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Jesus arranged to have His death described a thousand years before it took place with the precision of a medical research project. In about 1000 BC David was moved by the Holy Spirit to pen the words of Psalm 22. The graphic details are just another reminder. This Psalm details the death of Christ a millennium before it took place. Who described crucifixion hundreds of years before its use as a form of execution? God through David. These prophecies surrounding the death of Christ are amazing. But God spoke with equal clarity on other topics. Each of the following events could stand up in any court of law as a perfect case for supernatural divination. God telling the future to the minutest detail.
John Barnett here and I’m so thankful to get back to you, my small group study. It is a joy to be spending this year going through the 52 greatest chapters with you. If you grab your Bible, we’re on week 13, in Psalm 22. As you turn there, we’re right between Palm Sunday and Easter right now and this study is perfect because this is all about Good Friday. This is all about the prophecies of the Messiah and the words of the prophets being fulfilled. I’m excited about what we’re looking at tonight, this amazing 3000-year-old prophecy from Psalm 22. It’s talking about the greatest event of all time; the crucifixion, the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Here’s the key, this is what I want you to think about with me. Psalm 22 sounds like it’s an eyewitness account. What that means is that it’s like David is standing there looking up and writing down what we read in this psalm, all the details, like he’s looking at the crucifixion. Isn’t that amazing?
That’s what biblical prophecy is like. God does something amazing. He tells us events to come in the future. Now, for all of you in this small group, I want to thank you for praying for us, Bonnie and I. Bonnie is over there in the studio recording. Thank you, honey, for capturing this class for me, my small group. Bonnie and I have been working for the last two weeks, going through a course on the life of Christ. Emphasizing the events in the gospels leading up to the Palm Sunday entrance, all the events of that Palm Sunday week, then Good Friday. By the way, that week, I’ve been telling the students, is called the Passion Week. Historically the passion is the suffering of Jesus Christ going up toward the cross, but we’ve been teaching the good news. That’s what I wanted to say to you.
I’ve encouraged all of those that are attending the class to share the gospel. As a part of each class, I have been giving the gospel every time, every class, and there have been 36 classes so far that have been released and taught to them. The good news is three young people have written in tome because others have shared with them, and they have joined in and watched the class. They’ve asked me questions about how to be saved, how to be sure that your sins are forgiven. The saddest one was a very young teenager, and he was one of these gamers. He’s really into all the games and the killing and the occult. He said to me, he’s typing away on YouTube to me, Do you think I’m too bad to be saved? I thought, can you believe we live in a world where a young teenager whose only lived that short amount of time thinks he’s already too bad for the grace of God? His love has no limit. His grace has no measure. His power has no boundaries known unto man, for out of His infinite love and mercy He gives and gives again. Wow.
Back to this, week 13, as you see on the screen, this amazing 3000-year-old prophecy. What we’re looking at is Jesus Christ’s crucifixion described in Psalm 22 in this ancient prophecy. Here’s my marked-up Bible that I’ll be talking about it with you. Here’s my journal. I do this study with you every week. I’ve been with you writing everything down as I read through each day. This class especially touched my heart. Let me show you why on the next slide. This is where we are, week 13, Psalm 22. We’re looking at Jesus on the cross. Remember, those of you that have been with us, this is the beginning of eight different psalms that we’re going to dive into. We’ve already done Psalm 1 and 19, and then we have the most familiar psalm of all, Psalm 23 next time. A second coming, tribulation, the wrath of God. What a study we’re going to have there in Psalm 24, David’s sin and restoration by God. What a great time we’re going to have in Psalm 51. Psalm 119, which is I call it a book within the Book of Books about the Book of Books. What I’m talking about is that the 119th Psalm is longer than most New Testament epistles. It’s the most complete view of the power of the Word of God. It has for us, some of the most amazing passages about meditation, about affliction, about prayer and resolves. We’re just going to have a great time there. Then Psalm 139 that God sees us always and everywhere.
Psalm 22 is part of a trilogy. I don’t know if you’ve thought about this, but Psalms 22, 23, and 24 are a trilogy, a three-part look at Jesus Christ. Here’s what I mean. See Psalm 22, Psalm 23, Psalm 24. In Psalm 22 it’s the Good Shepherd portrayed in His death. Psalm 23, next week, is going to be the Great Shepherd in life. Remember He ever lives, the book of Hebrews says, for us His sheep of His pasture. In Psalm 24 we have the Chief Shepherd in glory coming back in His glory and triumph. That’s what we call the second coming of Christ and the tribulation. Now, where do I get this good and great? Look at this, the Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep, that’s John 10:11. The Great Shepherd lives for us, that’s Hebrews 13:20. The Chief Shepherd is returning in His glory. It’s right from the scripture. These three different views of Jesus Christ in this trilogy are right out of the gospels and the epistles. In Psalm 22 Jesus is my Savior. In Psalm 23, He is my Shepherd. In Psalm 24 he is my King. The focus of Psalm 22 is the cross. The focus of Psalm 23 is the crook. I’m not talking about the crook that steals I’m talking about the Shepherd’s crook. I’m talking about the Shepherd’s staff and how he would reach down and pull the sheep up from a little ledge or down where he’d fallen in a ravine, and he would shepherd them with his staff and his rod. That’s the cook the little hook shape end of the rod. Then the crown, that’s what 1 Peter 5 talks about, and Psalm 24 is all about now.
Psalm 22 is a past event looking at the death of Christ. To us today Psalm 23 is a present experience we have with Jesus. Of course, Psalm 24 is the future, the second coming of Christ. The emphasis of Psalm 22 is God’s grace. The emphasis of Psalm 23 is Christ’s guidance. Then Psalm 24 is God’s glory. Each day of the week I read the passage in my Bible, and I check all the background material and remember the MacArthur Study Bible. That’s where a lot of this material is coming that I’m going to show you right now. As I do that, I record right here in my journal, all my devotional method findings. The first thing is I’m reading the passage through. I summarize what this chapter we’re studying is about. Then all week long in every resource, I’m looking for lessons. These are truths I can apply, doctrines I can apply. I write them out in my own words, working toward an application prayer where I’m asking the Lord to change some part of me.
In fact, I have to tell you, during one of the classes I was working on today I was so emphatic, I told the students to bow their heads. I was praying and I said, if you want to remind the Lord that, 100%, you’re giving your life to Him I want you to raise your hand. Do you know what I did during the class? I raised my own hand because you see I’m not a spectator, I’m a participant with you, both of us with the Lord. This application prayer is where you’re asking God to change something in your life just like I am. I’m going to read mine to you in just a minute.
We look at this with every chapter. First of all, we look at sacred history, remember everything happens some time. Look where the psalms are. They’re right here, in the middle of sacred history, the Bible. If you go from Genesis all the way through to Revelation we’re right here in this middle section. Something else is very interesting. David is writing Psalm 22 from a historic time in his life. Most likely it was during some of his running from Saul. David’s actually writing about events happening to him. He felt pierced. He felt dry. He felt his bones were out of joint, but God was using that to look into the distant future. It’s the most beautiful prophecy a thousand years before Christ’s crucifixion. David’s experience mirrors a portrait that God uses to proclaim Christ’s death on the cross.
Not only sacred history, everything happened at some time, but sacred geography, everything happened in some place. Right here is where Jerusalem is on the map. It’s right there in the Promised Land in Canaan, in modern-day Israel. Most likely even though the events in Psalm 22 were portraying Christ in the future, they were also about David and the present. He probably wrote this. He didn’t write very many psalms while he was hiding in caves. Very few. Most of them he reflected on. The Spirit of God inspired him to write while he lived here. This is the city of David. Look what it’s right next to. I don’t know if you can see these little, tiny words, but it’s Mount Moriah. This is David’s Jerusalem 1000 BC.
Let me tell you why that’s so important because Psalm 22 is the most amazing prophecy of Christ crucified. What I mean by amazing is, and we’re not going to cover all these, but if you look in your study resources and MacArthur Study Bible, they’re all kinds of tables and hundreds of footnotes as you follow all of the cross-references around. Look, I made a chart for you. There are 14 different events of Christ’s crucifixion, that’s this side, that are paralleled in this side Psalm 22.
Number one, that He would bear the world’s sins. Number two, there’s alternating light and darkness. He’s ridiculed. Number three, no help is offered to Him. His bones are out of joint. He is weak and thirsty. Number seven, His hands and feet are pierced. None of His bones are broken and people are staring at Him. Look at number 10. Remember the eyewitness account? It’s like David is seeing the soldiers gambling for Christ’s garments. When David was inspired to take this personal, horrific time in his life running from Saul and write a psalm about it, the Holy Spirit of God added some truths into David’s experience. The soldiers weren’t gambling for David’s clothing. David wasn’t crucified. I’ve heard people come from a confrontation with their boss or some detractors and say, man, I was crucified. It’s an expression. It’s an exaggeration. It’s truly something we feel, that we’re pinned to the wall and mistreated, and David was. The Holy Spirit adds things like number 10 on your chart, the soldiers gambling. His resurrection. Now for David, he got out of the problem, but for Christ, it’s truly His resurrection. The prayer in the garden, the promise of coming communion. Even it is finished part. All those things we’re going to see as we go through this.
Jesus’ death has been portrayed all the way through the scriptures. Remember it starts in Genesis 3:15 with Eve. Remember that the serpent’s head would be crushed by Eve’s descendant, which is talking about the Messiah, and the Messiah’s heal would be bruised by the serpent. In other words, that Christ on the cross Satan was bruising and hurting Him, but in the cross, Jesus was destroying the devil. That’s the first prophecy, Genesis 3:15, it’s called the proto evangelium in theology. Do you remember the Passover 3,450 years ago? Do you remember the blood sprinkled doorways in Egypt? Those were all, as well as the sacrificial lamb that gave up his blood, portraying Christ’s death 3,450 years ago. God has been showing pictures of the coming sacrifice of Christ.
Do you remember the serpent lifted up in the wilderness 1500 years before the cross? Jesus is described as being lifted up. That’s what it says in John 3 when Jesus was talking to Nicodemus. Jesus said, “As the serpent,” Numbers 21:8, “was lifted up in the wilderness, even so, the Son of Man must be lifted up.” Jesus was foretelling the same thing that Moses foretold, that part of His death would be lifting Him up. Remember on the cross, He was lifted up.
This is interesting, right here is a serpent. This is the serpent on this pole. This is at Mount Nebo where Moses was able to look in the Promised Land on top of Mount Nebo, that’s in modern-day Jordan. This is a part of a group that I took there on a Bible study tour. We stood looking up at the serpent and thinking that Jesus was lifted up on the cross. One of these young people who was saved during our Life of Christ series that we’ve done, was overseas the last two weeks. Here we are recording these classes in America and he’s over in the UK and he is looking up to Christ on the cross by faith because it’s recorded in the scripture. Just like all those that were dying all over the camp of Israel could look into the distance at a pole they couldn’t see and by faith believe, and they were healed. Amazing truth.
Jesus’ death was described a thousand years before the cross in Psalm 22. That He would be pierced, His clothes divided, and they would be casting lots. 700 years before the cross Isaiah said that Jesus would be wounded, bruised, crushed. It’s a reminder of Gat-Shemanim, Gethsemane, the olive press. Jesus was being crushed by the sins of the world. There are many prophecies of Christ’s death. What we’re looking at is just the most amazing one. 500 years before the cross, the prophet Daniel says in Daniel 9:24 that Jesus would be cut off, not for Himself. That means a substitutionary atonement, that’s what Daniel said.
All of those events are describing this familiar picture of Jesus hung between the two thieves, the insurrection, the robbers, Barabbas being cleared. Jesus, the one that they could not find guilt in. The highest court in the land couldn’t find anything He did wrong. Yet, He’s crucified. Pilate put this note over His head that Jesus was the King of the Jews.
