Hyssop by Katherine Briggs and a few comments by Pastor Don
Kathy asked Pastor Don why Jesus was given Hyssop and Vinegar. Pastor Don had her research it and bring the answer back to our Friday Bible study. She presented this on 12/6/10.
John 19:28-30 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.
To research Hyssop, Kathy used Rodale’s Herb Book, a book on Bible Herbs, and from the internet an article called “Biblical Problem with Hyssop” from the Evangelical Old Dominion University. She also used E-Sword for research.
Herbs are connected with business, religion, wars, trade, etc. Many herbs are mentioned in the Bible, coriander, garlic, hyssop, salt, cumin, rue, etc.
Hyssop in Hebrew is “ezob”, in Arabic “zufa”, Greek & Palestine – ‘za’tar” . It is part of the oregano family. The Samaritans still use hyssop during their Passover ceremony and have done so for 2000 years. Hyssop was used by Greek physicians, Romans, and Christians.
During the Dark Ages monasteries grew herbs for medicinal purposes.
There are no drawings of what hyssop in Jesus’ day looked like. Today’s hyssop may not resemble the hyssop of Jesus’ time.
One half of the prescriptions that are prescribed are derived from plants.
Rodale’s Herb book describes hyssop as being used for cleansing, sacred places, medicinal, and a flavor in tea. It is a common plant that is hearty and grows in warm, dry areas. It can grow up to 3 feet in height, and has long, thin, shiny leaves, with a strong scent when brewed. It flowers off the stem and has oval seeds. It responds well to pruning and it’s leaves dry in two days. It is a perennial and in its wild state it strengthens all plants but rue.
Mixed with honey it warms the belly and is used to fight infection and bruises. As a gargle it can help swelling in the throat. Mixed with vinegar it eases a toothache and acts like an anesthesia. Bruised hyssop leaves mixed with salt eases stings and bites. Mixed with oil it kills lice.
Hyssop is made into perfumes. Monks used it to create liqueurs. And it is an expectorant when made into a syrup.
They grew hyssop next to grape vines to increase their fruit.
Then Kathy shared places in scripture where hyssop is mentioned.
Exodus 12:22 And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning.
The leaves were spongy, so when they were dipped in the blood they picked the blood up out of the basin so the head of the household could strike the doorposts and lintel with the blood. This was done right before the angel of death was to kill the firstborn sons of the Egyptians. Each Hebrew household was to sacrifice a lamb and use its blood to mark the doorways. It was used to cleanse and purify.
Leviticus 14:6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, the cedar wood and the scarlet and the hyssop, and dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water.
This is part of the ceremony for cleansing lepers. Cedar also has a purging effect. Scarlet is a dye made from a worm, and to purify. Hyssop would sprinkle the blood, poured over running water – not stagnant water.
Numbers 19:5-6 Then the heifer shall be burned in his sight: its hide, its flesh, its blood, and its offal shall be burned. And the priest shall take cedar wood and hyssop and scarlet, and cast them into the midst of the fire burning the heifer.
This is in connection with the red heifer who was burned and its ashes used for purification. Hyssop is part of what is burned, as is cedar and scarlet.
Numbers 19:18 A clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, sprinkle it on the tent, on all the vessels, on the persons who were there, or on the one who touched a bone, the slain, the dead, or a grave.
A clean person would use hyssop to sprinkle water from the red heifer’s ashes over anything that became unclean because it touched an unclean thing.
Psalm 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
David asking God’s forgiveness and cleansing after he went in to Bathsheba, had Uriah killed, and was confronted by Nathan the Prophet.
Hebrews 9:16-24 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying,“This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.” Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
Hyssop was used to sprinkle the blood, according to the covenant, and without the shedding of blood there is no remission from sin.
We need to be purified as Heaven is pure.
When Jesus was on the cross he had been beaten, bleeding, and had internal bleeding. For Him to take a breath he had to painfully push Himself up on the nail that held His feet, scraping his raw and bleeding back on the wooden cross, and then after taking a breath sag down again causing pain in the nails of his wrist, and scraping his back yet again. Jesus took the sin of the whole world unto Himself. We can’t take it to Him.
Vinegar and gall was a final degradation to Jesus. The people were mocking Jesus, and they gave him vinegar and gall administered by dipping it into hyssop. It was supposed to have a numbing effect, but Jesus refused this, choosing instead to bear the full brunt of the pain.
The hyssop purged Jesus of our sins he took upon Himself, and the next words he spoke were, “It is finished.” Jesus gave up His spirit.
PASTOR DON’S COMMENTS
Pastor Don pointed out that the events that happened at the Crucifixion are clearly detailed in Psalm 22, and that one of Jesus’ sayings on the cross was the first line of this Psalm. On the Cross Jesus could not give a dissertation, so instead he spoke lines of scripture, and when you read the whole Scripture around those lines you get a complete picture. Psalm 22 speaks of many aspects of the crucifixion, even the gambling for His clothes. It had nothing to do with Jesus being forsaken by God. Today if we sing the first line of a song like, “Joy to the World,” people finish the song for they know the words. The Israelites knew the Psalms and giving the first line would help. You can read the book online. Pastor Don wrote a book called Not Forsaken: Healing the Father Wound.
