Before you begin your Bible study, as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, be sure you have named your sins privately to God the Father.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [Known, Unknown and Forgotten sins] (1Jn 1:9)
You will then be in fellowship with God, Filled with God the Holy Spirit and ready to learn Truth from the Word of God.
God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth. (John 4:24)
King of Kings and Lord of Lords
Which He will bring about at the proper time--He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen. (1Ti 6:15-16)
The six trials of Christ
I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate. (1Ti 6:13)
Under the fourth Divine institution, the national entity is the function of human government. This function includes the Concept of a courtroom and the policeman on the beat. In no way is this book intended to be derogatory toward the law; to the contrary, it is recognition of the importance of law enforcement, and the proper prosecution of law in the courtroom. There came a time in human history, however, when this very important function broke down completely and, of all things, with the only Person who was absolutely perfect in His humanity.
There were six trials for the Lord Jesus Christ not one but SIX! And with the exception of one short interrogation, these six trials were unfair, fraudulent and unjust in every way! Who was on trial? The unique Person of the universe undiminished Deity and true humanity combined in one Person forever, the Lord Jesus Christ! In His humanity, He had no sin nature, nor did He ever commit one act of personal sin. Furthermore, the sin of Adam was not imputed to Him. He never did anything but that which was absolute good, and He was indwelt and filled by God the Holy Spirit at all times.
There were many who could have come into the courtroom and testified, “I was lame, and now I walk”; “I was deaf, and now I hear”; “I was dumb, and now I speak”; “I was dead, and now I live.” Yet one of the greatest systems of jurisprudence was used to condemn this One who was not only innocent, but who in His humanity was ABSOLUTELY PERFECT. Disgraceful as this was, it is important to realize that in the Plan of God, “That God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.” (Mature believers and those on the way to maturity!) (Rom 8:28) and out of this impersonation of justice came OUR SO GREAT SALVATION. (Heb 2:3)
Of the six trials recorded throughout the Gospels, two were held before Pontius Pilate, where Scripture declares that Jesus witnessed a good confession. (1Ti 6:13) All four Gospels record the fourth and sixth trials; but when we study these two trials, we will examine them from John’s Gospel because John wrote from the viewpoint of the Deity of Christ and emphasized certain things which the others did not.
The First Trial
So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people. (John 18:12-14)
Two military groups actually a sort of United Nations was involved in the apprehension and capture of the Lord Jesus Christ. First of all, there were Jewish soldiers, “officers of the Jews,” part of the Temple Guard, and secondly, Roman soldiers, “the band and the captain.” The two garrisons descended upon the Lord Jesus Christ after His betrayal. Since Annas was not a judge, this was an illegal trial! A former high priest, Annas was now the political boss of Jerusalem. He was engaged in gangster activities connected with every system of graft in Jerusalem, as well as with the bands of robbers in the Negev, who owed their protection to him. You should notice at the very beginning that the people who brought Jesus to trial in the first cases were all RELIGIOUS PEOPLE the chief-priests, scribes and Pharisees. We see that phrase again and again. As a matter of fact, it was the Sanhedrin, a religious organization in which all Judaism centered.
Remember, religion is the worst thing that ever hit this world! I said religion not Christianity. There is a difference. Religion is Salvation by works. Religion is man seeking the approval of God by his own merits. Religion is the devil’s ace trump. Nothing Satan has ever devised has been as successful as religion in the blinding of men’s minds to the Truth. Oh, the overwhelming pride of the self-righteous religious person who thinks God is impressed with his offerings of human works — the egotist who looks down his nose at others while giving the impression that he is a perfect plaster saint. The world is filled with people who are proud of their flimsy works of baptism, church membership, sincerity, keeping the Ten Commandments, living by the Golden Rule, and a host of other works by which they expect to enter the “pearly gates” with great pomp and circumstance.
It is staggering to realize how great a percentage of evil deeds in history have been executed by these people in the name of religion! But none equals the infamous trials of Christ. Covered by their sanctimonious veneer of piety, these religious people brazenly and efficiently plotted and secured the death of Jesus Christ, these people who would put you to shame when it comes to prayer activity! Temple attendance and almsgiving; at least three times a day, every day, they prayed in the Temple and seven times a day at home! Yes, they were very religious — and also VERY LOST, “You must be born again!” (John 3:2-7)
Because Annas was no longer the high priest, he was not a judge; but as the political boss, all matters had to be cleared with him !before going to court. Therefore, Annas, the most religious of them all, approved this case, and following the counsel of Caiaphas, he said, in effect, “Take Him in and railroad Him through!” (John 18:14) The first trial is developed further in. (John 18:15-24)
The Second Trial
Those who had seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together. (Matt 26:57)
Now we encounter the first trial that was supposed to be legal. This was after the preliminary hearing with Annas. Caiaphas was the one who had said, “Nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” (John 11:50) Caiaphas was not a prophet, but he inadvertently Prophesied the death of Christ (John 11:51-52) The Holy Spirit spoke thru him; (Rom 8:28) and he recognized the need of finding a scapegoat for the anti-Roman activities that were in the works in Israel. He knew Rome would demand that the lawlessness in Palestine be rectified by the death of the culprit. Thus the Romans must be made to think that the Jews were cleaning house without Roman help or interference. In his policy of self-advantage, he contended that it was better for one man to die than that they all lose their power and wealth. The Sanhedrin would, therefore, try to palm off Jesus as the culprit. Here is the satanic normal operating procedure; exposed! The perfect, matchless Son of God is to be presented as a master criminal by the criminals themselves.
In the second trial Jesus was already considered guilty, for Annas had given Him “thumbs down.” From now on we have but to watch the wheels of injustice grind. Notice the assemblage of religious people. (Matt 26:57) Caiaphas, (The high priest) and the scribes and elders; those pompous, self-righteous people who could do no wrong, the self-styled plaster saints who had canonized themselves by their various good deeds, those people who thought they could work their way into heaven by their own human effort!
Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. (Matt 26:59)
How many witnesses are necessary according to their law? Two. (Deut 19:15) All they need to draw an indictment is two people who will agree in their lies. We do not know exactly how many there were, but there must have been at least twenty or thirty people who got up and lied about the Lord Jesus Christ the ONLY One who had never done any wrong! The One who was sinless! The One who had done so much Divine good! The One who had helped so many people! The One who gave eternal life to all who believed in Him! The liars were gathered together; this was the greatest liars’ club that has ever existed! But they exaggerated their lies in such a way; no two of them were able to agree.
Notice some of the illegal points of this trial. First of all, it was held at night, which was contrary to Jewish jurisprudence. But they were in a hurry, for the next day was the Passover. They had to get their dirty work out of the way so that they could partake of the Passover with “clean hands.” (Prov 7:14-19) The fact that the Passover spoke of Jesus Christ dying for their sins was a point which, had they understood it, would have mattered little in their evil calculations. They were anxious to bring about the destruction of the One who had not only upset their religious apple cart, but who was the perfect fall guy for their villainous activities! Therefore, it had to be held at night. Further, there was no defense attorney, which was illegal. The court sought FALSE witnesses, obviously illegal. The court was prejudiced, and there was violence in the court. Not one aspect of this trial conformed to Jewish law.
They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, and said, This man stated, I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days. (Matt 26:60-61)
One after another, various witnesses stood and told their lies, and though the court tried desperately to get two of them to agree, it was impossible. Finally, two agreed in one area, and out of this they tried to form an indictment.
“But He was speaking of the temple of His body.” (John 2:21) As a matter of fact, Jesus had the power to destroy the Temple and rebuild it much more quickly than three days! But He had not been talking about the actual Temple building; He referred literally to His death and resurrection. He was actually Prophesying how they would succeed in bringing about His death but that their triumph would be short-lived, for on the third day He would rise from the dead!
When two false witnesses finally agreed and made this statement, immediately the high priest (Who had been waiting, perhaps for hours, for this collaboration) rose up and said:
...Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You? (Matt 26:62)
...He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth... (Isa 53:1) thru (Isa 53:12)
Jesus did not answer back not one single word; a marvelous manifestation of the copy of the Divine nature that He created; by continually staying in fellowship and Thinking with Truth! (1Pe 4:1; (2Pe 1:4-11) After hearing so many lies about Himself, He would have thought a sin in one area. BUT NOT ONE MENTAL SIN! He would have used withering sarcasm, or violence, or He might have stood up and said, “That is a lie!” Jesus did not say a word! Because He was Thinking with Truth! (John 15:18-20) As lie after lie was spoken against Him, the uniqueness of Christ should have been apparent to all who watched this gross injustice.
God the Holy Spirit controlled His life. There was a time to speak, and there was a time to be quiet. (Eccles 3:7) The only way you or any believer will ever discover this Principle is by the filling of God the Holy Spirit and the knowledge of Truth. Then we KNOW when to speak and we KNOW when to keep quiet. That is one of the most amazing of all the Spiritually mature attributes, to know when to use the tongue and when not to use it. (Jas 3:2) Here is the One, who filled with God the Holy Spirit as He was proclaiming the Cross; and teaching Truth for three years, at this point said not a word!
What a tremendous lesson we as believers can learn! The Lord Jesus Christ put the whole matter in the Father’s hands, revealing His perfect orientation to grace, and to the Plan of God. Remember, “...VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY, says the Lord.” (Rom 12:19) Gossiping and maligning, returning evil for evil, whether it is true or not, are among the worst sins a believer can commit!
When someone maligns you and runs you down, leave it in the Lord’s hands. He is qualified to discipline. Many Christians, thinking they can do a better job, try to walk some other person into the “woodshed,” only to find out that the Lord is waiting for both of them! So let us learn the lesson of the Lord’s silence here. He left all of this in the hands of the Father. Every moment the Lord Jesus lived, He lived in the moment-by-moment Sabbath, the faith-rest life. He continually cast His cares upon the Father — and He left them there! He was not upset. He was not disturbed. He quietly rested in the Father’s Promises. (Heb 4:3)
While these religious people could not see the uniqueness and power of His life, a brilliant Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, would soon perceive the Truth concerning Jesus. Many of these men were scribes who daily studied the Old Testament, where hundreds of passages point to the Person of Jesus Christ; and say, “He is the Messiah. The kingdoms of the earth rest on His shoulders. He is the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God!” Yet they did not see; they were blinded by religion. Religion is blind, and these people were blind to the Person of Christ.
How could the high priest, Caiaphas, watch the Lord Jesus Christ, the Royal High Priest, while people lied about Him, and not get up and say, “HE IS THE SON OF GOD”? Why must we wait for Pontius Pilate to say, “He is a just man”? Why must we wait until a Roman centurion looks up at the Cross and says, “Truly, this was the Son of God?” (Matt 27:54) What is the matter with this high priest? Here in his court is the eternal High Priest, after the order of Melchizedek! (Heb 5:5-10) What
is the matter with this supposed servant of God? He is so loaded with religion that he could not see the grace of God. What a tremendous thing is grace! Although God has provided everything for man, we can latch on to grace in only one way — BY FAITH! That is why the Scripture says, “...That whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) Why does it say, “Whoever believes?” Because Christ provided our so great Salvation; in full! Without any other system of ethics . . . without anything man can do!
But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said to him, You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN. (Matt 26:63-64)
The Living God was standing in his presence! The high priest was commanding the Living God to speak up! Finally, Jesus answered, “You have said it yourself;” That does not mean much in the English, and it is actually a poor translation. The Greek says, and it is the strongest of all affirmatives, “Emphatically yes!” That was all He said concerning His Person. But He added, and this was grace, the next few items on the agenda: resurrection, ascension, session, and the Second Advent. He gave them a short course in the Doctrine of Christology right there in the courtroom. “COMING IN THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN!” Isn’t this interesting? Jesus Christ said “coming!” Yet today many people who profess to know something about the Word rationalize the Second Advent.
Then the high priest tore his robes and said, He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy. (Matt 26:65)
Then the high priest said, “You are the Son of God; I believe in YOU,” and fell down and worshipped Him. Is that what you read? Oh, no! By this time he had “blown his cork.” Imagine a judge sitting on the bench suddenly beginning to tear off his clothes. He was really steamed up. He was in utter rejection of Jesus Christ. Here is the attitude of religion! The judge certainly should have known that before he could have an indictment written up, there must be two witnesses who agreed on the accusation. Yet, he brazenly declares, “We don’t need witnesses.” Something else in Jewish jurisprudence no one can condemn himself by his own statements, apart from a confession of guilt. Actually, if Jesus’ own statements, which would condemn Him, were not true, they would be ruled out. Jesus did not speak blasphemy; He did not make a confession of guilt, but a clear statement of fact. Caiaphas took a clear statement of fact, which in Reality did not condemn Jesus, and said it was a confession, which it was not.
What do you think? They answered, He deserves death! (Matt 26:66)
The penalty of blasphemy was death. Remember, this was a courtroom under one of the best systems of court procedure that has ever been set up — procedures which God Himself set up in the Mosaic Law.
Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him.
Now the violence begins. They spit in the face of the Son of God! They spit in the face of the One who would hang on Calvary’s Cross and receive the judgment and penalty for every sin that had ever been committed or ever will be committed, including spitting in His face.
Did you ever have anyone spit in your face? Nothing is quite so offensive or vicious! Nothing conveys insult and disrespect so graphically. These Jewish rulers left no doubt that they rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah; as Prophesied in Isaiah.
He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face. He was despised, and we did not esteem Him (Isa 53:3)
That was not all. They spit upon Him, and “beat Him” The word “buffet” is an old English word which today would be translated “to punch.” They punched Him — in fact, the Greek verb indicates that they constantly and repeatedly punched Him. Now I submit to you, this is unusual for a trial! The results were shocking!
Just as many were astonished at you, My people, So His appearance was marred more than any man And His form more than the sons of men. (Isa 52:14)
When they were through with this second trial, Jesus no longer looked human. They kept punching Him until His face was destroyed! They closed His eyes. His face was swollen. Yet still He stood there. If you know anything about boxing, you know that no one just stands still while someone repeatedly punches him. The ordinary man would suffer anything from a cerebral hemorrhage to a quick knockout. But here is a Person who stood unmoved as one man after another stepped forward without interference from anyone and struck the Son of God. He did not roll with the punches He just stood there while they came up and reigned blow after blow upon Him.
