Imposibilites And Coincidences

MESSIAH-IMPOSSIBLE

Internal Evidence Of Transcendent Knowledge

There are certain phenomenon which occurs in the Bible that are largely unnoticed. Events that are described where impossible scenarios are occurring in the narrative that the reader is not aware of unless they are really paying attention.

When we take a careful look at the details of Jesus’ final hours we are struck by the impossibilites of many of these events.

The Old Testament is very specific that the Messiah will be “Hanged on a tree.” This was required of the One who would come as the Savior of the world. Anyone who would seek to prove that he was the Messiah, must die by being hanged on a tree. Of course, we understand that the cross is the intended object of this prophecy as the original Hebrew word, עֵץ ‘êṣ; for “tree,” indicates that this is a plank of wood or upright timber.

What is interesting about this term is that execution by crucifixion did not exist at the time that Deuteronomy was written, about 1,400 years before Jesus was born.

Hanged On A Tree

Long before Jesus was nailed to a cruel Roman cross, the Book of Deuteronomy described a person who is hung upon a tree, as “cursed” by God. These words were recorded by Moses at the end of the forty years in the wilderness, about 1,400 years before Jesus was born. This statement in Deuteronomy was not a general declaration for any person that would be hung on a tree; it was intended as a future prophecy of the Messiah who would die for the sins of the world.

Paul later wrote in the book of Galatians that when Jesus died on that cross, He was taking away the curse that Adam had caused the human race, when He rebelled against God. Paul said that Jesus was fulfilling the prophecy of Moses that he wrote in Deuteronomy 21:23. This chapter explores the facts of this prophecy and how Jesus’ death has made a new life possible for any person who believes.

The Messiah will take our curse upon Himself.

“…his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.”  ~Deuteronomy 21:23

Paul Confirms That Jesus Crucifixion Was The Intent Of Deuteronomy 21:23

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)…  ~Galatians 3:10-13

It is clear from Paul’s commentary in the book of Galatians that he believed that Jesus’ death on the cross as the Messiah was the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 21:23, “hanged on a tree.” There was no Hebrew scholar greater than Paul during the time when this was written, except his teacher, Gamaliel.

Let Us Imagine For A Moment, An Alternative Ending To This Story

What if the leaders of Israel were able to initiate their own ruling and penalty for Jesus’ blasphemy when He claimed to be God? The prescribed method of punishment for Blasphemy was stoning to death. If Jesus was stoned instead of crucified, He would have failed the requirement for Messiah to be “hung on a tree.”

If the Romans had not come and conquered Jerusalem in 63 B.C., and subsequently taken away the right of the Jews to execute a man for a capital crime, this prophecy of Deuteronomy 21:23 could not have been fulfilled by Jesus in 32 A.D.

Coincidence Or a Planned Outcome By God?

We might imagine that events like this are simply the result of coincidences that take place all of the time. The only problem with this theory is that there are more than 400 of these happenstance events that took place during the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. See 400 Messianic Prophecies Jesus Fulfilled


Not One Bone Broken

Imagine a prophecy that has a component which is so difficult to fulfill that should it actually happen it would be unmistakable evidence that the one who satisfied the requirements of that prophecy, must be the Messiah.

Despite the normal procedure for a crucifixion in which the legs of a man would be broken to hasten his death, Jesus’ legs are not broken during His crucifixion. How could someone engineer his own death by crucifixion, yet none of his bones would be broken, as was common during crucifixions of that day?

Of course, it would be impossible to set up in advance, the events that would happen during the final hours of a person’s life. No sane person would purposely engineer a grotesque and vicious death by crucifixion for himself. If Jesus wanted to deceive the world into believing that He was the Messiah, would He go so far as to ensure that He would be killed by such a horrific event? Under normal circumstances, only a deranged person would do such a thing.

Precision Of Prophecy

God wanted to ensure that when He sent His Son into the world to die for us, that we would easily be able to identify Him as the Messiah.

In this prophecy that Jesus fulfilled, from Exodus 12:43, 46; the Passover Lamb could not have a single bone broken during the sacrifice of His life.

And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the ordinance of the Passover: No foreigner shall eat it. …46 In one house it shall be eaten; you shall not carry any of the flesh outside the house, nor shall you break one of its bones.  ~Exodus 12:43-46

If a man were going to set himself up, so that He could be identified as the promised Messiah; a man who would fulfill the prophecies of the Passover Lamb, how could he make sure that during his crucifixion, not one of His bones would be broken?

