Category Archives: JUST ASKING / CURIOUS QUESTIONS

What is “cleanness of teeth” in Amos 4:6?

WHAT IS “CLEANNESS OF TEETH” IN AMOS 4:6?

by Shawn Brasseaux

What could “cleanness of teeth” possibly denote in Amos 4:6? “And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.”

One clue is the phrase “want of bread”—that is, famine or lack of food. Clean teeth here is therefore not suggestive of proper dental hygiene! It is a euphemism for hunger or starvation. Consumption of food obviously soils the teeth, so having cleanness of teeth indicates the person has not been eating. The LORD God has brought famine upon Israel for her persistent disobedience (pagan idolatry), so the food shortage has rendered the Jewish people’s teeth clean. All of chapter 4 of Amos should be read, noting Israel’s habitual sins (verses 1-5) and the punishments incurred (verses 6-12).

“[1] Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink. [2] The Lord GOD hath sworn by his holiness, that, lo, the days shall come upon you, that he will take you away with hooks, and your posterity with fishhooks. [3] And ye shall go out at the breaches, every cow at that which is before her; and ye shall cast them into the palace, saith the LORD. [4] Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: [5] And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

“[6] And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. [7] And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. [8] So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. [9] I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

“[10] I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. [11] I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. [12] Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. [13] For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.”

As touching the “cleanness of teeth,” hunger and famine were some of the curses for failing to obey the Law of Moses. Read Leviticus chapter 26: “[18] And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. [19] And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: [20] And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.”

Also, Deuteronomy chapter 28: “[15] But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: [16] Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. [17] Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. [18] Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. [19] Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out….

“[38] Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. [39] Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. [40] Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit. [41] Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity. [42] All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.

Re-read Amos 4:6-12. God has harshly judged wicked Israel, but she has not reformed. The discipline has not led her back to the LORD; she simply continues her sinful habits, worshipping and serving pagan idols. She refuses correction. Verse 12 thus looks forward to Christ’s Second Coming, when the ultimate wrath falls to cleanse the Earth of all idolaters! “Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.”

Also see:
» Why do Amos 4:4 and Amos 5:5 give opposite commands?
» Do Hosea 11:12 and Hosea 12:2 contradict?
» Why did Israel have to keep so many strange laws?

What is the “bound” of Hosea 5:10?

WHAT IS THE “BOUND” OF HOSEA 5:10?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Hosea 5:10 relays to us: “The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water.” What is this “bound?” Some other verses help shed light:

  • Deuteronomy 19:14: “Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour’s landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.”
  • Deuteronomy 27:17: “Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour’s landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen.”
  • Job 24:2: “Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.”
  • Proverbs 22:28: “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”
  • Proverbs 23:10: “Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:….”

The “bound” or “landmark” is a property boundary marker. Such objects were important under the Law of Moses, for Israel’s land was divided amongst 12 tribes, and inheritances in that land were of utmost significance. See the Books of Deuteronomy and Joshua for the physical boundaries of these tribes.

In Acts chapter 17, the Apostle Paul spoke of national “bounds,” boundaries or borders of nations God designed in Genesis chapters 9–11 to limit the spread of Satan’s policy of evil. (For more information, see our related study linked at the end of this article.) Read from chapter 17 of Acts: “[23] For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. [24] God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; [25] Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; [26] And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; [27] That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: [28] For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”

As touching Hosea 5:10, the leaders of the Southern Kingdom (Judah) were greedy, materialistic, and dishonest—likened unto property thieves. The LORD commented on their misbehavior: “Therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water!” (He did just that with the Babylonian Captivity, when Judah lost all their physical possessions to the pillaging Gentiles!)

Also see:
» Is it “un-Christian” for a country to have border walls?
» Do Hosea 11:12 and Hosea 12:2 contradict?
» Did Hosea 1:10 and Hosea 2:23 predict the Body of Christ?

What is “the matrix” in the King James Bible?

WHAT IS “THE MATRIX” IN THE KING JAMES BIBLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Authorized Version features the word on five occasions:

  • Exodus 13:12: “That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD’S.”
  • Exodus 13:15: “And it came to pass, when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, that the Lord slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast: therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all that openeth the matrix, being males; but all the firstborn of my children I redeem.”
  • Exodus 34:19: “All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male.”
  • Numbers 3:12: “And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine;….”
  • Numbers 18:15: “Every thing that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the LORD, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem.”