Remember, where did this happen? I was talking to you about the city of David and Mount Moriah. Look at this, right above the city of David was the Ridge of Mount Moriah. Now a lot of things in the Bible happened there. I want to remind you of those. This is where Melchizedek’s city was, Jerusalem. Melchizedek is the one that was like a prefiguring of Jesus Christ. That He was the king of righteousness, that king of peace. He didn’t have a father and mother, beginning of days, or end of days. This whole picture that Hebrews 7 sets is a picture of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament, that’s Genesis 14. Did you know Mount Moriah is where Abraham offered Isaac, that’s Genesis 22? Did you know that Mount Moriah is where David bought Ornan’s threshing floor and the death angel was stopped? That’s in 1 Chronicles 21. That’s where Solomon built the temple. By the way, that’s where Herod rebuilt the temple and enlarged it. That is the same spot, Melchizedek, Abraham, David, Solomon, Herod’s temple.
Look what I put up here, the Ridge of Mount Moriah, something else happened there. That’s where Golgotha was. Let me show you what I mean on a map. This is David’s city. This is where Melchizedek was. This is the outer walls of the city of David. Above the city of David on this threshing floor where the death angel was stopped is where Solomon built the temple. Look at this, see this land. This is a ridge and look where it is going, all the way up here. Do you know, what’s right there? That’s Golgotha. Jesus was crucified in the same place Abraham offered Isaac, which is the same spot that David came and offered a sacrifice to stop the death angel and Solomon built the temple.
Right here, now this is a topographical map showing the elevation. This is the highest point of the ridge, the peak, that’s where Abraham, the akedah called in Genesis 22, offered Isaac. This is the threshing floor. That’s where the temple was. It’s David’s site that he bought for the temple. This down here is Salem, the city of Melchizedek and David. Now, let me just remind you. This is where Abraham lifted up the knife over his bound son and God provided a ram over here in the thicket, a substitute that took Isaac’s place. The Father didn’t have to kill his beloved son. Yet on Calvary, God the Father killed His beloved son as the substitute. Very beautiful picture.
This is the peak. Golgotha is 777 meters above sea level. The Temple Mount is 741 meters. Then right down here is the city of David, which is more like 720. You can see 720, 740 770, it’s a ridge that continued up like this. It’s all the same piece of real estate where God accomplished all these incredible events. Here’s a drone view. This is the city of David where David lived. This is the threshing floor up here and it’s where David offered the sacrifice to stop the death angel. Solomon built the temple and Abraham offered Isaac and look what’s right here. This is the very peak. The ridge goes like this, and this is Calvary. Amazing to see it from a drone view.
Let’s go into my journal I’m showing you right here on the camera. This is my journal, but because you can’t read my scribblings because sometimes it’s early in the morning and sometimes I’m at a coffee shop, or wherever I am I’m writing so I typed it out for you. Here are the typed pages. I have a page for every week. I have more than one page, I have two or three pages because I write a lot. I do the title, the Prophecy of Christ’s Cross. That was one of the days. Here’s another one, The Prophecy of the Greatest Event in the Universe. You could tell I was thinking about crucifixion. Here’s a summary of everything I found. In this trilogy, Psalm 22, the Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep. Psalm 23, the Great Shepherd living for His sheep. Psalm 24, the Chief Shepherd coming for us, His sheep. Then I wrote the clearest and most amazing description of Christ’s death on the cross for us is Psalm 22. Here we see God using David to describe how Jesus was horribly crucified for us. Remember, it’s a historic event that David was talking about his own struggles, but God breathed out through David’s struggle and gave us His portrait of Christ, a prophecy.
The awful details of His suffering on the cross, Christ’s suffering, are portrayed graphically in the 22nd Psalm written by David. It was over 1000 years before crucifixion had been invented. There was no way to kill someone by piercing their hands and feet in civilization, in any army, that was coming. The Carthaginians are the ones that started it. Carthage, Hannibal, the elephants, and the Romans, when they conquered the Carthaginians thought it was so neat, they imported it. It was copied by the Persian. There’s a lot of history around crucifixion.
Now, look at Psalm 22 in your Bible. Do you see what it says in Psalm 22? “My God.” See how it starts, the whole psalm? “My God. Why have you forsaken me?” That’s how the psalm starts. That’s David feeling abandoned by God as he’s running. Look at this in your notes. This predicted event in Psalm 22 is directly recorded as happening by the eyewitness account of Matthew 27:46. “About the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama, sabachthani?'” Here we go. “My God. Why have you forsaken me?” Wow. Continuing with my summary.
I wrote down in my journal God gave seven amazing details. I showed you in the chart there’s 14, but seven of them really stood out for me. These become part of my application. The psalm continues to unfold each of the previous dreadful events of the cross are detailed. Christ’s suffering is captured. Here’s a summary.
Number one, the unnatural darkness, the mocking of the priest at the foot of the cross, that impressed me. The cruelty of those there, it says that they jeer, and they stick out the lip, and they make faces at Christ. I’m reading Psalm 22 and the gospels and looking at all the crucifixion account. Remember what week this is? This is Palm Sunday to Easter. This is Good Friday material. I’ve spent the week going into this in depth and seeing that.
Number four, number five, Psalm 22 also captures the sufferings caused by the whole crucifixion process. These are recorded in precise details. Number five, the piercing of His hands and His feet, the stripping of His garments and gambling. Then look what happened on the cross, His awful thirst, Psalm 22 talks about that. Despite the intensity of His suffering, none of His bones would be broken just like the Bible predicted. The centurion said, no, He’s already dead and you don’t have to break His bones, so they stuck the spear in His side.
Another observation, Psalm 22 actually has two parts, prayer and praise. Verses 1 through 21 are all a prayer. It’s David in real life asking, Lord help me through this. With all those details it’s Jesus Christ on the cross and His prayer to the Father. Then verse 22 to verse 31, our praise. Taken against the events of this week we see Jesus praying from the cross and praising as He steps from the tomb. That’s why I’m so happy that I can get it to you this week between Palm Sunday and Easter. This psalm is surely one of the most marvelous passages. That’s why it’s one of the 52 greatest.
Here are the lessons that I found. Verses 1 and 2, Jesus felt God forsake Him on the cross to bear our sins. That’s what Matthew 27 says. In the garden before the cross, He feels the crushing load. He sweats, as it were, great drops of blood. Gat-Shemanim, Gethsemane, is the olive press where they took the olives and put them in bags. Then they put this heavy rock weight on top and squashed all of the olive oil out of the olives. That’s what Jesus felt like only it was the load of our sin squashing Him and He in sweat Gethsemane like great drops of blood.
Secondly, in verses 3 through 8 this is just some stuff, but some of you will find a lot more. I found a lot of stuff, but I just summarized it here, but it doesn’t have to be a term paper. You don’t want to discourage yourself. You want to keep up, you need to go all the way through and do all 52 of these passages. Don’t write so much that you get weeks behind. Just try and stay up. We’re on the 13th week, but I wrote in verses 3 through 8, God is Holy, enthroned in Heaven while Christ is mocked. Christ was God in human flesh, but the priest who worked for Him at his temple and whose lives were to be completely tied to Him scorned and mocked Him on the cross. That really got me this week. All these groups, the passersby, the religious leaders, and the thieves, all mocked Him. See Jesus was absolutely abandoned, mocked, vilified, horrifically treated for us.
