

When you were originally buried, your body would be cleaned and covered with a mixture spices and ointments.  However, there is something that came into play with the burial of Jesus.  There was no time left to complete this process.  Nicodemus brought about a hundred pounds of spices for a hasty preparation.  So, after a quick cursory cleaning and covering with the spices the tomb was closed.  His body would still need to be thoroughly and properly cleaned and prepared.  That is the case with the two Mary’s, and why they would return after the Sabbath.

Here is the critical block of scripture:

54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.

56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

Luke 24:1-3 KJV – 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.

2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

To this, we need to add some additional scripture:

Mark 16:1-2 KJV –  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.

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

At first glance it appears that both blocks of scripture say the same thing.  However, this is where critical observation skills come into play.  Read both blocks again very carefully.  Did you notice anything specific?  Look closely at these pieces of the above scriptures:

Mark 16:1 –

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.

Luke 23:56 –

And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

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.

What a bombshell!

How many times have you read these scriptures and never noticed this?  It is easy to miss.  This is why a lack of critical observation skills are the most detrimental issue facing the Body of Christ today when it comes to false doctrine.  A full word study confirms exactly what you are reading here.

A Sabbath passes, and the two Mary’s buy spices that need to BE prepared.  

Another Sabbath passes, and they arrive on the first day of the week with those same purchased spices, now prepared!

When you put these three scriptures together, it becomes impossible to miss.  These scriptures come from two different books, with each revealing critical parts of the whole.  For example, in Luke 23:56 we have this revelation:

And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

This particular scripture actually addresses several points.  First off, when it says “they returned”, it is actually speaking of their return from the tomb the evening Jesus was buried.  Taken by itself, it looks like the two Mary’s went home that night, prepared the spices, and headed back to the tomb a day later.

However, we know this is not the case.  Here is why.  After Jesus was buried, the High Sabbath began.  The two Mary’s had just enough time to go from the tomb to the house where they would celebrate Passover, which occurred on the first hours of Unleavened Bread.  In other words, they would not have prepared spices on Unleavened Bread.  Even beyond the discussion of Unleavened Bread as a High Sabbath, it still required no work to be done on that day.  That IS direct from the Law of Moses.

It seems that the next statement – “and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.” would confirm this.  However, that would be incorrect.  This statement is not talking about Unleavened Bread.  It is talking about the weekly Sabbath.  Just two verses prior, the Bible already lays out that the Sabbath was at hand.

And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

So, we have a verse that tells us that the Sabbath is starting.  Yet, after telling us that the two Mary’s prepared the spices, we are then told they rested on the Sabbath.  So, what gives?

We have discussed double references multiple times on Trib Rising.  There are no accidental words or phrases in the Bible.  Nothing is spoken “just because”.  Every word, statement and phrase is meant to show us something.  Such is the case here.

The two Mary’s were disciples of Jesus.  At this point all the disciples still observed the Law of Moses.  They did so as it was not yet understood what the full implications of the day’s events would be.  For that matter, it was not yet understood that Jesus would actually rise.  Jesus had tried to tell them what was happening, yet they did not get the picture.  Even after Jesus had risen and began appearing to them in select situations, there was still doubt.

John 20:24-29 KJV –  But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.

25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.

27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

The two Mary’s would not be in the streets when evening came.  To do so would be a violation of the Law of Moses.  This is critical for another reason.  The witnesses of the burial of Jesus had to be above reproach.  While there would be attempts to deny the resurrection, there could be no fault or error on the part of the witnesses.  Their testimony had to be above reproach.  This is also a big part of the reason why it was them, and not the 12 that were there when the tomb was shut.

The reason we have the two references to the Sabbath in these scriptures is that the Lord is giving us a double reference specifically to ensure that the truth would be known.  The Lord already knew the errors that would come in the last days, and in modern Judaism.  So, He encoded several iron-clad proofs of the timeline of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ.

Either one of the references to the Sabbath would suffice if they were speaking of the same day.  However, it is the second reference that ties it all together.  It is the second reference that tells us that there was another Sabbath in play.  Think of it like this – why tell us that the ladies rested on the Sabbath?  This is a given.  Why does it need to be stated?

It is because we also have the reference to the preparing of the spices.  Let’s look again at the block of scripture in Luke that lays this out:

54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.

56 And they returned, 

and prepared spices and ointments

and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

Luke 24:1-3 KJV – 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.

2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

If you have not read this carefully, you might assume that all of this refers to the same Sabbath.  While a careful study of these scriptures alone would eventually bear out the truth, it is Mark 16:1 that confirms the truth of the matter:

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.

Just as the two Mary’s could not have prepared the spices on the Sabbath, they could neither have purchased them on the Sabbath!  They could not have been purchased in advance of the crucifixion, as nobody understood what was happening until after Jesus was arrested.  There was only a six hour window, from 3:00 am to 9:00 am, in which Jesus was arrested, tried, and crucified.  Besides, Mark 16:1 takes that possibility off the table.

For those keeping score at home, here is what we have:

Jesus is buried;

Sabbath;

Spices purchased;

Spices prepared;

Sabbath;

Spices brought to the tomb on the first day of the week.

You may have noticed something.  This gives us a mandatory minimum of three days between the closing of the tomb and the opening!  Here is the actual order of these scriptures:

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. 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.

They prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

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.

And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

Like Paul Harvey used to say – “now you know the rest of the story!”

What was it we said earlier?  “What we need is some indication that there is actually a separation between the two different Sabbath references in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.  If we can find a separation, then we will have our answer.  With that, let’s look at several scriptures.”  I think it is safe to say that we have exactly that – clear evidence of two Sabbaths.

There are several additional scriptures that we need to examine.

Luke 24:21, 46 KJV – But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done.

And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

In these two scriptures, it is the day of the resurrection.  Two of the disciples are on the road to Emmaus, talking about all that has happened, and Jesus comes into the midst of them asking what they are talking about.  They did not realize it was Jesus until He revealed Himself to them.

In 21, they are recounting that it is the third day “since these things were done”.  In 46, it is Jesus recounting Old Testament scripture that He would rise “from the dead the third day”.  Here is the obvious question – how can this be right?  Jesus has already risen.  We know from both the sign of Jonah and the recounting of the death, burial and resurrection that there was a full three days from the closing of the tomb to the opening of the tomb.  By definition, this entire time actually spans a total of four days.  So, how then are the disciples and Jesus saying that this is the third day since these things were done?  The answer resides in something else that was said.

today is the third day since these things were done.

The answer is found in the understanding of “these things”, and the meaning of “done”.  Let’s start with “done” and see what it reveals:

Englishman’s Concordance
ἐγένετο (egeneto) — 202 Occurrences

Luke 24:21 V-AIM-3S
GRK: οὗ ταῦτα ἐγένετο
NAS: since these things happened.
KJV: since these things were done.
INT: which these things came to pass

Strong’s Concordance

ginomai: to come into being, to happen, to become
Original Word: γίνομαι
Part of Speech: Verb
Transliteration: ginomai
Phonetic Spelling: (ghin’-om-ahee)
Short Definition: I come into being, am born
Definition: I come into being, am born, become, come about, happen.

HELPS Word-studies

1096 gínomai – properly, to emerge, become, transitioning from one point (realm, condition) to another. 1096 (gínomai) fundamentally means “become” (becoming, became) so it is not an exact equivalent to the ordinary equative verb “to be” (is, was, will be) as with 1510 /eimí (1511 /eínai, 2258 /ēn).

1096 (ginomai) means “to become, and signifies a change of condition, state or place” (Vine, Unger, White, NT, 109).

M. Vincent, “1096 (gínomai) means to come into being/manifestation implying motion, movement, or growth” (at 2 Pet 1:4). Thus it is used for God’s actions as emerging from eternity and becoming (showing themselves) in time (physical space).

