John 2.19 Destroy this temple and in three days i will raise it

Many have traditionally taken a bit of a wives tale understanding of this claim, however, the historical evidence is that Jesus did not spend 3 24 hour days in the grave as we would calculate it. The way of counting days back in those times included parts of days…ie the day in which a statement was said to of occurred as well as the resurrection day are both included in the count. Thus the days of crucifixion, sabbath, and Sunday were the three days.

Therefore, the afternoon of Friday is 1, Sabbath (Friday sundown to Saturday Sundown) is 2, Evening of Saturday night…which is Sunday according to Jewish counting, is 3…Jesus rising around dawn on the Sunday morning.

If we were to count using our method, Jesus only spent 1 day in the grave…ie Sabbath (he was crucified in the afternoon and rose at dawn on the Sunday morning.) That would mean only about 36 hours or so.

One of the methods of addressing this dilemma was to align his death with “high Sabbath” festival…where it is said that an additional day was attributed to the Sabbath…ie two Sabbaths during that festival and that Jesus would have been crucified on the Thursday.

I think literalism and the “day means 24 hours” is a problem here. While there is debate as to what day the crucification occurred, he was in the grave on 3 days, and it was good enough for the author (John) and his early church audience to consider it proved prophecy, so I see no problem with it either.


I’ve also seen an argument that the crucifixion was on Thursday and that Friday was a special Sabbath for Passover.

Jesus’ wives’ tale you mean?

Well I guess this could be taken a few ways…to consider at least one of the possible options, Bart Erhman (a well known atheist scholar and author) has pretty well resolved the debate about whether or not Jesus really existed. He has written extensively on the historical Jesus and whilst he doesn’t believe Jesus was resurrected or is God, the evidence for Jesus existence is about as iron clad as one can be of any character from ancient times as there are plenty of both internal biblical and external references to him. Lets face it, few deny that Socrates existed an yet there is very strong evidence that he is nothing more than a construct of the great Plato. The ancient historical written references that support the existence of Socrates from what I can remember appear to be those obtained directly from either Plato himself or a couple of students from the school of Plato.

However, on this topic, I find it interesting that we have traditionally considered 3 days in the grave as 3x24 hour days without actually sitting down and counting up the hours. We all have heard the Good Friday/Easter Sunday sermons and yet how many have sat down and really done the math on the claim given that he very obviously died and rose again in barely 36 hours!

Would not this be a bit of a stumbling block to those who do not believe in the Biblical story? The unexplained apparent inaccuracy of times and dates is questionable. Of course if one understands the Jewish way of counting, there is no problem, however for us it is a problem.

I always have this niggling question in my mind on such matters…If God is all knowing and, whilst not necessarily relying on predetermining outcomes directly, if God knows the future surely he would have seen the potential stumbling blocks that issues such as the geological/fossil record, Supernovas we view millions of years after the event, Calendars, etc all cause modern man?

One is left with little option but to ask, why has God NOT forseen these issues and addressed them before? I simply do not see how it is that God seemingly hides himself whilst his counterpart so overwhelmingly invests time and energy into catastrophe and hurt?

I don’t think many have a issue with it. I was under the impression everyone knew it was not literally 72 hours. They were saying the events seemed to span over three days.

If someone moved into a haunted house on Thursday at 4pm and that night hauntings started and they stuck through it. Then the next day, on Friday the hauntings grew and grew and so the next day at 8am on Saturday they left and they said they were tormented for three days, I would understand it and not be like…. No it was just 30 something hours.

Not if He was crucified on a Wednesday. April 25th 31 AD.

I have studied some into this claim…I am struggling to get past the problems it presents in that “the preparation day” irrespective of the high sabbath festival, was still Friday and not Thursday or Wednesday.
The second is that a high sabbath festivals do not necessarily fall upon a Sabbath.

the Gospel writer John states that the day after Christ’s death was a high sabbath. My belief is that the word Sabbath refers to the Seventh Day of communion with our Creator as defined in the creation account. I would like to add at this point, the Seventh Day communion with our creator has nothing to do with the fall of man…sin is not the cause of the Sabbath!

I also believe that when one inserts the meaning of the word Shabat into the discussion (ie “to cease”), would this not seem to be coincidently in harmony with the creation account of God resting on the Seventh Day…and in the 10 commandments, asking us to cease from all our work on the Seventh Day?

Is it also not highly suspicious that the only day in biblical history that God sanctified, is the Seventh Day? (there is no other day in anywhere in the Bible that can lay claim to this point…not a single one)

I think the evidence suggests Jesus was crucified on Fri 3rd April AD33. This takes into account for example the lunar eclipse, when Nissan 14 fell etc. I would recommend Colin Humphreys’ book about the last supper which goes into considerable detail. I found his arguments largely compelling.

