Mat 12:40                              Three Days and Three Nights                              2/10/2013

Š      An Evil and Adulterous Generation (Mat 12:38-42)

 

 

 

 

 

#1.      3 Days and 3 Nights in the Heart of the Earth (Mat 12:40, Rev 22:18-19, Luk 22:44,15, Heb 5:7)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.      He Could Not Remain There (Acts 13:26-34, 1John 2:19)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.      So Shall It Be Unto This Wicked Generation (Mat 12:39-40, 43-45, Rom 8:31-32)

 

 

Please open your Bible to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matthew 12:38.  The Revelation of Jesus Christ teaches us to know who Jesus Christ is, and knowing Christ is salvation.  And that is why I want to take you on a detour and dedicate this chapter in the book that I am writing to Christ crucified.  We need to be on the same wavelength concerning the atonement of Christ, for if we do not understand His atonement, we do not know Christ, and knowing Christ is salvation. This is a knowledge and understanding which is given to us by God the Father when He drew us to Christ.  Do not despair, that this is a detour from Revelation, for what we aim for is to know who the real Jesus Christ is.  Since this Book concerns the Revelation of Jesus Christ, the objective is to know the Lord Jesus Christ, and why it is that He loved us so much that He was willing to suffer in our place the equivalent of an eternity in Hell.  Knowing Christ also means that we must believe that God raised Him from the dead.  It was many years ago, on Sunday, April 5, in the year AD 33 that our Lord Jesus Christ rose from the grave.  We are not in a church where I would have to convince you of the historical facts of the resurrection of Christ.  You all believe those facts.  But are we saved when we believe those facts?  No!  Salvation has to do with a change of heart, and just believing those facts does not change our heart. Millions of people believe those facts, but they remain unchanged. What does it mean that He rose from the grave?  Now I could dwell at length over all the consequences that flowed out of the fact that the Lord Jesus rose from the grave, but that leaves you with a rather lifeless chapter. I rather prefer to lead you into just one point concerning the resurrection, and leave you meditating on all the rest that touches on the resurrection of Christ.  Therefore I chose for the title of this chapter, Three Days and Three Nights.  And as you know, these words are found here in Matthew chapter 12.  Surprisingly, these words are found in the context of:

Š      An Evil and Adulterous Generation (Mat 12:38-42)

What we read about them in the Rev of Jesus Christ is certainly an evil and adulterous generation. 

Mt 12:38  Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.          

Mt 12:39  But he answered and said unto them:  An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

Mt 12:40  For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Mt 12:41  The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it:  because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

Mt 12:42  The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it:  for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.

The Scribes and Pharisees were asking Jesus to give them a sign so that they could believe that He was indeed the Messiah who was to come.  Essentially they asked from Him another miracle.  Can you see from their question that they already knew that Jesus claimed to be the Messiah?  They would not have asked a miracle from any other person.  But by this time the Lord Jesus has already given them many miracles.

1.             He turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee.

2.             He healed the son of a nobleman in Cana.

3.             He healed in the synagogue of Capernaum a man possessed by an unclean spirit.

4.             He healed Peter’s mother in law who was seriously sick with a fever.

5.             He healed a leper from his deadly disease.

6.             He healed a paralytic who was let down through the roof of Peter’s house.

7.             He healed the woman with an issue of blood.

8.             He raised from the dead the daughter of Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue.

9.             He healed two blind men by Jericho.

10.          He healed a lame man by the pool of Bethesda.

11.          He healed a man with a withered hand.

12.          He healed the servant of a Roman centurion.

13.          He raised from the dead the son of the widow at Nain.

What else did the Scribes and Pharisees want to see from Jesus?  We know what they wanted to see from Jesus:  They wanted Jesus to give them a sign that He would drive the Romans out of the land of Israel.  They hated the Roman occupation, and they hated that the Romans had made a descendant of Esau king over them.  King Herod was an Idumean, a descendant of Esau.  They wanted God to give them back the land that they themselves had squandered away in the days of the kings of Israel and Judah.  In other words, they wanted an earthly kingdom with their king, or their Messiah, ruling from Jerusalem.  And is it not peculiar that today there are many, many Christians who want the same thing.  They want Christ to set up an earthly kingdom with Christ ruling from Jerusalem for 1,000 years.  And if Christ will do that, then they shall see with their own eyes the sign that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of Lords. 

