Stewarton Bible School FAQ

When did Jesus Rise from the Tomb?


When did Jesus rise from the tomb? Was it on a Sunday? Or was it at the end of the Sabbath on a Saturday?
When was he crucified? Was it on a Wednesday or Friday?

This subject is currently being greatly disputed by Sabbath-keeping Christians. Why, I do not know, because the commandment to keep the weekly Sabbath is not dependent on which day of the week Jesus rose from the tomb. Jehovah's weekly Sabbath was established as the 7th day of the week (the day commonly called Saturday) at the creation of the world. It was later written into the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 20: 8: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9: Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

The day of the resurrection is quite another matter. Whichever day of the week it is, the church has no authority whatsoever to alter the Sabbath commandment. Stewarton Bible School does not consider the question: 'ON WHICH DAY WAS THE RESURRECTION?' to be critical. By the word 'critical' we mean: 'ignorance of the fact is not in itself a sin.'
Nevertheless, because those questions are often asked, I will briefly answer them here. You will notice from the following texts that the issue is well documented in the Scriptures.


In Scripture the time lapse between the Saviour's death and resurrection is described in several different ways. They are:

Within Three Days

Mark 14:58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.

The Third Day

Matt.16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
Mark 9:31 ...and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.
Acts 10:40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly.
1 Cor. 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose the third day according to the Scriptures.

After Three Days

Matt.27:63 ... Sir, we remember what that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, after three days I will rise again.'
Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Three Days and Three Nights

Matt.12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Obviously the Scriptures do not contradict themselves. In other words, these phrases: 'within three days,' 'after three days,' 'three days and three nights,' 'the third day,' all mean the same thing.


Yes we can. According to Yeshua (Jesus), the third day from today is the day after tomorrow.
Here is a text which proves this:
Luke 13:32 ... I do cures to day and tomorrow and the third day I shall be perfected.
In other words the third day from today is the day after tomorrow.

In short:
Counting forwards, the third day is the day after tomorrow; and
Counting backwards, the third day is the day before yesterday.

Here is another passage to consider:
Luke 24:20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
21: But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

This experience is recorded in Luke 24:13-21. All will agree that this took place on Sunday evening. Bear in mind that the third day (counting backwards) from a Sunday is a Friday!
By no stretch of the imagination can Wednesday be called the third day from Sunday.
In other words: this statement made by Cleopas on Sunday evening on the road to Emmaus points to a Friday crucifixion.

Another text concerning the third day is:
Matt. 27:64: Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
This text tells us that the Roman soldiers were to guard the tomb 'until the third day.'
According to Mark 16:1-2 and Matthew 28:1-4, when, very early on Sunday morning, the women visited the tomb, the Roman soldiers, the 'keepers,' were still on guard. This was at the dawn of Sunday morning, 'very early in the morning.' The guards were still on duty. They had agreed to guard the tomb 'until the third day.' When the angel descended and rolled back the stone, 'for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.' (Matt.28:4)

Here were the soldiers still guarding the tomb on Sunday morning - the third day. Again this passage points to a Friday crucifixion; because by Hebrew reckoning Sunday is the third day from Friday. No doubt Jesus didn't need an angel to roll back the stone to let him out. He, who was well able to pass through a locked door (John 20:19), had probably risen a little earlier. But the point being made in this article is that the Roman soldiers were guarding the tomb 'till the third day;'
and they were still there in the garden when the angel came down on Sunday morning. In other words, even to the Roman soldiers, Sunday was the third day.


The question now arises: How long is a day? Twelve hours, twenty four hours or what? According to Strong's dictionary the word 'day' is defined as follows:

"2250 hemera {hay-mer'-ah}
AV - day 355, daily + 2596 15, time 3, not tr 2, misc 14; 389
1) the day, used of the natural day, or the interval between sunrise and sunset, as distinguished from and contrasted with the night
    1a) in the daytime
    1b) metaph., "the day" is regarded as the time for abstaining from indulgence, vice, crime, because acts of the sort are perpetrated at night and in darkness
2) of the civil day, or the space of twenty four hours (thus including the night)
    2a) Eastern usage of this term differs from our western usage. Any part of a day is counted as a whole day, hence the expression "three days and three nights" does not mean literally three whole days, but at least one whole day plus part of two other days.
3) of the last day of this present age, the day Christ will return from heaven, raise the dead, hold the final judgment, and perfect his kingdom
4) used of time in general, i.e. the days of his life." (end of Strong's quote)

What does this mean? As far as this article is concerned, it means that the majority of Scriptures which say that Jesus would rise on the third day, use the Jewish method of reckoning where any part of a day is counted as a whole day! This points to a Friday crucifixion and a Sunday resurrection.


Question: When did Jesus rise from the tomb?
Answer: From the evidence it would appear that the Saviour rose early on Sunday the first day of the week; which was the third day after his crucifixion.

Note Carefully:

May the Holy Ghost open believer's eyes to this much neglected but vital truth; and may He empower us all to obey the Almighty's law!

This is my prayer for His name's sake.

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Elder: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
November 1999