One of our readers sent me a mimeographed pamphlet in which the question is discussed whether our Lord actually was crucified on Friday, and was raised about sunrise Sunday morning. The pamphlet was accompanied by the request on the part of the reader to express our opinion on its contents, and on the question itself.

The author of the pamphlet was not mentioned, although throughout there is familiar note in it that makes one rather sure as to its origin. However, seeing that the document as I received it was not signed, my discussion can be quite impersonal.

The author comes to the conclusion that Jesus was crucified, not on Friday, but on Wednesday, was buried in the late afternoon of that day, and arose in that late afternoon of the following day Saturday. And thus he obtains the result that our Lord was in the grave exactly three days and three nights.

I would like to make the following remarks in connection with this pamphlet.

1. First of all, I do not like, to express it mildly, the tone of conceit that runs through the whole discussion. By this I do not mean that the author is entirely sure of his contentions, and believes them to be true. That is his business, providing, of course, he can produce good grounds for his contentions. But I do refer to the fact that he tries to present the question as to the day of Jesus’ death and resurrection as if it concerned the very cornerstone of the Christian faith; and relegates practically all that differ with him on this question, and that believe that Jesus was crucified on Friday, i.e. virtually the whole Christian Church of the past, to the category of higher critics and infidels. Listen to this:

“Think what this means! Jesus staked His claim of being your Savior and mine upon remaining exactly THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS in the tomb. If He remained just three days and three nights inside the earth, He would PROVE Himself the Savior—if He failed in this sign, He must be rejected as an impostor!” (p. 1)

“No wonder Satan has caused unbelievers to scoff at the story of Jonah and the whale! No wonder the Devil has set up a tradition that DENIES Jesus is the Messiah. (The author here refers to the “tradition” that Jesus died on Friday, H.H.). THE DILEMMA OF THE HIGHER CRITICS.

“This one and only supernatural proof ever given by Jesus for His Messiahship has greatly bothered the commentators and the higher critics. Their attempts to explain away this sole proof for Christ’s divinity are ludicrous in the extreme. For explain them away they must, or their Good Friday tradition collapses.” (p. 1)

Now, just think what the author tries to make his readers swallow. First of all, instead of the fact of the death and actual resurrection of the Lord, he presents the exact time of Jesus’ being in the grave as the cornerstone of the Christian faith! If Jesus did not stay in the grave exactly seventy-two hours, to the very minute, his death and resurrection meant nothing: He did not prove to be the Christ! What nonsense! As if all Scripture does not emphasize the very opposite, so that not the exact time, but the resurrection itself is the heart of the gospel! And, secondly, he presents the “Good Friday tradition” as an invention of the devil, and of the higher critics the purpose of which is to deny that Jesus is the Christ! Now, the simple fact is, that although there has always been a difference of opinion as to whether our Lord was crucified on the 14th or on the 15th of Nisan, the Church from its earliest days was unanimous in its belief that the crucifixion took place on Friday, and that they based this faith on Scripture. Really, the author here classifies the whole Church of the past with the higher critics, and with those that deny that Jesus is the Christ! And the plain fact is, of course, that while the Church has always held that the Lord died on Friday, it always believed in the risen Lord.

The author of this pamphlet makes the impression upon me of one that desperately tries to be original and to find some new and astounding doctrines. He likes to pose as an independent student of the Bible. Hence, instead of teaching the established truths, he searches for things that people have never heard before, and makes mountains out of molehills, while failing to see the real mountains. Just listen how he blows himself up about this very minor question:

“The PLAIN TRUTH CONCERNING the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is fast sweeping the world. Thousands are coming to see it. This truth has been published in the Sunday School Times. The Oxford University Press, in their Companion Bible, published a table proving this newly-revealed truth of the Bible.

“We praise God that though the truths of His Word become trampled upon and LOST through the dark ages of superstition, apostasy, and counterfeit doctrines, that the ORIGINAL TRUTH has been carefully preserved in the BIBLE ITSELF. We can study to show ourselves approved unto God, and seek out, and FIND these long hidden truths in the Bible.”

Now, we would be the last to deprive the author of his somewhat puerile joy over his new discovery, which, however, is not as new as he seems to think. But we refuse to accept his contention that he has discovered a very important truth, and that the “Good Friday tradition” must be explained as having its origin in “superstition, apostasy, and counterfeit doctrines.” When the author does not hesitate so to condemn the whole Church of the past, and exalt himself above her, and that, too, on the basis of so minor a question as the exact time of Jesus’ being in the grave, I think it is about time for a little honest introspection and self-examination on his part.

Besides, I am of the opinion that he is in error about the time of Jesus’ death, and that the “Good Friday tradition” is based on pretty strong Scriptural ground.

But about this next time, the Lord willing.