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#4.30 THE EMMAUS ROAD, "TODAY IS THE THIRD DAY SINCE THESE THINGS HAPPENED" Luke 24:21.

This bible study explains the meaning of the statement, "today is the third day since these things happened" (Luke 24:21). and uses a Unicode Greek font.

Greek Word Study on 4521 σάββατον sabbaton Sabbath.
Hebrew Word Study on 7676 שַׁבָּת shabbat Sabbath.
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LUKE 24:13-21
13 And, behold, two of them were going that same day to a village called Emmaus, being a distance sixty furlongs from Jerusalem.
14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
15 And it came to pass, while they were communing together and reasoning, Jesus himself had drawn near, and went with them.
16 But their eyes were held so as not to know him.
17 And he said to them, What words are these which you exchange with one another, as you walk, and are sad?
18 And the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to him, Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have you not known the things which happened in it in these days?
19 And he said to them, What things? And they said to him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet powerful in deed and word before God and all the people:
20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to condemnation of death, and crucified him.
21 But we were hoping that it was he who was about to redeem Israel: and beside all this, today is the third day since these things happened.

Note: What is the problem with this scripture? Simply it is the phrase "today is the third day" (Luke 24:21), and the fact that we have taught that Jesus died and was buried on a 14th Nisan, a Wednesday afternoon. Now if we count the days from then, Thursday would be the first day, Friday would be the second day, and Saturday would be the third day, but this conversation on the Emmaus road is Sunday afternoon. This we know because it is said to be "on the same day" (Luke 24:13), which refers back to "on the first day of the week" (Luke 24:1 KJV) or "on one day from the Sabbath" (Luke 24:1 RPT). So there is an apparent disagreement which needs to be explained.
The question to ask is, "What are THESE THINGS that these men referred to, from where this three day period started?" To know the answer we must look back at the previous verses to see what they were referring to. In verse 18 Cleopas said to Jesus, "Are you only sojourning in Jerusalem, and have not known the things which came to pass there in these days?" Then in verse 19 Jesus asked him a question, "What things?" Well this is what we need to know, so look at his reply; "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a prophet powerful in deed and word before God and all the people." So the things that "these things" referred to in verse 21 are the things concerning Jesus of Nazareth.
This would include his arrest, trial, crucifixion, death, the piercing of his side, his removal from the cross, the anointing of his body, his burial, and the sealing of the tomb on the following day.

(Matthew 27:62) And on the next day, which is after the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees had gathered together to Pilate,
63 Saying, Sir, we remembered that that deceiver said, while he was living, After three days I will arise.
64 Command therefore that the tomb be secured until the third day, lest his disciples coming by night, steal him away, and say to the people, He was raised from the dead: and the last deception shall be worse than the first.
65 Pilate said to them, You have a guard: go your way, make it as sure as you know how.
66 So when they had gone, they made the tomb secure, sealing the stone, with a guard.

How can we know that this sealing of the tomb was one of the events included in "these things" (Luke 24:21)? Here are some reasons:

(1) The meeting of the scribes and Pharisees with Pontius Pilate was "about", "concerning", or "to do with" Jesus. The sealing of the tomb was "about", "concerning", or "to do with" Jesus, which is what the Greek word περὶ (Gtr. peri) translated "concerning" means. So the things that the disciples were talking about, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth," (Luke 24:19), would have included the sealing of the tomb. It cannot be said that this only refers to events that happened while Jesus was alive, because 'peri' is often used in other places concerning dead people, and Jesus after he died (Matthew 17:13, Acts 1:16, 25:9, 28:23, 28:31, 1 Thessalonians 4:13, 1 John 5:9, 5:10, Jude 1:9).

(2) If the events referred to were only his arrest, trial, crucifixion, and death, and nothing after, then the disciples would have been referring to events that happened "on that day", the Passover. But they referred to, "the things which came to pass there in these days" (Luke 24:18). Note the plural "days", and note also that the word "there" refers to "in Jerusalem" (Luke 24:18). So they must have referred to events on more than one day, namely 14th and 15th Nisan, the Passover and the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. They were not referring to events that happened before this because Jesus did not enter into Jerusalem until the day of the Passover (Matthew 26:17-18, Mark 14:12-13).

(3) After the sealing of the tomb, little is recorded in scripture of anything that happened until the women came to the tomb on Sunday morning. There are therefore two complete days, the 16th and 17th of Nisan, where nothing is recorded about what the Romans or the Jews did concerning Jesus. Sunday was therefore the third day after the sealing of the tomb. This is the same third day that the chief priests and the Pharisees mentioned when they said, "Command therefore that the tomb be secured until the third day." (Matthew 27:64). This referred to the day after the Sabbath as the guards were still there that morning (Matthew 28:4); the same day that the disciples were on the Emmaus road. This is what "this is the third day" (Luke 24:21) refers to.

Some have said that the disciples may not have known about the sealing of the tomb, but that is nothing more than a speculative comment. According to Luke they were talking about "all these things which had happened." (Luke 24:14). This is the inspired writer of scripture who wrote this, not some statement by someone who could have been mistaken, and "all these things which had happened" would certainly have included the sealing of the tomb. In conclusion, the statement of Jesus’ disciples on the Emmaus road, "today is the third day since these things happened." (Luke 24:21) is explained as being the time from the last recorded scriptural event concerning Jesus, the sealing of the tomb, until the day the disciples met Jesus on the Emmaus road. When Jesus referred to his resurrection "on the third day", he was using the day of his death as the starting point, but a different starting point (one day later) is used here by Cleopas. Therefore, while Jesus' "third day" was the Sabbath, Cleopas' "third day" was on Sunday. Therefore, the Emmaus road encounter is not proof that Jesus did not die on a Wednesday, nor proof that he rose on Sunday morning.

Concerning the timing of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, see our bible study Inclusive reckoning Refuted.

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