The God-forsaken God

Friday’s section of this week’s SS lesson asks the question, “Critics of Christianity will often argue that Jesus knew beforehand that, though He would die, He would be resurrected to life. Thus, they ask, what was the big deal about His death when He knew it would be only temporary?”

My mother knows that flying in an airplane is safer than traveling by car. She knows the sad statistics that people are killed every day on the highways, while a rare jet crash makes headlines around the world. Knowing all this, when my mother gets on an airplane she sure does not feel that it is safer! There is a difference between knowing and feeling. Jesus died as a man, not just a God.

As a man, this is what Jesus experienced;

“In that thick darkness God’s presence was hidden. He makes darkness His pavilion, and conceals His glory from human eyes. God and His holy angels were beside the cross. The Father was with His Son. Yet His presence was not revealed. Had His glory flashed forth from the cloud, every human beholder would have been destroyed. And in that dreadful hour Christ was not to be comforted with the Father’s presence. He trod the wine press alone, and of the people there was none with Him.”-Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 753, 754.

“The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.” -Ellen White, Desire of Ages, p. 753.

Foxe’s book of Martyrs tells us John Huss was singing songs of praise as he burned at the stake for his faith. I ask you, if John Huss, a mere mortal man could be singing songs of praise as He died at the stake, why couldn’t Jesus sing songs of praise instead of crying out “My God My God why have You forsaken me?” The answer is John Huss died a totally different death than Jesus died. John knew he would be resurrected. He knew he was at peace with the Father. But on the cross Jesus was being treated the way we deserve to be treated so we can be treated the way He deserves to be treated. Think about this, Jesus always called God His Father.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions.”
“I always do those things that please my Father.”
“I and my Father are one.”

But when Jesus was on the cross being treated the way we deserve to be treated He could not call God His Father! Instead He cried out, “My God! Why have you forsaken me?” This fulfilled the prophecy of Psalms 22 of Jesus dying the second death.

Jesus was not crying out, “Why have you forsaken me till Sunday morning?” You don’t forsake someone when you leave them for the weekend. When I tell my Sabbath School class I will be preaching at another church next Sabbath, none of them ask me why I have forsaken them. They know I will be back the following week. When Jesus cried out, “Why have you forsaken me?” He felt abandoned forever. He felt what the wicked will feel.

Obadiah 1:16 says the wicked will be as though they had never been. Jesus was not facing a mere six-hour pain endurance marathon. A lot of cancer patients would gladly trade their years of battling cancer for six hours on a cross. The physical pain is not what made it the supreme sacrifice. What Jesus was facing was going into total oblivion and being as though He had never existed! While Satan was willing to sacrifice anyone who got in his way of being number 1, Jesus was willing to go into total oblivion if He could just save someone else.

Hebrews 2:9 tells us Jesus tasted death for everyone. Jesus and Paul both refer to the first death as sleep. Jesus did not save us from that death, as we plainly experience that death ourselves. Paul did not say Jesus tasted sleep for every man. No, He tasted death, the death of the wicked. Yes, He prophesied of His own resurrection, but that was while He still felt the presence of His Father. When Jesus felt the Father turn His back on Him, He felt, as a man, that the promise of the resurrection had left with the Father. Jesus became the God-forsaken God.

Some say, how could Jesus have died the second death while He never lost faith in His Father? Remember Jesus had no sense of self-preservation. The sense of self-preservation belongs to Satan. Jesus had faith, but His faith was not that He would be saved but that you would be saved!

Some have a hard time wrapping their minds around this awesome love. Some refuse to believe that Jesus would be willing to die forever to save us. In that case they have made Moses more loving than Jesus. In Exodus 32:32 Moses is willing to be wiped out of eternity in order to save the children of Israel. Do you think Moses loved them more than Jesus loves sinners? Of course not! Only when Moses experienced the self-sacrificing love of God could he express such love. If you don’t believe that Jesus was willing to say goodbye to life forever in order to save us, then you have Moses showing more love than Jesus. This is impossible.

Since the Jews were accusing Jesus of blasphemy they could have just stoned Him to death. According to Leviticus 24:16, blasphemers were to be stoned and not crucified. Yet Jesus was crucified. Why? Because Deuteronomy 21:22-23 tells us those who are hung are cursed by God. Someone could plead for mercy and have the hope of salvation, just like John Huss had, even though they were stoned to death. However, being hung was a sign you were cursed by God. Joshua 10 tells the story of five kings who refused to accept Israel’s God and were hung from five trees, telling the world they had rejected God and so there was no salvation for them. It was goodbye to life forever.

Friend, does this help you understand how much Jesus loves you? He could have come down from the cross and returned to heaven where He could wear His kingly Crown instead of the crown of thorns. He could have left the road to Calvary and walked on streets of gold. He could have left the mocking mob and returned to hear angels sing His praise. He could have returned to His mansion. Why didn’t He do just that? Because the thought of going back to heaven without you did not appeal to Jesus. Heaven would not be paradise without you, as far as Jesus is concerned.

There is nothing I would rather be preaching than this message here. It is the everlasting gospel in the three angels’ messages. This kind of love changes everything. It changes how we look at the cross and how we look at sin. Most of all it changes our hearts. The disciples were just a bunch of self-ambitious men until they saw this love displayed on the cross. After they saw this love they were willing to give everything – even their own lives. Revelation 15 tells us there will be a multitude singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. They will be filled with this self-sacrificing love just like Moses and Jesus. They will hate sin more than they hate death and they will love God more than they will love their own lives or self preservation.

