CHRIST IS SUPERIOR TO ALL CELESTIAL BEINGS

Hebrews 1:10-2:8

10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: 11 they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12 and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. 13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit, on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation (KJV)?

The Creator Has Laid the Foundation of the Earth

Hebrews 1:10

10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands (KJV):

The text now continues to describe the creator and His handiwork expressed in Psalm 102:25-27. The Jewish person to whom our text was written would know the Psalms. The Psalms though affirm the creation account in Genesis. Only God can create. Mankind is not able to do this. He can manage, rearrange and form. He cannot create matter out of nothing ex nihlo. This is the Latin meaning for “out of nothing.” In the beginning is a direct reference to the creation of the physical property of time. When we ponder the concept of time we find it impossible to arrive at a suitable definition. Time is not uniform: It is a physical property that varies with mass, acceleration and gravity, among other things. Particle physicists insist that we exist in more dimensions than we are aware of. These are all products of the time domain.  What is important to understand is that time had a beginning is in existence now, is changing its properties, and will have an end. These are concepts the human cannot fully understand. Consider our awareness spectrum while we are in these bodies. We are aware of events transpiring at the present. We can remember the past. We cannot predict the future because we cannot see it. Now God who lives outside of time (not where there is a lot of time) knows the future. In fact, one might say “God Remembers Tomorrow!” Such is the unique characteristic of time and the limitation of knowing it that God has placed upon us.

The unity of the three components of our existence, time, matter and space are all independent and coterminous with the whole. The universe is not part time, matter and space. It is rather all space, time and matter.

Clearly God has given us multiple characteristics of what we cannot see. Nachmonides a Jewish rabbi from Spain in the 13th century taught that there are ten dimensions. Four are knowable such as the three spatial (height, width & depth) as well as time. The other six are “curled” into the four we are able to detect while in our bodies. We will see them all when we are released from these bodies at death when the angels come for us (Luke 16:22) or if the Lord comes for us first (I Thessalonians 4:14-17).

The use of the Hebrew word to create, Bara in Genesis 1:1 means that at some point God spoke the creation into being. God alone is infinite and omnipotent. God is the Creator who came to earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth who the Bible says created all things (John 1). God also created the heavens. The heavens here refer to space. So, the beginning of time was then followed by the space of the universe. Our entire universe only consists of three components. They are space, time and matter. The Hebrew word shamayin is that used of the space component of the basic space-time-mass universe. This is followed by the Hebrew word erets, which is translated as earth but primarily refers to matter. Matter of course is anything that has weight and takes up space. At the time that matter was created there were no bodies in the heavens. They were created on the fourth day of the creation account in Genesis one. On the fourth day of creation God made the stars in the heavens.

Genesis 1: 14-18

14And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years: 15and let them be for lights in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. 16And God made the two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 17And God set them in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth, 18and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good (ASV, 1901).

One of the reasons for making the stars in the heavens was for a sign. A sign signifies or represents something. One dictionary defines a sign as:

An object, quality, or event whose presence or occurrence indicates the presence or occurrence of something else

Signs therefore, are meant to lead one to something else. The sign itself is not the end meaning. It is the method employed to direct our attention to something else. In the stars God is the direct object the signs point to. We should realize that His entire creation which theologians call “general revelation,” speak to Him and coming from Him. In fact, God charges all mankind to know Him through the ‘signs” He has provided.

Romans 1: 20

20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse (KJV):

The heavenly bodies are the handiwork of God. God is trying to tell us things about Himself through the stars in the heavens. The heavens declare His creative output.

Psalm 19: 1-6

1The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament showeth his handiwork.2Day unto day uttereth speech, And night unto night showeth knowledge. 3There is no speech nor language; Their voice is not heard. 4Their line is gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, 5Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And, rejoiceth as a strong man to run his course. 6 His going forth is from the end of the heavens, And, his circuit unto the ends of it; And there is nothing hid from the heat thereof (ASV, 1901). 

This psalm of David announces that the heavens declare the glory (splendor) of God’s handiwork. Verse one is a summary statement: the majestic Creation is evidence of the even more majestic Creator-God. The heavens continually (every day and every night) display the fact that there is a Creator. Even though Creation does not speak audibly as humans do its message goes out for all the earth to witness. The message from nature about the glory of God reaches all nations, and is equally intelligible to them all. It is a universal language.

The Creation is Temporary While God is Eternal

Hebrews 1:11-12

 11 they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; 12 and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail (KJV).

The Son is exalted above all.

Here Paul again quotes Psalm 102:25–27. He states six concepts from the Psalm.

  1. Jesus is superior in His basic existence.
  2. He is the Creator of the universe.
  3. The Son is sovereign over the changes in the universe.
  4. The Son is the unchangeable Lord in the midst of a changing universe.
  5. The Son is eternal.
  6. Jesus the Creator is eternal, the universe will someday be discarded like an old piece of cloth. In the words of Revelation 6:14: You will roll them up. In 2 Peter 3:10, the universe is destined to be dissolved. So, while He is eternal, the universe is temporary and a large portion of the matter will be destroyed (dissolved) in the Great Tribulation.

Our universe is comprised of only three components. They are matter, space and time. Since the Fall each of these are gradually dissolving due to entropy (gradual decay) that entered the creation. Peter is teaching that God is not bound by the time domain like we are.

The day of the Lord will hit the unbeliever with the suddenness and unexpectedness of a thief in the night. During the Great Tribulation, the heavens shall pass away with a great noise. The Old Testament passages to this statement are from Isaiah 3:13 and 34:4. Each of these Isaiah passages mention the same occurrence. Jesus spoke of these same things in His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:29). While the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, the earth will be burned up by the judgments of the Great Tribulation. Many of these are fiery judgments. For example, in the Trumpet Judgments of Revelation 8–9, the first, second, third, and sixth Trumpet Judgments are judgments of fire. In the Bowl Judgments of Revelation 16, the fourth Bowl Judgment is a judgment of fire. During the Great Tribulation, there will be a burning of the earth. In fact, somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters of the earth’s surface will be destroyed during the Great Tribulation. In this case, Peter is not dealing with the total destruction of the globe by fire; he is referring to the surface of the earth. Contrary to the evolutionists claims, the earth is not eternal. This is the destruction of the matter spoken of by the Hebrews 11:11 passage.

Time has been decaying since the Fall after creation. Einstein came close in his quest to understand the basic fundamentals of energy in the universe. His general theory affirmed that there is no distinction between time and space. He saw time as bending, having a velocity and decaying. Time is not uniform: It is a physical property that varies with mass, acceleration, gravity, and light among other things. The speed of light similarly has been slowing down over the centuries since the Fall.

 

 

The velocity of light has been measured 164 times by 16 different methodologies over the last several hundred years. The net result of all these measurements is that light is slowing down over time. So, we can infer that if light has been slowing down for the last several centuries, then it must have been slowing down since the origin of time. For example, using the same regression as observed by the physicists we can surmise that light was 10-30% faster during the time Christ was on the earth (Cir. A.D. 33). We can then believe that light was 2 times faster during the time of Solomon (Cir. 900 B.C.)  If we go back further with the same regression to the time of Abraham (Cir. 2350 B.C.) light could have been 4 times faster than now. Using the same regression and understanding the decay caused by the “Fall” light could well have been 10 Million times as fast at the time of the creation and therefore light was able to be so fast as to travel almost instantaneous at creation so as to be at the origin (stars) and the earth almost at once.

Space also has properties which God controls. This Hebrew word rakeeah means to spread out or stretch. Some other places in Scripture where this same expression is used are

  1. Job 9:8 He alone stretches out the heavens.
  2. Psalm 104:2 The heavens are stretched out like a tent curtain.
  3. Isaiah 40: 22 God stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
  4. Jeremiah 10: 12 The Lord has stretched out the heavens.
  5. Zechariah 12:1 God stretched out the heavens.

These usages of the Hebrew word for stretch (rakeeah) are not quaint poetic hyperbole or exaggerations. They mean to express the properties of the heavens that we cannot see or fully understand. Space is not an empty vacuum. We have difficulty defining space and understanding the concept of the property of space. Scripture gives us some insight as to some of its properties.

  1. Space can be torn (Isaiah 64: 1);
  2. It can be worn out like a garment (Psalm 102: 25),
  3. It can be shaken (Hebrews 12:26; Haggai 2:6; Isaiah 13:13).
  4. It can be burnt up (II Peter 3:12).
  5. It can be split apart like a scroll (Revelation 6:14);
  6. It can be rolled up like a mantle (Hebrews 1:12) or scroll (Isaiah 34: 4).

So just like a garment space can be rolled up, folded and put away. But, God exists outside of time. We have a tendency to call this eternity. In the first verse in the Bible we are told that God existed before the beginning or to say it another way before the beginning of time began. In fact, the apostle Paul writing to Timothy stated the same thing in:

II Timothy 1: 9a

9For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time (NLT)

We need to realize that the New Testament affirms one component of Genesis 1: 1 by stating that God acted before time began. God was in existence before any creation efforts were put forth. It has often been pointed out that coming to an understanding of the early chapters of Genesis and believing them makes the rest of the Bible easy to understand and believe. These early verses demonstrate the degree of control over all things that God has and exercises. Paul is affirming these things with verse 12 when he says, “but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.” All things are in a state of decay until the Lord returns and establishes His Kingdom on this earth. At that time, the earth will receive a renovation. The speed of light will increase seven-fold (Isaiah 30:26), which will be a major factor in the renovation of the earth. In fact, with the light speeding up time will also change. One observation the Scripture gives us to affirm that is the longevity of the human during the Messianic Kingdom.

