Christians commonly celebrate Good Friday as the day that Jesus was crucified, and Easter Sunday as the day that Jesus rose from the tomb. Most relevant verses in scripture say that Jesus would be in the tomb for three days. (See Matthew 26:61; Mark 8:31; John 2:19.) However, one verse states that Jesus would also be in the tomb for three nights:

For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40)

How can this be? Friday to Sunday could be considered three days, but it is only two nights.

I've heard it explained before that the Jewish people would define the end of one day and the start of the next as sundown, or about the 12th hour. This is why the Sabbath would always start on Friday at sundown. Jesus was buried just before sundown, or just before the Sabbath began (Matthew 27:57-61; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56, John 19:38-42). This can explain the three days, but as the other commenter pointed out, it still does not explain the three nights.

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    for addition, He was buried around afternoon to the evening (let's say Friday) and was revived early morning (which is Sunday).
    – Sufendy
    Commented Aug 24, 2011 at 6:58
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    @Phelios It's understood to be Friday. See Luke 23:53-54. I've also heard it is likely it was very close to sundown when the Sabbath would have started since they did not have time to put the spices in the tomb before they rested on the Sabbath (Luke 23:55-56).
    – a_hardin
    Commented Aug 25, 2011 at 16:50
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    If your motivation for asking this question is in any way related to the suggestion levelled by opponents of Christianity that "the Bible is filled with contradictions," we might have a situation in which the pot is calling the kettle black! Frequently, unbelievers will accuse Christians of being too literal in their interpretation of Scripture. Often this accusation is correct, sad to say. Ironically, however, doesn't the opponent's objection about an apparent discrepancy seem like an overly literal interpretation of the text?! Intelligent interpretation involves an appreciation for idioms Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 14:19
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    and figures of speech (in this case, Hebraisms). Again, in the words of Donall and Conall from the Lutheran Satire video on Utube, "It's a wee bit of the clover callin' the grass green"! Don Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 14:27

10 Answers 10


From this discussion, if "three days and three nights" is taken idiomatically, it means 3 days as the Jewish people of the day would have understood it.

Now lets take a look at Jesus time in the sepulchre:

Part of Friday = one dayspan.

All of Saturday = one dayspan.

Part of Sunday = one dayspan.

Literally three days and three nights? No. Idiomatically three days and three nights (i.e., three dayspans), as uncleanness-periods were measured? Yes.

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    +1 for pointing out that the phrasing of that day has to be interpreted using the understanding of that day.
    – jimreed
    Commented Sep 16, 2011 at 15:00
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    It seems unlikely that any religious Jew would dare shorten the unclean separation period as it would completely contradict the principal of making a hedge round the Torah (cf 2 Cor 11:24 "received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one"). Commented Sep 21, 2011 at 20:51
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    Jesus died on the first day, Friday, at 3pm, and could have been resurrected as early as Saturday evening after sundown. Following the logic of this answer, to which I agree. Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 20:04
  • The question asks about being in the tomb, not being dead. Jesus was put in Joseph's tomb in the "even", after the sun had set. Commented Sep 9, 2017 at 1:14
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    Two nights and part of 3 days isn't enough according to Jews for Judaism: "when the phrase “three days and three nights” is stated, it includes either all three days and all three nights or can be deficient in only parts of a day or night at the beginning or end of the entire period, but never of a full segment of day or night out of twenty-four hours".
    – Rob K
    Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 13:39

The phrasing of Matthew 12:40 is an anomaly. The bulk of the New Testament testimony is that Jesus was resurrected, not after three days but on the third day:

Matthew 16:21 ...and on the third day be raised.

Matthew 17:32 ...and on the third day he will be raised.

Luke 9:22 ...and on the third day be raised.

Luke 18:33 ...and on the third day he will rise again.

Acts 10:40 ...but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear

1 Corinthians 15:4 ...and that he was raised on the third day

So if we assume Matthew 12:40 is compatible with the rest of the New Testament, "three days and three nights" cannot mean "three whole days and also three whole nights".

