A Theological/Bible Related Commentary
In Part I of this article, we focused on the Christian apologetic argument that “On the third day” and “After three days” are, in reality, one and the same “day.” This is a claim that is rigorously defended on the Christian website Apologetic Press.* So now we will turn our attention to another angle Christian apologists have used to reconcile the apparent contradiction between “On” the third day, versus three days later. And that is to simply deny that there isn’t any gospel evidence for a “fourth” day resurrection of Jesus at all!
The Christian apologist, Andreas Köstenberger, whose work can be found at the website, Biblical Foundations** reports:
Regarding the Gospel evidence, we can observe at least two things. First, the Gospels uniformly attest to the fact that Jesus was crucified and subsequently rose “on the third day” (e.g., Luke 24:7; see also Luke 24:21 where the two disciples on the road to Emmaus tell Jesus that this is “now the third day since these things happened”; this later became part of the gospel message, as we can see in passages such as 1 Cor 15:4 and later still in the Apostles’ Creed). The Gospels nowhere say Jesus was crucified and rose “on the fourth day” or “on the fifth day”; it’s always on the third day.
Technically speaking, this is true. No New Testament writer ever asserts that Jesus arose on the “fourth” or “fifth” day. But this is point we will be exploring more fully later in this article.
A third method Christian apologists use to reduce the “On” the third day,” versus the “three days later” statements of Jesus to insignificance, is to either avoid any mention of the issue at all, or bypass “after three days” without drawing any attention to the passage whatsoever.
Finally, we turn to our last example. And that is to plead that Mark was not actually marking the days from the day of Jesus’ death, but rather from the day he was apprehended and tried before the Sanhedrin. In other words, on the Thursday preceding Good Friday! Bible commentator Matthew Poole states it this way:
“With the doctrine of his suffering, he joins also the doctrine of his resurrection the third day: so saith Matthew. Mark saith, after three days, [μετὰ] meta, which seemeth to be a difference between the two evangelists, and also a difficulty, when it is certain that our Saviour did not lie three entire days in the grave. But either Mark reckons the time from his first being betrayed and apprehended, so it was after three days; and Matthew speaketh only of the time which he lay in the grave, that was but part of three days; or else it was the fault of our translators to translate [μετὰ] meta, “ after,” because indeed it often so signifies, whereas it sometimes signifies in, which had better fitted this text.“*** (emphasis mine)
And so we conclude the Christian apologist portion of this article. Now it’s on to view the evidence from a very different perspective.
End of Part II
Part I – Here
Next Time: My rebuttal: Part III – Here