If one were to delve deeper into the many different religions that exist, it would become obvious that there are vast differences, discrepancies, and disagreements. This has created incredible confusion for mankind and has led to great divisiveness and even wars.
The largest religion in the world, which accounts for nearly 1/3 of all mankind, is Christianity. There are three broad divisions within Christianity, one of them being Protestantism. It is estimated that there are over 45,000 different denominations alone in this faith worldwide. Add to this that non-denominational churches are gaining in popularity, and the real number of these different Protestant groups, each with different ideas, is even much greater.
Is it any wonder that there is so much confusion and division in the world since these various groups all have differing beliefs? All of this has only led to greater variance, divisiveness, discord, conflict, and rivalry between organizations within traditional Christianity. This is the very reason why so many people question and even doubt whether there is absolute truth that even exists.
A large part of the problem is that few within traditional Christianity have any knowledge whatsoever of when or how the specific teachings of the church they adhere to came into existence. This issue is compounded by the fact that most have no knowledge of where the doctrines and teachings of their church have come from. It is taken for granted that all which they are taught and believe has come from scripture.
This is why so much of the world has been blinded from the real truth. Their religious assumptions and unwillingness to challenge their own long-held beliefs have stopped them from listening and heeding end-time prophecies that have been accurately foretelling events that are leading up to mankind’s final war. This in turn reveals the true attitude of mankind toward God. It also reflects the level of apathy that exists in traditional Christianity. This is why God is going to expose it as being false.
Truth does exist and God is about to make this abundantly clear to mankind when he sends His Son, along with the 144,000, to establish His Kingdom (government) and one true Church on earth.
You can wait until Christ’s return to learn what is true, or you can begin to know it now.
The Origin of the Church of God
So when did God’s Church actually begin? The first mention of people being added to the Church was directly after the Pentecost of 31AD when God began to pour out His holy spirit upon his disciples, just as He had promised. Then immediately following Pentecost and the miraculous events that happened on that day, the disciples remained in the area of Jerusalem for a time as they began teaching about all that Christ had fulfilled.
“Then day by day they were of one mind to continue in the temple [teaching], and broke bread from house to house, as they would eat their food with gladness and singleness of heart, while praising God and receiving favor with all the people. Then the Lord added to the Church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:46-47).
So God began adding to the Church those whom He was calling to receive salvation. Then later in the Book of Acts, Paul makes it clear whose Church this was.
“So now, look. I have known that all of you, among whom I have gone preaching the Kingdom of God, will not see my face again. Therefore I have called you to witness this day, that I am clear from the blood of any. For I have not held back from declaring unto you all the counsel of God. Therefore take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the holy spirit has made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He has purchased with His own blood [the blood of His Son]” (Acts 20:25-28).
This instruction being given by Paul to the ministry is the first account that clearly identifies the Church as being God’s Church, and it is referred to in this manner in scriptures that follow. The Church is never referred to in any other manner in scripture as belonging to anyone else, not even to Christ, although he is identified as the head of the Church. Nowhere in scripture is God’s Church referred to as being Roman Catholic.
These are important distinctions because it shows two vastly different churches, God’s Church, and the Roman Catholic Church, each calling themselves Christian up until the latter part of the Middle Ages. This is when some began to organize into other groups and break away from the Roman Catholic Church, which was the beginning of Protestant churches.
The first Church calling itself Christian is the one that began on Pentecost in 31 AD. However, it is recorded that it did not take long before others began to misrepresent themselves by impersonating the disciples. This was done in order to gain a following for the purpose of recognition, stature, and generally with the goal of receiving wealth from others. Some of these people are spoken of and some are even listed by name in several of the books of the New Testament.
Few today know that the first church within today’s “traditional Christianity” began in 325 AD. That church formed the Roman Catholic religion. It had a beginning that is not hard to trace and identify. However, the first church organization calling itself Christian actually began in 31 AD—the Church of God. To make it clear, the Church of God was not established by the Romans, but by God. Nevertheless, the Roman Catholic Church claims that the teachings of Jesus were passed along to them.
The Origin of the Roman Catholic Church
By the time the Roman Catholic Church became established in 325 AD, it was the only other established organization calling itself Christian that was able to continue through the centuries that followed, other than the Church of God that became established in 31 AD.
As true Christianity began to slowly grow and move into other regions of the Roman Empire, it received great resistance from that government especially, but also from others in the world. This happened in the same manner as Christ’s own words were resisted and rejected by the majority, which led to him being sentenced to death by that government. That kind of resistance against God’s Church hasn’t changed much throughout the centuries.
Following Christ’s death and the establishment of God’s Church, ideas about Christ and his teaching began to creep into the Roman-dominated world. There were priests and teachers of other deities who liked and adopted the stories about God and His Son. They exploited these stories as a way to sway and influence people with their ideas and beliefs of their own deities, mixing the true history of the past with their own false beliefs and teachings.
Indeed, the ancient Romans were noted for the great number of deities they honored, and they attributed their success as a world power to their collective piety or pietas (their religious devotion, duty, and loyalty) through their efforts of keeping good relations with the gods. The Romans conquered many nations and used the practice of assimilating many of those conquered people’s religious beliefs and practices into their own. This is simply a matter of written history.
Ancient Roman religion was centered more upon knowledge of the correct practice of prayer and ritual rather than upon faith in what was believed. When God’s Church began after 31 AD and the teaching of Christianity began to spread, the priests and teachers of the Roman deities found it easy to assimilate those practices and teachings about God and Christ into their own. This practice and movement proved so successful that they too adopted the name “Christian” to identify themselves.
By 325 AD, this movement among these priests of the Roman Empire, who were calling themselves Christian, had grown in such influence and power that Emperor Constantine himself stepped in to consolidate the teachings of this new kind of Christianity. History records that he did this because there were divisive influences among these widely scattered priests who had organized into different groups. He set out to unify them and create a new state religion.
Constantine wanted to bring the priests into agreement with a newly established and unified set of beliefs. Not only that, but he also set out to eradicate and outlaw a sect of Christianity, which to most Romans was too closely associated with Judaism. Jews had long been hated within the Roman world. They were even used as slaves to build the great Colosseum in Rome.
The Roman Emperor Constantine called for a conference in which all matters about Christendom were to become established and united within the Roman Empire. He called together what became known as the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD and he also participated in its decision-making process.
It is here that the Nicene Creed became established, which is a statement of belief that included the creation of the Trinity doctrine. In historical accounts, it is recorded that much of Constantine’s motivation for bringing the primary leaders of Roman priests together was because of the divisive teaching of one of these Roman priests named Arius. In the view of Constantine and the larger group of Roman priests, Arius was holding too closely with the teachings of those Jews who were going throughout the Roman Empire teaching about Christ.
There was great dispute among the Roman priests about the nature of Christ. Arius taught that he, the son of God, was created and his life only came into existence after his birth from Mary his mother. The vastly more popular group, who had the ear and agreement of Constantine, believed that Christ was also God and had eternally existed.
These matters can easily be looked up and read on the Internet. To make a long story short, the Trinity became established as one of many doctrines at that time, which then became established as one of the primary teachings of this new Roman Church. Constantine was creating the official religion for all the Roman Empire.
Arius became labeled as a heretic and was exiled. Although he did agree with many of the other teachings of those priests who had gathered in Rome, he would not change his stance in his belief that Christ did not exist before being born of his mother Mary. His divisive stand with those priests of Rome did spur them to consolidate their belief in a Trinity doctrine and the belief of Christ’s eternal existence. This controversy set the way for a different church, one other than the original Church, to emerge on the world scene, which greatly grew due to it being backed and supported by the Roman government of that time. Then, nearly 1,100 years later, other churches calling themselves Christian broke away from the government of that Roman Church and became the foundation for Protestant churches and what can best be described as “traditional Christianity.”
