THE UNFATHOMABLE DEPTHS
OF THE FATHER’S LOVE
The gospel story of Jesus Christ and His Father is so deep and mysterious that the Bible tells us that even “the angels desire to look into” its unfathomable, unspeakable depths. I Peter 1:12. The prophet Isaiah foretold the sufferings of Christ and wrote up the account as if the Father was the one who was hurting and killing his own son. Listen: “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief.” Isaiah 53:10.
Someone may immediately ask, “Do you mean to say that it was God’s will for his own Son to suffer and die on that terrible cross?” The answer has to be, “Oh, no. It was not the Father’s perfect will that His Son die, but it was his permissive will. It was not God’s will for His Son to die. Never. But it was His ultimate and perfect will for all men to be saved and the Father could not save even the ones who might desire to be saved unless His Son died, for it took the cross to open our blind eyes and break our hardened hearts.” That is how terribly malignant sin is. But not only did Jesus show that He was willing to give up his eternal existence for us, the Father was too, for “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” 2 Corinthians 5:19. We know that all men will not be saved in this age, for they do not choose to be saved, but God’s will is that no one perish in the ages to come for the Lord is going to bring them to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9. But that will not happen until after the 1,000 years or millennium. That was why the Father was willing to suffer in and through His only Son. It was to win back all of His lost creatures, not only in our age but in the ages to come. And in this endeavor, He will be totally successful as He predicted in John 12:32: “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”
WAS THE GIFT OF GOD’S SON A PAYMENT OR A GIFT?
Paul tells us, “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” 2 Corinthians 9:15. The gift of Jesus is so great words cannot express it. Even the articulate, brilliant apostle Paul was speechless in the light of such a glorious gift. How terrible then to think that God demands a repayment. And because we could not pay it back the Father required that his only Son become that payment. Don’t you see what that makes the Father out to be in our minds? It makes Him a monster, an unforgiving dictator and tyrant. A blood thirsty ogre and sadist. But we know that is not what our wonderful Heavenly Father is like. He is none of these things. In fact He is just the opposite. Satan is the one who fits all those descriptions. He is the “angel of justice,” who demands “repayment.” Revelation 6:5.
When the Father gave His Son to the human family it was an irrevocable gift. The cross proves that He would not take him back, even though we abused and killed him. On the day of Pentecost, Peter, under the Spirit’s influence said, “Him [Jesus] … ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” Acts 2:23. Yes, my friend the Grace of God is free, but the delivery of that gift is what is so very expensive. Satan intended to make an eternal gulf between the Father’s throne and our minds and hearts, but instead the Father and Son have taken the cross and laid it across the chasm. God gave us His only begotten Son as a gift. We turned that marvelous gift into a sacrifice. The cross was our idea of what he demanded. It was not God’s required repayment, for He has always been willing to forgive us. The cross forever proves that He loves us. It was the purchase price our carnal mind demanded that God pay to prove that He loved us. The alienation was in our minds, not in God’s mind. Colossians. 1:21.
THE FATHER HAS EVEN BEEN SHIELDING
LUCIFER FROM THE GUILT OF HIS CRIMES
We know that guilt and remorse will destroy a person. They can drive you to the grave. Insanity is often caused because of guilt. Some have suggested that mental illness is actually an escape from the pain of reality and God permits some minds to escape in this manner. But one thing is very clear from the Bible. God, through His Son Jesus, is even now shielding every human being and the evil angels as well. How else could they have stayed alive? How could Satan have lived this long even? There is only one answer. God has been taking the blame even for Lucifer (Satan) and all of his evil angels all these millenniums. But Ezekiel 28:6-10, 18 indicates that the fire of guilt and hatred has been building up inside Satan all of this time and will burst forth in that final day when all the lost will “gang up” on Satan and take away his power to deceive. “Yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him.” Dan. 11:45. He is going to be blamed for everything by everybody and God will be powerless in that day to protect and shield him anymore. “Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas.” Ezek 28:6-8.
Let us take a closer look at the word “seas.” What is this referring to? Well, in prophecy the word “sea” represents people. Notice: “And he said to me, ‘The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.’” Rev. 17:15. The next point we need to deal with is the “death” of Satan (meaning adversary). How will he die? The answer is in the text itself. “Thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas.”
