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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Why & How did Jesus Die?


An article contained on the Tentmaker website written by A.P Adams entitled, Why Did Christ Die? http://www.tentmaker.org/articles/why-did-jesus-die.html brings up an interesting point which may be obvious to several Bible students after it is openly discussed.  Mr. Adams entitled his post as “Why Did Jesus Die” but the important concept he actually covers is “how did Jesus die?”

The underlying concept in the above article is not His physical death at the Crucifixion but His birth as a living human being or His incarnation.  Mr. Adams goes through many proofs, which are interesting but appear to be convoluted, in my opinion.  He basically answers the question in one sentence but not in a straight forward manner.

The real answer always goes back to the supposedly first created man named Adam.  I say “supposedly” because many people, even Christian believers, consider the first man as mythological symbolism written in the Bible to make a certain point and tell a particular story.  Whether one thinks there was an actual Adam and Eve or not, the necessity of an actual Biblical Adam, of some type, is absolutely essential to explain the theological comprehension of the life, death, and resurrection for the purpose of atonement as offered by Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:14 KJV  Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.

The first man and woman called Adam and Eve, were considered to have been created in a spiritual (glorified) body similar to angelic entities.  The apostle Paul points out that Eve was deceived and supposedly unwittingly sinned but Adam purposely ate the forbidden fruit due to the actions of Eve.  Because of Adam’s knowing sin, both Adam and Eve lost their spiritual bodies and suddenly discovered they were naked. 

In addition to losing their spiritual existence, they also began the process of aging and dying.  Abel died early due to the assault by Cain.  The individuals listed in Biblical chronology lived for many years although they increasingly became weaker and their bodies aged and increased in feebleness.

Genesis 2:17 NET  but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die."

It has been said that Adam’s sin resulted in the eventual death and sinful nature of all human beings.  One commentator has said that we die because we sin and others have said we sin and therefore we die even though babies die without any obvious sin on their part.  However, we all sin and we all die due to the sin of Adam, regardless of which (sin or death) came first.

Then we come to the death of Jesus.  Mr. Adams claims His death on the cross did not qualify as the atonement death.  Although the death of Jesus was brutal and bloodthirsty, we all die and some in a hellish manner. Instead it is proclaimed the  atoning death of Jesus, and His true death, was due to His incarnation as a human being and a descendant of Adam.  Jesus was given birth by a human woman named Mary and His genealogy as listed in the book of Luke goes all the way back to Adam, who is listed as the son of God, the same as Jesus.

Luke 3:38 NET  the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

As a descendant of Adam, Jesus apparently inherited the sentence of death and sin from the first couple just as all human beings have inherited.  Although Jesus did not sin because He is God in the flesh that apparently did not exempt Him from the process of death, either slowly or quickly.  He was crucified too young for old age to set in and He had no diseases, heart problems, or strokes that are mentioned, however He did age from a baby to a young boy to a man from age 30 to 33 plus.  His death was through murder, like Abel, and it can be said the curse of death from the above mentioned causes did not happen although He became older.

The particular method of Jesus’ physical death, by crucifixion on a wooden structure called a cross sets forth the suffering, shame, and reproach that invariably befalls those who are actively working citizens of the Kingdom of God. 

Matthew 16:24 NET  Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.

Taking up one’s cross does not mean getting crucified but following the teachings of Jesus and being an active working citizen of the Kingdom of God.  If one is a true Kingdom citizen then a certain amount of suffering, shame, and reproach will be a part of one’s life, some places in the world more than others.  The literal cross is a symbol of Jesus’ way of life through death to eternal life.

Jesus refers to the significance of the cross when he says, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me".  Verse 33 is a parenthetical comment by John.

John 12:32-33 NET  And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."  (33)  (Now he said this to indicate clearly what kind of death he was going to die.)

According to Mr. Adams, “there is no real connection between the drawing of all men to Christ and his literal crucifixion”; in other words the particular form of his physical death is not the cause of the drawing of all men unto him, as would seem to be indicated by the letter of these words.  However, the actual cause of all men being drawn to Christ is His incarnation death through the sin of Adam.

We were not reconciled to God by the literal physical death of Jesus Christ.  That theology is a complete misunderstanding of the scripture and leads to the penal substitution theory of atonement.  (See Atonement for further information)

Jesus did not die from crucifixion as a payment to God for the sins of the world.  Jesus was incarnated as a descendant of Adam with a sentence of death that He would nullify our death sentence with a promise of resurrection and eternal life.

Jesus conquered the death sentence for all people by His incarnation as a human being and inheriting the curse of Adam’s death.  His crucifixion was not a substitutionary death for all people.  It was His acquired death sentence of Adam’s curse and His subsequent resurrection from the dead that produced atonement for humanity.  Everyone will die by some method but everyone will be resurrected at some point in God’s time which is actually no time.

1 Corinthians 15:22 KJV  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

1 Corinthians 15:45 KJV  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

If you believe in an actual literal lake of fire or an eternal fiery hell then you must believe that the majority of the human population, from the beginning of creation, will be consigned to that fiery hell forever and ever.  However, if you believe in universal reconciliation then you should believe the lake of fire, or the fire of God, is a purifying agent that will rid the spirit of all offending worldly flesh until everyone receives eternal glorified existence although it may take a long period of time in some cases, although time will not be an issue at the end of the Millennium.

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