Spiritual significance of “3 days and 3 nights”
The Scriptures are a book of both history and prophecy, the numbers given in it may be either literal or symbolic. The context usually reveals in which sense a number is used. Certain numbers appear often in the Scriptures in an illustrative, figurative, or symbolic sense, and in such cases an understanding of their significance is vital to an understanding of the text. According to the Talmud, Israeli tradition tried to ensure that the dead were truly dead.
S’machot 8:1) - We go out to the cemetery and examine the dead [to see if they are still alive and have been buried by mistake] for a period of three days and do not fear being suspected of engaging in the ways of the Amorites [i.e., superstitious practices]. Once a man who had been buried was examined and found to be alive; he lived for twenty-five years more and then died. Another such person lived and had five children before he died.
Given the state of knowledge and medicine that existed at the time, someone in a coma could have been considered dead when they were still alive - it does happen nowadays at times also. But once someone in a hot climate such as spring in Israel, and has not had food and more importantly water for three days, then if they were not dead, they would be dead.
Israeli tradition also believed that a person’s soul/spirit remained with his/her dead body for three days. After three days, the soul/spirit departed. If the Messiahs resurrection had occurred on the same day or even the next day, it would have been easier for His enemies to argue He had never truly died. Due to the heat in the area, within three days a body will have started to decompose and death is plainly evident.
In order to maintain ritual purity, Israeli tradition required a deceased person to be buried immediately after death, preferably the same day but no more than three days later.This may have also been the reason that the Messiah delayed his visit for four days after Lazarus had died (and decomposition had started) so that no one could deny the miracle of Lazarus resurrection.
The Messiah specifically referred to this in John 11:15
John 11:15 “And for your sake I am glad I was not there, in order for you to believe. But let us go to him.”
Embalming and cremation were prohibited. These practices are considered a violation of the body that encased the soul. The body is prepared for interment by washing the body from head to toe with warm water, and then wrapping it in a plain white shroud. The deceased’s body was washed and anointed with various oils and spices. The body was then wrapped in linen that contained spices and placed on a stone shelf that was carved into the bedrock wall of a tomb.
The term 3 days and 3 nights is used in the scriptures in the story of Jonah, who was 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of the whale, and Yahusha who was 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth
Matthew 12:40 “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the stomach of the great fish, so shall the Son of Aḏam be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
In saying this, the Messiah was saying that according to tradition, he would be truly dead. The debate put forward by most doctrines that the Messiah was crucified on a Friday and rose on a Sunday would have allowed a challenge to made at that time that the Messiah did not actually die as he would have been in the tomb for possibly less than 48 hours. This would be on the grounds that he was not in the tomb for the traditional period to prove death. There are other reasons why the Messiahs crucifixion cannot have occurred on a Friday contained in other sections of this web site - email me if you would like an assembled version.
How is it possible to equate three days and three nights with the time between "Good Friday" and "E-a-s-t-e-r Sunday"? Count it yourself; it simply will not work! Some assert that "three days and three nights" is a Greek idiom and can mean any portion of three days and three nights. But this theory fails when we allow the Bible to define its own terms and the Messiah did not speak Greek, he will have spoken Hebrew or Aramaic.
The Messiah specifically connected His stay in the tomb with that of Jonah in the fish's belly. "Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah.
Jonah 1:17 But the Father appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.
The same expression was used when Queen Esther told her cousin Mordecai in Esther 4:16. Each of these accounts was clearly describing a period of 72 hours - three days and three nights. The Pharisees quoted his statement to Pilate, the Roman governor. They knew that the Messiah was not talking about a mere day-and-a-half, but rather indicating three full days.
Matthew 27:63 saying, “Master, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am raised.’
Clearly e-a-s-t-e-r has nothing to do with the sacrifice made by the Messiah, or the Spring Feasts comprising Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread and Feast of First Fruits. The Messiahs crucifixion and resurrection have everything to do with the Spring Feasts.
The e-a-s-t-e-r period is a pagan fertility ritual, and has nothing to do with the crucifixion and resurrection of the Messiah. Refer to the web page - Easter - pagan festival. We must not introduce paganism into our remembrance and worship, again, refer to the story of Nadab and Abahu in Leviticus 10:1
Passover fell on a Wednesday in 31AD, this is most likely to be the year of the Messiahs crucifixion. Thursday was an annual Sabbath, the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Messiah was buried just before sunset on Wednesday afternoon, and was in the tomb Wednesday night, Thursday, Thursday night, Friday, Friday night, and Saturday—three days and three nights, just as He stated. He was resurrected just before sunset on Saturday afternoon, exactly 72 hours after His burial.
On Sunday morning which was the Wave Sheaf Offering day (giving thanks for the new harvest that was starting), when the women came at dawn He was already resurrected. The woman found an empty tomb, and were told by an angel that He had risen just as He said He would. Later that day, the Messiah ascended to the Father, he could not be touched by the woman before he ascended as he was the Wave Sheaf Offering for the harvest of believers that started from that day. Now this is very very different to what is taught in churches, but read the Scriptures, it is all there.
While it may suit some church doctrine using knowledge and opinions of today to say that three days and three nights is figurative and is really a day and two nights, we cannot and should not add to Scriptures. The Gospels Mathew, Mark and John were written by Apostles who witnessed the events personally. We should take the Apostles word and not follow the pagan festival or worship by mixing paganism with the Scriptures. That is an abomination to the Father, remember the story of Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10:1.
We must always consider the Scriptures in context and with the language and intent that the Scripture was written with. In this case the term must actually be real day and time numbers or the context does not fit with the belief of Israel at the time or the Gospel eye witness accounts.
It certainly was the view that existed at the time that the Messiah was crucified that a person had to be dead three days and three nights to prove death. The event was for proof at that time as well as now, so we need to understand the meaning fully.
There can be only one source for doctrine that bends the Scriptures to align with paganism and lead believers to misunderstand. Regardless of what you may think on this issue, the true message of the Messiahs death and resurrection is that he died for the atonement of our sins, he spent three days and three nights in death, and after that time was then resurrected, and ascended to the Father to mark the start of the harvest of believers.
This is the step of faith that we all need to take and believe in that atonement and his resurrection.