Not only did the doctrine of the Trinity become established at that time in 325 AD, but Easter was also officially adopted. Because the springtime observance of Easter was in direct opposition and teaching to the annual springtime observance of Passover, Passover became outlawed in the Roman Empire.
Even the observance of the weekly Sabbath on the 7th day of the week became outlawed. This new Roman Christianity used the story of Easter as their authority for changing the seventh-day observance of the Sabbath to the first day of the week—Sunday. This change was justified, not by scripture, but by them, by teaching that Christ was resurrected on a Sunday morning, which he was not! When they came to the tomb of Christ on that Sunday morning following his death, the angel declared that he had already risen. But it did not say he rose Sunday morning.
Furthermore, the Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges that there is no authoritative scripture giving authority to change the 7th day Sabbath to the 1st day of the week on Sunday, rather they declare that it is by the authority that they claim was given to the Catholic Church and its popes. Therefore, they are basically stating that all Protestant churches have no authority in scripture for observing the 1st day of the week on Sunday as their Sabbath, but instead, they have accepted the authority of the Catholic Church for doing so.
Although persecuted over the centuries, the original Church of 31 AD has continued to this day in the annual observance of Passover, despite it being outlawed very early by the Roman Empire. It is clear that Christ himself instituted the new ceremony for the observance of Passover in the Book of John, chapter 13. The apostle, Paul, also taught and commanded the Church to observe that same ceremony in its observance of Passover (1 Cor. 11:23-28 & 1 Cor. 5:1-8).
So which is true? Is Passover or Easter to be observed by those calling themselves after the name of Christ? These are decisions one must make as to what they choose to believe and what they choose to disbelieve.
The world is so very confused as to who God really is and what God truly says. The purpose for pointing out these misconceptions and false stories about God and Christ has everything to do with whether you can begin to recognize and believe the warnings given for the end-time, in order to properly prepare for a third world war.
Two Opposing Teachings About Christ
Due to its support by the dominant world power of that time, the Roman Church that Emperor Constantine established over the Roman Empire quickly grew in great popularity, power, and size. It continued its growth in popularity, influence, and power over the centuries that followed and became recognized as “Christianity,” while God’s own Church became oppressed and suppressed and seen only as a dangerous sect.
So the truth is, the Christianity that began in 31 AD is not the same “Christianity” that developed and grew large in the Roman Empire and the world after 325 AD.
The ability to honestly face and address vast differences in two opposing teachings about Christianity can begin by simply looking back at childhood. At some point, children raised in traditional Christianity learn that they have not been told the truth about some very basic things. They learn that there is no Easter bunny, and they face the truth that there is no such thing as Santa Claus who lives in the North Pole and takes presents to children all over the world on the same night. That is a view largely promoted within the United States and adopted by many throughout the world. But there are similar associations with the observance of Christmas that include some different customs and names for Santa Claus. The story of Santa Claus originated from the British figure Father Christmas, and the Dutch Sinterklaas. In other places in the world, he is also known as St. Nick or St. Nicholas.
The next logical step should be to ask where Christmas actually came from in the first place. It isn’t out of scripture—none of it. Most teachers within traditional Christianity have now come to recognize and acknowledge that Christ was not born anywhere around December 25th—and not in winter at all. The historical account in scripture reveals that he was born in the early fall.
It has actually only been within the past few decades that teachers of traditional Christianity have finally begun to admit this truth. Much of that admission was prompted by the fact that Herbert Armstrong began as far back as the 1930s to publish and broadcast that truth. The publications and broadcasts he produced were so widely distributed that some concessions of truth had to be acknowledged by traditional Christianity. However, truth concerning major doctrines could not be conceded or it would completely undermine their faith.
Another account taught concerning Christmas is that there was a star shining down over the little village of Bethlehem that directed the way to where Christ was born. That too is a fable and contrary to astronomy. In truth, a star in scripture is often simply used when speaking of a spirit-created angelic being. It was indeed an angel that showed the way to where Christ was born.
Again, it is easy today to find such information by an easy search on the Internet.
The idea that Christ was born near the time of the winter solstice was assimilated into a religious observance by the Church of Rome in the 12th-century. At that time, a festival already existed that had been primarily established by another Roman emperor named Aurelian. Sol Invictus (“Unconquered Sun”) was the official sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers.
On the 25th of December of AD 274, Aurelian made it an official deity alongside the other traditional Roman deities. The reason Christmas became recognized by the Roman Church is recorded in the annotation to a manuscript of a work by a 12th-century bishop Jacob Bar-Salibi. It is recorded:
“It was a custom of the Pagans to celebrate on the same 25 December the birthday of the Sun, at which they kindled lights in token of festivity. In these solemnities and revelries the Christians also took part. Accordingly when the doctors of the Church perceived that the Christians had a leaning to this festival, they took counsel and resolved that the true Nativity should be solemnized on that day.”
Christmas is the creation of that Roman Catholic Church. Christmas is the combination of two words. They are “Christ” and “mass” which is the central liturgical ritual of the Catholic Church. The overwhelming majority of those in traditional Christianity hold to this teaching and practice of the observance of Christmas, but this has never been recognized by God’s Church and those calling themselves Christian who have their doctrine and lineage from that early Church of 31 AD.
Some will ask, what is the harm in observing such a thing if Santa Claus is a fable and Christmas really isn’t the time of Christ’s birth? It doesn’t matter if you do not care that God instructs there is to be no intermingling of the practices and customs in the worship of other gods. But if you do care, then wouldn’t you want to know what is true since God declares that we are to worship Him in spirit and in truth?
Major Differences in Doctrine
The expression of “the tip of the Iceberg” explains so very well what has been covered so far about the discrepancies and vast differences between the two groups, both calling themselves Christian. The meaning of this expression is that there is a small portion of something that can be seen, but there is a much larger part that is not yet seen. So it is with two opposing teachings about Christianity, and only a small part of some of these differences have been mentioned thus far.
WWIII and all that has been prophesied to occur in this end-time have everything to do with the questions being asked about the religions of this world and especially that of Christianity. The fact that people have not listened and heeded end-time prophecies that have been accurately foretelling events that are leading up to mankind’s final war reveals the true attitude of mankind toward God.
There is a deeper reason that people have not chosen to listen to God’s warnings about the end-time over the past 70 years. The real reason most choose not to listen is that they hate the truth that is taught by God’s Church. Traditional Christianity does not want to change its practice of observing family-oriented holidays like Christmas and Easter or of Sunday morning worship together. It does not want to adhere to God’s instruction for how we are to live our lives.
God reveals that, by nature, mankind does not like or want His laws to guide their lives, not even in traditional Christianity. It is actually revealed that many will resist and fight against Christ and his army when he returns. For 6,000 years, God’s Son and those with whom God has worked to teach His truth have been hated, mocked, ridiculed, scorned, beaten, imprisoned, and killed. God’s truth has been resisted and hated. We are now fast approaching the time that God is going to change all that.
What kind of world would it be if mankind kept just three of God’s laws concerning human relationships? For example: not stealing, not committing adultery, and not killing others.
Within all the tens of thousands of denominations and nondenominational churches, most assume that what they are taught by religious scholars and ministers is true. However, that is not the case. Most major doctrines within traditional Christianity are vastly different from those taught by the apostles and God’s Church. It is good to know what those differences are.
