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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Revelation Chapter 5: The Controversy


Chapter 5 opens with a whole different scene in heaven. The Father is still seated on His throne as He ever had been, but now He has in His right hand a book “written within and on the backside” (Rev. 5:1), bound up with seven seals ―by all appearances a book infinitely shut, forever shut, omnipotently shut. No one can open it; no one in heaven, on earth, or under the earth; that is, no holy angel, no sinful mortal, and not even demons could open this book of doom. John understood it to be so terrible a situation that he wept inconsolably; with the hosts of heaven, he wept for the Father. The Father, His wisdom and His love, were suspected guilty until proven innocent, His character and reputation under arrest; His authority and justice as though held in confinement without bail ―the Creator can no longer be trusted as implicitly as He ever had been. For the duration of the conflict, the Father must live without rest, day after day.

This mysterious book can be compared with the ones, by the same description, given to Moses and Ezekiel. “And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides [emphasis mine]; on the one side and on the other were they [emphasis mine] written. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables” (Ex. 32:15, 16). “And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; and he spread it before me; and it was written within and without [emphasis mine]: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe” (Eze. 2:9, 10) ―the maligned holy character of God and the irreverence toward Him that Satan would lead God’s children into. Judging by the descriptions of each of these communiqués, writing filled all their surfaces for awful, divine emphasis.

This book of Revelation 5 must be the archives relating the great controversy between Satan and God that only Christ could expose and vanquish (see Revelation 5:5, 6). It represents the issues of the King’s mercy, truth, and self-sacrifice versus the devil’s deception and the self-seeking conquest by the forces of sin; the work of deception and conquest that have spread so much lamentation, mourning, and woe. It represents the ultimate fate of those within whose hearts Lucifer works his wicked control (see Deuteronomy 32:32-34); and it speaks of ultimate divine retribution upon those who destroyed God’s children and His holy Law. It also speaks of temptation. Could Lucifer tempt God to overstep His wisdom and power before destroying the inveterate angel? Could he, in any way, move God into the trap to think that the end justifies the means? Could he drag God into a game of tit-for-tat? Could he get God to rail on him, to go beyond righteous indignation and exchange excessive judgment for Lucifer’s subtle vitriol toward Him, and, thus, eternally tarnish His holy reputation? Jesus’ answer to the deceiver, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God” (Matt. 4:7), was a snapshot of this conflict in heaven.

All three groups could not open the book. “No man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon” (Rev. 5:3). No man in heaven ―the holy angels couldn’t open the book, because the alleged charges that were brought against God concerned issues that were completely new to them, of which they had never before conceived. No man in earth ―Adam and his fallen offspring had been knocked out of God’s defense and therefore lost everything they had to offer His justification. Their acceptance of Satan’s trap to be masters of their own little universe, as creator peers with their Creator, had even added to the reason that the everlasting Father was bound up so tightly as with seven unbreakable cords. The third group, no man under the earth, represented Lucifer and his hosts. They “left their own habitation…reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6); the devil and his angels metaphorically were “cast…down to hell, and delivered…into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (2 Pet. 2:4). (See also Philippians 2:10). The rebellious angels couldn’t undo what they had started. False allegations are never easily removed, and allegations had been made against the great Father of all. Now there was no taking back what he had said, nor did Lucifer want to.

Who can open the case I’ve closed? Jehovah can do nothing against Lucifer!” trumpeted the blasphemous cherub. This threw the heavenly hosts into the deepest astonishment and grief; so, John wept with them.

But in the midst of heaven’s inconsolable grief, a voice rings out, speaking immediate hope to all the multitudes around the throne: OUR FATHER IS SAVED! HIS KINGDOM IS SECURE AGAIN! WEEP NOT: BEHOLD, THE LION OF THE TRIBE OF JUDA, THE ROOT OF DAVID, HATH PREVAILED TO OPEN THE BOOK, AND TO LOOSE THE SEVEN SEALS THEREOF(Rev. 5:5).

“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth” (Rev. 5:6). The Lord of hosts, by whom the omnipotent and omniscient and omni-gracious Holy Spirit makes its way into the minds and hearts throughout the intelligent universe, laid down His life to acquit His Father, to spare fallen man, and to restore the peace of the heavenly agencies.

Once offered, the crucified lamb of God could ascend to His Father’s throne and take the book. When he had possession of it, suddenly heaven bursts into joyful relief and thankfulness, as also do the saints on earth who, by faith, dwell in heaven also. “The whole family in heaven and earth” (Eph. 3:15) sing “a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood” (Rev. 5:9). “For it pleased the Father that in him [Christ] should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Col. 1:19, 20, cf Eph. 1:10).

Because His sacrifice completely exonerates His Father and can make mankind acceptable before His Father’s Law, Christ is authorized to pour out the Early Rain of His Holy Father’s seven Spirits upon His disciples (see John 14:16-18, cf Revelation 1:12, 13; 5:6). “Therefore,” says the Father, “will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isa. 53:12).

Now heaven’s joy does not concern God’s creative power, as we saw in the Revelation chapter 4 heaven before sin; rather, their praise concerns Christ’s redemption. In one act of the ages, Christ redeemed three entities: humanity, fallen under the dominion of sin and Satan; the holy angels, who suffered in a heaven without the original perfect trust and the safe vulnerability that had reigned prior to Lucifer’s allegations; but, most of all, He redeemed His Father of every charge Satan had laid against Him. Consequently, Lucifer’s attempt to usurp God’s throne utterly failed. The Father, King of all creation and King of humility foreseeing the need, condescended to advocacy which could only come through His only Begotten and His cross.

