"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Jesus or Jezebel and the Just Sentence of Death

As Jesus was dying on the cross, He bled in four places: Atop His skull where the Romans had placed a crown of thorns, in the middle of His two palms where the soldiers hammered nails into His outstretched hands, and at his feet where a giant nail was driven through His feet, one foot aligned on top of the other.

The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)  bled in fulfillment of the Law (Matthew 5:17).

1500 years before the death of Jesus, the first Passover lambs were slain by the Hebrews at God's command (see Exodus 12).

The blood of the original Passover lambs was placed on the door of the Hebrew homes in four places: Atop the door (i.e. 'the crown'), on both sides of the door (i.e. 'the outstretched palms'), and at the threshold  (i.e. 'the feet').

The Passover lamb died as the means through which God delivered His people from their slavery in Egypt.

As the Hebrews ate the Passover lamb inside their blood covered homes, the angel of death came to visit Egypt. The angel "passed over" every home where the blood had been applied. Thus, from that first Passover until today, the Hebrews commemorate that night with a meal they call Passover.

The Egyptian people, however,  did not appropriate the Passover lamb, and so they did not escape the judgment of death. In every Egyptian family, the firstborn child died.

As the Egyptians mourned the deaths of their firstborn, the Hebrews left their bondage in Egypt and made their way to the Promised Land (Exodus 12:29-30).

The judgment of death that first Passover came upon the Egyptians at the midnight hour.

You can watch actor Charleston Heston play Moses in The 10 Commandments, a 1956 film which reenacts the first Hebrew Passover and is broadcast on American national television every Easter.

But the real-life fulfillment of Passover occurred 2,000 years ago - 1500 years after Moses' original Passover - when Jesus the Messiah came to die as God's Passover Lamb for the world.


Jesus As God's Passover Lamb


Why did Jesus die?

That simple question will get you some very complex answers from people who study theology. I'm going to simplify it.

1. Jesus died as a demonstration of Divine love.
2. Jesus died as a substitution for human death.
3. Jesus died as a propitiation of Divine wrath.

The first reason Jesus died was to demonstrate God's love for us.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son..." (John 3:16).
"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life..." (John 15:13).
The second reason Jesus died was to take our place bearing the judgment of death as our Substitute.
"God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us" (II Corinthians 5:21).
"For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him." (Romans 5:6-9)
The third reason Jesus died was to make sinners 'at-one' with God forever through Him.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
"We also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation with God" (Romans 5:11).
It's this third and last reason which causes so much confusion for people. When the Bible speaks of the "wrath of God" (see Romans 1:18) we often wrongly think of the anger of a drunk, abusive earthly father, or the tirades of an unjust and uncivil boss, or the brooding silence of an angry spouse.

Rarely do we see God's righteous anger in human form.

I've seen it a few times in my work as a police chaplain. I once saw righteous anger in a judge who pronounced the death sentence for a killer who coldly and brutally murdered four victims (I did the funeral for one of the murderer's victims).

Righteous anger is rarely seen today because we're not often around judges who justly pronounce a sentence of death on the wicked. Usually, the anger we see or experience comes from peers who unjustly take vengeance.

God is the Supreme Judge. As Christians, we are to wait for Him to execute righteous judgment on the wicked:
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge: I will repay," says the Lord. (Romans 5:19).
On the cross, Jesus bore God's righteous sentence for sin.

God, in His love for sinners, sent His Son to be the Substitute for sinners, bearing death - the just punishment from God for sin, so that sinners "covered by Christ's death" will live forever and not forever die.

Christ's death is the reconciliation - or an "at-one-moment" - between a holy God and lawbreakers who deserve death.


Death As the Righteous Punishment for Sin


When God demonstrates His wrath, He does it right. That's why it is called "right-eous" wrath. No one is able to question the justness of it.

The display of God's wrath will always be proven right.

Through death, God eradicates evil.
"The Lord will destroy the wicked" (Psalm 145:20).
"But all sinners will be destroyed; there will be no future for the wicked." (Psalm 37:28).
"He shall punish the wicked with everlasting destruction" (II Thessalonians 1:9).
The final and full display of God's wrath toward sin - and His full and His free gift of eternal life for sinners who have trusted Jesus as their Lord and Savior - is still to come.
"For a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear My voice and come out" (John 5:28)
The apostle Paul said it like this:
"And I have the same hope in God...that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked." (Acts 24:15).
At that final judgment after the resurrection, called "the wrath to come" - the wrath from which Jesus, as God's Passover Lamb, rescues His people (see I Thessalonians 1:10) - the wicked will be judged for their sins in this life and die a "second time."

But this "second death" (Revelation 20:14), unlike the first death, is called everlasting because there will be no reversal, no hope of deliverance, no future resurrection.

Contrary to the unbiblical view that God tortures sinners in hell forever, the Bible teaches that the wicked die everlastingly as a just punishment for their sins.

We can be sure that "the wicked will not go unpunished" (Proverbs 11:21).
"The wicked will perish for their sins" (Psalm 37:20).
However, there is some Good News.

The immortal God - in love for sinners - took upon Himself mortal flesh - in order to die as a Substitute for sinners - giving everlasting life to those who are in Christ because a holy God is "at-one" with sinners through the work of Jesus Christ.
"Be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Savior" (Acts 2:36).
In this life, the assurance you have that Jesus is your Saviour is Jesus is your Lord.

He either becomes King of your life during this present life or He is not your Savior from death and Giver of everlasting life.