Apparently none of the artists who have painted Jesus Christ on the Cross have understood what the Bible describes of His cruel treatment. With the possible exception of Rubens, they have depicted a skeletal figure with ribs protruding, scrawny shoulders and bony frame, producing the general effect of a weak, half-starved person.
In Reality, Jesus Christ was the most powerful Man who ever lived! To receive those severe blows and still survive, the humanity of Christ had to be very strong. We have already seen something of His strength when He pitched the merchandisers out of the Temple. You just do not pick up men and tables loaded with heavy bags of coins and toss them around unless you have tremendous power. To be accurate, an artist painting Jesus Christ as He hung upon the Cross should depict a powerful body and neck beneath a faceless mass of saliva and blood, His features completely mangled.
But He was pierced through, [Sins imputed to His soul] for our transgressions, He was crushed [Judged] for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. [Literally; Mended together with God] (Isa 53:5)
And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the Cross, so that we might die to sin [The control of the old sin nature] and live to righteousness; [Reach Spiritual maturity] for by His wounds you were healed. [Literally; Mended together with God] (1Pe 2:24)
As Isaiah looked down the corridors of time, he saw Jesus Christ on the Cross as one massive bruise. Peter said the same thing. Why? When Peter saw the Lord Jesus Christ after that second trial, he saw one massive bruise!
How did Jesus Christ stay on His feet? How did He live through such punishment? Because HE HAD US IN MIND! He was Thinking of God the Father; you and me. (Personal love for God: Impersonal love for all mankind) (Matt 22:37-40) Because He had to get to the Cross! He must pay the penalty of sin, which is Spiritual death. He must be “made sin for us.” He must “bear our sins in His own body on the tree.” The fact that Jesus died physically was not the primary factor in Salvation. His physical death signified that His work was finished and formed the basis for resurrection. He must suffer judgment and Spiritual death in order to pay for your sins and mine. He must be judged for our sins and be separated from God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Jesus Christ stayed on His feet, and He stayed alive. You and I will never be able to comprehend the terrible punishment Jesus took and this was only the second trial! Oh, what a Savior we have! How glorious is the Person of Jesus Christ! To me, the greatest thing of all was that He did not fight back. All He would have had to do was to snap His fingers and ten thousand legions of angels would have cleaned up the court in a hurry. But His restraint was very significant, for if He had lost His temper, there would be NO SALVATION! He remained sinless in spite of the most intense temptations!
If you have a sin nature, (And you have) enough slapping and insults can make you lose your temper. But if He had lost His temper, we could just as well close up all the churches, because there could be no Salvation if Jesus Christ had committed one single mental sin. But He did not lose His temper even once. Oh, what a man He IS! The God-man, Christ Jesus — how great! He took all of the punching; He took all of the spitting and slapping, and He stayed alive. But that did not satisfy them. They had to add insult to injury.
…Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You? (Matt 26:68)
They did not miss a thing. His majesty, the devil, was present that day: so we have everything from unparalleled violence to utmost sarcasm!
The Third Trial
When it was day, the Council of elders of the people assembled, both chief priests and scribes, and they led Him away to their council chamber, saying, If You are the Christ, tell us. But He said to them, If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I ask a question, you will not answer. But from now on THE SON OF MAN WILL BE SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND of the power OF GOD. And they all said, Are You the Son of God, then? And He said to them, Yes, I am. Then they said, What further need do we have of testimony? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth! (Luk 22:66-71)
This trial was held early the next morning by the Jews. The religious leaders, (The council) suddenly realized that the trial at night was illegal. They gathered together and decided to make it a legal trial. At this trial, Jesus gave them the supreme sign of His Messiahship. Realizing that it was a feast period, (Passover and Unleavened Bread) and they could not sentence someone on a holy day according to their law, they said, “Let’s pass Him off to the Romans.”
The Fourth Trial
Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas [His second trip before Caiaphas that morning] into the Praetorium, and it was early; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover. (John 18:28)
This trial is covered in all four of the Gospels, but there are certain things in, (John 18:1-38) that emphasize its importance. This was the day the memorial supper would be eaten. They wanted to keep their hands “clean;” in order to eat the Passover that night; the Passover which spoke of the death of Christ on the Cross. Eating the lamb was a picture of believing in Christ; yet they had rejected Him! The Jews took Jesus to the Roman governor in an attempt to sidestep Jewish law concerning the holy days. “Pilate went out to them and said, What accusation do you bring against this Man?” (John 18:29)
Pilate had to go out because the Jews could not come inside a Gentile dwelling on a holy day. The entire procedure is most interesting; Pilate was keeping very cool. He wanted to know what the indictment was. He undoubtedly observed the majestic Person of the Lord Jesus Christ amid all the hubbub and shouting, the scrambling and fuss. So he asked, “What is the accusation?” The Jews were upset by Pilate’s question because they had been unable to frame an indictment. There was no evidence to establish a charge against Jesus. They wanted to condemn Jesus without a trial. With typical hypocrisy, they assumed an injured air; they posed as righteous men who would never think of arresting an innocent man.
They answered and said to him, If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him to you. (John 18:30)
“ACCUSATION?” they screamed. “Why, the very fact we are so persistent should indicate something! Just string Him up! Don’t waste time on words! We wouldn’t bring you anything but the scum of the earth — and we have brought Him.”
And they began to accuse Him, saying, We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King. (Luk 23:2)
They do not mention blasphemy. I want you to see just how demoniacally smart these Jews were. Why do you suppose they did not mention blasphemy? This was a Theological problem which would never hold up before a Roman governor. You see, the Romans had only one type of worship — Caesar worship! Caesar is Kurios! (God) Had blasphemy been included in the accusation, the first thing Pilate would have said would have been, “You mean to tell me that you people don’t accept Caesar as God?” That would have put them all on the spot, and Pilate could have hauled them all into court. Needing to get around that possibility, they invent lies.
Nothing was said about tribute to Caesar in the first trials. But now they say, “He is forbidding giving tribute to Caesar,” which is, of course, a deliberate lie. We know this because of what Jesus said when these same religious people brought Him a gold piece.
…Render to Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; [Pay your income tax and obey human authorities] and to God the things that are God’s [Thoughts, life, time and energy] (Matt 22:21)
We know from history that the high priests and the other religious leaders were the ones who were trying to get around paying their income tax to Rome. They were professional tax evaders?
They added what they hoped would be the clincher, “saying that He Himself is Christ a King.” In other words, they were implying that He was in reality setting Himself up as a King and trying to lead in a revolt against Rome. To refuse to pay tribute to Caesar was equivalent to refusing to pay your income tax to Rome and would be considered rebellion. Do you see the picture they painted before Pilate? Here was a rival to Caesar and a dangerous revolutionary!
You can understand that after so many agreed to this collection of fabrications, a man in Pilate’s shoes might become pretty upset. Pilate could have rationalized: “I have a revolt on my hands; I’d better take this Revolutionary and draw and quarter Him stretch Him on the rack before it breaks wide open.” But I want you to notice what a great man Pilate was in his own right. He did not lose his head. He remained calm and completely in control of himself to the very end. This is a very important point. The full import of it is brought out in: (1Ti 6:13) “...Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate.” The Holy Spirit mentions only the trial before Pontius Pilate because Pilate was the only person who gave Jesus Christ an honest, objective hearing and cross-examination.
So Pilate said to them, Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law. The Jews said to him, We are not permitted to put anyone to death. (John 18:31)
Pilate tried to evade the responsibility. Here was the weakness in his armor. Pilate thought more of his “advantage” than Principle. It was no accident that a just but weak man was the governor of Judea at this time. Pilate had the discernment to observe the innocence of Jesus, but not the character to free Him. Now the Jews USED the law, but they did not execute the law. There are people today who even use, and abuse, the WORD OF GOD! This is exactly what happened here. “It is not lawful for us; therefore, you will have to handle this case.” The reply of the Jews was an admission that they did not desire a fair trial for Jesus, but only His death!
To fulfill the Word of Jesus which He spoke, signifying by what kind of death He was about to die. (John 18:32)
Here was the King of the Jews about to die, about to be subjected to the lowest form of Gentile punishment. How would the Jews have put Him to death? They would have stoned Him. Crucifixion was not a Jewish punishment.
Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, Are You the King of the Jews? Jesus answered, Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me? Pilate answered, I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done? (John 18:33-35)
The first question implied both ignorance and exasperation. Pilate through ignorance expressed his frustration in coming to grips with the real issue: He further denied any personal interest or association with the situation. His second question was one searching for information. This is the question which received an answer. We have only a part of what Jesus said, but it is very important.
Jesus answered. My kingdom is not of this world: if [Second class condition, and it is not] My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm. (John 18:36)
At this time Satan is the ruler of this world. It would be impossible for Jesus to have a kingdom of this world until Satan’s defeat at the Cross. This does not mean that Christ will not have an earthly kingdom, but that it would not be established on earth at that time. The kingdom of Christ on earth awaits the Second Advent of Jesus Christ. In the meantime; He has a kingdom of regenerate people, known as the Church or Body of Christ! At present, the rulership of Christ is invisible and Spiritual. Jesus did not say; “My kingdom is not IN this world,” for Jesus does have a kingdom in this world during the Church Age. Believers are in this world, but not OF this world's way of thinking! (John 17:16) This kingdom fights with the Sword of the Spirit rather than the sword of men.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the Truth; Your Word is Truth. As You sent Me into the world, [In the prototype Spiritual life; in the power of God the Holy Spirit and Truth] I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in Truth. (John 17:16-19)
Therefore Pilate said to Him, So You are a king? Jesus answered, You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the Truth. Everyone who is of the Truth hears My voice. (John 18:37)
He evidently went on to explain that He was the God-Man, born of a virgin without a sin nature, without imputed sin, without personal sin, and that He was going to die for the sins of the world. This is the Doctrine of Salvation. Thus He witnessed a good confession before Pontius Pilate. Those who are the recipients of the Doctrine of Salvation. believers in Jesus Christ, hear the voice of the Son of God. Today the voice of the Lord is the Bible, the Word of God!
Pilate said to Him. What is Truth? [The Thinking of God] And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, I find no guilt in Him. (John 18:38)
When Pilate asked about Truth, Jesus had no doubt explained that He Himself is Truth! This famous sneer of Pilate indicates the state of the natural mind. Spiritual blindness and lack of a human spirit make Spiritual phenomena impossible to absorb. (1Co 2:14) Only the convincing ministry of God the Holy Spirit can change this. The Spirit makes the Gospel understandable in the mind of the unbeliever. But here is a case of negative volition. Pilate did not desire an answer to the question he had asked, and so indicated it by leaving immediately before an answer could be given. What was Pilate’s verdict? Here is the importance of the fourth trial. I FIND IN HIM — IN JESUS — NO Guilt! Here was the First unbiased, unprejudiced examination. Here was the only impartial judge. And what was the conclusion? COMPLETELY INNOCENT!
But they kept on insisting, saying, He stirs up the people, Teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee even as far as this place. (Luk 23:5)
The Jews then began to “put the heat” on Pilate. Finally, the pressure became too great for Pilate, and learning that Jesus was a Galilean, (Luk 23:6) thought, “Herod is the Pontiff of Galilee and is in Jerusalem at this time; (Luk 23:7) I’ll just send Him over there and let King Herod worry with Him.” In this manner, Pilate sought to avoid the pressure from the religious crowd to kill an innocent man. Thus, under Herod’s jurisdiction, Jesus underwent His next trial.
The Fifth Trial
Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him. And he questioned Him at some length; but He answered him nothing. And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently. And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate. Now Herod and Pilate became friends with one another that very day; for before they had been enemies with each other. (Luk 23:8-12)
Herod was excited at seeing Jesus, for he had heard of His reputation for performing miracles. Hoping for entertainment, he attempted to induce Jesus to perform one of His miracles. When Jesus refused, Herod angrily ordered Him tortured. Herod’s “men of war,” his body guards, not only tortured Jesus, but they threw a magnificent robe around Him and mocked Him. In times past, Pilate and Herod had been at enmity with one another; but this mutual crisis had made them friends. Jesus was now sent back to Pilate.
The Sixth Trial
Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. (John 19:13)
Before Pilate again, Jesus was subjected to one more trial. Remember, and I want to emphasize this fact, Pilate had said not once but several times that Jesus Christ was innocent! We pick up the trial where Pilate was examining Jesus again. Pilate called Him the “King of the Jews.” Jesus had convinced Pilate of His birth. His status and the facts concerning Himself. (So after understanding this, people can still not believe in Him! And as believers; we can still not believe and Think with His Word!) Now Pilate made an ingenious attempt to gain the release of Jesus on the basis of the custom of the Passover. Realizing that Jesus was innocent, Pilate would make it possible to release an innocent Person, get himself off the hook, and help the religious leaders save face. But these Jewish leaders, under the control of Satan, would not let up until Jesus was removed from the scene!
So they cried out again, saying, Not this Man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber. (John 18:40)
What have they said? “Don’t release unto us the most wonderful Person who ever lived… release unto us Public Enemy Number One — Barabbas!” This appears very tame in the English. It gives the idea that he might have been a “second-story man.” Perhaps he had broken into a few homes, opened a few drawers and sneaked out. But the Greek indicates that he was a habitual professional criminal, possibly the Number One man of the crime syndicate in that area. He was vile all the way through, yet the religious crowd was asking for his release! Religion became the champion of a despicable criminal, rather than the perfect, matchless Son of God! In the Aramaic, Barabbas means “son of the father.” (Satan) The Jews chose the criminal son of a father in place of the Eternal Son of God the Father!
