Was Jesus really dead for 3 days and 3 nights?


I don’t know if this is the right area. I’m hoping some other Christians or Jewish people on here may be able to answer this. I know it has something to do with the Jewish method of counting days but forget. My Prot. friend asked me this question and I said I’d get back to her.

If Jesus died at 3PM on Friday and we celebrate his resurrection on Saturday night Mass or Sunday Mass. That’s two days not three.


This is something the Seventh Day Adventists are absolutely obsessed with. When Jesus said 3 days and 3 nights He was using a common expression for first century Jews. It just meant 3 days or any part of 3 days. No, He was crucified on Friday and came back on Sunday. So part of Friday, all of Saturday and part of Sunday. Here, 3 days and 3 nights just means what I mentioned above.

synecdoche si-nek-duh-kee ]
noun [Rhetoric]

  1. a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole or the whole for a part, the special for the general or the general for the special.

It is very common though most often it is the part that is used for the whole, such as twenty “head” of cattle, or can I have a couple of extra “hands” here. I know there are also examples in English where the part is used for the whole, I just can’t think of any at the moment.

The reference to “three days and nights” is not literal. But was "eschatological in reference. Just as 12 and 7 and 40 have meaning in scripture so does 3.

Jimmy Akin is da’ man!


This if off the subject.

If you believe that Jesus was dead for 3 days, that means that only the Father was there taking care of his creations.

And if you believe that God is one, then how come an alive god (Father), and a dead god (Jesus) are one!

And another serious concern, does god really die?

Christ is both human and divine.He died in the sense a human does but his divinty is eternal.

What do you think death is? Do you mistakenly believe it is the same thing as annihilation? :hmmm:


Just some “creative” math…

If he died on Friday at 3 and rose on Sunday (hour unknown)

3 pm Friday to 3 pm Saturday= 24 hours

Since we don’t know what hour on Sunday but evidently before sunrise as it was still dark when Mary Magdalene went to the tomb, lets just assume it was around 3 am

3 pm Saturday to 3 am Sunday…another 12 hours (more or less)

24 hours plus 12 hours equals 36 hours

still assuming Christ meant “daylight” hours, assuming the daylight lasted 12 hours each…we have 36 hours/ 3 days

There is your 3 days of “daylight”

This is only assumptions, however, He did say He could tear down this temple and raise it up in 3 days. I would speculate no one would be laying bricks at night.

Wild assumptions, yes, but possible.

to “tee”

You and your father are one, in a sense, you have his genes and your mother’s genes. You are a part of them both, are your not? Then it is quite possible that Jesus, with the genes of His Father (spiritual) and the genes of His mother, (human) could “die” but still be alive with the spiritual genes of his Father.

I don’t mean to reduce God the Father to human genes but maybe this will help clarify in a more understandable scenerio.

As the Food Lion lion says, just my two cents worth.

To “Fransea”

Believe me, I understand how God could die on the cross on Good Friday, and the universe not fall out of existence (and without resort to any genetic analogies).

It is my Muslim interlocutor, [user]Amoon[/user], who does not.



sorry I was reading the wrong post Hopefully Amoon will read the right one.:o

For Christians, God was not dead. The human life God had taken in the person of Jesus experienced human death, that is physically coming to an end while the soul passed on.

After his death on the cross, Jesus lived on in the Spirit and went to release all the souls who were held captive by death. The New Testament testifies to this, saying at 1 Peter 4:6 that Jesus preached the Gospel to the dead during this time in the netherworld. If Jesus was dead in the Spirit, how could he preach the Gospel as Peter testifies?

And is it not written that a man will cling to his wife “and the two shall be One Flesh”? (Genesis 2:24) If humanity is made up of man and wife, and the two in God’s eyes make up One Flesh, cannot God be greater than man?

Is the man the same person as his wife? No. Is the wife the same person as her husband? No. But are they One Flesh? Yes, for the Scriptures say they are One.

What about God? There is one God but Three Divine Persons in God. For if humanity is two in One Flesh, God must be greater, no?

Is the Father the same person as the Son or the Spirit? No. Is the Son the same person as the Father or Spirit? No. Is the Spirit the same person as the Father or the Son? No. But are they One God? Yes, for the Christ and the Scriptures say they are One.

Humans are One Flesh in the two persons of man and wife.

Our One God is three Persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

One Flesh=Two Persons
One God=Three Divine Persons

God experienced human death in Jesus because God was showing that He would go through anything to demonstrate his love for us and forgive us. Where humans put God to death in anger on the Cross, God did not retaliate. No, instead, in the Person of Jesus he said:

“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”–Luke 23:34.

He did this to show us that there isn’t any sin he won’t forgive us of if we truly turn to Him and submit to him in repentance.

God wanted to raise man up from death and sin in order for man to share in His life. So God became Man in Jesus to share our life.

While this may not be what you believe, it is what we believe for Jesus taught us this and so did his apostles, his Church, and our Scriptures. You are free to reject this as much as we are free to embrace this.

Now, unless we wish to further violate forum rules, we need to stick to the subject. You can raise further concerns yourself by starting a new thread, if you so choose.

Being of Jewish ancestry I can testify that Jews did not use “hours” to calculate days, especially the way we reckon days by 24 hours in modern times.

“Hours” were introduced into Jewish society by the Gentile world. The Romans divided the day into “hours,” and this was slowly taking hold in Jewish society by the time of Jesus.

The time of day was reckoned by the position of the sun in the sky, not how many hours it took to get there as we do today with hours. Days also began with sundown and ended at sundown.

If something happened in the afternoon of one day and extended into the other, the Semitic idiom was to say the event covered “two” days, even if the event began late on the previous day.

One cannot try to read the Bible by modern standards. You have to allow it to draw you into its world of ancient life and see and count things the way they did. Scripture and Church testimony is that Jesus died on Friday afternoon, was in the tomb all day Saturday, and was resurrected by the time the sun rose on Sunday. This is said to be “three days and nights” because it is idiom, not science.

Thank you all for your informative responses. Especially like the Jimmy Akin link to the explanation.

The norm of the time was to count inclusively, while the norm these days is to count exclusively.

Thus, if it is Friday and you are counting off to Sunday, you would have counted Friday, Saturday, Sunday (3).
Today you would count Saturday, Sunday, ignoring the remainder of Friday (2 days)

***(Matthew 12:40):
***“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

Heart of the earth DOES NOT mean “The tomb” ONLY, JESUS entered the Heart of the earth (delivered to the hand of sinners (subject to torturing & punishment)) starting Thursday night.

(Matthew 26:45-46): "Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”

The Jewish lunar calendar:
Night1: Thursday night.
Day1: Friday morning.
Night2: Friday night.
Day2: Saturday morning.
Night3: Saturday night.
Day3: Sunday morning.

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