Don’t Be Fooled: Day Means Day

The claim that the word “day” means only a measurement of time is not an accurate claim.imagebase.davidniblack.com The Hebrew word used is yom, and it is used just as our English word, day, is used. We use the word day as opposed to night, in the sense of “daytime;” we use the word day to mean a full 24-hour period, consisting of one period of daylight and one period of nighttime; and, we use the word day to indicate an age or era, such as, “in the day of the Roman Empire,” or, “back in my father’s day,” etc. Even though we use the word day for all of these uses, we are never confused as to which meaning is intended — why is that?

Note this vital fact: anytime that a number is used with “day,” whether in English or in Hebrew, a literal day is meant. Look outside of the disputed chapter of Genesis 1, and you will find that the Old Testament uses yom together with a number 359 times, and every single use is undeniably a literal day*. This only makes sense — just look at the English: If I say, “back in my father’s day,” we all understand it to be figurative of an age; but if I say, “in my father’s third day,” you would immediately want to know, “Third day of what — third day of existence?”

There is no ambiguity in how these words are used or what their meaning is. Rather, those who desperately want to find a way around the stark reality of what the first chapter of Genesis indicates have simply grasped at this straw and now feed it to those who don’t know better as if they can’t rely on the meaning of “day.”

Stand firmly on the Word!
Ken Hamrick

*Could God Really Have Created Everything in Six Days?, by Ken Ham, at AnswersInGenesis.org

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10 comments

  1. lasaroflores

    This issue came up in a recent discussion on Facebook with respect to the Lord’s Jesus time in the grave. A brother of mine on his page asked a question that if Good Friday was the day the Lord Jesus was crucified and raised on Sunday, how could the three days and three nights be fulfilled? I recited Matthew 12:40 where the Lord said: “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.” Someone else objected to that claiming that the historical grammatical perspective is to be used that Friday was 1 day, Saturday another day, and Sunday another day. That the Jewish, and even the Greek, custom was used in that sense.

    But I said that could not be true because the Lord Jesus said it was 3 days AND 3 nights he was going to be buried. I took him to Genesis 1 where 6 times it was said “And the evening and the morning were the first day” (vv. 5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31). Therefore, since Genesis says that 1 complete day consists of daylight and nighttime; and the Lord refer to 3 days (daylight) AND 3 nights (nighttime), He was buried for 3 complete days. So, the so-called Good Friday IS NOT when the Lord was crucified and buried. Another thing, John 20:1 states that Christ has already risen from the dead even before sunrise; and since in the Jewish mind Sunday was from 6 PM Saturday, Jesus could have risen during that time which would make it the night time of the third day.

    Now, at this time I won’t get into trying to figure out which are the 3 days and the 3 nights, but only to say that Good Friday is NOT the Crucifixion Day and that Lord was risen before the sun had risen on Resurrection Day. I know that if we consider the 3 days AND the 3 nights that the Lord Jesus refer to, it will contradict much of what many believe of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

  2. Jerry Corbaley

    However, to believe that the Scripture actually means what it says…you must put trust in the Words of God instead of the culture in which you live. This ought not to be rare among those who worship the Creator, Jesus Christ.

    In the same way, those who choose to believe a literal six-day creation must put their trust in the Words of God instead of the culture in which they live.

  3. Ken Hamrick

    Welcome to the forum, Jerry!

    Why would you put your trust in the words of God? I’ve been asked this question—how do you know that the Bible is true? It must ultimately come down to the personal witness of the Holy Spirit to us that the Bible is the true and inspired Word of God. Of course, skeptics will scoff at that, but God is able to communicate with utter certainty that His Bible is true. Faith is not believing what you cannot know with certainty; faith is knowing with certainty what you cannot prove to others… until Judgment Day.

  4. Jason Mahill

    @lasaroflores… I suggest that you carefully read the accounts of the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection in all 4 gospels. It is clear that Jesus died on the 9th hour (around 3 pm) on the day of preparation for the sabbath… which was Friday.

    As for Matthew 12:40… I think the 3 days and 3 nights in the “heart of the earth” is the problem especially when every other verse simply states that Jesus would rise “on the third day.”

    Are we sure that “heart of the earth” means buried? “Heart of the earth” could reference the moment Jesus was betrayed and handed over to be tried and executed. I am only suggesting this as a possibility since all 4 gospels show to Jesus’ death, removal from the cross, and prep and burial happening Friday afternoon before sundown.

  5. William

    I must agree with Jason here. Mark 15:42, Luke 15:54, and John 20:31 indicate clearly Jesus was crucified on the day before the Sabbath. I am aware of the argument that the Sabbath referred to could have been a special Sabbath pertaining to Passover, but it seems one of the three (particularly Luke writing to a Gentile audience that would not have understood all the nuances of Jewish festivals, or John who takes time to explain Hebrew words and local customs) would have indicated if Sabbath indicated something besides the normal seventh day. Also there would most likely have been a discussion sometime in church history when this would have arose. To my knowledge this argument has only come up in the past hundred or so years.

    While I affirm the truthfulness of scripture as God’s Word, sometimes we need to be careful in stretching the literalness of passages beyond what they can bear. It seems easier to understand the literal meaning of the three passages above to indicate Jesus as crucified on the day before the Sabbath, and then try to find out why Jesus would have seemed to indicate otherwise in Matthew 12:40 than the other way around.

  6. Ken Hamrick

    Whether it is rounded up or not, it is definitely intended to mean three days and not three “ages.” Those who do not hold to a literal six-day creation apply the same license to Christ rising from the dead—three thousand/million/billion years?

  7. lasaroflores

    Even if it’s true that the Lord Jesus was crucified on Friday and buried the same day, that is 1 day, then Saturday is day 2, with Sunday day 3. What about the 3 nights? Friday night is 1 night; and Saturday night is 2 nights. But the Lord said He would be buried 3 days and 3 nights; and so what happen to night 3. See what has happen? The Roman Catholic Church has had such an effect on Baptists, that they believe as the apostate Catholic Church. As for me, I rather believe what the Lord Jesus Christ said than for any custom or tradition that is used to justify Good Friday as the Crucifixion and Burial of my Lord and Savior. As far as stretching the literalness of God’s Word, we should ask this question: Why would He refer to 3 days and 3 nights if it was not going to be literal true? I would believe, and hope, that ALL true Christians would believe that God’s Word is literally true; in ALL that it proclaims; for then we could say with the Lord Jesus in His prayer to the Father: “Thy word IS true;” whether it be literally or spiritually (John 17:17)! Amen.

  8. Ken Hamrick

    Lasaro,

    Fighting for the truth and inerrancy of Scripture is amirable and we are all obligated to do so. But that cause is best served when we choose our battles according to the most pressing need. It seems like a wasted effort to argue over whether Jesus was in the tomb for 60 or 72 hours. Any person who even affirms that Jesus was literally and physically dead well past all possibility of resuscitation, and was literally and physically raised back to life within “two or three days,” has already believed what the world would call “swallowing a camel”… so why strain at gnats? We will all find out in the end exactly how all the synoptic details fit together, and how the Bible was indeed completely true. But for now, why not focus our efforts on the really important battles?

    I saw a TV program on the “Learning Channel,” where they interviewed various theologians about all the details of Christ’s death and resurrection. They interviewed some minister with a purple shirt and a white priest-collar. They asked him, “Do you believe that Jesus actually physically rose from the dead?” He chuckled, and with a self-assured smile, replied, “Of course, not. We know that people just don’t rise from the dead. But we have to look for the spiritual significance…” Now, there’s a battle worth fighting.

    Ken

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