Killed

When we are seeking to understand the Bible, it is important that we begin with the correct premise. The entire purpose of the Hebrew and Greek scriptures, is to reveal a singular plan of Salvation for all mankind that God has determined. The purpose of the coming Messiah; the reason for His birth; the prophecies that were written for Him, they all have one goal: That He might die for the sins of the world.

Here, David writes his vivid description of the Messiah, who will be killed and pay the ultimate price for the redemption of every person.

The Messiah was born for the express purpose of being the Savior of the world.

Psalms 22:9-10 “But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts. I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My God.”

New Testament Fulfillment:

Luke 2:10-11 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

The Original Language

The key to this prophecy is a correct understanding of the phrase: “cast upon,” in Psalms 22:10. The word cast originates from the Hebrew word shalak, which means to cast down or kill.[1] Here, David is implying that the Messiah, who will arrive on the earth as a baby (in the womb), will also be cast down (killed).

At first glance, Psalms 22:9-10 may not appear to be a Messianic verse of scripture. The original Hebrew translation, being absent from the text; it would be impossible to understand the correct meaning of the term cast down without some guidance. In any serious study of the Bible, a Strong’s Hebrew or Greek Concordance is helpful in comprehending the correct usage of words found in the scriptures.

Whenever a person is endeavoring to study the Bible, one of the first principles that they should follow is that of “context.” Simply stated, context means that when reading a verse or group of verses; the reader should go back to the beginning of that particular chapter and read all the way through to the end of the chapter to understand the entire circumstances of those verses. In the case of Psalm 22, David is clearly writing to describe the crucifixion of the Messiah. The term cast down takes on new meaning when we understand that all of the context of Psalm 22 is a future look at the great sacrifice the Messiah will make for the sins of the world.

The danger of not adhering to the principle of context is that we may remove a verse of scripture from the others around it and misapply it to a doctrine or principle in which it was not intended.

The entire context of Psalms 22, is speaking of the birth, life, and death of the coming Messiah. When the context is following a specific path and then suddenly, a verse such as Psalms 22:9-10, comes along and makes no mention of this person as the Savior, we might think that such an application to this verse would be incorrect. Because Psalms 22 is dealing mainly with the birth, life, and death of the Savior, it is reasonable to conclude that verses 9-10 are also speaking of the birth of the Messiah and His death.

Imagine that upon your birth, you learned that the purpose for your life is to die for the wrongful actions of others. Your life is to be a sacrifice to redeem the lives of people—many of which, will never care or even thank you for what you have done for them. This was the purpose of the body that had been prepared for Jesus Christ. He was born to die.

Hebrews 10:5 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me.”

When the angel came to Joseph and announced that Mary would bear the Son of God in her womb, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit; he told him that His name would be “Jesus” and that the purpose of His birth was to; “save His people from their sins.”

Matthew 1:20-21 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”

We do not know the point at which Jesus knew who He was or when He understood the purpose for His life. The Bible does not tell us much about the early days of Jesus’ childhood. The following is the entire testimony of Jesus’ adolescent years, until He reached the age of twelve.

And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him. His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And Joseph and His mother did not know it; but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.” And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them. Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:40-52

It is at the age of twelve that a young Hebrew boy enters adulthood. Many believe that the age of accountability is twelve, when God holds an individual responsible for his action or inaction in receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior. At twelve, a young boy or girl is no longer covered by the clause in the Law of God which protects them from judgment, based upon innocence or lack of knowledge. A baby or young adolescent may have the benefit of being covered exclusively by the Grace of God and the sacrifice of Jesus for all sins, up until the age of twelve. No one knows this for certain, but it is postulated that twelve is the age of accountability for all human beings. Accountability for sin is based upon our knowledge of what God requires and our ability to understand the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:19-20 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Romans 4:15 because the law brings about wrath; for where there is no law there is no transgression.

The principle of innocence is best understood when we consider a person who has a diminished mental capacity, or is completely incapable of understanding sin or the requirements of God to repent and receive Jesus Christ. What happens to those who die as infants or in the womb? What of those who are mentally retarded, mentally ill, or have no capability to understand the Gospel, by their lack of mental ability?

Because the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross has paid for the sins of all people, for all time, God can cover with His Grace, any of those who cannot—of their own; understand the gospel and be saved. It would be inconsistent for God to send a baby, a young child or a mentally incapacitated person to hell. God wants to save people, and He will save those who cannot act to save themselves, through confession and repentance; because they cannot understand sin and the need for salvation. In these cases, where there is no law, there is no transgression. The clause in Romans 3:20 states that when a person comes to the knowledge that he is a sinner, the law is then applied to him. The age of accountability may vary from person to person depending on their individual ability to understand the gospel. According to God’s word, all adults are aware that they are sinners and that God has required everyone to repent and receive Jesus as their Savior.

Romans 1:19-20 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse…

The only example that we see in the Bible for an age of accountability is in Luke chapter 2:20-52, where at twelve years of age, Jesus came into the public view as one who was full of the knowledge of God’s purpose for His life and that purpose was to die for the sins of the world. There is a subtle hint, as to the purpose of Jesus’ life, even at His birth.

