Friday Morning Manna September 20, 2019 Nathaniel Fajardo
The Power of the Last Adam to ‘Lay Down His Life and Take it up Again”
“And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness that God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up in glory.” 1 Tim. 3: 16, N.K.J.V.1 Tim. 3: 16, N.K.J.V.
“Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared [partook, K.J.V.] in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.”Heb. 2: 14
“I urge you in the sight of God [the Father] who gives life to all things” in and by “the Lord Jesus Christ . . He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power.”1 Tim. 6: 13, 15, 16
“Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord Jesus . . . who has saved us and called us a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the [first] appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”2 Tim. 1: 9, 10
It was by and through the His death of His life that the last Adam destroyed the devil’s power of death. In His death, the last Adam abolished death by rendering it thereafter as sleep, that temporary interlude of absolute darkness, of only the righteous, by bringing His life and His immortality to light through the gospel! Any gospel that does not teach such, though taught by an angel, is “another,” “different gospel.” Anyone who accepts such is “accursed.” Gal. 1: 6-10.
The passages of Scripture cited above, with emphasis supplied on specific words and phrases, are but representatives of the basis of our focus on this issue. It is true that the devil has power over death. But he does not have the power of life. This is part of the reason why he is also called Satan, meaning “the enemy of God and man.” Jesus exposed the true nature of the fallen “covering cherub” Lucifer, describing him as “the father of lies and murderer from the beginning, who has no truth in him.” John 8: 44.
The Devil is the master Tempter and “Abaddon, the Accuser of the Brethren.” Here is what this fallen angel, the enemy of God and man has been doing through the centuries since his fall, as clearly revealed in the Bible: he deceives, tempts, annoys, vexes, accuses, and destroys—employing his agencies, both evil spirits, wicked men, as apostate religions, as well as godless institutions of men. On individuals: when one yields to his unnumbered schemes, tailored-fit to each individual’s propensities and chosen lifestyles, sins, but is convicted by the Holy Spirit and realizes wretched condition, and in true penitence, “exercises repentance towards God and faith toward Jesus” (Acts 20: 210), Satan does stop: he now accuses the penitent sinner before God and man, attempting to discourage him that he is unworthy of God’s grace and forgiveness and is a unredeemable lost case.
But as grace, which comes from God, “abounds much more than sin”, which comes from the devil (Rom. 5: 20, 21), it is God alone in Christ who has the absolute and consummate power over both temporal and eternal life, and then, eternal death. Here’s how and why: He alone is both the Source, Giver and Sustainer of mysterious life, and the only One who has the power that can and will destroy forever—Satan, his angels, and all who “persistently rejected heaven’s invitation to repent” until they died or until earth’s probation itself closed—at the end of the millennium, after which “sin shall rise no more” in “the earth made new.”
When God through His only-begotten Son became a Man, He, as the last Adam, became subject to temptation with the possibility of yielding, as every man is tempted with the possibility of yielding, which in fact the first Adam did, setting of the tone for the rest of mankind, as in “for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” And yet much, much more. Why? Simply because of who He is, which no other human being can be, i.e., be God in the flesh, divinity taking on humanity—which was not the plan of creation but was in the plan of redemption. Like the first Adam, the last Adam also came under the power of death—the opposite of life, the loss of life, the way of all mortals. But–
Totally unlike the first Adam, whose flesh-and-blood nature He had partaken of in the incarnation, the last Adam, who is “the same yesterday, today, and forever,”is the Source, Giver and Sustainer of life, the great I AM. Note that it was when He walked as a Man among men in the New Testament times, not as Jehovah who talked with Moses and Abraham in the Old Testament, that He, in His last Adam human nature, declared these defining words::
“I AM the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. . . . .Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me [not even Satan], but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” John 10: 14, 15, 17, 18.
Note this special declaration specific to the subject of life and death which are, “without controversy” the most basic and central issues of the very idea of existence: “No one takes it [My life] from Me, but I lay down for Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” Now pray tell me: Who can truthfully say such? Absolutely no one can assert such truthfully but only as a lie. Has anyone, angels or men ever dares say so? Lucifer already did, and will continue in deceiving man in his sinfulness, that “thou shalt not die,” there is no real death, and that his “soul is immortal,” until his final “overmastering delusion” upon mankind in the very near future. You and I should recognize what the final forms of modern spiritualism are that are rapidly infiltrating and corroding the Christian churches that was prophesied to “soon take the whole world captive!.” Lucifer-turned-Satan boasted in the beginning of his fall: “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.” Isa. 14: 14, 1-13; cf. Eze. 28: 1-20.
Only God Creator could say such without committing blasphemy. Only the Source, Giver and Sustainer of life could say such, and actually do it. Yes, the devil has “the power of death” but he, a mere creature fallen to become the devil, does not, cannot and can never have life in himself, much less give life to anyone or anything on top or beneath earth or in stellar space. He is only still alive until God finally, as He promised His people by way of end-time prophecies, destroys him eternally after the millennium. This is because of the power of eternal life and eternal death that comes from Christ who is “the way, the truth and the life.”
