THIRD DAY PERSPECTIVE

By Robert Holmes   

Three years ago I was sitting in a car driving to Dulles airport, Washington DC with a prophetess named Nancy. We were having an animated conversation about the Trinity. Our discussion centered on the observation that nearly everything seems to come in threes - after the order and image of the God-head. Our nature (body-soul-spirit); our world (earth-water-air); the transfiguration (Jesus-Moses-Elijah) and so many other things. I recall the process of death, burial and resurrection took three days.

A year later I was flying in to California to meet with a man named Gary. He was the leader of a group called the Third Day Churches. I listened intently to his explanation about freedom in Christ, of liberty from the old ways of religion, and of pressing through into "something else". Gary, like other leaders had come from a traditional church background, through a freedom loving, Vineyard style church into what he has today. It was a three-step process.

This year I met a fascinating speaker and author, Doug. Our conversation wandered into the Third Day (again!). It was too much for me. Doug had taken it to the next level, and could see the necessity for the church to change, or radically shift their day-to-day perspective on life. We must go all the way through.

Death, burial and resurrection

There is found in Hosea a reference to this three day process: "Come, let us return to the LORD; for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Let us know, let us press on to know the LORD; his appearing is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us like the showers, like the spring rains that water the earth" (Hos. 6:1-3 NRSV).

On the first day the Lord tears us; He strikes us down. The result is death - a blow to our old nature. On the second day we come to Him; the call is to return to Him. He heals us; He binds us up. After two days He will revive us, and on the third day, He will raise us up! The process is death, burial and resurrection life - resulting in His appearing. He will come to us like showers.

The three-day pattern is literally found all the way through the Scriptures. Once you know the key, you can see the pattern. Let's take a look at twelve places it occurs, to understand God's plan for us to live in a "Third Day" life.

1. Where is your life?

Holding onto your life (which is really death - Matt. 10:39) is a first day reality. To understand and share in His sufferings, so as to attain His death (Phil. 3:10) is a second day reality. To walk without fear of death, knowing that for me to live is Christ (Gal. 2:20) & that my life is hid with Christ in God (Col. 3:3) is a third day reality. God wants us to come through our suffering (not avoid it), to embrace our pain (not get therapy for it) and come through that death into resurrection life! (Rev. 20:6).

2. What room of the temple are you in?*

The tabernacle of Moses foreshadowed the temple of Solomon, which is a shadow of the heavenly tabernacle. There were three rooms in Moses' tabernacle. The outer court is where great sacrifice took place, much blood sweat and tears; this is living in the first day. The inner court was a place of worship. It contained the eternal flame, the shewbread, the priestly life. A sanctified life of prayer, fasting and holiness; that is living in the second day. Then there was the holy place, the holy of holies where God dwelt over the mercy seat between the Cherubim. We are invited into the place of intimacy, relationship and life (Heb 10:19-25); that is living in the third day.

*[One could equally ask, "What tabernacle are you at?" - the Tabernacle of Moses, the Tabernacle of David (Acts 15:16), or the Tabernacle of Heaven (Heb. 8:2)?].

3. What priesthood are you a part of?

There are three priesthoods mentioned in Hebrews chapter seven. The first is of Aaron (vs 11) - the one man who could stand for the rest and speak to Moses - the one man who could stand for the rest and speak to God. The "one man" show, the "chosen one" paradigm is a first day understanding. The second priesthood comes from Levi (vs 5) - the tribe of priests raised up to perform the rights and minister at the sanctuary. The practice of having priests, an order of holy men, an order of "ministers" or pastors is a second day understanding. The third priesthood is of Melchizedek (vs 17). The order of a Man without lineage, of eternal life, who came to make all men capable ministers of the New Covenant (2 Cor. 3:16). We [all] are a royal priesthood and a holy nation (1 Pet. 2:9). That is a third day understanding.

4. What Feast are you at?

The Old Covenant contained many rules, regulations and policies. But it also contained three key feasts to celebrate God and the Kingdom*. The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover) is a first day celebration of the sacrifice of the lamb, and for us (at Easter) a celebration of the death of Jesus. The Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) is the second day feast celebrating the fruitfulness, the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Church. But it is the third day feast - the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths) that we are coming to: the celebration of Christ within us (Col. 1:27), of God tabernacling with His people (John 14:23)!

* I acknowledge that there are other "days" celebrated - the day of Trumpets, the day of Atonement, the day of Sabbath and the "feast" of Purim (a day to celebrate the victory of Mordechai). Hanukah also celebrates the victory of Maccabaeus.

5. What rule-book do you follow?

Are you a first day believer - living under the weight of the law, a son of the bondwoman (Gal. 4:25). Do you live under a "touch not, taste not" kind of religion (Col. 2:21)? Or are you a second day believer - living under the traditions of men (which nullify the word of God: Mark 7:3). Do you go through the motions, play the game, work the room like a good religious person? Or are you living in the third day - chosen by grace (Rom. 11:6) and by grace alone you have been saved (Eph. 2:5)?

