Saturday, 24 November 2012

This is my son whom I love.

I am on page 24 of Greg Paul’s book, Close enough to hear God breath.  Mid-sentence, talking of God, Greg refers to “His dear Son, Jesus.”

“His dear Son.”  I couldn’t help but think of my dear son, Daniel.  One needs to be a father to understand the essence of having a ‘dear’ son.  I am sure every mother has mother-feelings.  Fatherhood, though, is a distinctly male emotion.
I had a flashback to when the Spirit of God overshadowed Mary.  It wasn’t sexual in any way; it was the act of fathering.  God had a son for the specific purpose of redeeming mankind but one cannot overlook the excitement of God becoming a father, having a son who will learn to call him Dad [Abba].
Daniel is our second child.  God had already given me ‘the desire of my heart’ in our daughter, Krista.  When Wendy became pregnant a second time, I said, “God, you choose this time.”   God chose a son for me; my son in whom I am well pleased, my son who will carry my genes and my family name to the next generation, my son in whom people [I hope] will see a shadow of his father.
I believe there is a natural pride a father has in his son; regardless of intellect, regardless of success or failure, regardless of anything.  There is an overwhelming pride I enjoy in the simple fact that Daniel is my son whom I love and in whom I am well pleased.
There is all kind of theology surrounding the second person of the Trinity, the mystery of Christ’s pre-existence before the world began, but I don’t think this in any way takes away from the joy and emotion God experienced in fathering his Son.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Peace? A false hope?

While everyone would like to see a sustainable peace in the middle-east is it reasonable to expect that this will ever happen?

Some 4,000 years ago God made a covenant with Abraham, “…The whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.” Canaan then included modern-day Israel, Palestinian territories, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan and Syria.  While God has never revoked this covenant, wilful disobedience on the part of his Chosen People has meant that the Promised Lands have never been fully possessed and continue to be contested today.
Does Israel have a moral or legal right to the disputed territories?  Trying to answer this question opens up a Pandora’s Box of arguments. Leaving God out of the conversation for just a moment - throughout history the conqueror has been the one to dictate the borders and rule over the conquered people.  Canada and the USA are no exception.  To argue that Palestinians have a right to any of the disputed lands is the same as trying to make the case that the First Nations people have rightful title to all the lands of North America.  Reality has shown that ownership becomes ninety percent of the law.
700-Years BC Isaiah the prophet foreshadowed the re-birth of Israel which happened in a single day. “Who has ever heard of such things?  Who has ever seen things like this?  Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment?  Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.”  When reading Isaiah 66:7-8, it is important to keep in mind that Israel's status as a sovereign nation was established and reaffirmed during the course of a single day, May 14, 1948, and that it was born of a movement called Zionism, and that its declaration of independence was not the result of a war but rather the cause of one.
It is also worth noting that the Hebrews have never been a colonial power, they have always been content to live within the borders of the lands covenanted by God.  Yet the ancient Egyptians, the Philistines, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persian empire, the Greek empire, the Roman empire, the Byzantine empire, the Crusaders, the Spanish empire, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union have each, in turn, tried to destroy the Jewish people.  Each one of them gone.  The Iranians and Hamas are now vowing to have their kick-at-the-can. History does repeat itself, often, and nothing is learned.
When Hagar bore Ishmael, from whom Moslems claim their [faith] descent, God prophesied that, “He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” This prophecy could not be more accurate as one observes this truth, especially from radical Islamists, towards those of contrary beliefs.
Will there ever be peace?  Yes, but it’s not necessarily all good news.  The Apostle Paul prophesied, “Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3.
Peace?  We must never stop trying.  Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God."