Jesus’ love for you goes deeper than the nail scars. He loves you more than He loves life itself. He was willing to go into total oblivion and it be as though He had never existed if that is what it took to save you!

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The God-forsaken God — 52 Comments

  1. Matthew 27:46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

  2. The sense of self preservation belongs to Satan. Jesus didn't have any self preservation, rather He recognized enough potential in us worth dying for. I never thought of it quite that way before. Wahoo! Thank-you William. Thank-you Jesus!!

  3. God is Love and true Love can never be destroyed Jesus is Love and he came to destroy death. Death doesn't understand Love that's what satin has power of, not Life. only God has power of death and life.And God gave Jesus that power at the cross.That's why He is the redeemer.Jesus Christ.Every knee is going to bow and every tongue is going to confess that Jesus is Lord.I believe that.Thank you Lord remember me.

  4. This is a subject that warrants much study and meditation. But our feeble minds, distorted by too much involvment in secular things, and devolved over 6000 years, can't begin to comprehend what Jesus experienced. But that is the point. He experienced it so that we don't have to.
    Jesus plainly told his disciples that he would rise again the third day. He knew all of the prophecies relating to his life, death, and resurrecton. But, he had mortal feelings to contend with. He felt deserted, rejected, alone.
    He had spent much of his life in close personal communication with his Father. But when he cries out, "Why have you forsaken me", he gets no response. Why? He was our example. He was showing that trusting God supercedes trusting our "feelings".
    Did Jesus die the "second death"? That can only be correctly answered if we have a correct understanding of what the second death is. Jesus was willing to completely follow through with the plan that he had with the Father, even if it meant eternal separation from God. However, was there such a thing as the second death before Jesus died to give man a second probation?

    • Tom, Jesus died the death that we deserve so that we would not have to and that we might have the life that He deserves.

      What "death" do we deserve that we do not have to die? Is it the "sleep" that is ended by the first resurrection?

      Or is it the "second death"?

      We may not understand how it is possible, even though William drew a good picture, but unless Christ died the second death in our place, we are doomed to die the second death ourselves.

    • Consider john 16:32 & john 18:4. These passages refute all this speculation. Jesus was calling psalm 22 to mind to show that even the particulars of His crucifixion were predicted. He was continuing to encourage His disciples even in the agony of His death. Now that is love!!

        • William - thanks for posting my comment and even responding to it. Most sites that support the abandonment theory where I post will not post my opposing opinion.

          Given your view that God really did in fact forsake the Son, I can see why you read Psalm 22 with an emotional view. This is a new (and I must say creative) way to look at Psalm 22. However, the fact remains that Jesus, speaking to His disciples, said in John 16:32, "Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone, and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me." And John 18:4 reports that, "Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth,..." Put these together and we have that Jesus knew that He was NOT going to be abandoned, forsaken, or left alone "because the Father is with Me" as He went forward to meet the Roman cohort that would arrest Him.

          • Hi Again Jim,

            Thank you for your comment. We are always glad to publish sincere comments that are on subject. Thank you also for letting me clarify something. I do not believe that God actually abandoned Jesus. I do believe however that Jesus felt abandoned. Jesus experienced the cross as a man which is why it says in Mark 14:33 that Jesus became sore amazed in Gethsemane. His humanity was overwhelmed in experiencing something He never had had before. He was facing the death of the wicked and felt forsaken though He was not. My view of Psalms 22 is not unique or creative. It is standard. As I said in my earlier comment, the experience was real to Jesus and David prophesied of this real experience. Jesus was not just reciting verses on the cross to remind His disciples of the prophecy in Psalms 22. He actually felt forsaken though He was not. If Jesus was only pretending to feel forsaken then that would greatly cheapen the cross. Jesus was willing to die forever if that is what it took to save us. It would not be logical to think that Moses had more love and was willing to make a greater sacrifice than Jesus when he asked for his name to blotted out in Exodus 32. I hope this helps clear up any confusion. God bless and thanks again for the open dialogue.

  5. The experience of Jesus is unique. No one will go through what He went through but in my opinion, and it is only that, a group numbered the one hundred and forty four thousand will come as close to that experience as anyone can come. As Revelation says, "They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth" (Rev. 14:3 NKJV). Like Jesus their experience will be a unique one that no other humans will have, therefore, no one else will be able to sing that song except that group.

    It is true, John Huss sang during his execution and many others have done likewise because they knew God was with them and they were right but what of that special group will they think the same in their ordeal? Or will they be in roughly the same situation as Jesus where God seems to abandon them at the last hour (but actually really doesn't) and the only thing they have left to hang on to is their faith which Satan wears nearly away by the time it is all over.

    As one woman says nearly every Sabbath, "something to think about" - especially for the future.

      • Both Tyler and William, I must interject that the experience of Jesus dying the 2nd death will only be experienced also by the finally impenitent.

        The only experience the 144,000 will share with Jesus is the complete victory over self by faith. This is the victory Jesus gained in Gethsemane in His final struggle, and this is the cup His followers will drink, and not the wrath of God.

        If that is what you both meant, then I agree with you.