Fourth century scholar/priest St. Jerome explains in his Commentary on Jonah:

But we ask ourselves this: how was he three days and three nights in the belly of the earth. Some scholars take the view according to paraskeuen, because of the solar eclipse from the sixth to the ninth hour when night followed day, this would be two days and nights, and adding the Sabbath, believe that we should count this as three days and three nights. But I prefer to understand this by reason of synecdoche, seeing the whole as a part: where he is dead in paraskeuen, let us count one day and one night; two with the Sabbath; the third night which arises from the day of the Lord, let us take that as the beginning of the next day, for, in Genesis the night is not of the preceding day, but of the following day, that is to say the beginning of the next day, not the end of the previous. To understand this better I will say it more simply: if a man leaves his house at nine and the next day he arrives at his other house at three. And if I say that he has been two days in travelling, I will not be reprimanded as a liar, because he has not used all the hours of two days, but only a part for his journey. Nonetheless this seems to me to be the interpretation.

Sixteenth century reformer Martin Luther, in a sermon on the resurrection, takes a similar approach:

The question now arises: How can we say that he rose on the third day, since he lay in the grave only one day and two nights? According to the Jewish calculation it was only a day and a half; how shall we then persist in believing there were three days? To this we reply that be was in the state of death for at least a part of all three days. For he died at about two o'clock on Friday and consequently was dead for about two hours on the first day. After that night he lay in the grave all day, which is the true Sabbath. On the third day, which we commemorate now, he rose from the dead and so remained in the state of death a part of this day, just as if we say that something occurred on Easter-day, although it happens in the evening, only a portion of the day. In this sense Paul and the Evangelists say that he rose on the third day.

So "three days and three nights" is an idiom meaning Friday, Saturday, Sunday, but not necessarily meaning the whole 24 hours of each day.

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    What evidence is there Jesus was speaking idiomatically and not counting days as they were counted during creation? If Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, then it seems more likely He was speaking literally and counting days accordingly. Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 16:50
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    @RevelationLad Only if you discount the entire rest of the New Testament and the first ~1800 years of Christian teaching. Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 16:23
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    @user477343 1) The command to observe the Sabbath is specific and unless one wants to make God a liar or to "spiritualize" that one commandment, creation consisted of 6 24-hour days. 2) Jesus became flesh and observed the Sabbath. This can only mean He counted the days such as to observe the Sabbath every 7-days. If Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, His time in the tomb should be counted accordingly. Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 20:26
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    @user477343 First, rain did not occur until after man was created (1st time was in the flood). Second, the question is about the time Jesus was in the tomb, which occurred after creation, after the flood, after His birth, and after His observing the Sabbaths (and other calendar related Feasts). In order for Jesus to observe the Sabbaths and to keep the Passovers, He needed to keep track of time using days as we humans measure them - so it is inconsistent to presume a.) He predicted His tomb time and b.) His actual tomb time were counted differently from every other event in His physical life. Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 16:54
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    @RevelationLad ok, I see. I thought rain did occur. I thought Genesis 2:5 talked about God setting rain and creating humankind to cultivate the soil, but looking back at it, I was mistaken: the verse talks about not doing that, so my apologies. And given the points in your comment, I quite agree with you, now; I found it to be a good discussion :)
    – Mr Pie
    Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 23:55

I have heard this explained most often in context of the Jewish culture of the day. For Jews any part of the day is considered as representative of an entire day and night. Thus if Jesus was in the tomb any part of Fri, Sat and Sun it was considered to be three days and three nights.

We do something similar, when we say things like "I was at the park all day", where we really mean some number of hours during that day. Though, to be fair, we generally use such a form if the amount of time spent constitutes the majority of the daylight hours.


I think that Biblically the Good Friday tradition doesn't stand up to scrutiny. The traditional view tends to forget that since it was Passover there would be an additional Sabbath in the chronology. We can see a hint of this in the difference between Mark 16:1 and Luke 23:55 regarding the purchasing of spices by the women.

See this website for a detailed breakdown of the timeline of the crucifixion and resurrection, but in summary Jesus was buried on Wednesday night and rose on Saturday night and the Thursday in between was a high holy day (extra Sabbath). I'd be very interested to hear any Biblical arguments against this timeline.

