Why Did Satan Have the Jewish Religious Leaders Kill Jesus, When It Was Christ’s Death that Defeated Satan?
How could the Pharisees and Sadducees not have known through the Holy Scriptures that the Christ was supposed to die as the final sacrifice for God’s children and thereby fulfill the prophecies of what was written about Him?
If Satan is truly so intelligent and knows God’s Word better than we do, then why did he have the Jewish religious leaders put Christ to death, since he must have known that if Christ died, it would seal his own doom (i.e., Hebrews 2:14)?
Wouldn’t you think that Satan would have tried to do the opposite and prevent Jesus from being killed, so his own doom wouldn’t have been sealed and the price wouldn’t have been paid for our sins?
Those are very interesting questions.
To answer the first part of your question, the Pharisees and Sadducees didn’t know Christ’s death would pay the price for the sins of mankind.
Nor did they know His resurrection from the dead would ultimately doom their father, the devil (Genesis 3:15; Hebrews 2:14).
The Pharisees and Sadducees hated Jesus for what He was teaching, particularly His teachings against following empty religious tradition (i.e., playing church) instead of worshiping God.
In Matthew 23:13-39 Christ Jesus absolutely excoriates the Jewish religious leaders for their adherence to religious tradition and their subsequent hatred of the Word of God and willing ignorance of its meaning.
So with the exception of Old Testament legalism, the Jewish religious leaders — mostly false Jews, which is to say, children of Cain — were as scripturally ignorant as an atheist. That’s why Christ had to ask “Have ye not read?” so many times, when the Jewish religious leaders would pepper Him with questions.
They hated, loathed and despised Christ because His teachings, being directly from the Word of God, were directly contradictory to their own empty religious traditions. They were teaching man-made religious traditions and Christ was teaching God’s actual Word, i.e., His spiritual truth.
So Christ was making their synagogues irrelevant. He was drawing people out of the synagogues while heaping scorn and disdain on the role-playing Pharisees and Sadducees for failing to teach the people about God’s honor, authority, character and great mercy.
The bottom line is that their hatred of Jesus Christ was strictly earthly, or perhaps better said, fleshly.
Just as Satan is jealous of God, so the Pharisees and Sadducees were jealous of Jesus, particularly of His success in drawing people away from organized religion and its phony traditions, and closer to God’s Word and His Holy Spirit of truth and understanding.
Even the Apostles Didn’t Understand
Keep in mind that even the apostles didn’t understand that Christ had to die as the final, once-and-for-all-times sacrifice for man’s sins.
As an example, when Christ taught the apostles that it was time for Him to go to His death, Peter vehemently stated, “Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.”
The apostles knew He was the Christ, by His miracles and His teachings, which matched the Old Testament descriptions of the Messiah’s work.
But neither the apostles, nor the Jewish religious leaders understood the prophesies regarding His death, and the price He’d pay for us with His redemptive shed blood, as spelled out in Isaiah chapter 53, Psalms 22 and other Old Testament Scriptures.
The people of Israel actually believed and taught that the Messiah would come and restore Israel immediately, i.e., that there would only be one advent, and not two.
Indeed, after His resurrection from the tomb Christ had to appear to several of His disciples and explain the Old Testament prophesies to them, so they’d finally “get it.”
As it’s written in Luke 24, when two of the apostles were going to the village of Emmaus, instead of rejoicing that Christ had risen from the dead, beating death, they were despondent that He’d been killed and had not restored the kingdom:
Luk 24:13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.
Luk 24:14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.
Luk 24:15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.
Luk 24:16 But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.
Luk 24:17 And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad?
Luk 24:18 And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days?
Luk 24:19 And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:
Luk 24:20 And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him.
Luk 24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.
As you can see, the apostles believed that Jesus would redeem Israel and restore the kingdom at that first advent.
So even those who had walked and talked with Christ didn’t fully understand the fact that the prophesies of Isaiah 53, Psalms 22 and other Old Testament Scriptures applied to the Messiah, and not to some prophet of old.
Even today, the Jewish religious leaders still claim those Old Testament Scriptures apply either to an unnamed prophet of old, or to a prophet yet-to-come. But they vehemently deny they apply to Jesus Christ.
Let’s continue for a few more verses in Luke 24, and learn more on this issue:
Luk 24:22 Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre;
Luk 24:23 And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive.
Luk 24:24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.
Luk 24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:
Luk 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?
Luk 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Jesus, disguised as a traveler, had to open the apostles’ eyes to the Old Testament Scriptures about the Messiah’s death for the sins of mankind, and His subsequent resurrection, which defeated death.
Luk 24:28 And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further.
Luk 24:29 But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
Luk 24:30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
Luk 24:31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight.
The apostles finally realized who this stranger was that had been teaching them. It was Christ Himself. This is why they afterwards stated to each other, “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?”
Yes, even the disciples needed to have their eyes opened to the Scriptures regarding the reason for Christ’s death on that cross at Calvary.
