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The Good Friday-Easter Sunday Question
How do the biblical three days and three nights after Jesus Christ's crucifixion fit between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning? Or do they?
by Wilber Berg
In the northern hemisphere, the spring of each year brings several of Christianity’s most important religious observances. The Lenten period from Ash Wednesday to Easter is observed by some with fasting and penance. Good Friday, or Holy Friday, as it is sometimes called, is celebrated two days before Easter as a commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Easter Sunday is revered as the day of Jesus’ resurrection, sometimes by sunrise services.
These practices are so much an ingrained tradition in the church calendar that many would consider it heretical to question them. But most of the world is scarcely aware that the original apostles did not institute or keep these customs, nor were they observed by the early Christian Church. Try as you might to find them, Lent, Good Friday and Easter are not so much as mentioned in the original Greek wording of the New Testament. The word Easter appears only once in the King James Version of the Bible (Acts 12:4) in a flagrant mistranslation of the Greek word pascha, which should be translated "Passover," as most versions render it.
The justification for the Lenten 40-day preparation for Easter is traditionally based on Jesus’ 40-day wilderness fast before his temptation by Satan (Harper’s Bible Dictionary, "Lent"? Matthew 4:1-2; Mark 1:13). The problem with this explanation is that this incident is not connected in any way with Jesus’ supposed observance of Easter. The 40-day pre-Easter practice of fasting and penance did not originate in the Bible.
Pre-Christian practices adopted
Many people still follow such practices, assuming that such activities honor God and are approved by Him. But, we should ask, how does God regard such extrabiblical customs? Consider God’s instructions to those who would worship Him:
"Take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.’ You shall not worship the Lord your God in that way; for every abomination to the Lord which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (Deuteronomy 12:30-32, emphasis added throughout).
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Keywords: Easter Sunday Good Friday resurrection of Jesus Lent Jesus Sabbath, Jesus' resurrection