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The Secret Codes in Matthew: Examining Israel’s Messiah, Part 22: Matthew 27:27-28:20, by Kevin M. Williams

Yeshua’s cry is a familiar one. The words were first uttered by King David, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning” (Psalm 22:1). However, we need to consider both the culture and the context.

In Judaism, when a Bible verse is cited its entire context is implied (David H. Stern, Jewish New Testament Commentary, [Clarksville, MD: Jewish New Testament Publications, 1992], p. 84).

If you hear the words, “Oh say can you see,” and you are a citizen of the United States of America, your mind immediately fills in the rest, “by the dawn’s early light.” You instantly understand the reference in its entirety as the National Anthem. In Judaism then and now, to refer to any portion of the Bible is to infer the entire context. Yeshua’s use of Psalm 22 was no coincidence, and in its entire context is quite revealing.

The Redeemer—though nailed to a tree—was likely still teaching, making certain that the prophetic aspects of Psalm 22 were not overlooked . .

  • “I am a worm, and not a man, A reproach of men, and despised by the people” (v.6).
  • “I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint” (v.14).
  • “They pierced my hands and my feet” (v. 16).
  • They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots” (v. 18).

Many recognize these Davidic utterances as prophetic pictures of the One that came to hang on a tree. Yet David’s prophecy was not doom only, but littered with hope: “For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Neither has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard” (v. 24).

The Psalm Yeshua cried held ominous overtones, without question, but it also promised an ultimate deliverance. Man may have rejected David and Yeshua, but the entire context states that God did not, “For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted.”

Did God reject Yeshua and “forsake” Him? This author says, “no.”

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split (Matthew 27:50-51).

As already noted, it was about the ninth hour. Immediately following the minchah offering, the High Priest would make his way into the Holy Place, the innermost court of the Temple where the golden menorah and table of shewbread were. His next function according to God’s Torah was to light the ketoret, the incense upon the holy incense altar. This small, golden altar stood directly in front of the “veil” or parokhet.

Imagine the High Priest, likely the very man who condemned Yeshua the night before for blasphemy, bending down with the coals required to light the incense. As he leaned over and the aroma of the incense began to waft upward, he heard a terrible noise as the barrier between his world and the Holy of Holies where the Ark of the Covenant rested was suddenly exposed! I have no doubt that he fell on his face and quaked.

More symbolic meanings are found in this miracle. The veil was remarkably huge, woven with threads of red, blue, and purple and being entirely made as a work of embroidery. It would not easily tear. The curtain also had two cherubim on them, symbolic of the two angels God had posted at the entrance of Eden, barring Adam and Eve from ever returning to paradise and access to the Tree of Life. This curtain was the reminder that mankind was forbidden to cross Eden’s threshold.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Fall 2006, Pneuma Review

About the Author: Kevin M. Williams, Litt.D., H.L.D. has served in Messianic ministries since 1987 and has written numerous articles and been a featured speaker at regional and international conferences on Messianic Judaism.

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