Liberation theology 
is a political movement in Catholic theology which interprets the teachings of Jesus Christ in relation to a liberation from unjust economic, political, or social conditions. It has been described by proponents as "an interpretation of Christian faith through the poor's suffering, their struggle and hope, and a critique of society and the Catholic faith and Christianity through the eyes of the poor", and by detractors as Christianized Marxism. 
Although liberation theology has grown into an international and inter-denominational movement, it began as a movement within the Catholic Church in Latin America in the 1950s–1960s. Liberation theology arose principally as a moral reaction to the poverty caused by social injustice in that region. The term was coined in 1971 by the Peruvianpriest Gustavo Gutiérrez, who wrote one of the movement's most famous books, A Theology of Liberation. Other noted exponents are Leonardo Boff of Brazil, Jon Sobrino of El Salvador, Óscar Romero of El Salvador, and Juan Luis Segundo of Uruguay. 
The influence of liberation theology diminished after proponents were accused of using "Marxist concepts" leading to admonishment by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in 1984 and 1986. The Vatican criticized certain strains of liberation theology for focusing on institutionalized or systemic sin, apparently to the exclusion of individual offenders/offences; and for identifying Catholic Church hierarchy in South America as members of the same privileged class that had long been oppressing indigenous populations since the arrival of Pizarro onward.
Liberation theology could be interpreted as a western attempt to return to the gospel of theearly church where Christianity is politically and culturally decentralized. 
Liberation theology proposes to fight poverty by addressing its supposed source: sin. In so doing, it explores the relationship betweenChristian theology — especially Roman Catholic theology — and political activism, especially in relation to social justice, poverty, andhuman rights. The principal methodological innovation is seeing theology from the perspective of the poor and the oppressed. For example Jon Sobrino, S.J., argues that the poor are a privileged channel of God's grace. 
Some liberation theologians base their social action upon the Bible scriptures describing the mission of Jesus Christ, as bringing a sword (social unrest), e.g. Isaiah 61:1, Matthew 10:34, Luke 22:35–38 — and not as bringing peace (social order)[better source needed]. This Biblical interpretation is a call to action against poverty, and the sin engendering it, to effect Jesus Christ's mission of justice in this world. 
Gustavo Gutierrez gave the movement its paradigmatic expression with his book A Theology of Liberation (1971). In this book, Gutierrez combined populist ideas with the social teachings of the Catholic Church. He was influenced by an existing socialist current in the Church which included organizations such as the Catholic Worker Movement and the French Christian youth worker organization,"Jeunesse Ouvrière Chrétienne". He was also influenced by Paul Gauthier's "The Poor, Jesus and the Church" (1965). Gutierrez's book is based on an understanding of history in which the human being is seen as assuming conscious responsibility for human destiny, and yet Christ the Savior liberates the human race from sin, which is the root of all disruption of friendship and of all injustice and oppression. 
Gutierrez also popularized the phrase "preferential option for the poor", which became a slogan of liberation theology and later appeared in addresses of the Pope.[9] Drawing from the biblical motif on the poor, Gutierrez asserts that God is revealed as having a preference for those people who are “insignificant,” “marginalized,” “unimportant,” “needy,” "despised” and “defenseless." Moreover, he makes clear that terminology of "the poor" in scripture has social and economic connotations that etymologically go back to the Greek word,ptōchos.[10] To be sure, as to not misinterpret Gutierrez’s definition of the term "preferential option," he stresses, “Preference implies the universality of God’s love, which excludes no one. It is only within the framework of this universality that we can understand the preference, that is, 'what comes first.'" 
Gutierrez emphasized practice (or, more technically, "praxis") over doctrine. Gutierrez clarified his position by advocating a circular relationship between orthodoxy and orthopraxis seeing the two as having a symbiotic relationship. Gutierrez' reading of prophets condemning oppression and injustice against the poor (i.e. Jeremiah 22:13–17) informs his assertion that to know God (orthodoxy) is to do justice (orthopraxis). Cardinal Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict XVI), however, criticized liberation theology for elevating orthopraxis to the level of orthodoxy. Richard McBrien summarizes this concept as follows: 
God is disclosed in the historical ‘’praxis’’ of liberation. It is the situation, and our passionate and reflective involvement in it, which mediates the Word of God. Today that Word is mediated through the cries of the poor and the oppressed. 
Another important hallmark for Gutierrez's brand of liberation theology is an interpretation of revelation as "history". For example Gutierrez wrote: 
History is the scene of the revelation God makes of the mystery of his person. His word reaches us in the measure of our involvement in the evolution of history. 
Gutierrez also considered the Church to be the "sacrament of history", an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, thus pointing to the doctrine of universal salvation as the true means to eternal life, and assigning the Church itself to a somewhat temporal role, namely, liberation. 
