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The Exact Moment

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040502PM Our Risen Savior-10

WTB-19

Christ Died – The Exact Moment

 

 

Tonight we are in the final of three examinations of Christ’s Death on the Cross.

  • We have seen that the Cross was in The Exact Place that God had predicted, planned, and promised that it would be.
  • Then we saw that the Cross was The Exact Event promised for 4,000 years in the Word.
  • Tonight we will see that the Cross was at The Exact Time that God’s Word had portrayed for 1500 years that it would be.

 

So what do these Scriptural prophecies tell us about the Bible itself? They declare that the Bible is absolutely unique. Not only does it contain prophecy about Christ’s Cross; it also contains detailed prophecies about many other things as well – the rebirth of Israel, the final alignment of world powers, the form of the end days disasters, the coming ruler of all mankind called the Beast, and so much more.

 

First, CALVARY WAS AT THE EXACT SPOT:

 

Outside of the Damascus Gate today, behind the Arab bus station is a cliff. This cliff is cut into the side of the Mount Moriah ridge. It was formed by the quarrying of rock used for building Jerusalem over the hundreds of years from David’s time to Christ’s time. This rock faced cliff was called Golgotha or the place of the skull in the Gospels. It was a rock quarry and a place of execution designed by the Romans. It was here alongside of the main road heading to Damascus – that the execution by crucifixion took place. The many travelers in and out of the commercial area of Jerusalem had to pass by this spot on their way in this main gate for the city. To this day the Damascus Gate is still the main entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City. It is the busiest and largest gate of the six gates used to enter the Old City.

 

In ancient times the rock ridge was unbroken by this quarry. So when Abraham visited Melchizedek in Genesis 14 the ridge of Moriah would have extended all the way from the small city to the highest point to the north – called Mount Moriah. It was here in Genesis 22 that Abraham returned with his only son – Isaac. It was here that he left behind the servants and piled the wood on the back of his son and climbed that ridge to the very top. It was here on Mount Moriah that Abraham offered his only son Isaac – and God intervened. Then God promised that He would provide a lamb. He did so at that moment, but was also promising to Abraham that there on that exact spot the Lamb of God would be offered to bear the sin of the world.

 

So Golgotha was Moriah. Jesus was crucified on the exact spot that God had promised. In Genesis 22 as we saw Isaac carrying the wood on his back – so Jesus carried His own Cross. As Abraham offered his only son, so God the Father offered His only Son. Even the location was the same, the elevation was the highest, and the picture is amazingly clear this side of Calvary.

 

CALVARY WAS THE EXACT EVENT:

 

  • Jesus was ‘bruised in the heel’ just as Eve was promised by God in Genesis 3.15 – FIVE THOUSAND YEARS AGO! And what a promise!
  • Jesus was “lifted up” as Moses foresaw 1,500 years earlier in Numbers 21.8 (cf. John 3.14) with the brazen serpent.
  • David saw 1,000 years before Calvary that Christ would be “pierced” in His hands and feet, His garments were “divided” and His clothing was won by “casting lots” as Psalm 22.2, 4, 16-18 records.
  • He was “bruised” as Isaiah saw 700 years before in chapter 53.5-6 “for our iniquities”.
  • In the 5th Century BC Daniel 9.24 we are told that Messiah would “be cut off” as a substitute, and not for Himself.

 

 

CALVARY WAS AT THE EXACT MOMENT:

 

Jesus was crucified during Passover week. There were two calendars followed by the Jews in Christ’s time. The northern (Galilean) calendar went from sunrise to sunrise. The southern (Judean) calendar went from sundown to sundown. This allowed for everyone to celebrate all the intricacies of the Passover when the city was overflowing with pilgrims. On that basis the seeming contradictions in the gospel accounts are easily explained.

 

Being Galileans, Jesus and the disciples considered Passover day to have started at sunrise on Thursday and to end at sunrise on Friday. The Jewish leaders who arrested and tried Jesus, being mostly priests and Sadducees, considered Passover day to begin at sunset on Thursday and end at sunset on Friday. By that variation, predetermined by God’s sovereign provision, Jesus could thereby legitimately celebrate the last Passover meal with His disciples and yet still be sacrificed on Passover day[1].

 

Why does the Lord ask that this event of the deliverance of His people from Egypt be commemorated so often? Why did He ask that they remember this event for 1,500 years? What did they see as they were celebrating it?

