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.
- 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?
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.
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.
Searching For God Show Us A Sign Should we worship on Sunday or the Sabbath? Do we have to keep the ten commandments given in the Old Testament? Did Jesus fulfill the sign of Jonah? — Three days and three nights
Why did Jesus Rise on the Third Day?
Derek Hiebert contributed to this article. 1 year ago today
Why did Jesus Rise on the Third Day?
As a matter of tradition, Christians have commemorated the resurrection of Jesus Christ on a Sunday, three days following the commemoration of his crucifixion on Good Friday. This three-day chronology is based on a number of allusions in the New Testament to the Old Testament. Many times, Jesus foretold it, and the apostles included it in their delivery of the gospel message as well (see footnote references). However, why did Jesus’ resurrection take place three days after his death is a mystery.
Is the third day only a coincidental, insignificant element put on to the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection?
The Third Day Matters
Timing is extremely important for Jesus and his apostles because it has significant theological ramifications. When it comes to biblical story, the three-day timeframe is important because it represents the one-of-a-kind day on which God creates new life and activates his covenant with mankind. How did the writers of the New Testament come to this conclusion? After all, the Hebrew Scriptures have a constant “third day” design pattern, which Jesus and the New Testament authors are using as a model.
The Third Day Pattern in the Hebrew Bible
The time of Jesus’ resurrection has significant theological ramifications for him and his disciples. When it comes to biblical storytelling, the three-day timeframe is important because it represents the unique day on which God creates new life and activates his covenant with mankind. What was the process by which the New Testament came to this conclusion.
What appears to be a constant “third day” design pattern in the Hebrew Scriptures is being referenced by both Jesus and the New Testament authors. We can gain a deeper understanding of the Easter event by investigating this pattern for ourselves.
The First “Resurrection”
What is the location of the initial glimpse into the three-day significance? The first page of the Bible. The creation story in Genesis 1 is written in the style of a poetry, with repeated declarations and parallelism between events. Within the rhythm of these repeats, two events in the creation tale stand out as particularly noteworthy, each occurring at a three-day interval and occurring at different points in the narrative. During the first “third day,” God creates dry ground and enables flora to emerge from the soil, including plants that produce seeds as well as trees that give fruit for human use (1:11-13).
The second “third day” event occurs on the sixth day of creation, when God produces animals and human beings for the first time (1:24).
Humans were produced from the dust of the earth, according to what we learn later in the book (2:7).
Take note of the parallels between humans and trees: both are newly generated from the ground (2:7, 9), both carry seeds and produce fruit (1:11, 28; 3:15), and both are made in this manner on the third day of creation.
A Pattern Emerges
There are three major characteristics of the “third day” events in Genesis 1 that serve as a template for subsequent events:
- God brings new life where there was once only death (1:11-13
- God establishes his covenant with the creatures he has newly created, in this case humans (1:28-29)
- God creates new life where there was once only death (1:11-13
- 26 In Eden, which we understand to be a lofty site from which a river runs out (2:10-14), the event takes place.
It is impossible to emphasize the significance of this picture and pattern, since it serves as a precedent for future resurrections to come.
Abraham’s Test on the Third Day
Is there any other place where this pattern can be found? Abraham is put to the test by God in yet another “third day” occurrence, which is one of the most interesting events in all of Scripture (Genesis 22:1-19). When God commands Abraham to present his only son Isaac as a burned offering on a mountain, the Bible states that Abraham spotted the location from a distance on the third day and proceeded to complete the test (22:4). God wants Abraham to learn to put his confidence in him when it comes to the covenant and the blessing of offspring in this scenario.
The connection to the “third day” concept is established in this passage by a strikingly dramatic act of atonement on the part of God, in which he substitutes a ram for Isaac (22:13-14).
We learn that this deed is part of a bigger covenant endeavor to increase Abraham’s descendants and, through them, bless the nations, which we will discuss later (22:17-18). On the third day, we notice the same trend as we did on the first:
- God working to bring fresh life, in this case to Isaac by his life being spared and to Abraham with the return of his son (22:11-14). (Genesis 22:17-18) God confirms his bond with Abraham, using language and ideas identical with Genesis 1:28
- (22:2, 14) This event takes place on the summit of a mountain.