Using context clues in the above verses, we can at least discern “matrix” is connected to someone or something being born. More specifically, the Hebrew word is “rehem,” translated “womb” some 21 times (Genesis 20:18; Genesis 29:31; Genesis 30:22; Exodus 13:2; Numbers 8:16; Numbers 12:12; 1 Samuel 1:5-6; Job 3:11; Job 10:18; Job 24:20; Job 31:15 [x2]; Job 38:8; Psalm 22:10; Psalm 58:3; Psalm 110:3; Jeremiah 1:5; Jeremiah 20:17-18; Hosea 9:14).

“Matrix” is used in a medical sense even today to refer to “something (as a surrounding or pervading substance or element) within which something else originates or takes form or develops.” The womb or uterus is the place in the mother’s body where the offspring grows prior to birth, and “matrix” is an apt description. In fact, the word is derived from the Latin, and originally denoted female animals used for breeding in ancient Rome.

Also see:
» What does “Born of water and of the Spirit” mean?
» What does the Bible say about motherhood?
» What is the real Immaculate Conception?

» What does the Bible mean, “Jesus Christ came by water and blood?”

Did the disciples go to the wrong tomb on Resurrection Sunday?

DID THE DISCIPLES GO TO THE WRONG TOMB ON RESURRECTION SUNDAY?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Skeptics argue the “resurrection” of Christ was merely a case of mistaken identity. Allegedly, the disciples went to the wrong tomb. Had they kept looking, they would have found Jesus still dead in His actual grave nearby! If true, this serious accusation would surely shake and destroy the foundations of Christianity. Yet, is there any evidence in Scripture to indicate the disciples went to the wrong tomb? No, on the contrary, it was impossible for them not arrive at the right gravesite!

1. THE WOMEN

Our first line of evidence that the disciples were not mistaken concerning the grave involves Mary Magdalene and Mary mother of James the less and Joses. These women witnessed Jesus’ entombment. Consequently, they knew which vault was His when they returned just a few days later.

Matthew 27:57-61: “[57] When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: [58] He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. [59] And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, [60] 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. [61] And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre.

Mark 15:43-47: “[43] Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. [44] And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. [45] And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. [46] And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. [47] And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.

Luke 23:50-56: “[50] And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: [51] (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them; ) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Jews: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. [52] This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. [53] And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. [54] And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. [55] And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. [56] And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.”

In fact, Luke 23:55 indicates other women besides Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were present at Christ’s burial. They would be the ladies referenced in Luke 8:2-3, Luke 23:27-28, and Luke 23:49. Here, the point is simple: they would have surely remembered the precise location of Christ’s tomb when visiting it three days later. They knew exactly where to come on Resurrection Sunday!

“In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre” (Matthew 28:1). “And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him” (Mark 16:1). “Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them” (Luke 24:1—the women of 23:55-56).

2. THE ANGELS

Here is our second line of evidence: At least two angels were present in the tomb when the women reached it, but neither angelic being corrected the women. After all, now would have been an appropriate time for the “messengers of God” to correct any misunderstandings or confusion. “Hey, you women are in the wrong tomb! Jesus’ corpse is still in the chamber next-door!” Instead, the women learned they were in the right tomb—and Jesus was alive and had vacated it in victorious resurrection just prior to their arrival!

Matthew 28:5-7: “[5] And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. [6] He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. [7] And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”

Mark 16:5-6: “[5] And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. [6] And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.”

Luke 24:3-7: “[3] And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: [5] And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? [6] He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, [7] Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”

3. THE PRIESTS

Our third and final piece of evidence is found among the Levitical priests. In light of His resurrection, the Sadducees (priests) were the bitterest enemies of Christ. After all, Sadducees did not believe in resurrection (Matthew 22:23; Mark 12:18; Luke 20:27; Acts 23:8). How many “precious church members” had they lost when Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Matthew 9:23-26; Mark 35-43), the son of the widow of Nain from the dead (Luke 7:11-18), and Lazarus from the dead (John 11:30-44)?

John 11:42-48 relates their “predicament:” “[42] And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. [43] And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. [44] And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. [45] Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. [46] But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. [47] Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. [48] If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.

John 12:9-11: “[9] Much people of the Jews therefore knew that he was there: and they came not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead. [10] But the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; [11] Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus.

When attempting to discredit the resurrection of Christ, the unbelieving Jewish priests did not argue, “Just tell everyone Jesus’ disciples went to the wrong tomb!” Furthermore, His critics never produced a body, and that would have been quite easy to do if that were the case. Matthew 28:11-14 reveals their course of action: “[11] Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. [12] And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, [13] Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. [14] And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.” Instead of asserting, “Jesus’ disciples went to the wrong tomb,” it was, “They stole His body!” Even the Lord’s critics understood the disciples looked in the correct grave.

