A previous article, The Crucifixion of Jesus, focused the death of Jesus Christ as a historical event which took place outside of Jerusalem in April 30 AD. That six-hour time interval was evidently a gate, a portal between time and eternity. Through that gate, the Son of God, the Sin Bearer, carried out of the universe all human sin, death, and evil. That finished work sent ripples into Time Past and Time Future, effecting the entire universe. The proof of this is attested to in a number of passages in the Bible.
This article is drawn from previous articles which are referenced in the links. My articles are not copyrighted, so Help Thyself. The intended audience is younger persons. You emails are welcome; I answer emails myself since I am one man and not a church. My authority is the Bible. This article presupposes an understanding of time and eternity.
"God is Spirit and those who worship Him, must worship in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24)
The One, true God is a self-disclosing living Being who is known only because He is also self-revealing.
The revelation of God concerning Himself has been progressive in time, with more coming soon.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, ‘This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” ’) From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known." (John 1:1-18)
If we could walk back in time from now to the beginning of our known universe, one day at time, we'd encounter two major discontinuities, About 4226 years ago, a devastating world-wide Flood occurred reducing the population from many billions down to only eight persons (2 couples).
It's About Time
Articles on Creation
What is Revelation from God?
The Limit of Science
The Uniqueness of Creation Week
World Population Since Creation
Population of the PreFlood World
On the Great Flood of Noah
All life comes from God! He is the Author of Life. No wonder people start to die when we are cut-off from the Life-Giver. "Eternal Life" is life restored, reconnected with God.
"Eternal Life" is the present possession of every true follower of Jesus! Jesus said, "...you (God the Father) have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." (John 17:2,3).
Jesus had said more about this earlier, "Amen, Amen, I tell you, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgement, but has passed from death to life. Amen Amen, I tell you, the hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; and he has given him authority to execute judgement, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." (John 5:24-29)
From Ray Stedman: I’m sure most, if not all of you, are in full agreement with the fact that the Cross is the central theme of redemption. The Scriptures clearly indicate that though the teaching of Jesus was profound and world-shaking in its implications, no one is saved by the teaching of Jesus. We are saved by his death upon the cross and his subsequent resurrection. The gospel, the good news, is not that Jesus taught wonderful truths, but that he died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried and rose again from the dead according to the Scriptures. That’s the gospel. That is the reason why as you read through the four Gospels you will find that every one of them devotes by far the largest percentage of treatment to the last week of Jesus, rather than his three preceding years of ministry. There is an account of his teaching, of his travels up and down the length of Palestine, his ministry in training the twelve disciples, sending out seventy others, etc. There are many stories that gather about that ministry, of his miracles and the effect he had on the people, but when it moves to the account of the crucifixion, of Jesus’ death, the majority of the gospels is devoted to that. That last week becomes the central focus of each of the gospels.
I think in order to understand the Atonement we might take a look at what I believe is one of the clearest passages in the Scriptures that teaches it, Paul’s treatise in Romans chapter three. In this epistle to the Romans, the apostle spends the first three chapters showing how the human race is absolutely hopeless and helpless apart from the redemption provided in Christ. There is no way for anyone to be saved apart from the work of Jesus. He is showing us the lost condition of the race.
By the way, Calvinists summarize the heart of Calvinist teaching with the word TULIP. We’re going to look at that in some detail, but the first of these would be what we are talking about right now: the total depravity of human beings. That is what Paul establishes in the first three chapters of Romans, up to verse twenty-one. His conclusion (NIV) is:
“There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.” (That doesn’t mean they don’t pursue small gods, but no one seeks the real God, because the effect of seeking him is to find themselves condemned. That’s why men turn away, as Paul goes on to say): “All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (And don’t mentally add: ‘except me’.) Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
This is an excellent summary of what is meant by “total depravity.” It doesn’t mean man cannot do what looks good in his own eyes, or in the eyes of others. There are many apparently wonderful, charitable deeds and merciful acts performed by total unbelievers, which appear to us very good things, but remember God is looking at the heart. He sees the motive behind these things, and what may look like a very good deed to us is oftentimes a very evil deed in God’s eyes, because the motive is wrong. There are many who point out that when Jesus died upon the cross he satisfied the justice of God. That is true. He did. But he did more than that, and it is an incomplete view of the atonement to just use expiation as explanation of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. He did satisfy God’s justice, so that God no longer has a just claim against those who believe in Christ. But it goes further than that. What Jesus did was propitiate God.
