Christ’s Work of Redemption

Milton Dunavant


            In the beginning, Adam was told that he could eat freely of every tree of the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but the Lord God said, thou shalt not eat of it: “for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Adam ate of that tree and died “in that day” as indicated and he was separated from God, fallen away from God, and dead to God. Adam and we, as the children of Adam, were dead in trespasses and sins, walking according to the course of this world, in the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience, fulfilling the desires and lust of our flesh, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others (Eph. 2:1-3). When we believe on the Lord, we are given eternal life and are told that we pass from death unto life (John 5:24).

Separation Death

            Adam’s death was a spiritual separation from God, having the curse and condemnation of God upon him, not at all limited to his physical death. The death penalty, which occurred on that day, was first and foremost a spiritual death with ultimate eternal consequences. The just consequence of Adam’s fall was alienation from God, having the condemnation of God upon him and with the ultimate consequences of hell with its everlasting torment. Apart from salvation, Adam and his descendants were doomed to hell and to a Christ-less eternity, having the wrath of God abiding on them (John 3:36).  

            Adam’s fall and his spiritual separation or death caused him to become mortal and His physical dying process began which eventually brought his physical death. His physical death was not the death he died on that day and his physical death could not pay the sin debt or the penalty that God, the righteous judge, had sentenced upon him. The very foundation for man’s alienation from God and his ultimate eternal condemnation had its beginning at the fall of Adam. The only escape from this impending doom was to be saved from the guilt and penalty of sin, through Christ’s “work of redemption” in which He took God’s condemnation upon Himself to redeem mankind.

            Some have contended that Adam did not die on the day that he ate of the forbidden fruit, contrary to the biblical account. In their perception, he became mortal and began a dying process and ultimately died a physical death about nine hundred years later.

            The Lord God said Adam would die on the day he ate of the forbidden fruit.  He ate it and he died, spiritually, in a death of separation from God, exactly as God had said. Adam’s fall brought sin into the human race, a sin nature, a conscious knowledge of good and evil, and a consciousness of sin that caused Adam to try to hide himself from the almighty God. He was lost, dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-2) and dead to God. His death had both spiritual and physical aspects; nevertheless we can be sure that he experienced spiritual death on that very day, which was the penalty for his sin. Just as the separation of the spirit and soul from the body brings physical death; likewise, separation from God brought spiritual death to Adam.

            We read in 1 Tim. 5:6, “But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.” Likewise, Adam was spiritually dead to God but physically alive at that early time. Note well that Adam’s death of alienation from God was a death far more comprehensive and of far more consequence than merely a physical death.

1. If the penalty for sin was limited to physical death, he could pay for His own sins by his physical death and no more payment would be due.

2. If the penalty for sin was only physical death, and if Christ’s physical death was the total payment, why do Christians yet die physically?

            Did Christ pay the death penalty in full that was sentenced upon fallen Adam? Why did Christ die? He died because the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). He loved us and the penalty of death was upon us. He died for us to save us from His wrath and keep us from dying that death of a doomed, condemned, God-forsaken sinner (John 11:25-26, John 3:36). Was it physical death? All die physically. Christ’s death for us is the death that separates from God, not from physical conscience and physical contact down here.

The Reign of Death

            Adam and Eve were under the condemnation or curse of God, which was the justice of God due their sins. Death reigned upon all of Adam’s descendants, “for as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners” (Rom. 5:19) and when men were saved, “they passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). There can he no question about this. Adam and all his descendents were dead, though physically alive, until they were given spiritual life through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The inspired apostle Paul said, “The wages of sin is death,” (Rom 6:23). He also said, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead,” (2 Cor. 5:14). Unquestionably, all men were under the sentence of death in separation from God and Christ died that separation death for all men and took upon Him the ultimate condemnation of that death in His “work of redemption.”

            In that Christ died for our sins, he died in separation from God to pay the consequences imposed upon Adam. He died a death that we deserve, so that as believers, we, henceforth, will never die that death. The Apostle John said, “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:26). Here, he spoke not of physical death but of spiritual death which believers will not experience.

            God’s condemnation of man was man’s just penalty and Christ took that condemnation upon Himself and died the death that was ours. “Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor. 15:3-4), taking what we deserved. He died for us to keep us from dying that death of a doomed, condemned, God forsaken sinner.

            I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess. 5:23).

Christ's Physical Death in the Atonement

            After Adam’s fall the Lord God gave him the gospel (Gen. 3:15), as he rebuked the serpent, saying, “It (the seed of the woman) shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The Lord illustrated to Adam the spiritual reality of death by the physical death of lambs, whose skins, he used to clothe Adam and Eve.

Rom. 5:13-14 - For until the law, sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 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.

Later, the penalty of physical death was incorporated into the Law of Moses which God gave to the nation of Israel. The shedding of blood in the physical death of the animal sacrifices illustrated the shedding of Christ’s blood yet to come. Christ’s physical death was required to bear the curse of the law and to usher in the ultimate consequences of separation death; nevertheless, it did not eradicate physical death from saved men.

            Gal. 3:13 - “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree:”

            Under the Jewish law (or government), animal sacrifices were offered to atone for their sins. This atonement forgave them of their sins (Lev. 4:20, 26, 31, 35 and 4:10, 13, 16) and sanctified to the purifying of their flesh (Heb. 9:13) in regards to their physical and national law. This prevented them from physically dying under the judgment and penalty of the law. However, these sacrifices did not and could not give them a good conscience (Heb. 9:14) nor could it take away their sins before God in the courts of heaven, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” (Heb. 10:4). “... and without shedding of blood is no remission,” (Heb.9:22).

            Therefore, it was necessary for Christ to shed His blood and to die physically to take the penalty of the law upon Himself, thus atoning for the sins of the law before God. The supreme penalty of the law was physical death and was the penalty due all who fell short of the righteousness of God, declared by the law.

            Christ’s physical death did not keep men from dying, but it paid the penalty of the law for men’s sins and provided for the redemption of their bodies through Christ’s resurrection from the dead. His death of separation from God was the death that prevents us from dying and is the death that we will not die. Therefore, Christ died a death that was both physical and spiritual. Both aspects of His death were for the atonement of men and both were a part of the “work of redemption.” The teaching of Christ’s separation death does not suggest that His physical death was not needed or was not in the atonement, but it clearly teaches that Christ died a death that we will not die, (John 11:25-26 & John 8:51).

