If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.
[The following article is an edited transcription of our March/April 1995 audio tape, The Last Week of Christ’s Life by John Schoenheit.]
Hello and God bless you!
I am John Schoenheit, and I will be teaching on The Last Week of Christ’s Life. Please turn with me in your Bible to 1 Corinthians chapter 5, verse 7.
1 Corinthians 5:7
Get rid of the old yeast, that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
Christ’s sacrifice was essential. Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, mankind has needed a redeemer—needed a sacrifice. We have needed a sacrifice with sinless blood but yet one from the flock. That sacrifice was the Man, Jesus Christ.
It is very important to realize the importance to God of the last week of Jesus Christ’s life and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It has been, is, and will be unavailable for anyone to save himself. We cannot save ourselves by our good works. We need the sacrifice of Jesus Christ in order to have eternal life, in order to have life in the age to come. Jesus Christ is that sacrifice, and he was prophesied all the way from Genesis 3:15 when God said that a seed of the woman would have his heel crushed but would crush the head of the serpent.
If we do not understand the importance of the sacrifice and the need for the sacrifice, then we will fall short in our thankfulness to God for what He has done for us. If I think that some how or another through my good works that I am going to make myself good enough to be acceptable to God, then what God has done for me will have less meaning.
Oswald Chambers, from his daily devotional book My Utmost For His Highest, writes about the need for the sacrifice of Christ. I am going to read from November 20 and November 21.
“Beware of the pleasant view of the Fatherhood of God. God is so kind and loving that of course He will forgive us. That sentiment has no place whatever in the New Testament. The only ground on which God can forgive us is the tremendous tragedy of the Cross of Christ. To put forgiveness on any other ground is unconscious blaspheme. The only ground on which God can forgive sin and reinstate us in His favor is through Christ and in no other way. Forgiveness, which is so easy for us to accept, cost the agony of Calvary. It is possible to take the forgiveness of sin and our sanctification with simplicity of faith and to forget at what enormous cost to God that it was all made ours. Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace. It cost God the Cross of Jesus Christ before He could forgive sin and remain a Holy God. When once you realize all that it cost God to forgive you, you will be held as in vice, constrained by the love of God.”
He goes on to say on November 21:
“Never build your preaching or forgiveness on the fact that God is our Father and that He will forgive us because He loves us. It is untrue to Jesus Christ’s revelation of God. It makes the cross unnecessary and the redemption ‘much ado about nothing.’ If God does forgive sin, it is because of the death of Christ.”
That is exactly correct. God loves everybody, but He is not going to save everybody. Love does not save. Sin required a payment, and that payment was in the person of Jesus Christ, the Lamb, the Passover, the one from among the flock, the Man who died instead of us so that we could have everlasting life, so that we could have life in the age to come.
If you have heard our teaching on The Kingdom of God: Paradise Regained, the picture of how we are going to be in the Paradise to come is so wonderful that I cannot imagine that every single human being alive would not want to be there. Yet, how do we get there? How do we attain life in the age to come? We get there through the sacrifice—the death of Jesus Christ. Because of that, the days leading up to the death of Jesus Christ are very important. The last week of Christ’s life, and the chronology of the last week of Christ’s life is very important. It is so important, in fact, that in the Gospel of John forty percent of the book concerns the last 6 days of Christ’s life here on earth—please, check this out for yourself. Forty percent of the book of John is just those last 6 days. Surely, it behooves us to pick up on what God is telling us by this and to spend some time in the last week of Christ’s life and in the concept of Christ our Passover.
Now that I have said that, I will say that in this teaching I am going to give a lot of chronological material. I am going to give a lot of detailed information. You might want to make a chart to help you line up this information. If you make up a chart on this information, then make it just like a calendar—vertical columns, a Thursday column, Friday column, Saturday column, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. After you make your vertical columns for the days, take and split the page down the middle in half horizontally because our days start at midnight, but the Judean day started at sunset. This is very important to remember as we get into the Bible itself in a few minutes because to us, you are moving along on Thursday, and Thursday does not become Friday until midnight. In the Judean calendar, the next day started at sunset, so Nisan eight would become Nisan nine, not at midnight but at sunset; thus, you make your calendar days Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, etc. and split it horizontally left to right. Your top half would be the daytime and the bottom half would be your nighttime and the start of the new Judean day. That is a very simple way to make a calendar, so that you can more easily keep track of some of the chronological information.