What does the Lord Jesus say to people who want to see such a sign from heaven?  The Lord Jesus says to such people:  “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas”.  He calls them an evil and adulterous generation.  They are adulterous because they have replaced the real Christ for a little christ who bears no resemblance to the One who presently rules the universe.  Just think of it:  If He made the universe, then He is greater and larger than this universe, and He fills all places in this universe.  Then we are an incredibly small speck in this universe.  Therefore, God sets the rules, and not man.  We must walk by faith, not by sight.  The Lord Jesus says to them, “there shall no sign be given to you, but the sign of the prophet Jonas”.  And what is the sign of the prophet Jonah?  The sign is:

#1.            3 Days and 3 Nights in the Heart of the Earth (Mat 12:40, Rev 22:18-19, Luk 22:44,15, Heb 5:7)

Mt 12:40  For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Let me make a small correction here.  The translators of the King James Version of the Bible chose here the belly of “a whale”, but in Jonah 1:17 the Hebrew text says “a great fish”.  The Greek text also says “a great fish”.  A whale is not a fish.  A fish has scales and lays eggs and breathes water.  But a whale is a mammal that has no scales but a smooth skin, and lays no eggs but gives birth to live baby whales, and does not breathe water but breathes air.  These are two entirely different creatures.  And so, if we let it stand that Jonah 1:17 says fish and Matthew 12:40 says whale, we have a contradiction.   That cannot be, for God cannot lie.  God said in Numbers 23:19, “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent:  hath he said, and shall he not do it?  Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good”?  Therefore, it is not possible that we find contradictions in the Bible, and if we do find contradictions, the error rests with our interpretation, and not with God.  The Greek word in Matthew 12:40 that was translated “whale” must be translated “great fish”.  This must be the correct translation, and that is indeed the case. 

We may not consider the King James Version of the Bible as the inspired word of God, for then we are in violation of Revelation 22:18-19.  If I may summarize Revelation 22:18-19, God says that He will no longer give any additional Divine revelation from the time that Revelation chapter 22 was written, which was about 100 AD.  And what was written at that time were the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament.  This together is the Inspired Word of God.  But since most people do not read Hebrew and Greek, the King James Version Bible is a valuable alternative. 

But what message did the Lord Jesus Christ give here in Matthew 12:40?  He said that His Atonement for our sins will last 3 days and 3 nights.  Now we know from the Gospel accounts that the Lord Jesus was crucified on Friday morning at about 9 O’clock, and that He died on the cross at about 3 O’clock in the afternoon, and that He rose from the grave early on Sunday morning.  That encompasses only 2 nights.  It was for this reason that the 7th Day Adventists have concocted that Christ was not crucified in AD 33 but in AD 30, for in that year the Passover fell on Wednesday, so that 3 days and 3 nights later Christ rose from the grave on Saturday.  But this is altogether false information, which is not from God but from the Devil.  We can be sure that Christ was buried only 2 days, for we read in Hosea 6:2 “After two days will he revive us:  in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight”.  Other passages also agree that the Lord was crucified on Friday and that He rose on Sunday.

However, the Lord Jesus tells us here in Matthew 12:40 that His Atonement did not start on Friday, but on Thursday, in the Garden of Gethsemane.  And indeed, we read in Luke 22:44, “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”  No one had laid any hands on Him, and yet He was already in agony.  No, He was not in agony for fear of dying on a cross the next day.  That is a lie sown by the Devil.  The truth is just the opposite!  We read in Luke 22:15, “And he said unto them:  With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer”.  In other words, He was eagerly looking forward to the moment of His death on the cross.

