Jesus in the Tomb for Three Days and Nights?

Matthew 12: 40 (NIV)

“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.”

Was Jesus in error? I mean when you take a look at the time period between the accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection something doesn’t look right. Or does it?

This prophecy that Jesus spoke of was quoted from Jonah 1:17 (NIV)

“17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights”

When we look at the words “great fish” as in some texts it is unknown as to what type of creature it was. It was certainly not a whale as it was ascribed in Hebrew, and the Hebrew word for whale wasn’t used in this instance, it was indeed “Great Fish” pronounced dag gadol. It was likely that God appointed the fish sovereignly to save Jonah. Incidentally the Hebrew word for whale is Hebrew word for whale is לווית pronounced lev-yah-TAHN.

Back to Matthew 12:40. *”Three days and three nights” was an emphatic way of saying “three days”, and by Jewish reckoning this would be an apt way of expressing a period of time which includes parts of 3 days. Thus, if Christ was crucified on a Friday, and His resurrection occurred on the first day of the week, by Hebrew reckoning this would qualify as 3 days and 3 nights.

In Hebrew speech any part of the day is referred to as equivalent to a whole day. Thus there is NO CONTRADICTION!

God Bless

Brian Mason

*”Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE , Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.”