This Falling Away of 2 Thessalonians 2 shows how Messiah’s death and resurrection fit the lunisolar calendar.
Just like with prophecy, the truth about the 3 days in the grave is fairly straight-forward.
It’s the deceptions of the enemy which cloud our ability to see the truth. And many of these deceptions are from Jewish traditions.
We know that the ‘Christian‘ teaching of Messiah dying on Friday and rising on Sunday is false.
There was no such thing as Friday or Sunday, as the Roman calendar of Messiah’s day used letters of their alphabet to name the days. And at the time there were 8 days a week, not 7.
And it simply doesn’t line with up Scripture.
Defenders of the Saturday Sabbath teach the following fulfillment:
Messiah died on Passover (the 14th of the Biblical month, Wednesday of the Roman month);
The 15th of the Biblical month, Thursday of the Roman month, was the High Sabbath of Unleavened Bread.
The 16th of the Biblical month, Friday of the Roman month, was when the women bought and prepared the spices.
The 17th of the Biblical month, Saturday of the Roman month, was the weekly Sabbath, on which Messiah rose.
And on 18th of the Biblical month, Sunday of the Roman month, the women found the tomb empty.
There’s a few problems with that explanation:
That explanation is based on the Jewish teaching that a day starts when the Sun goes down, but the The Sabbath Was Changed To SUNday study proves that it starts at dawn, in the morning.
We know that Saturday is not the weekly Sabbath day. And we can see on the lunisolar calendar that the Sabbath being referring after Passover is the Feast of Unleavened Bread; which is a High Sabbath, because it is a holy feast day that falls on the weekly Sabbath. So it is not two separate Sabbath days as they explain.
Besides that, Friday was not a Sabbath day, and the women could have gathered the spices and anointed Messiah on that day.
But this brings up a challenge…
We’ve been taught that Messiah was in the grave for three days and three nights.
So the explanation of dying on the 14th and rising on the 16th doesn’t appear to fit that explanation.
But what if the true understanding of what ‘three days and three nights‘ means is different than what we’ve been told?
It seems like an obvious explanation, but let’s look at what Messiah is saying…
Matthew 12:38-40 gives the narrative of Messiah giving the Jews a sign, that He indeed is the promised Messiah.
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from You.” But He answering, said to them, “A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Yonah (Jonah). “For as Yonah was three days and three nights in the stomach of the great fish, so shall the Son of Aḏam be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Messiah is addressing the Jewish leaders, so He is giving an explanation using their understanding of what constitutes a day.
They would know examples of three days and three nights, such as in Esther 4:16 when she was to fast for three days, before going before the sovereign.
Go, gather all the Yehuḏim who are present in Shushan, and fast for me, and do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I too, and my young women shall fast in the same way, then I shall go to the sovereign, which is against the law. And if I shall perish, I shall perish!
Then in Esther 5:1, having fulfilled the ‘three days, night or day‘, she appeared before the sovereign on the third day.
And it came to be on the third day that Estĕr put on royal apparel and stood in the inner court of the sovereign’s palace, in front of the sovereign’s house, while the sovereign sat on his royal throne in the royal house, opposite the entrance of the house.
She didn’t wait until after three full days to appear before the sovereign. She appeared to the sovereign on the third day.
This is telling us that any part of a day is considered a whole day.
Now apply that to Messiah’s fulfillment of three days and three nights.
He was sacrificed on the 14th day of the Scriptural month, on Passover.
He was in the grave that night.
He was in the grave all day and night on the 15th day, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the High Sabbath day.
The women could not work on this day, so they could not anoint His body with the spices.
He was in the grave at the beginning of the 16th day, the Feast of First Fruits, and then He rose again.
Messiah is the first fruit. Because He was resurrected, we who are in covenant with Him, will also be resurrected.
Then the woman came and found that the tomb was empty.
Now after the Sabbath, toward dawn on the first day of the week, Miryam from Maḡdala and the other Miryam came to see the tomb. Matthew 28:1
That verse is telling us that the High Sabbath day ended at dawn, so the next day began.
Days don’t start when the Sun goes down, as the Jews teach.
So just as Esther started her 3 day fast on the first day and had fulfilled it on the third day; Messiah died on the 1st day and was resurrected on the third day.
What other proofs do we have?
Matthew 27:62-66 proves that the Jewish leaders understood that He proclaimed that He would rise on the third day, not after the three days and nights.
On the next day, which was after the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, “Master, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am raised.’
“Command, then, that the tomb be safeguarded until the third day, lest His taught ones come by night and steal Him away, and should say to the people, ‘He was raised from the dead.’ And the last deception shall be worse than the first.”
So Pilate said to them, “You have a watch, go, safeguard it as you know how.”
And they went and safeguarded the tomb, sealing the stone and setting the watch.
If Messiah was to be dead 3 days and 3 nights, meaning 72 hours, when would He rise?