The struggle of women for social justice has given rise to its own liberation theology, frequently known as feminist theology in Europe and North America. Black and other women of colour in the United States speak of womanist theology, while Mujerista theologydenotes the liberation theology of Hispanic women. 
A major player in the formation of liberation theology was CELAM, the Latin American Episcopal Conference. Created in 1955 in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), CELAM pushed the Second Vatican Council (1962–65) toward a more socially oriented stance.[18] However, CELAM never supported liberation theology as such, since liberation theology was frowned upon by the Vatican, with Pope Paul VI trying to slow the movement after the Second Vatican Council. 
After the Second Vatican Council, CELAM held two conferences which were important in determining the future of liberation theology: the first was held in Medellín, Colombia, in 1968, and the second in Puebla, Mexico, in January 1979.The Medellín conference debated how to apply the teachings of Vatican II to Latin America, and its conclusions were strongly influenced by liberation theology. 
Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo was a central figure at the Medellín Conference, and was elected in 1972 as general secretary of CELAM. He represented a more orthodox position, becoming a favorite of pope John Paul II and the "principal scourge of liberation theology." Trujillo's faction became predominant in CELAM after the 1972 Sucre conference, and in the Roman Curia after the CELAM conference in Puebla, Mexico, in January 1979. 
Despite the orthodox bishops' predominance in CELAM, a more radical form of liberation theology remained much supported in South America. Thus, the 1979 Puebla Conference was an opportunity for orthodox bishops to reassert control of the radical elements; but they failed. At the Puebla Conference, the orthodox reorientation was met by strong opposition from the liberal part of the clergy, which supported the concept of a "preferential option for the poor". This concept had been approved at the Medellín conference by Bishop Ricard Durand, president of the Commission about Poverty. 
Pope John Paul II gave the opening speech at the Puebla Conference. The general tone of his remarks was conciliatory. He criticized radical liberation theology, saying, "this conception of Christ, as a political figure, a revolutionary, as the subversive of Nazareth, does not tally with the Church's catechisms"; however, he did speak of "the ever increasing wealth of the rich at the expense of the ever increasing poverty of the poor", and affirmed that the principle of private property "must lead to a more just and equitable distribution of goods...and, if the common good demands it, there is no need to hesitate at expropriation, itself, done in the right way"; on balance, the Pope offered neither praise nor condemnation. 
Some liberation theologians, however, including Gutierrez, had been barred from attending the Puebla Conference. Working from a seminary and with aid from sympathetic, liberal bishops, they partially obstructed other clergy's efforts to ensure that the Puebla Conference documents satisfied conservative concerns. Within four hours of the Pope's speech, Gutiérrez and the other priests wrote a twenty-page refutation, which was circulated at the conference, and has been claimed to have influenced the final outcome of the conference. According to a socio-political study of liberation theology in Latin America, twenty-five per cent of the final Puebla documents were written by theologians who were not invited to the conference. Cardinal Trujillo said that this affirmation is "an incredible exaggeration" (Ben Zabel 2002:139). 
One of the most radical aspects of liberation theology was the social organization, or re-organization, of church practice through the model of Christian base communities (CBCs). Liberation theology strove to be a bottom-up movement in practice, with Biblical interpretation and liturgical practice designed by lay practitioners themselves, rather than by the orthodox Church hierarchy. In this context, sacred text interpretation is understood as "praxis". 
Journalist and writer Penny Lernoux described this aspect of liberation theology in her numerous and committed writings intended to explain the movement's ideas in North America. Base communities were small gatherings, usually outside of churches, in which the Bible could be discussed, and Mass could be said. They were especially active in rural parts of Latin America where parish priests were not always available, as they placed a high value on lay participation. As of May 2007, it was estimated that 80,000 base communities were operating in Brazil alone.Contemporaneously Fanmi Lavalas in Haiti, the Landless Workers' Movement in Brazil, and Abahlali base Mjondolo in South Africa are three organizations that make use of liberation theology. 
Counter criticism
Such criticisms have provoked counter-criticisms that orthodox Catholics are in effect casting the Catholic Church as a friend ofauthoritarian regimes; and that the Vatican is not so much trying to defend pure doctrine as to maintain an established ecclesiastical and political order. This conflict could be compared to some aspects of the Protestant Reformation. Outside Latin America, some of liberation theology's most ardent advocates are Protestant thinkers (e.g., Jürgen Moltmann and Frederick Herzog.) 
There is also a Christian humanist response that calls for a complete breakaway from clerical hierarchies and the formulation of an entirely new Christian theology, one based on recent historical analysis by biblical scholars like JD Crossan highlighting the social revolutionary dimension of Jesus.

