In Exodus 19:11, the Lord tells Moses that “on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.” This statement brought to mind the fact that Christ was resurrected from death on the third day, so I decided to compare the two Third Days to see if they parallel each other in any way. And they do! The two Third Days, when placed side by side, are antithetical parallels of one another that greatly make evident the difference between Moses and Christ, i.e. the Law and the Gospel. This is part 1 of a three part series of posts.
1. The Giving of the Law/The Satisfaction of the Law’s Demands
Mount Sinai trembled with horror and flashes of lightning, terrifying the unbelieving Jews, and teaching them the fear of the Lord who had delivered them from Egypt. God had come down to Israel to give them the Law. If they were obedient in all things which it commanded, then they would have life and all the blessings that attend to the fulfilling of the Law’s demands. Yet, although they promised to keep all that was commanded of them (cf. v.8), they could not and they would not keep the Law. This third day is the day on which the Law was given to Israel.
The empty tomb, on the other hand, produced fear and trembling in the disciples who witnessed the Lord Jesus post-resurrection. They were in hiding, devoid of hope and fearing for their lives, when Christ appears to them on the third day. This Third Day is significant in and of itself, but when we consider that the resurrection of the Lord Jesus is for us our justification, the certain proof that we who believe are legally declared to be righteous on the basis of Christ’s complete obedience to all that is written, we see how it stands in an antithetical parallel relationship to Third Day on Mount Sinai.
Paul the apostle writes:
Now it was not written for his [i.e. Abraham’s] sake alone that it was imputed to him, but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up our Lord Jesus from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised up for our justification. (Romans 4:23-25)
Whereas Israel’s Third Day condemned them, as the Law was given and their sin was multiplied upon finding out the demands of God’s holy Law (cf. Romans 5:20), the Third Day of the disciples was meant for their justification, and ours, showing that Christ has met all of the demands of the Law of God.