While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him. (Matt 27:19)
This dream was probably of satanic origin, as Satan did not want Christ on the Cross to bear the sins of the world but wanted him stoned to death as prescribed by the Jewish Law, thereby frustrating the Plan of God. However, Pilate’s wife gave a correct estimate of Him in calling Him “that Righteous Man.” To be so close to Christ and yet reject Him, is to be far away for all eternity. This was the real tragedy of this trial. Christ was in Reality judging Pilate, rather than Pilate judging Christ.
Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him; and they began to come up to Him and say, Hail, King of the Jews! and to give Him slaps in the face. [They kept saying it, mocking Him] [Kept punching Him] with their hands [Fists] (John 19:1-3)
This was another form of examination: He was literally skinned alive with a whip. Then they rubbed salt into the quivering flesh, or what was left of it. Again Pilate sought to compromise with the Jews. “I’ve cross-examined Him and scourged Him — don’t you think He has had enough?”
Pilate came out again and said to them, Behold, I am bringing Him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in Him. Jesus then came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, Behold, the Man! (John 19:4-5)
Pilate declared His innocence again! Jesus appeared, whereupon Pilate announced to the Jews, “Behold THE MAN!” What a MAN He was to take what He had taken! When the Jews heard this, they knew that it was a Prophecy of the Messiah; (Zec 6:12) but they deliberately rejected Him. They wanted the crown, but not the Cross. They wanted the King, but not the Savior. They would not accept God's Plan; God's way!
So when the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out saying, Crucify, crucify! Pilate said to them, Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him. (John 19:6)
The Jews ordered the crucifixion of Jesus. The people chose to be led by the religious leaders; rather than by God, through the Word of God! The cries of Palm Sunday, “Hosanna, blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord,” (Signified for the Second Advent) have been changed to “Let Him be crucified.” Here is the fickleness of the crowd. Here is the worst of the old sin: HUMAN NATURE!
Again Pilate declared, “INNOCENT! You will have to do it — I cannot!”
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. (Acts 3:13)
The Holy Spirit recorded here that Pilate was determined to release Him, even anxious to do so. Pilate recognized that here was a just Man, an innocent Man, One who was not guilty, and One who should not be crucified!
When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, I am innocent of this Man's blood; see to that yourselves. (Matt 27:24)
While Pilate tried to make sure that no penalty would be attached to himself; there is always eternal punishment attached to everyone who rejects Christ as Savior.
He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)
And all the people said, His blood shall be on us and on our children! (Matt 27:25)
This cry from the mob became the basis of the great dispersion of Israel which began in 70 A.D. and continues to the present, and will continue until the Second Advent of Christ. But the Principle of discipline by dispersion has been turned to blessing for Israel under the Divine Plan of Grace. Any Jew who will trust in Christ becomes a member of the Body of Christ. In this way, cursing is turned to blessing. By receiving the blood (Spiritual death) of Christ in regeneration, His blood is no longer on them. Regeneration converts the wrath of God into love and eternal life, cursing into blessing.
If Pilate could recognize Jesus Christ for what He was, in spite of lies, false accusations, and all the other infamous activities of the Jews, then it is time for this generation to wake up and discover who He is! Jesus Christ is not a great teacher in whose footsteps we are to follow. Jesus Christ is unique, for no one else could live a sinless life or do the miracles He did. Furthermore, Jesus cannot be just a “good man.” It is impossible for Jesus Christ to be merely a good man. He is either God or a liar. He claimed to be God (John 5:17-18; John 10:18; John 10:30; John 14:9; Luk 22:70 ; etc.) If He lied, He is not good. A good man would never lie or deceitfully misrepresent himself. Why, you know what He said: “I can forgive your sins.” (Matt 9:2) “I can cleanse you; I can give you eternal life.” (John 3:15) “I am the way, the Truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father but through Me!” (John 14:6) A good man would never lie to people that way; He would never deceive people from that day right down to this hour. If that were true, thousands and thousands of people have been misled — but it is not true! HE IS GOD!
Only God can forgive sins! Only God can provide the solution to fellowship with Himself. Only God can say, “I am the way, the Truth and the life.” Only God can say, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30) Only God can say, “Before Abraham was, I am” — “Before Abraham existed, I Existed Eternally!” (John 8:58)
You may have been brainwashed by human viewpoint such as, “We all have the Divine spark,” or “We’re all brothers”; but that is the satanic philosophy peddled right from the mouth of the devil! Either Jesus Christ is God; or He is the worst liar that ever lived! You must make your choice. The religious crowd made their choice.
The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by that law He ought to die because He made Himself out to be the Son of God! Therefore when Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid; and he entered into the Praetorium again and said to Jesus, Where are You from? But Jesus gave him no answer. (John 19:7-9)
Pilate knew that Jesus was from Galilee, but there was a growing alarm in his consciousness that Jesus was more than a Galilean. The silence of Jesus indicated that Pilate now had enough facts on which to make a decision. Previously, Jesus had been silent before Caiaphas, (Matt 26:63) Herod, (Luk 23:9) and now Pilate. Perhaps the Deity of Christ looked into the frontal lobes of Pilate and observed the negative volition there. Information concerning the Gospel is Promised to those who have positive volition and desire a relationship with God. (Jer 29:13; John 7:17; Acts 17:24-31)
Pilate expressed wounded dignity, but Jesus answered with the true dignity of greatness.
So Pilate said to Him, You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You? Jesus answered, You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin. (John 19:10-11)
The “greater sin” is the sin of rejection; but from the trials of Christ, we see that rejection is in several categories: (1) Those who sin FROM conviction, like Caiaphas, who thought to do God a favor by destroying Jesus Christ. (2) Those who sin AGAINST conviction, like Pontius Pilate, who was convinced that Jesus was innocent. His was the rejection of vacillation and advantage. (3) Those who sin WITHOUT conviction, like the Roman soldiers and thoughtless rabble that were the tools of those who ruled or influenced them.
As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar. (John 19:12)
Pilate finally succumbed, due to pressure from the mob, religious persecution and fear of losing his political prestige. By means of diabolic cunning, the religious leaders made it clear to Pilate, that to release Jesus would place him in the embarrassing position of being declared the enemy of Caesar. Pilate was in a trap from which only strong conviction, Truth and Principle could extricate him. But Pilate would not place himself in a position where he would be accused of opposing Caesar; he therefore condemned the King of kings and Lord of lords to the dishonorable death of crucifixion reserved only for the vilest criminals in the Roman Empire.
In discussing the crucifixion, it is necessary to establish first the day that Jesus Christ was crucified, and in order to establish it, we must begin with the resurrection and work back. Three passages, (Matt 28:1; Luk 24:1; John 20:1) tell us that Jesus was resurrected BY Sunday. This is a technical point, but necessary for accuracy. By Sunday morning, Jesus Christ was out of the grave. Here is the dividing line. Sometime immediately after Saturday, Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Therefore, we need to establish by the Scriptures the day that He died.
The day of crucifixion
Let me give the conclusion ahead of time: Jesus Christ could not possibly have died on Friday. This, of course, refutes the tradition of Good Friday; if anything, it should be Good Wednesday, and we will see why.
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, Teacher, we want to see a sign from You. But He answered and said to them, An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matt 12:38-40)
The scribes did not recognize the Deity of Christ, so they would not address Him as Lord. Yet they demanded to see a miracle. What discourtesy! He had performed countless miracles right before their eyes. Instead of the miracle they desired. He directed their minds to the true issue, the Word of God! The three days and three nights are not figurative days, but literal days. One day and one night represent a 24-hour period, just as it does in Genesis. Some have argued that this could refer to only a part of a day. If this were true, then how could Jesus have indicated a 72-hour period? Only one way — by the very statement He made: “three days and three nights.”
We have already established by the Scriptures that Jesus Christ rose on Sunday. Between His death and resurrection there must be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. By the application of simple arithmetic, the time of Christ’s death is established by counting back three days and three nights. However, in Scripture there are two timetables, Jewish and Gentile. By Jewish time you must start with the day and go back. By Gentile time you begin with the night and count back. For example, in (1Co 15:4) the time is calculated from Gentile reckoning. But in, (Matt 12:40) Jewish time is indicated. The sign of the prophet Jonah is three days and three nights. Counting back, it brings us back to Wednesday night. In, (1Co 15:3-4) Christ was on the Cross at midday on Wednesday, which is the time darkness covered the earth. Sometime in the afternoon, about three o’clock, He dismissed His spirit.
Jewish time is reckoned from sundown to sundown. When does the Sabbath start for the Jews? Friday at sundown; and it ends Saturday at sundown. Jesus Christ could have risen any time Saturday night after sundown. The grave was empty early Sunday morning. The women arrived as soon as they could see daylight, and found it empty. Of course, by our reckoning; He could have risen any time after twelve midnight. But we are speaking of Jewish time now, and in their reckoning. He could have risen any time after sundown Saturday. For the Jews, Sunday actually started at sundown on Saturday. When Jesus Christ died; He died in the afternoon. When was His body put in the grave? Evidently just before sundown; which would mean that His time in the heart of the earth began Wednesday night. Then, counting the next day, Thursday, the first of Jonah’s three days and three nights is completed. Thursday night the second night, Friday, the second day, and Friday night and Saturday complete the three days and three nights. Hence, any time after sundown Saturday He could have come out of the grave and fulfilled the Prophecy of Jonah.
Between the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus Christ there was not one Sabbath, but two. The Passover meal, (The blood, Salvation, the cup; what He did) which the Pharisees were so anxious to observe after having crucified Christ, (John 18:28) and this was the beginning of the seven-day feast of Unleavened Bread. (Sinless, no imputed sin, no sin nature, and only used Divine Thinking, the bread; Who He was) The first day of this feast was set aside as a special Sabbath (Exo 12:16; Lev 23:7) Therefore, on the day after crucifixion, Thursday, they had a special Sabbath, (John 19:31) followed by the regular weekly Sabbath on Saturday. It was for this reason that the two Marys did not come to the tomb until Sunday morning. No work could be done until the Sabbaths were ended. (Matt 28:1) says literally in the Greek, “Sabbaths” (Plural), not “Sabbath.” (Singular)
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. (1Co 15:3-4)
The Prophecy of Jonah says He had to be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. But this passage says that He rose “on the third day.” By Gentile time that would be true. Gentile time starts at midnight. So Saturday night after sundown He rose, and that is ON THE THIRD DAY reckoning by Gentile time. This should be clear now. Just remember that Gentiles begin their day at 12:01 in the morning and the Jews start their day at sundown, approximately six o’clock.
Christ on the cross
Now that the “when” of Christ’s death has been established, we will examine the “why.” Before the Lord Jesus Christ ever got to the Cross, He is pictured by the Word as having His face completely destroyed. He looked so horrible that those watching had to turn away from the revolting sight. During the entire time that His torturers scourged and beat Him, He said absolutely nothing. Excruciating pain did not cause Him to cry out once! It was not until the fourth time His voice was heard on the Cross that Jesus Christ cried out in agony.
...My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. (Psa 22:1)
Psalm 22 is a prophetic study of the Cross. Twice Christ used the vocative, “My God” one addressed to God the Father and one addressed to God the Holy Spirit. As Jesus hung upon the Cross, after it had been dark for about three hours. He suddenly cried out, or as the Hebrew says, “He screamed!” Through all the physical torture they inflicted the spitting, the lies, the skinning alive with a whip, the separation of His bones from their sockets as He hung on the Cross — not once did He cry out; yet suddenly, in a moment of time. He SCREAMED! These words were literally shrieked by Jesus Christ in the midst of that darkness while hanging upon the Cross of Golgatha. The impact of that scream had eternal repercussions, for when He cried out. He was providing eternal life for YOU and for ME!
It was not physical pain or torture that caused Him to scream, but your sins and my sins being laid upon Him that brought forth the terrible cry of agony from His lips. Every sin that you and I have ever committed was borne by Jesus Christ when He died on the Cross. He died for the sins of Adam and Eve, the sins of Cain and Abel. He died for the worst person who ever lived designated in Scripture as Paul, the religious sinner. (1Ti 1:15) He died for every gangster who ever lived. It makes no difference whether one is a believer or unbeliever, whether good or bad, Jesus Christ paid in full for every sin every person has ever committed or ever will commit; (1Jn 2:2) and it was contact with our sins that caused Him to scream, when all the physical torture in the world did not bring one cry from His lips. This cry was the culmination of the crucifixion, for when Jesus Christ screamed out the words, “ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI” — “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” He suffered Spiritual death — in His humanity He was separated from God; while His soul was being judged for our sins! (Isa 53:11) The words of the scream were deliberate in order to fulfill a Prophecy, that henceforth all might read it, (Psa 22:1-31) and KNOW that on the Cross He provided eternal Salvation from the Lake of Fire!
The penalty of sin is Spiritual death, which means the inability to have fellowship with God in time. Of the ten types of death in Scripture, (Spiritual, physical, temporal, second, retroactive positional, sin unto, sexual, productional, uselessness and experiential death; to our old sin nature: Spiritual maturity) Spiritual death dates back to the DAY in which Adam, of his own free will, chose to disobey God. At that moment, he was separated from any possibility of fellowship with God. Adam had been warned that the consequences of disobedience would be Spiritual death. (Gen 2:17) Since that time, every person born into the world is born Spiritually dead! (Eph 2:1; Jas 2:26)
Therefore, just as through one man sin [The sin nature] entered into the world, and death [Spiritual death] through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned. [In Adam, we all sinned when Adam did] (Rom 5:12)
For the wages of sin is [Spiritual death and after Salvation; temporal death when we sin: Carnality] death... (Rom 6:23)
Physical death is not the penalty of sin. Adam died physically 930 years after he sinned. Therefore, the physical death of Christ was not the payment for sin. When Christ hung upon the Cross, He suffered both deaths. As He bore the sins of the entire human race in His body, the Father and God the Holy Spirit lost fellowship with Him. (Matt 27:46) The Spiritual death of Christ and the judgment for our sins; is the price He paid for our Salvation! (Rom 8:3)
O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest. Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. (Psa 22:2-3)
The intense suffering of His Spiritual death and judgment on the Cross is amplified as Christ’s shrieking is followed by another cry, very likely one that others could not hear. While Jesus was bearing the sins of the world — even though He was the High Priest forever after the order (Pattern) of Melchizedek — His prayers’ could-not be heard! Why? Because he was taking your place and mine; He was providing Salvation — for you and for me. Separated from God by sin, the human race is under the condemnation of Spiritual death. Jesus Christ was taking our place — the place of separation — that He might bring us to God.