CONCLUSION

To deny Jesus Christ’s (miraculous) resurrection, skeptics contend the “empty tomb” was due to His disciples arriving at the wrong crypt. This is quite clever, but flimsy. Nothing in Roman history even suggests the authorities used this “wrong sepulcher” argument—that is because it is no argument at all! Additionally, the women were aware of the burial site, having witnessed the entombment just a few days prior. Also, the angels in the tomb confirmed these women had come to the right place, and that Christ was risen again and had left that grave. Finally, the Sadducees in no way appealed to the “wrong grave” defense when trying to discourage Jews from converting to Christ post-resurrection. Nothing in the Bible suggests it was the wrong grave. In fact, the exact opposite is affirmed: Jesus Christ had indeed conquered death through His glorious bodily resurrection!

“[1] Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; [2] By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. [3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:…. [12] Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? [13] But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: [14] And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. [15] Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. [16] For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: [17] And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. [18] Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. [19] If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. [20] But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept (1 Corinthians 15:1-4,12-20).

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A s for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/s-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Was Jesus Christ really crucified on Friday?
» Where was Jesus during the three days between His death and resurrection?
» How was Jesus Christ “raised again?” Why “again?”
» Why does “revived” appear in Romans 14:9?
» “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable?”

What does “by and by” mean?

WHAT DOES “BY AND BY” MEAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The idiomatic phrase is found four times in the Authorized Version:

  • Matthew 13:21: “Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.”
  • Mark 6:25: “And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist.”
  • Luke 17:7: “But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat?”
  • Luke 21:9: “But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.”

One rewarding way to define King James Bible words is to search for and study parallel passages. For example, the cross-reference to Matthew 13:21 (above) is Mark 4:17: “And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.” Based on this verse, what do you suppose “by and by” would mean in Matthew 13:21? Obviously, the expression is interchangeable with “immediately.”

As for Luke 21:9, its companion is Matthew 24:6: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Whereas Luke has “by and by,” Matthew reads “yet.” Therefore, to be “not by and by” is to be “not yet,” and both would be “not as soon as the present.” A delay or pause is implied here.

Here is the Bible student’s approach: we study the Bible and look for answers as we think about what we are reading. The lazy man’s approach, however, is to whine and complain about “difficult and archaic words.” No thinking whatsoever is required in the latter case, which makes it all the more popular and all the more profitless as well.

Also see:
» What is “leasing” in the King James Bible?
» What is a “charger?”
» Is “corn” a mistake in the King James Bible?
» Is the King James word “borrow” a mistranslation in Exodus 3:22?
» What does “untoward” mean?

Why does the LORD make a covenant with animals?

WHY DOES THE LORD MAKE A COVENANT WITH ANIMALS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

We read an enigmatic promise in Hosea 2:18: “And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.” Exactly why would God want to make an agreement with animals? (Hint: It is for Israel’s benefit!)

According to the Law of Moses (Old Covenant), a series of five rounds of judgments or chastisements would come upon the Jewish people for their disobedience to the LORD. See Leviticus chapter 26 and Deuteronomy chapter 28. The context of Hosea chapter 2 is Israel’s restoration and redemption from those curses or judgments of the Old Covenant, and her enjoyment of the New Covenant at Christ’s Second Coming. Israel is delivered, brought back into the Promised Land, from which the LORD had scattered her idolatrous ancestors several centuries before Christ (the fifth course of judgment, Leviticus 26:27-46).

The third course of chastisement was outlined in Leviticus 26:21-22: “[21] And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins. [22] I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number; and your high ways shall be desolate.As a punishment for their sinfulness, God promised to turn the wild animal kingdom loose on Israel, that these creatures attack and eat them and their livestock! This phase of judgment was instituted during the ministry of the Prophet Elisha.

Turn to 2 Kings 2:23-25, over 800 years before Christ: “[23] And he [the Prophet Elisha] went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. [24] And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them. [25] And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.” These “children”—as in teenagers—were ridiculing God’s prophet or spokesman. In other words, Israel has taught her younger generations to laugh at the LORD’S preacher. Consequently, the third course of judgment began, and two female bears slaughtered these kids to prove it!

As touching the fourth seal judgment of Daniel’s 70th Week, yet future from us, we see this third course of chastisement resuming. Revelation chapter 6: “[7] And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. [8] And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” These creatures will take the lives of idolaters, those followers of the Antichrist. Consequently, Israel’s Little Flock (believing remnant) will be endued with supernatural power over the animal kingdom, that the fauna not hurt them. As the Lord promised His disciples in believing Israel, “They shall take up serpents” (Mark 16:18). For more information, see our snake-handling article linked below.

