Why Did It Take Jesus 3 Days To Rise

Why Did Jesus Wait Three Days to Rise from the Dead?

You are here: Home/Redeeming Theology/Why Did Jesus Wait Three Days to Rise from the Dead? Why Did Jesus Wait Three Days to Rise from the Dead? This may seem like an inconsequential topic, but why did Jesus have to wait three days before rising from the dead? By this I mean that when He died, He had totally atoned for all the sins of the entire human race. He could have risen right then and then, jumped down from the cross, brushed himself off and called it a day. But why didn’t He simply do it?


Why not cover yourself in burial clothing and rise at some point during the first night?

To prove He was dead

Some would claim that He had to remain in the tomb for three days in order to demonstrate that He was no longer alive. There is, after all, the “swoon theory,” according to which Jesus did not actually die, but rather became unconscious while on the cross. I guess that if Jesus “resurrected” from the dead two minutes after he died on the cross, this explanation would be much more compelling. However, once Jesus is buried in the tomb for three days, this idea is rendered completely ineffective.

Why didn’t Jesus simply wait seven days to demonstrate that He was no longer alive?

Although these lengthier times may be ignored, I believe they should be because God did not want Jesus to see degradation (Ps 16:10; Acts 2:27).

To fulfill prophecy

It has been suggested that Jesus needed to spend three days in the grave in order to fulfill prophesy. Which prophesy are we talking about? a sign from Jonah, who spent three days in the belly of a massive fish (cf. Matt 12:39-40). However, we must proceed with caution since the narrative of Jonah is not actually a prophecy in the traditional sense. No doubt, Jesus foretold that He would be dead for three days, just as Jonah was imprisoned in the fish for three days, but if Jesus had never stated anything like this, there would have been no such thing as a prophesy about spending three days in the grave.

Why couldn’t Jesus have made a connection between His death and the creation of the world, and spoken a prophecy along the lines of “Just as the world was created in six days, and on the sixth day, Adam was raised from the dust of the earth, so also, after six days, the Son of Man will rise from the dust” (Genesis 1:26-27)?

In the Bible, Jesus could have picked any number of events and accounts and transformed them into a prophesy about how long He would stay in the tomb. What was it about the narrative of Jonah that drew His attention? What is it about three days that is so special?

To increase faith

Another probable explanation is that Jesus wished to boost the trust of His disciples by this event. They were forced to examine why they had followed Him and if He was indeed the Messiah as a result of His failure to revive immediately. Their sadness at having lost Him, as well as the issues of what would have occurred if they had not followed Him, or if they had defended Him more vigorously, or whether they had just been tricked, were all difficult to deal with. Through his decision to wait three days, Jesus gave them the opportunity to work through some of their difficulties and questions.

It is reasonable to assume that three days will accomplish this; yet, why not seven, twelve, or forty days, all of which are major biblical numbers?

Could not rise during the Sabbath

As resurrection is seen to constitute labour, it may be claimed that Jesus could not rise on the Sabbath, but instead had to wait until the Sabbath was finished. This is an argument that does have some validity. However, Jesus was constantly engaging in activities on the Sabbath that were frowned upon by other Jewish people, like healing on the Sabbath. As a result, it appears He may have been reared on the Sabbath as well.

Acting as our High Priest

Perhaps Jesus was occupied with “doing something” in paradise, hell, and heaven at the same time. Typical High Priestly duties include things such as sprinkling blood on the altar in heaven, victorious victories over sin, death, and the devil, and preaching to spirits in prison, among other things (Hebrews 9; 1 Pet 3:19). This is something that I believe is possible. It just does not explain why these tasks took three days to do.

It doesn’t matter

Maybe it doesn’t make a difference. Perhaps everything happened at random. Perhaps Jesus chose a number out of thin air and chose Jonah as a method of making a prophesy about it in order to demonstrate that He could anticipate the future, which would then demonstrate that He was a prophet of God when the prophecy came true. The number of days spent in the grave, on the other hand, is meaningless. It just so happens to be the one that Jesus choose. All I can say is that I’m having trouble with this since the biblical authors seem to lay so much emphasis on Jesus’ three days in the grave.

But that’s all right since.

The important thing is that Jesus rose

We can all agree on this point. Perhaps the topic of why Jesus remained in the tomb for three days is an useless one that only theologians should consider. The key thing to remember is that Jesus resurrected from the grave, and for this we may give God praise and thanks for all of eternity. It is difficult to comprehend why Jesus remained in the tomb for three days. But the most crucial thing to remember is that He rose from the dead!

Theologians like asking these kinds of questions about Scripture, theology, and Jesus, but at the end of the day, what it all boils down to is trusting God for what He has done for us in Jesus Christ, even if we do not grasp all of the specifics of what God has done.