After the fall of man everything would revolve around His beloved lamb. The Ancient of days, “him that liveth for ever and ever” (Rev. 5:14) had moved off of center stage and His Son had taken over the reins of the eternal divine government in the sanctuary. Now that God’s provision for our redemption was ratified by Christ’s successful victory over Satan, Christ’s cross would become His sword; and everything would continue to revolve around Jesus until God could step up and finalize the battle to put all enemies under His Son’s feet.

“Then cometh the end, when he [the Son] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he [the Father] shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he [Christ] must reign, till he [the Father] hath put all enemies under his [Christ’s] feet.… And when all things shall be subdued unto him [Christ], then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:24, 25, 28). (See also Revelation 5:14.)

“Until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen” (1 Tim. 6:14-16).

First, the Son consistently, fairly, and lovingly exercised the strong justice and mercy of His Father throughout the Old Testament dispensation to prepare the human race to receive His great act for their salvation. But, when Israel finally proved unwilling to keep His covenant, the Lord reiterated the fulfillment of His many threatening cautions through Moses, and He put them into operation.

“And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, and the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof” (Isa. 6:9-13).

The Son of God wisely permitted Earth’s 600 year descent into Babylonian corruption, bringing onto the world the harsh, violent, and sophisticated environment of Satan’s lusts. Without this merciful desolation from Providence, the provisions of Christ’s salvation would have been wasted upon the unbroken, self-sufficient hearts of lost mankind. During those four pagan empires ending with Imperial Rome, Satan increased his control of minds and hearts. The blended justice and mercy of God no longer seen or heard in the earth by His redemptive gospel through Israel, humanity’s wicked captivity by the devil waxed all-pervasive and inescapable.

“Because God is a God of justice and terrible majesty, Satan caused them to look upon Him as severe and unforgiving. Thus he drew men to join him in rebellion against God, and the night of woe settled down upon the world” The Desire of Ages, p. 21.

Baal, or Beelzebub, welcomed to a world willingly ignorant of truth, kept them restless and buzzing with voices from below. Within every undesirable branded as a demoniac, as well as the moral caste who did the branding, devil-possession tortured minds and bodies with bitterness and anger.

“The people whom God had called to be the pillar and ground of the truth had become representatives of Satan. They were doing the work that he desired them to do, taking a course to misrepresent the character of God, and cause the world to look upon Him as a tyrant. The very priests who ministered in the temple had lost sight of the significance of the service they performed. They had ceased to look beyond the symbol to the thing signified. In presenting the sacrificial offerings they were as actors in a play. The ordinances which God Himself had appointed were made the means of blinding the mind and hardening the heart. God could do no more for man through these channels. The whole system must be swept away.

“The deception of sin had reached its height. All the agencies for depraving the souls of men had been put in operation. The Son of God, looking upon the world, beheld suffering and misery. With pity He saw how men had become victims of satanic cruelty. He looked with compassion upon those who were being corrupted, murdered, and lost. They had chosen a ruler who chained them to his car as captives. Bewildered and deceived, they were moving on in gloomy procession toward eternal ruin,--to death in which is no hope of life, toward night to which comes no morning. Satanic agencies were incorporated with men. The bodies of human beings, made for the dwelling place of God, had become the habitation of demons. The senses, the nerves, the passions, the organs of men, were worked by supernatural agencies in the indulgence of the vilest lust. The very stamp of demons was impressed upon the countenances of men. Human faces reflected the expression of the legions of evil with which they were possessed. Such was the prospect upon which the world’s Redeemer looked. What a spectacle for Infinite Purity to behold!

“Sin had become a science, and vice was consecrated as a part of religion. Rebellion had struck its roots deep into the heart, and the hostility of man was most violent against heaven. It was demonstrated before the universe that, apart from God, humanity could not be uplifted. A new element of life and power must be imparted by Him who made the world” Ibid., p. 36, 37.

“At this time the systems of heathenism were losing their hold upon the people. Men were weary of pageant and fable. They longed for a religion that could satisfy the heart. While the light of truth seemed to have departed from among men, there were souls who were looking for light, and who were filled with perplexity and sorrow. They were thirsting for a knowledge of the living God, for some assurance of a life beyond the grave” Ibid., p. 32.

Now, at Earth’s lowest depravity, needy eyes could open and yearning ears were able to hear. Now, God could prepare for His Son a body. So, powered by His Father’s mercy and truth, and living amongst satanic toxicity, Messiah the Prince carried the burden of our rebellion upon Himself throughout a life separate from sin. Love, in the context of saving mankind from its enslavement to rebellion and from its eternal destruction, was the motive behind every act and look and word of the Anointed One. Then, He would serve sin’s death sentence, which His Father provided.

“He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matt. 26:37-39).

There, staggering into that hill garden, Jesus collapsed to the ground mentally confused and nerve-wracked. His ever present Father had left Him. Now, with all His power scattered, He struggled to deal with the horrifying darkness. Spiritually uncertain, in emotional turmoil, and physically exhausted, He grappled over whether He could, completely and forever, lose the blissful presence of His God. Without the constant, comforting, and holy atmosphere and communion with His Father’s eternal Spirit, could He survive this inexorable wrath until tomorrow’s sacrifice in order to fulfill all requirements for His substitution of the beloved human race? Would the excruciating spiritual convulsions never cease?

