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Three Days and Three Nights

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For most professing Christians, Easter is a yearly festive occasion celebrated with meals and family gatherings. Since the pagan roots of Easter are either not known, denied, or dismissed as irrelevant, these same “Christians” make believe Easter Sunday is a Christ-centered holiday that celebrates His resurrection.

They have their children in Sunday School colouring pictures of Jesus exiting the tomb on Sunday morning with the stone rolled out of the way and the sun rising in the background. Flowers are blooming and a bunny is hopping by. Everything is a springy pastel dreamland. Meanwhile, they’re busy worshipping a god who failed Pre-K math and singing praises to an “all powerful” god who has to rationalize his inconsistencies with idioms and semantic convulsions.

It is total darkness. The Easter story is a diabolical narrative that presumes to commemorate Jesus Christ’s victory over death in the name of the pagan goddess Ishtar, the Queen of Heaven, who’s name, according to Jeremiah the prophet, should not even be uttered. And if that wasn’t blasphemous enough, the classic Easter story told by almost every “Christian” organization out there makes Jesus Christ out to be a liar and a fraud.

Let’s compare the traditional Easter narrative to the Biblical Narrative with the following passage in mind:

“But He answered and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign. And there shall be no sign given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the huge fish, so the Son of Man shall be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:39-40 MKJV).

The traditional Easter Narrative claims Jesus was crucified on Friday afternoon, buried Friday evening before 6:00pm, and remained in the grave until He resurrected on Sunday morning.

It doesn’t take a mathematician to see that this is barely, if at all, 36 hours. It’s most certainly not three days and three nights!

You can’t even include Friday afternoon as one of the three days in the Easter timeline because Jesus wasn’t in the grave until moments before Friday was over, and His prophecy said, “the Son of Man will be in the belly of the earth…” not “will be dead for….” But, disregarding the Word of God, most theologians, bound in their confusion, argue that since He was technically in the ground for a portion, however momentary, of three different days, that Jesus still technically kept His word. They insist that the phrase – “three days and three nights” – is just an idiom or figure of speech.

This is nonsense. The Lord expects and allows us to take Him at His Word. The Truth is simple and clear. It is logical and consistent. It’s all there in the Scriptures.

Consider that the Jewish understanding of a day is sundown until sundown, as described in Genesis 1:5, “And the evening and the morning were the first day.” This wording is used repetitively in Gen 1:8, 13, 19, 23, and 31 to establish the Lord’s definition of a day. A day consists of an evening and a morning, a night and a day.

The Biblical definition of day is confirmed throughout the Scriptures. If Jesus wasn’t in the grave for three days and three nights, then how long were Abraham and Isaac journeying to Mount Moriah? A day and a half? It says in the Scriptures in the story of Jonah that Nineveh was such a large city that it took three days for a man to traverse it? Is that an idiom as well? Was that three days starting Monday at sundown and arriving Wednesday morning (with travel during the day and not at night – “Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble because he sees the light of the world” – John 11:9 MKJV)? If so, then Nineveh couldn’t have been that big.

Read How Long Was Jesus in the Tomb?

I’ve never heard of anyone doubting that Jonah was in the whale for three days and three nights or doubting that Abraham travelled for a full three days with Isaac, and yet it seems very few are willing to take Jesus Christ at His word, even though the events with Abraham and Jonah were foreshadowings of His death and resurrection.

Another perfect demonstration of the Biblical definition of a “day” and the Lord’s will concerning His death and resurrection is found in the story of Lazarus.

We read that Martha expresses concern over Lazarus’ state of decay after three days.

“Jesus said, Lift the stone. Martha, the sister of the one that had died, said to Him, Lord, he already smells, for it is the fourth day.” (John 11:39).

Lazarus wasn’t in the grave for two full days and a portion of two others, otherwise Martha wouldn’t have been concerned about him stinking. Decay takes time.

Lazarus had been in the grave for three days and three nights. There was no room for misunderstanding. He was dead. He wasn’t in a coma nor was he asleep. There are even records of some Talmudic Jews periodically observing the dead during the first three days so that they could be sure it was not a case of “pseudo-death.” That’s why Jesus intentionally delayed His arrival in Bethany, so it was very clear that Lazarus was dead.

Jesus had already raised two people who were dead for a short while but He was about to prove He could raise a man who had been undeniably dead for some time. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead even after he had been dead for a full three days and three nights.

