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[Steve] Is it possible that 2 billion Christians could be wrong about Easter? Did you know that there's a major contradiction in the Easter story? Most believe that Jesus was crucified and placed in the grave on a Friday afternoon - and then raised back to life on Easter Sunday, a day and a half later.
When you compare that to what Jesus Himself said, you'll find there's a major discrepancy. Now what does the Bible say about how long Jesus would be in the grave?
Could identifying and understanding that disagreement affect what you believe and even impact your eternal life?
Stay tuned to Beyond Today as we confront those questions, investigate the Easter tradition and discuss, "Three Days and Three Nights!"
[Announcer] Join our host Steve Myers and his guests, as they help you understand your future, on Beyond Today !
[Steve] Even though there's a major inconsistency in the Easter story, Easter Sunday is the most attended church service of the year by Christians. People believe it recognizes Jesus coming back to life - His resurrection.
Do you attend services, but remain unaware of a serious contradiction?
This is something you need to understand: There is a significant discrepancy in how the timing of the resurrection of Jesus is counted. Understanding the facts may lead you to no longer observe the Easter holiday. It can transform your perspective, and enhance your faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
I spoke with people on the street about their viewpoint of the holiday and this contradiction.
When you think of Easter, what's your favorite Easter tradition?
> Church and family.
>> We get together with family, it's all about family. All the holidays are all about family - as far as I'm concerned.
[Steve] If you had to say Easter represents one thing, what do you think it would be?
[Steve] Family is important but Jesus has to be at the very center of any teaching on the resurrection. But here's a distressing thought. He Himself said: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew:7:21).
Christ said that some people will call Him Lord; recognize that He is the Savior; know that He rose from the grave, yet they will not be given eternal life. Is it possible to believe in Jesus and still be left out? Nobody wants to fall into that category.
You see that's why this major discrepancy between religion and the Bible, between Christianity and Christ over Jesus' resurrection is such a very serious matter.
Here's what it has to do with Easter: Most Christians believe that Jesus' crucifixion, it took place on Good Friday.
But, did you know that people demanded a miraculous sign from Jesus to prove that He was truly the Messiah? They wouldn't trust that He was Savior without proof.
"Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, Teacher, we desire to see a sign or miracle from You [proving that You are what You claim to be]" (Matthew:12:38, AMP).
Jesus told them there would be proof He is Savior; just one example, one piece of evidence, one proof - in fact, only one miraculous sign. That one sign would verify that Jesus was the Christ, the true Messiah - God in the flesh.
Now, believe it or not, it has something to do with a giant fish.
"Jesus answered, 'Evil and sinful people are the ones who want to see a miracle for a sign. But no sign will be given to them, except the sign of the prophet Jonah'" (Matthew:12:39, NCV).
What was the sign of Jonah? Well He tells us in the very next verse: "As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matthew:12:40, NKJ).
That was the sign - the one and only, the one and only proof that Jesus gave that would show He was the promised Savior.
> Jonah is like one of my favorite...
[Steve] There's a connection there. It's kind of a weird one, but Jesus said, like Jonah was in that great big fish for three days and three nights...
[Steve] Christ was going to be in the grave for three days and three nights.
> Well, the Holy Bible, basic instructions before leaving Earth have a whole lot of parables. The Good Lord has a strong sense of irony. So you could take a Scripture from the Old Testament and it will coincide with the New Testament because the Book is just perfection.
[Steve] God's Word is perfection. We know that Jesus' Word is truth. We can rely on it. We can trust it. We can believe it. No reason to question it.
So shouldn't what Jesus said about the one and only sign - the lone proof that He is Savior affect you and how you worship? It should!
But there's a dilemma; a clash between what He said and what most Christians believe and practice. Now could what Jesus said disagree with what you believe?
It all relates to Jesus' crucifixion; that big fish that swallowed Jonah and a specific miraculous sign. Jesus said: "Jonah was in the stomach of the big fish for three days and three nights. In the same way, the Son of Man will be in the grave three days and three nights" (Matthew:12:40, NCV).
That seems pretty straight forward, doesn't it? But here's the problem: How does a Good Friday crucifixion and an Easter Sunday resurrection match with what Jesus said is the one proof that He's the Savior? You see this traditional view would place Jesus in the grave for only a day and a half.
Yet the Bible is clear. Jesus died and His body was quickly placed in the tomb late in the day, just before sundown when the Sabbath began. Now notice John:19:31: "Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that [the] bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away... But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs..." So soon after His death we're told, "So there they laid Jesus, because of the Jews' Preparation Day, for the tomb was nearby" (John:19:32-42).
Did you catch that contradiction in the story?
If Christ was in the grave on Friday night - that's Good Friday, so that's one night. And then Saturday day, is one day. Then Saturday night, is two nights. And then Sunday morning, He was supposed to be resurrected, which is just like two days and two nights. And it doesn't seem to add up.
> I agree, but you know, I believe in the Lord, so I'm not going to try and figure out how all that works, honestly.
[Steve] Is it really that hard to figure out? If you want to prove if Easter represents Jesus' resurrection from the dead, all you have to do is count correctly. Add the days and the nights between a late-afternoon Good Friday crucifixion to an Easter Sunday morning resurrection. And you know, it doesn't compute. Yet Jesus said the proof that He was the Messiah was that He would be in the tomb three days and three nights.
Now something's obviously wrong with the traditional Good Friday–Easter Sunday timing. It simply doesn't work, no matter how hard you try. And if these days don't add up; then we don't have a Savior.
I'd like to give more detail on this important subject, so we've prepared a new Bible study aid which we're offering you today, Easter: The Rest of the Story . It goes into greater detail and explains what's missing in Easter traditions.
You can receive a free copy of this essential study aid by calling: 1-888-886-8632. That's 1-888-886-8632. We only have a limited number of copies of Easter: The Rest of the Story available in print. Once we run out, it's only be available on our website. So give us a call now - we'll be glad to send this special, free study aid right to your home. You really need this important information. It will help you better understand the key to Jesus' resurrection.
So, be sure to call us free: 1-888-886-8632 or visit our website at BeyondToday.tv , and request your free study aid. If you live outside North America, write us at the address shown on your screen - for your copy of Easter: The Rest of the Story [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254].
One of the most dramatic and encouraging events of all time is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said the only evidence that He is the promised Messiah would be that He would be in the grave three days and three nights. Yet, Good Friday to Easter Sunday just doesn't add up.
God the Father once said: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" (Matthew:17:5). We can ask ourselves: Am I listening? Jesus said three days and three nights. Now if He wasn't dead in the grave three days and three nights, He can't be your Savior. That was the miraculous sign - the only validation of who He is. Are we listening to Christ?
If He was crucified on Friday and then put in the grave on Friday night, that's one night. And then, Saturday would be one day. Saturday night would be two nights. And then by Sunday morning, He was already resurrected. Does that seem to add up?
> It doesn't add up, no.
[Steve] Try as we may, this major contradiction in the Easter story just doesn't stack up right. The Good Friday to Easter Sunday timing comes out at most at two nights and one day. So, we're short another night and two more days! Yet Jesus said He would be in the tomb for those three days and three nights. If we say something different, aren't we calling Him an impostor, a fraud and even a liar?
It doesn't seem to add up, does it?
> No, not at all.
[Steve] Okay, I've got a problem then. If I believe in Jesus, and it doesn't add up, what does that tell me?
>> Somebody wrong. Who wrong? You don't want to tell the church that they're wrong, but somebody wrong.
> Yeah, or their teaching, its there's too many religions going out here, or sayings or something, because I don't understand.
[Steve] Don't feel bad if you don't understand - the fact is, the math just doesn't add up. So either tradition has to be wrong or Jesus made a mistake! That's definitely a difficult predicament.
Now most theologians and religious scholars, they know it's a problem. Your pastor or your priest probably knows it's a troubling issue. So what do they do about it? Well most try to work around the conflict by arguing that any part of a day or night could count as a full day or full night. So they feel that "parts" are good enough.
Do you think that fits then with what Christ said, if it's Friday, like Friday night - one night, Saturday day - one day...
> Yeah, it's a little bit of a, I mean, it's three days. It's Friday, Saturday, Sunday but, you know...
[Steve] Well, it's a common belief, that the final few minutes of Friday afternoon were the first day - that would be our representation of our sunshine, our block - and Friday night then would have been the first night. Then Saturday day would be the second day. Then Saturday night would be the second night. And then the first few minutes of Sunday morning, that was the third day.
Now that may sound reasonable, but wait. The trouble is, it still doesn't work. This adds up to three days and just two nights, not the three days and three nights like Jesus said.
And there's also another problem: John:20:1 tells us that "on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb."
Well, did you catch that? The Bible says it was still dark when Mary went to the tomb early Sunday morning and found it empty. Jesus was already resurrected well before daybreak. So He wasn't in the tomb for any of the daylight portion of Sunday, so none of this can be counted as a day.
So what does that leave us with? At the very most, we've got parts of days on Friday, Friday night, Saturday day, Saturday night, but that totals a full day, a part of another, a full night and most of another - and that's still not what Jesus said. It doesn't match how long He said He would be in the tomb.
