Two Deaths at the Cross

By Lloyd Ellefson

There are always two sides to every dispute - the right side and the wrong side. This was also the case in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In this paper we want to see man's side of the cross and God's side. On one side man was doing his work, and on the other side God was doing His work. Looking at God's side of the cross reveals what was happening in the hearts of those who crucified Jesus. Humanity did not agree with Christ's concept of God, so it crucified Jesus. We cannot accuse God of killing Him. We must also remember that God's Son could never be killed. However, a historical event did take place, and it basically involved the Jews and Jesus Christ. This historical event shows us what humanity had been doing to God ever since the disruption of the rule of God in Genesis.

Since Jesus knew what was in the heart of men, He knew what would inevitably happen to those who declared the truth. He said, "Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city." (Matt. 23:34) Jesus knew that people want to keep their idea of God, their own set of values, and their deceptions which they consider to be truth! Therefore they would not accept the truth proclaimed by those who were sent by God. Since the prophets were prophesying the words God gave them, they were representing God. Yet the Jews killed them. Although the Jews professed to want God, they only wanted their idea of God; they didn't want the true God! If they had wanted Him, they would have surely embraced the only pure expression and representation of the invisible God - the man Jesus Christ, the Son of God!

The events which led to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ are still occurring in the hearts of mankind. Jesus knew that the cross was inevitable, because He knew what was in the heart of men. He knew what God represented, and He knew the conflict that exists between the flesh and the Spirit. So it was easy for Him to prophesy what they were going to do to Him, for this opposition to God had been going on since generation one.

Men hated Jesus and desired to kill Him long before the deed was actually accomplished. Let's look at a number of passages which mention this. Jn. 7:1, "And after these things Jesus was walking in Galilee; for He was unwilling to walk in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill Him." Then in v. 19 it says, "Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you carries out the law? Why do you seek to kill Me?" Obviously the law was their pride even though they misused it, for Jesus said that none of them kept the law. That angered them! They thought they knew Moses, but who was this Jesus? Verse 20, "The multitude answered, `You have a demon! Who seeks to kill You?'" Then in v. 25 it says, "Therefore some of the people of Jerusalem were saying, `Is this not the man whom they are seeking to kill?'" These verses certainly prove that the desire to kill Jesus was in the hearts of men before they ever put Him on the cross!

Let's look at Rom. 8:3. "For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh." God's Son, in the likeness of sinful flesh, was sent because of sin. God sent Him for the express purpose of doing something about the sin problem. We know that through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin. The evil acts of humanity are due to the sin that indwells them. They are the works of sin. Rom. 14:24 states that "whatever is not from faith is sin." Sin operates in deception, ignorance, pride, egotism and self-serving; it is blind to the evil that dwells in the heart of man. Jesus knew what was in the heart of man. That is why He would not entrust Himself to any man. (John 2:24)

The law of Moses is a list of commandments for the carnal man. Humanity's inability to keep the law brings condemnation. Through the law, God brought condemnation upon those who are in the flesh. The deeds of the flesh bring condemnation to us. But in Christ there is no condemnation! (Rom. 8:1) The law of Moses has been displaced by the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus!

"He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32) God did not spare His own Son; He delivered Him up for us! The popular thinking is that God sent His Son to be killed as a substitutionary sacrifice, and through that type of death Jesus paid the price for sin. This thinking says we are justified and have forgiveness for our sins because of this legal transaction which happened on a historical cross many years ago. They think God killed His Son. But that is not the case!

God sent the Son of His love into the world for a deliverance! It was an act of tremendous love! He gave Him to the world even though He knew how the world would abuse Him! God knew what man was going to do to Him, but He also knew that no man could take away the life of the Son, because HE WAS THE LIFE OF THE SON. By condemning Jesus, man condemned himself, indicted himself, and revealed that his thinking about God and about himself was completely wrong!

