Apostolic Preterist

Coming to the 3rd day

Coming to the third day

When I think about the third day in the bible, I think differently then a lot of people who have written on the same subject. My Pastor, Pastor Wilson. Taught me about the 3rd & 2nd day. After that I started seeing the patterns all throughout the bible. When I think about all of the threes in the bible and the twos it blows my mind. I think the most important one is Jesus' death burial and resurrected life and how we should be living a spiritually mature life, which is what walking in the third day is. Jesus was crucified on April which is the month of Nissan in the bible. He was 33 years old. It was 30 A.D. He died at 3 PM. Nissan is the 3rd month of the year. He 1. died 2 .and was buried and 3. resurrected that is a set of three. You also have a set of three when he got the keys from 1.death,2. Hell 3.and the grave.

In the Old Testament:

  • It is the first of the four so called perfect numbers: 3 (divine perfection), 7 (spiritual perfection), 10 (ordinal perfection), and 12 (governmental perfection).  

  • The earth was separated from the waters on the 3rd day.

  • There are 3 Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel.

  • The 3 verses of the Priestly Blessing in which YHWH, God's holy covenant name, appears 3 times (Numbers 6:24-26).

  • 3 times the cry "Holy, Holy, Holy" (Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8).

  • After the Great Flood mankind descended from the 3 sons of Noah: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

  • 3 "men" announced to Abraham that his barren wife would bear a son (Genesis 18:14).

  • Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his son after a 3-day journey to Mt. Moriah (Genesis 22:1-4).

  • Baby Moses was hidden by his mother for 3 months (Exodus 2:1), and the adult Moses requests of Pharaoh that he let Moses take his people on a 3 day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifice to their God (Exodus 3:18).

  • There were 3 divisions of the desert Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem: the Outer Court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies (Exodus 27:9; 26:1-30, 35-37; 31-34; 38:9-20; 21-31; 40:1-33; 1 Kings 6:1-37).

  • God came down on Mt. Sinai on the 3rd day after the people arrived.(Ex 19:11)

    God is mentioned 3 times in the first profession of faith in Deuteronomy 6:4 and 3 times in the blessing in Numbers 23:24.

  • Of the 7 Holy Feasts of the Sinai Covenant, 3 are pilgrim feasts in which every man 13 years or older must present himself before God at the Temple in Jerusalem (Exodus 23:14-17; 34:18-23; Deuteronomy 16:5-17; 2 Chronicles 8:13).

  • The Tabernacle of Moses had 2 cherubs one represented the father, one represented the Holy Spirit and the mercy seat is where Jesus rested, but it was all made of one solid piece of gold representing the oneness of the God head.

  • Jonah spent 3 days in the belly of the great fish (Jonah 1:17); Jonah took a 3 day journey across the city of Nineveh (Jonah 3:3)

  • The three Hebrew boys thrown into the fiery furnace and not burnt not even their clothes

In the New Testament:

  • Jesus' ministry covered 3 Passovers (John 2:14, 6:4; 12:1).

  • Mary stayed with Elizabeth about 3 months (Luke 1:56).

  • Jesus was missing for 3 days when He was twelve the number for government years old (Luke 2:46).

  • Jesus took 3 men, Peter, James and John, up on the Mt. of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1; Mark 2; Luke 9:28).

  • Jesus prophesized that He would arise from the dead on the 3rd day (Matthew 16:21: 17:23; 20:19; Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:34; Luke 9:22; 18:33).

  • Saul was blinded for 3 days (Acts 9:9).

  • There are 3 virtues: faith, hope, and charity (1 Corinthians 13:13).

  • The heavenly Jerusalem has 3 gates on each of its four sides (Revelation 21:13)

  • The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is three in one.(Matthew 28:19-20).

  • The Dragon, Beast, false prophet in Revelation, that represented the false Godhead.

  • Three people including Jesus where crucified at Mt. Calvalary.

  • 3 is also recognized in the story of Esther. Esther and the Israelites fasted & prayed 3 days before Esther appeared before the king to ask for him to spare her and her people the Jews, on the 3rd day.