Propitiation, if I may return to my illustration, could only be accomplished with great difficulty by the company in that situation. You see when they satisfied justice, that said nothing about how the injured man felt about the company. He might be very bitter and angry the rest of his life. He might regard that company as disgraced from then on, and though their guilt has been expiated, the man himself has not been propitiated. If somehow the company owners could come and apologize to him and tell him how sorry they felt, and that they had taken steps to assure it would never happen again, and apologized to such a degree that the man felt they were clear in their intent, and he then forgave them—then he had been propitiated. He had been made to feel right toward the company. He now regards it with favor. He sees it was accidental and they had no intent to allow the accident to happen, so he feels right about it. That is propitiation.
That is really the word used here: a propitiatory sacrifice. Our Lord when he died not only satisfied God’s justice, but he rendered him free to show his love. That is why in chapter five of Romans Paul will add: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God is free to show his love to us; that is propitiation. So we are justified freely. God presented him as a propitiatory sacrifice through faith in his blood.
Now Paul goes on to further explain, “He did this to further demonstrate his justice. Because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.” What is he talking about? He is talking about the ages in which people had run rampant on the earth, and God seemingly did nothing about it. You see, the last time in history to this point where the anger and justice of God had been demonstrated against sin, was the Flood, which was God wiping out the race because it was so evil. Their evil had become so blatant and rampant that God decided to eliminate humanity from the planet, except for eight people. Thus his justice was demonstrated.
Now many centuries after the flood, evil was running wild throughout the earth, tyrants were ruling, people were murdering and raping one another, stealing properties and damaging people, and God seemingly did nothing about it. Still today people raise questions about the Holocaust. They ask how a just God could permit Hitler to exterminate six million innocent Jews and not do anything about it. His justice is being impugned by these circumstances. Now how did the cross satisfy that justice? We are told that on the innocent head of Jesus, the sinless person, God poured out the total amount of his wrath. This is why Jesus feared the cross. He was no coward; it wasn’t the physical agony of it that he feared, terrible as that was. There was no more shameful or painful death that man has ever devised than crucifixion. It’s a prolonged agony that cannot be relieved. You can’t think of any agony more unbearable than crucifixion. But that isn’t what Jesus feared. Other men have been crucified. Peter was crucified upside down because he felt unworthy to die the death that Jesus did.
But what made Jesus sweat blood in the Garden of Gethsemane was not the agony of the cross, but the sense of forsakenness from God that he knew was involved in bearing the sins of the race. God turned his back upon his own beloved Son, and that is what drew the cry of dereliction from our Lord’s lips: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” That sense of abandonment and alienation by God is the most awful thing any human being can contemplate. That’s what hell is, that sense of abandonment by God, cast into outer darkness forever alone. That’s the terror of it, and that is what Jesus faced on the cross. Thus the justice of God was visibly demonstrated in that God did not spare his own Son one iota of his wrath. Paul says this in Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
So that is what Paul is referring to. “He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” How can God still be just, yet declare guiltless someone who is very guilty indeed? A just God could never do that, unless his justice had somehow been satisfied. This is the wonder of the gospel, that God has found a way in which he can expiate the sin of man, propitiate the being of the Father, thus establishing that God remains just when he justifies the ungodly. I think there is no clearer explanation of the gospel than that.
There are many passages that deal with the Atonement, statements that run throughout the Old and New Testaments. Peter says “he bore our sins in his own body upon the tree”, and Hebrews speaks of how “he has by himself purged our sins” and shed his blood for the remission of sins. Another passage often referred to in this connection is the great theological statement in Philippians 2: 5-8 (NIV): -- Concerning Redemption, by Ray C. Stedman.
