Israel and the Number 12 in Scripture - Part 1 By Randy Nettles In 2018,…
From the Cross at Calvary to the Charge of the Cosmic Cavalry
From the Cross at Calvary to the Charge of the Cosmic Cavalry
By Randy Nettles
Jesus’ death on the cross at Calvary occurred on Nisan 14 at about 3:00 pm in the afternoon. He had been on the cross for about six hours after his horrendous scourging. Here is one account of His last hours: “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:50-54).
The Temple veil was a thick tapestry that separated the outer room in the Temple, called the Holy Place, from the inner room, called the Holy of Holies or the Most Holy Place. This inner room contained the Throne of God and no one was permitted to enter except for the High Priest, and he did so for only one day per year on the Day of Atonement. The veil was too thick and too tall for any man to tear, especially from top to bottom. It is believed the curtain was about 60 feet in height, 30 feet in width, and four inches thick. After the veil was torn, the Holy of Holies was exposed. The significance of this torn veil was that because of Jesus’ sacrificial death and blood atonement, God’s presence was now accessible to all who believe in the One the Father sent.
Three days after the crucifixion of Jesus, on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb of Jesus early in the morning while it was still dark, according to John 20:1. She had come to finish preparing the body of Jesus as she didn’t have a chance to do it earlier because of the special Sabbath of Nisan 15 and the weekly Sabbath the following day. When she got to the tomb, she saw the boulder had been taken away from the entrance, so she ran to tell Peter and John.
Peter and John ran to the tomb and the scripture says John outran Peter and got there first but did not go in immediately. When Peter got there afterward, he went in immediately. Peter saw that the tomb was empty except for the burial linen cloths and the face cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. When John went in, the scripture says, he “saw and believed.”
“For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead” (John 20:9). Some translations say they “did not believe the Scripture.” Either way, I find it incredulous that they did not realize this was going to happen as Jesus had told them four times he would be killed and then resurrected on the third day. The disciples went away to their homes after this.
Mary stayed and was weeping because she thought someone had removed the body to another location. When she looked inside the tomb, she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. They asked her why she was weeping and she said “Because they have taken the body of my Lord and I do not know where.” She then turned around and saw Jesus standing in front of her, but she did not recognize him. Jesus asked her why she was weeping and whom was she looking for. Mary assumed he was the gardener and told him if he had carried the body away, to let her know and she would take him away.
Jesus then said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which means Master). Jesus said unto her, Do not cling to me; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her” (John 20:17-18).
The rest of John 20 deals with Jesus appearing before the disciples a few times. The first time was on the same day of the resurrection when Jesus appeared before all the disciples except Thomas. Jesus spoke with them briefly and then “He breathed on them, and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). The disciples received the Holy Spirit at this time. Paul explains it this way: “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). It’s not mentioned, but I believe Jesus probably breathed on Thomas the next time Jesus appeared to the disciples eight days later.
The giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was different. Jesus described it as being “endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). In Acts 2 the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples in power, enabling them to speak to the crowd that was assembled there in a way that allowed everyone to understand them in their own language. Some scholars call this an “epi” experience, after the Greek word that means “to come upon.” It’s a temporary manifestation of the Holy Spirit that enables the recipient to perform a supernatural act, often as a sign to others. Similar “epi” experiences are mentioned in Acts 10:44-46 and Acts 19:6. In the Old Testament it was said the “spirit of the Lord” came upon the recipients. This occurred to several of the judges, such as Gideon and Samson. Saul and David also had experiences with being endued with power from on high.
This is what happened to the disciples after the resurrection, but what about Jesus? Jesus had told Mary not to cling to him, for He had not yet ascended to the Father. Many theologians believe the reason that no one was to touch Jesus at this time was that He first needed to place His blood on the mercy seat in the Most Holy Place in heaven, according to Hebrews 9:12. “Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” (New King James version). They believe by Jesus doing this act in heaven, He was fulfilling the Day of Atonement, when Aaron, the High Priest, first offered sacrifices to the Lord for the sins of the people. The first Day of Atonement is found in Leviticus 16.
“Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness. And he shall go out to the altar that is before the Lord, and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and some of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar all around. Then he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, cleanse it, and consecrate it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel” (Leviticus 16:15-16,18-19). Seven times signifying spiritual perfection, Jesus Christ Himself.