    In the symbolic language of the Bible, a three day period points to an act of divine intervention which impacts Salvation History.  Genesis 22:4 records that Abraham's journey to Mt. Moriah to offer his son in sacrifice, as commanded by Yahweh, was a three day journey.  In the Matthew passage Jesus refers to three days, applying the significance of the three day period to His resurrection and man's redemption.  In the Gospels Jesus often spoke of a three day period prophesying His sacrifice and resurrection. (2)


Examples of the third day

Yahweh (God) told Abraham to take his son Isaac to the land of Moriah where he is to offer his son in sacrifice (Genesis 22:1-4): It happened some time later that God put Abraham to the test.  'Abraham, Abraham!' he called.  'Here I am,' he replied.  God said, 'Take your son, your only son, your beloved Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, where you are to offer him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I shall point out to you.'  Early the next morning Abraham saddled his donkey and took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac.  He chopped wood for the burnt offering and started on his journey to the place which Gods had indicated to him.  On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance.  It is On the third day that Abraham arrived and saw the place in the distanceInstead of permitting the sacrifice of Isaac, God intervenes and commands Abraham to sacrifice a ram in the place of his son.  Isaac is redeemed, and he who was as good as dead was raised up and restored to his father on the third day.  The "three days" imagery in this event prefigures the sacrifice and resurrection of Isaac's descendant Jesus the Messiah.

Sometimes this symbolic expression for divine intervention and restoration after a time of trial is expressed as "on the third day" and at other times as "after three days."  It was after the third day that the Pharaoh's cup bearer was restored to his former position as Joseph had prophesied in Genesis 40:12-23.  Another reference to restoration on the third day is found in Hosea 6:1-2 where Yahweh tells His prophet a time will come when His covenant people will acknowledge their sins and seek redemption and restoration, as they cry out Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn, that he may heal us; he has stricken, and he will bind us up.  After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. 

Paul is one of the examples that is very interesting to me. God appeared to him and blinded him physically. He was already blind spiritually. He allowed him to stay that way for 3 days. On the third day Paul 1. Repented 2. Was baptized 3. Was filled with the holy spirit. Lets read Hosea 6 again Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for He hath torn, and He will heal us; He hath smitten, and He will bind us up. 2 After two days will He revive us: in the third day He will raise us up, and we shall live in His sight. 3 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" (6:1-3).

The apostles and disciples were all living and walking in a third day life, even though it was only the 2nd day of this prophecy. I believe this scripture is showing us that there is a place in God that we can be in where we are living in a third day of spiritual maturity.

The use of 3 in the bible


It should be noted at the outset that the biblical authors’ use of the number three is abundantly attested. Indeed, the number three or its compounds occurs hundreds of times. Most of these display a conventional use such as to mark quantity whether in enumerating persons, things, or activities. For example, Noah had three sons (Gen 6:10) and Job had three daughters (Job 1:2; cf. 42:13);20 The Ark of the Covenant contained three sacred objects ‘The gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant” (Heb. 9:4). Solomon’s Palace of the Forest of Lebanon was designed with windows “placed high in sets of three facing each other. All the doorways had rectangular frames; they were in the front part in sets of three, facing each other” (1 Kgs 7:4-5).21 Likewise, in John’s vision a triple entrance way marked all four sides of the city of the New Jerusalem (Rev 21:13). David “bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground” (1 Sam 20:41) and Daniel regularly prayed three times a day giving thanks to God (Dan 6:10, 13). Israelite men were required to appear before the Lord three times in a year: “Three times a year all your men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles” (Deut 16:16). Jesus answered Satan’s threefold temptation by citing three scriptural passages Matt 4:1-11). Paul experienced three shipwrecks (2 Cor 11:28) and prayed three times to the Lord for the removal of his “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor 12:7-8).

The number three appears often in measurements of time as well. For example, Moses and Aaron petitioned Pharaoh, “Now let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God” (Exod 5:3; cf. Exod 3:18; 8:27).22 The fleeing Hebrews went three days without finding water in the Desert of Shur (Exod 15:22). When the Hebrews had traveled from Mount Sinai for three days, the people began to complain (Num 10:33-11:1). When the Hebrews neared the Jordan River they were informed, “Three days from now you will cross the Jordan here to go in and take possession of the land the LORD your God is giving you for your own” (Josh 1:11; cf. 3:1-4). The men of Timnah were stumped by Samson’s riddle for three days (Judg 14:14) and King Rehoboam gave Jeroboam and the delegation of Israelite's a three day waiting period as he considered their petition for less stringent royal demands (1 Kgs 12:5; cf. 12:12).23 God promised David that he would have a Son that would build the temple instead of him and that it would be a kingdom that would never be destroyed.1. Saul 2. David 3. the third son of David was not physical Solomon but spiritual Jesus in that prophecy. Jesus was the was the son of David and he was the temple that would never be destroyed and he brought an everlasting kingdom. “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days” (John 2:16), a fact that his disciples later recalled (v. 22).

