Question 57: If Christ died on Friday afternoon before sundown and rose on Sunday before dawn, how could he say in Matthew 12:40 he would be “three days and three nights” in the grave.

In Jewish reckoning, part of a day accounts for the whole day, all twenty-four hours of it, both the day and the night of it.  Actually, the Gospels have three statements that appear contradictory in Gentile reckoning of time but not in Jewish reckoning of time.  Sometimes Jesus said He would rise “on the third day”.  Sometimes He said He would rise “after three days”.  Jesus also used the expression “three days and three nights”.  All three statements are in the same Gospel so it is not merely a variation among the Gospel writers.  These would be contradictory expressions in Gentile reckoning of time but not in Jewish reckoning where part of the day counts for the whole day.  He did rise “on the third day” because Friday before sundown was the first day, Saturday was the second day, and Saturday evening when three stars became visible was the beginning of the third day, Sunday.  Because part of Sunday counts as all of Sunday, He also rose “after three days”.  And the phrase “three days and three nights” refers to any period of time that touches three days, because part of a day counts for the whole day, both the daylight and night time of it.  For example in Esther 4:16, Esther tells the people to fast for three days and three nights and after these three days of fasting she will then go see the king.  Left to itself that might imply that a three full twenty-four hour fast, and on the fourth day she will see the king.  However, in Esther 5:1, it is on the third day that she goes to see the king and there is no way to squeeze three twenty-four hour periods from that passage, nor is it necessary in light of Jewish reckoning.


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Arnold Answers is a bi-weekly Q & A with founder and director of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.

 

Question 56. In Colossians 1:18, Jesus is said to have “first place in everything.” Wouldn’t being first place in everything include being the first to have a glorified human body? If so, into what state were Enoch and Elijah translated when they were taken into heaven? How does this transition differ from physical death?

He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have the first place in everything. (Col. 1:18; NASB)

The emphasis in Colossians 1:18 is on Messiah’s preexistence and preeminence in dealing with all the created order. He precedes everything, and He is also the One who holds the universe together. He is essentially the One whom scientists unknowingly refer to as “atomic glue.”

Even if we relate Messiah’s being “first place in everything” to His glorified body, there is a difference between the nature of His resurrected body as over against what happened with Enoch and Elijah, as there is a difference between the resurrected body and the translated body. Both end up being glorified, but the resurrected body is given to the person who died and rose again and therefore passed from mortality to immortality and was glorified. Yeshua was the first one to receive that kind of glorified body. He has therefore a glorified resurrected body.

The concept of translation, on the other hand, is when a living body passes from mortality to immortality without undergoing physical death and by translation is also glorified. Both Enoch and Elijah have this kind of translated body. All saints who are alive at the time of the rapture will also not be resurrected, but will be translated and therefore also glorified.


Click here to learn more about Ariel Ministries and to enjoy our many online resources. To make this and other resources available, Ariel Ministries relies upon donations from people like you. If you feel the Lord Messiah would have you be a part of this ministry through a financial gift, please click Thank you!

Arnold Answers is a bi-weekly Q & A with founder and director of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.