The Stoning of Messiah


Challenging Your Mind

It can sometimes be difficult for us to think outside the box, but I’m going to challenge you to do so. Perhaps the information I’ll share is not new to you, but I think I can guarantee that it was certainly new to me. Allow me to pose several themed questions:

  1. At His death, was Messiah a strong and healthy man?
  2. Why did Messiah die before the thieves?
  3. How did Messiah die?

The most challenging question to you might be question number 2. I don’t mean any of these questions as theological or spiritual questions – I mean the questions exactly as they are written and they all reference Messiah’s physical condition at His death. Do you think you know the answers?

There is a further dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension more vast than space and more timeless than infinity. There is no middle ground between light and shadow, between Truth and fiction, between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of righteousness. This is the dimension of True Life. It is an area which we call the Scripture Zone.
(Modified Introduction to the 1959 Twilight Zone TV series)

The Context of a Premeditated Murder

Often times, Messiah was accused of breaking the Sabbath.

Matthew 12
10 And, behold, there was a man which had [his] hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.
11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift [it] out?
12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched [it] forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.
14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him

John 5
15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
16 And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him, because he had done these things on the sabbath day.

From these passages, we see that initially, the scribes and Pharisees wanted to kill Messiah because He broke the Sabbath according to their doctrines.

Additional Context to a Premeditated Murder

John 8
58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
59 Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

John 10
30 I and [my] Father are one.
31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

Again and again, Messiah is accused of breaking Torah in a way that would result in His being stoned. While these allegations are not true, the precedence remains. It is with these events in mind that we must contemplate the following two Scriptures:

John 7
30 Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come.

John 8
20 These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come.

Notice how close these Scriptures are to threats of Messiah being stoned. When John states that “His hour was not yet come” he directly implies that this is how it will be when the time is right, to include their desire to stone Messiah.

How Well Do You Know Torah?

What is the consequence for breaking the Sabbath?

Numbers 15
32 And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the sabbath day.
33 And they that found him gathering sticks brought him unto Moses and Aaron, and unto all the congregation.
34 And they put him in ward, because it was not declared what should be done to him.
35 And the LORD said unto Moses, The man shall be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.
36 And all the congregation brought him without the camp, and stoned him with stones, and he died; as the LORD commanded Moses.

What was Messiah convicted of at His trial?

Matthew 26
60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, [yet] found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,
61 And said, This [fellow] said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.
62 And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what [is it which] these witness against thee?
63 But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.
64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.
66 What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.

From this passage, we can see that the court convicted Messiah of blasphemy. What is the required judgment, according to Torah, for blasphemy?

Leviticus 24
13 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
14 Bring forth him that hath cursed without the camp; and let all that heard [him] lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him.
15 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin.
16 And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, [and] all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name [of the LORD], shall be put to death.

In fact, if one committed a sin worthy of death, such as blasphemy, then not only were they to stone him, but they were also to hang him on a tree.

Deuteronomy 21
22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:
23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged [is] accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance.

We must understand that this hanging is not the same as what we see in the western movies of Hollywood, in other words, the hanging on a tree was not to cause the death of the individual.

The Surprise of Pilate

Mark 15
42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,
43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
44 And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling [unto him] the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.
45 And when he knew [it] of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.

Pilate marveled that Messiah was already dead?

This should have been no surprise to him because of the dreadful beatings that took place prior to Messiah’s crucifixion, right? At least that’s what most of us think.

Luke 23
22 And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let [him] go.

Pilate tried to release Messiah 3 times by Luke’s count. Even more interesting is the word “chastise”, used in the verse above.

G3811 παιδεύω paideuo (pai-dyoo’-o) v.

1. to train up a child, i.e. educate

2. (by implication) discipline (by punishment)

[from G3816]

KJV: chasten(-ise), instruct, learn, teach

H3256 יָסַר yacar (yaw-sar’) v.

1. to chastise, literally (with blows) or figuratively (with words)

2. (hence) to instruct

[a primitive root]

Leviticus 26
18 And if ye will not yet H5704 for all this hearken H8085 unto me, then I will punish H3256 you seven times H7651 more H3254 for your sins H2403.

This “chastisement” that Messiah went through was not the typical Roman whipping that would have been used to extract confessions or other information. This purpose of this “chastisement” was to bring a humbling or remorseful attitude. Because Pilate was trying to release Messiah, as he could find nothing wrong with Him, he would not have had a beating placed upon him that would have been as brutal as we have come to think – if he had placed that beating upon him, would he have been as surprised about how quickly Messiah died? Remember also that Pilate had received a warning from his wife.

Matthew 27
19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.

