Mat 28:1 In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day
of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
Mat 28:5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for
I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the
Certainly the above phrase “In the end of the Sabbath” is not
required to mean <just after> the Sabbath. As the definition for
the word <end>, Strong’s #3796 informs us that the word can mean
<long after>, which would probably have been the better
translation; for the period referenced was about 12 hours after the
Sabbath, at dawn of the first day of the week. Therefore, nothing
in the phrase “In the end of the Sabbath” gives us a clue as to the
proof of when the Messiah rose from the tomb. However, it is
obvious that Matthew 28:6 depends on our understanding of the 1st
textual argument – how the biblical writers conveyed the intent of
a complete 24-hour day – in order for us to comprehend our subject
. For if the Christ did indeed mean 3 days and 3 nights in His
statements on this matter, the phrase, “for he is risen, as he said”
takes on a totally different meaning to that accepted as fact by
3796 oqe opse op-seh'
from the same as 3694 (through the idea of backwardness); (adverbially)
late in the day;; v
AV-in the end 1, even 1, at even 1; 3
1) after a long time, long after, late
1a) late in the day, i.e. at evening
1b) the Sabbath having just passed, after the Sabbath
1b1) at the early dawn of the first day of the week
It is therefore of great important that we understand whether the
“three days and three nights” of Matthew 12:40 is literal or
In chapter two of Bacchiocchi’s book, the Time of the Crucifixion
and the Resurrection, he makes the following comment: “Is the
“Good Friday, Easter Sunday” tradition a fact or a fable? Few
Christian churches believe that this tradition is truly a fable devoid
of Biblical support.”
Again, we find very few of the beliefs of the ostensible Christian
churches in line with that of the Christ. Christ’s Sabbath is Sunday
to them. Christ embraced the law, whereas, they project
antinomianism. Let us ask this question: What has a Good Friday,
Easter Sunday tradition gained for the Protestant churches? They
watch the sun rise on Easter Sunday morning, go to their Sunday
morning service, and then roll eggs on the church lawn in the
afternoon – or hide the eggs so their children can hunt for and find
them. They give Easter rabbits to their children and teach them
that the rabbits laid the eggs! What does all this have to do with
the Christ? Could it be that people who have fallen for the pagan
practices of the sun-worshippers of antiquity know the truth of
when the Christ rose from the tomb?
Matthew 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away,
one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things
Was the sign that the Messiah gave in Matthew 12:40 just that
“He would be resurrected,” or that “He would be resurrected
after three days and three nights”?
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
Observe the following comment from Bacchiocchi, “This
conviction (of a 72-hour duration of Christ’s entombment) rests on
the assumption that when “days and nights” are explicitly
mentioned in the Bible, they represent literal 24-hour days.”
Just claiming that something is an assumption does not make it so!
We know that Bacchiocchi understands Modern Greek. However,
even English Language scholars disagree on certain aspects of
usage in their own language. Bacchiocchi does not make any claim
of being a Biblical Greek Language scholar! He is a scholar of
church history and theology. Moreover, while he understands
Modern Greek, the “3 days and 3 nights” phrase is rooted in
Hebrew, not Greek. It is a direct crossover from Jonah’s 3 days
and 3 nights in the deep.
Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up
Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
As declared earlier, Bullinger was a recognized scholar of the
Biblical languages. As noted previously, he specifically states that
when the phrase comprises days and nights one must not
understand it to be an idiomatic expression.
Bullinger makes the following comment in Appendix 144 of The
“But, when the number of “nights” is stated as well as the number
of “days” then the expression ceases to be an idiom, and becomes
a literal statement of fact.”
“Moreover, as the Hebrew day began at sunset the day was
reckoned from one sunset to another, the “twelve hours in the
day” (John 11:9) being reckoned from sunrise, and the twelve
hours of the night from sunset. An evening-morning was thus used
for a whole day of twenty-four hours, as in the first chapter of
Genesis. Hence the expression “a night and a day” in 2Cor 11:25
denotes a complete day (Gr. nuchthemeron).
“When Esther says (Est 4:16) “fast ye for me, and neither eat nor
drink three days” she defines her meaning as being three complete
days, because she adds (being a Jewess) “night or day”. And when
it is written that the fast ended on “the third day” (5:1), “the third
day” must have succeeded and included the third night.