            It is in Christ that we have redemption - “In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (Col. 1:14).

            Again, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (1 Pet. 1:18-19).

            Again, “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:” (Col. 1:21-22).

            And again, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Gal. 4:4-5)

            Christ’s physical death, with the shedding of His blood, redeemed mankind from the curse of the law and from the guilt and penalty, resulting from man’s inability to attain to the righteousness of God required by the law.

            Christ, the Lamb of God, was the fulfillment of the offerings made by the woolly lambs. The fact, that Christ suffered and bled and died in the flesh, does not negate, forbid, nor nullify His separation death but was a visible example and witness to it. Christ’s death of the cross was both physical and spiritual; therefore the preaching of the cross (the gospel) is the power of God unto salvation (1 Cor. 1:18, Rom. 1:16). His separation from God was by far the greater penalty, even more terrible than the anguish of the crucifixion.

            Gal. 6:14 - “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

Christ's Soul Not Left in Hell

(Acts 2:31, Matt., 12:40, Eph. 4:8-10)

In Acts 2:27, the apostle Peter quotes Psalm 16:10, a Psalm of David, spoken of Christ, saying, “Because, thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”

            Then in Acts 2:30-31, Peter explains the meaning of David’s words, saying,

“therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; (31) He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.”

            Peter explains that David was not speaking of himself, but of Christ, who was his descendent after the flesh. David knew that God would raise up Christ, being told of God and confirmed by an oath. Peter explains that David, being a prophet, spoke prophetically, saying that Christ’s soul was not left in hell, neither did Christ’s flesh see corruption. The Bible says, “Christ’s soul; was not left in hell.” His soul had gone to hell during His death, but was not left there. According to these three verses and the apostle Peter’s interpretation of them, Christ’s soul was in hell, but was brought forth from hell by the resurrection.

            David could not be speaking of himself, saying, that his own soul was not left in hell; because David was not going to be in hell. He was a saved man and would not come into condemnation. David said, “For great is thy mercy toward me and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell,” (Psa. 86:13). [If this verse is speaking of David, he was delivered from hell, being saved from it. However and apparently, this verse is prophetic words, relating to the Lord Jesus Christ and his deliverance from the lowest hell at the time of His resurrection.]

            When Christ’s soul and spirit were separated from His body in physical death, His spirit went to the hands of the Father (Lk. 23:46) and His soul, the ever-existent inner person, went to hell to the place that was the destination of man under the condemnation of God, but He was not left there (Acts 2:30-31). Thank God. After three days, He arose victorious over hell, having the keys of death and hell (Rev. 1:18), so that those that are saved from the wrath of God, will not have to go there, neither will they die the death that Christ died for them.

            These verses speak specifically of the three day duration period of Christ’s death, not of a time ending shortly before Christ’s physical death occurred. Christ had commended His spirit into the hands of God just before He gave up the Spirit (Lk. 23:46). And when His spirit and soul departed from the body, He was then physically dead. Soon afterwards, His body was laid in a tomb; thus, His body was in the grave, His spirit was in the hands of God, and His soul was in hell. God had assured David of Christ’s resurrection, that His soul “would not be left in hell and His flesh would not see corruption.” It was by the resurrection that His soul was not left in hell (Acts 2:22-35). It was by His resurrection that He broke the bonds of death, hell, and the grave.

Christ’s Three Day Death Taught in the Gospel

            The gospel according to the apostle Paul, in 1 Cor. 15:3-4, is that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. Paul specifically includes the three day duration of Christ’s death and His resurrection from the dead.

            The preaching of the gospel, Christ’s death for our sins, His burial and His resurrection on the third day, includes and confirms the three days of Christ’s death. This is the “gospel” or “Christ’s work of redemption” for us. His death had not ended until He arose from the dead.

            Though we cannot fully comprehend all that Christ did for us, we can be sure,

all that He did and all of His redeeming atonement was counted to those, who believed on Him, whether they fully comprehended it or not. Salvation is in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ and the benefits of His redemptive work, and all that it includes, are credited to the believers. 

            Peter professed his faith in the Lord, saying, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:16). Soon afterwards, Jesus told his disciples that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day (Matt. 16:21-­23). Upon hearing this, Peter began to rebuke Him, saying, “Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Peter believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Saviour of the world, but apparently he did not understand or believe Christ’s words about His suffering and His death and His resurrection.

            Some believers in Christ may not have the knowledge, the understanding, or the conscious understanding of the great work Christ did for them; yet, all He did for them is counted to their credit. Believers cannot dictate to God what He must do for them to be saved, but they should seek to know and to understand what he did for them in sincerity and truth:

Christ's Resurrection from Hell, Prophesied by Jonah

            In 1 Cor. 15:3-4, we read, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” At the time the apostle Paul wrote this epistle, very little of the new scriptures were written and the words, “according to the scriptures,” referred to the Old Scriptures. Now, according to the Old Scriptures, Christ would arise from the dead the third day. Surely, the most certain account is given by the prophet Jonah. Christ, Himself, interpreted the truth of Jonah’s experience to His own death experience, saying, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly: so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

            In the reading of the prophet Jonah, we find him experiencing an allegory of Christ’s three day duration of death (Jonah 1:17). Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly. As this was a prophesy of Christ’s three days and three nights, Jonah spoke prophetic words, even as David did in Psa. 16:10, and he said, “I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of “hell” cried I, and thou, heardest my voice.” God brought Jonah through this example experience so that, in the spirit, he spoke the prophetic words of Christ, “out of the belly of hell cried I.” Jonah was not in “hell” but he, as a prophet, was not speaking of himself, but of Christ, when Christ would cry out to God from “hell,” during His sin conquering death.

Christ’s Three Days of Death Prophesied by the Ark

            Only the old civil calendar year was in use at the time of the flood, being prior to the Exodus. The flood came on the 2nd month and on the 17th day of the month. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights and the fountains of the deep opened up and the whole earth was covered with water. The judgment of God was poured upon the earth and upon the ark which took the judgment penalty upon it while those in the ark were safe and sound. The waters covered the mountains and after the waters had prevailed upon the earth 150 days, the waters were abated and on the 7th month and the 17th day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.

