Let me add a little more of Hendriksen's exegesis of Matthew 12:40 and specifically on this matter of when was Jesus buried and how long he was in the tomb before His resurrection:

Quote:
Nevertheless, again and again-sometimes in small pamphlets-the opinion will be advocated that according to Matt. 12:40 Jesus must have died and been buried on Thursday. This, however, is definitely wrong, for the inspired records tell us that these events took place on Friday, that is, on Paraskeue, this very word being used even in modern Greek to indicate Friday (Mark 15:42, 43; Luke 23:46, 54; John 19:14, 30, 42). Also, if the proponents of this "Jesus was buried on Thursday afternoon" theory demand that "three days" means three entire days, their theory will still fall short; and, on the other hand, if, as they see it, a part of a day must be figured as a day, the result is: too many days!

Neither is it entirely satisfactory to say that, while Jesus died indeed on Friday and rose again on Sunday morning, the solution is to be found in the fact that, as already proved, the Jews counted a part of the day as equal to a day, and a part of the night as amounting to a night. As far as the "days" are concerned, this would be a satisfactory explanation, but it would still leave us with only two nights, not three.

What then? Some, despairing of a solution, declare that the saying, though having been a part of the Gospel from the beginning, is spurious, never having been uttered by Jesus himself. There is, however, no good reason thus to cut the Gordian knot. The true solution probably lies in a different direction. When we say "the universe," the ancients would say "heaven and earth." So also, should not their expression "one day and one night" be taken to mean one time unit, one diurnal period, a part of one such period being taken as a whole? He was indeed in the heart of the earth three "days-and-three-nights," that is during three of these time units.


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simul iustus et peccator

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