Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? Part 2: The war against His Anointed
The title is Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing? The subheading for the first part is the War against God from the beginning. The second part is the War against His Anointed and the final part is titled the War against God’s people. The Anointed is Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, The Messiah, God with Us, the Saviour, the Lamb of God.
This article is in three parts. I initially wrote this in June 2016 based on Psalm 2:
"1 Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.”
4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.
5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure:
6 “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.”
7 “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.
8 Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
9 You shall break[a] them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’”
10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear, And rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him."
How futile it is to conspire and plot against the Lion of Judah, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the one who will smite the enemy whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
This Psalm is one of many prophetic Psalms written by David. Peter the Apostle in Acts 13 had to explain to the people on the day of the Pentecost what the scripture meant in that it is talking about Jesus as Son of God. The Jewish religious leaders tried to explain away this prophetic element of this Psalm by stating God was referring to David and continued misinterpret Messianic prophecies. If we read the Book of Isaiah, we see many scriptures foretelling of Jesus. One of these prophecies is Isaiah 53, which foretells astonishing details of the Messiah’s Suffering. The Jewish people in Jesus times, were waiting for this Messiah as a Warrior King to rescue and destroy the uncircumcised Romans.
The key plotters were the Jewish Religious Leaders, Pilate (the Roman governor) and Herold the Great. The latter converted to Judaism and was an official, appointed by Rome as King, he massacred every child under 2 years old, a fulfilment of Jeremiah 31: 15 "Thus says the LORD, A voice is heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children, Because they are no more”.
We read the account of Herod the Great in Matthew 2: "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written (that is in Micah 5:2) 6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’" 7 Then Herod called the wise men secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
We know that he did not do this but preceded to murder the children in what came to be known as the Massacre of the Innocents.
From reading of these verses we see that the chief priests and teachers of the law told him where Jesus was born. So, they knew and when He arrived they disown and blasphemed against Him.
The second Herod is his son, Herod Antipas, the one that Jesus was sent to during His trial. Matthew 26:1-16 we read: "Now it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, that He said to His disciples, “You know that after two days is the Passover, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified. Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders of the people assembled at the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, and plotted to take Jesus by trickery and kill Him. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”
Again, we read in John 11: 45 after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead that the people followed Jesus, but the leaders were plotting yet again.
“Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. 47 Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.“What are we accomplishing?” they asked. “Here is this man performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation.”
The plotters were the religious Jewish hierarchy which were the chief priests and elders of the Sanhedrin Court. The Sanhedrin means “assembly” or Council”. Its history goes back to when God spoke to Moses and asked him to select 70 men and a High Priest to help Moses to manage the people. In later years it became known as The Great Sanhedrin which became the supreme court of ancient Israel, still made up of 70 men and but the high priest role was divided into chief priests. Members of this court controlled the way of Jewish lives. So, the ruling parties or sects of Sanhedrin were the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Sadducees were the wealthy aristocrats who were religious but more involved in politics and were in friendly terms (like all rich people) with the ruling class of Rome and its government. The Pharisees were the religious sect and were favoured by the common man and the middle classes. These two sects hated each other and the only time they agreed on anything was what to do with Jesus.
These religious leaders are the ones that paid Judas the thirty pieces of silver to betray Jesus knowing what the 30 pieces represented. For in the Law of Moses, 30 pieces were the price paid for the accidental death of slave who has been gored by a neighbour’s animal. Exodus 21:32 “If the ox gores a male or female servant, he shall give to their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned”. It is not coincidence that they chose 30 thirty shekels of silver. They knew what the value meant. Biblically.
In Zechariah 11:8-13 “I said to them, “8 I dismissed the three shepherds in one month. My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me. 9 Then I said, “I will not feed you. Let what is dying die, and what is perishing perish. Let those that are left eat each other’s flesh.” 10 And I took my staff, Beauty, and cut it in two, that I might break the covenant which I had made with all the peoples. 11 So it was broken on that day. Thus the poor of the flock, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the Lord. 12 Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 And the Lord said to me, “Throw it to the potter”—that princely price they set on me."
