It is true that countless people in history have suffered the horrific fate of crucifixion, but Christ’s crucifixion remains distinct among all the rest. Christ suffered more than any human being ever. In fact, he suffered the mounting sufferings of all mankind. On the cross he was the infinite Christ carrying the sin and suffering of all finite humanity. As death slowly gripped every muscle, tendon, and organ of his entire body, he cried out words spoken by the prophet David close to a thousand years earlier: “Eloi, Eloi, lama, sabachthani? – which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matthew 27:46; cf. Psalm 22:1). And then, with the sacrifice and sin having been paid for in full, Jesus gave up his spirit to the Father (John 19:30).

Very few credible historians today doubt the reality of Christ’s death on the cross. It is one of the best corroborated facts of ancient history. However, there is much criticism regarding the idea that Christ’s crucifixion was predicted by the prophets. As one might imagine, the most vicious opposition finds it’s way to the precise Psalm that Christ cited with his dying words – “My God, why have you forsaken me?”

“Although naysayers may be vaguely aware of the power of direct predictive prophecy, they remain blithely unaware of the explanatory power inherent in typological prophecy, which we will explore…” (Hank Hanegraaff, online notes).

As such, they dismiss the word pierce in Psalm 22:16 as a less than creative “interpolation” made by an intentional mistranslation of the Hebrew world ka’ari. Their argument, however, is far from persuasive. The difference between the Hebrew words ka’aru (“pierced”) and ka’ari (“like the lion”) is very similar to the difference between a “jot and a tittle.” Not only that, but the phrase, “like the lion,” makes absolutely no sense in the direct or wider context of the passage. Most notable, however, is the uncovering of a manuscript fragment at Nahal Hever in the region of the Dead Sea. This fragment, a 1,000 years older than the Masoretic text, ended in “pierced” and not “like a lion” – the tiniest speck of ink making the most drastic of differences.

Jewish scholar Michael L. Brown states, “The Septuagint, the oldest existing Jewish translation of the Tanakh, was the first to translate the Hebrew as ‘they pierced my hands and feet’…followed by the Syriac Peshitta version two or three centuries later.” Brown continues, “the oldest Hebrew copy of the Psalms we possess (from the Dead Sea Scrolls, dating to the century before Yeshua) reads the verb in this verse as ka’aru (not ka’ari, ‘like a lion’), a reading also found in about a dozen medieval Masoretic manuscripts.”

“Thus, Psalm 22 in all of its prophetic significance stands – not in the sense of double fulfillment, once in David’s experience and again in that of Christ – but as a majestically ordered typological prophecy” (Hanegraaff).

We have to understand and remember that the Almighty God who inspired the Scriptures created the entire Old Testament history to be a foreshadowing of the coming Messiah. This typological fulfillment is explained wonderfully in Keil and Delitzsch’s commentary on the Old Testament, “That David, the anointed of Samuel, before he ascended the throne, had to traverse a path of suffering which resembles the suffering path of Jesus, the Son of David, baptized of John, and that this typical suffering of David is embodied for us in the Psalms as in the images reflected from a mirror, is an arrangement of divine power, mercy, and wisdom.” It’s like David himself being persecuted by Saul recognized in who he was as a Christ-type “pierced” by the Sanhedrin.

For as God the Father shapes the history of Jesus Christ in accordance with His own good purposes, so His Spirit shapes the very words of David regarding himself as a type of Christ, with a vision toward that history. Through this Spirit, who we know is the Spirit of God and of the future Christ at the same time, “David’s typical history, as he describes it in he Psalms and more especially in this Psalm, acquires that ideal depth of tone, brilliancy, and power, by virtue of which it (the history) reaches far beyond its typical facts, penetrates to its very root in the divine counsels, and grows to be the word of prophecy: so that, to a certain extent, it may rightly be said that Christ here speaks through David, in so far as the Spirit of Christ speaks through him, and makes the typical suffering of His ancestor the medium for the representation of His own future sufferings. Without recognizing this incontestable relation of the matter, [Psalm 22] cannot be understood nor can we fully enter into its sentiments” (Hanegraaff).

The complex picture of crucifixion that is presented in the Old Testament is as illustratively violent as it is appalling. “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint,” writes David in Psalm 22:14. “A band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing” (Psalm 22:16-18; see also Isa. 52:13 – 53:12; Zech. 12:10; 13:7; cf. Luke 24:44-47; Acts 3:18; 8:32-35; 1 Cor.15:3; 1 Pet. 2:24-25).

Way before crucifixion was invented by the Persians and mastered by the Romans, the prophets described a crucified Christ who died on a cross so that the Scriptures would be fulfilled and countless people could come to a saving knowledge of the Truth of Christ.

Source: FaithWriters.com

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