A simple list of differences between what traditional Christianity teaches and what God’s Church teaches can quickly reveal what a person genuinely thinks about God’s truth—whether they are drawn to it or whether they resist it because they so dislike it.
So which is true, and which is false? Only one can be true, and if neither is true, then they are both false.
The Christians of 31 AD are known by very specific doctrines. Others who call themselves Christians are following what became established after 325 AD, and they are also known by very specific doctrines.
The origin of “traditional Christianity” has its primary doctrines in what was established by the Church of Rome in 325 AD. Churches of traditional Christianity, though varying greatly in many ideas, teachings, and beliefs concerning God and Jesus Christ fundamentally share many of the same major doctrines.
The group calling themselves Christian from 31 AD forward all call themselves after whose Church it is, just as Christ said it should be—the Church of God. This group belongs to no other name or system.
Easily recognized differences between both groups calling themselves Christian will now be listed. This list will state first what was believed by the Church of 31 AD, then it will state what was “NOT” believed by it, but what most in traditional Christianity do believe. Following this list of differences, some will be addressed by clearly speaking of truth that has recorded proof (scriptural proof) of the doctrine of those original Christians beginning after 31AD.
Observed the weekly seventh-day Sabbath (following Friday, the 6th day, and preceding Sunday, the 1st day of the week) as the day commanded for worship, NOT Sunday on the 1st day of the week.
Observed Passover, NOT Easter.
Believed Christ was in the grave (heart of the earth) for exactly three days and three nights, NOT for a day and a half (late Friday to Sunday morning).
Believed Christ was resurrected to life again at the end of the weekly Sabbath, NOT on Sunday morning.
Believed in taking of the symbols of Passover annually on that day, NOT a Communion that can be observed weekly.
Observed the annual Holy Days of God, NOT annual holidays like Easter and Christmas.
Taught the need for a resurrection to future life, NOT of an immortal soul where one instantly goes to heaven or hell upon death.
Believed in a final eternal judgment, meaning one remains dead for all time as part of such judgment, NOT of being tormented or tortured in hell forever.
Believed there is only One Eternal Almighty God (Yahweh Elohim) who has eternal self-existing life inherent in Himself, NOT that God is a Trinity which teaches there are three distinct gods in the godhead who also function as one god.
Believed Christ was affixed to a pole, NOT on a cross.
Taught that the name of Christ was commanded to be Joshua, NOT that the name of Christ is Jesus.
Believed that Joshua the Christ has only existed since born of his physical mother Mary, NOT that he has eternally existed as God the Father has.
This has only been a partial list of some of the more important differences that begin to expose the greater part of the iceberg—the portion that is not seen by traditional Christianity. Many of these will now be addressed more fully in the remainder of this chapter, as there is much more that needs to be seen.
GOD THE FATHER NAMED HIS SON JOSHUA
In the newly organized official Church of the Roman Empire under Emperor Constantine, the body of believers had the custom of calling Christ by the name of Iesous in Greek or Iesus in Latin (both translated as Jesus in English). But that was not the name the disciples and others of the Church that began in 31 AD called Christ. They called him by the Hebrew name of Yehoshua (translated as Joshua in English).
The name “Jesus” (Iesous in Greek and translated to Latin as Iesus) was adopted by the Catholic Church after 325 AD, and then it was also accepted by the protestant churches once they formed and came into existence hundreds of years later.
God instructed that the name to be given to His Son once he was born of Mary was to be Joshua. That was the same name as the Joshua of the Old Testament who led the children of Israel into the promised land. The name means “the Eternal’s (Yahweh’s) salvation.” In his physical life, the Messiah first came as the Passover lamb—indeed “the Eternal’s salvation” offered to mankind.
Those who have spent more than an average amount of time studying the Bible know that names mean a lot to God. When God gives names, they carry important meaning. They are not just names that might have a nice sound to them.
Late in the 4th century the Catholic religion commissioned and adopted a Latin translation of the Bible—the Vulgate. In the Old Testament, they translated the name for Joshua as Iosue. This is actually closer in sound to the Hebrew name for Joshua (Yehoshua). However, in the Latin Vulgate of the New Testament, a different word is used—Iesus. They also did this to Joshua’s name (the one who led the Israelites into the promised land) in Hebrews 4:8, where it was translated as Iesus. Perhaps they did not realize that this was not a reference to Christ.
In writing about Joshua leading the children of Israel into the promised land, the apostle Paul would clearly have used the correct name for Joshua. Then the question needs to be answered as to why the Vulgate didn’t use the same Latin word Iosue as they did in the translation of the Old Testament.
Both the Greek and Latin translations in the New Testament altered the name for Joshua, but it could have been a clearer transliteration (a word that sounds the same in another language), just as it was done in the translation of that name in the Old Testament. Especially in the Latin Vulgate, the Catholic Church, whatever the motive, made a clear change between the name of Joshua in the Old Testament and the name that Christ should have been called in the New Testament.
In both languages, a name could have been translated that carried the same meaning as Joshua does in Hebrew, but they didn’t. Yet this process of translating was done properly when the word for “Messiah” of the Old Testament was translated as “Christ” (Christos) in the New Testament. Both mean the same thing, which is “the anointed one.” That is the proper way to translate words—by their actual meaning in the language one is translating into.
However, the name given to Christ by the Catholic Church is not an actual translation of words that convey the same meaning, as it was done with the words for “Messiah” and “Christ.” The name “Jesus” does not carry the actual meaning of the name “Joshua,” yet it could have. It isn’t even an accurate transliteration.
The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were written in Aramaic, which is a Semitic language that is of the same family as the Hebrew language. Today, most religious scholars want to discredit this and instead claim that the apostles only wrote in Greek.
Certainly, Paul wrote in Greek to the gentiles, as he had been highly educated and trained in Jerusalem when he was known as Saul. But the disciples of Christ spoke and knew Aramaic. They were even looked down upon and ridiculed by Jewish leaders in Jerusalem because the disciples didn’t have the same high level of education of those Jewish leaders. Many Jews of that time in other regions of the Roman Empire did speak and write in Greek, but in this area where the disciples were from in the time of Christ, Aramaic was the language of the Jews.
The word “Jesus” in the English language did not even come into existence until the late 1600s. It was a transliteration of the Greek word “Iesous,” and the same corresponding word from the Latin “Iesus.” However, as it has already been stated, Iesous and Iesus are not even good transliterations of “Joshua.” Indeed, if God’s instruction had been followed, then the name translated would have been Joshua—the same as the Joshua who led the children of Israel into the promised land after Moses’ death.
Here is that instruction given by God as the correct name is translated from Aramaic to English:
“Now the birth of Joshua the Christ was as follows: After his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the holy spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was mindful to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the holy spirit. She will bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Joshua [the Eternal’s Salvation], for he will save his people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,’ [Isaiah 7:14] which is translated, ‘God with us.’ Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her until she had brought forth her firstborn son. And he called his name Joshua” (Matthew 1:18-25).
Indeed, after nearly 2,000 years, God is about to send His Son as the Messiah—the Christ—to first save mankind from self-annihilation and then to establish the government of the Kingdom of God over all nations. The last great error to be removed from God’s Church in order that it be made fully ready for Christ’s coming is the correction of his very name. The name “Jesus” Christ represents all that began to be taught in error in a church calling itself Christian after AD 325. The name “Jesus” represents the teaching of that church in doctrines such as the Trinity, Easter, Sunday worship, Christmas, and much more that are in error and contrary to God’s Word.
