(Mat 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. 

Both the Greeks and Hebrews had a word for “tomb” (mnemeion & qeber) and if Jesus meant tomb He would have said so! They both also had words for death.  That is physical death. I don’t think any language has only one word for spiritual death.

He said that he would be three days and three nights “in the heart of the earth”, so what does that mean? I believe it means on the earth without his Father, which is true death, and at the end of the three days and three nights he would be raised up to heaven to be with his Father again. God was always with Jesus (John 8:29). That is until he gave up His Spirit on the cross.

The Bible is a book about spiritual things first. It uses physical examples to teach spiritual lessons. After all physical, or worldly things are all we know, so if God sees that we need an example to teach us something it has to be a physical example.

Death is such an example. We know that to be without God is real death. Those who walk this earth without God are truly “Dead men walking”. They are already dead, though they can be raised to real life. The day Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he died. He didn’t die physically, but God left him and he died spiritually. Physical death is only a physical example of real death: a state of being where all is lost.

Jonah was used as an example of what Jesus would suffer, so compare his experience to that of Jesus. Jonah suggested that those who were in jeopardy throw him into the sea in order for them to be saved. In other words he had to be sacrificed in order for others to be saved. When he was sacrificed the sea was calmed and those on the boat were saved.

Jonah 1:17 (NIV) says, “But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.” It does not say that Jonah was dead. As a matter of fact it says that Jonah prayed to God from the inside of the fish (2:1).

If he were dead could he have prayed? There are some that claim Jonah was dead, but if that is true one can see that he was not dead all of the time he was in the fish. After Jonah was “raised” from the deep many others were saved because of his sacrifice.

I believe that you can see that the two stories of Jonah and Jesus have many simulates: except for physical death. Jesus was sacrificed for many and those who were close to him and knew that he was innocent did not want it to happen. Jonah was sacrificed and those who were on the boat and knew why the sea was raging did not want an innocent man to die. Both were “raised”, Jonah from the deep to the land and Jesus from earth to Heaven and many were saved by both.

 Jesus allowed himself to be sacrificed and gave up the Holy Spirit on Friday (Day one), was interned Friday night (night one), Saturday (day and night two), left the tomb Sunday (day three), and reveled himself to the Disciples Sunday evening and was raised to Heaven, to be with his Father that night (Night three). 

Because we Christians thought that the verse meant raised to physical life and did not understand that the verse meant raised to Heaven, or spiritual life we have been trying to defend a false understanding and of course it is not possible to defend something false with the truth.

 Want more understanding? Look at John 20:17. Jesus tells Mary Magdalene not to touch him (KJV). I always wondered why he said that, but now I understand. It defiled anyone that touched a body and Jesus was spiritually dead. Mary would not have understood that she was touching a dead body and therefore would not have purified herself. Look at Numbers 19:13 (NIV) “Whoever touches the dead body of anyone and fails to purify himself defiles the Lord’s tabernacle. That person must be cut off from Israel. Because the water of cleansing has not been sprinkled on him, he is unclean; his uncleanness remains on him.” Perhaps both Mary and Jesus (The Lord’s Tabernacle) would have been defiled if she touched him!

I must add that part of a day is usually considered the whole of it. If I say that I am going to the store tomorrow I don’t usually mean all day and those who hear it do not usually take it that way. If I meant all day I would have to say all day.

 Well, what do you think? Have I missed something, or perhaps twisted something? 


  1. Mike says:

    We know Jesus was the perfect Jew. Thank you for that illustration about the washing. I didn’t not put 2&2 together until I read this. Well done!

  2. Rob wisdom says:

    The Bible says not to argue or gender strife, so just consider this- “FATHER, Into YOUR HANDS I commit MY SPIRIT” ….. AND to the criminal HE said “Today you shall be with ME in paradise”.. Btw- In the Greek form JESUS actually told Mary “Stop clinging (holding on) to ME” She was already touching HIM.
    HE Resurected with a glorified Body and HE BREATHED the HOLY SPIRIT into HIS disciples..(John 20) Before HIS Ascension back to Heaven. “For HE the HIGH priest (CHRIST) entered once into the heavenly Holy Of HOLIES.”Hebrews 9:11-14
    From my heart: GOD loves you so much!

  3. astudent says:


    Please don’t take my comments as arguing with hostility. The word argue seems to have gained an air of hostility, but if you will look up the definition you can see that only one use of the word means “To engage in a quarrel; dispute”. I don’t see how one can determine another’s interpretation is correct with out arguing or debating. I think the problem of hostility stems from pride of knowledge. Anyway I mean no harm, but I don’t stop debating until the issue is clear to me.

