Comments | Meridian Magazine Meridian Magazine

Sign up for our newsletter


Signed up, but still not getting our newsletter? Click here.


July 14, 2024

Comments | Return to Story

Alicia Carla SimpsonNovember 15, 2017

The only problem with your analysis is that you are applying 21st century culture and thought to a text written in the 1st century. First, they had no concept of zero, so 1 days since Friday is Friday! Second, a period that includes even on hour of one day was considered a full day, so the three days were Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Christ Jesus was crucified on Friday 3 April 33 CE and he rose form the dead on Sunday 5 April 33 CE. This is based on the sociocultural context of the day.

IreneApril 4, 2016

Or...the crusifixion was on Friday and He has risen on a Monday! Or am I saying something stupid here? :)

Charles DikeMarch 29, 2016

Dr. Chadwick, you are missing what I have been saying. Jesus went into the tomb in the last minutes of a Jewish Wednesday. That means he was only in the tomb ( by the Jews reckoning) Thursday night then Thursday day, Friday night then Friday day, then Saturday night then Saturday day. That is three nights and three days. He would have resurrected as the Jewish Sabbath ended. That matches the Book of Mormon and fulfills the Matt. 12:40 prophecy. He died in the waning hours of the Jews' Wednesday. "After three days" can certainly mean "after 72 hours".

DebbieMarch 29, 2016

I’m not a scholar, but even as a kid I had a hard time reconciling how Friday to Sunday morning equated to three days in the tomb. This makes perfect sense to me. I never understood the idea of passover being on a Friday, followed by the actual sabbath would have made the women wait until Sunday to anoint the body.

Charles DMarch 28, 2016

Dr. Chadwick, you stated in this article that, "The New Testament is explicit in reporting his resurrection on the first day of the week, which we call Sunday." Patricia and Theodore have pointed out that this is incorrect. A correct statement would be that the disciples discovered the tomb was empty when they arrived. From the New Testament we have no solid clue as to when Christ left the tomb unless we accept Matthew 12:40 as a prophecy rather than a prediction. We also don't know when the guard left the tomb although one suspects it left at sundown on our Saturday night. The most precise time would be in the Book of Mormon - specifically 3 Nephi where it states that the darkness dispersed and it was morning. By your timing, which I agree with, that places the time of resurrection sometime after sunset and before about 8 PM on our Saturday night in Jerusalem.

Jeff ChadwickMarch 27, 2016

Thanks to all for these additional comments. Some have mentioned the commentaries of Cleon Skousen, who advocated a Thursday crucifixion. The studies I have published differ from his in significant ways -- he advocates for a 1 BC birth year and an AD 33 crucifixion year. Astronomical studies demonstrate that a Thursday crucifixion would not be possible for AD 33, since Passover fell on Saturday that year, whereas if fell on Friday (allowing for a Thursday crucifixion) in AD 30. May I again suggest linking to the two articles in BYU Studies mentioned in the Meridian article. Now, specifically for Theodore: Since the Jewish weekly Sabbath ends Saturday at sundown, the women may have bought their spices on Saturday night, before coming in the pre-dawn hour of Sunday to the tomb. Markets would indeed have been open on Saturday after sundown -- the practice is still normal in Jerusalem even today for stores to open up on Saturday night after the end of the Sabbath. Again, a Wednesday crucifixion is incompatible with all of the accounts in the four gospels which mention Jesus rising on the "third day" since the execution. Sunday is the fourth day after Wednesday, and Jesus rose "after three days," not after four. Here's wishing best Easter greetings to everyone. Jeff Chadwick

Robin DeSpainMarch 26, 2016

I have fond memories of your advanced life of Christ class in Ogden (20ish years ago). I distinctly remember this lesson & the one about the Essian (sp?) Jews. So much about Christ & his life suddenly made sense to me. I still have your handouts. Truly you have a profound and gifted understanding of our Savior. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

MonicaMarch 26, 2016

W. Cleon Skousen presented this information in "Days of the Living Christ, Vol 2" published in 1993. Glad to see it reaching more people.