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
STRONGS NT 1096: γίνομαι

γίνομαι (in Ionic prose writings and in common Greek from Aristotle, on for Attic γίγνομαι); (imperfect ἐγινόμην); future γενήσομαι; 2 aorist ἐγενόμην (often in 3 person singular optative γένοιτο; (participle γεναμενος, Luke 24:22 Tdf. edition 7)), and, with no difference in significance, 1 aorist passive ἐγενήθην, rejected by the Atticists (cf. Lob. ad Phryn., p. 108f; (Thomas Magister, Ritschl edition, p. 75, 6f)), not rare in later Greek, common in the Sept. (Acts 4:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 1 Corinthians 15:10, etc.), imperative γενηθήτω (Matthew 6:10; Matthew 15:28, etc.); perfect γεγένημαι and γέγονα, 3 person plural γέγοναν L T Tr WH in Romans 16:7 and Revelation 21:6 (cf. (Tdf. Proleg., p. 124; WHs Appendix, p. 166; Sophocles Lexicon, p. 37f; Curtius, Das Verbum, 2:187); Winers Grammar, 36 and 76f (73f); Mullach, p. 16; Buttmann, 43 (37f)), (participle γεγονώς); pluperfect 3 person singular ἐγεγόνει (John 6:17 (not Tdf.); Acts 4:22 (where L T Tr WH γεγόνει, cf. Winers Grammar, § 12, 9; Buttmann, 33 (29); Tdf.s note on the passage)); to become, and

  1. to become equivalent to to come to pass, happen, of events;
  2. Very common in the first three Gospels, especially that of Luke, and in the Acts, is the phrase καί ἐγένετο (וַיְהִי followed by וְ); cf. Winers Grammar, § 65, 4 e. (also § 44, 3 c.), and especially Buttmann, § 141, 6. (a.) καί ἐγένετο καί with a finite verb: Mark 2:15 ((Tr text καί γίνεται), T WH καί γίνεται (followed by the accusative and infinitive)); Luke 2:15 (R G L brackets Tr brackets); (WH brackets καί); followed by καί ἰδού, Matthew 9:10 (T omits καί before ἰδού; Luke 24:4. (b.) much more often καί is not repeated: Matthew 7:28; Mark 4:4; Luke 1:23; 2:( T WH), ; . (g.) καί ἐγένετο followed by the accusative with an infinitive: Mark 2:23 (Winer’s Grammar, 578 (537) note); Luke 6:1, 6 (R G ἐγένετο δέ καί).

As we can see, “done” in verse 21 speaks to all those things which are completed at the time of the conversation in question.  I realize that this is less than overwhelming and hardly seems a revelation.  However, we must examine all aspects of the death, burial, and resurrection to ascertain what the Bible is telling us.

However, why this is important is that it confirms something we see in the other part of this scripture – “since these things”.  It is “these things” that we must understand.  To do so, we must examine the scriptures prior to 21 for guidance.

17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?

18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?

19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:

20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

When the disciples speak the words “since these things were done”, the prior four scriptures give us the context, and reveal something else.  They tell us that “these things” involve the complete account of the death and burial of Jesus Christ.  Likewise, we have confirmation that it does not include the events of the resurrection morning, as verse 22 and 23 brings in that day’s events as a separate conversation:

22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;

23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.

Here is the thing – when you read verses 17 through 20, it becomes evident that it is not just the event recorded in Luke that are “these things”.  It is the events recorded in all four of the Gospels.

This is another example of where critical observations skills are paramount.  We already have the separation between all of the events into two primary series of events.  There were the starting events, and the finishing events.  Verses 22 and 23 establish that the finishing events start with the resurrection.  That leaves the events prior to that as the starting events.  These run from the Garden of Gethsemane through the weekly Sabbath.

Here is where the critical observation skills come in.  If I were to ask you what happened in the starting events, you would most likely tell me that Jesus was arrested, condemned, crucified and buried – remaining in the tomb until He rose.  Certainly this would be correct.  All of those things did happen, and in that order.  However, there are several scriptures which give us a critical piece to the sequence of these events.

Matthew 27:62-66 KJV – 62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,

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

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.

65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.

66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

These are the concluding events of the starting series.  This conversation occurred early in the morning after the sun had risen on Unleavened Bread.  We know this by the urgency of the conversation, and that Rome did not cease official business in recognition of foreign holidays.

On a separate note, notice that this is on the day after the preparation, and that the Chief Priests and Pharisees are asking for guards to be placed until the third day.  This alone also settles the debate on the timing.

As we were saying, these scriptures add the events of the next morning to the overall storyline.  They tell us that the day which started with the arrest did not finish until the tomb was sealed.  Actually, “these things” start with the delivery of Jesus to Pilate to be condemned.  They don’t start with the arrest, as the situation was still uncertain until that point.  Even Pilate wanted to release Jesus.  It was not until the crowd was incited by the Pharisees and council to choose Barabbas and demanded death that the matter was certain.

20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.

Let’s bring back something we said just a moment ago:

“In 21, they are recounting that it is the third day “since these things were done”.  In 46, it is Jesus recounting Old Testament scripture that He would rise “from the dead the third day”.  Here is the obvious question – how can this be right?  Jesus has already risen.  We know from both the sign of Jonah and the recounting of the death, burial and resurrection that there was a full three days from the closing of the tomb to the opening of the tomb.  By definition, this entire time actually spans a total of four days.  So, how then are the disciples and Jesus saying that this is the third day since these things were done?  The answer resides in something else that was said.

today is the third day since these things were done.

The answer is found in the understanding of “these things”, and the meaning of “done”.  Let’s start with “done” and see what it reveals:”

So, how exactly is this possible?  Here is the timeline revealed by the disciples on the road to Emmaus, combined with the additional scriptures on the subject:

STARTING SERIES (Times are approximate):

Day of Preparation – Wednesday

6:00 am – Jesus brought before Pilate

7:00 am to 8:00 am – Jesus condemned to death

9:00 am  – Jesus crucified

3:00 pm – Jesus dies

4:00 pm – Pilate grants the body to Nicodemus

5:00 pm – Jesus taken from the cross to the tomb

6:30 pm – Cursory cleaning and prep complete

7:00 pm – Tomb is closed

7:30 pm – Sun is setting, Passover officially begins

8:00 pm – Unleavened Bread begins – the High Sabbath commences

Unleavened Bread – High Sabbath – Thursday

6:00 am – High Priest and Pharisees before Pilate

7:00 am – Tomb sealed and Guards posted.

***  Starting series of events concluded  ***

8:00 pm – The High Sabbath is complete, regular weekly activities resume

Unleavened Bread Day 2 – Friday

7:00 am to 12:00 pm – Spices purchased

12:00 pm to 5:00 pm – Spices prepared

8:00 pm – Unleavened Bread Day 2 concludes

Weekly Sabbath – Unleavened Bread Day 3 – Saturday

8:00 am – 8:00 pm – Both Mary’s rested

ENDING SERIES OF EVENTS (Times are approximate)

First Day of the Week – Unleavened Bread Day 4 – Sunday

5:00 am – Mary goes to the tomb

8:00 am to 3:00 pm – The road to Emmaus

Now, go back and look closely at the days listed.  What do you see?  The first series of events ends, which are the events covered in “these things” mentioned by the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  When the two disciples are on the road to Emmaus, it has been almost exactly three days since “these things” were done!  Not only that, but the third complete day finishes in the midst of daylight hours, so that also qualifies as the third day (even though the civil day runs from sunset to sunset, the Jews likewise looked at the days in terms of the daylight hours).

It should be noted that the actual sealing of the tomb and posting of the guards may have occurred later in the day.  I simply attributed it to early in the morning.  However, the later in the day these two events occurred, the more the “three days” revelation is justified.  Think of my timeline as the worst case scenario.

What Do We Know?

We have covered a great deal of evidence so far, and have one more piece of the puzzle to examine.  With that said, we actually have everything we need to declare our results:

It is now beyond question that Firstfruits falls the day after the weekly Sabbath, and the counting of the Omer begins on the first day of the week following Passover.

It is also beyond question that Jesus was in the tomb for three full days, and actually dead for more than three full days.

