Because Passover would begin at 6 pm, there was great-need to expedite the crucifixion of Jesus. According to Deuteronomy 21:23, the body of any man who was hung on a tree, could not be left there overnight. The Roman soldiers who oversaw Jesus crucifixion were instructed to ensure that He was dead and removed from His cross, before 6 pm.
As Jesus carried His cross to the Hill where He would be crucified, repeatedly He collapsed in exhaustion. One of the visitors to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover was Simon of Cyrene. According to Roman law, any soldier could require any person to assist them, for any reason (Matthew 5:41). Simon is ordered to pick up Jesus cross and carry it the remaining distance to the hill where He will be put to death. We later learn that Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus, two well known members of the early Christian church (Mark 15:21).
As a result of seeing Jesus up-close and observing His behavior during the crucifixion, Simon became a believer. This experience with Jesus, later resulted in the conversion of his family. Simon had come to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover, which observed the Blood of the Lamb that took away sin. In His encounter with Jesus, Simon looked into the eyes of the Lamb of God and his heart was eternally joined to Jesus.
The Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world, took away all of Simon’s sins and changed him forever.
I believe that any person who can see Jesus hanging on the cross and feel the suffering and emotion of that moment, will also be changed. Perhaps it is because this story has been told so many times that the world has become inoculated from its stunning reality. When I was writing the chapter; Crucified, I left my office where I was writing and I joined Jesus at the foot of His cross. I watched Him; I listened to the sounds of the voices that laughed and mocked Him. I could smell the oil, the blood, and the stench of the Roman cross. I saw the sun turn into darkness as Jesus died. I felt the shudder of His suffering and compassion that emanated from an eternity of His love.
The descriptions of early crucifixions are so graphic and horrific that the average person would find it impossible to bare the sight. Men who were nailed to a cross, were so severely brutalized that they were frequently unrecognizable as their former persons. In the case of Jesus, before He was brought to the cross, He was fiercely scourged and suffered catastrophic blood and fluid loss. Jesus’ internal organs were exposed to the world by the flagrum, that tore His flesh into ribbons. He died the most horrific and brutal death imaginable.
It would be enough that the LORD; who created the universe, was willing to subject Himself to this torture on our behalf. We also learn that David is writing His description of Jesus death, during a time in history when this form of execution did not exist. David had never seen anyone with their hands and feet pierced, nor did he know of any person who had suffered the horrendous descriptions that are included in the 22nd Psalm. The only way that David could have written this narrative about Jesus crucifixion, is if He had been transported there to Jesus cross and saw what would happen, 1,000 years later.
David writes: The hands and feet of the Messiah will be pierced.
Psalm 22:16b “They pierced My hands and My feet…”
New Testament Fulfillment:
Matthew 27:35 Then they crucified Him…
John 20:25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
Upon our arrival at Psalm 22 verse 16, we have certain confirmation that David is describing the Crucifixion of a human being. The language: “They pierced My hands and My feet,” is clear enough.
It is interesting that there are no New Testament verses which specifically state that they drove nails into Jesus’ hands and feet. It is by the later testimony of John Chapter 20:25 that we see the disciples knew that Jesus’ hands and feet had been pierced by nails during His crucifixion.
John 20:25 “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails…”
Claims of interpolation
There has been some debate over the correct translation of Psalm 22:16b. Those with a bias against Jesus, the Christian faith, and the Bible, claim that the Jewish Masoretic text has this verse translated as: “like a lion, are at my hands and feet.” Of course this assertion is made for the purpose of disqualifying the entire text of Psalm 22 as a prophecy of the Messiah, fulfilled by Jesus. Critics claim that the text: “they pierced my hands and feet,” is an interpolation by Christians at a later date. In fact, what has occurred here, is the omission of an important verb in the Hebrew Masoretic text that has led to these inaccurate conclusions.
According to Hebrew scholars, the text: “like a lion my hands and my feet,” is lacking the Hebrew verb, Strong’s #3738. כָּרָה (karah).
The Masoretic text of Psalm 22:16 reads: כי סבבוני כלבים עדת מרעים הקיפוני כארי ידי ורגלי׃, “They encompass me like a booming committee, dogs surrounded me like a lion my hands and feet.”
