I once thought a Wednesday crucifixion was possible, but I was wrong.
Mainly because of this Ellen White verse below which clearly states that Jesus was crucified on the sixth day.
On the sixth day of the week they had seen their Master die; on the first day of the next week they found themselves deprived of His body, and they were accused of having stolen it away for the sake of deceiving the people.
- Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 794
The sixth day of the week is Friday (better known as preparation day).
I believe Ellen White was a servant of God, and that her writings were inspired, as in "given by God".
In these letters which I write, in the testimonies I bear, I am presenting to you that which the Lord has presented to me. I do not write one article in the paper, expressing merely my own ideas. They are what God has opened before me in vision - the precious rays of light shining from the throne....
- Ellen White, Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 272
God would have shown this to Ellen White in vision. There's no way around that.
A Friday crucifixion, and a Sunday resurrection, mean that inclusive reckoning is required to get the "three days".
With inclusive reckoning part of a day (no matter how small) is counted as a whole day.
Here are some more of my thoughts on all of this.
The Resurrection Day
With a Wednesday crucifixion it has been argued that the resurrection day is on the Sabbath.
Consider this verse from the book of Matthew.
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. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
- Matthew 28:1-6 (KJV)
This is an interesting verse because it seems to suggest that this takes place before Sunday. The phrase "in the end of the sabbath" can mean just that, e.g. "in the end of the sabbath, but not Sunday yet". The phrase "as it began to dawn towards the first day of the week" again suggests that it wasn't Sunday yet, e.g. you can read it as "before the new day that was dawning".
So if the tomb is empty here that means the resurrection must have taken place at the end of the Sabbath.
However the verse below clearly shows that Christ rose from the dead early on Sunday.
Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
- Mark 16:9 (KJV)
That's quite clear really, so it now becomes an interpretation issue.
Interestingly enough, it's only the King James that words it like this. Other translations just say that it is "at dawn" on Sunday.
Check out the NIV for example:
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
- Matthew 28:1 (NIV, KJV)
I now think that Matthew 28:1 should be interpreted as "early the first day of the week".
Jesus "rested" on the Sabbath.
Three Days and Three Nights
The concept of "three days and three nights" has puzzled many.
But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 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.
- Matthew 12:39-40 (KJV)
The phrase "in the heart of the earth" refers to Jesus being "in the grave".
The sign given here is not "three days and three nights", but the resurrection itself.
Some have suggested that this refers to a literal 72 hours based on the verse below.
Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.
- John 11:9 (KJV)
So three days (12 hours each) and three nights (12 hours each) equals 72 hours.
However, I can now see that "three days and three nights" is just a figure of speech that was used in those days.
It is unlikely that Jesus was in the grave for exactly 72 hours anyway.
We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.
- Mark 14:58 (KJV)
There is a clear mention about the regular Sabbath (from the Ten Commandments).
And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.
- Luke 23:56 (KJV)
The Sabbath here is also described as a High Day (a special Sabbath).
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.
- John 19:31 (KJV)
The phrase "according to the commandment" is not normally used for a regular Sabbath, so the idea is that one Sabbath is a High Day, and the other one is "according to the commandment". Two Sabbaths.
The Jews do indeed have two types of Sabbaths, e.g. annual ones, and a weekly one, but only when they fall on the same day the Sabbath is referred to as a High Day.
This particular High Day was both a regular Sabbath, and also the feast of unleavened bread (which always comes directly after the Passover).
These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
- Leviticus 23:4-8 (KJV)
From this we can learn that the Passover was on the 14th of Nisan (Friday), and the feast of unleavened bread was on the 15th of Nisan (Saturday).
Jesus died at the end of Passover (the ninth hour, around 3 pm), and truly is our Passover Lamb.
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.
- 1 Corinthians 5:7 (KJV)
The feast of firstfruits was on the 16th of Nisan.
But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
- 1 Corinthians 15:20 (KJV)
The spices would have had to be bought and prepared on Friday, because there was no work allowed on the Sabbath.
If the crucifixion was on Wednesday it would make no sense for the women to come to the grave on Sunday morning, because spices need to be applied soon after death. If the crucifixion was on Wednesday, they would have applied the spices on Friday, and definitely not on Sunday.
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.
- Luke 24:1 (KJV)
I don't believe it takes all day to prepare spices either.
I've written this article three times before, but once I read the quote from Ellen White on this (see the beginning of this article), I realized I was wrong.
I have corrected my mistake, and I hope you agree.
For a further study, please click here.