Satan is going to die the same kind of death that the wicked die. “They will bring you to the pit of hell and you shall die as those pierced with many wounds, there on your island in the heart of the seas.” Ezek 28:8. In order to know how Satan will die we need to understand how all the wicked will die. This is explained in two ways. First of all, the new birth is a death to the old man of sin. So, we are not talking about a literal death of our physical being, per se, but a death to the old man of sin, which is the carnal self that exists and operates by virtue of and by the strength of the ego. Further down in this chapter we read in Ezek 28:18 that Satan will be reduced to ashes in the sight of the whole universe. Ashes is a symbol of sorrow, remorse, grief and repentance which reveals that Lucifer will be brought to repentance.
It was not until Jesus died upon the cross that the good or unfallen angels were able to see that Lucifer was wrong and the Father was right. In fact, all the unfallen worlds did not fully understand the deceptions of Lucifer until Jesus was nailed to the cross. Finally, they saw that Lucifer truly was Satan. Now, why could they not see it before? Because every person who had ever been hurt or killed in the past legally deserved to die. Why? Because they had broken God’s law. But Jesus was in a totally different category. He who knew no sin became sin for us.
Jesus Christ came on the scene of this world in a human body and lived an absolutely perfect life and yet Satan did everything he possibly could to make His life miserable. He didn’t deserve to be treated that way, for He had never broken the law. Here was a human being (actually God in the flesh) obeying the law both in the letter and in the spirit deserving Satan’s admiration and respect and all he receives is hatred and ridicule, abuse and persecution. The angels stood aghast. They knew that human beings deserved to suffer and die, but not God’s Son. He never had done anything wrong. And so Jesus’ perfect life began to tear away the mask Satan had been wearing for 4,000 years. It was seen that God’s law was holy, just and good and that it could be kept after all. Satan’s charges were seen to be unjust, untrue and totally without foundation. But, the Father was reaching out to Lucifer with his arms of love through Christ.
“Oh, Lucifer, my beloved angel, don’t you see how much I love my creatures? Don’t you see how I am forgiving them and healing them? I can do the same for you. Oh please come back to me and let me heal you. Please don’t break my heart anymore. I am longing for you to come home. Don’t you see, if you come back then all of your angels will come too. Oh, please don’t keep fighting me, for you are going to kill yourself.”
IS GOD ABLE TO KEEP HIS OWN LAW?
But Lucifer (Satan) wouldn’t listen. He was getting angrier every minute that Jesus was alive for Christ was proving Satan a liar before the universe. Satan was becoming desperate. He had to do something to cause Jesus to sin, if he could. He had to create circumstances which would be very trying to one’s patience so that Jesus would show anger or impatience, which would be out of harmony with God’s revealed character in the law of God. In other words, can God or will God be able to live up to His own law or is He a hypocrite who is only manipulating us with a law that He himself does not keep for He cannot keep it? This was the heart of the issue. Satan saw his disguise was being torn away. His mask was about to be taken off by Jesus’ beautiful demonstration of love. The unfallen worlds and angels watched intensely as the controversy drew to a close.
Satan knew that Christ’s death would fulfill all the types of the Old Testament. He had succeeded in turning Israel against the Savior in spite of all of the miracles. The sacrificial system was an object lesson of what the Messiah would do when He came as well as what would be done to Him. But this gory, terrible, bloodletting system of animal slaughter was not God’s perfect will. He had just been putting up with it and using it as symbols of Himself and what they would do to Him and His son when He came in the flesh. Gal 4:4. And to make matters worse Israel had perverted it. Satan had taken advantage of this and no doubt told the universe that God actually enjoyed all this butchery and carnage. This was the kind of person Satan made the Father out to be, a tyrant and a monster. The devil told the universe that he was doing them all a favor in revealing the truth about the Father so they could be free from his despotism. From the doctrine of eternal hell-fire torture, we can see what the devil has told all the universe about the Father. “God is a sadist and the devil is his hit man to punish lawbreakers.”
But when Christ began to teach and heal the people, the eyes of the universe began to be opened. Their sympathy for Lucifer was beginning to diminish. Listen:
“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he (Jesus) said unto them, I beheld Satan as Lightning fall from heaven.” Luke 10:17-18.
