And although we have established the three days and three nights following the death and burial of Jesus, we have yet to verify biblically, the correct timeline following his death. It is one thing to make a suggestion as to the interpretation of a scripture; it is another thing to have evidence to back the interpretation up, especially having biblical evidence. So we guess in order to alleviate some of the confusion surrounding the actual timeline following his death, we need to identify the events for the particular days in question. Let us see if we can identify a timeline that will correspond to our suggested three days and three nights. Afterwards, we will add this information to our table.
In order to get started, we need to make sure we define and understand several of the phrases or terms that were used in some of the passage that we have already examined. One of the first phrases that we need to define and understand is the day of preparation or the preparation day phrase. Now the day of preparation or the preparation day was the day prior to the weekly Sabbath, where everything was taken care of in advance, so that the law regarding the Sabbath could be followed without exception. We find an example of this preparation day in the book of Exodus. This particular passage of scripture deals with the children of Israel when they were in the wilderness and the Lord provided for them quail and manna, which they went out into the fields daily to gather.
And it came to pass, that on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for one man: and all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. And he said unto them, This is that which the Lord hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy sabbath unto the Lord: bake that which ye will bake today, and boil that ye will boil; and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until the morning. And they laid it up till the morning, as Moses bade: and it did not stink, neither was there any worm therein. And Moses said, Eat that today; for today is a sabbath unto the Lord: today ye shall not find it in the field. Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none. And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the Lord said unto Moses, How long refuse ye (do you refuse) to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that the Lord hath given you the sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day (Exodus 16:22-30).
From this passage, you can see that the day of preparation or the preparation day was the day prior to the weekly Sabbath, where all of the food was gathered and cooked all on the sixth day in preparation of the Sabbath, where there was to be no work. They could not even kindle a fire in their habitations on the Sabbath day.
And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which the Lord hath commanded, that ye should do them. Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you a holy day, a sabbath of rest to the Lord: whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day (Exodus 35:1-3).
So, everything, no matter the manner of work, had to be done on the day before the Sabbath, thus leading up to what has become known as the day of preparation or the preparation day. On this day, everything was taken care of in advance, so that the law regarding the Sabbath could be followed without exception. But was every Sabbath to be the same? According to the thirty-first verse of the ninth chapter of the gospel according to John, this particular Sabbath was to be high day. Words such as great day and special day have been used by other translations to define this Sabbath. What was it about this Sabbath that was so different from the other Sabbaths before it? Were there any other Sabbaths that were considered to be a high day, a great day, or a special day? What was so special about this particular Sabbath?
There is another interesting phrase that might explain much of this confusion pertaining to the Sabbaths and the law requiring that no work be done on this day. This phrase, called a holy convocation, was first discovered in the twelfth chapter of the book of Exodus.
And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: and if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls (persons); every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. Your lamb shall be without blemish (perfect or sound), a male of the first year (a year old): ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: and ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden (boiled) at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance (entrails) thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded (a belt on my waist), your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. And the blood shall be to you for a token (sign) upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul (person) shall be cut off (put away) from Israel. And in the first day there shall be a holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save (except) that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you (Exodus 12:1-16).
We see from this passage that the Lord said to Moses that the first day of the celebration, and again on the seventh day, there will be a holy convocation, a holy meeting, a special religious services for the entire congregation and no work of any kind may be done on those days except that of the preparation of everyone’s food.
A holy convocation, a holy meeting, a special religious service for the entire congregation and no work of any kind may be done on those days. It appears that a holy convocation can be a holy meeting for the entire congregation or a sacred assembly of people. It also appears that a holy convocation can be a special religious service or a sacred church service. This is not just an assembling of the congregation, but it is a special gathering of the congregation for a very special reason. And with this holy convocation, there appears to be no work of any kind, including servile work, that can be done except for the preparation of everybody’s food. Sounds a lot like a Sabbath day to us.
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the Lord, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, a holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings. These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons (Leviticus 23:1-3).
We see that the scriptures have defined a holy convocation as an additional Sabbath to the regular Sabbath that the children of Israel were to observe. It appears that the children of Israel are to celebrate several annual festivals or feasts of the Lord. Each of these festivals or feasts shall be proclaimed to be holy convocations, times when all of Israel will assemble and worship God. Each of these holy convocations appears to have very similar restrictions to the regular Sabbath. The important thing to note here is the fact that these are additional sabbaths to the regular Sabbath.
Enjoy your blessings - KW