Examining the calendar
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
If “3 days and 3 nights” means 72 hours, then what does “today is the 3rd day” mean?
In previous articles, we’ve seen how Christians should not keep Palm Sunday because it is based upon 2 lies. The 1st lie is that there are 3 days and 3 nights from Christ’s crucifixion on “Good Friday” to an “Easter Sunday” resurrection. The 2nd lie is Easter itself, as it is a pagan holiday not only not condoned by Scripture but condemned by it. Then, we dug into the question of the 3 days and 3 nights. We saw how the other phrases of “third day”, “within 3 days”, “after 3 days” and “in 3 days” when put together all narrow it down specifically so it can be none other than 3 complete 24 hour cycles of time.
But what about “to day is the third day”? On the road to Emmaus, 2 of Jesus’ disciples are walking and discussing the events of the past few days. The risen Jesus approaches them, but they don’t recognize Him. He asks them what they were talking about. They tell Him, and then they say that today is the 3rd day since these things happened. Does that contradict what we just went over?
Now, let’s use good Bible study principles and take the clear verses and apply them to the less clear. If you haven’t seen the other article, please read “3 Days and 3 Nights“.
Now, the passage in question:
19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
How can this be the 3rd day after everything else we have just read and studied?
First, let’s make sure we have the correct context.
22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;
So, we have established that this has to be after the women discovered the empty tomb. Therefore, this must be what we would call Sunday they are walking to Emmaus. So, what did the women see? Well, they saw “two men” who said to them:
6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,
7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
~ vv 6-7
So, we see a “third day” verse here, indicating that it could be any time up to and including 72 hours. However, we know that other Scriptures point us to exactly 72 hours. Therefore, the only problem, then, is the “to day is the third day” of v21.
Notice that it is the 3rd day “since these things were done.” What are “these things”. Specifically, they mention that the rulers condemned Him to death. However, it obviously would had to have been more than 3 days ago. Then, they mentioned how He was crucified. Was this the event they were timing it from? Could it have been His burial? What other event happened that was significant?
Chapter breaks are not part of the inspired text, as chapters and verses came much later. However, it is interesting what happens just before the chapter break in Matthew 27, as though the scribes knew the events belonged together:
62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,
63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again.
64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
65 Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.
66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
It would be logical that this would be the time from which they were referring as “all this” and “these things”. It fits perfectly with the other Scriptures, and we know that they cannot contradict each other and still be inspired. Furthermore, the word “all” definitely points to a conclusion of affairs that were not necessarily explicitly stated.
The point is that “these things” is not specific. In order to be true to the text, we must interpret the unclear with the clear and not the other way around.