Christian Churches of God

No. 242

 

 

 

 

The Death of the Lamb

(Edition 2.5 19980314-20080119-20150510)

 

Many Christians do not fully appreciate what is happening over the period of the Passover and the timing and significance of the death of the Messiah as the Lamb of God. This paper will provide a better understanding of the entire sequence.

 

 

Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA

 

Email: secretary@ccg.org

 

(Copyright © 1998, 2008, 2015  Wade Cox)

 

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http://www.logon.org and http://www.ccg.org

 

 


The Death of the Lamb

 


We have examined the timing of the crucifixion and the resurrection in the paper Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection (No. 159).

 

The Passover is examined in the paper The Passover (No. 98) and is broken into its constituent parts in explaining the Lord’s Supper in the papers Significance of the Footwashing (No. 99), Significance of the Bread and Wine (No. 100), and The Lord’s Supper (No. 103).

 

We know that the Passover is a commanded ordinance of the Lord and that it was kept by Israel as commanded in the Bible up until the end of the Temple period in 70 CE.

 

We understand what happened at the Lord’s Supper, and we know that this activity occurred on the night of 14 Nisan prior to Messiah’s arrest and trial and subsequent crucifixion.

 

Every activity in the sequence on this Passover was in accordance with the perfect Plan of God, and in accordance with His Laws and timing. Christ was not crucified on a Friday and he was not resurrected on a Sunday, as is commonly supposed by mainstream Christianity. The heathen origins of Easter and the transition from the Passover to this Easter festival is examined at length in the paper The Origins of Christmas and Easter (No. 235).

 

Also, the Jews did not have the timing wrong and Christ was not killed at the wrong time. He was killed at exactly the moment the first Passover lamb was killed on the Temple Mount, and in accordance with the ordinance issued at the command of God.

 

We know by heart the activities and the service of the Last Supper the Lord gave as the Lord’s Supper. We know that this is one of the only two sacraments of the Church (see the paper The Sacraments of the Church (No. 150)). The other sacrament is baptism (see the paper Repentance and Baptism (No. 52)).

 

What is not understood as well is the timing and reasons behind the death of the Messiah as the Lamb of God.

 

The Passover Ordinances

Leviticus 23:4-14 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons. 5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD'S Passover. 6 And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the LORD: seven days ye must eat unleavened bread. 7 In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 8 But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 9 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 10 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: 11 And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12 And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD. 13 And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto the LORD for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. 14 And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. (KJV)

 

We see this ordinance is divided into the following constituent parts:

·      14 Nisan, when the Passover is sacrificed.

 

·      The Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is from 15 Nisan to 21 Nisan, and during which no leavened bread may be consumed.

Both the 15th and 21st of the First month called Nisan or Abib (Abib or Aviv means Spring; thus Tel Aviv is the Spring Hill) are holy convocations and no work is permitted on those days.

 

·      The Wave-Sheaf Offering is to be made on the day following the Sabbath, and a lamb without blemish is to be sacrificed with this offering of the first-fruits. This was traditionally waved at the third hour or 9 a.m. Sunday morning following the weekly Sabbath, during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. This Sunday also commenced the count to Pentecost, as we see in the paper The Omer Count to Pentecost (No. 173)). Schürer is silent on this offering.

 

There are a number of sub-ordinances which govern the Passover and which shed light on the activities of Messiah and the Apostles at the Passover of 30 CE on which he died.

 

The Passover was to be held in the following manner. The original ordinance was given for the meal eaten with bitter herbs on the evening following the sacrifice on the afternoon of 14 Nisan, i.e. on the evening of 15 Nisan. It was originally a lamb killed in Egypt and the blood was sprinkled on the doorposts or lintels so that the death angel would pass over the houses of the children of Israel. Thus, the first-born of Egypt were slain and the children of Israel were passed over – hence the term Passover. In this way, God showed what He would do with the world and that salvation was to come from the death of Messiah as the Lamb of God, allowing entry to the family of God as part of the nation of Israel.

 

The sacrifice is ordered in Exodus.

