Altar of the Almighty – part 1 of 2

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Meeting in the Sanctuary of Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53

HEBREW 7:11-28
If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
 
For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth,
 
Thou art a priest for ever
after the order of Melchisedec.
 
For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.  For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
 
And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him,
 
The Lord sware
and will not repent,
Thou art a priest for ever
after the order of Melchisedec:)
 
By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.
 
And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
 
For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.
 
 
We devote this article to the utmost of sacred sacrifices, the supreme and paramount of omnipotent sacrifice that secured the propitiation for sin for the sake of the entirety of humanity.
 
We will peer into PSALM 22, which appears as a first-hand account of One Who climbed Calvary’s hill and was crucified there, GOD Himself dying for a fallen race of spiritually dead people.
 
Then we shall delve the depths of profound truth as found in ISAIAH 53, and examine the precious jewels of GOD’s grace and love for those who accounted Him an enemy.
 
May the LORD lend aid to us, by His Spirit to more fully grasp and appreciate this most Holy Act conducted at the Altar of the Almighty.
 
Let’s begin with PSALM 22, a prophecy of David regarding the Lamb of GOD, the suffering servant of YHWH. Incidentally, PSALM 22, 23, and 24 are a trio of Messianic prophecies, and deals with what is considered our past, our present and our future.
 
PSALM 22 deals with the Cross of Christ where our sins were paid for; PSALM 23 addresses the Good Shepherd Who today, daily leads and guides us in His tender mercies and grace; PSALM 24 speaks of the yet future Millennial Reign of the Messiah-King of Israel.
 
King David prophesied the occurrences of Calvary about 1,000 years before they happened. His description of crucifixion is in such detail, that it would be impossible to have written about them nearly 500 years prior to its most popular incarnation by the Persians.
 

PSALM 22:1-5
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season and am not silent. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.

This Psalm starts right out with the same exclamation of the LORD Jesus as He hung on the cross:

MARK 15:34
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

How is it that the Son of GOD, the Word Incarnate can be forsaken by GOD (the Father) when they are One (JOHN 10:30)? Previously the LORD stated clearly that though everyone would scatter and forsake Him, the Father is always with Him (JOHN 16:32).
 
Yet GOD (the Father) did forsake Jesus – and when was this? When He bore our sins upon the Cross – the Holy Eyes of GOD the Father couldn’t bear to look upon Him then and turned away when He “made his soul an offering for sin” (ISAIAH 53:10). He became sin who knew no sin (2 COR 5:21), and as our sin bearer, He was condemned by GOD the Father in His flesh as He hung on the cross (ROM 8:3). Indeed, He is the LAMB of GOD Who takes away the sin of the world (JOHN 1:29), offered up upon the Altar of the Almighty!
 
Though the LORD Jesus cried out to His Abba Father for help, for comfort, for consolation and defense, despairing in His human emotions, His cries went unheard, because GOD cannot partake of sin, and since the Son was our sin-bearer, He was left utterly alone. More alone than anyone else in all of mankind’s history. In the greatest and most severe of human trials faced by anyone, Jesus was left isolated because of our iniquities that saturated His soul! GOD’s Law was fulfilled in Christ’s death:

EZEKIEL 18:4
Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

The curse of sin being death, would have remained upon all of us sinners, if not for the vicarious ministry of Christ that enabled Him to die in our place, taking our sin upon Himself. In such a state it’s no wonder He cried out, “I thirst” (JOHN 19:28); not for water (though He was mortally dehydrated), but for His Father, with Whom He had unbroken fellowship throughout all eternity, until He had utterly forsaken Him on the cross!
 
In all the history of Israel, the LORD Jesus’ kinsmen as a nation trusted in the LORD and were delivered (for example, see PSALM 107); yet He Himself suffered the pure, and entire wrath and judgment of GOD upon Himself.
 
