Transcript - How Bible symbolism makes the story of the crucifixion even better

Author: Tom Freedom
Title: How Bible Symbolism makes the story of the Crucifixion even better!
Plot: I believe creation shared a heart attack with our creator

Listen to "How Bible Symbolism makes the Crucifixion scene even better" on Spreaker.

Full Transcript
Hey, welcome back!

This Easter I felt like it made sense to take a look at the crucifixion. But I like to be different, so this will be unlike any Easter Sunday message you have ever heard. But I confess, it is incomplete. Because I'm going to focus on explaining one tiny piece of Scripture extremely well and I bet you will love the explanation. Because I know I did when God brought it to my attention. 

In order to do the Resurrection message justice I need a series of podcasts, and I will eventually get there, but not today. 

And in order to fully appreciate the crucifixion scene we must understand the significance of Bible symbolism. So we're going to unravel a mystery together today. It is the mystery of the final scene of the crucifixion, where I would argue that Jesus, God, and creation all shared the same heart attack. I'll read that to you now:

Matthew 27:51-54 says

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

If mysteries excite you and you want to try solving this one before the end of the podcast, then you could pause the audio here and get the advantage by listening to a podcast on my the Bible Why Guy channel called, Why should we pray the blood of Jesus over things? I view that message as a sleeper hit because I doubt anyone expects it to be good, and yet it teaches a very important principle. Moving right along...

We are about to look at several symbols: rocks, water, the holy of holies, and  the veil inside the holy of holies.

First we'll start with the rock symbol.

When most people think of rocks they think of Simon Peter who was told by Jesus that: "upon this rock I will build my church." And so that of course reminds us of the parable of the house that was built upon a rock. A rock is solid and stable and a sure foundation. And therefore anything built upon a rock will be able to withstand the storms of life. And that's generally where most people leave it. However, there is another very clear use of Bible symbolism pertaining to rocks, which is that they represent unbelieving hearts. I'll quote...

Ezekiel 36:26-27, which says:

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.

The key expression in those two verses is: I will remove the heart of stone. Therefore, we learn in that Scripture that God equates an unbelieving heart with stone, or for our purposes today: rock. Before I received Jesus I was proud of my hard heart because of how strong it was. However, now I understand that it wasn't just hard, it was also cold. 

That rock symbolism is further driven home by the fact that God etched the ten commandments into two stone tablets for Moses and then later in the Bible he commented that he wrote the law on our hearts. So there is a definite connection between a heart and stone. Particularly an unbelieving disobedient heart.

And this is why, by the way, God blew up at Moses and forbid him to enter the promised land after cracking a large rock in two with the staff of God. God had told Moses to touch the rock with his staff and water would pour out to feed Israel in the desert. But Moses was so frustrated with the people that he used the staff of God to crack the massive rock in two. And then of course water gushed out, which seemed like a good thing, until Moses was informed that God was furious. I'll come back to that.

And so this brings us to our next important symbol, which is water. In general, water has many symbolic meanings in Scripture. For example: 

John 7:37-39 says

37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.

So from that Scripture we learn that rivers of living water are equated with the Holy Spirit. But just as there were multiple meanings for rock there are also multiple associations with water. Water is equated with tears and tears are equated with repentance. I don't think I even need to quote a Scripture to drive that home. That just makes sense.

However, the fascinating message in this is that it implies that tears don't come from the stomach or the kidneys, they come from the heart. I never thought about where they came from before writing my book, The Battle for Your Body, which is still in draft. And so I'll share a related quote with you. The context for this quote is that I had just made the argument (in that book) that it made sense that the way Christ would choose to lay down his life was with a broken heart. So here's the quote:

An aneurism or a stroke makes us question his mind. Suffocation suggests a weakness in his body and somehow bleeding out does not seem possible for a God of life. It flies in the face of the expression: there is power in the blood. A broken heart just makes sense — don't you think? If you were God and you were going to lay down your life after the crucifixion, and the way you died was up to you, because remember he said, "no man takes my life, I lay it down," meaning his death was his choice. What method would you choose?

It's outside the scope of this podcast to prove that Jesus died of a broken heart, which is already a popular theory, anyway though. And yet by the end of this message I doubt you'll question that conclusion, anyway.

So what do we have so far? So far we have stone that symbolizes the unbelieving heart. We have an angry Moses who messed up God's symbolism in the Bible. Because instead of touching the heart of stone, and causing water or tears to flow from it. He gave the heart a whack that broke it. And I think that mistake had bigger ramifications than we understood. Suggesting that God who once was in the business of touching hearts, and creating tears that led to repentance. Is now breaking hearts to match the symbolism established by Moses through his... mistake. Just a theory, but I think a good one.

Implying that had Moses done as he was told, then during the crucifixion we would have seen water pouring out from rocks, instead of rocks splitting.

Perhaps you've heard that when the Centurion stuck Jesus in the side with his spear, water and blood poured out. I'll read that reference to you now:

That's John 19:33-34 which says,

But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.

I used to be skeptical about that. But I can't deny there is a logical connection between the heart and tears. Where else would the water for tears come from? And I can't think of a more appropriate relationship and connection than that.

Before we discuss the Holy of Holies. I'll share the sinners prayer that you may have heard on prior occasions in other podcasts because I deliberately put certain words in my version that are consistent with Scripture and the message in this podcast:

Lord Jesus, I know I'm a sinner, but I believe you died on the cross for me and rose again from the dead. Now I turn from my sin and ask you to cleanse me from it. Give me my new heart with you in it. I ask to be born-again. Be my Savior, my Lord, my God, my guide, and friend. Please Lord, fill me with your Holy Spirit! I choose to follow you from this moment forward. In Jesus name I pray. Shalom!

For the record, I dislike the word amen because of the false God Amen Rah, so I use the word Shalom, which is a Hebrew hello goodbye greeting.

You'll notice that I said, Give me my new heart with you in it. Because Scripture talks about receiving a new heart when we're born again (and Jesus dwelling in it).

In my book called, The Battle for Your Body, which is still in draft, I go to a great deal of trouble to illustrate that the Holy of Holies represents the heart. And the Ark of the Covenant represents the inner chamber of the heart and also the lungs. For those of you who know your Scriptures well, then you know that God led Israel through the wilderness as a cloud by day. And when the priest went into the holy of holies he carried blood for the sacrifice. And what did he do with it? He sprinkled it onto the Ark of the Covenant. So here we have a man walking through two curtains and outer one and an inner one carrying blood. The blood that went in was unclean and the blood that came out was clean. And that is the process the heart and lungs perform in our bodies. Not to mention the mist that would descend over the Ark of the Covenant while the man (priest) was doing this. Blood goes into the lungs and the carbon dioxide is removed and oxygen is combined with the blood. The blood with the oxygen is purified and good and life giving. And the blood with the carbon dioxide is carrying impurities from the body that get expelled through the lungs. And this makes sense because God refers to his people as a temple. But it also shows that with every beat of our heart, there is a cleansing process going on, making it understandable why Jesus would be in our hearts.

And just as the Holy of Holies has flaps, our hearts also have flaps. And when Jesus died on the cross, what happened? The flap was ripped in two and with this move God communicated two messages: 

  1. That Jesus died of a heart attack, 
  2. and that his death united sinful man with a Holy God. By opening up the holy of holies to all of us.

There was a literal relationship between the death of Jesus and our access to God. If you were God the father, and you watched your only begotten son die on the cross for the sins of the world, knowing he had done nothing wrong, I would imagine you would have shared in that heart attack. The one that we  know that Jesus experienced. And we see the impact that it had on the holy of holies. But now I'll read you the same Scripture I read in the beginning and it should be obvious to you that creation shared the heart attack of our creator:

Matthew 27:51-54

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

Now as I said, this is incomplete. I would love to do so much more when it comes to the crucifixion. But that's a marathon not a sprint. It makes sense to move through it slowly and to make an entire series out of it, because it is impressive.

And that's all folks!

As always: have a brilliant week!

And y'all come back now! Ya hear?

Podcasts mentioned in this episode

Listen to "Why pray the blood of Jesus over things?" on Spreaker.

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