Exodus 12:1-14 And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, 2 This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. 3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house: 4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. 7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. 8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. 9 Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. 10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it until the morning ye shall burn with fire. 11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the LORD'S passover. 12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD. 13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. 14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. (KJV)

 

This Passover lamb (or goat) was to be killed by the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel. It was selected on the tenth day and killed on the fourteenth day. It was eaten on the night of the fifteenth of the First month, which was to be kept as a Night To Be Much Observed forever. When the death angel passed over at midnight on 15 Nisan, he smote the first-born of Egypt, from the son of Pharaoh to the captives in the dungeons.

Exodus 12:29-36  And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. 30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead. 31 And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the LORD, as ye have said. 32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also. 33 And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men. 34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. 35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: 36 And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians. (KJV)

 

This evening was ordered to be kept as a memorial of the sparing of Israel. This activity also looked forward to the salvation of the world through the sacrifice of the Messiah.

Exodus 12:42 It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations. (KJV)

 

The ordinance was altered after the first Passover in the following manner.

Deuteronomy 16:1-8 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. 2 Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the LORD thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there. 3 Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life. 4 And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning. 5 Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee: 6 But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt. 7 And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents. 8 Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD thy God: thou shalt do no work therein. (KJV)

 

Here we see the ordinance was reversed from the original. In the first Passover it was done in the houses in Egypt and no one was permitted to leave. Then the house was protected by the blood upon the doorposts or lintels.

 

In this way, the elect were shown to be protected whilst in a foreign land from the activities of the death angel, which was Messiah himself in his role as judge of the Earth. In order to qualify for that role, he had to show his willingness to lay down his own life for the entire world he was to judge.

 

This symbolism was carried over to the occupation of Israel when Joshua and the tribes occupied the Promised Land. The red thread on the lintels of the house of Rahab in the wall of Jericho symbolised this Passover of the death angel as he appeared to Joshua as the Captain of the Army of the Lord (see the paper The Fall of Jericho (No. 142)).

 

When Israel came into their own inheritance and entered their own lands, they were ordered then to keep the Passover outside of the homes. Only on the morning of Unleavened Bread were they permitted to return to their proper accommodation. Also, from this time it could be any clean animal of the herd that was killed. The Passover was, however, still symbolised by the lamb and it was the most common and accepted animal for the meal. The Soncino quotes Abraham ibn Ezra who says they may return to their temporary accommodation but not their permanent domiciles.

 

We can start to see in the Passover some of the symbolism and sense of the timing and activities of Jesus Christ in the Passover when he was crucified.

 

We know beyond doubt when the lambs were killed during the Temple period. Josephus shows us that the lambs were killed from the ninth to the eleventh hour, i.e. from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the afternoon of the fourteenth. The lambs were then prepared and eaten on the evening of 15 Nisan, as the Passover meal. Josephus says of a Passover in the reign of Nero:

So these high priests upon the coming of their feast they call the Passover, when they slay their sacrifices, from the ninth hour to the eleventh, but so that a company not less than ten belong to every sacrifice, (for it is not lawful for them to feast singly by themselves), and many of us are twenty in a company, found the number of sacrifices was two hundred and fifty six thousand five hundred; which, upon the allowance of no more than ten that feast together, amounts to two millions seven hundred thousand and two hundred persons (Wars of the Jews, Bk. VI, IX, 3).

 

However, there was only one lamb – the first slaughtered at 3 p.m. – that was laid before the High Priest as the Passover.

 

We are thus getting an idea of the meaning behind the sequence of events on that 14 Nisan on which he died.

 

The custom of the Passover was also different. In Judea the people worked on 14 Nisan until noon, but in Galilee they did not work at all on 14 Nisan (cf. Schürer, History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, Vol. II, p. 14).

 

This ban on work on the Passover is because of the activities required on 14 Nisan, as seen in Deuteronomy 16:5-7. In Galilee, from where Christ came, the people did what Christ and the Apostles did on the day of the Passover sacrifice: they went into temporary accommodation and there they killed and ate the Passover. In Judea, which to all intents and purposes was a separate land – as we see from the laws in the Mishnah regarding wives and property (mKet. 13:10; mB.B. 3:2; cf. Schürer, ibid.) – they appeared to have become slack in this practice, possibly because of their proximity to the Temple and possibly because of the sheer volume of work required in Jerusalem for the sacrifices that afternoon.