Here is the where the rubber meets the road.  The reason all of this is so critical is that scripture is truth no matter what.  Here is what I mean.  If proponents of the High Sabbath theory are correct, then there can be no deviation whatsoever in the start of ANY Feast of Firstfruits or counting of the Omer.  There cannot be any evidence that Firstfruits EVER started any day other than the second day of Unleavened Bread.

Here is the key:

  • In the timeline revealed by the Gospels, it is clear that the High Sabbath of Unleavened Bread IS NOT the Sabbath that preceded the resurrection of Jesus.  For that matter, what we find is that the High Sabbath theory is mathematically impossible.
  • From the arrest of Jesus until His first appearance after the resurrection, we see that a total of four days are spanned (remember, the death and burial happened at “off” hours, and the day of preparation was already well under way).  Long story short, the reference to two Sabbaths in the Gospel account make any other theory a literal mathematical impossibility.

All of this tells us that the Last Supper occurred on Tuesday night.

Jesus was arrested early Wednesday morning.

He died Wednesday afternoon, and was buried Wednesday evening.

He was in the tomb until Saturday night.

He arose, and the tomb was opened early Sunday morning.

He was seen by Mary just after sunrise on Sunday morning.

There is something that we will mention briefly, though we will not cover it in depth in this project.  Let’s bring something in from the project on Christmas and Easter:

When rabbinical scholars research the claims of Jesus and Messiah, there are a few things from the text of the four Gospels that would stick out to them, which many Christians will miss.  It is in these details that we find the proof the Jesus was the Messiah, and why the celebration of the Sunday after Passover is a far more necessary celebration than we realize.  Indeed, it is what happened that Sunday that sets the stage for all eternity.

John 20:14-17 – And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou?  whom seekest thou?  She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.  Jesus saith unto her, Mary.  She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.  Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. ~

I have seen any number of commentaries which speak to the meaning of “touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father”.  Most expound on an allegorical meaning, saying this speaks to Mary not being able to let Jesus go.  However, with careful examination of the scripture, we see a few things which put this passage in a whole new light – and prove the divinity of Jesus Christ.

We see in verse 14 that Mary did not recognize Jesus.  Furthermore, we can see that she mistook him for the gardener.  Have you ever wondered why the gardener?  Why not somebody else?  Did Jesus look like the gardener of the garden where the tomb was found?  Would Mary have known this gardener?

Here is a critical question to what happened on the resurrection morning.  Was Jesus naked?  Remember, he was wrapped in burial linens and the burial napkin.  He would have had only a loin cloth on him.  The burial linens were still folded in the tomb.  So the question remains – what would Jesus have worn?  As a Jew and a perfect human being he would not have run around nearly naked.

Now, given that Mary entered the tomb and found two angels sitting there, it is no stretch of the imagination to declare that the angels provided clothing to Jesus.  By this time, such a thing would hardly seem a miracle, and more of a given.

Now, the question remains – why did Mary mistake Jesus for the gardener?  Jesus had only been from her sight for three days and nights.

Today, as it was in the days of Jesus, gardeners dress much as they always have.  Given the climate, heat and arid conditions, their choice of attire is less “choice” and more of a necessity.  There would have been four garments worn by the gardener – a linen coat, linen pants, linen belt and a linen headdress.  Sometimes these would have been white garments, sometimes other light colors.  The linen would be a cotton linen, designed to protect them from long hours in the sun and the Mediterranean climate.

You may recall earlier that we spoke of Jesus fulfilling the seven feasts of Israel.  So far, he has fulfilled all of the blood sacrifices for the seven feasts, and he fulfilled the food offering of unleavened bread when he was wrapped in the burial linens and hidden away for three days and three nights.  Now, this leaves the Feast of Firstfruits to be fulfilled.  The blood sacrifices have been satisfied.  However, there remains three aspects of Firstfruits left to be accomplished.  These would be the Firstfruits of the barley harvest for the Priesthood and Israel, the first day of the Firstfruits offering for the congregation closest to Jerusalem, followed by the remaining 48 days where the rest of the congregation of Israel makes their way to Jerusalem and offers the Firstfruits of their barley harvests.

Remember when Jesus told Mary to “touch me not”?  Has it ever occurred to you that the language here is very specific?  Likewise, short of some allegorical meaning that only partially fits the language, Jesus was indeed touched before the ascension 40 days after he arose.  Why is that?

Did you know that on the Day of Atonement, before the High Priest enters the Holy of Holies for the one time that year to sprinkle the blood on the Ark of the Covenant and complete the incense offering, they cannot be touched as they are ritually clean?  On the night before the Day of Atonement and the morning of, the High Priest would complete a process to finish purifying himself and dress in the outfit required for the ritual of Atonement.  Once complete and dressed, the High Priest could not be touched until after he emerged from the Holy of Holies.

When the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies, he would not be wearing the breastplate, headdress, ephod or colored belt.  His uniform – for this task alone – was the basic uniform of the regular priest:

A white linen coat, a white linen belt, white linen pants and a white linen headdress.

The exact same uniform Mary saw Jesus wearing that morning at the tomb.  The same outfit she would have expected to see the gardener wearing.  The same uniform of the High Priest that is getting ready to enter the Holy Chamber of God.  The same uniform that the angels brought the night before, when the Sabbath ended and the first day of the week began.  The same uniform that Jesus ritually dressed in after he rose in the hour just past the start of the Feast of Firstfruits, which started about 9:00 pm on Saturday night.  The same uniform alone that could be worn in order for Jesus to enter the Holy Chamber of the Heavenly Temple to cleanse the furniture.  The same uniform required for him to sprinkle the blood first, so that the wave offering for the royal priesthood of heaven could be offered – a wave offering that could not be presented until the heavenly Temple was cleansed.

A heavenly Temple that was defiled with sin when Lucifer rebelled against God, and took one third of the angels with him.  A rebellion that was likewise witnessed by the remaining two thirds of the angels.  They had been innocent until this point.  After original sin that innocence was gone.  Sin had manifested before the Throne of God himself.  Indeed, all of creation had now fallen.  Indeed, all of creation would now need redeemed back to God.

It was this same sin that manifested itself when angels came to earth to teach the righteousness of God to men, and found the daughters of men to be desirable.  It was this same sin that brought the birth of the giants.  It was the death of these giants which gave us the evil spirits – the spirits of dead giants, half man and half angel – that would roam the earth and birth every false and vile religion.  It was this same sin the Jesus Christ would ascend to heaven on the Feast of Firstfruits – enter the Holy Chamber of the Temple of God – and sprinkle his blood upon the furniture to cleanse and purify heaven itself from all uncleanness.

You may be making the connection as to why the Easter Bunny is not quite the abomination that many make him out to be.  Likewise, those familiar with the attempts of Satan to pervert the things of God will doubtless recognize the irony in using the Easter Bunny to trap believers.

Only then, with the Temple cleansed, could the offering of the Firstfruits of the barley harvest be presented before God.  We saw this with the Old Testament Saints that rose from the dead and were seen in Jerusalem.  They were the Firstfruits of Israel that were offered by the priests – after they presented their own Firstfruits offering.

That first offering – offered by the hand of the High Priest himself in Israel – is the offering fulfilled by Jesus Christ himself.

It was the Old Testament Saints that were presented before the cleansed Holy Temple of God that fulfilled the Firstfruits of the barley harvest for Israel and the people.  They were the second of the two wave offerings that would be required on the Feast of Firstfruits, the first of the 49 total days of barley.

All of this had to be completed on the Feast of Firstfruits, that this Holy day should be fulfilled.

This leaves one final set of 48 separate Firstfruits offerings to be fulfilled for the completion of the remaining 48 days.  The offering for the congregation and the great assembly – the Holy Convocation called by the sounding of the shofars.  These would be the offerings of the people.  They would occur first for those closest to the Temple of God – those closest to God – those camped outside the city walls, having already made the journey to the House of God.

The first of these final offerings has not been made yet.  It will not be made until the Great Assembly of the King is called, with the blowing of both the first and last trumps of God.  An assembly that will be repeated seven years later.

