Much discussion takes place over the day Yahushua rose from the grave. Some say after three days and three nights, whilst others say after three days. But what does scripture tell us?
To know for certain how we should interpret the scripture, we should look to the scriptures:
18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”
19 Yahushua answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”
21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
From that time Yahushua began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised upon the third day.
22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Yahushua said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed.
18 “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death 19 and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.”
31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise on the third day.
34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.
21 And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, 22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”
7 The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.
45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Son of Yahuwah should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead.
62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, “Sir, we remember how that impostor said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.”
Each verse states that He would rise upon the third day. There is more information we still need to consider though. Some people quote the following verse, which would initially seem to conflict with the (overwhelming) information that He would rise upon the third day.
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.
So does this mean that the previous information was wrong? The scriptures are the word of Yahuwah. As such they are never wrong. All that is left then is the interpretation we are using. Here in John 2:18-21 we see the pharisees interpreting what Yahushua said, wrongly.
18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Yahushua answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
So what did He mean? Scripture contains the answer. The scripture never speaks of death and it never speaks of a resurrection. It speaks of something totally different. It speaks in a parable in the same manner Yahushua spoke to the Pharisees of destroying the temple.
Scripture tells us that out of the mount of two or three witnesses a matter shall be established. So let us establish the time from His death to His resurrection. Scripture uses example in many locations, so we can gain an understanding of the events which will take place in the future better. These are anchor points which cannot be moved.
Upon the 14th day of the month in Egypt, the people had their passover.
6 And ye shall keep it (The passover lamb) up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
We see the 14th reflected also in Numbers and Leviticus
16 ‘On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Passover of Yahuwah.
5 On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is Yahuwah’s Passover.
The same examples take place which show us which day is first fruits.
9 And YHWH spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give to you, and reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 He shall wave the sheaf before the YHWH, to be accepted on your behalf; on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. (The Sabbath was upon the 15th
This verse contains some key pieces of information. First, the day of first fruits would be the same day they go into the land which Yahuwah will give them. This day will be the day after the Sabbath. The Sabbath was the day after the sixth day of the week which was when the passover was held.
In Joshua we read of the children of Israel going into the Land promised.
10 Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho.
11 And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover (the 15th a Sabbath – the first day of unleavened bread), unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day.
12 Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce (the 16th the first day of the week) of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.
The 14th day is Passover. The day Yahushua was crucified.
The 15th was the Sabbath. The same day He rested.
The 16th, the day after the Sabbath was first fruits. This was the third day.
So lets look at what scriptures tell us of Yahushua:
1 Corinthians 15:12-23
12 Now if Yahushua be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Yahushua not risen:
14 And if Yahushua be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of YHWH; because we have testified of YHWH that he raised up Yahushua: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Yahushua raised:
17 And if Yahushua be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Yahushua are perished.
19 If in this life only we have hope in Yahushua, we are of all men most miserable.
20 But now is Yahushua risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.
21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Yahushua shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order: Yahushua the first fruits; afterward they that are Yahushua’s at his coming.
Yahushua rose upon the day known as first fruits – the 16th day of the month, the day after the Sabbath. Scripture tells us that the Sabbath (15th) was the day after Passover (14th). Preparation day (which was passover), was the day they prepared for the Sabbath.
31 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day (14th), that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (15th) (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
42 Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day (14th), that is, the day before the Sabbath (15th)…
56 Then they went back and prepared spices and ointments and sweet-smelling herbs (14th). And on the Sabbath they rested (15th) in accordance with the commandment.
The day after the Sabbath was the first day if the week. The first day if the week was the 16th.
Now after the Sabbath (15th), as the first day of the week began to dawn (16th), Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week (16th), they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.
Now when He rose early on the first day of the week (16th), He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.
We know that many of the wicked did not understand the truths presented to them.
10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
13 Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
So what is the correct interpretation of Matthew 12:40? To determine this we should go back a couple of verses.
38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
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.
41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
The verse does not mention Yahushua’s death, but rather it speaks of the son of man spending three days and nights in the heart of the earth. So what is the heart of the earth? The following verses assist:
Thus saith the Yahuwah Elohim; This is Jerusalem which I have set it in the midst of the nations and countries that are round about her.
For Elohim is my Sovereign from old, working deliverance from the midst of the earth.
to take plunder and to take body, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, acquiring livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the earth.
And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there; to the end thou mayest know that I am Yahuwah in the midst H7130 of the earth
15 Then Jacob (Israel) blessed Joseph, and said,
“The Elohim before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked [in faithful obedience],
The Elohim who has been my Shepherd [leading and caring for me] all my life to this day,
16 The Angel who has redeemed me [continually] from all evil,
Bless the boys;
And may my name live on in them [may they be worthy of having their names linked with mine],
And the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
And may they grow into a [great] multitude in the midst of the earth.”