  • I was trying to rectify this with my understanding that Christ had eaten the Passover the night before he died. After some more searching, I found that the Last Supper was not actually the Passover meal. therefinersfire.org/celebrating_passover.htm I've also asked a question about this. Was the Last Supper not the Passover meal?
    – a_hardin
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 17:13
  • I have proposed this theory some years ago when discussing it with friends; one of the gospels, I think it's John, actually refers to the first Sabbath as a "special" Sabbath.
    – user32
    Commented Jan 28, 2014 at 18:49
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    This solution to the problem of how long Jesus was in the grave and when the events of Holy Week occurred is one I have seen used by Seventh Day Adventists. I find it logical and consistent with scripture except for the fact that the early church would have known the correct times and dates and would not have settled on the chronology it did if Jesus were actually crucified on Wednesday. What is the earliest known year that Christians celebrated Good Friday as the day of the crucifixion and Thursday as the day of the last supper? Commented Dec 8, 2016 at 15:53
  • @Curious George Would Mark's words rebuttal this theory? Mark 16:1-2: "When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.
    – user37540
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 18:28
  • @AaronLynch Luke 23:56 says "And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment." So they bought and prepared the spices on Friday, then rested on the regular weekly Sabbath, then went Sunday morning to anoint the body.
    – Rob K
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 15:11

These three sacrifices of the Passover, Feast of unleavened bread, and the waving of the first fruit typified the death burial and resurrection of Christ and establish a timeline. At Passover on Friday the 14th of Abib, the lamb was slain. On the following day, Saturday the15th of Abib, was the first day of unleavened bread, a holy convocation. A day of rest. On the following day, Sunday the 16th of Abib, was the waving of the first-fruits.

Luke's orderly account shows that Jesus ate the Passover sometime after sunset with his disciples. He was then crucified and buried on that same day. The next day, the 15th of Abib was the weekly Sabbath. Jesus spent the entire Sabbath day resting in the tomb, then on the very next day, the 16th of Abib, which was Sunday, Jesus rose from the dead. We know this is correct because of how Leviticus and Numbers organized the events of the feasts. Here is a point that many people miss.

In 1 Corinthians 15:20 Paul tells us,

“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.”

What is the significance of Jesus being the first-fruits in relation to his resurrection?

Leviticus 23:5-11 says,

“In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the Lord's Passover. Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord...; On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any laborious work.... Then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.”

So, on the 14th day of the first month was the Passover. On the 15th was the Sabbath of unleavened bread. On the 16th was the offering of the first- fruits. Jesus followed this exact pattern. He died on the day of Passover. The next day he rested in the tomb on the Sabbath. The next day after the Sabbath was the first day of the week. During the offering of the morning burnt offering sacrifice at sunrise, the priest was waving the first-fruits of the harvest. At that same time, Jesus was rising from the tomb. He is the first-fruits of those who sleep. We know this because Mark 16:2 tells us that when the women came to the tomb after the sun had already risen and Jesus had already risen from the tomb.

The sequence of these feasts proves beyond any doubt that Jesus died on Friday and rose early Sunday morning. The argument that there had to be three literal days and nights (72 hours) in the grave simply cannot fit the prophetic timeline of these three feasts. Jesus died on Friday the 14th of Abib around 3pm. He was resting in the grave on the weekly Sabbath, the 15th of Abib. Sometime early on Sunday, the first day of the week, the 16th of Abib, Jesus rose from the tomb. By the Eastern reckoning of time, this can constitute three days but, there is no way it can constitute three nights, I don't care how one may try to manipulate it. So, how then are we to understand the words of Jesus in Matthew 12:40 when he said,

“For just 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.”

Mark 8:31 records Jesus statement in this way.

*“And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must *suffer many things and *be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and *be killed, and after three days rise again”

In Matthew 17:22-23 Jesus gives definition to his use of “in the heart of the earth” in chapter 12,

“And while they were gathering together in Galilee, Jesus said to them, 'The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day.' And they were deeply grieved.” In the heart of the earth is the same thing as “into the hands of men.” From the time Jesus was betrayed to the time he rose from the tomb was three days and three nights.

