Key verses to be examined:
The Apostle Luke records the following:
Luke 24:46-47 “Then He said to them, ‘So it is written, and so the Messiah must suffer, and to rise from the dead on the third day’”.
Also, please read the following scriptures where Y'shua is speaking about the third day:
Matt. 17:22-23, Matt. 20:18-19, Mark 9:31, Mark 10:33-34, Luke 9:22, Luke 18:31-33. Furthermore it is
re-quoted by the Apostle Shaul (Paul) in I Corinthians 15:3-4: “For I delivered to you in the first place what I also received, that Messiah died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures.”
In Addition, the significance of the third day is borne out in: Matt. 16:21, Matt. 27:64, Luke 24:7-8, and in Acts 10:40. In Luke 13:32 Yeshua is journeying toward Jerusalem and seems to be pointing out that on the third day, from when He was speaking, He would be perfected in Jerusalem, signifying that in Jerusalem He would face death, which brought about His perfection; for this was why He was sent; to be the Lamb of God.
The key point here is, “according to the Scriptures.” I would challenge for anyone to show me where there is a direct quote in the TeNaKh (Old Testament) that says that the Messiah would die and rise again on the third day. There isn’t one! So, what was Yeshua, the Apostle Shaul, and the writers of the Brit Hadashah (New Testament) referring to? They seemed to understand something that perhaps we don’t quite understand, and it has everything to do with “the third day.”
According to Hebraic understanding there are four levels of prophetic statements in the scriptures:
(1) Direct, specific statements; these are the easiest for us to grasp
(2) Prophecy by analogy- these are acts of Israel or God that typify the Messiah. An example would be
"Out of Egypt I called My Son" (Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:15)
(3) Prophecy by similarity-This would be following ancient events that are prophetically similar
to later events; for example--"A voice was heard in Ramah, ..."
(Jer 31:15; Matt 2:17-18)
(4) The concealed, deepest level of understanding which is only revealed by Yahweh.
In Hebrew these four levels are called: PaRDeS.
Pashat – the direct, literal meaning of scripture.
Remez – allegorical or hint level. The scripture or story is hinting at something more. An example would
be the stoning of Stephen.
Drash – hidden, secret or mysterious meaning of scripture or story. An example would be the parables.
Sod – secret or concealed level, the deepest level of understanding scriptures or stories. This “sod” level of understanding is given only to those who fear and obey Yahweh and seek after Him with all of their heart. This understanding is given only to those who Yahweh calls His own. A quick example would be
gematria; the understanding of Hebrew numbers.
This having been said, the “third day” could probably fall under the category of the Remez level, initially, as well as the Drash and Sod levels.
Let’s examine the significance of the third day in scripture and why it is so important for us to understand, especially in light of our Messiah and what He accomplished.
Whenever you are reading a story in scripture and you come across the term, “third day” you should automatically be led to understand that a restoration/deliverance or divine intervention has or is taking place. We will be examining many scriptures and stories in scripture to prove, beyond a doubt, this concept, and then we will see what Yeshua restored or delivered on the “third day”. To the best of my ability I have tried to include every scripture in the Word where the term third day occurs. For this study, and for time sake, there are some scriptures that I will not be giving much time too for the listed reasons:
Leviticus (7:17-18, Lev. 19:6-7) these scriptures refer to sacrifices not remaining until the third day. Anything remaining of the sacrifice was not to be eaten on the third day, but it was to be burned. This could signify that on the third day, a restoration was in order and no old food that could potentially cause sickness could be eaten. God wanted only the best for His priests, not three day old food.
Numbers 19:12, 19, 20 and Numbers 31:19 these scriptures refer to the cleansing process which was to begin on the third day; this was a deliverance and restoration within itself, from uncleanliness.
Numbers 7:24 this scripture only mentions the third day in regards to 12 days of sacrifices, each tribal leader making sacrifices before Yahweh. This is the only scripture that contains the phrase “third day” that doesn’t fit into the restoration or deliverance scenario; at least not one that quickly comes to my mind.
Joshua 9:17 – this scripture records how the children of Israel came into Gibeon and certain other cities, on this side of Jordan, on the third day. This was a deliverance of the promised land into their hands just as God had promised.
For more clarity, the entire story should be read instead of just the verses listed.