The cross of Jesus is CENTRAL to everything!

Focusing on the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus may completely transform your life and theology: Complete the form below if you would want to get numerous emails from me on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. NOTE: If you are a current member of RedeemingGod.com, first login and then return to this page to change your membership information.

What was the significance of Jesus being dead for three days?

QuestionAnswer There are a variety of reasons why it is noteworthy that Jesus was dead for three days prior to His resurrection. First and foremost, Jesus’ opponents were convinced that He had genuinely risen from the grave after three days of death because of his resurrection after three days of death. Why? Jewish tradition holds that the soul or spirit of a person remains with his or her dead body for three days after death. After three days, the soul/spirit was no longer with us. If Jesus’ resurrection had taken place on the same day, or even the following day, it would have been much simpler for His opponents to claim that He had never actually died in the first place.

The fulfillment of biblical prophecy was a second reason why it was necessary for Jesus to be dead for three days before rising again.

Some interpret Hosea 6:1–3 as a prophesy of the Messiah’s resurrection after three days, saying, “Come, let us return to the LORD.

He will resurrect us after two days, and on the third day, he will restore us so that we may live in the presence of the Lord.

It is certain that he will arrive, just as certain as the sun will rise; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring showers that water the ground.” These three days were crucial in other ways as well, according to the text Paul alludes to in 1 Corinthians 15:4 when he says that Jesus “was risen on the third day according to the Scriptures.” Jesus died on a Friday, Nisan 14, the day of the Passover lamb’s sacrifice, marking the end of the Jewish year.

His death reflects the death of a flawless, immaculate sacrifice made on our behalf by the Father in heaven.

Hence the importance of Jesus being dead for three days prior to His resurrection, as explained in the Gospel of John.

(2) Because Jesus Himself said that it would take three days.

The Bible does not specify exactly why three days were required between Jesus’ death and resurrection, except from these two reasons. Questions regarding Jesus Christ (return to top of page) The fact that Jesus had been dead for three days had a significant meaning.

Is there significance to Jesus being dead for three days?

After a few months of mentoring, one of my students comes up with some tasty treats! Specifically, he has inquired, “What is important about the three days that Christ was crucified, buried, and risen?” Is it significant that there are three days, rather than two or four, in the week?

Bible Answer:

In what way does Jesus being dead for three days and nights have any meaning for us? Although Scripture never directly addresses the issue, the following three observations may be helpful. Visit “Did Jesus fulfill the sign of Jonah? — Three Days and Three Nights” for a discussion on the significance of the phrase “three days and three nights.”

Jewish Burial Practices

According to the Talmud (about eighth century), Jewish burial rituals attempted to guarantee that the deceased were actually dead by keeping them in the tomb for three days. This is perhaps the most significant reason for Christ remaining in the tomb for three days. We walk out to the cemetery and inspect the bodies for a period of three days without fear of being accused of following the practices of the Amorites, as we have in the past. Once, a guy who had been buried was investigated and discovered to be alive; he continued to live for another twenty-five years until passing away.

  • S’machot 8:1 (S’machot 8:1) This indicates that, according to Jewish tradition, a person was not declared dead until three days had passed following their death.
  • It is crucial to remember that according to forensic science, rigor mortis (also known as stiffness of death) develops in between 1 and 12 hours after death (with an average of 2–4 hours).
  • Approximately 36 hours after death, putrefaction of the corpse begins to occur.
  • The story of Lazarus’ death and resurrection is told in John 11.

In John 11:39, Martha complains about Lazarus being risen from the dead, and Jesus responds with these words: “Remove the stone.” Because he had been dead for four days, Martha, his sister, expressed her concern to Him by saying, “Lord, there will be a stink by this time.” John 11:39 (NIV) (NASB) Her statement suggests that she was aware that putrefaction would have been taking place at the time.

Without a shadow of a doubt, Jesus died before He was laid to rest in the tomb. Consequently, by late Saturday night, the corpse of Jesus would have begun to decompose. His resurrection on the morning of Sunday would have been nothing short of a miracle.

Resurrection On First Day

The resurrection of Christ on the first day of the week heralded the beginning of a new week. In recognition of this, the early church began meeting for worship on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2). All of the 10 commandments are repeated in the New Testament, with the exception of the requirement to worship on the seventh day of the week. See the article “Do we have to follow the ten commandments given to us by God in the Old Testament?” for further information.


Our God desired for us to be aware that a miracle had occurred. When Jesus’ human body began to disintegrate, the miracle of life was performed once more. Jesus made a guarantee that He will rise from the dead on the third day. As everyone, even the Roman troops, was aware that Christ had died on the third day, His resurrection on the fourth day was a great miracle.