“For on that day, the priest shall make atonement for you, to cleanse you, that you may be clean from all your sins before the Lord. This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel, for all their sins, once a year” (Leviticus 16:30,34).
I used to adhere to this view of Jesus entering the Most Holy Place in heaven and sprinkling His blood on the mercy seat. Of course, He would only have to do this one time and not every year. I no longer believe this way for several reasons. Let’s look at Hebrews 9:12 again, only through the King James translation. “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” The New King James version uses the word “with” his own blood while the original King James version uses the word “by” his own blood. Can you see how this one word makes all the difference in the context of this verse? I strongly advise using the King James version or at least verifying other translations with it.
Jesus’ work was done on the cross. That is why he said, “It is finished” in John 19:30. Jesus’ holy blood, not His sacrifice itself, is what brings the remission of sins to those who believe in His work. Jesus did not need to bring His blood into heaven because, by His own blood, which was shed on the cross, He was able to enter into the holy place in heaven and begin His duties as our High Priest. 1 Corinthians 15:50 says “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” Nobody will be bringing anything from the earth with them upon entering heaven. Believers do not enter heaven with the literal blood of Christ; rather they enter in the same way that Christ entered heaven, by virtue of His blood, that was shed on the cross. To enter by the blood of Jesus is to appropriate the benefits of Christ’s sacrifice through the one requirement of faith.
“Leon Morris points out the serious error of teaching that Christ presented His blood in heaven. It would imply “that Christ’s atoning work was not completed on the cross but that he still had to do some atoning act in heaven like the earthly high priest who took the blood into the Most Holy Place on the Day of Atonement.” Not only is this theory unbiblical but it also gives support to the Roman Catholic/Anglo-Catholic theology of the perpetual offering of the blood of Christ. Heretical groups argue this point to a destructive (cf. 2 Peter 2:1) extreme in teaching that the blood of Christ is used as a perpetual offering in heaven. Christ entered once and for all into the holy place as the One who found and obtained eternal redemption for those trusting in Him alone for salvation.”
Just as the new covenant is superior to the old covenant, the Law, so is the heavenly tabernacle superior to the earthly tabernacle. Likewise, the High Priest in heaven is vastly superior to any earthly priest. “We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man. For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain. But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, in as much as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises” (Hebrews 8:1-6).
Hebrews 9 is not a fulfillment of Leviticus 16, but contrasts the differences between the two “atonements.” According to the law, almost all things are purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. The shedding of the blood of bulls, goats, and lambs during the times before Jesus’ sacrifice was an earthly pattern of the heavenly “atonement.” It satisfied the old covenant of the Law.
The new covenant of grace began when Jesus died on the cross as a human sacrifice for the sins of the world. Once His precious holy blood was shed on the cross, the permanent atonement for mankind was finished for all who believe in His sacrifice. No blood is needed for the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant (new covenant/testament) in heaven because the High Priest is Holy and so are the inhabitants of heaven. The saints in heaven no longer need blood atonement for their sins. “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 18:18)
The blood of bulls and goats only covered up sin for a brief time and the rituals and sacrifices needed to be repeated every year. The blood of Jesus does not cover up sin temporarily but offers permanent forgiveness for sin. His sacrifice and shedding of blood only had to be accomplished one time. “For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another — He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:24-26).
“In Him, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth — in Him:” (Ephesians 1:7-10).
While Jesus’ body was in the tomb, Jesus’ spirit went to Sheol. Sheol is a Hebrew word that simply means “abode of the dead.” The Greek equivalent is “hades”, sometimes translated “hell” in English. Before the cross no one could enter heaven because the animals they sacrificed didn’t cleanse them of their sins, they just allowed God to set their sins aside until Jesus came to die for them.
“Therefore, Sheol consisted of two distinct areas. One was a place of comfort where those who had died in faith had a pleasant place to wait for Jesus to come. After the cross, Jesus took the believing dead to heaven with Him, so that side of Sheol is empty now. Today, the spirits of believers who die go directly to be with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:6-8).
The other was a place of torment where the unbelieving dead still go to wait for the Great White Throne judgment at the end of the Millennium. The unbelieving dead from all ages will remain there until they are called to stand before God and receive their final judgment. Rev. 20:13 says at that time Hades will give up its dead and each person will be judged according to his or her works. The account of the Rich Man and Lazarus gives the Bible’s best description of the two sides of Sheol/Hades” (Luke 16:19-31).