In the case of Hosea chapter 2, the curses of the Old Covenant are lifted and the blessings of the New Covenant are introduced. Reread the verse with which we opened: “And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.” In Christ’s Millennial Reign, Israel will be at peace. No Gentile armies will be attacking her in the Promised Land, as with the first course of chastisement (Leviticus 26:14-17). Also, no Gentile nations will be deporting her from the Promised Land via war, as in the fifth course of judgment (Leviticus 26:27-39). Moreover, the animal kingdom will not assault her people anymore, as in the third course of chastisement (Leviticus 26:21-22).

The Prophet Ezekiel foretold of Israel’s restoration under the New Covenant in chapters 34 and 36. (Look at Ezekiel 36:25-27; cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34, Hebrews 8:8-13, and Hebrews 10:1-39.) Read from chapter 34, noting especially verses 25 and 28: “[23] And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. [24] And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it. [25] And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. [26] And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. [27] And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. [28] And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid. [29] And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. [30] Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD. [31] And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.”

Israel’s enemies—both man and beast—are now at peace with them because the LORD is now at peace with them!

Also see:
» What about snake-handling?
» Who will be Israel’s King in the Millennium—Jesus Christ or David?
» Can you explain 2 Kings 2:23-25?

What was wrong with Moses’ speech?

WHAT WAS WRONG WITH MOSES’ SPEECH?

by Shawn Brasseaux

When the LORD God met with Moses in the burning bush, informing him that He had chosen him to deliver His people Israel from Egyptian bondage, Moses voiced his objections in the form of lame excuses.

The Bible relates the matter in Exodus 4:10-12: “[10] And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. [11] And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? [12] Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” How was Moses “slow of speech, and of a slow tongue?” In chapter 6, we find parallel thoughts: “[12] And Moses spake before the LORD, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips?… [30] And Moses said before the LORD, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?” How was Moses “of uncircumcised lips?”

To answer these questions, let us examine Moses’ early life. At that time, another Pharaoh was slaughtering—drowning—Hebrew male newborn babies so as to counter the Jews’ population explosion in Egypt (Exodus 1:15-22). It was during this time that Moses was born. His mother hid him for a mere three months, ultimately being forced to send him away via a basket floating in the river (Exodus 2:1ff.). Moses’ older sister Miriam witnessed Pharaoh’s daughter discovering him, and Miriam conspired and convinced Pharaoh’s daughter to let her find a Hebrew woman to nurse him. Moses was briefly returned to his mother. When older, he came back to become the foster son of Pharaoh’s daughter.

Moses writes about himself in Exodus chapter 2: “[10] And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh’s daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water. [11] And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. [12] And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. [13] And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? [14] And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known. [15] Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.”

The Holy Spirit through Stephen provides additional commentary over a millennium later, in Acts chapter 7: “[22] And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds. [23] And when he was full forty years old, it came into his heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel. [24] And seeing one of them suffer wrong, he defended him, and avenged him that was oppressed, and smote the Egyptian: [25] For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them: but they understood not. [26] And the next day he shewed himself unto them as they strove, and would have set them at one again, saying, Sirs, ye are brethren; why do ye wrong one to another? [27] But he that did his neighbour wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us? [28] Wilt thou kill me, as thou diddest the Egyptian yesterday?

“[29] Then fled Moses at this saying, and was a stranger in the land of Madian, where he begat two sons. [30] And when forty years were expired, there appeared to him in the wilderness of mount Sina an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush. [31] When Moses saw it, he wondered at the sight: and as he drew near to behold it, the voice of the Lord came unto him, [32] Saying, I am the God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Then Moses trembled, and durst not behold. [33] Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground. [34] I have seen, I have seen the affliction of my people which is in Egypt, and I have heard their groaning, and am come down to deliver them. And now come, I will send thee into Egypt.”

Stephen provides us with a calendar. Firstly, Moses was 40 years old when he fled Egypt (verse 23). That is, he spent his first four decades of life among the “sophisticated” Egyptians. Although Jewish by blood, his connection to Pharaoh’s daughter afforded him an Egyptian’s schooling. Moses was an educated man, as Acts 7:22 already told us: “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and in deeds.” The Egyptians were advanced for their time: Moses studied science, mathematics, religion, the arts (music, architecture, and so on), world history, et cetera. At age 40, Moses departed Egypt to live in Midian.

