Just Give Them The Truth

God, Jesus, Jesus is not God, Crucifixion, Resurrection, Bible, Paul, Christianity, Pagan

Sign Of Jonas : Three Days And Three Nights Conundrums


 The Alleged Idiomatic Meaning of Matthew 12:40

A Fraudulent Shell Game

Defenders of the Friday crucifixion fraud make strenuous efforts to escape from the plain meaning of the inspired Scripture text in Matthew 12:40, “three days and three nights”, and logically equivalent statements in Matthew 27:63, Mark 8:31, 9:31, and 10:34, where the Greek texts say “after three days” (Some of the English texts ignore the Greek word for “after”).   In Matthew 12:40 “day” and “night” of course refer to daytime and night time, and “day” in “after three days” refers to daytime.  Thus “after three days” refers to the night following the third day, and is logically the same as three days and three nights.  Here is how it looks for the Passion chronology:

The problem for the Friday theory is that a Sunday resurrection would only be “after two days” with the resurrection happening at the end of the second night.   They thus try to suggest that three of something really means two.   Their willingness to engage in this fraud comes from a pure emotional commitment to tradition with no desire to discover the truth.  Friday-Sunday must be correct because their tradition says so.  Therefore Friday-Sunday is correct regardless of the evidence.   This is simply circular reasoning at it finest.    So we will now review these failed arguments.

Eric Lyons in his article attempts to make the case for the exclusion of the third night by various arguments:

http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=756 ]

  • According to Genesis 7:12, the rain of the Noahic Flood was upon the Earth “forty days and forty nights.” Verse 17 of that same chapter says it was on the Earth for just “forty days.”
  • In Genesis 42:17 Joseph incarcerated his brothers for three days. Then, in verse 18, he spoke to them on the third day, and from the context it seems that he released them on that same day—i.e., the third day.
  • When Israel asked King Rehoboam to lighten their burdens, he wanted time to contemplate their request, so he instructed Jeroboam and the people of Israel to return “after three days” (2 Chronicles 10:5, emp. added). Verse 12 says that Jeroboam and the people of Israel came to Rehoboam “on the third day, as the king had directed, saying, ‘ Come back to me the third day’ ” (emp. added). Fascinating, is it not, that even though Rehoboam instructed his people to return “after three days,” they understood this to mean “on the third day.”
  • In 1 Samuel 30:12,13, the phrases “three days and three nights” and “three days” are used interchangeably.
  • When Queen Esther was about to risk her life by going before the king uninvited, she instructed her fellow Jews to follow her example by not eating “for three days, night or day” (Esther 4:16). The text goes on to tell us that Esther went in unto the king “on the third day” (5:1, emp. added).

The first argument is trivially disposed of.  Genesis 7:17 does not say “just” “forty days”.  It was necessary for Lyons to add the word “just” to make his argument.  Just because the later text does not mention the nights does not mean they are excluded.  Only Lyons’ additional word does that.  That’s Lyons’ first Lyin argument.   Also “forty days” may mean calendar days in Genesis 7:17.  A calendar day automatically includes the night that goes with it.   God did say “forty nights” also, and God is not a liar.

In Genesis 42:17 Lyons is mixing apples and oranges.  The text does not say “three nights“.  It only says “three days”.   In this case Hebrew idiom correctly allows the time period to expire sometime on the third day without the need for a full day.  To say the least, this argument fails to prove that three of anything really means two.

Lyons’ 2Chronicles 10:5 argument is perhaps his most clever and in the English his strongest argument.  It seems to be that “after three days” only means “on the third day”.  What Lyons is not telling you is that 2Chronicles 10:5 is a mistranslation and that this mistranslation is exposed by the parallel passage in 1Kings 12:5, “And he said unto them, Depart yet for  three days, then come again to me” (KJV).   The Hebrew word which supposedly means “after” in the first passage is rendered “yet” in the parallel passage.   It is the same Hebrew word, defined in Brown Driver and Briggs Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon as “used mostly as adv. acc. stillyetagainbesides.”  HALOT defines the word “again, still,…duration, …as long as…while.”  HALOT goes on to provide examples “within 3 days” using the word for “Gn 40,13 Jos 1,11”.   Supposedly a degree means one can study and check out facts.  Even a little checking here by Lyons would have exploded his proof text.

Here are some translations which render 2Chron. 10:5 correctly:

RSV 2 Chronicles 10:5 He said to them, “Come to me again in three days.” So the people went away.

NRS 2 Chronicles 10:5 He said to them, “Come to me again in three days.” So the people went away.

YLT 2 Chronicles 10:5 And he saith unto them, ‘Yet three days–then return ye unto me;’ and the people go.

LXT 2 Chronicles 10:5 και ειπεν αυτοις πορευεσθε εως τριων ημερων και ερχεσθε προς με και απηλθεν ο λαος

WTT 2 Chronicles 10:5

                                              ויאמר אלהם עוד שלשת ימים ושובו אלי וילך העם׃

LXE 2 Chronicles 10:5 And he said to them, Go away for three days, and then come to me. So the people departed.

DRB 2 Chronicles 10:5 Et il leur dit: Encore trois jours, et revenez vers moi. Et le peuple s’en alla.

RVA 2 Chronicles 10:5 El les dijo: –Volved a mí dentro de tres días. El pueblo se fue.

