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Part III: Yes, But What About...?

Right now, many of you may be saying: "This all sounds pretty convincing, but I know of a passage or several passages that appear to contradict the belief that the Bible Sabbath starts at 12 o'clock noon on Saturday and ends at 12:00 o'clock noon on Sunday."

Matthew 28:1: One of the most common passages that seems to be contradictory is found in the gospel of Matthew chapter 28, verse 1, which states: "In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre."

Let us start with the very first word: "In." "In" is word #1722 in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, it is: "A primary preposition, denoting a fixed position in time..." This word (#1722 has been translated as 35 different words, which means it can have many different meanings, depending on the context in which it is being used. It has been translated as: "toward" and "before" on at least four occasions. We believe that either "toward" or "before" would have been a more correct translation because the context of the passage so indicates. It says further on in this passage: "...As it began to dawn toward the first day of the week..." The word "toward" here very clearly tells us that it was not yet the first day of the week, but that that time was soon coming.

Consider this: It is just beginning "to dawn;" it is "before" "the end of the Sabbath." The time of the year is shortly after the "spring Equinox"

when daylight and dark hours are nearly equal, therefore "dawn" is around 6:00 a.m. There are still six more hours to go before 12:00 o'clock noon, (when the first day of the week will begin). This is the hour that the two Marys went to Christ's sepulchre. The Sabbath has nearly ended and the first day of the week is near. We believe this will clear up the confusion brought about by the old English style of writing found in the King James Bible.

Exodus 16:19: In Exodus, chapter 16, we learn that God gives the Israelites "manna" to take the place of grain for their main staple of food. Moses told the people not to leave any of the "manna" till the morning. We find this in Exodus 16:19: "And Moses said, Let no man leave of it till morning." We learned in Part I that morning begins at midnight, so we see here that Moses is telling the people not to keep the manna overnight.

Each morning they were to gather as much manna as they would need to eat for their meals that day, but they were not to try to save any overnight, except on the sixth day, when they were to gather twice as much, which was to last them through the Sabbath, since there would be none to be gathered on the Sabbath. The day starts as 12:00 noon. Midnight comes 12 hours later. Sunrise comes at about the 18th hour of the 24 hour day. Noon comes at the 24th hour and another day begins.

When Moses told the Israelites to gather a double portion of manna on the sixth day, he was referring to the 18th hour of the sixth day. This double portion would then provide them with the manna that they would normally have gathered on the seventh day, around the 18th hour. By the 18th hour of the FIRST DAY of the week, they would again find manna in the fields.

The Last Supper: Many people say that the last supper of Christ which was the Israelite Passover does not support the "noon to noon" belief. Let's go to the Scripture and see if that statement is true or not. We don't believe that anyone will deny the fact that Christ knew when the Passover was to be killed and eaten; nor is it likely that anyone will deny that Christ and His apostles kept the Passover according to the law given to Moses for the Israelites.

We will start by reading the pertinent facts of the "last supper," starting in the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 14, verse 12: "...The first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, [Christ's] disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the Passover? And he sendeth forth two of his disciples...And they made ready the Passover. And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. And...they sat and did eat..."

Here we see in verses 12 through 16, that the two apostles prepared the Passover. To prepare the Passover they had to get a lamb; they had to kill the lamb and drain the blood; they then had to skin it. Next they had to roast it with fire until it was completely cooked because the law forbade them to eat it raw. All this takes at least five to six hours. In verse 17 we learn that Christ and His apostles came and sat down to eat the Passover "in the evening." This word "evening" is the Greek word #3798 in Strong's Exhaustive Concordance and it means: "Late afternoon or nightfall." The Israelite Passover comes two weeks after the "Spring Equinox." That is the time of the year when nightfall comes around 6:00 o'clock p.m. Now remember, the "two apostles" didn't "prepare" the Passover at 6:00 p.m.; they ate the Passover with Christ at 6:00 p.m. Simple arithmetic will tell anyone that if they ate the Passover at 6:00 p.m., and if it takes about six hours to make all the preparations for the Passover to be eaten, then we must realize that the "two apostles" started the preparations around 12:00 o'clock noon: which was the start of the Israelite Passover day.

Christ: Our Passover Lamb: Numerous Scriptures tell us that Christ is our Passover Lamb. (See 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Peter 1:19; John 1:29, 36; Revelation 5:5-14; 7:9-14; 21:14) Some people say that Christ's death does not coincide with the "noon to noon" belief. We will now go to the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 27, and Mark, Chapter 15, to see if the above statement is true or not. Matthew 27:1-2 tells us: "When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor."

The above-stated "morning" is the morning after Christ had eaten the Passover; prayed in the garden; was arrested and taken before Caiaphas and falsely judged by him. Now we will go to the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 15.

Here we learn in verses 15 through 37; the sentence by Pilate; the hour when Christ was nailed to the stake; the hours of darkness and the hour of His death. (Mark 15:15, 25, 33-34, 37) "...Pilate... delivered Jesus, and when he had scourged him, to be crucified...It was the third hour, and they crucified him...And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice...Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost."

To understand what we are being told in the above passages we must first understand that at the time of Christ's crucifixion, the Israelites were under Roman rule, and the Pharisees were in charge over Israel on a local level.

At that point of time in history the Pharisees had already changed the time when a day was to begin. Instead of having the day start at noon, the Pharisees changed it to start at sunset. Because sunset is always changing, they settled on 6:00 p.m. as the start of their day. (In The Encyclopedic Dictionary by Robert Hunter and Charles Morris, printed in 1896, we read on page 1450 under the word "day:" "Among the Jews the day began at sunset...")

