Ask A Catholic: 3 Days & The Sabbath
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By Mitch Finley
How do you get three days and three nights from Good Friday to Easter Sunday? And where in the Bible does God change the Sabbath to Sunday? – Richard Halvorson
I’m not sure why you want to explain “three days and three nights,” as I don’t think this exact phrase appears in Scripture.
Also, there is no mention in the Bible of God establishing the Sabbath on any particular day of the week. The Creation narrative in Genesis ends with these words:
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation (Genesis 2:1-3, NRSV).
This is the source of the tradition that views the sixth day of the week as the Sabbath. The Christian tradition that views Sunday, the first day of the week, as the Sabbath originated when the resurrection of Jesus occurred on a Sunday. In neither case does a “command” occur in the Bible to observe either day as the Sabbath. Both are faith traditions.
Mitch Finley is the author of 30+ books on Roman Catholic theological topics and spirituality, all written to appeal to both non-academic and academic readers. Mitch holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University and an M.A. in Theology from Marquette University. He and Kathy Finley have been married since 1974 and are the parents of three grown sons. To learn more visit mitchandkathyfinley.com.