Thursday, February 28, 2008

God's Final Passover

God’s Final Passover

Jesus Christ, God’s passover lamb, was slain and is the ultimate and final sacrifice for us. Who has redeemed us to God by his innocent blood. Only God could have foreordained before the foundation of the world the precise hour that would miraculously coincide with the slaying of the yearly passover lamb by the high priest on the altar. At that exact moment the Son of God was nailed to the cross and pierced with a spear of death. And there was darkness over the whole land.

1 Corinthians 5:7 ...For Jesus Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.  

Tradition has confused many events during the final week of Jesus Christ’s life and death. The truth has become cloudy about the infamous Last Supper that Jesus had with his apostles. It was Jesus’ desire to prepare a place and partake in the yearly ceremonial passover feast with his beloved followers. However, it became clear to Jesus via revelation from God this was not to be and his final hour was near.

Matt: 26: 2
You know that after two days is the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

It is a week long ceremony but the passover, the preparation and slaughter of the lamb, was on the 14th of the month of Nisan. The actual feast would take place that evening which was after 6 p.m., the 15th of Nisan. That hour of evening began the new day which would be like our midnight. So he revealed this to his disciples on the 12th of Nisan. His fate and time of death was written in the word and in the stars. The Last Supper was not the passover meal. The Last Supper took place that same evening after sunset, the 13th of Nisan.

Matt 26: 20, 21
Now when the even was come he sat down with the twelve and they did eat…

A day later, after hours of torture without sleep, he stood in front of Pilot for judgement. Pilot questioned the people.

John 18: 38, 39
…I find no fault in him at all. But you have a custom that I should release unto you one at the passover. Do you want me to release unto you the King of the Jews?

Clearly it was before the passover, the 14th of Nisan. A short time later it was noon when Pilot saw him again.

John 19: 14
And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour…..

Again, the passover had not taken place therefore the Last Supper was not the passover meal.

To place a time of the crucifixion and death we have two verses.

Mark 25:25
And it was the third hour ( 9:00 a.m.) and they crucified him.

Matt 27:47 ; 50
And about the ninth hour ( 3:00 p.m. ) Jesus cried with a loud voice…
with a loud voice he gave up the ghost.

“As with all lambs sacrificed on the altar, the Passover lamb had to be perfect, without spot, flaw , or blemish. Jesus, our Passover Lamb, was spotless, unblemished by sin. At 9: 00 on the morning of the 14th day of the month of Nisan, the Passover lamb was bound to the altar in the temple and put on public display . At the same time, our Passover Lamb was nailed to a cross and put on public display on Calvary.
At exactly 3:00 in the afternoon of that high holy day, the high priest ascended the altar and, to the sound of the shofar, cut the throat of the Passover lamb , declaring, “ It is finished.” At that same moment, on Calvary, our Passover Lamb declared “It is finished!” and gave up his spirit. “It is finished” means “ It is paid in full.” Our sin debt was paid in full with the blood of Jesus Christ, our Passover Lamb, who was sacrificed for us.”*

* The Hidden Power of the Blood of Jesus by Mahesh Chavda pg 39
∑ According to the historian Josephus the practice in the first century A.D. was to begin slaughtering the Passover lambs at the ninth hour, our 3p.m.

John 19: 31; 42
The Jews because it was the preparation sought to remove the bodies as they could not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day (for that sabbath day was a high day)…
There laid they Jesus because of the Jews preparation…

John 19 :31 proves that he was crucified on the 14th of Nisan, the high sabbath day, the passover.

These are some of the verses that make it very clear that Christ died on the preparation of Passover Day and that the Last Supper had taken place before. They would be considered unclean and could not participate in the actual feast had they not handled their dirty deed before hand. ( Num 5; 9-12 ) The religious leaders obviously had someone else handle the bodies.

Here are a few unclear verses mainly due to translation.

Matt 26 :17, 18
Now that the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus , saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?
…The Master says ,” My time is at hand; I will ( “I desire to” is the text ) keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.”

Here the word day and feast of is not in the text as they are italicized in the King James. It more accurately should be translated “the time of preparation” which indicates it took place over a period of time.

Mark 14 :12
And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where do you desire us to go and prepare that you may eat the passover?

Ever try to find a restaurant to eat for New Years Eve right before midnight in New York City or San Francisco.? This is Jerusalem. It’s packed. If this were the actual day of passover they would not find a place. Again, it’s the beginning, the first of the preparation week and the word day is an error in translation or interpretation. It’s the 12th of Nisan.