But on Thursday night when His sufferings started He looked into the horrible suffering that should be equivalent to all of us spending an eternity in Hell for our sins.  If Christ must satisfy the righteousness of God, then He must pay the full payment that must really be equivalent to the payment that we would have to make if we would still have to pay for our sins.  That is a true substitutionary Atonement. That is a true vicarious atonement. Please turn in your Bible to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Hebrews 5:7.  We have here a passage referring to the Lord Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane when He was in agony praying earnestly to the Father.  And what was He praying for?  This verse, Hebrews 5:7, tells us exactly what He was praying for: 

Heb 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;

He pleaded with the Father to save Him from death.  Did the Lord Jesus pray to the Father to save Him from bodily death?  Perish the thought.  That would be violating all kinds of Scriptures.  No!  He pleaded with the Father to save Him from the second death, which means that He would be left in Hell.  What was the Father’s promise?  He was heard in what He feared.  His petition was granted.  The Lord Jesus did not receive this answer in the Garden of Gethsemane, for there was no voice from heaven.  But the Lord Jesus knew by faith that His Father would not leave His soul in Hell.  This was the faith of Christ. And this is how He knew that His petition was heard.  Yes!  He had to suffer the equivalent of all of us spending an eternity in Hell.

You heard me say this more than once, and I have been attacked for saying this.  But only God knows how to administer Christ’s suffering so that it became the equivalent of our penalty in Hell.  We know for certain that it was not Christ’s blood that became of infinite value, and that His blood would atone for all our sins, since the Atonement for our sins involved the death of both His body and soul.  God said in Leviticus 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood:  and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls:  for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul”.  Therefore, when God says, “it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” we understand that God said, “it is the life that is given by the shedding of blood that makes an atonement for your soul”.  If Christ would have died without the shedding of blood, then His death would not be sufficient to make atonement for sin.  If Christ would have shed His blood without dying, then this also would not be sufficient to make atonement for sin; Leviticus 17:11 says it must be death accompanied by shedding of blood.  God said in Isaiah chapter 53, “Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin”, and again “He hath poured out His soul unto death”. 

Please turn now to the prophecy of Jonah, Jonah 1:17.  We have to consider again the words of Jesus in Matthew 12:40, where He said, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”  If I may paraphrase here, the Lord says:

1.    “Look at Jonah in the belly of the great fish.

2.    God so arranged this historical event that it became a picture of My Atonement for sins.

3.    It became a historical allegory of My three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

4.    And thus if you want to learn more of My great Atonement for sins, go to the prophecy of Jonah and learn of Me, for He wrote of Me”.

That is why I asked you to turn to the prophecy of Jonah, for the Lord Jesus said that Jonah was a picture of Christ.

Š      Jonah in the Belly of the Great Fish (Jon 1:17-2:10, Ex 15:5, Neh 9:11, Job 41:31)

Now it is clear from the outset that Jonah was not a picture of Christ in the entire prophecy of Jonah.  The Lord Jesus Christ never ran away from God, like Jonah did in the first chapter, and the Lord never was angry at sinners who repented, like Jonah did in the fourth chapter.  But the Lord Jesus said that as Jonah was 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of the great fish, so, in like manner, was that a picture of Christ in His work of Atonement.  And thus we will only look at Jonah chapter 2. 

Jon 1:17  Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.  And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.  (This verse belongs rightfully so in chapter 2.)

Jon 2:1  Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly,    

Jon 2:2  And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.         

Jon 2:3  For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about:  all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.

Jon 2:4  Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.

Jon 2:5  The waters compassed me about, even to the soul:  the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.

Jon 2:6  I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me forever:  yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.      

Jon 2:7  When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD:  and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

Jon 2:8   They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.                   