190-191 in David H. Stern’s Jewish New Testament Commentary (Jewish New Testament Publications, 1992), which is a must-read. 2. Study.com (www.study.com/academy/lesson/rigor-mortis-definition-timeline-stages.html) 3. The website Explore Forensics (www.exploreforensics.co.uk/the-rate-of-decomposition-in-a-body.html) provides information on the rate of decay in a corpse.

See also:  Who Wrote Jesus Calling

Suggested Links:

I’m on the lookout for God. Display a Sign for Us What day of the week should we worship? Should we worship on Sunday or on Saturday? Is it necessary for us to follow the ten commandments as outlined in the Bible? Is it possible that Jesus fulfilled the sign of Jonah? — Three days and three nights are required.

Why did Jesus take three days to rise again?

What was the reason for Jesus’ resurrection from the grave after three days? Why not after three hours, or even after seven days (because the number seven is often used to signify completeness or completion in the Bible), or even after a week? Is there something that happened in those three days that couldn’t have happened sooner — Jesus being God and all things being possible for Him — or is this a point of little significance that doesn’t warrant much thought or consideration? The Bible does not clearly answer the question of why Jesus had to rise on the third day and not any other day in the week preceding or after.

  1. Wanting to remind the Corinthian believers about his message, Paul begins by discussing the significance of the gospel in their lives, and then proceeds to outline the most significant aspects of the message.
  2. Paul may have been thinking of numerous passages from the Old Testament (e.g., Psalm 16:10-11; Isaiah 53:10b; Hosea 6:2), which he considered as having been fulfilled in the resurrection of Christ.
  3. There are various passages in the Old Testament that Paul may have had in mind that he saw fulfilled in the death and resurrection of Christ.
  4. In this case, it’s possible that he was alluding to the prophetic words of the Lord Jesus Christ himself: “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the huge fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40).

It is sufficient to declare that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day in order to fulfill His own prophecy.

The mystery of the in-between

Moving on to the second half of the question, what happened between Jesus’ death and resurrection is a good place to start. Once again, we are just not informed. These are the verses that are most frequently referenced in this context: Ephesians 4:8-9 and 1 Peter 3:18-20. Nonetheless, I feel that these verses do not accurately portray Jesus’ activities between His death and resurrection. “He had also fallen into the lowest regions, into the earth,” which has been interpreted to refer to Jesus’ journey into Hades during the period between His death and resurrection in the first of these passages.

In order to correctly read the verse, we must first have an accurate interpretation of the term “being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.” Peter is drawing exact parallels between the expressions “in the body” and “in the spirit” in this passage.

I interpret the phrase to suggest that the rising Christ made this announcement at the time of His ascension.

About Revanth T.

The executive director of Truth and Life Academy, a non-formal Christian theology college based in Bangalore, India, Revanth T is also a regular speaker and instructor at his local assembly, which he founded in 2007. Expository preaching, theology, and hermeneutics are some of his favorite topics. He is married to Angela, with whom he has a son, Asher Abraham, as their only child.


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Why does it matter that Jesus was dead for three days?

Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried, and then he rose from the dead three days after his death. In accordance with sabbath regulations, Jesus’ body could not be entirely prepared for burial until the following Sunday after His crucifixion was completed. Some of the ladies who had been close to Him went to His grave on that particular day. “When they entered the tomb, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, but they were unable to locate the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were bewildered about what was going on, two men in brilliant attire appeared alongside them.

  1. He is not present, but has ascended to the heavens.
  2. The fact that Jesus has been dead for three days is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
  3. When He spent three days in the belly of a whale, he compared himself to the biblical character Jonah (Matthew 12:40).
  4. According to the prophet Hosea (Hosea 6:1–3) in the Old Testament, the Messiah would be risen from the grave in three days (Hosea 6:1–3).
  5. Traditionally, it was believed that a person’s soul would remain with the body for three days after death, after which it would depart.
  6. His resurrection had to be a miracle that they couldn’t argue with or dismiss.
  7. After waiting four days before going to him, He assured him that no one would be able to dispute the miracle (John 11:38–44).

Jesus was killed on the day of Passover, which was a Jewish festival.

Because Pharaoh refused to allow the Israelites to escape Egypt, God brought plagues upon the country.

Moses advised the Israelites that they should sacrifice a lamb and apply the blood on their doorposts in order for the Lord to pass over their dwellings.

When He died, He was offered up as a sacrifice for the sins of humanity, and when He rose from the dead, He became the source of new life for all who put their trust in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17–21).

Many biblical scholars believe that the number three, which is commonly referred to as “God’s number,” represents heavenly perfection or completion.

The fact that He died and rose again is without any reasonable dispute in our minds.

Truths that are related: Was Jesus executed on a Friday or a Saturday?