At noon, ordinarily the brightest period of the day, utter darkness covered the earth. So intense was the suffering of the Son of God while bearing our sins, that the Father hid His Son’s face from view. This Verse adds a phrase to His cry in the darkness of midday to the Father and to God the Holy Spirit; (Matt 27:46) “But You are holy.” The Father is absolute holiness! God the Holy Spirit is absolute holiness! They could have absolutely nothing to do with Jesus Christ while He bore our sins; except to sustain Him, (Heb 9:14) while He was being “made sin for us!”
In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them. To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed. (Psa 22:4-5)
The prayers of Christ’s forefathers had been answered. They had the same pattern we have today: “All things, whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.” (Matt 21:22) But no matter how much the Lord Jesus Christ prayed during this time. His prayer could not be answered.
But I am a worm and not a man, A reproach of men and despised by the people. (Psa 22:6)
The word for “worm” is a very rare Hebrew word used for a special kind of worm, which, with thousands of others of the same species, was placed into a huge vat, crushed to extract the blood which was used to make the most beautiful crimson dye in the ancient world. This is the color of royalty. The robes of kings were dyed with this brilliant crimson. When Jesus said, “I am a worm,” it was to indicate that He was being crushed for us as He hung upon Calvary’s Cross. He was crushed that you and I, when we trust in Him, might wear the robe of a King. Believers in Jesus Christ have the very righteousness of the Son of God credited to their account at the moment of Salvation. This is the King’s robe!
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2Co 5:21)
I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of Salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isa 61:10)
Jesus Christ on the Cross was “a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” Here is a reference to the fact that His visage was completely destroyed; (Isa 52:14) and then, (Psa 22:6-8) continues to describe the terrible events of the Cross, relating much of the agony of that moment. We read of the vile word pictures thrown at Him by the mob and of the merciless treatment He endured at their hands.
The uniqueness of the Person of Christ
And as they came out, [The procession to Golgatha] they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. (Matt 27:32)
Simon of Cyrene, like many other Jews, longed for the day when he could leave Libya and the city of Cyrene and come to Jerusalem during the Holy Week. The festivities started with the Passover, and included the Feasts of Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, followed by Pentecost, covering a period of over fifty days. Simon’s desire was realized, for he was in Jerusalem during this time. He was standing on the street as the procession came by with the Lord Jesus Christ staggering under the weight of His Cross. (Our cross: sin, the penalty of sin and the old sin nature.) And He allowed Simon to pick up the cross for a short time; because we must carry our sin nature until death. (Mark 8:34-38) It was not because He was weak, but because He had been so badly tortured and beaten that He could no longer carry the heavy burden up the hill. As the Roman soldiers walked along in their column of fours, they saw this man standing there, undoubtedly in utter amazement at the spectacle. They immediately grabbed the man, Simon, forcing him to carry the cross.
This was a most unusual sight: a dignified, prominent businessman from a Roman province in North Africa was suddenly caught up in the midst of a procession following the Person of Jesus Christ as He staggered up the hill of Golgatha. Forced into becoming part of the entourage, Simon observed every detail of what happened on the Cross. He marked well the uniqueness of this One whose place he had taken on the march to the crucifixion. As a result of his observation, he became a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. When he returned to Libya to the city of Cyrene, he told his family about the Savior.
And they compelled one Simon, a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross. (Mark 15:21)
When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus. And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him. But Jesus turning to them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed. [Blessed are those who did not live by the old sin nature] Then they will begin TO SAY TO THE MOUNTAINS, FALL ON US, AND TO THE HILLS, COVER US. For if they do these things when the tree is green, [The beginning of the new Spiritual life] what will happen when it is dry? (Luk 23:26-31)
Mark identified Simon’s two sons when he wrote his account of the crucifixion thirty years later, and by that time they had become well known. Simon’s wife is also mentioned as being a great believer: “Greet Rufus a choice man in the Lord, also his mother and mine.” (Rom 16:13)
Here was an amazing family. Simon, who was a Jew, observing the Person of Jesus Christ as He hung upon the Cross, came to one conclusion — that Jesus Christ was the Son of the living God, “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) He understood that “...the blood of Jesus Christ, His [God’s] Son, cleanses us from all sin,” (1Jn 1:7) and right then and there personally trusted in Him.
There were those observing the death of Christ that day who could look at Him objectively, who were qualified because they were not prejudiced, and these came to the conclusion that Jesus Christ was truly God, the unique Person of the universe, the God-Man, and therefore, the only way of Salvation. Simon was the first of three individuals mentioned who received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord that day.
The chronology of the crucifixion
A further evidence of the uniqueness of Christ is seen in the words that He uttered as He hung upon the Cross. To understand all the Spiritual lessons involved, we need to review the chronology of the events of the Cross. It is interesting to note that no one Gospel records all the events because each has a different emphasis.
1. The procession arrived at Golgatha. (Matt 27:33)
2. Jesus was offered a stupefying drink of vinegar and gall, (Bitterness) which He refused! (Matt 27:34)
3. Jesus was crucified between the two thieves, (Luk 23:32-33) followed by the first cry on the Cross, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luk 23:34)
4. The soldiers gambled for His clothes, as was the Roman custom. (Matt 27:35-36)
5. The Jews began to mock Him (Matt 27:39-43) cf. (Psa 22:7-8)
6. The thieves began to verbally abuse Him, but one of them believed. (Luk 23:39-43)
7. The second cry was uttered, “today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luk 23:43)
8. Then, the third cry, “Woman, behold your son.” (John 19:26-27)
9. At exactly 12:00 noon, darkness covered the earth. (Matt 27:45)
10. This was followed by the fourth cry, “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI? That is, MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” (Matt 27:46) cf. (Psa 22:1)
10. The fifth cry, “I thirst.” Christ thirsted that we might never thirst. (John 19:28)
12. The sixth cry, “It is finished.” (John 19:30)
13. And finally, the seventh cry, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” (Luk 23:46) cf. (Psa 31:5)
14. After this the Lord dismissed His spirit. (Matt 27:50)
The Recorded Words of Christ on the Cross
Having briefly examined the Words of Christ on the Cross from Prophecy in (Psa 22:1-31) we will now study them historically as they are recorded in the Gospels.
The First Phrase
When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. But Jesus was saying, Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing. And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. (Luk 23:33-34)
It was of great consequence that Jesus Christ prayed for their forgiveness before He was judged for their sins. These people had slapped Him, beaten Him, spit upon Him, lied about Him, ridiculed Him and scourged Him! These were the ones who cried, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” They had pushed the Cross into the upright position, standing around to mock and to laugh and to ridicule. Yet the first thing Jesus uttered on the Cross was a prayer for the Salvation of His enemies. He opened His public ministry with prayer, according to, (Luk 3:21) and He closed His public ministry with prayer. After all; He is the “High Priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.” (Psa 110:4; Heb 5:5-10)
At this point Jesus could no longer minister to the poor and needy or to the sick and lame and blind, for He was now confined to a Cross. But while He could not come down from the Cross and at the same time provide for our Salvation. He still had the power for service. This should be a great encouragement to you as mature believer, when you meditate on these Spiritual Thoughts, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” If because of physical confinement you are not able to get out and proclaim Christ as you would like to, then this is a significant fact for you, because one of the greatest avenues of service and opportunity any believer could ever have is through the avenue of prayer.
When Jesus cried, “Father, forgive them,” He was praying for the lost, for those who were bound for the Lake of Fire. His prayer was answered later, for when we compare (Acts 2:36-41) and (Acts 3:26) with, (Acts 4:4) we realize something of the meaning of this prayer. At least eight thousand people were saved when Peter preached; but it was an indirect result of Christ’s prayer on the Cross.
Many of the remarks that Jesus made came from His hypostatic union. (The two natures of Christ as the God-Man) Some came from Deity alone. When He said, “I and the Father are one,” and “I have the power to forgive sins,” He was speaking from His Deity. When He said, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” He was speaking from His hypostatic union. (Both natures at once) There were other times when He was speaking from His humanity, as here on the Cross. In His humanity He is our Royal High Priest, for a priest must be a man; therefore, as the God-man and High Priest, He was praying for those who were lost. He set us a tremendous example, one we as royal priests should use every day. (2Pe 2:9; Rev 1:6)
Christ’s prayer on the Cross brings out another very important factor — the blindness of the human heart; (Mind) “They know not what they do!” Those who crucified Him were ignorant of Truth. They did not recognize the God-man, the Savior of the world; they did not realize that here was the One who was being judged for their sins, taking their place, and providing their Salvation. Yet Jesus Christ had made it clear many times when He said:
Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies. (John 11:25)
Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life. (John 8:12)
There was no excuse for their ignorance. “The light of the glorious Gospel” had shined unto them. Jesus Christ, in His grace, was “not willing that any should perish,” and He prayed for them. But the human “heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked!” (Jer 17:9)
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2Co 4:3-4)
Man’s greatest need is the need for forgiveness and cleansing of sin! “The penalty of sin is death” — Spiritual death.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)
He took our place. He was judged for our sins, and today His prayer on the Cross is still being answered, as many that come to Jesus Christ and receive Him as Lord and Savior!
The second phrase
One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” (Luk 23:39)
(Matt 27:44) adds that both of the thieves turned against the Lord Jesus. Both rejected Him, both railed on Him and blasphemed against Him: But one of the thieves became observant and “changed His mind” — that is, he completely changed his attitude, to use the word in its proper connotation. He had a complete reversal of mental attitude not in regard to sin, but in regard to the Person of Jesus Christ!
But the other answered, and rebuking him said, Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.
And he was saying, Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom! And He said to him, Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise. (Luk 23:40-43)
He recognized first of all that Jesus Christ was a perfect man. Jesus Christ was sinless; He had done absolutely nothing wrong. He recognized His Deity also, for he used the title for Deity — KURIOS. There was nothing he could DO for his Salvation! He was nailed upon a cross. He could not join anyone’s church or go through the rite of baptism! He could not weep in front of an altar nor raise his hand nor walk down an aisle! He was dying; he was helpless; but he turned to the Lord Jesus Christ for help, and he went exactly to the right Person! He also recognized, even though Jesus was hanging on a Cross, even though He too was dying, that Jesus had a kingdom. The Lord Jesus responded to this statement of faith by Promising him a place in Paradise or Abraham’s Bosom, the abode of all Old Testament saints. Remember, Jesus Christ was born, lived, died and was resurrected in the Age of Israel.
These two thieves on the cross picture the world today. One believed in Jesus Christ; and received eternal life. The other rejected Him and continued to be eternally condemned.
He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)
The world is divided by its attitude toward Jesus Christ. Your attitude toward Him determines your eternal future for Salvation, and after Salvation!
The third phrase
Therefore the soldiers did these things. But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, Woman, behold, your son! (John 19:25-26)
We can imagine the anguish in a mother’s heart, watching her Son slowly and painfully die. She must have been torn with terrible grief. But Jesus never called her “mother.” He always addressed her as “woman.” He sought to emphasize that she was the mother of His humanity, but SHE WAS NOT the mother of God! Anticipating some of the great dangers that would come in the future relative to her place in the Plan of God, He was always careful to avoid the title of “mother.”
Then He said to the disciple, Behold, your mother! From that hour the disciple took her into his own household. (John 19:27)
Here are the words of responsibility. Jesus Christ did a marvelous and wonderful thing, separating her from Himself to John, fulfilling the Law, which said, “Honor your father and your mother.” (Exo 20:12) While He was on earth, Jesus was very careful to obey the Law in every point. He condemned the Pharisees who failed to do so. He condemned them on occasions for the “Corban” gimmick. (Mark 7:10-12) Even in His dying moment, when He was in the midst of terrible agony and pain. He took time to Think of the one who was the mother of His humanity and to make provision for her. We see here a beautiful picture, even in the end, of how Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law in every detail. Every negative as well as positive aspect of the Law was met by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today we are not under the Law. Christianity begins where the Law stopped. That does not mean we are to be “lawless.” Jesus, in fulfilling the Law, made provision for us to move into the mature Spiritual life.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no Law. (Gal 5:22-23)
The very Thoughts and Virtue of Christ in His humanity can be produced in us by God the Holy Spirit when He consistently controls our life! We are no longer under the Law, but under grace. Grace is God’s provision of God the Holy Spirit, who indwells every believer. God the Holy Spirit controls when the believer is “filled with God the Holy Spirit” through the use of, (1Jn 1:9).
The fourth phrase
After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, I am thirsty. (John 19:28)
It is wonderful to realize how Jesus Christ loved the Scriptures as they then existed and how His life in His humanity centered in them. Oh, that we might have the same attitude toward the Scripture! That we might have the joy and the realization and the reverence, the absorption and the interest that the Lord Jesus Christ had in the Scripture! The First great lesson from the fifth phrase is THE IMPORTANCE OF THE WORD OF GOD. All of the information we have concerning the Son of God is found in the Word of God. (1Co 2:16)
The thirst of Jesus indicates His humanity, for Deity does not thirst. Again it focuses our attention on the importance of the humanity of Christ, for Deity alone could not suffer the penalty of sin. These words remind us not only of His painful physical suffering, but also of the fact that He is man as well as God.
Further, it is a reminder of the fact that Jesus Christ is our Royal High Priest forever, for in order to qualify as a Priest, He had to become a man. As Deity; He cannot be in the priesthood; but as a man, He is the Royal High Priest. And we as the children of God form a kingdom of royal priests, for every believer is a priest. (cf. 1Pe 2:9; Rev 1:6) You and I as believers in Jesus Christ have the right to go before the throne of God and offer prayer. (Heb 4:16) You and I have the right to confess our sins directly to God the Father in order to get back into fellowship; (1Jn 1:9) because we are royal priests forever, in the same order, the order of Melchizedek, who was both a King and a Priest.