Interestingly Humphreys doesnt consider Daniel’s prophecy of when the Messiah would be ‘cut off’ but that also points to Mar/April of AD 33.

If Jesus was born in Spring 5 BC, then he was about 37 when he died.

As for partial days being counted as a ‘day’, yes there are OT examples of that, so Jesus was crucified on a Fri and raised on the Sunday.

Interesting point Peter.
I have a theory about Jesus age when he was crucified…and it is based upon the Levite tradition.
I am not going to go looking for references at this point (I might do that later), however, my understanding is that in the Jewish culture there was a tradition whereby the age of young priests was about 30 years before they entered the priesthood/ministry and this was according to the Old Testament Sancturary model.
I would consider that as we know that the Sanctuary service pointed directly to the coming Messiah and His role in the plan of salvation, it would also be likely that Jesus did not enter His Ministry until the same age as the Jewish Priests according to their tradition.

In establishing the above, if Jesus ministry was 3.5 years (in fulfillment of the Daniel prophecy) then he would have died at the age of 33-34. I also subscribe to the second part of the prophecy in Daniel where the completion of that week of the prophecy (where it states the messiah was cutoff in the middle of the week) was 3.5 years after the crucifixion at the stoning of Stephen. (ie the 7 days/weeks/years from this part of the prophecy were then complete when Stephen died)

I also understand that due to the time of Herods death just after Jesus birth, we would place the "baby in the manger sometime between 2 and 4 b.c. Secular historical records are the issue here, and its difficult to ignore those when considering Herods death. There are two different dating models for Herods death…

37–4 BCE (Schürer)
36–1 BCE (Filmer)[1]

But that’s like saying if the Bible was written today God should make sure everyone understands it correctly in all its details in 2000 years’ time or in 10,000 years time. He chose to use humans, and they write in the culture and time they are born.

yes I get your point on this. One of the unfortunate things I suppose is that we look in from the outside and its difficult to reconcile the cultural aspect of the biblical writings.

One of the big problems that I am aware of with ancient language translation is that in order to translate correctly, due to the significantly fewer words in the ancient language, the context of the writings has to be considered very carefully otherwise significant errors get made in translation. This is a problem that the JW’s for example continue to make in their NWT paraphrase. They make initial assumptions and then simply apply those assumptions across the entire Bible (such as adding in the word Jehovah). There are instances where doing this causes enormous doctrinal and theological issues.

I think the ‘traditional’ view that Herod died in 4BC is probably correct, and this then fits with Jesus’ birth in 5BC, ie a few months to a year before. But I appreciate we cant be absolutely sure when it comes to calculations referring to ancient times. Nevertheless Humprey’s arguments are in my opinion quite strong, both concerning the dating of Jesus’ birth and his death. And the fact that other arguments which Humpreys didnt even consider point in the same direction bolsters his conclusions.

do you have a reference where I can access the book by Humphery? I would be interested in reading this.

I bought his book some time ago (The Mystery of the Last Supper), but if you dont want to splurge I think if you google his name you’ll find some of his articles both about the birth and death of Jesus.

Well that’s why we have Biblical scholars and theologians. As for JWs my impression is that they have purposefully corrupted their translations so that it fits with their doctrines. Of course all translators have to be careful and perhaps inevitably some of their biases show.

I found it…wow there is a huge difference in price between retailers on this…$45-$140 I need a pdf version (eyes aren’t good enough to read paperback fontsize)

UPDATE…i found a pdf copy The Mystery of the Last Supper by Humphreys, C. J. - PDF Drive

i have questions about this john 2:19 and the sabbath day not days where did days even come from when moses gave his commandemnets on the two stone tablets before he smashed them to the ground in sinai he said though shall keep the sabbath day not days holy we already keep novemebr 11th HOLY as we remember and honor those who died in battle so should this not include mr jesus i think so we should all remember the sacrifices he and many others made in battle i agree with maybe 1 day of a month be a sabbath but honestly people do not know when the world stopped turning where they were nor what the time was does everyone know how many were in thee garden and awake wait i am sure our devine jesus or his prophets can give a testimony Jesus will pray in the Garden , returning twice to His disciples, only to find them sleeping .now last time i checked a sleeping person’s body goes into a R>E>M

i wonder if anyone else questions what were everyones thoughts in the room when Jesus stood up and stripped after the yucky part where he shares his body and blood i never did like that whole part of the story book altthough i still havent read to much on the last supper i can however give eye witness testimony at least here in Calgary mind you i was a infant at the time and a whole community judges me like they did with him

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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