Is it more necessary to remember Jesus’ death than to remember His resurrection?

What are some of the reasons why I should believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ? What is it about the actuality of Jesus’ physical resurrection that is so important to the Christian faith? Return to the page: The Truth About Jesus Christ.

Why did Christ have to wait three days to rise from the dead?

This post is also accessible in the following languages: (Arabic) Français(French) हिन्दी(Hindi) Español(Spanish) Jesus provides us with the explanation for why He remained in the tomb for three days. When the Pharisees and Sadducees insisted that Jesus demonstrate that He came from God, Jesus refused (Matthew 16:1-4; Mark 8:10-13). ‘A corrupt and adulterous age looks seeking a sign,’ Jesus responded. “And no sign will be given to it but the sign of the prophet Jonah’ (Matthew 16:4). The sign of Jonah was given to them by Jesus.

  • ” (Matthew 12:40).
  • The answer is that if it were shorter, people would be able to say that “Jesus simply passed out.” God demonstrated to the world that Jesus was genuinely dead by allowing him to remain in the tomb for three days.
  • The decomposition of the body begins as soon as you die, but it takes many days until the rot is severe enough to cause death.
  • As for Jesus, one of the prophesies regarding Him said that God would not allow Him to witness corruption: “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to view corruption” (Psalm 16:10).
  • Three days is more than enough time to establish that Jesus was actually dead, yet it is not nearly enough time to prevent serious decomposition.
  • This post is also accessible in the following languages: (Arabic) Français(French)हिन्दी(Hindi)Español(Spanish)

How do we understand the timing of the Great 3 Days?

How can we make sense of three days if Jesus died on Friday and rose from the dead on Sunday? Christians commemorate the salvific events of Jesus Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection over the course of three days, which we refer to as the “Great Three Days” (Triduum in Latin). The gospels all confirm that Jesus rose from the grave on the first day of the week, early in the morning. Matthew 28:1 (NIV): “After the Sabbath, when the first day of the week was beginning to rise.” Mark 16:1-2 (NIV): It was “after the Sabbath had ended.

Have questions?We have answers!

Fill out the form below to ask your questions and to view further FAQs. Luke 24:1 (ASKFAQSLuke 24:1): “It was the first day of the week at the crack of dawn.” “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark,” says John in verse 1. Sunday is the first working day of the week. The day begins with sunset in that culture, as it does throughout the Bible, rather than with dawn or midnight. Saturday’s Sabbath came to an end at dusk. Sunday officially began just after sunset. Three days may not always equate to 72 hours.

It entails three different days, which are distinguished by the arrival and departure of the sun. Following are the methods that the great majority of Christians throughout the world have used to determine the time of their festivities during Holy Week, including United Methodists.

  • The Last Supper and the Great Commandment will be held on Thursday. The beginning of the first day is marked by the setting of the sun (Eve of Friday). Jesus is taken into custody and tried
  • Friday morning: The first day continues with the execution of Jesus, his removal from the cross, and his burial
  • Friday night at sundown: The second day has begun. Friday evening/Saturday morning
  • Saturday (from dawn to sunset): Jesus is laid to rest in the tomb. The third day begins at sunset on Saturday. Saturday evening
  • Sunday morning: The third day continues, and Jesus is risen from the grave

From at least the third century A.D., this method of determining the beginning and end of Holy Week has remained constant in Christian practice, both East and West. It was created by Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, which may be found here.

Why Do We Say Jesus Was in the Tomb 3 Days if He Died Friday and Was Resurrected Sunday?

So, here’s a tricky one: If Jesus died and was in the tomb by Friday night, spent Saturday night there, then rose from the tomb before the women came on Sunday morning, how can we claim He was in the tomb for “three days and three nights.” The response is more than simply a wonderful lesson on why we shouldn’t read Western preconceptions into the Bible. It is also a fantastic lesson on how to interpret the Bible. Additionally, there’s a philosophical gem hidden in this aspect of Holy Week: a call to rest, not merely from something like job, politics, or the news cycle, but from someone themselves.

  • The political atmosphere is frenetic, and social media gives us the impression that we’re always missing out on something important and interesting.
  • This, at the very least, makes our society similar to that of the first Holy Week in certain aspects.
  • In Gethsemane, Peter, anxious for a revolution, chopped off the servant’s ear with a sword.
  • It wasn’t until after Jesus’ resurrection that the disciples began to wonder when He would restore Israel to its rightful place as the earthly kingdom.
  • The gospels provide various different accounts of this time period: Jesus spent “three days and three nights in the core of the earth,” according to the Bible.
  • Although there is some disagreement on this point, the vast majority of academics agree that Jesus died on a Friday, which is known as “the Day of Preparation.” This suggests that no matter how you slice it, He was not in the tomb for the whole 72-hour period.
  • It was the only day he spent completely behind the stone.