Jesus died that you might live.

But not all sinners want Jesus as Lord and Savior of their lives.


Jezebel's Death Pictures God's Final and Righteous Judgment toward Sinners

Jezebel is a picture of the wicked who die outside of Christ.

The name Jezebel means "chaste or pure," but like every person created by God to be free from evil, Jezebel is one who turns from God and lives licentiously, immorally, and selfishly.

Jezebel is a picture of one who lives independent of God (see Revelation 2:20).

The way God's judgment fell on Jezebel at her first death is a type or picture of God's righteous judgment on all who are turned over to everlasting death on the day of judgment.

You can read how Jezebel died in II Kings 9:30-37.
"But when they went out to bury her, they found nothing except her skull, her feet, and her hands."
The only thing left after the dogs had consumed Jezebel's body in the streets were the crown of her head, her two hands, and her feet.

The very places that Jesus bled on the cross.

A sinner experiences death as the righteous judgment from God, or a sinner will find that the judgment of death "passes over" because the Lamb has given His life (eg 'bled') in place of the sinner (e.g. "as the sinner's Substitute').

Or to put it succinctly:
The everlasting Messiah dies in the place of sinners or sinners die an everlasting death themselves.
The difference between the two potential destinies of sinners - everlasting life or everlasting death - is determined by the sinner's embrace of the Lamb of God.
"Kiss His Son, or God will be angry and your way will lead to destruction" (Psalm 2:12).
"And into the eternal city will be brought...only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life" (Revelation 2:27).

The Wicked Will Be Erased from Memory

After Jezebel died, the Bible says "No one was able to say, 'This is Jezebel" (II Kings 9:37).

There was no memory of her. There was no memorial to her. There were no remnants of her except those pieces that are a reminder of the death of Jesus (e.g. "the skull, the hands, the feet").

Jezebel was gone.

So too, very soon, the wicked will go the way of Jezebel.
"A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found" (Psalm 37:10).
Jesus or Jezebel.

Both deaths represent the two different and ultimate ends for sinners.

One death brings life; the other death brings shame, contempt, and the loss of identity.
"For God so loved this world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, will not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). 

9 comments:

Christiane said...

From an ancient Christian prayer spoken before the reading from the Holy Gospels:

“. . . You are the life of us all, the salvation of us all, the hope of us all, the healing of us all, and the resurrection of us all.”

Anonymous said...

the flogging would have caused his back to bleed.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

Valid point. I was thinking more in terms of bleeding "on the cross," dying at 3:00 pm - the same hour, on the same day as the Passover lamb (Abib 14).

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Your comment said you were thinking more in terms of bleeding “on the cross”, but you post said, “...He bled in four places”. Actually, since both feet were bleeding, he bled in five places.

The first blood on the cross would be when he carried it on his back, which Anonymous said was bleeding.

While I’m nick picking your great post:
1. You said the Hebrews escaped to the Promise Land. At first, they didn’t escape; they were told to leave. “Pharaoh sent for Moses...”Get out!...take the rest of the Israelites...bless me as you leave...” (Exodus 12:31-32) After Pharaoh changed his mind, the Red Sea made him wish he hadn’t.

2. “Jesus died as a substitution for human [ETERNAL] death.”

3. “Jesus died was to demonstrate [FULFILL] God’s love for us.”

“As Christians, we are to wait for Him to execute righteous judgment on the wicked.”

That seems what our government is doing when it comes to stop the slaughter of children in schools, churches, etc.

Well, God gave us a brain. When our service starts, all doors except the main door are locked. (They can be opened from the inside). Our church has several men carrying concealed guns. One of them watches the main door.

Today, my brother-in-law, added another plan. Their people are trained if they hear a shot, they are to get under pews and lay on the floor, because there’s going to be a ‘shootout’ that won’t last long.

Christiane said...

When I look at a crucifix, all I see is love, self-sacrificing love. And the pathos of it makes me mourn my own part in His suffering.


















Rex Ray said...

Christiane,

Jesus suffered on the Cross, but that’s not what killed him. The pain that turned his blood to water was caused by: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

It was an honest question because he did not know his Father would desert him.

“The time is coming…when you will be scattered , each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.” (John 16:32)

God could only answer with tears.

That’s how much God loves us. Glory!

Christiane said...

Hello REX RAY,
my friend, please pray for better times in our land, I can't stop weeping over the dead children

As to the mystery of the Cross:
because I am from a strong 'Trinitarian' background, I believe that God, in the second Person, IS the Holy Lamb of God and that Jesus Christ, fully God and fully human, died on the Cross willingly out of love to save us. Those words 'why have You forsaken me' is a cry from the Old Testament Psalm 22, which is not only lamentation, but something far more and much deeper into our faith, and it ends honoring the trust of our human kind in our Creator. What happened on that Cross, we will never know the full meaning. But I think it all came about through love and not 'wrath'. Only love.

Rex Ray said...

Christiane,

Yes, we’ll never know on earth all there is to know about Calvary, but heaven is coming. Someone said man’s purpose on earth was to know more about God so we will enjoy Him more in heaven.

I believe Jesus didn’t want to die so much he sweat drops of blood in agony praying to his Father for another way. (Luke 22:44)

Just as Abraham withheld from his son what the sacrifice was (“God will provide”) to spare his son of agony until the last moment, I believe God withheld the knowledge from his Son that he would be alone on the Cross because when He became our sin, God could not comfort him with his presence.

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