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On the Gospel of John, Part 48: What is Finished?
In our last presentation describing The Jewish Murder of the Messiah of Israel, we left John’s account of the crucifixion of Yahshua Christ with the exclamation by Christ that “It is finished!” and the resulting explanation by John that “turning the head He surrendered the Spirit.” While many commentators speculate upon what Christ had meant where He said that “It is finished”, John himself tells us just before he described the exclamation where he wrote: “With this, Yahshua seeing that He had already finished all things, in order that the writing would be completed, He says: ‘I thirst!’ 29 A vessel full of vinegar sat there. Therefore they brought to His mouth a sponge full of vinegar wrapped in hyssop.”
So where Christ had said “it is finished”, John understood that to mean that all things which were written in the books of the prophets concerning what would happen to the Christ were fulfilled. Christ Himself had expressed that same thing the evening before, as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 26 where He spoke to His disciples at the time of His arrest, and particularly to Peter who had tried to prevent His arrest, and He said “54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” Then Matthew also wrote: “55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. 56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”
But even earlier the day before, as it is recorded in Luke chapter 22, there is an account of the words of Christ to His disciples as they are still in the house where they celebrated the Passover where we read: “37 For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.” So it should be clear that where Christ had said “it is finished”, He was referring to all of the writings of the prophets concerning what would happen to the Messiah. Even much earlier than that, as Christ and His disciples were still on the road to Jerusalem from Galilee on His last earthly journey, and in Luke chapter 18 it is recorded that “31 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. 32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: 33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.” So that is what was finished, “all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son” were accomplished. That verb for accomplished, τελέω, is the same verb translated as finish here. It is also often translated as fulfill.
However it is true that Christians do have an obligation to examine the law and the prophets in order to determine precisely what the death of the Messiah means in relation to them. While the things which were written concerning what would happen to the Messiah were fulfilled, not all of the things concerning the Messiah are yet fulfilled. Not yet has the Christ judged all nations. Not yet has He destroyed all of His enemies. Not yet have the scattered children of Israel been gathered to Him from the four points of the compass. Not yet has the Kingdom of God been delivered to those same scattered children of Israel, and Christ Himself had told the apostles in Acts chapter 1 that it was not for them to know when that would happen. None of these things have been fulfilled, or fulfilled completely, yet they are all also found in the books of the prophets. For that same reason, to show what was still to come, Christ Himself had given to us the Revelation.
Both Jews and denominational Christians debate incessantly about the meanings of the relevant prophecies. But if Christians believed their Bibles, they would never attempt to learn Scripture from Jews, and Jews themselves have no standing in this, as no interpretation of Scripture they make should ever be believed. As Christ told the Jews, in John chapter 5, “46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” Then He told them again, in John chapter 10, “26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” Likewise, Paul of Tarsus explained in 2 Corinthians chapter 3 that the Old Testament, the writings of Moses, could not be understood without an acceptance of the Gospel of Christ. So Christians should never get their opinions of Scripture from Jews, who are antichrists. To the true Christian, the opinions of a Jew should not even ever be heard.
The truth is that upon the first advent of the Messiah, He was to be the Lamb of God, but upon His promised second advent He shall be a conquering King. Then He shall judge all nations, where all of the goats go into the Lake of Fire. Then He destroy all of His enemies, and especially the Edomite Jews, the messengers of the devil. Then He shall gather the children of Israel to Himself. Then He shall deliver the Kingdom of God to those same scattered children of Israel. At that time there will be no more Jews, and denominational Christians, those who are actually sheep and not goats, will have no choice but to become Identity Christians, as the Revelation of Yahshua Christ and the prophecies of the New Covenant and of the coming Kingdom of God certainly demand.
But while in many other places we have discussed the prophecies which relate to the children of Israel in the last days, here we will only offer a brief discussion of what has changed, endeavoring to determine the significance of what is finished in relation to the death of the Messiah, Yahshua Christ, on the Cross at Calvary, because it certainly does not mean that we should dispense with the Scriptures of the Old Testament. Many denominational Christians are so-called “New Testament” Christians who do exactly that.