Jesus pled for us in the middle of His extremity, while Satan exacerbated His torment. He could request no excuses for us, but only claim His Father’s eternally enduring mercy. Jesus placed Himself open to Satan who would desperately gouge and claw at Him, body, mind, and soul, in order to prevent Christ from saving man and exonerating God. If Satan could successfully tempt Jesus to abort humanity, then he could win the issue over the character of God. “I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isa. 50:6). If he could cause Christ enough physical agony and “contradiction of sinners against himself” (Heb. 12:3) then he could rob God of His most prized human race and throw God’s reputation back into disarray. Satan could also amplify the confusion about God’s nature and wisdom, confusion which he had caused heaven before earth was created. If he could overpower God with temptation, then his government of deception and selfishness would prove itself stronger than God’s government of purity and love.

The Father looked upon Jesus as sin for the Son chose to take our place in judgment. This forced God to close His ears to His Son’s cries for His presence. (See Psalm 22:2; Isaiah 59:2.) Could the Father go through with it all? But, thus separating Himself from His Son, He left Him unprotected from Satan, who seeing his opportunity, lost his composure and jumped at it like the children of Israel flying upon the long lusted-for quail (see Numbers 11:32).

All of this Christ had long anticipated; therefore He had redoubled His communion with His Father during His ministry (see Luke 12:50), and especially so in Gethsemane, though then, for the first time, His Father would never again answer Him back except with the cold shoulder. The separation from God, living apart from Him, is so commonplace for us. But, this Jesus had never before known; even from His very conception (see Psalm 22:9; Luke 1:35). Without His Father’s presence, He must strain every faculty to hang onto any evidence of His Father’s love, all the while coming under an increasingly heavier cloud of Satan’s furious lust to gain the victory at this focal point of the Earth’s history. Will we not put forth the same effort to get to God, though we are as much in the dark as Jesus was, and God’s Spirit is as silent to our deafened minds? Without measure God had rewarded His willing Son with His eternal Spirit of truth and peace throughout His life until now. But what would the Son of God then do when that holy hedge of protection were no longer present?

Though the harshest depression pressed upon His holy mind, still only begging His Father’s forgiveness toward His human family could emerge from Jesus’ woeful lips. Under the wrath of the Almighty, He could see nothing in Himself to recommend to God, but gave all judgment to His Father to decide whether His holy love was acceptable.

“Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared” (Heb. 5:7).

“Oh, this people have sinned a great sin…. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written” (Ex. 32:31, 32). Over and over again, out of the darkness and agony, He clung to His desire to forever be a son of man.

Like a trillion volt electrocution we see God’s rightful anger upon His Anointed One. The agitating cutting off from eternal love gagged His throat (see Psalm 22:15), with every nerve jangling, His internal organs dissolving (see verse 14), and His blood pressure soaring. This in retribution upon all the abominations that have characterized His most beloved creation. Beholding His execution in the hell we deserve, our conscience is shocked with conviction, crucified with Christ. Our pride is shunted to ground; our natural self-centeredness is thrust into the grave. We are delivered from Satan’s hold. A new power jolts the mind, awakening it to holier desires and purposes; and a new nature comes to life.

“Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. As many were [astonished] at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: so shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider” (Isa. 52:13-15).

Christ, whose blood God’s divine wrath pressed out from every pore of His bloated body, was the great, sacrificed red heifer which was burnt to ash, and then the ashes mixed into living water for purifying uncleanness. (See Numbers 19; Zechariah 13:1.) Even before His first humiliating backhand or flogging, Jesus’ body was red all over because His whole body extruded blood before He left Gethsemane’s press. He would be unclean for forty days before He could ascend to His Father again (see Leviticus 12:2-4; John 16:21; Jeremiah 31:22; Acts 1:3). The only legal redemption for mankind must be infinite severity creating infinite tenderness; infinite accountability creating infinite advocacy, God assisting His Son to empty Himself of all but love to ensure a perfect redemption and restoration of Adam to His kingdom. Thus, through the torment He put upon His Son, He made all of His enemies His footstool. No voice could henceforth contest our reconciliation with the God of love.

Did the lamb of God know He would be resurrected after His eternal death? He knew only by a life of constant fortifying His faith in His Father’s promises. But, after being shoved and punched and flogged, emaciated, dehydrated, and sleep deprived, His humanity was in physical agony and drained mentally and spiritually. All that He could see and feel would be the insatiable justice of His Father against our sin. That judgment against Him looked perpetually chiseled in stone, an all-consuming fire determinedly unquenchable. God treated His Son with the abhorrence that He has for all sin. His thunderous anger against each rebellious and unclean thought, word, and act forced the lamb to see Himself remaining condemned and forever forgotten, “as Sodom and Gomorrha, …set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7).

“He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21).

His Father’s ever gracious presence blotted from His sight, the lamb felt the aggravated, assaulting malignity of sin. Like never before, Jesus experienced sin’s dread affects upon whomever in the kingdom it diseases. He took the eternal damnation of the whole human race. The Lord drank all the cup of His Father’s woe. Christ must now willingly accept the crushing punishment due us for serving Satan and worshiping his filth, if only He might sway His Father from our destruction. Jesus felt He would be permanently rejected by God and cast away, as had been the ten tribes of Israel’s northern kingdom. Never before disassociated from His human race, and through all eternity never disconnected from His Father, He let pour upon Himself a worse destruction than He had ever poured upon Sodom and Gomorrah. The hell of the Hialmighty God would incinerate the soul of His only Begotten Son, the great Burnt offering.

Before the Lord has ever pepper-sprayed us with judgment, He had Himself pepper-sprayed. Before He would ever drop a bomb on any sinner, He first accepted the hydrogen bomb from His Father. He was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world and thus He can comfort us all in our affliction. This sacrifice of self He looked forward to before the beginning of the great controversy, and was anxious to accomplish it.

He would take upon Himself the whole fire and brimstone that His Father would rain upon a wholly wicked race at the end. But, when His great God’s abhorrence against sin came upon Him, it was too big; it was much more than He expected. His worm would never die nor His fire ever be quenched. The invisible disconnection from God pressed His life out from every pore of His body.

