The Imprecatory Psalm to Destroy Israel’s Enemies

CALLING FOR GOD’S WRATH ON ISRAEL’S ENEMIES.

The Great Day of His Wrath 1851-3 by John Martin 1789-1854

It is believed that Psalm 83 was written by Asaph. It is not clear which of the three men mentioned in the Old Testament the twelve Psalms that bear his name wrote them. What is important for us to realize is the pleading nature of the writer begging God to avenge Israel’s enemies for hating Him. They exercise this hate for God through attacks on the children of Israel. Look at the names of the ancient tribes of this Psalm.

“Edom, and the Ishmaelite’s; Of Moab, and the Hagarenes; Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; The Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre  Assur also is joined with them: They have helped the children of Lot.”

All these names are now the countries that immediately border Israel. Read more

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The Great Tribulation or The Final Judgment (aka The Jewish Wars & Victories)

The Tribulation (The Jewish Wars & Victories)

The Last Judgment by Michelangelo 1536-41

From the Jewish Writings

Collectively the Targum Onkelos, Philo, Pirqe Mashiah and the Sibylline Books all attest to a great war before Messiah arrives. Some state that there shall come forth a man leading his hosts to war and will subdue great and populous nations. Others say that in the year in which King Messiah will be revealed all the kings of the nations of the world would provoke each other. Still others state that a great king will march forth against Alexandria in a camp and a great evil will be in the world, and he will rebel and rule for three and a half years. This last comment speaks to the Antichrist who will stir up the war at the end.

Other writings such as the Zohar Chadash from the Kabbalistic literature states: “At that time wars shall be stirred up in the world. Nation shall be against nation and city against city; much distress shall be renewed against the enemies of the Israelites.” Another Jewish source known as the Bereshit Rabbah states:

“If you shall see the kingdoms rising against each other in turn, then give heed and note the footsteps of the Messiah (XLII: 4)

THE RABBIS CLEARLY TAUGHT THAT A WORLDWIDE CONFLICT WOULD SIGNAL THE COMING OF THE MESSIAH.

Within The Bible

The Bible is very clear in both the Old Testament and New Testament of the Tribulation that will precede the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of the Kingdom. Jeremiah mentions the tribulation. In Jeremiah 30:4-10 we read of a time of great trouble or distress that comes upon Israel, the result of which causes Israel to be saved and freed from their oppressors to serve the Lord their God. It is described in Jeremiah 30:6 which says, “that day is great, and there is none like it.” He calls it in verse seven “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble.” Which means that one of the reasons for the Tribulation will be to break the will of the Jews and bring them to their Messiah, Jesus. The prophet Daniel, in Daniel 12:1 describes the tribulation with these words, “And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time.” Jesus described the tribulation with similar words in Matthew 24:21, “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.” Revelation 9:6 says, “And in those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, and death flees from them.” The tribulation will be the greatest time of distress that has ever come upon the earth. The book of revelation from chapters 6-19 describes the entire process. One of the reasons for the book of revelation is to arrange, codify and put in chronological order the prophecies in the Old Testament that are yet unfulfilled.

Names of the Great Tribulation Found in the Bible: ASV of 1901

Old Testament References

  1. The Time of Jacob’s – Trouble-Jeremiah 30:7. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel.  This is the time of Israel’s trouble.
  2. The Seventieth Week (a seven) of Daniel – Daniel 9:27
  3. Jehovah’s Strange Work – Isaiah 28:21
  4. Jehovah’s Strange Act – Isaiah 28:21
  5. The Day of Israel’s Calamity – Deuteronomy 32:35; Obadiah 12-14
  6. The Tribulation – Deuteronomy 4:30
  7. The Indignation – Isaiah 26:20; Daniel 11:36
  8. The Overflowing Scourge – Isaiah 28:15,18
  9. The Day of Vengeance – Isaiah 34:8; 35:4; 61:2
  10. The Year of Recompense – Isaiah 34:8
  11. The time of Trouble – Daniel 12:1; Zephaniah 1:15
  12. The Day of Wrath – Zephaniah 1:15
  13. The Day of Distress – Zephaniah 1:15
  14. The Day of Wasteness – Zephaniah 1:15
  15. The Day of Desolation Zephaniah 1:15
  16. The Day of Darkness  Zephaniah 1:15; Amos 5:18, 20; Joel 2:2
  17. The Day of Gloominess  Zephaniah 1:15; Joel 2:2
  18. The Day of Clouds – Zephaniah 1:15; Joel2:2
  19. The Day of Thick Darkness – Zephaniah 1:15; Joel 2:2
  20. The Day of the Trumpet – Zephaniah 1:16
  21. The Day of Alarm – Zephaniah 1:16