The cry, “I thirst,” is also a reminder that Christ is the only Mediator. (1Ti 2:5) Whoever is the mediator between God and man must be equal with both parties in the mediation. As the God-man, He is equal with the Father and with mankind. Therefore, He draws the Father and humanity together.
His humanity testifies to the fact that God the Father keeps His Word. God the Father Promised unconditionally to David that he would have a Son who would reign forever. This demanded that God the Son must take upon Himself true humanity, and that true humanity must be in the royal line of David. He was truly Man, the Son of David, the fulfillment of that promise, and He will return to keep that Promise in full. His humanity guarantees that we have a Savior, a Royal High Priest, a Mediator and a King; the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who will return to this earth to reign forever and ever!
The fifth phrase
At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ELOI, ELOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI? which is translated, MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME? (Mark 15:34)
These words, found in Matthew and Mark, as well as in, (Psa 22:1) were literally screamed. In this cry Jesus Christ made it clear that the other two Members of the Godhead with whom He had eternal and unbroken fellowship had to break that fellowship at this moment. Thus we know immediately that this is the time when Jesus Christ “bore our sins in his own body on the tree.” (1Pe 2:24) This was the unspeakable agony of the Cross, the Spiritual death Prophesied in, (Psa 22:1).
The fourth cry indicated that He was being judged for us. God the Father had to pour out all of His wrath, as a matter of justice, upon God the Son, while the HUMANITY of Jesus Christ bore the sins of the world. Our sin separated Him from the other Members of the Godhead, even as we were separated from them. These words were screamed by the humanity of Christ. It is impossible for Deity to die. It is impossible for Deity to suffer Spiritual death. This was the necessity of the virgin birth. God must become a man in order to pay the penalty of sin, which was Spiritual death. He had to become a man in order to take our place.
The sixth phrase
Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, It is finished! And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. [Voluntarily dismissed His spirit] (John 19:30)
When the Lord Jesus Christ uttered the words “It is finished,” He evidenced the fact that Salvation was complete. Nothing could be taken away from it — and above all, nothing could be added to it. It was purely a matter of GRACE. No one has ever deserved this Salvation, and there never will be any member of the human race who deserves something as wonderful and as marvelous and as precious as the blood of Jesus Christ, which, as a representative analogy of His Spiritual death and judgment, and also cleanses from all sin. Therefore, when He said, “It is finished,” He made it very clear that to add anything to the finished work of Salvation is sheer blasphemy! That is why the Scripture reiterates over and over, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life.”
Faith is the absence of works; faith is the absence of merit; faith is dependence entirely on someone else for Salvation. There is no advantage to human religious activities such as “believe and repent,” “believe and confess,” “believe and join the church,” “believe and walk down the aisle,” “believe and be baptized,” “believe and do… do… do!” None of these things make your Salvation more real, for Jesus Christ said, “IT IS FINISHED!” How dare anyone add another thing!
There is something else here that is even more important, as far as this phrase is concerned. The sin problem is solved. Sin is no longer the issue in the human race. Jesus Christ was judged for our sins. He bore every sin that has been or ever will be committed. We cannot say to someone today, “You must give up your sins in order to be saved.” If sin is no longer the issue, what is the issue? What do you Think of Christ! Will you receive Him as your Lord and Savior? Will you trust in Him?
At the Last Judgment, the Great White Throne, no one will be judged for his sins. (Rev 20:12-15) The Scripture is clear to point out that all who stand there do so because they have rejected Christ. They will be judged according to their works never according to their sins. The sin problem is once and for all solved, for sins cannot be judged again. If you reject Him, you must stand on your own merit. As an unbeliever, you have two appointments — one to die physically, and one to stand before the Great White Throne and be judged for your works, which you chose in preference to the work of Christ on the Cross. “It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this, the judgment.” (Heb 9:27) At the judgment bar of God, it will be demonstrated that no amount of human works can measure up to the perfect righteousness of Christ which a person must have in order to fellowship with Him in eternity. The only responsibility of the human race, the only means of appropriation, is personal faith in Jesus Christ — the One who uttered these marvelous words of grace “It is finished.”
The seventh and last phrase
And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT. Having said this, He breathed His last. (Luk 23:46)
When the Lord Jesus Christ died on the Cross, it was voluntary.
For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This Commandment I received from My Father. (John 10:17-18)
He gave Himself as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) Upon His physical death; His spirit and soul went into Hades to a compartment known as Paradise, (1Pe 3:18-19) and His body went into the grave to wait for that glorious moment some three days later when the body would be rejoined by the soul and the spirit, and Jesus Christ would rise from the dead — literally and bodily.
The seventh cry was the beginning of the end; and yet the end was a new beginning, for Jesus Christ would arise from the grave in a resurrection body, walk among men for a short time, then ascend into the presence of the Father to sit at His right hand as our great High Priest and make intercession for us forever! (Heb 1:3; Heb 7:25)
There is a change in the vocative from “My God” of the previous phrase to “Father.” In addressing Himself to the Father, it is obvious that His work has been completed and that He is no longer paying the penalty of sin which elicited the vocative “My God.” The Father has been propitiated by the Spiritual death and judgment of His Son.
Jesus, through Spiritual death, fulfilled the analogy to the blood sacrifice of the Old Testament; He was then ready to dismiss His Spirit. All references to the blood of Christ refer to His Spiritual rather than to His physical death. The animal on the altar bleeding to death is a reverse analogy to Christ’s bearing our sins on the Cross. The animal literally bled to death; but was not literally judged for our sins. Christ was literally judged for our sins; but did not literally bleed to death. Consequently, (Eph 1:7; Heb 9:22; (1Pe 1:18-19; Rev 1:5) was fulfilled when Christ’s was judged for our sins!
JESUS CHRIST PROVIDED COMPLETELY FOR OUR PERFECT SALVATION! He completely finished it. He was judged for your sins and mine. You can rest assured today that every sin, past, present and future, was borne in that moment of time, 30 A.D., April, on the Cross. And when He bore your sins; He settled the sin problem once and for all. To say that you must do something about your sins — renounce them, feel sorry for them, confess them, or forsake them — is to detract from the effectiveness of the atonement on the Cross. It is not your attitude toward sin that saves you; it is your attitude toward the work of Christ on the Cross that saves. God was propitiated, or satisfied, when Jesus Christ bore your sins; therefore, the sin problem is settled. The emphasis must be on the fact that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died [Spiritually] for us.” (Rom 5:8)
Immediate results of the cross
The first miracle
And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. (Matt 27:51)
Immediately following Christ’s death, several miracles took place. The veil of the Temple hung between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. This veil was an elaborately woven fabric of seventy-two twisted braids, twenty-four threads each. It was sixty feet long and thirty feet wide. It was impossible to tear it with human hands, either from top to bottom or from bottom to top. God Himself split the veil of the Temple to indicate that the Barrier between man and God was removed by the work of Christ on the Cross. We know from a study of the Tabernacle, as well as from the Book of Hebrews, that the veil represented His body. His humanity; it was by His being torn — by the death to His will: mind, Judgment of all our sins: soul, cut off from fellowship: spirit, and the physical death — of the Lord Jesus Christ that makes it possible for you and me to have fellowship with God in time and in eternity!
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated [Opened] for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, (Heb 10:19-20)
That is why Jesus said, I am the way, and the Truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6)
The second miracle
And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. (Matt 27:51)
So great was the earthquake, that rocks were literally split in two.
The third miracle
The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. (Matt 27:52-53)
This miracle occurred after the resurrection but was a repercussion of the Cross. Here is the transfer of the Old Testament saints from Paradise (Abraham’s Bosom) to the New Paradise in heaven. (Eph 4:8; (2Co 12:4) Certain saints received their bodies to function as witnesses after the resurrection of Christ, just as Lazarus had done before the resurrection. These believers functioned in the same manner as the two witnesses will do in the Tribulation. (Rev 11:3-12) This is resuscitation rather than resurrection; for after their ministry of witnessing is completed, they will eventually die and their bodies will return to the grave, while their soul and spirit will enter into the presence of the Lord. In the case of a genuine resurrection it is not necessary to open the graves.
The Salvation of the centurion
Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matt 27:54)
The centurion was a soldier, an officer in the Roman army. Officers are trained to observe, to think logically, and to think logically under pressure. It is interesting how many times the Bible records the incident of a military man who received Christ, for example.
And Jesus said to the centurion, Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed. And the servant was healed that very moment. (Matt 8:13)
In the Book of Acts, a Roman centurion was the first Gentile to have a church in his home. (Acts 10:1-48)
The religious crowd around the Cross would have nothing to do with the Son of God; but this centurion, who was in command of all the troops on the hill, put the religious crowd to shame. He observed that this was no ordinary crucifixion. The chief priests, scribes and Pharisees ridiculed; but here was a man who observed the uniqueness of Christ and received Him as Savior.
The centurion was the third person mentioned who was saved on that hill that day. Only one religious person (And religion was certainly represented) accepted Christ Simon of Cyrene. There were many immoral people there, people who enjoyed watching torture, who enjoyed watching someone suffer; yet only one immoral person was recorded to have accepted the Lord, and he was a gangster; one of the thieves. Three categories of people live on the earth, and can all be saved; the religious, the non-religious and the military man!
The glories of the person of Christ
Nowhere in Scripture is the uniqueness of the Person of Christ so evident as in the first chapter of the Book of Hebrews. The superiority of the Son of God and the seven glories of His Person are revealed in this passage. The author of the Book of Hebrews has purposely chosen to remain anonymous so that “no man may be seen, except Jesus only,” (Matt 17:8) presenting Him in all His unique beauty, along with many deeper Thoughts relative to His Person.
This Epistle begins with the highest and greatest subject in the universe — God — THE GOD; literally, the only God! There are two Concepts of God: (1) Essence: God is One; (2) Personality: God is three Persons. In essence God is ONE sovereignty, righteousness, justice, love, eternal life, omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, immutability and Veracity! In personality He is God the Father, (Soul) God the Son, (Body) and God the Holy Spirit, (Spirit) each a separate and distinct Person, yet possessing identical characteristics or essence of Deity! Three Persons ONE GOD!
God is 4D as we are four dimensional: Body, soul, spirit and eternal! (Eph 3:18)
God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, (Heb 1:1)
This Verse begins with a relative pronoun referring to God the Father, who is the Author of the Divine Plan of grace for the human race. There were different ways in which God revealed Himself in the Old Testament — through dreams and visions, direct communication, certain types of ceremonies, the offerings of the sacrifices, the Holy Days, through various Types, (Such as the Tabernacle and furnishings) and through the written Word.
During the emergent period of the Old Testament Canon, (“Times past”) God spoke unto the fathers (Jews of the Old Testament) by means of the prophets. All the writers of the Old Testament Scriptures had the ministry of prophet, from Moses right on through to Malachi. God has spoken in only one way since the Canon of Scripture was completed, and that is through the Person of Jesus Christ as presented in the Word of God, the “Mind of Christ.” (1Co 2:16)
In these last days [New Testament Canon] He has Spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. (Heb 1:2)
In the New Testament, God spoke in one way — THE SON. There are separate Revelations in the Old Testament. Each Revelation disclosed part of the Truth. Each generation needed a fresh voice. But now all Truth is set forth in Christ. The Old Testament dealt in shadow Revelation; but with the First Advent, the shadows were removed by the Reality: Jesus Christ incarnate! So for believers NOW; we have the privilege of reading! While the Revelation of the two Testaments differs in mechanics, the Source is the same — GOD. All Revelation focuses on Christ!
Heir of all things
In these last days has Spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. (Heb 1:2)
The first glory of Christ actually reverts back to eternity past, for it is in the aorist tense in the Greek, meaning “once and for all appointed.” In eternity past, long before man or angels were created, Jesus Christ was made Heir of all things. This is part of the Divine Decrees found in, (Psa 2:7-8) when in the Plan of the Father; Jesus Christ was appointed Heir of all things that will survive in the eternal state!
Heirship comes through sonship. Generally speaking, you cannot be an heir unless you are either the adopted or the real son of someone. Believers are, by both adoption, (Gal 4:5) and regeneration, (Tit 3:5-7) the sons of God!
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. (Gal 3:26)
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, (John 1:12)
We are not sons of God because we are born physically into this life. We are not sons of God because we have joined a church. We are sons of God because we are born again; and the only way to be born again is to receive Jesus Christ personally as Lord and Savior. (John 3:3; John 3:15)
And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him [By not living by the old sin nature] so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Rom 8:17)
To obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith [Spiritual life] for a salvation [Deliverance] ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, [Spiritual life] being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, [Adversity and prosperity] [That our Spiritual life] may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1Pe 1:4-5)
It is my privilege to tell you that if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, if you have trusted Him for your Salvation, you are an heir of God; you are the heir of an inheritance which is incorruptible, which can never be changed and which can never be taken away from you, no matter who tries. You have an eternal inheritance — all because of a relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ. The opening phrase of the seven glories of the Person of Christ reminds us of this marvelous and wonderful fact. At the moment of Salvation, God the Holy Spirit put us into union with Christ, (1Co 12:13) thus bringing us into a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and with the Father through Him. Union with Christ is the basis for this relationship.
Christ as the Heir of all things also reminds us that Christianity is not a religion! Religion is man’s seeking the approbation of God by his works; but Christianity is a RELATIONSHIP with God, apart from works. Christianity is what God has done for sinful man, not what man can do for God! Everything necessary to bring sinful man into a relationship with a holy God has been provided in full through the work of Jesus Christ on Calvary’s Cross. If you have trusted in Jesus Christ, you are an heir of God, a Spiritual millionaire! You have riches which cannot be removed or taken away from you, and you can face life with true orientation and perspective. You can have the assurance that your life; NOW has a purpose, no matter who you are, what you are or where you are.
