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.
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.
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”|
|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.”
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.