This leads us to several points that must be made.  First, the space between the resurrection and the opening of the tomb is very specific, and we will cover this in more detail in part four of this project – the Day of Atonement.  The hours between the resurrection and the opening correspond with the time of preparation for the High Priest on the Day of Atonement.  Jesus did not simply arise fully dressed at the moment the tomb was opened.  There was a sequence that had to be followed – a sequence encoded in the process on the Day of Atonement.  This goes back to top down, bottom up.  The process of the High Priest on earth is a copy of the real process that would be followed by Jesus when He arose.

Second, there is a premise that needs corrected.  In researching the positions and theories of others on this subject, you will likely come across the work from Hebrew 4 Christians (http://www.hebrew4christians.com).  Typically, this website is a tremendous resource.  However, they suffer from the same weaknesses we all suffer from.  They can tend to view things in a vacuum.  In their case, they stumble over something that stems from their status as Messianic Jews – they forget that the Jews tend to get a few things wrong when it comes to Judaism and the Messiah.  Otherwise, they would ALL be servants of Christ.  I have seen the same thing happen with prominent Arab Christians, who tend to view all things through the lens of Islam.

The premise in question is that adopting the position that Firstfruits must start the day after the weekly Sabbath does not help or add to the case for Jesus as Messiah.  It is their contention that the corrupt Sadducees  were in control of the Temple at the time, and as such, the premise of the weekly Sabbath being the start of Firstfruits came from them (therefore, that position itself is corrupt), and that the time of the resurrection of Jesus did not correspond with the time that the High Priest waved the Firstfruits of the barley before God at that Temple.  Therefore, the weekly Sabbath cannot be the correct Sabbath for the start of Firstfruits.

Never mind that I have not seen any plausible explanation of exactly what the resurrection fulfilled if their contention is correct, and the actual resurrection does not correspond to anything dealing with Firstfruits.  Besides, I have also seen others attribute the greater corruption to the Pharisees.  Here is the problem in getting bogged down in whether or not the Pharisees or Sadducees is a viable reason for or against the weekly Sabbath as the start of Firstfruits (the Sadducees held that the weekly Sabbath was the Sabbath in question, while the Pharisees held that the High Sabbath was the Sabbath in question).

Jesus openly rebuked BOTH groups.  Neither one was found righteous in His eyes, and as such, their positions on the start of the Firstfruits is suspect from the outset.

Matthew 3:7 KJV – But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Matthew 16:6 KJV – Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Acts 4:1-2 KJV – And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

As we can see, both groups were not without their issues.

Another premise deals with the assertion that because Jesus did not rise at the time the first fruits of barley were being presented at the Temple, that this could not have any bearing on when Firstfruits and the omer commence.  We can deal with this fairly quickly.  It is true.  Jesus did not rise when the first fruits were presented at the Temple.

He rose when they were ceremonially cut from the field!

When Jesus was pulled from death, the sheaves were pulled from the field.  When Jesus was pulled from the grave, the sheaves were pulled from the field.  When Jesus was set apart, the set apart grains were pulled from the field.

THAT is what made Jesus the first fruits.

He arose when the High Priest was cutting down the sheaves of barley in the small field outside the Temple complex in the still dark morning hours on that first day of the week.  These are a select few sheaves that were the first to ripen, so they were “set apart”, and a red thread was tied around them to separate them from the rest of the field.  About 9:00 pm on the first day of the week after Unleavened Bread began, the High Priest was cutting them down.  They would be taken into the Temple, prepared, and then waved before the Lord.

When the High Priest was cutting down the sheaves, Jesus was rising from the dead.

When the High Priest was waving the sheaves before God in the Temple, Jesus was in heaven, dressed in the four linen white garments of the High Priest, presenting the first fruits before Almighty God Himself!

THAT is how the resurrection fits into the Feast of Firstfruits!

Before we get to the final proof that we will offer, we need to address something that must be remembered when considering the various sources for the High Sabbath theory.  When I read the various arguments in favor of Firstfruits on the 16th of Nisan (second day of Unleavened Bread), I see references to Josephus, Philo, and Jewish tradition as proof of the Nisan 16 date.  There is a major problem with this line of thinking.

All such references rely on Jewish sources!

I know this seems counter intuitive at first.  However, there is something that must be remembered when we speak of the background of these sources.  They are not believers in Jesus Christ, nor apologists for Christianity.  By default, any position proffered from these sources, which comes into direct conflict with doctrines that prove the divinity of Christ, must be viewed in that light.  Let’s bring back something we spoke originally in the Christmas and Easter project:

You should understand something.  Everything I just shared here really bothered me.  Here is why.  I am a great respecter of academic knowledge, and for those that dedicate their lives to their given professions.  The same holds true of the rabbinical scholars that have determined that the Sabbath day which starts the Feast of Firstfruits is in fact the high day of Unleavened Bread – just one day after the Passover lamb is slain, or the second day of Unleavened Bread.  Understand, that when I began my own research, I could clearly see – with no difficulty – that the Sabbath day written in the Law of Moses for setting the Feast of Firstfruits was in fact the Sabbat, or the 7th day Sabbath.  I will be honest- this grieved me.  How could genuine Rabbinical Scholars miss what I could clearly see?  Likewise, what many Christian scholars could also clearly see (along with many Messianic Rabbinical scholars)?

Then the Lord impressed something upon my heart very clearly:

2 Corinthians 3:14-16 – But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.  But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.  Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.

On a side note, we see yet one more time that the heart is the key piece of your worship of God.

The Apostle Paul tells us that the Jews have been blinded.  There are several other scriptures that confirm this as well.  Though many rabbinical scholars are well meaning in their research, they are nevertheless operating at a disadvantage.  Then something else I had discovered made sense.  During my research on this, I found where the disputes over the meaning of Sabbath stemmed from modern Jewish scholars declaring corruption of the Sadducees, and that it was their corrupt interpretation that declared the Sabbath in the Feast of Firstfruits as the weekly Sabbath, not the first day of Unleavened Bread.  This corruption is given as the reason why modern Judaism accepts the Passover Sabbath as the Sabbath that sets the timing of First Fruits, and not the weekly Sabbath.

All of this made sense now.  If the Feast of Firstfruits is acknowledged by modern Judaism as beginning the day after the 7th day Sabbath, then it has no choice but acknowledge what I am going to share with you.  Understand, there are ultra-orthodox Jewish Rabbis that spend the bulk of their scholarship in an effort to deny that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.  As such, there can be no connection to the events of his death and resurrection and the fulfilling of prophecy and the feasts.

The same understanding can be applied to all facets of the Hebrew Roots Movement, especially the Sabbath Keepers, Sacred Name Movement, the Torah Keepers, and likewise to many in Replacement Theology (the Church has replaced Israel), ironically.  Each of these various groups are steeped in false doctrine, and the vast majority seek to supplant the pre-trib rapture.

The second point that needs made touches on something we covered in the second project as well.  What did we just say a moment ago?

The third premise deals with the assertion that because Jesus did not rise at the time the firstfruits of barley were being presented at the Temple, that this could not have any bearing on when Firstfruits and the Omer commence.  We can deal with this fairly quickly.  It is true.  Jesus did not rise when the firstfruits were presented at the Temple.

He rose when they were ceremonially cut from the field!

When Jesus was pulled from death, the sheaves were pulled from the field.  When Jesus was pulled from the grave, the sheaves were pulled from the field.  When Jesus was set apart, the set apart grains were pulled from the field.

THAT is what made Jesus the firstfruits.

He arose when the High Priest was cutting down the sheaves of barley in the small field outside the Temple complex in the still dark morning hours on that first day of the week.  These are a select few sheaves that were the first to ripen, so they were “ set apart”, and a red thread was tied around them to separate them from the rest of the field.  About 5:00 am on the first day of the week after Unleavened Bread, the High Priest was cutting them down.  They would be taken into the Temple, prepared, and then waved before the Lord.

When the High Priest was cutting down the sheaves, Jesus was rising from the dead.

When the High Priest was waving the sheaves before God in the Temple, Jesus was in heaven, dressed in the four linen white garments of the High Priest, presenting the firstfruits before Almighty God Himself!

THAT is how the resurrection fits into the Feast of Firstfruits!

This touches on another area where critical observation skills seem nonexistent.  When the argument is made for the second day of Unleavened Bread, it is done so from the premise that Jesus being crucified is the the picture of the cutting of the sheaves.  However, this premise itself misses a greater point.  In order for this to be the case, Jesus would have needed to die when the sheaves were being cut down.  Everything with the death, burial and resurrection was timed perfectly with the actual events of the corresponding feasts.

Here is an interesting excerpt from Alfred Edersheim, in his work “The Temple – Its Ministry and Services”:

When the time for cutting the sheaf had arrived, that is, on the evening of the 15th of Nisan (even though it were a Sabbath), just as the sun went down, three men, each with a sickle and basket, formally set to work.

But in order clearly to bring out all that was distinctive in the ceremony, they first asked of the bystanders three times each of these questions: ‘Has the sun gone down?’ ‘With this sickle?’ ‘Into this basket?’ ‘On this Sabbath (or first Passover-day)?’—and, lastly, ‘Shall I reap?’ Having each time been answered in the affirmative, they cut down barley to the amount of one ephah, or ten Omers, or three seahs, which is equal to about three pecks and three pints of our English measure. The ears were brought into the Court of the Temple, and thrashed out with canes or stalks, so as not to injure the corn; then ‘parched’ on a pan perforated with holes, so that each grain might be touched by the fire, and finally exposed to the wind. The corn thus prepared was ground in a barley-mill, which left the hulls whole.

According to some, the flour was always successfully passed through thirteen sieves, each closer than the other. The statement of a rival authority, however, seems more rational—that it was only done till the flour was sufficiently fine (Men. vi. 6, 7), which was ascertained by one of the ‘Gizbarim’ (treasurers) plunging his hands into it, the sifting process being continued so long as any of the flour adhered to the hands (Men. viii. 2). Though one ephah, or ten Omers, of barley was cut down, only one Omer of flour, or about 5 1 pints of our measure, was offered in the Temple on the second Paschal, or 16th day of Nisan. The rest of the flour might be redeemed, and used for any purpose. The Omer of flour was mixed with a ‘log,’ or very nearly three-fourths of a pint of oil, and a handful of frankincense put upon it, then waved before the Lord, and a handful taken out and burned on the altar.

The first thing to notice is that Edersheim makes the same mistake in his dative process.  In the paragraphs prior, he recounts the “mistake” made in assuming the the Sabbath mentioned in “the morrow after the Sabbath” must be the High Sabbath.  We have already dealt extensively with this premise.  However, the interesting points that his work reveals are found in the descriptions of the events that play on Firstfruits.

Read back through the narrative above, and look at the timing elements they contain.  Specifically, look at the timing of the start of the Firstfruits process, and the questions asked to ceremoniously start the process.

‘Has the sun gone down?’ 

‘With this sickle?’

‘Into this basket?’

‘On this Sabbath (or first Passover-day)?’

‘Shall I reap?’

Understand, the reference to “on this Sabbath” did NOT actually contain the words “or first Passover-day” when the questions were asked.  That was the author’s personal contribution to the discussion.  Now, add in the first statement concerning when these events started:

When the time for cutting the sheaf had arrived, that is, on the evening of the 15th of Nisan (even though it were a Sabbath), just as the sun went down, three men, each with a sickle and basket, formally set to work.

Notice, that between the two references, a very specific timing emerges.  The “time” for the cutting of the sheaf comes as the sun goes down, while it is yet the Sabbath.  However, by the time the party arrives at the field, and asks the questions, HAS the sun gone down, the Sabbath has concluded, and the next day has officially begun!  It is then that the first fruits are cut down and removed from the field.

Furthermore, when we review the excerpt above, we see that the barley must then be taken to the court of the Temple, where it is prepared for presentation.  It is only after this preparation that the barley is ready for presentation before the actual Temple of God.  All of this happens in the space of a few hours.  Specifically, these events run from just before sunset, when the party sets out for the field, until the morning services at the Temple, which conclude a few hours after sunrise.  Now, if you are thinking that you have seen or heard this time frame before, it’s because you have.

It is the precise order of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the exact moments each event played out in the tomb, and outside the tomb!

As the sheaves were being pulled from the ground, so too was the Savior being pulled from the ground.

As the sheaves were being prepared upon the stones of the court, so too was the Savior being prepared in the stone of the tomb.

As the barley was being ritually cleaned and dressed for its final presentation before God, so too was the Savior being ritually cleaned and dressed for His final presentation before God.

As the prepared bread was taken from preparation stones of the court to the altar of God for waving, so too was the Savior being taken from the preparation stone of the tomb to the altar of the heavenly Temple to be “waved”.

John 20:14-17 – And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.  Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.  Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.  Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

As the rest of the refined flour was now redeemed for the purposes of the priesthood, so too did the Savior redeem the rest of the barley for the purposes of the kingdom of Priests!

** In part three, we will exam this process in greater detail, and reveal several bombshell revelations regarding what actually happened during this process.  There are errors in the common understanding, yet the Lord uses even those errors.  For now, this is the process that we need to see and understand.  There is no need to rewrite Josephus, Philo, or Alfred Edersheim at this point. **

This brings us back to the crux of the second point we were addressing.  When the argument for High Sabbath theory is made on the basis of exactly how Jesus did or did not fulfill Firstfruits, it fails to account for simple, yet straightforward premise:

Firstfruits was not just the cutting down of the sheaf.  It was the entire process, which consisted of the cutting down of the sheaf, the preparation, and the presentation!

This is why Firstfruits cannot be the burial of Christ.  To fulfill the feast days, ALL aspects MUST be accounted for.  To assign Firstfruits to the burial is to disregard the rest of the process, and to discount what Unleavened Bread encodes as well!  Each element must be fulfilled, and done so at the EXACT time ascribed in the Law of Moses!

There are two facts that must be remembered when evaluating the work of Alfred Edersheim.  First off, he was a Messianic Jew.  As such, he falls into the same trap that so many other Messianic Jews fall into.  They have a tendency to view all things Christ through the lens of all things Jewish.

Again, this seems counter intuitive.  However, balance has always been the order of the day.  Many of the things in Judaism have fallen into false doctrine.  As such, the foundation for the understanding of many Messianic Jews must be relearned as their walk with Christ advances.  This is also an issue that exists with many Muslim converts to Christ, as we see with several prominent modern prophecy teachers today.

The second issue is that Alfred’s work was produced at a time where the Good Friday narrative was still the predominant way of thinking.  In the Good Friday narrative, the references to the two Sabbaths make perfect sense, as does Firstfruits and the omer coming on the second day of Unleavened Bread.

Edersheims’ work underscores another issue that we must understand.  Like many Biblical scholars, he relies heavily on the works of Josephus.  Certainly, this is not without merit.  Josephus provides a great deal of insight into many aspects of life during the final age of Israel.  However, as it is with all such sources, we must carefully assess the author with regards to their biases, perspectives, background and experience.

Josephus is no exception.

Josephus is used as a primary source of proof that Firstfruits and the counting of the omer start on the second day of Unleavened Bread.  Here is the section of Josephus that is used to support the High Sabbath theory:

  1. In the month of Xanthicus, which is by us called Nisan, and is the beginning of our year, on the fourteenth day of the lunar month, when the sun is in Aries, (for in this month it was that we were delivered from bondage under the Egyptians,) the law ordained that we should every year slay that sacrifice which I before told you we slew when we came out of Egypt, and which was called the Passover; and so we do celebrate this Passover in companies, leaving nothing of what we sacrifice till the day following. The feast of unleavened bread succeeds that of the Passover, and falls on the fifteenth day of the month, and continues seven days, wherein they feed on unleavened bread; on every one of which days two bulls are killed, and one ram, and seven lambs. Now these lambs are entirely burnt, besides the kid of the goats which is added to all the rest, for sins; for it is intended as a feast for the priest on every one of those days. But on the second day of unleavened bread, which is the sixteenth day of the month, they first partake of the fruits of the earth, for before that day they do not touch them. And while they suppose it proper to honor God, from whom they obtain this plentiful provision, in the first place, they offer the first-fruits of their barley, and that in the manner following: They take a handful of the ears, and dry them, then beat them small, and purge the barley from the bran; they then bring one tenth deal to the altar, to God; and, casting one handful of it upon the fire, they leave the rest for the use of the priest. And after this it is that they may publicly or privately reap their harvest. They also at this participation of the first-fruits of the earth, sacrifice a lamb, as a burnt-offering to God.  (Antiq. iii. 10, 5, 6)

For modern Judaism, and many Christians that are unaware of the implications, the words of Josephus are case closed.  They accept his words on the subject without question.  However, even the Bible requires that we question its very own passages.  Yet, the words of men are so often given a pass in this regard.  Here is the trick.  His words are not wrong.  They are quite correct.