So, if it doesn't add up, we've got to think, either Jesus' words were not true, He misspoke, or was He mislead - which is really another way of saying He lied, or the Good Friday to Easter Sunday timing is not biblical or accurate.
That brings us to a difficult question: Should you go by tradition or the Word of our Lord? Matthew:12:40, Christ was very specific in saying three days and three nights.
The Bible itself even tells us exactly what that means: "...God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night" (Genesis:1:4-5).
No uncertainty here - God defined exactly what a night is and precisely what a day is - it's not a matter of parts or a matter of hours. God's Holy Word itself says that Jesus died and was resurrected to become our Savior exactly according to Scripture (1 Corinthians:15:3-4).
Should it change your life? Should it change the way you worship?
Does it really matter how we worship God, then?
> Wow, now that's a tricky question.
>> That's it. It really don't matter.
> I don't think so. As long as you do...
>> There is a correct way of doing just about everything.
[Steve] Does it really matter, do you think it really matters how we worship God?
> No, it don't matter.
>> So I think there is a correct way of worshipping the Lord.
[Steve] Don't you want to worship God in the way that He appreciates - the correct way? Then it really does matter. You don't want to be like those Christ describes as practicing a useless or a vain way of worship (Matthew:15:8).
Nobody wants to deny Christ. If we don't believe what Jesus said, or if we try to give it our own interpretation, isn't that exactly what we're doing - denying Christ? We'd be saying that Jesus didn't know what He was talking about. That the only sign that Jesus said would prove that He was the Savior, really was just a lie.
The scenario of Good Friday to Easter Sunday does contradict the Word of our Lord and Savior. It denies that Jesus fulfilled the sign of the Messiah. Notice 1 John:2:22 "Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?... Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also."
So we have a choice. Let's be sure to acknowledge the Son of God.
There's more to the story, but first let me remind you about our free offer today, Easter: The Rest of the Story . We have prepared this brand new Bible study aid to help you better understand the critical information we've covered in today's program. We have it for a limited time as a printed publication; then it will only be available on our website. So be sure to call us today to get your free copy!
Now when you request, Easter: The Rest of the Story we will also send you a free subscription to The Good News magazine. Let's face it, everyone needs some good news in their lives! The Good News magazine will help you sort through the conflicting messages of our culture, while providing you with understanding, hope and encouragement. Thanks to the support of members of the United Church of God and our generous viewers, we provide all our materials absolutely free of charge.
So, be sure to call us now - toll free: 1-888-886-8632. That's 1-888-886-8632. Or, write us at the address on your screen. You can also read, Easter: The Rest of the Story and The Good News magazine online at BeyondToday.tv [Beyond Today, PO Box 541027, Cincinnati, OH 45254].
We know we can't fit three days and three nights between a Friday afternoon crucifixion and an Easter Sunday. So what's the truth? When was Jesus crucified and then resurrected?
Well here are the facts - right from your Bible: Jesus was actually crucified on a Wednesday and was resurrected at the end of the Saturday Sabbath. Now you can verify this - but it's going to take an open mind and an open Bible.
Here's something surprising: The week that Jesus was crucified actually had two Sabbaths in it. Remember John:19:31? It tells us: "Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that [the] bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day)."
Most think this is talking about the regular weekly Sabbath day, observed from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. That's why most assume that Jesus died and was buried on Friday - on Good Friday. But that's not true.
The Bible talks about two kinds of Sabbath days - the normal weekly Sabbath day that falls every seventh day of the week and seven annual Sabbath days that could fall on any day of the week.
The Sabbath that began at sundown immediately after Jesus was entombed was one of these annual Sabbath days. It wasn't a Friday at all. The Bible says that "that Sabbath was a high day." Now that's a term used to show the difference between the seven annual Sabbath days - the high days, and the regular weekly Sabbath day.
So what was this "high day" that came right after Jesus was buried?
Well remember Jesus kept the Passover with His disciples, then He was arrested later that night. Next He was crucified. Finally He was quickly placed in the tomb - just as the sun was setting to begin that "high day" - that high Sabbath day. Now that was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
The annual Holy Day of Unleavened Bread that year was observed from Wednesday evening until Thursday evening. Then came Friday sunset to Saturday sunset, the normal weekly Sabbath was then observed after that.
Facts show that Jesus died near 3 p.m. on Wednesday and was buried just before sunset that day. Now, let's see if the math works out:
We have a Wednesday sunset to a Thursday sunset. So that's one day and one night.
Then we have a Thursday sunset to a Friday sunset. So we have two days and two nights.
Then we have the Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. We have three days and three nights. It does add up!
