Third day

leaves-241701_640Luke 24:46: “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,

The third day is a symbol of resurrection. When God was creating the world, the first living things (life bearing) was made on the third day (Genesis 1:1-13). God declared that the plants should come forth and cover the earth.

It was on the third day that Jesus rose from the dead (Luke 24:1-9, Matthew 28:1-8) and it was on the third day that Jonah was vomited from the belly of a large fish (John 1:17). It was after three days that Paul was blind after being struck down by a light from heaven, that his eyes was opened (Acts 9:9).

In the prophetic writings, Hosea said after two days God will revive us and third day he will raise us up that we may live in his presence (Hosea 6:2).

Even with a surface understanding of the concept of the death and resurrection of Jesus and what happens to us because of that, those words of Hosea is clearly understood as being a reference to the third day of the resurrection of Jesus. Let us now explore Hosea’s words further.

The third day is about God’s action

Everything is about God. God is the one who was in Christ reconciling the world to himself as the God of love (2Corinthians 5:12-21). We cannot save yourself.

God’s finger is all over history he worked to save man. Jesus told some people, my father has been working (John 5:17) active “behind the scene.”

When Adam and Eve sinned God, how they came about wearing the skin of the animal, was all about God’s initiative, God’s action.

Before then it is stated in the bible that God had said to man that he should eat the herbs and plants (Genesis 3) and not the animals, so to get animal skin would have been unthinkable for Adam. And without it he could not be well covered and would constantly be distracted by his nakedness.

So Adam could not have helped himself to the skin of animals, but God helped him when he could not help himself.

In the same way while we were yet sinners Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6-10), the righteous for the unrighteous. Christ died for us when we were helpless, so helpless we could not even cry for help. But he was thinking about us, looking out for us, to help us connect to his love, which is all we need. Even now the Holy Spirit is sent to convict us of sin (John 16:7-11), since we are blind to our own sin, heading for destruction. The Holy Spirit comes to make course correction.

Jesus came to the crippled man by the pool of Bethsaida. How long was he lame (John 5)? Thirty eight years. He could not even recognise Jesus to be his answer. But that did not matter. Jesus gave him the answer before the lame man asked the question. Jesus healed him without him asking. When Jesus spoke to the word of life to him, he came alive. So the dead, the spiritually dead, Jesus says, will hear his voice and those who hear will live (John 5:1-13).

Paul said people do not get born-again, except they hear the preaching of the word (Romans 10:5-13). The word Christ is manifested to save the unsaved at the preaching of the gospel (Romans 1:16).

So Jesus send people to get many saved, and he is still doing that, people dedicated solely to the preaching of the gospel because the time was short, the time of grace (2Corinthians 5:11), and because of his love.

Jesus is the one who has come to seek to save the lost (Luke 19:10), leaving his cosy, glorious home in heaven. He sacrificed himself, and we only have to partake of him (John 6:51). In his life time, he showed us what to do after he was gone, by going to the various villages seeking the people to help them with the truth, to reveal Jesus to them (Luke 10:1). He is revealed as the help we have been looking for, in everything.

The third day is a journey

That Hosea verse said: the first two days he will revive us and on the third day we would stand in his presence. Juxtapose that with what Peter said that with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years a day (2Peter 3:6-18).

From the words of Hosea, it is on the third day that Jesus will come back for us to stand in his presence.

The bible say that the dead in Christ and those who are alive, will hear the trumpet sound and they will resurrect to stand in his presence (1Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1Corinthians 15). That time has not yet come, but it will come in the third day which is after 2000 years from the ascension of Jesus, the day on which his actual physical presence was withdrawn from humanity for a season.

And on that day, it was declared: this Jesus who you see taken up to heaven, will in the same manner come back (Acts 1:9-11), i.e. in “three days’ time,” starting from then, based on the words of Hosea.

Right now Jesus do appear to people individually, but there has not been any record like what happened as Jesus appeared to 500 people in his resurrected body before his ascension (1Corinthians 15:3-9). So his appearing is still limited, maybe in dreams, visions.

But on the third day we, in a collective sense, will be raised up. That means we will be in our resurrected body which nobody (apart from Jesus) has at this time (either in heaven or on earth) and we will stand before him in a collective sense in our resurrected body.

The day of the ascension is the start of the first day, the first thousand years in the three thousand years from the time of Jesus. Now do not get me wrong, I am not saying that Jesus will come back at the start of the third day, but he will surely come back in the third day, probably early in the day (which could be a few hundred years), because Jesus rose up early on the third day after he died.

Jesus will come back early in the third thousand years after his ascension. How early is not determinable, because no one knows the day of the hour (Matthew 25:13, Mark 13:32).

The third day is the millennium reign

There is coming a thousand years reign of Jesus. Don’t break your brain trying to find out when that will be. But that is the full third day, the full thousand years.

It will be as if the heaven received him, according to the scriptures (Acts 3:19-21), for two days, (when humanity was being revived, having life put into us, i.e. the believers) just as the belly of the earth had him for two days; and heaven will release him on the third day for the earth to experience his reign for a thousand years. What will happen on the earth then will be life resurrection from the dead. Then we will appear before life (John 1:1-5), as we are having live appearing in us now.

Be alert

meerkat-275967_640Luke 21:36: But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

How would you describe your level of alertness?

Jesus told the disciples: watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation (Luke 22:39-53). At that time because of Jesus’ watchfulness, he said: “this is the hour and power of darkness,” but the disciples were busy sleeping.