Posted Thursday, March 14, 2013, at 4:05 PM
What Are Jesuits? What About Liberation Theology? A Papal Explainer.
By Abby Ohlheiser

What's in store for Catholics under Pope Francis?
As Michael B. Dougherty expertly explained yesterday, the Catholic church just placed at its head a man who's previously avoided the spotlight, with no strong associations with any particular theological vision. So all those pieces going up on the first full day of Pope Francis's reign confidently speculating on what his papacy will (or won't) accomplish are relying on a few breadcrumbs to make their point. 
Among those are the new pontiff's "big firsts:" he's the first Jesuit pope, and the first from Latin America, where liberation theology wields a big influence. The big question, it seems, is how either will influence his papacy. Given that Pope Francis has previously distanced himself from the more liberal associations both groups carry, the answer is: probably not very radically. But Pope Francis's verbal commitment to fighting poverty and his very PR-friendly bus love have, at least to some, sold the idea that his approach to Catholic governance will draw heavily on both. (Salon even asked today whether Francis is the "Pope of the 99 percent"). So here's a quick overview on the two terms, which will no doubt keep appearing in the pope analysis down the road. 
Jesuits: The Jesuits, or the Society of Jesus, are an order of (male) priests condoned by the Vatican that tend to take a missionary and scholarly approach to Catholicism. Founded by St. Ignatius in 1534, they're now best known as the administrators of several universities (Georgetown is probably the most famous one in the United States). The Jesuits take vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience to both St. Ignatius and the pope. The Daily Beast has a pretty good explainer up on the Jesuits, which you can peruse for more details. But there's one important moment to flag in the context of Pope Francis's election. 
The order ruffled the feathers of Pope John Paul II for their involvement in liberation theology in Latin America (we're getting to that). Partially because of their involvement in the liberally-associated movement, Jesuits have a reputation for being more progressive than the Catholic church's other clergy. 
Liberation Theology: First off, the "liberation theology" we're talking about when we refer to South American Catholicism is distinct from the American "black liberation theology." They trace their roots back to two different commonly-cited foundational texts: James H. Cone's A Black Theology of Liberation, and Gustavo Gutiérrez's A Theology of Liberation, both written in the early '70s. The two theologies definitely share some significant similarities, namely a reading of scripture that puts the emphasis of the Christian concern with sin on social problems, rather than individual ones. In other words, Christians adhering to a liberation theology should orient themselves toward action against oppression. More symbolically, liberation theology argues that God identifies with the oppressed, and that Christianity should take upon itself the lens of the poor. Both theologies are also often derided as "Marxist" by conservatives (remember Rev. Wright?) 
On the surface, this theology would seem to fit with Pope Francis. Here's the New Yorker, summing up his approach to poverty as a Catholic: 
"He has made some sharp remarks about the vanity, self-infatuation, careerism, and pursuit of promotions in the Roman Curia. As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, he apparently preferred to be called Father Jorge, and was known for his preoccupation with the city’s poorest, reportedly washing and kissing the feet of patients suffering from AIDS." 
But Francis has opposed liberation theology in Argentina. According to the National Catholic Reporter, this seems to have to do more with keeping Jesuits from becoming politically active or working directly in community groups—which would be a departure from the more traditional role of the order—than it does with rejecting an interpretation of Catholicism that places an emphasis on the poor. So while the emphasis on poverty could very well become a part of Francis's reign (and looks bound to), we know very little of what, if any, reforms he'd want to implement to make the church more effective at alleviating suffering from poverty. Despite his "firsts," there's little evidence so far that the new Pope has radical change in mind for the church.

