The Resurrection of Jesus Christ                                          SCROLL 2.pngSCROLL 2.pngSCROLL 2.pngSCROLL 2.pngSCROLL 2.png                       

Introduction    The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead separates Christianity from all other religions of the world, for only Jesus left an empty tomb to be pondered by people of all ages. It should be pointed out that as of this present moment, Jesus is the only person on planet Earth that has ever resurrected.  Since Jesus was the firstfruits of resurrection, the Bible assures Christians everywhere that if they will only believe in Jesus death, burial, and resurrection and put their trust in Him alone for salvation ( and nothing else ), they too will someday experience the miraculous transformation of their physical, mortal bodies into physical immortal bodies ( I Corinthians 15:23 ) and spend eternity with God in Heaven. See also Revelation 1:18.

Some Preliminary Remarks ….. In order to fully understand the nature and timing of the resurrection week’s events, we need to delve into a couple of definitions involving Jewish feast days and the Jewish definition of a day itself. A Jewish day is defined from sunset at even to sunset at even, (the Jewish definition of a DAY is in Genesis 1:5) , or approximately 6 p.m. to 6 p.m. the next day. Therefore

                                                                                1 DAY = night ( 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. ) + day ( 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. )

Thus, the Jewish DAY is defined as consisting of a night portion and a day portion.    For the purposes of the crucifixion of Jesus account,   the third hour is defined as 9 a.m., the sixth hour as 12 noon, and the ninth hour as 3 p.m.

High Sabbaths are special days of rest that are observed on the first DAY of a feast, and, as such, can occur on any day of the week. Moreover, the weekly Sabbath may never be abrogated, it is always to be observed on the seventh day of the week ( Exodus 20:10,11 ). Therefore, it is possible for there to be two Sabbaths in one week, and that is precisely what the case was in the week in which our Lord Jesus was crucified (see extended accounts of Jewish Sabbath feasts below).

The Passover Day ….. Our account begins with the Lord Jesus eating the Passover with His disciples at even on Passover DAY:

After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. Mark 14:1

And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover? Mark 14:12

And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover. And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.   Mark 14:16-18

According to this account, we understand that the feast of the Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread (verse 1) were interrelated, and some scholars have gone to some effort to separate the two. There is no need to make the subject complicated; simply consider that the feast of Unleavened Bread included the Passover as a necessary prerequisite with the proviso that the DAY following the Passover would officially be the first DAY of unleavened bread. This understanding is important, because the day following the Passover was a designated High Sabbath DAY:

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he saidIt is finishedand he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.  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. John 19:30-31

While the Passover meal could have been eaten at anytime during the Passover DAY, eating the Passover meal at night by Jesus and His disciples was more in keeping with when it was actually kept for the first time in Egypt (Exodus 12:1-14).

Following the eating of the Passover in which Jesus showed His disciples the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper which they were to keep, they sung a hymn and went out into the mount of Olives (Mark 14:26). There He was betrayed by Judas Iscariot and arrested by a great multitude sent there by the Sanhedrin. That night He was brought before the Sanhedrin and subsequently turned over to Pilate for punishment. At that point, however, Jesus had not broken any Roman law, and Pilate wanted to release Him. But, when the mob grew loud and boisterous, Pilate relented and sentenced Him to be crucified. Jesus was crucified at the third hour and died at the ninth hour (three o’clock in the afternoon ).

The bodies of those that had been crucified had to be taken down from the crosses and buried before even, which marked the beginning of the high Sabbath. It is important to note that several events had to occur before Jesus was put into the tomb at even. First of all, although Jesus died before the two thieves, the other two thieves were still alive when the soldiers decided that they had to break their legs so that they could no longer push themselves up and avoid suffocating to death. Secondly, Joseph of Arimathea had to go to Pilate and get permission to take the body of Jesus to be buried. Then, Joseph had to prepare the body for burial, and he barely made it in time for Jesus’ burial at even. All the while, Mary and Mary Magdalene watched what was transpiring, being broken-hearted at their dear Savior’s death. And they were with Him until He was put into the tomb at even (Matthew 27:59-61.

Three-Day Parenthetical Time Period ….. When the Lord Jesus died, He went immediately to Paradise and preached to the Old Testament saints there:

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 1Peter 3:18-19

From the time of Abel’s death to Jesus’ death on the cross, all the Old Testament saints, save for Enoch and Elijah, had been confined in Paradise, in the heart of the earth (Luke 16:19-26). For centuries, these saints had waited for their Redeemer, their Messiah, all the while being able to observe the souls in Hell, across from Paradise. Imagine their extreme JOY upon seeing Jesus at last, come to free them and take them to Heaven with Him. Jesus preached the gospel to these prisoners in order that they would understand clearly who He was and what He had just accomplished on the cross. In Jesus’ amen corner was the repentant thief who arrived shortly and gave the account of Jesus’ miraculous victory over sin on the cross. But, there were more surprises in store for some of these saints which would be revealed to them as soon as Jesus resurrected from the grave.

Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation,  the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir,  we remember that hat deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 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.     Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they       went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.   Matthew 27:62-66

Friday ….. The High Sabbath being past, the ladies bought sweet spices (Mark 16:1), prepared them, and rested and waited until the weekly Sabbath would pass. They did not have access to the tomb this day because it had been sealed by the Jewish guard that had instructions to make sure the tomb was not opened for at least three days.

Saturday ….. Jesus resurrected at approximately three o’clock in the afternoon. There was a window of time from around three o’clock until even on Wednesday afternoon such that Jesus could resurrect on Saturday afternoon during that same window of time and thus fulfill His prophecy of three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. By doing so, He avoided resurrecting at even or after (which would have put Him into the fourth day). The stone did not have to be removed for Jesus to leave the tomb, for He had a glorified body that defied our present laws of physics. He demonstrated this by suddenly appearing and suddenly vanishing before His disciples on the first day of the week (Sunday .

The First Day of the Week (Sunday) ….. The first day of the week started officially at sunset on Saturday evening. There are four major events that transpired during the first day of the week. Firstly, a highly unusual event took place during the night portion of the first day of the week. Although this is one of the most amazing events of the resurrection, the bible gives very little information about it. Quite literally, many spirits of the saints that had been in Paradise (who had just seen and talked with Jesus there) were temporarily united with their bodies and allowed to appear to many in Jerusalem, probably to loved ones or acquaintances of theirs:

 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city,   and appeared unto many.   Matthew 27:52-53

Before daybreak ( still in the first day of the week ), their bodies returned to the grave and their spirits returned to Paradise. These appearances no doubt had a tremendous positive effect for the gospel’s sake.

Secondly, Jesus went to Heaven and entered into the Holiest of the Heavenly Tabernacle by His own blood and sprinkled the vessels of the ministry there for the permanent redemption of the Old Testament saints’ souls. Thirdly, Jesus took all the Old Testament saints with Him to Heaven - the first time that they had been there. These saints had been held prisoners in Paradise because the animal blood sacrifices had only been able to temporarily cover their sins. Only the blood of Jesus was able to completely eradicate their sin and allow them to enter into the presence of God in Heaven.

Fourthly, Jesus met with the ladies and His disciples on the first day of the week:

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 returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. … It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them,  which told these things unto the apostles. Luke 24:1,9,10

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.  John 20:15-17

And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is  risen indeed, and hath      appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread. And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst      of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. Luke 24:33-36

Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. John 20:19


                                                 Timeline Events of the Week in which Jesus was Crucified
The chronological sequence of events for the crucifixion week are shown in the diagram above, where the several letters correspond to the time(s) of day that the events actually occurred. Note that the Jewish definition of a DAY is shown to consist of a night portion and a day portion.

P . .Jesus eats the Passover at even with His disciples on Passover DAY (Wednesday)    Matthew 26:19-20

a    Jesus is arrested and tried by the Sanhedrin (chief priests, scribes, and elders) John 18:12-13;18-31

c . .Jesus is crucified at 9 o’clock in the morning of Passover Day (Wednesday, April 25th, 31 AD) Mark 15:25

D ..Jesus dies on the cross at 3 o’clock in the afternoon of Passover Day ( Wednesday ) Mark 15:33-37

..Jesus placed in tomb borrowed from Joseph of Arimathaea at even (6 o’clock p.m.) Mark 15:42-47

D to R* Jesus preached the gospel to the Old Testament saints in Paradise

From D to R marks 3 days and 3 nights in the tomb (note partial days)

R ..Jesus resurrects from the tomb at 3 o’clock Saturday afternoon (April 28th, 31 AD, fulfilling  Matthew 12:38-40 )**

R to M:.. Jesus empowers some Old Testament saints to appear unto many in Jerusalem***

M ..Jesus meets Mary and Mary Magdalene at dawn on the first day of the week (Sunday)  John 20:16-17

Jesus takes the Old Testament saints to Heaven and permanently seals their redemption when He enters into the Holiest in the

Heavenly Tabernacle by His own blood and applies it to the Ark of the Testimony (please see SIN, the LAW, and the BLOOD)

E   Jesus meets with His disciples in the evening of the first day of the week (John 20:19)


     * For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 1 Peter 3:18-19

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


According to this scripture, and according to all the following scriptures, the Lord Jesus plainly states that He will rise [1] in three days, [2] in the third day, and [3] after having been in the heart of the earth three days and three nights. How can all this be possible? All these statements by Christ were manifested by the events as shown in the event line above. Jesus died around three o’clock in the afternoon, while it was still in the day portion of the Passover DAY. Jesus told the repentant sinner Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).   From the time that Jesus died on Wednesday and went immediately to Paradise until He resurrected at approximately 3 o’clock on Saturday afternoon was exactly three DAYS later. By resurrecting at approximately 3 o’clock on Saturday ( while it was still the day portion of Saturday ), Jesus fulfilled every statement that He made regarding His resurrection. Had Jesus resurrected on Saturday at even or after, He would have resurrected on the fourth day, and not the third day.

Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.   Mark 10:33-34

Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.  Luke 9:22

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? But he spake of the temple of his body.   John 2:19-21

It was not necessary for the stone to be removed from the tomb for Jesus to walk out, for He had a glorified body which defied our ordinary laws of physics. Jesus demonstrated this by appearing and disappearing through walls when He met with His disciples. So, it did not take the earthquake mentioned in Matthew 28:2 to free Jesus, for He had already risen. The earthquake occurred so that the stone would roll out of the way and His disciples could look inside.

    *** And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.   Matthew 27:52-53

There are several factors here. Until Jesus fulfilled His sacrifice as the Lamb of God, the Old Testament saints could not go to Heaven, for their sins had only been temporarily covered, but not atoned for permanently.    Thus, they had been confined (as prisoners) in Paradise until Jesus paid their sin debt. That is why Jesus led captivity captive; He took these saints from being in Paradise’s captivity, to being captive under Jesus’ power and being transported to Heaven. We must remember that these saints do not have their resurrected bodies, they are still in their spiritual bodies. One can discern what a spiritual body is capable of experiencing from Luke 16:19-31. Also, we know by the temporary resuscitation of Lazarus from the grave that Lazarus’ permanent resurrection is still to come. Lastly, we know that there was a great gulf between Paradise and Hell at one time.  But, when Jesus took His prisoners to Heaven with Him, that gulf filled in and Paradise’s air conditioning unit was removed. Jesus then took the Old Testament saints to Heaven (H).

The High Sabbath Day of Thursday During the Crucifixion Week     As the above scriptures show, the keeping of the weekly Sabbath was never to be abrogated; its observance was unconditional. Annual feasts, although prescribed by God to be observed in certain months and certain days of the month, nevertheless resulted in cases where holy convocation days did not necessarily coincide with weekly Sabbath days. A holy convocation day denoted a day of rest (Sabbath) which could fall on any day of the week, hence a holy convocation day that happened to fall within any of the annual feast days, such as the Passover feast (which included the feast of unleavened bread) was termed a High Sabbath (John 19:31).

A High Sabbath day was observed on the first day of a feast (except for the Passover feast, where the High Sabbath was to be observed the day following the Passover DAY). The keeping of the High Sabbath DAY (an holy convocation day) was also to be observed on the first day during the Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 24,25), the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:34,35), the Feast of Firstfruits (Leviticus 23:20,21), etc.

An important point about the feast of unleavened bread is that its first DAY was always a holy convocation day (a Sabbath day), and hence a high day (John 19:31). Israelites were commanded to eat unleavened bread for seven days:

Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the Lord thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the Lord shall choose to place his name there. Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it;   seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith,  even the bread of affliction;   for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life. Deuteronomy 16:2,3

There are many sources of reference that deal with high sabbath days; here are two of them:     and

NOTE     Recent revelations from the U.S. Naval observatory Astronomical Applications Department1 establish that in AD 31 the Jewish Passover fell on Wednesday, April 25th.  Therefore, since a High Day Sabbath always followed the Passover, that Sabbath fell on Thursday.  Coupled with the Saturday weekly Sabbath, this made two Sabbaths in one week. Our Lord Jesus’ crucifixion took place on Wednesday, April 25th, at 9 o’clock a.m., 31 AD, while His resurrection occurred the Saturday three days later, on April 28th, 31 AD.


Feasts of Israel ….. Copyright © Tim Warner

2. Unleavened Bread: [Lev. 23:6-8] The day following Passover, the 15th of Nisan, began the feast of Unleavened bread. This feast covered seven days, from the 15th to the 21st of Nisan. The first and last days, [15th & 21st], were “High Sabbath” days, although they do not necessarily fall on the weekly Sabbath. “High Sabbath” days are mandatory rest days which occur during some feast days. They are identified in Lev. 23:7, 8, 21, 24, 27, 28, 32, 35, 36, 39. Just as with the weekly Sabbath, the day before any “High Sabbath” is a “preparation day.” This means Passover, the 14th, is also the “preparation day” for the “High Sabbath” on the 15th, [see: John 18:28, 19:14,31]. The feast of Unleavened Bread celebrates the journey of the children of Israel through the wilderness, when God fed them with manna from heaven and supplied water out of the rock. This feast was fulfilled by Jesus during the Feast of Unleavened Bread when He said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” [John 6:51]. Jesus was crucified on Passover. His body [His flesh] was laid in the tomb just before sunset, when the “High Sabbath” of the Feast of Unleavened Bread began. His body laid in the tomb for the first three days of this feast, from the 15th through the 17th of Nisan.

Please see   for the other feasts of Israel.



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