The concept of the Trinity of God is hard for many people to understand. Rationally and mathematically it doesn’t make sense. How can three make one? Or how can One God have three distinct spiritual essences? Long ago St. Patrick in sharing the Gospel message with the Irish people also had to explain this concept to the pagans in Ireland. The Irish pagans worshiped things in nature, so they had a hard time believing in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit as One God. As Patrick explained Salvation to them, they could not understand how Christ and His offer of Salvation to all who would believe upon Him could be part of three in One. So, God pointed St. Patrick to the shamrock plant whose leaf has three distinct parts. Although each leaf is just one leaf, the shamrock plant is also unique, because there are three very distinct sections to each leaf. When the pagans saw the concept of three in one in nature, they were finally able to understand the Trinity of God, i.e. the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
This visual explanation, though, could not be used in areas of the world that did not have a shamrock plant. So, rather than being able to understand the Trinity of God, many other false religions have disregarded the Truth. Adding to their lack of understanding are the many misunderstandings that come about from our explanations, as many Christians fail to read the Bible in order to be able to explain the Trinity of God to others. Certainly non-Christians are not reading the Bible, so they have confusion from our uninformed explanations and their own lack of understanding when God is explained correctly. All this leads to disbelief, especially from the religious leaders of other religions. Consequently, in many cases, entire groups of people have come to hate Christians for their belief in a God that has three essences. Such is the case with Muslims and the religion of Islam.
One of the reasons that Muslims hate Christians so much is because of our belief in the Trinity of God. Muslims believe that we are worshiping three false gods. They believe that Mohammed’s “Allah” is the only true god. Therefore, Muslims think that we are being heretical and disrespectful to their god by worshiping God. But the main reason they think that God is a false God has to do with the words of Mohammed, which were written against the God of the Jews and Christians. Mohammed also did not understand the Trinity of God and his lack of understanding was shared with others in the Qur'an. Consequently, many Muslims simply believe that Christians worship three gods. They do not understand how three essences or spiritual beings make up the Trinity of God. Moreover, their failure to know or understand how and why Mohammed created their god has led to a deep hatred in most Muslims for both Jews who believe in God and Christians who believe in the Trinity of God.
This hatred for our belief in God all stems from the founder of their religion, Mohammed, who created the Islamic religion. Mohammed was an illiterate man, who at first had tried to understand the God of the Hebrews and the Christians. Mohammed got angry with the Jews worship of God, but his anger grew worse when he just could not wrap his mind around the Christians' God who was three in One. To make matters worse, Mohammed also couldn’t read the biblical Scriptures, so what little information he got from the different sects of those who followed Christ was just bits and pieces of the Truth. This confused Mohammed even more.
Mohammed lived in an area that had worshipers of over three hundred different gods and goddesses, so it was easy for Mohammed to become confused about the many different religions at that time. Then, Mohammed had an encounter with an evil spirit that eventually began to control what he did. In fact, it is recorded that Mohammed had several encounters with this evil spirit who told him what to write in the Qur’an (See the story of Mohammed’s life in the Hadith al-Bukhari. Also explained in What Every American Needs to Know about the Qur’an: A History of Islam and the United States by William J. Federer). Isn’t this just like the devil! For the devil always tries to distort the Truth in such a way that God’s Truth is rejected by many. This is exactly how Mohammed was used by the devil, for Mohammed took bits and pieces of several religions to finally make up the religion of Islam.
Mohammed was manipulated by the evil spirit to develop his own religion. But, adding to Mohammed’s misunderstandings and his manipulation by the evil spirit was his own emotional instability that created a volatile nature within him. Mohammed’s volatile nature was finally inflamed when he and his ideas were rejected by both the Hebrews and the Christians after Mohammed tried to incorporate elements of the Jewish and Christian religions into his new idea of Allah and Islam. In fact, it is recorded that Mohammed “tried to convert those who came to worship Mecca’s 360 different pagan gods. Though hoping his faith would be embraced by Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians and Pagans, as it had element of each, he only converted 150.” – (p. 44. What Every American Needs to Know about the Qur’an). Then when the Jews and Christians rejected Mohammed’s new religion, his first written more peaceful verses in the Qur’an that related to the Jews and Christians were immediately changed. Mohammed’s volatile anger toward the Jews and Christians grew then, which caused Mohammed to insert writings of violence against the Jews and Christians in his Qur’an.