21 Mar 2013 

Source : HERE 
An eye-opening exposè revealing Pope Francis’ nefarious past and a call to action to the Catholic church and Catholic community of the world to renounce his appointment. 

An eye-opening exposè revealing Pope Francis' nefarious past and a call to action to the Catholic church and Catholic community of the world to renounce his appointment.  
SEE MORE AT: | [1] | [2] |

 Will Pope Francis be a Reformer?
May 13, 2013

Buenos Aires resident Adrian Salbuchi
has watched the former Archbishop Bergoglio for decades.
Salbuchi finds both hopeful and worrisome signs.

Francis makes an interesting list of Catholic Church "firsts": the first non-European pope; the first Jesuit; the first to choose Francis as his name; the first to succeed an abdicating pope in six centuries. Will he also be the first Pope in decades to reform the church?

by Adrian Salbuchi
"Opposition Cardinal" in Argentina
(excerpted from New Dawn, Jan-Feb 2013)

As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Bergoglio championed the plight of the poor in a very hands-on manner, which set him at loggerheads with the now ten-year-old increasingly left-wing Nestor and Cristina Kirchner Regime.  His criticism of their failed government got stronger as the years went by, specifically targeting the Kirchner's corruption, political mismanagement and hypocrisy.

Since Msgr. Bergoglio would persistently lash out at the Kirchners during the solemnities of the Te Deum marking the anniversary of Argentina's 25 May 1810 Revolution in Buenos Aires Cathedral, traditionally attended by the President, his family and cabinet, starting in 2005 the Kirchners decided to celebrate this anniversary elsewhere in the country to avoid Msgr. Bergoglio. In fact, President Cristina Kirchner refused to meet with him over the past three years... until now, obviously!

Though a moderate in many aspects - especially in his drive for Ecumenical inter-faith relations (he is very much liked by Israel and Argentina's powerful Jewish community), and in his embracing of Second Vatican Council reforms - he has however systematically opposed same-sex marriage which became legal in Argentina in 2011, and strongly opposes abortion laws that are being promoted locally by both the left and the "liberal" right...

Msgr. Bergoglio is an ardent devotee of the Blessed Virgin Mary whose protection he invoked in his very first message urbi et orbi.  The first place he went to pray as pope was Her Chapel at Santa Maria Maggiore where he promptly kicked out Cardinal Bernard Law from the US, one of the bishops associated with covering up child abuse cases which ended up costing the Church hundreds of millions of dollars in US Courts.

The local left also speak of his alleged involvement in the crimes of Argentina's civilian-military regimen from 1976 to 1983, a false and totally unsubstantiated accusation pointing to the Kirchner government's extreme uneasiness with the new pope.


As a sign of times to come, Francis is also the first pope in history to choose a name that honours one of Christendom's most important saints: Saint Francis of Assisi, a 13th century reformer who preached by setting the example for all.

Although of a wealthy family, Saint Francis chose to live in poverty and austerity telling his followers that a good Christian's duty is to "Preach the Gospel always, if necessary use words"; meaning thereby that the best preachers are those setting the best examples, something the Church seems to have increasingly forgotten in modern times.

