The Time Story of the Raising Lazarus

Jesus made a deliberate point of waiting two days after he heard that Lazarus was sick. When he finally got around to it, Lazarus had been dead four days.


The story of Lazarus is recorded for us in John, chapter 11. In this powerful story Jesus demonstrates through the raising of Lazarus from the dead the various issues regarding the raising of each of us from the dead.

In this story Jesus is careful to teach that there is both an important, immediate, component which we receive from following him and another deferred component which we will each experience at the end of the age.

Jesus gets Martha to recount both components. The first is the resurrection of the dead on the "last day". The other is what happens to us now when we put our belief in Jesus. Jesus takes us and raises us to a new life even now as we await that eventual resurrection later.

20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. 21"Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask." John 11:2123Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." John 11:2324Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." John 11:2425Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:2527"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world." John 11:27 (John 11:20-27 NIV)

After further dialog we eventually see Jesus actually raise Lazarus, calling him from the tomb. Alive. For all to see.

This story is interesting because it also intertwines the date for the eventual widespread resurrection of the dead. In this story Jesus is recorded as having carefully timed everything. He gets word of Lazarus’ illness and waits two more day before going back to heal him.(John 11:6) By the time Jesus actually raises Lazarus" count=" he has already been in the tomb for four days. (John 11:17)

These dates are important because we know that everything Jesus does which takes a day, are actually telling us something about 1000 year long intervals. These details were not removed from the story, so they are keys to understanding it.

What does it mean here? Specifically that from the time the first believer is put in the tomb, to the time Jesus gets first hand word of the problem will be two days, or 2000 years. From there, to the point where Jesus actually raises the dead to life will be another two days, or 2000 years. The entire cycle taking 4000 years, just as described here.

This, like the Woman at the Well is a story with triangulation. If we can find the first two points in history we can find the third future date.

When were the first two dates? Abraham’s death and Jesus’ first bodily visit to earth.

Is it Aligned With God’s Days, or a Separate Calendar?

This story may or may not be aligned with a 1000 year interval on the calendar we are using on this site. The interpretation of this rests on the first man of faith put in the tomb, Abraham.

If Unaligned

Abraham was the first man of faith. He was placed in the tomb in the year 8959 from Adam. Two thousand years later, in 10959 nothing happened, right? Well, this was only 30 years short of Jesus’ birth and visit to earth were he could bodily hear of the condition of Abraham’s family. Jesus would remain where he was, in the story across the Jordan, in history, across the sky, from Abraham’s family on earth. After two days, or 2000 more years, he will arrive and raise Abraham and his entire family to life.

For those who don’t know the new testament, let me remind you that Christians are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promises to Abraham. Christians are Abraham’s family. We are the ones first put in the tomb when Abraham was buried. We are the ones to be raised to life.

For the curious, 4000 biblical years from the year Abraham was buried ended on February 20, 1969. Since that date we have been in a pregnant time, waiting for Jesus to return. This was just after the Jews had returned to Jerusalem, and was just a few years before the main day-for-a-year repeat of biblical history began.

If Aligned

If we are to align this story with the overarching calendar, the story shifts forward by 31 years. It would start in the year 9001 after Adam. The midpoint moves to 11,000/11,001, which is when Jesus appeared in the Temple at age 12, and ends in the year 13,000 after Adam, or in the spring of 2010. This alignment agrees with Jacob’s dream of a ladder to heaven and suggests that going up and down from heaven, which is what Jesus does, is a pattern that starts at 9001. If we use 9001 as the start, and 13000 as the end, we see that Jesus is free to return and raise everyone from the grave any time after the start of 13001 after Adam, in the spring of 2010.

Let me caution, that this does not say he will only that he can return after this point. It also says the focus of his return will be on the resurrection. This is what he is returning to do.

There are other day-accurate stories that Jesus uses to suggest how this is going to work. Probably the most famous three days that Jesus spent here on earth was the three days he spent in the tomb, which we turn to next.