 

Watch the development in the scope of the sacrifices:

  1. A Lamb for the individual. Genesis 4:4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering,
  2. A Lamb for the whole household. Exodus 12:3 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.
  3. A Lamb for the nation. Leviticus 16:17 There shall be no man in the tabernacle of meeting when he goes in to make atonement in the Holy Place, until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself, for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel.
  4. A Lamb for the world. John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

 

Watch the Focus upon Christ get clearer:

  • CHRIST WAS TYPIFIED: Genesis 4:4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering,
  • CHRIST WAS PROPHESIED: Genesis 22:8 And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.
  • CHRIST WAS EXEMPLIFIED: (only a 1st born, male, spotless, innocent, slain, substitute = saves) Exodus 12:3, 5-6 Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. 5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.
  • CHRIST WAS PERSONIFIED: Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.
  • CHRIST WAS IDENTIFIED: John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
  • CHRIST WILL BE MAGNIFIED: Revelation 5:6-14 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 8 Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10 And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: “Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!” 14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.
  • CHRIST WILL BE GLORIFIED: Revelation 22:1 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

 

 

What was the message of the Passover? It is found in Exodus 12:7 & 13.

 

  1. GOD’S PLAN IS ALWAYS SPECIFIC: God laid out exactly what He required. There was no deviation allowed. Only those who obeyed the Lord’s specific instructions would be spared.
  • Are you aware God only accepts things done His way?
  1. GOD’S PLAN IS ALWAYS SACRIFICIAL: It was a violent shedding of the life’s blood of a defenseless lamb. Use the BLOOD of an innocent, spotless lamb that was poured out. Catch it in a bowl and apply it to the door posts.
  • Are you amazed that He sacrificed Himself for you?
  1. GOD’S PLAN IS ALWAYS SUBSTITUTIONARY: Paint it on the door posts as the reminder that a lamb was identifies with that family and it was slain. This was true of all the homes that wish to be spared the horrors of God’s wrath. In our world we tend to think of ourselves as unique and individual. We share however in 99% of all we are and do, a commonality with all other humans. Jesus identifies in every way with us and shares all but sinfulness with us. He gave Himself for us. He took our place!
  • Is it an overwhelming reality to you that someone died instead of you?
  1. GOD’S PLAN IS ALWAYS SUFFICIENT: All who hid behind the shadow of that bloody sacrifice were protected from God’s wrath.
  • Are you trusting in the only sufficient protection from the wrath of God?
  1. GOD’S PLAN IS ALWAYS SEPARATED: No leaven could go with them. They were to clean it all out and throw it away. F.B. Meyer compares this with our constant adversary of self. “The leaven must stand for the selfness which is characteristic of us all, through the exaggerated instinct of self-preservation…serving the desires of the flesh and of the mind. We are by nature self-confident, self-indulgent, and self-opinionated; we live with self as our goal, and around the pivot of I our whole being revolves.”[2]
  • Is the sacrifice Christ made for you enough to make you avoid all that grieves Him?

 

“Let me remind you of the eternal facts: Grace was never intended to be a license to sin. Extending forgiveness to anyone without demanding change in their conduct makes the grace of God an accomplice to evil. To the woman caught in adultery, Jesus said, “Go and sin no more.” He expected her to change. He still expects transformation.

 

The heavenly Father decreed that any Jew eating leavened bread (made with yeast) during this period should be cut off from the people. Why was His judgment so strong? Because in the Bible, Old Testament and New Testament, leaven is a metaphor for sin. Leaven represents the pride and arrogance that lead men to feel they have no need of God.

  • Pride is an acid that turns the finest fruit bitter.
  • Pride is a shallow and superficial weed that grows in all soils, without need of water or care. It consumes and destroys every living thing it overshadows.
  • Pride is a swelling of the heart filled with ego and self-importance.
  • Pride raises you above others until you look down on them.
  • Pride is the basis of racism that divides the church and America. There is no white church, black church, brown church, or yellow church in Scripture. There is only the blood-bought church of Jesus Christ.
  • Pride is a cancer that rots the soul. A man infected with pride needs nothing…not even God!

 

Picture a scene with me, if you will: Imagine a Hebrew participating in the Exodus. He has watched the hand of God peel back the edges of the Red Sea so His people could walk across on dry ground; he has seen Pharaoh and his army drowned as the waters crashed back to their rightful place.

 

Our Hebrew traveler has watched God bring water from a rock; he has followed the pillar of cloud by day and been comforted by the sight of the pillar of fire by night. Moreover, he has heard Moses explicitly state-on several occasions-that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has commanded that leaven shall be put away during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

 

What if our imaginary Hebrew decides to have a nice little yeast roll for lunch? What does his rebellious action suggest? By today’s standards of gross immorality, eating leavened bread during this festival week would be considered laughably unimportant. Yet God commanded that any person who ate leavened bread during this feast should be stoned to death. Think of it!

