Welcome to the Mountjoy Ministries Blog

This blog was authored by Bryan W. Sheldon, author and Bible teacher. His books are listed below. The studies in the blog are offered in the desire that they may be helpful in directing readers to the truths contained in the Bible.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

He is Risen!


At this season each year it is the solemn joy of Christians to take time to meditate on the death of the Lord Jesus. How, at the season of Passover He voluntarily laid down His life as a sacrifice for sin, in accordance with the will of His Father, before rising on the third day. And the more we consider His death and resurrection, the more we marvel at what a mighty achievement it was. How the events that took place over that particular Passover were according to the Scriptures in every detail. Jesus, Himself, confirmed it. Luke records it for us:

Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. “For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.”” (Luke 18:31–33

John also remarked on it when he recorded the final moments of the life of the Saviour:

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfil the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.

 Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (John 19:28–30)

While these verses encapsulate, in just a few phrases, the fullness of the accomplishment of the Redeemer, an examination of Scriptures will reveal how that which appeared impossible in its conception was not only made possible, but carried out in every detail by the One who was determined to:

render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the  devil, and free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” (Heb. 2:14–15)


The Work of Christ

 The Superior Sacrifice

Offered by

A Superior High Priest

In a

Superior Sanctuary


A Superior Covenant

 The education of the nation of Israel was extensive, detailed and comprehensive. It was founded by covenant which established a priestly system that was meticulously organized and designed to function continuously. At its heart was a purpose-built Sanctuary where the priesthood could operate as mediators between the nation and the Lord. In addition to daily offerings, the divinely inspired Law provided for a calendar of pre-ordained festivals where Israel could articulate their appreciation for the bounty and mercy of their God. All of these, the Priesthood, the Sanctuary, the Sacrifices and the Festivals, were needed to prepare Israel for the coming of their Messiah, the One whose multi-faceted ministry would require Him:

to be a High Priest of the order of Melchizedek,

operate in the heavenly Sanctuary

where He would offer a superior sacrifice

in accordance with the pre-ordained timetable

to inaugurate a superior covenant.

The greatness and glory of the Lord Jesus is seen in that He fulfilled in every detail that which was prefigured by the priestly culture of Israel.

The Death of the Messiah

His was no ordinary death: the biographical part of the New Testament speaks of His dying as being different to the death of any other individual, even different to those who were executed at the same time and in the same location. What was the difference? His decease is put forward as a death that He accomplished (see Luke 9:31; cf. 12:50). Not in the terms of a suicide but rather the ordering of events to fulfill those necessary pre-conditions published by the Creator God for a substitutionary sacrifice that would provide the grounds for the reconciliation of sinful humanity. Others might suffer death but He accomplished His. His decease had to be at a very specific time, on a very specific date, in a very specific place, in a very specific way. Although it seemed He was always in imminent danger of losing His life, He declared that none of the attempts on His life would succeed until He presented Himself to die in Jerusalem, on a day that He chose, at a time that He selected, in a pre-ordained location as a ransom for humanity. In other words His death was the sacrificial offering that in itself satisfied every demand of a holy God and needed nothing further to perfect it, while at the same time it ministered meaning to all of Israel’s previous sacrifices.

Moreover, a sacrifice needs a priest to offer it. Instructions contained in the Bible declare that a qualified, gifted and called intermediary was necessary for the offering to be acceptable to God. The wonder of the cross is, that in the purposes of God, the office of priest is occupied by the same One who was the sacrifice. If we may give a particular emphasis to the words of Abraham when he was on a similar quest; he said, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (Gen. 22:8, KJV). Jesus, Israel’s Messiah, as High Priest brought the perfect sacrifice (Himself) and lay down His life for the sins of the world; then continuing in His office as High Priest entered the presence of God with the blood of the sacrifice, that is, His own precious blood. The objection that He was not of the tribe of Levi and the family of Aaron is overcome by the knowledge that there was another order of High Priest in the Bible; an order that is identified as being superior to the Aaronic order; an order that allows for a King/Priest. It is the order of Melchizedek. The Scriptures put forward the case that Jesus of Nazareth was called to be High Priest of that order (Hebrews 7).

The Purpose of the Law

As we have said, the Priesthood of Israel, at the heart of the Torah (Law), was designed and authorized by God to prepare the nation for the coming of their Messiah. Paul spells out its purpose -

the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.” (Gal. 3:24).

