Monday, April 22, 2019

Did Jesus was In The Tomb For Three Days And Three Nights Or Rose On The Third Day?

Does Jesus And Paul Contradict Each Other Regarding His Death And Resurrection?

Question: Jesus' said that he will die and be kept three days and three nights in the belly of the earth just like Jonah who was in the belly of the whale for the same amount of time, which will be the only sign given to the Jews to repent and receive the Kingdom of God (Matt 12:40). How do we fit it with Paul's third day Jesus rose again, which he said in 1 Cor 15:3-5, which also have been told beforehand by Jesus Himself and his disciples?

Answer: Greetings in Jesus wonderful name!

The confusion usually comes because we use Gregorian calendar which is the calendar used in most of the world, and with this mindset we see in to the Jewish Scripture which is based on Hebrew calendar. The Jewish day is of no fixed length. The Jewish day is modeled on the reference to "...there was evening and there was morning..." in the creation account in the first chapter of Genesis (Gen 1:5). Based on the classic rabbinic interpretation of this text, a day in the rabbinic Hebrew calendar runs from sunset (start of "the evening") to the next sunset.

In Esther 4:16, we find Esther saying to Mordecai to tell the Jews to fast saying, “Neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day” (NKJV). This was clearly in preparation for her highly risky attempt to see the king. Yet just two verses later, in Esther 5:1, we read: “Now it happened on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace.”

If three days and nights were counted in the same way as we count them today with Gregorian calendar, then Esther could not have seen the king until the fourth day because we count each 24 hour to be a day, only when it is completed we even call it a day. Anything before that day is counted as half a day or quarter a day or three fourth of a day.

Here are the Scriptures regarding the scenario we have discussed:

"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." (Matthew 12:40; NKJV).

"Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb." (Matthew 28:1; NKJV).

"3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." (1 Cor 15:3-4).

"Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again’” (Luke 24:5–7; NKJV).

In the same way if we are to count, three days and three nights based on Gregorian calendar and not Hebrew way of calculating a day, Jesus would have to rise on the fourth day and not the third day according to the Scriptures. By comparing these above passages, we can see that in the minds of people in Bible times the phrase, “the third day” is equivalent to “after three days" in our times and generation.

Thus we know that whether the third day has started or is running or it is going to be over, the Bible writers still wrote it as the third day. We can see in the below table how the Jonah miracle of Jesus life was considered as three days and three nights, and also how Jesus could rise up on the third day after his death when in fact according to our 24 hour a day calculation, we can only say that he died on Friday evening and up to Saturday evening it is one day, and then the next day early morning is another 12 hours added to the existing 24 hours which will hardly be one and half days only.

So when Friday evening Jesus died, already in total, day one is included with that day and the previous night as counted as one day of death in the grave, even though Jesus died around 3 O clock in the evening and buried before darkness could totally set in, after which began the next day in the Hebrew calendar. So, although only part of Friday was left, that was the first day and night to be counted as one day which is day one. Saturday was day two with evening and morning, in which Jesus was completely in the grave. Even though Jesus rose in the early morning of the Sunday, we count the third day as evening and morning as we have already seen, that is, even to the afternoon until the evening sun down this day is counted as the 3rd day. This was day three according to the Hebrew calendar of Bible times. So according to Biblical mindset of those people in the first century and the Scriptural count of the Jonah miracle in Jesus death and resurrection, nothing is contradictory, but rather thus we have three days and nights scripturally according to the culture which is true, yet Jesus rose on the third day which is also obviously true according to the same cultural interpretation. We should never be surprised that a different time and different culture used different method of counting a day to determine what it is, than how we do in our culture in our times. As soon as we use the right context of the Scripture and its calendar to determine all the supposed biblical problems with counting, all confusion for the days count disappear. And a clear picture of how the Bible is authentic to all generations emerges to us. Praise the Lord!

Much Blessings....


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