I recently posted an article about the feud between Dr. Michael Brown and Rabbi Tovia Singer. Today, this showed up in my feed on YouTube. I enter it into the evidence. The question is concerning Paul’s claim that Messiah would rise on “the third day according to the scriptures”. Does Tanak ever make that claim?
In the video, Dr. Michael Brown accuses Rabbi Tovia Singer of deception for stating that the prophecy is never made. Thus, one would expect Dr. Brown to produce a scripture that indeed prophecies such an event. Before we take a look at that, let’s take a look at some deception by Dr. Brown himself. He plays the following quote from the Rabbi about why it took so long (40 years roughly) to start writing the gospels.
The answer is obvious, and that is that the earliest Christians thought that Jesus return was iminent, so what are you going to write books for?Rabbi Singer
Dr. Brown responds with the following:
They may have expected him, some in their lifetimes. That’s possible.Dr. Michael Brown
In Matthew chapter 24, Jesus prophecies of the destruction of the temple, the coming of false messiahs, and how “the end will come”. He wraps up the prophecy by saying “this generation will not pass until all of these things have happened”. In fairness, Jesus went on to say that “even the Son” doesn’t know the day or the hour, only the Father. However, this could certainly lead his followers to believe that it was happening in their lifetimes. Indeed, they were part of that generation that shall not pass. Moreover, in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, Paul says “those of us who are alive and remain” in reference to the second coming. Obviously, he expected to be alive.
Would Jesus rise on the third day according to the scriptures?
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,1 Corinthians 15:3-4
This leads us back to the topic. What scriptures does Dr. Michael Brown present that prophecy of a resurrection of the messiah after 3 days? He starts with Hosea 6:2 which states “on the third day he will restore us”. However, this isn’t resurrection, and it isn’t being performed on the messiah. Hence, “us”.
He goes on to cite Genesis 22:4. It states that “It was on the third day that Abraham arrived at Mount Moriah and prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac”. He goes on to point out that Abraham believed that God could raise Isaac from the dead. Agreed. However, what preparing to sacrifice on the third day has to do with prophesying a resurrection on the third day is beyond me.
Next, he takes us to 2 Kings 20:5. Here, God is telling King Hezekiah that he will heal him. Hashem tells the King that “on the third day from now you will go up to the Temple of Hashem”. Third day? Absolutely. A prophecy about the Messiah’s resurrection? No. First, it isn’t prophecy since the words come from the mouth of Hashem, not a man. Moreover, it is a prediction that Hezekiah will go to the Temple. Spoiler alert. It came true.
Next, he cites Jonah being in the belly of a fish for 3 days. At least Jonah was called a prophet, but this event wasn’t a prophecy. He points out that God told the Israelites to prepare for him to appear on the mountain on the third day. Esther appeared before the king on the third day. The building of the second temple was completed on the third day of the month of Adar. 3 days after Joseph interpreted dreams, one was freed the other hung. Sacrifices left until the third day were not to be eaten. The Israelites defeated the tribe of Benjamin on the third day of the battle.
Therefore we should conclude?
Where does all of this leave us? Apparently to the conclusion that the Scriptures never predicted that the messiah would die and be resurrected on the third day. There is a lot of smoke and mirrors there, but the fire is conspicuously missing. I’m assuming that if Dr. Brown had such a prophecy, he would present it. Frankly, the biggest question raised by this video was “why did Dr. Michael Brown bother to post it”?
First off, many scholars believe that these aren’t even original words of Paul. Rather, they believe that he is quoting an early church creed. Thus, the statement doesn’t even really need defending. Perhaps these early Christians had some apocryphal work that we no longer have access to today, and this is what they were referencing in this creed. In my opinion, all Dr. Brown has done here is propagate and lend credence to the claim of Rabbi Tovia Singer with his poorly executed defense.