The image proposed here is of a son in a wealthy family who is under a tutor until he comes to the age of maturity. It is then he takes on the responsibilities and enters into the privileges of sonship. If the Jewish people had accepted Jesus, they would have entered into the full privileges and responsibilities of God’s first-born (Exod.4:22). Indeed, that seems to have been the first objective of Christ’s coming:

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:4–5).

So as we examine the sacerdotal (priestly) culture of the Hebrew people we will find finger-posts and pointers to the coming of the One who would be Saviour, Priest and Offering.

For example, the Law provided for a priestly caste including a High Priest. Jesus, if He is to fulfil the Law, will need to be a High Priest.

The Law also prescribed what constituted an acceptable sacrifice.  Jesus, if He is to fulfil the Law, will need to offer a sacrifice which would meet those legal constraints.

The Law prescribed where the sacrifice should take place. Jesus, if He is to fulfil the Law will have to suffer in the place sanctified for such offerings.

The Law also provided a calendar when the sacrifices for the nation had to take place. To fulfil the Law Jesus will have to meet the constraints of this timetable.

Furthermore, His sacrifice will have to be superior to all previous  sacrifices since none of those previously offered provided a cleansed conscience for the offerer (Heb. 9:9). His will have to be of a quality that will totally cleanse from sin.

In other words, if the death of Jesus is to be that acceptable offering then the conditional covenant, the Mosaic, will dictate how, where and when His mighty sacrifice should take place.  He will have to die

in a specific location, in the specified way,

at a specific time on a specified day.

The Sacrifice He Offered

So it was within the culture of the priestly government of Israel that Jesus took on Himself the task of occupying the Office of High Priest of the order of Melchizedek, to offer a sacrifice of such worth and variety that it would, at one and the same time, be:

1.    a substitutionary sin offering that would be both an expiation and a propitiation,

2.    a sacrifice of purification that would enable the pollutions of birth and death to be cleansed.

3.    a peace offering which would allow humanity to have fellowship with a holy God.

4.    a sweet savour offering that would compensate God for the shortcomings of our duties towards our fellows.

5.     a whole burnt offering that would compensate God for the our failure to render to him the obedience, honour and praise to which He is entitled.

(The death of Christ had, of course, a wider application than just the nation of Israel. Isaiah reported the message of God to the Suffering Servant;

 “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also make You a light of the nations So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth” (Isaiah 49:6)).

However, the first requirement of the death of the Redeemer was it had to fulfil all that was included in the Torah for Israel.

When should it take place?

The prophecy of Daniel will give us the year in which it should take place. The message from heaven was that Messiah the Prince would be ‘cut off’ (an idiom for executed) in the 483rd year after the edict was issued to rebuild Jerusalem (after the Babylonian captivity) (See Dan. 9:25,26)

Added to that, the Law of Moses contained a calendar of festivals which included instructions as to when the substitutionary sacrifices for the nation should take place. The first of national importance was the offering of the Passover Lamb. Since the national redemption of Israel, the birth of the nation, occurred in the month of Abib (later known as Nisan) that would be when it would be remembered, and since Jesus was to be “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29; see also v. 36)) then that will be the date of  the mighty substitutionary sacrifice of Christ.

Furthermore, in the counsels of God it had been decided that it would be between the very times when the High Priest of Israel sacrificed a Passover Lamb for the nation that is, between 9 a.m. (the time of the morning sacrifice) and 3 p.m. (the time of the evening sacrifice) on the day of the Feast.

Where should it take place?

Since its main thrust was as a sin offering and the carcases of the sin offerings were disposed of ‘outside the camp’ then that would be the place of sacrifice. The writer of the Hebrew epistle comments on it:

 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.” (Heb. 13:12,) 

That this location was also where the sacrifice of the red heifer took place made it doubly suitable. The place for the burning of the sin offerings and the sacrifice of the offering for purification had already been sanctified and declared ritually clean by the High Priest. It was on the Mount of Olives, directly to the east of the Sanctuary, at an elevation and in a location that provided a direct line of sight to the veil that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. THAT WOULD BE WHERE THE SACRIFICE WOULD TAKE PLACE!

How should it happen?

The details of the execution of Christ was revealed in prophecy in so many ways.

Here are just a few:  (Note Cf. = compare)

He would be betrayed for money. (Cf. Zech. 11:12 to Matt. 26:15)

He was accused by false witnesses (Cf. P. 27:12 to Matt. 26:60,61)

He was silent when accused (Cf. Isa. 53:7 to Matt. 26:62,63)

He was smitten and spat upon (Cf. Isa. 50:6 to Mark 14:65)

He was hated without a cause (Cf. Ps. 69:4 to Jn. 15:23-25)

He suffered vicariously (Cf. Isa. 53:4,5 to Matt. 8:16.17)

He was crucified with sinners (Cf. Isa. 53:12 to Matt. 27:38)

His hands and feet were pierced (Cf. Ps. 26:16 to Jn. 20:27)

He was mocked and insulted (Cf. Ps. 22:6-8 to Matt. 27:39,40)

Given gall and vinegar (Cf. Ps. 69:21 to Jn. 19:29)

His side was pierced (Cf. Zech. 12:10 to Jn. 10:34)

Soldiers cast lots for His coat (Cf. Ps. 22:18 to Mk. 15:24)

Not a bone to be broken (Cf. Ps. 34:20 to Jn. 19:33)

To be buried with the rich (Cf. Isa. 53:9 to Matt. 27:57-60)

But it would be Paul who would draw from Scripture the over-riding reason for the crucifixion. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree(Gal. 3:13). Here then, is perhaps the main reason, why the death of the Messiah had to be by crucifixion. A ‘cursed’ Messiah, might be despised by the Jewish people, but nevertheless was absolutely necessary for them. The Jewish people were under the ‘curse of the Law’ because they could not keep it. R. Levi said, if they could only keep the Sabbath fully for one day, then Messiah would come. (Midrash Rabbah on Ps.95.7) But they could not even keep one day perfectly. But they were saved from the wrath of God because He had given them a remedy in the sacrificial system. But that remedy was only effective because it anticipated the death of the Messiah whose execution could “redeem those who were under the law” if they would exercise faith in His sacrificial death.

To Summarise thus far:

What we are suggesting is: the Law sets out the requirements laid down for an acceptable sacrifice for sin. However, the One who would seek to redeem Israel would need to fulfil the spirit and letter of the Law. He would have to make a superior sacrifice in the heavenly sanctuary while occupying the office of High Priest of the order of Melchizedek.

But there is more!

The Mosaic covenant, while effective for those of faith, was still a weak instrument. God had planned something more—something better. The Messiah would inaugurate a New Covenant, a superior covenant. His current ministry under that covenant is therefore a more excellent ministry. He is “the mediator of a better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises.” (Heb. 8:6).


 Under Law - God requires!

But Jesus died so we are no longer

under law but under grace, and

Under Grace - God Provides

To Conclude

It appears that the overwhelming evidence of Scripture would tell us that Jesus fulfilled all that the Mosaic Covenant demanded for a superior sacrifice. The place of crucifixion was to the east of the Temple on the Mount of Olives at the ‘clean site’ already sanctified for the slaying of the Red Heifer and the disposal of the sin-offerings. It took place in the 483rd year after the edict to rebuild Jerusalem (as prophesied by Daniel); at the time of the evening sacrifice on the 14th Nisan (as required by feast calendar of Leviticus 23); fulfilling in detail the prophecies of Isaiah (chapter 53) and David (Psalm 22) and others; and directly to the east of the veil as required in the Law, that is, ‘before the Lord’ (Exod. 29:10, etc).

In other words

He died in the specified manner

In the specified place

At the specified time

On the specified date


A fuller treatment of this study can be found in the following:

The Messiah and the Priesthood of Israel

For Israel, the Priesthood, the Sanctuary, the Sacrifices and the Festivals, were needed to prepare them for the coming of their Messiah, who would be a High Priest of the order of Melchizedek, operate in the heavenly Sanctuary where He would offer a superior sacrifice in accordance with the pre-ordained timetable to inaugurate a superior covenant. This book seeks to set forth the glory of the Lord Jesus as He fulfilled in every detail that which was prefigured by the priestly culture of Israel

Book: A5: 309 pages                       Price £12

(Also available from Gospel Folio Press  ($16.99)



12 Reasons Why I Believe Jesus was crucified on the Mount of Olives

This is a biblical study demonstrating that the Law dictated by God required that all sacrifices had to take place to the east of the Sanctuary, and since the Bible declares that the death of Jesus was a sacrifice for sin then it had to take place to the east of the Temple, hence on the Mount of Olives.

This title traces the journey of the Saviour to the place of execution where the requirements of the Torah were met and prophecy fulfilled.

                                    Book: A5: 42 pages                 Price £5

These can be ordered from Bryan

(Contact details below).


This Bible study/newsletter is authored by:

Bryan W. Sheldon.

He can be contacted

By post: 26 Park Drive, Newport. NP20 3AL