Bible Study Series: Resurrection, Rapture & the Redeemer
Resurrection predictions and mysterious numbers!
- We'll start with a look at the central message that the early Church witnessed to.
- We'll explore Jesus' own predictions of His death and resurrection before the event
- We'll see how 'the third day' was spoken of even in the Old Testament
- We'll look at the number 8 in the Bible and how that relates to Jesus and His resurrection
- And, as a bonus, we'll look at the numbers 5 and 13 and their connection with the title placed above Jesus on the cross
- That His death and resurrection where all written and recorded in scripture in advance.
- That it was specifically recorded that He would rise on the third day
- That His disciples were witnesses of His death and resurrection
- That they would be a be witness of this to others, proclaiming forgiveness of sins, to all nations.
"To preach Christianity meant primarily to preach the Resurrection... The Resurrection is the central theme in every Christian sermon reported in the Acts."
Let's now explore the predictions Jesus made of His own resurrection. When you read through the gospels, especially the book of Mathew which was written to the Jews to prove He was the Messiah, you see that Jesus mentioned His death and resurrection several times. The first came straight after, and was related to, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. This was something that the specific generation witnessing Jesus' miracles did when they failed to believe in Him and instead ascribed His miracles to the power of the devil! (Matt 12:24). Given all that Jesus had done to prove His Messiahship, this act of gross unbelief was a sin against the Holy Spirit which could not be forgiven (Matt 12:31-32). From that point on, Jesus spoke to the crowds mainly in parables and started, for the first time, to speak of His upcoming death and resurrection. Straight after the 'blasphemy of the Holy Spirit' in Matt 12, we have the first occurrence of this when Jesus was asked to perform more 'signs' and 'wonders'. Jesus replied:
- As mentioned above, the prophet Jonah being in the great fish for three days and three nights was a type of the death and resurrection (Jon 1:17)
- Abraham, when asked to sacrifice his son Isaac, received him back on the third day (Gen 22:4)
- The cupbearer and the baker in prison with Joseph both had dreams where their fate would be seen on the third day (Gen 40:20-22)
- Having come to the edge of the Promised Land, it was on the third day that the Israelites would pass over the Jordan and into the land (Josh 1:11)
- To save her people, Esther put her life on the line coming before the King unannounced on the third day (Esther 5:1)
- Hezekiah, when mortally ill, was healed and granted an extension of life on the third day (2 Kings 20:5-6)
- The Lord was seen on Mount Sinai before all the people on the third day (Exodus 19:10-11)
1Ki 17:21-22 Then he (Elijah) stretched himself upon the child three times, and called to the LORD and said, "O LORD my God, I pray You, let this child's life return to him." (22) The LORD heard the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child returned to him and he revived.
As a side note, here's an interesting point about resurrection in the ministry of Jesus - It has been said that as a young man, D. L. Moody was suddenly called upon to preach a funeral sermon, so he hunted all through the four Gospels trying to find one of Christ’s funeral sermons. But his search was in vain. What he found was that Jesus broke up every funeral He ever attended! You see death could not exist where He was and when the dead heard His voice, they came to life. We should always remember that Jesus said:
Joh 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; (26) and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
- Creation was based around a 7-day week. Thus the 8th day was also the 1st day, the start of the new week and thus the start of something new.
- In the flood, a picture of death and new life, there were 8 people that were saved (1 Pet 3:20 - Noah & Wife, 3 sons and 3 daughters in law)
- Circumcision, representing the removal of the flesh and new life, occurred on the 8th day of life. (Lev 12:3)
- The firstborn of Israel was dedicated to God on the 8th day (Ex 22:29-30)
- Jesus' birthplace, Bethlehem, is mentioned 8 times in the New Testament.
- When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in that famous passage about the need to be born again, being born (new life) is mentioned 8 times in the 8 verses (John 3:1-8)
- Jesus rose on the 8th day after entering Jerusalem in that final week. He arrived on Palm Sunday, riding the foal of a donkey, on Nisan 10th in fulfillment of scripture. On day 8, the following Sunday, He rose from the dead!5
- The eighth mention of an earthquake in scripture (NKJV, NASB, NIV tested) is Matt 28:2 where an angel caused the stone to roll away at Jesus' resurrection!
- The value6 of the name Jesus in Greek (Iesous) is 888. Iesous = I (10) + e ( 8 ) + s (200) + o (70) + u (400) + s (200) = 888
- The book of Revelation, which is the Revelation of Jesus, has (apparently) 888 unique Greek words!
- Jesus = 888 (8 x 111)
- Lord = 800 (8 x 100)
- Christ = 1,480 (8 x 185)
- Savior = 1,408 (8 x 2 x 88)
- Messiah = 656 (8 X 82)
- Son = 880 (8 x110)
- Son of Man = 2960 (8 x 370)
- Truth - 64 (8 x 8)
- Lord Jesus Christ = 3168 (8 x 396)
- The numeric value of 'Jesus of Nazareth' = 2,197 (13x13x13) This number 13 is associated with the devil and sin8. So when Jesus became sin, the title applied (which He was used only here on the cross) was one that directly pointed to sin multiplied. That is amazing. Only God can arrange all this!
- Mat 27:37 And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, "THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS."
- Mar 15:26 The inscription of the charge against Him read, "THE KING OF THE JEWS."
- Luk 23:38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, "THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS."
- Joh 19:19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, "JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS."