The one whose feet will soon be standing once again upon the Mt. of Olives, after nearly 2,000 years, is Joshua the Christ—the true Messiah sent from God to save mankind.
PASSOVER VS. EASTER
Perhaps one of the greatest deceptions and distortions of scripture by the world of traditional Christianity has been over this subject of Passover versus Easter.
Most people are fully unaware that there ever was a controversy over these two observances. As it was already covered, that controversy came to a head in 325 AD at the Council of Nicaea. This was the council that the Roman Emperor Constantine called and presided over. As previously explained, it was here that the Passover observance that was commanded by God in Old Testament scriptures became outlawed in the Roman Empire.
It was in this Council of Nicaea that the creation for the observance of Easter as the day of observance for Christ’s resurrection began. It was here that Easter was newly adopted as the focal point of a new state religion. It was here that Easter officially became the replacement of Passover within the Roman Empire, and Passover became outlawed.
Nowhere in any scripture is the name Easter mentioned or given as a time to be observed by God’s people, but Passover is. However, there are some translations where a Greek word, which clearly means Passover, has falsely been translated as Easter.
For hundreds of years, up to the time of Christ, the nation of Judah observed the annual commanded assembly of Passover in the springtime, which was on the 14th day of their first month [known as Abib, or Nissan] of a new year. Christ and his disciples kept this observance on the last day of his physical life on earth.
This observance first began when the children of Israel were enslaved in Egypt and God had chosen a very specific time in which to free them from that captivity. As the chapters that follow will show, God fulfills prophetic events in a very meticulous, exacting, and precise manner. It states on this occasion that God was fulfilling this event in just such a manner.
“And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all these hosts of the Eternal went out from the land of Egypt” (Exodus 12:41).
Christ and his disciples kept the observance in the same manner as it was that first time in Egypt. A lamb was killed, roasted, and then eaten. The symbolism was about Christ himself who would come into the world to fulfill the first great phase of God’s plan for the salvation of mankind. Christ came as the Lamb of God to fulfill the role of Passover—to have his blood spilled upon the earth as he was killed to fulfill his role as the true Passover of all mankind.
It would be good at this juncture to point out a very basic truth that traditional Christianity has twisted and used to deceive people into believing something different. What is stated is actually very clear and revealing. After the original disciples were chosen to be apostles and were sent to the Israelites, Christ later chose another apostle whose primary work would be to take God’s truth to foreigners. Here is what this apostle, Paul, wrote:
“Thoroughly clean out the old leaven [yeast] so that you may be a new lump of dough, even as you are already unleavened [homes were unleavened—yeast and leavened bread products removed]. For even Christ our Passover is killed for us. Therefore let us keep the Feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:7-8).
Those in traditional Christianity have little grasp of what Paul is saying here because they have never been taught about it by their preachers and teachers. Instead, with verses like these, teachers use the false premise that God’s law was done away with through Christ and the teaching of the New Testament, and that obedience to the observance of the 7th day Sabbath (that which follows the 6th day, Friday) was no longer required after the time of Christ’s death and resurrection.
These verses and those preceding and following them were written over 20 years after the death of Christ. These clearly reveal that the Church still observed the commandment to observe the Passover and that which immediately followed it, which is called the Feast of Unleavened Bread that lasted for seven days after the Passover day.
Paul even emphasized the importance of keeping the commanded annual Holy Days that immediately follow the Passover day. At that time, he also spoke of not only the importance of its observance, but also told of its spiritual intent and meaning. Again, he stated, “Therefore let us keep the Feast.”
These verses that were quoted are helping to show the meaning in the fulfillment of the observance of these days. God uses the symbolism of leaven (yeast used in bread) as a reflection of what sin does in a person’s life. Leaven is likened to sin that puffs one up in pride. The Days (or Feast) of Unleavened Bread is a time where God commanded that all leaven (yeast) and leavened products are to be put out of people’s homes and that everyone is to eat unleavened bread during this period. This reinforced the teaching that people are to get rid of the leaven (sin) in their lives, just as they also put leaven out of their homes and then eat only unleavened bread during those seven days.
Leavening is reflective of sin and pride, and being unleavened is symbolic of obedience (to be without sin). God’s people are to live in obedience to His laws (ways) in “sincerity and truth” as Paul wrote.
It also clearly states here that Christ fulfilled the purpose for which he came the first time in human life—to fulfill the role of Passover in God’s plan. He was the Lamb of God who did not resist his perverse prosecution or his death, but instead, submitted as a lamb to what was done to him. In doing so and dying in such a manner by having his blood spilled to the earth, resulting in his death, he became the Passover for all mankind.
Many believe that Christ died because of being nailed on the pole, but that isn’t why he died. He died because a soldier had run a spear into his side while he was hanging there, therefore spilling his blood to the earth. This becomes very important later when another matter concerning this account is brought to light.
The following account that will be quoted is about Christ’s death. But before this, it would be good to keep in mind the order of events. Throughout most of mankind’s history, a day would begin at sundown, starting with the night, followed by the next daytime portion once the sun would rise again. Then at sundown on that particular daytime portion, a new day would begin. So Passover began at sundown on the 14th of the first month (Nisan) as it continued into and through the nighttime. The daylight portion of Passover followed once the sun rose. Then at sundown on that day, the first annual Holy Day for that new year began. It was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread—which Paul wrote that we should keep.
Keeping this timing in mind, it is important to note that Christ observed the Passover with his disciples beginning with eating the roasted lamb during the nighttime portion of the Passover, which preceded the daytime portion of the Passover day when he was put to death.
Before reading these verses, it needs to be understood that the Jewish people spoke of a “preparation day” as a time to make ready for a weekly Sabbath or an annual Sabbath (Holy Day) observance. A preparation day for a weekly Sabbath was the last day of the week in which one might make any necessary preparations for the observance of the Sabbath to follow. So the Jewish people have always recognized Friday (the 6th day of the week) as one of those preparation days because it is the preparation day for the 7th day weekly Sabbath.
The day before any annual Sabbath (Holy Day) is also recognized as a “preparation day.” Although the Passover, which is a commanded assembly, is not an annual Holy Day, it is a preparation day. The Passover is a preparation day because the following day is an annual Sabbath as recorded in Leviticus 23—the first Day of Unleavened Bread.
“Therefore, because it was the preparation [preparation day for an annual Sabbath] and the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the pole [Gk. stauros] on the Sabbath, for that Sabbath was an high day [annual Sabbath], they asked Pilate that their legs might be broken [to speed up their death] so that their bodies could be carried away [so that they do not remain there during the Sabbath]. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then the other who had been nailed to poles with him. But when they came to Joshua they saw that he was already dead, so they did not break his legs. Because one of the soldiers had pierced [had earlier pierced] his side with a spear and immediately blood and water came out [it was then that he had died]” (John 19:31-34).
Christ was pierced with a spear because he had to fulfill the symbolism of the Passover lamb’s blood spilling out on the earth and then dying.
So Christ did not die in the late afternoon as the other two did. Instead, he died right after being pierced in the side with a spear, and that was in mid-afternoon.
“Now from the sixth hour [12 noon] until the ninth hour [3 pm] there was darkness over all the land. At about the ninth hour [3 pm] Joshua cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ That is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?’ Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, ‘This man is calling for his God Yahweh [mistranslated as the name Elijah]’” (Matthew 27:45-47).
