● Matt 12:40 . . For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
It is of course, impossible to squeeze three nights into
the Good Friday model; but then it isn't really necessary to do so. It's merely
a convenient tradition to commemorate Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. I
say "convenient" because his event is relative to the Jews'
Passover, a.k.a the seven-day Feast Of Unleavened Bread. Well; Passover is a
floating Jewish holy feast that isn't pegged to one specific day of the week; so
it can, and it does, begin on any and every day of the week sooner or later.
Defining Days and Nights
In the very beginning, God made a distinct difference between night and day on Earth; so that His day on Earth is not a 24-hour amalgam of light and dark; rather, His day on Earth is when the Sun is up, and His night on Earth is when the Sun is down.
● Gen 1:4-5 . . God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness he called night.
● Gen 1:14 . . And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night
● Gen 1:16 . .And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night.
● Gen 1:17-18 . . And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness.
If only people kept those God-given physical characteristics in mind when working with Matt 12:40, their calculations would be greatly simplified.
FAQ: Why bother defining the limits of day and night?
A: It's necessary that we nail down the physical characteristics of night and day because Jewish holy days begin and end at sundown; resulting in a 24-hour calendar day that too many people have allowed to blur the distinction between day and night.
Here's another "blur" that pops up now and then.
● Gen 1:5 . . And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Creation's days are very controversial and a special area of study all to themselves. For example: chronologically evening and morning define overnight which suggests that God did all of His creative work in the dark.
I highly recommend categorizing creation's days apart from days on Earth in order to avoid confusion, especially when the preponderance of evidence testifies that day is a time of light, and night is a time of darkness; viz: day on Earth is when the sun is up, and night is when the sun is down.
The final authority on matters of daytime and nighttime is the Lord himself. He was actually living in Israel during crucifixion week. When Jesus was here, days were, at the most, only 12 hours.
● John 11:9-10 . . Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.
This world's light is of course the Sun as per Gen 1:14-18. So then, when Jesus was here; day was when the sun is up and night was when the sun is down; meaning of course that the three days and three nights of Matt 12:40 indicate three times when the sun was up, and three times when the sun was down; i.e. relative to Christ's crucifixion and resurrection: days began with sunrise and nights began with sundown.
FYI: Days divided into twelve equal periods of sunlight were regulated by what's known as temporal hours; which vary in length in accordance with the time of year. There are times of the year at Jerusalem's latitude when this world's light consists of less than 12 normal hours of sun, and sometimes more; but when Jesus was here; the official number of hours was always twelve regardless.
I don't exactly know why the Jews of that era divided their days into twelve equal periods of sunlight regardless of the seasons, but I suspect it was just a convenient way to operate the government and conduct civil affairs; including the Temple's activities (e.g. the daily morning and evening sacrifices)
Jesus' Last Supper Relative To The Jews' Passover
A pretty good number of Bible students are unaware that Jesus and his men ate their Passover dinner the night of his arrest. (Matt 26:17-20, Mark 14:12-17, and Luke 22:7-15)
The Jews ate their Passover after he was dead and buried. (John 13:1-2, John 18:28-29, John 19:13-14, and John 19:31)
The Jews were somehow unaware that their religious calendar was tardy the year that Christ was crucified. He, being a prophet in direct contact with God, would of course have known the precise moment that Passover that year was supposed to begin; which is no doubt at least one of the reasons why Christ ate his own Passover before the Jews ate theirs.
Ironically, the Jews were careful to avoid going after Jesus during Passover.
● Matt 26:3-5 . .Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him. But not during the feast— they said —or there may be a riot among the people.
Due to their religious calendar's error, the Jews inadvertently put Jesus to death during the very season they wanted to avoid.
Crucifixion Week's Two Sabbaths
There was a second sabbath in crucifixion week— the Passover sabbath. (Ex 12:16, Lev 23:5-8)
Passover sabbath is interesting. The routine sabbath always falls on the very same day of the week every time. But Passover sabbath floats; hence it can, and it does, occur on any given day of the week; sometimes even coincident with the routine sabbath; for example 2018 and 2019, and sometimes consecutive with the routine sabbath; for example 2008.
It's sometimes objected that whereas Yom Kippur and the Feast of Trumpets are specifically called sabbaths (Lev 16:29-34, Lev 23:23-25); the first day of the feast of unleavened bread isn't. It's set aside for an holy convocation which just simply means a sacred assembly. But it's also added that no manner of work shall be done on that day; which is exactly what a sabbath is all about (Gen 2:2-3). In reality, the objection is just semantic nit picking.
Anyway; John calls that day a sabbath (John 19:31), which pretty much settles it for me. But it's a sneaky sabbath that easily escapes people's notice so they end up counting only one of the sabbaths related to Christ's crucifixion and resurrection. By failing to reckon with the Passover sabbath, they end up stuck with the Good Friday model; which of course is unworkable.
Now, when we combine the Passover sabbath and the routine sabbath and the difference of one day between Jesus' Passover and the Jews' Passover, we end up with a very complicated can of worms to sort out.
I sometimes suspect that most people accept the Good Friday model because it doesn't require any thinking; whereas the actual facts of the matter are a bit of a challenge to comprehend.
FAQ: If it's true there was a second sabbath in crucifixion week (a.k.a. Passover sabbath) then where would we place it in the chronology?
A: It began at sundown the afternoon of the Lord's burial.
FAQ: Where would we place the routine sabbath?
A: It followed on the heels of the Passover sabbath and is seen when the women went out to the cemetery. (Matt 28:1, Mark 16:1)
So the order of events is:
Sunday was resurrection day.
Saturday was the routine sabbath day.
Friday was the Passover sabbath day.
Thursday was crucifixion day.
FAQ: That's a total of four days. Isn't that one too many?
A: It's tempting to count the afternoon of Christ's burial as one of the days as per Matt 12:40 and John 2:19-22, but don't do it. Wait until the Jews' preparation for Passover comes to an end and they're ready to sit down and dine upon their lambs before starting to tally the days and nights or your chronology won't come out right. It's essential to leave crucifixion day set aside for the slaughtering of lambs; including the one on the cross.
NOTE: The timing of Jesus' crucifixion is remarkable. He was executed during the very day that the Jews were preparing for their Passover. Had the Jews' religious calendar not been incorrect that year, they would've put him to death some other day. (Matt 26:3-5)
● John 20:1 . . Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb, while it was still dark, and saw the stone already taken away from the tomb.
FAQ: Doesn't that passage, along with Matt 28:1 and Mark 16:1-2, prove that Jesus' crucified dead body was restored to life prior to sunrise?
A: According to Gen 1:4-5, Gen 1:14, Gen 1:16, Gen 1:17-18, and John 11:9-10, "day" is when the Sun is up and "night" is when the Sun is down.
In other words: had Jesus risen prior to sunrise, he would've risen at night. But according to Matt 17:22-23, Mark 9:31, Luke 9:22, Luke 24:21-23, Luke 24:46, Acts 10:40, and 1Cor 15:4 he rose from the dead during day.
The Greek word that speaks of the women's journey is somewhat ambiguous. It can not only mean came, but also went, i.e. it can indicate travel as well as arrival and/or coming as well as going.
Seeing as how there are no less than seven verses that clearly, conclusively, and without ambiguity testify that Jesus' dead body revived on the third day rather than during the third night— viz: his body revived when the Sun was up rather than when the Sun was not yet up, —then it's safe to conclude that in the women's case "went" is the appropriate translation of the Greek word erchomai, i.e. the women left their homes during morning twilight; and by the time they met together and journeyed to the cemetery, the Sun was fully up.
(I cannot imagine any woman of good sense walking around a graveyard in the dark; especially when back in that day nobody as yet had access to electric lighting of any kind, not even a flashlight.)
NOTE: The original languages of the Bible contain numerous ambiguous words that translators are not always sure how best to interpret; so sometimes the onus is upon the reader. Caveat Lector.
FAQ: I've heard it said that Jesus' crucified dead body was restored to life on Saturday just prior to sundown. Is that a possibility? (Saturday is the Jews' routine sabbath day.)
A: According to Luke 24:21-23, the third day predicted by Matt 12:40 fell upon the day that the women went out to the cemetery.
"We trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulcher; and when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive."
The day that the women went out to the cemetery is well-attested to be the day following the Jews' routine sabbath day. (Matt 28:1, Mark 16:2, Mark 16:9, Luke 24:1, John 20:1, and John 20:19)
FAQ: The sign of Jonah (Matt 12:40) speaks of three days and three nights. Doesn't that indicate Jesus should not have been seen until the fourth day?