        Yes, the full surrender of self is a terrible struggle, but the complete rejection by God will never be felt by the truly penitent soul, even while experiencing the greatest of all struggles over self. God's exceeding great and precious promises are too clear to ignore or forget. I believe there will be the temptation that God's people have been abandoned by Him to be left at the mercy of the wicked who are seeking to kill them, but they will not experience what Jesus experienced in the wrath of God for all sin, but will be more like what Jacob experienced. It was His faith in God that allowed Jesus to take the cup and drink it. The wrath of God came on Calvary after the victory over self was won in Gethsemane, a struggle that would have killed Him had the angel not been sent to save Him. Keep in mind that Jesus had the sin of a whole world pressing upon Him, while God's remnant will have only their own sins trying to eclipse the grace of God, as did Jacob in his night of wrestling. Their cup will be to exercise perfect faith while being tempted that God cannot forgive their sin, but His promises will keep them.

        Jesus did not feel completely forsaken by God until Calvary, and God's people will not experience Calvary, but must experience Gethsemane, and it's great temptation to doubt. How much we need to know personally God's wonderful promises by both faith and experience!

        At least this is how I understand it presently.

  6. The experience of Jesus is, indeed, unique - meaning that there is and will be no comparable experience in humanity.

    About the 144,000, we are told that they sing "the song of Moses and the Lamb." (Rev 15:3)And perhaps we should reflect what Moses and Christ had in common.

    Moses is called "meek." ((Nu 12:3) And Jesus promised the new earth to the meek. (Matt 5:5) He Himself was called "meek," even though not all translations use that word: "Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls." (Matthew 12:9 AMP)

    So it seems to me that one of the characteristics of the 144,000 is that they are "meek," also translated as gentle and humble.

    Moses loved his people so much that he was willing to die the second death for his people. In interceding for Israel, Moses prayed, "Yet now, if You will forgive their sin—but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.” (Ex 32:32) And, as author William Earnhardt points out, Jesus actually did experience the second death for us. It is beyond our comprehension.

    I am glad that Tyler has brought up the 144,000, because we are told to "strive to be among the 144,000." It seems to me that that would mean that we are individually to strive to be gentle and humble like Moses and Christ, and that we are to strive to demonstrate the same kind of self-sacrificing love that they demonstrated. And that is possible only through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

    I pray that we may individually stay so close to Jesus that we will be hidden in Him - that His character may be demonstrated in our lives.

    • Yes Inge!

      I believe the song, found in Revelation 15:3 is the key to understanding this experience, which the song represents. It tells of those who accept fully God's ways, and in all their ways, acknowledge Him. We cannot "sing" this except as we live it. This means everything Jesus demonstrated will be followed by those who sing this most beautiful song. We have been told that we must sing it in this life if we are ever to sing it in heaven.

  7. Am more humbled by your teaching of Christ's self sacrificing love for me, the sinner. It is a though am reading it for the 1st time, thanks. I will be looking for your class next time in Tampa, by His Grace.

  8. When jesus said "It is finished" and "Into thy hands do I commend my spirit", He was giving God the Father the control of his being even in death and the resurection. He gave God his spirit after he felt that God had forsaken him. This is the "faith of Jesus". He still did not rely on His own divinity to resurect himself. Trust in God.

  9. We are also told to refrain from worrying whether we will be number 144,000 or 144,001. Rather we are to put our trust in Jesus, obeying His command, 'feed my lambs, take care of the widows, feed the homeless, take the shirt of your back for someone who needs it,' or give it to your church welfare society, they will find someone who needs it.
    If we turn to Jesus Hebrews 7:25, there will be a seat left for us on the trolley to heaven.

  10. Oh God help me to live daily for you.Tons of hugs and kisses almighty I need to make heaven my are an awesome God your love for me can't be compared.thank you Jesus for salvation

  11. The subject of the cross is one of my favorite themes for contemplation. Thank you for expounding upon it! I would love to see a LOT more articles about Calvary. I agree with the vast majority of your article. However, I believe you are in error in your dicisively-condemnatory attitude toward self-preservation.

    "The law of self-sacrifice is the law of self-preservation." COL 86.3

    In addition;

    "Our first duty to God and our fellow beings is in self-development." GC 164.2
    Self development being our first duty, makes self-preservation a critical part of keeping that commandment!

    "The students’ employment and amusements should have been regulated with reference to physical law, and adapted to preserve to them the healthy tone of all the powers of the body and mind. " CE 12.1

    Self-Preservation is The modus-operandi of every true Christian. The law of self-sacrifice is the law of self-preservation.

    • Balam, Self-sacrifice may lead to self-preservation but self-preservation does not lead to self-sacrifice. Jesus said it best. "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." Matthew 10:39

      Here is the Christ Object Lesson quote, page 86-87 in its full and original context. " And all who would bring forth fruit as workers together with Christ must first fall into the ground and die. The life must be cast into the furrow of the world's need. Self-love, self-interest, must perish. But the law of self-sacrifice is the law of self-preservation. The seed buried in the ground produces fruit, and in turn this is planted. Thus the harvest is multiplied. The husbandman preserves his grain by casting it away. So in human life, to
      give is to live. The life that will be preserved is the life that is freely given in service to God and man. Those who for Christ's sake sacrifice their life in this world, will keep it unto life eternal."

      Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13 "if I give my body to be burned but have not love it profits me nothing." In other words if I do it just to get a better resurrection than it will get me nowhere. But if I do it out of love and not for the sake of self preservation then it is acceptable to God.

      In this world selfishness is often made to look like a virtue, which is contrary to true Christianity. We do not love God to get to heaven and preserve ourselves. We love Him because He first loved us.

      I understand though what you are saying. When a plane loses cabin pressure you put your mask on first and then help the child next to you. You can't be any help to that child if you are not around. But we survive so we can serve, and not serve so we can survive.

