Search Bible
Click for Help   Click for QuickNav   Click for Advanced Search Options
Search KJV
Version Selector Down Arrow

Search a pre-defined list

OR Select a range of biblical books



OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups:
'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'

Your Bible Version is the KJV
Version Selector Up Arrow
KJV King James Version
NKJV New King James Version
NLT New Living Translation
NIV New International Version
ESV English Standard Version
CSB Christian Standard Bible
NASB New American Standard Bible
NET New English Translation
RSV Revised Standard Version
ASV American Standard Version
YLT Young's Literal Translation
DBY Darby Translation
WEB Webster's Bible
HNV Hebrew Names Version
RVR60 Reina-Valera 1960
VUL Latin Vulgate
WLC Westminster Leningrad Codex
LXX Septuagint
Go to Top
Link to This PageCite This Page
Version Selector Up Arrow
Version Selector Up Arrow

Cite this page

MLA format Copy link to clipboard

Note: MLA no longer requires the URL as part of their citation standard. Individual instructors or editors may still require the use of URLs.

APA format Copy link to clipboard
Chicago format Copy link to clipboard
Share this pageFollow the BLB
Version Selector Up Arrow

Share this page using one of these tools:




Or email this page to a friend:

Version Selector Up Arrow

Follow the Blue Letter Bible on:



Or subscribe to our Newsletter:

Printable Page
Choose a new font size and typeface

Customize your font sizeIncrease your font sizeDecrease your font sizeReturn to default font size

Choose a Bible text color
Read the Bible in blackRead the Bible in dark blueRead the Bible in blue

Customize your text type
Arial font
Trebuchet MS font
Georgia font
Times New Roman font

Customize your Hebrew text type
SBL Hebrew font
Times New Roman font
Arial font

Customize your Greek text type
Gentium font
Times New Roman font
Arial font

Close font preferences
The Blue Letter Bible
BLB Searches
Search the Bible
Search KJV
Version Selector Down Arrow

Advanced Options

Search a pre-defined list

OR Select a range of biblical books



OR Custom Selection:

Use semicolons to separate groups: 'Gen;Jdg;Psa-Mal' or 'Rom 3-12;Mat 1:15;Mat 5:12-22'


Advanced Options

Exact Match
Beginning of the Word
Any Part of the Word
Theological FAQs
Multi-Verse Retrieval
Search KJV
Version Selector Down Arrow

Line-By-Line Order:
Line-By-Line Verse-Reference  Verse-Reference
Line-By-Line Reference-Verse  Reference-Verse
Line-By-Line Separate Line  Separate Line
Line-By-Line Verse Only  Verse Only
Line-By-Line Reference Only  Reference Only
Reference Delimiters:
No Reference Delimiters  None — Jhn 1:1 KJV
Square Reference Delimiters  Square — [Jhn 1:1 KJV]
Curly Reference Delimiters  Curly — {Jhn 1:1 KJV}
Parenthesis Reference Delimiters  Parens — (Jhn 1:1 KJV)
Paragraph Order:
Paragraph Verse-Reference  Verse-Reference
Paragraph Reference-Verse  Reference-Verse
Paragraph Reference-Only  Reference-Only
Number Delimiters:*
No Verse Numbers  No Number
No Verse Delimeters  No Delimiter — 15
Square Verse Delimiters  Square — [15]
Curly Verse Delimiters  Curly — {15}
Parenthesis Verse Delimiters  Parens — (15)
Other Options:
Abbreviate Books  Abbreviate Books
Quotes Around Verses  Quotes around Verses
Remove Square Brackets  Remove Square Brackets
Sort Canonically  Sort Canonically

* 'Number Delimiters' only apply to 'Paragraph Order'

Let's Connect

Connect on Facebook Connect on Twitter Connect on Instagram Connect on Pinterest Connect on YouTube

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Daily Devotionals

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

Daily Bible Reading Plans

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one’s mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

One-Year Plans

Two-Year Plan

After the Crucifixion :: The Three Days and the Three Nights

For as Jonah 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)

If Matthew 12:40 literally means three days and three nights then the crucifixion cannot be on Friday. Some say rather than a literal three days it is an old idiom referring to the two days prior to the day being spoken of. We have found nothing to substantiate this view. The Friday crucifixion is the most widely held view due to the traditional celebration of Easter. Did the crucifixion actually take place on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday?

In order to make the most informed estimate, we need to examine the Sabbath. The original Hebrew word “Shabbath” is defined as: an intermission, the day of rest, the holy seventh day; a week (Leviticus 23:15 [cf. Deuteronomy 16:9; Matthew 28:1]), the sacred seventh year, a sabbatical year.

Leviticus 23:1-4 lets us know about the “weekly sabbath,” that day set aside each week to honor the Lord. Verse three defines how a sabbath is to be observed, i.e., “…but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation: you shall do no servile work therein: it is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.”

