I will state again that it is simply amazing how people today want to set up pretzel factories. They are usually unscholarly, unenlightened, puffed-up with pride, self-aggrandized wannabes, and they will work overtime to promote their agenda. The so-called “noon to noon biblical day” theory is one of these hocus-pocus shell-game schemes being advanced. The leading architect to this one (and backed by Pete Peters) seems to be one Gene Heck and his publication The Weekly Sabbath: Part I: “From When to When?”, Part II: “Which Day of the Week?”, Part III: “Yes, But What About…?” Heck dubs himself: Bible Research Institute, 11755 Bunco Road, Athol, Idaho 83801, Phone (208) 683-2147.
We are going to continue where we left off in the last installment where I quoted Matt. 27:62-66: 62“Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, 63Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 64Command 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. 65Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. 66So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.”
For nearly eighteen hundred years now, there’s been a lot of argument whether or not Yahshua Christ was in the grave for three full days and three full nights. That’s because hardly anyone wants to believe what Scripture makes very clear. The other problem simply is that hardly anyone knows how to count to three. You will notice that in the above passage that the time Yahshua spent in the grave is stated two different ways (1) “After three days”, and (2) “until the third day.” I’m going to demonstrate that there is absolutely no conflict or discrepancy between these two oft repeated phrases. The problem is, many people simply do not know how to count.
Here we have a graph which I have inserted to demonstrate the usual error that is made by Bible students concerning these two phrases. You will notice here are designated three different lines as “B”, “C” & “A”. Line “B” being “before the fact”; line “A” being “after the fact”; and line “C” the “counting of time.” The usual erroneous conclusion many make is that “until the third day” only includes day 1 and day 2, and that would only take one to the beginning of the day “3” rather than the end of day “3”. Looking forward in time, the first square in line “B” would be “0”, whereas looking back in time, the first square in line “A” would be “1”. Now, many are under the delusion that one should start counting with #1, and that is highly in error, as one must start counting at “0”. The following chart will show the correct system of counting when the Scripture says “until the third day”, and this is represented by line “C” on our graph above:
From “0” to “1” = day #1
From “1” to “2” = day #2
From “2” to “3” = day #3
One must comprehend that the first day cannot be counted until it is completed. In other words, one must not start counting “1” at the beginning of that day, nor the middle of that day. One must consider it as “#0 day”, until a full night and day have been completed, as before it is fully completed it is only a fraction of a day, even in the 23rd hour. Upon completion, day “0” becomes “1” as in line “A”.
Surely, if we purchased a brand new 12 inch ruler, we wouldn’t want to take it home and cut the first inch off, would we? But that is what we are doing with the phrase “until the third day” when we start counting with “1” rather than at zero. I could mention many things that we might refuse to buy if those items were incapable of registering “0”. Think of it this way: If we were on a trip somewhere within the United States, and we were traveling east on an Interstate highway, and we come to the western border of another state, we surely would consider it strange if the first mile-marker indicated “1” at the border line, wouldn’t we? We know from experience that we have to travel at least one mile before we see mile-marker “1”. In other words from “0” (the border) to mile-marker “1” would be the first mile along the way, and we wouldn’t count “1” until we got there. So, why do we expect “until the third day” to be any different?
A mid-line designated “C” represents a proper way of counting the days that Yahshua Christ was in the tomb, and when counted properly covers a span of three full days. You will notice, as we progress through days “0”, “1” and “2”, it takes us to the beginning of day “3B” (before the fact), or day “4A” (after the fact), as looking forward and backward differ.
To show you an example of a couple of persons teaching the incorrect way of counting, I will cite Joe Crews and Richard Anthony in their Three Days and Three Nights, where they say: “How simple Jesus made it! Even a child can figure when the third day comes. The third day will always be the day after ‘to morrow’ from any certain event. The first day is counted in its entirety (no matter when it begins during that day), the whole of the second day, and the third day in its entirety (no matter when it ends during that day).”
Crews’ and Anthony’s manner of counting is tantamount to claiming one is one year old the day he is born! It is also tantamount to purchasing a new automobile with the mileage meter reading 000,001.0, the first mile having been registered before the car was ever driven. Wouldn’t it be more reasonable to expect the mileage in tenths to gradually advance from “0” to “9”, before registering the first mile? Should we dismiss miles #s 10, 20, 30, 40 etc. as well?