It is as simple as this. Mark shows us that Jesus was buried in the evening just before the Sabbath. He spent the following day which was the Sabbath in the tomb and on the day after the Sabbath which was the first day of the week - Sunday, the women come to anoint the body but he is already gone; And all of this was put forth in the Passover, the feast of unleavened bread, and the feast of first-fruits.

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    For God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst [heart] of the earth. Psalm 74:12. The word translated "midst" may also be translated "heart". It is "qereb", meaning interior, midst, heart per Strong's and Gesenius'. PS. Your view (Christ died on the 14th a Friday) was shared by Christians in Alexandria some 1800 years ago.
    – SLM
    Commented Apr 16, 2019 at 17:05
  • @SLM - Your view (Christ died on the 14th a Friday) was shared by Christians in Alexandria some 1800 years ago - hi SLM, where does that info come from please? Thanks. Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 17:44
  • I am sure many have come to this conclusion but the material in the post is mine
    – oldhermit
    Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 19:09
  • @AndrewShanks see this link re Clement of Alexandria c175 (Christ died on the 14th Nisan Friday ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf02.vi.iv.ix.html number 11 or see Theophilus of Alexandria c390. There are others, but circa 500 this view was finally squashed out. I believe there is one church nowadays that still follows this timing, but don't recall its name. Nearly all believe Christ died on the 15th of Nisan a Friday.
    – SLM
    Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 19:48
  • @SLM - Interesting. It turns out that neither AD 30 nor 33 could possibly be Friday 15th Nisan.. they are both 14th. If there was bad weather/cloud cover (v unlikely east of Jerusalem in Jordan valley) at the start of the month they could have been Friday 13th (but not 15th). Commented Dec 8, 2021 at 9:59

"Three Days and Three Nights" on amazingfacts.org (an SDA resource site) says being in the heart of the earth doesn't mean being dead in the grave, but rather being controlled by the world, so the three days and three nights began when the Son of Man was betrayed into the hands of sinners.

The Heart of the Earth

So the phrase “in the heart of the earth” can easily be translated as “in the midst of the world”--or in the grip of this lost planet—-that Jesus came to save!

In other words, in Matthew 12:40, the Lord is telling His disciples that just as Jonah was in the belly of a great fish, so the Son of Man would be in the central clutches of the world.

The Hour of Truth

There are five Bible verses in which Jesus refers to Thursday evening as “the hour,” meaning a pivotal transition time in His ministry:

  • “Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners” (Matthew 26:45).
  • “Then He came the third time and said to them, ‘Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners’” (Mark 14:41 NKJV).
  • “And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him” (Luke 22:14).
  • “Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone” (John 16:32).
  • “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee” (John 17:1).
  • The problem with this is that Jesus explicitly said - the only sign that proves he is the messiah is the sign of Jonah. So we have to look at Jonah. Jonah was a type- foreshadow of Christ. Jonah was not in the "clutches of the world" when he was in the great fish. In Jonah 2:2 He used the word of Sheol - the place of the dead. Yet again, this interpretation requires eisegesis - reading something into the text that it not there, and worse, it requires that we twist the clear words of Jonah and Christ, so that they don't mean what they plainly say.
    – Tennman7
    Commented Jan 31, 2021 at 19:01

Jesus predicted that he would be buried for three days and three nights (72 hours). Why would you doubt his word?

Christianity has a long-standing tradition of Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Almost everyone that translates the Bible uses this tradition as a guide, so it is natural that almost everyone reading the Bible would start with this tradition as a basis and try to interpret scripture to fit it.

The problem is, that tradition predates Christianity and was incorporated by the Roman Church very early in its history. There is no reason that any Christian should simply assume that it is true or that it applies to Jesus.

"Three days and three nights" is very explicit. It is about 72 hours in length. Those that try to justify its being only 36 hours long are putting more faith in tradition than in what the Bible actually says.

Jesus said "three days and three nights". Why doubt it?

Mark 16:1 says "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." Why doubt it?

Luke 23:56 says "And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment." Why doubt it?

