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"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)

 

Mar 19, 2019

In this episode Brother Jonathan talks about the death of Christ.

 

Remnant Bible Fellowship

S3EP7

The Death of Christ

 

  1. Introduction
    1. I was having a hard time deciding what to do in this episode because this topic can get quite deep theologically. I have already done two episodes on the atonement of Christ which covered quite a lot of stuff so I didn’t want to rehash all of that again. Our focus in this series is on basic doctrine. So I’m only going focus on basic things regarding the death of Christ. We’re going to have to repeat some things though. After praying, I remembered the early creed in 1 Corinthians 15 and settled on what Paul emphasizes about Christ’s death.
    2. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.” (1Cor. 15:3-6)
    3. That’s the key to understanding Christ’s death. It was according to the scriptures. I’m going to talk about some things, and hopefully there will be a clear through-line.
  2. Spotless Lamb
    1. When Christ’s earthly ministry was about to begin, John the Baptist pointed him out:
      1. “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)
    2. This is a reference to the paschal [Passover] lamb. We read about it in Exodus when God first instructs Moses about Passover before they were sent out of Egypt by Pharaoh:
      1. “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: 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.” (Exo. 12:5-6)
    3. Christ is later referred to as our Passover lamb:
      1. “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:” (1Cor. 5:7)
    4. Isaiah had even referred to the Messiah as a lamb being led to the slaughter:
      1. “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.” (Isa. 53:7)
    5. The point of the Passover lamb later was to make atonement for the congregation of Israel. In the first Passover in Egypt though it was the blood of the lamb that was looked upon by God to spare them from judgment.
      1. “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.” (Exo. 12:13)
    6. There is actually a lot of prophetic foreshadowing here of the Messiah. This type of old testament foreshadowing is referred to as a “type” from the Greek word “tupos” meaning “an archetype serving as a model, type, pattern, model”. Egypt actually pictures the world, and as judgment is coming upon the world God has appointed a way to escape that judgment. When the blood of a spotless lamb was placed over their doorways God would see the blood and spare those in the house. Even so, when the blood of Christ is applied to us God spares us the judgment that is coming on the entire world. There are many aspects of Christ that are typified – prophetically pictured by a pattern – in the Old Testament.
    7. God had appointed blood to be that which atones for sin.
      1. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” (Lev. 17:11)
      2. “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” (Heb. 9:22)
    8. Even so, Christ’s blood was that which was shed for us.
      1. “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.” (1Pet. 1:17-21)
      2. “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Rev. 1:5-6)
  • “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” (Eph. 1:7)
  1. You see a principle throughout the scriptures that those who live wickedly will have their own blood shed as a way for God to execute judgment on them.
    1. “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” (Gen. 9:6)
    2. “And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.” (Lev. 24:17)
  • “He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.” (Exo. 21:12)
  1. “Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction [ransom] for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death: but he shall be surely put to death. And ye shall take no satisfaction for him that is fled to the city of his refuge, that he should come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the priest. So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.” (Num. 35:31-33)
    1. This passage is instructing the Israelites under the old covenant that there was no sacrifice or payment that could be made to save certain criminals from their punishment of death. They had to pay for it with their own life. King David actually refers to this in Psalm 51 when he is repenting for his sin of murdering Uriah and committing adultery with his wife Bathsheba:
      1. “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.” (Psa. 51:16)
    2. Now, there is a big difference between the Old Covenant Law of Moses and the New Covenant in Christ’s blood. Now there is grace and mercy which were pictured in the OT – David goes on to say that the sacrifices of God are a broken and a contrite heart, and God forgives David of his sin – but the pattern of what is required for sin is still there:
      1. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23)
    3. The true underlying principle as laid out by God is that all men have sinned against Him and have broken His law and therefore all of us pay for it with our lives, and after that the judgment where there will be meted out eternal punishment.
      1. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Rom. 5:12)
      2. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Heb. 9:27)
    4. The key to understanding the pattern of sacrifice for sin as laid out in the Old Testament by God is the idea of substitution. God ordained that a substitutionary sacrifice could be offered in one’s place. Under the Old Covenant it was animal sacrifices. But these had a problem in that they couldn’t change man’s heart to stop sinning.
      1. “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” (Heb. 10:4)
    5. So, in order for God to accomplish what He desired – a full restoration and reconciliation of mankind to Himself – not only must the sacrifice be effective to pardon but also to change and make new the heart of man.
      1. “But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” (Heb. 9:11-15)
    6. Christ’s death was a new, and effective, sacrifice that made possible not only our reconciliation to God the Father, but also was made a way to change our hearts and desires to serve God.
      1. “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” (2Cor. 5:14-15)
      2. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)
  • “For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” (Heb. 8:7-12)
  1. The Old Testament pictures were only a shadow of what was to come. They were foreshadowing what God was going to do so that when the realization of them came, and happened, the Jews would be able to look back and see that it was what God was planning. That’s the way Biblical prophecy works. There are patterns throughout the Law, the writings, and prophets, which have a future ultimate fulfillment. Christ’s death is the ultimate fulfillment of the entire Levitical sacrificial system.