Let's look at some scripture passages which testify to this. They help us to see spiritually - to see what is beyond the letter. In 1 John 4:10 it says, "In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." It is quite obvious that God sent His Son to people who didn't love God. In Romans 3:10-11 we read that no man seeks after God; every man has gone his own way, etc. But God loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. God was concerned about our welfare - about our sins, what they were doing to us and how they were bringing death - because through death comes sin, and through sin comes death. The sting of death is sin; when a man sins, it produces death. Man did not realize the deceitfulness of his heart and that all his self-effort was futile. He did not realize that he was ignorant and lacked understanding. This had to be revealed to him. God had to reveal what was going on in the hearts of men, and what He wanted to do for them. God sent His Son as a love gift to us. By this He demonstrated His love!

God's purpose was to redeem man from his false consciousness of God. To do this, He had to create a NEW man with a NEW consciousness. He does not redeem the Adamic man, for he has a wrong realization of God; that is why he misunderstands and misrepresents Him. Jesus Christ brought us the true realization of who God is! God's redemption does not consist of redeeming that sinful consciousness of natural man - for flesh and blood does not inherit the kingdom of God. That is why we have to be born again and be made a new creation. This new creation is spiritual. In Christ we have become a new creation! This new man receives a correct consciousness of God and is able to grow in this consciousness! In Christ we are redeemed from our wrong consciousness of God and our false image of God.

God's Son, being His Word, was a part of Himself. His Son, the Spirit of the Father, was sent into the world to reveal and express the Father. Humanity was to hear the voice of God through Him! There was life in His words! This life could redeem men from their ignorance, delusion, and the separation from God which was in their own minds. But humanity did not recognize the voice of God in Jesus Christ! Since they minded the flesh, they minded their bodily senses; they minded the flesh rather than God! They were locked into this thinking! They couldn't do anything about it because they were dead in their trespasses and sins.

It is so wonderful to see God's side - to see His plan of redemption! John the Baptist said, "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world." Jesus Christ was God's Lamb; He was given by God to man. Through the years, thousands of lambs had been sacrificed in Israel, but they could not take away the sins of the world! Jesus Christ was God's provision for taking away the sins of the world! Sin could NOT operate in Him! Since humanity hated Him who would not operate in sin, it revealed what was in the heart of mankind.

Jesus was sent to glorify God; God was to be glorified in Him! Although there were times when the people glorified God because of the miracles Jesus performed, a growing number became incensed and angry at Him because He called God His Father, and He didn't keep their traditions! So instead of glorifying God because of Jesus Christ, they actually put Him to death - they murdered Him! However, in John 17:4 Jesus prayed to the Father and said, "I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do." So glorifying God does not depend on people's opinions, nor on their recognition and appreciation of what we are doing and saying! God is glorified when we do the work He has given us to do, and testify that He is our Father! He is to be the source and originator of all that we do and say!

Humanity's judgment of Jesus was not based on truth, but on the delusion and darkness that was in them. It was in their hearts to kill Him long before they were successful in their evil desires. The fact that they crucified Him, revealed what had been in the heart of humanity ever since man was formed out of the earth, and Adam and Eve disobeyed God by partaking of the forbidden fruit - ever since the disruption of the world. Soon after that people began killing each other, for death reigned in their hearts. Death spread upon all men, for in Adam all die. Why? Because sin is the sting of death. But thank God, He sent Jesus Christ to take away the sins of the world!

This redemption by Jesus Christ took place first of all in the natural, in order to fulfill everything that had been prophesied and written about Him. Jesus knew that He would be rejected by the humanity which resides in Adam. Therefore a different abiding place for Him had to be prepared - an abiding place in the Spirit in a new humanity. To accomplish this, God brought back His Son in the Spirit! God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts crying, "Abba! Father!" (Gal. 4) We are no longer children who are ruled by the law, but sons of God who are ruled by the Spirit! It can't get any better than that! When we hear the voice of God saying, "You are My son," we are experiencing the same thing Jesus experienced at the Jordan River! What an exalted place we have in Christ! To hear the Spirit witnessing to our spirit that we are sons of God, causes us to bow in humble adoration because of the mercy and grace of God in Christ Jesus!

Adam's nature and consciousness were not spiritual; they were earthy. What happened to the consciousness he received when God breathed into him and he became a living soul? That was lost through whatever happened when he was put to sleep and then divided to make out of him male and female. His disobedience to the one law which God had given him, was an act of rebellion against God! He listened to, and obeyed, a voice other than God's! Eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil brought him darkness, delusion and ignorance.

