Bible Study - Resurrection predictions and mysterious numbers!

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Bible Study Series: Resurrection, Rapture & the Redeemer

Resurrection predictions and mysterious numbers!

by I Gordon

Welcome! We are going to continue our series on the resurrection and so far we've explored three Old Testament passages in Job, Isaiah and Daniel. So we will be transitioning (mostly) to the New Testament today. I want to spend two or three messages on the most important event in the history of the world - Jesus' resurrection! This message will be focused around the following passage which Jesus spoke to His disciples after the resurrection:

Luk 24:46-48 "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,  (47)  and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  (48)  "You are witnesses of these things.

David Jeremiah writes:

"The Christian Gospel rests on the truth of Jesus Christ and His resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 15:14, Paul puts it this way: “And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.” Without the Resurrection, there is no reason to attend church! The foundation of the Gospel is predicated on Jesus Christ’s victory over sin and over death. "
David Jeremiah

Now I must warn you ahead of time that there will be some math involved today. There will be a simple calculus and algebra test at the end of this study. Oh alright... breath easy... nothing on that level! But a few numbers are going to pop up today. Can you remember your favorite TV show when you were little? Yeah that's right, remember Elmo, Oscar, Cookie Monster, Big Bird and the rest of the crew? (Argh, these were in far more innocent days, long before Sesame Street went woke!) Well this study, to quote Sesame Street, is bought to you by the numbers 3 and 8. And, as a bonus, I'm going to throw in 5 and 13 as well. Clear as mud? Hopefully things become a little clearer! But as well as being the greatest designer, chemist, physicist, biologist (and anything else you can name), Jesus, who made all things, is the greatest mathematician. He likes His numbers and has put them throughout His word both in and below the text. And they are related to the cross and resurrection. So in this study...   

  • We'll start with a look at the central message that the early Church witnessed to.
  • We'll explore Jesus' own predictions of His death and resurrection before the event
  • We'll see how 'the third day' was spoken of even in the Old Testament
  • We'll look at the number 8 in the Bible and how that relates to Jesus and His resurrection
  • And, as a bonus, we'll look at the numbers 5 and 13 and their connection with the title placed above Jesus on the cross 

Jesus' resurrection - The central message of the early Church

Let's go back to our main passage for this study and begin by exploring how the message of Jesus' resurrection was pivotal in the witness of the early church. When Jesus appeared to His disciples after the resurrection He said:

Luk 24:46-48 "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,  (47)  and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.  (48)  "You are witnesses of these things.

Note the important points here: 

  1. That His death and resurrection where all written and recorded in scripture in advance.
  2. That it was specifically recorded that He would rise on the third day
  3. That His disciples were witnesses of His death and resurrection 
  4. That they would be a be witness of this to others, proclaiming forgiveness of sins, to all nations. 

So the disciples had both witnessed, and would witness to, Jesus' death and resurrection. When you get that knock on the door and see a couple of smiling JW's out on your porch. let me tell you two things that aren't witnessing about. They aren't witnessing about Jesus and they aren't witnessing about His resurrection. Why? Because they are 'Jehovah's Witnesses' - they don't believe that Jesus is Jehovah, they don't believe that He is God (with a capital 'G') and they don't believe that He was raised physically from the dead1. They only believe that He was raised as 'a spirit creature'. How far away this is from what the early Church spoke and witnessed about! 

"To preach Christianity meant primarily to preach the Resurrection... The Resurrection is the central theme in every Christian sermon reported in the Acts."
C.S Lewis

This is very true. When you look at what the Apostles spoke about in the book of Acts, you always find Jesus and the resurrection! It was His physical resurrection that gave proof that He was who He said He was and these disciples had seen Jesus alive and well with their own two eyes! Have a look at this footnote to see more.2    

What do you witness about?
Just to pause for a moment, what do you speak about when witnessing to people? What do you focus on? Maybe that He died for our sins and there is forgiveness through His death on the cross? Maybe that His life fulfilled the many prophecies of the Messiah? Maybe the change that He has made in your life? Do you mention the resurrection? Obviously you and I weren't eye witnesses of the resurrection (missed that by only 2000 years) but is there evidence in your life that He is alive? Is there evidence in how your life has changed by coming into contact with the living risen Lord? A changed life, combined with an explanation of what His death and resurrection means, is a powerful witness! 

