Matt 27:33                                         Golgotha                                           12/28/2008    ßà   

 

 

 

 

#1.       Gulgoleth (Heb 13:12, Luke 23:26, John 19:41, 1Chron 10:10, 2King 9:35, Jud 9:53, Ex 38:26)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#2.       Jezebel (1King 21:21-24, 2King 9:35-37)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

#3.       A Half Shekel (Ex 30:11-16, 38:26, Mark 8:36-37)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 27:31 (2X). We have looked at this portion of Scripture last week, but we skipped some important detail, which is that the Lord Jesus was led to His place of execution, which was called Golgotha, where He was crucified. It is beneficial for us to pause a little on that place called Golgotha, which means “a skull”. In fact, it is mentioned in all four of the narrative Gospels. In the Gospel of Luke we read for this place the word “Calvary”, which is Latin and it means the same thing: “a skull”. And so, the title for the sermon today is, Golgotha (2X).

The name Golgotha does not mean “a place of a skull”. When we carefully read all four Gospel accounts we always see written that they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha, which does not mean that they brought Him to a place that is called a place of a skull, which is a redundancy. Instead we should read that they brought Him to a place that is called a skull. We read in Matt 27:31-34,

Mt 27:31-34  And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

Today we just want to focus on verse 33. The Lord Jesus was carrying the heaviest front part of the cross which was at least 14 feet long, and Simon of Cyrene was carrying the lighter tail end of the cross. And then they came to a place that is called “a skull”, which in the Hebrew is called Golgotha. Actually the name Golgotha is a Greek word, for it is a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew word “Gulgoleth”, which means “a skull”. Now, a skull is not a nice name. But it is a fitting name for a place of execution. It is not known for sure why this place was called a skull. Some people believe that it was called this way because the little hill on which the Lord’s cross was erected resembled the shape of a human skull. However, when we search the Bible we do not find anywhere that the cross of Jesus was erected on a hill, or even on a little hill. More likely it was called a skull because malefactors were beheaded there, outside the city, and their bones remained unburied. Both Jewish law and Roman law required capital punishment to occur outside the city. Please turn in your Bibles to the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb 13:11 (2X). Capital punishments were not allowed within the city walls. The Lord Jesus also died outside the city walls, because the bodies of the beasts that were slain in sacrifices, which were typical of Him, were burned outside the camp. Therefore Christ also suffered outside the gate. We read in Heb 13:11-12,

Heb 13:11-12  For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

Jesus suffered outside the gate, at a place that was called a skull. God named it so, and God put this detail in the Bible for us to search it out. It is called a place of a skull not because the people called it so, and not because the Romans thought it to be a fitting name, and not because the religious rulers of the Jews thought of it, but because God wanted us to see from the OT how the types and figures of the OT unmistakably pointed to the Lord Jesus Christ. And so, let us now look at the Hebrew word Gulgoleth.

#1.       Gulgoleth (Heb 13:12, Luke 23:26, John 19:41, 1Chron 10:10, 2King 9:35, Jud 9:53, Ex 38:26)

The common name of the place where the Lord Jesus was crucified was interpreted by the four writers of the narrative Gospels as “the place of a skull.” It is obvious from the four Gospels that it was some well known spot outside the gate, from Heb 13:12, and near the city, from Luke 23:26, containing a garden, from John 19:41, and it was on a thoroughfare leading into the country. But more than that, the Hebrew word for skull is the word Gulgoleth, which has been used 12 times in the OT. And now we are faced with the task to harmonize the spiritual implications of both the NT usage as well as the OT usage of the word “skull”. The Hebrew word Gulgoleth has the Strong’s Concordance number <01538>. And even though this word occurs 12 times in the OT, we will have time for only four out of these twelve events. The four events we will be looking at are:

#1. The death of Saul, in 1Chron 10:10, “And they put his armour in the house of their gods, and fastened his head <01538> in the temple of Dagon.”

#2. The death of Jezebel, in 2King 9:35, “And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull <01538>, and the feet, and the palms of her hands.”

#3. The death of Abimelech, in Jud 9:53, “And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech’s head, and all to brake his skull <01538>.”

#4. The half-shekel payment for every man that went to be numbered, in Ex 38:26, where we read, “A bekah for every man <01538>, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men.”

All these examples of the word skull are pointing to the wrath of God. When we look at all 12 cases we see that in at least 11 of the 12 cases where this word Gulgoleth is used, a skull is identified as a place where the wrath of God is symbolized as being poured out. I say symbolized, for the real wrath of God is infinitely more severe when it is poured out on these same individuals in the judgment on the last day. And then we realize why God used such an unpleasant word as “skull”. And then we will also see that “A door of hope is opened where the wrath of God has been satisfied.” The first example is Saul.

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of First Chronicles, 1Chron 10:10 (2X). Saul was the first king in the nation of Israel, and he was an unsaved man. Saul reigned in Israel for 40 years. Initially he started out as a humble man, and then the Lord helped him, for he was a farmer’s boy and he needed a great deal of wisdom so that he could rule Israel and could successfully fight the Philistines. But as time went on Saul showed more and more that he was a wicked man, and God withdrew His assistance to Saul. One consuming goal that Saul had was to kill David. Since David was a man after God’s own heart and since David was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, Saul was a type of Satan, for one consuming goal of Satan was to kill the Lord Jesus as soon as he was born. And like Satan was mortally defeated in his efforts to bring Jesus to the cross, so Saul was killed by the Philistines because he diverted part of his efforts to pursue after David instead of pursuing after the Philistines. Saul degraded himself so far that he went to ask counsel from a woman who was a fortune teller, a psychic. Then came the final battle of Saul and his army against the Philistines and their armies, and Saul died. We read in 1Chron 10:10, “And they put his armour in the house of their gods, and fastened his head <01538> in the temple of Dagon.” This was the ultimate humiliation for the nation of Israel. They decapitated Saul and his three sons, and they fastened the skull, Gulgoleth, of Saul in the temple of their god Dagon. And the word that was translated “fastened” actually means, “to blow” or “to strike.” In other words, the skull of Saul was nailed to the wall, or to a wooden post, in the temple of Dagon. Here is where God used the ugly word Gulgoleth, or “skull”, to indicate a principle that also applies to the word Golgotha in the case of the Lord Jesus Christ. Saul was not a picture of Christ, but his skull represented the place where the wrath of God fell, for all the sins of Saul. But then, something good flows out of all this. We read in 1Chr 10:13-14

1Ch 10:13-14  So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.

And so, the kingdom was turned unto David, the son of Jesse. But this could not come to pass until the wrath of God was poured upon the skull of Saul. This, which God calls something good, could not come until the wrath of God was appeased. This is why God used the word skull, Gulgoleth. And so, here is the principle: “A door of hope is opened where the wrath of God has been satisfied.”

#2.       Jezebel (1King 21:21-24, 2King 9:35-37)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of First Kings, 1King 21:21 (2X). Ahab was a wicked king in the northern kingdom of Israel. Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. In addition Ahab married Jezebel, a daughter of the king of the Zidonians, and a worshipper of Baal. Ahab did many evil deeds, but the one evil deed that God recorded for us in the Bible was the murder on Naboth, the Jezreelite. Ahab and Jezebel conspired to murder Naboth, because they wanted to possess Naboth’s vineyard. Then God sent Elijah the Tishbite to Ahab to tell him of the Lord’s anger against him, and this is what Elijah said: We read in 1King 21:21-24,

1Ki 21:21-24  Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, And will make thine house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah, for the provocation wherewith thou hast provoked me to anger, and made Israel to sin. And of Jezebel also spake the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat.

This prophecy was literally fulfilled when God made Jehu king of Israel. Please turn to the Prophecy of Second Kings, 2King 9:35 (2X). Shortly after Elijah told him of this curse Ahab died in a battle against the Syrians, and the dogs licked his blood. Twelve years later when Joram, the son of Ahab, was king in Israel, God stirred up the spirit of Jehu, the son of Nimshi, and Jehu carried out the sentence of God concerning the house of Ahab and Jezebel. When Jehu rode into Jezreel, Jezebel looked out of a two or three story window, and Jehu commanded two eunuchs to cast Jezebel out of the window, and then he had his horse trample on her and he went to eat. Sometime later he decided to give her a burial, since she was a daughter of the king of the Zidonians. Merely as the widow of Ahab and the mother of Joram did not qualify her to be buried. But if he would have wilfully denied her a burial, it would have been regarded as an unpardonable insult by the Zidonians, and he would have a new enemy on the north-western border of his new kingdom. Therefore he searched for her. We read in 2King 9:35-37,

2Ki 9:35  And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull <01538>, and the feet, and the palms of her hands. Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel: And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel.

Only after Jezebel was killed and eaten by dogs was God’s wrath satisfied, for the time being. And for a period of time there was peace in Israel toward God, for Jehu killed all the descendants of Ahab and Jezebel, and rooted out the worship of Baal. This was a good thing, but this could not come to pass until the wrath of God was poured upon the skull of Jezebel. This could not come until the wrath of God was appeased. This is why God used the ugly word skull, Gulgoleth, <01538>, to indicate a principle that also applies to the word Golgotha in the case of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jezebel was not a picture of Christ, but her skull represented the place where the wrath of God fell, for all the sins of Ahab and Jezebel. But then, something good flows out of all this, for all the worshippers of Baal were killed. And so, here is the principle again: “A door of hope is opened where the wrath of God has been satisfied.”

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Judges, Jud 9:52 (2X). Abimelech was one of the 72 sons of Gideon. But when Gideon was dead Abimelech killed 70 of his brothers. Then God pronounced a curse on Abimelech through the mouth of his last remaining brother Jotham. Abimelech ruled three years over Israel. Then we read in Jud 9:52-53 that Abimelech fought against the tower of Thebez.

Jud 9:52-53  And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire. And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech’s head, and all to brake his skull <01538>, Gulgoleth.

God’s wrath rested on the skull of Abimelech. Here is where God used the ugly word Gulgoleth, or “skull”, to indicate a principle that also applies to the word Golgotha in the case of the Lord Jesus Christ. Abimelech was not a picture of Christ, but his skull, <01538>, Gulgoleth, represented the place where the wrath of God fell, for all his sins and for killing his 70 brothers. But then, something good flows out of all this. Only after Abimelech’s skull was crushed, was God’s wrath satisfied. The result was a period of peace under Tola, a remarkable man, for we read in Jud 10:1 (2X),

Jud 10:1,  And after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim.

This was a good thing, but this could not come to pass until the wrath of God was poured upon the skull of Abimelech. The name Tola means “worm” or “scarlet worm”. It is the same word that was used in the Messianic Psalm number 22. We read in Psalm 22:6,

Ps 22:6  But I am a worm <08438>, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

The Lord Jesus is praying these words to His heavenly Father. How is it possible that the Lord Jesus said “I am a worm?” We find that the same word is used in Job 25:6, where we read,

Job 25:6  How much less man, that is a worm? and the Son of man, which is a worm <08438>?

What is God communicating to us in these words? The principle is this: In comparison with God man is nothing more than a crawling worm. Then we remember that Almighty God condescended Himself to take on a human nature when the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us. And God says in Heb 2:6-7,

Heb 2:6-7  But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the Son of man, that thou visitest Him? Thou madest Him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst Him with glory and honour, and didst set Him over the works of thy hands:

These words do not refer to us, but they refer all to the Lord Jesus Christ. Is Tola then a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ? Let us look again at some of the words in Jud 10:1,

Jud 10:1,   And after Abimelech there arose to defend <03467> (8687) Israel Tola <08439> the son of Puah <06312>, the son of Dodo <01734>, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim.

The word “to defend”, <03467>, has most often been translated “to save”, which means a whole lot more than “to defend”. The name Tola, <08439>, is the same word as <08438>, which means a scarlet worm, and which is the same word that Christ used of Himself in Psalm 22:6. The name “Puah” actually means “splendid”. The name “Dodo” actually means “his beloved”. And the name “Issachar” actually means “there is recompense.” When we string all the meanings of these words together we arrive at the spiritual meaning of Jud 10:1, which then reads as follows:

Jud 10:1,   And after Abimelech there arose to save Israel, Christ (the scarlet worm),  the Son of David (Splendid), the Son of God (His Beloved), a man promising there is recompense; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim.

And thus the peace of the reign of Tola reminds us of the peace of the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ,

but this peace can only come after the wrath of God has been satisfied on the skull of Abimelech, who reminds us of Satan. That is why God used the word Gulgoleth instead of a much more familiar OT word that is used for “head”. And so, here is the principle again: “A door of hope is opened where the wrath of God has been satisfied.”

#3.       A Half Shekel (Ex 30:11-16, 38:26, Mark 8:36-37)

Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Exodus, Ex 30:11 (2X). All the males from 20 years old and upward of the new nation of Israel were numbered. When God uses the expression “to number us” He also includes that “He visits us.” The idea in this act of God is that there is a certain number whom He has visited from before the foundation of the world, and God is letting us know that not one of those that were visited, or numbered, may be missing, and not one more may be added. Thus, this act of God in numbering His people has everything to do with limited atonement, or particular atonement. Ex 30:11,

Ex 30:11-16  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD. Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.

The principle that is laid down in these verses is that every male of 20 years and older shall give half a shekel of silver to the Lord as a ransom for his soul. The purpose of this offering is an atonement for his soul. Obviously, half a shekel of silver cannot be the true value of the atonement for his soul; it can only be a token of the atonement for his soul, for the Lord Jesus said in Mark 8:36-37, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” In other words, each soul that is saved is worth more than all the value that can be found on this entire earth. And so, what is this atonement money good for? God says in Ex 30:16 that the atonement money shall be used for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, that it may be a memorial that atonement for their souls must be made by the promised Messiah. Or to state it similarly in NT terms: the money shall be used for the weekly service of the congregation, so that we are always reminded of the atonement for our souls that has been made by the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us then focus on the half shekel of silver. The half shekel is pointing to the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. The half shekel is a symbol of the atonement of Christ. The half shekel is a symbol of the cross. Clearly, the half shekel is not a tax, and neither is it a task to accomplish the furnishings of the tabernacle. Clearly, the half shekel is a symbol that God has visited them and numbered them. That is exactly what is in view. Please turn a few pages to Ex 38:26 (2X). In Ex 30 the numbering of the children of Israel was commanded. In Ex 38 the actual numbering has taken place. And there we read in Ex 38:26,

Ex 38:26  A bekah for every man, (literally it does not say man, but skull, <01538>) that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men.

The shekel of the sanctuary, or the Holy Shekel, indicates an exact shekel. Half a shekel is called a “bekah”, which literally means “a division.” A talent contained 3000 shekels. We must remember that this took place before any coins were minted. And thus the shekel was a certain weight of silver. But since it is called the shekel of the sanctuary, it has to be precisely one shekel. The bekah was a payment for every skull that was numbered, the same payment regardless of position or wealth, and it represented a token of the ransom for every skull of the children of Israel. God did not forget the women and children. Everyone needs to be ransomed out of the house of bondage, including women and children, but only the fighting men were required to bring the token of the ransom, because only the fighting men were breadwinners and were the heads of their households. God is applying the principle of a “synecdoche”, where the fighting men are representatives of their whole family. But what do we see here? Only after the ransom is paid will God’s anger on all these people be satisfied. Let us keep this in perspective: The ransom of the entire nation of Israel is only a picture of God’s plan of salvation through the cross of Christ. God is painting a picture of salvation for us. In reality not all the children of Israel were truly saved, for God said in Heb 3 that most of them died in the wilderness because of unbelief. God tells us here in Ex 30 and Ex 38 that after the full payment of the ransom by Christ, our souls have been set free from Egypt, the house of bondage. After the full payment by Christ for each skull, a bright future is in store for each one who has received the atonement for their soul. And so we see again that “A door of hope is opened where the wrath of God has been satisfied.”

We have seen four examples in the OT where God uses the word Gulgoleth, which is the same as the Greek word Golgotha, a skull. And we have seen for all these cases, when the wrath of God has been satisfied, that the dreadful events are replaced by a bright future. And now we can understand why God says in Hos 2:15, “And I will make the valley of Achor a door of hope.” Please turn in your Bibles to the Prophecy of Joshua, Josh 7:24 (2X). At the time that the children of Israel circled Jericho, and the walls of Jericho fell down flat, God had instructed the entire congregation through the mouth of Joshua that all the gold, and silver, and vessels of brass and iron that was found in Jericho must be reserved for the house of the Lord, but everything else had to be destroyed. But there was one man, named Achan the son of Zerah, who believed he could get away with keeping some of the gold and silver and a Babylonish garment, and he hid it in his tent. But God did not let him get away with it, and God exposed him as a thief. And God commanded that he must be burnt by fire. And then we read in Josh 7:24-26,

Jos 7:24-26  And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.

The valley of Achor is a terrible place. But then we read in verse 26, “So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger.” Here is where the wrath of God was satisfied. And now a brighter future looms for the children of Israel after they destroyed Achan. Their conquest of the land of Canaan is not any more hindered by a few individuals who are stealing from God, for the example of Achan Please turn to the Prophecy of Hosea, Hos 2:15 (2X). But God also said in Josh 7:26 “Unto this day.” It means that we should apply this to our days. It means that when we have purged out from among us those that are stealing from God, and those that are beset by covetousness, we will receive a brighter future from the Lord. And now we can also understand the words God wrote in Hos 2:15, where we read,

Ho 2:15  And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.

When God’s anger was appeased in the valley of Achor, a door of hope was opened, and a brighter future looms on the horizon for the children of God. God says that the Lord Jesus was led to the place that is called Golgotha, a skull, which was a reminder to all of us that the wrath of God rests upon every skull, until the Lord Jesus absorbed the penalty for all our sins. Perhaps we have sinned as grievously as Achan did, but by the mercy of God He protected us from being destroyed. God says in Lam 3:22-23,

La 3:22-23  It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

When the Lord Jesus was crucified at Golgotha He purchased the mercy of God for me that I would not be consumed like Achan was, but that He wrought repentance in my heart. Great is His faithfulness toward me, for He has decided from before the foundation of the world that He would pour His grace and mercy upon me. And thus I can sing with Hos 2:15 and with Lam 3:22-23,

La 3:22-23  It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

A door of hope is opened where the wrath of God has been satisfied.”

Amen.             Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.