Was Jesus dead three days and three nights?
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth (Said Jesus in Mat 12:40).
Jonah 1:17 Yahweh prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
For centuries, both the Catholic Church and Protestant churches have been of the opinion that Jesus was crucified on Good Friday and that he resurrected early on Sunday morning. The biggest problem with this time schedule is that Jesus could not have been dead for three nights;
When trying (how many have tried!) to construct how events have begun, progressed during the Passover week and finally ended in the resurrection of Jesus, one should pay attention to the special days of the week: the two Sabbaths that restrict Jewish behaviour, The Preparation day of Passover, the day when women could shop for spices to make ointment. Today’s people are having trouble with the Jewish time concept; The day (sidereal day) starts in the evening when the sun is falling and ends the next day at the same time when at sun fall. “Day” is thus formed from the previous evening and night and from the following daytime until sunset.
In some verses of the Bible, Jesus is said to resurrect on “the third day”. This condition may be fulfilled in the Good Friday – Sunday period, but I consider the definition of “three days and three nights” is more important and decisive.
Tuesday 13th of Nisan month
Mar 14:12 On the first day of unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover meal? – Many scientists believe this happened a day before Passover on Tuesday the 13th Nisan. Unleavened bread was eaten at the same meal with the lamb. Was this the preparation day of Passover?
Then in the evening when Tuesday evening turned to Wednesday and they had eaten the Passover lamb and the unleavened bread, Jesus and the disciples went to the Mount of Olives and came to Gethsemane. There Jesus prayed, but the disciples were tired and fell asleep. Judas directed the soldiers and the rest of the crowd to arrest Jesus.
John tells what happened on the day of preparation. The date of preparation is the day before Passover, even the name of the day tells about its contents, i.e. prepare for the feast. (Engl. Preparation Day, Greek Paraskeu G3904). Joh 19:14 “Now it was the Preparation Day for the Passover, about twelve noon [Lit. the sixth hour]. He said to the Jews, “Here is your king!” 15 Then they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him! ”Pilate said to them, “Should I crucify your king? ”The high priests responded, “We have no king but Caesar!” 16 Then Pilate handed him over to be crucified, and they took Jesus away. – Jesus was called for crucifixion on the morning of Passover preparation day. Is it possible? John proves that ‘the interrogation of Jesus had been completed already in the morning of Preparation Day, and the crowd got their will through and Jesus was to be crucified.
Crucifixion Day on Wednesday, Nisan 14th.
(Year 30 AD Nisan 14th has been Wednesday)
Jesus and the disciples had eaten the Passover meal on the previous night, and then went to Gethsemane where Jesus was caught. Joh 18:28 “Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early in the [Wednesday] morning, and the Jews did not go into the headquarters for fear that they might become unclean and be unable to eat the Passover lamb” [later in the evening when the Sabbath had begun].
Jesus’ capture and taking into interrogations has, in my mind, taken place on the night between Tuesday and Wednesday. The first interrogations had taken place at night and in the morning Jesus was taken to Pilate.
Joh 19:13 When Pilate, therefore, heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called “The Pavement,” but in Hebrew, “Gabbatha.”14 Now it was the Preparation Day for the Passover, about twelve noon. [Lit. the sixth hour] He said to the Jews, “Here is your king!”
On Passover Preparation Day all Israel was preparing the Passover lamb as ordered by God: Exo 12:6 and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month; and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at evening [twilight].
Jesus was flogged and was taken to Golgotha and crucified. At the ninth hour (3 o’clock in the afternoon), Jesus died. The burial of Jesus was urgent, as Luke 23:54 shows: “It was the Preparation Day, and the Sabbath [High Sabbath, not the weekly Sabbath] was just beginning”. – The Sabbath began according to the Jewish way at sunset. Jesus was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea. Jesus’ 1st night dead.
The 15th day was a Day of Unleavened Bread, i.e. a special Sabbath (High Sabbath) which began on Wednesday evening and ended on Thursday evening. The next day after Passover (i.e. Nisan 15th) begins the feast of unleavened bread that lasts seven days. Its first day is Sabbath: Lev 23:6 On the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread to Jehovah. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.
Jesus’ 2nd night dead.
The women bought spices and herbs and made ointment. Mar 16:1 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, that they might go and anoint Jesus.
Weekly Sabbath began: Normally, Sabbath feast begins on Friday at sunset with a family dinner, and candles lit.
Jesus’ 3rd night dead
The normal weekly Sabbath ends. Jesus is resurrected after being dead three days and three nights.
Mar 16: Very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had just come up, they were going to the tomb. – Jesus was no longer in the tomb, he had risen. The churches have traditionally been of the opinion that the resurrection took place on Sunday night, before women came to the grave early in the morning.
Are there any contradictions in the apostle’s accounts?
Mar 14:12: “On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover meal?” – I have inserted the event in this Passover preparation day. If the Pesach is on the 14th of Nisan, the disciples have started preparing the lamb the day before. Tuesday night is counted on the same day as the following Wednesday, which is the Passover day. Can the Passover day be called the first day of unleavened bread? Many scientists accept the assumption that Jesus and the disciples prepared the lamb a little ahead of time.