Jon 2:9  But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed.   Salvation is of the LORD.

Jon 2:10  And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

What do we see here?  This is a prayer of Jonah, which he recorded for us, after He was again on dry land.  And so, this is a prayer of gratitude for having been saved from an eternity in Hell.  First of all, “the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah”.

1.    Jonah was thrown in the great stormy sea and he would have drowned within 5 minutes,

2.    and then at the end of the world he would have to stand before the Judgment seat of Christ to answer for his sins,

3.    and he would have been cast into Hell.

It was the mercy of God that Jonah was swallowed up by the great fish, so that he would be alive in the stomach of the fish for about seventy-two hours.  This fish was so great that there was enough air in his stomach to keep Jonah breathing for about seventy-two hours.  And now, after the fact, Jonah expresses his gratitude for this great deliverance.  It is obvious that Jonah chapter 2 does not contain all the prayers of Jonah while he was in the stomach of the fish.  These eight verses are only a tiny fraction of Jonah’s prayers.  Only those words from Jonah that could represent the prayers of the Lord Jesus were recorded, for this is the reason God dictated the words that were written in this prophecy of Jonah.  And what a horrible place it was.

1.    It was a deep and utterly dark place there in the stomach of the fish.

2.    It was as dark as “outer darkness” can possibly be.

3.    It was a place of burning pain, for the stomach acids of the fish were slowly etching the skin of Jonah.

4.    It was a timeless place, for Jonah did not sleep because of his pain, but he was not aware of time, even though it seemed to him like an eternity.

5.    It was a place resembling Hell, for Jonah says in verse 2, “Out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice”.

That word “Hell” is the Hebrew word “Sheol”.  Sheol can mean Hell or it can mean the grave.  When souls of the wicked are in view, then Hell is the correct translation.  When bodies are in view, then the grave is the correct translation.  Souls cannot be confined to the grave, for souls are spirits.  Only Christ and wicked souls go to Hell, for when a righteous person dies, his soul goes immediately to be with Christ in heaven.  Although both the righteous and the wicked are going to the grave, the righteous are not abandoned to Sheol, whereas the wicked are.  Sheol is the abode of the dead from which there is no return, a place that is without praise to God, and a place where the wicked are sent for future punishment.  And thus, when we read Jonah 2:2, Hell is also the correct translation in this verse.  Moreover, we read in verse 3, “For thou hadst cast me into the deep”.  That word “deep” is a Hebrew word that occurs eleven times in the Old Testament, and all eleven times it is a picture of Hell.  For example, when Pharaoh and his entire army drowned in the Red Sea, this was a picture of the wicked being cast into Hell on the Last Day. 

1.    And thus we read in Exodus 15:5, “The depths have covered them:  they sank into the bottom <04688> as a stone.”

2.    And also we read in Nehemiah 9:11, “And thou didst divide the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land; and their persecutors thou threwest into the deeps <04688>, as a stone into the mighty waters.”

3.    When God speaks about Leviathan we know that He is speaking about Satan.  Then God says in Job 41:31, “He maketh the deep <04688> to boil like a pot”, where the deep refers to Hell as a very warm place. And so on. 

And thus when Jonah says, “For thou hadst cast me into the deep”, it reflects that in the spiritual picture he has been cast into Hell.  The Old Testament is rather vague about the concept of Hell.  Hell is a place that is only developed in the New Testament as a place of eternal torment. 

Moreover in Jonah 2:5 we read about an apparently unimportant incident.  Jonah says here, “the weeds were wrapped about my head”.  What has this to do with the Gospel?  Interestingly “the weeds” is a Hebrew word, probably of Egyptian origin, a word that has been translated “weeds” only here in verse 5, but twenty four times we find in the Old Testament that it has been translated “Red”, referring to the rushes and reeds found at the shores of the Red Sea, and the Red Sea again points to Hell.  Thus when we read “the weeds were wrapped about my head”, paraphrased we might say, “the strangleholds of Hell were around my head”. 

