14 June 2011
Much ‘blood has been spilled’ over the outcry of the “all the [Israeli Jewish] people”to Pontius Pilate washing his hands wishing to be “innocent of the blood of this just man”: “His blood be on us and on our children!” (Mt 27:24-25; Acts 5:28; Dt 19:10)
In the sovereignty and wisdom of God, and by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, this Scripture is full of life and death, for “death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit”. (Pr 18:21) This publicly spoken word by the rulers and the common people had consequences which were not understood or foreseen when rashly uttered. (Acts 5:28) When Adam disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden, he had no idea really of what he was doing and the dreadful consequences of his action – that in him all future human beings would be starting out in life as sinners and dying!
Through the centuries the Jewish people have suffered much because of the irrational hatred toward Yeshua when He walked among us. The Romans and other Gentiles have taken those words and, still wanting to wash their hands of their own evil part in the crucifixion of this ‘Just Man’, caused horrible suffering to the Jewish people and to the nation Israel because of this blood we have brought on ourselves as being guilty of rejecting the Son of God, and seeing to it that He was put to death on the tree. (Acts 2:22-39) The ‘curse’ of blood-guiltiness turns into the ‘blessing’ of atonement when any Jewish person or Gentile repents and believes the good news of salvation through the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sin and sins.
I want to look again at this shout of ‘all the people’ in the light of God’s sovereign grace reigning through His righteousness. The blood of Jesus will either forever cleanse those who love life that comes through confession of Yeshua as Lord, and believe with our heart that God has raised Him from the dead, or else it will bring eternal condemnation for those who love the fruit of refusing the goodness of the Father to bring us into His household and family.
God has dealt with Israel in a unique way among the nations in that He has cut covenants with her fathers, extending to their descendants, including a chosen king and priesthood; and ultimately, in the fullness of time when Messiah came, God cut a new covenant with the House of Israel and with theHouse of Judah. (Amos 3:1-3; Rom 9:4-5; Jer 31:31; 33:17-25; Gal 4:4-5) The full meaning of these wonderful truths of the Creator and the Redeemer of the Heavens and the Earth will find their full expression only when the Lord Messiah returns to restore the Kingdom to Israel and over all the other nations. This is crucial in the plan of God in order to fulfill all that is written in the Law and the Prophets, so fulfilling all the promises of God concerning all things. (Mt 5:17-19; Rom 15:8-9) In the cutting of covenants – rather than merely ‘making’ a covenant – the shedding of blood is a vital part of the covenant in which a life has been sacrificed as the binding price of the ‘deal’. And for our sins to be forgiven there must be the shedding of blood. (Lev 17:11)
At Sinai, the covenant with the Children of Israel from all of the twelve tribes was cut by the blood of oxen offered unto YHVH, God of Israel. As Moses read the Book of the Covenant to all of the people, they said, “All that YHVH has said we will do, and listen to”. Then Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which YHVH has cut with you according to all these words.” (Ex 24:3-8) With this covenant, YHVH and the People of Israel became forever joined in covenant union. Israelis and Jewish people may come and go the way of all flesh, but the covenanted nation with the God of the covenant endures forever! Anti-semitism is first and foremost against YHVH Himself. (cp Acts 9:1-5)
In Lev 16:32-34 and again in chapter 23:28-29, the LORD gives His people the opportunity to have their sins atoned for and removed in order that He might dwell among them as a holy people, justified by faith in the provided sacrifice for the forgiveness of their sinfulness. This blood of the atonement was given upon the altar for all of the people and for all else that pertained to the whole religious and civil life of the nation. Any Israeli that did not afflict his soul that day for what God did to grant him life would cut himself off from his people – he would no longer be part of the people because he refused the blood that was shed to provide forgiveness for all his sins he committed under the terms of the covenant made at Sinai, and the covenant cut with those just prior to their entry into the land of Canaan. (Dt 5:1-3)
This means of atonement by the blood on the Day of Atonements was everlasting, and was God’s means until Messiah came to offer Himself as a guilt offering for sinners. (Is 53:10; Heb 9:23; 10:12-14) At the last Passover supper with His apostles, Yeshua spoke to them about His upcoming betrayal and suffering and death. The cup of the New Covenant in His blood, shed for all of us, but first of all for the House of Israel and the House of Judah, is our constant reminder that Jesus is the covenant (Is 49:8) which God has cut with His people. (Lk 22:20) He is the Lamb of God who was slaughtered as an acceptable sacrifice to God, and “His side was pierced with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out”. (Jn 19:34-35)
He is also the Scapegoat who willfully, in His innocence, bore all their/our sins, and is wrongfully blamed for all our woes.
When Caiaphas, the High Priest responsible that year, said to the religious leaders who were alarmed at so many of the Jewish people beginning to believe in Yeshua, “You know nothing at all, nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish”, the Holy Spirit inspired the apostle John to write: “Now this he (Caiaphas) did not say on his own, but being High Priest that year he prophesied that Yeshua would die for the nation, and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.” (Jn 11:49-52) Caiaphas did not realize that he was actually prophesying! But if God can cause a donkey to speak, he can certainly bring forth truth from a man, even one opposed to or ignorant of His full intentions. And being High Priest of the Israeli nation that year, the words of Caiaphas had power and authority, and his unintentional sin brought guilt upon the people. (Lev 4:3)
When all Israel accepted God’s covenant at Mt. Sinai with all its holy and righteous commandments, they did not realize what they were really committing to when they said “Amen” to put themselves under the yoke of the Law. When all the [Jewish] people cried out that the blood of Jesus should be on them and on their children, they did not realize the consequences and power the words from out of their heart and mouths would carry throughout the generations and millennia.
Praise God! On the cross, our Savior, the Son of Man, called out to His Father – and the Father of Israel (Ex 4:22) – “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Lk 23:34)
Praise God! In His own divine love and wisdom, and in His own faithfulness to His Word, His promises, His covenants – He had His priestly nation ‘sprinkle the blood of the New Covenant’ firstly upon themselves and their descendants! (Lev 16:6; Heb 7:27; Is 52:13-15) The atonement has been provided for the whole House of Jacob, and the way was opened for the Gentiles to also be purified and brought near! The covenants belong to Israel of the flesh (Rom 9:3-5). Those who repent and believe receive the blessedness of God’s grace and favor. The day is coming when all Israel – the full remnant from all the tribes who turn from ungodliness – will be saved and enter into the good of the New Covenant cut with them by the One whom they have pierced. (Rom 11:26-27; Zech 12:10-14) They will afflict their souls and cease from all their own works. Those who still refuse His provided sacrifice will cut themselves off from their people and His people. The blood of the Messiah which God promised to His people Israel has been shed for all people and nations everywhere at all times. (1Tim 4:10) The Lamb was slain from before the foundation of the world, and all of God’s covenants are based upon His eternal plan of redemption. (Rom 15:4; Rev 13:8)
Praise God! His will has been done, is being done, and will be done – on Earth as in Heaven. Even so, come Lord Jesus!