Thursday, January 05, 2012

How Long Was Christ in the Tomb?

The following quote is taken from Albert A. Bell Jr.'s
Exploring the New Testament World (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1998), p. 13-14:

"Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church
of God and Ambassador College and publisher of the
Plain Truth magazine, argued that Jesus could not have
been crucified on Friday and resurrected on Sunday
because three days won't fit between Friday and
Sunday. Any grade-school child can see that his
arithmetic makes sense. Given the way we count, from
Friday afternoon to Sunday morning is a day and a
half, at most. But not if you count like Jesus and the
Romans did. They lacked a zero in their mathematical
systems: the zero was not used as a numeral until the
early seventh century A.D., by an Indian mathematician
named Brahmagupta (cf. 1.85:69-72). Without a zero,
the Jews and Romans counted the day on which something
occurred as the first day. In Luke 13:32, Jesus counts
in exactly this fashion: 'Listen, I am casting out
demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on
the third day I finish my work.' Furthermore,
a portion of a day was counted as a whole day.
So, if Jesus spent any part of a day in the
tomb, it would count as a full day. He was placed in
the tomb before sunset on Friday, and the day began on
sunset. Thus, by the counting system in use in New
Testament times, Friday was the first day, Saturday
the second, and Sunday--which began at sundown on
Saturday--was the third, no matter how small a part of
each day Jesus was in the tomb."


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