            The ark, being overwhelmed by the wrath of God upon a sinful world, so beautifully typifies the Lord Jesus Christ in His death as He took the wrath of God on Himself to give life to all who believe on Him. “The like figure where unto even baptism (the baptism of death 1 Pet. 3:18, Lk. 12:50) doth also now save us ... by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” 1 Pet 3:21.

            The 7th month of the old civil year (Abib or Nisan) is the same as the 1st month of the ecclesiastical year of which we read in Ex. 12. And on the 17th day the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. This is the self same day of the year that the Lord Jesus completed His 3 days and 3 nights of death, in which the bellows of God’s wrath swept over Him. This done, He arose in resurrection from the dead in victory over death, hell, and the grave. The ark did not come to rest on the 14th day (the day of crucifixion), but on the 17th day (three days later at the end of His prophesied death and at His resurrection from the dead. This must be more than mere coincidence and these dates were recorded and well known to all Israel. The nation of Israel would have readily known the correlation of the dates of both calendars, since they use both calendars even until this present time.

Christ’s Soul, an Offering for Sin

            In Isa. 53, Isaiah describes in prophetic words that, (6) “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on “him the iniquity of us all.” (8) “... he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.” (9) “And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; …” (10) “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul and offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.” (11) “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.” (12) “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.”

            This text goes beyond the physical death of Christ into the separation death in which the Lord God would bruise him and put Him to grief; when he would make His soul an offering for sin. This is an essential part of the atonement and of the “work of redemption.”

            In the spirit, David spoke prophetically of Christ’s sufferings of the pain of hell:

            Psa. 116:3 - The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.

            The Bible says that the pains of hell got hold upon Christ. It is neither assumption nor a conclusion drawn from vague evidence.

            Psa. 22:1-2 - My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? (2) 0 my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.

            This text portrays Christ crying to the Lord God in the daytime and in the night season, but God does not hear (or respond) until the three days are fulfilled.

            Please, read the following verses relative to this subject: John 12:31-32, Heb. 2:14-15, Col 2:14-15, Psa. 69; Psa. 88; Psa. 22:1, 4-8, 11-18, 20-21; and Zech. 12:10; 13:6-7.

It is Finished

            In John 17:4, when Jesus was praying with His disciples at the supper, before He was betrayed by Judas, he said, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” He had not finished the “work of redemption,” when none of the cross work had yet been done. Christ is simply not addressing his work of atonement and redemption. In this text, he is apparently speaking of His preaching ministry among the people which He had then finished and was ready to be offered as the Lamb of God. It is easy to see that it would be a misapplication of scripture to say His “Work of redemption” or “the work of atonement” was finished at that time.

            In John 19:28-30, after the soldiers had parted his raiment and he had presented His mother to the disciple whom he loved, we read, “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith ‘I Thirst.” Was Christ here saying that the “penalty for sin” was complete or that the “work of redemption” was then accomplished? Of course not. He is simply saying that all things were accomplished in order that the last prophesy of scripture, before He gave up the Ghost, might be fulfilled; therefore he said, “I thirst.” Prompted by this statement, they brought vinegar and put it to his mouth and when He had received the vinegar, they thus fulfilled the remaining prophesy.

            When He had received it, he said, “It is finished:” (John 19:30), and he bowed His head, and gave up the ghost. He did not say that the “work of redemption” was finished. He did not say that the “gospel” of the death, burial, and resurrection was finished. He did not say the “penalty for sin” (the atonement) was finished. When they, had given Him vinegar to drink, all the prophetic scriptures were fulfilled of things that would be done to Him, during His crucifixion, without exception. All the devilish deeds were now finished which had foretold and identified Him as the promised Saviour of the world.

            At the time He said, “It is finished,” He had not yet given up the Ghost in death, nor had He been buried, nor had He risen from the dead. The “work of redemption” could not possibly have been finished at that time.

            Those, who assume the “payment for sin was finished” at that time, have no biblical foundation for their claim and have imposed their assumption upon the text in direct contradiction to Bible truth.

   1. They make this claim as if the facts of the gospel need not be accomplished, and

   2. As if the penalty of God’s wrath in a burning hell need not be paid, and

   3. As if Christ had paid the full penalty for sin at that time and could have come down off the cross without needing to die.

            The assumption is completely beyond the realm of responsible and biblical reason. This assumption of the key words, “It is finished,” is a fundamental error with far reaching consequences. It has become the faulty premise on which other assumptions have been made on related issues.

            In Acts 13:29, we read, “And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.” Again, the Bible is declaring that all those things, which were written about His crucifixion, were completely fulfilled before He was taken down. Certainly, Paul was not saying that Christ’s future burial and resurrection were fulfilled. Neither was he saying that the “work of redemption” was fulfilled prior to the facts of the gospel - the death, burial, and the resurrection. Paul’s words simply informed those of Antioch that all the prophesies, relating to His crucifixion, were fulfilled without fail and according to the word of God; and when they were done, they took Him down from the tree.

            Because of the misunderstanding of Christ’s words, “It is finished,” some have gone to extreme measures to deny that anything which was done after those words were spoken, was any part of His “payment for sin,” or His “work of redemption.” Christ’s words, “It is finished,” were said before He died physically to atone for the curse of the law, before He was buried, and before He “was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:25), which is the gospel of salvation. If all was finished before He died, the blood Christ shed when the soldier pierced His side could not be a part of the atonement and was too late to be counted at all.

            Their assumption requires all the condemnation of God and the full penalty of fallen man to be upon Christ before he said the key words, “It is finished.” Therefore, some have claimed that the wrath of God and the torments of “hell” were on Christ to their fullest before those words were spoken. This assumption moves the wrath of God out of hell and mysteriously puts it on Christ during His crucifixion, prior to His death. Thereby, they deny the need for Christ to go to hell to endure the wrath of God.

            This is just another assumption needed to defend the previous assumption imposed upon John 19:30. Also, it has a flagrant likeness to the erroneous doctrine of “transubstantiation” in which physical bread is blessed by a priest thereby literally becoming the body of Christ - body, soul, and divinity.

