Secular Humanists latest attack on our Christian faith has come from the documentary, " The Lost Tomb of Jesus", which started airing on the Discovery Channel March 3, 2007. It is an attempt by the producer, Oscar-winning director James Cameron of "The Titanic" fame to confuse the viewer as to the validity of the New Testament claim, as well as the Old Testament prophecies, that Jesus Christ actually died and was buried, and then arose from the grave bodily after three days.
There is no question the New Testament declares this was a bodily resurrection, not just a spiritual resurrection:
26A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 27Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
Jesus, being God in the flesh, raised Himself up from the grave after spending three days in hell as the punishment for mankind's sins. The documentary would want you to believe otherwise. The producers would want you to believe the Lord of the Universe did not die on the cross, but instead lived, and He would be interested in raising a family with a mere mortal named Mary Madeline. This is not the type of relationship God is seeking with his creation.
Christianity has the greatest message mankind has ever heard. It makes claims other religions could only hope to make. Faith in Jesus Christ is backed by prophecies in scripture that are 100% accurate, and most have been fulfilled already by Jesus when he came to earth the first time. Only the end time prophecies remain, and some are being fulfilled in our lifetime. One such end-time prophecy that was clearly fulfilled in scripture was Israel becoming a nation again. It happened after nearly 2,000 years of Israel being non-existent. Israel became a nation once again in1948.
The prophet Ezekiel describes modern day Israel in his prophecy that dates back over 2,500 years ago.
35And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited.
Israel is a flourishing agricultural nation today. It exports and provides most of the fruit that is consumed in the European countries. The land is fertile once again, and has literally become like the garden of Eden by the hard work of the Jewish people. The cities have been rebuilt and the inhabitants are flourishing. Verses 34 and 35 describe Israel today.
Verses 36 through 38 below are not fully realized as yet. For the most part, Israel today is a secularist society. Most Jews are not practicing their religion and are striving for the good life the same way western societies have become. The day will come when this entire prophecy will be fulfilled. I pray that we all will be ready when this does happen. It could be fulfilled in our lifetime.
36 Then the nations around you that remain will know that I the LORD have rebuilt what was destroyed and have replanted what was desolate. I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.'
37 "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Once again I will yield to the plea of the house of Israel and do this for them: I will make their people as numerous as sheep,
I'd much rather believe in the message of the Bible that gives us hope for everlasting life than a documentary who's only aim is to destroy such hope. The scriptures is where all hope is found, and we do not have to wait and get to the New Testament to see it. King David gives us this hope by what he wrote 1,000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. The entire word of God confirms it is the Messiah who David is speaking of in Psalm 22. King David is not speaking of himself. He is a prophet of God who is seeing his heir to his throne, the one who is going to suffer, die, and yet rule forever. He is speaking of our Lord Jesus Christ absolutely positively. The words he wrote could only had come from the inspirational guidance of the Holy Spirit.
As we review Psalm 22, just as I did in writing the chapter titled Isaiah 53, I am going to make comments on what we read as well as provide the corresponding verses found in the New Testament. See Jesus as we look at one of the most famous prophecy that is found in all of scripture.
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from the words of my groaning?
2 O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, and am not silent.
3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the praise of Israel.
4 In you our fathers put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
5 They cried to you and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not disappointed.
6 But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by men and despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads:
8 "He trusts in the LORD;
let the LORD rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him."
9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you
even at my mother's breast.
10 From birth I was cast upon you;
from my mother's womb you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.
12 Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions tearing their prey
open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted away within me.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 Dogs have surrounded me;
a band of evil men has encircled me,
they have pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I can count all my bones;
people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my garments among them
and cast lots for my clothing.
19 But you, O LORD, be not far off;
O my Strength, come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver my life from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
22 I will declare your name to my brothers;
in the congregation I will praise you.
23 You who fear the LORD, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or disdained
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.
25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you will I fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
they who seek the LORD will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the LORD,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the LORD
and he rules over the nations.
29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness
to a people yet unborn—
for he has done it.
The Believer's Bible Commentary states, "Approach this Psalm with the utmost solemnity and reverence, because you have probably never stood on holier ground before. You have come to Golgotha where the Good Shepard is giving his life for the sheep. For three hours the earth has been enveloped in thick darkness. Now "Immanuel's orphaned cry" echoes through the universe: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"
As we read this Psalm together, do not think of it as King David saying these words, but the Lord Jesus Christ himself saying them as he bares the sins of the world on the cross for our sake.
2O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.
The greatest pain the Lord was experiencing at the cross was being forsaken by his Father. Jesus was forsaken because He bore our sins as his own. The physical pain was nothing compared to not having the relationship with the one He loves--His Father God.
The Jewish Feast known as The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) was first given to Moses and the Israelites to keep 1,500 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. It symbolized and prophesied what Jesus would do for mankind the first time He came to earth. It is one of the many ways God has shown us Jesus in the Old Testament.
Verses 1 and 2 above describes how our Messiah Jesus would be completely cut off from Father God at the cross. The thing is, scripture teaches he did this willingly. Because of the love he had for his creation, the Lord took our sins upon himself as his own. The Bible teaches Jesus was both:
In the Old Testament, there were two goats used in the performance of the Feast known as Yom (Day) Kippur (Atonement). The first goat would be killed as a sacrifice to the Lord. With the second goat, the high priest would confess all the sins the children of Israel had made in the past year. This goat, symbolically bearing their sins, was then sent into the wilderness to carry away their sins. The second goat became the scapegoat for Israel's sins. The goat became the one that was made the object of blame. This is what Jesus literally has done for us! "HE IS BOTH GOATS" in our own atonement with God.