Peace By William Sttrutt Cir 1896 depicting Isaiah 11:6-7

The Land will be well watered, produce abundant food and have a major (Seven-fold) increase in light. All physical infirmities will be healed. The speed of light has been significantly faster closer to the creation than it is now. This will be the reason for an increase in life longevity in the Millennium. Again, God says:

Isaiah 65: 20

20 There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days; for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed (ASV, 1901).

The Angels are Servants

Hebrews 1:13-14

13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit, on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation (KJV)?

This is a quote from Psalm 110:1 which the Jewish people of the first century considering the claims of Christ and those who being born again entered the Church knew well. Essentially, angels function as priestly messengers especially for them who shall be heirs of salvation.

Their activities can be summarized as that of:

  1. The worship of God (Isaiah 6:3; Rev. 4:8)
  2. As messengers of God (Daniel 9:22; Luke 1:11, 26; 2:9; Revelation 1:1)
  3. As soldiers in spiritual combat (Daniel 10:13f; Revelation 12:7)
  4. As ministers to God’s people (Hebrews 1:14)

In their service to God, they are seen as attendants around His throne, waiting to serve Him and do His bidding (Psalm 103:20; Isaiah 6:1f; Job 1:6; 2:1; Revelation. 5:11; 8:1f), as worshippers in praise of Him (Isaiah 6:3; Psalm 148:1-2; Hebrews 1:6; Revelation 5:12), as observers who rejoice over what He does (Job 38:6-7; Luke 2:12-13; 15:10), as soldiers in battle with Satan (Revelation 12:7), and as instruments of His judgments (Revelation 7:1; 8:2). In relation to the nation of Israel, Michael, the archangel, functions as their guardian (Daniel 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9). In relation to other nations, they watch over rulers and nations (Daniel 4:17) and seek to influence their human leaders (Daniel 10:21; 11:1). In the Tribulation, they will be the agents God uses to pour out His judgments (Revelation 8-9 and 16).

With the plan of God centering in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ, they naturally perform many services for the Savior.

They predicted His birth (Matthew 1:20; Luke 1:26-28), and then announced his birth (Luke 2:8-15). An angel warned Joseph to take Mary and the baby Jesus and flee into Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15), and an angel directed the family to return to Israel after Herod died (Matthew 2:19-21).

In relation to His suffering, angels ministered to Him after His temptation (Matthew 4:11), in His stress in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:43), and Jesus said He could have called a legion of angels who stood ready to come to His defense if He so desired (Matthew 26:53).

 

In relation to His resurrection, an angel rolled away the stone from the tomb (Matthew 28:1-2), angels announced His resurrection to the women on that Resurrection morning (Matthew 5-6; Luke 24:5-7), and angels were present at His ascension and gave instruction to the disciples (Acts 1:10-11).

In relation to His coming again, the voice of the archangel will be heard at the translation of the church (1 Thessalonians 4:16), they will accompany Him in His glorious return to earth (Matthew 25:31; 2 Thessalonians 1:7) and they will separate the wheat from the tares at Christ’s second coming (Matthew 13:39-40).

In Relation to the Church: Hebrews 1:14 describes their ministry as “ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation.” In this, however, Scripture points to a number of specific ministries: they bring answers to prayer (Acts 12:5-10), they help in bringing people to the Savior (Acts 8:26; 10:3), they may encourage in times of danger (Acts 27:23-24), and they care for God’s people at the time of death (Luke 16:22).

In all of these activities in which the celestial beings engage, Jesus the Creator is Superior……

Daniel E. Woodhead

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The Early Seed Line of the Messiah

The Seed Line Shifts after Abel’s Murder

Because of the murder of his brother Cain was given a banishment from God and from his home region, which was near Eden. Eden was in Southeast Iraq near ancient Babylon or about forty miles southeast of Baghdad on the Euphrates River northwest of the Persian Gulf. Cain’s leaving God was only a departure of the physical presence of God in time and space, the Shekinah Glory. One cannot get away from God since He is a Spirit omnipresent. The Shekinah Glory is seen in as moving flame at the east end of the Garden of Eden.

Cain is seen as only wandering so far and then beginning to have a family and attempt to defy God’s decree for him to be a vagabond. However he settles in a geographic region known then as Nod (Hebrew for the land of wandering). After Cain settled in Nod he had a son Enoch with his wife and this son became the founder of a city by his same name. This was a prohibition of God that Cain violated. Cain was supposed to be a nomad. In violating God’s Word Cain set the stage for a satanically influenced world system where humanity would be organized around the principles of greed, selfishness, ambition, force and pleasure. We are commanded to not love this system in the New Testament (I John 2: 15-17). This city was destroyed with the Flood but the principles returned with the Babylonians after the Flood.

Cain and his wife had Enoch. Four generations down from him is Lamech who introduces polygamy and bigamy into the human family. He takes two wives. From the two wives Zillah and Adah there are three sons and a daughter mentioned in the Genesis account. The three sons are the progenitors of two crafts, music, and metallurgy as well as the nomadic lifestyle. The daughter’s contribution must have been significant due to here inclusion but it is not delineated. Those alive at the time and for the next several centuries probably knew of her exploits.

Adam then records a song in poetic form by Lamech. This type of Hebrew poetry is parallelism or one line repeating another with slightly different text. Lamech slew a youthful warrior who wounded him and demanded greater leniency in any vengeance that might come his way than that afforded to Cain (Genesis 4:24). Lamech boasted about the murder. Here is a picture of a selfish society defying God and His laws, seeking pleasure and self-indulgence. Lamech was proud that he killed another person. He bragged about his prowess in the vengeful murder. Lamech then boasts of his self-centered security. Cain interestingly asked God for protection. He must have known the result of the violation of God’s Word. Society would be very violent.

Lamech now very far from God believes in himself and his own capabilities.

It must be pointed out that there were seven generations highlighted in this passage moving down from Adam. Adam died in the seventh generation. It is important to see the developments in this time period of human history (930 years from Creation). Humanism and sin became entrenched with murder, lying, and self-pity becoming commonplace as well as seeking worldly security instead of God’s offer. All false religions follow the way of Cain.

The text now changes to focus on the line of Seth, which will be further developed in chapter five. Adam’s wife Chavah (Eve) comments that God has appointed her another son to replace the God centered Abel. His name is Seth and in keeping with the Hebrews having meaning for their names. Seth means, “appointed.” Seth was appointed to take the role of Abel and bring the Messiah. This is the seed line of the woman as promised in Genesis 3: 15. Christ would come through this line as the text in Luke 3: 23-38 clearly chart. Eve provided the naming of Seth exerting her authority over her child. Seth had a son shown here. It was Enosh and his name means “frail man.” Then men began to call upon the name of the Lord.

This is a Hebrew expression stating public worship. So this is the beginning of open public worship of God in opposition to the way of Cain, which is worldly and self-centered. In strong contrast with Cain’s godless society was the righteous, those who called on God in acknowledgement. In the line from Seth there was belief. Seth himself was a provision from God, according to Eve’s statement of faith. In the days of Enosh, Seth’s son, men began to call on (“proclaim”) the name of the Lord (Yahweh).

The Patriarch’s Longevity

Genesis chapter five is the Toldot (generation) of Adam. It expresses the chronology of Adam to Noah. Both of these men represent significant points in the chronology of humanity on the earth. Adam was the first man made by God and Noah the only man (with his family) who survived the worldwide flood. It was the seed line of Adam through Seth that made it through the Flood. The line of Cain did not. Adam wrote portions of Genesis. This is clearly one of them as the text uses the word book to describe this section of Genesis. The Hebrew word for book is סֵ֔פֶר saafair. Because Adam died about 120 years before Noah was born we believe that Noah finished this section of the book of Genesis as well as the events of the Flood and on through the year 2000 from creation.

The first aspect of this Toldot that stands out is the length of the patriarch’s lives. We must realize that prior to the decay (Entropy) that came into the earth at the Fall mankind was made to live forever. Decay began and man’s life span began a steady decline to be less than a hundred years. This chronology is repeated in I Chronicles 1:1-14 and Luke 3: 3-38. There are no gaps in these accounts. One person is the father to the next. Further the years are normal years not some exaggerated unreal time frame. The Hebrew text does not accommodate a grandfather-grandson depiction in this account. These long life spans are validated in secular data as well as the biblical account. Two examples are, The Sumerian King List written between 2000 – 3,000 B.C. and Babylonian history by Berossus (Cir. 300 B.C.). The Sumerian King List records in succession the names of most of the kings of Sumer and the lengths of their reigns.

Sumer – Artist unknown

The Sumerians were the post Flood Empire that succeeded Nimrod in Babel. The Akkadians conquered Sumer. Creation was Cir. 4004 B.C. (Hebrew 3760 B.C.) and the Flood was about 2500 B.C. (1656 years from Creation from the Masoretic text). The Sumerian King List purports to identify both pre and post Flood kings of the Mesopotamian (Between Rivers) region. Sumer was succeeded by Assyria and they were conquered by Babylon.