Moreover in Jonah 2:6 “the earth with her bars” is literally representing “the earth as a prison”.  It was a place where the earth as a prison was around Jonah as if he would be in that condition forever.  It brings to mind the earth as the “Bottomless Pit”.  Also in verse 6 the word “corruption” would be better translated “the pit” or “the grave”, so that the second-half of verse 6 would read, “yet hast thou brought up my life from the grave, O LORD my God”.  And here we see Jonah’s gratitude for his deliverance from the belly of the great fish, which was to him like a resurrection from the grave. There are still many details which I have not touched upon in this chapter of Jonah.  But now we can understand why the Lord Jesus compared His Atonement to the adventure of Jonah in the belly of the great fish. 

And so, let us consider again the words of Matthew 12:40, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”  Did the Lord Jesus suffer the equivalent of an eternity in Hell for the duration of three days and three nights, like Jonah did?  The answer is NO!  Christ’s sufferings for our sins lasted from Thursday evening until Friday, about three O’clock in the afternoon, and before He died He cried out victoriously with a loud voice, “It is finished!” 

This cry was not for Himself, for no one knew that He was also suffering in His soul.  This cry was not for the disciples, for only John was standing there.  This cry was for us, to tell us that something was finished.  What was finished?  His sufferings for our sins were finished.  He could feel it in His body and soul that those sufferings were over.  But He was still hanging on the cross, bleeding and suffering in His body.  Nevertheless, He knew that the sufferings in His soul were finished, and this is what we must learn to understand about the Atonement of Christ.  The sufferings in His body were negligible compared to the sufferings in His soul. Christ suffered in His soul the equivalent of an eternity in Hell. A few minutes later the Lord Jesus said, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit”.  Then He died and His human Soul, or Spirit went to heaven, and His body was laid in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea.

His body did not continue to endure the torments of Hell, because He said “It is finished”.  His body rested in the grave until Sunday morning.  Before we leave the three days and three nights we must understand that the entire Atonement lasted three days and three nights, but His actual sufferings for our sins lasted less than twenty hours.  However, from the words that Jesus spoke in Matthew 12:40 we learn that the cross and the resurrection must be considered as One Redemptive Complex.  From other passages of Jesus words we learn that His resurrection is never divorced from His crucifixion. 

Another part of Matthew 12:40 is that Jesus said, “Three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”.  This does not mean that Christ was buried in the grave for three days and three nights, for Christ was not buried in the ground, like most people are, but He was buried above the ground, in a cave.  And thus, the expression “in the heart of the earth” cannot refer to His grave.  It must refer to something else.  When we search the Bible, we find a verse that comes close to it.  We find, in Ephesians 4:9, “Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth”?  Here we understand that “the lower parts of the earth” does not refer to His grave, but to His atonement, for on the cross He endured the wrath of God, and thus “the lower parts of the earth” refer to His atonement.  But His atonement was not complete until He rose from the tomb on Sunday morning.  Therefore, both “the lower parts of the earth”, as well as, “in the heart of the earth”, must refer to His atonement and not to the gravesite. 

God defines His own terms, and God does not lie.  Therefore, we must keep our eyes open for any symbolism that God introduces anywhere.  Then His body was laid in the tomb.  This was a further humiliation for the Lord Jesus Christ.  He allowed His body to be handled by sinful men.  His dead body was absolutely dead, just as dead as WE were in trespasses and sins before we were saved.  For if we were in Him from before the foundation of the world then we were still in Him when His dead body was put in the grave.  But that also implies that:

#2.      He Could Not Remain There (Acts 13:26-34, 1John 2:19)

Please turn in your Bible to the Acts of the Apostles, Acts 13:26-34.  When the Apostle Paul was on his first missionary journey he preached a sermon to the Jews in the city of Antioch in Pisidia.  Paul and Barnabas entered the synagogue of that city on the Sabbath and there Paul preached this sermon:

Ac 13:26  Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. 