Demon possession was rampant in the world when Jesus came. Satan was gaining more and more power over the minds and bodies of men. All of the misery of the world Satan had charged to the Father. And the Father took the blame for it. All of the universe looked on. And then Christ came and grew up. Never once did He sin. Finally He began His ministry of love and deliverance. Satan’s angels were being cast out of the minds and bodies of human beings and the universe saw the divine image restored. Here was the very Son of God being kind to sinners whom Satan had said God hated and loved to torture. He said no one could keep the law and all who broke it were his prisoners. Isaiah 14:16, 17. By the doctrine Satan taught about eternal torture before the cross and also since the cross, we can see how Satan gained the ear of the universe. (See Luke 16:19-31. The Pharisees believed this and taught it.)
His argument probably went something like this: “Inhabitants of the universe, I regret to tell you that the Creator has a law that no one can keep. As proof that what I am telling you is true I ask you to behold planet earth. Here are these wretched creatures, formed in the very image of God the Father Himself and yet even they cannot keep this foolish and defective law. I tried to convince Him of this, but he would not listen. He refused to take me into his confidence before he created this fiasco he has named earth. Planet earth has become a living inferno. It is an everlasting hell. He seems to be sorry for the mess He has caused and has asked me to carry out his justice, so I am doing the best I can down here with the help of my faithful assistants who had the good intelligence to listen to me and join with me in my efforts to convince God the Father that he was wrong. But instead of listening to me, He and His Son made war against me and drove me out of heaven. He seems to be sorry about that too now and always takes the blame for everything. Even the prophets of Jehovah, as they are called, have even written down in their scrolls that God the Father is to blame for all the bad things that are happening down here on planet earth. I have outlined my plan for freedom, but every time anyone down here starts doing what they want to do and having some fun, God claims they are breaking the law and brings some disease or calamity upon them to ‘teach them a lesson,’ as he calls it. I expect Him to soon destroy the whole planet to coverup his big mistake. When he does that it will only confirm what I have said all along. Inhabitants of the universe, listen to me. Listen to me while you still have a chance. What is happening here on planet earth could happen on any planet. You could be next. Join me in protesting against this horrible injustice God calls ‘THE LAW OF GOD.’ It will lead to disaster if you try to obey it. Listen to me and my plan will set the entire universe free of the curse of the law. This is your true and only friend in the universe speaking, Lucifer, Son of the morning. Please listen, for I may only have a short time yet to help you, for God the Father is threatening to kill me. The prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel have foretold it. (Isaiah 14:12-20; Ezekiel 28:6-10, 18. If I die the universe will have no one left to save it. Listen to me and live.”
Can you see how the unfallen worlds and many of the angelic host could be taken in by this subtle reasoning. But thank God only one-third of the angels followed Lucifer. None of the unfallen worlds listened to him. It was an angel of unbelievable power and intelligence that had rebelled against his Creator. The Bible tells us how well endowed Lucifer was.
“Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God.” Ezekiel 28:12, 13.
Notice carefully: This is not a condemnation. It is a LAMENTATION … a weeping. God is weeping and He is saying to the universe, “weep for Lucifer, for he is destroying himself. Oh, how I love him. Oh, how I long to save him, but he will not listen to me. How can I save my beloved Lucifer from certain death?”
Please also notice that the Lord God says to the “king of Tyrus,” that he has been in the Garden of Eden. It is almost as if he were saying, “Lucifer, you have been in that beautiful Garden of Eden I created for Adam and Eve. Remember? You were there in it, Lucifer. I was hoping it might remind you of what heaven is like so you would come back home to me. Oh, Lucifer, please come back I miss you so!” Dear reader, can you imagine a Creator who could love like that? It is only as we look at Jesus that we can understand such love.
Then in Ezekiel 28:13 the Lord names all the various precious stones He “covered” his beloved Lucifer with. God is remembering how wonderfully and carefully He fashioned this highest of all angels. “Thou was perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” Ezekiel 28:15. This scripture alone clearly proves that the Creator was not responsible for Lucifer’s defection or sin. God made a beautiful, sinless angel and that perfect angel turned himself into His enemy or Satan, which means adversary.
