KJV 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.
Have you ever puzzled over these words of Jesus Christ? He prophesied that He would spend in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. He was crucified and buried on Friday: “Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”” (NKJV John 19:14). He rested in the tomb on Saturday and early the first day of the week [our Saturday night after sundown or early Sunday morning] raised from the dead: “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.” (KJV Mark 16:9). It makes three days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) and two nights (from Friday to Saturday and from Saturday to Sunday) in modern reckoning. It is not three complete 24 hour periods, which we often call “days”. How could that be? Jesus could not have made mistakes. How should we understand His words from the Gospel of Matthew?
Today we present some biblical information for your consideration that will immensely help in understanding this issue.
I (Tatyana) was concerned about this matter, prayed and asked the Lord to help me to understand the chronology. He answered my prayer and gave me a revelation when my husband and I were reading the book of Acts, chapter 10. In this chapter it talks how the Apostle Peter saw a vision. As a result of this vision he started from Joppa to Caesarea to the house of Roman centurion Cornelius to proclaim the good news for him. To get the entire story read the whole chapter from your Bible. I will focus on the timing parts of it.
In this chapter the Lord drew my attention to the sequence of events and the number of days they took.
Acts 10:1-3 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. 3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
So, Cornelius saw an angel about the ninth hour. Though in the chapter it does not say what day of the week it was, for for the purpose of illustration we will consider it Monday. So, the events start on Monday at 9 o’clock.
4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. 5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter: 6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do. 7 And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; 8 And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.
The same day (Monday) Cornelius sends his servants to Joppa to bring the Apostle Peter to his house.
9 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:
The next day, i.e. Tuesday Peter was praying about the sixth hour. Continue reading Did Jesus Spend 72 Hours In the Grave?