PatriciaMarch 26, 2016

I agree with the comments of Theodore Brandley and add another point. Matt 27:62 indicates that the Pharisees came to Pilate on the day following the holiday and begged for a guard to be placed at the tomb. They would not have done that on a Sabbath therefore there was a day between the High Sabbath and the regular Saturday Sabbath. Besides that, Jesus was not in the tomb at the very beginning of dawn, daybreak, when it was yet dark, according to all of the gospels, meaning he arose before the night was complete on Sunday morning. Therefore He was in the tomb on our Wednesday night, Thursday night, and Friday night and some where between our Saturday night and Sunday morning He arose giving three full days and three full nights in the tomb. Also meaning, I believe, according to Jewish thought at the time, that His spirit had left the scene, that He was 'completely dead.'

Jeff ChadwickMarch 24, 2016

Theodore -- the Jewish weekly Sabbath (Saturday) actually ends at sundown on Saturday. After that hour, purchasing items is both permitted and common in Jewish practice. Although the passage you refer to is not specific on just when the women purchased their spices, it is certainly possible that they had indeed purchased them after the Saturday Sabbath had ended. But since it ended at sundown, the purchase may easily have happened on Saturday night, well in time for the women to take the spices early the next morning (before sunrise) to the tomb. Again, since Sunday would be the fourth day counting since Wednesday, the New Testament passages cannot accommodate a Wednesday execution. The NT passages say Jesus rose on the third day since the execution, or three days after the execution, which in both cases points to Thursday. Matthew 12's mention of three nights cannot be reconciled with a Wednesday execution, since that would have Jesus in the tomb for four nights prior to Sunday morning. All of the evidence points to Thursday as the day of the crucifixion. With best wishes -- Jeff Chadwick

Larry FjeldstedMarch 24, 2016

According to Jewish Custom the Jewish Sabbath Day began a few minutes before sunset on Friday Evening, and ended when three stars were visible in the sky just over 24 hours later or Saturday Evening, and this was the 7th day of the week. That being true, it follows that the High Day, which was also treated as a Sabbath Day, would have been the 24 hours previous to the Sabbath Day, or Thursday night a few minutes before sunset to Friday evening when three stars were visible in the sky. This would have been the 6th day of the week. It follows then that the Passover Sabbath would have been the 24 hours prior to the High Day Sabbath, or from a few minutes before sunset on Wednesday evening until three stars were visible in the sky on Thursday Evening. This would have been the 5th day of the week. The Preparation Day would have been the 24 hours prior to the Passover Sabbath, or from Tuesday Evening until Wednesday Evening. Christ being the final Blood Sacrifice after all of the Passover Lambs had been prepared for the Passover Meal, thus ending Blood Sacrifice and fulfilling the Law of Moses. The Last Supper would then have been eaten, on Tuesday Evening, and the Sacrament instituted at that time.

Charles DikeMarch 24, 2016

Edersheim, in his, "The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah" writes that the flock the shepherds were watching over was the flock that was destined to be sacrificed in the temple. This is a wonderful section of his tome. As evidence he cites the belief that the messiah would be seen from the Migdal Eder (watch tower) at Bethlehem. Edersheim argues for a December birth. My opinion is that there is something wrong in the data that we're using to calculate his birth date. I don't know what that error would be. Is it at all possible that we have the death date of Herod wrong relative to Christ's birth? Typology practically demands that Christ was born on the day that the Paschal Lamb was set apart. This conflicts with the historical record as best we have it.

Theodore BrandleyMarch 23, 2016

Additionally, the women coming to the tomb before dawn on the first day of the week is further evidence that Jesus was crucified on Wednesday. “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.” (Mark 16:1-2) Notice that the women purchased the spices after the Sabbath was passed. If Jesus went into the tomb on Thursday evening, then Friday would be the High Sabbath and Saturday would be the regular Sabbath. There would be no markets open to buy spices until Sunday morning, and they were at the tomb before the markets would open. Only if Jesus was crucified on Wednesday could the women buy and prepare spices after the Sabbath was past, which would then be Friday. They would rest again on the regular Sabbath, Saturday, and be prepared to come to the tomb at the rising of the sun on Sunday.

Theodore BrandleyMarch 23, 2016

I am not convinced that a few minutes before sundown counts as a day in fulfilling the Lord’s prophesy of being in the tomb three days and three nights.

