Three Days and Three Nights in the Grave

  • Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and [of] the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
  • Matthew 12:39-40 But he answered and said unto them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: (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.”

Biblical Definition of a Day

  • Genesis 1:1-5 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth… (3) And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (4) And God saw the light, that [it was] good: and God divided the light from the darkness. (5) And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
    • One day is composed of an evening and a morning.
  • Leviticus 23:32 It [shall be] unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth [day] of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.

What Day Was the Crucifixion?

  • Luke 23:54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.
    • The day Jesus was crucified was called “the preparation.”
    • The following day was referred to as “the Sabbath.”
  • John 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and [that] they might be taken away.
    • High day = Holy day = High Sabbath
      • This particular high day that was approaching was the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

What Time of Day Was the Crucifixion?

  • Matthew 27:45-46, 50 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. (46) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is to say, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” … (50)  Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
    • The Bible speaks about watches at night and “hours” of the day
      • In John 11:9 Christ asked, “Are there not 12 hours in the day?”
        • 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. = night
        • 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. = day
    • Ninth hour = 3 p.m. on Roman time
  • Luke 23:50, 52-55 And, behold, [there was] a man named Joseph, a counsellor; [and he was] a good man, and a just: … (52) This [man] went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. (53) And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. (54) And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.
    • Christ’s body was wrapped in linen as “the preparation day” was coming to an end and as the Sabbath, a high Sabbath, was drawing on.
    • (55) And the women [Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome] also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. 

After the High Sabbath

  • Mark 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the [mother] of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
  • Luke 23:56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.
    • There is another Sabbath! This one was the weekly Sabbath.

The First Day of the Week (Sunday)

  • Mark 16:2, 6 And very early in the morning the first [day] of the week, they [the three women] came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. … (6) And he [an angel] saith unto them, “Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.”
    • Christ was already gone very early on this Sunday morning.
      • Therefore Jesus Christ was resurrected sometime before Sunday morning.

Putting it All Together

  • Christ died around the “ninth hour” (3 p.m. on Roman time) on a day that preceded a High Sabbath.
  • After the High Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome purchased and prepared spices and ointments to anoint Christ’s body with.
  • Then there is another Sabbath, this one the weekly Sabbath.
  • By the time Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome arrive at the sepulcher on Sunday morning, Christ had already been resurrected.
  • Therefore the only logical conclusion is that Christ died on a Wednesday afternoon and was resurrected late in the day on the weekly Sabbath.