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Thursday: The Creator on the Cross — 17 Comments

  1. Pastor James Rafferty of 3ABN Sabbath School Panel draws several meaningful parallels between the everlasting gospel in Revelation 14:6-7 and the final scenes of Jesus' earthly life and the everlasting gospel as shown at Calvary in Luke 23. So that we can all have his message for an easy reference, here are my notes ...thank you so much for this powerful study, Pastor Rafferty!

    (1) Luke 23:1,12 .... Rev.13...shows church-state unity

    (2) Luke 23:14... Pilot says, "I find no fault in Jesus."
    This parallels with Rev. 14:4-5, God's people follow
    the Lamb wherever He goes and are "faultless".

    (3) Luke 23:34 Jesus hanging on the Cross is the Gospel.
    Jesus looks at people uniting to crucify Him, the
    Church and State coming together to mock Him, and He
    says, "Father forgive them for they know not what they
    do." That revelation of God is the everlasting gospel.

    (4) Luke 23:38 The sign on the cross was written in Greek,
    Latin and Hebrew...parallels with Rev. 14:6 where the
    gospel is supposed to go to "every nation, kindred,
    tongue and people."

    (5) Luke 23:46 Jesus cried with a "loud voice", just like
    the 3 Angels' messages given with a "loud voice" in
    Rev. 14:7,9. Jesus paved the way for these messages.

    (6) Luke 23:40 Thieves hanging next to Jesus on either
    side. One thief said, "Dost not thou fear God?" The
    Cross of Christ and the gospel message witnessed there
    produced a Godly fear in one of the thieves hanging
    there. It is the proclamation of the Gospel that
    produces a healthy fear of God, that causes us to give
    glory to Him, and the desire to worship God.

    (7) Luke 23:47 The Roman centurion glorified God for what
    he saw at the Cross. This was a hardened soldier! He
    had seen in Jesus the revelation of forgiveness to the
    entire world, even to those who are crucifying Him.

    (8) Luke 23:43 Jesus said to the thief who had put faith in
    Christ that he would be with Him in Paradise. That
    moment was that man's judgment day. Jesus made His
    decision about the thief right then.

    (9) Luke 23:56 After people were fearing and worshiping God
    and giving glory to Him and receiving Christ's judgment
    .... The first part of the 1st Angel's message...they
    rested on the Sabbath day to honor their Creator,
    "according to the (4th) Commandment".

    (10) Luke 23:39 The soldiers and religious leaders were
    crying out to Jesus to save Himself. Babylon says the
    same thing to Christ's followers, "receive the mark",
    but that all falls in the context of Calvary. Christ
    and His followers are not there to save Himself/
    themselves, but to save others.

    (11) Luke 23:45 The sun was darkened .... Rev. 14:19-20
    see the wrath of God. Jesus experienced that wrath for

    (12) Luke 23:46 See the "faith of Jesus" (Rev.14:12)
    when He commits His life into His Father's hands.
    Despite His feelings and the circumstances happening
    all around Him, Jesus Christ trusted the Father's love.

    • (11) Luke 23:45 The sun was darkened .... Rev. 14:19-20
      see the wrath of God. Jesus experienced that wrath for

      Hello could you expound further on this point? As I don’t see where the Father would have shown His wrath to His son. Jesus' life here on earth was one of oneness with the Father. So I just don’t see or understand point 11.

      • Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
        it was our sorrows[a] that weighed him down.
        And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
        a punishment for his own sins!
        5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,
        crushed for our sins.
        He was beaten so we could be whole.
        He was whipped so we could be healed. Isaiah 53:4-5

        Jesus had to experience what we deserved to experience so we could experience the reward Jesus deserved. This included feeling the wrath of God. This is why Jesus cried out on the cross, "My God, My God, why have your forsaken me!" Jesus had always called God his Father. For example, "In my Father's house are many mansions," "I and my Father are one," "I always do those things that please my Father." But when Jesus was on the cross being treated the way we deserve so we can be treated the way He deserves He could not call God his Father and cried out "my God!"

