Skip to comments.Are There Discrepancies in the Resurrection Accounts? If so, Can They be Resolved?
Posted on 04/09/2012 8:42:59 AM PDT by marshmallow
When we read the various accounts of the Resurrection in the four Gospels, Acts and Pauline Epistles we can easily be puzzled by some apparent discrepancies in the details.
The Pope in his recent book, Jesus of Nazareth (Vol II) says, We have to acknowledge that this testimony [of Scripture] considered from an historical point of view, is presented to us in a particularly complex form and gives rise to many questions. (P. 242)
The Pope goes on to explain what he considers to be the reason for this complexity and apparent divergence in some of the details.
What actually happened? Clearly for the witnesses who encountered the risen Lord, it was not easy to say. They were confronted with what, for them, was an entirely new reality, far beyond the limits of their own experience. Much as the reality of the event overwhelmed them and impelled them to bear witness, it was still utterly unlike anything they had previously known. (p. 242).
The Pope then reminds us that Jesus resurrection was experienced by them as something far beyond the resuscitation of a corpse. Rather, Jesus had taken up a wholly new and transformed humanity that was beyond anything they could fully describe or had ever experienced.
With all this in mind we are better able to appreciate the ecstatic qualities of the resurrection accounts and appreciate why all their details do not perfectly line up. The accounts have a rather crisp, lets get to the point quality; especially the accounts of the first day of the appearances. Frankly, one would be surprised if every detail in the account of an astonishing event were exactly the same. One might even suspect a story that was too controlled and wonder as to a kind of brainwashing or conspiracy having taken place.
(Excerpt) Read more at blog.adw.org ...
I take it on faith that Jesus rose from the dead. It is comforting to me that despite all the suffering and torture the Apostles went thru not one of them changed their stories.
The 3 full days mean that you have to take into account not only to include the time that Jesus was buried but to include Jesus’s suffering, which started with the agony in the garden. So three days right there.
‘Are there any biblical examples where “after three days and three nights” may not mean exactly 72 hours? Yes, 1 Samuel 30 is an example. The account in this chapter is about David and the Amalekites, and certain events in the village of Ziklag. Verse one tells us that, “David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day” (emphasis ours throughout). Upon arriving at Ziklag, David encountered an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. He told David, “My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago” (verse 13). The account also says that the Egyptian had not eaten or drunk for “three days and three nights” (verse 12).
‘”On the third day” is not necessarily three full days. In fact, it would be less than 72 hours. “Three days ago” is equally vague, as it could be less than three full days. Yet, this time is equated with “three days and three nights.” Its certainly possible, or even probable, that we are not dealing with a full 72-hour period here. If that is the case, then “three days and three nights” could be an idiomatic expression that would refer to parts of three days. 1 Samuel 30 indicates that “three days and three nights” was an expression that did not necessarily mean a full 72 hours. Other examples where variants of the expression “three days” are used includes the following passages: Genesis 42:17-18 (”for three days” = “on the third day”); 2 Chronicles 10:5, 12 (”three days later” = “in three days”) and Esther 4:16-5:1 (”for three days” = “on the third day”).’
Thanks, Jonty. Your explanation may be the correct one. I’m just not sure why Jesus would have specified “three nights” when He could so easily have left at “three days”. This is something I have thought about and researched, and I’ll no doubt keep on thinking about it. I appreciate your input.
Thanks for laying this out so clearly. I had read this explanation elsewhere, but it wasn’t articulated as well as your version. If you’re right, then when Jesus said “three nights”, what He meant was ‘three nights’. This is in keeping w how He usually spole: i.e.: He said what He meant and meant what he said.
Thanks for your input and examples. Is there any indication in the Samuel passage that the Egyptian slave really hadn’t eaten for three days and three nights? It seems he could have been telling the truth. But even if he was lying or exaggerating, it would be understandable under the circumstances. I’m less inclined to believe Jesus said ‘three days and three nights’ when what He meant was ‘three days’. I for one have never said ‘three nights’ when I meant ‘two nights’. Something to think about, anyway.
Verse 12 doesn't say the slave said he hadn't - it says he hadn't: "And when he had eaten them his spirit returned, and he was refreshed: for he had not eaten bread, nor drunk water three days, and three nights."
"If any man come to Me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple." - Luke 14:26
Perhaps his master began withholding food from the slave when he saw the man was getting sick. He saw no reason to squander resources.
Iow, if the text says the slave hadn’t eaten for three days and three nights, why should we assume that’s not true? It very likely is true, since that’s the way it’s expressed.
I do not read ANYTHING in the Gospel accounts or other places in scripture where such an accounting exists in relation to Jesus being in the grave.
Jesus specifically said "Three days AND Three nights" would be the ONLY SIGN given of His Messiahship.
"For as Jonas 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.
Three days and three nights in the heart of the earth or grave. Jesus DID NOT include the suffering in the Garden 9 hours previous to his crucifixion in the accounting.
