How the Old Testament Prepares Us for the Third Day

The Gospel Coalition | 4/20/2019 | Staff
InLove4567 (Posted by) Level 3
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When I was a church teen in the 1990s, one of hottest new Christian bands was Third Day. The name seemed like a riff on the mainstream band Third Eye Blind, but we all know where it really came from. According to Paul’s gospel, Christ was “raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” This is “of first importance” (1 Cor. 15:3–5).

We all know that Christ rose on the third day. But we probably aren’t as familiar with the latter half of Paul’s statement, namely, that Christ was “raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:4). This wasn’t just something that happened in history; it was also prophesied in the Old Testament. Jesus himself says the same thing in Luke 24:46: “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead.”

Question - Christ - Day - Answer - Old

Which raises the question, where? Where is it written that Christ would rise on the third day? To find the answer, we must remember that the Old Testament has more than one way of pointing to Christ. We often think first of explicit predictions (e.g., Mic. 5:2). But we come up dry in our search for “Messiah raised on the third day” predictions. Because as far as I know, there are none.

The Old Testament has more than one way of pointing to Christ.

Old - Testament - Patterns - Slaying - Passover

But the Old Testament also points to Christ through typological patterns, such as the slaying of the Passover lamb and the building of the tabernacle (1 Cor. 5:7; John 1:14). These are also things that Jesus fulfills. And I believe the “third day” Scriptures that Paul alludes to in 1 Corinthians 15:4 fall into this category.

In the Old Testament we find a pattern of God doing big things on the third day. Redemptive...
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