“So that the generation to come of your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall come from a far land, shall say, when they see the plagues of that [Man], and the sicknesses which the LORD hath laid upon [Him]; and that the [Saviour’s whole mind and heart] thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor beareth, nor any grass groweth therein, like the overthrow of Sodom, and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger, and in his wrath: even all nations shall say, Wherefore hath the LORD done thus unto this [Man]? what meaneth the heat of this great anger? Then men shall say, Because [of the unreleasable tie He had with them who] have forsaken the covenant of the LORD God of their fathers, which he made with them when he [created them]: for they went and served other gods, and worshipped them, gods whom they knew not, and whom he had not given unto them: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against this [Man], to bring upon [Him] all the curses that are written in this book: and the LORD rooted [Him] out of [existence] in anger, and in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast [Him down to hell]” (Deut. 29:22-28, cf Ps. 16:10; 22:31).

We have a Mediator before God who knows the torment and plagues and sicknesses that we suffer, and who is touched with the smoking ruins of our lives. In the beginning, at the outset of the controversy with Lucifer, the Ancient of days had multiplied in His Beloved Son His eternal Spirit when He exalted Him. Now, God who in eternity past had “put his holy Spirit within him” (Isa. 63:11, cf John 3:34), turned away from His eternal Son. “To make himself an everlasting name” (vs. 12), He took back His eternal Spirit from His only Begotten. Now, the only Son of His divinity must cling to a sudden unmet yearning for His Father’s holy, soul-healing Spirit, until the unrelenting disassociation completely crushed Him.

“And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:43, 44).

Jesus “resisted unto blood, striving against sin” (Heb. 12:4). The Son of God saw Himself forever having given up His paradise so that we could have it, He forever paying the price for our reinstatement to His Father’s kingdom. By all that the servant lamb could know from His senses was that He would be forever buried and lost to His holy Father. He felt that He would never ever again hold wonderful communion with His Abba, His highly honored King. On the cross He must suffer our hell and then eternal extinction, so that humanity might eternally take His exalted place and privileges as heir to the throne next to His Father (see Isaiah 8:18; Romans 8:17; Revelation 3:21). He easily endured all this to regain His bride’s affection, “for the love he had to her” (Gen. 29:20). “Jesus…loved his own” “as his own soul” (John 13:1; 1 Sam. 18:3).

And His Father purposely designed His Son’s inability to see through the portals of the suffering and death. Christ must take all of our due wrath. His soul, utterly hopeless in the dark, must suffer the grinding absence of His Father’s comfort, demonstrating the Father’s character of lowliness, in order to show us and His whole kingdom that He was worthy to judge the accusations of Lucifer against His Father. Christ showed how surrendered He was to love for His Father and for the kingdom. Through the only Begotten, God showed how empty of self His divine love is and how far it goes to protect its precious loved ones. He must destroy His lamb once for all, and forever make Him “an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly” (2 Pet. 2:6).

An end of the Son of God was the only weapon that Satan could use to bruise God. To this the Father acquiesced in order to expose the implacable hostility of Satan toward Himself, but He must officiate over the most holy sacrifice. Thus, the Father strongly ruled over His Son “with his glorious arm” (Isa. 63:12) and with His “right hand”; and the breach of Their eternal Spirit baptized Them both into the pangs of death. They both can say They have seen our days of endless torment.

“Him that liveth for ever and ever” (Rev. 5:14) greatly multiplied His Son’s sorrow in order to cause our second birth. This would ensure His Son’s rightful intercession in the ever perfect upbringing of His regenerated children, and would provide for the eternal salvation of all who obey Him. Thus, we can know with certainty that God has made His acceptance and forgiveness possible for everyone who will come to His Son. Eve, the crowning of creation, was made in the image of the beautiful Son of God. In the great controversy we see that Jesus is “the mother of all living” (Gen. 3:20), who wants to gather every child of Adam around Him, “even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings” (Matt. 23:37).

Jesus does not complain of His own death in the birth of His children. Indeed, we see the Fullness of the Godhead fighting to remain conscious to ensure that He has sufficiently drunk the entire cup of wrath to cover even the most distant, offending son and daughter of Adam. On the cross, He is extending the picture of His desire for His own fallen race, proving His love “unto the end” (John 13:1). While agonizing under His Father’s lost embrace, we see our lamb struggling to see in His Father’s eyes forgiveness for every soul captive to the wicked power of Lucifer. They both struggled to be certain of our salvation. We witness both the hearts of Son and Father fleshed open like never before, in the convulsions of our delivery.

We see that Jesus’ attachment to the creation, which came from His own hand, is so strong that giving up His creation is not an option. Either He will reunite the severed bond between man and God, or He will be pulled apart trying. No matter how harsh the combined mistreatment coming from above and from below, He can’t let go of humanity. The perfect mediator between heaven and earth, His very last waking thought before descending into unconsciousness and death is, “I won’t let You go until You bless Me; and I can’t let them go, until You bless them.” And by the providence of God, His Son’s strong body powerfully secured to iron Rome’s tool of humiliation and death tells a world of potentially eternal friends, “Greater love hath no man than this” (John 15:13). “Behold these wounds…with which I was wounded in the house of my friends” (Zech. 13:6). “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32).