Satan, as well as the wicked Jews and cruel Romans in evil collaboration, under the influence of Satan, foolishly rejoiced when He died at the cross, thinking they had finally eliminated the hated “Impostor,” Usurper,” “Blasphemer,” and “Chief of sinners” (He was crucified between two crucified real criminals). Satan really thought he was able to finally bring Christ under his power of death. But how wrong, foolish and stupid indeed the devil and his followers were and still are! “The veil is still before their eyes.”
It is true that in His flesh-and-blood nature the last Adam “could not see beyond the portals of the tomb.” But the following passages, based on Matt. 27: 31-53; Mark 15: 20-38; Luke 23: 26-46; John 19: 16-30 clearly shows us what caused the death of Christ—not the power of Satan over death but the power of Christ to lay it down, and take it up again!
At Calvary. “Upon Christ our substitute and surety was laid the iniquity of us all. He was counted as a transgressor, that He might redeem us from the condemnation of the law. The guilt of every descendant of Adam was pressing in His heart. The wrath of God against sin, the terrible manifestation of His displeasure because of iniquity, filled the soul of His Son with consternation. All His life Christ had been publishing to a fallen world the good news of the Father’s mercy and pardoning love. Salvation for the chief of sinners was His theme. But now with the terrible weight of guilt He bears, He cannot see the Father’s reconciling face. The withdrawal of the divine countenance from the Savior in this hour of supreme anguish [that started a few hours earlier in Gethsemane] pierced His heart with sorrow that can never be fully understood by man. So great was this agony that His physical pain was hardly felt.
“Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Savior could not see beyond the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race [when the Holy Spirit is fully withdrawn and probation closes forever]. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup he drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.” E. G. White, Desire of Ages, p. 753.
He died of a broken heart, that is, not of any man’s heart but the very heart of God in the flesh! He did not die because Satan had power over Him. In fact, it was in His prophesied manner, reason and cause of death that He defeated Satan the third time,* conquered death and the grave (Satan’s temporary prison-house for God’s saints on earth] in His resurrection three days later. Apostle Paul wrote: “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage [to the fear of death and the grave].” Heb. 2: 14.
“With amazement angels witnessed the despairing agony. The hosts of heaven veiled their faces from the fearful sight. Inanimate nature expressed sympathy with its insulted and dying Author. [Indeed, “even the stones will immediately cry out.” Luke 19: 40]. The sun refused to look upon the awful scene. Its full, bright rays were illuminating the earth at midday, when suddenly it seemed to be blotted out. Complete darkness, like a funeral pall, enveloped the cross. ‘From the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.’ [Matt. 27: 45]. There was no eclipse or natural cause for this darkness, which was as deep as midnight without moon or stars. It was a miraculous testimony given by God that the faith of after generations might be confirmed.” Ibid, 753.
“In that thick darkness God’s presence was hidden [not lost nor permanently withdrawn]. He makes darkness His pavilion, and conceals His glory from human eyes [as Christ’s divinity was in the incarnation]. God and His holy angels were beside the cross. The Father was with His Son. Yet His presence was not revealed. Had His [divine] glory flashed forth from the cloud, every human beholder would have been destroyed. [Satan has no such powers!] And to that dreadful hour Christ was not to be comforted with the Father’s presence. He trod the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with Him. [Isa. 63: 3].” Ibid, 753, 754.
“In the thick darkness, God veiled the last human agony of His Son. All who had seen Christ in His suffering had been convicted of His divinity [both those Jews who hated Him or the cruel Romans who hated the Jews]. That face, once beheld by humanity, was never forgotten. As the face of Cain expressed his guilt as a murderer, so the face of Christ revealed innocence, serenity, benevolence,–the image of God. But His accusers would not give heed to the signet of heaven. Through long hours of agony Christ had been gazed upon by the jeering multitudes. Now He was mercifully hidden by the mantle of God.” Ibid, 754.
“The silence of the grave seemed to have fallen upon Calvary. A nameless terror held the throng that was gathered about the cross. The cursing and reviling ceased in the midst of half-uttered sentences. Men, women and children fell prostrate upon the ground. Vivid lightnings occasionally flashed forth from the cloud
[of angels, that is]
, and revealed the cross and the crucified Redeemer. Priests, rulers, scribes, executioners, and the mob, all thought that their time of retribution had come. After a while some whispered that Jesus would now come down from the cross. Some attempted to grope their way back to the city, beating their breasts and wailing in fear.” Ibid, 754.
“The spotless Son of God hung upon the cross, His flesh lacerated with stripes; those hands so often reached out in blessing, nailed to the wooden bars; those feet so tireless on ministries of love, spiked to the tree; that royal head pierced by the crown of thorns; those quivering lips shaped to the cry of woe. And all that He endured—the blood drops that flowed from His head, His hands, His feet, the agony that racked His frame, and the unutterable anguish that filled His soul at the hiding of His Father’s
face—speaks to each child of humanity, declaring, It is for thee that the Son of God consents to bear this burden of guilt; for thee He spoils the domain of death, and opens the gate to Paradise. He who stilled the angry waves and walked the foam-capped billows, who made devils tremble and disease flee, who opened blind eyes and called forth the dead to life,— offers Himself upon the cross as a sacrifice, and from love to thee. He, the Sin Bearer, endures the wrath of divine justice, and for your sake becomes sin itself. ” Ibid, 755, 756.
(Continued next week)