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Why did Jesus die?

Query for the Month

of June 2003

Next up-date: July 1st 2003 (God willing).

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  • Philippians 2:

    5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled [submitted] Himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. 

    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:

  • 1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand; 2 by which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached to you, unless you have believed in vain.
  • 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ DIED FOR OUR SINS according to the Scriptures; 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.
  • 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.

    Matthew 9:

  • 6 But that you may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins, (then says He to the sick of the palsy,) "Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house." 7 And he arose, and departed to his house.
  • It was as the Son of man that He died at Calvary.

    John 3:

  • 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
  • Matthew 12:

  • 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
  • It is as the Son of man that He will come the second time.

    Matthew 24:

  • 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
  • But what of the Son of God?

    Matthew 4:

  • 3 And when the tempter came to Him, he said, "If You be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." 4 But He answered and said, "It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth 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.

    Mark 3:

  • 11 And unclean spirits, when they saw Him, fell down before Him, and cried, saying, "You are the Son of God." 12 And He straitly charged them that they should not make Him known.
  • John 1:

  • 33 [John the Baptist said] And I knew him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said to me, "Upon whom you shall see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizes with the Holy Ghost." 34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
  • Mark 9:

  • 7 And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a Voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son: hear Him." 8 And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves. 9 And as they came down from the mountain, He charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead.
  • 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.

    John 8:

  • 28 Then said Jesus to them, "When you have lifted up the Son of man, then shall you know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father has taught Me, I speak these things.
  • John 5:

  • 19 Then answered Jesus and said to them, "Verily, verily, I say to you, The Son [of man] can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do: for what things soever He does, these also does the Son likewise.
  • Of what benefit then is it to us that He is the Son of God?

    Revelation 13:

  • 8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him [the dragon/beast], whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb SLAIN FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD. 9 If any man have an ear, let him hear.
  • 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.

    Romans 7:

  • 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but HOW to perform that which is good I find not.
  • 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 a vacuum in  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

  • He went a little distance from them - not so far but that they could both see and hear Him - and fell prostrate upon the ground. He felt that by sin He was being separated from His Father. The gulf was so broad, so black, so deep, that His spirit shuddered before it. This agony He must not exert His divine power to escape. As man He must suffer the consequences of man's sin. As man He must endure the wrath of God against transgression.
  • Christ was now standing in a different attitude from that in which He had ever stood before. His suffering can best be described in the words of the prophet, "Awake, O sword, against My shepherd, and against the man that is My fellow, saith the Lord of hosts." Zech. 13:7. As the substitute and surety for sinful man, Christ was suffering under divine justice. He saw what justice meant. Hitherto He had been as an intercessor for others; now He longed to have an intercessor for Himself.
  • But it was when sin began on earth that He became the Saviour.

    Review & Herald, March 12, 1901.

  • As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour. Christ knew that He would have to suffer, yet He became man's substitute. As soon as Adam sinned, the Son of God presented Himself as surety for the human race, with just as much power to avert the doom pronounced upon the guilty as when He died upon the cross of Calvary.
  • Testimonies Volume 6:

  • The power of Christ, the crucified Saviour, to give eternal life, should be presented to the people.

    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.

    Matthew 27:

  • 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" That is to say, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"
  • The Desire of Ages 772.2

  • But it was not the spear thrust, it was not the pain of the cross, that caused the death of Jesus. That cry, uttered "with a loud voice" (Matt. 27:50; Luke 23:46), at the moment of death, the stream of blood and water that flowed from His side, declared that He died of a broken heart. His heart was broken by mental anguish. He was slain by the sin of the world.
  • 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.

    Isaiah 53:

  • 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief: when YOU shall make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge [His practical experience with us] shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities.
  • 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:-

    Romans 8:

  • 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh [in sinful nature], but after the Spirit [in the Christian nature]. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law [principle] of sin and death [by the exchange].

  • 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

  • 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for IT IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE LAW OF GOD, NEITHER INDEED CAN BE.
  • 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
  • While we are witnessing to His power here on earth we may make mistakes, or even deliberately choose to ignore His advice, but after rebirth these are no longer outside of our control. The standard is clear.

    1 John 2:1

  • My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not.
  • And [but] if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
  • 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 to the scapegoat to whom they rightfully belong.

    The Great Controversy, p88

  • Important truths concerning the atonement are taught by the typical service.

    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 [forgiven and] transferred to the sanctuary.

    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.

    Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.
    Next query. To be discussed from July 1st 2003.
    • Daniel 12:

      11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that makes desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

      12 Blessed is he that waits, and comes to the thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.

      13 But go you your way till the end be: for you shall rest, and stand in your lot at the end of the days.

    What does this prophecy mean, and when will the two times be fulfilled?


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