Genesis 22:4 Interesting that this should be the first place in scripture that we encounter the term. We all know this story and its implications. Here, on the third day, Yahweh provided for Himself a sacrifice, (verse 8) pointing to the Messiah Yeshua who was to come. There was a restoration that took place here; Isaac's life was not taken, but restored. Abraham’s family was restored. In the future, on the third day, Yeshua would restore/deliver our lives and God would indeed fulfill this promise to provide for Himself a sacrifice, Yeshua His spotless Lamb! This is the crux of the entire story and understanding of the third day. This is why Yeshua had to die, as the Lamb of God, and arise on the third day, a prophetic picture, not a direct (Pashat)meaning in scripture but the deeper levels of understanding of scripture. This is a Messianic story and we are given it here, very early in scripture, and we are even told about the third day. Rabbi’s have long understood this story to have Messianic prophecies and a resurrection on the third day. It is clearly understood that even if Abraham had killed Isaac, God would have risen him back up, because he was the promised seed. Paul understood this when he made the statement in Hebrews 11:19. Abraham himself understood this also, when he told his servants to wait at the base of the mountain because he and Isaac would return. With this understanding it is easy to understand the words of Yeshua in Luke 24:46-47 and the Apostle Paul’s in I Corinthians 15:3,4. Also, Yeshua most certainly understood the Sod level of understanding in the scripture where He, the Lamb of God, would be the sacrifice for the people and would be restored on the third day. After his resurrection his disciples also understood the deeper meaning of this scripture and the third day resurrection. Just as Isaac’s life was restored, Yeshua suffered as the Lamb that was provided but He was restored to life on the third day, just as Isaac was. Isaac was a picture here of Messiah.
Genesis 31:22 Here we have the story where Jacob flees from Laban, with his 2 wives and all of his children and possessions. He fled, and was successful, on the third day. On the third day in this story we see that Jacob was restored/delivered to return to his own land, where Yahweh had instructed him to return. (Gen. 31:3)
Genesis 34:25 Although this story is one where Jacob bears much grieve over the actions of two of his sons, Simeon and Levi, we do find that the reason for their actions was to right a wrong that had been done to their sister, Dinah. On the third day they carried out their deed to restore Dinah back to her family and to seek revenge on those who had defiled her. Once again a restoration/deliverance takes place, that of Dinah. (Her honor and that of her family was restored, for the wicked deed done to her) To Simeon and Levi this was a way to restore honor to Dinah and the family.
Genesis 40:20-23 In this story about Joseph we see that a restoration took place, on the third day, of the chief butler.
Genesis 42:17-18 In this story about Joseph and his brothers, we find that on the third day Joseph releases his brothers, except one, from prison and allows them to return home to their Father to bring their youngest brother back to him. His plan for restoring his family begins to take shape on this third day. Joseph also restores their money in their sacks (verse 25, 35)
Exodus 19:10 -11, 15-16 In this story we find Israel at Mt. Sinai and Yahweh instructs them that on the third day He will come down and be present with them. There is definitely a restoration taking place in this story. Yahweh is restoring his children back to Himself, by giving them the Torah, after they have been defiled by the things of Egypt for 430 years. He comes to them for restoration/deliverance on the third day.
Judges 20:30 Here we find that the tribe of Benjamin is being punished for its outright and blatant sin before Yahweh, of homosexuality and etc., and the tribes of Israel defeat the tribe of Benjamin on the third day. Notice how God lets the armies of the other tribes be defeated by the tribe of Benjamin for the first two days, but on the third day God delivers Benjamin to them. (Read entire story Judges 19:22-21:25) In the end of the story, the tribe of Benjamin is restored. I am not saying that they all completely repented of their sins, but their tribal rights were restored to them, maintaining their integrity as a tribe of Israel.
I Samuel 20:1-42 (key verses 5, 12, 16,19,27) This story is about the loyalty of Jonathan to David. On the third day their covenant would be set in place. David’s life would be spared (delivered) by the loyalty of his friend; on the third day.
I Samuel 30:1 In this story Ziklag (a town in southern Judah) was attacked and destroyed by the Amalekites. Two of David’s wives, and other women of Israel, were taken captive. David discovers this wicked deed on the third day and he goes out to fight and win against his enemies on the third day and destroys them and recovers (delivers and restores) the women, his wives and the other possessions of Israel.
2 Samuel 1:2 In this story David learns of the death of King Saul on the third day after his death. David knows that now the kingdom will be his according to the word of Yahweh given to him by Samuel. A deliverance of the Kingdom has come to David. David would not touch God’s anointed; He waited on God to deal with Saul, but he knew that as soon as Saul was taken away, that the kingdom would be his.
