The Bible mentions the activities of Christ’s Disciples during the time between his Atonement and Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. Also thanks to some modern day revelation, we can piece together quite well what when on.
- There was an earthquake right after Jesus “yielded up the ghost” (Matthew 27:50-51).
- There are references to “the veil of the temple [being torn into two pieces] from the top to the bottom” (Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45), but it’s not entirely clear as to exactly when or why this happened.
- There were centurions (Roman Soldiers), “watching Jesus . . .saying, Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54, Mark 15:39, Luke 23:47).
- “The Jews . . . besought Pilate” to take down the bodies “because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day” (John 19:31 & 42, Mark 15:42, Luke 23:54, Matthew 27:62).
- Before taking the bodies down off the cross “their legs [had to] be broken” to insure they were dead (without the support of their legs the victims on the cross would quickly suffocate), “But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water..” fulfilling prophesy (John 19:31-37).
- One of Jesus’ Disciples, Joseph Arimathæa (a “rich man” and “an honourable counsellor”), “besought Pilate” for the body of Jesus (Matthew 27:57-58, Mark 15:43, Luke 23:50-52, John 19:38 – suggesting he was also concerned about the Jewish Sabbath).
- “Pilate marvelled if [Jesus] were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion” to make sure Jesus was in fact dead. Once he received confirmation from the centurion, he gave the body over to Joseph (Mark 15:44-45).
- Upon receiving the body Joseph “bought fine linen … and took [Jesus] down” off the cross (Matthew 27:59, Mark 15:45-46, Luke 23:53, John 19:38).
- “And there came also Nicodemus”, who assisted Joseph, “which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.” and “wrapped him in the linen” “cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb” (John 19:39-40, Luke 23:53, Mark 15:46, Matthew 27:59-60).
- The burial was done in they typical Jewish fashion, and the tomb had been “hewn out in the rock” or was basically a man made cave (Matthew 27:60, Mark 15:46, Luke 23:53, John 19:40-41).
- The women who had traveled with Christ from Galilee where also there, and “prepared spices and ointments” after they had “beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid” (Luke 23:55-56).
- These women included: “Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James” and Joseph “and Salome” (Matthew 27:55-56,61, Mark 15:47, Luke 23:55).
- They finally “rolled a great stone” “unto the door” (Matthew 27:60, Mark 15:46).
- The next day, “the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate” and reminded him that Jesus had said: “After three days I will rise again” (Matthew 27:62-63).
- Pilate agreed to let the Pharasees go to “the sepulchre [so it could] be made sure until the third day, lest [Christ’s] disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead” (Matthew 27:64-65).
- The Pharasees “went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.” (Matthew 27:66).
It’s important to note that “three days” does not have the same connotation to us as it did to them. They did not have the same concept of “zero” that we do today, so day one, would have been Friday, when Jesus was Crucified. The Sabbath, which to the Jews is Saturday, was considered the 2nd day, meaning the day three is what we now commonly call Easter Sunday. Essentially, this means the Pharasees and Pilate sealed up the tomb and guarded it for basically only a single day, during the Jewish Sabbath while Christ’s disciples were resting.
In reality, Christ was not dead for three days (meaning 72 hours). He actually was only dead from “the ninth hour” on Friday (see Luke 23:44 and Matthew 27:45) until Sunday morning when an angel came and opened the tomb (see Matthew 28:1-6, Mark 16:1-6, Luke 24:1-6, John 20:1-9). Since they measured their daytime hours from 1-12, the 9th hour would have been equivalent to our early evening. Early Sunday (the 1st day of the week) morning would have been shortly after sun-rise. This means Christ was likely only in the spirit world for around 40 hours (or at least as we understand time here on earth – plus or minus a few hours of course).
During this short time, Christ was not idle. We get a hint of what he was doing from Luke 23:43 when Jesus says to the other men on the crosses next to him: “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”
From Doctrine and Covenants, Section 138 we can learn about what Jesus was up to while he was in the parasitical spirit world:
“The Lord taught, and gave [The righteous] power to come forth, after his resurrection from the dead, to enter into his Father’s kingdom.” “Unto the wicked he did not go, and among the ungodly and the unrepentant . . . his voice was not raised . . . But behold, from among the righteous, he organized his forces and appointed messengers . . . [to] proclaim liberty to the captives who were bound, even unto all who would repent of their sins and receive the gospel.” – D&C 138:51, 20, 30–31.