(Remember that you can easily read just one section at a time without reading the whole week's blog at one sitting. I hope you feel that this one is worth the read.)
The Hate of Islam versus the Love of Christianity
Because of Mohammed’s misunderstanding of the Trinity and his unwillingness to allow Jews and Christians to worship the way that they pleased, Mohammed went on a rampage to kill all those who had disagreed with him. Worse still was his call in the Qur’an for all his followers to kill all the infidels, which is still in force today. It is truly sad that a person’s inability to understand the Trinity of God and his unwillingness “to love others as he loves himself” would lead to decades and centuries of murder and jihad all to make the world turn to the hate of Islam. But, Mohammed no longer wanted to allow people to “live and let live”. Instead he wanted to conquer the world for Islam, and Mohammed used the promotion of hate to attempt to do so.
Hate can be a very powerful emotion that destroys many lives, and such is the case for those who profess to believe in Islam. Their hate destroys the lives of those they hate, as well as ultimately destroying their own lives. Sadly, through Mohammed’s hate, “Mohammed divided the world into two parts; those who have submitted to the will of Allah (the name of Mohammed’s god) and those yet to submit. He called these the House of Islam (dar al-Islam) and the House of War (dar al-harb). Whereas “world peace” to a Westerner means peaceful coexistence, “world peace” to a Muslim means “world Islam”, the world submitting to the will of Allah.” – (p. 17. What Every American Needs to Know about the Qur’an, by William J. Federer).
Of course, there are those moderate Muslims who believe that Allah’s return for the final “Hour of Judgment” is so far off into the future that they can go ahead and get along with non-Muslims until Allah returns and judges all people. That is why they keep a low profile even though they ultimately believe that those who don’t follow Allah are damned. Moderate Muslims also do not want the Fundamental violent Muslims to turn against them for not being violent enough, so they just do not get politically involved until they are forced to. In the meantime they keep a low profile of internal hate. However, there are those Fundamental violent Muslims who believe that they are helping to fulfill the “destiny” of Islam by killing any and all who do not follow Islam. Indeed, we have recently seen what these violent jihadists Muslims, i.e. ISIS, will do to impose Islamic rule throughout the world. And to think that this religion of hate, i.e. Islam, all started with one disturbed and emotionally violent man who could not understand the Trinity of God or understand the concept of a peace loving God. But, it was the actual rejection of his newly created religion that caused Mohammed to put action to his hate and want to take revenge on those who did not accept his ideas or his amalgamation of several beliefs into one religion. Mohammed's anger and his misunderstandings basically created his religion of hate, Islam.
It takes energy to hate. It takes energy and time as well. On the other hand, it is so much easier to love and care about others. In fact, God wants us to love others and He wants to bless us for helping and caring about those who need our support and help. America's love for others has led to many blessings from God. But, we still have so much to do as a country and individually. First we need to show our love for others by sharing the Good News. We also need to share the Gospel message with as many people as we can. That is why understanding the Trinity of God is so important to our sharing of the Salvation message, and why our being willing to actively mentor others for the Lord is an important service that all Christians can perform. We need to be able to explain our love of God to anyone.
The Trinity of God
Other religions besides Islam have a problem with the Trinity of God, too. In fact, most of the world’s religions cannot understand why Christians believe in the Trinity of God. That is why I would like to give you some information that could help you in sharing the Gospel message as well as help you in your mentoring of others. The Trinity of God is truly not hard to understand. It is even easier, though, when a person actually accepts Christ as their Savior, because the Holy Spirit immediately indwells each new believer. For, it is the Holy Spirit who gives us the assurance of our Salvation and our inheritance as children of God, i.e. eternal life. For we are told that "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God." -- (Romans 8: 16. NASB). The Scriptures also tell us, “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” – (Titus 3: 4-7. NASB). As you can read, both Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are part of the Trinity of God. It is the Son of God, Jesus Christ Who came to earth to "Save" us from eternal death. Then it is the Holy Spirit Who testifies that we are indeed Saved and will spend eternity in Heaven with God.