New Testament References

  1. The Day of the Lord – 1 Thessalonians 5:2
  2. The Wrath of God – Revelation 15:1, 7; 14:10, 19; 16:1
  3. The Hour of Trial – Revelation 3:10
  4. The Great Day of the Wrath of the Lamb of God – Revelation 6:16-17
  5. The Wrath to Come – Matthew 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 1:10
  6. The Wrath – 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 11:18
  7. The Great Tribulation – Matthew 24:29
  8. The Hour of Judgment – Revelation 14:7

Daniel E. Woodhead Ph.D.

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The Deity of the Messiah (Hebrew Moshiach)

The Deity of the Messiah (Hebrew Moshiach)

 

First Fruits Being Offered to Hebrew Priest. The Messiah is our First Fruit!

Within the Jewish Writings (Non Christian)

Most of the Jewish writings (noncanonical) from which these Messianic expositions come are found in the following broad categories:

  1. Pseudepigraphical
  2. Apocryphal
  3. Mishniac
  4. Midrasic
  5. Haggadahic
  6. Gemmaric
  7. Talmudic
  8. Kabalistic
  9. Medieval Rabbinic
  10. Modern Rabbinic

The word Messiah in Hebrew means the Anointed One. In the Jewish writings the Messiah was described as a person of the line of King David (a “ben yishai” – son of Jesse, father of David) who will return the Jews from exile, rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem and initiate a period of prosperity and peace. In that sense, belief in Messiah was simply belief in restoration of Israel and an end to present troubles. The Messianic idea became prevalent and gained adherents in times of extreme desperation, such as the conquest of Judea by the Babylonians, the Roman conquest, the rule of Hadrian after the Bar Kochba revolt and various periods in the Middle Ages such as the Spanish Inquisition.

So then according to the Jewish definition of the term, the Messiah will make changes in the real world, changes that one can see and perceive and be able to prove because these changes take place in the real world. It is for this task that the real messiah has been anointed in the first place, hence the term, messiah — one who is anointed. He will bring about these changes as a result of his special anointing by God. They do not say he is God. Therefore the subject of his deity is obscured at best in the Jewish writings.

Modern Jewish scholars suggest that the messianic concept was introduced later in the history of Judaism, during the age of the prophets. They note that the messianic concept is not mentioned anywhere in the Torah. The moshiach will be a great political leader descended from King David (Jeremiah 23:5). The moshiach is often referred to as “moshiach ben David” (moshiach, son of David). He will be well versed in Jewish law, and observant of its commandments (Isaiah 11:2-5). He will be a charismatic leader, inspiring others to follow his example. He will be a great military leader, who will win battles for Israel. He will be a great judge, who makes righteous decisions (Jeremiah 33:15). But above all, he will be a human being, not a god, demi-god or other supernatural being. We will touch on his other characteristics as we move through this paper but suffice it to state for now that the Jews by and large do not promulgate the notion that moshiach is God.

The Jewish literature has said that in every generation, a person is born with the potential to be the moshiach. If the time is right for the messianic age within that person’s lifetime, then that person will be the moshiach. But if that person dies before he completes the mission of the moshiach, then that person is not the moshiach. So they wait.

Within The Bible

It is interesting to note that many Jewish authors attempting to discredit Jesus as the Messiah, do not take the entire Scripture as a whole and read it with proper hermeneutics, misstate verses or use denominational teaching to supplant the plain truth of Scripture to make their point. Most do not understand the Olivet Discourse or the book of Revelation to realize that the Second Coming will fulfill all the rest of the prophecies that are yet unfulfilled in the Old Testament. Therefore they discredit Jesus as the Messiah. The entire second Psalm speaks to this issue.