Saint Francis founded the Franciscan Order and its female counterpart founded by his spiritual sister St. Claire, both of which made poverty vows.  His preaching got him into trouble with local secular and Church authorities even landing him in jail.   As today, the Church during St. Francis's time was very much in need of a major internal clean-up.   Francis of Assisi reproached the pope in front of all his cardinals for their excessive attachment to luxury, their banality and mundane ways.  Later, Pope Innocent III would finally approve his predication and approved the founding of the Franciscan Order.

So, will Pope Francis do as his spiritual predecessor and wage a veritable war for greater austerity inside the Church, requiring its highest authorities to set the example, both inside and outside the Church?

Will he really do something about all the prelates involved in proven sexual misconduct, cutting them off fully and completely from the Church, and not just "transferring" them away to some quiet place hoping their immoralities and perversion will just go away, as if by magic?

Will Francis fully and thoroughly clean up the Vatican Bank (Institute of Religious Works) forcing it to cancel shady financial deals, reject usury-based financial income, and put its monetary wealth to work for the poor?

Again, will he identify and weed out the truly guilty of such crimes and perversion, severing all Church ties with them?

In short, will Francis do something that none of his predecessors seems to have had the courage and will to do over the past fifty years, which is to stop sweeping all this ugliness under the carpet, but rather cleaning the place up for real?  That all remains to be seen...


But we're not really sure whether Msgr. Bergoglio chose his papal name only because of the Saint from Assisi.  It may have been to honour other Francis's like St. Francis Javier, or even 16th century St. Francis de Borja both of whom were, like himself, Jesuits.

The Jesuits - The Society of Jesus - are a 16th Century order founded by Spaniard St. Ignace of Loyola as a militia to defend the Church against the forces of reformation and other dangers to the Faith.  The Jesuit's strong-willed militancy got them expelled several times from the American colonies and also from Europe.  Even the Church itself suppressed them.

They have a highly autonomous leadership under its Superior General whom many refer to as the "Black Pope" alluding to both the color of their robe as well the Order's great leverage inside the Church.  Jesuits are known for being shrewd and sharp intellectuals with a keen sense for political and social strategy, and a very strong will to promote and drive their goals and objectives.

Today's Jesuit Superior General, Adolfo Nicolás, allegedly forms part of the "Committee of 300" who are said to be the Illuminati's upper echelon running things on planet Earth.  Since Jorge Bergoglio/Francis is a Jesuit, one wonders whether or not he owes obedience to his Superior General.  In other words, will the supreme authority in the Church be a white or a black Pope?

Perhaps Msgr. Bergoglio is honoring all of these Francis's. But the one that has caught the Catholic world's imagination is clearly St Francis of Assisi, in which case much will be expected of Pope Francis.  No pope - until now - had ever chosen that name which many perceive as emblematic of a key enemy of certain castes of mischief-makers inside the Vatican. - See more at: HERE