First, however, we must acknowledge the fact that Yahshua Christ was indeed Yahweh God incarnate as a man, the Father as His Own Son, the invisible God as one of His Own creation, as He said in Isaiah chapter 44, “6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” Then later in that same chapter “24 Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself”, and the apostles acknowledged this by expressing the fact that it was Christ who had made all things, for example as Paul professed in 1 Corinthians chapter 9: “6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”
Yahshua Christ is also the subject of the opening verses of John where he wrote “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” Later in John, in chapter 11, Christ had said “25 … I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live”, and again in chapter 14, He professed that “6 … I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
So Paul was in agreement with John, and with Christ, where he wrote in Colossians chapter 1, where Christ is the subject, that it is Christ “14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” The verses which both precede and follow that passage unmistakably indicate that Christ is indeed the subject of those words.
As we have also asserted, Christ was the first light created by God in Genesis chapter 1, a sign of the manifestation of God within His Own creation as the light that comes into the world, which John declared as being the Christ. So one certainly must be a Christian before one can ever understand Moses.
Again, Paul had written in Hebrews chapter 1 that “1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory [the light of Genesis 1:3, Christ in whom there is no darkness], and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; 4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. ” There are many other ways to demonstrate that Yahshua Christ is Yahweh God incarnate, but we have before established that as a Biblical fact, as we have already discussed in many places throughout this commentary On the Gospel of John.
Once it is agreed that Christ is Yahweh God incarnate, the next step is to realize that the children of Israel collectively were recognized to be the wife of God, and the activity at Mount Sinai, where the children of Israel had vowed to love, honor and obey Him, was an allegory for a marriage ceremony. The relationship of the nation Israel to Yahweh their God was considered the same as a relationship of a wife to a husband. This is explicit in Jeremiah chapter 31 where Yahweh said “32… I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD…” Then for their sins, their divorce was acknowledged in Isaiah chapter 50: “Isaiah 50:1 Thus saith the LORD, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away? ”
In Hosea chapter 2 we see a declaration of that divorce: “Hosea 2:1 Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah. 2 Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts; 3 Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst. 4 And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms.” This also included a declaration that the children of Israel should suffer the penalties of the law for their fornication and adultery, and that penalty is death.
In Hosea chapter 1, we read a prophecy describing Israel and Judah as two sisters, where Yahweh God professed that he would put Israel off in divorce, but continue to have mercy on Judah. Of course, Hosea was writing much earlier than either Jeremiah or Ezekiel, and Judah would be divorced later. Therefore in Jeremiah chapter 33 Yahweh made mention of the “two families” which He had cast off, and Judah’s divorce was announced in Ezekiel chapter 23: “18 So she discovered her whoredoms, and discovered her nakedness: then my mind was alienated from her, like as my mind was alienated from her sister." But at this point in Hosea chapter 1 there is another promise, that even though the children of Israel were being put off in divorce, and Yahweh told them that they were no longer His people, that they would nevertheless multiply into a great multitude, and that one day they would be once again be called His children. At that point also both Israel and Judah would once again have one head, and be gathered together in one.
That is why John had written in chapter 11 of his gospel that Christ would die “not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.” That is also why Paul had later written to the Galatians, who were a portion of those same Israelites who were divorced by Yahweh, that “28 There is neither Judaean nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Then later, he wrote to the Colossians explaining “11 Where there is neither Greek nor Judaean, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”
Then, returning to Hosea chapter 2, in spite of her adultery and fornication, and in spite of her being put off in divorce, Yahweh later promised to once again be married to the children of Israel, where after a description of the punishments which she would suffer, we read a message of mercy, and it says: “19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. 20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD. 21 And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; 22 And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel [God sows]. 23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy [those same children of Israel being divorced]; and I will say to them which were not my people [the divorced Israelites], Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.”