This is not to belittle the scourging that Messiah received, this scourging was not minor in any way; however our ideas may be wrong as to the extent of damage that this scourging did. This is only to point out that we may have some preconceived ideas.

The Words of Pilate

Matthew 27
24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but [that] rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed [his] hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye [to it].

Luke 23
22 And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let [him] go.
23 And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.
24 And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.

John 19
16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led [him] away.

Pilate gave the order for Messiah to be crucified by the laws of Rome, but he gave instructions to the people that it should be as they required. They did not require crucifixion, they required stoning. While Rome placed Messiah on a tree, Israel began to hurl stones at him.

Crucifixion itself is a relatively lengthy process in which, if left unassisted, could take more than a week to kill someone. Eventually death comes by suffocation or starvation. There are reports of crucifixions lasting more than 9 days. This is why the legs of the victims were broken in most cases.

The Prophecies Must Be Fulfilled

YHWH is so amazing to reveal His plan to us. There are many prophecies about the Messiah and the different facets of His life and purpose. One of these facets is the suffering that He would have to go through.

Isaiah 52
13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
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:
15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for [that] which had not been told them shall they see; and [that] which they had not heard shall they consider.

Note first that this Servant will be extremely marred and disfigured. An interesting word in the above verses is the word “sprinkle” found in verse 15.

H5137 נָזָה nazah (naw-zaw’) v.

1. to spirt, i.e. besprinkle (especially in expiation)

[a primitive root]

This word is used in the sacrifices and refers to the blood of atonement or the cleansing of an individual, while there are deep spiritual meanings in this statement, we must first deal with the physical level. Messiah’s blood must be sprinkled or spattered. This does not imply dripping blood or it flowing from wounds, but it being spattered.

Isaiah 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.
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.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
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.

We often associate stripes with whips or lashes, but the Hebrew doesn’t exactly mean that.

H2250 חַבּוּרָה חַבּוּרָה חֲבוּרָה chabbuwrah (khab-boo-raw’) (or chabburah {khab-boo-raw’} or chaburah {khab-oo-raw’};) n-f.

1. (properly) bound (with stripes), i.e. a weal (or black-and-blue mark itself)

[from H2266]

H2266 חָבַר chabar (khaw-bar’) v.

1. to join (literally or figuratively)

2. specifically (by means of spells) to fascinate

[a primitive root]

KJV: charm(- er), be compact, couple (together), have fellowship with, heap up, join (self, together), league.

This word actually implies bruises and not marks from a whip. From the crucifixion process and the scourging, Messiah would not have been given bruises. Bruises come from objects impacting the body without breaking the skin.

Psalm 38
1 A Psalm of David, to bring to remembrance. O LORD, rebuke me not in thy wrath: neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure.
2 For thine arrows stick fast in me, and thy hand presseth me sore.
3 [There is] no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither [is there any] rest in my bones because of my sin.
4 For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.
5 My wounds stink [and] are corrupt because of my foolishness.
6 I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.
7 For my loins are filled with a loathsome [disease]: and [there is] no soundness in my flesh.
8 I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.
9 Lord, all my desire [is] before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee.
10 My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.
11 My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.
12 They also that seek after my life lay snares [for me]: and they that seek my hurt speak mischievous things, and imagine deceits all the day long.
13 But I, as a deaf [man], heard not; and [I was] as a dumb man [that] openeth not his mouth.
14 Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth [are] no reproofs.
15 For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God.
16 For I said, [Hear me], lest [otherwise] they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify [themselves] against me.
17 For I [am] ready to halt, and my sorrow [is] continually before me.
18 For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.
19 But mine enemies [are] lively, [and] they are strong: and they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.
20 They also that render evil for good are mine adversaries; because I follow [the thing that] good [is].
21 Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me.
22 Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation.

I included all of Psalm 38 as we can see that the whole Psalm is a remembrance of not only David’s life, but also it has a relationship to the death of Messiah. Allow me to point out several verses to consider.

  • Verse 2 – arrows stick in me and YHWH’s hand is pressing down upon Him
  • Verse 5 – the word “wounds” in Hebrew is “chaboorah”, the same as Isaiah 53:5
  • Verse 11 – lovers and friends are against Him, while the ones He is close to are afar off

Verses 7-10 denote a beaten and broken man in great pain that has a burning in his loins (genital area) and is no longer has a complete body (referring to skin missing). Verse 10 also points to His eyes not being open or seeing light any longer.