Secondly, Stephen reveals it was 40 years after his leaving Egypt that Moses met the LORD in the burning bush (verse 30). In other words, Moses is now 80 years old. What has he been doing for the last four decades? Exodus 3:1 gives us a clue: “Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.” Working as a stinky shepherd “out in the middle of nowhere” is quite different from his previous socializing with the “cultured, intellectual” Egyptians! (Centuries prior, Joseph had attempted to spare his family, father Jacob and kin, from a similar shame. Genesis 46:33-34: “And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation? That ye shall say, Thy servants’ trade hath been about cattle from our youth even until now, both we, and also our fathers: that ye may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians.”)

Re-read Exodus 4:10-12: “[10] And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. [11] And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? [12] Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.” Also, chapter 6: “[12] And Moses spake before the LORD, saying, Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, who am of uncircumcised lips?… [30] And Moses said before the LORD, Behold, I am of uncircumcised lips, and how shall Pharaoh hearken unto me?” How was Moses “of uncircumcised lips?”

Considering all that has been presented, we can see why Moses would be embarrassed to appear before an Egyptian pharaoh. Moses complained to the LORD that Pharaoh would not be interested in hearing from an “uneducated,” repulsive shepherd; thus, the LORD should not send him as His spokesman to the Egyptian monarch. Now, let us make some clarifications. It was not that Moses had a physical speech impediment or mental illness—as in lisps and other speech defects. Rather than a literal disability, the description is metaphorical. Moses was intimidated or nervous. Having left “glorious” Egypt long ago, he was now a “nobody.” Pharaoh would surely detect him as a non-Egyptian and a lowly shepherd.

Moses’ lips were “uncircumcised” in that—like the male reproductive organ still having the foreskin—they were thickened, elongated, blocked. Again, there was nothing physically wrong with Moses’ mouth, lips, or brain. This is figurative. His chief weakness was unbelief/fear. Instead of worrying about any potential limitations or stigmas he had, he should have relied on the LORD to compensate for and overcome them. This prompted the rebuke: “And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.”

Also, bear in mind Israel’s bondage to Egypt was a serious, complicated matter that had spanned centuries. Moses contended, “God, You want me to get involved in liberating Israel?! How can I possibly negotiate with mighty Pharaoh? Even You know the Egyptians vehemently hate shepherds! Also, my speech is not polished or fluent as it once was! I do not know what to say to persuade Pharaoh!” The LORD replied, “So what if you are a loser in Pharaoh’s eyes! You let Me take of any weaknesses and difficulties you have, Moses!” (And, as we know, the LORD did!!)

“Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:25-31).

Also see:
» What was wrong with Leah’s eyes?
» Why did God want to kill Moses in Exodus 4:24?
» Why could Moses not enter the Promised Land?

If they were fulfilling Bible prophecy, how are Christ’s murderers culpable of wrongdoing?

IF THEY WERE FULFILLING BIBLE PROPHECY, HOW ARE CHRIST’S MURDERERS CULPABLE OF WRONGDOING?

by Shawn Brasseaux

If the Old Testament prophecies about Calvary had to come to pass, how are the Lord Jesus Christ’s killers guilty of misconduct? In other words, was it not Father God’s will that He die anyway? Were His murderers actually killing Him in faith instead of unbelief? These are some fascinating questions, and we tackle them now!

Let us consider some passages about Christ’s sufferings being predicted in the Old Testament Scriptures.

“Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:…” (Acts 2:22-23). “But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled” (Acts 3:18).

Luke chapter 24: “[25] Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: [26] Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?… [44] And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. [45] Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, [46] And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:….”

Acts 13:27-29: “[27] For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. [28] And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. [29] And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.”

On the basis of these verses, some will argue the following: “Jesus’ killers were in no way guilty of wrongdoing. After all, the Law of Moses and the Psalms and the Prophets all needed to be fulfilled. Israel was simply following these verses by faith in order to bring prophecy to pass.” While the case seems weighty upon first glance, it is actually revealed to be defective. Go back to the above passages, and carefully examine them. The exact opposite is true. Israel killed Christ in unbelief. While Calvary was indeed a fulfillment of prophecy, Israel was in no way trying to cooperate with God.

Scripture refers to Israel as having “wicked hands” in her slaying of Messiah. Acts 2:22-23 again: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:….” Such was not the behavior of faith but rather unbelief/wickedness!

Let us re-read Acts 13:27-29: “[27] For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. [28] And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. [29] And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.” Christ’s killers were inadvertently or unintentionally fulfilling prophecy. Such unawareness could in no way be faith!