For folks who rightfully insist on going by every plain word in the Constitution to mean what it says - why is the same concept so hard to apply with the scriptures?
The confusion ALWAYS begins when you attempt to shove traditions and agendas into the plain reading the the bible.
The Left does this all the time with the Law of the Land, and reads their own agendas into the plain words of our Constitution. Just ask a public high Schooler to recite the First Amendment, they will tell you "Separation of church and state". Such is nowhere found in the plain words written, but agendas and traditions READ INTO the plain words, totally changes what the vast majority understand what those plain words meant by those who wrote them.
The bible has suffered this same fate millennia ago, until most have no clue what the plain words mean outside of tradition that they were taught as children. When confronted with the original intent and plain meaning of the words, pretzel logic always ensues and men look to other places to cobble together a justification for the discrepancy between agendas/traditions and the plain words.
This is how applying a private letter Jefferson wrote in 1801, when he was not even one of the writers or signatories to the Constitution, changes the meaning of First Amendment to mean something entirely different than written. So too - this is how traditions are yanked from other places to make the bible work within traditions grafted INTO the church.
Three days AND Three nights - it's not that difficult to understand. The secularists bash Christians over the head with traditions read into scripture to prove our faith a myth. Yet the bible interprets itself and is most often deliberately taken out of context to prove a point or push an agenda - same as our Constitution is now suffering. Until a time comes when few even recall what the original words really meant.
"My people are destroyed for a lack of wisdom" - Hosea 4:6
So that means, to correct you, that includes Friday to Sunday, three days.
I also believe that from death to resurrection it was literally "three days and three nights" (not "one day and two nights" as some wish to rationalize it). Jona's duration in the belly of the great fish was measured by Jesus as a "three days and three nights" duration.
However, I do not think "heart of the earth" is the grave. Peter's sermon in Acts 2:29-32 says:
29* Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. 30* Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; 31* He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. 32* This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
I think the heart of the earth is in fact hell. And Christ's soul was there three days and three nights, while his body (flesh) was in the tomb where it did not see corruption.
Read the scriptures again dear, to correct your misunderstanding. Jesus did NOT simply say "three days" - He said "Three Days AND Three nights" He would be in the grave. You are not even able to get PARTS of three days and nights in a Friday at 3PM death to Sunday morning at sunrise resurrection. Unless of course you wish to do as I said most people do - and that is use pretzel logic to fit tradition into the plain words of scripture.
I do not subscribe to that understanding. As a former Atheist - I go by strict interpretation of the scriptures themselves and often look at the original words used to understand their meaning. I spent much time attacking Christianity for all it's inconsistencies with the scriptures and all the pretzel logic to explain traditions grafted into the faith to try and prove God's Word false. Taking the bible at it's own word without any traditions or twists to conform the scriptures to doctrine - I saw that the Bible was indeed God's Word, and unbreakable.
"Hell" as used in Acts 2:29 is the Greek word 'hades'. The term hades in Christian theology (and in New Testament Greek) is parallel to Hebrew sheol (שאול, grave,tomb or dirt-pit), and refers to the abode of the dead.
The Greek word Hades in this usage (11 times to be exact) is "ᾅδης" (Hades). The Greek word to denote the underworld of Greek myth is: ᾍδου, Haidou. Christians wrongly assume that the term 'hades' in the New Testament is a reference to the Greek underworld. The location of 'Hades' (or underworld) to follow tradition, the Greek words are ᾍδου, Haidou, an elision to denote locality: "[the house/dominion] of Hades, the Greek God of the dead.
In the Septuagint (the ancient translation of the Old Testament into Greek), the Greek term "ᾅδης" (Hades) is used to translate the Hebrew term "שׁאול" (Sheol) in Isaiah 38:18. This use refers the term hades to the abode of the dead.
In New Testament Greek, the Hebrew phrase "לא־תעזב נפשׁי לשׁאול" (you will not abandon my soul to Sheol) in Psalm 16:10 is also quoted in Acts 2:27 as "οὐκ ἐγκαταλείψεις τὴν ψυχήν μου εἰς ᾅδου" (you will not abandon my soul to Hades).
I believe Jesus was in the tomb (or Sheol/grave) for 3 days and 3 nights, just as He said. His flesh did not see corruption as He was resurrected to Glory after the third day, rising again to the Life eternal we hope for in Him. Thus the prophecy in Psalms 16:10 was used again in Acts 2:27 to prove Jesus' Messiahship to the unbelieving Jews.
Your opinion, not mine.
No dear, those were biblical FACTS I presented. You can disbelieve them all you wish in favor of your own tradition.
“And answering, He said to them, Well did Isaiah prophesy concerning you, hypocrites; as it has been written: “This people honors Me with the lips, but their heart is far away from Me;
Mar 7:6-7 and in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
Again, your opinion, not mine.
Please do not argue, I will not respond back. Thank-you.
An excellent article! Thank-you for posting it!
For response for the last time, is this a personal interpitation of scripture?