They didn’t split the days at midnight like we do, but rather at sundown, like the ancients.

As a result, when Jesus was buried on Friday evening and resurrected on Sunday morning, according to Jewish tradition, He stayed in the tomb for “three days and three nights.” According to contemporary calculations, He remained only in the tomb for one whole day: Saturday, the Sabbath.

God had a well-deserved snooze in the grave.

Chesterton points out in his book “The Everlasting Man,” the Sabbath Jesus spent on this world was the last Sabbath of the old creation, which had been tainted by Adam’s transgression.

See also:  Why Did Jesus Make Peter The Head Of His Church

We put our faith not in politicians, rulers, or worldly decrees, but in the One who became our Sabbath rest in His own person.

this year.

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Please do not hesitate to contact us at BreakPoint.org, where you may read and search for solutions to frequently asked questions.

In addition to having degrees from both Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), he is also the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview (Brilliant Books, 2009).

Thanks to Thinkstock/kevron2001 for the photo. The publication date is March 28th, 2018 (Monday).

Did Jesus Rise on the Third Day?

I have implicitly assumed that Jesus was crucified on Friday in my Answers Magazine article and in my book (co-written with Justin Taylor) The Final Days of Jesus (both written with Justin Taylor) (though our main argument was that Jesus died most likely in AD 33 rather than in AD 30). Some have objected to the fact that such a belief appears to be at odds with Jesus’ statement in the Gospel of Matthew that “just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt 12:40, ESV).

  1. After all, if Jesus was crucified on a Friday, he would have been in the tomb for at least three days and two nights, which would be in conflict with Jesus’ own affirmation in Matthew.
  2. When it comes to addressing this subject, we come to a fork in the road.
  3. Of course, thedayJesus died is not nearly as significant as the fact that he, the God-man,diddie for our sins on the cross.
  4. As a result, this is less of an atheological question and more of a hermeneutical and exegetical issue.
  5. Before we do so, let me make one additional point, connected to tradition.
  6. In reality, tradition may bewrong!” Well, absolutely, I know.
  7. Nevertheless, there are oftengood reasonsfor a certain tradition, and in this case at least, I submit the reason for the “Good Friday” tradition is rooted in the very Gospels themselves who attest to the fact that Jesus was crucified on a Friday.

First, the Gospels uniformly attest to the fact that Jesus was crucified and subsequently rose “on the third day” (e.g., Luke 24:7; see also Luke 24:21 where the two disciples on the road to Emmaus tell Jesus that this is “now the third day since these things happened”; this later became part of the gospel message, as we can see in passages such as 1 Cor 15:4 and later still in the Apostles’ Creed).

  • The Gospels nowhere say Jesus was crucified and rose “on the fourth day” or “on the fifth day”; it’salwayson the third day.
  • Jesus rose on the third day, just like he predicted numerous times.
  • Now those who try to fit the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection “on the third day” into a “three days and three nights” scheme, it seems to me, must invariably argue that Jesus in fact rose on the fourth or fifth day.
  • If on Thursday, Jesus would have risen on day4 (explanations to avoid this seem strained) (explanations to avoid this seem strained).
  • These proposals also do not work well (to say the least) with the Gospel sequence of the final events in Jesus’ life surrounding the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, as we lay out inThe Final Days of Jesus.

Well, the answer is not nearly as impossible as those employing a very literal, word-for-word hermeneutic in the interpretation of this verse might suggest (and let me say that literal interpretation is certainly one I generally advocate, except for cases where we’re dealing with anidiomin Scripture).

With Jewish days beginning and ending at dusk, that gives us about 3 hours on “Friday,” 24 hours on “Saturday,” and up to almost 12 hours on “Sunday” – three days, or, in Semitic idiom, “three days and three nights.” (For supporting evidence, see the respective commentaries on Matthew’s Gospel.) I know that’s different from the way we communicate in English, but that’s what happens when translating from one language into another: we have to accept that people in other languages, culture, and times communicate differently, and sometimes idioms don’t come across perfectly straightforwardly to speakers of other languages.

Those who are open to the presence of idioms and other literary devices such as these will readily recognize that this resolves the difficulty, while those who adhere to a very literal interpretive approach most likely will not.

I realize that some very learned arguments have been made for a Wednesday or Thursday crucifixion, though none of them that are convincing to me (or many others) (or many others).

At the same time, I submit that there is a satisfactory way to resolve the apparent difficulty, which provides an excellent case study attesting to the fact that not everyapparentcontradiction is in fact anactualcontradiction.

This, too, is something on which all of us who hold to a high view of Scripture should be able to agree.

Did Jesus rise on the third day or after three days?

