Wednesday, December 5 2012
Joseph and Nicodemus: Making A Stand
Joseph of Arimathea (or "Arimathaea"), as he is recorded in the Scriptures, was a wealthy man who also happened to be a member of the Jerusalem religious council at the time of the Messiah's coming. While many of the others rejected and plotted against Jesus of Nazareth, Joseph recognized the Messiah's coming. Although he was, at first, "a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews," that changed on the day of Christ's death. It was Joseph of Arimathea who went and demanded the Body of the slain Lamb of God from the Roman occupation forces, from which Joseph buried the Christ in his own newly-cut tomb in Jerusalem. Joseph thereby fulfilled Isaiah's prophecy that the Messiah's grave would be "with the rich in his death."
"53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him [see also Satan's Masquerade]. 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD [see The Kingdom Of The LORD God] hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter [see Nisan 14: The Sacrifice Of The Lamb Of God], and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?]: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 53:9 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.
53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin [see Innocent Blood and What Happened When The Messiah Arrived In Heaven?], he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand." (Isaiah 53:2-10 KJV)
Nicodemus was a Pharisee of Jerusalem who also became a believer in the Messiah. Nicodemus, like Joseph, did not make his stand with the Messiah while He was alive, but nevertheless did so on a day that was at least as dangerous as any day before - when the frenzy of killing Jesus of Nazareth was still ongoing. Nicodemus assisted Joseph of Arimathea in removing Jesus Christ from the Cross and the placing His Body in the Tomb.
Nicodemus became a believer from personal teachings that he received from the Messiah, when he "came to Jesus by night." Among those teachings are the now-famous "John 3:16" verse that was actually part of a much more extensive teaching (see What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16?). Nicodemus thereafter realized that the little religious fantasy world that he had been one of the "leaders" of was, literally, a dead end.
"3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees [see also The Passed Over Pharisees], named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God [see The Church In The Kingdom Of God]." (John 3:1-3 KJV)
Jesus taught Nicodemus that no one is "saved" or "born again" in their physical state (see The Harvest Prophecies, When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin and The Eighth Day: Empty Cemeteries).
"3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
3:9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
3:10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
3:11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 3:12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 3:21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." (John 3:4-21 KJV)
Amazingly, many on the religious council were unaware of the prophecies of the Messiah that they claimed to be awaiting (see also How Did The Messiah's Levite Priesthood Change?). By that time however, Nicodemus was beginning to see; the message hit home.
"7:41 Others said, This is the Christ.
But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? 7:42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? [see Bethlehem In History And Prophecy] 7:43 So there was a division among the people because of him. 7:44 And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him.
7:45 Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him?
7:46 The officers answered, Never man spake like this man.
7:47 Then answered them the Pharisees, Are ye also deceived? 7:48 Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? 7:49 But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed.
7:50 Nicodemus saith unto them, (he that came to Jesus by night, being one of them,) 7:51 Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?
7:52 They answered and said unto him, Art thou also of Galilee? Search, and look: for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet. 7:53 And every man went unto his own house." (John 7:41-53 KJV)
Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were witnesses of the Crucifixion, and of the Messiah's Ministry up to that day - either one of them could have written a "Gospel" book.
"19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister [see The Kinsfolk Of Jesus Of Nazareth], Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 19:26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 19:27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home [see Joseph Of Nazareth].
19:28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 19:29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost [see Giving Up The Ghost].
19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) [see The Two Sabbaths Of Passover Week] besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
19:32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.
19:33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 19:34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
19:35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 19:36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 19:37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced." (John 19:25-37 KJV)
When the Crucifixion was over, the days of their "sitting on the fence" were also over; Joseph of Arimathaea went directly to Pilate to demand the Body, and "there came also Nicodemus" (see also Who Has A Spirit Of Confrontation?).
"19:38 And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus: and Pilate gave him leave.
He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.
19:39 And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. 19:40 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury [see also Linen In History And Prophecy].
19:41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid. 19:42 There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' preparation day; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand." (John 19:38-42 KJV)
Matthew provides additional detail about the Tomb, "which he had hewn out in the rock."
"27:50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple [see also The Holy Place In History And Prophecy] was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 27:52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,
27:53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
27:54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.
27:55 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:
27:56 Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee's children.
27:57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: 27:58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. 27:59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 27:60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed. 27:61 And there was Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulchre." (Matthew 27:50-61 KJV)
Fact Finder: How did Joseph and Nicodemus come out of one kingdom and into another?
See The Children Of The Two Kingdoms and Who Lights Your Walk?
This Day In History, December 5
1349: Jews were massacred in Nuremberg, Germany, in what became known as the Black Death Riots.
1484: Pope Innocent VIII issued a bull (see Papal Bull) condemning the spread of witchcraft and "heresy" in Germany; he ordered that all accused persons were to be executed.
1492: Christopher Columbus "discovered" Haiti (the existing people of the island already knew that it was there; see also Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy).
1496: King Manuel I expelled Jews from Portugal.
1560: King Francis II of France died at age 16 after reigning 1 year.
1594: Flemish geographer Gerardus Mercator died at age 82. The still commonly-used Mercator Projection map is named after him.
1766: Christie's of London held their first auction.
1791: Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died at age 35.
1904: Japanese forces devastated the Russian fleet at Port Arthur in Korea.
1916: David Lloyd George became the Prime Minister of Britain.
1921: Britain reached an accord with Sinn Fein to permit Ireland to become an independent country.
1945: In one of the most famous "Bermuda Triangle" disappearances, the "Lost Squadron" (5 U.S. Navy Avenger bombers with a total of 14 crew) took off on a routine training mission from the Naval Air Station at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. While many believe that the lead pilot simply became lost due to disorientation and/or navigational equipment failure (as radio transmissions within the flight overheard by other aircraft in the area indicated) and led the squadron out to sea where they ran out of fuel and were lost, others regard the disappearance as somehow supernatural.
1975: Less than a month after describing Zionism as racism (see A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism), the United Nations General Assembly (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Balfour Declaration to understand the role of the UN in the establishment of the modern state of Israel) ordered Israel to return all "occupied Arab land" (that the Arab nations lost in battle after they attacked Israel) without qualification (that is, without peace treaties), and to "restore the legitimate rights of the Palestinians." It was one of the most anti-Jewish, hypocritical demands ever made by the United Nations General Assembly, and the Israeli government rightfully refused.
1978: The Soviet Union signed a 20 year "friendship pact" with then-communist Afghanistan. The Soviets invaded Afghanistan a year later, in December 1979, at the "request of the government of Afghanistan" to assist in the fight against the Mujahideen, an allied group of Afghan opposition groups who were being supported and armed by the U.S. and Britain (as well as a number of Muslim nations in the Middle East whose existing pro-western dictatorships were being threatened by the communist dictatorships). Ironically, when the Russians withdrew from Afghanistan, and the U.S. invaded Afghanistan after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. ended up fighting the same insurgents that it once armed and supplied in their fight against the Russians - they were called "freedom fighters" when they were fighting the Russians but "terrorists" when they fought the U.S.
1999: Bert Hoffmeister died at age 92. He was the most decorated Canadian solder of the First World War; he also received the Legion of Merit from the U.S., the Order of Orange Nassau from the Netherlands and the Military Order of Italy (listen also to our Sermon The European World Wars).