Two thousand years ago (maybe a few more), the unthinkable happened. Death was reversed.
If you’re a skeptic, i beg you to keep reading.
If you’re already a believer (and if you know your Bible), you are thinking, “That’s not true. It had happened before. It’s not totally unthinkable. There was Jairus’ daughter, the widow of Nain’s son, and Lazarus.”
You would be right (not to mention a few resurrections in 1-2 Kings involving Elisha and Elijah). But the thing about those resurrections is that they were only temporary. They died again. Their graves could be visited, and a body could be found–in varying stages of decomposition.
But two thousand years ago–with Jesus–there was something unique. Paul touches on it in 1 Corinthians 15.
He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,1 Corinthians 15:4
“According to the Scriptures.”
According to the Scriptures?
When did the Scriptures predict that Jesus would rise from the dead on the third day?
I’m glad you asked. The Prophet Hosea exhorted Israel,
Come, let us return to the LORD.Hosea 6:1-3
For He has torn ⌊us⌋,
and He will heal us;
He has wounded ⌊us⌋,
and He will bind up our wounds.
He will revive us after two days,
and on the third day He will raise us up
so we can live in His presence.
Let us strive to know the LORD.
His appearance is as sure as the dawn.
He will come to us like the rain,
like the spring showers that water the land.
Hosea calls his hearers, in the first line of verse 1, to return to God. And afterwards, he gives us Christian history in miniature, which I will explain in a few moments. In the first line of verse 3, he encourages his hearers to strive to know God. This is what we are called to do as Christians who have placed our faith in Christ.
Hosea writes in verse 1 of the death of Christ. But he writes it including himself. “Us.” He does the same thing in verse 2, describing the resurrection of Christ. “Us.”
But why? We didn’t rise from the dead, did we?
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians:
So if you have been raised with the Messiah . . . For you have died, and your life is hidden with the Messiah in God.Colossians 3:1a, 3
Augustine wrote as follows, c. AD 400:
Further on, Hosea foretold the resurrection of Christ on the third day, but in the mysterious way that is proper to prophecy. He says, “He shall heal us after two days, and on the third day we shall rise again.” This is the idea underlying the words of Paul [when he says], “Therefore if you have risen in Christ, seek the things that are above.” (City of God 28. FC 24:123)cited in Alberto Ferreiro, The Twelve Prophets, (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Academic, 2003), 27.
Augustine recognizes, and so should we, that the theology of the New Testament is drawn from the Old Testament. It’s not merely the spots where the writers explain, “Such and such said.” Rather, every idea in the New Testament finds its source (in seed-form) in the Old Testament.
This is why Christ rose on the third day according to the Scriptures. But more than merely that, this is why Christians celebrate Resurrection Day once a year. It was predicted that not only would Christ rise from the dead on the third day, but that God’s people would also rise from the dead (spiritually) on the third day. (This is the simplest way to understand the “first resurrection” of Revelation 20:4-6.)
So the first part of Christian history is the death and resurrection of Jesus. We see this clearly delineated in verses 1-2. The result of this is stated in the final line of verse 2: “So we can live in His presence.” It’s not until the sacrificial death and victorious resurrection of Jesus that we are able to live lives pleasing to God. Prior to being partakers in His death and resurrection, we are described by the words of Exodus 33:20, where God told Moses, “No one can see Me and live.”
However, once we have become partakers in Christ’s death and resurrection, we are able to live in His presence and live lives pleasing to Him. We are able to see His glory revealed in Jesus (cf. Revelation 1:12-20). This is why Paul says “you have been raised with the Messiah” (Colossians 3:1). All of the statements in Hosea 6:1-3 are first-person plural, which explicitly includes us. Everything in Hosea 6:1-3 is true of us because of Jesus’ sacrifice. This is how closely we are connected with Christ in God’s eyes. When He died, we died; when He rose, we rose as well. Our future, literal, resurrection is certain because of this truth.
The first line of verse 3 is where we are living right now; in fact, it is the other side of the same coin as the first line of verse 1:
Come, let us return to the LORD.
Let us strive to know the LORD.
For those of us who have already been united to Christ, we must strive to know Him better. For those of you who don’t yet know Him, you need to return to Him.
“Return?” you ask.
Yes. Humanity started out in perfect fellowship with God. Therefore, all people are individually guilty of departing from God. This is why it is accurate to say, “Return to God.” The word also carries the connotation of “repent,” which is something we are all in need of doing–every day.
The importance of knowing God better and/or taking the first step in that path by repenting is highlighted at the end of Hosea 6:3. His appearance is sure. The only thing uncertain is the when. But whenever it is, those who know Him will be refreshed. This is good news!
But there is an implicit bad news in this as well. Those who refuse to repent will be cursed. This is why Hosea calls us to return to the Lord. Jesus died, He was buried, and He rose again. We now have access to God. We must approach Him in faith and repentance in order to experience the promised blessing of His second coming.
Will you trust Him today?
In this with you.
Soli Deo Gloria
Thanks for reading.