The Open Scroll - Resurrection and the Third Day

Resurrection and the Third Day

By Bob Schlenker  (Prints about 9 pages)  updated 1/11/01

( Recommended background for this article:  The Master Overlay of Weeks )

While it should be no surprise to any of us that our Lord Jesus Christ - Y'shua HaMashiach was raised from the dead on the third day, the extent to which resurrection is associated with the third day certainly surprised me as I began to study the matter more deeply. In fact, the correlation between the subject of resurrection and the third in a series is so prominent in the Bible I can hardly believe it has been overlooked! As I researched the matter, drawing upon my knowledge base of prophetic symbolism, everywhere I found a reference to the third day (or to the third occurrence in a series) I noted either an obvious or a veiled reference to resurrection.

In this article, I'm going to explain a little about the range of interpretations given the phrase "the third day," then place several occurrences of the phrase on exhibit, establishing the connection between resurrection and the third day. The connection actually relates more fundamentally to the number three itself, as we will note the relevance the third of some occurrence in a series of three or more.

As I began to investigate this connection, it was like "pulling the thread" and watching the prophetic fabric of the scriptures unravel. I gained insight into prophetic scenarios that had previously been hidden from my view. In some of these newly discovered cryptic scenarios, I found various symbols I had learned in other studies, further validating their authenticity. In others, I learned additional prophetic symbols, extending my vocabulary of code words, if you will. The consistency in application of this prophetic vocabulary affirms its function as a decryption key, a valuable means of deciphering the messages intended for our learning.

In numerous other studies, I have built a case for the Bride theft being appointed for the third day of the famine week (at the point marking two and a half sevenths, which is in the middle of the third "day").This study of the connection between resurrection and the third day illuminates the scriptural bedrock upon which the timing of the Bride theft is predicated.

The Third Day of the Week

It seems appropriate to launch this study by defining what is meant by the word "day." Depending upon the context, it can refer to a portion of a day, a full 24 hour duration, a year or even a period of a thousand years. The phrase "third day" thus has a variety of meanings. For each occurrence of that phrase in scripture, one of the following and, as I intend to demonstrate, often more than one will apply.

After the second day but before the fourth - i.e. the whole 24 hour period.
Exchanging a day for a year as frequently applicable in prophetic language, it is during the third year.
Exchanging a day for a thousand years, it refers to the third millennium. (the years 3000-3999)

These are intervals - each a span of time. These specific units of time exist within the context of the larger unit known as a week.

The Seventh Day is a Third Day Too

There are two different points for beginning the count to the third day. The most obvious place to start counting is at the beginning of a week, but because we find many of the passages referring to the third day apply as well to the seventh day, a second initialization marker at the point of division between the fourth and fifth days must be acknowledged. In this alternate perspective, the seventh day is actually another third day.

If you think about this second dividing point in the context of the seven thousand years allotted for the fullness of time, it makes perfect sense that it should mark a new beginning for time. The history of the world pivots about that point and testifies to its importance. At the very close of the fourth millennium from Adam, a second Adam appeared; Y'shua. It is the appearance of this second Adam from which the counting begins anew for a fresh count of days. Our Gregorian calendar acknowledges this starting point and division of history by reason of the B.C. (Before Christ) designation and counts forward to the present with the notation A.D. (Anno Domini - In the year of the Lord). This point is identified as the 4/3 split in the Master Overlay of Weeks article. Thus, a reference to "the third day" may also extend to denote the seventh year (exchanging a day for a year) or the seventh millennium (exchanging a day for a thousand years).

The Purification Ritual

Before I proceed into the actual usages of the phrase under study, I'd like to show you how the the third and the seventh days are very specially bound together in the context of resurrection. A close look at the purification ritual will afford us some rare insight.
Whoever touches the dead body of anyone will be unclean for seven days. 12 He must purify himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third and seventh days, he will not be clean. 13 Whoever touches the dead body of anyone and fails to purify himself defiles the Lord's tabernacle. That person must be cut off from Israel. Because the water of cleansing has not been sprinkled on him, he is unclean; his uncleanness remains on him. Numbers 19:11-13 1