We consult Acts 3:17-18 now: “[17] And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. [18] But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.” Could the Bible be clearer? Calvary was the result of Israel’s ignorance of Messiah, not her faith in Him.

Israel did not kill Jesus in faith. Their goal was to get Him out of the way so they could continue doing what they wanted to do. Such is the very definition of sin—that is, ignoring the Creator God, being your own authority, doing what you want to do. Unbelief was their motivation in crucifying Christ.

Read from John chapter 11, paying special attention to verse 51: “[45] Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. [46] But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. [47] Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. [48] If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. [49] And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, [50] Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. [51] And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; [52] And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. [53] Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.” (Verse 51 suggests Caiaphas did not realize what he was endorsing in putting Jesus to death. God was using Caiaphas as a spokesman here, without Caiaphas’ consciousness.)

“Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him (Matthew 12:14). “And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him(Mark 3:6). Read the contexts of these verses. This was unbelief not faith.

Mark 11:15-18: “[15] And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; [16] And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. [17] And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. [18] And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.” Luke 19:45-47: “[45] And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; [46] Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. [47] And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,….”

“But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him” (Matthew 21:38-39). “But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard” (Mark 12:7-8). “But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?” (Luke 20:14-15). This Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen was Jesus’ illustration of His nation’s apostate religious leaders plotting to kill Him. Immediately upon hearing Him utter such words, they were convicted and outraged, finally conspiring to put Him to death! Such is unbelief not faith.

“And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet” (Matthew 21:45-46). “And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way” (Mark 12:12). “And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them. And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign [pretend] themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor” (Luke 20:19-20).

By the way, read Proverbs chapter 1, King Solomon writing about 1,000 years before Calvary. It describes Israel’s evil scheming to put Jesus on the cross, that He not reign over them: “[10] My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. [11] If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: [12] Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: [13] We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: [14] Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: [15] My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: [16] For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. [17] Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. [18] And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives. [19] So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.” (This corresponds to the Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen, Israel’s apostate religious leaders conspiring against Jesus.)

Even at Jesus’ trial, these apostates Jews lied about Him so as to fabricate charges worthy of death (Matthew 26:59-62; Mark 14:55-59). Again, they put Him to death in unbelief. They were in no way attempting to kill Him in faith and fulfill prophecy. Had they been operating in faith, during the final phase of His trial, they would have claimed Him as their King. In reality, they were in unbelief, and cried out they had no king but Caesar! John 19:14-16: “[14] And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he [Pontius Pilate] 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.”

CONCLUSION

Although they fulfilled prophecy in putting the Lord Jesus Christ to death, apostate Israel was not behaving so as to fulfill prophecy. They thought they were operating independently of God. Neither puppets or robots, they crucified the Son of God. So as to not have Him reign over them, so as to keep their nation and religion for themselves, they sentenced Him to suffer the worst mode of execution ever invented! If we claim God manipulated them—“God said it had to come to pass and thus made them do it”—then we charge God with wickedness. After all, they had “wicked hands” in crucifying and killing Christ (Acts 2:23). It was not faith but doubt. Calvary was not an accident but premeditated murder. Israel plotted to bring it about, having no idea their refusal to accept God’s Son would ultimately bring about His master plan: His finished crosswork at Calvary was in His wisdom all along! For more information, see our study about “propitiation” linked below.

Also see:
» Who was more responsible for Jesus’ death, the Jews or the Romans?
» What is a “propitiation?”
» How could Jesus say His killers knew not what they were doing?
» How do God’s foreknowledge and our free will work together?

» Why did Jesus offer Himself to Israel if He knew they would reject Him?

Who was more responsible for Jesus’ death, the Jews or the Romans?

WHO WAS MORE RESPONSIBLE FOR JESUS’ DEATH, THE JEWS OR THE ROMANS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Israel and the Romans were both liable for Jesus’ crucifixion, as per Psalm 2, King David writing about a millennium beforehand: “[1] Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? [2] The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, [3] Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” Just to be sure we are interpreting this correctly, we appeal to Acts 4:25-28: “[25] Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? [26] The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. [27] For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, [28] For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.”

“Heathen” are Gentiles, non-Jews, and they allied with the Jews (“the people”) against Jesus Christ. While they vehemently hated each other with a passion, they could agree in their rejection of God’s Son. Both Israel and Rome refused to have Him reign over them as universal King. Who was more responsible for Jesus’ death, the Jews or the Romans? If we look solely at these passages, it seems blame is equally divided between them. Yet, the Bible record contains other comments on the subject—and, as Berean Bible students, we should search the Scriptures to enhance our understanding here.

