Should Christians Celebrate Palm Sunday?

Does the truth matter to God?

Palm Sunday in front of church in Monrovia
Photo by prayitno, used under CCA generic license

5 But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,

2 And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

3 But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?

4 Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

5 And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.

6 And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.

7 And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.

8 And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much.

9 Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.

10 Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.

11 And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things.

~ Ac 5:1-11

Can we just pick and choose the customs we will keep, no matter where they came from or what they represent? What if they represent lies?


The tradition of Palm Sunday starts “Holy Week”.1 According to tradition, one week prior to His resurrection, Jesus had the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. He rode a colt, which was a Messianic symbol, into Jerusalem while people put their coats and branches from trees down on the road. John specifically identifies them as palm branches (Jn 12:13). In some areas of the world, there are elaborate processions that attempt to reenact in various ways the Triumphal Entry. The palm branches are then gathered up and burned so that the ashes can be used in next year’s Ash Wednesday ceremony.2

It should be noted that it is always in relation to Easter Sunday. The Triumphal Entry was 5 days, not 7, before Passover (Jn 12:1, 12). If the Triumphal Entry were on a Sunday, then that means Passover would be on that Friday. This tradition is where the term “Good Friday” comes from, as that is when He was supposed to have been crucified. I want you to carefully note that it is: Triumphal Entry, 5 days, Good Friday and then Easter Sunday.

3 Days and 3 Nights

Jesus said He would be in the grave 3 days and 3 nights (Mt 12:40; cf Jon 1:17). This is so important that Jesus stated no other sign that He was the Messiah would be given to them except the sign of Jonah (Mt 16:4; Lk 11:29-30)! So, either Jesus was in the grave 3 days and 3 nights, or He was not the Christ!

So, now we have Triumphal Entry, 5 days, Good Friday, 3 days, Easter Sunday. That makes 8 days. Wait! We are forgetting something! Jesus actually had the Passover the night before He was crucified, so we must still add another day! Now, we have 9 days! What is going on here?

The answer, my friend, is that the entire deceptive scheme was put together to justify a Friday crucifixion and Sunday resurrection. It is used to justify Sunday worship – nothing more, nothing less. You cannot get 3 days and 3 nights between Friday night and Sunday morning no matter how hard you try. Tradition does away with the one sign that Jesus Himself said was the sign that He is the Christ!

If you read the text carefully, you will see that there were 2 “Sabbaths” or days of rest that week. Lev 23 outlines it quite well that the 1st Day of Unleavened Bread is a “high Sabbath” (Lev 23:6-7; cf Jn 19:31). Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday and put into the tomb hastily right before sunset Wednesday evening. The following day, a seal was placed upon the tomb (Mt 27:62-66). Sunset Thursday night was 24 hours, and the 1st Holy Day ended. Friday, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James bought and prepared spices (Mk 16:1). After preparing the spices, they had to rest in order to keep the weekly Sabbath (Lk 23:56)! Sunset Friday night was 48 hours, and the weekly Sabbath began. Saturday was the Sabbath, so they rested. Sunset Saturday night was 72 hours. That was 3 days and 3 nights! Jesus rose on Saturday evening!

While it is true that people often play fast and loose with time units, it is important to note that Jesus did not say either “3 days” or “3 nights” alone. If He had said either of those by themselves, then conceivably, we could be talking partial days or partial nights. However, the expression “3 days and 3 nights” reinforces a complete 72 hour time period. You cannot squeeze 3 days and 3 nights into 1-½ days no matter how hard you try, even with that new math that some love so much. Between Friday night and Sunday morning, you only come up with 2 nights and 1 day! Jesus did not say “1 day”, nor did He say “2 nights”. He said, “3 days and 3 nights.”

The fact that “three days” is used by Hebrew idiom for any part of three days and three nights is not disputed; because that was the common way of reckoning, just as it was when used of years. Three or any number of years was used inclusively of any part of those years, as may be seen in the reckoning of the reigns of any of the kings of Israel and Judah.

But, when the number of “nights” is stated as well as the number of “days”, then the expression ceases to be an idiom, and becomes a literal statement of fact.

~ EW Bullinger3

The Resurrection Was Not on Sunday Morning

Notice something else about the accounts of Jesus’ resurrection. In all of them, He is not there when the women arrive Sunday morning!  They arrived before sunrise, and He was already gone.  He had risen the night before (3 days and 3 nights, remember He was buried just before evening).

20 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

~ Jn 20:1-2

2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.

3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.

6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

~ Mk 16:2-6

24 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

2 And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre.

3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

~ Lk 24:1-3

It just doesn’t get any plainer! Jesus had already risen by Sunday morning. The Palm Sunday – Good Friday – Easter Sunday scenario is a lie.

Does It Matter and To Whom?

“But what does it matter?” some will ask. Does it matter to the survivors of the 9/11 victims if we decide that we will observe it on the 12th instead? Perhaps we don’t want to take all day to commemorate it, so let’s just say the times the planes crashed were 5:00 pm and 5:05 pm. Then, the observance would be over by 5:20 pm when the last tower collapsed. How’s that grab you?

However, the real question should be: Does it matter to God?

16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

~ Pr 6:16-19

23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

~ Jn 4:23

Did God even command us to observe the Triumphal Entry? Did Christ command us to celebrate His resurrection?

2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.

~ Dt 4:2

7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men [aka, “traditions”].

8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

~ Mk 7:7-9

But, isn’t it a “holy week”? What about the “holy month”? Paul wrote to the Church in Galatia, one that was made up of Gentile converts:

9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

10 Ye observe days, and months [notice there is no such thing as a holy “month” in the Bible!], and times, and years.

11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.

~ Gal 4:9-11

The only way Gentile converts could return to “weak and beggarly” ways is to return to pagan customs! Would Paul call God’s ordained feasts “weak and beggarly”?

God wants to be worshiped in Spirit and in truth. We cannot worship Him in truth by holding to a lie.


  1. Easter on the Net, “Palm Sunday“, Holidays on the Net
  2. Palm Sunday“, Catholic Encyclopedia
  3. EW Bullinger, “The ‘Three Days’ and ‘Three Nights’ of Matthew 12:40“, Appendix 144, The Companion Bible

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