The Jews divided their day into two 12 hour periods. The first 12 hour period started at sunset and went to sunrise and was called the "first" through the "twelfth" hour. At sunrise they start their second 12 hour period. This second half of the Pharisees' official day started at 6:00 o'clock in the morning. Therefore, 7:00 o'clock was their "first hour," 8:00 o'clock was their "second hour." 9:00 o'clock was their "third hour," and so on. Therefore the terms; third hour, sixth hour and ninth hour were terms used in the gospel accounts.

In verse 25 above, we are told that Christ was actually nailed to the stake at 9:00 a.m., which was their third hour. Christ then hung on the cross from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon. Verse 33 tells us that from 12:00 noon until 3:00 p.m. "...There was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour." [3:00 p.m.] It was during this period of time that the prophecy of Isaiah 53:8 was fulfilled: "He was taken from prison and from judgment... for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken." At 3:00 p.m. Christ cried with a loud voice, gave up the ghost and died. We find in verse 34 and 37: "And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice...Jesus cried with a loud voice and gave up the ghost."

We can plainly see by the above passages that Christ was killed shortly after 12:00 noon, (which in the Old Testament is often referred to as: "even, the going down of the sun") which is in keeping with the law as spelled out in Deuteronomy 16:6: "...Thou shalt sacrifice the Passover at even, at the going down of the sun..."

There were other ways that Christ could have been executed, but to fulfill prophecy, Christ had to die by crucifixion, which is a slow and very painful death. It was finally completed by 3:00 p.m., not at sunset as the modern day Jews (Pharisees) would have us believe.

The High Sabbath of John 10:31: Many people read John 19:31 and say: "See, it is very clear that the Sabbath was to begin at sundown." Those people are absolutely correct. As we pointed out earlier in Part III: the Pharisees - under Roman rule - were in charge of the Israelites. Also, we pointed out that the day began at sunset for the Pharisees (the Jews): "Among the Jews the day began at sunset..." Therefore the high Sabbath day which followed Christ's crucifixion was to begin at sunset, because it was the Jews' (Pharisees') time to start their day. I repeat: sundown is the beginning of the Pharisees' day and the beginning of the Pharisees' Sabbath and it was the "Pharisees' Sabbath" that John was recording in this verse.

This is what John 19:31 says: "The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away."

This Sabbath day, which was the Pharisees' "high day" was another of the Pharisees' perversion of God's law: specifically the law which is recorded in Exodus, Chapter 12, which was given to the Israelites before the first Passover. In Exodus 12:15-16 we read: "Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses...In the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you."

In verse 16 we see that the first day of "unleavened bread," when the Passover is to be killed, is to be an "holy convocation," which is a "sacred meeting." The first day of unleavened bread is also to be a Sabbath of rest wherein no work, except food preparation, is to be done. We pointed out in the section entitled "The Last Supper" that Christ and His apostles did, on the first day of unleavened bread, prepare and eat the Passover, according to the law.

You will see by the following verses that the Pharisees started the preparation for their Passover at a different time than Christ; and that the Pharisees also had their "holy convocation" which they called a "high Sabbath day" on the second, not the first day of unleavened bread as was required by law. Let us now turn to the Gospel of John, Chapters 18 & 19 for confirmation of this truth. John 18:28 tells us: "Then led they [the Pharisees] Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment [where Pontius Pilate judged]: and it was early; and they themselves [the Pharisees] went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover."

Here we learn that Christ, who had already eaten the Passover the night before, was brought before Pilate, but the Pharisees refused to enter the judgment hall because if they had, according to Pharisee law, they would have been defiled and would not have been able to eat their Passover. John 19:13-14 tells us: "...Pilate...brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat...and it was the preparation of the Passover..."

Here we have a second witness that the day that Pilate judged Christ was on the Pharisees' Passover preparation day. Later on, after Christ's death, we are told in John 19:31: "The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day, (for that Sabbath day was an high day), besought Pilate that...they might be taken away."

We see here that it was still the Pharisees' Passover preparation day and that the Jews (the Pharisees) wanted the bodies to be taken off of the crosses before sundown when the Pharisees' high Sabbath day was to begin. Remember, this was not the weekly or seventh day Sabbath, but it was a special "high Sabbath."

There are several other "high Sabbaths" or holy convocations in Scripture and they can be found in Leviticus 23 and Numbers 28 and 29. It now becomes very clear that the "high Sabbath day" of John 19:31 was not the Sabbath of Israel, but it was the "high Sabbath of the Pharisees" and therefore, because the Pharisees started their day at sunset, they also started their "high Sabbath" of John 19:31 at sunset.

If you check with any Jewish synagogue today you will find that they still follow this same Pharisaical practice of starting their weekly Sabbath and their Passover Sabbath at sundown, simply because they are following the same teachings as the Pharisees of Christ's time.

Scriptural Warnings: The Pharisees of Christ's time and the Pharisees of today, whom we call "Jews," did not then, nor do they today, start their "day" according to Scripture; they do not start their "Sabbath" according to Scripture; and they do not observe "the Passover" according to Scripture. Therefore Christians of today should look to the Jews of today for nothing, absolutely nothing! Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, please remember Christ's warning to His disciples: "...Take heed and beware of the leaven [doctrines or teaching] of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." (Matthew 16:6, 12)

And finally, remember Paul's warning to us as recorded in the Book of Titus, Chapter 3, verse 14: "...not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth."

When you go to the Jews or Jewish writings, you will get nothing but "Jewish fables," and where you spend eternity may lie in the balance.

Epilogue: The Christian Bible Sabbath begins at noon on Saturday and ends at noon on Sunday. The Jewish Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday night and ends at sundown on Saturday night. Which one will you choose? May the God of Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob bless you and encourage you to diligently search the Scriptures to see if what we tell you is true. (Acts 17:11)

(Taken in part from one of Pastor Sheldon Emry's tapes)



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