Saul, later called Paul, is an excellent example of the ignorance that is in natural man. Paul was an Israelite, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, a very careful keeper of the law, and very zealous in his persecution of the believers in Jesus Christ. On the road to Damascus a bright light suddenly flashed around him, and he heard a voice saying, "Why do you persecute Me?" In spite of all his education, he was very ignorant in spiritual matters; he had no idea that he was persecuting Christ. So he asked, "Who are you?" The voice replied, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting." The way Paul met the Lord, caused him to ask, "What shall I do Lord?" With the call of God comes the persuasion that God is right! Paul did not choose to follow Christ; he was God's chosen vessel!

Paul had been brought up in the Sanhedrin (meaning, sitting in council), the council of Jerusalem which constituted the highest or supreme Jewish authority of that time. He was zealously trying to keep the law, and arduously made sure that its quality would not be tarnished. Suddenly Paul was blinded and he had to be led by the hand to Damascus! This physical blindness symbolized his spiritual blindness in which he was unable to see the things of God, for he didn't have any spiritual realization.

At the same time the Lord gave instructions concerning Paul, to Ananias, a disciple of Jesus in Damascus. He said, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake." (Acts 9:15-16) Ananias was to go and see Paul and to heal his blindness by the laying on of hands. Why? Because Jesus had already given the disciples the mandate to do this. He said, "As the Father has sent Me, so I send you." Ananias, being part of the church, came to Paul, prayed for him, and gave him a prophetic word. Through the church, the body of Christ, Paul was restored! He immediately began to proclaim (even in the synagogues) that Jesus is the Son of God! Through the spiritual realization that Paul had now received, God was able to impart further revelation of the scriptures to him. Now he could understand what God was doing through Jesus Christ! Paul was called to be an apostle of the Lord and was very faithful in his God-given ministry!

Humanity is anti-Christ; even before Christ was manifested, it was anti-God. Death is in the heart of natural man. There is no exception - in Adam all die! Separation from the consciousness of God spells death. Therefore humanity is unable to judge correctly. This was very evident when it judged the man Jesus guilty of blasphemy and crucified Him! This desire to kill Him was in their hearts long before it was actually manifested.

The Jews were looking for the prophesied coming of their Messiah, even as the church is looking for the return of Jesus Christ. The Jews did not recognize their Messiah when He came, and neither does the church recognize Him today! The words CHRIST and MESSIAH are translated from the same Greek word CHRISTOS! God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit! Jesus became the Messiah, the Anointed One. The Messiah was the anointing that came on Jesus.

All revelation of the Father came through the Son! It came through Jesus while He was in His physical body; because of His anointing (Christ, the Holy Spirit), He spoke words of life, and manifested the Father's nature in everything He did! Everything came from the Father! So when the Jews rejected Christ, they rejected God! This proved humanity was anti-God! When Christ was manifested, humanity was anti-Christ. Christ was crucified because of humanity's ignorance; it didn't know what it was doing!

Even in His boyhood Jesus must have known that He was not an ordinary person. His mother must have told Him about the unusual circumstances surrounding His birth! At the tender age of twelve He told His parents that He had to be in His Father's house! As long as He was subject to the law and its ordinances, and attended the prescribed feast days, etc., He was not persecuted. But at the Jordan He received His anointing and illumination, and this began His ministry!

Jesus was put on the cross because of the anointing He received at the Jordan River and God's declaration that Jesus was His beloved Son. It was His testimony that fact that put Him on the cross! He testified to a relationship with God that none of those people had. He said, "I can do nothing of Myself...the words that I speak come from the Father...the works are of the Father...I don't bear witness of Myself...I live by the Father...the Father is greater than I." He took issue with them about their wrong sense of being, and their faith in the law of Moses instead of in God. This riled the ruling religious leaders! They stirred up the people, and finally managed to capture Jesus. They could only see the physical aspects of His ministry, so they thought they could take away His ministry by killing Him.