He is the first goat because he willingly laid down his life as the perfect one-time sacrifice for sin. Since he bore our sins as his own, he also is the second goat--our scapegoat. What Jesus accomplished at the cross was this: The just punishment of sin meant for us has been given to Jesus instead. God is holy, and righteous, and his justice demands that there be punishment for sin. Because of God's love for us, He unleashed all of his fury and righteous wrath on his Son for the atonement of our sins instead of us. Jesus is the innocent victim who died for our sins. He is the scapegoat who carried away our sins for us.
View the second goat as the foreshadow of the resurrected Christ because just as the scapegoat lived after carrying all the burden of sin away into the desert, Jesus did not permanently stay in the grave but arose and lives. He is now seated at the right hand of his Father.
4Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
5They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
As the Lord hangs on the cross, he reminds us how the fathers of Israel trusted in God. When they cried out to God for deliverance, He would answer their prayers. When they trusted in the Lord, He would not confound them. This is true today. Those who cry out to the Lord for forgiveness of sin will be delivered. The Bible declares all who trust in Jesus Christ will be delivered and will be give understanding that comes from the Holy Spirit. He is the same Holy Spirit who inspired King David to write this Psalm.
And now we see Jesus further:
6But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
7All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
8He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
King David foresaw the Messiah would be hated by man. They would laugh and mock him. They would consider him no better than a worm. I pray the verses above is not describing you.
How accurate the word of God is that King David foresaw exactly what the eyewitnesses testify:
Mark 15: 29-32 29Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, "So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30come down from the cross and save yourself!"
31In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! 32Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe." Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
9But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts.
10I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly.
Now Jesus describes through David's writings the trouble he is in. No one is willing to help him. He must face his troubles all by himself.
11Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
12Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.
The bulls of Bashan is describing Israel. It was an area in Israel that was known for its strong, well fattened bulls. The Prophet Amos described the Israelites as cows of Bashan.
Amos 4: 1 1 Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria,
13They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
Not only did David describe the Jews as bulls, but also as raving and roaring lions. The Believers Commentary puts it this way, "The Messiah of Israel has come, and they were pouncing on Him like lions on a lamb!"
Now Jesus turns once again to his suffering. The pain would be excruciating for anyone to bear. Imagine what it would be like to be hanging from a cross. The verses below describe it well.
14I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
15My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
Verse 15 above describes the thirst the Lord Jesus was experiencing. See the eyewitness account:
Just as the Jews are described as bulls and lions who crucified our Lord, Gentiles are described in this Psalm as well, and they are not innocent either. The Gentile executioners are described as dogs. All are wicked. The Bible teaches every generation, including our own generation today, are just as guilty. We all had a hand in the piercing of the Lord's hands and feet because we are all guilty of sin and we all fall short of the glory of God.
16For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
17I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
As the Lord hangs on the cross, more prophecy is being fulfilled all the time. Everything must be fulfilled according to the Old Testament scriptures.
18They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
John 19: 23-24 23Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.
Prophecy after prophecy is fulfilled by Jesus Christ as he hangs on the cross. Jesus continues to seek God in his troubles. He is asking for deliverance from the Jews and the Gentiles who persecuted him. Verses 19-21 once again describes them both.
19But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me.
20Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.
21Save me from the lion's mouth: (A transition of time begins here. The Lord's suffering, death, and resurrection has taken place and all is accomplished at the Lord Jesus' First Coming because God has delivered his Son. Something wonderful is now ready to begin- the Second coming of our Lord Jesus!) for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
In my book, I See Him...I See Him! God's Word to Witness By, I describe how the Feast of Atonement is prophetic; it will and must be fulfilled at the Lord's Second Coming. At his Second Coming, the Jewish people will recognize their Messiah this time--the one they had pierced:
22I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
23Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.
24For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.
25My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.
Verse 24 above is important to all of us. It states God did not hate what Jesus endured for the redemption of our sin, nor did he permanently hide his face from his Son. When Jesus cried out to his Father, He heard him. Scripture reveals God came down to see his Son dying on the cross. We broke his heart and He was angry, but He still loved us. He was hurt enough that he sent a huge earthquake right at the time of his Son's death. Both the Old and New Testaments describe what took place perfectly.
2 Samuel 22: 8-10
9 Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
10 He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
Now we can read the same event, by a different author, in the New Testament 1,000 years later:
Matthew 27: 45 and 50-51 45From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land.
50And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.
The remainder of the Psalm below is spoken to us directly by the Holy Spirit. Picture the Holy Spirit is speaking. He declares that Jesus Christ is King and all who seek him SHALL LIVE FOREVER!
26The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.
We will all remember what Jesus did for us on Calvary, and we shall all worship him!
27All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.
He is our King...He is our Lord!
28For the kingdom is the LORD's: and he is the governor among the nations.
29All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.
30A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
His name will be above all other names. Every knee shall bow. We will all declare His righteousness forever and ever!
31They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.
It is finished!
I pray that in reviewing this Psalm that was written through David by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it will strengthen your faith in scripture, and more importantly--Jesus Christ. Faith in what you believe to be true is what will make you either accept or reject what the entire Bible teaches--that the Bible is the biography of Jesus Christ.
God loves you and so do I!
I have 39 chapters in my book, "I See Him...I See Him! God's WORD to Witness By" that are written just like this chapter above was written. I show the scripture from everywhere in the Bible to proclaim Jesus Christ is Lord. Please help me spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and to help strengthen the faith of those who do know him already. I truly believe you will be blessed reading about Jesus in the many hidden gems found in Scripture. You will see the promises of God given to us that are everywhere in the Bible. I pray you will want to come and study the Bible with me.
God loves you and so do I!
Ken Kreh, author