Chapter 1
Bacchiocchi makes the following comment in chapter 1 of his book on
the time of the crucifixion: “Christendom has been quite in
agreement throughout the centuries, not only on the fundamental
importance of Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection, but also on the
days of their occurrence.  The Friday afternoon Crucifixion and the
early Sunday morning Resurrection have been generally accepted as
undisputed facts.”

It may be true that the Friday afternoon crucifixion and early Sunday
morning Resurrection have been <generally> accepted as undisputed
facts in Christendom, but it is obvious from my introduction that the
facts have been disputed by such scholars as Bullinger.  

Because Christendom is largely not following the Christ of the Bible,
it carries little weight in persuading us by its various doctrines.  In
fact, one should tend to question a belief, which Christendom
generally accepts!  Even Bacchiocchi has seen that the generally
accepted belief by Christendom that the Sabbath is on Sunday is
wrong.  Therefore, one is a bit non-plused by this introduction to the
first chapter of his book.  Just because Christendom believes
something lends no weight to its veracity.

Bacchiocchi says “The most well-known exponent of this view is
Graham Scroggie, who presents it in his book, A Guide to the
Gospels.”  Graham Scroggie is a rather obscure writer.  Apparently,
Bacchiocchi did not know that Bullinger, a well-known scholar,
espoused the Wednesday crucifixion/Saturday resurrection long
before Scroggie.  According to Bacchiocchi, Scroggie published his
book in 1948.  Bullinger died in 1913.  Therefore, his work on this
subject was somewhat earlier then that which Scroggie offered.

It was encouraging to see the following statement from Bacchiocchi,
“Truth is not decided upon by majority vote.”  One can definitely
agree with that statement.

Bacchiocchi’s discussion of this subject includes several arguments in
the first 5 chapters of his book.  We will limit our rebuttal to the first
5 chapters of the book, as Bacchiocchi continues the rest of his book
with subjects that are unrelated to the specific question of when the
crucifixion and resurrection took place.  Unfortunately, Bacchiocchi
barely broached the one argument that perhaps lends the greatest
support for the timing of the crucifixion and the resurrection.  We will
discuss the weaknesses and lack of proof in the arguments that
Bacchiocchi presents.  Moreover, we will probe a little deeper the
argument that he considered of no importance.

Bacchiocchi says that there are three texts primarily used to support
a Wednesday crucifixion/Saturday resurrection.  The first text
First Argument Text
Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's
belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the

Those who claim that the three days and three nights are literally 3
24-hour days, do so because they understand that the writer does not
use an idiomatic expression when his phrase of time includes days and
nights.  Bacchiocchi claims that this is an assumption.  

This is where the two scholars begin to disagree.  In The Companion
Bible, Bullinger makes the following comments in Appendix 144
concerning the three days and three nights of Matthew 12:40:

“The fact that “three days” is used by Hebrew idiom for any part of
three days and three nights is not disputed; because that was the
common way of reckoning, just as it was when used of years.  Three
or any number of years was used inclusively of any part of those
years, as may be seen in the reckoning of the reigns of any of the
kings of Israel and Judah.

“But, when the number of “nights” is stated as well as the number of
“days”, then the expression ceases to be an idiom, and becomes a
literal statement of fact.”

At this point, Bullinger gives some examples to back up his argument.  
Then he makes the following statement:

“Hence, when it says that “Jonah was in the belly of the fish three
days and three nights” (Jonah 1:17) it means exactly what it says, and
that this can be the only meaning of the expression in Matthew 12:40;
16:4; Luke 11:30, is shown in Ap. 156.”

We will examine Bacchiocchi’s arguments that go contrary to
Bullinger’s arguments when we get into the first textual argument.  
However, we should note here that the two scholars are presenting
different theories about what constitutes an idiomatic expression that
one may interpret as part days, and what constitutes a non-idiomatic
expression that one must interpret as a literal period of whole days.  
Second Text Argument
John 19:14 And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth
hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!