So here is a promise of reconciliation, but there was an obstacle to that reconciliation, which was the law, and although Israel did not keep the law, Yahweh God does indeed keep His Own law. In Deuteronomy chapter 24 we read: “1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2 And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife. 3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; 4 Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.”
Yahshua Christ, Yahweh God incarnate, was called by John the Baptist both the Lamb of God, in John chapter 1, meaning that Christ Himself would be sacrificed for the sins of the people, and the bridegroom, in John chapter 3, meaning that the promise of Yahweh to betroth Himself to Israel once again would be fulfilled in Christ. Later, as it is recorded in the three synoptic gospels, Christ had on several other occasions described Himself as that bridegroom, something which is also made manifest in the Revelation, especially in chapters 21 and 22 where the bride is described as a city having the names of the twelve tribes of Israel on its gates.
However because of the law of divorce and remarriage, Yahweh could not be reconciled to Israel unless He could overcome the law which forbade Him from taking back a wife who had been married to another. Furthermore, that wife had been adulterous, as it is described in the prophets, and the penalty for adultery is death. So in Romans chapter 7, Paul of Tarsus explained precisely how Yahweh had satisfied the law, and he wrote “1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. 4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
Yahweh God incarnate as Yahshua Christ had died on the cross in order to free the children of Israel from the judgments of the law, and to release both Himself and Israel from the ordinances of the law, clearing the way for Him to be reconciled to Israel once again. Once Christians finally accept this truth, only then will they be able to discover the real meaning and significance of Christianity. So Paul wrote to people who were also Israelites which had been scattered in antiquity, in Colossians chapter 2: “13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”
Some denominational Christians errantly take this to mean that the law has ended, that Christians no longer need to follow the law, and that is not true. Christ Himself had said, as it is recorded in John chapter 14, “15 If ye love me, keep my commandments” and “21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” Likewise, in Deuteronomy chapter 5, where the ten primary commandments are repeated, we read that God shows “mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.” Throughout the Gospel accounts, whenever He was asked about the commandments, Christ had referred to the commandments of the law as they are found in the books of Moses, and by that we know what commandments He meant for Christians to keep.
But some commentators may also conclude that those references are only to the ten commandments, although that is not true since Christ had said, as it is recorded in Mark chapter 12, “29… The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” The commandment to love one’s neighbor, which He called the second greatest commandment, is not found in the list of the primary ten commandments as they are recorded in Exodus chapter 20 or Deuteronomy chapter 5, but rather, it is only found in Leviticus chapter 19. So there are commandments in the law other than those primary ten commandments that Christians must keep. In fact, there are over 100 commandments in the law where on each occasion Yahweh had stated “thou shalt not”, at least most of which are certainly relevant today.
For another example, aside from that of the second great commandment, in 1 Timothy chapter 5 and 1 Corinthians chapter 9 Paul of Tarsus was speaking of the sustenance of ministers of the gospel and he quoted Deuteronomy chapter 25 where it says “4 Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.” Using that passage as an example, even if it was in an allegory, Paul surely expected men to continue to keep that commandment. Another example is in 1 Timothy chapter 1 and 1 Corinthians chapter 6 where Paul spoke of men who “defile themselves with mankind,” a reference to Sodomy, or what we now errantly call “homosexuality”. In Leviticus chapter 18 we read: “22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” So we see that is also a commandment which Christians must still keep.
In the explicit promise of a New Covenant which is found in Jeremiah chapter 31, the Word of Yahweh says in relation to that covenant that “33… this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” So we see that the law was not done away with, but rather, the form of the law had changed. However that does not mean that Christians may dispose of the Old Covenant commandments, since Paul wrote that “4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.”