The Aramaic Targum adds the correct verb, “karah,” and it reads: “they bite like a lion my hands and my feet”.
The Greek Septuagint has ωρυξαν χειράς μου και πόδας, “they have dug/pierced my hands and feet,” which was correctly translated from the Hebrew root: כרה, this conclusion is also supported by the Dead Sea Scrolls, Hahal Hever, 5/6Hev1b f8_9:12), כר[ו ]ידי. “Dig” has been understood in the sense of “pierced,” as in Psalm 40:7/6), hence the rendering in the Syriac (“they have pierced my hands and feet”).
An important confirmation of the correct translation of Psalm 22:16, comes from the Dead Sea scrolls which were discovered in Israel between 1946 and 1956. In this portion of Psalm 22:16 that was discovered at Khirbet Qumran in the West Bank, confirms the translation: “they pierced my hands and feet…”
The missing Hebrew word from the Masoretic text: “karah,” is translated seventeen times in the Old Testament as: “dig, digged, digs, cut, cutout, pierced, and opened.”
Clearly, the error that has been made here, is the omission of one verb. There is no translation in existence which removes the text of “hands and feet, pierced.” At the very least, the text reads: “”they bite like a lion my hands and my feet.” No credible Hebrew scholar, today, agrees that the text of Psalms 22:16 simply says: “like a lion my hands and my feet.”
The objections made by critics of this text have only served to fully define and correct what has been misstated and misunderstood. As these unfounded objections have been made by those who are unskilled in the original languages, scholars in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic, have come forward to correct these errors.
In the end, the translation that we have in our English Bible, today, for Psalm 22:16; is the most accurate rendering of the original language. David clearly was predicting the events of the Messiah in all seventeen prophecies of Psalm 22.
Important facts regarding how Jesus was attached to the cross:
We know today that the small bones in a human hand could not support a body as it is held to a wooden Cross. Either the executioners drove the nine-inch spikes into Jesus’ wrists, or they bound His arms to the wooden cross with rope to help support His weight. The place where the spikes were driven into Jesus’ wrists was at the middle of the wrist between the small bones called the “Radial, Ulna, and Carpal Bones.” The effect of placing the spike here, is to sever the Median nerve that supplies feeling and control of the hands.
The Roman guards now switched from Jesus’ arms to His feet, securing both together with one nine-inch spike through the metatarsal bones. The placement of the nail in this portion of Jesus’ foot would cause a substantial loss of blood from the “Dorsal Petal Artery.”
One of the catastrophes of Crucifixion occurs when the body is nailed to a wooden cross, with the arms lifted up. When the arms are placed at right angles to the body, slightly up and outstretched; this compresses the lungs; making it nearly impossible to breathe. The only way that a person who was under crucifixion, could bring air into his lungs was by pushing down with his feet. This would relieve pressure on the arms; opening the lungs to breath. Every time that Jesus wanted to take a breath of air, He had to push His nail-pierced feet down into the platform on the cross, causing excruciating pain. Imagine the suffering that Jesus endured during these six hours upon the Cross.
In this second part of the chapter, we see that the prophet Zechariah, writing about 500 years before Jesus was crucified; describes the day when the Messiah will return to earth, a second time. Here the prophet states that the inhabitants of Jerusalem will look upon the Messiah—whom they have pierced, and mourn for Him.
This is both a confirmation of Psalm 22, where the Messiah is pierced; and an acknowledgment that the Jews will look back to the period of their history when they crucified their Messiah and mourn over their sin. Finally, this confirms that Jesus is the object of the earlier prediction of David, as well as the later prediction by Zechariah.
Zechariah predicts that the nation of Israel and the Jews will finally “look upon” the one whom they pierced and understand that He is their Messiah.
Zechariah 12:10c And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.
New Testament Fulfillment:
John 19:16-18 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away. And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.
John 19:34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
John 19:37 And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.”
Zechariah 12:10c appears to have a dual meaning.
First, this prophecy of Zechariah speaks of the Messiah as “pierced,” a clear reference to crucifixion. The certainty of this application is confirmed by the statement of John the Apostle, in chapter 19:37 above, where he quotes the words of Zechariah, word for word: “They shall look on Him whom they pierced.” John believed that Zechariah’s prophecy was specifically written for, and fulfilled by; Jesus.
