What if Jesus rose before dawn on Saturday rather than before dawn on Sunday, in which case He would have been crucified on Wednesday rather than on Thursday or Friday?

Email Received:

Your premise that Jesus died on a Thursday is based upon the assumption that He rose on a Sunday. How do we know that Jesus rose on a Sunday? What if, instead, he rose before dawn on Saturday, in which case the crucifixion would have taken place on a Wednesday, rather than on a Thursday or a Friday?

Ted's Response:

There are reasons why I am convinced that Jesus rose from the dead sometime after sunset following Saturday (at which time the dark hours of Sunday began) and before dawn on Sunday:

As long as Jesus rose at some point after the previous sunset, which was the beginning of Sunday (and which began the final night of the "three days and three nights" sequence), then He rose on the first day of the week. It doesn't matter whether he rose before or after midnight; either way, it still was on the first day of the week, as long as it was after sunset following Saturday.

Paul said,

But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)
Jesus was the firstfruits from the dead of those who would rise and never would die again. It is a fact that He fulfilled the Feast of Firstfruits by rising from death on that day. According to Leviticus 23:11, this is the day (Sunday) after the Sabbath (Saturday). If there is any question whether this is referring to the regular weekly Sabbath, or to a special Sabbath, we just need to look a little further in Leviticus to find out.

The Feast of Weeks, also known as Shavuot or Pentecost, was to take place seven weeks following the Feast of Firstfruits:

From the day after the Sabbath, the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the LORD. From wherever you live, bring two loaves made of two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour, baked with yeast, as a wave offering of firstfruits to the LORD. (Leviticus 23:15-17)
That is, counting the day after the regular weekly Sabbath as day #1, then day #50 (seven weeks later) would be the day that they were to present another firstfruits offering. The latter was to be "the day after the seventh Sabbath," which also was a weekly Sabbath. Shavuot/Pentecost always is on a Sunday. Likewise, the Feast of Firstfruits (Resurrection Day) was, and is, on the first day of the week: Sunday.

Some calendars, though, will show Shavuot and/or Pentecost to be on a day of the week other than Sunday, which is incorrect. This is because they begin the 50-day count the day after the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a special Sabbath, rather than the the day after the weekly Sabbath during that week. Of course, the day after the regular weekly Sabbath always is a Sunday.

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