In the prophecy of Daniel which concerns the Messiah, we see other things which were prophesied to be finished in Christ: “26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself… 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease… ” The old covenant was already broken irreparably, as it is explained in Ezekiel chapter 44, Zechariah chapter 9 and elsewhere, so the covenant which the Messiah came to confirm must have been the same new covenant which was promised in Jeremiah chapter 31, Ezekiel chapter 37 and Malachi chapter 3. Yet the sacrifices and oblations certainly did cease at this time, when the temple was destroyed, as both Daniel and Christ had also foretold. So even the Jews, who despise Christ, testify by their actions that He is the Messiah, because they admit that they no longer make those sacrifices. But regardless of what the Jews do, the children of Israel should certainly make no more sacrifices or oblations, as Christ Himself is the last of them.
So with no kingdom to administer, with no sacrifices or oblations to dispense, the Levitical priesthood required by the Old Covenant was also made obsolete. However the Messiah was to be a priest of a different order, as it says in the 110th Psalm: “The LORD [Yahweh] said unto my Lord [adon], Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. 2 The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. 3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. 4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” Christ Himself had cited this Psalm in reference to the Messiah. It is evident that the Melchizedek priesthood was the original priesthood of our Adamic race, and Abraham tithed to a priest called Melchizedek. The provenance of God therefore informs us in the Psalms that the Levitical priesthood was not intended to endure forever, because Yahweh certainly foresaw the failure of the Old Covenant which established it. Otherwise, Christ would not be the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
So Paul, in his epistle to the Hebrews went to great lengths to explain the fulfillment of prophecy in this manner, in reference to a change in the priesthood as well as a change in the law. Therefore he wrote in Hebrews chapter 7: “11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? 12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.”
The change in the law is for Christian Israel to follow the law which Yahweh God has written in their hearts, while, as Paul said in Galatians of the Old Covenant law, “24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”
So while the commandments in the law stand, as Christ commanded His followers to keep them, the rituals and sacrifices and the maintenance of outward appearances required in the Old Testament are done away. In relation to the outward appearances, the circumcision and peculiar dress and other requirements of the law, Paul wrote in Romans chapter 2: “28 For he is not a Judaean, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Judaean, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” At that time, as there are today, many Jews claimed to be Israelites based on their keeping the law, who were not truly Israelites inwardly, which is by their race and by their willingness to truly obey Yahweh their God, rather than just maintaining appearances and performing rituals.
Proceeding through post-crucifixion history, the Judaeans, who rejected Christ and sought their own justification through rituals, had also sought to impose them on Christians, for which we see the disputes and resolutions of the apostles throughout the Book of Acts and their epistles, especially those of Paul. Those Judaeans who continued to reject Christ ultimately became subsumed by the Edomite blood, by the mixing with other races in the diaspora of the wicked, and for that, they deserve the accursed label of Jew which they now bear.
The diaspora of the wicked is not the diaspora of Israel. The true Israelites were scattered many centuries earlier, and never returned, ultimately becoming many of the nations of modern Europe. True Israelites among the Judaeans who did accept Christ ultimately lost their identity as Judaeans, having become Christians, and they were never called Jews. But Christ Himself had said of those who rejected Him, as it is recorded in Luke chapter 21, that “23… there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. 24 And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the nations, until the times of the nations be fulfilled.” Saying this, Christ was only repeating an earlier prophecy of the bad figs found in Jeremiah chapter 24: “9 And I will deliver them to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth for their hurt, to be a reproach and a proverb, a taunt and a curse, in all places whither I shall drive them.” That describes the entire history of the Jews until modern times, when today other Biblical prophecies of the last days have begun to unfold. But that is still how Christians should consider Jews today, as a curse and a reproach.
Now that we have discussed what is finished, at least to the extent that we can do so here, we shall proceed with John chapter 19, where we left off with the death of God Incarnate at the hands of the Jews:
31 Therefore the Judaeans, since it was the preparation day, that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a great day), asked Pilatos that they may break their legs and they may be taken away.