Israel’s Third Day at Sinai
At a critical moment in the Bible’s narrative, we discover still another occurrence taking place on the third day. With his people just delivered from decades of tyranny in Egypt, Yahweh is on the verge of entering into another covenant with Israel, this time on a mountaintop (Exodus 19:2-3). God makes it clear that he will descend to Mount Sinai in the presence of all of the people on the “third day” mentioned above. This time is a test for Israel, just as it was for Abraham. Their preparations for entering into covenant with God are to be completed by the “third day,” when they will be ready (Exodus 19:9-16).
As a result of what we’ve seen so far with “third day,” we should have come to assume a specific pattern, which we’ve now witnessed yet another time:
- It is God who brings about new life for his people — in this case, new identity for Israel — just as he did at the creation and with Abraham and Isaac (19:4-6)
- God enters into covenant with his people, specifically Israel (19:4-6)
- God accomplishes all of this on a mountain (19:2)
- And God accomplishes all of this on a mountain (19:2).
And that is exactly what we see in the tale! The rest of Israel’s experience in the Hebrew Scriptures, on the other hand, is defined by rebellion and disbelief, as well as a failure to fulfill their half of the agreement. This leads us back to the prophetic texts that refer to the third day, such as Hosea and Jonah, which we discussed before.
Hosea’s Hope, Jonah’s ‘Resurrection’
By returning to these prophets, we get a more complete picture of the “third day” and the tremendous imagery of resurrection that it evokes, as well as its relationship to God’s covenant with Abraham. A typical prophetic phrase for repentance toward covenant integrity is “return to Yahweh,” which Hosea uses to exhort Israel to do, and he also provides them hope in the form of resurrection language (Hosea 6:1-2). This restoration to the covenant will be marked by a renewal of life, as well as our resurrection as a people into the life of Yahweh, which will take place on the “third day,” in accordance with our pattern.
In many respects, the story of Jonah and his failure is a metaphor for the story of Israel.
In the third day, he vomits Jonah out of the fish, bringing him back to life in one of the most bizarre “resurrections” recorded in the Bible.
Jesus Predicts a Third Day Resurrection
In the Gospels, we find Jesus speaking of a third-day resurrection while he is discussing his death with his followers, which leads us to believe that he would rise from the dead on the third day. In fact, he refers to “three days” a total of 21 times! By now, you’ve undoubtedly figured out that this was not a coincidental choice of words. It is on the third day that Jesus was adamant, since it signifies God’s initiative in the creation of new life and the establishment of a covenant with mankind.
- Specifically, God raises fresh life from the earth (tomb), in this case, Jesus. God acts to bring about the new covenant via Jesus’ atoning death and resurrection, which in this case is for the benefit of everyone who believe in him. The act of atonement performed by Jesus takes place on a hill.
With the imagery of new life coming up from the earth in Genesis 1-2 on the third day, combined with the connection to the divine covenant found throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, the imagery of Jesus’ resurrection paints a striking picture of the theological importance of his resurrection. The significance of Jesus’ resurrection is underscored even further on the third day.
It is the culmination of God’s mission of new life and covenant, which has been brilliantly represented since the beginning of time, and which will culminate in the future resurrection of Jesus’ disciples and the restoration of the entire universe at the conclusion of time.
So what does this mean for us?
This year, as we commemorate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday, we are not just carrying on a centuries-old tradition. We are engaged in a profoundly important theology centered on the third day, with all of the implications of God’s redeeming work that it entails, at this time. The design pattern for the third day serves as a reminder that God has begun the process of reviving individuals to new life and bringing them into his covenant partnership with them. What role are we going to play in it today?
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.
- 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.
Contradictions: Three Days and Nights
We have to figure out how to fit three days and nights in the grave between Good Friday and Easter Sunday if Jesus was in the dead for three days and nights. How can we fit three days and nights in the grave between Good Friday and Easter Sunday if Jesus is to remain in the dead for three days and nights? There are a variety of options for dealing with this issue. A unique Sabbath may have been observed, leading some to speculate that Jesus was crucified on a Thursday rather than the usual Sunday.
- Esther exhorts Mordecai to convince the Jews to fast in Esther 4:16, and we find this in Esther 4:17.
- This was most likely done in preparation for her exceedingly dangerous effort to meet with the king later that day.
- The king could not have been seen by Esther until the fourth day if the three days and nights were tallied in the same manner as they are now.