- The very date that He died and rose from the dead was perfect being specified 1500 years previously when God revealed the feast day dates to Moses (Passover and Firstfruits)
- The length of time He spent in the grave was perfect to fulfill multiple pictures and types in the Old Testament as well as the very predictions of Jesus Himself.
- The very name of Jesus, in the Greek, has a perfect value of 888 pointing directly to the One who is the resurrection and the life!
- And the cross, as shown by Pilate's inscription above Jesus, was sin meeting perfect grace!
The belief of JW's that Jesus was only raised as a spirit creature and not in a physical, glorified, body is ridiculous when looking at the Biblical account.
Jesus Himself specifically said that He was merely a spirit but had flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). This was proved by the fact that He ate with His disciples on more than one occasion (Luke 24:30, 42-43; John 21:12-13) and His disciples physically touched Him (including His scars from the crucifixion (Matt. 28:9; John 20:17)."
What did the early witnesses witness about?
- Jesus' instruction to His disciples before His ascension: Act 1:8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
- The disciples criteria for selecting a disciple to replace Judas - Act 1:21-22 Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us... For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection."
- Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost - Act 2:31-32 Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. (32) God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.
- Peter's message to the Israelites at Solomon's portico - Act 3:15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
- Peter and the Apostles when arrested and before the Sanhedrin - Act 5:30-32 The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead--whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. (31) God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. (32) We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."
- Peter's message to the Gentiles - Act 10:39-40 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.
- Paul in the Synagogue in Antioch - Act 13:29-31 When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. (30) But God raised him from the dead, (31) and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.
From these verses alone you can see that being a witness for Jesus meant witnessing specifically about His resurrection which was the proof of everything that He said about Himself.
What do you witness about?
While Jesus' own disciples may have been slow to understand, the unbelieving certainly heard what Jesus said about His death and resurrection after 3 days and tried to use it again Him.
At the 'trial' of Jesus:
Mat 26:59-62 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. (60) But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward (61) and declared, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.' " (62) Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?"
While on the Cross:
Mat 27:39-40 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads (40) and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!"
After being buried:
Mat 27:62-65 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. (63) Sir, they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.' (64) So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first." (65) Take a guard, Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how."
The O.T has the following resurrections:
Elijah raised the widow of Zarephath’s son (1 Kings 17:17–24).
Elisha raised the Shunammite woman’s son (2 Kings 4:18–37).
The man raised out of Elisha’s grave (2 Kings 13:20–21).
The N.T ministry of Jesus has:
The widow of Nain’s son (Luke 7:11–17).
Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:40–56).
Lazarus of Bethany (John 11).
The last week in a little more detail...
- Day 1: Nisan 10 - Palm Sunday and Jesus' entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. This is when all of Israel were to take and inspect their Passover Lamb until the 14 of the month (Ex 12:3) which is what they were doing with Jesus!
- Day 2: Nisan 11 - Monday - Jesus continues to enter, speak and be seen in Jerusalem
- Day 3: Nisan 12 - Tuesday - Jesus continues to enter, speak and be seen in Jerusalem
- Day 4: Nisan 13 - Wednesday - Jesus continues to enter, speak and be seen in Jerusalem
- Day 5: Nisan 14 - Thursday - Day of Passover (Ex 12) and Jesus is crucified as the Lamb of God! 1st day in the heart of the earth (Jesus died at 3pm)
- Day 6: Nisan 15 - Friday - 1st night and 2nd day in the heart of the earth
- Day 7: Nisan 16 - Saturday - 2nd night and 3rd day in the heart of the earth
- Day 8: Nisan 17 - Sunday - Resurrection! 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth then resurrection as the feast of Firstfruits begins on the 17th, the Sunday and first day after the Sabbath (Lev 23:11)!
For those not aware, both the Hebrew and Greek alphabets have a value assigned to each letter. Thus as well as spelling a name/word, there is a numerical value. A chart of both the Hebrew and Greek alhabet with values can be seen here:
Hebrew Greek Alphabet
Thus, this well known verse should become a little clearer!:
Rev 13:18 This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.
Note we are told to 'calculate' his number. This is not possible till he is around but just as the Saviour's name, Jesus, adds up to 888, so too the Antichrist's number will add up to 666. The same method of 'calculating' the number should be used.
Actually just looked and found a copy of the Seal of God online if anyone is interested. Formatting is average but brought back some memories!
Seal of God
If after the numbers section (which is based on the work of Ivan Panin):
Ivan Panin Numbers
There is a useful summary of some of the main numbers in scripture here:
Bible Numbers Meaning
Consider for a moment this number 13 also... The 'dragon' is mentioned 13 times in Revelation. The value of 'dragon' is 975 (13 x 75). Other titles of the enemy are related to 13 such as Serpent = 780 (13 x 60), Murderer = 1820 (13 x 140), Tempter = 1053 (13 x 81). And in Revelation the dragon/serpent is described in Rev 12:9 using the phrase 'called the Devil and Satan' = 2197 (13 x 13 x 13)!
My Uncle wrote to me: "I will never forget finding the use that God made of the numbers five and thirteen in the gematria of the full title on the cross That full title is "This is Jesus of Nazareth the king of the Jews" but God split it up across the four gospels and each only has a portion of the whole. The gematria in Greek is 7215 and that number is 555 x 13, which shows us the fullness of the grace of God in dealing with the sin question. As if that was not enough the phrase "Jesus of Nazareth" has a Greek gematria of 2197 which number is also found by 13 x 13 x 13 and that shows that Jesus became the complete personification of sin at Calvary. Only God could possibly have the intelligence to set that up"
Here is the original working sheet he typed up many years back: