It is written:
“Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me.” (Psalm 22:12)
Psalm 22 is a powerful Scripture of the death of Jesus on Calvary, written several hundred years before Christ was even born. This Psalm was long considered to be a prophecy of the Messiah long before the Christian Age began:
“Actually, Psalm 22 is the prayer of a righteous sufferer, brought down to the jaws of death and then rescued and raised up by God in answer to prayer, a glorious testimony to be recounted through the ages. As such, it applies powerfully to Jesus the Messiah, the ideal righteous sufferer, surrounded by hostile crowds, beaten, mocked, crucified, and seemingly abandoned by man and God, but delivered from death itself and raised from the dead by the power of God, a story now celebrated around the globe. That’s why he quoted words from this psalm with reference to himself when he hung on the cross. How strikingly they apply to him! What is also interesting is that some of the great Rabbinic commentators-including Rashi-interpreted the psalm as a prophecy of Israel’s future suffering and exile, not as the story of David’s past suffering. Not only so, but a famous Rabbinic midrash composed about twelve hundred years ago said that David spoke of the Messiah’s sufferings in Psalm 22. We can therefore say with confidence that the application of this psalm to the death and resurrection of the Messiah is in keeping with the clear meaning of the text….“In fact, Rashi explains verse 26[ 27] with reference to “the time of our redemption in the days of our Messiah,” then interprets verses 27-29[ 28-30] with reference to the Gentile nations turning to the Lord, the end of the age, and the final judgment. These certainly are future events, also underscoring the worldwide redemptive implications of this psalm. 233…“Little wonder, then, that this was understood to be a Messianic psalm by the writers of the New Testament. What other individual’s deliverance from extreme suffering and death was worthy of being recounted again and again in the assembly of Israel? What other individual’s deliverance from extreme suffering and death was worthy of worldwide attention to the point that the nations actually turned to the God of Israel because of it? Only the death and resurrection of the Messiah, the perfectly righteous one, the ultimate fulfillment of Psalm 22.237.” (Michael L. Brown, Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: Volume 3: Messianic Prophecy Objections, 117-120 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; Baker Books)
With this background in mind, it is interesting to notice that the Psalmist refers to “bulls of Bashan” encompassing Jesus at the time of His death. “Bashan” was a country (modern day Syria) that was home to the famous Mount Hermon, which is where the fallen angels decided to embark upon a horrible act of rebellion against God by taking wives from humanity and having children with them (the Nephilim). To the Jewish mind, Bashan represented the entrance to Hell itself. When coupled with the imagery of the “bulls” of Bashan, we see a terrifying picture being painted by the Psalmist regarding the death of Jesus:
“The creepy part of this description is the fierce bulls from Bashan. As we noted earlier, in Old Testament times, Bashan was ground zero to demonic gods and the realm of the dead. The area was a leading center for the worship of Baal, symbolized by bulls and cows. “Bulls from the land of Bashan” is a reference to demons, the powers of darkness.” (Michael S. Heiser, Supernatural: What the Bible Teaches about the Unseen World And Why It Matters, 121 (Kindle Edition); Bellingham, WA; Lexham Press)
In ancient Israel, the “bull” was often associated with the spirit world. We see this from the way that Aaron produced the golden calf which he then claimed was “the god” that had delivered the Hebrews from captivity (Exodus 32:1-5). Other indicators throughout the Bible show this connection between the bovine and the Divine:
“Calves and bulls played a prominent role in the art and religious texts of Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Phoenicia and Syria. In the biblical narrative, golden calves were worshiped under Aaron at Sinai (Ex 32) and later under Jeroboam I (1 Kings 12). In both cases the calves were identified as representations of Yahweh and linked to his power in bringing the people out of Egypt. The calf, as the issue of the powerful bull (see Ox, Oxen), functions as a symbol of potential power and perhaps even symbolizes the relationship of the king to deity with overtones of divine kingship. A calf ’s head decorated the back of Solomon’s *throne (1 Kings 10: 19). Calflike feet contribute to the wonder of the composite creatures in Ezekiel’s (Ezek 1: 7). The second of the four living creatures surrounding the heavenly throne in the Apocalypse has the features of a calf (Rev 4: 7 NASB).” (Leland Ryken & James C. Wilhoit, Dictionary of Biblical Imagery: An Encyclopedic Exploration Of The Images, Symbols, Motifs, Metaphors, Figures Of Speech And Literary Patterns Of The Bible, 132 (Kindle Edition); Downers Grove, Illinois; IVP Academic)
The “bull” was also used in many ancient religions as a depiction of demonic spirits and wicked gods:
““Herne is another version of a more widely worshiped being called Cernunnos, whose name derives from the Pillar of the Boatmen, a Roman column erected in Lutetia (modern-day Paris) in honor of Jupiter, but features images to other gods as well, including a horned man in a seated position. This being is listed on the pillar as Cernunnos. He is a god of fertility and the woodlands, associated with animals and plants (according to the pillar’s imagery) and wearing torcs or rings on his antlers. Other depictions show him wearing a torc round his neck and holding another in his right hand. His name refers to his horned state (cern being etymologically related to the proto-Indo-European word krn). He is also associated in imagery with the “ram-horned serpent,” and less frequently with bulls, dogs, and rats. The god’s horns represent power, virility, and aggression. In ancient Mesopotamia, horned gods abounded, usually representing a bull-like (bovine) physiology. The Bible speaks of the “bulls of Bashan,” referring to spirit beings, not actual cattle.[ 218] A bull’s horns may be seen in the crescent moon (the god Nanna or Sin), and in the god Kronos, also a name based on krn.[ 219] God specifically forbade woodland rites, condemning them.” (Sharon K. Gilbert & Derek P. Gilbert, Veneration: Unveiling the Ancient Realms of Demonic Kings and Satan’s Battle Plan for Armageddon, 91 (Kindle Edition); Defender Publishing)
When Jesus died in the place of all sinners at Calvary (1 Timothy 2:4-6), the “rulers of the age” (the demonic lords and spirits who worked behind the scenes to kill the Son of God) no doubt cheered and celebrated at their apparent “victory” (1 Corinthians 2:8). Yet it was by the very Cross upon which He died that Jesus defeated those powers of darkness!
Colossians 2:15 (ERV)- He defeated the rulers and powers of the spiritual world. With the cross he won the victory over them and led them away, as defeated and powerless prisoners for the whole world to see.
1 John 3:8-He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.
Through His’ death, burial, and resurrection from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-8), those who believe in Jesus (John 8:24; Acts 16:31; Romans 5:1-2), repent of their sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30-31), and confess Him as the Son of God (Acts 8:37) may receive the forgiveness of all their sins when they are baptized into Him (Mark 16:15-16; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:20-21). Then, as children of God who have been made a new creation in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17), we can receive the continual cleansing of the blood of Christ as we will walk with Him, repenting of sin and confessing it to Him in prayer (1 John 1:7-2:2) as we also encourage and exhort each other (James 5:16).
Why not claim the victory in Jesus’ name today?
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
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