The title 'Preparation Day' is referred to 6 times in the New Testament.
(Matt 27:62; Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:14,31,42.)
When we look at the usage of the term Preparation Day
it is apparent that it is used exclusively in respect
to the day Christ died.
Some consider Preparation Day is a reference to the day prior to the weekly
Sabbath, ie Friday. Others consider Preparation Day is the day leaven was
removed in preparation for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
PRIOR TO WEEKLY SABBATH?
This view places emphasis on the understanding that the Old Testament
does not permit food preparation on the Sabbath (no baking or boiling,
refer Exodus 16:23,35:3). Therefore, prior to the Sabbath there was a
need for any food, which needed cooking, to be prepared in advance.
Whether this view of the 'Preparation Day' is correct depends on whether
Jesus Christ was crucified on the day before the weekly Sabbath. If He
was crucified 2 or 3 days prior to the weekly Sabbath this view would
have to be rejected. (Even the existence of intervening annual sabbaths
would not act to preserve this concept as the annual sabbaths observed
at this time permitted food preparation, Exodus 12:16.)
Many feel Scripture confirms Christ died prior to a weekly Sabbath and
to confirm their viewpoint they will quote John 19:31, Luke 23:54 or
John 19:31 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day,
that the bodies should not remain on the cross
on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day),
the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be
broken, and that they might be taken away.
Luke 23:54 That day was the Preparation,
and the[a] Sabbath drew near.
:55 And the women who had come with
Him from Galilee followed after,
and they observed the tomb and
how His body was laid.
:56 Then they returned and prepared
spices and fragrant oils. And
they rested on the Sabbath
according to the commandment.
Mark 15:42 Now when evening had come, because it was the
Preparation Day, that is, the day before the
In John 19:31 the 'the Sabbath' is clearly identified as a 'high day',
which is another way of saying it was an annual sabbath day. From this
verse alone it is not possible to say if that day could also be a weekly
Sabbath or not.
Luke 23:54 mentions 'the Sabbath" without any qualification and at
first this seems to be a reference to the weekly Sabbath. However,
in the Greek the word for 'the' is absent, so this verse should have
been rendered 'a Sabbath'. With this correction, it is apparent that
the weekly Sabbath is not being indicated in this verse.
Having made it clear that an annual sabbath is being discussed in
Luke 23:54, verse 56 merely mentions 'the Sabbath' meaning by this
the annual sabbath that was about to begin.
Mark 15:42 also does not depict the word 'the'. In this verse the text
"the day before the Sabbath", is in the Greek a single word meaning
'fore-sabbath'. This 'fore' used figuratively means 'superior'. (The
only day which regularly precedes a Sabbath and is greater than that
Sabbath is the Passover day of the 14th.)
In summary, verses John 19:31, Luke 23:54-56 and Mark 15:42 do not prove
that Jesus Christ died before a weekly Sabbath.
Whether 'Preparation Day' could be a Scriptural reference to Friday, or
not, can only be determined by studying further the question of when
Christ died. (Please refer the pages discussing this topic.)
REMOVAL OF LEAVEN!
Jesus Christ died in the first month of the Jewish year, just prior to
the annual sabbath known as the 1st day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Lev 23:6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month
is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD;
seven days you must eat unleavened bread.
:7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation;
you shall do no customary work on it.
This feast started on the 15th and for 7 days the children of Israel were
required to abstain from leavened bread. To help prevent the accidental
eating of leavened bread all leaven and leavened products were to be
removed from their houses.
Exod 12:19 For seven days no leaven shall be found in
your houses, since whoever eats what is
leavened, that same person shall be cut off
from the congregation of Israel, ...
The removal of leaven took place on the day before the 7 day Feast of
Unleavened Bread began. It took place on the 14th, the day Christ died.
Exod 12:15 Seven days you shall eat unleavened
bread. On the first[chief] day you
shall remove leaven from your houses.
For whoever eats leavened bread from
the first day until the seventh day,
that person shall be cut off from
The word used for 'first', which is used twice in this verse, is Strong's
reference 7223. This word means "first in place, time or rank". In Exodus
12:15 the initial usage of this word is to be understood as 'first in
rank', ie 'chief'.
The chief day is 'Passover day', the 14th. The leaven was to be removed
on the 14th prior to the start of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This
1) no leaven could be found in their homes for the
7 days mentioned in verses 18-19, ie 15th-21st;
2) the dire consequences of an accidental consumption
of leavened bread just prior to its removal was
One of the verses defining the 'Preparation Day' refines further the
meaning of this term.
John 19:14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover,
The Passover is often thought of as a specific day (or more accurately
one of two specific days), but it was also a 7 day period of time which
started on the 14th and ended on the 20th.
The Preparation Day was not just the day the Israelites removed leaven
from their homes, but it was also the day the children of Israel journeyed
from Goshen to the city of Rameses (in PREPARATION for their journey from