Predictions of His death (& the disciples' reaction)

Let's now explore the predictions Jesus made of His own resurrection. When you read through the gospels, especially the book of Mathew which was written to the Jews to prove He was the Messiah, you see that Jesus mentioned His death and resurrection several times. The first came straight after, and was related to, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. This was something that the specific generation witnessing Jesus' miracles did when they failed to believe in Him and instead ascribed His miracles to the power of the devil! (Matt 12:24). Given all that Jesus had done to prove His Messiahship, this act of gross unbelief was a sin against the Holy Spirit which could not be forgiven (Matt 12:31-32). From that point on, Jesus spoke to the crowds mainly in parables and started, for the first time, to speak of His upcoming death and resurrection. Straight after the 'blasphemy of the Holy Spirit' in Matt 12, we have the first occurrence of this when Jesus was asked to perform more 'signs' and 'wonders'. Jesus replied:

Mat 12:39-40 "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.  (40)  For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

The sign of Jonah was the sign, the only sign, that Jesus would now give. He said that as a fulfillment of what Jonah experienced, He would spend three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. So what did His disciples say to this? Crickets. Nada... Nothing. They didn't understand it. And probably fair enough too because that by itself doesn't explain clearly what was going to happen. How and why is the Son of Man going to be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth? What does that mean? Thankfully Jesus repeated Himself several times on this and made it very clear, so they did understand.

Mat 16:21-22  From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.  (22)  Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!"

Mat 17:22-23  When they came together in Galilee, he said to them, "The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.  (23)  They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life." And the disciples were filled with grief.

While the first veiled mention of His death was met with crickets and silence, the second was actually met with a rebuke from Peter - 'Never Lord! This shall never happen to you!' But by the third time Jesus spoke of it in Galilee the response was met with grief. First silence, then an angry outburst, then grief as the realization of what was to come slowly dawned on them.3 

Resurrection & the third day

Let's now zero in on Jesus' reference to the 'third day'. We saw earlier that after the resurrection Jesus said that 'it was written' that the Son of Man must suffer and rise again from the dead on the third day. Have you thought about where in scripture it says that? And remember that when Jesus said this the only scripture they had is what we now call the Old Testament. Obviously, there were clear references to His death in such passages as Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. Isaiah 53 does allude to His resurrection (Isa 53:10-11). David also spoke prophetically on Jesus resurrection in Psalm 16 as Peter quoted on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2:25-32. But where in scripture does it speak about being raised specifically on the third day? Where does this number 3 come in? 

What did Jesus do for the disciples after His resurrection when He spoke to them? We read in Luke 24:45 that 'He opened their mind so that they could understand the scriptures' and He went through the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms speaking about Himself! We all need our minds opened by the Lord and I for one would have loved to have been a fly on the wall listening in that day! Concerning the third day, I believe that Jesus would have pointed to all the pictures and types given in scripture that spoke of this marvelous 'third day'. I have written about this before, so we'll keep it brief here, but it is always interesting to see the many relevant mentions of the third day in scripture. Very little is mentioned about the about the second of fourth day yet a lot of events occurred on the third day! For example:

  • As mentioned above, the prophet Jonah being in the great fish for three days and three nights was a type of the death and resurrection (Jon 1:17)
  • Abraham, when asked to sacrifice his son Isaac, received him back on the third day (Gen 22:4)
  • The cupbearer and the baker in prison with Joseph both had dreams where their fate would be seen on the third day (Gen 40:20-22) 
  • Having come to the edge of the Promised Land, it was on the third day that the Israelites would pass over the Jordan and into the land (Josh 1:11)
  • To save her people, Esther put her life on the line coming before the King unannounced on the third day (Esther 5:1)
  • Hezekiah, when mortally ill, was healed and granted an extension of life on the third day (2 Kings 20:5-6)
  • The Lord was seen on Mount Sinai before all the people on the third day (Exodus 19:10-11)

Clearly there is something important that scripture was trying to teach about life, death and victory on the third day! The number three is also associated with resurrection in other ways. There are three instances where someone was raised in the Old Testament. There are three resurrections in the ministry of Jesus.4 If we look at the 'law of first mention' we see that the first resurrection in the Bible was performed by Elijah where we have another mention of this number 3:

1Ki 17:21-22 Then he (Elijah) stretched himself upon the child three times, and called to the LORD and said, "O LORD my God, I pray You, let this child's life return to him." (22) The LORD heard the voice of Elijah, and the life of the child returned to him and he revived.

