"WHAT ARE THE REAL FACTS OF EASTER?"
1. When was the last time you studied Godís Word to find out whether or not what someone taught you was really true?
2. When was the last time you studied the Bible to verify the truthfulness of the things you claim to believe are taught in the Bible?
3. How do you know, except from what some person has told you (and someone probably told them), what the Bible really teaches?
4. James 1.18 reads, "Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth." Therefore, since Godís Word says that He uses the Bible to save menís souls, itís important to know what this Book says. Amen?
5. With Godís help, this evening we are going to see what the Bible says about some things that are pretty important.
6. The structure of our study will be determined by four questions that Iíd like to pose. And these questions, asked precisely the way they are, are very important. You see, one does not receive correct answers unless he first asks correct questions.
1A. QUESTION #1: "HOW LONG WAS THE BODY OF JESUS IN THE TOMB?"
Letís allow the Lord Jesus Christ to give us that information.
1B. Turn To Matthew 12.38-40: "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."
Jesus Said That He Would Spend Three Days And Three Nights In The Heart Of The Earth, Just As Jonah Spent Three Days And Three Nights In The Belly Of The Whale.
2B. Now Turn To Jonah 1.17: "Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights."
Yes, Itís True. The Lord Jesus Christ Didnít Make A Mistake. Jonah Did Spend Three Days And Nights In That Belly.
3B. Folks, If Godís Word Was Written For Men To Understand, And It Was, Then There Can Be No Doubt That Jesus Spent Three Days And Three Nights In The Tomb. And If We Listen To The Lord Jesus In John 11.9, Where He Says There Are Twelve Hours In The Day (That Is, In The Daylight Hours Of A Day), Then We Conclude That The Body Of The Lord Jesus Christ Was In The Tomb For 72 Hours!
2A. QUESTION #2: "ON WHAT DAY DID THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST TAKE PLACE?"
1B. Before We Try To Answer This Question Let Us Understand That The Jewish Day Began At Sundown. We See This From Genesis 1:31, Where Moses Records That The Evening And The Morning Were The Sixth Day, As Well As From Leviticus 23.32: "It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath."
2B. This Can Also Be Verified By Any Of You Who Are Familiar With The Practices Of Orthodox Jewish Folks, Who Begin To Observe Their Sabbath At 6:00 PM On Friday Or At Sundown On Friday. This Is Because They Understand The Bible To Teach That The Sabbath, As Well As Every Other Day Of The Week In The Bible, Begins At Sundown.
3B. Finally, This Can Be Verified By The Jewish Passover Feast, Which They Observed Last Sunday. And When Did The Jewish Passover Actually Begin? At Sundown On Sunday Night. Why? Because In The Bible A Day Begins At Sundown.
4B. Armed With This Information, Letís Look Up Some Verses To Find Out Which Day Christ Rose From The Dead.
Matthew 28.1-6 The word "dawn" in verse 1 comes from the Greek word " epifwskw," which has several meanings. Itís most literal meaning, of course, is to break toward the dawn and become light, since the root word "fws" is the Greek word for light. But it has a derived meaning of "to grow toward" or "to draw on." So, why do I tend to think this is referring to sundown and the end of a day rather than sunup and the rising of the sun? Look at the phrase that just precedes this word: "In the end of the sabbath." Now look at the phrase just following this word "dawn." "toward the first day of the week." But the end of the Sabbath and the first day of the week actually begins, in Jewish culture, not to sunup, but to sundown! Thus, Matthew is describing, I believe, a point of time just before the beginning of the first day of the week. So, with what we know of the Jewish day, I am convinced Matthew is referring to Saturday after noon . . . just before dusk! Thus, from verse 6, we know that the resurrection had taken place before Sunday morning. Jesus had already risen from the dead by Saturday sundown!
People usually have objections to this, because they cannot believe that so many people can be so wrong about such an important thing as this. So, letís look at other verses and explain why Jesus did not rise from the dead on Sunday morning.
Mark 16.1-6 Folks, this is not a parallel account of what we just read in Matthew. Matthewís account occurred just prior to the Sabbathís end. But Markís account occurs after the Sabbathís end, very early in the morning. This is almost twelve hours after the Matthew 28 account. Why, then, did these women come back the next morning? Why did they pay a second visit to the tomb? Unbelief. They are told for the second time, this time in verse 6, that Jesus has risen.
Mark 16.9 This verse causes a great deal of confusion. This verses does not teach that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week. It teaches that on the first day of the week He had already risen!
Mark 16.11-14 Just as an aside, do you see how rampant was the unbelief of Jesusí Own followers?
Luke 24.1-3 This, like Mark 16.1-3, is another account of the second visit to the tomb, by the women.
John 20.1 John, too, gives an account of the second visit to the tomb. The second visit, we see here, came before the sun had risen that morning following the end of the Sabbath. Thus, it was on Sunday morning that the women visited the empty tomb for the second time!
