The Word of God is like an onion with layer after layer of meaning. We peal one layer away to reveal a deeper and larger picture!
5 Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him [notice that the word of God is actually a Person: Jesus Christ, the revealed Word of God (see John 1:1-4, 14)].
Psalm 22 is a Messianic psalm about the passion of Christ on the cross. Jesus quoted several verses from it while on the cross. Let’s look at verse 31,
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it! NIV
I have always heard that the last verse is linked with Jesus’ sixth word (statement) on the cross, “It is finished,” (John 19:30) The Hebrew word in Psalm 22:31 is “asah” in the Strong’s Concordance (6213). Here is what it says:
a primitive root; to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application (as follows):–accomplish, advance, appoint, apt, be at, become, bear, bestow, bring forth, bruise, be busy, X certainly, have the charge of, commit, deal (with), deck, + displease, do, (ready) dress(-ed), (put in) execute(-ion), exercise, fashion, + feast, (fight-)ing man, + finish, fit, fly, follow, fulfill, furnish, gather, get, go about, govern, grant, great, + hinder, hold ((a feast)), X indeed, + be industrious, + journey, keep, labour, maintain, make, be meet, observe, be occupied, offer, + officer, pare, bring (come) to pass, perform, practise, prepare, procure, provide, put, requite, X sacrifice, serve, set, shew, X sin, spend, X surely, take, X thoroughly, trim, X very, + vex, be (warr-)ior, work(-man), yield, use.
The NIV, which is based upon the Masoretic text* is, “He has done it!” Done what? Fulfilled the role of the cross. What was the role of the cross? To take us back. Jesus undid what Adam did in the garden of Eden. Where the doors of death and hell were locked from the inside, Jesus went and took the keys away from Satan and unlocked the doors! We are no longer bound to death. You may ask, “Then, why do we die?” It is because these bodies are of the Old Covenant. Jesus promises us new bodies to go with our redeemed and risen selves! Pretty cool, huh? As for the Greek word, “tetelestai,” which Jesus used in John 19:30, really does mean “paid in full,” but it is a cancellation rather than a fulfillment of a debt. God cancelled the debt we owed. By dying, He took death with Him to the grave–but, because He is God, He arose and left death there in the grave. THAT is why we have all died with Him (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). It’s also why we are raised with Him to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). Paul wrote:
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us [Greek: charizomai– freely pardoned; forgiven, as in Acts 2:38- aphesin– released, dismissed] all our sins, 14 having canceled [Greek: exaleipsas– 1813: to wipe out, erase, obliterate] the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14
The Septuagint text** from the Orthodox Study Bible is interpreted into English as, “because the Lord made them,” which brings yet another layer of meaning to the text. The implication is that the Lord made us and wanted us back. He removed all that stood in the way between Him and us–basically, our shame and the consequences of our Spirit-less nature–so that we could be reunited with Him, just like the father and the prodigal son. Who we DON’T want to be is the older brother, who refused to come in and celebrate. He chose to live outside the house, and, in a sense, chose to live in a hell of his own making.
My take-away from all this? We are made new! It’s like being born again–wait! That’s exactly what it is! 2 Corinthians 5:17 says,
17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature [creation];
the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. NASB
The deeper I look into the mystery of the cross, the more expanded my perspective. Please pray for me as I delve into these mysteries. Pray that “God would make known to me the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in us, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). I will pray the same for you.
Abba, thank You for not letting me grow stagnant in my study of Your Word–Your revealed Word by Your Spirit. I thank You, also, for bringing to my attention more translations and writings for me to study. My horizons are definitely broadening! May I stay true to You and to Your Word–every word You’ve spoken to the writers and to my own heart. I pray for my readers that they, too, would begin to seek You in the text. May they use the Bible as a map that leads them to You, the True Word of God. Keep speaking, Lord Jesus; I will keep listening. Amen.
*”Masoretic text, (from Hebrew masoreth, “tradition”), traditional Hebrew text of the Jewish Bible, meticulously assembled and codified, and supplied with diacritical marks to enable correct pronunciation. This monumental work was begun around the 6th century AD and completed in the 10th by scholars at Talmudic academies in Babylonia and Palestine, in an effort to reproduce, as far as possible, the original text of the Hebrew Old Testament. Their intention was not to interpret the meaning of the Scriptures but to transmit to future generations the authentic Word of God. To this end they gathered manuscripts and whatever oral traditions were available to them.” Jewish Bible/Britannica. The problem is that these Jews did not believe that Jesus is the revealed Word of God and missed the point of the Scriptures–or, to Whom the Scriptures pointed–entirely.
**”The Septuagint is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and used by the early Church. The Septuagint is also called the translation of the seventy because tradition states that the Septuagint was translated by seventy. In academia, the Septuagint is often abbreviated as LXX (the Roman numeral for seventy) in honor of this tradition.” The Septuagint: LXX