So, what gives?

We have already shown that the High Sabbath theory is mathematically impossible from the scriptural requirements given in Leviticus 23.  Likewise, and even more indisputable, we have shown that the actual timeline for the death, burial and resurrection of Christ makes the High Sabbath theory impossible as well.  We took this a step further, and detailed how the the feasts of Passover, Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits were the pictures of the death, burial and resurrection – requiring a chronological fulfillment of those appointed days.  So then, how can the words of Josephus be correct?

To understand this, you must take the time to understand who Josephus was, why he wrote what he wrote, and the timeline of his writings.  Far too many Christians today stop with “Josephus was a historian”.  For the record Josephus was not a historian.  He was something else entirely.  He was a “something” else that wrote a history, and did so from a one sided perspective.

Again, this is not to diminish Josephus.  Much of his work gives detail you simply cannot find elsewhere.  I use his work myself.  So, this is not an endorsement of tossing Josephus out the window.  Rather, it is an endorsement of knowing who he is, so that you can adequately classify his work.

To understand Josephus, you need to understand the timeline of his life and work.  When he is used as a source, he is typically lumped into “the first century”, or “the times of Jesus”.  Both of these are correct.  However, if you stop with these generic descriptions, you will miss insights that would – quite literally – set a lot of false doctrine on fire.

Understand this – when it comes to “the first century” in matters of the Bible and Israel, there is a tremendous difference between 5 AD, and 95 AD – and I am not simply talking about 90 years.  I am talking about wholesale differences in the greater world.  In 5 AD, Rome was under the rule of Augustus, the first Emperor.  Rome was enjoying a time of peace and the future looked bright.  By 95 AD, Rome was on her 11th Emperor, the city had nearly burned to the ground, several emperors had been assassinated, and John was on the Isle of Patmos writing Revelation.

For those that ascribe to Preterist theology, John was sent to Patmos under Domitian – who did not come to power until 81 AD.

In 5 AD, The Second Temple had been in service for nearly 25 years under Herod, and the work that classified it as “Herod’s Temple” is still underway.  In 95 AD, the Second Temple had been gone for 25 years.  In 5 AD, Israel still had some vestiges of autonomous rule, as Rome allowed much of what we would recognize as “Israel” to continue as a client kingdom of sorts.  Though it was under the rule of Herod the Great, it was still a far cry better than no nation at all.  In 95 AD, Judea is a full Roman province, Jerusalem had been destroyed, and “Jewish rule” in the region had been reduced to a few small kingdoms in the surrounding area.

What a difference 90 years can make.

This is the same premise that governs Josephus and his work.  We have to be cautious in how we view Josephus, in that “the time of Christ” does not necessarily mean “the lifetime of Christ”.  However, this is the unintentional mindset that most have with Josephus.  To properly frame Josephus and his work, we must have at least a cursory understanding of who he was, and the world around him.

First off, did you know that Josephus was not alive during the lifetime of Christ?  Most who tout him as an eyewitness to the events around Christ do not.  Josephus was born around 37 AD, which puts his birth in the three to six year range (likely) after the death of Christ.  I say “range”, as it is not known exactly which year Christ was born, or which year He died.  The difference is only one-two years in each case, but that is significant when dealing with Josephus and Israel.  Most estimates put the birth of Christ as early as 3 BC, and as late as 2 AD.  Likewise, the same estimates typically put the death between 31 and 32 AD.

Secondly, most simply think of Josephus as a historian.  We said earlier that this was incorrect.  Josephus had a trade, and wrote the history of the Jewish people secondary to that trade.  In fact, it was that trade which influenced the history that he wrote.  So, what exactly did Josephus do?

Josephus was a priest.  What’s more, he was a Pharisee!  To say that this influenced his work is an understatement!  Earlier, I recounted how proponents of the High Sabbath theory attempt to decry the corruption of the Sadducees in the defense of their position.  In fact, a lot of folks take this position based off of one sided commentaries – without actually vetting those commentaries.  Even those that understand that the Sabbath mentioned in the recounting of the resurrection is the weekly Sabbath fall prey to this problem.

This is a good time to also elaborate on something.  Many of the contemporaries of Josephus considered him a traitor!  His work has a decidedly pro-Roman slant.  Likewise, he is seen as less than honorable in the way he survived the Roman onslaught of Jerusalem and Masada in 70-73 AD.  These same contemporaries would be less than thrilled if they knew that his work would be the representative volume that revealed their lives to a later world.  When you read his the recounting of his life during those times, it becomes clear – by his own words – that he is not the paragon of historian virtue that so many automatically ascribe him to be.  Here is a bitter truth for everybody putting blind faith in a man.  He is the pre-eminent author of Jewish history at this point because he is the ONLY author of any substantial Jewish history at this point!

However, the real narrative behind his work comes into play when you understand why being a priest and a Pharisee makes all the difference in the world.  Earlier, we spoke briefly about the differences between the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  It helps to understand that during the first century AD, there were three core factions in Israel – the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Essenes.  There were other, more minor factions.  However, the greater picture can be boiled down to three.

Here is the nickel tour.  The Sadducees were concerned with the political power in Israel, with the Jewish faith being an instrument of that power.  They held a literal view of most aspects of the Torah, and did not adhere to the oral law and traditions. In today’s understanding, they would be the conservative party, with the Torah being a set-in-stone document.

The Pharisees were concerned with the more religious aspects of the Jewish faith.  They held the oral law and traditions with a high regard, placing them on the same level as the Torah.  In today’s understanding, they would be the progressive, or liberal party, with the Torah being a “living, breathing document”.

The Essenes were an offshoot of the Pharisees, that felt the Pharisees fell a bit short of what they should be doing.  So, they went off by themselves and did their own thing.

Here is where this becomes critical.  The Sadducees were the party that had control of the priesthood and Temple when Jesus was alive.  The Sadducees were the direct descendants of the sons of Zadok (the Book of Ezekiel), and as such, only they could hold the office of the High Priest.  They controlled the worship services at the Temple, controlled the Sanhedrin, and set the times and calendar.  We will discuss this more in a moment.

The Pharisees detested the Sadducees, and sought to supplant them and their theology (the Sadducees did the same to the Pharisees).  Both groups antagonized each other through the years, with that antagonism reaching a fever pitch during the Hasmonean Dynasty (the brief period of Jewish self-rule after the Greeks, just before the Romans).  In the period of 78-69 BC,the Pharisees took power and position from the Sadducees.  However, this did not stand.  In 69-63 BC, the Sadducees struck back.  They regained their power, and pushed the Pharisees put of the picture when it came to the Temple and policies regarding worship in Jerusalem.  This would not last.

The Pharisees responded with a “man of the people” philosophy.  They embarked on a massive synagogue building program (the synagogue, or local house of worship, is a Pharisee favorite, as the Sadducees held that the Temple was the source of all instruction in the Law).  That would be the equivalent of building schools in lands where no schools exist.  Their policies were liberal to say the least, and were embraced and preferred by the people as a whole.  This is not to say that there were no benefits to Pharisee policies.  Their positions towards women were much more friendly (it was the Pharisees that opened up learning of the Law to women, more so than it already was – including allowing women to worship in the synagogues with men), and in many cases, their positions seemed to have more in common with grace than that of the Sadducees.

