SIGN OF THE TRUE MESSIAH
On two occasions the Jews requested from Jesus Christ a sign to prove his Messiah-ship.
On the first occasion after his first recorded miracle of turning water into wine, and soon afterwards driving out both men and animals from the temple, and over turning the tables; the Jews demanded of him saying, “What miraculous sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this!”
Jesus’ reply was, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he was referring to was his body (Jn.2:18-21).
On the second occasion, some of the teachers of the law (Scribes) and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we want to see a miraculous sign from you.”
Jesus answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt.12:38-40).
There was no ambiguity in the mind of Jesus Christ, as to how many hours constitute a day and a night; because, when he was told that Lazarus, the one whom he loved was sick, he replied, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”
Then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.” But his disciples replied, “Rabbi, a short while ago the Jews tried to stone you, and you are going back there?
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light” (Jn.11:4-10).
In this context one has to conclude that, when Jesus said that he was going to spend three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, he literally meant seventy-two (72) hours, and not part of a day as a day, as it is commonly taught.
On another occasion some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”
He replied, “Go tell that fox, I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal (be perfected)” (Lk.13:31-32). This he said in reference to what he would be doing during the three days and three nights he would spend in hell, as alluded to by Peter who wrote;
“For Christ died for sin once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water’ (1 Pet.3:18-20).
These spirits to whom the gospel was preached whilst in hell were judged according to men in regard to the body (1Pet.4:6). And those who heard the voice of the Lord lived. As it is written: “I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live”(Jn.5:25).
On many occasions Jesus Christ explained to his disciples that, “He must go to Jerusalem
And suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life” (Matt16:21; 17:22-23; 20:19; Lk.24:46).
The provoking question however is, did Jesus Christ fulfill his miraculous sign precisely as he foretold, and proved his Messiah-ship?
Since the sign was a test sign to prove that he was indeed the Messiah, anything short or beyond the stipulated three days and three nights would render him a hoax and an impostor.
On the day that Christ was resurrected from the dead, on the road to Emmaus which is about seven miles from Jerusalem, two of his disciples were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.
He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” After relating all what happened to Jesus Christ, they said, “And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place” (Lk.24:13-28).
At the precise time of Christ’s resurrection, which was hall-marked by a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
The angel said to the Mary Magdalene and the other Mary who went to look at the tomb, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (Matt.28:1-6).
What time was Christ placed in the tomb?
According to all the four gospels, Jesus Christ was placed in the tomb by Joseph of Arimathea accompanied by Nicodemus at the dawn of the Sabbath, or as the Sabbath drew near (Matt.27:57; Mk.15:42; Lk.23:54; Jn.19:42).
According to Luke’s gospel, Joseph went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was the Preparation day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.”
What time was Christ resurrected from the dead?
According to the gospel of Matthew, “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay” (Matt.28:1-6).
Mary Magdalene was still outside the tomb crying, when Jesus met her. She was not allowed to touch Jesus at the first instance. Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them. I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and to your God.
Later on that same day when Jesus met them and they came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. (Matt.28:8-10; Jn.20:10-18).
If Christ was placed in the tomb at the dawn of the Sabbath, when the Sabbath drew near, and was raised from the dead at the dawn of the first day of the week; If the Sabbath which followed his death was the weekly Sabbath - Saturday as commonly assumed, then, Jesus Christ only spent one night – Friday night, and one day – Saturday in the tomb, and this would consider him to be an imposter, he would not have risen as he said, thus not fulfilling his only miraculous sign.
If the day which followed the Preparation Day was the weekly Sabbath, and the Jews and the women who followed Jesus Christ rested on the Sabbath Day according to the commandments, and it is stated that, “The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate and said, “Sir, we remembered how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ Therefore order the sepulcher to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away, and tell the people, he has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.”
Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.” So they went and made the sepulcher by sealing the stone and setting a guard” (Matt.27:62-66).
If the day which followed the Preparation Day was the weekly Sabbath – Saturday, on which both the chief priests and the Pharisees rested, what time did they go to Pilate and receive the orders to make the tomb secure as they knew how, by putting a seal on the stone, and posting the Guard?
It would have to be “After the Sabbath toward the dawn of the first day of the week, exactly the same time when the angel of the Lord rolled back the stone and sat on it. But ironically, if the Friday crucifixion has any merit, it tends to suggest that guards were already posted by the tomb even before the orders were given, because the guards who were guarding the tomb were so afraid of the angel, that they shook and became like dead men?
THE TRUTH OF THE MATTER
The irony of truth is, The High Day Sabbath which followed the Preparation Day was the Jewish Passover which according to the scriptures, the Passover lamb was killed at twilight, at the going down of the sun, and eaten with unleavened bread. (See Exo.12:6; Deut.16:6)
On that day the chief priests, the Pharisees, and the women who followed Christ and his disciples rested. “When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought and prepared spices and ointments, so that they might go and anoint him” (Mk.16:1).
On the (weekly) Sabbath the day after they bought and prepared the spices and ointment, they rested according to the commandments (Lk.23:56).
Then after the (Weekly) Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week – Saturday night, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb, and behold there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone, and sat upon it.(Matt.28:1-2).
Thus fulfilling the Messianic sign precisely as Christ said, “Three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
The first night was the night he was placed in the tomb, the beginning of the High Day Sabbath, the beginning of the feast of Unleavened Bread which was on a Wednesday night. The second night was Thursday, and Friday, the preparation for the weekly Sabbath was the third night.
The first day was Thursday, the day light part of Feast of Unleavened which was a Sabbath, the second day was Friday, the preparation day for the weekly Sabbath, and the third day was the Saturday the weekly Sabbath, and at the end of the weekly Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day – Sunday, Christ was resurrected.
Hence the day the chief priests and Pharisees went to Pilate asking to secure the tomb was not after the weekly Sabbath, because Jesus Christ was by then already resurrected. They went to Pilate during Thursday night and Friday, after the High Day Sabbath, and the stone was sealed, and the guards posted between Thursday night and Friday.
This amazing truth has eluded the minds of those who have rejected the annual festivals of the lord. Had they not rejected these festivals they would have known that Jesus Christ our Passover was crucified for us exactly on the day of the Jewish Passover.
The only difference was that Jesus ate the Passover with his disciples at the beginning of the fourteenth day, instead of at the end of the fourteenth day as stated in the scriptures, because he as the real Passover had to die at the precise time of the evening sacrifice. So he partook of it with his disciples before he died, and instituted the new covenant of his blood for the remission of sins.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread should still be observed by Christians today, because the Apostle Paul admonished us saying, “Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven (typical of sin) leavens the whole lump?
Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover was crucified for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1Cor.5:6-8).
The question now remains, whom are you worshiping! Are you worshiping a false Messiah, a hoax, an imposter who only spent a night and a day in the heart of the earth, or are you worshiping the true Messiah, who spent three nights and three days in the heart of the earth as he said he would?
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