When Jesus was brought to the Cross to be put to death, it was on the evening of Passover. According to Jewish tradition, the body of someone who was crucified could not be left on the cross past the start of the Sabbath, which began at 6 pm. Since Jesus was placed on the Cross at the 3rd hour, which is 9 am, the Jews in Israel wanted to ensure that He did not remain on the Cross at the start of the Sabbath, at 6 pm. Often, those who were crucified would live for days while hanging on the cross, before they would expire.

It was traditional to break the legs of a condemned criminal who had been placed upon a cross, in order to hasten his death. The very act of being nailed to a cross caused great difficulty in breathing. The crucified would have to push down with his feet on the pedestal that his two fee was nailed to, just to stand up for a moment and draw a breath of air. Being suspended on the cross by the arms, the lungs were greatly impeded, and the mechanics of breathing were nearly impossible. The final strike against the body that ultimately caused the death of a crucified man was asphyxiation. After many hours, or often days—hanging on the cross, a person would become so fatigued that he was unable to push himself up, allowing breath to enter his lungs. Once this occurred, death quickly followed.

If the bones of a person on a cross, were broken at the middle of the lower leg; it would be impossible to thrust the body upwards and draw a breath. Instead of death by crucifixion taking days, it could occur within minutes. When the Roman guards came to break the legs of the three men who were being crucified on that day, they found that Jesus had already expired, and there was no need to break His legs.

Remember that in most cases, the legs of the condemned on the cross were not broken. Only during times of necessity, such as when there was an impending Sabbath that would begin soon. This was only done so that the condemned would die quickly and allow his body to be removed from the cross before the Sabbath began.

In fulfillment of the Scriptures—when the soldiers arrived at Jesus’ body to break His legs, they find that He is already dead.

We should remember that Jesus also came to fulfill the entire type and purpose for the Old Testament Passover Lamb. According to the provisions of the Book of Numbers Chapter 9, “Not one bone of the Passover Lamb could be broken.” See Prophecy 36. Although the Roman soldiers break the legs of both criminals who were crucified next to Jesus—when they examine Jesus, they find that He has already expired, negating the need to break His legs.

Think for a moment and consider what an amazing event this was. How carefully God had to plan and arranged the events of Jesus’ crucifixion so that He would fully pay for the sins of the world on the cross, but die before the soldiers arrive to break His legs. Imagine what it would have meant if Jesus had continued to live just a short time longer, and the soldiers had also broken His legs! Jesus would have failed to fulfill the prophecies that describe the Messiah as the Passover Lamb with not one bone broken. A simple failure in just this one prediction would have meant that Jesus could not fulfill all the prophecies of the Messiah, and He could not be our Savior. What great precision and control the Lord has orchestrated to ensure that Jesus would fulfill these many Old Testament prophecies!

The fact that this event was predicted for the Messiah (as He fulfills the intent of the Passover Lamb), implies that the author of this prophecy knew His legs would not be broken. The writer possessed advanced knowledge that the Messiah would be put to death on the cross, along with the other criminals who were also being crucified. Even more amazing, the fact that the two criminals would have their legs broken, while those of the Messiah would be left intact. In about 90 percent of all crucifixions, the executioners did not break the legs of those on the cross.[1] The author of this prophecy knew that this crucifixion would occur just before the start of the Jewish Sabbath, which would require the legs of the crucified to be broken; yet leaving the bones of the Messiah unbroken—in fulfillment of Exodus 12:46.

How is it possible to write in describing these specific details unless the writer had actually seen the events take place?

This is truly an incredible prediction if we give proper consideration for what is stated here. The manner in which Jesus perfectly fulfilled these words; when He was not able to control what happened, is stunning. Only someone from outside time, who could see events take place before they actually occurred on earth, could accurately tell us these fascinating details. A Transcendent Being who lives outside the constraints of time would have the opportunity to see any event that would happen here on earth, at any time.

Incredibly, this event fulfilled the prediction of this prophecy from Exodus chapter 12; describing the death of the Savior: Not one bone of His body will be broken.

One of the stunning calling cards that undeniably identifies Jesus as the promised Messiah and Savior of the world, is this fact of His crucifixion. While Jesus was hanging on the cross, the Roman soldiers did not break His legs to hasten His death. Jesus was in complete control of the precise moment of His death. He said in advance that He had the power to lay His life down, when He wanted to, and He had the power to take it back again; in resurrection, three days later.

Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  No one takes 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 command I have received from My Father.  ~John 10:17-18

Amongst all of the prophecies that Jesus fulfilled, this is one of the most stunning and compelling—proving that the Messiah is Jesus Christ, there is no other.


Control Over When He Died

Jesus was fully in control of when and where He would make His sacrifice for our sins; both in His death by crucifixion and by His resurrection three days later. Jesus boldly declared before He was crucified; “no one had the power to take His life from Him.”

Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes 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 command I have received from My Father. ~John 10:17-18

As Jesus is questioned by Pilate and warned that a continued refusal to answer could result in crucifixion, Jesus broke His silence to remind Pilate that he was not in control; only the Father had authority over Jesus’ life.

Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above.” John 19:10-11

Jesus was in authority over how and when He offered His life for all of us. When He spoke from the cross, Into Your hand I commit my spirit, He did so to remind us that He was fulfilling this prophecy written by David, from Psalms 31:5. Jesus was very careful to make sure that anyone who would read the Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah would immediately realize that it was Him—whom David was describing.

We should understand that the entire concept that a Messiah would come to earth, in fulfillment of hundreds of Hebrew prophecies, is not a new or unfamiliar concept to the Jewish nation. Beginning with Moses, he told the people that a prophet would come after him. They should expect His arrival and when He does come, they should “hear Him.”

The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear.  ~Deuteronomy 18:15

Peter spoke these same words, quoting from Deuteronomy 18:15, to the people who were gathered in Jerusalem on the Feast of Pentecost. He said that Jesus was the Messiah that Moses had described.

For Moses truly said to the fathers, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you.  ~Acts 3:22

Peter explained that what they had done to Jesus, was predicted by the prophets.

Friends, I realize that what you did to Jesus was done in ignorance; and the same can be said of your leaders. But God was fulfilling what all the prophets had declared about the Messiah, beforehand—that He must suffer all these things. ~Acts 3:17-18 (NLT 1986)

Not long after Peter recited Moses prophecy of a Messiah, Stephen stands before the elders of Israel and repeats this text to these men, once again.

This is that Moses who said to the children of Israel, ‘The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear.’ ~Acts 7:37

Stephen said these things so that these leaders of the Jews would understand that Jesus had fulfilled all of the prophecies of the Hebrew scriptures, including the highly respected prophetic words of Moses. These men should not be surprised to find that Jesus had come to them, in fulfillment of all that was written. They did not believe Stephen, and they would not accept Jesus as the fulfillment of Moses words. In doing this, without realizing, these leaders of Israel—again fulfilled a key prophecy of the Messiah.

He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.  ~Isaiah 53:3

After Jesus asked his disciples; “who do you say that I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.” Then Jesus told these men that in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy, He would be rejected by the leaders, the leading priests, and the teachers of the law.

And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.  ~Mark 8:31

Throughout the entire three and one-half years of Jesus public ministry in Israel, He set out to fulfill all four hundred of the prophecies that were written for Him. If Jesus had failed to complete any one of these, He would have been disqualified as the Savior of the world.

It is very common today that many people do not realize just how important the prophetic word of God is. The entire basis for what we believe and what saves us, is predicated upon whether or not Jesus was able to complete these prophetic words that were written for Him.

Then Jesus said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” ~Luke 24:44

Jesus had 1,278 days to fulfill 400 prophecies. If He failed, then none of us would have eternal life today. In this stunning fact, we see just how important our understanding of these prophecies are to us, today.

The entire foundation of the Bible is that God has spoken His prophetic word, for the purpose of identifying the correct Messiah when He arrives. For this reason, God gave the world, more than 400 predictions that describe every aspect of the Messiah’s life, death, and resurrection. According to Deuteronomy 18, if even one word of all that God has spoken, fails to be fulfilled, then the prophet who spoke these words, is a false prophet and no one should listen to him.

Conversely, if any word of God which He has spoken, regarding any event that He has predicted, ever fails, then God’s word is not true and we should not listen to Him. These are bold and brazen statements, but this is the reality that God has laid before us. Either His word is true, or it is not. The truthfulness of the Bible can only be proven by whether or not God has kept all of His promises.

The claim that is made by God is that every word that He has spoken, will come to pass.

Behold, this day I am going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.  ~Joshua 23:14

For I am the LORD. I speak, and the word which I speak will come to pass  ~Ezekiel 12:25

God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did.  ~Romans 4:17

The Day God’s Word Failed?

