Resurrection: a most important day
By Apostle Frederick K.C. Price

Resurrection Day, or Easter Sunday (April 21), is the day we traditionally celebrate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe it to be the most important day on the Christian calendar because everything in Christianity hinges on the reality of the resurrection. If the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is not a literal fact, then Christianity is nothing other than one of the great religions of the world.

1 Corinthians 15:20-22:

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.

For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

Jesus Himself said, when He appeared in a vision to John on the Isle of Patmos:

Revelation 1:8:

"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

Traditionally, most denominations have accepted and followed the idea that Jesus died on Friday. This and many other beliefs surrounding the event known as "Easter" are inaccurate and unscriptural, even though they have been accepted by most traditional churches. I believe that Christians ought to know the truth and the fact that the resurrection of Jesus Christ does not have a thing to do with chocolate-covered rabbits or other such trappings.

We know that at a certain point in history, Jesus walked the earth. He was God manifested in the flesh, the invisible God who came down into the realm of visibility so that man could see Him. Jesus said repeatedly throughout His ministry, "Whoever has seen me has seen the Father." In other words, "I am God manifested in the flesh so you can see and comprehend what God is all about. If you are looking for the Father, look at Me."

Satan thought he could destroy Christianity by destroying Jesus, and that is the reason he put the idea of betraying Jesus to the Pharisees into the heart of one of Jesus’ own men, Judas Iscariot. Then the Roman government, acting on false charges against Jesus, killed Him.

After the crucifixion of Jesus, the devil realized that persecution would not stop Christians. The more he persecuted us, the more we grew. The more he put pressure on us, the bolder we got; and the more he tried to stop us, the louder we preached. So he decided on another tactic -- to water down and compromise Christianity.

Satan had an open vessel in one of the great emperors of antiquity, Constantine, who made an edict establishing Christianity as the state religion. Because of this decree, it suddenly became fashionable to be a Christian. Government leaders, soldiers, and many others began to come into the Church. The church leaders of the day, desiring to make the people happy, began to compromise the pure doctrines of Jesus and His apostles.

This is how the word Easter got into Christianity. The word Easter is not found in the Bible. In Acts 12:4 the word that is translated Easter (in the King James Bible) is the Greek word pascha meaning "Passover." It does not mean Easter.

The word Easter comes from Astarte, the goddess of fertility. Bunny rabbits are symbolic of fertility because they are prolific reproducers. Spring is a time when the earth is coming back to life from winter, when the greenery is coming forth. Many pagan rituals were celebrated at that time, and these pagan rituals and traditions were lumped together with the resurrection, watering it down.

The resurrection is Christian, but Easter is not. Good Friday is supposed to be the day on which Jesus was crucified. Yet, Jesus said He would be in the heart, or the belly, of the earth three days and three nights. Dear friends, there is no way you can pull out three days and three nights from Friday night to Sunday morning. I do not care how much of a mathematician you are. Still, many Christians go along, year after year, following this fallacy.

A God of Accuracy

The God we serve is a God of accuracy. And Jesus Christ is not a party to confusion. Either He was or He was not in hell for three days and three nights. And we ought to be able to find that out in the Bible.

Matthew 27:62-66:

On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate,

saying, "Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise.'

"Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead.' So the last deception will be worse than the first."

Pilate said to them, "You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how."

So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard.

These chief priests and Pharisees were Jesus’ detractors. They were opposed to His ministry. Yet out of their own mouths, they repeated what they had heard Jesus Christ, Himself, say.

There are two terms which need to be clarified -- Resurrection and raised from the dead. It is one thing to be raised from the dead, and quite another thing to be resurrected.

When Jesus says in John 11:25-26:

". . . I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.

“And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. . . ."

He is talking about spiritual death and spiritual life. He does not mean that, if you believe in Him, you are not going to physically die. Some people have misconstrued what Jesus said and have gone out teaching a doctrine that you are not going to die. The Bible does not say you are not going to die physically. The Bible says in Hebrews 9:27:

 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.

How could Jesus be talking about physical death when He says, "He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live." Paul died. Peter died. Stephen died. Jesus was talking about real death, which is spiritual.

So, what is the difference between being raised from the dead and the resurrection? Jesus had just raised Lazarus from the dead, but Lazarus, unfortunately, had to die again. And the widow of Nain’s son, who was raised from the dead, had to die again, as well as Jairus’ 12- year-old daughter, whom Jesus also raised from the dead. Resurrection, however, is when you cannot die anymore; death has no more hold on you. Jesus is alive today because He was resurrected.

Romans 6:9:

Knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.

Now, let us look closely at Jesus’ statement, "After three days I will rise."

Mark 15:42:

Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath . . . , ,

Religious tradition gets the idea that Jesus died on Friday because verse 42 says . . . the day before the Sabbath.

To most people, the Sabbath is every Saturday, so the day before the Sabbath would be Friday. However, Jesus very clearly said that the only sign He would give would be "three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Preparation on Friday could not possibly be true because you cannot add three days and three nights to Friday and still end up on Sunday.

Go back to Mark 15:42 and notice the words Preparation and Sabbath.

John 19:14 reads:

Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover . . . . This is referring to the very same event that is recorded in Mark’s Gospel -- only in the latter account, the Holy Spirit specified what Sabbath the preparation was for. It was not the preparation of the weekly Sabbath, but the preparation of the Passover Sabbath.

Sabbath confusion

The Passover is a Sabbath day. In fact, the Jews had more than one Sabbath day, which has caused confusion. All these days that were considered Sabbath were to serve the same purpose -- to have the people rest. They were all to be called days of rest. But there were several different ones.

Leviticus 23:1-2:

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,

"Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts."

Notice, the word feasts is plural.

 Leviticus 23:3:

'Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.

Please keep in mind that the above verses refer to the Saturday Sabbath, the weekly Sabbath. It is called a day of rest, a holy convocation.

 Leviticus 23:4-7:

'These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations [we could say Sabbaths] which you shall proclaim at their appointed times.

'On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord's Passover.

'And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread.

'On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.’"

Now God is talking now about the preparation day of the Passover, or the first day of Passover, and He refers to it as a holy convocation, or Sabbath.

The Passover was a shadow of the type of Jesus Christ. Jesus is our Passover Lamb. He is our substitute. That is what the Passover Lamb was to the children of Israel -- their substitute.

When the children of Israel were in bondage in Egypt, the Pharaoh would not let them depart, even though Moses brought him the edict from God. God firmly said, "I will permit the death angel to come to the house of Egypt as a sign of my wrath and judgment upon Egypt; every firstborn child of every household will die because of Pharaoh’s hardness of heart."

However, in the houses of Goshen where the children of Israel resided, God said, "Take a lamb, a male lamb of the first year, without a spot, without a wrinkle, without a blemish and kill it."

They were instructed to take the blood from that lamb and paint it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of their houses. The Lamb’s body was to be split open, roasted with fire and stretched out full length both ways. God said they were to follow His directions so that when the angel of death got to each individual house, he would see the blood and pass over that house, and no firstborn in that house would die. That is what the word Passover means.

The death angel passed over. But what saved the people? It was the blood of the sacrificial lamb. What did John the Baptist say at the banks of the River Jordan when he looked up and saw Jesus? "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29). Jesus is the Passover Lamb; His shed blood has saved us.

God instructed the children of Israel to prepare the Passover lamb on the 14th day of Nisan. Likewise, I submit to you that the 14th day of Nisan is the very same day of the year on which the Lord Jesus Christ died.

Jesus’ Death Fulfilled the Passover

The death of Jesus was to fulfill the Passover. In the year in which Jesus died, the 14th day of Nisan (when the lamb was supposed to be slain) was on a Wednesday, not a Friday.

Now let us count: At sundown, at the end of the day (the Hebrew day ended at 6 p.m. when night began) the Bible said they took His body down from the cross because they could not allow bodies to remain on the cross during that particular holy convocation or Sabbath. Why? Because it was the Passover.

That was on a Wednesday night. Wednesday night was the first night in the grave, and Thursday the first day. Thursday night was the second night in the grave, and Friday was the second day. Friday night was the third night in the grave, and Saturday was the third day. When the women came to the tomb, they had to wait for the weekly Sabbath to pass. The end of the Sabbath, technically, would be 6 a.m. Sunday morning. The Bible says that when the women came, it was not yet Sunday morning.

Matthew 28:1:

Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.

They said among themselves, "Who is going to remove the stone?" When they came to the tomb, the stone was already rolled away. The tomb was empty and an angel of the Lord was sitting on the stone. The angel said, "What are you doing here looking for the living among the dead? He is not dead, but alive as He said, and He will appear before you in Galilee."

Jesus was already risen when they came, " . . . as the first day of the week began to dawn." Actually, Jesus rose from the dead somewhere between sundown Saturday and sunrise Sunday.

Thus, there is no such thing, biblically, as "Good Friday." Jesus did not die on Friday; He died on Wednesday, the 14th day of Nisan. He perfectly and accurately fulfilled the shadow and type, according to the Old Testament, of the Passover Lamb. When Jesus was resurrected from the dead, He rose triumphant over death, hell and the grave.

Do you think that the punishment for our sin was for someone to simply die on the cross? If that were so, then the two thieves crucified with Jesus could have paid the price. But they could not because the real punishment was to go into Hell itself and serve our time, separated from God. Jesus did that on our behalf. After divine justice was satisfied, God said, "It is enough!" Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to heaven. He is there now, alive and well! We serve a risen Savior!
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