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    March 15, 1883

    “Time of Christ’s Resurrection.—Questions” The Signs of the Times, 9, 11.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The following questions have been received from a subscriber who does not agree with the position taken in a short article a few weeks ago-that Christ rose from the grave on the first day of the week:-SITI March 15, 1883, page 127.1

    “1. What are we to understand by Daniel 9:27: ‘and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease’?”SITI March 15, 1883, page 127.2

    The time mentioned in this chapter is prophetic time-one day standing for a year. The one week of verse 27 then, is seven years, and the seventy years, and the seventy weeks of verse 24 are 490 years. This period is divided into three portions-seven weeks, sixty-two weeks, and one week. The first two portions (sixty-nine weeks, 483 years) were to reach to the Messiah. Verse 25. They ended when Christ commenced his work as the Messiah, the Anointed, at his baptism. It was to this period that he referred when he went into Galilee proclaiming, “The time is fulfilled.” Mark 1:15. But there yet remained one week (seven years) of the seventy weeks of years; and it was in the midst of this that Christ was to be cut off, i.e., crucified. In fulfillment of this, Christ was crucified just three and one-half years from his baptism. This is the interpretation given by all commentators; with it the prophecy is the strongest proof of the Messiahship of Christ; without it, the prophecy cannot be explained. We would ask our friend to give an explanation of this entire chapter, and tell us where the seventy weeks apply, if they are only 490 literal days. An attempt to prove from this chapter that Christ was crucified on Wednesday, will involve the person making it in hopeless confusion. For an explanation of this prophecy in detail, see “Thoughts on the Book of Daniel,” for sale at this Office.SITI March 15, 1883, page 127.3

    “Question is stated so obscurely that it is impossible to tell what is meant.SITI March 15, 1883, page 127.4

    “3. Did the Passover that year come on fifth-day?”SITI March 15, 1883, page 127.5

    It undoubtedly commenced at the close of the fifth day, or what we now term Thursday night. It was at this time that the Passover supper was eaten.SITI March 15, 1883, page 127.6

    “4. Were their feast days ever termed Sabbaths? Leviticus 23:2.”SITI March 15, 1883, page 127.7

    Yes; read the remainder of Leviticus 23, especially verse 32, and you can see for yourself.SITI March 15, 1883, page 127.8

    “5. Could the women that saw where he was laid have had time to prepare spices before the weekly Sabbath, if it was sixth-day at sunset that he was laid in the tomb?”SITI March 15, 1883, page 127.9

    If it was sixth-day at sunset” that Christ was laid in the tomb, of course nothing could have been done after that before the beginning of the Sabbath, as it would have been already Sabbath. But where did you learn that it was sunset when the burial took place? The Bible does not intimate such a thing.SITI March 15, 1883, page 127.10

    “6. Did not the earthquake happen at sunset (in the end of the Sabbath), the same time of day that he was laid in the grave? Matthew 28:1, 2.”SITI March 15, 1883, page 128.1

    No one can tell the time of the earthquake, since it is not revealed. The words, “In the end of the Sabbath,” referred to the time when the woman came to the sepulcher, and the earthquake had occurred when they made their visit. See margin of verse 2. Now are we to understand that the women came to the sepulcher on the Sabbath? Not if we have any regard for the harmony of Scripture, for the testimony of the most imminent critics. We regard it as beyond dispute that the accounts of this event as told by Matthew and Mark must agree. Mark says plainly that the visit of the women was “when the Sabbath was past.” The best authorities translate Matthew 28:1 in harmony with this. This is done, not to strain the text to make it agree with a preconceived idea, but because it more clearly expresses the real meaning of the original. Thus Dr. Clarke says on this text: “‘After the end of the week;’ this is the translation given by several eminent critics; and in this way the word ophse is used by the most eminent Greek writers.” He quotes several passages from Greek authors, in which the word ophse, here translated “end,” is used in the sense of “after.” Campbell and McKnight’s version of the text is, “Sabbath being over, and the first day of the week beginning to dawn.” Dr. Barnes says, “The word end here means the same as after the Sabbath-that is, after the Sabbath was fully completed or finished.”SITI March 15, 1883, page 128.2

    We see then, from the combined testimony of the evangelists, that the visit to the sepulcher was made on the first day of the week; that Christ rose on the same day will be briefly shown in answer to the next question.SITI March 15, 1883, page 128.3

    “7. Was Jonah three days and three nights in the whale’s belly? If so, may we not conclude that Jesus was three whole days and nights in the heart of the earth?”SITI March 15, 1883, page 128.4

    Yes; if you will first prove that Jonah was “three whole days and nights” in the whale’s belly. You assume the very thing that ought to be proved in order to make your argument sound. But that cannot be proved, as the Bible makes no such assertion. It does say that “as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man the three days in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:46. This gives us no more light than we had before; but by collating the texts which speak of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, we shall have an inspired comment on the expression, “three days and three nights.” In addition to the one already quoted, we give the following:-SITI March 15, 1883, page 128.5

    “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go if unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” Matthew 16:21.SITI March 15, 1883, page 128.6