    When Jesus used the term “Today” he must have been using the word as God would: God’s time not man’s time. Jesus said that he had not yet returned to the Father when he was talking to Mary, so he had not yet been to paradise and it was already more than a man’s day from the time he promised the thief.

    Btw-Btw that is interesting. You must be reading the NASB. It says “Stop clinging to me” and the NASB concordance indicates the Greek word used is “haptw” and translates this as cling. However that Greek word is used 39 times in 37 verses and 32 times it is translated as touch or touched. The word that comes just before “haptw” is “may” which means “by no means” so, though I do not know Greek, it still seems to me to be saying “by no means cling to me”, or as most other translations say “do not touch me”, or “do not hold me”.

    The NASB is the only translation that I have found that seems to say Mary was already touching Jesus. I have checked the KJV, MKJV, NKJV, LITV, GW, GNB, ESV, DRV, CEV, ASV, MSG, NIV, and the NRSV. I am not saying the NASB is wrong, just that it doesn’t agree with many other versions.

    I believe that everything in the Bible has meaning: it is not just a novel. If I were to accept the NASB then to me it seems to indicate that Mary has the power to stop Jesus from ascending to his Father. If not that then what is it saying?

    You have brought a revelation to me. I usually use Strong’s and I thought Strong’s used the original Greek words, however Strong’s uses the word “haptomai” not “haptw” and does not use “may”. Perhaps you or someone will explain this to me. Or I guess I could do my own home work, though for some reason this doesn’t interest me: perhaps if the NASB agreed with a few other translations it might. I suppose there is more than one Greek text. Just as there are more than one English translation.

    As for Hebrews 9:12 I think it is speaking about one sacrifice not about entering Heaven just once. If it means entering Heaven just once then He certainly could not have been with the thief that day and be with Mary later. Also one has to consider that he not only let, but encouraged the Apostles to touch him, where he told Mary not to because he had yet to ascend to the Father. If that was the reason that Mary should not touch him, and then the Apostles could, the condition must have been satisfied. At least that is how I see it.

    You are correct when you say God loves me so much, but God is not a respecter of men so God also loves you just as much. I believe that God loves those who love Him and after studying Him I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t love Him. To study God in truth is to know and to understand Him.

    Now I hope you do not think that I am hostile just because I do not totally agree with you. There is one thing that a truthful man learns with age and that is we error much and I just might be wrong. Agreeing with each other is not as important as understanding and complete understanding can not be achieved if all things are not considered. So thanks for the comments and other things to consider.

  4. Sharon Bassett says:

    Jesus began His 72 hrs. on Thursday (when they captured Him & began to punish & torture Him…the beginning of His separation from His Father which left Him unprotected) went on to include His crucifixion and finally (by His choice having fulfilled all the scripture) He gave Himself to Death (Satan) in our place, confident that His Father’s will & Plan would be carried out (as usual). Jesus was resurrected on the third day, bearing irrefutable witness that He is the Living Son of God, and the Only Way to the Father. (I am the way, the truth and the … No man cometh unto the Father but by me).

  5. astudent says:

    Sharon Bassett,

    Though I agree with most of what you said (of course as most is consistent with the Bible), I do have a problem with a concept that would claim God was gradually separated from Jesus. It would not be consistent with the actions of God to be very far from anyone that was or is going through a test. The greater the test the closer our Father will be.

    Jesus continued to speak to his Father even to the point when he gave up the Ghost. I use the word Ghost, because that is the word the KJV uses. Many of the other versions use “his spirit” and some even say “died”. So let me try to explain.

    In order to understand what Jesus actually did for mankind it is necessary to understand death. As humans, we do not naturally understand death. To us death seems like the end of life, or the end of consciousness. However, life, or consciousness never ends. Life is a permanent gift to all. So what is death? As I understand death, it is “permanent separation”. To die a physical death is to be permanently separated from the earth and everything in it. To die the second death is permanent separation from God.

    Jesus did not die a physical death for us. If he had, we would not face a physical death. He died the second death for us, so that we will not have to be separated from God. When Jesus “gave up the Ghost” on the cross, he was separated from God in our place.

    That bears the question of whether it was a permanent separation for Jesus. Well, it is said God raised him, which means gave him back his life, so I do not believe Jesus is still separated from God. However, he was in Hell for three days: separated from God. Any place without God would be Hell.

    If I haven’t confused you enough, consider that with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day (2 Peter 3:8). Therefore, to our Father, Jesus was separated from Him for three thousand years!

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