How Was Jesus in the Earth for Three Days and Three Nights?

William Arnold III


I would like to ask you a question regarding the days and three nights before the Lord was resurrected (Matt. 12:40). So many people say, I've counted the hours, nights and days, and it just does not add up to three days and three nights. I have heard that the Friday at sunset to Saturday at sunset was not the Sabbath that the gospel writers were referring to because it was the passover Sabbath which fell on a Wednesday or Thursday. How are we to understand this?


The three days and three nights seems to be a figure of speech. We do know that in Rabinnic thought any part of a day and a night was seen as the whole. They would use the term of a "day and a night" for any part of one. Notice we never hear about 40 days and 39 nights, or 3 days and 4 nights. It would seem quite strange that all the days rounded so nicely. If we do not understand it this way, then there really seems to be no way to reconcile it. Jesus was not burried for 3 24-hour periods. It is true that some put the crucifixion on a Wednesday. This is however a minority position among scholars and it still does not solve the issue. Wednesday plus three days still only brings us to Saturday. It seems best to understand Jesus' statement in light of the Rabinnic thought.

See also my article: "Was the Crucifixion Really on Friday and the Resurrection on Sunday?"

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