Psalm 22
1My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? [why art thou so] far from helping me, [and from] the words of my roaring?
2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.
3 But thou [art] holy, [O thou] that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
4 Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
6 But I [am] a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, [saying],
8 He trusted on the LORD [that] he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
9 But thou [art] he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope [when I was] upon my mother’s breasts.
10 I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou [art] my God from my mother’s belly.
11 Be not far from me; for trouble [is] near; for [there is] none to help.
12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong [bulls] of Bashan have beset me round.
13 They gaped upon me [with] their mouths, [as] a ravening and a roaring lion.
14 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.
15 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.
16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I may tell all my bones: they look [and] stare upon me.
18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me.
20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.
21 Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
23 Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.
24 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.
25 My praise [shall be] of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.
26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.
27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.
28 For the kingdom [is] the LORD’S: and he [is] the governor among the nations.
29 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.
30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done [this].

Again, Psalm 22 is another prophetic picture, written by David, prefigure of the Messiah. While many people are familiar with the opening line to this Psalm, we rarely dig very deep into it. Before we can look at this Psalm, may we put its reference to the Messiah in context.

Matthew 27
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
47 Some of them that stood there, when they heard [that], said, This [man] calleth for Elias.

The Aramaic version of this text reads differently and provides a different aspect of the text.

Matthew 27
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice and said, Eli, Eli, lmana sabachthani! Which means, My God, my God,for this I was kept!

Going with the Aramaic and not the Greek. In the Aramaic, Messiah is basically asking why the suffering is continuing so long. He is not accusing YHWH of forsaking Him, nor is He confused into thinking that He is being forsaken, since He is YHWH and knows the Father’s plan. The One who stated that He could call for 12 legions of angels to deliver Himself, and the One who said that the Father would never leave Him alone even if all the disciples did, would never claim to be forsaken. Since it cannot mean forsaken, the word shabakthani can also mean keeping me, or preserving me. In this context, this is the obvious meaning. Since Yahshua would never accuse, or believe that YHWH had forsaken Him, Psalm 22 can still be seen as a narrative of the Suffering Servant, but the literal words of Psalm 22:1-2 would never come out of Yahshua’s mouth. In this case, the evidence of the Aramaic meaning is clearly superior to the Greek, and substantiates that Messiah requested a quickening of His suffering (in its 6th hour), as opposed to an accusation against YHWH of being forsaken.

One specific verse of Psalm 22 that I would like to look at it is verse 7, 14 and 17. In verse 7, we see that people who look upon Him will laugh at Him in scorn. In verses 14 and 17, we see that His bones are out of joint and yet none of His bones will be broken. We also see that He can see them, or in some translations, count them, meaning they are exposed and visible.

Prophetic Summary

We have looked at several well known passages that describe just a bit of the Messiah’s suffering. Allow me to summarize several of the items we looked at:

  • In Isaiah 52:13-15, we find that Messiah will be severely marred and disfigured and His blood will be sprinkled or spattered
  • In Isaiah 53:2-5, we find that a lot of Messiah’s wounds are bruises (translated as stripes)
  • In Psalm 38 we see that there are arrows or piercings that are stuck within Him that are the similar to the bruises in Isaiah 53:2-5 and His eyes can no longer see any light
  • In Psalm 22 we see that His bones are not broken, but out of joint and exposed through the skin and also associated with the marred and disfigurement we saw in Isaiah 52:13-15

None of these wounds and issues that we see blatantly identified in these prophecies would be caused by scourging or by crucifixion.

Traditions Become Rabbinic Laws

The Rabbinic laws that we have documented in the Talmud today began with traditions. Once they became Rabbinic laws, they no longer were traditions, but were then made to be requirements.

Consider the following Rabbinic Law:

The following custom was passed into law by Maimonides (Jewish philosopher of the 12th century) ruling that, when being led to his execution BY STONING, the convict had to be given a DRINK OF WINE WITH INCENSE, so that he may get intoxicated and insensible — and ONLY THEN was he to be STONED. (Mishneh Torah, Hilkhot Sanhedrin 13, 2).

Mark 15
23 And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received [it] not.

What is the Conclusion of the Matter?

Messiah was killed by stoning.

It’s as simple as that, but as we will no doubt complicate the matter, allow me to expound. Messiah was sentenced by Roman law to be crucified. Pilate, in trying to release Messiah, had Him scourged in order to show some means of punishment. This was not good enough for the religious leaders. Pilate then gave in and sentenced Him to be crucified. Once Messiah was on the tree, facing the east side of the temple, He was then continuously pelted with rocks that bloodied and bruised Him, causing His bones to become disjointed and exposed and His blood to be spattered. The continuous pelting of stones against the Messiah’s exposed body (the main targets being His head and genital area) would have caused a significant amount of internal bleeding and due to the head wounds, His eyes would swell shut not allowing any light in. The stones to the genital area would cause “His loins to burn” with inflammation.

While Messiah was sent to be crucified and endured a significant amount of pain from this process, it was not the crucifixion that killed Him – and how much more painful it would have been.

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