Why is it so hard for people to understand the Trinity of God? Perhaps, it is because so many people have not read the Bible, nor do they want to read it. However, there are also those liberal theologians who have departed from the fundamental truths of the Bible to advocate for their belief in the falseness of the concept of the Trinity of God. Now, these liberal theologians are expressing the same doubt that Muslims have had about the Trinity of God. Unfortunately, many, if not all, of these liberal theologians are not truly “Saved.” How can I say that? Well, for those who have truly been “Saved”, there is no doubt whatsoever that God has three essences, because with Salvation we have the Holy Spirit living within us testifying to our spirit that we are indeed "Saved". We also feel the Holy Spirit directing and guiding our lives, as we live to glorify the Father and shine the light of Christ on the world. True Christians have also seen the results of praying to God, the Father, through Jesus Christ, the Son and our Intercessor. We also live daily listening to the directions and guidance that we can receive from the Holy Spirit. Our “Saved” lives through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, then become a living testimony to the Trinity of God, i.e. the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Although true Christians understand the Trinity of God, within our mentoring of others and in our sharing of the Gospel message, we often need to be able to explain the Trinity of God to those who are lost or to those who are questioning why the Godhead is three in one. The only way that we can explain the Godhead is to know the biblical Scriptures and to be able to explain the indwelling of the Holy Spirit once a person is “Saved.” So, this week, I want to attempt to give you some information that may be able to help you in shining the light of Christ into the world. I also hope that it will help you to explain the Trinity of God to your mentees, family, friends and to those who are not “Saved”.
Who is God?
God is the Great “I AM”. This is the name that God gave to Moses so that Moses could go back to Egypt and tell the Israelites and Pharaoh that it was God Who was telling them to leave Egypt. For, “God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM’; and He said, thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent Me to you.’ … This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.’” -- (Exodus 3: 14, 15. NASB). What a Name! But, even before God spoke to Moses regarding His name, I AM, the book of Genesis tells us a great deal about Who God is.
From the beginning, God has given us information about Himself, i.e. His three spiritual essences. In fact, God never tried to hide Who He is or tried to hide His character and traits. Even from the first book in the Bible, which taken together is God’s Love Story for humans, we can learn a great deal of information about God. Indeed, from the first sentence and then throughout the Bible, we are introduced to and are continually reminded of the Trinity of God. Accordingly, God gives us information about all three essences of His being; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit within the Scriptures.
God starts His biblical love story, by giving Moses the first five books of the Bible to record. It is then in the first book of the Bible that Moses records these words for God: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.” – (Genesis 1: 1-2 NASB). It is within these first two verses that we are introduced both to God and to the Spirit of God, who is the Holy Spirit. Later, we discover from Jesus' words that it is the Holy Spirit who is the Comforter, Helper, or Counselor. The Holy Spirit is also called the “Spirit of Truth”. For, Jesus Christ told His followers that when He went back to Heaven to be with the Father that He would send them the Holy Spirit. He said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” -- (John 14: 16, 17. NASB). So, those who receive Salvation, also receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who helps them and guides them into living for Christ.
As we just saw, however, long before Jesus spoke of the Holy Spirit, we were introduced to Him within the first two verses of the Bible. But, it is also within the first book of the Bible that we learn more about God, the Father, as well as “The Trinity of God”. For, we read in the first chapter of Genesis that God created light from darkness, waters and oceans separate from dry land, night and day, vegetables and plants, stars in the sky, and living creatures; some creatures on the land with others to swim in the oceans and some to even fly in the air.
Then God created man. Although all this creation occurred long before Moses was even created, God had Moses record the following words, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ God created man in His own image, in the image of God, He created him; male and female He created them.’” – (Genesis 1: 26, 27. NASB).
Notice that God had Moses record the words, “Let Us make man in Our image according to Our likeness…”. In other words, God patterned humans after the image of the Trinity of God. Obviously, there was a reason that God wanted those particular words recorded. I believe that God wanted us to know that He is made up of more than one entity or essence within the Godhead of Who He is. I also believe that God was telling us through the words “according to Our likeness” that He was giving us some of the characteristics of Trinity of God. Furthermore, among the many characteristics and abilities given to us, God also gave us the things that we would need in order to be able to create, love and reason, and to ultimately then be able to accept Salvation when it was presented or offered to us. We can recognize our need for repentance and the gift of Salvation, because God, i.e. The Trinity of God gave us the ability to do so.
