Two Sabbaths

Christ was in the tomb three days and three nights according to His promise. Most people believe that He was buried on a Friday evening and rose on a Sunday morning. That is only 1 1/2 days -- half of His promise. (Matthew 12:38-40)

We will prove that Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday afternoon, buried before the dawn of Thursday, and risen on Sunday morning. From the bible we will show that He kept ALL of His promise.

Part of the evidence that we shall present is that there were two days of rest, with a day in between them, from the time of His crucifixion to His resurrection. The first day of rest was an annual Sabbath, the second day of rest was a weekly Sabbath.

WEEKLY Sabbaths are always on a Saturday. God created the Sabbath day when He rested on the seventh day after creating the heavens and the earth.

ANNUAL Sabbaths can fall any day of the week. They started much later, at the time of Moses, when God brought plagues on the land of Egypt. The last plague was when the angel of God killed the first born of every Egyptian, and spared the Israelites whom he "passed over." That is why it is called Passover. In the Jewish Calendar, Passover always falls on the 14th day of the month of Nisan. It is similar to commemorating somebody's birthday or when you celebrate the 4th of July -- once per year. For more information about this subject, please look at our file Annual Jewish Holy Days.

We include a timeline so the reader could easily visualize the days between Yeshua/Jesus' death and His resurrection.

Chronology of Christ's burial and resurrection

Let us look into the actual passages and see what they say:

Mark 16:1   So when the Sabbath [singular] had passed Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome purchased spices in order to come and grease him.

The Sabbath that had passed was the ANNUAL Sabbath of Nisan 15.  This annual Sabbath commemorates when Israelites left Egypt on the feast of Passover. See our file Annual Jewish Holy Days.

Mary Magdalene brought spices

The women bought spices on Nisan 16, the day after Passover Feast.

Luke 23:56  and they went back to prepare spices and  perfumed oils, but of course, they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.

They rested on the weekly Sabbath which fell that year on Nisan 17 --the day after they bought and prepared the spices.  The weekly Sabbath is one of the most holy of all Sabbaths, except for Yom Kippur.  In the weekly Sabbath no work can be done according to the 4th commandment in the Law of Ten Commandments.

It was growing light when Mary Magdalene approached the tomb of Christ

Matthew 28:1  After the Sabbaths [plural], when it was growing light on SUNDAY, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to view the grave.

The fact that this verse, Matthew 28:1, mentions "after the sabbaths," (plural) shows that there was more than one Sabbath between Yeshua's death and His resurrection.  Therefore, after the two Sabbaths (the 15th and the 17th of Nisan) had passed, when it was Sunday dawn (18th of Nisan), the women came to the tomb. 

Luke 24:1
But on
SUNDAY, at early dawn, they came to the tomb carrying the spices which they had prepared, and certain [others] with them,

Remember the women prepared the spices to embalm Jesus on the 16th of Nisan which fell on a Friday that year.  They rested on the 17th of Nisan, which was a weekly Sabbath, and went to Jesus' sepulchre on the 18th, which was a Sunday.  That Sunday, the women came to the tomb bringing the spices they had prepared.  See the above timeline.

In conclusion, we know that there were two Sabbaths in between Christ's crucifixion and His resurrection -- the first one was an annual Sabbath, and the second one was a weekly Sabbath.  The women kept the weekly Sabbath according to the commandment, as they always did, even after Christ died. The law of the ten commandments was still in force then as it is now. God does not change and His laws do not change.

Our messiah and lord Jesus Christ was risen on the 18th of Nisan, in the day of the wave sheaf offering which always falls on a Sunday.   This is proof that He really was inside the "belly of the earth" for three days and three nights fulfilling the sign of Jonah the prophet as stated in the scriptures.  If you are wondering why there are four days from the crucifixion to the resurrection, notice that Jesus said that He would be in the belly of the earth 3 days and 3 nights. That means from the time he was buried to the time he was risen. For more information on this topic read our file Sign of the Messiah.


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Most bibles do not have the original rendering of the passages that refer to the resurrection of Christ.  Sometimes, the original Greek word  s a b b a t w n "sabbaton" which means Sabbaths, (plural, more than one) has been rendered singular.

In the period of time between Christ's death and His resurrection there were two Sabbaths.  The first one was the annual Sabbath on Nisan 15 (Passover Feast), and the second one was the weekly Sabbath that fell on Nisan 17.  There was a day between those two Sabbaths in which the women went to buy spices to prepare the body of Christ (Mark 16:1).

Also, the reference to the day the women came to the tomb has been translated as "the first day of the week," but the original Greek does not say that; the original Greek is  mia  twn  sabbatwn  "mia ton sabbaton," which means  "First of Sabbaths."  This expression, which has been incorrectly translated as "Sunday" or "the first day of the week," actually refers to the wave sheaf offering.  The wave sheaf offering was a yearly offering made to God from the first grains of the harvest and it always falls on the first Sunday after Passover.  

Jesus was resurrected on the day of the wave sheaf offering because He is the wave sheaf offering.

See our file The Resurrection.