Inclusive Reckoning of Time
On seventeen separate occasions Jesus or His friends spoke of the timetable involving His death and resurrection. Ten times it was specified that the resurrection would take place on the “third day.” On five occasions they said, “in” or “within three days.” Twice they used the term, “after three days,” and one time only Jesus spoke of His death as “three days and three nights.” So, all of these various expressions are used to describe the very same event.
Inclusive reckoning of time was the method used throughout the Bible for computing time. And this method is stated clearly in the Jewish Encyclopedia: “A short time in the morning of the seventh day is counted as the seventh day; circumcision takes place on the eighth day, even though, of the first day only a few minutes after the birth of the child, these being counted as one day.” Vol. 4, p. 475. Thus we learn that the Jews reckoned any small part of a day as the entire twenty-four hour period.
Jesus gave a plain, conclusive explanation of how to locate the third day: “Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following” (Luke 13:32, 33). Jesus said, that the third day will always be the day after “to morrow” from any certain event. The first day is counted in its entirety, the whole of the second day, and the third day in its entirety.
Jesus speaking prophetically of His own death and resurrection, He said, “To day (crucifixion) and to morrow (in tomb), and the third day I shall be perfected (resurrection).” There are all three days in their sequence. Even though He died in the late afternoon, the entire day would be counted as the first day. The second day would span the Sabbath when He slept in the tomb. Even though He was resurrected in the early hours on the third day, inclusive reckoning would make it one of the three days.
In His service,
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