            The suffering of the crucifixion, prior to His death, was not all of the penalty that was sentenced upon fallen man. The penalty of hell, the wrath of God to come, was the abiding (pending) wrath of God upon fallen man (John 3:36) and that penalty had to be paid by the Lord Jesus Christ. The penalty of hell was not on Christ, before He died. Hell was not on the cross, neither was the cross in hell. How anyone could realistically believe the “torment of hell” was on Christ while He was on the cross and before He died, is more that I can comprehend. That would be a fantastic piece of imagination and nothing less than a doctrine of transubstantiation. If I could believe that “hell” or the “torments of hell” was actually moved or became the place called, “Golgotha,” or that “Golgotha” became the place called, “hell;” perhaps, I could believe the Roman wafer could become the body, soul, and divinity of the Lord Jesus, according to the Roman doctrine of transubstantiation. The Bible does not teach that the crucifixion was in hell; neither that the torments of hell were upon Christ before His death at the crucifixion.

Resurrection From the Dead

            Some contend that when Christ had shed His blood and died in His f1esh on the cross, all of His redemptive work was completed while He was yet on the cross. They speak, as if Christ’s death in the flesh was all that was necessary, saying that He did nothing more to atone for man’s sins after He took His last breathe. Also, they assume that the “work of redemption” was finished by the time Christ said the key words, “It is finished,” even before His death. Both arguments erroneously separate Christ’s payment for sin from the three days of His death, His burial, and His resurrection.

            Can we know when Christ’s death ended? This is most easily understood. Christ’s death did not end until He was raised “from the dead” (Rom. 4:24).

            Jesus said, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” (John 10:17-18).

            Again Christ said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19).

            Peter, speaking of the Prince of life, said, “whom God hath raised from the dead…” (Acts 3:15).

            Paul alleged that “Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, ... is Christ” (Acts 17:3).

            Again, Peter said, that Christ was “put to death in the flesh, but quickened (i.e. made alive) by the Spirit:” (1 Pet. 3:18).

            Therefore, the resurrection was by the power of the triune God of whom Christ never ceased to be a person in the God head. Verses that say God raised Him from the dead are not excluding Christ or the Holy Spirit from their participation in it. Most surely, Christ laid down His life and He also took it up again. The temple of His body was destroyed and He raised it up again. This is something that Christ did as a part of the “work of redemption.” Christ was neither a mere man nor limited to the abilities of man.

            In Acts 2:23-24, Peter, speaking to the people at Jerusalem, said, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.” Christ’s resurrection loosed the pains of death; therefore, His suffering of death did not end until His resurrection. Of course, these “pains of death” were not physical pains in His flesh that lay in the tomb. The pains that were loosed at that time were the pains of hell in His separation death.

“The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow,
(Psa. 116:3). It is absurd for anyone to say that Christ was not dead, physically and spiritually, from the time of His crucifixion until He was resurrected from the dead.

            We are “now justified by his blood” (Rom 5:9). Also, Christ “was raised again for our justification” (Rom. 4:25). And the apostle Paul said, “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17). We can not be justified apart from the resurrection of Christ. His resurrection is an essential part of the “work of redemption” and it was simply impossible for it to be “finished” before the resurrection.

            Some misuse Rom. 3:25, contending that faith in the blood of Christ, apart from His death, brings remission as if faith in anything more than His blood is adding to the gospel. The purpose of this argument is to deny that Christ continued to suffer the death of separation from God after He said the words, “It is finished.” The argument limits salvation to faith in Christ’s blood, as if Christ did nothing else for our atonement. It is unscriptural to claim salvation by the blood when used in exclusion of Christ’s death and of His resurrection. An argument, “that proves too much, proves nothing at all.”

            1 Pet. 3:21, speaks of Christ’s baptism of death and suffering (Lk. 12:50 & 1 Pet. 3:18), saying, “baptism doth also now save us ... by the resurrection of Jesus Christ;” therefore, His death (death baptism) for us could only be effective if He was resurrected from the dead in victory over death, hell, and the grave.

            The bible verses that speak of the “blood of Christ” or of the “blood of the cross” are words that simply express that Christ gave His life to redeem us, to justify us, or to remit our sins. “The life of the f1esh is in the blood.”

            Lev. 17:14 - For it (the blood) is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of f1esh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.            

In that He shed His blood, He gave His life. The shedding of His blood meant that His life had been given. “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but, to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45). In that He gave His life a ransom; He died for us. Scripturally, one cannot have faith in the “blood of Christ” apart from His life which was given for the sheep (John 10:11) or apart from His death (Rom. 5:6), - “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Also in verse 10 - “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.” If one limits Christ’s “work of redemption” to only one such expression or one such part of His atonement, it brings contradiction in its conclusion.

The Preaching of the Cross

            On the cross, Christ cried out, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me,” (Matt. 27:46). Also, there was darkness over the earth from the sixth hour until the ninth hour, as a visible witness that God had forsaken His Son. “For 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). In that Christ was made to be sin for us, he was there as a sinner, dying the physical death required by the law and the separation death sentenced upon Adam and upon all mankind (Rom. 5:12).

            Phil. 2:8 tells us that Christ became obedient unto death, even the “death of the, cross.” Christ’s death of the cross was both spiritual and physical and continued three days and until the resurrection (Matt 12:40, Acts 4:2). Such verses are not saying that Christ’s atoning death was finished or had ended while yet on the cross. To limit the length of time of Christ’s death, by such verses, imposes meanings upon the passages that, simply, are not there. Most assuredly, His death continued until He arose from the dead.

            There are absolutely no verses that teach salvation, redemption, remission, or justification, apart from the resurrection. Though it was an act of victory from death, it was a necessary part of the “work of redemption” (1 Cor. 15:17), and should not be excluded in our understanding of scripture. Christ’s resurrection is an essential part of the gospel message (1 Cor. 15:3-4), and Christ arose from the dead for our justification (Rom. 4:25) to complete the gospel; therefore the resurrection was a part of “the work of redemption.”

