Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Third Day

On which day did the Lord Jesus Christ rise again from the dead?
The Lord Jesus Christ rose again from the dead on the third day (1 Cor 15:4; Luke 24: 7, 21, 26; Acts 10:40).

Why does Scripture speak of resurrection after three days as well as on the third day?
Scripture speaks of the resurrection as upon the third day most frequently which assumes only 1 day and 2 nights intervening between the day of His death and His resurrection. Scripture uses the same expression in other instances e.g. Luke 2:46 “after three days” which means the third day. According to the divine commandment circumcision was to be on the eighth day after birth which would allow for only six whole days intervening, but Scripture says that Christ was circumcised after eight days – it is plain however that both expressions mean the same thing (Luke 2:21). Three days and the third day are therefore to be regarded as equivalent.

How do the Scriptures prophesy of Christ's rising from the dead on the third day?
By types, prophecies and the words of Christ Himself.

Who were the types of Christ's rising from the dead on the third day?
Jonah, who was in belly of the fish for 3 days and nights (Matt. 12:40). Even so Christ was taken out of the jaws of death and restored to the land of the living. Isaac was to Abraham dead for 3 days while he prepared to sacrifice him and he was restored to life in a figure (Gen. 22:4; Heb. 11:19).

What else was a type of Christ's resurrection on the third day?
1.Moses receiving the law (Ex. 19:11, 15-16, 20) when it was said that “the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai”and that the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount.
2.Under the ceremonial law purification from the pollution of death was effected on the third day (Num. 19:12, 19; 31:19).
3.The peace-offerings had to be eaten before their corruption the third day (Lev. 7:15-18; 19:6-8). Thus Christ did not see corruption in the grave (Ps. 16:10).
4.The first-fruits were offered the day after the sabbath of the Passover (Lev. 23:10-12), which was the exact day on which Christ arose. One sheaf was selected as the best and waved before the LORD in the name of all the rest. Thus Christ is the firstfruits “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.” (1 Cor. 15:20 & 23). It was on the third day of creation that the earth brought forth her fruit (Gen. 1:11-12), these were the very first firstfruits.

Where is Christ's resurrection on the third day prophesied?
Hosea prophesies of Christ's resurrection “After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” (Hos. 6:2-3). David prophesies of it in Psalm 16:10 in making it clear that the Messiah would not see corruption in the grave (Acts 2:27). The Lord Jesus Christ refers to these in Luke 24:46.

Where does Christ predict His rising again from the dead on the third day?
He speaks most frequently of rising on the third day (Matt. 16:21; Matt. 17:23; Matt. 20:19; Mark 9:31; Mark 10:34; Luke 9:22; Luke 18:33; Luke 24:7) and on two occasions of rising after three days (Mark 8:31; John 2:19).

Who, besides the disciples, were witnesses that Christ rose on the third day?
The soldiers who guarded the tomb until the third day (Matt. 27:64).

Why did Christ rise on the third day?
If He arose suddenly and immediately it would be open to question by doubters that He may merely have swooned and revived without dying completely. It was necessary therefore to assure all that He did die and then arose from the dead. Lazarus arose from the dead after 4 days by which time his body had entered into corruption as expected (Jn. 11:39). Christ rose on the third day without His body entering into corruption because it was preserved by His divine nature to which it was still united though parted from His human soul.

How does Christ's resurrection on the third day relate to the sabbath?
Christ rested in the grave on the Old Testament sabbath but rose again on the first day of the week to sanctify the Christian sabbath, thus preserving the commandment but changing the day. Christ rested from His works of laying the foundation of the New Creation in and by His resurrection. The Christian sabbath remains then, as a pledge of our future full entering into His rest (Heb 4:9-10).

Why was the day changed?
For His own honour and service and to mark the completion of redemption, Christ, who is the Lord of the Sabbath, has appointed this day above that of the Creation sabbath - which was connected with the Covenant of Works. The rest of Creation was spoiled by the Fall, but the rest of Redemption can never be marred. Redemption is therefore a far greater and more excellent work than even that of Creation. The yearly calendar was changed after the Exodus (Ex. 12:2 and Deut 5:15), yet the redemption wrought by Christ was greater therefore a change in the day is equally appropriate.

How can the change of the Sabbath from the last to the first day of the week be proved from Scripture?
(See Fisher's Catechism).
1.the Lord Jesus Christ after His resurrection, met ordinarily with His disciples on the first day of the week;
2.after the ascension, He poured out His Spirit in an extraordinary manner on that day;
3.the apostles honoured this day above all others for the public worship in their example
4. by command of the apostles this day was to be kept for Sabbath service
5.this day is given the special title of the Lord's Day