Luke 22:7
Then came the day ( time ) of unleavened bread when the passover must be killed (prepared for sacrifice).

Again, the word day in Aramaic and Greek can also be translated time. It was the time of preparation of the seven day feast. Jesus and the disciples were not ignorant. They knew they had to prepare and find a place before hand, not at the very moment.
In verse 11 the word is might eat , not shall. And verse 15 reads more accurately “ At one time I most heartedly desired” to eat this passover with you before I suffer.

Matt 13:17
I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not here it.

The same word applies here. Jesus desired to partake of the Passover meal but it was not to be. Here are a few observations that would indicate that the Last Supper was not the Passover .

They sat down to eat: Matt 26:20; Mark 14:18; Luke 22:14. The Passover meal was to be eaten standing up. Ex 12:11. The bread mentioned in Matt 26:26 as well as the other gospels at this meal was not unleavened bread . The Greek word used here is artos. The Greek word for unleavened bread is azumos. Further evidence that this was not the Passover meal which was to be eaten with unleavened bread. (The feast of unleavened bread and the Passover feast are two separate events that happen to overlap). Also, there is no mention of the Passover’s lamb being eaten. Had this been the Passover meal it most likely would have been mentioned.

They also plotted to kill him before the feast (15th of Nisan) because they feared the people.

Matt 26: 4,5; Mark 14:1,2 Luke 22:1,2

This in no way negates the significance and magnitude of the Last Supper. Many tremendous truths are revealed during that time. Read John 13 and 14.

Here is a verse that clearly separates the two events.

John 13:1,2
Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father…and supper being ended…!!

What supper ended? The last supper of our Lord Jesus Christ here on Earth. Long before his death was foretold, God put into place the stars and planets to measure time. Years of time that were now narrowed down to a final hour. THE FINAL HOUR of his death and the salvation of mankind. Before this supper Jesus knew the approximate time but now God revealed to him that he would not partake of the passover but was to be our Passover for all time. To be crucified at the very moment the sacrificial lamb was killed for the sins of the people. Time means nothing to God but timing is everything. For centuries the Passover foreshadowed and covered the Jews sins on the outside. But Jesus Christ , OUR PASSOVER, was sacrificed for us and cleansed all our sins on the inside that the world through him might be saved. That’s world history and that’s timing that no man or science could ever match. Only a matchless God could accomplish these events. God, who gave his Son for our sins that he might deliver us from the present evil world to live eternally in the new heaven and new Earth.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cry of Destiny

“To This End Was I Born, For This Cause Came I Into The World.”

And they took Jesus and led him away to be crucified. And about the ninth hour he cried out. This hour had been coming since the dawn of paradise and the fall of man. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was nailed to the cross to shed his blood for the sins of all mankind. “My God, my God, for this purpose was I kept.” And it was finished. Your redemption and mine. For this purpose he came into the world.

One of my favorite verses is from Romans where God promises that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Such promises like “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”, or “I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my Fathers hand.” This leaves no room for doubt that we are safe and protected for eternity and nothing that we or anyone else could say or do would cause God to ever forsake us. All this because of what Jesus Christ did for us.
Now every year around Easter time we hear stories related around the period of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Inevitably, whether on television, radio, or in a church service, someone expounds on the famous verse from Matt. 27:46 and Mark 15:34 : “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” This version of Jesus’ last words before dying on the cross is translated in the form of a question. And unfortunately, this has misled well-meaning people into formulating a theory to find the answer, that over time becomes tradition and eventually is taught and accepted as the truth of God’s Word. Commonly what follows is the traditional teaching that at that moment, while hanging on the cross, Jesus became sin and God cannot stand sin so He had to abandon His only begotten Son. What they fail to mention are the very next and last words that Jesus uttered and then cried out, “It is finished. Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit,” and having said this he gave up his last breath. (John 16:32)
The reason why this verse is so popular is because it stands out in contrast to all the other verses regarding the same subject. It contradicts the promises of God and suggests the possibility of a condition upon which God would break His promise and abandon his child. Yet, year after year this contradictory explanation is taught with great sincerity but devoid of any Biblical authority.
This is the constant challenge we as believers are continuously confronted with: Do we follow what tradition teaches us or do we seek to understand and know what the word of God really says? (Matt. 15:3)
In order to determine truth from error there are two fundamental Biblical principles to rightly dividing the word:
∑ The apparent unclear verse must be understood in the light of the many clear verses regarding the same subject.
∑ Most apparent contradictions are either due to translation or our understanding relative to the Biblical times and customs.
If we combine these basic principles with some common sense and logic we can remove the conflict that hinder our believing. First, we will look at the many clear verses regarding the same subject.