The man who is clean is to sprinkle the unclean person on the third and seventh days, and on the seventh day he is to purify him. The person being cleansed must wash his clothes and bathe with water, and that evening he will be clean.  Numbers 19:19
The above mentioned purifying water is a symbol of resurrection. Since the problem for which this purification ritual is the solution is contact with dead bodies, contact with "resurrection" makes a lot of sense! This water was actually mixed with special ashes, made in accordance with the following verse. Each of the seven items distinctly listed as being burned are shadows of The One who was the ultimate burnt sacrifice, sacrificed to make cleanse us wholly.
While he watches, the heifer is to be burned--its hide, flesh, blood and offal. 6 The priest is to take some cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet wool and throw them onto the burning heifer.  Numbers 19:5-6
Ashes are what remains after something has been entirely burned, and, like dust, represent the sum and substance of the flesh.  Consider the following verses in this regard.  (See also  Jeremiah 17:13 and John 4:10)
the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  Genesis 2:7

Then Abraham spoke up again: ‘Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes,’  Genesis 18:27

The LORD brings death and makes alive; he brings down to the grave and raises up. {7} The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. {8} He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.I Samuel 2:6-8a
As a general symbol then, ashes represent the humble status of the flesh, wherein dwells no "real" life. The ashes require water as a symbol of resurrection just as the dry bones of Israel in Ezekiel 37 require “breath” (ruwach) to come to life. The addition of fresh water to the ashes of the burnt sacrifice is a symbol of the resurrection of Y'shua.
For the unclean person, put some ashes from the burned purification offering into a jar and pour fresh water over them.  Numbers 19:17
This is the "water" that must be applied to others, serving to identify them with Y'shua in his death and resurrection - a matter very similar to baptism. This symbolic resurrection ritual must be done for the unclean person on both the third and seventh days.

So, in this purification ritual we have a clear correlation between resurrection and the third and seventh days! But, there's another interesting link I'd like to present in the specific context of the famine week. There is an allusion to the purification ritual found in Haggai 2. In the following passage, notice that the priests' knowledge about the matter of contact with a dead body is tested. This refers them back to Numbers 19 and the purification ritual.
On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai: 11 "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Ask the priests what the law says: 12 If a person carries consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, oil or other food, does it become consecrated?'" The priests answered, "No." 13 Then Haggai said, "If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?" "Yes," the priests replied, "it becomes defiled." 14 Then Haggai said, "'So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,' declares the LORD. 'Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled. 15 "'Now give careful thought to this from this day on --consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the Lord's temple. 16 When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. 17 I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me,' declares the LORD. 18 'From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid. Give careful thought: 19 Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. "'From this day on I will bless you.'"  Haggai 2:10-19
Haggai's prophecies refer specifically to the period immediately following the Bride Theft in the third day of the "famine week." The problems with Israel's defiled sacrifice will be brought to the Priests' attention. Reference to the matter of contact with a dead body directs them automatically to the Torah's solution to the problem, which is the purification ritual in Numbers 19. When they consider the solution for the dead body2 problem at  the "sod" level of rabbinic interpretation (types and symbols) the priests will be confronted with the resurrection of Y'shua.On the basis of this recognition, those of Israel symbolized by the fig tree, pomegranate and the olive tree will begin to bear fruit where they had previously suffered loss from blight, mildew and hail. Notice how emphatically the priests are directed to consider the day when the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid in verse 18: "give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the Lord's temple was laid. Give careful thought...
Well, when they put it together, confrontation with the resurrection of Y'shua is inevitable, being as the very cornerstone of the foundation of the Lord's temple.
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11

Third Day Resurrection Scenarios

Every resurrection from the dead rests upon the resurrection of our Lord as its foundation, for without his victory over death, no other could be rescued from its grasp. For this reason, I begin the body of this study with the third day references to our Lord's resurrection. His rising on the third day established the pattern for every resurrection.
We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death 19 and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!Matthew 20:18-19
This was prophesied even earlier as our Lord compared his fate to Jonah's.
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  Matthew 12:40
And of course, this happened in exactly that way, being confirmed by witnesses.
but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen--by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.  Acts 10:40-41

