Connecting the dots between related Scriptures can result in some interesting conclusions. Following are a few that fit into that category.
1. Why was Jesus in the tomb for only three days and three nights?
It is answered in Psalm 16:10, saying, “For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”
Then, look at John 11:1 and following. Lazarus was a friend of Jesus, along with his two sisters, Mary and Martha. But Lazarus was deathly sick, and Jesus knew he was about to die. Yet He waited four days before going to see them.
What Martha said, in their following discussion, is the point of this topic, for she said to Jesus, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
The promise of no corruption of the body of Jesus is kept in place by His being in the grave only three days and nights. Jesus had purposely waited until that condition occurred in order to perform the miracle of raising Lazarus back to his physical life even though his body was corrupted.
2. A question exists of just when Jesus was crucified, given that He was in the grave three days and three nights, and He had risen on Sunday, the first day of the week. We must remember that Jewish days begin at sundown and end at the next sundown.
When the two disciples were walking to Emmaus that Sunday afternoon (Luke 24:13), a stranger appeared and walked with them. The two were amazed that their new associate did not know what had been going on in Jerusalem, and one of them told of one named Jesus who had been crucified and had claimed He would rise from the grave after three days and three nights. Moreover, two women had gone to the tomb early this day to anoint His body, and it was gone from the tomb! The two disciples exclaimed, “And this is the third day.”
Let’s stay with the topic and count backward. If that was the third day and Jesus had appeared to the women, then His resurrection was completed. Three days and nights back—Sunday and Saturday night, one day and night. Saturday and Friday night, one more day and night. Then, Friday and Thursday night, the total of three days and three nights. Jesus was crucified on Thursday, before the next Jewish day began at sundown Thursday evening. He was in the grave on Friday, and it looks like “Good Friday” is just a concoction of the Roman Catholic Church.
The calculation backward from the testimony of those two disciples on the road to Emmaus establishes the timing of the crucifixion, but does the scenario of the Jewish festivities attest to the same conclusion?
Look at Matthew 27:62: “On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate” to have a guard at the tomb.
The Day of Preparation was the time of preparing the sacrificial lamb for the Passover supper. It was a time of special Sabbaths, not just on that Saturday coming up. Remember that the legs of the two thieves were broken in order for their deaths to happen before the sundown that would begin the special Sabbath. Also, the women had to wait until Sunday morning to anoint His body for burial because the Sabbath did not permit their endeavor.
The legs of Jesus were not broken, for He was already dead, as the Romans discovered. There were hundreds of sacrificial lambs being prepared for the traditional festival remembering Israel’s escape from the bondage of Egypt. It was, and is, a look-back event for the Jewish people.
But “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29) also was sacrificed at that same time, being “prepared” for the deliverance of many from the bondage of sin! (John 3:16). It was just as the prophet had predicted in Isaiah 53.
3. In Joshua 10:13, a recording is made of a major miracle occurring that enabled the Israelites to conquer their enemies, but without explanation of what happened to that extended day: “So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the people had revenge upon their enemies.”
That was the appearance of what happened, but the sun is stationary, and the earth and moon have revolutions daily, revolving in a pattern that creates a night and a day in twenty-four hours. The moon encircles the earth in a four-phase pattern. It is said that the earth measures 25,000 miles in its circumference. Thus, the earth is revolving just over 1,000 miles per hour for a full revolution in twenty-four hours. It was, indeed, a gigantic miracle. (This is not a study in astronomy, so readers looking for such details in exactness need to find other sources.)
Daylight was extended “for the better part of a day,” so how long was the extra daylight? We do not know, but another incident later makes it appear to have been ten degrees short of a full 360-degree day, but all in daylight hours.
Let’s go to that “other incident” and see how they tie together. In Isaiah 38 is the record of King Hezekiah’s impending death from a sickness, and he prays to God with tears for healing. God responds, saying, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years.”
Some background information makes this account very interesting. At this point in his life, Hezekiah had no son to follow him as king of Judea. It was in the third year of the fifteen years that Manasseh was born. He became king at twelve years of age, just as his father’s life ended on the fifteenth year, as promised by God.
Two things, then, were accomplished with the addition of those fifteen years. The lineage of the kings from Abraham to Jesus was satisfied to this point, and one other issue was completed.
When God gave Hezekiah those added years, Hezekiah wanted verification of the promise, so he asked God to set the sun back ten degrees on the sun dial, for setting it forward would not be as significant as the former. Thus, God did just that.
Now, go back to the extended day of Joshua’s time, when a period of extended daylight of most of a day, or perhaps 350 degrees, and a full 360-degree day has been pushed forward to move time into the next day.
As nightfall came at the end of that extended day, it came at the same time as would have been the second day following the day the battle was being fought. The unique and surprising thing God allowed to happen was the elimination of a day, the normal day of the Sabbath, to fall on the first day of the week, Sunday, and thus, the Sabbath has been merged with the Day of Resurrection! There is no more Saturday Sabbath for worship. The Lord’s Day, Sunday, is the Day.
Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath, has fulfilled the Sabbath, and all of those who believe in Him find their rest in Him. It is summed up in Hebrews 4:10: “For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.” (Look also at what Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”)
The conclusion is that the Sabbath has been fulfilled completely in Christ and is so forever, just as He has fulfilled “every jot and tittle of the law” (Matthew 5:17-18, KJV).
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