- Because, just as Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the giant fish, so will the Son of Man spend three days and three nights in the center of the earth, according to the prophecy of the prophet Malachi (Matthew 12:40; NKJV).
- Then, seeing that they were terrified and dropped their heads to the ground, they asked them, “Why are you looking for the living among the dead?” He is not present, but has risen from the dead!
- If the three days and nights were numbered in the same manner that we do, then Jesus would have to rise on the fourth day, according to our reckoning.
The following table, which was taken from the website of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM), demonstrates how the counting process works. 1
|Day One||Day Two||Day Three|
|FRIstarts atsundown onThursday||FRIends atsundown||SATstarts atsundown onFriday||SATends atsundown||SUNstarts atsundown onSaturday||SUNends atsundown|
According to this chart, Jesus died on Good Friday, which was the first day of the week. Despite the fact that Jesus died during the day, day one comprises both the current day and the previous night. So, despite the fact that only a little of Friday remained, it was the first day and night to be recorded. Saturday was the second day of the week. Jesus resurrected from the dead on the first day of the week. That was the third day. As a result, according to Jewish calendar, we have three days and nights, yet Jesus resurrected from the dead on the third day.
As soon as we accept this system of counting, all of the alleged biblical challenges associated with keeping track of the days vanish.
Thank you, Master Books!
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.
- He is not present, but has ascended to the heavens.
- The fact that Jesus has been dead for three days is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
- When He spent three days in the belly of a whale, he compared himself to the biblical character Jonah (Matthew 12:40).
- According to the prophet Hosea (Hosea 6:1–3) in the Old Testament, the Messiah would be raised from the dead in three days (Hosea 6:1–3).
- Traditionally, it was believed that a person’s soul would remain with the body for three days after death, after which it would depart.
- His resurrection had to be a miracle that they couldn’t argue with or dismiss.
- 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 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!
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Was Jesus dead for three days and three nights?
Was Jesus really dead for three days and three nights (72 hours), or was he merely dead for a portion of those days and nights? What was it about the length of his dying that was so important to his mission and purpose? During Jesus’ mission, the Jews requested a sign from him to confirm that He was the expected Messiah, which Jesus refused to provide them. If, on the other hand, the sign were not entirely fulfilled, it would demonstrate that He was not the Savior. The sign of Jonah and the three days he spent in the depths of the sea were what Jesus used as definitive evidence that he was the Son of God.
- (Matthew 12:40, HBFV throughtout unless stated) Was Christ serious when He stated what He said?
- It is important to note that Jesus did not state in Matthew 12:40, “I shall rise again after two nights and one day.” He was referring to the fact that he would be dead and buried for three complete days, a total of seventy-two hours!
- Jonah the Prophet was a prophet who lived in the time of the Old Testament.
- Many Bible professors believe that Jesus’ crucifixion took place on the Friday before Good Friday.
- The unfortunate fact is that none of these doctrines is correct!
- Christ is not the Messiah, according to this logic, if the crucifixion occurred on Good Friday and the resurrection occurred early on Sunday morning.
- In his declaration, he stated that He will rise again “after three days” (Matthew 27:63, Mark 8:31, etc.).
- Some believe that Jews treat portions of a day as if they were a whole twenty-four-hour period.
Unfortunately, these verses do not demonstrate that three separate twenty-four-hour periods are the same as two nights and one whole span of time between Good Friday and Easter morning! This means that the time periods described in the passages above are to be understood literally!
The big lie
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that Jesus’ crucifixion occurred on a Friday. The fact that the Jewish weekly Sabbath fell on a Saturday leads some experts to believe that Jesus died on Friday, thereby spreading the “Good Friday hoax”! The Bible makes it plain that the Jews observed several holy days in addition to the weekly Sabbath. The Jews also observed the yearly Feast Days that God had appointed for Israel (Exodus 23:14 – 17, Leviticus 23, Numbers 28 – 29, etc.). According to the Bible, there were two Sabbaths between the time Jesus entered the tomb and the time his resurrection took place, which was three whole days later!
If Jesus had risen from the grave before 3 PM on Nisan 17, which was a weekly Sabbath (Saturday) afternoon, He would not have been declared legally deceased.
Jesus had to lie in the grave for three nights and three days before He could be officially recognized and acknowledged as having died.
