I would like to know about the confusion about the 3 days problem – Jesus under the earth as Jona was in the belly of the whale. Was it 3 full days , if so when was Jesus crucified?
Jonah 1:17 says, “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.” Matthew 12:40 says, “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.”
The Bible does not say that Jesus was in the grave 3 FULL nights and 3 FULL days. Jonah was cast into the sea at some time during the day, but we do not know exactly when. He was probably not in the belly of the whale for EXACTLY 3 FULL days and three FULL nights. He would just have to be in the whales belly DURING 3 consecutive days, and three consecutive nights.
In this discussion, it is important to realize that we reckon days differently than God did in creation, and that the Jews did in their celebrations, when it comes to WHEN A DAY STARTS, AND WHEN IT ENDS. In creation, God reckoned days FROM EVENING TO EVENING (sunset to sunset) — NOT FROM MIDNIGHT TO MIDNIGHT, like we do today. Genesis 1:5 says, “And the evening and the morning were the first day.” To the Jewish way of thinking, as soon as the sun goes down, that day is over, and the next day begins. When the Jews fasted, they did not observe a 24 hour fast from morning to morning, but from evening to evening. Leviticus 23:32 says, “From EVEN UNTO EVEN, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.” All of this is important in trying to figure out what are 3 legitimate days, and 3 legitimate nights in the grave.
In this discussion, it is also important to note that it was the Roman government that was in charge of putting Jesus to death, and the Bible seems to not use the normal Jewish reckoning of days and time when referring to Jesus’ resurrection. Notice carefully the following Scripture passage, and how it is worded.
Matthew 28:1-7 says, “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. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.” It is very clearly Sunday morning in this passage. The sabbath is ending (Saturday), and it is the dawning of the first day of the week (Sunday morning). Mark 16:9 says, “Now when JESUS WAS RISEN EARLY THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.”
Please back up to the start of that passage, “IN THE END OF THE SABBATH, AS IT BEGAN TO DAWN TOWARD THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK…” In the normal Jewish way of thinking, the day does not end as the sun is rising, but as the sun is setting. For example, Sunday would begin to them as soon as the sun went down Saturday night, not as the sun was rising the next morning.
So we know that Jesus rose from the grave very early Sunday morning, and we know that Jesus died at 3 P.M. in the afternoon (the day we must determine). Matthew 27:45-50 says, “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. 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? Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.” The Jewish day was numbered from 6 A.M. in the morning. The sixth hour of the day would be 12 noon, and the 9th hour of the day would then be 3 P.M. in the afternoon.
So if Jesus rose from the grave on Sunday morning, we must go back from that point to determine which day it was that He died. If you go back from there, Jesus would have to have been in the grave for 3 nights.
First, let us reckon in the Jewish way of thinking. In regard to the nights, counting backwards from the first day of the week at dawn: Sunday during the night (our Saturday night), Saturday during the night (our Friday night), and Friday during the night (our Thursday night). Now, the days in Jewish thinking: Saturday, Friday, and Thursday. In the Jewish reckoning, Jesus could have died on Thursday afternoon, and satisfied the requirement for being in the grave for 3 days and 3 nights.
Now, let us reckon the time according to our present way of figuring days and nights. Looking at the nights first, and going backward from Sunday morning: Saturday night, Friday night, and Thursday night. Now, the days, going backward from Sunday morning: Saturday, Friday, and Thursday. This reckoning would also place Jesus’ death on Thursday afternoon, and fulfill the requirements of Jesus spending 3 days (a partial day Thursday) and 3 nights in the grave.
What we have in the above reckoning, is that Jesus would have been arrested Wednesday night in the Garden of Gethsemane; placed on trial and beaten during Wednesday night; and then crucified on Thursday; and placed in the grave Thursday afternoon.
Jesus died on the “preparation” before a sabbath day. Mark 15:37-42 says, “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem. And now when the even was come, because IT WAS THE PREPARATION, THAT IS, THE DAY BEFORE THE SABBATH.”
Normally, you would think that it must then be a Friday, but this was not a regular sabbath day. John 19:13,14 says, “When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was THE PREPARATION OF THE PASSOVER, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!”
The Passover was NOT HELD on a certain DAY OF THE WEEK, but a certain DAY OF THE MONTH (which will then vary as to the day of the week). Exodus 12:11-18 says, “It is the LORD’S passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you. And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt: therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever. In the first month, ON THE FOURTEENTH DAY OF THE MONTH at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread, until the one and twentieth day of the month at even.” The Passover was to be observed on the 14th day of the first month, which would mean that the day of the week would vary from year to year (just like your birthday varies as to the day of the week from year to year).
John 19:30,31 shows, once again, that this sabbath was not a normal one (just a normal Saturday), when it says, “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. 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.” So when it comes to the matter of Jesus being crucified on the day before a sabbath, that does not mean that it was a Friday, because this “high day” was not a normal Saturday, but the day before the Passover.
Whether figuring the Jewish way of reckoning days, or our way today, it seems to me that Jesus was crucified on Thursday