The rest of Ezekiel 28 tells how Lucifer fell because he became proud of his beauty and wisdom. Can you hear the emotion charged voice of God crying out to Lucifer all thru this chapter? Can’t you hear His voice breaking as he cries out to Lucifer, “Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth, and I have set thee so.” Verse 14. “Lucifer, I gave you the third highest position in the universe, right next to My beloved Son. And, Lucifer, that job is still waiting for you. I did not demote you. I didn’t kick you out. You left me. But, Lucifer, I want you back. I will forgive and forget. I am your Creator. Nothing is too hard or impossible with Me.” Jeremiah 32:27; Matthew 19:26.
But Lucifer refuses. He won’t come back. His heart is hardened against the Father. All throughout Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 and in other places in the Scripture God first pleads and then he warns, “and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub.” Verse 16.
We all have seen a little baby start crawling, away from its father or mother. And what does the parent do? A loving parent will call out, “Come back to daddy, baby, come back to daddy.” Usually a child will stop a moment and look to see if daddy is coming — if he really means business. Then most of the time the baby will just keep on crawling away. The parent will then stop pleading and warn it. “Come back to daddy, baby, come back. Baby get hurt. Baby going to cry.” And this is exactly what God is doing here. First he pleads and then he warns Lucifer of the painful consequences that will result if Lucifer does not repent and return. But the amazing aspect here is that God claims to be the one who is going to do this to Lucifer, when it is obvious that Lucifer is doing it to himself.
We can see that now, as we look back, nearly 2,000 years this side of the cross, but the universe of unfallen angels and unfallen worlds could not see it. That was what the contest over Job was all about in the book of Job. Is it possible to keep God’s law? Is it possible to be perfect? God claimed perfection for job but Satan denied these claims. The suffering of Job proved God’s claims were correct. Job’s faithfulness under mental and physical suffering, few have endured, vindicated God’s character. Each of us has that same opportunity for every human soul is an actor on the stage of this world’s history. We each are part of this great theatric production which has been running now for nearly 6,000 years. God is counting on each individual to play out his role faithfully, just as Job did. And just as surely as Job was faithful, so God can help us to be faithful until the end and thus demonstrate a facet of God’s beautiful character that no one else can portray. No two people are exactly alike. Each one of us has something very special to tell the universe about God’s character of love. If we let Him work in us and through us He will enable us to deliver the message. Only eternity will reveal the value of a soul’s worth and how important we each are to God’s plan.
“But, how can I do it?” you may be asking. Here is the answer in God’s holy Word. “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradictions of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:2,4.
The Father knew there was only one way to open the eyes of the universe to the enormity of sin and its terrible consequences or penalty. That was to let Himself, through his only Son, suffer the consequences of disobedience and rebellion. He could have allowed Lucifer and his evil angels, who rebelled with him, one third of the host of heaven, to reap the results of their evil choice. He could remove His shield of protection from Lucifer and let him suffer all the guilt and remorse he will one day suffer. If He had done this, Lucifer and his angels would have perished very quickly. But this would have raised more questions than it would have answered regarding Lucifer’s charges and allegations. So, there was only one way to reveal the truth. And so Jesus alone with His Father, in the Garden of Gethsemane, pleaded with the Father to let the cup pass from Him if the world could be saved any other way. But there was no other way. Jesus had to drink the cup. He had to demonstrate what will happen to each created being when the Father is forced out of the life. But there was much more than that.
WHAT WAS IT THAT HORRIFIED JESUS?
Jesus said, “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say?
Father, save me from, this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.” John 12:27. Jesus can see what is just ahead. He is not afraid of the pain, but the thought of being separated from His Father fills Him with horror. We cannot fully understand that, for none of us has ever fully known the Father as Jesus did, but that is our wonderful privilege. But Jesus fully surrendered to the Father’s plan and purpose and was willing to think only of saving us by glorifying His Father’s name, verse 28. And then this important scripture follows: “Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” John 12:32. The word “men” is a supplied word and is not in the original. All of God’s creatures in the universe, including even Lucifer and his fallen angels would be drawn to the cross to watch the Savior receive the full penalty of the law.
Satan sees that if Christ does not sin by showing impatience, anger, self-pity, forcing the Jews to acknowledge Him, or coming down off the cross and giving up, his argument against God’s law will be proved false. Jesus kept that law perfectly. He didn’t sin even by a look, a glance, a grimace, nor any kind of facial expression during all of the physical and verbal abuse He took from the rabble and priests as well as the soldiers. The greatest temptation was to use His divine power to release Himself or permit the guilt of their deeds to come upon His enemies. But He loved them too much. The Scriptures must be fulfilled so God’s word and law would stand true. When Peter lashed out with his sword and cut off Malchus’ ear, Jesus said to Peter, “Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:11. “All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels. But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” Matthew 26:52.