We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. Acts 10:39-40

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance : that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4
As we consider the following prophetic passage, the themes of suffering, rejection and death, can be seen to apply to our Lord, the Son of Man. I submit to you that even unto the resurrection on the third day, these will extend unto those would come after him. Though you may not agree on your first reading, you probably will on subsequent readings.
And he said, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life." 23 Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. 25 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? 26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.  Luke 9:22-26
Do you see how Y'shua brought the subject of his teaching right around to the topic of when he would come in his glory? Make note of it. He's talking specifically here about those we call martyrs. Their reward will be the world, given them for a kingdom. After, of course, they've been raised to life on the third day! But perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself.
After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.  Hosea 6:2
Additionally, there's an application of the above in resurrections appointed for both the third and seventh days of the famine week. The resurrection theme is already quite apparent on the surface, it can also be found in the verse as an Hebrew Letter Sequence encoding. The Hebrew word for "rapture" is found encoded within the phrase "on the third day" (b'yom hashlishi) at an interval of -2. It simply spells shilhuv. Plus, the biblical Hebrew rapture word natzal is found in that same phrase at an interval of 132! As an added bonus, precisely adjacent to that occurrence of natzal, (and therefore at the same interval of 132) we find the word shachah, which means "reverence, worship, praise."
At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, "Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you." 32 He replied, "Go tell that fox, 'I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.' 33 In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem! 34 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 35 Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"  Luke 13:31-35
Once again, the Lord follows up his statement about the third day by directing us to the last days when the religious leaders of the Jews would see him again. The kind of day that he must have been talking about is a millennial day, accounted as beginning from his time, at the beginning of the fifth day of the millennial week. That day on which he reaches his goal is a resurrection day. Resurrection is his goal, and it is only by resurrection that they will wee him again. At this late hour, the first two days are almost over, and the third day on which he will reach his goal is almost upon us! As in Acts 12, Herod is a symbol of the lawless one. (This figure is referred to as a fox, so you can add this to your vocabulary of code words that refer to the lawless one.) This passage in Luke 13 is a good example of the third day referring to the seventh year of the "famine week." I believe this particular end time scenario will be primarily played out in the seventh year because, at the beginning of the count to the third day, the fox will have already made his appearance. Note that, during the first two years of this count (years five and six of the seven), "Herod" is trying to kill those following Y'shua.At that time, the activity taking place is the driving out of demons and healing people. What a wonderful ministry to those suffering during that time of great tribulation! The resurrection theme can also be noted in an HLS encoding. In the phrase "On the morning of the third day," (b'yom hashlishi bihiot haboker) every other letter (an interval of -2) spells be'shilhuv, which translates as "in the rapture." In verse 18 the other Hebrew word for rapture,natzal, is found at an interval of -84. This passage is further identified with resurrection by an HLS encoding. The modern Hebrew word for rapture is found in the phrase containing the reference to the third day at an interval of -2. In the Hebrew phrase "vayehi b'yom ha'shlishi v'tilbish Esther malkut," we find the phrase shelev shilhuv which translates as "security and rapture."
  • Next, the resurrection theme is seen in connection with the feast for all Pharaoh's officials.6

  • Now the third day was Pharaoh's birthday, and he gave a feast for all his officials (Hebrew: ebed - "servants"). He lifted up the heads of the chief cupbearer and the chief baker in the presence of his officials: 21 He restored the chief cupbearer to his position, so that he once again put the cup into Pharaoh's hand, 22 but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had said to them in his interpretation.Genesis 40:20-22
    As a feast or banquet accompanies a resurrection, so does judgment, the execution of a judicial decision, seen here as one man is restored, and the other is hanged. Resurrection is further  noted in the cupbearer's and chief baker's release from prison, like as noted in the previous scenario (see context).
    Hezekiah's healing compares to the healing which is the subject of Hosea 6:1-2, the healing of the corrupt flesh nature by means of resurrection. The occasion for a resurrection can be seen in the remedy for Hezekiah's near-fatal affliction.7
    It's worth noting a couple other items in the context that relate to the times of resurrection in the last days: Babylon - Revelation 17-18, etc.,  and, "Peace and security" - I Thessalonians 5:3. Certainly, Mary, his mother will be there!
    Abraham himself is associated directly with resurrection in numerous passages in the gospels, one of which is Luke 16:19-31, the story of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar. The mention of his looking up occurs here and in two other places in the Bible, the total of three being the resurrection number. As with this mention, the others reveal a view or what lay beyond the veil in the spiritual realm.8

    Other Thirds in Series

    The above resurrection scenarios have been those found in connection with the third day. The ones I'm about to share with you are found in connection with other threes in a series - years, times, stories, etc.
    After a long time, in the third year, the word of the LORD came to Elijah: "Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land." 1 Kings 18:1
    The resurrection number arises in how many times something occurs. Many things happen three times, and I believe it always signals us that there is a resurrection theme to be found hidden in the context. Speaking of releasing him from the death penalty, what is that, really, but a reference to resurrection? And of course, Y'shua had to be released; as it is written: The resurrection of Israel is seen in the 12 (four jars times three) units of water poured upon the offering and on the wood. Its also seen in the fire of the Lord. The fire is a symbol associated with resurrection that relates to the judgment of God. Here, the fire fell accepting the sacrifice. This relates further to the ultimate burnt sacrifice addressed earlier.And, appearing again in this account, Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, represent the beast and the false prophet.