        "Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. "With His stripes we are healed." -Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Page 25.

      • Hi, Seeker. That’s a good question. The Bible talks about the wrath of God being poured out at the cross, but it has not to do with penalizing Jesus. It was actually God‘s final wrath towards the sin of all humanity, which was poured out on Jesus.

        In Romans 3:25 we read
        „He became the 'propitiation' for our sins, which means that the payment for our sins was poured out on Jesus at Calvary.
        It's also important to understand what the term „God‘s wrath“ means, since we know from the Bible that He is „slow to anger, merciful and gracious“.

        Another aspect of God‘s wrath in the present time is
        mentioned as an example in Romans 1:24, 26 and 28:

        „Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity.
        For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.
        God gave them up to a debased minds.“

        In the Old Testament, in Ezekiel 7:8,
        God said to the Israelites, „I will pour out my wrath upon you, and spend my anger against you.” This shows God‘s response to evil, and God‘s anger is not in his nature, but it is provoked, and ultimately sin has to be dealt with.

        I hope this short explanation was helpful.
        God bless!

      • I always think in metaphors. So this one helps me. If I doused myself in gasoline, and then went to stand next to a roaring fire, those flames would leap out at me, and I would be consumed. It’s nothing personal between the fire and me. It’s just the natural interaction between fire and gasoline. Gasoline (or petrol) is extremely flammable with a flash point temperature of -40 degrees F.

        In the same way, God and sin just don’t mix. For this metaphor, it is helpful to remember that it is the gasoline that is volatile, not the fire. If we look up the word “volatile”, it means explosive or tending to erupt into violence, easily aroused. It is sin’s nature to explode and be destroyed in God’s presence. At the cross, we see Satan exploding through the people he controlled who tormented and killed Jesus. Sin killed Jesus. Jesus felt forsaken because God the Father allowed that natural wage of sin to be played out there …. He turned His Face away from the sin-bearing Son.

        So when we are full of sin, and covered with sin, God’s holiness destroys us…..it’s a natural moral reaction….except for His grace or protective covering. Right now, humans are not immediately destroyed because of God’s mercy/grace. But it won’t always be like this. Revelation 7:1-3 tells us God is holding back the “four winds” (from every compass direction) of harm caused by sin and Satan’s anger against God. Those who have the faith of Jesus are protected from Satan and from God’s holiness interacting with sin. God’s unmasked holiness will destroy unbelievers who are holding onto their sin - covered in gas, to continue the metaphor - once the believers are sealed.

        When Isaiah 53:4-5 says that Jesus was “smitten by God“ and that the “chastisement for our peace was upon him“ it means that He had the highly volatile load of all the sins of the world upon himself, and the holiness of the Father reacted with that. It is God’s nature to utterly destroy sin. Just as forest fires “cleanse” an area of land by consuming old and diseased trees, and creating new habitats, God the Father cleansed us by “erupting against/consuming/destroying” our sins laid upon God the Son. He re-creates us. Jesus’ own perfect righteousness protected Him from this “final judgment” experience, where one stands naked in the Father’s presence.

      • Amen to this, "Seeker." I see the "Everlasting Gospel," and where it says that "The Hour Of His Judgment is come," as meaning that God's very own Son took the judgment of Sin Once For All upon Himself at Calvary when He spilled His Blood for it then and there and not in 1844 at all. Only the Parable of the 10 Virgins has any prophetic significance for 1844 when God's people then thought Jesus was coming then and He did not show up and so they thought He had delayed His Coming but even the Apostle says in Hebrews that "He that will come, will come and will not tarry." Hebrews 10:37.

  2. We live in a throw-away society. If something is broken, we throw it out and buy a new one. Last year our TV developed a fault and a 4-pixel line appeared across the screen. The cost of repair equalled the cost of a new TV, so the recyclers took the old TV and we bought a new one. (And it does a good job of showing my bird photographs!).

