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The Death Watch
An integral part of the teachings of The Prophet Of Galilee was that He would be in the Tomb "three days and three nights."
"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." (Matthew 12:40 KJV)
The prophecy of His death (see also The Sleep Of Death) was very specific, right down to the identification of those who would bring about His death.
"8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again." (Mark 8:31 KJV)
The body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit ("3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" 1 Corinthians 3:16 KJV), which not only makes God's true people God's true people, but the Holy Spirit in them is the means by which they will be resurrected, "born again," as children of God (see Why Were Humans Created Physical?). That is how the Christ described His death and resurrection.
"2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
Even the unbelievers' mocking of Him on the Cross (see Crossing The T) showed how they ignored what He plainly said to them - they jeered Him to fulfill the prophecy of His death, before He had died, while He was yet alive during the Crucifixion.
"27:39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, 27:40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.
"So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch"
The death of the Messiah was a public spectacle, for a purpose. In order for there to be witnesses of His resurrection, there had to be witnesses that He was dead. The people who killed Him knew that He was dead i.e. they "saw that he was dead."
"19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled [see The By-The-Book Messiah], saith, I thirst. 19:29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost [see Giving Up The Ghost].
The people who buried His Body knew that He was dead.
"19:38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. 19:39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight.
Even the Romans testified to the death of the Messiah because they ordered a guard on His dead body to appease the unbelievers who feared that someone would steal His dead body.
"27:62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation [i.e. the First Day of Passover/Unleavened Bread, not the regular weekly Sabbath - see the Fact Finder question below], the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,27:63 Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. 27:64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.
Fact Finder: On what day of the week did the Messiah die? On what day of the week did the Messiah rise from the dead?