 

Nevertheless, Messiah and the Apostles went into temporary accommodation, as is required by the ordinance in Deuteronomy 16:5-7.

 

The Lamb of God

Messiah is identified as the Lamb of God.

John 1:29-37 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, `After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.' 31 I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel." 32 And John bore witness, "I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, `He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.' 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God." 35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples; 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. (RSV)

 

John states here Jesus’ pre-existence. John the Baptist was born before Christ, and yet he speaks here of Christ being first before him because he was before him. This text follows on from the section in John 1:18 where we see that Messiah was the only-begotten [only-born] God [monogenes theos] who is in the bosom of the Father, He unfolds [or declares] [Him (added)] (cf. Concordant Literal New Testament and also Marshall’s Greek-English Interlinear, RSV).

 

The Apostle John states here also, that the world came into being through Christ (Jn. 1:10). As the word he became flesh and tabernacled with us. This expression of the Logos was known in ancient Judea as the Memra. His status was as the Lamb of God taking away the sins of the world. The significance of the lamb appears again and again in the sacrifices, as offerings for sin and peace and other matters.

 

The change in thrust of the lamb in prophecy comes from Isaiah 16:1-5. This text speaks of the lamb.

Isaiah 16:1-5 Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion. 2 For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon. 3 Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth. 4 Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. 5 And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness. (KJV)

 

The RSV says lambs but the tribute lamb is meant, according to the KJV (The Companion Bible).

 

The tribute lamb was baptised at the Jordan across from Jericho. Bullinger says that the ruler of the land is Judah. The lamb is sent, as Mesha king of Moab had done (2Kgs. 3:4).

 

Sela was identified as Petra in Mount Seir, near Mount Hor (2Kgs. 14:7).

 

The text is used to indicate that the followers of the lamb will dwell with Moab, who is asked to cover them from the face of the spoiler, which is identified as Sennacherib. However, Isaiah 14 is actually speaking about the Light Bearer or Lucifer of the fallen Host. Verse 5 is speaking of establishing the throne in the tabernacle of righteousness. This text is speaking of the conversion of the Gentiles and the daughters of Moab being as those cast out of the nest or forsaken at the fords of Arnon. The task here was to hide the followers of Messiah among the Gentiles and to be judged because of this. This text forms a basis for the parable of the sheep and the goats given in Matthew 25:31-46.

 

Isaiah takes this further in chapter 53.

Isaiah 53:1-12  Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow 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 shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But 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. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.  10 Yet it pleased the LORD 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 the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (KJV)

 

This man of sorrows was wounded for our transgressions. Like sheep we went astray, and the Lord laid on him the iniquity of us all. This text shows us why some of the things happened as they did on the night of the trial of Messiah. He opened not his mouth. He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter and, as a sheep before the shearers is dumb, he did not open his mouth. Thus, he had to be taken into prison, judged and then executed in accordance with this prophecy, as Scripture could not be broken (repeated in Acts 8:32-33; cf. Jn. 1:36).

 

The term made his grave with the wicked is in fact nathan as appointed and retains this sense where used. Thus, the grave was appointed as being with sinners and with the rich as we see after the crucifixion.

 

Verse 5 is actually pierced for our transgressions, which is the point of thrust of the spear in his side. He was bruised for our iniquities and the chastisement of our peace was upon him. We are healed with his stripes. This last verse is repeated in 1Peter 2:24.

 

This question of the chastisement of our peace is interesting.

 

The whole question of Isaiah 53:1-9 is dealt with by rabbinical Judaism as being of the exiled servant Israel, who is seen by the Babylonians or their representatives, having known the servant in his humiliation and martyrdom and now seeing his exaltation and new dignity, and who describe their impressions and feelings (cf. Soncino, quoting Ibn Kaspi).