It’s written that God carefully planned the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead so “that the Son of God be glorified by it” (John 11:4). Jesus made it clear that an important aspect of Lazarus’ resurrection glorifying Him was the timeline. Lazarus had to be undeniably dead, and being in the grave for three days and three nights was an assurance of that.

Now ask yourself this: Would Jesus not guarantee that same assurance for His greatest miracle – raising Himself from the dead? If He didn’t, wouldn’t that make His Resurrection a lesser miracle than the raising of Lazarus? I know Jesus personally and I know that He is Consistent, Faithful and True to His Word. He is His Word. He isn’t an idiom.

The proof for three days and three nights is recorded clearly in the Gospels.

The first key to understanding the Biblical narrative of the Crucifixion is remembering that along with the weekly Sabbaths, there were also yearly Sabbaths, known as “high days.” One of these yearly Sabbaths was the Passover feast day. This is what John was noting in John 19:31:

“Then the Jews, because it was Preparation, begged Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away, so that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath. For that Sabbath was a high day” (MKJV).

Next, read Mark 16:1:

“Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him” (EMTV).

It clearly states that they purchased spices to anoint Jesus’ body AFTER the Sabbath was over.

Now read Luke 23:55-24:2:

“And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was placed. Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And they rested on the Sabbath, according to the commandment. And on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone having been rolled away from the tomb” (EMTV).

We read in this passage very clearly that they kept the Sabbath according to the commandment (the weekly Sabbath) AFTER buying and preparing the spices for anointing His body. These passages would be contradictory if you stick to the Easter concoction, but they make perfect sense if you can see the Truth.

Let’s put these Scriptures together and understand the Biblical timeline that proves Jesus Christ a God of His Word.

Fourth day of the week (Wednesday) – Day before Passover feast. Jesus dies at 3:00PM and is laid in the grave just as the sun goes down.

Fifth day of the week (Thursday) – His first full day in the belly of the Earth, which began on Wednesday evening. It began with the Passover meal being eaten, and was a High Sabbath day. The women couldn’t have bought or prepared spices at any time during this day.

Sixth day of the week (Friday) – His second full day in the belly of the Earth. Not a Sabbath day. The women bought and prepared the spices before evening when the weekly Sabbath day began.

Note: If you stick to the Easter story, the women would have to have gone out after dark, on Saturday night when the Sabbath was over, to buy spices. What are the odds of the women going out in the dark to buy spices to anoint Jesus when the disciples were still locking their doors on Sunday night for fear of the Jewish leaders? It would have been frightening enough to go out during the day.

Seventh day of the week (Saturday) – His third full day in the belly of the Earth. The women were resting again as it says in Luke.

At the end of three full 24-hour days, Jesus raises Himself from the dead just before the Sabbath is over, just as He was laid in the belly of the Earth moments before the fourth day of the week was ending exactly three days and three nights prior.

He didn’t rise on Sunday morning! There is absolutely no testimony in the Scriptures of this being true. There was an earthquake and a rolling back of the stone on Sunday morning, but Jesus was already gone. He didn’t need the stone rolled back to exit the tomb just as He didn’t need the door opened to join the disciples in their locked home in John 20:19.

He was in the grave precisely as long as He declared He would be.


Paul says it well in Romans 3:3-4:

“For what if some were without faith? Will their lack of faith nullify the faithfulness of God? May it never be! Yes, let God be found true, but every man a liar” (WEB).

There’s no misunderstanding or rationalization that can excuse calling God a liar, just as there is no excuse for paying homage to the Whore of Heaven in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ!

Bless You, Father, for being faithful to Your Word!

Martin Van Popta

In response to our paper, “False Teacher: Gene Appel,” Ryan responded to a comment about Easter being a pagan celebration, particularly that Jesus Christ was in the tomb Wednesday evening to Saturday evening. Ryan believes the false and traditional teaching in nominal Christendom of Friday evening to Sunday morning. Ryan said:

Oh, but you’re wrong about Easter. The Bible says in Matthew 28:1 “very early in the first day of the week.” Is that Saturday? No, I don’t believe it is. Let me show you what’s wrong with what you believe.

Ryan then copied the text from two links, How Long Was Jesus in the Tomb?, and Was Jesus Crucified on a Wednesday?

Victor replied:

The Jews hurried to bury Jesus, which means he was buried BEFORE sundown, which means He would have been able to fulfill 3 days in the earth near the end of the weekly Sabbath “after 3 days AND on the third day and therefore before the first day of the week began. So what is the problem of the durations between His DEATH and resurrection, and His BURIAL and resurrection? So He clearly DID resurrect “ON the third day,” which would not at all imply less than 3 days in the grave as Ryan argues.

Ryan says, “For something to occur “on” the third day is for it to happen in less time than at the point when three literal days have passed.” Not true at all.

He says, “The elapsed time between being killed and then rising “on the third day,” as described in 17:23, is longer than the time between rising after being buried, as discussed in 12:40. Yet, 17:23 uses an expression (“on the third day”) that implies a shorter period of time

Because the mention of His death (at 3 P.M.) is linked with His resurrection does not necessarily suggest the exact time measure of 3 days or any other is mathematically linked to those 2 events.

Jesus was killed and He did rise 3 days after His burial. What’s the problem? But these naysayers must get literal and technical to justify calling the Lord a liar, denying the reality of 3 full days, all the while accusing us of being literal when we are simply declaring the plain record.

Furthermore, unbelievers are quick to point to the phrase “ON the third day,” but they don’t dare consider the expression, “AFTER three days,” do they? Now, if the even was AFTER 3 days, one can understand using the phrase, “on the third day,” but can one understand using the phrase, “after 3 days,” if it was any less? Hmmm?

Now tell me, is it three full years or two winters and one summer when the Scripture authors speak of “three years”?

“Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and stayed with him fifteen days” (Galatians 1:18 MKJV).

And was it 15 days or 5 or 13.5 days? Hmmm? Are we talking real numbers here too, or idiots, er, idioms?

Ryan says, “They used such expressions as “after three days” or “on the third day,” but they did not attempt to prove an exact length of time. The apostles spoke of the resurrection itself, not the length of time, as the proof that Jesus is the Messiah. It stands to reason that the fact of Jesus’ death and resurrection is what demonstrates him to be our Savior. Whether Jesus was in the tomb two days, three days or ten days has no bearing on the issue of his messiahship.

It’s true that His death and resurrection is the main thing, of course, but what if the LORD HAD said He would raise Himself up after 2 days? Two days would not have proved the decay beyond hope of His body and one could say He, the Perfect One, wasn’t perfectly accurate. However, you can safely bet that men like Ryan would just as easily find two days in the same verses they now find three, you think?

Three days were needed for the natural corruption of the body and for the LORD’s Word to be fulfilled. And if He declared 3 days in the ground but took 10 days, would the time discrepancy not have caused reason for doubt, if even a little? Despite the resurrection, might we not have the tendency as unbelieving men to discredit the Lord for such inaccuracy, even going on to say, “We have to take His Word at face value; sorry, He flunked; not reliable; three is three is three, not ten. We smell a rat; it is possible or likely deception”? After all, Thomas didn’t need anymore to take him over the edge; he doubted despite his experience, testimonies, and the facts, didn’t he?[END]

Ryan’s other examples are easily interpreted in a similar fashion, though I won’t get into concentration of detail. More importantly, his other examples were not prophesied or predicted in advance by the Lord or a prophet so there was nothing to be fulfilled or lived up to in perfection.

See, here’s the point: Naysayers like Ryan and company don’t believe. There’s the rub. Their argument isn’t about the interpretation or idiomatic expression or anything other than they simply don’t believe the Truth, the Lord Jesus Christ. I would venture to say that unlike Thomas, they wouldn’t believe though the Lord appeared to them and bid them place their fingers in His hands and side. Thomas was granted to believe against his unreasonable unbelief.

Unless people are granted faith, no amount of argument or proof will suffice. Devils aren’t after the Truth; their purpose of being is to deny it and denounce Him. That’s how simple the matter is. But we declare the Truth anyway, bearing witness to what we know and Whom we know to be Altogether Faithful and True. We can’t but proclaim the Truth, being bone of His bone, flesh of His flesh, and Spirit of His Spirit.

Publish, Announce, Disseminate, Shout it out, by the Beauty of Holiness, so loudly that by and by, even the deaf are forced to hear it in their graves, whether unto the resurrection of life or the resurrection unto damnation.

Victor Hafichuk

How Long Was Jesus in the Tomb?

If Jesus was buried at the end of Friday and was up before sunup on Sunday, where are the 3 days He promised, the sign of Jonah? How do we know the saying wasn’t a Jewish idiom, an expression exercised to include partial days in the count of three days and three nights, as is so foolishly argued by some? Why, we can go to the Authoritative Scriptures for the answers, always! That’s how we know. Is there a better way?

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