How Could the Pharisees and Sadducees Know, if the Apostles Didn’t?
So if even the apostles, who were taught by Christ Himself, and who were operating in the Spirit of God, hadn’t fully understood the Old Testament prophesies regarding the death and resurrection of the Messiah, how can we expect the purely flesh-thinking and legalistic (rather than spiritual) Jewish religious leaders to have understood the prophesies?
They wouldn’t, of course.
Indeed, Christ’s parable of the man who planted a vineyard and rented it out to the “husbandmen” demonstrates that the Jewish religious leaders were solely thinking about earthly, flesh things and not spiritual.
Even when some members of the Jewish religious hierarchy finally recognized Christ as the true heir of God, they still worked to have Him killed because they thought, in strictly earthly/flesh terms, that with the Messiah out of the way the kingdom would revert to them and their hold on it would be solidified.
Here’s the Scriptural documentation:
Mar 12:1 And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.
The vineyard is Israel. The “husbandmen” are the people of the land.
Mar 12:2 And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.
The kingdom of Israel was established by God and was supposed to produce “fruit” for Him, meaning bring more people into the kingdom and teach them God’s ways.
The Israelites were supposed to be a “light unto the Gentiles” (Isaiah 49:6), drawing them to God’s Word.
But over the long course of time, Israel had ended up under the thumb of the false Jews (Revelation 2:9; 3:9; John 8:44), who instituted empty religious tradition (i.e., playing church) in place of God’s Word.
Mar 12:3 And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.
Mar 12:4 And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled.
Mar 12:5 And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some.
Christ would later explain that down through the long course of time the Jewish religious leaders themselves had been fully responsible for the deaths of God’s prophets (Matthew 23:29-36).
Mar 12:6 Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.
Surely, the vineyard planter thought, if I send my only begotten son, they’ll recognize Him as the Messiah — the true heir — and they’ll repent and treat Him respectfully, giving Me my due compensation from the vineyard.
But of course, that’s not what happened at all. As it’s further written:
Mar 12:7 But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours.
Mar 12:8 And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.
The head honchos among the Jewish religious leaders recognized Him as the legitimate heir of the kingdom, and had Jesus carried outside of Jerusalem to that cross on Golgotha, and hung until dead.
Why? Because they thought that would put the kingdom of Israel squarely and solidly into their hands.
Mar 12:9 What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others.
And so it will be at Christ’s Second Advent. But the point is this:
Even the Jewish religious hierarchy who secretly recognized Christ as the Messiah of God (i.e., “this is the heir”) were thinking solely in earthly and fleshly terms. They thought they could defeat Messiah — the heir — and thereby take the kingdom for themselves by force.
They couldn’t think spiritually, because the Holy Spirit of God is not with them. So they couldn’t “see” that Christ’s shed blood would not only provide the redemption necessary for the sins of the people, but would also serve to defeat Satan, as well.
As it’s written:
Heb 2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
By rising from the dead, Christ Jesus defeated death. It could not hold Him. Nor can it hold any one of us after our flesh body dies, as long as we’re found to be “in the Lord” as an active and faithful part of His spiritual body.
When a Jewish Religious Leader “Got It” for Just a Moment
Here’s the only place I know of in the New Testament in which one of the Jewish religious leaders understood Christ would have to die for the people.
Yet, even then, he didn’t fully understand the ramifications of what he said, because it was God who put the thoughts and words in his mouth. As it’s written:
Joh 11:47 Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles.
Joh 11:48 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation.
Joh 11:49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all,
Joh 11:50 Nor consider that it is expedient [i.e., advantageous] for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
Joh 11:51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation;
Joh 11:52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
Joh 11:53 Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death.
In other words, Caiaphas the high priest — alone among the Jewish religious leaders — recognized that Jesus had to die for the people of Israel.
But if you read between the lines, he thought Christ’s death would solidify the nation into hands of the Jewish religious leaders, even bringing back to the nation of Israel the scattered remnant of Israelites who dwelt in foreign countries.
In other words, this Jewish religious leader thought Christ’s death would result in the immediate reinstitution of the kingdom, under their control.
So their reason for plotting Christ’s death was strictly fleshly and self-serving. Just as Judas Iscariot likely believed Christ’s death would result in the immediate restoration of the kingdom of God, in Israel, with himself as its treasurer, so these Jewish religious leaders decided that Christ’s death would put the kingdom of Israel firmly into their hands.
Had the Jewish religious leaders realized Christ’s death would ultimately result in their defeat, and the defeat of their father the devil (John 8:44) they’d have never killed Him. As it’s further written:
1Co 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
1Co 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
The bottom line is that they just didn’t know the truth. They had been taught from childhood, through their own religious tradition (now known as the Talmud), that the true Messiah of God would arise from among the people and restore the kingdom to them immediately.
Satan Didn’t Know, Either
Likewise, the same answer goes for your second yet related question: “If Satan is truly so intelligent and knows God’s Word better than we do, then why did he have his children the Kenites put Christ to death, since he must have known that if Christ died, it would seal his own doom?”