Ac 13:27  For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.

Ac 13:28  And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.        

Ac 13:29  And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.                  

Ac 13:30  But God raised him from the dead:

Ac 13:31  And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.     

Ac 13:32  And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,

Ac 13:33  God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

Ac 13:34  And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.

This is only a part of the speech that Paul gave in the synagogue, but God recorded it for us so that we can be edified through the reading of this sermon.  To whom is God speaking here?  Acts 13:26 says, “To whosoever among you that feareth God”.  Who are the “whosoever” that fear God? Rom 3:18 says, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” This is a passage which begins in Rom 3:10 and it applies to the whole human race. None in the human race are born with a fear of God. And so it still is today.  We can preach all we want to those that do not fear God, but all our preaching is in vain.  People who do not fear God are not guided by God the Holy Spirit.

The main point is this:  What are people doing with the Bible?  Do they believe that the Bible is really God’s Word?  Do they really believe that God is speaking when they open the Bible and read these words?  Only then do they truly have a fear of God.  Only then are they willing to listen to the words of Scripture.  And the words of verse 26 then ring loud and clear:  “Whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent”. 

We have had many visitors who seemed to listen carefully when we explained to them the words of this Bible.  But most of them did not come back.  We are reminded of the words of 1John 2:19, where the church of the first century AD also had similar experiences.  1John 2:19 says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us:  but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us”.  But whosoever among you that fears God, remember that our Father in heaven gave you that fear, for no one can come to Jesus except the Father draw him.  To you then who have received this godly fear, to you are these glad tidings.

Š      Glad Tidings? (Acts 13:32-33,38-39, Psalm 2:7-8, 1Cor 15:17, Matt 12:39-40) 

Ac 13:32  And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,          

Ac 13:33  God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. 

What is this day referring to?  It refers to the day of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  And the words in Psalm 2 that follow after the statement, “this day have I begotten thee”, are the words of Psalm 2:8 that speak of Christ as the Son of God with power.  We read in verse 8, “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession”.  In other words, here in the New Testament we learn that the resurrection establishes Jesus Christ as the Son of God with power.  Let me say it in another way:  His resurrection was not just coming back to life, but a birth into a New Life as the Son of God with power.  And with that power comes the control of the providence of God that He now holds in His hands, and by which He rules over heaven and earth; Not just over all inanimate objects, but also over all His elect and over all the wicked non-elect. 

What are the glad tidings?  Christ, our Maker and our Redeemer has our lives in His hands, and He is our Defender and the Avenger on our enemies.  We have nothing to fear that is in the realm of creation.  The only one we fear is God, but no one or nothing can separate us from the love of Christ.  But there is more.  Please look now at Acts 13:38-39,

Ac 13:38  Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:   

Ac 13:39  And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses.

How is the forgiveness of sins tied to the resurrection of Christ?  When the Father burdened the Lord Jesus with all our sins and He was going to Atone for them, we see that Satan eagerly took the opportunity to indwell Judas Iscariot, and instigated him to make his wicked contract with the Scribes and Pharisees.  Did Satan know that Jesus was going to the cross?  O yes he did, for Jesus said it at least three times, and Satan eagerly complied with what was required of him by indwelling Judas.  Satan knew that the righteousness of God required that Jesus must pay the full price for the Atonement of our sins.  And Satan knew that the full price was the equivalent of an eternity in Hell.  Did Satan believe that Jesus could do that?  No!  Satan was convinced that Jesus, who was fully man, could not fulfill such a horrendous payment in His human nature.  That is why he was so eager to do the things leading up to Christ’s crucifixion. 