Then I saw starting in verse 9, God designed, created, and planned all the events of the cross. Remember David’s says, but Lord, You are in Heaven and know what’s going on. God is orchestrating every event in my life even when they are horrifically filled with suffering like Christ. Did you know all of us suffer in different ways? What sociologists say is the worst pain is loneliness. That’s happened a lot in this COVID time. We suffer rejection. We suffer all the ailments of our bodies wearing out and being imperfect and not functioning. We suffer from being, judged and scorned by others and prejudice against us. Whether it’s because we’re a Christian or because of our ethnicity, whatever it is we all suffer. Remember what the Bible says? Jesus is acquainted with our sufferings and that’s what this is about. That we can bear our sufferings because Christ is acquainted with sufferings. Now He suffered for the sin of the world. We suffer for our own sins and sinners around us that harm us, but we in some way, relate to His pain as we feel our pain.
Then look at number four. From 19 to 21, David said God is near. Jesus affirmed God was near, strengthening and helping him, David, and Jesus and us through it all. Then the last of my observations in Psalm 22:22-31, a praise from the empty tomb. There’s a note, look down at verse 27. It says, “all the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations shall worship before You.” Do you know what that is? That’s a prophecy that the gospel would go global. I love communion, I hope you can’t wait until the next time you share in the Lord’s supper or communion. Do you know what it is? It’s all the families of the nation’s worshiping before God. Every time we celebrate communion there are more people in Heaven and on Earth worshiping Christ than ever in history. Why? Because there are people constantly dying and going to Heaven, and there are always people being saved here on Earth. The cumulative number is going up. Every time we celebrate communion, it’s the most people worshiping God that’s ever been in history. That’s part of the promise of verse 27, that all the ends of the world will remember. We, in our little ministry of teaching the next generation, hear from people all around the world. All the ends of the Earth are worshiping God, every country, every part of the world. Even horrifically persecuted people like in North Korea, there are believers and they’re faithful to Christ.
Here’s my application prayer. See it on the slide. I wrote this to the Lord as my application from spending the week in the psalm. I say, Lord, You were forsaken to bear my sins. Thank You, Jesus. As You hung there suffering, God the Father was still on the throne. He was orchestrating it all and He was close by to meet every need. Help me to trust You and pass on to the next generation Your truth.
It struck me that all the suffering we go through in our life God is orchestrating. He’s right next to us to give us strength and He wants us to be a part of the gospel going global. I hope you’re apart. I hope you’re sharing the Good News, especially this week between Palm Sunday and Easter and every week of the year.
Real quickly, my final challenges. Once you do your study, you should find someone to share your findings and application prayer with. You ought to think about starting a small group and using this material, and in any way that we can help we want you to use this material. Secondly, start working on scripture memory if you’re not already doing it. Work on verses. There’s a picture, I tape verses to the back of my phone so every time I pull it out of my pocket I work on my verses. One last thing I ask you to consider praying for us. This is my wonderful wife, Bonnie. She’s right there behind this camera and all these screens. We are partners in sharing the gospel to the next generation and to the frontline missionaries. We equip and mobilize partners who are reaching the least-reached peoples of Asia, Europe, and Africa. I hope you’ll pray for us. I hope that you’ll consider us as your missionary.
Please pray for us. I just sent a note to all the people that support us. We’re totally supported by the gracious gifts of God’s people that come into us. There’s one guy in England that sends us $1 every month. I thank the Lord for him. There’s a sweet widow in Michigan, $5. Then all kinds of businessmen and businesswomen send larger amounts. I sent a note to all of them, and you know what I said today? I said thanks for praying for our classes, The Life of Christ. We had three precious young people come to Christ and you are part of that. Did you know the greatest thing we can do in life is take someone with us to Heaven? How do we do that? We share the gospel, we lead them to Christ, or we’re a part of someone else sharing the gospel. I couldn’t do what I’m doing without your prayers and the faithful support of all those that support me. Anybody that gets saved, you’re a part of it. If you’re upholding our hands in prayer and supporting us as we go.
Psalm 22, the prophecy of one of the greatest events, in fact, the greatest event in the history of the universe. When Jesus died to pay the price for my sins and your sins and to liberate this universe. I hope you have a great week studying, between Palm Sunday and Easter, about this great week. God bless you. See you next week when we jump into the Lord is our Shepherd in Psalm 23.