However, these are NOT the only sabbaths. Besides the weekly sabbaths there are the High Sabbaths related to the Hebrew Feasts (or Festivals), described in Leviticus 23:4-44.

These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work. (Leviticus 23:4-8)

For example, the verses above speak of two feasts, Passover and Unleavened Bread. Passover starts on the 14th day of Nisan (Hebrew month) and lasts one day. The Feast of Unleavened Bread starts the next day (i.e., the 15th of Nisan) and lasts for seven days.

Please note, the Passover is not a High Sabbath day, this important fact is often overlooked. You can tell because the usual command for a sabbath of “an holy convocation and no servile work is to be done,” is not given for Passover. So while Passover is a feast day, it is not a sabbath day. “Why is that important?” you ask. It was on this day Jesus did the work of redemption. Servile work would have been unlawful on a Sabbath day, so God ordained for this day to be a festival, remembering the lamb's blood that caused the angel to “Passover” the Israelites in Egypt and pointing to the Lamb who would shed His blood for all mankind.

One other important feast day is not a High Sabbath day, the Feast of First Fruits. Interestingly enough, this is the day of Jesus' resurrection.

The Lord set forth two sabbath days each for the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Tabernacles. Leviticus 23:7-8 tells us that both the first and seventh (last) day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is an holy convocation and to do no servile work therein. Leviticus 23:35-36 states the same for the Feast of Tabernacles. As you go through the remaining feasts you will see the same instruction.

Next we need to examine what Jesus said regarding His death.

For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:40 NKJV)

(Just a side note: for those who say the story of Jonah is untrue and just a legend—it appears that Jesus doesn't agree with them!)

Jesus said three days and three nights. There is absolutely no way to get three days and three nights from Friday to Sunday. The chart below shows this, remember a Jewish day starts at sunset rather than midnight.

Day 1 = Friday before Sunset
night 1 = Friday sunset - Saturday sunrise
Day 2 = Saturday sunrise - Saturday sunset
Night 2 = Saturday sunset - Sunday sunrise
Day 3 = Sunday sunrise - resurrection

Assuming Jesus rose from the dead AFTER sunrise on Sunday, which is not stated as such in the Scriptures (the Scriptures merely state that Mary Magdalene went to the tomb right after sunrise), there still are only two nights. There is no way to get three nights in this scenario. To dogmatically choose this position of crucifixion on Friday and Resurrection on Sunday is to choose a position contrary to Jesus' own prophecy.

Another Scripture to consider is John 12:1, “Then Jesus six days before the passover came to Bethany…”. Jesus was travelling from Jericho. If the crucifixion took place on Friday (which had to also be Passover), then this journey took place on the sabbath. Travelling that distance on the sabbath was legally out of the question for a devout Jew.

What if the crucifixion took place on Thursday? This would certainly add the additional night we need to fulfill Jesus' prophecy, but it raises a problem with the days because you have to count partial days for either the crucifixion or resurrection, but not for both. The partial days problem can be argued successfully but not conclusively because, as stated earlier, all we are told about the resurrection is that Jesus arose on the day after the weekly sabbath. This could be anytime from Saturday just after sunset to the point where Mary Magdalene saw Him, after sunrise.

Proponents of a Thursday crucifixion might argue counting a partial day for Thursday (the crucifixion), a day for Friday, a day for Saturday (day) and that Jesus arose just after sunset at the beginning of the fourth day which would not be counted. In addition, there would be three full nights in between as well. So Thursday can be argued from the Scriptures.

It is possible to argue for a Wednesday crucifixion if you don't count partial days (i.e. knowing that Jesus died at 3:00 p.m., you don't count the three hours of Wednesday as a full 12 hour day). The scenario would be as follows:

Day 0 = Wednesday 3:00pm - sunset
Night 1 = Wednesday sunset - Thursday sunrise
Day 1 = Thursday sunrise - Thursday sunset
Night 2 = Thursday sunset - Friday sunrise
Day 2 = Friday sunrise - Friday sunset
Night 3 = Friday sunset - Saturday sunrise
Day 3 = Saturday sunrise - Saturday sunset

In this view, Jesus is resurrected sometime between sunset on Saturday and sunrise on Sunday, which would be a partial night and therefore not counted.

Now why did the early church decide it was Friday? Read the following verse:

Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. (Mark 15:42-43 NKJV)

They assumed since it was the day before the sabbath, it meant Friday. Here is where our background on the sabbath sheds some light. We know that since the crucifixion was on the Passover, it was automatically the day before a sabbath, no matter what day it was on, because the High Sabbath day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread was the next day. Again, no matter what day Passover was on, the next day was automatically a sabbath.