If the Good Friday tradition is true, then at least two of the above Biblical statements are false. And if we accept that they are false, what reason do we have for not thinking that everything else in the Bible is false too?

But if we ignore the Good Friday tradition, and we accept the Biblical truth knowing that it is self-consistent and not contradictory, the we must believe that:

  • The women rested on the high sabbath (first day of Passover).
  • The women bought spices and prepared them (the next day).
  • The women rested on the weekly sabbath.

And if we believe that, then the resurrection really could have been 72 hours after the crucifixion, without any complicated explanations or weasel arguments.

  • Jesus died at 3pm on Wednesday and was buried shortly before the 6pm sunset.
  • The next 24 hours, one night and one day, were the annual Passover High Sabbath.
  • After another 12 hours of night, there were 12 hours of daylight on Friday in which the spices were bought and prepared.
  • The next 24 hours (one night and one day) were the weekly Sabbath.
  • Shortly before sunset on Saturday, 72 hours after his burial, Jesus rose from the dead.
  • Early Sunday morning, before sunrise, while it was still dark (and cold enough to minimize the stench), the women discovered the empty tomb.

All the details fit together. There's nothing to explain or justify. It's simply as Jesus predicted: three days and three nights. Why would any Christian doubt it? Why would any Christian believe a tradition that explicitly contradicts the only proof that Jesus gave? Celebrating Good Friday is nothing less than celebrating Jesus's failure to prove he was Christ.

For specific details and scriptural references, see Synoptic Crucifixion Table. (Best seen on a wide screen, not on a cell phone.)

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    The problem with the Wednesday burial idea is that it must ignore counting the that part of Wednesday before sunset as day 1. Then Thursday day 2, Friday day 3, Saturday day 4. See Acts where Peter and Cornelius count off 4 days. We shouldn't assume today's way of understanding 24 hours and apply that to their time and culture. Sunset to sunset, evening and morning are one day.
    – SLM
    Commented Jan 1, 2019 at 21:41
  • They had to bury him in a hurry, so it would have been at most a few minutes before sunset. I think any culture would count from a few minutes before sunset Wednesday to a few minutes before sunset Saturday as three days and three nights. Ignoring tradition and reading exactly what the Bible says, makes everything fit together simply and naturally. Any other interpretation incorporating Good Friday tradition requires hand waving and explanations (as in some of the other answers here). Occam's Razor is a good tool to use for those that consider the Bible to be reliable and authoritative. Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 1:37
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    "A few minutes" or a "few hours" before sunset is simply saying the same thing as a day. Why use it for Saturday, but not Wednesday? I understand about the Good Friday to Sunday tomb empty explanation, just as I understand the Wednesday death/burial assumption. It's not to say I agree with either.
    – SLM
    Commented Jan 2, 2019 at 4:38
  • @SLM, sorry, friend. You are mistaken. You are invoking Jewish inclusive reckoning, which applies in passages like John 11:17, Lazarus had already been dead four days", but in the passages like Jonah and here, where it explicitly says 3 days and 3 nights, inclusive reckoning does not apply. It means that Christ's own words and Jonah, and the only sign that he was the Messiah, can't be trusted, and don't mean what they plainly say. The entire confusion is bc people didn't understand that all feasts are Shabbat - not just weekly shabbat. Ignorance of Jewish culture
    – Tennman7
    Commented Jan 30, 2021 at 21:58
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    @SLM, you're saying that the women bought the spices a week in advance, knowing that Jesus would soon be killed? The implications of that, and the rationalization that would be needed to explain people's behaviour would, by abductive reasoning, make it an extremely unlikely event. Commented Feb 1, 2021 at 1:45

If Jesus had meant that he was going to be in the earth for anything less than "three days and three nights" He would have not used such specific vernacular. In Genesis 1:5 NLT God explains "God called the light "day" and the darkness "night". Together these made up one 24-hour day."

In as much as Jesus rose on the 'third day' while it was still dark, one would be contradicting Jesus' own words to count the daylight half of the third day, as one of the three days he was to be buried.

