Betrayal: Who Really Was Responsible For Christ’s Death 1


Betrayal: the very word stirs up negative emotions within our hearts. Its meaning goes against every ideal we hold dear whether it be as a husband, as a father, as a citizen or as a friend. Perhaps the greatest betrayal of all is the betrayal of Jesus Christ recorded for us in Scripture.

But who really was responsible for Christ’s betrayal? This question has been the source of great controversy down through the centuries. In the Bible, the word betrayal is translated from the Greek word paradidomi (pronounced par-ad-id’-o-mee). It is the overwhelming use of the word in the New Testament. In relation to Christ’s crucifixion, the Bible uses this Greek word to describe the decisions of several people or groups of people. Although each had a part in the responsibility of Christ’s death, the Bible also tells us definitively who really was responsible.

As we prepare to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is good to be reminded of the role each played in His death.  One of the darkest aspects of Christ’s death was His betrayal.  It was pictured in the betrayal of Joseph by his brethren, prophesied of by many of the Old Testament prophets (see Zechariah 11:12-13 & Psalm 41:9), and promised by the Savior Himself:

And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men. Matthew 17:22

The Accusation
The Greek word for betrayed in this verse comes from paradidomi. Although the word is used over 120 times in the New Testament, the overwhelming majority is used in connection with Christ’s death.  It means to deliver up into the hands of another; to betray; and it used by God to place responsibility on those who were responsible for delivering up Christ to the cross. It is evident that part of the suffering and humiliation of Christ’s atonement was meant to include betrayal. But who does the Bible lay responsibility on for this betrayal and who really was responsible for Christ’s death?

The Question of Guilt
This question has been hotly debated throughout the centuries since. Some blame Judas exclusively. Others have laid blame on the Jews for their involvement, even going as far as persecuting today’s generation for the actions of people two thousand years ago. Some say we all had a hand in it since we have willfully sinned.

The Great Betrayal
The Bible uses the word paradidomi of several people and groups of people in relation to the betrayal involved with Christ’s crucifixion. Some of them are well known; others might surprise you. But the Bible also clearly tells us who ultimately was responsible for the death of Christ – in other words – The Greatest Betrayal.

On Trial
And so, for the next few weeks, we are going to put each party on the stand and the Bible will be our chief witness. We will examine exactly how much responsibility each party had in the crime and what their motivation was behind their actions. Ultimately, we will determine who was guilty of the greatest betrayal and what the motivation could possibly be for such a deed.

On the stand next week: Judas Iscariot


Fascinating Fossil Discovered… In a Museum

According to several recent articles, a fascinating fossil was recently discovered in a German museum – of all places. The fossil is causing quite a stir because of its snake-like body with four distinct limbs. In fact, its scientific name, Tetrapodophis amplectus, loosely translates as “four-legged, hugging snake.”

Image by George Kelly via

Of course, a lot of controversy surrounds the finding. For instance, not all the scientists are convinced it is a snake. Michael Caldwell, a paleontologist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, had this to say:

I honestly do not think the fossil represents the remains of a snake. It completely lacks key features of the vertebral column that would make it a squamate [scaled reptile] and more specifically a snake. If the rest of the animal is not a squamate, then teeth do not make you a snake.

And there is also the debate between the evolutionists and creationists.

And the Lord God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Genesis 3:14-15

To read more about this recent discovery, read here:


1,500 Year Old Charred Scroll Deciphered!

The Israeli Antiquities Authority has announced that a charred scroll dating back 1,500 years has been deciphered. Guess what they found? If you guessed a Biblical text, you’re right.

View Ein Gedi Kibbutz in Southwestern Israel by israeltourism

The scroll was found in a synagogue at the Ein Gedi site near to where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in some caves. Archaeologists have dated the scrolls around 500 A.D., making them the oldest Biblical text next to the Dead Sea Scrolls. What the charred scrolls contained had been a mystery for some time. But thanks to CT scans and some modern, digital-imaging software, researchers with the University of Kentucky were able to read a passage out of the book of Leviticus. It is the first time that archaeologists have found a Torah scroll in a synagogue.

You can read about the full discovery here:


Debt, Forgiveness, & The Lord’s Prayer

CoinsYou will not get very far in any Bible study on forgiveness before you get to the classic passage often referred to as the Lord’s prayer.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Matthew 6:12

As I prepared to teach on forgiveness (the theme of Vacation Bible School this year was “Forgiveness”). I came across this very verse and my mind began to churn as I thought about the relationship between the two words debts and forgive. In the original language, the phrase is καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν and literally means and forgive us what owe.  The meaning  of τὰ ὀφειλήματα is very clearly moral faults i.e. trespasses. The root verb from which it is derived means should or ought, and it gives us the impressions that we are under moral obligations which we have failed to perform or hold up. In fact, some of the Old English versions read, “And forgive us our gyltas i.e. guilts… Matthew 23:18 translates the same word as guilty.

 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.

In another passage in Matthew, Christ told the parable of two servants: one who owed the master a great sum of money while the other owed his fellow servant a small sum. The master forgave the debt of the servant who owed him a great deal, but this servant did not forgive the small sum owed to him by his peer. In this passage, Matthew also uses words derived from the same root word of τὰ ὀφειλήματα. Again, its very interesting to note the connection between debt and forgiveness.