Luke 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths…

The strips of cloth that Mary wrapped Jesus in as a newborn were traditionally used to bind a child tightly. This served to comfort the child and to keep him still. As Jesus is bound by these cloth strips at His birth, this same procedure will be repeated later in preparation for His burial. This may be a hint for us that this King, who was born as a baby in Bethlehem; was born to die for the sins of the world. This was the purpose of Jesus in coming as the promised Messiah. At His first arrival on earth, He came as the Savior of all people. At His second coming, He will arrive as a great conqueror who will rule the whole earth by absolute power and dominion.

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The prophet Isaiah, writes a confirming prophecy of David’s prediction from the previous section of this chapter: “The Messiah was born for the express purpose of being the Savior of the world; Psalms 22:9-10. Here in Isaiah 53:8c, the Messiah is described as “cut off” (killed) at the hands of evil men.

Isaiah 53:8c He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken.

New Testament Fulfillment:

Matthew 27:35 Then they crucified Him…

Acts 2:22-23 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death…”

Cut Off

The term cut off is an Old Testament expression used to describe the killing of the Messiah, which is first mentioned in the prophecy of Daniel Chapter 9.

Daniel 9:26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself…”

Isaiah borrows this term and includes it in his prophecy describing the suffering of the Messiah. At the time that Jesus was crucified, the Roman government and the religious leadership of Israel; believed that they were carrying out the sentence of death upon Jesus. In reality, the death of the Messiah was the eternal plan of God; conceived: before the foundation of the world.

Revelation 13:8 … the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

The Sovereignty of God and the Free Will of Men

Acts 2:22-23 (above) speaks of the evil men who put Jesus to death by unrighteous actions; while it was also the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God that allowed this to take place.

This is one example in the Bible, where we see both the sovereignty of God and the free will of men—working together at the same time.

There are many instances throughout the Bible where seemingly ordinary circumstances occur that are, in-fact; orchestrated and controlled by the Lord. The census that was conducted at the time Mary was about to deliver Jesus, was made by men; but ordained by God. The Lord wanted to bring Joseph back to the place of his ancestors’ birth so that Jesus would fulfill the Old Testament prophecy of the Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem.

Luke 2:1-5 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child…

We should pay special attention to the certainty that God is always moving people and events where He has determined they should be, in order to fulfill His prophetic word. We see this demonstrated throughout history as we compare the prophecies which Jesus fulfilled in the New Testament, with the words of God—which were recorded hundreds of years in advance, by the Old Testament.

The prophet Micah predicts that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, in the chapter: Born In Bethlehem.

Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”

Matthew confirms that Jesus fulfilled Micah’s prophecy as the Messiah.

Matthew 2:5-6 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”

When Joseph was taken as a slave to the house of Pharaoh, God again; engineered a great famine over the whole earth so that Joseph’s brothers would have to come to Egypt to find food for the survival of their family (Genesis 41-50). It seems that the only place in the world at that time where there was adequate grain, was in Egypt. God ensured that Egypt would be this place of salvation, by giving Pharaoh a dream of seven abundant years before seven years of famine would take place. Joseph, who had been placed in prison in Egypt, was given the ability to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. As a result of God giving Joseph this ability; to correctly interpret Pharaoh’s dream, he was placed in charge of all the food supplies of Egypt. It was while in Egypt that the prophecy Joseph had made many years before, that his brothers would all bow down before him, came true.

Genesis 37:7 There we were, binding sheaves in the field. Then behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and indeed your sheaves stood all around and bowed down to my sheaf.

As Joseph’s brothers come to Egypt to seek food for their family, Joseph is now second in command over the entire kingdom. Joseph reveals to His brothers that God was working in the background all along in order to make certain that all of these things would happen, according to God’s plans and purposes.

Genesis 45:4-5 And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” So they came near. Then he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.

Men may move to accomplish their own will; but all that any man can do is conform himself to the sovereign will and power of God. Nothing can take place anywhere, at anytime; without the Lord causing and allowing it to happen. God is always supreme over all the affairs of this world.

As Isaiah describes the Messiah as cut off; this event was planned by God before He made the universe or created the first man. Nothing ever catches the Lord, unaware or takes Him by surprise. It is a great comfort to know that once we commit ourselves to God through Jesus Christ, every detail of our life is under the power and control of the Great God who stretched out the universe and determined its measurements.

One of the most difficult principles to grasp and accept, once a person begins to follow Jesus, is that our part in the execution of God’s will is to simply submit to the changes and circumstances that God moves us, to and through, during our life. If we understand that each detail of our existence is planned by God so that He might conform us into the image of Jesus Christ, we can have peace; knowing that even the most difficult of circumstances have a good end intended for our life.


[1] “Shalak,” from Strong’s number 7993, “cast down,” as in: Genesis 37:20 HEB: לְכ֣וּ וְנַֽהַרְגֵ֗הוּ וְנַשְׁלִכֵ֙הוּ֙ בְּאַחַ֣ד הַבֹּר֔וֹת, NAS: and let us kill him and throw him into one, KJV: now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some, INT: come kill and throw one of the pits.