Their sense of their spiritual environment was poor. While Jesus was sensing things in the spirit, which should spur them to pray so they can overcome the plan of the devil, they were yielding to the flesh. According to natural time they should be sleeping, but according to spiritual timing they should be awake, praying. Being alert is about knowing what time it is in the spirit. The sons of Issachar, we were told, understood the times, knowing what Israel should do (1Chronicles 12:32). The disciples did not understand the times and so did not understand what they should do.

They thought that things were going to go on as it has been not knowing that things were about to be radically change (and already was in the spirit) and they were not prepared. They were not aware of the spiritual world.

Paul said that is an error, that if we are ignorant of the devices of the enemy he will take advantage of us (2Corinthians 2:11). When Eve was in conversation with the serpent, in her naïveté, she did not see into the true nature of the one she was conversing with and suffered for it (Genesis 3). She fell into temptation because she was not alert. She did not guard her heart with all diligence.

She was not aware of the spiritual dynamics around her, just as the disciples were not aware of the spiritual dynamics around them which caused Jesus be so distressed and be bent over in agony and in intense prayer.

While Jesus was going through what he was going through they could not shake sleep away. They were trapped by the natural call of sleep oblivious of the spiritual call to prayer.

Their spiritual vision were blocked, their spiritual sensitivity too, and they fell into temptation (fell in the time of trial). They could not respond the way Jesus did because they did not sense what he sensed. They were not watching in the spirit so they did not take prayer as important as they should. Peter said that we should be alert for the purpose of effective and passionate prayer.

Sleep is a symbol of lack of sensitivity, and spiritual deadness. In a parable that Jesus gave that while men slept the enemy comes to sow tears in a field in which you expect to see only wheat (Matthew 13:25). That means corruption of what is good happens when there is lack of spiritual sensitivity, lack of alertness. Paul wrote that the kingdom of God is not about eating and drinking but righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17), which aids alertness in the spirit.

Paul said we should awake to righteousness (1Corinthians 15:34), and not be caught unawares. Jesus said that in the last days the love of many shall wax cold, as they become influenced by iniquity (Matthew 24:12).

Hot is alert, and cold in lack of it, in spiritual slumber. And when righteousness is jettisoned it is a sign of spiritual slumbering, and entrapment.

The bible says that woe to those who are at ease in Zion (Amos 6:1-6), who are not grieving about the problem around, but even excusing them, seeking to flow with the increasing culture of sin around. Tolerating sin, not being grieved about the sin around, is a sign of spiritual slumber.

Elijah was grieved about the sinful state in Israel. He refused to readjust his sense of righteousness to accommodate the societal decay, so his love, passion for God, and consequently his love for righteousness did not wax cold.

Lack of prayer shows lack of alertness. If the disciple were praying then it means they were alert, they were in tune with the spiritual realm. Jesus lived his life alert because he lived his life as a praying person, he woke up early in the morning to pray (Mark 1:35), he prayed all night (Luke 6:12), while being baptised in water by John he prayed (Luke 3:21), on the cross he prayed (Luke 23:46).

To stay awake is more than just opening the physical eyes, it is about opening the spiritual eyes. It is not about seeing demons behind every tree, it is primarily about being aware that you are seated with God in Christ in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6).

It is taking prayer serious, not as something to do to pacify your conscience, but because you understand from scriptures that the days are evil (Ephesians 5:17), and you need to redeem the time, that we wrestle not against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:10-18), and we need to stand strong in prayer against principalities and power, against spiritual wickedness in high places, against beings with so thick an hatred for God.

But because they cannot get to God they presume they can get to you and they make attempted. Peter wrote that we should spiritual alert so that we do not become prey to the enemy (1Peter 5:8-9). And part of alertness is walking in the consciousness of the victory that you have in Jesus.

Prayer marks you apart as a seeker of God, and in one of the phrases that Jesus taught the people to pray, he said we should say to the father: lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil (Matthew 6).

Therefore prayer is the avenue to get deliverance from evil. It is the secret place of the most high, since Jesus’ prescription of prayer is something done in the secret place (Matthew 6). So when we pray we are in the secret place of the most high and David said that he who dwells in the secret place of the most high abides under the shadow of the almighty, where nothing negative can touch us (Psalm 91).

The latter words in Psalm 91 were declarations of assured protection for those under the shadow of the almighty. Amidst the evil around you will be protected because you dwell in the secret place of the most high and abide under his shadow at all times.

The call is to be on the guard all the time. Israel had to be on guard all the time. They were meant to be a nation with military might, so God allowed some nations to remain around, when they were conquering, to give them trouble, so that by the exercise of their military strength, they can get stronger.

God did not want a weak nation on his hands. He wanted them to be effective to know when the enemy was coming, how to deploy an army for victory. But most importantly, it is to constantly depend on God to stay alive, which would prevent pride from growing in them. They were to be on alert all the time, because of the enemy around, constantly guiding against them. That is the reason for walled cities.

In the focus verse, strength is needed for escape and the bible says that if you faint in the day of adversity that means your strength is small (Proverbs 24:10). It is not for fun that Paul wrote of the need for us to be strong in the lord and in the power of his might (Ephesians 6:10). That means though you can be a child of God, which is spiritual rebirth, spiritual strength is another thing entirely.

The writer of the book of Hebrews complained about some people. He said when they ought to be teachers they still needed to be taught the basics of Christianity and can only take in milk (Hebrews 5:11-14). Increasing spiritual maturity is about increasing spiritual knowledge and ditto strength.

This is a call to commitment to spiritual growth. Peter said that we should grow in two areas: in grace and knowledge, and both are derived from Christ (2Peter 3:18).