 

This is actually the true explanation, as Messiah is exiled Israel and Israel is the Body of Jesus Christ. This plain fact is not understood by rabbinical Judaism even though they can see that the servant was afflicted and suffered for the transgressions of others. They held that the servant suffered that it may be well with them (cf. Soncino, v. 5): that we may procure wellbeing, he having been punished for our guilt (Soncino; Rashi, Kimchi). They try to make out that Judah in the Babylonian captivity was the Israel which was the servant of God, when it is obviously referring to the servant of God in an expiatory role; whereas God had punished Judah for its transgressions using the Babylonians as His instrument. They were not guiltless.

 

Isaiah 53:4-6 is understood, rabbinically, as recognition that the servant’s sufferings were not due to his secret sins. It is now frankly acknowledged that he was the victim who bore the dire penalties, which the iniquities of others have incurred (cf. Soncino, n. 4-6).

 

Rashi and Kimchi hold that the term our diseases, which appears in verse 4, are the diseases that should have been inflicted on us and that the term did bear means he was called upon to endure them (cf. Soncino).

 

They understood that the people had wandered like sheep and forsaken the leadership of God and had followed their own false religion (Soncino, fn. to v. 6; and Arbarbanel).

 

The understanding that the Gentiles of the Babylonian system are saved through the suffering of Messiah, who is in fact the Israel of God, is also the general theme of the Bible, and especially the Book of Revelation.

 

The entire matter has been dealt with in detail in the papers The Doctrine of Original Sin Part I The Garden of Eden (Nos. 246); Doctrine of Original Sin Part 2 The Generations of Adam (No. 248) and The Problem of Evil (No. 118).

 

The Trial of Messiah

Messiah was arrested at the contrivance of the priesthood, and the Sanhedrin was used in this trial as it was necessary to have a minimum of 23 members present for a capital charge.

 

Jesus was placed on trial before Annas for a preliminary hearing to establish prima facie grounds to summon the Sanhedrin. This of course had already been decided but it was necessary for their judicial process, in the same way it would be used for ours.

John 18:12-14 Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, 13 And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year. 14 Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. (KJV)

 

The details of the priesthood and the dates and times are all contained in the papers Timing of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection (No. 159) and Golgotha: the Place of the Skull (No. 217) and the other Passover papers. This relationship is of the High Priest and deputy High Priest even though Judaism tries to place the use of the Nasi relationship to a slightly later time.

 

Bullinger is of the opinion that Annas had been deposed in 779 A.U.C., the year Messiah’s ministry began. Three others had been deposed and promoted before Caiaphas was appointed by Valerius Gratus. Bullinger thinks Annas would be more experienced in the law to formulate a charge against him. This was in reality a preliminary hearing. Schürer holds that Caiaphas was appointed by Valerius Gratus (15-26 CE) in about 18 CE, and he reigned from 18-36 CE. Ananaus son of Sethi had been appointed by Quirinius (6 CE) and he reigned from 6-15 CE. The three intermediary High Priests referred to by Bullinger are undoubtedly Ismael son of Phiabi (ca. 15-16 CE); Eleazar son of Ananus (ca. 16-17 CE) and Simon son of Camithus (ca. 17-18 CE), all appointed by Gratus (cf. Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Bk. XVIII. II. 2; cf. Schürer, Vol. II, pp. 216,230). Schürer deals with the question of the Nasi and the Ab-beth-din and holds that it did not occur until later. He holds that the term Nasi refers to the head of state up to the compilation of the Mishnah. It may well be that the term was deliberately not applied to the family of Herod and vested in the High Priest as the land was divided, from the record of the Mishnah. Judah and Galilee were regarded as separate lands, as we see above.

 

The activities in John are on capital charges, and the procedures of the Sanhedrin are to be just by law. Thus the function of Annas appears to be as the Ab-beth-din or deputy president of the Sanhedrin acting as arraigning magistrate.

 

One of the disciples went with Messiah into the palace of the High Priest.

