Isa. 53:4-5, ‘Surely He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed….’
Isa. 53:2-3, ‘He has no form or comeliness, and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men. A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.’
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“AWAY WITH HIM, WE HAVE NO KING BUT CAESAR!”
“When Pilate heard them say, “If you let this man go, you are not Caesar’s friend,” (Jn. 19:12-16,) he brought Jesus forth,” and he “in great state took the chair.” “We may suppose that he called for his robes, that he might look big, and then sat down in the judgment-seat. Christ was sentenced with all the pomp and ceremony that could be.” [M.H. Commentary.]
Pilate knew that “Jesus had refused the kingdoms of this world and the glory of them; had declared His Kingdom not to be of this world, and yet the Hebrews have it that He speaks against Caesar, opposing Caesar, invading the dignity and sovereignty of Caesar.”
Yet Pilate, not sure of Caesar’s favor under such a clear and current threat, began to yield, his shoulders supposedly sagging under his royal robes.
Pilate must have mustered control of his staccato voice in the Praetorium as he made one last attempt to save the life of this innocent Man, saying, [“Seeing that you Hebrews have made Him a political King… Well then…”] And presenting Jesus to them once more, he shouted, “Behold your King!” (Jn. 19:14.)
However, the venom-spitting mobs continued to insist violently, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!”
Pilate then supposedly raised his hand to quiet the multitudes.
Once he had their attention, he glanced at the tortured Jesus and shouted sarcastically, “Shall I crucify your King?”
Without hesitation and as if with one voice the chief priests shouted, “We have no king but Caesar!”
Pilate’s heart must have sunk as this dreadful predicament fully dawned on him.
Pilate had built a temple to Caesar Tiberius, ‘telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to worship the beast…’ Pilate’s name was inscribed on one of its stones alongside that of Tiberius. He was a powerful godlike political ruler, yet he was impotent against this Hebrew riot and their insistence to murder the Son of God, the Hebrew Savior or Christ, exactly as it was prophesied in their own Scriptures.
Pilate had to know that this was no ordinary upheaval.
The power of the Sanhedrin – as of all Kingdom-Now theologians - went far beyond rational Nationalism; far beyond national pride, far beyond anything that pertain to this physical realm. Like the might of modern Kingdom-Now theologians, the Sanhedrin’s extraordinary power emanated from the spirit world. They generated their strength by centering their sermons on a twisted view of ‘the God of the Hebrews’ and ‘the holy land of Israel.’ As all Kingdom-Now ‘thieves and robbers,’ they referred to their own religious/political position as the ‘staff and rod’ of God here on earth, and the people perceived them as the ‘mouthpiece’ of God. Their rule was allegedly “the Word of God; so their will was the ‘will of God.’” To honor and obey the Sanhedrin was “to honor and obey God.” Their hold on the people was a fanatical religious conviction, which they had infused with the social ills of this world, and blended with governmental military might.
In this case Pilate himself, quite unintentionally, had bestowed this awful political-religious power on them by allowing the Sanhedrin their judgment seat and police force. Just like modern cultic leaders, the Sanhedrin’s commitment to execute their political convictions went beyond this realm. Their grip on society reached into the domain of spiritual death, where no human is able to contain them, and from where their power to execute political rule on earth flowed. As with all killer-cults, the brainwashed followers of these Kingdom-Now rabbis would have been ‘honored’ to die for their ‘god’ in the ‘service of their country.’ They believed they were fighting a ‘religious (Hebrew) crusade’ or a ‘holy war;’ (a suicidal conviction exactly like that of Islamic jihad or the Christian crusaders,) expecting entry to, and generous rewards in ‘heaven’ for their political endeavors.
However, the murderous god of religious-political activism is not the true God of the Bible!