PSALM 22:6-8
But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
 
This was a scarlet blood worm that when crushed would release an enzyme used to dye clothes red. No doubt, in the brutal ravages of Roman torture – suffering the cat o’ nine tails, the crown of thorns, the beatings, the ripping out of His beard, He resembled this scarlet worm, crushed beyond even being recognized as a human being:

ISAIAH 52:14
As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: (See also ISAIAH 50:6)

We have extraordinarily little capacity to comprehend the physical torment of crucifixion, far less the spiritual agony that Christ suffered. To consider physically what Christ endured on the cross, the reader may examine this article: A Physician’s View of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
 
Just as indicated in the Psalm here, the LORD Jesus suffered the ridicule and mockery of His persecutors:

MATTHEW 27:38-43
And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.

PSALM 22:9-10
But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly.
 
There are more and more liberal scholars, people-pleasing pastors and churches and denominations that disparage the Deity of Christ, and His virgin birth, His Resurrection, and practically all of the fundamentals of the faithyet Deity is described here as having a mother, being born of a woman, and under the scrutiny of the Holy Law that He would fulfill entirely, perfectly, flawlessly (GAL 4:4-5; MATT 5:17). Were not Christ one with the Father, throughout all of eternity, He would be unable to pay the price for all of our sin, which is eternal separation and perdition from GOD.
 
*– See the following recent survey conducted 09/08/2020 by Ligonier ministries that reveals what Evangelicals believe that closely mirrors what Americans in general believe (For a comprehensive examination of the fundamentals of the faith, check out this TTUF article).
 
GOD the Father, as Judge condemned Christ as our sin-bearer; Jesus could not at this point condemn Himself because He stood in our place and became sin for us; there had to be another Holy One Who could preside as Judge while Christ hung on the cross; hence, the necessity for at least Two Persons of the triune GOD to be involved at Calvary.
 
PSALM 22:11-13
Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
 
Bashan was known as the location of heinous idolatry, particularly of Ba’al, the bull god of the Philistines. Scripture states that the “idol is nothing” but stone or wood, but that the power behind any idol is demonic (See the following chapters on this: 1 CORINTHIANS 8 and 10; esp. 1 COR 10:19-21).
 
These “mighty bulls of Bashan”, I believe were powerful and fallen cherubim that followed Satan in the rebellion, and like Satan himself were ravening, roaring lions (1 PET 5:8). No doubt all the forces of hell believed they held the upper hand, gloating over the Man from Galilee, while this ‘Messiah of Israel’ had both hands tied (and nailed) on the cross.
 
Little did they suspect, that in such a vulnerable position, Christ was securing the perpetual, eternal victory!
HIS BE THE VICTOR’s NAME
 
His be the Victor’s name,
who fought the fight alone;
triumphant saints no honor claim;
His conquest was their own.
 
By weakness and defeat
He won a glorious crown,
trod all our foes beneath His feet
by being trodden down.
 
He Satan’s pow’r laid low;
made sin, He sin o’erthrew;
bowed to the grave, destroyed it so,
and death, by dying, slew.
 
Bless, bless the Conqu’ror slain,
slain in His victory;
who lived, who died, who lives again —
For thee, His church, for thee!
PSALM 22:14-17
I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
 
Dehydration due to severe trauma and exposure to the elements was the norm for those crucified; quite often bones would dislocate not just from the weight of the body being suspended by nailed wrists, but also when the shaft of the cross was dropped into the hole in the ground, by the impact of the fall.
 
“Dogs” is often a derogatory term Jews applied to Gentiles; this Jew, the Messiah King, who was considered by the Sanhedrin to be a false teacher, false prophet, ruled by the power of Satan, should have been stoned to death according to their Law. Instead, because the law of capital punishment was taken away by the Roman government, He suffered execution for His ‘crimes’ by crucifixion, at the hand of these Gentile (dogs) Roman soldiers.
 
It’s truly remarkable that “hands and feet” being “pierced” is documented here, several hundreds of years before Christ was ever born, but here it is, in black and white. As was quite often, to expedite the death of criminals so crucified, their legs would be broken, disabling them from pushing up with them, to relieve the constriction across the chest, and allow them breath. By breaking their legs the victims would soon suffocate and die.
 
Yet it’s said here that “I may tell all my bones” – that is, to inspect and determine what is salvageable or what remains whole and unspoiled. An inspection of the body of Christ would determine all of His bones were whole and unbroken. There was no need to break His legs, as He expired after the relatively short time of six hours.
 