      However I can't agree with your statement that "Self-Preservation is The modus-operandi of every true Christian." I stand by my comment that the sense of self-preservation belongs to Satan.

    • Balam, if you will read the quote re "self-preservation" in context, it becomes clear that Ellen was referring to one of the many paradoxes of the gospel, as expressed in Matt 16:24: "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." Notice she writes that " all who would bring forth fruit as workers together with Christ must first fall into the ground and die." That's the very opposite of the spirit of self-preservation, but paradoxically, it results in genuine self-preservation.

      The spirit of self-preservation, as understood in this world -- to look out for oneself first -- is the spirit of the world, which is the polar opposite of the spirit of self-sacrifice, which is the spirit of Christ and His Kingdom.

      For your second quote, I believe you mean this one:

      Our first duty to God and our fellow beings is in self-development. Every faculty with which the Creator has endowed us should be cultivated to the highest degree of perfection, that we may be able to do the greatest amount of good of which we are capable. In order to purify and refine our characters, we need the grace given us of Christ that will enable us to see and correct our deficiencies and improve that which is excellent in our characters.2 {}

      In this quote the emphasis is, again, on service. It makes us responsible to develop the gifts God gave us for His service. Here the context determines the meaning of the wordl.

      In common language today, "self-development" means something quite different -- it means the development of self -- and generally what gets developed is the very self that must die in order that Christ might live within.

      I believe it is fair to say that the two kingdoms - the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of this world have two opposing values. Self-sacrificing love is the foundational value of the Kingdom of Christ, and self-preservation/self-development is the foundational value of the kingdom of Satan/this world.

      The paradox of the Kingdom of Heaven is that only by sacrificing self can we preserve self. Only by denying self can the full potential of the human soul be achieved.

      • Thank you sister for your comment and I can appreciate what your are saying and think you are right on. But in reality, I do not believe it to be a paradox, except from a non-Christian perspective. It is contrary to worldly thinking and worldy language. I disagree that we should allow common language to shape our word usage as it pertains to spiritual things. We should embrace the Biblical technique of selectively using paradoxical language to get and direct the attention and inquiry of others towards abstract spiritual principles. The seeming contradiction of our language is quite an effective way of getting the attention of non-believers, and new believers. However there is nothing inherently contradictory about it. It's simply that we are persuaded by love, and to those who do not have love, our actions and behavior, and even our language seems contradictory and paradoxical. :)

        • Hello Balam,

          The common definition of a paradox is a statement of a seeming contradiction that is, in reality, true. In that sense, the gospel of Christ is full of paradoxes. Jesus used such "seeming contradictions" in order to get the attention of His listeners. It would no longer be a paradox if we should re-define the words the way you suggest, and it would no longer have the same value in gaining attention.

          I believe that the basic principle that William enunciated is biblical. "Self-preservation" literally means the act of preserving one's life, and self-preservation in this world is contrary to the principles of the Kingdom of Heaven, since Jesus said, "For whoever wants to save [preserve] their life will lose it." (Matt 16:25) (Arguing over semantics does not help us in understanding biblical truth.)

      • Didn't Jesus demonstrate true self-preservation when He surrendered His will completely to the will of His Father, even when it seemed contrary to natural self-preservation? I believe this is the meaning of having "the faith of Jesus". This is in itself a death, but a worthy dying to all that would be contrary to the Law of the Lord, which is perfect. While Jesus never sinned, He still gave a perfect example for all sinners to follow, so they will never face what He faced for a guilty world. In following His example everyone of faith will be preserved and found faultless.

        I also believe that Jesus' death does far more than save a guilty world, for it also preserves all creation from being deceived by Satan's artful deceptions that took 1/3 of the holy beings that once dwelt in the very presence of God, and threatened every free-will soul that lives throughout the expanse of the universe. He unmasked Satan in the only way possible, by demonstrated holiness in contrast to wickedness, selflessness in contrast to selfishness. One is willing to give up for others, the other willing to destroy others for self exaltation. One is meek and the other full of pride. One creates and nurtures life, even when it cost everything, while the other desired to destroy even the Giver of all Life, which includes his own life.

        The 144,000 will live such a life as Jesus demonstrated and by this, "follow the Lamb withersover He goeth". And in so doing, they will escape what Jesus received by dying in their place. The 144,000 are sinners saved by grace.

  12. Thank you Pastor for this wonderful insight that you presented. Have been humbled and thank Jesus for doing something for me that no man can do for himself. God bless.

  13. Praise God for this passage you wrote, it truly helped me have a clearer picture of Gods love for us after all these years, and I'm 41 years old. This is a must read and share!! May God continue to use you and help us to emphasize this message to the world!

  14. Rich! The gospel is indeed good news that is free to us but cost Him everything! May our appreciation of His gift grow throughout the ages of eternity.

  15. Even though I have read this before, and heard you preach it William, it is still a gem of a post. Indeed, John Huss, Joan of Arc and others did sing praises and Jesus didn't. I see that thought anew.

    Inge, thanks for expressing this: ...we are told to “strive to be among the 144,000.” It seems to me that that would mean that we are individually to strive to be gentle and humble like Moses and Christ, and that we are to strive to demonstrate the same kind of self-sacrificing love that they demonstrated. And that is possible only through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

    I think this is the power of the Gospel that William has also talked about in this post. Being right and showing others they have been wrong and deceived hasn't turned the world upside down. The Gospel in our lives will lighten the world.

    This post and the comments of many are such a blessing. Thanks William!

