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Query for the Month

of April 1998

Next up-date: May 1st 1998 (God willing).

 


Query:

Why does the Bible say that Jesus was the Lamb "slain from the foundation of the world" and yet He was crucified some 4,000 years after the creation? Revelation 13:8.

Response:

Often in the Bible there are what appear to be conflicting statements. It is a feature of this page that we do not believe that the word of God ever contradicts itself. God does not make mistakes. What we have here then, is a classic example of two things called by the same name, but which are different.

The death of Jesus on the cross at Calvary was a public exhibition. He made sure that the Jewish people and many others around the world were aware of what was going on by riding the donkey 's colt down into Jerusalem as its king the Sunday before the crucifixion. Luke 19:28-48. Then He went through a series of very public appearances over the next few days culminating with His execution on the cross. These are historical facts, and as such are easy to believe in.

But no amount of belief in them will save a sinner and bring redemption to him or her ! The devil believes (in fact, he knows) but only trembles! See James 2:19.

We are not saved by history. We are saved by a Person giving His life for us each one individually.

Jesus said, "Labour not for the meat which perishes, but for that meat which endures unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give to you: for Him has God the Father sealed. Then said they to him, 'What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?' Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent". John 6:27-29

This means that we must each one come to Him at some point in our lifetime and accept His offer to die for us. Of necessity, this must occur at different times in history, and it all began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve acknowledged their helplessness and accepted His offer. In this way He became the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. What they literally did was to take two lambs (one for each of them) and kill them in the garden. Their own hands must acknowledge what they had done. Jesus then took the skins of those lambs and clothed the guilty pair, in the process replacing their own attempts at covering, the fig leaves. Genesis 3:21.

In this way the sacrificial system, which was later greatly expanded and used in the temple, came into being. Adam and Eve told their children of this experience and they in their turn came with an offering one day. Genesis 4:3-4. As we all know, Cain refused to believe fully in such a story and came without the evidence of death, the blood, and offered only the works of his hands, the "fruit of the ground". So many professed Christians have done the same since that day - they have brought what they thought God wanted and have done "the best they can". But "everlasting life" is the "gift" of God and can only be obtained on His terms. Romans 6:23 and Matthew 22:12..

Way back there, nearly 6,000 years ago, Jesus swapped a portion of His life with Adam and then did the same with Eve. It was an "exchange", a life for a life, and only a Creator can do it. He did not ask from them any good works, but only an acceptance of the fact that He was willing to "die" in their place. From that moment on, He has continued to "die" as each sinner who became a Christian accepted His offer. In this way, we each individually have had a hand in His "death". It is the "death" of a God, not the death of human! He is, of course, the Son of God, and as such cannot "die" as we do, but the word conveys an accurate picture of what is happening to Him. He is being cut off from the rest of the universe in the same way that he was cut off from this world at Calvary, and as we are cut off by death.

Because of this, His death by crucifixion was a very apt picture. It normally took time to kill a person by that method (the two thieves had to have their legs broken to kill them before the passover, John 19:31), and in this we should see the fact that Jesus the Son of God has been "dying" slowly ever since Adam's sin and confession. However, just as the death at Calavry came to a conclusion after six hours, so one day, His other "death" will also come to an end. Then it will ever be too late!

Revelation 13:8 also mentions the "book of life" in which are inscribed the names of those who have accepted justification full and free, and the fate of those whose names are not recorded therein. The rejecters will "worship him [the beast]" and end up with him in "perdition" (Revelation 17:8), while the Christians go on to be with Jesus in a world made new. Revelation 21:1-5.

Conclusion:

Jesus died in the Garden of Eden and also at Calvary. Two "deaths" are mentioned in the Bible for Him. One was the "death" of the Son of God and the other was the death of the Son of man. Both are vitally necessary in God's plan. One gives us the fact of redemption, the other shows the evidence of it.


Spiritual Dictionary.
THE SLAIN LAMB:

Jesus died in the Garden of Eden and also at Calvary. Revelation 13:8 and Mark 15:39. Two "deaths" are mentioned in the Bible for Him. One was His "death" as the Son of God and the other was the death as the Son of man. Both are vitally necessary in God's plan. One gives us the fact of redemption, the other shows the evidence of it.


Next thought. To be discussed from May 1st 1998.

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