Our God is an on time God. His plans unfold as he established from the beginning. God reminds people he intervened with the world by establishing his holy days to commemorate some of those events. These holy days not only celebrate a single event, but God planned for other related events to coincide with the days he had already established. We can see this with Jesus being our sacrificial Passover lamb. Slain, so his blood would cover us from death and bring us eternal life. It takes hard physical work to cleanse your household of leaven. A good physical reminder to drive home the lesson that it takes hard, intangible, mental work, to cleanse your life of sin. The parallels are there for those who take the time to look for them. Constantine needed new festival days to replace God’s holy days in the three hundreds. No longer persecuted by the Jews today, what lessons could we learn from practicing God’s holy days? What other holy day lessons are we missing out on?
Exodus 12:17-19…21-24…26-27…40-42 King James Version
17 And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever. 18 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even. 19 Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land. 21 Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said unto them, Draw out and take you a lamb according to your families, and kill the passover. 22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. 23 For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. 24 And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever. 26 And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? 27 That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses. And the people bowed the head and worshipped. 40 Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. 41 And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. 42 It is a night to be much observed unto the Lord for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the Lord to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.
Known as the last supper, Jesus changed the Passover ceremony by eating his Passover meal with the disciples the night before the traditional Passover meal was eaten. Jesus had to eat the meal earlier than normal. Had he waited until the traditional time, after the Passover lamb had been slain, Jesus would have been dead. Verse 16 demonstrates the holy days are only shadows of things to come and the meanings will come into full focus in the Kingdom of God.
Luke 22:7-16 New Living Translation
7 Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread arrived, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed. 8 Jesus sent Peter and John ahead and said, “Go and prepare the Passover meal, so we can eat it together.” 9 “Where do you want us to prepare it?” they asked him. 10 He replied, “As soon as you enter Jerusalem, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him. At the house he enters, 11 say to the owner, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?’ 12 He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal.” 13 They went off to the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there. 14 When the time came, Jesus and the apostles sat down together at the table. 15 Jesus said, “I have been very eager to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. 16 For I tell you now that I won’t eat this meal again until its meaning is fulfilled in the Kingdom of God.”
The Bereans searched the scriptures daily to prove if what Paul told them was right. Jesus told the crowds that those who desired what was right and true would be satisfied by God. Jesus also explained where to find that satisfying truth. Those having the desire to know the secrets of God’s Kingdom, will find it the same way the Bereans did, through searching the scriptures. Where do you go to gather your Godly wisdom? Do you believe what others tell you the Bible says, or do you find out for yourself if they are telling you the truth? Do you support your beliefs with Bible scripture?
Matthew 5:6 Easy-to-Read Version
6 Great blessings belong to those who want to do right more than anything else. God will fully satisfy them.
John 17:17 King James Version
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Matthew 7:7-8 International Children’s Bible
7 “Continue to ask, and God will give to you. Continue to search, and you will find. Continue to knock, and the door will open for you. 8 Yes, everyone who continues asking will receive. He who continues searching will find. And he who continues knocking will have the door opened for him.
Conveniently forgetting the role the Romans played in the death of Jesus, Constantine put the blame on the Jews. He laid his feelings bare when he said that it was the duty of every Christian not to be influenced by any Jewish belief or tradition. Being a new convert to Christianity and having all the power of the Roman state at his command, Constantine was zealous at defending his Christian brothers and faith from any Jewish persecution. After instituting Sunday as the Christian day of worship and decreeing Sunday to be kept as the day Jesus was resurrected on, Constantine commanded that anyone who Jewdaised their Christian beliefs were heretics and could have their property confiscated by the state and even be put to death.
For good or bad, Constantine changed the Christian traditions to suit his personal beliefs. Wanting to free Christians from the Jewish days of worship found in the Bible, he borrowed from the traditions of the world to create new Christian days of worship. Whether he fully understood the grace of God and how the dying words of Jesus freed Christians from keeping the Mosaic laws can be debated. No matter how much Constantine understood his new faith, his actions took Christianity down a path away from understanding the plans of God. Using the Bible as your source of Godly knowledge like a Biblist, and eagerly searching its scriptures to find what is true as the Bereans did, will help you better understand God and his plans. Jesus told us the word of God is truth. He prayed we would stay in the truth of God for our own sakes, as well as for those we tell about him. How committed are you to understanding the truth of God as found in the Bible?