PSALM 2

1 Why do the nations rage, And the peoples meditate a vain thing?

 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against Jehovah, and against his anointed, saying,

 3 Let us break their bonds asunder, And cast away their cords from us.

 4 He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh: The Lord will have them in derision.

 5 Then will he speak unto them in his wrath, And vex them in his sore displeasure:

 6 Yet I have set my king Upon my holy hill of Zion.

 7 I will tell of the decree: Jehovah said unto me, Thou art my son; This day have I begotten thee.

 8 Ask of me, and I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance, And the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

 10 Now therefore be wise, O ye kings: Be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

 11 Serve Jehovah with fear, And rejoice with trembling.

 12 Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, For his wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all they that take refuge in him.

A few of the prophecies in Scripture that attest to messiah in the Old Testament related to His first advent and their fulfillment in the New Testament in the person of Jesus of Nazareth are as follows:

  1. Born in Bethlehem:                 Micah 5:2 Fulfilled in Matthew 2:1-5
  2. The Son of God:                     Psalm 2:7 Fulfilled John 3:16-17
  3. Of the tribe of Judah:              Genesis 49:10 Fulfilled Hebrews 7:14
  4. Of a virgin:                              Isaiah 7:14 Fulfilled Matthew 1:18-22
  5. A prophet like Moses:           Deuteronomy 18:15 Fulfilled John 7:15-17
  6. The King of Israel:                  Zechariah 9:9 Fulfilled John 12:12-15
  7. Rejected:                                 Isaiah 53:3 Fulfilled John 1:11
  8. Beaten:                                    Micah 5:1 Fulfilled Mark 15:19
  9. Silent:                                      Isaiah 53:7 Fulfilled Matt 27:12-14
  10. Betrayed:                                Psalm 41:9 Fulfilled Mark 14:17-20’
  11. Tried and condemned:             Isaiah 53:8 Fulfilled Matthew 27:1-2
  12. Crucified:                                Psalm 22:16 Fulfilled John 19:17-18
  13. His garments divided:             Psalm 22:18 Fulfilled John 19:23-24
  14. Given vinegar and gall:            Psalm 69:21 Fulfilled John 19:31-36
  15. His bones not broken:             Exodus 12:46 Fulfilled John 19:31-36
  16. He is our sacrifice:                  Isaiah 53:5-6 Fulfilled 1 Peter 2:24-25
  17. And raised from death:           Psalm 16:10 Fulfilled Luke 24:1-7, 47

A plain reading of the Bible by an unbiased observer can see from these few prophecies and fulfillments that Jesus is Messiah. Here are some examples of how the blinded Jews miss key passages in the Old Testament as being fulfilled in the New Testament relative to the Messiahship of Jesus. They correctly identify the correct criteria for Messiah’s characteristics though obscured in their literature, but through lack of knowledge about the Second Coming or mis-reading the Old Testament they disbelieve.

They correctly read Isaiah 11:12 to state that Messiah will gather the Jewish people from exile and return them to Israel. They miss the essence of this passage in its yet future fulfillment when they are back in “belief” at the end of the Tribulation.

Another passage which states Messiah’s rule, is Isaiah 66:23, which speaks of the Millennium, also know as the Messianic Kingdom. It states, “He will rule at a time when all people will come to acknowledge and serve God.” Their writings look at the earth today with all its problems and unrest and simply fail to attribute the Second Coming to accomplish this. Failure to see this and to strictly limit the first Advent of Christ as the only advent will keep them blind as to the person who is the true Messiah.

A third misunderstanding is from Micah 4:3. The essence of this verse is that He will rule at a time of world-wide peace – “…they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” They observe, “anybody can see” that since Jesus came there has been no world peace. This again is a lack of realization that there are two advents. The second will usher in the time of worldwide peace.

For the true believer, the Messiahship of Jesus is clear. For the Jew who has been blinded because of their sin and unbelief, it is difficult if not almost impossible for them to come to faith in Jesus. As He said, the way is narrow and few there be that find it, including His people who rejected Him at His first advent.

 

Daniel E. Woodhead Ph.D.