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A Time for Change

After 35-years in the audiovisual installation industry I have decided it is time to hang up my hat so that I may devote my time Bus Stop Bible Studies, the ministry I had the privilege of starting in 2006. Yesterday was my last day at First Vision.
My audiovisual career started at Black’s Cameras, having just immigrated to Canada from England in 1973.  I felt like I had landed in a land flowing with milk and honey.  After 2-years working in the retail stores I was promoted to work in Blacks’ AV division, selling 16mm movie projectors and slide projectors to school boards and the like.  During that time I remember the introduction of the first battery operated ‘portable’ colour video camera from Panasonic; the camera head weighed 16lbs. and the reel-to-reel backpack recorder 70lbs.
In 1976 I was offered a job by Multivision Electrosonic, a company who was at the forefront of the emerging multi-image market.  Multi-Image was a large-venue display system comprising up to forty 35mm slide projectors synchronized to a sound track.  This became a significant industry with the formation of The Canadian Association for Multi-Image, of which I was a founding member and treasurer.
In 1980 I and two colleagues started our own company, Integrated Systems, to further specialize in the evolving multi-image industry and system integration.  During this time the company saw the introduction of the first video projectors and IBM became one of our main customers. 
In the fall of 1987 I started by own company, David Harrison and Associates, to specialize in the permanent audiovisual system integration market.  Approximately 7-years later the company was rebranded FirstVision.  The first three years of the company were run out of my home basement office and yet during this time we were awarded a $1.2 million ($2 million in 2012 dollars) contract to design and install the AV systems for the new Glaxo Pharmaceuticals headquarters in Mississauga.  This was to be the first of many prestigious projects awarded to the Company.  The Company’s focus has primarily been serving banks, law firms and companies where the need for quality and service are paramount. This continues to be our core focus today.
There have been many exciting times in the last 35-years,  amongst the most notable of which was the Hockey Hall of Fame project awarded to us in 1993; the year in which the Toronto Maple Leafs almost made it to the Stanley Cup.  During our site meetings, towards the end of the project, the excitement was palpable as plans were being made for a parade down University Avenue.  When Don Cherry and Ron Maclean came for a walk-through with the cameras, I was caught at the top of a stepladder adjusting a projector.  Judging by the number of people who caught a three-second glimpse of me, the whole nation must have been tuned in to Hockey Night in Canada!
And, of course, there have been tremendous strides in technology.  I remember selling two of the very first 42” plasma displays in 1997 for $25,000 each ($36,000 in today’s dollars).  Now when you buy a bed they’ll give you a consumer model for free! 
There is a proverb in the Bible which says, “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.” Proverbs 22:29.  This has been the privilege of my experience.  Indeed, the latest project First Vision completed is the new Four Seasons flagship hotel which opened in Yorkville just days ago. 
Throughout the years, though, it has been the people, the employees, customers and suppliers that have made the whole journey so memorable.  I would be remiss if I did not hold out one individual in particular, Margaret Johnston, who has been at my right hand almost from the beginning, and continues to serve with the company.  We have been blessed with highly gifted professionals who serve our customers today; many of them have been with First Vision for more than 10-years.
With eventual retirement in mind, two years ago I sold the majority of my shares in the Company, recently renamed First Vision Technology Inc. to better reflect the changing nature of the industry.  
Thanks for the memories!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Pussy Riot - When all the world displays it's ignorance

When the world's media goes nuts and everyone gets sucked in, there are those who still tell the whole story:

August 8, 2012 ( - The Russian punk rock band “Pussy Riot,” currently on trial for desecrating Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral, is being elevated by Western elites and media outlets to the status of a human rights icon.

Time magazine describes the trial as “A Kangaroo Court Goes on a Witch Hunt,” while Britain’s Guardian newspaper quotes supporters comparing group leader Nadezhda Tolokonnikova to Simone de Beauvoir. The Obama administration says it is “deeply concerned” about what it calls a “politically-motivated prosecution,” and the pro-abortion “human rights” group Amnesty International claims the trio are “prisoners of conscience.” Madonna Ciccone and other American pop stars and celebrities have characterized the girls as “heroes” and are demanding their release.

However, those same sources are giving a very truncated version of what the trio of girls actually did when they entered Russia’s most revered church, for what the band members claimed was merely a political protest against the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The three women, all in their twenties, are being prosecuted for barging into the Cathedral’s most sacred space, the sanctuary that contains the altar, where they performed a high-kicking dance, sang an expletive-laden song, and engaged in mockery of worship. A video of their antics, with an English translation of the lyrics, can be found here (warning: offensive content).

Western media accounts typically quote only one phrase from the song sung by the trio, “St. Mary, virgin, drive away Putin,” giving the impression that the song was nothing more than an outcry against the Russian leader. However, an English translation of the full lyrics obtained by indicate that the girls had more than just electoral politics in mind.

In addition to their mockery of Orthodox worship, the girls derided the “Black robe, golden epaulettes,” of Orthodox clergy, and mocked the “crawling and bowing” of the parishioners. They then added a barb against the Orthodox Church’s defense of public morality, stating, “The ghost of freedom is in heaven, Gay pride sent to Siberia in chains.”

“The head of the KGB is their chief saint,” continue the girls, in reference to Putin’s former position under the Soviet regime.

