When Christ was on the cross ready to die, a back story was developing that we have never seen.  Here's the picture.  He was not only surrounded by a hostile crowd and by the Romans and by the Priests who wanted Him dead, worse than that, He was encircled and terrorized by a ravening demonic world.  Psalm 18:4 describes the last moments of Christ before He died and it says,

"The pangs of death surrounded me, and the floods of ungodliness (Belial...the demon world)  made me afraid."

In Psalm 22, Christ is on the stake, and again, the Bible says that the demon world surrounds Him.  They do frighten Him.  He is helpless and they know it...the crowd of demons surround Him and they gape their mouths wide at Him and roar like ravenous lions.  I can't imagine what it must have been like.  It must have been like the worst horror movie ever.  We have no idea what our Savior must have gone through for us.

Psalms 22:11-13 tells us much more, Christ is pleading for God to help Him.  He says, "Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.  Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls (meaning angel, bull, chiefest, mighty one.) of Bashan have beset me round.  They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion."

The thing that we don't realize is that God the Father did hear Christ's cries for help and He came down and hid in the darkness and thick clouds and He sent those demons packing. (Later in the article, we read about it.)

Most movies about Christ's death are on a bright sunny day.  But in reality, the sky became black, the earth shook, there was a tremendous lightning storm.  The earthquake opened many graves and dead people actually came up out of their graves and walked back into Jerusalem and were seen by many, the curtain in the temple was ripped from top to bottom.  So much so that after seeing these things, even the Romans were afraid and said, "Truly this was the son of God!"

Matthew 27:50-54
50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God!"

The movies made about the death of Christ never even touch what really happened, and we can't even imagine it ourselves like it really was.  No human can even conceive the demonic attack.  But God the Father knocked them back on their heels.  He also had a little something for the priests.  The chief priests were the ones who had Christ killed, it must have shocked them when the curtain in the temple split into from top to bottom.  The Bible says that many of the priests became converted after seeing all these things.

Acts 6:7 says, "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith."  Some of the priests saw the truth.

Read all of Psalm 18 below for the full story of what God the Father did in response to Christ's cries for help, and how He scattered the demons who were harassing Christ.  They confronted Christ in the day of His calamity, but God put them running.  Remember as you read Psalm 18, that it is mainly about how God the Father dealt with and scattered the demon world that surrounded Christ.  Even though this was written by David, it fits Jesus Christ and the historical record of what happened at His death, including the earthquakes.  In the end, Psalms 18 shows that Jesus Christ will be future King over all the earth.  He has qualified already through this great trial.  Now read it with the full picture in mind.  We set the scene...Jesus Christ is near death.

1 I will love You, O LORD, my strength.

2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my strength, in whom I will trust, My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold.

3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised. So shall I be saved from my enemies.

4 The pangs of death surrounded me, and the floods of ungodliness ("Belial" denoting the demon world)  made me afraid.

5 The sorrows of Sheol (the grave) surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me.

6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry came before Him, even to His ears.

7 Then the earth shook and trembled; The foundations of the hills also quaked and were shaken, Because He was angry.

8 Smoke went up from His nostrils, And devouring fire from His mouth; Coals were kindled by it.

9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down With darkness under His feet.

10 And He rode upon a cherub, and flew; He flew upon the wings of the wind.

11 He made darkness His secret place; His canopy around Him was dark waters And thick clouds of the skies.

12 From the brightness before Him, His thick clouds passed with hailstones and coals of fire.

13 The LORD also thundered from heaven, And the Most High uttered His voice, Hailstones and coals of fire.

14 He sent out His arrows and scattered the foe, Lightnings in abundance, and He vanquished them.

15 Then the channels of the sea were seen, The foundations of the world were uncovered At Your rebuke, O LORD, At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.

16 He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.

17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, From those who hated me, For they were too strong for me.

18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the LORD was my support.

19 He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.

20 The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.

21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD, And have not wickedly departed from my God.

22 For all His judgments were before me, And I did not put away His statutes from me.

23 I was also blameless before Him, And I kept myself from my iniquity.

24 Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to the cleanness of my hands in His sight.

25 With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless;

26 With the pure You will show Yourself pure; And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.

27 For You will save the humble people, But will bring down haughty looks.

28 For You will light my lamp; The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.

29 For by You I can run against a troop, By my God I can leap over a wall.

30 As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

31 For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?

32 It is God who arms me with strength, And makes my way perfect.

33 He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places.

34 He teaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

35 You have also given me the shield of Your salvation ;Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me great.

36 You enlarged my path under me; So my feet did not slip.

37 I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them; Neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed.

38 I have wounded them, So that they could not rise; They have fallen under my feet.

39 For You have armed me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.

40 You have also given me the necks of my enemies, So that I destroyed those who hated me.

41 They cried out, but there was none to save; Even to the LORD, but He did not answer them.

42 Then I beat them as fine as the dust before the wind; I cast them out like dirt in the streets.

43 You have delivered me from the strivings of the people; You have made me the head of the nations; A people I have not known shall serve me.

44 As soon as they hear of me they obey me; The foreigners submit to me.

45 The foreigners fade away, And come frightened from their hideouts.

46 The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.

47 It is God who avenges me, And subdues the peoples under me;

48 He delivers me from my enemies. You also lift me up above those who rise against me; You have delivered me from the violent man.

49 Therefore I will give thanks to You, O LORD, among the Gentiles, And sing praises to Your name.

50 Great deliverance He gives to His king, And shows mercy to His anointed, To David and his descendants forevermore.

Online sermon:    Obedience


Sermon given by James E. Throgmorton



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