On the cross, Christ assumed humanity’s full and final destruction. Total annihilation was our due. Our sin won’t let us understand how much we need to be completely exterminated. Our whole race, as it were living in sewage, sees nothing in itself that should necessitate its eternal demise. Still, God would attempt to destroy sin, yet save and cleanse His beloved Earth; and His Son was the only way to a accomplish this. He recognized His own image in our psychological makeup to a degree that Satan could never see. But, He also knew that sin had so poisoned our nature that not many would prefer the wholesome life of righteousness over the enervating life of sin. Still, He must try to save them all from their bent to self-destruction.

Rather than blame Adam and his children, God imputed all of our rebellion to His Son, who He treated as we deserve. He removed from His Beloved the benediction of His Spirit and gave Him over to the satanic spirits, which grabbed full access to Him. God blamed the whole guilt of our careless and unconscionable abuses on His beautiful and holy lamb in order to make provision for all who might ever repent of their life of sin and return to the Father who made them. Our whole culpability in the rebellion with Lucifer He laid on His Innocent One; and, turning away from His only Begotten as abominable (see Psalm 89:46), He slays sin in us by the strange act of Him and us together slaying His beloved Son. We must slay the Son once; or we can have no part in His kingdom of peace.

“It pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief” (Isa. 53:10). Upon Himself Jesus allowed His Father to let out all of His pent up, infinite, righteous outrage against sin. Simultaneously, He let His children’s selfish rage against His Father beat upon Himself. “The reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me” (Ps. 69:9). Per His Father’s plan, the anointed One willingly became the focus of frustration and animosity between man and God to buffer the Earth-heaven clash, if He might lead a guilty world to see past its haughty self-sufficiency to its deep, unmerited contempt.

“The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (Ps. 69:9).

He must do all of His Father’s will as He suffered under His Father’s acute loathing. He must allow His Father to do what He must to be relieved so that His disposition could change toward this world, which abandoned itself to hatred of God and the laws of His house. The intensity of God’s justice to destroy sin and the infinite desire of Christ to keep us, created a tension the angelic hosts had never before realized in the heart of the Godhead. In order to create the provision for our salvation, infinite mercy was birthed from infinite justice and delivered through the pain of infinite desperation to love us and to keep us back from destruction. (See Genesis 3:16, 20; Exodus 32:31, 32.) Thus, seeing in His Son a proven intermediary for a world poisoned and controlled by the wicked enemy, God was satisfied that the permanent, eternal rehabilitation of rebels could be possible. He found a ransom.

The omnipotent God powerfully, permanently thrust His own Son to a cross, as more than a statement of mercy, but also as a statement to us of justice. It was the manifestation of God’s hatred of sin that hung up His Son like King Saul’s body for all to behold (see 1 Samuel 31:10). “From the sole of [Jesus’] foot even unto the head there [was] no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they [were not] closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment” (Isa. 1:6).

God proved that He, the great offended One, would accept our race in entirety and in all its offensive sinfulnessif  they come to His sacrificed lamb. At the cross no one is expelled, no one is excluded; at the cross everyone, no matter how filthy, may come and let sink in the most ancient message from the sanctuary above. But, everyone must come to it and look. They must carry their own cross to learn what the Son of God did for them. Every person learns only that to which he attends. They must see Calvary’s burnt Offering in order to receive the water of life to satisfy their bitter, burning unrest. Though counter-intuitive to psychology, they must witness the hatred of God toward sin and the hatred of man and Satan toward righteousness and goodness. They must see Jesus who took the whole brunt of our conflict with God and pierced Himself through with many sorrows. “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced” (Zech. 12:10).

Then, all who ingest, utterly to their core, its holy message of severity upon our obedient Creator, but goodness toward abominable us, letting it “sink down into [their] ears” (Luke 9:44), will immediately find rest. They will be transformed into a child of holy love, immediately worthy of the heavenly family (see Job 33:27; Lamentations 3:35, 36; Hebrews 10:22). “This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life” (John 6:40).

If we can accept these terms when we come to the cross because we know ourselves to be guilty and wretched, and if we will receive God’s mercy and love while forever living under the commutation of our just obliteration upon His anointed Son, then heaven is ours now. If we are offended at God by a never to be forgotten, well deserved, accusing dispensation of justice, and we rebel against it, then self still refuses to accept its death sentence. Satan still controls us and God’s offer of eternal life is not yet ours. We must surrender to the crucified One, our soul forever stung with Christ, our pride burnt to soot. By the mercy and justice streaming from His flaming soul and flesh we will yearn to overcome our sin so that the Father and Son need no longer agonize from our self-orientation and meanness. Self must die in order for the just Ones to live again.

Christ on His cross, forever receiving the bolts of God’s anger toward sin, “the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7), is the Father’s provision and humanity’s only doorway back into His kingdom. As we meditate on this again and again, Jesus’ tortured body, mind, and soul create in us the surrender and repentance that provides our access into God’s mercy and to the transformation of our will to His holy, just, and good Law.

In the plainest possible pictorial, Providence thrust His Son’s arms back and permanently pinned them so widely as to beckon all of Earth’s guilty multitudes, nations, tongues, and peoples. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them” (2 Cor. 5:19). Hanging from the cross which God provided, the silenced Christ woos us back to His Father, who pleads with humanity to love Him again.

“See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love come mingled down;
Did ere such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?”
When I survey the wondrous cross, Isaac Watts.

God’s execution of One equal in worth to our world’s six thousands years of fallen children showed His readiness to destroy sin. Yet, the souls of both God and the participating penitents die together with the pure sacrificial lamb of God. They both partake of the lamb’s spotless sacrifice; we, because we needed its humbling, and God, though He didn’t. The lamb brought God and us together for one greatly needed showdown. And thus, having united two alienated parties, Jesus achieved atonement between His Father and all of His children who fall on Him in sorrow for their sin. This is God’s remedy for sin. It is not a fiction or a myth or a religious tradition. It has been God’s remedy for sin since the beginning. We must all agree that it is the only right remedy.

