HOW DID ISRAEL MANIPULATE MOSES TO MURDER MESSIAH?
by Shawn Brasseaux
In chapter 3 of Acts, the Apostle Peter preached to unsaved Israel: “ The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.  But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;  And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.  And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.  And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.  But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.”
Focus on verse 17: “And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.” How could Israel have been so blind in rejecting Jesus as Messiah, the God-Man who fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies? Simple. It was willful ignorance (like the millions today who still reject Him). They do not want to know the truth. Ignorance is bliss—they are happy exactly where they are spiritually. You could share verses with them until you were hoarse, and you would get nowhere with them.
Deuteronomy chapter 13 explains how Israel rejected Jesus as Messiah: “ If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,  And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;  Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.  Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.  And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.
“ If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;  Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;  Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:  But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.  And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.  And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.”
When Israel’s religious leaders saw Jesus performing miracles (verses 1-5), and all His followers worshipping Him (verses 6-11), they used Moses (quoted above) to justify killing Jesus and His disciples. Jesus was seen as a fraud, a blasphemer. Their deluded, unbelieving hearts could not see that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Law! Interestingly, yet future, the Antichrist will use Deuteronomy 13:1-11 to justify his killing of believing Jews. Indeed, if not handled properly, the Bible can be a dangerous book! Ironically, unbelieving Israel applied this death penalty to the true Messiah, Jesus the Lord. Viewing Him as a deceiver and blasphemer, they had no problem killing Him at Calvary. But, that is not the end of their spiritual insanity!
When the Antichrist, the false Christ, comes yet future (John 5:43), Israel will accept him as true (when Moses above was really telling Israel to kill him!). If not believed as a whole, the Bible can be a dangerous book! We must never rip verses from their context! In his farewell epistle, the Apostle Peter mentioned people who “wrest” the Scriptures (2 Peter 3:15-16): they distort the meaning or interpretation of Bible verses so the verses seem to support to their opinions or views (“private interpretations;” 2 Peter 1:20). However, the Bible has been turned into a lie at this point. Before you think about Christendom’s excessive mishandling of the Holy Bible to create thousands upon thousands upon thousands of denominations, remember that the Scriptures were often largely misused long before Christianity.
Again, consider how the nation Israel (mis)handled Deuteronomy 13:1-11. They chose to use those few verses to condemn and kill Jesus Christ, all the while ignoring over 300 Old Testament prophecies that justified and validated Him as their God manifest in the flesh! Aptly, Jesus said that they did not believe Moses. Had they believed Moses they would have believed Jesus because Moses wrote about Jesus (John 5:39-47)—animals killed to clothe Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark as salvation from divine punishment, Abraham offering his only begotten son Isaac, Joseph’s betrayal by his brethren, the Passover lamb killed to ward off the death angel, and the whole law system (priesthood, sacrifices, tabernacle, holy vessels, feast days, et cetera), all depicted the Lord Jesus in some way. Israel ignored the fact that Jesus arrived exactly when Daniel predicted Messiah would be born (9:24-26), disregarded Micah’s prediction about Messiah’s birthplace (5:2), and ignored Isaiah when he described Messiah’s ministry, message, and miracles (35:3-6; 53:4; 61:1-2). On and on we could go, but these must suffice.
Who was leading Israel’s rebellion against the Lord Jesus? Saul of Tarsus! First Timothy 1:13 is the Apostle Paul’s reflection on his early years, when he served in the Devil’s ministry: “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I did it ignorantly in unbelief” (cf. Acts 3:17). What grace and love God poured out on Saul (verse 14), when he deserved God’s wrath poured out on him! Yes, Saul had led Israel in manipulating Moses to murder Messiah, but to him, God’s goodness gave great grace!
Israel knew they were killing the Lord Jesus. It was great spiritual insanity. When God opened our Dispensation of Grace in Acts chapter 9, a twofold benefit arose. Firstly, the Gentiles whom God had consigned to Satan could now be saved by Jesus’ finished crosswork. Secondly, the Jews who were still in unbelief—the very ones who deliberately killed Jesus Christ—could also be saved by simple faith in Calvary’s crosswork. Saul of Tarsus was in the latter group. Upon meeting the ascended Lord outside Damascus, Saul realized and trusted Jesus Christ’s righteousness and he forgot all about his foolishness in works-religion. God certainly came back in Acts chapter 9, not to pour out His wrath, but to pour out His grace and start the Church the Body of Christ! The leader of the world’s rebellion against Jesus Christ, Saul, the one who mercilessly imprisoned and slaughtered God’s Messianic Jews, Saul, was now saved unto eternal life.
Decades later, Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 1:15-16: “ This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.  Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.” If God saved such a rebel as Saul of Tarsus, a wicked and bloodthirsty theologian, there is no person “too far gone” in unbelief and sin, whom God cannot save in a literal heartbeat today. “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5:20). For nearly 2,000 years, God has offered salvation freely to all, Jew and Gentile alike, by His grace through simple faith in Jesus Christ’s shed blood for our sins, death, burial, and resurrection. The Gospel of the Grace of God, the heart of the Dispensation of the Grace of God, is the only way we can approach Almighty God today!
» “But what if they read the Bible at my church…?!”
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» How could Jesus say His killers knew not what they were doing?
» Who was more responsible for Jesus’ death—the Jews or the Romans?