Many scholars believe Ephesians 4:8-10 describe Jesus going to Paradise (with one of the thieves on the cross according to Luke 23:43) and emptying Sheol of all who died in faith and then taking them to heaven when he ascended. “When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” (Now this, “He ascended” — what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
After Jesus’ spirit went to Sheol for three days, He returned to the burial tomb where He was resurrected a short time before His appearance to Mary. God reunited his soul with an eternal body so that He is the first fruits of the resurrection harvest. As Psalm 16 makes clear, Jesus is not only like us, but different. Jesus’s body was buried, like ours, but it did not decay. “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:9-11).
Right after Jesus talked with Mary, he went to heaven and entered the Holy of Holies, and was reunited with the Father. He made several trips back to Earth during the 40 days after His resurrection. After Jesus’ meeting with the disciples on resurrection Sunday, there were only six more recorded appearances. Four were to the disciples (John 20:26-31, John 21:1-23, Matthew 28:16-20, Acts 1:3-8), one was to James (1 Corinthians 15:7), and one was to about 500 others (1 Corinthians 15:6), his only public appearance between the resurrection and the ascension.
Jesus’ ascension is described in Acts 1:9-11: “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Nisan 10, he should have been crowned King of Israel, instead, they crucified him. I believe when He ascended into heaven 10 days before the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, He was crowned king of the earth and heaven. Here is the finish of Acts 1:9-11 (Jesus’ ascension into heaven) as recorded by Daniel: “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.”
Jesus was a prophet (the prophet) while He was on Earth. Of course, he was much more than that, He was the fulfillment of many prophecies and the only one who ever lived that did not transgress against God’s law. “Then He said to them, ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.’ And He opened their understanding that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (Luke 24:44-45).
Now in heaven, Jesus is both a High Priest and King, something the kings of Israel and Judah were never allowed to do. Once, God struck King Uzziah with leprosy after he tried to burn incense on the altar of incense in the temple, which was a job meant only for priests. He had leprosy until the day he died.
“And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by God as High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:9-10).
“Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).
After the Rapture of the Church and the subsequent Tribulation, we will await the order from the Supreme Commander of the heavenly forces (both angelic and redeemed mankind) to “mount up” and prepare for war (in which we will only be witnesses). The Man of War will be called back into action to redeem His remnant saints on the earth and to once and for all defeat His enemies, both angelic and human. It will be like the cavalry arriving at the last moment to save those who are about to be slaughtered. They will first hear the bugle (shofar/trumpet) sounding the cavalry charge. Then they will see the Man of War on His white stallion. He will not be wearing a white cowboy hat, but He will be wearing many crowns on His head. He will not be wielding a saber, but instead, will use the sickle of the word of God. “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Following Him will be the armies of heaven, all riding upon white horses. I can imagine the poor pathetic armies of the Antichrist shaking in their boots with fear. Here is how John described it. ”Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:11-16).
The result will be the slaughter of the Beast’s armies as described in Revelation 14. “And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe. So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs” (Revelation 14:18-20).
Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and his armies will come to the earth on a not-too-distant future day of Trumpets (Tishri 1), fulfilling this 5th Feast of the Lord. He will judge the surviving nations and peoples of the earth on the Day of Atonement, (Tishri 10), fulfilling the 6th Feast of the Lord. This is known as the sheep and goat judgment, as described in Matthew 25:31-46. “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me” (Matthew 25:31-36).
Five days later on Tishri 15, the first day of the 7th Feast of the Lord, Tabernacles, Jesus Christ will tabernacle with mankind once again. From the 15th day to the 22nd day of Tishri, Jesus will fulfill the Feast of Tabernacles with His presence amongst the surviving, faithful remnant of Israel and the Gentiles. The seven Feasts of the Lord will now all be fulfilled by Jesus Christ before His millennial kingdom begins a short time later. The Feast of Tabernacles will be required for all peoples of the earth to attend in the Millennium. The third temple will be destroyed at the Second Coming of Christ. The great earthquake of Zechariah 14:4 will drastically change the topography of Jerusalem. It will result in the provision of a very large level area where the Millennial Temple of Ezekiel 40-46 will be constructed. This is the temple from which Jesus will reign over all the earth.
“And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. In that day “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” shall be engraved on the bells of the horses. The pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the Lord of hosts. Everyone who sacrifices shall come and take them and cook in them. In that day there shall no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 14:16-21).
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!