They then sing a stanza associating the sacred with feces, followed by another stanza objecting to perceived support of the Putin administration by leaders of Orthodoxy, then another stating “Patriarch Gundyaev believes in Putin,” adding “B**ch, you better believe in God.”

“Pussy Riot” members’ little-known history of obscene “protests”

Another aspect of the story that has been left virtually unreported by Western media outlets is the association of “Pussy Riot” and its members with other obscene displays calculated to provoke moral offence and outrage.

In 2008, band members entered Moscow’s Museum of Biology in order to engage in a “fertility rite” protest against the election of Dmitry Medvedev as the country’s president.  “Pussy Riot” member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and her husband removed their clothes and engaged in public sex in the museum, while others took photos of the incident and posted them on the Internet.

Maria Alekhina, another member, has released a video of the group in which she enters a supermarket and masturbates using a chicken leg, according to an uncharacteristically frank article by the Associated Press. In another recent stunt, the group hung a drawing of a huge phallus on a St. Petersburg drawbridge, the agency reports in the same article.

The group’s repeated acts of calculated provocation against Russian religious and moral sensibilities have created an impression of the band in their home country that differs dramatically from the sympathetic portrayal produced for Western consumers.

While America’s pop culture royalty and media establishment fawn over the jailed trio, Russian performers have been loathe to associate themselves with their cause, including the nation’s two biggest rock stars, Zemfira and Mumiy Troll. Some, like the star singer Elena Vaenga, have even denounced them publicly, stating, “I’ll personally drink to the health of the judge who’ll slap them with some jail time.”

Even sympathetic Russian journalist Michael Idov admits in a recent article for the New York Times that “the hometown opinion on Pussy Riot is mixed at best. Even the liberal response has involved language like ‘They should let these chicks go with a slap on the ass.’”

Religious persecution from Russia’s liberals?

Alexander Shchipkov, chairman of the Club of Orthodox Christian Journalists, whom the Voice of Russia characterizes as “a prominent blogger who had to pay dearly for his religious beliefs back in the Soviet times,” regards the group’s cathedral “protest” as a “a cold, bloodless terrorist act.”

“The people who stand behind Pussy Riot want the church to adopt a secular system of values – moral relativism, ecumenism, political correctness and other rules of consumer society. The church will never agree to this kind of ‘secular Reformation,’” Shchipkov added, according to the Voice of Russia.

Dr. Igor Beloborodov, director of Russia’s Demographic Research Institute, told LifeSiteNews in an email interview that “Pussy Riot” has “repeatedly insulted the feelings of believers” in Russia, and is actively engaged in promoting an anti-family, anti-Christian agenda.

“Few people know that their aggressive actions have taken place under the slogans of the LGBT community,” wrote Beloborodov. “They have repeatedly stated in their comments that these actions are directed not only against the Orthodox Church and orthodox believers, but also in solidarity with sexual minorities, which in their opinion, are not supported by the Russian authorities.”

“They chose the church as a target for attack, as Orthodox priests are actively supporting the traditional family and the telling of truth about homosexuality,” he continued. “Obviously, in the spread of the ‘culture of death’ this group and all of their actions are a well-planned social project to discredit the church and the destruction of the natural family.”

“That is why today the anti-Christian lobby is expending huge resources in order to present this group as ‘martyrs.’ In fact we are dealing with dangerous anti-moral ‘terrorists’ fighting against society, churches and our children,” he added.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Witnessing an act of violence...

