Cut `Em Off At The Cross
aving seen just about every great Western film ever made, I've learned the phrase "cut `em off at the pass" usually refers to a posse in hot pursuit of some desperados, who are attempting to escape the legendary long arm of the law. Imagine my surprise when I found essentially the same phrase in the Scriptures! Even more startling is the fact the text in question actually refers to offenders who were attempting to escape the consequences of their misdeeds, by approaching a place where the Word of God actually references the cross! These facts are even more astonishing when we realize the Scriptures in question, were written hundreds of years before the time of JESUS, as they appear in the Old Testament!
Before citing the proof text in question, I might request the reader quickly ask the LORD to prepare their heart to receive the truth of the matter, for this is, as the New Testament puts it, a hard saying (John 6:60). Indeed, as we all exist in the midst of the long prophesied "falling away," or departure from the truth of the Gospel, I've learned the most striking discoveries in the Scriptures will have zero impact unless the Spirit of the LORD chooses to move in the heart of the reader. I've further learned the ironic fact that, crucial truth, is that which is the most fiercely resistedin the hearts and minds of those who profess to love the truth. This is because, as I just stated, this evil and adulterous generation is inundated in a wholesale departure from the truth of the Gospel.
We find the paraphrased version of Cut `Em Off At The Cross in the writings of the prophet Obadiah, and the context is the LORD's indignation against those who were seeking to cut off the escape of His people:
"Neither should thou have stood in thecrossway, to cut off those of his that did escape…" (Obadiah 1:14).
Because the concept of inspired Scripture precludes that of coincidence, we are compelled to recognize an Old Testament reference to the cross must be related to the salvation found under that rugged, ancient symbol. Indeed, the setting of the "crossway," as a place where those who sought to escape are said to be "his," proves this astounding prophecy is directly related to the glorious redemption of Jesus Christ.
Predictably, the problem is one of identity, as the adjacent Scriptures which identity the parties in the passage do not fit contemporary interpretive notions concerning Bible prophecy. Obviously, everyone knows the New Testament flatly teaches that is was the Jews who bitterly resisted the "escape" which was offered through the cross of Jesus:
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).
The New Testament repeatedly tells us that we all need to escape the wrath of God, for it abides on all who have not found their refuge in the way of the cross – seen in Obadiah as the crossway:
"He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36).
Incredibly, there is a precise New Testament fulfillment of those who sought to "cut off," or even block, the run to the cross, in order escape His wrath and, once again, everyone knows the identity of the perpetrators:
"Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? For this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him..." (John 11:47,48).
JESUS CHRIST Himself, knowing all thing which were to occur, confronted those same Jewish leaders, and rebuked them for seeking to cut off the escape of those of His who were headed to the cross:
"But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in" (Matthew 23:13).
By now, the reader is perhaps wondering just why he or she has never been shown this amazing verse before, but as I previously noted, the prophecy does not fit the consensus of current interpretive perspectives. The fact is, the surrounding texts in this verse plainly tell us the perpetrator of this evil is the mysterious identity known as Edom:
"The vision of Obadiah, Thus saith the Lord God concerning Edom….For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head" (Obadiah 1:1,15).
As this study progresses, we shall see that the enigmatic Edom, is not at all whom most believe him to be. Furthermore, the ultimate lessons found in the Scriptures we are addressing are twofold, and both touch on the phenomena of identity. First and foremost, there can be no matter of greater importance than accurately perceiving the true identity of Jesus Christ. Second, our identity, in relationship to Him, is of equal importance, for if we fail (or refuse) to acknowledge who we are in relationship to Him, the knowledge of His deity will have been in vain:
"But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead….the devils also believe, and tremble" (James 2:19).
In other words, the devils believe in Jesus too, but it certainly doesn't help their eternal standing. Thus, the knowledge that Jesus of Nazareth is the LORD must also impact our Spiritual identity, to the degree that our born again lives must be conformed to meet the requirements of His Gospel. Unfortunately, many, many "believers" have seen their faith hijacked by the Spirit of Antichrist who has, if you have ears to hear,Cut `Em Off At The Cross.
--- James Lloyd
(To Be Continued)
A further look at the issue of just who we are in Christ is seen in the James Lloyd book entitled RECOGNIZING CHRISTIAN IDENTITY.