Resurrection Day: Nisan 16, or 17?

The Feast of Early Firstfruits is Nisan 17 on the Jewish calendar. In the year of Jesus’ crucifixion, that was a Sunday, by our terminology. By my own reckoning, based on astronomical new moon tables, I believe that the resurrection occurred on April 7, AD 30.

So why do I show this on “Nisan 16 or 17″ on the table of feasts? It isn’t because I question the date, but simply because the subject of the table is not specifically the resurrection, but rather the date of the feast, Early Firstfruits, or Yom haBikkurim, as celebrated by Israel. Lev 23:10-11 (CJB) says

[10] “Tell the people of Isra’el, ‘After you enter the land I am giving you and harvest its ripe crops, you are to bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest to the cohen. [11] He is to wave the sheaf before ADONAI, so that you will be accepted; the cohen is to wave it on the day after the Shabbat.

Calendar of Feasts - Nisan 16 OR 17

The question of the day was, which Shabbat (Sabbath); the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, or the normal weekly Shabbat? Modern Jewish calendars follow the view of the Pharisees, who insisted on the latter; but in the First Century, the Sadducees controlled the Temple and the calendar, and they held to the former.

So, even though Jewish calendars today show Yom haBikkurim on Nisan 16, which was a Saturday in 30 AD, Jesus was indeed the embodiment of the resurrection theme of the feast, and He rose from the dead on the exact day of the celebration!

Author: Ron Thompson

Retired President of R. L Thompson Engineering, Inc.

2 thoughts on “Resurrection Day: Nisan 16, or 17?”

  1. Thanks a trillion times for this clarity. I appreciate a great deal. I belong to the Sadducees school of thought on this matter. I am an ardent believer in Nisan 16, as the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Even if it fell on Sunday on that year it was primarily secondary. It was not always Sunday. Thereby breaking the lie that by Jesus resurrecting on Sunday he permanently changed Sabbath day worship to Sunday. Appreciate!

    1. Thanks to YOU, Seun. In part 8 of my series on the feasts, I provided a chart showing exactly what I think happened on each day of the crucifixion week, with the Jewish date and the Gregorian date both shown. I agree with the Pharisee interpretation, that Early Firstfruits is meant to fall on the day after the regular weekly Sabbath, which is of course always Sunday. I do agree with you, though, that this has absolutely no bearing on what day we should worship each week! I think that a careful reading of Scripture implies that the early Christians, mostly Jewish, met on Shabbat with their non-messianic brothers in synagogue, and then after sundown moved to another location to have strictly Messianic meetings. I think THAT is the origin of Sunday services–given that Saturday night was, to them, Sunday! The term, “the Lord’s Day” occurs only once in scripture (in Revelation), and there is no reason whatsoever to read that as speaking of Sunday. In his book, Israelology, Arnold Fruchtenbaum discussed that subject at length and concluded, to MY satisfaction, that scripture is silent on what day the non-Jewish portion of the Church should meet. I’m content with the traditional Sunday services.

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