I would also like to say that some of the chronological information that I am going to present is detailed and often actually appears contradictory, and for that reason various Bible scholars have come up with different interpretations and different ideas of the last week of Christ’s life. I would encourage you not to get involved in all those contradictions, unless you particularly feel like you want to, but rather to see the heart of Christ in these days that God lines out. The heart of Christ is going to be very visible and very apparent, and we will watch for that.
Turn to Exodus chapter 12 because the Passover Lamb of Exodus chapter 12 was the type of which Jesus Christ was the true antitype. The Passover Lamb in Exodus was the type, and Jesus Christ THE Passover Lamb was the reality. Let us see what we can learn about the Passover Lamb and the Passover sacrifice from Exodus chapter 12 that will then help us when we get into the chronology of the New Testament and the last six days of Christ’s life here on earth.
(1) The LORD said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt.
(2) “This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year.
What you should be aware of here is that the first month of the Judean year had started with Tishri. God moves the first month by just telling Moses, “This month is going to be the first month of your year.” That would be the equivalent today of God speaking to you and saying, “January is not going to be the first month any more – September will.” He would just move the calendar forward by six months. That is exactly what happened here.
(3) Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household.
(4) If any household is too small for a whole lamb, they must share one with their nearest neighbor, having taken into account the number of people there are. You are to determine the amount of lamb needed in accordance with what each person will eat.
(5) The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect,
Of course, we know that Christ was without spot or blemish.
and you may take them from the sheep or the goats.
This is not a well-known fact, but the Passover animal could be a sheep or goat. Later, tradition will fix it as a sheep.
Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight.
I am reading from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. We read at twilight. The Hebrew text reads, “between the evenings.” In Hebrew, two evenings occurred; just like today in America, we have an evening. It is usually just when the sun is setting. It is a very nice time to go out on your porch or be in a park. It is evening; the cooler winds are starting to blow. The earlier evening in Hebrew reckoning was when the sun just began to fall. You could noticeably see the sun beginning to fall, so if you look up, and it is high noon or around high noon, then that is too early. If you look up, and you say, “Yeah, I can see that the sun is noticeably beginning to fall,” that was the early evening. To kill the Passover Lamb between the evenings, tradition fixes the slaughter of the Passover Lamb at about three in the afternoon.
Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.
We know that the blood was placed on the doorframes so that the destroying angel would pass by and not kill the first born of the children in that house. The angel was to pass over, and that is the type of Jesus Christ. Without the blood of Christ, we are consigned to die, but the blood of Jesus Christ saves us from eternal death. He is the true Passover Lamb.
(8) That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.
(9) Do not eat the meat raw or cooked in water, but roast it over the fire—head, legs, and inner parts.
Head, legs, and inner parts, some things need to be identified about this. It is not supposed to be a wonderful, enjoyable, and good tasting meal. It is eaten with bitter herbs; it is eaten with bread made without yeast, and yeast, of course, as you that cook know, is a sweetener that raises the bread and gives it loft and gives it a sweeter flavor. As far as cooking the animal, any animal that has been cooked with its guts intact will ruin the taste of the meat.
The Passover sacrifice was to leave an impression upon the people; it was an impressionable meal. Surely, that is the way that we should feel about the death of Christ. When we study the last six days of Christ’s life and when we study his beatings and when we look at what he went through, it should impress us that it was not a fun time and that a cost was there. It is almost ironic is it not, that in Romans chapter 5, salvation is called a free gift. Free to whom—it is free to us! It cost God the death of His son, and it cost Jesus Christ, also. We should be aware of that and thankful for that. That is one of the reasons for studying this last week of Christ’s life, so that we better see what that cost was.
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Thanks for reading.