We see that Elijah associated himself with the one dead by lying on him... and he did this three times. In like manner, Jesus associated Himself with those dead by going into death for them so that they could have life! Jesus Himself was the 7th (God's perfect number) resurrection in the Bible but the first to get a new glorified body!

Jesus and Funerals

As a side note, here's an interesting point about resurrection in the ministry of Jesus - It has been said that as a young man, D. L. Moody was suddenly called upon to preach a funeral sermon, so he hunted all through the four Gospels trying to find one of Christ’s funeral sermons. But his search was in vain. What he found was that Jesus broke up every funeral He ever attended! You see death could not exist where He was and when the dead heard His voice, they came to life. We should always remember that Jesus said:

Joh 11:25-26  Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;  (26)  and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

The Number 8 - Resurrection & New Life!

As well as the number 3, the number 8 is also associated with Jesus and His resurrection. The number eight speaks of new life and new beginnings. It is Jesus' number as we shall see! For example:

  • Creation was based around a 7-day week. Thus the 8th day was also the 1st day, the start of the new week and thus the start of something new. 
  • In the flood, a picture of death and new life, there were 8 people that were saved (1 Pet 3:20 - Noah & Wife, 3 sons and 3 daughters in law)
  • Circumcision, representing the removal of the flesh and new life, occurred on the 8th day of life. (Lev 12:3)
  • The firstborn of Israel was dedicated to God on the 8th day (Ex 22:29-30)
  • Jesus' birthplace, Bethlehem, is mentioned 8 times in the New Testament. 
  • When Jesus spoke to Nicodemus in that famous passage about the need to be born again, being born (new life) is mentioned 8 times in the 8 verses (John 3:1-8)
  • Jesus rose on the 8th day after entering Jerusalem in that final week. He arrived on Palm Sunday, riding the foal of a donkey, on Nisan 10th in fulfillment of scripture. On day 8, the following Sunday, He rose from the dead!5
  • The eighth mention of an earthquake in scripture (NKJV, NASB, NIV tested) is Matt 28:2 where an angel caused the stone to roll away at Jesus' resurrection!
  • The value6 of the name Jesus in Greek (Iesous) is 888. Iesous = I (10) + e ( 8 ) + s (200) + o (70) + u (400) + s (200) = 888
  • The book of Revelation, which is the Revelation of Jesus, has (apparently) 888 unique Greek words!
The Mathematical Seal of God

It's going back a few years now but one of the very first Christian books I ever read was called 'The seal of God' by F C Payne7. It was a great little book showing how God has put His seal and sign upon creation and His word. Now I was doing a Computing and Mathematical Sciences degree at the time so one aspect that stood out to me was that God was into math! I discovered that He likes His numbers! I learned that different numbers have meanings within scripture and that God has hidden many prominent numbers, like 3, 6, 7, 8, 13, 17, 37, 40 etc within the text of His word. We've seen above that the value in Greek of the name Jesus is 888 (3 x 8 x 37). This alone is amazing because it speaks of 'divine perfection/Godhead' (3) combined with 'resurrection/new life' (8) and 'the word of God' (37). And all this was combined in Jesus! 

But it doesn't stop there because all the main names and titles of Jesus are a multiple of eight. They all have this 'seal' and 'sign' of resurrection and new life upon them. For example:
Sign of Jesus of Nazareth on the cross

  • Jesus = 888 (8 x 111)
  • Lord = 800 (8 x 100)
  • Christ = 1,480 (8 x 185)
  • Savior = 1,408 (8 x 2  x 88)
  • Messiah = 656 (8 X 82)
  • Son = 880 (8 x110)
  • Son of Man = 2960 (8 x 370)
  • Truth - 64 (8 x 8)
  • Lord Jesus Christ = 3168 (8 x 396)

But there was one title of Jesus that didn't point to His resurrection... but to sin. Do you know what it was? When would Jesus be related to sin? It was the name written by Pilate that was put on the sign above Jesus on the cross which had the title 'Jesus of Nazareth':

  • The numeric value of 'Jesus of Nazareth' = 2,197 (13x13x13) This number 13 is associated with the devil and sin8. So when Jesus became sin, the title applied (which He was used only here on the cross) was one that directly pointed to sin multiplied. That is amazing. Only God can arrange all this! 