            Some have contended that “the preaching of the cross,” referred only to what happened to Christ while He was hanging on the cross. With this argument, they deny the three days of His death and His resurrection from the dead as part of the payment for sin or the power of God unto salvation. Such arguments contend that “the preaching of the cross” does not include Christ’s three-day death or His resurrection. Therefore, their contention of the preaching of the cross does not include the preaching of the gospel.

            In Mk 8:34, we read, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and, take up his cross, and follow me.” The word, “cross” is here used to indicate one’s responsibility or what he must bear (See Matt 10:38, 16:24; Mk.10:21; Lk 9:23, 14:27). Likewise, the “preaching of the cross” is the preaching of what Christ bore for us (not only the physical sufferings, as excruciating as they were, before His death). The prophesied three-day and three-night death was included in the cross He bore for the children of Adam. The three day death was for our sins and the resurrection was necessary for the redemption of mankind, therefore the preaching of the cross includes the preaching of the gospel. Surely, this is simple enough for anyone to understand and most surely taught in the scriptures many times over.

            In, 1 Cor. 1:17, the apostle Paul said, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest “the cross of Christ” should be made of none effect.” Obviously, “the preaching of the cross” was “the preaching of the gospel,” according to the inspired apostle Paul. Therefore, “the preaching of the cross” includes His three days of death and His resurrection.

            In Gal. 6:14, we read, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ... ,” The apostle Paul was not glorying in Christ’s suffering, while hanging on the cross, a part from His three-day death and His glorious resurrection. Without the resurrection, Christ’s suffering and death would have spelled defeat and failure and no salvation. It is a misuse of this text to disallow any part of the gospel that occurred after Christ was taken down from the cross.

            The terms, “preaching of the cross” “the cross work,” and “the cross of Christ,” refer to the gospel (the good news) of what Christ did for fallen man. The claiming of only the sufferings prior to His death, without the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, does great violence to the truth of the gospel.

Christ's Spirit Commended to God

            Shortly before Christ gave up His spirit, He said, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit,” (Lk. 23:46). His spirit went to the hands of God, consistent to the words spoken by Solomon of old, saying, “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it,” (Ecc. 12:7). Solomon declared that man’s spirit returned to God at death, long before the time of the cross. Also, they stoned Stephen into eternity as he called upon God, saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:59) Obviously, his spirit returned to the Lord at the time of his death.

            Christ’s words indicated that He was about to give up His spirit in death and that His spirit would go to His Father during the time of his death. Christ’s spirit went to the hands of the Father, his body was in the tomb, and his soul was in hell, enduring the pains of death until His resurrection (Acts 2:24; 31); therefore, His death and his sufferings were not finished shortly before his physical death or at the time of physical death. The return of Christ’s spirit to the hands of God did not indicate that He had completed his separation death, or that the payment for sin was finished, or that the “work of redemption” was complete at that time.

Christ and the Thief in Paradise

            While on the cross, Christ said to the believing thief,

“Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise”

(Lk. 23:43 KJV).

Some have contended that Christ could not have gone to hell and endured the torment of hell and be with the thief in Paradise in a heavenly place, concluding that Paradise must have been down in the earth and in the upper part of hell. If in fact, Christ promised to be with the saved thief on the same day of Christ’s crucifixion, we can afford to believe it, even without knowing exactly how.

            Christ’s spirit had been committed into the hands of the Father (Lk. 23:46) and the thief’s spirit had returned to God, who gave it (Ecc. 12:7; Acts 7:59). Their spiritual presence, together before God in paradise, is a condition which could easily account for the fulfillment of Christ’s promise, without assuming a conflict with Christ’s soul being in “hell” until the resurrection. Therefore, the text of Lk 23:43, is not a sufficient basis to assume that Paradise was once in hell, down in the earth or was later moved into the third heaven.

            The word “Paradise” is only found three times in the scriptures: In Lk 23:46, once more in 1 Cor. 12:2-4 and again in Rev. 2:7. The Apostle Paul said “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. … How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (1 Cor. 12:2-4) There is no instance of record in which Paradise was in hell or in the lower parts of the earth and no instance of it being moved to heaven. Neither can it be known with certainty that the spirits of both Jesus Christ and of the thief, being together with the Lord in paradise, was the fulfillment of Christ’s words. Therefore, it is very appropriate to note the translation liberties, used by the translators, which not only, translated the text, but interpreted it also. In the original language, the promise was, “Verily I say unto thee to day thou shalt be with me in paradise.” The translators chose to place a comma after “thee,” instead of after “day,” from the Greek language which had no comma at all. In either event, they thereby interpreted the verse to the view they chose. Other translation critics believe the comma should be after the word, “day.” According to this observation, the Lord did not promise to be in paradise on that same day.

            Also, the word “to” was capitalized as if it was the beginning of the sentence in the KJV (contrary to the Greek). Therefore, “To day” is separated from “Verily I say unto thee” and is often read and quoted as the first word of Christ’s sentence, disregarding his first words, “Verily I say unto you to day …..”

            The believing thief had said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” (v - 42) He did not ask to be remembered later that same day, neither did he ask where he would be later that same day. He asked to be remembered when Christ came into His kingdom. [Did Jesus give an answer to the thief’s request? Was His answer, “Yes, you will be with me in the kingdom?” Did Jesus come into His kingdom on the day of crucifixion? Was it possible for the thief to be in the kingdom on the same day as the crucifixion?]

Jesus replied with a promise, that the thief would be remembered, saying, “Verily I say unto thee to day, thou shalt be with me in paradise.” (v - 43) According to this translation, Christ did not promise that the thief would be with Him on that same day, but rather He promised on that day, that the thief would be “with Him in paradise” in that future time, when He should come into His kingdom. Thus, Christ assured the believing thief that he would be remembered in that future day when Christ came into His kingdom as he had requested and did not address where they would be a few hours later.

These translation additions in the KJV, not only translated, but interpreted the text in a highly questionable manner. This is definitely not a verse on which to build a doctrine that assumes another location for Paradise, not found in the Bible, neither is it a verse to deny that Christ’s soul was in hell (Acts 2:31). Some church groups have steadfastly rejected the KJV interpretation. Indeed, it appears, Luke 23:43 in the KJV has been interpreted incorrectly, being so interpreted by translators, who were influenced by their Roman heritage and the doctrine of purgatory. The bible clearly teaches Christ’s three day death for man’s sins and the pains of hell got hold upon Him (Psa. 116:3) when He was in the heart of the earth (Matt. 12:40). His resurrection loosed the pains of death (Acts 2:24) and He was not left in hell (Acts 2:31) but was resurrected after 3 days and 3 nights and according to the promise (Lk. 23:43), the believing thief shall be with the Lord in Paradise when he comes into His kingdom.