    • Jane, very well said: "The Gospel in our lives will lighten the world." You see even deeper the Huss and Joan rhythms of praise in contrast to the grief/sorrow of Jesus Christ facing death ("Father the time has come", Upper room, Gethsemane, Isa 53/Condemnation by His people). Could you wrestle with the why, if you don't mind? Will look for your or other response. Thanks

  16. I shudder with fear at the depth to which Jesus went to save me, and the entire world. As a sinful human being, I can just vaguely imagine the great sacrifice. I am eternally grateful to Him and the Father for what He was willing to do to save me and the rest of the world. I pray that I shall be always faithful to God by His grace for this wonderful demonstration of self-sacrificing love. My eyes always fill with tears every time I read the story of Christ's love for me and the entire world.

  17. I just have to add my amen to today's lesson. This is a message that we have had for over a hundred years, and in mercy and love God is giving it to us again. I pray it moves us to greater appreciation and love for Him who died of a broken heart for us. When the soldier pierced the side of Jesus and two streams flowed, one of water and one of blood, it revealed that He died of congestive heart failure brought on by grief so deep for the sins of others He took the blame for, most of whom didn't yet even know or care that their sins were crucifying Him ("while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" Romans 5:8). Look up congestive heart failure; it is the pleural cavity around the heart filling with water (in this case due to extreme stressfulness) and crushing the heart in agony too great to imagine, especially in this young man with a strong healthy heart. When Jesus felt his heart torn and mortally wounded by grief, while still alive he cried "It is finished". He had drunk the cup for us to the dregs. Then and only then could he rest his soul by faith alone in God.

  18. William
    Thank you for this wonderful message. I have read in Desire of Ages that Christ could not see beyond the portals of the tomb and believe that in that experience He was fully man. What I have much wondered about however, is His actual death. He told the Father that 'into your hands I commend my spirit' and in another place in scripture He says that no man takes His life but He lays it down. So, did He have to relinquish His life at Calvary in order to die? Did the Father call Him from the grave or did Christ resurrect Himself?
    I pray for understanding of this.

    • William,
      Let me affirm and say thank you for wrestling with the most wonderful truth to human ears. I especially want to say thank you for your grasp of the high value that our Wonderful Lord Father Counselor Almighty God Jesus Christ places on human beings, wonderfully expressed by EGW in DA.
      I appreciate your wrestling with the question of the vulnerability of Jesus Christ as He faced the curse of tree.

      I refer to Bobbie's reminder of the Divine imperative of Jesus Christ to lay down His life, and take it back. He would unlikely forget so quickly and suddenly succumb to a vulnerability to traumatized feelings/fear/grief of being separated from His Father eternally. If a soldier in battle, when he/she faces the decision to save someone, buddy or other citizen, at the expense of his/her life would rise to a higher level and give up life for the other, how about Jesus Christ, whose Mission was tied up with His very identify of being "the resurrection and the life"?!? Did He suddenly forget Who He is, and got scared? Are we still wrestling with the Garden of Gethsemane prayer, "let this cup pass......", as being a second guessing of His Mission?
      1. The soldier did not give up self-preservation. He chose, based on the mental clarity of value becoming personal imperative, to preserve the life of the other above that of self (Philippians 1, 2). Self-preservation is only second to love in human basic needs. For the solider, it may appear to be duty, but rather it is "love for country" -- which in itself is symbiotic with self-preservation. For Christ, Who is the embodiment of love itself? He did not give up self-preservation - too much depends on it. Love trumped it.
      2. The soldier's act was not based on feeling, but the imperative of value. Jesus Christ did not shift to wrestling with feelings/fear/grief when faced with acting on an eternal decision regarding the lives of billions of sinners. "For this reason I came into the world."
      3. An explanation of a quantitative comparison of three days versus eternity does not answer a profoundly qualitative question. Same with the "Jesus wept" grief when Lazarus was about to be resurrected under five minutes.

      So what is the qualitative response to these and other questions, when the identity is "love" itself?

      • Hurford,

        What Christ experienced was more than 'feeling traumatized." In a very real way, He "became sin for us." Thus He was treated as we deserve so that we may be treated as He deserves.

        In a very real way, Christ experienced what the sinner who does not accept salvation must eventually experience -- the second death. Trying to figure out how such a thing could be has led some very intelligent people down paths that are in direct opposition to biblical teachings.

        We can understand all of the incarnation that is necessary, but we cannot begin to understand the whole. And trying to "understand" precisely what Christ went through on the cross is trying something that is not possible for finite minds. But we can accept what the Bible tells us. We can imagine some of the horror or abandonment suffered by the Son of God who had been connected with the Father and the Spirit since eternity. But we can never imagine the whole, and to compare it to any kind of feeling we may experience is to deny the reality of Christ's suffering the second death in our stead. I've seen others do it, because they could not understand how such a thing could be. But I come back to the same conclusion -- if Christ did not die the death we deserve (which is the second death), then we must die it ourselves. And that goes against all that Christ taught about the plan of salvation.

  19. Good question Bobbie! According to Selected Messages, Book 1 page 301, Ellen White says, ""I am the resurrection, and the life" (John 11:25). He who had said, "I lay down my life, that I might take it again" (John 10:17), came forth from the grave to life that was in Himself. Humanity died; divinity did not die. In His divinity, Christ possessed the power to break the bonds of death. He declares that He has life in Himself to quicken whom He will." So He faced the second death as a man which is how the wicked will face it.
    (Click on the link above for context.)