Bonus Number! - 5

As a bonus for making it this far, here is one last number. A very important number! We've seen that the title 'Jesus of Nazareth', which Pilate wrote and placed on the cross, had a numeric value of 2197 (13 x 13 x 13). Many years ago my Uncle decided to see what the entire sentence that Pilate wrote added up to in the Greek.9 He soon found that each Gospel writer only records part of the message:

  • Mat 27:37 And above His head they put up the charge against Him which read, "THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS."
  • Mar 15:26 The inscription of the charge against Him read, "THE KING OF THE JEWS."
  • Luk 23:38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, "THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS."
  • Joh 19:19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, "JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS."

Combing these to get the full message we have 'This is Jesus of Nazareth the king of the Jews'

When sin met perfect grace!
My Uncle found that in Greek this has a value of 7215. Now the observant among you will probably ask 'Well, is this a multiple of 13? Because if Jesus was made sin on the cross, and 13 is the number of sin, then I would expect it to!' You will be pleased to know that it is. But here is the really interesting part. 7215 is 13 x 555! 5 is the number of grace and 555 is the intensification of grace just as 888 (the number of Jesus) is the intensification of resurrection and new life! 

Sin (13) met intensified perfect grace (555), on the cross! 


Ok - there is a lot to digest there! This has been an introduction into the predictions and numbers around the resurrection of Jesus. What we have seen is that it was PERFECT and it was pointed to in many ways! 

  1. The very date that He died and rose from the dead was perfect being specified 1500 years previously when God revealed the feast day dates to Moses (Passover and Firstfruits)  
  2. The length of time He spent in the grave was perfect to fulfill multiple pictures and types in the Old Testament as well as the very predictions of Jesus Himself.
  3. The very name of Jesus, in the Greek, has a perfect value of 888 pointing directly to the One who is the resurrection and the life! 
  4. And the cross, as shown by Pilate's inscription above Jesus, was sin meeting perfect grace! 

Only God, who is perfect in all His ways, could do all this! And what does the New Testament say? 

1Co 15:20-22  Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

The study has been mostly data, points and facts with little emphasis on the application. I know... I'll try make up for it next time! But as we close, the application is this: The perfection of Christ's resurrection means that all that are His are sure to rise and be found in perfection as well! God does everything perfectly. In my last message I spoke of having been at my sister-in-laws mother's funeral that week. That same day I recorded it I found out that my best friend's mother, a woman I have known for 40+ years, had finally succumbed to her pancreatic cancer and gone home to be with the Lord also. She is now with Him... because she is in Him. 'For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive'. Everything that we have is because of Him. He was made sin so that we could become the righteousness of God. His resurrection and defeat of death means that death will, and can have, no hold on those in Christ. 

Just make perfectly sure you have salvation. It is a free gift, but it can be missed if you are doing your own thing or trying to earn it in some other way from that which is prescribed by God in His word. Pastor J.D Farag likes to keep it simple and always closes His prophetic messages with the A B C's of salvation.

A  Admit to God that you are a sinner needing salvation

B  Believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and was raised from the dead

C  Call upon the name of the Lord and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord   

We will carry on next time looking more specifically at the events that occurred at the time of Jesus' resurrection.

  1. The belief of JW's that Jesus was only raised as a spirit creature and not in a physical, glorified, body is ridiculous when looking at the Biblical account.

    Jesus Himself specifically said that He was merely a spirit but had flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). This was proved by the fact that He ate with His disciples on more than one occasion (Luke 24:30, 42-43; John 21:12-13) and His disciples physically touched Him (including His scars from the crucifixion (Matt. 28:9; John 20:17)."

  2. What did the early witnesses witness about?
    • Jesus' instruction to His disciples before His ascension: Act 1:8  but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
    • The disciples criteria for selecting a disciple to replace Judas - Act 1:21-22  Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us... For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection."
    • Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost - Act 2:31-32  Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay.  (32)  God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.
    • Peter's message to the Israelites at Solomon's portico - Act 3:15  You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
    • Peter and the Apostles when arrested and before the Sanhedrin - Act 5:30-32  The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead--whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.  (31)  God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.  (32)  We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him."
    • Peter's message to the Gentiles - Act 10:39-40  We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree,  (40)  but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen.
    • Paul in the Synagogue in Antioch - Act 13:29-31  When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb.  (30)  But God raised him from the dead,  (31)  and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people.

