When Did Jesus Rise From the Dead? ‘Unknown’: Those who teach a Wednesday or Thursday crucifixion and a Saturday afternoon/evening resurrection do so for two primary reasons: First, they think they are correctly interpreting Jesus' statement in Matthew 12:40 that He would be in the grave a literal "three days and three nights." However, as we have demonstrated in Matthew 12:40 their theory flatly contradicts twenty-one other Bible texts. This is simply a case of standing the Bible on it's head. Second, they hope to take the wind out of the sails of those who worship on Sunday by proving Jesus did not rise on Sunday. However, their assertion that Jesus rose on Saturday afternoon/evening flatly contradicts the grammar of the Greek language as well as the Bible's specific statement in Mark 16:9 that Jesus rose on Sunday morning. Greek Grammar The Greeks had four words to express "early morning," just as we have in English: “dawn,” “daybreak,” “sunrise,” and “morning.” When the Greek words are defined by the dictionary, and studied in their context, there is no doubt that they mean "in the morning as the sun is rising." Let's consider how these four Greek words are used and defined in each of the texts which record Christ's resurrection on Sunday morning and the subsequent visits by the women: Matthew 28:1 - "epiphosko" (Strongs #G2020) "After the Sabbath, at dawn ("epiphosko") on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb." AT DAWN = The Greek "epiphosko" literally means "to dawn in the morning, to begin to be light." The root word is "phosko" meaning "to shine." We get our English word "phosphorescence" from "phosko." This word is used in Scripture twice: once in it's literal sense (Matthew 28:1) to mean "sunrise, dawn, as it begins to be light," and once in a metaphorical sense to mean "beginning of the day from a Jewish perspective, sunset" (Luke 23:54). This is the one text the "three days and three nights" advocates use to build their theory that Jesus rose at sunset on Friday. However, when taken in the context of the following texts, the grammar establishes beyond a doubt that the two Mary's came to the tomb at dawn on Sunday morning. Mark 16:2 - "proi" (Strongs #G4404) "Very early ("proi") on the first day of the week, just after sunrise ("anateilantos tou heliou"), they were on their way to the tomb" VERY EARLY = The Greek "proi" means "early in the morning, the early morning watch which ushers in the dawn." This is the opposite of the Greek word "opse" which means "late in the day, evening." When Luke wrote Acts 28:23 informing us that Paul preached "from morning ("proi") until evening ("hespera") he used "proi" to indicate "morning/dawn/when the sun rises." JUST AFTER SUNRISE = The Greek literally reads "anateilantos tou heliou" meaning "at the rising of the sun." Notice carefully that Mark clearly states when he uses the word "proi" he intends us to understand it the way the dictionary defines it: the time of day "just after sunrise." Thus, without question, when the two Mary's arrived "very early" ("proi"), they arrived at sunrise on the first day of the week (Sunday morning). Mark 16:9 - "proi" (Strongs #G4404) "When Jesus rose early ("proi") on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons." JESUS ROSE EARLY = Here Mark once again uses the Greek word "proi." In verse 2 Mark already has defined what he means by "proi": "just after sunrise." Now Mark tells us Jesus rose "early in the morning, during the early morning watch which ushers in the dawn, at sunrise." Not only is this the dictionary definition of "proi," but it is precisely how Mark himself defined it in Mark 16:2. "Proi" is the opposite of the Greek word "opse" which means "late in the day, evening," thus "proi" cannot mean Jesus rose Saturday evening after sundown as darkness fell. When Luke wrote Acts 28:23 telling us that Paul preached "from morning ("proi") until evening ("hespera") he used this same word to indicate "morning/dawn/when the sun rises." There is simply no way to deny the grammar: Jesus rose at dawn as the sun was rising on Sunday morning, just a few moments before the women arrived at the tomb. To claim otherwise is simply to display an outright ignorance of Greek grammar, the Biblical context, and history. Luke 24:1 - "orthros" (Strongs #G3722) "On the first day of the week, very early in the morning ("orthros"), the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb." VERY EARLY IN THE MORNING = The Greek "orthros" means "at daybreak, dawn, early morning." It is the opposite of the Greek words "hespera" meaning "evening;" "opse" meaning "evening, close of the day;" "nux" meaning "night;" "skotos" meaning "darkness." By using this third Greek word meaning "dawn, early morning," Luke affirms beyond question that the events of Christ's resurrection occurred on Sunday morning at sunrise. Luke 24:22 - "orthrinos" (Strongs #G3721) "In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning ("orthrinos")" EARLY THIS MORNING = The actual date was Sunday, April 9, 30 AD. The Greek word "orthrinos" means "early in the morning." It is regularly used as a substitute for the word "morning." This word cannot be used in Jewish reckoning for the beginning of a day at sundown. It requires the light to be breaking (early morning), not the light to be waning (evening). Thus Luke has used two additional words, "orthros" and "orthrinos" to inform his readers the events of resurrection Sunday occurred very early in the daylight. John 20:1 - "proi" (Strongs #G4404) "Early ("proi") on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance." EARLY = The Greek word "proi" means "early in the morning, the early morning watch which ushers in the dawn." As explained previously, "proi" cannot be used to refer to sunset, for it is the opposite of the Greek word "opse" which means "late in the day, evening." When Luke wrote Acts 28:23 telling us that Paul preached "from morning ("proi") until evening ("hespera") he used this same word ("proi") to indicate "morning/dawn/when the sun rises." This is the same word Mark used to state Jesus rose early on Sunday morning (Mark 16:9). Summary The Gospel writers are in full agreement that Jesus rose on Sunday morning at dawn. They went so far as to use every one of the four Greek words which mean "dawn, sunrise, daybreak": "epiphosko," "proi," "orthros," "orthrinos." One of them, Mark, even specified that he was speaking of that time of day which is "at the rising of the sun" (Mark 16:2). All of this was done so that modern readers would not have so much as a shadow of a doubt that Jesus' resurrection and the women's visit to the tomb occurred on Sunday at sunrise.