John 16:32
Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: an yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

Jesus was speaking of his crucifixion that he would not be left alone because God would not leave him as do the others.

John 10:30
I and my Father are one.

John 10:38
though ye believe not me, believe the works; that ye may know and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him

2 Corin. 5:19
God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them…

John 14:10,11
Beleivest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake

Jesus was continuously imploring his disciples to know and believe of his unity and indivisibility with God his Father. Not question or doubt. Jesus would never have misled his disciples into believing these scriptures revealed by God only to have their faith and trust shattered at the final hour of his life. Bye crying out “My God, my God, why hath thou forsaken me?” would only have discouraged them and left them feeling even more hopeless as they stood by watching in horror and disbelief.

John 11:41.42
Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 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.

The same holds true at his suffering on the cross for those who were standing by watching and listening.

John 17:21-23

That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them: that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

How could the world and the disciples know beyond a shadow of doubt that God sent him and loved them if Jesus is shouting to God as the world watches and hears his dying words about God forsaking him? This is shameful how we’ve allowed the cloak of tradition to trick us out of God’s finest hour!

Luke 23:47

Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying certainly this was a righteous man.

After the centurion saw and heard what was done he glorified God. He would not have glorified God if Jesus had cried out that God had forsaken him. The following should dispel any truth to the forsaken theology.

John 8:26-29

he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. They understood not that he spake to them of the Father. Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.

As Jesus is foretelling, he declares the Father will not leave him alone because he always did the things that pleased God. Was he not pleasing God when he took on the sins of the world?

Heb 2:9

But we see Jesus, who was…crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

John 10:17

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of the Father.

2 Corin 5:21

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Romans 8:3

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.

Nothing mentioned so far that God couldn’t handle. It pleased God. In truth, God had no pleasure in previous sacrifices for sins, but the offering of the body of Jesus Christ was accepted by God once and for all.

Heb 10:1-10

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those whose approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Therefore when he came into the world, he said: Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you have prepared for me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure. Then I said, “Behold I have come (in the volume of the book it is written of me) to do your will O God.” Previously, saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings for sin you did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then he said “Behold, I have come to do your will O God.” He takes away the first that he may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

So far in these scriptures we have not found any forsaken theology nor deviation disrupting the harmony of God’s word regarding this subject. What we find is the promise of God’s never ending love and faithfulness. For it is through His love [agape: unconditional, unlimited love via the spirit] that renders us inseparable from our Lord and Saviour and God our Father.

John 17:26

And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Romans says you cannot separate or be forsaken by this love [agape].

Rom 8:35-39

Who shall separate us from the love [agape] of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved [agapeo] us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things to come, nor any other creature [creation] shall be able to separate us from the love [agape] of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing shall separate including sin. Shall not God who reveals this promise to us do the same for His ‘First begotten among many brethren.’ Agape bears all and endures all things according to 1 Corinthians 13. Including the sin laid on Jesus when they slaughtered the lamb of God, who became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

What a savior! He stayed on that cross because he loved us. And he loved us because " God so loved the world"...that He dreamed a plan to save us...that He gave us His only begotten son..." that believers would never be separated from God..." that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Now that we have seen how many clear verses cast light regarding the same subject ( in Matt27;46 and Mark 15:34), this passage of scripture now becomes an apparent contradiction. Notice I use the word apparent. That is because there are no contradictions in the original " God breathed word" (2 Tim 3:16). " For holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Peter1:21). God is perfect therefore his word must be perfect and the words which make up the word must be perfect also. To paraphrase these two verses: There were many writers inspired by God but only one author. The author, who is God, told them what to write by revelation. The writers would have written using words from a language and vocabulary with which that were familiar, but the words they wrote were words that God told them to write. This explains the difference in the gospel narrative. Matthew was versed in scripture and noted the fulfillment of sayings brought to pass. *1

Therefore , with God as the author, we would expect to find that passages in the scripture dealing with the same subject may augment and complement each other but never be contradictory or inharmonious. One record may give certain details regarding a subject or and event, while another record dealing with the same subject or event may supply added details such as time or place.

