“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).


1) Bible Prophecy (5) (Tom Edwards)



Bible Prophecy (5)

Tom Edwards

Thinking more on the sacrifice of Christ in prophecy, Psalm 69:21 states,

“They also gave me gall for my food
And for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”

This “gall,” which was first offered, is from a Hebrew word that means “…a poisonous plant, probably the poppy (from its conspicuous head); generally poison (even of serpents)…” (James Strong).  In the New American Standard Bible, the Hebrew word is rendered as “bitterness” (2), “gall” (1), “poison” (4), “poisoned” (2), “poisonous” (3), and “weeds” (1).  Some Bible versions translate it as “poison” in Psalm 69:21, such as the Bible in Basic English, the English Standard Version, and the Revised Standard Version.  Matthew 27:34 shows that the “gall” had been added to wine; but, Jesus, “after tasting it…was unwilling to drink.”  For He would not  numb His senses with that, which is made even clearer in the Contemporary English Version: “There they gave him some wine mixed with a drug to ease the pain. But when Jesus tasted what it was, he refused to drink it” (Mark 15:23).  Many translations refer to that drug in this passage as being “myrrh.”  According to Alfred Edersheim, “It was a merciful Jewish practice to give to those led to execution a draught of strong wine mixed with myrrh so as to deaden consciousness” (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Book 5, Chapter 15, par. 11).  So Jesus went to that cross fully experiencing the torture of it.  And isn’t that amazing, too, that He remained on that cross for the full six hours of intense agony!  He did not deliver Himself from that torment, nor did He call on twelve legions of angels to do so for Him (cf. Matt. 26:51-54).  Instead, He went through with it all!

The second “drink,” the vinegar, is spoken of as being “sour wine” that was in a sponge placed on a reed (cf. Mark 15:36; Matt. 27:48).  This “reed” is referred to as “a branch of hyssop” in John’s account, where he also points out that it was given to Jesus immediately prior to His death.  Notice the passage: “After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, ‘I am thirsty.’  A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.  Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!  And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit” (Jn. 19:28-30).

One of the Messianic psalms is Psalm 22.  It foretells of the suffering of Christ at Calvary.  Notice how it begins: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (v. 1).  From the cross, Jesus made seven statements.  Toward the end of that period, about the 9th hour, which would be around our 3 p.m., “…Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?’ that is, ‘MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?’” (Matt. 27:46).  It is thought that in saying this, Jesus was also directing the hearers to that psalm that was foretelling  various things that were now taking place on that crucifixion day.  Of course, God even knew, prior to the creation of the universe, of these things that would occur on that day!

Psalm 31:5 foretells of the last of the seven sayings that Jesus made from the cross.  It declares, “Into Your hand I commit my spirit…”  The fulfillment of that is seen in Luke 23:46: “And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.’ Having said this, He breathed His last.”  (The all caps signify in the New American Standard Bible that that part is a quote from the Old Testament.)

How needful it was for Jesus to make an atonement for every sinner by His death at Calvary.  Without it, sins could never be forgiven; and we would all remain lost and separated from God forever.  But it had been God’s plan before the beginning of time to provide Jesus as a Savior who would come to our rescue.  Isaiah, who prophesied about 700 years prior to Jesus’ sacrifice, writes of this future event in the past tense:

“Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.

“But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.

“All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him” (Isaiah 53:4-6).

Some of this was also fulfilled prior to His crucifixion.  As Matthew writes, “When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.  This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: ‘HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY OUR DISEASES” (Matt. 8:16-17).

But the ultimate — and even more important than the physical healings — is the great atonement that Jesus accomplished by His death on the cross that sets us free from the bondage of sin and puts us on a road to eternal glory in heaven.

After exhorting the brethren to “be holy yourselves also in all  your behavior” because God, who will judge us impartially, is holy and instructs us to be that way also, Peter then goes on to say, “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you” (1 Pet. 1:15-20).  Peter also says of Christ that “…He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).  And the Hebrew writer declares, “so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him” (Heb. 9:28).  Because of Christ’s death, every Christian has much to look forward to.  For regardless of how well-blessed one is now, the best is still yet to come for the faithful child of God!

Going back to Isaiah 53, notice verse 12:

“Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the  transgressors.”

Yes, Christ was  numbered with the transgressors.  He was crucified between two thieves who were also being put to death that day.  As Mark records, “They crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left. [And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘And He was numbered with transgressors.’]” (Mk. 15:28).   Though both of these were initially insulting Christ (cf. Mk. 15:32), yet one of them later had a change of heart and said, “…’Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!’ And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise’” (Luke 23:42-43).

Crucifixion did not originate with the Jews.  Stoning was one of the ways that capital punishment was carried out under the Law of Moses.  Crucifixion had begun in the ancient near East and was practiced by the Medes, the Persians, the Carthaginians, the Egyptians, later the Greeks, and finally the Romans in the first century, yet we see reference to it in Psalm 22:16 in foretelling Christ’s sacrifice:

“For dogs have surrounded me;
A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
They pierced my hands and my feet.”

Zechariah writes: “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn” (Zech 12:10).  See also Matthew 27:35 and  John 20:25-27.

Though Jesus knew what coming to the earth to dwell among us would result in,  yet He came anyway!  And how thankful we should be that He did!

(All Scripture from the NASB, unless otherwise indicated.)

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel, for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).
2) Believe in the deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:26-27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith, living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).

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 Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
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