Three Days and
an Audio lesson by Aaron Budjen www.livinggodministries.net
Copyright © Stephen M. Golden
Jesus said, in 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.
How does this work out?
The traditional view is:
Jesus died on Friday and
rose from the dead on Sunday
But with the traditional view, you don’t quite have
three days and three nights. Many
attempts have been made to reconcile this.
You have to stretch it a bit. However, even if you stretch it a bit to get
three days, you still only have two nights.
There is an explanation that works, but you will
1. Reconsider the
2. Get a greater
understanding of the Law regarding the feast of Passover and the feast of
Let’s examine Matthew 12 and the context of three
days and three nights.
• Walking through the grain fields on the Sabbath
day and eating the grain
• Conflict with the Pharisees on the Sabbath law
v.9, he healed on the
• It is lawful to do good on the Sabbath
• The Pharisees believed it was their responsibility
to destroy Jesus
His purpose was to die for the sins of the world,
restoring our God back with His creation.
In v.22 the Pharisees bring to Jesus someone who was
demon possessed, blind, and mute. When
Jesus healed Him, the crowd said, “Could this be the son of David?” Why?
What was so special about this healing?
The man was demon possessed, but this was not the
The Pharisees believed that even they could cast out
demons using the following protocol:
Establish communication with
Get the name of the Demon
Command that Demon come out
by the name of the Living God
Here is a man blind and mute. He cannot see and cannot speak. The Pharisees
cannot cast out this demon because they cannot perform the three steps on him.
The Pharisees concluded the only one who could cast
out a demon from a man who could not speak, see, or hear is the Messiah.
Jesus did it, therefore, from the Pharisees own teaching, Jesus must be the Messiah. But the
Pharisees then claimed it was by Beelzebub.
They were willing to reject their own teaching in
order to try to reject Jesus.
Jesus was responding to their very teaching in order
to reach out to them. Jesus then
responded to the Pharisees that there is only one more miracle to assert His
messianic claim. From that point on,
Jesus did not perform any miracle to assert His messianic claim, but instead,
only to meet the needs of various individuals.
 for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE
BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights
in the heart of the earth.
Jesus makes the claim of “three days and three
From this point on (when He made the statement above
in Matthew 12:40), Jesus began to speak in parables.
How was His claim of “three days and three nights”
If we assume Jesus arrived in Jerusalem the week
that He was crucified, on the First day of the week, Sunday, we can walk
forward from that day, but things don’t line up.
(We’ll discuss that a little later.)
Let’s look at the Gospel of Mark:
Mark 11:8 Blessed is He who
comes in the name of the Lord
Salvation Now! (Hosannah!)
v.11 Jesus went into the
Temple, then went out to Bethany
v.12 Jesus left Bethany
v.19 He went out of the city
v.20 He went back into the
If you follow Mark’s writing from this point, you would likely conclude Jesus was crucified on Friday. But…
There are some chronological discrepancies in Mark’s
Generally, the Gospels themselves were not written
in specific chronological order, which is why they do not always match each
other in sequence. Luke was the only one who claimed his book is in
Mark’s account was not intended to record that Jesus
would be in the grave for three days and three nights. Therefore, it’s not appropriate to look in
the Gospel of Mark for the evidence to verify the claim of “three days and
three nights” Jesus made in Matthew.
In the Gospel of Mark (Mark 11:11) Jesus arrived in
Jerusalem, to the Temple, and then just left.
Matthew records that He threw out the money-changers
at that moment! We can therefore see
there are possible chronological discrepancies.
[Some claim that] The Gospel of John verifies that
Jesus arrived in Jerusalem on the first day of the week. John 12:1-12
v.1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to
v.12 The next
day, a great multitude took branches of palm trees… in Jerusalem
Jesus traveled from Jericho to
Bethany/Jerusalem. [If the Passover were
Friday, six days before would be Saturday.] We assumed that He arrived in
Bethany on Saturday. But Saturday is the
Sabbath. This would be a direct
violation of the commandment of God.
Jesus did not arrive in Bethany on Saturday, He arrived on Friday.
John did not give us that detail. John was not detailing every day of Jesus’
travels. We should not be looking in the
Gospel of John for the “three days and three nights” explanation.
If we consider that Jesus would not have traveled from Jericho to Bethany on a Saturday, the
following Thursday would be the Passover.
Turn back to the Gospel of Matthew. Matthew’s gospel is the one that makes the
claim of “three days and three nights.”