On the fourth day, yes? But that is not what Scripture declares:
We heard Him saying, ‘I shall destroy this Dwelling Place that is made with hands, and within three days I shall build another made without hands.’ Mark 14:58
saying, “The Son of Aḏam has to suffer much, and to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and to be killed, and to be raised the third day.” Luke 9:22
and having flogged Him they shall kill Him. And on the third day He shall rise again. Luke 18:33
saying, ‘The Son of Aḏam has to be delivered into the hands of sinners, and be impaled, and the third day rise again.’ Luke 24:7
and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and impaled Him. We, however, were expecting that it was He who was going to redeem Yisra’ĕl. But besides all this, today is the third day since these matters took place. Luke 24:20-21
and said to them, “Thus it has been written, and so it was necessary for the Messiah to suffer and to rise again from the dead the third day, Luke 24:46
Yahusha answered and said to them, “Destroy this Dwelling Place, and in three days I shall raise it.” John 2:19
Elohim raised up this One on the third day, and let Him be seen, Acts 10:40
and that He was buried, and that He was raised the third day, according to the Scriptures, 1 Corinthians 15:4
Here are some study notes from esteemed Bible theologians who provide clarity:
Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible
Three days and three nights. It will be seen, in the account of the resurrection of Christ, that he was in the grave but two nights and a part of three days. See Mt 28:6. This computation is, however, strictly in accordance with the Jewish mode of reckoning.
If it had not been, the Jews would have understood it, and would have charged our Saviour as being a false prophet; for it was well known to them that he had spoken this prophecy, Mt 27:63. Such a charge, however, was never made; and it is plain, therefore, that what was meant by the prediction was accomplished.
It was a maxim, also, among the Jews, in computing time, that a part of a day was to be received as the whole. Many instances of this kind occur in both sacred and profane history.
Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible
Three days and three nights – Our Lord rose from the grave on the day but one after his crucifixion: so that, in the computation in this verse, the part of the day on which he was crucified, and the part of that on which he rose again, are severally estimated as an entire day; and this, no doubt, exactly corresponded to the time in which Jonah was in the belly of the fish.
Our Lord says, As Jonah was, so shall the Son of man be, etc. Evening and morning, or night and day, is the Hebrew phrase for a natural day, which the Greeks termed νυχθημερον , nuchthemeron.
The very same quantity of time which is here termed three days and three nights, and which, in reality, was only one whole day, a part of two others, and two whole nights, is termed three days and three nights, in the book of Esther: Go; neither eat nor drink Three Days, Night or Day, and so I will go in unto the king: Es 4:16. Afterwards it follows, Es 5:1. On the Third Day, Esther stood in the inner court of the king’s house. Many examples might be produced, from both the sacred and profane writers, in vindication of the propriety of the expression in the text.
so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth–This was the second public announcement of His resurrection three days after His death. (For the first, see Joh 2:19). Jonah’s case was analogous to this, as being a signal judgment of God; reversed in three days; and followed by a glorious mission to the Gentiles. The expression “in the heart of the earth,” suggested by the expression of Jonah with respect to the sea (Jon 2:3, in the Septuagint), means simply the grave, but this considered as the most emphatic expression of real and total entombment. The period during which He was to lie in the grave is here expressed in round numbers, according to the Jewish way of speaking, which was to regard any part of a day, however small, included within a period of days, as a full day. (See 1Sa 30:12-13, &c.).
John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible
To solve this difficulty, and set the matter in a clear light, let it be observed, that the three days and three nights, mean three natural days, consisting of day and night, or twenty four hours, and are what the Greeks call νυχθημερα, “night days”; but the Jews have no other way of expressing them, but as here; and with them it is a well known rule, and used on all occasions, as in the computation of their feasts and times of mourning, in the observance of the passover, circumcision, and divers purifications, that מקצת היום ככולו, “a part of a day is as the whole”3: and so, whatever was done before sun setting, or after, if but an hour, or ever so small a time, before or after it, it was reckoned as the whole preceding, or following day; and whether this was in the night part, or day part of the night day, or natural day, it mattered not, it was accounted as the whole night day: by this rule, the case here is easily adjusted; Christ was laid in the grave towards the close of the sixth day, a little before sun setting, and this being a part of the night day preceding, is reckoned as the whole; he continued there the whole night day following, being the seventh day; and rose again early on the first day, which being after sun setting, though it might be even before sun rising, yet being a part of the night day following, is to be esteemed as the whole; and thus the son of man was to be, and was three days and three nights in the grave; and which was very easy to be understood by the Jews; and it is a question whether Jonas was longer in the belly of the fish.
John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible
Three days and three nights – It was customary with the eastern nations to reckon any part of a natural day of twenty-four hours, for the whole day. Accordingly they used to say a thing was done after three or seven days, if it was done on the third or seventh day, from that which was last mentioned. Instances of this may be seen, 1Ki 20:29; and in many other places. And as the Hebrews had no word to express a natural day, they used night and day, or day and night for it. So that to say a thing happened after three days and three nights, was with them the very same, as to say, it happened after three days, or on the third day.
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