The Codex Vaticanus (B) has the parenthetical remark in verse 31 to read “for that was the great day of the Sabbath”, however the present day was the preparation day, and the Sabbath had not actually yet begun. The Codex Alexandrinus and the Majority Text have the words for “since it was the preparation day” to follow the parenthetical remark. The King James Version did not follow the Majority Text in that aspect. Our text follows the 3rd century papyrus P66 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א) and Washingtonensis (W).
We read in the law, in Deuteronomy chapter 21: “22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: 23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.” Therefore the Judaeans used the excuse that it was the preparation day to avoid doing the dirty work themselves. The Sabbath actually began that evening which is clarified in Luke chapter 23 where it says “54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.”
But although the preparation day was not actually a feast day or a Sabbath, if any of the Judaeans had touched a dead body they would have been considered defiled, and not able to celebrate the Passover at the appointed time. This we read in Numbers chapter 9: “ 4 And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the passover. 5 And they kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month at even in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel. 6 And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body of a man, that they could not keep the passover on that day: and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day.”
Perhaps this was also within the Provenance of God, as we see that the Roman soldiers seem to have had more mercy on the dead body of Christ than the Jews themselves may have had:
32 Therefore the soldiers came and they broke the legs of the first and of the other which they crucified with Him. 33 But coming to Yahshua, as they saw that He had already died, they did not break His legs, 34 but one of the soldiers pierced the ribs with his lance, and immediately there came out blood and water.
According to at least some physiologists, crucifixion causes a slow, painful death through suffocation, if heart failure does not occur first, and if the leg muscles remained strong, death would be prolonged. So breaking the leg bones prevented that and accelerated the process. The legs of Christ were spared because he appeared dead, yet it must have been easier for a soldier to pierce him rather than to break the bones, and that also helped to fulfill prophecy. So John continues in reference to his own witness of the fulfillment of those prophecies and says:
35 And he having seen it has testified, and truthful is his testimony, and he knows that he speaks truth, in order that you also [the MT wants “also”; the text follows P66, א, A, B and W] may believe. 36 For these things happened in order that the writing would be fulfilled: “A bone of His shall not be broken”.
It can be imagined that John was referring to the 34th Psalm, where we read “18 The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. 20 He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. 21 Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. 22 The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.”
However Christ was the “Lamb of God”, and the ultimate Passover offering for the sins of the children of Israel. Therefore He was also treated in accordance with the laws of the Passover lamb, and we read in Exodus chapter 12, from the Septuagint because it varies from the versions based on the Jewish Masoretic Text, in reference to the Passover lamb, “10 Nothing shall be left of it till the morning, and a bone of it ye shall not break; but that which is left of it till the morning ye shall burn with fire.” Then again, later in the chapter, from the King James Version, “46 In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.” John certainly seems to be referring to this law of the Passover rather than to the Psalm, although the concept expressed by the Psalm certainly correlates.
37 And again another writing says “They shall look at He whom they have pierced”.
As it says in a Messianic prophecy in the 22nd Psalm: “16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.” But here John cites Zechariah chapter 12, which also helps to establish the fact that the Psalm is indeed a Messianic prophecy: “10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” Christ, the Son and the firstborn from among the dead, and He is Yahweh, so Yahweh says “they shall look upon Me whom they have pierced.” This has not been fulfilled completely, as we read in the Revelation, where it is apparently speaking of some time yet in the future, “7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”
But there were prominent Judaeans who did care for Christ, even to risk being defiled and unable to celebrate the Passover:
38 Then after these things Ioseph from Harimathaia, being a student of Yahshua (but secretly on account of fear of the Judaeans), asked Pilatos that he may take the body of Yahshua, and Pilatos permitted it [P66 wants the words for “and Pilate permitted it”]. Therefore he came and took His body [א and W have “took Him”; A and the MT have “took the body of Yahshua”; the text follows P66 and B].