Some liberal theologians, though, have suggested that the words, Us, and Our, are just referring to the counsel of beings or the hosts of beings surrounding God. Certainly, God has told us in other verses within His biblical love story that there is indeed a counsel of beings or holy hosts of beings that surround Him, including God’s angels who continually glorify God. However, that does not make those particular words of Us, and Our, to mean that God was referring to the host of beings surrounding Him. That might be the case, were it not for Genesis 1: 2, which says that “the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.” The Spirit of God is not part of the angelic hosts or other beings surrounding God, and I will show you this as we get more into the Spirit of God or more information about the Holy Spirit being a part of the Trinity of God.
The third essence within the Trinity of God is the Son of God. Among the many other Scriptures that God gave to the writers of the Bible to record, were the specific words that describe the Son of God. First, there is The Gospel of John wherein the Apostle John was given the following words through the Holy Spirit to write in God’s love story that says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” – (John 1: 1-5. NASB). These verses are a description of the third essence or of the third being existing within or being a part of the Godhead or the Trinity of God. This third being is Jesus Christ, i.e. the Word and the Son. Jesus is called the Word, because He spoke the words that created light, night and day, animals, vegetation, oceans and lands, etc. Jesus is the One Who through His spoken word brought everything into existence. It is also through Jesus Christ’s Words that we learn about God’s gift of Salvation. However, it is not only His Words, but also the actions of Jesus Christ in dying on the Cross and in His resurrection, which gives those who believe on Christ the right to spend eternity with God. As part of the Trinity of God Jesus Christ gave us the gift of Salvation
God loves us, i.e. His humans, so much that He was willing to sacrifice a part of Himself, His only Son, to save mankind from our ultimate destruction and death. For, after the fall from the Garden of Eden, mankind had to live in a fallen world that is daily tempted by Satan. We sin daily, and as sinners we cannot enter into the presence of God. Without help from Christ and the Holy Spirit, we would all die forever and spend eternity in Hell. However, to show His love, and to bestow His grace and mercy upon us, God sent Jesus Christ, His Son, into the world to tell us the Truth, to show His love, and then to die for our sins, so in repenting and accepting Christ as our risen Lord and Savior, we could be made righteous before a righteous and holy God. To do this God made this great sacrifice for us.
The Apostle John records God’s description of Christ in order to help us understand who Christ is. Through the inspiration of God, the Apostle John wrote: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – (John 1: 14. NASB). So, Christ, the One who spoke the earth into existence actually became flesh for our benefit. Those who were there when Christ came to earth and those who walked and talked with Him, could indeed see that Jesus Christ was full of glory from the Father and that He was indeed the Son of God. Today, we, too, can see Christ and His glory through our personal repentance and Salvation. Only with true Salvation and the re-birth experience can one truly understand the depth of Christ’s glory, receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and have the peace that Christ gives us in knowing that we are truly “Saved” and will one day spend eternity with The Trinity of God.
A Holy and Righteous God Has Sadness Over Our Disobedience and Lack of Respect.
Long before God sent His Only Son into the world as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, God, The Father, gave mankind every opportunity to love and obey Him. Unfortunately, mankind became so prideful and disobedient that people became more and more decadent, evil and immoral. God could not stand to see what mankind had fallen into and become. So, one day “… the Lord said, ‘My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless, his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.’” – (Genesis 6: 3. NASB). In other words, God felt that man was living too long, especially with all the evil intent that man had in his heart. Man was not immortal but merely flesh that would turn back into the dust of the earth when he died. So, God decided to number man’s days. Notice, though, the other reason that God limited man’s days upon earth. Originally, God had given people the chance to live to 800 and even 900 years old. In fact, Methuselah lived to be nine hundred and sixty-nine years old; the oldest man recorded in the Bible. (See Genesis 5: 27). With mankind’s long lives, the Holy Spirit was continually striving or trying to get mankind to look toward God and to live for Him. Unfortunately, humans wanted to do what they wanted to do and that did not include living for God. Moreover, God was sad and angry, because people would not listen to Him or listen for Him. How would you feel if everyone turned against you? Wouldn’t you be grieved? That is how God felt. Furthermore, people would not even think upon God, so God’s Spirit was very grieved.
God said that “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever”. In other words, God was no longer going to allow mankind to have long lives. But, God didn’t stop there. For, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to the birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them. But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” – (Genesis 6: 5-8. NASB.).
“Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” Well, you all probably know the rest of this part of God’s love story. God created mankind out of love, and He wanted to save Noah, so God spoke to Noah. Noah heard God and listened to God. Then Noah built an ark, and he, his wife, and his sons and their wives along with all the animals that God told him to save, were put on the huge ark that had taken Noah one hundred twenty years to build. Finally, the rains came and flooded the earth killing all the animals and all the evil people outside of the ark. But, Noah and his family along with the animals were saved, and once the waters receded they would repopulate the earth. This new group of people were then told to scatter themselves over all the face of the earth.
It didn’t take long for this original small group of people to multiply in number. During this time period, all the people also spoke the same language as they were all related to each other from one portion of Noah’s family or another. Eventually, they became a large group of people and migrated east together to a plain in the land of Shinar. It was there that because of their reasoning skills and their ability to build and create that they decided to build a tower into the heavens. Unfortunately, at the same time they again turned away from God Who had saved Noah and his family from the flood a few decades before. In fact, these people would not even exist had it not been for God’s Salvation of Noah’s family during the flood. But, pride and forgetfulness often gets in the way of our seeing the Truth. In fact, this was exactly what happened to those people.
All the people turned from worshiping God to worshiping a false god, which in this case, was a false goddess called Ishtar. They also refused to migrate to other areas of the earth, because they believed that there was power in numbers and power in their maintaining their common goals. Moreover, because of their common language and political unity, they no longer believed in their Creator, but instead believed in their power to reason, create and accomplish all things together.
God, however, was not happy with the people. For, these people had said, “Come let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into the heavens, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the earth.” But then “The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The Lord said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Come let Us go down and there confuse their language, so they will not understand one another’s speech.’ So, the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth, and they stopped building the city.’” -- (Genesis 11: 3-8. NASB). Here again, notice that God refers to Himself as Us, or as the Trinity even though the word “Trinity” is never used. Even so, it was the Trinity of God that went down and confused the language of the people.
Throughout the Older Covenant/ Testament, God indicates through the making of the Tabernacle and through all the items He ask Moses to place within the Tabernacle that God’s Son would someday come to deliver the people. Indeed, Christ, the Son of God, would one day come to Deliver or to Save people from eternal death if they chose to believe on Him. In the meantime, the tabernacle and the rituals of the tabernacle represented and reminded the people that a blood sacrifice was needed for the cleansing of their sins and that the Deliverer would be the ultimate blood sacrifice. Even though their present situation in sacrificing bulls, and lambs could not truly cleanse them from their sins, it could remind them that they were sinners and that they needed a Deliverer who would be Jesus Christ, God’s Son. God would send His Son, part of the Trinity of God, to save His people. But, God did not stop with the Tabernacle in pointing to the coming Christ. For, God also used His prophets to prophesy the coming of Jesus Christ, The Son of God.
Prophecies Regarding the Coming Son of God
Throughout the Older Covenant/ Testament God used prophets to talk to the people and to show them how to live and what God expected of them. Sometimes the people listened to the prophets, but at other times they ignored them until the prophecy was fulfilled and they then experienced the consequences of their sinfulness. Fortunately, the prophet’s words were recorded so that today we can see how God fulfilled all of their prophecies back then and how Jesus Christ, God’s Son, fulfilled their prophecies about the coming Messiah, or Deliverer.
The first prophecy, though, came directly from God in the Book of Genesis. Right after Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge and Good and Evil, God found Adam and Eve hiding from Him. When asked why they were hiding, they told God that it was because they were naked. Obviously, they were now aware of their nakedness, so God knew they had eaten of the forbidden tree. But, when asked why they ate the fruit, each blamed someone else. Adam blamed Eve for telling him the fruit was good and encouraging him to eat of it. Then, Eve blamed the Serpent who twisted her words and confused her, causing her to go ahead and eat of the fruit. But, God knew that both of them were to blame. Notice that even back then people were trying to blame someone else besides themselves for the thing that they had personally done. Not taking responsibility for our own actions will not get us out of discipline or away from the repercussions from our sinful actions. Although God is a loving God, He is also just and judicious. That being the case, God had to give Adam and Eve their punishment. (To read about their punishment read Genesis 3).