I Kings 3:16-28 (key verse 18) This story is about two women who argue over the rights to the same baby. It is the wisdom of King Solomon who solves the problem. A restoration takes place, on the third day, as King Solomon restores the baby to its rightful Mother.
I Kings 12:12-19 (key verse 12) On the third day, in this story, the Northern Kingdom is delivered into the hands of Jeroboam according to the word of Yahweh.
2 Kings 20:1-8 (key verses 5and 8) In this story King Hezekiah’s life and Kingdom is restored to him as Yahweh gives him another 15 years to live. Where is the first place that he is to go? To the temple to be pronounced clean by the priest. He would have been unclean because he had boils on his body. On the third day he is made whole, when his sickness of boils is gone and he is able to go up to the house of God and be pronounced clean by the priests. A complete restoration of Hezekiah occurred on this third day.
Ezra 6:15 In this story the second temple is completed and dedicated on the third day. A restoration of the temple in Jerusalem has taken place.
Esther 4: 16- 5:1 This is a familiar story where Esther goes before the King on the third day, and delivers/restores her people from destruction.
Hosea 6:1-3(key verse 2) In this prophecy we can clearly see that a resurrection/restoration will occur on the third day. Rabbi’s have long understood this to mean that in the future a restoration/resurrection of the people of Israel will happen on the third day. This scripture has always held Messianic understanding. They understood that it would be the Messiah that would deliver on the third day. We are now living in the third day of the last days. In a seven day (1000 years each) prophetic timeline, Yeshua came in the fourth day. The 5 and 6 days would be the last days. It has now been over two thousand years since Yeshua, so we are now beyond the two days, according to our count. Yeshua will return and restore/deliver us at some time during the third day, ushering in the 7th day, his millennial reign and Shabbat. This scripture, along with the one in Genesis 22, is used to explain why the deeper meaning of scripture here would indicate a resurrection on the third day of the Messiah, the suffering servant who would deliver Israel. We see here that on the second day (day 6) Yahweh will start to revive us, by bringing us back to Torah, which is happening, and on the third day he will raise/restore us. Just as he rose on the third day. It is interesting that the Targums of this verse in Hosea interpret it this way: "on the third day of the resurrection of the dead he will raise us up that we may live before him".
Some Brit Hadashah (New Testament) passages to examine:
John 2:1 On the third day, in this story, Yeshua restores the wine that was all gone. His first miracle. He saved the Master of the feast here, who had run out of wine.
Acts 27:19-25 (key verse 19) In this story Paul and his companions are delivered from death on the third day, so long as they remain on the ship. Isn’t it interesting that we are living in the third day, but we must stay on the ship or else we will perish. Many will abandon ship on the third day, for many reasons, but if we want to be spared, we must stay on the ship.
Now, all of the scriptures listed at the top of the page show us that the Messiah died, was buried and rose again on the third day; ON THE THIRD DAY, not after the third day. Every one of the scriptures and stories that we have been studying show us that these restoration/deliverance events happened on the third day; not after the third day. If these events happened after the third day, then it would be the fourth day. It is what happens on the third day that is significant. The third day represents restoration and deliverance. There is a clear pattern of the “third day” that we should see in scripture.
We still have one more scripture in the Bible that contains “third day” to examine, Luke 24:21, but we will discuss it at the end of this lesson.
What did Yeshua restore us from or what did He deliver us from, on the third day? He delivered us from DEATH!!!!!!! To understand this we must go back to the beginning. (Declaring the end from the beginning - Isaiah 46:10)
In Genesis, we find that God told Adam and Eve that if they ate from the tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil that they would surely die. They did, spiritually and physically. We all died spiritually and physically because of their sin, and our own.
There is a long understood Hebraic and Christian understanding that the phrase, “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel”, Genesis 3:15, is a Messianic prophecy. It is believed, through the deeper level of understanding scripture, that Adam and Eve expected this deliverance to come quickly. Early in the Bible we get a glimpse of Yahweh’s plan for restoring humanity to Himself through this scripture.
When Seth was born Eve chose a name for him which meant : compensation, granted, appointed; as in a prayer or hope that has been answered. Seth was regarded as the line of good or righteous. Some Bible commentators believe that Eve understood that it would be Seth who restored mankind to God. Since the Fall, a righteous seed of man has been anticipating the day when fallen man would be restored to their Creator. Death is the payment for sin and the Bible says, “the wages of sin is death.” Although, this son Seth did not deliver mankind, the righteous seed that would come from Him did complete the task. So in essence, Eve’s understanding of Seth’s prophetic destiny was correct.