BHS notes that the LXX has εως  = עד, in which case the most accurate translation is, “And he said to them, ’till three days and return to me’, and the people left.”  It notes this for both passages.  In standard English one would say, “Come back the day after tomorrow”.   The difference between עד and עוד is merely the vowel pointing, and the Kings passage is spelled defectively:  עד.

NASB (1995):  He said to them, “Return to me again in three days.” So the people departed. (2Chronicles 10:5).

God’s Word Translation (1995): He said to them, “Come back the day after tomorrow.” So the people left. (2Chronicles 10:5).

NIV: Rehoboam answered, “Come back to me in three days.” So the people went away. (2Chronicles 10:5).

ESV: He said to them, “Come to me again in three days.” So the people went away. (2Chronicles 10:5).

NETS: And he said to them, ‘God forth about three days, and then come to me.’ And the people went away.” (2Chronicles 10:5).

The 2nd Samuel 30:12 passage is explained in  book, The Scroll of Biblical Chronology and Prophecy (pg. 32) [ http://www.torahtimes.org/book ]. Here it only necessary to point out Egyptians kept their calendar day from sunrise to sunrise.  So when he tells them he had not eaten “three days and three nights”, he is telling them in the night after the third day.   And when he tells them it is the “third day”, he means the third calendar day according to his Egyptian reckoning.   In Israel, they used the same calendar day as the Egyptians in the Temple (cf. Lev. 7:15).   So when it comes to describing the battle with Amalek the words are as follows “And David fought them from the dawn twilight even unto the setting of their next day” (1Sam. 30:17).  This shows that his enemies used an evening reckoning of the day.   It doesn’t really matter which way one counts a calendar day here.  Lyons contention that somehow 3 nights really means 2 falls apart either way as their are ways to graph things out both ways without involving 2=3.   “Three days and three nights” is certainly not interchangeable with “three days” if three days only contains two nights.   Lyons argument fails from the absurdity of this equation.

The argument from Esther 4:16 is also a fraud.  The peoples of Mesopotamia generally began their civil day with sunset.   So a full three nights may have been involved in the fast, with the fast being broken during the day part of the third day after the king granted Esther’s request.  The text also says “night or day”, which implies that the night preceded the day in the local civil calendar day.   So once again Eric Lyons has failed to prove that 2=3.

Exposing Onah (עונה)  Equivocation Based on the Talmud

     Lyons arguments are only typical of the same arguments that are repeated ad naseum all over the place.  The frequency of a lie, however, does not make it truer, that is unless one is a Nazi propagandist.  So I am not just picking on Mr. Lyons as he is just representative of a long repetition of the same fallacious argumentation.   Lyons says:

      “…n the first century, any part of a day could be computed for the whole day and the night following it (cf. Lightfoot, 1979, pp. 210-211). The Jerusalem Talmud quotes rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah, who lived around A.D. 100, as saying: “A day and night are an Onah [‘a portion of time’] and the portion of an Onah is as the whole of it” (from Jerusalem Talmud: Shabbath ix. 3, as quoted in Hoehner, 1974, pp. 248-249, bracketed comment in orig.). Azariah indicated that a portion of a twenty-four hour period could be considered the same “as the whole of it.” Thus, in Jesus’ time He would have been correct in teaching that His burial would last “ three days and three nights,” even though it was not three complete 24-hour days. ( http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/570 ).

This is a class A equivocation fallacy.  Equivocation is “a logical fallcy resulting form the use of multiple meanings of a single expression” or “the use of expressions susceptible to a double signification, possibly intentionally and with the aim of misleading” (en.wiktionary.org /wiki /equivocation).

See also   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivocation.   Here is how it applies in this case.

1. A day and a night are an Onah

2. The portion of an Onah is as the whole of it

3. The portion of a day and a night are as the whole of it

4. Daytime is as a day and a night.

With the traditional scenario, what they want is for Friday afternoon to be counted as a day and a night so that a two night situation is regarded as a three night situation.   The equivocation occurs with the meaning of the word “day” which can mean either a literal day, dawn to dusk, or it may mean a 24 hour calendar day, which includes a night.   Here is a similar setup in English without the mystic of the Talmud to give it an aura of Jewish respectability:

1. A day is 24 hours

2. Day is when the light shines

3. When the light shines is 24 hours

4. 24 hours contains a night.

5. When the light shines contains a night.

Here is a similar case from the wiki article cited:

A feather is light.
What is light cannot be dark.
Therefore, a feather cannot be dark.

The Talmudists, however, where not guilty of any equivocation fallacy.   For nowhere do they say that three days and three nights equals a period with two nights.   I now quote from Bishop Lightfoot, and though he makes the same equivocation error as Lyons, he provides more information on the Talmud, enable us to acquit it of the same error:

The Talmud is concerned with how “three days” may be understood.  Using the post-temple calendar day of the Jews (sunset to sunset), three days may be understood as four half days, i.e. {day, night + day, night}.   (Each day division occurs where I have placed commas.)   Or it may mean five half days: {day, night+day, night+day}, or six half days: {night+day, night+day, night+day}.   However, there is no attempt in the Talmud to equivocate with the meaning of “three days” to state that four half days or five half days mean six half days.   That is three days and three nights are never said to mean anything less than six half days

Source :


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: