It is absolutely a MUST to understand how the Bible and ancient Isrell counted, or else it is impossible
to harmonize scripture or understand when to keep the appointed times of YHWH.
What is Inclusive Reckoning?
The common mode of counting
employed in the Bible is shown to have been inclusive reckoning, that is, counting both the first and the last unit of time
in calculating an interval. This method was also used generally by other ancient nations, as is shown unmistakably by source
documents. An Egyptian inscription recording the death of a priestess on the 4th day of the 12th month relates that her successor
arrived on the 15th, “when 12 days had elapsed.” Today, we would say that when 12 days had elapsed after the 4th,
the date would be the 16th. The Greeks followed the same inclusive method. They called the Olympiad, or the four-year period
between the Olympic Games, a pentaeteris(five-year period), and used other similar numerical terms. The Romans also, in common
usage, reckoned inclusively; they had nundinae(from nonus, ninth), or market days, every ninth day, inclusive, actually every
eight days, as indicated on ancient calendars by the letters, A through H.
mathematicians and astronomers were aware that the reckoning was mathematically inexact, but it persisted in common parlance,
as it has even down to the present day in the Orient. Modern vestiges in the West are the phrase “eight days,”
meaning a week in some European languages; the Catholic term “octave” of a festival, meaning the day coming one
week after the holy day; the musical intervals, such as octave, third, fifth, etc.; and even the medical term “tertian
fever,” meaning a fever recurring every other day.
The clearest Biblical demonstration
of inclusive counting is in the New Testament (see Acts 10:30 where a period of 72 hours is reckoned as “four days ago,”
not “three”), but an Old Testament example is in 2 Kings 18:9-10. The siege of Samaria lasted from the fourth
to the sixth year of Hezekiah, which is equated with the seventh to the ninth year of Hoshea, and yet the city is said to
have been taken “at the end of three years.” In modern usage we would say two years, by straight subtraction.
Obviously the Bible writer reckoned inclusively (years four, five, and six totaling three years).
A Hebrew boy was circumcised when “eight days old” (Genesis 17:12), that is, “in the eighth day”
(Levites 12:3). Similarly Luke speaks of circumcision “on the eighth day” or “when eight days were accomplished”
(Luke 1:59; 2:21). Evidently “when eight days were accomplished” (or “at the end of eight days,” RSV)
does not mean eight full days from the date of birth, but eight inclusive.
II of Israel succeeded his father Jehoash in the 15th year of Amaziah of Judah (2 Kings 14:23), and Amaziah “lived after
the death of Jehoash … of Israel fifteen years” (2 Kings 14:17). A modern reader would mentally add 15 to 15,
reaching Amaziah’s 30th year, yet Amaziah reigned only 29 years (verse 2). Inclusive reckoning is again the most logical
explanation, since 15 years, inclusive, from the 15th year is the 29th, in which he evidently died.
There are other examples. When, at the death of Solomon, Rehoboam was petitioned to lighten the tax burden, he told
the people to depart “for three days” (1 Kings 12:5) and then return for his decision “after three days”
(2 Chronicles 10:5). They came “the third day, as the king had appointed, saying, Come to me again the third day”
(1 Kings 12:12; cf. 2 Chronicles 10:12). Esther asked the Jews of Shushan to fast, and by implication, to pray, for her before
she went in to the king unbidden, and then she approached the king “on the third day” (Esther 4:16; 5:1). Obviously
a period of “three days” ended on the third day, not after the completion of the three days, as we would reckon
All this serves to explain the supposed difficulty in the three days between the
crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The texts are as follows:
Book “In three days” “After
three days” “The third day”
Matthew 26:61; 27:40
& 3 nights) 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; 27:64
Mark 14:58(within) 8:31
Luke 9:22; 18:33; 24:7, 21, 46
It is obvious from these
texts that “in three days,” “after three days,” and even “three days and three nights”
are all equivalent to “on the third day.” One writer (Matthew) uses all three phrases for the same period. The
interval from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning is three days, by inclusive reckoning. Since it is clear that this mode of
counting was the common practice in Bible times, and widespread in many countries, it is useless to try to understand this
period as three full 24-hour days, according to the modern Western habit of counting. To do so violates both historical usage
and Biblical statement, and creates a difficulty that would not exist if the ordinary usage of common speech and of examples
in the Bible be taken into account.
only way to harmonize Matthew 12:40with other scripture as seen in the above table is to understand it in the light of inclusive
reckoning of time. Inclusive reckoning was taken for granted by all the writers of the Scriptures and they wrote in harmony
with the common literacy used those days, and that usage recognized inclusive reckoning of time. This means that any part
of a day was counted as a whole day. The Jewish Encyclopaedia states. “A short time in the morning of the seventh day
is counted as the seventh day; circumcision takes place on the eighth day, even though, of the first day only a few minutes
after the birth of the child, these being counted as one day.” Vol. 4, p. 475. Scores of contradictions would appear
in both Old and New Testament if this principle were ignored. We must compare Scripture with Scripture and use the idiom of
the language in which the Bible was written and not our own thoughts and ideas.