Mat 26:17 Now on the first day of unleavened bread, the disciples came to Jesus, saying to him, “Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?” 18 He said, “Go into the city to a certain person, and tell him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.” – Matthew 26:17 is in substance identical to Mark. When both apostles give the same testimony, one must believe and adapt the course of events, taking into account this point of reference.
Exo 12:18-20 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread, until the twenty-first day of the month at evening. 19 Seven days shall there be no yeast found in your houses, for whoever eats that which is leavened, that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a foreigner, or one who is born in the land. 20 You shall eat nothing leavened. In all your habitations you shall eat unleavened bread.” –The Jews seek to comply with the instructions given by God concerning the holiday’s observances. Lamb eating and then eating unleavened bread has occurred in the evening when the day was already shifting to the 14th of Wednesday.
Preparation of the Passover. Joh 19:14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, at about the sixth hour [noon]. And he said to the Jews, Behold your king. 15 Then they cried out, “Go away, take away, crucify him!” Luke 23:54 shows: It was the Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was just beginning. – The Preparation day, which preceded the actual Pesah feast, began on Tuesday and continued until Wednesday evening. The fate of Jesus culminated on the day of Preparation and on the Wednesday part of it.
Is “on the third day” the same as “three days and three nights”?
Luuk 24:6 He is not here but has been raised. Remember what he [Jesus] told you while he was still in Galilee, 7 saying ‘the Son of Man must be handed over to sinful men, be crucified, and rise on the third day.”
The “three days” condition is well fulfilled by the Jewish way of day counting: It should be remembered that, according to the Jewish way, “the day” begins in the evening when the sun is falling and ends when the sun falls next time.
Wednesday 14th / Thursday
Thursday 15th / Friday
Friday 16th / Saturday
I have come to the conclusion that Jesus and the disciples celebrated the Passover on Tuesday, a day earlier than the rest of the Jews. After the Pesach meal, they went to Mount of Olives and to Gethsemane. At night Judas betrayed Jesus, who was then arrested and taken into custody.
On Wednesday morning the 14th of Nisan, which was the Passover Preparation day, Jesus’ interrogations resulted in the mob calling for his crucifixion. Jesus was flogged and taken to Golgotha, where he was crucified with two others. It was 6 o’clock i.e. noon.
Jesus was the first to die of the three crucified at 9th hour i.e. 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
These are the facts we know on the basis of the Bible.
We do not know the exact time of Jesus’ death. However, we know that Jewish leaders wanted to hurry to end the crucifixion because the special High Sabbath was about to begin. Therefore, the legs of the other two crucified criminals were broken so that they would die more quickly and could be buried. Pilate gave permission to bury Jesus in the tomb which belonged to Joseph of Arimathaea. I estimate that Jesus was placed in the tomb at around 18 o’clock in the evening when Passover feast was about to begin.
The burial time determines the time of resurrection: ”Mat 12:40 … so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. So Jesus was to be dead in the tomb for 72 hours:
From Wednesday at 6 pm to Thursday 6 pm/ from Thursday at 6 pm to Friday 6 pm/ and from Friday 6 pm to Saturday at 6 pm
The resurrection of Jesus is scheduled for Saturday at 6 pm, when the weekly Sabbath was running out. This is how the days are counted from the Wednesday evening (burial time) to exactly the same time on Saturday, and the commonly used phrase “on the third day” meets the same requirements as “three days and three nights”.
Are there any alternatives within the timetable?
Crucifixion on Wednesday is possible, but the resurrection on Sunday night is too late
Crucifixion on Thursday is not possible because Thursday was the day of a High Sabbath.
Crucifixion on Friday is possible, but the resurrection on Sunday is too soon; Jesus was supposed to be dead in the tomb for three nights and now there is one night missing. In this case, the time and length of interrogation of Jesus should also be changed, but it is not in accordance with the Bible’s account.
How is the schedule to go? My own interpretation is as follows: Jesus was crucified on Wednesday and was also buried just before the High Sabbath began. Jesus rose from the dead and walked out of the tomb on a Saturday evening just before the Sabbath ends.
The women came to the tomb: Mar 16:4 Then they looked up and saw that the stone had been rolled away. (For it was a very large stone.) 5 Entering into the tomb, they saw a young man [angel] sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were amazed.
6 He said to them, “Don’t be amazed. You seek Jesus, the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen. He is not here. Behold, the place where they laid him!
The angel just says that Jesus is not here. He DOES NOT say when Jesus has risen and left the tomb. Churches, both the Catholic Church and Protestant churches assume the resurrection occurred a little earlier at night. Even if the assumption is right, Jesus would have been dead in the tomb FOUR NIGHTS! Wednesday night / Thursday night: Thursday night / Friday night: Friday night / Saturday night and fourth night: Saturday / Sunday night.