A: There is a preponderance of evidence testifying that Jesus Christ's crucified dead body was restored to life during the third day rather than later after the whole day was over and done with.
● Matt 17:22-23 . . Jesus said unto them: The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: and they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again.
● Mark 9:31 . . He taught his disciples, and said unto them: The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.
● Luke 9:22 . .The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.
● Luke 24:21-23 . .We trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things were done. Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulcher; and when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.
● Luke 24:46 . . He said unto them: Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day
● Acts 10:40 . . God raised him up the third day
● 1Cor 15:4 . . he rose again the third day
The Importance Of Knowing the Correct Sequence Of Events
FAQ: Why should anybody even care about those three days and three nights?
A: I care because the Good Friday model discredits Jesus and makes a mockery of Christianity.
Were I the Devil, the one component of Christianity that I would make my mission in life to invalidate is Christ's resurrection because according to Rom 4:25, it is by means of his resurrection that hell-bound people have the opportunity to obtain an acquittal.
But according to Rom 10:9-11 it is necessary for the hell-bound to be persuaded that Jesus Christ existed and that he actually came back from death after his crucifixion. Failure to believe it will result in their failing to obtain an acquittal; and thus end up in the wrong place.
So you see, the topic of this page might be just another bull session for some people, but it's life and death for those on a path to the sum of all fears.
Jonah And Ninevah
● Matt 12:40 . . For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
When you think about it, Jesus' crucified dead body never was in the heart of the Earth, it was laid to rest up on the surface; and not even in the ground like a normal grave— his remains were entombed in a hollowed out rock. (Matt 27:60)
So, in order for Jesus to be up on the surface of the Earth, and down in it's bowels at the same time; he and his body had to part company.
According to Ps 16:8-10 and Acts 2:25-31, when Jesus passed away, he went to a place in the netherworld called sheol in Hebrew and haides in Greek. Jonah went there too. (Jonah 2:2)
According to Jonah 2:6, sheol is located at the roots of the mountains; and if that's the case, then that's where haides is located too. Well, I think we can all agree that the roots of the mountains aren't situated in the tummies of fish.
In other words: while Jonah's corpse was interred in the fish, he himself was somewhere deep in the Earth— a very similar thing happened to Jesus. While his corpse was interred in the rock, he himself was somewhere deep in the Earth too.
If Jesus Christ's resurrection is true— if his dead body was actually restored to life within three days and three nights just as the prophet's (Jonah 1:17)— then Jesus most certainly is the one man in the New Testament that everybody really ought to approach with a great deal of caution because Jonah's message warned of the impending destruction of just one city; while Jesus' message warns of the impending destruction of many cities. (Rev 16:17-19)
● Matt 12:41 . . People of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it; because they repented at what Jonah preached, but, look! something more than Jonah is here.
His Buried Body
● Matt 27:45 . . At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o'clock.
To me, those three hours were the most important during Christ's ordeal because that's when God laid into him.
● Isa 53:6 . . All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but The Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.
● Isa 53:10 . . It was Yhvh's will to crush him and cause him to suffer.
When the light returned, people saw Christ in a condition like you will probably never hear described in an Easter Sunday sermon.
The Romans whipped Jesus to within an inch of his life, slapped him around, crowned him with thorns, and drove nails into his palms and his feet. But that was child's play compared to what God did. By the time those hours of darkness lifted; the Lord's own mother would have trouble recognizing him.
● Luke 23:48 . .When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.
Yes, of course they beat their breasts; you know why? Because they were having trouble catching their breath. The extent of the Christ's injuries were so horrific that they could scarcely tell he was the same man.
● Isa 52:14-15 . . There were many who were appalled at him-- his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness --thus will he sprinkle many nations
The below is an impassioned plea heard from the cross.
● Matt 27:46 . . My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Here it is again; this time with some parts that were missing.
● Ps 22:1 . . My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
The Hebrew word for "roaring" is sheagah (sheh-aw-gaw') which means: a rumbling or moan.
In other words: people standing around the cross that day during those three hours of inky dark couldn't see anything, but they could sure hear: and what they heard were the dreadful screams of a man in extreme discomfort.
Heal The World