THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS
Text: "Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three night in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matt 12:38-40). Was Jesus in the grave for exactly three days and three nights? I say YES! He was. Jesus, himself, said so, or was he not making himself clear? Why else use such a sign if the meaning would be ambiguous? Or misunderstood? Why use it as a sign at all if He didn’t mean to take it literally? The Jews understood Jonah’s prophesy as literal that is why Jesus sighted it as prophetic of His resurrection.
The religious world recognizes Friday as the day of Jesus’ crucifixion and death. They do so because of not so thorough search of the bible, or receiving of a false teaching that the majority of them have come to accept w/o question. Listen, the bible CAN STAND TO BE QUESTIONED! It will always come out of it clean an clear. Joh 5:39 "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."
The problems are not with what the bible says, but with the things people suppose it says, or twist into saying what they want it to say in order to support religious church traditions, or dictates of a fallible Pope, instead of religious truth verified by a "thus saith the Lord."
The simplest way to determine the day of Crucifixion and burial is to take Jesus’ own words about it. My, "that was easy!" So count backwards from the end of the Saturday Sabbath, at the end of which Jesus left the tomb, as it began to dawn into the first day, Sunday. So from Saturday PM to Friday PM is one day; to Thursday Pm is two days; to Wed Pm is 3 days and 3 nights, or a total of 72 hours. Do we need more proof than that?
If he were not in the heart of the earth for that length of time why wouldn’t he have simply said... one day and two nights? If Jesus wasn’t in the grave for the full 72 hours, then Jonah wasn’t in the fishes belly for that length of time either. If one is literal, the other must be; if merely a figure, so is the other.
Since Jesus claimed Messiahship, the Jews demanded a sign of Him to prove it. Jesus gave them the sign of Jonah, Luke 11:30 "For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation." If this sign were not literally fulfilled, it would disprove unto them His Messianic claims. This was the only sign Jesus ever gave them to prove His Messiahship. And so, the need existed for Him to do exactly what He promised he would do.
Mark 8:31 tells us: "And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again."
Did Christ mean what He said? Did He really expect to be buried in the earth for three days and three nights? Jesus did not say, "After two nights and one day I will rise again," as would be the case of a Friday crucifixion. But, He said, "After three days I will rise again." Surely He meant three whole days and three whole nights--a full 72 hours!
The Jews remembered this sign when He was crucified. Matt 27:62-64 "Now the next day, (that would be either Thurs or Sat), that followed the day of the preparation, (that was either Wed or Fri) the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first"
They did all they could to prevent His resurrection. They got the watch, made the sepulchre sure, and sealed the stone. (They probably peaked inside first). "After three days I will rise again" was necessary to fulfill the Jonah sign.
If the Jews knew Jesus had died and was buried on late Friday and they wanted the tomb sealed for 3 days from then, here’s what that would mean: Fri to Sat is one day, Sat to Sun is 2nd day, and Sun to Mon the 3rd day. That won’t work because we learn from the bible that Jesus arose from the dead late Saturday shortly before 6pm as it began to dawn unto the first day of the week, Sunday. No literal 3 day/nights possible with that scenario.
Therefore, modern interpreters of the Bible make Jesus Christ a liar. They say Jesus was crucified on Good Friday, buried about sundown the same day, and arose on the next Sunday about daybreak in contradiction to the Scriptures! This would be only two nights and one day. If He were crucified on Good Friday and arose early Sunday morning as they say, then He did not literally fulfill the sign of Jonah. If He did not fulfill this sign then He misled the Jews about the time line.
If the Good Friday theory is correct, then the Bible contains "highly figurative language" which would evoke many human interpretations of its meaning. By this LIBERAL method of interpreting the Scriptures one could destroy every doctrine in the Bible from the creation and fall of man, the worldwide flood, all bible miracles, the existence of Satan and his doom, the virgin birth of Jesus, his literal ascension to heaven, his liberal second coming back to earth, His millennial reign on earth, the purging of this earth by fire and the creation of a new heavens and earth.
I care not of what the religiously educated liberal scholars say! They find it impossible to come to the knowledge of the real truth because their preconceived notions get in the way of it. People must be concerned not to accuse Jesus of misrepresenting the facts, i.e. that is lying! As TV’s Sargent Joe Friday on Dragnet used to say, "all we want are the facts."
Jesus Christ plainly said He would be in the grave "three days and three nights". He emphatically declared He would rise again "after three days". Folks, how many hours in three days? 72 that’s right. I believe that’s how He fulfilled the sign of Jonah and vindicated His Messiahship. In Matthew 28:6, we read this testimony of the angel at the tomb: "He is not here: for he is risen, as he said."
Jesus said He would be in the grave "three days and three nights" and "after three days" He would rise again. If Jesus fulfilled the Jonah sign, He could not have been crucified on Good Friday, nor rise on Sunday morning!
Some came up with the Part-of-a-Day Theory being counted as if it were a whole 24 hour period. This cannot be right. Men, in order to help the Bible out of what seems an embarrassing contradiction, allege that the Jews counted a part of a day as the whole day.Where is the proof in the Bible for such an idea? There is no biblical passage which prove "three days and three nights" means anything less than 72 hours. Those who believe the Bible is literally true do not accept such ideas. The "three days and three nights" in Jonah 1:17 must be taken in their literal sense and so what Jesus said must be literal; otherwise it is nonsense!
The meaning of day in the Bible in its primary sense means the interval from sunrise to sunrise or sunset to sunset. Genesis 1:5 "And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day." (Total 24 hours)
This is the first occurrence of the word "day" in the Bible, and God gives its meaning. Jesus believed there were 12 hours in a day (that is daylight hours). He asked in John 11:9: " . . . Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the (day) light of this world."
Jesus made a day and night consist of 24 hours.. Can there be any higher authority than that? In the Bible a day is the interval of time comprising the period between two successive risings of the sun. The 12-hour night began at sunset and ended at sunup. The nighttime hours were counted before the 12 daylight hours. "And the evening and the morning were the first day" Genesis 1:5.
A new day began at 6 o'clock in the evening and lasted until the same time the next evening--a period of 24 hours--a 12-hour night followed by a 12-hour day!
The Bible nowhere says or implies that Jesus was crucified and died on a Good Friday! It is said that Jesus was crucified on "the day before the Sabbath," Mark 15:42. (Luke 23:54; John 19:14, 31, 42.)
Since the Jewish weekly Sabbath came on Saturday, scholars have assumed Jesus was crucified on Friday. But the Bible tells us that the Jews had other Sabbaths beside the weekly Sabbath which fell on Saturday.
The first day of the Passover week, no matter on what day of the week it came, was always an annual Sabbath.
"And on the 15th day of the same month (April) is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein" (a Sabbath). Lev 23:6, 7.
On the seventh day of this feast, the 21st of Nisan (April), was another annual Sabbath: " . . in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein" Lev 23:8.
The day of Pentecost was an annual Sabbath Num 28:26. This is the reason we read about Sabbaths in the plural number in the Old Testament. (Lev 26:2, 34, 35, 43.)
The Bible makes it plain, Jesus was crucified and buried on: ". . the preparation (day), that is, the day before the sabbath" Mark 15:42. John tells us: "And it was the preparation (day) of the Passover" John 19:14.
This was the preparation day on which the Passover Supper was made ready the 14th of Nisan (April), (John 13:1, 29; 18:28.) It was the preparation to keep the Passover Sabbath--the annual Sabbath which always came on the 15th day of the first ecclesiastical month. Jn 19:31 adds: ("for that sabbath day was an high day.)" This proves it wasn’t the usual Sat. Sabbath.
Its greatness was due to the fact that it was the annual Sabbath of the Passover Festival. So there were two Sabbaths that Week. Matthew makes it plain that two Sabbaths had passed since Jesus was crucified. The KJV has this rendering:
"In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawntoward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre" Matthew 28:1.
On this verse nearly all translators have allowed tradition to control their translation. It is not singular, "Sabbath" but plural, "Sabbaths" in the Greek text (the genitive case and the plural number). The verse properly translated would read: "In the end of the sabbaths . . . ." This allows for the annual Passover Sabbath on Thursday and a regular weekly Sabbath on Saturday. The Scofield Bible margin supports this.
Young’s Literal Trans so renders it.: Mt 28:1 "And on the eve(ning) of the sabbaths, at the dawn, toward the first (day of the week) of the (two) sabbaths, came Mary the Magdalene, and the other Mary, to see the sepulchre."
Probably 95% or more of Christians do not know these facts. They have blindly accepted what they’ve always heard. There is no other understanding of the time in which Jesus was in the grave which is better than this one, 72 hours. All else falls short of a literal understanding of what Jesus promised.
To study this in greater detail would take longer that I have this morning, and perhaps deeper than you all have a desire to go without a handout to illustrate everything.
If you are like me, the text is enough to prove a 72 hour period in the grave before His resurrection. That requires a Wednesday crucifixion and burial before 6pm which was the start of the Thursday Passover sabbath at 6:00 pm sharp.
So what was Friday of Passover week? It was the day of preparation for the Saturday Sabbath. What is it for us? It is just our 6th day of the week. Neither good nor bad, just Friday. Nothing significant occurred on that day of Passover week.
Conc.: In the grand scheme of things, it is not all that important to know the exact day of the week Christ was crucified. If it were extremely important, then the Bible would have more clearly communicated the day instead of leaving it for us to study to figure it out.
What is important is that JESUS did die, and that He physically, bodily rose from the dead after 3 days. Proofs abound for those facts. What is profoundly important is the reason why He died—to take away the punishment due for our multitude of sins. 1 Co 15:3-4 "....Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"
Rom 5:6 "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." Ro 5:8 "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Eph 1:13 "In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise." Have each one of you trusted Him in this way?
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