I’ve been very familiar with the verse in Galatians 3:13 that says,
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.’”
Paul was referencing this passage in the Torah/Law:
Deuteronomy 21:22-23 “If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse. You must not desecrate the land YHWH your God is giving you as an inheritance.”
I was also very familiar with the death and burial of Jesus/Yeshua. Each of the gospel accounts indicated he was hung on a tree, taken down at sunset and buried in a tomb.
But something I did not notice before in the Prophets concerning the Israelites being taken into the promised land was what specifically happened to each of the kings of the areas that were destroyed/conquered.
Joshua 8:2 “You shall do to Ai and its king as you did to Jericho and its king…”
The Bible doesn’t directly tell us what happened to the king of Jericho, but it does tell us what happened to the king of Ai.
Joshua 8:29 “He hung the king of Ai on a tree and left him there until evening. At sunset, Joshua ordered them to take his body from the tree and throw it down at the entrance of the city gate. And they raised a large pile of rocks over it , which remains to this day.”
I thought that was interesting enough, seeing the parallel of being hung on a tree until evening and at sunset the body being taken down, but the following passage made me sit up and pay more attention.
Joshua 10:26-27 “Then Joshua struck and killed the [five Amorite] kings and hung them on five trees, and they were left hanging on the trees until evening. At sunset Joshua gave the order and they took them down from the trees and threw them into the cave where they had been hiding. At the mouth of the cave they placed large rocks, which are there to this day.”
What stuck out to me here was the parallel of the place where the bodies were buried: “large rocks” were raised over them or placed at the mouth of their tombs (cave), “which are there (or remains) to this day”. Hmmm.
This made me think of the stone that was rolled away:
Matthew 28:2 “There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it.”
Mark 16:4 “But when they [Mary Magdaline, Mary the mother of James and Salome] looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.”
Luke 24:2 “They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,”
John 20:1 “Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance.”
The significance of the stone being rolled away suddenly became all the more significant in my understanding.
Joshua 10:28b “And he did to king of Makkedah as he had done to the king of Jericho.”
Joshua 10:30b “And he did to its (Libnah’s) king as he had done to the king of Jericho.”
Joshua 10:39b “They did to Debir and its king as they had done to Libnah and its king and to Hebron.”
These other kings were not only hung on a tree until evening having their bodies removed at sunset, but they were also “buried” under/behind large stones/rocks. But those stones remained until this day. Unlike the Messiah Yeshua…the large stone covering his body, was rolled away. And this rolling away was not done by men, but by God!
What a HUGE statement this was making to those who knew the Word of God (The Law and The Prophets). Surely the Jewish leaders knew that all these other kings were buried in this fashion and that was the end of them (the kings)…but not with this king, Yeshua, the “king of the Jews”. Then again, maybe only those who were seeking truth saw it.
Stone Was Rolled Away = Easter?
Now I can’t help but think about Easter when considering the stone being rolled away…with all the cantatas/productions and sermons I’ve seen and heard in church all of my life, it’s hard to divorce the two thoughts. But in reality Easter has nothing to do with the stone being rolled away.
Did you know Easter predates Christ’s resurrection? A decision was made a few hundred years after his resurrection to take the pagan holiday/festival of Easter and “Christianize” it with the hopes of bringing in more converts to Christianity. If you are unfamiliar with the origins of Easter, I encourage you to investigate it further for yourself.
Maybe the origins don’t matter to you…I know I never investigated it until only a little over a year ago. But there are things that I have been in the dark about all my Christian life, namely the Biblically-based Feasts of YHWH, because all my attention was on celebrating days such as Easter, which is nowhere to be found in Scripture.
Besides my ignorance of the feasts, I lacked a huge understanding of God’s ultimate plan, the part I played in it and who God really is. I knew who Jesus was (or so I thought), but I had a vague understanding of who God was and how he operates. For example, the whole sacrificial system and the elements of the tabernacle, the concept of clean & unclean, and the restoration of Israel. Then there was my perception of going to heaven and the kingdom of God.
Old Testament: Foundation of the New Testament
My goal these days is to study the Old Testament in light of the New Testament, so that I can better understand all of what God is saying and who He is. The foundation of the New Testament is the Old Testament. And when I see things like what I read in Joshua concerning the kings’ demise and how that related to Yeshua’s death, burial & resurrection, I get so excited in seeing God’s plan being played out.
Jesus/Yeshua did not start a new religion, known to us as Christianity. Neither did Peter or Paul. Yeshua is just part of God’s grand plan that was laid out from the beginning. This plan did not change part way through. God didn’t trash the Old (Testament) to bring forth the New. And unless we get back to understanding the Old Testament, we won’t recognize any discrepancies between the gospel & Jesus that Paul preached from The Law and The Prophets and the gospel & Jesus Christianity preaches.
Jeremiah 6:16-19 “This is what YHWH says, ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, “We will not walk in it.” I appointed watchmen over you and said, “Listen to the sound of the trumpet!” But you said, “We will not listen.” Therefore hear, O nations; observe, O witnesses, what will happen to them. Hear, O earth: I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law [torah].’”