    • William,
      You are saying that Jesus Christ was traumatized because he felt like a wicked person? I am not sure that a comparison of the faultless man/Divine Jesus Christ with the wicked is authentic, nor does it answer the question.

      Yes to: "In His Divinity, Christ possessed the power to break the bonds of death."

      • Hurford, you and I are sinners, and deserve the wrath of God without mercy, but Jesus stepped in between us and God and felt this wrath upon Himself for us. Yes, without sin, but He had to fully accept this wrath as a sinner would, or the law would not be justified. It's quite simple if we understand the law and justice. Christ is God's mercy for us. (Psalm 85:10)

        Jesus did not feel wicked, but received the wrath that the wicked must receive to satisfy justice. The unrepentant will receive this wrath and the description in the Bible reveals a terrible ordeal.

        We cannot fully understand all of this, but God does and accepted Jesus as our substitute, which is wonderful for us.

  20. Wow great discussion here! Wonderful post that started it William and all those who've added their thoughts like a diamond each a different facet of the jewel as we behold what manner of love yea the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world. What a nice surprise to find a topic that deserves, as one of the posts mentioned, much attention and thoughtful meditation. Perhaps even a "thoughtful hour a day" focused on the guilt, shame, and condemnation that our sins have put Jesus through?

    How about these days? Is he partying with the angels now? 7 billion souls literally starving and spiritual starving while Laodicea praises Him with our lips but our hearts are fixed upon our idols? Not a pretty picture I know. Only a glance at that ok? Keep beholding the supreme sacrifice. As Ivor Myers preaches our eyes "fixed" upon the crucifixion so we can be "fixed" by the word.

    Hallelujah, hosanna, and praises that in the few hours just ahead the 144,000 Mary Magdalene/Esther/Jacob/John generation will have sent up the last prayer need to bring down that fiery love through the outpouring of the law of the Spirit of life to lighten the earth with His glory, vindicate His character, and exonerate His holy law from the lies of the evil doomed bastard (no offense but it's a KJV bible word) and his demons as well as the poor wretches who've pulled themselves out of Jesus by their un/satan/self belief.

    Thanks again times infinity for so many fresh thoughts on the supreme sacrifice and the 2nd death Jesus tasted. Use some caution about with the correct verb (tasted not died) or some gallant bible "scholar" will correct you about that. As sort of a PS and aside I throw my hat in the ring saying it was the Father who called Jesus from the grave. It's kind of a no consciousness during death "thing" I have to deal with in my mind. It sounds sort of contrived in my humble estimation to say His humanity died but His divinity didn't. But please don't misunderstand I surely don't want to make it sound like some sort of test of faith especially as I wrote earlier about the tenor of this discussion is so grand and glorious.

    Thanks and praise Father for these precious souls all over this world who are beholding You and following You wherever You go. First to the cross, the holy place for forgiveness, and now the most holy the very presence of You dear Father that a special cleansing might take place the we can see You face to face without death. Ahhhmen Even So Come Lord Jesus Selahhh

    In Jesus peace purpose power and praise:
    Jeffrey and Norma in China

    • First, in reference to the KJV "word", it means a person without a legitimate father, but Lucifer has a legitimate Father, the very best Father. Lucifer only chose a contrary way to respond to this most loving of all Fathers, whom Jesus invites us to call our Father also.

      It's true that Jesus' Divine power (which could not die) was not exercised to raise up His lifeless human form until word from His Father came to do so. Scripture is clear that Jesus is Creator, the Resurrection and the Life (John 11:25). His voice will call all the dead to life again, to receive their eternal reward of either Life or Death, just as He said He would raise up His human form again after laying it down willingly.(John 10:17,18)

      It seems strange to us to consider this Divine/human Being, but even in our limited capacity we can understand His teachings which are true and faithful. While it seems impossible for a human form to contain the Infinite Creator, somehow He has chosen that form in which He walked among us in this life and will dwell with us forever in the next life. It is through the Holy Spirit(Breath) that He is able to dwell within each soul who also willingly lays down their own self to become selfless like Him. (I like the word "Breath", which is illustrated by our physical breathing of air, bringing power to every cell in our body, as long as we don't stop breathing) In so doing we ourselves become human/Divine beings, always controlled by the Divine, and never the other way around. The moment self is raised up (it's our choice and within our power) the Divine steps away, never usurping our right to choose.

      Wearing the Yoke of Jesus is our only hope of having this Divine dwelling within us. (Matt 11:28-30, Gal 2:20)

      • Robert,
        You, and William and others, have taken us into deep waters of "mystery": Elohim. Eternity. Creation. Sin. The God/man. Father and Son. Salvation. Lay down His life and take it back. In-dwelling Holy Spirit makes a new person: a Divine/human combination. Faith!!!
        He is Truth!! Authentic and verifiable.
        Second Coming and Resurrection ought to be authentic and verifiable too -- faith turned to reality -- like the rest.


    • Jeffrey and Norma,
      Hope you are being richly blessed as you serve the Lord in China. Prayer for continued blessings on your family. Thanks for your submission, and your attitude to maintain a plain of peace and praise.

      William is right on this: Human beings are mortal. Yahweh is immortal/eternal. Human can die. Divine does not. Phil 2. He laid aside Divinity. And yet He divinely walked on water, multiplied bread and fish and raised Lazarus to life, while here as human. He said He lays down His life (human); and He takes it back again (I AM the Resurrection and the LIFE). I can't figure out everything with the limitations of 5'8" and a big sneeze. I am with what He says.