What scriptures did Jesus have reference to? It would have to be the Old Testament predictions of His sufferings. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities … and with his stripes we are healed. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” Isaiah 53:5, 7.
Our Lord knew His own people would crucify Him before they did it. But Christ tried to prevent His own people from this act, for His crucifixion sealed their doom by hardening their hearts into unbelief. It also melted a few, but the majority were sealed into darkness, for that age, just as Satan and his angels are until the “Times of Restitution of all things.” Acts 3:21. 2 Peter 2:4. They have rejected the light of truth and closed the door against themselves. Yet God claims to be the one who is responsible for their blindness. “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Jude 6. And so we see the Father taking the blame in the New Testament as well as the Old. God never changes. Amazing grace. It’s always the same, always available. God has never rejected or cast away anyone. John 6:37. It is our hearts that are hardened against Him, not His heart toward us. Never, because His heart is always positive toward us. It is the darkness of our mind that prevents us from seeing the eternal light and glory of His love. The mystery of iniquity is how sin blinds and hardens our human hearts against such love.
CHRIST’S DEATH REVEALED THE FATHER
The Father was “glorified” in his Son’s death in that it revealed what the Father is really like. The Bible predicted this all throughout the Old Testament, but the Jewish leaders could not see it. They could only see the dollar signs $$$ in the temple. Jesus gently rebuked two of His followers after His resurrection. “Oh fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have, suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” Luke, 24:25, 26. Then Jesus began at Moses and went through the prophecies of Moses and all of the prophets and proved that He had fulfilled these scriptures.
Sin had even blinded Lucifer and turned him into a monster called Satan. He should have been able to have foreseen that Christ’s death on the cross would completely expose him as a murderer before the universe. But his selfish mind could not conceive that the Father would not only be willing to let His Son die on the cross of Tammuz, an ancient Sumerian pagan deity, but the Father Himself would even be willing to die with His Son, even as Abraham died a thousand deaths in his heart as he climbed Mount Moriah. But how much greater was God the Father’s sufferings!
Satan knows only force and so he reasoned that he would either force Christ to sin or force Him to abandon His plan to save the world and go back to heaven rather than take the chance to lose out on eternal life Himself. Satan figured he couldn’t lose on those terms. He may have thought that if Christ refused to go through with His plan to let Himself be nailed to the cross that the Father Himself would come and execute His Son to prove that the penalty of the law was death. Here again, the devil was looking at God through his own selfish eyes. But the Father kept silence. He did not curse or yell at Lucifer. It is not His nature to expose embarrass or hurt anyone. Lucifer had imagined in his mind that the Father and Son were out to get him just as he was out to get Them. But he was wrong. They both loved him. The Psalmist describes Lucifer’s thoughts, which are God’s thoughts through David:
“Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit … these things hast thou done, and I kept silence, thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thysef.” Psalm 50:19, 21.
We know Lucifer’s plans and methods as we look at the people he uses and destroys. Let’s take Judas as an example. Judas figured that if Jesus was the Messiah he would have to become king. Therefore, it was only a matter of political maneuvering to bring Jesus to the throne. Judas reasoned that Christ was too timid and modest to assume His rightful position, therefore Judas would arrange a set of circumstances that would “force” Christ to assert His power and authority and take the kingdom by overthrowing His enemies. If Jesus could not do this then this would prove that He was not the Messiah, because the Messiah would be able to overcome His enemies. The only problem with this reasoning was that it was based on a false premise. That is, it was based on the premise that God uses force to gain the victory over His enemies, when the truth is that God never uses force. He uses truth, righteousness and love. He never forces anyone to do anything, even to love Him.
JUDAS WAS CONTROLLED BY LUCIFER
Lucifer’s mind is revealed through Judas. Judas figured that he would bring Jesus of Nazareth to the acid test. If Jesus were really the Messiah He would act as he believed the Messiah should act and would be able to act under the circumstances Judas was going to set up with the priests. The Jewish leaders would also have to accept Him and Judas would receive all the credit for having carried out such a brilliant scheme to its successful conclusion. In either case, he would be thirty pieces of silver richer no matter what happened. He was sure he couldn’t lose. His plan was fail safe. Such is the mind of man.