Days and Three Nights
I have found that
it does not matter how much scripture you provide to those believing in a Wednesday crucifixion, they cannot get their head
around three days and three nights. So I have now added a page 5 which covers this issue from every single famous theologian
that have had no trouble in agreeing with each other since these facts are so easy to see and understand. They all confirm
the Jewish way of reckoning time was to regard any part of a day, however small, included within a period of days, as a full
day. If one can accept this simple fact, then they should have no trouble with Matthew 12:40. It is my heartfelt prayer that
this page will help those who cannot get past this issue of three days and nights. Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible.
Albert Barnes (1798-1870)
Three days and three nights - It will be seen in the account of the resurrection of Christ that he was in the grave
but two nights and a part of three days. See Mat_18:6. This computation is, however, strictly in accordance with the Jewish
mode of reckoning. If it had “not” been, the Jews would have understood it, and would have charged our Saviour
as being a false prophet, for it was well known to them that he had spoken this prophecy, Mat_27:63. Such a charge, however,
was never made; and it is plain, therefore, that what was “meant” by the prediction was accomplished. It was a
maxim, also, among the Jews, in computing time, that a part of a day was to be received as the whole. Many instances of this
kind occur in both sacred and profane history. See 2Ch_10:5, 2Ch_10:12; Gen_42:17-18. Compare Est_4:16 with Est_5:1.
In the heart of the earth - The Jews used the word “heart” to denote the “interior”
of a thing, or to speak of being in a thing. It means, here, to be in the grave or sepulchre.
Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible. Adam Clarke, LL.D., F.S.A., (1715-1832)
Three days and three nights - Our Lord rose from the grave on the day but one after his crucifixion:
so that, in the computation in this verse, the part of the day on which he was crucified, and the part of that on which he
rose again, are severally estimated as an entire day; and this, no doubt, exactly corresponded to the time in which Jonah
was in the belly of the fish. Our Lord says, As Jonah was, so shall the Son of man be, etc. Evening and morning, or night
and day, is the Hebrew phrase for a natural day, which the Greeks termed νυχθημερον,
nuchthemeron. The very same quantity of time which is here termed three days and three nights, and which, in reality, was
only one whole day, a part of two others, and two whole nights, is termed three days and three nights, in the book of Esther:
Go; neither eat nor drink Three Days, Night or Day, and so I will go in unto the king: Est_4:16. Afterwards it follows, Est_5:1.
On the Third Day, Esther stood in the inner court of the king’s house. Many examples might be produced, from both the
sacred and profane writers, in vindication of the propriety of the expression in the text. For farther satisfaction, the reader,
if he please, may consult Whitby and Wakefield, and take the following from Lightfoot.
The Jewish writers extend that memorable station of the unmoving sun, at Joshua’s prayer, to six and thirty hours; for
so Kimchi upon that place: ‘According to more exact interpretation, the sun and moon stood still for six and thirty
hours: for when the fight was on the eve of the Sabbath, Joshua feared lest the Israelites might break the Sabbath; therefore
he spread abroad his hands, that the sun might stand still on the sixth day, according to the measure of the day of the Sabbath,
and the moon according to the measure of the night of the Sabbath, and of the going out of the Sabbath, which amounts to six
and thirty hours.’
“II. If you number the hours that pass from our Savior’s
giving up the ghost upon the cross to his resurrection, you shall find almost the same number of hours; and yet that space
is called by him three days and three nights, whereas two nights only came between, and one complete day. Nevertheless, while
he speaks these words, he is not without the consent both of the Jewish schools and their computation. Weigh well that which
is disputed in the tract Scabbath, concerning the separation of a woman for three days; where many things are discussed by
the Gemarists, concerning the computation of this space of three days. Among other things these words occur: R. Ismael saith,
Sometimes it contains four אונות onoth, sometimes five, sometimes six. But how much is the space
of an אונה onah? R. Jochanan saith, Either a day or a night. And so also the Jerusalem Talmud: ‘R.