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 their legs might be broken, and
that they might be taken away.

These two scriptures have different explanations as far as the word
<preparation> is concerned.  John 19:14 indicates nothing about a
particular day.  The period of preparation for the Passover actually
began on the 10th of Nisan when the Jews penned the lambs for
Passover.  This period of preparation did not end until sunset of the
14th of Nisan when the Days of Unleavened Bread and Passover
began on the 15th of Abib/Nisan.

Exodus12: 3 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:

Exodus12: 6 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 (between the two evenings).

John 19:31 refers to the 14th of Nisan – the day before the Passover
Feast began.  It does not take a genius to know and understand that
the 14th was the preparation day of the Passover.  Yes, it was the
day before the annual Sabbath, but the 14th was also the day the
Jews removed the leavening from their homes and the day the lambs
were slain at the temple for the Passover meal that evening.  
Therefore, whether the Jews called the day before every annual
Sabbath a preparation day is of little importance in this argument.  
We know that much preparation was required on the 14th day of
Nisan.  John does not use the word <day> here in John 19:31, but the
other writers do refer to “a day of preparation,” in reference to the
14th day of the month.

Mark 15:42  And now when the even was come, because it was the
preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath,
43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the
kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of

To argue that the 14th was not a day of preparation is rather lacking
in understanding of what took place on the 14th day of Nisan –
regardless of whether it came before a weekly Sabbath or some
other day of the week.  There was more preparation that took place
on the 14th day of Nisan than on any “preparation day” before the
weekly Sabbath!  The Jews sacrificed tens of thousands of lambs in
the afternoon of the 14th Abib/Nisan, in preparation for the Holyday
of the 15th of the month.  
The Preparation Day
The writers of the New Testament use the Greek word – Strong’s
#3904 – six times.  The definition below is from The Online Bible.  
Notice that the word does not have to mean a given <day>.  It can
mean 1) a making ready, preparation, equipping, or more specifically
such as 3a) the day on which the Jews made necessary preparation to
celebrate a Sabbath or a feast.  This authority includes the day
before a feast, as a day of preparation.


3904 paraskeuh paraskeue par-ask-yoo-ay'

as if from 3903; TDNT-7:1,989; n f

AV-preparation 6; 6

1) a making ready, preparation,  equipping
2) that which is prepared, equipment
3) in the NT in a Jewish sense, the day of preparation
3a) the day on which the Jews made necessary preparation to celebrate a
sabbath or a feast
Here is the list of references from the Bible and how the translators
chose to translate this word #3904:

Matthew 27:62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation
(#3904), the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,

Mark 15:42  And now when the even was come, because it was the
preparation (#3904), that is, the day before the Sabbath,

Luke 23:54 And that day was the preparation (#3904), and the Sabbath drew

John 19:14 And it was the preparation (#3904) of the Passover, and about the
sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!

John 19:31  The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation (#3904), that
the bodies should not remain upon 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.

John 19:42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation
(#3904) day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

From the list above, should understand that all except John 19:14
refer to the 14th day of Nisan or the day before the High Sabbath
when the Jews ate the Passover.  Moreover, this falls well within the
definition of the word.  We can understand that this day does not
have to always be the day before the weekly Sabbath, by the very
definition of the word.

The 14th of Abib/Nisan was a day of preparation, as common sense
shows because of all the special preparation required of the Jews, on
that day!  Furthermore, the Bible clearly refers to these annual days
as Sabbaths.  We know that the 15th of Nisan was a Sabbath.  What
we do not know at this point is whether that day was also a weekly
Sabbath, for occasionally the 15th of Nisan falls on the seventh day
of the week.  However, one should not just assume that the Sabbath
following the crucifixion was a weekly Sabbath knowing that there is
a large possibility that it could have been the annual Sabbath of
Passover, which does not always fall on the seventh day of the week.  
The following verse refers to the first day of the seventh month as a
Sabbath.  This is the day commonly known as the Feast of Trumpets.  
The Jews know it as Rosh Hashanah and in the year 2004 it falls on a

Leviticus 23:24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh
month, in the first [day] of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial of
blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.  