“In like manner the sacred record states that the young man (in
1Sam 30:12) “had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days
and three nights.” Hence, when the young man explains the
reason, he says, “because three days agone I fell sick”. He means
therefore three complete days and nights, because, being an
Egyptian (vv. 11, 13) he naturally reckoned his day as beginning at
sunrise according to the Egyptian manner (see Encycl. Brit., 11th
(Cambridge) ed., vol. xi, p. 77). His “three days agone” refers to
the beginning of his sickness, and includes the whole period, giving
the reason for his having gone without food during the whole
“Hence, when it says that “Jonah was in the belly of the fish three
days and three nights” (Jonah 1:17) it means exactly what it says,
and that this can be the only meaning of the expression in Matt. 12:
40; 16:4; Luke 11:30, is shown in Ap. 156.”
Bullinger makes an important point here. We must not create a
contradiction in the Scriptures by pitting a possible idiomatic
expression against a literal expression. It is obvious that if three
days and three nights mean 72 hours in one reference on a given
subject, that when the Scriptures refer to 3 days, in another
passage about the same exact time and subject – 3 days and 3
nights – the intent is to express 24-hour days. As Bullinger showed
with Esther, in 4:16, Esther asked the Jews to fast 3 days, but to
let them know that she meant 3 whole days she followed by saying
<night or day>. It is obvious that the phrase “the third day” of
Esther 5:1 does not in any way make the time less than what is
shown in Esther 4:16. As Bullinger says, at the end of the third
day, means at the end of 3 nights and 3 days.
This is an important principle to understand: Where the bible
gives us two passages relating to the same period, one should allow
the <maximum> reference to rule over the potentially <minimum>
reference. As an example, in the scriptures below, once the bible
has established the <maximum> time of “three days, night or day”:
we understand the potentially <minimum> time of the “third day”
in the second passage in the light of the <maximum> time of the
first passage. We understand “three days, night or day” as a
literal phrase. However, the phrase, “third day” can have
different meanings as the term “day” can mean the 12-hour
daylight portion of the day or the entire 24-hour day. Therefore,
the exact phrase rules over the indefinite one when the reference
time remains identically the same. To take the opposite approach,
as does Bacchiocchi, creates chaos.
Est 4:16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and
fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and
my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is
not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
Est 5:1 Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal
apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the
king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over
against the gate of the house.
Surely, the Greek Language of the bible must have had some way
of expressing the complete 24-hour period of one rotation of the
earth. If the Greek Language can mean part of the day when the
word <day> is used, and can mean part of the day when the term
<night and day> is used, how do they express the full 24-hour day
without question? In other words, how could these two entirely
different expressions mean the same thing?
Bacchiocchi gives 3 reasons why he believes that the sign was the
miracle of the resurrection alone and not the interval of time in the
#1) Absence of Time Reference: In this first argument of reason,
Bacchiocchi makes the mistake of allowing the lack of precise time in
two scriptures to supersede a reference of exact time in another
scripture, although the period is precisely the same. Proper biblical
exegesis requires that we coordinate scriptures, not pit them against
one another. God’s statements do not require witnesses! If the Bible
says in one place that the Messiah would be in the tomb for 3 days and
3 nights, another scripture cannot bring this statement into question –
especially when we may interpret the less precise scripture in more
than one way!
The scriptures under consideration clearly state that the sign was
the sign of the prophet Jonas. In Matthew 12:40 the Messiah tells
us one aspect of the story of Jonah that He had in mind. Jonah
was in the belly of the great fish 3 days and 3 nights: even so, the
Messiah will be in the heart of the earth 3 days and 3 nights.
In Luke 11:30, the Messiah seems to be emphasizing the
“resurrection” aspect of Jonas the prophet. In other words, the
Ninevites recognized Jonas as coming up out of the water much
like one raised from the dead – a resurrection. Rather than pitting
the scriptures against each other, we should understand them as a
whole. The three days and three nights as well as the resurrection
are part of the sign if we accept the full presentation of the
Mat 16:4 A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and
there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And
he left them, and departed.
Luke 11:29 And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to
say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be
given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.
30 For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man
be to this generation.
