Three days and Three Nights
For those into deeper things, here is an interesting and in depth look at this oft confusing phrase. This all starts with what Jesus said as recorded in Matthew 12:40 “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.” God spoke it so it has to be true, but how does it all fit together?
Now most people look at the phrase “in the heart of the earth” as meaning “in the Grave” or “in the ground” but the deep Hebrew and Greek scholars have a totally different view of this as found in the ancient language. Now if you look at the “Lord’s Prayer” we find the exact same phrase in Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven.”
If we took this “in earth” to be in the graveyard, then we have a problem, as cemeteries are full of bones and dusty coffins, not much at all happening here, so how can dead people be actively doing God’s Will? Now if you take the phrase as it was written and anciently spoken and put a modern spin on it to use modern terminology for an ancient activity we get this; “In the Government” or “In the City Council” or “In the District Court.”
Now we can sort of solve a problem of numbers of days by getting an old Calendar out and it advises us that Calvary-Passover was a Wednesday. So this would give us Wednesday=Calvary (Preparation Day for) Thursday=Annual Sabbath. Friday is preparation day for the weekly Sabbath, Sabbath is 24 hours of fellowship and Worship of God as the normal weekly cycle, and Sunday is the 1st day of the week and work as normal, the ladies are hence back to the Tomb in their work cloths all ready to apply another even thicker layer of embalming lotion and more embalming wrap to a dead body of Jesus Christ, but only to find an empty tomb.
Wednesday gives sufficient days and nights, but if we apply the assumption of “in the earth” to be in the cemetery, it still all crumbles away. Now if you add another layer over this we get even deeper into difficulty, Jesus Christ is the Manna which came down from heaven. John 6:31-35 Jesus spells out very clearly that he was the “True Manna from Heaven.” And Jesus Repeated this concept in John 6:58 and most missed the spiritual significance.
Now Manna is a strange product, as it will keep for just one day any day of the week, but Friday manna will keep right through Friday and on through Sabbath as well, two long days in the Desert Heat. Now Psalm 16:10 “For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption,” tells us that in death Jesus Christ, the true manna from heaven, as we discovered, is not going to be in the grave for more than one day, or at the most a Friday-Saturday block of two days, as after this period it always stunk and grew worms (Exodus 16:20)
So Jesus = Manna from Heaven, and Manna only lasting a maximum of two days, means that a “Wednesday Calvary” is not possible. So we are sort of back to square one. Now we can make it fit by using Hebrew and any part of a night is a whole night, and any part of a day is a whole day so we get a Friday Calvary still fitting on two counts; Manna and three days three nights. But is there a better and fuller explanation out there?
Let us get back to our opening “In earth” and “in the heart of the earth” which all points us back to Government, Rulers, Courts and such and to see if we can find anything at all in the story that would link up in our problem. Judas is the traitor and betrayer, so let us follow his moves about and to observe.
Matthew 26:2 gives us two days out from Passover, which is actually in two parts so you can eat it early on Thursday, or on the Friday. Jesus ate his on the early date of Thursday, Thursday night Garden of Gethsemane, arrest, night trial, Friday morning at day break official trial, Pilate – Herod – Pilate then Calvary in quick succession. 12 noon until 3pm there was darkness and at exactly 3pm as the afternoon sacrifice was about to be offered, the cry from Calvary was “All Done” and Jesus Christ died for “the sins of the world.”
The Priests and Rulers were so careful not to contaminate themselves as they wished to eat a Friday Passover, so trials, courts, dead bodies were something they kept well away from so they stood outside the court and hollered their statements in through the door.
On Thursday night we have this as recorded in John 13:27 “And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, that thou doest, do quickly.” Judas had already been paid and the deal was almost a day old, he just needed to direct the mob to Gethsemane to fulfil his part of the deal, so Jesus Christ was already sold under the powers of Earthly Rulers.
If we go back to Matthew Chapter 26 and follow the sequences, we get to verse 13 and Judas is horrified by Mary Magdalene’s anointing of Jesus’ feet and the huge waste of money so the link is that on that very Wednesday night he slipped away and in verse 14 struck a deal, sold out his master and collected the cash in verse 15. It was a done deal, the transaction was complete, and from that time onwards until Jesus Christ was Crucified, died, was buried and rested on the Sabbath Day, Jesus Christ was “In earth” or “in the heart of the earth” as he was sold, the transaction completed, the rabble mob arrested Jesus, he was bound and jailed by the Jewish Leaders, Jewish trials followed for the prisoner, then Roman Trials followed and he was still shackled, he was beaten and mocked. And still a prisoner under guard, at Calvary a Roman Guard was posted at the foot of the Cross, and even in the Tomb he had a Roman Guard to keep him under their powers, it was only on resurrection morning when the Angel came and flipped the stone door out flat on its face, did the guard leave and their powers were broken.
In Summary; Wednesday Calvary gives us sufficient days and nights to get our quota, but when you add the Manna, it fails as Manna cannot last from Wednesday right on through, so we have to give up on that. Friday Calvary and in the Tomb and our time frame is getting very tight but it does fit and the Manna angle fits perfectly. Taking “in the earth” as it was written and intended, we have clearly proved that it actually refers to the “Powers of the Earth” or “Rulers” so now that gives us ample days to get our quota from, the Manna is kept fresh over Friday-Sabbath and we have ticked all the boxes as our problem was in a misunderstanding of what the phrase actually meant. God always does what he says he will, so please trust him.