The Sabbath after Jesus died
After sunset on Tuesday, December 30, 30 A.D. (when the Biblical day came to a close), Jesus had a portion of his final dinner with his twelve disciples (Luke 22:14 – 15, etc.). His crucifixion will take place between 12 and 3 p.m. on Wednesday. He passes away around 3 p.m. According to the Bible, labor was authorized in order to prepare for the next day, a high Holy Sabbath on which no work was permitted known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread, on which no work was permitted. The beginning of this Holy Week was at sundown on Wednesday.
The second Sabbath
Immediately after the annual Sabbath known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread ended (at sunset on Thursday), according to the Bible, three female companions went out to purchase spices for Jesus’ corpse (Mark 16:1). Following their purchase of spices, the ladies spent the remainder of Friday preparing them. When the weekly Sabbath began at sundown on Friday, the ladies took the day off (Luke 23:56). After resting, two of the women, Mary Magdalene and another Mary, walk to Jesus’ tomb late on the weekly Sabbath, as the three-day period of Jesus’ presence in the tomb near its conclusion (Matthew 28:1).
Some passages in the Bible refer to Jesus’ resurrection as occurring “after three days” (Mark 8:31; Matthew 27:63). In other passages, the phrase “during three days” is used (Matthew 26:61, 27:40, John 2:19 – 20, Mark 14:58, 15:29). Others refer to “the third day” as “the third day of the week” (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). Is it possible that these sentences are in conflict with one another? In fact, when we examine Jesus’ claims carefully, we discover that, rather than being inconsistent, they disclose the EXACT moment that he was risen from the grave.
” The other expressions, such as “in three days,” do not refer to the overall amount of time he was dead, but rather to the amount of time he was buried in the tomb” (The Day Jesus the Christ Died, Chapter 6).
This is 72 hours after he died and was buried to the bottom of the earth’s core, which is three full days and nights (i.e.
tomb). Moreover, it demonstrated that Jesus was the TRUE Messiah by fulfilling the sign of Jonah the prophet he gave in Matthew 12:38 – 40! During those three days and nights, our Savior was dead and buried in the dirt, demonstrating to all generations that he is the Messiah.
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 answer is more than just a good lesson on why we shouldn’t read Western assumptions into the Bible. It is also a good lesson on how to interpret the Bible. Additionally, there’s a worldview gem buried in this detail of Holy Week: a call to rest, not just from something like work, 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, impatient for a revolution, cut 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.
We put our faith not in politicians, rulers, or worldly decrees, but in the One who became our Sabbath rest in His own person.
For additional information, visit BreakPoint.org.
BreakPoint, which began as a daily radio program in 1991 by Chuck Colson, presents a Christian viewpoint on today’s events and trends through radio, interactive technologies, and print publications.
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).
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?
- 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.
- The problem is that it does not function.
- 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?
- Jesus had already been raised from the dead long before the sun came up.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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).
- God’s yearly Sabbath begins on this day, which is the beginning of the year.
- 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.
- 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
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 relates. Traditionally, in Jewish culture at the time, household chores such as cooking and cleaning were completed on the day before a Sabbath to avoid working on God’s appointed day of rest. It was customary to refer to Friday as “the preparation day” because of this.
WhichSabbath do you want to go on?
The explicit statement in John’s gospel leads most people to believe Jesus died and was buried on Friday, which gives rise to the popular view that Jesus was crucified and died on “Good Friday,” as the name suggests.
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 they have been taught.
- 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 weekly Sabbath days.
- According to the Gospels, Jesus celebrated the Passover with His followers on the evening before He was convicted and killed (Matthew 26:19-20;Mark 14:16-17;Luke 22:13-15).
- According to Leviticus 23, which lists God’s feasts, a separate holiday, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, begins on the day following the Passover (Leviticus 23:5-6).
- God’s yearly Sabbath begins on this day, which is the start of the year’s rest.
- At nightfall on the first day of Passover, and again at sundown on the second day of Passover, the yearly Sabbath started.
- After dawn the next day, He was brought before Pontius Pilate and crucified before being buried as quickly as possible before the next sunset, which marked the beginning of the Feast of Unleavened Bread’s first day.
The order and timing of these days are revealed in Leviticus 23, and the events of the Gospels match the sequence in which they took place during Jesus’ lifetime.
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?