(A Commentary Quote in regard to Paradise)

            Our Lord’s declaration to the dying thief - ‘Verily I say unto you this day shalt thou be with me in Paradise’ (Luke 23:43 with complete quote added in italics), has been urged on both sides of the argument; but the word is here not Hades, but Paradise, and no instance can be produced in which the paradise beyond the grave means anything else than that ‘third heaven,’ that ‘paradise’ into which the Apostle was caught up, and where he heard ‘unutterable things’ (2 Cor. 12:2,4). In the midst of that paradise grows the mystic ‘tree of life’ (Rev. 2:7), which the same writer represents as growing near the throne of God and the Lamb (Rev. 22:2). (Quoted from the Cyclopeadia of Biblical Literature)

Abraham’s Bosom

            The story of Lazarus and the rich man (Lk. 16:19-31) has been misused in ways that have brought great confusion. Some have assumed that Abraham’s bosom was a “compartment of hell,” in which Abraham and Lazarus were seen by the rich man from his place in the flames of hell. Nothing was said of the rich man seeing a “region,” called, “Abraham’s Bosom.” in which all the righteous dead are assumed to have been. The text says, “And in hell he (the rich man) lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom (as in his embrace).” Paradise was not Abraham’s bosom. Abraham was not in his own bosom neither in a place called, “Abraham’s Bosom.” Shall we take a simple expression and supplant it with an assumption of such fantastic proportions? God forbid! This, and other assumptions, have led some to arbitrarily assume that before the cross, the souls of saints at death did not go into the presence of God as it was after Christ’s ascension or as it was said in 2 Cor. 5:1-8 and Phil. 1:23. They dare to assume that Abraham was yet a captive (apparently of Satan) down in the lower parts of the earth and was not in the presence of the Lord until Christ’s ascension.

            Abraham’s wife, Sarai, bare no children in about the first 75 years of her life. And in her apparent desire to have a son, she gave her maid, Hagar, to Abram to be his wife that she might obtain children by her maid. Afterwards, Sarai said unto Abram, “My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes:” Abraham’s bosom was not a region in the which were he and Hagar; Hagar was in “Abraham’s bosom” or in his embrace.

Lazarus died and was carried by the angels (heavenly beings) to where Abraham was. Abraham was a long way from hell, according to the Bible. The rich man died and in hell lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth the person, Abraham, afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Evidently, Abraham was with the Lord in “heaven” and Lazarus was in Abraham’s bosom as in his embrace. When Lazarus arrived, they were both with the Lord, but the rich man, who was in hell, said, “I am tormented in this flame.” (v - 24) Were Abraham and Lazarus in a compartment of hell? They most certainly were not. The Scriptures say that the rich man saw Abraham “afar off” and Lazarus in his bosom. There is no reason to think that the heavenly angels carried Lazarus down into a part of hell or that Abraham was in any part of hell. Lazarus was then “comforted” and the rich man was “tormented.” Beside all that, there was a great gulf fixed (v-26) between them so that they could not pass over. According to the biblical description, the great gulf between them separated heaven and hell and the rich man saw Lazarus “afar off,” even in that heavenly place.           

            This communication between Abraham and the rich man was not a physical communication; their bodies were in the grave. This is a communication between their ever existent souls where distance is not a limiting factor with the Lord. Even Paul, when he was caught up into paradise (to the third heaven) and heard unspeakable words, did not know whether he was in the body or out of the body (1 Cor. 12:1-4). We must not distort the scriptures to limit Abraham and the rich man’s communication to a physical communication.

(A Commentary Quote)

            This unscriptural doctrine, which assumes paradise was in a part of hell, “is a doctrine received by a large portion of the nominal Christian church; and it forms the foundation of the Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory, for which there would be no ground but for this interpretation of the word hades.” - (quoted from The Cyclopeadia of Biblical Literature)

Was Paradise Moved?

            Though, there is no recorded location for paradise, except in the third heaven, some conjecture that paradise was formally down in the earth and in an assumed mild part of hell and was moved to heaven at Christ’s resurrection. This they do without biblical authority for such supposition. Eph. 4:8-10 has been misused for this purpose and from which they assume such meaning.

            Eph. 4:8-10 - Wherefore he saith, When, he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

   9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but, that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

   10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

            Christ’s ascension was, preceded by His descending into “the lower parts of the earth,” which is not into the grave, but into “hell,” itself, as the apostle Peter stated in Acts 2:31. Again, in Matt. 12:40, Christ said, “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” These expressions, “the lower parts of the earth” and “the heart of the earth,” are descriptive of the place where the souls of the unrighteous dead are cast (not six feet below the surface of the earth).

            Contrary to the assumptions of some, Eph. 4:8-10 said nothing about Christ moving paradise out of hell into the heavens or of taking saved souls from a supposed compartment of hell, a supposed paradise in hell, and moving them into heaven.

            Christ descended into the lower parts of the earth and afterwards ascended far above all heavens to fill all things. Christ led captivity captive or took captive Satan’s power of death of which fallen man has been held in captivity (Psa. 68:18). The captivity (or Satan’s power of death) was taken captive by Christ through His victory over death that he might be Lord of heaven and earth.

            Heb. 2:9 - “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” And again, in Heb. 2:14-15 - “... That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” And again, in 1 Pet. 3:22 - “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

The Righteous Dead before Christ's Resurrection

            The whole idea of the righteous dead, who died before Christ’s resurrection and ascension, supposedly, having been taken down into the earth and held until Christ’s ascension, is without biblical foundation. This idea was espoused before the time of the reformation by the Roman church and portions of it received wide spread acceptance by many in Christendom. They taught that the righteous dead were taken into a part of hell (which they called purgatory) to have the remainder of their unforgiven sins purged. The prayers of the Roman priest for the dead were supposed to shorten their time in purgatory and end the suffering of the purge. The survivors of the deceased would pay the priests to pray for their relatives, being told their loved ones were not yet out of purgatory. The Roman Bishops, Cardinals, priest, etc, fleeced the flock of their money and possessions in extreme abuses. The continual reinforcement of the basic doctrine, made necessary by the Roman doctrine of purgatory, kept the idea prominently displayed in our society, without regard for those, who firmly contended against this unbiblical doctrine. Not only is it without biblical foundation, it is in direct conflict with the revealed word of God on the subject.