Although the Roman government—Judaean Governor Pontius Pilate representing it in Palestine—directly carried out Jesus’ death penalty itself, it was done so only due to Israel’s insistence. Pilate was determined to free Jesus, as he repeatedly pronounced His innocence (for example, see Matthew 27:23; Mark 15:14; Luke 23:4,14; John 18:38; and John 19:4,6). Yet, the Holy Spirit adds this salient fact: Israel, her apostate religious leaders encouraging her, demanded Pilate kill Christ anyway! The Jews compelled Pilate, going so far as to threaten him with blackmail. John 19:12 paraphrased: “We will report you to Roman Emperor Tiberius Caesar if you do not give us our way in putting ‘King’ Jesus to death!”

Luke 23:22-24: “[22] And he [Pilate] said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go. [23] And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed. [24] And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.”

Matthew 27:20-24: “[20] But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. [21] The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. [22] Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified. [23] And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified. [24] When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.”

Mark 15:8-15: “[8] And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. [9] But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? [10] For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. [11] But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. [12] And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? [13] And they cried out again, Crucify him. [14] Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him. [15] And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.

When we consider the sermons of early Acts, the underscoring is on Israel’s killing of Messiah as opposed to Rome’s guilt in the matter. Remember, this is the apostles and preachers speaking as the Holy Spirit gives them utterance.

The Apostle Peter to Israel in Acts 2:22-24,36: “[22] Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: [23] Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: [24] Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it…. [36] Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Peter to Israel in Acts 3:13-15: “[13] 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. [14] But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; [15] And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.”

Again, Peter in Acts 4:10: “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.”

The 12 Apostles to Israel’s apostate religious leaders in Acts 5:27-33: “[27] And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, [28] Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. [29] Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. [30] The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. [31] Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. [32] And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him. [33] When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.”

The Prophet Stephen to Israel’s apostate religious leaders in Acts 7:51-54: “[51] Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. [52] Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: [53] Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. [54] When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.” (As the succeeding verses testify, they killed Stephen!)

We recall the Apostle Paul’s sermon in Acts 13:27-29, spoken in the synagogue of Antioch of Pisidia: “[27] For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. [28] And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. [29] And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.”

THE FACTOR OF THE AMOUNT OF SPIRITUAL LIGHT REJECTED

In determining whether Israel or Rome was most responsible for Christ’s death, we need to bear in mind a prominent theme in Scripture. The amount of spiritual light rejected is one of the criteria God uses to judge sinners. For instance, read the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in Matthew 11:20-24: “[20] Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not: [21] Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. [22] But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. [23] And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. [24] But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.”

At the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15), the unbelieving Gentiles who did not have Christ ministering in their land will have a lesser penalty in the Lake of Fire than the unbelieving Jews who did have Christ preaching and performing miracles in their land. In the case of Christ’s rejection and crucifixion, who had the greater spiritual light? Was it the Jews or the Gentiles? The Hebrew Bible—God’s revelation—was given to Israel not the nations. If anyone should have seen Jesus as fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies contained therein, it should have been the Jews not the Romans. The Romans, like all other Gentiles, had been given over to Satan’s darkness at the Tower of Babel millennia earlier (see Romans 1:18-32; cf. Genesis chapter 11).

“What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Romans 3:1-2). “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 9:4-5).

“And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:15-17).

“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:24-31).

WHO WAS ISRAEL’S CHIEF RELIGIOUS LEADER?

Thus far, we have discovered that Israel was more responsible for Christ’s death than the Romans. Yet, we can pinpoint one particular person within Israel as leading her rebellion against Him. Read John 19:11: “Jesus answered [Pontius Pilate], 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.”

While someone would say this is Judas Iscariot, this does not seem to be the case. True, Judas delivered or betrayed Jesus to the Jewish religious leaders (Matthew 26:14-16,45-50; Matthew 27:3-4; Mark 14:10-11,41-46; Luke 22:1-6,47-48). However, it was the Jewish religious leaders who in turn betrayed Jesus to Roman Governor of Judaea, Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:1-2; Mark 15:1; Luke 23:1-5,13). “Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?” (John 18:35).

Who was the chief religious leader of Israel at the time? It was Caiaphas, the High Priest, the President of the Sanhedrin (Jewish Supreme Court). It was the Sanhedrin that condemned Jesus to death, but since the Jews were subject to Rome, they had to appeal to Roman Governor of Judaea, Pontius Pilate, to carry out the capital punishment of crucifixion.

We gather from chapter 11 of John: “[46] But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. [47] Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. [48] If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. [49] And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, [50] Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. [51] And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; [52] And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad. [53] Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.”