The Pharisees began to infiltrate the Temple and priesthood.  Slowly, they introduced their theology and doctrines into Temple life.  One by one, the Sadducees began to cede ground to the Pharisees, as the people greatly preferred the policies of the Pharisees.  The Sadducees held the Pharisees at bay for a time, but they could not hold them off forever.  By 41 AD, King Agrippa rose to power, and with that, the star of the Pharisees.  From there, the decline of the Sadducees was hastened until their demise with the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. This quote from the Jewish Encyclopedia sums it up nicely;

“and with the destruction of the Temple the Sadducees disappeared altogether, leaving the regulation of all Jewish affairs in the hands of the Pharisees.”

This is at the heart of what we see with Josephus.  A moment ago we spoke of Josephus the Pharisee, and that this affected his work.  Here is how and why.

One of the core differences between these two factions centers on the start of Firstfruits and the counting of the omer.  To call it a “difference” is an understatement of an unspeakable magnitude.  It was one of the few doctrinal differences to which there could be no reconciliation.  To the Sadducee, Firstfruits started on the day after the weekly Sabbath.  To the Pharisee, it started on the second day of Unleavened Bread.

Here is the critical point.  Though the Pharisees were gaining ground on the Sadducees, and eventually the start of Firstfruits would likewise be changed, this change did not come until the last years of the Temple.  After 44 AD, the Sadducees began to crumble.  Their influence likewise began to crumble.  Years of constant infiltration and the whole “man of the people” routine had taken their toll.

The rise of the Pharisees is enigmatic of our own modern history.  Here is what I mean.  When Paul spoke of the blindness of that fell on the Jews, the rise of Pharisaism is how that spirit manifested.  Here is another quote from the Jewish Encyclopedia that shines a light on what happened to the Jews, with regards to the Pharisees:

Henceforth Jewish life was regulated by the teachings of the Pharisees; the whole history of Judaism was reconstructed from the Pharisaic point of view, and a new aspect was given to the Sanhedrin of the past. A new chain of tradition supplanted the older, priestly tradition (Abot i. 1). Pharisaism shaped the character of Judaism and the life and thought of the Jew for all the future. True, it gave the Jewish religion a legalistic tendency and made “separatism” its chief characteristic; yet only thus were the pure monotheistic faith, the ethical ideal, and the intellectual and spiritual character of the Jew preserved in the midst of the downfall of the old world and the deluge of barbarism which swept over the medieval world.

What a bombshell!

There is an entire project in this one simple paragraph.  For now, we will touch on several points.  First off, the word “reconstructed” reveals the depth of what happened under the Pharisees, and why modern Judaism adheres to incorrect and outright false definitions of what “God meant” when He spoke the Torah into existence, using precise language.

Second, there is an undercurrent which must be noticed here.  Consider again something brought to light above:

“yet only thus were the pure monotheistic faith, the ethical ideal, and the intellectual and spiritual character of the Jew preserved in the midst of the downfall of the old world and the deluge of barbarism which swept over the medieval world.”

Think about what this says.  It says “the ideas of the faction most often rebuked by the Messiah are in fact the ideas which saved the Jews!”  Imagine, that an entire people have embraced a religious doctrine that was never given to them by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob;

A religious doctrine that denied the Messiah, and replaced Him with the works of men;

A religious doctrine that replaces the literal words of God for “what He must have meant”;

A religious doctrine that rewrote the appointed times of God, effectively removing one of the greatest evidences for the divinity of their very own Messiah – whom they rejected!

What’s more, is that this blindness has affected more than just the Jews.  It came from a very old spirit – one that was present in the Garden of Eden.  It is a spirit that says men can be like the Most High – that men can be god.  The heart of the Pharisee is the doctrine of man’s ability to save himself, and to achieve the righteousness of God in doing so.

It is the exact same spirit which gave us liberalism and leftism.  So many Christians wonder why the Jews vote for liberals wholesale, and why so many Jews embrace a political ideology which stands so vehemently opposed to modern Israel.  However, an in-depth study on the doctrines of the Pharisees will reveal stunning insights.  Modern Judaism is the theology of the Pharisees.  It is the theology of the Pharisees which was born of that most ancient of rebellious spirits.

It is why the left so readily embraces every ideology which touts the will of the individual man over the will of God.

Yet, even now, the Lord has restored Israel, and is preparing to settle unfinished business with the Jewish people.  He is gathering them from the nations and bringing them home.  He is restoring Israel to the place she occupied the day that Christ was nailed to the cross.  As it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end.  The world continues to turn against Israel as the Lord returns her favor one brick at a time.

That is also at the heart of why so much hatred abounds for the Jews and modern Israel.  The same spirit of the Pharisees is losing it’s hold on the Jews.  More and more Jews are hearing of Messiah, and they are answering the call – by the thousands!  Likewise, the spirit of the Pharisees is losing its hold even on the orthodox.  While it is true that they still hold to the modern Judaism that was born of the Pharisees, that same spirit is what kept the Jewish people as a whole from attempting to return and reform the state of Israel.  For nearly 1,900 years, the Jewish people were content to live and flourish in foreign lands.  Even when persecution drove them from their adopted homes, it was not until after the Second World War that this spirit was finally broken.

As the power of this spirit was broken in the Jewish people, it took hold in the Gentiles.  The 20th Century watched as a new liberalism spread across Europe and the United States.  As it’s Gentile influence grew, it’s Jewish influence waned.  Satan has never been a “live, and let live” type of guy.  He already hates Israel for more reasons than we can recount.  All of that was made worse to him when the Jews slipped from his control and returned home.  Now, he drives the world to the brink of the tribulation in the desire for vengeance against the Jews.  Now that Israel stands again, and the Jews are returning home, Satan knows his time is nearly up.

We noted something above that merits pointing out.  The Pharisees are the faction that was most often rebuked by Jesus, by a considerable margin.  We spoke earlier of Jesus rebuking even the Sadducees.  They certainly had their issues – the least of which was their willingness to arrest, condemn and execute the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (remember, the Sanhedrin and office of the High Priest are still under their control at this time).  Yet, when weighed next to the totality of what the Pharisees sought, the desire of the Sadducees to hold onto temporal political power paled by comparison.

This brings us to our next point.  There is a reason why the Sadducees were allowed to hold on to power until after the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.  Even though their influence was starting to wane, it was their desire to hold onto power that led to the crucifixion of Christ.  It was their desire to hold onto political power which led the Sanhedrin to violate the very Laws of Moses that they held to be literal when they convened an illegal trial.

Here comes the kicker.  We know that the crucifixion of Christ was not in the hands of men.  It was men that were used, but it was God that ensured everything was in place.  This is true so much so, that the Bible recounts that if Satan actually knew what was happening, he would have stopped the crucifixion.  He did not, because he knew not!

That is the story behind Josephus. When Jesus was crucified, it was under the rule of the Sadducees – the same Sadducees that held the start of the omer and Firstfruits to be the day after the weekly Sabbath.  Here is the thing.  If they had not been in power, then then Christ could not have fulfilled the appointed times for Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits.  Remember the sign of Jonah?  Three full days were required in the tomb!

This is why the Sadducees were allowed by the Lord to hold onto power.  It was a part of what had to come.  He knew that the spirit of the Pharisees was descending on the Jews, and He knew what that spirit truly was.

In the years following the ascension of Christ, the Pharisees ramped up their infiltration of the Sanhedrin and priesthood.  By the time Josephus chose to be a Pharisee at age 19, the last vestiges of the Sadducees were being swept away.  By the time he was eligible to start his service as a priest at 25, he was only two years removed from the rebellion that would destroy Jerusalem and end the Jewish nation, and the calendar had become the Pharisaical calendar.

When Josephus writes about bringing the first fruits on the second day of Unleavened Bread, it is because this was now the practice.  It had become the practice just a few short years before he was trained to be a priest.  His time as a priest at the Temple lasted only five to seven years beyond that.  Then the Temple was destroyed, and with it, the last vestiges of the Sadducees.

What did we share earlier?