Second, when Jesus returns to earth with His church at the end of the seven-year Tribulation, all Israel will believe that Jesus is the Messiah, and be saved. Then they will “look on Him whom they pierced… and mourn for Him….”
Many people do not realize that the method of crucifixion used during the period of time when Jesus was put to death, did not elevate the condemned to a position high above the ground. In most cases, the cross was raised just a couple of feet above the crowd of people who were standing nearby.
See the chapter in this book: Crucified
The effect of seeing someone suffer and die by crucifixion, up-close, was not soon forgotten. This method of execution was chosen by the Roman government for the graphic impact that it had in providing a visual deterrent for those who might consider committing the same offense.
The effects of Jesus’ crucifixion locally and when He returns:
We may not fully understand the significance of this prophecy in Zechariah 12:10 that “The Messiah will be looked upon while being Crucified”; but for those who were present at Jesus’ crucifixion, the nearness of His suffering and the visual horror of His massive injuries shocked and terrified those who observed Him.
A second meaning is directed towards the future when the Messiah will return to the earth at the Mount of Olives, as described by Zechariah in chapter 14:4.
Zechariah 14:4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east…
“That day” Zechariah speaks of is the Day of the Lord, defined by the Bible as the seven-year Tribulation. The Book of Revelation describes a period lasting seven years which begins by a peace treaty between Israel and the surrounding nations. A new world leader will arrive shortly after the church has been Raptured and set up a kingdom that unites the world under his authority. Midway into the seven years, a command will be given to worship this new leader as God, which is defined as the abomination that causes Desolation, described by both Daniel and Jesus. For the final three and one half years, God will pour out His wrath on the kingdom of the “beast,” and two-thirds of those who live on the earth at that time will perish.
At the end of the seven years, the Messiah will return to the earth and destroy the kingdom of the beast. At that time, Jesus will establish the kingdom promised to David, that will last forever.
See the Chapter: Destroy the antichrist; The Messiah shall destroy the kingdom of the antichrist and rule over the final kingdom of this world.
Daniel 2:34-35 You watched while a stone (Jesus) was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay (final kingdom), and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
See the chapter: Establish a Kingdom; Messiah will establish a kingdom in the last days that will never end.
Daniel 2:44-45 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.
Zechariah’s prophecy describes the Messiah as returning to earth, from heaven; when He will be recognized by the Jews as the One who was pierced for them. The prophet Daniel also predicts the Messiah’s return, in chapter seven of his prophecy; described as “the Son of Man.” This is a Messianic term that Jesus claimed for Himself, defining Daniel’s description of the Son of Man, as written for Him.
Daniel 7:13-14 I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.
Jesus calls Himself; the Son of Man
Matthew 24:30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
John writes in the Book of Revelation, describing the same event which Zechariah had predicted, here in his prophecy. At the end of the seven-year Tribulation, Jesus will return to the earth—with His church, to defeat the waiting armies of the antichrist; and set up the kingdom promised to David’s “house.”
Revelation 19:11-15 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
The term: “clouds of heaven,” as used here in Daniel Chapter 7, is an Old Testament intimation that is defined in the New Testament as a gathering of believers. When Paul wrote about the essence of faith in Hebrews Chapter eleven, as he begins chapter twelve; he tells us that there is a great “cloud of witnesses” in heaven, who are watching our progress here on earth as believers. The idea here is that those who have already gone on to be with the Lord, observe those who remain on the earth. These spectators from heaven are watching our progress as we struggle and grow in our trust and walk with the Lord.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…
When Jesus said that He will be “coming on the clouds of heaven,” it is understood that this is the same cloud of witnesses that Paul spoke of, in the Book of Hebrews. This is what Daniel wrote in his prophecy of the coming Messiah, in chapter seven, verse thirteen. The cloud is a fitting description of what it will look like from the earth, as the Lord returns to earth at the end of the seven-year Tribulation. He will be coming with billions of those who have been Raptured out of the earth before the Tribulation began. Like an approaching storm, far off in the distance; the immensity of this gathering of those who are returning with Jesus to rule over the earth, will look like a great storm cloud.