Eventually, the predicament Pontius Pilate had to face, was as follows. On the one hand there was the innocent Jesus, this Devine Man from the real heavenly sphere, Whom Pilate knew, was a Victim of this evil pharisaical sect, who had the power to inflame the entire Hebrew nation and, within such an incredibly short time, turn His own people against Him! On the other hand, the Jews also had the power to topple his, (Pilate’s) reign. If this riot could not be resolved, the Sanhedrin itself could pose a serious threat to Pilate’s protectorate and even the throne of Caesar.
What Pilate could not have comprehended, was the fact that under the influence of the beast who “causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first [political] beast…” (Rev. 13:11-18,) the Jewish nation actually communistically declared, “Away with this Spiritual Christ Who suppresses our human rights! We want to do our own will! We believe we are gods! ‘We want our gold now!’ Crucify this imposter and give us Comrade Jesus, the political activist, who will liberate us politically, who will give us equality, wealth, peace, prosperity, and happiness in god’s kingdom here on earth!”
Pilate could not have realized that the Hebrews’ declaration was a direct violation of the first commandment of the Holy Law of God, “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth, [in order to] bow down to them or serve them [as religious icons or gods.]”
The Jews were proclaiming Caesar as their only king, thereby publicly renouncing the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; the Theocratic, Old Testament King of the Hebrew nation. They were openly rejecting the Almighty God of the Hebrew people, Who is Spirit, and pledging allegiance to a mere human ruler – a heathen ruler - who placed himself on the level of divinity.
They were not only attempting to destroy and discredit their Spiritual Christ for the acceptance of this world and the temporal security and wealth of its physical kingdoms; they were also rejecting the Father in heaven, the Most High God, and with that, His Spiritual Kingdom, and eternal Life.
“Away with the Spiritual Kingdom of God,” they actually shouted. “Away with the Truth of God, the Word of God, the Way of God, the Light and Life of God, and the Salvation and Redemption of God!
PILATE KEPT UP THE FIGHT FOR THE LIFE OF THE HEBREW SAVIOR
It was the “Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour.” “Preparation Day was the day prior to a particular festival, the Passover in this case.” – [S.F. Bible.]
Pilate, sitting in the judgment seat, once more seeking to save Jesus’ life, sent for the political activist Barabbas, whose release the crowds had demanded.
Then he ordered the soldiers to bring the bleeding Jesus out as well. – Mt. 27:15-25
Pilate, hoping the crowds would come to their senses and overrule the Sanhedrin, asked the waiting multitudes, “[If Caesar is your king,] then which of the two do you want me to release to you? [Come on now, make the right decision!]” Waving his hand towards the one, he asked, “ Barabbas?” Then towards the Other, “Or [the humiliated, scourged] Jesus Who is called Christ?”
Like one man, they all shouted, “Barabbas! Barabbas!”
Still contending for the Man’s life, Pilate yelled with a note of desperation, “What then shall I do with Jesus Who is called Christ - [your Spiritual Christ?]”
Shaking their clenched fists, they all chanted angrily, “Let Him be crucified! Crucify Jesus! Crucify Jesus! Away with Him!”
“Why, what evil has He done?” Pilate insisted.
But the crowds shouted all the more loudly and demandingly, “We want Barabbas! Let Jesus be crucified! Let Him be crucified!”
The multitudes could not hear the Voice of Jesus; the dragon-like voice of the fake lamb was whispering too urgently in their ears, “Choose Barabbas, and he will change all the ills of this world! Away with Jesus! Away with Him Who stifles the plans of god’s socialist kingdom here on earth!”
And so the Hebrew nation as a whole chose to condemn their Spiritual Savior to death. They rejected the Only Way to the Spiritual Kingdom of God and to eternal life.
These crimes were the sins of idolatry and blasphemy. Yet their sin was not greater than that of modern Kingdom-Now religionists - those who choose the social gospels of Nazism, communism, and socialist collectivism in the churches under direction of the World Council of Churches. Those who choose to support worldwide socialist killing and mayhem - and the spiritual destruction of Christ’s believers in the name of this political-religious god with the “two horns like a lamb, and the voice of a dragon.” (Rev. 13:11.)