The Jews understood this claim. We see evidence of their comprehension of Messianic prophecy during the early history of Israel when the Romans took Jerusalem captive and removed the right of the people to govern their own affairs. God had told the Jews that the right to rule themselves would not be taken away until “Shiloh,” code word for the Messiah, appeared in their midst. The following prophecy of Shiloh was written about 1400 B.C.

…the scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to him shall be the obedience of the people.  ~Genesis 49:10

The Rabbis of this era wrote extensively regarding the prophecy of Genesis 49:10. These astute Hebrew scholars believed that this prediction was speaking of the coming Messiah, in relationship to the loss of rulership that would occur in the lives of the Jews.

  • Targum Onkelos:The transmission of domain shall not cease from the house of Judah, nor the scribe from his children’s children, forever, until Messiah comes.”
  • Targum Pseudo-Jonathan:King and rulers shall not cease from the house of Judah…until King Messiah comes.”
  • Targum Yerushalmi:Kings shall not cease from the house of Judah… until the time of the coming of the King Messiah… to whom all the dominions of the earth shall become subservient.”

This amazing and detailed prophecy of Genesis 49:10 by Jacob, reveals an incredible proof for the power of prophecy in the Word of God. Jacob speaks of the Scepter (Hebrew: Shebet). Jacob predicts that The Scepter (rulership) shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh comes.

In other words: God said that a time would come when Israel would be captured by a foreign invader and they would lose their right of self government. Before this takes place, the Lord will send Israel their Messiah, as He promised.

Israel’s right to enforce their own laws was closely linked to their identity as a nation. The Torah gave the Jews the authority to put a man to death who was found guilty, according to the laws of God. The prophecy of Genesis 49:10 predicts that the scepter (rulership, the Torah, the law) shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until the Messiah arrives.

This right of rule suddenly changed when Archelaus, the ruler of Judea, was banished to Gaul. His replacement was not a Jew, which was the normal policy under the Romans.

Caesar Agustus was weary of the Jews and determined that he would take away their right of judicial authority when Caponius became the new ruler in Judea.

This event is a matter of secular history, recorded by Flavius Josephus.

“And now Archelaus’ part of Judea was reduced into a province, and Caponius, one of the equestrian order of the Romans, was sent as a procurator, having the power of life and death put into his hands by Caesar” [1]

When this occurred, the chief priests of Israel believed they had lost the Scepter of Judah, and the word of God had failed.

When Archelaus was banished as ruler of Judea, the transfer of power away from the Jews is mentioned in the Talmud:

A little more than forty years before the destruction of the Temple, the power of pronouncing capital sentences was taken away from the Jews.” [2]

After this took place, in 7 A.D., the high priest of Israel went throughout the streets of Jerusalem wearing sackcloth and ashes, crying, “woe unto us, the scepter has been taken from us, and shiloh has not come…”

Because their right to self-rule had been taken away and Shiloh had not arrived, the leaders of Israel believed that the prophecy of the Messiah’s arrival before they lost their rulership, had failed.

Because one prophecy had failed, the leaders of Israel believed that all the word of God had failed. In this, we understand just how important is was in the mind of the Jews, that every prophecy of the Messiah must be fulfilled—perfectly.

This single nonfulfillment would mean that the word of God was no longer reliable and what God had said in His word could not be trusted.

The Jewish leadership did not realize that at the very moment when the high priest was lamenting that Shiloh had not come, a young boy of about 7 years of age was amongst them—who was Shiloh, their promised Messiah (Jesus).

Just five years later, Jesus is seen in their Temple at Jerusalem—a boy of about 12 years old, teaching the scriptures to the leaders of Israel. This young boy is Shiloh, and He had come in fulfillment of God’s promise. Jesus, the Messiah, had arrived at the moment that Judah had lost their right to self-rule, and they didn’t know it. The Word of God had not failed; it had been kept just as He said that it would.

This is but a glimpse of 400 of the incredible prophecies that God made and gave to the world that proves that He had knowledge of events long before they took place. This marvelous principle is one of the incredible proofs that come from inside the Bible to validate it for us as the Word Of God.


NOTES:
[1] The Messiah: An Aramaic Interpretation: The Messianic Exegesis of the Targum”, Samson H Levy (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Jewish institute of Religion, 1974), p. 2
[2} Jerusalem Talmud, Sanhedrin, filoi 24.



Categories: Empirical Evidence for God, Jesus is the Messiah, Messianic Prophecies, Prophecy proven by History, Robert Clifton Robinson

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