The document begins at the beginning of history, the time when ‘kingship (first) descended from heaven,’ and goes up to the reign of Sin-magir (1827– 1817 BC) towards the end of the Isin dynasty. The list is characterized by extremely long life spans of the different kings, especially the earlier ones. One quarter of a million years is assigned to the first eight kings before the Flood and more than 25,000 years for the first two dynasties after the Flood. The length of the lives of the Sumerian kings mentioned is grossly exaggerated from the Genesis account. This is in keeping with other non-biblical accounts of early ancient history such as the Gilgamesh Epic. Some characteristics of these ancient accounts are fanciful but they attest to the validity of the Genesis account of creation, ancient patriarchs, and the Flood. Since Christ validated Genesis and the Old Testament we know that God Himself affirms the structure and data in Genesis.

Enoch’s Translation

One obvious aspect of the Seed Line is the truncated life of Enoch. In comparison to the others his life was relatively short at 365 years. The Bible says that God took him. God gave immortality to him. The Hebrew word for took is lackach. It means that the Lord captured him. We can translate this as rapture. The New Testament affirms this in Hebrews 11: 5 and says Enoch pleased God. This is a model or type of the Rapture of the Church which is yet future to us and the program of which is explained in I Thessalonians 4: 16-17. The Lord Jesus told us that we would not know the day or the hour (Matthew 24: 36). Many have tried to predict the date of the Rapture even though the Lord Jesus said we would not know. That should be reason enough to not engage in mental and biblical gymnastics to try and set a date. Those that make these predictions harm the credibility of the fact of the Rapture and Bible prophecy. Those who might become believers are deferred from believing the full biblical text and attribute such prophecies to the fools that make these predictions. Although there many views on the general timing of the Rapture of the Church in the long world chronology this author believes it occurs before the Great Tribulation.

The earliest indication of a Pretribulational Rapture is found in Luke 21:34-37.

 Luke 21:34-37 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man. And in the day time he was teaching in the temple; and at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called [the mount] of Olives.

After describing the terrible events of the Tribulation, Jesus states that it will come upon all them that dwell on the face of the earth (v35). In other words, no earth dwellers can escape the calamities of the Tribulation. Yet there is one way of escaping all these things that shall come to pass (v36), but not by remaining on the earth. In order to be able to escape all these things one must be a genuine believer. This means escaping is to stand before the Son of Man, a standing that must happen at a place off the earth, for there is no escape on the earth. That is exactly what happens to believers that are raptured off the earth to stand before the Son of Man. One of the reasons for the Tribulation is to make and end of sin (punishment). Jesus The Christ has already taken the punishment for sin, which is coming on the world, for the believer. If we believe, we don’t suffer any punishment (Romans 8:1) and He takes us to be with Him prior to the Tribulation. Just like Enoch we please God by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. As already indicated by Luke 21:34-36, the result of the Rapture is to stand before the Son of Man.

Methuselah

This was the longest living person who has ever been on the earth. He was 969 years old when he died. The name Methuselah in Hebrew means “His death shall bring.” Methuselah’s father Enoch functioning as a prophet according to Jude 14-15, named him to signify the timing of the flood. The longevity of his life is a testimony to the grace of God who withheld the Flood until he died. Men were given a long time to repent just as we are today (II Peter 3: 8-9).

Noah

The genealogy of Adam ends with Noah. His name means comfort or rest. This is in direct contrast to the toilsome sluggish work that Adam would experience after the fall. He has three sons who with their wives and children will repopulate the earth after the Flood.

None of the individuals cited in the Godly Seed Line died in the Flood. All were either dead or raptured before the Flood and Noah and his sons passed through it. The death account of the individuals personifies Romans five.

Romans 5: 12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

Romans 5: 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come

The following chart depicting the early chronology of the Lord Jesus also declares the salvation He offers the world. By reading the Hebrew meaning of the individual’s names it produces the Gospel. Man appointed mortal sorrow. The blessed God descends teaching that His death brings the despairing comfort.

Daniel E. Woodhead

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Unequally Yoked – The Bible and Sexual Purity

The Mosaic Law (OT) clearly restricted the believer’s behavior in many areas such as food. Certain foods were allowed while others were either restricted or forbidden. Since Christ has been crucified the believer now has much latitude in the choice of diet and other activities. One example is the rigid restriction on movement during the Sabbath. With the complete elimination of the entire corpus of the Mosaic Law (613 Laws) and replacement by Christ’s Law, the New Testament believer was free from all constraints of the Mosaic Law. Christ’s Law, which is spelled out in the New Testament, becomes the operative commandments for a Christian to follow. The Laws, which God wants us to adhere to, appears in the New Testament. Now for the Jews who were used to keeping the Mosaic Law, Christ offers them the option of doing so if they choose (Col. 2:16-17). It is no longer mandatory in the New Testament Church Age though. This is the freedom (liberty) that Paul speaks of in this book of I Corinthians. We have freedom from the specific binding tight regulations of the Mosaic Law. We will see the concept of liberty more thoroughly developed in I Corinthians chapters eight to ten. But here the concept is just introduced to refute the concept of Antinomianism. This heresy concluded that the liberty we have in Christ extended to the moral aspects of the Law as well as the ceremonial. In an incorrect syllogism it is stated in this manner:

  1. The believer is saved by grace through faith in Christ (Eph 2:8-9).
  2. All sins are forgiven, past, present, and future (Acts 13: 39; Titus 2:13-14; etc.).
  3. When the believer sins forgiveness is available to the repentant sinner (1 John 1: 9; II Corinthians 7: 10).
  4. This heresy therefore concludes the syllogism with an endorsement to go ahead and sin all you want because forgiveness has already been achieved through the grace of the Lord Jesus.
The question we must answer is: If this is not true why?

The syllogism breaks down because the truly repentant sinner turns from the sin. The unbeliever who may masquerade as a believer will continue to sin and appeal to grace for freedom from The Law. A second fallacy is that the moral Law did not get restated in the New Testament Law of Christ. It did! Only the ceremonial Law was not restated in the NT.

 

I Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.

 

Paul is again stating the cry of the antinomian; “all things are OK (lawful) for me to do.” This had become a slogan of the Corinthians to continue sinning as if Christ permitted it under grace. The statement was partially true. While Christ had taken away the sins by grace all things were not good (expedient) for the Child of God to pursue. Some were still forbidden in the New Testament. Sexual sins continued to be in the forbidden classification.

It is never appropriate to disregard basic Christian morality as taught in the New Testament for personal gratification.

Beginning to address behaviors that were permitted under the New Testament’s Law of Christ, the text continues to demonstrate that we should not get caught up in any of them so as to damage our testimony. For those activities for which we have liberty we are not to become addicted. For those activities, which are permitted in the New Testament, we must not allow them to control us. Some examples where the Church falls down in liberty are in the areas of gossip, bitterness, an unforgiving spirit, and lust or withholding money from God’s work.

I Corinthians 6: 13-14 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

Food (meats) for the stomach and the stomach for food (meats), was an expression by which some Corinthians sought to justify their sexual immorality. They reasoned that “food” was both pleasurable and necessary. When they sensed hunger, they reasoned that food was eaten to satisfy the urge. So too, they argued, sex was pleasurable and necessary. When their bodies signaled sexual desire, they needed to be satisfied. But Christ drew a sharp line between the stomach and the body. The body in this context meant more than the physical frame; it referred to the whole person, composed of flesh (the material) and spirit (the immaterial). While we are on the earth the body is not separated from the spirit. Further the body will be resurrected to an immortal state at the first resurrection. The “body,” therefore, was not perishable but eternal and it was not meant for sexual immorality but for union with the Lord. The eternality of the body, the future destiny of the individual, was made certain by Christ’s resurrection. We will see this expressed fully in I Corinthians chapter fifteen. So an urge that comes to us is no justification to satisfy it! The homosexuals rely on this thinking to justify their behavior. They reason that since they have and urge to do these abominations it is therefore normal and who they are. When a believer dies today prior to the resurrection he/she is separated from the body. The body goes into the ground awaiting the Rapture and Resurrection. The spirit goes to be with the Lord. So stomachs and food will pass away as the bodies die. Until the Rapture and Resurrection we are separated from our bodies and there have no need of food or a stomach. Later when the Rapture and Resurrection takes place we will be reunited with our bodies. It is possible at that point that we will once again be eating food since Christ ate after He was resurrected from the dead.

I Corinthians 6: 15-16 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

So too the work of the Spirit has affected Christians’ present destiny and joined them to Christ. Could a Christian practice immorality without grieving Christ? Never!

The Two Harmful Categories to Us of Sinful Sex

The union of two people involves more than physical contact. It is also a union of personalities which, however temporary, alters both of them as Paul quoted Genesis 2:24 (The two will become one flesh) not to affirm that a man and a prostitute are married but to indicate the gravity of the sin and the depth of the bonding that takes place in a sexual union.

 

Biochemical Bonding (Physical)

 

Some have studied the chemical nature of sexual intercourse. As a result there appears to be a point at which man and woman enter into a new relationship that is biochemically oriented toward staying together, geared toward their unity as a couple.  Chemicals released during intercourse, such as oxytocin and vasopressin, which are called neuopeptides, introduce a unique effect that promotes a series of pair-bonding behaviors.[1]  Furthermore, this primary exposure of the system to these chemicals seems to trigger a response that permanently alters body chemistry, and consequently behavior tendencies, making the pair more receptive towards their partner.[2] One could also say that the couple becomes bonded closer to each other. Once the bonds are established, the disruption of these bonds causes great distress.3  It is clear that the body favors the maintenance of these bonds and reacts unfavorably when they are broken.  In displaying such responses, it appears that the biochemistry of the body associated with sexual union is optimally designed to be experienced within the context of an intimate and permanent relationship.