Putting Jesus on the cross was the fruit of sin, but killing His body could not destroy the life in Jesus Christ! People could not destroy His life by killing His body. The hatred displayed toward Jesus Christ showed the depth of man's anti-Christ feelings! The people did not realize that they were trying to kill the correct representation, the perfect image of the invisible God - the Word of God in redemption that God had prepared for man! God had planned and destined our redemption to come in Christ.

Wonderful things happen when our spirit comes into real subjection to the Father's Spirit! In this subjection, we will experience the same experiences Christ did. Our submission to the law will show us our need of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Our repentance will take us out of the law and cause us to receive the Holy Spirit. Before we can manifest the same things Jesus did and be crucified together with Him, we must be led by the Spirit and live in the consciousness of the Spirit. Only if we are a temple of witness, having the same testimony Christ had - of God, self, Spirit and life - will we be crucified together with Christ. Not at the beginning of our ministry, but at the end, even as Christ was crucified at the end of His ministry. Paul said that we have been crucified with Christ! That has happened to our old consciousness! Jesus Christ put that man's consciousness to death by trusting the Father, living in Him, and obeying the Father even to death on the cross.

The same Spirit that was in Christ Jesus, has come to us! It puts the old man to death and makes us new! All the natural things in types and shadows that testified of better things to come, are brought into a spiritual realization in us, through Christ! We still live in this world in a body of flesh, but everything we think and say in the natural has been redeemed. It has been redeemed by the Christ who is in us! He has changed our realization of who we are, and He has changed our testimony!

Jesus said, "I HAVE overcome the world." In Christ we have overcome not only the flesh but the world! But Christians are still trying to overcome the world instead of just abiding in Christ. Instead of fighting the world, we are to rejoice that we are overcomers in Him! Jesus overcame the world through His submission to the Father! He did not gather material possessions; He did not leave a material inheritance for the disciples. Even His clothes were divided among the soldiers. He had nothing left! So we mustn't seek material wealth, honor and prestige - not even health! Why? Because Christ IS the answer to all our needs! Therefore we must only seek Him! God will do what is best for us; He will give us what we need, and work out His own will and testimony in everyone of us according to His own loving jurisdiction.

We are not to look at the cross of Jesus Christ as though it has some magical power. We hear so much about being at the foot of the cross, and the cross accomplishing various things. But it is not the cross, it is the SPIRIT OF CHRIST that does everything. If we attribute our deliverance to the cross, we are being anti-Christ. Death, darkness and ignorance are done away with by the light of the Spirit of Christ! Death and the Adamic man are overcome with the life of Christ!

In our identification with Jesus Christ, we experience inwardly, everything that happened to Him in the physical realm. The same ignorant, natural, Adamic consciousness that put Christ to death, will put us to death. Our death will not necessarily be physical. Everything that led to the historical cross, has been happening throughout the ages; it happens today and it will continue to happen.

Those who testify of spiritual realities - things the carnal reasoning mind cannot understand - are being rejected and shunned. Those who reject them do not realize that they are separating themselves from the truth that is in Christ. This is an ongoing thing. It happened yesterday, it is happening today, and it will keep on happening. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His true essence is the Son of God; the Son of God was not born, nor did He die. HE ALWAYS REMAINS THE SAME, YESTERDAY, TODAY AND FOREVER! It was the physical Jesus who died on the cross.

We have been made new creatures in Christ; He is our new identity! We no longer identify with the old Adamic man who can only see Jesus hanging on a tree. The natural man thinks the cross gave him a legal separation from his sins. But it does not work that way! This is not the new life, nor the Christ, nor the gospel! Forgiveness does not change our nature! Therefore forgiveness is needed continually. But the situation changes when we receive His Spirit and the Spirit's teaching! The Spirit teaches us all things and leads us into all truth! This is the good news of the gospel!

Christ is here, the Messiah is here, and the Spirit of the Son of God has been given us! "And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, `Abba! Father!'" (Gal. 4:6) We have received the Spirit of Christ (the Messiah), and He is our life! We are the body of Christ! Christ is the Spirit of life and the Spirit of adoption! Amen.

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