There are Medieval stories linking Joseph of Arimathaea to the legend of the Holy Grail and the first British Christian Church which was purported to be at Glastonbury. While it is true that Christianity was brought to Britain in the first century, and someone had to bring it, for various reasons I do not accept many of those stories. In fact, I even reject any interpretation of Jerome’s translation of the word for counsellor as it is in the Vulgate, as decurio in Mark 15:43 and Luke 23:50, where some claim that must refer to a Roman official. The Roman word decurio as Jerome used it only referred to a councilman of a city or municipality or a colony, and that was the function of the Judaean Sanhedrin of the time of Christ. Joseph was a Judaean counsellor, and not a Roman official. The Greek term, βουλευτής, is literally counsellor, and the context of these gospel accounts all indicate that Joseph of Arimathaea was on the counsel of the Judaeans, popularly called the Sanhedrin (after a compound Greek term meaning a council), and there is no evidence that he was any sort of Roman official. The Greek word συνέδριον is translated in the King James Version as council in Matthew 5:22, 26:59, Mark 14:55, 15:1, Luke 22:66 and John 11:47, and Sanhedrin is a corrupted form of that word which is employed by the Jews of today.
So we are not informed of precisely whom Joseph of Arimathaea may have been, as he was not mentioned earlier in the Gospel accounts, but he was a wealthy and influential Judaean, a member of their council, and that is all we are told about him. However he is mentioned here at this point in all four gospels. In Mark he is called a “prominent counsellor”, but in Matthew he is simply called “a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple.” In the Gospel of Luke, it is evident that Joseph did not concur with the Pharisees in their plot to kill Christ, so that was indeed the council to which he had belonged, where we read in chapter 23: “50 And, behold, there was a man named Joseph, a counsellor; and he was a good man, and a just: 51 (The same had not consented to the counsel and deed of them [meaning the Jews who wanted to kill Christ];) he was of Arimathaea, a city of the Judaeans: who also himself waited for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went unto Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus.”
Joseph of Arimathaea must have been a notable man in Jerusalem, as he had access to Pilate in order to ask for the body of Christ. He also must have been a man of means, since he owned a newly hewn tomb located in a garden outside Jerusalem. According to the law, which we have already read from Deuteronomy chapter 21, the body had to be buried that day, which left the apostles no time to take His body back to Galilee, and no time to acquire a tomb of their own. Perhaps the fact that Christ was buried in the tomb of a wealthy man indicates a literal fulfillment of Isaiah 53: 9, a Messianic prophecy which we have already recently discussed at length here, where it says “9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.”
So all of these different aspects of the events of the crucifixion and the character of the enemies of Christ, and the disinterested parties, who are the Romans, and His friends, His disciples, had all come together to satisfy the law and the prophets, and that is indeed a marvelous demonstration of the provenance of Yahweh our God.
39 Then Nikodemos also came (he having come at first to Him [א, W and the MT have “Yahshua”; the text follows P66, A and B] at night), bearing [א and W have “having”] a mixture of ointment and aloe, about a hundred pounds.
Nicodemus is only mentioned in the Gospel of John, in chapters 3, 7 and here. He must also have been a man of means, as he was a member of the counsel, and here he has brought a hundred pounds of ointment and aloe. The ointment here is σμύρνα, which is the Greek term used to describe myrrh. The same ointment was among the three gifts which the Magi had brought to the Christ child, as it is described in Matthew chapter 2. It is also the same ointment which was used by Mary to anoint the head and feet of Yahshua while He dined at the home of Martha and Mary in Bethany, where Judas Iscariot had protested that ointment of great value had been wasted, as it is recorded in John chapter 12.
If that small measure of ointment, one pound or λίτρα, was worth three hundred denarii, and here we have a hundred pounds of myrrh mixed with aloe, using the same word λίτρα for pound, this must have cost a considerable sum. According to Lidell & Scott, the λίτρα was a pound of twelve ounces, so 100 pounds is perhaps 75 of our modern pounds, but that does not deduct from the value that it had at the time. As we also said in our commentary on John chapter 12, 300 denarii was more than a Roman soldier was paid in one year, so here the value must have been many times that amount.