Akiba fixed a Day for an onah, and a Night for an onah.’ But the tradition is, that R. Eliazar ben Azariah said, A day
and a night make an onah: and a Part of an onah is as the Whole. And a little after, R. Ismael computed a part of the onah
for the whole.” Thus, then, three days and three nights, according to this Jewish method of reckoning, included any
part of the first day; the whole of the following night; the next day and its night; and any part of the succeeding or third
John Gill's Exposition of the Entire
Bible. Dr. John Gill (1690-1771)
So shall the Son of man be three days and three nights
in the heart of the earth. That Christ means himself by the "son of man", there is no reason to doubt; and his being
laid in a tomb, dug out of a rock, is sufficient to answer this phrase, "the heart of the earth", in distinction
from the surface of it; but some difficulty arises about the time of his continuing there, and the prediction here made agreeable
to the type: for it was on the sixth day of the week, we commonly call "Friday", towards the close, on the day of
the preparation for the sabbath, and when the sabbath drew on, that the body of Christ was laid in the sepulchre; where it
lay all the next day, which was the sabbath of the Jews, and what we commonly call "Saturday"; and early on the
first of the week, usually called "Sunday", or the Lord's day, he rose from the dead; so that he was but one whole
day, and part of two, in the grave. To solve this difficulty, and set the matter in a clear light, let it be observed, that
the three days and three nights, mean three natural days, consisting of day and night, or twenty four hours, and are what
the Greeks call νυχθημερα, "night days"; but the Jews have no other
way of expressing them, but as here; and with them it is a well known rule, and used on all occasions, as in the computation
of their feasts and times of mourning, in the observance of the passover, circumcision, and divers purifications, that מקצתהיום
ככולו, "a part of a day is as the whole" (n): and so, whatever was done before sun
setting, or after, if but an hour, or ever so small a time, before or after it, it was reckoned as the whole preceding, or
following day; and whether this was in the night part, or day part of the night day, or natural day, it mattered not, it was
accounted as the whole night day: by this rule, the case here is easily adjusted; Christ was laid in the grave towards the
close of the sixth day, a little before sun setting, and this being a part of the night day preceding, is reckoned as the
whole; he continued there the whole night day following, being the seventh day; and rose again early on the first day, which
being after sun setting, though it might be even before sun rising, yet being a part of the night day following, is to be
esteemed as the whole; and thus the son of man was to be, and was three days and three nights in the grave; and which was
very easy to be understood by the Jews; and it is a question whether Jonas was longer in the belly of the fish.
A Commentary on the Old and New Testaments by Robert
Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown
so shall the Son of man be three days and three
nights in the heart of the earth — This was the second public announcement of His resurrection three days after His
death. (For the first, see Joh_2:19). Jonah’s case was analogous to this, as being a signal judgment of God; reversed
in three days; and followed by a glorious mission to the Gentiles. The expression “in the heart of the earth,”
suggested by the expression of Jonah with respect to the sea (Jon_2:3, in the Septuagint), means simply the grave, but this
considered as the most emphatic expression of real and total entombment. The period during which He was to lie in the grave
is here expressed in round numbers, according to the Jewish way of speaking, which was to regard any part of a day, however
small, included within a period of days, as a full day. (See 1Sa_30:12, 1Sa_30:13; Est_4:16; Est_5:1; Mat_27:63, Mat_27:64,
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible
Three days and three nights - It was customary with the eastern nations to reckon any part of a natural day of twenty
- four hours, for the whole day. Accordingly they used to say a thing was done after three or seven days, if it was done on
the third or seventh day, from that which was last mentioned. Instances of this may be seen, 1Ki_20:29; and in many other
places. And as the Hebrews had no word to express a natural day, they used night and day, or day and night for it. So that
to say a thing happened after three days and three nights, was with them the very same, as to say, it happened after three
days, or on the third day. See Est_4:16; Est_5:1; Gen_7:4, Gen_7:12; Exo_24:18; Exo_34:28. Jon_2:1.
