The tragedy of Calvary: or the minute details of Christ's life from Palm Sunday morning till the resurrection and ascension taken prophecy, history, revelations and ancient writings
by Meagher, Jas. L. (James Luke), 1848-1920
In reading the prophecies, we must not fall into error and think that because God had foretold what would be done to Christ, that therefore the Jews were obliged to put Him to death. For the Jews were free beings, masters of their actions, with liberty and free will. They freely and with malice aforethought brought all these sufferings on Him and nothing can excuse their sin.
We must also remember that God looks not on the past and future like men. With Him all is the present and there is no time. For time is the measurement of the movements of the material world. Time is the duration of matter. With God all is the eternal present, and He sees all things as being present. He saw his Son Christ, all his life and Passion, as being present to the eternal mind. Therefore with His infinite knowledge. He saw the sufferings of His Son, and the wickedness of the men who put Him to death. It was as though you were looking at a person committing murder. Because you saw him do it, that did not take away his free will, nor was he forced to commit the crime for the reason that you were looking at him while he did it. Thus it was with God, who ever saw before Him the Passion of the divine Son.
This is also why the prophets sometimes speak as though the thing they foretell took place in the past, or in the present, or will happen at some future time.
Prophecies foretelling Christ were given in a peculiar way, so as not to reveal God's plans before the time or He would not be put to death, and man would not be redeemed. They are hidden in Hebrew words, in detached sentences, mixed with other truths, in lives of patriarchs and prophets, in Temple ceremonies, in personal names, in Jewish feasts and traditions.
He rises from every page of the Old Testament. Men and things foretelling Him are given, those who did not are left out, and therefore the history is hard to under stand. The Bible, being a book of belief and practice, telling what men must believe and do in order to be saved, requires a living court to define its meanings, whence men, guided by themselves alone, divide up and found on it most any kind of a religion.
Now let us look at these prophecies of Christ. Do we stop to think of what a prophecy is ? How little we know what we will do next hour, to-morrow, next week, next year ? We are free beings. While we can foretell what will come to pass by the laws of nature, we ourselves do not know what we will do ourselves. But to foretell hundreds, or thousands, of years beforehand, what a great Personage will do, to write his history in its most minute de tails, foretell his life and the awful tragedy of his death by crucifixion, his funeral, resurrection and ascension, that he will establish a world-wide empire of religion, is a tiling that only God can do, for He alone can foresee the free acts of men.
First revealed to Adam that the Seed of the woman would crush the serpent's head, that truth streamed down among all primeval nations; and learned men say that behind pagan religions was the idea of a divine Person, who would restore mankind to the golden age lost in the dim past.
From the gates of paradise victims were sacrificed to foretell him, every nation had its temples or sacrifices, and tourists look with wonder on the ruins of these great buildings, in which once were offered sacrifices with ceremonies foretelling a future Victim. Found everywhere among the tribes and nations, they must have come from the primal religion of mankind before the separation of the nations.
But we will confine ourselves to the prophets of the Old Testament, for this question would take too long.
In the days of Abraham, 1,724 years before Christ lived in Edom a holy man born of Esau's race, Jobab, (Gen. xxxvi. 33.) called Job, (Dutripon, Concord, S. Scripturae, Job.) whom God punished with a frightful skin disease, to foretell Christ's flagellation. His friends could not see why God would affiict him if he were innocent, for they did not understand how the sinless Saviour was to take on Him self the wickedness of all the world and suffer for our sins. In matchless poetry Job justifies himself, and pours forth prophecies of the Passion of the Prince of Peace. Isaias alone is greater in sublimity of thought and diction.
Isaias lived 750 years before Christ, whom he calls his Cousin, because, like the Saviour, he was of the family of David. His name, Isaias, means " Jesus is the Lord." (Challoners
Bible, Isaias.) He foretold Christ so clearly, that he is called the Evangelist of the Old Testament.
He lived a most holy life, and both in public and in private he reproved the Jews for their sins. He was arrested by the Jews, near the place where long after they arrested Christ. Down in the Cedron valley, to the south of Ophel, grew a hollow olive tree, and they thrust him into the hollow trunk and tied him there. Then they sawed off the tree, cutting the holy prophet in two. They buried him in the tomb of the prophets, on the western side of the Mount of Olivet, not far from the place where they sawed him to death.
In the little city of Bethlehem, " the house of bread," belonging to the tribe of Juda, 2,950 years from the creation of Adam and 1,104 before Christ, was born David, Jesse's seventh son. It was 407 years from the delivery of the Hebrews from the Egyptian bondage. David was of remarkable beauty, of fine physical strength; gifted with all the virtues of the best of the young Israelites. He was brought up to keep his father's flocks, and often he rescued them from bear and lion. When he was fifteen years old, Saul usurped the functions of the priesthood, and God rejected him from being king, and under the directions of the Almighty, Samuel anointed David as king over Israel in his place.
He was the best and the holiest of the Hebrew monarchs. He loved the services of the tabernacle, and wrote the psalms as sacred hymns to be sung in the services. These Hebrew hymns contain many revelations relating to Christ, his Passion and his death.
Jeremias, whose name means "Jehovah is high," was born 3,410 after Adam's creation, 644 before Christ, in the year 110 from the founding of Rome. He was of a priestly family, of the village of Anathoth, his father being Hilkiah, He was justified in his mother's womb from original sin, by the infusing of sanctifying grace from the merits of the future Redeemer.
In his fifteenth year, the Spirit of God came on him and
filled him with prophecy. In sad and heartrending words he foretold the destruction of the Holy City by the Baby lonians, and the Captivity of the Jews because of their sins. Baruch, another prophet, was his secretary, and wrote at his dictation the many things he foretold regarding the city, the people, and the coming Redeemer. The Jews persecuted him, imprisoned him, and he acted out in his life the Passion of the Lord. He never married, but remained a virgin all his life. He was stoned to death in Tanis in Egypt.
Ezechiel, " God is strong," was born 3,420 years after Adam, and 634 years before Christ, of a noble priestly family. He was carried away to Babylon with Jeconia, the Jewish king. In his twentieth year, he began to prophesy in the place he lived, near the river Chebar, called now the Nahr Malcha. Filled with the Spirit of God, for twenty-two years he poured forth prophecies relating to the future, to Christ, and the rebuilding of the city. He described the great Temple Herod restored with the most wonderful minuteness of measurements, so that his words might serve as its plans and specifications for the architect; for it was to be honored by the presence of our Lord. He tells how the Lord will come to this Temple and offer His sacrifices in it as the future Prince. The delivery of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity, the rebuilding of the Temple, the coming of the Messiah, the calling of the Gentiles, the glories of the Church—these are the chief burdens of his story. But neither the Bible nor the Hebrew traditions tell us where or when he died.