The Son, our “everlasting Father” (Isa. 9:6), together with His Father, allowed the beating and murder at the hands of all Their dysfunctional children, in order to reclaim us from the enchantment of sin. Then, once we had expended our wrath, and had seen with horror what death and destruction sin resulted in, They could place our loyalty again in Them and in Their holy Law. The Father, the Life-giver who alone has immortality (see 1 Timothy 6:16), needed an Advocate to help Him have the pains of death. God facilitated His own death as His Son let Them die together to call their children home again. This settled every doubt in heaven. Thus, in the presence of His intelligent creation God proved Himself self-sacrificing and worthy to decree and enforce the Law of the kingdom.

“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:24-26).

The Godhead’s offering permitted the Father to forgive sinners within the bounds of the Law. The Son ensured that His Father could justly redeem every sinner who would be sorry for their sin and turn away from it.

The whole great controversy, with the Son of God at its beginning and end, will prove that the Godhead can maintain perfect law and order in its government without ever losing any from depraved humanity who long for Christ to disconnect their allegiance from Lucifer (see John 10:28, 29; 17:9-12). God can finally destroy Satan and his irredeemable demonic loyalists without destroying any of His humbled children. The God of love surgically strikes sin, sparing the sinner who Jesus has made sorry for his sins. The Father’s reputation will be restored and even improved because of what Christ passed through from Gethsemane to Golgotha.

God’s justice and self-sacrifice proved the only means to legally forgive us. We must accept self-sacrifice. It is the only grounds for atonement and for uplifting humanity from its ruin. Self-sacrifice is the standard to come up to for a treaty with the Father. Won’t we die together with the Godhead? Won’t we permit our self-sufficiency and self-will to be crucified on Their cross?

“He left His Fathers’ throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace;
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race”
And can it be?, Charles Wesley.

All this torture and infinite distress upon the Father and Son because nothing less than our witnessing Their eternal suffering will bring down the crashing bedlam of Gomorrah’s overthrow upon our 21st century arrogance. Nothing else can motivate us to hate the filth upon which we thrive. God’s death! Silence in heaven while the Son rested from hard labor. God’s undying desire to bring life to a lifeless race. The powerful mystery of godliness, His science of our salvation. So beautiful, so profound and rich!

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Rom. 11:33-36).

He had continued to plead for His Father to pass over His outrage toward our sin. His pleas had strengthened as His physical strength weakened until He drew His very last breath and gave His final victory shout of perfect hope in His Father’s love, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit”! (Luke 23:46). “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost” (Mark 15:37).

“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange, ―the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory. ―Lefevre D’Aubigne, London ed., b. 12, ch. 2” The Great Controversy, p. 212.

Thus, the lamb of God had descended into shock with only kindness and longing for peace toward Adam’s race. He died with complete, loving submission to His Father’s will who was satisfying the inviolable Law and working out a legal, invulnerable redemption for us. From eternity God had trained up His Son in the way He should go, and now Jesus would not depart from His beloved Father’s counsel and character. He bore the rejection of His earthly children and prayed for those who despitefully abused Him and hated Him. The King and His hosts finally saw a son of Adam perfectly exemplify the Law of His kingdom, even in the most extreme, aggravated circumstance. Because of His infinite relinquishment of everything and even life to pay for our ransom, Jesus honored His Father and forever confirmed God’s heart toward our vile race. The infinite Law was satisfied in every particular; God could legally keep this beloved race. And His turbulent soul rested.

Once unconscious in death, Christ was beyond the grasp of Satan and beyond any more temptation. “The dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten” (Ecc. 9:5, cf Job 14:20-22). This successfully sealed Lucifer’s doom 4,000 years after his effort to frustrate and unsettle the angels and humanity regarding the character of the Father’s love. This gospel is not just an old, old Christian story, but one reaffirmed a million times over through the millennia of sacrificial toddler animals.

The lamb was resurrected because He endured the darkness caused by His Father’s infinite barrage of wrath and our physical abuse. His love for the children of Adam that He could not relinquish, while acknowledging their just destruction, perfectly declared His Father’s Law. Jesus’ revelation of the justice and mercy of God was more than sufficient to be useable by God through His beloved Son for bringing back to man’s darkened perceptions the misapprehended love of the Unknown God. Never again could any voice have the right to dissent against Christ’s authority to mediate for man, for He more fully than any other knew the issues that plagued the fallen human heart. Therefore, the Father could accept Jesus’ death and bring Him out of the tomb.

“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Isa. 53:11, 12).

Together, Father and Son worked out man’s “right” (Lam. 3:35) to be restored to Their kingdom. The work of the Godhead proved to the universe of unfallen beings the true goodness of God, and all the libel of Lucifer. They could deliver the human race from their confusion and restore Their Holy Spirit in them. Yet, this high privilege of the Spirit and the right of man must be realized by man. Thus, the Father was finally delivered from His incarceration, but still on bail. Tied to God’s full justification and rest must be the actual fruit of the redemption of His purchased possession; that is, His glorified character afixed in His redeemed.

And we maintain that right by daily sitting at Jesus’ feet (see Luke 10:39), entranced by “the gracious words which [proceed] out of his mouth” (Luke 4:22). The strong resource for maintaining our connection in the Vine comes by His new voice speaking to us from the whole Bible.

“If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). Their right depends on continually eating and drinking in His love for His Father’s Law, their coming under the influence of His faith, and helping others to also come under the same power that overcomes sin. “Whosoever will lose his life for my sake” “shall find it” (Luke 9:24; Matt. 16:25, cf Isa. 58:6-12).