6. How mature are you?

An immature son is no better than a slave. He is trapped by his immature "reap and sow" mentality. He does not own the field, he cannot work the farm (Gal. 4:1), he does not learn from pain. He is a first day son. A son growing up is under the care of guardians, tutors who lead them by the nose (Gal. 4:3), he must learn through suffering. He is a second day son. But a mature, third day son has entered into his inheritance, and is a co-heir with Christ (Gal. 4:7). He understands that the field is his; the business is his. He embraces the cross, he endures the suffering and comes through with a changed character, looking more like his heavenly Father.

7. What is the basis of your sonship?

Do you obey out of fear (Rom. 8:8), because you're afraid God might not love you? Do you act out of a need to please Him? That's a first day basis to life. Are you a fanatic, trying to please God with your efforts, accomplishments, and goal achievements. Are trying to do the right thing in the hope of getting the teacher's mantle? That's a second day basis to life. We are trying to press through to the fullness of being a son, lead by the Spirit, manifesting His glory and changing creation (Rom. 8:14-19). The third day life expresses itself through the anointing, which breaks every yoke. It touches creation and sets the captives free. That's a third day basis to life.

8. What culture do you portray?

There are those who think a love for the city-state of Jerusalem is a holy thing. Who think prayer shawls and other Jewish cultural trappings make for a more godly Christianity. Such practice, whilst innocuous, is adherence to a first day culture. God is not a Hebrew, He is the God of the Hebrews. Do you not know that Jerusalem today is Hagar, and pertains to the bondage of Arabia? They are the children of slavery, just like their Arab brothers (Gal. 4:2,254).

There are those who practice another kind of culture, a learned, stable, aged Christianity that comes from history. The Catechism, the vestments, the prayer book and hymnals are fine as far as they go, but this is church culture. second day culture. The third day truth is that we are sojourners; we are strangers to this world, we are not from here (Heb. 11:13). We are not patriotic to our nationalistic culture. We come from a heavenly, Kingdom culture (John 18:36). We can love and pray for the peace of Jerusalem, but we are not attached to it in an earthly way. We can love and pray for the nation in which we are born, but we are not trapped in nationalism. Our eyes are on the Jerusalem from above (Heb. 11:10).

9. What kind of leader do you have?

A first day Christian is looking for rules, regulations and a mode to life that will help them. It is the law, acting as a tutor leading you (Gal. 3:24). A second day Christian needs a leader leading them. Paul spoke of the "ascension gift ministries" which, according to his letter to the Ephesians, was "until" (Eph. 4:11). Until the perfection of the saints. Apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists are all second day ministries, until. Third day life is being fully connected to the Holy Spirit, listening to the Lord. It is the anointing leading us (1 John 2:27). It is being fully mature, in the image and stature of Christ, one Body, connected to the brethren.

10. What is your expectation from the community you belong to?

In the first day life, you go to church, and expect the pastor to do everything for you. You have your priest, the law and rules governing your life. It is the priest/ people paradigm. Second day life is more congregational (thank you, Baptists). Sure, there is still a minister, and something of a spectator event, but the people have more power (control). There is eldership, a deaconate, a board, importance, but we have not yet found resurrection life in our congregation have we? In heaven, everyone is involved. In a third day church, everyone is involved (1 Cor. 14:26), and everyone brings something to share.

11. Your perspective: first, second, third heaven

Being in the first day gives you a first heaven perspective. The heavens are in the sky; the sky is far away. The air you breathe is more real than the air of heaven. You can only see your life's circumstances. It is Israel and Egypt, full of brick-making and toil. Being in the second day opens you up to the spirit realm, but you are more aware of the demonic than the angelic. You are conscious of supernatural phenomena, but have not pressed through to victory. Jesus confronted the dark principalities of sickness, death and hell on the second day (Eph. 4:9). Being in the third day gives you the full perspective, and now you embrace a view from the throne and government of Christ. You can see the glory of God in everything below it.

12. Your mentality

A first day Christian, with a first heaven revelation lives with a "bunker" mentality. He is holding on until Jesus comes back. He is living out life controlled by his circumstance. He does not have the victory over life, but must endure it. A second day Christian becomes aware of and engaged with fighting principalities and powers. He adopts a "warfare" mentality (Eph. 6:12). He is fighting all the time (sickness, death, demons). A third day Christian has been through both of these phases, and now embraces a higher law - that he was made with royal blood, and will soon be fit to rule and reign with Christ. He knows he is blessed with every blessing in the spiritual realm (Eph. 1:3); is seated with Christ in the heavenly realm (Eph. 2:6); and has the task of making known the mystery of Christ to those same principalities and powers (Eph. 3:10).

Conclusion

As Christians we will be a mixture of first, second and third day truths. The Lord is not saying "give up" He is saying "upgrade". He is not saying you are inferior if you have first or second day understanding, but He is saying there is deeper water to swim in. He is saying there is a higher mountain, a better view from a new perspective. His desire is for each of us to grow to the fullness of maturity. This entire process is really a following after our leader - Christ who dies, was buried and has been raised from the dead! It is a becoming like Him, transformed into His likeness. He truly is the Third Day.