The death of Christ is celebrated all over the world on “Good Friday” by millions of Christians in different denominations. But few question the origins of “Good Friday”, even if it is not mentioned in the Bible. Not only does it not contain “Good Friday”, the Gospels do not even speak of a Friday Crucifixion. But why then, do Christian congregations around the world teach/celebrate a “Friday” Crucifixion? In today’s study, we will delve into this question and find answers with the help of “the Sign of Jonah” mentioned by Christ several times in the Gospel accounts.
The only thing mentioned throughout the Gospels without any disagreements, is that Yeshua (Jesus’ true name) died on the day known as Passover (John 18:28, 19:14, Mat 27:46-50, Mar 15:33-37, Luk 23:44-46). So where did the idea of a Friday Crucifixion arise from? Let’s review the information given by the writers of the Gospels.
- Yeshua died on the Evening of the Passover. (John 18:28, 19:14)
- Yeshua died around the 9th Hour of the Passover day (3pm in Modern day time)
(Mat 27:46-50, Mar 15:33-37, Luk 23:44-46)
- Yeshua died on an evening before the Sabbath, or as it was drawing towards the Sabbath (Joh 19:31, Mar 15:42,43, Luk 23:52-54). The Sabbath started at sundown(Lev 23:32)
- Yeshua rose after the Sabbath and before dawn on the 1st day (Mt 28:1-6, Mar 16:2-4, Luke 24:1-3, Joh 20:1,2)
So according to the above biblical evidence, Yeshua died before the Sabbath and rose after the Sabbath. The biblical Sabbath Day coincides with the day which is presently known as Saturday. Using the above, Christian Denominations around the world believed, and still believe in the following hypothesis (Please note that the following will be disproved using Scripture subsequently)
2. Today’s belief of the majority:
Crucifixion and death on Passover = (Friday Eve)
In the Tomb on Sabbath Day = (Saturday)
Resurrection = (Sunday before dawn)
This is the reason all Christian Denominations regard “Friday” as the day of Crucifixion & “Sunday” as the day of “Resurrection”. But this theory has a major flaw in it.
3. A questionable hypothesis
Mat 12:40 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.
As per above text from the Gospels Christ alluded that the story of Jonah was prophetically connected to Him, and that He would be in the heart of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights. According to the theory highlighted in Point number 2, which is accepted by millions of Christians worldwide, where is the 3 days and 3 nights? Some count Friday, Saturday & Sunday as the 3 days & 3 nights, although it is erroneous as Christ would have been dead for a maximum of 36 hours according to the above theory.
4. The Sign of Jonah & the witness of Yeshua
In the time of His ministry, Yeshua spoke of His death and resurrection multiple times. One of the signs He provided out of the Scriptures was of the “Sign of Jonah”.
Mat 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.
Mat 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.
Luk 11:29 And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.
a. What was the “Sign of Jonah?”
Jon 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.
As we see in the book of Jonah, the prophet was in fact there in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights. And Messiah directly connected this as a sign of His own death and resurrection. If you have read the prayer that Jonah made inside the belly of the fish, this connection become much more apparent. Jonah’s prayer was a prophetic prayer about the Messiah, just as it was about himself.
Jonah Chapter 2 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
You could read this prayer, and almost see that it is a prayer made by Yeshua to the Father. He cries because of His affliction, and sees that God has heard Him. Out of the belly of the Grave (translated as Hell) God hears His cry. Even though it was the Father’s will that Yeshua be cast down into the deep in the midst of the seas of people, and was cast out of sight as sin enveloped him, and death took His body – YHVH – God Almighty brought Him up once again, giving life to what was doomed to corruption. He indeed sacrificed Himself with thanksgiving – He payed which He had vowed to do. And salvation (Yeshua in Hebrew) was proved to be of God through Him. And as per God’s command, the earth spewed out Yeshua to the land of the living – now glorified.
The “Sign of Jonah” was truly a Messianic sign in the Scriptures, awaiting completion – brought to pass through Yeshua’s Death & Resurrection.
b. Yeshua’s witness about the three days, in the Gospels
Joh 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
Mat 27:63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
Mar 14:58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.
Mat 26:61 And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.
Mar 15:29,30 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save thyself, and come down from the cross.
Mat 27:40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.
Mar 8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
1Co 15:3,4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
We see the 3 days being mentioned over and over again in the Gospels. But the most important verse that contains “3 days” is 1Cor 15:3,4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
In it Paul mentions the 3 days according to the “Scriptures” or Old Testament as we call it today. But where is such a prophecy contained anywhere in the Old Testament? The only place where the 3 days is mentioned is in Jonah 1:17 which is called the “Sign of Jonah”. It is particularly detailed in saying “3 Days & 3 nights” which is later confirmed through the words of Yeshua in Mat 12:38-40. It is clear that He was in fact to be in the heart of the earth for 3 days & 3 nights. A full 72 hours according to the time reckoned by Yeshua in Joh 11:9 (Day = 12 hours / Night = 12 hours ; 3Days & 3Nights = 72 hours)
4. Does it matter whether it’s 1 day, 2 days or 3 days?
Some believers are quick to shrug off this sort of topic saying “all that matters is that He died and rose again – it doesn’t matter whether He died on Friday or any other day”. While it is true that victory over death matters above all, we must ask the critical question “why do we believe in a death and resurrection of a Saviour?”. The reason is that the Scriptures have prophesied in such an event. If there was no such event recorded, how were people to believe the claims of Yeshua? How could He say “These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Luk 24:44). How could Paul write “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1Cor 15:3,4)
The “Sign of Jonah” was truly what Yeshua and Paul were referring to.
5. Questioning today’s belief of Christ’s Death on Good Friday
The “Sign of Jonah” is clear. Yeshua had to fulfill the Scriptures by being in the belly of the earth for three days and three nights. From the time of death and entombment to the time of resurrection and rising from the tomb should have been 3 days and 3 nights. So how is a Friday evening death and burial to sunday early morning resurrection provide 3 days & 3 nights? It barely gives 1 day and 2 nights. So what happened to the rest of the 2 days and 1 night?
Can the majority ever be wrong? and for so long? They can be, when no one questions the accepted teaching, believing it while not testing it against the word critically. Even though this wrong teaching of Friday death to Sunday Resurrection has existed for more than 100 years, in their ignorance, these teachers accepted one fact – that the Sabbath day is in fact the modern Saturday. This teaching is based on only one assumption. That Yeshua died before a Sabbath, and rose after a Sabbath – which gave them Friday(death) – Saturday(Sabbath) – Sunday(resurrection). Now let’s find out the true mystery behind the 3 days & 3 nights or as we know it now “The Sign of Jonah”.
6. How Yeshua died before the Sabbath, lay in the Tomb for 3 Days and 3 Nights, and still rose after the Sabbath
It is imperative that we understand God’s Feast days for this part of the study, and if you are not familiar with these concepts and scriptures, I welcome you to read the post “Good Friday or Passover” before we go further. If you have a working knowledge of God’s Feast days and what is known as the HIgh Sabbaths, lets continue.
Since Passover could fall on any day of the week each year, not being constrained to a particular day of the week, in that Particular year in which Yeshua died, for all the Scriptures to not have any inconsistencies, Passover would have fallen on a Wednesday. It would have all taken place as per list given below:
Wednesday – 14th of 1st Month – Passover (Yeshua dies and is buried before eve/sundown)
Thursday – 15th of 1st Month – 1st day of Unleavened Bread – High/Special Sabbath
Friday – 16th of 1st Month – 2nd day of Unleavened Bread
Saturday – 17th of 1st Month – 3rd day of Unleavened Bread – Fixed /Regular Sabbath
Sunday – 18th of 1st Month – By the time the women came, Yeshua had risen
Wednesday Sundown to Thursday Sundown – 1st Day (1Day + 1Night)
Thursday Sundown to Friday Sundown – 2nd Day (1Day + 1Night)
Friday Sundown to Saturday Sundown – 3rd Day (1Day + 1Night)
A basic knowledge of God’s Feast days provide an all important clue to the mystery of the fulfillment of the Sign of Jonah. On how Yeshua died before the Sabbath, rose after the Sabbath, and was still in the tomb for 3 days and 3 nights. Anyone who understands God’s Feast days know that these were all prophetic foreshadows of the work of the Messiah. Yeshua died on the 1st feast day “Passover”, was buried on the 2nd feast day “Unleavened Bread” and rose on the 3rd feast day “Firstfruits“. (He also sent the promised Holy Spirit on the 4th feast day “Pentecost” and is going to return on the feast day “Trumpets“). It is also basic knowledge that the day following Passover is always a “High/Special Sabbath” known as the 1st day of Unleavened Bread(Lev 23:7, Num 28:18). This is why John specifically mentions “for that sabbath day was an high day“, speaking of the day following Passover(Joh 19:31). If the mainstream Christian teachers who taught and still teach of Christ’s death on Good Friday, understood a little bit about God’s Feast Days mentioned in Leviticus 23, they would know how to reconcile “The sign of Jonah – 3 Days & 3 Nights” and the “Death before the Sabbath & Resurrection after the Sabbath”.
It is imperative that we stop teaching that He died on Good Friday, and stick to the facts. He died on Passover, which could not have been Friday that particular year, if the “Sign of Jonah was to be fulfilled through Yeshua.
The Sign of Jonah is THE only prophecy that was connected and specifically spoken of, in light of Yeshua’s death and Resurrection – being cited as evidence for His Messiah-ship. In light of this, Three Days & Three Nights in the belly of the earth needed fulfillment with absolute necessity, so that the Scriptures were fulfilled. As we have seen, the doctrine of Good Friday does not hold water when it comes to the fulfillment of this Prophecy, as there were only 1½ days of entombment according to this common teaching. With a little bit of knowledge in the Scriptures, we can start to understand the fact that the Sabbaths mentioned in the Gospels in regard to Yeshua’s death and resurrection are 2 separate days instead of the single weekly Sabbath day as taught by mainstream Christianity. Yeshua died on Passover, which fell on a Wednesday, the year He died. This does not mean that we stop celebrating Good Friday, and now start celebrating Good Wednesday. Rather, we must start celebrating God’s Feast of Passover which is the day when all of us were saved from death, by God who passed over our lives through the Blood of Yeshua smeared on the door posts of our hearts.