The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
"Recently the Vatican Council absolved the Jews of the sole responsibility for Christ's crucifixion. If the Jews aren't exclusively guilty of His death — who is?" L. B., Kansas
Your Bible makes plain who bears the guilt for the murder of Jesus! God provided three eye-witnesses to record the death of His Son. Notice the Gospel record — the only source of information available: After Jesus was betrayed, captured in the garden, and interrogated — after He was mocked, beaten, and held captive through the night — the Jews illegally brought Him before the Sanhedrin. Jesus' trial before them was fraudulently conducted. Here is what transpired: "Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; but found none" (Mat. 26:59-60). To understand fully why the trial and the crucifixion of Jesus were illegal, you need the eye-opening article, "Twelve Reasons Why Christ's Trial Was Illegal." It will surprise you! There is not space to explain it in detail here. To continue: "When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: and when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor" (Mat. 27:1-2). Rome was an Empire ruled by fear. Roman governors were not fundamentally concerned with justice, but with expediency. Any troublemaker was quickly dealt with. Rome was careless with human life. If someone must die to appease the people and maintain order, he was executed — guilty or not. Pilate first thought he would release Jesus. But the Jews had done their work well. They knew Pilate could not afford an uprising. So they stirred up the rabble. When they encouraged mob violence, Pilate weakened (John 19:12-16). He thought he had no choice but to convict and execute Jesus. Pilate, of course, knew the Jews were jealous of Christ and wanted Him out of the way (Mat. 27:18). But out of fear he delivered Jesus to his soldiers for scourging — and for crucifixion. Who then was guilty? Was it solely the Jews — blind with jealousy, hypocrisy, hatred? Was it Pilate — who vacillated and condemned Jesus for political expediency? Was it the Roman legionnaire who nailed Him to the cross? Or was it the soldier who cruelly ended Jesus' life with a spear thrust? Whom does God Almighty hold guilty of the murder of Christ? The apostle Peter, who himself denied Christ three times, reveals His murderers! Read it in the book of Acts. On the day of Pentecost Peter spoke to thousands who had gathered in Jerusalem from all over the world. Many in this audience had never seen Jesus Christ. Many had only heard of Him. Certainly only a very few had a part in His trial and crucifixion. But notice what Peter told them: "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" (Acts 2:22-24). Had all this multitude — by their very own hands — crucified Jesus Christ? No! Yet God held them all guilty — even those who were not in Jerusalem when Christ died! Why? Because of their sins — because of your sins! The sins of all mankind, not just of the Roman soldiers, were responsible for driving the nails into Christ's flesh. If no man had ever sinned. Jesus Christ would not have died. It was your sin which brought Jesus into the world to die! God is responsible for sending Christ into the world to forgive sin — to voluntarily pay the penalty of sin by giving His life as a ransom for all. Your Bible says: "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). Christ died for us all — in our stead. Therefore we all are just as guilty of His death as were those Jews, and Pilate and the Roman soldiers who had direct part in the crucifixion. The primary guilt of the Jews, of Pilate, of the Roman soldiers was not their part in the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. Their major guilt was their life of sin, which brought Jesus into the world to die for them. Pilate would have been guilty had he never been governor. His cowardly act made him doubly guilty. The Jews would have been guilty even if they had refused to be a part of mob violence. Their deeds in 31 A.D. made them doubly guilty. The Roman soldiers who crucified Jesus would have been guilty even if they had been stationed with the Roman legion in England at the time of the crucifixion! You need to realize that if you had lived in Palestine in 31 A.D., you — just like the disciples — would have denied Jesus Christ! Or you would have been in the how ling mob demanding His innocent blood! Or you would have been willing to plunge your spear into His side! You can't wash your hands of part in Christ's death any more than Pontius Pilate could. God Almighty HOLDS YOU GUILTY! He commands you to REPENT! Unless you submit to Him as your Master — the One who has the right to tell you what to do and how to live — Jesus said, "You WILL ALL LIKEWISE PERISH." Remember how the Jews suffered for their part in Christ's death when the Roman armies besieged Jerusalem in 70 A.D.? You need to write immediately for the article: "What Is REAL Repentance?"
"What did Jesus mean when He said, 'THIS GENERATION shall not pass, till all these things he fulfilled'? Was He referring to His own generation — or to ours?"
Jesus was not speaking of His own day and age. He was answering His disciples who asked about these last days of human history — this twentieth century! They had asked Jesus: "... what shall be the sign of THY COMING, and of the END of the world?" (Mat. 24:3). In this important prophecy (Mat. 24), Jesus gave to the disciples a point-by-point description of what would occur in these last days before His Second Coming. He prophesied that PRIOR to His coming titanic world WARS would engulf nations and kingdoms, famines would rage, disease epidemics and pestilence would ravage cities and countrysides, and great EARTHQUAKES would rend and convulse the land (Mat. 24:7). Then, Jesus foretold a final persecution inflicted in His true followers (vs. 9-11), with the special rise of false ministers who would deceive the world. He foretold an AGE OF LAWLESSNESS — rampant iniquity — a great breakdown in morality (v. 12)! But, Jesus said, in the midst of this travail and grief, the gospel — good news — of the kingdom of God will be THUNDERED TO ALL NATIONS — "and then shall the END come" (Mat. 24:14). Jesus was speaking of the smashing CLIMAX at the close of this present age of Satan' s misrule over the earth! He was speaking of the present crisis facing this very generation. He said, "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, NOR EVER SHALL BE" (v. 21). Jesus added, "And except those days should be shortened, there should NO FLESH be saved... " (v. 22). You need to ask yourself — could all THESE things have come to pass in the days of Jesus' disciples? Was ALL MANKIND — all flesh upon the earth — threatened with MASS EXTINCTION in the days of the apostles and the early New Testament Church? Of course not! Did the end of Satan's misrule of the world occur in the days of the apostles? Obviously not! Else this PRESENT world would not be filled with satanic deceptions, nations at each other's throats, threatening each other with atomic weapons and the mushroom cloud! Not until our generation has the entire population of the earth faced stark annihilation.' Not until 1955, reports the Encyclopedia Britannica, was it acknowledged that man now had enough destructive power stockpiled to wipe all flesh from the '"face of the earth! Already 10 years have passed. Soon it will be 1975! This is the end-time of which Jesus Christ spoke! This is the generation He had in mind when He said, "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till ALL these things be fulfilled" (Mat. 24:34). We are living in the prophesied pulsating, throbbing generation immediately preceding the second coming of Jesus Christ. Notice that Jesus did not tell His disciples "your generation." He spoke of "this generation" — this generation He had just described. Peter, puzzled about when Jesus said, asked, "Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?" And what was Jesus' answer? He told Peter, "Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord WHEN HE COMETH shall find so doing" (Luke 12:40-43). Jesus' warning — His prophecy — was directed toward His true disciples in OUR generation — who would be doing God's Work "when He comes" the second time to take over the reins of world government!