The heart of the earth was Jerusalem. So how does the three days and nights fit in then? Scripture starts us off on the 9th day, six days before the passover which was held upon the 14th as shown in Leviticus 23:5.
1 Accordingly Yahushua, six days before the Passover came to Bethany where Lazarus was, who had died, who He raised from the dead. 2 So they made Him a supper there, and Martha served while Lazarus was one who sat at the table with Him.
The day after the 9th was the 10th.
On the next day a great crowd who had come to the Festival, when they heard that Yahushua was coming to Jerusalem took the branches of palm trees and went outside to meet Him and were crying out “Hosanna! Blessed is He who is coming in the name of YHWH, the sovereign of Israel!
The 10th day was the day they were to prepare the lamb for the Passover. The lamb was brought into Jerusalem upon the 10th day. The time from the 10th to the 14th was preparation time.
3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.
It was to be kept up until the 14th day at evening.
6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month.
Yahushua then sent Peter and John to the upper room to prepare for the passover. He knew he was not going to be eating this passover meal with his disciples as the Yahushua had his last meal with the disciples on the evening of the 10th.
And as they were eating, Yahushua took bread and having blessed it, broke and gave it to the disciples and said. “Take, eat, this is My body.” And taking the cup, and giving thanks He gave it to them saying, “Drink from it all of you, for this is my blood that of the renewed covenant, which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins. But I say to you, I shall certainly not drink of the fruit of the vine from now until that day when I drink it anew with you in the reign of My Father.”
The same thing is taking place in John 13:1
And before the Festival of the Passover, Yahushua knowing that His hour had come that He should move out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.
After the last Supper, Yahushua goes to the Garden of Gethsemane.
Matthew 26:30 & 36
30 And having sung a song, they went out onto the Mount of Olives.
36 Then Yahushua came with them to a place called the Garden of Gethsemane and said to the other disciples “Sit here while I go over there and pray”.
Sometime between midnight and the next dawn He was arrested at the mount of Olives and was taken to the house of the High Priest where He is examined (the same way the passover lamb was examined by the High Priest).
This started the 11th day. Yahushua is now in the belly of the whale – the heart of the earth – being persecuted. This is the first day in the prophecy spoken of in Matthew 12:40.
Matthew 26:57, 59-61
57 And those who had seized Yahushua led Him away to Caiaphas the High Priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together.
59 And the Chief Priests, and the elders, and all the council were seeking false witness against Yahushua to put Him to death,
60 but found non. Although many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward
61 and said “This one said, I am able to destroy the Temple of Elohim and build it in three days.”
The next day starts in Matthew 27:1, the 12th day and continues to the 13th day. These events take place upon the second and third day of the prophecy spoken of in Matthew 12:40. It concludes with the third night (upon the 13th) and the end of the prophecy is complete.
1 And morning having come, all the Chief Priests and elders of the people took counsel against Yahushua, so as to put Him to death.
2 And having bound Him, they lead Him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
And when Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked the Man if He were a Galilean. And when he learned that He was under the authority of Herod, he sent Him to Herod who was also in Jerusalem in those days.
So He was sent to Herod who questioned Him with many words.
8 And seeing Yahushua, Herod rejoiced greatly, for a long time he had wanted to see Him, because he had heard much about Him, and was anticipating to see some miracles done by Him,
9 and was questioning Him with many words, but He gave no answer.
10 And the Chief Priest and the scribes stood accusing Him intensely.
11 And Herod with His soldiers mocked Him, dressing Him in bright robes, and sent Him back to Pilate.
12 And on that day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other for before that they had been at enmity with each other.
The prophecy has ended here with the three days and three nights in the belly of the whale. The fate of Yahushua was now sealed.
Upon the 14th day he was sent to be crucified and die for us. The innocent lamb to the slaughter as was spoken about in Exodus.
13 And Pilate, having called together the chief priests and the rulers of the people
14 said to them “You bought this Man to me, as one who turns away the people. And look. I have examined Him in your presence and have found no guilt in this Man regarding the charges which you have made against Him.
15 and neither did Herod, for I sent you back to Him. And look. He has done naught deserving of death.
16 Having disciplined Him, then, I shall release”
17 for he had one to release to them at the festival.
23 But with loud voices they insisted asking for Him to be impaled. And the voices of these men and other Chief Priests were prevailing.
24 And Pilate pronounced sentence that what they had asked should be done.
That day, the 14th of Abib, He died upon the cross.
44 And now it was about the sixth hour and darkness came over all the land until the ninth hour.
45 And the sun was darkened the the veil of the temple was torn in two.
46 And crying out with a loud voice Yahushua said “Father, into you hands I commit my spirit.” And having said this, he breathed His last breath.