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The Authority of Scripture Ascertained Through Evidence

 

The Judgment of Solomon by Raphael 1518-19

Frequently, authors will avoid using the Bible as history, citing it as historiographically unreliable.[1] This is apparent as we examine the various secular authors who speculate on empire collapse. They simply ignore the facts contained within the Bible. Admittedly it is primarily a theological document, which uses world history to present God’s sacred history and the methods by which He approaches humankind.  God paints Himself, which we call theology, on a canvas of human history. Therefore, just because there is minimal material other than the Bible to provide insight into ancient history, it is unwarranted that one should simply avoid the Bible by citing it as solely theological and therefore nonhistoriagraphic. The Bible has been proven by the standards of the sciences of evidence, archaeology and prophecy to be reliable. Certainly Israel’s enemies will always use the lack of empirical evidence as to its historical accuracy to deny the Jews their accurate origin and place in the story of the world. So what means are available to us to ascertain the authenticity of the Bible? There are several. They all flow from the science of evidence.

Society uses this scientific evidentiary process to identify truth. For example we use it in courts of law and forensic laboratories. The science of evidence is appropriate to utilize for a fair evaluation of the Biblical text in order to validate its authenticity and truth.

One of the chief proponents of the field of evidence was Dr. Simon Greenleaf. He was a decorated Professor of Law at the Harvard University School of Law in 1846. A known expert in the field of evidence, Greenleaf’s well-known work, A Treatise on the Law of Evidence, is considered a classic of American jurisprudence. It was a standard textbook in American law throughout the nineteenth century. However, his contribution to biblical Christianity is the authoritative treatise, The Testimony of the Evangelists Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in Courts of Justice that remains an accepted primer in modern Christian apologetics. [2]

Greenleaf began his book by arguing for the elimination of prejudices and allow the evidence to tell the story. This is simply placing a reliance on evidence. He stated that one should, ” follow the truth wherever it may lead us.”[3] He further stated that Christianity does not “bring irresistible evidence” but offers sufficient evidences for “the serious inquirer.” [4] He focused his book to an inquiry “to the testimony of the Four Evangelists, bringing their narratives to the tests to which other evidence is subjected in human tribunals.” His specific inquiry was concerned with testing “the veracity of these witnesses by the same rules and means” employed in human tribunals. Greenleaf argued the case by first inquiring as to the genuineness of the four gospels as ancient writings. Here he applied what is technically known in law as the “ancient documents rule.” He stated:

“Every document, apparently ancient, coming from the proper repository or custody, and bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes to be genuine, and devolves on the opposing party the burden of proving it to be otherwise.” [5]

Greenleaf maintained that the four gospels do not bear any marks of being forgeries and the oldest extant copies can be received into court as genuine documents. In other words unless there is compelling evidence to the contrary we must accept the gospels as fact. Frequently in an attempt to discredit the biblical accounts of Christ detractors will engineer specious arguments that have no basis. Because there is no evidence for their weak arguments they fail to persuade the critical thinker. Only those with a sloppy thought process will be persuaded to accept an argument that has no foundation.

The second step in Greenleaf’s argument is: “In matters of public and general interest, all persons must be presumed to be conversant, on the principle that individuals are presumed to be conversant with their own affairs.” [6] On the basis of this legal rule Greenleaf then briefly profiled the traditional authors of the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, concerning their first hand knowledge of the life of Jesus of Nazareth, or as in the case of Mark and Luke their intimate personal links with the apostles. Greenleaf then built a cumulative case by conducting a shadow cross-examination of the oral testimony of the evangelists in their accounts of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Greenleaf developed his case on the basis of the following tests:

“The credit due to the testimony of witnesses depends upon, firstly, their honesty; secondly, their ability; thirdly, their number and the consistency of their testimony; fourthly, the conformity of their testimony with experience; and fifthly, the coincidence of their testimony with collateral circumstances.” [7] Greenleaf then argued that the gospel writers can be shown to be honest in their character and do not show any motives to falsify their testimony. [8] He claimed that Matthew and Luke related keen observations and meticulous details, and he concluded this demonstrated their ability. [9] Greenleaf noted that there are parallel accounts from the evangelists concerning the central events of Jesus the Christ’ life and that these accounts are not verbally identical. He maintained that discrepancies in their accounts are evidence that the writers are not guilty of collusion, and that the discrepancies in their respective accounts can be resolved or harmonized upon careful cross-examination and comparison of the details. [10] Greenleaf argued against the skeptic Scottish philosopher David Hume concerning reports of miracles. He found fault with Hume’s position about “immutable laws from the uniform course of human experience,” [11] and went on to assert that it is a fallacy because “it excludes all knowledge derived by inference or deduction from facts, confining us to what we derive from personal experience alone.” [12] Greenleaf took, as his own assumption that as God exists then such a being is capable of performing miracles. He then argued that the various miracles reported in Jesus ministry occurred in open or public contexts where friend and foe alike were witnesses. [13] Interestingly, Jesus’ miracles were specifically chosen by Him to be irrefutable by the detractors of His day. For example, he chose to heal a person who was blind since birth. No one could say the person was faking his blindness. He chose to heal a crippled person again who suffered this infirmity since birth. Perhaps His greatest miracle was raising Lazarus from the dead. He waited four days to insure that all the witnesses fully realized that Lazarus was indeed dead before Jesus raised him.