John 18:15-18 And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest. 16 But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter. 17 Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man's disciples? He saith, I am not. 18 And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself. (KJV)

 

He took Peter into the palace and the woman porter or doorkeeper accused him of being one of Christ’s disciples (female porters were not uncommon; cf. 2Sam. 4:6 LXX; Acts 12:13). Then followed Peter’s first denial. The other disciple was not challenged but appears to have been known, as the word also was used of Peter indicating this was so. This would not have been John as he always called himself the disciple whom Jesus loved (Jn. 13:23; 19:26; 21:7,20). The disciple was probably either Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea, both of whom were members of the Sanhedrin (cf. Bullinger, The Companion Bible, n. to v. 15).

 

The terms in verse 18 are rendered literally as slaves and deputies for servants and officers. The Chiliarch, and the Roman soldiers, had gone back to fortress Antonia leaving Messiah in the hands of the Jews.

 

In fulfilment of Isaiah 53, we now see the suffering and indignities begin to be inflicted.

 

John 18:19-24  The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. 20 Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. 21 Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. 22 And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? 23 Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me? 24 Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest. (KJV)

It is written: thou shalt not revile the elohim or curse (speak evil) of the ruler of your people (cf. Ex. 22:28; Eccl. 10:20; Acts 23:5; 2Pet. 2:10; Jude 8 and also Jas. 4:3 – Gk: kakos, as amiss with evil intent) and, thus, the High Priest cannot be spoken evil of. However, Christ here was refuting the charge that he had broken the Law. He refuted sin being attributed to himself, as he was sinless.

 

The prophecy states he did not open his mouth, or he was dumb as a sheep before its shearers, and this was fulfilled in his attitude before Pilate. Thus, he did not defend himself yet he clearly gave some answers. Is this a conflict? No, it is not. The answers he gave, which in effect negated the charges of breach of the Law, were effective in providing example in behaviour before authority. Had he not answered at all then it would have been worse. The example for history would have effectively destroyed social order among Christian groups before judicial process. The Gospels had to set an example according to biblical Law.

 

Annas had gone through the motions of preparing a charge and arraigning him before the Sanhedrin, and sent him to the actual High Priest, Joseph Caiaphas.

 

Peter was again tested.

John 18:25-27 And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not. 26 One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? 27 Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew. (KJV)

 

Here we see Peter, tested simply by association, deny Christ as Christ foretold he would; and then the cock crowed, signalling the end of this immediate test. All of us should learn lessons from this in looking at the trials of the Church and our brethren and the support or otherwise we give to each other.

 

During this time of trial, we see the details are omitted in the Gospel of John between the action in John 18:27 and the continuance of the story in verse 28. The story of this interlude is in Matthew 26:58 to 27:2.

Matthew 26:58-75 But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end. 59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; 60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, 61 And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. 62 And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 63 But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. 64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. 66 What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. 67 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, 68 Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee? 69 Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. 70 But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. 71 And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. 72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. 73 And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. 74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly. (KJV)

 

Thus, from this trial and the end of the test of Peter, we see the events in Matthew 27:1-2 take up in John 18:28.

Matthew 27:1-2 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: 2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor. (KJV)

 

John shows us that they did not wish to be defiled by having contact with the Gentiles, for the Pharisees, even then, had allowed their traditions to destroy the understanding of the Law.

John 18:28-40 Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover. 29 Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? 30 They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. 31 Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: 32 That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die. 33 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? 34 Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? 35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? 36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. 37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all. 39 But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? 40 Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber. (KJV)

This section is one of the most powerful parables in the Bible. Here, in accordance with Scripture, we see Messiah as King being tried for the sins of the people, and tried by the head of the Gentiles, and being condemned unlawfully, to be put to death by Judah. We see also the Sanhedrin acting at the behest of the Pharisees and the ruling class. Here they were judged.

 

It is written, “you shall not take a bribe and pervert judgment”.