"God controls the government of the universe," said John Calvin. "No wind ever arises or increases except by God's express command." Further, "since angels are the powers of God, it follows that they never cease from their office of working. For God never can rest: he sustains the world by his energy, he governs everything however minute, so that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without his decree (Matthew 10:29)...God works continually by angels...so that all creatures are animated by angelic motion: not that there is a conversion of the angel into an ox or a man, but because God exerts and diffuses his energy in a secret manner, so that no creature is content with his own peculiar vigor, but is animated by angels themselves."
Martin Luther, as usual more pithy and direct, took seriously the psalmist's statement that the wind has wings. After a particularly severe and violent storm, he offered his opinions on the subject:
"The devil provokes such storms, but good winds are produced by good angels. Winds are nothing but spirits, either good or evil. The devil sits there and snorts, and so do the angels when the winds are salubrious."
God and the Angels
God's Rule Through Angels
The Death Angel
In Christianity and Judaism, the Book of Life (Hebrew: ספר החיים, transliterated Sefer HaChaim; Greek: βιβλίον τῆς ζωῆς Biblíon tēs Zōēs) is the book in which God records the names of every person who is destined for Heaven and the World to Come. In the New Testament, the Book of Life is mentioned in: Philippians 4:3, Revelation 3:5, Revelation 13:8, Revelation 17:8, Revelation 20:12-15, Revelation 21:27, Revelation 22:19.
The Cosmic Record Books
"It is all preserved in God's great library. Books are used as symbols here; we would probably use video tapes. The whole record of every life is made known before all, and judgment will be based upon that. We have already seen in recent history a President of the United States who was forced to resign because of the tapes he made when he thought no unfriendly ear was listening. Here we learn that if your name is in the book of life, your deeds will have been righteous. Only those whose names are in the book of life can do righteous deeds. That is the point of this. Such deeds are done by the power and energy of the Spirit of God, not by the person himself. All other deeds are burned with fire, and only righteous deeds remain. If your name is not in the book of life, it reveals evil deeds have been done. They may look good on the outside but inwardly are tainted by the selfish, self-centered desire for prominence or power, influence or recognition." --Ray Stedman.
Life is imparted by the Father of spirits. Spirits are eternal. Is your name written in the Book of Life? At conception you received a body. Your gender was determined by a chromosome from your bio dad. Original sin came to you in the body Your soul (personality) was formed as your spirit interacted with your body and with the outside world. If you are one of God’s elect He will draw you to Himself, sometime during your life. “You must be born again.”
At the Last Judgment, other books are opened. These books are vast data bases, the work of Recording Angels. We are all Accountable! An example of the work of a recording angel can be seen in Ezekiel's record of the Destruction of Jerusalem on the 9th of Av, 586 BC.
Since no one goes seeking God, He has to seek us--each of us--this where our theological doctrines about Election come from.
|Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15 NIV)
Jesus not only promises to rid us of all our sins. He brings with Him much more.
"Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30)
"I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep." (John 10:10-15)
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him. (Isaiah 53:4-6)
All human evil is soon to be expunged from the universe by God the Eternal Father who sits in the High Throne Room of the universe.
God's sin-bearer is Jesus. Since the work of Jesus on the Cross is finished, the result is certain.
As discussed earlier, our past, present and future are "now" from His vantage point.
The present world population is 8000 million people, but the grand total for all of history is much higher--perhaps 100 billion?
Some of those who exit this life, have already, or will be divided into the eternally safe and saved or the forever lost.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
old things have passed away;
behold, all things have become new.
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ,
and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself,
not imputing their trespasses to them,
and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ,
as though God were pleading through us:
we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us,
that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
(2 Corinthians 5:17, 18)
God created living and sentient beings like man by first creating spirits, then clothing those spirits with bodies. There are many orders in the spiritual realm: human spirits, male and female human spirits, angelic orders, demons and various spirits (fallen and unfallen), higher animals (nephesh), lesser animals, birds, fishes, insects, etc. Spirits are immortal, once having been created the higher spirits live somewhere forever.
Jesus has no problems dealing with demon possessed persons. He was able to quiet wind and waves by speaking to the angelic agencies behind the weather, His pig management is amazing
The Root Causes of Violence in the World
Accidents and Disasters: Does God Care?