The Prophecy Of The Popes: The Next Pope (Petrus Romanus) Will Be The Final Pope According To A 900 Year Old Prophecy By St. Malachy
By Michael, on February 13th, 2013
The shocking resignation of Pope Benedict XVI has turned the eyes of the world to a 900 year old prophecy by St. Malachy known as "the Prophecy of the Popes".  According to tradition, this prophecy was given to St. Malachy when he was summoned to Rome in 1139.  The prophecy is a list that gives a description of 112 popes, culminating with "Petrus Romanus" (Peter the Roman) who will be the final pope according to the prophecy.  So why are so many people taking this prophecy so seriously?  Well, as you will see below, it is because so many of the descriptions of the previous popes have turned out to be so accurate.  So what does the prophecy say is coming next?  Well, according to the prophecy Peter the Roman will rule during a period of great tribulation, and following that "the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the terrible judge will judge his people".  This seems to fit in very well with what the apostle John wrote in the book of Revelation nearly 2000 years ago.  In Revelation chapter 17, John is told that "the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth", and that the seven heads that he saw in his vision "are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth."  Of course we all know that Rome isthe city of seven hills, and that it ruled over the kings of the earth during the time that John wrote the book of Revelation.  Later on, in Revelation chapter 18, we read that "her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her."  So are we rapidly approaching that time?  If the Prophecy of the Popes is accurate, it looks as though we may be.
It really did shake up the Catholic world when Pope Benedict XVI suddenly resigned.  He was the first pope in nearly 600 years to step down.  In fact, the last pope to resign was Pope Gregory XII all the way back in 1415.
Just hours after Pope Benedict resigned, lightning struck the roof of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.
Was someone trying to tell us something?
One thing is for sure - there will be a whole lot of attention given to the Prophecy of the Popes over the next few months.
It is important to note, however, that many scholars do have some doubts about the authenticity of the prophecy.  The following is from Wikipedia...
The list of alleged prophecies was first published in 1595 by Arnold de Wyon, a Benedictine historian, as part of his bookLignum Vitæ. Wyon attributed the list to Saint Malachy, the 12th‑century bishop of Armagh in Ireland.
According to the traditional account, Malachy was summoned to Rome in 1139 by Pope Innocent II. While in Rome, Malachy purportedly experienced a vision of future popes, which he recorded as a sequence of cryptic phrases. This manuscript was then deposited in the Roman Archive, and thereafter forgotten about until its rediscovery in 1590.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux's biography of Malachy makes no mention of the prophecy, nor is it mentioned in any record prior to its 1595 publication.
But whether the Prophecy of the Popes is correctly attributed to St. Malachy or not, it is still remarkable how accurate the list has been over the centuries.  The following examples come from a recent MarketWatch article...
For instance, John Paul I is listed as “de medietate lunae,” meaning “of the middle of the moon.” Modern interpreters say this predicted that John Paul I’s reign would begin during a half-moon and last just one month, which it did.
His successor, John Paul II, is described by St. Malachy as “de labore solis” or “of the sun’s labor,” supposedly because he was born during a solar eclipse.
Benedict XVI, who announced his resignation Monday, is “gloria olivae” or “glory of the olive,” allegedly because his name “Benedict” is taken from St. Benedict, whose monastic order uses the olive branch as a symbol.
Here are some other examples of the accuracy of this prophecy that were sharedby my friend Ray Gano...
#171 Pope Adrian IV (1154-1159) Prophecy -De rure albo (field of Albe). Born in the town of Saint-Alban
#180 Pope Gregory IX (1227-1241) Prophecy - Avis Ostiensis. (Bird of Ostia). Before his election he was Cardinal of Ostia
#194 Pope Nicholas IV (1288-1292) Prophecy - Ex eremo celsus (elevated from a hermit). Prior to his election he was a hermit in the monastery of Pouilles
According to the prophecy, Pope Benedict XVI was the next to last pope.
That means that the final pope comes next.
So what should we expect?
Well, the following is what the prophecy says about the last pope...
"In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations: and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the terrible judge will judge his people.  The End."
So are there any potential candidates that could potentially fit the bill as "Peter the Roman"?
Well, the name of Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson of Ghana is already being widely floated.  In fact, the Daily Mail is describing him as "a front-runner to become the first black Pope."
According to Dr. Jerome Corsi, author Tom Horn has identified another candidate that would seem to fit the prophecy very nicely...
Interestingly, a leading candidate is Cardinal Tarcisio Pietro Evasio Bertone, the Cardinal secretary of state, who was born in Romano, Italy. His name could, therefore, be rendered Peter the Roman.
It sure will be interesting to see how things play out over the next few months.
