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Why did Jesus die?
query on a text:
9 Wherefore[for this reason] God also has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father.
Why did Jesus die?
The definitive answer to that question is in the following Scripture.
1 Corinthians 15:
In these verses we have the short answer. But what of the when, where and how?
Jesus the Christ is both the Son of God and the Son of man. It was as the Son of man that He walked on earth and did His miracles.
It was as the Son of man that He died at Calvary.
It is as the Son of man that He will come the second time.
But what of the Son of God?
So He refused to do the action of the Son of God.
Evil angels and men recognised Him as the Son of God, but He did not want it spread abroad.
In His life on earth He wanted to be SEEN as a Christian man, not a God. A Christian under the guidance of the Spirit of God – a Christian being given the ability to do and say Christian things.
Of what benefit then is it to us that He is the Son of God?
Now we get to the heart of the matter.
It is the Son of God, an immortal Being, who is our Saviour. That which the Son of man did at Calvary was a repetition of that which He had already done in the Garden of Eden as the Son of God.
It was when Adam and Eve sinned and needed a Saviour that He stepped in and took the burden of their sin upon Himself. It was NOT the ACTION of sin that He took, for that can be forgiven – it was what came from that action that He removed from them – a sinful disobedient nature.
This why the Son of God, the immortal Being who thought it not robbery to be equal with the Father, died! Philippians 2:6. He "died" as only a God can "die" and in so doing took upon Himself the evil of sin. When He removed the sinful natures from Adam and Eve there was left in them a vacuum which needed to be filled. So He took a part of His divine nature and gave it to them in exchange! A life for a life!
When He took the sinful nature of Adam, He kept it in Himself as we keep the germs of disease. Because He is a divine Being, He can handle such a burden and contain it safely.
Then He repeated the operation for Eve.
And again for Abel.
And again for the next sinner who became a saint, (a sanctified one).
This the Son of God has been doing since the foundation of the world, and is continuing to do today.
He has ALSO been forgiving and cleansing all those who come to Him in penitence for their subsequent actions of sin. 1 John 1:9. The actions of the past life made before the exchange are not forgiven, they "died" with the "old man", for we are "crucified with Him." See Romans 6:1-6.
In Gethsemane as the Son of man He showed us in human terms what all this means to His divine nature.
A few quotes from my library:
Desire of Ages p686
But it was when sin began on earth that He became the Saviour.
Review & Herald, March 12, 1901.
Testimonies Volume 6, page 392:
We should show them that the Old Testament is as verily the gospel in types and shadows as the New Testament is in its unfolding power. The New Testament does not present a new religion; the Old Testament does not present a religion to be superseded by the New. The New Testament is only the advancement and unfolding of the Old.
Abel was a believer in Christ, and was as verily saved by His power as was Peter or Paul. Enoch was a representative of Christ as surely as was the beloved disciple John. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. To him was committed the message of the second coming of Christ. "And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all." Jude 14, 15.
The message preached by Enoch and his translation to heaven were a convincing argument to all who lived in his time. These things were an argument that Methuselah and Noah could use with power to show that the righteous could be translated.
That God who walked with Enoch was our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He was the light of the world then just as He is now. Those who lived then were not without teachers to instruct them in the path of life; for Noah and Enoch were Christians. The gospel is given in precept in Leviticus. Implicit obedience is required now, as then.
How essential it is that we understand the importance of this word!
The Son of man did not die of crucifixion, for that normally takes some time. The soldiers had to break the legs of the criminals to ensure that they died before the day was out. John 19:31-34. Jesus died of a broken heart because the realisation of the weight of sin caused a separation between Him and His Father.
Desire of Ages 772.2
It is not just for the forgiveness of sin that the Son of God and of man dies (it is a continuing sacrifice) – it is to bear our iniquity - at the moment of our personal salvation first, and then to give us the opportunity for forgiveness of actions of sin after that time. He grants us life AND light.
Evil, as seen in the cross of Calvary, is an inner being within us, only capable of rejecting guidance, defying prohibitions, and persisting in its own way regardless of the knowledge possessed by the creature. This is why groups, such as states and churches, can sin in God’s sight.
The sinner is not wanting in knowledge, he or she is perverse in nature.
But after conversion it is a different story for the saint:-
While we are witnessing to His power here on earth we may make mistakes, or even deliberately choose to ignore His advice, but not because these are outside of our control. The standard is clear.
1 John 2:1
It was the forgiven sins of Christians which were transferred in type in the sanctuary services – it is the forgiven sins of Christians (and no others) which are transferred in fact, in the sanctuary in heaven. Those forgiven sins were transferred first to the priest in the daily, then to the sanctuary, then to the high priest on the Day of Atonement, and then removed to the scapegoat (Satan) to whom they rightfully belong.
The Great Controversy, p88
A substitute was accepted in the sinner's stead; but the sin was not canceled by the blood of the victim. A means was thus provided by which it was
By the offering of blood, the[Christian] sinner acknowledged the authority of the law, confessed his guilt in transgression, and expressed his desire for pardon through faith in a Redeemer to come [not a Saviour, he already had that in the Passover service]; but he was not yet entirely released from the condemnation of the law.
On the day of atonement the high priest, having taken an offering from the congregation, went into the most holy place with the blood of this offering, and sprinkled it upon the mercy-seat, directly over the law, to make satisfaction for its claims.
Then, in his character of mediator, he took the sins upon himself, and bore them from the sanctuary. Placing his hands upon the head of the scapegoat, he confessed over him all these sins, thus in figure transferring them from himself to the goat. The goat then bore them away, and they were regarded as forever separated from the people.
May we all say "Amen" to that!
Our Saviour is both God and man.
It is as the Son of God that He dies for us by giving us a portion of His life when we become converted with "a new heart." Thus all Christians, from the righteous Abel to the last sinner who accepts salvation, are saved in the same way.
It was as the Son of man that He died a physical death at Calvary. This was illustrate to our slow minds what was (and is) actually happening to Him as the Son of God.
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