“HIS BLOOD BE ON US AND ON OUR CHILDREN”
‘When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying,’ “I am innocent of the blood of this just Man. You see to it.”
In other words, “I declare the Man innocent. As you insist on crucifying Him as a political activist, you have to take the blame and responsibility for this unspeakable crime you are committing.”
However, all the Hebrew people shouted, “His blood be on us and on our children!”
The Jews were all saying, ‘You just give the order to strip Him of His Divinity by humiliating and parading Him in public on the cross; we and all of our descendants will deal with the spiritual consequences.’
Then an angry Pilate must have waved his right hand over the crowds, thundering, “Very well then, make it so!”
PILATE’S FINAL VERDICT
The Jewish Sanhedrin wanted nothing less for Jesus than death by crucifixion.
They did not consider incarceration or any other punishment for the crimes He had supposedly committed; they wanted to silence the Voice that called them to spiritual life. The Voice that called them from their Kingdom-Now religion of death to God’s Spiritual Kingdom of eternal life.
So they executed their plan to brutally slay the innocent Lamb of God.
“And He, [willingly laying down His life to pay in full for the redemption of all believing humanity, Jn. 3:16,] bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of the Skull… [Golgotha,] where they crucified Him…
“Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.’
The Spirit Filled Bible states, “Pilate’s irony achieved a measure of revenge against those who had entrapped him into a condemnation of Jesus.”
If one studies the trial of Jesus, and understands the predicament of Pontius Pilate, it becomes clear what Pilate, literally ‘steered’ into crucifying Jesus, intended with this inscription. Pilate was adamant that everyone should know the ‘crime’ for which he had convicted Jesus.
Pilate did not crucify Jesus as a robber, murderer, blasphemer, false teacher, or even as a religious deceiver.
Pilate, believing Jesus, wanted everyone to know that Jesus was, (and still is,) truly the King of the Hebrews — and in reality King of the World. His world, which He Himself had created.
Pilate certainly knew, although not really understanding, that Jesus was the Spiritual King, innocent of political activism; innocent of coveting the throne of Caesar, innocent of planning a coup d'état to lay hold of the physical kingdoms of this world, which was lured away from their Creator by the power of Satan’s deception, (Mt. 4:8-9.)
The M.H. Commentary elaborates, “This inscription itself which Pilate wrote, and ordered to be fixed to the top of the cross, declaring the [political] cause for which Jesus was crucified, Pilate intended as a reproach, [to the Sanhedrin,] that He, being Jesus of Nazareth, [a humble town with a no-good reputation,] should pretend to be King of the Hebrews, and set up in competition with Caesar…”
And so the pagan Prefect of Caesar, Pontius Pilate, crowned Jesus King of the Hebrews, and made a mockery of the Sanhedrin’s ridiculous charge against their Spiritual Christ.
THE WONDERFUL GOD WHO TURNED EVERYTHING AROUND
The fake lamb of Rev. 13:11 openly defied, mocked, scourged, and crucified Jesus, the Lamb of the Living God. He thoroughly paraded the ‘conquered’ Jesus in public. He murdered the Man Jesus Christ, and intended to kill the Spiritual King of the Kingdom that ‘comes’ in the hearts or spirits of all those who choose to accept Him as their personal Lord, God, and Savior, (Jn. 1:1-13; 3:16.)
Fact is, the unconquerable Spiritual Kingdom of God will remain forever unshakable, while all of the kingdoms of this world shall pass away. While the Most High God allowed Satan this blasphemous atrocity for the sake of humankind’s redemption, He turned it all around in the spirit world.
Instead of murdering Jesus, Jesus rose bodily from the grave after three whole days and nights in the grave!
Instead of merely torturing Jesus on the cross, Jesus became God’s Sacrificial Lamb, Who atoned for the sin of all humanity! Instead of making Him a cursed man on a cross, Jesus “became a curse” [or the curse upon unsaved humanity was transferred to Jesus] so that we may inherit – not earn, all the blessings of Abraham thereby conquering the devil and destroying his spiritual hold on all believing mankind! - Gal. 3:10-14.