Occasionally I do a Google-search to see what people are saying about Bus Stop Bible Studies. Very occasionally one pops up that really gets my attention, saying something that is of real significance. The following is text copied from the blog of one David Barker. I think the text speaks for itself.
“Last evening I rode the bus half way across the city. I sat at the back of the bus beside a woman in a hijab to my left and a Sikh in a turban to my right. After all, this is Toronto. I was on my way to a meeting - a workshop really - to review a draft statement of values called VisionWorks. Depending on who's describing it, the community producing this document could be characterized as a far left post-Christian postmodern community, or as a far right band of neo-literalists who are supplanting one dogma for another. I don't identify with either characterization but that's neither here nor there.
I was using a copy of VisionWorks as a bookmark in an English translation of Friedrich Nietzsche's Beyond Good and Evil, which I was readng assiduously as the bus bumped and whined its way east. I read:
219. ‘Moral judgement and condemnation is the favourite form of revenge of the spiritually limited on those who are less so, likewise a form of compensation for their having been neglected by nature, finally an occasion for acquiring spirit and becoming refined - malice spiritualizes. Deep in their hearts they are glad there exists a standard according to which those overloaded with the goods and privileges of the spirit are their equals - they struggle for the 'equality of all before God' and it is virtually for that purpose that they need the belief in God.’
As someone stood to leave, I heard a crinkling on the floor. The Sikh beside me leaned over and pulled up a poster. It was an advertisement from the Toronto-based - a scriptural quotation about loving god. You know the one. Somebody had pulled it down and tossed it on the floor. The man beside me stood and tried to insert it back into the slots that hold the ads in place, but the ad wouldn't stay there and fell back to the floor. He tried again but gave up because there was no way to prop up the scriptural passage. He moved to the front of the bus and I noticed on the seat beside him an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper covered in selections from the Psalms. The heading was sandwiched between a crown like the one in the margarine ads and a star of David. It read:
This was my evening for religious pluralism! The document I was on my way to consider is intended, in part, to address the fact that we live in a world where buses are packed with Muslims and Sikhs and fundamentalist Christians and postmodern poets who believe only in the bus ride.
After the Sikh had moved forward, I had room on the seat beside me to stretch out the ad and look at it more closely. What struck me most was that the ad was covered in dirty footprints. Not only had it been torn down; it had also been stomped on. Now I understood why the Sikh had tried so hard to put the ad back in its place.
I could share with him a sinking feeling at the sight of the footprints. It evoked in me something visceral, as if I had witnessed an act of violence. While I have no great regard for proselytism, nor for the religion being proselytized, it diminishes us all when anyone's beliefs are stomped on.”
David, I hope you don’t mind me copying your words but your closing paragraph caused me to say out loud, “Amen!”

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Good Friday or Good Thursday? Tradition requires great caution.

Above: Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, where Jesus was crucified.  A Muslim cemetery has bee built above and a bus terminal below.

There are many traditions in the church.  Indeed, traditions are often the differentiating factors between the many ‘Christian’ denominations.

There is nothing inherently wrong with traditions.  Your family may celebrate Thanksgiving Dinner together year after year – this is a great tradition that helps bond a family together.  However, when a tradition distorts Scripture and distracts us from its inherent truths we create significant problems and can do much unintentional damage.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”  He did not say, “I am the way, the tradition and the life.”

I recently conducted a study concerning the tradition of Good Friday.   I have long been confused by this tradition as Jesus specifically prophesied concerning his death: “The Son of Man will be in the earth for three days and three nights.”  An unambiguous statement if ever there was one!  If Jesus was indeed crucified on Friday and raised to life before dawn on Sunday morning, according to my calendar, he could have only “been in the earth” two days and two nights. 

It is only in a few of the modern Bible translations that we read of Jesus being crucified on a Friday.  I would respectfully argue that they are wrong - they are repeating traditions.  For clarity one should research the Old Testament instructions on which days the Passover feast(s) were to be eaten and to understand that there are Special Sabbaths, and more than just one day of preparation.  Read a literal (word-for-word) translation of the Bible and it will become clearer.  Older Bible translations do not mention the crucifixion happening [specifically] on the Friday.  Jesus had to be crucified on the Thursday.  Scripture says so!

As an aside, some have used the argument of a solar ellipse occurring while Jesus was on the cross to slip in an additional day. "It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining." Luke 23:44-45. The totality of an eclipse can never last more than 7-minutes and 31-seconds, and is usually shorter than 5 minutes so this does not work. Scripture specifically says the sun was darkened and darkeness came over the whole land for three hours.

As we look into what is written in the Scriptures it is important to understand the difference as to how the Pharisees and Sadducees observed the beginning of the day.

Colour code: Pharisee  Sadducee

14th day of Nissan (Pharisee day starts at sunrise - 6:00am)
14th day of Nissan (Sadducees day starts at sunset - 6:00pm)
Passover [Pesach] begins at twilight.
Leviticus 23:5 The LORD's Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month.
Luke 22:14-16 (New International Version) When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.  And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.  For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."