When you were a baby of 6 months old, your mother would have said “my child is 6 months old, going on 1 year”. At 18 months, your mother would have said, “my child is one and a half years old, going on 2 years”. Any respectful woman who was 22 years and 2 months old would become quite distraught if one would declare she was already 23! Try it once and see where it gets you! A man is placing his life on the line to make such a blunder. She would rightly rebuke you very quickly, replying that she was only 22 years 2 months old, and only going on 23. When Christ was in the grave for 3 hours, one could say He was in the grave 3 hours going on 1 day, and “going on 1 day” indicates that 1 full day hasn’t yet transpired. I’ll bet that there are some people reading this that would get quite irate if I were to make change for them and would count $1 and 1 cent as being 2 dollars. Why they would call me all kinds of infamous names such as “shortchange artist”. Yet anyone who improperly computes the time spent in the grave by Yahshua Christ shortchanges Him of what He actually accomplished. Let’s take a look at what Yahshua Himself had to say at John 2:18-21:
“18Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 19Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? 21But he spake of the temple of his body.”
Notice, nothing about a part of a day, plus a full day, and another part of a day as the Romish ‘church’ would have us to believe! Let’s also check Matthew 27:39-40:
“39And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, 40And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.”
You will notice that the “Jews” didn’t misunderstand what Christ had said! Therefore, we have to give the “Jews” credit for being more truthful than some of today’s pastors, even some of those in Israel Identity. At Christ’s trial before the “Jews” it is recorded at Mark 14:55-59:
“55And the chief priests and all the council sought for witnesArial, sans-seriffont face= s against Yahshua to put him to death; and found none. 56For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. 57And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, 58We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. 59But neither so did their witness agree together.”
It kind of makes one wonder how many times that the Bible must say “three days” to really mean three days, doesn’t it?
Does Matt. 27:62-66 mean “After three days” or “until the third day”? Before we start making any snap decisions comparing these two statements, we must first analyze from what point in time these statements were being spoken. Some might wrongly assume that both statements are measuring the time from the burial after the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, but upon careful examination one will find that the “until the third day” statement is spoken “... the next day, that followed the day of the preparation ...”. And inasmuch as the Crucifixion occurred on the day of preparation, this second statement (“until the third day”), may be addressing a shorter period of time than the first statement (“After three days I will rise again”). The first statement measured the time from the burial after the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, while the second statement might measure the time from when the “chief priests and Pharisees” met with Pilate until the Resurrection. The first utterance was by Christ and the second by the Pharisees. So you see there is good reason for the two statements to be differently expressed. And although the two statements are dissimilar in nature, yet they harmonize perfectly. On the other hand, when the high priests and Pharisees made their request to Pilate, they may also have had in mind from Christ’s death to the Resurrection, in which case to the end of the third day would relate to the beginning of the fourth and therefore agree with Christ’s statement “after three days.” When we comprehend the progression of the three days, and that Pilate ordered a guard to be placed at the tomb, we can then understand why the women could not approach the grave site before the guards were dispersed, and therefore Christ and the Pharisees were not at variance as to when that time would have been.
Note: the “after” of Matt. 27:63 is μετά, “of Time, After, next to ... thereupon, thereafter” (L&S) and so cannot be taken to mean anything less than 3 full days.
Had Scripture not harmonized concerning the three days and three nights that Christ spent in the grave, we can be quite sure that Christian critics such as Porphyry would not have overlooked any discrepancy in the record. Anyone who would discredit the Book Of Daniel, as Porphyry did, would go to any extreme to destroy any Scriptural truth.
In addition to Porphyry, we must also be very cautious of some of the Romish ‘church’s’ obvious forgeries such as the supposed (and I do mean supposed) writings of Ignatius of Antioch found in the Ante-Nicene Fathers. Ignatius of Antioch was the third bishop of the Christian church in Antioch. He lived from approximately 30 A.D. through 107 A.D. In his alleged “Epistle to the Trallians”, purported to be written around 60 A.D., he supposedly explained how Christians of his time understood the meaning of Christ’s prediction that He would be in the grave “three days and three nights.”
At vol. 1, chapter 9, page 146, it reads in part: “On the day of the preparation, then, at the third hour, He received the sentence from Pilate, the Father permitting that to happen; at the sixth hour He was crucified; at the ninth hour He gave up the ghost; and before sunset He was buried. During the Sabbath He continued under the earth in the tomb in which Joseph of Arimathaea had laid Him. At the dawning of the Lord’s day He arose from the dead, according to what was spoken by Himself, ‘As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man also be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.’ The day of the preparation, then, comprises the passion; the Sabbath embraces the burial; the Lord’s Day contains the resurrection.”
It should be quite apparent, then, that this passage from The Ante-Nicene Fathers supports Romish catholic doctrine rather than Scripture. While many of the writings of the Ante-Nicene fathers are invaluable to us today, we must be very careful to discern any manipulation by third parties with an agenda. To perceive such propaganda, study and pray for discernment!