When it comes to the Easter story, one of the most often asked questions is how many days Jesus was in the tomb before he was raised from the dead. In one sense, it’s fairly straightforward: from Good Friday, when he was crucified, to Easter Sunday, it’s only three days, albeit only partial days, from start to finish. The apparent discrepancies that individuals detect in diverse Gospel stories, on the other hand, are where they become stuck. It has been said that Jesus resurrected on the third day; nevertheless, other sources have said that he rose after three days.

According to Ben Witherington III, Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky and author of the book “Time”: A Novel, “We are a people preoccupied with time—and with exactness when it comes to time—down to the millisecond,” stated Witherington.

Many other regions of the world do not have a culture that is entirely devoted to the observation of the clock.

That would bring us up to the Monday after Easter.

According to Witherington, “This is only a part of a broad comparison to the account of what happened with Jonah and the whale,” and as such, “the temporal reference should not be emphasized.” It is simply stated by Jesus that “it will be like the ordeal of Jonah.” He writes for Bible History Daily, where he says: Furthermore, the term “after three days” in the New Testament might simply indicate “after a time” or “after a few days” without any obvious specificity other than to hint that multiple days, in this case portions of three days, would be engaged in the event.

Even the Hebrew Bible has some hints about the kinds of variations we might expect to encounter.

As a result, on the third day, everyone gathered to Rehoboam’s palace since the monarch had instructed them to “come to me again on the third day.” According to this literature, “after three days” and “on the third day” are both synonymous with “after three days.” Is this simply a case of carelessness, or is it an example of the common imprecision that occurs when discussing the passage of time?

When it comes to time, these books were not written in a way that would suit our present high expectations.

It is only a little more than a day after Good Friday that the Church begins to celebrate Easter, which takes place Saturday evening.” When it comes to interpreting time references in the New Testament, one of the most important things to remember is that most of the time they are not precise.

“Especially when one finds both types of references to the time span between Jesus’ death and resurrection in the same book by the same author, and in some cases even within close proximity to one another, one should take the hint that these texts were not written in accordance with our modern exacting expectations when it comes to time references,” writes the author.

On What Day Did Jesus Rise?

The May/June 2016 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review is available online. Biblical Perspectives is a weekly column. Staff of the Biblical Archaeology Society On November 16, 20217, there were 106658 views. What day did Jesus resurrect from the dead? Is it better to wait three days or to wait until the third day? During his Biblical Views column, “It’s About Time—Easter Time,” which appeared in the May/June 2016 edition of Biblical Archaeology Review, Ben Witherington III explores this subject in further depth.


“It’s About Time—Easter Time”

Anachronism is a hazard that arises when reading ancient books like the Bible in the twenty-first century. By this I mean that we risk introducing damaging current notions and expectations into our readings. This challenge becomes much more serious when dealing with old manuscripts, which have significant historical significance and are thus difficult to interpret. What day did Jesus resurrect from the dead? Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome visited Jesus’ tomb on Easter morning to anoint his corpse (Mark 16:1–2), as shown in Henry Osawa Tanner’s painting “The Three Marys” (1910).

  • To provide an example, we are a people who are fascinated with time — and with accuracy when it comes to time — to the millisecond level.
  • When it came to the passage of time, they did not stress over accuracy.
  • Jesus promised that he would rise from the dead “after three days,” according to certain sources.
  • In fact, the time reference should be avoided entirely.

In Mark 8:31, on the other hand, Jesus declares, “The Son of Man will rise from the dead after three days.” In John 2:19, he refers to the same event as taking place “in three days,” and the Gospel authors tell us that Jesus used the term “on the third day” on a number of occasions (see, e.g., Matthew 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; Luke 24:46).

  1. While it is feasible that both forecasts will be incorrect, is it really possible that both will be correct?
  2. Furthermore, the term “after three days” in the New Testament might simply indicate “after a time” or “after a few days” without any obvious specificity other than to hint that multiple days, in this case portions of three days, would be engaged in the event.
  3. “Come to me again after three days,” says the Bible’s Second Chronicles 10:5, 12.
  4. According to my interpretation, the term “after three days” is a more generic or imprecise way of expressing, but “on the third day” is a little more particular (albeit it still doesn’t tell us when it is on the third day).

When it comes to time, these books were not written in a way that would suit our present high expectations.

Become a Member ofBiblical Archaeology SocietyNow and Get More Than Half Off the Regular Price of the All-AccessPass!

With an All-Access pass, you may access more than 9,000 articles from the Biblical Archaeology Society’s extensive collection, as well as much more. We must recognize that most of the time references in the New Testament are not precise, and we must give the ancient author the freedom to be general when he wants to be general and more specific when he wants to be more specific. This is one of the keys to understanding how the New Testament interprets time references. When you find both types of references to the time span between Jesus’ death and resurrection in the same book by the same author, and in some cases even within close proximity to each other, it is reasonable to conclude that these texts were not written in accordance with our modern exacting expectations when it comes to time references.