Enoch and Elijah Taken Up to Heaven

            In Gen. 5:24, we read, “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” This portion of Scripture, in which God took Enoch up unto Himself, is completely inconsistent with the idea of his having to remain as a captive in some supposed place down in the earth.

            In 2 Kings 2:1, we read, “And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.” And in verse 11, “And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by the whirlwind into heaven.” If, during those times, the abode of the righteous dead was somewhere in the earth, why was Enoch and Elijah taken up into heaven? Was there supposed to be a reason why the saints of old were supposed to be disallowed into heaven until after Christ’s ascension? We note that these two men were taken bodily without dying and without having to wait until Christ’s ascension. Nevertheless, the Lord took them (body, soul, and spirit,) into the presence of the Lord and into heaven instead of holding them somewhere in the earth. Also, there is no biblical reason for the souls of the righteous; who died before Christ’s ascension, to be held in a supposed upper part of hell until His ascension.

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Were Alive

            At the burning bush, God said unto Moses, “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” (Ex. 3:6). During Christ’s ministry, the Sadducees asked about a woman, who had had seven husbands before she died. They denied that there was a resurrection and were asking a trick question, saying, “In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them?” Christ said, “Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.” Christ words clearly rebuked them for not knowing the scriptures on this subject.

            He further reminds them of the scriptures and of the “burning bush event” to prove that the dead are raised. He confirmed the resurrection by describing the current status of certain righteous dead. Christ said, “And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush, God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.” (Mk. 12:26-27).

            Thus Christ declares that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whose bodies were in the grave, were alive. Their inner-person or the henceforth ever existent soul was currently alive and the Lord God was currently the God of the living Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Apparently, their eternal soul and spirit were already with the Lord God, waiting for the time of the resurrection, when their new, undying bodies would be caught up to be reunited.

            Christ first establishes the current fact; the souls of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been taken up to be with the Lord and were alive unto Him. Christ gave their living presence with the Lord as the evidence which indicated a future resurrection of their bodies. Nothing indicated that they were captives, waiting to be delivered to heaven or that they were in a supposed cooler compartment of Hell down in the earth. Christ portrayed their living presence with the Lord as the sure basis on which the bodies of the believing dead are resurrected.

            Christ’s words of truth were not at all compatible with the supposed idea that the righteous dead were in prison as captives even in the supposed happier region of hades, the supposed former location of Paradise. Abraham was saved and free as only God could free him. He was alive, and God was being his God. He was with the Lord in the third heaven which is the Paradise of God, not said to be down in the earth.

Moses and Elias Appeared in Glory

            At the mount of transfiguration, Moses and Elias, appeared in kingdom glory with the Lord Jesus as his raiment was shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth could white them (Mk 9:2-7, Lk 9:28-36). Their appearance seems to confirm their presence with God and access to the Lord and was not consistent in ­any way to the idea that they as righteous dead were being held down in the earth as captives. Since we know Elijah had been taken to heaven, should we imagine Elijah was brought down from heaven and Moses was brought up out of a compartment of hell for this preview of the kingdom?

King David Taken Up

            David knew that at death the Lord would take him up to heaven, saying, “Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation. When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” (Psa. 27:10). David’s father and mother ­would depart from this earth in death and forsake him. But with confidence, David said, when they forsook him, the Lord would take him up, obviously, up into heaven to be with the Lord, not down into the earth into a supposed holding place for the righteous dead as a captive. David’s words are part of the inspired scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16-17); therefore they are accurate and dependable. What more do we need to be convinced to discard this Roman doctrine and traditional myth? What more do we need to accept the Bible truth that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and all the saints of old were taken up to be with the Lord, into the Paradise of God in the third heaven where the apostle Paul said it was? (2 Cor. 12:1-4).

            In Psa. 90:10, David also said, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.”

            Did David mean to say, believers’ labour and sorrow would soon be cut off and then believers would fly upward unto the Lord or downward into the earth?

            In Psa. 73:22-24, David also said:

   22 So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.

   23 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.

   24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.

            The foregoing should be more than sufficient to establish that the righteous dead of the past were taken up into heaven and were not taken as captivities, down, into the earth into a compartment of hell or therein held until the resurrection of Christ. This is said with confidence, considering that there is no known biblical text, saying Paradise was in hell or down in the earth, nor that the righteous dead were taken down into any part of hell or down into the heart of the earth. For those who contend that hell (hades) is the grave instead of a burning place of torment, this brief comment is added: The context of every verse except one, recorded in the new scriptures, containing the Greek word “hades,” forbids translating it into the word “grave.” The translators could not even reasonably translate “hades” into the word “grave” except in 1 Cor. 15:55 and their exception diminished the ultimate strength of the verse by the word “grave.” If it had been translated like every other verse, it would read as follows: “O death, where is thy sting? O HELL (“hades”), where is thy victory?” Not only over the grave, but the ultimate victory was over HELL itself.

Christ Paid the Penalty for Sin in Full

            The penalty for sin is death. Rom. 6:23; 1 Cor. 15:3-4.  

            The penalty for sin is the wrath of God. John 3:36; Eph. 2:3; 1 Thess. 1:10.

            The penalty for sin is hell. Matt. 10:28; Mk. 9:43-49.

            Are these three descriptions truly the penalty for sin? Did Christ fully pay the penalty? Or was something left unpaid? It was imperative that the penalty for sin be paid in full. The above verses emphatically declare the penalty for man’s sin included Christ’s separation death, the horrors of the wrath of God, and the torment in a place called hell where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched. Thus Christ was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification (Rom. 4:25). Therefore, Christ paid the penalty of death, of hell, and of the wrath of God or else it has never yet been paid.