This prophecy concerning the 30 pieces of silver was fulfilled by Judas Iscariot. It also states that God got “got rid of the three shepherds” of the doomed flock (verse 8). The “three shepherds” (bad shepherds) are a reference to the three religious offices during Jesus’ day that worked to condemn Jesus: the elders, the scribes, and the chief priests and this is confirmed in Matthew 16:21. “From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised”.
We heard how the Jewish hierarchy plotted against Jesus. We will now see how these religious leaders continued with suppressing the Truth to this day by stopping the reading of certain prophetic passages being read to the masses in the synagogue and that they established laws pertaining to the reading of certain texts.
The Haftarah List
The Jewish hierarchy of scholars, teachers and leaders did not accept Jesus and centuries later removed almost every Messianic prophecy that is quoted in the New Testament (which Jesus quoted from the Old Testament Prophets) from the weekly synagogue readings. To this day, Isaiah 53 is not read in synagogue and is not part of regular readings of the Prophets. The question is why? That very question came under scrutiny in 2013 at the 14th World Congress of Jewish Studies, held in Jerusalem. An article in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reported that one of the papers delivered at the event theorized that the Jewish sages responsible for compiling the annual cycle of synagogue readings from the Prophets had deliberately omitted every Christological passage cited in the New Testament. Psalm 2 speaks of our Lord Jesus and the opposition He faced while on earth and how the leaders conspired and plotted against Him, but it also speaks of His Second Coming and His Reign.
The haftarah or haftoroh is a series of selections from the books of Prophets of the Hebrew Bible that is publicly read in synagogue as part of Jewish religious practice. The Haftarah reading follows the Torah reading on each Sabbath and on Jewish festivals and fast days.
I want to bring to you extracts from an article from the website of Christian Witness to Israel:
“Centuries ago, the sages of Israel removed almost every Messianic prophecy quoted in the New Testament from the weekly synagogue readings. As shocking as this may seem, this is not a conspiracy theory but the conclusion of Jewish Biblical Scholars, as Mike Moore reveals.
The removal of passages from the Prophets that are cited in the New Testament would appear to have been a deliberate policy on the part of the rabbis. The compilers of the Haftarahs seem to have excluded any verse or passage on which Christians base the principles of their faith. The Haftarahs in Hebrew means "parting," "taking leave” and is a series of selections from the books of "Prophets" of the Hebrew Bible that is publicly read in synagogue as part of Jewish religious practice:
Isaiah 42:1-4 – ‘Behold! My servant whom I uphold. My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the Gentiles…’ – which is cited in Matthew 12:18-21 is also absent from the Haftarahs. Isaiah 52:13-53:12, in which the righteous Servant of the Lord suffers for the sins of his people, is the outstanding omission from the Haftarah readings. Isaiah 52:1-12 and chapter 54 are included in the cycle of readings from the Prophets but 52:13 – 53:12 is absent. The claim that the chapter was deliberately excluded is confirmed by the fact that when David Bond was a CWI missionary and asked a rabbi why Isaiah 53 was not included in the synagogues readings, he was told that if the chapter was read, ‘a lot of our people might become Christians’!”
No wonder Jesus said these woes against them in Matthew 23: 13
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.
14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers.
15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ 17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies[d] the gold? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ 19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells[e] in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.[f] 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’
31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. 33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city".
Charles H. Spurgeon, in the Treasury of David, said this concerning the years following the crucifixion of Jesus:
"Here is the end of one of the greatest plots ever formed against God's chosen. Of thirty Roman emperors, governors of provinces, and others high in office, who distinguished themselves by their zeal and bitterness in persecuting the early Christians, one became speedily deranged after some atrocious cruelty, one was slain by his own son, one became blind, the eyes of one started out of his head, one was drowned, one was strangled, one died in a miserable captivity, one fell dead in a manner that will not bear recital, one died of so loathsome a disease that several of his physicians were put to death because they could not abide the stench that filled his room, two committed suicide, a third attempted it, but had to call for help to finish the work, five were assassinated by their own people or servants, five others died the most miserable and excruciating deaths, several of them having an untold complication of diseases, and eight were killed in battle, or after being taken prisoners. Among these was Julian the apostate. In the days of his prosperity he is said to have pointed his dagger to heaven defying the Son of God, whom he commonly called the Galilean. But when he was wounded in battle, he saw that all was over with him, and he gathered up his clotted blood, and threw it into the air, exclaiming, "Thou hast conquered, O thou Galilean."