Also overlooked is the principle of the 'special Sabbath' which was being celebrated. Therefore it is possible to have two Sabbaths back-to-back, and to have two days of preparation. If this were the case, to which Scripture points, Jesus would have been crucified on the Thursday, the day before the special Sabbath which would have also been the day of preparation for the regular Sabbath.

Wednesday afternoon, Jesus is buried, DAY 1 - Day of crucifixion and day or preparation for the Special Sabbath. Wednesday sundown to Thursday sunrise, NIGHT 1 - Special Sabbath starts Thursday sunrise to Friday sundown, DAY 2 - Special Sabbath. Friday sundown to Saturday sunrise, NIGHT 2 - Day of preparation - Sabbath starts Saturday Sunrise to Saturday sundown, DAY 3 - Regular Sabbath Saturday sundown to Sunday sunrise, NIGHT 3 - Christ rises from the dead.

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    Can you edit this answer and give us some sources for information about "special Sabbaths"?
    – Caleb
    Commented May 5, 2013 at 4:39
  • Special Sabbaths refer to feast Sabbaths. These could fall on any day of the week, not just the seventh day. See Leviticus 23 for more.
    – SLM
    Commented Aug 10, 2017 at 16:05
  • You should edit to include specific references to which special sabbath it was (which was the First Day of Unleavened Bread).
    – Rob K
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 15:14
  • Also, the only time you ever have a double sabbath (e.g. the weekly sabbath immediately preceded or followed by a holy day) is at Pentecost, which happens on the Sunday following the 7th sabbath after the weekly sabbath which falls during the Days of Unleavened Bread. So Friday of that week could not have been a holy day. (Hopefully I'll have time later to add references)
    – Rob K
    Commented Sep 7, 2017 at 15:20
  • @Rob, sorry, but you are mistaken. All feasts are Shabbat, as well as weekly Shabbat, but not all feasts are "high Sabbath". It says in Matthew 28:1, after the sabbaths, plural. So we know that there were two Sabbaths, but they weren't back to back. Feast of unleavened bread is a high sabbath - It can be any day of the week, Also,day of atonement, is a high sabbath - it's based on a solar/lunar calendar, so it too can be any day of the week.
    – Tennman7
    Commented Jan 30, 2021 at 22:04

AS other have said three days and three nights is an idiom and means a continuous period encompassing at least one whole day and the end part of the first day and the first part of the last day.

For comparison look at what Esther said and did in Esther 4:16 and 5:1.

In 4:16 she requests all the Jews in Susa to fast, neither eat nor drink three days, night or day; "I also and my maidens will fast likewise."

"Now it came to pass on the third day." 5:1.

If "three days, night and day", meant literally three full days and nights then surely she would have gone into see the King on the fourth day, not the third day.

The view that a portion of a day is to be counted a a whole day is found in more than one place in the Talmud, Just one example:- "Now seeing that R. Jose is of the opinion that part of a day counts as a whole day" (Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Nazir, Folio 16a).

  • For Esther the 3 nights and 3 days (Est 4:16) is counted this way. Sunset (night) sunrise (day) is 1 night and 1 day Sunset (night) sunrise (day) is 2 nights and 2 days Sunset (night) sunrise (day) is 3 nights and 3 days and on that 3rd day she comes to the king, presents her petition, and the king eats the meal she prepared that day, but she is still fasting, not eating with them (Est 5:4-5). On the 4th day is the completion of her plan (Est 5:8). This is not to say Wed-Sun or Fri-Sun is correct.
    – SLM
    Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 4:41
  • @SLM, Esther 4:16-17 is totally different context. You're comparing apples with horses. Esther does not say 3 days and 3 nights -like Christ's own words. More Importantly, he tells them the Sign of Jonah, and he quotes Jonah. Jonah 1:17 says Jonah was in the belly of the Great fish 3 days and 3 nights. Not a day and a part of a day. Inclusive reckoning does not apply here. Esther 4 IS inclusive reckoning - it does not say 3 days and 3 nights. It's simply saying don't eat in the day or at night. It's common in Islam to Fast at Rammadan, in the day, but they gorge themseleves after dark.
    – Tennman7
    Commented Jan 31, 2021 at 18:54