The Sanhedrin intended the cross as the final victory over Jesus, but the cross became God’s spiritual altar of everlasting victory over evil; triumphing over all evil on that cross, (Col. 2:13-15.)
Instead of doing away with the True Savior, these last members of the Old Testament temple-dispensation made The Final Sacrifice to atone for the sin of the Hebrew nation – and for the sin of the whole world! -(Jn. 3:16.)
Instead of enforcing death and the outward, ritual temple law, the last of this physical priesthood ushered in God’s spiritual life and Grace through Christ!
Instead of upholding the physical dispensation of the Old Testament, they crucified the Lamb of God to annul the Old Testament temple Covenant of the ceremonial law as a whole, (Heb. 8:13,) inaugurating Jesus’ blood-atoned, Eternal, Spiritual, New Testament Covenant.
Instead of confirming themselves as the hierarchical, Levitical priesthood of the physical temple, they annulled their positions as physical priests, and ushered in a completely new order of priests – a humble spiritual priesthood after the Order of Melchizedek, (1 Pet. 2:9-10; 1:18-19; 2:5-10; Heb. 8-10; 7:14-28.)
At the cross, Satan the so-called ‘conqueror,’ suddenly found himself completely conquered.
Paul declared the unquestionable victory of the Lord Jesus Christ in Col. 2:11-15, “… God, Who raised Him from the dead…. having forgiven all your trespasses, wiped out the handwriting of requirement that was against us. [All our transgressions of the ritual, as well as the moral, Old Testament Law.] And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.” (Jn. 12:31; 14:30-31.)
Three days later God raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the grave.
Suffering could not disfigure Him.
Death could not snuff out His Truth, Light, or Life.
The grave could not entomb Him.
Satan could not rule Him!
Christ Jesus is alive and lives forever more!
He is sitting at the right hand of the throne of God in heaven, from where He will return to take to Himself all those who personally accepted Him and His Divine blood-sacrifice in their place; proving their love for Him by following Him as His totally sold-out disciples by obeying His Moral Law of love, (Jn. 13:34.)
JESUS WOULD NOT BE THE ONLY VICTIM OF KINGDOM-NOW THEOLOGIANS
The fake lamb with the ‘voice of a dragon’ never tolerates competition. God still allows Satan, for the time being, to rule this physical world, and Satan always perceives preachers of the Spiritual Kingdom of God as a serious threat to his kingdom, where he pretends to be “god” here on earth. Therefore Paul wrote in Eph. 4:12, “For we [sincere, born again believers] wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers [of the deception] of the darkness of this world, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” - [1 Jn. 5:19; 2 Cor. 4:3-4; 10:3-5; Eph. 2:2; Jn. 14: 30; 12:31.]
Since that day when the false lamb, the one who speaks with the voice of a dragon, made the greatest mistake of his life in his attempt to destroy Jesus, and miserably lost the battle for humankind’s soul, he has turned his attention to the followers of the Real King. Since that day he has the Scripturally born-again disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ in his sights. The disciples, whom God had chosen to bring His light and life to this dark and dying world.
In the centuries that followed Jesus’ cross on Golgotha, many of those who had to suffer and die for His Name sake, and for the truth of His Word, would have remembered the warning of their Spiritual King, shortly before He was arrested that dreadful night, “They will put you out of the synagogues [and churches,] yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me…” – Jn. 16:2.
In the years after Jesus’ ascension, the lamb with the two horns and the voice of a dragon would continue to play his role on the stage of history, ruling the kings of this earth, killing and torturing an estimated 68 million martyrs. To that horrible statistic we may add the uncounted millions.
The millions who refused to become part of Kingdom-Now cults of all ages.
As a result, most historians did not honor them, and their names and excruciating circumstances were merely omitted from most of the history books.
Continue to PART 2, Martyrs At the Gates of Hell; Jesus’ Baptism with fire