The results of these studies are that we truly become one flesh!

Solomon’s Marriage Feast by Rembrandt cir. 1650

 

God designed us to be permanently bonded to one another or in secular terms monogamous.

 

A Secondary Aspect of the Chemical Bonding

 

Scientific findings suggest that tenderness expressed in physical, non-sexual affectionate touching is a bio-chemical condition for optimal sexual experience.  The segment of our brains, which produce the feeling of euphoria such as having sexual intercourse, is also prone to building up tolerance to these effects. Such an effect triggers some individuals to spice up their sex lives by trying new or multiple partners, or other alterations that shift the focus of sex from love to pleasure in hope of attaining that same high again.  However, females who readily have oxytocin available in their system (released by frequent positive person-to-person touching) are actually able to counter this tolerance mechanism naturally.[3] Research indicates that the body is designed to be affectionately touched on a regular basis.  Under the conditions of loving, regular touch – whether it is through holding hands, hugging, or cuddling – the body responds optimally to more intimate sexual expressions.  Sex on a physical level is ordained toward tenderness, which is an important aspect of authentic love that contributes to closeness between a couple, as well as the continuation of exclusive permanency. Therefore it is important to refrain from frequent close touching of members of the opposite sex unless within a marriage or between family members in a wholesome expression of care.

 

Married couples who express tender physical contact will have a more loving sexual relationship and less of a purely and limited physical desire for a sexual high. They will also demonstrate to their children the importance of wholesome physical contact and pass on to them proper loving sexual expressions as an example for them when they are eventually married.

 

I Corinthians 6: 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

 

The Spiritual Bonding Aspect of Sexual Sin

 

Satan’s Last Stand-Armageddon Artist unknown

 

A Christian’s union with Christ likewise affects both him and the Savior, and one cannot act without affecting the other.

 

 I Corinthians 6: 18-20 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

 

The only appropriate response when faced with sexual immorality is to FLEE. Take the example of Joseph when Potiphar’s wife aggressively advanced upon him. He fled and got out (Gen 39:12).

 

Clearly the Lord’s design for our bodies and spirits as well is to be with one spouse in union and not to divert from that. The term body in the Greek construct refers to both soul and body. So in addition to adding conflict within our biochemistry and causing great emotional harm to our spouse the Holy Spirit is greatly grieved. We know that the Spirit enters us at the point of belief and stays with us for evermore thereafter. We have to remember the price that Christ paid for us to provide for our salvation and therefore eternal life and never marginalize it by sinning against him. All sins are against God (II Sam 12:13). Sexual sins are the worst in the eyes of the Lord and received the greatest punishment in Old Testament.

 

II Corinthians 6: 14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

 

The unification of our bodies with a harlot produces a close relationship with the Devil called Belial here. Belial is a Hebrew word to describe one of the most maleficent characters of the underworld, Lucifer who became Satan.

 

It therefore causes pollution of our spirit with the Devil.

 

When we engage in a relationship with unsaved people especially a sexual relationship outside of a committed heterosexual marriage we put the Holy Spirit in immediate proximity with the Devil and the two do not mix. God will withdraw from us and the chemical factors inherent in sexual unions will cause us to want to continue the bonding with the one we had the sexual relationship with. Therefore, God withdraws from us and we move closer to Satan. This is a powerful recipe for spiritual corruption that leads to death.

When we engage in sexual relationships outside of marriage the result is we bond chemically and emotionally with the person with whom we had the sex. The pair bonding does not like to be broken and it continues to seek the bonding when it is broken.

 

God has a plan for us within sexual areas and it is simply that two believers must marry one another. We must not marry outside of the faith for any reason. God regards this as sin and He will not bless the union as such. When a believer finds them selves married to an unbeliever either because of inappropriate choice of partners or if both were unbelievers to start and one became a believer here what must happen.

 

The believer must take his/her God given role as a born again Christian and act like it. God considers this marriage a sinful union. If a person is living in a state of sin or still an unbeliever they will never experience true growth.

 

THOSE IN SIN RETARD SPIRITUAL GROWTH.

 

God will not bless a person living in sin. We have been in a section of Scripture that clarifies much for the successful God led Christian marriage. It all starts with tying ourselves together only with believers. That is committed regenerated believers in Jesus Christ. People who seek to please Him first and foremost in their lives. Real believers have been transformed and seek to rid themselves of the old man in them. They seek the guidance of God in all they do and grow spiritually all the days of their lives. This is why the Bible tells us not to unequally yoked together with unbelievers.

 

II Corinthians 6:14-16 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? What communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

 

Remember a sexual union produces a chemical bonding that draws us together as God would have us becoming one flesh. If the other person is an unbeliever the bonding puts Satan in close proximity to Christ and Christ will withdraw leaving the believer bound to an unbeliever in a bond that is difficult to break.

 

1 Corinthians 7: 10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:

 

Up to this point Paul had been speaking to the people that either were presently unmarried or may have been at some time in their past but now were unmarried. A new discussion now begins with instruction to those that presently are married. Divorce is not part of God’s plan. In fact He states quite clearly that He hates divorce (Mal 2:16).

 

Malachi 2:16 “For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.

 

The covering that is spoken of here is a symbol of marriage. (Ruth 3:9; Ezekiel 16:8). Covering one’s garment with violence describes violating the marriage relationship, which is exactly what divorce does. Whenever there is a repetition in the Bible it is for emphasis. In this case it is the Lord’s will that we do not divorce.

 

This verse is the most explicit statement in the Old Testament on God’s feelings about divorce. Divorce was allowed. The permission that appears in the Torah provides protection for the wife. (Deuteronomy 24:1-4) Jesus taught that those concessions by Moses were given because of the hardness of people’s hearts, but He emphasized that God does not approve of divorce. He hates it.

So Paul is saying in I Corinthians 7:10 that a wife should not leave her husband. In other words there should not be a divorce or a separation. Typically the question is raised regarding abuse. If a wife is suffering abuse she should remove herself from the harm. This alone is insufficient to seek divorce. Unless there is fornication (adultery) or as we will see in the next few verses abandonment by an unbelieving spouse, there is no biblical permission for divorce (Matthew 5:32). Christ never said that an abused woman should stay in an abusive situation. In fact in the text of Deuteronomy 24:1-4 provides protection for a wife that is cast out by her husband by allowing her to seek another man.

 

I Corinthians 7: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

 

So in the event that she must leave and let’s use the example of abuse, she must not remarry. The husband has no right to end the marriage through divorce. The only legitimate biblical reason to end this marriage is through death or if adultery enters the relationship. She must remain unmarried and so also should her husband. In this verse Paul is addressing married believers. When problems occur in a Christian marriage, the resolution is reconciliation not in divorce.

 

Ephesians 4:30-32 And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

 

 I Corinthians 7: 12-13 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

 

Now the discussion turns to those believers who are married to unbelievers (the rest). Remember we must avoid the pain and hardship associated with the unequal yoking in our marriages. Paul does not mean by saying “I speak, not the Lord” that he following words are not Scriptural. What he means is that Jesus did not specifically address this issue in the Scripture we have. Paul had the Christ given authority (Acts 9: 15) to bring Christ’s Word to the Gentiles, Kings and the Jews. That being said it is possible for one of two married unbelievers to accept Christ and enter the family of God. After this occurs the believing spouse must not leave the other. Remember how Paul reminded the Corinthians that some of them had serious sins in their past but Christ washed them clean (I Corinthians 6:11). This can happen to the non-believing spouse. The believer should not leave the non-believer. The marriage will be difficult and may result in at the least a lack of tolerance and possibly worse. In a marriage like this the believing spouse might feel like they are single or all alone. Perhaps they are taking the children to church and receive no spiritual leadership or spiritual support in the family unit. We have all seen these situations. We must reach out to them and encourage them to bring their children up in the knowledge of Christ and seek to support and educate them in the Bible. Through prayer and leading a Godly life the believing spouse may bring about the conversion of the non-believer.

 

I Corinthians 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

 

The primary reason that the two must remain married is that the believing spouse brings holiness to the marriage. We have at least two Old Testament examples to illustrate this situation.

 

Never, Never Underestimate the power of God

 

Genesis 30: 27 And Laban said unto him, If now I have found favor in thine eyes, tarry: for I have divined that Jehovah hath blessed me for thy sake.

 

Laban who was deceitful knew that the Lord blessed him through Jacob. If Jacob had left earlier than he did Laban would not have received knowledge of God and he was aware of it.

 

Genesis 39: 2-5 And Jehovah was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that Jehovah was with him, and that Jehovah made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found favor in his sight, and he ministered unto him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that Jehovah blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of Jehovah was upon all that he had, in the house and in the field.

 

Again the Lord provided blessing to those around one of His believing children. Joseph was a child of the living God and the entire household of Potiphar the high-ranking officer in Pharaoh’s select personal guard was blessed. Non-believers can sense this in the lives of believers and seek it, if not for themselves, at least for their children. Some people who are non-believers will send their children to vacation Bible school, Christian schools or Sunday school because they know there will be some blessing that will be imparted to the children. The entire family will be blessed by the one believing spouse and especially the children.