Lastly, Greenleaf examined the problem of uniform testimony among false and genuine witnesses, and found there is sufficient circumstantial evidence to support the accounts of the Four Evangelists.

Greenleaf summed up his argument with the following plea:

“All that Christianity asks of men on this subject, is, that they would be consistent with themselves; that they would treat its evidences as they treat the evidence of other things; and that they would try and judge its actors and witnesses, as they deal with their fellow men, when testifying to human affairs and actions, in human tribunals. Let the witnesses be compared with themselves, with each other, and with the surrounding facts and circumstances; and let their testimony be sifted, as if it were given in a court of justice, on the side of the adverse party, the witnesses being subjected to a rigorous cross-examination. The result, it is confidently believed, will be an undoubting conviction of their integrity, ability and truth … Either the men of Galilee were men of superlative wisdom, and extensive knowledge and experience, and of deeper skill in the arts of deception, than any and all others, before or after them, or they have truly stated the astonishing things which they saw and heard.” [14]

 

Dr. Greenleaf skillfully established the veracity of the Scriptures. Within the body of New Testament text he examined we find Jesus establishing the truth of the Old Testament (John 5:39-47 etc.). Christ’ words must also be true reasoning through Dr. Greenleaf’s methodology. Therefore, the entire chronology of the Old Testament must also be true.

We have a reliable body of truth in the Old and New Testaments. They can and must be relied upon to give us factual data related to the origin and early persecutions of the Jews. There is no logical reason not to use the Bible as reliable historiography. We refer to this entire concept of reliability of the biblical text as infallibility and its closely related concept of inerrancy. Infallibility is the subjective consequence of divine inspiration and inerrancy is the concept of the Bible being free from material errors or internal contradictions. Some may believe that these concepts are untrue but they come to those conclusions out of ignorance of the relevant data.[15]

 Evidence Through Archaeology

Archaeological evidence is another body of information and inquiry, which has produced factual data in support of the Biblical text. The following quotations from men acquainted with or conducting archaeological expeditions provide a firm basis for support of the veracity of the Biblical text through archaeology.

“It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a biblical reference.” The renowned Jewish archaeologist continued in commenting “the almost incredibly accurate historical memory of the Bible, and particularly so when it is fortified by archaeological fact.” [16]

 

“On the whole, however, archaeological work has unquestionably strengthened confidence in the reliability of the scriptural record.” [17]

 

“Old Testament archaeology has rediscovered whole nations, resurrected important peoples, and in a most astonishing manner filled in historical gap, adding immeasurably to the knowledge of biblical backgrounds.” [18]

 

“Archaeological and inscriptional data have established the historicity of innumerable passages and statements of the Old Testament.” [19]

 

“We pointed out that numerous passages of the Bible, which long puzzled the commentators, have readily yielded up their meaning when new light from archaeological discoveries has been focused on them. In other words, archaeology illuminates the text of the Scriptures and so makes valuable contributions to the fields of Biblical interpretation and exegesis. In addition to illuminating the Bible, archaeology has confirmed countless passages which have been rejected by critics as unhistorical or contradictory to known facts.” [20]

 

During the excavations of Jericho (1930-1936) John Garstang found something so startling that a statement of what they found was prepared and signed by himself as well as other members of the team. In reference to these findings Garstang says:

“As to the main fact, then, there remains no doubt: the walls fell outwards so completely that the attackers would be able to clamor up and over their ruins into the city.” [21]

 

Why so unusual? Because walls of cities do not fall outwards, they fall inwards. And yet in Joshua 6:20 we hear “ . . . the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city every man straight ahead, and they took the city.”