Jesus Christ was in the grave three days and three nights - just as He said. He came back to life at the exact time He claimed He would. The angel at the empty tomb confirmed it: "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said " (Matthew:28:5-6, NIV).
Biblical evidence reveals the Good Friday to Easter Sunday tradition just doesn't stack up. Sadly, many mistakenly believe that Jesus somehow changed the day of worship from the Saturday Sabbath to Sunday. But, that too is untrue.
I hope you'll take the time to look at the details recorded in the Bible and compare your practice with Jesus' own words. Now if you do, your life will change for the better - even the day you worship.
Now if you do believe - remember that Jesus said, "Follow me." He expects: "true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him." (John:4:23) God is seeking you. Let's be sure we're seeking Him.
Isn't it time to take a more meaningful approach to religion than the holidays? There is a much more important alternative - a way to worship Him in spirit and in truth. It's not found in Easter or in any other man-made holiday, but instead worshiping on His days, the Holy Days of God.
I hope you'll learn more about it by ordering our brand new, free Bible study guide Easter: The Rest of the Story and your free subscription to The Good News magazine.
Call us toll free: 1-888 -886-8632. That's 1-888-886-8632. Or, you can read both online at BeyondToday.tv .
Now we've been talking about the resurrection of Christ and three days and three nights. To discuss this a little bit more in-depth, I'm joined by fellow hosts, Darris McNeely and Gary Petty.
Now, talking about these three days and three nights, many of the people we spoke to on the street weren't sure that it really mattered that much. But you think about it, what's at stake?
[Darris] What's at stake is at the heart of what Jesus was talking about when He made the comment, as the only sign that He would be the Messiah, was a connection with an event with Jonah at a time of the Assyrian Empire - Nineveh - and a time of judgment. And I think therein lies a missing key that people have about this, that Jesus was talking about something that was so important and so vital, that it really pertains to a matter of who He is and our relationship with Him. If we can believe these matters, then we believe that there is a God who is in control of this world and is going to bring it into judgment for all things. And the sign that Christ was the Messiah with this, keys into that exact point.
[Steve] So there's a lot at stake when you get down to it.
[Gary] Oh yes. In fact you talk about relationship, you know we think about it where, as Christian we are always saying: Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Savior. If Jesus is Lord, that means He is your master, and that mean we have to know what He taught and live by what He taught. And if He said three days and three nights, and He is my Lord, He meant three days and nights.
[Steve] And probably good to look into what else did He say that I need to make sure I am following if I claim to be His disciple.
[Steve] I think that's the challenge then. If we see that it really doesn't add up, and people begin to realize that, our viewers are looking at it and saying, wow it doesn't add up, what do I do now? What is the next step that I should take as I begin to understand this?
[Darris] It's accepting God's Word as what it says and making an action upon it. And in this case, it is a matter of accepting Jesus Christ as the Messiah, as the Son of God who was resurrected and that makes all the difference. And that requires us to submit ourselves in a sense, kneel before God, before Jesus Christ and acknowledge Him as our Lord and our Savior; and remove ourselves from the critiques, the historical criticisms and the... frankly foolishness that surrounds the discussion of who Jesus Christ was and the reality that what He said happened, did happen. And it happened exactly as He said that it would happen.
[Gary] That hard thing is tradition. Not all traditions are bad, but any time a tradition goes against the Scripture, it's time to doubt, and remove the tradition. And it's hard to do but it's what we must do.
[Steve] And once we begin to understand that this is a part of the gospel message. This is the truth of the gospel of the Kingdom of God. And it is possible to change how you live. It is possible to remove these non-Christian, unbiblical traditions from your life. I hope you'll make a commitment to God for the sake of your future.
The United Church of God has hundreds of congregations across the United States and around the world, with caring pastors who can help you in your Christian journey as a disciple of Jesus Christ. So go to BeyondToday.tv - click on the "Contact" tab to find a congregation near yo u. Call one of our pastors and share your story. We're looking forward to hearing from you.
Isn't it time to be sure that what you believe and practice is based on the Word of God? Make that commitment to worship God according to biblical truth rather than human tradition.
You'll need to take a look and take time to look into the Bible and really get to know the true God. Honor Him the way that He wants to be honored, not through the traditions of man-made holidays.
Instead, worship Him on His days. Check out the Holy Days of God, the biblical days of worship and follow Christ. Read your Bible and discover them for yourself.
Now, we appreciate you watching and don't forget our free offers, and be sure to tell your family and friends about Beyond Today . Tune in again next week and join us in praying, "Thy Kingdom come." For Beyond Today , I'm Steve Myers. Thanks for watching.
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