Exodus 23:1-9 Thou shalt not raise a false report: put not thine hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. 2 Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil; neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment: 3 Neither shalt thou countenance a poor man in his cause. 4 If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again. 5 If thou see the ass of him that hateth thee lying under his burden, and wouldest forbear to help him, thou shalt surely help with him. 6 Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause. 7 Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not: for I will not justify the wicked. 8 And thou shalt take no gift: for the gift blindeth the wise, and perverteth the words of the righteous. 9 Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. (KJV)

 

The punishment for perverting justice was removal from judgment and that was the punishment of the Sanhedrin. Judgment was removed from them and given to the Church. It was also taken and given to the nation showing the fruits of it, as Christ said later, and which nation appears to be Israel, apart from Judah.

 

Leviticus 19:15-16  Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour. 16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD. (KJV)

 

Judgment is to be set up in the land in justice.

Deuteronomy 16:18-20  Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge the people with just judgment. 19 Thou shalt not wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous. 20 That which is altogether just shalt thou follow, that thou mayest live, and inherit the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. (KJV)

 

It was the prerogative of the Sanhedrin and the priesthood to judge Messiah. However, it must be just judgment or captivity ensues.

Deuteronomy 17:8-13 If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose; 9 And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and enquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment: 10 And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the LORD shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee: 11 According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. 12 And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the LORD thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel. 13 And all the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously. (KJV)

 

They were ordered by God under the Law to show sentence of just judgment, but they did not do so.

 

They handed judgment to the Gentiles and to Pilate. They delivered him to Pilate at the Praetorium, the house of the praetor (cf. Mk. 15:16) or Hall of Judgment, which was not Herod’s palace, as we see from Luke 23:7.

 

They told Pilate that if Christ were not a malefactor they would not have delivered him up to him (Jn. 18:30). When asked if he was a king he made this reply (Jn. 18:37):

To this end was I born and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice.

 

Pilate, being educated and astute to rhetoric, said: “What is truth?” He said this because he was not yet of the truth. One had to be called of God to understand. Pilate then went out to the Jews and said: “I find in him no fault at all”.

 

They were being given a chance to take back their dishonest judgment from the mouth of the Gentiles they despised and considered unfit to walk in their Temple.

 

Pilate gave them a chance to have Christ released and offered them a choice, but here the major substitution of history took place.

 

They called out: “Not this man, but Barabbas”, who was a robber. Bar Abbas means son of the father.

 

The symbolism here was that Christ died in order that we might be set free as sons of the Father.

 

Before the process then got under way with all the efficiency for which Rome was famous, Pilate tried to persuade them again.

John 19:1-7 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. 2 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, 3 And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. 4 Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. 5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! 6 When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. 7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. (KJV)

 

They would not listen, and said he made himself the Son of God. Pilate was then very aware that he was dealing with a religious dispute where this man was not only faultless, but might have been a god. The Romans and Greeks, like the Asiatics, believed that the elohim or theoi did have the power to inhabit men and did appear as men, being divine offspring. This was the charge on which the Sanhedrin had condemned him, as we see from Matthew 26:65-66 (cf. Lev. 24:16).

 

This blasphemy was allegedly against the name of God, yet he claimed to be the Son of God and this was carried in Malachi as being a true statement: “Have we not all one Father? Had not one God created us all?”

Malachi 2:10  Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers? (KJV)

 

Christ defended himself before the charge was even laid.

John 10:33-38  The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. 34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? 35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; 36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God? 37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. 38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. (KJV)

 

This charge was baseless and stemmed from the Jewish ignorance of the Law and the Plan of God. In the same way, evil charges are brought against the elect today by mainstream Christianity, and they have conspired to kill the elect for centuries as they did Messiah before them.

 

Pilate tried to release him again with these words.

John 19:8-11 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; 9 And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. (KJV)

 

The power given to Pilate was of God. Thus all government over the elect is allowed of God. Whoever falsely accuses or delivers us for judgment under false accusation or unrighteous judgment is guilty of the greater sin.

 

Pilate sought to release Messiah, but the Jews would not hear of it. If he was right, they stood condemned by the Law, which they had perverted.

John 19:12-16 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. 13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! 15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. 16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. (KJV)

 

The passage of the crucifixion in John is well known.

John 19:17-22 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. 19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. 21 Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. 22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. (KJV)

 

The term here for on either side one is actually the term enteuthen kai enteuthen, meaning hither and thither. This aspect is examined in the paper The Cross: Its Origin and Significance (No. 39).