 

I Corinthians 7: 15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

 

God has provided and additional exception to the rule of no divorce. In addition to adultery, the situation where an unbeliever insists on a divorce, he is not to be denied. Should this occur, the Christian is not bound to maintain the marriage but is free to remarry. Paul did not say, as he did in verse 11, that the Christian in this case should “remain unmarried.” The believer has two choices in this instance. The believer can allow the marriage to dissolve or he/she can deny Christ and live with the unbeliever, as the unbelieving spouse would like to live; apart from God. No blessings will occur in this relationship. Only pain and hardship will ensue. Once a person truly accepts Christ the Holy Spirit enters them forever. If they try and deny Christ the Spirit will be grieved.

 

The second part of this verse in which Paul affirmed that God had called Christians to live in peace could be understood as a separate sentence. The same conjunction (but) which introduced the exception at the beginning of this verse was repeated by Paul, probably to indicate another shift in thought and a return to the main point in this section, namely, the importance for the Christian spouse of preserving the marriage union and living “in peace” with the non-Christian. Paul’s point was that a Christian should strive to preserve the union and to keep the peace, but with the understanding that marriage is a mutual not a unilateral relationship. This is a difficult situation for the believer, as they will comprise their Christianity and their desire to follow Christ as they seek to appease their spouse through a peaceful relationship. This is one more reason to never become unequally yoked together with unbelievers.

 

 I Corinthians 7:16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

 

Finally the principle reason for the believing spouse staying with the unbeliever is to pray for their salvation. This is a crucial reason why a Christian should stay married to a non-Christian. God might use the Christian spouse as a vessel of blessing possibly leading to the point where the unbelieving spouse would believe the message of the Cross and experience salvation. The apostle Peter said the same thing to us.

 

1 Peter 3:1-2 In like manner, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, even if any obey not the word, they may without the word be gained by the behavior of their wives; beholding your chaste behavior coupled with fear.

 

 

Wives who fear the Lord just may be used to bring salvation to an unbelieving husband.

 

[1] Insel TR, Winslow JT, Wang ZX, Young L, and Hulihan TJ.  “Oxytocin and the Molecular Basis for Monogamy”.  Advanced Experiments in Medical Biology.  Vol. 395 (1995), pp. 227-34.

[2] Carter CS.  “Neuroendocrine Perspectives on Social Attachment and Love”.  Psychoneuroendocrinology.  Vol. 23, no. 8 (Nov 1998), pp. 779-818

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Ibid

4 McLean Hospital , Harvard Medical School.  “Role of Oxytocin in the Neuroadaptation to Drugs of Abuse”.  Psychoneuroendocrinology.  Vol. 19, no. 1, (1994), pp. 85-117.

[4] Wikipedia Internet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatal_Attraction

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The Messiah’s Mock and Illegal Trials

The Religious Leaders Plot To Kill Jesus

 

Jesus about to be struck in front of Caiaphas by Madrazo cir 1803

 

Mark 14:1-2

1After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. 2 But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people (KJV).

The events of Passover week had transpired to the point where Jesus was preparing for His sacrifice on the Passover thereby giving His life for the world’s people. While His sacrifice would be available to the entire population of the earth it would only be effective to those who would accept His gift of eternal life. Chapter’s 14 and 15 of the book of Mark describe the betrayal, arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus. This has come to be known as the Passion from come the Latin word for “suffer.” There is an overriding theme of abandonment that comes out in chapter 14. The prophet Isaiah foretold this seven centuries before the actual Passion of Jesus when he said

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.”

Isaiah 53:4-6

4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all (ASV, 1901).

The Good Shepherd (Asia Minor, c. 390; Cleveland Museum of Art)

The events in Mark’s narration let us know that this point in time was two days prior to the feast of Passover. One point of differentiation that is important to understand is the two systems of counting time. Roman and Jewish reckoning started the day at different times. The Jews began the day at sunset and the Romans at midnight, which is what is in use throughout most of the world today. This difference in starting the day is somewhat complicating in evaluating the principle events of Passover week linking them one to another. Mark’s use of time is observing the Jewish reckoning. Modern precision of reckoning the time of day make it difficult to read back into the gospel accounts, written at a time when no standardization of timepieces, or exactness in recording of hours and minutes was available. The difference between Roman and Jewish days as well as modern time precision render the slight difference between time calculation of the events of Passion week understandable.

 

The Passover was a festival of the Lord ordained in Egypt about 1445 B.C. when Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt. The Passover meal is eaten on the evening of the 15th of Nisan (March/April) and is referred to as Abib. It celebrated the event where unprotected first born of all humans and animals were killed. God promised Moses that He would not harm any of the Israelites, but in order for them to be protected they had to follow a very specific process during the tenth plague in which all the first-born of animals and people would be put to death. If the Jews followed the Lord’s instruction explicitly they would delivered from the death that all the first-born would experience. The Children of Israel were “saved” from the death of the destroyer when he would “pass over” their homes. They were told to “observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and to thy sons for ever.” Further they were told “when your children shall say unto you, What mean ye by this service? That ye shall say, It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses (from Exodus 12:21-28, 42-49; Numbers 9:1-14; Deuteronomy 16:1-8).”

The Last Passover by James E Seward Cir. Unknown

In accordance with this the Jews celebrated the Passover, which was one of the three pilgrim festivals wherein all Jewish males were required to attend. As a result there were thousands of Jews in Jerusalem at this time from all over the Roman Empire to comply with the Law. The normal population of Jerusalem was about 50,000 and during Passover week it would swell to more that 250,000. The unblemished lamb or goat to be eaten was killed on the afternoon of the 14th of Nisan and would be eaten after sundown, which began the Jewish new day of the 15th of Nisan. No work was to be done on either the 14th or the 15th. The day that Mark refers to is probably Monday or Tuesday of Passion week.

The Scribes and Pharisees of the Sanhedrin had decided to kill Jesus.

 

John 11:47-53

 

47The chief priests therefore and the Pharisees gathered a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many signs. 48If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation. 49But a certain one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50nor do ye take account that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51Now this he said not of himself: but, being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation; 52and not for the nation only, but that he might also gather together into one the children of God that are scattered abroad. 53So from that day forth they took counsel that they might put him to death (ASV, 1901).

 

They were fearful that all people who believed on Jesus and followed Him would riot if He were unjustly killed. This then would cause them to lose their powerful political position with the Romans perhaps even losing their meager remnants of their sovereignty. They met in an emergency session to plot Jesus’ death. Their political position with Rome was precarious at best. Their present course of action had been to disapprove of Jesus, seek to excommunicate Him and engage in blasphemous teaching countering Jesus truthful exposition of the Scriptures. It was simply not working as thousands of people continued to follow Him and sought His miraculous healing and clear teaching. Not only did they fear Rome taking away their Temple and their nation but also they knew the people would riot if they openly killed Him without a just cause. This would also bring the wrath of Rome quickly upon them as soldiers came to quell the rioting citizens.

Caiaphas the High Priest had been appointed by the Romans and was in the office from A.D 18 to 36. It was his decision to sacrifice Jesus had to take place in order to preserve Rome’s favor. He viewed the other Sanhedrin members as ignorant. In offering his direction in killing Jesus he was arguing that the ends justified the means. He stated that if a person were regarded as worthless then that person could be sacrificed for the common good and even handed over to the hostile Gentiles. Otherwise such an act should have been contrary to Jewish principles. This was the crafty manner they decided to utilize in defending their plan to kill Him. So Caiaphas authorized the killing of Jesus not realizing that it was God the Father directing him to sacrifice Jesus for the sins of the world.

The Pharisees, Artist Unknown

Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus

Mark 14:10-11

10 And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him (KJV).

Mark reports with remarkable restraint the unspeakable treason that Judas showed toward Jesus. As Judas approached the chief priests they were delighted to find an accomplice within Jesus circle of followers to betray Him. This was an answer to their question of how to charge Him. Determining the motive behind Judas’ betrayal of Jesus is an age-old question. It is quite likely that Judas expected Jesus to establish the Messianic Kingdom during His lifetime. When Mary broke the bottle of perfume and anointed Jesus for His death he realized that this would not occur. He might have been looking for a position in the new government and now realized that the Kingdom Jesus spoke of was Spiritual not physical at that time. In his greed and love for money he decided that the best course of action was to sell the opportunity to the chief priests so they could capture Jesus. One way to detect evil in any matter is to ask who profits from it financially, and Judas profited from the betrayal. So if we follow the money we can see Judas’ motive.

The Sanhedrin were only too pleased to provide him with some money for the opportunity to capture Him. It is important to note that Judas was the only non-Galilean member of the apostles. He may have actually been a spy for the Sanhedrin all along. This would give him some additional reason to believe that he remained an outsider. In actuality God was orchestrating the events using the sins of Judas as well as the religious authorities to accomplish His goal of providing the perfect sacrifice to cleanse the heavenly tabernacle and provide for the salvation of all of the human beings on this earth. The plan of God does not excuse the perpetrators sins even though God used them to accomplish His goal.

Merrill Unger has observed a unique fusion of divine sovereignty and human free will in Judas as he carried out his own greed and animosity as well as God’s plan in the execution of Jesus. It is important to note that it was Judas who went to the Sanhedrin not the other way around. Nevertheless is it quite apparent that the divine grace of God uses even human evil for His saving purposes.