But this is not the mind of God. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” Phil. 2:5, 6. Lucifer (now Satan) did not think this way. He had never humbled himself for anyone since He fell from Heaven. It was foreign to him. It was repulsive to him. Lucifer did not realize that God was going to humiliate Himself like this. He could not imagine the King of the Universe doing such a thing, therefore it never entered his selfish brain to consider the possibility that God would go this direction. Lucifer’s mighty intellect was not capable of comprehending how God could win by losing. He could not conceive how God could be victorious in defeat. And yet Jesus had explained it so clearly just before His death. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12:24. The Father was saying, I will live by dying. If you want to live forever, you must die with Me. This was not only stupid to Lucifer, it was insanity. He rejected it out of hand. And this was his downfall. This was what unmasked him at the cross.
By leading the priests and Roman soldiers to abuse the Savior as they did, Lucifer proved to the unfallen universe what he really was and he fell “as lightning from heaven.” Luke 10: 18. Now, do you think that Lucifer would have done this if he had known that it would have such disastrous results to his “image” throughout the entire universe? Absolutely not, In fact the Bible tells us: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” 1 Corinthians 2:7, 8.
Who are the real “princes of this world?” Why they are Satan’s angels, “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness; in high places.” Eph. 6:12.
When Ezekiel spoke about Lucifer under the title, “Prince of Tyrus,” Ezek. 28, we know that He was speaking about Lucifer. And so we see that Lucifer, looking back on the cross sees what a terrible blunder he made in leading men to crucify Jesus. And I think the Jewish leaders probably realized they had made a terrible blunder too. Of course, they were not sorry for what they did, but only that it exposed them for what they really were. They were only sorry for the results, not for the sin of killing the Son of God. And yet did they kill him? Their intent was to kill him, and so it is written up that they did kill Him, but Jesus categorically stated, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” John 10:17, 18.
THE DIVINE MIND REVEALED
And when Christ was upon the cross suffering all the rejection and the physical torture and pain the chief priests mocked Him with the scribes and elders. They said. “He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.” Matthew 27:43.
Here again we see the vivid contrast between God’s mind and Lucifer’s mind, the divine mind and the carnal mind. The mind of self-sacrificing love and the mind of self-preserving, calculated, expedience, which is really hatred of others.
Lucifer knew he had to stop Christ somehow. If he could not force Him to desert humanity by turning the leaders of Israel against Him, then he had to somehow cause Jesus to break His Father’s law. If he failed to do either of these, then he knew that all was lost. Up until Gethsemane Jesus had not made the final decision to die for humanity. But when he entered the garden, the iniquity of the world began to come upon Him and he could sense His Father’s presence being pressed out of His life by all the sins that were being laid upon Him. Young’s analytical concordance defines “Gethsemane” as from the Hebrew, meaning wine press and oil (farm). Since wine represents doctrines or teachings (Luke 5:38) and oil the Holy Spirit, Matthew 25:1-13, we can see that the Divine presence was being pressed out of the Savior’s life.
All the sorrows and woes of humanity with their suffering, both mental and physical were being laid upon Jesus so he could “taste death for every man.” Hebrews 2:9. This was not the death that we die in this life. Oh, no. It was the second death that Jesus was experiencing for us. It began to weigh upon Him as he entered the garden. “And he … began to be sorrowful and very heavy. My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.” Matthew 26:38.
WHAT WRUNG JESUS’ SOUL WITH ANGUISH?
But it was the strange and awful sensation of not having the Father’s presence with Him that wrung his soul with anguish. Jesus lived in the very light of God’s eternal presence. He knew the true meaning of David’s psalm, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” Psalms 16: 11. Therefore, when the Father’s Spirit began to be replaced by all the evil of the ages, Christ recoiled and drew back in horror. “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Matt 26:39. This was not a selfish prayer. Christ did not want his Father or any of the angels, unfallen worlds or even His disciples to see Him suffer like this.