 

Pilate was moved to write this verse, not just by the Holy Spirit, but because he was convicted of the innocence of Messiah and that he was the best or most kingly of this unjust mob, who sought to kill a righteous man through their priests.

 

Prophecy continues to be fulfilled as the crucifixion continues.

John 19:23-24  Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. 24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did. (KJV)

This was to fulfil Psalm 22:18.

 

Psalm 22:1-8 To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? 2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. 3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. 4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. 5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. 6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. 7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. (KJV)

Here we see the statements of Christ listed in prophecy. From verse 1, we see his cry upon the stake. We see Psalm 22:8 quoted in Matthew 27:43, Mark 15:29 and Luke 23:25.

 

In Psalm 22:22, we see the prophecy quoted which is uttered in Hebrews 2:12.

Psalm 22:22-31 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. 23 Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. 24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. 25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. 26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. 27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. 28 For the kingdom is the LORD'S: and he is the governor among the nations. 29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. 30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. 31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this. (KJV)

 

We see from this Psalm that God did not turn His face from Messiah, and He did not forsake him, as is often thought because of the quote from Psalm 22:1; but God saved him.

 

Hebrews shows us the reason for the sacrifice.

Hebrews 2:10-18  For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. 13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me. 14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. (KJV)

 

Thus, the lamb was allowed to be killed because by his death many would be given salvation through their belief and faith.

 

Why did this Lamb of God then have to divest himself of his pre-existent spiritual nature and become a man, not seeking equality with God as something to be grasped after, and humble himself to death, even death on a stake? (cf. Phil. 2:5-8, RSV).

 

What then, does God desire sacrifice, even that of His own son? No! He does not desire sacrifice.

Hosea 6:4-7 O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. 5 Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth. 6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. 7 But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me. (KJV)

 

We saw this concept also in 1Samuel 15:22, Ecclesiastes 5:1 and Micah 6:8.

 

Samuel says it is obedience God wants rather than sacrifice. This obedience is necessary to eternal life. Disobedience is transgression of the Law, and transgression of the Law is sin, and the wages of sin is death.

 

Thus, reconciliation is necessary to eternal life. In order to be reconciled, we have to be obedient to God and His Law, which proceeds from His nature (cf. the papers The Government of God (No. 174) and Love and the Structure of the Law (No. 200)).

 

This obedience extended to Jesus Christ. In order for the creation to be reconciled, Christ has to be willing to lay down his life and become flesh with us and be tempted as we were. God did not want sacrifice; He wanted obedience from all of His sons. To be fit to lead us, Christ had to show he was obedient even unto death. Satan had no such obedience.

 

That is the function of the death of Messiah. He did not satisfy some perverse notion of God. Nor is the death of Messiah some non-biblical heathen notion put forward in corruption of Scripture, as some bizarre groups have claimed.

 

The death of Messiah by his own voluntary sacrifice was essential to a reconciliation of the creation to God, both heavenly and earthly creations. The only way this could be done was for one of the Host to lay down his position and his aeonian life and become mortal man (see the papers On Immortality (No. 165) and The Purpose of the Creation and the Sacrifice of Christ (No. 160)).

 

Christ had to put this age in place and then to be prepared to die for it. Only in that way would he be fit to lead it.

 

This same test is required of the elect, and that is why we have been tested and killed outside of the camp, as Christ himself was put to death outside of the camp. For we look to the City of God and the functional government of Jesus Christ on his return to this Earth as conquering king.

 

Hebrews 13:5-16 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. 7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. 8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. 9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. 10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. 11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. 12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. 14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. 15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. 16 But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. (KJV)

When Paul wrote, the Temple was fully operational. The subject of the discussion is the question of the sacrifice and its role with the elect and, perhaps, the animals killed.

 

Remember, we are the Temple of God and those who serve the tabernacle with its sacrifices have no right to eat from our altar. He suffered outside of the camp that his blood might sanctify the people, not to satisfy any sacrificial fancy of the Father.