Many of you that are reading this may be skeptical about "prophecies", but the truth is that prophecy has always been one of the ways that God self-authenticates Himself.
In other words, God tells us the end from the beginning and that is one of the ways that we know who the one true God is.
In Isaiah 46:9-10 God says this...
Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure
Now, if you are a hardcore atheist or you do not want to be confronted with solid evidence that the Christian faith is real, then you better stop reading now.  Because if you keep reading there is a good chance that your core beliefs will be shaken.
Throughout the Bible, very specific prophecies were given that were very specifically fulfilled hundreds of years or even thousands of years later.
For example, just check out Psalm 22.
Psalm 22 begins with the following words...
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Do those words sound like something you have heard before?
Of course they do.  Jesus said those words from the cross.
When he said those words, he wasn't just saying them because He was in pain.  He was actually telling people to go look at Psalm 22.
And in Psalm 22, we find a graphic description of crucifixion.  Just check out what Psalm 22:16-18 says...
Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.
As I noted in an article I wrote a few years ago, this passage is essentially a first person account of being crucified on a cross.  Note the similarities between Psalm 22 and the crucifixion of Jesus...
1) Hands and feet pierced.
2) Surrounded by evil men.
3) People are staring and gloating.
4) He can count his bones which implies that He has been stripped down.
5) They divided His garments and cast lots for His clothing which is exactly what happened.
Psalm 22 was written about 1000 years before Jesus came, and at the time it was written crucifixion had not even been invented yet.  The following is fromWikipedia...
Crucifixion was used among the SeleucidsCarthaginians, and Romans from about the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD.
So while Jesus was hanging on the cross, he was pointing to a prophecy that had been written 1000 years earlier that spoke of Him dying in a way that had not even been invented yet.
Another amazing prophecy can be found in Isaiah chapter 53.  It was written about 700 years before the time of Jesus, and in that chapter we are told about a future Messiah who will come and die for our sins.
In fact, we are told seven different times in Isaiah 53 that the Messiah will pay the penalty for our sins...
Isaiah 53:4 - Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows
Isaiah 53:5 - But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
Isaiah 53:6 - ...the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isaiah 53:8 - ...for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
Isaiah 53:10 - Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering
Isaiah 53:11 - ...he will bear their iniquities
Isaiah 53:12 - For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
In that chapter we are also told that the future Messiah would die, be assigned a grave with the wicked (Jesus was crucified with thieves), and be with the rich in His death (He was buried in a rich man's tomb)...
Isaiah 53:12 - ...he poured out his life unto death
Isaiah 53:9 - He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death
Also, in verse eleven we are told that the Messiah would would be resurrected after the suffering of his soul...
Isaiah 53:11 - After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied
Even more amazing is what Bible Code researchers have found buried in the text of Isaiah 53.  In just those 12 verses, Bible Code researchers found the name of Jesus, the names of all the disciples except for Judas Iscariot, and a whole bunch of other words related to the ministry of Jesus...
Y'shua (Jesus) 53:10
Nazarene 53:6
Messiah 53:11
Shiloh 53:12
Passover 53:10
Galilee 53:7
Herod 53:6
Caiaphas, High Priest 52:15
Annas, High Priest 53:3
Mary 53:11
Mary 53:10
Mary 53:9
The Disciples 53:12
Peter 53:10
Matthew 53:8
John 53:10
Andrew 53:4
Philip 53:5
Thomas 53:2
James 52:2
James 52:2
Simon 52:14
Thaddaeus 53:12
Matthias 53:5
Let Him be crucified 53:8
His Cross 53:6
Lamp of the Lord 53:5
His signature 52:7
Bread 53:12
Wine 53:5
From Zion 52:14
Moriah 52:7
Obed (servant) 53:7
Jesse 52:9
Seed 52:5
Water 52:7
Levites 54:3
From the Atonement Lamb 52:12
Joseph 53:2
But of course all of that is just one giant coincidence, right?
And did you know that the Bible even tells us the year that Jesus would die?
In Daniel 9:24-27, we are told the amount of time that would pass from the order "to restore and rebuild Jerusalem" until the Messiah would come.  It also tells us that "the Anointed One will be put to death" and that it would happen before the temple was destroyed.
Well, the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D., so it had to have happened prior to that.
Only one man fits the bill - Jesus Christ.
You can find out much more about that amazing prophecy right here.
The Bible also has a ton of stuff to say about the times that we are currently living in.  If you are interested, just check out the book of Revelation, the book of Daniel, Matthew chapter 24, Mark chapter 13 and Luke chapter 21 for starters.
The Bible has hundreds of very specific prophecies that have been precisely fulfilled.
So I trust it.
Do you trust it?
In the end, everyone gets to make their own choices.
Choose wisely.
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