Month: May 2014

The Third Day Series: Part 7 – Joseph

Joseph, son of Jacob, led an extraordinary life:

  • He was his father’s favorite son
  • He was given a dream that he would rule over his family
  • He was sold into slavery by his brothers
  • He became a beloved slave of his Egyptian master
  • He was unjustly imprisoned because his master’s wife was angry he wouldn’t sleep with her
  • He was exalted to the right hand of Pharaoh
  • He was able to use his power to provide for his family during a seven year famine

Of the things just listed, his exaltation to the side of Pharaoh is our focus. It should be considered no small thing that a lowly foreigner attained a high position within the Egyptian government. He did not achieve that position through hard work, but because of God. While Joseph was imprisoned, God gave him the gift of dream interpretation, and it was his ability to interpret dreams that caused Pharaoh to notice him.

Now it happened at the end of two full years that Pharaoh had a dream…Now in the morning his spirit was troubled, so he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all its wise men. And Pharaoh told them his dreams, but there was no one who could interpret them to Pharaoh. Then the chief cupbearer spoke to Pharaoh, saying, “I would make mention today of my own offenses. Pharaoh was furious with his servants, and he put me in confinement in the house of the captain of the bodyguard, both me and the chief baker. We had a dream on the same night, he and I; each of us dreamed according to the interpretation of his own dream. Now a Hebrew youth was with us there, a servant of the captain of the bodyguard, and we related them to him, and he interpreted our dreams for us. To each one he interpreted according to his own dream. And just as he interpreted for us, so it happened; he restored me in my office, but he hanged him. Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh. Genesis 41: 1, 8 – 14

God gave Joseph the ability to interpret Pharaoh’s dream, and Pharaoh was so impressed he appointed Joseph to a high position. Joseph used his power to bring his family to Egypt, keeping them well fed during a seven year famine. Included in Joseph’s family, included amongst those who may have starved to death if not for Joseph’s provision, was Judah, ancestor of Christ. Therefore, it is not inaccurate to say that through Joseph God preserved the Messianic line.

It is also not inaccurate to say that the starting point of the plotline to get Judah and the Messianic seed into the haven of Egypt was Joseph’s interaction with the cupbearer, while in prison. This interaction, in which Joseph interpreted the cupbearer’s dream, was the basis of Joseph’s future audience with Pharoah, and “coincidentally” involved a three day span of time. Thus Joseph can be added to the list of Old Testament saints who typified Christ’s third day resurrection. For just as Jesus’ promise of resurrection was validated on the third day, so was Joseph’s interpretation of the cupbearer’s dream. The entire account is documented in Genesis 40:

Then it came about after these things, the cupbearer and the baker for the king of Egypt offended their lord, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was furious with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker. So he put them in confinement in the house of the captain of the bodyguard, in the jail, the same place where Joseph was imprisoned. The captain of the bodyguard put Joseph in charge of them, and he took care of them; and they were in confinement for some time. Then the cupbearer and the baker for the king of Egypt, who were confined in jail, both had a dream the same night, each man with his own dream and each dream with its own interpretation. When Joseph came to them in the morning and observed them, behold, they were dejected. He asked Pharaoh’s officials who were with him in confinement in his master’s house, “Why are your faces so sad today?” Then they said to him, “We have had a dream and there is no one to interpret it.” Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell it to me, please.”

So the chief cupbearer told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, “In my dream, behold, there was a vine in front of me; and on the vine were three branches. And as it was budding, its blossoms came out, and its clusters produced ripe grapes. Now Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand; so I took the grapes and squeezed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.” Then Joseph said to him, “This is the interpretation of it: the three branches are three days; within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head and restore you to your office; and you will put Pharaoh’s cup into his hand according to your former custom when you were his cupbearer. Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house. For I was in fact kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon.”

When the chief baker saw that he had interpreted favorably, he said to Joseph, “I also saw in my dream, and behold, there were three baskets of white bread on my head; and in the top basket there were some of all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh, and the birds were eating them out of the basket on my head.” Then Joseph answered and said, “This is its interpretation: the three baskets are three days; within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head from you and will hang you on a tree, and the birds will eat your flesh off you.” Thus it came about on the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast for all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. He restored the chief cupbearer to his office, and he put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand; but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

The Third Day Series: Part 6 – Creation

It is axiomatic that for every teaching in Scripture, there is a place where that teaching is first mentioned. For example, the whole of the Bible teaches that there is one particular and specific God who has created us and all things; the first mention of this teaching is the first line of the Bible.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Genesis 1:1

So we know that somewhere in Scripture is the first typological reference to Christ’s third day resurrection. Where is this prototype? As with so many foundational doctrines, it is found in Genesis, the book of beginnings, in the account of creation.