Jesus prayed this prayer three times according to Matthew 26:39, 42, 44. Luke 22:42-46, tells of an angel coming to aid Him and how he sweat blood. “Striving against sin,” is what Paul blames the blood sweating on, Hebrews 12:4. Mark records that Jesus “went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt,” Mark 14:34-36. After each request He went to see if his disciples were praying with Him. He was so concerned that they not be shocked by what was happening to Him and what was going to happen. He wanted their faith to be strong, but instead of praying they were sleeping. And so they were unprepared to keep their faith when the mob came to arrest their Master. They only had the carnal weapons of man, not the spiritual weapons of God with which to fight the devil. As a result, they lost the battle and were scattered like sheep without a shepherd as had been predicted in Zech. 13:7. Even here God takes the blame for man’s failure and sin.
At each step of the way toward the cross the Father and His Son were thinking only of their beloved creatures, not of themselves. Each time Jesus requested His Father to take away the cup of sin and woe from His lips he always added that submissive P.S., “Not what I will, but what Thou wilt.” Mark 14:36.
“Oh, Daddy, please don’t leave me. If you can think of any other way to save our beloved human family, please do it. But you know best. I submit my will to yours.” This truly is “THE FAITH OF JESUS.” When Christ prayed that prayer of submission, He gave up everything to the Father. He gave up His relationship in the past, in the present, which He had always enjoyed, and He even gave up any hope of ever having that relationship again. He gave up every right He had for us that we might live. It was the supreme demonstration of submissive love and total faith in the Father.
In His humanity he could not see through the dark tunnel of death. He went forward to the cross in complete submission to the Father’s will. The white-hot love of Song of Solomon 8:6 was flashing out of Christ from one end of the universe to the other. “I love you, I love you, I love,” he was saying. Now the supreme demonstration of that love was to be held up for all to see. Every created being God had ever created focused its attention on that lonely hill. It was as if the Father and Son together were saying, “Come and tear My flesh with your whips. Rip out My beard with your hands. Spit in My face. Place a crown of thorns on My royal brow. Strip Me naked and nail Me to this tree. Call Me cursed, lost and damned. Tell everyone I am a fake, a phoney and a counterfeiting blasphemer for claiming to be God’s Messiah. Do all of this and more, but you can never make Me stop loving you. Because I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU! FOREVER AND EVER THROUGH ALL ETERNITY I LOVE YOU!” This my friend is the message of the cross. It is an obsessive love that will never stop.
The submission of Jesus to the Father reminds us of Job’s triumphant cry. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” Job 13:15. Isaac had this same submission to his father Abraham. The Bible says, “God did tempt Abraham … Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” Genesis 22:1, 2.
James 1:13-17 proves that God does not test or tempt man to do evil. And yet God let this trial come upon Abraham. But did God do it? Was it His idea? No more than it was God’s idea for Job to lose all of his property, his children and later to have boils on his body. No doubt God permitted Abraham to have a dream or a vision. The Lord permitted this test from Satan to be revealed to him, but God was not behind it anymore than He was behind the death of his own Son on Golgotha’s hill. But true to His unchanging character and nature, He assumed the responsibility and blame for it. See also Matthew 4:1-3; Jeremiah 6:26, 27. The Father did not test His Son in the wilderness, but Satan took advantage of Jesus time of fasting and meditation. *See Note.
Saul is a type of Lucifer. Once during an important battle he made a law that no one was to eat anything. “Saul had declared, a curse upon anyone who eats anything before evening before I have full revenge on my enemies.” 1 Samuel 14:24. Living Bible. Now, Saul’s oldest son was Jonathan, a very godly man. He had not heard of his father’s oppressive law and ate some honey. It was due to Jonathan’s bravery that the battle had been changed from defeat to victory. When Jonathan was told that he had broken his father’s law he freely stated that he didn’t think it was a very good law and wished that it had not been made. But Saul’s pride was so great that he was willing to kill or sacrifice his own son to prove he was right. The reason for this was that Saul had tried to communicate or ask counsel of God to see if he should “go down after the Philistines? Wilt thou deliver them into the hand of Israel? But he (God) answered him not that day.” 1 Samuel 14:37.
Because God would not or actually could not communicate with Saul due to his pride and rebellion (Isaiah 59:1, 2, Saul went on a “witch hunt.” He was determined to find out who was responsible for breaking off his connection with God. Saul was too blind to see that he himself had forfeited the right to speak to God and Satan had taken control of his life. And so he called all the leaders together for a council to determine by lot who the “guilty” person or persons were.
