The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ

In dealing with the law, and questioning whether the Sabbath is for us today, most people always bring in the Resurrection to try to prove that Sunday has been chosen as the Christian Sabbath because they believe that Christ rose from the dead on that day. Even if He had, would this be proof enough, without a direct command by God? If Christ had risen on Thursday, do you think people then would be keeping Thursday as the day of worship? This is something to think about. If another day is to be kept as the Sabbath, then there must be a direct command of God to change the day.

The following question might seem unusual to you, as most feel so sure it is true. Was Jesus resurrected on Sunday or on the first day of the week? Without a doubt, you have been taught all your life this was true but I would like to ask you to find one Scripture that says Christ rose on the first day of the week. You can read and search but you will not find it. Surprised?! Incredible as it may seem, this is true. Christ did not resurrect on Sunday. Is it possible that so many people could be deceived on this subject? Hard to believe, isn’t it?

One might wonder why such a topic is important to study. What difference does it make which day Christ arose, as long as He did? The importance is that when people try to do away with the Sabbath because of the day of His Resurrection, then it becomes important to know which day He rose from the dead. If people keep a day because of His Resurrection, then it becomes very important.

Let’s take our Bibles and see on which day Jesus rose from the grave. Let’s put away our preconceived ideas and see what the Bible really says.

1. The sign of Jesus’ true “sonship”. Matthew 12:38-40

Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Matthew 12:38-40

Neither Jesus’ Crucifixion nor His death was a sign of His true “sonship.” Being in the grave three days and three nights was a sign, and Jesus said it would be the only sign. Please read this reference carefully, and you will see what sign Jesus gave.

Now, are there three days and three nights between Friday evening and Sunday morning? There are not. But we have always been taught that was the way it happened. Jesus was crucified on Friday and arose Sunday morning. Yet it could not have been. Jesus had to have fulfilled this Scripture or He would have been an impostor.

2. When should one start counting, before or after His death?

3. Is risen.

As you read these references, you will notice that when the visitors came to the tomb on the first day of the week, the tomb was empty. If the tomb was empty, then Jesus had to come out sometime before they got there. Right? The angels said, “He is risen.” Now, what does “is risen” mean? We all know it is past tense; something has already happened. So when they said “he is risen”, they meant He had already risen and was gone. So Jesus had already risen when the visitors got there Sunday morning. There is no indication in these two verses that Jesus arose on Sunday.

4. Mary came while it was yet dark. John 20:1

The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
John 20:1

Now, Mary came Sunday morning while it was yet dark and the tomb was empty. If Mary came early while it was yet dark and the tomb was empty, how can you count the daylight part of Sunday in the three days and three nights? You can’t!!

Now, this is worse, for we have Friday and Saturday and that makes only two days, then Friday night and Saturday night are only two nights. Yet Jesus Himself said that He would be in the grave three days and three nights.

We have examined several texts that say visits were made on the first day of the week but so far none of them tell us that Jesus was resurrected on that day. These verses only tell us the tomb was empty when they came. How then can we say these verses tell us that Jesus arose on the first day of the week? We cannot.

5. When was Jesus resurrected? Matthew 28:1-6

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.

His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:

And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Matthew 28:1-6

Here, late on the Sabbath, the two women came to the tomb for a visit. As they were nearing the tomb, there was an earthquake and an angel rolled back the stone from the door, so the ladies could look in.

Now, when was this done? The Bible says, “In the end of the Sabbath” (Matthew 28:1 KJV - King James Version). The Sabbath had not ended yet, but it was in the end or at the close of the Sabbath. Now, when does God’s day begin and end? Man says from midnight to midnight. But God says from sundown to sundown. See Genesis 1:8, 13, 19, 23; Leviticus 23:32; Mark 1:32. God’s day is from sundown to sundown, never anything else. The midnight-to-midnight reckoning is man’s, not God’s. This reference says that the women came in the end of the Sabbath, there was an earthquake, and the women saw the tomb was empty. So, Christ arose in the end of the Sabbath just before sunset. Unbelievable!! Yet this is what the Scripture says. Why can’t we believe what the Bible says?

But you might question the word dawn as found in the reference. This is a good question, for it is this word that fools the people, for they read over it and do not realize what they read. It does not say, “as it began to be dawn.” If it had said this, it would have referred to Sunday morning at the rising of the sun. It says that they came “in the end of” the Sabbath. The Sabbath had not ended yet, the sun had not yet set, but it was in the end of the day, and it says “as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week.”