The plan was set to capture Jesus at the perfect time. Until now Jesus was leaving the city of Jerusalem each night and spending the night in Bethany presumable with Martha, Mary and Lazarus. Now with Jesus staying in the city the authorities could capture Him at night without arousing the ire of the general population and thereby preserving the peace.

While Jesus was addressing Peter, James, and John for sleeping and then asking them to continue to sleep Judas appeared with an armed mob of Romans as well as the chief priests, scribes and the elders. Consider who is arriving beside the betrayer Judas. The Romans, chief priests, scribes and the Sanhedrin (elders). Even though the Romans had occupied Israel since the siege in 63 B.C. they allowed the standing government to conduct the affairs of state. The only activities for which the Romans sought to be involved were the collection of taxes and capital punishment. They maintained oversight in the death sentences so as to control potential riots, which would impair the Pax Romana (Peace of Rome) they sought to preserve.

The Sanhedrin (elders) was the High Court of Justice, the Supreme tribunal of the Jews, and was known to number seventy-one members. They sat as judges in Israelite trials having legislative, executive and judicial powers. They constituted the national parliament as well as the other branches of government known to modern western governmental bodies. Their principle laws came from the Torah (first five books of the Bible), the rabbinic law known as the Talmud and the Mishnah. This group violated all their laws to arrest, charge, try and execute Jesus. It is important to see how people driven by envy and threatened will embrace hatred so strong that it surpasses their own stated values. These men clearly embraced the fleshly activities described in Galatians chapter five.

Galatians 5:17-21

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God (KJV).

Violation One

The Judgment of the Sanhedrin He is guilty. Artist unknown

Even before Jesus’ trial began the law was broken because His arrest was illegal. The Jewish law prohibited any part of a legal proceeding in capital offenses to take place at night, and Jesus was arrested at night.

A capital offense must be tried during the day and suspended at night” (Mishnah in “Sanhedrin” Vol.1

The Sign or Token

Mark 14:44-45

44 And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely. 45 And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him (KJV).

The token or sign that the Jews needed to signalize the moment to arrest Jesus would be a kiss. Judas had told the crowd to arrest the man to whom he would greet with a kiss. After they saw this they would lead Him away under guard. This was a Sanhedrin arrest not a Roman arrest. Jesus had not violated any Roman laws. Roman soldiers were there in case there was a riot. Judas pointed Jesus out through the common mid-eastern greeting of a kiss. This was not to identify Jesus but to certify that the one he kissed was Jesus as Judas had agreed to be His formal accuser in the trial and this was the legal process of certifying the relationship between the accuser and defendant for trial purposes.

The Apprehension

Mark 14:46-49

46 And they laid their hands on him, and took him. 47 And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with |clubs| to take me 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. (KJV)?

They did not arrest Jesus in the Temple all week as He was teaching, healing, and confronting the Jewish authorities and to a lesser extent the Herodians. Even though they wanted to apprehend Him they feared the people and a riot during the day (Mark 14:19).

They instead in violation of their own laws came at night under the influence of the prince of darkness Satan himself. Jesus is then seized and it is anything but an orderly arrest based upon proper legal authorization. Mark does not identify the sword bearer but John’s gospel does (John 18:10-11). It was Peter who drew the sword and smote a servant (Malchus) of the high priest, and cut off his ear. Peter was probably trying to cut off Malchus’ head and missed displaying the fidelity to Jesus he stressed earlier that night. Luke records that Jesus miraculously healed the ear (Luke 22:51). John further goes on to describe Jesus’ words to Peter, “Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” In other words Jesus declares these events as foreordained and must proceed.

Then Jesus said to them, “Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with |clubs| to take me?” Jesus did not resist them but offered a protest for the excessive display of armed force they brought against Him. He said they acted as though they came out against an armed robber. He was not an insurrectionist who acted in hiding but a recognized religious teacher. Every day that week He appeared openly among them in Jerusalem teaching (Mark 11:17) in the temple courts (Mark 11:11) but they did not arrest Him (Mark 12:12; 14:1–2). Arresting Him like a criminal at night in a secluded place showed their cowardice and uncaring attitude toward their own law. More importantly it clearly demonstrated that they did now know who He really was. But this happened because the scriptures must be fulfilled (Psalms 22:7-8, 14, 16-17; Isaiah 50:6, 53:3, 7–9, 12).

The Eleven Flee in Fear

Mark 14:50

50 And they all forsook him, and fled (KJV).

Just hours earlier they all swore to never deny Him led by Peter’s affirmation of willingness to die with Him. Now in the heat of the moment they all leave Him. Judas betrays Jesus and the eleven desert Him.

The Young Man Flees

Mark 14:51-52

51 And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: 52 and he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked (KJV).

Only Mark’s gospel offers this event, which gave, rise to the tradition that it probably was Mark himself that he described. Mark is the young man who also abandoned his mission work when the going got tough (Acts 13:13; 15:38). Later Barnabas brought him back into the mission (Acts 15:39), and Paul finally accepted him again (2 Timothy 4:11). Mark seems to be saying, “I ran away, too!” John Mark the author, Simon Peter the primary source shows a strong emphasis in this Gospel on discipleship failure and renewal. Peter and Mark both were involved in this. So it seems that this young man was about to be seized by the authorities too until they tried to grab him and only managed to get his nightshirt while he fled away naked. Therefore all of Jesus’ followers left Him to the men who hated Him.

Caiaphas Questions Jesus

Mark 14:53

53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes (KJV). 

Violation Two

Jesus before Caiaphas was illegal because the Law stated, “Be not a sole judge, for there is no sole judge but One.” (Mishnah, in “Pirke Aboth” IV 8)

An accused man must never be subjected to private or secret examination, let in his perplexity, he furnish damaging testimony against himself.” (Salvado in, “Institutions de Moise” pp. 365-366). The high priest’s private examination of Jesus was illegal even though the others.

Jesus trial before the Jewish authorities included a preliminary hearing before Annas (John 18:12–14, 19–24) the former high priest (high priest AD 6-15) then an arraignment before Caiaphas (high priest AD 18-37) and the Sanhedrin at night (Matthew 26:57–68; Mark 14:53–65). Caiaphas was the first to recommend Jesus’ death to “save the nation (John 11:49-50).” John alone records the private interrogation, testifying: “The high priest then asked Jesus of His disciples and of His doctrine (John 18:12-24).” This interrogation, first by Annas the former high priest and then Caiaphas was illegal because it took place at night and was by a sole judge even though the chief priests and the elders and the scribes were there with Caiaphas. After Annas’ preliminary hearing Jesus was then taken to Caiaphas the current high priest’s home.

Peter Stays Nearby

Mark 14:54

54 And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire (KJV).

Although all had fled Peter and perhaps John too returned to the place where Jesus was taken (John 18:15). The high priest’s home was walled and gated with a courtyard. Here someone had lit a fire to warm themselves. Around it were guards and servants. Peter was warning his hands too.

At The High Priests Palace

Mark 14:55-56

55 And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none. 56 For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together (KJV).

Violation Three

The indictment against Jesus was illegal because the Law stated, “The entire criminal procedure of the Mosaic Code rest upon four rules: certainty in the indictment; publicity in the discussion; full freedom granted to the accused; and assurance against all danger of errors of testimony” (Salvador in, “Institutions de Moise” p.365) “The Sanhedrin could not originate charges; it could only investigate those brought before it” (Edersheim in, “Life and times of Jesus the Messiah” Vol. I. p.309)

The only prosecutors were the witnesses in the crime. The witnesses constituted the charge. There was no formal indictment until these witnesses spoke in the public assembly. When they spoke, and the evidence of two agreed together, it formed the legal charge, libel, or indictment.” (Mendelsohn in “The Criminal Jurisprudence of the Ancient Hebrews,” p.110)

The form of the indictment was illegal. Under Hebrew justice there was no grand jury. Leading witnesses presented charges. In addition to naming a specific crime, the indictment must allege the precise acts of the accused, which constitute the specific crime. Nearly every detail of Jesus’ trial violates the rules for capital cases prescribed in the Mishnah. The Sanhedrin short-circuited procedures and violated the law, in order to expedite Jesus’ execution. Josephus, in fact, records a similar trial in a.d. 62 when the high priest Ananus convened a rump (a meeting held after a larger meeting) session of the Sanhedrin in order to secure the death of James, brother of the Lord. [1]

The Sanhedrin was “looking for” evidence against Jesus (v. 55); the Greek word “looking for” is zētein and it always implies negative intent. Here the intent to condemn Jesus. The prisoner’s record, however, provides no grounds for accusation (v. 55), and the Sanhedrin must resort to false testimony. The “many” false witnesses were coerced to testify to the determination of the Sanhedrin to dispatch Jesus. Jewish law demanded at least two corroborating witnesses in capital cases (Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15). They brought many witnesses but they are contradicted each other.

Witnesses are Found

Mark 14:57-59

57 And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, 58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. 59 But neither so did their witness agree together (KJV)

Finally they found some witnesses to testify against Jesus with a lie regarding what Jesus had said about the Temple. They twisted what Jesus had said about His death and resurrection. If He had truly said anything about the material Jewish Temple the Romans would have charged Him with a capital crime. These witnesses could also not agree amongst themselves.

