The Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ

For 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

 

If you believe that Christ is the Messiah, then he had to fulfill all the prophecies concerning such. He had to fulfill them to the letter as that was criteria to establish the fact that He WAS and IS the Messiah.

"Bu how could Jesus have been in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights if He died on a Friday afternoon and rose before sunrise on a Sunday?"

 

Most Christians duck the question, since at most they can only come up with one day and two nights (Friday nighttime, Saturday daytime, and Saturday nighttime in our measure of days). If they add in the Friday daytime they get two periods of daytime, even though Jesus would have died in the late afternoon on a Friday.

I have seen how the question above were explained away in the Bereans Forum by the Berean members. One Timothy argued there could be no third night in the saying of Jesus "because it is not to be taken literally. It is a figure of speech only the ancients would understand." And yet this Bereanite claimed "I for one am a common person and I understand it." The above allegation of Timothy was in responsed to statement of one Buck Cash

But in NO WAY can you show me that there is a THIRD NIGHT to be found between Friday evening and Sunday morning by showing me examples of other texts that don't show it either. Either Jesus means what is written or it has not been properly translated or it cannot be understood by any common person, leaving the interpretations to men who CLAIM knowledge and power over other, lesser men who cannot understand it.

 

I. What is a day

So, just how does Scripture resolve this dilemma; of Christ supposedly dying on a Friday and rising on a Sunday and calling it three days and three nights? We will turn to the Scriptures themselves and see exactly what they claim and trace the events that transpired.

Some scholars claim that Christ was crucified on Wednesday, others say Thursday, some stick with Friday and yet others still say Saturday! I always wonder how so many people can look at something and see it so many different ways. I mean, we all have brains and surely have the capability of understanding dates and events and by using logic and deduction understand what transpired. But then again, we have lawyers, who use what given knowledge they have about a client to twist the facts and support their motive. My goal is to make this as clear as possible and to show that Friday cannot obviously be the day upon which Jesus was crucified. I'll address the other days as crucifixion days and show the fault in those particular stances as well.

We know that the Bible does not give a particular name of a day in these events so it is imperative that we understand the exact time frame here. To start, we must know that the day we use (in the Gregorian calendar) is different from the Jewish day. Some people use the differences in the Gregorian calendar and the Jewish calendar to cover up for a day or two, but do not let this fool you. A day is still a day. By the Roman period, a system of twelve hours of daylight was in use (Matthew 20:3-6). The system is very easy to understand. Every society has had to devise a system of measuring time, and for the Jews, the day began at sunset and ended at the following sunset. Why? As stated in the very creation account:

"And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day." [Genesis 1:5]

So the Jews followed in calling from evening to morning, the last half of a day. (Note that the precise language here, ie. "evening" and "morning" clearly make it impossible for the days of creation to be longer periods such as geological eras.) This time frame is still observed in Jewish tradition, where, for example, the Sabbath begins on Friday evening at sunset and ends Saturday at sunset. The two Hebrew words for month (yerah and hodes) are both related to the moon and its cycle so the Hebrew calendar is based on a lunar year (on the moon phases). A lunar month is the interval between two new moons, averaging about 29.5 days. The Gregorian calendar is based on the solar year (on the time it takes the earth to orbit from one vernal equinox to the next, which is 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds). So the setting of the sun was the determining factor for the Jews in calling a day, a day. God followed this pattern in the creation account for every day of the week - "And the evening and the morning" were the days; Gen. 1:8, 13, 19, 23, 31.

We can say the Jewish day starts at approximately 6 PM (around sunset). Our days start at 12 AM. So the days look like this:

 

Gregorian Days noted from 12 AM to 12 PM

 

12 AM
12 PM
12 AM
12 PM
12 AM
12 PM
12 AM
12 PM
12 AM
12 PM
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
6 AM
6 PM
6 AM
6 PM
6 AM
6 PM
6 AM
6 PM
6 AM
6 PM

Jewish days noted from 6 PM to 6 AM

 

A day is still 24 hours. The Jewish day simply starts a little earlier. Take Friday for example, see how our Friday starts at 12 AM, but to the Jews that same Friday starts at 6 PM on Thursday (at Thursday's sunset). This particular arrangement for the time period of a day is important to understand so that we can see Scripture's time frame during Passover. Passover always occurs during the month of Nisan, or as they called it in the ancient Hebrew calendar, Abib. (The modern equivalent is March/April) Nisan is the seventh month of the civil year and the first of the religious year. Scripture describes when the events of Passover are to occur:

"This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:" [Exodus 12:2,3]

So the first month of the religious year is Nisan. And to match up our events now, day to day, here is a list of what events occur during this month of Nisan and you'll see the references to them in Scripture. They are as follows:

NISAN - (ABIB)


Nisan 1 - Genesis 8:13, Exodus 12:2, 40:2, 40:17, Ezekiel 29:17, 45:18,
2 Chronicles 29:17, Ezra 7:9, 10:17
Nisan 7 - Ezekiel 30:20
Nisan 8 - 2 Chronicles 29:17
Nisan 10 - Exodus 12:3, Joshua 4:19, Ezekiel 40:1
Nisan 12 - Ezra 8:31
Nisan 13 - Esther 3:12
Nisan 14 - Leviticus 23:5, Numbers 9:5, 28:16, 2 Chronicles 35:1, Ezra 6:19,
Ezekiel 45:21
Nisan 15 - Exodus 13:4, 23:15, 34:18, Numbers 28:17-18, 33:3
Nisan 16 - 2 Chronicles 29:17
Nisan 24 - Dan 10:4

Other Events in Nisan-Abib:

Numbers 9:1, 20:1, Deuteronomy 16:1, 1 Chronicles 12:15, 27:2-3,
2 Chronicles 29:3, Nehemiah 2:1, Esther 3:7

So, you now know what a Hebrew day is and a Gregorian day! You know the first month of the religious year and some events listed in Scripture that occur during these days. Nothing to dispute so far. I'll try to make the events a little more plainer for you so when we read Scripture, we can see what the verses are talking about when they mention certain events. It's an exciting unfolding account!!

The Passover

The Last Supper and the Crucifixion

The Resurrection

Links to current discussions:

 

graphic by Michael J. Harris

 

A superficial reading of the gospels does tend to lead one to the conclusion of a Friday crucifixion, when read separately, so one cannot blame the majority of believers for this false belief.

* Sources: The Myth of "Good Friday" & Good Friday is a Myth; Jesus Died on a Wednesday!! by Roy A. Reinhold

Please bare with me as this page is being constructed and organized
(last updated Feb 13, 2004 4:30 PM)
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