    1. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Rom. 10:4)
    2. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal. 3:24)
  • “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.” (1Pet. 1:10-12)
  1. Christ accomplished everything to pay for our sins, and to reconcile us to God.
    1. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom. 5:1-2)
    2. “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Rom. 5:9)
  • “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” (Eph. 2:13)
  • So in all of these ways, Christ saved us in what He accomplished in His death:
    1. He was the spotless lamb, the one appointed before the world began to be a sinless sacrifice.
    2. He is our trespass offering, sin offering, and whole burnt offering.
    3. He is our wisdom, our righteousness, our sanctification, and our redemption.
    4. He is our prophet, High Priest, and King.
    5. He accomplished everything to pay for our transgressions, reconcile us to God, and enable us to walk with God from this day forward.
  1. Old Testament Prophecies Regarding Christ’s Death
    1. He was to be scourged and spat on.
      1. “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” (Isa. 50:6)
      2. “Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,” (Mat. 26:67)
  • “Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.” (Mat. 27:26)
  1. He was to be reckoned among wicked men in his death.
    1. “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.” (Isa. 53:12)
    2. “Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.” (Mat. 27:38)
  2. He was to be given vinegar to drink.
    1. “They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” (Psa. 69:21)
  3. His hands and feet were to be pierced.
    1. “For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.” (Psa. 22:16)
    2. “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.” (Zech. 12:10)
  • “And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.” (Mark 15:25)
  1. “The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.” (John 20:25-27)
  1. His garments were to be parted in his death.
    1. “They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.” (Psa. 22:18)
    2. “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” (Luke 23:34)
  • “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. 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.” (John 19:23-24)
  1. He was to be surrounded and ridiculed by His enemies.
    1. “All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.” (Psa. 22:7-8)
    2. “And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, 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. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, 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. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.” (Mat. 27:39-44)
  2. Not one of his bones would be broken.
    1. “In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.” (Exo. 12:46)
    2. “They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it.” (Num. 9:12)
  • “He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken.” (Psa. 34:20)
  1. “But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.” (John 19:33-36)
  1. He would be looked at and stared at in death.
    1. “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.” (Zech. 12:10)
    2. “And sitting down they watched him there;” (Mat. 27:36)
  • “And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.” (John 19:37)
  1. He would be buried with the rich.
    1. “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.” (Isa. 53:9)
    2. “When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.” (Mat. 27:57-60)
  2. He was crucified.
    1. Jesus of Nazareth was crucified.
    2. Death by crucifixion gives an extremely low survival rate. Most who argue that Jesus could have survived crucifixion are ignorant as to what it medically entailed. When
      Josephus came to Jerusalem after Rome was sacked by Titus, he saw three of his friends crucified but still alive. He asked Titus, who was acquainted with him, to let them go. Even though Titus conceded in letting his friends down two of them still died from their wounds. This is the only ancient source recording any one ever surviving crucifixion. Also, there is no ancient evidence that Jesus was let down from the cross before dying.
    3. Let’s not forget also that Jesus was scourged first before being led to be crucified. This scourging, as related in The Martyrdom of Polycarp, reported some who were so torn by whips that their veins and arteries became visible. Josephus tells of a man who, just prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, was whipped to the bone by one of Pilate’s successors. Some were reportedly whipped to the extent that their intestines were exposed. Truly, it was a miracle that Jesus survived long enough to even be crucified.
    4. Historically, Michael Licona said: “In summary, the historical evidence is very strong that Jesus died by crucifixion. The event is multiply attested by a number of ancient sources, some of which are non-Christian and thus not biased toward a Christian interpretation of events. They appear in multiple literary forms, being found in annals, historiography, biography, letters, and tradition in the form of creeds, oral formulas, and hymns. Some of the reports are very early and can reasonably be traced to the Jerusalem apostles. The Passion Narratives appear credible, since they fulfill the criterion of embarrassment and contain numerous plausible details. Finally, the probability of surviving crucifixion was very low.”[i]
    5. It is no wonder then that the rather skeptical scholar Paula Fredriksen said, “The single most solid fact about Jesus’ life is his death: he was executed by the Roman prefect Pilate, on or around Passover, in the manner Rome reserved particularly for political insurrectionists, namely, crucifixion.”[ii]
  3. Closing
    1. Hopefully, you learned something about the death of Christ. I know, for some of us, there was nothing really new in this episode. For some new or younger Christians though, a lot of this may have been new.
    2. Lord willing, next time we’re going to talk about the resurrection of Christ. I’ve already done an apologetics episode defending the resurrection of Christ. I even put a snippet from that episode in this episode, but I don’t want to do a super in-depth look at the resurrection again. So, we’re going to try to bring it down to the basics.

[i] Licona (2010) p. 312

[ii] Fredriksen, P. Jesus of Nazareth: King of the Jews. New York: Vintage, 1999: 8.