Has this been a difficult week for you? Have you had problems or troubles and difficulties? I must remind you that there will be many more before you depart from this earth; but as an heir of God, your life has definition and meaning! When you learn to appropriate what God has for you, you can face the difficulties of this life with the proper perspective: GOD'S! You will know that as a result of trusting in Jesus Christ, you are connected with an event which took place in eternity past, our appointment to heirship! As Jesus Christ was appointed in eternity past, so we are appointed by reason of the fact that we are in union with Him. Our position IN CHRIST dates back into eternity past when God the Father said to God the Son, “I ordain that everyone who believes in You will have everlasting life!” (Acts 13:48)
Heirship is based upon the death of another. The death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross provided the basis for our heirship. We inherit from God because Jesus Christ paid the penalty of our sins.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. (Psa 103:12)
I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins. (Isa 43:25)
We are heirs right now heirs because of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ; heirs because we have received Him as Lord and Savior and have been made sons of God through faith in Him; heirs because of a relationship; heirs because of regeneration; heirs because of our union with the Person of Jesus Christ!
Blueprinter of the ages
In these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. (Heb 1:2)
This is not only referring to the universe and the galaxies about us, but to the Dispensations; or ages designed by God for time. It is true that the Lord Jesus Christ created the universe, as we shall see in, (Col 1:16) and in, (Heb 1:10) but here the Lord Jesus Christ is the One who “blueprinted the ages.” Paul talks about “ages past” in, (Eph 3:5) as well as in, (Col 1:26) in, (Eph 2:7) he mentions “ages to come.” From these we know that we live in “an age.”
Even though you may not be familiar with these Dispensations, they DO exist. A Dispensation is a period or category of human history expressed in terms of Divine revelation. Dispensations constitute the DIVINE VIEWPOINT of history. God is working out His will through these periods of history; so regardless of whether we understand them or not, they do exist and there is a Divine Plan, even for time. God the Father, the Author of the Plan, designed the Dispensations around the Person of Christ.
There is a purpose for everything that happens! There is a reason for our existence; there is a reason why today every believer is a royal priest, why every believer is indwelt by the Lord Jesus Christ as well as by God the Holy Spirit; why every believer has been made an ambassador for Christ. This is a complete study in itself. Each age demonstrates to the human race, that the only solution to man’s problems; are in the Lord Jesus Christ! He not only blueprinted ages past and ages to come, but is Himself the focal point of every age!
There are many lessons to be learned from the various Dispensations. One is that perfect environment is not the solution to man’s problems. How many times have you said, “If we just had perfect environment, if we just had this, or that, then everything would be wonderful!” As a matter of fact, this is often the approach of politicians today. Sooner or later they promise the “chicken in every pot” gimmick: more Social Security for the aged; more unemployment insurance for the unemployed; better conditions for everyone. Man today continually strives for so many things because he has been brainwashed by satanic thinking into believing that improved environment will make him happy. That is as untrue as anything can be!
Even though this nation is on the decline today, we still have a wonderful environment; yet the people are not happy. They are not satisfied. Suicides, drug addiction, pornography, alcoholism and the occult (Demonism) are at an all-time high! The more material prosperity people gain, the less happiness they seem to have. The standard of living is higher here than in any other part of the globe, (For the majority of the population) and perhaps in any other time in history; yet there is little real happiness, for happiness does not come from the things that we possess. Happiness does not come from our association with people. Happiness does not come from the stimulation of praise and or approval. Happiness comes in ONLY ONE WAY, and that is by A PERSONAL FRIENDSHIP WITH GOD THE FATHER through God the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ our Lord God; and by Thinking with the grace provision of Truth!
In the first part of the Age of the Gentiles, the period of perfection, there was perfect environment, but it did not satisfy man. Perfect environment does not bring man closer to God. Under the worst conditions the world will ever know — the extreme violence of the Tribulation; the most difficult and hazardous of all times; and under the best conditions the world will ever know — the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ over a world of perfect environment — men will still turn their backs on the Lord. Regardless of external conditions, man will always have the free will to accept or reject God’s solution to his internal desolation; His Son, Jesus Christ and growth to Spiritual maturity!
The essence of God
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the Word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Heb 1:3)
We know from, (John 1:18; John 6:46; (1Ti 6:16; (1Jn 4:12) that no one has ever seen God the Father. All we know about the Godhead, we know through the Person of Jesus Christ, for He is the manifestation of the Godhead.
The words “unapproachable light” means the effulgence, or shining forth — Jesus Christ is the “shining forth” of God. Actually, this particular Greek word for “shining forth” is a technical term denoting radiation in the sense of light from an original source, which increases as it moves out into space. A “flashing forth” might better describe the word. In like manner, the more we know about the Lord Jesus Christ, the greater His glory becomes. Glory refers to His Divine essence, (As in Rom 3:23) Christ is, therefore, the “flashing forth” of Divine essence.
The revealer of God
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the Word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Heb 1:3)
“Exact representation” is literal because He is the exact image of God; He is the Revealer of God. What we know about the Father, we know from Christ, God’s love, His grace, and His judgment; and this can only be known through the Person of Jesus Christ, the visible Member of the Godhead.
The Sustainer of the universe
Here is an amazing thing: not only is He the Revealer of God, but in the same verse, it declares that He is the Sustainer of the universe. This poses quite a problem. If you know much about the universe, you are aware that numerous galaxies, hundreds of thousands of solar bodies, the planets and stars exist; and if you realize that there are literally billions of them spaced millions of light years apart, all moving at rapid rates of speed, and then you are cognizant of the tremendous traffic problem in space.
What keeps them from colliding? What keeps this universe from utter chaos? The more you know about outer space, the more you realize that Someone must have His finger on the traffic pattern; Someone must hold all of this together and that Someone is the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is further discussed in, (Col 1:17) “...by Him all things are held together.” If it were not for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sustaining us through the law of gravity on this globe, we would not be able to stay on the ground. We would float around in space, as the astronauts have demonstrated. Yet more than just sustaining the universe, Jesus Christ is sustaining US!
See now that I, I am He, And there is no God besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand! (Deut 32:39)
The Redeemer of Mankind
And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (Heb 1:3)
This is the most marvelous and astounding of all the glories of Christ! How is it that the One who created the universe, the One who is the Revealer of God, the One who is the Sustainer of the universe, the One who is omnipresent and omnipotent, this great God, the eternal King, the everlasting Sovereign, could come to this earth and take upon Himself the form of inferior man? Why did He become humanity? Why did He become incarnate? There could be only one answer — because His integrity compelled Him to do so! God’s integrity, or holiness, is composed of His righteousness and justice. Righteousness demands righteousness; justice demands justice. What righteousness demands, justice executes! There was a way for man to be saved from the condemnation of sin, and Christ, out of love for His own integrity, executed the Father’s perfect Plan for our Salvation! Adam’s sin had catapulted the human race into Spiritual death; Christ became flesh to pay the penalty for sin and to offer man eternal life! Justice had condemned man; Christ was judged by the justice of God for our sins, so that God would be free to justify all who believe in His Son!
The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions [Imputed and judged in Christ] resulting in justification. (Rom 5:16)
Those who have accepted His substitutionary sacrifice have the positive assurance that there is no Lake of Fire judgment for them. “There is . . . no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 8:1) Since Jesus Christ has done all the WORK necessary, all that is required of us to appropriate Salvation is faith. Any other means would be an insult to the Son of God. To add anything to faith would be equivalent to saying that His work was not effective, that it was not sufficient. The only thing man does for Salvation is believe, accept what the Savior has already done for him, and by doing so, Jesus Christ receives the glory!
The glorified humanity of Christ
. . .[He] sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Heb 1:3)
When Jesus Christ sat down; He was not sitting down as God. It is true that Jesus Christ is God, and as God He is omnipresent hence, always in the presence of the Father. He has eternal fellowship with the Father and with God the Holy Spirit and is coequal with them. There was never a time when the Father, Son and Spirit, in the essence of their Deity, did not exist or did not have fellowship together; but the One who sat down at the right hand of the Father was different from the Father and different from the Spirit!
When He sat down in the Throne Room, He had just come from earth where He had provided our Salvation. And in order to provide this Salvation, there had to be some changes in God the Second Person. These changes encompass what we call the Doctrine of the Hypostatic Union. Eternal God had to become true humanity. It was man who sinned — it must be man who pays the penalty of sin! Who was qualified in all of humanity to pay the penalty of sin? All of those in Adam’s race (And we are all in Adam’s race) are born Spiritually dead. We are all born with three strikes against us — imputed sin (The sin of Adam imputed to the human race — Rom 5:18) the sin nature (Inherited from Adam; Rom 5:12) and personal sin. Therefore, none of us is qualified to purchase our own freedom from the slave market of sin or to cleanse anyone else from sin!
The greatest and most magnanimous person who ever lived is not qualified. None of the religious teachers, many of whom today are the objects of worship throughout the world, is qualified to pay the penalty of sin. Not one of them is qualified to bring us into the presence of God. Only Jesus Christ is qualified, for in His humanity He was without sin — personal, imputed or inherent! Jesus Christ was and IS perfect! He went to the Cross as a perfect man. He died there for you and for me as a sinless man! (2Co 5:21) Yes, Jesus Christ is different — He IS God and He IS man in One Person forever! He is different from all other members of the human race because of His Deity; and He is also different from the other Members of the Godhead because of His humanity.
The greatest issue this world has ever known is: did this Jesus, who died on the Cross, rise from the dead? The Salvation of the human race depends on the answer. The Word of God settles it once and for all — yes, He did — literally and physically! (Luk 24:39) His work on the Cross was vindicated in the eyes of the Father by His resurrection. But that was not the end of it. Essential as the Cross and resurrection were, important as it was for Him to be seen after the resurrection, yet even this was not sufficient; for until A MAN can stand in the presence of God, no member of the human race can stand in the presence of God!
All those who had trusted in the Son of God before His Incarnation and who had indicated their trust by offering the animal sacrifices and by the shedding of blood, were looking forward to the historic fulfillment of their shadow worship. They were looking forward to that day when Jesus Christ would die on the Cross, when He would hang there and bear our sins, satisfying the perfect character and perfect righteousness of God by His death, when He would rise from the dead and be acceptable to God the Father as a man. A man must stand in the presence of God the Father, and that man must be acceptable to God the Father. Therefore, forty days after His resurrection, Jesus Christ stood upon the Mount of Olives, and bid His disciples good-by, and departed from this earth to ascend into the presence of the Father. While the disciples were still looking up, angels descended from heaven with a message.
And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.
So the disciples were given that word of comfort by angels; but in the meantime, Jesus Christ in resurrection body was passing through the realm of Satan, “the prince of the power of the air.” (Eph 2:2) As the God-Man, He was facing a very serious crisis, for on that occasion Satan undoubtedly put his entire demonic organization into the fight, doing everything in his power to keep Christ from coming into the presence of the Father. Today we live in an age when Christians do not understand the importance of the Bible and the Thoughts of Scripture; but it is very clear that Satan understood, for there is little doubt that he exerted tremendous pressure to keep the Son of God from moving toward the Throne Room. We do not know how long it took, perhaps just a second, or maybe longer, but Jesus Christ arrived, victorious! Heaven was opened wide, the Father ushered Jesus Christ into His presence, and said, “SIT DOWN!” GOOD JOB!
But to which of the angels has He ever said, SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET? (Heb 1:13)
The LORD says to my Lord: Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet. (Psa 110:1)
When the Father said, “Sit down” to Jesus Christ, He was not saying it to His undiminished Deity, but to His humanity. By reason of the fact that Deity is omnipresent and neither sits nor stands, we know that it was the humanity of Christ which was told to sit down. This was the first time in the history of the universe that a man was ever told to SIT in the presence of the holy, just and righteous God! Do you see the significance of this dramatic moment? Do you recognize how important it was that the Father said, “Sit down at My right hand”? This is complete acceptance! This is the conclusion of the Doctrine of propitiation. This is the Father saying, “I am satisfied with This MAN!” The acceptance of Jesus Christ as a man meant the acceptance of His sacrifice, and therefore, the acceptance of all those who seek entrance into the presence of the Father through Christ!
The superiority of Christ
Having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. (Heb 1:4)
Having presented in one succinct sentence the transcendent glory of the Person of Christ, (Heb 1:3) this passage goes on to develop His superiority. The angelic creation is used as the norm, for they are the highest of all created beings. God is superior to angels. Man was created vastly inferior, but becomes positionally higher than angels at the point of Salvation through union with Christ. (Seated at the right hand of the Father) And experientially higher at Spiritual maturity. (Thinking with the Mind of Christ and the Virtue of God the Holy Spirit!) And physically; when Church Age believers receive their resurrection bodies! Although angels were created superior to the human race, in the realm of His humanity Jesus Christ BECAME superior to angels by means of His ascension and session at the right hand of the Father. In His glorified body He has obtained, or inherited a better name, a supremacy of character over angels, because the Father said to Jesus, “Sit down at my right hand.” We as believers are joint-heirs with the Son; and also inherit the supremacy of Christ.
(Heb 1:5-13) reveals seven ways in which Christ is superior to angels.
Superior in His relationship
Or to which of the angels did He ever say, YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU? And again, I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME? (Heb 1:5)
This is a quotation from, (Psa 2:7) and is part of the eternal decrees, which were a declaration made by God the Father in eternity past. “Son” is used in the New Testament only for Christ as a Member of the human race, and for those regenerate members of the human race in union with Him, who is the Body of Christ. Although angels are collectively known as “sons of God” in the plural, (Gen 6:2; Job 1:6; Job 2:1; Job 38:7) they are never individually or personally called “a son.”
For to which of the angels did He ever say, YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU? And again, I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME? (Heb 1:5)
The last half of this verse is a quotation from. (2Sa 7:14) We understand that the words “father” and “son” form a part of the language of accommodation. They are words of relationship in the human race, and while they do not adequately express relationship between the First and Second Persons of the Trinity, they do give us some idea. The First Person is the Father, the Second Person, the Son. In eternity past, when Salvation was prepared and the First Person made the Second Person the Heir of all things, this statement in, (Heb 1:5) is one of the things He said. It established the fact for us that there is a relationship between the First and Second Persons of the Trinity.
