The death of Jesus was also described hundreds of years before He was born in great
detail. Most of the events and incidents described below could not have been arranged
in order to fulfil the prophecies as they were outside of His control. Since the
Jews had been expecting the Messiah, the Anointed One, for centuries, the leaders
clearly did not think Jeshua of Nazareth was the Messiah. He did not conform to their
expectations and they had Him executed on a charge of blasphemy for claiming to be
God, for which the penalty under the Torah was death by stoning (Lev 24:16).
Jesus was betrayed by one of his friends for 30 pieces of silver. After eating a
meal together, Judas left the room and later that night, came into the garden where
Jesus and his friends were resting and identified him with a kiss, after which Jesus
was arrested and taken for trial. 1000 years before this, David the Psalmist writes;
‘Mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted
up his heel against me’ (Psalm 41:9) and ‘So they weighed for my price thirty pieces
of silver.’ (Zechariah 11:12)
It is finished
The sacrificial system in Israel required the killing of a lamb at 9 am and another
a 3 pm. This was carried out in a very precise way and had to be administered and
approved by the priest. When the second daily sacrifice was complete, the priest
would raise his hands and cry ‘It is finished!”
Jesus was nailed to the cross at 9 am, with His hands raised above His head. The
last words he uttered before dying at precisely 3 pm, were the words ‘It is finished’.
(Matt 27:46-50, John 19:30). He had completed to the letter the requirements for
His own sacrifice, in the exact manner and even the prescribed time. Humanly speaking
these details were outside of His control although His Father God was overseeing
and engineering the entire event.
The Israelite Wilderness Encampment
Here is another amazing prediction about Jesus’ death, which we can see from the
history of Israel. When the 12 tribes were camped in the wilderness, after leaving
Egypt, God gave them many instructions including exactly where to camp. A pillar
of cloud by day a pillar of fire by night showed the place where they were to set
up the tabernacle, which was the mobile temple of God (Exodus 13). The priestly tribe,
the Levites were to camp around the tabernacle (Numbers 2). Three tribes, Judah,
Issachar and Zebulun were to camp in a line to the east of the Levites, numbering
186,400 men. To the south, Reuben Simeon and Gad, numbering 151,450. To the north,
Dan, Asher and Naphtali, numbering 157,600. Finally, to the west Ephraim, Manassah
and Benjamin, numbering 108,100. If you could look down on this encampment from a
great height you would see the shape of a cross, with 2 roughly equal arms to the
north and south, the longer lower part to the east and the short top part to the
This is exactly the shape of the cross on which Jesus was to die 1500 years later.
How could any human know that the pagan Romans would develop a method of execution
as barbaric as crucifixion? Had the Jews executed Jesus, they would have used the
traditional Jewish method as prescribed in the Torah, of stoning, but the leaders
lied to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. ‘Pilate unto them, “Take ye him, and judge
him according to your law”. The Jews therefore said unto him, “It is not lawful for
us to put any man to death”’ (John 18:31). Yet at their insistence, Jesus was put
to death by the Roman method. This is yet another example of the hidden clues that
are in the Bible that prove its authenticity; that show that it was written by Someone
outside of our space and time.
This Psalm is filled with details about the death of Jesus written 1000 years before
it happened. The following represents a few of those details.
Verse 1. The words spoken by Jesus on the cross ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken
me?’ (Matthew 27:46)
Verse 8. The enemies of Jesus, the priests and scribes fulfilled the words as they
called out in ridicule, ‘He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him
deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.’ (Matthew 27:43)
Verse 14 ‘All my bones are out of joint’. As the cross was dropped into place and
after hanging by the arms for hours or even days, most of the joints of the crucified
one would be disjointed causing extreme agony.
Verse 16 ‘The assembly of the wicked have enclosed me: they pierced my hands and
my feet.’ Crucifixion involved driving nails through the hands and feet of the crucified
Verse 18 ‘They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.’ Exactly
as prophesied, the Roman solders divided up his clothes and cast lots (possibly drew
straws) for his tunic. (Matt 27:35) There is no way Jesus could have arranged for
this to happen. It is clearly a fulfilment of the prophecy.
Isaiah Chapter 52 and 53
This chapter in the book of Isaiah is so precise in its description of the death
’See, my servant will act wisely; he will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.
