Three Days and Three Nights
Can we get 72 hours between Friday after 3 p.m. and Sunday at daybreak? Not hardly,
we can get perhaps 39 hours at the most and that is allowing only three hours to get the
body of Jesus into the tomb. Where then do we get the time frame needed to agree with
the words of our Lord and Savior?
Look at MATTHEW 28:1 “Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the
first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the
grave.” In the King James/Scofield reference version, it says, “In the end of the
Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary
Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher.” Not too much difference
between the two versions, is there? The only big difference is that the NAS says it was
after the Sabbath and the King James says it was in the end of the Sabbath. They both
say it began to dawn toward the first day of the week.
Some will look at the New International Version and become confused, for it says,
“After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the
other Mary went to look at the tomb.” I believe this version of the Bible takes a bit too
much liberty in the translation because if you are approaching something, you are still not
there yet, thus the drawing toward or “dawn toward” means that you haven’t arrived yet.
It means that the first day of the week was not a reality at this point in time. The
interpreters seem to have focused on the end of the Sabbath and missed the part that says
it was still moving toward the first day of the week. Unfortunate, but this just adds to
confusion in translations. We need to consult an expert on the original Greek text to help
us out here.
Dr. Charles Half, Director of the Christian Jew Foundation in San Antonio, Texas is an
expert on the Greek language and he says, “The word ‘dawn’ here is translated from the
Greek work epiphosko. Parkhurst’s Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament
defines this word as follows: ‘to draw on’ or ‘to approach.’ When the women came to
the sepulchre, it was late on the Sabbath (Saturday evening), drawing on toward the first
day of the week. In George Ricker Berry’s Greek Interlinear translation, we have this
rendition of Matthew 28:1: ‘Now on the Sabbath as it was getting dusk toward the first of
the week.’ If Mathew 28:1 had been translated this way in our Bible, it would have
helped to clarify the time of Christ’s Resurrection. The Resurrection was not in the
morning, but at dusk (Saturday evening)-as the Jewish day was coming to an end.”
Now we need to be aware that there is a difference between the Hebrew day and our day.
Their day ended at 6:00 p.m. and our day ends at 12:00 midnight. In LEVITICUS 23:32
the Lord said, “...from evening until evening you shall keep your Sabbath.” This is one
complete 24 hour period. To this day, the Jewish Sabbath starts at 6:00 p.m. on Friday
and goes until 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. Ask any of your Jewish friends and you will see
this is correct. As we go through the information in am presenting here, please toss out
all reference to our day and go by the Hebrew day and you will have no trouble
understanding any of this.