It needs to be explained in this part of the story that translators have interpreted words used in this account to be the name of the prophet Elijah, but that is sheer nonsense! Christ was not calling out to some prophet who lived and died several hundred years before, but instead, he was calling out to his Father who was Yahweh Elohim—the Eternal God. The word Elijah means “my God is Yahweh,” and those are the words that Christ used as he was calling out to “his God Yahweh.”
“Immediately one of them [a soldier] ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to him to drink. The rest said, ‘Leave him alone and let us see if his God Yahweh will come to save him.’ Then Joshua cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit [he died]” (Matthew 27:48-50).
Indeed, Christ died mid-afternoon during the Passover day. After having the spear run through his side by a soldier (Jn. 19:34) and his blood was spilling out on the earth, he cried out to God his Father and then yielded up his spirit in death. He fulfilled the role of the Passover Lamb who died for the sins of all mankind. The annual observance has very great meaning in God’s plan of salvation.
So why did that newly established Roman Church during the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD outlaw the observance of Passover and establish a new observance called Easter? Easter is found nowhere in scripture, although a few have taken Hebrew and Greek words that clearly mean Passover and have falsely translated them as Easter. For hundreds of years, many teachers and preachers who call themselves Christian have been trying to altogether erase any truth and understanding about Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
DEATH ON A POLE OR ON A CROSS?
This question might seem absurd to many, but it needs to be asked because people have never been told the truth about how Christ died. The Passover of all mankind did not die on a cross. There are two plain truths regarding this.
The first and simplest of all concerns the actual word that is quoted and then translated as “cross.” Although many so-called scholars like to argue and debate this since they have very much to protect, the truth is that they are not being honest with how the actual word that is mistranslated as cross is used throughout other historic literature and documents of that time.
As it was just shown in the previous quotation from John 19, the word that is translated as
“cross” in scripture is not from a Greek or Aramaic word for “cross.” It is a word that means “a pole, stake, or beam of wood.” However, translators have taken the Greek word “stauros” and mistranslated it to mean a cross. But there is no such translation or usage of that word in ancient Greek literature that gives credibility to such a farcical interpretation.
There are words in ancient Greek that could have been used to identify or describe a cross, but this word “stauros” is most definitely not one of them! But once again, many will simply choose to believe what they want as being true.
The Purpose of Breaking Legs
There is irrefutable proof that goes far beyond any debate over the translation or mistranslation of words. The greatest proof as to whether Christ died on a cross or on a pole is in the very story just quoted about the account of the two who had been sentenced to death together with Christ.
One needs to understand this story for what is actually being told. Again, the teachers of Judaism of that time did not want the bodies of these three to remain on poles during the time of the High Day, their first annual Sabbath of the year—the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread. It was now coming toward the late afternoon of that Passover day (the preparation day), and they wanted the bodies taken down and carried away before sunset and the start of that Holy Day that was going to begin at sundown. They believed this was work that should not be done on their annual Sabbath.
However, when the soldiers went to break the legs of all three so that death would quickly follow, they found Christ was already dead because earlier a soldier had run a spear through his side. There is a question here that is begging to be asked. How would breaking the legs of anyone hanging there on a cross suddenly result in death?
It is quite simple and easy to understand. Grasping the truth of the clear answer to this reveals an undeniable truth.
There is one reason and one reason alone that soldiers were sent to break the legs of all three who were hanging there. If they had been on a cross, breaking their legs would not have resulted in the quick death that the Jewish leaders wanted. However, it does apply when nailed to a pole, and that is the truth of what actually happened.
When a person was sentenced to death and it was to be done on a pole, the practice was to nail both of the person’s hands (or wrists) overlapping each other just like the feet. The feet were overlapped with one over the other and a single nail (spike) was driven through at the bottom part of a pole. The hands (or wrists) were also overlapped with one over the other and a single nail (spike) driven through them at the top, again, just as with the feet.
In such a position, as soon as the legs are broken, a person can no longer push themselves upward in order to breathe. The very reason for breaking legs is so that a person would then quickly suffocate, as they could no longer breathe.
Prophecy concerning the coming of the Messiah revealed that none of his bones would ever be broken. In addition, in order to fulfill the symbolism in the killing of a Passover lamb, his blood had to be spilled to the earth as the cause of his death. God was not going to allow His Son’s legs to be broken, nor allow him to suffocate as the cause of his death because such symbolisms would not match that of how the Passover lambs were killed.
If these three had been on a cross, there would have been no purpose in having their legs broken because they would still have been able to breathe. Breathing would become more strained, but they could still breathe for many more hours, and the Jews wanted them to die right away.
When arms are stretched straight above the body, the weight of the rest of the body pulling downward from such a position will begin to choke off a person’s ability to breathe. This is simply a physical reality.
Also, why would anyone go to far greater trouble to build a cross-type structure to stretch out the arms when it is so easy to simply overlap the hands in the same manner as the feet were when nailed at the bottom of the pole?
Many historical accounts of such death sentences on a pole show there have been various transformations of its use over the centuries. Even the practice itself took on various forms where the actual use of a cross-type of structure in executions was at times performed. In such executions using a cross, people lingered for longer periods before they died which was far crueler than being executed upon a pole since people were left to die after a longer period of suffering with the addition of greater hunger, thirst, and bare exposure to the elements. The very purpose for using a cross was to cause greater suffering, and this method often included various forms of torture that were used on the one affixed to a cross.
In the practice of using a pole and nailing a single spike through both wrists (or the palms) overlapping each other, the arms are stretched straight above the individual, and in such a position a person would have to push themselves up with their feet in order to keep breathing. Even without hastening death by breaking a person’s legs, this practice would naturally lead to a quicker death than being nailed to a cross.
So again, a person affixed to a cross would live longer and suffer much longer. A person affixed to a pole would die more quickly. Because of the additional effort it took to continue pushing oneself upward in order to breathe, a person would become weak more quickly, unable to continue pushing themselves up, and then die. Being nailed to a cross rather than a pole was far more sadistic and cruel as it prolonged one’s life because breathing was not encumbered in the same manner as being affixed on a pole. Regardless, both were cruel methods to be used in execution.
Yet even here, another question should be asked. If the technology had been around at the time and Christ had been killed with a rifle, would people be wearing the likeness of one around their neck in order to symbolize their Christian belief?
There are reasons the Church of Rome after 325 AD promoted the idea that their Christ had died on a cross rather than a pole. They are the ones who changed the narrative of the story. Much of their reason for doing so had to do with their customs connected with the belief in other deities and their use of crosses, and also because of a vision or dream that Constantine claimed he had.
Stories vary as to what exactly happened, whether Constantine had a vision or a dream or both, but the gist was that Constantine said he had a vision of a symbol or a sign in the sky. Then it is stated he had a dream the following night, before a great battle, where Christ told him he was to use the sign that he saw to conquer. The words he supposedly either heard or saw in the sky were, “In this sign, you will conquer” or in another translation, “By this, conquer!” Constantine then commanded his soldiers to use this symbol on their shields. The battle they fought the next day led to a great victory for his army, which led them to believe that God was on their side. These are matters of historical accounts that can be easily found in one’s own search.
The story of Christ’s death having taken place on a cross gained in popularity over time. Although the symbol from Constantine’s vision was later depicted in different ways in stories and in paintings, a cross in the form of a “t” became the norm for what was used as the symbol for Christ’s death. This shape eventually became the accepted narrative as the device on which Christ was nailed to and died upon.
However, what is recorded in history about what Constantine saw wasn’t a cross like Christ was to have died upon; it was more like that which formed the shape of an X over a P. It was called the Chi-Rho symbol because it consisted of the two Greek letters X and P. This was further popularized because these two Greek letters are the first two letters in the Greek word for Christos (Christ).