 

What’s God saying here? He’s saying He has zero tolerance for sin! This is a message America has forgotten. We have become a nation of drugs, divorce, drunkenness, abortion, pornography, incest, and homosexuality. We are lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. We snap our fingers at God as if He were a cosmic bellhop. But God never changes! God has always poured out His wrath on people and nations who refuse to confess their sin.

 

Why does God hate sin? Because sin is man’s declaration of independence of God. This sort of arrogance exists in the church; it’s contagious and it’s cancerous. Just like yeast, sin puffs us up. Paul felt led to warn the early church, “Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” (1 Cor. 5:6 NKJV). His point? A “little” pride will destroy your marriage, your church, our nation, and your soul. The message of this feast? Redemption is to be followed by a holy life and right living. We may not be immediately punished for disobedience as the Israelites were, but we will pay the price for sin. There is a payday! [3]

 

Paul tells us to pay attention to the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Why? Because this feast teaches us that  God has zero tolerance for sin.

  • Do you want God’s blessing upon your life? Then hunger and thirst for righteousness! Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matt. 6:33 NKJV).
  • Do you want God’s protection? Live a righteous and pure life! “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous,” wrote the psalmist “and His ears are open to their cry” (Ps. 34:15 NKJV).
  • Do you want God to provide for your children? Live a godly life! In Psalm 37:25, the psalmist assures us, “I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread” (NKJV).
  • Do you want God to answer your prayers? Live righteously! “The LORD is far from the wicked,” Solomon wrote, “but He hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29 NKJV). James assures us that the prayer of a righteous man avails much (5:16), and the psalmist adds a warning: “If I regard iniquity [sin] in my heart The Lord will not hear” (Ps. 66:18 NKJV).[4]

 

Jesus was from Galilee so He celebrated the Passover meal like all the Galileans, the night before the Jerusalem based scribes, priests and Sanhedrin. So the first half of the 256,000 lambs that were probably slain that year were slain with His. The blood was poured down a pipe that drained into the Kidron Valley and was washed by the Brook Kidron down into the Dead Sea. It was probably still stained red by all that blood when Jesus crossed the brook and went to the Garden of Gethsemane.

 

After Christ’s late night arrest, Peter’s denials, and a night in the prison of Caiaphas as the early morning light began to dawn, hundreds and then thousands began to line up with their lambs.

 

Allow you minds to retrace the events of[5] Passover the day Christ was crucified. Levites have just opened the doors of the Temple so that the crowds can enter to offer their sacrificial lambs.

 

At 9 AM – this was the specified time and at that exact moment three events took place.

 

  1. While Israel’s high priest was tying the Passover lamb for the Nation to the Temple’s altar awaiting its sacrifice, and
  2. Each head of household takes a knife and prepares to slaughter the lamb that must be sacrificed for his family –
  3. AT THAT VERY MOMENT, outside the city walls of Jerusalem, Jesus was being nailed to a cross to hang, and bleed. For six hours both the lamb at the altar and Jesus the Lamb of God awaited death.

 

At 12 Noon as the thousands of individual lambs continue to be brought into the Temple, the sky darkens, and the crowds inside the Temple grow silent and pensive. Only the lights of the temple torches illumined the darkened courtyard. The flickering lights shined off the pavement wet with the blood of thousands of lambs. This was the

 

  • In the dark, while the stones of the Temple courtyard run red with the blood thousands of lambs and goats, the Lamb of God spills His life’s blood outside the city.
  • While the father in each household slaughters a lamb for the sake of his family, God the Father slaughters His holy Lamb for the sake of all who would accept Christ’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

 

At 3 PM or exactly the ninth hour, the high priest ascended the altar in the temple and sacrificed the lamb for the Nation. Unstopped by the unusual darkness that had covered the land for three hours, he carefully places his hands on the head of the lamb, and slides a razor sharp knife across its innocent throat spilling its life blood.

 

  • At that moment, barely able to lift His blood-spattered face toward heaven, Christ’s words thundered out over the city of Jerusalem in triumph, It is finished!” (John 19:30).
  • At that moment on Calvary’s stark mountain, God the Father, the final High Priest of all creation, placed His holy hand on the head of His only begotten Son, allowing the sin of the world to descend upon Jesus. As Paul tells us

 

What wondrous love!

 

What amazing grace! Never forget it.

 

Passover reminds us that the precious blood of the Worthy Lamb of God — purchased our redemption.

 

Sing with me a song of worship to Christ our Passover Lamb:

 

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain 

[1]  John F. MacArthur, Jr., The MacArthur Study Bible, (Dallas: Word Publishing) 1997.

[2] Meyer, Exodus, p.136.

[3]  John Hagee, His Glory Revealed. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999, 46-47.

[4]  John Hagee, His Glory Revealed. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999, 25-28.

[5]  John Hagee, His Glory Revealed. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1999, pp. 9-11.

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