Here below is my answer, as best I can determine at this point.
Jesus was in the grave during three days and three nights.
A reply to an email
by Gavin Finley MD
WAS JESUS IN THE GRAVE THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS?I receive a lot of emails regarding the issue of Jesus being in the grave three days and three nights. Tradition holds to a Friday crucifixion and counting to Sunday this makes for one or two days and two nights. This is clearly Biblically incorrect. Berean Christians are looking into the Holy Scriptures and an upwelling of some fruitful discussion has been initiated by the Church of God. They are suggesting a Wednesday crucifixion which is spawning a lot of good discussion. Here is one such email.Hi,
I just read through your site about The Feast of Unleavened Bread, and I liked it. But there is something about the way to determine the day of Jesus' crucifixion. There is this verse, John 20:1, that says "on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb." It was still dark when Mary went to the tomb, so the new day hadn't begun yet. Here is the site I found before yours, which I'm comparing with, and it claims that the crucifixion day was a Wednesday: (here is The Church of God article.)
I'm looking forward to hear what you think about the theory in the link.
Thank you for your inquiry. I agree, the Holy Scriptures are clear. Jesus was in the realms of death for or during three days and three nights. Here is our scripture passage.
Matthew 12:40I am familiar with the COG Wednesday sunset to Saturday sunset scenario for Jesus being three days in the grave with their interpretation of the word "gravea' apparently meaning sepulcher. But I believe Jesus was in the realm of death during the daytime hours of Thursday from 3. p.m. to 6 p.m. and that He was there during the passage of three days and three nights. As best as I can determine from the Biblical information it happened in this manner.
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish,
so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
THE FIRST DAYTIME
The first day was the day of the crucifixion and Jesus died to enter the realms of death around the 9th hour or about 3 p.m. on Passover, Nisan 14. There had been a darkness for three hours from noon until 3 p.m.. Some consider this three hour darkness as an accounting for the first night. Others, this author included, would just count the day, Nisan 14, as an accounting of the first day of the three days that Jesus was present in the realms of death.
THE FIRST NIGHT-TIME
Sunset of that Thursday evening brought the beginning of the first night, Nisan 15, the first day of the seven day Feast of Unleavened Bread. This was a "high day", a non-Saturday Sabbath, something Christians are not usually familiar with. Regarding His burial He was entombed in the sepulcher before sunset as the Nisan 14 Passover came to an end and was in the grave just in time for sunset and the Nisan 15 high holy day, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread In this manner, and on that Nisan 15 Thursday evening sunset to Friday evening sunset time period Jesus, the Unleavened sinless Bread of Heaven, fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Second of the Seven Feasts of Israel. This was the supreme priestly act for the communion of God with men.
THE SECOND DAYTIME
The second daytime began on Friday at sunrise, continuing the 24 hour passage of the Feast of Unleavened Bread which ended on Friday night at Sunset.
THE SECOND NIGHT-TIME
The second daytime began on Friday night at sunset and ended on Saturday morning at sunrise.
THE THIRD DAYTIME
The third daytime began on Saturday morning at sunrise and ended on Saturday night at sunset.
THE THIRD NIGHT-TIME
The third night-time began on Saturday night at sunset and ended on Sunday morning at sunrise. Sunset Saturday night begins first day of the new week or what we would call Sunday. This completed the three days and three nights in which Jesus was present in the realms of death. The Scriptures show that Jesus was resurrected on a Sunday which by Hebrew reckoning begins at sunset on Saturday night. He rose from the grave sometime after sunset during the night-time beginning of the first day of the week to fulfill the Feast of Firstfruits. Again, if Jesus was resurrected in the night-time hours after sunset on Saturday night this is still the beginning of the first day of the week, our Sunday, since the Hebrew reckoning of Sunday begins at sunset on Saturday night.
This is an accounting of three days and three nights which saw Jesus in the realms of death.
Like the COG I too find the name "Sunday" abhorrent since it goes back to pagan sun worship. But nevertheless, Resurrection Day did come on the first day of the week. And the first day of the week is important and auspicious as the first day of the week. So Resurrection Sunday, (if we have to call it by this name), begins at sunset on Saturday night. And during that time period after sunset and before sunrise on the first day of the week Jesus rose from the dead.
Palm Sunday was another day that came on the first day of the week, our Sunday, If Jesus did indeed die on Nisan 14, Passover, and He did indeed enter Jerusalem on Nisan 10 four days before a Thursday Nisan 14 Passover, then the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem came auspiciously on the first day of the week, (our Sunday). It did not occur on Saturday, the Sabbath day as the COG affirms. There is another issue involved here as well. It would not have been appropriate for Jesus to make His entry into Jerusalem on a weekly Sabbath, a rest day. Tradition is correct on this occasion. Nisan 10, the entry into Jerusalem was Palm Sunday, a work-day and the first day of the week.
Resurrection Sunday followed seven days later at the head of the following week. Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week fulfilling the third of the Seven Feasts of Israel the Feast of Firstfruits. And as we count the fifty days of the omer from Day 1, the Feast of Firstfruits, the Feast of Pentecost follows on the fiftieth day after that on another first day of the week, a day we call Pentecost Sunday.
There is a Bible numeric involved here as well which can help confirm things for us as we attempt to faithfully lay out passion week. The number 17 is a number in Holy Scripture that relates to deliverance of the sons of God. (See the 17th day of the month) in the flood account of Genesis 7:11 and 8:4. If Jesus was crucified on Passover, Nisan 14, in the grave and buried for the Feast of Unleavened Bread on Friday Sabbath Nisan 15 and rose again on Firstfruits Resurrection Sunday, that being Nisan 17 then this number 17 is indeed an auspicious number testifying of divine deliverance.
Grace and shalom,
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