Holding to a Friday crucifixion really is at odds with Scripture. Scripture does say that it was the Feast of First Fruits when He arose, so we know that the resurrection was Sunday (i.e., sunset Saturday — Sunday sunrise). Therefore, using Jesus' own words we conclude it was a Wednesday or Thursday crucifixion

If we factor in two more important points there is a stronger case for a Thursday crucifixion:

1. When the Holy Spirit inspired the writing of the Bible (66 books, written by 40 authors over 2000 years), He wove various clues into the text in order for us to verify the authenticity of the Bible. As we see prophecy come to pass we gain more respect for the Word because only the God who knows the end from the beginning could predict with 100% accuracy. God's plan for redemption is the message of the Scriptures, it is the gospel, or “good news.” There are proclamations or subtle clues on literally every page.

The Feasts were not only historic (i.e., to be celebrated once they left Egypt and settled into the Promised Land of Israel), but also prophetic, pointing to the Savior (read Hebrews 8:1-10:39). It is no coincidence that Jesus was crucified on Passover, the same day God saved the Hebrews from the death in Egypt by placing blood of a lamb on the door posts and door jambs (making a cross). It is no coincidence that Jesus arose from the dead on the feast of First Fruits. It is no coincidence that the Church was officially given the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the gospel on the Feast of Pentecost.

There are many other accounts in the Scripture that point specifically to Christ's redemption of mankind. Let's go back to Genesis and visit Noah. It is generally held that the ark is a “type” of Jesus. The ark saved Noah and his family from the wrath of God's judgment upon the evil world. Jesus offers salvation to all those who trust in Him, sparing them from judgment for their sins.

The ark rested, or finished the work of saving Noah's family on a significant day.

Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat. (Genesis 8:4 NKJV)

God instituted a calendar change explained in Exodus, and the seventh month became the first month. It turns out that the same day the ark rested is the 17th day of Nisan, which just happens to be three days and three nights after the 14th of Nisan (the future Passover feast). So that would mean that in prophetic illustration, God caused the ark to rest from the flood (His wrath on an evil world) on the same day that Jesus would rise from the dead to save mankind from the future wrath upon a Christ–rejecting world. Coincidence? Highly unlikely.

Note that for this to be a true prophetic model, the only day of the week that works for a Sunday resurrection on the 17th of Nisan, is a Thursday crucifixion on the 14th day of Nisan.

2. The last argument for a Thursday crucifixion comes from the actions of Mary Magdalene. Why did Mary wait until Sunday to go to the tomb with the ministering oils and herbs? If the crucifixion took place on Wednesday, then Thursday would have been the High Sabbath, making it impossible for her to go to the tomb on that day, but Friday would have been a normal day, with no restrictions. If on the other hand Thursday was the day of the crucifixion, then Friday would have been the high sabbath, and Saturday would have been the weekly sabbath (making it impossible for her to go on Friday or Saturday), leaving Sunday as the first “legal” day she could have made the trip.

With all of that said, it must be noted that the day of the week is not something we know from Scripture. If God wanted us to know whether it was Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, it would have been clearly stated.

What we do know is that it occurred on Passover as a model of the sacrifice of the perfect Lamb, and that He rose again on the Feast of First Fruits, since He is the First Fruit of the resurrection. It is fine to hold a personal view, but unwise to become dogmatic about it. We should celebrate the cross and the resurrection every day of our earthly visit.


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


Bible Search

Multiverse Retrieval

LexiConc Search

FAQ Search

Browse Dictionary Topics

Bible Reference

Encyclopedias / Dictionaries

Introductions to the Bible

Topical Indexes

Charts and Outlines


Maps / Images

Bible Commentaries

Text Commentaries

Audio & Video Commentaries

Theological Resources

Articles / Books

Women's Resources

Don Stewart

BLB Theological

Creeds, Catechisms, and Confessions





Digital Books

Mobile Apps for iPhone / iPad

Mobile blb.org

BLB Offline CDs

Free Web Tools


Email Devotional Sign-Up

BLB Daily Promises

Day by Day by Grace

Morning and Evening

Daily Bible Reading Plan


Video Tutorials


Theological Questions

Website Support

iApp Support

General Questions


Sowing Circle

Co-Laboring Ministries


About the BLB

Statement of Faith




Ministry FAQs


Donation Information

Contact the BLB

Hotjar - Unlimited insights from your web and mobile sites

BLB Institute

BLB Blog

Email Newsletters



Blue Letter Bible study tools make reading, searching and studying the Bible easy and rewarding.

Blue Letter Bible is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

©2018 Blue Letter Bible


Verse Tools Arrow

Email / username or password was incorrect!

Check your email for password retrieval

Enter Your
Email or Username




Did you forget your password?

Register a new BLB account

Why won't my login from the old site work?

Complete the form below to register  [?]

Error: That Email is already registered

Error: Please provide a valid Email

Error: Passwords should have at least 6 characters

Error: Passwords do not match

Error: Please provide a valid first name

Error: That username is already taken

Error: Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores

Enter Your EmailUsername

First Name


[ Cancel ]


Passwords should have at least 6 characters.
Usernames should only contain letters, numbers, dots, dashes, or underscores.

Thank you for registering. A verification email has been sent to the address you provided.

Error: That Email / Username is not registered

Enter Your Email or Username


Return to Login

Close Login