Also, we survey chapter 18 of John: “[28] 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.”

CONCLUSION

Seeing as to Israel had the revelation from the one true God—that is, the Hebrew Bible or our Old Testament Scriptures—the Jews are more accountable for Christ’s death than the Romans. Pagan Rome (Pilate) put Jesus to death, but only after Israel pressured him to do so. While some blame falls on Judas Iscariot the traitor, the chief spiritual leader in Israel was Caiaphas the High Priest. Caiaphas was president of the Sanhedrin, and it was the Sanhedrin that sentenced Christ to death and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate for final condemning and ultimate execution by crucifixion.

SUPPLEMENTAL: GOD SET CHRIST FORTH AS A PROPITIATION

While sinful man (Israel and Rome united) was working with the hope of permanently getting rid of Jesus by killing Him, they were in fact fulfilling what the triune Godhead had decreed long before creation: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:…” (Acts 2:22-23).

According to Romans 3:25, the Pauline revelation, what sinful man did in unbelief, was God allowing rebellious creatures to afford Him the opportunity to offer His only begotten Son as a fully satisfying payment or sacrifice for our sins: “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God….”

At this point, another important question arises, and we dare not ignore it. If they were fulfilling Bible prophecy, how could God fault Christ’s murderers at all? Were they not accomplishing His will? This is a very interesting inquiry, and we will consider it in the companion study linked below.

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A s for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/s-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» If they were fulfilling Bible prophecy, how are Christ’s murderers culpable of wrongdoing?
» What is a “propitiation?”
» How could Jesus say His killers knew not what they were doing?
» What are the “sins that are past” in Romans 3:25?
» Why did Jesus offer Himself to Israel if He knew they would reject Him?

Why was the Lord crucified between two thieves?

WHY WAS THE LORD CRUCIFIED BETWEEN TWO THIEVES?

by Shawn Brasseaux

All Four Gospel Records are clear the Lord Jesus was crucified between two men:

  • Matthew 27:38: “Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.”
  • Mark 15:27: “And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.”
  • Luke 23:33: “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.”
  • John 19:18: “Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.”

What is the importance of Him placed amidst two individuals, one on His right side and the other on His left? Roman officials likely did this so as to heap additional scorn upon Him. After all, in the Middle East, the left- and right-hand sides of the king’s throne were the most powerful positions under him. Thus, they were intensely coveted in any and every kingdom. As an illustration, remember Apostles James and John—with their mother’s insistence—begged to sit on Jesus’ left and right hands in His kingdom.

Matthew chapter 20: “[20] Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. [21] And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom…. [23] And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.”


Mark chapter 10: “[35] And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. [36] And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? [37] They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory…. [40] But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.”

A criminal on each of the two sides of Christ’s cross was probably just another act of ridicule. “You are a ‘king,’ huh? We will place someone on your right hand and someone on your left, and they can ‘reign’ with you!” This is not at all far-fetched, since the Romans had mocked Him during His trial hours prior.

“And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him” (Matthew 27:28-31).

“And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him” (Mark 15:16-20).

“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands” (John 19:1-3).

They found an old tattered and faded Roman soldier’s outer cloak—a scarlet garment now resembling purple—and had Christ wear it! They gave Him a “scepter” to hold—a flimsy reed to represent His “power!” They made Him a “crown” of thorns and forced it onto His head! So as to make fun of “King” Jesus, they even knelt and saluted Him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!” (The Roman Emperor was greeted with, “Hail, Caesar!”) Considering these demented minds at work here, it is not inconceivable they took full advantage of His crucifixion to dishonor Him. Remember, a sign was placed above His head: “THIS IS JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS” (Matthew 27:37; Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38; John 19:19). Placing men to the left-hand and right-hand sides of His cross—with Him in the middle—provided a crude resemblance of a king reigning with his two highest-ranking officials. These “officials,” of course, were criminals… a final insult to Him since He too was considered an evildoer.

By the way, it is most significant that prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus was crucified between two thieves. Although lacking or bracketed off in modern English versions as doubtful, Mark 15:28 is in our King James Bible: “And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.” The Romans did not know it, but their crucifying Him between two criminals was actually a fulfillment of prophecy, Isaiah 53:12: “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.” Being “made sin for us” (2 Corinthians 5:21), suffering the punishment of sinners when He Himself was sinless, Christ died among sinners. The Holy Spirit made it a point to note it in His Book forever.

Also see:
» Were there five crosses on Calvary’s hill?
» Who, crucified on Calvary, mocked Jesus?
» What made the crucified thief repent?