Thursday 15th day of Nissan (Pharisee day starts at sunrise - 6:00am)
Matthew 27:1 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.
Mark 15:1 Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, reached a decision. They bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate.
John 18:28 Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas ended in the early hours of the morning. Then he was taken to the headquarters of the Roman governor. His accusers didn’t go inside because it would defile them, and they wouldn’t be allowed to celebrate the Passover.
John 19:14 It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. "Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews.
Note: "Passover Week" not "the Passover".  This would be the first of two (and possibly second of three) Days of Preparation within the same week. 
Mark 15:25 It was the third hour when they crucified him.
Matthew 27:45 [The Death of Jesus ] From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land.
Mark 15:33 [The Death of Jesus] At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour.
Luke 23:44 [Jesus' Death] It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour,
Matthew 27:46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
Matthew 27: 57-61 As evening approached; there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb.
Transliteration:   27:57 And evening having come, there came a rich man, from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was discipled to Jesus,

Thursday 15th day of Nissan (Sadducees day starts at sunset - 6:00pm)
Leviticus 23:5 The LORD's Passover begins at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month.
Transliteration: 23:5 in the first month, on the fourteenth of the month, between the evenings, [is] the Passover to Jehovah;
Mark 15:42  And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
Note: KJV indicates evening has just started - that is the first hour of the day of Sabbath Preparation - not the Sabbath itself.  This timing is key. Transliteration: 15:42 And now evening having come, seeing it was the preparation, that is, the fore-Sabbath,
Luke 23:52 Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.
 KJV "And that day was the preparation, and the Sabbath drew on."
Note: This is a conflict in the NIV translation as this would be the 1st hour of the Day of Preparation.

Above: The tomb [at Gordon's Calvary], the layout of which perfectly matches the biblical account.

Transliteration: 23:54 And the day was a preparation, and Sabbath was approaching,
John 19:31 It was the day of preparation, and the Jewish leaders didn’t want the bodies hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath, because it was the Passover).
Transliteration:  19:31The Jews, therefore, that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the Sabbath, since it was the preparation, (for that Sabbath day was a great one,) asked of Pilate that their legs may be broken, and they taken away.  Note: This was not the Sabbath (Saturday) but a ‘special Sabbath’.

Friday 16th day of Nissan (Pharisee day starts at sunrise - 6:00am)
Matthew 27:62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.  Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
Note: There were conceivably three consecutive ‘days of preparation’:
1.   Wednesday  (daytime) for the Sadducee’s Passover celebrated by Jesus on Wednesday evening;
2.  Thursday (daytime) Pharisee’s Passover and for the Feast of Unleavened Bread (to be celebrated on the Friday);
3.    And Friday (daytime) for the regular Sabbath day (Saturday)
Other translations (see NLT)  incorrectly say, "the Sabbath" (although the NLT does add a footnote).  If this were the case, Jesus could have not been buried for three days.

Friday,  16th day of Nissan (Saducees day starts at sunset - 6:00pm)
Saturday, 17th day of Nissan (Pharisee day starts at sunrise - 6:00am)
Exodus 16:23 (New Living Translation) He told them, “This is what the Lord commanded: Tomorrow will be a day of complete rest, a holy Sabbath day set apart for the Lord. So bake or boil as much as you want today, and set aside what is left for tomorrow.”

Original Sabbath (Shabbat, shabbos, shabbes, shobos, etc.) is a weekly day of rest, now observed from sundown on Friday until the appearance of three stars in the sky on Saturday night.

Saturday, 17th day of Nissan (Sadducee day starts at sunset - 6:00pm)
Sunday, 18th day of Nissan (Pharisee day starts at sunrise - 6:00am)
Matthew 28 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
Mark 16:2  Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise*, they went to the tomb.
Luke 24:1  ...very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb,
John 20:1 Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb.

*Note: Sunrise for 18th day of Nissan would be +/- 06:01am.

Sunday, 18th day of Nissan (Sadducee day starts at sunset - 6:00am)

Above: The outside of the tomb at Gordon's Calvary.


“The Son of Man will be in the earth for three days and three nights.” Jesus was ‘ the ground’ from the evening (sundown) on Thursday [day 1], all day Friday [day 2] and all day Saturday [day 3] and Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

In as much as Jesus was raised from the dead before sunrise on Sunday, Sunday cannot be counted as one of the days Jesus was, in His words, “ the earth.”  Sunday, according to both the Pharisee’s and Sadducee’s reckoning begins AFTER the sun has risen.

The actual timing of Jesus’ death also needs to be considered.  Mark 15:25 says’ “It was the third hour when they crucified him.”  We then read, “At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour.” Jesus was on the cross from the third hour until the ninth hour.

According to both Jewish and Roman tradition, the day was divided into ‘watches’ [during the night] and ‘hours’ [during the day], each being three hours long.  When it says from the sixth to the ninth hour this could mean from the beginning of the ‘sixth hour’ to the end of the ‘ninth hour’, a total of six hours.  Conversely it could have been three hours. Also, the Jewish ‘hour’ began three hours before the Roman’s.