The People's New Testament (1891) by B. W. Johnson
So shall the Son of man
be three days and three nights. Jesus says (Mat_16:21) that he will "be raised again the third day." Hence, in Jewish
usage the third day must mean the same as three days and three nights. It was and is customary with the Orientals to make
any part of the day stand for the whole twenty-four hours. Compare Mat_16:21, Mar_8:31, 2Ch_10:5 and 2Ch_10:12, Est_4:16,
Gen_7:4, Gen_7:12, Exo_24:18, Exo_34:28. A traveler in the East writes: "At length the tenth morning arrived--the tenth
morning because, though we performed nominally ten days quarantine, yet it was, really, only eight days. We landed at nine
o'clock in the evening of the first day, and were liberated at six o'clock in the morning of the tenth day, but it was held
to be ten days according to the custom of the East." Christ was buried Friday evening, lay in the grave Saturday, and
rose Sunday, parts of three days, rose "on the third day," and was in the grave the space of time meant in eastern
usage by three days and three nights.
John Lightfoot, (March 29, 1602 – December
6, 1675) A Commentary of the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica.
[The Son of
man shall be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.] I. The Jewish writers extend that memorable station of
the unmoving sun at Joshua's prayer to six-and-thirty hours; for so Kimchi upon that place: "According to more exact
interpretation, the sun and moon stood still for six-and-thirty hours: for when the fight was on the eve of the sabbath, Joshua
feared lest the Israelites might break the sabbath: therefore he spread abroad his hands, that the sun might stand still on
the sixth day, according to the measure of the day of the sabbath, and the moon, according to the measure of the night of
the sabbath, and of the going-out of the sabbath; which amounts to six-and-thirty hours."
II. If you number the hours that passed from our Saviour's giving up the ghost upon the cross to his resurrection,
you shall find almost the same number of hours; and yet that space is called by him "three days and three nights,"
when as two nights only came between, and only one complete day. Nevertheless, while he speaks these words, he is not without
the consent both of the Jewish schools, and their computation. Weigh well that which is disputed in the tract Schabbath; concerning
the uncleanness of a woman for three days; where many things are discussed by the Gemarists concerning the computation of
this space of three days. Among other things these words occur; "R. Ismael saith, Sometimes it contains four Onoth sometimes
five, sometimes six. But how much is the space of an Onah? R. Jochanan saith either a day or a night." And so also the
Jerusalem Talmud; "R. Akiba fixed a day for an Onah; and a night for an Onah; but the tradition is, that R. Eliezar Ben
Azariah said, A day and a night make an Onah, and a part of an Onah is as the whole." And a little after, R. Ismael computeth
a part of the Onah for the whole.
It is not easy to translate the word Onah into good
Latin: for to some it is the same with the half of a natural day; to some it is all one with a whole natural day. According
to the first sense we may observe, from the words of R. Ismael, that sometimes four Onoth; or halves of a natural day, may
be accounted for three days: and that they also are so numbered that one part or the other of those halves may be accounted
for a whole. Compare the latter sense with the words of our Saviour, which are now before us: "A day and a night (saith
the tradition) make an Onah; and a part of an Onah is as the whole." Therefore Christ may truly be said to have been
in his grave three Onoth; or three natural days (when yet the greatest part of the first day was wanting, and the night altogether,
and the greatest part by far of the third day also), the consent of the schools and dialect of the nation agreeing thereunto.
For, "the least part of the Onah concluded the whole." So that according to this idiom, that diminutive part of
the third day upon which Christ arose may be computed for the whole day, and the night following it.
In the following, Philo is specifically referring to our debate, i.e.
whether or not we should count or include or exclude the day of conjunction as the first day of the new month!
ON DREAMS,11.  page 559 of the FH Colson translation of Philo, Philo states that “the word “from”
has two meanings, one where the thing from which what we are describing starts is included, the other where it is excluded.
For when we say that there are 12 hours from early morning to evening, or 30 days from new moon to the end of the month,
we take into our reckoning the first hours in the former case and the new moon itself in the later.”
It appears that Philo uses inclusive reckoning when counting 30 days from new moon to the end of a 30 day month.
We see that he is indirectly calling the conjunction day, the new moon, and the first day of the
30 day month.
Notice, the thing he is describing is 12 hours and 30 days!
In order to have 30 days in a lunar month, which is from one conjunction to the next, the day
of the first conjunction [which he calls new moon] must be included in the count, and counted as one whole day of the 30 day
month. And Philo calls “it” [the day of conjunction] the new moon!
says that one of the meanings of the word “from” is where thing from which what we are describing starts is included”,
which is thirty days of a new rebuilding moon cycle beginning at conjunction.
do you understand Philo, who lived during the time of the New Testament?
Brother Arnold www.lunarsabbath.info