Shocked by the Bible, Chapter 2a

I continue today untangling Kovacs’ tangled up explanation of what day Jesus was truly crucified. As I stated in my previous post, I agree with Kovacs that Jesus could not have been crucified on Friday--according to the Scriptures. However, I do not agree with Kovacs that it occurred on Wednesday. I believe that the Scriptures clearly indicate Jesus died on Thursday and the two Sabbaths that week were on Friday and Saturday.

Kovacs makes two errors, which lead him to the position that Jesus died on Wednesday and rose at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening. First, he assumed that Matthew 12:40 required a complete 72 hours to be correctly fulfilled (see previous post on this problem). Second, he incorrectly interprets Luke 23:54-24:2 with Mark 16:1-2.

Kovacs interprets Luke to say that the women bought the spices before the Sabbath began, and Mark to indicate that they bought them after the Sabbath. What Kovacs does not quote in Mark is 15:46 which says, “So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.” Joseph bought supplies to take care of Jesus that day, nothing would immediately preclude the women from doing the same. Furthermore, why is it not possible that the women bought what they could on the day before the special Sabbath and then purchased the rest following the regular Sabbath?

Kovacs even misses something in the very quote he uses from Luke 24:1—“Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.” Certain others with them? What does that mean? It is referring to that which they brought with them—the spices. So they had not only the spices they prepared, but certain other spices with them as well.

Now to the issue of whether or not Jesus was to be resurrected any part of the third day or at the completion of the third full day. Kovacs rightly notes, “The phrase ‘the third day’ can be taken two ways. It can mean he was to rise at any time on the third calendar day. For some, this suggests a Friday death and Sunday resurrection. But the phrase can also indicate the third completed day, or a full seventy-two hours. Again, the Bible is unclear.” Then Kovacs moves on under the assumption that it requires a full 72 hours without explaining his assumption. It appears from the Scriptures, however, that many understood it to be any part of the third day.

First, those hostile to Jesus (the Pharisees and the chief priests) seemed to indicate it could be any part of the third day in their request to Pilate to seal the tomb. The Pharisees come to Pilate the day after Jesus’ death and burial and then seal the tomb and station soldiers to ensure that the body would not be stolen from that point forward to any point “until” the conclusion of the third day.

Kovacs also cited Jesus’ conversation with the two disciples as further evidence to support his claim. However, in his own statement he shows a serious flaw to both his argument and those who believe Jesus was crucified on Friday: “Those who steadfastly believe Jesus was executed on a Friday often point to a comment from one of Jesus’ disciples on the same Sunday the women discovered the empty tomb. Jesus appeared to a pair of disciples who were discussing the amazing events that had taken place that week, but God did not allow them to recognize Jesus. The disciple name Cleopas noted, ‘Today is the third day since these things were done (Luke 24:221).’ Proponents of the ‘Friday theory’ say that if the Messiah did die on a Wednesday, and they were speaking about it on Sunday, then Cleopas should have said, ‘Today is the fourth day since these things were done.’ Ironically, had Jesus died on a Friday, Sunday would only be the second day ‘since these things were done.’”

Kovacs attempts to salvage his theory by explaining “these things” as referring to the Pharisees’ actions on Thursday requesting the sealing of the tomb. But in the midst of explaining this point, he wrote, “The events covered by “all these things” did not end the moment Jesus died, since the chief priests and the rulers acted again the following day, on Thursday." I sense a little sleight of hand by Mr. Kovacs. While he is correct that “all these things” did not end with Jesus burial, it also does not mean that it began with the Pharisees request. Simply put, “all these things” refers to exactly what they were discussing as indicated by the full context in Luke 24:18-21, “One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you only a visitor to Jerusalem and do not know the things that have happened there in these days…“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him…And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place.” They were referring to the crucifixion and death of Jesus; they don’t even mention the actions of the Pharisees. Kovacs seems to completely ignore the context of their conversation. Cleopas made it clear what he was referring to when he said “all these things.”

This is a topic that can get very technical when addressing the different ways of reckoning days and the mention of Preparation Days and special Sabbaths and regular Sabbaths. I could post a series to explain this in detail (don’t worry I’m not). But the short of it is that the Scriptures clearly indicate that Jesus was crucified on Thursday, Friday was a special Sabbath, Saturday was the regular Sabbath, and he rose from the dead on Sunday at some point before daybreak.
What'd you think? 

1 Response to "Shocked by the Bible, Chapter 2a"

  • Anonymous Says:

    I have read through several of your posts and really enjoy them. I particularly like this one and agree with you that Thursday is the most likely day of the week for the crucifixion.
    Jeff M