This means that we also can have a relationship with the First Person of the Trinity on the basis of relationship with Jesus Christ. We were entered into union with the Son of God by faith in Him, and as the Father and the Son are One, so we are one with the Son and with the Father. (cf. John 17:19-24) We now have a relationship with God the Father, the First Person of the Trinity, because of our position in Christ Jesus!
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; [New Nature] the old things [Old sin nature's control] passed away; behold, new things have come. [New Thoughts and Virtue; we just have to learn to use Them] (2Co 5:17)
To the praise of the glory of His grace, [Generosity] which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. (Eph 1:6)
Time after time we are brought face to face with this phrase, and always it refers to our union with Him. It further demonstrates to us that Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is a relationship with a Person — the Son of God!
Superior in His second advent
And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM. (Heb 1:6)
“When He again brings the firstborn into” [The author of Hebrews is quoting, (Psa 97:7) refers to the Second Advent. The Greek word indicates someone brought back into something; hence, Christ is brought back into the world by the Father. When Christ is brought back into the world at the Second Advent, mature believers will be brought with Him. (Heb 1:13; Rev 17:14) In the Greek this means an event in the future certain to come, but the time of the event is unknown.
There are three points connected with “the firstbegotten” or “the firstborn.”
(1) Rulership or sovereignty; Christ is the Ruler of the family of God.
(2) Priesthood; Christ is the Royal High Priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.
(3) The double portion; Christ is the Heir of all things, including two regenerate kingdoms: the Kingdom of Old Testament saints (The regenerate of Israel) and the Church.
“He says” — God the Father Commands that all the elect angels will worship Christ at the Second Advent because “operation footstool” will be completed, (Fallen angels will be removed from the earth and Satan bound) and the angelic conflict will be suspended.
Superior in His ministry
And of the angels He says. He makes the winds His messengers, [Of blessing] Flaming fire His ministers. [Of discipline] (Psa 104:4) But of the Son He says. YOUR THRONE, O GOD, IS FOREVER AND EVER, AND THE RIGHTEOUS SCEPTER IS THE SCEPTER OF HIS KINGDOM. (Psa 45:6) Quoted in, (Heb 1:7-8).
Angels are servants of God, as indicated by the word “ministers.” As servants of God, they are also used to administer blessings and judgment. “But” (Verse 8) introduces a contrast between Christ as sovereign and the angels as servants. Jesus Christ, by becoming the Servant of Jehovah, actually became superior to the servants in the angelic realm. Angels are servants, but Christ has a throne. As a Man, Christ has the Davidic throne. At the right hand of the Father, Christ is Ruler over the Church. When God, the First Person, addressed God, the Second Person, He addressed Him as Deity! Jesus Christ is God! And this was addressed to Jesus Christ after He became flesh and dwelt among us — He is called God! Christ rules forever, while elect angels serve forever. And just as Jesus Christ reigns forever, so Spiritually mature believers will reign with Him. (Rev 3:21)
In His humanity He was “a scepter of righteousness” perfect righteousness. This is the Doctrine of Impeccability. The perfect righteousness of Christ is contrasted to the unrighteousness of Satan, who attempts to rule the world. Satan’s world policy, first represented by the tree in the Garden, is human moral and immoral degeneracy: evil. (Gen 2:17) His “good” — religion, socialism, altruism, etc. — is actually evil, and in promoting the improvement of his domain he seeks to displace God and create a counterfeit “millennium” before Christ returns. The misery and depravity in the world are not by the devil’s design; sin is an embarrassment to him. They prove his inability to execute his plan, and he is doomed to failure because he disregards the Reality of God’s Plan and opposes; THE THINKING OF CHRIST! TRUTH!
Superior in His appointment
YOU HAVE LOVED RIGHTEOUSNESS [Being filled with God the Holy Spirit and Thinking with Truth] AND HATED LAWLESSNESS; [Satan's thinking] THEREFORE GOD, YOUR GOD, HAS ANOINTED YOU WITH THE OIL OF GLADNESS ABOVE YOUR COMPANIONS. (Heb 1:9)
While the Lord Jesus Christ was here on earth in the flesh; He always chose the righteous Plan of God the Father rather than the iniquitous plan of Satan! As revealed by the Satanic temptations of, (Matt 4:1-11) the plan of Satan was to persuade the incarnate Christ to act independently of the Father’s Plan to bypass the Cross and take the crown. (As Satan is still offering US today) In God’s Plan, the Cross must come before the crown. But because Jesus Christ “set His face like a flint,” (Isa 50:4-10) and would not be moved from the Plan of the Cross; THEREFORE GOD, YOUR GOD, HAS ANOINTED YOU WITH THE OIL OF GLADNESS ABOVE YOUR COMPANIONS. [Maximum Spiritual happiness]
During the ministry of Christ on earth, God the Holy Spirit indwelt His humanity. Christ voluntarily restricted the independent use of His own Divine attributes, depending completely upon the power of God the Holy Spirit to perform miracles and to live in a manner as a man, pleasing to God. He used His omniscience, but not to benefit Himself. He was empowered “ABOVE HIS COMPANIONS..” Having the same God the Holy Spirit indwelling us, we can be empowered and controlled by the “Oil of Gladness” also!
Superior as creator
Of old You founded the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not come to an end. (Psa 102:25-27) Quotation from, (Heb 1:10-12)
All that you can see, as well as all that you cannot see, came into existence by the Lord Jesus Christ! (Isa 44:24; John 1:3; Col 1:16) Furthermore, it says that they came into existence by His hands. It was His hands that created the universe; it was His hands that moved, and everything came into being.
Yet those same hands were nailed on Calvary’s Cross that you and I might have life eternal! I cannot explain it! It is AMAZING GRACE! How could Jesus Christ do that for me? How could the hand that created the universe be nailed to Calvary’s Cross? Jesus Himself cried, “They have pierced My hands and my feet!” He did it because He loved you and me! Jesus Christ had an appointment with death so that you and I might have life. Every member of the human race has an appointment with death. Christ kept His appointment. Will you?
And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, (Heb 9:27)
If you accept Christ’s judgment as a substitute for your own; BEFORE you die, you will never have to keep the appointment to judgment AFTER you die!
Superior in His character
Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed. (Psa 102:26) Quoted in, (Heb 1:11).
After the Millennial reign of Christ the heavens in their present form will be destroyed. (Matt 24:35; (2Pe 3:12-13; Rev 20:11; Rev 21:1)
But the Lord Jesus Christ IS “the same, yesterday, today and forever.” (Heb 13:8) As clothes wear out, so shall creation; but not the Lord Jesus Christ. “From everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” (Psa 90:2)
AND LIKE A MANTLE YOU WILL ROLL THEM UP; LIKE A GARMENT THEY WILL ALSO BE CHANGED. BUT YOU ARE THE SAME, AND YOUR YEARS WILL NOT COME TO AN END." [Quotation from Psa 102:27) (Heb 1:12)
A time is coming when the universe as we know it now will be destroyed; and the Lord Jesus Christ will bring a new one into existence! Nature is at the mercy of Christ, but He is never at the mercy of nature. “For I the Lord, do not change!” (Mal 3:6)
Superior in His position
But to which of the angels has He ever said, SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND, UNTIL I MAKE YOUR ENEMIES A FOOTSTOOL FOR YOUR FEET? (Heb 1:13)
The answer is — none! Since He did not say this to any of the angels, here is almost a paradox. Man is an inferior creation to angels, but Jesus Christ THE MAN is superior to angels. We know this because the Father never said to any angel, “Sit on my right hand.” He said it to a man the Lord Jesus Christ.
“On My right hand” is the place of highest honor. Christ the MAN is placed above the angels — the most dramatic moment in the history of the universe, for the angelic conflict was won by Jesus Christ, THE MAN. (cf. 1Pe 3:22) He is to sit there until the Second Advent, at which time “operation footstool” will be completed. His enemies, Satan and all fallen angels, will be removed from the earth, (Zec 13:2; Col 2:15; (1Co 15:24-25) paving the way for the perfect environment of the Millennium.
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit Salvation? (Heb 1:14)
Angels, who were created superior to us, now minister to those who are believers in Christ! Because of our position in Christ, in union with Him, because we are heirs with Him, the angels who were once superior to us are now inferior. The angels serve us, even as we serve Jesus Christ.
That introduces a most interesting subject — the Doctrine of the Guardian Angel. This passage indicates that every believer has at least one guardian angel. I do not know about you, but there are times when I would like to converse with my guardian angel. I am going to have a talk with him some day in heaven. I would like to find out how many “close shaves” I have had that I was not even aware of. It should prove to be very interesting!
The Kingdom of God
The Superiority of Christ and its many ramifications are manifest throughout the entire Book of Hebrews. But let’s move now to a closely related portion of Scripture, (Col 1:12-20) which reveals the exaltation of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings, the preeminent Ruler over the Kingdom of God.
Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. (Col 1:12)
Union with Christ is the foundation for every Spiritual blessing in the Christian life and is the basis on which we become children of God the Father. “You are all the children of God BY FAITH in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:26) There is no such thing as the universal Fatherhood of God (In relationship; but is true in origin) or the universal brotherhood of man! “Giving thanks unto the Father” is for believers only, and as believers we have much for which to be thankful. Jesus Christ is the “Heir of all things,” (Heb 1:2) and by reason of our Salvation, the Father qualifies us to be partners in His inheritance.
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. (Col 1:13)
In addition to qualifying us for a share in Christ’s inheritance, the Father is able to take people from one kingdom (The kingdom of darkness — Spiritual death) and transfer them into another Kingdom. (The Kingdom of Christ — Spiritually alive and members of the family of God) Russia in a sense has tried the same thing. They have taken people from one nationality and transplanted them in another place in an attempt to completely change their pattern of thinking and behavior. But you cannot change individual characteristics begun at birth. That is the point here: you cannot completely transform a person WITHOUT BIRTH. We are transferred to a new Kingdom by a NEW BIRTH.
We were born physically under the authority of darkness — insecurity, confusion, instability, uncertainty and fear. There is no fellowship with God in the kingdom of darkness — only Spiritual death. (Separation from God) “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23) Sin is darkness and the penalty for sin is Spiritual death. Jesus Christ paid the penalty at the Cross in order that we might be transferred out of the kingdom of darkness.
There is no happiness in this kingdom. Unbelievers and believers living in carnality are constantly seeking new ways for obtaining happiness. How tragic it all is, for there is no way to find lasting happiness in the kingdom of darkness! Yet today, as always, while millions of people are struggling for peace or power or for the approbation of men, all they succeed in doing is to grasp at straws and they are miserable! But when one trusts in Jesus Christ, he is immediately translated out of that miserable darkness into a new Kingdom, and his whole outlook starts to change. You can begin to see where this is the basis for the continuation of thanksgiving.
If you can understand the aorist tense of “transferred us,” as well as the true meaning of this verb in the Greek, you can understand eternal life without ever going to another passage. We are transferred “once and for all,” which means that we cannot be transferred back again. The Greek word also conveys the idea of removing people from their native land and putting them in a colony which is in a better location not Siberia! So we have been transferred once and for all out of our native state of sin and place of no fellowship with God into a perfect place, a perfect Kingdom, where we have the righteousness of God credited to our account; where we possess eternal life; where our sins, past, present and future, have been blotted out, removed by the Son of God on the Cross; where we are sure of a resurrection body; where we are certain of living in His presence; and as mature believers reigning with the King of Kings forever and ever; where we can be sure of peace and power and stability and security in this life as well! We have been transferred out of a situation that is hopeless and desperate to a status that is wonderful and secure! It is called literally, “the kingdom of His beloved Son.”
As long as there has ever been anything in existence (And there has always been God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit) the First Person has loved the Second Person. God the Father has loved God the Son eternally. He has always been the focal point of His love; the infinite love of the Father has always been poured out upon His Son. This Kingdom into which we have been transferred is a Kingdom of regenerate creatures in union with Christ.
Being in union with Christ means that we are the recipients of the same Divine love that has always existed on the part of the Father for His Son. This Kingdom is position in Christ or union with Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ has said, “I in you and you in Me.” (John 14:20) We are IN CHRIST, and this is the NEW KINGDOM; this is Christianity; this is the Church. Here it is called a Kingdom. And it is called “the kingdom of His beloved Son,” because the primary factor in that Kingdom, the primary basis of assurance, the basis of every Promise, the basis of every marvelous thing we have from the Lord, is the fact that we are the objects of the same love that has always existed; the eternal love of the Father for the Son; and that is the kind of love that is directed toward us. Since that kind of love is directed toward us from the Father, even if we did not have the thousands of Promises in the Word, even if we did not have the Truth which we do have, we would still know that our life has a purpose, that our future is secure and that nothing can ever change it!
The King of Kings
We might very well wonder how it is possible for the Father to transfer us into such a marvelous Kingdom. The answer is found in the nature of the King of Kings. Beginning with (Col 1:14) we have several facts concerning the incomparable, preeminent Person of the King of Kings.
In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:14)
To be the Redeemer, Jesus Christ had to come to this earth; He had to become the Last Adam. He came as a perfect man through the virgin birth. The sin nature, or “old self,” (Col 3:9) originated with Adam and is passed down through the man; therefore, to be born without the sin nature, one must be born without a human father. The virgin-born Son of God is the ONLY Person who has ever lived upon the face of this earth since Adam sinned, who was a perfect, sinless Man, and therefore, under the Truth of redemption, a free Man. He was the only Person who was not born in the slave market of sin, and therefore, the only Person qualified to purchase the freedom of the slaves on the inside.
Only a free man can free a slave, and the only FREE MAN is Jesus Christ. He came as a free man, He went to the Cross as a free man, and as a sinless man bore our sins. He paid in full for every sin we could ever commit. Those who accept His ransom can now be in a new Kingdom because He purchased their freedom. We are free from the bondage of sin. We have been transferred as those who are free men because Jesus Christ paid for our freedom. We are therefore in a new Kingdom today because the King of Kings is our Redeemer.
Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. (1Pe 1:18-19)
The visible image of God
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. (Col 1:15)
Here is the remarkable character of Jesus Christ; Deity and humanity in One Person! The first phrase asserts His Deity, while the second is an expression of His humanity. He is said to be “the EXACT image of the invisible God.” The absence of the definite article calls attention to and emphasizes the nature of the person. Thus, it declares emphatically and unequivocally that JESUS CHRIST IS ETERNAL GOD, coequal with the Father and coequal with the Spirit. He is exactly the same in essence; (Col 1:15) perfect in His Deity, and subsequently when He completed the new nature by reaching Spiritual maturity; then He became the first born of the new creation in resurrection body; the exact image of the Thinking and Virtue of God!
All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. (Matt 11:27)
The Creator of the universe
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. (Col 1:16)
Jesus Christ is omnipotent and omniscient, the One responsible for creating the original universe. His fingers moved, and everything came into existence.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; (Psa 8:3)
He created everything from the individual atoms to galaxies of stars with the snap of His fingers. The aorist tense tells us that it was accomplished in a moment of time less than a second. But when it came to providing our Salvation, the Scripture declares that this was “arm” work. (Isa 59:16) The creation of the universe was as nothing in comparison! In (Isa 53:1) we read, “Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?” the “Arm of the Lord” is a Messianic title in connection with our Salvation. It was arm work to go to the Cross and die for us. If He had the power to create the universe by snapping His fingers, and if He were able to accomplish the even greater work of Salvation, then certainly He has the power to provide a new creation, a Kingdom of born-again believers, and to continue that Kingdom forever and ever! (So He must be able to supply our daily needs!)
In the second occurrence of the word “created” in, (Col 1:16) the tense changes to the perfect tense: “created in the past with results that go on forever.” Actually in this tense the universe becomes an exhibit or an evidence of the power and might of the King of Kings. It was created by Him and “for Him,” to bring many angels and humans into His family; to love Him and to be loved by Him!
The Sustainer of the universe
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. (Col 1:17)
Jesus Christ sustains the universe! When you understand this tremendous Principle, you can see that scientific laws cannot be true laws because science has no way of enforcing them or even guaranteeing that they will continue to operate! Science is merely an observation of the consistency of Jesus Christ. But Scripture affirms that the universe with its matter, energy and laws will not always exist. (2Pe 3:12-13; Rev 20:11) Known scientific laws depend entirely on the omnipotence and immutability of God. Every text on the pattern of the universe and the “Laws of Science” is a Treatise on the faithfulness of Christ who holds all things together “by the word of His power” (Heb 1:3)
His reason for holding all the galaxies in their places, for keeping the traffic of the universe on its course, is so that He “might bring many sons into glory.” (Heb 2:10) So that grace might run its full course, Jesus is keeping the universe together. The laws of the universe define God’s faithfulness in time. They can be changed, overruled or removed and have been. Only the Promises of the Word are absolutely unchangeable. God has not Promised to maintain the universe in its present state; but the believer in Jesus Christ under the Promises of God will survive the destruction of the universe. Thus, scientific laws are simply the faithfulness of Jesus Christ holding back eternity so that the human race will have the opportunity to appropriate the grace of God at the point of the Cross. The completion of the Plan of God will bring glory to God forever!
Did you ever stop to think that while the humanity of Christ was bearing our sins on Calvary’s Cross the Deity of Christ was still controlling the universe? Otherwise, the millions of stars and planets would have simply disintegrated. Tremendous, isn’t it? Do you begin to see something of the One to whom you and I are related? It makes us realize how great and how wonderful our Redeemer really is. Nothing is too great for Him. “With Him, nothing shall be impossible” (Luk 1:37)
Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself And spreading out the earth all alone! (Isa 44:24)
The Ruler of the church
He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. (Col 1:18)
Verse 18 presents the Lord Jesus Christ as the sovereign Ruler of the Church and sets forth a threefold description of His rulership.
(1) The Head of the Body. The Church, referring here to the Universal Church, (Rom 12:5; (1Co 12:12-13; Eph 1:22-23; Eph 5:23) made up of all believers in Jesus Christ, is often described as a body, because the body has function and action. The human body also produces power; and in carrying out the analogy, the Body of Christ, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, has power and impact for the Lord Jesus Christ.
The head is the area where the brain is located, and while the body has function and motion, coordination and power, each of these depends upon certain parts of the brain — not only the right and left lobes, but the motor parts of the brain as well. In like manner, Jesus Christ, as the Ruler of the Church, sets up the policy and provides the power whereby the body functions to the glory of God.
(2) The Origin of the Church. Jesus Christ is called, literally, “the beginning Who IS the beginning.” The word for “beginning” here means “origin.” Christ is the origin of the Church through His death, burial, resurrection, ascension and session. These formed the foundation for the Church.
(3) The Firstborn from the Dead. We have already seen that “firstborn” denotes three responsibilities and privileges of leadership: sovereignty, priesthood, heirship or the double portion. By resurrection, the humanity of Christ became the sovereign Ruler of the Church, emphasizing His ministry of intercession for the saints. And He became the Heir of the new Spiritual creation, in the sense of providing for the existence of the royal priesthood; as a regenerate kingdom which will always exist.
The King of Kings preeminent
(Col 1:18) concludes with a purpose clause: “that in all things He might have the preeminence.” In the Plan of God it is the purpose of the Father for the Lord Jesus Christ to have the place of preeminence. “Preeminence” is translated as a noun, but it is actually a present active participle, meaning “the one who holds first place.” It was used to describe athletes who had won the various events at the Olympic, Pythian, Isthmian or Nemean games, which were the great athletic events of the ancient world. The winners were those “who held first place.” It was also occasionally used to describe the mayor of a city or a ruler of a country. It is used here for the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who constantly holds first place.
The Scripture declares Jesus Christ to be preeminent. But whether or not He is preeminent in the life of the individual believer depends upon the growth level called: “Occupation with the Person of Jesus Christ.” The believer who is not growing and or not Occupied with Christ, is a very miserable person, no matter who he is or what he has. If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and you have your eyes on yourself, you are guaranteed misery. A close companion of “eyes on self” is “eyes on other people.” These two usually coordinate and run together! (Rev 22:15)
If you have your eyes on yourself, you also have a tendency to get your eyes on other people, for you interpret people in the light of your sensitivity.
Too many believers are ultra-sensitive to what other people think and consequently are utterly and totally miserable. You will never have strength, power, or blessing until you come to the place of Occupation with Christ, until He is truly the One who holds first place in your life! Furthermore, the moment you get your eyes on self and begin to feel sorry for yourself or to magnify yourself, the moment you get your eyes on people and get upset whenever someone crosses you, the moment you get your eyes on things and or circumstances, then you have become vulnerable for Satanic attack.
How may you as a believer become Occupied with Christ so that He constantly holds first place in your life? First, Occupation with Christ is based on knowledge of Truth. You can neither know nor love Jesus Christ unless you know Truth and are filled with God the Holy Spirit! (John 4:23-24) These two things are prerequisite to Occupation with the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are ignorant of Truth, you will never be Occupied with Christ. If you do not log a maximum amount of time in the filling of God the Holy Spirit, you will never be Occupied with the Lord Jesus Christ! Occupation with Christ is absolutely vital and necessary if you are to have any happiness or any peace as a Christian.
Perhaps some preacher or evangelist has suggested in some way or other that you will be happy all your life if you will just accept Christ as Savior. But the single act of Salvation does not guarantee the moment-by-moment experience of happiness, regardless of circumstances; which is a monopoly of Spiritual maturity! Apart from Occupation with the Lord Jesus Christ, this kind of happiness does not exist. (Col 1:18) is the crossroad of that Principle — “that He might have the first place!” It is a phrase for the attainment of Occupation with the Person of Christ; and the mature Christian life.
Here is an experience that stops Satan in his tracks — Jesus Christ takes the preeminence; but only in the point of time when you are filled with God the Holy Spirit and Occupied with Christ as a mature believer; is His preeminence a Reality in your life. Once you become a Christian, the Standard of happiness is based — not upon any human factor in life, not upon the thoughts of human life that the world counts important, but upon Occupation with Christ and the resultant preeminence of the Lord in your life! (The Word; God's own Thinking is to rule our Thoughts in EVERY AREA; money, family life, relationships, job, entertainment, Etc.) Since, along with Salvation, it is a part of the Father’s Plan that Christ should always have first place, this is the only way a believer can have a permanent happiness!
The possessor of Divine attributes
For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, (Col 1:19)
Here is where the preeminence of Christ begins. The Father is pleased that “all the fullness” should dwell in the Person of Jesus Christ. “Fullness” is the sum total of all Divine power and attributes of God residing in the Person of Christ. Our happiness begins with the fact that God the Father is pleased with one Member of the human race, and since the believer is “in Him,” these words mean a potential Spiritual happiness for every Christian.
All believers have the potential to possess happiness. There is no excuse why every believer should not have perfect orientation, peace and happiness under every circumstance of life, whether it be success or failure, difficulty or blessing! The joy or happiness which belongs to Christ is available, but it depends upon our Understanding and use of Truth. Positionally, this fullness belongs to you and to me; but experientially, it depends upon the techniques of the filling of God the Holy Spirit and Occupation with Christ through Truth in the right lobe, which results in the construction of the edification complex; the temple of the soul; the mature Christian life.
Can you look back over the past week and say, “In every set of circumstances Christ has been preeminent”? If you cannot, it is time for rebound and the filling of God the Holy Spirit, followed by Occupation with Christ! Only then can He be preeminent; only then can He be glorified. Christ cannot be glorified before the unbeliever until He is glorified in your life! (2Co 3:17-18)
A personal challenge
And through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, (Col 1:20-21)
Alienated from God and in a continuous state of estrangement since the time of Adam’s sin, all mankind is under the condemnation and wrath of God, and therefore, separated from fellowship with Him. This Verse goes even a step further to indict the thoughts of mankind as at enmity with God! The area of the unbeliever and believer's hostility is in the mind! Human thinking is hostile to God! (Rom 8:7-8) Furthermore, no work of the unbeliever is acceptable to God. All human moral and immoral production is relegated to the category of “sin nature dead works.” “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags...” (Isa 64:6) There are six strikes against every person born into the world, which constitute an impassable Barrier between God and man.
This Barrier consists of: http://dictionaryofdoctrine.com/files/The Barrier.jpg
(1) Sin; the sin which was imputed to the human race through the sin of Adam, the sin nature inherited from Adam, and personal sins. (Isa 59:2; Jer 17:9; Rom 3:23)
(2) The penalty of sin, which is Spiritual death. (Rom 5:12; Rom 6:23)
(3) Physical birth; all are born Spiritually dead. (Eph 2:1)
(4) Relative righteousness: human moral / immoral human production; which does not and cannot measure up to the righteousness of God! (Rom 3:23; Isa 64:6; Prov 14:12)
(5) The essence of God: God is a just, righteous and holy God who cannot have fellowship with sin or sinful man! (Psa 24:3) His perfect justice demands that a penalty be paid for sin. (Rom 6:23)
(6) Position in Adam. By reason of Adam’s willful disobedience, his Spiritual death and limited physical existence have placed an insurmountable obstacle between man and his Creator — physical life! (1Co 15:22)
Although the Barrier has been raised since the time of Adam, Jesus Christ has made peace; He has established harmony between the two parties at enmity with one another God and man. Man is reconciled to God on the basis of the work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, (Eph 2:16-17) Christ made the way for man to be made compatible with Himself. Reconciliation is the removal of the Barrier between man and God. It is the work of God through the death of Christ by which sinful man can be in Spiritual fellowship and Virtue; harmony with God; by reaching SPIRITUAL MATURITY! (Gal 5:22-23) The agency by which reconciliation took place was “through the blood of His Cross.” The total Concept of Salvation encompasses six Doctrines by which the Barrier was removed, one for each of the six strikes against man.
(1) REDEMPTION: Removal of the Barrier of bondage to sin and slavery to the sin nature; the price being the valuable work of Christ (1Pe 1:18-19; Gal 3:13; Eph 1:7)
(2) EXPIATION: The payment demanded for sin was paid by the death of Christ, “blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us.” (Col 2:14)
(3) REGENERATION: The new birth quickens or gives life to those who were “dead in trespasses and sins,” enabling them to be born into the family of God.
(4) IMPUTATION and JUSTIFICATION: The solution to the problem of relative righteousness. The perfect righteousness of Christ is credited to the account of the believer (Rom 3:22; Rom 4:2; (2Co 5:21) On the basis of imputation, God is free to justify the believer because he has the righteousness of God. (Rom 4:25; Rom 5:1; Gal 2:16)
(5) PROPITIATION: The death of Christ satisfied the righteousness and justice of God, making it possible for God to be just in justifying the sinner and allowing Him to act in our best interest. (Rom 3:23-25; (1Jn 2:1-2; Rom 4:10)
(6) POSITION IN CHRIST: The death of Christ enables man to be placed in a new position “in Christ,” severing his old relationship to Adam. (Eph 1:3-6; (2Co 5:17; (1Co 15:22) Thus, the last Barrier is removed and man is reconciled.
The “blood of His Cross” is the sum total of all these Doctrines and adds up to “reconciliation.” The work is done, peace is made, reconciliation has been provided, the Cross of Christ has removed the Barrier and satisfied every just claim which God had against us, so that every member of the human race can be saved. In place of the Barrier, Jesus Christ now stands between God and man as the Way to eternal life. The One who removed the Barrier “through the blood of His Cross” becomes the Door through which all may enter into eternal relationship with God! Jesus said, “I am the door: by Me if any man enter in. He shall be saved . . .” (John 10:9)
The way has been opened for all to enter, and we enter by personal faith in the Son of God. Justification, redemption, expiation, regeneration, propitiation and eternal life become our personal possessions when we BELIEVE in the Lord Jesus Christ.
But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us Wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption. (1Co 1:30)
But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, (Rom 4:5)
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. (John 6:47)
And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood--and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father--to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Rev 1:5-6)