by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"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 men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here'." Matthew 12:38-42
As seen in the article, No Other God (click on highlighted words to view content), while pagans celebrate the rites of spring, calling it "Easter", Hebrews celebrate Pesach (Passover), the anniversary of the day the God of Israel delivered them out of Egyptian bondage. The "Last Supper" referred to in Christianity was actually the scriptural Hebrew Feast of Pesach, the day just before what is known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread which lasts for seven days. YHVH had demanded the firstborn male from every household as a judgment upon the Egyptian gods (Exodus 12:12), but had promised to "pass over" any house with the blood of a lamb smeared on its doorpost thus delivering them from death. He then commanded a remembrance of this deliverance with the Pesach memorial at the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It was on Pesach Yeshua spilled His Uncorrupted Blood to fulfill the Covenant of bringing life out of death promised by His Father, YHVH. To appropriate the Blood of Yeshua over the doorposts of our life means to separate ourselves from the worship and bondage of the false gods of the world. The biggest problem we have with the pagan rite of Easter is that, in distancing itself from the Hebraic origin, it obliterates the Truth of the Resurrection. Yeshua said the only sign given to validate His anointing would be the sign of Jonah who was in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights (Matthew 12:38-40). Easter's ritual reduces that time to two days and two nights - from Good Friday to sunrise Easter Sunday morning.
Many have reasoned "three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" doesn't actually require a literal span of 72 hours. They speculate that any part of a day can be interpreted as a whole day. But the sign Yeshua referred to (Jonah 1:17) specifically states that "Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights." We have no biblical basis for thinking that Yeshua meant anything differently. If He was in the tomb only partially from what was written, then the sign He gave that He was the prophesied Messiah wasn't fulfilled. Three days and three nights mean what it says - three literal days and three literal nights. If we can't believe Yeshua meant what He said, then everything else He said becomes suspect. How, then, can it be emphatically stated (through celebration as Truth today) that the Resurrection was re-engineered to occur on a Sunday after having only been buried on a Friday? Is something wrong with Yeshua's words, or is it with tradition made of men? The fundamental problem most theologians have with the time frame Yeshua presents is that they are approaching scripture from a Westernized "Christian" mentality instead of from a Hebrew mindset (there were no "Christians" at the Resurrection). To begin with, there are no names for the days of the week in the Tanakh (the Original Books). In Hebrew, they are simply referred to as the first day, the second day, etc. All of the names in the Bible employed for days of the week are approached from the standpoint of Sunday being the first day of the week on the Gregorian/Julian calendar which was not invented until hundreds of years after the Resurrection of Yeshua. Even though modern rabbis have embraced this calendar for convenience, that tradition does not negate the fact that the Hebrew first day of the week is the first day after the seventh day of rest, the Sabbath. Hebrew days begin at sunset, (from creation in Genesis, "there was evening and morning, the first day") - thus the explanation for the following verse:
"Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at "twilight"
(the Hebrew reads between the two evenings). Exodus 12:5-6 (click to view).
"Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Yeshua" (Matthew 27:57). This was the man who had the tomb in which the body of Yeshua was laid: "So there they laid Yeshua, because of the Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby (John 19:42). Because it was the Preparation Day, the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day) (John 19:31). On the 15th day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to YHVH; 7 days you must eat unleavened bread. On the 1st day you shall have a holy convocation (mikra); you shall do no customary (servile) work on it." (Leviticus 23:6-7). As previously stated, the "Last Supper" referred to in Christianity was actually the Hebrew Pesach, the day before the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins which lasts for seven days. The first and last days of the feast are days on which no work is permitted while work is permitted on the intermediate days. These feasts are referred to in scripture as "High Sabbaths" but even in Jewish tradition they are mischaracterized - not so named in the original Hebrew. The feasts are listed in Leviticus 23:1-8 as mikris' (English convocations) - not Sabbaths. That they were considered "high holy days" and to be treated with the same respect as the Sabbath is true, but nowhere in scripture are they found to be equated with Shabbat. Pesach, listed in that same scripture in Leviticus 23 is a mikra - not a Shabbat, a marking of clear difference. Leviticus 23:9-14 makes it clear that the Feast of First Fruit (where the barley sheaves are waved) is to be offered on the day after a Shabbat - not a mikra (or convocation). By equating the two, it makes this scripture sound as though they have to be held as back to back events while the original language indicates that is not the case at all. When scripture says He died at the ninth hour, that would be the evening (afternoon) of the 14th and His Body was placed in the sepulcher that same day, before sunset on the 14th. Luke 23:55-57 tells us that the women, after seeing Yeshua's body being laid in the tomb just before sundown, "returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the Sabbath day according to the commandment." The term according to the commandment demands that there is to be a day in which to prepare the spices and ointments before resting on the Sabbath because "doing no servile work" on high holy days or on the Sabbath is what is commanded while work is permitted on the intermediate days.
