August 25, 2010
Why did Jesus have to Die?
I explained carefully all the things about our sinfulness, the fact that our sin stood between us and God, about Jesus overcoming death with his resurrection, our need to repent, the washing away of our sins by the blood of Jesus.
But then I realised I cannot answer is WHY did he have to DIE? Given that for God, physical death is nothing. a) He is spirit and b) He created everything so physical death is under His control and easy to overcome. We could all die, the entire world population, and He could just snap His fingers and raise us all to life again - and will indeed do that at the resurrection at His coming.
I thought back to the OT days when the Jews had to offer burnt sacrifices and wondered again, WHY? Does the Bible tell us anywhere why God requires death and sacrifice to wipe out sin?
I am probably missing something basic here, I know, but my brain is grappling with the underlying requirement of death and sacrifice. Is it symbolic only? The dying to the old sinful life? It can't be symbolic only because baptism would suffice then. So why death? And why such a cruel death (the crucifixion)?
"the soul who sins shall die" (Ezk18:4,20)
Supposing we use the example of a court of law, the person has sped and gone through the red light. There is a 'fine' that is owed. It must be paid. The judicial system doesn't care whether the money the guilty party pays is their 'own' money, or if somebody slips the money to them, as long as the money is -paid-. In the most simplistic of terms, Jesus dying on the cross is like that person who slips the money to the guilty person so they can pay the fine. It was not their own money, but the traffic ticket was -paid-. In the same way, Jesus died IN PLACE OF the sinner...thus the expression "substitutionary atonement".
In the OT, until Jesus would come along, all those animal sacrifices were like IOUs. The debt was still owed, because ...
The "first man Adam" was a "living soul", from the earth. The "last Adam" gave spiritual life, from Heaven. (1Co15:45-49)
In our human state, we may not fully -understand- it. But we must -believe- it. The person in court may not understand 'where' the money came from, but he "receives" it. (Jn1:12)
Sure....God could 'snap' His fingers and not send anybody to the Lake of Fire. He could snap His fingers and say, 'that thing about -dying- for sin? I was just joking' But if He did so, He would cease to be "holy". And, why did He not just make the angels and humans automatons, without free-will? What sort of glory would that be for Himself? For the creation to worship Him -freely-, having weighed the options, is -true- worship. Of course, if they rebel, they pay the consequences.
Of course, if the scoffers wish to argue about how "unfair" it is that humanity is -born- into sin, no choice on their part (I didn't ask to be born! Is45:10)....well....God provided the redemption, didn't He, through Jesus Christ. There -is- an alternative to Eternal Punishment. All a person needs do is to -receive- Him. Simple as that!
The "simplicity that is in Christ" (2Co11:3)
I also read another account recently, which presented a Wednesday crucifixion / Saturday resurrection. That article, in part, is based on the idea that the English rendering "first day of the week" (references listed below)[vw: but not included here; it was a long list] is actually properly rendered "first of the Sabbaths" or "one of the Sabbaths". The Greek seems to support "first", "one", and "Sabbaths", rather than "day" and "week". Note that while Online Bible shows Strongs 4521 as singular "Sabbath", in the Greek, it's plural.
I've noticed with the VW-edition you've gone with the more traditional "first day of the week". Why do most English translations render it this way (Young's Literal is the only one that I've found that doesn't).
When you get the chance, I'd appreciate your feedback on this. Seems convincing: [www.link]
This business of "first of the week" or "one of the sabbaths" is the same. If you look up "week" in the dictionary, it says, "a seven-day calendar period". At creation God made the earth and all things connected to it. On the "seventh day" God rested. Contrary to this author, God did not "institute at creation" that it was to be a day of "worship". That did not happen until Israel, Moses and the Law. And when we get past Israel, Paul (a Jewish pharisee) exhorts his gentile readers to not let themselves be bullied about these things....
I know there are various writings at the website. Have you seen this one? [link] While Hunt has doctrinal issues regarding repentance and the literalness of hell, when he does research, his research is excellent. He establishes a Thursday crucifixion. (be sure to read down to "forget good friday")
If we properly understand that the sabbath was on the 7th day of the week, Saturday, there is a Jewish 'festive'/prophetic reason, then, why the resurrection was on Sunday. (And as others taunt: it has nothing to do with the Catholic church or Constantine) One of the verses the author quotes.
"And when you have counted for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, the day that you bring the sheaf of the wave offering, seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath; and you shall offer a new grain offering unto Jehovah." (Lev23:11,15-16)
Jesus in His resurrection is called "Christ the firstfruits"
Even figuratively, if the Law led to death (Rom7:5), how would Jesus' resurrection, the thing that even the early church era sadducees rebelled against, because that's what the church proclaimed (Ac4:1-2), have been symbolically something to look forward to, if it was still based in the sabbath, the 'last' of the days. His resurrection gives hope of Eternal Life. It is a new covenant, on a new day.
If all we have is Jesus' -death-, that is nothing. Sure, the debt for sin is paid. But SO WHAT? The people who died are still dead. Jesus is dead. In effect: God is powerless, and the serpent 'won'! The thing of triumph is that Jesus did NOT -remain- dead, but ROSE AGAIN! and is "seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the Heavens" (Heb8:1) Thus, leading the way (Heb2:13) for our resurrection, and on to Eternal Life. (1Co15:55-57, Rom6:8-10, Job19:25-26, Mt28:6, Mk16:6, Re5:12, 1Co15:23)
And the passages are easy to understand... "after the sabbath, as the first day of the [week (of 7 days)/sabbaths] began to dawn. (Mt28:1)
If a person doesn't try to manipulate the language to make it say something it doesn't, considering that our Gregorian calendar didn't yet exist when the events happened when these accounts were written, in terminology that they used in those days, and trying to make "7" equal "1", then it's a no-brainer.
You know... like lying politicians, on impeachment trial for their misdeeds, who wrangle about "what the meaning of -is- is"!
They didn't -call- it "Sunday" then; but according to the calendar we use today, that's what it was. The "first" of the seven days, that they called "sabbaths", but we call a "week", is the day -after- the sabbath, which we call, "Sunday". God said, "Let there be light" (Gen1:3) on Sunday.
But the Jews of Jesus' day rejected Him and asked for His crucifixion. Through the years they have banned the reading of Isaiah ch53 that describes Jesus' suffering. And even today, they refuse to speak of "God", calling Him instead, HaShem (the name), and of Jesus, "this man". (Heb7:4, 10:12) And so, along with rejecting Messiah, they also explain away His Resurrection Day.
But "THIS MAN, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God," (Heb10:12)