Shocked by the Bible, Chapter 2a

This is a very technical chapter in Kovacs’ book and he plows through a lot of detail in a very short amount of time. For that reason, I am going to break this chapter into two posts this week.

In chapter 2, Joe Kovacs tackles the issue about what day Jesus really died. He begins by showing that the traditional understanding that he died on Friday does not match the biblical accounts. Following this, he begins to outline how we can determine on what day he was truly crucified.

He explained, “The day after Passover is a “high day” Sabbath. It’s the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when believers enjoy a special day of rest and eat unleavened bread. To recap, Jesus was slain the day before a Sabbath, which was an annual Sabbath, and there is no mention of “Friday.” But are there any other clues in the pages of Scripture to help identify the correct timeline?”

Kovacs is completely correct that Jesus was crucified on the day before the special Sabbath, not the regular Sabbath. Which means at the earliest, Jesus was crucified on Thursday (leaving Friday for the special Sabbath and Saturday for the regular Sabbath)? However, Kovacs does not seem to explain how Hebrews counted days. They did not reckon time as we do today—that is from midnight to midnight. They reckoned from evening to evening. So for example, 6pm on what we would call Friday evening would mark the beginning of Saturday (the Sabbath) to Jews.
The other problem is that Kovacs speaks to Jesus completing a full 72 hours is his understanding of Jonah 1:17. He assumes, without any facts to back up this assumption, that Jonah was in the belly of the whale a complete 72 hours. Because Jesus said that he would be in the heart of the earth as Jonah was in the belly of the whale—three day and three nights—Kovacs assumes that this means Jesus had to be in the earth 72 hours. There is nothing in the text to demand that Jonah was in the belly of the fish for exactly 72 hours. Never mind that Jonah would have had no way to know how long he was in the fish as they did not have wrist watches or cell phones at that time.
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