  1. I believe it is past time for us to accord these ancient authors the respect they deserve and to read them with a knowledge of the standards they followed when writing ancient history or ancient biography, rather than imposing our later genre norms on them, as we have done in the past.
  2. This article has been updated.
  3. Ben Witherington III is the Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky and a member of the doctoral faculty of St.
  4. He received his bachelor’s degree from Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky.
See also:  What Happened After Jesus Was Crucified


Read Ben Witherington III, Reading and Learning the Bible, for assistance in understanding how to read the Bible in light of its original settings (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2014).

Related reading in Bible History Daily:

When Was the First Holy Communion Celebrated? Even yet, Jesus’ Last Supper was not a Passover meal. The Herod’s Jerusalem Palace Remains are on Display During a Seder Meal Tour— The site of Jesus’ trial is a possibility. And Why It Really Does Make a Difference The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Really Does Make a Difference What Method Was Used to Seal Jesus’ Tomb?

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Jesus Wasn’t Crucified on Friday or Resurrected on Sunday: How long was Jesus in the tomb?

About one billion Protestants and another billion Catholics believe that Jesus Christ was killed and entombed on a Friday afternoon—”Good Friday”—and was resurrected to life again at the crack of dawn on Easter Sunday morning, a day and a half later, according to the Christian belief system. This is in direct conflict with what Jesus Himself declared regarding how long He would be entombed, which is a major source of confusion. According to Jesus, how long He would remain in the grave was not specified.

Identifying God’s timetable for counting the days from the beginning of the year when these events took place as well as His biblical festivals during the spring season of the year when these events took place is essential to understanding when Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection took place, as well as the timing of His biblical festivals during that same spring season.

The scribes and Pharisees were pressing Him for a supernatural sign to establish that He was, in fact, the long-awaited Messiah.

Traditional timing doesn’t add up

The Gospels are unequivocal in their assertion that Jesus died and that His corpse was swiftly put in the tomb late in the afternoon, just before nightfall, when the Jewish Sabbath started (John 19:30-42). According to the conventional “Good Friday–Easter Sunday” timetable, the period from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown is one night and one day, or one night and one day. The period from Saturday night to Sunday morning is another night, giving us a total of two nights and one day. As a result, how can we obtain another night and two days to make the total of three days and three nights that Jesus promised would be spent in the tomb?

  1. In order to get around this, most theologians and religious experts argue that any part of a day or night qualifies as a day or night.
  2. The problem is that it does not function.
  3. Aside from that, the book of John 20:1 informs us that “on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early and saw that the stone had been lifted away from the tomb.” Did you notice something wrong here?
  4. Jesus had already been raised from the dead long before the sun came up.
  5. That leaves us with, at the most, a fraction of a day on Friday, the entirety of Friday night, the entirety of Saturday daytime, and the most of Saturday night.
  6. Something doesn’t seem to add up here.

One of two things happened: either Jesus misspoke about how long He would remain in the tomb, or the “Good Friday–Easter Sunday” time frame is neither scriptural or authentic, or both. Obviously, neither of these statements can be true. So, which of them is correct?

Understanding God’s time is the key

Identifying God’s timetable for counting the days from the beginning of the year when these events took place as well as His biblical festivals during the spring season of the year when these events took place is essential to understanding when Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection took place, as well as the timing of His biblical festivals during that same spring season. It is surprising to learn that the Bible mentions two types of Sabbath days: the typical weekly Sabbath day, which occurs on the seventh day of the week, and seven yearly Sabbath days, which occur on the seventh day of the week.

Genesis 1:5states unequivocally that God considers a day to begin with the evening (the night part) and terminate with the evening of the following day—”So the evening and the morningwere considered to be the first day.” This formula is repeated by God during the whole six-day period of creation.

This is why Jesus’ friends, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, swiftly laid His corpse in Joseph’s adjacent tomb shortly before dusk on the last day of the week (John 19:39-42).

Two kinds of “Sabbaths” lead to confusion

Because it was the Preparation Day, and because the corpses could not be left on the cross on the Sabbath (because it was a high day on that Sabbath), the Jews petitioned Pilate to have their legs severed and their bodies removed off the cross, as John 19:31 explains. Cooking and housecleaning were done on the day before a Sabbath in order to avoid working on God’s appointed day of rest, according to Jewish tradition at the time. So the day before the Sabbath was referred to as “the preparation day” by the Jewish community.

WhichSabbath do you want to celebrate?