In Matt. 12:38-40, Jesus was asked for a sign, a sort of test or a proof. What was the one and only sign He said He would give them. I would think the resurrection from the dead, but that was not the sign He said He would give them. The only sing He said He would give then was “three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”. Jesus would not have said “three days and three nights” unless He meant “three days and three nights”. Didn’t God create day and night, Genesis 1:5? Numerous times it is said in the scriptures that Jesus was raised on the third day - (Matthew 16:21, 17:23, 20:19, Luke 9:22, Acts 10:39-41, and I Corinthians 15:3-4). Say, Jesus was entombed on Friday, then Saturday would be the first day after entombment and Sunday would be day two, not the third day.

Friday was the First Day of Unleavened Bread, a Sabbath day (Leviticus 23:6-7), then of course Saturday was the regular weekly Sabbath, making it two Sabbaths in a row.

Here are a couple of references, one on the Crucifixion Week and one on the term "between the evenings" the timing of the Passover Sacrifice and Lord Jesus:



John 12:1, says 6 days before Passover Jesus came to Bethany. Passover is parts of 2 days, the afternoon of Nissan 14 when the Passover Lamb is slain and after sunset (Nissan 15) when the death angel passed over the houses with the blood of the Passover Lamb on the lintel and door posts. I believe the Apostle John is saying 6 days before Nissan 15 Jesus came to Bethany. That would be Nissan 9, then the next day Nissan 10 Jesus entered Jerusalem (John 12:12).

What would be the perfect crucifixion week by the scriptures? Using the Jewish Religious Calendar, the Jewish day that begins at sunset and ends at the following sunset and Old Testament Jewish Festivals, consider the following:


Sun. 10 Passover lamb is selected – Exodus 12:3 -- Jesus enters Jerusalem to many hosannas – John 12:12-13 , see John 12:1 & 12:12 The scripture doesn’t say but let’s say it was the first day of the week (Palm Sunday)

Passover Lamb inspected for any blemish for 4 days Nissan 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th – Exodus 12:5-6 --
Jesus taught and was questioned 10th, 11th, 12th & 13th they could find no fault in Him – Luke Ch. 19-22, Matthew Ch. 21-25 and Mark Ch. 11-13

Thu. 14 Passover lamb is slain – Exodus 12:6 --
Jesus crucified – John 19:14 (preparation for Passover) Bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath John 19:31

Fri. 15 First Day of Unleavened Bread - high Sabbath Leviticus 23:6-7

Sat. 16 Weekly Sabbath

Sun. 17 Firstfruit Wave Offering – Leviticus 23:10-11 --
Jesus is the first fruit of the resurrection – 1 Cor. 15:20

Note: parts of 3 days & 3 nights in tomb, if arose before dawn also He arose on 3rd day after entombment as per scripture. 10th -16th is 7 days, the number for complete. 17th is 8th day, the number for new beginnings.

  • This reads like it is just your opinion on the matter. The point of this site is to present objectively verifiable facts.
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Apr 1, 2019 at 14:07
  • 1
    It is all references to scripture. I do not see where it is based on opinion. It is all referenced to scripture unless you are saying that if He was entombed on Friday and arose on Friday it is not the same day and should be counted as day one. Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 23:40
  • OK, I'm just trying to make sense of the downvotes, additional references help immensely, we want to know who shares your interpretation of scripture. but the reason this post wasn't very well received is probably the tone you take. I've noticed that asking rhetorical question is almost always a bad idea in answer.s
    – Peter Turner
    Commented Apr 8, 2019 at 21:49
  • @Peterturner, the downvote is undoubtedly from those who don't like to admit that the tradition that they have accepted is not only a myth, but has more holes than swiss cheese, and it requires all kinds of twisting of scripture and it means that they don't believe Christ meant what he plainly said. So they invoke half-truths about Inclusive counting, [part of a day = whole day] but in these passages that explicitly say 3 days and 3 nights, inclusive reckoning does not apply. Impossible to even get 2 nights with Friday crucifix. People read sabbath and assume it was weekly sabbath.
    – Tennman7
    Commented Jan 30, 2021 at 21:41

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