Many abuse herbal things. God put herbs on earth to be used, but not abused.
The hyssop is part of the blessing and covenant, for it sprinkled the blood.
We looked at Psalm 69, a Messianic Psalm
Psalm 69:1-3 Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I have come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is dry; my eyes fail while I wait for my God.
Psalm 69:4 Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; they are mighty who would destroy me, being my enemies wrongfully; though I have stolen nothing, I still must restore it.
Jesus was without sin, but restored those who were with sin.
Psalm 69:5-8 O God, You know my foolishness; and my sins are not hidden from You. Let not those who wait for You, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed because of me; let not those who seek You be confounded because of me, O God of Israel. Because for Your sake I have borne reproach; shame has covered my face. I have become a stranger to my brothers, and an alien to my mother’s children;
Brothers and family did not accept him, and he became a reproach for us because of our sins.
Psalm 69:9 Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up, and the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.
A prophecy that Jesus fulfilled with the money changers in the Temple.
Psalm 69:10-15 When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting, that became my reproach. I also made sackcloth my garment; I became a byword to them. Those who sit in the gate speak against me, and I am the song of the drunkards. But as for me, my prayer is to You, O LORD, in the acceptable time; O God, in the multitude of Your mercy, hear me in the truth of Your salvation. Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink; let me be delivered from those who hate me, and out of the deep waters. Let not the floodwater overflow me, nor let the deep swallow me up; and let not the pit shut its mouth on me.
Jesus descended to hell and satan could not keep him there because Jesus had no personal sin. He led captivity captive.
Psalm 69:16-17 Hear me, O LORD, for Your lovingkindness is good; turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies. And do not hide Your face from Your servant, for I am in trouble; hear me speedily.
The Father will not turn his back on His Son at His time of greatest need. Jesus was righteous and calling to him. God would not forsake Him.
Psalm 69:18-19 Draw near to my soul, and redeem it; deliver me because of my enemies. You know my reproach, my shame, and my dishonor; My adversaries are all before You.
Psalm 69:20-21 Reproach has broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness; I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
Jesus had to be on the cross and have gall and vinegar offered to him for this prophecy to be fulfilled. This gall and vinegar would have been delivered by hyssop.
Psalm 69:28-29 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. But I am poor and sorrowful; let Your salvation, O God, set me up on high.
God sets Jesus at the highest of the high.
Psalm 69:30-31 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bull, which has horns and hooves.
In Hebrews it speaks of Jesus’ sacrifice as a higher sacrifice, better than an ox or a bull.
Psalm 69:34-36 Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything that moves in them. For God will save Zion and build the cities of Judah, that they may dwell there and possess it. Also, the descendants of His servants shall inherit it, and those who love His name shall dwell in it.
Jesus came to save and comfort. God put Jesus on high. The Jew and the Gentile, shall dwell in it.
Psalm 22:1-5 My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent. But You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; they trusted in You, and were not ashamed.
Jesus spoke the first line of this Psalm on the cross – with short breath and great pain that is all that he could put out. The people knew the Psalms so well that if one line is said, the hearers would hear the whole Psalm. These verse are Jesus crying out in the Garden, not in weakness, but trusting God. He was strengthened by an angel for the ordeal ahead. God did not abandon Him. God does not abandon someone who is doing God’s will. Trials may come but that is not a sign of abandonment. Jesus was not forsaken on the cross.
Psalm 22:6-9 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people. All those who see Me ridicule Me; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, “He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!” But You are He who took Me out of the womb; You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts.
Jesus realigned His will with His Father’s will. The words in this Psalm were spoken by people who observed the crucifixion.
Psalm 22:10-14 I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My God. Be not far from Me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have surrounded Me; strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me. They gape at Me with their mouths, like a raging and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it has melted within Me.
More of what happened on the cross. They pierced his side with a spear and water and blood poured out.
Psalm 22:15-16 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded Me; the congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet;
This Psalm was written before crucifixion was a mode of death. The Romans figured out the most painful and shameful way to execute criminals that would give a message of fear to others. Gentiles were considered dogs by the Jews. The priests and Pharisees also watched the Crucifixion.
Psalm 22:17 I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me.
Not one bone was broken in Jesus’ body. Usually the soldiers would break the crucified person’s legs so that they would die quickly. Jesus gave up His spirit before the soldiers came to break legs, so the prophesy here was fulfilled, not one of His bones were broken.
Psalm 22:18 They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots.
The soldiers gambled for Jesus’ garments.
Psalm 22:19-20 But You, O LORD, do not be far from Me; O My Strength, hasten to help Me! Deliver Me from the sword, My precious life from the power of the dog.
the dog is the devil. God was not far from Jesus.
Psalm 22:21 Save Me from the lion’s mouth and from the horns of the wild oxen! You have answered Me.
God answered Jesus. Jesus said, “It is finished.”
Psalm 22:31 They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, that He has done this.
This He chose to do. It is finished.
Psalm 22:22-24 I will declare Your name to My brethren; in the midst of the assembly I will praise You. You who fear the LORD, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, and fear Him, all you offspring of Israel! For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; nor has He hidden His face from Him; but when He cried to Him, He heard.
This flies in the face of those who say God abandoned Jesus on the cross.
I pray this blesses you and that you have an awesome New Year.
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