Luke 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.
- ‘Christ Ascended For Us’ by Nick Needham (creationtonewcreation.com)
- The Ascension marks our new beginning in Christ (catholicherald.co.uk)
- Reasoning from the Scriptures Review “The Return of Christ” by Jason Wright (watchtowerinvestigated.co.uk)
- This Very Moment. Luke 23:42-43. (holyessays.wordpress.com)
- What is Christianity? (faithbibleministriesblog.com)
- Resurrection (growmighty.wordpress.com)
- 1 Kings 1-2, 1 Corinthians 15 (vesselsofclay.org)