Revelation 19:14 “And the armies in heaven (The Cloud), clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him (Jesus) on white horses.” (As the Lord returns to earth)
The term “Son of Man,” here in Daniel 7:13; is the origin of Jesus’ reference to Himself as “the Son of Man.”
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.
Since Daniel’s prophecy is speaking of the Messiah and His return to earth at the end of the age to rule over the earth; this is certainly the intended meaning of Jesus when He told the leaders of Israel that He is the “Son of Man,” whom Daniel is speaking of. By using this title for Himself, Jesus was claiming that He is the Messiah.
Matthew 24:30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Matthew 26:64 Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
The Messiah will return at the Mount of Olives:
Daniel describes the Messiah returning at the end of the seventieth week, in Daniel Chapter 9 Verse 25. This prediction is discussed in detail the Chapter: 70 Weeks For Israel. The Book of Acts contains a small three-verse reference that tells us exactly where Jesus will return; the Mount of Olives, the same location that He departed earth from.
Acts 1:9-12 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey.
The prophet Zechariah confirms the arrival of the Messiah the second time, at the Mount of Olives.
Zechariah 14:3-4 Then the LORD will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle. 4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
For a detailed look at the return of Jesus at the end of the seven-year Tribulation, at the Mount of Olives; see the chapter: Return of Messiah.
Zechariah’s prophecy describing the people who pierced the Messiah, as they see Him return to earth, is a stunning reminder that all the events of this present earth are under the sovereign control of the Lord. Jesus will fulfill this prophecy of Zechariah at His return to the Mount of Olives with His church. At that time, the whole world will know that Jesus is Lord and that all of us who have given our lives to Him are His.
1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
 An example of this right of a Roman soldier to compel anyone to carry anything, for at least one mile, is observed in the comment of Matthew 5:41. Jesus is telling His disciples that if a Roman soldier compels you to carry something for one mile, carry it for two miles. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Matthew 5:41
 Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross. Mark 15:21
 Gregory Vall noted that is possible that the LXX translators were faced with כארו; i.e. as in the Masoretic text, but ending with the longer letter vav (ו), rather than the shorter yod (י). This word is not otherwise known in Biblical Hebrew, but could be an alternative spelling derived from the root כרה, “to dig” (Vall, Gregory (1997). “Psalm 22:17b: The Old Guess”. JBL 116 (1): 45–56 [p. 45]. JSTOR 3266745.) Vall proceeds to note nineteen conjectural emendations, (Vall (1997), pp. 50–52) while Brent Strawn appeals to iconographical data in support of the MT reading (Strawn (2000), p. 440).
 Ibid, Gregory Vall.
 The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 981 texts discovered between 1946 and 1956 at Khirbet Qumran in the West Bank. They were found inside specific caves about a mile inland from the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. David Down, “Unveiling the Kings of Israel.” P.160. 2011.
 Charlesworth and others, in consultation with J VanderKam and M Brady. Miscellaneous Texts from the Judaean Desert. DJD XXXVIII. Oxford: Clarendon, 2000.
 Genesis 26:25
HEB: שָׁ֖ם אָהֳל֑וֹ וַיִּכְרוּ־ שָׁ֥ם עַבְדֵי־
NAS: Isaac’s servants dug a well.
KJV: servants digged a well.
INT: there his tent dug and there servants
HEB: בְּקִבְרִ֗י אֲשֶׁ֨ר כָּרִ֤יתִי לִי֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ
NAS: which I dug for myself in the land
KJV: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land
INT: my grave which dug the land of Canaan
HEB: א֠וֹ כִּֽי־ יִכְרֶ֥ה אִ֛ישׁ בֹּ֖ר
NAS: or digs a pit
KJV: or if a man shall dig a pit,
INT: or If digs A man A pit
HEB: חֲפָר֣וּהָ שָׂרִ֗ים כָּר֙וּהָ֙ נְדִיבֵ֣י הָעָ֔ם
NAS: of the people dug, With the scepter
KJV: of the people digged it, by [the direction of] the lawgiver,
INT: sank the leaders dug the nobles of the people
2 Chronicles 16:14
HEB: בְקִבְרֹתָ֗יו אֲשֶׁ֣ר כָּֽרָה־ לוֹ֮ בְּעִ֣יר
NAS: which he had cut out for himself in the city
KJV: him in his own sepulchres, which he had made for himself in the city
INT: tomb which had cut the city of David
HEB: יָת֥וֹם תַּפִּ֑ילוּ וְ֝תִכְר֗וּ עַל־ רֵֽיעֲכֶֽם׃
KJV: the fatherless, and ye dig [a pit] for your friend.