It is rather common for the Jews to refer to the annual Sabbaths and
their associated days as the “High Holidays”.  In the movie, Al Jolson
Sings Again, Al’s Jewish father, who lived in the east, was intent on
visiting his son who lived out west.  Al had newly married – and after
a serious illness, his father planning a visit made the following
comment in a phone conversation to Al’s new wife:  “I must see both
of you, I’m coming out there after the High Holidays, in two weeks.”  
If it gets into the movies, it must be common, to say the least.  

Whether a day was, or was not set aside, for all of the annual holy
days, has no importance here.  For, preparation was necessary in
order to observe the Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread.  The
Jews put up the lambs on the 10th of Abib, and removed the
leavening during this period.  Moreover, those making a pilgrimage
to Jerusalem, had to take care of their housing needs.  During this
period, the Jews had to accomplish the purification process at the
temple, for the upcoming Passover; for one could not eat Passover,
unless he was ceremonially clean.

John 11:55 And the Jews' (Judean) Passover was nigh at hand: and many went
out of the country up to Jerusalem before the Passover, to purify themselves.

Numbers 9:6 And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body
of a man, that they could not keep the Passover on that day: and they came
before Moses and before Aaron on that day:

As the following scripture further indicates, preparation was
necessary for the Passover even for the Christ and His disciples.  
This is one text, of many, that shows preparation was necessary
during the 5-day build-up (10th – 14th) to the Passover Feast.

Luke 22:7  Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the Passover must
be killed.
8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the Passover, that
we may eat.
9 And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare?

Actually, John 19:14 and John 19:31 are speaking of two different
segments of time!  For a discussion of when these days were, see my
book, “What You Should Know About the Passover!”  We will also
go into this, in detail, later in this writing.

But we want to make two points here: #1) One must use the context
of all the scriptures that bear on this matter to prove the day of the
month setting, for John 19:14.  #2) It is well established that John 19:
31 is referring to the 14th of Nisan which was a very busy day of
preparation for the upcoming Passover Feast, which began at sunset
of the 15th.  To argue that it was not a day of preparation, regardless
of which day of the year it may have fallen on, is lacking in
perception of the facts.  The day is not any less a day of
preparations, just because these provisions fell on a day before an
annual Sabbath!

The Apostle John refers to the approaching holy day, following the
crucifixion, as a high day.  Furthermore, we know that the
forthcoming day, beginning with sunset, commenced the Passover
Feast, as well as the Days of Unleavened Bread.  The question
remains, “Did the first holy day of Unleavened Bread fall on a
Saturday that year, or some other day of the week.”

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 their legs might be broken, and
[that] they might be taken away.

Bacchiocchi says that this Annual Sabbath fell on Saturday.  
Bullinger says that it fell on Thursday.  Obviously at least one of
these scholars is wrong, for both cannot be right!  Nevertheless, it is
not just alleged, as proposed by Bacchiocchi, that the Passover Feast
– the 15th of Nisan – was the day following the preparation of John
19:31.  The bible well substantiates that fact, for the Passover Feast
always fell on the 15th of Nisan regardless of the day of the week.  
Furthermore, we know that the Messiah’s crucifixion fell on the 14th
day of Nisan.  However, though well substantiated, this does not
prove that the Annual Sabbath under consideration was a Thursday.  
It could have been on a weekly Sabbath!  For in some years the
regular Sabbath and the Passover Feast fall on the same day.

The next time the Passover Feast (the first day of Unleavened
Bread) falls on the weekly Sabbath will be in the year 2012.  For
corroboration, refer to The Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar, by
Arthur Spier.  

Therefore, as this second text does not prove either theory, we will
discuss this point only on those occasions in which Bacchiocchi’s
statements are disharmonious with what seems to be the biblical
truth in this regard.

Continue ...


Holy Days
When Did The
Crucifixion and
Resurrection Occur?