There was evening and there was morning, a third day. Genesis 1: 13

Now in what sense is this reference to the third day a prototype of Christ’s resurrection? We must look at the details of the account of creation.

Day God’s Assessment of Goodness
1 “God saw that the light was good”
2 none
3 “God saw that it was good” (dry land and sea)
“God saw that it was good” (vegetation)
4 “God saw that it was good”
5 “God saw that it was good”
6 “God saw that it was good”

The text itself gives the third day preeminence, in so much as the third day received two “it was good” assessments from God. No other day received two, and the second day did not even receive one. At some point the Jews recognized this textual detail and referred to the third day of creation as the Day of Double Blessing.

Although I haven’t read primary source materials regarding the Jewish regard for the Day of Double Blessing, I have read acknowledgments of the doctrine from both Christians and Jews. It is said that the third day (Tuesday) became so revered that it was the preferred day for Jewish weddings. The wedding in Cana, where Jesus performed His water to wine miracle, might have been on a Tuesday, for the Scripture says “the third day.”

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; (John 2: 1)

From a Biblical perspective, the third day was given preeminence in the first chapter of Genesis, and is the prototype of the third day theme. This theme is developed over the course of the Scripture, culminating with the third day resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

From a non-Biblical perspective, if we accept as true the cultural data about the Jewish regard for weddings on the third day, how much more potent are the parables of the wedding feasts, and the theme of Christ as the groom and His church as the bride? In a sense, we were married to Christ on the third day – the Jewish wedding day – for that was the day He paid the dowry for His bride – that was the day His blood purchased the forgiveness of our sins.

The Third Day Series: Part 5 – Esther

We previously established our method for identifying types of the third day resurrection:

  1. We read an Old Testament passage with a keyword such as “third day” or “three days”.
  2. We stop, knowing that such a keyword may be pointing to a prophetic foreshadow of Christ’s resurrection.
  3. We examine the passage and see if it qualifies as a type.

Applying this method when reading through Scripture, we would stop at a certain point in the book of Esther. The summary of Esther’s story is that she was a Jew who ascended to the position of queen of Persia, by God’s providence. When a plot to kill the Jews came to her knowledge, she was in a position as queen to approach the king, foil the plot, save her people, and keep the Messianic hope alive.

Even though she was queen, it was not without risk that she approached the king to try to save her people, for the custom of the land was that the king was never approached without him first summoning the person who approached. Here is what Esther said about the custom:

“All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that for any man or woman who comes to the king to the inner court who is not summoned, he has but one law, that he be put to death, unless the king holds out to him the golden scepter so that he may live. And I have not been summoned to come to the king for these thirty days.” Esther 4: 11

Despite the law, Esther decided to risk her own life and approach the king without a summons, to try to save the Jews. But, before she approached the king, she requested a fast of the Jews.

“Go, assemble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4: 16

After this fast, she approached the king.

“Now it came about on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king’s palace in front of the king’s rooms, and the king was sitting on his royal throne in the throne room, opposite the entrance to the palace. When the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, she obtained favor in his sight; and the king extended to Esther the golden scepter which was in his hand. So Esther came near and touched the top of the scepter. Then the king said to her, “What is troubling you, Queen Esther? And what is your request? Even to half of the kingdom it shall be given to you.” Esther 5: 1 – 3

Those familiar with the story know that Esther was able to successfully arrange for the preservation of her people, by making the king aware of Haman’s plot. As we ponder these events in Esther’s life, the three day fast and her third day audience with the king, we can draw parallels between her account and that of Christ’s resurrection.

Event in Esther New Testament Parallel
Haman plotted to kill the Jews Satan plotted to kill all humanity by successfully tempting Adam and Eve to sin
The plot became known to Esther God knew that Adam and Eve sinned against Him and that all humanity had now become condemned
Esther, as queen, was in a position to intercede on behalf of her people Christ, as Son of God and the Messianic King, was in a position to intercede on behalf of His people
For three days, there was mystery as to whether Esther would be killed or granted life by the king For three days, there was mystery as to whether Christ would rise from the dead
On the third day, the king granted Esther life On the third day, Christ was raised from the dead
Because of the third day, Esther successfully interceded for her people Because of the third day, Christ successfully interceded for His people

Just like the account of Elijah and Elisha that we previously looked at, these parallels are sufficient to conclude that the account of Esther and the three day fast are a type of Christ’s third day resurrection. This places Esther on our growing list of major Old Testament figures who were involved in a spectacular circumstance involving a three day span of time.