Three Days and Three Nights in the Tomb

One of the most common arguments for Sunday-keeping lies in the erroneous idea that Jesus Christ rose from the dead on Sunday morning, though the Bible nowhere says that He did!

Jesus said that He would be in the grave three days and three nights (Matthew 12:40; cf. Matthew 27:63) and Scripture says that He rose just as He said He would (Matthew 28:6). The key lies in understanding that the preparation day on which Jesus was crucified was not Friday, the preparation for the weekly Sabbath. Rather it was preparation for a high day one of the seven annual Sabbaths that God had given Israel—as is explained in John 19:31. Jesus was crucified during the daylight period of Passover, which is the preparation for the following high day, the first holy day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:4—7).

In the year of the crucifixion, 31 AD, the Passover came on a Wednesday. Jesus was buried just prior to sunset before the holy day began (Luke 23:53—54) and was in the tomb from Wednesday sunset to Saturday sunset—three days and three nights, just as He had foretold. The fact that there were two Sabbaths (an annual high day on Thursday and the weekly Sabbath on Saturday) that week lets us understand the time frame mentioned in Mark 16:1 and Luke 23:56. Mark tells us that the women bought and prepared spices after the (high day) Sabbath was past, while Luke explains that they rested on the (weekly) Sabbath after they had readied the spices. They went to the tomb to embalm the body at the first available opportunity-—which was before dawn on Sunday.