  21. "Son of God, come forth; Thy Father calls Thee"
    Thanks again and again yea again for the precious expressions concerning each one's individual meditations upon the Gethsemane and the cross. A special thanks to brother Hurford for Your encouraging words for our ministry here in China (the land of Sinim Isaiah 49:12) and our family. I was pondering a bit on some of you dear ones making an effort to steer me back toward the more orthodox thinking in terms of somehow Jesus being able to call Himself back from the dead. Although I am somewhat comfortable with my position that it was the Father who called Him out of the grave (see DOA 779.3 quote below) I felt at very least I would have a peek at the reference in EGW's 1SM pg 301 and of course John 10:17, & 11:25 & which she quotes in the 1SM reference.

    My reticence to spend to much time on this area of study is threefold. Firstly after living and ministering here in China for nearly 15 years I've found the spiritualism (ghosts etc.) issue so deeply entrenched that to muddy the waters with a somewhat nonessential topic such as we have here is counterproductive. Qing Ming (like Halloween or a day of the dead thing) holiday is next week and I've been preaching quite a lot on the very topic of Jesus being the only man to taste the second death as well as the dead sleeping until the resurrections etc. The problem has become quite serious here these days with grave robbers stealing bodies to sell to those who want to have weddings for their departed loved ones. I'm not kidding. If you wanna read about it I can find and send the link. Incredible.

    Secondly I jumped into the discussion on this forum because of the beautiful teaching of the cross that can really only be understood in the very light of the state of the dead and Jesus felt the "curse" as a Jew He had read Moses and like all the Jews knew that "cursed" was anyone hung on a tree. As an aside it explains a little deeper why the disciples flipped out when He went through with being crucified. In their mind there was this cognitive dissonance that told them He couldn't be the Messiah whom they were sure He was. Of course those doubts were strongly urged upon Jesus in Gethsemane and at the cross Satan painted in the darkest hues the picture of the disciples fleeing no one to comfort Him and then the final blow of feeling forsaken by His/our Father.

    The curse is lost forever i.e. the second death. Anything that takes us backward in that understanding is suspect in my mind. This rather esoteric argument that Jesus was conscious enough after His death that He could call Himself from the grave falls into this category. A clear understanding of the "state of the dead" is essential to getting a glimpse into the "horror of great darkness" that called forth the "shriek" My God My God why???? Have You yes You My precious Father forsaken Me Your only begotten Son??? I used to think of it like He sort of mumbled in His last breath sort of barely audible sounds as the exhaustion and whatever overcame Him. But no this was like a sound of a wild animal perhaps caught in a trap wailing. Oh Lord forgive, (thank you for that) cleanse, heal, guard, and guide. ahhhmen selahhh.

    Lastly it brings to mind something my sister said to me years ago. She and her husband have pastored a charismatic Sunday church in Wisconsin for many years. She told me "you SDA's" you "like to wrangle". It sort of reminds me of EGW's comments about our "argumentative discourses" type thing. So I'm thinking that this issue has nearly climbed to my top 1,000 things I will ask Jesus when I see Him in the few short weeks or months remaining and of course God willing if I don't manage to wriggle out of His loving embrace before that momentous hour. And if I do I know that His perfect judgment too will be fair and an act of love. For the unrepentant to continue beyond this life would be impossible as rebellion would break out again perhaps this time to infect even more of the pristine universe. Heaven and the earth made new would be hell for those whose hearts are still bent on self exaltation.

    My last thoughts on the issue is to please **//read the context/**/. I'm convinced that neither John quoting Jesus nor EGW were even making any reference to Jesus being able to call Himself from the dead after the cross. The context of John 10:17 is clear and EGW includes this idea in her 1SM counsel. The context is the good shepherd in contrast with the hireling. Vss. 16 says " And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, [and] one shepherd". John 11:17 is again a reference to quickening others and in this case the miracle of raising Lazerus from the grave after the 4 days the Jews believed was sufficient time to be sure someone was really dead.

    Here is the quote from 1SM 301."I am the resurrection, and the life" (Joh 11:25). He who had said, "I lay down my life, that I might take it again" (Joh 10:17), came forth from the grave to life that was in Himself. Humanity died; divinity did not die. In His divinity, Christ possessed the power to break the bonds of death. **He declares that He has life in Himself to quicken whom He will**. {1SM 301.1} It's not even about His power to resurrect Himself. He is referring to human beings like you and me. He is saying that I don't judge by the world's standards but those who've gone to the grave with His life in them will hear and be raised. Jesus was stating that He alone had the ability to judge righteously concerning those who He would grant eternal life. The next statement John refers to the division among the Jews some calling Him the devil and some siding with Jesus.

    All through His earthly sojourn the sunshine burned brightly in His soul. He had no consciousness of guilt, shame, and condemnation and He made very strong statements concerning this solidarity with His/our Father. There was a definite oneness with the Father that only began to be broken up at Gethsemane and then at Calvary the killer load of separation from the Father. I don't see these verses or the EGW quote as speaking directly to the issue which has been under investigation.

    A thought question about the above. The saints throughout time who've died in Christ have gone to the grave with the life of Christ in them. Where is this divine life while they sleep in the dust? Are they able to call themselves from the grave? Of course not. Jesus voice will awaken them. During His time in the grave the Father who had previously given Him the "commandment" spoke and resurrected His Son. See DOA quote below.

    DOA 779.3 Chapter 81 "The Lord is Risen"
    Now, priests and rulers, where is the power of your guard? Brave soldiers that have never been afraid of human power are now as captives taken without sword or spear. The face they look upon is not the face of mortal warrior; it is the face of the mightiest of the Lord's host. This messenger is he who fills the position from which Satan fell. It is he who on the hills of Bethlehem proclaimed Christ's birth. The earth trembles at his approach, the hosts of darkness flee, and as he rolls away the stone, heaven seems to come down to the earth. The soldiers see him removing the stone as he would a pebble, and hear him cry, **Son of God, come forth; Thy Father calls Thee**. They see Jesus come forth from the grave, and hear Him proclaim over the rent sepulcher, "I am the resurrection, and the life." As He comes forth in majesty and glory, the angel host bow low in adoration before the Redeemer, and welcome Him with songs of praise. {DA 779.3}

    In Jesus peace purpose power and praise: Jeffrey and Norma in China

    • I think most everyone here is well acquainted with the quote from DA 779, and have considered it often. Notice the words in the very next sentence where Jesus comes forth and proclaims; “I am the resurrection, and the life.” Could He have claimed that if raised by an angel?

      I have believed it as you do for years until I saw in scripture the claims of Christ concerning this matter.

      There cannot be two different truths. We need to see how the two ideas work together to realize the perfect harmony in the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Simply put, Jesus exercised His Divine power only when His Father sent the message to do so. The sacrifice of the Son of man was complete and now the Son of God could come forth with His Father's approval. Notice how the message of the angel is as if talking to One who is not unconscious. The fact that the angel was sent shows us that Divinity was not at sleep. Only the voice of the Creator can wake the dead according to scripture and I find perfect harmony with Desire of Ages as we have all read it, and it can only stand in truth while in perfect harmony with Scripture on the subject. Jesus did not lie when He said He would lay down and take up His mortal life as a man. He had told those plotting to kill Him that He(not an angel or the Father) would raise up His lifeless body in 3 days, which they recalled after He died on the cross. Jesus the man was lifeless and the angel does not command Him to wake or rise. In fact, I have to wonder why an angel was sent, except perhaps for our sake, to better understand who did what, and that God the Father approved of the Sacrifice for us. The Divinity of Christ waited for the approval of His Father, which demonstrates further His complete submission as a Divine Servant. Had Jesus risen without this obvious approval from His Father, there might be many questions concerning the reality of His death. I don't know. We have only what is given, and I have come to accept the harmony and truth of both facts.

      Beyond this understanding, I cannot fathom how God laid aside His divinity while living as a man. I don't know how to visualize that, but I realize the Divine Creator cannot die, but submitted Himself to His Father as one who had died until His Father's approval was sent. He is the author of all life and sustains it without ceasing. This is all too far out of our reach, and even eternity will not allow us to fully understand it perfectly, and we will live eternally by faith, but with sufficient evidence for that faith. Look at the results: we are saved and even Satan will acknowledge God's justice in the end, and the Law of God stands vindicated as "perfect".

      Also, I would add this from Manuscript 131, 1897: "When the voice of the angel was heard saying, “Thy Father calls thee,” He who had said, “I lay down my life, that I might take it again,” “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” came forth from the grave to life that was in Himself. Deity did not die. Humanity died, but Christ now proclaims over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” In His divinity Christ possessed the power to break the bonds of death. He declares that He had life in Himself to quicken whom He will.
      “I am the resurrection, and the life.” This language can be used only by the Deity. All created things live by the will and power of God. They are dependent recipients of the life of the Son of God. However able and talented, however large their capabilities, they are replenished with life from the Source of all life. Only He who alone hath immortality, dwelling in light and life, could say, “I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it again.” All the human beings in our world take their life from Him. He is the spring, the fountain of life."

      And this from The Youth’s Instructor, August 4, 1898: “I am the resurrection, and the life.” He who had said, “I lay down my life, that I might take it again,” came forth from the grave to life that was in Himself. Humanity died: divinity did not die. In His divinity, Christ possessed the power to break the bonds of death. He declares that He has life in Himself to quicken whom He will."

  22. Dear Jeffery, Norma and all,
    No, rest assured He is not up there partying with the angels. He said for instance, at the Last Supper, "(Mt 26:29) But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom."

    Who can have a first rate party without the sweet fruit of the vine? But Jesus says he will forgo tasting of it until we, His Church and Bride, drink it with him "new" in the kingdom of Heaven. "It wouldn't be the same without you" He's telling us. Breaks my heart and brings tears to my eyes.

    I don't want to "crucify the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." (See Hebrews 6:6). God help us to glorify You in this Earth and not cause you shame.

    A quote from an oft inspired author reads: "Remember that when you sin, you wound afresh the One who gave his precious life for you, putting him to open shame. The world looks on, and says, “Ah, they are the ones who profess to believe that Christ is coming, and who profess to believe that the Lord forgives their sins; but do you see their conniving, their dishonesty, their sinfulness?” Christ is humiliated in the person of his saints. Let us not take that position. Let us consider that it is a noble thing to confess our faults, and to forsake them." {RH May 18, 1905, par. 9}

    Have you ever thought of Christ being wounded again by the sins of His people on Earth as History marches on? Friends I believe those wounds in His hands still weep a little blood every day, that the sins still sting as He pleads His blood in our behalf in the Heavenly Sanctuary. No, He's not having a party up there. His heart still aches for the lost. May Heaven help us to share His love and burden for the souls around us at work, in the home, the neighborhood. We need to be much in prayer for opportunities to tell and share with others of His matchless (Agape)Love! God help us.


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