Some archaeologists, such as Kathleen Kenyon work against any pro-biblical support for the Jews. She, as a staunch anti-Zionist, was commissioned by the Jordanian government in 1960 to examine Jericho in order to refute Albright’s work. She further refutes all of the biblical historiography according to the story of the Jews. It is no surprise that Israel’s enemies deny her history. [22] Nevertheless the preponderance of archaeological evidence supports the authenticity of the Biblical narrative.

 

Evidence Through Prophecy

The last method of evidence presented here is that of Biblical prophecy. The Old Testament has a significant number of prophecies, which have already been fulfilled. Many of them relate to the timing and circumstances surrounding the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth on earth. All of these prophecies were written hundreds of years before the birth of Christ and were well documented.  Isaiah and Micah, for example, wrote their prophecies about 700 years before Christ. Daniel wrote his about 500 years before Christ. Zechariah also wrote about 500 years before Christ too. The Psalms were written over 900 years before Christ. It is a fact that the Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint was written between 200-300 B.C. which is well before the time of Jesus the Christ of Nazareth’s birth. This translation has all the prophecies within it. Therefore one cannot say that the prophecies were written after the events of which they prophesied! It is clear that these prophecies were in this verifiable translation well prior to Christ’s first advent. The following quote from Max L. Margolis validates the timing of the writing of the Septuagint:

It is in the reign of the second Ptolemy, surnamed Philadelphus (285-247 B. C.), that the translation of the Law (Pentateuch) into Greek is placed by the circumstantial narrative known as the Epistle of Aristeas which purports to be a contemporary record by one of the king’s courtiers. Nay, according to the story, the initiative proceeded from the king or rather the king’s librarian, Demetrius of Phalerum, who advised that a copy of the Law of the Jews should be deposited in the royal collection of books then already numbering upward of two hundred thousand volumes. [23]

It is quite clear that humans do not have the capacity to accurately predict the future hundreds of years in advance. The Bible claims to be the very Word of God and states that God lives outside of our time and space domain (Isa 57:15). Therefore He is able to see and write history before it happens. In fact he causes history to happen. The issue of fulfilled prophecy is additional compelling evidence that the Bible is true, accurate and verifiable as fact.

The open-minded person, seeking truth, while reading the Scriptures expectantly, will find that the Scriptures are verifiably accurate in their exposition of all things of which they speak. This includes the origin and development of the Jewish nation. It is important to this work that the Bible is recognized as trustworthy historiography.

Daniel E. Woodhead Ph.D.


[1] Cantor, Norman F. The Sacred Chain. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1994, 3.

[2] Strobel, Lee. The Case for Christ-A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus. Grand Rapids, MI. Zondervan Publishing House 1998  45-46

[3] Greenleaf, Simon. Testimony of the Evangelists Examined by the Rules of Evidence Administered in Courts of Justice, 1846. Reprint Newark, NJ: Soney & Sage, 1903, 1.

[4] Ibid, 2.

[5]  Ibid, 7.

[6]  Ibid, 9.

[7] Ibid, 28.

[8] Ibid, 28-31.

[9] Ibid, 31-32.

[10] Ibid, 32-35.

[11] Ibid, 36.

[12] Ibid, 37-38.

[13] Ibid, 39-42.

[14] Ibid, pg 46-53

[15] Comfort, Philip Wesley gen ed. The Origin of the Bible. Wheaton, IL. Tyndale House Publishers. 1992  38-39

[16]Glueck Nelson. Rivers in the Desert: History of Negev. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Cadahy, 1959, 31.

[17] Burrows, Millar. What Means These Stones. New York: Meridian Books, 1957,

[18] Unger, Merrill F. Archaeology and the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing Co., 1954, 1.

[19] Albright, W.F. “Archaeology Confronts Biblical CriticismThe American Scholar, April 1938, 181.

[20] Free, Joseph P. Archaeology and Bible History, Wheaton: Scripture Press, 1969, 1.

[21] Garstang, John. Joshua & Judges. London: Constable, 1931, 146.