Therefore, the biblical evidence absolutely does not support that Christians living just thirty years after Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection could have believed in a Friday Crucifixion and a Sunday Resurrection, nor did Ignatius of Antioch ever write such a thing. Truly, there was an Ignatius of Antioch, but surely his writings have been manipulated and corrupted, and the legitimate biblical evidence presented here screams “fraud”. Under these invalid circumstances, had Christ truly been crucified on Friday, He could not have been resurrected from the grave before Monday evening!
Larry R. Lasiter of Points of Truth Christian Ministries, Church of God Fellowship, P.O. Box 102, Russellville, AR on the Internet made this comment: “We can read the same account in the other gospels as well, so it is very clear that Jesus was killed and buried on the day of preparation. But how can we get THREE DAYS and THREE NIGHTS from near sundown Friday to Sunday morning? Friday NIGHT would be ONE NIGHT, Saturday would be ONE DAY. Saturday NIGHT would be TWO NIGHTS and Sunday morning could not even be counted as a DAY. This reckoning would give us only ONE DAY and TWO NIGHTS, not the THREE DAYS and THREE NIGHTS Jesus gave as His only sign.”
Then there are those who claim that the three days are not literal, saying “the language is only an idiom”. And then they will point to “Jewish” writings to support such an assertion. Then they will go into long dissertations trying to confuse the issue concerning “the third day”, “in three days”, “after three days”, and “three days and three nights”. When are we ever going to begin to “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees”? But even the unbelieving Pharisees of Christ’s day understood His words about the “three days” better than today’s clergy, and at that time murder was in their hearts!
Some use the passage at Luke 13:32-33 to support the idea of a “third” day meaning something other than a completion of a third day:
“32And 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 perfected. 33Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.”
An article on the Internet entitled Three Days and Three Nights by Joe Crews and Richard Anthony states: “With Christ’s definition of time before us, the picture snaps into clear focus. Speaking prophetically of His own death and resurrection, He said, ‘To day (crucifixion) and to morrow (in tomb), and the third day (resurrection) I shall be perfected’.” As the context of Luke 13: 32-33 concerns itself with “casting out devils” and “doing cures”, to wrongly apply it to “crucifixion”, “in tomb” and “resurrection” hardly meets the criteria of its proper meaning!
William Finck, on his upcoming translation of Luke, has this comment: “As my translation reflects, all I believe Christ meant at Luke 13:32-33 is that He would continue His ministry to the people ‘today, and to morrow’, and on the third day He would be finished, not ‘perfected’! In other words, His ministry would run its predetermined course regardless of Herod’s wishes. Luke 13:33 has nothing at all to do with His Passion in the way the ‘church’ would have it.”
Crews and Anthony also contend that Luke 23:54 & 24:1 prove a Friday Crucifixion and a Sunday Resurrection, that in that year the yearly Sabbath and the weekly Sabbath fell on the same day. Consulting Luke 23:55-56 we find: “And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his [dead] body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.”
Crews & Anthony overlook Mark 16:1: “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.” RSV
With a premise of a Friday crucifixion and a Sunday morning resurrection, it should be obvious there was not enough time to purchase and prepare spices yet that same day. Besides, it says at Mark 16:1 that they purchased the spices after the Sabbath. Again, with a premise of a Friday crucifixion and a Sunday morning resurrection, there is no way they could have taken the spices to the tomb Sunday morning. If they waited until “after the [Saturday] Sabbath”, they would have had to have gone to the spice shop Sunday morning rather than the tomb.
Luke 18:33-34 clearly shows that the two Marys had no idea that Christ would be crucified:
“33And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. 34And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”
Though He told them beforehand, it was still hid from them, and they comprehended it not. Can you imagine the mental trauma they went through? When a person goes into this kind of shock, they loose all command of their mental emotions and the ability to cope with the situation present at hand. Therefore, it is ludicrous to think that they rushed out right away after His death and purchased spices and ointments yet that same day. Besides, it was the day of Preparation, and everyone would be busy with other things, and no doubt all the spice shops would be closed. So let’s reflect again on the conflicting concepts of the three days.
Inasmuch as the two Marys purchased the spices “when the Sabbath was past”, and if the Marys visited the tomb while it was yet dark Sunday morning, and if the Crucifixion was on a Friday, it would make the preparing of the spices entirely impossible. It is apparent that the purchasing and preparation of the spices has made liars out of Crews and Anthony! Pretzels, anyone?
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