Caiaphas Intervenes

Mark 14:60-62

60 And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven (KJV).

Caiaphas was getting frustrated with the whole process which although highly illegal wasnot getting to any usable charge against Jesus. So he they now tries to coerce Jesus to incriminate Himself. They had tried and failed on many occasions to trap Jesus but were unable to do so with their trick questions. Caiaphas demands that Jesus answer His accusers and explain the accusations made against Him, but Jesus held his peace, and answered nothing. Jesus simply would not respond to nonsense (Isaiah 53:7). Now the proceedings came to a halt. Caiaphas seemed to switch tactics looking for a chargeable offense. He point blank asked Jesus, “Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”

Even though the authorities were violating the Law Jesus would not. He did not answer the first question but He will answer the second one. Jesus was put under oath (Matthew 26:63), which forced Jesus to answer under the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 5:1). Jesus would be forced to incriminate Himself by answering question two which was related to the Law.

Violation Four 

The condemnation sentence was pronounced against Jesus by the Sanhedrin and was founded upon His uncorroborated confession.

The Law stated, “No one can bring an accusation against himself. Should a man make confession of guilt before a legally constituted tribunal, such confession is not to be said against him unless properly attested by two witnesses.” (Maimonides in “Sanhedrin” IV p 2)

No attempt can be made to lead a man on to self-incrimination. Moreover, a voluntary confession on his part is not admitted in evidence, and therefore, not competent to convict him, unless a legal number of witnesses minutely corroborate his self-accusation.” (Mendelsohn in “Criminal Jurisprudence of the Ancient Hebrews” p.133).

Jesus was convicted and condemned to death on legally inadmissible evidence. It was at first sought to condemn Him to death on legally inadmissible evidence, on the charge of sedition, “but their witness agreed not altogether” (Mark 14:56). But, instead of releasing Jesus, the judges, in total disregard of the law, turned to the accused and asked, “Answereth thou nothing? what is it these witness against thee? But He held His peace and said nothing” (Mark14:60). By remaining silent Jesus was invoking the right against self-incrimination. Caiaphas insisted that Jesus incriminate Himself. So Jesus in accordance with the Law in Leviticus 5:1 Jesus responded to Caiaphas’s question as Jesus’ deity. Jesus said, “And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Jesus simply tells them who He is affirming Psalm 110:1 as the Son of Man sitting at God’s right hand and coming on clouds refers to Daniel 7:13-14; Acts 1:9-11; Revelation 19:11.

Caiaphas Hears Enough

Mark 14:63-65

63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? 64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. 65 And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands (KJV).

By tearing his clothes, Caiaphas showed that he regarded Jesus’ admission as blasphemy. To him, Jesus’ words dishonored God by claiming rights and powers belonging exclusively to God along (Mark 2:7). His expression of horror and indignation was all symbolism, which was required of the high priest whenever he heard blasphemy. Since Jesus’ self-incriminated Himself there was no need for more witnesses. The Mosaic Law prescribed death by stoning for blasphemy (Leviticus 24:15–16). Without further investigation the high priest called for a verdict from the Sanhedrin. Since there were no objections they all condemned Him (Mark 10:33) as worthy of death. With this admission and faked expression of indignation by Caiaphas some members began to hit Him after they blindfolded Him. They spit on Him, struck Him with the palms of their hands and challenged Him to prophesy since He claimed to be the Messiah.

Religious Leader’s Condemnation

Mark 15:1

1 And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate (KJV).

The Sanhedrin issued their verdict at dawn (Mark 15:1; Matthew 27:1; Luke 22:66-71). The entire group of seventy men plus the high priest issued their guilty verdict and the charge was blasphemy. Since they tried Him illegally at night they sought to provide some semblance of legality by having the decision affirmed during the daylight and get the Romans approval for an execution. They knew that they had to take Him to Pontius Pilate. From him they would petition the approval to have the Romans execute Jesus so they carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate. The Romans required approval for all capital crimes so as to maintain the Pax Romana. Pilate was woken up to the sounds of an angry mob outside him home.

A Roman governor could either affirm or rescind the Sanhedrin’s death sentence (John 19:10). If the Jewish verdict was rescinded, a new trial before a Roman court was ordered and scheduled. In that trial the Sanhedrin would have to prove that the defendant had committed a capital crime under Roman law not Jewish Law. The Sanhedrin conviction of blasphemy (Mark 14:64) was not a punishable charge according to Roman law. Because of that the Sanhedrin substituted a charge of treason, using Jesus’ acknowledgment that He was the Messiah into a traitorous political charge that He is “the King of the Jews” (Mark 15:2; Luke 23:2). They tired to convince the Romans that Jesus was a traitor who was stating that He was a “King” and therefore a potential insurrectionist and a threat to Rome and the Pax Romana.

Jesus Before Pontius Pilate

Ecce Homo by Tintoretto cir 1546

Pontius Pilate was a Roman Governor in Samaria and Judea (West Bank today) from A.D. 26-36 and Jerusalem was located within Judea. His normal residence was in Caesarea on the Mediterranean Sea but he was in Jerusalem for the Passover. At that time there were thousands of Jewish pilgrims in Jerusalem. With the influx of worshippers there was a stronger chance of rioting that during other times of the year. Pilate stayed in a place called the Praetorium, which was his Jerusalem headquarters. He had no love of the Jews and the attitude was mutual. Consider the tension of this meeting as Jesus an innocent man is brought by Jews who hated Jesus as well as the Romans to the Roman governor who disliked the Jews for a decision to execute Jesus.

Mark 15:2-3

2 And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto him, Thou sayest it. 3 And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing (KJV).

Now before Pilate with the new charge of traitor to Rome as the King of the Jews, And Pilate asked him, “Art thou the King of the Jews”? Pilate had complete and sole authority to render a decision. The trial would normally be held outdoors in public. It opened with a magistrate’s indictment and then interrogation and testimony from the witnesses and the defendant as well. As soon as the magistrate heard all the evidence he would render the verdict and immediately follow with a sentence, which would be carried out quickly. There was no appeal. The Sanhedrin had issued a death sentence for blasphemy but changed it to treason for Pilate. Pilate did not take the Sanhedrin’s sentence. He wanted to hear the testimonies himself. He asked Jesus directly if He was the King of the Jews. If this was true then this was a traitorous action that was underway against Caesar and had to be punished by death. Jesus answered in a rather cryptic way. Instead of saying yes He implied it. However His implication was that of the Spiritual King of a realm unknown to Pilate and the Sanhedrin as well (John 18:33-38). Pilate did not immediately see any criminal activity in this silent Jewish Rabbi in front of him. He could see that the Sanhedrin had a weak case and there was hardly any threat of this man inciting a rebellion against Rome. Now the chief priests accused him of many things to try and bolster their case against Him with Rome. Pilate knew the charges were weak and even false and he expected Jesus to say something in His own defense but he answered nothing as prophecied (Isaiah 53:7). Luke records their false charges.

Luke 23:2

2 And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Cesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King (KJV).

Their charges were:

  1. Perverting the nation
  2. Forbidding others to give tribute (taxes) to Caesar
  3. Making Himself out to the King

Jesus had no reason to delay the execution given that it was the reason He came to earth to die for the sins of mankind. There was another short trial that only Luke records. Pilate found out that Jesus was a Galilean so he sent Him to Herod Antipas the tetrarch of Galilee who was also in Jerusalem for Passover. Herod had Jesus dressed as a false king and demanded that He perform some miracle. He only mocked Jesus and returned Him to Pilate

Mark 15:4-5

4 And Pilate asked him again, saying, Answerest thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against thee. 5 But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled (KJV).

The religious leaders bring various charges against Jesus, which are not made clear here. Pilate quickly figures out that this accusation and trial is not about Jesus’ guilt or innocence. It is about the jealousy and hatred of the priestly rulers, because Jesus is much more popular with the crowds than they are (v. 10). The charges themselves impress Pilate much less than Jesus’ confident silence in the face of his accusers (v. 5). Pilate continued to be amazed at Jesus remaining silent with so much envy and hatred directed toward Him.

Pilate Wants to Release Jesus

Mark 15:6-9

6 Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. 7 And here was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. 8 And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. 9 But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews (KJV)?

Each of the gospels tells how hard Pilate tried to avoid condemning Jesus. Pilate sent Jesus to Herod as a courtesy, which he appreciated, and they became close friends as a result of this (Luke 23:12). Coupled with the fact that Pilate’s wife warned him not to harm Him because He is innocent Pilate was very uncomfortable about having Jesus executed. She had a dream, which frightened her. As a result she sent a message to Pilate while he was in the Praetorium with Jesus and the angry crowd

Matthew 27:19

19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him (KJV).

In order to try and please the Jews somewhat the Romans had a practice of releasing one prisoner at Passover. The Jews had come to expect this and thought of it as “their custom” (John 18:39). This was no more than a goodwill custom of the Roman governor of Judea in furtherance of the Pax Romana over a conquered and occupied nation. Instead of granting Jesus an acquittal, Pilate chose to grant the customary Passover amnesty, thinking the people would request the release of Jesus. Together with Jesus in the Pretorium was a criminal named Barabbas (Hebrew from Bar Abba, “son of the father”). He was a known freedom fighter and murderer. He had stirred up much opposition toward Rome and was know as an insurrectionist. He was awaiting the order of execution from Pilate. While he was a criminal to Rome many of the Jews regarded him as a hero trying to throw off the yoke of enslavement of Rome over the Jews.