A three-month period also figures in some matters. Moses’ mother was able to conceal her baby for three months (Exod 2:3; cf. Acts 7:20; Heb 11:23) and the ark remained at the house of Obed-Edom for three months (1 Chron 13:14). In keeping with this the third month is often mentioned as one in which some significant action or event took place. Thus three months after Judah visited the supposed shrine prostitute, he learned that she was really his daughter-in-law Tamar who was pregnant with his child (Gen 38:24). Asa’s reforms were celebrated in Jerusalem in the third month of his fifteenth year of reign (2 Chron 15:10). Support for the priests of Hezekiah’s day was gained by means of a tithe which began “in the third month and finished in the seventh month” (2 Chron 31:7). Ezekiel received a message from the Lord concerning the fate of Egypt in the third month of the eleventh year of his exile (Ezek 31:1) and the Lord revealed through Amos, “I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away” (Amos 4:7).

In the New Testament record Jesus’ mother Mary visited Elizabeth, Zechariah’s wife, and stayed for three months (Luke 1:56). Paul stayed in Ephesus for three months and “spoke boldly” in the synagogue there (Acts 19:8), and subsequently stayed three months in Greece (Acts 20:3). Still later after the ship that was carrying him to Rome to stand trial was wrecked in a storm, he and his captives stayed on the island of Malta for three months (Acts 28:11).

A period of three years can be noted in the accounts of several biblical texts. In fact, Beyse suggests that “three years … play a more important role” than a period of three months.24 A three year period figures in the instructions to the Hebrews concerning their conduct after they enter the Promised Land: “When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, regards its fruit as forbidden. For three years you are to consider it forbidden; it must not be eaten” (Lev 19:23). As part of the Levitical stipulations with regard to the year of Jubilee the Hebrews were forbidden to sow or reap, to plant, reap or harvest in the fiftieth year for it was to be a holy year for them. In compensation the Lord promises “I will send you such a blessing in the sixth year that the land will yield enough for three years” (Lev 25:21). After the slaying of his brother, “Absalom fled and went to Geshur, he stayed there three years” (2 Sam 13:38). During David’s reign a three-year famine caused the king to seek “the face of the LORD” (2 Sam 21:1). David’s adversary Shimei (2 Sam 16:5-14) was spared by Solomon on condition that he was permanently confined to the city of Jerusalem (1 Kgs 2:36-38). Shimei obeyed this restriction for three years, but when two of his slaves fled from him, he left the city to retrieve them, an action that was to cost him his life (vv. 39-46). Every three years King Solomon’s trading fleet returned “carrying gold, silver and ivory, and apes and baboons” (1 Kgs 10:22).

Isaiah prophesied that “within three years … Moab’s splendor and all her many people will be despised, and her survivors will be very few and feeble” (Isa 16:14). Isaiah himself went “stripped and barefoot for three years, as a sign and portent against Egypt and Cush” (Isa 20:3). Daniel and his three friends were schooled for three years with regard to the language and literature of the Babylonians (Dan 1:3-5). A three-year period appears in some of the accounts of the New Testament as well. It figures in Jesus’ parable of the unproductive fig tree (Luke 13:7). The Apostle Paul spent three years in Arabia apparently to commune with the Lord and receive instruction from him before going to acquaint himself with Peter (Gal 1:18).

Appropriately, the third year is also singled out for special mention. The third year was special in that it was the “year of the tithe” (Deut 14:28; cf. Amos 4:4), which was to be collected for the needs of the Levites and the underprivileged members of society such as the foreigner , the widow, and the poor (Deut 26:12).25 During the reign of King Jehoshaphat of Judah because “his heart was devoted to the ways of the LORD,” in his third year of reign he sent officials to “teach in the towns of Judah” (2 Chron 17:6-7). The third year was also the year that Jehoshaphat went to meet King Ahab of Israel with regard to their joining forces in an effort to regain Ramoth Gilead from the Arameans (1 Kgs 22:1-5). Still later, during the Assyrian siege of Jerusalem God gave to Hezekiah a sign of deliverance and renewed activity (2 Kgs 19:29; cf. Isa 37:30). “For the third year … there was a direct divine command: ‘Sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat fruit.’ Here was direct assurance that the people might resume normal agricultural activities with full expectation of eating the fruits of their labor. When in the harvest of the third year the people ate in abundance, they would know assuredly that God had been in the entire crisis.”26