God’s prophecy about sending His Son to earth to save people from their sins occurred at the same time that God told Satan or the serpent what his punishment would be. “So the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, you will be punished. … You will grovel in the dust as long as you live, crawling along on your belly. From now on, you and the woman will be enemies, and your offspring and her offspring will be enemies. He will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” – (Genesis 3: 14, 15. NLT). The phrase “and you will strike His heel” is a prophecy that Satan would make several attempts to defeat Christ while He was on earth. Indeed, the Bible records Satan’s many attempts to defeat Christ, but to Christ each of Satan's attempts were just a strike at Christ’s heel. However, the phrase “He will crush your head” was also a prophecy regarding God’s plan for Christ to ultimately defeat Satan and offer Salvation to the world. This prophecy was fulfilled when Christ defeated Satan by arising from the dead, conquering eternal death and giving humans a chance for Salavation.
Later, in the Book of Deuteronomy, God told Moses that He would raise up a prophet for His people among the Israelites. That prophecy was fulfilled in John 7: 40 when some of the people in the crowds around Jesus said, “This man surely is a Prophet. Others said, He is the Messiah.” But, God also prophesied about the coming Deliverer, i.e. His Son, through God’s instructions for the Passover Meal at the time of the Exodus from Egypt. For, of the sacrificial lamb that the people were to share at the evening meal or evening supper on their last night in Egypt, God said that the people could not “carry any of its (the lambs’ meat) outside, and you may not break any of its bones.” – (Exodus 12: 46. NLT). This statement was both symbolic and prophetic of the fact that none of Christ’s bones as the sacrificial lamb for all people would be broken at His crucifixion. For, centuries later when the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified on either side of Christ, they then turned to Christ to break his legs, too, in order to speed up the death process. “But when they came to Jesus, they saw that He was dead already, so they didn’t break His legs.” – (John 19: 32). This fulfilled God’s prophecy and its symbolism.
God’s prophets also spoke of Christ or the future Messiah coming to earth to save God’s people. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah was to be born of a virgin in Isaiah 7: 14. Later in the New Testament, both Matthew and Luke told of the virgin birth of Christ in Matthew 1: 18-25 and in Luke 1: 26-38. The prophet Micah also prophesied about Christ’s birth in that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, which was recorded in Micah 5: 2. Indeed, Christ the Messiah was born in Bethlehem as recorded in Matthew 2: 1-6 and in Luke 2: 1-20.
After Christ started His ministry and toward the end of His time here on earth, we discover that the prophecy of Zechariah came true too. For, Zechariah prophesied that the Messiah would enter Jerusalem in triumph as recorded in Zechariah 9: 9. Then it happened that only a week before His crucifixion, Christ did enter Jerusalem in triumph, which is recorded in both Matthew 21: 1-9 and in John 12: 12-16.
Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be rejected by His own people, the Jews, in Isaiah 53: 1, 3. This prophecy was fulfilled and described in Matthew 26: 3, 4, John 12: 37-43 and in Acts 4: 1-12. Isaiah also prophesied that the Messiah, the Son of God, was to be tried and condemned in court. This prophecy is recorded in Isaiah 53: 8 and later fulfilled in Matthew 27: 1, 2 and in Luke 22: 1-25.
If you have read the Bible, you might remember that Isaiah prophesies that when charged Christ would not defend Himself against the false accusations being made by the Jewish hierarchy. Isaiah said that the Messiah would be silent before His accusers, and this is recorded in Isaiah 53: 7. Again centuries later, we indeed learn that Christ the Messiah did not speak up in His defense as seen through the writings of Matthew, Mark and Luke. You can find this fulfillment of prophecy in Matthew 27: 12-14; Mark 15: 3-4; and in Luke 23: 8- 10.
We also learn from Isaiah that Christ would be physically abused as He was taken before the Pharisees and Sadducees. Isaiah, the prophet, said that the Messiah would be struck and spat upon by His enemies. Sure enough that is exactly what happened centuries later when Christ was taken before these two groups of important Jews. We are told of this incident in both Matthew 26: 67; 27: 30 and in Mark 14: 65. But, King David also prophesied in Psalm 22: 7-8 that the Messiah would be mocked and insulted by His enemies. This, too, occurred and was recorded in Matthew 27: 39-44 and in Luke 23: 11, 35.