The importance of all of this lies in the answer to the simple question, Why will God forgive me? As sinners, we are in debt i.e. moral obligation. The law demands death for such rebellion. As we like to say, It’s time to pay for what we’ve done. But Christ paid our sin debt in our place and rose again to promise us eternal life with Him. So why will God forgive me? Because of what Jesus did for me when He died on the cross.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32

The debts are forgiven; the price is paid; we are redeemed. Christianity is filled with terminology that illustrates to us the relationship between these two words debt and forgiveness; and it all started with Christ’s famous prayer.

To read an interesting article on this click here:


Couple Finds Ancient Ruins Under the Floorboards

Only in Jerusalem can one find 2,000 year old ruins under the living room floor – as one couple recently unveiled. A mikveh was a ritual pool of water where one could cleanse oneself both symbolically and physically. It was a practice that was very common among devout Jews during the time of Christ – particularly those among the Essene communities.

This find, in a section of Jerusalem commonly called Ein Kerem, is important because it validates an Essene presence in the heart of the city. The Essenes for many centuries were thought to have lived only in sheltered monasteries in the wilderness. There are many traditions in Israel that have identified John the Baptist and his family as being a part of these Essenes in Jerusalem. You can read the full story of the find here:


Baptism & Ancient Fabrics

Although much has been made about the meaning of the Greek word baptizo, very little attention has been given to its cultural usage – primarily in the ancient fabric industry. This really is a shame since there is much to learn regarding baptism just by learning about the culture in which this word was mostly used.

The Greeks dyed fabric much like we do Easter eggs today. Photo by Christian Kadluba via

The Greeks dyed fabrics by immersing them in colored liquids for long periods of time until the fabric clearly identified with the color in which it was immersed. What a great spiritual truth can be found here when we remember that when we got baptized we identified with Christ. For a detailed article on this please read the following:


Rare Inscription Found!

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) just announced this past Tuesday that a rare inscription has been found inscribed on a clay jar near the site of David’s famous battle with Goliath. The name was that of one of Saul’s sons and a rival of David’s for the throne. Here is a link to the article:

The Valley of Elah was one of my favorite places when we visited Israel. It is relatively quiet and peaceful; and very rural. I remember finding handfuls of little clay pieces from pottery that was very old. It was very enjoyable to visit. We also climbed up a very steep hill where the army of Israel was hiding from the Philistine giant. At the top pf the hill was a very old, stone altar. We also gathered smooth stones from the creek bed below to take back with us!


Tour of the Tabernacle 3

When Adam was in the garden, God came down to man, and when man sinned, it was man that turned his back on God! The fellowship of God with man was severed! Yet God still desired fellowship! It was God in Genesis 3 that came looking for Adam! And it was God who came looking to dwell once more with man in Exodus 25. “Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.”

Walk with me around to the other side of this tent. This tabernacle that you see here was the first dwelling place among men since the Garden of Eden, and it’s interesting to note that it was a temporary shelter. God designed a temporary dwelling place! And when the tabernacle was finished the “glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.” In this so simple of an act, God moved in and dwelt with man! But this dwelling place was temporary.

After the tabernacle, God chose to dwell in Solomon’s temple! In 2 Chronicles 7:1 after Solomon had finished dedicating the temple the Bible records, “and the glory of the LORD filled the house.” But this dwelling place was temporary.

After Solomon’s temple (in all of its beauty) was destroyed by the Babylonians, Zerubbabel came to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple as God commanded, and God was in this! But this dwelling place was temporary.

After Zerubbabel’s temple, King Herod built a temple of magnificent size! Compared to Solomon’s temple, Herod’s temple was far bigger and far more costly – but God was not in this temple, because God did not order this temple to be built. Besides, the Bible states clearly that God’s temple was already here in the very person of Jesus Christ, and the glory of the Lord filled this temple!

II Corinthians 5:19, “…God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself…”

Colossians 2:9, “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.”

Christ Himself said in John 2:19, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” You see, though this was the God-Man, the temple of His body was only a temporary dwelling place for God. After Christ was crucified, buried, and arose again from the dead, he ascended up into heaven, but not without leaving us a new dwelling place! Of course, God’s new dwelling place is in the hearts of believers! My friends, can we not see the heart of God as he was drawing nearer and nearer to the heart of man!

Galatians 4:6, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.”

I Corinthians 6:19, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you…”

But this dwelling place is also temporary – until this tabernacle of flesh is dissolved. Then God will establish himself an eternal dwelling place!

II Corinthians 5:1, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

What began with God coming down to dwell with man will soon end with man going up to dwell with God! And the very first type of this promise was this tabernacle that you now see.


Tour of the Tabernacle 2

The tabernacle was a type and a picture of Jesus Christ!

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. (Exodus 25:8)

No wonder why Creation is given so little attention while the tabernacle receives so much more! Creation only gives glory to God, but Christ is the Glory of God! Hebrews 1:3, speaking of Jesus Christ, says,

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person!