Three/Third Pattern

As mentioned above the concern of this study has more to do with the rhetorical and literary uses of the number three and in particular with the third day as a standard biblical motif. In connection with the former goal, it may be noted that one frequently encounters a threefold literary pattern in the Scriptures. Indeed, the prophecy of Hosea is replete with the author’s use of a threefold literary pattern. For example, Hosea lists three products of ancient Israel that were not only important to its economy, but were signs of God’s blessing: grain, new wine, and oil (Hos. 2:22; cf. 14:7; Joel 1:10; 2:18-19).
He also puts forward a threefold plea to Judah not to follow in the ways of the Northern Kingdom (Hos 4:15); condemns three areas of Israelite society: priests, prophets, and people (4:4-5) or prophets, people, and king (5:1); and speaks of groups of three cities: Gibeah, Ramah, and Beth-Aven (= Bethel) and three tribes: Benjamin, Ephraim, and Judah (5:8-10).

Metaphorically, Hosea depicts the Israelite king, his advisers, and their deceitful counsel as a baker, a hot oven, and a fire that smolders through the night but “in the morning blazes like a flaming fire” (7:4-7). He also prophesies against the Northern Kingdom by addressing Ephraim, Israel, and Samaria with its king (10:6-7); and portrays the Lord as a lily, cedar of Lebanon, and an olive tree (14:5) as well as picturing the Lord as comparing Himself to a lion, leopard, and a bear robbed of its cubs (13:7-8), while likening His restored people to a lion’s cubs, birds, and doves (11:10-11).31

As indicated above, many details in the Scriptures are enumerated in terms of the number three.32 In many cases, however, in addition to its conventional use, the number three carries with it accompanying implications or expectations. For example, “A cord of three strands is not easily broken” (Eccles 4:12). In context (vv. 9-12) the point is that there is strength in numbers. This was especially true for the traveler in the ancient Near East. Although a solitary traveler could easily fall victim to robbers along the way, a traveling companion could serve as a possible deterrent to a robber or provide a source of help.33

On Mount Carmel Elijah had the sacrifice doused with water three times to demonstrate that there was no human chance that the sacrifice could be consumed. Nevertheless, in answer to his prayer the Lord sent the fire, which “fell and burnt up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and licked up the water in the trench” (1 Kgs 18:38). Those in attendance at that event as well as those who later heard or read of it would naturally assume that Elijah’s actions were pointing to the fact that something significant—even spectacular—could be expected to follow.

Several other examples may be cited. Thus Balaam beat his donkey three times after which he was reprimanded by both his donkey and an angel of the Lord (Num 22:21-35). Further, Balaam later blessed Israel three times as Balak desired, after which Balaam uttered a fourth oracle warning of what lay in the future for Balak’s people (chs. 23-24). Elijah stretched himself over the dead body of the widow’s son while praying for the lad’s revivification (1 Kgs 17:21) and subsequently, “The LORD heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived” (v. 22).

Before Peter journeyed to Cornelius’ house, he was instructed via a vision three times to eat animals previously declared to be unclean (Acts 10:9-16). Peter was to realize the significance of the vision and so could later testify, “God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean” (Acts 10:28; cf. vv. 34-35).Jesus’ threefold restoration of Peter (John 21:15-17), who previously had denied Him three times (Luke 22:54-62) even as the Lord had predicted (Matt 26:34; Mark 14:30; John 13:38), tends to underscore the certainty of the Lord’s recommissioning of His disciple. Yet at the same time it provides the basis for further details concerning Peter’s future ministry. Indeed, the Lord went on to reveal the final end of that new period of service in Peter’s own crucifixion (John 21:18-19).

The evidence strongly suggest the biblical writers often employed the number three or wrote in patterns of three to provide a special emphasis that sought to engage their hearers/readers in exploring the full significance of the events or details of the passage at hand. Coming to the third day is what God wants all of us to do. The third day is when we cease from our works and our spiritually mature in Christ. With this background in mind, the study now turns to he second projected goal—the use of the number two in an upcoming Article.

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