[22] Cantor, Norman F. The Sacred Chain Harper, New York: Collins Publishers, 1994, 2-3.

[23] Margolis, Max L. The Story of Bible Translations. Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Society of America, 1916. 30.

 

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What The Lord Jesus Suffered For Us

PETER PAUL RUBENS: Le DESCENTE DE CROIX 1611

The Church is a group of people who have suffered in this life, but have been redeemed. We know where we are going when we leave this earth. Deaths, divorce, financial issues, health problems and more have altered our lives. Unfortunately it is the condition of the world into which we have been born. No matter how much difficulty we experience in this world the God of the universe has suffered more than we can imagine correcting it. It is helpful that we take this time to attempt to develop an understanding however feeble of what God has done for us and how He suffered in doing so. He created us in His image. In doing so we have emotions and experience pain just like God does. His are on a magnitude much greater then ours though.

Sometime in the past the anointed Cherub Lucifer performed sinful deeds while his domain was in Heaven. In doing so he brought corruption into Heaven. The Bible states that the heavens themselves needed cleansing by the blood of Christ (Hebrews 9: 23-26). God judged him and cast him to earth. In doing so he drew a third of theangels in Heaven that were foolish enough to make the choice to follow him thereby sealing their doom (Revelation 12: 4). Lucifer then became the adversary (Hebrew Satan) and entered the Garden of Eden to corrupt our first parents bringing the sin he had into the world. God judged him and all that he had corrupted. At that time God announced to him that He would bring a redeemer (the seed of the woman) into the world to correct these environments, which Satan had polluted. Knowing this he tried as hard as he could to prevent the coming of the Messiah. One of those methods he employed was sending the corrupt angels to earth to intermarry with women produce a hybrid corrupt offspring (Nephilim) and stop the required purity of the Messianic line from progressing.

Just before the Great Flood He brought upon the world to cleanse it from Satan’s corruption and to wipe out the Nephilim, our God expressed His sorrow over His creation.

Genesis 6: 5-6

5And Jehovah saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6And it repented Jehovah that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart (ASV 1901).

The Hebrew word that gets translated into English as “and repented” is vaieenechem וַיִּנָּחֶם. It means to be sorry to the point of suffering grief. It is a past tense (perfect tense in Hebrew) verb that has the characteristic of the subject (God) being part of the object (mankind) of the sentence. So it should read that God suffered, Himself, at the experience of the sins of His creation. In fact one of the prominent aspects of this verb is that the degree of suffering is referred to as to breath pantingly in this grief. He hurt so much at the sinfulness of humankind that He grieved as if He could not get His breath. His pain reached a level that we can never understand or experience. His suffering was greater than anything we could ever suffer. So often our suffering takes the form of lashing out at others and assigning blame. God did not do that. He set up His own plan to redeem the world by bearing the grief and sorrow in a way that allowed Him to provide the redemption of mankind by taking the God imposed penalty for sin upon Himself. In doing so He would have to suffer more than He had as of yet and again a level of suffering we cannot imagine. God prophesied to Isaiah in the eighth century B.C. that He who suffered much grief over mankind would come to the earth to provide redemption for mankind.

Isaiah 53: 1-12

1Who hath believed our message? and to whom hath the arm of Jehovah been revealed? 2For he grew up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3He was despised, and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and as one from whom men hide their face he was despised; and we esteemed him not 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. 7He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. 8By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who among them considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due? 9And they made his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.10Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand. 11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear their iniquities. 12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors (ASV 1901).

Jehovah God sent Himself a suffering servant in the body of a man to atone for the sins of the world. His suffering reached a level of pain before and during the crucifixion that we cannot imagine. Daniel writing in the late sixth century B.C. received a prophecy from the angel Gabriel about the death of Christ.

Daniel 9: 25-26a

25Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26a And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: (KJV).

 Gabriel speaking to Daniel regarding the timing of Christ’s appearance on the earth gives him the timetable for it. He concludes this part of the longer prophecy by saying that the Anointed One, The Prince shall be cut-off (killed) but not for himself. This prophecy gives us assurance that God was going to suffer a murder of Himself so we could be redeemed.