Just as there were many who were appalled at him - his appearance was so disfigured
beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness…He was despised
and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from
whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took
up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was
crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and
by his wounds we are healed….the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He
was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb
to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open
his mouth…..He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD's
will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt
offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD
will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light
of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the
great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life
unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors’. (Isaiah 52:13-53:12)
Written 250 years before the event, this describes in gruesome and graphic detail
the events around the crucifixion, which are depicted in the gospels. He was brought
as a lamb to the slaughter speaks of His identification with the sacrificial Passover
lamb. He was disfigured by the cruel treatment of the Roman soldiers, with a crown
of thorns rammed on His head and His head beaten with sticks to the degree that He
was appalling to look at. He was raised up on a cross to die. He died surrounded
by wicked men, with a thief on either side whilst Barabbas, the murderer was set
free. He was buried in a tomb provided by a rich man called Joseph of Arimathea.
But after all that suffering, death and burial, He will see the light of life and
be resurrected. No other person who has ever lived can fit that description.
The climax of the passage is verse 5: ‘He was pierced for our transgressions, he
was crushed for our iniquities: the punishment that brought us peace was upon him;
and with his wounds or stripes we are healed.’ This verse leads us to receive forgiveness
for our transgressions or sins and experience undeserved peace. We can literally
claim healing of our bodies because Jesus took the pain and suffering in His body.
Linen clothes and head covering
As we study the Old Testament priesthood and the sacrificial system, we will see
that it is all fulfilled by Jesus. Yet another example of this is the way in which
the resurrection details exactly map the priestly actions. Once a year, on the Day
of Atonement, Yom Kippur, the High Priest, after performing a sacrifice in the Holy
Place would enter the Holy of Holies, which was at the very heart of the Tabernacle
or the Temple. In the Holy of Holies was the Ark of the Covenant, covered by the
Mercy Seat, over which were two golden angels with outstretched wings. This was an
annual meeting with God, at which the priest, representing the people of Israel,
sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice on the mercy seat and received mercy and forgiveness
for sin on behalf of the nation. After the priest had completed the transaction,
he would remove the outer linen garments and lay them out before leaving the Holy
Place (Leviticus 16:23)
Jesus fulfilled exactly the pattern set thousands of years before. Having offered
himself as the sacrifice on the cross, He entered the Holy of Holies of the tomb
both as priest and sacrifice carrying the sins of all mankind, once and for all.
When the disciples came to the tomb in which Jesus had been laid, they were met by
two men dressed in white, inside the tomb. These unarmed men had rendered powerless
the four Roman soldiers who were guarding the tomb, and rolled away the stone. They
were clearly angels as depicted on the the Ark of the Covenant. The disciples found
the linen garments neatly folded just as a priest would fold them. These final acts
completed the priesthood and put an end to the sacrificial system.
If anyone is inclined to dismiss any of the above as pertaining to someone or something
else, a further seal was set by God to confirm to whom this refers. We have mentioned
the Bible Code earlier in the book. In both of the major passages referenced above,
Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 there is a great deal of additional encoded information. To
check this out requires knowledge of Hebrew language and lettering, but for those
so interested, it is possible to research easily using the Internet1. The most significant
encoding in both of these chapters are the letters spaced equidistantly YESHUA MASHIACH,
which means Jesus Christ. There are many other encodings in these chapters referring
to the cross and Jesus’ ministry, the names of all of the disciples and other key
players. Consider that these were written hundreds of years before Jesus by a nation
that even today still denies that He is the Messiah. There can be no doubt that Jesus,
his life and death were supernatural and preordained. We can be assured that He is
the Son of God and His words can be trusted.
We have so far concluded that God created the universe, the Earth and mankind in
particular, for relationship with Himself. He came to Earth personified as Jesus
of Nazareth 2000 years ago.
When Jesus was on Earth He brought a foretaste of the Kingdom of Heaven. Through
healings and miraculous signs, He showed that sickness, disease and death were not
something we have to live with. These come about because we live in a fallen world
that is currently under the rule of Satan, and mankind’s sinful nature has exposed
us to his influence.
Jesus’ death was according to precise plan preordained and predicted in scripture
hundreds of years in advance.
But why did He come to earth and why was it necessary that He should have to die
in such an extraordinary way? We will discuss this in the next chapter.