Yes, Satan is indeed quite intelligent. And yes, he knows God’s Word. But it’s God’s Old Testament law, in particular, that Satan is expert in, since he’s the chief prosecutor of heaven, so to speak. So he knows God’s law far better than we do.
But that doesn’t mean he fully understood God’s prophesies. He’s a “Scripture lawyer” as Pastor Arnold Murray used to say. Not a prophet.
Like the apostles, we can only understand God’s prophesies in hindsight. For example, we can go back to the very first prophesy given in Scripture by God Himself — i.e., Genesis 3:15 — and we can immediately see that it means Christ would eventually be crucified at Satan’s behest, but that Satan will have his head crushed in the end.
Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
But our present-day understanding of that verse comes about only because the crucifixion has already happened. The nails have long-since been driven into Christ’s heels on that cross. And many apostles of the Lord have written to explain to us how that crucifixion relates to the Old Testament Scriptures.
But think about this:
Had you or I been alive in the Garden of Eden, and had either of us been eye-witnesses to God speaking this prophesy, we couldn’t possibly have known in advance that God’s words to Satan saying “thou shalt bruise His heel” would mean Christ would be nailed to a cross as the sacrificial Lamb of God and pay for all our sins with His shed blood.
And neither could Satan know the full extent of that prophesy in advance. It’s not like God sits up there in heaven explaining His prophesies and His spiritual battle plans to His chief enemy. No good military leader shares his battle plans with the enemy.
Satan had a good, general idea that God was going to send a Messiah to save His people Israel. And he figured that stopping this Messiah by killing Him was the only way he could win. But the question is, did he know much more than that?
Just as God had held the disciple’s eyes shut in Luke 24:16 above so they couldn’t recognize Christ, does He not have the power to hold Satan’s eyes shut to certain key elements of His great plan to save His children, as well?
Satan probably thought he’d won the battle when he influenced his children the Kenites (i.e., the Jewish religious leaders) to nail Christ to that cross. It probably stunned Satan to no end when Jesus arrived in heaven triumphant over Satan’s power of death. As it’s written in chapter two of the great book of Colossians:
Col 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
Col 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Col 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
In other words, by personally paying the price for our sins with His shed blood, Christ beat Satan’s prosecutorial plans to force God to judge and condemn all of His children to hell for their sins.
Christ’s death gave God’s children a way out of the power of death (i.e., sin) that Satan held over their heads.
And when Christ returned to heaven, He literally took captive the “principalities and powers” of the heavens that were on Satan’s side, “and made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”
In other words, He made an open show of His victory over the forces of death.
Think about it: There’s none of us without sin. And sin that’s not been repented of ultimately leads to death (I Corinthians 15:55-57).
So if Christ had not died on that cross, God would have had to condemn millions or maybe even billions of His wayward children to death for their sins.
But Satan, as the corrupt prosecutor of heaven (who tempts us to sin, then tries to convict us of those sins before God) and his rigged jury of followers (i.e., the “principalities and powers”) were beaten at their own game by God, in the form of the Living Resurrected Savior.
In short, God blinded Satan and company to the full extent of His spiritual battle plans. And then, after Christ paid the price for our sins, He opened the eyes of the enemy “making a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it” to show them they’d lost the game.
No Further Authority
Indeed, the word “spoiled” in Colossians 2:15 above means to divest, or to strip of all authority.
Satan now has no authority from God to prosecute faithful Christians — unless, of course, we unwittingly allow it by embracing false religion in place of the Living Word of God, which in turn puts us back under the law instead of under Christ’s grace.
By embracing Christ as the Victor over death, we can now ask, rhetorically, as did St. Paul, “Oh, death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:55).
And we can rejoice in Christ’s accomplishment in pulling one over on Satan, and we can ask rhetorically, again, as did St. Paul in Romans 8:33-34:
“Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
If we stay faithfully centered in Christ, Satan’s prosecutorial powers against us are now essentially null and void. Christ intercedes against Satan, on our behalves.
Of course, Satan will still come to this earth in His role as the false messiah and try to prosecute us for the “sin” of not worshipping him as “God.” But that is no sin at all. And therefore God, as the presiding Judge who always has the final word, will not condemn us for it.
What’s more, Satan can try to prosecute us for our legitimate sins, as well. That’s his job, essentially, as the “accuser of the brethren, which means basically that he’s the chief prosecuting attorney of heaven (Rev. 12:10).
But upon sincere repentance, Christ makes intercession for us, as our spiritual defense attorney, neutralizing with His shed blood the sins we would otherwise have to be prosecuted for and die for.
Thanks to Christ’s redemptive act on that cross at Calvary as the Lamb of God, and our faithful embrace of His shed blood, there is no one who can legitimately lay spiritual legal charges against those who God has justified through Christ’s shed blood.
And that’s what Satan and his children the Kenites (I John 3:12) missed completely.
Regards in Christ,
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