Creation is no match for Salvation, and though Creation on the outside displays its wonders to us, it moans before God. But the tabernacle has not the display of beauty on the outward appearance. In fact, Isaiah 53:2-3 says,

…he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

Yet on the inside of this ugly tent that you now see, there is beauty that cannot be told of: from the Golden Candlestick, to the Golden Table of Shewbread, to the Golden Altar, and indeed, to the Golden Ark of the Covenant that no man could even look upon!

But before we go inside to see the spectacular furniture, let us walk around the outside of this tabernacle for a moment and observe a few things. Notice that this tabernacle was a tent. As a matter of fact, the word “tabernacle” means a dwelling…a tent. This tabernacle was an earthly, temporary, residence. Hebrews 9:1 describes it as a worldly tabernacle. It was made of perishing materials which belong here to the earth!

You see, this tabernacle is a far cry from its cousin, the temple, and while both of these places pictured Christ, they represent 2 completely different aspects of Jesus’ ministry: The Temple represented Christ when he comes the 2nd time, but the tabernacle represented Christ when he came the 1st time on Christmas night over 2,000 years ago!

  1. After all, it was the Tabernacle that was made first, then the temple. The tabernacle was temporary, and when Christ came the first time, he was here for only 33 some years, and while he was here, he abode not in 1 place.
  2. But the temple was permanent. And when Christ comes again, he’s here forever!
  3. The tabernacle was erected by a prophet, and when Christ came the first time, he held the office of a prophet.
  4. But the temple was constructed by a king, and when He comes the second time, He will be King of Kings!
  5. The #5 is prominent in the tabernacle representing grace, and when Christ came the first time, his ministry was all about grace.
  6. But the #12 is prominent in the temple (#12 is the # for governmental perfection), and when he comes the second, he’s here to rule the kingdom.
  7. The tabernacle was built in the Wilderness, and when Christ came the first time, he was born in a manger, raised on a carpenter’s bench, ministered with nowhere to lay his head, and when he died, he was laid in a borrowed tomb.
  8. But the temple was in Jerusalem, the city of kings, and when he comes again, Sound the trumpet! Lift up your voice and sing! Look to the throne of Grace and worship and the King of Kings!
  9. The tabernacle was mean, humble, and unattractive on the outward appearance. And Christ, when he came the first time, had no beauty, no form, and no comeliness. He was veiled in flesh.
  10. But the temple was magnificent, and when he comes again, Christ will be exalted!

In the book of Revelation you do not find the words meek or lowly; humble or obedient; but instead, you find the Apostle John saying in Revelation 5:11- 12,

… Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see!


Tour of the Tabernacle 1

In 2010, Holly and I went on a tour of the Holy Land! Our tour guide would hold a large sign with our group number on it, and we would follow him from site to site. Some of our favorite places were, of course, Calvary and Gordon’s tomb. The Sea of Galilee was very neat, and Masada was spectacular. But one place, we were not able to see was Mt. Sinai. So, if you will, put on your hiking boots, grab a walking stick, and climb the steep and rugged terrain of Mt. Sinai with me and eavesdrop as the LORD commands Moses concerning the tabernacle.

And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it. (Read Exodus 25:8-9)

Now watch your step as we descend this holy mount; I would like to take you to the tabernacle as designed by God. There is so much precise detail concerning the Tabernacle in these chapters that it is the single-most described object and subject in the entire Bible! In relation to Creation, 2 chapters of the Bible were written to detail all of Creation including the earth, skies and seas with all of their inhabitants, but … 50 chapters of the Bible were devoted to the Tabernacle that we have just heard and now see! In God’s plan, it took 6 days to create the heaven and the earth, yet it took 40 days to instruct Moses concerning this tabernacle and all that should happen within it. We marvel at the wonder and beauty of Creation! Look to my left and see the Mediterranean! Look behind you and see the cliffs and mountains by the Arbel Pass! Look to my right! Behold, the well-watered plains of Jordan! How beautiful the world is! How many of you have seen the:

1. Grand Canyon – 277 miles long/ 18 miles wide/ 6,000 feet deep

2. Niagara Falls – Vertical drop of more than 165 feet/ 225,000 cubic feet per second

3. Yellowstone National Park – 3,468 square miles of volcanoes, geysers, lakes, canyons, rivers, valleys, and all kinds of wildlife

4. Colorado Rockies – Mountain Range with several mountains over 14,000 feet

5. Carlsbad Caverns – over 119 known caves beneath the earth’s surface

6. Northern Lights of Alaska

7. Smoky Mountains of Tennessee

8. Redwood Forests of California

Indeed, even our own country is breathtaking! We marvel at God’s creation! But now we stand before the tabernacle. There is no splendor on the outside! There is no beauty to behold. Those walls that you can see are 7 ½ feet high, and they are only made of white linen. The top of the inner tabernacle that you can see is made of that tough and ugly badger’s skin. It’s the same kind of skin that all the ordinary tents in the Israelite camp are made of. So then, why did God give so much attention to this? Why did God give so much detail concerning this rather unusual tent in the wilderness? Because this tabernacle that you see was a shadow of the Messiah that should come.