Three Days and Three Nights
Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Twice in this verse the Word of God specifically states that Jesus was to be buried for three days and three nights - 72 hours!
Traditional church teaching is that Jesus Christ died on "Good Friday" and was raised early on "Easter Sunday Morning." Jesus died at about 3pm (the ninth hour) and was buried before sunset (about 6 pm). Even if you counted the last daylight the day he died as one day and the dawn of Sunday morning as one day you could not come up with three (3) days and three (3) nights from Friday (between 3pm and 6pm) to early Sunday morning. The most you would have is 3 days and 2 nights and they would not be real days (12 hours). If the Word of God is true (and it is) then Jesus had to be buried 72 hours.
Matthew 27:46a, 50 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice... Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. [he died]
John 19:31a, 38, 41-42 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,)... And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, ... besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus:...Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand.
Luke 23:54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.
Joseph of Arimathaea took the body of Jesus down from the tree and buried him in his own newly made sepulchre nearby. Jesus was buried prior to the beginning of the high day sabbath (Passover) which began at sunset (6pm). To discover the truth of God's Word regarding the day Jesus Christ died and the three days and three nights that he was buried in the heart of the earth we must examine the Word of God and not the tradition of man.
In the Bible and in Biblical times the day began at sunset. In our day and time we begin a new day in the middle of the night - at midnight. In the Bible a new day began at sunset, the dark part of the day, and was followed by the daylight portion of the day. This reckoning of 24 hours beginning at sunset was taken from God's reckoning of a day in Genesis:
Genesis 1:5, 8b, 13 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night, And the evening and the morning were the first day...And the evening and the morning were the second day...And the evening and the morning were the third day.
Leviticus 23:5-7 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even [which began the 15th] is the Lord's passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day [the 15th] ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
Jesus Christ was crucified on the 14th of Nisan, the preparation day, and was buried between 3pm and 6pm just before sunset which began the high day sabbath - the 15th of Nisan - passover. The high sabbath of passover was on the 15th of Nisan. It did not matter what day of the week the 15th fell on - it was a special sabbath day. To find out what day of the week Jesus was crucified and what day the passover was that year you must look at the resurrection of Christ and count back 72 hours.
Mark 16:1,2,6 And when the sabbath [the weekly sabbath - Saturday] was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, and Salome had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week [Sunday], they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun...And he [an angel] 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.
The women came to anoint the body of Jesus very early Sunday morning. The Word of God does not say that Jesus was raised that morning, it says that when the women arrived he was already risen. According to Matthew 12:40 Jesus would be buried 72 hours. You can be assured that as soon as the 72 hours were up so was Jesus. God raised him from the dead exactly 72 hours after his burial. Since he was buried between 3pm and 6pm on the 14th of Nisan he had to be raised between 3pm and 6pm 72 hours later. The women came early Sunday morning and he was already up. He must have been raised between 3pm and 6pm on Saturday - the weekly sabbath day.
Counting back 72 hours from Saturday evening we find that Jesus was crucified on Wednesday, the 14th of Nisan and buried just before the 15th began at sunset. He remained buried in the sepulchre 72 hours: Thursday, the 15th of Nisan -(passover-a high day sabbath), Friday, the 16th of Nisan, and Saturday, the 17th of Nisan -(the weekly sabbath).
Jesus was crucified and buried on Wednesday not "Good Friday" and he was raised on Saturday not "Easter Sunday Morning."
© Copyright March 1997 Michael Cortright