Finally, Christ was crucified. Christ’s crucifixion was also prophesied by King David years before it happened. Psalm 22 gives us such verses as “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken Me?” in verse 1. Later Jesus quoted this verse while hanging on the cross as recorded in Matthew 27: 46. Then in verse 7-8 of Psalm 22 David writes these words: “Everyone who see me mocks me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying, Is this the one who relies on the LORD? Then let the LORD save him! If the LORD loves him so much, let the LORD rescue him.” This prophecy was fulfilled as Christ hung on the cross. The religious leaders and others watching the crucifixion mocked Him saying, “… So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusted God – let God show His approval by delivering him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” – (Matthew 27: 42, 43. NLT).
The Cruelty of the Cross and the Sacrifice
Christ Made for You and Me
Years before Christ was even born, let alone crucified, David wrote this prophecy: “My life is poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. … My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have left me in the dust and left me for dead. My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs and evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet. I can count every bone in my body. My enemies stare at me and gloat. They divide my clothes among themselves and throw dice for my garments.” – (Psalm 22:14, 16-18. NLT). David could only know these words to write through divine inspiration and prophecy from the Lord, because it would be centuries before these words would come true for the Son of God.
When someone was crucified, several things happened. First the cross was placed on the ground. Then the person was laid on the cross while the soldiers placed large spike like nails in the upper palms next to the wrist bone where they were hammered into the bone and flesh. The person’s legs were usually crossed at the ankles and then a large spike like nail was hammered into the ankles. Afterward, the cross was raised and placed within a previously dug hole so that the cross would stand up-right. The weight of the human body and gravity, though, would keep the person on the cross from being able to get enough air into their lungs to breathe, unless they pushed up with their fractured ankles and pulled up with their broken wrists at the same time. This torturous movement would allow the diaphragm to expand just enough to get a breath of air. Eventually, though, the shoulders would separate from all the weight hanging on them and from the gravitational pull. When this shoulder separation happened it would keep the person from being able to pull upward to get that needed breath of air. As each breath of air became harder to get, the body would start to shut down and the person would eventually suffocate to death. It was a slow and cruel process.
As the Son of God was hanging on the cross, several things happened that would fulfill the prophecy about Christ found in the Older Covenant/ Testament. The Apostle Matthew records in His book of the same name that “The soldiers gave Him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when He tasted it, He refused to drink it. After they had nailed Him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for His clothes by throwing dice. Then they sat around and kept guard as He hung there.” -- (Matthew 27: 34, 35. NLT). The Gospel of John goes into a little more detail about the guards and Christ’s clothes. “When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided His clothes among the four of them. They also took His robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said, ‘Let’s not tear it but throw dice to see who gets it.’ This fulfilled the Scripture that says, ‘They divided my clothes among themselves and threw dice for my robe.’” – (John 19: 23, 24. NLT.).
The Gospel of John also records the fulfillment of the prophecy about Christ’s thirst. The Apostle John said in his record of the crucifixion that “Jesus knew that everything was now finished, and to fulfill the Scriptures He said, “I am thirsty.’ A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it to His lips. When Jesus had tasted it, He said, ‘It is finished!’ Then He bowed his head and gave up His spirit.” – (John 19: 28-30. NLT).
Although many thought that was the end of Jesus Christ, they were wrong. For, Jesus had not lost His Kingdom, nor was He defeated as Satan wished. Instead, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, would be the King of the Kingdom of God. His death and ultimate resurrection would strike down Satan’s hold on the world and establish Christ’s authority over this world. Even the mocking sign that the Romans had placed above Christ on the cross, stating that He was “The King of the Jews” would turn out to be true. For, Christ is indeed now King of the Jews, King of Gentiles, and King over all the Earth.
Jesus was only in the grave three days, and when He arose He was then seen by more than five hundred people alive. Then when He went back to Heaven, Christ promised to return and to rule over the earth for a thousand years. There is such love in the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for us and such love in the Father who freely gave His Son so that we could someday, in believing in Christ as the risen Son of God, spend eternity in Heaven with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, i.e. The Trinity of God.
Until next time, remember, too, that if you are already a true Christian, You can do it! You can empower another person to be all they can be for God. You can actively mentor another person for Christ. You can share the Gospel message, and You can live your life with purpose.
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