“and with the destruction of the Temple the Sadducees disappeared altogether, leaving the regulation of all Jewish affairs in the hands of the Pharisees.”

“Henceforth Jewish life was regulated by the teachings of the Pharisees; the whole history of Judaism was reconstructed from the Pharisaic point of view, and a new aspect was given to the Sanhedrin of the past. A new chain of tradition supplanted the older, priestly tradition (Abot i. 1). Pharisaism shaped the character of Judaism and the life and thought of the Jew for all the future.”

Now you know the rest of the story!

Sadly, most of those that quote Josephus as proof of the High Sabbath theory are unaware of his history.  Everything he wrote was from a singular perspective – that of a Pharisee.  Additionally, it is known and understood that there are discrepancies in his work.  There were always going to be discrepancies, as his work has become the flagship secular source for many false doctrines, and for the denying of the divinity of Christ.  Of course, it also serves as secular evidence for the life of Christ.  However, the damage it inflicts is far too undeniable to simply sweep aside.

Josephus wrote the history of the Jewish people.  However, he did so as a Pharisee, from the perspective of a Pharisee, to embrace all things Pharisee.  The Pharisees changed the understanding of the Old Testament wholesale, and changed it is a manner that is being used to deny Jesus Christ.  It is also being used to fuel doctrines that deny the pre-tribulation rapture – the second intended design of Pharisaism.  This will become evident as we study the counting of the Omer, and what it truly reveals.  There is a reason why Satan has sought to change the order of the feasts of Israel.

I want to emphasize that this does not mean to discard Josephus wholesale.  His work is invaluable in many respects.  I still utilize his work, and have it available in the download center on Trib Rising.  Rather, all of this is simply to emphasize perspective.  When you understand the history behind any source, you understand the agenda and motivations of that source.  Only then is it possible to grasp the full truth behind what you are reading.

One Final Proof

There is one final piece that we need to examine.  Actually, this will not take long.  For that matter, you will wonder why anything else is even necessary on this particular subject.  What I will share now is so simple, yet so undeniable, that you will wonder how this is even an issue in the first place.

You will probably wonder why I did not start with this.  Here is the thing.  We all encounter things in life that sound too good to be true, or too simple to be right.  That is the case with the final evidence in this project.  If this tidbit was shared at the start, it would simply have been discarded as impossible.

Let’s look again at the scriptures dealing with the start of the Omer and Firstfruits:

Leviticus 23:11,15-16 KJV – 11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.

15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:

16 Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord.

Specifically, let’s look at the last two verses from several different translations:

ESV – “You shall count seven full weeks from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering. You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath. Then you shall present a grain offering of new grain to the Lord.”

Young’s Literal Translation – “And ye have numbered to you from the morrow of the sabbath, from the day of your bringing in the sheaf of the wave-offering: they are seven perfect sabbaths; unto the morrow of the seventh sabbath ye do number fifty days, and ye have brought near a new present to Jehovah;”

And one more – this is a literal reading from the Westminster Leningrad Codex:

“Even to the day after the Sabbath, after the seventh, you shall number fifty days”.

You will recall earlier we talked about where the Hebrew Bible comes from.  We spoke of the WLC, the Aleppo Codex, and the Septuagint, and how these are the three sources for all Hebrew Bibles, and how they take us all the way back to the days after the Babylonian conquest.  I mention this for a reason.  The Septuagint likewise confirms what we are about to point out.  First, let’s read the same two scriptures from the Septuagint:

Brenton Septuagint – “And ye shall number to yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day on which ye shall offer the sheaf of the heave-offering, seven full weeks: until the morrow after the last week ye shall number fifty days, and shall bring a new meat-offering to the Lord.”

What exactly are we supposed to see here?  If you read the Septuagint rendering carefully, so will notice something.

Day number 50 ALWAYS falls on the day after the 7th Sabbath!

That means it is mathematically impossible for the High Sabbath to be the Sabbath referenced for Firstfruits and the omer.  It is mathematically impossible because there are very few instances where the High Sabbath occurs with the weekly Sabbath.  Remember, to be scriptural truth, there cannot be a single year where the High Sabbath and the weekly Sabbath are separated.  Otherwise, day 50 can be any day of the week.

I included these different translations, and specifically the direct reading from the WLC to stop the arguments against this in their tracks.  The reason we don’t start with this evidence is that those with a vested interest in pushing an agenda can also see what I have shown here.

It is no exaggeration to say that the defenses against this evidence are long and complicated.  I have seen entire projects as long as this project on this single piece alone.  However, they all emanate from the same groups, for the same reasons, and lack the same things.

Orthodox Judaism aside, the arguments against the 50th day evidence originate solely with the Hebrew Roots Movement, with particular emphasis on the Sabbath Keepers and the Torah Keepers.  They seek to deny grace, hijack the pre-trib rapture for their purposes (or deny it altogether in most cases), and their “original language studies” are severely lacking.  It is not enough to lay out your version of the definition of a Hebrew word.  You must do what we have done here – you must include a full and complete context of all the variations and differences.  I have seen instances where their “Hebrew original” script was different from all other Hebrew sources.

In other words, they went and “found” their own version of the original Hebrew manuscripts – that conveniently support their own doctrines, while denying doctrines that have sustained the church for 2,000 years.  Why let that whole “the Lord preserves His word unto ALL generations” thing bother them.

However, in reading these different arguments against the 50th day evidence, it is easy to get lost in a great deal of minutia.  That is the point.  Details that fail to come to clear, conclusive finales which agree with the additional evidence in the Bible are meant to obscure the truth in favor of a false narrative with an agenda.

Stated differently – if your convoluted argument cannot be reconciled with the clear evidence from other parts of the Bible – you have a false doctrine!  Recall what we said earlier:

We have covered a great deal of evidence so far, and have one more piece of the puzzle to examine.  With that said, we actually have everything we need to declare our results.

In Summary:

It is now beyond question that Firstfruits falls the day after the weekly Sabbath, and the counting of the Omer begins on the first day of the week following Passover.

It is also beyond question that Jesus was in the tomb for three full days, and actually dead for more than three full days.

Here is the where the rubber meets the road.  The reason all of this is so critical is that scripture is truth no matter what.  Here is what I mean.  If proponents of the High Sabbath theory are correct, then there can be no deviation whatsoever in the start of ANY Feast of Firstfruits or counting of the Omer.  There can not be any evidence that Firstfruits EVER started any day other than the second day of Unleavened Bread.

Here is the key.  In the timeline revealed by the Gospels, it is clear that the High Sabbath of Unleavened Bread IS NOT the Sabbath that preceded the resurrection of Jesus.  For that matter, what we find is that the High Sabbath theory is mathematically impossible.  From the arrest of Jesus until His first appearance after the resurrection, we see that a total of four days are spanned (remember, the death and burial happened at “off” hours, and the day of preparation was already well under way).  Long story short, the reference to two Sabbaths in the Gospel account make any other theory a literal mathematical impossibility.

The Timeline:

All of this tells us that the Last Supper occurred on Tuesday night.

Jesus was arrested early Wednesday morning.

He died Wednesday afternoon, and was buried Wednesday evening.

He was in the tomb until Saturday night.

He arose, and the tomb was opened early Sunday morning.

He was seen by Mary just after sunrise on Sunday morning.

 

Click on image for enlarged view.

Click on image for enlarged view.

 

The reason for leaving the 50th day evidence until the very end is this – it does not matter how somebody tries to twist the meaning of “even to the day” (for the few folks that are banking on the Fenton Farrer version of “from the day”).  The evidence and answers reside elsewhere.  In this case, it is the proof that Jesus was in the tomb over a duration of three complete days, encompassing two Sabbaths – the High Sabbath and the weekly Sabbath.

The fact that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Himself defies the High Sabbath theory alone is the final proof.  Remember, all scripture is truth.  If the feast days are the copies of the real things, then Jesus would have needed to rise from the dead on the second day of Unleavened Bread – a mere one complete day after He was crucified.

As Paul Harvey liked to say – “And now, you know the rest of the story!”

If you think you’re blown away now, wait until you see the next installment!

In the name of our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


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