“I understand that the disciples were rushing to bury Jesus before the Sabbath and that this Sabbath was a different kind of sabbath called a “High Sabbath” that could occur any day of the week (not a just Friday/Saturday Sabbath) like everyone has assumed. Then, if it occurred on a different day than a Friday would it also be true that Christ was not resurrected on a Sunday?” – D. B
This is a great question!
Yeshua said that the “sign” to the Jewish people will be like the sign of Jonah- three days and three nights in the belly of the Earth.
It’s always been a dilemma when one starts counting the days of Christ in the grave from Friday at 3 pm and a resurrection on Sunday morning. It’s just not mathematically possible to justify three days and three nights this way. The problem is Gentiles fail to put together several clues from the Hebrew Scriptures, mainly the Feasts of the Lord listed in Lev. 23. And the fact (like you mentioned) that there are days that are to be observed as special Sabbaths even though they do not necessarily fall at the typical Friday sun-downs.
Since we know for certain the death of Yeshua occurred on Passover, we can also deduce that the disciples were rushing to get him buried before the next day as it was one of those special Sabbaths – a Holy Day of no work.
5 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month in the evening,[a] is the Lord’s Passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. 7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. Leviticus 23:6,7 RSV
This information tells us that he could have been buried any day of the week because the 15th of Aviv (the Holy Sabbath day after the Passover) can occur on any day of the month of Aviv.
But one thing we do know for sure (as the New Testament records), Yeshua was raised on the first day of the week (Saturday evening/Sunday).
So, the question becomes, if He was indeed raised on the first day (by testimony of the women) then when did He need to be buried in order to be in the grave three days and three nights?
Here’s where it gets tricky. The next Feast listed in Leviticus 23 after the High Holy Day of Unleavened Bread is Yom Bikkurim or Feast of First Fruits. It is celebrated on the first day of the week after this High Sabbath of Unleavened Bread. This was* the ancient day when the Jewish people begin to count the omer (a measurement of daily wheat offering) for 50 days. The 50th day is called Shavu’ot or Pentecost.
*Today the Jewish people no longer start counting the omer on the first day of the week but rather the first day after the High Holy Day.
Since the scripture is clear that Yeshua rose on the 1st day of the week, we can count backwards three days and three nights to determine when the High Holy day coincided with his burial that year. Considering Hebraic recognition of a day begins at sundown – if Yeshua was put into the grave before the high Holy Day Sabbath on Aviv 15 that would place the timing to a Wednesday before sundown. He would need to be in the belly of the Earth for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights and also be in the grave for Thursday, Friday and Saturday during daylight hours. Then, according to Hebraic time Yeshua could be resurrected sometime after the sun went down on Saturday night and before sunrise on Sunday (This would be during the times of darkness of the first day of the Hebrew week). The women who came to the tomb would have waited until after the sun had gone down on the regular Sabbath (that is the dark hours of Saturday night to early Sunday morning) before daylight to tend to His body. Apparently they arrived in the dark hours before the sun rose.
In the 4th century, a Gentile/Pagan perspective was developed concerning the resurrection of Yeshua. Emperor Constantine made a new edict to celebrate the birth of Christ on the day of Ishtar (Easter). This day was determined differently than the Bible’s reckoning of the feasts. The Bible tells us Yeshua’s death occurred on Passover, the burial occurred just before the onset of the High Holy Sabbath of Unleavened Bread and His Resurrection occurred on the Feast of First Fruits.
In fact, Constantine is on record saying, “We will have nothing to do with Passover or the Jewish feasts”. (Even though it is clear the Bible calls these festivals “The “Feasts of the LORD” – not Jewish feasts)!
So, when was Ishtar (Easter) celebrated? The pagans had long determined centuries before Christ that the goddess Ishtar would be celebrated on the Sunday after the full moon that occurred after the Spring equinox. I kid you not, this is how Easter is still determined to this day. Instead of connecting Christ’s resurrection based on the Holy Convocations of Leviticus 23, the Church still derives the date of the Resurrection from the old ancient pagan custom of Ishtar.
I’m so glad that many Christians are waking up to the ancient ways of our Jewish Messiah and not turning their heads abstinently away from it.
Thus, says the Lord:
“Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
and find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ Jeremiah 6:16