    This resurrection account has numerous parallels in the exodus from Egypt - a very important church resurrection scenario. The contest between the God of Elijah and the Baal of the false prophets compares to the plagues sent upon Egypt addressing each of their primary gods. The water compares to the Red Sea crossing. (As a note of interest, certain sects of Judaism still pour water on the floor and dance in it on the 21st day of Nisan, the last day of Pesach in celebration of the redemption at the crossing.) Then Elijah, like Moses had done, prayed and asked for a miracle. Fire came and consumed five things, suggestive of a church resurrection, which compares to the exodus in that the people were led out in ranks of five. Contests between the true God and the false god resulted in the death of  the prophets of Baal and Asherah, and of the Egyptian army.
    Beyond this sampling of passages, there are numerous other examples of the link between the number three and resurrection. For example, there were three people Jesus raised from the dead during his earthly ministry ( Luke 7:15, 8:41-55, John 11:43-44) and three people raised from the dead in the Old Testament. (I Kings 17:21-22, II Kings 4:16-36 and 13:21) The book penned by Don Kistler entitled The Arithmetic of God 9 gives other examples.


    It seems quite obvious that the appearance of phrases like "third day' and "third time" or "three times" signals the presence of a resurrection scenario. The connection between the third and seventh days is also apparent. We have also seen various levels of application where a day may be either a year or a millennium. That the floodgates of insight into the meaning of the fundamentals of prophecy are opening is manifest - praise the Lord who reveals his wonders to his servants!

    As the awareness of just how special a time it is in which we live begins to move us emotionally, the knowledge of the urgency of our times and of the necessity of dedicating our very best gifts into the Lord's service prompts us to act with immediacy. Surely, the Lord is unveiling his mysteries in these last days in preparation for the rapidly approaching time of testing. Wake up and pay close attention, friends! Let me encourage you to pour out your life for His glory without hesitation. He did it and continues to do it so that you may share in his surpassing glory!  Shalom.


    1) Consider how the purification by the waters of cleansing in the third millennial day and then the seventh are signified in the passing through the Red Sea and then the Jordan, each symbols of the passage from the "dead flesh" existence to the "eternal spiritual resurrection life" existence. The Red Sea crossing was a picture of the third day resurrection, and the Jordan crossing and the taking of Jericho, the seventh. return

    2) The one doomed to destruction is the ultimate dead body, in whose temple they will have been offering sacrifice. Aside from that, the people themselves are defiled because they are dead bodies, lacking the spiritual life that is eternal. return

    3)  Daniel 2:35:  Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.return

    4) 1 Thessalonians 4:16:For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
    Revelation 4:1:  After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this."
    1 Corinthians 15:52:  in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.return

    5) 1 Corinthians 15:53:For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
    Acts 12:8:  Then the angel said to him, "Put on your clothes and sandals." And Peter did so. "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me," the angel told him.
    John 21:7:  Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.  return

    6) Luke 13:29:  People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.
    See Luke 14:14-24
    Luke 15:23-24:  Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.  return

    7) The application of the cake of figs to his boil speaks the humbling of the Jewish people and their acceptance of Y'shua HaMashiach. This, according to Romans 11:15, is what precipitates a resurrection. This cake is a poultice of pressed, or, crushed figs. The fig is a symbol of the people of Israel, the crushing of which represents the breaking of their rebellious nature.  The number 15 which appears in the account in the matter of the extension of Hezekiah's life is the number which signifies rest - complete rest. The complete rest is the sum of the Sabbath rest (the number 7) and the Shemini Atzeret type eternal rest (the number 8). (7+8=15) This, of course, speaks of some of the people typified in Hezekiah entering into the promised rest, that rest which is the subject of Hebrews 4:6. "It still remains that some will enter that rest, and those who formerly had the gospel preached to them did not go in, because of their disobedience." return

    8) Here, the place in the distance he saw when he looked up was where he would almost sacrifice his son, and the very place Y'shua would be sacrificed. He understood and believed in Y'shua's resurrection, having read it in the celestial account's narrative, according to Genesis 15. In Genesis 18:2 he looked up into the spiritual realm and saw three (another occurrence of the resurrection number) angels. In Genesis 22:13, Abraham again looked up and saw into the spiritual realm. The ram in a thicket caught by its horns represented the lamb of God, Y'shua, the ultimate burnt offering.  return

    9)  To request the book, send $3.50 to The Arithmetic of God, P.O. Box 573, Kings Mountain, North Carolina, 28086