The crowd that had assembled at his palace though was the group of Jewish religious leaders that were not favorable toward Jesus and wanted to be rid of Him. He exposed their chicanery and the spiritual enslavement they put the common Jews under with their rabbinic law. They ignored the Mosaic Law and didn’t know God who they professed to represent in Israel. They also did not recognize the Messiah He sent (John 5:39-47). The crowd being incited by the chief priests was chanting for Pilate to release to them one criminal. They had come to see Jesus executed. Pilate wanting to not execute Jesus said, “Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?” He did not expect or appreciate their response.

The Chief Priests Orchestrate Jesus

Mark 15:10-11

10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. 11 But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them (KJV).

Pilate was well aware of the envy the chief priests had toward Jesus. Envy a strong motivator is grief or anger caused by another’s success. He took this opportunity to show his contempt for them by offering to release the King of the Jews but they chose Barabbas instead. The powerful chief priests had incited the crowd to approach his judgment seat with their request to release Barabbas. In the trial before Pilate opposition to Jesus came largely from the Sanhedrin. The actual arrest and trial of Jesus, however, as this text explains, were the responsibility of the high priest. Mark is very specific and objective: the prime mover in Jesus’ trial and arrest is the high priest, who “stirred up” or incited the crowd to demand the release of Barabbas.

The Jews Demand Jesus’ Crucifixion

Johann Rottenhammer Pilatus

Mark 15:12-14

 

12 And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? 13 And they cried out again, Crucify him. 14 Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him. (KJV).

Pilate was now in a quandary. He had the warning of his wife. He knew Jesus was innocent but did not understand why He chose not to defend Himself. In a sort of mocking to them he refers to Jesus as “him whom ye call the King of the Jews.” These verses show how Mark focused on the culpability of the religious leaders in Jesus’ execution. When their efforts to have Jesus killed appeared to be stopped by Pilate, the religious leaders persuaded the crowd to cry out loudly to crucify Him. This plot would never have worked with the huge crowds that loved and followed Jesus. It was only because He had been so popular that the religious leaders were prevented from moving against Him earlier. They had to conduct an illegal trial at night so that His supporters were unaware of what was transpiring (Mark 11:18; 12:12; 14:2). Their plot against Jesus was also aimed at placing the blame on the Romans. Pilate ruled as governor in an out of the way region, which according to Rome was of minor importance. They only provided him with a small army that put him at a disadvantage if the Jews actually rebelled. He had to do what ever he could to maintain the peace or incur the wrath of the emperor in Rome. Although he did not see any reason to kill Jesus he went along with them because they threatened to report him to Tiberius Caesar (John 19:12). If they did that and rioted his career would be severely limited or ended. Pilate did not need a riot at Passover with thousands of additional Jews in Jerusalem to add to his grief. In his frustration he asked them, “what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.” The irony of all of this is that Jesus will hang on a cross between two genuine insurrectionists and die as a substitute for one more, Barabbas. The only reason Jesus is there is because he is not one of them. Barabbas is one of them and this is the first person for which Jesus died as the substitionary Lamb that takes away the sins of the world. Matthew adds the fact of Pilate washing his hands in symbolic gesture of having no responsibility over this execution (Matthew 27:24-25). In fact the Jewish religious leaders take full responsibility for His death and affirm to pass it on to successive generations; then answered all the people, and said, “His blood be on us, and on our children.” In fact when Pilate asked the crowd if he should crucify their king they said, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15).

Pilate Releases Barabbas and Sentences Jesus

Mark 15:15

15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified (KJV).

Jesus’ last of six trials ends with Pilate wanting to appease the angry crowds more than administer justice. If Pilate wanted to release Jesus it was not going to happen without causing a riot. He knew they had no sustainable charge against Jesus but he was wiling to satisfy them and crucify Jesus. So he washed his hands of the matter but would remain guilt ridden over this. As a true magistrate he had no good reason to crucify Jesus other than political appeasement of the crowd in avoidance of a riot and angering Caesar. So he released the criminal Barabbas and had Jesus flogged. Pilate had Jesus flogged in hope that the people would take pity and be satisfied. The flogging did not move them at all; they still insisted He be crucified (John 19:1–7). Flogging was done as a measure to accelerate the prisoner’s death on the cross. It was done with a multi-stranded whip. Into the ends were fastened pieces of metal or sharp bones or pottery. Typically several soldiers carried out the flogging and there was no limit on the length of the flogging. The person scheduled for execution seldom survived the flogging. In Jesus case He had to go to the wooden cross in fulfillment of a prophecy. Paul explains in Galatians.

Galatians 3:13

13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree (KJV).

Paul is referencing the Mosaic Law in Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 21:23

23his body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt surely bury him the same day; for he that is hanged is accursed of God; that thou defile not thy land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee for an inheritance (ASV, 1901)

[1] Josephus, Ant. 20.200–203. Likewise D. Flusser, Jesus (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1997), 146–47,

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The Crucified Messiah Of the Old Testament Fulfilled in the New

John the Baptist and the Crucified Messiah Foretold in the Old Testament, Fulfilled in the New.

By Dr. Todd Baker

Traveling to the probable location where Yeshua Ha Adon (the Lord Jesus) was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River at Bethabara in the Judean Desert (John 1:28; Matthew 3:13-17), God opened a Gospel witness. After arriving there, the Lord opened a door for me to witness to Shlomo about what Bible prophecy predicted about the Messiah’s forerunner John the Baptist prophesied in Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1.This prompted me to exhort the receptive Israeli Shlomo to read the Jewish New Testament to learn that these prophecies of the Messiah’s forerunner were fulfilled in John the Baptist who prepared the way for Yeshua the Messiah by calling on Israel to repent and believe in this King of the Jews so that His Messianic kingdom could be established in Israel. I then asked Shlomo if he ever had the opportunity to read the Brit Hadashah (the New Testament) to learn these theological truths. He responded, “No, I have not, but I have always wanted to a copy so I could read it.” The Holy Spirit beautifully set this up so I could facilitate this very thing! Pulling out a complete Hebrew Bible that, of course, including the New Testament, I joyfully offered God’s Word to Shlomo. He was visibly surprised I just happened to have the Scriptures to give him!

The young man was very open about the fact that Messianic prophecy points directly to Yeshua being the one and only Messiah of Israel. In Jerusalem, there was Isaac a former Orthodox Jew of the strict Harideem sect. The extreme legalism and pervasive hypocrisy of this group so disillusioned Isaac that he left the religious group to become a secularist. Going over some of the detailed Messianic prophecies that Yeshua of Nazareth fulfilled from the Tenach (the Old Testament), Isaac found it hard to believe Yeshua’s atoning death by crucifixion was foretold 1,000 years before by King David. So I showed Isaac the Hebrew text of Psalm 22:16 where it is written of the crucified Messiah, “They have pierced My hands and feet.” I then showed the former Harideem the great prophecy and promise of Jeremiah 31:31-34 where God promised the New Covenant to Israel and how the death of Yeshua in Matthew 26:28 fulfills this very prophecy. After hearing this, Isaac attempted to say this covenant spoken of in Jeremiah 31 was talking about the giving of the Torah to Israel at Mt. Sinai. But I quickly pointed out that Jeremiah 31:32 clearly shows that this New Covenant mentioned in verse 31is different and unlike the Old Covenant when God brought Israel out of Egypt.

It is the New Covenant where Yeshua offered His perfect life as the final sacrifice for sin so that those who believe in Him have all their sins removed. Isaac at this point thought I was talking about Joshua son of Nun who succeeded Moses. Patiently, I told Isaac that I was talking about Yeshua the Son of God born of a virgin according to Isaiah 7:14. Isaac was compelled enough to take a copy of a complete Hebrew Bible and Messianic prophecy list fulfilled by Yeshua of Nazareth from me so that he could study and see for himself that what I was telling him was truly what the Jewish Bibles teaches. Due to financial constraints we can only go for nine days on this outreach.

 

We need You Help To Fund the Next Gospel Outreach to Israel, Coming up of September this Year!

God willing, I will return to Israel the first week of September this year. We need your financial help. Each time God has raised up the redeemed elect that has helped us carry this Gospel outreach to the Jewish people. Having taken the Gospel to Israel for 18 years now, I can safely say very few ministries are doing what we are doing to obey God’s Word in Romans 1:16 of taking the Gospel to the Jew first. Partner with us to make a difference for time and eternity in the lives of the precious Jewish people who desperately need to know that Yeshua is their Messiah, King of the Jews. Don’t let them perish without having the Scriptures we freely give them that believing on Yeshua they have eternal life. Its up to you. Help us in this Holy Spirit ordained enterprise. To donate online, you can go to the following secure link on our ministry web site: https://www.brit-hadashah.org/wp/donate/

You can also donate by mail to:

 

Brit Hadashah Ministries

P.O. Box 796127

Dallas, Texas 75379-6127

 

Brit Hadashah Ministries is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit ministry, so your donation is tax deductible in the United States. Now is the accepted time, today is the day and year for the Gospel of salvation to be preached in Israel (2Corinthians 6:2) Partner with us in this exciting End-Time effort.

 

Your servant in Messiah Jesus,

Dr. Todd Baker.

 

 

 

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