If you want to see this symbol that was used by Constantine, you can find it under the name of the Labarum of Constantine.
Even in this, the truth is that among the commandments God gave to Israel, one of those commandments states that there is to be no use of idols or any kind of image as symbols for religious worship. But people like to use all kinds of images for the symbols of their belief and worship. The cross, images of Christ and Christ on a cross, images of a mother with a child, and so many others are symbols used in traditional Christianity today.
So, what is true in such matters and what is false? How is it possible that over centuries people have come to practice and believe things that are nearly opposite of what God clearly says in His word?
It is as though the clearest of statements made in scripture are just simply ignored or viewed as irrelevant to obedience concerning how we should live. It is like the simple example of what Christ said regarding teachers of religion. Christ clearly stated how they should never be addressed by others. The principle and instructions are not difficult to understand.
“But don’t be called Rabbi, for one is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your Father, for one is your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 23:8-9).
The principle should be clear. No one should use or be called by any religious title that belongs to Christ or God. Yet many religious leaders and teachers use the title of Rabbi, Reverend, Father, Holy Father, Pope, Pastor, Bishop, etc. The use of words like these and others as religious titles or greetings is clearly against the principle and instruction given by Christ.
However, it should also be understood that some words used in a religious context concerning a religious leader’s job or duty should not be confused with religious titles. Such things should be simple and easy for anyone to understand, but so often they are not. Other scriptures show the balance and how it is perfectly acceptable to have job descriptions of a pastor, teacher, minister, elder, etc., but they are never to be used as a title.
CHRIST’S RESURRECTION NOT ON A SUNDAY MORNING
The clearest and most indisputable of all proof covered in this chapter concerning a falsehood about Christ is the truth that he was not resurrected on a Sunday morning.
One True Sign
Christ made some very dogmatic statements about his identity. He also stated that there would be only one sign given as proof as to who the Messiah truly was.
“Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, ‘Master, we want to see a sign from you.’ But he answered and said to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth’” (Matthew 12:38-40).
Christ clearly stated that only one sign would be given to prove who he was—one sign that would identify the Messiah. That sign was that the Christ would be in the heart of the earth—the tomb—for exactly three days and three nights.
The manner in which this statement is made in Greek and even more so in Aramaic establishes there would be a total period in the heart of the earth of three full days and three full nights. The fact that it states this period of time would be the same as that of Jonah being in the belly of the great fish is even more specific. The Hebrew language in which this account was recorded makes it clear that the time for these three days and three nights is an exact measurement of time that is equivalent to 72 hours.
Traditional Christianity has a very hard time with this statement of Christ, and they try to excuse and support how they came up with their own timing. They work to change the very definitions of a day and a night, and even the actual year of Christ’s death. They do all this for great reason. They have much to protect in their narrative of a late Friday afternoon burial and a sunrise resurrection on Sunday morning.
Indeed, the teaching of traditional Christianity is that the Passover that year was on a Friday (which it wasn’t), and that “their” Jesus died in the late afternoon of that Friday. Then they go on to teach that he was resurrected on a Sunday morning. No one can squeeze three days and three nights out of this, although they do attempt to do just that. They actually claim this is what happened and that this is what fulfilled Christ’s own words about three days and three nights.
Looking at this, it would mean he died late afternoon on Friday and was placed in the tomb just before the weekly Sabbath began at sundown. In order to have a Sunday morning resurrection, that would mean he was in the tomb for only Friday night and Saturday night—two nights.
Then traditional Christianity gets very creative when they say he was in the tomb for three days (daylight periods of time). They explain that since he was placed in the tomb while there was still a little daylight remaining on Friday that this constituted the first day. He then would have been in the tomb all during the weekly Sabbath—day two. Since they claim he was resurrected early Sunday morning at sunrise, then that very small daylight portion on that Sunday morning constitutes day three.
When added all together, however, this timing is hardly three days and three nights. Even if they were right about those three daylight portions being able to be counted as three days, they still miss out on one complete night. Thus, by Christ’s own words, this would disprove that he was the actual Messiah. Yet it is this method of timing from late afternoon Friday to Sunday morning that traditional Christianity claims was fulfilled by “their” Jesus.
The truth about the actual timing of Christ’s resurrection is not difficult to understand, but it does require true knowledge of what actually happened in the timing of events that led to Christ’s death and then his resurrection. It is an incredible revelation and awesomely inspiring reality when one comes to see what actually happened.
The teaching about Jesus being the Christ is a story of him being in the heart of the earth for only half the time that Joshua the Christ is actually recorded as being there. When adding the actual time that scholars and teachers of traditional Christianity say that Jesus was in the heart of the earth, it is really only about half the time that is revealed in scripture as actually occurring.
Those who look to the one named Joshua as the Christ teach that after his death he was in the heart of the earth—in the tomb—for a complete period of time that was exactly three full days and three full nights.
In covering the actual timing of all this, remember that a new day always began at sundown. Each day was counted from sundown to sundown, not from midnight to midnight.
It is because of this method for telling time from one day to another that the Jews wanted all three who had been sentenced to die to have their legs broken. Then, after a quick death, the bodies could be removed and carried away before sundown on Passover. This is because at sundown on Passover their annual Sabbath observance (the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread) would begin, and no work was allowed during the time of the Sabbath.
But there is much more involved here and it takes a little time to have the exact timing explained and revealed in an orderly and clear manner.
The annual observance of Passover can fall on different days of the week from one year to another. In the year of Christ’s death of 31 AD, Passover fell on the 4th day of the week. By our recognition of time today, that means Passover (a preparation day) began at sundown on a Tuesday and lasted through that nighttime portion of Tuesday and on through the daylight portion of Wednesday. That full period of time was recognized as being the 4th day of the week, and in 31 AD that was the time of the annual Passover observance.
It was on that Tuesday evening that Christ kept what many refer to as his “last supper.” It was indeed a meal and it was his last one, but it was far more than simply a final supper. It was the Passover meal where a lamb had been killed, then roasted, and eaten by those who observed Passover at that time. This was the manner for observing the Passover that was first kept when the children of Israel were enslaved in Egypt.
After hundreds of years of observing it in this manner by killing, roasting, and then eating the Passover meal on the evening of Passover, Christ had come to now fulfill the greater meaning contained in that day. He came to die as the Passover Lamb for all mankind, through whom all sins could be forgiven.
This Passover observance with his disciples was the last to be observed in this manner. Christ and his disciples kept it as commanded, but after that Passover meal, he instituted the new manner in which it was to be observed. No longer was a lamb to be killed and eaten in that annual observance, but now God’s people were to keep it in the new way that Christ revealed on that final night of his life.
It was an observance that contained meaning in the drinking of a small portion of wine and eating a small portion of unleavened bread. Traditional Christianity has misapplied this annual observance and has changed it to have a different meaning and timing of observance that they call Communion.
However, the taking of a small portion of wine and unleavened bread is about Christ’s death in our stead. The wine is symbolic of the blood he spilled for us as the true sacrifice for sin. Such a sacrifice could only be made by one who lived a life free of sin—one worthy of being the sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. Taking the small portion of unleavened bread in such a ceremony is symbolic of Christ “being without sin—being unleavened” in his life.
One can easily see for themselves how a couple of decades later that the apostle, Paul, reminded the Church of how to keep this annual observance. He stated it was to be in the same manner Christ first revealed it should be observed.