Roman watch/hour
1st hour
3rd hour
6th hour
9th hour
1st watch
2nd watch
3rd watch
4th watch
Jewish watch/hour
3rd hour
6th hour
9th hour
12th hour
1st watch
2nd watch
3rd watch
4th watch

Jesus would have been on the cross from between six and nine hours, likely the former as Pilate seemed surprised at how quickly Jesus died Mark 15:44).   According to the Jewish clock Jesus would have been on the cross anywhere from 6:00am to 3:00pm or, according to the Roman clock, from 9:00am to 6:00pm.

As we read in Luke 23:52 “Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.” It was still Thursday during the daytime, between 3:00pm and 6:00pm, (prior to sunset) so that Thursday, even though it was late in the day, would count as the first of the three days Jesus was ‘in the earth’.

Is my interpretation correct?  Acts 17:11 'Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.'

Whether you agree with my interpretation of Scripture or not in this instance, the wonder of it all is that Jesus rose from the dead!  This is what I am staking my eternity on.

The anguish of hell and The coming of God’s Kingdom.

There is something in the Apostle’s Creed that has long caused me consternation.  The Catholic Church, Lutherans and Church of England each use the same phraseology, “[Christ]…suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead…”  It’s the sequencing I have a problem with, not the theology.  Jesus said to the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”  My interpretation of Scripture would have it read, “…was crucified, descended into hell, died and was buried…”  Some might argue that I’m splitting hairs but I believe it is an important distinction as it also brings into question the timing of the coming of God’s Kingdom.  It all happened on Good Thursday
Jesus made a very specific statement to his disciples at the Last Supper which is recorded in three of the four gospels (all from Young’s Literal Translation):
Matthew 26:29 “…and I say to you, that I may not drink henceforth on this produce of the vine, till that day when I may drink it with you new in the reign of my Father.
Mark 14:25 “…verily I say to you, that no more may I drink of the produce of the vine till that day when I may drink it new in the reign of God.”
Luke 22:18 “…for I say to you that I may not drink of the produce of the vine till the reign of God may come.”
The key here is that Jesus specifically says he will not drink of the fruit of the vine [wine] “…until the kingdom of God comes.” Luke 22:18 (NIV).  This leads to the obvious question; when, exactly, did Jesus next drink from the fruit of the vine?
In Matthew 23:34, in the moments before his crucifixion it says, ‘There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.’  Obviously, this was not the time Jesus was referring to. 
But, in one of the most emotionally charged passages in all of Scripture we read, ‘Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.  When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.’ John 19:28-30.  He received the drink!  The powers of hell had been defeated – God’s Kingdom had come!  Alleluia!
Jesus' [physical] death was a literal event, not some temporary state of unconsciousness. Hence, on the cross and in his resurrection, Christ did indeed conquer death—both in its spiritual and physical forms.
So, what about the hell-question? When did Christ ‘descend into hell’?  I believe on the cross.
Jesus describes hell as a place of “…darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  All three conditions apply to Christ’s time on the cross. 
Darkness:  Luke 23:44-45a ‘It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land [‘all the earth’ KJV] until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining.’  This darkness is not just an eclipse (the totality of a solar eclipse can never last more than 7-minutes and 31-seconds); this was utter darkness for the sun stopped shining!  No reflected sunlight from the moon.  Worldwide – total blackness for three hours while God poured out his holy wrath on his Son. As was prophecide in Amos 8:9 “In that day,” declares the Sovereign Lord,“I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight."

Weeping:  In Luke 23:27-28 we read, ‘A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.’ 
Gnashing of teeth:  Prophetically we read in Psalm 35:15b-16, “They slandered me without ceasing.  Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked; they gnashed their teeth at me.”, and finds fulfillment in Mark 15:29-32 ‘Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.’
So there we have it; darkness, weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Total separation from God.  Hell on the cross.
Scripture is not clear on the specific meaning of paradise that Jesus promised to the penitent thief. There are certain things that Scripture does tell us however; paradise is a place that the thief would be with [the Spirit of] Jesus that very day, the curtain of the temple was rent in two [signifying our direct access to God], the place where godly people had been asleep was opened up ‘and the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who have fallen asleep, arose…’ Matthew 27:52 YLT.  Whether in paradise or heaven - I'm looking forward to it!