[email protected]March 23, 2016

Thanks to everyone for thoughtful comments. Let me specifically reply to two: Cory, regarding the question of Zedekiah's dating, please see the footnotes in the linked BYU Studies (2015) article -- it is complicated, and too long to deal with here, but we may date Lehi's departure to 605 BCE, with 609 BCE as the year of Zedekiah Nephi refers to. Sheryl, you may wish to see the earlier linked article, dating the birth of Jesus, in BYU Studies (2010). The "lambing season" issue is one that is frequently brought up. However, it is something of a myth, invented by non-LDS commentators in the 1800s who wished to move away from what they felt was the too "Catholic" day of Christmas, proposing instead a spring date for Jesus' birth. They invented the "lambing season" argument to point to a spring birthdate. But they were unaware of the reality of lamb birthing in the land of Israel. Having lived in Israel for years, I can report that the actual period in which lambs are born there is about mid-December to mid-April, with the height of the birthing occurring in February. Birthing is low in December and in April, since those two months are the "bookends" of the season, many more lambs are born in January and March than in December or April, when the season is just beginning and ending. So the "lambing season" issue, in reality, does not support April over December, nor December over April -- it is a non-issue. Here's wishing everyone a very happy and meaningful Easter season. Jeff Chadwick

John NicholsonMarch 23, 2016

When I was living in England during my youth, I remember going to a "Get Right with God" rally where a speaker was explaining that to fulfill the 'three day', statement of the Saviour's death must have occurred on Thursday. Why has it taken so long for some one in the United States to confirm it with greater clarity? John

ThrawnMarch 22, 2016

Theodore, if Jesus was buried late Thursday, and rose early Sunday morning, then that is not quite 3 * 24 hours, but it certainly includes three separate days (the remainder of Thursday, all of Friday, and all of Saturday) as well as three nights.

Jeff ChadwickMarch 22, 2016

Theodore, since Jesus' body was in the tomb part of Thursday, before sunset, this would be understood as the first of three days (Thurs, Fri, Sat), and of course the three nights would be Thur, Fri, Sat as well. A Wednesday crucifixion cannot be reconciled with any of the statements in the New Testament that mention that Jesus would rise on the "third day" since (or after) the Jesus' execution. Sunday would be the fourth day after Wednesday in any way of counting. Wishing you the best, -- Jeff Chadwick

AnnaleeMarch 22, 2016

Well, from Friday afternoon/evening to Sunday morning is a day and a half, right? In God's time, a day=1,000 years. So a day and a half for God=1,500. And how long was the Apostasy (figurative death of Christ)? Appox. 1500 years!

SherylMarch 22, 2016

You stated: the latest possible date Jesus can have been born, which was the winter of 5/4 BC. I thought it had been pretty conclusively shown that Jesus was born in the spring - lambing season, when the shepherds would have been with their flocks at night to assist in difficult births.

GTOMarch 22, 2016

My research agrees with your conclusions. My book, Days of Awe, which is downloadable for free from the home page of, concurs and includes a paper by Richard Scott supporting your evidence and matching the Thursday crucifixion scenario with the Book of Mormon account. Some research, including astronomy and dating the Jewish holidays at the time of Christ, done by the Center for Nazarene Judaism, also supports Thursday as the day. Nazarene Jews live an Orthodox Jewish lifestyle but believe Jesus is the Messiah.

Erin TaylorMarch 22, 2016

Theodore Bradley, he did account for 3 nights, if death occurred at 3 PM Thursday, he would have been placed in the tomb before Sunset Thursday night, and continued Friday night and Saturday night.

AndrewkMarch 22, 2016

Theodore. You have missed the point that in the Jewish reckoning of days the next calendar day starts at sundown. Each calendar day has a night portion and a day portion. You have your night first, and then your day. Jesus was in the tomb on the Jewish Thursday before sundown (counts as one daylight day). When the sun goes down it's now the Jewish Friday night (our Thursday night). He is in the tomb (using our days) Thursday, Friday, and Saturday's daylight days. He is also in the tomb (using our nights) Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night. It is interesting that the women come to the tomb Sunday morning "while it was yet dark" and the tomb was already empty. God didn't want an extra "daylight day", so Christ was resurrected before sunrise. God knows exactly how to fulfill his own prophecies.