    From these verses alone you can see that being a witness for Jesus meant witnessing specifically about His resurrection which was the proof of everything that He said about Himself.

    What do you witness about?

  3. While Jesus' own disciples may have been slow to understand, the unbelieving certainly heard what Jesus said about His death and resurrection after 3 days and tried to use it again Him.
    At the 'trial' of Jesus:
    Mat 26:59-62 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. (60) But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward (61) and declared, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.' " (62) Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?"
    While on the Cross:
    Mat 27:39-40 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads (40) and saying, "You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!"
    After being buried:
    Mat 27:62-65  The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate.  (63)  Sir, they said, "we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise again.'  (64)  So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first."  (65)  Take a guard, Pilate answered. "Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how."

  4. The O.T has the following resurrections:
    Elijah raised the widow of Zarephath’s son (1 Kings 17:17–24).
    Elisha raised the Shunammite woman’s son (2 Kings 4:18–37).
    The man raised out of Elisha’s grave (2 Kings 13:20–21).
    The N.T ministry of Jesus has:
    The widow of Nain’s son (Luke 7:11–17).
    Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:40–56).
    Lazarus of Bethany (John 11).

  5. The last week in a little more detail...

    • Day 1: Nisan 10 - Palm Sunday and Jesus' entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. This is when all of Israel were to take and inspect their Passover Lamb until the 14 of the month (Ex 12:3) which is what they were doing with Jesus!
    • Day 2: Nisan 11 - Monday - Jesus continues to enter, speak and be seen in Jerusalem
    • Day 3: Nisan 12 - Tuesday - Jesus continues to enter, speak and be seen in Jerusalem
    • Day 4: Nisan 13 - Wednesday - Jesus continues to enter, speak and be seen in Jerusalem
    • Day 5: Nisan 14 - Thursday - Day of Passover (Ex 12) and Jesus is crucified as the Lamb of God! 1st day in the heart of the earth (Jesus died at 3pm)
    • Day 6: Nisan 15 - Friday - 1st night and 2nd day in the heart of the earth
    • Day 7: Nisan 16 - Saturday - 2nd night and 3rd day in the heart of the earth
    • Day 8: Nisan 17 - Sunday - Resurrection! 3 days and 3 nights in the heart of the earth then resurrection as the feast of Firstfruits begins on the 17th, the Sunday and first day after the Sabbath (Lev 23:11)!

  6. For those not aware, both the Hebrew and Greek alphabets have a value assigned to each letter. Thus as well as spelling a name/word, there is a numerical value. A chart of both the Hebrew and Greek alhabet with values can be seen here:
    Hebrew Greek Alphabet
    Thus, this well known verse should become a little clearer!:

    Rev 13:18  This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.

    Note we are told to 'calculate' his number. This is not possible till he is around but just as the Saviour's name, Jesus, adds up to 888, so too the Antichrist's number will add up to 666. The same method of 'calculating' the number should be used.

  7. Actually just looked and found a copy of the Seal of God online if anyone is interested. Formatting is average but brought back some memories!
    Seal of God
    If after the numbers section (which is based on the work of Ivan Panin):
    Ivan Panin Numbers
    There is a useful summary of some of the main numbers in scripture here:
    Bible Numbers Meaning

  8. Consider for a moment this number 13 also... The 'dragon' is mentioned 13 times in Revelation. The value of 'dragon' is 975 (13 x 75). Other titles of the enemy are related to 13 such as Serpent = 780 (13 x 60), Murderer = 1820 (13 x 140), Tempter = 1053 (13 x 81). And in Revelation the dragon/serpent is described in Rev 12:9 using the phrase 'called the Devil and Satan' = 2197 (13 x 13 x 13)!

  9. My Uncle wrote to me: "I will never forget finding the use that God made of the numbers five and thirteen in the gematria of the full title on the cross That full title is "This is Jesus of Nazareth the king of the Jews" but God split it up across the four gospels and each only has a portion of the whole. The gematria in Greek is 7215  and that number is 555 x 13, which shows us the fullness of the grace of God in dealing with the sin question. As if that was not enough the phrase "Jesus of Nazareth" has a Greek gematria of 2197 which number is also found by 13 x 13 x 13 and that shows that Jesus became the complete personification of sin at Calvary. Only God could possibly have the intelligence to set that up"

    Here is the original working sheet he typed up many years back: