P. O. Box 86 / Cottage Hills, Illinois 62018/ USA / 618-259-3259
For Smart People
Who Do Not Want To Be Dummies
About God and the Bible
(Parts I, II, III)
By J. George Cover
Lesson 30 - The Resurrection of Jesus. (Cont'd.) (Text Version)
The reason for differences of opinion as to which day Jesus was crucified arises from Jesus statement recorded in Matthew 12:40: "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." It is plain to see that from Friday evening to Sunday morning is NOT three days and three nights.
Dr. Finis Dake's note on this verse reads, "Christ was dead for three full days and for three full nights. He was put in the grave Wednesday just before sunset and was resurrected at the end of Saturday at sunset. Good Friday should be changed to Good Wednesday. No statement says that He was buried Friday at sunset This would make Him in the grave only one day and one night, proving His own words untrue (vs. 40). The sabbath of John 19:31 was not the regular weekly one, but the special sabbath of the feast."
His notes on Luke 9:22, "Saying, the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day," state: "This phrase is used 11 times in connection with His resurrection (Matthew 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; Mark 9:31; 10:34; Luke 9:22; 18:33; 24:7, 46; Acts 10:40; 1 Corinthians 15:4). In Mark 8:31, it is 'after three days' and, in Matthew 12:40, the time was to be three full days and three full nights. The phrase 'third day' means three full days and three full nights because:
- "When days and nights are both mentioned, then it cannot be parts of three days, but full days and nights (Esther 4:16 with 5:1; 1 Sam. 30:12 with 13; Jonah 1:17 with Matthew 12:40).
- "The Jews understood Christ to mean 'after three days' or three full days and three full nights (Matthew 27:63), hence the soldiers had orders to guard the tomb at least that long.
- "It was the custom to mourn for the dead three full days and nights, called 'days of weeping,' which were followed by four 'days of lamentation,' thus making seven days (Genesis 27:41; 50:10; 1 Samuel 31:13; Job 2:13). According to rabbinical notion, the spirit wandered about the sepulchre for three days hoping to re-enter the body, but when corruption set in, the spirit left. This was believed to be on the fourth day when the loud lamentations began. Hence, on the fourth day, Lazarus was supposed to stink (John 11:39).
- "Herodotus testifies that embalming did not take place until after three days when the spirit was supposed to be gone (Herod ii, 86-89). This is why the women were taking sweet spices to anoint Jesus (Mark 16:1; Luke 24:1).
- "The Jews did not accept evidences as to the identification of a dead body after three days, for corruption took place quickly in the East. Hence, this period of three full days and three full nights was wanted by God, so as to preclude all doubt that death had actually taken place, and shut out all suggestion that Christ might have been in a trance. Jews would legally have to conclude His death, should He remain dead the full three days and three nights." [Dr. Finis Dake]
The Reasoning of Those Who Believe That Jesus Was Crucified on Friday and
Arose on Sunday.
- They say that the expression "three days and three nights" was used by the Jews to mean any part of three days.
- The statement "today is the third day since these things were done" (Luke 24:21) and "He rose again the third day" (1 Corinthians 15:4) would not mean that three days and three nights had passed.
- They believe that the "day of preparation for the sabbath" was the preparation day for the seventh day sabbath, not the preparation for the sabbath following Passover.
It seems to me that Dr. Dake's explanations are reasonable. The Bible is true, but something like this may be difficult for us to know the exact meaning of the language as understood at that time in this matter. This in no way affects what was accomplished by Christ on the cross or by His resurrection from the dead.
"Please tell me more."