bwv549March 22, 2016

I'm aware of all the logic and evidence in favor of the birthdate of Christ that you proposed in your original 2010 article (and the evidence surrounding the creation of the introductory remarks to D&C 20). To me, your logic and the evidence supporting it, seems bulletproof. However, in his April 2014 address, Elder Bednar declared: "We know by revelation that today [April 6] is the actual and accurate date of the Savior’s birth." His statement strongly supports a 1 B.C. birth date of Christ. Since I was already familiar with your work and the work done by the JosephSmithPapers project in support of the non-scriptural addition to the preface of section 20, I expected him to retract or amend his statement in the Ensign edition of general conference talks. The statement remained and the talk then footnotes other statements made by Church Presidents surrounding the April 6, 1 B.C. birth date. How do you propose a faithful Latter-day Saint reconcile your research/evidence/arguments with Elder Bednar's utterances in the spoken and written word?

Cory RelomMarch 22, 2016

Placing the date of the crucifixion in 30 AD, and hence the birth of Christ in 4 or 5 BC ignores the fact that Nephi begins his record in the first year of the reign of King Zedekiah. The author's date places Lehi's departure from Jerusalem at 605 to 604 BC, several years before Zedekiah became king.

StevenMarch 22, 2016

Some years ago, I read an article asking the same question - how was it that Jesus died for 3 days, but yet arose on Sunday. The author(s) argued that the Hebrews also had Leap Day, and it was considered a holy day, a Sabbath, for them. They would put the Leap Day around the Passover. Instead of just one Saturday, they had the real Saturday and a Leap "Saturday". That was over 30 years ago, so forgive me for not citing the source. Did you take this into your consideration in this work?

Richard LarsenMarch 22, 2016

The traditional Friday crucifixion date has always seemed incongruous with the prophesied "three days and three nights" in the tomb. Superb job of addressing and reconciling the incongruity. Thank you!

Barbara LewisMarch 22, 2016

This was already explained by The Way International at least 20 years ago. I never could make 3 days and nights from Friday to Sunday morning. And didn't one have to be buried 3 days before one was really dead, like Lazarus was? Otherwise it could have been a hoax.

AndrewkMarch 22, 2016

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I have been saying this for years and wishing I had a more authoritative voice than my own to show others. It is so fascinating that the 3 nights mentioned is simply explained away as a "tradition of the jews" where they mention nights as part of days. This was the one sign given to the unbelieving Pharisees, so it had to be unmistakable, and without any confusion or interpretation on their part. Yet there has been cunfusion since then. Thank you again.

KentMarch 22, 2016

I have always had a hard time believing in a Friday crucifixion, it just didn't fit the timeline provided in the gospels. Most accounts of that week state that the Passover lambs, the Paschal lambs, were sacrificed on Thursday from 3 - 5 p.m., the 9th through the 11th hours. See for one example. A Thursday crucifixion offers the tantalizing possibility that Jesus very well could have been the first sacrificial Lamb offered that day.

KentMarch 22, 2016

Most accounts of the Passover that week have the Paschal lambs being slaughtered from the 9th to the 11th hours (3-5 p.m.) on Thursday. IOW, Jesus died about the time the Lambs were being slaughtered, indeed could have been the first sacrifice of the day. I have always had a hard time believing in a Friday -Passover- crucifixion. It just didn't fit the time line of the gospels. A Thursday crucifixion just makes sense to me given the evidence at hand.

ValmayMarch 22, 2016

I have always considered Friday to Sunday as two days so this article makes sense to me.

Theodore BrandleyMarch 22, 2016

Brother Jeffrey, You emphasize that “the sign of the prophet Jonas” requires three days and three nights, but you only count three nights from Thursday evening and neglect to mention that this only provides two days, Friday and Saturday. Three days and three nights requires that Jesus was crucified and laid in the tomb before sundown on Wednesday. He then lay in the tomb, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and rose after sundown, which would be the beginning of the first day of the week. A Wednesday crucifixion is the only day that satisfies all of the scriptural requirements.

JeanneMarch 22, 2016

It has always bothered me that Friday-Sunday wasn't really 3 days. I figured it had something to do with the way they counted time then. But this makes it more reasonable.

JordanMarch 22, 2016

I loved this article. It was very insightful!



    Daily news, articles, videos and podcasts sent straight to your inbox.