Because of John’s unequivocal assertion, the majority of people believe Jesus died and was buried on a Friday—hence the conventional belief that Jesus was crucified and died on “Good Friday”—and this is correct.

Because traditional Christianity long ago abandoned these biblical annual Sabbath days (as well as the weekly Sabbath), for many centuries people have failed to recognize what the Gospels plainly tell us about when Jesus Christ was crucified and resurrected—and why “Good Friday–Easter Sunday” never occurred in this manner as a result of their neglect.

  1. You’ll see in John 19:31that he gives an explanation as to why “that Sabbath was ahigh day”—”high day” being a phrase that is used to distinguish the seven yearly Sabbaths from the normal weekly Sabbath days.
  2. It is recorded in the Gospels that on the evening before Jesus was convicted and killed, He celebrated the Passover with His apostles and disciples (Matthew 26:19-20;Mark 14:16-17;Luke 22:13-15).
  3. According to Leviticus 23, which lists God’s feasts, the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins on the day following the Passover, which is the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:5-6).
  4. God’s yearly Sabbath begins on this day, which is the beginning of the year.
  5. There are a number of Bible commentaries, encyclopedias, and dictionaries that point out that John is referring to an annual Sabbath day rather than the ordinary weekly Sabbath day here.
  6. Jesus observed the Passover with His disciples before being arrested later that night.

The arrangement and time of these days are revealed in Leviticus 23, and the events of the Gospels match the sequence in which they occurred.

Jesus crucified on Wednesday, not Friday

There are a number of computer software tools available that allow us to determine when the Passover and God’s other festivals will take place in any particular year. That year, A.D. 31, the year of these occurrences, the Passover supper was eaten on Tuesday night, and Wednesday dusk marked the beginning of the “high day,” or the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which began at sundown on Thursday afternoon. As a result, Jesus was killed and buried on a Wednesday afternoon, rather than on Friday.

The habit of celebrating Good Friday and Easter Sunday is just neither accurate or scriptural.

We can, in fact, do it!

Because Jesus’ body was put in the tomb shortly before the beginning of the high-day Sabbath, the women did not have time to go out and purchase the spices before the Sabbath began.

As a result, according to Mark, they purchased the spices “after the Sabbath had passed.” But take note of another eye-opening detail in Luke 23:55-56: ” “And the ladies who had traveled with Him from Galilee trailed behind, taking note of the tomb and the manner in which His corpse was buried.

  • Then, in accordance with the law, they took the Sabbath day off.” Do you think there’s an issue here?
  • Consequently, they purchased the spices after the Sabbath and then prepared the spices before to the Sabbath’s resting period.
  • Indeed, once we realize that two separate Sabbaths are being referenced, the dilemma is no longer an issue.
  • After then, Luke informs us that the women prepared the spices, which would have taken place on Friday, and that after that, “they rested on the Sabbath according to the law,” which would have taken place on Saturday.
  • As a “high day,” the first Sabbath occurred on Thursday, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was the first day of the week.
  • The ancient Greek language in which the Gospels were written also makes it clear that two Sabbath days were engaged in the events described in these narratives.

When was Jesus resurrected?

As we have seen, Jesus Christ was executed and buried on a Wednesday, right before the yearly Sabbath started, rather than on the weekly Sabbath as previously believed. So, when did He rise from the dead? As previously stated, John 20:1 informs us that “on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.” When Mary discovered the tomb empty, the sun had not yet risen—”it was still dark,” John tells us—and the day had not yet begun.

  • So, when exactly did this happen?
  • In the same way that Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the huge fish, so will the Son of Man spend three days and three nights in the depths of the earth, as Jesus said in Matthew 24:36.
  • As we have demonstrated, Jesus was entombed — that is, he was deposited “in the heart of the ground” — right before dusk on a Wednesday, just before sunset.
  • We’ll be at the end of the day on Thursday at sunset after one day and one night.
  • After a third day and night, we arrive on Saturday evening at dusk.
  • Does this make sense in light of the Scriptures?

The resurrection of Jesus Christ, according to His own words and the details recorded in the Gospels, had to have occurred three days and three nights after His burial, near sunset at the end of the weekly Sabbath, even though no one was present to witness it (which took place inside a sealed tomb guarded by armed guards).

The habit of celebrating Good Friday and Easter Sunday is just neither accurate or scriptural.

The words of the angel of God, who astonished the ladies when they discovered the empty tomb, have been proven correct: “Do not be frightened, for I am aware that you are seeking for Jesus, who has been crucified, and I will assist you.

Religious customs and notions that are not backed by Scripture should not be held upon.

Make certain that your personal religious ideas and practices are solidly established in the Bible before proceeding. Willing to make a commitment to worship God in accordance with biblical truth rather than human custom, are you?

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