The offering for sin must crucify us with our beloved Friend, even as Abel and all of his spiritual children have died with every dying and dead lamb which they had loved and cuddled. Our impudence must endure such punishment that we hate all that we have done to the Godhead and to everyone around us. If we suffer together with Them in this life, we will reign with Them, in this life and in the eternity to come. Jehovah must melt our stony hearts before He can erase the previously beloved name of Lucifer and then inscribe His name there. Then, the burning subsides.

“They joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire” (Isa. 9:3-5).

Jesus, the “Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isa 9:6), has broken the devil-imposed, oppressive, “evil conscience” (Heb. 10:22). Freedom under our new Master makes “our heart burn within us” (Luke 24:32) as we sit at His feet and walk in His footsteps.

“I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants” (Luke 15:18, 19). Before that confession came from the prodigal’s humbled lips his Father had already spotted him and had run with joy to the son whom he had consigned to the grave. With aching heart he caught and kissed him and hugged his son. Then, out flowed the real confession. (See verse 24.) All remaining self-justification having fled, his son’s previously prepared confession came out with all the brokenness and power of Christ, a repentance acceptable to the Lord of hosts.

Even before we come to God, the willingness to make that yet carefully crafted confession is already creating excitement in heaven. But, it is only a divinely born repentance that God can accept, when our confession is germinated with all “the power of the Highest” (Luke 1:35). Then, we can have the strength to forsake the life of sin and to consign it to the grave. We obey His Law, obtaining the long desired victory over self. “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:4).

God purposes that the sinners’ eternal salvation must spring from his own permanent death to self through seeing the Son’s infinite death to self. His disciples having fallen on this Stone, their self-will broken and their nature “dead to sin” (Rom. 6:2), they will know a liberation that many never find. They will never ever forget that gift of freedom from the tormenting mastery of pride, an impossible deliverance bequeathed them from the self-forgetful Prince of heaven. Rebellion will forever be stanched in them and temptation eternally eschewed. Seeing the love of God’s lamb, they forever love the lamb and His God, and His God’s Law. The destruction of the lamb’s perfect flesh and Spirit reconciles them to God, and the lamb’s Spirit then unites His nature with theirs. His disposition toward His Father’s Law purifies theirs.

“When the soul surrenders itself to Christ, a new power takes possession of the new heart. A change is wrought which man can never accomplish for himself. It is a supernatural work, bringing a supernatural element into human nature” The Desire of Ages, p. 324.

The justified will commands all idolatry to leave the heart. The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. “Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence” (Isa. 30:22). It was strong faith that kept Jesus in His crucible and wrought His victory cry at the end. The same faith of Jesus to serve the purposes of God will be our victory as well. By the strong faith we exercise in view of His determined will to save us we are made whole (see Hebrews 10:9, 10).

“For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh” (Heb. 10:14-20).

Until our final redemption when Christ returns to collect His reward, as the Father would continuously look upon His lamb, well pleased for His spotless offering, Jesus would share the counsel of peace and holiness from His Father with those on earth who, faulty and undeserving in every facet, would appreciate the worthiness of the Son’s love for them. And then, even better, the lamb would sanctify their hearts and mold their lives perfectly into His image (see Romans 8:29; Ephesians 2:10; Philippians 3:21), and ultimately give them the throne He occupies in the restored bliss of His Father’s presence (see Revelation 3:21).

“For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Rom. 5:10, 11, cf Lev. 4:13, 20, 27, 31).

This rebirth is Bible justification. Justification is much more than intellectual religious concept; its an experience. Genuine crucifixion and death together with Christ, and our renunciation of sin will God count as obedience just as if we had never once lived apart from Him. The parable’s father never mentioned to his son what he had done to destroy the family fortune. The Father’s actions evinced only excitement to have his son alive and home again. Likewise, God promises to forget our past. Even before His newborns take their first step toward a life of powerful and happy obedience, He considers our divinely gestated repentance a perfect beginning, a perfect heart. God’s gift of justification is forever the fruit of His gift of repentance (see Acts 5:31). This God-given repentance, because they have permitted His Spirit to work in them, gives His children the birthright to abide safely at His side as the “beloved of God”, “under His wings,” “in Him,” “adopted” into His “house,” reconciled and happily obedient (see Lamentations 3:35; Romans 1:7; 9:25; Psalm 108:6; Psalm 91:4; Ephesians 1:3-13; Romans 8:15; Hebrews 3:6; Ephesians 2:11-14). Thus will our salvation always be tied to God’s mercy and His gift of perfect allegiance to the Law of His kingdom.

Our new birthright has never depended upon a natural-born obedience to God’s Law (see John 6:29, 53-57), because that can never materialize. “It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them” Steps to Christ, p. 18. Rather, except a soul is born of the water of God’s promised acceptance and of His Spirit that remakes their hearts, they cannot enter the kingdom of God. Our perfect right to be in Him, hidden in God with Christ, comes from a divinely-born allegiance to the Law of God.

The Messiah still had a work of suffering to accomplish. Pure joy must wait. Jesus told His disciples the night of His offering, “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” (Matt. 26:29).

Gladly willing to die daily would be the Son’s lot as He stood in our behalf before the infinitely holy throne, “now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Heb. 9:24). As He would mediate between His holy Father and His beloved church, only through remembering this strict, self-denying heavenly ministry could His people completely and forever lose the strong hold that sin has on them. Christ’s work of saving and sanctifying us and preparing us for eternity with Himself must require all the enduring love which the infinite self-sacrifice of His Father’s cross  had worked into Him. Following our holy High Priest, the first Adam’s original ties to God will be restored in his race and even improved because of what the second Adam passed through from Gethsemane to Golgotha, and then by His powerful ministry for us from His sanctuary above.