“For I have received of the Lord that which I have also delivered to you, that the Lord Joshua on the same night [Passover night] in which he was betrayed took bread [unleavened bread], and after he had given thanks he broke it and said, ‘Take and eat of it [a broken piece] for this is my body which is broken for you. Do this for a remembrance of me [a remembrance at every annual Passover].’ After the same manner he also took a cup [of wine] after dinner [Luke 22:17-20] and said, ‘This cup is the new testament in my blood. Do this as often as you drink it [on every Passover], in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming [announcing] the Lord’s death until he comes. Therefore, whoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord’” (1 Corinthians 11:23-27).
The Actual Timing of Christ’s Death
All recognize that Christ died on the Passover day, but all are not in agreement with when the Passover actually occurred in the year of Christ’s death. It takes a little while to go through all the scriptures that speak of this, but it is very worthwhile and awesomely revealing to go through a good part of that story flow.
Traditional Christianity teaches that Passover was on the 6th day of the week that year. The reason for this is that they failed to recognize that one of the Sabbath days being spoken of in the timing of Christ’s death was not a weekly Sabbath. They have misunderstood this for centuries because they do not know or understand the timing of Passover in relation to the annual Holy Days that followed. They have not understood the observances of the Holy Days of the Jewish people over hundreds of years, ever since the time of Moses. These are all listed in order in the Book of Leviticus, chapter 23.
As it has already been mentioned, the day that follows the annual observance of Passover is an annual Sabbath—and annual Holy Day (High Day), the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. In addition, they have not understood the Jewish tradition of recognizing days that precede a Sabbath as being a “preparation day” for getting ready for a Sabbath.
Those who began translating scripture from Greek and Aramaic into Latin in the 380s AD did not grasp these simple observances of the Jews, or they simply did not care. The Church of Rome determined to have scripture translated into a single work that would be for their use, so they commissioned that scripture be translated into Latin and this work became known as the Latin Vulgate.
Translations into other languages that followed many centuries later once the printing press was invented resulted in even greater confusion and mistranslation of scripture.
So when these early translators wrote about this story of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection they were confused and did not accurately interpret or understand what actually had occurred. They read about a preparation day and automatically believed that this was about the 6th day of the week—what we recognize as being Friday. But that was not the case. The complete story makes this very clear.
“Therefore, because it was the preparation [preparation day for a Sabbath] and the Jews did not want the bodies to remain on the pole (Gk. stauros) on the Sabbath, for that Sabbath was an high day [an annual Sabbath, an annual Holy Day], they asked Pilate that their legs might be broken so that their bodies could be carried away [so that they not remain there during the annual Sabbath]” (John 19:31).
Understanding this helps to reveal the exact day of the week that Passover fell upon and when Christ was actually resurrected. As it will come to be shown, this annual High Day, the annual observance of the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread, always follows the Passover day. On that year in 31 AD, this Holy Day was on the 5th day of the week—what we recognize as being Thursday.
So at sundown on the Passover day on the 4th day of the week (on Wednesday), the annual Sabbath—the annual High Day of the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread began. The Jews wanted all three to be taken down from the poles and carried away before that annual Sabbath was to begin. Then the story that follows is about how Christ’s body was taken away and placed in a tomb.
“Then notice the man named Joseph who was a council member. He was a decent and upright man, and although a member of the council, he had not consented with their decision and deed [of the others of the council]. He was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews, who himself also waited for the Kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and pleaded for the body of Joshua. He took it down and wrapped it in linen and laid it in a sepulcher [tomb] that had been cut in stone, wherein no one had ever been laid. That was the preparation day, and the Sabbath was drawing near [about to begin]” (Luke 23:50-54).
Again, one needs to understand Old Testament law and the Jewish observance of a Sabbath. No work was to be done on any Sabbath day, so the day preceding every Sabbath was a preparation day in which to complete the normal work of the week and to make oneself ready for the proper observance of a Sabbath when no work was to be done. That is why the story that follows is so important to understand. The story continues.
“The women also, who came with him [Christ] from Galilee [to Jerusalem] followed after [after Joseph of Arimathaea to the tomb], and they saw the sepulcher [tomb] and how the body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments, and they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment” (Luke 23:55-56).
This juncture of the story becomes important because of what these women did. In the verses just quoted it says that they went to prepare spices and ointments. Afterward, they would take these spices and ointments and place them with Christ’s body.
These women didn’t have the foreknowledge that Christ was going to be put to death and die that afternoon on that Passover, so they obviously wouldn’t have these spices and ointments prepared in advance. Therefore, they had to wait until there was time to buy and prepare them.
By the time Christ died and was taken to the tomb, the Passover day was at an end, and they certainly had no time then to buy any spices, let alone prepare them. They couldn’t buy them after Passover because that next day was an annual Holy Day, and no spices could be purchased or prepared on a Sabbath.
It states that they rested on the Sabbath, and that should be easy to understand. They could not do that work on the Sabbath that followed the Passover. The body of Christ had been placed in the tomb just before sunset on that Passover day. Christ was barely in the tomb once that annual Sabbath began. So the women could not work on that annual Sabbath, and therefore, they rested as commanded.
When did they prepare the spices? It wasn’t on the annual Holy Day that followed the Passover, but they were able to prepare them on the following day. That following day was the 6th day of the week (Friday). They worked on that day, which was the weekly preparation day for the weekly Sabbath. Yet they also had to do something else first before they could begin to prepare those spices and ointments in the customary fashion for a burial. A single and simple scripture is recorded in Mark’s account that makes this clear.
“When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, went to purchase spices so that they might come and anoint him [Christ’s body]” (Mark 16:1).
What is being shown here is that the women had to first purchase the spices before they could prepare them. So they purchased and prepared them on the following day—the 6th day of the week, Friday. They could not buy or prepare these on a Sabbath day.
If traditional Christianity interpreted this account directly as it is stated, due to their not understanding the timing of the Jewish holy days, they would have looked upon this as being about the weekly Sabbath. However, in doing this they missed the obvious because if this were the case then the women would not have been able to buy the spices until Sunday. But that doesn’t fit, or make any sense, as it is clear they had these purchased and prepared by the time they came to the tomb on Sunday morning.
It took them all day to both buy these spices and ointments and then do the work of preparing them. The account that follows reveals that they did not have time to do all this (on Friday) and to also take it to the tomb that same day in order to complete the work of placing Christ’s body in a proper burial, as his body had been hastily placed in the tomb at the close of Passover. The next verse simply goes on to tell the rest of the sequence of events.
“And very early in the morning, on the first day of the week (Sunday), they came to the tomb when the sun had risen” (Mark 16:2).
These two verses in Mark simply tell a story of how the women had to wait until after the annual Sabbath to purchase and prepare spices for Christ’s burial. They did the work on the 6th day of the week (Friday). Then once the work on that preparation day ended, they rested again—this time on the weekly Sabbath. Since the weekly Sabbath isn’t over until sundown on that 7th day of the week, they did not take the spices to the tomb because darkness was now setting in. So then on the morning of the first day of the week, on that Sunday morning, they came to the tomb to anoint Christ’s body.
If one has a good understanding of the observance of the Sabbath and the preparation days, then this story fits together quite clearly and simply. The women could not buy or prepare spices on a Sabbath, so they did so on the first day possible. That was on the 6th day of the week (Friday).
It took them a long time to do that work, but once the weekly Sabbath (Saturday) was drawing near they had run out of the time required to go to the tomb to finish the work of properly preparing Christ’s body in his burial. If they could have purchased and prepared the necessary spices and ointments, and then taken them to the tomb on that preparation day (Friday), they would have done so. Instead, they had to wait and rest through the time of the weekly Sabbath.