But the plotting and conspiring did not end when Jesus was crucified. Not just the Jews but the Romans also continued to suppress the testimonies of the believers and disciples of Jesus. Peter and Paul in Acts 3 healed a man who sat regularly at the entrance to the temple begging. Everybody saw the miracle and as you can imagine the religious leaders of the day, including those that were key players at Jesus’ trial imprisoned Peter and John. The following morning these religious people in the meeting told Peter and John not to mention this Jesus. Of course, they refused.
There is so much to say on the this, but I will mention here briefly that the Sanhedrin Council was dissolved after the destruction of the Jewish Temple and Jerusalem by the Roman Empire as prophesied by Jesus which occurred in AD70, 40 years after Jesus’ crucifixion. The destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem resulted in the subsequent scattering of the Jews exactly as prophesied by Zechariah and many of the prophets. Remember there is yet another temple to be built before Jesus returns. This is the final temple which the Anti-Christ will seat himself. Today, where the final Temple is to be build, is occupied by the Muslims and Jews are not allowed to enter and the place is guarded by the Israeli government.
Now here’s the thing. Jesus was Jewish, so were the disciples, who later became the Apostles, the people He came for and majority of early believers. While He walked the streets of the Jewish cities, they brought the sick to him, they followed Him for 3 days without food, and when Jesus was tired, they sought and found Him, they sang songs about Him and said “Hosanna, Hosanna”, the Roman Centurion asked Jesus to heal His Servant; Zacchaeus, a tax collector, climbed a tree to see Jesus, as Jesus was walking two blind men cried "have mercy on us, Son of David (Messiah)" and He healed them, a woman with an issue of blood touch the hem of His garment in the midst of a crowded scene and received healing, “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written" And yet, the lie that the Jews are responsible for death of Jesus has been the cause of hatred that the Jews have received in Europe specially in the Catholic Church. The whole nation of Israel did not kill Jesus; a small group of self-righteous religious leaders were responsible for coercing the weak Roman governor. It is interesting, is it not that the Catholic Church and many so-called Christians from various denominations embrace the theory that the Church has replaced Israel. How convenient!! For further reading on how this lie spread and became the heart of Anti-Semitism and the replacement theory, please see http://www.wildolive.co.uk/history.htm
Jesus had compassion for them all because they were sheep without a Shepherd. But it was their so-called shepherds that plotted against Him. It is them who did everything to suppress the works of God and were in direct opposition that was deliberate and calculating. It was them that plotted and conspired against the Lord’s Anointed. In Mark 14:53 we again see the mention of these 3 offices that fulfilled Zechariah’s prophecy “And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes”. At His trial, Jesus is facing these leaders and standing, as a defendant does when he is brought before a judge “Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” Although Jesus was standing, and the High Priest was seated, Jesus reverse the position. He was stating that He, Jesus, will be seated. He will be reigning as King and most importantly He will be Judging. What was happening at earth at the very moment was a preparation of what is come.
His Second Coming and His Reign.
We see that Jesus’ response to the High Priest is unveiled in Daniel 7:13–14.
“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
That’s why it says Psalm 2: “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh". But we, Jesus’ followers, God’s Chosen People, His Peculiar people will not be laughed at, but we will be those rejoicing, jumping up and down with the saints, angels and host of heaven because the Lord’s Anointed will come arrayed in battle full of might and glory.
But the people and nations plotting a vain thing they will be seated, brought low, bowing to the Lamb of God, the Lion of Judah, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. “For who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth?”.
He is coming not as a sacrificial lamb but as the Wrath of God, Rev. 6:15-17 reads:
“Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
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