Christ’s perfect atoning sacrifice was the bond at a tremendous cost that finally freed His Father from house arrest and made man’s redemption possible. Once we are reconciled to God by the offering of Christ, His work in us is not yet complete. As redemptive and glorious as is the reconciliation of man with God, still more beautiful, our fallen natures and lives and the “vain conversation received by tradition from [our] fathers” (1 Pet. 1:18) are to be salvaged by His divine nature, His holy example, and communion with His holy words.

But, Satan has fought in every devious and subtle way to prevent Christ’s redemption and often has led God’s people to successfully oppose it (see Daniel 7:7, 19; 8:10-12; 11:21-23, 30-33; Revelation 12:5-17). Therefore, because their many backslidings (see Daniel 9:5, 6; Romans 3:21; 1 John 1:8, 9) and Christ’s wonderful “daily” (Heb. 7:27, cf Dan. 8:11) atonement have had much need of God’s throne of mercy in His heavenly sanctuary, the highest ministry by Jesus and a final pre-advent judgment by the Father must yet result in a second and final atonement (see Leviticus 4:31; 16:30-32, 16; 23:27; Revelation 14:7). Then, when under the super-added redemptive power of Jesus, He has reproduced His image in us, the full atonement will be accomplished. He will have proven His Father’s eternal methods of our restoration to be righteous and His Father will be more than acquitted of all that Lucifer blasphemously accused Him.

Though Christ offered Himself for the salvation of God’s kingdom, Lucifer’s incomprehensible complaint against God was not finished at the cross (see Revelation 5:6, 7; 16:17). And His salvation would not be finished until the Law of God is perfectly reproduced in His people (see Romans 8:4, 7), “the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” (Rom. 11:25), and the final Revelation trumpet sounds before Jesus returns (see Revelation 10:2, 7; 11:13-17). At the cross, the angelic hosts were convinced of God’s innocence, but an angelic court must yet convene for them to accept God’s decision to save His faulty and “corruptible” (1 Cor. 15:53) church and prove man’s worthiness of eternal life through perfect and eternal trust in Christ’s worth.

At the beginning, Lucifer had lost his surrendered heart, which led him to claim that no one could perfectly obey the Father’s ultra-high requirements. Therefore, he had further concluded that every creature should be their own god, following the dictates of their own will. Accepting the delusion that the Father’s sky-high standards need not be obeyed, Adam and his children cut themselves off from God, and came under the almost permanent control of the deceiver.

Our Father in heaven has stood for the simple rule that perfect righteousness toward Him and toward others as the only system that can endure forever. Righteousness is perfect selflessness; self-forgetful love alone maintains a self-governing organization that always seeks the King’s guidance and can roll on through all eternity. We see this principle in His creation of our planet; He built this law into nature. With exception to the fallen will of man, everything serves the needs of another ―everything serving everything; and a perfect balance results.

“There is nothing, save the selfish heart of man, that lives unto itself. No bird that cleaves the air, no animal that moves upon the ground, but ministers to some other life. There is no leaf of the forest, or lowly blade of grass, but has its ministry” The Desire of Ages, p. 20.

The principle of unselfish service was invented by our Father, man’s rebellion from which and his self-dependence has created a world of abuse and untold misery. No better description for the pit of sin into which we have fallen can be found than the grasping for Earth’s natural resources to create the global monopoly and a persecuting power that we see developing in the world today.

In Jesus’ willingness to accept our wrath on the cross, we see contrasted our pestilential self-centeredness which we have inherited and further inculcated into our character. On the cross, the Lord condemned our self-centeredness, completely forgetting His needs and desires of self, even forgetting eternal life. He exemplified His own words to the extreme, “Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matt. 16:25).

Due to the work of Christ, we have the support of the heavenly hosts who were initially set to destroy Earth because of Adam’s treason. Their loyalty and ardor for the Son of God held them back and recreated their original love for training the human creation, a love which our apostasy had gravely jeopardized.

Redemption, reclaiming treacherous traitors of their Creator, was a new concept to the holy angels, who were ready at the first command to send us what they later gave Sodom and Gomorrah. For 4,000 years, the heavenly messengers walked by faith, accepting God’s word that wretched man was redeemable, and trusting that God was just to spare the race from immediate destruction. They trusted in their Father until He made His Heir human so that the only begotten Beloved could perfectly demonstrate before the angelic hosts the strong mercy for weakened sinners that had always resided in His Father’s justice. The hosts of heaven saw that the Father had only ever been a just God and a Saviour.

The final exoneration of the Father hinges on our recovery from rebellion to perfect appreciation of His selflessness and righteousness. Our Creator’s acquittal depends upon our total dependence on His justice and mercy for obedience of all His commandments, and our full restoration into His kingdom, body, mind, and nature. This Christ’s cross accomplished. Upon departing from His heart-broken disciples He proclaimed, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). Thus, the cross gave the Lamb the necessary authority when “he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne” (Rev. 5:7).

In anticipation of this total and complete restoration of the image of God in man, a cherub and seraph cadre broke out in song when the Savior arrived to begin His mission. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). And one day soon, everyone whose heart, soul, and body that He has won back from Satan will sing together with those same cherubim and seraphim, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).

John hears that song in heaven and in earth continuing on and on forever, “even for ever and ever” (Dan. 7:18). As he describes it, “Every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever” (Rev. 5:13, cf Phil. 2:10, 11; Rev. 20:10; 1 Cor. 15:25-28). That will be our thankful song throughout the timeless “ages to come…in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).

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