 

The entire sacrificial system was put in place to point towards the elect and Messiah as the leaders of the government of God. The numbers and placement throughout the year had specific meaning. God is not some sadist who wants people killed; rather, He wants obedience to His Laws. The result of disobedience is death in that eternal life will not be conferred on those who disobey. That is why there are two resurrections (cf. Rev. 20:4-15). The elect are given the First Resurrection and eternal life through their obedience and faith in Christ. Faith without works is dead (Jas. 2:20-26), and we, by our works, show our faith (Jas. 2:18). Our works are obedience to the Living God, as Messiah demonstrated in order to be the first-fruits and the first-born from the dead (Col. 1:18), becoming a son of God in power through the Holy Spirit by his resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4).

 

We can now see that the crucifixion and the death of the Lamb were the culmination of all history up to that point, and all prophecy. On that day, the entire world and its fate rested on the shoulders of that one sinless sacrifice. He laid down his own life for us because it is written: “thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, and this is the second great commandment” (cf. Mat. 19:19). This was tested to the end, for greater love has no man than this that he lay down his life for his friend (Jn. 15:13). For God is love (1Jn. 4:8).

 

John 19:25-42 shows the sequence of his last activities as a man. His care was for his mother. She was placed in the care of the Church. His other brothers were obviously not present at the stake; only his mother and aunt were standing by the Apostle John to whose care he committed her. It should be noted that John appears to have outlived all of Christ’s brothers. Therefore, Christ handed his mother to the care of John, who would outlive the brothers and care for her into her old age.

John 19:25-27 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. (KJV)

 

All things were accomplished, except for a few prophecies. One of these prophecies required him to be pierced.

Zechariah 12:8-14 In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. 9 And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. 10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. 11 In that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem, as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. 12 And the land shall mourn, every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart; the family of the house of Nathan apart, and their wives apart; 13 The family of the house of Levi apart, and their wives apart; the family of Shimei apart, and their wives apart; 14 All the families that remain, every family apart, and their wives apart. (KJV)

 

In this prophecy we see that the Angel of Yahovah, at the head of the Household of David, become elohim, as do the household of David under him. Then shall they look upon him whom they have pierced and they shall mourn for him. They pierced the elohim sent to them and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only son. There was not going to be another sent to the world. He was of the line of David through Nathan (Mariam’s lineage in Lk. 3) and Levi through Shimei (which was another line seemingly of Mariam and Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, through their common grandparents).

 

John 19:28-37 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. 31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced. (KJV)

Thus, he was pierced and he gave up the Holy Spirit. It was at the ninth hour or 3 p.m. when the lambs were to be killed. Darkness covered the Earth at this time, from noon or the sixth hour to the ninth hour (Mat. 27:45; Mk. 15:43).

 

Matthew 27:39-54  And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, 40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. 41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. 43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. 44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. 45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias. 48 And straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. 49 The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him. 50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. 51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. (KJV)

This text gives the time sequences involved for the activities in John and makes some other comments. We see from the text that when the Holy Spirit was yielded up and Christ died, the Temple veil was torn in two. Here we see the true purpose of the crucifixion demonstrated physically. Until this time, only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies, and then only once a year and only with blood, which pointed towards Christ as Messiah and his death at this very point. When Messiah died he opened up the way into the Holy of Holies for us so that we may go boldly before the Throne of grace and make intercession for others, as Christ made intercession for us. We do this until we ourselves are poured out as a drink offering to the Lord. The resurrection that occurred involving all these saints was of the same order as Lazarus, which was resurrection to physical life. They did not, as some Adventists claim, ascend into Heaven.

 

After this, he was taken down from the stake and buried, as the Holy Days were about to begin.

John 19:38-42 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave. He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus. 39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand. (KJV)

 

He was the Lamb, and he was placed in the tomb where he would remain for three days and three nights, from the beginning of 15 Nisan at 6 p.m. on Wednesday in that year of 30 CE until 6 p.m. on Saturday evening (being the end of 17 Nisan), in preparation to ascend into Heaven at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning as the Wave-Sheaf Offering.

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