The night of what we call the last supper Christ gathered His apostles into an upper room to tell them many things about His need to be sacrificed. That was on Thursday before the Passover. It was customary to sing Psalms 113-118 at the close of the meal before Passover. Psalm 118 describes how God guides the righteous through distress and the impending death. Jesus asked the Father to have this obligation pass from Him if possible. Jesus was saying in effect, “Father, if there is any other way by which sinners can be saved than by My going to the cross, reveal that way now! But in all of this, I want it known that I desire nothing contrary to Your will.” He then went to Gethsemane with Peter, James and John.

The name Gethsemane means “oil press,” which suggests that the place Jesus went to pray was going to provide him with an excruciating and crushing spiritual experience. Both Luke and John mention this as a customary meeting place for Jesus and His disciples (Luke 22:39; John 18:2). He had told them about the suffering he would endure but they did not understand. Luke 12: 50 states, ” I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished“

He was experiencing a sorrow over the spiritual heaviness He sensed that when He said to the apostles, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me (Matthew 26: 38b KJV). His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane was the culmination of all the suffering He experienced in His ministry beginning with Satan’s temptation in the wilderness up to the point of the actual crucifixion and His separation from God (forsaken).

The agony itself that He experienced is described; He began to be sorrowful, and very heavy. The pain or torment that he was experiencing was coming from within; he troubled Himself (John11: 33). The words used are very emphatically stated; he began to be sorrowful, and be in a vaieenechem type pain. Luke 22: 44 tells us that Jesus’ sorrow was so strong His pores secreted a substance like blood. [1] He probably was experiencing the condition described in the medical dictionary as Hematidrosis, which is the excretion of blood or blood pigment in the sweat. It may occur when a person is suffering extreme levels of stress, for example, facing his or her own death. Leonardo da Vinci described a soldier who sweated blood before battle, and when men were unexpectedly given a death sentence. The degree of sorrow signifies such a sorrow as a weight of lead upon his spirits. Now was fulfilled, the Messianic Psalm 22:14, where it is stated, I am poured out like water, my heart is like wax, it is melted.

But what was the cause of all this? What was it that put him into his agony? There are two realms of life pictured in the suffering He experienced in the garden.

 

  1. He met with the powers of darkness which He described (Luke 22:53); This is your hour, and the power of darkness: and he spoke of it just before (John 14:30, 31); “The prince of this world cometh. I see him marshaling his forces, and preparing for a general assault; but he has nothing in me therefore his attempts, though fierce, will be fruitless: but as the Father gave me commandment, so I do; however it be, I must have a struggle with him, the field must be fairly fought; and therefore arise, let us go hence, let us hasten to the field of battle, and meet the enemy.’ Now is the close engagement in single combat like between Michael and the dragon, hand to hand; now is the judgment of this world; the great cause is now to be determined, and the decisive battle fought, in which the prince of this world, will certainly be beaten and cast out, (John 12:31). Christ, when he wrought salvation for us is described like a champion taking the field, (Isaiah 59:16–18). Now the serpent makes his fiercest onset on the seed of the woman, and directs his sting, the sting of death, to his very heart and the wound is mortal.

 

  1. He was now bearing the iniquities, which the Father laid upon him, and, by his sorrow and obedience he accommodated himself to his undertaking. The sufferings he was laying upon Himself were for our sins; they were all made to press upon him, and He knew it. As we are obliged to be sorry for our particular sins, so was He grieved for the sins of us all. He knew how malignant the sins were that were laid upon him, how provoking to God, how ruining to man; and these being all set upon Him to bear. He was sorrowful and very heavy.

 

Satan tried all he could to prevent Christ’s crucifixion. The death He experienced cleansed the heavenly tabernacle (Hebrews 9: 23-26), which Lucifer polluted with his sin and fall, as well as providing for the salvation of all who would believe the gospel of Christ (II Corinthians 5: 21). It is these sorrows we must try and realize as we struggle with our limited understanding of the workings of God. He did it for us and we are most blessed. When we consider our own travail on this earth remember His sacrifice and sorrow. He did it for us so we could give Him our burdens, which He willingly took upon Himself.

Matthew 11: 28-30

28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

 

Praise Him!

Daniel E. Woodhead PH.D


[1] Holoubek, JE, “Blood, sweat and fear, A classification of Hematidrosis.”  Journal of Medicine 1996, 27 (3–4): 115–33. PMID 8982961

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