On the third day, Yeshua took back the keys to death and the grave and restored to us eternal life. By restoring life, Yeshua fixed the problem that occurred in Genesis. Satan crushed His heel, but He crushed Satan’s head, when He defeated death. Satan could not hold Yeshua in death. Yeshua tells us that, through Him, we will not have to partake of the second death. Those who experience the second death will not get to participate in His life giving restoration and deliverance; that was accomplished when He conquered death on the third day. So, on the third day a restoration and deliverance, for us, took place when He arose and conquered this nasty death that entered the world back in the beginning. He defeated DEATH! Now we can be restored to our Heavenly Father, because of the third day. If Yeshua did not arise on the third day, then all of our faith would be in vain. His resurrection is the hope of our glory.
Maybe we should begin to pay attention to some of the third days in our lives!
The last “third day” scripture that we will look at is in Luke 24:13-35 (key verse 21). The whole story is called The Road to Emmaus. After he arose, Yeshua walks along the road with two believers who were not aware of whom He was. One of them states that today is the third day since these things happened. We know that this day was indeed the first day of the week, our Sunday, because it would have been firstfruits. Yeshua did arise on firstfruits, because He was the firstfruits of the resurrection.
So, what day did Yeshua die on? Some believe Friday, Thursday and some believe Wednesday. Many are adamant that He died on our Wednesday using the words of Yeshua that like Jonah He would be three days and three nights in death, or the belly of the fish for Jonah.
I have my opinion, like everyone else; that I would like to share. Some people believe that it doesn’t matter. To me, everything in scripture matters. God has always been in the details, so I like details. For what it is worth, I believe that we can learn when He died based on the third day principle.
We have already read the scriptures relating to the importance of the third day, but there were some details that we did not discuss. Those details reveal something to me, maybe not to you, but to me. For me, they reveal the day that He died. How did God count three days, how did He arrive at the third day?
In Leviticus 19:6: here you have day one listed as the same day, and the second day listed as the next day. Then you have the third day. So, what you have is today, tomorrow and then the third day.
Exodus 19:10-11. Again, you have first day-today, and tomorrow-second day, then comes the third day. So, again we see today, tomorrow, and then the third day. Luke 13:32-33 Again, today, tomorrow then the third day. I Samuel 20:12 and 27 Here we have the same scenario; today, tomorrow and then the third day. This is exactly the way that we would count days.
Remember, restoration and deliverance occurs on the third day. That means that the event happens on the third day. You need to consider that for practical purposes each day has 24 hours. This principal is in Genesis at creation.
Three days is 72 hours. That means that if something is to occur on the third day that it must occur between 48 and 72 hours for it to happen on the third day, otherwise, if it goes beyond 72 hours then the event is happening on the fourth day. If Yeshua died on Wednesday around 3 in the afternoon, then his three days of being dead (72 hours) would be up at the same time on Saturday. After 3 pm on Saturday, He would be entering His fourth day of being dead. However, if He died around 3 pm on Thursday then His three days (72 hours) would not end until Sunday at 3 pm. Hence, if He arose at the changing of the days between Saturday and Sunday, as most everyone believes Hebraically, then He did in fact arise on the third day, because the second day (48 hours) had ended on Saturday afternoon and the third day had already begun.
The Jonah prophecy said three days and three nights in death, this is literally what it means, being dead, not just buried. Everyone should know by now that Hebraically any part of a day counts. The third day is today, tomorrow and then the third day. There is no way to get that if He died on Wednesday, but Thursday there is. From Wednesday, you would have Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday days since death, that is four days. Then you would have Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights plus the beginning of Saturday night. Again that is 4 nights Hebraically and way over 72 hours. You would be in the fourth day at this point.
If He died Thursday, one would have Thursday, Friday and part of Saturday night (because the sun set before He arose- this counts Hebraically) as the third night. Three days Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and again you fall within the 72 hours. Also, today, tomorrow and the third day would apply from Thursday as well but not Wednesday when you count 24 hour periods.
I believe He arose on the third day, within a 48 to 72 hour time period, but not over 72 hours which would be the fourth day.
He had to arise ON THE THIRD DAY, not after the third day! His resurrection brought forth a restoration and deliverance for His people.