FEEDBACK: WHAT IS THE “DEATH” THAT CHRIST EXPERIENCED ON THE CROSS?
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Below IS A QUESTION ABOUT THE HOW THE BIBLICAL DEFINITION OF “LIFE” AND “DEATH” IMPACTS THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE CRUCIFIXION OF CHRIST
THE READER’S QUESTION IS IN ITALICS. OUR RESPONSE FOLLOWS.
I would like to ask you. Based on the definition of “life” for mankind, can you please elaborate more about Jesus’ crucifixion based on what the Bible defines “life”.
Let's consider what it means that Jesus died during the crucifixion. The Biblical definitions that God is life and death is separation from God still hold in the death of Jesus on the cross. Jesus, who is God, is life (John 11:25, 14:6). Since God is life, then the God, The Father, is also life.
During the atonement the Lord Jesus became separated from God (dead) in two ways.
The first way was while He was hanging on the cross on Friday afternoon. This is the most important way because the Bible emphasizes that the payment for sins was completed Friday afternoon while Jesus was still conscious in His body on the cross as we read in John 19:30:
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
John 19:30 focuses upon the payment for sin being accomplished (It is finished) while Jesus was still conscious in His body on the cross. The subsequent events were the proofs of the successful payment for sin. There was only one point in the atonement where Jesus said “It is finished”, so God is drawing attention to it. We don’t want to disregard the focus that God has put on the fact that the payment for sins was finished while Christ was still in His body on the cross on Friday afternoon. This is important.
While Jesus was on the cross, He was forsaken by God as we read in Matthew 27:46:
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Jesus, who is God, was forsaken by God, a divine mystery, but nevertheless,
true because the Bible says so.
To be forsaken includes separation. Matthew 27:46 teaches that Jesus, who is God, was separated (forsaken) from God. That is the important "death of Christ". Jesus became separated (forsaken) from God on the cross. Matthew 27:46 teaches the important truth that the atonement for sins included Christ being cut off or separated from God, which is death, the punishment for sins.
The Bible gives many verses that teach that the Biblical definition of death is separation, especially separation from God, who is life. Some of these verses can be found in the links below:
This applies to the death of the Lord Jesus that He experienced on the cross. He was forsaken (separated) from God, who is life. This is a divine mystery, but nevertheless true. So, the experience of Jesus on the cross agrees with the Biblical definition that death is separation.
There is a second way the "death" of the Lord Jesus on the cross was separation. This has to do with the corpse of Jesus and it also applies to all mankind. While we are in this world, we are "in God" and we "move" in God and have our being in God, as we read about in Acts 17:28:
For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
This verse also applies to the body of the Lord Jesus. During His earthly sojourn, His body, like the bodies of men, was "in God" and "moved" in God and had his "being" in God as we read about in Acts 17:28. His body was like the bodies of men. While we are in this world, we are in God and in all of His blessings. This applies to all mankind, both the saved and the unsaved.
But, when the spirit of Christ left His Body and His body fell on sleep, becoming a corpse, then Acts 17:28 no longer applied to His body. That is because corpses do not "move". Acts 17:28 does not apply to a corpse because it cannot move. So, the body is no longer "in God" in the sense of Acts 17:28 when it sleeps in the dust, becoming a corpse. It becomes further separated from God which is the Biblical definition of death. This is the death that the body of Jesus experienced when it fell on sleep and His Spirit went into heaven.
There is more information on this subject in the study at this link:
The explanation is in various parts of the study, so it helps to be able to read the whole study, or at least search for "Acts 17" and read those sections.
Thank you for the feedback.