Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on Think Apologetics. Tabernacle of David considers this resource trustworthy and Biblically sound.
Something that can tend to be overlooked is something Paul says in his well-known resurrection text in 1 Cor. 15:
“ For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”- 1 Cor 15: 1-4
Obviously, we believe Jesus rose on the third day. I have noted elsewhere that the Tanakh does teach the importance of the Messiah rising from the dead. But a common question is where does it say in the Jewish Scriptures in that the Messiah would rise on the third day? The short answer is there is no text that specifically says the Messiah will rise on the third day. So did Paul lie? Is he employing some kind of special Jewish hermeneutics here? In Michael Brown’s Answering Jewish Objections, Vol 3, he notes that there are several places in the Jewish Scriptures where God does something very special on the third day. For example:
Hosea 6:1–2 states, “Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces, but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence.”
This is a word given to Israel as a whole, but the sequence is there: full restoration on the third day!
2. According to Genesis 22:4, it was on the third day that Abraham arrived at Mount Moriah and prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac.
3. God told the children of Israel assembled at Mount Sinai to be ready for the third day“because on that day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people” (Exod. 19:10)
4. On the third day after Joseph interpreted the dreams of two of his fellow prisoners—both of whose dreams included a symbolic “three”—one of the men was hung and the other man restored to his former position (Gen. 40:1–23).
The list goes on. The point is it is on the third day that God does something significant in Israel’s history. It could be a restoration, and event that reaches a climax, or it could be something signifying God’s divine activity.