    “And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him; and the third day he shall rise again.” Matthew 20:17-19. See also chap. 17:23.SITI March 15, 1883, page 128.7

    “And he began to teach them, that the Son of man, suffer many things, and the rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.” Mark 8:31. See also Mark 9:30, 31.SITI March 15, 1883, page 128.8

    “Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted upon; and they shall scourge him, and put him to death; and the third day he shall rise again.” Luke 18:31-33. See also chap. 9:22.SITI March 15, 1883, page 128.9

    We have given all the different expressions used concerning this event. Remember that these texts are the language of our Lord himself, and that in all of them he is speaking of only the one thing. Now since we cannot allow that Jesus would contradict himself, or that he would state the case differently on one occasion from what he did on another, we must admit that the expressions, “three days and three nights,” “after three days,” and “the third day,” all designate precisely the same period of time. Let this be borne in mind. Now one more text will show what Christ meant by the expression, “the third day.” When told that Herod would kill him, he replied, “Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold I cast out devils, and I do curse to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.” Luke 13:32. This text cannot be made plainer by comment. No one would think that by it he meant to include more than a part of two days, with one whole day intervening. But remember still that the expressions, “three days and three nights,” and “after three days,” are used of the same period of time.SITI March 15, 1883, page 128.10

    One step more concludes this brief argument. Christ was crucified on Friday, and was buried toward the close of that day. We learn this from Luke 23:53, 54: “And he [Joseph] took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulcher that was soon in stone, where in never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on.” From verse 56 we learn that this was the weekly Sabbath, as it is distinguished as being the Sabbath of the commandment.” See Exodus 20:8-11. Keeping in mind the fact that Christ was not to rise till the third day, we readily see that he could not have risen on the Sabbath, as that would have been only the second day. So we are forced to conclude that he rose on first-day; and this exactly fulfills his prediction, as we have already proved.SITI March 15, 1883, page 128.11

    “8. Do not the Scriptures affirm that these things happened as he said before his crucifixion?”SITI March 15, 1883, page 128.12

    Yes; see answer to question 7 for proof that they did.SITI March 15, 1883, page 128.13

    “9. Do we gain or lose by compromising this question with our opponents?”SITI March 15, 1883, page 128.14

    We always lose by compromising with the error, and we lose just as much, and even more, by denying a fact, no matter how important the truth which we are trying to sustain. Indeed, the greater the truth for which we are arguing, the more necessary is it that we make no false assumptions. Those who hold the view that our friend does, seem to think that it is impossible for an opponent to have any truth on his side. The Sabbath cause is not strengthened by such an assumption. There is probably no error that has not some truth in its composition. The reason why so many err in regard to Bible doctrine is not because they hold to no truth, but because they draw false conclusions from the truth that they do hold. Now we must reject their error, but we must not with it throw away the truth. Deadly poison may be carried in a silver cup; but we need not throw away the cup in order to get rid of the poison. Many persons argue most zealously that the fourth commandment is still in force, and binding upon all men, and claim that it enjoins the observance of the first day of the week. Shall we, in order to refute their claim, deny the fourth commandment? By no means; we simply show that their conclusion is unwarranted from their premises. So in regard to the question before us. First-day keepers, driven to extremities for a warrant for their practice, claim that the fact that Jesus rose on the first day of the week sanctifies that day. But their conclusion is unsound, for it has nothing to support it. The resurrection of Christ had no effect whatever on the Sunday. If anyone tells us that it did, we shall simply ask him to give us Bible proof of the fact. If he had risen on Sabbath it would not have added one whit to the sacredness of that day.SITI March 15, 1883, page 128.15

    It is strange that our friends cannot see that by attempting to prove that Christ rose on Sabbath instead of on Sunday, they virtually admit that first-day keepers are correct in their argument. It is they, and not we, who are compromising with our opponents. By the course which they pursue, they proclaim their belief that the day on which Christ rose became in consequence of that action, the Sabbath. Now as you cannot convince a Sunday-keeper, or indeed anybody who carefully considers the matter, that Christ did not rise on Sunday, you lose all power to convince them that the seventh day is the Sabbath. You can do nothing further with them.SITI March 15, 1883, page 128.16

    These questions might have been considered at much greater length. If all the conflicting opinions had been given, one issue of the SIGNS would not have contained them. But, having considered them all, we have tried to state as clearly and briefly as possible the view that harmonizes with the Bible narrative. We have treated the subject at some greater length, not because we think the subject itself worthy of such consideration, but because we know that Sabbath truth is in danger of being brought into disrepute by the injudicious course of some of its friends. Truth differs from error in that it does not depend on technicalities. We are not obliged to resort to “doubtful disputations” in support of the Sabbath. God has spoken plainly in regard to it; and we can find no stronger evidence than the unchanging word of God. The Sunday lacks the support, as can be easily shown. God has made ample provision for the support of his truth; we do not need to manufacture evidence. It is a trick of the enemy to cause those who would defend the truth, to turn aside from the main point and discuss unimportant questions. Do not be thus deceived. We have an important truth to present to the world. Let us do it faithfully and understandingly, using the arguments that God has provided for us, and not those which the enemy would put into our hands. E. J. W.SITI March 15, 1883, page 128.17

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