Was Jesus dead for three days AND three nights?

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What was the ONLY sign Jesus gave to prove he was the Messiah, the Savior of man? Was he dead for three complete days and nights (72 hours) or was he dead for PARTS of three days? In Jesus' day the Jews demanded a sign to prove He was the Savior. If the sign was not perfectly fulfilled, however, it would prove that He was NOT the Messiah. What he offered as proof positive that he was the Son of God was the sign of Jonah.

For just as Jonah was in the belly of the whale ('great fish') three days and three nights (72 straight hours), in like manner the Son of man shall be in the heart of the earth (buried in a grave) three days and three nights.'" (Matthew 12:40, HBFV)

Did Christ mean what He said? Did He really expect his burial in the earth to last 72 hours? Note that Jesus did not say, "After two nights and one day I will rise again." He meant three FULL days he would be dead and buried, a full seventy-two hours! Upon Jesus’ crucifixion the Jewish leaders who hated him remembered this sign (see Matthew 27).

Many who teach the Bible say Jesus’ crucifixion took place on Good Friday, with his burial taking place about sundown. They also state he arose on Sunday around sunrise in contradiction to the Scriptures! Any child knows that this is only two nights and one day. If the crucifixion took place on Good Friday and the resurrection on Sunday morning, then He did not literally fulfill the sign of Jonah.

The theory that Jesus died on a Friday requires mental gymnastics to explain. Those who try to do so inevitably must take the plain writings of scripture and interpret them as being only figurative. This method can be used to explain away just about every straightforward teaching of God's word!

Jesus clearly said how long he would be dead. He declared He would rise again "after three days." He fulfilled the sign of Jonah and vindicated His claim of being the Messiah. This means he had to have died on a Wednesday and resurrected late Saturday!

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Some say that Jews count parts of a day as a complete day. Passages cited include Genesis 42:17-18, 1Samuel 30:12 and Esther 4:15-16. Unfortunately, these passages do NOT show three days and three nights is the same as 2 nights and 1 day! The time in the verses should be taken literally.

"Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS." (Jonah 1:17)

Those who promote the false teaching of a Good Friday crucifixion employ all kinds of scriptural twists and turns to justify their view that part of a Biblical day is REALLY referring to a whole day of 24 hours. Such nonsense!

A day is a day

A day in God's word is the period between the dawning of the sun and darkness (see Genesis 1:5). Jesus himself stated there were twelve hours in a single day.

" . . . Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world." (John 11:9)

Jesus states there are twelve hours of light in a day, which logically means a night has twelve hours of darkness.

The lie

The Bible nowhere states that Jesus’ crucifixion was on a Friday! Because the Jewish weekly Sabbath came on Saturday, scholars ASSUME Jesus died on Friday - thus promoting a Good Friday hoax! The Bible clearly states the Jews kept OTHER Holy times besides the weekly seventh-day Sabbath. The Jews kept the annual Holy Days God had given Israel (Exodus 23:14-17, Leviticus 23, Numbers 28-29, etc.).

The Bible teaches there were TWO Sabbaths between the time when Jesus entered the tomb and the moment his resurrection took place! This is the KEY to understanding the correct sequence of events of what happened to Jesus our Savior! This is another reason why the traditional teaching that Jesus died on a Friday afternoon and was resurrected on Sunday morning is FALSE!

"Jesus’ statement that He would rise three days after He had died is acutely significant. According to Jewish law, to be declared legally dead, a person had to be dead for three FULL days or more. Therefore, if Jesus had risen from the dead before 3 PM on the afternoon of Nisan 17, a weekly Sabbath (Saturday), He would not have been considered legally dead. As a result, His return to life would not have been considered a true resurrection from the dead.

"If He had been crucified on a Friday and restored to life on Sunday morning at sunrise (what Christianity calls Easter morning), His death WOULD NOT have been "valid" since only two nights and one day would have passed between Friday sunset and Sunday morning. In order for His death to be publicly recognized and acknowledged, it was necessary for Jesus to remain in the grave for three nights and three days before He was raised from the dead." (HBFV, Appendix J)

The Sabbath after Jesus died

After Tuesday sunset in 30 A.D. (when the Biblical day ended) Jesus partook of his last meal with his twelve disciples (Luke 22:14-15, etc.). Jesus’ crucifixion occurs between noon and 3pm Wednesday. He dies at 3pm. According to the Bible work was allowed on the day in order to prepare for the NEXT day, a high Holy sabbath day where no work was permitted called the Feast of Unleavened Bread (the first day of the seven-day period). This Holy day began at Wednesday sunset. Jesus was very quickly taken from the cross after his death as there were only a few short hours before God's annual Feast day (Day of Unleavened Bread) began.

"Now evening was coming, and since it was a preparation (that is, the day before a Sabbath), Joseph of Arimathea, an esteemed member of the council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God, came; and he went in to Pilate with boldness and requested the body of Jesus. " (Mark 15:42-43, HBFV)

The SECOND Sabbath after Jesus died

The Bible states that after the annual Sabbath known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread had ended (on sunset Thursday), three women went to buy spices for Jesus' body (Mark 16:1). After buying spices for Jesus' body, the women spent the rest of Friday preparing them. When the Saturday Sabbath started at sunset Friday the women rested (Luke 23:56).

After resting Mary Magdalene and another Mary go to observe Jesus' tomb late on the weekly Sabbath:

"Now late on the Sabbath, as the first day of the weeks was drawing near, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to observe the sepulcher." (Matthew 28:1, HBFV)

The resurrection

Some Scriptures speak of Jesus' resurrection "after three days" (Mark 8:31; Matthew 27:63). Other verses say "in three days" (Matthew 26:61, 27:40; Mark 14:58, 15:29; John 2:19-20). Still others speak of "the third day" (Mark 9:31, 10:34; Matthew 16:21, 17:23, 20:19, 27:64; Luke 9:22, 18:33, 24:7, 21, 46; Acts 10:40; 1Corinthians 15:4). Do these phrases contradict each other?

"When we understand Jesus statements, we find that instead of being contradictory, they reveal the exact time that he was raised from the dead. Jesus made it clear that he would be raised AFTER He had been dead for three days. The other statements, "in three days" and "on the third day," do not include the total time that he was dead but only the time that he was buried in the tomb. The Gospel accounts show that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus closed the tomb just before sunset, three hours after Jesus died on the cross. Although he was in the tomb for EXACTLY three days and three nights (seventy-two hours), He was dead for a longer period than that. Thus He rose from the dead "after three days." The difference between this statement and the statements "in three days" and "on the third day" is that these two statement refer to His burial "in the heart of the earth 3 days and 3 nights." " (The Day Jesus the Christ Died by F. Coulter, Chapter 6, emphasis added)

The resurrection of Jesus from the dead took place at sunset Saturday, April 8, 30 A.D., which is seventy-two hours after he died and was place in the heart of the earth (i.e. tomb). This fulfilled the sign of Jonah the prophet he gave in Matthew 12:38-40 and PROVED He was the TRUE Messiah to the Jews!

The Bible simply does not teach Jesus was either crucified on a Friday or resurrected on a Sunday morning. Our Savior was dead and buried in the earth a full three days and three nights, proving for all ages that he was and is the Messiah.

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