However, the Lord Jesus did pay the full price for our sins, and when He cried “It is finished” it was done.  But no one on earth knew it, for even the disciples were totally depressed when they knew that Jesus was dead.  And so, when God raised Him from the dead, God gave us the sign that the Lord Jesus was totally successful in paying the enormous price that had to be paid.  That is why we read in 1Corinthians 15:17, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins”.  That is how the forgiveness of sins is tied to the resurrection of Christ.

Š      Therefore the Lord Jesus had to be fully man, to qualify to be our Kinsman Redeemer,

Š      and He had to be fully God to be able to endure the enormous payment required for our sins.

Only if He was God could He be our Savior and could He forgive our sins by atoning for them in our place in a truly substitutionary Atonement.  Please turn again to the Gospel according to Matthew, Matthew 12:39-40.  We want to look here at the application which the Lord Jesus told the Scribes and Pharisees after He scolded them for desiring a sign from Him.  Certainly they did not ask from Him another healing miracle as a sign.  The Lord Jesus had already given many of those.  But they were asking for a sign that would fit within their aspirations:  Who shall free us from the Roman rule and establish a heavenly kingdom here on earth? 

Mt 12:39  But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

Mt 12:40  For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

In other words, the only sign that the Lord Jesus shall give is the sign of the cross, which is the sign of salvation.  When someone is born from above, it is a miracle done by God the Holy Spirit.  This is the only miracle that God still does today.  But to those that seek a sign to establish an earthly kingdom He says:

#3.      So Shall It Be Unto This Wicked Generation (Mat 12:38,43-45, Rom 8:31-32)

Mt 12:43  When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.              

Mt 12:44  Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.   

Mt 12:45  Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there:  and the last state of that man is worse than the first.  Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

Who was Jesus addressing this parable to?  He was speaking to the Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 12:38.  These were the people whom Jesus called “An evil and adulterous generation” because they were asking for a work of Jesus that would establish Him as their next leader against the Romans.  But Jesus refused, for His Kingdom is not of this world.  This tells us something about today’s church leaders who are teaching their flocks that Christ shall come to establish an earthly kingdom with headquarters in Jerusalem.  They pray earnestly for it, but it is the same request as that of the Scribes and Pharisees.  The Lord says to them that they are a wicked generation who can be compared to someone who has kept his soul clean, but leaves Christ out. 

Today there are many, of the premillennial persuasion, who only listen to what their pastor tells them, but they do not want to search out the Bible for themselves.  If they do not know that they are fed only half-truths, then they do not know the God of the Bible, and their spiritual house is empty.  This is a great evil.  They may be respectable citizens, and they may go to church every Sunday, but if their spiritual house is empty then Satan will come as an angel of light and he will fill that empty spiritual house with gospels that are o-so-close to the true gospel, but then those gospels are developing into abominations that make the soul utterly desolate. 

Moreover, the Lord Jesus tells us here about the future destiny of the Jewish nation.  When Jesus said, “Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation”, the Lord tells us where this generation of Jews is headed.  This is a sure promise to the nation who desires an earthly kingdom.  They certainly are not going to be the new spiritual leaders in a future millennium.  That is absolutely out of the question.  And thus, the whole premillennial scheme of things falls apart already at the beginning.  But to us the Lord Jesus says:

1.    Do not seek another Jesus.

2.    Do not seek for signs and wonders.

3.    Do not seek them for they are attached to an evil and adulterous generation.

4.    Do not seek to be healed of your ailments by miraculous ways, for your Heavenly Father knows what you need, even before you ask of Him.

Remember that the resurrected Christ is your living Protector and your Defender.  So then:  If God be for us, who can be against us?   He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?  (Romans 8:32)  And this is a promise which applies today, while we are still in this body of sin, because we have a living Savior who’s mercy is very great.  Is that not amazing?  And think of it, that Christ is our Defender, even though we live in this body of sin.  But He knows our frame, and He remembers that we are dust.  Let us then be grateful for so great a mercy that He shows to us, and let us search for those things that are pleasing in His sight, for we love Him dearly.

AMEN.