The Passover Lamb, Type of the Lamb of God

            The Passover Lamb was most surely a type of Christ, the Lamb of God, and Israel was instructed, “neither shall ye break a bone thereof” (Ex. 12:46 & Num. 9:11-12). Thus, the children of Israel were taught that “a bone of Him (the Lamb of God) shall not be broken” (John 19:36). “And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it. Eat not of it raw, nor sodden at all with water, but roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof” (Ex. 12:8-9)?

            Thus, the children of Israel were taught that “a bone of Him (the Lamb of God) would not be broken” (John 19:36). He would be committed to the fire that His soul might be made an offering for sin (Isa. 53:10). He must endure the fire and not be spared. He must endure the penalty of sin for all mankind. The observance of the Passover prophesied that Christ’s bones would not be broken and, among other things, he would be burned as a burnt offering for sin to pay the penalty for sin.

The Offering of Isaac, Type of Christ

            In Gen 22, God said to Abraham, “Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Mori’ah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.” Likewise, this event is unquestionably a type of Jesus Christ, even as the Passover lambs. God had Abraham take some wood, the fire, and a knife with him. They traveled a three day journey to mount Mori’ah; to the very mountain that later had a threshing floor on it, which King David purchased to build an altar there, and at a later time Solomon built the temple of God there, which was in the city Jerusalem. Here, Isaac, Abraham’s only son, whom he loved, was to be a burnt offering unto the Lord and was to be offered at the same place where Christ would be offered many years later. Why was he a burnt offering? Why the wood? Why was physical death, alone, not enough? Why must he be burned? Why was it accounted that Abraham offered up his only begotten son, though a ram was offered instead? Why was the ram burned? We are told, Abraham accounted that God was able to raise up Isaac, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure. (Heb. 11:17-18). Isaac was a type of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, and the offering up of Isaac taught that Jesus would be a “burnt offering,” or an offering “made by fire.”

            When Isaac said to his father, Abraham, “Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham said, “My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering:” (Gen. 22:7-8). Abraham’s answer was prophetic beyond the offering of Isaac or of the ram caught in the thicket. Abraham was speaking prophetically, that God would provide himself the Lamb of God for a burnt offering. Christ said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.” (John 8:56)

Burnt Offerings, Type of Christ

            Sacrifices, which foretold of the sacrifice of Christ, were repeatedly called “burnt offerings,” and “offerings made by fire.” Certainly, they teach that the promised Saviour would save fallen man from a burning hell, by bearing the penalty upon Himself.

            From the time of Adam and Eve, it was known that the penalty for the sin of fallen man was a spiritual or separation death. Adam died in separation from God on the very day that he ate the forbidden fruit, though he lived physically about another nine hundred years. That spiritual death, being dead in trespasses and in sins and dead to God, ultimately included the “wrath of God” in a “burning hell.” Those that were saved, were saved from that wrath of God (Matt. 3:7, John 3:36, Eph. 2:3, 1 Thess. 1:10). They were saved by grace through faith in the person of Jesus Christ; because He, as Saviour of the world, paid the penalty for sin.

            Have we read and not perceived that Jesus Christ was the antitype, the fulfillment of “the burnt offerings,” and “the offerings made by fire?” Those offerings were on the fire of the altar, of which God said, “The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out” (Lev. 6:13). The “ever burning” fire of their altar of sacrifice was a type of the everlasting destruction - “the fire that never shall be quenched” (Mk. 9:43-48). Christ paid the penalty for sin by bearing the penalty upon Himself. How could a thrice holy God be just in justifying the ungodly by grace without Christ bearing the same guilt and penalty due them? If Christ did not go to hell nor pay the penalty of hell, on what basis can we claim that Christ died for us, took our place, took what we deserved, or paid the penalty for sin? Was the penalty of the wrath of God in hell, which was sentenced upon fallen man, not paid? Did Christ not pay that penalty? A token payment or a symbolic payment is woefully insufficient. Full payment was required and Christ paid it all! Praise the Lord! Matt. 27:46 - And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, E’li, E’li, la’ma sa-bach-tha’ni? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

(NIV commentary notes under Matt. 27:46)

            “Jesus was not questioning God; he was quoting the first line of Psalm 22 - a deep expression of the anguish he felt when he took on the sins of the world, which caused him to be separated from his Father. This was what Jesus dreaded as He prayed to God to take the cup from him (Matt. 26:39). The physical agony was horrible, but even worse was the period of spiritual separation from God. Jesus suffered this double death so that we would never have to experience eternal separation from God.”

Christ’s Death, More Than Physical

            On the mount of transfiguration, Moses and Elias appeared in heavenly glory with Christ in His altered countenance and glistering white raiment and spoke of his decease which he should accomplish in Jerusalem. (Mk. 9:2-10, Lk. 9:28-36).

            While Christ prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, saying, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: …” there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. (Lk. 22:43).

            After Peter had smitten off the ear of a servant, Jesus said, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matt. 26:53-54).

            Christ prayed, knowing what He would endure. His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. He prayed, saying, “Oh my father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” (Matt. 26:39).

            And again, “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).

            Christ’s death was not an ordinary physical death by crucifixion. Christ was the propitiation for the sins of the whole world. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us - the death which was sentenced upon Adam’s fallen race.

            Christ was numbered with the transgressors (Isa. 53:12), was made to be sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21), died for us (1 Cor. 15:3), descended into the lower parts of the earth (Eph. 4:9), and His soul was made an offering for sin (Isa. 53:10). He descended into hell, the lower parts of the earth, and the pains of hell got hold upon Him (Psa. 116:3). He fulfilled the type of the burnt offerings and offerings made by fire (Gen. 22:7-8), endured the wrath of God (1 Thess. 1:10), and paid the ransom price (1 Tim. 2:6) to redeem mankind (Tit. 2:14). After three days God raised Him up from the dead, loosing the pains of death because it was not possible that he should be holden of it (Acts 2:24), and He came forth in victory over death, hell, and the grave (Rom. 4:25) and His soul was not left in hell (Acts 2:31).

            Oh! There are not words to properly describe the greatness, the awesomeness, the terribleness, and the glory of such a wonderful Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

            – Milton Dunavant, P.O. Box 37122, Fort Worth, TX 76117,

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