Comment on ‘God Squad’ column

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In the March 31 syndicated “God Squad” column, Rabbi Gellman alluded to John 19:14 and indicated the Apostle John stated that Jesus was crucified the day before Passover.

The 18th century Baptist preacher and teacher in his Bible commentary, available online and in a Kindle edition, a man who apparently by his citations has a remarkable familiarity with Jewish rabbinic literature, refuted this strongly. (A search online for the John Gill Bible commentary should yield the address to the site.)

I will caution that in what was pretty clearly a modern word-processing error there is a reference to “the fourteenth month,” which clearly should be “the fourteenth day.”

Though Gill, a man of his culture and his time, seemed to view this interpretation of John 19:14 as some kind of Jewish plot, while at the same time being ironically a gentile scholar of rabbinic literature, if it is such a Jewish plot, I can think of at least three popular gentile Christian Bible teachers who subscribe to the notion Jesus was crucified before the actual Passover day, motivated by a desire to provide a scheme that has Jesus in the tomb 72 hours, which they believe is necessary for the fulfillment of “three days and three nights.”

The late Grant Jeffrey, who maintained very friendly relations with some rabbis in Israel, made a 25-minute presentation available at the itbn.org website in which he provides examples from the Old Testament that clearly point out that in calculating the length of days or years ancient Jewish time calculation were always inclusive, counting any part of a day as an entire day and any part of a year as an entire year. A search for “three days and three nights” at the itbn.org should bring us that presentation which is viewable online by streaming video.

Messianic Jewish teacher the late Zola Levitt had also carefully pointed out that, firstly, Jewish calculations count a day as beginning at what we would count as sundown on the preceding day, so that Friday starts at sundown on Thursday, for example, and he also maintained that any part of the actual daylight period of any day in Jewish reckoning counts by ancient standards as a complete day. Doing a search for “three days and three nights” at the levitt.com should bring up a one-page letter in which he expounded on these concepts.

George Koll

Walla Walla

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