INT: the orphans cast dig over your friend
HEB: יִכְר֣וּ עָ֭לָיו חַבָּרִ֑ים
INT: dig over will the traders
HEB: בּ֣וֹר כָּ֭רָֽה וַֽיַּחְפְּרֵ֑הוּ וַ֝יִּפֹּ֗ל
NAS: He has dug a pit and hollowed
KJV: He made a pit, and digged
INT: A pit has dug and hollowed fallen
HEB: מְ֭רֵעִים הִקִּיפ֑וּנִי כָּ֝אֲרִ֗י יָדַ֥י וְרַגְלָֽי׃
KJV: have inclosed me: they pierced my hands
INT: of evildoers has encompassed dig my hands and my feet
HEB: חָפַ֗צְתָּ אָ֭זְנַיִם כָּרִ֣יתָ לִּ֑י עוֹלָ֥ה
NAS: My ears You have opened; Burnt offering
KJV: mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering
INT: desired my ears have opened Burnt and sin
HEB: כָּפַ֪ף נַ֫פְשִׁ֥י כָּר֣וּ לְפָנַ֣י שִׁיחָ֑ה
NAS: is bowed down; They dug a pit
KJV: is bowed down: they have digged a pit
INT: is bowed my soul dug before A pit
HEB: רָ֑ע עַ֤ד יִכָּרֶ֖ה לָרָשָׁ֣ע שָֽׁחַת׃
NAS: Until a pit is dug for the wicked.
KJV: until the pit be digged for the wicked.
INT: of adversity Until is dug the wicked A pit
HEB: כָּֽרוּ־ לִ֣י זֵדִ֣ים
NAS: The arrogant have dug pits
KJV: The proud have digged pits
INT: have dug the arrogant pits
HEB: אִ֣ישׁ בְּ֭לִיַּעַל כֹּרֶ֣ה רָעָ֑ה וְעַל־
NAS: A worthless man digs up evil, While
KJV: man diggeth up evil:
INT: man A worthless digs evil While
HEB: כֹּֽרֶה־ שַּׁ֭חַת בָּ֣הּ
NAS: He who digs a pit will fall
KJV: Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall
INT: digs A pit will fall
HEB: רָעָ֔ה כִּֽי־ כָר֥וּ שׁוּחָ֖ה לְנַפְשִׁ֑י
NAS: with evil? For they have dug a pit
KJV: for good? for they have digged a pit
INT: shall evil for dig A pit my soul
HEB: פִּתְאֹ֑ם כִּֽי־ כָר֤וּ [שִׁיחָה כ]
NAS: raiders upon them; For they have dug a pit
KJV: suddenly upon them: for they have digged a pit
INT: suddenly When have dug pit to capture
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11. Primrose WB: A surgeon looks at the crucifixion. Hibbert J, 1949,pp 382-388.
Bergsma S: Did Jesus die of a broken heart? Calvin Forum 1948; 14:163-167.
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14. Cooper HC: The agony of death by crucifixion. NY Med J 1883;38;150-153.
15. Stroud W: Treatise on the Physical Cause of the Death of Christ and Its Relation to the Principles and Practice of Christianity, ed 2. London , Hamilton & Adams, 1871, pp28-156, 489-494.
 From Edwards WD, Gabel WJ, Hosmer FE. On the Physical death of Jesus Christ. JAMA 1986;255(11):1455-63. Used with permission of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, all rights reserved.
 Ibid. William D. Edwards M.D.
 Revelation 6:1-2
 Daniel 11:31 and 12:11, Matthew 24:15
 2 Samuel 7:16 And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”