The Codices Sinaiticus (א), Vaticanus (B) and Washingtonensis (W) all have fold, ἑλίγμα, rather than mixture, or μίγμα, after the papyrus P66, the Codex Alexandrinus (A) and the Majority Text. In the next verse, the word perfumes is from the Greek word ἄρωμα, the source of our own English word aroma, where the King James Version has spices.
It was Nicodemus who had come to Christ in the night several years earlier, near the beginning of His ministry, as it is recorded in John chapter 3. While the account of his having become a disciple is not conclusive there, Nicodemus must have been persuaded by Christ in their conversation that night, and later became a disciple. Like Joseph, Nicodemus must have also been on their council, and he too had resisted the adversaries of Christ in their meetings, as it is recorded in John chapter 7. There, when the chief priests and Pharisees had sent men to seize Christ, “45 Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? 46 The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. 47 Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? 48 Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? 49 But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed. 50 Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them [so Nicodemus was a Pharisee, as John had also said in chapter 3],) 51 Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth? 52 They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.” So Nicodemus resisted the enemies of Christ, and they despised him for it. But now Nicodemus is here to help his fellow counsellor, Joseph of Arimathaea, and it is probable that each man was aware of their mutual but covert love for Christ, as John also said that Joseph remained a disciple secretly, “for fear of the Jews”.
40 Therefore they took the body of Yahshua and they bound it in linen cloths with the perfumes, just as it is a custom with the Judaeans to bury.
This burial custom as it is described here would apparently be limited to wealthy Judaeans, and Christ had that luxury, as we have already cited Isaiah 53:9 where it says “he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death”. Lazarus was wound in linen cloths in this same manner, but because he was expected to emit a strong odor, perhaps he was not covered with the ointment, but that also may be why Mary had a pound of myrrh available to use in anointing Christ after Lazarus had been raised.
Wealthier families, families that owned land, did indeed keep family tombs where the dead were laid out until the flesh decayed, and then the bones were moved to an ossuary, a box built of wood or carved out of stone for that purpose, and the space was reserved for the next family member who would pass. Eventually the ossuary would contain the bones of many family members. Poorer families used common fields and buried their dead in small shafts, many examples of which have been found by archaeologists in Palestine.
41 Now there was in the place where He was crucified a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one as yet was buried [literally laid].
Here I may conjecture, that perhaps the virgin tomb shadows the circumstances of the virgin birth, and Christ was resurrected as first born from among the dead, just as He had come into the world in the first place.
42 So there, on account of the preparation day of the Judaeans, because the tomb was near, they had laid Yahshua.
Joseph of Arimathaea must have been wealthy, as he owned an estate outside the gates of Jerusalem which contained a garden, and in the garden was a tomb hewn from rock. This virgin tomb he must have planned and had hewn for his own burial, so he must have also had a family to whom he hoped to leave his estate. While the city was destroyed shortly after the Resurrection, there are at least three tombs which may meet this description which have been found near Jerusalem by archaeologists, and they compete for identification as the tomb in which Christ was buried.
On another note, here it is also evident that not everyone who resists the spiritual wickedness in high places, the phenomenon of Jewish world supremacy, should be vocal and outspoken about it. If Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea had forced the issue at the councils of the Pharisees and chief priests, if they had openly rebelled against them, then they themselves would have been persecuted, and they would not have been in this position to do this service to God in fulfillment of the writings. Surely there must have been other services which they also performed, but of which we are not aware.
While this concludes our commentary on John chapter 19, surely we may discuss other aspects of these events before we move on to chapter 20, and the account of the Resurrection of the Christ, as He had said in John chapter 10, speaking of His Own life, “18… I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again….”