PSALM 22:18-19
They part my garments among them and cast lots upon my vesture. But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.
 
Note that there is a division of the garments, but lots are cast for this “vesture”. Again, from the account of Scripture, recorded by John the apostle:

JOHN 19:23-24
Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did

The pitiable pleas of the LAMB of GOD to the Almighty to hasten and help Him, but still, the heavens were woefully silent; no help came to deliver this righteous Son of man from His plight.
 
PSALM 22:20-21
Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
 
Deliverance did in fact come to Deity made flesh, by death – an end of His Holy excruciating sufferings when the fullness of GOD’s wrath against the entirety of the sins of the human race was expiated. His cry of victory was heard, and Satan realized his grievous error, when His words, “It is finished!” were spoken. In the Greek, these words mean, “paid in full” that is, the sum total debt of sin for all the human race – such payment that if received by faith, would keep hell depopulated of a single soul of mankind!
 
The darling of the LORD – His bride, the church was heroically and definitively delivered from Satan’s domain of death!
 
PSALM 22:22-23
I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.
 
The apostles went from being servants, to friends while the LORD was among them; and finally, after the cross and the resurrection, to being brethren of the LORD. All three relational aspects are retained by the saints of GOD: we are faithful servants (MARK 9:35) of the LORD, and His dearest friends (JOHN 15:14-15), and family as well (MATT 28:10; JOHN 20:17)!
 
This will be the most joyous Day of all, when the Resurrected LORD declares the name of the Father before all His brethren, and in the midst of that holy congregation in heaven as well as on the earth! We shall all be gathered together there, rejoicing and worshiping the LAMB of GOD for all He has done, according to His grace!
 
PSALM 22:24-26
For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live forever.
 
It is only because of the blood of Christ that we have any access whatsoever to cry to the LORD in our affliction and be heard of Him; for the way to the Father’s throne is paved with that same blood that was poured out on Calvary!
 
Those who understand their spiritual poverty, and have mourned over their sin, who received peace with GOD by salvation in Christ, these are the meek of the earth, who shall inherit all things, again, all by the grace of GOD!  (See MATT 5:3-9; ROM 5:1-2; EPH 2:8-9)
 
PSALM 22:27-28
All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations.
 
This speaks of the glorious reign of Christ the Messiah of Israel once He establishes His rule as the King of the Jews, sitting on the throne of David, and governing all the globe from what the capital of the world will then be, Jerusalem! This is known as the Millennial Reign of the Messiah King, JESUS our LORD!
 
PSALM 22:29-31
All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.
 
It will be a holy and blessed privilege for those of us in the church to go out among all the nations during this 1,000 year reign and proclaim what the LORD has done for us, redeeming us by His own blood, offering up His own body on the Altar of the Almighty, a lonely, rugged, blood-stained cross on Calvary’s hill, outside of Jerusalem, the Holy City of Peace.
 
We shall declare His righteousness to these people born during the Millennial period that “He has done this” which from the Hebrew could legitimately be translated as saying, “He has finished this” or “It is finished” (JOHN 19:30).
LORD, we are astounded at your infinite love, your faithful and tender mercies and your fathomless grace – that You would willingly come to this wretched world, this dark domain of death and offer Yourself up as a sacrifice for our sins, knowing full well what this meant: not only the staining of your pure and holy soul with the putrid and vile sins of all humanity, and the resulting anguish of these sins, but further, the holy and righteous wrath of GOD poured out on You as You received the punishment in our place, so that we would never know GOD’s justified wrath against us.
 
You conquered sin and death and hell and arose victoriously over them all, crushing the head of the serpent, and ascended up where You were before all this began, at the right hand of the Father, Who then declared Your Name as above every name!
 
PHILIPPIANS 2:9-10
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Thank You Dear, Dear, Precious and Beloved LORD for Your love for us, and proved it with all Your Heart, all Your Soul, all Your Mind and all Your Strength at the cross! By Your grace LORD, empower us to love you in return after this fashion (DEUT 6:5; 10:12).
 
We worship You LORD, resurrected and almighty King and Victor, for righteous and true are You, JESUS!
In Part Two we shall examine ISAIAH 53, LORD willing, soon!
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