1 Cor. 11:5,13
1 Cor. 15:31
- Matthew 12:40
- "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."
- Jesus said that he would be in the belly of the earth just as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish. Therefore, Moslems claim, as Jonah was alive in the belly of the fish, so must Jesus have been alive in the tomb, or the prophecy would not be an exact prediction. This is a particularly commonly raised passage; almost every Moslem with whom the author has spoken has raised it at some point.
- There are clearly limits to the similarities of the two situations. The great fish was alive, and one cannot say the same for the tomb of Jesus. The great fish was in the sea, and the tomb of Jesus was not. Jonah came out of the great fish in a different place to the one where he entered it; Jesus both entered and left the tomb in Jerusalem. Jesus was not buried in a fish.
- The similarity between the death of Jesus and the swallowing of Jonah by the fish was that both of them were hidden from the light of day. Jonah was taken from the world for three days and then returned to it, as was Jesus.
- Three days and three nights. According to the traditional model, Jesus was in the tomb for part of Friday, all of Saturday and part of Sunday, using the Jewish way of reckoning time. Other models exist where Jesus was crucified on the Wednesday, which gives a longer period. However, in Bible times it was common to count a day as a whole day and night (if even the smallest part of it) was included in a period. Examples where both kinds of counting are used include: 1 Kings 22:1,2; 2 Kings 18:9,10; 2 Chr. 10:5,12; Jer. 34:14; Esth. 4:16 cp. 5:1; Matt. 17:1 cp. Luke 9:28; Mark 8:31 cp. Matt. 16:21; 27:63,64. In this prophecy Jesus is simply using the inclusive counting system.