“Three Days and Three Nights”: Literal
Quote, Seventh Day Adventist '
"Jesus said that He would spend "three days and three nights" in the heart of the earth; yet, He was buried late Friday and rose Sunday morning, which isn't three full days and nights; that is, a complete 72-hour cycle. Obviously, then, the phrase "three days and three nights" doesn't automatically mean exactly 72 hours. Instead, it's simply an idiomatic expression meaning just three days, such as (in this case) Friday, Sabbath and Sunday (see Luke 23: 46-24:3, 13, 21). It doesn't have to mean a complete 24-hour Friday, a complete 24-hour Sabbath, and a complete 24-hour Sunday. In other places, Jesus said that "in three days" He would raise His body temple (John 2:19-21) or that He would be "raised again the third day" (Matthew 16:21). These references mean the same thing as the "three days and three nights"; that is, Jesus would be crucified and raised from the dead over a three-day period, even if only one of those days, the Sabbath, encompassed a complete 24-hour day. He was crucified late Friday, spent Sabbath in the tomb, and rose Sunday."
Is the "expression", "three days and three nights", an "idiomatic expression"?
It is not an "idiomatic expression".
The possibility it could have been an "idiomatic expression", would have been real, were it true - I extract from the quote from Bacchiocchi, p. 129 in this book (Part 1 / 1) -,
"... the phrase "three days and three nights"" had "abundant Biblical ... evidence". The possibility would have been real, were it true "three days and three nights" is "used in the Scriptures idiomatically to indicate ... complete 24-hour days" as a rule.
Matter of fact is, the claim of "abundant Biblical evidence" simply is not true, and the expression "three days and three nights" is used in the New Testament but this once, in Matthew 12:40. Meanwhile the 'rule' is to use the truly 'idiomatic' expression, "the third day". Bacchiocchi's claim is false!
What IS an "idiomatic" expression?
Collins supplies the following explanation of an 'idiomatic' expression:
"... a linguistic usage that is grammatical and natural to native speakers of a language - the characteristic vocabulary or usage of a specific group ...".
A word or phrase may be an 'idiomatic expression' if used representatively, that is, 'for' something in the greater whole. E.g., "day" for the whole cycle of night and day; "Passover" for the whole of the eight day feast of Passover.
An 'idiomatic' expression is a shorter reference to an assumed familiar complexity.
An 'idiomatic' expression is a general, constituent of specifics.
It usually is the colloquial or vernacular.
It not necessarily is symbolic or metaphoric.
Eleven times the 'idiomatic' expression "the third day" is used in the New Testament, and once only the specific, "three days and three nights".
Therefore: Jesus meant what he said in Mt.12:40; He meant it as written and read. He does not say 'hours', so does not mean 'hours'; He does not say 'days' simply, and therefore does not mean 'days' simply, but specifically "three days, and, three nights".
Taking the phrase or 'expression' "three days and three nights" means "three days and three nights", the traditional Friday crucifixion and Sunday resurrection thesis, "meaning just three days", does not hold. It "isn't three full days and nights" no matter what our cleverness. Where is our Christian honesty when dealing with this Scripture? It seems it lies with our true loyalty - with popish error and lying to make a case for Sunday.
Are these accidental errors, or negligence, or carefully framed errors? No matter which, they are inexcusable, and must be attended to if we are serious about the Bible and Christianity:-
"Three full days and nights" is not what Jesus said or meant. What did Jesus mean then? What He said!
"Jesus ... was buried late Friday..." Ah yes! But don't say "crucified" or "died", because on Sunday, it had been "the third day since these things"!
"and rose Sunday morning..." Not true, no accident, but a fabricated lie - the lie of lies on which Sunday observance thrives. If you or I persist in parroting this lie, we in chorus with the devil who from the beginning was the father of lies, stand father to it.
"three full days and nights; that is, a complete 72-hour cycle..." I have never heard of the phenomenon called a "72-hour cycle". Seventy two hours - as propagated by Armstrong-disciples - involve five days!
"...Friday, Sabbath and Sunday (see Luke 23: 46-24:3, 13, 21)."
The passages "Luke 23: 46-24:3, 13, 21" include four days. Lk.23:49 tells how the day of crucifixion ended; verse 50 how the next day began - the day that ended after Joseph had closed the grave - Friday. Friday was the second of the three days.