John 19:39-40 tells us, "And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Yeshua by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Yeshua, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury." The spices used in a Jewish burial were never used sparingly and the larger the amount the higher token of respect was given. The treatise known as Semahot or Ebel Rabbati states that no less than eighty pounds of spices were used at the funeral of Rabbi Gamaliel. My good friend, Bethel, tells me there isn't a caring woman, then or now, after watching men prepare the precious Body of Yeshua in haste (because the next convocation beginning at sunset was quickly approaching) that would have thought that preparation to have been done properly. So, those women would have felt the necessity to return and "do it right" as soon as they could (thus a second preparation of spices for the Body of their Messiah). A hundred pounds of spices is not something thrown together in a few minutes nor is it something just kept laying around the house. The purchasing and preparation of those spices would not have been allowed on the day of a mikra (holy convocation) nor on a Shabbat (Sabbath) because it would have been considered "servile or commercial" work. Given that the preparation of a large quantity of those spices required some formidable time to acquire and accomplish necessitated a day in between the end of the first day of Unleavened Bread and the beginning of the weekly Sabbath that the commandment of doing no servile work on those days might be observed. Luke 24:1 says it was early in the morning of the first day of the week (that would be the day after a Sabbath) that they returned to "the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them" and found Him to be risen on the day of First Fruit (the day after a Sabbath, a Shabbat - Leviticus 23:11).
"So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard." Matthew 27:66 If asked privately, the guides at the "tourist tomb" in Jerusalem will tell you that in a land that has 18 different civilizations built on top of one another, nobody really knows where Yeshua was actually laid - that what is presented is just one discovered. Most sepulchres of the time were as the one depicted at the beginning of the article. They were not very big so the stone would not have been so large that it could hot have been moved ajar for the women to have entered. So they went - The priests left Pilate's presence, relieved at having gained their request to secure the tomb against pillage by setting a watch ("with the watch"; cum custodibus) or, more accurately, "in concert with the guard". What this meant is that the priests were not content to leave the work to the soldiers, but actually took part in guarding it themselves. Thus, respectful of the Hebrew traditions surrounding burial, the priests would have allowed access for the women to enter the sepulchre in order to perform their final anointing under watchful guard. Sealing the stone - The sepulchre was made sure by adjusting the stone so as to fill, or nearly fill, the entrance in such a way that it could not be removed without detection. The sealing was probably effected by drawing one or more ropes across the stone and fastening either end to the rock with wax or cement of some kind (compare Daniel 6:17) - perhaps by bringing the ends of the cords together, uniting them with wax and impressing on that the seal of Pilate, the seal of office, the seal of the king - the same way in which letters and books were anciently sealed.
The Chronology of Yeshua's Crucifixion & Resurrection
Yeshua, became the Pesach sacrifice, having been slain on the eve of the 14th of Nisan according to scriptural requirements, has had His Body prepared and laid in the tomb just before sunset.
First Day - the 15th, the evening and morning of the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a high, holy convocation (a mikra) treated like a Sabbath, but not a Shabbat. This is the first night and first day.
Second Day - the 16th, the evening and morning of the second day of the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread (not a high day to be treated like a Sabbath) so that the spices and ointments thought to be needed for a second anointing of Yeshua's Body can be prepared 'according to the commandment' that no servile work be done on either a mikra or a Shabbat. This is the second night and second day.
Third Day - the 17th, the evening and morning of the weekly Sabbath in which entering into His Rest is commanded for all. This is now the third night and the third day. Since Hebrew days begin at sunset, Yeshua arose just before sundown at the same time He was buried three days earlier marking the end of the third day on Saturday, the Sabbath. That would make it Resurrection Seventh Day - not Sunday, the first day.
Matthew 28:1, Mark 16:1-2 and Luke 24:1 all agree that Mary and some others went to the tomb before dawn on the first day after the Sabbath. Only the account in John 20:1 says "it was still dark". In each case, however, it is clear that by the time the women had arrived, the Resurrection had already taken place. Yeshua was seen by Mary on the morning of the 18th, the day of First Fruit, the first day of the week (after three full days and three full nights thus fulfilling the sign of Jonah) as she and some others came for the second anointing of His Body (Luke 24:1) - the day of the waving of the barley sheaves to become the First Fruit (also required to be the day after a Sabbath). Counting backwards three full days and three full nights from that point would put His crucifixion beginning on the English Wednesday morning around 9am until His death around 3pm on the English Wednesday afternoon and He was laid in the tomb just before sundown, ending the Day of Preparation. Sundown would then have been the beginning of the first day of the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread. To celebrate His Resurrection in Truth is to celebrate the Hebrew feast of Pesach. To celebrate some pagan ritual simply because it has become the worldly popular thing to do is to celebrate a lie - the antithesis of the Truth. What we give ourselves to is what we serve, what we serve, what we subject our children to - IS what we worship (read more about Pesach).
"You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I, YHVH, your Elohim am a jealous Elohim, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who despise Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me
and keep my commandments ." Exodus 20:4-6
Please feel free to email me at email@example.com. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.