Let’s review what we’ve covered so far.
• We need to account for
three days and three nights.
• From John 12:1-12 Jesus
most likely arrived in Bethany on Friday.
• If you assume Jesus
arrived in Bethany on Saturday, then you have to
believe He violated the Sabbath law.
• Also, if Jesus arrived on
Saturday, the following Thursday would be the Passover.
It is important to consider that He arrived on
Friday. If you assume He arrived on
Sunday, then as you walk through what is given in Scripture, you’ll see in a
moment that you don’t have enough days to reach the Sabbath on the following
Let me assert now that the Passover was to begin
Wednesday evening. The Lord Jesus was crucified on Thursday. Then you have three days and three nights:
Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night.
Matthew tells us Jesus entered Jerusalem on the 1st
day of the week. The people acknowledge
that He is the Messiah:
21:12 Jesus went into the Temple of God… on the
first day of the week
21:14 The blind and lame came to him
Jesus didn’t just go into the temple look around, and leave as Mark seems to indicate. It was not important to Mark’s audience. Matthew is giving much more detail.
21:17 went to Bethany…
He cursed the fig tree on Monday. Mark did not intend to write a
chronology. Matthew is being specific.
He was then examined by the leadership groups. This fulfilled the Passover law that the
Passover lamb was to be examined before it could be used in sacrifice.
Matthew chapters 22-25 all occurred on Monday .
In Matthew chapter 26, Jesus gives us more information
 “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of
Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”
The Passover therefore begins Wednesday night.
There are some additional passages that are
difficult to understand because some words that are being used that describe
very specific things and there seems to be some uncertainty as to Passover and
the day of preparation, that is, which day of preparation it means. However, they can be clearly explained.
We need to make a distinction between Passover and
the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Too often, people are relying on traditions of men
rather than the Law of God.
How do you know when the Passover is to take place?
“Tenth day of the first month of the Hebrew
calendar”; the month of Aviv
are the feasts of the LORD, holy convocations which you shall proclaim
at their appointed times.  ‘On the fourteenth day of the first
month at twilight is the LORD's Passover.  ‘And on the fifteenth
day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; seven
days you must eat unleavened bread.
When does the first month start?
If you go by a calendar from the Rabbinical community,
they are using a computational calendar to determine Passover, not the method
defined by God.
God had a way of resetting the Calendar to be
correct each year without regression, without Leap Years, and
Israel’s calendar was defined according to the
harvest of barley.
They were to monitor the moon. Months are determined
by the lunar cycle.
Starting at Full moons and
counting days since
They were to monitor the
barley in the fields near Jerusalem
have been a winter crop]
How did they know when the barley was ready for
Parch the grain with fire in
a pan. If grain remained after parching,
it was ready for harvest
If grain remained, it is now
the month of the Barley. (Aviv means
If the barley
was ready to be harvested before the tenth day after the previous full moon,
then signal fires would be ignited to tell all in Israel that the current month
is the first month of the year. Passover would be the 14th day of
the current month.
If the barley
was ready to be harvested the tenth day of the month or later, the people would
not have enough time to properly prepare for Passover if the current month was
declared the first month. So, in this
case, the next full moon would designate the first day of the first month of the
new year. The tenth day following that
full moon would be the day to select the Passover lamb and the Passover would
be the 14th day of that month.
Passover must be observed in Jerusalem. All of Israel was to go there. Today, if you say you are observing Passover,
you deceive yourself. You cannot observe
Passover because not only are you not in Jerusalem, but the Temple is
gone! If you’re going to hold a Passover
celebration, you should say you are remembering Passover, not observing
The first day of the Feast
of Unleavened Bread occurs 24 hours after Passover (the 15th day of
the month). You are required to eat
unleavened bread for 7 days. The first
day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread is a Sabbath day, but it is a
special Sabbath day. On this special Sabbath day, you are permitted to prepare
food. You are to enjoy this food! This is the Passover Seder (The Feast of
Unleavened Bread). The Seder is NOT the
meal in which Jesus participated on the night before He died. This was NOT the “last supper.”
People who say this are a
day late and a law short.
The Passover meal comprised
Lamb, Bitter Herbs, and Unleavened Bread.
There is no Lamb eaten in the Seder.
Any Lamb that remained after
the Passover meal was to be consumed with fire before morning.
Very few people know this
information. They aren’t paying
attention to the Law. If you read the
Law of Moses, it is very clear that there is a distinction between the Passover
meal and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
When the Temple was
destroyed in 70AD, God took away the people’s ability to live in obedience to
the Commandments of God. No Temple. No Priesthood. No sacrifices (which had to be made at the
Temple). Because of this, the Rabbinical
authorities decreed that they were no longer to observe Passover, with the
thought that it would be better to wait until it is possible, than to do it
incorrectly. Instead, they emphasized
the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Even in
Jesus’ day, the word Passover was used synonymously with the Feast of
Unleavened Bread. However, they are very
on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus,
saying to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?”
 And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The
Teacher says, “My time is at hand; I will keep the Passover at your house with
My disciples.”’”  So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and
they prepared the Passover.
Even though the terms are
being used synonymously, the feasts need to be viewed separately.
Passover was held on the 14th
The first day of the Feast
of Unleavened Bread was the 15th day of the month
According to the Law, they
are not the same.
Jesus was in the grave on
the first day of the Feast of Unleavened bread, so He couldn’t have had a meal
on that day, but culturally, Matthew’s audience would have understood that this
discussion meant the Passover meal.
There was more than one day
of preparation that week.
Wednesday was a day of
preparation for the Passover meal.
Thursday was also a day of
preparation for the Sabbath of the Feast of Unleavened Bread that was to occur
on Friday (the 15th of the month, the special Sabbath).
Friday was also a day of
preparation for the “seventh day” Sabbath (Saturday).
There were three days of
preparation in a row.
Also, there were two
Sabbaths that week.
The first Sabbath: Thursday
night to Friday night: This was the Sabbath
of the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This Sabbath only occurred once a year.
The second Sabbath: Friday
night to Saturday night, the weekly Sabbath
If you read the Law, you
will see that these Sabbaths are there.
You need to understand which
Sabbath was meant.
Jesus was crucified on
Jesus rose on Sunday
No one who was following the
Law could leave Jerusalem from the time Jesus was crucified to the time He rose
from the dead because of the two Sabbaths. Everyone was there (The entire
nation of Israel!) This was Jesus’
testimony to the entire nation of Israel!
Understanding this, let’s
consider these passages:
they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But
they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled,
but that they might eat the Passover.
This was Thursday during the
day after Jesus had eaten the Passover meal Wednesday night. The people were actually
concerned about the feast of Unleavened Bread. This is the Seder meal, not the Passover
meal. This is the one without Lamb. [Hmmm…]
Matthew 26:17 shows that
they were using these terms interchangeably
Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the
judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.  Now it was the Preparation Day of the
Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your
What preparation day? There
It was not the preparation
day for the Passover meal because they had already eaten that.
It was the preparation day
for the Feast of Unleavened Bread.
Why would John use the word
Passover? There was a cultural bias. They were emphasizing the Feast of
Unleavened Bread. They called it all
“Passover.” The Jews do this today.
 Therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the
bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a
high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they
might be taken away.
This is the preparation day
for the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This
is the Sabbath that only occurred once a year!
They had to inform Pilate
that a special Sabbath was occurring, so they wanted Jesus taken down from the
cross. If Jesus had been crucified on
Friday, they would not have had to inform Pilate of a Sabbath occurring.
behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just
man.  He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from
Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of
God.  This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that
was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before.  That
day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.  And the women who
had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and
they observed the tomb and how His body was laid.  Then they returned
and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according
to the commandment.
This was the preparation day
for the Sabbath of the First day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread
This Sabbath was 24 hours
before the seventh day Sabbath
the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and
Pharisees gathered together to Pilate,
 saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that
deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’  “Therefore command that
the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night
and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.”
 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as
secure as you know how.”  So they went and made the tomb secure,
sealing the stone and setting the guard.
Which day of preparation?
Thursday, again, the day of preparation was for the Sabbath of the First day of
the Feast of Unleavened Bread
The Pharisees and Chief
Priests acknowledged that Jesus would rise after three days. If Jesus had not met the three days of His
prophecy, they would claim Jesus was a liar!
This is evidence that Jesus was in the grave for three days and three
nights, or His opposition would have used it as evidence that He was not the
In the Hebrew version of the
Gospel of Matthew (The Gospel of Matthew was written originally in Hebrew) in
v.62, it says it was the day after Passover.
In conclusion, we see that
Jesus was crucified on Thursday (Passover), buried on Friday (Thursday ended at
sunset, do he was placed into the tomb on the Feast of Unleavened Bread) and
rose from the dead on Sunday (First Fruits). Jesus was “three days and three nights in the
heart of the earth.”