John 19:28-30 Easy-to-Read Version
28 Later, Jesus knew that everything had been done. To make the Scriptures come true he said, “I am thirsty.” 29 There was a jar full of sour wine there, so the soldiers soaked a sponge in it. They put the sponge on a branch of a hyssop plant and lifted it to Jesus’ mouth. 30 When he tasted the wine, he said, “It is finished.” Then he bowed his head and died.
Matthew 27:48-51 King James Version
48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. 49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. 50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
John 17:17-20 Modern English Version
17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, so I sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. 20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word,
To determine the correct day Jesus was crucified on, like the Bereans we need to study and use all the clues the Bible provides. Jesus gives us four clues for how long he would be in the grave.
John 2:19-21 Common English Bible
19 Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple and in three days I’ll raise it up.”
20 The Jewish leaders replied, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and you will raise it up in three days?” 21 But the temple Jesus was talking about was his body.
Luke 24:6-7 International Children’s Bible
6 Jesus is not here. He has risen from death! Do you remember what he said in Galilee? 7 He said that the Son of Man must be given to evil men, be killed on a cross, and rise from death on the third day.”
Mark 8:31 International Children’s Bible
31 Then Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things. He taught that the Son of Man would not be accepted by the Jewish elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of the law. He taught that the Son of Man must be killed and then rise from death after three days.
Matthew 12:40 King James Version
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 earth.
To get a task done ‘in three days’ you could complete it in the first hour or at the end of the 72nd hour. Being more specific, to complete the task ‘on the third day’ requires it be done sometime between hour 48 and 72. By stating ‘after three days’ Jesus precisely pinpoints the length of time he would be in the grave as a full 72 hours, after the third day was completed.
Some Christians believe Jesus only had to be in the grave for a portion of those three days. Jesus refutes that belief by using Jonas as an example, Jesus would be in the grave for ‘three days and nights’, a full 72 hours. There is no disputing Mary was at the empty tomb while it was still dark on the first day of the week, just as we know Jesus was buried in that tomb as the sun set at the start of a special annual Sabbath. To find out for yourself when Jesus was crucified, count backwards three full days and nights from the sunset that began the first day of the week Mary found the empty tomb. What day do you get? Using Bible scripture for proof, when was Jesus crucified and when was he resurrected? Worshiping God in spirit allows us to worship him on any day we choose. Worshiping in truth demands we acknowledge why we worship him, when we worship him.
John 20:1 English Standard Version
20 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.
The afternoon sacrifice of the passover lamb takes place on the fourteenth day of the first month of Aviv. God’s first set of holy days begins at sunset, the beginning of the fifteenth. This first day of unleavened bread was an annual Sabbath day that could fall on any day of the week, as it was determined by the date rather than the day, similar to your birthday. So if the fifteenth was a Thursday then that Thursday would have been a special annual Sabbath day, making Wednesday the fourteenth the evening the passover lamb’s blood was painted on the doorposts.
The days of unleavened bread lasted for seven days and had an annual Sabbath on the first and last day. Those seven days would also include a weekly Sabbath unless the first or last day landed on the weekly Sabbath. Hypothetically using Thursday as the first annual Sabbath day, Jesus would have been crucified and died on Wednesday just before sunset as the passover lambs were being slain.
John 19:31 Easy-to-Read Version
31 This day was Preparation day. The next day was a special Sabbath day. The Jewish leaders did not want the bodies to stay on the cross on the Sabbath day. So they asked Pilate to order that the legs of the men be broken. And they asked that the bodies be taken down from the crosses.
Friday would be a regular work day for the people, they just had to abstain from eating or using leavened products. As usual, that Friday would be the preparation day for the weekly Sabbath day arriving with the sunset. Sunday, Monday would also be normal days with the exception of the special unleavened diet. Tuesday would have been slightly different as it would be the preparation day for the last special annual Sabbath of that year’s seven days of unleavened bread season. It lasted for seven days bookended by special annual Sabbath days. Wednesday, starting at sunset Tuesday, would be the last annual Sabbathday and it would be observed until Wednesday evening’s sunset.
Exodus 12:14-16 English Standard Version
14 “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast. 15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel. 16 On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you.
So far these special days were to commemorate what God did to free the Israelites from Egypt. Understanding how God set out his days of worship helps with determining the days Jesus died and was resurrected, before sunrise three days later. Do you think Constantine was concerned with biblical dates and times when he instituted Good Friday and Easter Monday?