This brings us to the translation, the next principle and method of understanding the apparently unclear verse. There are variations among many translations of the Bible. This is where human error , imperfections and private interpretation disrupt the symmetry of the original inspired word of God. That's why it may be necessary to consult the manuscripts, printed texts, and various translations of the scriptures as well as concordances, dictionaries, and other resources.

Matt 27:36
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying , Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Mark 15:34
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani? Leaving in the foreign language should have caught our attention from the beginning. Why did the translators leave those foreign words in the verse? I have asked teachers and clergy this same question after they have taught on or quoted from this passage. None of them could answer. This is a deviation from normal KJ translation and is rare to find in the New Testament.*2 The reason why these foreign words appear is because the translators were uncertain of their meaning and proper translation. These are not Greek words, they are Aramaic. Jesus spoke Aramaic. Some scholars believe the Gospels were originally written in Aramaic.*3 In the King James Version they let the Aramaic words remain then added what they concluded what the English translation might be.

To begin with, there is no Aramaic word as lama, but there is the word lmna. Lmna is a declaration "for this purpose" or " for this reason." The root of sabachthani is shbk or shbq. The root word shbk means to spare, to leave, to reserve or keep remaining. In Romans the word reserved is from the root word shbk which is cited from 1 Kings 19:18.

Rom 11:4
But what say the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image Baal.

1 Kings 19:18

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

Here it is translated "reserved" in the New Testament and "left" in the Old. This same shbk is translated "remaining" in the following scriptures:

2 Kings 10:11

So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his kinfolks, and his priests, until he left him none remaining.

Deut 3:3

So the Lord our God delivered into our hands Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people: and we smote him until none was left remaining.

Joshua 10:33

Then Horam king og Gezer came to help Lachish; and Joshua smote him and his people, until he had left him none remaining.

Going back to that place and time where God's only begotten Son was dying on the cross he cried out " My God, My God, for this purpose was I left remaining;" *4" For this purpose was I kept." According to noted Aramaic scholar George M. Lamsa from his major work "Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Text" this verse reads" My God, my God, for this I was spared!" Truthfully, this is what Eastern Bibles read from the Peshitta text.

Now we have the word of God in alignment and harmony and not man's tradition. We don't have to create a theology to account for the error in the translation of the western Biblical version. When Jesus Christ spoke these words of triumph he glorified God. And God was right there with him as you or I would be if our son lay dying. God never forsook him. It was man who forsook him!

Isaiah 53:2-9

For he shall grow up before him a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form or comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows : yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him: and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray: we have everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed , and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opens not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had no violence , neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin , he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

In the end it was man who abandoned him. It was man who turned away from him, not God! Isaiah said it was men who despised and rejected him , and we hid our faces from him when he was smitten and beaten and personified the ugliness of our sin. Yet It Pleased The Lord! He endured the unbearable suffering because he loved us and God was with him.

" To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world..." (John 18:37)

What a God! What a savior! For God laid on his Son the iniquity of us all that We might become the righteousness of God. He who knew no sin, the lamb of God, became sin for us. He could've saved himself at any time but chose to save us for all eternity. Jesus knew his mission of atonement from the scriptures which were written of him. But the magnitude of the glory of what God envisioned for us was not fully revealed until the agony of the cross. He gave up his life because God revealed to him his purpose and calling of God for all mankind...when He made his soul an offering for sin... Jesus saw the glorious future...he SAW HIS SEED...the Justified Many!!

"My God, my God, this was my destiny!" *5

  1. The verse, Matt 27:46, was not noted by Matthew as fulfilling any prophecy of scripture as were the other verses and events in the same chapter that were noted. Citing Psalm 22 as a reference is from the Bible publishers and not inspired of God.
  2. There are other examples where the translators have allowed the Aramaic words to remain; Matt 5:22, Mark 5:41, 1 Corin 16:22.
  3. " In the first century, Jesus and his earliest followers certainly spoke Aramaic for the most part, although they also knew Hebrew. Therefore the Gospel message was first preached an the Aramaic for the Jews of Palestine. Modern scholarship tells us that the originals of the four Gospels and other parts of the New Testament were written in Greek; this is disputed by the Church of the East and by some noted western scholars." George M. Lamsa. Preface from Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Text; Harper Collins.
  4. Wherefore have you left me? is broken down thus: " Wherefore" implies destiny. "Sh'wik-thani" is the only correct transliteration, and it means "left me" in the sense of the purpose for which Jesus was left on the cross. It absolutely does not meam "foresaken" in this usage. Translators notes from Matt 27:46 at Victor N. Alexander.
  5. Amplified Aramaic