Easter and Good Friday
According to Jewish reckoning, each
day began at sundown the day before. "The evening and the morning were the
first day" (Genesis 1:5), and it is logical that all other days following
would come in the same order. (Note
also the command of God, Lev. 23:32, Ed.) The day began at
was measured in "watches" until , and then was
measured in "hours" until . Passover began
on the fourteenth day, with the preparation day when the lamb was slain, and
the Feast of Unleavened Bread began on the fifteenth of the first month of the
religious calendar (Exodus 12;
Later on this same day, in the
morning, "Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto
the hall of judgement: and it was early: and they
themselves went not into the judgement hall, lest
they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover" (John ). They were more
interested in ceremonial purity than justice. There Jesus was questioned by
Pilate, scourged, smitten, spat upon, mocked, and dressed in a crown of thorns
and a purple robe. "And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!" (John 9:14).
Daytime was measured from sunrise at , the first hour,
until sunset at ,
the twelfth hour. The time then ("about the sixth hour") would be
The veil was rent in two by God simultaneously with the death of Jesus.
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
According to Jewish law, the body had to be buried before night (Deuteronomy -23). It was of course late in the day and as John tells us, "there laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand" (John ).
Luke says, "And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on" (Luke ). Friday was commonly referred to as "the preparation," but "the preparation" was also used to refer to the day before a special feast, and in that case the reference to the sabbath would refer to the feast itself, rather than the seventh day of the week.
John points out, "for that sabbath day was an high day"
Notice how Matthew avoids using the term "sabbath"
When telling of the resurrection,
Matthew says, in
With the first day of the week, "the Lord's day," being ordained to honor Jesus' completed work, as the anti-type of the seventh day sabbath commemorating the completion of creation, it should be no surprise that Jesus rose in the end of the seventh day of the week, toward the first day of the week.
To teach a Friday evening death and Sunday sunrise resurrection is to be deceived and/or deceitful. There is no honest way of fitting "three days and three nights" (Matthew ) into thirty-six hours.
"They that passed by" made
fun of Jesus for His claim to destroy the temple and build it "in three
days" (Matthew 27:40 and
More important is Jesus' own words.
Some may say, "Well, what difference does it make?" First of all, to read that Jesus said "three days and three nights," but participate in the proclamation that Jesus was only in the grave for thirty-six hours, is to dispute the very words of Jesus.
Any worship activity that infers, suggests, or endorses a Friday crucifixion is NOT worship "in truth," whether ignorantly or knowingly, and that is a fact that condemns the entire "Good Friday"/"Easter Sunday" celebration.
To aid in the propagation or
approval of the thirty-six hour Friday until Sunday myth is to be guilty of the
perversion of the gospel. In I Corinthians 15, Paul claims to declare
"the gospel" (verse 1), which he defines as "how that Christ
died for our sins according to the scriptures; And
that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to
the scriptures: And that he was seen . . ." (underlining added).
Notice that "the third day" is not optional, but is part of the
definition given. Notice also, that "according to the scriptures" is
included also, and stated twice. "The scriptures" that the death,
burial, and resurrection must be "according to" is what we know as the
Old Testament. There is a multitude of prophecies and types of Christ and of
the gospel throughout the Old Testament "scriptures." As already
mentioned, Jesus referred to the "three days and three nights" of
Jonah. When Jesus was walking with the two on the road to Emmaus,
And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
And later, verses 44-46 of the same chapter say:
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.
Most Bible scholars will agree that
Abraham's son Isaac is a type of Christ. Study
And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able to perform.
And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;
But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Jesus, our Passover, died at the
same time of day, and on the same day of the year, that the Passover lamb had
been slain since the exodus from
Read about "Noah's ark" in
And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.
Looking at the calendar previously
exhibited, notice that what was the "seventh month" in Noah's days
became, at God's command in
All these things happened exactly
when God intended. In
Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas,
And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.
But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.
Who was in control? Is God
sovereign? Remember, as was shown in the previous chapter, from
Someone may ask, "Are we not to celebrate the resurrection?" Yes, we most definitely are, every "Lord's day," every "first day" of the week. No other day should ever compete with, or detract from it! And, it should be celebrated by worshipping "in spirit and in truth!"
The Waldenses recognized these truths, as is evident in their treatise called "Antichrist," which is dated 1220 A.D. That treatise may be found in History of the Ancient Christians by Jean Paul Perrin, on pages 242-259, and says:
. . . The first work of antichrist is, to take away the truth, and change it into falsehood, error, and heresy. The second work of antichrist is, to cover falsehood over with a semblance of truth, and to assert and maintain lies by the name of faith and graces, and to dispense falsehood intermingled with spiritual things. . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The errors and impurities of antichrist, forbidden by the Lord, are these, viz. a various and endless idolatry, against the express command of God and Christ. Divine worship offered not to the Creator, but to the creature, visible and invisible, corporal and spiritual, rational and sensible, natural and artificial, under the name of Christ, or saints, male and female, and to relics and authorities. Unto which creatures they offer the service or worship of faith, and hope, works, prayers, pilgrimages, and alms, oblations, and sacrifices of great price. And those creatures, they serve, honour, and adore several ways, by songs and hymns, speeches, and solemnities, and celebrations of masses, vespers fitted unto the same, by certain hours, vigils, feast-days, thereby to obtain grace, which is essentially in God alone, and meritoriously in Christ, and is to be obtained by faith alone through the Holy Spirit.