    Some things, though, are worth repairing. I have a friend who loves old cars. He had an old MG that had seen better days. He took the whole car apart, and cleaned it up, and rebuilt it piece by piece. You should have seen his workshop; bolts and cogs, frames and panels, wiring and engine parts, all laid out and neatly labelled. Slowly it was reassembled until he was able to drive it on the road again, just like a new car. It was a labour of love and something that he was very proud of.

    God looks at his broken, dysfunctional, and abused creation and makes all things new in an act of love that is so outrageous, we have difficulty understanding it.

    We often obfuscate the creator-restorer process with volumes of words and definitions when really the only response is worshipful submission.

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 KJV

    God does not throw us away. The only way we can escape from Him is to push him away.

  3. He Grew the Tree

    He moulded and built a small, lonely hill
    That He knew would be called Calvary.
    Then He made the seed that would grow to be
    Thorns that would make his Son bleed.
    Then He made a green stem
    Gave it leaves and then gave it sunshine and rain
    And sheltered it with moss.
    He grew the tree He knew would be
    Used to make the old rugged cross.

    With tears in His eyes, God looked down through time
    Saw Him spat upon, rejected and mocked.
    Still He grew the tree He knew would be
    Used to make the old rugged cross.

    Nothing took His life with love He gave it.
    He was crucified on a tree that He created.
    With great love for man
    God stayed with His plan.
    He grew the tree so that we might GO FREE.

    By Chuck Lawrence

  4. There is nothing we can do to add anything to what Jesus did for us. Our society lacks love - a genuine love towards brothers and sisters. We teach consumption but very little of altruism. Nevertheless, thanks to God's outrageous compassion, we can be rescued! We can be made new creatures by restructuring our minds, emotionally and spiritually. When the power of true love becomes the engine of our will, everything changes and starts to fall into the right place. And as we taste it, we share it with friends. Every life on the planet becomes worthy!

  5. I have found today's lesson very perplexing, to say the least. Was it a mistake or an intentional teaching modalism? To say God died on the cross is very strange, because God is invisible (Col 1:15, I Tim 1:17), omnipresent by His angels (Psalm 139:7-8), omniscient (Psalm 139:4, I Tim 1:17), and immortal (I Tim 1:17, I Tim 6:16). We know Jesus died on the cross because He wrapped His divinity in humanity (John 3:16, Philippians 2:5-8), but not so with the Father. Can someone help unpack this?

    • I have some similar questions, Dan. For instance, we know that the Godhead created humans together (“our/us” Gen 1:26). Then, Hebrews 1:1-3, 10 tells us that God made the worlds through the Son, and that He “upholds all things by the word of His power”. So if Christ created and sustains the worlds, what happened when He died? How did the Father and Holy Spirit sustain everything without Him? Of course we know with God all things are possible. The details we often don’t have, at least yet.

      • Sometimes I think we become so focused on the "threeness" of God that we forget the "oneness". It is useful to think of the different roles of the Godhead, but we should not forget that mostly, the Bible simply says, "God", giving the impression that they work together.

        I am reminded of the illustration of the strands of the rope that is often used to explain the Trinity. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that the real thing is not the separation of the strands but their combination.

  6. [Just a reminder that quotes should not usually make up the whole of a comment. Moderator]

    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. - Desire of Ages 753.4

  7. The God who said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26, NKJV), is the same One who, on the cross, cried out, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” That is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”
    How? Is this not heresy?

    • Hi, Alfred. Good question! In my personal opinion, the wording may have been a bit unfortunate, as we all know that God cannot die. So, the statement that -- "The God... is the same One who... cried out" (and died on the cross) -- cannot be strictly true as written. The Man Jesus was a mysterious blending of the divine and the human, and how He could die as a man, without His divinity sinking and dying, is an even deeper mystery to me. It probably would be heresy to say that God died.

      That said, I believe that the lesson author was making a valid point. Jesus was fully divine, one with the Father, the One by whom all things were created, and the One in whom all things consist. Both Persons, along with the Holy Spirit, are one God. It's an awesome thought, to me, that our Creator was willing to pay such a price for our redemption as to find the "cry of dereliction" forced from His lips.

      I hope this helps.


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