For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.Matthew 12:40
This text has perplexed many people since Jesus was not in the grave for three nights. Some try to move His crucifixion back to Thursday so they can fit him into the grave for three nights. Remember when William Miller thought the earth was the sanctuary mentioned in the 2300 day prophecy of Daniel 8:14? He thought at the end of the 2300 days Jesus would return and cleanse the earth with fire. He had the time right but the place wrong. Nowhere in the Bible does it say the earth is the sanctuary. Likewise in Matthew 12:40, many scholars have the time right but the place wrong. Now maybe we should not be so hard on William Miller for his mistake. Fact is, nowhere in the Bible does it refer to the grave as being the heart of the earth. After all Jesus was not even buried in the earth but placed in a small cave. This verse can also be translated “in the midst of the earth” or in the “middle of the earth.”
When Jesus prayed, “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven,” He was not referring to “in earth” as the grave but the midst of the earth where all the people are. If you take the day for a year in Bible prophecy mentioned in Ezekiel 4:6, you have Jesus preaching the gospel for three years in the midst of the earth where all the people are. Therefore, the sign of Jonah has nothing to do with a grave at all. The heart of the earth is not the grave, it is where the population is. When John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world” it is obviously the people that God loved. So the sign that Jesus would be in the heart of the earth, He was referring to His ministry among the people. He was not referring to a grave.
The sign of Jonah is not so much about a time period anyway. We miss what this verse is really saying when we get all wrapped up trying to explain what three days and three nights mean. The point is, the religious leaders were asking Jesus for a sign while sinners had already accepted Him, and the religious leaders refused to believe. In the story of Jonah the men who threw Jonah overboard prayed to God and believed. The wicked inhabitants of Nineveh believed. The only person who kept rejecting God in his life was the prophet Jonah! Everyone else believed. Jesus is simply making a parallel with Jonah’s day and His day. Sinners believe and accept Him but the religious leaders wont. It is just like it was in the story of Jonah. The irony of the story of Jonah was the irony of the Story of Jesus. Those in the most favorable circumstances rejected God’s Light, while those in less than favorable circumstances accepted Him. That is what the sign of Jonah is all about.
How sad that Satan has been able to distract so many people with the “three nights” when that simply has nothing to do with Jesus’ point in this verse. Let’s all take heed, lest we, like Jonah or the Pharisees have a heart of unbelief while those with less light than we have freely accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.
You may study this week’s SS lesson here. You may find answers to other perplexing Bible texts here.
WOW! you just opened my eyes, William. I had never understood it, but wasn’t fixated on it, either. I do remember a lady once who came to some of our meetings and was very upset b/c ppl would not listen to her about the 3 days/nights idea she had, which many seemed to have already heard from others, about Wednesday or something. I wanted to listen, but nobody wanted me to…maybe it’s best I didn’t, b/c as you have shared, it’s not about that anyway.
So thank you for this message…it’s a blessing to know.
Jesus died on the cross just before the 9th hour of the DAYLIGHT portion of the Hebrew day that began at Sundown before the Last supper. This was on the 14th day of the first month, the preparation of the lamb day = to as set forth in Exodus 12, exactly as superscribed he fulfilled the LAW in every detail. He was cut off in the middle of the week and ended all other sacrifices, Daniel 9, The Holy Spirit of our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ taught me this last year. April 7th 27AD a Wednesday the 14th day of the first month, the evening of the fifteenths day starts at sundown as all days really start at evening, see Genesis for the six day pattern. The Lamb had to be a yearling and Jesus was 366 months old, not 366 days old. He was born on September 13th 3BC a Friday, as a matter of Fact this was the EVE of the Feast of Tabernacles / Booths that year. Also the Birthday of Isaac, Tishri 15. The so called church of Rome has distorted every aspect of the greatest week in all of His-History, the Whore can do nothing but lie. THE TRUTH SETS FREE. yes indeed Jesus fulfilled the sign of Jonah and rose from the dead at the dawning of a new day that began at sundown as all Hebrew days begin at sundown. 72 hours – Three full days and three full nights – precisely 72 hours, the architect of our salvation is precise in all he does. You must see Passover falls on any day of the week, where the 14th day of the first month is, and the weekly Sabbath always starts at sundown Friday. That year there was Passover Wednesday the preparations day, and the Lamb had to be sacrificed before sunset and he had to be taken off the cross before sundown. then Saturday the regular Sabbath was the third day. HERE IT IS THE ACCURATE ACCOUNT ONLY FOUND IN MATHEW 28:1 Remember Mathew was Hebrew and wrote his Gospel to Hebrews according to Hebrew patterns, and lets not for a minute forget that our Lord Jesus was Hebrew. Here it is Please read carefully Matthew 28:1 in Authorized King James Version.
In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week
Strong’s Greek word 2020 (dawn x draw on)
In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to (draw on) toward the first day–
Greek word epistrophē, literally, turning about, from epi- + strophē turning
In the end of the Sabbath, as it began turning about toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
THE CREATOR DOES ALL THINGS ACCURATELY AND PERFECTLY. – I am his Happy slave MGB and you can find me by searching Happy slave MGB. I have 100’s of hours with this subject and the leading of the Spirit through it. pray about this, he will not give you a serpent if you ask for a fish.
When Jesus said “3 days and 3 nights”, in the context, He meant literally 3 days and 3 nights. The expression, “heart of the earth” is how Jesus is saying that as the passover lamb sacrifice began with Passover on Thursday when Jesus said my soul is grieved unto death, meaning that the separation from heaven had begun and thus He was restricted to the “heart of the earth” from that point, suffering in Gethsemane, given into the hands of the wicked and then continuing until after His Sabbath rest in the grave, 3 days and 3 nights.
Ken, that is definitely another way of looking at it, but does not bring out the true nature of the sign, which was pointing out the unbelief of those asking for the sign.
Yes, brother you are not satisfied with the ROMAN CHURCHES version, this is the Spirit of Truth in you crying out. When men teach men you get 3 full days and three full nights turned into about a day and 1/2 at the most, SHRINKAGE of the gospel has always been the way of the serpent. We do not serve a sloppy God, he is very precise in all his works.