"... the phrase "three days and three nights" ... doesn't have to mean a complete 24-hour Friday, a complete 24-hour Sabbath, and a complete 24-hour Sunday." It's not the hours, but the parts, "night", and, "day" Jesus mentioned and meant. And Sunday's night - Saturday night - and Sunday's day were not included in the days and the nights of which Jesus spoke and which He meant. It is simply - that's the word, "simply" - asserted, presumed, alleged, falsely so.
"In other places, Jesus said that "in three days" He would raise His body temple (John 2:19-21) or that He would be "raised again the third day" (Matthew 16:21). These references mean the same thing as the "three days and three nights"..." Why then did Jesus not again in Mt.12:40 say, "in three days", or, "the third day"? Was it for no reason He used the unusual, specific, of one time occurrence, "three days and three nights"? I don't believe!
"... that is, Jesus would be crucified and raised from the dead over a three-day period...". Yes, but "three days and three nights" would constitute that "three-day period" - each day constituted of its night part and its day part. Jesus says, not only His crucifixion per se and His resurrection per se would constitute those three days and three nights, but His being "in the heart of the earth". Jesus' being "in the heart of the earth" would make up the entire content of the "three days and three nights". Jesus would suffer - dying, death, interment and grave - and be raised "the third day" from His suffering - from His being "in the heart of the earth three days and three nights". Every word of Jesus is meant and is meaningful "according to the Scriptures" because the Scriptures are the "sign" of Passover - the sign of redemption. The Scriptures witness of Christ, every word of it, especially these in Mt.12:40, because it happened exactly so. Exactly so and never as by every Word of God we must live, "... even if only one of those days, the Sabbath, encompassed a complete 24-hour day...".
Therefore, what error and falsity it is that "He was crucified late Friday, spent Sabbath in the tomb, and rose Sunday"! Every Scripture in the New Testament that has to do with the chronology of events about Jesus' suffering and triumph are so wrangled by 'translation' as to do service to the instigator of this error and falsity, the Vatican.
"He was crucified late ...". If 9 am - morning of day - means "late Friday" relative to the whole (Jewish reckoned) cycle of the day that started sunset the previous evening, then "late" may be the accepted time of day supposed for Jesus' crucifixion. But if 3 pm - "late" afternoon of day - the hour of Jesus' giving over the spirit is meant, it of course cannot have been the hour He had been crucified.
"He was crucified late Friday ..." Jesus wasn't crucified on Friday - the Sixth Day - but on the day before, on Thursday - the Fifth Day.
"He ... rose Sunday ...", Wrong; He rose "In Sabbath's-time" - Mt.28:1.
"He spent Sabbath in the tomb ...", Jesus did spend part of the Sabbath in the tomb, but, "In fulness ("late" opsé) of Sabbath's-time (sabbátohn) in the very being of light (epiphohskóúsehi) the First Day approaching ... (eis mían sábbaton)", rose from the dead.
"On the First Day of the week, early, He appeared to Mary Magdalene (of all), first." (Mark 16:9)
What gross nonsense then is it to declare,
"The expression "three days and three nights" is used in the Scriptures idiomatically to indicate not three complete 24-hour days, but three calendric days of which the first and the third could have consisted of only a fraction of a day." Bacchiocci TCR p. 22/23/24 The first and the third, as the second, consisted of what Jesus in so many words said they would, namely, of a night and a day, each. The first began where Jesus said His hour was come, and that of evil men and of the power of darkness - there, Jesus' first night of woe had begun. The second night would find Jesus on the cross, hanging there - dead! Jesus' second night of suffering for man the death of sinners had begun "when it was evening already" - Mt.27:57, Mk.15:42, Lk.23:50, Jn.19:31, 38. "The third day according to the Scriptures" "in the slow hours of Sabbath's-time, it being the essence of light, the First Day of the week afar off", saw come true Jesus' word, that "the third day I finish!"
The phrase "a day and a night" does not exist in the Scriptures of concern. The phrase "three days and three nights" however, it is true, does not refer to an exact number of hours or minutes, but "according to the Scriptures" to the precise "calendrical" days, completed. A fraction of a day whether of the night or of the day was reckoned inclusively as representing the whole day. The moments of giving over the spirit, and of taking it up again, are the moments marking the first and the third of the "three days". Joseph's whole undertaking to have the body buried, marks the second of the "three days".