Now, we need to examine those passages very carefully, for they reveal something we need to understand about how God operated in the Old Testament especially. The lot was cast and it finally fell on Jonathan. But, notice who is asking the questions. “And the people said to Saul, ‘do what seems good to you.’ Therefore Saul said, ‘O Lord God of Israel, why hast thou not answered thy servant this day? If this guilt is in me or in Jonathan my son, 0 Lord, God of Israel, give Urim; but if this guilt is in thy people Israel, give Thummim.’ And Jonathan and Saul were taken, but the people escaped. Then Saul said, ‘Cast the lot between me and my son Jonathan.’ And Jonathan was taken.” 1 Samuel 14:40-42 RSV.
This whole religious procedure was only for the purpose of blaming someone else for Saul’s failures and sins. He was not interested in God’s glory, but only to “be avenged of his enemies.” And yet through it all, Jonathan was faithful and submissive to both God and his backslidden father, King Saul. When Saul asks Jonathan what he has done his son respectfully admits that he ate some honey and resigns himself to be punished by death so his father’s word and rule might be maintained. What loyalty. “I tasted a little honey with the tip of the staff that was in my hand; here I am, I will die.” Ibid., verse 43. It was in Saul’s power to pardon his son, if he chose, but he shows the murderous perversity that controls his life when he haughtily announces. “God do so to me and more also; you shall surely die, Jonathan.” Ibid., verse 44.
But the people rescued Jonathan so he did not die. “‘Shall Jonathan die, who has wrought this great victory in Israel? Far from it! As the Lord lives there shall not one hair of his head fall to-the ground; for he has wrought with God this day.’ So the people ransomed Jonathan, that he did not die.” Ibid., verse 45.
Again we can see the mind of Lucifer as we look at Saul and study his words and his actions. We have already seen that God was not able to communicate with Saul because of his sin of pride. 1 Samuel 13:11-14. But when the lot was cast to determine who the guilty party was, the lot strangely fell upon Jonathan. But was Jonathan the one who had prevented God’s voice from being heard? No. It was Saul. Why did the lot then finger Jonathan? There is only one sensible answer. Satan was permitted to control the lot and communicate with Saul, for Saul is the one who is praying to his god. But who is Saul’s “god”? Why it is Satan or the devil. Jesus told the Jewish leaders that their father was the devil. John 8:44. Nothing would have given Satan more of an advantage over Saul and Israel than to have Jonathan killed. And if his own father performed the deed it would certainly lead Israel into confusion and chaos. But God overruled events by inspiring the people to save Jonathan.
There is a beautiful symbolism here that we should not miss. First of all, Jonathan is a type of Christ. He was submissive even to death, although he was falsely accused by Satan through Saul. What was his “sin?” He had tasted a little honey with the tip of his staff. “Then said Jonathan, My father hath troubled the land: see, I pray you, how mine eyes have been enlightened, because I tasted a little of this honey.” 1 Samuel 14:29.
The rod or staff and the honey each have a special significance to the Great Controversy between Christ and Satan over the Father’s law. Listen to what the Psalmist says about honey and the law. “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward…. the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.” Psalms 19:10, 8. And in Psalms 23 David says “thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Verse 4. The shepherd’s staff was used to not only guide the sheep with one end, but to protect them from the enemy with the other which was often weighted with lead or iron. And that is just what God’s law does. It guides us into paths of righteousness and protects us from our enemy the devil and his evil angels. Isaiah 11:1, Christ is God’s rod.
Please notice also that Saul requested for the truth to be known. “Therefore Saul said unto the Lord God of Israel, ‘Give a perfect lot.’ And Saul and Jonathan were taken: but the people escaped.” 1 Samuel 14:41. The margin translates, “give a perfect lot,” as “Show forth the truth.” The Bible says, “And the men of Israel were distressed (faint) that day: for Saul had adjured the people, saying, ‘Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies.’ So none of the people tasted any food.” Ibid., verse 24.
Satan has told the universe that God’s law is a cursed law. He has declared that no one can keep it. He has said it is unfair and the Father only uses it to manipulate His creatures. Satan had even charged that God Himself could not keep it. That was why Jesus came and exalted the law and, never sinning once, proved Satan’s charges false.
*Note: The Bible never identifies God as the “tempter” or “deceiver”, nor the “destroyer.” The Lord allows and permits Satan to tempt, deceive, and destroy but God never breaks His own law.