From the Easter Day 2015 sermon of Erlo Stegen at KwaSizabantu, South Africa:

Here in Durban there was a radical Muslim, Ahmed Deedat. He was determined to conquer South Africa. He founded the IPCI, and held large meetings where he said that Christianity was wrong, Jesus never died and never rose from the dead and made many other inflammatory claims. He held many debates against Christians. In one such a debate he said that Jesus never claimed that He would rise from the dead. It was simply fabricated by Paul and Paul made it popular. Many Christians didn't know how to answer him, but Josh McDowell answered him that Jesus Himself said in Rev. 1:17-18 that He was dead and is alive for evermore.

Rev. 1:17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying to me, Do not fear, I am the First and the Last,

Rev 1:18 and the Living One, and I became dead, and behold, I am alive for ever and ever, Amen. And I have the keys of hell and of death.

Deedat didn’t know what to answer. There were many Indians in the audience and they cheered wildly. Deedat never raised that point again in a debate.

We must be armed with the Word of God, and if we meet Muslims, be ready to give them an answer (1 Pet 3:15).

Another point which they use a lot, is to claim that the sign Jesus predicted about Jonah was never literally fulfilled (Matt 12:40), in that Jesus was never three days and three nights in the grave, e.g. if He died on Friday then He was only two nights in the grave. In reply Josh McDowell said that in Gen 1, Esther 4 and in Matt 12 where He refers to being buried for three days and three nights, we must look at His prediction in the context of the time in which He lived.

Firstly, the Jews' measurement of days is that any part of a day is counted as a day and night, for example in Esther we read:

Est 4:16 Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me, and do not eat nor drink three days, night or day. My maidservants and I will also fast in the same way. And so I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law. And if I perish, I perish.

Est 5:1 And it happened on the third day, Esther put on royal clothing, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, across from the king's house. And the king sat on his royal throne in the royal house, across from the gate of the house.

Here in Esther we see that the instruction was that they fast three days and nights, but on the third day Esther already acted and their fasting would be over.

Secondly, in Genesis the Bible refers to "and evening and the morning was the first day". The Jews measured their days as starting in the evening, at 6 in the evening to be precise, and any part of a day is counted as the full day and night of that day.

Jesus died at about 3pm in the afternoon, so on Friday He was already dead and in the grave for almost three hours before the evening of the next day started. In the Jewish understanding any part of a day is counted as a day and night (and even in our own time measurement, for example if a child should be born at 11.59pm, his birthday would still be counted on that day, and if born the next minute his birthday would be counted with the next day. So whether you were born 12.01am or 11.59pm, almost 24h apart, your birthday would still be counted on that day!).

So those three hours on Friday would be counted as a full day and night, according to the Jewish reckoning. Then you have the full Saturday (counting from the evening) and then part of Sunday again (starting in the evening again, counted as a full day and night) when He arose. The full time in the grave would then be counted, as per the Jews way of timekeeping, as three days and nights.

Even though Deedat was shown his errors time and again, he refused to stop with his inflammatory remarks and even became more and more vocal, mocking Christ and the Bible etc. Indian pastors in Durban wrote a letter to Deedat in which they warned him to stop mocking our Lord Jesus Christ (you can find the full letter at the following site, ), and if he refused they will hand him over to God. Deedat read the letter and laughed, but not long after that he had a major stroke that affected him so badly that he couldn’t speak. He did not listen to God’s warning and God closed his mouth. I visited some friends of Deedat, before he had the stroke. I told them to speak to Deedat to come and visit me and stay at my house. I said to them I would not strive with him or preach to him, but simply that he observe me in my house, how I treat my wife and children and how we live here at KwaSizabantu. He never accepted the invitation. I was overseas when I received the message that he got the stroke. I sent a message to his relatives that I would like to visit him, either in hospital or at home. The king of Saudi Arabia sent a jet to fetch him and take him to the best specialists available, but they couldn’t help him. Soon after that he died. I don’t know how he will stand before the Judge of judges who said, "I was dead, but behold I am alive!”