And indeed there is nothing else that causeth idolatry, but the false opinions of grace, truth, authority, invocation, intercession, which this antichrist hath deprived God of, to attribute the same to these ceremonies, authorities, the works of a man's own hands, to saints, and to purgatory. And this iniquity of antichrist is directly against the first article of faith, and against the first commandment of the law.
The inquisitor, AEneas
Sylvius, who wrote a history of
Their third class of errors is as follows. They contemn all ecclesiastical customs which they do not read of in the gospel, such as the observation of Candlemas, Palm-Sunday, the reconciliation of penitents, and the adoration of the cross on Good-Friday. They despise the feast of Easter, and all other festivals of Christ and the saints, and say that one day is as good as another, working upon holy-days, where they can do it without being taken notice of.
(The History of the Christian Church by William Jones, volume II, pages 34-35)
On page 500 of volume I, Jones says, of the Paterines in the eleventh century, that, "They called [the adoration of] the cross the mark of the beast." The inquisitor AEneas Sylvius, quoted above, who came to be Pope Pius II, and in his words, "had an exact knowledge of the Waldenses," and attended many of their trials and executions, wrote in his History of Bohemia, in the fourteenth century, that:
They abhor the holy cross, because of Christ's suffering thereon. Their aversion seems to have been taken from the sermons of those who maintained, that the cross being taken away from Christ, returned of itself. They say, that the wood of the cross is no more than other wood: they do not arm themselves with the sign of the cross. They set no value upon the sepulchre of our Lord, nor of the saints; Matth. "Woe to you, Pharisees, for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets."
(The Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Churches of Piedmont by Peter Allix, page 255.)
Those sincere Christians recognized
the fact that the use of a cross as furniture or decoration is idolatry, relic
worship, making a graven image. The Waldenses
believed, as Jonas Aurelianensis wrote in the year
820, that, "they ought not to worship Images, nor so much as have them in
their Churches" (The History of the Evangelical Churches of the Valleys
of Piemont by Samuel Morland,
Let us consider the origin and history of the cross as a symbol. The Encyclopedia Britannica (1957) says:
The cross has been used both as a
religious symbol and as an ornament from the dawn of man's civilization.
Various objects, dating from periods long anterior to the Christian era, have
been found, marked with crosses of different designs, in almost every part of
the old world.
Early Christian Crosses.-The death
of Christ on a cross necessarily conferred a new significance on the figure, which
had hitherto been associated with a conception of religion not merely
non-Christian, but in essence often directly opposed to it. It was not,
however, till the time of
On pages 197 and 198 of The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop wrote:
The same sign of the cross that
On page 199, Hislop says:
There is hardly a Pagan tribe where
the cross has not been found. The cross was worshipped by the Pagan Celts long
before the incarnation and death of Christ. [Crabb's Mythology, p.163.] "It is a
fact," says Maurice, "not less remarkable than well-attested, that
the Druids in their groves were accustomed to select the most stately and
beautiful tree as an emblem of the Deity they adored, and having cut the side
branches, they affixed two of the largest of them to the highest part of the
trunk, in such a manner that those branches extended on each side like the arms
of a man, and, together with the body, presented the appearance of a HUGE
CROSS, and on the bark, in several places, was also inscribed the letter Thau." [Maurice's Indian Antiquities, vol.vi.p.49.]
It was worshipped in
The chapter quoted from, above, by Hislop, closes with this footnote:
If the above remarks be well founded,
surely it cannot be right that this sign of the Cross, or emblem of Tammuz,
should be used in Christian baptism. At the period of the Revolution, a Royal
Commission, appointed to inquire into the Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of
England, numbering among its members eight or ten bishops,
strongly recommended that the use of the cross, as tending to superstition,
should be laid aside. If such a recommendation was given then, and that by such
authority as members of the Church of England must respect, how much ought that
recommendation to be enforced by the new light which
In consideration of these facts, we must conclude that such a symbol or image has NO place in a Christian life, and definitely does not belong in our "meeting-houses." There is not a hint in the entire Bible that can honestly be considered as teaching, endorsing, or giving permission to use, make, or have a cross as an image or symbol. If all the above evidence could be discredited, there would still be no wrong done in avoiding the displaying of a cross. But, if these things be true, the use of the symbol is dishonoring our Lord and Saviour, who died on a cross, and is to express an alliance with religious systems that are totally opposite to true Christianity! And, what about bringing in a crowd of children and leading them to pledge their allegiance to a flag with a big red cross on it, and "to the Saviour for whose kingdom it stands"?
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
It is to be noticed that people will disobey and disregard the clear and plain teachings of the Bible, but eagerly accept a practice that is not taught in the Bible. Many excuse themselves from doing the "little things that the Bible only mentions once," but go "whole hog" after pagan practices.
Remember what the Waldenses taught about antichrist. Remember that about the year 1040, the Paterines "called [the adoration of] the cross the mark of the beast." What if it turns out that the symbol of a cross is literally used in "the mark of the beast"? What effect might our teachings and practice have on those who will be left to face that day?