The weekly Sabbath would end after the daylight portion of the 7th day and then the 1st day of the week would begin at sundown, but nightfall would also quickly follow. So they had to wait until morning to take the spices and ointments to the tomb.
As a person reads all these stories that are written from the different vantage points of all four who recorded the account of these events, this entire story becomes even clearer. It is so important to include and compare the witness of disciples and others who knew and saw these events, which are recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
The Sunday After Christ’s Resurrection
Another area of misunderstanding and misinterpretation regarding the annual Sabbath and weekly Sabbath that followed this Passover is in Matthew’s account.
“In the end of [or “After”] the Sabbath [Gk. plural—“Sabbaths”], as it began to dawn toward [into] the first of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the sepulcher” (Matthew 28:1).
This account of Matthew states that there were “Sabbaths” that had come to an end before Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James came to the tomb on Sunday morning. Most have mistranslated this with the Sabbath being made singular, but in Greek it is plural. There had been two Sabbaths directly following the Passover of Christ’s death and burial. It is simply stating here that there had been two Sabbaths that had passed before the two Marys came to the tomb at the dawning of the daytime portion of that first day of the week.
It is clear then that there were two Sabbaths contained in this period of time and we have also seen the period of time spoken of where they had purchased and prepared these spices. Clearly, traditional Christianity does not account for these two Sabbaths or even the preparation day between them.
The truth of such a matter can be exceedingly exciting, inspiring, and illuminating to finally come to see. But such a truth, when having believed for a lifetime in a Friday crucifixion and Sunday morning resurrection, is not so easy to face and then address in one’s life. That is not the fault nor condemnation of any who have been deceived by others. However, it is the fault of those who mistranslated scripture and of those who since then have come to know the truth but have refused to teach it.
This matter in the timing of Christ’s resurrection is also clouded in confusion and darkened by the teaching and tradition surrounding the observance of Easter. The idea of a sunrise service because Christ was purported to have risen at that moment in time is not at all factual.
“The first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulcher, and saw the stone taken away from the sepulcher” (John 20:1).
There were others following right behind them and it states the sun was just beginning to rise, but Mary Magdalene and Mary (the mother of James) arrived while it was still dark and the sun had not yet risen. Although much of this has been translated in very awkward ways, the story is consistent and clear: both Marys arrived first, while it was yet dark, and the rest then began arriving with the spices just as the sun was beginning to rise. The message is the same; Christ had risen. He had already been resurrected before they ever arrived. He wasn’t resurrected at that moment when the sun was about to rise, nor at the moment when it did rise. He already had been resurrected earlier!
“Now after the Sabbath, as the first of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb” (Matthew 28:1).
After the Sabbath, the first day of the week begins at sundown on the 7th day of the week. It then becomes dark, so the dawning of the first day of the week is in the morning when the rays of the sun begin to lighten the sky.
Next is the account of how the great stone had been rolled away from the opening of the sepulcher by an angel. It records that the women had concern about how they were going to get that stone moved so that they could properly anoint the body with their spices, but when they arrived it had already been removed and Christ was not there—he had already been resurrected earlier.
“Very early in the morning the first of the week, they came to the sepulcher at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves [had earlier stated their concerns], ‘Who will roll away the stone from the opening of the sepulcher?’ But when they looked, they saw that the stone was [was already] rolled away, for it was very great” (Mark 16:2-5).
The way the stone had been rolled away before they had arrived is described in that same account of Matthew 28. Starting with verse one again:
“Now after the Sabbath, as the first of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. And behold, there was [had earlier been] a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord [had] descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the opening, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became as dead. Now the angel answering said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Joshua who was nailed to the pole. He is not here, for he rose, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord was lying’” (Matthew 28:1-6).
This account of those who were first exposed to the truth that Christ had already been resurrected is stated in translations many different ways. No matter how it is written, the fact is that when they came to the tomb, he was not there, for indeed he had already been resurrected. No scripture says that he rose or had risen at the moment of sunrise or anywhere around that timing. But that is the narrative of Easter and its teaching.
There is no need to cover all the scriptures that surround this story, as they all speak of the same thing. Christ was no longer in the tomb. He had been resurrected earlier. But is there any way to know how much earlier? Yes!
It is good to be reminded of what Luke had to say about this account.
“Now upon the first of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others [came] with them. Then they found the stone had been rolled away from the sepulcher, and they entered in, and did not find the body of the Lord Joshua. It came to pass, as they were very perplexed about all this, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments [two angels]. As they were afraid, and bowed their faces down to the earth, they [the angels] said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he spoke to you when he was yet in Galilee, saying, “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be hung on a pole, and the third day rise again.”’ And they remembered his words” (Luke 24:1-8).
Once again, we are brought back to this issue of what Christ had to say about the only sign that would be given of who the true Messiah was. He would be in the heart of the earth—in the tomb—for three days and three nights. Then on the third day, he would be resurrected—at the exact end of that third day.
The timing is that just before sundown on Passover day, just before the annual Holy Day was to begin, Joseph of Arimathaea placed Christ in the tomb. That was right before sunset on that 4th day of the week, which was at the end of the Passover day. Then the annual Holy Day of the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread began—an annual Sabbath. This day was the 5th day of the week.
This means that the time from just before sunset on the 4th day of the week and up to sunset of the 5th day of the week (of which the vast majority of that day was that annual Sabbath) would constitute the first day of Christ being in the tomb.
Then just before that first day in the tomb was coming to an end, at the end of that annual Sabbath just before sunset, day two would begin and then end just before sunset of that 6th day of the week, which is known as the preparation day for the weekly Sabbath (a Friday as we would see it).
Then the third day of Christ being in the tomb was from just before sunset on that preparation day and the beginning of the weekly Sabbath. That third day in the tomb ran through that night of the weekly Sabbath and into its daytime portion of the Sabbath all the way up to just before sundown when that third day and that weekly Sabbath would come to an end.
To fulfill what Christ stated about the Messiah being in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights, he had to be resurrected toward the very end of that weekly Sabbath. It would have been just a little while before sunset on that Sabbath when a new day was about to begin. That new day after sunset on the weekly Sabbath was the first day of the week—Sunday. The first day of the week (Sunday) always began after sunset on the weekly seventh-day Sabbath.
To fulfill the sign of who the Christ truly was, he had to be resurrected exactly three days and three nights later—three full days after being placed in the tomb. That period ended toward the end of the weekly Sabbath. The Christ—the true Messiah—had to be resurrected at the end of the weekly Sabbath day in order to prove who he was. He was not resurrected during any moment of the first day of the week. He was not resurrected on Sunday.
Indeed, there is a vast difference between two strongly opposing groups that call themselves Christian. Since 31 AD, one group has been called the Church of God. A vastly different organization began to form in 325 AD and it has grown very large into what can be best described as “traditional Christianity,” which is now made up of tens of thousands of denominations and nondenominational churches.
One group of Christianity believes Joshua is the Christ and is the one who was dead and in the tomb for exactly three days and three nights until he was resurrected to everlasting spirit life at the end of a weekly Sabbath day, just before the first day of the week (Sunday) began.
The other group of Christianity believes Jesus is the Christ and is the one who was resurrected on a Sunday morning at sunrise—on Easter, after being in the tomb for a day and a half.
The world is soon going to be introduced to Christ when he returns with an army of 144,000 who will at that time establish the Kingdom of God to reign over the nations of the earth, and who will then establish one true Church for all mankind.