Entropy in the Old Creation
The Ruin of Creation
Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?
You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, “The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously”?
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves (be humbled) in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4)
Most followers of Jesus who know the Bible believe that Jesus died for sins of all men who have ever lived from Adam to the end of time. The fact that the actual death of Christ happened late in time as far as earth history is concerned is no problem for God once a person grasps the various dimensions of time described above. Jesus died for all men even though only a few (10%?) benefit by opening themselves to His rule. Everyone who ends up in hell does so by his own choice. Everyone who is in hell knows that a just and Holy God has allowed them to be there -- because they refused to respond to His love and mercy. Not just one refusal--but after a life time of saying no to the saving life of Jesus.
The Palingenesia: When human sin has been removed (and the fallen angels as well) in earth-time, the damaged creation will need much cleaning up! Jesus spoke of this coming renewal of all things. The book of Revelation also speaks of a coming "Thousand Years of Peace" and the Apostle Peter spoke of "New Heavens and New Earth!"
But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed. Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home." (2 Peter 3:8-13)
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies." (Romans 8:18-23)
The letter to the Hebrews says, "Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be ]shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:28,29) The same fires which heal, purify and warm the righteous are the consuming, everlasting burnings of Gehenna, (named after GeHinnom, the valley of Hinnom, a garbage dump outside Jerusalem), where beings who refused to become the human persons they were designed to be must finally endure the "backside" of love, which is hell. They are discarded because they have not been willing to become (by their own life-long choices) what their Designer intended them to be. In his commentary on Hebrews in which the passage, "our God is a consuming fire," is the subject of discussion, Ray C. Stedman writes,
The proper attitude of Christians must be one of awe that a Being of such majesty and glory could find a way to dwell eternally with such sin-controlled and sin-injured creatures as us. Since "our God is a consuming fire," we must cry with Isaiah, "Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?" (Isaiah 33:14). God's love is just such a fire, it destroys what it cannot purify, but purifies what it cannot destroy. In Jesus we have a relationship that cannot be destroyed (Romans 8:38-39). Our great king is leading us through trials and difficulties in order that we may at last cry with Job, "He knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold" (Job 23:10 KJV). Hebrews IVP Commentary, The Ray C. Stedman Library
In spite of our outward circumstances and the downward spiral of moral, economic, political, and social conditions over the face of the earth, the Good News of the Bible is that evil has already been dethroned and its power over mankind and nature broken. The new creation is as inevitable as springtime's greening and blossoming. The loving heart of God our Father longs for us to accept his mercy, his forgiveness and mercy. He has gone to infinite lengths to make provision for us in the cosmic sacrifice of the Son of His love.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. He who believes in him is not condemned; he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God." (John 3:16-21)
The Man in Charge of the Universe
|"The teaching of the New Testament is that now, at this very moment, there is a Man in heaven appearing in the presence of God for us. He is as certainly a man as was Adam or Moses or Paul; he is a man glorified, but his glorification did not de-humanize him. Today he is a real man, of the race of mankind, bearing our lineaments and dimensions, a visible and audible man, whom any other man would recognize instantly as one of us. "But more than this, he is the heir of all things, Lord of all lords, head of the church, firstborn of the new creation. He is the way to God, the life of the believer, the hope of Israel, and the high priest of every true worshiper. He holds the keys of death and hell, and stands as advocate and surety for everyone who believes on him in truth. Salvation comes not by accepting the finished work, or deciding for Christ; it comes by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, the whole, living, victorious Lord who, as God and man, fought our fight and won it, accepted our debt as his own and paid it, took our sins and died under them, and rose again to set us free. This is the true Christ; nothing less will do." (A.W. Tozer)
The Onion and the Lake of Fire
The Exchanged Life
Software not Hardware
Nekrosis and Thanatos (Dying and Death)
The Excluded Ones
The Management of the Universe
The Left Hand of God
The Second Psalm
The Real Jesus
Jesus, The Light of the World
Lambert's Other Diverse Musical Selections
Notes by Lambert Dolphin
Email is welcome
Lambert Dolphin's Place
Recent and Recovered Articles
Newsletters Old and New