The word toward makes the word dawn a verb and not a noun. If it had been a noun, then it would have referred to the rising of the sun, but it’s a verb, suggesting something was drawing on, nearing, approaching, or getting close to. So, what was drawing on? It was the first day of the week. The sun had almost set and the first day of the week was drawing on or close at hand.

This is the only verse in the whole Bible that tells us exactly when Jesus arose. It was in the end of the holy seventh-day Sabbath.

6. When was Jesus put into the tomb?

This is very easy to calculate. Matthew 28:1 (KJV) says He arose late on the Sabbath or Saturday. So you count back three days and three nights, and you will see He was put into the tomb late on Wednesday just before sunset. See the chart below. Biblical days are measured “even to even.”


Illustration — Precisely three nights and three days

Chart showing Jesus resurrection on the seventh-day Sabbath

(Please see detailed chart below)

7. Placed in the tomb the day before the Sabbath. Mark 15:42-47

And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,

Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.

And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.

And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.

And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.

And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.

Mark 15:42-47

Verse 42 very plainly says it was the day before the Sabbath. Yet I made the bold statement it was on Wednesday. Am I wrong?

Sometimes we are taught something all our lives, and we read into a Scripture what we have been taught.

Now, if you will notice the wording of the reference, you will notice it speaks of that day as being the preparation day. Preparation day for what?

Now, refer to John 19:31 and you will see that Jesus died on the preparation day, the day before the high Sabbath. The high Sabbath here refers to an unusual or special Sabbath, a Sabbath that did not come too often. Then if you check John 19:14, you will see it was the preparation of the Passover. This Sabbath then was in connection with the Feast of Unleavened Bread and not the weekly Sabbath. Jesus died on the fourteenth day of the Jewish month Nissan; the fifteenth day was a rest day or Sabbath. See Leviticus 23:4-7.

The Sabbath in Mark 15:42 was not the weekly Sabbath but the yearly Sabbath. He died on the preparation day or the day on which they prepared for the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the feast that began the day following Passover.

8. The two Sabbaths. Luke 23:50-56

And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just:

(The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them;) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God.

This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.

And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.

And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid.

And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

Luke 23:50-56

Now, there is a Sabbath mentioned in verse 54 and another Sabbath day in verse 56. Are they the same? If you read carefully, you can see they are not.

The Sabbath in verse 54 is in reference to the Passover and the feast, for again it speaks of the preparation day. The Sabbath in verse 56 is the Sabbath day according to the commandment or the seventh-day Sabbath.

Jesus died on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday was a high Sabbath. To prepare the spices and ointments for His burial from the time He was put in the tomb and sunset or the beginning of the Sabbath was not possible. But Friday they could and did, according to verse 56, and then rested on the Sabbath day (Saturday), “...according to the commandment.”

9. The third day since these things were done.

Verse 1 speaks of the first day of the week, verse 13 says they went that same day (still being the first day of the week) and then verse 21 says, “…today is the third day since these things were done.”

Now, the average person thinks that since Christ was crucified on Friday, Sunday would be the third day since from when He was crucified. But this calculation could not be correct. If Christ were crucified on Friday, Saturday would be the first day and Sunday would be the second day. This is not what Luke was talking about. Whatever it is, he says, “today (Sunday) is the third day since these things were done.” What are these two men (on the road) talking about? Notice verse 14 says, “…they talked together of all these things which had happened.” Now, what had happened concerning Christ? He had been taken prisoner, tried, crucified, put in the tomb, and then guards were set at His tomb. This all had taken place in the last few days.

Now, what was the last thing that was done? If you check Matthew 27:62-66, you will see the last thing that was done was the setting of the watch or guard. This was done the day after Christ died or Thursday. Now, Friday was the first day since, Saturday the second day since, and Sunday the third day since these things were done. Complete harmony in all the Scriptures.


There is not one verse in the New Testament that says Christ rose on the first day of the week or Sunday. Christ was put in the tomb late on Wednesday, and arose three days and three nights later, in the end of the Sabbath (Saturday). So the Sabbath has not been replaced by Sunday as the day of worship.


Illustration — Detailed TIME ELEMENT Chart

Black and White

Detailed time element chart of days before and after Jesus' resurrection on the seventh-day Sabbath
open fullscreen, 916 KB



Detailed time element chart of days before and after Jesus' resurrection on the seventh-day Sabbath
open fullscreen, 1.57 MB



Black & White, 340 KB

Color, 5.27 MB


And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
John 8:32
I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
1 John 2:21


Jesus resurrection info also located at

Material from the book Answers to Your Bible Questions by Wesley Walker.

More info:

Answers to Your Bible Questions