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
When we coordinate all of these scriptures together, we see that
neither the resurrection, nor the time of the resurrection should
take precedence, but it was the two of them together that makes
up the sign. In other words, Jonah was a sign to the Ninevites by
being “resurrected” to life again after 3 days and 3 nights in the
great fish’s belly. Although the Ninevites may have never
understood about the 3 days and 3 nights, the bible records it for us
to read. Why was it important for us to know about the 3 days and
3 nights? If there was no importance, the bible could have used a
more general time such as “three days”. Then we could have
understood this as just parts of three different days. However,
both the Old Testament and the New Testament specify 3 days
and 3 nights.
When we put Matthew with Mark and Luke, we see that the sign
of the Christ as Messiah was that just as Jonah, after a period of
three 24-hour days, He too would be raised back to life again.
Both elements of the sign are there. We cannot ignore Matthew
and take Mark and Luke, or visa versa. We have to take all
accounts together to arrive at the full significance of the sign.
Matthew is more time specific about the sign. Mark and Luke are
more specific about the resurrection component of the sign. Both
together tell us that after 3 whole days in the tomb the Father
would raise the Messiah to life again just as God brought Jonah
forth from the belly of the great fish, after 3 complete days.
#2) A Parallel Example: Here again, the mistake made is that of
pitting one scripture against another rather than allowing all the
scriptures to coordinate the subject in our minds. Notice that the
Messiah again includes three days as part of the sign. Here the
specific 3 days and 3 nights statement is not used, but it cannot
supersede that statement in Matthew 12:40. Both elements of the sign
are here. The Jews understood because they asked, “…and will you
rear it up in three days?” They thought He was referring to the
physical temple, but they correctly understood that 3 days was part of
Further, the disciples remembered what Christ had said concerning
the three days complete, and believed the scripture, and the word,
which Jesus (Joshua) had said.
John 2:18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest
thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?
19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three
days I will raise it up.
20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and
wilt thou rear it up in three days?
21 But he spake of the temple of his body.
22 When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered
that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the
word which Jesus had said.
Now we understand what the angel meant when he said,
Matthew 28:6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the
place where the Lord lay.
The “as he said” phrase refers, not to just the fact that He was
risen, but risen after three 24-hour days. The following scriptures
will show that the Messiah had taught the disciples well,
concerning “the third day”. The Pharisees well understood that
the third day was part of the sign, for they had the sepulcher
watched until the end of the third day!
Matthew 27:64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until
the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say
unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse
than the first.
Besides the above verse, we list most of the “third day” verses
Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his
disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of
the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again
the third day.
Matthew 17:23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised
again. And they were exceeding sorry.
Mark 9:31 For 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.
Mark 10:34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit
upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.
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
Luke 13:32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast
out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be
Luke 18:33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third
day he shall rise again.
Luke 24:7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful
men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
Now after the resurrection, the disciples did not forget the
instructions concerning the third day! In speaking with the
Messiah Himself, two of the disciples recalled this sign saying, “In
addition to all this he has now let three days go by from the time
when these things took place.” This is the BBE translation. Three
days had already gone by and this was their measurement of time
for when the Messiah would have risen for this is what Christ had
taught them to expect. The third day was resounding in their
minds, “Why is He not alive? He told us that He would rise the
Notice that all these scriptures say that He would rise “the third
day,” not <after> the third day. And Paul who was made an
apostle out of season said “that he was buried, and that he rose
again the third day according to the scriptures:” Notice that the
third day is tied in with “according to the scriptures”.
Luke 24:21 But 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
Luke 24:21 But we were hoping that he would be the Saviour of Israel. In
addition to all this, he has now let three days go by from the time when
these things took place;
Luke 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved
Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
Acts 10:40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
1 Corinthians 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third
day according to the scriptures:
From the above scriptures, it is abundantly clear that the <third
day> was part of the sign given to the disciples and the Pharisees.
Moreover, the <third day> means after 3 nights and 3 days as
Matthew’s account shows. Therefore, unless one can prove that
“three days and 3 nights” or “three nights and three days” is
always an idiomatic expression meaning parts of 3 days, one has no
proof in these scriptures of a Friday crucifixion and a Sunday
morning resurrection. If one can prove that the expression, “three
days and three nights” is occasionally an idiomatic phrase meaning
parts of three days, then one can only throw doubt on either theory.
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