On what day did the resurrection take place? Saturday, just before dusk, while it was yet the Sabbath, before the end of the Sabbath. Why then does Matthew alone record the first visit of the women, that shows Jesus to be risen on Saturday? I am not sure, but there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that Jesus did leave the tomb before dusk on Saturday in the late afternoon before dusk!
3A. QUESTION #3: "ON WHAT DAY DID THE CRUCIFIXION TAKE PLACE?"
1B. To Answer This We Must Find Out What Time The Crucifixion Took Place And What Time The Lord Jesus Gave Up The Ghost. As To These Facts, I Am Aware Of No Disagreement Among Bible Scholars.
2B. Luke 23.44-46: "And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
Jesus Is Already On The Cross At This Time, So He Was Crucified Sometime Between Daybreak And The Sixth Hour. The Sixth Hour Is The 6th Hour From Dawn, Or About 12 OíClock Noon. Jesus Gave Up The Ghost About The Ninth Hour, Or 3 OíClock In The Afternoon.
3B. This Fixes The Time Of Christís Death, But What About The Day Of His Death? Was It Friday? Could It Have Been On Friday, With Christ Resurrected The Following Afternoon? No! You Cannot Chop Up Three Days And Three Nights And Make Them Fit Into Friday Night, Saturday And Saturday Afternoon.
4B. If You Take Three Days And Three Nights To Mean 72 Hours, As I Do, Then Jesus Christ Gave Up The Ghost On Wednesday Afternoon, At About 3:00 PM. Even If You Donít Press The 72 Hours, But Allow That A Day Or A Night Doesnít Have To Be A Complete Twelve Hours, You Are Still Forced To The Position That Jesus Could Have Died No Later Than Thursday.
5B. But, Since We Know When, In The Day, Jesus Died, We Can Be Certain That It Occurred On A Wednesday! And Why Is This? Because, If You Start Counting Even Partial Days And Nights From Thursday You Canít Fit In Three Partial Days And Nights When It Is A Certainty That The Resurrection Occurred Prior To Saturday At Sundown. Ergo, The Crucifixion Must Have Taken Place On Good Wednesday, And Could Not Possibly Have Occurred On The So-Called Good Friday.
4A. QUESTION #4: "WHY IS THERE SO MUCH ERROR WITH THE TIME AND THE DAYS OF BOTH THE DEATH AND THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST?"
There are several answers to that question.
1B. First, The Sunday Observance Of Easter, Particularly With The Sunrise Services, Was Begun By The Roman Catholic Church When They Adopted Certain Pagan Holy Days As A Means Of Making Conversion To Romanism Easier For The Heathen. While Most Priests Who Are Asked Will Deny This, The Catholic Encyclopedia Agrees With What I Have Just Said.
2B. Second, Most People Think Christís Death Occurred On Friday Because Of The References To The Fact That It Happened On The Day Before The Sabbath. But Old Testament Scholars And Jewish Authorities Point Out From The Bible That Any Day On Which Passover Occurred Was A Sabbath. It Just So Happened That Thursday, The Day After Christís Crucifixion, Was A Special Sabbath, While Saturday, The Seventh Day Of The Week, Was The Regular Sabbath Day. That Error Is The Result Of Insufficient Bible Study.
3B. Third, But The Big Reason Why These Errors Have Gone On So Long A Period Of Time Is Because Too Many Bible Teachers And Too Many Bible Believing Christians Have:
a) Not studied their Bibles, and have,
b) Been content with tradition.
1. Let us learn a lesson today from the things we have studied. First, let us agree that the majority is not always right in what they believe is Godís truth. Jesus acknowledged to God that "Thy Word is truth." For that reason, weíd better find out what Godís Word actually teaches regarding issues that affect us.
2. Second, approach this Easter season with wisdom, knowing that most of the people who "celebrate" the death, burial and resurrection of Godís Son do not have the truth of Godís Word.
3. My friend, if so many people are off on the resurrection day, just imagine how much error there must be when it comes to how to get saved. And what we have seen today is not really that hard to find. All thatís required is some Bible study.
4. Regarding your salvation, how do you know that your sins have been forgiven? How do you know that you will go to heaven when you die? Are you depending upon what you heard, or what some person told you, or do you know that you are saved the Bible way?
5. Are you aware that every man is born into this world in sin, with the wrath of God abiding on him?
Romans 5.12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."
Romans 3.23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."
John 3.36 "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
6. Are you aware that God sent His Son to die for you, in spite of your sin?
John 3.16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Romans 5.8 "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
7. And do you realize that your only hope of salvation from your sins is to turn to Christ, receive Him as your personal Savior?
Romans 6.23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
John 1.12 "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
8. If you came into the auditorium a short while ago thinking that Jesus was crucified on a Friday and that He rose from the dead on a Sunday, but now you know otherwise, is it not possible you are also wrong about how to get saved from your sins?
9. About such an important thing as getting saved, my advice is for you to come and talk to me right away.